A MelanieM New Release Review: Owned by Fate (Dragon Soul #5) by Sean Michael


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5


The Beteferoce brothers: five dragon shifters, each with a strong elemental power and a destiny that will not be denied.

Dr. Mike Beteferoce turned his back on magic long ago. His heart broke and his desire for a soul mate disappeared. When he sees his family crest branded above Corryn’s heart, his first instinct is to flee. The last thing he wants now is a Fae interfering in his life—especially one who has already rejected him.

But fate has other plans.

Corryn knows Mike is his soul mate, has known since the sigil was branded on his skin centuries ago. Long before Mike came to him as a studly young dragon just entering his prime. It was far too early for them to be together then, but now their time has come.

But despite their draw to each other, Corryn doesn’t believe Mike can accept him for who—and what—he is. Mike must breathe life into their bond—loving Corryn as both soul mate and Fae—if they are to fulfill their destiny

In what I assumes is the finale for the Dragon Soul series,Owned by Fate (Dragon Soul #5) by Sean Michael gives us the last story of the fifth Beteferoce dragon brother.  He’s the one that has been missing from the other brother’s stories, a mere mention in passing of a brother who never comes to close into the new family dynamics that is happening.  Each brother has been finding his mate, drawn in part through a tattoo placed there by Corryn, an elf long in service to the Beteferoce family.  But we never knew exactly what  Mike or Corryn’s story was. Now we get both because they are fiercely intertwined as we should have suspected.

In a  deeply satisfying finale, we learn the origin of Corryn’s role with the Beteferoce brothers, the magical tattoos he’s used to draw each mate to each brother, and his own back history with Mike.  In one section, it’s unbelievably painful, enough to draw tears, I’ve come to care that much for Corryn over the series.  All the brothers and their mates for that matter, so it’s an enormous plus that we get the inclusion of all the couples here at the end for the big finale.

I loved the section with all the mated pairs flying together as I could see it so clearly.  My only wish is that this book was twice as long.  Half for the couple to figure their relationship and the rest to all come together to untangle the lore surrounding them  and their mates and the resolution.

But I will be happy with Owned by Fate. It supplied me with the answers to the questions raised in the other stories, all the brothers appeared with their mates and got their HEA, and a lovely finale!  Sigh!  Dragons are definitely a weakness of mine and Sean Michael’s series checked all the boxes.  If you love sexy men, kinky hot scenes, and dragons this is the series for you!

Cover art is nice, brands the series and is eye catching.

Sales Links:  Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 234 pages
Published December 3rd 2018 by Carina Press
Edition Language English
Series Dragon Soul



Branded by Flames

Seduced by the Tide

Bound by Thorns

Born of Air

Owned by Fate

A MelanieM Review: Last Defense (Harrisburg Railers #5) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey


Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5


Two men afraid to feel, have to make choices that could end up breaking down their defenses and leading them back to love. 

Every time Max Van Hellren steps on the ice he knows it could be his last time. At thirty-two he’s past his prime but he’s also hiding a life-threatening injury that private doctors warn could kill him. This is his last season, and there’s a chance he could lift the Stanley Cup after fourteen years in the NHL. He just needs to stay safe and healthy; difficult when he’s known for his heavy hitting and with a propensity for dropping the gloves and putting his body in the way of pucks to keep his team safe. A one-night stand with a sexy man was just what he needed, dangerous and hot, but what if it turned into more? Would he have to share the secrets he so desperately tries to hide?

Ben Worthington had it all. A fulfilling job running the CrossRoads Shelter, his loving aunts, and a husband that understood his devotion to animals. Then, the love of his life left him, succumbing so quickly to an unexpected sickness that Ben never had time to say goodbye. The violent loss scarred him. Unable to move past his fears, he moves from lonely encounter to lonely encounter, slaking a desperate need that is eating away at him, but never making a connection that could lead him back into love. One night with Max makes him want more, but will giving into the temptation open the door to feelings he can’t contain?

Can these two broken man ever find a way to be together?

Last Defense is another wonderful addition to the Harrisburg Railers hockey series by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey.  I just adore this series, written by two authors whose novels I love separately but together are producing a series that combines the excitement and camaraderie of pro hockey teams with high romance.  It just works so well!

