In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: Love at First Hate (Porthkennack #11) by J.L. Merrow


Love at First Hate (Porthkennack #11) by J.L. Merrow
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: Garrett Leigh

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host JL Merrow here today on tour for her amazing latest story in the Porthkennack series from RIptide Publishing, Love at First Hate.  Welcome, J.L.





Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Love at First Hate, the second of my contemporary MM romances in Riptide’s multi-author Porthkennack series.

Love at First Hate features a romance between a newcomer to Porthkennack and a character whom readers of my first two Porthkennack books, Wake Up Call  and One Under, will have already met: Bran Roscarrock. As you might imagine, Bran, who is an antagonist in the first two books, is on something of a redemption arc. But we’ll also get to see where he’s been coming from, and why he’s acted as he has.


About Love at First Hate

First impressions can doom second chances.

Bran Roscarrock has been living in the closet all his life. As heir to an expansive family legacy in the town of Porthkennack, old-fashioned ideals of respectability and duty were drummed into him since childhood, and he’s never dared to live—or love—openly.

Sam Ferreira, an old friend of Bran’s brother, Jory, is a disgraced academic desperate to leave his dead-end job. When Jory asks him to take over as curator of a planned exhibition on Edward of Woodstock, the fourteenth-century Black Prince, Sam leaps at the chance to do what he loves and make a fresh start.

But Bran’s funding the exhibition, and though sparks fly between the two men, they’re not all happy ones. Bran idolises Prince Edward as a hero, while Sam’s determined to present a balanced picture. With neither of them prepared to give ground, a hundred years of war seems all too possible. And if Bran finds out about Sam’s past, his future may not be bright, and their budding romance may be lost to history.

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history.

Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore.

Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum.

The Porthkennack novels are standalone stories; release order and era are:

About JL Merrow

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again.

She writes (mostly) contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Two of her novels have won Rainbow Awards for Romantic Comedy (Slam!, 2013 and Spun!, 2017) and several of her books have been EPIC Awards finalists, including Muscling Through, Relief Valve (the Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) and To Love a Traitor.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Crime Writers Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Connect with JL:


To celebrate the release of Love at First Hate, JL is giving away a $10 Amazon credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 8, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Love at First Hate (Porthkennack #11) by J.L. Merrow


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Another visit to Porthkennack on the Cornwall coast in England, this time guided by the inimitable style of JL Merrow, who not only lends British authenticity to the tale, but who has a wonderful, understated sense of humor that creates multiple moments of quiet laughter throughout the story. Number eleven in this series that’s written by various British authors, this is one of three that focus on the Roscarrock family—founding members of the community, complete with the snobbery that goes with the bragging rights.

Bran is the patriarch, a man in his thirties, of diminutive stature, who’s lived in the closet all his adult life. His father drilled responsibility and the ideals of duty to their legacy into him since childhood, and though he is a twin, his sister knew it would be Bran who took over the estate when their father passed on. Now he’s got a reputation the community of being tight-fisted, uncaring, and uninterested in the working man. He’s creating an exhibition—a tribute to Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince—and he’s doing it to bring attention to the town, but he’s also doing it to pay homage to his hero, and he’s a bit prejudiced in that regard.

Sam Ferreira holds a doctoral degree and has curator experience and is the first person Bran’s brother Jory (One Under) thinks of when Bran is attacked and hospitalized and needs someone to take over the exhibition. Sam jumps at the chance, after assuring that Jory knows about the disgrace he suffered at his university post which resulted in him being fired. He’s doing a great job with the exhibit and is removing that slight prejudice that seems to make the Black Prince look like a hero, when Bran is released from the hospital and finds out what Sam is up to. And then the sparks fly.

A great enemies-to-lovers story, this truly was first hate before the two decided to compromise and get to know one another. After that, the sparks were flying for a different reason, and it looked like Bran might finally decide that the closet is too small to live in. Of course, that’s when he finds out what happened at Sam’s previous job and creates such a ruckus about it that Sam flees both the job and their budding relationship.

JL Merrow wrote the first book in this series, Wake Up Call, and though I know this is not the last, this is certainly one of the best. The whole series is terrific, but these tales of the Roscarrock family have been among my favorites. Now I’m hoping we’ll get one about the illegitimate son of the family, Devon Thompson, the boy that Bran’s twin, Bea, gave birth to and who was turned away, rejected and dejected, when he found out who is mother is. That would be top of my must-buy list. In any event, in a roundabout way, I’m trying to say that I highly recommend this series, and most definitely this story. Yes, it can be read as a standalone but I think that at least reading One Under would make this more meaningful.


The cover art by Garrett Leigh features two men, who resemble the descriptions of Bran and Sam, set against a dark gray stormy background which represents the Cornwall coast setting of the series.

Sales:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 325 pages
Expected publication: September 3rd 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Porthkennack #11

Connected stories by JL Merrow in this series:

Wake Up Call

One Under

Love at First Hate

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Fighting Addiction (Fighting Addiction) by B.A. Tortuga


Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Country hat act Markus Kane is skeptical when he’s asked to do a joint tour. He hasn’t seen Sebastian Longchamps since he gave up drinking—and since their compulsion for each other nearly cost them both their livelihoods. But Markus’s career is on the downhill slope, while the country-fried Cajun rocker’s star is still rising. His label thinks it’ll be a match made in ticket-sales heaven.

