A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Santa Daddy by Keira Andrews

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

From the blurb: Hunter Adams is hopelessly adrift after college. He’s still a virgin, can’t find a real job, and has no clue what to do with his life. In desperation, he returns to his humiliating old job as an elf at the Santa’s Village in his hometown’s dying mall. The Santa on the job is an unexpectedly sexy lumberjack, twice Hunter’s size and age. He makes Hunter feel very naughty—too bad he’s grumpy and intimidating.

Years after the tragic death of his partner, Nick Spini has his beagle and long, hard days on his Christmas tree farm. That’s plenty. But he can’t refuse a loyal friend’s plea for help and finds himself filling in as Santa at the local mall. Despite Nick’s attempt to stay aloof, the beautiful, anxious young man playing elf brings out his long-dormant daddy instincts. When a surprise blizzard traps them alone in Nick’s isolated forest home, their attraction burns even brighter. Will they surrender to the sizzling connection between them and find the release and comfort they crave?

That blurb says it all and it called my name.  Wait, the title called my name and the blurb sealed the deal. And then the story? Couldn’t put it down. I absolutely loved, loved, loved it.

The characters were real people, the scenarios believable, Nick’s background heartbreaking, Hunter’s background frustrating, and the dynamic between the two was sexy, fun, and heartwarming.  Like older men? Like grieving widowers ready to get back to a new relationship? Like young virgin twinks down on their luck but with a heart of gold? Like Daddy kink? Spanking? A fast-paced story with plenty of hair-raising adventures? Mall Santas with cute sexy elves who barely fit in their outfits? There’s so much packed in so few pages here. It’s just amazing and wonderful and made my day.  I’m going to read this again on Christmas Eve. So far, it’s my favorite of the holiday season, and I very highly recommend it.

The cover by Dar Albert depicts a hot man in a Santa hat and nothing else—that we can see above the waist.  Certainly attention-getting, this fits the story perfectly.

Buy Links:

Book Details:

ebook, 130 pages
Published November 29th 2018 by KA Books
ISBN 139781988260402
Edition Language English
setting Canada

New Releases Blitz for Honeymoon for One by Keira Andrews (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 80,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Design
 
Blurb



The wedding is off, but the love story is just beginning.


Betrayed the night before his wedding by the supposed boy of his dreams, Ethan Robinson escapes the devastating fallout by going on his honeymoon alone to the other side of the world. Hard of hearing and still struggling with the repercussions of being late-deafened, traveling by himself leaves him feeling painfully isolated with his raw, broken heart.


Clay Kelly never expected to be starting life over in his forties. He got hitched young, but now his wife has divorced him and remarried, his kids are grown, and he’s left his rural Outback town. In a new career driving a tour bus on Australia’s East Coast, Clay reckons he’s happy enough. He enjoys his cricket, a few beers, and a quiet life. If he’s a bit lonely, it’s not the end of the world.


Clay befriends Ethan, hoping he can cheer up the sad-eyed young man, and a crush on an unattainable straight guy is exactly the safe distraction Ethan needs. Yet as the days pass and their connection grows, long-repressed desires surface in Clay, and they are shocked to discover romance sparking. Clay is the sexy, rugged man of Ethan’s dreams, and as the clock counts down on their time together, neither wants this honeymoon to end.


Honeymoon for One is a gay romance by Keira Andrews featuring a May-December age difference, a slow burn of newfound friends to lovers, first-time m/m sex, and of course a happy ending.

 
Excerpt
 
As Ethan walked through the resort on Fraser Island the next afternoon after a tour to gorgeous Lake McKenzie, he finally admitted to himself that he was looking for Clay.


Because he’s nice! He’s fun to talk to. Besides, my harmless crush is just that. Harmless. Why shouldn’t I enjoy it? Nothing’s going to happen. He’s apparently straight and I’m on the rebound. But we can be friendly. I like his accent, and he’s a nice guy.


Of course, Clay wasn’t just nice. He was sexy. His accent? Sexy. The Australian slang he used that made him sound like Crocodile Dundee sometimes? Sexy. His broad shoulders and solid build? Sexy. That he didn’t have chiseled abs and was a little soft around the middle? Sexy. Those blue eyes, and how the auburn in his hair gleamed in the sun, especially in his beard and the hair on his arms, and how he had freckles…


Sexy, sexy, sexy.


But the sexiest thing of all was how thoughtful he was. How he made such an effort to make sure Ethan could hear him when he spoke. How he’d told him the secret of the Mission Bay sunrise. How he’d copied the tour guide notes for him. Even back in Cairns, how he’d held Ethan’s backpack while Ethan was snorkeling and watched over him, then later took him to buy a hat.


Ethan was wearing the hat now, and it gave him a giddy little thrill.


Is he straight though?


The question had been niggling at him. Clay had been married to a woman for years and had kids, but of course that didn’t mean he was straight. He could be bi or pan. Although he’d mentioned the right woman coming along.


Still, when Ethan had touched his arm that morning on Mission Beach and looked into Clay’s eyes, he swore there had been a flicker between them. That unnamed frisson of knowing.


Wishful thinking. Don’t be an idiot.


There were four pools at the resort, and Ethan strolled around the first two. It was sunny, and through his polarized sunglasses, the water, surrounding palm trees, and forest beyond were vibrant. He waved hello to Shiv—who was reading on a lounger since there was nothing planned for the day after that morning’s trip to the lake in four-by-four jeeps—and continued on to a smaller, kidney-shaped pool that was more tucked away, and—


Fuck. Clay.


There he was, stretched out on a chaise lounge under the shade of an umbrella and surrounding trees on the deck at the far end of the pool. There were a few adults in the water paddling lazily, others on the more exposed side of the concrete deck sunbathing. Kids seemed to be in the bigger pools, their splashing and shrieks distant noises now.


Oh so casually, Ethan ambled around the pool, stealing glances at Clay from the corner of his eye. The chaises on either side of him were vacant. In fact, that whole shady side of the pool was empty and quiet. There was no music piped in, just the rustle of leaves in the breeze. It was perfect.


Clay wore his sexy-AF aviator sunglasses, navy bathing trunks, and nothing else but his gold-colored watch. It was kind of old-fashioned to wear a watch, and it was sexy. He’d apparently taken a dip, since his hair was wet and darker, and drops of water dried on his skin.


His long, muscular legs were crossed at the ankles. There was a newspaper folded over his stomach, his fingers laced on top of it. His nipples were pink amid the reddish hair on his chest, and as Ethan got closer, he imagined licking those nipples.


Heat roaring through him, he swallowed thickly. This was a bad idea, and he should turn back the way he came. But now he was close enough that if Clay saw him, it might seem rude, like Ethan had turned around and left because he was avoiding Clay. So he kept walking slowly around the curve of the shaded deep end, where one woman in a bikini swam a slow side stroke.


Clay’s chaise was partly reclined, and it was entirely possible he was napping and didn’t have any idea Ethan was even there. Ethan slowed even more so his flip-flops didn’t flap on the concrete.


