A Chaos Moondrawn Review: A Faerie Story by Barbara Elsborg


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The first part of the book shows little snippets in the life of three different boys. During a traumatic event, Kaegan discovers Christmas. Over time, Inverkillen, in the Scottish Highlands, becomes his magical place where it is eternal Christmas. As his life becomes more and more unpleasant due to his twin Herne, he plots his escape from Faerieland to his new created home. Aiden’s childhood was horrible, and adulthood isn’t seeming much better, yet despite his disabilities and circumstances, he still has an open heart. The trauma Pascal suffered as a child has left him afraid to care too much about anyone or anything while depression wants to swallow him whole. Aiden is like a willow constantly blown over, while Pascal is like an oak struck by lightning. First Kaegan meets Aiden, but timing is everything. Then Kaegan meets Pascal and changes his life. Kaegan wants them both, thinks they could be happy together and invites them to his magical place. What will they think if they actually show up? But, Kaegan isn’t human and Herne continues to threatens his happiness.

Yes, it has insta-lust, but the love takes time to develop. Be warned it also contains violence, torture, domestic abuse, child abuse, attempted suicide, and addiction. There are parts of this that are all too real, and parts that are fantastical to give the reader a break from it all, to give us hope. I got a fortune cookie once that read, “say yes to something you would normally say no to.” I did, and it ended up being one of the favorite nights of my life. This book reminds me of that moment, when Aiden and Pascal say yes and actually reach for something different, even if it doesn’t seem like a good idea. If fact, it sounds crazy and ends up being quite dangerous.

The references to pop culture are very self aware. I have a friend who talks about how everything goes into his brain like a meat grinder and art comes out the other end. Through the unbelievable circumstances, what keeps this going are the thoughts they each have that the reader is privy to and the communication between them, which is real: funny, touching, sexy, at times bawdy. I laughed out loud several times. Having all three points of view enhances this story immensely. With all the things these men have experienced in their lives, there is a feeling of carpe diem, but also a longing for something good to last, to stay and the reader will want that for them. With Aiden’s scars and disabilities, his own doubts are heartbreaking, but he’s so likable because he usually doesn’t let them get in the way. As his trust is finally honored, he really shines. The sex scenes get hotter and hotter the more emotionally involved the men are, but there is also joy. As the deadline of New Year’s Day approaches, the tension is ratched up until the final confrontation with Herne. In some ways Pascal is more of a mystery than the other two; I think less time is spent in his thoughts, yet that is rectified at the end. While Aiden gets the plot twist, Pascal’s is the story of personal growth and second chances. Kaegan is the one I feel ends up with the least amount of resolution, it’s there, but it’s a whimper rather than a bang. Ultimately, his happiness is enough.

There was one thing that occurred to me: the reader knows Kaegan can’t read Aiden’s mind, but IF all fae can read minds like Kaegan, they would know Pascal wasn’t a creation of Kaegan’s. Happily the faeries seems to have differing degrees of power, so I can’t be sure and it isn’t brought up. There was also the part of the story that got bogged down a bit in the pacing, when Pascal is trapped in the village. While that is absolutely necessary to the story arc of his character, it was not as captivating to read. I can see myself rereading this, but might have to skim that part now that I already know what happens. The plot is enchanting, with an emotional core that gives it much more depth than most holiday stories. It also has the best HEA I can imagine, given the plot. Overall I think this story did everything it set out to do; it was sexy, moving, and fun.

The cover design by is by B4Jay. I love when covers not only have actual significance to the story, but are integral. The darkness of the three figures echoes their lives. I like that the details aren’t there while they are still becoming their best selves with each other, with magic all around them.

Sales Links:  Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 254 pages
Expected publication: November 1st 2019 by self-published
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review: Not Another Statistic (Yuri Sorenson Mysteries #1) by J.M. Dabney


Raring: 4.5 stars out of 5

Former Federal Agent Yuri Sorenson had left the bureau behind to become a private investigator. A friend from his old life came to him with a favor, not knowing who else to trust. Yuri had always had a way of keeping his emotional distance from the people he protected, yet that changed the day Clarkson hesitantly limped into his life.

What happens when love is confused with pain? That’s the exact question Josh Clarkson had asked himself for years. He’d grown up in an overburdened foster care system, and from what he knew of love, he couldn’t expect anything but to be something tolerated. Was he meant to be more than a plaything or a piece of scenery; he could hope.

Two men who know nothing but being broken find that patience and acceptance are harder than losing hope. Is the leap of faith worth the reward of letting someone else in? Maybe they’ll find the strength to find out before the danger of Josh’s past tries to tear them apart.

J.M.Dabney writes broken people and does it well.  That’s never more apparent then here in their latest novel Not Another Statistic, the start of a new series, the Yuri Sorenson Mysteries.

I always look forward to a Dabney novel.  I anticipate the broken men, the horrific pasts, the abuse, the violence, and yes, the kink.  But I want to see how the author will spin it in a new story and situation and romance.  As this is the beginning of the series, Dabney is laying the groundwork, pulling in characters that I feel will form the sort of “found family” that surrounds the main characters the writer is so good at.    I can certainly see the beginnings of that here.

But with all things, it starts with the main couple.  It’s age gap and Daddy kink romance but of course that’s a superficial tag for the deeper story here.  One that covers domestic violence, child abuse, adult abuse, assault, body image, and a person so beaten down that they have come to equate pain and extreme punishment with admissions of love.  That is has occured to both men in different ways …well…the imprint of violence and the shattering of self has left its impact.  The author is able to show that devastation on both sides, despite the age differences and how it was delivered home.  It’s a brutal and realistic element here and if it’s one of your triggers, then you need to be aware of it.

