Blog Tour for Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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When a SEAL medic inherits three young children, he must battle to keep the family together and keep his long-held feelings for the man challenging him for custody at bay.

Squared Away

Series: Out of Uniform #5

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date (Print & Ebook): April 16. Print, ebook, and audio all available.

Length (Print & Ebook): 80,000 words

Subgenre: m/m military romance

Includes: military romance, insta-family, hurt/comfort, angst, interracial, heroes-with-kids, gay romance, demisexual/gray ace hero, first time, loss, reunion, forced proximity

Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ptQhFH

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2ptc00A

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Squared-Away-Audiobook/B07BGJ3FRF

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/squared-away/id1326105516?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/squared-away-1

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/squared-away-annabeth-albert/1127659238?ean=9781335980809

Carina Press: https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781335980809_squared-away.html

Synopsis:

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

What Annabeth Albert has to say about this book in her Out of Uniform series:

“I wanted to write a book about the nature of family and how loss and tragedy can shape family, mold it into something stronger, force growth and change. I’m enormously proud of SQUARED AWAY as a result because how I fell in love with this little family.”

“When Wizard first appeared in ON POINT as a secondary character, I was intrigued by him, but it wasn’t until I let myself get into his head that I really saw how complicated he was. I feel honored and privileged to have been able to tell his story.”

“No book gets written in a vacuum and this one is no different. I owe a huge debt on this book to my sensitivity readers who really encouraged me to dig deep.”

Praise for the series:

“Albert delivers a solid hurt/comfort story…” RT Book Reviews on SQUARED AWAY

“Mark and Isaiah’s budding relationship happens with sensitivity and steamy moments…” RT Book Reviews on SQUARED AWAY

“Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series is a unique look at SEALs’ lives, showing us the insides of their hearts and homes and the love that drives them.” ~Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whisky series.  

“Sexy, sweet and heartfelt, Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series is a fresh take on Navy SEALs that will delight and entertain romance readers.” ~Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whisky series.  

 Excerpts:

“I take it that’s a yes?”

“It’s always going to be a yes for more kissing.” Isaiah scooted closer. They’d done the massage and goodnight kiss routine a few more times, but he was careful to not press for it, to let it be Mark’s idea.

Mark gave him a fast but still electric kiss. “I was thinking about this when I was helping you outside earlier. It’s crazy how much I like touching and kissing you.”

“I love touching you too.” Isaiah trailed his fingers down Mark’s cheek. “You haven’t had that before?”

“Not really. I’ve had a lot of kisses that felt like getting my earlobe chewed by a cat or trying to kiss a salmon. Not awful but not ‘can’t wait to do it again’ either. Had some kisses I liked, but right as I was getting comfortable, the other person would try to take it to the next level. And that was always a disaster.”

“Even with your friend? The other medic?”

Mark shrugged and looked away. “He got huffy when I didn’t want to get naked after a few kisses. Called me a closet case.”

“I’m sorry.” Isaiah patted his leg, not sure what else to say. “You’re a great guy. You deserve all the good kisses—no fish or earlobe chewing allowed. And you deserve to go at your own pace. Always.”

“I feel guilty. Like I should be doing something more for you…”

“Hey now. I’m getting amazing kisses from a hot-as-fuck guy who also likes to massage me until I’m a pile of limp lettuce. Trust me. I’m not getting a shabby deal here. At all.” If anything, Isaiah felt guilty for how very much he was enjoying all this. “And add in yard work help and cleaning? Man, you’d be a lot of people’s idea of a dream date.”

“Good.” Mark leaned in for another, softer kiss. “Because I really like doing this.”

“Me too.” Isaiah tried to calm the thumping of his heart. Careful, he warned himself even as his long-comatose hope monster hefted itself up and did a dance. He couldn’t afford to go falling for Mark again, yet with each kiss, each tentative touch, he could feel his grip on his resolve weakening.

About Annabeth Albert:

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.  The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ  romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series. To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

Connect with Annabeth:

Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Group | Newsletter | Instagram | Website

Giveaway: win 1 of 2 ecopies of any back catalog book by Annabeth Albert:

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

How do I put what this book meant to me into words? I can’t find terms to describe this outstanding work. Phenomenal, Heartbreaking, Touching, Realistic, Emotional, Hopeful? All of these, yet none can do the job on its own.

The book is in two segments: before and after.  Before Trevor’s son, Riley, is killed in action in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and After as Trevor starts the painful process of trying to survive without his reason to live. I’m still reeling as I write this. That section was so emotional for me that tears are still leaking, and those who know me know that I don’t let those suckers loose easily. 