Okay, if I walk by and he doesn’t notice me, that’s a sign. I’ll keep going and stop being ridiculous.


He was still at least ten feet away when Clay called, “Ethan!” and lifted a hand in a wave.


“Oh, hey!” Ethan replied too loudly. Calm the fuck down. He smiled as he approached. “You found a good shady spot.”


“Yep. Got skin cancer once when I was younger, so I reckoned me and the sun aren’t mates.”


Ethan gaped. “Oh my God. I’m sorry. You said before that you had to be careful, but I didn’t realize.”


“Nah, nah. Don’t be sorry.” He casually motioned to the chaise on his left in invitation. Ethan spread out his striped resort towel and settled in, his heart beating too fast as he took off his hat since they were in the shade. Clay added, “I shouldn’t be so dramatic—it wasn’t melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma. Quite common in Australia. It can’t spread, so it’s not dangerous like other cancers. Still, I had to have surgery to remove it, so it’s not nothing.”


“Wow. I’m glad it wasn’t melanoma. Obviously. Where was it?” he asked before realizing how intrusive that was. Even though Clay really felt like a friend now, Ethan had to remember it was probably mostly in his head. “I’m sorry, I’m being totally nosy! You don’t have to tell me.”


See? This was a bad idea. I’m going to make a fool of myself with this crush. Maybe it’s not so harmless after all.


“No worries. It was on the back of my left shoulder.” Clay leaned forward, angling so Ethan could see. He reached over that shoulder with his right hand, his fingers finding a pale circle of a scar. Just below it was a tattoo, a green sort of shield with a yellow sun rising over a green horizon and five stars dotting the shield. It was a few inches wide and several inches long.


“Cool tattoo.” Ethan had never been compelled to get one, but he enjoyed looking at other people’s. Before he could stop himself, he traced it with his fingertip. Clay’s back was freckled as well, and goddamn, why was that so sexy? The seconds ticked by as he touched Clay, neither of them saying anything.


Finally, Ethan asked, “Does it mean something?” He was still touching, and Clay shivered. Ethan dropped his hand, his mouth dry.


Clay cleared his throat as he sat back. “It’s part of the Cricket Australia logo. On their uniforms there’s a roo on the left and an emu on the right, and ‘Australia’ written underneath.” He laughed and muttered something Ethan missed.


“What was the last part? Sorry.”


“I thought having the full logo was overkill for a tattoo. Didn’t want it too big, but I like having a little something.”


“You really love cricket, huh?”


Clay laughed. “What gave me away?”


Ethan chuckled. “Oh, you were going to tell me about that thing. The…” He racked his brain for the right word. “Ashes?”


“Ah, yes.” Clay tipped his head forward and peered at Ethan over the rims of his aviators with his intensely blue eyes. A thrill of desire shot through Ethan’s veins. Clay asked, “Are you sure you really want to know? No need to humor me, mate.”


“No, I really do!” He laughed, and it came out shaky, so he faked a cough. “I always loved sports when I was younger, and I want to get back into them. Although the Mets were epically bad last season, so I wasn’t very inspired to hop back on the bandwagon.”


“What happened to make you lose your interest? I can’t imagine.”


“Oh. It was…” Ethan motioned to his ears. “I lost interest in basically everything. I was really depressed for, like, four years. But the last year’s been a lot better. I’ve come to terms with it, I guess. But I’m still not the way I was before.”


“Ah.” Clay nodded sympathetically. “I understand. Still finding your footing. It can take a while. When I first moved down to Sydney, it was quite a culture shock. My entire life was upended. Home, work—the whole bit.”


“Yeah.” Ethan hesitated, but the way Clay watched him so patiently and without judgement gave him the confidence to say, “And now, being single again, it’s just so…weird. Like, who am I if… If I’m not with Michael?” Saying his name aloud was painful, but felt good at the same time, to release some of the pressure inside him.


Clay nodded again. “I was half of Mr. and Mrs. Kelly for so long. It hurt to lose that, no mistake.” He smiled sadly. “Hell, I still feel like I’m finding my footing. Thought I should have figured it all out by now, but that’s life for ya, I reckon.”


Warmth filled Ethan’s chest, affection and understanding flowing. “Always full of surprises, right?” And some that were actually good surprises. Like meeting a sexy older man who somehow likes me. Somehow gets me.


“Indeed.” Clay looked at him for a moment. Then he said, “You know, it’s nice to chat about it with someone on the same page. Haven’t really made many mates since I moved, and aside from Facebook, I don’t see the blokes from the Curry. Not that we’d talk much about this sort of thing.”


It made Ethan feel so damn good to be in Clay’s confidence. He had to stop himself from grinning delightedly. Instead, he joked, “Strong silent types in the outback, huh?”


Clay chuckled. “Something like that.” He sipped from a bottle of water. “Glad to have met you.” Then he jolted and looked horrified. “Not saying I’m glad at the trauma you’ve had. It’s awful that your wedding was called off.” He grimaced. “Maybe it’s best for me not to talk about all this after all.”


“No, no. It’s okay. I know what you meant. No offense taken.” He smiled genuinely, relieved when Clay visibly relaxed. But maybe it was time to lighten the subject. Sitting back on his chaise, Ethan said, “All right, tell me all about the mysterious Ashes. Maybe cricket can be my new sport.” And since it was something important to Clay, he really did want to know about it.


Clay grinned. “If you insist.” He sat back and re-crossed his ankles. “What do you know about cricket?”


“Um…nothing? It’s kind of like baseball and takes forever to play?”


Throwing his head back, Clay laughed, exposing his neck. Ethan watched his Adam’s apple. Clay said, “I’ll start at the beginning.”


Ethan nodded and uh-huhed as Clay outlined the basics. Stumps, bats, a wicket, a pitch, creases, bowling—Ethan wasn’t sure he really understood all the info, but he kept nodding, loving the rumble of Clay’s voice.


“Is this making sense?” Clay asked.


“Yes! I mean, it’s a lot to try and take in, but I think I get it.”


“We should watch a match. It’s really the best way to learn.”


Belly somersaulting, Ethan tried to keep his voice casual. “That would be cool, yeah. So what’s the thing about ashes?”


“The Ashes is a test series between England and Australia. Test matches can go five days, as opposed to an ODI—” He cut off. “You’re going to be bored shitless if I go into the overs and innings and all that. In a nutshell, England and Australia play a series every year or so of five matches. It’s very competitive. Lots of patriotic pride tied up in it. The name comes from the late 1800s, when we beat England for the first time over there. Being beaten by the colonies on English soil was quite a shock for the poor pommies, bless their hearts. Our bowler went fourteen wickets for ninety.”


“I have no idea what that means, but it sounds good?” Ethan laughed. Clay laughed as well, and God, he was so hot.


“It was very good. So one of the London papers published a mock obit for English cricket after we won. At the end it said, ‘The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.’ The Brits were determined to get the ashes back, and over the years, mumble mumble.”


