A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings (Black and Blue #1) by Lily Morton


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

My nails and cuticles will never be the same. Neither will the inside of my lip where I chewed on it. This story was not only a romance, this was a horror story—a house haunting by an evil, wicked spirit—and the author brought me to the point where I was reading between my fingers with my hand held to my face. Scary and wonderful, the story captured my attention in the best possible way. And the characters? Let’s just say that I’m hoping Levi and Billie—surnames Black and Blue—will be back with more hair-raising adventures in the near future.

I loved the fact the author made the romance secondary to the mystery of the haunted house Levi Black inherits, renovates, and then occupies. Others have died in that house, most recently a young man who owned it was found dead at the foot of the stairs. In the past, a murder suicide occurred in the upstairs rooms and no one could ever explain why the sweet widow took her brother’s life and then her own. The resolution of the mystery runs concurrent with the development of a romance between Levi and Blue Billings, a young man who runs a ghost tour in York.

Billie has lived hand to mouth, mostly on the streets as a homeless youth, ever since his mother died. A psychic, Billie keeps to himself, spending any free time in the old bookstore in his neighborhood, reading up on ghost stories and enjoying the warmth and comfort offered by a day in the shop. As the story develops, so does Billie’s psychic ability, helped along by the owner of the bookstore, a crotchety (but sweet) old psychic who takes Billie under his wing.

As the date of the original murder draws closer, the spirit haunting his home gets nastier and Levi is unexpectedly shoved down the stairs, resulting in a broken arm and concussion. Thankfully, Billie gets him to a hospital quickly, his timely arrival at Levi’s house helped by the spirit of a dead woman who alerts him to the danger Levi is in. Complex, interesting, fun, romantic, and scary, scary, scary, I loved this story. Not only is there quality of character development and chemistry between the two MCs, but the mystery and the nail-biting, frightening scenes are so realistic that anyone who loves a good ghostly horror story should be as excited as I was. I highly recommend it and I’m very much looking forward to more.

The gorgeous cover by Natasha Snow Designs features a young blue-haired man in period costume. Absolutely perfect for this story.

Sales Links:  Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 301 pages
Published November 14th 2019
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Best Man (Close Proximity #1) by Lily Morton


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Sometimes, it’s not the story or the characters or the writing style that push a book to the top of my ratings, it’s the author’s ability to make me laugh out loud. Now, add to that ability a cast of very engaging, interesting characters, a few tropes that I love (age gap and fake boyfriend) and a well-written, fast-paced contemporary story set in London and the beautiful English countryside, and I was given a delightful two days of lighthearted cheer.

Zeb Evans grew up quickly when it became evident that the messes his father left behind could only be cleared up by his son. Married seven times, and losing any accumulated wealth nearly the moment he got it, Zeb vowed that he’d never live in chaos again, and to this he’s held true. He’s intelligent, organized, and in control, running his own employment agency with a tight fist. For this reason, when the gregarious, snarky, devil-may-care Jesse Reed applies for a job with Zeb’s agency, everyone is shocked that Zeb immediately hires him.

Over the years, he drives Zeb crazy with his wit and humor and ability to get into—and out of—trouble.  So it’s a surprise when Zeb needs a date to his ex-boyfriend’s wedding and he asks Jesse to be his fake boyfriend. From the moment they step into the high-class, posh hotel the engaged couple has rented for a weeklong series of games and festivities to the moment they leave, I laughed and cried and then cried again because I was laughing so hard. Lily Morton’s sense of humor is fantastic. And the sex scenes, though not many, were scorchin’ hot.

Some of the situations were tense as Zeb’s boyfriend, snobby Patrick, really wants Zeb back and Zeb is clueless, of course. And he wants him only on the side, of course. Jesse cares deeply for Zeb, so his tolerance for Patrick and his equally snobby parents gives multiple opportunities of laugh-out-loud moments. Zeb can’t seem to let go of his need to please everyone and to maintain control, nor can he let go of the age difference between he and Jesse and these issues cause the most trouble in the end. The good news is that eventually Zeb realizes that Jesse is his “best man,” but the rollercoaster ride to get there is well-worth taking the time to read this delightful story.

The cover by Natasha Snow features a very handsome man who represents the Zeb in all his gorgeous glory.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 241 pages
Published October 3rd 2019
Edition Language English
Series Close Proximity #1

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Burden (Love, Unexpected #2) by KC Wells


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This story features Jesse, a young hooker who formerly worked in the Black Lounge with Nikko (Debt) and Randy, the vice cop who was undercover in that brothel. Get ready for a lot of angst! Jesse sees no way forward to funding his MBA, or even to pay for housing, without continuing to prostitute himself as an escort, occasionally even hooking on the streets.

