A MelanieM Review:Boy Toys (Hot Off the Ice #2.5) by A.E. Wasp

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

10 siblings, 7 fish courses, 6 hockey players, 5 cousins, 4 calling birds, 3 spouses, 2 houses & 1 night that changes everything.

Betrayed by first his body and then his girlfriend, Liam O’Reilly, assistant coach of the Seattle Thunder, is not having a very merry Christmas. So when a smoking hot hockey player in a Santa suit offers himself up like a present begging to be opened? Well, it’s a freaking Christmas miracle.

If only the man in question wasn’t hockey’s own bad boy, Joey ‘the Looch’ Luciano, his best friend’s little brother and the same kid who used to trail behind Liam like a loud, mouthy shadow.

Whatever. Wrong as it might seem, a one-time hookup with Joey is exactly what he needs to make the yuletide gay. By tomorrow, he’ll be back in Seattle, Joey will be in New York, and his troubles will be miles away.

But as Christmas Eve becomes Christmas Day, Joey weaves his way past all Liam’s defenses, and Liam starts to see the sensitive, caring man behind the cocky smirk.

When the last present is opened and the Christmas lights go dark, will Joey and Liam’s night together be just another Christmas memory or can the holiday magic they made survive the pressures of the real world?

Boy Toys (Hot Off the Ice #2.5) by A.E. Wasp is a Christmas short featuring Liam O’Reilly, assistant coach of the Seattle Thunder, and hockey player Joey ‘the Looch’ Luciano,  They have lived next door to each other all their lives, their families intertwined, often feeling more like one huge combined family than one.  It’s no spoiler to say that these characters will receive more stories further down the series but Boy Toys is the spark that sets the ripples flowing….

It’s an introductory story in many ways.  We get to meet so many of people of both families, the O’Reilly’s and the Luciano’s that pop up over the course of the series and the Thunder team, we see the dynamics that brought forth both personalities and how it contributes to the relationship, such as it is, going forward.

Here A.E Wasp is setting the stage for more to come.  IT’s a Christmas tale, full of family, warmth, sexy encounters, some of the very surprising time, and some revelations.  I loved it.

And recommend it.  Add this title to all the rest in the Hot Off The Ice series.  Hot men, great romances, and hockey.  Love it all.   Don’t miss out on a book.

Cover art is perfect for the characters and holiday.  Eye catching and bright.  I love it.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 118 pages
Published November 14th 2017

Review Tour and Giveaway for Across The Pond (Arizona Raptors #2) by RJ Scott & VL Locey

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Length: 57,600 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Arizona Raptors Series
 

Book #1 – Coast to Coast – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

 
Blurb
 

The greatest journey isn’t from England to the States, it’s the one that two men take on the way to find each other.


Sebastian Brown is on a mission to rescue the Arizona Raptors and a vow he made to a friend in college. Either that or he’s on vacation. He’s not entirely sure that he’s made up his mind yet. Either way, traveling from England, to the arid desert of Arizona isn’t exactly a picnic, particularly with the doubts and worries he takes with him. He’s turned even the worst of companies around, but faced with the challenge of improving the reputation of a hockey team that everyone seems to hate, he knows his work is cut out for him.


Focus is key, but that is easier said than done when Seb is sent into a tailspin by the intriguing Alejandro. Seb’s entire marketing plan hinges on making Alex a poster boy for equality and fair play. But with Alex’s utter dedication to the game, and his dark secretive eyes, the gorgeous Alex is stubborn, opinionated, doesn’t want any part of being the team focus, and worst of all, doesn’t appear to like Seb at all. It takes everything that Seb has to keep his hands off of Alex, but things get out of hand and Seb’s life might never be the same again.


Alejandro Garcia has had to work hard to get where he’s at. Born to Mexican immigrants, his siblings and himself have never had it easy in this new country their parents dreamed of calling home. A native son of Arizona, Alex has always been the odd man out on the ice but he’s not going to let a stupid thing like his heritage get in the way of his dreams. He’s now a Raptor and he plans to put all that training and collegiate hockey experience to good use. Working hard comes naturally to him. It’s something his parents have instilled in him from the time he was a toddler. Being one of a handful of Latino hockey players makes him strive for success with even more determination. His first pro season has had some ups but a lot more downs, but Alex is one stubborn young man and failure is not an option.


As the Raptors struggle to rebuild not only their team but their core values, Alex finds himself drawn to one of the owner’s friends, a tall, lanky Brit with the face of an angel and an accent and attitude that bewitches and befuddles him. Sebastian is everything he thought he would never be attracted to but he can’t push the sexy, older, fun-loving man out of his thoughts. If ever there were a man he would not be able to take home to his parents – not that he can bring a man home since he is deeply closeted – it’s Sebastian, but desire knows no socioeconomic, age, or international borders. The heart wants what the heart wants and Alejandro’s wants Sebastian.

 

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words review here.  We highly recommend it.

USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott writes stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, a happily ever after.


RJ Scott is the author of over one hundred romance books, writing emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.


The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.


She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the links below:

USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.


V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Dr. Who, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two steers.


When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.

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A MelanieM Review: In This Bed of Snowflakes We Lie by Sophia Soames

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Rating:  5 stars plus out of 5

Oskar Høiland hides from life. It just makes things easier that way, not having to face all the fears and drama of living. He especially hides from other people, because Oskar has grown up fearing the snide remarks and the quick glances that strip him of the tiny scraps of confidence he still has left. He is just going to keep existing. Work hard to complete his medical degree and perhaps watch a few more series on Netflix in peace and quiet over Christmas.

