A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Starting New by S.C. Wynne

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Rating 4 stars out of 5

StartingNew_600x900Francis Murphy has been working the streets to survive on his own for years. By doing everything from scrounging through dumpsters to pickpocketing to hooking, he’s managed to survive. Good-looking but overly thin, he’d do almost anything for food, including entering a church reception looking for the goodies from the meeting being held there. It’s been worse for him since the homeless shelter was vandalized and closed down their operation, but Francis has always attempted to maintain cleanliness so he doesn’t stand out as much in a crowd as some others he knows.

When he’s just about to reach for a plump muffin, he’s hailed by Randy Wright, the pastor’s son. Immediately drawn to Francis, Randy engages him in conversation. But Francis knows just how long he can afford to linger, and as soon as he’s done scoffing down the muffin, he’s out of there.

Unfortunately, his good luck takes a turn for the worse when he barely escapes with his life a few days later after a John goes crazy on him with a knife. Subconsciously, Francis seeks comfort at the Grace and Light Church where he met Randy, and Randy happens to spot him lurking in the shadows. Shocked at Francis’s condition, Randy gets his mother, and then his father involved, and before he knows it, Francis awakens in a bed in their home. There, despite his best efforts to shun their help, he finds support and friendship and finally agrees to work for them by helping to repair the shelter in exchange for room and board.

Over time, he and Randy are attracted to each other, shocking Francis because he never gets involved with anyone and shocking Randy because he thought he was straight. But good things don’t seem to last for Francis and he bolts.

Will he ever find peace? And what about Randy? Will he want Francis in his life as more than a friend? Will the pastor and his wife be as accepting as they verbalize they are? And what about the crazed John with the knife? Is he gone for good? 

This was a very interesting story. Dark in some ways, light-hearted and hopeful in others. It’s the first I’ve read from this author, and I was impressed by the character development. And it’s not “preachy” about religion, though it does explore Randy’s beliefs, which are somewhat influenced by his religious family, though in a church that is more liberal than many. I also enjoyed the slow awakening of feelings by and between both Francis and Randy. This is a good slow burn/UST story for those who prefer that theme. It’s also a good story for those who like their stories to feature MCs who seem to have no hope for the future.

Cover by: G.D. Leigh

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 192 pages
Expected publication: August 8th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleStarting New
ISBN 1626494304 (ISBN13: 9781626494305)
Edition LanguageEnglish

When Talk is Cheap & Life Tough, Can Someone Believe in Love? Find out with Starting New by S.C. Wynne (tour/giveaway)

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StartingNew_600x900

Starting New by S.C. Wynne
R
iptide Publishing
Cover Art by G.D. Leigh

Release Date Aug 8, 2016
Read an Excerpt/Buy it Here

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have S.C. Wynne here today to share her latest release Starting New with our readers.  Don’t forget to leave a comment at the end to be entered in the giveaway. Welcome S.C.

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Hi, I’m S.C. Wynne and I write M/M romance with a little humor and generally a healthy serving of angst. Welcome to my blog tour for Starting New!

For the next week I’ll share some posts about writing and my story Starting New. Join in the fun by leaving comments and enter to win a $30 Riptide gift card!

About Starting New

Life hasn’t been good to Francis Murphy. He’s survived twenty-one years of homelessness by hooking and taking handouts where he can find them. When the local shelter is vandalized, he’s forced to seek food at the Grace and Light Church, where he runs into the pastor’s son, Randy.

Randy Wright believes the best in others. He’s immediately drawn to Francis, even though Francis is hardened and wary. When Francis is attacked by one of his johns, Randy and his family take him in and offer him temporary work. Randy always thought he was straight, but something about Francis has him yearning for more than just friendship, and realizing he might be bisexual.

Francis is attracted to Randy too, and Randy and his parents say they’ve always believed in gay rights. But talk is cheap. What are the odds that these Christian parents will remain open-minded when it’s their own son in a relationship with another man?

