A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Leaning Into Touch (Leaning Into Stories #3) by Lane Hayes

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

When Josh Sheehan bumps into his former lover, Finn Gallagher, he knows it’s a bad idea to pursue the sexy Irishman, but his libido overrules his head and he jumps back into lust with very little thought for the consequences.  Once they satisfy their immediate needs, he knows he has to let Finn go again before they get too heavily involved.  And that works—until Josh’s father lays a heavy load of angst on him in the form of a secret he’s kept for over forty years. 

It’s Finn Josh thinks of when he needs to talk.  After all, Finn is intelligent, kind, humorous, sympathetic, and, most importantly, doesn’t know Josh’s dad, so he won’t give Josh advice based on emotion like his other friends might.  Actually, Finn is everything Josh wants in a forever man—except Finn is emotionally unattainable and he happens to be engaged to a woman. At least that’s what the society pages say. 

This story was so much better than I thought it was going to be.  At first, I was concerned that Finn was going to be one of those characters I couldn’t warm up to.  He held himself aloof and detached emotionally through much of the story.  Though he looked at Josh as if he cared, and he expressed many of his feelings through his actions—his own personal hurt and guilt laid on him by a strict Catholic father in Ireland years before and enforced with each visit home—he never made a commitment to the man who so obviously wore his heart on his sleeve and wanted him desperately.  But I hung in and I’m so glad I did because Finn was one of those damaged characters who was slow to reveal his innermost self, but when he did, he grabbed my heartstrings and wouldn’t let go. 

Josh was fairly easy to love right from the beginning but watching his struggles with his dad’s news, and his mom’s manic reactions to stress, while Josh is trying to decide his next career move now that his dream job is coming to an end gave us an intimate view of an interesting character who matures throughout the story.  His selfless comments and actions on Finn’s behalf sealed the deal and caused a few tears to roll out from where I was holding them tightly within. 

Though it can be read as a standalone, since there are multiple recurring characters from previous books, it will be a much better reading experience for those who have read one or more of the earlier stories in this series. 

Need I say more?  I highly recommend this one to all lovers of contemporary MM romance and if you’ve already read the others in the series, this one is a win-win.

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Cover art by Reese Dante features a bare-chested man – mostly a torso shot – against the backdrop of the city of San Francisco at night.  Similar to others in the series, it’s easy to link it to the rest, and it’s certainly eye-catching. 

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 235 pages
Published October 5th 2017 by Lane Hayes
Original TitleLeaning Into Touch
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLeaning Into Stories #3

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Slow Heat by Leta Blake

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Wowzer! The title says it all for this one, and in fact, the author does a darn good job of putting readers into a slow heat of their own. In a nutshell—it’s a whole new world with fantastic world building, very well-developed main and secondary characters, heartwarming and heartbreaking situations, scorching hot sex, and mega doses of sexual tension. Loved, loved, loved it!

First, the world building—picture a shifter book but without shifters. In this world there’s been a huge change and there are no females. There are only males and they fall into one of three categories: alpha, beta, or omega. The alphas are the top dog, so to speak. It’s their job to find an omega, contract with them, and have sex that will produce children. Yes, mpreg in this world—and in this book! The betas are not sexless, but they don’t reproduce. It appears that most lead fulfilling lives and can pair off into couples, but they don’t have the potential of finding their Erosgape – their true bonded soulmate and the completion of their existence—something only alphas and omegas can have.

Alphas and omegas are separated and attend higher education in different locations. After the basic information is shared, the young alphas and omegas meet at an arranged location. Those who are fortunate meet their Erosgape, those not so fortunate at least make a contracted match. No omegas are allowed on the alpha campus unless they are already mated or too old for a match. At least that’s supposed to be the case.

But when alpha Jason Sabel sees Professor Vale Aman, he’s overtaken by the sight and scent of his Erosgape and literally mauls him in public before he can be restrained. Vale is shocked as he’s already in his mid-thirties and thought to be past the point where he’d ever be claimed. He’s immediately put on sabbatical and confined to home while Jason’s father and pater start the process of investigating Vale prior to making a contract offer.

In this world, the alpha rules; so much so, that Vale really has no voice in leaving his home until the issue is resolved. The good news is that Jason’s family will provide for him financially, but the bad news is that his “baby alpha” is so young and inexperienced. Vale despairs that he will even understand his needs, never mind be able to satisfy Vale when he goes into his next brutally sexual heat. Only Jason’s knot will be able to help him through it, but Vale may not have a chance to even contract with him before it comes on.

Honestly, it’s difficult to be able to describe this story without explaining the world these men find themselves in. The story is very long and completely packed full of information, slow burn-UST, burn-up-the-page sexual situations, and tender, loving care—not just by the MCs but by the other couples in the story, including Jason’s own father and pater.

