A MelanieM Review: Frankie’s Knight (Elemental Connections: IV) (Earthquake #3.5) by T.A. Webb

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Frankie's Knight coverAtlanta Detective Frankie Prater is working a case where young boys working as prositutes have gone missing.  Then he gets a lead on his case from a most unexpected source…the Arizona Flagstaff Police Department where a joint task force has convened after the arrest of a serial  rapist murderer and sadist..  Turns out that this monster is responsible for the abduction of 40 boys and girls from around the country and among them just might be the young boy missing Frankie is looking for in Atlanta.

Frankie journeys to Flagstaff hoping for answers and perhaps even the boy himself.  With him is Brady Owens.  Brady lived six years as a prostitute after his parents threw him out at the age of twelve.  While on the streets, his boyfriend was killed by a rogue cop and he himself was tortured before being saved by Frankie’s brother, the City Knight and his friends.  Now he lives with Frankie and his kids.   Brady has turned eighteen. Brady knows what and who he wants.  It’s Frankie Prater and he is pretty sure that Frankie wants him back.  But how to convince him that he’s all grownup and ready for a relationship?

In the middle of an investigation where the missing kids are  plentiful, their bodies are missing, and clues are scarce, will Frankie figure out his feelings for Brady before the investigation turns deadly once more?

T.A. Webb is killing me here.  Never have I handed out  so many high ratings as I have with this series and authors.  And with Frankie’s Knight, a side story from this year’s Pulp Friction’s Elemental Connections series, the  pattern continues.  Once more, T.A. Webb is able to combine the two series (City Knight) and (Earthquake) in a realistic and dramatic fashion.  Here the connecting element is missing boys, both in Atlanta and Flagstaff.   Unfortunately from the last Earthquake novel, Tremors (Earthquake #3), we have learned  the identity of the culprit behind a main character’s kidnapping.  It is revealed that he is not only a sadist but a serial rapist and murderer of more than 40 boys and girls across the US.  That horrific discovery reverberates across agencies and states where the children were kidnapped, among them Atlanta.

There is always an element of angst to these stories whether it is kidnapping, torture, abuse or murder.  But in Frankie’s Knight, that aspect is heartbreaking as Webb works the reality of  those discarded LGBTQ children on the streets and the life that awaits them there as castoffs from  family and society. There are so many of them, a fact highlighted by the shear number of children this person was able to kidnap and kill without raising alarm. Unfortunately this is another realistic element here as the media and law enforcement can attest.   T.A. Webb’s treatment and characterizations of these kids is both authentic and profoundly painful.  We have seen it in Brady Owens and his friends from the City Knight series last year.  Here Brady’s background of abuse and prostitution will come into play in a most unexpected way.

T.A. Webb’s plot is gripping.  The suspense  builds as the hunt for the Atlanta boy intensifies.  All the law enforcement agents gathered combine forces and resources to put this person away for good, find the boys and girls missing, even if they think it is only bodies to locate at this point.  And through it all, Brady and Frankie are trying to find their way to each other and a HEA.  Webb gives us tension with a capital T, whether it is the building sexual tension between Brady and Frankie or the stress and tension caused by the investigation that comes with a time restriction.  It all builds into an explosive finale worth of the plot and characters.  Just amazing.  And once more,  T.A. Webb leaves the reader wanting more of all the people and couple involved.

I highly recommend Frankie’s Knight and all of the Earthquake and Elemental Connections series.  I have listed them for you at the bottom.  However, in order to avoid spoilers and to understand the sequence of events and character development, they should be read in the order they were written.  Grab them all up today.  This is one amazing author and series!

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Amazing cover, I love it.

Sales links:             All Romance eBooks           Amazon           Frankie’s Knight

Books in the Earthquake (Pulp Friction 2014) series in the order they should be read:

Higher Ground (Earthquake #1) (Pulp Friction 2014 #4)
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) (Pulp Friction 2014 #8)
Tremors (Earthquake #3) (Pulp Friction #12)
Frankie’s Knight (Elemental Connections: IV) (Earthquake #3.5)
Aftershocks (Earthquake #4) (Pulp Friction 2014 #16)

Higher Ground coverMoving Earth coverTremors cover by TA WebbFrankie's Knight cover

Book Details:
ebook, 65 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by A Bear on Books
ISBN139781310928611
edition languageEnglish

Review: Out in the Cold (In From the Cold #4) (Pulp Friction 2014 #14) by Lee Brazil

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Out In The Cold coverThe summer is coming to an end and with it, Dr. Cannon Malloy’s temporary job at the hospital and his stay at Mountain Shadows.   And now that Cannon should be preparing to say his goodbyes to Flaggstaff and the people he has gotten to know so well, he finds that’s the last thing he wants to do. His reluctance to leave especially applies to the relationship that has grown up between himself and Prof.Finn Lorensson.  Cannon has figured out that he loves Finn but what does Finn feel about Cannon?  That Cannon sets out to explore.  He wants to wine and dine and plain romance the heck out of Finn before its too late.

But Finn Lorensson has other things on the mind, huge problems that are getting bigger and bigger.  His brother Siggy is due in court on the trumped up rape charge,  And someone is out to get Finn at all costs.  Finn is beginning to think that Cannon is safer far away from him and Mountain Shadows even as the thought of Cannon leaving seems unbearable.