In the meantime, Vice is cracking down on prostitution and Randy is disgusted by the entrapment stings he and his fellow cops are working. It takes him a while, but he realizes he’s now sympathetic to the plight of these young men who saw no way forward other than to sell their bodies. He and Jesse run into one another every so often, and over time, he realizes two things: one that Jesse may be still working as a prostitute, and two, that he is sexually attracted to a man—to Jesse.

There’s lots of introspection in the story, and there’s help from Randy’s neighbor, Owen, an older gay man (who I hope gets his own story some day!) and eventually, after a fun day spent together, Randy and Jesse have sex. And that changes things once again for Randy. But Jesse? Well, he chooses to run away rather than face Randy and the impossibility of them being together. Or is it impossible?  This is KC Wells, after all, and this author knows how to weave a series of complex threads to make a beautiful romance tapestry.

For me, the best part of this book was the chase and the catch, when the two finally ended up in the same place—both geographical and head space. The early stages of the story were tense and full of angst and sometimes I enjoy that, sometimes not. I wasn’t in a good frame of mind for it this time so the early part affected me a bit too emotionally. The good news is I knew the author would bring me out of my funk and give me some happy times. And she did, indeed. These two men deserved their HEA and worked hard to get it. I highly recommend this book to those who love stories of star-crossed lovers.

The cover by Paul Richmond features a photo by Ethan James Photography that depicts a young blond man, his torso naked and arms curled back behind his head. It’s very definitely Jesse and is most certainly attractive.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 209 pages
Expected publication: April 23rd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Series Love, Unexpected #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Heat For Sale by Blake Moreno


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Heat can be sold but love is earned.

In a world where omegas sell their heats for profit, Adrien is a university student in need of funding. With no family to fall back on, he reluctantly allows the university’s matcher to offer his virgin heat for auction online. Anxious, but aware this is the reality of life for all omegas, Adrien hopes whoever wins his heat will be kind.

Heath—a wealthy, older alpha—is rocked by the young man’s resemblance to his dead lover, Nathan. When Heath discovers Adrien is Nathan’s lost son from his first heat years before they met, he becomes obsessed with the idea of reclaiming a piece of Nathan.

Heath buys Adrien’s heat with only one motivation: to impregnate Adrien, claim the child, and move on. But their undeniable passion shocks him. Adrien doesn’t know what to make of the handsome, mysterious stranger he’s pledged his body to, but he’s soon swept away in the heat of the moment and surrenders to Heath entirely.

Once Adrien is pregnant, Heath secrets him away to his immense and secluded home. As the birth draws near, Heath grows to love Adrien for the man he is, not just for his connection to Nathan. Unaware of Heath’s past with his omega parent and coming to depend on him heart and soul, Adrien begins to fall as well.

But as their love blossoms, Nathan’s shadow looms. Can Heath keep his new love and the child they’ve made together once Adrien discovers his secrets?

Well, the blurb really tells most of the story but without the engaging dialogue and the characters’ personalities. This was very well-written and I really liked the omegaverse, the characters, and their story.

I thought it was going to be so erotic that the plot would be minimal, but that wasn’t the case. The author did a great job in building the characters, principally the MCs, Adrien and Heath, but also Heath’s deceased lover, Nathan, who was Adrien’s biological parent, unknown to Adrien throughout most of the book.

The plot wasn’t too complex or convoluted—everything was put out there for readers to see. Adrien being unaware of Heath’s attempt to replicate his dead lover formed the basis of the story, but the time the wealthy, powerful alpha, Heath, and the sweet, innocent, virgin omega, Adrien, spent together in the Heat Cabin brought about the beginning of change in Heath’s thinking and in his heart and then the time they spent in the “Nest” Heath created for his omega’s pregnancy needs sealed the deal.

Watching their emotional changes and the commitment Heath eventually made to Adrien was entertaining. Adrien’s emotions during his pregnancy and his hormone drop while chestfeeding their baby (I love that word!) and the slow evolution of Adrien’s knowledge about his dead omega father brought about major change and drama. I totally enjoyed everything about the story, including Heath getting his comeuppance for having been stupid enough to keep essential information from Adrien for so long.

And as I said, I knew going in that there would be a lot of sex, and it is plenty erotic, but I personally think Alpha Heat by Leta Blake—Blake Moreno’s alter ego—was much hotter, more erotic, and had a better story than this one. Just sayin’. But—and it’s a very big but—I will keep reading these stories if the author decides to do more—under either pseudonym. I enjoy both Blake’s and Leta’s writing style and though both omegaverse’s are different, they have enough in common to engage me in their world and keep me coming back.