My son was in a similar situation, IRL, the year before Riley shipped out.  My parent trigger was pulled over and over again throughout this realistically told story.  The rare calls that only came during the night, which was their daytime.  Going off grid on patrol somewhere top secret.  The IEDs and constant danger from snipers and suicide bombers.  All that and more.  It was a very painfully emotional year for me and as I read Riley’s story and Trevor’s reactions, I was right there with them as my heart beat too fast, or I felt lightheaded, frightened, and finally, sobbing.  Honestly, I don’t know how a parent can survive the loss of a child, but if there are words to describe the hell that is having your child in a situation like Riley was in, Ms. Hansen surely found them.  Kudos for such an outstanding and sensitive portrayal of that time period. 

And the after?  Trevor was so broken it didn’t seem likely he could put one foot in front of the other.  The stages of grief are clearly portrayed. The breakup with Carl, the slowly developing friendship with Jesse, Riley’s BFF and battle buddy, and their long and very slow burn that develops into so much more—all inevitable as readers could tell by the time it happened. The beauty is in the journey we take with Trevor and Jesse along the way as they revisit their memories of Riley: the child, the friend, the soldier.  And, as with the main characters, the secondary characters are well-developed and have their own issues and impact from their time in Afghanistan, most notably PTSD. The author doesn’t gloss over any of it.  Each issue is addressed, some more in-depth than others, all of it making for an emotional read. 

Riley isn’t a fleeting character either. Though he dies in this story, his memory is kept alive throughout the book, in part during Trevor’s stages of grief, but in part through his annual visits to Arlington National Cemetery, where Riley is buried alongside other soldiers who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.  There is a romance in here.  Honest there is, but the couple’s story is wrapped up in so much other emotion that needs to be addressed, the romance is almost secondary.  Jesse and Trevor together were beautiful, though they didn’t come together as a couple until the latter part of the book.  And when they did, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses.  There is so much emotional depth to this story that I’m back to saying what I did at the beginning of this review: there are no words that can do it justice. 