What happens when romance and danger collide?  Will the evil hunting Finn keep the men apart just when love has found them both?

This story and series (like its companions) is getting harder and harder to review.  Why?  Because the reviewer ends up saying the same things repeatedly.  The standards here are so high for excellence in character, plots, and writing that its hard to find something new to say.  But I’ll give it a whirl.

Out In The Cold is the penultimate story in Lee Brazil’s In From The Cold Pulp Friction 2014 group series.  There are five stories individually and then one sixth story written by all four authors for a finale.  So as you can imagine, things are getting ready to explode for all the characters living in Mountain Shadows.  The past is returning in multiple ways to each and every one.  Old friends are showing up.  So are old enemies and lovers.  And you can feel the mountain air crackle with suspense.

Lee Brazil’s Cannon Malloy is a character that has found himself in Mountain Shadows.  He’s come into his own skin and sexuality over the course of the stories.  And that solidification of character has made him someone the readers can love.  What a redemption for a man who almost single handedly destroyed  Chance Dumont (from the PF2013 series).  Then Cannon was a figure of contempt and pity.  Now? Lee Brazil has painstakingly turned this persona around until we believe in him as much as he has begun to.  What a tremendous journey we have been on with him.

The person who has not only witnessed that turn about but caused most of it is Prof. Finn Lorensson.  An intelligent, Thor lookalike, Finn has layers upon layers to him.  And all those layers are in love with Cannon Malloy.  Finn is deeply connected to his town and the people there, including his brother, Siggy.  Siggy is in trouble and it points back to Finn.  Finn has had problems at the college he teaches at, and they inadvertently involved Cannon as well.  Brazil has taken great care to make Finn as vulnerable, and fallible as possible to offset the image of a Nordic god made human.  Finn needs his human frailties in order for the readers to connect with him and for Cannon to believably fall in love with him.  Give us someone too perfect and it just wouldn’t work amidst this oh so human cast of characters.  How I love Finn too with his sense of honor and loyalty.

Someone is out to get Finn, no matter the cost to him and those around him.  With Out in the Cold, Lee Brazil’s narrative turns the proverbial corner as the race is on to the finish. The plot set up is done. The suspense has been building as has the mystery. Now as Cannon’s opens himself up to the pain of rejection in his quest for love from Finn, the stakes are heartbreakingly high for each man.  How high becomes apparent by the end of the story.  Danger is everywhere.  It”s personal, it will get physical, and the anticipation is nigh killing me here.

What a magnificent series, what a fantastic set of characters and mysteries to boot!  Will Cannon and Finn make it to their HEA?  I can’t wait to find out! Neither will you.  I hope you have been following along with me with this series (and their connected series).  But if this is a new story, or author, then make haste and check out the list of the Pulp Friction 2014 authors and series at the bottom of the review.  Read them in order.  They are like the best bonbons in the world.  Once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop.   These are fictional delights for the soul and all of them will have their special place on ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Best of 2014!

Buy Links:                    All Romance (ARe)              Amazon                 Out in the Cold

Cover art by Laura Harner. Everything about these covers works wonderfully.  The PF2014 logo with the mountains at the top, the models, and the landscape at the bottom.  Perfect for the story and for branding the series!

Book Details:

ebook
Published July 31st 2014 by Lime Time Press
edition languageEnglish
seriesPulp Friction 2014 #14,

The Pulp Friction 2014 series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters, events and plot:

Round One:

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

Round Two:

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

Round Three:

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

Round Four:

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

Round 4.5 Side Stories:

Taking Chances by Lee Brazil (a In From the Cold story)
Wicked Winds by Havan Fellows (PF2014 4.5)

Round Five: to be released

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

Sixth Book Series Finale Written by all the Authors
charactersFinn Lorensso

 

 

Review: Backburn (Fighting Fire #3) (PF 2014) by Laura Harner

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Backburn coverNothing between Park Ranger Rob Hammond and disabled firefighter Scott McGregor has ever been easy.  From their early romance and traumatic breakup to their reunion in Scott’s hospital room where Scott was recovering from injuries that killed most of his crew and cost him the profession he loved.  Scott had hoped that with Rob’s reappearance, their romance and relationship was back on track.  But with one ill advised phone call to Rob’s mother, Scott has derailed that hope even though he refuses to admit it.

Scott is also having problems with PTSD and his nightmares are getting worse. The stress and strain of operating Mountain Shadows and the problems that have been popping up recently aren’t helping either.  Strange and horrifying things are happening around the campground and Scott aims to get at the causes even if he has to investigate it by himself..

Rob Hammond is faltering under the weight of the secrets he has been keeping and his efforts to become a wildland firefighter.  He is just beginning to realize that Scott’s PTSD is worse than Scott had let on and Scott’s phone call to his mother brought up painful past problems that he had pushed aside.   A run in with an old acquaintance and another call from home make Rob realize that he had some hard decisions to make and that they need to be made soon before everything he hopes to achieve goes up in flames.

When one man finally understands what he wants, the other person’s reality combusts.  When you fight fire with fire, will both of them and their relationship be burned beyond compare?

