A Stella Review: Making Home (Bay Valley U #1) by Dev Bentham

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RATING 3 out of 5 stars

In his real life, Manu Contrares makes a decent living as a videographer in New York. But when his mother goes into hospice, he heads home to Bay Valley to help take care of her and ends up back at his first job on the janitorial staff of the local college. It feels like a long step down for a proud Hispanic man.

Chris Hall loves teaching but hates research. That’s becoming a big problem because his third-year faculty review is coming up and if he doesn’t make something happen soon, he’ll be out. He’s spending his nights working in the lab on a Hail Mary attempt to save his job.

When the two men meet, it’s explosive. And complicated. Chris is lily-white and culturally tone-deaf and Manu’s only in town for a short stay. It’s a recipe for heartbreak. Still, the pull between them is too strong for either to ignore. Can they overcome their different backgrounds and somehow surmount the geographical problems, or is this a fling that will leave them both more exhausted and lonely than before?

I chose to review Making Home because although the author is well known in the mm community, I actually read just another book by her and specifically this story’s blurb interested me quite a lot and I was curious. I have to say I dived into the book as soon as I had it in my kindle and finished it in one night. That’s to say that I liked this novel, I found the plot heartbreaking and lovely. How Manu left his life in New York to be beside his mum for her last days on the Earth and how he met Chris and fell in love with him was sweet and simple and so natural it made the story very real.

I liked this story but it didn’t fully satisfy me. Although it has all the elements that could have caught my heart and put me in tears, it missed something. And it probably what I missed come from the characters. All of them were enjoyable characters but they needed to tell me so much more. I read about them be connected to each other. I saw their need to be together. I saw Manu struggle with his grief. I saw and read everything but the point is I didn’t feel them. And this is the only reason I’m giving Making Home only three stars, my inability to be involved in the story. Probably due to my mood of that day, I’m surely going to reread this new release by Dev Bentham in the next future. And I would love to read Kyle’s story. I hope the author will give it to me sooner.

The cover art by Fiona Jayde is simple and well done, I like its lightness and colors.

Sales Links: Loose id LLC     |   Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook,128 pages

Published October 3rd 2017 by Loose Id

ISBN13 9781682523940

Edition Language English

Bay Valley U series #1

Dev Bentham On Hot Men, Dull Jobs and her new Story ‘Buyout – A Love Story’ (guest blog by Dev Bentham)

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Buyout – A Love Story by Dev Bentham
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reamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Catt Ford

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

📚

 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Dev Bentham here today to talk about writing and Buyout – A Love Story.

Welcome, Dev!

📚

Hot men, boring jobs by Dev Bentham

I often first meet a character through his employment. That isn’t all that surprising for someone who has had a lot of jobs in her life. Except that you’d think a writer who conceptualized characters through their work would fill her books with men in really interesting occupations. I do have a few protagonists with cool jobs (like my Antarctic diver in August Ice). But mostly my books are about regular guys who are teachers, cooks, farmers, veterinarians, yoga teachers—you get the idea. No dentists or plumbers yet, but who knows what the future will bring.

I like the challenge of inviting readers to fall in love with men who aren’t characteristically dreamy romantic heros. For example, in Buyout—A Love Story, my narrator is a burned-out finance guy in his mid-30s and the man of his dreams is the proprietor of a struggling hotel. Neither of them are Mr. Darcy types. Which I think is what I love about them.

Because, while we spend a lot of our time working, our jobs don’t have much to do with our innate attractiveness, worthiness or ability to love. I’ve known some distinctly un-hot firemen and cowboys or have been bowled over by a janitor or the guy behind the counter at a fast food restaurant. Traditional romance stories don’t prepare us for finding that perfect someone where we least expect them—right in the middle of our everyday lives. I like to think that anyone can be a romantic hero, no matter what he (or she) does to pay the rent.

My quirkiest job was counting ants for the Forest Service. Forty hours a week bent over a microscope, sorting dead ants by species and counting—1, 2, 3 …a million. I don’t think that job said anything about my attractiveness (or at least I hope it didn’t), but the ants—they kind of grow on you after a while.

So how about you—got any great work stories??

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Blurb:

Everyone deserves a second chance. Or do they? Sean and Martim fell in love at Harvard. Things broke apart when Martim fell into a downward spiral of addiction after his father died. Sean kicked him out but has regretted it ever since. He’s never gotten over losing Martim. But then, not many aspects of his life have lived up to his collegiate dreams.

When he’s sent to evaluate Martim’s family hotel for foreclosure, Sean is once again in the position to put Martim out on the street. In the time since they parted, Martim has pulled himself together, although both health and financial problems linger as a result of his years as an addict. Can the two men bridge the gap of distance and time to rekindle their relationship, or will they fall apart again under the burdens of guilt and disease? 

Set in Lisbon, Portugal, this is the story of lovers reunited after more than a decade apart, and their second chance at romance.

Here’s a taste:

He wore jeans and a black turtleneck, and with one finger held a sleek leather jacket slung over his shoulder. Looking at him was enough to make a man break out in a cold sweat.

He leaned against the doorway. “Stop working, Sean. The sun is out. Let me show you the sights. Then you’ll know why people want to come here.”

My first thought was that I was looking at it. But of course, even Martim in his most promiscuous days couldn’t have satisfied all the tourists.

I shook my head. “I’ve been to Lisbon before. Remember?”

“I remember.” He let it hang. After a moment he rubbed his hands together. “Okay. I have a new plan. I’ll take you someplace we did not go to back then.”

I couldn’t help but smile a little at his enthusiasm. It was so much like the old Martim, the one I knew before he fell apart.

He raised one eyebrow. “Come on, Sean. I promise I won’t bite.”

