A Lucy Review: Begging Ben (Love Letters #2) by Anyta Sunday

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is the second in the Love Letters series and picks up with Landon, the twin of River from book one.   In the first book we get a glimpse of Landon and his incredible unrequited pining for Chance, a basketball player he had a weeklong affair with and who then tossed Landon away.  Landon has spent his time moping, mourning, watching and attending Chance’s basketball games in an effort to win him back.  This has left his best friend and YouTube partner, Ben, out in the cold and unable to help him.  The book begins at a party in Las Vegas where we find out these two are no longer best friends.  Landon had messed up, big time, and Ben walked away.  Landon knows he is the cause.  “Ben had been right to distance himself from Landon.  Who wanted a best friend so infatuated with someone that they forgot who mattered?”   He wants his best friend back, though, the man who is nearly as close as his twin.  The problem is, Ben loves Landon and it’s putting him hell being near someone who doesn’t seem to care at all.

While Ben tries to avoid Landon at the party, Landon catches up with him and after much drinking they end up in that Las Vegas destination many have come to regret, the wedding chapel.  Where yes, they get married.  A little thing that Ben doesn’t remember but Landon does.  It was Landon’s idea and his whole reasoning about it was so honestly so stupid I wanted to smack him. “At the time it made brilliant sense; Ben could be actual family.  Marriage had been his drunken attempt to keep Ben from leaving his life again.”  Except Ben doesn’t know they are married and Landon wants him to stay as his friend, his brother; not as a husband.  Ben’s cousin, Chris, was a witness to the wedding but he gets some mind altering news while there and so he doesn’t mention it.

Ben says he is “Not in the right place to be friends yet” but Landon really doesn’t respect his wish for space.  Despite the fact that he wants his best friend back, he interferes with someone Ben is interested in and never tells Ben they got married.  Ben finds out from his mom, who accidentally saw a picture on Chris’ phone.  It’s a mess.  Ben’s mom loves Landon nearly as much as her son and they don’t want to disappoint her with a lie, so they agree to spend the week with her pretending to be real husbands and then fight and break up. Except Landon doesn’t follow the script.

They have a science YouTube channel with two million followers, Ben works at Silver Pines bookstore and they both have money to spare, but not having Ben in his life is killing Landon.  There were times I was so aggravated with Landon because of his actions.  He is so oblivious to what is right there.  And Ben is sometimes heartbreaking.  When Landon asks him what he really wants in a marriage, “I want to be his first choice.  Not a backup when the guy he really wants doesn’t want him back.”

There is back and forth with Landon trying to get his head out of his butt and figure things out while Ben tries to keep his heart safe. 

Secondary characters include Ash and River from book one and we also get Chris, now a new father and trying to cope with everything with the help of Ben’s mom and the guys. I loved Chris a lot.  There is Gabe, the barista Ben thought he might want to date, who is laid back and cool and hopefully gets a story as well.

Cover art follows the lines of Admiring Ash and is a single man set against a simple colored background.  I’m not sure if it is supposed to be Ben or Landon.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 177 pages
Published July 29th 2018 by Anyta Sunday
ASINB07G15B723
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLove Letters :- add to your GR here

A Lucy Review: Admiring Ash (Love Letters #1) by Anyta Sunday

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Ash Heartford’s parents have not been the greatest role models.  Since he never knew his father and his mother had a bad habit of falling in obsessive love that pushed her men away, he’s been sort of on his own.  That was okay until four years ago when his half-sister, Danielle, turned up on his doorstep on the wrong side of Greenvile. Mom had died and Dani had nowhere to go.  Ash stepped up, put his life on hold so he could take care of Dani and make sure her future was settled.  The fact that Ash is crushing those pennies is beside the point.  “He was sick of struggling financially.  No matter how hard he worked scrubbing toilets, he was constantly failing Danielle.”  Of course, he isn’t failing her at all and he has sacrificed everything for her but he doesn’t see that.  He has his cat, Chucky, for company and that’s all he needs as he tries to survive his jobs (yes, multiple) cleaning for other people.

So it is with some trepidation that he receives a letter delivered by the beautiful River.  A letter that lets him know he did have family in a grandfather, Lester, who has now unfortunately passed away.  He is bequeathing his historic home and book store to Ash, a continuation of a family legacy.  Since River was like a grandson to Lester, he has been asked to help Ash out with anything he needs.  Everything, that is, except getting involved with him.  Ash, according to Lester, is off limits.