What is a backburn?  A backburn in firefighter terms means to create firebreak in path of brushfire: to prevent a brushfire from spreading by lighting another fire in its path

Reading this series is like walking towards a fire.  With each new story acting like a new step forward, the reader and Harner’s characters get closer and closer to the flames.  As the heat and the danger combine, it increases incrementally the treacherous nature of the situation these characters find themselves in as the story proceeds. Then it explodes in a ball of fire at the end in a way that will leave you dazed, a more than a little fearful and standing at a precipice with no where to go.  And you will totally love it.

Scott and Rob, the troubled duo at the heart of this series are back and in worse shape than ever.  Scott is living in denial about practically everything going on in his life.  And that state of delusion has made Scott act ill-advisedly where his and Rob’s past is concerned.   One phone call to Rob’s mother shatters Scott’s hopes about their future and Rob’s plans for them as well.  Harner also brings in the realistic element of Scott’s PTSD and his continued avoidance of any treatment.  When Scott breaks down when undergoing traumatic flashbacks to the fire that cost him everything, we are able to feel the weight of those memories and the pain they are still able to cause.  Not only do we understand why Scott is acting so impudently but we can see the consequences coming even if he doesn’t.  We can like this character even if we don’t like his actions.

Rob too has so many layers to his character.  And like Scott, we also won’t like certain aspects of his past or his persona.  But also like Scott, Harner provides us with enough personal details and back history that once we put his actions within context then that conduct starts to make sense.  Rob grows more as a character here than he has in past stories.  That growth will trigger decisions and events that we will not see coming, another marvelous element to these stories.

Fires and the devastation that comes with those who choose to become firefighters is a prevailing element here.  We see the sacrifice that is called for when someone decides on becoming a firefighter and the pain and sorrow that will follow in its path.   That Scott loves and misses his profession is clear.  So is the ultimate sacrifice his crew made and the survivor guilt that is overwhelming the only man left alive by that fire.  Harner’s vivid descriptions and emotional scenes bring Scott’s inability to deal with that fatal fire to life in breathtaking detail.  That people choose to do this challenging, dangerous, and necessary profession makes me grateful and awed.  In Scott McGregor we can see and feel the cost as well as the dedication needed to be such a firefighter.  That’s thanks to Laura Harner as well.

The ending is emotionally devastating and will leave you hanging.  This used to bother me.  But in a series and in the hands of an author who does this cliffhanger so well, it works to keep us on the ledge and happy to be there.  I can’t wait to see what happens next and so will you.

If you are new to the series, in fact the entire Pulp Friction 2014 interconnected stories, start at the beginning to get the most from these authors stories and characters.  I have listed all the series and stories below.  I consider Backburn and Fighting Fire (along with all the rest of the Pulp Friction 2014 group) to be one of ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Best of 2014.

Cover art by Laura Harner

Book Details:

64 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Hot Corner Press
ISBN139781937252816
edition languageEnglish
seriesFighting Fire #3, Pulp Friction 2014 #9

 Buy Links:          Amazon              ARe

About Pulp Friction 2014: Laura Harner ~ Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ T.A. Webb The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends.

The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth. Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment. There will be five rounds and one final story written by all four authors.

Round One of Pulp Friction 2014:

Firestorm (Fighting Fire# 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold# 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows# 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake# 1) by Tom Webb

Round Two of Pulp Friction 2014:

Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner
Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil
Blown Kisses (Where the Wind Blows #2) by Havan Fellows
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) by Tom Webb

Round Three of Pulp Friction 2014:

Backburn (Fighting Fire #3) by Laura Harner
Cold Feet (In From the Cold #3) by Lee Brazil
Blow Hard (Where the Wind Blows #3) by Havan Fellows
Tremors (Earthquake #3) by Tom Webb

 

Review: Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) (PF 2014) by T.A. Webb

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Moving Earth coverNow that Charlie Turner has moved out of his family’s home, he has time for a personal life for the first time in ages.  After his father died, Charlie was busy working and raising his grief stricken younger brother while his mother mourned.  Now living in his own cabin on Mountain Shadows campground, Charlie is ready to reclaim his private time and he knows just who he wants to spend it with…..Amos Greene. Aloof, gorgeous, and sexy Amos Greene.  But outside of sex, does Amos want him back?

Amos Greene has more than a few personal demons to deal with.  Past experience has taught Amos that when it comes to romance, you keep it cool, keep it impersonal and temporary.  Then Amos meets Charlie Turner when Charlie comes to work on Amos’ art gallery.  Charlie isn’t satisfied with temporary and he certainly won’t settle on being just a one or two night stand.  And little by little, Amos starts to give in to Charlie’s insistence on a relationship with small steps forward and through all the walls Amos has erected over the years..

But strange, dark things are happening at Mountain Shadows and Charlie’s brother just might be in the middle of things. Soon Charlie finds himself in the middle of an investigation, and draws Amos in with him.  What they find out will have repercussions for them all….

 

Moving Earth is a perfect title for a story about families and relationships on shaky ground.  The second the T.A. Webb’s Earthquake series, the story picks up right after the end of Higher Ground.   Charlie Turner, a absolutely lovable character, has shouldered his family’s burdens after the death of his dad.  That meant trying to be everything to his teenage brother who is grieving and in emotional shock.  Not quite father, not able to be the fun big brother, Charlie is trying hard to fill a role that isn’t his and its not working.  His brother is rebelling and afraid especially when Charlie moves out of the house into his own cabin at his mother’s insistence.  Webb understands complicated family dynamics and it shows in the dialog and descriptions of the family interactions that come into play in Moving Earth.

