A MelanieM Review: Crave (Brawlers #1) by J.M. Dabney

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Welcome to Brawlers Bar…

A quick pit stop for a comfortable bed to sleep turned into an eight-year stay. Vincent “Crave” Butler hit the road the day after college graduation and hadn’t looked behind him since. He’d swore to never stop moving, but the night he drove into Powers, Georgia changed the course of his life. He’d hit a bar called Brawlers with its rundown exterior and pride flag beside the door, the next day he had a job. Second in command to the Head of Brawler security, Crave found the place he didn’t have to run from. No one would call Crave sane. He lived to make people as uncomfortable as possible just for his own twisted amusement. That all changed when a certain cute as fuck bartender walked in for an interview.

No one wanted Twitch Harrison around. He was small, femme and annoying on his best days, downright abhorrent on his bad ones. When college turned out to be a no-go, and the parents canceled his credit cards he’d needed a job. Walking into Brawlers, the roughest gay bar in his hometown, was like a game of pick the thing that didn’t belong—him. The two owners, Scary and Tank, hired him on and four years later he was still that thing that didn’t belong. No one made it more apparent than bouncer Crave Butler who didn’t hide the fact he barely tolerated Twitch’s presence.

Crave threatened every man who thought they’d get the pretty Twitch but would Twitch rather be in their beds than his? Only one way to find out and he hoped Twitch was ready for forever because that’s what Crave was determined to have.

Crave (Brawlers #1) marks the new start of my backwards journey towards the starting point of all of J.M Dabney’s interlocking series. I say new because (you all know I can start at the most awkward moments in a series) I actually found this author through their first story in their latest series The Executioners and that story blew me away.  That was Ghost, a remarkable introduction to the town of Powers, Georgia that was swiftly followed by the equally 5-star novel Joker (Executioners #2).  Yes, I was well hooked by the author, the town, and the backhistory of the people and couples I was meeting that I only had bits and pieces of.  Then I find out there’s not one but two preceding series that give me all the back stories and history I could want.  Be still my heart.  So here we go backward one series, one book at the time.

Brawlers is a bar/club and each story in the series is named after a guy who works there and forms a part of the Brawler family (note: Executioners is a band that plays in the club). J.M Dabney specializes in brutal, damaged men, people whose lives have been full of trauma and ugliness.  Their bodies often reflect the scars their lives have left on them emotionally and mentally.  Some are self abusers (cutters) and others have sealed themselves off, preferring isolation to emotional pain.  Crave is one of the huge, rough, scary ones.  Hired as a bouncer, he’s brutal, violent, loves to fight, and has his reasons to be this way.  The author is clear on this.  Her characters aren’t thugs but men twisted and harmed by life, redeemable under the facade. Unable to communicate like most people, when he does say anything, it’s with no filters and guaranteed to start a fight.  It’s very safe way to stay behind walls but it makes it hard when there’s someone you want to protect as Crave finds out with Twitch.

Twitch is tiny, complicated and in pain.  I fell in love with this character immediately. He telegraphs both his vulnerability and the utter devastation he feels. He’s trying in so many ways to work through the damage done to him by his upbringing and more. Twitch has found the unlikeliest of homes and support at Brawlers if his past will leave him alone.

Dabney takes these most unlikely of mates, brings them together in somewhat combustible circumstances (a bar like Brawlers  where fights are common and the local police are corrupt at this point in the series) and makes it believable and heart wrenching.  Both men damaged in very different ways and yet looking for real love and stability.  Crave is someone who not only know what those scars are on Twink’s wrists and sides, but recognizes what they stand for.  He understands the dark places he see in Twitch because he has them as well.   This is not an easy romance.  It can’t be with characters like these and surrounded by others just as broken or out of the norm as they are.  There are fights, misunderstandings, pain galore.

I also found it fascinating because as the first story in the second series, many of the elements that make Ghost and Joker so great are being laid down here, so I’m watching the evolution of a town and “family”,  one I’m already familiar with as I started with a present time novel.  So I’m getting a time capsule effect here.

J.M Dabney has three connected series. Twirled World Ink (a tattoo shop) which is the first series which spun off into Brawlers the bar/club and now into Executioners which is the band who plays at Brawlers.  All the characters appear in all the stories so it helps to read all the books. I see the potential for another here after the Executioners with a Security Company. Right now each has four books each.  I’ll be reviewing them all.  It’s quite the universe!  The stories are gripping, the sex is hot and the characters are unforgettable.

If you love your hurt/comfort, your damaged men looking for love, you will love this story, this series and this author.  Follow along as I lead you through the books and loves of the men of the connected series of J.M Dabney!

Cover art is perfect for Crave.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 129 pages
Published March 21st 2017 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC
  • Executioners – third series

A MelanieM Review: Dead Money: Jack of Spades #5 by Lee Brazil (Pulp Friction 2015: Altered States Book 17)

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★

Dead Money coverBarton Montoire’s fragile hold on his emotions is worn thin by exorcisms and fear. Even though he’s beginning to realize the full potential of his abilities as a ghost, he has no power to stop his lover’s plot to end the darkness that has threatened their relationship for close to a year, not with all their friends in the line of fire.

In all of time, there have existed few men who transcend the bonds of life and death, who see the spirits as clearly as the living. These men possess the ability to summon others, creating doorways between realms, physical and metaphysical. A dusty tome written in cryptic language reveals terrifying secrets, but with a little help from his friends, Sabine Brusilov knows what must be done. For the good of humanity and supes alike, he must call forth the shadowy demon, leading it into a trap.

Unfortunately, talent is not skill, and the ability to summon cannot be mastered by taking a class or two and scouring the internet for information. With Bart at his side and his friends at his back, Sabine brings talent, skill, and strength of will to battle evil before it can join the gathering forces of darkness that menace New Orleans.

With dead money on the table, is love enough to take the hand?

