A Stella Review: Fire of the Heart (Hearts of Parkerburg #3) by Havan Fellows and Lee Brazil

Standard

Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Beacon Hill, Boston in snow.

Beacon Hill, Boston in snow.

Craig Gilchrist is the oldest of five siblings, the captain of the Parkerburg Fire Department, and all around buddy his friends run to when they have a problem. Unfortunately, he’s keeping a secret not only from the whole town, but his family as well. Living in the shadows works for him until one fateful night when a hot stranger walks across a smoky barroom, forcing Craig to make a move that could rock the foundation of his existence…and fill the void in his heart he doesn’t realize he has.

Melrose escaped the end of a bad relationship to start over in Parkerburg. With the support of his cousin and a job waiting tables at a great restaurant, he thinks his life is finally going pretty smoothly. That’s when his path crosses that of Craig Gilchrist, local fire captain. The big, beefy firefighter is definitely not his type. So why does he suddenly star in all of Melrose’s fantasies?

With Melrose at his side, Craig finally has the motivation to step out of the shadows and let Parkerburg see the real him…until trouble arises and the truth comes to light that perhaps he doesn’t know the real Melrose.

Lies and fears play havoc with their newly acquired relationship. Luckily, once ignited, the hearts of Parkerburg don’t burn out so easily.

The Hearts of Parkerburg stories can be read as standalones, each with a HEA…but trust me, you’ll want to read about all the sweet happenings in this quaint little town.

I agree with the authors’ note, Fire of the Heart could be easily read as a standalone. Still I don’t feel to freely recommend to start with it, if you can, read the  Hearts of Parkerburg series in order. You won’t wonder (as I did) about the other couples’ stories, IMO you will get a major completeness. And probably this is one of the reasons why I didn’t give it more that 3 stars.

I had some trouble getting into the story at the start because through all of it, there were too many characters to keep track of and I get confused. The relationship between Melrose and Craig was easy to read and light in spite of some important themes (abuses by an ex boyfriend, being in the closet, coming out) that could have been developed more and give the book a depth it missed very much. This authors’ choice made the plot too simplistic to be realistic and deeply appreciated by me.

I said that to explain my rating, but honestly, if you can ignore the criticisms I made, what you will get is an easy and well done reading. I would have preferred some drama, some angst, just a little spice to take the story on another level , a higher one. Nonetheless I quite enjoyed Fire of the Heart, most of all it was sweet and with a well showed feeling of love, in any form you can think of, from friends, family, co workers and nosey acquaintances.

The Cover Art by Author Services works well just because I like the color and with all those hearts is very romantic.

Sales LinksARe  |  SMASHWORDS   | AMAZON  

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 175 pages

Published February 2nd 2016 by Appleton Publishing Avenue

ISBN13 9781941841426

Edition Language English

Hearts of Parkerburg series

Christmas in His Heart #1 – Dermot & Xander’s story
Heart on the Run #2 – Chaz & Sprocket’s story
Fire of the Heart #3 – Craig & Melrose’s story

A Stella Review: A Man of Unusual Talent by Lee Brazil

Standard

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Man of Unusual Talent_1400Collin Crane is a man of unusual talent. Really unusual. Too weird for the Guinness Book unusual. On the fifty-year plan to a doctoral degree in physics, and a quiet quest to understand his own oddities, Collin clings to obscurity. This superhero has learned the hard way that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Enter Mathias Giraud, football hero, local cop, and CC’s secret fantasy since high school. Mat’s a simple man with a hero complex fostered by comic books and Marvel movies. Saving the world is his fantasy, but since his roots are firmly planted in Morrisonville and reality, he’ll settle for protecting and serving. Until he clashes with CC at the local convenience store and is reminded of his own high school crush.

When marshmallows are involved, the course of true love is bound to get sticky

I haven’t read a lot by Lee Brazil (surprisingly) but A Man of Unusual Talent soon took my attention, from the start it was impossible to put down. Funny, engaging and with a story to follow, it was just the right book I needed to read. Sweet, cute and quick, with not a lot drama at all. One of that books I like to have by my side when I just want to relax a little. And the writing with my favourite double point of view was really good and smart.

After having spent years trying to control his talent, CC having achieved nothing, he’s still trying to solve the mystery his that talent is, still taking shower after shower to take away the delicious (not to him) smell of marshmallows, still crushing on Mat, the handsome cop of their conservative town with the hero complex. But CC doesn’t know Mat is attracted to him too, wanting to cherish him and his vulnerability. Who’s the hero and what are their superpowers?

The title says it all, CC has a really unique talent, I still can’t believe Lee, or better the girl who came up with the prompt, could think of something so unbelievably cute. As soon as I realized it, I was laughing my head off. I hit it off with all the characters from the first lines till the last ones(my favorite: CC whispered, “What is your superpower?” “Love.”). It was a lovely surprise to me.

I’d like to recommend this short story to anyone who is looking for a break with something unusual, funny and well written .

A Man of Unusual Talent is part of the Story Orgy Collection: Superhero. Four authors, Lee Brazil, Havan Fellows, Em Woods and Hank Edwards will show us some new heros to love. Stay tuned in the next days for my review of Flyboy’s  First Misadventure by Havan Fellows.

Cover art by Startled Monkeys Media. The cover caught my attention first, it’s colorful and funny. I soon liked it and wanted to know more about the story. Well done.

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

Book Details:

ebook
Kindle Edition, 96 pages
Published October 12th 2015 by Smashwords Edition
ISBN139781311891150

A MelanieM Review: Dead Money: Jack of Spades #5 by Lee Brazil (Pulp Friction 2015: Altered States Book 17)

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★

Dead Money coverBarton Montoire’s fragile hold on his emotions is worn thin by exorcisms and fear. Even though he’s beginning to realize the full potential of his abilities as a ghost, he has no power to stop his lover’s plot to end the darkness that has threatened their relationship for close to a year, not with all their friends in the line of fire.

In all of time, there have existed few men who transcend the bonds of life and death, who see the spirits as clearly as the living. These men possess the ability to summon others, creating doorways between realms, physical and metaphysical. A dusty tome written in cryptic language reveals terrifying secrets, but with a little help from his friends, Sabine Brusilov knows what must be done. For the good of humanity and supes alike, he must call forth the shadowy demon, leading it into a trap.

Unfortunately, talent is not skill, and the ability to summon cannot be mastered by taking a class or two and scouring the internet for information. With Bart at his side and his friends at his back, Sabine brings talent, skill, and strength of will to battle evil before it can join the gathering forces of darkness that menace New Orleans.