A chattering couple walking by made the last part impossible to hear, but Ethan guessed, “Over the years that became the name of the tournament?”


Clay frowned after the couple, who thankfully kept walking. “You’ve got it. Legend goes that when England came back to Australia to play, a lady gave the captain an urn with the ashes of a burnt cricket ball inside. That urn’s in a museum at the MCC in England, but now the winning team gets a crystal version of it to keep until the next series.”


“Are you serious?”


“Mate, I never joke about cricket. Ever.”


Ethan grinned. “I love that the trophy is an urn. That’s awesome. Thanks for explaining all that.”


“I’d give you an ear-bashing all day about cricket if you let me.”


I’d let you do so many things to me.


Before Ethan’s mind could veer too far down the path of wondering what Clay’s beard would feel like against his face if they kissed, Clay said, “Tell me about baseball. Your Mets aren’t doing so well?”


“Not last season. But there was one year when I was a kid? We didn’t make the World Series, but it was still amazing. You know, when everything seems to go right during the season, and the players are all awesome guys and you feel like you know them, and you’re rooting so hard for them. And when they win, it’s just the best feeling in the world.”


Clay grinned. “Nothing like it, mate.” Then he laughed, his shoulders shaking.


“What?” Ethan laughed too. “You get it, right?”


“Absolutely.” Clay looked like he was trying to stop laughing but couldn’t manage it.


What?” Ethan nudged Clay’s bare arm with his fist, resisting the urge to flatten his palm over the firm, hair-dusted muscles. He groaned as he thought back over what he’d said. “Oh, I see. ‘Rooting so hard.’ You know I didn’t mean it like that. ‘Root’ doesn’t mean sex in the US.” He giggled, because he and Clay were apparently twelve.


As they laughed together over the silly joke, Ethan’s hearing aid battery beeped in his left ear. That meant the right likely would go soon too. Grimacing at the loud beep, he said, “Sorry, I need to go change my hearing aid batteries. They beep to let me know.”


“No worries. I’ll try to compose myself. Of course now my mind’s full of stupid jokes.”


Ethan grinned. “Tell me one before I go.”


“Well, did you know Australian’s don’t have sex?”


Hearing the word “sex” come out of Clay’s mouth had Ethan’s balls tingling and his head going light. His voice sounded too high as he said, “No? What do they do?”


“They mate.”


Ethan burst out laughing, and Clay joined in. Sure, it was childish. But he didn’t give a shit. It was fun. Michael would have rolled his eyes because he was always too snobby for puns. And wow, Ethan realized he and Michael hadn’t had goofy fun in a long, long time.


He’d missed feeling so relaxed. Like, he didn’t have to worry about what Clay would think if he made a dumb joke or announced, “that’s what she said” after a double entendre. Because Clay would laugh along with him.


Because Clay was awesome.


Ethan gave him a wave and circled the pool, walking on air. He imagined he could feel the heat of Clay’s gaze on his body. I might have to go jerk off if I don’t get my shit together. He’s only being friendly. Stop imagining things!


The eco resort had raised, wooden, covered boardwalks with guest rooms along them and lots of foliage around. He was smiling to himself—okay, grinning—and waved as he passed Stan and Violet. Inside his room, Ethan kept his suitcases neatly packed and closed since he’d read to never put a suitcase on a bed due to the threat of bedbugs.


A few minutes later, Ethan’s belongings were strewn across the spare bed, his heart racing and mouth dry. His hearing aid batteries weren’t there. “Fuck, fuck, FUCK!”


He pawed through his clothes again. Nothing. Telling himself they had to be somewhere, he tried to be methodical as he searched. Nothing. He ran into the bathroom and looked there again. Nothing. The reminder beeps from his hearing aids as the clock wound down did not freaking help, the right one chiming in now, as he’d expected.


Ethan opened drawers even though he hadn’t put anything away. He dug through the trash bins, which hadn’t been emptied yet by housekeeping. Finally, after searching three more times, he had to declare defeat. His batteries were not there. Trying to catch a ragged breath, he stood in the middle of his room, which looked like a hurricane had passed through.


Then he remembered the little balcony with a forest view. He unlocked the door and slid it open with a bang, his heart pounding. Nothing. He tried to think of when he’d last seen the pack of little round batteries and came up blank. Had he left them in the Whitsundays? He couldn’t imagine doing that, but he’d taken everything out of his big suitcase to reorganize.


And of course he usually kept a couple batteries in his little hearing aid case, but hadn’t replaced them since he’d been on one of the flights when his batteries had gone.


“Fuck!”


If he was on the mainland, it would be easy enough to buy more at a drugstore. Heart in his throat, he rushed out of his room and down the walkway back toward reception. Maybe they had a store. He hadn’t noticed anything—maybe a gift shop wasn’t eco-friendly?—but there had to be somewhere to buy stuff on the island. Right?


Wrong.


The young guy behind the front desk shook his head apologetically. “We only have a few essentials available.” He added something else that was lost in the four ominous beeps in Ethan’s left ear, signaling that battery would die momentarily. Sure enough, after a few heartbeats, it went quiet. The guy was saying something else, and Ethan strained to understand with only his right hearing aid, turning his head and leaning in.


The guy looked at him like he was waiting for a response, and Ethan said, “I’m sorry?”


He waved a hand dismissively, and Ethan easily read his lips since he was used to these words: “Never mind.”


“Can you not fucking—” He caught himself and breathed deeply to choke down the frustration. He lowered his voice, or at least he hoped he did. “Can you please write down what you said?”


Glancing at him warily as if Ethan was a lunatic, the guy scrawled on a piece of hotel notepaper:


I’ll ask housekeeping to go through the towels and make sure nothing was accidentally picked up.


Still breathing hard, Ethan nodded. “Thank you.” He turned and walked away from the desk, his lungs tight. As he descended the wide stairs leading down to a restaurant on one side and the pool area beyond glass doors, he spotted Stan and Violet sitting in the shade outside in an area with padded wicker furniture and tables. He approached them to ask what kind of batteries Stan used.


Of course not the same kind—Stan’s were smaller. He and his wife were very kind and sympathetic, and Ethan was going to fucking cry like the loser he was, so he quickly thanked them and escaped back into the lobby. Where he stood as the minutes ticked by, trying not to completely lose his shit. His right aid was going to go soon, the reminder beep making him wince.


Then Clay was there, his face pinched in concern as he said something Ethan didn’t hear in the murmur of noise from the restaurant nearby and people through the lobby. Ethan told him about the missing batteries and added, “I guess I left them at the last place? I don’t know. Doesn’t matter now. They’re not here.” Clay said something that was probably sympathetic, and Ethan shook his head. “Sorry, it’s hard with only one now. And the right one won’t last much longer.”