The relationship between Yuri and Josh is formed rather quickly and that is usually a sticking point with me.  However, given their backgrounds, the circumstances under which they meet, and the events that follow, it feels that each fills a need for the other.  In other words, the author makes their case for the relationship and it works.    You can see the need, the healing response, so the timing seems less essential. Plus it’s really a HFN, given it’s the first in a series and the relationship is just starting out.

Once again, the suspense is great, the feel of the “city” gritty and true, and I can’t wait to see what the next installment holds for us and the characters.

If you like your romance with some mystery or murder, hot kinky sex, and damaged men in love, look no further than the latest new series from JM Dabney.  I definitely recommend Not Another Statistic (Yuri Sorenson Mysteries #1) by J.M. Dabney.

Cover art by JM Dabney.  That definitely looks like Yuri. Eye catching !

Sales Links: 

Universal Link – https://books2read.com/u/bw2vV0

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published September 24th 2019 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC
SeriesYuri Sorenson #1

Love Contemporary Romance? Check Out the Book Release Blitz for Living on the Inside by Londra Laine (excerpt and giveaway)


Title: Living on the Inside

Author: Londra Laine

Publisher: Independently Published

Release Date: Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: About 55,000 words

Genre: Romance, Single dad, gay romance, interracial, ex-con, domestic abuse, work romance

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Micah Grayson lives in his baby mama’s guesthouse. It’s unconventional and awkward, but he’s happy for a chance to reconnect with his teenage son. He doesn’t have time for other distractions—no matter how sexy, independent, and compassionate that distraction might be. Besides, he’s not good enough for more than a fling—no one would ever take him home to meet their parents.

Adrien Darling has book smarts, but no street savvy—at least that’s what his family says. And after a heart-breaking betrayal by the man meant to love and protect him, Adrien believes them. But then a gorgeous guy with a defeated look in his eyes walks into Adrien’s coffee shop and makes him want to take a chance.

After years of living on the outside as two misfits looking in, both men are afraid to reach for more. But in each other’s arms, Micah and Adrien find out what it’s like to live on the inside. As their tender bond grows and blossoms, old insecurities bubble to the surface. Will their commitment crumble under the pressure? Or will the two find the strength to fight for each other.

***Please be aware that this book contains a flashback of and several references to domestic abuse that may be triggering to some readers.***




“Is that what we are?” Micah asked quietly. “Friends?”

“Yeah,” Adrien answered. “I hope so.” 

Then he was surrounded by Micah’s body. Adrien hesitated for a moment before returning the other man’s embrace, locking his arms around Micah’s torso. A few seconds into the hug all the reasons why he needed to pull away from Micah—now—raced through his mind. But he couldn’t make himself do it.

Adrien had been fighting his attraction, but the man had slipped past Adrien’s defenses. Micah’s earnest joy at making progress with his son. His trust in Adrien as he shared his insecurities. His nonjudgmental attitude. Their growing friendship. All those things made him feel strong and needed. Adrien wanted more of that feeling. He leaned into Micah.

Micah sighed as he squeezed Adrien tighter, and Adrien’s body sagged against him, the fight against his attraction to Micah leaving his body. He tucked his head into the crook of Micah’s shoulder, and gave in to defeat, breathing in the salty sweet scent of Micah’s skin, running his palms up the man’s back.

The scent and feel of Micah was heady, and Adrien’s head swam as he let his eyelids flutter shut, let his lips graze the exposed skin between Micah’s neck and shoulder. Micah tensed against him and his breath hitched, making Adrien wonder if he’d gone too far. But then Micah’s palm slid up Adrien’s neck, cupping his nape, grazing a thumb along his hairline.

Micah moved his other hand lower, resting it right above Adrien’s ass, his fingers lightly grazing the swell below Adrien’s hips.

“Adrien,” Micah grated out. Adrien pulled back, slowly opening his eyes. Micah licked his lips, his eyes skimming Adrien’s mouth, and then he leaned forward.

Adrien met him halfway, their lips connecting in a kiss. The light brush became a firm press then flared, hot and wet, as Adrien ran the tip of his tongue against the seam of Micah’s lips. Micah submitted to Adrien’s silent request, parting his lips to give Adrien access to his tongue and mouth.

Then a loud honk made them jerk apart as a car sped past them, headlights bright and blinding. Their chests heaved, and Adrien took in Micah’s disheveled hair and damp lips and wondered if he looked nearly as enticing to Micah.

Adrien’s gaze skittered away, and he grimaced, embarrassment replacing the intense need he’d felt moments ago. What was he doing? He knew better than this. He’d been down this road before. He couldn’t get involved with an employee again.

Then a terrible thought occurred to him. What if Micah felt like he had to hook up with Adrien? Had Adrien pressured him in some way? Shit. Negative thoughts tumbled through his mind, making him dizzy. He had to nip this in the bud.

“Micah, about what just happened—”

“Our kiss?” Micah moved closer to him.

Adrien’s eyes wandered, unable to meet Micah’s. “Yeah, the kiss. I’m sorry—I didn’t mean to—I’m sorry.” He shook his head and Micah stopped the motion by gripping Adrien’s chin between his forefinger and thumb. He lifted Adrien’s face to his.

“I’m not sorry.” Micah’s voice was quiet in the night.   

at Amazon

Meet the Author

Londra has loved reading since she figured out how to do it. She writes to give her guys the happy ending she wishes everyone––no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation––could experience in real life.

