A MelanieM Review: Where Death Meets the Devil by LJ Hayward

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Jack Reardon, former SAS soldier and current Australian Meta-State asset, has seen some messy battles. But “messy” takes on a whole new meaning when he finds himself tied to a chair in a torture shack, his cover blown wide open, all thanks to notorious killer-for-hire Ethan Blade.

Blade is everything Jack doesn’t believe in: remorseless, detached, lawless. Yet, Jack’s only chance to survive is to strike a bargain with the devil and join forces with Blade. As they trek across a hostile desert, Jack learns that Blade is much more than a dead-eyed killer—and harder to resist than he should be.

A year later, Jack is home and finally getting his life on track. Then Ethan Blade reappears and throws it all into chaos once more. It’s impossible to trust the assassin, especially when his presence casts doubts on Jack’s loyalty to his country, but Jack cannot ignore what Blade’s return means: the mess that brought them together is far from over, and Ethan might just bring back the piece of Jack’s soul he thought he’d lost forever.

What words do I use?  Highly entertaining! Incredibly suspenseful and thrilling!  Full of unforeseeable twists and turns with characters to die for! Where Death Meets the Devil by LJ Hayward is all that and more I can’t remember reading anything by this author before but in one story Hayward became a must read author.  In a story so smooth, so compelling that I stayed up until the wee hours, caught up in the gripping tale of Jack Reardon and Ethan Blade.  And then that ending!  Swoon!

The format Hayward chooses to help tell this tale definitely pulls you further into the intrigue and drama.  The story switches effortlessly back and forth  between the first time Jack encounters Ethan Blade in the torture shack to the present. You are caught up  reading, then you are flipping at just the right time in the narrative to emphasize the power of the moment. Brilliant.  You get to see the differing mindsets, the history between the men, the change perhaps in dynamics…I don’t think I’ve ever seen this format work so well or contribute  so much to the overall energy of the narrative.  It’s perfect.

So too are the characters.  I can’t say too much except that you will believe in these men, their flaws as well as their strengths.  They have true chemistry and given their tough conditions and situations, you will believe in that and them over and over again.  I’ll say no more.

Where Death Meets the Devil by LJ Hayward has a camel named Sophia, more plots twists than can fill a pool in an oasis,  and a ending I absolutely adored.  It also sent me running to the publisher begging for information about any news about sequels.  Yes, my readers, apparently there’s one in the works. Be still my heart.    So now I’m off to read this story again.  Yes, I loved it that much. You will too.  Put Where Death Meets the Devil on your TBR list and the author LJ Hayward on your must read list as well. You won’t be sorry.  I highly recommend them both.

Cover art: L.C. Chase.  I like the cover.  It works for the story.  Very jazzy.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 395 pages
Published February 26th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleWhere Death Meets the Devil
ISBN 1626497168 (ISBN13: 9781626497160)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Review :New Heights by Quinn Anderson

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

After attending a friend’s wedding in New York, James Thompson is eager to go home, even though no one will be waiting for him at the gate. He has no expectations for his trip back to Charleston other than long lines, security, and bad airplane food. But when an annoying—albeit hot—stranger cuts him in line, James is determined not to be a pushover for once.

For Mika “It’s Mee-kuh, not Micah” Bailey, today’s just another day of boring work travel. That is, until his flight gets delayed, and some irritating (but handsome) guy keeps hogging all the good power outlets. Which means war. In the middle of an airport. In New York. What could go wrong?

Eventually, they declare a truce, and as they get to know each other, their attraction overwhelms them both. Terrified of what he’s feeling, Mika suggests a no-strings hookup, but serial-monogamist James wants more. If they don’t fight for what’s right in front of them, their romance might be canceled before it ever takes off.

New Heights is the first book I read by this new to me author Quinn Anderson and I have to say it was a pleasurable surprise. I soon found myself caught up into the MCs lives and I quickly finished the story. A lovely novella based on the enemies to lovers trope, which I adore. I like to read characters banter and provoke each other reactions with silly annoyances and then try to be kind with little cares.

That’s exactly what happened in New Heights between James and Mika. Both stuck at the NY airport waiting for their delayed (too many times) plane and both on the way home, Charleston. While James is pretty much a good boy, available and respectful, maybe too much, even if too many times people takes advantage of his goodness, Mika is irreverent and provocative, with a smart mouth always wanting the last word. He seems so shallow, in life as in relationships, but James is able to get him tongue tied.

