New Release Day Blitz – The California Dashwoods by Lisa Henry (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  The California Dashwoods

Author: Lisa Henry

Publisher:  Self Published

Release Date: May 1, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 62 000

Genre: Romance

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Synopsis

Make a new future. Choose your true family. Know your own heart.

When Elliott Dashwood’s father dies, leaving his family virtually penniless, it’s up to Elliott to do what he’s always done: be the responsible one. Now isn’t the right time for any added complications. So what the hell is he doing hooking up with Ned Ferrars? It’s just a fling, right?

Elliott tries to put it behind him when the family makes a fresh start in California, and if he secretly hopes to hear from Ned again, nobody else needs to know. While his mom is slowly coming to terms with her grief, teenage Greta is more vulnerable than she’s letting on, and Marianne—romantic, reckless Marianne—seems determined to throw herself headfirst into a risky love affair. And when Elliott discovers the secret Ned’s been keeping, he realizes that Marianne isn’t the only one pinning her hopes on a fantasy.

All the Dashwoods can tell you that feelings are messy and heartbreak hurts. But Elliott has to figure out if he can stop being the sensible one for once, and if he’s willing to risk his heart on his own romance.

A modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

His father’s hand was weightless. Elliott held it gently, rubbing his thumb over the loose, wrinkled skin of his knuckles. His father’s fingers were thin and fragile now, and scrubbed clean. Elliott had never seen his father’s fingers without paint under his nails.

“Elliott,” Henry Dashwood whispered, and Elliott lifted his blurry gaze. The smile on his father’s face was almost beatific, but that was probably down to the morphine.

“I’m here,” he said, his throat aching. “John’s here too, Dad.”

John Dashwood was seated on the other side of the bed, his hands folded in his lap. His jaw was clenched tight, and his gaze was fixed on some point just above Henry’s pillow.

Henry lifted his free hand and held it out toward John. John looked startled for a moment, and then reached out and took it gently.

“My boys,” Henry murmured. “My sons.”

They sat for a long moment as Henry drifted off into a doze, only the sound of his heart monitor punctuating the silence.

Elliott didn’t even realize Henry was awake again until he spoke.

“John,” he said. “John, promise me that you’ll look after your brother and your sisters.”

John seemed to recoil for a moment, and then he wet his lower lip with his tongue. “I will, Dad.” He met Elliott’s gaze and then looked down at their father again. “I promise.”

“Is Abby coming?” Henry asked, his voice faint.

“Mom’s on her way, Dad,” Elliott said. “She’s on her way with the girls.”

Henry passed away before they arrived.

***

Francesca Dashwood, John’s wife, arrived the day after Henry passed away. She organized the entire funeral, shoving Abby and her children aside as though Henry’s second marriage had been nothing more than a footnote in the Dashwood Family history. Norland Park was filled with a curious mix of mourners, well-wishers, and gawkers. Elliott, Abby, and Marianne suffered their attention, or lack thereof, with varying degrees of politeness. Greta, thirteen years old, locked herself in her bedroom and threatened to stab anyone who tried to drag her out again.

Three days after the funeral, the Naked Blue Lady vanished from her place above the fireplace, and that was when Elliott knew for certain that Francesca had made her move.

The Dashwood Family—always a capital F in Elliott’s mind, to distinguish it from the tiny offshoot that he considered actual family—had never forgiven Henry for running off with the help—Abby—and proceeding to prove their dire predictions wrong by living in wedded bliss with her for over twenty years before the cancer took him. Abby had never been interested in the Dashwood Family money. She’d signed the prenup the Family lawyers had asked her to. In exchange, the Family had allowed Henry to retain Norland Park and had provided him with a monthly allowance. Those, however, had only been guaranteed for as long as Henry lived.

And now, staring at the blank space above the fireplace where the Naked Blue Lady had hung, Elliott knew that he and his mother and his sisters were next to go.

“She’s evil,” Marianne announced. “She’s a horrible evil troll, and we should let Greta stab her.”

“She’s not evil,” Elliott began, and caught Marianne’s look. “Okay, so maybe she’s a little bit evil, but she’s also John’s wife, so can we try and be civil, please? Also, why does every scenario that anyone in this family comes up with always involve Greta stabbing someone?”