Londra makes money as a communications manager. She is a former journalist, a runner and a mezzo soprano.

In 2010, she moved from her native California to New York City where she lived in Harlem for nearly eight years. In early 2018 she relocated to Seattle with her spouse.

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A Stella Review: Living on the Inside by Londra Laine


RATING 3,5 out of 5 stars

Micah Grayson lives in his baby mama’s guesthouse. It’s unconventional and awkward, but he’s happy for a chance to reconnect with his teenage son. He doesn’t have time for other distractions—no matter how sexy, independent, and compassionate that distraction might be. Besides, he’s not good enough for more than a fling—no one would ever take him home to meet their parents.

Adrien Darling has book smarts, but no street savvy—at least that’s what his family says. And after a heart-breaking betrayal by the man meant to love and protect him, Adrien believes them. But then a gorgeous guy with a defeated look in his eyes walks into Adrien’s coffee shop and makes him want to take a chance.

After years of living on the outside as two misfits looking in, both men are afraid to reach for more. But in each other’s arms, Micah and Adrien find out what it’s like to live on the inside. As their tender bond grows and blossoms, old insecurities bubble to the surface. Will their commitment crumble under the pressure? Or will the two find the strength to fight for each other.

***Please be aware that this book contains a flashback of and several references to domestic abuse that may be triggering to some readers.***

This is the first book I read by Londra Laine. I have to say I particularly liked the writing style, I found it really easy to read, quick, no once I had to come back and reread a sentence. For my still WIP English, this fluency was a huge bonus.

I appreciated  the MCs took their time to know each otehr, they became friends first, although the strong attraction, Adrien and Micah waited to act on it. Cause their pasts were too bulky to be easily ignored. But the connection between them was real and clear, it was in their eyes, words and touches from the first time they met. I felt their feelings and I saw the hurts in their souls.

I loved all the secondary characters, they were well defined as the MCs, each of them was neat and passionate. Especially their families were supportive and protective, caring and hospitable.

The only reason why I didn’t give the book an higher rating was due to the last part, I think it could have been avoided and something more special and different could have been created. It was really too boring and already seen to break the MCs relationship in nothing. 

Still Living on the Inside was a lovely surprise and I will definitely read more by this author.

The cover art by Resplendent Media is very well done and most of all fitting, I like it a lot.

Sales Links:   Amazon


Kindle Edition, 1st edition

Expected publication: January 29th 2019 by Independent


Edition Language English

A Lucy Review: Detour (Transportation #1) by Reesa Herberth and Michelle Moore


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Ethan and Scott were best friends and boyfriends.  All through high school they planned on this amazing cross country trip.  They were going to see all the kitschy things together.  An all too common tragedy occurs senior year – Scott is killed by gunfire in a school shooting.  Ethan has to get out of his town because of the guilt he feels for still living and the sympathy/pity of people, even as he doesn’t want to do this trip alone.  So he hits the road, promising his parents he will call them and will not pick up hitchhiker’s who might take him to a murder cave and kill him.

He’s driving on a stormy night in the dark and nearly hits a hitchhiker.  Despite his parents’ warning, he can’t leave the man there in the rain, so he offers him a ride.  This is Nick and Nick is running away from a ton of bad things as well.  Namely, he just escaped an abusive pray-the-gay-away conversion camp as well as an abusive ex-boyfriend, Kyle.   Nick has a painful history and he knows what it’s like to grieve for someone, having lost his little brother to cancer.  He accepts the ride with Ethan and Ethan offers him the chance to be a part of his great adventure, seeing all the ridiculous roadside attractions they can see.

There is a moment when Nick admits he has no money to do the sights and Ethan tells him Scott’s parents had given him a large amount, probably what they were going to give Scott for graduation, and it just made me cry. There are so many shattered dreams here.   Ethan suffers from panic attacks, which Nick handles with care and kindness.  For his part, Ethan treats Nick with the same care and kindness.  The two of them can be snarky and funny and I thoroughly enjoyed.  The scene at the haunted train tracks just made me happy and made me think that they could learn to be happy again.

Nick has a seriously abusive ex-boyfriend in Kyle and feelings of betrayal by his parents after being sent to Camp Cornerstone, i.e. abusive conversion therapy.  He was able to walk away from the camp only because he turned eighteen.  Ethan’s gift to him really showed the sweetness of Ethan and the vulnerability of Nick.  “Eventually it became too much, got too close to the place inside him that wanted nothing more than to beg for any scrap of care he could get.”  Oh, Nick, you deserve so much. 

Ethan sends text messages to Scott and he’s very afraid he’s doing the trip wrong. “I don’t know if I want my life to happen without him.”  There is no shying away from all the emotional turmoil for these guys.  They have to work through it and though they have different issues, they are equally painful and hard to deal with.  Nick’s trip through Cornerstone is horrific and it is brought on by the abuse of Kyle.  And Kyle continues to be crazy, abusing, texting and going as far as to call Ethan’s parents, posing as Nick’s brother, to get information.  That’s probably the least of what he did but stalker, abuser and psycho cover it.  Add in that Nick doesn’t feel worthy of happiness sometimes.  He has his own survivor’s guilt. 

The book doesn’t pull its punches on dealing with some serious issues but it also conveys that these guys are young and they talk and act that way, even through stress and grief.  They are there for each other, through the biggest guitar and talking to the police, but they work through their grief and guilt on their own as well. Their conversations could be so emotional, other times so sweet and funny.  The “lie to me” made me want to cry sometimes. 