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About the Author

Dev Bentham has lived in way too many places and had far too many jobs. She’s finally settled in frozen northern Wisconsin where she teaches online and draws on her former lives to write love stories about mature men searching for true love. Her restless feet take her globetrotting whenever she gets the chance, but most of the time she’s tucked up in her office in the woods dreaming about romance and adventure.

She’s the author of many gay romances, including a DABWAHA finalist, a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention and a Rainbow Awards Finalist.

Website: http://www.devbentham.com

Twitter @DevBentham

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dev.bentham

E-mail: DevBentham@yahoo.com

Sign up for Dev’s Monthly News Flash, every month a little news and some flash fiction

An Alisa Release Day Review: Buyout by Dev Bentham

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

buyout-a-love-storyEveryone deserves a second chance. Or do they? Sean and Martim fell in love at Harvard. Things broke apart when Martim fell into a downward spiral of addiction after his father died. Sean kicked him out but has regretted it ever since. He’s never gotten over losing Martim. But then, not many aspects of his life have lived up to his collegiate dreams.

 

When he’s sent to evaluate Martim’s family hotel for foreclosure, Sean is once again in the position to put Martim out on the street. In the time since they parted, Martim has pulled himself together, although both health and financial problems linger as a result of his years as an addict. Can the two men bridge the gap of distance and time to rekindle their relationship, or will they fall apart again under the burdens of guilt and disease?

 

Set in Lisbon, Portugal, this is the story of lovers reunited after more than a decade apart, and their second chance at romance.

 

I really enjoyed this story.  Sean realized he has never really moved on from Martim and tries to make up for his guilt of kicking him out by paying for things for his string of young lovers.  Just when he is beginning to reflect on how his life has turned out he is sent to Martim’s family hotel and is forced to see his ex lover after ten years.

 

I’m not sure about Sean’s family, but Martim’s has always been important to him, he even brought Sean to meet them when they were in college.  We can easily see the bitterness both of them hold about their past in their interactions.  We can see the guilt Sean is holding onto and how he feels about having to do what his job requires.  Even when he finds a way to help he doesn’t feel that it will make what happened before better until he realizes that he doesn’t have anything left to lose if he just takes a chance.

 

Cover art by Catt Ford is nice and gives a great visual of our characters.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 69 pages

Published: February 8, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781635333022

Edition Language: English

Cover Reveal and Release Blast: Tarnished Souls by Dev Bentham (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Tarnished Souls
Author: Dev Bentham
Release Date: December 16th 2016
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance

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BLURB

Tarnished Souls is a series of contemporary romance novels centered around Jewish holidays:

Life can be hard. Hard enough to leave two men tarnished and hopeless.They might be too damaged to see the truth in each other, but just maybe finding their bershert, their true love, will finally make them shine.

Goodreads

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

BOOKS IN THE TARNISHED SOULS COMPILATION

Learning from Issac

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It’s hard to break out of a rut. For years, Nathan submerged himself into his job at St. Genevieve’s. He enjoys teaching, hates faculty meetings, loves his science and has committed himself to the cycle of college life. Along the way, he’s become resigned to being a gay man in a straight culture, a Jew among Catholics, and single in a world of couples. Then the brilliant Isaac Wolf appears in his classroom. Isaac’s a few years older than his fellow students, gorgeous, self-composed and Jewish.

Isaac has his own secrets, which Nathan finds out at the racy new club downtown where the boys who dance out front can be bought in the back room. Nathan thinks he’s about to get a lap dance, but behind the beaded curtain the man on his knees turns out to be Isaac. Nathan’s mind isn’t the only thing Isaac blows. Afterward, Nathan can’t stop thinking about that night. The question is whether Nathan can let himself fall in love with a student, much less someone with Isaac’s checkered past. Is it too late for a student to teach his professor the true nature of love and respect?

Publisher’s Note: This book contains graphic imagery of men having sex together. And enjoying it. However, the story is primarily a romance. Don’t be disappointed if you read pages and pages and pages without encountering acts, organs or orgasms.

Fields of Gold

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Life is full of compromises. That’s what Avi Rosen tells himself. He’s a yeshiva boy turned historian, working on his dissertation and stretching his meager stipend by moonlighting as a closeted politician’s houseboy. Their relationship used to feel like a real affair. Lately it seems more like a job.

It isn’t until he meets someone decent that he realizes how corrupt his life has become. Pete is a tall blond farmer who charms Avi with his dazzling smile and his straightforward life. But even if he can believe this refreshingly honest man doesn’t have his own political agenda, will Avi find the strength to emerge from the dark life he’s chosen and find a future in the sun?

Sacred Hearts

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Life’s a gamble–and lately David Schwartz’s partner has been losing so much that David must close their restaurant, the hippest little place in Portland. He sells everything and moves back home, but at thirty-five, he’s not eager to sleep alone in his childhood bedroom or to be supported by his father for the second time in his adult life.

David’s had enough. He needs to start over, maybe with someone like the elusive man he’s been seeing in his dreams. An old friend offers him a job catering a movie set in Puerto Vallarta. It’s been years since David’s alcoholism spun out of control along the highways of Mexico. Determined to experience Mexico sober, he stuffs his few remaining possessions in a backpack and takes the next flight down.

As Mexico prepares for Christmas, David lights Hanukkah candles, celebrating the return of the sun and wishing for true love. On the first night of Hanukkah, David meets a tall, dark stranger who rocks his world in a secluded moonlit cove. Is this the mystery man of his dreams–the answer to David’s prayers? And what must David sacrifice to make his dreams come true?

Bread, Salt and Wine

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Some wounds never heal. George Zajac grew up in a religious family with a father who beat “the swish” out of him. At thirty-eight he’s a troubled man. Escaping his miserable life as a banker in New York, he moves across the country to start again in Los Angeles as the catering chef for a prestigious French Restaurant. Kenny Marks, a writer who’s currently waiting tables, is everything George cannot be—flamboyant, proud and sexually confident. Enthralled by Kenny, and against his own better judgment, George agrees to a date. Sparks fly. The sex is amazing. But even after the two get close, George is crippled by humiliating sexual hang-ups. Still haunted by his childhood, he lingers in the closet and can’t commit to a relationship with Kenny.

