Release Blitz &; Review Tour – Mr Frosty Pants by Leta Blake (giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow in Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 90,000 word approx.
 
Cover Design: Wicked Smart Design
 
Blurb
 

Can true love warm his frozen heart?


When Casey Stevens went away to college four years ago, he ghosted on his straight best friend, Joel Vreeland. He hoped time and distance would lessen the unrequited affection he felt, but all it did was make him miss Joel more. Home for the holidays, Casey hopes they might find a way to be friends again. But Joel’s frosty reception reminds Casey of just how hard he had to fight to be Joel’s friend in the first place. It’s going to take a Christmas miracle to get past that cool façade again.


Joel isn’t as straight as Casey believes, and his years of pining for Casey have left him hurting and alone, caring for his abusive father and struggling to get by. Unable to trust anyone except his rescue dog—and with no reason to believe Casey is interested in him for more than a holiday fling—Joel’s icy heart might shatter before it can thaw.


Can Casey and Joel’s love overcome mistrust, parental rejection, class differences, and four long years apart? Mr. Frosty Pants is a stand-alone, Christmas gay romance by Leta Blake featuring a virgin hero, childhood friends-to-lovers, second chance romance, and steamy mm first times.



November 16Joyfully Jay, November 19 Gay Book Reviews, November 22Love Bytes, November 28The Novel Approach, November 30Bayou Book Junkie


Author Bio


Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

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Kelly Jensen on Behind the Story and her new release ‘Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2)’ (guest blog and giveaway)

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Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2) by Kelly Jensen

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: Natasha Snow

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kelly Jensen here today talking about the inspiration behind her new release, Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2). Welcome, Kelly.

✒︎

Behind the Book by Kelly Jensen

I’m known in author circles for being super organized. I have templates for my outlines, I spreadsheet my revisions, and often write 6000 word character histories. The support documents for every book are indexed and hyperlinked. The bulleting in my outlines often goes four levels deep.

And yet…

My big book of ideas is spread over several notebooks that live in different places throughout my house. That way, if inspiration strikes, I have paper close at hand—which sounds a lot better than I just have notebooks everywhere, in no particular order! The notebooks have snippets of dialogues, entire scenes, outlines, character notes, and plot ideas. And they’re all mixed in together without any sort of indexing.

I usually know which book to reach for (or go hunting for) when I want to look something up, though, and I never mind having to flip through the notes for other projects along the way. Sometimes another idea will catch me, and I can make more notes, or sometimes one of my ideas leaps off the page and says, “Write me!”

The ideas for Renewing Forever came from two different notebooks. One had a few notes about Frank, jotted down after a beta reader for Building Forever asked if Frank’s book would be next. I had no plans to write a series, but I wrote the idea down, anyway, and tucked it away.

In another notebook, I had a brief outline for a story about a guy who was “camping out” in a dilapidated resort. About five years ago, we took a road trip to New Orleans and stayed at a quaint family resort in Tennessee. The guy manning the desk had the most amazing accent—and he was very cute! I immediately got an idea for a story involving someone trying to revitalize a rundown family resort, and maybe facing challenges from a local developer who wanted the land.

I’m not quite sure how these two ideas got combined? I think it was mostly a matter of me hunting through my notebooks for a story idea that would suit Frank. I like using and combining ideas I already have—it gives me a sense of accomplishment to cross something off what is probably a never ending list.

I quickly decided to switch up the imagined roles: Frank would be the one to inherit the resort and he’d return “home” to find someone living in one of the guest cottages. Then I decided to complicate everything by giving Frankie and Tommy a shared history—one where they’d been each other’s best friend and first love.

What I didn’t realize while plotting was quite how emotional this book would be to write. I’m reasonably emotional anyway—for me, watching the television show “This Is Us” is like combining a wedding, a funeral, and the birth of a new baby every week. I’m always completely drained afterward! So I often get a little weepy (sometimes a little sobby) while writing my guys. This book wrecked me in a lot of ways. Tom’s self-sabotaging self-reliance (or hubris), and Frank’s longing. Oh my goodness, the longing. He never got over Tom and likely never would have.

What I also wanted to do with this book was write a character (Tom) whose bisexuality was integral and almost never discussed. I didn’t want this story to be about sexuality. I wanted it to be about rekindling lost love—and holding on to something you never really let go of.

After all of this, I devised relatively simple plot: should they or shouldn’t they renovate the resort? Really, the plot is just a reflection of the bigger question in this novel: should they or shouldn’t they repair their friendship and love? The obstacles to both are Tom’s inability to ask for help—and the fact he’s not so slowly sliding down the financial gurgler—and Frank’s dissatisfaction with his current career, and to a smaller extent, his feelings regarding his best friend, Simon, having found The One. Frank thinks he’s getting over a crush on Simon, and he is… sort of. What he’s really doing is mourning The One who got away. The one he let go.

So there is a lot of introspection and reevaluation going on, and in keeping with the themes of this series, scenes that highlight the importance of family (blood and found), friendships, and lots of more lighthearted moments where Frank and Tom explore small town happenings and decide whether or not they’re going to renew their forever.

I hope you enjoy Frank and Tom’s story. It’s not quite as upbeat as the one I wrote for Simon and Charlie, but all of my characters are different, and therefore they require different stories. I love the one I wrote for Frank and Tom. It’s one to cherish, and one that still makes me misty eyed, all these months later.

 

Renewing Forever is the second of a series of standalone novels focused on older characters who think love has passed them by. Frank and Tom’s story is a true second chance romance, reuniting childhood friends and first loves separated by an argument and thirty years of misunderstanding. I hope you enjoy reading about their renewed friendship and their plans for forever.