“But, mostly, I think we get so obsessed with missing someone, trying to stay connected with who they were as people.” That is so true and it was the lesson both of them needed to understand.  Ethan’s grasping that Scott was really, truly gone was just heartbreaking. “Scott would have changed.  He would have learned things, and seen things, and we’d both be different people now than we were when he died.  I think that was the ghost I was hoping to find.  The person Scott would have become.”  And that’s what you really can’t find, because that person will remain the same as you remember them while you continue to learn things, to grow and to change.   “Instead of keeping Scott’s memory alive, I was trying to get away from the person I was becoming without him.”

Both Nick and Scott, so young to be dealing with such things and yet they do, working their way through guilt and through grief, through fear, learning they can lean on each other.  I was pulling for these guys to get a little happiness.  The one thing I would have appreciated was an epilogue to show that they were still together, still happy and still working on it.

The cover art by Kanaxa light and fun. Which doesn’t exactly speak to the reality of the storyline.

SALE LINKS  Riptide Publishing | Amazon


ebook, 339 pages

Published May 7th 2018 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN 1626497435 (ISBN13: 9781626497436)

Edition Language English

BOOK BLAST – Blackbird Fly Home (Doyle Global Securities #1) by Kendel Duncan (excerpt)



Title: Blackbird Fly Home

(Doyle Global Securities #1)

Author: Kendel Duncan

Genre: M/M Romance

Release Date: September 19 2017

Cover Design: Dare Press Editing

Photographer: Dan Skinner


Sometimes life will surprise you

Sometimes it will disappoint you

Sometimes it will kick you in the balls

Sometimes it will make you so happy you feel like you can fly

And sometimes, just sometimes, it will do all of those things.

The kick in the balls, both literally and figuratively, happened to Noah Pierce a long time ago. Ten years to be exact, when, to cap off a brutal and horrendous four-year relationship with the man who claimed to love him, that man buried a butcher knife in his side. It was the final wound in a seemingly endless cycle of bruises, cuts, breaks, sprains and other things that sent him to the hospital. He thought he was going to die. But when he opened his eyes in that ER room and saw a stranger with kind yet determined eyes looking back at him and with his boyfriend nowhere in sight, Noah knew that life was going to change for him. And it did.

For ten years he was stronger, he was better, he was……hollow.

He didn’t realize that last part until he saw one man. One pair of haunting blue eyes beside the very man who had ruined Noah all those years ago. One pair of frightened eyes. One pair of hollow, hopeless eyes that Noah couldn’t have walked away from if he tried…..because someone else hadn’t walked away from him all those years ago.

Noah didn’t realize it at the time, but by saving Jesse Miller from the clutches of his ex, he was going to learn to fly….


Buy Links – Available on KU

Amazon US

Amazon UK



Excerpt: “Fuck,” Noah whispered as he tucked back farther into the shadows and rubbed his hand over his face, as if he could scrub those memories away with a swipe of his hand. Like that was ever going to happen.

He should walk away. He should just fucking walk away. Walk out of this club and leave Jacob Knight behind, like he’d done ten years ago.

But he couldn’t.

Because Morgan hadn’t.

And because he knew this kid, with those blue eyes that were so striking you could see them even in the dim lights of the club, would haunt him for the rest of his life.

He pulled out his phone and dialed.

“Hey there. How are you doing? I heard the Op you did was a little intense,” Morgan said when he answered the call.

Fucking Caleb.

Noah squeezed his eyes shut and took a deep breath. Yeah that Op had been intense. He hadn’t been expecting that. It was supposed to be easy: pose as an escort, get fucked by the mark – Cole Gillette and place the listening device. Easy in, get laid, easy out. No problem, right? But then he’d felt Cole’s turmoil, his pain, his….the way he was so haunted by the man that he’d stared at on his TV screen while he’d fucked Noah, the man whose name Cole had called when he came in the condom in Noah’s ass: Kelly. Yeah, it’d been intense.

He chose to ignore Morgan’s comments, even though he knew the man would want to revisit them later. Time was of the essence here.

“I need your help,” he said, getting straight to the point.

He heard Morgan suck in a breath, “Anything Noah, tell me what you need.”

“I’m at Brubakers right now.”

“Brubakers, the club? Yeah, I know it. Are you drunk? Did something happen?”

“He’s here, Morgan.”

Dead silence answered him for at least half a minute. Noah had no doubt that Morgan would know exactly who Noah was talking about without saying the man’s name.

After a mumbled curse, “Has he seen you?”


“Get out, Noah. Leave by the back door if you have to but get the fuck out.”

“I can’t.”

“What? Why not?”

“He’s got someone with him, Morgan and he looks, fuck, he looks just like me,” he said, the last word coming out like a choked sob.

“You mean like a twin?”

“No, I mean like a shell, like a robot, like a dead man walking. He can’t be more than twenty-five, Morg. I can’t leave him here with him. I have to help him.”

There was a quietly growled curse from Morgan and then, “Okay, I’m on my way. But do not do anything until I get there is that understood?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“If he sees you, do not confront him. Just run. Am I clear?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Do not engage in any way, do you hear me?”

“Yes, Morgan, I’ve got it,” Noah said with an eyeroll. Like he’d ever disobey any order or request from Morgan. He and Morgan both knew that. The idea of it almost made him snort out a laugh.

“I’ll call you when I’m in my car. I should be there in about fifteen.”

“Okay, and Morgan?”



The call ended and Noah continued to watch the young man for a few minutes.