With dead money on the table, is love enough to take the hand?

Well, Dead Money by Lee Brazil is the book I have been waiting for this entire series.  It’s just plain outstanding!  With this one story, Lee Brazil takes all my previous irritations and uncertainties with the plot, the characters, their relationships,  and dismisses them firmly and resoundingly.   In fact, had this been a stand alone series, Dead Money would have made the perfect  series finale.

For most of the series, I have felt that the relationship between Bart and Sabine to have been very unequal in power and affection, at least that’s the way it translated in the narrative for me.  But here and now, after all their travails,  they come across as deeply committed partners, people in love, no matter their corporeal status. Lovers reunited who are facing one of the greatest evils they will ever know.  Brazil has built up the demon they face with vividly scary descriptions and pain-filled scenes of horror but still what comes is far, far worse.  Something no one, not Bart, not Sabine and certainly not the reader is prepared for.

The other characters in the series are there trying to help as well, but its Bart and Sabine you fear for and the ending when it comes is both shocking and shockingly satisfying.  I’ll say no more.  But oddly enough, I’m so  happy with this story, I don’t feel like I need a book six, which might be just as well.  I love this book and the way it all turned out.  How on earth or on any other supernatural plane could you possibly improve on this?  Five stars plus?

And yes I highly recommend this author and series.  Not only for a Scary Halloween Read but for any time of the year!

The book cover is also the best in the series.  Apparently everything was waiting until Round 5.  Well done.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 47 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by Lime Time Press
ASIN B016NFRTO0
edition language English

☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠

About Pulp Friction 2015

Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Round Two:
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Havan Fellow
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ) by Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura Harner

Round Three:

Dead Button (Jack of Spades #3) by Lee Brazil
Blind Man’s Bluff (King of Hearts #3) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Playground (Four of Clubs #3) by Parker Williams
Diamonds Edge (Ace of Diamonds #3) by Laura Harner

Round Four:

Dead Man’s Hand (Jack of Spades 4) by Lee Brazil
Blind Heart (King of Hearts 4) by Havan Fellows
High Stakes (Four of Clubs 4) by Parker Williams
Diamond Flush (Ace of Diamonds 4) by Laura Harner

Round Five:

Dead Money (Jack of Spades 5) by Lee Brazil

☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠

About Pulp Friction 2015

Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Round Two:
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Havan Fellow
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ) by Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura Harner

Round Three:

Dead Button (Jack of Spades #3) by Lee Brazil
Blind Man’s Bluff (King of Hearts #3) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Playground (Four of Clubs #3) by Parker Williams
Diamonds Edge (Ace of Diamonds #3) by Laura Harner

Round Four:

Dead Man’s Hand (Jack of Spades 4) by Lee Brazil
Blind Heart (King of Hearts 4) by Havan Fellows
High Stakes (Four of Clubs 4) by Parker Williams
Diamond Flush (Ace of Diamonds 4) by Laura Harner

Coffee Sip and Book Break with Lee Brazil’s Keeping House (Truth or Dare #1) (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

TruthOrDare-400x600

Keeping House (Truth or Dare #1) by Lee Brazil
Release Date: August 31, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Lime Time Press
Cover Artist: Laura Harner

Banner300x250

Buy the book: Amazon  | ARE  | Smashwords

Blurb

Mischa knows his brothers are up to something. He doesn’t realize it will lead him to Donovan Holloway and change his carefree lifestyle forever.

Having grown up in a free-love hippie commune taking care of the parents who should have been taking care of him, Donovan Holloway, advertising executive, newly made vice president of the company where he’s worked for twenty years, has come a long way. He’s worked hard to put himself through school and achieve the American dream. All he’s ever wanted is a normal family life—house in the suburbs, two cars, two kids, a shaggy dog. A family to come home to, to care for, to care for him has been his dream since he was a small boy.

Green-eyed, liberally pierced, black-haired, Mohawk-wearing spoiled youngest son of a Hollywood producer and his actress wife, Mischa Blake has made a terrible mistake. In a fit of childish pique, he’s accepted a dare from his older brothers. The dare? Live on his own, supporting himself completely, for a year without accessing his trust fund. No problem. Except Mischa has never worked a day in his life, hasn’t finished college, and has absolutely no skills to bring to the table.

When he sees Donovan’s ad for a housekeeper/gardener, he has nothing to lose by applying, because really…how hard can it be?

Pages or Words: 28,000 words
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Romance

Excerpt

Donovan Holloway flung the heavy oak front door of his new dream home open with a thud. He peered out at the extremely tardy final interviewee for the position of housekeeper and groaned inwardly. The person on the other side of the door was not the one he’d been expecting.

“Yes?” He didn’t have time for neighborhood boys selling magazines, cookies, or candy bars, even if they were sexy as hell. The person at the door might, might, have been seventeen. He should just shut the door and hope the kid went away. On second glance, shutting the door on temptation incarnate seemed like a damn good idea.

Wearing a tight black T-shirt, black skinny jeans, and black skate shoes, his visitor carried a skateboard under one arm and a black backpack hung off the other. His head was shaved on both sides leaving a strip down the center that was ink-black and, despite the rain, stood in four-inch porcupine spikes. He was pale, eyes red-rimmed, and literally drenched. Damn. That wet look sure was effective. Pervert! He snarled at himself. Note to self— get out of the office and get laid this weekend.

Donovan stepped back, prepared to slam the door, but something sad in those green eyes gave him pause. “Hey, are you all right? Do you need help?” He scanned the quiet neighborhood, looking for a reason the kid might be knocking on his door, envisioning gangs of hoodlums stalking the as yet silent boy through upscale neighborhoods.

He shuddered and then swallowed audibly before speaking. “I’m Mischa Blake.”

Donovan stared uncomprehending.

“Mikhail?” Deep green eyes stared at Donovan expectantly. When no response was forthcoming, he added, “Michael? Blake? I have an interview?”

Donovan shoved his hand into the pocket of his trousers and pulled out a pink phone slip from his secretary. M. Blake was his sixth scheduled interview for the position of housekeeper/cook/gardener.

The first applicant, a beady-eyed battle-axe, had taken one look around his yard and at the clutter in his house yet to be unpacked and announced that she most emphatically did not work for pigs.