They are so different it should be impossible to find common points but after the pranks they created, something special seemed to be there too. The chemistry is so strong that it’s hard to resist to some time alone in the airport bathroom. They clicked so well together, they were adorable.

I quite enjoyed this new release, the writing was very good, with a double POV that made everything clear, I found interesting how almost the whole book (except the epilogue) takes place in just the few hours the MCs spent at the airport between outlet wars and bathroom sex.  I actually thought I would gotten an HFN ending, instead the author gave me a sweet epilogue with a certain HEA. I will surely read more about Quinn Anderson.

The cover art by LC Chase is super cute, I adored it since I saw it the first time, it’s the reason why I later decided to read the blurb and give the title a chance.

SALE LINKS    RIPTIDE  |   Amazon links to come

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 140 pages

Expected publication: March 12th 2018 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN13 9781626497450

Edition Language English

LJ Hayward on 1% Inspiration and her new release Where Death Meets the Devil (guest blog and giveaway)

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Where Death Meets the Devil by L.J. Hayward
Riptide Publishing

Cover art by: L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here at Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host L.J. Hayward today on tour for her new story Where Death Meets the Devil. Welcome, L.J.

♦︎

1% Inspiration? by L. J. Hayward

Most writers claim to hate the old “Where do you find your inspiration?” question. Personally, I love to talk about my thought processes and progression and, yes, inspiration, for my stories. My problem is finding anyone to ask the question who is also willing to listen to me ramble. I’ll promise not to ramble here.

Inspiration for Where Death Meets the Devil wasn’t a single ‘eureka’ moment. I bet few ‘inspiring’ events are. Rather, I think of it as a catalyst. That often indescribable thing that lets a bunch of random thoughts coalesce into a workable idea. For me, all my random ideas were centred around wanting to write an M/M book but feeling incapable of producing a romance novel. One of my all-time favourite M/M series is Manna Francis’s Administration and its distinct characters. I’m also a proud Aussie and while I do get immersed in stories set in the USA and UK, I want to see more stuff set in Australia.

All these things clicked into place with the single thought, what does Australia have an abundance of? Empty land that can be deadly.

Suddenly, I had a setting. The middle of the desert, a dangerous place to be alone. But what if you weren’t alone? What if you weren’t sure if the man with you was friend or foe? What if he happened to be so intriguing you began to forget your doubts? Around these questions, the rest of the story began to take shape.

Hi all!! Welcome to my inaugural blog tour. I’m incredibly excited to be here, introducing you to my new book, Where Death Meets the Devil!! It’s full of action and suspense and two damaged men who shouldn’t be friends—or more—coming together to uncover a common enemy—and more. I’d love to have you join me on the tour where I’ll be dorking… ah hem, talking about the importance of titles, the dangers of research, theme songs and other stuff. And if watching while I potentially embarrass myself isn’t enticement enough, there’s a chance to win a $10 Riptide gift card!

About Where Death Meets the Devil

Jack Reardon, former SAS soldier and current Australian Meta-State asset, has seen some messy battles. But “messy” takes on a whole new meaning when he finds himself tied to a chair in a torture shack, his cover blown wide open, all thanks to notorious killer-for-hire Ethan Blade.

Blade is everything Jack doesn’t believe in: remorseless, detached, lawless. Yet, Jack’s only chance to survive is to strike a bargain with the devil and join forces with Blade. As they trek across a hostile desert, Jack learns that Blade is much more than a dead-eyed killer—and harder to resist than he should be.

A year later, Jack is home and finally getting his life on track. Then Ethan Blade reappears and throws it all into chaos once more. It’s impossible to trust the assassin, especially when his presence casts doubts on Jack’s loyalty to his country, but Jack cannot ignore what Blade’s return means: the mess that brought them together is far from over, and Ethan might just bring back the piece of Jack’s soul he thought he’d lost forever.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

 

About L.J. Hayward

L.J. Hayward has been telling stories for most of her life. Granted, a good deal of them have been of the tall variety, but who’s counting? Parents and teachers notwithstanding, of course. These days, the vast majority of her story telling has been in an honest attempt to create fun and exciting ways of entertaining others (and making money).

As such, she is still a mad (always provoked!) scientist in a dungeon laboratory (it has no windows—seriously, the zombie apocalypse could be going on outside and she’d have nary a clue) who, on the rare occasions she emerges into the light, does so under extreme protest and with the potential hazard of bursting into flames under the Southeast Queensland sun.