When someone tapped him on the shoulder, he gasped and jumped in his seat.

“Relax, I’m a friend of Morgan’s. I’m Jake Brubaker, this is my place. He just called me. When he asks for my help, I don’t question, I just say yes. What do you need?” he said as he gave Noah’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze.

Noah opened his mouth to say nothing but then he noticed that some of the servers were walking around with Brubakers ball caps on.

“Do you have any more of those hats?”

“Absolutely,” he said as he turned towards the bar, “Hey Amy, can you hand me a hat, please?”

The young woman ducked down behind the bar and then stuck her arm out to Jake, who grabbed the hat and handed it over to Noah.

“Anything else?”

“I don’t know yet. I might need a place to hide out for a bit.”

“My office is yours. It’s got an electronic lock on it,” he said then he told Noah the code to open it. He looked back at Noah with a raised eyebrow as he waited.

“Can you up the alcohol content on the drinks you send to that table?” Noah said as he lifted his chin towards Jacob’s table.

Jake looked over his shoulder, “Done.”

“He’s a lawyer. This could get….messy.”

Jake snorted a laugh, “Please, I was a prosecutor for ten years. I used to eat assholes like him for breakfast. Don’t worry about me or my place.”

Noah nodded to him as he pulled the hat down low over his head, “Thanks.”

“If you need anything else, just holler. I’m always around.”

Noah nodded to him again and then watched as Jake leaned over the bar to say something to the bartender and then she added more booze to the tray of drinks on the bar in front of her. One of the servers picked it up and brought it over to Jacob’s table. As they were handed out, he saw the young man next to Jacob lean in and whisper something into his ear. He watched as Jacob started to stand with him but then the other men at the table laughed and said something to Jacob that made him frown and Noah knew that they were giving him shit about not letting his boyfriend go to the bathroom by himself. He knew it because Jacob had done the same thing to him.

After listening to the other men teasing him, Jacob turned to his young man and placed his hand on his cheek. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to the young man’s ear and Noah knew that he was giving him explicit instructions to not make eye contact with anyone, not speak to anyone, to go in and piss, wash his hands and return to the table without haste. Hell, even though it had been a decade, he could almost hear Jacob’s deep voice in his own ear whispering those same commands to him and a sick feeling shivered through his body like a snake.


This was his chance, this was going to be his only chance. It was now or fucking never.

He didn’t turn his head, just let his eyes track the young man as he made his way through the crowd and to the darkened hall that led to the restrooms. Then Noah’s eyes swung back to find that Jacob was doing the same thing, his eyes glued to that dark hall like a hawk.

Fucking hell. He couldn’t slip down there now or Jacob would see him for sure. How the fuck was he going to do this? He was beginning to worry that he’d have to come up with another plan.


Luther stepped in front of Jacob and blocked his view.

“I brought backup. Go,” Morgan said as he stepped up to Noah’s table and turned to watch his husband engaging Jacob and the other men at the table in conversation.

Noah knew that Luther would keep those men occupied for a while because even though Luther Santiago was no longer in his old line of work as a mob boss, he was still a highly respected, and feared, man who could command the attention of any room that he stepped into. And he currently held the rapt attention of those six men in that booth.

Noah slid out of his corner and ducked around the wall into the dark hallway and down into the men’s restroom.

He still wasn’t sure what he was going to say when he pushed the door open and saw the young man at the urinal but he knew he had to choose the right words or the young man would be lost. Forever.

He silently closed the door behind him and took a deep breath, “I used to be you,” he said quietly.

The man’s head whipped around and the terror in his eyes broke Noah’s heart. “What?” he whispered.

“I used to be you and he nearly killed me.”

The man’s eyes went wide and Noah could see not only the fear in them but also a thousand questions. But he knew the man wouldn’t ask him a single one of them, though, because that was how Jacob had trained him. Noah knew this because Jacob had trained him the same way.

“I, I’m not supposed to talk to anyone,” he mumbled as he quickly zipped up and moved over to the sink.

“What’s your name?” Noah said as he stepped closer to the man who was mumbling to himself as he washed his hands. As Noah got closer he realized that the man was counting how many times he rubbed the soap over his hands, like Jacob had burned it into his brain that if he didn’t wash long enough he wasn’t clean. Fucking bastard.

“J-J-J-Jesse,” the kid mumbled as he resumed his counting.

Noah stepped up to Jesse’s back and reached over to close his hands over Jesse’s, causing Jesse to hiss in a breath, “Broken ribs, three broken wrists, five concussions, two broken arms, two broken ankles, and a punctured lung from when he stabbed me with a butcher knife.”

“He, he doesn’t really hit me,” he whispered.

That surprised Noah for a brief second but then he realized…. “No, but he does other things that make you feel hopeless, helpless, humiliated.”

“I, I, I m-m-make him angry. I’m bad.”

“No, Jesse. I never did anything wrong and neither did you. You don’t have to live like this. I can help you. Let me help you, please.”

Jesse’s tear-filled eyes looked at Noah in the mirror, “How?”

“Come with me, right now. I’ll take you someplace safe where he’ll never find you, I promise.”

Tears spilled over onto Jesse’s cheeks as he looked down and ran his fingers over his forearm, “Yes he will, he’ll always find me.”

As Noah’s eyes darted down to Jesse’s arm, realization hit him like a freight train, “Fucking hell, Jesse, did he put a tracking device in your arm?”

Jesse silently nodded his head.



