A MelanieM Review: Deceived by Megan Derr

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Five stories of men and the secrets and lies that shape their lives…

Deceived—The hatred between Prince Benedict and his secretary Rae is well-known, and the source of much gossip at court. Each one too stubborn to walk away, determined to make the other one the first to break, they spend their days fighting or ruthlessly ignoring one another. Determined to put an end to the matter once and for all, and to give the notoriously rakish Benedict a taste of his own medicine, Rae sets upon a deception only to realize that there is more than one deception afoot…

Scandalous—Gideon has led a very strict life since the death of his parents, determined not to live the scandalous life that led to their untimely demise and to bring up his little brother in a more stable home. Journeying home to settle the matter of a new tutor for his brother, Gideon is waylaid overnight by foul weather at an inn. He encounters a beautiful young man who is more temptation than he is able to resist, and Gideon impulsively decides that one night, with a complete stranger, cannot possibly come to any harm…

From Afar—Pierce has all that anyone could want in life—an adoring brother who raised him when their parents died, the fame and adoration from being an accomplished fencer, and the best friend a man could have. What he wants, however, is to know the identity of the person who leaves him ardent love letters and why his admirer will not step forward…

Lessons—There is very little that Jude has not tried or seen, and his shameless behavior has earned him the reputation as the most notorious rake in the city. The one thing he does not do, however, is innocents. Then he chances upon a young man late at night in the park, amused to learn the man is attempting to write a love letter of all things. When he learns that Crispin despairs of ever catching the eye of his love because he is too innocent to be appealing, Jude impulsively offers to teach him all that he needs to know…

The Highwayman—When he receives word that his home is being plagued by a highwayman, Bartholomew immediately sets off for the family estate to see to the matter. When he arrives home, however, he learns that very little is as he remembers it. Instead of one problem to solve, Bartholomew finds himself contending with a highwayman, a murderer, strangers, and an old friend who is nothing like the boy he grew up with…

I love this collection of stories each linked together by location and primarily characters, flowing easily from one to the other.  Arranged in perfect order, they build like a 3-star Michelin food experience with Megan Derr, the chef with all the prime ingredients and exquisite recipes.

Here are my thoughts on each.

Deceived – This is a enemies to lovers story between Prince Benedict and his secretary Rae. Each day is spend trying to force the other to quit/fire him based on the false assumptions each has allowed to accumulate over the years about the other.  Until an upcoming masked ball changes everything.  With the ability to hide behind gorgeous masks, their true personalities draw the men together. That and their shared love of fragrances.  This is a wonderful story and a sensual one as well.  I love the element of perfumes woven throughout.  5 stars.

Scandalous – Gideon is on his way home to his estate and his young brother when he’s waylaid by a storm and a night of hot sex with a delightful stranger. So many things to love about this story.  There’s a fencing scene with where a lonely Gideon is caught ‘dancing’ with his shadow, the younger brother yearning for his older brother’s love and approval, and of course, a love story as well.  So charming.  And from this story we get to see the younger brother grown and looking for love in From Afar.  5 stars

From Afar – Pierce has all that anyone could want in life—an adoring brother who raised him when their parents died, the fame and adoration from being an accomplished fencer, and the best friend a man could have. What he wants, however, is to know the identity of the person who leaves him ardent love letters and why his admirer will not step forward.  I liked seeing Pierce all grown up as well as Gideon and Tem too.  This is probably the the story with the least depth.  The admirer is easily identified,  although I liked the poem aspect.  4 stars.

Lessons – This is  absolutely perfect.  A Rake who takes on an innocent who needs lessons in love because he wants to snare the attention of the man he loves.  The story builds just the way you want it too, as does the love Jude starts to feel toward Crispin, something he’s totally unprepared to feel.  Just a terrific story, one to give you butterflies, along with that great ending.  5 stars.

The Highwayman –  Bartholomew, older brother to Crispin and all around family meddler, decides  that he has to take charge of the situation when he hears that a Highwayman is working the area around the family estate.  Once at the estate, after years away, Bart realizes that nothing is as he remembered it and perhaps there are more problems than he anticipated.  He’s got a highwayman, a murderer, strangers, and an old friend who is nothing like the boy he grew up with.  This is the longest story of them all and easily the most complicated in every way.  The relationship dynamics, the convoluted plots,  and the tricky resolution.  It is also the most satisfying.  A great way to end the collection.  5 stars plus.

 

Cover art by Aisha Akeju is dark and hard to see.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 225 pages
Published October 26th 2011 by Less Than Three Press (first published May 21st 2008)
Original TitleRegency
ISBN139781936202324
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Deceived #1

Goodbye September, Hello October! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Goodbye September, Hello October!

October is here, one of my favorite months!  Time for pumpkins, and hauntings, a thinning of veils, and perhaps of things that go bump in the night!  It’s a time for owls to be hooting as they sound out territories and mates, leaves to begin their spectacular autumnal show, and the plaintive notes of geese high above calling as they migrate south to warmer climes and more welcoming waters.  I’m not alone.  There are so many quotes out there from writers sharing their love of fall and this particular month, including L.M. Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables) who wrote:

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”.

I’m totally in agreement.