Connect with L.J.:

Webiste: http://www.ljhayward.com/

Twitter: @lj_hayward

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Where Death Meets the Devil, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 3, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Jeri Review: Winning Edge by Keira Andrews

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
Who doesn’t love watching the Olympics? You know you do. And you know you love the figure skating. This book by Keira Andrews showed us behind the scenes leading up to and at the (fictional) Olympics. AND it’s an America versus Russia!
Dev and his partner cannot seem to beat Mikhail and his partner. Always coming in second place to the cold as ice (sorry) Russian pair. Until Mikhail kisses him in the locker room. And that ice starts to melt.
I actually really loved Mikhail’s back story. Why he and his partner NEEDED to win Olympic gold. Let’s just say some things never change in Russia. I also really enjoyed that Dev was an Indian American, born in India. So this wholly American with dreams of Olympic gold yet he was not the all American white guy. Things like this make me love a book more.
Dealing with the budding romance between them while still competing against each other was exciting to read about. The politics in the sport, how it isn’t as popular as it used to be, the dynamics with your partner- yes, yes, and yes. I love that kind of thing in a book. It just gives it a little more substance.
I’ll say that the one thing I didn’t like was seeming to jump from one thing to another. I can’t really explain without spoilers, but there were small time jumps without a story to go with them. And I think the story that was missing would have been sweet and romantic. I felt a bit robbed of some romance. And I love romance.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. It amped me up more for the Olympics and I could envision the inner workings of what they all go through.
Cover art:  Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Designs.  Love the cover.
Sales Links:Universal Buy Link: books2read.com/TheWinningEdge
Book Details:
210 pages
Published February 8th 2018 by KA Books (first published February 4th 2014)
Original TitleCold War by Keira Andrews AND Holding the Edge by Keira Andrews
Edition LanguageEnglish

Release Blitz – – The Winning Edge by Keira Andrews (excerpt and giveaway)

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Universal Buy Link: books2read.com/TheWinningEdge
 
Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Designs
 
Blurb
 

Can figure skating enemies find love off the ice?

After an explosive locker room confrontation with his Russian rival ends in the most intense sex of his life, American pairs skater Dev Avira is distracted to say the least. He’s worked for years to have a chance at Olympic gold, and he can’t let himself—or his partner—down. Playing cat and mouse with the steely and smoldering Mikhail Reznikov is the last thing he needs as he prepares for the biggest competition of his life, but they can’t keep their hands off each other as the Games approach.

Dev soon learns that beneath Mikhail’s arrogant and aloof exterior is Misha, a passionate man who warms Dev’s heart and scorches his bed. They’re both determined to win, but for Misha his freedom could be at stake if he and his partner take anything less than gold. Who will stand atop the podium? And can secret lovers from different worlds make a life together once the competition ends?

This gay sports romance from Keira Andrews features enemies to lovers, two alpha men, sequins, and of course a happy ending. Content previously published as novellas Cold War and Holding the Edge.

 

Excerpt
 

December: The Grand Prix Final

Dev reached for his partner’s hand, and he and Bailey glided onto the ice wearing matching bullshit smiles as a voice announced: “In second, and winners of the silver medal, representing the United States of America—Bailey Robinson and Dev Avira!”

Thunderous applause filled the arena, and flashbulbs popped as they took their bows and waved to the cheering Japanese crowd. Dev wished he could soak in their love and choke down the acid bitterness currently lodged somewhere around his sternum.

Smiles still firmly in place, he and Bailey hopped onto the carpet surrounding the podium where the gold medalists waited in all their sequined and red-feathered glory. Leave it to the Russians to make their Firebird costumes as literal as possible. Kisa Kostina, not a bleached-blonde hair out of place, beamed as she bent to air-kiss Bailey’s cheeks.

Dev’s jaw clenched as he shook Mikhail Reznikov’s hand. He hated himself for the skitter of electricity when their eyes and palms met. Mikhail’s lips curved briefly into an approximation of a smile. At thirty-one, with his short dark brown hair sweeping over his forehead, his steel-blue eyes, his broad shoulders and lean, tall body, and his truly spectacular ass, he was stupidly handsome.

Asshole.