Well, Dead Money by Lee Brazil is the book I have been waiting for this entire series.  It’s just plain outstanding!  With this one story, Lee Brazil takes all my previous irritations and uncertainties with the plot, the characters, their relationships,  and dismisses them firmly and resoundingly.   In fact, had this been a stand alone series, Dead Money would have made the perfect  series finale.

For most of the series, I have felt that the relationship between Bart and Sabine to have been very unequal in power and affection, at least that’s the way it translated in the narrative for me.  But here and now, after all their travails,  they come across as deeply committed partners, people in love, no matter their corporeal status. Lovers reunited who are facing one of the greatest evils they will ever know.  Brazil has built up the demon they face with vividly scary descriptions and pain-filled scenes of horror but still what comes is far, far worse.  Something no one, not Bart, not Sabine and certainly not the reader is prepared for.

The other characters in the series are there trying to help as well, but its Bart and Sabine you fear for and the ending when it comes is both shocking and shockingly satisfying.  I’ll say no more.  But oddly enough, I’m so  happy with this story, I don’t feel like I need a book six, which might be just as well.  I love this book and the way it all turned out.  How on earth or on any other supernatural plane could you possibly improve on this?  Five stars plus?

And yes I highly recommend this author and series.  Not only for a Scary Halloween Read but for any time of the year!

The book cover is also the best in the series.  Apparently everything was waiting until Round 5.  Well done.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 47 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by Lime Time Press
ASIN B016NFRTO0
edition language English

☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠

About Pulp Friction 2015

Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Round Two:
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Havan Fellow
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ) by Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura Harner

Round Three:

Dead Button (Jack of Spades #3) by Lee Brazil
Blind Man’s Bluff (King of Hearts #3) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Playground (Four of Clubs #3) by Parker Williams
Diamonds Edge (Ace of Diamonds #3) by Laura Harner

Round Four:

Dead Man’s Hand (Jack of Spades 4) by Lee Brazil
Blind Heart (King of Hearts 4) by Havan Fellows
High Stakes (Four of Clubs 4) by Parker Williams
Diamond Flush (Ace of Diamonds 4) by Laura Harner

Round Five:

Dead Money (Jack of Spades 5) by Lee Brazil

☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠

About Pulp Friction 2015

Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Round Two:
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Havan Fellow
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ) by Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura Harner

Round Three:

Dead Button (Jack of Spades #3) by Lee Brazil
Blind Man’s Bluff (King of Hearts #3) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Playground (Four of Clubs #3) by Parker Williams
Diamonds Edge (Ace of Diamonds #3) by Laura Harner

Round Four:

Dead Man’s Hand (Jack of Spades 4) by Lee Brazil
Blind Heart (King of Hearts 4) by Havan Fellows
High Stakes (Four of Clubs 4) by Parker Williams
Diamond Flush (Ace of Diamonds 4) by Laura Harner

A MelanieM Review: Diamonds & Dust: Ace of Diamonds One by Laura Harner

Standard

(PF 2015: Altered States Book 4)

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Diamonds & Dust coverAfter the traumatic events that left Jamal ‘Jet’ Gorman’s  the de facto Alpha of his pack, the time has come for Jet to take up the responsibilities and problems of a job he never wanted or thought would be his. There are rumblings of others who would fight him to the death for the position, and others maneuvering behind the scenes to make sure that Jet’s time as Alpha is a short one.  Jet isn’t certain that’s not a fitting way to exit this world…even if it puts the werewolves he’s sworn to protect in the hands of a ruthless killer. A trip to the bayou with the ancient and enigmatic new vampire in town changes everything—in ways Jet would never have predicted. Now his new mission is safeguarding his late partner’s secret.

Nicolino Sanzio da Urbino—Nico to his friends, if he had any—has been undead for centuries, and given the betrayals in his own past, it shouldn’t surprise him the depths some will go to in order to seize a power to which they have no claim. After leaving his position with the Vampire Council behind, Nico’s new job with the Odd Squad provides more flexibility and challenges. It also comes with a lot more latitude when meting out justice, so when he discovers a plot to rid the local pack of their second Alpha in as many months, Nico decides it’s time to go hunting. That is until he meets Jet and everything gets…personal.

With hearts as hard as diamonds, neither man is seeking the odd connection that seems to flow between them—but the winds of change blowing through the Crescent City seem to have everyone on edge—and not all challenges are as simple as they seem. With more and more monsters coming out of the closet, only time will tell if these two survive long enough to play the hand they’ve been dealt—before they become dust in the wind.

I know, I know, I say this with each story, but Diamonds & Dust by Laura Harner may be my favorite. At least until the 2nd books in the next round pop up.  I love Jet and the events that have already occurred at the beginning of this story shocked me!  No way did I see that coming.  And it left me a little heartbroken over Jet’s loss.

Then I met Nico.   Heartbreak gone.

In fact I couldn’t even remember that much about Russ (Russ, right?) because Nico’s first, second, and third impressions are strong, charismatic, and absolutely addicting.  He is everything that Jet (and the reader) needs. And the same holds true for Nico.  Jet is that one being he has been waiting for.  They are each other’s yin to the yang, the magnets that cling instead of repel.   Their push me/pull you meeting and beginnings of a relationship hooked me in throughly. And when that is framed by a storyline full of vicious assaults, deep plotting by everyone around, evil doers on the loose, and tons of hot sex, well, you have the setup for a memorable and yes, haunting series.

Harner’s writing style is concise, her prose tight and expressive, and the storyline is propelled along at break neck speed.  You will want to slow it down to savor certain lines or situations but the cast and plot won’t let you tarry.  It hurls you along until you reach the….argh….cliffhanger.   Yes,  yet another ending that leaves you hanging.  But that’s what serialized stories do best.  Leave you hanging and wanting more.