Blackbird Teaser7

About the Author

Kendel Duncan is the pen name for author Dara Nelson. Both her Healing Hearts series (Dara Nelson) and The Black Ops Heroes series (Kendel Duncan) garner such praise as: “Ah-mazing!”, “It’s a keeper!” and “One of the best books I’ve read”

A long-time reader of the romance genre, Dara (Kendel) writes tear-jerking, sigh-inducing romance and heart-pounding, exciting erotic fiction and lives with her husband on a small farm near Tacoma, WA. You can reach her on Facebook at either of her author pages listed below

Some of her favorite authors include Riley Hart, Ella Frank, Devon McCormack, Aimee Nicole Walker, Sloane Kennedy, Dan Skinner and too many more to name.

Social Media Links

Facebook Author pages Kendel Duncan and Dara Nelson Books

Amazon Author pages – Dara Nelson and Kendel Duncan

Blog Site – Love Unchained Book Reviews




October 26

Bookaholic & Kindle REVIEW

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author REVIEW

Megan’s Media Melange REVIEW

Tangents and Tissues

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

MM Good Book Reviews

October 27

Zipper Rippers

My Fiction Nook

We Three Queens

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Stories That Make You Smile

October 28

Bayou Book Junkie REVIEW

Gay Book Reviews

A Book Lover’s Dream Book Blog REVIEW

MJ’s Book Blog and Reviews

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A MelanieM Review: Bull (Brawlers #3) by J.M. Dabney


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Welcome to Brawlers Bar…

They said men only get better with age, distinguished and all that BS, but Archer “Bulletproof” Woods hadn’t gotten better. At fifty-six he was still as much an asshole as he’d been in his twenties and thirties, hell, maybe he was worse. Being a bouncer at a bar called Brawlers suited him just fine and he even tolerated the rest of the crew who’d taken up residence in his house when they’d had nowhere else to go. He was big, growly and homely that kept the parade of men passing through Brawlers at arm’s length for the past decade. One night changed all that.

What he’d thought was happily ever after turned into a nearly five year nightmare. Gregory Charles appeared to have it all, a successful business, sophistication, and a perfect marriage. His friend and best employee, Landon, begged him to come out to a friend’s bar to celebrate Landon’s anniversary. What could it hurt? A night without contemplating the hell that would come down on him the moment he served his husband with divorce papers would do him good. That is until he met the brooding older man staring into a whiskey straight ignoring everyone around him.

Watching for trouble was his job and Gregory screamed mistake as soon as the long, lean and handsome man sat down beside him. But he also knew when someone was in over their head and Gregory needed someone to watch his back. That someone was Bull, only time would tell if he’d have to fight Gregory as much as the man after him.

Bull‘s story is the one I’ve been waiting for.  I’ve love the huge, hulking father figure ever since I became aware of the Brawlers and their extended family.  It’s Bull and his house whose been the home and focal point of so many of these stories.  And it’s been Bull who’s been such a steadying influence on those around him when everything felt like it was being destroyed for them.  Yet Bull was ever lonely, alpha among alphas, and you wanted to get the know the person called Bull.  In Bull (Brawlers #3) by J.M. Dabney I finally got that story.

The solitary man isn’t the one I was prepared to find.  He’s hardly anywhere close to the men he houses, although he  clearly understands them and the violence that drives them.  Instead Dabney gives us a man full of pain and loneliness, hating it, yet perhaps thinking that his time for something more has passed him by because of his age.  The sadness is overwhelming.  Then Gregory appears at Brawlers, helping to  celebrate Landon’s anniversary and a connection is made that changes everything.

Gregory is a complicated character (they all are here).  Explaining more about Gregory actually gives away too much of the the plot for my comfort, however, let’s just say trying to serve divorce papers to a husband isn’t always the easiest thing when the husband refuses to accept them.  This is a hurt/comfort story and deals with issues of domestic violence and control.

Bull’s situation (he’s divorced with a grown child he hasn’t seen in awhile) plus his age all determines the manner in which he views his actions towards Gregory and any possibility of a relationship.  Gregory’s own demons also need to be dealt with by Gregory himself and others.  Broken, bruised men are the heart of most of Dabney’s stories.  For most, life has made them hard and violent, but for some, it’s left it’s marks in other ways.

The relationship dynamics here make any romance unsure and slow as it should be.  I loved the struggle and the carefulness taken to ensure more pain wasn’t inflicted.   I like that there is an awareness of the age issue, it’s addressed, and they move forward. Was it a little rushed towards the end?  Perhaps, but the whole is darn near perfect.

I think Bull is one of my favorite Brawler books of the series.  Of course, I do love the whole series and the one that follows it.  I have them all listed below.  Check them all out and check them off as I review them.  I highly recommend them all.

Cover design by Winterheart Designs is perfect for Bull, how I love these covers.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 199 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC (first published 2017)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBrawlers #3

  • Executioners – third series

Alex Beecroft Returns to Trowchester with Blue Steel Chain (Trowchester Blues #3) A Stunning Novel! – giveaway



Blue Steel Chain (Trowchester Blues #3)
by Alex Beecroft

Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Sales Link: Riptide Publishing


About Blue Steel Chain:

At sixteen, Aidan Swift was swept off his feet by a rich older man who promised to take care of him for the rest of his life. But eight years later, his sugar daddy has turned from a prince into a beast. Trapped and terrified, Aidan snatches an hour’s respite at the Trowchester Museum.

Local archaeologist James Huntley is in a failing long distance relationship with a rock star, and Aidan—nervous, bruised, and clearly in need of a champion—brings out all his white knight tendencies. When everything falls apart for Aidan, James saves him from certain death . . . and discovers a skeleton of another boy who wasn’t so lucky.