Topping my Best of 2018 list, this book deserves to be read.  Grab the tissue box, find a quiet place where your sobbing will not bother others, and just read.  Read until your heart breaks and heals itself, because it will heal, and by the end of the story, joy is in store for all those who finish.  Joy and a sense of peace and accomplishment and the knowledge that you’ve just read something very special.  Needless to say, I very highly recommend this story to all lovers of MM romance, angst, age gap, hurt-comfort, and deep feels on all stages of life’s spectrum. 

~~~

The somewhat bland-colored cover features a rear view of two men gazing into one another’s eyes.  Neither appears to be younger than the other so it doesn’t quite represent the characters and isn’t appealing. 

Sales Links: Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 451 pages
Expected publication: March 26th 2018 by Carina Press
ISBN139781488097058
Edition LanguageEnglish

RELEASE DAY BLITZ : Syncopation (Twisted Wishes #1) by Anna Zabo (excerpt and giveaway)

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Syncopation

Series: Twisted Wishes #1

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date (Ebook): April 9, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook): 104,000 words or ~295 pages

Subgenre: contemporary romance; m/m romance

Includes: Rockstars, BDSM, Angst, Pansexual/bisexual, Aromantic

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0789GZX16/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/syncopation-anna-zabo/1127659237

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/syncopation/id1326105335

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anna_Zabo_Syncopation?id=t0RDDwAAQBAJ

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/syncopation-8

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Syncopation/Anna-Zabo/Q264976640?id=7194974976389

Synopsis:

There’s no resisting the thrum of temptation in this male/male rock-star romance from genre-favorite author Anna Zabo!

Twisted Wishes front man Ray Van Zeller is in one hell of a tight spot. After a heated confrontation with his bandmate goes viral, Ray is hit with a PR nightmare the fledgling band so doesn’t need. But his problems only multiply when they snag a talented new drummer—insufferably sexy Zavier Demos, the high school crush Ray barely survived.

Zavier’s kept a casual eye on Twisted Wishes for years, and lately, he likes what he sees. What he doesn’t like is how out of control Ray seems—something Zavier’s aching to correct after their first pulse-pounding encounter. If Ray’s up for the challenge.

Despite the prospect of a glorious sexual encore, Ray is reluctant to trust Zavier with his band—or his heart. And Zavier has always had big dreams; this gig was supposed to be temporary. But touring together has opened their eyes to new passions and new possibilities, making them rethink their commitments, both to the band and to each other.

Excerpt 

Ray rose, and Zavier followed him past the berths and into the lounge at the back. He pulled the curtain closed, then turned. Ray was breath and lust and jangling tension. Not exactly where Zavier wanted him to be, but they would work on that. There was time. Right now, though?

“Ray, may I kiss you?”

Shock washed across Ray’s features. He stammered out a reply. “Yes.”

Good. Zavier stepped close, enough to see the wild beating of Ray’s pulse.

“But…why ask?”

“Consent,” Zavier murmured. He cupped Ray’s face with one hand. “Everything tonight has to be something you want.” He slid his hand against the other side of Ray’s head. “You can say no. You can tell me to stop.” He tilted Ray’s head up and their lips touched.

Ray whimpered.

“Trust that I’ll heed your wishes.” He held Ray’s head firmly between his hands. Brushed a thumb against a flushed cheek.

“I—do trust you.” Ray’s words were warm breath against Zavier’s lip.

“Good. Will you listen to me tonight? Will you obey me?”

Ray was trembling against him. “Yes.”

Zavier kissed Ray, gently at first, letting him stiffen and moan, then relax. Lips moved gently, coaxing, opening, claiming, until Ray’s mouth was his and that hard, lithe body was molded to Zavier’s. That taste, the press of Ray against him put fire into Zavier’s blood. He’d needed this. Wanted it since he’d auditioned. They’d danced and danced for months. Countless days of living with each other. It was time already.

The second time he kissed Ray, it was to claim his mouth. A kiss that pulled whimpers and sighs from him, had him digging his fingers into Zavier’s arms. But it also had him tipping his head back and thrusting his hips against Zavier. Savoring Ray’s desire was a joy. Finally, his hands were where they belonged, playing a different kind of music.

Zavier held Ray’s head with one hand and slid the other down to his ass to pull them tightly together. He drank in Ray’s gasp and groan when Zavier ground their dicks against each other so there’d be no doubt about Zavier’s intent.

They weren’t in high school anymore, and Zavier would have every inch of Ray that was offered to him.

When he broke the kiss, it was only to bite and lick and suck at Ray’s neck until he was twisting and thrusting and shaking in Zavier’s arms. “Oh fuck. Oh god, yes.”

There. Each word cascaded down Zavier. Ray’s pleasure, his need.

The engine turned over, then the bus lurched, sending them both off balance and breaking them apart of a moment.

Zavier laughed. Not the most ideal conditions. But a little space would keep him from getting too far ahead with Ray.

Ray groaned in exasperation. “Cock-blocked by a bus.”

“If you think you’re frustrated now, just you wait.” Zavier grinned.

About Anna Zabo:

 

About the Author

Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.

Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. As a child they were heartily disappointed to discover that they couldn’t grow up to be what they wanted (a boy, a cat, a dragon), so they settled on being themself whenever possible, which may be a combination of a boy, a cat, and a dragon. Or perhaps a girl, a knight, and a writer. Depends on whom you ask. They do have a penchant for colorful ties and may be hording a small collection of cufflinks.They can be easily plied with coffee.

Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Connect with Anna Zabo:

Twitter | Facebook Group | Instagram | Website | Goodreads | Facebook Page | Newsletter

Win 2 e-copies of any back catalog novel by Anna Zabo:

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A MelanieM Review: Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

From award-winning male/male author Josh Lanyon: a librarian finds himself in a plot right out of one of his favorite mystery novels

Librarian Carter Matheson is determined to enjoy himself on a Scottish bus tour for fans of mystery author Dame Vanessa Rayburn. Sure, his ex, Trevor, will also be on the trip with his new boyfriend, leaving Carter to share a room with a stranger, but he can’t pass up a chance to meet his favorite author.

Carter’s roommate turns out to be John Knight, a figure as mysterious as any character from Vanessa’s books. His strange affect and nighttime wanderings make Carter suspicious. When a fellow traveler’s death sparks rumors of foul play, Carter is left wondering if there’s anyone on the tour he can trust.

Drawn into the intrigue, Carter searches for answers, trying to fend off his growing attraction toward John. As unexplained tragedies continue, the whole tour must face the fact that there may be a murderer in their midst—but who?

Nothing better than diving into a Josh Lanyon murder mystery!  But I have to admit I have a fondness for librarians going back to my childhood and the endless hours I spent with them and their libraries, no matter what state I was living in at the time.  And of course, there’s that certain librarian  (The Mummy) who stood up and announced with utter confidence in her abilities to handle anything “I am a librarian!”.  As well she should.   As does Josh Lanyon’s intrepid librarian Carter Matheson deal with everything that comes at him, from the expected to the shocking, in this marvelous tale of murder and romance in Murder Takes the High Road.

Carter, you see, is on a trip of a sort I’ve always wanted to take for myself.  So it was easy to slide in next to him, along with the other author and series devotees visiting places important in books written by this author they adored.  However, there’s another huge element here.  Carter’s recent ex, the one he was supposed to be taking the trip with, is also on the tour with the new boyfriend.  The one he wanted Carter’s ticket for, the one that Carter refused to give up and is using now.  So many emotions in turmoil to go along with a long awaited tour that    Carter had been looking forward to.

Of course, Lanyon pours us into Carter’s soul and the  awkwardness and pain of the situation.  She let’s no small agony go passed by and soon we are deeply connected to Carter and the story (and everyone on the tour as well).  Before you can blink, there’s a murder..and mysteries, and a delightful handsome guy for Carter to share room, clues, and maybe just more with.

Yes, I ate this all up.

And at the end, when all the revelations were laid out, all the murderers exposed…I was totally satisfied.  Except that of course as with all of Josh Lanyon’s couples…I wanted more. Of them and more stories.  Can’t be helped.  It’s just the way of her stories.

So yes, I absolutely recommend Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon.  I loved it.  If you are a fan of murder mystery romances, I will you will too.  If you are a fan of this author, you’ve already read and know what I’m talking about.

Cover art is spectacular.  I just love it.

Sales Links:  Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details: 

ebook
Expected publication: April 23rd 2018 by Carina Press
Original TitleMurder Takes the High Road
ISBN139781459293595
Edition LanguageEnglish

New Release Blog Tour: Syncopation (Twisted Wishes #1) by Anna Zabo (excerpt and giveaway)

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Syncopation

Series: Twisted Wishes #1

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date (Ebook): April 9, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook): 104,000 words or ~295 pages

Subgenre: contemporary romance; m/m romance

Includes: Rockstars, BDSM, Angst, Pansexual/bisexual, Aromantic

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0789GZX16/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/syncopation-anna-zabo/1127659237

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/syncopation/id1326105335

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anna_Zabo_Syncopation?id=t0RDDwAAQBAJ

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/syncopation-8

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Syncopation/Anna-Zabo/Q264976640?id=7194974976389

Synopsis:

There’s no resisting the thrum of temptation in this male/male rock-star romance from genre-favorite author Anna Zabo!

Twisted Wishes front man Ray Van Zeller is in one hell of a tight spot. After a heated confrontation with his bandmate goes viral, Ray is hit with a PR nightmare the fledgling band so doesn’t need. But his problems only multiply when they snag a talented new drummer—insufferably sexy Zavier Demos, the high school crush Ray barely survived.

Zavier’s kept a casual eye on Twisted Wishes for years, and lately, he likes what he sees. What he doesn’t like is how out of control Ray seems—something Zavier’s aching to correct after their first pulse-pounding encounter. If Ray’s up for the challenge.

Despite the prospect of a glorious sexual encore, Ray is reluctant to trust Zavier with his band—or his heart. And Zavier has always had big dreams; this gig was supposed to be temporary. But touring together has opened their eyes to new passions and new possibilities, making them rethink their commitments, both to the band and to each other.

Excerpt :

They cleaned up for the signing lines—Ray back in a T-shirt—and managed to get through everyone before midnight. Then it was back onto the bus and off to Utah. Long trip, but one with a hotel room at the end and a day off from playing. Even with Ray giving him those long, hooded looks, Zavier didn’t have much energy left, either to dominate or fuck. Still, when Ray headed toward the back of the bus, he followed.