Erik Nøst Hansen should be an almost fully-fledged adult. He should be able to sort out the mess that festers in his head and stop lying. It’s just hard. And it’s bloody terrifying to even acknowledge the thoughts that swirl around in his head at night when he can’t sleep. He also needs to figure out how to talk to the boy downstairs. The one with the golden curls and the crooked smile. The boy who is completely monopolising Erik’s messed-up heart.

A story of falling in love and being brave. A Christmas tale with a difference, set in the university dorms of central Oslo, where lies are uncovered, snowflakes are falling all over the place, and beds are made to lie in. There is a slightly unconventional family. A mess of animal onesies. Too much food and a very Merry Christmas.

Sophia Soames became one of my favorite authors based on one book alone.  That would be 717 Miles, a touching, amazing, utterly human journey of love and recovery by two young men in London.  Trust me,  i wanted more, so much more.

Here is the story (along with the 717 Christmas short) that I have been waiting on.  Sophia Soames manages to write these microcosm of humanity, in this case, two flights of dorms on a campus in Norway.  Then ushers up such incredible portraits of human fragility, unknowing strength, unbelievable kindness, bravery, and , yes, the sheer being of youth…in Norway and all that entails.  And she does so with characters and a narrative that takes your breath away.

In This Bed of Snowflakes We Lie by Sophia Soames is full of Norwegian Christmas customs and all things bakery and sweetness.  I had no idea and I absolutely wallowed in it all the while looking up those names and goodness.  She folds them into a story where two young men are finding out who they are, how they can be their best selves (whatever they are), all the while helping several  or one traumatized friend in their dorms manage the holiday.

Oskar Høiland and Erik Nøst Hansen are two such endearing young men, confused at times about themselves and how they appear to others.  Also about their sexual appeal, and who they appeal to.  It’s a lovely, natural, sexual journey for them both, without major outside angst, as this is a very accepting society, at least within this circle of people.   And what a circle of people it is.  From the warm, quirky, and oh please, please adopt me too family of Erik’s (yes, I wanted to be there, that’s how all embracing and incredible those scenes are), to the dormates on floors one and two, these are all characters that will sing to your heart.  You, the reader, will want to know them, want to be their friends, hug on them, and follow each and every one of their paths through life, to make sure its a safe and happy one.  That’s how deeply you will connect to each and everyone.

In the end, what you will also remember is the analogy that brings  you back to the title.  In This Bed of Snowflakes and the imagery it brings up.  Of the two in love young men, lying on their backs, as the snowflakes swirl down around them, and Erik, talking about how individually snowflakes are so delicate but together, formed into a whole, they are so strong.  And now I’m sniffling again.

Read this book, discover this author.  Both are amazing and unforgettable.   And yes, I highly recommend them both.

 

Cover Artist: Miriam Latu. I love this artist and this cover.  Perfection and so different than the usual covers.  Draws you in just as it should.  Yes, that’s Oskar.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link  

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 217 pages
Published November 14th 2019
ASINB07ZS1MDNS
Edition Language English

 

 

A MelanieM Review: City Boy (Hot Off the Ice #1) by A.E. Wasp

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Follow the money or follow your heart?

All Bryce Lowery knows how to do is play hockey. He’s been playing professionally since he was fifteen. Twenty years later, he’s rich, famous, tired, and alone. And possibly gay according to his ex-wife.

When a blown tire leads directly to mind-blowing sex with a motorcycle-riding white knight named Dakota, Bryce discovers he is most definitely gay. Now Bryce has a tough choice to make, follow the money to a new multimillion dollar contract, or follow his heart into the unknown?

All Dakota Ryan knows how to do is grow apples. Now at twenty-four, he faces losing both his home and his livelihood in one cruel twist of fate.

Then Bryce Lowery crashes into his life like the answer to all of Dakota’s prayers. He’s whispering promises to make all of Dakota’s wildest dreams come true. But Dakota knows better than to give his heart to someone who could leave, and if life has taught him anything, it’s that everyone leaves.

Dakota has a choice, sit back and wait for Bryce to decide his fate, or for the first time in his life, chose what he wants his future to be.

City Boy is a first time gay, fish out of water, May/December love story with a happy ending. It features snarky siblings, a dirty-talking farmer, lots of food, and big choices. (No poultry was harmed in the making of this book.)

Because I made a vow to go through STRW’s Hockey Romance list and read all the stories I missed and also because It’s now hockey season once more, I’ve started to read AE Wasp’s Hot Off the Ice series and I’ll tell you I’m loving it. City Boy (Hot Off the Ice #1) by A.E. Wasp is our introduction to the  boys of Thunder, the Seattle NHL Hockey team.  Actually, one of them who is in flux. That would be hockey all star Bryce Lowery, currently on the injured reserve list until he recuperates from his recent leg injury. But he’s fighting more than just a injury, and a  deceased relative, a will, and a road trip to Colorado might give him the change of direction he needs.

Dakota is a farmer, orchard farmer to be exact, one in danger of losing everything due to mislaid trust, naivete, and a crushing loss   .  And now he faces an uncertain future and nowhere to go.

This is one of those many trope story’s.  We have age gap, coming out, sexual discovery, as well as HEA.  And it all works because of Wasp’s wonderful charizations that allows us into the mindsets of each man as they make their journey towards each other and work their way through their individual issues.  City Boy is relatively low on angst, high on sweetness.  There are great dogs, wonderful sisters (on both sides), friends that appear, and, of course, teammates to gather round at Thanksgiving…all that start to form a “found family”.

Characters that form a foundation for the rest of the series.

This story is sweet, engaging, and really sets the stage for the rest of the series.  I love it and recommend it .

Cover art is perfect with the orchard at the bottom and Bryce at the top.  Love it.

