In the Book Spotlight: Cliff’s Edge (Willow Springs Ranch #7) by Laura Harner (author interview, and giveaway)



Cliff’s Edge by Laura Harner
Series: Willow Springs Ranch #7
Release Date: April 22, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header

Laura Harner, a prolific and favorite author of mine, has a new couple for you all to meet and grow to love in her series, Willow Springs Ranch.  The couple is compelling, the sex sizzling and the story one to sink yourself into. But let Laura tell you about it.


-A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Author Interview with Laura Harner-

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Laura Harner author of Cliff’s Edge, Book #7 of the Willow Springs Ranch Series.

Hi Laura, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hi there, thanks for having me! I’m here today talking about Cliff’s Edge, Book #7 of the Willow Springs Ranch Series. I’ve been writing for about seven years now, and have written 51 novels, novellas, and short stories, published in over 60 books and collections. PHEW! Before I started writing I had careers in the Navy, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management—and you’ll probably catch a bit of that experience in many of my books.
• What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said about your writing?

Laura: That my book kept them up all night. As a reader, that’s always my yardstick for how much I enjoy a book, so when a reader says something similar it’s huge to me. The other terrific compliment is when one of my books gives them a book hangover and they’re still thinking about it days later.

Comments and reviews like that can make a writer’s day—week—month. In fact, it makes us write faster. You should tell us things like that on a regular basis. *Nods*

• Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that impact your writing?

Laura: I’ve been a fulltime writer for a couple of years now. In the old days, when I had an Evil Day Job, I would get up at 2:00 so I could write before I left the house. I tried writing after work, and I just never accomplished much. My brain is definitely more productive in the mornings.

Once I started working from home full time, I really got to sleep in. Now I often don’t start writing until 3:30 or 4:00. Yes…in the morning.

I know it’s early, but it works for me. Of course, I’m not completely stupid…there’s always coffee. Plenty of coffee.
• What interested you about the theme of this book?

Laura: I’ve always loved a friends-to-lovers theme. I think it’s just one of those universal themes that people relate to. A friend who knows what you’re thinking, remembers the punch lines to your jokes, and knows all the words to your favorite song? Yeah…that’s priceless. So add in the romance and sex, stir and pour. Yum.

• What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

Laura: Typing. LOL…it’s true! I don’t know how to touch type, so I have to watch the keyboard. I still type pretty fast, but sometimes I look at the screen after I’ve been typing for a few minutes, and I laugh out loud, because I’ve mistyped a word and autocorrect “fixes” my mistake. In Cliff’s Edge, one of those typos made it into the Super Bowl party scene, just because it was so funny. In a completely unrelated part of the book, thought I typed the words ‘fragile calm’ but when I looked up, I saw Word had helped me with an autocorrect and changed it to frijole clam. So of course Ty had to make it and add it to the menu.

• Name your four most important food groups.

Laura: LOL…food groups? Anything that isn’t a starchy carb. I eat a high protein diet, for a couple of reasons, but most importantly because it makes me feel better. So a perfect meal is a steak and broccoli, or ribs and a salad. Or my all time favorite—tacos made with a low carb tortilla. Yum!

I am hopelessly addicted to salty, crunchy snacks, so I don’t even keep chips in the house. If they’re there, I’ll eat them—but that leaves plenty of room for bacon!

Thank you so much for having me—it’s always a pleasure to visit with friends. If you’re new to me as a reader, I invite you to try Ty Hard, Book #1 of the WSR series, available free at all major retailers. If you’re a long time reader, then I thank you, and I hope I never fail to entertain!


Goodreads Link
Publisher: Hot Corner Press
Cover Artist: Laura Harner
Cover Picture: D.W. Skinner

Sales Links:   Amazon – Apple – Smashwords – Barnes and Noble – ARe


STRW Author BookSynopsis

Navy SEALs Cliff “Snides” Snyder and Ryan “Rhino” Matthews have been moving comfortably in each other’s worlds for two decades. Best friends since attending BUDs twenty years earlier, and despite playing for different teams, they’re often accused of acting like an old married couple—much to their amusement.

Assigned to shore duty for his final tour before retirement and without Ryan to anchor him, Cliff’s restlessness leads him to a local club and hands-on research that leaves him in a compromising position and a witness to murder—signaling the abrupt end of his Navy career. Needing a place to lay low and lick his wounds, Cliff visits his old friends at the Willow Springs Ranch while he considers making cowboy his new job title.

After six long months on deployment, Rhino returns to San Diego—only to discover Cliff’s gone dark and the unlikely words ‘poor judgment’ are hanging in the air. Despite the offer of a prestigious assignment, Ryan opts to track down his best friend first and finds him at the WSR…along with more questions than he ever expected. With the most coveted orders for a SEAL dangling, twenty years of service under his belt, and Cliff determined to move on without him, decisions must be made.

Ryan is certain he has the perfect solution going forward, but Cliff knows he must face the fallout of his actions alone—and the one thing he’s determined to do is protect Ryan from making the biggest mistake of his career—even if it costs Cliff everything. You know what they say—the only easy day was yesterday.
Pages or Words: 38,000 words

Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery, Western/Cowboy, Military



STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Cliff stumbled a little in the dark of his bedroom, reluctant to turn on the lights and ruin his night vision. It had been a long while since he’d had so much to drink—or felt so relaxed. There was definitely something to be said about being on the WSR, away from anyone who might know him or what he did for a living.

In their careers, it was conceivable they could be targeted for one of their field actions or just by virtue of being Navy SEALs. Just like the cops who’d enjoyed harassing him once they’d discovered his profession. Some people needed to try to knock down others to feel good about themselves. But here? He and Ryan were just a couple more guys.

He stripped to his boxers and tossed his jeans onto the chair before pulling back the covers on the king-sized bed. A shudder raced up his spine, and for just a moment, he remembered the frustration and helplessness of the situation when he’d been trapped on the other bed…listening to those fucking punks. His stomach clenched at the thought of Gentry and Draco. Their bodies had been removed by the time the cops saw fit to release him from the alcove, but he’d never forget listening to their last moments or the blood that soaked the floor when he’d been led through the office to the stairs. Ryan would eventually ask for details about how they died—especially Draco, since they’d been friends—but they’d both learned to compartmentalize death a long time ago.

That didn’t mean they weren’t affected by loss, but there was a time and a place to mourn, to say good-bye, and it wasn’t while the battle raged. Despite several warnings from the DA and lead investigator, Cliff would like nothing more than to hunt down those gangbangers and make them pay…and Ryan would be more than happy to help. He recognized the danger in those thoughts, as well.

Blowing out a breath at the loss of his mellow mood of a few minutes ago, Cliff moved silently on bare feet to open the bedroom door and listened. The quiet murmur of television voices from behind Ryan’s door would mask any noise he might make. Hell, Rhino was probably passed out on his bed already.