 

About Renewing Forever

A neglected resort, a lost chance at love, and one last chance to renew forever.

Frankie and Tommy once dreamed of traveling the world together. But when seventeen-year-old Frank kissed Tom, their plans ended with a punch to the jaw and Frank leaving town without looking back. Thirty years later, Frank’s successful career as a journalist is interrupted by his uncle’s death and the question of his inheritance—the family resort where his childhood dreams were built. When he returns to the Pocono Mountains, however, he finds a dilapidated lodge and Tommy, the boy he never forgot.

Tom’s been keeping the resort together with spit and glue while caring for Frank’s uncle, Robert—a man he considered father, mentor, and friend—and his aged mother, who he refuses to leave behind. Now Robert is gone, taking Tom’s job with him. And Frank is on the doorstep, wanting to know why Tom is still there and why the old lodge is falling apart.

But before they can rebuild the resort, they’ll have to rebuild their friendship. Only then can they renew the forever they planned all those years ago.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

 

About the This Time Forever Series

Small towns and second chances.

Simon, Frank, and Brian think love has passed them by. Each is facing down his fiftieth birthday—Simon in a few years, Frank next year, and Brian soon enough. Each has loved and lost. But for these men, everything old really is new again, and it’s only when they return to their roots that they’ll find their second chances and the happily ever after they’ve been waiting their whole lives for.

This time it’s forever.

This series includes:

  1. Building Forever — releasing October 15, available now!
  2. Renewing Forever — releasing November 12, available for preorder!
  3. Chasing Forever — releasing December 10, available soon!

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly:

 


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Renewing Forever one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and a swag pack of stickers, art cards, and bookmarks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 17, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Review: Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #5) by A. E. Wasp

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Hockey superstar Joey Luciano has always been good at being whatever people needed him to be. The fans want a good-looking fast-living party boy? Enter ‘the Looch,’ Joey’s carefully created public persona. But the cracks in his mask are starting to show, and he’s begun to lose touch with who he really is. It’s going to take someone who’s been there from the very beginning, to help him find his way home.

Coach Liam O’Reilly always had a very clear picture of what his life should look like. Falling in love with the infuriating, passionate, stubborn, and endlessly fascinating boy next door was not part of the plan. But when Liam’s carefully constructed life fell apart one Christmas Eve, Joey Luciano was there to pick up the pieces. Now Liam can’t stop wanting him.

The passion blazing between them on the ice and behind closed doors could leave both of them badly burned. But through the smoke, Liam can see glimpses of a future brighter than any he’d imagined, a future worth risking his career and reputation for, if only he is brave enough to reach for it.

But Joey’s got a secret he’s keeping from everyone. If it gets out, it could be the end of everything.

I really enjoyed the Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #5) by A. E. Wasp.  It has so many elements I love in a contemporary romance, starting off with hockey players and hockey coaches in love combinations.  Or just a hockey element.  That always draws me in.  Wasp also has another aspect to this series and story I adore.  Large families that support the main characters!

Families easily identifiable by location (Boston), ethnicities (Irish and Italian), long association (neighbors), and even intertwined relationships.  This extended main cast is a huge factor in connecting the reader to the character of Joey Luciano (the Italian family) and Liam O’Reilly (the Irish one),  In a totally current and hilarious format, we often see the family members communicating with each other via group text.  It’s never overdone, totally funny, and very realistic.  It’s has the feel of family and truth.  And it brought these people and their lives right into my heart.

Joey, “the Looch” Luciano, is a 25 year old  with a lot of issues. On the outside, he’s let this “Looch” character he’s created take over his life (brash, outgoing to the  extreme that it seems like he’s hogging the media and outshining his teammates.  No one is happy with him, including himself.  On the inside it’s worse.  Wasp has created Joey as a insecure person, low self esteem to the point that he seeks approval from every source and everyone without asking himself why he needs it so.  This is an enormous issue, obviously.  Not his only one. On top of this Joey is dealing with the fact that he has loved Liam since he can remember, a love that he has never looked at what that meant.  Why?  Because he shrinks from being called gay or even bisexual.  Which imo is totally misused here with regards to Joey.

Joey is someone who has lacked self examination for most of his life and it’s not until he gets involved with Liam that he smacks into some hard realities for himself.  At about 51 percent, we get these musing from Joey…

“What did people see when they looked at him? Could they tell he was having sex with a guy? Probably not. He looked as normal as Paul and Robbie. And he wasn’t gay gay. If anything he was bisexual like Liam.”

There are so many flags in those sentences that show exactly how messed up Joey is over not only his sexuality but homosexuality in general.  Being gay isn’t “normal”?  He also has issues with femme versus masc. And as is worked out down the story, Joey really doesn’t enjoy sex with women, so no, not bisexual.  Yes, some of this flags get addressed, not as many as I wished but a lot.

There are so many broken layers to Joey, it’s just one right after enough. Panic attacks, health issues, and more that need to be seriously addressed. Are all given the depth of attention I would wish or deserve? Perhaps not but they aren’t blown off either. Believable, authentic cracks in this man.  Kudos to A.E. Wasp for creating such a character.

Liam is a strong character, older by 10 years than Joey.  I liked him and their relationship but honestly wondered if the author was going to use their hot, and admittedly kinky sex life as a bandaid for all of Joey’s deep problems.  Thankfully, the  answer is no.  Wasp let me wonder about that, while I enjoyed Joey and LIam working out their relationship and then gave me everything I hoped for in the ending of this story. That included my Washington Caps winning the Stanley Cup this year!  And therapy for Joey.  Win win.

