A Paul B Review: Flight Anthology by Queer Sci Fi

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

flight-anthologyCan you write a complete story in 300 words?  That was the challenge set forth by the Queer Science Fiction group to over 100 authors.  The topic chosen for the authors was flight.  The subjects were as varied as the authors.  Most of the stories I found entertaining while a couple left me flat. 

The stories themselves are divided into different genres within the field of science fiction.  General science fiction and fantasy dominate the anthology but there are also sections for those interested in horror and the paranormal. 

In this anthology, you will also find a full range of emotions.  While many of the stories feature some type of happy ending (whether for the moment or what appears to be ever after), there are those stories that are tragic or bittersweet.  Probably what one would expect in such a tome.

Besides the award winning stories selected by the editors (as I think they should be), my personal favorites include some favorite authors and some new ones to me.  I thought Alexis Woods’ Zero-G was especially unique in adapting current sports to futuristic technology.  Andrea Speed has a unique take on the rapture in Flight of the Buttheads.  Tam Ames has a warm family story in When the Fur Flies.  Kirby Quinlan has a unique take on superheroes in Wings.  Paul Stevens has a friends-to-lovers story on a space ship in Resupply.  Other stories I particularly loved were by Jo Tannah, Jennifer Lavoie, Christina Mary Franics, Ginger Struesel, M.D. Grimm, Nicole Dennis, and Alicia Nordwell.  Overall, if you would like some quick reads with a nice variety in the stories, I would highly recommend picking up this anthology.

The cover art and illustrations throughout the book by Mila May are simply breathtaking.  The illustrations depicting the winning stories are perfect.

Sales Links

Mischief Corner Books

7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

Book Details

ebook, First, 262 pages
Published September 21st 2016 by Mischief Corner Books, LLC
Original TitleFlight: Queer Sci Fi’s Third Annual Flash Fiction Contest (QSF Flash Fiction, #2)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesQSF Flash Fiction #2

A Paul B Review: For the Love of a Wolf (Wolves of Stone Ridge #34) by Charlie Richards

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

For the Love of a WolfStake Dolan, Dolan to his friends, is a firefighter for the Stone Ridge fire department.  He does not intend to insult people but he seems to have no brain to mouth filter.  So when he insults a detective who is helping to investigate a series of arsons going on in the community, he gets called in to see his supervisor.  He is told that he must apologize in writing to the detective, serve a three day suspension and “volunteer” his services clearing the brush away at the local nature park.

Cecil Rochette is a member of the local wolf shifter pack near Stone Ridge.  After his brother has mated with a cat shifter that was recently rescued from some scientists, thoughts of a mate are on his mind.  In the meantime, he has adopted a kitten for companionship.  Cecil decides to help the forest rangers in his pack with the annual clean up and brush removal.  Not knowing better, Cecil takes his new kitten with him to the park.  Cecil notices the kitten is missing and finds her in the branches of a tree.

Cecil is grateful when a hunky fireman offers to rescue the kitten from the tree.  Dolan states that as a firefighter, he has done this a number of times.  Cecil realizes that his would be hero is in fact his mate.  He kisses Dolan for his offer to help.  Dolan is taken aback by the forwardness of this man.  After all, Dolan is not gay.  Cecil realizes that his mate is new to man to man relations and decides he has to woo his mate before he can claim him.  Cecil just hopes that the reputation Dolan has as an insensitive loudmouth can be tamed.

I have been a long time reader of the Wolves of Stone Ridge series, which this is the thirty-fourth book.  What I like about the series is that Charlie Richards keeps her previous characters around as supporting players in her newer books.  They might not be mentioned for a few books but suddenly they appear again, like old friends back for a visit.  They are especially useful when initiating a new human mate into the world of the paranormal.  I know with each book in the series I will get a good story each time.  This and the related series (Kontra’s Menagerie, A Paranormal’s Love, A Loving Nip) are on my comfort reading list.

The cover art by Angela Waters is spot on as usual.  In the foreground we see a shirtless Cecil and his wolf while in the background we see Dolan in full firefighting regalia.