Clay nodded and glanced around, then guided Ethan to a little tucked-away corner, his big hand warm and comforting on Ethan’s shoulder before dropping away. Ethan blew out a long breath. “Anyway, I asked Stan, but his hearing aids are different and the batteries won’t fit mine.”


“Damn it.” Clay was clearly trying to speak even more carefully. His sunglasses were perched on his head, and he leaned in, looking at Ethan intently. “Where do you get more batteries? Does it have to be a specialty-type place?”


“No, just a drugstore. But they don’t have one here.”


“I’ll ask the desk when the next boat to the mainland is. If you tell me which batteries, I can fetch them from the chemist and come back as soon as I can.”


Clay’s kindness made Ethan’s eyes burn again with the threat of tears. His right hearing aid beeped, but with Clay’s steady presence, he was able to take a deep breath and calm his spiky pulse. “That’s really cool of you to offer. But no, it’s your day off. I’ll be fine.”


“It’s no bother. I always enjoy a boat ride.”


Clay was amazing. It was entirely a freaking bother, but he was so comforting and unruffled. So sexy. No, no, this wasn’t the time to be thinking about that, but it loosened the massive knot of tension in Ethan’s chest. “I’ll be okay.” He blew out a long breath, glancing around the high-ceilinged lobby. No one seemed to be watching his meltdown, at least. “I’m okay. I can get batteries in the morning. I’m sorry. Sometimes my anxiety just…” He made an exploding motion with his hands.


Clay smiled, and Ethan really, really wanted to kiss him. “No worries. We all have our moments. I can imagine it’s a frightening thing, not being able to hear. Would make a bloke feel awfully…bare. If you know what I mean.”


Do not think about Clay naked. “Yeah, that’s it exactly. Vulnerable, I guess. But it helps—” He broke off. Would it be weird to say it? What the hell. Before he could lose his nerve, he said, “It helps having you here. Thank you.”


Of course now he was a hundred percent thinking about Clay naked, and when Clay slung an arm around Ethan’s shoulders and gave him a manly half-hug squeezy thing, that did not help.


He spoke quietly and steadily near Ethan’s right ear, not shouting like a lot of well-meaning people would. “How about I buy us a couple of tinnies of Four X—they’ll allow those by the pool, but no glass. There’s a bar over by the main deck, and we can take ‘em back to the shade.”


Ethan was pressed against the side of Clay’s big, strong body, a situation his dick was very interested in pursuing further. Afraid of how high-pitched his voice might come out, he simply nodded. Clay clapped his back and let go, and they made their way outside. Ethan tried to get the beer charged to his room, but of course Clay waved him off, not accepting any arguments.


“This shout’s on me.”


Ethan’s brows drew together. “This what?”


“Shout.” He motioned to the cans of beer the bartender put on the counter.


“I thought that’s what you said. A shout’s like a round of drinks?” At Clay’s nod, Ethan grinned. “Cool. Thanks. Then I’ll get the one after.” His smile faded. “I mean, unless you have other stuff to do. You don’t have to hang out with me all day.”


Clay shrugged. “Nowhere else to be, mate.”


Copyright © Keira Andrews
 
Author Bio



After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said:


“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”


Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Bookbub

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Test Of Valor (Valor #2) by Keira Andrews

Standard

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

The story had a slow start as it was focused on reestablishing Rafa and Shane’s relationship—being in love and living together in Australia as Rafa awaits the start of school and Shane establishes his security business. There was a lot of page time devoted to Rafa’s parents—the former President and First Lady of the US, now “just ordinary people” as Rafa’s mother reiterates a few times. Rafa and Shane share eye-rolling looks behind her back since his parents travel with Secret Service agents and other staff wherever they go and are the most unordinary people around.

For me, one of the saddest moments in the story came when the lead agent assigned to the President refused to even acknowledge that she knew Shane, though they had worked together in the past. He’s very definitely persona non grata to fellow agents now. That was the moment when I first started to see him as more than just the older man in this May-December romance. When I read book one, I couldn’t relate to him but this definitely helped so I tried to keep an open mind throughout this story so I could see he and Rafa as equal partners.

There is some excitement in the second half of the story, not quite the type of scenario I had envisioned, but definitely exciting, dramatic, life-changing moments. I loved that whole segment and I appreciate that the author kept Rafa’s parents true to their personalities, though a little softer around the edges—especially Rafa’s mother who was a typical B*8#h in every way.

This book stresses Rafa’s growth—in character and in age—and allows him an opportunity to step forward in family situations and to be the partner Shane needs him to be as Shane deals with his own repercussions from Rafa’s kidnapping in book one. But to be honest, as much as I recognized that intellectually, I still felt like he was the same kid as he was in book one and Shane the adult older man in all situations in which they were alone together. Yes, I saw growth in Rafa in his relationship with his parents, and yes, I could see that he attempted to be more of a partner to Shane but I never felt that Shane wholly accepted that. He verbalized it but his actions negated his statements.

There’s lots of sex scenes in this book so for readers who enjoy a super-hot romance, this one will push all the buttons. Personally, I thought it was a bit much, especially given the fact that they are an established couple when the story opens. But there’s no doubt that the two have chemistry.

Overall, it was an enjoyable story, and I liked it a bit more than book one. But neither character is going to stay with me long after I finish this book, unlike a few others this author has penned. Somehow, this just missed the mark of greatness I was looking for.

~~~

The cover by Dar Albert depicts an older man in a leather jacket and dark sunglasses set against a night city skyline that could represent Sydney, Australia. There’s also a young man to the left rear of the cover who is wearing a bathing suit, holding onto a surfboard with one hand and holding his curly hair back with the other. The photo depicts all the key elements in the story—the older man represents Shane, who is now working private security in Australia and the younger man is Rafa, who enjoys surfing in his spare time.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1 edition, 225 pages
Published April 26th 2018 by KA Books
Original TitleTest of Valor
ISBN139781988260334
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Valor :

Valor on the Move (Valor, #1) 

Test of Valor (Valor, #2)

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Valor On The Move (Valor #1) by Keira Andrews

Standard

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

This love story between a President’s son who grew up in the White House and the Secret Service agent who was assigned to protect him in the last year of his father’s presidency was interesting, action-packed, and enjoyable, especially given the fact that May-December romance is one of my kinks.

I must admit, however, that even though that’s true, in this case the age gap also made me squirm a bit due to the younger man’s age. Shane is twice as old as Rafael Castillo, his protectee, who is nineteen as the story opens. And while I can see Rafa having a crush on Shane, it was more difficult to accept Shane’s crush on Rafa.

They spent a lot of time apart, though Rafa watched Shane from a distance and speculated on what it would be like to kiss him, or be held by him, or more. But the two didn’t spend more than a week or so in one-on-one conversations. Those took place while Rafa’s parents were away and he cooked for Shane in his upstairs kitchenette so they had some private time to talk for a while each night. Even so, their time together was brief.

There were plenty of opportunities for superficial interactions between the two and<spoiler> when Shane rescued Rafa from the kidnapping</spoiler> it was obvious they were definitely attracted to one another, but I never felt they were on equal footing. In hindsight, I realize I got emotionally involved with Rafa, but never with Shane, and that might be partly why I didn’t get them as a couple.

I also thought that the circumstances surrounding Shane’s and Rafa’s reunion in California after Rafa’s family was out of the White House were unrealistic. Without giving away spoilers, I’ll just say that Shane’s work circumstances and his travel plans seemed unlikely for someone so well established in his career. However, this is fiction and fiction is not fact, and those circumstances were necessary to give the men their HEA and move to the next story in the series. 

Rafa was a sweetheart, and the story was interesting, at times exciting, and ultimately satisfying.

In fact, one of my favorite scenes took place near the end of the story as Shane and Rafa were having fun surfing in California. It was evident they knew each other well, liked each other, and had something special in common. In short, it showed them on equal footing and was the moment when I thought of them as a couple, rather than as two individuals. On that happy note, I can say I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