He knew the place was a mess. He’d found his ranch style house on the market at the right price and decided to celebrate his recent promotion to vice president of the advertising agency where he’d worked for the past twenty years by moving out of the tiny apartment he’d lived in for years and into a real home. It was the house he’d imagined so often as a kid, boasting a large yard, open floor plan, huge kitchen, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, gorgeous picture windows, and vaulted ceilings.

Of course, in his childhood fantasies, the house had been occupied by him, and a beautiful wife—a golden-haired, blue-eyed, petite Florence Henderson look-alike—and a bevy of beautiful, intelligent children. He’d suffered a minor setback at seventeen when he discovered he was gay, but after due consideration, he’d replaced Florence with Phillip Henderson and been instantly back in business.

The housekeeping candidate hadn’t cared about his dream-turned-nightmare. She’d flounced out before he could even give her the job description. The second applicant had sat sipping coffee in his office, murmuring noncommittally in response to his job description for several moments. He nurtured high hopes for the middle-aged lady, until she abruptly interrupted him to demand, “Are you one of them? Because I’m looking at you, and I’m guessing, Myrtle, he’s one of them. You’re a gay man, aren’t you?”

He’d sat in stunned silence, mouth hanging open a bit too long as she began to spout fire and brimstone and call upon God to wreak his vengeance on all sodomites. She’d still been spewing vitriol as he clasped her elbow and hustled her the few feet from his home office to the front door and out onto the sidewalk.

“I’m looking for someone to cook a few meals and scrub the toilets, not validate my existence!” he called after her as he slammed the door.

The third applicant hadn’t spoken a word of English, and since he had zero chance of learning to speak Hmong, he’d nodded, shaken his head and hustled her out the door as quickly as he could as well. The fourth applicant had been a no-show. It was depressing. He’d really screwed up his chances of fulfilling his lifelong dream by purchasing the house before he’d found the Phillip Henderson to manage it!

Hiring a housekeeper to manage his home life much as his secretary managed his business life was a brilliant option. The housekeeper could handle the dream house that had become a nightmare, and he could concentrate on finding that Phillip Henderson after he got his work life sorted out again.

Instead, the only candidate he would even consider hiring had been the fifth. She’d been a perfectly wonderful grandmotherly type who’d labeled him adorable and patted him on the cheek like he was a six-year-old boy instead of a forty-year-old businessman. He’d fallen more than a little in love with her right at the moment her soft wrinkled hand patted his cheek so sweetly. Unfortunately, she looked to be about ninety-six, and delicate—as though her spun sugar white hair would melt in the rain. He’d have felt guilty as hell asking her to clean up after him. He’d kept her number, just in case he could come up with a reason to invite her back over after his house was in order. She’d be the perfect grandmother figure for the children he had yet to adopt. Phillip Henderson, where are you?

Sighing, he looked up from the scrap of paper. “You’re applying to be my housekeeper?”

About the Author

Meet Lee Brazil:

Somewhere in a small town in up-state New York are a librarian and a second grade teacher to whom I owe my life. That might be a touch dramatic, but it’s nevertheless one hundred percent true.

Because they taught me the joy of reading, of escaping into worlds crafted of words.

Have you ever been nine years old and sure of nothing so much as that you don’t belong? Looked at the world from behind glasses, and wondered why you don’t fit?

Someone hands you a book, and then you turn the page and see… There you are, running from Injun Joe in a dark graveyard; there you are fencing with Athos; there you are…beneath the deep blue sea- marveling at exotic creatures with Captain Nemo.

I found myself between the pages of books, and that is why I write now. It’s why I taught English and literature for so many years, and it’s why my house contains more pounds of books than furniture.

If I’d had my way, I’d have been a fencer…or a starship captain, or a lawyer, or a detective solving crimes. But instead, I am a writer, and I’ve come to realize that’s the best thing in the world to be, because as a writer, I can be all those things and more.

If I hadn’t learned to value the stories between the pages, who knows what would have happened? Certainly not college…teaching…or writing.

Where to find Lee Brazil:


RCTour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, Havan Fellows, Kimi-Chan, Christy Loves 2 Read, Charley Descoteaux, Inked Rainbow Reads, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Book Blog, The Jena Wade, Carly’s Book Reviews, Bayou Book Junkie, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Happily Ever Chapter, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Wake Up Your Wild Side, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Multitasking Mommas, Divine Magazine, MM Good Book Reviews, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Mikky’s World of Books, Molly Lolly, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Dawn’s Reading Nook

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $5.00 ARe gift card. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prize(s) provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

Rafflecopter Code:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

A MelanieM Review: Dead Man’s Hand: Jack of Spades #4 by Lee Brazil (Pulp Friction 2015:Altered States Book 13)

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Dead Man's Hand coverBarton Montoire, the ghost of a nineteenth century riverboat gambler, is devastated and angry. His lover, physics professor Sabine, has exorcised him. Again. This time, there’s no denying the professor’s actions were intentional. Worse, Bart can’t seem to convince their friends to aid him in his quest get Sabine to listen to his side of things.

With his lover Bart safe from shadowy threats of eternal damnation in the “other realm,” ghost hunter Sabine Brusilov is free to pursue his own risky investigation into the mysterious circlet and its connection to the shadow figure that’s been tormenting the unlikely couple. With the help of his friends, he determines to take control of the situation and bring Bart home.

I may have been a little harsh towards Sabine in the past, mostly because of his behavior and attitude towards Bart, his ghostly lover and favorite character of mine. However, with Dead Man’s Hand (book 4), Lee Brazil start’s repairing Sabine’s reputation, in my eyes and in that of his friends as well as supplying some explanations for some of the more bizarre actions and events that Sabine has been involved in. Has this made me mellow towards Sabine?  Yes, it has, damn, it.  Still that amount of arrogance has cost him.

Forty four pages  isn’t a lot of time to turn a impression of a character around but Lee Brazil does it concisely and within the framework of a complicated plot. Its not, however, that Sabine changes but that our perspective of Sabine that gets revised now that we get to see underneath the surface of his actions.  We see how the things he said and weird things he has done now fit differently into the whole picture.  That tilt in viewpoint also  shifts the story into another mode – a renewed sense of needing this couple to be together, something that might not have been there before.

Bart is still desperately trying to find his way “home”, seeking answers, for his own scary actions and Sabine’s.  That dark evil influence had spread wider than anyone had thought possible.  With Brazil reinstating Sabine as more in need of our compassion than scorn, Bart blindly trying to come come to Sabine, and the plot more deeply layered and vicious, the author is setting the stage for the explosions and fires that book 5 is sure to bring.  Demons anyone?  Evil demons that is?  This is going to be painful, bloody, and someone, perhaps more than one is going to get hurt, but who?