The cover art by Dar Albert @WickedSmartDesigns depicts a young seminude man that represents Adrien posing for the photos for his heat auction and in the background, a head shot of Heath, a handsome, wealthy alpha. Very nicely done.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK – Exclusive to Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited

Book Details:

Published October 18th 2018 by Dark Ink (first published October 14th 2018)
ISBN 139781626227798
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Rainbow Place (Rainbow Place #1) by Jay Northcote


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Seb Radcliffe relocates to a small seaside town in Cornwall, hoping to open a restaurant/café and just enjoy life in this peaceful place.  With encouragement from a young lesbian couple, he decides to make his café LGBT-friendly.  He hires Jason Dunn, a highly recommended builder, to do the renovations, and at first sight it’s evident that he and Jason have a lot in common. But Jason is deeply closeted and it takes a while for his desire for Seb to overcome his fears. 

The two finally act on their attraction but do so out of the public eye so Jason can maintain his closet space. He gets so deeply involved with Seb, though, that he decides to make plans to slowly come out—just not quite yet. But when they are a week from opening the café, homophobes ransack the restaurant, painting homophobic graffiti outside and in, and Jason abandons Seb, letting his fears rule his heart.

I was very disappointed in Jason at that point in the story and couldn’t see how Seb could ever forgive him for turning his back on him when he needed Jason most.  But lo and behold, Jay Northcote had an acceptable solution up his sleeve—one that totally surprised me and appeased me enough that I could forgive Jason and root for the couple after all.  So kudos for that.

This is a lovely MM romance set in the UK, so it’s full of Brit words and phrases.  I love that as it adds to the authenticity of the work.  The men are in their thirties, another plus in my opinion, and the romance takes time to develop to a full-blown HEA.  The author also laid the groundwork for the sense of community and the support Seb received was outstanding.  It would be a lovely place to visit some day.

Highly recommended, this is a standalone, though apparently first in a series, so I’m looking forward to more romance set in this quaintly beautiful world.

The cover by Garrett Leigh features a photo of a brawny young man: naked torso, hand roughing up his hair, with a rainbow border across the bottom of the cover—a great representation of Jason at work at Rainbow Place.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 208 pages
Published June 15th 2018 by Jaybird Press
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesRainbow Place #1

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Tied up by the Boss (Office Kink #2 ) by Hunter Frost


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

When Parker Greenhill speaks out against one of the execs to whom his marketing firm is pitching a project, he thinks he’s doing his ex a favor, but in reality, he’s hurting himself because his company loses the chance to work with that exec and Parker loses the respect of his bosses, teammates, and subordinates. Worse, he’s assigned to work with his curmudgeon of a boss, Morgan Brant, an older Brit who takes his role as VP seriously.

Somehow, though, working with Morgan flips a switch in Parker and he ends up on his knees submitting to his Sir after work every night. There may be ropes and bondage involved. And there may be a better use for Parker’s sassy mouth.

I enjoyed this story so much I couldn’t put it down. I simply had to read straight through to see what these men were up to and to learn how their awkward work situation would be resolved.

The author put plenty of kink into the story and built two characters who were at extremes of personality and yet gelled nicely together. And did I mention age gap? Well yes, there’s quite an age difference, so added to the bondage, the silver fox with the cute young exec just pushed all my buttons. Without giving away any spoilers, I can say that Morgan’s mum was a surprise to Parker and he was a pleasant surprise to her. There’s lots to love here and I’m most definitely looking forward to more in this series.

Highly recommend to lovers of light kink and bondage, age-gap, and slow burn.


Cover by James of GoOnWrite.com is a photo of a man’s tie set against a deep mauve background. It’s both attractive and pertinent to the story and is the same photo used in book one, but in a different shade.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 124 pages
Published April 23rd 2018
Original TitleTied Up by the Boss
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOffice Kink #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Full Plate by Kim Fielding


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Bradford Tolliver, Tully to friends, has everything and nothing—he’s wealthy, a highly sought attorney, has a beautiful condo but has no friends, no family to speak of, and is clueless as to how empty his life is.  That is, until Sage Filling enters his life.  Yes, Sage’s father had a sense of humor when he named him and when he named his dog Tooth (Filling).  I love Kim Fielding!