The humor here had me cackling!  Whether it’s Knock Knock jokes or Liam’s younger brother Patrick trying to get Liam to switch out his posh furniture for a huge leather sectional that all the young hockey players can come over and watch TV on saying”

“It’s the traditional furnishings of our people!”

Well, this book and dialogue crackles with fun, the knowledge of what it is like to be young, in love, or a hockey player, or to just do dumb things.  And all of the above.

Yes, plenty of angst too.

If I also have a complaint, its the actual lack of hockey.

We get headlines, sports feeds,  but  little actual ice time.  These men are passionate about ice and hockey.  So where is the time on the ice?  Where is the sense of team?

We get little of that except towards the very end in the important game.  I wish so badly we had had lots more of that action throughout the story.  Then we could understand why Joey and Liam’s actions carried the weight of the love of ice behind them that they did.  I felt that was missing because we never really saw Joey on ice for the majority of the book.  We were told about it but never actually “felt” it through the character. And I felt that was a mistake.

But did I love this story?  Yes I did.  I thought the author did a tremendous job with the characters, actualizing a man on the brink of a life change for himself and letting us travel some of the journey with him.  Scary, messy, not totally complete, a work in progress as they say.  I think Joey would agree with that and be happy.  So would Liam and the rest of the two families.

I definitely look for more in this series.  I recommend this one for all lovers of contemporary romance and hockey and even a little love of spanking!

 

Cover art: Ana Phoenix.  Nice cover but doesn’t quite get the age difference.

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 462 pages
Published September 21st 2018
ASINB07HL6TTW9
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHot Off the Ice #5

 

Book Blast with Reviews – Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #5) by A. E. Wasp (excerpt)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title:  Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #5)

Author: A. E. Wasp

Publisher:  Self-Published

Cover Artist: Ana Phoenix

Genre/s:  Contemporary Gay Romance

Heat Rating:  3.5 flames

Length:  100,000 words/432 pages

It is a standalone book.

Add on Goodreads

This is a story about losing the path and finding yourself.

It contains kissing, yelling, spanking, and carb-loaded family interventions. 

Blurb

Hockey superstar Joey Luciano has always been good at being whatever people needed him to be. The fans want a good-looking fast-living party boy? Enter ‘the Looch,’ Joey’s carefully created public persona. But the cracks in his mask are starting to show, and he’s begun to lose touch with who he really is. It’s going to take someone who’s been there from the very beginning, to help him find his way home.

Coach Liam O’Reilly always had a very clear picture of what his life should look like. Falling in love with the infuriating, passionate, stubborn, and endlessly fascinating boy next door was not part of the plan. But when Liam’s carefully constructed life fell apart one Christmas Eve, Joey Luciano was there to pick up the pieces. Now Liam can’t stop wanting him.

The passion blazing between them on the ice and behind closed doors could leave both of them badly burned. But through the smoke, Liam can see glimpses of a future brighter than any he’d imagined, a future worth risking his career and reputation for, if only he is brave enough to reach for it.

But Joey’s got a secret he’s keeping from everyone. If it gets out, it could be the end of everything.

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Excerpt

“Hey,” Joey said, looking up from his phone as Liam fell into the bathroom. “Took you long enough. I’ve been in this fucking bathroom for ten minutes. It’s not that nice. One of those for me?”

“Fucking hell,” Liam said.

Those were the first words he’d spoken to Joey since Christmas Day. Jerk. Stupid gorgeous jerk.

”Okay, then.” Joey reached for one of the shot glasses and downed it, coughing a little from the tequila burn. He’d been expecting whiskey. “Tequila?” Bad things happened when they drank tequila.

Liam nodded and poured the other shot down his throat.

“Gina?”

“Who else?”

Who else but his big sister would do that? Of course, he’d known they were planning on trapping him in the bathroom. He’d also known Liam would do what they wanted, too. The O’Reilly-Luciano double-team had a ninety-five percent success rate.

He’d gone along with it because someplace, not even that deep inside, he desperately wanted to see Liam again. To see if Liam would still have the same effect on him as he had since puberty. Joey licked the last drop of alcohol off his lips, feeling a tingle of lust when Liam dropped his gaze to Joey’s mouth. Yeah. Still, the same effect. Stupid, good-looking smug bastard.

Liam set his glass on the counter with a thud, and then closed the distance between them, forcing Joey to look up to meet his eyes. Sometimes Joey really hated being four inches shorter than him.

“Nice outfit,” Liam said taking in the remains of Joey’s hastily-constructed pirate costume; red and black striped nylon pants ending in a ragged cuff just below the knee, black patent-leather Doc Martin boots, and a wide gold sash tied around his waist. He’d lost his shirt somewhere in the club. The way Liam couldn’t tear his eyes away from Joey’s tattoos made the loss of the two hundred dollar shirt totally worth it.

Liam picked up the end of the sash, sliding the silky material through his fingers. “How come every time I see you, you’re wearing some kind of costume?” Last time they’d met, Joey had been dressed as Santa.

Liam, of course, was his normal GQ self in dark trousers, a white dress shirt, and one of his vast collection of purple ties. The perfect simplicity of his clothes making everyone else look like they were trying too hard.

“How come every time I see you, you’re overdressed?” Joey asked.

Liam ran his hand through his thick red hair. “At least I’m not wandering around half-naked, letting everybody and their brother get their eyes all over me.”

Joey’s jaw dropped. “Excuse me?”

Liam scowled. “It’s a snake pit out there. I got groped half a dozen times walking here.”

Joey leaned back against the water-splattered sink counter. He crossed his arms over his chest. “Your point is?”

Liam stepped close enough that their thighs brushed. Dropping his hand heavily on Joey’s shoulder, he watched transfixed as his thumb traced the curve of Joey’s collarbone. “My point is, that maybe I don’t like the idea of you getting pawed at by a room full of drunks and puck bunnies.”

