Tara Lain on Odes to Ashland and her new release Home Improvement by Tara Lain (guest blog,excerpt and giveaway)

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Home Improvement
by Tara Lain
 

Odes to Ashland

Hi. I’m so happy to be here to celebrate the release of my new romance, HOME IMPROVEMENT – -A LOVE STORY, my first book set in Ashland, Oregon.

You might know that for most of my writing career (first published in 2011) I’ve been associated with southern California. Heck, I have two series plus additional books totaling around 17 or 18 books set in Laguna Beach alone. Then almost exactly a year ago, I moved. Yes, it was a huge deal. My hubby was a native Californian and aside from a couple years in his teens, had never lived outside of California. But SoCal, while grand, has more traffic than practically anywhere on earth. Even in charming, ocean-side Laguna Beach, you can sit in traffic for hours just trying to get home. My honey, who drove everyday, was done. In search of less cars and more trees, we went looking for a new home.

We had been to Ashland, Oregon a few times to attend the famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). Far from a “summer theater”, OSF operates four theaters nine months a year doing a repertory of eleven plays. It has one of the largest budgets of any theater in America. It’s an industry  — and an artistic triumph! I adore theater (my degree is in theater) so the idea of being able to go any time I wanted was amazing. OSF presents more than 780 performances annually with attendance of over 410,000 people. Because of all the tourists, Ashland has tons of 5-star restaurants. Other artistic endeavors like an art museum, a symphony, a cabaret theater and many of the trappings of an upscale artsy metropolis. It also is a college ton, so there a mass of young people.

BUT, the permanent population of Ashland is only 21,000. There’s a town square that could be in a movie next to a flowing creek with restaurants beside it. There are parades for July 4th, Halloween, Christmas, Hannukah celebrations on the square, Pride parades and more super picturesque stuff. No chain stores are allowed in Ashland, so the totally walkable downtown is also shippable because all the stores are adorable, unique boutiques. And yet, there’s an airport 20 minutes away.

I have a friend who’d been sending me photos from Ashland for over a year. My honey and I took a serious trip to consider the town as a place to live and we lost our hearts. We sold our California house and moved north. While the move was super hard, the outcome was super happy. I’ll still be writing books in California. I still love it. But expect to make a lot of visits to my hometown, Ashland.

I hope you love your first visit in HOME IMPROVEMENT – A LOVE STORY.

Blurb:

Romance on Aisle Sixteen—opposites attract amid the hammers and screws of the home improvement store.
 
Gabe Mason became a father at seventeen, and his daughter, Ellie, is the most important thing in his life. But being the parent the courts demand means Gabe has given up most of his dreams—education, making furniture, a gay social life—to be a model dad with a steady, reliable job in a home improvement store. Life’s predictable until Jerry, a shy, eccentric guy in a hat and sunglasses, begs Gabe to oversee the renovation of his run-down mansion.
 
Gabe loves the house and the work, and Jerry’s pretty lovable too, but when Gabe discovers Jerry’s secret identity, he fears their passion could overturn both their lives forever. 

Excerpt  – Home Improvement – A Love Story

Jerry pretty much smiled all the way through the unloading, which was damned hard and took an hour of trying to maneuver the huge pieces of furniture across the lawn and up the stairs to the nearest door. Once inside, they placed the credenza at one end of the dining room that looked over the pool. The gleaming wood of the cabinet glowed against the Saltillo tile floors and gave the room—which still needed paint, rugs, and a table—some promise.

When they’d wrangled the coffee table into place in the middle of the huge great room, Gabe laughed. “I guess we can call it a start.”

Jerry threw his arms out and spun. “But it’s sooooo beautiful.” He kept swooping and twirling around the room until his head spun and the floor of the room and the wood ceiling far above kind of blended together. He threw his head back and laughed, his foot hit one of the rough places on the tile, and he staggered. “Whoa!” He slid and teetered toward the floor.

Before he could hit, Gabe snatched him into a full-body grab. “Hang on.”

Jerry took him at his word. Wrapping his arms tightly around Gabe’s neck, he hung on like crazy. Truthfully, he was too dizzy to stand up—

—and the Captain America arms didn’t help that dizziness one bit.

Before he could really analyze his situation, he’d pressed himself full length against Gabe’s tall, sturdy body, laughing tipsily.

Yes, the contact was pretty wriggly, and if he’d asked himself a hundred times whether Gabe might, just might, like guys since he seemed to look at Jerry like an hors d’oeuvre sometimes, he now got his answer. One formidable protuberance rose in the middle of the embrace and seemed to be matched in his own pants. Gabe’s heartbeat pounded against Jerry’s chest.

