RELEASE BLITZ: Face The Music by K.M. Neuhold (excerpt and giveaway)

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FACE THE MUSIC

K.M. NEUHOLD

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 05.20.18

FTM cover 

 

COVER DESIGN: K.M. NEUHOLD

 

Blurb:

Lincoln

I thought there was only one thing I needed to make me happy. I was so sure becoming a rock star would heal the dark corners inside me. But every time I walk onto the stage, with a roaring crowd screaming my name, all I can think about is the boy I left behind. All I want to do is rewind and make a different choice.

Jace

I thought I hated Lincoln when he ghosted me ten years ago and destroyed my heart. I thought I hated him when he wrote a chart-topping hit about our idyllic young love. But I’ve never hated him as much as I do right now, standing in front of me like he has every right to be in my world again. He’s not the rock god I thought he was…he’s still that same lost boy I used to love. Can I ever trust him with my heart again?

***Face the Music is the first book in the Replay series. Each book in the series will focus on a different band member getting a second chance at love. Each book can be read as a stand-alone. This book contains descriptions of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and sexy times.

 

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Excerpt:

The icy wind bites at my skin, but another swig of whiskey helps to chase the chill away. The air smells like snow. I do a mental calculation and realize it’s only two weeks until Christmas.

When I was a kid, I loved Christmas. This time of year felt so magical and joyful. The smell of cookies baking in the oven, the twinkling lights of the tree, making a wish list of presents you hope Santa will bring.

Another gulp from the bottle clenched in my numb fist. It stopped burning on the way down about a half hour ago, right around the time the far-off city lights started to blur.

There’s no magic now. My kitchen is empty of anyone baking any sort of treats. I can’t remember the last time I bothered to get a tree. They’re not much fun to decorate all on your own. Plus, what’s the point if no one else will be there to enjoy it with you? As for a wish list…there’s only one thing I’d put on that list and it’s something—someone—I had and tossed away too many years ago.

My legs are unsteady under me as I walk to the edge of my balcony to look down at the street below.

Certainly the fall would kill me. But who would care?

I can see the headline now…Rock star Jumps to Death from New York City Apartment.

But would they really care?

My bandmates might’ve cared a few years ago, before everything started falling apart, before we were at each other’s throats constantly.

If only I’d known the name of our band—Downward Spiral— would be so apt when we chose it. Maybe it was a bad omen, or a jinx. Maybe we were just cocky little pricks who were on top of the world and didn’t think anything could ever knock us off.

I wobble as I lean farther over the railing, testing the sturdiness.

I won’t really jump. That’s what I tell myself. That’s what I always tell myself when I get into these dark moods.

I try to lift the bottle to my lips again, but it slips through my fingers. I watch as it plummets downward and then shatters on the sidewalk below.

I teeter again against the railing before taking a step back and reaching into my pocket for a cigarette. I don’t even normally smoke, just when I’m drunk and sad.

I can only imagine what Jace would say if he could see me now.

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I’m an author of m/m and new adult romance. I have a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well.

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A MelanieM Review : Captain Merric by Rebecca Cohen

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

A tale of pirates, lost love, and the fight for a happy ending.

After he’s set adrift and left to die by his mutinous crew, the last person Royal Navy officer Daniel Horton expects to come to his rescue is Captain Merric. An infamous pirate, Merric is known as much for stealing his victims’ hearts as their jewels. Daniel’s world is about to be turned upside down when he recognises Captain Merric as none other than Edward Merriston, someone he thought he’d never see again.
Edward can’t believe Daniel Horton is aboard his ship. While Edward is willing to do anything he can to get a second chance at their happy ending, Daniel isn’t interested in digging up the past. But Daniel is one priceless treasure Captain Merric isn’t about to let go of without a fight.

Captain Merric first appeared as short story in a pirate-themed anthology. Now completely rewritten and extended he is ready to set sail again.

There’s nothing more fun than lust and love on the high seas so I was happy to sink into the new release Captain Merric by Rebecca Cohen.   I’ve enjoyed many of Rebecca Cohen’s historical romances in the past and this one turned out to be just as delightful.

It has not only a lusty pirate but one who turns out to be the the ex lover of Royal Navy officer Daniel Horton, one that Daniel had long thought dead.  Captain Merric, ne’ Edward Merriston, had also been laboring under some false assumptions about his old lover making their reunion highly emotional and  fraught with danger to them both.

I have always loved Cohen’s ability to bring her characters to life.  Whether they are shouting in anger, or trying to convince the man they have always loved to kiss him again, you believe in them.  And feel connected to them emotionally.  The story switches pov so you are able to see all the turmoil and actually fracturing of the foundation each man’s has built up over the years apart as the real story behind their separation comes out.  As this is going on, you get the glimpses into the pirate’s life that Edward has been living, quite happily as it seems.  From the island he lives on to the crew of his ship, we get the full picture of the man now called Captain Merric.

Poor Daniel Horton has lead a much colder, hard life and that is also left by the lack of explanation in the storyline.  It sort of works here.  But I wish that we would know if that contributes to the fact that none of his crew attempts to help him at the beginning of the book other than one person.  More of Daniel’s past would have made Daniel a more rounded character just as Edward was.

There are some things that, for the sake of the story, I just accepted, in terms of timing or coincidence, or just plain no I don’t think they would have accepted that.  But I was enjoying the story too much.  And I  loved the way the author got the men back together at the end.  What a lovely and downright sneaky touch.

When it comes down to it, I loved the characters, the writing flowed so smoothly that you were finished with the story before you realized it, the descriptions were colorful and made you see it clearly.  Ah, I just loved this romance!  I think you will too.  It’s definitely one I recommend.

 

Cover art:   Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design did a wonderful job.  Pirates!  And yes that’s Captain Merric all right.

Sales Link: Universal Buy Link

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 200 pages
Published April 6th 2018 (first published August 14th 2011)
Original TitleCaptain Merric
ASINB07BLLY5HD
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Unlikely Hero by Sean Michael and Jeff Gelder (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

 

Eric doesn’t know where else to turn when his daughter is kidnapped, so he calls on his powerful ex-lover, Brock. Brock never expected to hear from Eric again, but he never got over the man, either. When Eric comes to him to help find the three-year-old Josie, there’s no way Brock can turn him down. He has the money and the contacts Eric needs, and he can’t let Eric walk out of his life again. Not after all these years.

Brock has no idea what he’s letting himself in for. Together, Eric and Josie turn Brock’s world upside down while they work with police and private security to find the people who took Josie, and to keep Eric and Josie safe while they do. Even as they get to know each other again, Brock has to fight the feelings he still has for Eric, at least for time being, which just makes it all that much harder. Can Eric and Brock find out who wants to hurt them before it’s too late, or will Brock fall off his pedestal as Eric’s hero?

I had read Unlikely Hero by Sean Michael when it first came out and thoroughly enjoyed the story then so I was curious to revisit it in audiobook format.

It had been some time so the audiobook made the story fresh again.    I love tales with ex lovers getting that second chance at love and Unlikely Hero certainly has that with Eric turning to Brock for help  after nine years because his daughter has been kidnapped.  We get an extremely emotional setup that eventually leads to their breakup details later as they work on getting Josie back.

Brock is all big, strong, hugely rich, and gorgeous man…he all but has the word hero written on his chest.  Eric is the more vulnerable high school teacher who broke it off years ago because he wanted a “normal life”, read that one outside that of a multi-millionaire, with a house in the burbs with kids.  He now has that child who has been kidnapped for no reason anyone can understand.

The rest of the novel seeks to unravel the mystery behind Josie’s kidnapped and watching Brock, and Eric reconnect, and try to figure out how to move forward as a couple, and then as a family with Josie.  Josie, a three year old, is a major character here.  I found her far more successful in the novel than here in the audiobook.  That’s due primarily to the narrator.

Narrating the voices of children accurately is incredibly tough.  You either nail it or you don’t.  And imo, Jeff Gelder just can’t get a child’s voice right.  Josie comes off sounding more like a elderly woman than a three-year old, which is very disconcerting.  Not only does she sound “older” than she is., but it comes dangerously close to being portrayed like a comedy routine because of the disconnect between the voice and the character.  That’s too bad because Gelder’s other voices are just fine for the men he’s playing.

Other factors that seem highlightered here that   perhaps I didn’t notice in the other format?  The length of time it took for the police to put all the clues and details together to catch the perpetrator seemed odd and too long.  I can’t remember.  Maybe the book was written back in 2009, so forensics was less advanced than now and that’s hard to remember when the audiobook comes out in 2018.  But when you start to focus on things that annoy you like a badly done child’s voice, then other elements start to pop up as well.  Funny how that happens.

Still, Unlikely Hero is a sweet contemporary romance with a child firmly at the center.  Love that element?  Then you are sure to love this story.  You might want to read it, however, instead of listening to it.  Jeff Gelder’s “Daddy B, Daddy B” after a while was downright irritating instead of endearing as it was in the story.  What a sham

Cover art: LC Chase is just adorable and perfect for the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, Second Edition
Published March 2nd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published September 2009)
Original TitleUnlikely Hero
ASINB07B4GW8Z9
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lila Review: Promise Me We’ll Be Okay by Nell Iris

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

What do you do when your past comes knocking?

