A MelanieM Review: Born of Air (Dragon Soul #4) 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…

He said he was flying on a silver dragon. He called me “Markus-meine.” Who would know all that? Who? And how?

SWAT cop and dragon shifter Mark Beteferoce had—and lost—a soul mate. He’s finally at the point where he can get through the days without thinking about what used to be…until he tastes Quincy O’Brien’s doughnuts and takes him home to play.

Quincy O’Brien is a gifted baker, but at night he dreams of soaring through the sky on dragonback and being topped by the perfect Dom. Mark satisfies the kinky urges Quincy has only explored in his subconscious, pushing his limits and caring for him afterward.

From the start, their connection was more than sexual. It’s known; it’s familiar somehow. And it’s slowly driving Mark insane. What shouldn’t be possible most certainly is, and the bond between himself and Quincy runs deeper than either of them could ever have realized.

The fourth in the Dragon Soul series, Born of Air is Mark’s story, the Betereroce brother I’ve been waiting for.  Mark lost his soul mate long ago when he was murdered and since then, he’s seen little of his brothers or their new soul mates because of the memories and pain it brings up.  Mark believes there is only one soul mate and he’s lost his  forever.  Until he meets a baker who dreams of flying and a silver dragon.

Born of Air departs from the other three stories because Mark has already found and lost his mate.  In the three previous books, all three brothers needed to find their mates and had help courtesy of a tattoo and  an elf.  That  didn’t happen here. The connection that Mark and Quincy make is a familiar one and  one that Mark immediately rejects as impossible.

That impossibility will bring all the other brothers and their mates into this story to help the bonding and the relationship survive, a element I just love.

Another hallmark of this series?  The incendiary sex scenes between Quincy and Mark.  Hot, hot, hot.  Here and in every story.  These brothers have a love of kink and bdsm.  Each story should  come with its own fan or two.

I wish there had been more back history to  Mark’s previous relationship and it’s ending but perhaps that’s coming in the books yet to be released.  I hope so as I get the feeling Sean Michael is building up to some big event here when all the brothers have found their soulmates.

I don’t really feel these are standalone stories but one that builds upon the others so if you are new to the series start with Branded by Flames and work your way through all the books.  They are quick reads, very entertaining and very, very, hot!

I definitely  recommend them all.

 

Cover art is interesting and works for branding the story.

Sales Link:  Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 246 pages
Published June 4th 2018 by Carina Press
Original TitleBorn of Air
ASINB07B519L19
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Dragon Soul

Release Day Blitz for Tight Quarters (Out of Uniform  #6) by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Tight Quarters

Series: Out of Uniform  #6

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date: ebook: July 9, 2018 | print: July 31, 2018

Subgenre: M/M Contemporary Military Romance

Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

Book Synopsis: Petty Officer Bacon, a navy SEAL and ace sharpshooter, has been on the front lines of more than his fair share of dangerous ops. Yet when a minor injury relegates him to the beta team, he’s tasked with what may be his riskiest assignment yet: the silver fox journalist he’s babysitting is the hottest, most charismatic man he’s ever encountered.

Award-winning journalist Spencer Bryant may have been named one of Pride magazine’s most eligible bachelors of the year, but he’s not looking to change his relationship status. He’s a consummate professional who won’t risk his ethics or impeccable reputation by getting involved with a source. Even a sexy-as-hell military man. But while Spencer can resist his physical attraction to Bacon, he has less control over his emotions—especially when the mission goes sideways and the two men are trapped alone.

Getting out of the jungle alive turns out to be easy compared to facing the truth about their feelings for one another back in the real world. And whether or not they can build a future is a different story altogether.

This book is approximately 82,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Teaser excerpt:

Bacon was hanging on to life by one index finger. Literally. One sore, overused finger was all that separated him and a plunge down the sheer cliff face. The desert sun had sweat rolling down his face, stinging his eyes.

“Come on, Bake. You’ve got this!” Curly called at him. He was already safely on the ridge, along with several other SEAL team members. This was the last step in a grueling training mission that had tried their stamina with a HALO jump followed by a long run over rough terrain and this final climb.

