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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Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Butt Riders on the Range by Kage Alan, JP Barnaby, Ally Blue, TC Blue, Shae Connor, Jevocas Green, Kiernan Kelly, and Eden Winters

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5:

Butt Riders on the Range coverThis is the third “Butt” anthology I’ve read, and I expected it to be the best because there’s nothing sexier than a cowboy, IMHO. However, I didn’t like it nearly as much as the other anthologies produced by these authors, and there were very few stories that I would rank as high as any of the authors’ previous works. In some cases, it felt as if the author was just putting words together to meet the loose outline of the anthology, then maybe throw in a cowboy here and there, mix ’em up and pop out an adequate story.

Hung Like a Horse by JP Barnaby
The first story in the anthology was a sweet story about a horse shifter, with a different twist— when he shifted, the ectoplasm exploded out of him. Theoretically, it makes sense that when he went from a large horse to a smaller man, there would be extra body mass so I liked that idea. Another interesting twist is that the change was forced when his protein levels reached deficiency, and let’s face it— horses aren’t carnivores so he couldn’t stay as a horse without shifting to meet that need. Riley, the shifter, was rescued by the ranch owner who is also a horse shifter and knew what Riley was. He was waiting for Riley to shift to a man so that he could help him. Fortunately, there was an attraction between the two, and the story ended with a promise for a hopeful future. 4 stars

Chinchilla Chimichangas by Kage Alan
I disliked this story. It’s told mostly from the POV of a wannabe author, Chris, who has constant voices in his head— voices of the characters Miss Tis and Miss Kiernan. I found it very annoying with the switches from Chris speaking or thinking, to having the voices in his head speak. The plot was quite juvenile as well. Chris is taking a bus trip to throw his dad’s ashes in the Pacific behind the Hotel del Coronado, the place he had always wanted to take Chris’s mother on their honeymoon. The bus is stranded in an Oklahoma town during a storm, and Chris ends up going home with a young man who reminds him of Dustin, the hero in the story he’s writing. They have sex, fall in love, and part with a promise to get together after Chris completes his mission. 2 stars

Squatting with Spurs On by Kiernan Kelly
This was a cute little ghost story about a young man who inherits a haunted house only to find out that the ghost was his lover before he died a hundred years ago. It was a nice twist on time travel and paranormal activity mixed with a healthy dose of romance and everlasting love. 3.5 stars

Faux Cowboy by Shae Connor
When Doug shows up at a western-style gay bar in New York City, he’s happy to see that there seems to be another cowboy just like him in the bar. When they get to know each other, they decide to go dancing and after one thing leads to another, they spend a hot night together. The next morning, truth comes calling and the guys find out that they weren’t quite honest with each other, but since they’re in the very early stages of a relationship, they decide to forgive and forget and move forward toward a possible future together. 3.5 stars

Hooves and Horns by Eden Winters
This was a cute and humorous shifter story about two rodeo cowboys, both of whom are shifters. One is the famous bull, Diablo, and the other is the famous bucking bronco, Greased Lightning. Lovers, then adversaries, the bronco, aka Kerry, is jealous because Diablo, aka Armando, was seen hanging with other bulls in the off-season, and Kelsey thought he had cheated. But once Armando can pin Kerry down and explain, all is finally well, and they have their HEA. 3 stars

The Boy from Battalion Bluff by Jevocas Green
I saw this one as little more than PWP. It’s the story of an irresistible guy in the Old West that locals call Dr. Feel-Good. He gets all over town on any given day to make people feel good by having sex with him. He overlooks young Toby the stable boy, but Toby wants him and goes after him just as they all find out that he’s not what he seems. He’s really an alien prince, and he never gets pleasure from sex unless it’s with his true mate. His betrothed, Tyler, shows up to take him home, and while Tyler’s trying to prove his worth by having sex with Johnen (Dr Feel-Good), Toby interrupts and Johnen invites him to participate. Lo and behold, Toby is his true mate. Once that’s settled, they all go back to the home planet and live happily ever after. 2 stars

The Five Hells War by Allly Blue
In this story, an attorney named Balthazar Shellenbarger comes to a remote planet, very reminiscent of an Old West town, to represent Cavendish Farms, a large company that wants to buy Five Hells Ranch from Salvador “Rocky” Flint. The ranch is the only piece of property that Cavendish hasn’t taken over in their plan to have a monopoly on boomer meat. Boomers are considered a delicacy and are a protected species on this planet that is the only place in the universe that supports their life form. This is the final offer— if Rocky doesn’t sell, they are going to get the place somehow. But what happens instead is a romance between “Balty” and Rocky and it’s one of the better stories in the book. Balty is so impressed with Rocky and his heritage and his love of the land that he decides to stay and help fight the conglomerate. Together they’ll defeat the bad guys and go on to live their HEA. 4 stars