And boy, can they write hockey! I know V.L. Locey is a true blue hockey fan and it shows! Those action scenes on ice just power off the page!  But again I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here we have a relatively new addition to the Railer’s,Max Van Hellren, signed for an injured player on the recovery list.  Max is on borrowed time.  He has a medical condition known only to him and his doctor and this is his last season.  He wants to make it count.  Immediately the authors have given us a man we can understand.  He’s a poignant character, full of passion and about to lose that which he cares about.  With nothing to take its place.

Until Ben and his dog, Bucky walk into the arena and his life.  Ben also has his own void in his life, one left when his husband died suddenly.  Now his life is filled running their no-kill shelter and spending time with his elderly, and highly political aunts.

Switching points of view gives us in depth history and ability to be able to connect with each man as they meet, maneuver through their complicated maze of feelings about each other, the swirling outside family drama that arises, and, of course, the fact that the Railers are making a run for the Stanley Cup!!

I loved the characterizations here.  Incorporating Ben’s grief and fear over the loss of his husband and then extending that to the potential loss of another is a reasonable fear here for Ben.  One he needs to work through.  And Max’s issues with his health versus his needs and goals are also realistic and believable.

Always a bonus?  Seeing some of my other series favs pop up.  Like Stan the Railers Russian goalie in search of his perfect rescue dog for his family and of course Trent Hanson’s nana dressed all in orange (Deep Edge) doing her thing in the arena. Hint.  She’s not a Railers fan.  The series, like the team, is made up of everyone we’ve come to love and like a family they appear to support each couple and their relationship.

I would have liked to have seen a little bit more resolution to the family drama but maybe that;s because that awful family member might pop up again later in the series.  Can’t tell yet.  I would have loved to have seen him dealt with throughly. That’s my only slight issue here.

Otherwise I loved this tale.  Its adding up to just one more story fleshing out a team that’s unforgettable.  You don’t need to love hockey to love the Harrisburg Railers and the men who romance them.  Of course if you do, then its double and triple the fun!

Yes, I highly recommend this series and the authors.  Start at the beginning and work your way here.  It’s so much more fun that way!


Cover Design: Meredith Russell.  Love this cover.  Works so well for the characters involved.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 170 pages
Published May 16th 2018 by Love Lane Books Limited
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHarrisburg Railers #5


Harrisburg Railers Series

Book #1 – Changing Lines – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 – First Season – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #3 – Deep Edge – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #4 – Poke Check – Amazon US | Amazon UK

A MelanieM Review: Hard to Get (Haven’s Cove #2) by Jaclyn Quinn


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Gabe D’Angelo has it all. Designer clothes, luxury cars, a cool confidence most would envy, and a never-ending supply of money—and men. When he arrived in Haven’s Cove to be there for his best friend, he never imagined he’d end up extending his stay indefinitely. Small town living isn’t so bad after all, and the views are magnificent—especially the view of a sexy, rugged blond. But when that mysterious, brooding man refuses all Gabe’s advances, he is forced to take a step back and truly look at the person he’s become.

Nate Black moved from Boston to Haven’s Cove for his family. He’s missed small town living and the simple, tranquil life that comes with it. What he doesn’t bargain for is the pushy, spoiled playboy who’s set his eyes on Nate as his next conquest. Knowing this man has the potential to crack the foundation of his quiet life, Nate will do everything he can to protect his safe, closed-off world.

Is one man worth loving? Is the other worth the sacrifice? Or is the love they’re searching for not just hard to get but completely out of reach?

After the first story (Hard to Let Go) in Haven’s Cove series where we met both men, I was curious to see where the author was going to take these men an their relationship.  Now we get our answer in Hard to Get (Haven’s Cove #2). For starters, Nate Black is someone you like immediately and Gabe is that individual you don’t.  At least for me.  And that opener for this story increased that tenfold.

Gabe became that person who see’s others as an object to triumph over, to “win” and move on.  When a reader such as me is already on the side of Nate, a character like Gabe is already in the losing position here as far as my heart and connections go.   And he stayed that way for some time.  It drew down my ability to invest in his redemption and my belief that he truly felt something for Nate and his daughter in such a short amount of time.

Even his friends in the story didn’t believe him (via the author).  Trust me that didn’t help either when trying to build the case that the man had an unrevealed character he has yet to show people.  Or that a huge change of heart and ways was coming.  As it was.