Silver Pines is a lovely place and there are some suits from a corporation willing to pay big money for it.  River desperately wants Ash to keep it, keep Lester’s legacy, but it’s very difficult when you are literally scratching for pennies to turn down two hundred grand.  River has a week to convince Ash the more modest living he will get from Silver Pines is worth it.  River is from the rich side of town and has never really understood what it’s like to scrounge. “River had never hated being wealthy.  Until now, as Ash dropped on all fours in the obscenely large second kitchen to scrub…”

So River begins to show Ash what the legacy means.  Who Lester was.  The letters, exchanged by River and Lester through a mailbox inside Silver Pines, were so sweet.  The last one especially, that Lester never got to read.  How to run Silver Pines and care for it.  He shares stories with Ash and they begin to be friends, and maybe more.  But Ash keeps it cool because he always remembers that everything River is doing for him, he’s doing because of Lester.  River, who never does relationships and keeps it at one-night stands, begins to understand why Lester declared Ash off limits.

Of course, there is the moment that River has his epiphany that causes problems.  Not the classic misunderstanding, per se, but something like that.  Can they come back from it?  Can they even make this work, the rich guy and the poor guy?

Secondary characters here are interesting.  Dani is not a spoiled girl and she appreciates all that Ash does for her.  When Ash realizes his 16-year-old sister is having sex, the mild attack he has was funny, if bittersweet. Because the Heartfords drive their men off, he’s very afraid that either he or Dani will fall into that same trap.  “He’d made it a point to avoid engaging with me.  Men and Heartfords didn’t stick.  Men were only ever points of obsession.”  There is River’s twin brother, Landon, a sweet man who had a week-long fling with a straight (very closeted?) basketball player and is now spending his time in constant pain of unrequited love.  Their great friend, Ben, knows that that’s like (and I know where I want the next book, Begging Ben, to go).  “I don’t chase after guys who will never return my feelings.”  Ahh, Ben.

This was a good start to a new series.  There are supposed to be 26 Love Letters, working through the alphabet, so I’m curious to see how that works.  I am a fan of Anyta Sunday and I am looking forward to this series continuing.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is simple, colored background with Ash pictured.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 176 pages
Published July 29th 2018
Original Title Admiring Ash
ASINB07G18ZKDT
Edition Language English
Series Love Letters #1

Release Day Blitz: Love Letters by Anyta Sunday

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Admiring Ash

Series (name + # in series):  Love Letters #1

Publisher: Anyta Sunday (self-published)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): July 31st, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook): 41600 words / 222 pages

Subgenre: Light-hearted, sexy gay romance

Direct Link: https://www.anytasunday.com/projects/admiring-ash

(Link will be live July 31st)

Book blurb:

A is for Ash Heartford.

Adorable, strong, and independent.

Abandoned by his parents and attached to only person—his little sister.

Attracted to River, the sultry man who saunters onto his doorstep with startling news.

Always yearning for more River, yet afraid to let him in.

Should he play it safe, or claim his legacy and risk losing his heart?

A is for Admiring Ash.

Tropes: Slow burn, virgin, one true love, happily ever after, related but not, hurt/comfort, forbidden love

Themes: Sudden inheritance, broken family, insta-dad 

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Begging Ben

(Please do not publish title or cover before July 31st!)

Series (name + # in series): Love Letters #2

Publisher: Anyta Sunday (self-published)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): July 31st, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook): 41000 words / 220 pages

Subgenre: Light-hearted, sexy gay romance

Direct Link:

https://www.anytasunday.com/projects/begging-ben

(Link will be live July 31st)

Book blurb:

B is for Ben Spengler.

Brilliant. Bashful. Burned.

Brimming with desire for his BFF Landon, who is beyond compare.

But they aren’t the same Ben and Landon anymore. Not after what Landon did. And didn’t do.

Bitter about his unrequited love.

Bound by a night of drunken promises.

Will the chemistry between them change, or will Ben break first?

B is for Begging Ben.