Sales Links:  eXtasy Books | Amazon

Book Details :

ebook, 106 pages
Published April 1st 2016 by Extasy Books
ISBN139781487406936
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesWolves of Stone Ridge #34

Series:  Wolves of Stone Ridge

A Paul B Review: The Leprechaun’s Gamble (Gifts of the Fae #1) by A.J. Marcus

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Leprechaun's GambleA leprechaun gets but one chance to find love in the mortal realm.  If the leprechaun is successful, they may live out their life with their true love in the mortal world with occasion visits back to the fairy world.  If unsuccessful, they must find love in the fairy world which has proven difficult to do.  Knowing both the reward and costs, young leprechauns gamble to find their true love.

Ailin is one such leprechaun.  Having passed up his chance last year thinking he was too young for such an adventure, he decides to go forth this year.  He knows that the portal will open on St. Patrick’s Day and will have until the equinox a few days later to find his love.  Having found the portal site, Ailin crosses through then casts a spell to protect himself from the rush of other leprechauns coming through.  Once he regains his senses, he heads to town.  On the way, he meets a brownie, a dark fairy from another fairy kingdom.  Ailin ignores the brownie’s temptations and finds a festival in the nearest town.  He is off to find the man who will love him.

Rohan is a farmer to the north of the town.  He inherited his grandfather’s farm recently and loves the simpler life.  He enters a jig dance contest at the local festival.  As competitors begin to drop, he notices the only one keeping up is a good looking red headed man, who happens to be Ailin in his human guise.  Impressed that he can keep up, Rohan offers to buy the man a drink at the local tavern.  The competitive nature in both men leads to a game of darts where wagers are made by the patrons.  Finding the man challenging, he asks the man to come back to the farm with him.  Ailin is overjoyed at the possibility that Rohan might be the one and accepts.  Now he must turn this attraction to true love in the next few days or else he will never find mortal love.

This is the first book in the Gifts of the Fae series by A. J. Markus.  If you are looking for two alpha males you have found it in this book.  Both men acknowledge their competitive nature, which includes the size of their equipment.  Of course both are well hung, as it seems they have to be the best at everything they do.  It was interesting to see Ailin dance around some of Rohan’s questions as Ailin cannot lie to the human but also did not want to reveal his true nature until he know Rohan was the one for him.  Overall it was an enjoyable start to this new series.

The cover art is perfect for this book.  We have the red headed Ailin with his scruff standing beside the dark haired Rohan wearing what looks like a tam o’shanter.    These fit the description of the characters perfectly.  The rainbow above the author’s name is a nice touch.  Kudos go to Carmen Waters for the cover.

Sales Links:   eXtasy BooksAmazon

Book Details

ebook, 53 pages
Published March 14th 2016 by eXtasy Books
ISBN139781487406516
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series:  Gifts of the Fae

The Leprechaun’s Gamble (Gifts of the Fae #1)

A Paul B Release Day Review: Patience (Forbes Mates #2) by Grace R. Duncan

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

PatienceJamie Ryan was almost ready to accept he’d never find his destined mate. They’re uncommon to begin with and same-sex versions downright rare. Since his gay best friend found a destined mate, Jamie figured he was out of luck. Until end of semester stress forces him to go through the full-moon shift early. Stuck in wolf form, he runs into none other than his destined mate. Who’s human.

Chad Sutton has always had good instincts. They served him well as a detective and continued on when he went private. Those instincts tell him there’s something about the dog that comes up to him while running away from animal control that isn’t quite right. He works to put the pieces together, but is unsuccessful until his dog turns into a human before his eyes.

Jamie has no idea what a shifter mate bite will do to a human. He’s terrified to try—and possibly kill his mate. They hunt together for answers while working together on a case for Chad. It’s easy to see they belong together, but Jamie fears the gods gave him someone he can’t keep.

