A MelanieM Review: Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Charlie King is doing fine. Sure, he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter who just got her first boyfriend, his book series isn’t writing itself, and he has a crush on his new neighbor — the guy next door. But everything’s just fine.

Simon Lynley is doing better. He moved to Bethlehem to fall out of love and rebuild his career. An affair with his neighbor isn’t part of the plan, but the attraction between them is too hard to ignore.

But when Simon’s ex follows him to Pennsylvania seeking reconciliation, and Charlie’s life starts to feel like a video on repeat, everything comes apart. Charlie worries that he’s failing as a father, and Simon is a distraction he can’t afford. Meanwhile Simon doesn’t know if he could survive being left again, and he hasn’t come all this way to make the same mistakes. But despite their fears, it’s only together that they’ll find the strength to slay old foes and build the forever they’ve been waiting for.

Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen is one of those books to hug close to your heart.  Once finished I wanted to pick it up and start it all over again, lose myself in the richness of the relationships the author has created within.  It’s so easy to fall in love here.  To embrace the people and their lives.

Charlie and his daughter, Liv?  You can feel the truth of their lives, the pain of having lived through watching a beloved mother and wife dying of cancer and then her death, the void her loss has meant and the guilt for Charlie.  And the warmth Charlie exudes, the “realness” of that father/daughter relationship just jumps off the page at you until you almost are a part of their lives as well.

Simon is just a connectable.  Viable, human, hurting.  His chemistry with Charlie and his, unbelievably Charlie’s house (a character in its own right) is so vivid that I kept re-reading passages for the shear joy of them.  I loved these two men together.  Their conversations, the funny dialog.  Especially, Charlie’s conversations and Simon’s reactions to them.  Priceless!

But, of course, it’s so much more than that.  It’s Phil, it’s the dog, Liv, Justin, that house…it’s the whole of this story.  It’s every element that combines to bring a town, a family, and this couple together so memorably alive that your heart feels warm and happy and so not ready to see everyone go.  I wanted to stay, seated in their midst, ready for another story from Charlie, another chapter in their lives, their next step forward.  Their next anything….

Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen is beautifully written with wonderful characters and a heartwarming story you will truly love.  Yes, I absolutely recommend it.

Cover art: Natasha Snow.  I love this artist’s work but that isn’t the house as I pictured it with greystone and slate roof which is a big fail seeing that it’s a huge part of the story.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 337 pages
Expected publication: October 15th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626498389
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series This Time Forever #1

Blog Tour for Calling Calling Calling Me by Natasha Washington (excerpt and giveaway)

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Calling Calling Calling Me by Natasha Washington

Publisher: Natasha Washington

Release Date: September 4, 2018

Subgenre: Contemporary Queer Romance/New Adult

Tropes/Themes: college romance, first time, fish out of water

Direct Link: https://www.natashawashington.com/books/

Book Synopsis: Patrick Mahoney has one goal in mind: get out of his native Fresno and find freedom in the rainbow and glitter-painted streets of San Francisco. As a college freshman, he’s sure he’ll finally have the chance to be himself, away from the judgmental eyes of his conservative hometown.

Josh Dirda’s never wanted to be tied down before, preferring the emotional ease of the one night stand. But when Patrick moves into the apartment that Josh shares with three friends, Josh is caught up in Patrick’s sly wit and quietly creative spirit. As Patrick’s self-appointed tour guide, Josh can be Patrick’s introduction to the city he loves. But after a drunken Halloween hook-up crosses lines, Patrick and Josh must reckon with their true feelings—and decide whether they can let go of the ghosts that haunt them.

Teaser Excerpt :

“How’s it hangin’, baby?” Patrick heard, and Freddy fell into his space, steadying himself on Patrick’s shoulder. Maybe not the best idea, given that Patrick wasn’t very steady himself.

“I never know how to answer that question,” Patrick said, and it was true. Weirdest idiom. Colloquialism. Whatever. Stranger than a lot of things his grandmother said.