This Pulp Friction series, PF 2015 Altered States, is “guaraunteeeed” (try saying it in the late Justin Wilson’s voice) to make you a little crazy.  No one is safe, lots of people are going to die (and just maybe come back), with plots that are as hard to tie down as a will o the wisp!  And I love every word and exclamation point of it.  These stories are as addicting and satisfying as a New Orleans beignet!

But don’t take my word for it.  This is the  end of the first round of stories.  Get in on the beginning.  It really doesn’t matter which series you start with.  Diamonds & Dust: Ace of Diamonds One by Laura Harner is a terrific place to start.  Or go back even further to the Altered States series written by Laura Harner and T. A. Webb, that sets out the universe for the characters and events that happen here.  Do that for a wildly scary and fantastic ride into the supernatural and beyond.  One of my highly recommended reads!

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Loving this group of covers, including this one.

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

Book Details:

ebook
Published April 1st 2015 by Smashwords Edition (first published March 31st 2015)
ISBN13 9781941841082

About Pulp Friction 2015
Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.
Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.
Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Round Two:

Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil

Heat Up with Never Too Early: Finding Their Way by Chris Owen and Tory Temple (excerpt and contest)

Standard

Combine Cowboys and Firefighters and what do you get? Finding Their Way (Never Too Early #2)

by Chris Owen and Tory Temple!

STRW In The Spotlight Header

Finding Their Way (Never Too Early#2) by Chris Owen and Tory Temple
Should not be read as a standalone
Release Date: April 15, 2015

nte-findingtheirway1400

Chris Owen has been a favorite of mine since Owen’s Bareback books introduced us to Tor and Jake. And Tory Temple’s Firefighters have been heating up things for 6 novels.  The combination in Never Too Early: The Beginning, it was explosive.  Now both Tor and Jake and Chance and Tucker are back in a book you won’t want to miss!  Check it out below and don’t forget to enter the contest too.

Never Too Early: Finding Their Way (Never Too Early#2) by Chris Owen and Tory Temple

STRW Author BookSynopsis

When Jake Taggart fell from the roof of his barn, Tor had only one thought — to reach out to Chance Shanahan and Tucker McBride for support. In this follow-up to Never Too Early: The Beginning, the first book in the Cowboy/Firefighter series, the two couples are reunited in their mutual concern for Jake. But how far will that concern go?

A strong friendship begins to explore the boundaries of something else; something all four men never looked for or expected. Emotions and attraction are difficult to deny, try as they might, but giving in has the potential to destroy everything both couples have worked so hard for. How will they handle something that none of them set out to find?

Pages or Words: 54,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Menage/Poly, Cowboy, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Jake reached out and touched the back of Chance’s hand. “Thank you for coming all this way to be with me. Thank you for coming to sit next to me, and for helping Tor. Thank you for everything you and Tucker have done around here, but mostly thank you for being someone I can count on.” Jake nodded firmly and looked up into Chance’s face, studying his eyes. “Thanks for caring so much.”

Chance’s gaze was steady and direct. “I didn’t mean to,” he said quietly. “I thought you were a good guy, that’s all. I thought you were nice and funny and smart and easy to talk to. I didn’t mean for there to be more than that.”

Jake nodded. “I know. We all know. But there is, and I’m okay with that. Thankful for it, really. And so is Tor. And Tucker sent me upstairs to talk to you, and said not to let you overthink it.” He smiled, trying not to shake with nerves. “So sit down here next to me and stop thinking.”

RC
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: BSClay

Sales Links:   Torquere Books

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About the authors:

Chris Owen: I live and write in eastern Canada. I went to a bunch of schools, learned a lot of things, and now make stuff up because not to do so is unthinkable. I’m fond of fountain pens, Levenger’s Circa system, and Steampunk fashions. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of Discovery channel. I’ve seen every episode of CSI Las Vegas and New York, but I’m not terribly keen on CSI Miami. It might be due to weather envy. I have a crush on the whole cast of Criminal Minds, and fondness for wool. The two are not related. Hoarders keeps me honest. I’m inspired by the day to day minutia of life, and find beauty in the way words go together. I like texture and richness of experience. I’m not shy. I’m happy, I’m learning, I’m living.

Tory Temple: Tory lives and works in southern California, where she spends a lot of time around firemen. She visits the beach frequently and wears flip flops even in the winter. Tory likes television, salted pistachios in the shell, and chenille socks. She dislikes cauliflower, not being able to find the right shoes in the morning, and not having enough free time. She shares her space with numerous pets, including but not limited to cats, dogs, and tortoises.

Where to find the authors:

Websites: http://www.chrisowen.net   http://www.torytemple.com
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Owen/362850963876393
https://www.facebook.com/torytemple
Twitter:
Chris Owen:  https://twitter.com/chris_owen
Tory Temple:  https://twitter.com/ToryTemple

BannerTemplate

Tour Dates & Stops: April 9, 2015

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Molly Lolly, Inked Rainbow Reads, Cate Ashwood, Bayou Book Junkie, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, BFD Book Blog, Love Bytes, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Boy Meets Boy Reviews, Chris McHart, 3 Chicks After Dark,

Multitasking Mommas, Divine Magazine, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, MM Good Book Reviews, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Velvet Panic, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, The Blogger Girls

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of the story. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and Prizes provided by the authors and Pride Promotions.

Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

A MelanieM Review: Blind Stud (King of Hearts #1) (PF 2015) by Havan Fellows

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

In a world where supernatural creatures openly exist, who can blame them for coalescing in one of the most fascinating and erotic places on earth? Welcome to New Orleans.

Laurant likes sex…

Blind Stud, King of Hearts cover PF2015Who is Laurant?  An incubus of course, so the pleasures of the flesh aren’t just enjoyment, they’re food. However, Laurant isn’t attracted to women, but to men.  In his family, being a gay demon means you are the wrong type of demon. And that makes Laurant’s life more than a little difficult when your family looks down on you for your choice of food and companionship.