About S.C. Wynne

S.C. Wynne started writing m/m in 2013 and did look back once. She wanted to say that because it seems everyone’s bio says they never looked back and, well, S.C. Wynne is all about the joke. She loves writing m/m, and her characters are usually a little jaded, funny, and ultimately redeemed through love.

S.C loves red wine, margaritas, and Seven and Sevens. Yes, apparently she is incredibly thirsty. She loves the rain and should really live in Seattle, but instead has landed in sunny, sunny, unbelievably sunny California. Writing is the best profession she could have chosen because she’s a little bit of a control freak. To sit in her pajamas all day and pound the keys of her laptop, controlling the every thought and emotion of the characters she invents, is a dream come true.

If you’d like to contact S.C. Wynne, she can be found amusing herself on Facebook at all hours of the day, or you can contact her at scwynne@dslextreme.com.

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Starting New, S.C. is giving away $30 in Riptide credit. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 13, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Jeri Review: Believing Rory by S.C. Wynne

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Believing RoryWill Rory bring them together or stand between them?

Eighteen-year-old Lane Graham has always relied on his braver, more confident buddy, Rory. But Rory’s sudden suicide blindsides Lane and sends him into an emotional tailspin. How’s he supposed to start college in a few months feeling this damaged?

Baron MacDonald knew Rory from playing League of Legends together. He was always intrigued by Lane’s online presence, and Rory had promised to set them up. Now that Rory’s gone, Baron has to approach Lane on his own.

On the surface, Baron and Lane couldn’t seem more different. Baron is confident and serious, and Lane is guarded and uncertain. But it’s the pain beneath the flesh that binds these two souls together like barbed wire and cement.

This story had me crying within a few pages. Which is not a bad thing at all because I really enjoy books that make me feel. Crying means I am connected to the characters, feel for them.

Lane is a quiet kid who struggles with depression and life in general. But he always had his best friend Rory. Until Rory committed suicide and left Lane alone. But as most suicidal people do, Rory laid the groundwork for Lane to meet Baron, an online friend who seems completely different from Lane, but underneath they have similar pain, Baron is just way better at hiding it from the world. And the shared pain of losing Rory.

When I started the book I really wanted to have more story with Rory and Lane, before Lane committed suicide. But as I got deeper into the book, I really appreciated it for where it did begin. Because we don’t really get to know what was behind Rory’s suicide, we could focus more on Lane and Baron and their path.

This wasn’t just about two guys getting together and falling in love. But a shift for both of them. Rory always took care of Lane. Baron was popular and didn’t need anyone’s help. But then Lane began to take care of and help Baron, which I think really helped him take care of himself. To realize what a strong person he could be.

The author did an excellent job of conveying the feelings that come with depression. I felt that this was a beautiful deep story and it stayed with me for a long time.

Cover art by Garrett Leigh.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published April 29th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634772730
Edition LanguageEnglish

Young Love Is Never Easy, Check Out S.C.Wynne’s Painful Lesson’s (giveaway and special excerpt)

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AboutTheBook

PainfulLessonsFSTITLE: Painful Lessons

AUTHOR: S.C.Wynne

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

COVER ARTIST: Anna Sikorska

LENGTH: 200 Pages

RELEASE DATE: January 01, 2016

BLURB: As a freshman both in love and in college, sometimes there are painful lessons to be learned.

Excited to begin his first year of college, Brett Bridgeworth has just one problem: he sucks at math. Luckily there’s the sensual and mysterious math tutor, Jeremy Price, to help him out. It isn’t long before Jeremy is tutoring Brett in more than just pie charts, but it isn’t until they split up that Brett discovers Jeremy’s twisted, obsessive side.

Sam Hawthorne is two years ahead of Brett, and they share a strong mutual attraction. When Brett breaks it off with Jeremy and gets involved with Sam, disturbing things start happening. It soon becomes obvious that Jeremy isn’t willing to let Brett go without a fight.