Cliff padded to the refrigerator, considered then dismissed the idea of another beer. He had a long drive ahead of him in the morning. Grabbing a bottle of water instead, he drank half down in one long pull.

Turning, he found Ryan standing near the counter, watching him. With the moonlight streaming in through the window providing the only illumination, his friend’s face was difficult to read, but his naked body was a little hard to miss.

“Want some?” Cliff held the bottle of water in Ryan’s direction.

With a nod, Ryan took the bottle and finished it off. With a perfect aim, even in the near total darkness, he tossed the empty into the wastebasket. “And the crowd goes wild.”

“Idiot,” Cliff said, opening the fridge for two more bottles of water. Once again passing a bottle to Ryan, he started to head back to the bedroom. Ryan’s hand on his arm stopped him.

“I…uh…had a good time tonight.” Ryan’s words weren’t slurred, but there was a lazy cadence beneath the stilted delivery that spoke of too much tequila.

“Yeah, me too. Ty and Cass are good folk. They’ve made this place a good home for a lot of guys who needed a fresh start.”

“Is that what you’re thinking of doing? A fresh start out here as some kind of cowboy? ’Cause, man…I could see the attraction. You out here surrounded by all those hot guys—I mean obviously not the couples, but there were at least half of them in there single, right?”

Cliff laughed softly at Ryan’s concern for his love life. “Yeah…sorry about that. I didn’t even think about how you might have felt…surrounded by all those guys.” He studied Ryan’s face. “You weren’t offended, right? I mean you’ve been to gay clubs with me and it’s never bothered you…”

“Offended? Nah…why would I be? You never were offended at the straight clubs, right?” His hand tightened on Cliff’s forearm, and he seemed to weave a little on his feet.

“Hey, Rhino, come on. You need to get some sleep—”

“Are we having a bromance?” Ryan blurted.

“A bromance?” Cliff laughed, and Ryan’s eyes narrowed. Oh boy, never laugh at a drunk who thinks he’s making an important point.

“Yeah, a bromance. Where two guys hang out all the time, like the same shit, would probably fuck each other if they were both gay—or if one of them was female.”

Fighting off more laughter, Cliff nodded. “Sure, you can call it that. Come on, princess, let’s get you to bed.”

Ryan didn’t yield when Cliff tried to pull his arm free in order to lead him toward the bedrooms. “What do you think? Should I take the orders?”

“What, are you nuts? You’ve been waiting for those orders your whole career.”

“Yeah, that’s the problem…my whole career.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“You’re not the only one eligible to retire. Just because you had two years prior service in the Marines before you joined the Navy, you’ve got more time in service than me, but yeah…it’s been twenty years this month. I don’t know if I want one more tour. That’s another four or five years, in order to retire at the new pay grade I’d no doubt pick up in the next year or two.

“True, but it’s also more money when you do retire. And, Rhino…it’s Six.” He referred to the DEVGRU unit by their unofficial name, hoping to jar a little sense into his friend.

Squeezing his arm a little, Ryan leaned in, as if imparting a great secret. “You should be there.”

Cliff shook his head. “That’s done. We don’t even need to think about it. I just gotta figure what I want to do next.”

“See, Snides…that’s the thing. If I have to wait another four or five years before I retire and you move on, you’re going to get too fucking far ahead. I don’t like that. ’Sides, that’d mean no more football or watching NCIS. You’d get to see all the episodes of So You Think You Can Dance without me telling you how gay that is.”

“Ha, now I know you’re drunk. We only watch that because you like the women’s skimpy outfits. You probably need to quit hanging out with me and spend the next six months of your training cycle finding the right little woman and getting laid on a regular basis. Hell, get a wife! Then you’ll be all set for retirement when you’re done with the next tour. She can cook your sorry ass dinner, wash your clothes… Yep…you need a wife.”

“Fuck that shit. I’d sooner fuck you than ever get married again. In fact—”

Time seemed to stop, as if they both needed a moment to absorb the truth of those words.

[To continue reading, you confirm that you are 18 years of age or older by clicking this link.]


STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About Laura Harner:

Laura lives on waterfront property in Arizona because she’s always wanted to be an oxymoron. She once enjoyed hobbies such as gardening and travel—now the characters in her head compel her to tell their stories, so she writes. (It doesn’t actually help quiet the voices—but it keeps the folks in the white jackets at bay.)

She shares her home with an ever-revolving cast of characters—some of whom are actually real—and is living her dream of building her own version of the Willow Springs Ranch.

With nearly sixty published novels and novellas, Laura is an international bestselling author of erotic romances, romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and Highland romances. Her books can be found at all major online retailers.

Where to find the author:



STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Contest: Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions. Now here’s the giveaway!

Rafflecopter Prize:
First Prize (1): 1 autographed complete set of the Willow Springs Ranch Series (PRINT Books 1-7) PLUS
RT Goodie Bag
$20 ARE Gift card

Second Prize (3): Autographed print copy of Ty Hard, Whit’s End, OR Park’s Lot (Random)
RT Goodie Bag
$10 ARE Gift Card

Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Dates & Stops:
Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
Rainbow Gold Reviews
Hearts on Fire Reviews

Chris McHart
Amanda C. Stone

Cate Ashwood
Havan Fellows

Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance
Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My
Lee Brazil
Up All Night, Read All Day

Christy Loves 2 Read
3 Chicks After Dark

Bayou Book Junkie
Inked Rainbow Reads
Divine Magazine

My Fiction Nook

Foxylutely Book Reviews
Love Bytes
Molly Lolly

Prism Book Alliance

BFD Book Blog
MM Good Book Reviews
Cathy Brockman Romances

In Our Book Spotlight: Thianna D’s As Natural As Breathing (contest)


STRW In The Spotlight Header


As Natural As Breathing (All They Ever Needed #1) by Thianna D
Release Date: August 7, 2013
Goodreads Link

We have an author new to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words here today with her new release, As Natural As Breathing, the first in Thianna D’s new series, All They Ever Needed.

Welcome, Thianna D!

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Author Name: Thianna D (Thianna Durston)

Author Bio:
Thianna loves to write strong stories with even stronger heroes. While all of her books have an erotic overtone, it is the story that is the most important to her. “The story should be able to stand on its own. The erotic elements are an add-on.”

She enjoys writing about couples with kink, paranormal couples, and straight out strangeness. But more on that later…

Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page:

Publisher: Lazy Day Publishing/Blushing Books
Cover Artist:

Sales Links:  Amazon  Barnes & Noble  ARe:    
Blushing Books

STRW Author BookSynopsis

About As Natural As Breathing…

For Christian Darringer, life isn’t worth living. Just back from the Middle East; scarred and with permanent damage to one leg, he does not think anyone will want him for anything. Meeting a gorgeous man he finds himself thinking about constantly is not in his plans. Pulled toward the startling younger man with striking blue eyes, he begins to question a lot of things – especially his sexuality. Not one to hide from a challenge, he plunges ahead only to find himself more than just attracted toAs Natural as Breathing Logan who is full of life and joy, he finds himself head over heels in love.