“Not every scenario,” Marianne said, her slight smile vanishing as she looked at the blank space above the fireplace. “Mom is going to be pissed.”

Right on cue, the French doors flung wide open and Abby Dashwood swept through in one of her trademark kaftans. She stopped when she reached the fireplace, and pressed a hand over her heart. “That bitch! Where’s my painting?”

Elliott exchanged a glance with Marianne, and together they stepped forward and put their arms around their mother.

“I’m fine!” Abby shook them off. “It’s fine!”

It clearly wasn’t fine. Their wonderful, vibrant mother had been badly shaken by their father’s death. She had never once allowed herself to believe that Henry wouldn’t go into remission.

You have to think positive,” she’d said a thousand times, and thought so positively herself that she had refused to even begin to entertain any thoughts to the contrary. “Positive thoughts are positive energy, and that’s what your father needs right now.”

Elliott wasn’t certain she’d actually come to terms with the fact that he was gone. Even though they’d all sat in the front row at the funeral, the Family on the left side of the chapel, and Abby and her children on the right side, with poor John constantly darting between both factions like some frazzled emissary, silently begging Elliott to please prevent Abby or the girls from making a scene.

“Mom,” Elliott said now. “Come upstairs.”

“Yes,” Abby said, and lifted her chin. “Yes, let’s go upstairs and pack our bags! I’m not staying in this house a minute longer!” She raised her voice for the benefit of any eavesdroppers. “We’re clearly not welcome here!”

Marianne met Elliott’s gaze.

“Mom,” Elliott said, “we don’t have anywhere else to go. We can’t just leave.”

“Oh, honey.” Abby smiled at him, her eyes shining with tears. She reached up and cradled his cheeks in her palms. “Of course we can! All we need is each other.”

And somewhere to stay. And jobs. And money for college for Marianne and school for Greta. And health insurance. And a million other things that their father’s savings would barely begin to cover. But Elliott didn’t have the heart to say any of that.

“We can’t go anywhere yet, Mom,” he said. “Not without a plan.”

“Oh, honey,” Abby said again, her smile softening. “You worry too much.”

Marianne twined her fingers through Abby’s and tugged her gently toward the stairs. “Come on, Mom. Let’s go and see if Greta’s stabbed anyone yet.”

Elliott watched them leave, and then headed down the hallway toward his father’s study.

Norland Park, outside of Provincetown, was the only home Elliott had ever known. It had seven bedrooms, a sunroom, and a large parlor that Henry had used as a studio. The house had been built in 1910 in the American Craftsman style, and purchased by the Dashwoods a little over a decade later when Alexander Dashwood made his first million in the burgeoning aeronautics industry. It had served as a summer house for the Family for generations. And now they clearly wanted it back.

Henry Dashwood’s study was on the ground floor beside his studio. The hallway smelled of his oil paints. Tears pricked Elliott’s eyes, and he wiped them away before he opened the study door.

John was sitting at Henry’s desk, flicking through paperwork. He looked up.

“Elliott,” he said, his expression suddenly guarded. “Is everything okay?”

“Mom’s pretty upset,” Elliott said. “The, um, the painting?”

John had the decency to look abashed. “Francesca felt it was confronting.”

A wave of grief rose up in Elliott. He could almost hear Henry’s voice. “Art is supposed to be confronting, Elliott. It’s supposed to make you uncomfortable! It’s supposed to challenge you, to shake you up, to make you feel!”

Which were all good points, but Elliott still didn’t feel he could invite his friends over with the Naked Blue Lady hanging over the fireplace. She was very, very blue, and she was very, very naked. She was also his mom. Elliott had been twelve at the time, and not sure how to explain to his friends that yes, that was his mother sitting spread-legged on that chair, and yes, that was her vulva.

“It meant a lot to them,” he said.

John’s mouth pressed into a thin line.

And yeah, the painting meant a lot to John too, didn’t it? It represented the moment Henry Dashwood had walked out of his life and away from all his responsibilities as a father and a husband to be with the college student he’d hired as John’s au pair for the summer. John wasn’t a bad guy, but he was never going to be able to put that betrayal aside. Elliott couldn’t blame him. Henry had been a wonderful father to Elliott and Marianne and Greta. They’d stolen that from John, in a way.