But all that changes when Laurant catches sight of a lost and alone human who definitely needs his help…a gorgeous young man about to become prey to the human sort of predator.  Once saved, a larger mystery looms.  That of the stranger himself who is a stranger…to himself.

What are you supposed to do when you blink your eyes and realize you have no idea who or where you are? Pretty sure the answer isn’t trust a sex demon with your life…all things considered that may be the lesser of two evils…

You just know a series is going to be captivating when the first character you meet is not only unapologetically outrageous and charismatic but also oozes with merriment and sex appeal.  That’s Laurant.  A incubus with the appetites of a succubus.  Laurant comes equipped with corny pickup lines and the ability to make the local squirrels and any other living being around him, go into a sexual frenzied state.  He also has a more complex personality than is first apparent.  I think all readers will love Laurant upon introduction.  He’s a terrific character and Fellows did a great job in providing him with layers that makes one look past some of his more “eye rolling” actions and dialog.

But what or in this case who pulls at Laurant’s attention and needs is a young amnesiac he rescues off the streets in New Orleans.  First given the name “Vic” for victim by Laurant, the young man sets the incubus straight (kind of) and names himself for the street they are on.  For all the questions posed by his presence, Havan Fellows crafts a wonderful character who is a strong fascinating man behind the mystery and soon we are as drawn to him as Laurant is.

And yes, danger to both lurks just around the corner.  Fellows throws so many neat clues around the mystery man that I was making a list of bribes to offer her so she would tell me who and what he possibly might be.  And then that ending…

This story flew by so rapidly that it felt as though the ending appeared seconds after I started on page one.  Not true but I was so into this tale, that the story was over before I was ready for it to end.  For those of you for whom cliffhangers are beyond frustrating (you binge watchers know who I’m talking to), you just might want to wait for another story or two to come out.  Those readers who love to be surprised, stymied by plot and events, and who enjoy every minute of it, grab this up and start reading.

Round One is four stories and only two are out.  Each represents additional layers to the overall series and world building and you can see the stories start to interlock here as old and new characters appear.  But as interesting as those peripheral (for now) characters are, nothing and nobody will steal your  attention away from our couple here.  They are amusing and astonishingly equal in their interactions, sexually dynamic,  and just plain out engaging.  And they make this story unputdownable – yes, that’s a word and I’m sticking to it.

I highly recommend this story and its companion in the Altered States Pulp Friction 2015 combined story.  I’ve become a fan once more of serialized fiction and think you will feel the same.  If you are new to the Pulp Friction gang, once you’ve delved into these stories, go back and read the Pulp Friction series of 2013 and 2014…all terrific and must reads for me!

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Great cover, love the model and the branding at the bottom.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 49 pages
Published March 1st 2015 by Appleton Publishing Avenue
ASINB00U634T2Q
edition languageEnglish

 

About Pulp Friction 2015
Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.
Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Not familiar with the Altered States series? Check them all out here:

Books in the Altered States Series in the order they should be read:
• Altered States (Altered States, #0.5) by Laura Harner and T. A. Webb
• Deep Blues Goodbye (Altered States, #1) by Laura Harner and T. A. Webb
• Deadly Shades of Gold (Altered States, #2) by Laura Harner and T. A. Webb
• Free Falling Crimson (Altered States, #3)  by Laura Harner and T. A. Webb (aka Tom Webb)

A MelanieM Review: Drawing Dead: Jack of Spades (PF 2015 Altered States) by Lee Brazil

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Drawing Dead PF 2015 coverThe world hasn’t been the same since the preternaturals came out of the closet. Much to many people’s chagrin, strange beings of all kinds are making life tricky for the “normals.”  Vampires, werewolves, ghosts and ghoulies of all sorts.

Physics professor Dr. Sabine Brusilov has been obsessed with ghost hunting since he was eight years old. He’s gathered a wealth of knowledge, but can’t produce a shred of scientific proof.  Almost.  When Sabines found some old artifacts and bones at the bottom of a river, the last thing he expected was to see a ghost desolately sitting on the river bed next to them.  Now the ghost is a constant presence in Sabine’s life, including his bed.

One hundred and seventy-five years of death haven’t done riverboat gambler Barton Montoire a damn bit of good. He’s still rash, impulsive, and prone to fits of temper and bouts of melancholy.  He’s still trying to fit together pieces of his past, although the way he died, gunshot to the chest, feels as fresh as the day it happened over a game of cards.  Now he spends his days and nights haunting the very handsome  and gay Dr. Sabine Brusilov.

You’d think that when fate brought the two of them together, Bart’s lonely spirit would be calmed, and Sabine would have the proof his heart desires.  But their future is as cloudy as Barton’s past, especially when a new evil arrives in town.

In a world where mythical beings are real, love is still the most elusive… and treacherous myth of them all.

Here we are at the start of another round of Pulp Friction stories, Drawing Dead: Jack of Spades by Lee Brazil, and it has all the hallmarks of a most memorable series.  Taking place in New Orleans, whose name conjures up ghastly past events, hauntings and romance, Brazil’s characters  and plot fit right in.

First is Dr. Dr. Sabine Brusilov, an intense physics professor and hunter of ghosts.  Sabine is such an intently focused human being that he lurks on the edge of being self involved to the point of obsession and obliviousness to those around him. He is one character I hope shows some emotional growth as the storyline progresses because he comes close to dividing the main characters into two teams.  Team Sabine and Team Barton.  His careless treatment (in my eyes)  or perhaps just lack of concern towards Barton comes close to derailing any affection I feel towards Sabine.  Luckily, his lover more than made up for Sabine’s inadequacies in the personality department.  Barton I adore. Ten years ago, while hunting for artifacts, Sabine came across some bones and personal objects buried in the river bottom.  Sitting next to them?  Their dead and now ghostly owner, riverboat gambler Barton Montoire.