Logan Mannette has almost everything he ever wanted: loving parents, happiness, friends and security. The only thing missing is finding the love of his life, a love that is just like his parents’.

When he meets Christian at a party, everything changes. Instantly attracted, he does his best to help this sad man and quickly finds himself feeling more than he has ever felt before. Raised in a domestic discipline household, he holds that ideal as what he wants but his interest in spanking became a fetish and when Christian admits that he wants to be spanked, Logan believes he might have found the perfect man.

Just as everything begins for them, Christian’s past intercedes and one of his brothers makes waves about him dating a man. If it weren’t for Logan’s support, he might fold; but with the love of one amazing man, Christian finds that living his life rather than just existing is as natural as breathing.

Categories: BDSM, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Dinner was easy, the easiest first date Christian had ever been on. Logan laughed, talked, teased, but it felt like he was with a friend rather than with a date…but then again, that was what he asked for. After two large platters of sushi disappeared between the two of them, they paid and left. “Okay, we can drive or we can walk. The theater is only ten blocks.” Then Logan’s eyes dropped to his leg. “Damn, I forgot about your leg. Maybe we should drive.”

Shaking his head, Christian placed a hand on his arm. “Naw. I walk by the river all the time. I think I’d like to walk.”

Logan watched him, as if trying to make up his mind if Christian meant it or not. When he figured he did, he beamed. “Great. There is this cool piece of art you have got to see.”

Pages or Words: 213 pages


Contest:  Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: 2 eBook copies of As Natural As Breathing, and a $10.00 gift card to an eBook seller of the winners choice. (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ARe, Blushing Books.) Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Use the link provided by Pride Promotions. All prizes and winner announcements to come from Pride Promotions.

Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Dates & Stops:TDBadge


The Hat Party

Michael Mandrake


Parker Williams



Divine Magazine


Lee Brazil


Amanda C. Stone


Hearts on Fire


LeAnn’s Book Reviews



Inked Rainbow Reads

Prism Book Alliance


Carly’s Book Reviews


Bike Book Reviews


Love Bytes


Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves


BFD Book Blog


Bayou Book Junkie


Molly Lolly


Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words


3 Chicks After Dark


Havan Fellows


MM Good Book Reviews


Foxylutely Book Reviews

The Blogger Girls

Cate Ashwood

In Our Author Spotlight: Alexis Woods on Baseball, Writing, and Opening Day! (author interview/Contest)



STRW In The Spotlight Header

Up Close and Personal With Author Alexis Woods!

Opening Day cover

Alexis Woods has stopped by today to talk about her latest story Opening Day, baseball and writing.   As part of her guest post, we are hosting a  giveaway of Opening Day!  For all the details, see the contest section below.

Q and A With Alexis Woods!

Q. Baseball, America’s sport, and a wonderful place for a romance. Why include it in your story?

All of my stories have a backdrop or theme, and I have always loved the use of innuendo – baseball is just perfect with all of its lovely little terms: pitching, catching, wood, and, of course, all the “bases.” It was a lot of fun writing this story and trying to work in as many of the terms as I could.

Q. What was the inspiration behind your story and characters?

Ace and Darren were easy to write as they mirrored real life. I’m a pharmacist, just like Darren, and my husband is a front-store supervisor for a well-known pharmacy chain. The proverbial “they” always say write what you know. I grew up playing softball and my husband is from New England, big Red Sox fan, and got me hooked, watching them avidly in the mid-90’s.

Q. Do you include a brownie recipe as well? What is your favorite brownie to eat?

I didn’t, but I’ll share my favorite here. I make what I call my Rocky Road Brownies: Take any box mix that you like and add an additional 1 cup each of mini-marshmallows, chocolate chips and white chocolate chips to the recipe. It’ll need an extra ten minutes baking time, but they are absolutely delicious. Super moist.

Q. Were you a voracious reader as a child?

Always. I had to read before bed, late at night, under the covers, flashlight in hand. Now I’ve got a stocked e-reader, white words on a black background and I’m golden.

Q. What childhood books and authors had the great impact on you and has that carried over into adulthood?

This is a tough question, but I’d have to say Mercedes Lackey. She is one of the few authors that I have read so many her books. I love her world-building, the Heralds of Valdemar being my favorite. She also gave me my first exposure to M/M, but it was almost another dozen years before I truly discovered the genre.

Q. Favorite genre to read and write in?

I was a hard-core fantasy reader for a long, long time, especially anything with battle and military scenes. Up until 2011, I was eating up the children’s and teen fantasy fiction. I absolutely love the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan and all of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson stories, but I got caught up in the 50 Shades phenomenon and then paranormal romance, eventually finding my way to the Goodreads M/M Romance Group. Hooked ever since, their Don’t Read in the Closet event is what finally got me writing. Haven’t looked back since.

Q Vulnerability in a character is a great way to grab onto a reader’s heart. Does that come into play when creating a character or does the character “appear” sort of fully formed?

My character’s are never fully formed until they start talking to me. Every time I sit down to write, they whisper the things they want to say and do. Putting actions (and their voice) into words takes time, but I strive to make it true-to-life.

Q. Title or story…which comes first

The story line first, but the title quickly follows. The working title usually holds through to the finale, with maybe a minor tweak. The cover comes last, although I usually get ideas from the story about what I want, they raely become reality. Not that I’m complaining, the finished product (assembled by fellow author and cover-composer, Shayla Mist) for both Opening Day, and its sequel, Evading Exodus, are stunning.

Q. What’s next for Alexis Woods?

That’s easy. Evading Exodus, as I mentioned above as the sequel to Opening Day will be available at the beginning of April.

Religion often plays a marked role in my stories, although not in an overbearing way. If you’re a member of Goodreads and kept up with Love’s Landscapes, I’ve got an unpublishable story there about two twin Jewish boys, and last winter I wrote Lion’s Hero, for the Boughs of Evergreen Anthology about an Angel and a Jewish man coming together during Chanukah. April marks the start of Passover and is the backdrop for Evading Exodus. This story is a bit longer at 16k and is told from Darren’s point of view. Darren, or Dare, as Ace comes to call him, worries about their relationship when an old friend of Ace’s arrives in town, and it just so happens that that old friend is also one of Darren’s exes. Friends and family join together, braving the plagues of Exodus, riding out the waves of miscommunication and discomfort, understanding and pleasure to brave their future together.
Following Evading Exodus, will be Ultimate Summer, book three of the series, to be released at the beginning of summer. It’s focused on two new characters, but Ace and Dare make a cameo appearance.