Love is the great healer, but is it enough? George’s emotional scars could drive Kenny away, and with him, George’s last chance at happiness.

The books in the Tarnished Souls series can be found on Goodreads

EXCERPT

(from Fields of Gold)

Jack stood in the bathroom, straightening his tie in the mirror. “I don’t know how late I’ll be tonight.”

“Okay.” I lay naked on the bed, watching him get ready.

“I left some cash on the table. We’re almost out of coffee. Maybe you could get groceries.” He gave the tie one last tug, picked up his briefcase, ruffled my hair and left.

I stared at the ceiling. My ankle and ass both throbbed. I glanced at my wrists where red bracelets of bruises were beginning to purple. What would they have looked like if the cuffs hadn’t been lined with fur? I rolled one sore shoulder and the other before levering myself up to sit on the edge of the bed. This new kink of Jack’s wouldn’t have been my first choice. The only really sexy thing about the whole evening had been seeing Pete’s mouth around my cock. And that had been imaginary. Although Pete had been pretty clear it didn’t have to be. I shook my head. That thought wasn’t something I could indulge right now.

The crutches would be on the living room floor where I’d dropped them before Jack had half carried, half marched me to the bedroom. Pink flesh bulged around the bandage on my ankle. I unwrapped it, trying not to wince as pain bolted through me every time I moved. The swollen outside of my ankle was deep red and dark blue. At least it matched my wrists.

I stood on my good leg and hopped to the kitchen. Ten twenties lay on the kitchen table, still crisp from an ATM. He must have stopped at a cash machine on his way down. There was about half a cup of coffee left in the pot. I poured that, grabbed the ice bag from the freezer, propped my foot on a chair, and tried not to think too hard about my life.

GIVEAWAY: Win a paperback copy of Nobody’s Home by Dev Bentham

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

dev-author-pic

I write contemporary gay romance. My characters are flawed and damaged adult men who may not even know they’re looking for true love, but when they meet their bershert, their true love, their lives are transformed. My stories are set in the real world where gay men have gay friends, families who do or don’t accept them, personal histories they’re not necessarily proud of and a myriad of experiences that have made them who they are.

I live in Northern Wisconsin with my Boston Terrier and Chicago spouse. I’ve published short stories, poetry, newspaper articles and academic papers and have worked in nearly every profession from restaurants to retail to open-water diving and now write m/m romance out of my fascination with love, courage and gender.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

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Cover Reveal and One Day Book Blast: Tarnished Souls by Dev Bentham (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Tarnished Souls
Author: Dev Bentham
Release Date: December 16th 2016
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance

tarnished-1800

BLURB

Tarnished Souls is a series of contemporary romance novels centered around Jewish holidays:

Life can be hard. Hard enough to leave two men tarnished and hopeless.They might be too damaged to see the truth in each other, but just maybe finding their bershert, their true love, will finally make them shine.

BOOKS IN THE TARNISHED SOULS COMPILATION

Learning from Issac

It’s hard to break out of a rut. For years, Nathan submerged himself into his job at St. Genevieve’s. He enjoys teaching, hates faculty meetings, loves his science and has committed himself to the cycle of college life. Along the way, he’s become resigned to being a gay man in a straight culture, a Jew among Catholics, and single in a world of couples. Then the brilliant Isaac Wolf appears in his classroom. Isaac’s a few years older than his fellow students, gorgeous, self-composed and Jewish.

Isaac has his own secrets, which Nathan finds out at the racy new club downtown where the boys who dance out front can be bought in the back room. Nathan thinks he’s about to get a lap dance, but behind the beaded curtain the man on his knees turns out to be Isaac. Nathan’s mind isn’t the only thing Isaac blows. Afterward, Nathan can’t stop thinking about that night. The question is whether Nathan can let himself fall in love with a student, much less someone with Isaac’s checkered past. Is it too late for a student to teach his professor the true nature of love and respect?

Publisher’s Note: This book contains graphic imagery of men having sex together. And enjoying it. However, the story is primarily a romance. Don’t be disappointed if you read pages and pages and pages without encountering acts, organs or orgasms.

Fields of Gold

Life is full of compromises. That’s what Avi Rosen tells himself. He’s a yeshiva boy turned historian, working on his dissertation and stretching his meager stipend by moonlighting as a closeted politician’s houseboy. Their relationship used to feel like a real affair. Lately it seems more like a job.

It isn’t until he meets someone decent that he realizes how corrupt his life has become. Pete is a tall blond farmer who charms Avi with his dazzling smile and his straightforward life. But even if he can believe this refreshingly honest man doesn’t have his own political agenda, will Avi find the strength to emerge from the dark life he’s chosen and find a future in the sun?

Sacred Hearts

Life’s a gamble–and lately David Schwartz’s partner has been losing so much that David must close their restaurant, the hippest little place in Portland. He sells everything and moves back home, but at thirty-five, he’s not eager to sleep alone in his childhood bedroom or to be supported by his father for the second time in his adult life.

David’s had enough. He needs to start over, maybe with someone like the elusive man he’s been seeing in his dreams. An old friend offers him a job catering a movie set in Puerto Vallarta. It’s been years since David’s alcoholism spun out of control along the highways of Mexico. Determined to experience Mexico sober, he stuffs his few remaining possessions in a backpack and takes the next flight down.

As Mexico prepares for Christmas, David lights Hanukkah candles, celebrating the return of the sun and wishing for true love. On the first night of Hanukkah, David meets a tall, dark stranger who rocks his world in a secluded moonlit cove. Is this the mystery man of his dreams–the answer to David’s prayers? And what must David sacrifice to make his dreams come true?