That aspect of the story just drew me in.  I love the idea of a ghost of outrageous character and gorgeous to boot and that’s Barton Montoire!  He’s definitely my favorite character.  Dressed in the clothes in which he died 175 years ago, he cuts quite the figure.  In Barton, Brazil has created a vivid character, voluble and emotional (well, who wouldn’t be given his circumstances), whose memories and personality is still somewhat frayed by the “whole dead thing” experience.  Barton is not only charismatic but made sympathetic by the way he is forced to “live” his ghostly existence.  He can only be seen and heard by Sabine (at first), and he is restricted in movement and to specific locations by Sabine’s will.  If Sabine doesn’t want him to travel with him, Barton is stuck in Sabine’s quarters, alone and frustrated.  If Barton has anger issues (and he does), they are ones the reader can relate to.  Really, he makes the story for me.

Sabine now runs a Dead Mens Tales Investigative Service and thats the plot point which introduces the mystery that launches an investigation that will threaten to bring both men, alive and dead, permanently down.  Brazil does an excellent job of easing us into this portion of the plot.  Sabine gets a phone call from an elderly woman, who may be dotty but is also definitely afraid of the tenants upstairs in her house.   His initial investigation provokes a few jitters but the worse is yet to come.  Little by little Brazil takes a mild case of suspicion and builds it into something ominous and heavy with evil intent.  I loved that!  It definitely gave me goose bumps.  And using a gambler’s or magician’s sleight of hand, while our attention is focused in one direction, something equally awful and startling is happening in the other direction, just put a wonderful finishing flourish to all the events unfolding.  In a totally scary and creepy way of course.

As the story heads towards its cliffhanger, other characters are introduced, some from the Altered States stories of Harner and Webb and others new and central to the Pulp Friction interconnected series.  Be on the look out for wolfshifter Jet (from Altered States), Laurant the incubus from Havan Brazil’s series, among many others.   I can’t wait to see what parts they all will play in the drama to come.

I definitely recommend this story and series.  It’s haunting, dynamic and full of elements that will draw you in.  Love supernatural tales?  Ones full of mystery, romance and dread?  This one’s for you.  Along with all the others to follow. Get started today!

 Cover art by Laura Harner.  I love this cover and all the covers I’ve seen for the Pulp Friction series.  Just gorgeous.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published February 13th 2015 by Lime Time Press
ASINB00TL4F1XW
edition languageEnglish

About Pulp Friction 2015
Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.
Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Not familiar with the Altered States series? Check them all out here:

Books in the Altered States Series in the order they should be read:
• Altered States (Altered States, #0.5)
• Deep Blues Goodbye (Altered States, #1)
• Deadly Shades of Gold (Altered States, #2)
• Free Falling Crimson (Altered States, #3)

 

Review: Backburn (Fighting Fire #3) (PF 2014) by Laura Harner

Standard

Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Backburn coverNothing between Park Ranger Rob Hammond and disabled firefighter Scott McGregor has ever been easy.  From their early romance and traumatic breakup to their reunion in Scott’s hospital room where Scott was recovering from injuries that killed most of his crew and cost him the profession he loved.  Scott had hoped that with Rob’s reappearance, their romance and relationship was back on track.  But with one ill advised phone call to Rob’s mother, Scott has derailed that hope even though he refuses to admit it.

Scott is also having problems with PTSD and his nightmares are getting worse. The stress and strain of operating Mountain Shadows and the problems that have been popping up recently aren’t helping either.  Strange and horrifying things are happening around the campground and Scott aims to get at the causes even if he has to investigate it by himself..

Rob Hammond is faltering under the weight of the secrets he has been keeping and his efforts to become a wildland firefighter.  He is just beginning to realize that Scott’s PTSD is worse than Scott had let on and Scott’s phone call to his mother brought up painful past problems that he had pushed aside.   A run in with an old acquaintance and another call from home make Rob realize that he had some hard decisions to make and that they need to be made soon before everything he hopes to achieve goes up in flames.

When one man finally understands what he wants, the other person’s reality combusts.  When you fight fire with fire, will both of them and their relationship be burned beyond compare?

What is a backburn?  A backburn in firefighter terms means to create firebreak in path of brushfire: to prevent a brushfire from spreading by lighting another fire in its path

Reading this series is like walking towards a fire.  With each new story acting like a new step forward, the reader and Harner’s characters get closer and closer to the flames.  As the heat and the danger combine, it increases incrementally the treacherous nature of the situation these characters find themselves in as the story proceeds. Then it explodes in a ball of fire at the end in a way that will leave you dazed, a more than a little fearful and standing at a precipice with no where to go.  And you will totally love it.

Scott and Rob, the troubled duo at the heart of this series are back and in worse shape than ever.  Scott is living in denial about practically everything going on in his life.  And that state of delusion has made Scott act ill-advisedly where his and Rob’s past is concerned.   One phone call to Rob’s mother shatters Scott’s hopes about their future and Rob’s plans for them as well.  Harner also brings in the realistic element of Scott’s PTSD and his continued avoidance of any treatment.  When Scott breaks down when undergoing traumatic flashbacks to the fire that cost him everything, we are able to feel the weight of those memories and the pain they are still able to cause.  Not only do we understand why Scott is acting so impudently but we can see the consequences coming even if he doesn’t.  We can like this character even if we don’t like his actions.

Rob too has so many layers to his character.  And like Scott, we also won’t like certain aspects of his past or his persona.  But also like Scott, Harner provides us with enough personal details and back history that once we put his actions within context then that conduct starts to make sense.  Rob grows more as a character here than he has in past stories.  That growth will trigger decisions and events that we will not see coming, another marvelous element to these stories.

Fires and the devastation that comes with those who choose to become firefighters is a prevailing element here.  We see the sacrifice that is called for when someone decides on becoming a firefighter and the pain and sorrow that will follow in its path.   That Scott loves and misses his profession is clear.  So is the ultimate sacrifice his crew made and the survivor guilt that is overwhelming the only man left alive by that fire.  Harner’s vivid descriptions and emotional scenes bring Scott’s inability to deal with that fatal fire to life in breathtaking detail.  That people choose to do this challenging, dangerous, and necessary profession makes me grateful and awed.  In Scott McGregor we can see and feel the cost as well as the dedication needed to be such a firefighter.  That’s thanks to Laura Harner as well.

