A Lila Release Day Review: Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A friends-to-lovers novella that came from Out of the Shadows, because Nate and Dylan needed a story….

Nate and Dylan have been pals for a long time. So what if their friends think they’ve got a little bromance going? Doesn’t mean there’s anything more to it than that, right? And even if there is, Nate and Dylan are totally oblivious….

Until the night they share a drunken kiss—and everything changes.

Bromantically Yours was an unexpected surprise. I didn’t know this story was related to Out of the Shadows until the moment I started reading it. It can be read as a standalone but having the background of Nate’s and Dylan’s friendship complements the reading experience. It gives the reader an extra in into their relationship that’s not available with most short stories. Also, it’s good to see Christian and Josh again.

I liked the slow start to their transition from bromance to romance. It was unexpected for them, but they didn’t let their new feelings get in the way of their friendship. They asked questions and took the time, not only to date but to get to know the other’s expectations and fears.

It was funny, sweet, and smexy. The short length didn’t take away from the character development or the story plot. It’s simple, traditional, and nothing out of the ordinary but it works perfectly for the holiday.

The cover by Brooke Albrecht shows a perfect representation of Nate and Dylan. It is a cute Valentine’s cover for a sweet short story.

Sale Links: DreamspinnerAmazon | NOOK

ebook, 97 pages
Published: February 14, 2018, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781640805347
Edition Language: English

An Alisa Release Day Review: Just for Nice (States of Love) by H.M. Shepherd

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Nick Caratelli flees the city in an attempt to escape a broken relationship and a career he never wanted. He plans to set up a bed-and-breakfast in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country—despite the fact he has no experience in renovating the old building. Luckily his handsome neighbor Sam approaches him with a curious proposal: he’ll help with the restoration in exchange for Nick babysitting his niece.

 

As they work to have the bed-and-breakfast open for business by summer’s end, their lives become interwoven without them even trying. Before he knows it, Nick is recovering from his loss and taking his place in the unconventional family that seems determined to form. But for Nick and Sam to be together in all the ways they desire, they’ll have to realize all the arguments against romance exist only in their heads….

 

This was a sweet story.  Nick’s ex did him a favor when she broke off their relationship, he finally breaks away from his unsatisfying career and start something new.  Sam has been basically living on pause since he became his niece’s guardian.

 

I liked that Nick and Sam spent the time to build a friendship before even beginning to explore anything together.  I liked seeing both of them accepting their own feelings but didn’t like Sam thinking he pretty much had to give up on happiness for his niece.  It was good that others are looking out for him.  Both of these guys work hard and try to do what’s best.  I loved their first scene in bed and kinds wished there would have been more.

 

I loved cover art by Tiferet Design and it gives great visuals for the story.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 55 pages

Published: February 9, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-129-5

Edition Language: English

Series: A States of Love Story

A Jeri Review: Going Overboard (Anchor Point #5) by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

If you want to delve into some of the intricacies of navy politics, this is the book for you. While I have enjoyed this series for the most part, they are definitely hit and miss for me.
Yes, I love reading about the politics and other military things you really don’t hear about. I have looked up several terms. Each book had things I liked and didn’t like. This one was no different.
This was a friends to lover story- which I really like. Except one of them was sort of in the closet? He had plenty of opportunity to tell his friend- hey, I’m gay too! But he didn’t.  I liked the friendship between Dalton and Chris, but I didn’t feel any heat. The chemistry wasn’t there.
And because there was a lot of story involving the investigation of an incident, the romance side of it really took a back seat. I love a good story with the romance, but I don’t like when one overshadows the other.
I did really enjoy seeing characters from previous books taking decent sized roles in this book. I hate a quick mention of previous characters just to keep them all tied together. This was juicy.
There were several questions left unanswered for me. I won’t go into them here because I don’t drop spoilers. I hate asked “what about” though at the end of a book.
So, it was decent. I don’t regret spending the time to read it. But I’ll probably forget it rather quickly.
Cover art by L.C. Chase is perfect for the story.
Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 259 pages
Published February 3rd 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ASINB079KVSFDC
Series Anchor Point #5

A Jeri Review: For The Living by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