“You are not drunk enough,” Freddy stated, and produced another shot out of thin air, it seemed, and—no. Patrick was saying no.

“No,” Patrick said, “no, I’m good, you have it.”

“I’ve had quite enough,” Freddy said, sagging against him. “Quite—I’ve had a lot.”

This was an astoundingly obvious statement, and Patrick was about to say so when he got distracted by Josh.

Josh, who was making out with a girl in the middle of the dance floor.

Patrick thought it was the same girl he’d been dancing with, but maybe not. The club was dark and the music was loud and Patrick was spinning. Josh cupped the girl’s cheek with one hand and pressed in, closer and harder, and Patrick didn’t want to be here anymore. He wanted to be anywhere but here, anywhere but where he’d grown up, anywhere but where he’d grown up and where Josh had grown up. Anywhere he wouldn’t find his own want staring him in the face.

 

About the Author

About Natasha Washington: Natasha Washington lives in Philadelphia, where she writes queer love stories in both YA (as Sonia Belasco) and romance. She has spent much of her professional life working with young people as a mentor, tutor, or therapist. When not writing, she is likely cooking, taking long, meandering walks, or listening to dance music or 90s hip-hop.

Connect with Natasha: Website | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

Giveaway: Enter to win one of two e-copies of New Adult Romance release, Calling Calling Calling Me.

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Release Day Blitz Calling Calling Calling Me by Natasha Washington (excerpt and giveaway)

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Calling Calling Calling Me by Natasha Washington

Publisher: Natasha Washington

Release Date: September 4, 2018

Book Synopsis: Patrick Mahoney has one goal in mind: get out of his native Fresno and find freedom in the rainbow and glitter-painted streets of San Francisco. As a college freshman, he’s sure he’ll finally have the chance to be himself, away from the judgmental eyes of his conservative hometown.

Josh Dirda’s never wanted to be tied down before, preferring the emotional ease of the one night stand. But when Patrick moves into the apartment that Josh shares with three friends, Josh is caught up in Patrick’s sly wit and quietly creative spirit. As Patrick’s self-appointed tour guide, Josh can be Patrick’s introduction to the city he loves. But after a drunken Halloween hook-up crosses lines, Patrick and Josh must reckon with their true feelings—and decide whether they can let go of the ghosts that haunt them.

Subgenre: Contemporary Queer Romance/New Adult

Tropes/Themes: college romance, first time, fish out of water

Direct Link: https://www.natashawashington.com/books/

 

Teaser 1:

The floor of the club was vibrating.

Patrick felt off balance, which made no sense at all since he’d only had one shot of Alexis’s devil tequila. Not that he was an expert on what tequila did to a person, or in particular to him—he was really more of a stay-home-on-the-weekends-and-build-models-or-read-comics guy, and Oh God, what the hell was he doing here.

“Hello, Gorgeous,” Alexis said, suddenly very close and speaking into his ear, her fingers grasping at his arm. “You really are gorgeous, Gorgeous.”

“You’re drunk,” Patrick said, “and I’m gay, or did you miss that part of the earlier conversation?”

“I miss nothing, Fresno,” Alexis said. “But seriously, those blue eyes and those cheekbones! Unfair.”

Patrick wished she would stop calling him Fresno. It was a reminder of all the reasons he didn’t belong here in this nightclub of shiny people glittering in their tight dresses and tighter pants and heels and boots, hair perfectly ruffled or slicked back, laughing into their martini glasses and leaving lipstick prints around the rim, on cocktail napkins, or at the corner of someone else’s mouth.

“Don’t think so much,” Alexis said, and dug her fingernails into his upper arm.

He breathed in through his nose and watched Josh talk to a girl by the bar, already looking sloppy loose from the shots they’d done back at the apartment. His hair was a curly mess and his smile was white bright, a beacon in this dark, fluttering room of strangers.

Patrick had no idea why he thought Josh was anything but a stranger. Josh definitely didn’t know Patrick.