In a story full of complicated characters, each with their own baggage of personal issues, Damon Turner, the troubled younger brother, almost steals the story away from Charlie and Amos.  Smart mouthed and snarky, Damon hides his fears and anger behind his aggressive behavior and disturbing circle of friends.  This is the character we fear for and want to hold close.  His actions towards his brother and classmates are cries for help.  It makes Damon believable and someone we can relate to.  And Charlie’s anger at and concern for his brother is something we get as well.  Damon’s feelings about his brother’s sexuality are all over the place.  Damon is at times both hurtful, hurling epithets at Charlie and then with an about face, he is accepting of his brother and Amos. In total, Damon is that teenager is search of stability and love who has had his support jerked out from under him in the most traumatic way.  Clearly Damon isn’t dealing with it very well, nor would any teenager in his place.  T.A. Webb navigates this tricky, prickly time for the brothers with sensitivity and authenticity that just deepens the whole feeling behind Moving Earth.

Poor Charlie.  Between his brother and Amos, almost every relationship he has or wants needs an amazing amount of work.  Charlie has to force Amos to look at him in a different manner than Amos’ previous sexual conquests.  I liked the fact that Charlie is not a doormat here and that he demands the respect he knows he deserves.  And Amos, with his pain-filled awful childhood, is a tough character  to crack open. It must be Amos’ decision to open up and become vulnerable once more in order to accept Charlie and his need for a real relationship.  This is a delicate juggling act that Webb handles as well as he does the one between Charlie and Damon.

As with all the interconnected Pulp Friction 2014 series, there are several mysteries running through all four stories and series.  Here the author starts to amp up the suspense that surrounds the riddles of the dark events happening at Mountain Shadows campground.  Dead, mutilated animals are being found in the woods nearby and who is behind this is anyone’s guess.  There will be clues and perhaps some false trails laid but all are quaranteed to keep you glued to this story and all the series that go with it.   And the ending here?  It will startle you and send you back to the first book looking for clues and more information.  Loved it, hated it (for leaving me hanging), and definitely wanting more.  Much, much more.

Did all this happen in 40 pages?  Why yes it did and that fact alone continues to amaze me.  Its like wondering how all those things fit into the magician’s hat.  It’s astonishing even as I marvel that it all works so wondrously well.   I love Webb’s Earthquake series for its complicated sibling relationship as much as I do for its equally complex romance.  Don’t pass this up but start with the first story Higher Ground.

The Pulp Friction 2014 (and 2013) series can all be read separately but they work best when read together to get the full impact of the characters, their intertwined relationships and the intricate plot all these terrific authors have devised.  I highly recommend them all but make sure to start at the first story in each series and build up from there.  I have listed the stories as they are being released below.  Not listed as yet is Round Four but that is coming.

Cover art by Laura Harner

Buy Links:         Amazon         ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 40 pages
Published April 30th 2014 by A Bear on Books (first published April 29th 2014)
ISBN139781310924866
edition languageEnglish
seriesEarthquake #2, Pulp Friction 2014 #8

About Pulp Friction 2014:  Laura Harner ~ Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ T.A. Webb The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends.

The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth. Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.  There will be five rounds and one final story written by all four authors.

Round One of Pulp Friction 2014:

Firestorm (Fighting Fire# 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold# 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows# 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake# 1) by Tom Webb

Round Two of Pulp Friction 2014:

Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner
Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil
Blown Kisses (Where the Wind Blows #2) by Havan Fellows
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) by Tom Webb

Round Three of Pulp Friction 2014:

Backburn (Fighting Fire #3) by Laura Harner
Cold Feet (In From the Cold #3) by Lee Brazil
Blow Hard (Where the Wind Blows #3) by Havan Fellows
Tremors (Earthquake #3) by Tom Webb

 

Review: Blown Kisses (Whispering Winds #2) by Havan Fellows

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Rating: 5 stars out of  5

Blown Kisses coverRowen Smithe’s world got infinitely larger and more complicated the day he met Mick Rutger, a friend of Finn’s.  Mick is determined to draw Rowen out of his cabin and confined lifestyle and into Mick’s much larger and outgoing circle of friends.  Rowen is equally determined to stay away and removed from the gregarious,handsome Mick.  But now that Mick has moved just across the road from him in another rental cabin, it has become so much harder to ignore his neighbor.

Mick Rutger is fascinated by Rowen Smithe.  Everything about the man from his long black hair to his secretive ways is attractive to Mick and he is determined to find out more and be the man’s friend, if not something even better.  His first move is into the cabin across from Rowen’s and a stray cat to share with his neighbor.   But then something more appears…a threat not only to their shared cat but to all the creatures of the woods, woods Rowen is bent on protecting.

Rowen Smithe’s top priority is no longer trying to quiet his inner demons but to put an end to the evil that has invaded the woods of Mountain Shadows leaving the bodies of small tortured animals in its wake.  And he will need the help of a very nosy neighbor to track and remove those behind the animal deaths.