I love rereleases when it is a one I somehow missed. I am a fan of LA Witt, so I was eager to read this.
What I loved the most was that it was different. One man struggling with his sexual identity and then forced to grieve a wife that deserved more. And a mortician who he met while burying his wife. You don’t read about that everyday.
The pain Jay felt was so real. First the pain of knowing he was gay, but how to tell his wife about it. Because he did love her, he just wasn’t in love with her. And then to lose her so suddenly. No closure, no truth, no nothing. She was just gone. He doesn’t know how to deal with all of that at once. And then Scott offers a friendly ear and shoulder. Yes, he is a funeral director so comforting people is a bit in the job description. But he also knows what it is like to struggle to come out.
Scott was a bit too perfect for me. So sympathetic and understanding. Most of the time he wasn’t taking his own feelings into consideration. And then when he was upset, it was like he flipped a switch. 90% way too saintly and 10% why are you being such a jerk? I found it almost funny that he is this professional, clean cut funeral director/mortician, but he is covered in tattoos you only see when his shirt is off. Like she was saying “see? he’s a bad boy!”.
I liked Jay though. I felt like his struggle was real. Oddly, even though his parents were close to him, they didn’t seem to have too much in the story. You would think that their son losing his wife would bring them forward more. Having him struggle with that would have been very realistic. Instead he leans heavily on Scott.
So, yes, it was a good story. I liked it. I just didn’t love it. Assuming that because this is a rerelease it was also re-edited. It really needed more though.
Cover art Lori Witt.  Wonderful cover.  Love the composition.

Buy Link Ebook: books2read.com/ForTheLivingLA-

Buy Link Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 279 pages
Published November 3rd 2016 (first published April 1st 2012)
Original TitleFor the Living
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Color Me In (Last Chance #2) by Riley Hart

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

This is a beautiful love story—a slow burn, awakening of sexuality for Ryan, who has only ever loved one person previously, his former wife Danielle.  Now, in the midst of an unexpected attraction to Caleb White, a man who returned to the small town of Last Chance after having been both in prison and a porn star, he’s shocked when he learns that he’s demisexual.  No wonder he’s never really felt a sexual urge with any of the other women who have come on to him in the past.  And no wonder his feelings for Caleb include a sexual attraction.  After he avidly devours every definition of demisexual from the Internet, he feels changed—like it’s okay to inhabit his body and mind.  He’s not an oddity after all. 

Ryan works as a mechanic for Shane, from Depth of Field (Last Chance #1), and meets Caleb at an all-night diner one sleepless night. Caleb has returned to the town he left when he was sixteen and his family packed up and moved him away quickly after he and Shane were discovered kissing. Later, in his late teens and early twenties he got into trouble and ended up serving a prison term.  By the time he got out, he felt Shane wouldn’t understand, so he never contacted him.  And then while spending years working in the porn industry, he wasn’t willing to simply call Shane to renew what might have only been a passing teenage crush for the man.

But Caleb never forgot him, and he returned to Last Chance where he was welcomed with open arms by Shane and his new boyfriend, Van, another young man they went to school with. Caleb bought a house but hasn’t secured a job yet. Over coffee at the diner late one night, Ryan discloses that he needs to find a new apartment, so Caleb offers him a roommate situation.  Though reluctant to take it, Ryan eventually agrees. 

So the setting is there for two men to become friends, and then become attracted, and then act on that attraction, but this story is, as I said, a slow burn and it was beautifully done.  Ryan had always wondered why he never felt the sexual appeal of anyone other than his former wife.  And then he felt awkward when he found himself drawn to Caleb, but after he learned what it meant to be demisexual, he began to accept himself, and with Caleb’s help, the two started the slow exploration of their mutual attraction.   

The love story is, of course, primarily between these two men. But it’s also the story of a young man who lost his wife after their baby died and she pushed him away.  There’s grieving and healing and the love of two people who were friends as well as spouses.  Now, Danielle is back in his life when Ryan has to rush to his father’s hospital bedside and it’s evident that they still love each other—though as friends now.  And Ryan’s father?  A man who loves his child but has never expressed it properly.  The two have a chance to make amends and verbalize the love they have for one another.  So, as I said, there’s love in this story—multiple facets of love in the same way we humans have so many facets to our personalities. 