But God, Patrick wanted to know him.

“Shot?” Alexis asked, holding out a tiny glass filled with sharp-smelling liquid.

Maybe this was what Alexis meant by not thinking so much. He took the shot and swallowed it all at once, feeling it burn its acidic trail down his throat.

Three shots later and Patrick was pretty sure he should have said no.

It wasn’t that the world was spinning, which it was. It was that everything felt blurry and out of control and scary-beautiful, and Patrick couldn’t help thinking: I am in San Francisco now, I’m here, I can do—be—have whoever I want.

Right now, he definitely wanted to be the boy or the girl dancing with Josh. He had one of each draped over him, and yeah, Mike wasn’t kidding about Josh being a player. Josh was all opportunity right now, all openness and soft shoulders and free movement. He wasn’t a good dancer, exactly, but he was still gorgeous, and God, Patrick was so screwed. He was going to live with Josh now. How could he—what was he supposed to do? Stare and pray? What should he pray for? That Josh didn’t notice or that he did?

About Natasha Washington

Natasha Washington lives in Philadelphia, where she writes queer love stories in both YA (as Sonia Belasco) and romance. She has spent much of her professional life working with young people as a mentor, tutor, or therapist. When not writing, she is likely cooking, taking long, meandering walks, or listening to dance music or 90s hip-hop.

Connect with Natasha: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Giveaway: Enter to win one of two e-copies of New Adult Romance release, Calling Calling Calling Me.

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Quinn Anderson on a future for Max and the new release Fourteen Summers (guest post and giveaway)

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Fourteen Summers by Quinn Anderson

Riptide Publishing
Cover by: Melissa Liban

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Quinn Anderson here today on tour with the new release, Fourteen Summers.  Welcome, Quinn.

I’m Quinn Anderson, author of New Heights and the Murmur Inc. series. Welcome to my blog tour for Fourteen Summers! Stay tuned to get fun facts about this release, inside information about my writing process, and to learn how I chose my penname. Leave comments for a chance to win a $10 Riptide gift card. I look forward to chatting with you all!

 

✒︎

Will Max Get His Happy Ever After?

I wouldn’t say I left a “loose end” in this novel, but there is something I left up to readers’ imaginations. For now, at least.

Max—the third POV character in this novel, and the one who’s not involved in the core romance—has a number of revelations during this story. He learns about boundaries, friendship, family, and respecting other people’s space. Most importantly, however, he begins to understand an aspect of his love life he’d previously ignored. I won’t say what (because spoilers), but by the end of the novel, it’s clear he has a path of self-discovery ahead of him.

Unfortunately, with only so many pages and a love story to tell, there wasn’t room to show where Max ends up when all is said and done. I’m not worried about readers finding this frustrating, because it’s set up in a way that makes it clear you can imagine for yourself what happens to Max.

However, if enough people demand it, I could be convinced to write Max’s story. We’ll see if people are curious, or if they’re happy deciding his fate for themselves!

 

 

About Fourteen Summers

 

Identical twins Aiden and Max Kingsman have been a matched set their whole lives. When they were children, Aiden was happy to follow his extroverted brother’s lead, but now that they’re in college, being “my brother, Aiden” is starting to get old. He’s itching to discover who he is outside of his “twin” identity.

 

Oliver’s goals for the summer are simple: survive his invasive family, keep his divorced parents from killing each other, and stay in shape for rowing season. He’s thrilled when he runs into his old friends, the Kingsman twins, especially Aiden, the object of a childhood crush. Aiden is all grown-up, but some things have stayed the same: his messy curls, his stability, and how breathless he makes Oliver. Oliver’s crush comes back full force, and the feeling is mutual. Summer just got a whole lot hotter.

 

Fun-loving Max takes one thing seriously: his role as “big brother.” When Aiden drifts away, Max can’t understand how his own twin could choose a boy over him. Summer won’t last forever, and with friendship, family, and happily ever after on the line, they’ll have to navigate their changing relationships before it’s too late.