I should just make this review as short and sweet as this story and just say “go, go now and get this series”.  Don’t dilly dally, or shilly shally around.  This story and series are ones everyone should be grabbing up (and its companions series to boot). Havan Fellows has created in Rowen Smithe, a tortured soul whose background and secretive ways has made the man an enigma to many (including the readers).   Rowen is alternately sexy. self assured and bold, or distressed, angst filled and withdrawn, and all within a space of 5 to 10 minutes.  His is such an unexpected personality and that aspect draws everyone to him like moths to a flame.  And that includes readers as well.  A true naturalist and outdoorsman, his respect for nature is boundless.  Less so  his regard for his fellow human beings.  Only a few have been let inside his personal space and now he is beginning to consider that Mick might be one more person to include in those he trusts.

The model on the cover is perfect for the larger than life persona that is Mick Rutger.  Charming, enthusiastic with all the energy of a Golden Retriever, Mick is determined to get close to Rowen and a kiss from the man in question has only fueled Mick’s desires.  But for every step forward he makes in his pursuit, Rowen takes twice as many in retreat.  Rowen is a puzzle Mick is intent on figuring out and the reader is just as eager as Mick is.  How I adore these characters.  This excerpt is sure to entice you:

Rowen slouched lower and watched through a crack between the curtain and window as the bane of his existence rocked slowly with that fat ass cat sitting on his lap, her head bouncing up and down from his attentions.

“Don’t fucking scratch her so hard. She may be big but she still has a tiny neck,” Rowen mumbled to no one.

He realized what he’d just said and twisted on his heels from his squat to land on his ass against the wall between the front door and the window he’d just been spying out of. He must be mad to be worried about a stray cat that did nothing but run from him every time he stepped outside.

The irony of that thought was not lost on him; he just chose to ignore it for the moment.

But you are mad, aren’t you?

He banged the back of his head against the wall once, twice…when he lifted his head for a third round of punishment, the knock of flesh on wood happened before the contact between his skull and the wall did.

Huh?

Rowen sat quiet for a second, wondering where the extra noise came from when it happened again, and he looked up to the right.

“Shit…” he muttered under his breath. Someone was knocking on his door.

He turned his body, slowly moved the curtain out of the way, and with only his right eye, peered out the window. He couldn’t see the front door from this window, but he wondered if a certain…

Two clear pale blue eyes stared back at him, crinkled around the edges undoubtedly because of the smile Rowen couldn’t see from this close.

Mick moved back enough to lift up Filigree—no, the stray cat—and wave her paw at Rowen.

Rowen gracelessly fell backward on his butt, the curtain fluttering closed when he pulled away. He flipped himself over and scuttled up the stairs to his second floor window and his blessed tree.

He easily climbed out of the cabin and onto the branch then froze with one hand on the window frame and the other on the limb above his head.

Standing beneath him and slightly to the left, a blond-haired man sans a stray feline smiled up at him.

“Thought I’d find you here. So, do you want steak for dinner?”

 

Irresistible right?  Mick waving that little paw at Rowen? Adorable.  But as sweet and funny as that moment and others are, the narrative also is quick to turn as dark as the voice inside Rowen’s mind.  When the small  dead animals start to turn up, its clear that other demons haunt the woods around Shadow Mountain.  Soon the hunt is on for the culprit or culprits and everyone around is drawn into the task.

The narrative is very much like a day on a mountain,  It can start off so promising with blue skies and a warm sun shinning down on you, but before you know it, a front moves in and you are caught out in the wild as a storm rages around you and rescue looks bleak.  That how quickly the mood and relationships twist and turn here.  It makes for a quick, provocative and suspenseful read.  It’s one of the elements that makes this story and series so successful and the Pulp Friction group as a whole.  You never know what’s coming next or which layer is going to be pulled back to reveal a tortured past or criminal element. It’s surprising how fast it all goes by.  It pulls you into the story so completely that when you reach the end you are ready for the next story because you want it to continue immediately.  But I have to wait and so do you, at least for a little while.

If you are new to these characters and series, start with the first story, Blown Away, then Blown Kisses.  So go now, get started reading.  You will fall in love with these characters and their series.  And then move on to the other connecting stories.  They are as addictive as they come and are highly  recommended for all.  All are listed below.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  I love these covers, from the models to the branding for the Pulp Friction group.  Just perfect.

Book Details:

ebook, approximately 45 pages
Published April 14th 2014 by Appleton Publishing Avenue
ISBN PF1400002
edition languageEnglish
seriesWhispering Winds #2

Round One of Pulp Friction 2014:

Firestorm (Fighting Fire# 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold# 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows# 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake# 1) by Tom Webb

Round Two of Pulp Friction 2014:

Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner
Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil
Blown Kisses (Where the Wind Blows #2) by Havan Fellows
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) by Tom Webb

Review: Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Cold Comfort coverProfessor Finn Lorensson has worked hard to get close to his prickly co worker and neighbor, Cannon Malloy, and now it seems he is starting to succeed in getting to know Cannon no matter how hard Cannon works to thwart him. Finn is convinced that Cannon is the man for him, now to convince Cannon.

Cannon Malloy fled Atlanta thinking that he could start over again, living his life as an out gay man.  But all Cannon’s fears and traumatic past have followed him, making it almost impossible to open him self up to the idea of a new man and a new romance.  Slowly, Finn Lorensson has made him accept the idea that he could find love again.

But someone from Finn’s past poses a problem for Finn that will impact his career and fragile new relationship that he has pursued with Cannon.  With two men confronting the demons from their past, is a future together even remotely possible?