It’s also a time where authors and publishers start to release books and anthologies with a bent towards the paranormal and horror, noting that Halloween and All Hallow’s Eve occurs this month.  So you all know what I’m leading up to….

Yes, several things actually only one of which I’ll bring up this week.

Let’s start with a Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Horror Rec List.  This might be a short one because, tbh,  I don’t read a lot of horror books myself.  Do any of you?  I read one this week and I’m reviewing it.  It’s by one of the few author’s whose stories continually have a horror/paranormal bent to them.  That would be Xavier Axelson.  See what I found on Monday.  So go through your book lists, your Kindles and shelves. See what horror stories you can recommend.  I can’t wait to read what you all come up with!

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Horror Story Recs Giveaway

We will run this all month long in order to take advantage of all the new scary books coming out this month as well.  So leave a comment/rec, along with your email address where you can be reached if chosen.  We will have more than one winner for our gift certificates.  Must be 18 years of age or older.  Also acceptable are spooky paranormal stories!  Ghostly hauntings!  Witchy doings!  You get the idea!  Even throw in a zombie or two!  Contest ends October 28 at midnight.

✒︎Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is looking for reviewers.  If you would like to review for us, please contact us at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com.  Let’s talk!

 

✒︎And finally, in case you didn’t see our post.  Author B.A. Tortuga needs our help.  She’s very ill and needs our assistance.   There’s a Go Fund Me page started to help with her mounting medical costs.  For the full details, visit the link here.

 

Now for our first week in October, this is what we have for you.  Happy Reading!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, October 1 🎃 🌰

  • Goodbye September, Hello October!
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Release Blitz for Elle Keaton’s As Sure As The Sun (Accidental Roots #4)
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Dragon’s Hoard by M.A. Church
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: ​The Bunny and the Billionaire by Louisa Masters

Monday, October 2:

  • Dreamspinner Promo Tara Lain
  • Harmony Ink Promo Julie Aitcheson
  • BLITZ Tender with a Twist by Annabeth Albert
  • A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: The Keeper by Kiernan Kelly
  • A MelanieM Review: Earthly Concerns by Xavier Axelson
  • An Alisa Review: Soul Bonds (Common Powers 1) by Lynn Lorenz
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Model Exposure (Haven Investigations #4) by Lissa Kasey

Tuesday, October 3:

  • BOOK BLAST Sweet Thing by Isobel Starling
  • Review Tour for Tour: PROPHESY by A.E. Via
  • A Lila Review: Prophecy: The King and Alpha Series #1 by AE Via
  • A MelanieM Review: Read My Mind (Under the Empire #1) by Kelly Haworth
  • An Alisa Review: Finding Home by Garrett Leigh

Wednesday, October 4:

  • Dreamspinner Promo : Living in Fast Forward (Radio and the Road) by B.A. Tortuga
  • Tour for Archer Kay Leah’s Blood Borne (The Republic #3)
  • Cover Reveal for Lawless Anthology
  • A MelanieM Review: Deceived by Megan Derr
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Gummy Bears & Grenades (THIRDS #10) by Charlie Cochet
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: High Calls by Tara Lain

Thursday, October 5:

  • Blog Tour – Patrick’s Savior by Nic Starr
  • BLITZ Leaning into Touch by Lane Hayes
  • Cover Reveal: Anna Butler’s The Jackal’s House
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: Read My Mind (Under the Empire #1) by Kelly Haworth
  • A Jeri Review: Rank and File by LA Witt
  • A MelanieM Review: Crave (Brawlers, #1) by J.M. Dabney
  • An Alisa Review: Rush in the Dark (Common Powers 2) by Lynn Lorenz

Friday, October 6:

  • Release Blitz – Amy Aislin’s Picture Winter
  • Release Blitz – Changing On The Fly Anthology- Various Authors
  • RIPTIDE Tour and Giveaway: Five Dares by Eli Easton
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:Living in Fast Forward (Radio and the Road) by B.A. Tortuga
  • A Stella Recent Review: Five Dares by Eli Easton
  • An Alisa Review: Edward Unconditionally (Common Powers 3) by Lynn Lorenz

Saturday, October 7:

  • A MelanieM Review: Calloway by Thad J.

 

 

 

 

 

Love Flash Fiction? Check Out Renewal: Queer Sci Fi’s Fourth Annual Flash Fiction Contest (QSF Flash Fiction, #3) (Queer SyFy’s J. Scott Coatsworth and so many other wonderful authors!)

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Renewal: Queer Sci Fi’s Fourth Annual Flash Fiction Contest

(QSF Flash Fiction #3)

QSF Renewal-Print

QSF has a new book out, the latest in our series of flash fiction anthologies:

Re.new.al (noun)

1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.

Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut.

Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.

Welcome to Renewal.

Mischief Corner Books (info only) | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads


Renewal Banner

Excerpt

Because these stories are only 300 words each, we’re not supplying long excerpts, but here are the first lines of several of the stories. Enjoy!