~~~~

The cover by Dar Albert depicts a man in a suit wearing sunglasses and holding his left hand to his ear while a younger man looks on in the background. The lower panel also depicts a photo of the White House. This cover cleverly tells the story of Shane, the Secret Service agent who protects Rafa, code name “Valor,” the President’s son.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Published September 9th 2015 by KA Books (first published September 7th 2015)
ISBN139780994092441
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesValor #1 settingWashington, D.C. (United States)

Release Blitz and Giveaway – Test Of Valor (Valor #2) by Keira Andrews

Standard

 

 
Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Designs
 
Length: 70,000 words approx.
 
Valor Series
 
 
Blurb
 

They’re free of the White House, but can their forbidden romance survive in the real world?


With his father no longer president, twenty-two-year-old Rafa Castillo can finally be with ex-Secret Service agent Shane Kendrick. Shane’s given up his career for Rafa, a move his fellow agents question the sanity and morality of. Eager to get away from the questions and judgement, Rafa and Shane are building a new life together in Australia. Though Shane struggles with nightmares and his over-protective instincts while Rafa fights his own insecurity, they love each other more than ever.


Now they just have to get through a visit from the former president and first lady.


Rafa’s parents certainly don’t approve of his romance with forty-year-old Shane, and they’re determined to make him see reason. They don’t see how their son could possibly be happy settling down with an older man, and they question Shane’s motives. Shane and Rafa just want a normal life together—but when they must suddenly battle for survival, they fight to prove their fierce love can withstand any threat.


This gay romance from Keira Andrews is the conclusion of the Valor duology. It features a May-December age difference, sex on the beach, and of course a happy ending.


About Keira


After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said:


“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”


Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Bookbub

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

A Jeri Review: Winning Edge by Keira Andrews

Standard
Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
Who doesn’t love watching the Olympics? You know you do. And you know you love the figure skating. This book by Keira Andrews showed us behind the scenes leading up to and at the (fictional) Olympics. AND it’s an America versus Russia!
Dev and his partner cannot seem to beat Mikhail and his partner. Always coming in second place to the cold as ice (sorry) Russian pair. Until Mikhail kisses him in the locker room. And that ice starts to melt.
I actually really loved Mikhail’s back story. Why he and his partner NEEDED to win Olympic gold. Let’s just say some things never change in Russia. I also really enjoyed that Dev was an Indian American, born in India. So this wholly American with dreams of Olympic gold yet he was not the all American white guy. Things like this make me love a book more.
Dealing with the budding romance between them while still competing against each other was exciting to read about. The politics in the sport, how it isn’t as popular as it used to be, the dynamics with your partner- yes, yes, and yes. I love that kind of thing in a book. It just gives it a little more substance.
I’ll say that the one thing I didn’t like was seeming to jump from one thing to another. I can’t really explain without spoilers, but there were small time jumps without a story to go with them. And I think the story that was missing would have been sweet and romantic. I felt a bit robbed of some romance. And I love romance.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. It amped me up more for the Olympics and I could envision the inner workings of what they all go through.
Cover art:  Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Designs.  Love the cover.
Sales Links:Universal Buy Link: books2read.com/TheWinningEdge
Book Details:
210 pages
Published February 8th 2018 by KA Books (first published February 4th 2014)
Original TitleCold War by Keira Andrews AND Holding the Edge by Keira Andrews
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Station by Keira Andrews

Standard

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

It’s the mid 1800s and Colin Lancaster is being groomed to attend Cambridge and then come back to his family’s estate to take his rightful place.  But Colin has a secret—he wants to be like the family’s stablemaster, Patrick Callahan, and not for his care of horses.  Colin spied Patrick years earlier as Patrick mounted another man, and ever since then, Colin has dreamed of the same happening to him.

When Patrick is caught with his pants down, Colin’s father has no choice but to condemn him to death—the punishment for sodomy.  But Colin intervenes, declaring himself as a sodomite and circumstances shift quickly.  Both Colin and Patrick are given a reprieve of sorts, and instead of death, they are sentenced to serve their time in Australia.  After an amazingly difficult sea voyage, during which Patrick survives typhoid due to Colin’s care, they are assigned to a widow who is heading inland to claim the land she and her husband purchased sight unseen. 

This story is very rich in description of the Australian outback, so much so, that it was very easy to picture the conditions under which Colin became a stockman, learning to ride and rope, and later, learning to appreciate his new life circumstances.  Patrick, on the other hand, resented being there and did not want to find the positives about the experience.  He had resisted Colin on all fronts, until finally giving in and having sex with the younger man on shipboard, and later again in Australia, when they found opportunities to slip away from the others. 

Patrick was the antihero in this story and not interested in romance at all, so it was difficult to like his character, and it was, therefore, difficult to label this a romance.  The story was more of a sexual conquest with a lot of romantic angst on Colin’s part but quite a bit of indifference and simple sexual need on Patrick’s part. 

There were also a few difficult-to-believe circumstances. Okay, there were a lot of difficult-to-believe circumstances and plot points—everything from the widow who drove three men and 500 herd of cattle onto land they’d never seen through a hostile neighbor’s property to their own—property marked by a simple red rag on a stick. Hypothetically, if the neighbor who owned a mega property didn’t really want them there—and we learn later that he didn’t—couldn’t he have yanked that rag off the stick? 

Then there was the issue of Colin’s and Patrick’s status as criminals, or not, and more issues related to the widow and Robbie, the other stockman.  I’m trying to be vague here so I don’t give away plot points, but the reality for me was that the story veered quite a bit from the realism I expected. And though I know this is fiction, I had to suspend belief quite a few times in the latter part of the story.  Or perhaps I’m too much of a skeptic. 

In any event, I loved Colin’s character, his joie de vivre, his persistent positive attitude, and appreciation for the land.  Loyal and steadfast, he never veered from his heart’s desire.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Patrick.   So, although I enjoyed the story, I didn’t enjoy it as much as previous stories from this author, and that was disappointing. 