Mish and Dom both had smirks. Zavier rolled his eyes at them, but smiled anyway. He pulled the privacy curtain closed.

Ray stood in the space, swaying with the bus, and staring at the couch on which they’d taken so much pleasure. “I had to ditch the bracelet. It was pretty disgusting by the time the concert was over.”

“That’s fine.” Zavier swept a hand over Ray’s back. He felt the shudder when he cupped Ray’s neck. “Figured that might happen.”

“Hence string and not leather?” Ray met his gaze. There was a hunger there, a deep, deep hunger. But none of the other signs that meant Ray was a live wire of lust.

“Exactly.” He let his hand fall away. “Is there something you want?”

Ray nodded slowly. “It’s—not sex, though. I’m beat.”

“Ditto.”

“But my mind won’t stop. I—god. Do you ever get music and words and everything just—tangled up in there?”

“No, but other things, yes.” He pulled Ray toward the couch. “Tell me about it.”

Ray sat and dropped his hands into his head. “The words are easy to get out. I write them down, even if they’re shitty. But the music—the colors and the shapes and the lines—I can’t stop seeing them. Feeling them in my blood.” He lifted his head. “I bet that makes no sense. I’ve tried to tell Mish and Dom, but they don’t get it.”

“Don’t worry about it making sense to me.” Zavier focused on Ray, whose gaze shifted from object to object in the room. “Tell me anyway. I want to know.”

“I…see music, Zav. Like see it. Shapes and colors and…” He shrugged. “Been that way forever. I put hues and forms together on the guitar until they look right.”

Fuck, Ray really had been a musical prodigy. Hell. Someone should have noticed. “Synesthesia,” he said.

Ray nodded. “Yeah. I found out there was a name for it on the internet.” He laughed. “Was kind of a relief.”

One Zavier knew well, for different reasons.

“I do note things down with colored pens and stuff. But sometimes my brain gets so fucking full.” Ray sighed and collapsed against the back of the couch. “Would it be weird if I—knelt at your feet? Like the first time? Not for sex. Not even to submit or whatever it is I do when I get all out of my head to obey you—but just to be here? With you?”

The worry there. Warmth spread through Zavier, and his chest ached. “Ray, you can always kneel like that if you need to. Or we can sit. Whatever you need from me.” He dropped his hand on Ray’s knee. Kept it there.

Ray relaxed under his touch. “Told you I was a burden. Just ask Dom.”

“Shush. I bet Dom would disagree.”

“Oh, he would, just to spite me.” Ray rolled his head and met Zavier’s gaze. “He’s put up with my antics for years, but we’re not like this.” He gestured between the two of them. “He’s not touchy-feely. You like touching me.”

“Like I said, not entirely altruistic on my part.”

Ray laughed. “But it’s not always sexual.”

That was true, too. He pulled Ray’s head down into his lap. “This okay, or do you really want to kneel on the floor with your forehead on my shoes?”

“Wanna do both. But this is fine.” Ray’s words were soft, and his body relaxed.

Zavier stroked his hair. “Tell me what you see.”

“I’m calling it ‘Dare to Be.’” Then Ray whispered words and colors. Shapes. Sometimes he spoke so low, Zavier couldn’t hear. He also tapped out a beat on Zavier’s thigh, one Zavier echoed and improvised with on his back, until Ray was humming and singing and then slipping into sleep. A continuation of the song Ray’d been working on before. And now Zavier had the name—one even Mish and Dom didn’t know. He held on to that like a talisman.

How many years had it been since he’d had a friend like Ray? One he could sit and be with? He couldn’t remember. Once sex came into the picture, everyone had always expected more from him. Some great romantic connection. Dinners and presents and declarations. But Ray didn’t seem to need that and it was a fucking miracle.

About Anna Zabo:

Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.

Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. As a child they were heartily disappointed to discover that they couldn’t grow up to be what they wanted (a boy, a cat, a dragon), so they settled on being themself whenever possible, which may be a combination of a boy, a cat, and a dragon. Or perhaps a girl, a knight, and a writer. Depends on whom you ask. They do have a penchant for colorful ties and may be hording a small collection of cufflinks.They can be easily plied with coffee.

Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Connect with Anna Zabo:

Twitter | Facebook Group | Instagram | Website | Goodreads | Facebook Page | Newsletter

Win 2 e-copies of any back catalog novel by Anna Zabo:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A MelanieM Review: Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating:   4.5 stars out of 5

 

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert is another heartwarming installment in her   Out of Uniform series that I just love.  If you asked me to name which of this author’s series is a favorite, I’d be hard pressed to name one because each has its own special elements that I adore and draw me back to them.  For her Out of Uniform series, Albert really captures both that sense of what it means to be a   part of the “military unit” with her tight knit group of SEALs and their families.   The author manages to convey their sense of duty to country, their drive to serve, the deep bonds between those that serve together, and yes, the stresses and the reality of what it means to be a part of the military today.

Along with the realism of military life, Annabeth Albert makes her stories delightfully inclusive, reflecting the fact that military today is as diverse as the society itself.  Couples are looking much like the ones you see staring back at you at bars, grocery stores and city streets everywhere…they are racially mixed, not just all white couples.   That’s especially true with Squared Away‘s main characters.  You have SEAL Mark Whitley and the younger (now grown up) man who’s been crushing on him since his teens, Isaiah James.  Among the many issues that crop up between them (age differences, perception of attitudes, stability,  etc), race isn’t one of them.  I liked that too.