I’ve got at least two other short stories planned, and I am currently working on what I hope will be a novel length M/M/M romance backdropped on solving a cold-case murder.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About Alexis Woods...

Alexis Woods is the pen name of Alexis of Woods End, mundanely known as Alicia Mattson. You can find my reviews and book lists here.

I’m an: Author/Anachronist, Beta, Coffee Lover, Daughter/Dancer, Friend/Fighter, Jewish, Khazar, Lover/Leader, Mother/Medieval, Novice, Opinionated, Pharmacist, Romantic/Reenactor, Sister/Scout, Traveler, Visionary, Wife

Always an avid reader and colorful dreamer, it was only a matter of time before taking pen to paper, oftentimes literally. A firm believer in every song tells a story and every story has a song, I sing under my breath, tap my toes and swing my hips, much to the delight of my co-workers and friends. I freely admit that becoming a romance author is the best mid-life crisis a girl could ever have.

You can contact/follow Alexis Woods at:

If you’re another Author, I’d love to connect with you on Facebook.

Opening Day (Southern Jersey Shores #1) by Alexis Woods

Opening Day cover

STRW Author BookSynopsis

When pharmacy manager, Aaron Lark, known to his best friends as Ace, is dumped by his latest boyfriend, he decides to step back from the dating scene. What he doesn’t expect is for the blue-eyed pharmacist, Darren Goldman, to step into, and rock, his world. Bonding over beer, brownies and baseball, Ace and Darren play a game where hopefully both end up crossing home plate as winners.

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

To enter to win a eBook copy of Opening Day by Alexis Woods, leave a comment below about baseball and romance, or any combination thereof.  Use the link provided for all contest details. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sales Links:    Beaten Track Publishing      All Romance (ARe)     Amazon        Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 48 pages
Expected publication: March 1st 2015 by Beaten Track Publishing
edition languageEnglish
series Southern Jersey Shores #1

A MelanieM Review: Shadows and Ash (Pulp Friction 2014 Finale) by Laura Harner , Lee Brazil , Havan Fellows , T.A. Webb


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Shadows and Ash book coverNestled in the forest surrounding Flagstaff, Arizona, Mountain Shadows offers residents and guests a home and refuge. A year ago, the isolated retreat, with its log cabins and stone lodge, could boast a convalescing new owner, one employee, two long-term tenants, and an uncertain future. As others joined the rag-tag collection and made the hideaway their home, tentative beginnings morphed into friendships…and finally into a family of sorts.

Over this past year, the perfect place for hiding became a sanctuary for healing, as one-by-one the residents discovered that learning to live in the light with a family you choose is better than shrouding yourself in loneliness. But just as everyone seems to settle into a new normal, shadows from the past drag one of their members back into the darkness and the fallout threatens their carefully constructed new beginnings.

Now, the family they’ve created there must band together to protect each other from someone determined to destroy the lives they’ve worked so hard to reclaim.

Pulp Friction 2014. Four authors. Twenty-four books. One fiery finale.

The time has come once more to say  goodbye to another fantastic Pulp Friction Series and to say these authors did it with flare, heat and hot sexy men goes without question. I’m always amazed at how four authors are able to mesh eight (sometimes nine) characters, four couples stories, and still maintain a balanced whole in terms of plot and characterizations.  Yet, for the second year, the Pulp Friction gang has done it again.  Pulp Friction 2014 was the Elemental Connections year.  It had Laura Harner’s Fighting Fire, Lee Brazil’s In From the Cold, Havan Fellow’s Whispering Winds and T. A. Webb’s Earthquake series, with a wonderful conglomeration of characters, romances, and heartbreaking suspense.  And it all took place on top of a mountain outside of Flagstaff, Arizona.

Even now its hard to say which characters I love the most, they are so varied and had so many different paths to HEA this series.   Certainly Rowen Smith with his long black hair, deep connection to the woods around him and dark past,is close to the top.  He just resonated with me as did his eventual lover, Mick Rutger, who went from the human equivalent of a Golden Retriever to something older, wiser, and more substantial.  How I loved them both (thank you, Havan Fellows).

But I can no more say that then Charlie Turner and Amos Greene pop into mind (thank you, Tom Webb).  Their journey towards happiness contained stark terror, abject pain, and astonishing revelations.  Webb kept me in tears and in the dark for long periods of time during the slow roll out of his Earthquake stories.    You never knew if monster or angel would be around the  corner for these two along with  Charlie’s brother Damon (loved him too).   Sometimes the heartbreak comes from the last person you would expect, another theme that runs through all the stories here.

Brazil’s Professor of Literature Finn Lorensson and Dr. Cannon Malloy (originally from FR2013, thank you, Lee Brazil) were sometimes the hardest personalities for me to get a grasp on.  Finn, a gorgeous hulk of a man had a deep need to rescue others, even at the cost to himself and his relationships.  Cannon?  To say he started off self absorbed, fearful and more than a little damaged by the events in Atlanta would be like calling coal black.  It goes without saying that Finn was smitten immediately, but Cannon?  Not so much.  During much of the series their tentative relationship acted more like Dr. Doolittle’s pushmi-pullyu. They were joined together but never quite going (or facing) the same direction.  I loved that Cannon finally learned to embrace his sexuality (with a little eyeliner and flare) and accept Finn with all that entailed.

Finally there is Laura Harner’s former firefighter  Scott McGregor reuniting with his college lover,Robby Hammond, at Scott’s hospital bed.  A wildfire that ends Scott’s career and costs the life of most of his team is also what brings Scott’s only love back to him.  Harner made us believe in their tortured past so the reader easily invests in these damaged men and any potential hope for a future together.  So much trauma involved here, Scott’s PTSD, his injuries and loss of career, survivor’s guilt and yes, more secrets from his and Robby’s past pushing hard to come out.  Plus its Scott’s Mountain Shadows Campground that acts as the heart and location for all these stories to unfold.  I came to love Mountain Shadows just as much as its residents did.  If there was a heart and center of all the couples it was Scott and Robby. They are the beginning of a new family and I loved them dearly (thank you, Laura Harner).

The penultimate stories in each series came with a certain amount of personal (or physical) explosions and exposition leading up to this.  A mystery of who was behind all the arson and attacks happening at the campgrounds had to be solved, along with more than a few personal demons still to be put to rest, including Scott being blamed for the fires himself.  How did it all turn out?  Splendidly!

It’s hard seeing this group of stories come to an end.  I wasn’t ready.  But all the characters pull their dramatic weight in the last story. Each author gives their couple the right amount of “time on stage” to tie up loose ends and push them forward.  I did wish that one little aspect, a total villain dies in a manner that didn’t feel as solid as the other revelations that surfaced here.  That was the only bit of weakness that I could see.  Everything else felt believable, rational, and happily fulfilling for all.