“Griselda pulled the weeds from between the rows of Valerianella locusta plants in the garden, careful not to disturb the buds that would grow into the babies that were her only real income-producing crop.” —The Witches’ Garden, by Rie Sheridan Rose

“I didn’t know how truly the world was in trouble until I went journeying to look for Anisette’s bluebonnets.” —Bluebonnets, by Emily Horner

“The ship’s drive malfunctioned at the worst possible time.” —The Return, by Andrea Speed

“Before we continue, there’s a rather macabre fact about me I should share.” —Rejuvenation, by Christine Wright

“When I died they buried me at the bottom of the garden and returned to the fields.” —Below the Hill, by Matthew Bright

“The world is ending and I can’t look away from your eyes.” —Sunrise, by Brigitte Winter

““Losing one’s superpowers to your arch nemesis sucks donkey nuts, I tell ya. And trust me when I say I suck a lot of them.” —Rainbow Powers, by Dustin Karpovich

“The day I was born again was damp, rainy—a good day for rebirth, all things considered.” —The Birthing Pod, by Michelle Browne

“Intwir’s twelve eyes roved over the container, taking in the cracked outer lock and the elasticated fabric stretched tightly over its exterior.” —In a Bind, by S R Jones

“‘You’ve reached Androgyne HelpLine. Press one to start service. Press two to interrupt or cancel service. Press three—’” —Auto-Renew, by Ginger Streusel

“The doctor tells me that my wife is dying, but I already know.” —I Will Be Your Shelter, by Carey Ford Compton

“‘San Francisco was the first to go dark, followed by Los Angeles.’” —When Light Left, by Lex Chase

“My fingers lingered on the synthetic skin, trailing soft patterns across my work.” —Miss You, by Stephanie Shaffer


Included Authors

‘Nathan Burgoine
A.M. Leibowitz
A.M. Soto
Abby Bartle
Aidee Ladnier
Alexis Woods
Andi Deacon
Andrea Felber Seligman
Andrea Speed
Andrea Stanet
Anne McPherson
Bey Deckard
Brigitte Winter
Carey Ford Compton
Carol Holland March
Carrie Pack
Catherine Lundoff
CB Lee
Christine Wright
Colton Aalto
Daniel Mitton
Dustin Blottenberger
Dustin Karpovich
E R Zhang
E.J. Russell
E.W. Murks
Ell Schulman
Ellery Jude
Eloreen Moon
Elsa M León
Emily Horner
Eric Alan Westfall
F.T. Lukens
Fenrir Cerebellion
Foster Bridget Cassidy
Ginger Streusel
Hannah Henry
Irene Preston
J. Alan Veerkamp
J. P. Egry
J. Summerset
J.S. Fields
Jaap Boekestein
Jackie Keswick
Jana Denardo
Jeff Baker
Jenn Burke
Joe Baumann
John Moralee
Jon Keys
Jude Dunn
K.C. Faelan
Kelly Haworth
Kiterie Aine
Kristen Lee
L M Somerton
L. Brian Carroll
L.M. Brown
L.V. Lloyd
Laurie Treacy
Leigh M. Lorien
Lex Chase
Lia Harding
Lin Kelly
Lloyd A. Meeker
Lyda Morehouse
M.D. Grimm
Martha J. Allard
Mary E. Lowd
Matt Doyle
Matthew Bright
Mia Koutras
Michelle Browne
Milo Owen
Mindy Leana Shuman
Naomi Tajedler
Natsuya Uesugi
Nephy Hart
Nicole Dennis
Ofelia Gränd
Patricia Scott
Paul Stevens
PW Covington
R R Angell
R.L. Merrill
Rebecca Cohen
Redfern Jon Barrett
Reni Kieffer
Richard Amos
RL Mosswood
Robyn Walker
Rory Ni Coileain
Rose Blackthorn
Ross Common
S R Jones
Sacchi Green
Sarah Einstein
Shilo Quetchenbach
Siri Paulson
Soren Summers
Stephanie Shaffer
Steve Fuson
Tam Ames
Terry Poole
Tray Ellis
Vivien Dean
Wendy Rathbone
Xenia Melzer
Zen DiPietro
Zev de Valera

Falling Into Autumn and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Falling Into Autumn

 

We’ve passed the autumnal equinox and it’s officially fall.  Yes, my favorite time of the year has arrived.  Already the signs are out.  The Sugar Maples are showing their splendid fall colors, my beech trees are busy making a nuisance of themselves by pouring nut bits all over the back stone patio. Their beech nuts a boon for wildlife who are busy taking advantage and a pain for the paws of my dogs who keep stepping on them no matter how quickly I try to sweep them up every morning.  It’s a Sisyphean task to be sure.

Last night I started another fall task.  I started to clean out my Kindle.  Yes, I have to do that.  As a reviewer, or even just a prolific reader, it’s full of books I will never read again.  So the daunting chore begins to weed out the books overflowing my Kindle, choosing which will remain and which, much like my gardens, will be pruned away so I can quickly look over my library. Hah! You say.  Yah, yah…I know…it seems overwhelming and unlikely to me too.

My mental mutterings often go something like this “no, I’m not finished the series yet,  you get to stay”,  “hmm, uh no, I thought I had removed you some time ago”,  “Oh, I loved you so, I know I’ll read you again (no I won’t but I want too)” so I keep that one….and so on.  As you can imagine far more stay then actually get booted.  In the end I put the Kindle down, caught up in a book I need to read and review for the upcoming weeks because that’s as great an excuse as any, right?