What really makes this story, and in fact, the entire series work, is that Jaclyn Quinn can write wonderful characterizations.  So in effect, you are mad at the people she’s created that feel so believable for behaving in such an abominable manner and not the writer. Yes, you don’t like their actions but you believe in their story.  So great job there.

The rest of the romance that follows the growth of Gabe’s character and Nate’s ability to learn to trust in Gabe.  While the pace feels sweet and fast, especially when a child is involved, it’s still comes across as real.  As does their friends and family.  Mothers push when not wanted, although I found her actions surprising again when there is a child involved.  I won’t even begin to discuss Gabe’s family and father.

The Haven’s Cove series has become a romantic gem of stories that  started with Hard to Let Go and now with  Hard to Get.  I already see the next couple on the horizon and can’t wait for their story as well.  I don’t really consider this a standalone because it’s great to have the background and foundation work of the first novel before reading this one.  Read them both in order.  I highly recommend them if you’re a lover of contemporary romance.

Cover art:  Cate Ashwood Designs does a very good job of capturing both characters.


Book Details:

Published April 19th 2018 by self-published (first published April 17th 2018)
Original TitleHard to Get: A Haven’s Cove Novel
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Haven’s Cove :

Hard to Let Go (Haven’s Cove #1)

Hard to Get (Haven’s Cove #2)

A MelanieM Review: Livingston (Trenton Security #1) by J.M. Dabney


Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

He was the Beast without the escape clause.

Francis “Liv” Livingston was a beast. No matter if he wore a perfectly tailored suit or if he was in his tactical gear, people avoided looking at him. He was always first to volunteer for the jobs only a person with a death wish wanted. Tomorrows weren’t guaranteed. His boss had come to him and told him he needed him for a job. Linus knew the jobs he liked, but when he opened the file, it all went to hell.

Beauty was only skin deep.

Fielding Haskell made his way in the world on his looks. He’d earned his first film role before he could read a script. He didn’t want the fame. He wanted to go to college. He wanted a man who didn’t look at him and see how pretty he was. Unfortunately, a so-called fan only cared how attractive he was, and it earned him a personal bodyguard and a vacation. He looked forward to the break until he met the man in charge of his safety and wondered if the danger he left was worth dealing with a sudden attraction to a man who was colder than ice.

When I think of books with wounded, broken men, J.M. Dabney’s series and characters immediately jumps to mind.  Indeed her moto “even the broken are beautiful” is applicable to all her stories, themes, and yes, people.  It’s especially true in her new series, Trenton Security, and it’s first book and character, Livingston.

Essentially,  Dabney’s interconnected series was finished with the Executioners but then something spoke to her (see her guest blog here) and the new series was born.  A little darker, more suspenseful, and action packed, if all that is possible considering the series that came before.  Boy, was I on board!  Some had already made small bit appearances and I needed to know more.

Livingston is the first up and what a tortured soul he is in  just about every way.  Body and spirit.  A child raised in a cult by a crazed mother whose  twisted beliefs now are forever emblazoned in Livingston’s ruined skin and damaged memories by fire, he seeks isolation and perhaps, as his colleagues think,  even death.

As one of Dabney’s more tortured souls, Livingston certainly ranks up there in the top five.  A mass of scars inside and out, you can’t help but feel, not pity, but sorrow for this man who’s had such a hard life with no love or softness.  Her ability to make us care for him, to bring us into his life and share a little of his pain is what makes these stories so notable.

All that  changes when   Liv is asked to guard young actor Fielding Haskell from a dangerous stalker.  Fielding himself is in need of saving but in an entirely different manner.  A cash cow for his parents and manager, love has never been a part of his life either,  Instead, he’s been more of a puppet living an insulated, strictly controlled environment guaranteed to maintain his image and their control of it and him.  In effect, someone who has been controlled all his life that’s it’s a part of him is about to meet someone who can never give up control of his life again to anyone.  A match made in heaven or in this case in hell.

There is only a short time to develop the relationship between the men but you do get a feel for them getting into something real here. But the ending is HFN instead of HEA which makes sense given the timeline and the characters involved.

There is the mystery of who  is the stalker and the action packed element of keeping Fielding safe (will they/won’t they…no spoilers here).  I could have used more of this but only because it was so good.  Definitely heart racing, white knuckle scenes await you here!