Oh fuck! Just one taste. Jerry slid the arm that was tightly wrapped around Gabe’s neck up a couple inches and yanked Gabe’s head down so he could lock their lips together.

The first touch produced an electric spark that slammed straight to Jerry’s balls so hard, for a second he had to hold his breath to keep from embarrassing himself with wet sweats. As the first gasp came under control, a tsunami of heat washed through him, and he slid his fingers tightly into Gabe’s shaggy, silken hair, as he pressed closer from lips to hips.

Gabe had been holding Jerry around the waist. His strong hands slid down and grasped Jerry’s butt and squeezed. Jerry gasped at the amazing pressure, and everything in him wanted to climb Gabe like a tree and then plant that evergreen where it would do the most good.

Before Jerry could anchor a leg around Gabe’s hips, he was gone, and Jerry was staggering backward to keep from falling.

Gabe gasped, “Oh God, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I hope you enjoy the furniture. Let me know if you change your mind about the other pieces. Otherwise I’ll make sure they get here while you’re gone.” With that he turned, hurried from the house, and before Jerry even made it to the front door, had disappeared out of sight.

Jerry slammed the front door, leaned against it, then slowly collapsed to the floor. Fuck-a-doodle-doo. Good job, asshole. Find somebody you actually like and enjoy being around and screw it up by being you.

He dropped his head onto his bent knees.

Available for purchase at 
Excerpt
 
 
About the Author

Tara Lain believes in happy ever afters – and magic. Same thing. In fact, she says, she doesn’t believe, she knows. Tara shares this passion in her best-selling stories that star her unique, charismatic heroes — the beautiful boys of romance —  and adventurous heroines. Quarterbacks and cops, werewolves and witches, blue collar or billionaires, Tara’s characters, readers say, love deeply, resolve seemingly insurmountable differences, and ultimately live their lives authentically. After many years living in southern California, Tara, her soulmate honey and her soulmate dog decided they wanted less cars and more trees, prompting a move to Ashland, Oregon where Tara’s creating new stories and loving living in a small town with big culture. Likely a Gryffindor but possessed of Parseltongue, Tara loves animals of all kinds, diversity, open minds, coconut crunch ice cream from Zoeys, and her readers. She also loves to hear from you.

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An Alisa Release Day Review: Home Improvement by Tara Lain

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

Romance on Aisle Sixteen—opposites attract amid the hammers and screws of the home improvement store.

 

Gabe Mason became a father at seventeen, and his daughter, Ellie, is the most important thing in his life. But being the parent the courts demand means Gabe has given up most of his dreams—education, making furniture, a gay social life—to be a model dad with a steady, reliable job in a home improvement store. Life’s predictable until Jerry, a shy, eccentric guy in a hat and sunglasses, begs Gabe to oversee the renovation of his run-down mansion.

 

Gabe loves the house and the work, and Jerry’s pretty lovable too, but when Gabe discovers Jerry’s secret identity, he fears their passion could overturn both their lives forever.

 

This was an adorable story. Gabe has focused on being the best father he can since Ellie was born, which means he put his own life on hold a bit for her, but he would never regret the great women she has turned out to be. Working for Jerry seems like a great opportunity to earn some extra money for Ellie’s college fund but turns out to be so much more.

 

Gabe and Jerry’s first meeting was a little strange as were the next few encounters and while Jerry doesn’t tell Gabe who he is he does start to let his guard down and even brings Ellie into their relationship. I loved watching how trusting Jerry was of Gabe’s decisions, knowing that he would do what was right and not gouge him on prices and work. Even in his hesitation Gabe took on Jerry’s house with enthusiasm and in a very short time got a lot accomplished.

 

I love Gabe and Jerry’s interactions because they were just so real and even though Jerry was hiding a bit he didn’t hide who he really was from Gabe. I love that when the situation got turned all around that Jerry had the wherewithal to make the bid decision to set the story straight but to all give him and Gabe an opportunity to build a life together.

 

I like the cover art and the visual of Gabe, I think it works well with this story.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

Published: July 9, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64405-541-0

Edition Language: English

A Lila Release Day Review: Cowboys Don’t Samba (Cowboys Don’t #3) by Tara Lain

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Maury Garcia’s one of the greatest bull riders in the world—and one of the biggest liars. Can he turn forbidden love with a rodeo rookie into a lasting romance?

Ever since his brother was killed because he was gay, Maury’s worked to take his brother’s place as the bull rider, the provider, and the ideal of his family’s macho expectations. The only thing Maury’s ever done for himself is buy a secret ranch so he can get away from the responsibilities he’s chained himself to. Then he meets Tristão Silva, the younger brother of the one man who could rob Maury of his bull riding championship.