The ending is emotionally devastating and will leave you hanging.  This used to bother me.  But in a series and in the hands of an author who does this cliffhanger so well, it works to keep us on the ledge and happy to be there.  I can’t wait to see what happens next and so will you.

If you are new to the series, in fact the entire Pulp Friction 2014 interconnected stories, start at the beginning to get the most from these authors stories and characters.  I have listed all the series and stories below.  I consider Backburn and Fighting Fire (along with all the rest of the Pulp Friction 2014 group) to be one of ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Best of 2014.

Cover art by Laura Harner

Book Details:

64 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Hot Corner Press
ISBN139781937252816
edition languageEnglish
seriesFighting Fire #3, Pulp Friction 2014 #9

 Buy Links:          Amazon              ARe

About Pulp Friction 2014: Laura Harner ~ Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ T.A. Webb The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends.

The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth. Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment. There will be five rounds and one final story written by all four authors.

Round One of Pulp Friction 2014:

Firestorm (Fighting Fire# 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold# 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows# 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake# 1) by Tom Webb

Round Two of Pulp Friction 2014:

Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner
Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil
Blown Kisses (Where the Wind Blows #2) by Havan Fellows
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) by Tom Webb

Round Three of Pulp Friction 2014:

Backburn (Fighting Fire #3) by Laura Harner
Cold Feet (In From the Cold #3) by Lee Brazil
Blow Hard (Where the Wind Blows #3) by Havan Fellows
Tremors (Earthquake #3) by Tom Webb

 

Review: Blown Away (Whispering Winds #1) by Havan Fellows

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Blown Away coverHiding safely away in the confines of his Mountain Shadows cabin, Rowen Smithe is not prepared for the human tornado that is Mick Rutger when Mick enters his life.  Rowen spends his time concealed within the safety of his cabin, observing and protecting the woods surrounding his Mountain Shadows home, venturing out only at night to explore odd sightings and unexplained happenings in the forest around him.  Tormented by voices and secrets from his past, Rowen lets no one inside.  Even the tentative  gestures of friendship by his neighbor Finn have been rebuffed.  Then he meets Mick.

Mick Rutger is a force of boundless energy and optimism.  At loose ends after finishing 6 years of college, Mick figures a trip to see his oldest and best friend,Finn Lorensson, would help him figure out what he wants to do next.  Finn lives in a cabin on Mountain Shadows, surrounded by beautiful woods, a gorgeous setting that Mick appreciates.  Mountain Shadows is also the home of some apparently quirky, gorgeous men if the one Mick spies climbing a tall tree next to Finn’s cabin is any indication.  After watching a lithe and long haired Rowen easily ascend the impossibly tall pine next to his house, Mick quickly becomes intrigued by the secretive man Finn calls neighbor.

When Rowen sees metal glinting far out in the woods through his binoculars, he knows that something suspicious is up and sets off  to investigate.  But what Rowen doesn’t count on is being followed by a curious and unprepared Mick.  What follows is more than either one of them expected….

Never have I fallen in love so quickly with such a quirky and clearly wounded character as I have with Rowen Smithe.  I am not sure if it is that aspect of his person, the one that loves his woods and mountains so, that speaks to the park naturalist in me.  The familiarity with which Rowen moves through his forest environment, his appreciation and knowledge of the flora and fauna around him as well as his need to protect it all…well, it all just makes me gravitate towards his character as I would a fellow ranger. And when he climbs his trees, its more than a need to find the  highest view point, it is a havan for Rowen, emotionally and physically.  I get that too.

Character Mick Rutger makes a wonderful counterpart to all that isolation, secrecy, and wildness that is Rowen.  His is the bouncy enthusiasm and energy of a golden retriever. Thoughtless in words, impulsive in actions , he’s that little boy that never stops moving, occasionally breaking things he didn’t mean to. Mick is just someone in need of a direction and perhaps someone to care for and he appeals to the reader almost as quickly as Rowen does.  The author has certainly done a remarkable job in creating a character that is impossible to dislike while demonstrating that under all that  superficiality are depths to be discovered.  Great characters both of them.

Throw in suspicious doings in the woods as Havan Fellows does, and an unexplained “voice” that Rowen hears at the worst possible times, and you have a story guaranteed to lure you in and keep you absorbed in the characters and situations they find themselves in.  Fellows moves the narrative along at a clip, the dialog is sharp and perfect for the characters, and the plot increases in complexity as more questions pop up about the events that are happening and the people who live in Mountain Shadows.

Really, I can’t wait for the next installment.  And the ending? Well, I am still smiling and I will leave it at that.  Grab this story up and start reading.  It’s terrific and highly recommended.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  I love this cover.  That model is perfect for Rowen.  Great job.

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 40 pages
Published February 17th 2014 by Appleton Publishing Avenue
ASINB00IIF4K4G
edition languageEnglish
series Whispering Winds

Buy at ARe,  Amazon

One of the Pulp Friction 2014 Series

 From the Pulp Friction Group: The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends. The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth. Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Firestorm (Fighting Fire: 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows: 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake: 1) by TA Webb

Pulp Friction’s 2014 Group Series Has Arrived! Meet the Authors, Enter to Win $25 Gift Card!

Standard

Firestorm by Laura Harner

Cold SnapBlown Away coverHigher Ground cover

Pulp Friction Gang Rides Again!

************************************************************************

ScatteredThoughts is so happy to have the Pulp Friction gang (Laura Harner, TA Webb, Lee Brazil, and Havan Fellows) here again to talk about their 2014 Pulp Friction series and characters.