Also because of the age difference, there’s some Daddy kink here.  If you read J.M Dabney, then this isn’t unexpected and it certainly fits in with the relationship dynamics and past history of the men.  In short, it works here.  Whether you find it sexy or not is up to you.

Is this a standalone novel?  Not really.  None of them are.  You need to become familiar with their town Powers, Georgia, its history, its people, and it’s relationships.  That means all the series and couples because they all appear in each others stories.  The kids grow up, call the others Uncles.  It’s a maze of interlocking relationships and it can be confusing if you are just picking up one book without any foundation to rest it on.  I do recommend them all even though I clearly have my favorites.  The list is at the bottom of the review.

So yay to a new series, Trenton Security and yay to a new couple to break your hearts and on their way to finding their HEA in Powers, Georgia.  I can’t wait to see what the next three books bring.

Cover art: Reese Dante.  This is an absolutely gorgeous cover.  It speaks to the character and to the fact that he’s hiding part of himself.  Incredible.

Sales Links:




Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 190 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC
Original Title Livingston
Edition Language English
setting Georgia(United States) 
  • Trenton Security – fourth series

Livingston (Trenton Security #1)

A MelanieM Review: Why I Need You by Colette Davison


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Following the death of their parents, Fin put his life on hold to raise his little sister. He’s convinced her well-being is all that matters, even if it’s at the expense of his own. A chance meeting with Noah opens his eyes to the possibility of happiness. A happiness that could shatter the moment Noah discovers Fin has an eight-year-old in tow.

Noah has been living a lie for years. When he gets publicly outed, he gets kicked out of his parents’ home and business. Although he’s angry at being disowned, Noah knows it means he’s finally free to love whomever he wants. But in order to have a fulfilling and lasting relationship, Noah has to get past his repressed upbringing and inhibitions, before Fin walks out of his life.

In order to stay together, Fin and Noah have to be brave enough to be honest with themselves and each other.

Colette Davison continues her wonderful Why I Left You series with Why I Need You.  In the first story, we were there as we learned that Fin’s parents were killed by a drunk driver.  Why I Need You picks up that story after that fact. Fin has assumed sole guardianship of his  8 year old sister and is working as a waiter, having left the college after the tragedy.  He’s still buried in his grief, while trying to manage the household and support his sister.  What a tough job for someone still young himself.

About to crash into Fin’s world is Noah, a deeply closeted, unhappy man.  Noah’s entire life has been trying to hide who he really is from his conservative parents who run one of the big local funeral companies, one he’s expected to take over, whether he wants to or not.  He’s been taught to  live up to his parents expectations and rules, never let them down or venture outside their imposed boundaries.  The consequences?  A  damaged Noah that even he  doesn’t understand or recognize the extent of what living such a life  has done to him.

Davison brings these two souls together on one night that changes everything, especially for Noah.

I loved the  emotional, intimate quality of the writing.  Davison has a way of making us feel of part of these men’s lives and daily decision making.  She alternates chapters from character to character so we can see the impact of the events and occurrences happening on each man and their lives.  For Fin, that includes his sister, his job, and his inability to move past his parents death.  For Noah, it’s the damage done to him by his upbringing making him unable to physically reach out to others, even so much as publicly hugging or even shaking hands.  How these two work together to form a relationship is a journey you will want to take with them through this story.

Why I Need You by Colette Davison is a beautifully written, heartwarming romance.   I absolutely recommend it and the one before it.

Cover art: Charlotte LR Kane.  I love the cover.  Beautifully done.

Buy Links – Available on KU

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads Link

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 249 pages
Published January 23rd 2018 by Smudged Ink Press
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Short Order (Foothills Pride #8) by Pat Henshaw


Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

A Foothills Pride Story

When recent horticulture graduate Dr. Fenton Miller arrives in Stone Acres, California, he thinks his only concern is which job offer to accept after spending the holidays working at his cousin’s plant nursery. But after he rents a room from another shorter-than-average man, sous-chef John Barton, Fen falls in lust.

While he’s attracted to Fen, John’s got bigger concerns when two men from his past arrive in town and pressure him to return to San Francisco. Although John tries to stop Fen from getting involved, Fen realizes his lover is in trouble and is determined to protect him.