Trust me this couple has enough to deal with as it is.  Young children left orphaned by drunk driving, revelations about who their parents really were, life adjustments, and then Mark having to rearrange how he sees Isaiah, now an adult and how he sees his own path in the military.  Getting one’s life ‘squared away’ is never an easy task, sometimes it takes a monumental sea change.  And that’s what happens to both men here.  The challenges each man faces in order to move forward towards their goals comes with frustrations here for them and for the reader who wants to shake them occasionally.

This is one emotional, heart felt ride of a story.  It’s typical of Annabeth Albert that we grieve with Isaiah and Mark and the kids, then we chart the growth of their relationship, the steps back and tiny steps forward.  We gnash our teeth in frustration over Mark’s inability to communicate and the consequences for all involved.  And because the writing and characters are so wonderful, we’ve taken them all to heart and we need to know all will be safe and together.  And love the ending so.

Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert has everything I’ve come to love and expect from this author and series.  A heartwarming story and romance, great characters, and a ending that left me smiling and feeling happy for hours.  Its why I am again recommending this series and this lovely story.  If you’re a Annabeth Albert fan, you’re already way ahead of me.

Cover art: is hot, relevant and wonderful.

Sales Links:   Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Expected publication: April 16th 2018 by Carina Press
Original TitleSquared Away
ASINB0789LDCTR
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOut of Uniform #5

A MelanieM Review: Bound by Thorns (Dragon Soul #3) by Sean Michael

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Rating:  3.75 stars out of 5

Meet the Beteferoce brothers: five dragon shifters, each with a strong elemental power. And each with a fierce desire to find his soul mate…

Park ranger Luke Beteferoce likes the quiet of the forest—a place he can be alone. The dragon shifter keeps himself busy maintaining his territory in the park…that is, until he meets ex-soldier Greyson Paulson. Suddenly, Luke finds himself thinking of all sorts of scenarios that involve Greyson. And with the kind of tension he’s feeling, hot, sweaty, nonkinky sex is only the beginning.

While he’s perfectly fine being left alone, Greyson finds he enjoys the company of the bossy yet tender park ranger. Soon, trying to fight the heat between them is a losing battle: he’s ready to give in to the irresistible lust he feels for Luke. Greyson may not be ready to completely submit, but he still can’t stop himself from following every command Luke whispers his way.

Luke hasn’t felt this kind of connection and satisfaction with anyone ever before, leading him to discover Greyson’s marked as his mate. But with Greyson battling his own limitations and lack of experience, it’s going to take Luke more than hours-long hot sex to convince Greyson to stay and accept his destiny.

The third in the Dragon Soul series which charts the journeys of the dragon Beteferoce brothers as they find their soul mates we come to the third and youngest brother, Luke Beteforoce.  A Park Ranger who isolates himself in the deep regions of the park he’s assigned to, he’s surprised to find someone in a cabin that should be empty for the winter, a person totally unprepared for the winter and bare conditions of the structure the man has rented.  Greyson, wounded, depressed, is giving up until a massive Park Ranger appears and makes saving him his  project.

I love this series.  With each story, Michael is building a intriguing mythology and story.  We see the brothers find their soulmate, and it appears that the brothers finding their mates might be signaling an approaching event. Hints are falling all over the place…but what sort?  The dragons are magical, each in their own way and their bonding to their mates is sizzling hot and oh so sexy with a helping of kink (what kind depends on the brother).

There are five brothers and three are now bonded.  The two with the most difficult paths ahead because of what we know of their pasts are still to come.  It’s those stories I’m really waiting on and to see what happens when all five brothers are bonded.

If you’re a dragon lover, Sean Michael fan, and love a sexy romp, well here’s a series and book for you.

Cover art is lovely and pertinent too.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 223 pages
Published September 25th 2017 by Carina Press
ASINB072V454CF
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Dragon Soul 

October Reading and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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October Reading

October sees our stores start to fill up with all things geared towards the holidays and I’m not just talking about Halloween.  No sooner does the candy, masks, and Halloween decorations fly off the shelves, then it’s onto Thanksgiving (US and CAN) and then things like Santas, wreaths, reindeer, elves and more start popping up amidst twinkling stars and fake snow.  It’s almost the same with our stories.  Have you noticed that?

There’s some lovely contemporary stories with autumn themes coming out or already released, then a quick plethora of shorts with horror or paranormal storylines and then we start sliding into the other holidays almost imperceptibly.  I do love that we are seeing a wider variety depicted in our holiday stories. I enjoy reading those, learning and diving into other cultures and religions as I do the romances.  How do you all feel about that?

So be on the lookout for books/stories with Halloween, Horror, Witchy time tales, Thanksgiving themes and into the December holidays whatever religion you may or maynot follow.   Especially books with the later.   Write in with them and let’s see who spots the first December holiday story!  Kind of like seeing the first Elf on the Shelf of the season! lol   Winner gets a gift certificate.  This is in addition to our Horror Rec Giveaway below.