And the Horse He Rode In On byTC Blue
This is a great story about a leopard shifter caught killing lambs on a sheep farm– a farm that happens to be owned by a horse shifter who catches him and kicks him in the head. The resulting shift back to his human form is a shock to both men and when the leopard, Jason, finds out that the “battle pony” who kicked him in the head is Tyler, the good-looking man who owns the ranch, he’s intrigued. He’s never been a part of a Pard, never even realized such a thing exists since the guy who Made him took off before telling Jason anything. When Jason’s shift occurred in a home he was house-sitting, and he trashed the place, he took off and has been in leopard form, running for his life, ever since then. As they begin to fall for each other, Tyler introduces him to the world of shifters and helps Jason come to terms with who he is. The two work for it and ultimately get their HEA. This was my favorite of the stories in the anthology. 4.5 stars

I’d recommend this to anyone who likes their M/M romance in very off-the-wall stories, non-wolf shifter stories, and alternate universe adventures.

The cover art by Wilde City Press depicts a cowboy, shirt open and head down. Bright and colorful, it also lists the names of the authors vertically down the opposite side. Very appealing.

Sales Links:  Wilde City Press    –   All Romance (ARe) –   Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Published April 29th 2015 by Wilde City Press
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.wildecity.com

 

Its all Butts and Cowboys with Kiernan Kelley and Butt Riders on the Range (guest post and giveaway)

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Butt Riders On the Range is Here! Cowboys and lots of butts on the Butte! Don’t Miss out on Kiernan Kelly’s guest post “So Many Butts, So LIttle Time”. Check out the blurb and excerpt and don’t forget to enter to contest as well.cowboy hat and boots blkwhite

So Many Butts, So Little Time by Kiernan Kelly

One night long ago in a land far, far away — or it may have been last May in a Marriott hotel on the outskirts of Atlanta — eight authors sat at a table surrounded by rapidly deflating ninja themed balloons, plastic katana blades, oddly penis-shaped nunchucks, and fistfuls of throwing-star erasers, and decided two books did not a series make.

We were at OutlantaCon, the official birthplace of the Butthology books, where we — Kage Alan, T.c. Blue, Eden Winters, Ally Blue, Shae Connor, J.P. Barnaby, Jevocas Green, and myself — had just finished celebrating the release of Butt Ninjas From Hell.

It was the second book we’d written in what we hoped would be a series. The first, Butt Pirates in Space, was science fiction, and had released May 2013. Butt Ninjas from Hell was paranormal-themed. Both, of course, had a healthy helping of humor thrown in with a side of hot gay sex.

We sat there staring at one another, wondering what to do next. As butt book writers, we needed to feed our addiction. We couldn’t go too long with a fix. What to do, what to do?

The answer was obvious. Write more butts, of course.

We decided to author two more anthologies for the following year. The first was a holiday fantasy issue titled “Butt Babes in Boyland,” which released in time for the 2014 holidays, and the second, due out May 2015, we titled “Butt Riders on the Range.”

It’s a western-themed book, just in case you haven’t guessed, or skipped the first four paragraphs of this blog because your boss/kids/significant other/grandmother kept wandering close enough to read the screen.

What all this goes to prove is simply that there is no genre so sacred we will not Butt-ify it. My story for this go-round is titled, “Squatting with Spurs On.” It’s a fantasy-western crossover involving time travel and ghosts.

Writing a western time-travel gay romance involving a ghost wasn’t as difficult as you’d think. There was really only one thing that stymied me. It’s the same thing that trips me up every time I write a historical set in the old west.

The thing is, I find it decidedly difficult to write a sex scene set in that time period, not because of featherbeds, or condoms made from some sort of sheep intestine, or even the fact that homosexual relations in the time period were often a hanging offense.

It’s the lack of running water that throws me every damn time.

Picture this: Wyoming, 1880. There’s a ranch nestled in a beautiful green valley somewhere in the shadow of the Grand Tetons. Cattle graze placidly on the pastureland, while cowboys in checkered shirts and beaver-fur hats gather around a campfire for a dinner of beans and a night of manly camaraderie and farting.

Two men, let’s call them Zane and Louis, have remained alone back at the ranch house because I said so. There’s a chill in the night air, prompting Zane to kindle a fire in the parlor’s lovely fieldstone fireplace. He takes a seat on the floor, and stares at the flames because it’s the late 1880’s and Monday Night Football hasn’t been invented yet.