“There’s a little over ten thousand dollars in Dad’s savings account,” John said at last.

Elliott nodded. “It’s what he’d been putting aside, except there’s not even enough for Greta’s school fees, let alone Marianne’s college tuition.”

From the moment Henry had been diagnosed, he’d saved what he could from his monthly payments from the Dashwood family trust, but in the end it had been too little, too late. In the end he’d gone so quickly, and there were funeral costs, and taxes, and bills for the alternative treatments they’d tried when it was clear the chemo wasn’t working—bills the insurance hadn’t covered.

John sighed. “Elliott, I promised Dad I’d do what I could to help, but most of my assets are tied up in the corporation, or held in trust. I mean, the board isn’t going to . . .” He cleared his throat.

Elliott nodded, his eyes stinging again.

“I’ll see what I can do,” John said. “But Francesca wants the house.”

Elliott nodded again, and slipped outside before John could see him crying.

***

Greta’s bedroom overlooked the front entrance of Norland Park, and she’d taken to leaning out of her window like a particularly malevolent gargoyle and glaring at anyone who came or went. She was a pretty girl, usually, when she wasn’t plotting murder behind the curtain of her dark hair, but Elliott couldn’t blame her.

“Oh my God,” she exclaimed. “There’s another car coming, Elliott! Another one!”

Elliott couldn’t bring himself to care enough to climb off her bed and go and see.

“It’s like Francesca can’t even wait until she kicks us out to start filling the place with her awful friends! These ones are driving an Audi.” She leaned further out the window.

“Greta!” Elliott leapt off the bed and crossed to the window before she dived out of it. He wrapped an arm around her and looked down.

The black Audi was parked close to the front entrance of the house, and the two young men climbing out were both wearing blazers, khakis, and boat shoes.

“Oh, look! It’s the Brooks Brothers!” Greta exclaimed.

Greta had no volume control.

The young men looked up.

Elliott and Greta pushed back from the window at the same time, and landed in a heap on the bedroom floor.

Greta stared at Elliott wide-eyed, and he stared back.

Then, for the first time in what felt like weeks, they both started to laugh.

***

The Brooks Brothers, Elliott learned at dinner, were actually the Ferrars brothers. They were Francesca’s younger brothers, Ned and Robert, and they apparently did something in construction. By the looks of them, nothing at the dirty end of that business. The Ferrars family resemblance was clear. The brothers were both tall, blond, and good-looking in a way that had just as much to do with presentation as it did with genetics. Skincare lotions and hair products and designer clothing gave a glossy shine to the brothers’ otherwise ordinary exteriors. Elliott found himself glancing at Ned’s profile more than once during dinner. His nose was a little long for his face. His jaw was a little wonky. His ears stuck out a bit. Without that two-hundred-dollar haircut working for him, would he still be as handsome, or would the slightly awkward way he held himself be even more apparent?

Elliott had never had a two-hundred-dollar haircut in his life. His father might have grown up obscenely wealthy, but his mother hadn’t. Two hundred dollars for a haircut when there was a perfectly good pair of scissors lying around? Not on Abby’s watch. Even now Elliott’s dark hair was tousled and unruly. When it was wet after a shower, it hung in tendrils in his eyes and down the back of his neck. When it was dry he rubbed some wax through it, stood it on end, and let it do whatever the hell it wanted for the rest of the day.

And he was the most presentable of his side of the family. He’d heard Francesca telling Robert exactly that after the brothers had arrived, before conceding that he was also “the least objectionable.”

Not exactly high praise, then.

Elliott glanced at Ned again, and this time Ned caught his gaze and offered him a small smile. Elliott smiled back, a little embarrassed to have been seen looking, and stabbed a piece of carrot.

Dinner with the Family was an ordeal. And Elliott meant that in the most ancient judicial sense. At this point he would rather choose ordeal by fire and walk over red-hot plowshares than endure another round of stilted conversation and barely concealed barbs. In addition to John and Francesca and the Ferrars brothers, Great Uncle Montgomery had been in residence since the funeral. He hadn’t done much except wander around Norland Park poking his cane into the wainscoting and announcing the presence of dry rot, then making grumbled threats to sue Abby for failing to keep the house maintained while she was a tenant.