Joey knocked Liam’s hand away. He had to be fucking kidding. “Tough shit.” Joey pushed himself upright, poking Liam in the center of his (distractingly firm) chest, hard enough to make him take a step backward. “You got no right to tell me what to do or not to do.”

About the Author

After time spent raising children, earning several college degrees, and traveling the world with the U.S. State Department, she is returning to her first love – writing.

A dreamer and an idealist, Amy writes about people finding connection in a world that can seem lonely and magic in a world that can seem all too mundane. She invites readers into her characters’ lives and worlds when they are their most vulnerable, their most human, living with the same hopes and fears we all have. An avid traveler who has lived in big cities and small towns in four different continents, Amy has found that time and distance are no barriers to love. She invites her readers to reach out and share how her characters have touched their lives or how the found families they have gathered around them have shaped their worlds.

Born on Long Island, NY, Amy has lived in Los Angeles, London, and Bangkok. She currently lives in a town suspiciously like Red Deer, Colorado.


Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Instagram 

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

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Release Blitz Tour – I’ve Been Careless With A Delicate Thing by Marina Vivancos (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK  – Available exclusive to Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 27,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Blurb
 

Silas meets gorgeous, grumpy-looking Oscar at a bar. He’s never had sex with a guy, and what better place is there to find someone to pop that particular cherry?



He knows what he’s getting with the broad-shouldered, I-can-pummel-you-with-one-look Oscar: getting bent over a hard surface and satisfied until he’s blaspheming. Turns out, though, there’s a lot more to Oscar that meets the eyes. Needs that you’d never guess just by looking at him. Needs that Silas turns out to perfectly meet.


One night turns into two, turns into three, turns into a dozen. It’s just a little friends-with-benefits relationship with a dollop of kink on the side. No feelings involved, right?


Right. Because Silas is just so good at keeping his heart in check.


This is an erotic ~27,000 word novella. Expect plentiful sex scenes with a friends-with-benefits (yeah, right), soft Dom/sub relationship.
 
Excerpt
 

“You look like you’re having fun,” Silas said, peering at Oscar whilst the other two leaned towards each other, falling into conversation. Oscar raised his eyebrows a little, and the clear sarcasm in the move made Silas grin.


Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.


“Let me guess. You dragged Johnny here to get your dance on, didn’t you? ‘I need to shake my thang’, you wailed, and now here you are, crying on the inside because they’re playing a Madonna remix and this is your jam.” He perched his chin on the palm of his hand, looking at Oscar through his eyelashes.


“My thang,” Oscar repeated, not bothering with a question mark. His voice was deep and everything you would want to come out of a face that looked like it could be used as a cornerstone for a gothic church.


“Yeah, your thang. Your badonkadonk. Your caboose. Your derriere. Your full moon rising. Your juicy double.”


“Are you done?”


“Your all that junk inside your trunk.”


“What are you drinking, exactly?”


“Why? You wanna buy me another?”


“I was actually planning on telling the bartender to cut you off.”


Silas grinned at him for a moment before knocking back his drink. “Let’s dance,” he ordered.


“I don’t dance.”


“Sure you do, big guy.”

 
Author Bio
 

When Marina was a child she couldn’t sleep. Night after dissolving night she just couldn’t sleep. Nothing much worked – until she started making up stories in her head. Suddenly, the transition into unconsciousness was a smooth dive into calm waters.


Marina is currently in a period of sleepless upheaval, and she hopes writing down the stories in her head will cast the same spell it did decades ago.


Marina hopes to write in a variety of romance sub-genres, from contemporary to supernatural to sci-fi. Her style, however, tends to focus on character-centred stories that explore different facets of the human experience, such as mental health. She also enjoys writing explicit, drawn-out sex scenes, so expect those to be a prominent feature of her stories.


Marina tends to keep to herself unless prompted, so don’t be shy in approaching her!

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A Lucy Release Day Review: Handle With Care by Cari Z

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 Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Aaron McCoy is a social worker who gives too much to his job.  In an attempt to keep other kids safe from what he went through as a child, he works himself nearly sick. “Aaron knew all too well how it felt to be ignored by your case worker.”  He is always ahead of schedule with his paperwork and answers the call to help at any time.  It gets to the point where his boss, Pam, forces him to take a vacation before he burns out completely.   Mandatory time off and no checking emails.  It just might kill him. 

Luckily, he has his best friend, Tyler, to be there with an idea.  Aaron has received an invitation to his little brother Zach’s wedding.  The brother he hasn’t seen in fifteen years.  The brother who was “…young and cute and well-behaved for his foster parents…” and ended up being adopted by Chrissy, “I wish I could take you too” and doesn’t that make not one bit of difference to a hurting 13-year-old losing his family.   My heart hurt for him, especially since the reason his brother was so good was because Aaron took care of him when their mom didn’t, couldn’t and wouldn’t.  He’d have to see Chrissy too.  “To my brother’s wedding? To the house of the woman who decided she didn’t want to take me but who had no problem taking my little brother?”  But Tyler is persuasive – a road trip!  The fact that Aaron has secretly longed for Tyler might make the trip uncomfortable, but Aaron can handle it.

Tyler is lovely.  He is silly, enthusiastic and totally on Aaron’s side.  He brings a garbage bag filled with snacks for a fairly short road trip, has dumb car games all ready for them to play until Aaron threatens him if he looks away from the road to see another license plate, and he’s just there for Aaron.  He also has stalked Zach online in order to know more about Aaron.  “I’d never make you share something you don’t want to. But you can’t blame me for lookin’ for clues wherever I could find them.”