I really enjoyed the way the author allowed Ryan to fall in love with Caleb slowly.  And Caleb was a dream man—one who had matured through the School of Hard Knocks and was both kind and understanding.  He was also sexy as hell and totally devoted to Ryan, and Caleb knew he had all the time in the world to wait for this man.  It’s very difficult to put the emotions of this story into words.  Suffice it to say that it’s much more than a GFY or a bi-curious story, and yet it hits on some of the notes from those sorts of stories, which I happen to enjoy. 

Those who enjoyed Crossroads should definitely enjoy this one and if that one was a bit too far out of the realm of believability with two formerly straight men being attracted to one another, this one should hit the spot as an out-and-proud gay man helps a previously thought-to-be-straight man navigate the waters of man-on-man loving.  That love and the love Ryan holds for his family make this a must read for 2018.  Highly recommended. 

~~

COVER DESIGN: X-Potion Designs
COVER IMAGE: Stone Creek City

Cover art is a photo depicting two apparently naked men, one embracing the other from behind.  It’s the perfect depiction of the MCs in this story, with Caleb simply holding Ryan close. 

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published January 28th 2018 by Riley Hart
Original TitleColor Me In
ASINB079DK8B64
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLast Chance #2

Emjay Haze on Writing, Romance and her new release ‘Home is Where You Are’ (author interview and giveaway)

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Home is Where You Are (States of Love) by Emjay Haze
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Release Date: 1/26/18

Available now for Sale at:  DreamSpinner Press |  Amazon  

Thank you for visiting my blog tour at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. I’m Emjay Haze, author of Contemporary m/m romance. Home is Where You Are is my first book with DreamSpinner Press and I’m excited to share it with you on release day.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Emjay Haze, author of Home is Where You Are

 

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I think my traits tend to pop up in more of my minor characters, since the main characters are both men usually in their twenties/thirties and I’m a fifty-plus year old woman, lol. I love writing strong-willed characters and I think that comes from me.  I also like to write them a little quirky and feisty and that’s definitely me.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

When I was growing up, my mom introduced me to romance novels, but a lot of times, they didn’t really have a HEA, the way I wanted them, anyway. As I got older, I really got into Robert Ludlum books and other spy and mystery-type novels, and totally went away from romance. I didn’t even like watching rom-coms.  Then, in 2009, I discovered m/m romance in the form of online fanfiction and fell in love with the genre. I started writing stories around my favorite music artist and then eventually moved to original characters and writing short stories and novels.  I realized I didn’t hate romance at all, I was just reading the wrong kind.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I love happy endings, and I think everyone deserves one. That’s why I love this genre.  If I had to pick one, I’d have to say HEA. I want my two lovebirds to ride off into the sunset together and be happy forever.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I love e-books, because I have a kindle and subscribe to kindle unlimited, so it’s easy to download and read books.  I can start on my kindle at work, and then move it to my phone or tablet on the weekend.

It’s a shame that so many bookstores have closed over the years, but I don’t see them going away all together.  I think there are enough people that still want to read a book and not an electronic device. My last novel came out in both e-book and paper book and it was thrilling when I got to hold it in my hands, and I was able to give signed copies to friends. You can’t do that with an electronic version.

I see e-book formats expanding as the technology grows, and less books coming out in hard or paperback.

  • How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

For all of my published works, I’ve had a publisher who provides the artist for the cover and I’ve never been disappointed. For Home is Where You Are, I had given her some general info on the settings, characters, etc, and my artist came back with three great covers to choose from.  Sometimes I have sort of an idea, and the artists have all taken my ramblings and turned them into something really beautiful.

  • Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

That’s a “who’s your favorite child” question, so the answer is no, of course not, lol.  I love all of my characters and it’s really hard to choose just one. So far, they’ve all been pretty different, so it’s impossible to pick a favorite.  I do really adore a few of my minor characters, though. The best friend in my new novel coming later this year is awesome. Her name is Andrea, and she’s a hoot, feisty and outspoken and a great friend.  I also wrote a social worker character who took care of my foster kid main character for a very long fan-fiction story that I wrote years ago, and I absolutely loved her strength and character and the way she stood up for my protagonist.  But main characters, nope, I can’t pick one.