A tenant.

Aunt Cynthia and her husband, Aldous, had also been staying since the funeral. Elliott couldn’t decide if they were better or worse than Montgomery.

“Oh, such pretty children,” Aunt Cynthia had said the night she’d arrived. “They don’t look anything like Abby, do they?”

Aldous had grunted. “That girl’s got metal through her nose.”

Worse, probably. They were worse than Montgomery. Montgomery might complain about holes in the wainscoting, but at least he didn’t comment on the hole in Marianne’s nose.

With the arrival of the Ferrars brothers, it didn’t take long for conversation at dinner to turn to the fact that they now had more guests than available guest rooms.

“Well,” Francesca said, with a thin smile in Abby’s direction, “I’m sure that the children can share, can’t they?”

Abby narrowed her gaze. “Excuse me?”

“I think it’s only fair to offer guests a proper bedroom, isn’t it?” Francesca asked.

Elliott met John’s gaze. John glanced away.

Invited guests, yes,” Abby said. “But I didn’t invite them.” She grimaced in the direction of Ned and Robert. “No offense.”

They both mumbled something that sounded vaguely polite.

“Well, I just thought that Marianne and Greta could share,” Francesca pressed on. “That would free up a room.”

Abby drew a deep breath. “Excuse you. My daughters don’t have to—”

“Ned and Robert can have my room,” Elliott said, to head Abby’s diatribe off at the pass. Francesca looked smug, John looked relieved, and Abby looked like she had a hell of a lot more to say on the subject. “It’s fine. I don’t mind.”

Ned shot him a worried glance. “That’s really not necessary.”

“I don’t mind,” Elliott repeated.

In the awkward silence that settled over the dining room, Great Uncle Montgomery muttered about nonexistent mold spores, and Greta turned her steak knife over and over in her palm in a thoughtful manner that made Aunt Cynthia shuffle her chair a few inches further away.

Happy families.

***

Elliott trudged upstairs after dinner to grab some spare clothes and his laptop and phone. He dragged a duffel bag down from the back of his closet and shoved clothes into it. This was his room, but he had known since his father died that he wouldn’t be allowed to stay in it. The Family wanted them out of the house. It was a matter of when, not if.

Elliott slid his laptop into his bag, then zipped it up and slung it over his shoulder. He stared down at his rumpled bed, but fuck it. If the Ferrars brothers wanted clean sheets, they could find them for themselves. Elliott crossed to the door and wrenched it open, surprising Ned Ferrars.

He had a suitcase on wheels.

“Sorry,” Elliott said, and stepped outside his room.

“No, um, I’m sorry.” Ned pressed his lips together. A faint wrinkle appeared at the top of his nose, right between his drawn-together eyebrows. “For, um . . . for your loss, and for everything.”

Elliott’s heart skipped a beat. He didn’t think a single person associated with the Family in any way had stooped to offer him their sympathies. At the funeral, everyone gave their condolences to John, as though Abby and her children, even in that moment, were interlopers with no claim on Henry Dashwood.

He was our dad too.

“Thanks,” he murmured, his throat aching.

Ned nodded and wheeled his little suitcase into Elliott’s room. The door snicked shut behind him.

***

Henry’s studio was largely undisturbed. It smelled of oil paints and turpentine. Stacks of unfinished canvases leaned against the walls. Elliott set his duffel bag down on the old paint-spattered couch his dad used to take his naps on every afternoon. It still smelled faintly of weed.

He crossed to the wall and traced his shaking fingers down a canvas. The paint was laid on thick, in a choppy texture that read like Braille. He closed his eyes and could hear Henry’s voice.

“This is art, my boy! Art! Nothing matters more in the world!”

“Says the man living in a Cape Cod mansion!”

Henry’s laughter had filled the room, and then he’d grown uncharacteristically solemn.

“Alexander Dashwood used to fly kites, you know? He used to watch the birds, and fly kites. He wanted to soar. He had an artist’s soul as well, I think. What would he make of his descendants, hmm? Making their fortune by manufacturing military drones. All innovators become oppressors, given enough time.”

Elliott smiled, his chest aching, and lifted his fingers away from the canvas.

