Club Raven Blog Tour for BA Tortuga, Julia Talbot, and Kiernan Kelly (3 books, one series)

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Title: Calling His Bluff, Happy Medium, and Wishful Thinking

Author: BA Tortuga, Julia Talbot, and Kiernan Kelly

Series Title and Number: Club Raven, Books 1-3

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: January 17, 2016

Pairing: M/M

Genre/Tags: Romance, Paranormal, Historical, Alternate Universe, Spanking, Mediums, Mind Readers

Add Calling His Bluff to Goodreads

Add Happy Medium to Goodreads

Add Wishful Thinking to Goodreads

Synopsis

callinghisbluff1400x2100Calling His Bluff by BA Tortuga

After his twin dies in battle, it’s Patrick Daniels’ duty to marry his brother’s fiancée. Too bad he can’t make himself do it, and in his distress, he manifests a psychic talent that’s stronger than the tornadoes in his native East Texas. Then a mysterious man from a place called Club Raven steps in and sweeps Patrick off to the booming East Coast city of Baltimore.

Club Raven veteran Remy Blanchard sees Patrick and knows, even though Patrick is very ill, that this is the challenge he’s been waiting for. He nurses Patrick back to health, and begins to teach Patrick to control his talent. His methods might be unconventional, and Patrick might be new to the kinds of sexual games Remy knows best, but the two of them find something in each other that might be just as magical as the gentleman’s club where they meet.

Happy Medium by Julia Talbothappymedium-1

Andrew is out to debunk Max as a medium, not make love to him…

Max Bellame is working his way through 1870s Baltimore as a medium, even if he knows nothing about spirits. He uses the power of his mind to move objects, convincing his clients he’s the real thing.

Andrew Meechum works for Club Raven, a gentleman’s club that doubles as a paranormal research facility. He sets out to debunk Max, only to be fascinated by the man. Can Andrew convince Max to take a chance on love, and to find his true calling as a medium, or will their personal demons force them apart?

Wishful Thinking by Kiernan Kellywishfulthinking

Tony Brazzio, co-owner of Club Raven, Baltimore’s premiere men’s club in 1875, has a pocketful of cash and a chip on his shoulder. He’s out to prove to his co-owners — and himself — that he’s not a fluke, that anyone can be successful give the opportunity, no matter how poor his beginnings.

Bull O’Brian and Dandy Gilroy are two hoodlums from the rough streets of New York’s Five Points. They’re pickpockets by trade, and both possess psychic talents that make them two of the best. When Tony offers to bring them to Baltimore and give them the chance at a life of riches in polite society, they jump at the chance, if only to steal the members of Club Raven blind.

The best of plans rarely work the way they’re intended, and things swiftly go from bad to worse for Dandy and Bull. There’s murder afoot and a detective on their trail, and not even copious amounts of hot, sweaty sex can ease their fear or guilt.

As for Tony, he’s faced with admitting his experiment is a failure, something he’s loathe to do. It’ll take a great deal of persuasion, a little luck, and a lot of lube to make sure his plans for Dandy and Bull become more than just wishful thinking.

Purchase

Purchase all three Club Raven novels below!

Calling His Bluff: Evil Plot Bunny | Amazon

Happy Medium: Evil Plot Bunny | Amazon

Wishful Thinking: Evil Plot Bunny | Amazon

Meet the Authors

BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting, and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

You can find out more about her by following her online.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Julia Talbot

Julia Talbot lives in the great Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Samhain Publishing, Dreamspinner Press and Changeling Press. She believes in stories that leave a mark, and that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved.

You can find out more about her by following her online.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Kiernan Kelly

Kiernan’s award-winning stories of gay romance envelop diverse themes, varying from paranormal, to fantasy, and science fiction to contemporary romance. She has over eighty titles in ebook and print, published through a variety of houses. Her horror short story release, “Cletus,” appears in the Coscom Publishing’s book “Bits of the Dead.”

Kiernan also writes young adult GLBT fiction under her Dakota Chase pen name. As Dakota, she currently has three novels and several shorter works available in print and ebook. Mad About the Hatter, her YA gay romance, is a finalist for the American Library Association book list for 2017.

You can find out more about her by following her online.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: Catching Heir by Julia Talbot

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

catching-heir-by-julia-talbotIs he in love with an old hotel—or its new owner?

Professional snowboarder Cullen Patrick is successful and kinda famous. So when he inherits an old Colorado hotel from an unknown relative, he really should leave well enough alone.

Matt Nathanson has been managing the Treeline Estates since college. He loved the elderly former owner, and he stands to inherit the place if no one claims it in the next week. Of course, Cullen shows up, and Matt thinks it’s time to move on. He doesn’t want to like Cullen, no matter how engaging the guy is, or how hunky.

Cullen has grand ideas for the Treeline, but he doesn’t want to implement them without Matt, and he’s not sure he’s ready to give up snowboarding. Can Matt convince Cullen that putting down roots is worth it… and maybe catch his heir at the same time?

I throughly enjoyed Julia Talbot’s Catching Heir, another contemporary romance in Dreamspinner Press’ Dreamspun Desires series.  It follows a storyline of the lost inheritance and the found heir.  Someone is about to inherit a …fill in person’s heart’s desire…home, ranch, palace estate…you name it and then up pop’s the long lost heir to take it  back.  In this case its a beautiful old hotel, a  grand dame of hotels that Matt Nathanson stands to inherit in 24 hours if no heir arrives to claim it.  But of course, one does in the person of Cullen Patrick, grandson of who owned and loved Treeline Estates dearly and who recently died.

Part of this review is hard to write because as much as I adored the story, its what’s missing about it that nags at me and makes me wonder about those parts I feel are left out.  I really like these characters, Matt especially.  You get the feeling he’s been caught in a time warp of his making and that of Ben Patrick, Cullen’s grandfather.   Ben plucked Matt right out of college and brought him to the Treeline as a young man, a hotel filled with 60 somethings and a owner who dwelled in the past.  You certainly get a wonderful feel for this character immediately.

Cullen too fits that snowboarder image and extreme sports athlete although I wish he had a bit more layering to him.  He needed more a past to match that of Matt,   although they make a great couple.  I like how the author moves him from immediate jerk status to one to comes to appreciate Matt and the hotel.  That’s lovely.  Plus its great to watch the slow process of Cullen easing Matt out of the closed in life he’s lead all these years at the hotel as their romance deepens.

But you know who’s missing?  Ben Patrick..the dead man at the heart of the hotel, staff and who was Matt’s best friend and mentor.  I really needed to get a feel for him and that hole haunts this story, much like his empty room Matt refuses to enter.  We don’t know anything about their relationship all those years, not even a memory.  He’s a ghost that pulls this story down by his absence.

Talbot has given Matt and Cullen a wonderful secondary cast with the hotel staff.  We get a feel of what it is to run something like that as well as set up a snowboard run, all of which was interesting and well folded into the story.  It also helped to authenticate both men and made them believable.  There was a side thread that was less so but it was a flash and then it was dropped.