Sales: Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 318 pages
Published June 29th 2017
Edition Language English

Don’t Miss Out on the Release Blitz for In This Bed of Snowflakes We Lie by Sophia Soames (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: In This Bed of Snowflakes We Lie

Author: Sophia Soames

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Miriam Latu

Release Date: November 14, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Forced Proximity, Christmas, Family,

Themes: Christmas, family, coming out, University Dorm living, Norway, Scandinavia

No triggers or warnings. No age gap, University aged student MC’s.

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 62 891 words

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

 

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link  

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

 

Love is supposed to be easy. You are supposed to find your person and fall in love, and then you hold each other and kiss and live happily ever after. 

Well, Erik has ended up in the wrong bloody love story. He is stuck in the one full of angst and worries and confusion and pain. Lots of pain. 

 

Blurb

Oskar Høiland hides from life. It just makes things easier that way, not having to face all the fears and drama of living. He especially hides from other people, because Oskar has grown up fearing the snide remarks and the quick glances that strip him of the tiny scraps of confidence he still has left. He is just going to keep existing. Work hard to complete his medical degree and perhaps watch a few more series on Netflix in peace and quiet over Christmas. 

Erik Nøst Hansen should be an almost fully-fledged adult. He should be able to sort out the mess that festers in his head and stop lying. It’s just hard. And it’s bloody terrifying to even acknowledge the thoughts that swirl around in his head at night when he can’t sleep. He also needs to figure out how to talk to the boy downstairs. The one with the golden curls and the crooked smile. The boy who is completely monopolising Erik’s messed-up heart. 

A story of falling in love and being brave. A Christmas tale with a difference, set in the university dorms of central Oslo, where lies are uncovered, snowflakes are falling all over the place, and beds are made to lie in. There is a slightly unconventional family. A mess of animal onesies. Too much food and a very Merry Christmas. 

 

 Excerpt 

Oskar’s first instinct is to flee. Run. Hide somewhere until the thing in his bed has disappeared. He blinks. Shakes his head in disbelief and looks again. 

Nope. He’s still there. There is still a very-much-fast-asleep person in his bed, his breathing soft against Oskar’s pillow, and that ridiculous pink bandana is sliding down over his eyes. 

He moves carefully to get a closer look, then recoils back as he remembers. No clothes! He is stark naked in his own room, like a normal person would be. It’s just, this dude is there. Right there. On his bed.

Yes, he had left his door unlocked, but then that doesn’t mean any random person can just come in and decide to sleep in his bed? Does it? Especially when the random person is flat-out drunk. Oskar can smell the alcohol now, his body recoiling at the fumes escaping along with little bubbles of spit at the corner of the dude’s mouth. Beer-scented mouthfuls of air with every breath. Every little snore. 

He doesn’t know how he didn’t realise someone was here before. I mean, the dude is not exactly quiet, snuffling and snoring and smacking his lips together in his sleep. 

Oskar’s eardrums are still ringing from having his earphones on the highest volume, and the beats from upstairs are still going strong, but still, he should have noticed. How the fuck didn’t he notice?

There are a pair of threadbare joggers on the floor, which he pulls on, and the t-shirt on the floor looks clean enough, so he pulls it over his damp hair and tiptoes further up along the side of his bed to get a closer look. 

It’s definitely one of the guys from upstairs. The tall pretty one. The one with all the girlfriends. The one with the reputation.

Yes, Oskar listens. He might not speak much to the other students, but his hearing is good—well, it was until today, and he will sue if his hearing is damaged from this bloody party, starting with suing the pants off this dude that has crashed Oskar’s planned Netflix marathon—and he pays attention to the stories. The tall tales of weekend shenanigans. The obvious boasting and lies. And the things that might actually be true.

Like the whispers doing the rounds about this guy. The tall one with the messy dark-brown hair and full lips. Kisses like he means it. Great lay apparently. Can get any girl he wants. That’s what he has heard. Hangs around with the dark-haired guy with the black floppy fringe, and that lanky boy with the frizzy hair. Well, he probably hangs around with everyone. Always smiling and never alone. Never sitting on his own in the cafeteria like Oskar, hiding in the corner with his headphones on. 

No, this dude is always the centre of attention. Surrounded by people clinging to his every word. Laughing at his jokes. Staring adoringly at him as he throws his head back in laughter. 

Except this dude is now here. And Oskar hasn’t got a clue what to do.

He could go get Freddie, he supposes, and they could probably manhandle the dude out of the room. Dump him on the sofa for the night. He is quite sure the girls would approve, and in the morning, he would wake up and find this guy on the sofa making all the girls laugh, having charmed them into making him coffee and buttering his toast and spoon feeding him their secret imported stash of Swedish Treo hangover fizz, whilst placing tiny morsels of hot buttered toast on his tongue. 

He pushes that scene out of his head with a sigh. The boy is his problem. He is in Oskar’s bed. And if he doesn’t get him out of here, things will be shit awkward in the morning, he is sure of that. 

“Dude,” he whispers, and nudges the guy’s shoulder before he can stop himself. He should think this through, make some kind of plan. Maybe wake him up gently so he doesn’t scare the shit out of the poor guy, waking up and realising he has crashed in Oskar’s bed, instead of wherever he thought he was crashing.

 He probably took a wrong turn, thinking this was Madeleine’s room. Or Ingvild’s. Or one of the other girls. Maybe he thought he could get lucky by just throwing himself in some lucky girl’s bed. Just like that. Oskar wonders if people do that, just full-on go for it and shamelessly offer themselves like that. 

Oskar shudders at the thought. It’s a mistake whatever it is, and Oskar won’t let him get away with this. Not tonight. Not now. He doesn’t need the grief, or the inevitable shaming in the morning when this dude tells all his friends that the nerd downstairs tried to get him in the sack. Lies and raw laughter trying to make light of a situation that he knows will end badly, with Oskar being the butt of every joke. The one the girls will gossip about and point their fingers at. The one that came on to one of the beautiful people. One of their people. Where Oskar just doesn’t belong.