Guess what else is quickly approaching NaNoMa in November.  Scratch that onto whatever calendars you keep and know that our writing contest will pop up accordingly.

OK, got all that?  Now don’t forget we are also running our horror story Rec Giveaway.  Look through all your stories and see which if any fit the profile below.  Or give us new ones you’re reading or on your TBR list.  We really want to know what’s out there and help our our fellow lovers of Horror and/or Paranormal M/M fiction.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Horror Story Recs Giveaway

We will run this all month long in order to take advantage of all the new scary books coming out this month as well.  So leave a comment/rec, along with your email address where you can be reached if chosen.  We will have more than one winner for our gift certificates.  Must be 18 years of age or older.  Also acceptable are spooky paranormal stories!  Ghostly hauntings!  Witchy doings!  You get the idea!  Even throw in a zombie or two!  Contest ends October 28 at midnight.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, October 8:

  • October Reading and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, October 9:

  • RIPTIDE TOUR Finding Home by Garrett Leigh
  • Release  Blitz for His Convenient Husband by Robin Covington
  • Tara Lain’s “High Balls” Blog Tour and Giveaway
  • A Caryn Review: Bad Boy’s Bard (Fae Out of Water, #3) by E.J. Russell
  • A Julia Review: Her Hometown Girl by Lorelie Brown
  • A MelanieM Review: Whitecott Manor by Emma Jane

Tuesday, October 10:

  • DSP Publications Promo J. Scott Coatsworth on The Stark Divide
  • Book Blast for Men of Crooked Bend Series by Taylor Rylan
  • A Kai Review: One Call Away by Felice Stevens
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Stark Divide (Liminal Sky #1) by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • A MelanieM Review: Psycho (Brawlers, #2) by J.M. Dabney
  • An Alisa Review: Good Things by April Kelley

Wednesday, October 11:

  • Release Blitz Tour for We Met In Death by KA Merikan
  • Dreamspinner Promo Tere Michaels on The Heir Apparent
  • Book Blitz for Silvia Violet ‘s The Past Comes Home
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Hexslayer (Hexworld #3) by Jordan L. Hawk
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Breakfast at Midnight by Kim Dias
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Unbroken Hearts (Unbreak My Heart #2) by K-lee Klein

Thursday, October 12:

  • Release Blitz Tour for Bitten by Desire (Regent’s Park Pack #3) by Annabelle Jacobs
  • Release Day Blitz for Love By Number by DJ Jamison
  • RIPTIDE Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Sightlines by Santino Hassell
  • A Stella Review: The Shipwreck (Lavender Shores #4) by Rosalind Abel
  • A MelanieM Review: Bull (Brawlers, #3) by J.M. Dabney
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Covet by Yolande Kleinn

Friday, October 13:

  • Review Tour – Amy Aislin – Picture Winter
  • Dreamspinner Press Tour for Unbroken Hearts (Unbreak My Heart #2) by K-lee Klein
  • Dreamspinner Dreamspun Desires Promo Sean Michael
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Taming the Beast by Andrew Grey
  • A MelanieM Review: Hunter (Brawlers, #4) by J.M. Dabney
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Afraid to Fly by LA Witt and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Review: Picture Winter by Amy Aislin

Saturday, October 14:

  • Release Blitz for Addison Albright’s Vows 1 & 2
  • A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Tender with a Twist (Rainbow Cove #2) by Annabeth Albert

A MelanieM Review: Wheels Up (Out of Uniform #4) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Their love is forbidden, but their hearts aren’t listening to rules and regulations.

Lieutenant Dustin Strauss is a reformed man. No longer a twentysomething hell-raiser, he’s his SEAL team’s new XO-and a man with a secret. Or seven. He’s kept his bisexual identity under wraps for years, along with his kinky side and a fondness for the military-themed semi-anonymous hookup website Joe4Joe. His latest chat buddy is more than a sexy online distraction-they’re taking their very not-safe-for-work relationship into real time.

Petty Officer Wes Lowe has a smart mouth, a take-charge attitude and an uncanny ability for making things go boom. The life of an enlisted man isn’t always enough to satisfy him, but one wild, no-questions-asked weekend with his online love comes close. When a transfer order comes in, Wes feels ready and centered. He’ll make a good impression on his new SEAL team and keep his growing feelings for Dustin on the down low.

But as they log more time online and some very real emotions surface, Dustin and Wes struggle to pretend they’re just a harmless fling. And when his commander introduces Dustin to his team’s newest member, they’re in for the shock of a lifetime…and a crushing disappointment: their difference in ranks means even a friendship without sexual contact could end their navy careers for good.

With their hearts on the line, Dustin and Wes may not survive their next mission, let alone find a way toward a future together.

Wheels Up is the fourth story in Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series and it’s just outstanding.  One of the things I look forward to in every story is a different window on Navy life, in particular the SEALs.  Here the element is fraternization, something I hadn’t really given any thought to, why the military (all branches) would have such a rule in place and its impact on those who fall in love with the wrong rank.  Of course it doesn’t start out that way.  It all starts out in complete lovely ignorance and lust.

Lieutenant Dustin Strauss and Petty Officer Wes Lowe meet through an ap called Joe4Joe, a  Grindr sort of hookup place and startup an “online” relationship, part lust/part growing friendship.  They have no idea of their real names or jobs, just that they seem to get along and might be sliding into something real if they let it.  Albert’s believable characters and wonderful dialog brings us wholly into Dusty and Wes’ lives, both together online and separately as a SEAL (Dusty) and a demolitions man (Wes).