Sage knew from an early age that he’d be a chef someday.  Growing up, he worked for his family’s business, a restaurant named The Filling Station, and his greatest wish for birthday and Christmas gifts was always food-related: a subscription to Gourmet Magazine, a new kitchen utensil, etc.  But as the story opens, he’s moved to Portland to earn extra money to support his family and needs a place to stay.  His cousin Carrie, one of Tully’s coworkers, asks Tully to allow Sage to be Tully’s roommate for the one year he’ll be in town. 

Not wanting to refuse, and willing to give it a try, Tully agrees.  Little does he know his life has taken a turn for the better.  It takes a while – I love a slow burn! – but eventually Tully and Sage find their way into each other’s arms…and beds.  But they know their time is limited.  Tully can’t work from Sage’s little hometown and Sage can’t stay in Portland because of family issues. 

I love the way Kim Fielding crafted these characters.  We have time to get to know them individually before we get to the coupledom.  And when we do, we don’t just have sex, sex, sex.  We have sex, yes indeed, but we also have romance and the caring, concern, and support one would hope to see between two people who love each other.  Sage finds it hard to believe that this gorgeous, smart, wealthy man can possibly love him beyond the time they spend together.  And Tully finds it hard to believe that Sage sees himself as anything other than the perfect man he is through Tully’s eyes. 

I just loved it and I hope others will too.  These Dreamspun Desires stories are just the ticket to brighten a day and warm a cold heart.  I highly recommend this to all who enjoy contemporary MM romance. 


Cover art by Bree Archer features a good-looking, well-dressed man—no doubt Attorney Bradford Tolliver—set against the Portland city skyline.  The cover is no more or less attractive than others in the series but is done in a similar theme so readers will certainly know this is one of the Dreamspun Desires books.   

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 206 pages
Expected publication: April 17th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Little Library by Kim Fielding


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

I loved this story about Elliott, a young college professor who was badly deceived and used by his lover and mentor and now struggles to fight his way back to the career path of his choice.  And Simon, who was injured on the job and is now fighting his way back to his career path as well—and if it can’t be as a cop, as he was before, at least he hopes to find something that fits.  He most definitely doesn’t want to work with his parents in their restaurant, not only because that’s not his chosen vocation, but also because he can’t meet their high personal expectations for him—that he’ll find a nice, preferably Assyrian, young woman, settle down, and raise babies for them. 

What I liked most is that these two guys seemed to be pretty normal—the kind of guys you might meet in your neighborhood, or on the job, or even have as a family member.  They are gay, but they’re not atypical—neither are porn stars, or con men, or werewolves—they’re a college professor and a cop.  Granted, the college professor spends a lot of time immersed in his books when he’s not teaching one of the online community college courses he’s now reduced to overseeing.  He lost his highly regarded, research-oriented position with a university when his lover and mentor was discovered to be embezzling and he was inadvertently caught up in the backlash.  Now, he’s searching to get back into a tenure-track position and idling away his free time by shopping for more books to feed his book-buying (and reading) addiction.  He tries to “behave” and exercise willpower, as many addicts would do, but it’s not until he decides to try something he’s seen elsewhere that his life takes on new purpose, and as a side benefit, he meets a pretty sexy guy with a bum knee. 

The solution?  He builds a “little library” a small set of enclosed book shelves on a post in his yard.  Rearranging the furniture in his home so he can spy on the people stopping by gives him pause, but he does it anyway, and he’s rewarded with making new friends. Among them a little girl and her mom and that sexy guy with the bum knee that he’s seen as he’s been out running.  That guy is Simon, and the two form an immediate friendship that leads to a very slow-burn relationship. I appreciated the way the author set this relationship up—no hurry to the bedroom, no over-the-moon heartthrobs—just a slow, gentle exploration of each other, starting with kisses and leading slowly to more. 

And as they grow closer, it’s evident that Simon’s closet is not where Elliott wants to be.  He was very hurt by his former lover and he won’t be hidden again.  But Simon’s family feelings on homosexuality and strong cultural and religious beliefs don’t allow for room to negotiate and he desperately fears losing his parents if he comes out.  In the meantime, Elliott is still searching for a university where he can settle in to research and get his career back on track, and it’s starting to look like that might happen in Nebraska. 

Again, the author does not make the solution magical. These guys have to work for all they have both together and individually.  It’s just not simple.  It’s real.  And I loved them.  For me, the hallmark of a well-written book with endearing characters who face and overcome difficult life situations is when I can not only remember the story days later, but I can also recall their names. This one is a winner—proven by the above standards several days after I finished the story.  And it’s going on my list of best of 2018.  Well-written, with a host of amazing secondary characters, two outstanding main characters, and a variety of interesting experiences, added to slow burn, which is one of my favorite themes, I can easily highly recommend this one to lovers of MM romance.  If you like it slow and you like your characters to be people you’d like to get to know, by all means choose this story. 