This second book in the Forbes Mates series was enjoyable, even though I have not read the first book in the series. I thought the way that Jamie was stuck in his wolf form for three days after he met his mate was a unique twist. Jamie tries to everything possible to make sure he is around his mate, even if he has to resort to what most wolf shifters think is an insult—acting as a dog. The problems they have with the American wolf leadership sets up potential conflicts for later books in the series.

Also noteworthy is that the Roman pantheon of gods is used rather than the Greek one. Especially touching was the offering Chad and Jamie made in front of the shrine of Jupiter at the international wolf headquarters in Rome. The epilogue sets up an intriguing storyline for the next book in the series.

Reese Dante’s cover is a nice touch. It shows our Chad kissing Jamie on the forehead in the background with Jamie’s wolf watching in the foreground.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details
EBook, 230 pages
Published: March 7, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-63476-762-0
Series: Forbes Mates
Devotion (Forbes Mates #1)
Patience (Forbes Mates #2)

A Paul B Review: The President’s Husband by Michael Murphy

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The President's HusbandDoctor David Hammond holds the bible as his husband Grayson Alexander is sworn in as the first openly gay Vice President of the United States.  Three hours later, the newly sworn in President is killed by an assassin’s bullet, making Gray the first gay President.  Thrust into his new role, Grayson throws himself into being the most powerful man in the free world.  David is also thrown for a loop as he is now thrown into a spotlight he would rather not be.  As a professor of medicine and practicing physician at Georgetown University, he much prefers the world of academia and healing people than his new role as First Gentleman.  This is especially the case as Gray works long hours trying to set up his new government on the spur of the moment instead of the two months that most new presidents get.  This puts a strain on their relationship.

When a health crisis needs Grayson’s attention, he calls his husband into the Situation Room for his candid advice and expertise.  David decides to help out the situation by providing onsite medical assistance to prevent a possible outbreak from spreading into the United States.  Despite taking all precautions necessary to protect him from the disease, Grayson goes along with his chief of staff to force a mandatory 21-day quarantine on David.  David, knowing that the quarantine is not necessary, is livid. When Grayson forgets about an important milestone that occurs while David is locked away, the relationship reaches a breaking point.  Will the First Couple survive to make it to the end of Grayson’s term?

The first thing I would like to comment on is that I enjoyed the last part of the book. (spoiler).  I just wish that Grayson had acted more like this than like the asshole he is portrayed in the first half of the book.  Yes, we know the job of President is a difficult one and being thrust into the position unexpectedly like Grayson was is especially tough.  But to ignore your partner for the better part of three months is going to extremes.  And while I liked that David gave Gray time to adjust to the new situation, he also comes off as a bit stubborn when he completely ignores his role as First Spouse.

What was missing from the book for me was the political ramifications of not only having the first gay president but also that of a sudden change of the presidency.  It was mentioned that Gray was more liberal than his running mate and had the opposing party leading congress.  How did this play out in the first few months that made Gray work those long hours?  How did David and Gray keep their separation from the ever-present 24-hour news cycle?  If these issues were addressed I believe it would have added some depth to these characters and this novel.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read but had potential to be more.

The cover art by L. C. Chase shows David and Grayson in business suits in the top half of the cover with the White House in the bottom half.  It’s an appropriate cover for the book.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  ARe | Amazon |

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Published January 29th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1623803896 (ISBN13: 9781623803896)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Paul B Review: Stranger in the Wizard’s Tower by Deric McNish

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Stranger in the Wizards TowerIn the land of Lanoran, wizards are beloved by the populace but feared by a warrior race called the Kou G’en.  Though they have a seat on the ruling council that is dominated by the wizards, the Kou G’en mistrust magic users.  A recent Earth college graduate is transported to this world and now must find a way to get back home.

Dustin started his trip to visit friends in upstate New York when he stops at an adult arcade.  While in one of the booths, he feels something caress him through what seems to be the Plexiglas separator between booths.  When he investigates, he pushes his way through the portal and lands in a dark room in what turns out to be another universe.