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

Rafflecopter prize and code: Reader’s Choice of any Out of Uniform book in paper + surprise swag pack!

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A MelanieM Review: Tight Quarters (Out of Uniform #6) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

Petty Officer Bacon, a navy SEAL and ace sharpshooter, has been on the front lines of more than his fair share of dangerous ops. Yet when a minor injury relegates him to the beta team, he’s tasked with what may be his riskiest assignment yet: the silver fox journalist he’s babysitting is the hottest, most charismatic man he’s ever encountered.

Award-winning journalist Spencer Bryant may have been named one of Pride magazine’s most eligible bachelors of the year, but he’s not looking to change his relationship status. He’s a consummate professional who won’t risk his ethics or impeccable reputation by getting involved with a source. Even a sexy-as-hell military man. But while Spencer can resist his physical attraction to Bacon, he has less control over his emotions—especially when the mission goes sideways and the two men are trapped alone.

Getting out of the jungle alive turns out to be easy compared to facing the truth about their feelings for one another back in the real world. And whether or not they can build a future is a different story altogether.

As I seem to say with every Annabeth Albert series, with each story her Out of Uniform series just seems to evolve into ever deeply layered  plots and a enlarged group of characters that connect to her center cast of military personnel.  Here in Tight Quarters, Albert brings in that ever present and important figure, the journalist and embeds him into the beta team of sharpshooter Petty Officer Bacon.

I loved this idea and theme for many reasons, not the least of which these men and women (journalists who go to war) have always fascinated me.  So to have Albert create a main character with a passion for the truth and need for adrenaline that would carry him with the soldiers out into a mission?  Perfect, and yet, not have all the information at hand to understand that perhaps in this case he might be a detriment and an obstacle as well.  So the author brings both an immediate tension into the group on several levels with the introduction of journalist Spencer Bryant and it works superbly.

Another element that also puts the reader on alert?  The team is not a well oiled SEAL team but an unsettled one, trying to find a way to gell together. Under new leadership and uneasy with each other, inserting an outsider, an openly gay one, is highlighting the cracks in the unit now becoming wide crevasses.

The combination of military life and romance is a wonder once more in the hands of Albert.  She paints in intimate window into the lives, tensions, and team dynamics of Bacon’s SEAL team as it’s unity flounders in the face of homophobia, uncertainty, and lack of leadership.  And then adds in her journalist to which there’s an not an instant attraction between both men,  Bacon and Bryant but a slow burn?  Wonderful and full of angst.

I loved the hot romance between the men but what really worked for me was that Albert never forgot the reality of the situation the men kept find ing themselves in.  For one?  That it took a while for the journalist Bryant to understand exactly what an impediment he was to the SEAL team’s mission.  That in actuality he was Bacon’s mission during a portion of the story…a scary, gritty portion.  And how that might have adversely effected Bacon’s career and their lives should the mission go “south”.

Secondly, that their romance had to take second place to careers and events currently taking place and that they had to assure people (command, publishers) of timelines.  That also felt covered in authenticity.

Plus I always love having characters from previous stories pop up again as they do here. Adore that and getting caught up again with their lives.

In short?  I believed in this men. Their passions for what they did for a living, and for each other.  Albert’s writing carried me away from my real life into theirs, one fraught with danger,  suspense, rules, regulations, and lastly a romance for all to connect with.  I was investing emotionally with them at all times. Yep, hooked hard.

 

Cover art is hot and sexy and in keeping with branding the series.

Sales Links:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 336 pages
Expected publication: July 9th 2018 by Carina Press
Original TitleTight Quarters
ASINB07BRX2K1D
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttps://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488081330_tight-quarters.html
SeriesOut of Uniform

 

New Release Blog Tour for Tight Quarters (Out of Uniform  #6) by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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 Tight Quarters (Out of Uniform  #6) by Annabeth Albert

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date: ebook: July 9, 2018 | print: July 31, 2018

Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

About Tight Quarters

Petty Officer Bacon, a navy SEAL and ace sharpshooter, has been on the front lines of more than his fair share of dangerous ops. Yet when a minor injury relegates him to the beta team, he’s tasked with what may be his riskiest assignment yet: the silver fox journalist he’s babysitting is the hottest, most charismatic man he’s ever encountered.