Ah, Book 5, here we come, I can’t wait for the paranormal explosions to begin!

I highly recommend this story and all the stories that came before.  Pick them up and devour them like the scary bon bons they are!.

 

Cover artist Laura Harner.  Still wish they were darker and more frightening.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 44 pages
Published August 14th 2015 by Lime Time Press
ASINB013XZ611A
edition languageEnglish

☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠

About Pulp Friction 2015

Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura HarnerRound Two:
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Havan Fellow
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ) by Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura HarnerRound Three:Dead Button (Jack of Spades #3) by Lee Brazil
Blind Man’s Bluff (King of Hearts #3) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Playground (Four of Clubs #3) by Parker Williams
Diamonds Edge (Ace of Diamonds #3) by Laura Harner

Round Four:
Dead Man’s Hand (Jack of Spades 4) by Lee Brazil
Blind Heart (King of Hearts 4) by Havan Fellows
High Stakes (Four of Clubs 4) by Parker Williams
Diamond Flush (Ace of Diamonds 4) by Laura Harner

A MelanieM Review: Dead Button (Jack of Spades #3) (Pulp Friction 2015 #9) by Lee Brazil

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Dead Button coverHaunted. Seduced. Betrayed.

When ghost enthusiast Dr. Sabine Brusilov plucks a weathered skull from the mud and debris at the bottom of the Mississippi River, he gets more than he bargained for. The skull comes with a moody, petulant, sexy ghost who is not shy about his attraction to Sabine. Along with proof that ghosts really do exist, Sabine finds a treasure beyond compare.

Love.

Love is everything to long dead Barton Montoire. He’s lived for it, faced dishonor for it…killed for it. Now that he’s found it again, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep Sabine at his side for eternity. Even if that means more blood on his hands.

With the darkness that circles Sabine growing stronger, and his lover’s actions becoming more erratic and unpredictable, Bart is challenged to protect his love from some unknown danger.

Ghosts and humans exist on two separate planes, and there’s only one way for them to be together.

But betrayal lurks in the shadows…

Of all of the 4 interconnected series of the Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States collection, this series and main couple are the most problematic for me.  And that my somewhat dubious affection is for characters that comes from Lee Brazil?  Even more of a surprise and the cause of much questioning on my part.  That is never more true than for Lee Brazil’s story in Round Three, Dead Button (Jack of Spades #3) (Pulp Friction 2015 #9).

After I finish reading each story, the first question that pops up is why don’t I like these characters more.  Or more accurately one character more? That would be Dr. Sabine Brusilov.  From the beginning he has come across as cold, unfeeling and harsh in his approach to his lover, the delectable ghost Barton Montoire.   Theirs is a long  relationship that has always seemed very one sided and prone to the potential for abuse.  Yes, definitely not a fan of Sabine’s.

It has come up along the way that other characters in the series see their relationship the way I do and the explanations have been that Sabine is shocked over the manner in which his and Barton’s relationship is viewed.  But have these scenes and clarifications made any adjustments in my feelings towards Sabine?  Not really.  For me, the one closest  to my heart with this couple is Barton.  His treatment at the hands  of Sabine both push Barton further into my affection while continuing to alienate Sabine more throughly from it.

But the more I think about it, I wonder if that isn’t part of Brazil’s plan all along.  That you must pull one of the characters down so far that he seems unredeemable.  Until he isn’t.  That his salvation becomes part of the “Holy Grail” of the story, something that must be achieved at all cost.  Because Sabine is certainly on his way to hell given his actions here.

Parts  of this story hurt so bad that I can still feel it.   Brazil’s writing leaves no emotion unturned or unchurned as I should say.  The pain is spread far and even across the characters.  The darkness is here and feels unstoppable as well as unknown.  Its brunt is borne by Barton, at least on the surface.  That Sabine is wrapped up in something out of his control is obvious but his actions?  How far back did the influence start?  This becomes more of a psychological mystery as well as a supernatural suspense story.  I love that.  Because as much as I dislike what Sabine is doing, Brazil makes me question the impetus for his actions and what the man must be feeling underneath it all.  Will I come to love Sabine as I do Barton?  The answer lies in stories 4 and 5 and I can’t wait to find out.

All the stories and series in the Pulp Friction 2015 collection are convoluted and full of shocking revelations.  Somehow, though, I get the feeling that Lee Brazil’s Jack of Spade might just supply the biggest surprise of them all.  Stay tuned!

Cover art by Laura Harner is dark and perfect for this story.  The covers for the series were originally too light but as the plot got nasty and murderous the covers have changed with the tone.  Love it and them.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 46 pages
Published June 15th 2015 by Lime Time Press
ASINB00ZS51B8M
edition languageEnglish
series 2015 Pulp Friction – Altered States Collection

☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠

About Pulp Friction 2015

Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.
Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Round Two:
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Havan Fellow
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ) by Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura Harner

Round Three:

Dead Button (Jack of Spades #3) by Lee Brazil
Blind Man’s Bluff (King of Hearts #3) by Havan Fellows

A MelanieM Review: Dead Blind: Jack of Spades #2 (PF 2015: Altered States) by Lee Brazil

Standard

Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Dead Blind coverIn the two months since Dr. Sabine Brusilov and his ghostly lover Bart discovered the curious brass circlet while investigating a haunting in an apartment building, Sabine focused on recovering from his accident. Now, his health restored, his mind returns to the mystery of the circlet. Even a commission to appear on a television show can’t distract him from its allure.

After nearly two centuries of resistance, it takes an exorcism for Bart to come to terms with being a ghost…and learning that everything in the other realm isn’t quite the way he had figured. As he grows more comfortable in the spirit plane, his abilities on the earthly plane evolve. Even though he feels the circlet’s evil, he can’t help but connect his growing strength with it.

Life and death are two sides of the same coin, but the circlet blurs lines for both man and ghost.

In Dead Blind (Jack of Spades #2), Lee Brazil takes his plot and gives it a dark, maze-like quality that adds another level of trepidation and suspense to a tale already overflowing with it.  For me, this story is where I start to connect with Sabine whose personality and cavalier treatment of Bart sort of pushed me away in the first installment.

With an evil circlet in his possession, Sabine’s control over his emotions, thoughts and actions become compromised.  And it’s his struggle to remain himself that really draws the reader onto his side and let’s us empathize with this complicated man.  Bart too is growing in substance…literally.  While the reasons he is becoming stronger are still somewhat nebulous, the fact that Bart abilities have grown now allow him to have avenues for his thoughts and emotions not possible before.  He can travel and move things, for good or bad.  But it’s his growing concern for Sabine that pulls us into their relationship and gives us a better feel for their couple dynamics which is undergoing  drastic changes even as they are.