Ah, poor Cannon Malloy. Not even a fresh start in Flagstaff can prevent him from wanting to return to Atlanta and the people he left there. And even if Cannon is not sure they even miss him.  He can’t bring himself to move forward emotionally and he can’t go back. So he’s stuck. And Lee Brazil makes us not only understand Cannon’s position but feel for him as well.  It doesn’t matter whether his  problems are self-inflicted (some are) or a matter of poor timing (some of those are too), we have all been there at some point in our lives.  And can access those old memories and feelings through the character of Cannon.

Finn Lorensson is a somewhat more problematic character for me.  He just seems so great.  He’s considerate and tender of Cannon and Cannon’s prickly defensive nature.  I like that about him.  But maybe he just seems to much the gentle giant.  At least by his handling of a delicate matter.  Or it just could be that we haven’t seen that side of him yet.  We get Cannon, he’s a known factor.  Not so much Finn.  And that is  one of the things I love about this series, the slow reveal, the torturous climb to romance and love. Nothing has ever been easy for Cannon and it looks to remain that way.  Just as we think Cannon is going to give into his impulses, something happens to shatter that small forward movement, halting any progress he may have made and throwing Cannon back into his shell.

Yep, that happens here.  And no, I won’t tell you how.  I will say that it ends on a bit of a bombshell as the Top Gear guys would have it.  Brazil has lead us up to this moment, building our hopes for Finn and Cannon one small delectable morsel at a time.  I mean really, there is a cooking/dinner scene that is quite heady in its erotic buildup.  Finn knows what he wants, Cannon is afraid of what he wants, and that is an anticipatory and wonderful recipe for romance. Or it should be.  Sigh.

The pages of Cold Comfort just flew by.  The writing is fast paced, the narrative so smooth and lively that I was astonished at how quickly I was finished.  And then I was ready for more.  But I fear a little wait is in store for me and the characters here.  How I love this new Pulp Friction 2014 group series and In From the Cold in particular.  Cannon is turning into quite the favorite of mine, something I  never would have suspected would happen given his role in last year’s series.  Ah, surprises, they are wonderful things….mostly.

So grab this story up if you are familiar with the series and the whole Pulp Friction experience.  If you are new to PF2014 and any of the series involved, return to the first stories in Round One and watch how quickly you become addicted.  I know I am.  Consider this one of Scattered Thoughts must reads for 2014!

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Love that model, perfect in every way.

Book Details:

ebook
Published April 1st 2014 by Lime Time Press
ISBN LBRZL02014
edition languageEnglish
seriesIn From the Cold #2
charactersFinn Lorensson, C

Round One of Pulp Friction 2014:

Firestorm (Fighting Fire# 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold# 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows# 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake# 1) by Tom Webb

Round Two of Pulp Friction 2014:

Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner
Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil
Blown Kisses (Where the Wind Blows #2) by Havan Fellows
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) by Tom Webb

 

 

Review: Higher Ground (Earthquake #1) by TA Webb

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Higher Ground coverCharlie Turner was just 19 when his father died, leaving a hole in the Turner family that was impossible to fill.  Yet Charlie tried, walking away from college, his boyfriend, and his dreams, everything that mattered to him in order to live at home and take care of his younger brother and mom. Now in his 30’s and with Turner & Sons Construction a success, Charlie has little else in his life beyond family and work, something his friends and mother are concerned about.

When his friend and co worker, Siggy, gets pulled away to work at Mountain Shadows, Charlie is left to meet with their newest client, an art gallery owner who wants to expand his space to include more art works.  The owner of the gallery, Amos Greene, is arrogant, cold, and somewhat smug, especially in his initial dealings with Charlie.  His treatment of Charlie borders on demeaning and rude but Charlie demands respect and professionalism  and gets it.  A standoff made tense by the fact that both men are attracted to each other.

But Charlie has more on his mind than a stuffy art gallery owner,  his younger brother is getting into trouble and his mom wants Charlie to reclaim his personal life by moving out into a house of his own at Shadow Mountain.  Getting a life is easier than it sounds and a demanding new client is the least of Charlie’s problems or so he thinks…..

Higher Ground, the first in TA Webb’s Earthquake (PF2014) series, is a wonder of a story.  Webb’s main character, Charlie Turner, has been through the emotional wringer, and the stress and responsibility he shouldered when his father died has not abated. Forced by circumstances to  be “the man of the family”, Charlie forfeited his teenage years and personal life to make sure his mother and younger brother were taken care of.  Managing his own personal pain, Charlie’s focus was on his mother and brother.  And while his mother has recovered, younger brother, Damon,  is swinging deeper out of control.  Only Charlie seems to be able to reach him.

I think one of the  finest aspects of this story is the brotherly dynamics playing out between Charlie and Damon.  The death of their father forced Charlie into his father’s role when his mother was emotionally and physically unable to parent him and Damon.  But now she has recovered enough to realize what that has done to her older son and is trying to make amends. Their mother wants to reclaim her role as parent/authority figure to Damon, and having Charlie leave the house will let her do that and give Charlie the independence he deserves.  But it may be too late for that and Webb makes us see just how fragile the bonds are between Charlie, his mother, and Damon.