“Love you, Dad,” he whispered to the silent studio. “Miss you.”

Purchase at AmazonSmashwords

Meet the Author

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

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Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Two Man Station (Emergency Services #1) by Lisa Henry

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Two Man Station (Emergency Services #1) by Lisa Henry
Riptide Publishing
Cover art: Natasha Snow

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

 

About Two Man Station

Gio Valeri is a big city police officer who’s been transferred to the small outback town of Richmond with his professional reputation in tatters. His transfer is a punishment, and Gio just wants to keep his head down and survive the next two years. No more mistakes. No more complications.

Except Gio isn’t counting on Jason Quinn.

Jason Quinn, officer in charge of Richmond Station, is a single dad struggling with balancing the demands of shift work with the challenges of raising his son. The last thing he needs is a new senior constable with a history of destroying other people’s careers. But like it or not, Jason has to work with Gio.

In a remote two man station hours away from the next town, Gio and Jason have to learn to trust and rely on each another. Close quarters and a growing attraction mean that the lines between professional and personal are blurring. And even in Richmond, being a copper can be dangerous enough without risking their hearts as well.

Available now from Riptide Publishing.

About Lisa Henry

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Connect with Lisa:

Website: lisahenryonline.com

Blog: lisahenryonline.blogspot.com

Twitter: @lisahenryonline

Goodreads: goodreads.com/LisaHenry

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Two Man Station, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit and a package of Australian goodies! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 27, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

An Ali Review: Two Man Station (Emergency Services #1) by Lisa Henry

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Gio Valeri is a big city police officer who’s been transferred to the small outback town of Richmond with his professional reputation in tatters. His transfer is a punishment, and Gio just wants to keep his head down and survive the next two years. No more mistakes. No more complications.

Except Gio isn’t counting on Jason Quinn.

Jason Quinn, officer in charge of Richmond Station, is a single dad struggling with balancing the demands of shift work with the challenges of raising his son. The last thing he needs is a new senior constable with a history of destroying other people’s careers. But like it or not, Jason has to work with Gio.

In a remote two man station hours away from the next town, Gio and Jason have to learn to trust and rely on each another. Close quarters and a growing attraction mean that the lines between professional and personal are blurring. And even in Richmond, being a copper can be dangerous enough without risking their hearts as well.
 
This author is one of my favorites so I was really excited to see she had a new book coming out and this did not disappoint.  I was drawn in right from the beginning.  The pacing on this story is a bit slow but it works really well for the plot.  Due to the dynamics of their relationship we need the slow burn that happens between the two MC’s.  Anything faster wouldn’t have seemed realistic.
I loved the world building that was done here and the remote town that they live in was almost like it’s own characters.  I felt like I was there with the MC’s and I could picture everything so clearly in my mind.  I really loved how this setting and the side characters were done.
 
I enjoyed both Gio and Jason.  They were very different but when they finally get together it’s a beautiful thing.  I also liked how Jason’s daughter was done.  She seemed age appropriate and was just a kid.  I liked that she wasn’t precocious and she wasn’t there to provide humor.  I’m frequently disappointed in how children are presented in books and it sometimes seems like authors have never meant an actual real child.  That wasn’t the case here.  
 
If you’re looking for a really good read I definitely recommend this.  It’s a well done slow burn with engaging characters and an entertaining plotline.
 
This cover was done by Natasha Snow. I liked this cover a lot and thought it was not only well done but fit the story perfectly.
Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 273 pages
Expected publication: January 22nd 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626497109 (ISBN13: 9781626497108)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Emergency Services #1

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Sweetwater by Lisa Henry and Dorian Bane (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

sweetwater_audiobookWyoming Territory, 1870.

Elijah Carter is afflicted. Most of the townsfolk of South Pass City treat him as a simpleton because he’s deaf, but that’s not his only problem. Something in Elijah runs contrary to nature and to God. Something that Elijah desperately tries to keep hidden.

Harlan Crane, owner of the Empire saloon, knows Elijah for what he is—and for all the ungodly things he wants. But Crane isn’t the only one. Grady Mullins desires Elijah too, but unlike Crane, he refuses to push the kid.