As the holidays get closer and Fen makes his own enemy, the joy of the season gets lost in the ill will around them. To ensure love triumphs, Fen and John must stand tall to show that short, dark, and handsome is a recipe for love.

Fen Miller is back in his own story, returning to Stone Acres after getting his degree in horticulture.  He meets John Barton, another man who’s just as “shorter-than-average” as he is when he rents a room in his lovely Victorian house.  At first  John’s reclusive ways makes it just an attraction at a distance until a cup of coffee and a conversation turns John and Fen’s relationship into something with promise.

With every Foothills story, there is a edge to the story.  Here it’s John’s back history and  the man that haunts him that threatens their new relationship and John’s present happiness.  I always wish that Pat Henshaw would expand her stories so we could get deeper into each man’s background and emotional layers that seem to abide here.  We get wonderful flashes of depth and sorrow that comes with the horrors of John’s time on the streets.  And I wish we had more of Fen’s time away, his creativity with the greens  and his connectivity that enables him to create the things he does.  That seems to be missing here because of the length of the story.  We get glimpses and bits that make the men real but, of course, I wanted more.

The Foothills series continues to grow with each couple, distinct and wonderful.  I loved this one as well.  Each story is a quick read so I recommend reading the series right up to this story.  You’ll get the whole town as it grows!  This one even has the holiday flavor!

Cover Artist: AngstyG.  I just love the covers for this  series.  Perfect in tone and characters!

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 89 pages
Expected publication: December 13th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781635331141
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review: Berzerker (Twirled World Ink #1) by J.M. Dabney


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Welcome to Twirled World Ink where the crazies run the asylum.

The hum of a tattoo machine was Brian “Berzerker” Anderson’s favorite sound in the world. He’d won a coveted spot at Twirled World Ink with a legend in the business, Gib Phelps. Creating beauty with his large, scarred hands was his happy place—the place where he fit in the world. Although, nothing could remain perfect forever, his boyfriend of over a year decided to move on and up without him in tow. He had two choices, return to living with his friends and co-workers or take an offer too tempting to pass up.

Landon Phelps grew up in an unconventional home as the only child to Legendary Tattoo Artist Gib Phelps and mother, Peaches. He always felt a bit out of place when he became a boring accountant instead of following in his parents’ footsteps. Boundaries were in place early on; he didn’t date the employees of Twirled World Ink. Sometimes rules were meant to be broken. Bezerker was his idea of perfection, large, husky and tattooed; the thick, grab-worthy beard was a bonus. So when the boyfriend became the ex, Landon decided it was time to get his man.

With the help of the matchmaking Twirled Crew, can Landon finally get Berzerker to see him as more than a friend and the employer’s son?

Here we are at the beginning!  The Twirled World Ink series launches the first of three interconnected series and an ever enlarging cast of addictive characters, all of whom live in the town of Powers, Georgia.  And it all starts here.  I’ve been working my way backwards from that last series, Executioners (a band) to arrive at this  point.  Now I get to meet the original characters and see how they find their HEA.

First it’s Brian “Berzerker” Anderson, the large, intimidating inked tattooer at Twirled World Ink.  Tossed aside by someone ashamed of him,  it frees him up for the man who’s been waiting for just this opportunity. Landon, the young son of the owners of the tattoo shop who’s crushed on Berzerker for ages and now intends to go after the man he wants.

This story by J.M. Dabney has enough elements to appeal to everyone.  It has an age different in couple, humor, friends to lovers, and yes, simply hot sex scenes.  I don’t really regard what happens with Brian and Landon as instant love as they have known each other for a while, but more as a recognition of what’s really been there all along.  And I love stories like that.

It’s hard for me to be impartial about this story because in a way I’ve been living with this couple for nine books now and feel like I know them intimately.  I’ve seen them grow and I know where they are going.  So for me, this is a lovely trip back in time to see where it began for them and I love it.  And yes, I’m so fond of them.

All that couldn’t happen without  J.M. Dabney’s wonderful way with characterization and decisions about location and things like a tattoo shop called Twirled World Ink.  Because as Berzerker demonstrates its never just about the couple, its also about the supporting cast of characters that you will come to love and need to see as much of as anyone else.  That includes Peaches and Gib, and the rest of the Brawler crew and everyone else from Twirled World Ink and more.   In this series (all three of them)  it takes a town, and that town is Powers, Georgia.  It too will undergo transformation along with the men who live there.