Louis, meanwhile, busies himself in the kitchen. He returns and takes a seat on the floor next to Zane, handing over a mug of fresh-brewed coffee.

Zane sniffs, it, and raises an eyebrow, probably because Louis is nothing if not predictable.

More than he dislikes being cold, Louis really, really wants to get laid, and he knows the quickest way to get Zane naked is to pour one or seven shots of rotgut whiskey down Zane’s throat.

Zane doesn’t seem inclined to complain. He drinks the contents in one long, burning gulp, and holds the cup out to Louis with a questioning look in his eyes.

Louis happily refills Zane’s mug. One down, six to go. After the third refill, he no longer makes the pretense of adding coffee to the cup.

The fire, firmly established, crackles musically, and casts dancing shadows across their faces. It’s getting very warm in the room. Too warm for a shirt. Too warm for boots. Or pants for that matter.

With less trouble than you might think, Louis convinces Zane that a dollop of lard smeared on his asshole would certainly cool down the rest of his body.

Having drunk seven or fifteen cups of Louis’s “coffee,” Zane thinks it’s a fine idea. He manages to raise himself onto his elbows and knees to make the cooling process easier for Louis.

Louis, faced with Zane’s bare butt and tight little hole, wasn’t feeling too cool, himself. In fact, his body was burning hotter than the chili Cook dished up on the last cattle drive. He was almost surprised the lard didn’t melt and sizzle when he slicked himself with it.

For his part, Zane was only slightly confused when he felt Louis’s dick slide inside him. He realized that, instead of cooling him down, parts of him were getting warmer. And harder.

It didn’t take long for both men to reach critical mass, each one howling as his orgasm ripped through him. In the process of coming, they made one helluva mess. Seems it’d been a while for both of them, and they’d been storing up their boy batter like Cook put up canned jars of homemade baked beans for winter. It coated their hands, Zane’s back, both their dicks, Louis’s stomach, the floor, and even dotted poor old Champ, Zane’s one-eyed, three-legged hound, who’d had the misfortune to pick the wrong time to wander closer to the fire.

All of which brings me to my problem:

Somebody has to go pump some damn water so they can clean up.

It’s not like Zane or Louis can run into the bathroom and rinse off. The “bathroom” is a wooden, coffin-sized shed set several yards behind the house, that’s probably home to a family of rattlesnakes, several species of poisonous spiders, a stink too powerful even to contemplate, and has no freaking water anyway.

No, if they want to wash that spunk off before anyone comes back and finds them, well…white-handed, somebody needs to go prime the kitchen pump. Unless Louis had the forethought to pour some of the water he’d earlier pumped for coffee into a washbasin for later, that is, which, of course, he hadn’t.

Sadly, Louis isn’t that smart. Handsome, muscled, and extremely well endowed, but about as clever as a stump.

Anyway, I suppose they could simply wipe all that ejaculate off on a towel, or on Zane’s shirt (although he hates when Louis does that – makes the shirt all stiff and scratchy), but they’re still going to be freaking sticky, not to mention smell like a mattress from Miss Bluebell’s Cathouse over in Jackson.

Do you see my problem?

The answer I came up with was to make my characters sixty-nine and swallow, or have sex out-of-doors, preferably near a stream or water trough, or make them smart enough to pump water ahead of time.

Still, it’s not easy. So why do I did I agree to do it?

Mostly, because I truly believe that sometimes, as writers, we take ourselves too damn seriously. We need the chance to let loose, to lighten up, to stretch our creative muscles, and the Butthology books give me that opportunity. I know I can speak for the rest of our group when I say we enjoy writing these stories. They’re freeing, and give us a chance to flex our writing muscles in a way our usual stories don’t. They let ignore most of the rules published stories are usually held to, and fly free.

In other words, they let us laugh at ourselves.

And besides, really, are there ever enough butts in romance?

Nope. Didn’t think so.

About Kiernan Kelly…

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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 thirteen novels, two YA novels under her Dakota Chase pseudonym, a plethora of shorter works in print and ebook, and still no cabana boy of her own, although her husband may beg to differ.

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Butt Riders On The Range

Authors:  Kage Alan, JP Barnaby, Ally Blue, TC Blue, Shae Connor , Jevocas Green,Kiernan Kelly , Eden Winters 

PUBLISHER: Wilde City Press
RELEASE DATE: April 29, 2015

About Butt Riders on the Range Anthology…

Do you imagine blazing gun battles, bandits, and saloons with watered-down drinks when you think of cowboys and the West? We don’t. Our minds go right to horse shifters, bull shifters, were-leopards, urban wannabes, an interrupted journey along Route 66, a man of mystery named Dr. Feel-Good, and high noon at the edge of the galaxy! The fourth time’s the charm as the Butt-Thology authors saddle up, ride their men hard, and put ‘em away wet.