Thank goodness they aren’t printed books because I’ve never thrown one of those away in my life.  Shifted boxes  into my  parents attic (yes, I know shameful at any age but there you go).  I think I’m going to go get them this fall, promise.

I won’t even go into my fall gardening chores…it’s still sunny and 80 outside.  Too many seeds are falling from the plants and things are still blooming.  That gets to slide too while I go look at mums in all their glory. I know just the place to plant them while I read and have a sip of wine.

That’s how I’m starting my fall into autumn.  Do you have any special plans for your fall days?  I’d love to hear them!  New giveaway coming soon!  Meanwhile enjoy our easing into Fall and this week’s books and tours.  Don’t miss out on Joker by JM Dabney.  I’ll be doing an author discovery on JM Dabney in the next coming months and reviewing all this author’s series…yes, I’m that much in love!

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

Sunday, September 24:

  • Falling Into Autumn and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A MelanieM Review: Drama Luau (Nicky and Noah Mystery #4) by Joe Cosentino

Monday, September 25:

  • RIPTIDE TOUR Avon Gale on The Love Song of Sawyer Bell (A Tour Dates novel)
  • RELEASE BLITZ Figure Study by Suzanne Clay
  • Anniversary Blog Tour for Caught Inside by Jamie Deacon
  • Fortitude Smashed. Interlude Press Tour
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Trans Liberty Riot Brigade by L.M. Pierce
  • An Alisa Review: Saved by AM Arthur
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: Creative Process by Jodi Payne

Tuesday, September 26:

  • Dreamspinner Promo Cari Z. on Off The Beaten Path
  • Release Blitz – The Half Wolf by Jay Northcote
  • Renewal Review and Promo Tour (Queer SyFy Scott)
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Rank and File by LA Witt
  • An Alisa Review; Loose Ends by Jeff Erno
  • A MelanieM Review :Renewal : 3rd Annual Queer SyFy Flash Fiction Anthology
  • An Ali Review: A World Apart by Mel Gough

Wednesday, September  27, 2017

  • TOUR Golden by RL Mosswood
  • TOUR On the Way to San Jose by Jere’ M. Fishback
  • Release Blitz First Season (Harrisburg Railers #2) by RJ Scott & VL Locey
  • Review Tour – Amy Tasukada – Would It Be Ok To Love You
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Antisocial  by Heidi Cullinan and Iggy Toma (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Can’t Hide From Me by Cordelia Kingsbridge and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Thursday, September 28, 2017:

  • BLOG TOUR  Waking the Behr (Foothills Pride #7) by Pat Henshaw
  • Dreamspinner Dreamspun Desires Promo Louisa Masters
  • Dreamspinner Promo Skylar M. Cates
  • A Stella Review: The Half Wolf by Jay Northcote
  • An Ali Review A World Apart by Mel Gough
  • An Alisa Review: Revived (Foreverers #1) by Nina del Arce

Friday, September 29:

  • Dreamspinner Dreamspun Desires Promo MA Church
  • Review Tour for First Season (Harrisburg Railers #2) by RJ Scott & VL Locey
  • Review Tour – Joker (Executioners #2) – JM Dabney
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Joker (Executioners #2) by  JM Dabney
  • A MelanieM Review :First Season (Harrisburg Railers #2) by RJ Scott & VL Locey
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Rim Shot by Skylar M Cates

Saturday, September 30:

  • Blog and Review Tour – City Boy – Country Boy by A.E. Wasp
  • One Call Away by Felice Stevens Audio Tour and Review
  • An Ali Review: Country Boy (Hot Off the Ice #2) by AE Wasp
  • An Ali Review: City Boy (Hot Off the Ice #1) by AE Wasp

An Alisa Release Day Review: Why I Love Bodyguards (Why I Love… #3) by T.A. Chase

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Hilton Burke might be one of the most powerful men in the world, but he can’t get what he wants the most. Every time he sees Cathal McKinley, his head of security, Hilton wishes they could be more than just employer and employee. In fact, he might be in love with Cathal, even though they’ve never slept together.

 

Cathal McKinley accepts how much he wants his boss, but he’s pretty sure Hilton will never date him. They come from two different worlds. Now that he has to return to Sunburst, Montana, to deal with family problems, Cathal knows there is no chance for them to get together.

 

Hilton and Cathal spent years dancing around each other, but when Cathal needs help the most, Hilton comes to Montana to support him. Soon they’re struggling with children and an old friend who won’t take no for an answer. Finally admitting their love out loud might be the least of their worries.

 

This was another sweet story.  While this is in the series and we see Chuck and Herb again this book had a very different feel than the previous ones did.  There weren’t really outside forces affecting them in the story most of it had to do with Hilton and Cathal finally admitting and acting on their feelings.

 

Cathal and Hilton have spent years working together without actually letting the other know how they feel, even though Herb often comments on their actions.  Cathal has spent his whole adult life believing that his father has hated him and gets the surprise of a lifetime when he goes back to his hometown to take responsibility for this sister’s kids when his father gets very sick and passes away.  Hilton quickly follows and becomes the perfect partner and support for Cathal, surprising those around him.