Tristão may be a world-class bull rider in his own right, but his kind, gentle nature and sexy samba hips make Maury long for something beyond his selfless, sexless life. The two men’s lives are worlds apart, even if they’re both buckling under family expectations. Will their future last beyond an eight-second ride?

Cowboys Don’t Samba is another small window into the world of bull writing. I’m glad the author included the diversity of the sport and their community. Perhaps not in the best light, but close to its reality.

The book starts a bit slow but not enough to put it away. The main characters’ stories run parallel most of the time creating a distinction between them. I wanted more time for their relationship to develop but the rest of the events compensate for it.

Some parts related to how Hispanics and Latins raise their families felt a bit preachy and as a stereotype. We get some redemption by the end of the story but I wanted a less rushed preposition.

The story is engaging and I liked the characters. The author did an excellent job meshing the previous stories’ plot and characters into this book. And like the previous two, the secondary characters are as important as Maury and Tristão. Not as over-the-top but everyone had a reason to be involved in the drama and invested in their future,

The cover by Reese Dante matches the rest of the series, showing Maury, this time.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | Nook

Book Details:

ebook, 229 pages
Published: May 14, 2019, Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781644053959
Edition Language: English

Series: Cowboys Don’t
Book #1: Cowboys Don’t Come Out
Book #2: Cowboys Don’t Ride Unicorns
Book #3: Cowboys Don’t Samba

Tara Lain on My Bahian Cowboy and her new releases ‘Cowboys Don’t Samba (Cowboys Don’t #3)’ (author guest blog, excerpt, and giveaway)

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Cowboys Don’t Samba (Cowboys Don’t #3) by Tara Lain

Dreamspinner Press
Published May 14th 2019
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Book Links:

GoodreadsDreamspinner PressKindle |  Amazon Paperback iTunes |  KoboNook BAM

My Bahian Cowboy by Tara Lain

Hi. I’m so happy to be here today to announce the release of my new romance, COWBOYS DON’T SAMBA, the third book in my Cowboys Don’t series, but like all of them, a stand alone read if you want to start backwards. In this book, my bull rider hero, Maury Garcia, meets an amazing Brazilian bull-riding rookie and the rest is romance.

In fact, many of the bull riding champions of the world are from Brazil, so it gave me a wonderful opportunity to pay homage to this fascinating country I got to visit a couple years ago. I went to Brazil on a cruise ship and then ended my trip with a week in Rio. Rio is as fabulous as you can imagine, but I must confess that the real discovery for me on that trip was the enthralling and beautiful town of Salvador, the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia. Salvador was the center of the Brazilian slave trade, a shocking commerce in human life that went on even longer than the U.S. This background has resulted in a rich Afro-Brazilian culture in the town of Salvador that completely enthralled me. It’s palpable, like the humidity and the lushness of the trees.

Salvador is the home of Candomble, a unique religion formed from an amalgam of African and European traditions. At the Afro-Brazilian Museum, I saw images of some of the Candomble orixas, the pervasive spirits or deities who protect the faithful and felt their lively and optimistic energy.  Candomble mixes wildly with Roman Catholicism in Bahia and Salvador is the home to an amazing church built by slaves over many, many years since they could only work in their spare time, which they had little of. Unlike so many European and American traditions that make the Catholic saints blond and blue-eyed, all the statues of saints in this church are black. Salvador is also a center for capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art that is astonishing to watch. It combines dance, acrobatics and martial forms in mind-boggling and gravity-defying ways.

Food is Bahia is drool-worthy. I tried moqueca, the seafood stew served with rice and flavored with coconut milk and palm oil. Of course, the drink to die for (and you may) is the caipirinha, a drink made with fresh lime, brown sugar, and a clear, rum-like liquor called cachaca, all poured over ice. It goes down smooth and packs a huge punch. I own some very expensive jewelry that was fueled by caipirinhas!

Bottom line is Salvador is an amazing place where I would happily have spent way more time. While it’s not a bull-riding center in Brazil, I stretched reality a bit and made my Brazilian cowboy a Bahian, which gave me an excuse to set a short scene there. I hope you’ll enjoy the trip to Salvador and COWBOYS DON’T SAMBA.

 

Intro:
When an American bull riding champion meets a Brazilian rookie the results are one hot samba.

Book Blurb:

Maury Garcia’s one of the greatest bull riders in the world—and one of the biggest liars. Can he turn forbidden love with a rodeo rookie into a lasting romance?