All in all, a sweet, contemporary romance and another terrific addition in this series.

I recommend it, let that cover pull you in.  Its a perfect representation of Cullen, perfectly adorable.

Cover art by Paul Richmond does a wonderful job once more.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Expected publication: December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 163477678X (ISBN13: 9781634776783)
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL

Love Men In Kilts? Check out the Plaid Nights Anthology from Torquere Press! (excerpt and giveaway)

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Book Name: Plaid Nights Anthology
Release Date: July 15, 2015

Author Names: Rob Rosen, Megan McFerren, Julia Talbot, Elizabeth Coldwell, Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae, Angelique Voisen, Missouri Dalton, Logan Zachary, Lila Mathews, Anna Mansel, and McKay

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: BSClay

STRW In The Spotlight Header

Sales Links:  Torquere Books

STRW Author BookSynopsis

In Plaid Nights, men in kilts are as varied as they are hot. Whether they’re caber tossers, rugby players, Highland warriors, country dancers, or time-traveling vampires, they’re up for surprises and sexy good times.

Rob Rosen starts us off with humor in “Tossing It.” Contemporary men discover love in unexpected places in “Whiskey and Want” by Megan McFerren, “Some Like It Scot” by Julia Talbot, “Perfect Working Order” by Elizabeth Coldwell, and “Off-Kilter” by Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae. We get a taste of the paranormal in “Sir WW” by Angelique Voisen, “Feumaidh Mi Ruith (I Have to Run)” by Missouri Dalton, and “Kilt in the Closet” by Logan Zachary. And we’re treated to forbidden love in historicals “Hunting for a Highlander” by Lila Mathews, “A Time to Heal” by Anna Mansel, and “As Fair Art Thou, My Bonny Lad” by McKay.

In these stories, some tartan-clad men wear their kilts in the “traditional manner,” while others are less daring. But all find love, and of course, a happy ending—especially at night, when the plaid comes off.

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Pages or Words: 65,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance, Paranormal (Please note: As an anthology, not all categories may relate to all stories.)

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Excerpt: From “Tossing It” by Rob Rosen:
He took a spoonful of stew into his mouth, green eyes sparkling in the daylight. He was cute in a lanky, pale, freckled sort of way. He sighed contentedly as he set the spoon back down. “Just like mom used to make.”

“Back in the old country?”

He laughed. “Back in New Jersey. Though Newark is sort of old.”

We continued eating together, side by side. His leg brushed mine. It stayed brushed. I didn’t move mine away; he didn’t move his either. This was an odd turn of events. Was he gay? Not a clue. Still, most guys would’ve moved their legs away. Maybe he was simply oblivious. Straight guys sometimes had a habit of that. You just never knew. Then again, you could test the theory if you were so inclined. Me, I was always so inclined.

I pointed to a throng of kilted behemoths off to the side. “What’s with the skirted mountain men?”

He chuckled. “Caber tossers.”

“That some sort of Scottish slang for rednecks?”

He turned my way, eyes locking with mine. It was like staring into a field of emeralds. Guess I’d been too busy staring at his crotch before to notice. Shame on me. “Caber tossers. They toss logs. Poles. Big ones.” Well, he’d certainly know about big poles, I figured. “They’re up to twenty feet tall and almost two hundred pounds.”

“And they toss them? Why?”

“For sport.”

I ate a couple more bites of my fish. It was perfectly cooked, greasy and flaky. My stomach settled down. “Sport? Like tiddlywinks for giants?”

He nodded as he continued eating his stew. His eyes rarely left mine. I was all too glad to return the favor. I stared at his freckles, connecting the dots, constellations hidden in the patterns. “Something like that.”

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Plaid Nights’. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the authors and Pride Promotions.

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Tour Dates & Stops: July 14, 2015
Parker WilliamsScattered Thoughts & Rogue WordsBayou Book JunkieThe Hat PartyInked Rainbow ReadsMy Fiction NookHavan FellowsHearts on FireJessie G. BooksWicked Faerie’s Tales and ReviewsTwo Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye CandyBFD Book BlogFangirl Moments and My Two CentsBike Book ReviewsKimi-ChanIyana JennaDawn’s Reading NookVS ReadsHappily Ever ChapterCharley DescoteauxMM Good Book ReviewsVelvet PanicMolly LollyBoy Meets Boy Reviews

A MelanieM Review: Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming by Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot, B.A.Tortuga

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Midnight Rodeo Homecoming coverDoes just the thoughts of a rodeo fill you with anticipation of fun, knuckle cracking suspense and danger?  And good looking cowboys too?  What happens when you take all that and add in demons, vampires,  weres of all types, and a ghost or two?  The answer to the last question is Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming ,a collection of three stories by authors Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga.

The Darque and Knight Rodeo is famous for its wild bulls, great bull riders ,over the top bullfighters and much, much more.  If only the humans who came to watch knew who and what were really behind the gates and stands when this rodeo came to town.  Three stories look into the lives and loves of the Darque and Knight Rodeo. This rodeo is run and employees nothing but Supes as the Supernatural are known, in search of a home, love and a family.

Those stories are Welcome to the Pack by BA Tortuga, Oklahoma Rain by Kiernan Kelly, and Big Bear, Little Bear, by Julia Talbot. Don’t miss out on a single one!

This book checked all the boxes for me.  It’s got the rodeo and cowboys (as such), it’s got  weres (both cat, wolf, and more), vampires, demons, and paranormals…all on the search for love, home, and a family.  It’s also by Kiernan Kelly, BA Tortuga, and Julia Talbot, a trio of authors who always manage to bring it home with their stories and viewpoints.  All three stories are centered around the Darque and Knight Rodeo (love that play on words).

I’ll be taking a look at each story as they appear in the book.  First up? A werewolf homecoming of sorts in “Welcome to the Pack”.

“Welcome to the Pack” by BA Tortuga – 4.75 stars

Bullfighter Denver returns home when his twin brother and pack Alpha, Denton, is killed by a bull at The Darque and Knight Rodeo.  Denver left the pack when it was decided that Denton would be the Alpha and now Denver is returning to reclaim the role and get the pack in order.  It’s been decades since Denver has been back and the pack isn’t all that happy to see him. Denver must fight for the right to be Alpha and try to heal the hole caused by the loss of his brother.  Only another outcast, Blaine, seems to be in his corner.  A necessary support to have when all the bulls they fight are possessed by demons!

My favorite story of the three but not by much.  The universe building here is superb.  I can’t get enough of this rodeo and all the beings that make up this rodeo!  This is a tale of two brothers, really.  One has died by the beginning of the story but Denton’s presence is felt throughout as Denver greatly misses him and is often compared to his brother.  Denver has been working the “mundane” rodeo circuit as humans are called and now returns to his former pack in disarray.  They’ve gotten sloppy, mean, and not exactly welcoming to Denver.  As Denver fights his way back into the pack, he finds a mate and a home.  Along the way the readers finds out such details as there is a caged demon inside of each bull.  I’m sure that many cowboys would find this entirely plausible! The cat shifters, a pride, that runs the cafeteria, food stands, and give massages to those they care for.  I would love a story about that Pride and its members.