When violence shatters Elijah’s world, he is caught between two very different men and two devastating urges: revenge, and despair. In a boomtown teetering on the edge of a bust, Elijah must face what it means to be a man in control of his own destiny, and choose a course that might end his life . . . or truly begin it for the very first time.

I haven’t read many books set in this time period so I was eager to give this a try.  I felt the setting was done really well and I could totally picture this western town as if I was there.  There were a host of characters all of which were felt realistic and added to the overall world building.  The majority of the story was told by Elijah who was a really different type of character but I struggled with him a bit.  He had a hard life and was very much a victim.  It was totally realistic and believable but as a result I don’t think I ever really warmed to him.  He annoyed me each time he did not stand up for himself.  I felt sorry for him but it was hard for me to find him a believable romance partner.  I didn’t see what Grady saw in him.  Even though parts of the story were told through Grady’s point of view I still didn’t feel the connection.  Elijah felt more like a child who needed a caregiver not a man who needed a romance partner.  So, I liked it as a fiction story but not so much as a romance.  The writing was really well done and this author is generally one of my favorites.  This was just not the book for me.
The book was narrated by Dorian Bane who I had never listened to before.  I thought he did an excellent job on all of the characters.  This was a big cast and I thought he did each of them equally well.  This is an audio that I would definitely recommend.
Cover by L.C. Chase:  I love the cover.  I think it fits the story perfectly.
Sales Links
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Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio, 8 pages, Listening Length: 7 hours and 39 minutes
Published August 5th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published September 29th 2014)
ASIN B01JO64IAS
Edition Language English

In Our Contemporary Romance Spotlight: Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry (tour/giveaway)

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Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry
R
iptide Publishing
Cover art by L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

~~~

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Lisa Henry here today  with her most recent release, Adulting 101.  Welcome, Lisa.

~~~

Hi, and welcome to the blog tour to celebrate the release of Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry. I’m visiting some of my favourite blogs around the place to talk about writing Adulting 101, some of my influences and inspiration, and even sharing an excerpt or two! Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a prize!

Blurb

The struggle is real.

Nick Stahlnecker is eighteen and not ready to grow up yet. He has a summer job, a case of existential panic, and a hopeless crush on the unattainable Jai Hazenbrook. Except how do you know that your coworker’s unattainable unless you ask to blow him in the porta-potty?

That’s probably not what Dad meant when he said Nick should act more like an adult.

Twenty-five-year-old Jai is back in his hometown of Franklin, Ohio, just long enough to earn the money to get the hell out again. His long-term goal of seeing more of the world is worth the short-term pain of living in his mother’s basement, but only barely.

Meeting Nick doesn’t fit in with Jai’s plans at all, but, as Jai soon learns, you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to have the adventure of a lifetime.

This is not a summer romance. This is a summer friendship-with-benefits. It’s got pizza with disgusting toppings, Netflix and chill, and accidental exhibitionism. That’s all. There are no feelings here. None. Shut up.

You can find out more about Adulting 101 at Riptide.

About Lisa Henry

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

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Giveaway

Each comment on this blog tour enters you for a chance to win a $20 Riptide credit and an ebook of your choice from my back catalogue. You’ll also win a super secret cute little gift that’s very close to my (and Nick’s) heart! Entries close August 20, and contest is not restricted to US residents. Remember to leave your email address in the comments so I can contact you if you win!

A BJ Review: Darker Space (Dark Space #2) by Lisa Henry

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

Darker Space coverBrady Garrett is back on Earth. He’s living with his partner Cam and they’re raising his sister Lucy together. Life is better than some feral reffo from Kopa has any right to hope, and Brady knows it. He’s even grateful for it, most of the time. He loves Cam, even though he’s afraid that he’s not good enough for him, and he’s still having nightmares about the alien Faceless.

Cameron Rushton loved being a pilot once, and he still feels the pull of the starlight. He’s building a life with Brady now, and with Lucy. Life is good, even if it’s not without its complications. Both Brady and Cam are dealing with the endless cycle of interviews, tests, and questions that the military hierarchy hopes will reveal the secrets of the aliens who could very easily destroy humanity. They have each other though, and together they’re making it work.

But from out in the black, Kai-Ren is still watching and everything Brady and Cam think they’ve won, they stand to lose all over again.