Ever since his brother was killed because he was gay, Maury’s worked to take his brother’s place as the bull rider, the provider, and the ideal of his family’s macho expectations. The only thing Maury’s ever done for himself is buy a secret ranch so he can get away from the responsibilities he’s chained himself to. Then he meets Tristão Silva, the younger brother of the one man who could rob Maury of his bull riding championship.

Tristão may be a world-class bull rider in his own right, but his kind, gentle nature and sexy samba hips make Maury long for something beyond his selfless, sexless life. The two men’s lives are worlds apart, even if they’re both buckling under family expectations. Will their future last beyond an eight-second ride?

Excerpt : Cowboys Don’t Samba by Tara Lain

Breathing. Breathing would be good.

Maury watched Xesús Silva swagger in the door, but he wasn’t alone. Behind him came another guy. Young. Dark hair, pale skin. And probably the most gorgeous human Maury’d ever seen. Not that he noticed guys’ looks all that much, but hell. This dude set new records in plain beautiful. He also resembled Silva, who was, after all, a pretty handsome man if you didn’t count his soul.

Silva made a straight line to the table where the Brazilians were sitting. Some of the men definitely didn’t look thrilled, but a couple of other guys hailed him. People moved aside, and someone pulled over two chairs.

Silva straddled the chair in that hypermacho way of his. The other guy? Holy crap. Poetry. Loose-hipped and graceful, he slid into the open chair and crossed his legs. Most of the Brazilians were squeaky clean-cut, but this dude’s inky hair hung down to his neck and curved around his ears. He was a little taller than usual for a bull rider and lean rather than the more compact build of a lot of the PBRA competitors. Of course, he looked young, so that might explain the lanky body.

“That’s the younger brother I told you about.” Earl helped himself to a french fry. “Haven’t seen him ride, but I hear good things.”

“Let’s drink up and get out of here. I, uh, need some sleep.” Maury pushed back his chair with a scrape.

“Uh, boss, it’s five fifteen.” Earl grabbed for his wallet in his hip pocket. “Let me pay the check.”

Maury stood and started toward the door. Just need to get out before I meet the asshole again.

“I hear it’s your birthday, Wetback.” Usually Silva was subtler, but he yelled this halfway across the room. “No wonder the judges felt like they had to let you cheat to beat me.”

Maury plastered on a smile and turned. “No one has to cheat to beat you, Silva. Little kids can do it.” He said it like a joke, and a few people laughed, but the serious competitors, especially the Brazilians, looked uneasy.

Silva stood at his chair. “I’ve got the baby that can beat you, Garcia.” He reached down, took the young man—younger—by the arm, and pulled him to his feet. “This is Tristão, and he can ride the butt off any bull and defeat a herd of American cowboys. He’s a Silva.”

Maury gave the young guy a direct gaze. Almost too much for his eyes to take. Like looking straight into the sun. “Hey, Tris, good to meet you. Welcome to American cowboying. Good luck with that whole winning thing.”

 

About the Author

Tara Lain believes in happy ever afters – and magic. Same thing. In fact, she says, she doesn’t believe, she knows. Tara shares this passion in her best-selling stories that star her unique, charismatic heroes — the beautiful boys of romance —  and adventurous heroines. Quarterbacks and cops, werewolves and witches, blue collar or billionaires, Tara’s characters, readers say, love deeply, resolve seemingly insurmountable differences, and ultimately live their lives authentically. After many years living in southern California, Tara, her soulmate honey and her soulmate dog decided they wanted less cars and more trees, prompting a move to Ashland, Oregon where Tara’s creating new stories and loving living in a small town with big culture. Likely a Gryffindor but possessed of Parseltongue, Tara loves animals of all kinds, diversity, open minds, coconut crunch ice cream from Zoeys, and her readers. She also loves to hear from you.   

 

Author Links:

Website:  http://taralain.com/

Blog: http://www.taralain.com/blog

Twitter: https://twitter.com/taralain

FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/taralain

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tara-lain

Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2ICPcCZ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4541791.Tara_Lain

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/taralain/

Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/255111391312743/

Giveaway

 

Giveaway Item: $10 Amazon Gift Card

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An Alisa Release Day Review: Hidden Powers (Superordinary Society #1) by Tara Lain

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Jazz Vanessen is weird—and not just because he’s a werewolf. For most of his life, he’s felt different from his alpha male brothers and friends. Since he’s adopted, he can’t even blame it on family.

Now eighteen, Jazz meets his idol, the social activist Lysandra Mason, and her breathtaking nephew, Dash Mercury. When Dash is around, even stranger things start to happen, including Jazz falling hopelessly in lust. Not only is Jazz having visions, making people disappear, and somehow turning invisible, but somebody’s following him and threatening to reveal his pack’s secrets to the world.