I have to admit even though Zach wanted Aaron to stay at Chrissy’s, I think it would have been kinder for him to stay at a hotel and have a place to escape.  It’s so uncomfortable for him, especially when Chrissy talks of how well she cared for Zach and Zach is talking of what a great mom she is.  Things that Aaron didn’t have.  Add in that one of Zach’s groomsmen, Owen, is a nasty homophobic jerk.  I couldn’t understand if Zach was such a good person he could allow someone like that around him, let alone allow the things he said to Aaron and Tyler. “What, fairies can’t hear now?” was one of the tamer things.  Yes, Zach did the “knock it off” thing to Owen, but that didn’t stop it and I was furious at them both.  It was lucky that the bride-to-be, Becky, wasn’t going to take that.  Zach and his “He didn’t mean anything by it” did not fly with her.  There is also a giant surprise that Zach didn’t mention to Aaron that again made me want to smack him.  Obviously, I wasn’t a big Zach fan.

Tyler is there for all of it.  “Weren’t you listenin’?  You put everybody else first.  I’m the only one’ll put you first.” Thank Pete Aaron has someone like that in his corner.  They are such great friends and I was pulling for them to be more.  “We’re still family.”  And that was the family that Aaron needed.  We get to see the slow transformation and it was a great thing.  Aaron makes progress as well, facing some things from his past and showing his strength.  “So I’m glad to hear you say it, but I think it’s probably more important for you to apologize than for me to be apologized to.”

Much as I loved Tyler and Aaron and Becky, the winning character here is Becky’s grandmother.  I can only say that I want to grow up to be here.  She reminded me so much of my favorite female character ever, Nana from Until You. I give a huge thank you to Cari Z for putting that firecracker in there.  “The only attraction they garnered was from Grandma, where she was dancing with a trapped-looking Owen on the dance floor.  “You get you some, honey!”  She’s not in there a lot but the time she is there count.

This is not only a friends to lovers story but it’s a story of healing from the things that might have broken you and moving forward. It was sweet and lovely. 

Cover art by Alexandria Corza shows Aaron set against a background of the road and trees.  It is simple but fit the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 194 pages
Expected publication: October 16th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640804463
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Review: All He Ever Needed by Cate Ashwood:

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RATING 2,75 out of 5 stars

Some secrets are too heavy to hold on to forever.

For Ethan, pretending has become second nature. After all, he’s spent the last decade pretending to be straight, pretending to be happy, and pretending he isn’t desperately in love with his best friend. But in a single moment of raw honesty, all those lies come crashing down around him and he’s left wondering what to do next.

When Jase learns his best friend is going through a breakup, his first instinct is to come to Ethan’s rescue, and he knows just the thing to help. The cabin where they spent summers as kids is sitting vacant, and a week there is the perfect remedy to start healing a broken heart.

In the seclusion of the mountains, long-buried fears and emotions take their friendship into unexplored territory that will either bring them closer together… or tear everything apart.

I’m very sorry to write this review, Cate Ashwood is one of my favorite authors and I always loved her stories, often I find comfort in rereading some of them. So each time she has a new book out, I am over the moon. The problem is this time, All He Ever Needed was a big flop to me. Still I didn’t give it a lower rating because the writing was perfect and the idea, although simple, was interesting and delivered quite well.  But it didn’t work for me.

First of all, I wasn’t able to like the main characters, I couldn’t connect with Jase and Ethan, couldn’t understand their thoughts and acts. Everything that happened between them felt  so rushed it seemed unreal and unfair to Ethan’s ex girlfriend. I knew Ethan was in love with his best friend since forever but it was unbelievable how Jace started feeling attraction for him once he knew Ethan was gay. It was like a couple of chapters were deleted in the original edition and I missed something. One more thing that bothered me a lot was the sex, really too much, and I was bothered because one more time I was left speechless, too easy, too light, never a little doubt or confusion about what was happening.

I love the friends-to-lovers trope but only when it is believable, All He Ever Needed wasn’t at all.

The cover art by Cate Ashwood is awesome, she is really talented and the smiles of the models on it are so sweet.

SALE LINKS    Amazon       

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 178 pages

Published September 19th 2018

ASIN B07HJF52KH

Edition Language English

BLOG TOUR Craft Brew (Trouble Brewing #2) by Layla Reyne (with teaser and giveaway)

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Craft Brew (Trouble Brewing #2) by  Layla Reyne

Release Date: E-Book and Audio – October 8;   Paperback – October 30

Publisher: Carina Press

Buy Links: 

Carina: http://bit.ly/2luKFZr

AMZ: https://amzn.to/2NVKiUB

UBL: https://books2read.com/craftbrew/

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Layla Reyne here today on tour for the latest story in the Trouble Brewing series, Craft Brew!

About Craft Brew

Assistant US attorney Dominic Price is staring down the barrel of his father’s debts. The bull’s-eye on his back makes him a threat to everyone he cares about, so when his lover wants to go public with their relationship, he bolts. Not because he isn’t in love—he can’t stomach the thought of putting Cam in danger.

Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne is determined to figure out what trouble Nic is running from, but devastating news from home brings him back to Boston and to the cold case that has haunted his family for two decades. Shoving aside his pride, he calls Nic for help.

Together they search for answers, navigating the minefield of Cam’s past. But when they get too close to the truth, Cam must use every skill in his arsenal to save the man he loves…before it’s too late.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Excerpt/Teaser

“Move in with me.”

Four words that should have resulted in amazing sex round two.

Not that Cam had ever uttered those words before, but from what he understood, they usually brought a couple closer, including a celebratory tumble in the sheets. Perfect as he and Nic were already there, naked and sweaty from amazing sex round one.