Because the boy is beautiful, even Oskar can see that. Soft long dark hair framing his face, freckles decorating his pale skin and those lips. Even his fucking profile is perfect, his straight nose burrowing into Oskar’s pillow. 

“Dude, come on! Wake up.” Oskar shakes his shoulder this time, but the guy is dead. Dead to the world. Not a hint of pretending to wake up. He just snores and burrows further into the pillow.

“YO. MATE!” This guy is no mate of his. Nor will they ever be, mates or whatever, but Oskar is shouting now. Desperate. He needs to get to bed. He needs an hour of some mindless American sitcom to calm him down. He needs to sleep. Please. 

He tries to pull the guy off the bed, grabbing the dude by the ankles only to realise the guy is still wearing shoes. Big clumsy boots with heels. Ridiculous. I mean who wears shit like that in the middle of winter? It’s not like December in Oslo is the place for something that wouldn’t look out of place in a Texas Rodeo. 

“Fuck,” he grits between his teeth. 

The sofa out in the main room is seriously uncomfortable. No one ever bothers to even  sit on it, and even if he considers sleeping there, the bleach fumes would make him retch before long. 

It’s not like he could go sleep in anyone else’s room. It’s just not the kind of thing he could do. Not his thing. Not that he is close enough to any of the others to warrant such a request. 

He could sleep on his own floor, he supposes, except that the dude is lying on top of his duvet. 

It takes a few good pulls, but finally the duvet gives way and the dude rolls over as Oskar drags the fabric from underneath his body. He almost bursts into laughter, because the dude is now on his back, mouth wide open and the bandana has slipped down covering his eyes and nose. He looks like a twat. 

A drunk snoring twat in ridiculous boots. 

Oskar is a medical student. Oskar fucking knows what can happen. He wouldn’t be a responsible human being if he didn’t ensure that his unwelcome roommate at least survives the night. 

The boots come off his feet to reveal socks underneath. Ridiculous socks with little reindeers and Santas that make Oskar swallow another inappropriate giggle. This isn’t funny. This isn’t funny at all.

He rolls the bandana up over the dude’s fringe, carefully removing it before tossing it aside, and straddles his body to try to roll him into the recovery position. He has done it several times in training, but always with willing perfectly conscious subjects underneath him. Never a half-dead comatose man breathing alcohol fumes at him, making him retch in disgust. 

It takes a few goes, and Oskar gets braver as the guy is definitely out for the count. He doesn’t wake up, even when Oskar knees him in the balls by mistake, trying to manhandle his shoulder over towards the mattress. But he is finally there, safely in position on his side with his hand supporting his chin, so any accidental vomiting won’t choke him to death and there is nothing restricting around his neck to hinder his breathing. His airway is open, and he is safe. In the middle of Oskar’s bed. 

Oskar wants to cry. He wants to bury his face in his hands and howl. Scream out in frustration. 

Instead, he covers the unconscious body in his warm duvet and switches off the light. Lets his own body slide in under the covers at the very edge of the bed, as far away as he can get. Oskar lies there, perched on the edge of the mattress, yet he can still feel the breath from the other man hitting the back of his neck. Soft puffs of air stroking the skin under his still-damp hair. 

He shudders. It’s hours until he finally falls asleep. Restless and terrified of what he might find next to him in the morning.

 

About the Author 

Sophia Soames should be old enough to know better but has barely grown up. She has been known to fangirl over tv-shows, has fallen in and out of love with more popstars than she dares to remember, and has a ridiculously high-flying (un-)glamourous real-life job. 

Her long-suffering husband just laughs at her antics. Their children are feral. The Au Pair just sighs. 

She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in Scandinavia. 

Discovering that the stories in her head make sense when written down has been part of the most hilarious midlife crisis ever and she hopes it may long continue.

Miriam Latu is a Norway based artist, specialising in hand-drawn pencil portraits. She works with old-school pen and paper, and more of her work can be found on Instagram @om_hundre_ar_er_allting. 

 

Also by Sophia Soames, with cover artwork by Miriam Latu

717 miles

717 miles Christmas

The Scandinavian Comfort Series

Little Harbour

Open Water

IN THIS BED OF SNOWFLAKES WE LIE

What If It All Goes Right? (Out Jan 2020) 

 

Come join my Facebook reader’s group 

Sophia Soames’ Little Harbour  

Find me on social media @sophiasoames on all platforms

Facebook: Sophia Soames  |  Twitter: @sophiasoames   | Instagram: @sophiasoames 

 

 

Giveaway 

717 miles – Christmas Special

A short novella to follow on from where the novel 717 miles left off.

This will be FREE to download from Amazon from November 14 -18.

Just follow the link and enjoy.

 Mybook.to/717milesChristmas

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

Please note that this is not a standalone story and should be read after completing 717 miles

 

Add on Goodreads

BLURB

717 miles Christmas Special

I promised myself many years ago that I would never set foot in London again.
I promised. Adam promised. I said I wouldn’t. He said I would never have to.
Yet here we are again, and life has become quite surreal. This is us, a good few years later, older and wiser with more baggage than the baggage belt at Heathrow.

And now it is Christmas and Adam is working too much and I have far too much time to think about things that shouldn’t really matter. Or maybe they should?

717 miles Christmas Special is a short novella to follow on from 717 miles, the novel, and should not be read as a standalone.

 

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

 

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Love a Hurt/Comfort Story? Check Out the New Release Blitz for Pulse of My Heart (The Inferno #2) by Jessi Noelle (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Pulse of My Heart

Series: The Inferno, Book Two

Author: Jessi Noelle

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 11, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 18900

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, PTSD, firefighters, photojournalist, Irishman, gay, coming out, tear-jerker, hurt-comfort

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Vincent Franklin’s last mistake had a body count. Now, he’s back on the fireline with something to prove to his fellow firefighters and most of all to himself. But when a sexy Irishman with talent and a camera captures him in a weak moment, he puts Vince’s heart at risk.

Still, there’s something about Aidan that attracts Vince and stirs up feelings he would have preferred to leave locked up and untouched in a dark corner of his heart. Then, after he, and the world, believe Aidan is killed in a tragic accident, Vince struggles to find the courage to love again. His chief worry: Does a screw-up like him even deserve to love again?

Excerpt

Pulse of My Heart
Jessi Noelle © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Christmas Eve, 2019
Vince was breathing hard. Sweat beaded on his forehead and rolled downward, catching in his eyebrow as he groaned in pleasure and release.

“Holy shit, Mac,” he said as the twitching slowed, and he melted into the body under him. He nuzzled the ear of his partner and tenderly kissed the spot just below, where the neck melded into that beautiful head.

“Mmm,” his partner purred, hips moving languidly around his trapped member and drawing another gasp of pleasure before releasing him. “Merry Christmas, my darling.”

“Are you my night-before-Christmas present?” he asked. “Because I’m afraid that if I stir any creatures—even a mouse—I’ll find this sugarplum is a vision dancing in my head.” After the loss a year ago, and everything he’d been through since, this felt surreal.

Mac gave him a coy look—the one that tugged sexy-feel threads in his chest—then flipped over beneath him and wrapped arms around his neck, lacing fingers through Vince’s short, butterscotch hair. “Sugarplum, huh? Ah, you do know how to flatter the guy below you who is still slightly incoherent from recent…activities.” He pulled Vince down for a kiss, tongue snaking out to lick the sweat off his lips and making Vince groan a little at the image. He cocked his head, raised his eyebrows, and Vince could feel himself stirring again, hardening against the leg resting on him.

Vince looked down at him with wonder. “What did I do to deserve you? You’re so beautiful, and smart, and everything I’m not.”

“Don’t get it twisted, darling,” he drawled as he framed Vince’s face between his hands, “I’m the lucky guy who snagged the hot firefighter who defines straight-up sexy, pardon the hetero pun.” Mac softly placed his lips on Vince’s, starting at his forehead and working his way slowly, so agonizingly slowly, down.

In a flash of searing heat, Vince’s tenderness was replaced with hunger and need. Mac grinned wickedly at Vince’s growl of lust and flipped him over. He hovered above Vince, teasing, letting his breath fall on the sensitive places he’d found and wringing moans of frustration from the beautiful boy beneath him. When his tongue trailed over the bumps of Vince’s abs, the ticklish spot Mac found there caused him to squirm away. And when Mac’s lips engulfed his manhood, Vince lost the ability to form coherent thought.

Everything dissolved into a blur of touch and taste and pressure and pleasure and friction and feeling.

Merry Christmas, indeed.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Jessi Noelle was born in South Mississippi, where she worked as a zookeeper and later as a firefighter. She is transgender with two sons, and currently lives in Nashville, TN.

Through the Inferno is her first novel. She is an alum of the inaugural #DVPit, a twitter event where marginalized authors pitch their books to agents. She is currently working on another book set in the The Inferno universe.

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:Arctic Heat (Frozen Hearts #3) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

This is the best of the series! There’s animosity, misunderstandings, dirty sex play, sexual awakening, coming out, coworkers to lovers, a dramatic avalanche, sweet romantic gestures, a dog, and finally a HEA. Just totally wonderful.

Owen Han, thirtysomething, former investment banker and cancer survivor, is working his way through his bucket list when he’s selected as a volunteer to assist National Park Service staff in Alaska over the winter. He’s sure nothing could be more fulfilling, until…he lays eyes on Quill Ramsey, fortysomething career park ranger. Tall, muscular, rugged, the epitome of the great outdoors, Quill is sure to be straight. But when he also turns out to be quiet, deeply closeted, and set in his rigid rules, Owen starts to rethink that bucket list.

Nevertheless, flirting comes natural to Owen, and Quill isn’t unaffected. Over time, in the dark of winter, Quill starts to thaw toward the naturally effusive, warm and caring Owen. And Owen starts to see beneath the twenty-year-experience veneer Quill has managed to hide behind. The two become more friendly and ultimately find satisfaction in more than flirtation. But Quill’s sexual awakening is not typical as Owen, though smaller, has side effects from his cancer treatment and Quill, though larger, is turned on by Owen’s take-charge attitude. Add in feelings and there’s more here than either man is comfortable with. Quill, true to his reticent nature, walks away and then regrets it, creating an emotional tug of war for both characters.

Revealing how the author resolves their standoff, and what happens next, would be a spoiler I won’t list here. But let’s just say Quill has an eye-opening experience, actually two, one immediately following the other, and he’s lucky to keep Owen in his life. Adding to the pleasure of the story is the brief cameo appearance of Griffin and River from Arctic Sun. Overall, as I said above, I loved this book. Both men were realistically portrayed, and I can’t decide who I liked most—Owen with his gregarious personality—never met a stranger he didn’t know sort of guy—or Quill, totally buttoned-up rule follower, who had the heart of a lamb hidden in his stoic persona and totally melted into a puddle when Owen came into his life. No matter who it is, however, I can promise readers a treat with this one. Very highly recommended and it can most definitely be read as a stand-alone.

Cover art by Carina Press art department is lovely and works for the characters and storyline.

Sales Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Y3KUk9

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Arctic-Heat-Audiobook/1488206864

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arctic-heat-annabeth-albert/1129779475?ean=9781488053610#/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arctic-heat-4

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_Arctic_Heat?id=8o6QDwAAQBAJ

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/arctic-heat/id1458215728

Book Details:

ebook
Published September 23rd 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488053618 (ISBN13: 9781488053610)
Edition Language English
Series Frozen Hearts #3

Frozen Hearts Series

Arctic Sun

Arctic Wild

Arctic Heat

Need a New Contemporary Romance? Check Out the Blog Tour for Just Like Heaven by T.L. Bradford (excerpt and giveaway)

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BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Just Like Heaven

Author: T.L. Bradford

Publisher: T.L. Bradford

Cover Artist: Photo by Neospot, design by T.L. Bradford

Release Date: September 4, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Opposites attract / friends to lovers

Themes: Coming out, PTSD, Revenge

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Length:  181 000 words/ 479 pages

It is a standalone book.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

What do you covet?

Blurb 

Noah Sinclair
Noah Sinclair is best described as an egotistical, pompous, anal retentive, asshat. And those are his better qualities. Lately, Noah has lost touch with his playboy character “Jace” on the show Americana and can’t quite put his finger on why. The studio decides it is time to shake up his character by making him an offer he can’t refuse, literally. They will introduce a new love interest for his character “Jace.” Only this time, there’s a twist.

Josh Hill
Josh Hill is up a creek and sinking fast. He’s got no job, no money, no credit and is about to be kicked out of his apartment. Opportunity comes in the form of a job offer from the show Americana. Everything should be perfect; only there is one hitch. He will be the new love interest for Noah Sinclair’s character on the beloved show.

So, opposites are supposed to attract, right? Not so fast. No one said life was that easy. Both actors find themselves in untested waters. Will they be able to play a same-sex couple with no prior experience authentically? Well, they say practice makes perfect.

Carefree, fun-loving Josh and uptight, overbearing Noah, realize they need to make the best of their bad situation and are forced to find common ground. Over time, their roles in each other’s lives become blurred. Is their attraction fake, or is it real? To top it off, Noah has a dark skeleton in his closet that can prevent them from ever moving forward.

Can they get on the same page and save both of their careers and their relationship?

Or will they end up yesterday’s tabloid fodder?

Excerpt 

Chapter 1 

It’s been almost 10 minutes. Five to go. Fuck.

I have no clue what this meeting is about, and I am not in the mood to be dealing with Steph and Genie’s crap today. Some random stagehand just came back here to let me know my attendance was required. I try to think back and wonder if I personally offended anybody yet today. Hmm… Nope. Not today, anyway.

Four minutes.

Steph and Genie are the producers for the show I star on called Americana. It’s a newer concept in programming. The show streams daily on Netflix as an evening drama. Small town life under a microscope is the idea. It’s a modern-day spin on a soap opera really, but there is no way on earth I am admitting to working on a soap opera. The show itself is heavily ingrained in social media where the characters have taken on a life all their own. It’s been almost two years now since they cast me, and the show has been live.

Three minutes.

I graduated from college several years ago. After that, I spent a couple of years bar tending and serving. With good parts so scarce, I was lucky to get this opportunity. The show has been a ratings winner, and the entire cast is becoming well known.

What drew me to the part was its unique take on the dissection of America and how different communities have changed over time. Our show takes place in America’s heartland. It focuses on the lives and loves of the residents of Greenfield, Indiana.

My character, Jace, is the town barkeeper. He was a great role to play early on because he had a lot of interaction with the main cast. Lately, though, something has changed, and I’m not feeling in touch with the character as much as I once did. It’s showing in my performance, so I’m sure that’s what this meeting is about.

Two minutes.

I’ll bet it has to do with me flubbing lines lately. I haven’t been able to focus, and it looks like they have noticed. My part is getting reduced to nothing. Maybe this is the kick in the pants I need to move on. Ash, one of my castmates on the show, mentioned that they are having open auditions for a new show on FOX. Who knows, it may work out for a season or two. The only thing is that FOX has a bad reputation for short-term junky shows.

One minute.

Maybe they aren’t going to renew my contract. Oh god. I’m being sacked. I can see it now. Gah, I’m already planning my pity party table for one.

I reluctantly get up from my chair, padding out of the room, trying hard not to make eye contact with anyone. I arrive at the end of the hall and hold my hand on the doorknob. “Okay here it goes,” I say to no one in particular.

I enter the room and see Genie and Steph seated across from each other around a large square glass table. Steph is probably in his early 40s, (never can tell for sure in Hollywood), smallish frame with short sandy brown hair, mischievous eyes and a car salesman smile. He is kicking back with his half-eaten Subway sandwich hanging out of his mouth.

Genie looks up to see me. She has her requisite Starbucks Spiced Vanilla Chai Latte and is eating some salad that looks unhealthier than Steph’s meatball sub. “Noah, right on time, per usual.”

“Hey, guys.” I’m hoping to keep good vibes flowing.

Steph says, “Come on in and take a seat. Shut the door behind you.”

Oh boy, that doesn’t sound good. I move toward the desk, taking a chair next to the window, moving it in close next to Genie. The smell of the eggs on her salad is strong. Steph takes a napkin to his lips to wipe the marinara sauce off and starts talking.

“Noah, you’ve been here for over a year, right?”

“Uh, yeah, almost two years next month.”

“So, you’re up for contract negotiations then, right?”

“Yeah, I haven’t talked with my agent about it yet.”

“Well, that is what Genie and I would like to discuss.”

I swear the smell of the eggs is getting stronger. It is permeating the entire atmosphere.