I absolutely adored Dark Space, so this book really had a lot to live up to. And I got a bit nervous when, unlike book one, this one didn’t drag me into the story immediately. In fact, for me the beginning was slow and somewhat repetitious. At a little over 20%, just as I was getting rather tired of Brady’s self-deprecation and whining, everything changed. With one little italicized sentence, my entire attention was captured. From that point on the story had me locked on target and the reading flowed quick and smooth.

Brady had to grow quite a bit in this story, and I admired all the changes he went through (sometimes kicking and screaming). More than ever, this book highlights the differences between Cam and Brady. Brady is brimming full of emotion, anger being high on the list, but also love and fear. Once things started moving, I enjoyed his inner monologues, irreverent way of looking at everything, and liberal use of foul mouthing even in his internal dialogue and the middle finger. Cam’s faith and steadfastness were perfect. I adored Cam. Although I must say that little Lucy very nearly stole the show. What a great young character. Her fearlessness, wonder, trust, and even her bratty/spoiled moments were perfect.

The emotional connection between the two main characters is perfect, even during the parts where they struggle—maybe even more so at those parts. Brady put Cam on a pedestal; one he felt he wasn’t good enough to ever reach… and this is sort of his journey to get there maybe. The book has steam, but not quite the heat of the first book. Well, except that I absolutely adored the final scene with Brady, Cam and Kai-Ren. Now that was lovely!

And the end? Well, it’s really more of a beginning. I absolutely can’t wait for the next installment. There will be one, right?

The cover ties in well with the one from book one and marks its sci-fi genre well.

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

Book Details:

 ebook, 228 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by Loose Id
ISBN139781682520239
edition languageEnglish

series Dark Space 

Dark Space (Dark Space #1)
Darker Space (Dark Space #2)

A BJ Review: Dark Space (Dark Space #1) by Lisa Henry

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★

Dark Space coverBrady Garrett needs to go home. He’s a conscripted recruit on Defender Three, one of a network of stations designed to protect the Earth from alien attack. He’s also angry, homesick, and afraid. If he doesn’t get home he’ll lose his family, but there’s no way back except in a body bag.

Cameron Rushton needs a heartbeat. Four years ago Cam was taken by the Faceless—the alien race that almost destroyed Earth. Now he’s back, and when the doctors make a mess of getting him out of stasis, Brady becomes his temporary human pacemaker. Except they’re sharing more than a heartbeat: they’re sharing thoughts, memories, and some very vivid dreams.

Not that Brady’s got time to worry about his growing attraction to another guy, especially the one guy in the universe who can read his mind. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just biochemistry and electrical impulses. It doesn’t change the truth: Brady’s alone in the universe.

Now the Faceless are coming and there’s nothing anyone can do. You can’t stop your nightmares. Cam says everyone will live, but Cam’s probably a traitor and a liar like the military thinks. But that’s okay. Guys like Brady don’t expect happy endings.

Lovely sci-fi story. Intriguing premise, wonderful writing that dragged me right into the action and didn’t let me go. Awesome world-building. But overall it was the characters that blew me away. Such nuance! The telepathy between the two main characters was handled beautifully. Cam’s face and reputation had drilled into Brady’s mind. But everyone had given him up for dead. Now he’s not only back among the living, but connected to Brady. In his head. Heart beats synced. But really… imagine having to share your head with a sexy, poster boy soldier emerging from a traumatic experience that you yourself could never have endured.

For me, this story showed so clearly how two people often react so completely differently to the same experience. How they handle it and deal with it in ways that the other may even find hard to understand. While one person may come through an event mostly unscathed and may even look back and see the positives that came from it, another may come away severely damaged.  Cam came through the traumatic events with Kai-Ren and the faceless, but Brady clearly would not have been able to do the same.

Despite the dark elements of this story (prior non-con for both main characters, scary, no terrifying, aliens, and even the death of secondary character) and the dismal dystopian world in which it’s set, the relationship that develops between these two MCs is amazingly sweet and their sex nurturing as well as sizzling hot. The angst was handled perfectly.

For those who don’t believe in gay-for-you, give this one a try. It might change your mind. That element was excellently handled. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Brady didn’t have any lengthy self-hating, but analyzed and accepted what he was feeling. Heck, every element was excellently handled. This was a stunning story—I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Well, yes, I could. I want more! And luckily, the author seems to have heard our cry as book two, Darker Space, is out now. Look for my review here soon.