Challenging Chance

Series (name + # in series): Love Letters #3

Publisher: Anyta Sunday (self-published)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): July 31st, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook): 32000 words / 182 pages

Subgenre: Light-hearted, sexy gay romance

Direct Link: https://www.anytasunday.com/projects/challenging-chance

(Link will come live July 31st)

Book blurb:

C is for Chance Roosevelt-Sutton.

Chiseled jaw. Smug attitude. Wild ways.

Chained to his ego—or so everyone thinks. Except his personal assistant, Brook. He knows better.

Chance is challenged to make his father happy for once, but he needs Brook’s help.

Choosing honesty is too risky, so instead they choose secrecy.

Choked by their pasts, they dream of a better life . . . and

Charm each other into submission.

Will their pasts ruin what they have, or will they grow together?

C is for Challenging Chance.

Tropes: Alpha male, millionaire bad boy, athlete, help/comfort

Themes: Basketball, coming out

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Series blurb:

Feisty. Nerdy. Sexy. Secretive.

Greenville has them all.

A small town with big hearts, Greenville awakens at the mercy of Millionaire Row, the wealthy neighborhood across the tracks from Poplar Low.

Bad-tempered boys meet cheeky lovers.

Colliding worlds spark a fire of emotion. Heat rages. Hearts mend. Love is lost. And found.

Love Letters are playful, sexy, contemporary M/M stories that can be read as standalones.

Welcome to Greenville. Come for the sexy boys. Stay for the HEA.

Excerpts:

Admiring Ash Teaser #1:

Who was this River? What was he doing here, unless . . .

Ash narrowed his eyes. Attractive and charming. Hadn’t his sister mentioned she was crushing on a local college guy? “Oh, fuck me. You’ve knocked up my sister, haven’t you?”

All playfulness evaporated as Ash catalogued River from head to toe. Would Ash be spending the next twenty years raising a kid that resembled this man? Would that kid grow up—like all the Heartfords—addicted to love? Raising fatherless children? Obsessed with falling for men, believing, every time that this one was the one?

He’d hoped he and Danielle would kick the tradition. 

He almost punched the stunningly sculpted man in the mouth. 

Admiring Ash Teaser #2:

“You have deft fingers.”

Ash’s voice vibrated through him, urging River to make a move. The playful twitch of those lips begged to be kissed as much as River’s lips begged to do the kissing. 

He wanted to slide his hands into Ash’s tangled hair and let their lips collide.

He wanted Ash under him, mapping every inch of his skin with his mouth. 

He wanted Ash not to be off-limits . . .

But he was.

Begging Ben Teaser #1:

Waking up after a night of drinking? Fun times.

Ben’s pulse rang in his ear. He shifted slightly, foot moving the sheets and funneling air over his body—

An arm tightened around him, and Ben froze.

What. The. Hell.

With a shaky breath, he absorbed the details. The arm strapped across his chest; the boner pressing against the small of his back; the steady breathing drifting through the back of his hair. The heady scent of Landon cloaked around him, musky, traced with citrus.

He screwed his eyes shut tightly, pulling the pieces of last night together. There’d been puns and drinking games, and a wedding ceremony in the twenty-four-hour chapel.

No, wait. That last part was a bizarre dream.

Begging Ben Teaser #2:

“What do you want from a real marriage?”

Ben paused, clawing back the “you” desperately trying to escape him. Not Landon. He was over that. “I want to have someone who supports me, and vice versa. I want conversations and shared interests. I want common goals, my husband and I, a team. Us against the world. I want to be so close to him that I can guess what he is thinking. I want a man who sees I have failures and flaws but loves me anyway. Who has a fantastic sense of humor and finds joy laughing at the silly things. And . . . .”

“And?”

Ben couldn’t hold Landon’s deeply curious gaze. “I want to be his first choice. Not a backup when the guy he really wants doesn’t want him back.”

The silence that followed felt thick and taut, and Ben struggled to breathe.

Landon sat back with a determined stare toward the road. He licked his bottom lip and his hand rested on the wheel, thumb tapping. “You deserve all that, Ben. That and more.”

Challenging Chance Teaser #1:

Clenching the folder tightly against his chest, Brook kicked up a half smile. “I know you are a playboy, and charmingly faulted,” he said. “Didn’t think you’d be sexist too.”

Chance slung the towel around his neck, stretching it taut by pulling the ends. “There you have it,” he said. “I’m all those things.”