“You know we get the daily stats on the show’s overall performance and having talked; we decided we are going to have to make some changes.”

It’s coming. I feel it. With the show being purely streaming, it is easy for the showrunners to pull up all types of analytics on the show, like what age group is watching, and income bracket. Annoyingly, they can also track what parts of the show are being watched and skipped over. A favorite character will have higher click averages than a third tier one. With my part being scaled back so much, I’m fairly sure my numbers are in the gutter. For sure I’m getting the boot. I start sweating.

Genie jumps in and says, “Your numbers have been pretty consistent, but not growing at the pace we would like to see.” All I can smell now is the nauseating stench of eggs. I am going to puke. Right here. Right now. Right on their fancy $3000 glass table.

Genie looks at me with concern in her eyes. “Are you okay? You don’t look so hot. Would you like a glass of water?” She jumps up from the table to grab me a glass. Her dark hair is nearly falling out of the messy bun at the back of her head.

“Yeah, that would be great.” She comes back and sets the glass down in front of me. I pick it up and drink slowly. My throat is constricted, and I nearly choke. She is still concerned and looks over to Steph. She pushes her black-framed glasses up on her nose and turns back to me.

Sensing my stress, she quickly says, “We are thinking of taking your character into a new direction.”

“A new direction? Okay, what were you guys thinking about?”

Steph says, “We’ve done some marketing research and have found some niches that we think will work well for our show.” He crams in another mouthful of sub.

Ever the tag team, Genie says, “It’s a direction that may be more challenging, but we think given your range that you would best be able to play the role.”

“What’s the direction you were thinking?”

She looks over to Steph, then back at me. “Your character, Jace Alexander will enter into a relationship with a new character, named Max.”

“Max? Well, what is Maxine’s backstory?” I let out a huge breath. They had me there for a minute.

“It’s just Max, not Maxine. Specifically, Max Shephard,” Steph says.

Slowly my head starts to wrap around what they are saying. “So, wait, Max is a guy?”

“Yep,” they say in unison.

“You made him gay?”

“Look, Noah, I know this is a real shock, but think of it this way. You will have a unique storyline, and it will get people back into your character again,” says Steph. “It’s been what, a year now since Jace broke up with Gracie? The character has just been drifting, and we need to get that viewership back.”

“Are you kidding me? How the hell am I supposed to play gay? This is so far out of my league. I—”

“I’m going to be honest with you,” Steph says, finally having put this sub down. “Genie and I had to go to bat for you to keep you on the show. They were ready to cut you. We pulled this idea out that we had a little while ago and they went for it. So basically, you stay on the show on the condition that you accept this storyline. Otherwise, they are releasing you at the end of your contract.”

I sit back in my chair, dumbstruck. I look between the two of them and see there is no way out. I have no words.

Genie says, “I know you feel blindsided and I don’t blame you for being upset but think about this rationally. This is the opportunity you have been waiting for. A chance to stretch your acting skills.”

“Yeah, but…”

Then she pulls forward in her chair, she grabs my hand and looks me in the eye. “You don’t have to answer right now. Think about it over the weekend, and we can all talk about it again on Monday.”

I don’t say a word, still unmoving and dazed.

“We have an audition video for the actor we have in mind. Why don’t you take this copy and see if you think you can make this work?”

Wordlessly, I take the flash drive and get up to leave. I go back to my dressing room and finally lose the contents of my stomach.

About the Author  

T.L. always hated math, so it was a good thing she had a way with words.  Since she was a shy and quirky kid; words were her best friends. She would imagine entire worlds in her head and talk to herself endlessly.  Her mother wondered if she was speaking with ghosts for a while. 

Her older sister was a voracious reader of trashy romance novels and would pass them down to her after she had finished them.  T.L. was the only 10-year-old kid sitting in class reading “The Stud” by Jackie Collins during reading time. Oddly enough, she never got called out on it.

As she grew older, her tastes evolved, but one thing held fast; her undying attachment to love stories. One day out of the blue, she decided to write the love stories she always wanted to read instead of searching for her story.  Since then, writing has been a dream fulfilled for her and she could not be happier.

She enjoys writing about love, regardless of gender and is a proud supporter of the LGBTQ community.

T.L. calls the Pacific Northwest her home and enjoys the quiet rural life of her little oceanside home with her playful/crazy husband and their giant dog Noah.

Author Links

Blog/Website

Twitter

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Giveaway 

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Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

Kristina Meister on Aesthetics and Morality and her new release Love Under Glasse by Kristina Meister

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Love Under Glasse by Kristina Meister

Riptide Publishing
Published August 26th 2019
Cover Art: LC Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have  Kristina Meister here today talking about appearances and her new release Love Under Glasse.  Welcome, Kristina>

     ✒︎

One of my least favorite fairy tale conceits is the idea that aesthetics match morality—only the pretty can be good. I wanted to go a step farther with Love Under Glasse and take on the idea that only those who buy into the culture, in this case Christianity, can be good. There’s a concept pervasive to many organized religions—because otherwise they wouldn’t be organized—that “everyone else is wrong”. It’s a situation of absolutes, right?—if they’re correct about how everything works, then obviously everyone else has to be wrong.

For members of the LGBTQIA community, religion can be tricky. Not many embrace us, and some are downright hostile. It can be impossible to feel the pull of any spiritual teachings and a great deal of shame comes from a sense of conflict with the beliefs of everyone around us. Unlike the classic story of Snow White, in which the step mother becomes so fixated on her appearance that she is willing to have her daughter’s heart cut out, Love Under Glasse features a mother so concerned with the appearance of “deviance” that she is willing to essentially deny her child her heart and her independence.