Contest: They have brought a $25 All Romance gift certificate to celebrate the start of the new Pulp Friction stories.  To be entered to win, just leave a comment and a email address where you can be contacted.  Contest ends 3/21.

Laura: Ever been on a roller coaster? I’m talking a no holds barred, twist and turn, wrench at your gut, show you your lunch, dislocate your spine and give you whiplash roller coaster? Yeah? They’re fun right? Try riding one for a whole year and you’ve got the equivalent of how the Pulp Friction gang felt our first year out the gate with Pulp Friction 2013 – Atlanta.

None of us knew what to expect – there was no rule book, no crib notes, not a damn cheat sheet on how to successfully do a quad-multiple series collection of books with crossovers from all the main characters and a lot of the minor ones while threading in one major mystery that would be the pinnacle of the final book written by all four authors while still spitting out a single book every fifteen days. *breathes* WOW – did we do that?

That is exactly what we did. And you know what? We nailed it! Sure, we had our ups and downs—someone forgot their character’s eye color, or that they had kissed another MC in a different book, or that they had to kill someone soon, or even that their deadline was next up—but our pow wow sessions helped keep everyone in line and were FUN!

Because if you aren’t having fun why the hell are you doing it?

But that’s enough about the past…let’s talk about what that experience did for the future of Pulp Friction. Let me introduce you to Pulp Friction 2014 Flagstaff!

We took everything we learned from last year and brainstormed about how we can learn from it and make another PF year – but do it bigger and better and bolder!
New main characters
More crossovers
Bonus books
Layers of plots that overlap
Teasers that keep you guessing
Cliff hangers
Shocking beginnings

That is one hell of a list we have going there, to make it easier let’s just focus on the first item today. Our new main characters.

I loved our boys of Atlanta, the original group of five and the four newcomers that joined them. They were terrific. So…

STRW: How did the Pulp Friction group step away from their beloved men of Atlanta and start anew?

*

Tom: My first instinct was to carry over Marcus’s little (hah) brother and his new love interest into Flagstaff. Then I thought of two things; did I really want to make it “easy” on myself, and if I did, I’d have a revolt in the fan base, plus diminishing the integrity of the characters themselves.

I’ve been a little out of commission the past few months, and joined in the planning a little bit hit-and-miss. My three cohorts have been so patient and kind in their support, and when I thought about what I wanted to do next, their kick-ass enthusiasm made me want to stretch and make my next set of characters something very different. We see big alpha men and smaller mate types all the time. What if…the big guy was laid back and bottom, and the smaller guy was a little swishy, arrogant and an alpha queen? And what if he hit all the big guy’s buttons, but had a past that kept him from committing to a relationship?

Enter Charlie and Amos.

I decided to write in first person this time, and make it from Charlie’s point of view. Charlie is my almost-thirty construction contractor with a business he inherited when his dad died suddenly while Charlie was in college. So my big guy quit school, left his lover, and became the man of the house for his little brother who he adores, and his mom. Now, his brother is fifteen going on brat-aged, and his mother decides it’s time for Charlie to have a life of his own, outside work and family.

And then there’s Amos. Spiffy, smart, full of himself. He’s alone in the world, the owner of an art gallery, and a hit-it-and-leave-it kind of man. Bi-racial, a shorter, lean “mean-girl”, Amos sees Charlie, wants him, and tries his best to leave the man as a one night stand, but something draws him back. There’s heat and fire between them, and the fact Charlie is working for him, remodeling his gallery drives Amos crazy.

It’s bad enough they have their own issues that will cause them to back off from each other, but Charlie’s brother Damon, who is NOT impressed with Amos, creates all kinds of commotion.

Now, with those characters, who will notice Marcus and his Benjamin are in Atlanta, happily married?

See? PF2014Flagstaff rocks, baby!

*
Havan: It wasn’t easy, I was really scared. Everyone seemed to either love or hate Wick—but they all agreed they wanted more of him. Were they going to look at Rowen and Mick and expect to see Wick in one of them? I hoped not, because personally there could only be one Wick in my life.

Then one night we were brainstorming about Pulp Friction 2014 and Flagstaff and I thought to myself—my guy is a recluse! After months of not being able to think of anybody to write the next year Rowen slammed me with an overabundance of information about himself. He was a loner who wasn’t an ass, but darn sure wasn’t an open and inviting person. He doesn’t trust easily, he has issues (I know really? lol) He…well I guess I shouldn’t say too much about him, you know? But who in their right mind would agree to go toe to toe with such a man?

Mick approached me with a huge smile on his face. Talk about the epitome of a happy go lucky no worries type of guy—oh he’s perfect for Rowen! Now comes the fun part. In book one you got an introduction to the characters…what book two has to offer, well you’ll find out in mid-April. 🙂

On a side note, I’ve been asked if I’m done writing about Wick and Ned? I believe in never saying never…*blinks* even if I just said never twice, I mean three times. I haven’t closed the door on Wick or Ned—I probably never will—but right now Wick is more interested in enjoying what Ned has to offer than what I do. *winks*

*

Lee: Some might say I took the easy way out by bringing over one of my characters from Atlanta. That seed, by the way, was carefully planted in the final books of 2013. You’ll find mention of Cannon’s relocation in Chance in Hell and Odd Man Out. It probably wasn’t all that surprising then for many people to see him.

I don’t think that using an established character lightened my work load though. Cannon is not an easy man to like. I think just about everyone who read PF 2013 absolutely loathed the man.

By moving him to Flagstaff I committed to taking this man everyone hated and showing what went on in his head, making him likeable and heroic even.

In light of the fact that Cannon was supposed to be the love interest in Chances Are, I felt I owed it to the man. After all, it wasn’t his fault that everyone, including Chance, liked Rory better. I knew by the time I finished Chances Are that Cannon had lost his place, but I continued to abuse him throughout the series. Creating a HEA for a villain everyone despised won’t be easy at all.

But after everything he went through, Cannon deserves a chance at happiness.

