Review: Chance in Hell (Chances Are #5) by Lee Brazil

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Chance In Hell coverAaron “Chance” Dumont, owner of Chances Are bar and restaurant, doesn’t know what to do.  Chance has just retrieved his missing boyfriend, Rory, who disappeared after a huge argument.  Granted the argument was about Chance and his old flame, Cannon, who returned determined to reclaim Chance as his.  Plus Rory, still trying to recover from his rape, is uncertain of their relationship and his status in Chance’s life.  But now that Rory is home and Chance is sure that Rory is the one he loves, things are still unsettled.

Why do things never stay the same?  Even his sanctuary, his bar Chances Are, is going upscale because of his new bartender and his chef.

While Rory agreed to come home, it was also on the condition that there was to be no sex between them.  That this was their chance to really get to know one another before a deeper commitment could be made (and sexual relations resumed).  Now Chance is determined not to screw up a second time, to show Rory that he is loved and treasured above all.

But fate has a messed up sense of humor. Cannon appears, shaken and badly needing Chance’s help.  Someone is stalking him and making threats.  Is there a connection to other unresolved deaths in the area? Soon Cannon is sleeping on their couch, and a killer is circling around the bar and his friends.  Chance is determined to save his new relationship but feels obligated to help his first love.  If there is a chance in hell that someone can keep them all safe, then Chance is the man for the job.

Chance in Hell, the fifth book in the Chances Are series, finds Chance finally committed to his love, Rory, but unsure of everything else in his life.  Everything is changing and Chance is the last person in the world who likes change even when it is for the better.  Lee Brazil does an outstanding job of making the reader understand just how flustered and uneasy Chance is over the changes in his life.  He is happy Rory is home but is tentative about moving forward in any part of their relationship, afraid to make a wrong move.  His bar, Chances Are, has always been a haven for Chance, no matter  the circumstances in his life but that is changing too as his bar has become popular with everyone, not just his old friends and the gay scene.

Even Chance’s band of brothers, his non blood relation family, is at its most variable, with new members and expansions of relationships.  With each description and scene, Brazil makes Chance’s new life seem incredibly authentic and real for the reader.  We feel his unease and the tension that all the changes are bringing about. We understand that Chance knows just how fragile his second “chance” at love with Rory is.  The author also takes the character of Rory and makes him into a  warm, intelligent and yes, endearing young man, a far cry from the troubled, passive “twink” he was portrayed as in the previous stories. Rory is that person that we love unconditionally.  The growth of his character brings out the best in Chance. Finally, even those readers who were not committed to this relationship, can understand the attraction and root for their love to succeed.  We even feel for Cannon, a less than relatable personality whose broken relationship with Chance almost destroyed him and almost demolished Chance’s new one with Rory.  Now Cannon becomes someone worthy  of our sympathy and concern, instead of someone we disliked and was disconnected to, a very nice turnaround by Brazil.

By the end of the story, things seem, at least on the surface, to be settling down.  I love Chance Dumont and his singular voice, all gravely, sarcastic, and knowing.  Rory is a wonderful complement to him and he knows it.  But a mystery is lurking around the edges, and the clues are to be found in the other series.  A Chance in Hell is well named indeed.

This is how it all starts:

The flamboyantly sexy Sin mixed drinks with smiles and laughter and his usual flirtatious banter behind the bar. Gerry cast him a dark glance every now and then, but seemed too busy with the harried waiters, managing the kitchen, and rubbing up against Darrin to actually approach the bartender.

It was Friday night and the crowd of boys in blue and the quiet gentlemen of the neighborhood had been replaced by a bevy of gay men who ranged from suave to eager, all drawn by the lure of our sexy new bartender, all spending big and most having to be sent home at the end of each night in cabs. Tomorrow was weekend brunch, and tonight’s crowd would seem even more incongruous when compared to the tourists and families who came for the brunch buffet.

Chances Are was changing, and I wasn’t sure I liked it. Gerry couldn’t be blamed for all of it either. It began with me hiring Blake, who should have been working in a grand establishment, to cook. A trained chef who’d once prepared food for the elite of New York society, he was out of place in my bar. He’d amped up the food, which had seemed safe enough. Then Gerry hired Sin, who despite his vibrant attitude behind the bar, I had yet to see actually follow through on the promise in his name, and crowds came, drawn by his personality. The bar was no longer a refuge, and I really needed one right now.

Why the hell doesn’t anything ever stay the same?

If you are new to the series, then return to the beginning and start there. Here are the stories in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters, their relationships and the events that occur:

Chances Are (Chances Are #1)
Second Chances Are (Chances Are #2)
Fifty, Fifty Chances Are (Chances Are, #3)
Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are, #4)
Chance in Hell (Chances Are #5)

Cover art by Laura Harner is perfect for the story and to brand the series.

