An Alisa Review: Ta Weezo’s Blues by Layla Dorine

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Sabre never had any intentions of becoming the teacher’s pet. In fact, most of his school years have been spent trying to avoid attention. The scar that mars his cheek has made him wary of strangers, their questions and prying eyes leave him feeling exposed in ways he’s uncomfortable with. Accustomed to blending in, he lurks around the shadows in the back of classrooms, turning in exemplary work but rarely taking part in discussions.OK

Professor Locklear’s Native lit class is different though. Sabre’s interest in the subject matter, coupled with a dedicated scholar’s need to turn in the best work possible, leads him to seek out a more advanced reading list, much to the delight of Professor Locklear. When he comes across Sabre reading material beyond even the advanced list, Professor Locklear invites on a fieldtrip to a nearby village. Along the way he learns more than just the knowledge contained in the books. He learns about trust and discovers that there are others out there just like him— shapeshifters.

What he believed was an individual anomaly turns out to be something beyond legend and lore, a whole different culture he’d never known existed. The only way he can move forward is to let his shields down long enough to trust the man whose conversations he’s come to enjoy, but to do that, he’ll have to stop distancing himself from everyone.

This was so adorable.  Drax is intrigued by his new student’s dedication and when he comes to his office for more additional reading it makes him even more interesting.  The field trip gives them the opportunity to see each other in a different environment.

I could feel Sabre’s insecurity and fear of rejection and it was wonderful to see Drax give him his unconditional love and support along with accepting his differences.  I really loved their connection to each other and how it made both of their lives together.  The best part was Sabre finding acceptance with more people and it looks like he will now have some friends instead of keeping everyone at arm’s length.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is great and I love the visual of the characters.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 24,800 words

Published: December 24, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-949909-73-9

Edition Language: English

Love Shifters and Romance? Check out Ta Weezo’s Blues by Layla Dorine (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Ta Weezo’s Blues

Author: Layla Dorine

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 24, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 24800

Genre: Paranormal, college, professor, student, shapeshifter, teacher’s pet, poet, author, ferret shifter

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Synopsis

Sabre never had any intentions of becoming the teacher’s pet. In fact, most of his school years have been spent trying to avoid attention. The scar that mars his cheek has made him wary of strangers, their questions and prying eyes leave him feeling exposed in ways he’s uncomfortable with. Accustomed to blending in, he lurks around the shadows in the back of classrooms, turning in exemplary work but rarely taking part in discussions.

Professor Locklear’s Native lit class is different though. Sabre’s interest in the subject matter, coupled with a dedicated scholar’s need to turn in the best work possible, leads him to seek out a more advanced reading list, much to the delight of Professor Locklear. When he comes across Sabre reading material beyond even the advanced list, Professor Locklear invites on a fieldtrip to a nearby village. Along the way he learns more than just the knowledge contained in the books. He learns about trust and discovers that there are others out there just like him— shapeshifters.

What he believed was an individual anomaly turns out to be something beyond legend and lore, a whole different culture he’d never known existed. The only way he can move forward is to let his shields down long enough to trust the man whose conversations he’s come to enjoy, but to do that, he’ll have to stop distancing himself from everyone.

Excerpt

Ta Weezo’s Blues
Layla Dorine © 2018
All Rights Reserved

The hallway smelled of old dust and coconut curry, setting Sabre’s stomach growling as he trudged the last few feet to Professor Locklear’s door. Instinctively, he pulled his hood low, casting a shadow over his eyes, and with practiced ease, he swept his hair forward. It would have to do. Sucking in a deep breath, he counted to five before letting it out slowly, then licked his lips, and knocked on the door.

“Come in!”

The voice was slightly muffled by the wood that Sabre partially shoved open, only enough to poke his head in about halfway.

“Excuse me, professor, do you have a minute?”

Sabre kept his head angled, watching Professor Locklear out of the corner of his eye. Several moments passed before his professor stopped writing and placed the pen beside his notebook, raised his head, adjusted his glasses, checked the clock, and then brushed a stray strand of hair back from where it had fallen over one eye.

“I have a few, so you might as well come in. No sense hovering half in and half out of the doorway.”

Sabre shuffled forward, carefully keeping his eyes lowered as much as possible.

“So, what can I help you with? Are you in one of my classes?”