  • If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

I have more trouble flawing my characters, lol.  I love them and want them to be perfect, but it’s way more interesting to read about someone with flaws who grows in a story.  My family and I were watching a horror movie the other day and none of us couldn stand the protagonist at first. She was a real bitch. But, as the film progressed she started to grow through all of the difficulties she was having. I liked it and understood her, but my twenty-year-old could never get past not liking the character at the beginning. So, yes, I believe that they have to have redeemable qualities, but a few flaws make them deeper characters, but not so many that you can’t forgive them.

  •  Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

Haha.  Drunk? No, but I used to write a lot of fan-fiction and those sexy scenes are written much better with a few beers in the system—more uninhibited and the scene flows better. Of course, you have to edit, but I’ve never had one that I had to completely rewrite because it was a mess.

 

  • If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

I have a vision of having a house on the beach or a lake (where it’s warm) and having my laptop outside on a large wooden round table with a large umbrella overlooking the water while I’m wearing a tank-top and shorts and bare feet, sipping on a cool drink.

Right now, I sit at a very warped card table at the end of our family room with the big-screen TV and family watching to the right of me.

  •  With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

If I had to pick one, it would be to get away.  I write because I have so many stories in my head that need to get out. I have distraction issues, but when I’m writing, I can totally immerse myself into the story and ignore everything else. I love developing characters and building a story and seeing it come to life.

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

I have full-length novel coming out with NineStar Press sometime in April called After Hours. It’s the first of a three-book series. I’m working on the second book now. I really love writing m/m romance, and I think I will always write in that genre, but at some point I may try something new like a spy novel.   

Blurb:

For a chance at a future filled with love, he’ll have to face a painful past.

Eric, recently dumped by his boyfriend, is summoned home after his dad suffers a stroke. His family farm in rural Vermont holds memories he’d rather forget, but he—with his degree in agricultural business—is needed to clear up a predicament with the bank. In trying to forget the bad, Eric has also lost sight of the good: green meadows dotted with grass-fed dairy cows and the sugar maples that once produced the area’s finest maple syrup. With Eric’s help, they will again.

A captivating farmhand named Phil tempts Eric to give the countryside another chance, but before they can consider being together, Eric must move past more than his feelings for his ex-boyfriend—he’ll need to stand up to the ghosts that sent him running from the farm in the first place….

Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Pages: 95
Part of the States of Love Series by DreamSpinner Press

Giveaway

I have a rafflecopter giveaway of 3 e-copies of Home is Where you Are, and a Grand prize of the e-book and a gift pack of Vermont maple syrup and maple candy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Emjay Haze is a Pennsylvania girl living in a Virginia world, growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs and moving to Northern Virginia to follow her now husband of twenty-plus years. She has two kids in college, a year-old puppy named Max, a black-and-white cat named Tux, a gecko named Rex, a yellow tang called Reggie, and we hear the eels are coming this week.

The family pastime is baseball, specifically the Nationals. She’s also a huge Redskins fans and loves classic rock. Emjay graduated with a degree in Creative Writing in 2015 after realizing it was the only thing she really wanted to do.

She has a wide and diverse work history in the fields of travel, hotel management, high-tech communications, web development, real estate, and the nonprofit health care industry where she has held positions such as travel agent, hotel concierge, web programmer, Realtor, account manager, and many, many others, giving her a varied and unique set of experiences that she draws upon in her stories and characters.

Emjay fell in love with the m/m romance genre after discovering the world of fanfiction several years ago and hasn’t looked back. Her family keeps asking when she’ll write something they can read, but she’s still having too much fun with her boys. Her goal is to broaden the minds of those who might not normally pick up a gay romance because it’s more about the person than the sexuality. She’ll take you on a roller-coaster journey, but you’ll always get a happy ending.

Website: http://www.mjhauthor.com/emjayhaze

Twitter: @emjayhaze

Facebook: www.facebook.com/emjayhaze

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14254769.Emjay_Haze

New Release Blitz for Sweethearts by Gemma Gilmore (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Sweethearts

Author: Gemma Gilmore

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: January 29, 2018

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 62600

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, YA, high school, friends to lovers, alcohol use, visual arts, coming out, teen pregnancy, coming of age, slow burn

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

When seventeen-year-old Ingrid Harper realizes she may not have the talent to pursue a scholarship for the most prestigious art school in Australia, she turns to pink hair dye as a distraction.