 

Cathal has been hurting silently though a friend from high school keeps him up to date on what is happening in his family.  He already knows a bit about the kids from a distance but Cathal’s father has prepared them for Cathal coming to be with them, they have been cast aside by their mother and now they are losing their grandfather as well; you can’t help but hurt for them as they go through this.  I loved seeing Hilton really being the down to earth guy that he doesn’t really show to others, but he’ll get right into the mess with everyone else.  It was great to see Chuck and Herb again and how they all interact with each other and the kids.

 

Cover art by Anne Cain is nice and I like the visuals of the characters but it didn’t call to me like the others in the series.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

Published: 2nd Edition, September 22, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-63533-579-8

Edition Language: English

Series: Why I Love…

A VVivacious Review: The Highlander (Order Series #2) by Kasia Bacon

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 Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

  Lochan Féyes has never been so dependent on his feelings but he can’t seem to overcome his connection with Ervyn. As an assassin who specialises in making sure that people stay at a distance, he can’t seem to understand how Ervyn wriggled his way in. But as Lochan’s experience tells him people die and people leave and as he gets commissioned into the Scouts this fact becomes abundantly clear. Destined on two different paths will Lochan and Ervyn find their way to each other?

This story was amazing, so amazing in fact that I have already read it twice.

I loved “The Mutt” and before starting this one I was wondering if I would love this one too. The Mutt had a really interesting premise with how Ervyn is really just edging the line between affection and obsession and I really wondered if this book had anything that wonderful to offer. But as it turns out, I had nothing to fear on that count for being in Lochan’s head was a surreal experience.

 “The assassin in me rejoiced. The Elven soldier complied. The human lamented.”

This time around we didn’t get such a dark dilemma but a really heartrending one, the dilemma between wanting what you can’t have but wanting it anyway, basically Lochan faced the age-old dilemma of love and you would probably wonder how Lochan’s dilemma would hold a light to Ervyn’s but amazingly it is the other way around and that is the reason why so many stories in the world focus on love because there is something new to explore every single time.

Lochan’s feelings are mired with sweetness and pain and you can feel every bittersweet bit. I loved Lochan, I loved his mind and I loved hearing his side of the story. Lochan is so amazingly written that if the author hadn’t pointed out the fact that most of this story takes place in Lochan’s head I would have definitely not noticed the paucity of dialogue because as it so happens with people who speak less when they do speak it is almost always worth hearing. It bears repeating being in Lochan’s head was such a vivid experience, there are these lines that just kind of stayed with me and others which give you a wonderful insight into who Lochan is, how he thinks and what he feels.

“I held my breath as if the stream of air from my lungs had bearing on Ervyn’s accuracy.”

 “At times, he felt, smelt and tasted like my fate. At others—my biggest mistake.”

Lochan and Ervyn stole my breath. I can’t wait to read entire novels based on these two, like I really can’t wait. I am extremely glad we will be getting a short story to tide over the time because ever since I read about these two characters I haven’t been able to get them out of my head and considering that they only had some forty odd pages to convince me they not only have me convinced, they have me buried in conviction. Now I basically stalk the author almost relentlessly for more information on these two.

There is one scene in this book that is simply so beautiful, the magnitude of its beauty is unexplainable. It’s the scene at the very end when Ervyn is second guessing himself with Lochan and how much that hesitance gets to Lochan. All it takes is two lines to convince you that Lochan loves Ervyn relentlessly and unflinchingly. Now I just can’t wait for these two to finally confess.

“In a startling moment of clarity, with his fingers running through my hair, it occurred to me that just as he considered me his centre, I’d found mine in him.”

The only bad thing about this short is the wait that is bound to follow till I get more on these two. But I for one look forward to re-reading these two shorts while I hungrily wait for “The Scouts”.

Cover Art by Marek Frankowski. I loved the cover. I really liked how the brightness of this background contrasts with the darkness of The Mutt’s background because that is now how I see these books.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 58 pages
Published August 31st 2017
ASIN B074L31YFK
Edition Language English
Series The Order #2

STRW Interviews Rick R Reed: Characters, Influences and his romance trilogy ‘M4M’ out now!

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M4M by Rick R. Reed
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Release Date July 10, 2017

BUY

Dreamspinner Ebook | Dreamspinner Paperback | Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paperback

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Rick R. Reed here today answering questions and sharing insights into his latest release M4M. Welcome, Rick!

✍🏼

An Interview with Rick R. Reed, author of the trilogy of romance, M4M

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Well, if you’re talking about Ethan Schwartz, my romantic underdog hero who’s central to all three of the stories in M4M, he and I do share certain similarities.

At the start of the book, in VGL Male Seeks Same, he’s looking for love online. I know first-hand how daunting, terrifying, frustrating, and exciting that can be. But I do believe in online romance because I met my husband fifteen years ago on an online dating site. So, I know it can lead to true love!

The middle of the book (NEG UB2) occurs some years later when the love Ethan finds in the first part becomes strained when Ethan is diagnosed HIV-positive. I also am HIV-positive (and have been healthy and undetectable for over seventeen years now—thank God), so I know the terror that comes with that diagnosis. My heart went out to Ethan as he deals with his health status and the fear that the man he loves betrayed him. The story is a true test of love.