Dev and Kisa exchanged air-kisses before he helped Bailey step onto the second tier of the podium. He took his place behind her and waved again to the audience while the third-place Canadians skated out to take their bows, followed by more air-kisses and handshakes. Although Dev and Bailey genuinely liked the Canadian team, this ritual was so painfully fake. They were all here to win, and there was only one satisfied team on the podium.

And satisfied the Russians certainly were. With his regal air, Mikhail was one of the most pompous, egotistical people Dev had ever met. He was the king of the pairs world, and he damn well knew it. Sharp-eyed Kisa was the ice queen, and together they were a perfect, humorless match. They kept to themselves off the ice, always civil but never friendly.

How Dev would love to see Mikhail Reznikov brought to his knees. He ignored the flare of desire in his belly at the other implications of that thought and refocused his attention on his resentment of Mikhail’s place on the podium.

The Grand Prix Final was the last international competition before they all returned home for their national championships in late December and into January. Olympic teams would be determined, and then on to the Games in Annecy in February. Since he was seven, Dev had dreamed of winning Olympic gold. He was so close he could taste it.

The officials presented flowers and medals, and Dev played his jovial part. Being on the podium here meant they were among the best of the best, yet the silver medal hung around his neck like an albatross. He knew he should be grateful for what he had, and proud of everything he and Bailey had accomplished. And he was. But second place wasn’t good enough.

He wanted to win.

As the all too familiar “Hymn of the Russian Federation” played, Dev watched the flags rise to the arena’s rafters. Just once, he wanted the Stars and Stripes to have the middle position. Sure, he and Bailey had won plenty of competitions. They had narrowly missed making the last Olympic team, and that disappointment had fueled them. They’d dominated American pairs skating ever since. Three-time national champions. Winners of multiple Grand Prix events—including Skate America, Skate Canada, NHK Trophy, and the Cup of China.

But they’d never beaten Kostina and Reznikov. Every time they faced the Russians, they came up short. They were the reigning world silver medalists, and even though they’d worked endlessly on their artistry and connection and edges and transitions—it was never enough.

It wasn’t as if the Russians weren’t good. Dev could admit they were amazing, particularly on the technical side. They were three-time world champions, and when they were on, they were unbeatable. But tonight Kisa had fallen on their throw Salchow and they’d lost unison on their side-by-side combination spins. Yet they still won by eight points. Eight! Sure, Bailey had put a hand down on their side-by-side triple toes, but it was a minor error. It felt like the judges had decided Kostina/Reznikov were the winners before any of the pairs even stepped on the ice.

The crowd cheered as the anthem ended, and all the skaters squeezed onto the top of the podium for photographs. At five-ten, Dev wasn’t the biggest of the male pairs skaters, but tiny Bailey only reached his shoulder. Mikhail stood a good three inches taller beside him, because of course he had to be better in absolutely everything. Dev grinned for the photographers and held up his silver medal as he fantasized about elbowing Mikhail off the back of the podium.

The torture continued as the teams posed for more photographs on the ice with their flags. Then it was time to circle the rink for a victory lap. Dev and Bailey stopped to hug a few fans, including Amaya and Reiko, two young women who attended almost every competition around the world. Dev had no idea how they afforded it, but he was always grateful to see them in the stands.

Reiko handed him a stuffed elephant. The elephant was the state animal of Kerala, the Southern Indian state where his parents had grown up before immigrating to the US, where Dev was born. He’d mentioned once in an interview that his good-luck charm was a tiny elephant pendant carved from jade that he wore during every competition on a silver chain, hidden beneath his costumes.

Ever since, fans had given him elephants in every imaginable form, from dolls to statues to goofy hats. He loved every single one, and his mother collected them in what she called the Elephant Room back home in Belmont in the Boston suburbs.

He kissed Reiko’s cheek. “Thank you, sweetheart. Hope we’ll see you in Annecy?”

She bounced. “Oh yes! We would not miss this. And we love new costumes!”

“Glad to hear it!” Dev grinned.

After NHK they’d scrapped their initial costumes, which didn’t quite capture the darkly romantic tone of their Jane Eyre long program—officially called the free skate—set to the score from the 2011 film. Now Dev wore navy trousers and a button-down silk shirt with a simple white cravat, while Bailey’s navy dress with delicate white embroidery at her wrists and around her neck perfectly set off her auburn hair, which she wore twisted into a braid wrapped around a knot. Dev had grown his thick black hair a little on top, where it curled in what he liked to think was a rakish fashion.