Book Details:

ebook, 14,500 words, 51 pages
Buy Links All Romance EBooks, Amazon
Published August 30th 2013 by Lime Time Press
edition language English
series Chances Are

Welcome, Lee Brazil, author of Chances Are Pulp Friction series

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words: Author Spotlight and Chat with Lee Brazil, author of the Chances Are series.Chance In Hell cover

Good morning all and welcome to Pulp Friction Week. This week I am happy to have all the authors of the Pulp Friction series in to talk about their characters, and their series…and well whatever they want to discuss with us. Happily for my readers, each author is offering a copy of one of their books in their series as a giveaway. Just leave a comment at the end of each day’s post and you will be entered.

Yes, its that easy. Now on with our chat!

It’s Pulp Friction Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words and we are excited to welcome Lee Brazil to pull up a chair and have a chat with us.

STRW: I have to tell you that I just love Chance Dumont and the Chances Are series. Can you tell everyone a little bit about the Pulp Friction series and yours in particular?

LB:: Good morning everyone! *sips coffee* For those who don’t know me, I’m Lee Brazil, author of m/m romance with Pulp Friction, Story Orgy, Breathless Press, etc. I’d like to thank Melanie for inviting me over today to talk to everyone. As is usual in such a circumstance, I find myself tongue tied and unable to come up with a single thing of value to say.

Isn’t that the way of things?

ST: Let’s start with the Pulp Friction series and Chances Are.

LB: Pulp Friction has been a blast to write, and it’s morphed in ways I never quite imagined when it started. When we first discussed it, the stories were supposed to be no more than 8K apiece, which is why my first story, Chances Are is so short. After I got started, well. It was quite a different tune. Each story grew longer and longer, it became harder and harder to incorporate a little character growth and development in with the need for some sort of mystery/adventure, and sex. Can’t forget the sensual rapport between the two main characters, and the growing emotional attachment as well.

Add in to that the seemingly irrepressible urge our characters had for interacting with one another across the whole series, and yeah. Size was a big challenge.

Size isn’t everything though, *waits for snickers to die down* even though each story is longer than the one that preceded it. All the stories in each series create a big picture of the relationship between a couple, or triad. Then, when you put all the series together, something even bigger is revealed.

And by that roundaboutation, I guess I’m saying that then end has not yet arrived for Chance and Rory and all the Pulp Friction 2013 guys. Look for something special in December.

For everyone who managed to hang in over here, through my sad little excuse for a blog post, I am enclosing a coupon code for Smashwords for you to download Chances Are for free.

Chances Are coverCoupon Code: FM25N
Expires: November 1, 2013

So click on over to CHANCES ARE at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/277629 for your free copy.

That’s my Treat for all of you today…Here’s my Trick. Leave me a comment, telling me whether you’re ever at a loss for words, or if you always have plenty to say, and one lucky winner will receive a copy of Second Chances Are, book two in the series.

ST: Trust me, lovely readers, you won’t want to miss out.  This is a terrific series and gets got me addicted to the characters and their relationships.  Thank you, Lee, for stopping by today and for the surprise gift for all the readers.

Review: Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are #4) by Lee Brazil

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Series Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Ghost of a Chance book coverChance Dumont thought he couldn’t survive when his first love, Cannon, left him.  It took Chances five years before he thought he could take a chance on another man and a relationship.  Then Rory, a young submissive cop came along and further complicated Chance’s already complicated life.  An attack on Rory made Chance understand that he loved Rory and could move forward again with a new relationship.  But the aftermath of that attack and the return of Cannon shattered Rory’s recovery.  If that wasn’t enough, a dead body in the men’s restroom of Chances Are bar completed the detonation of Chance’s and Rory’s fragile relationship due to trust issues.  At the time, Chance felt there was a fifty fifty chance that Rory had done the crime. So Rory left and Chance has not seen him since, though not for lack of trying.

No one has seen Rory.  The man has  vanished, taking with him all the hope and promise that Chance had just recovered.  Now  months have passed since Rory’s departure. Chance hasn’t left the sanctuary of his home, not once.  His constant companions are empty beer bottles and greasy pizza boxes and everyone is worried about him.  Chance hasn’t even been to his bar, a shocking situation that his friends and employees don’t know how to handle. If there is even a ghost of a chance of getting Rory back, Chance will take it.  But where to start?

Ghost of a Chance is the fourth book in the Chances Are series and in some ways it is a return to the emotional issues in first story in the series Chances Are.  Once again, Chance is recovering from a relationship gone wrong.  But this time, its his fault that the relationship didn’t succeed and the guilt eats at him constantly.  Chance knows that the issues he carried with him from the first failed relationship made him doubt himself and Rory from the beginning.  His ex boyfriend’s return didn’t help either.