Nic’s understanding, however, was apparently not the same as Cam’s. He stiffened in his arms one second and scrambled out of bed the next. Levering up, Cam braced a hand on the mattress and watched the giant cypress inked on Nic’s back sway with his mad dash to the bathroom.

“Never known you to run from an argument, Counselor!” Technically, they’d not been arguing, but Cam knew the start of one with Nic as well as he knew the other man’s taste. Arguing was what they did best, even better than sex.

“That’s not what I’m doing,” Nic hollered over the running water.

Cam flopped back onto the bed, staring at the ceiling. “Sure as fuck could have fooled me.”

Trouble Brewing Series

Imperial Stout

Craft Brew

Noble Hops  coming soon

 

 

About Layla Reyne:

Author Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal 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. Layla is a member of Romance Writers of America and its Kiss of Death and Rainbow Romance Writers chapters. She was a 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.

Author Links:

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

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/layla-reyne

Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/laylareyne

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Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/laylareyne/

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

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New Book Release Blitz for A Dance of Water and Air ( Elemental Magicae #1) by Antonia Aquilante (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: A Dance of Water and Air

Series: Elemental Magicae, Book One

Author: Antonia Aquilante

Publisher: NineStar Press, LLC

Release Date: October 1, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 83600

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, fantasy, trans, magic, elements, court intrigue, arranged marriage, friends to lovers

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Synopsis

Edmund is heir to the throne of Thalassa and a wielder of Water magic. Devoted to his kingdom and his duty to it, Edmund can do nothing but acquiesce to an arranged marriage with the queen of a neighboring kingdom. The marriage and the child it is required to produce will seal an alliance between Thalassa and Aither that is vital to Thalassa’s safety, and far more important than Edmund’s personal misgivings.

Arden is the younger brother of Aither’s queen and a wielder of Air magic. Raised in the politics of the court to support his sister’s rule, he understands the alliance is important to Aither, even as he worries about his sister marrying someone she’s never met. When Edmund arrives in Aither to prepare for the wedding, Arden is tasked with helping him settle in at court. As they spend more time together, Edmund and Arden develop a close friendship, then stronger feelings, but with Edmund’s wedding approaching, they must hide their feelings, even from themselves.

When someone tries to assassinate the queen, Edmund is blamed, and Arden rescues him before he can be executed for a crime he didn’t commit. To prevent a war between their kingdoms and protect them from a dangerous enemy, Edmund and Arden will have to discover who wants to pit Aither and Thalassa against each other and mend relations between the two kingdoms as they evade those searching for them—all while finding a way to be together.

Excerpt

The Dance of Water and Air
Antonia Aquilante © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Edmund swam, long limbs slicing through the clear, warm water. His mind quieted in the repetitive motion, in the weightlessness and the comfort of being surrounded by his Element. Everything washed away, leaving him calm and relaxed, the only time he ever was lately.

If only he could stay there.

He imagined it for a moment. Spending his life swimming and sailing. All his time in the soothing embrace of the water, or at the shore or bank, feeling Water’s power, learning to use its magic. It was a lovely dream. A lovely, impossible dream. With that thought, tension—the tension his morning swim had briefly dispelled—came flooding back. He stopped swimming and flipped onto his back, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath before letting it out in a long sigh.

The sigh had barely left him when he heard the scrape of a shoe against stone. He bit back another sigh and flipped over again to straighten and tread water in the center of the large pool. His secretary stood on the tiled terrace. Peregrine knew better than anyone that this time was Edmund’s and wouldn’t disturb him unless it was urgent. Disaster or grave injury were top of the list.

“Good morning.”

“Good morning, Highness.” Peregrine would never call him by name when someone else might hear, and Edmund would never try to convince him otherwise. Edmund was far too aware of the dictates of his own position. And far too grateful to have found a friend in Peregrine to quibble overly about how they had to behave in public. “I apologize for disturbing you, sir, but the king has called for you.”

A summons from Father certainly counted as a valid reason to disturb him, especially with the rising tensions between Thalassa and their neighbor, Tycen. It seemed Edmund would be cutting his swim short this morning. He struck out for the terrace where Peregrine waited, swimming with steady but unhurried strokes. He wouldn’t dawdle, but if there had been reason to rush, Peregrine would have said.

Soon enough, he reached the terrace and pulled himself up to sit on the edge. Peregrine handed him a towel. He wiped his face first and stood to strip off his soaking wet swim pants and dry the rest of him. Peregrine wouldn’t care about Edmund’s nudity, and he didn’t worry that someone else would come upon them. The pool he chose for his swims wasn’t the largest of the many on the palace grounds, but it was the most private. The terrace they stood on was the only one that connected to the palace, and it was shaded from view. The rest of the area was screened with trees and shrubbery. The smaller terraces on the side opposite them were even more secluded. He’d spent much time in the pool, which was fed by the same underground spring as the rest of the palace waterways, and on the terraces over the years.

Once Edmund was dry, Peregrine handed him the robe he’d left hanging over the back of a chair when he’d arrived. He’d also left a book there—he’d been far too optimistic about his time when he came down here, apparently. He thanked Peregrine and shrugged into the blue-green silk. It was new, something he hadn’t really needed, but he liked the color against his brown skin and the feel of the smooth, cool silk.

“Any idea what my father needs?” Edmund stepped into his sandals and picked up his book from the table.

“None.”

He raised his eyebrow at Peregrine in surprise. Edmund could always rely on Peregrine for more information than seemed possible about everyone from the maids to the king. He’d long since gotten over any misgivings about Peregrine’s seeming omniscience and begun to rely on it. For Peregrine not to have an inkling of what was brewing… Odd. And slightly disturbing.