Reiko’s smile gave way to a frown. “The results not correct. You and Bailey are true winners today. Everyone thinks this.”

Amaya nodded vigorously.

“Thanks, guys. We love you!” Bailey gave them another hug before they skated on.

After yet more photos, they finally escaped backstage. Their coach, Louise Webber, walked them to the dressing rooms. Louise had been a pairs skater herself in her youth, although she’d never gone past the national level. Now in her forties, she was still in amazing shape, which she attributed to her “Asian genes.” There wasn’t a streak of gray in her short black hair, and while she often said Bailey and Dev would give her wrinkles when they didn’t follow instructions to her satisfaction, none were in evidence.

Dev just wanted to get back to the hotel, but there was still the mandatory press conference to contend with. “Is this over yet?”

“You did your job out there. The rest of it is out of your hands. I’m proud of you.” Louise gave them both a squeeze. “Don’t let it get to you.”

“I’m not. It’s fine. I’m fine,” Dev insisted.

Bailey snorted. “Uh-huh.” She patted his hip before disappearing into the women’s dressing room. “See you in a few.”

Of the six teams that qualified to compete at the Grand Prix Final, the three who didn’t make it to the podium were long gone. In the men’s dressing room, the Canadian, Roger Jackman, was already zipping up his hoodie and stuffing his feet into his sneakers.

“Hey, man. I gotta call my wife back home. The baby’s due any minute now and I want to catch her tonight before it’s too late. Or early. I’m so fucked-up with this time change. Don’t rush getting changed, okay? I need a few extra minutes. See you in the press room.”

“Sure, no problem.” Dev held out his fist. “Great skate tonight.”

Roger bumped him back. “You too.” He shrugged. “What are you gonna do, right?”

As Mikhail strode in, Roger hurried out, tapping his cell phone. Dev sat on a bench and unlaced his skates. From the corner of his eye, he watched Mikhail peel off his black bodysuit festooned with shimmers of burnt orange and red. Several feathers floated to the tile floor. Underneath he wore a black tank top and boxer briefs that clung to his narrow hips and muscular thighs.

Swallowing hard, Dev quickly stripped off his costume and transferred it to a garment bag. Wearing dark boxer briefs as well, he reached for his track pants, but found his attention drawn back to Mikhail. The arena’s locker room had been gussied up with several wardrobe racks and a bank of makeup tables with mirrors and chairs. Still in his underwear, Mikhail went to one of the mirrors and leaned close.

The ego on this guy. It wasn’t bad enough that Mikhail had to always win—did he have to parade around the dressing room half-naked? Still, Dev had to swallow hard as traitorous desire seared in him. Mikhail steadily met his gaze in the mirror, and Dev jerked his head away, cheeks hot. Stupid! The last thing he needed was to get caught lusting after this asshole.

“Don’t worry, your guyliner isn’t smudged,” he snarked before glancing over.

In the mirror, Mikhail’s brow furrowed, but he said nothing and pulled a lash from his eye.

For some reason this refusal to engage lit a fuse to the anger simmering in Dev’s gut. “You know, you could lighten up once in a while. We get it, you’re an artiste. So tortured and…Russian. With your flailing arms and your nines for Performance and Execution even though you just go through the motions. You always get nines, and I bet you did tonight, despite Kisa cleaning the ice with her ass on that throw. You guys even fall artistically according to the judges.”

Mikhail straightened and faced Dev. His gaze raked down Dev’s body and back up. Nostrils flaring, he asked, “You have a problem?” His accent was fairly thick, but his earlier years training in Connecticut gave him a strong command of English. “Talk to the judges. We don’t control them.”

Dev barked out a laugh and took a step closer. “We both know your federation has the judges in its pocket. Skating has always been about politics, and no matter what scoring system they bring in—it always will be.” He shook his head. “Why am I even getting into this?” he muttered, more to himself than Mikhail. He headed toward the bathroom. “Forget it.”

Mikhail stood unmoving, and maybe Dev meant to get a little too close and knock his shoulder. But he definitely didn’t intend to end up slammed into a locker with Mikhail gripping his arms, his eyes blazing and face twisted. Dev’s skin burned where Mikhail touched him.

“You think it’s so easy for us? You know nothing. Nothing!”