And it starts here.

I gave you all the old cover because that came with the version I read.  The new cover states that it has been reedited so I will put that one  in a smaller version below.  I hate to admit it but I really prefer the older version.  Tell me what you think.

Cover art by Winterheart Designs (old).  I really love this older cover.  It seems grittier, more perfect for the characters than the new lighter version.  Tell me what you think.





Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Author’s Note: Although this is the first book in a series each book is a standalone and every book deals with a separate couple.

Kindle Edition, 138 pages
Published November 27th 2016 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC (first published November 2016)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesTwirled World Ink #1
Characters Brian “Berzerker” Anderson, Landon Phelps settingPowers, Georgia (United States)


A MelanieM Review: Dragon Lesson (Supernatural Consultant #6) by Mell Eight


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

All Lumie wants is Goldie’s beautiful smile, but the only expression he ever shows Lumie is tears. When Goldie asks him for a favor, Lumie leaps at the chance to finally see Goldie happy.

Goldie wants to live a life free of the fear that has chained him for so long, but breaking free of them once and for all may come with a higher price than he and Lumie are prepared to pay.

Cover by Aisha Akeju is similar in tone and coloration to the other books to brand the series, along with the “dragon kid like” footprints which these dragons are now long past.  It makes it feel like a children’s story and in fact they are getting their mates. Just not a fan.

We’re now up to book six in the Supernatural Consultant series by Mell Eight and she’s still running strong and not out of dragon kits yet.  In Dragon Lesson, it’s one of my favorite of Dane and Mercury’s  odd children or dragon kits as it were.  Lumie, a dragon of mixed elements the result of heinous scientific experiments, he’s been something of an adorable enigma throughout most of the stories.  He’s been capable of astonishing feats of power even at the youngest of age and has abilities that not even his mixed elemental powers can explain.  Now of age to go to college, Lumie finds himself at a crossroads at every stage of his life.

In a previous story, several dragons were rescued from yet another “lab” by Dane, Mercury and family along with government help.  One of them was a badly abused and tortured dragon  named Goldie (you won’t have to guess the element here). Lumie finds himself instantly drawn toward Goldie, trying in his own way to help the dragon heal and move forward.

These are short stories.  Yet, Mell Eight still produces a tale that shows Lumie trying to figure out where he belongs (he doesn’t think it’s college), how much he loves his family), what’s happening with some of the other kits, and still produce a suspense story that moves the entire series arc forward.  That would be the one about the mystery of the person behind the dragons kidnapping and experimentation to begin here.  Goldie and Lumie figure heavily into the plot as well as find they mean something much more to each other.

Dragon Lesson is another wonderful edition to the series.  But if you are coming at it new, I expect you would be quite lost.  These are not standalone stories but need to be read in progression starting at book one as the characters age and the plots build on one another.

Sales Links:   Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Published October 10th 2017 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN13 9781684310913
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Waking the Behr (Foothills Pride #7) by Pat Henshaw


Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Both Ben and Mitch think they know exactly what they want. Turns out, they don’t even know their own hearts.

Good old boy Ben has dated women his entire life, while gay nightclub owner Mitch has never considered unsophisticated country boys his type. But after they start hanging out, the small-town contractor and the urban entrepreneur are both stunned by the electricity sparking between them.

As they step outside their comfort zones to spend time together, Mitch finds he enjoys rural car rallies, and Ben is intrigued by the upscale bars Mitch owns in San Francisco. When they share their lives and grow closer, they start to question the way they’ve always defined themselves. Then they kiss and fling open the door to love. Now they must step up and travel the road that may lead to happily ever after—even if that path isn’t one they ever expected to walk.

Waking the Behr is another cute story in The Foothills Pride series by Pat Henshaw.  Mitch O’Shea and Ben Behr meet at the remains of Thompson’s old steakhouse, a building Mitch has just bought and wants Ben’s (of Behr Construction) help to transform into a new family friendly restaurant.  They make an instant connection that Henshaw brings alive in one great scene:

So I was surprised when I opened the door to the gutted restaurant and found a giant of a man twirling Julie Andrews’style. He was grinning like a loon as the light poured over him.