But back to that evil circlet.  Lee Brazil does a fabulous job of bringing that object’s menace to life on the page. Through the vivid imagery of Brazil’s descriptions, t he circlet emanates such malevolence, that the  dreams and actions it’s pulling out of Sabine will bring chills as you read.  Yes, this story is getting marvelously darker, more convoluted and scary.  And I couldn’t be happier.

If you love your romance stories with a touch of horror, if you listen for those things that go bump in the night, than this installment has just the right amount of shivers to make you downright  gleeful.  But be warned, none of these are stand alone stories.  They must be read in the order they were written and often contain cliffhangers just as serialized stories should.

But don’t take my word for it.  Pick them all up and get started today.  Each is a truly delicious morsel of romance and fear, addicting and downright delectable.  Happy Reading.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  I like the overall design but am still missing a supernatural element.  It just seems too light and fluffy for the content.

Sales Links:   All Romance (ARe)       Amazon         Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 54 pages
Published April 14th 2015 by Lime Time Press
ASINB00W5HNFYE
edition languageEnglish\

About Pulp Friction 2015
Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.
Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.
Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Round Two:

Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil

 

A MelanieM Review: Heart of Clay by Lee Brazil

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5:

Heart-of-Clay-400x600Decades earlier a tragic accident separated two men who were always meant to be together.  Now the ghost of the man that died makes one more effort to bring the men he loved together as they were always meant to be.

Clayton Merk, accomplished, yet arrogant, businessman, has a reputation for one-night stands and being steadfastly anti-relationship, life choices that stem from a traumatic loss in high school. When he decides to return home—to the root of all his problems—he brings a co-worker with him as a buffer against the past. Even though he’s ready to lay old ghosts to rest, he certainly didn’t expect a literal ghost to lend a hand.

Brad Jorgensen, Clay’s former best friend, has also clung to the past in an unhealthy way. When Brad’s brother died in that car accident, he lost not only his brother but any chance he had to get together with Clay, the boy he secretly loved. Now Brad holds Clay responsible for everything that has gone wrong with his life, not the least of which is his cousin’s death decades earlier. At one time they’d been closer than brothers, but blame and anger are powerful weapons of destruction, and they’ve left Brad in a wasteland of self-doubt, hatred, and loneliness.

For decades Clay and Brad have remained apart, separated by loss, anger, bitterness and guilt.  The ghost at the heart of the problem has had enough. Bobby isn’t pleased with his cousin or his ex. Their refusal to let go of the past has kept him on a plane where he doesn’t belong and isn’t at home. He’s expended all his energy trying to get through to Brad, without success, but Clay’s return finally gives him a foot in the door…or out the door.
If he could just get the two stubborn men together.

I have loved ghost stories since I was a child and when combined with romance, they prove downright irresistible.  In Heart of Clay, Lee Brazil takes this trope and gives it his own twist by taking these two men decades past the accident that caused Bobby’s death and the schism in their lives.  Heart of Clay by Lee Brazil opens with Clay, a successful businessman, returning home to the farm he grew up on with his grandparents.  So powerful and traumatic are the memories he has of his time growing up there (and the strong bonds he built with the Jorgensen brothers from the farm next door), that Clay has stayed away rather than deal with his memories and issues.  Clay even brings along his assistant as a buffer although the man has other ideas about the trip.  Brazil makes us understand Clay, the shallow life he’s been leading and the importance of the farm, and grandparents to his formative years and well being.  Clay is clearly someone stuck in a pattern that not even he likes but the past is holding him there and he doesn’t know how to move forward.

Like two halves of the same whole, Clay’s arrival home after all this time sets off sparks everywhere, including next door, where Brad is still farming his family’s land.  Brad’s life is just as dry of life as Clay’s, albeit in another drastic manner.  If Clay’s life is a constant revolving door of anonymous men and no commitment, Brad’s has been one of alcohol abuse, anger and guilt.  The author is able to make Brad’s pain visceral as well as his deep love for the man he blames for his brother’s death.

Little by little, their combined past, happy and traumatic, is revealed to the reader. We get to “see” it from several perspectives, the idyllic life all three boys lead, their strong bond, and, for one, the feelings he kept hidden from the other two.  And then, of course, we have Bobby, our frustrated ghost.  Bobby’s just as stuck as the other two, all three lives shattered by one awful decision.

Bobby is just as real a character as the other two men, however ghostly he might be. His frustration and pain balanced by his continuing love for Clay and his brother, Brad.  He’s a great character and I only wish I had a little bit more of his life before it was ended.

It’s easy to understand how one moment, one bad decision can obliterate three lives, especially the one that caused Bobby’s death.  Equally, the reader will recognize someone wanting to fix the blame somewhere, anywhere than accept the situation as it really occurred.  Brazil offers lots of small truths in this story and that makes Heart of Clay feel familiar and layered.

If I had a quibble with this story, it would be that I wish sections had been enlarged with more memories, more of each man’s life in the interim.  There is a wealth of back history here, and the parts that we see are so intriguing that it makes us want to know more.  And Bobby’s hauntings?  More scenes of those as well.  Bobby’s cuts quite the supernatural presence here.

I so enjoyed Heart of Clay and think you will too.  Love romance with a mixture of the otherworldly?  Love the idea of ghosts and a little supernatural matchmaking?   Pick up Heart of Clay by Lee Brazil, I absolutely recommend it.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  It’s a nice cover but I could have used a little more of the supernatural element whether it was in the color or design.

Sales Links:       All Romance eBooks (ARe)    Amazon       Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Published April 1st 2015 by Smashwords Edition
ISBN139781310511295

2 Author, 2 Book Spotlight! Jump Into Love with Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows (author interviews and contests)

Standard

STRW In The Spotlight Header

2 Authors, 2 Books

Authors Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows
Heart of Clay (Lee) and Chance at Trust (Havan)

HavanBanner300x250LeeBanner300x250

✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍

Our Q & A with Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows!!

The two of you have been friends and co-authors for some time now.  How does that longevity affect your writing and relationship?