Her new hair captures the attention of a fellow art student, Kat, who introduces Ingrid to the LGBT clubbing scene, and although Ingrid enjoys partying with her new friend, she becomes caught up in confusion about her sexuality. Her fear is overwhelming—she can’t think about anything else.

Until her best friend, Summer, reveals that she is pregnant.

As her best friend faces the realities of being pregnant at seventeen, Ingrid is shown the true definition of courage. It motivates her to come out about her sexuality—she likes girls. Only girls. Now she just has to work out what that means for the other areas of her life.

Excerpt

Sweethearts
Gemma Gilmore © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
I am desperately trying not to attract attention.

My arms are folded across my chest. My chin is tucked into my neck. I am leaning against the brick wall as I watch her sing. It takes every ounce of strength I have to keep my face still, hiding any expression that bubbles to the surface. Any reaction I have to her lilting voice is shoved down, adding to the pit in my stomach.

The younger students are sitting respectfully in their seats. They are still too naive to question the teachers when they are told they must be present. I know better than to think that this school performance is anything special to Amber Freeman. She’s been singing since before she could walk, and although I am always the first viewer, her YouTube videos are gaining more and more popularity with every upload. This is just practice to her. A warm-up.

The spotlights are trained on her, and she throws her hands up whilst the climax of the song cascades from her talented lips. I let my eyes flicker shut and Amber’s voice surrounds me, caressing my ears as she sings deeply. Her voice is crashing through me, tingling across the skin on my arms and seeping through my body, calming me.

My head has fallen back against the wall, and I remain frozen there as I listen to her sing. In this moment, nothing else matters. With my eyes closed, she’s right next to me. Singing softly, untying the knot that’s sunken deep into that pit in the bottom of my stomach.

“Ingrid? What the hell are you doing?” The voice that hisses right next to my ear jerks me out of my daydream.

I jump with shock and wrench my eyes open, tearing myself away from the peaceful moment. In front of me, my best friend Summer stands, her arms folded across her chest and her eyes wide in that you are busted expression.

“Jesus,” I mutter. “I thought you had better things to do than sneak up on people. Way to give me a heart attack.”

“I thought you had better things to do than stand here creepily at the back of the gym listening to Amber sing,” Summer challenges me, an amused smile dancing across her full lips.

“You snuck up on me and you’re calling me the creep?” I snort. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”

The quicker I can get Summer outside of this gym, the quicker I can shove away the fact that she caught me watching Amber’s performance. We duck behind the last row of seating and out of the door in the corner of the room, swiftly ignoring the Emergency Exit Only sign. We’ve done this so many times now that it’s like second nature.

Outside, the rain lashes against the building. The wind howls so loudly that I’m surprised no one noticed our little escape from the gymnasium—then again, they never do. For Summer, there’s more to life than just sitting in a desk at school. Any chance my best friend has to escape the mundane restrictions of life is an opportunity she must take. She’s never been the kind of girl to follow the traditional paths.

Then again, neither have I.

My thoughts still spin as we duck through the car park and head out to the tin shed at the back of the school. Summer knew exactly where to find me during Amber’s performance. She knows that I watch Amber. While everyone else in our grade snuck off to make out in abandoned classrooms or smoke cigarettes behind the main building, I followed the crowd into the gymnasium with one intention.

Why did I need to watch her?

“I had a headache and the gym was dark.” I shrug off Summer’s curious stare as we take shelter under the tin roof. The rain really lashes down now, bouncing off the pavement and whipping through the trees. “It was better than watching you make out with Jackson for an hour straight.”

My snide comment is low but, right now, I’ll do anything to take the attention away from me.

“You had a headache, so you decided to listen to Amber sing?” Summer rolls her eyes at me. “Makes sense.”

She fidgets with her oversized tartan scarf, staring out into the rain. Maybe I’m not the only one who is trying to avoid things today.

“You were in there too,” I argue half-heartedly. “What’s your obsession with her?”

This time, Summer does turn to me. “I’m obsessed?” She snorts. “Ingrid, honey, if I’m obsessed, then you’re deranged.”