 

About Quinn Anderson

 

Quinn Anderson is an alumna of the University of Dublin in Ireland and has a master’s degree in psychology. She wrote her dissertation on sexuality in popular literature and continues to explore evolving themes in erotica in her professional life.

 

A nerd extraordinaire, she was raised on an unhealthy diet of video games, anime, pop culture, and comics from infancy. Her girlfriend swears her sense of humor is just one big Joss Whedon reference. She stays true to her nerd roots in writing and in life, and frequently draws inspiration from her many fandoms, which include Yuri on Ice, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Buffy, and more. Growing up, while most of her friends were fighting evil by moonlight, Anderson was kamehameha-ing her way through all the shounen anime she could get her hands on. You will often find her interacting with fellow fans online and offline via conventions and Tumblr, and she is happy to talk about anything from nerd life to writing tips. She has attended conventions on three separate continents and now considers herself a career geek. She advises anyone who attends pop culture events in the UK to watch out for Weeping Angels, as they are everywhere. If you’re at an event, and you see a 6’2” redhead wandering around with a vague look on her face, that’s probably her.

 

Her favorite authors include J.K. Rowling, Gail Carson Levine, Libba Bray, and Tamora Pierce. When she’s not writing, she enjoys traveling, cooking, spending too much time on the internet, playing fetch with her cat, screwing the rules, watching Markiplier play games she’s too scared to play herself, and catching ’em all.

 

Connect with Quinn:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Fourteen Summers, Quinn is giving away a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 26, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Blog Tour for Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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When a SEAL medic inherits three young children, he must battle to keep the family together and keep his long-held feelings for the man challenging him for custody at bay.

Squared Away

Series: Out of Uniform #5

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date (Print & Ebook): April 16. Print, ebook, and audio all available.

Length (Print & Ebook): 80,000 words

Subgenre: m/m military romance

Includes: military romance, insta-family, hurt/comfort, angst, interracial, heroes-with-kids, gay romance, demisexual/gray ace hero, first time, loss, reunion, forced proximity

Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ptQhFH

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2ptc00A

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Squared-Away-Audiobook/B07BGJ3FRF

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/squared-away/id1326105516?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/squared-away-1

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/squared-away-annabeth-albert/1127659238?ean=9781335980809

Carina Press: https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781335980809_squared-away.html

Synopsis:

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

What Annabeth Albert has to say about this book in her Out of Uniform series:

“I wanted to write a book about the nature of family and how loss and tragedy can shape family, mold it into something stronger, force growth and change. I’m enormously proud of SQUARED AWAY as a result because how I fell in love with this little family.”

“When Wizard first appeared in ON POINT as a secondary character, I was intrigued by him, but it wasn’t until I let myself get into his head that I really saw how complicated he was. I feel honored and privileged to have been able to tell his story.”

“No book gets written in a vacuum and this one is no different. I owe a huge debt on this book to my sensitivity readers who really encouraged me to dig deep.”

Praise for the series:

“Albert delivers a solid hurt/comfort story…” RT Book Reviews on SQUARED AWAY

“Mark and Isaiah’s budding relationship happens with sensitivity and steamy moments…” RT Book Reviews on SQUARED AWAY

“Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series is a unique look at SEALs’ lives, showing us the insides of their hearts and homes and the love that drives them.” ~Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whisky series.  

“Sexy, sweet and heartfelt, Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series is a fresh take on Navy SEALs that will delight and entertain romance readers.” ~Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whisky series.  

 Excerpts:

“I take it that’s a yes?”

“It’s always going to be a yes for more kissing.” Isaiah scooted closer. They’d done the massage and goodnight kiss routine a few more times, but he was careful to not press for it, to let it be Mark’s idea.

Mark gave him a fast but still electric kiss. “I was thinking about this when I was helping you outside earlier. It’s crazy how much I like touching and kissing you.”

“I love touching you too.” Isaiah trailed his fingers down Mark’s cheek. “You haven’t had that before?”