Butt Riders on the Range…the bulls aren’t the only ones being grabbed by the horns!
Book Links: Wilde City Press

Book Details:

ebook
Published April 29th 2015 by Wilde City Press
edition languageEnglish

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

One ebook copy of any of the previous Butt-Thologies.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the authors and Indigo Marketing and Design.  

Contest Begins: April 29, 2015
Contest Ends: May 10, 2015

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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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Review: Horsing Around Anthology by Vincent Diamond, Jane Davitt, Missouri Dalton, Kiernan Kelly, Sean Michael, Aaron Michaels, B A Tortuga

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Horsing Around coverDo you have a love of horses?  Do cowboys make your heart beat faster?  From the fields of England to the dusty rodeo arena, here are six stories about that special bond  that can exist between man and horse.  Horsing Around contains stories by six wonderful authors, truly something for everyone.

Stories included:
Clear Round by Jane Davitt
A Secret in Indigo by Missouri Dalton
Ride Like a Stallion by Kiernan Kelly
For Love and Money by Sean Michael
Old Scars by Aaron Michaels
Loading Up by BA Tortuga

Horses have a special place in my heart so I adored this anthology.  But even if your knowledge or fondness of horses is slight, there is such a variety of stories included within that I  am sure you will find a tale to  love and connect with among them.  Here are my mini reviews of the stories  in the order they are found in the anthology:

1. “Ride Like a Stallion” by Kiernan Kelly  Rating 4.5 stars out of 5

This is a tale told from two very different perspectives.  One is Thomas Bone, a young man injured when he was a child on his father’s ranch.  The resulting injury permanently disabled him, leaving him with the nickname T-Bone and as the object of pity and derision by those around him.  The other?  That would be Gander, the “ugly” mixed breed colt, T-Bone pleaded with his father to save when the mare carrying him was having trouble with the delivery.  And despite everyone’s predictions and expectations, the two grow up together, becoming more than anyone could have imagined but not without some harsh

This story is  unusual as it includes the “voice” of Gander and his perspective on their story as it unfolds. This author’s use of Gander as a co narrator works surprisingly well, offering the pathos of his plight during the events that occur along with the love for “his boy”.  Also especially noteworthy is the spare, utilitarian rancher father.  He is such a strong character that his presence dominates each small scene he appears in, a man who will continue to surprise you throughout the story.  I have three favorites in this anthology and this is one of them.

2. “Loadin’ Up” by BA Tortuga.  Rating 3.75 stars

Kaycee Johns,  owner/trainer of rodeo bucking broncs, is loading his horses up to travel to the next venue when his nephew’s inexperience has one rearing, unwilling to enter the trailer.  Only the intervention of Julian Martinez, one of the new rodeo safety men, saves the horse and gets her settled and loaded without injury.  Their attraction to each other is immediately and lusty, leading to a white hot night of sex and just perhaps something more.

The paragraph above lays out the entire story.  They meet, have  sex, and decide to travel on together.   Succinct and sexy.  What elevates the story is the BA Tortuga signature voice and descriptions.  Here is our first impression of Julian.

“One of the safety men — a new kid, all braids and hawk nose and beaded chaps — looked up from where he’d been cooling down his buckskin and the rope flashed out, easy as you please. The kid caught June right around the neck, and she settled at the weight of an experienced hand. She wasn’t mean; she’d just get away with anything if you let her.”

From just a few words, we can see Julian so very clearly that almost nothing more is needed.  Combine that with her “colloquialisms”, and the regional portrait is clear and defined.

3. “Old Scars” by Aaron Michaels  Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Owen  Parker is working with one of his horses on his stable outside of Reno when Jerry appears to ask for a job.  Last time Owen saw Jerry was at the Nevada State Prison where Jerry was incarcerated.  Owen was filling in for a friend with the Nevada’s saddle horse training program for prisoners and Jerry was an inmate assigned to the program.  Now five years later, Jerry has survived his time and is looking for employment.

Owen’s specialty is mustangs, a wild, unpredictable horse not easy to train and  Owen just happens to have a horse that everyone else has failed with.  Ace is one scarred old mustang with one chance left to make it, but something about this animal reminds Owen of Jerry. Jerry had a special touch with the horses in the prison training system and before he can understand why, Owen is giving Jerry a job and Ace to train.  And there is the attraction Owen has always felt towards Jerry to consider.