Award-winning journalist Spencer Bryant may have been named one of Pride magazine’s most eligible bachelors of the year, but he’s not looking to change his relationship status. He’s a consummate professional who won’t risk his ethics or impeccable reputation by getting involved with a source. Even a sexy-as-hell military man. But while Spencer can resist his physical attraction to Bacon, he has less control over his emotions—especially when the mission goes sideways and the two men are trapped alone.

Getting out of the jungle alive turns out to be easy compared to facing the truth about their feelings for one another back in the real world. And whether or not they can build a future is a different story altogether.

This book is approximately 82,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Subgenre: M/M Contemporary Military Romance

Excerpt 

“Came because I didn’t have anywhere else I’d rather be.” Bacon’s voice lowered, became more mournful. “And trust me, I’m every bit as pissed about that too. Fuck you for getting under my skin. Everything on base is too damn quiet right now. And I’m too…itchy. You make me itchy, Spencer, and I hate it.”

“I’m—”

“Don’t you dare say sorry.” Bacon’s mouth was millimeters from Spencer’s when he paused. Held. Gave him a chance to escape, but even though it was the height of stupidity, Spencer wasn’t going anywhere.

“I hate it too,” he whispered, right against Bacon’s mouth a split second before Bacon claimed his mouth in a punishing kiss. Spencer was used to being the aggressor with kissing. It was just how he was wired—he’d always been the one to take the lead in bed. But Bacon left no space for him to take over. In fact, all he could do was cling to Bacon and hope they didn’t burn the damn hotel down with the force of their passion.

It was like they’d been longing for this for years, not days, and like they were both longtime lovers reuniting and mortal enemies enraged at their attraction. Bacon kissed like he operated in the field—with deadly intent and utter precision as he systematically took Spencer apart, lick by lick, nip by nip, breath by breath. But really, who needed air with kisses like these? Bacon kept up the aggressive assault, body pushing him against the wall, mouth ensuring his compliance.

Finally, Bacon proved himself mortal after all and pulled away to gasp for air. “Fuck.”

“Still mad?” Why Spencer was goading him, he really couldn’t say, other than he wanted more of this wild, unleashed, more-than-a-little unhinged man.

“Very.” Bacon bit at Spencer’s ear, which made him shiver like a teenager in a backseat for the first time. God, he was putty for this man, absolute wet clay for him to mold and use. “So damn pissed.”

But he belied his words by sinking to his knees, as graceful as any dancer Spencer had worked with. He went straight for Spencer’s waistband.

“Wait.” Spencer had to regain a little control here, assert himself, not simply get caught up in the Bacon express train of lust and anger. “Still don’t know your name.”

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

Rafflecopter prize and code: Reader’s Choice of any Out of Uniform book in paper + surprise swag pack!

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Hello July. More On Romance Don’ts For You. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Hello July.

More On Romance Don’ts For Readers

Welcome to July! The month that means the halfway point of summer, the week of the beginnings of many celebrations for Americans in the States and abroad as we celebrate our Independence Day on the 4th with fireworks and parades. and just a flood of people heading out for summer vacations (beach, mountains, tourist destinations) or good old staycations.

It’s also a time for tons of summer reading which is why I’m still talking about those  Romance Don’ts or at least one of the reasons.  I don’t know if you all caught Kate Sherwood’s blog last week here but she was talking about an early story of her’s where she had her mc’s cheat and the readers wrote in disgusted with her.  And she felt she had broken an unwritten bond with them. The title of her guest blog?  The Romance Taboo by Kate Sherwood.  You can find it here.   I was totally intrigued although not surprised.  Its something I’ve heard over and over myself.

Another reason I’m still inquiring?  That would be the Boystown series written by Marshall Thornton.  Several novels in this series have either won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Mystery  or been a finalist.  And deservedly so.  But I wonder how many have started these stories and ended up with a DNF.  And the reason being that the main character,  PI Nick Nowak, rarely turns away from a hookup (underage the only exception), despite being in a relationship.  Yes, its the 80’s and gay sex/monogamy was admittedly looked at differently then.  But, and let me know if I’m wrong here, I get the feeling that context doesn’t come much into play when the  element is cheating with regards to the main character or couple.  it’s simply “no, not in my story”.

Which is a damn shame because these books and this series is simply brilliant.  I’ll be reviewing more of them this week. And  I’d like to know what I can possibly say to change readers minds.  For me this subject hasn’t been an issue.  Life is messy and its always been about how the author has handled the subject (as with any other element in their story).  But this is an emotional issue in RL and it carries over into our reading.  Can it ever be separated?  Not sure.  I hope you all will continue to chime in here.  I will be handing  out gift certificates next week.

And yes, I’ve been reading and loving everyone’s comments.  Here is what some of you have had to say on the subject:

On Readers Romance Don’ts:

H.B.

I think it depends on how the characters are portrayed. I can sometimes stand cheating characters but it has to be under certain circumstances (abuse, loveless marriage where spouse is cheating already, open relationship where both characters know and is okay with it). I really don’t like politically or religiously driven stories. Regarding sex scenes I like them enough just to spice up the read but not overtake the entire book. One every chapter is too excessive in my opinion I think maybe for a full length story I would like just maybe 2 to 4 sex scenes. Of course no sex scenes and more intimacy scenes are okay too. I think the one thing a book can’t come back from is if it kills off an important character (I’m going to exclude Andrea Speed’s Infected series from this even tho I didn’t complete the series I have plans to go back and read it after I heal from the lost of Paris). I once read a book where a main character in the earlier series was killed off in the sequel that featured new main characters. Luckily the series only had two books and there were no plans for more because I was completely turned off from it and resented that I had wasted time reading it.

Chris Tharrington

I can tolerate cheating if it advances the storyline while leading to the MCs having an HEA. Regarding sex scenes, I don’t need one every chapter. The first sex scene is the most important, because that sets the foundation for future exploration, especially if one character is primarily a top or bottom. The only things that turn me off in a book are domestic abuse, child abuse, rape, and mpreg storylines.

ashleyomelia

I agree. I hate it when they kill off the pets! [my pet peeve] I just finished reading a short story this morning where a cat got thrown of a building. I was so mad!
As for romance, I’m not sure. I do a lot of ghostwriting, and my clients are often very specific that they don’t want the main characters to have sexual involvement with anyone else. Must be a big rule!

Ami 

In terms of cheating. it depends on my mood — I mean, I’ve read when cheating happened, and I was okay with it as long as there’s SIGNIFICANT GROVELING happened in the book.

My romance No No are mostly about tropes… I don’t read Mpreg, I don’t read M/F/M or F/F/M. for example, rather than something in the plot.

I will have to tell you all I didn’t even mention last week one of my biggest bugaboos.  A  romance book where one of the MC was intensely involved with his own excrement. I believe that was my very first DNF story and it was years ago.  And yes, I found my limit on kink in that novel as well.  Another romance don’t for me.  So let’s hear from you all.  More on this cheating element and any other Romance Don’ts!

Lucky readers will be chosen next week to receive gift cards.  Now on this our week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, July 1:

  • RELEASE BLITZ – Leaning into Forever by Lane Hayes
  • Hello July. More On Romance Don’ts For You.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, July 2:

  • Release Blitz for Nobody Else’s by Nell Iris
  • Release Blitz Badlands by Morgan Brice
  • Release Day Blitz Magic or Die (Inner Demons #1) by JP Jackson
  • A Lucy Review: Nobody Else’s by Nell Iris
  • An Alisa Review: Challenge (Kinky in the City #2) by Quinn Ward
  • A Jeri Review: Wash Out (Anchor Point #7) by LA Witt
  • A MelanieM Review:  A Time For Secrets (Boystown #4) by Marshall Thornton

Tuesday. July 3:

  • BLOG TOUR TIGHT QUARTERS by Annabeth Albert
  • DSP Promo Rhett Heath
  • Release Blitz  Play it by Ear by KM Neuhold
  • A VVivacious Release Day Review:  Stranger in a Foreign Land by Michael Murphy
  • A MelanieM Review: Tight Quarters (Out of Uniform #6) by Annabeth Albert
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: From a Jack to a King by Scotty Cade
  • A Caryn Review: Finn (Endangered Fae #1) by Angel Martinez

Wednesday, July 4 (Happy Independence Day!) 🇺🇸

  • AUDIOBOOK TOUR – WITH A KICK Collection #1 by CLARE LONDON
  • Review Tour for  Rainbow Place (Rainbow Place #1) by Jay Northcote
  • REVIEW TOUR for Daniel (The Third Legacy) by RJ Scott
  • A Barb the  Zany Old Lady Review:  Daniel (The Third Legacy) by RJ Scott
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Rainbow Place (Rainbow Place #1) by Jay Northcote
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Treasure for Treasure (Being(s) in Love #7) by R. Cooper and Dominic Carlos (Narrator)
  • A Lucy Review: Play It By Ear by KM Neuhold

Thursday, July 5:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway:  Cinderella Boy by Kristina Meister
  • BLOG TOUR fo My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick
  • DSP Dreamspun Promo Michael Murphy on Stranger in a Foreign Land
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Armistice (The Amberlough Dossier #2) by Lara Elena Donnelly
  • A Lucy Audiobook Review: Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells and Narrator: Daniel Henning
  • An Alisa Review:  That’s My Ethan by Tarian PS
  • A MelanieM Review: Murder Book (Boystown 5) by Marshall Thornton

Friday, July 6:

  • Cover Reveal for Curl Around My Heart by Londra Laine l
  • Review Tour and Giveaway for Stag and the Ash (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #5) by Sam Burns
  • Review Tour for Spark (North Star #1) by Posy Roberts
  • Blog Tour for  Magic or Die (Inner Demons, Book One) by JP Jackson
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Stag and The Ash (Rowan Harbor Cycle #5) by Sam Burns
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Knitting a Broken Heart Back Together by Ari McKay
  • A Stella Review: Spark (North Star #1) by Posy Roberts

Saturday, July 7:

  • BLITZ – Leaning Into the Look by Lane Hayes
  • Release Blitz for  Knitting a Broken Heart Back Together by Ari McKay
  • A MelanieM Review: From the Ashes (Boystown #6) by Marshall Thornton

 

 

 

 

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Roped In (Clean Slate Ranch #2) by A.M. Arthur

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Colt Woods and Avery Hendrix were once in a D/s relationship and were in love. Colt was LAPD SWAT and Avery was working toward his PhD in American History while both teaching and consulting on his favorite topic: the Old West. Unfortunately, Colt not only refused to share a dark secret with his best friend, Mack, causing he and Avery to quarrel, but he also chose to resign his job and run away from his problems, leaving Avery behind.

Now, as Avery arrives at the Clean Slate Ranch to consult with Mack (book one –Wild Trail) about the ghost town he found and plans to restore, Avery is shocked to come face-to-face with his past as he sees that Colt is working at the ranch with Mack. This book deals with their renewed relationship—inevitable once they begin to talk again. They address unresolved issues from the past; Colt’s unveiling of the truth to Mack, and the repercussions from that; their own past inability to overcome the separation required by their professions; and their families of origin. In addition, they build and fortify not only their D/s relationship, but also their love and commitment to one another.

Is it easy? No way. But the author takes us through what happened in the past and what is happening in the present and offers hope for the future. Overall, I enjoyed the story, though I must say that there were so many sex scenes they became repetitive and less interesting.

The one thing that really bothered me was the jump to use of present tense in flashback scenes. Since this is an ARC, the formatting wasn’t set up yet, so there were no marked scene breaks, making transition from one scene or location to another difficult to pick up on. And without those scene breaks, I’d suddenly come upon a passage where present tense was being used, disrupting the flow of my reading. I’d stop and then realize I was at a flashback scene where both the narrative and the dialogue used present tense. Honestly, I did not care for use of present tense in past scenes at all. In fact, I ended up skimming those segments, pulling key points and then moving along. If I was one of those reviewers who use gifs, I’d definitely insert one here that said “Nope!”

That was my major peeve, but overall, I enjoyed the story and I’d recommend it to those who enjoy cowboys, mild D/s and rope play, as well as to those who enjoy stories featuring smaller Doms—Colt is taller and more muscular than Avery. All in all, it was a nice story and sequel to Wild Trail.

~~~

The cover is attractive. It appears to be a watercolor image of two men, the smaller holding a rope and the taller man in a cowboy hat and hugging the smaller man from behind. It’s actually a nice portrayal of Avery, the smaller Dom who uses rope, and his sub, Colt. Set in and around the Clean Slate Ranch, the “feel” of the cover most definitely depicts a Western MM romance.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 352 pages
Expected publication: May 21st 2018 by Carina Press
Original TitleRoped In
ASINB078TJ7GDF
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesClean Slate Ranch #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Syncopation (Twisted Wishes #1) by Anna Zabo

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

This rock star BDSM MM drama deserves more than 5 stars. If it were possible, I’d definitely boost the rating higher.

Ray Van Zeller is a songwriter and singer who has dreamed of taking his high school garage band into the big time since high school and has finally achieved a step in the right direction, as they’re going on tour to open for a big-name band. But Kevin, his friend and drummer, has been drinking heavily, and in a fit of temper, Ray hurls a bottle at the wall behind Kevin. Unfortunately, the action is caught on camera, making it appear that Ray is drunk and throwing the bottle at his bandmate. His band manager, Carl, focuses on that as he berates Ray and convinces Ray that taking the fall and pretending to do rehab will benefit the band’s publicity and popularity.

Since Kevin is now out, after hurried auditions, the band hires Zavier Demos—the man Ray salivated over in high school. Two years his senior, Zavier was gone before Ray had his band established. After Zavier completed Julliard and contracted as a timpanist in a renowned orchestra, his personal issues with the conductor caused him to resign, so he’s ready to assume a position with Ray’s band, Twisted Wishes. Unknown to Ray, Zavier has wanted a place with the band and he’s wanted Ray as well—he’s been watching both from a distance for quite some time. But Zavier doesn’t want Ray for a one-night stand or for a long-term romantic relationship. He wants Ray as his submissive.

Zavier is a Dom and is aromantic so has never had a relationship with anyone and that’s the way he wants it. No complications. No strings. No love. Sex, yes. Romance, no. Ray doesn’t know it yet but he needs the strength this friend can offer and the level of control Zav can deliver. Carl seems to have it in for Ray and shoots the young man in the ego after every performance. Ray’s on a high after a concert? No doubt Carl will be there to bring him down. But once Zav enters the picture, Ray picks up tools to control his scattered thinking and he begins to speak up for himself and more firmly take on the leadership role he’s been handed but hasn’t been able to handle as well as he wants.

Ray isn’t the only one who benefits though. Zavier can’t believe he’s found a beautiful and talented submissive who accepts his friendship and understands that there won’t be hearts and flowers with an aromantic partner. Ray seeks to please Zavier as much as Zavier seeks to please and take care of Ray. It’s a give and take match unlike any other I’ve read, but it’s oh so perfect for these men.

Anna Zabo is an author I discovered this past year and I’m so very impressed with their work. The action and plot are believable, the sex kinky and hot, the BDSM is carefully laid out and easily understood, and the characters are well-rounded, endearing, and memorable. Each character, including the secondary band members, becomes personal to the reader, and this reader most definitely wants more of them—all of them. This isn’t just a story—it’s a work of art. Very highly recommended.

~~~
The bright and colorful cover features a tattooed man standing in front of a microphone as he tears off his leather vest. In the lower pane, fans are waving their arms and the background shows the floodlights that would brighten a stage. Very sharp and attractive and perfect for the story, even though the description of the MC would make him thinner and lankier than the cover model depicts. The only downside, but still attention-getting.

Sales 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

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 295 pages
Published April 9th 2018 by Carina Press
Original TitleSyncopation
ASINB0789GZX16
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesTwisted Wishes #1

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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