“Not really. I’ve had a lot of kisses that felt like getting my earlobe chewed by a cat or trying to kiss a salmon. Not awful but not ‘can’t wait to do it again’ either. Had some kisses I liked, but right as I was getting comfortable, the other person would try to take it to the next level. And that was always a disaster.”

“Even with your friend? The other medic?”

Mark shrugged and looked away. “He got huffy when I didn’t want to get naked after a few kisses. Called me a closet case.”

“I’m sorry.” Isaiah patted his leg, not sure what else to say. “You’re a great guy. You deserve all the good kisses—no fish or earlobe chewing allowed. And you deserve to go at your own pace. Always.”

“I feel guilty. Like I should be doing something more for you…”

“Hey now. I’m getting amazing kisses from a hot-as-fuck guy who also likes to massage me until I’m a pile of limp lettuce. Trust me. I’m not getting a shabby deal here. At all.” If anything, Isaiah felt guilty for how very much he was enjoying all this. “And add in yard work help and cleaning? Man, you’d be a lot of people’s idea of a dream date.”

“Good.” Mark leaned in for another, softer kiss. “Because I really like doing this.”

“Me too.” Isaiah tried to calm the thumping of his heart. Careful, he warned himself even as his long-comatose hope monster hefted itself up and did a dance. He couldn’t afford to go falling for Mark again, yet with each kiss, each tentative touch, he could feel his grip on his resolve weakening.

About Annabeth Albert:

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.  The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ  romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series. To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

Connect with Annabeth:

Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Group | Newsletter | Instagram | Website

Giveaway: win 1 of 2 ecopies of any back catalog book by Annabeth Albert:

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A Caryn Review: Midlife Crisis by Audra North

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I’m so happy to have discovered her.  The book was everything I hoped it would be, and then some.

There is something so special about finding love when you’re older – whether you’ve lost a partner, or never had one, it always, to me anyway, feels like getting more than you thought you could expect.  I think when we’re young, there is a part of us that feels life owes us true love, but by the time we hit middle age, we realize life doesn’t really work that way, and finding it then is a true gift.  Which is why I love these older men!

Cam McGhee is 54 years old, and has left his home town of Bitter, Texas, for basically the first time in his life.  Bitter is an all-black farming town that’s existed for generations.  The community has learned to survive the Southern racism surrounding it by being self-sufficient, trusting and relying on each other, which has always meant behaving within a certain set of unspoken rules.  Following those rules kept them safe, and if it restricted the denizen’s freedom a little bit, well, it was worth it.  Cam grew up in this town of very conservative ideals, and though he knew he was gay from the time he was a young teenager, he also knew that he couldn’t ever admit it and still be accepted.  He started dating LaVerne in high school as a cover, but with small town expectations being what they were, he ended up marrying her, having two children, and staying with her faithfully until she died.  He left his successful feed and grain business in Bitter in his son’s hands, and moved to Austin, Texas, for 6 months, where he hoped to finally experience life as a gay man, at least temporarily, before he buried it all again and moved back to Bitter.

Cam met Dave Montoya at a coffee shop.  Cam had no idea how to approach a man, and his shyness was almost crippling, but Dave made things easy for him.  Dave is a successful, independent man from Connecticut who found his home in Austin, and who has lived his entire life as an out gay man.  Dave had his own reasons for not wanting to jump into casual hookups, and so moving slowly with Cam was natural and easy.  Almost without realizing it was happening, and certainly not intending for it to happen, they fell in love.  Which would have been wonderful, but Cam’s stay in Austin had an expiration date.

The story is told with alternating scenes from Cam’s present in Austin, and flashbacks to his life in Bitter.  I know flashbacks get a bad rap, but in this case, they were the perfect vehicle to show the stark differences between who Cam was, and who he wanted to be, and why he struggled so hard to reconcile these parts of himself.  As Cam and Dave meet and start dating, the story flashed back to Cam and LaVerne’s meeting, and Cam’s conscious decision to use LaVerne as a beard.  When Cam kissed Dave for the first time, he inevitably compared his physical response – as amazing as he’d always hoped kissing a man would be – to his sexual life with LaVerne.  As he started falling in love with Dave, Cam thought of the love he had for LaVerne – platonic, but strong despite the continual guilt he felt for not loving her the way a man should love his wife.  Cam was faithful, generous, and had a strong sense of responsibility and duty – attributes which kept him in Bitter for over 50 years, and when he saw the opportunity to have a different type of life with Dave, he still struggled with the choice:  could he stay in Austin with the man he loved, and life the life he’d always wanted, when doing so meant abandoning his friends and family in Bitter?

Another aspect of the book that I really appreciated was that racism was not front and center.  While it certainly made Bitter into the community it was (and what an interesting choice of name for the town!), once Cam came to Austin, he was just another man, not primarily a man of color.  There was a lot more homophobia mentioned than racism, but again, Dave’s friends and family showed Cam that homophobia wasn’t ubiquitous, and a full life as an out gay man was indeed possible.

Very highly recommended!

Cover art by LC Chase is perfect for the book

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 205 pages
Published August 28th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626496453

Cover Reveal for Hipster Brothel by K.A. Merikan

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Title:  Hipster Brothel

Author: K.A. Merikan

Publisher:  Acerbi&Villani ltd.

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date:  24th of January 2017

Heat Level: 3

Pairing: M/M

Length: 50,000 words

Genre/Tags: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, M/M Romance, Hipsters, sex work, friends to lovers, bisexuality, post-break up issues, coming out, first time, alternative lifestyles, lumbersexual bear, commitment

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

— The lumberjack of his dreams is now available for rent. —

Mr. B has always been a safe guy for Jo to crush on. He’s the cutest bearded lumber-god to salivate over. Add to that his friendly, outgoing personality, and Mr. B might just be the first guy Jo would be willing to kiss. Fortunately, Mr. B has been in a relationship for years, and Jo is no home-wrecker.

But when Mr. B breaks up with his partner and all of a sudden is single, available, and talks about his plans to be sexually adventurous, Jo isn’t so sure anymore if he has the guts to come out as bisexual.

After a sour breakup, Mr. B wants to show his ex that he’s independent, exciting, and can do very well without him. His best friend Jo is there to the rescue, and they come up with a great new business venture. One thing they lack to start their own line of artisanal boozy jams – money for the investment.

After a drunken brainstorming session, Mr. B finds a way to both gather the cash and show the middle finger to his ex. He will create a one of a kind Hipster Brothel – The Lumbersexual Experience – offering wood chopping lessons, pipe smoking, and a reclaimed wood bed where the magic would happen. It’s bound to be a success… if only Mr. B can go through with it, because the mixed signals from Jo are making him wonder if his best friend is as straight as he always seemed.

WARNING: Explicit content, strong language. A shameless amount of buzzwords. May cause second-hand embarrassment.

Meet the Author

K.A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are mistaken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite being over thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

e-mail: kamerikan@gmail.com

More information about ongoing projects, works in progress and publishing at:

K.A. Merikan’s author page: http://kamerikan.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KAMerikan

Twitter (run by Kat): https://twitter.com/KA_Merikan

Agnes Merikan’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/AgnesMerikan

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6150530.K_A_Merikan

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KAMerikan/

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Review: Shock & Awe (Sidewinder #1) by Abigail Roux

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Shock & Awe CoverAfter being shot in New Orleans, Sidewinder medic Kelly Abbott has returned home to his cabin in Colorado with fellow Sidewinder Nick O’Flaherty joining him to help him in his recovery.  Kelly and Nick, bonded through their years together as part of a Marine Force Recon team, have always loved each other like brothers but past confessions and the recent events in New Orleans has Kelly thinking past brotherly bonds into something far more intimate and sexual. During a quiet moment at the cabin Kelly asks Nick to kiss him and is surprised when Nick does.  But the kiss turns into something unexpected for each man…its deep, and warm and overwhelmingly sexual, and leaves Nick and Kelly wanting more.