When I told some of my beta readers about my plan to set up the plot with the main character discovering her mother was about to send her to a conversion therapy camp, a few of them were skeptical. Their argument was that those places seem too fanciful, and to people who either aren’t from conservative Christian backgrounds, or who aren’t members of the LGBTQIA community, that’s understandable, but they are unfortunately very real. The American Psychiatric Association rejects the notion that sexuality and gender need to be corrected based on assumptions of morality, and that subjecting patients to practices that are questionable is unethical, but that doesn’t stop many charitable organizations from selling just such “treatment”. There’s teams of researchers from private universities who argue that the therapy should exist in case a patient feels their sexuality is in conflict with their ethics. There are even states in which it is protected and not just legal. It’s in fact, quite a threat, and even if one isn’t part of a conservative Christian background, it’s disheartening to know that so many others feel pressured and ashamed. Even if only a few are affected, it’s a concern to all of us.

I also wanted to play with the concept of transformation, something very common to fairy tales: the princess has to kiss a frog to turn him into a prince, a magic spell must be broken to allow the hero to revert to original form, or a curse turns someone into a monster. Conversion Therapy can easily be seen, as either a curse or a magical fix, depending upon perspective, and this combined with its recent presence in the media, made it a very worthwhile plot device.

 

 

About Love Under Glasse

This runaway might want to get caught.

El Glasse’s mother controls her life. What she does, who she dates, even what she’s allowed to say. El only has two ways of holding onto her freedom. One is her popular anonymous blog, hidden from Mama Glasse. The other is what she so often blogs about: her feelings for Riley, the girl who works at the ice cream parlor. Riley is fierce, free, and rides a killer motorcycle, and El cannot help but love her. But Mama Glasse can never find out about her sexuality—unless El is willing to rebel. 

When El runs away, Riley feels responsible. She knows what it’s like to be alone, and she can’t deny her deep desire to learn El’s story. In a move she might end up regretting, she makes a devil’s bargain with Mama Glasse to hunt El down.

Riley isn’t trying to bring her home though, because she knows an evil spell when she sees one—a spell of fear and shame El is finally starting to break. This huntress might lose her own heart, but it’s a risk she’s willing to take. 

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About Kristina Meister

Kristina Meister is an author of fiction that blurs genre. There’s usually some myth, some mayhem, and some monsters. While Kristina’s unique voice and creative swearing give life to dialogue, her obsession with folklore and pop culture make for humor and complexity.

She and her mad-scientist husband live in California with their poodles Khan and Lana, and their daughter Kira Stormageddon, where they hoard Nerf toys, books, and swords—in case of zombie apocalypse.

2018 Foreword INDIES Gold Winner – LGBT

Connect with Kristina:

 

 


Giveaway

To celebrate this release, Kristina is giving away a custom ordered biker-style patch that represents El and Riley, as well as a signed copy of her award-winning novel Cinderella Boy! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 31, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Doctor’s Orders (Copper Point Medical #3) by Heidi Cullinan

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Nearly twenty-four hours after finishing this story, the last in the series, I feel bereft, as if I’ve lost good friends. Not only do I miss Jared and Nick, I miss Erin and Owen, and Jack and Simon. How will I go on without the cast from Copper Point in my life? That may sound a bit dramatic, but the truth is that I’ve stopped what I’m doing a number of times today to think fondly of Jared and Nick and wonder how everything is going at St. Ann’s. 

This book is not at all like the first two, but this couple has known each other a long time, were once high school lovers, and still love each other deeply though they take great pains to keep their feelings hidden. That’s especially true of Nick, the hospital CEO. A handsome black man in his late thirties, he lives with his mother, grandmother, and sister in his childhood home, supporting them financially and emotionally and trying his best to live up to the ideal man they and his late father planned for him to be. Those plans did not include being gay, falling in love with a doctor, or being open about it. In a word, Nick is torn. 

His matriarchal household provided his firm foundation in his religious and family beliefs and it’s not something he can shed easily, even when an accident literally throws him back into Jared’s arms, twenty years after the last time they were together, and the flames glow again from the embers they’ve kept banked. There’s no escaping their attraction now and Jared is willing to give Nick time this time, unlike the ultimatum he gave Nick in their teens. But giving him time takes its toll on Jared and the smiling doctor begins to crack on the inside. The key point, per Jared, is community. Nick belongs to his family and his church in a way Jared had never known and likely never would.

I love the way the author weaves in the characters from books one and two, including secondary characters—board members and friends. There’s a whole community here, not just the two principal stars in this drama, and in a way, the ending when the whole community is present for what happens at the Founders Day parade is fitting for this couple. I have a note to myself at the 25% mark that although I already knew the characters from the early books, the author sealed my reading enjoyment with the elevator accident. And another note: the author’s style is so polished that even when a character does something I don’t like, I’m still interested because the writing has pulled me in.

All in all, this is a book—and a series—that is so worth reading. There’s no cookie-cutter prose here. Each book has a different couple, a different style, a different feel—but all have a happy ending. I highly recommend this series to all who love MM romance.

The attractive cover by Kanaxa is similar to others in the series in that it features a single character against a white background. In this case, it’s the very handsome Nick Beckert, hospital CEO and Jared’s lifelong love. 

Sales Links:Goodreads • Publisher • Audible • Ripped Bodice • Barnes & Noble • Google Play Ebook • Google Play Audio • Apple Books • Kobo (US) • Kobo (Canada) • Amazon (US) • Amazon(Canada) • Amazon (UK) • Powells

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 384 pages
Expected publication: August 20th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Doctor’s Orders
ASIN B07QVKSLPN
Edition Language English
Series Copper Point Medical #3

Copper Point: Medical Series

The Doctor’s Secret

The Doctor’s Date

The Doctor’s Orders