And clearly, Webb understands the combustive nature of teenagers too.  It’s hard enough to be a teenager with hormones playing havoc with you at that age. But then to have that young boy deal with the loss of a beloved father in a car accident, the temporary loss of the support from his mother dealing with her own issues? Devastating especially as it comes with a change in his relationship with his older brother  which goes from adored sibling to someone now in an authority position. All this sends him reeling towards poor decisions and emotional turmoil that just gets worse with each new well meaning intervention.

All the characters, all their actions comes across as authentic and painfully realistic.  You will hurt for Damon as much as you do for Charlie.  This is a tough time for both of them and Damon isn’t, not unexpectedly, handling Charlie’s move well.  So many changes to the fundamental foundation of the Turner family, and the author makes us quake in anxiety and anticipation for the next event to impact them and the damage it will cause.

And on top of all this is a mixed up attraction between Charlie and Amos.  The author’s terrific character development of both men let the reader into the roller coaster of emotions their meeting/working relationship has generated.  Charlie, open and friendly, easy in his sexuality.  Amos, cold, calculating and rushing to judgement, all prickly and cultured.  Their clash instigates some white hot sex driven passion which is just as quickly dashed. Webb leads us through all the assumptions each man has made about each other and then onto the path of adjustments they start to make.  There is so much room for growth here, not only in their burgeoning relationship with each other but also with those other characters that surround them, including Amos’ relationship with Damon.

I have to keep double checking to see that this story is only 45 pages in length. It has the feel of a much longer, deeper story.  Webb gives us textured, real characters and a multi-layered plot that pulls us in and keeps us involved from start to finish. There are some deeply wounding events that occur here that ring with all the emotional truth and pain that close siblings can inflict on each other.   It leaves Charlie and the reader hurting and worried about what comes next.  I can’t wait for the next story in the series, Moving Earth (Earthquake #2).  TA Webb made me care about these people.  Now I need to know what happens next.  So will you.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Great covers for all the series and books,including Higher Ground.

Book Details:

ebook, 45 pages
Published March 1st 2014 by A Bear on Books

One of the Pulp Friction 2014 Series

 From the Pulp Friction Group: The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends. The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth. Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

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

Review: Blown Away (Whispering Winds #1) by Havan Fellows

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Blown Away coverHiding safely away in the confines of his Mountain Shadows cabin, Rowen Smithe is not prepared for the human tornado that is Mick Rutger when Mick enters his life.  Rowen spends his time concealed within the safety of his cabin, observing and protecting the woods surrounding his Mountain Shadows home, venturing out only at night to explore odd sightings and unexplained happenings in the forest around him.  Tormented by voices and secrets from his past, Rowen lets no one inside.  Even the tentative  gestures of friendship by his neighbor Finn have been rebuffed.  Then he meets Mick.

Mick Rutger is a force of boundless energy and optimism.  At loose ends after finishing 6 years of college, Mick figures a trip to see his oldest and best friend,Finn Lorensson, would help him figure out what he wants to do next.  Finn lives in a cabin on Mountain Shadows, surrounded by beautiful woods, a gorgeous setting that Mick appreciates.  Mountain Shadows is also the home of some apparently quirky, gorgeous men if the one Mick spies climbing a tall tree next to Finn’s cabin is any indication.  After watching a lithe and long haired Rowen easily ascend the impossibly tall pine next to his house, Mick quickly becomes intrigued by the secretive man Finn calls neighbor.

When Rowen sees metal glinting far out in the woods through his binoculars, he knows that something suspicious is up and sets off  to investigate.  But what Rowen doesn’t count on is being followed by a curious and unprepared Mick.  What follows is more than either one of them expected….

Never have I fallen in love so quickly with such a quirky and clearly wounded character as I have with Rowen Smithe.  I am not sure if it is that aspect of his person, the one that loves his woods and mountains so, that speaks to the park naturalist in me.  The familiarity with which Rowen moves through his forest environment, his appreciation and knowledge of the flora and fauna around him as well as his need to protect it all…well, it all just makes me gravitate towards his character as I would a fellow ranger. And when he climbs his trees, its more than a need to find the  highest view point, it is a havan for Rowen, emotionally and physically.  I get that too.

Character Mick Rutger makes a wonderful counterpart to all that isolation, secrecy, and wildness that is Rowen.  His is the bouncy enthusiasm and energy of a golden retriever. Thoughtless in words, impulsive in actions , he’s that little boy that never stops moving, occasionally breaking things he didn’t mean to. Mick is just someone in need of a direction and perhaps someone to care for and he appeals to the reader almost as quickly as Rowen does.  The author has certainly done a remarkable job in creating a character that is impossible to dislike while demonstrating that under all that  superficiality are depths to be discovered.  Great characters both of them.

Throw in suspicious doings in the woods as Havan Fellows does, and an unexplained “voice” that Rowen hears at the worst possible times, and you have a story guaranteed to lure you in and keep you absorbed in the characters and situations they find themselves in.  Fellows moves the narrative along at a clip, the dialog is sharp and perfect for the characters, and the plot increases in complexity as more questions pop up about the events that are happening and the people who live in Mountain Shadows.

Really, I can’t wait for the next installment.  And the ending? Well, I am still smiling and I will leave it at that.  Grab this story up and start reading.  It’s terrific and highly recommended.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  I love this cover.  That model is perfect for Rowen.  Great job.