Am I going to go into details?  No, absolutely not.  Even the smallest of facts can lead to large spoilers, so don’t go looking for them here.  Instead if you are new to the Pulp Friction gang, what joys await you.  You have not one but two years of interconnected series to catch up on.  The first took place in Atlanta GA, the second (Elemental Connections) in Flagstaff, AZ, and the third?  This years Pulp Friction 2015 is a group of supernatural tales taking place in New Orleans in Harner and Webb’s  Altered States universe.  What’s that, you say?  Well stay tuned as next week, all the Pulp Friction gang will be here to talk finale, Altered States, and the new stories starting to arrive.

For those of you who have been gobbling up these stories as quickly as they come out, you will love this series finale!  It’s hot, suspenseful, a little scary and wonderfully over the top…of the mountain, that is.  I loved it and think you will too.  Grab it up and get prepared for the supernatural goings on in New Orleans.  I’m through the first story already and it’s a doozy!

Cover art by Laura Harner is perfect. It still brands the series with the logo and the coloring and graphics are perfect for the series finale and title.

Sales Links:      All Romance (ARe)          Amazon            Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published January 14th 2015 by Hot Corner Press
edition languageEnglish

About Pulp Friction 2014 – All stories are reviewed here at STRW.

Pulp Friction 2014 Authors: Laura Harner ~ Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ T.A. Webb
The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends.
The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment. The Pulp Friction 2014 series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters, events and plot:

Round One:
Firestorm (Fighting Fire: 1)by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Whispering Winds: 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake: 1) by TA Webb

Round Two:
Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner
Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil
Blown Kisses (Whispering Winds #2) by Havan Fellows
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) by TA Webb

Round Three:
Backburn (Fighting Fire #3) by Laura Harner
Cold Feet (In From the Cold #3) by Lee Brazil
Blown Hard (Whispering Winds #3) by Havan Fellows
Tremors (Earthquake #3) by T.A. Webb

Round Four:
Flare-up (Fighting Fire #4) by Laura Harner
Out In The Cold (In From the Cold #4) by Lee Brazil
Blown Chance (Whispering Winds #4) by Havan Fellows
Aftershocks (Earthquake #4) by T.A. Webb

Round Five:
Radiant Burn (Fighting Fire #5) by Laura Harner
Cold Day in Hell (In From the Cold #5) by Lee Brazil
Final Blow (Whispering Winds #5) by Havan Fellows
Terra Firma (Earthquake #5) by T.A. Webb

Sixth Book Series Finale Written by all the Authors coming in December.
Shadows and Ash (Pulp Friction 2014 Finale)

Side Stories or Interludes:

Taking Chances by Lee Brazil (a In From the Cold story)
Wicked Winds (Whispering Winds 3.5) by Havan Fellows – bonus book, Whispering Winds
Frankie’s Knight (Elemental Connections: IV) (Earthquake #3.5)
Kismet & Cartwheels – bonus book, Fighting Fire

A Mika Review: A Restored Man (The Men of Halfway House #3) by Jaime Reese


Rating: 2 stars out of 5

4abc2-a2brestored2bman-426Cole Renzo thinks his greatest challenge is to behave for the remainder of his term at Halfway House. Until he meets his new boss, Ty Calloway, a man who ticks off every box on Cole’s list of interests.

 A sought-after restorer and customizer of exotic and collectible cars, Ty had enough confidence to command what he wanted in life, until one fateful night changed everything. Almost two years later, he’s slowly rebuilding his life with great control. He’s defied the odds and works tirelessly to be the man he once was—but he still feels broken.

Cole’s candor and unfiltered personality awaken Ty’s barely-remembered desire to greet each new day with a smile, while Ty’s unwavering acceptance of Cole’s quirks and brash humor makes Cole feel as if he fits in for the first time in far too long.

When a nemesis threatens Ty’s personal restoration and the things he holds dear, Cole is determined to protect their relationship, even if that means sacrificing everything he’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ty will have to let his guard down, surrender control, and admit he needs Cole first, even if that puts himself at risk of breaking beyond repair.

It took me 8 days to read this book. It’s under 500 pages and it’s something I’ll usually get through in 2 days max. I was super excited when I found out the author was releasing a third in the series and it was Cole’s book. He was so funny, and good spirited in book 2. He literally grew on me. Well after reading this I’m surely disappointed. The two mc’s in the book didn’t connect for me. I felt no passion, no love, no connection or anything.

Another issue for me was the writing it seemed so choppy and different from books 1 & 2. I don’t need the emotional connection from the previous two, but I do need the style and efficiency from the other to be involved in the third. I was bored reading this it, I found myself wanting to DNF at 38%. It took a lot for me to finish. I liked reading about Matt & Julian more than Cole & Ty. Cole had this whole split personality thing going on and I just couldn’t connect with at all. Ty was a whole entire story by himself. It was guilt, on top of guilt on top of self disinclination that I despise in my characters. I like Cole’s parents, I loved seeing Julian & Cole’s moment of bonding, but it wasn’t enough for me to fall in love with.
Cover Art by Reese Dante. The cover model is an exact replica of Cole for me. I do like it, and the car in the backroom is all him.

Sales Links:            Amazon          Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published February 17th 2015 by Romandeavor (first published February 15th 2015)
edition languageEnglish
seriesThe Men of Halfway House #3

The Men of Halfway House series:

  • A Better Man (The Men of Halfway House, #1)
  • A Hunted Man (The Men of Halfway House, #2)
  • A Restored Man (The Men of Halfway House #3)


Release Day Quickie! Mnevermind 3: Life is Awesome by Jordan Castillo Price


It’s  Release Day for Jordan Castillo Price!

Life is Awesome-1



The highly anticipated third and final book in the Mnevermind Trilogy is now available! Mnevermind 3: Life is Awesome by Jordan Castillo Price.

About the Author:

Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price is the owner of JCP Books LLC. Her paranormal thrillers are colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison.

Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who’s plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.

With her education in fine arts and practical experience as a graphic designer, Jordan set out to create high quality ebooks with lavish cover art, quality editing and gripping content. The result is JCP Books, offering stories you’ll want to read again and again.  You can find her at Goodreads Author Page or her website.

About the Book!

This mind-bending trilogy follows Daniel Schroeder, an expert in the cutting edge field of recreational memory called mnemography. His independent shop on the south side of Madison was the hottest memory palace in town, until one day something went horribly wrong….

Sales Links:  Amazon  ITunes  Kobo Life is Awesome-1

Series Information (3 books) here at Goodreads.