He sounded cocky, but the follow-up swallow and downward glance had Brook pausing. The glimpse of vulnerability quickly vanished as Chance strode off the court.

Brook hustled after him, matching his long stride easily since Chance was only a hair taller.

“I can do the job as good as anyone,” he said. “I’ll be at your beck and call, whenever you need me. Most importantly, I’ll keep my mouth shut.”

Chance abruptly stopped and whisked around. “What do you mean you’ll keep your mouth shut?”

“Public intoxication, public indecency, driver’s license revoked two years ago for accumulating too many fines. None of it is my business. I’ll help you navigate whatever paperwork comes with it, of course. But outside you and me? My lips are sealed.”

He would never blurt Chance’s mistakes in a crowded café. Though he’d been grateful to overhear the ex-PA, he didn’t condone being unprofessional and blabbing about an employer’s affairs.

Everyone made mistakes. They didn’t need those mistakes defining them.

Challenging Chance Teaser #2:

Brook pulled him tighter by the lapels of his suit, returning the kiss. He pulled back, breath drizzling over Chance’s wet lips. Brook’s eyes held a ray of earnestness. Something soft and unspoken drifted between them but Chance couldn’t quite grasp it. He frowned and stepped back. Ran a hand through his hair and glanced at himself in the mirror. Lips red, cheeks flushed—and he was grinning.

“Never stop smiling like that,” Brook whispered, sliding behind him, arms circling his waist to undo the jacket button. “You look amazing. I’d like to see that last jacket on you though. To make an informed decision.”

Informed decision, his tight ass.

He smirked at Brook in the reflection of the mirror. The sales assistant knocked on the door. Chance called out, “Just trying on the last jacket.”

“If you need any help . . .”

Brook drew off the jacket, palms sweeping over his shoulders down to his forearms.

“I’m fine, thanks.” Chance hoped he hadn’t croaked on that last sentence. Heels tapped across marble floor, growing fainter.

 

About Anyta Sunday:

HEART-STOPPING SLOW BURN

A bit about me: I’m a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. I love to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love.

Some of my favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.

I write a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy.

My books have been translated into German, Italian, French, and Thai.

Author website: http://www.anytasunday.com/

Author newsletter signup: http://www.anytasunday.com/newsletter-free-e-book/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anytasundaybooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/anytasunday

Instagram: https://instagram.com/anytasunday

A MelanieM Review:Locked (Telluric Realm #1) by Anyta Sunday

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

LockedA curse threatens the Winter Kingdom.
A brother is turned to ice.
A rebel uprising is on the horizon.

Marble-maker Rye Cunnings is at the center of it all—and doesn’t know it.

He doesn’t know he’s the lost summer prince. Doesn’t know his blood can unlock Winter’s curse. Doesn’t know why the marbles he makes flutter with magic. All he thinks is that he’s crazy. That he sees things others don’t, like dragons and strange markings on his skin.

But when a dark dragon snatches away Rye’s only friend Milo, he is forced to face the crazy in his life and figure out a way to bring Milo back.

Help comes in the form of Cerdic Leit, a warrior who finds Rye to take him “home” to the Telluric Realm and their kind. All Rye has to do is follow him into Gatreau, the gateway to the four Telluric kingdoms, and all his questions will be answered.

In the hopes of saving Milo, Rye steps into this new and dangerous world. A world where he learns of the Tellurics and their Hansian foes. A world that is swept up in a bitter battle of justice and hate.

And a world that won’t let Rye leave again.

I adore a wonderful fantasy saga and Anyta Sunday’s latest novel, Locked, has all the markings of making it into my top  fantasy list.  Its the first in her new series, Telluric Realm, and it sets the ground work not only for her series universe, which includes multiple dimensions, but a cast of characters complete with dragons, kingdoms at war, lost princes and curses that will break your heart.

We jump into Rye’s life as he’s running, fleeing actually, towards the comfort of his marble shop, Marvels Marbles:

Rye Cunnings shivered and hoofed it down the cobblestone road, fixed on the slice of his marble store ahead. This was just another morning. Just another morning.