Six hundred and ninety-five days. That’s how long it’s been since Jude’s fiancé broke off their engagement. With the help of his brother and his all-encompassing love for music, Jude glued the broken pieces of his heart back together, but when his ex shows up on his doorstep late one evening, Jude fears it will fall apart again.

Two years ago, Vincent made a terrible mistake. He left the love of his life for stupid, ill-advised reasons. It took a traumatic event to bring what was truly important in his life into focus. Older and wiser, he’s now ready to do whatever it takes to win Jude back.

Their chemistry is as explosive as ever, but will they be able to work through the real issues? Can trust once broken be rebuilt?

Promise Me We’ll Be Okay starts in the middle of the action and it’s packed with feelings and broken hearts. It’s more of a moment in time than a full story; a detailed look at a second chance relationship without the need to see what happened before or after the fact.

The best part is the ability the author has to make the reader feel the characters’ sadness, need, and happiness. There’s not much of a plot since it takes place within a couple of days, but what we get to learn is part of the characters and not a simple retelling of events. Even the secondary characters have great backstories.

I wish we had more of it. Not only because it has a great premise but because it has the opportunity to bring a great redemption. Yes, we get all the necessary information to understand the main couple’s actions, it just needed a bit more to be great. But that’s a problem most short stories have in common.

It is a very quick read and if you only want a taste of a love story, this story is for you. If you are looking for complicated stories and plot twists, then keep looking.

The cover by Written Ink Designs show’s Vincent and Jude. The piano gives us an idea of what’s the story about.

Sale Links: JMS BooksAmazon | NOOK

ebook, 92 pages
Published: March 3, 2018, by JMS Books
ISBN: 9781634865869
Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Review: Promise Me We’ll Be Okay by Nell Iris

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Six hundred and ninety-five days. That’s how long it’s been since Jude’s fiancé broke off their engagement. With the help of his brother and his all-encompassing love for music, Jude glued the broken pieces of his heart back together, but when his ex shows up on his doorstep late one evening, Jude fears it will fall apart again.

Two years ago, Vincent made a terrible mistake. He left the love of his life for stupid, ill-advised reasons. It took a traumatic event to bring what was truly important in his life into focus. Older and wiser, he’s now ready to do whatever it takes to win Jude back.

Their chemistry is as explosive as ever, but will they be able to work through the real issues? Can trust once broken be rebuilt?

 

I thought Promise Me We’ll Be Okay by Nell Iris was a sweet contemporary romance. In the trope of lovers reunited and second chance at love that so many people love, myself included, it’s the story of Jude and Vin’s love affair broken off by Vin leaving Jude crushed.  Now two years later Vin reappears wanting a second chance, saying he had made a huge mistake.  And Jude give it to him.  That’s the story in 92 pages.

I liked the premise.  Lovers reunited with a second chance at love is always a favorite theme of mine.  You have a support system for Jude in his brother and sister in law who helped pick up the pieces when Vin broke it off.  There is a nice start of seeing Jude as a teacher which I wish there was more of seeing that it’s his love of teaching and Vin’s inability to recognize it’s importance that leads to the split.

I think the shortness of the story works against it here.  It’s a likable story but Jude after being crushed to the point of not functioning and still in recovery mode after 2 years, immediately takes him back.  Which I found exceedingly strange without a strong narrative to support it.  Also Vin’s excuses for the breakup, while valid, haven’t exactly disappeared nor does he put forth any well thought out ideas of how he will cope in the situation exactly.  I don’t know, perhaps his character just needed a little more depth here. And again, you get little of Jude as a teacher, something so central to  him as a person and as a part of their breakup.  Instead you get music? How did that feed into Jude’s supposed lack of ambition?

No a longer story to help with the holes in the narrative and perhaps flesh out the charactions would have left this a richer story.  But as it is, its an immensely likable one.

Cover art is nice and certainly has all the right elements, right down to the long hair on the character of Jude.

Sales Links:Universal Buy Link

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 92 pages
Published March 3rd 2018 by JMS Books, LLC
Original TitlePromise Me We’ll Be Okay
ISBN139781634865869
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Second wind: a new strength or energy to continue something that is an effort. After an amicable divorce, Lincoln Huxley is ready to embrace the sexuality he repressed for more than two decades. Rush Holden is no longer willing to settle for closeted men or those who don’t share his dreams of marriage and fatherhood. A chance encounter on a lakeside pier is the second wind they both need. Or will it just be a painful reminder of all they had lost?