We need the alternate perspectives because both men lead such full, stress-filled lives.  For Wes, that includes a younger sister Sam, with a life threatening illness as well as being a ordinance or demolitions man, meaning explosives.  For Dusty he’s now a XO,  and as the oldest and “last straight” son of the family, the pressures from his father to be that family man is forcing him to hide the fact that he’s bisexual and he’s resenting the fact that out of all the other sons, he’s the one shouldering the burden.  Two men, lives of unbelievable strain and responsibility and their outlet is each other via the internet and anonymity, a wall they no longer may want to hide behind.

The author makes their online “connection” hot, sexy and emotionally intimate.  We can feel the bond that’s formed between them and the fear that rises when the moment comes to meet in RL.

Of course, nothing prepares either man  for what happens afterward, after the “after meeting” and the coincidence of Wes ending up under Dusty’s command.  And that’s where I think this story really takes flight.  Because the fraternization policy is in place for a reason.  To protect those of lower rank from being abused from their officers (something that does occur in the service).  It’s a good rule and it should be enforced.  But Albert looks at it from the flip side.  What happens when a couple who loves each other also has to abide by the same law, there’s no addendums that apply.  This storyline comes across as fresh and authentic.  The pain each man feels is anguished and in the moment.  Their need for each other immediate and unlawful.  Plus you have to look at the impact it has on their teammates which Albert also covers in a frank manner.

We travel every hard step with each man, through the family drama, the military minefields, the emotional and mental roads they must traverse.  There’s some kink, some bdsm as Dusty needs to let go and have someone else been in charge.  It’s understandable and hot.  Wes and Dusty together are an unforgettable pair.

The only thing that keeps this from an absolute 5 stars rating is that I wanted a look a little into their future I guess, not far, maybe months or a year.  I guess I wasn’t ready to let them go yet.  Maybe the author is listening and I’ll see them again soon.  Here’s hoping.  Until then, pick it up and begin your new Out of Uniform journey with Dustin Strauss and Wes Lowe, a hot, sexy, team in and out of the bed!  I highly recommend them and this series.

Cover art is perfect for both men and this story. Loved it.

Sales Links: Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: November 6th 2017 by Carina Press
Original TitleWheels Up
ASINB072MFM798
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Out of Uniform

A MelanieM Review: Branded by Flames (Dragon Soul, #1) by Sean Michael

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Meet the Beteferoce brothers. Five dragon shifters, each with a strong elemental power. And each with a fierce desire to find his soul mate…

For years, dragon-shifter-slash-firefighter Jake has been searching for his mate, but he’s beginning to tire of the search. Maybe soul mates are only for the lucky few.

Then he meets Shae.

A former navy welder, Shae is handsome, talented, into power play and rough sex, and covered in dragon tattoos. All of this suits the shape-shifting dragon just fine—until he finds out that Shae literally has Jake’s family crest already tattooed on him. A coincidence? Or something more…

Jake must convince Shae to trust him as a man and as a Dom before the heat between them burns out of control. Becoming a dragon’s mate is not without danger, and Shae will need Jake’s guidance—and love—if he’s going to make it through alive.

 

I found the Dragon Soul series by Sean Michael by reading the second book in the series first, Seduced by the Tide and loved it.  So of course that meant I had to go running back to find the first and get caught up on what I missed out, the world building and the references alluded to in the second story that I didn’t quite understand.  I am delighted to say that Branded by Flames is just as hot (no pun intended), just as sexy as I was hoping while giving me some of the foundation I was looking for this series.  I can see that Michael intends to draw out the information about each brother and the dragons in general over the series, which I’m more than ok with.  I’m full of anticipation now to see how each brother’s story plays out.

Here Jake (of course I have the benefit of the second story) seems to understand the significance of all the dragons that decorate Shae’s skin and occupy his mind and art.  We will too after a while.  Shae has a past with a Dom that’s left him alone, outside of the leather community.  Part of this story is all about trust issues, breaking trust and rebuilding it.  How do you do that when one of you is a dragon?  Interesting situation.  There is a lot of kinky sex play here as Jake and Shae start to explore boundaries and issues of trust.  If you’re not into BDSM or D/s, this is not the series or book for you.  If you are, read on!

I find the two of them incredibly sexy together, combustible even (ok someone had to say it).  Jake the dragon needed more work for me as a character than Shae the man, Shae having more depth, more poignancy given his past history and pain.  However, we get to see them again in Seduced by the Tide and there they come together even better as a couple.

Branded by Flames is the first of at least five stories as there are five Beteferoce dragon brothers looking for their soulmates.  I have to admit Mark’s story is the one I want the most. But that’s not to be. Park ranger Luke Beteferoce is the next brother to get his story.  See you in September!  Until then, if you love dragons, hot sex and kink, here’s a series for you!

Cover art is hot and perfect for the story.

Sales Links:  Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 216 pages
Published January 30th 2017 by Carina Press
ASINB01LLOUAVM
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesDragon Soul #1
CharactersJake “Beteferoce,, Shae O’Reilly.

Dragon Soul series: