A MelanieM Review: Flash Me (Heathens Ink #7) by K.M. Neuhold

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

 

Liam
I was kicked out at sixteen for being transgender, but it turned out to be one of the best things to ever happen to me. At twenty-one, I have a fantastic new family made up of my brother and a handful of wonderful friends, I own my own photography business, and I’m happier than I imagined possible. There’s just one thing missing… Okay, maybe two…

Wyatt
When I took the position volunteering as a therapist at Rainbow House, I knew I’d found my place in the world, helping teens who were rejected by their families. What I didn’t expect was the friendship I formed with Liam or how it would grow over the years into a crush I just can’t shake. I’m happy to see him finally opening himself up to dating with someone he trusts like Owen. But when he comes to me and asks if I can help his boyfriend, I feel like there’s more to the request than just a few therapy sessions. The more I get to know about Owen, the more I like him, too.

Owen
I’m not sure why I believe so much in fate when she’s dealt me nothing but crappy hands— A stint in prison and enough childhood horrors to fuel all my adult nightmares. But I still hold on to the idea that everything happens for a reason. What I can’t figure out is why fate would plop me naked into Liam’s bed under the pretext of helping him with a photo series for a gallery showing. Or why my stomach goes funny every time he smiles at me. Liam is too sweet to be exposed to my demons but I don’t know how to protect him…Maybe that’s why fate gave us Wyatt.

This is the seventh book in the Heathens Ink series. Each book in the series CAN be read as a stand alone, but characters do re-occur so it’s more fun to read them all!

I am a big fan of K.M. Neuhold Heathens Ink series so I was delighted to see another story in that series  released.  In Flash Me the author centers the novel around Liam, Owen, and Wyatt, people we’ve met before.  It’s Liam, especially, that the light shines so brightly on.  A young trans boy seeking a brother he never knew and shelter at first, here Liam is all grown up.  Liam is soon to be 21, he’s had top surgery, has a successful photography business and is pondering all his next steps. That includes romance.

K.M. Neuhold’s insight into Liam’s life at this stage, the decisions he is trying to make regarding future surgery, his insecurities about dating and his sex life not only bring Liam vividly to life but make him so vulnerable and real that you just want to love him and keep cheering him on.  He also knows who and what he wants.  Both of them.  It’s just a matter of how he’s going to make them see they all fit together.

Yes, Liam wants a polyamory relationship.  It’s one he knows that’s for him and he also knows that Owen and Wyatt are the perfect fit for him and each other.  If they can see it and work through the barriers keeping them all apart.

Flash Me is told from each  man’s perspective so you see how each of them perceives the other two and his place in retrospect.  And how that begins to change.

Both Owen and Wyatt have major issues in their past they must deal with before any relationship will work.  For Owen, its his abusive father and jail.  For Wyatt, it’s also family issues and a father, which I won’t discuss further here.  It will take all three coming together and therapy to deal with these major trauma and issues before they can come fully together as a triad.

I found the writing strong, the characters remarkable, and the romance sexy and heartwarming. Flash Me (Heathens Ink #7) by K.M. Neuhold is  another grand installment in a series I  just think is getting better and better.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Cover art is wonderful, that is those characters to a T.

Sales Links:

AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/2PrlaFj

AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2LPnm7g

AMAZON CA: https://amzn.to/2PY2HkL

 

Book Details:

ebook, 303 pages
Published September 3rd 2018
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHeathens Ink #7

In the Mood for A Dark Thriller? Check out Haven’s Creed by Parker Williams (excerpt and giveaway)

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Haven’s Creed by Parker Williams
Release Date: December 14, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Parker Williams

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Today I’m very grateful to be visiting Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. My name is Parker Williams, author of Haven’s Creed.

So, Parker, tell us a little about yourself, where you come from.

My name is Parker Williams (or Will Parkinson if you prefer). I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my husband, our four dogs, and three cats.

How about giving our readers a sneak peak to characters from a work in progress?

Haven: At age fifteen, Haven killed a man. He did it to protect his sister and mother, but the aftermath changed his life forever. He cut himself off from the world and trained to be a sniper in the Army. When his skill got noticed by an organization who needed his expertise, he was pulled into his new life and given the codename ‘Haven’ as it was his job to protect the innocent. Should he be unable to protect them, then his job is to avenge them.

Samuel: Samuel was held as a sex slave before he was a teenager. He’s been kept a prisoner for over half his life, satisfying a perverse pleasure of those who kept him captive. He longs for freedom, but there are days he’d settle for death. When he’s left in a cellar, chained to the floor, he knows his time has come.

Haven is a bad man. One of the worst you’ll ever meet. He has done, and will continue to do, some awful things. But he does them to protect people. To save the children. But cracks are beginning to show in his armor. And bits of his soul are being torn away. The man whose job it is to rescue, may need someone to save him, too.

Thanks, Parker, for the insight and for stopping by.  Now for more about Haven’s Creed.

Blurb

An act of violence destroys his family and ends the life he knows. To escape his haunted past, he joins the military, where, as a sniper, he is trained to kill with precision and detachment. When a covert organization offers him a new purpose, he becomes Haven, an operative devoted to protecting the innocent when he can and avenging them when he cannot.

After ten years of battling the evil in the world, the life no longer holds the attraction or meaning it once had, and he’s ready to walk away. Then he meets Samuel, a young man forced from the age of twelve to work as a sex slave. If ever a man had a need for Haven, it is this one.

Yet nothing about this growing relationship is one-sided. Sammy gives Haven a stability he’s never known, and Haven becomes the rock upon which Sammy knows he can depend.

When Sammy reveals something about the enemy Haven has been hunting for months, Sammy fears it will destroy what they’ve built and he’ll lose his home in Haven’s heart.

Warning: This book contains violent and dark scenes
Pages or Words: 95,000 words
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Thriller, some romantic elements, some dark and violent imagery

Excerpt

When I was fifteen, I killed my first man. Every time Arnie, the guy my mother was shacking up with at the time, drank, he got it into his head she was cheating on him. He’d start slapping her, and that turned into full-fledged beating within a few months. When he was done, he’d start on my sister.

There were nights she’d crawl into bed with me, sobbing. For the longest of times, she wouldn’t tell me what happened, but when I found blood on her pajamas, I knew. I’d tried to stand up to him, but he beat me badly enough that I couldn’t go to school for two weeks until the bruises faded. But I got off lucky. The things he did to Chrissy gave me nightmares. I’d hear her cry out and knew there was nothing I could do but hide in my bed, my pillow covering my head. He was bigger, meaner, and stronger than me, and he reminded me of that fact constantly.

The old lady never said boo about it. She always forgave him and tried to justify what he did by telling me how much stress he was under. How he was a good man and didn’t mean it. It was just the drinking, she swore. It was more like he was a bastard and she was his meal ticket.

I came home one night and found him whaling on her, my sister’s body crumpled in a heap, her head smashed in. The son of a bitch had a gun in his hand, slick with blood, and he threatened to kill them both, screaming he wouldn’t let her leave. She slapped him. It wasn’t hard, but it shocked him enough that he dropped the gun. I picked it up. He sneered at me and called me a weak-willed fag.

I looked at the gun I held in my hand. The instrument of my revenge. The means to saving my sister.

“Give me the gun, you fuck. It’s not a dick, you wouldn’t know what to do with it.”

The bullet I put in his forehead showed him how wrong he was. He lay on the floor, blood bubbling from the wound, and his eyes locked on mine as he took his last breath. I wanted that fucker to know it was the weak-willed fag who had done this to him.

Buy the book:

RC

Meet the Author

Parker Williams believes that true love exists, but it always comes with a price. No happily ever after can ever be had without work, sweat, and tears that come with melding lives together.

Living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Parker held his job for nearly 28 years before he decided to retire and try new things. He enjoys his new life as a stay-at-home author and also working on Pride-Promotions, an LGBT author promotion service.

Where to find the author:

 

Tour Dates & Stops:

14-Dec

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Multitasking Mommas, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Cate Ashwood, Wake Up Your Wild Side

15-Dec

Love Bytes, MM Good Book Reviews, Book Lovers 4Ever, A.M. Leibowitz, 3 Chicks After Dark

16-Dec

Divine Magazine, Cathy Brockman Romances, Unquietly Me, Louise Lyons, KathyMac Reviews, Havan Fellows

17-Dec

Bayou Book Junkie, Inked Rainbow Reads, Happily Ever Chapter, Nephy Hart, Iyana Jenna, Lee Brazil

18-Dec

The Blogger Girls, Carly’s Book Reviews, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Mikky’s World of Books, Tara Lain, Emotion in Motion

19-Dec

Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, BFD Book Blog, Jessie G. Books

21-Dec

Joyfully Jay, Molly Lolly, Bonkers About Books, Open Skye Book Reviews

Final

 

Giveaway

Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $30 gift card from All Romance eBooks.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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Review: Conquer the Flames (Lang Downs #4) by Ariel Tachna

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Conquer The Flames coverThorne Lachlan, a firefighter for the Royal Fire Service, arrives at Lang Downs when a grassfire brings him onto the station to ask for assistance and prepare them for evacuation if necessary.  A former Commando for the Australian Army, Thorne has retired, beset by nightmares and blackouts, a  victim of PTSD.  Lang Downs is a sheep station unlike any other Thorne Lachlan has been to.  With homey cottages ringed with gardens to the people who live there, Lang Downs starts to cast its spell over a man clearly in need of  both sanctuary and home.