I would recommend this to anyone who likes historical romance and those who appreciate a story set in Australia during the time of the early settlers. But I caution this author’s followers, who like me, may have been expecting another Semper Fi or Beyond the Sea.  This one isn’t it.

~~~

Cover art by Dar Albert features a sexy stockman standing in front of a grassy area populated by kangaroos, with a semi-transparent face superimposed over the background sky.  This must represent Patrick as the stockman and Colin as the face in the background.  Definitely not my favorite cover, I think it would have been better without that extra superimposed face.   

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2nd Edition, 188 pages
Published January 18th 2018 by KA Books (first published October 5th 2010)
Original TitleThe Station
ASINB078Z2T6XM
Edition LanguageEnglish

Release Blitz – – The Winning Edge by Keira Andrews (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

 

Universal Buy Link: books2read.com/TheWinningEdge
 
Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Designs
 
Blurb
 

Can figure skating enemies find love off the ice?

After an explosive locker room confrontation with his Russian rival ends in the most intense sex of his life, American pairs skater Dev Avira is distracted to say the least. He’s worked for years to have a chance at Olympic gold, and he can’t let himself—or his partner—down. Playing cat and mouse with the steely and smoldering Mikhail Reznikov is the last thing he needs as he prepares for the biggest competition of his life, but they can’t keep their hands off each other as the Games approach.

Dev soon learns that beneath Mikhail’s arrogant and aloof exterior is Misha, a passionate man who warms Dev’s heart and scorches his bed. They’re both determined to win, but for Misha his freedom could be at stake if he and his partner take anything less than gold. Who will stand atop the podium? And can secret lovers from different worlds make a life together once the competition ends?

This gay sports romance from Keira Andrews features enemies to lovers, two alpha men, sequins, and of course a happy ending. Content previously published as novellas Cold War and Holding the Edge.

 

Excerpt
 

December: The Grand Prix Final

Dev reached for his partner’s hand, and he and Bailey glided onto the ice wearing matching bullshit smiles as a voice announced: “In second, and winners of the silver medal, representing the United States of America—Bailey Robinson and Dev Avira!”

Thunderous applause filled the arena, and flashbulbs popped as they took their bows and waved to the cheering Japanese crowd. Dev wished he could soak in their love and choke down the acid bitterness currently lodged somewhere around his sternum.

Smiles still firmly in place, he and Bailey hopped onto the carpet surrounding the podium where the gold medalists waited in all their sequined and red-feathered glory. Leave it to the Russians to make their Firebird costumes as literal as possible. Kisa Kostina, not a bleached-blonde hair out of place, beamed as she bent to air-kiss Bailey’s cheeks.

Dev’s jaw clenched as he shook Mikhail Reznikov’s hand. He hated himself for the skitter of electricity when their eyes and palms met. Mikhail’s lips curved briefly into an approximation of a smile. At thirty-one, with his short dark brown hair sweeping over his forehead, his steel-blue eyes, his broad shoulders and lean, tall body, and his truly spectacular ass, he was stupidly handsome.

Asshole.

Dev and Kisa exchanged air-kisses before he helped Bailey step onto the second tier of the podium. He took his place behind her and waved again to the audience while the third-place Canadians skated out to take their bows, followed by more air-kisses and handshakes. Although Dev and Bailey genuinely liked the Canadian team, this ritual was so painfully fake. They were all here to win, and there was only one satisfied team on the podium.

And satisfied the Russians certainly were. With his regal air, Mikhail was one of the most pompous, egotistical people Dev had ever met. He was the king of the pairs world, and he damn well knew it. Sharp-eyed Kisa was the ice queen, and together they were a perfect, humorless match. They kept to themselves off the ice, always civil but never friendly.

How Dev would love to see Mikhail Reznikov brought to his knees. He ignored the flare of desire in his belly at the other implications of that thought and refocused his attention on his resentment of Mikhail’s place on the podium.

The Grand Prix Final was the last international competition before they all returned home for their national championships in late December and into January. Olympic teams would be determined, and then on to the Games in Annecy in February. Since he was seven, Dev had dreamed of winning Olympic gold. He was so close he could taste it.

The officials presented flowers and medals, and Dev played his jovial part. Being on the podium here meant they were among the best of the best, yet the silver medal hung around his neck like an albatross. He knew he should be grateful for what he had, and proud of everything he and Bailey had accomplished. And he was. But second place wasn’t good enough.

He wanted to win.

As the all too familiar “Hymn of the Russian Federation” played, Dev watched the flags rise to the arena’s rafters. Just once, he wanted the Stars and Stripes to have the middle position. Sure, he and Bailey had won plenty of competitions. They had narrowly missed making the last Olympic team, and that disappointment had fueled them. They’d dominated American pairs skating ever since. Three-time national champions. Winners of multiple Grand Prix events—including Skate America, Skate Canada, NHK Trophy, and the Cup of China.

But they’d never beaten Kostina and Reznikov. Every time they faced the Russians, they came up short. They were the reigning world silver medalists, and even though they’d worked endlessly on their artistry and connection and edges and transitions—it was never enough.

It wasn’t as if the Russians weren’t good. Dev could admit they were amazing, particularly on the technical side. They were three-time world champions, and when they were on, they were unbeatable. But tonight Kisa had fallen on their throw Salchow and they’d lost unison on their side-by-side combination spins. Yet they still won by eight points. Eight! Sure, Bailey had put a hand down on their side-by-side triple toes, but it was a minor error. It felt like the judges had decided Kostina/Reznikov were the winners before any of the pairs even stepped on the ice.

The crowd cheered as the anthem ended, and all the skaters squeezed onto the top of the podium for photographs. At five-ten, Dev wasn’t the biggest of the male pairs skaters, but tiny Bailey only reached his shoulder. Mikhail stood a good three inches taller beside him, because of course he had to be better in absolutely everything. Dev grinned for the photographers and held up his silver medal as he fantasized about elbowing Mikhail off the back of the podium.

The torture continued as the teams posed for more photographs on the ice with their flags. Then it was time to circle the rink for a victory lap. Dev and Bailey stopped to hug a few fans, including Amaya and Reiko, two young women who attended almost every competition around the world. Dev had no idea how they afforded it, but he was always grateful to see them in the stands.

Reiko handed him a stuffed elephant. The elephant was the state animal of Kerala, the Southern Indian state where his parents had grown up before immigrating to the US, where Dev was born. He’d mentioned once in an interview that his good-luck charm was a tiny elephant pendant carved from jade that he wore during every competition on a silver chain, hidden beneath his costumes.

Ever since, fans had given him elephants in every imaginable form, from dolls to statues to goofy hats. He loved every single one, and his mother collected them in what she called the Elephant Room back home in Belmont in the Boston suburbs.

He kissed Reiko’s cheek. “Thank you, sweetheart. Hope we’ll see you in Annecy?”

She bounced. “Oh yes! We would not miss this. And we love new costumes!”

“Glad to hear it!” Dev grinned.

After NHK they’d scrapped their initial costumes, which didn’t quite capture the darkly romantic tone of their Jane Eyre long program—officially called the free skate—set to the score from the 2011 film. Now Dev wore navy trousers and a button-down silk shirt with a simple white cravat, while Bailey’s navy dress with delicate white embroidery at her wrists and around her neck perfectly set off her auburn hair, which she wore twisted into a braid wrapped around a knot. Dev had grown his thick black hair a little on top, where it curled in what he liked to think was a rakish fashion.

Reiko’s smile gave way to a frown. “The results not correct. You and Bailey are true winners today. Everyone thinks this.”

Amaya nodded vigorously.

“Thanks, guys. We love you!” Bailey gave them another hug before they skated on.

After yet more photos, they finally escaped backstage. Their coach, Louise Webber, walked them to the dressing rooms. Louise had been a pairs skater herself in her youth, although she’d never gone past the national level. Now in her forties, she was still in amazing shape, which she attributed to her “Asian genes.” There wasn’t a streak of gray in her short black hair, and while she often said Bailey and Dev would give her wrinkles when they didn’t follow instructions to her satisfaction, none were in evidence.

Dev just wanted to get back to the hotel, but there was still the mandatory press conference to contend with. “Is this over yet?”

“You did your job out there. The rest of it is out of your hands. I’m proud of you.” Louise gave them both a squeeze. “Don’t let it get to you.”

“I’m not. It’s fine. I’m fine,” Dev insisted.