Sebastian knows better. One wrong move and Markus will break his heart all over again. This time he has much more to lose.

Time has changed both men, though, and while Markus and Sebastian try to fight their addictions, the big music industry machine has plans for them that don’t include a quiet retirement. Can Markus convince Sebastian that there are things in life more important than adrenaline and control? And can Sebastian make Markus understand that all he really wants is his music and his man?

Fighting Addiction is about music, breakups, breakdowns, chicanery, and second chance at love.  That’s a country song right there.  And that’s sort of perfect because music, the writing of it, the singing of it, the getting together and hashing out a melody and tracks…that’s an essential part of these men and the story Fighting Addiction.  In fact, you could say, that music is the deep addiction that helps save both of them from their demons and reunites them so they can have their HEA.

And no one gets rednecks, music, and perhaps their demons better than BA Tortuga.  Check out her playlist for this story here.

From the prologue to the epilogue, music is driving the story and these men.  Both the need to get the music out for the labels, the need to write, the need to sing….music is at the heart of this story.  And Tortuga makes us understand this fundamental element.  From the sessions with the bands to the scenes where Markus and Seb are talking to each other through lyrics and songs, the power of music and its ability to direct lives sings in this book through the author’s vivid descriptions and lively dialog.  The scenes are intimate, the language local and knowing, flavored with sayings, terms of endearment, and nicknames that speak of long term familiarity and love.

The characters, main, secondary, fleeting and not, all  feel like people you know.  Maybe musicians you’ve heard howling or picking along, if you’re lucky enough to  go SXSW about 5 years ago or some of the bars in Nashville.  Tortuga makes you feel their love of music and each other.  You get the laughter, the love, and yes, the pain, and angst, when it all starts to go wrong with Seb.

Along with the music addiction, you have two main characters with other addictions.  Markus is an alcoholic who’s sober now.  Seb has his own demons driving him that you need to read about in the story.  And yes, one more addiction.  They are addicted to each other at a level almost cellular.  All flowing to the country beat, as country melodies float through the stories like a sweet and sad refrain.

I loved the story, the fight for each other and for their music, all the cast of characters…but I confess I’m a dance on the graves of my enemies sort of gal and miss the total comeuppance at the end.  That’s all that’s keeping this from a 5 star story.  Except for that?

Fighting Addiction by BA Tortuga is fine as frog’s hair and a story I absolutely recommend!

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design.  Sexy cover but I’m getting tired of the half naked torso.  More bank perhaps?

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 217 pages
Expected publication: January 16th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published September 25th 2012)
SeriesFighting Addiction

A Mika Review: Lovers & Fighters by Nash Summers


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars    ★★★★

Lovers and Fighters coverScott Halleck and Julian Reeves are polar opposites in almost every way. Scott, a modern arts curator at a museum in Chicago, relishes the finer things in life. Julian is a strange photographer whose hair color changes as frequently as his mood. As far as Scott can see, Julian is an erratic know-it-all who lives his life one day to the next. To Julian, Scott is an uptight, too-coiffed perfectionist.

As the two men continue to run into each other, their dislike grows, but beneath that animosity, a fire is beginning to spark. Scott is baffled when he realizes he is falling for Julian, a man who burns hotter than a wildfire. Scott will have to decide, for the first time in his life, if he’ll let the flames take over.

I’m becoming to enjoy Nash’s take on real life m/m romance. I think I read something on the same basis about the plot before, but taken entirely different route with the characters. I’m apologizing in the beginning for this review; it’s going to be all over the place because that’s how my thoughts were after reading this story. 

I don’t think I expected the animosity to be so straight forward like it was. Scott was a lackluster character in the beginning. He did minimum things for fun, outside of work. Reading this and learning about Scott? He surprised me by his choices in the people he loves. He didn’t have many friends, and his relationship was lukewarm on his side at best. I was trying to put myself in Scott’s shoes on how I would act if I was him, and I would proceed with being with someone who I know is bad for me, but I can’t help who I love. Julian’s character was very complex. Julian was rude, mean and angry to the point of combative. I mean he’s a sandwich maker who makes the complete opposite of what people order. I was angry for the customers. It’s hard to see why sensible Scott fell in love with rebellious Julian.  I enjoyed him, but I kind of wanted more about him.  It’s not a traditional romance at all, it’s a love story and like most love stories, it takes a long time before you actually know that it is happening.

It’s a unique spin on a damaged soul and the good guy who’ll do anything to protect him. Another realistic approach with how addiction works, and the road it takes a person on. I’m proud of Julian for getting help, but when one addiction leaves, another takes it’s place. Domestic Violence is a tag for this story, I liked how Nash went about writing it into the story. It was beautifully introduced and Scott showed us a different sign. For the life of me I can’t figure out why Scott wants Julian, but I understand it. I’ll leave you with this quote from Scott, it makes perfect sense.

“I was nothing like Julian. We were from opposite sides of the solar system. He was a star that flickered, and seared, and burned too brightly to look at. I was the dark, dim, wholeness of space—unmoving in stasis.”

I think it’s a beautiful quote that describes them to the fullest.

Cover Art by Natasha Snow, as usual Natasha Snow brings it. The colors pop, graphics are nicely done, and the picture of Scott is sexy. I liked it, it’s what drew me in.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details: 

ebook, 127 pages
Published September 9th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
edition languageEnglish