Blaine, an outsider by way of his unusual birth and size, is a wonderful character.  I adored him and his relationship with Denver.  This is the longest story of the three and could easily have been its own book.  And series.  Plus there is a Russian tiger shifter, Dimitri, in need of a mate.  I need that story as badly as he does his HEA!  I wonder if BA Tortuga takes bribes?

Oklahoma Rain by Kiernan Kelly – 5 stars

Blaze Morgan  looks like a mundane but he’s not.  Instead Blaze has a hidden psychic talent that allows him to scout out the locations in small towns along the rodeo circuit where Darque and Knight can set up for a while.  Blaze supplies patches when holes appear in the magic wards that kept their real identities masked and the magical nature of their rodeo hidden from the mundanes that buy the tickets at each stop. Blaze even has a talent for mind control but that only applies to the humans he meets and not any Supes he comes into contact with.  That proves to be a problem when Blaze finds a homeless pair hiding out on the deserted farm where Darque and Knight are getting ready to set up for a run.

Zack and 10 year old human Mikey have been using the farm as their home for a while and Blaze’s appearance shattered the temporary home they have made together.  Telekinetic Zack saved Mikey from abusive kidnapper, and the farm has served them both as a place for Mikey to try and heal and a  haven for Zack.  Blaze invites them to join the rodeo as they can always use another psychic but not everyone is happy to have a human child around.

This story got me too.  Loved poor damaged Mikey and his relationship with Zack.  Zack, Blaze and Mikey make a wonderful family but not everyone is happy to have them there.   Kelly builds the suspense and anguish skillfully as she does the love and bonding between the two men and the wounded child.  As it all comes to an explosive ending, the reader is fully engaged and ready to do battle along side Zack, and Blaze to keep their family safe and together.

Loved this story too as so many other types of beings appear here to deepen the universe all three authors are building.  Vampire Cody and Demon Philip own and run Darque and Knight, dragons are used as barrel racers and a single burp can set the tents on fire.  Cheetah shifters and wolf shifters and so many others are bull riders, barrel racers, and more.  There is even a Grand Wizard Dermid who sets the spells that enchant the rodeo to keep it safe. It just keeps getting more fascinating the more you know about it.

Big Bear, Little Bear, by Julia Talbot – 4.5 stars

Grizzly bear shifter Ozzie is the barrel man and clown for Darque and Knight Rodeo. Little Black Bear shifter, Ben, trains and supplies the best rodeo horses while managing on being the worst bulldogger. And Ben has the biggest crush of Ozzie but Ozzie thinks Ben’s too young and inexperienced. Then Ben is badly hurt and sent home to recover. When Ben comes back, Ozzie is surprised how much he has missed the little bear. But there’s something different about Ben, something he’s hiding and Ozzie is determined to get to the truth and let the little bear know how much he cares.

Of course, the barrel man and clown is a Grizzly shifter! How perfect!  And Julia Talbot gets the feel of a bear in human form just right as they lumber along with their love of honey, fruits, and finally each other.  The author brings the natural history of bears into her story in subtle but genuine  ways and it just elevates this story up another notch.  Ben’s injury almost killed him and the ensuing trauma has had enormous side effects, as it should.   Ben’s gentleness and forlorn demeanor plays off beautifully against the jovial good nature and confidence of Ozzie.  They are made for each other and Julia Talbot’s lovely story charts the  path of their romance  from start to finish.  More please, much, much more!

I really adored Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming.  I can only hope that this book is a precursor of more stories to come.  Darque and Knight Rodeo is full of amazing beings, each with their own stories to tell.  How did Philip and Cody get together? A demon and a vamp?  What about Dimitri and the Pride of cat shifters?  Plus there is Denver’s triplet brothers to get in trouble and surely other paranormals that could use a job at a rodeo?  I can think of character after character with a story that needs telling and these three authors are just the ones to do it.

I highly recommend Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming.  Its fun, lively, engrossing….just a great read.  Pick it up and become involved in the lives of the supernatural and paranormal as they find their way to HEA and a home.  You will be happy you did.

Sales Links:  Torquere Press           All Romance eBooks (ARe)              Amazon                    Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming

Cover by Anne Squires.  Love this cover.  I only wish there had been a bit of a supernatural air about it, maybe claws on the hand or something.

Book Details:

ebook, 228 pages
Published July 16th 2014 by Torquere Press
ISBN 1610407776 (ISBN13: 9781610407779)
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=76&products_id=4220

Review: Designated Bottoms by B.A. Tortuga , Katey Hawthorne , Julia Talbot , Sean Michael, Shannon West, Kiernan Kelly , K.C. Wells

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5
designatedbottoms700Some men are bottoms by birth, others by choice. Whatever the reason, a designated bottom is someone who’s happy to surrender, to submit, or just catch instead of pitch!  Inside the covers, you will find seven stories by seven terrific authors, each with a different bent on the subject of love, romance, and bottoming.  They are:

➤Czech Me Out, by BA Tortuga, Korde discovers what it’s like to fall for someone when food truck owner Josh takes on the cowboy virgin.

➤The Mistell by Katey Hawthorne who’s gamer grad student Paul doesn’t date. He keeps things strictly physical. So why is Sammy so important to him ?

➤Faster Bobcat by Julia Talbot. A Lynx shifter and stripper Aleks doesn’t mix business with pleasure, but he thinks Rafe, a jaguar shifter, might just be the master for him.

➤Little Square of Cloth by Sean Michael.  Peter isn’t sure about the club his friend takes him to, especially when Doms start hitting on him. Experienced Dom Rupert is happy to help, explaining about that little piece of cloth stuck in Peter’s pocket .

➤Sgt. Hardass by Shannon West. A recent ex-Army man Jake meets up with a man he has history with, and Chad isn’t sure he can explain himself and defuse Jake’s anger.  Explosive?  Absolutely and also very hot.

➤ Prince of Paupers by Kiernan Kelly.  Prince Liam and longtime friend Deacon have to go back to Deacon’s Appalachian home, much to the prince’s dismay. What happens when royalty and the plain folk of the Applachians clash?  Can love be far behind?

➤ Switching It Up by K.C.  Wells. Jay knows he looks like a twink, but only hunky Dean understands that looks can be seriously deceptive.  When twink meets hulk, who comes out on top? Or bottom?

What a fun anthology!  Each story presents a totally different take on romance and challenges to love.  There is something and some story for everyone to enjoy!

It starts off light and swift with BA Tortuga’s Czech Me Out.  Korde and Josh had me wanting to reach for a Kolache or two.  I felt it was missing a little substance in the boys back histories but still found it loads of fun.

Katey Hawthorne’s gamer lads of The Mistell are wonderful.  It’s funny, current, and you will love these nerds on the path to happiness and love.  I learned what a mistell is and the ones Katey Hawthorne created had me snorting. I loved Paul, Samir, and the rest of the WW gaming group.  At the end I also wished that a certain sweet, if dim ex would also find his HEA.  Maybe the next story.  This was one of my favorites.

Faster Bobcat by Julia Talbot had me purring like a kitty.  Loved both Aleks who needs structure and the hot jaguar shifter who supplies it along with love.  Put this one at the top.

Sean Michael’s Little Square of Cloth is Sean Michael doing what he does best.  Making BDSM seem hot, and exactly right for the people involved.  In this case, Peter gets more than he ever expected when a friend plays a prank on him.  Sean Michael lovers, this is for you!

Sgt. Hardass by Shannon West is a that bit of angst missing in the other stories.  West delivers a painful breakup, and even more painful reunion and hot makeup sex!.  This is one of the stories I wish had been a little longer.  The characters were well done but I needed more about Chad and Jake to make their reunion and  rapid reconciliation feel real.

I adored Kiernan Kelly’s Prince of Paupers and wanted much, much more of this story because of the small touches and comedic elements she included.  More of Alfred the butler and the grubby little boy. That scene was priceless!  Or Liam down in the “holler” learning why there is no “George” pig to go along with Ringo, Paul, and John. Still giggling over that one.  I need a full on, enlarged version of this story and so will you.  This is my favorite of the anthology.  And it ended way before I was ready for it to be resolved.

The last story, Switching It Up by KC Wells had me a little perplexed for a while.  I thought the author was heading in one direction with the romantic interest and she was headed in another opposite direction.  Was it a case of red herring or was it just me?  Not sure but it threw me off just enough that I didn’t enjoy it as I might have.  Still, its a fun story and make a good addition to this anthology.  Don’t think I would have ended the collection with it however.

My ratings  fluctuate between a 3.75 and a 4.5 for the stories individually (you can guess which is which).  That averages out to a 4 rating overall.  I do recommend picking this anthology up!  It’s stories are fun to read, highly sexy, and some will definitely leave you giggling and wanting more.

Cover art by Anne Squires.  I love that cover.  Great design and yes, what a great bottom!

Buy Links:     Torquere Press           All Romance eBooks (ARe)             Amazon                  Designated Bottoms

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 253 pages
Published July 29th 2014 by Torquere Press
ASINB00M8Y421Y
edition languageEnglish

Bottoms Up? On Tour with the Designated Bottoms Anthology – Authors Katey Hawthorne, Kiernan Kelly, Sean Michael, Julia Talbot, BA Tortuga, KC Wells, and Shannon West! (contest)

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Top? Bottom?  Let’s find out more with the wonderful group of authors whose stories can be found in the new m/m anthology, Bottoms Up!  

To celebrate the release of Bottoms Up, Pride Promotions and the authors have brought along a $25 Amazon Gift Card to give to one lucky person.  To enter to win, visit HERE for the entry form and all the contest details.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.   Contest information repeated at the end of the post.  Contest ends 8/6.

Book Name: Designated Bottoms
Author Name: Katey Hawthorne, Kiernan Kelly, Sean Michael, Julia Talbot, BA Tortuga, KC Wells, Shannon West

Author Bios:

Contributors:

BA Tortuga: Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing porn sites in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has responded to the call of the high desert mountains. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon- holed by anyone but the voices in her head. Find her at http://www.batortuga.com

♦Katey Hawthorne is an avid reader and writer of superpowered romance, even though the only degree she holds is in the history of art. (Or, possibly, because the only degree she holds is in the history of art.) Originally from the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia, she currently lives in Ohio. In her spare time she enjoys comic books, B-movies, loud music, Epiphones, and Bushmills. Find Katey at http://www.kateyhawthorne.com/

♦Julia Talbot lives in the great Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex.

A full time author, Julia has been published by Torquere Press, Ellora’s Cave, and Changeling Press. She believes that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved. Find Julia at @juliatalbot on Twitter, or at her website  

♦Sean Michael: Often referred to as “Space Cowboy” and “Gangsta of Love” while still striving for the moniker of “Maurice,” Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and persuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to “Chicago.”

A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.
Barring any of that? He’ll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.

Sean’s available for interviews, by the way. He can always be talked into, well talking about himself. Find Sean at http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com

♦Shannon West: Shannon West currently lives in the South with her husband and family. A lover and avid reader of M/M romances, she began writing them a few years ago and now has over forty short stories, novellas,and novels to her credit. Her series about wolf shifters, the Dark Hollows Series and the sci fi series, Love Slaves of the Alphas, produced sixteen bestsellers with four of them going to number one on the third party sites. She was a finalist in the Rainbow awards for 2013, a nominee for best sci fi series in the Love Romances Café and very honored to be named an All Romance ebooks top ten author for 2013. She writes BDSM and some ménage as well. She loves men and everything about them, and believes that love is love, no matter the gender. She mostly spends her days at the keyboard, trying to elude housework, which stalks her relentlessly.

Links:   Website     
Twitter: @shannonwest8
   Amazon Author Page  Facebook

♦Kiernan Kelly: Kiernan Kelly lives in the wilds of the alligator-infested U.S. Southeast, slathered in SPF 45, drinking colorful tropical, hi-octane concoctions served by thong-clad cabana boys.

All right, the truth is that she spends her time locked in the dark recesses of her office, writing gay erotic romance while chained to a temperamental laptop, drinking coffee, and dreaming of thong-clad cabana boys.

Sigh.

To date, Kiernan has over a dozen novels in print and ebook, and a plethora of short stories in both formats.

Links:   Website      Facebook  email: KiernanKelly@KiernanKelly.com

♦KC Wells: Born and raised in the north-west of England, K.C.Wells always loved writing. Words were important. Full stop. However, when childhood gave way to adulthood, the writing ceased, as life got in the way.

K.C. discovered erotic fiction in 2009, where the purchase of a ménage storyline led to the startling discovery that reading about men in love was damn hot. In 2012, arriving at a really low point in life led to the desperate need to do something creative. An even bigger discovery waited in the wings – writing about men in love was even hotter…

K.C. now writes full-time and is loving every minute of her new career.

The laptop still has no idea of what hit it… it only knows that it wants a rest, please. And it now has to get used to the idea that where K.C goes, it goes.

K.C. can be reached via email (k.c.wells@btinternet.com), on Facebook or through comments at the K.C. Wells website  K.C. loves to hear from readers.

designatedbottoms700How Bottoms Up Came To Be:

So, what happens when you get a bunch of m/m writers together on a panel at a steamy little convention called Authors After Dark in Savannah?

In this case, we all sat around with the readers who came to our panel and chattered and laughed like idiots, and we talked about what we liked to read and write. There was a lot of smutty puns, and it was all fun and games until someone uttered the fateful phrase, “Right, and every story has to have a designated bottom.”

The writer and editor in me both went, “ooooh”. And I said, “Hey, does anyone want in on an anthology for next year with this theme?”