Bread, Salt and Wine

Some wounds never heal. George Zajac grew up in a religious family with a father who beat “the swish” out of him. At thirty-eight he’s a troubled man. Escaping his miserable life as a banker in New York, he moves across the country to start again in Los Angeles as the catering chef for a prestigious French Restaurant. Kenny Marks, a writer who’s currently waiting tables, is everything George cannot be—flamboyant, proud and sexually confident. Enthralled by Kenny, and against his own better judgment, George agrees to a date. Sparks fly. The sex is amazing. But even after the two get close, George is crippled by humiliating sexual hang-ups. Still haunted by his childhood, he lingers in the closet and can’t commit to a relationship with Kenny.

Love is the great healer, but is it enough? George’s emotional scars could drive Kenny away, and with him, George’s last chance at happiness.

The book in the Tarnished Souls series can be found on Goodreads

EXCERPT

(from Learning From Issac)

One Monday, Isaac looked up at me from under those impossibly long lashes, his smile slow and sexy, as I dropped the nearly perfect, graded midterm on his desk. The night before I’d added brilliant to the growing list of adjectives strung in my head beside his name. Which didn’t help. Smart was sexy. And in the morning, I’d woken from a dream so vivid I was surprised to find myself alone. My lips tingled with the fantasy of his beautiful collarbone beneath them. Now I looked down at that same spot peeking from beneath his unbuttoned stark white shirt. For a moment I stood mesmerized by his cider-colored skin against the white.

My eyes met his for an instant. Every year at least a couple of the young women flirted with me, usually shyly, but occasionally more overtly. Once before I’d had a male student awkwardly express his interest. But this was different. Every cell in my body was on high alert. Isaac’s half smile and the hot brown light of his eyes let me know I’d been discovered. He knew I wanted him. The shift in power between teacher and student was palpable.

I gave the briefest of nods. “Well done, Mr. Wolf.”

Isaac’s smile widened. “Thank you, Dr. Kohn.”

His smile and the promise it contained followed me around the room as I delivered the bad news of the first graded test. It left my heart pounding, whether from terror or anticipation, I couldn’t tell.

GIVEAWAY: Win a paperback copy of Nobody’s Home by Dev Bentham

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

dev-author-pic

I write contemporary gay romance. My characters are flawed and damaged adult men who may not even know they’re looking for true love, but when they meet their bershert, their true love, their lives are transformed. My stories are set in the real world where gay men have gay friends, families who do or don’t accept them, personal histories they’re not necessarily proud of and a myriad of experiences that have made them who they are.

I live in Northern Wisconsin with my Boston Terrier and Chicago spouse. I’ve published short stories, poetry, newspaper articles and academic papers and have worked in nearly every profession from restaurants to retail to open-water diving and now write m/m romance out of my fascination with love, courage and gender.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

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Release Day Book Blast with ‘Nobody’s Home’ by Dev Bentham (excerpt and giveaway)

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Nobody’s Home by Dev Bentham
Release Date: November 15th 2016
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance

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Thanks for asking about my inspiration for writing Nobody’s Home. This is an updated rerelease. The original story came out in 2013, which is a while ago. It’s interesting to think back on my motivations.
I was particularly interested with Nobody’s Home in writing a story where two characters travel independent journeys but keep getting drawn back together. The story is written as an alternating third person narrative where the guys are coping with very different life changing situations. And yet they just can’t stay away from each other. Their experiences are opposite in some ways. For example, Nick has come back to the town he left as a kid and Jonas is running away from the place he’d thought was home. They’ve both been betrayed. It’s a terrible thing to have in common, but it also makes things very real, very quickly.
What I was hoping to do was tell a love story in which each of the main characters already had more than enough on their plate without adding something new. They have abundant reasons not to get involved. I think that makes it even more tasty that they do.
And on top of that, I got to incorporate two of my greatest loves—dogs and art. Nick’s an artist. I’m in awe of people who have that kind of talent. Jonas is a veterinarian and it’s a dog that gets the whole thing started. I’m an unabashed dog nut. Really, I see myself years from now as the crazy dog lady so I had a wonderful time with the pups.
Art, dogs and the healing power of love. How could I resist

BLURB

Second chances can appear where you least expect them.

An artist: You can’t go home again—that was Nick’s motto for the past twenty years. He was a teenager when he left his abusive, mentally ill father back in Lacland, a small town in the northwoods of Wisconsin.

Nick’s made a successful life for himself in New York. Then comes the call—his estranged father has killed himself. Nick flies home to a house crumbling from years of neglect, and one very fat bulldog.

And a veterinarian: Jonas doesn’t love his job enforcing university research protocol. His passion is working with dogs, especially volunteering for his boyfriend’s behavioral studies projects. But when he discovers his so-called “life partner” is messing around, he leaps at a job offer in a small town miles away.

In spite of the grief swirling around Nick and Jonas, their first meeting is electric. But Nick will be in town for only a short time and Jonas is still stinging from the betrayal. The men try to keep their distance, but that’s easier said than done, especially in a small town where misery and hope share the same address.

This poignant story about two mature gay men will warm the hearts of readers who believe happy endings are within anyone’s grasp.

**This is an author’s version of the original story first printed in 2013 by Amber Allure.**

Purchase: Amazon

Goodreads

EXCERPT

Somewhere in the middle of the third song, a guy at the bar caught his eye. Tall, thin, with a slight stoop to his shoulders and big sad eyes. He had the kind of tragic beauty that always got to Jonas. And for some reason he was staring at Jonas. The guy’s gaze locked with Jonas’s and he felt a thrill of excitement shoot through him. How long had it been since someone looked at him like that? Ever?