Dev shoved against Mikhail’s chest, but he didn’t budge. Fingers curling in Mikhail’s tank top, Dev struggled to focus when he wanted so much to rip the cotton away and feel Mikhail’s pale skin. “Cry me a river! You win everything just by showing up. You could drag Kisa around by her hair for four and a half minutes and you’d be golden.”

Poshel na hui,” Mikhail spat.

Dev had been around Russians long enough to translate. He gritted his teeth. “Fuck you too.”

Their harsh breathing filled the air, fingers digging into each other’s skin, bodies so close and—

They were kissing, mouths open and teeth clashing, tongues battling as they rutted together. The metal of the locker was cold against Dev’s back, but everything else was fire—desire pumping through his veins, and the unstoppable urge to get closer, closer, closer. He moaned raggedly as his brain tried to connect with his body.

What am I doing? Stop!

His body ignored him, and he spread his legs as Mikhail jammed his thigh between them. They were both already hard in their underwear, and Mikhail groaned as Dev grabbed his ass and ground their hips together. Dev hated him so much, but he couldn’t stop touching. His hands roamed over the hard angles of Mikhail’s body, and he panted into wet, messy kisses. Mikhail clutched Dev’s hips and thrust their cocks together.

Anyone could walk in. Stop! I hate him! Wrong, wrong, wrong!

The scattered snippets of thought only made his pulse roar louder, and his balls tightened already, his body desperate for the release. They jerked together, and Dev could only give in to the madness that had taken over.

When Dev’s orgasm ripped through him, his shout was muffled by Mikhail’s palm slapping over his mouth. Mikhail hunched over as he rubbed against Dev in a frenzy, his quiet little gasps warm and wet against Dev’s neck. He came silently, shuddering with the pulses of his release. Dev’s body hummed with aftershocks, and he closed his eyes, breathing hard through his nose since Mikhail’s hand still covered his mouth.

Then the heat vanished, and Dev opened his eyes. Mikhail backed up across the dressing room, shaking his head slowly, eyes wide. Dev was frozen in place against the locker, his briefs sticky, and his arms hanging at his sides. They stared at each other as the seconds ticked by.

“Gentlemen?” a man’s voice called, accompanied by a sharp knock on the door. “We’re ready for you in the media room.”

They leaped into action, yanking on clean underwear, street clothes, and shoes in a blur of movement, not meeting each other’s eyes. Dev made it out first, and he smiled and made his apologies to the officials, following them to the press room. Sweaty and sticky and in desperate need of a shower, he tugged on his fleece and felt exposed even though it wasn’t as if there were wet spots on his track pants.

In the press room, the other skaters sat behind a long table on a raised dais. Kisa waited in the middle with the Canadians on her left and Bailey her right, everyone seated in their medal positions. On the rows of chairs in front of the table, the media, coaches, and various event and federation officials waited. Dev avoided looking any of them in the eye as he took his seat.

He couldn’t avoid his partner, and he smiled in what he hoped was a low-key, completely normal way. His mouth felt raw. Jesus, do I have beard burn? Bailey’s brows knitted together, and she reached up and straightened his hair. Shit. His hair.

Everyone knows! It’s flashing all over me in neon letters. Neon and all caps!

Breathing deeply, he struggled to unscrew the cap from the bottle of water placed on the table in front of him. It took two tries, but he got it, and gulped. His heart pounded so loudly he was sure everyone could hear it.

“Everything okay?” Bailey murmured.

He nodded.

Under the table, she squeezed his thigh. “We’re almost there. Just think—tomorrow we leave Kyoto and get to sleep in our own beds again. At least for a few weeks.”

With a rush of affection, he took her hand. If there was one thing he could count on, it was having Bailey beside him. He exhaled and concentrated on her familiar warmth.

Mikhail entered the room, head high and shoulders back, his hair artfully swooped over his forehead. He managed to make warm-up pants and his red Russian team jacket look like Armani. Expression calm, he took his seat next to Kisa. While Dev wanted to crawl out of his skin with a mess of emotions from shock and anger to a shameful craving for more, Mikhail Reznikov appeared utterly unaffected.

Dev had never hated him more.

Author Bio

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said:

“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

Contact/Follow the author at:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Bookbub

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A Lila Review: An Actor’s Guide to Romance by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

When long-time theatrical enemies are cast as lovers, their late-night rehearsal brings a whole new meaning to method acting.