“Then I’m deranged.”

Summer rolls her eyes, signalling the end of that particular conversation. “Whatever. Your deeply disturbing issues are the least of my problems right now. Look, Ingrid, I think I’m going to have to take a test.”

Red splotches gleam against Summer’s pale cheeks, and I watch her carefully. She tugs on that scarf like it’s strangling her.

“Like an STD test?”

“Are you stupid?” I know her voice is harsher than intended, and I brush it off with a blunt laugh. “A pregnancy test.”

“Oh, for god’s sake, here we go again. You and Jackson really need to invest in some efficient birth control because this I’m pregnant freak-out that you have every month is getting boring.”

“Trust me, I know.” Her tone is suddenly tense, and she blinks back emotion. “But right now, I’m pretty sure I have the devil’s spawn growing inside of me, so I’m allowed to freak out. I’m two weeks late.”

I raise my eyebrows. She’s never been this late before. “Jackson is not the devil’s spawn. You know he loves you. But I highly doubt you’re pregnant. It’s all the stress from thinking you’re pregnant every month starting to get to you.”

“Yeah, okay, whatever.” She says, throwing her hands up in defeat. “I knew I shouldn’t have said anything. I don’t know what you’re moping about—we got a free class and you got to watch Amber singing. It’s a damn good day for Ingrid Harper right now.”

“Listen, I really did just have a headache. I don’t care about Amber’s singing. And you and Jackson were quite obviously distracted. You didn’t seem to have pregnancy on your mind during that public make-out session. Or maybe you did. Either way, I think it’s a damn good day for both of us, don’t you think?”

I know what Summer is doing. She is the ultimate denier of reality. More than that, she is aware that I will follow along with every topic change she throws at me. I get distracted easily, apparently.

Summer laughs, but the smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes. Distraction is inevitable right now, for both of us. These are not issues we should be faced with at seventeen years old. Summer’s mother is getting married soon, so that’s just one more thing to top off what I’m coining Summer’s Distressing Summer.

We stand silently as the rain pours over the sides of the flimsy tin roof. Muddy water pools right to the edges of the door. It’s mid-December. While politicians are throwing around the term climate change like it’s currency, I stare at the pools of water near this emergency exit, wondering if our town has sufficient flood safety plans.

“Come over tonight,” she murmurs. “Please, Ingrid.”

“You’re buying me McDonald’s.” I sigh in return. The truth is, I have my own things to worry about, whether Summer is pregnant or not. She’s been with Jackson for three years—that’s three years they have successfully been together and prevented pregnancy. It’s not a possibility. It just isn’t.

Summer is wild, just like her name. Her light-brown hair is constantly tangled, but her dominating blue eyes seem to distract everyone.

But today, she stares out at the grey sky and nervously chews at her lip, clutching that damn scarf so tightly that I know she’s already certain about this pregnancy. More so than I’ve ever seen before. Her blue eyes don’t seem so bright today.

“I heard Jackson was thinking about transferring to the art school. I didn’t think that boy had an artistic bone in his body.” I smirk, desperately trying to relax Summer. I don’t know what to say when she’s so shut off like this. My lie is smooth, slipping off my lips easily.

“Yeah, he does comics. I don’t know, I guess they’re funny.”

“It’s our last year of high school. Surely he’s left it a bit late?” I frown in earnest now.

What Summer doesn’t know is that I’ve known Jackson a lot longer than she has. I know that he’s been wanting to do art since he started high school, but his military-driven father would never allow it—he’s all about physical education, mathematics, and science. He used to drill that into Jackson every time I was around; none of this fairy fluff nonsense, he would say pointedly.

“Look, Ingrid, I don’t really want to talk about Jackson right now,” Summer snaps, finally releasing the titan grip on her checked scarf and running a frustrated hand through her frizzy hair.

“Do you even want me to stay tonight then?” I throw back. “I can’t deal with you when you’re being like this. Either let me in or let me go. I’ve got shit to do.”

To my complete surprise, Summer snorts as she turns to face me. “Just shut up and come and sleep over at my house. I need your brutal honesty, but I also need you to do literally everything I say right now. You know I’d do the same for you.”