Excerpt

I definitely don’t want what I’m about to share to look like I’m bragging. But I think it’s important to give a glimpse into my first sexual experiences because it has a lot to do with who I am, or at least who I was, when I went through all of that shit with Jeremy. Looking back, now I can see so clearly that I was like a sail with the line sliced, flapping uselessly in the cool sea breeze. Well, maybe I’m getting ahead of the story a little bit. I tend to do that sometimes.

I’ve always been bad at math. I mean, like, really awful. But I’d managed to get through high school because my teachers liked me. Mr. Winter, my algebra teacher, liked me a whole lot. So much so that, senior year, he made a deal with me; he’d give me an A if I let him suck me off.

Mr. Winter wasn’t one of those hot teachers we students fantasized about. He wore a lot of loud polyester shirts, and he had a pot belly. I went back and forth about his offer, and I did a bit of research on the Internet so I’d know what I was getting into. But ultimately I agreed, because if I failed algebra I’d be held back, and that would be way too embarrassing to me and, more importantly, my dad.

My dad owns Bridgeworth Electronics, and if his kid failed high school he’d probably have a heart attack. So I let Mr. Winter pull the blinds, unzip my jeans, and do his thing. The sight of him on his knees and the glare off his shiny bald head was all very surreal. I remember being super nervous because, while I was eighteen and I knew I liked guys, I’d never been touched by one yet. It was just me and my faithful hand, up until Mr. Winter introduced me to fellatio.

At his first touch I was numb inside and grappling with insecurities. Would I come too soon? Would he be too rough? Or worst of all, was he going to make me suck him off? But the initial warm slide of his mouth chased those fears away. Old dude or not, my eyes rolled back in my head, and I’d thrust into his mouth, oblivious to the world around me. Afterward he’d grinned up at me with a crooked, lecherous smile, as if we were somehow coconspirators.

For my first time, it was a little seedy and humiliating. I’d certainly never pictured my initiation to a BJ happening quite like that. But I had to admit his lips on me still felt great, so I shoved down the feelings of shame and took my A. I never saw Mr. Winter again, and I went on toward college still horrible in math but no longer pure as the driven snow.

I spent my summer waiting for responses from the colleges I’d applied to, and worried someone would find out about me and Mr. Winter’s arrangement. Would they be able to retract my grade if they knew what I’d done to get it? I’ll admit to feeling guilty about the whole arrangement with Mr. Winter, but the thought of failing had been too terrifying. When my acceptance letter arrived from UCLA, I put thoughts of my old math teacher behind me and spent the rest of the break celebrating with my friends.

I will say, after my sexual encounter with Mr. Winter, it was as if my hormones woke up for real. I became a horndog of epic proportions. My dad hired a new pool guy for the summer, and he was the opposite of Mr. Winter. This guy was probably in his thirties and hot. I mean smoking, Zac Efron hot. We exchanged lusty looks for a few weeks before anything actually happened. One day after swimming, I was showering in the small side building near the garden, and Lex walked in on me.

He set his pool skimmer against the wall and pulled his shirt off with one yank. I swallowed the lump forming in my throat and waited for him to make the first move. Soundlessly he dropped his shorts and underwear and walked up to me. I couldn’t believe what was happening, but I was excited to think this gorgeous guy wanted to do things to and with me. I believe I said a breathy, “Hi.”

“How old are you, Brett?” he’d asked, almost as if it was an afterthought.

“Eighteen,” I responded right before he pushed me against the slick white tiles and took my mouth roughly.

He tasted like tobacco and cinnamon, and his hands were rough on my hips. His cock wasn’t as wide as mine, but it was longer and it fit next to mine nicely. When the kiss ended, he began grinding his cock against mine, and the heat that flared in my groin was like an inferno. I grasped his shoulders and held on as lust rumbled through me like a steam engine. It wasn’t romantic by any stretch of the imagination. The ceramic tiles were freezing against my back, and they hurt my shoulder blades, but I didn’t care. I was young and ready to explore what I needed sexually.