Together with Dash and Jazz’s equally amazing friends—Carla, BeBop, Khadija, and Fatima—they discover the danger is even more lethal than they thought, and Jazz’s weirdness may save all their lives.

This was a wonderful story.  I didn’t connect that this is following those from the Harker Pack series but I was so glad when I realized it as I loved that series.

Jazz has always felt different than his family and all the weird things that have been happening around him is making it worse.  Dash is way more than Jazz could ever have thought but he is really a lot of help once he decides which side he is on.

I loved Jazz, he is so sweet and while there are some secrets he has to keep, he doesn’t apologize for who he is.  I loved seeing him do what he does best but felt for him when he was confused and everything seemed to be going wrong.  Now Dash, I didn’t like him initially when he came to stay with Carla but once he allowed himself not just follow what he is told he let the real him show and really hope he isn’t gone to his special school too long.  I loved how the friends are all different and have different things that were special about them.  I can’t wait to read more in this series and see what these kids get up to.

I really like the cover art by Reese Dante and think it works well for the story.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 278 pages

Published: March 12, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64405-154-2

Edition Language: English

Series: Superordinary Society #1

An Alisa Release Day Review: The Case of the Voracious Vintner (Middlemark Mysteries #2) by Tara Lain

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

 

Where Bo Marchand comes from, gay men are just confirmed bachelors who never found the right girl. But now Bo’s a successful winemaker on the central coast of California, supporting his whole damned Georgia family, and all he really wants is the beautiful, slightly mysterious Jeremy Aames.

 

Jeremy’s vineyard is under threat from Ernest Ottersen, the voracious winemaker who seems to know all Jeremy’s blending secrets and manages to grab all his customers. Bo tries to help Jeremy and even provides a phony alibi for Jeremy when Ottersen turns up dead in Jeremy’s tasting room. But it’s clear Jeremy isn’t who he claims, and Bo must decide if it’s worth tossing over his established life for a man who doesn’t seem to trust anyone. When Jeremy gets kidnapped, some the conservative winemakers turn out to be kinky sex fiends, and the list of murderers keeps dwindling down to Jeremy. Bo has to choose between hopping on his white horse or climbing back in his peach-pie-lined closet.

 

Ok, so I liked this story, though not nearly as much as the first one, it seemed to take longer to really get going.  Bo lives his life taking care of his family and it seems as if for the most part he has let them walk all over him.  Jeremy is trying to live his life but hiding at the same time.

 

So there is all kinds of backstabbing and childish behavior throughout this book and not just by the MCs but a majority of the secondary characters, truthfully I felt like I was reading about teenagers at many points.  I just hope more stories in this series have a little more depth and some more mature characters.  I know we all deal with those who aren’t but it wasn’t real enjoyable to read about them.

 

Getting to see the story from both characters’ eyes made it a little easier to understand them.  With how easily Bo decides to come out for Jeremy it made me question why he was so determined to hide it in the first place and even went on dates with women to appease his family.  Jeremy was a bit harder to get to know as he was keeping so many secrets in regards to his past that we didn’t even know anything until he was kidnapped.  I kind of wish there had been more to them building a relationship, they were kinda dating in secret and suddenly all in, it was hard to get.  I loved getting to see Llewellyn and Blaise again and how Llew is looking into more mysteries, though I’m not sure his research did too much help but it gave some more interesting things to think about.

 

I love the cover art by Kanaxa is great and gives visuals of the characters and lots of little things from the story.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 279 pages

Published: January 29, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-840-9

Edition Language: English

Series: Middlemark Mysteries #2

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A MelanieM Audio Review: Love You so Madly (Love You So Stories #2) by Tara Lain and Ry Forest (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

A Love You So story.

Ben Shane has it all…and he’d like to give some of it back. While he loves his job heading a foundation that funds worthy causes around the world, his engagement to one of America’s wealthiest men leaves him feeling more like a trophy wife than a valued partner. The first warning that his relationship might not be designed to last is his irresistible lust for Dusty Kincaid, the golden-haired, bright-eyed handyman for his company.

Though Dusty is odd for a 23-year-old – no liquor, no sugar, and he can’t even drive – the more Ben gets to know Dusty, the more he admires him. But is Ben going to give up a guy who drives a Ferrari for one who takes the bus?

He must be mad. Dusty knows he and Ben can never work. After all, Ben’s perfect…and Dusty isn’t. But Ben might surprise everyone with proof that he’s only mad in love.

If you love sweet contemporary MM romance, then here is a light-hearted story that is high on the warmth, feel goodery aspect and pretty much low on the angst.  It’s also on the short side, so if you are new to the experience of listening to novels in the audioformat, this is  just the right length for a first introduction.