The last part of the trilogy that I call M4M is called Status Updates to reflect our current social media centralization into our daily lives, my own included. Social media can be a double-edged sword, bringing people from your past into your life. On the one hand, things like Facebook can be a wonderful way to reconnect—and even find the road back to love, if you’ve been hurt as Ethan was. On the other hand, it can easily bring someone back into your life that you aren’t sure you ever wanted there in the first place. That’s the crux of my story, which, oddly enough, reflects my own spiritual journey.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

In everything I write and every character I breathe life into, there has to be a part of me in order for him or her to become real. So yes, I draw from my own life, but the comparisons, even if you know me well, may not be so apparent. That’s because similarities from my own life and that of a character can be metaphorical or symbolic. But I think any writer would be hard-pressed not to draw from his/her frame of reference when creating a character.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Well, when it comes to my horror and dark psychological suspense, yes. As a kid, I was obsessed with horror movies, books, and TV shows (I was a huge fan of Dark Shadows). Romance, though, I didn’t really get into until I was much older, and I wanted to bring love stories that would resonate with gay people to life because those stories aren’t told as much in mainstream fiction.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Yes, because it gives people (myself included) hope. I believe very strongly in intention and how our own thinking shapes the reality we get and, with that in mind, HEA or even HFN is a given.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

My main influences are Patricia Highsmith, Flannery O’Connor, Stephen King, and Ruth Rendell, all have a twisted and dark world view, but in the end, I think, they all believe in redemption—and so do I.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

It’s here to stay. Personally, I love it and seldom even read a paper book anymore. In fact, I’ve bought ebooks of paper books I’ve gotten as gifts because I know I won’t read the paper book because I’m so used to the ease and convenience of ebooks.

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

Most of my work is published by Dreamspinner Press, and I’m blessed to work with Reese Dante, who’s just amazing and wonderful—extremely talented. We usually huddle on what I want to get across, what my characters look like, and tone. Reese takes it from there and usually sends me dozens of stock photos of handsome male models to look at (such hard work!) to help find the best fit for the characters. But she’s truly inspired and I love every cover she’s done for me. The more we work together, the more we think almost as one, so that’s really nice.

What’s next for you as an author?

I have a short coming out in September called I Heart Boston Terriers. It’s about how a rescue dog brings two men together. I just got the cover and it’s amazing. I can’t share it, but can tell you it features my own Boston terrier, Lily, on the cover (by Reese Dante).

BLURB

Finding and keeping love can be a challenge in the modern world of blogging, social media, and online dating, as one man will learn in this trilogy.

VGL Male Seeks Same

Poor Ethan Schwartz. At forty-two, he’s alone, his bed is empty, and his HDTV is overworked. He’s tried bars and other places where gay men are supposed to find each other, but it never works out. Maybe he should get a cat?

But his life is about to change…

NEG UB2

Poor Ethan. He’s received the most shocking news a gay man can get—he’s HIV positive. Until today his life was perfect, with a job he loves and Brian, who could be “the one.” The one to complete him and fill his lonely life with laughter, hot sex, and romance.

But Ethan’s in for another shock. Could Brian have infected him?

STATUS UPDATES

Alone again, Ethan wonders if life is worth living, even with a cat. When an old nemesis sends a Facebook friend request, Ethan is suspicious but intrigued. It seems this old acquaintance has turned his life around, and the changes might hold the key to Ethan getting a new lease on life… and love.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” You can find him at www.rickrreed.com or www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their Boston terrier.

FIND RICK ONLINE

What’s Your Favorite Story Time Again and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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What’s Your Favorite Story Time Again – Soldiers and Wounded Warriors

With the holidays flashing by…Memorial Day, Independance Day….I thought about all the stories that I love so much that contained soldiers and/or vets returned from tours of duty.  Some of them are series and some are stand alone novels but there’s no denying the impact on your mind and heart they leave behind.

Some stories are contemporary and some reach far into the future or into the past but the soldier’s lot (no matter the gender) remains the same in its basics.  The dealing with the fear of the unknown, the stress, the pain, the loss, and the battles.  And then for some, the re-entry into civilian life.  So let’s hear again from all of you, what are your favorite stories with soldiers and why?  I thought we’d divide them into categories this time.  This week its contemporary fiction.  Next week: Other, from Science Fiction to Historical.  Let me know if you think that’s too broad a category and I’ll adjust it.

So I’ll start off our list of contemporary fiction with a series near to my heart:

♦︎The Release series by B.A. Tortuga (3 books) – all dealing with vets being released back into civilian life.  It’s outstanding.

♦︎Manny Get Your Guy by Amy Lane – wounded vet dealing with rehab and reentry at the same time.

That’s just for starters.  What’s yours?  Of course, there’s a giveaway attached for this List.