Jonas held the gaze while he danced. The tight band of fear in Jonas’s gut that kept him from making a fool of himself snapped and he felt a sudden surge of freedom. He shoved aside the thought that he’d regret it tomorrow and let himself revel in the feeling of that gaze glued to him. The guy bit his lip. His eyes slid down Jonas like a caress, like a promise. Jonas leaned into the feeling of being wanted. Fenton’s betrayal disappeared into the background.

Jonas danced toward Adam, leaned down and shouted, “Who’s that?”

Adam followed his glance. His brows furrowed, he peered and then he looked surprised. “Wow—that looks like Nick Alsteen.”

“Is he single?”

Adam shrugged. “Don’t know. I think he lives in New York.”

Jonas nodded and danced away. He—Nick?—was still watching him. The song ended. Jonas walked to the bar, telling himself he was meeting the neighbors and having a beer. He leaned against the bar, two stools down from the guy who might be named Nick. Then the realization of what he was doing hit him and he ordered a double scotch.

Nick slid onto the stool beside him. “Hi.”

Jonas looked into his eyes. They were sad and dark in the dim light. “Hi.”

His curly dark hair looked soft, like a spaniel’s ear. Jonas had to hold onto the bar to keep himself from touching it. Which was weird. Jonas couldn’t remember feeling this drawn to a stranger. To anyone, really. It was probably a reaction to the turmoil of the last few days.

Nick was looking at him with a crooked smile and those meltingly sad eyes. He nodded toward the dance floor. “Your boyfriend?”

Jonas started. Boyfriend? Did he mean… “Adam? He’s a kid. Without a daddy kink. I mean, no. Of course not. I hardly know him. His boyfriend is in the band.” Jonas sputtered to a stop, mortified.

The bartender set down his drink. Jonas closed his eyes and downed it.

When he opened them Nick was still there, looking amused.

“Sorry. I’m not good at this.” That was an understatement. He should get out of there. Instead he heard himself ask, “Want to dance?”

Nick’s lips twitched slightly. He gave a skeptical glance toward the stage. “I’m more of a classical, blues, indie kind of guy.”

Well, that was that. Rejected again. Jonas signaled the bartender. One more drink and he was out of there. Home to Gunner to bury himself in work or something.

Nick leaned close, his breath hot on Jonas’s neck. “A slow bump and grind to Etta James would be nice though, don’t you think?”

Giveaway

Giveaway: Win a copy of Dev Bentham’s Tarnished Souls series

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

dev-author-pic

I write contemporary gay romance. My characters are flawed and damaged adult men who may not even know they’re looking for true love, but when they meet their bershert, their true love, their lives are transformed. My stories are set in the real world where gay men have gay friends, families who do or don’t accept them, personal histories they’re not necessarily proud of and a myriad of experiences that have made them who they are.

I live in Northern Wisconsin with my Boston Terrier and Chicago spouse. I’ve published short stories, poetry, newspaper articles and academic papers and have worked in nearly every profession from restaurants to retail to open-water diving and now write m/m romance out of my fascination with love, courage and gender.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

embrace-button-small

Cover Reveal for Nobody’s Home by Dev Betham (cover reveal, excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Nobody’s Home
Author: Dev Bentham
Release Date: November 15th 2016
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance

nobodyshome-1800

BLURB

Second chances can appear where you least expect them.

An artist: You can’t go home again—that was Nick’s motto for the past twenty years. He was a teenager when he left his abusive, mentally ill father back in Lacland, a small town in the northwoods of Wisconsin.

Nick’s made a successful life for himself in New York. Then comes the call—his estranged father has killed himself. Nick flies home to a house crumbling from years of neglect, and one very fat bulldog.

And a veterinarian: Jonas doesn’t love his job enforcing university research protocol. His passion is working with dogs, especially volunteering for his boyfriend’s behavioral studies projects. But when he discovers his so-called “life partner” is messing around, he leaps at a job offer in a small town miles away.

In spite of the grief swirling around Nick and Jonas, their first meeting is electric. But Nick will be in town for only a short time and Jonas is still stinging from the betrayal. The men try to keep their distance, but that’s easier said than done, especially in a small town where misery and hope share the same address.

This poignant story about two mature gay men will warm the hearts of readers who believe happy endings are within anyone’s grasp.

**This is an author’s version of the original story first printed in 2013 by Amber Allure.**

Pre-Order: Amazon

Goodreads

EXCERPT

“Nicholas Alsteen?” A man. He couldn’t place the voice. A buyer? Nick hoped so. Selling one of his few remaining finished pieces might take the edge off that damned financial drip.

“Yes.” The familiar stairwell mix of mold and stale cooking enveloped Nick as he waited for the man to go on.

There was a pause and then, “I’m calling about your father.”

“My father?” Nick stopped, one foot halfway to the next step. “There must be some mistake.”

“You’re Nicholas Alsteen, the artist, correct? Your father was Robert Alsteen, he went by—”

“Buddy.” Nick finished. “But whatever you want, I can’t help you. I haven’t seen him in years.”

“He’s dead, son.” Despite the harshness of the words, the voice sounded kind.

Nick sank onto the step.

“My name’s Dan Osborne of the Lacland Sheriff’s Department,” the voice continued. “I’m sorry to spring it on you like this but I’m afraid you’re going to have to come out here. You’re his closest relative. He didn’t leave a will so you’ll need to figure out what to do with his stuff. It isn’t much, the house, a truck. And there’s the…you’ll need to make arrangements for his remains.”

“I think there’s more family somewhere, but he cut himself off.” Nick stared at the dirty stairwell wall, picturing his father’s angry face.

“Doesn’t matter. You’re his legal next of kin.” When Nick didn’t say anything, the sheriff continued, “If you want I can put you in touch with folks who could do it all for you but given everything, it would probably cost more than the estate is worth. And besides, it’s the right thing to do, son. I know Buddy wasn’t easy, but he was your father.”

Some father. But Nick wasn’t exactly in a position to hire out his dirty work. “Okay.”