Lain’s character of Ben Shane is someone we can all connect with.  Hardworking, Ben is totally invested in his job working with charities and finding investors to partner with them.  It’s rewarding work and he enjoys it, long hours and all.  Not so his wealthy, privileged fiance,Alan Ashland, who feels that Ben’s time should be spent with him, ala kept husband since Alan has more money he can spend in several lifetimes.  It doesn’t seem to matter what Ben is saying about the importance of his job or work, Alan doesn’t seem to be getting it.  Not a great thing with a wedding in the works.

I loved the character of Ben, he’s well defined, layered, and relatable.  Alan?  Well, he’s just about every rich boy stereotype rolled into one, and that may be accurate, as a person, he doesn’t come across as anything but less dimensional.  Probably intentionally as he’s not someone you  would want to spend time with.  The voice given to him by narrator Ry Forrest reinforces that impression perfectly of a spoiled rich young man with all the depth of a summer puddle on a 100 degree day.  Nope, not lidable at all.

Than there’s Dusty who comes with a  bit of a mystery.  It won’t take a genius for someone to figure out it’s medical but as I don’t do spoilers I won;t go further here.  Dustry is the polar opposite of Alan.  With a wide open personality, charming and fun, happy and easy to be around, Ben is quickly drawn to the man that is everything he needs and wants.

This romance drew me in as quickly as I connected to the men involved.  The contrast with Alan’s annoying appearances with Dusty’s interaction with Ben and, well, everyone around him, it was clear chemistry in the air. There is a riotous, strong woman at the center as well.  Adored her too. No, not Dusty’s mother.

If I had my concerns, it was bringing up a serious medical issues in a short story of this length.  I don’t believe you can adequately address it but Tara Lain    does a good job.

This story moves along quickly, there’s obstacles (because of course you have to have a few), and and absolutely lovely ending.  The original story is only 120 pages in all, so when  I say it goes by swiftly, it does.  The narrator, Ry Forest , does an excellent job with all the characters, different voices no matter the gender, and manages to sweep us along on this sweet emotional rollercoaster ride of a romance.

Cover Artist: Reese Dante.  I love this cover.  It’s in keeping with the branding for the series but it’s lightness and sweetness is in character for Dusty.

Sales Links:    Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Listening Length: 4 hours and 36 minutes

Audible Audio, 5 pages
Published September 14th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published May 29th 2018)
Original Title Love You So Madly
ASIN B07HB5VT9L
Edition Language English
Series Love You So Stories #2
setting California (United States)

An Alisa Release Day Review: Trex or Treat by Tara Lain

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Josh Harris is all dad all the time. A busy college professor and devoted single father, Josh tries to be happy with only his son for company. But then Bradley “Trex” Trexler moves in across the street with his stepbrother, Bogo, and takes advantage of their empty home, making it into a haunted house for Halloween.

Josh’s son, Ernie, can’t wait to go, so Josh dresses up like a movie cowboy and saunters over. It’ll be the best Halloween of Ernie’s life, but there’s another sharpshooter roaming the dark corridors, and this one might have a special treat for Josh….

This was such a sweet story, but being a short there is just so far that the story can go and I don’t want to spoil it either.  Josh and Trex have great chemistry and I love that both of them don’t just want a one off.  They connect on a deeper level and even better have much more in common than Josh could ever hope for.  Seeing the story through Josh’s eyes didn’t really give us much of a chance to get to know Trex but he truly seemed to wear his heart on his sleeve and the ending gave these two the perfect opportunity to try building a life together.

The cover art by Kanaxa is great and is absolutely perfect for the story.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 34 pages

Published: 2nd edition, October 31, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64405-131-3

Edition Language: English

Tara Lain on Writing, and her new release ‘Love You So Special’ (guest post, excerpt, and giveaway)

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Love You So Special (Love You So Stories #3) by Tara Lain
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Tara Lain here today on tour for Love You So Special. Welcome, Tara.

♦︎

Hi and welcome! I’m Tara Lain and I’m so happy to be celebrating the release of my new super-romantic story, Love You So Special. The book is a fave of mine, maybe because it not only includes one of my favorite couples, but also because I wove in a few of my favorite things – music, existentialism, and fish.

The old adage says write what you know. I think that is true primarily on an emotional and spiritual level. While I don’t know any werewolves personally, I still write paranormal stories sometimes because I do understand the alienation and loneliness that someone different from the pack might feel. At the same time, writers do weave in things we know and love. I’ve set many, many books in the town I lived in for 28 years, Laguna Beach. I love animals so I write a lot of pets. I adore decorating houses so we often know lots about where my characters live.