“I guess we’ll find out.”

Not immediately, of course. A summons through official channels called for more formality. Edmund couldn’t appear in the king’s presence in nothing but a thin robe and sandals. Peregrine kept pace as Edmund walked to his rooms, informing him of other court news and gossip that he might find interesting or useful as they walked.

Edmund’s rooms were a floor up from the garden pool. A guard stationed near the door jumped to open it for Edmund as he approached. He nodded but didn’t slow as he sailed through the door, Peregrine at his heels. His sandals made soft tapping sounds on the green and white tile of the entryway. His sitting room opened up in front of him, curtains fluttering in the breeze blowing in off the ocean below. He had no time to relax there or even to eat the breakfast that was sure to be laid out in the dining room. Instead, he turned left, taking the short hallway leading to his bedchamber, dressing room, and bathing room.

He went directly to the bathing room. Wide windows let in sunlight over the large tub, empty because he usually bathed after breakfast. There was no time to fill it, let alone soak. He settled for rinsing the salt from his skin with water from the basin and briskly rubbed a towel over his shoulder-length hair. Having it drip all over his clothing while he met with Father just wouldn’t do. When he’d squeezed as much of the water from it as he could, he left the towel and went to the dressing room.

Peregrine was there, laying out clothes.

“That isn’t your job,” Edmund said.

“I’m aware.”

“I can select my own clothing.”

“I’m aware of that as well. Put them on anyway.”

Edmund laughed and did as he was told. Peregrine was only saving him time and knew what would be appropriate for him to wear, considering the meeting with Father and the day ahead. He pulled on undergarments and slim gray pants and dropped a sleeveless white shirt over his head. Peregrine held out a dark teal jacket for him, helping him shrug into the embroidered silk. Edmund murmured his thanks and fastened the jacket over his chest, fingers working quickly over the row of little silver buttons. When he was finished, he stepped into shoes and fastened the silver and aquamarine drop earrings Peregrine had just pulled from their box into his ears. It was the only jewelry Peregrine had chosen, and as he looked in the mirror, Edmund had to admit he was probably right in that. The clothing didn’t need more.

“Thank you,” Edmund said.

“My pleasure, Edmund.”

“Perhaps I should have you dress me every day. You have an eye for it. Much better than anyone else. Do you think you’d prefer it to being my secretary?”

Peregrine sent a stern frown at Edmund. “Funny.”

It was, for any number of reasons. Only one being that Peregrine was frighteningly efficient in his present position and far too good at it to do anything else. In fact, he was far too skilled to be anything except a royal secretary, and it was Edmund’s good fortune to have him.

“Shall we?” Peregrine didn’t mention that Edmund shouldn’t keep Father waiting, but he didn’t have to.

“Yes. Catch me up on any changes to my schedule as we walk.”

Peregrine did so, barely consulting his notebook. Edmund listened carefully as they left his rooms and strode through the palace corridors. His own wing, reserved for the rooms of the royal children, was quiet as it was only occupied by him and Kerenza. His sister would still be abed—she preferred to rise late when she had the opportunity—and he had no appointments that might bring anyone to his office until later in the day. When they passed out of the wing, the entrance marked by a three-tiered fountain decorated in mosaics of blue and green tiles, the corridors became more populated. But everyone gave way for the prince and his secretary, bowing as Edmund passed them.

Father’s office was near the council chambers and other administrative offices in the main block of the palace. He worked sometimes in the small private library attached to his rooms, but all his official meetings took place here. If Edmund had any doubt that today’s summons was serious and formal, it would have been dispelled by the location of the meeting.

Peregrine knocked when they arrived, and a moment later, the door was opened by Father’s secretary, who bowed and stepped aside. Edmund bowed slightly as soon as he entered the room, then walked closer to Father’s desk. Peregrine remained back near the closed door. Father looked up from the papers he was examining to study Edmund with a keen eye. Edmund was sure Father was cataloging every detail of his appearance from his attire to his still damp hair.

Father was dressed formally, as Edmund would expect. His jacket was green, heavily embroidered in gold and white, the color vivid against his dark skin. The circlet of his rank sat on his head amid black curls now streaked with gray. Edmund had not worn his own circlet, deeming it unnecessary for the day he had planned; he hoped he wouldn’t regret that decision. The set of Father’s features caused Edmund’s stomach to churn unpleasantly.

“You called for me, Father?”

“Yes. Come sit down. I need to speak with you.” The seriousness of his tone did nothing to alleviate Edmund’s sudden concern.

Edmund took the chair across from Father’s desk, hoping he properly concealed his anxiety. He’d been trained all his life to mask every emotion, so he’d best be able to. He looked at Father and waited for him to speak.

“As you know, we’ve been pursuing an alliance with Aither,” Father said.

And, of course, Edmund did know, though he hadn’t been involved in the negotiations. Aither sat at their western border. Theirs was generally a friendly border to begin with, trade flowing freely between the two countries, but Father and his council had hoped that the looming threat of Tycen’s aggression might worry Aither’s young queen as much as it had them and would tempt her into an alliance. Edmund hadn’t been informed about the state of the negotiations in some time. Had they gone horribly wrong?

“We’ve come to an agreement with Queen Hollis.”

“You—” Edmund stopped. He’d been so sure Father was going to say just the opposite that he couldn’t believe what he’d heard. “That’s wonderful, Father. Did the final agreement go as you’d hoped?”

“We got what we needed from it.”

“Good.” And yet the relief Edmund should’ve been feeling didn’t come. Father didn’t look as if he’d just concluded a successful negotiation, didn’t look as if he was pleased by the outcome. Or…no, not as if he was displeased, but too serious. “Is something wrong?”