I headed for the kitchenette—it was crucial that I got to the coffee maker before the rest of the staff. I’m not sure why, but my aunt made terrible coffee. Two ingredients: water and ground coffee, and still, hers tasted like mud. I was busy ruminating over the notion that Big Dan thought I would actually sell out to Recollections when I turned to grab the carafe, and nearly had a heart attack. Elijah was splayed up against the kitchenette window, pressed up against the dingy pane so hard, his palms, fingertips and nose were all flattened against the glass.

When I think about Elijah, his spectrum disorder isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. But then I see him…and he does something.

A normal person would’ve knocked on the door, or maybe called my cell.

Normal. Or, more accurately, neurotypical. I supposed that was the technical term I wanted.

The more I tried not to notice how weird he was, the more it hit me over the head. Then I felt guilty for the way my heart sank when I saw Elijah pressed there like a bug on a slide. Talk about being an ingrate. Who cared about his lack of even the most basic social skills? This was the guy I was trusting to help me clean up my mess—the only one who seemed to have any grasp at all on the scope of the persistent mnem and the potential for fixing it. I forced myself to look at him and act natural…not that I knew if the way I acted even registered with him. “Hi,” I called out.

“Hello.” The muffled word fogged the glass.

“Go ’round back.” I gestured with broad arm sweeps and pointing. “I’ll let you in.”

I met him at the back door. A blast of frigid Wisconsin air hit me when I let him inside. “Be careful what you touch. If it was any colder out, you’d stick.”

“No. Thermal conductivity would be an issue with metal. Not glass.”

So much for lightening the mood with a little humor. The awkwardness was thick enough to cut with a fork. Still, it seemed important to treat him like any other guy I might be dating. “Can I kiss you?”

“You don’t need to ask.” Part of me enjoyed the way he leaned in for the kiss this time, instead of waiting for me to come to him. Part of me noticed he tasted like window.

A Stella Review: A Working Man (Men of Manhattan #4) by Sandrine Gasq-Dion


Rating: 3 stars out of 5

A Working Man coverMatthew Hawke’s professional life is soaring as high the powerful bird of prey whose image is inked on his back. He’s at the top of his game as the owner of an advertising agency that is scooping up prime accounts like a mighty hawk wrapping its talons around an unfortunate ground rodent. Yes, work is good. Too bad his love life has more in common with the dying rodent than the triumphant hawk.

When the thought of a sexy man trumps actually being with a sexy woman, Matthew thinks it might be time for a change. And there IS a gorgeous man at the gym he’s noticed.

Drakon Mavros is working his shapely ass off to make ends meet. His administrative assistant job at a messenger service is steady, but the money he gets from his more creative job pays most of the bills. An ex-boyfriend took his confidence, his trust and his self-esteem and Drakon is afraid to take another chance at love. When an adorably goofy man at his gym actually hurts himself trying to flirt with him, Drakon can’t resist falling under Matt’s spell. He makes Drakon feel good about himself again and praises his artistic talent – neither of which his ex ever did.

As the men begin to fall for one another, it appears nothing can go wrong – they seem to be soul mates. Secrets and lies can crack even the firmest foundation, though. It takes a true master to shore it up so that it never crumbles. Is love the mortar that can restore trust and faith and bind men forever? Only time will tell. Can Drakon and Matt take that chance?

A Working Man is the third book in the Men of Manhattan series by Sandrine Gasq-Dion.

Not one of my fave so far, cause honestly? I found it a little unrealistic.

Matthew is 38 years old, the owner of an advertising firm who for the first time in his life is starting to be attracted to men, especially to a particular dark haired man he met at a masquerade party. He decides to try a sex hotline because he needs to know if he’s still attracted to women. But on the other side of the phone there’s a man with a sexy voice. It seems he’s not so straight after all.

Drakon is a 25 years old addicted to twinkies and colored sneakers, he started working for a sex line as Drake, while looking for a new job. He meets Matthew at the gym (not one of the finest moment for Matt, he was trying to flirt with Drakon and fell off the treadmill!)

Matt wants Drakon but keeps speaking with Drake at the hot line and thinking of the man with the mask. At the same time Drakon wants Matt but has fantasies with Roy(Matt)’ s voice.

Fortunately this big misunderstanding didn’t go to far in the story, but as I say I found it so unlikely, it was hard to me to really love this story, and in a way to me this situation smelled like cheating. I know it’s an extreme point of view, but I got this feeling that I couldn’t overcome. At the end it was like both of them has three men in his mind, the gym one, the party one and the sex line one. Not for me.

What I love about this series is that each book can be read as a standalone and you will miss nothing. But in each one of them you’ll find the characters you loved in the previous books, so for example if you want to know more about Matthew and Drake you just need to read the next book.

Well, I’m going straight to read A Healing Man, hoping to see these MCs again and learn to like them a little more.

Cover Art by Wilde City Press. I don’t like this series’ covers. They are pretty much the same with a different model for each book. They are good to look at but nothing more.

Sales Links:  Wilde City Press     All Romance (ARe)     Amazon       Buy It Here


Book Details:

ebook, 129 pages
Published September 24th 2014 by Wilde City Press
edition languageEnglish
series Men of Manhattan #4

The Men of Manhattan Series:

  • A Betting Man (Men of Manhattan, #1)
    A Marrying Man (Men of Manhattan, #2)
    A Fighting Man (Men of Manhattan, #3)
    A Working Man (Men of Manhattan, #4)
    A Healing Man (Men of Manhattan, #5)

In The Spotlight: A Restored Man (The Men of Halfway House #3) by Jamie Reese

Title: A Restored Man
Series: The Men of Halfway House #3
Author: Jaime Reese
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 17, 2015
Cole Renzo thinks his greatest challenge is to behave for the remainder of his term at Halfway House. Until he meets his new boss, Ty Calloway, a man who ticks off every box on Cole’s list of interests.
A sought-after restorer and customizer of exotic and collectible cars, Ty had enough confidence to command what he wanted in life, until one fateful night changed everything. Almost two years later, he’s slowly rebuilding his life with great control. He’s defied the odds and works tirelessly to be the man he once was—but he still feels broken.
Cole’s candor and unfiltered personality awaken Ty’s barely-remembered desire to greet each new day with a smile, while Ty’s unwavering acceptance of Cole’s quirks and brash humor makes Cole feel as if he fits in for the first time in far too long. When a nemesis threatens Ty’s personal restoration and the things he holds dear, Cole is determined to protect their relationship, even if that means sacrificing everything he’s worked so hard to achieve.
But Ty will have to let his guard down, surrender control, and admit he needs Cole first, even if that puts himself at risk of breaking beyond repair.