In Love You So Special, I wanted to show a guy who thinks he’s ordinary as dirt,  but reveals his specialness in small unique ways. He adores his landlord, a retired teacher of existential philosophy, he falls in love with the exquisite classical music he hears while installing plumbing at a concert hall, and he adores his tank full of colorful, amazing tropical fish. None of these things seem to go together, and yet for me they each revealed an aspect of my hero, Artie.

As you may know, I love opposites attract stories and one of the big challenges of these stories in uncovering and revealing the characteristics of each protagonist that make them compatible with the other, despite their superficial differences. In this story that happens through music, existentialism, and fish. I hope you love it! : )

About Love You So Special

Can a man’s secret yearnings be revealed in a tank full of fish?

Artie Haynes knows he’s nothing special, with just-your-regular-brown hair, a solid plumber’s job, not much education, and a family that can barely get off the couch. But Artie has quirks—like his love of tropical fish, a landlord who’s a professor of existentialism, a passion for the amazing piano music he hears at a concert hall while he’s fixing the bathrooms—and the fact that he’s never come out as gay and probably never will. But when he’s hired to build a guesthouse for the pianist whose music enchanted him, Artie is swept up into an unimaginable world.

Francois Desmarais may be famous, rich, and revered as one of the world’s great classical composers and pianists, but he’s soothed and challenged by the inquisitive, stalwart, protective man in his back yard. When Francois’s terrible fear of crowds turns into a dangerous plot, Artie can stay in the closet or prove just how special he is.

Excerpt 1 – Love You So Special by Tara Lain

Artie peered in the open front door of the Desmarais’s house. No way he’d pass that opportunity up. He stepped inside and followed the sound of voices. Man, what a house. All fancy and traditional and shit, with paintings on the walls of scary-looking people. Funny. He wouldn’t exactly expect that messy, casual, snarky guy to live in a house like this.

He walked quietly down the hall the woman had run down. Voices came from ahead of him.

“The man said you were hurt, Senor Desmarais.”

“I’m okay. I’m fine. Just go back to—whatever. Honest, I’m fine.”

“But he said—”

“Where is this man?” He sounded pissed and upset.

Artie stepped into the doorway. He might get a vase in the face, but—he just needed to be sure Francois was okay. “I’m here. Sorry. I was just worried that you were hurt.”

“Why? Because you scared the bloody hell out of me and made me fall on my butt?”

Artie fought a smile. Francois must be feeling better if he could be a wiseass. “Yeah. Sorry about that.”

The woman looked back and forth between them like she was watching tennis.

Francois crossed his arms. “It’s okay, Maria. I want to talk to Artie here for a minute. Thanks so much for looking out for me.”

“But—” She looked seriously uncertain.

He waved a hand. “It’s okay. Honest.”

“Your mama—”

He turned a full frown on her. “What does my mother have to do with this?”

“Nothing.” She shook her head. “Can I get you anything?”

“No thanks. I’ll get it.” He walked to the door of the room, herding her toward it. When they got there, he smiled, thanked her again, and closed the door; then he turned to Artie with a crease between his eyebrows—barely visible under his pale, shaggy bangs. “So why are you messing in my life? What business is it of yours?”

Good question. Artie gave Francois a look. The gorgeous face was still blotchy from crying, and he vibrated with stress. “Look, crying’s one thing. Everybody needs a good cry sometimes.” Francois looked shocked at that statement, but Artie pushed on. “But when I hear your music going all to shit, I figure something’s really wrong, and I don’t see anybody doing fuck about it, so—” He shrugged and took a breath. “—I did. Sorry I scared you, but I couldn’t think of what else to do.” He let his eyes meet Francois’s.

Francois stared at him like maybe he’d lost his mind—or maybe he’d found it. Somewhere in between. “What do you mean, my music went to shit?”

Artie gave him a duh look. “You were all over the place. All angry and making no sense. It sounded like you were pissed at the piano. I mean, when you write, you stop and start, but it has a flow. You know? This didn’t. It was just like a bunch of notes, like—” Artie stopped because Francois’s lips were parted and he looked like he might pass out. Well, hell. “Look, I don’t mean anything by it. I never heard better music than you play, but what the fuck do I know? I’m just a plumber. So don’t pay any attention to—”

“How do you even know that?”

“What?”

“What my music sounds like. How I was all over the place?”

Artie pointed toward the window. “I listen.” He held up his hands. “Don’t get me wrong, I don’t eavesdrop. But I work right out there. How could I not hear?”