A drizzly dawn fingered through the low-hanging mist creeping along Bristol’s narrow streets. Lamppost lights flickered and blinked out, sucking their murky reflections from deep puddles. Rain hit Rye’s neck and face and the palm he pressed against his chest. The drops snaked down his sleeve and mixed with the blood at his wrist. It tingled, and Rye dabbed his cuff over the cut—a circle intersected with twelve loops.

A cut that he’d gouged out with his keys, following the shimmery pattern that had marked his skin for as long as he could remember.

 

Already, the author has told us so many things, there’s a  spooky pattern playing out in Rye’s life, he has an odd design on his wrist and his cuts the pattern repeatedly.  That’s just the opening paragraphs, the following ones just cement your curiosity about this haunted man, the incredible marbles he makes that give him so much peace and perhaps act as a balm in more ways than one.

The action starts in too.  Anyta Sunday is not content to “tell you” but picks up the pace of her narrative (which was already fast), to whip along at dragon flight speed.  There is plenty of action, oodles of subterfuge,  political bad history between the kingdoms, lost princes and other back history for the author to lay out.  Oh and romances as well. Three of them to be exact if I’m following the threads here, not just the main characters, which is a total delight.

But, a cautionary note, the romances are of the slow building type.  You can see it happening, the chemistry the  author has created between several couples in her story is delicious.  Its the wonderful dialogs, great scenes, that deliver in some cases (ok, more than one) the prickliness and snark, the huge misunderstandings and the betrayals, but the actual falling, verbally, in love?  The commitment and the kissing? Don’t expect to see here.  It will have to be won, and too much will have occurred between all of the characters here  for that to have happened.  Trusts need to be rebuilt, and in some cases, people will need to be…well never mind, laughing, I’ll let those bits to the story and storyteller.

As I said before this is a long tale, with a saga’s worth a world building to layout for the reader.  At times, it gets a bit bogged down under the weight but it quickly picks up steam again.  And, honestly, you need that information later on in the story and series.

Sunday’s descriptions of fights and action are tremendous, I see the action happening as though it was just in front of me.  There are more than a few white-knuckle moments here and they were outstanding in making me wonder at the outcome, for the book and our hero (even as I knew there was a sequel coming).

Only the ending left me a little hanging. It felt less complete  and more like a setup for the next story.  Its really the only reason this story didn’t get a 5 star rating.  But I suppose that as saga’s go, I’ll settle for that and eagerly await the next installment in the Telluric Realm.

I’ll leave you with a  dream that Rye constantly has:

 

He lay back, practiced emptying his mind, and tossed and turned toward sleep.

Then, like a heavy weight plunging into deep water, Rye sank into The Dream.

She was there again, standing in a narrow alley, a slip of light overhead and a black shaft gripped in her hand. She held herself straight, chin up, honeycomb hair spilling over her shoulders. With a flick of her wrist, the shaft extended to the length of a cane and she stilled, statuesque for a long moment, and then spun into a fluid dance, the sharp end of the shaft cutting easily into the ground.

From inside her coat she pulled a vial and poured a glittering fluid over the markings she’d made. She flipped the shaft to its bristly end and traced the glitter over the wreath of symbols at her feet.

She came close, filling his vision.

“Shhh,” she said softly. “He won’t get you.”

His vision blurred to a curtain of golden hair, then sharpened, and her figure shrank away. The edges of the dream warped, distorted. There was a flash of orange light, followed by the woman’s wretched, agonized scream.

The alley entrance darkened as a scaled body slunk past, and then swiveled…

Fierce black eyes glared at him through thick plumes of smoke. One massive ball of fire shot out and bounced back at him. The dragon reared back, wings shooting out, belly expanding. Its jaws parted, jetting out a mighty burst of flame…

Again, the fire bounced.

The ground shook as the animal slammed against the alley entrance and roared. Then he flew overhead, diving down toward them. Again, something blocked him. Over and over he tried, retreating and slamming, retreating and slamming, retreating. . .

The dream warbled again, jerky

Do I recommend this book?  Absolutely!  Its exciting, its adventurous, highly imaginative and kept me glued to my Kindle until it was over.  Just how I love my fantasy tales to be told.

 

Cover Design: Natasha Snow is lovely, with just a hint of the designs that cover Rye’s body.

Map Design: Renflowergrapx

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 330 pages
Published April 26th 2016
ASIN B01DX3EAZQ
Edition Language English