Bailey snorted. “Uh-huh.” She patted his hip before disappearing into the women’s dressing room. “See you in a few.”

Of the six teams that qualified to compete at the Grand Prix Final, the three who didn’t make it to the podium were long gone. In the men’s dressing room, the Canadian, Roger Jackman, was already zipping up his hoodie and stuffing his feet into his sneakers.

“Hey, man. I gotta call my wife back home. The baby’s due any minute now and I want to catch her tonight before it’s too late. Or early. I’m so fucked-up with this time change. Don’t rush getting changed, okay? I need a few extra minutes. See you in the press room.”

“Sure, no problem.” Dev held out his fist. “Great skate tonight.”

Roger bumped him back. “You too.” He shrugged. “What are you gonna do, right?”

As Mikhail strode in, Roger hurried out, tapping his cell phone. Dev sat on a bench and unlaced his skates. From the corner of his eye, he watched Mikhail peel off his black bodysuit festooned with shimmers of burnt orange and red. Several feathers floated to the tile floor. Underneath he wore a black tank top and boxer briefs that clung to his narrow hips and muscular thighs.

Swallowing hard, Dev quickly stripped off his costume and transferred it to a garment bag. Wearing dark boxer briefs as well, he reached for his track pants, but found his attention drawn back to Mikhail. The arena’s locker room had been gussied up with several wardrobe racks and a bank of makeup tables with mirrors and chairs. Still in his underwear, Mikhail went to one of the mirrors and leaned close.

The ego on this guy. It wasn’t bad enough that Mikhail had to always win—did he have to parade around the dressing room half-naked? Still, Dev had to swallow hard as traitorous desire seared in him. Mikhail steadily met his gaze in the mirror, and Dev jerked his head away, cheeks hot. Stupid! The last thing he needed was to get caught lusting after this asshole.

“Don’t worry, your guyliner isn’t smudged,” he snarked before glancing over.

In the mirror, Mikhail’s brow furrowed, but he said nothing and pulled a lash from his eye.

For some reason this refusal to engage lit a fuse to the anger simmering in Dev’s gut. “You know, you could lighten up once in a while. We get it, you’re an artiste. So tortured and…Russian. With your flailing arms and your nines for Performance and Execution even though you just go through the motions. You always get nines, and I bet you did tonight, despite Kisa cleaning the ice with her ass on that throw. You guys even fall artistically according to the judges.”

Mikhail straightened and faced Dev. His gaze raked down Dev’s body and back up. Nostrils flaring, he asked, “You have a problem?” His accent was fairly thick, but his earlier years training in Connecticut gave him a strong command of English. “Talk to the judges. We don’t control them.”

Dev barked out a laugh and took a step closer. “We both know your federation has the judges in its pocket. Skating has always been about politics, and no matter what scoring system they bring in—it always will be.” He shook his head. “Why am I even getting into this?” he muttered, more to himself than Mikhail. He headed toward the bathroom. “Forget it.”

Mikhail stood unmoving, and maybe Dev meant to get a little too close and knock his shoulder. But he definitely didn’t intend to end up slammed into a locker with Mikhail gripping his arms, his eyes blazing and face twisted. Dev’s skin burned where Mikhail touched him.

“You think it’s so easy for us? You know nothing. Nothing!”

Dev shoved against Mikhail’s chest, but he didn’t budge. Fingers curling in Mikhail’s tank top, Dev struggled to focus when he wanted so much to rip the cotton away and feel Mikhail’s pale skin. “Cry me a river! You win everything just by showing up. You could drag Kisa around by her hair for four and a half minutes and you’d be golden.”

Poshel na hui,” Mikhail spat.

Dev had been around Russians long enough to translate. He gritted his teeth. “Fuck you too.”

Their harsh breathing filled the air, fingers digging into each other’s skin, bodies so close and—

They were kissing, mouths open and teeth clashing, tongues battling as they rutted together. The metal of the locker was cold against Dev’s back, but everything else was fire—desire pumping through his veins, and the unstoppable urge to get closer, closer, closer. He moaned raggedly as his brain tried to connect with his body.

What am I doing? Stop!

His body ignored him, and he spread his legs as Mikhail jammed his thigh between them. They were both already hard in their underwear, and Mikhail groaned as Dev grabbed his ass and ground their hips together. Dev hated him so much, but he couldn’t stop touching. His hands roamed over the hard angles of Mikhail’s body, and he panted into wet, messy kisses. Mikhail clutched Dev’s hips and thrust their cocks together.

Anyone could walk in. Stop! I hate him! Wrong, wrong, wrong!

The scattered snippets of thought only made his pulse roar louder, and his balls tightened already, his body desperate for the release. They jerked together, and Dev could only give in to the madness that had taken over.

When Dev’s orgasm ripped through him, his shout was muffled by Mikhail’s palm slapping over his mouth. Mikhail hunched over as he rubbed against Dev in a frenzy, his quiet little gasps warm and wet against Dev’s neck. He came silently, shuddering with the pulses of his release. Dev’s body hummed with aftershocks, and he closed his eyes, breathing hard through his nose since Mikhail’s hand still covered his mouth.

Then the heat vanished, and Dev opened his eyes. Mikhail backed up across the dressing room, shaking his head slowly, eyes wide. Dev was frozen in place against the locker, his briefs sticky, and his arms hanging at his sides. They stared at each other as the seconds ticked by.

“Gentlemen?” a man’s voice called, accompanied by a sharp knock on the door. “We’re ready for you in the media room.”

They leaped into action, yanking on clean underwear, street clothes, and shoes in a blur of movement, not meeting each other’s eyes. Dev made it out first, and he smiled and made his apologies to the officials, following them to the press room. Sweaty and sticky and in desperate need of a shower, he tugged on his fleece and felt exposed even though it wasn’t as if there were wet spots on his track pants.

In the press room, the other skaters sat behind a long table on a raised dais. Kisa waited in the middle with the Canadians on her left and Bailey her right, everyone seated in their medal positions. On the rows of chairs in front of the table, the media, coaches, and various event and federation officials waited. Dev avoided looking any of them in the eye as he took his seat.

He couldn’t avoid his partner, and he smiled in what he hoped was a low-key, completely normal way. His mouth felt raw. Jesus, do I have beard burn? Bailey’s brows knitted together, and she reached up and straightened his hair. Shit. His hair.

Everyone knows! It’s flashing all over me in neon letters. Neon and all caps!

Breathing deeply, he struggled to unscrew the cap from the bottle of water placed on the table in front of him. It took two tries, but he got it, and gulped. His heart pounded so loudly he was sure everyone could hear it.

“Everything okay?” Bailey murmured.

He nodded.

Under the table, she squeezed his thigh. “We’re almost there. Just think—tomorrow we leave Kyoto and get to sleep in our own beds again. At least for a few weeks.”

With a rush of affection, he took her hand. If there was one thing he could count on, it was having Bailey beside him. He exhaled and concentrated on her familiar warmth.

Mikhail entered the room, head high and shoulders back, his hair artfully swooped over his forehead. He managed to make warm-up pants and his red Russian team jacket look like Armani. Expression calm, he took his seat next to Kisa. While Dev wanted to crawl out of his skin with a mess of emotions from shock and anger to a shameful craving for more, Mikhail Reznikov appeared utterly unaffected.

Dev had never hated him more.

Author Bio

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said:

“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

Contact/Follow the author at:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Bookbub

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Eight Nights In December by Keira Andrews

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

This is a lovely holiday story featuring a family celebrating Hanukkah.  Lucas’s college roommate Sam is heading home for the holidays and Lucas is looking forward to peace and quiet in the dorms while the partying jock is away.  Orphaned after his father passed away in September, Lucas has nowhere to go—until Sam’s mother takes him by the hand and drags him home to New York with her. 

She deposits him in Sam’s little brother’s room, but when Lucas gets a look at his little brother, Nate, is evident that little is the last word he’d used to describe the sexy, glasses-wearing geek.  And Nate’s view of Lucas isn’t that bad either.  It’s not long until the two begin a fling and though Lucas starts off as an inexperienced virgin, by the time the eight days of Hanukkah are over, that’s no longer the case.  In fact, by the end of the eight days there’s more going on than a holiday fling, and neither Nate nor Lucas are looking forward to their separation after New Year’s Day. 

But Nate’s not out and Lucas promised his dad he’d go to his dad’s favorite college to study medicine.  Nate also isn’t happy with the career choice he’s following to please his own dad.  He really wants to be a photographer but he promised his dad he’d be a lawyer.  Can these two young men find their way to their hearts’ desires—including each other—after only eight days together? 

This is, as I said, a lovely story and for those who like sexy romps, this one will make your holiday stocking sizzle.  It’s also a sweet love story and just thing to brighten a gloomy day. 