Jerry realizes that this job with Owen and Ace might be his last chance to make it outside prison.  His love for horses and his feelings toward Owen being the things that kept him sane while incarcerated.  Can he save Ace, and in doing so save himself as well?

An exceedingly well written story, Michaels’ characters come to life amidst the dust and heat of a Nevada stable corral and the mustangs brought there for training and a new life.  The author’s sure touch with characterization carries over to the horses portrayed here as well.  Ace with his scarred hide and suspicious outlook, his “scars weren’t from whips or spurs, but from battles out in the wild”.  The affection the men feel for these wild horses is clear and telling, along with an appreciation for the mustang’s nature and natural history.  The men too come across as lean, whip cord tough, and wary as the horses themselves. Another one of my favorites here.

4.”Clear Round”  by Jane Davitt. 5 stars out of 5,

There is cause for an uproar in the village when the manor and field that is normally used by the region for their annual horse is sold to an “outsider”, a builder not favored for his plan for a new factory inside the village boundaries.  Appointed town messenger and beggar if need be, Danny Felden, owner of Merrydown Stables, visits the new owner, Seth Trent, to obtain use  of the field for yet another year,if for no other reason then he runs the event and his niece is entered in her division.  Unfortunately, Seth is uninterested and afraid of horses.  Undeterred, Danny manipulates Seth into a bargain for free lessons with Danny for the use of the field.   Sparks fly between the prickly Danny and the arrogant Seth, leading to romance and love.  But a disaster on the field leads to a explosive argument and separation.  It will take a clear round to bring the men back together and for love to prevail.

I adored these characters.  The dialog throws as many sparks as does the developing romance, with prickly and defensive Danny clashing with the smoothly arrogant Seth to everyone’s amusement and interest.  A clear round during a horse show is one free of errors, no missed jumps or knocked down poles, horse and rider working in unison for a  perfect round.  Its hard to do and a wonderful analogy for a romance.  I loved this story and think you will as well.

5. “The Secret in Indigo” By Missouri Dalton. Rating 4 stars out of 5

Traumatized by the loss of his lover in a fire, rider and horse trainer Beau is still in mourning for Patrick five years later.  Now working for a traveling circus, Beau helps to train and manage the horses for a sibling horse act.  Liam, the brother trick rider is interested in Beau, but Beau has no intention of opening himself up for more hurt and another love.  Then the past arrives to inform Beau that his boyfriend’s death was no accident.  With murder in the air and revenge on the mind, can Liam save Beau from his past and leave him open for a future with Liam?

This story starts off dramatically with a barn ablaze, screaming horses inside waiting to be rescued.  Missouri Dalton dumps us into the conflagration and the pain of the moment.  Its intense and scary and the rest of the story never lives up to the emotional  introduction and the events of the moment.  It picks up five years later with an emotionally withdrawn Beau, who drinks to forget, cut off from family and friends.  Our knowledge of Liam is limited, the return to Georgia a little too swift.  This story would have benefited from a longer length and more exposition.  Still, its got some stunner moments.  And horses, of course.

6. “For Love and Money” By Sean Michael  Rating 4 stars out of 5

Football star Deon Jerome, “linebacker extraordinaire”, is afraid of horses.  Now his agent has signed him to a lucrative ad campaign but the problem is that he must ride a horse for the ad and Deon is panicking big time.  Now he needs an old friend’s help, a friend whose phone number is memorized rather than listed on his cell phone.  Truck Wilson was a large animal vet and the closeted Deon’s occasional friend with benefits.

When Deon travels to Truck’s  home and farm  for help with his horse phobia, their old attraction flares into something more like love than just convenience and friendship.  With love before him warring with the fear of coming out, which will Deon choose?

Sean Michael’s gift of characterization is front and center in the men in this story.  Deon Jerome Green is a big man full of fear outside of the football field.  He is afraid of horses and he is afraid to come out as gay. But Deon’s need for Truck and the requirements of the commercial bring Deon to Truck’s for work on his phobia and a weekend of sex and togetherness culminating in a life changing decision for them both.  Michael gives us a realistic portrait of a man trying to come to grips with his fear of horses as well as being out about his sexuality.  It’s a sexy, compassionate and ultimately rewarding short story.

Consider this solid and varied anthology of horse stories highly recommended.  Great authors, with a variety of stories to choose from, truly something for everyone to enjoy.

Cover illustration by BSClay works extremely well for the stories within.

Book Details:

ebook, 230 pages
Published November 13th 2013 by Torquere Press
ISBN 1610406079 (ISBN13: 9781610406079)
edition language English

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