“Yes sir, I’m in your ten o’clock Introduction to Native Literature class.”

“Ahh, you must be the one who sits in the corner by the emergency exit, where it’s nice and dark. I have to admit, when you first chose that spot, I assumed you were looking for a place to nap, but you’ve since proved me wrong. Whenever I look your way, you’re focused intently on me or the power point.”

“Yes, sir. I enjoy the material and some of the discussions are pretty fascinating.”

“Really? In that case, why is it that you’ve never taken part in any of them?”

Shuffling from one foot to the other, Sabre carefully contemplated the question before responding. “I try to let my papers speak for me. I’m bad at public discourse. I get tongue-tied and trip over words or end up being so hesitant that people talk over me. When I’m writing, I can organize my thoughts and present a more complete analysis of what I’ve read.”

“Sounds as if you are extremely self-aware. Not a common trait these days, I’m afraid. Still, if you feel you have something to add to a conversation, then I hope you won’t refrain from doing so, er… I’m sorry. You’ll have to help me out with your name.”

“It’s Sabre.”

“Ahh, yes, one of the more unique ones this year. You’re right; your papers are remarkably organized, well thought out and quite complex in their reasoning. I must admit, you’ve had me rereading a few things I haven’t gone through in years just to understand why you’ve presented some of your comparisons in the manner in which you’ve organized them.”

Sabre grinned, a surge of pride rushing through him. “Thank you. That’s actually why I stopped by. I was wondering if you had any books you could recommend, similar to the required material for the course. I’ve finished reading everything on the syllabus, plus the referred texts I came across when I was researching; killed a couple piles of sticky notes and pens in the process, too, so now I’m hoping for more.”

The professor’s eyes went wide and he steepled his hands on the desktop calendar, tapping his fingertips together as he slowly scrutinized Sabre, making him shuffle more and tug at his hoodie to ensure it shadowed his face.

“Try as you might, I don’t think you’re going to change colors and blend into the woodwork. If you do, I think I’d have to take a half day off and schedule an immediate exam with my optometrist,” Professor Locklear remarked with a chuckle. “You can grab a seat, you know. I’m not a fire-breathing dragon about to roast you for stepping into my lair, though I wish I could singe a student or two when I catch them snoring.”

Sabre chuckled softly but didn’t come any closer.

“I guess not. Well, I must say your question caught me a bit off guard. It’s not one I’m used to, at least not from someone who wasn’t required to take my class. Are you considering adding Native Studies as a minor? You are a junior, correct?”

“No, sir. I’m a senior.”

“Ahh, okay. So are you looking for something specific?”

“Well, I, umm, really enjoyed Reservation Blues, so I found the other Sherman Alexie books and read them too. I loved the myths and legends book you assigned, and Fools Crow and Love Medicine were extremely fascinating. I read House Made of Dawn twice, not because I didn’t understand it the first time, but because it resonated with me, and I was compelled to reread it. I didn’t dislike any of the assigned reading if that helps at all?”

A long, low whistle emanated from the professor, who cocked an eyebrow at him, clearly impressed at all the reading Sabre had already done in just the first five weeks of the semester.

“It does, though there was no reason to finish the course load in a few weeks’ time; wouldn’t want you to burn yourself out.”

“It was easy, though. I always work ahead. My work-study job is in the library, shelving books and working at the research center desk, answering phone calls and emails. I usually have a ton of downtime and write most of my papers there. Plus, I’m carrying a light course load, four classes, since that’s all I need for graduation.”

“Well then, let me see what I can do to find you something.”

Rummaging around on his desk, Professor Locklear began moving neat stacks of paper until he finally found something of interest. Sabre watched as he perused the list before finally holding it out for him to take.

“Try these; it’s the reading list for my Native Literature 103 class, since I’m pretty sure between your papers and what you just told me, you’ve read most of the books for the 102. See if any of these interest you, and if you have any questions or would care to discuss them, please feel free to come back, or you can stop in my Native Lit discussion group. We meet in the atrium every Wednesday night at eight. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll be inspired to participate.”

“Thanks, I’ll umm… I’ll think about it,” Sabre said, still staring at the proffered paper. Reaching it meant he’d have to move closer, into the brighter lights above Professor Locklear’s desk. Biting his lip, Sabre took the three steps to the desk hesitantly, keeping his eyes on the paper and not the man.