I don’t bother telling her that to be in her position, I’d actually have to get closer than two feet to a guy, but I think she already knows that.

“Look, I don’t like that you called Jackson the devil before. I don’t care if he’s annoying sometimes, if you are…pregnant…it’s definitely not the devil’s spawn that could be growing inside of you. And that’s all I’m going to say about that,” I huff.

“Okay, I didn’t know you were Jackson’s number-one cheerleader, but whatever.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Gemma Gilmore is graduated from university with a degree in Journalism and a passion for writing and travelling. In 2016 she was awarded a highly competitive residency with the Tasmanian Writers Centre. When she’s not writing YA fiction, she’s spontaneously booking trips across the world so she can draw inspiration from new cultures and places.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: Home is Where You Are ( States of Love ) by Emjay Haze

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

For a chance at a future filled with love, he’ll have to face a painful past.

Eric, recently dumped by his boyfriend, is summoned home after his dad suffers a stroke. His family farm in rural Vermont holds memories he’d rather forget, but he—with his degree in agricultural business—is needed to clear up a predicament with the bank. In trying to forget the bad, Eric has also lost sight of the good: green meadows dotted with grass-fed dairy cows and the sugar maples that once produced the area’s finest maple syrup. With Eric’s help, they will again.

A captivating farmhand named Phil tempts Eric to give the countryside another chance, but before they can consider being together, Eric must move past more than his feelings for his ex-boyfriend—he’ll need to stand up to the ghosts that sent him running from the farm in the first place….

Home is Where You Are ( States of Love ) by Emjay Haze is a sweet friends to lovers romance.  It has as a framework one of my favorite subjects, maple sugaring’ and orchards, a subject I actually know quite a bit about as I used to give demonstrations to the public and tap  trees myself.  So I’m always keen to read stories wrapped around this topic in one way or another.

Here it’s a man, just come to the realization that the relationship he thought he’s been in has been one side all this time and his “roommate” is leaving him.  Combine that with a family emergency and it’s time to return home to the farm and town he thought he’d left behind for good.

Haze has Eric returning to the farm and small town he left after high school because of the bullying and more he endured during high school.  We later  find out what the “and more” entailed and why Eric has stayed away from family and farm.  I’ll say parts of this aspect of the story never added up for me, especially the father’s role.  And because it felt a little fragmented, so did that event.

Phil, the younger boy, and now a man, waits for Eric at the farm upon Eric’s return.  Phil has always had a crush on Eric, one that flares right up when they meet again.  They meet and the attraction is hot, even if Eric is a little resentful over the inclusion of Phil into his family.

I wish I could have gotten into the Phil/Eric romance more.  I didn’t really feel the spark the author intended me to.  Perhaps because it felt more of being talked at…there’s a lot of that here…than actual connecting.  Anyhow for me…I was far more invested in the farm’s future than theirs.

Home is Where You Are is but 95 pages and the author has a lot to fit in.  If you are just looking for a sweet romance, than this one filled with mapley goodness is one for you.  However, if you want more of character development and relationship dynamics, search for a longer story that’s able to go into the depths this one is not given the length.

Haze did a great job with the maple sugaring element .  Kudos!

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht. Love the cover with all the sugar maples and the character of Phil on the cover.  Great job.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 95 pages
Published January 26th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640800908
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series States of Love Vermont

A Jeri Review: A Sniper’s Devotion (Cuffs, Collars and Love #5) by Christa Tomlinson

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Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Miguel has managed to get himself out of an abusive relationship and he is in need of help and who better to provide it then the very guy who protected him on the schoolyard and who Miguel always thinks of as his protector.

Hector and Miguel were close prior to Miguel’s relationship with his now ex-boyfriend. As Hector finds himself in close quarters with Miguel, a lot of those old feelings are coming up along with a whole lot of suppressed desires.

One crazy night opens a whole new can of worms. Is Hector ready to embrace his sexuality? Is Miguel ready for another relationship given how his last one ended? Is their relationship going to take off or is it doomed to fail before it even starts…

Okay, first of all, I just need to get this off my chest. That epilogue is on fire. Oh My God! It has been two days since I finished this book and the first thing that comes to mind when I sit to write this review is that epilogue. On Fire! I tell you. God it just gets me, how confident and secure Miguel is in their relationship like nothing can touch him. It is actually a pretty good indicator of how their relationship turned out and I must say it was one hell of a ride.