“Not at all. However, the promises of increased trade and mutual protection were not enough on their own to secure the alliance we needed.”

Edmund wasn’t surprised, though he hadn’t been privy to the particulars of what Father wanted, aside from Aither standing with them should Tycen press their aggression. “What did they ask for?”

“Queen Hollis and her advisors required more assurance of our compliance, and truth be told, I wasn’t upset to have more of theirs. They’re Air wielders, so they’re different from us, but Water and Air are compatible. Even if I would have preferred an alliance with no deeper entanglements.”

“Father?” A rush of cold spread through Edmund’s veins.

“You and Queen Hollis will wed with the expectation of a child being born within two years. The alliance will be secured by blood and all the stronger for it.”

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

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Book Blast – Unwrapping His Heart (Hearts on the Line #1) by Karrie George (excerpt)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Unwrapping His Heart (Hearts on the Line, #1)

Author: Karrie George

Publisher: Little Storm Press

Cover Artist: Madelynne Ellis

Release Date: August 23, 2018

Genre/s: MM romance

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 76 000 words    

A standalone book, but the first in a series

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Blurb

Matt is sexy, single, and fabulous. His career at a fancy magazine is going from strength to strength. He has great friends, a nice flat, and a healthy bank account. Life is wonderful.

In truth, Matt is unhappy. Convinced he’s not worthy of love, he flits from club to bar, in search of temporary amnesia from the demon on his shoulder that tells him he’s never going to find “the one”. Which is ironic, because his heart already belongs to the one man he knows he can never have—his straight best friend, Zeke.

Zeke has always dated women. He can’t fathom why he’s so upset about Matt’s latest lover, the wildly successful and attractive Dieter, but refuses to accept that he’s jealous, because to do that, he might have to do some soul-searching of his own.

Meeting Dieter turns Matt’s ordered life on its head, and opens Matt’s mind to the possibility that he can make a meaningful connection. However, to take a gamble on love, Matt has to learn to trust people with his secrets. And, more importantly, to overcome his shame regarding the one part of him he refuses to change. If he can’t – or won’t – learn to love himself, it’s doubtful anyone else will see the real man behind the mask.

The only question is whether he’s brave enough.

Buy Links

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Excerpt

The hairs on the back of his neck lifted; he was coming closer. The thick carpet muffled his steps, but Matt’s internal compass had apparently shifted and now only had one direction.

Sørensen didn’t speak as he approached, and Matt didn’t move from his position, concentrating furiously on a Porsche as it made several attempts to parallel park. Then his breathing hitched as a hand landed on his shoulder.

“I think you should call me Dieter.”

“Okay.” It was an effort to force the two syllables out. Still neither of them moved. The air between them crackled and Matt swallowed. He wasn’t imagining it now; Sørensen – Dieter – was interested. He raised his eyes a fraction and risked checking the reflection in the glass. Before he could process anything, he was suddenly moving, then his back was pressed against the window as a mouth came down on his and his vision blurred.

Dieter kissed without mercy, his lips hot and hard and insistent. Matt barely had time to register that he tasted of mint before a tongue demanded entry, forcing rather than coaxing, and any resistance he might have summoned crumbled under the assault. He moaned and his head fell back, at the same time as his hands rose to grip the lapels of Dieter’s suit jacket to tug him closer.

A hand grasped the back of his head and strong fingers raked through his hair. Matt responded by sliding his arms under Dieter’s jacket and clawing at the fine material of his shirt, desperate to find skin. Pulling back suddenly, Dieter tore off the offending jacket, letting it drop to the floor, then did the same with Matt’s leather one, before mashing their mouths together once more. He ground into Matt, every roll of his hips sparking nerve endings that screamed for release as the pressure grew.

Matt didn’t usually kiss much. Frantic gropes in the dark corners of clubs didn’t lend themselves to more than getting off as quickly as possible, and he wasn’t yet sure he was in the market for romance, but something about the way Dieter tried to consume him was addictive. He couldn’t get enough. Air wasn’t necessary; getting more of everything, was. He realised he’d moaned again, and the noise evidently pleased Dieter. “Let me get you off,” he murmured, “are you close?”

Matt was close, too close. He turned his head suddenly, smacking it against the cool glass. Releasing his hold on Dieter, he pressed the heel of one hand against his groin, then used the other as a shield, palm up against Dieter’s chest. He could feel the galloping heartbeat under his fingers and the thought that Dieter was similarly affected pleased him.

“Gissa moment,” he choked out, willing his erection to subside enough to allow him to think.

To his credit Dieter didn’t crowd him, but his eyes were puzzled. “You don’t want to come?”

Matt laughed, a small, pained sound. “Yeah, but not in my clothes.”

Dieter smiled. “We can rectify that simply. But I think perhaps we are the same size. It would have been no trouble to lend you something. Come to bed with me, Matt.” He tipped forward and pressed their foreheads together gently, a direct contrast to his previous full-on attack. “You do want to?”

“Fuck, yeah. But not tonight.”

“Because?”

Because if we do that, you’ll think I’m a fucking weirdo and ditch me before we get as far as the bed. “You took me by surprise. Also, it’s not very professional if I’m going to be working for you.”

About the Author  

Karrie George considers caffeine the most important food group. She’d like to think of herself as delightfully eccentric, but has grudgingly accepted that “socially awkward weirdo” is nearer the mark. Books and music have been the backdrop to her life so far, and she sees no reason for this to ever change.

Karrie lives in the wilds of Scotland with a long-suffering spouse and several children. The voices in her head are great at encouraging her to leave the dust bunnies in favour of playing with plot bunnies. Possibly unrelated, she owns a number of pristine dusters.

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