As Aidan recovers, James falls desperately in love. But though Aidan acts like an adoring boyfriend, he doesn’t seem to feel any sexual attraction at all. Meanwhile there are two angry exes on the horizon, one coming after them with the press and the other with a butcher’s knife. To be together, Aidan and James must conquer death, sex, and everyone’s preconceptions about the right way to love—even their own.

Blue Steel Chain by Alex Beecroft is available from Riptide Publishing on July 27.

About Author Alex Beecroft

Alex Beecroft is an English author best known for historical fiction, notably Age of Sail, featuring gay characters and romantic storylines. Her novels and shorter works include paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary fiction.

Beecroft won Linden Bay Romance’s (now Samhain Publishing) Starlight Writing Competition in 2007 with her first novel, Captain’s Surrender, making it her first published book. On the subject of writing gay romance, Beecroft has appeared in the Charleston City Paper, LA Weekly, the New Haven Advocate, the Baltimore City Paper, and The Other Paper. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association of the UK and an occasional reviewer for the blog  HYPERLINK “http://speakitsname.com/” \n _blankSpeak Its Name, which highlights historical gay fiction.

Alex was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She lives with her husband and two children in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.

Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has led a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800-year-old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.

She is represented by Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Literary Agency.

Connect with Alex:

Website:  “http://alexbeecroft.com/
Blog:  http://alexbeecroft.com/blog
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Alex_Beecroft
Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/Alex_Beecroftt



Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a signed paperback from Alex Beecroft’s backlist. (Any title which has a paperback edition, excluding Blue Steel Chain.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 25. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Trowchester Blues ( A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words ★★★★★ Series)


Trowchester Blues coverBlue eyed Stranger coverBlueSteelChain_600x900





Trowchester: it’s the fourth smallest city in Britain, and visitors sometimes think it hasn’t left the Middle Ages yet. There’s a Bronze Age barrow, a wide network of ley lines, the best tea shop in the county, and more morris dancers than you can shake a stick at. Trowchester attracts those who have been hurt and those who are looking for sanctuary from the modern world. But scratch the surface and there’s murder and mayhem aplenty. People come here to find love, but they’re forced to learn bravery first.

The release order of the Trowchester series is Trowchester Blues, Blue Eyed Stranger, and Blue Steel Chain, but you can start with withichever book catches your eye; they each stand alone.  We highly recommend them all.

– See more at Riptide Publishing’s Trowchester Blues  series page.


Review: Unearthing Cole by AM Arthur


Rating: 4.25 stars

Unearthing Cole coverFleeing an abusive relationship, Cole Alston returns home after the death of his estranged mother to settle her estate and sell off the house and all her possessions. Cole has been dreading such a day as both his parents were hoarders and the property more resembles a junk yard then home, the same as it was when he lived there growing up.  As full of painful memories as it is, Cole feels he has no choice.  He needs the money to relocate to Canada as his ex continues to stalk him but the task before him seems overwhelming and he doesn’t know where to begin.

Jeremy Collins owns the local antiques business in town.  For years he has been trying to get Cole’s parents to sell some of the things they have accumulated on their farm to no avail.  When Cole returns to town, Jeremy gets in touch with him, first to buy some of the things at the farm. Then Jeremy gets to know Cole and it is Cole’s vulnerability and pain that draws Jeremy to help him get rid of years of hoarding while helping him uncover his past.  Slowly as the men clear away years of clutter and trash, they start to build a relationship of affection and trust, amazing given Cole’s background.  But there is still so much in their path to happiness, including Cole’s anxiety, and his past in the form of his ex boyfriend.  Will Cole be able to clear away his pain and emotional baggage before he can move forward to a new life.

Unearthing Cole tackles some very serious topics within its plot and does it very well.  It is the first book by A. M. Arthur that I have read and I am really impressed by the way Arthur handles this difficult subject matter while maintaining our connection to a very wounded young man, Cole, and his potential love interest, Jeremy.  Cole Alston has had a traumatic upbringing as both his parents were hoarders during a time where very little was known of what is now diagnosed as a mental illness.  All Cole knew was that he had no parental support and his parents seemed to love their “things” more than himself.  Arthur correctly imagines what the life of a child raised under those circumstances must have been like in heartbreaking detail as well as the consequences of their development into adulthood.  Cole is insecure and low self esteem, wanting a home and someone to belong to above all else.  This outlook and lack of stability has dire consequences when Cole picks one person to hook up with in college.

If you have ever, however fleetingly, seen parts of that Hoarders program on cable, then you have seen the pain and anger of the families of the hoarder almost burst from the screen, years of abuse pouring forth from children, partners, relatives and friends who have failed to stop the hoarder from accumulating things without regard to what is happening around them.  Horrific on all accounts, including the puzzled, blank expressions of the hoarders themselves who can’t begin to fathom what they have done, including the filth they are living in.  And Arthur gets it all right, from the descriptions of Cole’s house to the pain and anger he carries within him.

Added to that almost unimaginable background, Arthur extrapolates what that upbringing would have done to a child and gives us a Cole who ends up in an abusive relationship that takes him years to escape.  Arthur makes it all seem so logical and realistic and perhaps that is the worst part of it all, the ease with which the abuser was able to take over Cole’s life.   And throughout the story, the reader is there, inside Cole’s tormented mind as he struggles to reclaim himself but to do so he must face his past, strewn out before him across the outbuildings, yards, and crammed full house of his youth.