For twenty years, Adam Fisher and Thomas Fox have been the best of enemies. From their first meeting at drama school to shared stages, shared bills and a competition to amass the most illustrious awards, they have been the names on every theatregoers’ lips. Separately they can sell out an entire run in an hour, so when they’re cast as lovers in London’s hottest new play, the tickets are gone in minutes.

But for rakish Adam and gentlemanly Thomas, the small matter of their first on-stage kiss is causing a headache for everyone. Over a bottle of wine on one rainy night in the city, these two acting legends will do whatever it takes to banish their first-night nerves. After all, as everyone knows, the show must go on!

An Actor’s Guide to Romance is an extra-long scene story. There’s not much more to it other than a quick introduction to the characters, their first time together, and their confessions of love & future planning.  We get most of the information about their times together by their thoughts and conversation.

The story is well written and the MCs are well developed for such a short story. The language is formal and dramatic just like the actors and there are fun moments to bring the reader closer to Thomas andAdam.

Overall, this is a good story if you want a smart, quick British story with two older characters and a nice setting. If you aren’t into enemies-to-lovers and fast “I love yous” this might not be your story.

The cover by Erin Dameron-Hill is pretty but doesn’t say much about the story.

Sale Links: PrideAmazon | NOOK

ebook, 200 pages
Published: January 23, 2018, by Pride Publishing
ISBN: 9781786516466
Edition Language: English

Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Two Man Station (Emergency Services #1) by Lisa Henry

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Two Man Station (Emergency Services #1) by Lisa Henry
Riptide Publishing
Cover art: Natasha Snow

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

 

About Two Man Station

Gio Valeri is a big city police officer who’s been transferred to the small outback town of Richmond with his professional reputation in tatters. His transfer is a punishment, and Gio just wants to keep his head down and survive the next two years. No more mistakes. No more complications.

Except Gio isn’t counting on Jason Quinn.

Jason Quinn, officer in charge of Richmond Station, is a single dad struggling with balancing the demands of shift work with the challenges of raising his son. The last thing he needs is a new senior constable with a history of destroying other people’s careers. But like it or not, Jason has to work with Gio.

In a remote two man station hours away from the next town, Gio and Jason have to learn to trust and rely on each another. Close quarters and a growing attraction mean that the lines between professional and personal are blurring. And even in Richmond, being a copper can be dangerous enough without risking their hearts as well.

Available now from Riptide Publishing.

About Lisa Henry

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Connect with Lisa:

Website: lisahenryonline.com

Blog: lisahenryonline.blogspot.com

Twitter: @lisahenryonline

Goodreads: goodreads.com/LisaHenry

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Two Man Station, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit and a package of Australian goodies! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 27, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Riptide Tour and Giveaway: Relay (Changing Lanes #1) by Layla Reyne

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Relay (Changing Lanes #1) by Layla Reyne
Riptide Publishing
Cover by: Garrett Leigh

Read an Excerpt/Buy It here

Welcome to the RELAY Blog Tour, presented by Layla Reyne and Riptide Publishing! RELAY, by Layla Reyne, is Book 1 of the Changing Lanes sports romance series featuring Olympic swimmers. RELAY is an enemies-to-lovers, second chance romance between Alex, the team captain, and his closeted ex, Dane, swimming’s biggest star. Read on to learn more about RELAY, Changing Lanes, and Layla Reyne!

About Relay

Captain is not a title Alejandro “Alex” Cantu takes lightly. Elected by his teammates to helm the US Men’s Swim Team, he proudly accepts the role, despite juggling endless training, team administrative work, and helping out on the family farm. And despite his ex-lover, Dane Ellis—swimming’s biggest star—also making the Olympic Team.

Dane has been a pawn in his celebrity parents’ empire from crib to pool, flashing his camera-ready smile on demand and staying deeply in the closet. Only once did he drop the act—the summer he fell in love with Alex. Ten years later, Dane longs to cut his parents’ strings, drop his too-bright smile, and beg Alex for another chance.

Alex, though, isn’t ready to forgive and forget, and Dane is a distraction he doesn’t need on his team, until an injury forces Alex to accept Dane as his medley relay anchor. Working together, their passion reignites. When Dane’s parents threaten reprisal and Alex is accused of doping, the two must risk everything to prove Alex’s innocence, to love one another, and to win back their spots on the team, together.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About Changing Lanes

A chance at gold or a chance at love? Members of the US Men’s Swim Team fight for both in this sports romance duology following two couples on one medley relay team as they train and compete in the world’s biggest sporting event: the Olympics. To reach the top of the podium, they’ll need to depend on one another and be willing to change lanes—in their lives and hearts, and in the biggest race of their athletic careers.