“When can you come?” Osborne sounded relieved.

Nick looked at his watch, as if that would tell him anything. His calendar was as simple as it could be—big scary opening in nine months, nothing until then. He mumbled something about soon and hung up. A woman was yelling a few floors down. Horns honked outside. A cold blast of air filled the stairwell as the front door opened. Nick stood and climbed back up the stairs, feeling a hundred years older than when he’d started down.

Life stops for death. Nick booked an expensive flight—whatever happened to bereavement rates? He texted Connie at the gallery so she’d know he hadn’t bolted town. He glanced through his phone contact list and decided there wasn’t anyone else who’d really care. He’d always told himself he had to stay detached to have time for his art. But maybe he was more like his father than he wanted to admit. Nick tried to wrap his brain around the thought that the old man was dead. Violent? Yes. Unpredictable? Yes. Crazy? Absolutely. Dead? That was hard to imagine.

Giveaway: Win a copy of Dev Bentham’s Tarnished Souls series

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About the Author

dev-author-pic

I write contemporary gay romance. My characters are flawed and damaged adult men who may not even know they’re looking for true love, but when they meet their bershert, their true love, their lives are transformed. My stories are set in the real world where gay men have gay friends, families who do or don’t accept them, personal histories they’re not necessarily proud of and a myriad of experiences that have made them who they are.

I live in Northern Wisconsin with my Boston Terrier and Chicago spouse. I’ve published short stories, poetry, newspaper articles and academic papers and have worked in nearly every profession from restaurants to retail to open-water diving and now write m/m romance out of my fascination with love, courage and gender.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

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One Pulse Anthology and a Interview with Jon Keys, author of A Single Night

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one-pulse-anthology

One Pulse (A Dreamspinner Press Anthology)

Release Date September 17
Purchase Links

Stories drive life. Sometimes life is good; sometimes life is bad. But it’s the nature of our community that in the aftermath of an act of hatred, we respond with love. Because darkness cannot exist in the presence of light. Cruelty cannot stand against compassion. Negativity will never overcome hope.

To show our support for those affected by the Orlando shooting, our authors, editors, artists, and staff have volunteered their talents to create this anthology. All proceeds will be donated to LGBT organizations in central Florida. Join us as we celebrate the triumph of love over every obstacle.