Athin is the apprentice to master wizard Arconduil.  While the master wizard thinks his young apprentice has a lot of potential, he thinks the boy is not concentrating on his studies.  While another apprentice, Mir, is visiting, they find a stranger in Arconduil’s castle.  Athin decides to help the young man find a way home, as he is responsible for bringing Dustin to Lanoran.  However, the master wizard has sealed the portal that Dustin used and they must find a new portal to get him back.

Rumors of another portal lead Arconduil to search for it before the Kou G’en can get to it.  What they do not know is that the military of the United States has already found this portal and has been exploring this new world.  With three competing forces trying to control the route between worlds, will Dustin ever make it back to New York?  Will he want to after spending his time with Athin?

I found this to be a very enjoyable read,  Deric McNish, an actor and professor of theater at Michigan State University, has crafted a book that could easily be turned into a screenplay.   None of the three major groups trust the other and it soon becomes an enemy of my enemy is my friend type situation.  The author has also set up possible sequels with both the ending of the book and also the epilogue.

The cover art by Damonza shows silhouettes of Dustin and Athin above the Lanoran marsh like setting.  There is a dragon flying between the silhouetted figures.  It is a decent cover but with “Wizard’s Tower” in the title, one might have expected the tower or castle in the cover.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details

Ebook, 283 pages
Published:  October 22, 2015 by Pyramus Press
ISBN:  978-0-9966329-3-5
Edition Language:  English

Series:  Wizard’s Tower (Goodreads link)

Stranger in the Wizard’s Tower (Wizard’s Tower #1)

A Paul B Review: Kissed by Nemesis (Kissed by an Immortal, #2) by Andi Anderson

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars  ★★★★

Kissed by Nemesis coverJared McHughes must choose between the god he just met and the wayward brother whom Jared thinks can redeem himself. His choice will affect the afterlives of all three men.

Men whom have been slighted by his twin brother are holding Jared McHughes captive. They want his brother to pay for taking their stash of drugs without paying for them. Jared knows that his time is getting short as they are beating him regularly and refusing to give him anything to eat or drink. The only thing that is keeping Jared halfway going is the figure in the corner who appears to be watching things transpire.

Nemesis is the god of vengeance. His duty is to judge humans and send them to their just reward after they have died. Lately though, he has been thinking about the relationship his brother Thanatos, the Grim Reaper, has just started. He too would like to develop such a relationship. He begins to admire what the man he is watching is putting up with. He is also shocked when said man starts to talk to him, begging him to release him from the situation he is currently in.

Nemesis explains to Jared that he is merely there as an observer and cannot interfere with the situation. When Thanatos and his mate Gregory come for Jared after he is shot, Nemesis asks the pair for some time to so that he can see what type of relationship he can build with Jared. Seeing as how Nemesis helped the pair out when they first started out, they agree.

As Jared and Nemesis spend time together, Jared realizes that it will be Nemesis’s duty to judge his brother Carey for the things he has done. He asks the god to give Carey time to straighten himself out and that he is only doing things because of the drugs. This puts Nemesis in a bind. Does he do his job and condemn Carey’s eternal soul or give in to his boyfriend and thus condemn his own? How will each man live with the circumstances of Nemesis’s decision?

I enjoyed this second book in Ms. Anderson’s Kissed by an Immortal series. We meet more of Thanatos and Nemesis’s family in this book, which I thought was missing in the first book. Again, most of the gods featured are second-generation Greek gods who are not usually the focus of many stories, besides maybe Cupid/Eros. I thought the way that Jared was torn between the two men in his life was well written and you could feel his way of thinking begin to change. Nemesis of course makes assumptions for the human, which almost cost them both in the end. I am glad that this series has resumed after a break.

The cover art by Latrisha Waters shows two shirtless men, one pressed against the other. Nemesis’s long hair is on display. It is a decent cover for the book, but nothing extraordinary.