Available at the following:

Chapter 1 A Restored Man © Jaime Reese 2015
The music reverberated off the walls and
filtered back through Cole’s body. The sounds of Pitbull’s “Timber”
had him gyrating in the kitchen as he reached into the refrigerator. He grabbed
the mozzarella then did exactly as the song commanded after shutting the door.
He spun his body around repeatedly, holding the bag of cheese above his head
while his hips arched up and down, completely seduced by the pounding beat of
the song.
He closed his eyes. His heart thumped in unison
with the beat, guiding his thick, compact, toned body in the fast-paced thrust
of his hips as if he were pushing into the welcoming heat of a lover.
The pace slowed and so did his body, in
complete sync with the rhythm. His hips rounded deeply, seductively, giving a
show that would always excite more than the traditional foreplay.
Cole Renzo had some moves and he knew it.
The song sped up again and he glided barefoot
across the tiled kitchen floor to reach the garlic cloves from the basket in
the corner.
“Hey, you,” Matt said, entering the
kitchen, speaking loud enough for his voice to travel above the music.
Cole looked over at Matthew Doner, owner of the
halfway house where he stayed, and smiled as his body moved to the rhythm of
the song, not faltering a single beat with the interruption. He knew Matt loved
to dance and had caught him doing his own version of a solo when he thought no
one was watching. He dropped the garlic cloves on the counter and bent his
finger in a come here motion,
swinging his hips in a fluid Salsa-like move as he walked toward Matt slowly.
Matt laughed and took two steps forward. Cole pulled him closer, spun him once
then wrapped his arm around Matt’s waist and started to dance to the faster
thump of the song.
The laughter echoed in the kitchen as they moved
in perfect time with the fast-paced rhythm nearing the end of the tune. Matt
held up his arm and Cole circled with the expert elegance of a seasoned dancer,
then pulled Matt close, stepped to the side and spun Matt in the same fashion.
“What the fuck!” Julian thundered
when he entered the kitchen.
They froze at the sound of Julian’s tone, just
as the song ended. Cole’s hand still rested on Matt’s waist as they tried to
settle their breathing, the absence of music magnifying the harsh puff of each
“Hey!” Cole responded cheerfully. “Matt
and I were getting it on in here. Matt’s got some hip action that would make a—”
Matt’s hand came up around the back of Cole’s
head to cover his mouth, stopping him midsentence. What the hell? He was just going to compliment Matt on his
seductive dance moves.
Cole glanced at Julian. His golden skin glowed,
and he looked as if he had actually swelled an inch or two while standing there.
His nostrils flared like a bull’s. His usual intimidating green-eyed glare was
more vicious than usual.
“What. The. Fuck,” Julian said in
that controlled tone that couldn’t hide the undercurrent of his bubbling rage.
He looked like he wanted to murder someone. Correction. Based on the white-knuckled
fists he held at his sides, he was probably going to beat the shit out of some
poor soul.
Murder would show mercy.
Matt’s hand couldn’t hide the smile Cole
imagined was plastered on his face. Poor
sorry ass idiot who dared piss off
Julian Capeletti. He looked up at the green-eyed guy who towered over
Cole’s five-nine stature.
“J, calm down,” Matt said to his
partner in his usual calming tone.
Yeah, good luck with that. Julian was about to
go ape shit on someone and Cole was going to have a front row seat to that
show. Cole’s stomach fluttered and he started shifting his weight from foot to
foot. He couldn’t wait to see Julian actually lose it for once.
Julian’s jaw clenched and his fists tightened.
Wait a
Cole looked back and forth between Julian and Matt. Julian’s not pissed at
Matt—he never was. They had one of those sickly sweet, always romantic I love
you lick fest relationships you secretly want but would never openly admit. Why
was Julian so mad? And who the hell was he mad at? There was no one else in the
Shit. Cole slowly
registered how his actions or words may have been received. He instantly
released Matt as if his fingers were singed and put his hands behind his back.
Matt removed his hand from Cole’s mouth. Cole took a few steps back and raised
his hands in a surrender-like fashion, hoping to calm the golden beast that
seemed to be growing in width with each passing second.
“We were just dancing,” Cole said
calmly. He knew better than to joke with Julian while he was in this state of
mind. Stick to the facts. “I was
making dinner…your favorite actually.” He walked over slowly toward the
stovetop like someone stepping away from a wild animal. He kept his focus
trained on Julian as he lifted the pot tops on the stove.
Matt neared Julian and placed his hands on the
stretched black T-shirt covering his broad chest. “J, I heard the music
and came in here. You know I can’t resist a dance,” he said teasingly as
he stroked Julian’s chest. He then smiled and placed a kiss on Julian’s neck.
Julian’s focus shifted quickly from Cole to
Matt and back to Cole. Within a second, his glare had changed. Matt kissed him again
and Julian’s eyes partially closed but snapped open, re-focusing on Cole as his
Matt’s hand reached up Julian’s neck to the
back of his shaved head.
Julian’s eyes closed and his head lolled to the
side, seeking Matt’s kisses up his neck then along his jawline. In a flash, he
grabbed Matt by the hand and pulled him out the kitchen. Matt quickly glanced
back to Cole with a huge grin on his face.
Cole sighed with relief as his entire body
Crisis averted.
He always seemed to get a rise out of Julian
but it was never intentional. Not really. He wouldn’t deny he occasionally had
some fun at Julian’s expense. He just had the worst case of foot in mouth syndrome. It seemed his
mouth worked much faster than his brain. He would never say or do anything to
intentionally hurt someone, his mother had taught him better than that. But
with a thousand different thoughts racing in his mind at any given moment,
picking the right thing to say didn’t always work out in his favor.
Or as Julian said, he had no social filter
between his brain and mouth.
Cole returned his focus to the dinner he was
preparing. Food. God, he loved to cook and was thankful as hell Matt and Julian
allowed him to tinker in the kitchen. He didn’t want to stir anything up—aside
from the sauce he was preparing—but he needed to burn off the nervous energy
that thrummed through his body on a constant basis. He pressed the button on
the iPod docking station to jump to the next playlist and lowered the volume.
The smooth sounds of Maroon 5 streamed through the speakers and eased his
nerves as he continued to stir the sauce. Visions of Adam Levine singing and
dancing came to mind. Mmm. The things
he’d love to do to that man.
He was placing the garlic rolls in the oven
some time later when Julian walked into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator
to grab a bottled water. Cole closed the oven and stilled, hoping for some
magic superpower that would render him invisible. He couldn’t abandon dinner
and risk it getting ruined or, even worse, messing up Halfway House, the place
he had called his home for the last two months. Shit.
Cole turned, feeling as if he should say
something, but shut his mouth almost as quickly to avoid aggravating the
situation. He sucked at apologies and usually ended up shoving his other foot into
his mouth as well.
Julian glared at him just as Matt entered the
kitchen with flushed cheeks, a dreamy smile, and swollen lips. Matt hummed as
he tugged his shirt to straighten it. When he looked up and saw both Cole and
Julian looking at him, his eyes rounded and he quickly turned and exited the
booty call. Busted.
A slow smile began to spread across Cole’s
face. He glanced over at Julian who still had a death glare focused on him.
Julian pointed a finger at him. “Don’t you
dare go there,” he said before turning away. “And pull up your pants.
I can see your damn Spider-Man underwear.”
“Hey, don’t rag on the superheroes. Oh,
and by the way…”
Julian turned and gave Cole a pointed glare.
Cole did a chin up gesture toward the door
where Matt had been only moments ago. “You can thank me later.”
The muscles in Julian’s jaw flexed. He inhaled
sharply, shook his head, and left the kitchen without saying another word.
Add to GoodreadsAmazonAmazon CAAmazon UKAmazon AUB&NiTunes