“Are you okay? Is something wrong?”

The concern in his voice was what made Sabre raise his head, and the moment he realized what he’d done, he ducked it again, took the paper, and backed away until he felt the door at his back. Twisting around, he fumbled for the doorknob.

“Wait.”

Pausing, Sabre gripped the knob, never turning back.

“If you’re hiding in the shadows because of that scar, please know it isn’t necessary.”

Sabre touched his cheek, stroking his fingertips along the rough edges of the raised, puckered skin as the memory of moonlight striking glass from a busted bottle flashed through his mind. Almost instantly, his breathing picked up, and his chest felt tight as the first stirrings of panic surged through him.

“I’ve got to go,” Sabre muttered, nearly smacking himself in the face with the door as he wrenched it open. “Thanks, professor.”

“You’re welcome, but…”

Sabre took off before he heard the rest, sprinting up the curry-scented hall, the stench making him gag. Bursting through the outer door, the fall air hit him like a gut punch, carrying with it the scent of dying leaves. He gagged, bile rising in his throat. Skidding to a halt beside a bush, he vomited, grateful nothing but acid remained in his stomach. By the time he finished, he’d broken out in a cold sweat and felt gross and tired, wanting nothing more than to get back to his dorm room and take a long, hot, shower and climb into bed with a movie.

Glancing at the slightly crumpled list he gripped in his fist, Sabre sighed before smoothing it against his thigh, folding it carefully, and tucking it into the pocket of his hoodie. Shoulders slumped, he turned and trudged back toward his dorm, grateful the day was at an end. All in all, it had been both a success and a disaster. Next time, he’d just email his request, he decided, as a cold wind made him shiver and debate what the hell he’d been thinking, going to see his professor in person.

“Stupid,” he muttered as his short walk came to an end at his dorm.

For a so-called genius, he sure could be an idiot sometimes.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Layla Dorine lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.

Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Pinterest

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Layla Dorine on Lucky and the Rollin’ Jokers MC, and her story ‘Burning Luck’ (guest post, and excerpt)

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Burning Luck by Layla Dorin
Published July 5th 2017 by Encompass Ink

Buy Links: US Amazon | UK AmazonJP AmazonCA AmazonAU Amazon 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Layla Dorin on her Burning Luck tour. Welcome, Layla!

♦︎

Good morning and thank you for having me on your blog today to talk about Lucky and the Rollin’ Jokers MC. I didn’t start out looking to write an MC story, Burning Luck sort of evolved two years ago during National Novel Writing Month, from this vague scene written in a notebook at bedtime, to the novel that’s that been released. Over the year and a half of writing it, it went through several changes, additions, two rounds of Beta Readers and two trips to BDSM writers con to learn as much as I could about writing safe, sane and consensual BDSM scenes that would read as not only erotic but believable. During that time, the characters grew and evolved a great deal too, as did their world, to the point where there are now plans for at least one more story, featuring another pairing mentioned in Burning Luck.

I grew up around motorcycles, after hours clubs, men in leather and many pieces of the biker culture, it’s in my blood, but the men I knew we’re violent, they weren’t into criminal activities, guns, drugs, or any of the 1 percenter activities that get glorified so much in television and movies. They held steady jobs, most of them blue collar workers at the factories around town, a few owned their own businesses, several had families, pets you could see them out walking, and yards they’d be outside every Saturday trying to mow.

Burning Luck is a nod to that lifestyle. The love of bikes and clubs formed to enjoy that love and while there is talk of a few members being involved in smuggling activities in the beginning, it is to set the tone for them wiping the last shady activity from their club. So, if you enjoy bikers, BDSM, angst, and three men finding their way towards a relationship, then Burning Luck just might be the story for you.

Burning Luck Blurb

Lucky Strike McAllister isn’t very lucky. In fact, he isn’t much of anything most days, to hear his MC tell it. Since the death of his father from cancer and the suicide of his pops, he’s done nothing but find ways to get into trouble. He’s talented with an airbrush gun and an amazing artist when he sets his mind to it, but more often than not, the things Lucky sets his mind to are pretty self-destructive.