The very attractive, colorful cover by LC Chase depicts the torso of a man holding an open book while standing at a “little library.”  It’s one of the reasons—beside the fact that I love this author—that I chose this book. 

Sales Links:


Book Details:

self published by the Kindle Edition, 1 edition
Published March 26th 2018 by Kim Fielding
Original TitleThe Little Library
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Seth and Casey by RJ Scott


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This story features an established couple who have been married for five years—Seth, a firefighter, and Casey, a teacher in a small Vermont town. 

Seth was injured six months ago when a building collapsed on him as he was trying to rescue a young mother.  Trapped there for hours, he watched all the victims in the room with him die, one by one, until he lost consciousness.  Now, he’s struggling to come to terms with his injuries—injuries that not only left him scarred with pins in his thigh and groin area, but impotent, full of anger, and possibly with so much physical and emotional damage that he’ll never return to the career he’s wanted all his life.

Casey is done.  He’s been loving and supportive, has tried gentle urging to get Seth to face his fears and see the department-recommended counselor, and has tried tough love. Nothing works, and as Seth lashes out at him and Casey reacts in fear, Casey knows he has to back away for a while so they can each get a better perspective.

Contrary to Casey’s hopes, however, instead of reassessing their situation and drawing them closer together, Seth reverts to his crutch—alcohol.   And as the time approaches for Casey’s class trip, which Seth promised to attend, Casey realizes he’s taking the ten kids alone, making him feel like it’s the last straw.

This story was a study in the emotional havoc that can occur to someone who has undergone trauma, and the resulting collateral damage that can result to those who love them.  I appreciate the author’s gentle and thorough handling of the subject.  I also really liked both characters—even Seth, whose behavior was quite unlikeable.  I also liked the fact that the author didn’t give them an easy fix. Both men had issues to work through and they were given the time and circumstances to do so. Granted, they had a boost from a snowstorm that stranded Casey and those ten kids and a rescue by a crazy firefighter who should not have risked his own life yet again, but did.

All in all, this is a very enjoyable story, quite short, but packs a lot of punch.  If you like emotional turmoil, hurt-comfort, established couples, and stories with a happy ending, I highly recommend this one.


Cover by Meredith Russell features a firefighter in gear, set against the background of a cabin being bombarded by falling snow—perfect for the content of this book. 

Sales Links:   Amazon |  books2read.com/SethCaseyRJ-

Book Details:

**This is the re-edited version of Seth and Casey, and includes 9,000 extra words and a new cover**

ebook, Second
Published February 7th 2018 by Love Lane Books Limited (first published February 6th 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Spanking the Boss (An Office Kink Novella – Book #1) by Hunter Frost


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Charlie Reynolds is the new guy at NetSmash, a marketing research firm, but though he might be fresh out of college, he’s already thirty-five years old.  He went to prison for a foolish loss of temper that led to an assault charge when he was young and he’s determined to become a better man now.   Always conscious of people’s perceptions of ex-cons, Charlie hesitates to reveal that he’s not the janitor when he’s caught using the executive suite restroom during the company Halloween party.  Then again, his janitor costume, sporting the nickname he used when he worked his way through college as a janitor, would lead anyone to believe it true—including the CEO, the incredibly handsome Trent Davis. 

Once caught, the attraction sparks fly, and before he knows it, the CEO is bent over with his pants down and Charlie behind him “spanking the boss.”   This is a fun romance between two unlikely lovers—the new guy, Charlie, not long out of prison, recent college grad, and highly ambitious junior account manager—and Trent, gorgeous, smart, driven young exec who never gives up control to others.  It was pure pleasure to watch the way Charlie, in his guise as Chaz the janitor, takes charge of Trent for a full night of kinky pleasure.  When morning comes, as the two parted, I was rooting for more interaction between them, and though it took awhile to overcome some—many!—obstacles, the author brought us to a very satisfying ending with a happy ever after in their future. 

I was impressed with the character development for such a short story—and not just the main characters—the secondary characters as well.  We have everything from female bestie, to nasty VP boss, and a sexy, envious VP who could potentially make a play for the exec job someday.  I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, and since the author identified the characters who will get the next romance, I’m hoping for a super-fun enemies-to-lovers story.   

Highly recommend.

Cover by James of GoOnWrite.com is a photo of a man’s tie set against a light purple background. It’s both attractive and pertinent to the story.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 104 pages

Publication: January 31, 2018

Edition Language: English

Series: An Office Kink Novella #1