I’d had a growth spurt toward the end of high school, and I was slightly taller than Lex. I clutched his damp chestnut curls and panted against the orgasm gathering at the base of my cock. He was louder than me. He groaned a lot and cussed as he threw his head back and flexed his hips like a jackhammer. I liked his noises. They were guttural and dirty, and they made me excited as my need ramped even higher. When we came the warm water washed the evidence down the drain as if it never happened.

I remember he stroked my cheek afterward, as I stared into his golden-flecked brown eyes. “That was nice,” he panted, and then he washed under the water with me, dried off with my towel, and got dressed. Right before he left, he turned and asked me, “Are you a virgin?”

I’m sure my cheeks turned red. They were warm now, thinking about how embarrassed I’d been to answer yes. Not to mention I wasn’t even sure if I was answering correctly. Was I a virgin? Did blow jobs count, or did not having had anal make me a virgin? But Lex had just smiled and quietly closed the door. I wasn’t a “virgin” much longer because a week later, Lex took me in that little shower area. I still remember the smell of the coconut-scented lube and the first burning glide of his cock in my untouched ass.

I learned a lot from Lex. The guy had zero inhibitions. We fucked our way through that hot summer, and when it came time to leave for college, I was thankful I didn’t have to go there not knowing anything about sex. I’d assumed I’d show up at UCLA horrible in math and a virgin, but thanks to Lex, only the “bad at math” part was still true.

My dad didn’t have time to drive with me to my new school. He said something about a crisis in the capacitor industry. I didn’t know what he was talking about, and it didn’t really matter because it wasn’t like it was negotiable or anything. Hey, how about you come to my college, see my room, and pretend you give a shit about me for a day? I’ll bake brownies for you?

Yeah, not gonna happen.

I guess at this point, I should mention the reason it was only me and him was because my mom died when I was ten. She went in for a routine hysterectomy and never came home. I remember coming back from school and finding my aunt Rose sobbing in the kitchen. She’d hugged me and my dad, and stayed for weeks to cook casseroles and keep the house clean. But after that she’d had to go back to her family in New York. Aunt Rose called me and my dad “her boys,” and she phoned to check on us often. But my dad’s never home, and I didn’t want to talk about my mom dying, so the time between calls had become longer and longer.

So back to my college experience. My roommate, Ted, was nothing like me. He was boisterous and loud and straight as a ruler. He was hugely into sports and talked about football nonstop. I, on the other hand, knew little about that subject, preferring reading and sketching to getting dirty and running around a field with a pigskin.

We still found some common ground since we both enjoyed eating. We always went to the cafeteria together for all our meals. Generally his jock friends would descend, and I’d sit mostly in silence, shoveling my cheese macaroni in like a machine. I think having Ted as my roommate protected me from being picked on by his homophobic buddies. They gave me hard looks and didn’t sit too close to me, but nobody ever said a disrespectful word to me.

One of the guys I didn’t mind so much. He had auburn hair and light green eyes, and he always smelled like vanilla. His name was Sam Hawthorne, and he was the only one who would speak to me without looking like he was afraid my gayness would get on him. I didn’t hide that I was gay, but I also didn’t flaunt it. The “gayest” thing I did was wear a small diamond stud in my ear that was one half of a pair of earrings my mom had owned. I didn’t wear the earring to make a statement as much as it made me feel connected to my mom.

I soon learned I liked being away from home. When nobody knew me, I could be different and didn’t have to play the role I’d always felt had been thrust on me: good son. Grieving son. It had been eight years since my mom died, and while I missed her and her quirky sense of humor, I wanted to live a little. These were my college years, and I was expecting to have new and exciting experiences. I wasn’t supposed to sit around trying to remember what my mom looked like, although sometimes the fact that I had trouble recalling her features bugged me a lot and made me feel like a horrible person. So I’d pull out the crinkled picture I kept in my wallet. The photo was of a family vacation at the beach a year before she died. She looked happy, and we were both smiling like idiots. My dad wasn’t in the picture, and I guess I mean that both literally and figuratively.