“You listen.” He said the word like he was sleepwalking, and his eyes got all shiny. “People pay huge prices for tickets to my concerts and don’t listen!” Shit, is he going to cry again?

Artie didn’t say anything. Hell, he didn’t know what else to say. But crying men weren’t really an everyday thing for him. He’d never seen his father cry. His brother, a little, but never any guy he worked with, even when they got hurt bad.

I cry. Alone, under a pillow. Sometimes to the fish. I know what that feels like. He’d stick his fingers in the water and let them nibble just to have something touch him that wasn’t cold or hurting. Tentatively, he reached out and put a hand on Francois’s arm. “It’s okay.”

The crease flashed between his brows as he stared at Artie’s hand. “What’s okay?”

“Whatever.” Artie smiled. “All of it. Sometimes being a particular way is just a pile of shit.” Jesus, he didn’t even know why he’d said that.

Francois gasped—and suddenly Artie had an armload of guy. Francois threw his arms around Artie’s neck and just squeezed.

About the Author

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Erotic Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance,  Best Gay Characters, and more. Readers often call her books “sweet,” even with all that hawt sex, because Tara believes in love and her books deliver on happily-ever-after. In addition to writing dozens and dozens of romance novels,  Tara also owns an advertising and public relations firm. Her love of creating book titles comes from years of manifesting ad headlines for everything from analytical instruments to semiconductors. She does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. Together with her soulmate husband and her soulmate Dog, she recently realized a vision to live where there were a lot more trees and a lot fewer cars by moving to Ashland, Oregon. She hasn’t stopped smiling since.

Author Links:

Website:  http://taralain.com/

Blog: http://www.taralain.com/blog

FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/taralain

Twitter: https://twitter.com/taralain

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4541791.Tara_Lain

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/taralain/

Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2ICPcCZ
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tara-lain
Newsletter: https://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?llr=jwbsibjab&p=oi&m=1109217838793&sit=bt77devgb&f=53f7942e-58f8-4890-8011-f710698f5d46

 

Giveaway

 

Giveaway: $10 Amazon Gift Card

Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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Series Information

goodreadss: https://amzn.to/2M0bb7O

Book 1:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39509418-love-you-so-hard

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2Ekn197

Audible: https://amzn.to/2LZWDFr

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-you-so-hard

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-you-so-hard-tara-lain/1128265129?ean=2940159114952
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/love-you-so-hard/id1357837139?mt=11

Dreamspinner Press: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-you-so-madly-by-tara-lain-9634-b

Book 2:


Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39674254-love-you-so-madly

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2s1SCrU

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-you-so-madly

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-you-so-madly-tara-lain/1128729869?ean=2940161525616
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/love-you-so-madly/id1383081348?mt=11

Dreamspinner Press: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-you-so-madly-by-tara-lain-9634-b

An Alisa Release Day Review: Love You So Special by Tara Lain

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Can a man’s secret yearnings be revealed in a tank full of fish?

Artie Haynes knows he’s nothing special, with just-your-regular-brown hair, a solid plumber’s job, not much education, and a family that can barely get off the couch. But Artie has quirks—like his love of tropical fish, a landlord who’s a professor of existentialism, a passion for the amazing piano music he hears at a concert hall while he’s fixing the bathrooms—and the fact that he’s never come out as gay and probably never will. But when he’s hired to build a guesthouse for the pianist whose music enchanted him, Artie is swept up into an unimaginable world.

Francois Desmarais may be famous, rich, and revered as one of the world’s great classical composers and pianists, but he’s soothed and challenged by the inquisitive, stalwart, protective man in his back yard. When Francois’s terrible fear of crowds turns into a dangerous plot, Artie can stay in the closet or prove just how special he is.

This was such a nice story, it’s only loosely connected to the last books but it allows those who haven’t read them to jump right in.  Artie appreciates many things but doesn’t really allow others to see the real him and even allows himself to be pushed down by others expectations.  Francois has been sheltered from many things but hasn’t really had anyone in his corner no matter what until he walks in to his new house and meets Artie.

Both of these characters were great and for many different reasons.  I felt bad for Artie that he thought he needed to hide himself from those around him but was relieved when he wasn’t really hurt when he finally did come out.  Francois felt safe with Artie which gave him some freedom from his fears that kept him back but he also supports Artie to be himself and vows to show him how great he really is.  My only hang up is Francois’s mom, she was an ice queen at the beginning and had a sudden change of heart after Francois is put in danger and Artie helped rescue him; I just can’t see such a sudden change in anyone.

The cover art by Reese Dante is great and I love how it follows the style from the previous books.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 141 pages

Published: September 28, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-961-1

Edition Language: English

Series: A Love You So Story