Lee: Well, I’ve known Havan as long as I’ve been writing. She’s been the one I’ve bounced ideas off of for so long, it’s second nature. I feel a little like I’m trying to explain why the sky is blue. We just clicked… magic is as good an explanation as any. I think though, that it actually makes things easier, because we’re not afraid of stepping on each other’s toes with honest opinions.
Havan: Lee’s my constant. He’s the one that convinced me I could actually let other people read my writing…at the time I was just writing for my own entertainment. 🙂 And absolutely, we can be honest with each other which makes our writing all the better. 🙂

How do you all come up with a plot?  Simultaneously (yes, I’m sure magic is involved), separately or do you work on it together?

Lee: It seems like we start with a kernel, that just pops. When we wrote Christmas in His Heart together, we actually did an outline, building on each other’s thoughts and ideas, then we sat back, looked at it, and edited to make more sense. Then we wrote it, and it kind of did what it wanted anyway.
Havan: Yeah…Lee will say “What if…” and I’ll be like “Ooooh, yeah and then…” and let the domino effect take over. It’s funny, because he’s helped me overcome writer’s block on so many of my solo books that I could’ve sworn we’d written together before we technically did write together.

Does the separation of characters and writing come easily as well?

Lee: I’m not sure I understand this question, so stop me if I’m not answering it right. Writing isn’t always easy- but with Havan as a partner, it seems to go much more smoothly than when I try to struggle through on my own. Our characters…well, they’re different, but mesh well together, just like us.
Havan: Hmm…do you mean on our solo projects? I think everything goes easier when I work with Lee because two heads are always better than one – that’s not just a ménage thing. 😉 But even when we aren’t actually writing together we can still rely on each other whenever we need a sounding board. Plus, when it comes to Pulp Friction we very much are all up in each other’s um…business…including Laura Harner, Parker Williams, and Tom Webb’s business also. lol

Why do you like writing stories with other people?  

Lee: I think maybe it’s because I’m not as secure or confident in my own work as I ought to be. Having someone else to share the burden of creativity gives me moral and emotional support, as well as being just plain fun.
Havan: What Lee said…not to mention it’s always nice to share the workload with someone. But on the flip side I would have to be very careful in choosing a writing partner. They would have to be a friend first…then we can jump between the proverbial sheets together. *winks*

I will admit to being a big fan of both of you.  Your characters are all so different from each other, how do you keep familiarity from bleeding over into the writing, or does just the difference in personalities take care of that?

Lee: I think you got that one. Familiarity.
Havan: Oh I think the different personalities are the key.

Biggest question….what do you both have planned next?

Lee: Several upcoming projects, but the one I’m most excited about right now is the new Story Orgy project. We’re taking on superheroes, and it’s going to be a blast.
Havan: At this moment my next Pulp Friction story is in the second round of edits and I’m working on the second book in my Chance at Life trilogy. 🙂 Plus I’ll be starting the Story Orgy superhero book also…that one should be a hoot!

Release Date: Heart of Clay: April 1, 2015
Chance at Trust: April 7, 2015

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Heart-of-Clay-400x600

About Heart of Clay:

The ghost at the heart of the problem…

Clayton Merk, accomplished, yet arrogant, businessman, has a reputation for one-night stands and being steadfastly anti-relationship. When he decides to return home—to the root of all his problems—he brings a co-worker with him as a buffer against the past. Even though he’s ready to lay old ghosts to rest, he certainly didn’t expect a literal ghost to lend a hand.

Brad Jorgensen, Clay’s former best friend, has also clung to the past in an unhealthy way. He resents Clay for a lot of things, not the least of which is his cousin’s death decades earlier. At one time they’d been closer than brothers, but blame and anger are powerful weapons of destruction, and they’ve left Brad in a wasteland of self-doubt, hatred, and loneliness.

The ghost at the heart of the problem has had enough. Bobby isn’t pleased with his cousin or his ex. Their refusal to let go of the past has kept him on a plane where he doesn’t belong and isn’t at home. He’s expended all his energy trying to get through to Brad, without success, but Clay’s return finally gives him a foot in the door…or out the door.

If he could just get the two stubborn men together.

ChanceatTrust400x600

About Chance at Trust

The strength to walk away from an abusive long-term relationship proves Em is a survivor. But surviving isn’t necessarily living, and Em has created a life on a plateau of his own making, not even entertaining the idea of a new boyfriend. When he shows interest in a very sexy barista, his best friend sees a chance to open Em’s eyes to the possibilities in life.

Penn couldn’t help his double and triple take when the sexy man walked into his mother’s coffee shop. Priding himself on always remaining calm and collected in all situations, Penn is surprised by the strength of his attraction for this stranger. When the stranger’s loud-mouthed friend proposes a way for Penn to see Em again, he takes it.

While Em comes with baggage—his eyes tell a story of pain and distrust—Penn isn’t one to shy away from a challenge, especially when his heart is so quickly getting tied up in the equation, and he’s prepared to break through Em’s walls and give him a chance to trust.
Pages or Words: 28,000 (Heart of Clay) and 18,000 (Chance at Trust)

Categories: Both books: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance and Lee’s has a touch of paranormal.

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Heart of Clay:

Seeing Clay there, sitting in the tall grass on the bench where they—he and his cousin Bobby—had first discovered him all those years earlier, sent Brad right over the edge. He’d been poised on that precipice all day, since he’d heard the rumors down at the gas station that not only had Clayton Merk come back to town to visit his grandparents at long last, but he’d brought a boyfriend with him.

Millie Atwatter seemed to take a great deal of venomous pleasure in sharing that little detail, even going so far as to describe the poor unfortunate soul—in her own words—though he couldn’t argue with that assessment.

Anyone who loved Clay Merk was destined for misfortune.

His grip tightened on the hedge trimmers he’d planned to use to cut back low hanging branches of the old tree. If he didn’t make some effort with the ancient tree, this whole corner of his field would be full of rotting peaches half the summer. It was therapeutic when nostalgia overcame him to come down here and trim back the new growth. Usually he spent the time pretending that every twig he snipped was Clayton Merk’s neck…

Brad Jorgenson counseled teens against violence, against acting on the spur of the moment, but it was all he could do not to swing at the man with the heavy clippers.

“You still holding a grudge, Brad? I earned that slot as valedictorian. Not my fault you bombed the chem two final.”

The flippant, deliberate obfuscation was too much. As if having a GPA of one one hundredth of one percent less than this man fifteen years ago were the worst of the things that lay between them? If he were honest, seeing Clay was too much. He flung the clippers aside and launched himself over the fence, lunging to knock Clay off the bench. He couldn’t even claim he acted in the heat of the moment. “Fuck you!”