Then Thorne meets Ian Duncan, a long time resident of Lang Downs and the attraction between the men is both immediate and mutual.  But both men are afraid of committments and relationships.  Thorne because he fears he is a danger to all around him because of his PTSD. And Ian? Ian hides a deep secret that he had only told one man, Michael Lang, when he first arrived at Lang Downs at the age of 20. That secret has kept Ian a solitary man among friends on the sheep station, alone with his woodworking and small house.  Still, neither man is capable of staying away from the other and slowly they begin to build a relationship and hopefully a future together.  However, their pasts combine to raise up obstacles to their future.  Thorne and Ian must face down their demons and get the help they have long needed before they can have a future together.

Conquer the Flames is the fourth book in the Lang Downs series and it comes close to being my favorite story yet.  I had to wait several days to think about this review and why so much about this book spoke to me.  And even now I am still not sure I can answer that question with a clear explanation.

In many ways, Conquer the Flames has a slower, deeper feel to the story as well as the men at the heart of the book.  And that’s unusual considering the title and the profession that Thorne has found himself in as a firefighter.  But if you are to continue the analogy, this is much more a slow burn than a fast moving line fire as the basis and the fuel for the flames have a deep foundation in both mens past history and traumatic events.

Once more Ariel Tachna has taken great care in building her characterizations to go with the beautifully created landscape and setting that is Lang Downs.  Thorne is unlike any character that we have met here before.  He is a former Commando whose time in the Army has left him with PTSD.  He has anger management issues, blackouts and nightmares. And that doesn’t even begin to cover the events in his past that sent him running into the Army.  Ian Duncan is also a damaged soul.  His is a deep trauma inflicted in foster care and one he has never recovered from, even 20 years later.  Both men are so marvelously crafted that it never occurred to me to doubt their authenticity or backgrounds.  They feel so real, their problems and issues are so painful that the reader hurts along with them.

Tachna has treated each man’s problems with the gravity necessary when speaking of PTSD and abuse.  She gets the symptoms right as well as the need for outside medical assistance to help each man overcome years of denial and repression.  There are no immediate cures, no easy answers, just the accurate portrayal of time and the hard mental ,emotional work necessary to recovery and healing for each of them.  The author also sidesteps a common flaw when writing about such damaged characters, and that would be a quick sexual relationship and instant love.  Thank goodness none of that is found here.  I think it would have not only ruined the relationship’s credibility but destroyed the story for me as well.

This is a romance but it is a simmering one.  There can be no flashfires between men as hurt and broken as these two.  Instead we get a slow buildup of trust and understanding that is as sweet and fragile as it is satisfying.  Once you read this remarkable love story, you will understand it completely when I tell you I read and reread certain passages just to savor the scene and the emotions that were flowing over the pages. On more than one occasion I had to grab a tissue or two but they were honest tears brought forth by the real emotion and pain felt by Thorne and Ian, and of course the reader.  Just a remarkable job by the author in every respect.

As with the other books in the series, all the other characters, including Caine and Macklin, are here and well represented.  This story takes place five years after the events of Outlast The Night (Lang Downs #3), but the gap of time feels as seamless as the flow of seasons over Lang Downs.  We see the couples settling into their relationships and lives on the sheep station, the young children are getting older and new ones are being born.  And new people have been introduced to the series that just might make their way onto the sheep station just as the others such as Michael’s Lost Boys have found their way there too.

For the characters involved, and for the reader, Lang Downs remains an extraordinary place.  Its a location where once we arrive, we don’t want to leave just like all those people who have found the path to Lang Down and home.  I hope that Ariel Tachna has many more stories planned for this series.  I  intend to be there for each and every one.  I am putting Conquer The Flames on my Best of 2013 list.

Cover art by Anne Cain is as beautiful as the story within.

Books in the Lang Downs series in the order they were written and should be read:

Inherit the Sky (Lang Downs, #1)
Chase the Stars (Lang Downs, #2)
Outlast the Night (Lang Downs #3)
Conquer the Flames (Lang Downs #4)

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 254 pages
Expected publication: September 27th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781627983228
edition language English
series Langs Down