When Thorn and his partner Cain, members of the neighboring chapter of the Rollin’ Jokers, are forced to fish Lucky out of the ocean on a chilly fall night, both men decide he needs a keeper and who better than them to keep Lucky from destroying himself. Too bad Lucky can’t see that they’re trying to help. Bitter and lashing out, he does everything he can to sabotage the home and relationship they’re offering.

With secrets mounting and trouble knocking on their doorstep, Lucky struggles to find a way to put aside his anger long enough to get to know the two men who have taken such an intense interest in him. As tensions mount, will he look to take the easy path and he run from them, his club and everything he’s ever known, burning bridges and the last of his luck in the process or will he stay and learn that there are better ways to burn?

Excerpt

The photograph was old and a little bit faded, folded down the center from being kept in his wallet for years. Lucky stroked his finger across the surface, brushing away a little bit of sand. He was thirteen in the image, long before his Old Man had gotten sick and his Pops had decided he couldn’t deal with the grief of having lost him and decided to jump off a fuckin’ cliff. Everything had seemed almost perfect back then. Now, everything was just a disaster. 

A Christmas tree loomed behind them, wrapping paper all around their feet, the camera had caught the lights twinkling, and the joy on Lucky’s face as he waved the keys to his new dirt bike toward the camera. The best part about the bike hadn’t been the freedom, it had been the time his Old Man and his Pops had spent teaching him to ride right. It had been the family races, the life lessons around campfires in the middle of nowhere, the stories, the laughter, the ability to just be away from town for a little while. 

The crunch of boots on gravel caused him to hastily tuck the photo back in his wallet and shove it in his pocket again. 

“You ridin’ out to the point?”

Lucky turned his eyes away from the rolling waves to see his best friend studying him intently. 

“Naw, I can’t deal with that shit tonight,” Lucky drawled as he dug in his front pocket for a stick of gum. Trying to quit smoking sucked, at least the gum took his mind off it for a little while. 

“You okay?”

Lucky’s eyes narrowed into a glare. Of course he wasn’t okay, how the fuck could anyone expect him to be okay after the shit year he’d had? He seriously doubted that he would ever be okay again, but he knew his oldest friend was just trying to show concern for him, whether Lucky really wanted it or not. When Cody didn’t back down, Lucky just sighed and muttered curses about his persistence, wishing he’d just fuck off for a bit and leave him alone. He didn’t deserve Cody’s concern, or anyone else’s, not after all the bullshit he’d gotten into over the last few months. Maybe if he’d been home more instead of being stupid, his Pops wouldn’t have…

He swallowed hard, feeling his gut clench and his eyes start to sting, again. Deep breaths, he told himself, refusing to fall apart in front of Cody again. Tears were useless anyway, all of the damage had already been done. A cold wind blew off the water, making him shiver, and Lucky closed his eyes, breathed in the salt air and bit back a curse as he felt Cody settle on the rock beside him. 

“You’re not okay,” Cody said softly. 

Lucky’s fists clenched, he bit the inside of his cheek to keep from screaming, No fucking shit at the top of his lungs. Instead he muttered, “I’m alive, that’s about as okay as it’s gonna get right now.”

“You’ve got to start easing up on yourself. Ray’s death wasn’t your fault.”

“I should have been there, Cody!” Lucky exploded, nearly falling off the rock as he turned towards him, frustration and anger practically radiating off of him. “Damnit, if I’d been there I could have talked him out of it, I know I could have. He was my Pops, he would have listened to me.”

“No, Lucky, he wouldn’t have, not in the end. Maybe that night, but you couldn’t have watched him twenty-four seven. If he was bound and determined to off himself, then damn it he was gonna find a way to do it, even if it was while you were off at the store grabbing a gallon of milk.”

“Fuck you,” Lucky snarled. 

Cody exhaled a slow, shaky breath and brushed his shoulder length brown hair back from his eyes before reaching out to curl his fingers around Lucky’s arm. 

“Why do you think he waited until he knew you were out of town? He didn’t want you to be the one to find him. You read his note the same as I did, he didn’t want to feel as if he was letting you down.”

“Isn’t that exactly what the fuck he did!” 

“Yeah, it is, but he didn’t want to think about that. He didn’t want to consider that you might still need him. He didn’t want your love in that moment, Lucky, he wanted to be selfish. He wanted all of his pain to end. He wasn’t thinking about the pain he was gonna cause anyone else.”