Jon Keys—A Single Night
Alicia Nordwell—About Best Friends & Boyfriends
Mickie B. Ashling—Adíos
M.T. Aspen —Asking for Trouble
M.A. Church—Chasing Tyme
Caitlin Ricci—Coming Out
George Seaton—Cucurrucucú
Jayce Ellis—Dance
Bree Cariad—Everyday Miracles
Chrissy Munder—Everything I Need
Ellis Carrington—For the First Time
Felicitas Ivey—Get Me to the Church Town Hall on Time
John Amory—Happy Pride
Grace R. Duncan—Hope
John Goode—Let Them Eat Cake
J. C. Long—Magical Boys Just Wanna Have Fun
Elizabeth Noble—Magicicada
Renee Stevens—More Than a Pact
Troy Storm—One Big Happy… Bunch
Connie Bailey—One Heart at a Time
Dev Bentham—Perfection
Andrea Speed—Pride
Laura Lascarso—Pull
Lila Leigh Hunter—Raffled Kiss
Emery C. Walters—Ranch Dressing
C.C. Dado—Read My Lips
Sera Kane—The Stag’s Bane
KC Burn—The Tithe
Vicktor Alexander—The Wooing of the Marqués de Sierra de Outes
Edmond Manning—They Danced

~~~

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is proud to help host Dreamspinner Press’s release week for its One Pulse Anthology, a collection of stories written in the aftermath of the horror of the shootings in Orlando.  Here today, is Jon Keys, author of the wonderful Obsidian series and the story, A Single Night. Welcome, Jon, to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

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A Single Night by Jon Keys from the One Pulse Anthology

Interview

  • Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?Good question! For me it can be from almost anything: a random comment; a location I’ve never been to before, or a familiar one I revisit. I’ve written a few stories based on fairy tales. Many of the contemporary novels begin as a “what if” story. For example, a novel I’m writing now is built from the question of what would happen if a college professor fell for his mechanic. From there I’ve added twists and turns to take it beyond the obvious.
  • Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And  why?Both. I start out planning the important elements of the novel. Lately I’ve been mapping stories out to get their flow. But once I begin writing, all kinds of twists and turns happen that I hadn’t foreseen. When they do I usually let them run their course.
  • Contemporary, supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction narratives or something else?  Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so?Well the reading side is easier, so lets start there. Science fiction and fantasy are big time favorites. I enjoy the peek at another world or another time. All of those situations appeal to me as a reader. So far as other genre that are in the mix; some murder mysteries will fall in from time to time. I enjoy solving the puzzles and figuring out the who done it. Contemporary is also in the combination. Nothing scratches an itch sometimes quite like a good love story. But even then I want to know about their life, where they live and other background. I guess that element comes through on both my reading and writing. I want them to have a feeling of place.Writing follows some of the same lines of thought, but the emphasis has been different. Most of my writing has focused around contemporary, or at least the first handful of stories was firmly rooted in the here and now. They also had a strong rural/cowboy flavor to them.  But over the last several stories the focus is on fantasy. Whether it was the retelling of a classic fairy tale or the worlds of high fantasy, I’ve found writing these created worlds very satisfying. I love creating worlds and the animals and people who populate them. But in my next novel set to be released early in 2017 I’m back firmly in the contemporary world, telling cowboy stories again. I seem to have somewhat of a split writing personality!
  • If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why?The characters I’d probably want most to redo would be some of the antagonists, particularly Peter’s ex from Home Grown. He’d be much more multilayered now, more ominous. Yeah, he would be the character I could change more than most others.
  • Can an author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?Sure! I think authors can definitely have favorites. Some characters come out with so much personality and personal growth that you can’t help but cheer them on and want them to win. Terja from Obsidian Sun was one of those. He grew and changed so much through the course of the books.
  • If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snowstorm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?Oh jeez, I always go back to these later and can think of a dozen more. My test of a good read is how many times I’ve reread them. Some authors who have made it on my reread list: Anne McCaffrey’s Pern, Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar world, Allen Dean Foster, and for humor I love Robert Aspirin; the MYTH series, Phule’s Company and the Dragon Series. Yeah, that would be the short list, at least for now.
  • How early in your life did you begin writing?.I’m not one of the child prodigies I’m afraid. I never considered writing until a few years ago and I thought, “I can do that” and gave it a try. Now? Well it’s become quite an addiction for me.
  • Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why?I read a lot of books, but don’t remember too many of the early ones. Actually the oldest book that I remember was Mother Goose. I had people read that book to me until I could ‘read’ the book out loud. Oddly enough the novel I remember from elementary school was Farmer Boy and yes, I was an adult before I realized it was part of the Little House on the Prairie series. But I could identify with Alfonzo. Later I found more science fiction and fantasy books. Of course I had the classic collection of all the comic books I could afford. I’d never heard of a graphic novel in those days.
  • If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be?Oh wow, hard question. I agonize over titles. I really like for them to work on a number of levels. Maybe “Here we go again.”

Blurb:

The aftermath of tragedy calls for more than just physical healing, but Devon and Logan may find it with family—and with each other.

Author Bio

Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, Native American, westerns and comic books.

A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

Buy links:

eBook: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/one-pulse-7577-b

Social Media:

Excerpt:

Logan couldn’t help but notice Devon’s limp was more pronounced than normal. The wear and tear on his husband was visible tonight when Devon grabbed the back of the sofa. His fingers dug into the thick padding as he sighed.

“Sit down, please. I’ll call Michelle and Doug and reschedule. They’ll understand,” Logan said.

“I’m fine. Watch.” Devon winked at Logan, then vaulted over the back of the heavy piece of furniture to land with a bounce on the dense cushions.

A slight rattle and a stifled groan of pain made Logan cringe. “Would you behave, Devon! You’ll mess something up.”

Devon wrapped his meaty arms around Logan and worked to pull him on top. But Logan grabbed his face and planted a kiss on his forehead.

“Knock it off. It’s your sister who’s on her way,” Logan said.

But Devon ignored the protest, pulled Logan close, and pressed their lips together. The tingle in the pit of Logan’s stomach was the same he’d gotten the night they met. In the years since, it had only gotten stronger. Logan took a deep breath and filled his senses with Devon’s masculine scent, letting himself melt against the muscular chest and feel safe. His thoughts became fuzzy and his crotch tight as their closeness sent delicious jolts through Logan. He realized this wasn’t going like it should when they had guests arriving. Logan pushed away, wet his lips, and grinned.

“I have to cook supper before they get here. Go change into something comfortable. And hang up your dress clothes, because I’m the one who has to iron your crap.”

When Devon made an attempt to stand and his breath hissed through his teeth. Logan stepped over to help, but Devon waved him away. “When I can’t get my fat ass off the sofa, I’ll let you know.”

Logan rolled his eyes but stepped back. The effort took several tries before Devon stood. He shot Logan a wink and a smile. “See, told you I didn’t need help.”

Logan’s lips formed a tight line, and he started toward the kitchen. “You’re a stubborn jackass. Now go change.” He pulled out ingredients for dinner and within a few minutes had food strewn across the counters. He had the ingredients for the first course ready when Devon reappeared, still wearing his clothes from work.

“What do you want me to do?” Devon asked.

Logan glanced over and sighed. “Just once you could listen. Sit. Rest. They’ll want to play games until late.”

“I’ll help. I can make a pasta dish.”

Logan studied him for a minute before lifting an eyebrow. “Yeah, pasta would be good. What did you have in mind?”