Contemporary Soldier/Wounded Warrior Story Recommendation Reader List

Comment with recommendations and your email address and one or two readers will be picked to receive a $10 gift cert from Dreamspinner Press.  Giveaway ends next Saturday, July 15th in time to start our next Soldiers-Others category.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, July 9:

  • Review Tour THE SHAPE OF YOU by Felice Stevens
  • A Jeri Review: The Shape of You by Felice Stevens
  • What’s Your Favorite Story Time Again
  •  This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, July 10:

  • Blog tour Racing the Sky by Layla Dorine
  • DSP GUEST POST Rick R Reed on M4M
  • A VVivacious Review: Regret by Christina Lee
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: M4M by Rick R. Reed
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Bonfires by Amy Lane and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Review:  Facing Fears by Morticia Knight

Tuesday, July 11:

  • DSP GUEST POST Leigh Carman on Two-Man Advantage
  • RIPTIDE TOUR All Wheel Drive by ZA Maxfield
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Moro’s Price by M Crane Hana
  • A Jeri Review: Chief’s Mess (Anchor Point #3) by L.A. Witt
  • A Julia Review: Painting Class ( Chiaroscuro, #1) by Suzanne Clay
  • An Alisa Review: Different Dynamics by Tamir Drake

Wednesday, July 12:

  • DSP GUEST POST Andrew Grey on Fire and Fog
  • Review Tour – Meg Harding – Finding Home
  • Tour: Unscripted Love by Aimee Nicole Walker RDB,
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: FAST Balls (Balls to the Wall #5) by Tara Lain
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Forgotten Paradise by Shira Anthony and Narrator: Andrew McFerrin
  • A MelanieM Review: Broke Deep (Porthkennack #3) by Charlie Cochrane
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Mascara & Bandages (Mary’s Boys#3) by Brandon Witt
  • A Stella Review: Finding Home by Meg Harding

Thursday, July 13:

  • Harmony GUEST POST Gene Gant
  • Review Tour – RJ Scott – The Ranchers Son (Montana #2) narrated by Sean Crisden
  • A Lila Audiobook Review:  The Ranchers Son (Montana #2) by RJ Scott and Sean Crisden (Narrator)
  • A MelanieM Review: Werecat: The Sim Ru Prophecy by Andrew J. Peters
  • An Ali Audiobook Review : The Innocent Auction (Innocent #1) by Victoria Sue and Joel Leslie (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Review: A New Way to Dance by Sean Michael

Friday, July 14:

  • Letting Go by Morningstar Ashley Release Day Blitz
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: The Other Five Percent by Quinn Anderson
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: A Kind of Home by Lane Hayes
  • A Jeri Review: The Other Five Percent by Quinn Anderson
  • A VVivacious Review:  Rent Mate by Ash Penn
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Who We Truly Are (Enhanced #2) by Victoria Sue

Saturday, July 15:

A MelanieM Release Day Review: All In (Wild Cards #3) by Ava Drake

 

 

 

Retro Review Tour for Enlightenment Series by Joanna Chambers

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Covers by Natasha Snow


Provoked (Enlightenment #1) 

 
Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK  (FREE till June 17)
 

David Lauriston is struggling to build his reputation in Edinburgh’s privileged legal world. His humble origins are enough of a hurdle, never mind his recent decision to defend a group of weavers accused of treason, prompting speculation that he may harbour radical sympathies. The last thing he should be doing is agreeing to help the brother of one of the convicted weavers find the government agent who caused his brother’s downfall.

David’s personal life is no more successful. Tormented by his forbidden desires for other men, and the painful memories of the childhood friend he once loved, David tries his hardest to live a celibate existence, castigating himself whenever his resolve slips. 

But then—into David’s repressed and orderly world—bursts Lord Murdo Balfour.

Cynical, hedonistic and utterly unapologetic, Murdo could not be less like David. Whilst David refuses to entertain the prospect of entering into a loveless marriage for propriety’s sake, Murdo is determined to wed one day—and has no intention of giving up the company of other men when he does so. But as appalled as David is by Murdo’s unrepentant self-interest, he cannot resist the man’s sway.

Murdo tempts and provokes David in equal measure, distracting him from his promise to find the agent provocateur responsible for the weavers’ fate, and forcing him to acknowledge his physical desires.

But is Murdo more than a mere distraction? 

Is it possible he could be the very man David is looking for?

 


Beguiled (Enlightenment #2)



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 

Two years after his last encounter with cynical nobleman Lord Murdo Balfour, David Lauriston accidentally meets him again in the heart of Edinburgh.

King George IV is about to make his first visit to Edinburgh and Murdo has been sent North by his politician father to represent his aristocratic family at the celebrations.

David and Murdo’s last parting was painful—and on Murdo’s part, bitter—but Murdo’s feelings seem to have mellowed in the intervening years. So much so, that he suggests to David that they enjoy each other’s company during Murdo’s stay in the capital.

Despite his initial reservations, David cannot put Murdo’s proposal from his mind, and soon find himself at Murdo’s door—and in his arms.

But other figures from David’s past are converging on the city, and as the pomp and ceremony of the King’s visit unfolds around them, David is drawn into a chain of events that will threaten everything: his career, his wellbeing, and the fragile bond that, despite David’s best intentions, is growing between him and Murdo.

 


Enlightened (Enlightenment #3) 



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 

David Lauriston has been recuperating at Lord Murdo Balfour’s Laverock estate for the last five months. At Laverock, he has regained his health and confidence and has found—with Murdo—more happiness and contentment than he has never known before.