That one kiss leads to others and only the reality of Kelly’s wounds keep the men from more.  Confused, Kelly and Nick try to examine their feelings not only towards each other but about a deeper commitment outside their band of brothers.  But the past has a way of intruding on the Sidewinders, pulling them towards danger and an uncertain future.  Can Nick and Kelly find their way through their confusion and doubts before they are called to duty once more?

Abigail Roux is killing me here.  I am still trying to recover from the events of Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7) when Roux starts a new series about the Sidewinders, the Marine Recon group that Ty Grady is a part of, and has me in tears all over again.  But I am getting ahead of myself and this review.

Shock & Awe, the titles continuing in the tradition the author started in the Cut & Run series, is an expansion series into the tight band of brothers Abigail Roux introduced in the Cut & Run series.  We met the various members of the Sidewinders as they came to visit Ty Grady in Baltimore and through appearances made in several of the Cut & Run stories.  Nick, especially, was an important character in helping to understand Ty’s past and the close  bonds of the Sidewinder Marine Force Recon Unit.  Going too much into Nick O’Flaherty’s background would offer up spoilers for past stories but suffice it to say he and Ty have an unusual past history that is referenced here in Shock & Awe acting as an impetus for Kelly’s musings and startling request.  And while the others members of the unit (Digger, Owen, and yes Ty) make an appearance, Shock & Awe is focused on Kelly and Nick. It starts shortly after the events of Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7) where Kelly was shot in New Orleans when all the Sidewinders gathered to celebrate a birthday.

The smaller, more intimate setting of Kelly’s cabin is perfect for the introspection and actions that follow an unusual request from Kelly for a less than brotherly kiss from Nick.  Normally, Roux has a much larger canvas on which to place her characters and storyline but having one location lets the author (and readers) concentrate on the developing relationship and emerging emotions of Nick and Kelly.  I loved this aspect of the story.  The author had previously given the readers only a cursory introduction to Kelly while past stories made Nick an unwelcome intrusion into Ty and Zane’s relationship.  Now both characters get to stand on their own and this story turns them into the remarkable men that Roux had always intended us to see them as.  I had no trouble at all falling in love with both of them.  Here is a little window into their close relationship. They have just arrived at Kelly’s cabin and are getting settled:

Kelly made a derogatory sound and closed his eyes again. Nick pulled away, then gently covered him with the sheet.

Kelly may have been the corpsman, but Nick had always been the caretaker of the group. He’d been a wingman, fall guy, sounding board, and alibi. He’d been mother, father, big brother, and crazy uncle. Whatever they’d needed. He’d always been the one who’d made sure all the Sidewinder ducks were in a row, and he was probably the sole reason the house they’d all shared in Jacksonville hadn’t burned down.

It was so odd to think back on all those years and know that Nick had been hiding part of himself he thought he couldn’t share. It almost broke Kelly’s heart to think of all the secrets he’d spilled to Nick, all the things he’d gotten off his chest, but Nick had never been able to do the same.

And when Kelly’s heart breaks so does ours.

There is so much emotion, so many feelings packed into this story that I found it hard to believe it was only 92 pages long.  It was just long enough for me to fall completely in love with these two and time enough for Abigail Roux to break my heart not once but twice before the story ends.

Abigail Roux has proven over and over in each of her stories that she has the ability to make us believe in her characters, their passions and relationships.  She is also a proven master of the hidden agenda, cliffhangers and heartbreak.  You will find all of those here too.  Grab this book up and fall in love with Nick and Kelly.  The second story in the series, Bait & Switch (A Sidewinder story) is located after this one and will have you gnashing your teeth as well as crying quite a few tears, especially as it features Zane and Ty as well as Nick and Kelly.  This is a 2 tissue box affair from start to well…..just pick it up and starting reading.