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

Book Details

Ebook, 130 pages
Edition: English
Published: September 15, 2015 by Extasy Books
ISBN: 978-1-4874-0440-6
Series: Kissed by an Immortal

Kissed by Death (Kissed by an Immortal #1)
Kissed by Nemesis (Kissed by an Immortal #2)

A Paul B Review: Not a Line of Bull (A Loving Nip #6) by Charlie Richards

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Not A Line of Bull coverCassium Jones is a vampire that has lived nearly 400 years. During his forced seclusion from society, he is tending to a small ranch owned by his coven. One day while he is riding checking the property, he notices that the fence line has been compromised and in need of repair. While repairing the fence, he notices blood around the area. He goes to check his herd of cattle to see if any of them have been hurt. When he reaches the heard, he notices an injured bull laying about the cows. When he checks on the injured bull, he discovers that not only is he a bull shifter but also his beloved.

Garth Omicron has been driven from his shifter herd. Having refused to mate with the mother of his second calf because he doesn’t love her and she is a terrible mother to his two children, Garth is beaten and gored by the inner circle of the herd. He wanders into a field some miles away from his herd territory and finds an Angus cattle farm. When the owner confronts him as to why he is vampire territory, he thinks things have gone from bad to worse. However, contrary to how he had been taught, this vampire seems to want to help him for some unknown reason.

While Cassium suspects that they might be mates, Garth has no concept of the idea. In his herd, people of paired together based on bloodlines to prevent inbreeding among the herd. Outsiders are rarely brought into the group, which for the most part live a self-sufficient life. The only people allowed to have contact with the outside world are the inner circle. When Cassium hears of the treatment of most of the shifters, he promises to help them out, especially Garth and his two children. The big question is whether or not Garth will accept Cassium as his mate despite all that his herd has been taught and accept the proffered help.

This sixth book in the Loving Nip series is another satisfying read in the author’s paranormal universe. Garth is an interesting character as he is a bull shifter but is not one of the dominant shifters in his herd. Having a somewhat submissive bull plays against stereotypes. I was somewhat surprised that the resolution to the herd’s mess occurred mostly off the pages of the book with one major exception. However, the resolution did provide a hint at one of Ms. Richard’s upcoming books in her universe.

The cover art by Carmen Waters shows Cassium as a well-built farmer in an open plaid shirt in front of a valley vista during sunset. It is another well done cover in the series.

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

Book details

Ebook, 89 pages
Edition: English
Published: September 15, 2015 by Extasy Books
ISBN: 978-1-4874-0477-2
Series: A Loving Nip
A Nip of Good Cheer (A Loving Nip #1)
A Rose for Paul’s Protector (A Loving Nip #2)
An Unforgettable Bite (A Loving Nip #3)
More than Patient (A Loving Nip #4)
Sharing a Demon’s Blood (A Loving Nip #5)
Not a Line of Bull (A Loving Nip #6)

A Paul B Review: Love Comes Unheard (Senses #5) by Andrew Grey

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5 

Love comes Unheard coverGarrett Bowman is deaf but that is the least of his problems.  Having lost his mother recently to cancer and a brother who cannot bother to learn to communicate with him, Garrett is on his way to see his sister in Chicago when he runs out of gas in front of a farm in Northern Michigan.  When the owner of the farm comes to speak to him, Garrett is astounded that the man knows sign language.  When Connor, the owner of the farm, tells Garrett that is helper has not shown up for the day, he offers Garrett the chance to make some money to fill his tank.  Grateful, Garrett accepts.  Connor then takes Garrett home for the night for a decent meal and good nights sleep.

Wilson Haskins has been working for Connor and his partner Dan for a couple of years.  While he works for the family, the pair and their three children consider him one of the family.  When Connor brings home a stranger for the night, Wilson is taken by his good looks.  He feels that the ten-year age difference between the two men would prevent anything from happening between them.  Besides, Wilson’s last relationship ended in disaster with him leaving his native land on England as a result.