Lucky snarled an oath and Cody scooted closer, trying to maneuver him into a hug, but Lucky resisted. 

“Fuck man, I miss him too, I spent as much time at your place when we were growing up as I did at my own. He was like an uncle to me. I would have been right there on the edge of that cliff with you, trying to talk him down, but he didn’t give either of us that chance. He didn’t give my old man that chance and he was one of Ray’s oldest friends. He’s gone, Lucky. There’s nothing either of us can do about it now. Tonight let’s just ride out to the point, have a bonfire, eat some good food and remember what he meant to all of us.”

Silence. Lucky tried to let Cody’s words sink in. He knew he was right, that it was past time for being mad about what his Pops had done, but Lucky couldn’t stop being angry. He couldn’t stop feeling like he could have done more. Couldn’t stop feeling like he’d failed the only person left in the world who really fuckin’ loved him. 

“I’m not going,” Lucky said as he yanked his arm from Cody’s grasp. “I’m gonna stay here until I get tired, then I’ll go home, maybe grab a frozen pizza on the way.”

“You can’t survive on orange juice and pizza.”

“I’m pretty sure it covers all the food groups,” Lucky muttered as he returned his gaze to the ocean. The waves seemed to be calming, which was a shame. He liked them high and angry, the crash of them against the rocks had been like an echo of his own mood. 

Swearing, Cody grabbed Lucky’s arm and gave him a shake. “God dammit, Lucky, don’t make us bury you too.”

“You guys can cremate me if you want, scatter my ashes in the ocean and forget you ever knew me,” Lucky muttered. 

Eyes narrowing, Cody released Lucky’s arm and punched him in the mouth. Lucky recoiled, more shocked than hurt as he watched Cody climb to his feet. A thin trickle of blood flowed from Lucky’s split lip, but he didn’t even bother reaching up to wipe it away.

About the Author

LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.

Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.

Layla Dorine can be found at:

A Paul B Review: Broken Prince, Mismatched Eyes (The Mauritanian Saga Book 1) by Layla Dorine

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars       ★★★★★

Broken Prince Mismatched EyesCaden DeMott might be the son of a noble but he clearly is not treated as such.  Born with two different colored eyes, many people in the area believe that he must be evil according to their traditional beliefs.  His stepmother makes his life miserable and effectively keeps him away from his stepbrothers.  Even his father can be distant at times to keep peace with his wife.  The only companionship Caden can rely on is his two dogs.  Because of all of this, Caden is withdrawn.  One morning, his father informs him that due to a business arrangement made by his stepmother several years ago, he is to be married to the prince of the family’s most important trading partner, the country of Mauritania.

Prince Rhys Gwyther was supposed to be married three years ago.  However, an accident while he was touring a mine left him almost a paraplegic.  But with determination and a lot of hard work, Rhys has learned to walk again, albeit with a limp.  While there are some in the kingdom calling for him to be bypassed as heir, Rhys is bound to live up to his birthright.  He makes the week voyage by boat from his country to the DeMott estate to meet his future husband.

When Rhys arrives, things go from bad to worse for the two of them.  Rhys takes an immediate dislike to Caden’s family.  But in Caden he finds potential for a mate.  However, both young men are waiting for the other to fall along long established patterns of abuse that they have suffered due to their “deformities.”    This will continue to shape the beginnings of their relationship.  Outside factors also contribute to drive the young couple apart.  Rhys’s father adds to the problem unintentionally making a decision meant to help them but only makes matters worse.  Will they find their happily ever after?

I really enjoyed this novel.  Caden and Rhys each have had their own problems over the years and have dealt with them as best they could.  These problems almost doom the relationship before it even starts.  Only after they agree to forget what others say and concentrate on just themselves do things begin to turn around.  But Caden’s family and past, along with those who do not feel Rhys should be the next king continue to threaten the princes.  The conclusion of the book wraps up the causes of the problems for both men, with the villains getting their just comeuppance.

The cover art by Kellie Dennis is just stunning.  Our two heroes are standing with shirts partially opened exposing well-formed chests above a picture of a boat sailing toward the land of Mauritania.  It fits the book really well.

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

Book Details

Kindle Edition, 328 pages
Published December 4th 2015 by Wayward Ink Publishing
(first published January 1st 2013)
ASINB017WXGBM8
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series:  The Mauritanian Saga