Once again, Brazil paints a portrait of a man whose actions and self doubt triggered the events that demolished the beginnings of a new love.  It is a great on so many levels.  Chance’s inner turmoil, his guilt, and his downward spiral into pity and drunkenness is authentic and believable.   Told from Chance’s pov, we hear every inner argument and counter argument as Chance fights his way past the current events that have left him alone once more.  It’s a tough inner battle that Chance fights and the conclusions he draws are not always complimentary ones.  He knows where he failed but doesn’t know how to correct his mistakes.  How human and how understandable.

Chance must first fix himself and to help him do that are characters from the other Pulp Friction series.  From Wick Templeton to Archer, Zachary and Jeremiah from the Triple Threat series, all are present and accounted for as they help Chance recover once more and move forward with a plan to bring Rory home.   Here is a taste of Chance still hiding away in his house:

Even if I couldn’t explain what exactly I wanted, I could close my eyes and put a face to it. I wanted Rory. With us, it was not a game. It wasn’t a scene. It was how we were, and I should have fucking told him that. Maybe if I had, he wouldn’t have gotten tired of waiting and he’d have stayed and we’d be spending Friday night in the usual way, putting off gratification as long as possible while I sat in the bar and he knelt on the bed, and an invisible thread of arousal thrummed between us, ratcheting tension higher and higher until the whole bar seemed to snap with sexual tension.

Instead, I sat on my back patio watching a sexual disaster in the making cut his dad’s grass and giving one of my oldest friends the brush off while I concentrated on getting drunk as efficiently as possible in the vain hope that I’d be able to sleep tonight.

Brazil has created a wonderful character in Chance and then gave him the perfect voice for his character and personality.  I love Chance and everything about Chances Are.  In fact as Chance or his grandmother would say, chances are that everyone will find something to love about this series.  It’s short but seems so much larger in scope and characterization.  The characters and plot are terrific, the emotions realistic and its impact authentic and human. There’s more coming and i will be there for every new installment.  You will be too once you start on their adventure.  Go back to the beginning and Chances Are.  Meet Chance Dumont, Rory, Gerry and the rest.  You are going to love them as much as I do.

Note:  Series contains elements of bdsm and D/s.  It works perfectly within the series and for the characters involved.  Even though readers who prefer their sexual encounters to be on the vanilla side will enjoy the kink as explained by Lee Brazil and Chance.

Books in the series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and events within:

Chances Are (Chances Are #01)
Second Chances Are (Chances Are #02)
Fifty Fifty Chances Are (Chances Are #03)
Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are #04)

Book Details:

ebook, 36 pages
Published May 1st 2013 by Lime Time Press
edition language English
series Chances Are

Martin Luther King, Jr., I Had A Dream speech, and This Coming Week In Reviews

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MLK on the MallIt’s the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s speech on Wednesday and yesterday tens of thousands of people gathered to commemorate that momentous occassion and to remind  the world that his dream still needs to be fulfilled.   Racism still exists and we as a nation still have such a long way to go for all to be equal under the law and in each other’s eyes.

Just in time for his anniversary, the MLK statue on the memorial was “fixed” so that awful truncated version of MLK’s speech is now gone,  That was just another example of how this man and his message is still misunderstood by some, in this case the Chinese artist and a group of architects responsible for that statue..   IMLK statue am not a fan of that statue.  To me it belongs in Tiananmen Square not Washington DC, it exemplifying the type of statuary so often seen in the communist nations.  Where is the man of passion?  Where is the man of fire and vision?  I don’t see him in the statue but instead look to his speeches where he and his dream will live forever.

Martin Luther King’s “I Had A Dream” speech:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Now to the week ahead in book reviews.  I have the second series from the Pulp Friction authors and a guest blog from Lee Brazil this week.  I love these series and can’t wait to bring the third one to you the week after next.  That will be the Triple Threat series by Laura Harner.  I also have two books by authors who are always on my TBR list, Astrid Amara and Josephine Myles.  Be sure to grab those up as well.

The weather is exquisite.  Present are those clear blue early autumn skies that make you smile and stay outside until twilight falls.  I heard my first flock of snow geese go trumpeting overhead last night, the first of many that signal an early fall.  The whitetail deer herds are also reforming early.  That would account for the over 15 of them in my neighbors yards last night.  Did it make the terrors three crazy?  Why, yes it did!  As well as every other dog in the neighborhood.  Almost time to start winter proofing my gardens but not just yet.  I will enjoy them for a little longer.  So its time to gather up my Kindle and my knitting (and of course the dogs) and head outside to enjoy the day.   I hope you will enjoy yours too.

Monday, Aug. 26, 2013:                     Fifty Fifty Chances Are by Lee Brazil

Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013:                     Ghost of Chances Are by Lee Brazil

Wed., Aug. 28, 2013:                            Author Spotlight: Meet Lee Brazil

Thurs., Aug 29, 2013:                           Demolished by Astrid Amara

Friday, Aug. 30, 2013:                         Handle With Care by Josephine Myles

Sat., Aug. 31, 2013:                              A Summary of Scattered Thoughts August Reviews