While both men are hesitant to start a relationship, they do enjoy each other’s company.  As the relationship grows, relationships with both of their families come back to present problems for them.  Garrett’s sister would like for him to stay with her and her partner thinking that Chicago might be a better place for a gay deaf man to live.  Meanwhile, Wilson’s brother phones him out of the blue asking him for help with a situation he has gotten himself into in England.  When said brother shows up in the States looking for Wilson, will it cause trouble for Wilson and the family he know considers his own?

The relationship between Garrett and Wilson was done well.  The hesitancy that both of the men showed is rooted in terrible breakups in their previous relationships.  Garrett’s ex could not care enough to learn to communicate with him.  Wilson’s ex tried to set him up for something that the ex actually was responsible for.  But Wilson suffered the consequences for the ex’s actions anyway.  It is through their interactions with each other and their boss’s children that endear themselves to each other.

This is the fifth book in Andrew Grey’s Senses series.  In each book, at least one of the major characters usually has a form of disability.  Mr. Grey has shown in each book that this so called disability is but one aspect of the person.  In these books, love really does conquer all.  I have come to enjoy these books and always look forward to the next one.

The cover art by L.C. Chase shows Wilson and Garret above in a pastoral setting.  Wilson is in a grey suit while Garrett is in a blue flannel shirt.  These are good representations of what I thought the two would look like.  It’s a nicely done cover.

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

Book Details

Ebook, 200 pages
Published:  September 14, 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition:  English
ISBN:  978-1-63476-589-3

Series:  Senses

  • Love Comes Silently (Senses #1)
  • Love Comes in Darkness  (Senses #2)
  • Love Comes Home (Senses #3)
  • Love Comes Around (Senses #4)
  • Love Comes Unheard (Senses #5)

A Paul B Review: Craig (Gillham Pack #3) by Catherine Lievens

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars  ★★★★

Craig coverCraig used to work for Glass Research Company as a security guard.  However, was also working for the local lion pride to rescue shifters being held by Glass.  Can he make a new life after his final rescue attempt while staying with the local wolf pack?

After his last rescue effort that brought Gillham pack alpha mate Zach home, Craig has decided to stick around the wolf pack in order to disappear from his former employers.  He has developed a special friendship with Jago, the elephant shrew shifter that was among the last of his rescues.  During a pack gathering in which the nearby lion pride is also invited, both men notice a man walking from the woods.  Craig could see himself in bed with the man if it weren’t for the cheesy moustache the man has.

Thomas is a member of the inner circle of the Gillham pack.  His pack alpha Kameron has noticed that Thomas has not been behaving normally the last few months.  To get his mind off his troubles, Kameron assigns Thomas to befriend the human Craig in order to convince the man to make the pack a permanent home.  It would not be so bad except that he gets jealous whenever Jago is hanging around Craig.  After meeting the man, Thomas realizes that Craig is his fated mate.  There are only two complications.  Craig seems to already have a boyfriend in Jago and Thomas has a wife and family.  Thomas must decide whether he wants to fight for his mate and possibly break several hearts in the process or walk away and have his broken instead.  When Thomas sees what appears to be kiss between Craig and Jago in the pack house, Thomas takes an action that answers his question.  But what will be the ramifications of it?

This is the third book in Catherine Lievens’ Gillham Pack series.  She does a nice job in bringing a minor character in the previous book and gives him the main story in the next.  Thomas must deal with his marriage that has been falling apart for a while before Craig ever shows on the scene.  He must also deal with his brother who does not understand how after years of marriage Thomas decides to mate with a man.  The scenes with Thomas’s son Eli talking to both his father and Craig are heart warming.   I am looking forward to seeing where the author takes the story.

The cover art by Latrisha Waters shows the shirtless torso of a well build man who is wearing blue jeans along with a wolf howling.  It fits the motif of other books in the series.

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

Book Details:

Ebook, 137 pages
Edition:  English
ISBN:  978-1-4874-0404-8
Published:  August 15, 2015 by Extasy Books

Series:  Gillham Pack

  • Xavier (Gillham Pack #1)
  • Zach (Gillham Pack #2)
  • Craig (Gillham Pack #3)