Devon smirked as he made his way to the refrigerator while Logan worked on getting the entrée ready. He was preparing steaks and fresh vegetables from their garden for grilling. Logan spread them over two trays, seasoned them, and then coated everything with good olive oil they’d discovered on their trip to Italy. It was one of the little indulgences they allowed themselves. Devon was still working his way through the contents of the fridge when Logan stepped out onto their patio to get the grill ready.

While it heated, he looked around the yard and enjoyed the spring flowers he and Devon cared for with meticulous attention. They’d remodeled the deck last year and put in a Jacuzzi. He’d paid for it as part of Devon’s fortieth birthday gift. But he’d also hoped it would help keep the scar tissue on Devon’s leg a little more flexible. Whether it did or didn’t, they enjoyed having the little oasis to escape into each evening. Devon’s job as a victims’ advocate became stressful at times, and Logan wanted him to have a place to unwind.

Logan turned his attention to the barbecue, decided everything was fine, and slipped into the house. He glanced over at Devon and froze. A second later, he started laughing.

Devon turned to him and lifted an eyebrow. “Something wrong?”

“Nope. Not at all. I was just wondering if you’d left anything in the fridge.”

“You questioning my ability to make pasta salad?”

Logan held up both hands in surrender. “No, no. Nothing like that.”

Devon turned to his cutting board and diced peppers with the chef knife Logan bought him last Christmas. The mix of ingredients was unique, but Devon seemed satisfied with his hoard, so Logan didn’t care. No one’s crying, no one’s bleeding, then it isn’t a big deal. They worked together in the kitchen with practiced ease. Logan decided to make shot glass desserts for a treat. Devon was putting his salad in the fridge as Logan sprinkled pecans into the last dessert glass.

Devon was up to something; he was smirking too much over making pasta salad. Logan waited a minute before checking to see what was happening. He wasn’t surprised to discover the source of Devon’s amusement about the dish he’d made.

He frowned at the penis-shaped pasta filling the bowl. “Really? Another porn pasta creation? And for your sister?”

By this time Devon was cackling. “She’ll think it’s great, and Doug will turn a nice shade of red. It’ll all be good.”

Logan sighed and glanced at his watch. “Fine, keep your cock pasta. Your sister will be here soon. We need to shower.” He looked at Devon and lifted one brow. “And taking off your tie doesn’t mean you got relaxed.” Logan stood with an expression he hoped looked appropriately stern.

“If you ask me if I need help, I swear I’ll beat you with a wet noodle.”

Logan chuckled and waved him away. “Go shower. I’ll set the table. If you behave, I’ll come wash your back.”

“If you put out later, maybe I’ll let you,” Devon said with a laugh.

Its Release Date for Bread, Salt & Wine by Dev Bentham (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Bread, Salt and Wine
Author: Dev Bentham
Series: Tarnished Souls #4
This can be read as a standalone
Release Date: September 13th 2016
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance

18005863

BLURB

Some wounds never heal. George Zajac grew up in a religious family with a father who beat “the swish” out of him. At thirty-eight he’s a troubled man. Escaping his miserable life as a banker in New York, he moves across the country to start again in Los Angeles as the catering chef for a prestigious French Restaurant. Kenny Marks, a writer who’s currently waiting tables, is everything George cannot be—flamboyant, proud and sexually confident. Enthralled by Kenny, and against his own better judgment, George agrees to a date. Sparks fly. The sex is amazing. But even after the two get close, George is crippled by humiliating sexual hang-ups. Still haunted by his childhood, he lingers in the closet and can’t commit to a relationship with Kenny.

Love is the great healer, but is it enough? George’s emotional scars could drive Kenny away, and with him, George’s last chance at happiness.

**Bread, Salt and Wine was previously published by Loose ID in June 2013, but is being re-released with a fabulous new cover, designed by Jordan Castillo Price.**

Goodreads

Buy Links: Amazon

Find the rest of the Tarnished Souls series here: Goodreads

EXCERPT

It was after midnight by the time we got everything cleaned up and stowed away back at the restaurant. I got change for the five one-hundred-dollar bills the financial manager had pressed into my palm as we left, and doled out fifty dollars to each of the four waiters, the busboy/dishwasher, and the bartender. I stuffed one into my pocket and the others into an envelope to give the kitchen crew.

The group started toward the staff locker room, and the kitchen emptied out. Except the cute one, Kenny.

He waved his money at me. “And the momma? Was she pleased?”

I shrugged. “She says she’ll call if she needs catering. We’ll see.” He watched me expectantly until I added, “Thanks for pointing her out.”

“No problem. Glad to be of service.” He shifted his weight onto one hip and looked at me from under his eyelashes. “Chef sometimes forgets to schedule me. Maybe you could put in a good word.”

I nodded. He smiled and turned to leave, throwing a “good night” over his shoulder as he sauntered out the door. I stayed behind to check on the preparations for the next event, Sunday brunch for a hundred. I reviewed the work schedule and was surprised by the pang of disappointment I felt when Kenny Marks’s name wasn’t on the list.

Giveaway: 5 lucky winners will receive an ebook copy of Bread, Salt and Wine!!

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About the Author

dev-author-pic

I write contemporary gay romance. My characters are flawed and damaged adult men who may not even know they’re looking for true love, but when they meet their bershert, their true love, their lives are transformed. My stories are set in the real world where gay men have gay friends, families who do or don’t accept them, personal histories they’re not necessarily proud of and a myriad of experiences that have made them who they are.

I live in Northern Wisconsin with my Boston Terrier and Chicago spouse. I’ve published short stories, poetry, newspaper articles and academic papers and have worked in nearly every profession from restaurants to retail to open-water diving and now write m/m romance out of my fascination with love, courage and gender.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

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An Ali Review: Whistle Blower by Dev Bentham

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Whistle BlowerMoney can’t buy happiness. Jacob Nussbaum knows this better than anyone. He’s a corporate lawyer deep inside a huge New York firm, where he works overtime, sacrifices any chance at a personal life, and has been selling his soul for years. With a secretary as his only friend, he trudges on, until his whole world is blown apart by a manila envelope of photos—evidence that one of the firm’s partners is the dirtiest lawyer in one hell of a filthy business.

In search of the truth, Jacob travels to a small northern Wisconsin fishing resort. There he meets Ben Anderson, a brutally lonely man, who knocks him off his feet. Ben prompts Jacob to reevaluate his life. He’s a dozen years older than Jacob, still recovering from the death of his long time love, and doesn’t want to leave anyone a widower. But a jaded New Yorker on a soul-searching mission might be just the man to convince the grieving Ben that it’s never too late to begin again.
 
 
I really enjoyed this story about two men who seem an unlikely match but who end up being perfect for each other.  The book had good pacing and it added the investigation in to the love story in a smooth way.  While that was the catalyst for the story, the main component was the love story part.  I liked that it was not insta-love and that the characters took some time falling for each other.  Not only was I drawn to Jacob and Ben but I was drawn to the back story of Ben loving and losing Manny.  That was really well done and made my eyes tear up in a few places.  You could feel Ben’s grief jump off the pages at you.  I was also really pleased to see that the MC’s were middle aged.  Having nice, mature characters was a pleasant change of pace.  My only complaint was the ending was rushed.  It felt off to me.  I’m not really sure why it was done like it was since the author spent so much time slow unfolding the love story.  While it wasn’t perfect for me I liked the rest of the book too much to really complain much.  I’ve never read this author before but will definitely be checking out her other work.
 
Cover by Catt FordI liked the cover and think’s it’s a good representation of the story and the characters.
Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press ebook  | ARe | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 214 pages
Published February 5th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634769846
Edition LanguageEnglish