Check out Changing Lanes!

About Layla Reyne

2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bicoastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart-pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.

Social Media:

Website: http://laylareyne.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/laylareyne

FB Profile: www.facebook.com/laylareynebooks

FB Fan Page: www.facebook.com/laylareyne

FB Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/216903272072959/

Tumblr: laylareyne.tumblr.com

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/laylareyne

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/laylareyne

Amazon: amazon.com/author/laylareyne

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bN9ncH

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Relay, one lucky winner will receive a signed paperback copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 13, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Lila Advent Release Day Review: Wreck the Halls (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Jessica Payseur

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Business has been good at Paul’s Café in Madison, Wisconsin—until a few months before Christmas. When Nick opens Nick’s Restaurant next door, Paul watches his customers leave for cheaper food and an owner who smiles more. With his livelihood at stake, Paul lashes out, trying to drive away Nick’s customers, but Nick won’t go easy, and escalating sabotage threatens to ruin the holidays for both of them.

Paul thinks all he wants for Christmas is to see Nick’s Restaurant go under, but the more he tries to drive Nick away, the less he’s sure he wants him to go. Nick is everything Paul secretly craves, but by the time he realizes Nick is all he really wants for the holidays, he might have ruined any chance for them to get together. And there might not be a present in the world that can fix that.

Wreck the Halls is a cute enemies-to-lovers short story with a mix of Grinch and Scrooges. As Paul and Nick clash over the weeks, it’s easy to see why they try to outdo the other.  And to understand why they loved their cafes so much.

Unfortunately, as with any short story, there are too many details left to the reader’s imagination. That’s without counting how fast they moved forward and talked about love. There are also some situations easily solve by simply talking instead of ignoring it.

Overall, it’s a quick read for those looking for a little Holiday cheer.

The cover by Brooke Albrecht is a bit simple but fitting for this story.

Sale Links: Dreamspinners | Amazon | NOOK

ebook, 46 pages
Published: December 1, 2017, by Dreamspinners Press
ISBN: 9781640803053
Edition Language: English

A Stella Review: Yours For The Holiday by DJ Jamison

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Fresh off a break-up, Remy is in no mood to share a room with his brother’s best friend during a holiday stay at home. Jason Hendricks has always treated him like a little brother to tease and taunt, all the more embarrassing because Remy has secretly crushed on the jerk since puberty. But when Jason confides he’s bisexual, Remy realizes the crush he loves to hate could be the perfect rebound.

Jason has always found Remy appealing. He didn’t handle his attraction well when he was younger, but now Remy’s a grown man and Jason’s no longer afraid of his feelings. Some playful flirtation sounds like a great way to spend Thanksgiving break, but he’s not prepared for Remy’s newfound sex appeal or his decision to make Jason his rebound fling. Jason doesn’t want to risk fallout with a family that’s always been there for him, but he’s not sure he can resist.

When the two part ways, they don’t plan to stay in touch, but soon they’re texting, trading sexy pictures and helping each other cope with family drama. Remy agrees to be his for the holiday, continuing their secret fling over Christmas, but Jason knows that won’t be enough. He’ll have to find the courage to be open and honest with his best friend — and the whole Wells family — if he wants a chance at love in the new year.

Yours For The Holiday was a huge success to me, yes I love holiday stories, but what I love more is the “enemies to lovers” trope, especially when it’s so well done like this one. IMO the author delivered a lovely and real book. I ended up truly enjoying it.

The novel was well written and engaging, I love how the writing was focused on the MCs approaching lovers and not more as enemies, even if sparks still flew between them, it was another kind of spark.

I particularly liked how Jason, once he realized something more could finally happen with Remy, started to wooing him until he knew Remy was his. He never lost the hope and the intention. And then the second characters, family and friends, played an important role in the story, supporting the MCs and helped the plot to be more realistic.

The author did great with this new release cause I felt the characters, I heard their feelings always and laughed with them a lot. I have to say I was sad when it ended, perfect ending but I wanted them to be with me a little more. Highly recommended.

The cover art is simple, I like it.

Sales Link:  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 168 pages

Published November 20th 2017

ASIN B077GNH1B4

Edition Language English