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 40 pages
Published February 17th 2014 by Appleton Publishing Avenue
ASINB00IIF4K4G
edition languageEnglish
series Whispering Winds

Buy at ARe,  Amazon

One of the Pulp Friction 2014 Series

 From the Pulp Friction Group: The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends. The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth. Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

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

Review: Cold Snap (In From the Cold #1) by Lee Brazil

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Cold SnapWhen Dagfinnr Lorensson, professor of literature, comes across a freezing Dr. Cannon Malloy in the staff parking lot, it’s not the first time the two men have met, but only one of them remembers.  Cannon Malloy has just arrived in Flagstaff, Arizona, fleeing the traumatizing events and deadly stalker of the last summer in Atlanta.  Cannon is to take over the neurosurgery clinic at the university.  Somehow Cannon thought putting a large distance between himself and his friends in Atlanta  (Chances Are series) would help him get past the events that have left his hands shaking and himself fearful almost all of the time.

Now Cannon stands shivering next to his 66 Shelby, painfully aware that clearly neither his beloved car or himself was prepared for the winter weather that occurs in Flagstaff and the mountainous regions that surround it.  Dagfinnr rescues Cannon and takes him to a local  hotel where Finn is staying until the roads are safe to travel home.  The night at the inn ends in explosive sex.

But Cannon is a man living in fear and even the smallest emotional advances send him running out into the night, seeking the refuge of his new rental cabin on Mountain Shadows.  It’s not until Cannon runs into trouble again on the snow packed mountain road that he realizes his rescuer from work is also his new neighbor.  With winter storms and proximity working to throw them together, will Finn find a way past Cannon’s shields and his fear?  And will Cannon find the strength to stop running and let someone inside all the barriers he has raised against love?

Cold Snap is another terrific start to what looks to be a gripping and emotion packed series.  Unexpectedly Lee Brazil has brought Cannon Malloy, a problematic character if ever there was one, over from the original Pulp Friction 2013 group series.  Now a main character, Cannon Malloy is someone the reader is certain to feel ambivalent about.  He was the closeted man who hurt Chance so deeply in the Chances Are series. His return into Chance’s life sparks all sorts of upheavals in the core relationships of the Pulp Friction 2013 group of friends.  He disappears towards the end of that storyline after some horrific events.  It now appears that he ran off to Arizona in hopes of starting a new life as an out gay man for the first time in his life.  This process starts to transform a self involved personality into someone the reader can start to relate to and empathize with by slowly revealing the frailties behind the self centered appearance.

And to help in this process hopefully is Dagfinnr Loresson, professor of English literature, neighboring renter at the cabins at Mountain Shadows (the location for the Pulp Friction 2014 series), and apparently a man searching for love and a little kink with Cannon Malloy.   As this is just the first story in the series, Brazil is laying the groundwork necessary for the complicated relationship that is sure to follow.  Here it would help to have read the previous Pulp Friction series or at least the Chances Are series, although not completely necessary as the author starts to work bits and pieces from Cannon’s past into the current storyline.

Towards the end of the last series, Cannon was starting to explore the world of bdsm sexuality and it did not go well for a number of reasons. But all those unanswered questions and unresolved feelings are still there under all the barriers Cannon has erected to protect himself from physical and emotional harm.  And Finn recognizes that in Cannon he might have meet the man to match his own desires and kink.  The drama and, I expect, the fun, will be in watching the author brings these two disparate personalities together into a rewarding relationship.

There are also mysteries that start to emerge and I expect elements from Cannon’s past to figure into the plot as well.  I have always found it hard to believe that Brazil can pack so much story into only 56 pages.  The characters are so vivid and real that they threaten to burst out of the page and the location feels as alive as the tall trees that surround the cabins and main lodge.  My only complaint is, that like an addictive snack, you finish one and then immediately want to reach out for the next.  That’s the way I feel about Cold Snap and all the rest of the Pulp Friction 2014 series.

The anticipation has settled in.  My curiosity is engaged and the suspense is building.  I am already in love with the series and all the characters, wounded, quirky, dominate, and complex, that are showing up one by one at Mountain Shadows.  There are so many elements to be found here, love, romance, kinky sex, wounded men, and mystery, that there is something for everyone.  I definitely consider this highly recommended!

Cover art by Laura Harner is terrific and perfect for the man and story inside.

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 56 pages
Published January 30th 2014 by Lime Time Press
ASIN B00I5SWYZS
edition language English
series In From the Cold, Pulp Friction 2014

One of the Pulp Friction 2014 Series

 From the Pulp Friction Group: The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends. The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth. Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Firestorm (Fighting Fire: 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows: 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake: 1) by Tom Webb

Winners of the Pulp Friction 2013 Contest

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Congratulations to our Pulp Friction 2013 Series Contest.  The Winners are:

  1. Bluesmokey  richards851(at)sbcglobal(dot)net
  2. Helen helenj@odont.uio.no
  3. Kerry books2read69@hotmail(dot)com
  4. Bobbie Walker Bobbie022@sky.com

Please double check that I have your email addresses correct and let me know if there are any corrections.  The authors will be sending our copies of their series to the winners.  Happy reading everyone and Happy Holidays!

ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Review of Odd Man Out, the Pulp Friction combined series finale story.

Pulp Friction 4 covers