Jeremy Collins has his own unique layers, he is bisexual, a widower, and now lives in a small town  not always accepting of alternate lifestyles.  He is familiar with loss and pain, and is uniquely positioned to help Cole uncover his past, helping the real Cole to emerge along the way.  I like him as well.  There aren’t many other characters introduced here, the main story revolves around these two men, their past histories, and the situation before them.  Again, I think that Arthur handles their delicate dance towards a relationship with care and authenticity with regard to all of the obstacles presented by Cole’s background.

And that brings me down to the issues I did have with the story.  I felt that the ending and denouement was rushed, especially considering the buildup and emotional impact of seeing his abuser once more.  That was frustrating and over far too quickly given their past, and the damage that had been inflicted.  I did like that this ended in a HFN as opposed to a HEA which would have felt out of place given the characters and background.  Had this story been lengthened just enough to flesh out the ending that the rest of the story deserved than the rating would have been much higher.  As it remains, I still recommend this author and Unearthing Cole, it’s memorable, and the characters haunting in their pain.  Don’t pass this one by.

Cover art by LC Chase is as haunting and memorable as the book.

Book Details:

ebook, 170 pages
Published March 20th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
edition language

Seizing It by Chris T. Kat


Rating: 3 stars

Kit Hall, veterinary assistant, leads a life of strict routine that his epilepsy and physician requires of him. Kit has also isolated himself by choice from others with the exception of his sister and the veterinarian he works for.  A victim of domestic abuse from his ex, Kit finds himself unwilling to trust others to the extent that he has walled himself off from most personal interactions.  When Kit is attacked outside his home by a crazed admirer, his sister and a good looking stranger come to his aid. The attack puts him off balance. When he learns that Alan, his friend/boss, is moving and someone else is taking over the clinic, Kit becomes even more unsettled.  The next day at the clinic Kit is horrified to find out that his new boss is none other than his rescuer from the day before.

Dale Miller is on his way to his new veterinary clinic when he chances upon a young man being attacked.  He intervenes, restraining the attacker until the police arrive. He is not the only one surprised when he meets the young man again at the clinic he is taking over.  It turns out his  assistant, Kit Hall, and the victim, are one and the same.  A fact that Kit is not happy about and makes very clear to him.  But he finds Kit  attractive and becomes determined to be the one to make Kit lower his defenses and take one more chance at love.

Several days later and this book still has me confused about my feelings towards it.  Mostly they are of the “not so good” type.  Add to that column, “flashes of talent”, “great idea”,”kind of creepy” and “downright annoying”, and I think you all will begin to get my drift.  The author had a great idea for a protagonist here but never brought the main character up to snuff.  I was really looking forward to a thoughtful exploration of a life lived with epilepsy, the proscribed limits and how a full life could still be achieved within them. That is not what I got in any way, starting with that title. Seizing It? Really?  Should I say it had me fit to be tied? *that was sarcastic, people – shakes head*

In addition to epilepsy, Chris T. Kat has burdened Kit Hall with being a victim of a shattering domestic abuse attack from his controlling and mentally ill ex, a temper that should see him in anger management classes and a family that treats him as though he is twelve (and sometimes rightfully so). I think we are supposed to find him one of those endearing prickly main characters, slight in stature, with a shock of red hair and green eyes.  I generally like those characters.  I didn’t like Kit Hall.  Mostly I wanted to send him off to intensive therapy sessions which he clearly needed, not to be seen again.  The author endowed Kit with a temper which as victimized as he is I could understand but apparently he has always had a temper that he directs at all close to him while acknowledging that he may be a brat.  This got very old as it would in real life and Kit comes across as a bit of an abuser and bully himself.

Further complicating the story is the other main character, Dale Miller.  He is older, finds Kit incredibly attractive, and wants to rescue Kit from himself.  In one section when Kit is freaking out over Dale restraining him (???) during an argument, I started to get that squicked out feeling.  I remember seeing adult handlers forcibly restraining out of control children (mentally and physically challenged) in the same manner until they calmed down.  To see it used here between “potential” lovers hit quite a few wrong notes. Especially when Dale then picks up Kit and put him in his lap.  Am I the only one thinking child abuser not lover here?  And then Kit falls in love with him immediately in a couple of days? Never has a case of “instant love” seemed so wrong.

What I did find realistic is that Kit is ashamed he is epileptic and doesn’t tell Dale about his condition until a Grand Mal seizure forces him to. I had a childhood friend who felt the same way.  He moved away in elementary school so I never knew how the adult Tim dealt with it.  The author does a good job talking about stress being a trigger as well as using medication and a regulated life style to control his epilepsy. I wish she had done as well with the issue of domestic abuse which loomed as a larger subject here.  Male victims of domestic abuse represent a huge sector of people who go unreported and unaccounted for.  Kit’s issues that stemmed from his years of living with a domestic abuser are never really dealt with in the same manner his epilepsy is.  A missed opportunity the book never recovers from in my opinion.

I won’t even get into his father issues and a family determined not to let a 28 year old grow up and make his own decisions.  Let’s leave that one alone.  It’s overshadowed anyway by all the problems I have already remarked on.  Seizing It is the only book I have read by Chris T. Kat so I don’t know if this story is typical of her work or not.  I hope not.  She does have some good ideas here but in the end raises far more questions about her protagonists and their relationship then is resolved in the book.

Cover:  The artist is Anne Cain who I love  but where are the dogs? Another missed opportunity as one main character is a vet, and the other is his assistant with a dog who is also a main character within the story. It remains a beautiful cover of two men in a fall setting.