Enough of the writers at that panel, and a few who weren’t, said yes, and Designated Bottoms was born. When I sent out the call, this is what I said.

You’ve heard about Designated Drivers? Well, what about a Designated Bottom? The theme is open to all m/m stories where one man is a designated bottom boy, Whether self-imposed or by the Dom/lover/alpha of the pack or simply (either true or not) by society. Feel free to play with burly bottoms who surprise the deceptively sweet top, or with the too-smart kid who’s the pushy bottom to end all bottoms. BDSM is fine, but not mandatory. A bottom may simply like to catch instead of pitch.

The stories I received delighted me. From a first-time cowboy and his new lover to a hardass Sergeant falling for a determined young soldier, from a hot gamer geek who doesn’t date to a sweet young thing on his first visit to a BDSM club, there’s something for everyone. There are princes and paupers, werekitties and strippers, and skinny twink-looking tops and big, gentle bottoms. They all left me fanning my hot cheeks and smiling at how the end result was two men in love, no matter how they got there.

The authors in Designated Bottoms have all reminded me why I fell in love with m/m as a genre damned near fifteen years ago, and of why I’m still writing, and publishing those stories today.

We’d like to dedicate this book to all the readers at Authors After Dark who thought this collection was a great idea, and to all the readers who keep us going every day by reading our books and letting us know they like them! I hope y’all love these stories as much as I do!

XXOO

Twitter: @torquere
Cover Artist: Anne Squires
Publisher: Torquere Press Inc
Buy Links:      Torquere Press        

Blurb:

Some men are bottoms by birth, others by choice. Whatever the reason, a designated bottom is someone who’s happy to surrender, to submit, or just catch instead of pitch!

In Czech Me Out, by BA Tortuga, Korde discovers what it’s like to fall for someone when food truck owner Josh takes on the cowboy virgin. Katey Hawthorne’s gamer grad student Paul doesn’t date. He keeps things strictly physical. So why is Sammy so important to him in The Mistell? Kitty shifter and stripper Aleks doesn’t mix business with pleasure, but he thinks Rafe might just be the master for him in Julia Talbot’s Faster Bobcat.

Sean Michael’s Peter isn’t sure about the club his friend takes him to, especially when Doms start hitting on him. Experienced Dom Rupert is happy to help, explaining about that Little Square of Cloth. In Sgt. Hardass, by Shannon West, recent ex-Army man Jake meets up with a man he has history with, and Chad isn’t sure he can explain himself and defuse Jake’s anger. In the Prince of Paupers by Kiernan Kelly, Prince Liam and longtime friend Deacon have to go back to Deacon’s Appalachian home, much to the prince’s dismay. And in Switching It Up by KC Wells, Jay knows he looks like a twink, but only hunky Dean understands that looks can be seriously deceptive.

Excerpt:

From Czech Me Out by BA Tortuga:

Josh had texted the fine cowboy as early as he felt comfortable doing it. He’d waited until nine. He figured it was gratifying that he got an immediate response.

“Noon?” he’d sent, and when he got an affirmative, he’d send his address. Then he set about making lunch.

He could tear that sweet body up, turn the Marlboro Man inside out and make Korde like it. He would soften the guy up with a few barbecue-filled potato skins… Barbecue, the redneck aphrodisiac.

Josh grinned. He’d swayed more than one hot little cowboy with his special sauce and some crispy potatoes. Of course, he’d never asked one to come to his house before, and certainly hadn’t gotten so interested so damned fast.

He’d never changed his sheets and made sure he was stocked with lube and rubbers, either. Not on a not-even-a-first-date. Lord. He was hopeful today, for sure.

Hopeful, horny and… oh, man, he needed an ‘h’ word…

The doorbell rang, saving him from having to be too creative. He told his cock to stay down for a bit and went to answer.

Frack and Frick were yapping their damn fool heads off, wagging and bouncing. Silly mutts. “Y’all get down.”

Josh opened the door a few inches. “You’re not afraid of dogs are you?”

“Not even a bit.” Korde leaned down and gave scritches, easy as pie.

Those two beagle-shepherd monstrosities went nuts, yodeling and wagging and begging.

 

 

DesignatedBottoms600x600BannerBlueTour Dates: 7/30/14

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January 2014 Summary of Books Reviewed

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Winter trees longs

The new years has started with an explosion of wonderful books and new authors for me.  SE Jakes and two of her marvelous series dropped into my hands and heart so I will be passing those recommendations on to you.  SA McAuley released a new contemporary fiction novel, Treadmarks and Trademarks, the start of a new series.  Ditto Susan Laine with her Sparks & Drops.  LA Witt inspired with her gender shifter novel Static, a must read for all.  Shira Anthony’s Symphony In Blue brought her Blue Notes characters together for a series holiday story, perfect reading for all lovers of romance and music.  Horror, fantasy and comedy are all represented here as well as a great non fiction tale by Joel Derfner, Lawfully Wedded Husband:How My Gay Marriage Will Save The American Family, a must read.

So many great books, see what stories you have missed, and make a list.  And don’t forget to check out the best book covers of the month at the end.
*Key:Winter_2
S series
C contemporary
F-fantasy
SF-science fiction
PN-paranormal
SP-supernatural
H-historical
HR-horror
N-Nonfiction
YA-young adult

Rating Scale: 1 to 5, 5 stars is outstanding
5 Star Rating:

Catch A Ghost by SE Jakes C, S
Long Time Gone by SE Jakes C, S
Static by LA Witt, SF
Symphony In Blue by Shira Anthony, C, S
The Engineered Throne by Megan Derr, F
The Fall by Kate Sherwood C. S

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

A Small Miracle Happened by Mari Donne, (4.5 stars) C, holiday
Dirty Deeds by SE Jakes (4.75 stars) C, S
Home for the Hollandaise by BA Tortuga,Julia Talbot *4.5 stars) C
Horsing Around by Torquere Authors, (4.5 stars) A, C
In Discretion by Reesa Herberth (4.5 stars), SF
Lawfully Wedded Husband by Joel Derfner (4.75 stars) N
Refined Instincts by SJ Frost, (4 stars) SP, S
Serenading Stanley by John Inman (4.5 stars), C
Sparks & Drops by Susan Laine (4.5 stars), P, S
Texas Christmas by R.J. Scott (4.75 stars), C, S
The Dreamer by M. King (4 stars), HR
The Lightning Moon by Sylvia A. Winters (4.75 stars) SP
Tread Marks & Trademarks by S.A. McAuley (4.5 stars) C, S

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Ashland by Lynn Lorenz (3.5 stars) SP, S
The Actor and the Thief by Edward Kendrick (3.75 stars) C, S
Tor by Lynn Lorenz (3.5 stars), SP, S

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:

Dime Novel by Dale Chase (2.75 stars) H

1 to 1.75 Star Rating:  None

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

Best Book Covers of January 2014

This month includes just an overall gold star to LC Chase whose great covers include the Hell or High Water series and Dirty Deeds.