~~~

Cover art by Dar Albert depicts head shots of two young men gazing fondly at each other in the top pane of the cover, the title and a Star of David in the center, and a night scene of New York City in the lower pane.  Bright and attractive, it suits the story perfectly.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 100 pages
Published December 7th 2017 by KA Books
ISBN139781988260259
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: In Case Of Emergency by Keira Andrews

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Daniel Diaz is one of those characters who is so uptight he gives new meaning to the words “undies in a twist.”  Always reliable, steadfast, ambitious, he’s a twenty-eight-year-old HR Director who’s very dependable.  He’s so dependable, in fact, that he checks his work emails twenty-four-seven and can’t let loose.  Until his bestie convinces him to attend CYC—change your cadence—a class intended to shake up his predictable life.  So, contrary to his usual holiday schedule, this year he has booked a condo with a guy from the office who might just be the one to help him let loose.

He’s looking forward to snow, hot tubs, and a week of sex, but unfortunately, just before he leaves he receives a call from the local ER informing him that his “brother” has had an accident and Daniel is listed as next of kin.  Though he doesn’t actually have a brother, after a quick call to his mother, he figures out that this must be Cole, the young kid who was his step-brother for a few months during his mother’s whirlwind marriage to Cole’s father.  When the whirlwind divorce happened, Daniel’s mother kept in touch with Cole and convinced him to list Daniel as emergency contact when he moved to Daniel’s town last year to finish his master’s degree. 

Of course, this interferes with his planned vacation, so Daniel just sends his office lover to the chalet on his own while he takes care of Cole.  Long story short, Cole and his concussion accompany Daniel on his vacation—after all, what choice does a by-the-book guy like Daniel have? But the surprise is on Daniel when he arrives to find that Justin, his office twink—errr potential lover—has invited half the office to share the chalet.  Oops! Bad move on Justin’s part.  And that begins the twenty-four hours of crazy that is Justin and the gang who happen to get snowed in with them until the next day.  Poor Daniel. And poor Cole with his headache. 

I really enjoyed the story—mostly after Justin left, I must admit.   I loved the author’s writing style, the interesting concept of former stepbrothers. Of course, Cole held a long-time torch for Daniel, having had a crush since they met when he was thirteen.  Cole is definitely a more lovable, friendly, outgoing character than Daniel, who remains stiff and reserved for quite a while. And yet I liked Daniel, even though he was pretty misguided.  For Daniel, the more work he did, the better his self-esteem.  I know a lot of people like that.  In fact, I used to be one of them.  I was happy to see, however, that he didn’t remain that way through the whole story and I enjoyed the discovery of their love for each other. 

Yes, it was pretty much insta-love, no matter that Cole had that long-term crush going on. This line in the blurb sums the story up beautifully: “This fluffy gay Christmas romance from Keira Andrews features former stepbrothers reconnecting as adults, sexy hot-tub shenanigans, cuddling by the fire, and of course a happy ending.” So, in the spirit of the holiday season, and of the light, fluffy holiday romance this is intended to be, I’m going for 4.5 stars.  This story made me feel good and provided a few hours of enjoyable reading that hit my warm and fuzzy spot, so I’m recommending it to all who enjoy holiday romances, reunited friends to lovers, love at first (or second) sight, and those who like to see those cold-hearted workaholics turn into mushy romantic fools for the right man. 

~~~~

The cover by Dar Albert of Wicked Smart Designs features two very attractive men one shirtless, one in a T-shirt, in front of a fireplace and Christmas tree.  It captures the spirit of the holiday very nicely.    

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

ebook, 120 pages
Published November 30th 2017 by KA Books (first published November 2017)
ISBN139781988260266
Edition LanguageEnglish