Add to GoodreadsAmazonAmazon CAAmazon UKAmazon AUB&NiTunes
Jaime Reese is the alter ego of an artist who loves the creative process of writing, just not about herself. Fiction is far more interesting. She has a weakness for broken, misunderstood heroes and feels everyone deserves a chance at love and life. An avid fan of a happy ending, she believes those endings acquired with a little difficulty are more cherished.



Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review of Take Heart by Willa Okati


Rating; 2.5 stars out of 5

takeheart_exlarge_PNG-210x336Dr Brendan West arrives at St. Hawk’s Medical Center for two reasons: first, because he’s onboard as a temp in the ER to cover for another doctor on leave, and second, because he’s heard great things about this area— stories that made him feel that there’s a charm to the town that brings good things to good people. He starts to feel the peace and serenity of the area and enjoy the charm of the town but is afraid to jump in wholeheartedly because he knows his time here is only temporary.

He meets Evan, a heart transplant patient who’s there for an annual checkup and is immediately attracted, then disappointed that Evan is taken when his partner, Griff, walks in. Griff is sending signals that Brendan is afraid he might be misinterpreting. He feels Griff checking him out but that couldn’t be—because he and Evan are a couple, aren’t they? It turns out that Griff and Evan have been known to take on a third over the years and they would like Brendan to join them for a night, or more, of ménage. He finally takes them up on their offer, and it’s more than he could have hoped for. They want him to stay permanently, but he’s sets his boundaries knowing he’s going to be leaving. The story is mostly about that push-pull struggle to decide what to do, i.e. self-inflicted angst as Brendan hovers between wanting to commit to them and wanting to stay detached.

It’s hard to put into words why this story didn’t grab me, but the easiest way to describe it is that it was as if I went to see a movie where the characters spoke quietly in short, staccato sentences, grunts, and mumbles, and the videographer set the scene too dark to be able to make out which characters were speaking, and then to top it all off, it was hard to see what they were actually doing at the time. I had to reread passages and entire pages multiple times to verify who was speaking. I also had trouble visualizing exactly what position each character was in during the sex scenes, but that may have been complicated by the fact that I wasn’t sure who was speaking so it was just hard to imagine. And why have a sex scene if the reader can’t visualize it?

There were many secondary characters in the story so I kept expecting that some action would take place with them, but they either weren’t important to the story or the interaction didn’t take place on page. One example is Brendan’s boss, Dr. Gabriel. We see him outside of office hours but the “important meeting” he’s supposed to have with Brendan is glossed over in that scene. Most men in the story were apparently gay as well, so perhaps the author was introducing characters who will be featured in future installments of this St. Hawk’s Medical Center series.

And my last issue is that I never really understood why Evan and Griff felt that Brendan was so different that they wanted to make the offer to join them permanent. They certainly had no reason to do so from the beginning since they really didn’t even know him at first, and they had previously played with other men in a threesome, so why he was special just didn’t seem to make sense. Perhaps if the author had filled in more on their background or indicated in some way that they had been searching for a permanent third for a long time, it would have made a bit more sense when they got together with him.

The more I write this review, the more I realize that it feels like I’m trying to remember details of a fuzzy dream, and they aren’t coming to me. I’m going to assume that’s because of my above description of how difficult it was to follow the storyline. So I’ll just end the review by saying that if you love ménage, you might like this, but it’s not something that I would recommend to others looking for a romance novel with a strong storyline.

Cover Art by Posh Gosh depicts a handsome, bare-chested man with a scenic landscape background. Although the cover is attractive, it does not depict details of the story.

Sales Links:  Totally Bound Books    All Romance (ARe)   Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

Novella, word count: 34341
ISBN: 9781784303891
genres: gay, menage, contemporary, series

St. Hawk’s Medical Series:

  • Take Heart
  • Give Chase

A Stella Review: Wrong Number, Right Guy (Celebrity #1) by Mia Watts


Rating 2 stars out of 5

Wrong Number, Right Guy coverA wrong number with a sexy voice on the other end… What are the chances a regular guy has just hooked the hottest actor on the silver screen?

 Ryan Pierce is in town shooting the latest romantic action movie and attending all the right publicity parties. He wasn’t expecting to pick up the phone to an easy laugh and real conversation. So, when he discovers that his caller has misdialed, it surprises him even more that he doesn’t want the man to hang up.

Dar Phillips is the last man to get star-struck, yet his best friend drags him out to be an extra on a movie set. It’s a chance to meet the guy on the set who he accidently called, but he has to admit the lead actor is hot stuff. Could the loping mega-star be his phone-a-friend? And, when they kiss, is Dar ready for the paparazzi and accusations of betrayal by the man who now stars in Dar’s every dream?

 Who did Dar fall for?  The elusive Ryan Pierce, who can’t be seen with him, or the quiet, gentle man who’s just a phone call away?

This book is one of my few two stars. This review will be really short because I admit I’m a little uncomfortable writing it. I’m sorry to say I don’t even know where to start, there isn’t a thing I liked.

Reading the blurb I thought the story looked interesting, too bad it wasn’t delivered in the writing. Instead, I found the book boring for most of the story and the other times it was just surreal. Some dialogues between the main characters seemed childish. And everything in the relationship went so fast, they talked on the phone, they fell in love, then they meet, Ryan comes out of the closet, they split up, they’re back together. Wow.

I enjoy a lot insta-love/lust stories but this one was so unlikely, I couldn’t even understand why they were attracted or in love with each other. It makes no sense at all.

As I already said a thousand times I love my books to be sweet, in this case it was too much. I was waiting for something to change all the way to the end, but it continued to be disappointing and flat.

Cover Artist by Posh Gosh. I like everything about this cover, even the font. Really well done. Finally something in this book fits the blurb.

Sales Links:   Totally Bound       All Romance      Amazon      Buy It here

Book Details:

ebook, Second Edition, 83 pages
Published January 30th 2015 by Totally Bound
(first published March 25th 2011 by Amber Allure)
original title Wrong Number, Right Guy
edition languageEnglish
Series:  Celebrity