That should have been laughable since he was alone, but he was kickass savoring the moment. Instead of appearing loco, he struck me as a big overgrown Peter Pan. He looked so happy, I had an urge to join him, which gave me a moment of panic because I’m not an old boy who does much dancing or cavorting–in public or in private.

“Uh, hello? Mr. O?Shea?”

When he turned toward me, my jaw dropped. I’m sure I musta looked like the village idiot.

That’s Ben’s first look at Mitch and vice versa. Boom! Connection made.

From there, Pat Henshaw treats her readers to a friends to lovers story that I just adored.  Along the way, Ben figures out that yes, he’s attracted to men too which means that Ben is probably bisexual.  There was a whole momentarily “damn am I turning gay?” which made me wonder what century he was in, especially since he had gay brothers he’s fond of and talks to often as he works with them.  Luckily the rest of the story redeemed that totally awkward and awful aspect (but yes, it pulled down the ratings).  I mean really Ben is in a town that’s increasingly  LGBTQ friendly and he thinks it rubs off like Shea butter? Smh!

There is no instant love here.  The timeline gets moved forward scene by scene so it’s clear that the men have moved into a friendship, gone camping, and spent considerable time together before falling in love which I liked.

Both characters come across as intelligent, warm hearted and loving.  I enjoyed their dance towards romance and a HEA.  I also love that we get to see other characters from previous stories play minor roles here.  It’s nice to see them again.

At 88 pages, this is a quick read (as are all the stories).  I’ve given up hoping to see longer versions here.  But it’s such a nice series that even the short romances are a great way to spend some time.  I recommend them to those who love to read contemporary romances.

Cover Artist: AngstyG.  I really like the covers for this series and this one specifically.  Great job.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 88 pages
Expected publication: September 20th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781635339161
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Finding Mr. Wright (Leaning N #2) by BA Tortuga


Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including weddings. And misunderstandings.

Colorado wedding planner Mason O’Reilly lands a major contract: a two-hundred-guest wedding at the Leanin’ N Ranch, where his friends Ford and Stoney are working to provide a safe space for GLBT events. The Wright/Preston ceremony is a destination wedding, and as the grooms are from Texas, everything is done over the phone and email. There’s no way that could lead to trouble, right?


Oil tycoon Noah Wright isn’t happy about the impending disaster, but he admires Mason’s quick thinking and grace under pressure. And that’s not all he likes about the out-and-proud wedding planner. Even though Mason’s interested in Noah, his Mr. Right can’t possibly be a rancher from Dallas.

Can he?

Finding Mr. Wright, the second story in the Leaning N series by BA Tortuga, involves wedding planner Mason O’Reilly, a secondary character from Commitment Ranch.   I had wanted Mason to get his HEA and here he does.  Though it takes a while.

All the wonderful characters from the original story are here, Stoney, Ford, their kid and the various ranch hands including their chef (who needs his own story).  They form a wonderful foundation along with the Leaning N ranch for  Mason and Noah Wright to meet, clash and learn to love.  Of course, there are Texans, lots of mad Texans, transplanted to Colorado with a side trip south for good measure.  I have to admit, that was the part that threw me here for a little while.

Normally I love the Texas influence in BA Tortuga’s stories but when it went upscale (how I love me BA Tortuga’s redneck cowboy lovers) as it did with Wright’s family, especially with Noah’s mother who I sort of despised, part of the heart went out of this story and it went cold.  I understood that we needed to see where Noah was coming from and how much he had to work through.  Totally worked.  Still think his mama owes Mason a huge apology.

It took at trip back into the snow, up into the mountains of Colorado to find the warmth and heart of this series, for Noah to realize where his future was, as well as the fire and romance that pours out of this series.  The Leaning N Ranch and all the come out of there are special.  BA Tortuga creates these  little villages of people that form unique families, ones you never get tired of reading about.  All sort of quirky and wonderful.  There are lesbian partners, chefs with a past who make up incredible concoctions, tattooed hulks who show up and never leave only to become indispensable in the kitchen,  and of course Stoney and Ford and their kid.  Now there’s  Mason and Noah.

Can’t wait to see who’s next.  Yes, I love this series.  Yes, I recommend it.  Pick up the first one and head to this one next.  I’m already eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Cover Artist: Bree Archer.  I like the cover but wish it was just a little more detailed.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:ebook, 1st edition, 226 pages
Expected publication: September 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series: Leaning N