Friends-to-Lovers is one of my all-time favourite troops and this book just took it to another level. Miguel and Hector were such amazingly well-written characters and what I loved most about this book was that it let these two characters develop outside of their relationship as well, especially with regards to Miguel.

Miguel has just gotten out of a bad relationship and he needs to stand on his own two feet before he can commit to another relationship and I personally loved the fact that he stood up for himself every time. It was so good to see Miguel find his way back to being self-confident and independent.

I loved Hector and I have no idea why. I never paid much attention to him in the previous books and I had no special interest in Hector’s story as such, it would have been okay for me if the series ended with “An Officer’s Submission” though I will never say no to more Logan and Clay. So reading this book and liking Hector so much was a surprise. Hector is a bad-ass and I loved his character so much. I especially loved all his soul-baring conversations with Clay and Ryan and it was damn good to see the team.

Hector and Miguel always had chemistry, like off the top sizzling chemistry, so, I loved the fact that what they struggle with is not how to get in a relationship or be in it but how to get rid of their own hang-ups before they can commit to each other. Personally, I loved the book and how it plots out each characters’ journey and I especially loved where they end up.

The only reason this book is not a 5-star read is because I am docking half a star for getting me all hot and bothered and not delivering on it.

All in all an amazing book in a very amazing series.

Cover art by Melody Simmons of eBook Indie Covers. I really like the cover, it really fits the aesthetic of the series.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 268 pages
Published November 7th 2017
ASINB076GP7TDK
SeriesCuffs, Collars, and Love #4 settingHouston, Texas (United States)

Release Blitz for Not Just For Christmas by Annabelle Jacobs (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 48,000 words approx
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Blurb
 

Ben has Christmas, cats, and mistletoe on his side…. Jason doesn’t stand a chance


For Ben Slater, moving back to Bristol means being closer to his family, living with his best mate, and volunteering at the local animal shelter. But there’s also Jason, his best mate’s eldest brother. Ben’s had a crush on Jason for as long as he can remember, but the eleven-year age gap has always seemed insurmountable.


Jason Armitage works as a vet at his uncle’s practice. He owns a cute cottage on the outskirts of the city, and a loving dog. The one thing missing is someone to share it all with. His brother’s best friend seems a bad choice, but Jason can’t help taking a second look. Ben’s changed a lot since Jason last saw him; both in appearance and attitude. Gone is the shy young boy, replaced with a confident, twenty-four-year-old man.


In the run up to Christmas, the festive period gives Ben the ideal opportunity to show Jason what he has to offer. But concerns for his brother’s feelings hold Jason back. If they have any chance of making this work, Ben must convince Jason that he’s old enough to know what he wants, and Jason needs to believe that a relationship with his brother’s best friend won’t ruin their friendship.

Excerpt


Ben tried not to look, but inevitably his gaze was drawn to Jason still sat on the sofa. He stood as Pete stepped back, and Ben got a proper look at him. Ben wasn’t the only one who’d changed a little over the past couple of years. The last time he’d seen Jason, his hair had been short, like an army cut, and he’d had a beard. He’d looked hot then, but now…. Ben had to forcibly shut his mouth so he didn’t gape.

Jason’s thick dark hair, still shaved at the sides, was now a good couple of inches longer on top. And he was clean shaven. Ben kind of missed the beard, but without it Jason looked much younger, and his strong jawline was a thing of beauty. He looked thinner, too. Ben frowned because Jason ate like a horse and had always been bulkier than his brothers. That thought somehow made its way out of Ben’s mouth.

“Have you lost weight?”

Jason laughed softly, one hand immediately going to his stomach. He patted his belly and sighed. “God don’t you start. Mum’s already been on at me about not eating properly.” He pulled Ben in for a quick hug. “It’s good to see you, even if you do put the rest of us to shame.”

Oh God, that voice. As smooth and deep as Ben remembered.

 
Author Bio
 

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it – fighting enemies and adversity – but they always find love in the end.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJacobs_fiction
Website: www.annabellejacobs.com
Email: ajacobsfiction@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ajacobsfiction

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