And still…after all these years Clay was capable of making him do things, say things he normally wouldn’t!

His momentum carried them both over the back of the bench and into the tall grass, and Brad let his anger loose, the slow burning ember that had emerged from the ashes of his soul where he thought he’d buried it long ago.

Rolling and wrestling was tricky though, when Clay didn’t even bother to fight back. Eventually, his supposed opponent’s inertia sank through and Brad realized what he’d done. “I don’t give a damn about who graduated first in our class.” He lurched upright, propelling himself backward, glaring down at Clay, who pushed himself up on his elbows. “And that’s not what’s kept you from coming back here all these years either.”

A sneer twisted Clay’s full lips, “You think you kept me from coming back? Maybe you think I was afraid? You don’t know me, where I’ve been or what I’ve done. I had reason not to come around here, and it had nothing to do with you.”

The tiny kernel of truth in the barrage of lies stung. “Everyone in town knows what you’ve done and where you’ve gone, Clay.” And it wasn’t prison, which was where the majority of them thought he should have gone. “Your grandparents told us all of it. And I never presumed that your absence had anything to do with me, just as I knew your presence had nothing to do with me.”

His heart rate was slowing, cold sweat dampened his T-shirt. And with the fading of the heat, came the tangle of other emotions, disappointment, sorrow, grief. And lust, to his shame, reared its ugly head now as it had so long ago.

Clay Merk was even more sissified city boy now than he had been when he’d come out here all those years ago. His polo shirt had some kind of logo embroidered on it, but it stretched across broad shoulders and clung to thick muscles quite nicely, as did the knife-creased khaki shorts. He knew from their brief tussle that Clay was a little softer in the middle than he’d been as a high school athlete, but not enough to make him unattractive, not enough to counteract the effects of those deep blue eyes and that oh-so-tempting, lushly curved lower lip, damn it.

“You’re holding my grandparents’ gossip against me?” Clay sounded callous, scathing. “Well, the gossip goes two ways, you know.”

Chance at Trust Excerpt!

Em looked up and didn’t see Joss or the barista, Penn, anywhere. A pretty black-haired girl with streaks of platinum white running through her thick locks now manned the open cash register.

Boy, that was just perfect. Even if Em didn’t plan to trust a man again—ever, which meant no relationship with a sexy as hell barista—it would’ve been nice to at least not look like a complete ass. But god, that was the first man in forever to make his body stand up and take notice. The dull throb in his jeans proved his erection didn’t give a damn that he acted the moron, it just wanted a shot to climb that mountain.

He sighed to himself. A long time ago he made peace with the fact that he’d be single the remainder of his life. After his abusive relationship with David ended two years ago, he knew that was it. Taking solace in the fact that he never loved David and hadn’t suffered from physical abuse didn’t alleviate the pain he’d incurred on a regular basis.

Though physical abuse was horrible in and of itself, Em could attest that mental and verbal abuse could cripple a person just as surely as a destructive blow to one’s head…the only difference was that you didn’t have a pretty scar to prove to the nonbelievers that it ever happened.

Yeah, he faced the doubters when he first escaped from David’s clutches. There were no visible scars and no trips to the emergency room photographed and documented in a neat little manila folder somewhere—so he wasn’t really abused, right? Most people thought it probably just resided in his mind—he was too sensitive or touchy to deal with David’s strong personality.

Em snorted when he remembered how one therapist actually used air quotes when mentioning David’s “strong” personality. That was when he gave up on therapy altogether.

It didn’t matter that every time someone raised their voice around Em, he shuddered and flinched, or when someone looked at him funny, the first thought that would pop into his head was that they were making jokes about him, talking about him behind his back, laughing at the worthless being he was.

Who cared that he muttered apologies left and right for things that weren’t his fault? He’d been conditioned to immediately appease anyone he might’ve offended. It all came second nature to him. He didn’t even realize when he would do it.

But most people would say those scars weren’t real. They didn’t matter.

But they mattered to Em. They were real to him. They were debilitating in his everyday life.

And that was why he would never allow another man close to his heart again. He built up some good sturdy walls and he stayed safely locked behind them. No one would ever be in a position to hurt him again…because if you didn’t allow yourself to feel then the hurt couldn’t reach you.

HavanBadgeLeeBadge

✍✍✍✍✍✍

Sales Links:

Heart of Clay:   Amazon  All Romance (ARe)   Smashwords
Chance at Trust:   Amazon  All Romance (ARe)  Smashwords

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Lee Brazil
Somewhere in a small town in up-state New York are a librarian and a second grade teacher to whom I owe my life. That might be a touch dramatic, but it’s nevertheless one hundred percent true.

Because they taught me the joy of reading, of escaping into worlds crafted of words.

Have you ever been nine years old and sure of nothing so much as that you don’t belong? Looked at the world from behind glasses, and wondered why you don’t fit?

Someone hands you a book, and then you turn the page and see… There you are, running from Injun Joe in a dark graveyard; there you are fencing with Athos; there you are…beneath the deep blue sea- marveling at exotic creatures with Captain Nemo.

I found myself between the pages of books, and that is why I write now. It’s why I taught English and literature for so many years, and it’s why my house contains more pounds of books than furniture.

If I’d had my way, I’d have been a fencer…or a starship captain, or a lawyer, or a detective solving crimes. But instead, I am a writer, and I’ve come to realize that’s the best thing in the world to be, because as a writer, I can be all those things and more.

If I hadn’t learned to value the stories between the pages, who knows what would have happened? Certainly not college…teaching…or writing.

Havan Fellows

I annoy, love, respect, scare, seduce, hurt, anger, infatuate, frustrate, flatter, envy, amuse and tolerate everyone. I just do it better in writing thanks to a little thing called…edits.

Okay no, seriously…I’m a simpleminded person who enjoys the escape from real life through a book. I write with the group Story Orgy and hope to continue doing so for a long time. I also am privileged to be with the Pulp Friction writers, creating intermingling books in a world all our own.

I recently took the drastic step of quitting my EDJ (evil day job) and am now living in the gorgeous desert in Arizona making a go at this writing stuff full time…and I can’t see me regretting this decision ever.

Just like every other red-blooded human—I get a little bouncy when I get mail (any kind too…email, comments, private messages…you wanna do it, do it with me *winks*). So feel free to drop me a line—whether it’s on my blog, twitter, Pinterest, or you track me down on Facebook or Google +…it’s easy to catch someone who wants to be caught.