There is no way I’d consider giving this story anything less than 5 stars. It’s totally different from the norm, very well thought out, has extremely engaging characters, interesting life backgrounds and past experiences, and hot, sweet love. Readers will simply have to trust in the author, who always delivers a poignant story, IMHO, and other reviewers, all of whom seem to be highly impressed by this story. I won’t go on and on, though if I get you in a corner at a conference, I may babble until you can’t wait to escape! Don’t hesitate to buy this one. Now!

Important information from the blurb: This is a standalone gay romance novel, 118,000 words, with a strong happy ending, as well as a well-crafted, non-shifter omegaverse, with alphas, betas, omegas, male pregnancy, heat, and knotting. Content warning for pregnancy loss and aftermath.

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The cover is a beautiful photo representing the older and younger MCs. The cover artist is not listed, although the author credits the creativity of Annabeth Albert for giving her input.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 436 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by Leta Blake Books
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Kyle (Legacy Ranch #1) by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

kyle-by-rj-scottTwo men destroyed by the past learn to live—and love—again.

Kyle Braden has nowhere else to go. With no money and no prospects, he turns to the only man who promises him help. Jack Campbell-Hayes wants to show Kyle that he can be more than he ever thought.

Kyle begins to see how far he’s come from being the scarred man who shut everyone out, when the first person through the doors of Legacy Ranch is Jason; a young man with nightmares that follow him when he’s awake.

Lost in the system and with three years on the streets marking every inch of his body, Jason Smith is scared. His life is an evil mess of hate and despair, and even the offer of a fresh start and a clean bed isn’t enough for him feel safe. Until Kyle comes into his life and shows him that it’s okay not to be in control.

For these broken men, Legacy Ranch offers more than a place to live and work.

It offers hope.

A new story set in the world of Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes and the Double D Ranch, Texas.

Kyle is so broken from the time he spent in a sexually and physically abusive situation with rancher Hank Castille that he finds it hard to accept that all Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes want is to see him get a fresh start. They don’t want to have sex with him or abuse him in any way, and yet Kyle’s behavior is somewhat like the dog that bites its master when it’s cornered. And it takes Kyle quite a lengthy time in this story to finally realize that he might be able to help himself and accept that these men, along with their brother-in-law, Steve Murray, only want to see him succeed.

But the story isn’t all about Kyle. It’s also about Jason, a young man caught in a downward spiral when his depression gets out of control at the same time as he’s lost all other control in his life. Fortunately, Steve, who runs a teen shelter, sees something positive in Jason and recommends him to Jack as the first resident for their new venture: Legacy Farm. 

Legacy Farm is where they’ve assigned Kyle as manager of the small ranch that will provide a home for eligible troubled young men and women. They learn to be responsible for their own horse—one rescued from an abusive situation. It’s actually ideal for Kyle, who has found that touching or talking to his horse is equally as satisfying as riding out on the range with it, so he is one of the most capable persons for passing on that passion to others. When Jason joins him to work on the construction of the new building, Kyle makes it his mission to introduce him to the joys of working with horses as well.

At first, Jason isn’t so sure about that. After all, he has a huge fear of the beasts with the large teeth, but I totally enjoyed all the interactions between Jason, Kyle, and Jason’s assigned horse, Mistry. There was humor and hope in equal measures, and when Jason finally tapped into the pleasure of working with the great beasts, he understood the joy of horse therapy and the peace and solitude he could achieve through riding—with or without Kyle at his side. 

This is a beautiful love story, as these two very emotionally damaged young men recover from both the physical and psychological abuse they’ve suffered. Their recovery is not always at the same pace, but it happens. And the fact that the author allowed them to start to heal before they jumped into bed with each other added to my reading pleasure. I love a slow burn buildup in a romance novel!

And, I absolutely loved the way RJ Scott wove the whole Campbell-Hayes clan into this starter story, engaging me with the full cast of characters and where they are in their lives today. Going to a cookout and taking me for a walk down memory lane so I could see people I haven’t seen in years was an unexpected surprise. The love between Jack and Riley, so clearly in evidence by the way they look at each other, speak to each other, and touch tenderly even while doing everyday tasks is still alive and strong. This book and its cast of characters was a fantastic bridge from the Texas series to this new one! 

I can’t wait to read more, and I highly recommend it to all who’ve loved the Texas series as well as to those who simply love a hurt-comfort romance. Make no mistake—this is not a sex-filled romp on the range—it’s a beautiful, emotionally compelling love story.  Kudos, Ms. Scott! 

Cover art by Meredith Russell is as wonderful as the story.

Sales Links

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | All Romance | Kobo | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

ebook, 193 pages
Published August 31st 2016 by Love Lane Books Limited
ISBN139781785640520
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL http://rjscottauthor.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-legacy-series.html
SeriesLegacy Ranch #1