Finn Lorensson is just the man to give it to him. Finn was born in a single moment, from a few lines that popped into my head before I even started writing notes for the stories. If you’ve read Cold Snap, you probably recognize these lines. For me, they are the essential sum of Finn’s character.

“I like to hear a man’s voice crack when he says please. I like to hear the soft desperation in the way he breathes. I like to see his skin flush and his chest heave.
“I like to know he wants what only I can give.”

Perfect for Cannon, don’t you think?

*

Laura: I’ll echo what the others said about starting over with new characters being scary. We all have ideas for books, but it isn’t easy to come up with an idea that will meld with the ideas of three other authors.

I spent many years working for the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management and given the tragic fire in Prescott this past summer, the characters of Scott, the injured wildland firefighter, and Robby, the NPS Ranger, are a natural fit for me.

In the first book, Scott is clearly shown to be a hero, but there are hints to his personality there. He will always rush in first, consider consequences later. I think you’ll see the dark side to that character trait in the next book, Controlled Burn.

Robby tends to be the opposite. He wants to consider all of the angles, and will almost always make decisions on what he believes is best for everybody—often at his own expense.

I also have a little surprise for fans of my Willow Springs Ranch Series. Park and Tanner arrive at Mountain Shadows and interact with a few of the characters in a brand new PF 2014 Bonus Book. Kismet and Cartwheels will be out this week, along with the next release in the Fighting Fire Series, Controlled Burn.

We really want to thank all of the Pulp Friction fans who have spread the word about our crazy interconnected serial fiction: four series, 20 books, the grand finale. In Atlanta, we started with a core cast of characters, who already considered themselves family. In PF 2014, we hope you will enjoy watching this group of relative strangers grow into a family by choice. Sort of the way Tom, Havan, Lee and I have become a family, too.

Be sure to leave a comment to enter for a chance to win a $25 All Romance eBooks gift card. And again contest ends 3/21.

Thanks for hosting us, Melanie.

STRW:  Thanks for stopping by, everyone.  I can’t wait to read the next books in the series.  Again, don’t forget to leave a comment with your email address to be entered to win the $25 ARe gift certificate! Contest ends 3/21/2014.

Pulp Friction 2014: From the Pulp Friction Group: The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends. The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth. Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Firestorm (Fighting Fire: 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows: 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake: 1) by TA Webb

Review: Firestorm (Fighting Fire #1) by Laura Harner

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Firestorm by Laura HarnerAfter a wildland fire put Scott McGregor on the disabled list and ended his career as a firefighter, Scott had to start his life anew.  While in the hospital, an old emergency contact number saw the reentry into his life of Robby Hammond, a former college lover of his.  Together they see  Scott settled into his new home and life as owner of the Mountain Shadows Campgrounds.  Comprised of a number of rental cabins as well as a bed and breakfast, Mountain Shadows is full of challenges, not the least of which is having Robby Hammond back in his life again.

Finding Scott again after all these years is hard enough for Robby but then to see Scott alone and in pain in that burn unit, well, that was enough for Robby to do the unthinkable and uproot his own life.  Leaving San Francisco is hard but taking a job as a law enforcement ranger part time is even harder. Robby, like Scott, has to adjust to a new town, Flagstaff, and a new residence too.  What is not new to either man is the white hot attraction that sparks back to life the moment they see each other again.

But what forced them to separate the first time around remains between them causing them both unlimited hurt.  Still the flames of love and passion continue to rise.  Where there is smoke, there is sure to be fire…sooner or later.

The Pulp Friction authors have started the adventure once more!  Firestorm (Fighting Fire#1) is the first in Laura Harner’s series for the Pulp Friction 2014 interconnected storyline and its off to a terrific start.  Comprised off just six chapters, Harner dumps the reader immediately into Scott’s new life as he travels with Robby from the burn unit in Albuquerque where he was recently discharged to the Mountain Shadows campground where he is to begin his new life.  We learn bits and pieces of Scott (and Robby’s past) as they travel the road up the mountain uncertain of exactly what his new property looks like.

I love riding along with the characters as they prepare to start this new chapter in their lives.  It brings us face to face with all the uncertainty and stress of the unknown ahead of Scott.  The property was bought sight unseen and Scott has no idea of what lies ahead of him.  Harner gives us a man on the precipice of a monumental life change and this character is reeling with the stress of the changes he has gone through while still trying to recover from the burns of the fire.  It makes Scott both  someone we can empathize with and relate to, complete with limp and scarring, emotional and physical.

Packed on top of all the drastic changes in his life, the reentry of Robby Hammond adds one more tumultuous layer to the situation Scott faces.  Harner is crafty in only doling out bits and pieces of Scott and Robby’s past relationship as they travel together to get Scott settled in at the campground lodge that is to be Scott’s home.  We see that they loved each other and that the physical and emotional attraction to each other is still very present.  But other than that?  Nothing until a shocker that arrives at the very end of this first story that both explains so much while still leaving us with loads of questions to be answered.

In Firestorm, Laura Harner is setting the stage for the rest of her series and the first inklings of the interconnected characters and relationships from the other authors.  I love the tone and pace of the story as well as the depth of characterization and surprising elements she is building into the relationships and storylines.  What a great setting too.  The wildness of the habitat just outside the door is aspect of the story that brings challenges of its own to all the people present as well as acting almost like an additional character as well.  I got to the end and immediately wanted more.  So will you.  Consider this story, this series and in fact, the entire  Pulp Friction 2014 group highly recommended.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Cover is great, perfect for the character and story within.

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 62 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by Hot Corner Press
ASINB00HV33EGG
edition languageEnglish
seriesFighting Fire
Buy links Amazon, ARe
One of the Pulp Friction 2014 Series

 From the Pulp Friction Group: The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends. The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth. Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Firestorm (Fighting Fire: 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows: 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake: 1) by Tom Webb