Excerpt 2

That was the night I met Jeremy. He was barely visible in the dark, leaning against a birch to the side of the path.

“Don’t look so sad, pretty boy. There are plenty of other fish in the sea.”

His voice was sultry, deep, and it startled the hell out of me because I had no idea anyone was there.

I pretended I hadn’t almost peed myself and started to walk away without answering, but his voice stopped me.

“Wait up. Are you Brett?”

He approached now, and I was surprised he knew my name. In the dingy yellow light of the streetlamp, I could see he was slender, with wide shoulders and black hair that brushed his collarbone. He had a sexy, dangerous vibe about him, and I took a step back as he reached me.

“Let me guess. Ted didn’t mention I was coming?”

I squinted at him, mystified by why this beautiful vision thought I should know him. “Ted?” Yeah, remember your roommate, dummy?

He smiled and flashed perfect white teeth. “I’m Jeremy,” he said confidently. “You look exactly how Ted described you.”

I put a hand to my blond hair, wondering what Ted had said about me.

“Ted said you’re looking for a math tutor.” He didn’t seem to mind at all that I was tongue-tied.

I think I’d mentioned once to Ted that I should get a tutor, but I’d never really pursued it. And yet here before me was the most delicious tutor anyone could ask for. My pulse sped up as I took his smooth hand in mine and something came alive inside of me.

“Oh, yeah. I do need help. I’m horrible at math.” He still held my hand, and I had the sensation of energy passing between us. I remember being hugely relieved I didn’t gasp like a little girl at the electric shock.

“But I needed to meet you first.”

Jeremy pulled me closer, and his gaze never left my mouth. I should have known then that he was acting odd for a math tutor, but hindsight is twenty-twenty, and I was blinded by a cloud of youthful lust.

“I don’t take on just anybody. I want you to know that.”

I remember I instantly felt special and impressed he was even considering me. I look back on it now, and it immediately strikes me that most math tutors weren’t in such high demand that they would pick and choose their tutees so stringently. But for whatever reason, I didn’t think twice about how strange he was. I was simply flattered I had been deemed worthy.

Later I was able to see I’d been chosen for reasons that had nothing to do with my being valuable. No, no. Far more attractive to Jeremy was that I reeked of need and a desire to matter to someone. I’m sure that’s why he wanted to meet me first before he agreed to help me. His type can smell self-doubt a mile away. My palpable insecurities were like blood in the water to a great white.

BuyLinks

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Amazon US

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AuthorBio

S.C. Wynne started writing m/m in 2013 and did look back once. She wanted to say that because it seems everyone’s bio says they never looked back and, well S.C. Wynne is all about the joke. She loves writing m/m and her characters are usually a little jaded, funny and ultimately redeemed through love.

S.C loves red wine, margaritas and Seven and Seven’s. Yes, apparently S.C. Wynne is incredibly thirsty. S.C. Wynne loves the rain and should really live in Seattle but instead has landed in sunny, sunny, unbelievably sunny California.

Writing is the best profession she could have chosen because S.C. is a little bit of a control freak. To sit in her pajamas all day and pound the keys of her laptop controlling the every thought and emotion of the characters she invents is a dream come true.

If you’d like to contact S.C. Wynne she is amusing herself on Facebook at all hours of the day or you can contact her at scwynne@dslextreme.com

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TourSchedule

January 4: Man2ManTastic

January 5: The Novel Approach :: Drops of Ink

January 6: Divine Magazine

January 7: Love Bytes Reviews :: Wicked Faeries Tales & Reviews

January 8: Joyfully Jay :: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

January 11: BFD Book Blog

January 12: Cathy Writes Romance :: Diverse Reader

January 13: Prism Book Alliance :: The Purple Rose Tea House

January 14: RJ Scott

January 15: Bayou Book Junkie :: Elisa – My reviews and Ramblings