David is all too aware that some day soon he will have to leave Laverock—and Murdo—and return to his legal practice in Edinburgh, just as Murdo will have to return to his life in London. But when David’s mentor, Patrick Chalmers, asks David to return to Edinburgh to visit him on his deathbed, it seems that day has come sooner than either David or Murdo would have wished.

Chalmers begs David to undertake one last piece of business for him: to secure the future of Chalmers’s daughter Elizabeth. But to carry out his old mentor’s wishes, David must travel to London, with Murdo.

No sooner have the two men arrived in the capital than they encounter Murdo’s ruthlessly manipulative father, who reveals a shocking secret that rocks David to his foundations. What’s more, when David discovers Elizabeth is facing far greater danger than even her father feared, he is determined to help her, no matter the cost to his own safety.

As the stakes rise, it is Murdo who must choose what he is prepared to sacrifice to keep David at his side, and ask whether there is any possibility of lasting happiness for men like them.

June 13 – Bike Book Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews
June 15 – Keysmash, The Librarian’s Corner
June 17 – Dog-Eared Daydreams, Padme’s Library
June 19 – Jessie G Books
June 21 – It’s About The Book, Sarandipity, Bayou Book Junkie, My Time Out Book Blog, Gay Book Reviews, Ellie Reads All The Books, My Fiction Nook, Urban Smoothie Read, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, From Top To Bottom Reviews, Boy Meets Boy Reviews

 
Author Bio



Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. She spent over 20 years staring at blank sheets of paper and despairing of ever writing a single word. In between staring at blank sheets of paper, she studied law, met her husband and had two children. Whilst nursing her first child, she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna lives in Scotland with her family and finds time to write by eschewing sleep and popular culture.

 

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A Caryn Review: Concourse (Five Boroughs #5) by Santino Hassell

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First off, let me just say that I love, love, LOVE the Five Boroughs series, and I struggled with what rating to give this book.  I’ve become very invested in all of the characters, and I’ve also joined Mr. Hassell’s Patreon to read additional short stories that he writes in this universe (check out Patreon if you’re interested, it’s worth it!) He includes a pretty broad spectrum of NYCs queer community, and I continue to enjoy how all the characters are represented in each novel, even if only as cameos.

That being said, I think that Ashton Townsend, the main character of this book, was probably the one that I was least interested in reading more about.  In First and First, he was written as a wealthy, vapid, oversexed party boy who had no direction in life and didn’t even seem to want one.  I think this book started out a little behind the eight ball as the author had to reinvent Ashton as a lost soul who had a fabulous cover as an oversexed party boy, and that really was a bit of an uphill battle.  Valdrin Leka is a completely new character we haven’t seen in the earlier books, and the first from the Bronx.  He’s a cab driver by day, and amateur boxer by night, and has his sights set on qualifying for the Olympics so he can eventually go pro.  His mother was Ashton’s nanny, so these two men have known each other since they were pre-teens, and in many ways they grew up together despite coming from drastically different backgrounds.

This isn’t a story about falling in love.  These two men have been in love with each other for years, but for various reasons they have been unwilling to admit it to themselves or to each other.  And I guess that’s the main reason I didn’t like this book as much as I enjoyed the others in the series.  There seemed to be a very abrupt change, especially in Val, from being distant to being unable to stay away from each other.  The reasons given as to why they changed weren’t really convincing to me, and the angst in the book – yes, of course there is angst, even more than usual for this series – was mostly due to the secrets Val kept from Ashton, and Ashton’s deep seated insecurity.  And while the relationship between Raymond and David, or Michael and Nunzio, also had the same themes, for some reason I just wasn’t feeling it for Val and Ashton.  When these men just got over their issues at the end of the book, I could only wonder why the hell it took them so long.

Despite feeling a bit disappointed in the characters and the plot, I was happy to see another facet of sexuality introduced – the demisexual, or one who only feels sexual attraction infrequently, and usually only after a significant emotional bond has already developed.  Now in the Five Boroughs universe we have many gay characters, several bisexuals, a pansexual man, a lesbian woman, a demisexual man, some monogamous couples and some swingers.  The group of friends is increasingly diverse in regards to class and ethnicity as well, and I find it amazing how they all interact so well and so naturally with each other.  I am looking forward to the next book(s) in the series, which I think will be Jace and Aiden’s story, but I have to say that I am shipping Charles and Clive and hope that they will get together at some point as well.  Even though this is my least favorite in the series so far, I still can’t get enough of these characters and Mr. Hassell’s writing.  His characters are unique and interesting, his dialogue is fluent and effortless and some of the best I’ve read anywhere (not just in this genre), and his writing is exciting and just leaves me thirsting for more.  Very highly recommended!

Cover art by L. C. Chase, is, as always, amazing.  I would believe that Mr. Santino saw this model before he even dreamed about Ashton, he is so perfect.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing |Amazon | BNkobo | iBooks |

Book Details:

ebook, 366 pages
Published April 29th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleConcourse
ISBN 1626495629 (ISBN13: 9781626495623)
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://riptidepublishing.com/titles/concourse
SeriesFive Boroughs #5