Where to find the authors:

Lee Brazil:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lee.brazil
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/leebrazilauthor
Twitter: @leebrazil
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/leebrazil/

Havan Fellows:
Blog – http://havanshawthaven.blogspot.com
Email – havan.fellows@ymail.com
Twitter – @havanfellows
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/havanfellows/
FaceBook – http://www.facebook.com/HavanFellowsauthor
Google + – https://plus.google.com/100539863028704367957/posts
Pulp Friction Love FB group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/369329926547263

Books Goodreads Link:  Heart of Clay     Chance at Trust
 Publisher: Heart of Clay: Lime Time Press, Chance at Trust: Appleton Publishing Avenue
Cover Artist: Laura Harner for both

 STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Contest:  Enter to win the Rafflecopter Prize: 2 – $10 ARe gift cards. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Prizes and links provided by the authors and Pride Promotions.

Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Dates & Stops:

20-Apr

Bike Book Reviews

Molly Lolly

21-Apr

the Twins: Talon ps & Princess so

Amanda C. Stone

22-Apr

MM Good Book Reviews

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

Cathy Brockman Romances

23-Apr

Cate Ashwood

BFD Book Blog

24-Apr

Iyana Jenna

Inked Rainbow Reads

Velvet Panic

A MelanieM Review: Drawing Dead: Jack of Spades (PF 2015 Altered States) by Lee Brazil

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Drawing Dead PF 2015 coverThe world hasn’t been the same since the preternaturals came out of the closet. Much to many people’s chagrin, strange beings of all kinds are making life tricky for the “normals.”  Vampires, werewolves, ghosts and ghoulies of all sorts.

Physics professor Dr. Sabine Brusilov has been obsessed with ghost hunting since he was eight years old. He’s gathered a wealth of knowledge, but can’t produce a shred of scientific proof.  Almost.  When Sabines found some old artifacts and bones at the bottom of a river, the last thing he expected was to see a ghost desolately sitting on the river bed next to them.  Now the ghost is a constant presence in Sabine’s life, including his bed.

One hundred and seventy-five years of death haven’t done riverboat gambler Barton Montoire a damn bit of good. He’s still rash, impulsive, and prone to fits of temper and bouts of melancholy.  He’s still trying to fit together pieces of his past, although the way he died, gunshot to the chest, feels as fresh as the day it happened over a game of cards.  Now he spends his days and nights haunting the very handsome  and gay Dr. Sabine Brusilov.

You’d think that when fate brought the two of them together, Bart’s lonely spirit would be calmed, and Sabine would have the proof his heart desires.  But their future is as cloudy as Barton’s past, especially when a new evil arrives in town.

In a world where mythical beings are real, love is still the most elusive… and treacherous myth of them all.

Here we are at the start of another round of Pulp Friction stories, Drawing Dead: Jack of Spades by Lee Brazil, and it has all the hallmarks of a most memorable series.  Taking place in New Orleans, whose name conjures up ghastly past events, hauntings and romance, Brazil’s characters  and plot fit right in.

First is Dr. Dr. Sabine Brusilov, an intense physics professor and hunter of ghosts.  Sabine is such an intently focused human being that he lurks on the edge of being self involved to the point of obsession and obliviousness to those around him. He is one character I hope shows some emotional growth as the storyline progresses because he comes close to dividing the main characters into two teams.  Team Sabine and Team Barton.  His careless treatment (in my eyes)  or perhaps just lack of concern towards Barton comes close to derailing any affection I feel towards Sabine.  Luckily, his lover more than made up for Sabine’s inadequacies in the personality department.  Barton I adore. Ten years ago, while hunting for artifacts, Sabine came across some bones and personal objects buried in the river bottom.  Sitting next to them?  Their dead and now ghostly owner, riverboat gambler Barton Montoire.

That aspect of the story just drew me in.  I love the idea of a ghost of outrageous character and gorgeous to boot and that’s Barton Montoire!  He’s definitely my favorite character.  Dressed in the clothes in which he died 175 years ago, he cuts quite the figure.  In Barton, Brazil has created a vivid character, voluble and emotional (well, who wouldn’t be given his circumstances), whose memories and personality is still somewhat frayed by the “whole dead thing” experience.  Barton is not only charismatic but made sympathetic by the way he is forced to “live” his ghostly existence.  He can only be seen and heard by Sabine (at first), and he is restricted in movement and to specific locations by Sabine’s will.  If Sabine doesn’t want him to travel with him, Barton is stuck in Sabine’s quarters, alone and frustrated.  If Barton has anger issues (and he does), they are ones the reader can relate to.  Really, he makes the story for me.

Sabine now runs a Dead Mens Tales Investigative Service and thats the plot point which introduces the mystery that launches an investigation that will threaten to bring both men, alive and dead, permanently down.  Brazil does an excellent job of easing us into this portion of the plot.  Sabine gets a phone call from an elderly woman, who may be dotty but is also definitely afraid of the tenants upstairs in her house.   His initial investigation provokes a few jitters but the worse is yet to come.  Little by little Brazil takes a mild case of suspicion and builds it into something ominous and heavy with evil intent.  I loved that!  It definitely gave me goose bumps.  And using a gambler’s or magician’s sleight of hand, while our attention is focused in one direction, something equally awful and startling is happening in the other direction, just put a wonderful finishing flourish to all the events unfolding.  In a totally scary and creepy way of course.

As the story heads towards its cliffhanger, other characters are introduced, some from the Altered States stories of Harner and Webb and others new and central to the Pulp Friction interconnected series.  Be on the look out for wolfshifter Jet (from Altered States), Laurant the incubus from Havan Brazil’s series, among many others.   I can’t wait to see what parts they all will play in the drama to come.

I definitely recommend this story and series.  It’s haunting, dynamic and full of elements that will draw you in.  Love supernatural tales?  Ones full of mystery, romance and dread?  This one’s for you.  Along with all the others to follow. Get started today!

 Cover art by Laura Harner.  I love this cover and all the covers I’ve seen for the Pulp Friction series.  Just gorgeous.

Sales Links:    All Romance (ARe)           Amazon                Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published February 13th 2015 by Lime Time Press
ASINB00TL4F1XW
edition languageEnglish

About Pulp Friction 2015
Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.
Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Not familiar with the Altered States series? Check them all out here:

Books in the Altered States Series in the order they should be read:
• Altered States (Altered States, #0.5)
• Deep Blues Goodbye (Altered States, #1)
• Deadly Shades of Gold (Altered States, #2)
• Free Falling Crimson (Altered States, #3)