InDiscretion_500x750Mindscape_500x750Sparks & Drops cover

Tread Marks and Trademarks cover

Static coverCatch a Ghost cover

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

In Discretion by Reesa Herberth, Artist Simone’
Mindscape by Tal Valante, Artist LC Chase, who is having an incredible year
Sparks & Drops by Susan Laine, Artist Brooke Albrecht
Static by LA Witt, Artist LC Chase.  A Stunner with it’s Shifting Gender Person
Tread Marks & Trademarks by S.A. McAuley, Wilde City Press, no artist credited

ScatteredThoughts Summary of Reviews for November 2013

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November banner

November really was such an extraordinary month for books.  It almost makes me giddy with joy. I can’t remember when I last had more 5 and 4 star  rated books as I have had this month.  And their genres and plots ran the spectrum, from contemporary fiction to what I might best describe as fantasy horror, making this truly a rainbow month of great books by outstanding authors.

There are quite a few books that are a part of a series and should best be read in order, while others are stand alone pieces of fiction, with one or two in between in that they are a part of a series but could be read by themselves. It’s all in the reviews which I have linked to each title.

The holidays are upon us and ebook gift cards are a wonderful way of sharing books with those we love.  Make a list, check it twice to make sure you have the titles listed below on yours:dried flowers for november
November 2013 Review Summary

*part of a series

5 Star Rating:

Corruption by Eden Winters*, contemporary
Encore by Shira Anthony*, contemporary
Lessons for Suspicious Minds by Charlie Cochrane*,historical
Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux*, contemporary
Sweet and Sour by Astrid Amara, contemporary
The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men by Eric Arvin*, horror, fantasy
Too Many Fairy Princes by Alex Beecroft, fantasy

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

After The Fall by L.A. Witt* (4 stars), contemporary
Bar None Anthology (4.5 stars) mix of contemporary, scifi
Close Quarter by Anna Zabo*(4.75 stars), supernatural
Family Texas by R.J. Scott*, (4.5 stars), contemporary
Good Boy by Anne Tenino*, (4.5 stars),contemporary
How I Met Your Father by LB Gregg (4.25 stars), contemporary
Illumination by Rowan Speedwell (4.5 stars), contemporary
Long the Mile by Ally Blue (4.25 stars), contemporary
The Retreat by BA Tortuga*, (4 stars), contemporary
The Stars that Tremble by Kate McMurray, (4 stars), contemporary

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Captive Magic by Angela Benedetti* (3.75 stars), paranormal
Hat Trick by Chelle Dugan (3 stars), contemporary
The Blight by Missouri Dalton (3.75 stars), fantasy

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:
N/A

Review: Bar None Anthology by Sean Michael, BA Tortuga, Julia Talbot, and Kiernan Kelly

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Bar None coverDo you like your bartenders hot, sexy, and maybe even artificial?  Torquere Press presents an anthology where all the stories revolve around the bars, drinks and the men who serve them.  Authors BA Tortuga, Julia Talbot, Sean Michael and Kiernan Kelly deliver four sexy and ultimately loving romps through the bars and bartenders of our dreams.

Here in the order they are found in the anthology are the stories of Bar None:

Bartender Rescue by BA Tortuga
Kind of a D.R.A.G. by Kiernan Kelly
The Blue Moon Bar By Julia Talbot
Flair, a Hammer Story By Sean Michael

I really looked forward to reading this anthology and it came through as anticipated.  I have a mini-review posted after each title.

1.  “Bartender Rescue”by BA Tortuga – 4.75 stars out of 5

Shane and Galen from the Stormy Weather series return in this short story of burnout and escape.  As the story starts long term lovers Shane and Galen have almost switched place as far as occupations go.  Now it is Shane who is the Owner and CEO of a number of successful bars, heading out each morning in a 3-piece suit, micro managing his bars and neglecting his lover, Galen.  The stress is mounting and Shane is turning to pharmaceuticals to stay awake and energized, none of which makes Galen happy.  Shane knows things aren’t working but doesn’t know how to step off and out of the business treadmill.

When the answer pops up in the form of an old would be boyfriend of Shane’s, Galen is more than ready to take advantage of the situation.  Now if only he can get  Shane to agree.

I love this couple having been with them through all sorts of angst and misadventures, including hurricanes and miscommunications.  Now we get to see a different dynamic with this couple, with beach bum Shane being the uber responsible business owner and Galen ending up the laid back part of their relationship.  Tortuga writes this couple so realistically you can practically watch them walk off the page.  They are settled in their relationship, with bone deep knowledge of each other and their needs telegraphing with each bit of dialog and loving touch.  And it is painful to watch when each person realizes that the relationship and each other is being neglected.  Wonderful writing, great characters and a realistic situation make this story of the best.

I loved every part of this story and the only thing that kept it from a 5 star rating is a lack of backstory for those readers new to Shane and Galen.  Even without going into enormous detail,, even a little past history would have been enlightening for those new to this couple.

2. “Kind of a D.R.A.G.” by Kiernan Kelly. Rating 4 stars out of 5

Kiernan Kelly takes bartenders intergalactic with this story of a bar with a captive audience as it is located on a prisoner planet somewhere in space.  Inhabited by prisoners, a few free humans and tons of androids who handle  almost every job possible, Kelly’s story contains a lot of humor, a few nice twists, and a far reaching ( yep, went there) ending.

Max, bartender and really only of human in residence at Club Grinder, a dive and strip club on Sirius 7.  It is in fact the only bar on Sirius 7, “a penitentiary rock located among a fistful of tiny, uninhabited planetoids at the ass end of the galaxy”.  Other than The Boss who is the  owner of the club, Max is the only human around, the rest of the employees, strippers, Drag Queens Betty Boob and Ivana Hump, every one is an android. In a funny, Lucille Ball twist, Kelly starts off her story with the two Drag Queens breaking an android stripper in the most awkward and humorous way possible. Soon the Drag Queens are using The Bosses D.R.A.G machine to create a new one.  Of course, everything starts to go wrong immediately and the plot takes flight.

I enjoyed this story and found parts of it hilarious. While the plot was predictable, the characters and the charm and endearing personalities make this story outshine its plot structure.  Funny, charming, just a lovely way to spend some time.  I could really see this group coming back for an encore.

3. “The Blue Moon Bar” By Julia Talbot.  Rating 3.5 stars out of 5

Werewolf Hugh Dailin is crazy about his bear shifter bartender Seamus Deane but his wolf pack and family disapprove of homosexuality, wanting him to find a female mate and have a bunch of pups.  But Hugh is sure that his mate is the burly guy with all that great hair and muscles that just happens to work for him.  The tension is getting to them both, with each snarling at the others in frustration and rage.  Something has to give and it does when a lion comes into the bar and demands the return of his cub, a cub that’s gone missing. Then one of their own goes missing too and both must scramble to find the person responsible before more vanish.