If you are new to Abigail Roux and her connected series (Cut & Run and Sidewinder), it would be best to start at the beginning to understand all the relationships of the men mentioned.  Plus you will find yourself with two new addictions.  One is winding down.  There are only two more stories to go in the Cut & Run series.  I hope that Sidewinder enjoys just as long a run.   Don’t miss out on these remarkable men and this terrific author.

Cover by LC Chase.  I loved this.  The green cover sets it apart from the Cut & Run series while the shamrock continues the tradition of a single object helping to tie the series together.  Perfection.

Sidewinder series to date:

Shock & Awe (Sidewinder #2)
Bait & Switch (A Sidewinder story)

Cut & Run Series:

Ball & Chain (Cut & Run #8) Expected publication: March 15th 2014 by Riptide Publishing
Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7)
Stars & Stripes (Cut & Run #6)
Dine and Dash(Cut & Run #5.5)
Armed & Dangerous (Cut & Run #5) – by Abigail Roux
Divide & Conquer #4, Fish & Chips #3, Sticks & Stones #2, Cut & Run #1 – all of these written by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

Book Details:

ebook, 92 pages
Expected publication: November 11th 2013 by Riptide Publishing
original title Shock & Awe
ISBN13 9781626490567
edition language English
characters Ty GradyZane Garrett, Nick O’Flaherty, Kelly Abbott

Review of The Walls Have Ears (College Fun and Gays #3) by Erica Pike

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Review written for and first viewed at JoyfullyJay as a part of Boys Masturbating Through Walls Day:

Rating: 3.25 stars

Harley Santos, newly arrived from small town, Maryland, is trying to adapt to his new life as a college freshman in Philadelphia.  While he had his fears about city living and life on campus before he left home, Harley has found he likes his roommate and college seems pretty cool.  In his first week in his dorm room he listen through the thin wall to a student masturbating on the other side.  When this becomes a regular occurrence,  Harley starts masturbating along with his unseen neighbor. Shared moans become whispered words between walls and a strange relationship developes between Harley and the unknown boy next door.

After Harley and his roommate, Ryan, have a chance meeting with the two hot guys, Devon Marx and Tasha Novokov, rooming next to them, Harley thinks he knows which of them is his nightly “companion”. But that guy, Devon, asks Ryan out instead of Harley, and Harley is heartbroken believing that Ryan has been mistaken for him. The other roommate, Tasha,  is dark, handsome, straight and seems intent on befriending Harley.  What’s a gay boy to do when everyone he is attracted to is not attracted to him?

This is a short story whose main attraction is the prickly little porcupine known as Harley Santos.  I found his character to be snarky, pissy, and quite adorable. And totally not deserving of the predictable plot he has found himself in.  Harley comes from a large close knit Portuguese family in a small town in Maryland.  He’s tortured himself with scary images of the dark side of city life and the what if’s of college gone bad.  He’s slight in stature, slender in physique so I can see his behavior as a shield he erects against slights and injury, real or perceived. So does it seem realistic that he falls “in love” with the guy next door just because they are masturbating together?  It doesn’t to me.  Lust yes, love to the point of his heart breaking when Devon picks his roommate? Ummm, no.

Harley then transfers his affections to Tasha while maintaining that he loves Devon who loves Ryan who is understandably confused about the whole thing because no one is talking to each other. Got that? Instead letting Harley get his snark on, Erica Pike turns him into avoidance guy, and then has him sobbing his heart out so traumatized that he is stuttering again (we didn’t know he stuttered to begin with).  To use the current lingo, Harley so doesn’t deserve this.

By the end of The Walls Have Ears, I was beginning to wish that This Reader Didn’t Have Eyes because the ending had me blinking in disbelief.  Erica Pike can write realistic characters AND put them into realistic situations, at the same time.  Just don’t look for it here.

Cover.  Cover Artist Dakota Trace. I just don’t care for the cover for the series .  Different color, different model on the top, same bad graphic on the bottom.

Publisher: No Boundaries Press