The cover set’s the theme perfectly as m/m sci-fi… the darker, muted colors work perfect for the novel’s tone. The model is exactly how I had pictured the main character Brady.

Sales Links:   Loose id LLC | ARe | Amazon | Buy It Here


Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages
Published December 4th 2012 by Loose Id, LLC
original titleDark Space
ISBN139781623001124
seriesDark Space #1

Dark Space
Darker Space (Dark Space)

Its Back to Science Fiction with Lisa Henry’s Darker Space (author guest post and giveaway)

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Darker Space cover

Darker Space (Dark Space #2) by Lisa Henry
Published by Loose id LLC
Cover art by Mina Carter
Purchase it at Loose id | Amazon | ARe

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Lisa Henry here today to talk about her latest series and release, Darker Space. Welcome, Lisa, tell us a little about the writing the characters and the sequel to Dark Space, Darker Space.

When it came to writing Darker Space, the sequel to Dark Space, it meant getting back into Brady’s head which, although always an entertaining place to explore, isn’t exactly filled with rainbows and sunshine. Brady is probably one of my favourite characters to write, but he’s a challenge. In Dark Space he was unhappy, afraid, and filled with anger and self-loathing. In Darker Space he’s grown a little, but he’s still very much a work in progress.

It was important for me to show that Brady’s grown in the sequel, and that he’s trying to put the past behind him. Obviously the past, in the form of Kai Ren, shows up again, but Brady’s also haunted by the past in more insidious ways. At the beginning of Darker Space he’s back on Earth, and he and Cam are raising his sister Lucy together. Lucy was Brady’s main focus in Dark Space. His knowledge that she wouldn’t survive if he was stuck in space for the rest of the term of his military service was what made him so angry, and so hopeless. So living with Cam and Lucy should make him happy, right? Right? Well, not exactly.

It’s not so easy for Brady to let go of the anger and despair that were once big enough to define his existence. Lucy is alive and safe and that should be enough, but every day Brady is forced to deal with prejudice, whether overt or imagined, that he doesn’t fit into the life he shares with Cam. He’s not from the right background. He’s not from the right people. Something as simple as holding a birthday party for Lucy is excruciating for Brady. He doesn’t know how to socialize with the parents of Lucy’s friends. He grew up hungry and poor. He has very little formal education, and his job in the military is on the lowest possible level. He’s got nothing in common with these people at all. More worrying for him, he feels he’s got nothing in common with Cam.

It’s a fine line for a character to walk. I wanted readers to empathise with Brady and his struggles, without making Brady seem like he’s ungrateful or a whiner. And maybe if sometimes he does whine just a little, I hope readers will remember he’s twenty. He’s still a kid in so many ways, who was forced to grow up too quickly and is doing the best he can.

And Darker Space is the book where Brady really does grow. He’s a character who was defined by his fears in the first book. In the second book, he has to not only face those fears, but embrace them. And I think, like always, Brady is braver than he thinks, especially when the people he loves are threatened.

You can find out more about Darker Space at Loose Id.

Blurb

Brady Garrett is back on Earth. He’s living with his partner Cam and they’re raising his sister Lucy together. Life is better than some feral reffo from Kopa has any right to hope, and Brady knows it. He’s even grateful for it, most of the time. He loves Cam, even though he’s afraid that he’s not good enough for him, and he’s still having nightmares about the alien Faceless.

Cameron Rushton loved being a pilot once, and he still feels the pull of the starlight. He’s building a life with Brady now, and with Lucy. Life is good, even if it’s not without its complications. Both Brady and Cam are dealing with the endless cycle of interviews, tests, and questions that the military hierarchy hopes will reveal the secrets of the aliens who could very easily destroy humanity. They have each other though, and together they’re making it work.

But from out in the black, Kai-Ren is still watching and everything Brady and Cam think they’ve won, they stand to lose all over again

About the Author

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Connect with Lisa: Blog | Twitter | Goodreads

Dark Space Series:

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter prize of a book from Lisa Henry’s  backlist, your choice (not Darker Space).  You must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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