I liked this story, especially since shifters, any type of shifter from sloth to owl, are favorites of mine.  But this story needed a little bit more of plot, characterization, background, and exposition. We never really find out who, what and why is behind the mystery. And everything is resolved almost in seconds.  It just feels lacking which is a shame as the bones of this story are wonderful.  Still, I enjoyed Hugh and Seamus and wished I had more of their relationship.

4. “Flair, a Hammer Story”  By Sean Michael. 5 stars out of 5

Author and consultant to bars on drinks, specialty recipes and Flair, Nathan Edwards is wary when he approaches the location of his next client, a man named Xavier who owns an establishment called The Hammer. The exterior is nondescript but what Nathan finds inside is anything but ordinary.

Nathan is intelligent, handsome and OCD which makes for an intriguing combination to Master Jarrod, a Dom who just walked into The Hammer for lunch and a place to check emails.   Nathan is there to train the club’s bartenders in Flair and to give them new recipes to try out for their clientele.  He has no idea as to the type of place The Hammer is or the people who are members.

Artist Jarrod stopped by the Hammer on impulse for lunch and to check on his emails from clients.  But he stays to watch Nathan train the staff, pulled in by the young man’s magnetism, looks, and intelligence.  An invitation to lunch goes well until the Dom in Jerrod comes out to play to Nathan’s consternation.  When Jarrod pursues the relationship, can Nathan accept Jarrod’s lifestyle or will Jarrod’s feelings for Nathan force Jerrod to leave the lifestyle behind?

This is my favorite story of the collection.  It’s just masterful (yes, went there as well)!  Sean Michael gives us two completely authentic, layered characters and then creates a believable and charming slow buildup to a wonderful romance that all readers will love and root for.

Nathan is an especially unusual character.  He has OCD but uses it to his  advantage in his business.  He makes no apologies, sure of himself and easy in his skin.  And while he is startled as to the true nature of the club he is consulting for, it doesn’t bother him even though he is uneducated about the lifestyle.  Then he meets Jarrod, strong, handsome and artistic and Nathan is charmed.  But a stray comment and too strong attitude naturally finds Nathan pulling away.

I really liked that Michael introduced us to a character unfamiliar with bdsm and D/s relationships.  By doing so, the author can educate Nathan and the reader at the same time about the lifestyle and the most common misconceptions.  And Sean Michael does so in a manner that doesn’t feel forced or academic.

This is also the beginning of a relationship so we aren’t sure exactly what compromises each man is going to make for the other. Our only certainty being that these men do belong together.  Books containing elements of bdsm are a minority in the type of books I normally review but Flair, a Hammer story is so well done, from the marvelous characters to the realistic and intelligent relationship between Nathan and Jerrod that it makes me want to read the rest of the stories in the Hammer series to see if they match the promise and the happiness I felt after reading this tale of love found amongst the cocktail glasses, shakers and bottles of a bar and its bartender.   Great job and a wonderful way in which to end this collection.

If you are unfamiliar with any of these authors, Bar None is a great way to familiarize yourself with their style of writing and the characters they like to play with.  I enjoyed them all and think you will too.  Consider this definitely recommended.

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 223 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Torquere Press
ISBN 1610405811 (ISBN13: 9781610405812)
edition language English

Review: Fever Anthology by M Rode

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

If you love cowboys, than this is the anthology for you.  From cowboy tv stars to those that ride bucking bulls and every permutation in between, these 8 stories will make you laugh, make you sigh, even reach for a fan or too but always make you remember why you love a cowboy.

Stories included in Fever are:Fever cover

Loose Riggin’ by Julia Talbot
Two Buckets and a Snakeskin Suit by Aaron Michaels
Torn by Sean Michael
Cowboy and Indian by Rob Rosen
Heart of Dixie by Mychael Black
Ready to Ride by Katherine Halle
White Hat/Black Hat by Kiernan Kelly
In the Pocket, a Roughstock story by BA Tortuga

I really enjoyed this anthology, especially because cowboys are a real weakness for me.  Of special interest was the new story from BA Tortuga in her Roughstock series, I cannot get enough of those boys.  It also introduced me to a series I hadn’t heard of, Mychael Black’s Hearth and Home series, so that was a plus too.  Here in sequence as they appear are mini reviews of each story:

1.  Loose Riggin‘ by Julia Talbot: 3.5 stars

One cowboy on the way up, one cowboy bull rider on the way down.  Baron LeBlanc is a top bullrider at the end of his career.  During one ride he injuries himself badly and an young bull rider, Arlen Deamus, offers to take care of him and become his traveling partner.  I loved this story and thought the characters and the plot were full of promise.  It is the perfect introduction for a longer story.  Julia Talbot draws us in with her wonderful characters, great names and vivid descriptions but just as we are settling in, its over. As a short story, it ends so abruptly that it feels incomplete and the reader feels more than a little frustrated after investing emotionally in the story.  I would love to see this author expand Baron and Arlen romance into a full length book.  I will be first in line to pick it up.

2. Two Buckets and a Snakeskin Suit by Aaron Michaels: Rating 3.5 stars out of 5

While on vacation, Marcus and his sister Shelly attend camel races outside Las Vegas.  Shelly is dying to meet an Australian cowboy and these camel races have more than their share of those.  But when Marcus is hurt after he falls off a camel, he is the one who captures the attention of the only Aussie cowboy there.  This was a cute little romance between a man talked into riding a camel by his sister and the Aussie cowboy who just happens to be a chiropractor who comes to his aid.  Michaels did a nice job with presenting us with a well rounded character in Marcus and Shelly but I would have loved a little more back story on Vic.  But it’s cute, hot, and has a realistic HFN.

3.  Torn by Sean Michael: 5 stars for the heat alone

Pistol, an injured bull rider, returns home to his partner Bender and their ranch after a long  6 month absence on the rodeo circuit and shoulder surgery.  He is unsure of his welcome after receiving an angry  phone call from his  partner following his injury.  Bender’s love for Pistol is both the source of his anger and the one thing that will heal it.  This is my second favorite story in the collection.  Sean Michael gets everything right in this story.  We get all the information we need about these two men and their long term relationship from Michael’s descriptions of their tense posture, their loving gestures and a dialog that  telegraphs a well established intimacy at every level.  Bender is tired of his lover’s injuries and this last one scared him badly.  Pistol loves riding bulls and is frightened that his time as a bullrider is coming to an end.  The situation is tense, hot, loving, angry, gentle, just everything you would expect from two scared people who love each other deeply and are faced with a serious situation.  The ending is perfection, but then so is this short story.  It doesn’t need to be longer, it doesn’t need any additional backstory.  It ends where it should.  Lovely.  Here is a tease. Pistol is returning home after surgery unsure of his welcome:

He opened the door, pushed it open and stood, trying to keep them from the arm still in the sling. “Hey y’all, you happy to see me?”

“You should have called and let me know.” Bender waited for the dogs to have their hello, blue eyes on him like twin laser beams.

“I didn’t want you worrying. Jack needed his guest room back.” He’d been imposing. Not to mention, the man’s mother-in-law had come to help with the last few days of Mary Ellen’s pregnancy, and he’d wanted to come home. Bender told the dogs to “scatter,” and they did.

Before Pistol could say anything Bender was on him, mouth covering his in a kiss that smashed his lips against his teeth and totally stole his breath.

Oh. Oh, thank God. He pushed up into the kiss, damn near sobbing with relief.

4. Cowboy and Indian by Rob Rosen: 2 stars out of 5

Jed sees a poster for a fifty-dollar prize for the longest bronco buck advertised outside a saloon.  He figures his horse Bessy needs a new saddle and aims to get it for her by riding in the rodeo.  Along the way he runs into an Apache warrior, Taza, who wants to help his people.  They make love, not war and end up with a future neither of them ever dreamed of.   There are quite a number of things about this story that I have issues with, but the portrait of Taza, an Apache warrior, is the largest.  Having a Native American character, especially in a historical story, can be a iffy element if not handled just right.  For me, Taza just did not work.  From his pidgin English which reminded me of the “Me, Tonto, you white man” variety to the fact that he drops trow for an unknown white man just after the awful Apache wars have ended….well it’s not just unrealistic but downright ridiculous.  Here is their first interchange:

 “Jed,” I told him, with a polite nod. “White man sounds so, well now, formal.”

With his free hand, he pounded his chest. “Taza,” he informed me. “In your language, means Apache warrior.”

I nodded my head. “Pleasure, Taza.”

And then he nodded, releasing the beast before sending it swinging. “You want to pleasure Taza?”

The only way that piece of dialog would work is in a Mel Brooks comedy.  And it just goes further downhill from there.  This is the one story I would skip over.

5. Heart of Dixie by Mychael Black: Rating 4 stars out of 5

Mack Sexton has been in love with his best friend and handyman Les Spencer for a long time.  Les feels the same but neither man has acknowledged let alone acted on their feelings.  Then one day everything changes.  Heart of Dixie is a snapshot of a relationship that is part of a series called Hearth and Home by Mychael Black.  I am unfamiliar with that series but got enough of a taste of it from this story that I will be scampering back to pick up the rest.  Black develops the characters and setting to the point that it and both men feel real and the reader connects with them from the start.  Mack’s sister, Kate, is a lively character in her own right and the interaction among the three of them comes across as long established and affectionate.  Enjoyable and romantic.  I loved this one.

6. Ready To Ride by Katherine Halle: 4 stars out of 5

Eric is an orthopedic surgeon volunteering his time with the Justin Sports Medicine program. Ben Greene is champion Saddle Bronc rider Eric has come to love.  When Eric’s volunteer time with the rodeo comes to an end, Ben must travel on the circuit alone.  And while neither man has talked about where their relationship is going, both love each other deeply.  When Ben is receives a season-ending injury during a ride, Eric decides that, conversation or not, he is bringing his man home for good.  I loved Halle’s characters and thought she got the character of Ben with his avoidance of “mushy talk” just right.  While most of the story is seen through Eric’s eyes,  Halle shows us that Ben’s actions telegraph his feelings perfectly to his lover and that words are not always necessary.  This story has romance, cowboys and HEA in a nice short package.

7. White Hat/Black Hat by Kiernan Kelly: 4.25 stars out of 5

The time is 1968, the place Hollywood where a new TV western is getting ready to go into production.  Two men, Dallas Frank and Stone Grant, arrive to audition for the two leads, Black Bart and Sheriff Carson Star, the White Hat/Black Hat title characters.  To each man’s surprise and delight, they win the roles and secretly the love of each other.   For the next forty years, they pretend to hate each other in public while continuing a love affair that has lasted as long as their show.  Then their show is cancelled.  What will they do now?  Kelly gives us a terrific look back at old Hollywood and its outlook on homosexuality.  Through small interludes we watch as Dallas (real name Joe Bob) and Stone Grant (real name Arvin Mason) settle into a long term relationship while playing the Hollywood game to protect the series and their reputation. The ending is rewarding, the relationship has a very authentic feel as does the times the men pass through.  My third favorite story of the collection.

8. In the Pocket, a Roughstock story by BA Tortuga: 5 out of 5 stars

Sterling is a new bullfighter and he loves his job.  He also loves working with his hero and fellow bullfighter, Coke Pharris.  But rodeo clown Dillon Walsh is tired of the youngster drooling on his man and figures a little matchmaking is in order.  When stock  contractor Colby Tyburn asks for an introduction to Sterling, Dillon sees an opportunity and takes it, maneuvering Sterling into a date with the stock contractor.  Colby Tyburn has been watching Sterling for some time and loves what he sees….a gorgeous energetic young man, all want and desire.  Sparks fly at the first introduction but neither man expects the white hot sex to turn into something deeper and just perhaps, permanent.  In the Pocket is a Roughstock story. So if the reader is familiar with the series, than you already know all about Coke Pharris and his rodeo clown lover, Dillon Walsh.  They happen to be a favorite couple of mine so it is wonderful to see them make an appearance here.  But the focus of the story is the young (and virginal) bullfighter, Sterling, and the older, more experienced man, Colby Tyburn, a roughstock contractor.

Sterling is a bouncy Tigger of a character.  He is youthful, energetic to the extreme and has a bad case of hero worship when it comes to Coke Pharris.  Unfortunately for Sterling, Coke is taken and Dillon is not happy that Sterling can’t keep his hands off his man.  BA Tortuga paints the perfect portrait of innocent enthusiasm and lustful need all wrapped up in one young man who doesn’t seem to know what to do with it all.  I just loved Sterling, he absolutely made me smile.  Colby Tyburn could have come off as a predator but his appreciation for Sterling and all of his qualities, not just his physical traits, brings him back to a person the reader can relate to.  Their sexual encounter is sexy, white hot, and ultimately very touching.  It is not necessary to have read the other Roughstock stories, but it does help to round out the back history of the other men mentioned, however casually.   There are over 17 stories in the Roughstock series, Coke and Dillon’s story is called Roughstock: And a Smile- Season One. I absolutely recommend them all.  Here is a taste:

Nate (was) screaming his head off to get the bull’s attention. Joa landed, but luckily the Brazilian was ready, and they sort of strong-armed each other.

“Gotcha.”

He flung Joa toward Pharris and put himself between the cowboy and Merry-Go-Round. He heard Coke grunt, but then he and Nate were busy playing a game of slap the bull on the nose, trading off as it went round and round. This was his favorite part, the fun part. They did their little dance, and he pulled his butt in, hearing the whoosh as two thousand pounds went by.

“Woohoo!” He grinned at the gate shut, jogging over to Pharris, who clapped him on the back.

He loved his life.

Loved it.

Cover illustration by BSClay is perfect in tone and design for this collection.

Book Details:

ebook, 195 pages
Published June 5th 2013 by Torquere Press
ISBN
1610404858 (ISBN13: 9781610404853)
edition language
English