Second chance: an opportunity to try something again that failed one time. Rush and Lincoln have shared a lot of firsts—friendship, young love, and heartbreak. Cruel reality forced the two men to choose paths that took their lives in different directions. Twenty-six years later, they get a second chance to fall in love with each all over again. Can it really be that simple, or will the same issues ruin their happiness a second time?

Happily ever after: to live happily for the rest of one’s life. Rush and Lincoln know that love and life can’t be defined by words alone. Patience, commitment, and the determination to do whatever it takes will be the only way the two men achieve their happily ever after.

Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker is a lovely, warmhearted second chance at love story, one of my favorite tropes.  Lincoln Huxley and Rush Holden have both moved on from their broken hearted teenage love or have they?  Rush Holden and his sister left home, unable to continue living under the rules and roof of his conservative, bigoted father and mother.  Lincoln Husley, unwilling to act on his feelings or give up the dream of living “normally” goes on to marry a girl and have a family on the West Coast. But twenty-six years can’t diminish the fact that Lincoln is gay or that Rush is the man he has always loved.  One divorce, and one chance meeting all those years later and sparks fly.

So many elements to admire here.  I love the way the author handled a couple whose marriage was in dissolution while the husband was figuring out how to deal with his sexuality and coming out to his wife and children.  It was realistic, gut-wrenching in a way, and done in a manner that showed all the parties as flawed, compassionate human beings who still loved each other.  Even the grown children’s reaction to their parents decision to divorce (one wanting to know who’s pushing for it), then their Dad’s later announcement of his homosexuality all rings so true.  These are great characters, fully fleshed out personalities, and they form a wonderful foundation not just for Lincoln and Rush’s relationship but for the extended family they all become as well.

The central element here, of course, is the romance and enduring love between Rush and Lincoln.  That’s such a  deeply moving storyline.  Switching between perspectives and even timelines using flashbacks, we see these men at differing times of their lives making decisions that put them on different paths.  Many scenes here will emotionally impact you to the point of sending you running for the tissues.  I can’t think now of a ammo box of Polaroid’s without sniffling.  This couple makes me smile even now.

Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker is just a wonderful story.  It’s everything you want in a contemporary romance and more.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Cover Art: JAY AHEER/ Simply Defined Art.  I love this cover. Full of important elements from the story.  Great job.

Cover Photographer: WANDER AGUIAR

Buy Link: http://mybook.to/SecondWind

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published February 14th 2018 by Chasing Rainbows Press LLC
Original Title Second Wind
ASIN B079QKNW5L
Edition Language English

Release Day Blitz for Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker (excerpt)

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Second Wind RDB Banner

SECOND WIND

AIMEE NICOLE WALKER

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 02.14.18

Second Wind Cover 

 COVER DESIGN: JAY AHEER/ Simply Defined Art

COVER PHOTOGRAPHER: WANDER AGUIAR

BUY LINK: http://mybook.to/SecondWind

BLURB 

Second wind: a new strength or energy to continue something that is an effort. After an amicable divorce, Lincoln Huxley is ready to embrace the sexuality he repressed for more than two decades. Rush Holden is no longer willing to settle for closeted men or those who don’t share his dreams of marriage and fatherhood. A chance encounter on a lakeside pier is the second wind they both need. Or will it just be a painful reminder of all they had lost?

Second chance: an opportunity to try something again that failed one time. Rush and Lincoln have shared a lot of firsts—friendship, young love, and heartbreak. Cruel reality forced the two men to choose paths that took their lives in different directions. Twenty-six years later, they get a second chance to fall in love with each all over again. Can it really be that simple, or will the same issues ruin their happiness a second time?

Happily ever after: to live happily for the rest of one’s life. Rush and Lincoln know that love and life can’t be defined by words alone. Patience, commitment, and the determination to do whatever it takes will be the only way the two men achieve their happily ever after.

Second Wind is a funny, sexy, and endearing standalone romance novel about love, loss, and rediscovery. It contains sexually explicit material and is intended for adults 18 and older.

Second Wind Teaser 1

EXCERPT

“Um, don’t look now, but some hottie is heading toward us with a determined look in his eyes,” Nigel said.

“He’s not packing a weapon, is he?”

“What’s your definition of a weapon?” Nigel asked suggestively.

“The lethal kind.” The intrigue I heard in my assistant’s voice made me curious, so I glanced up to check out the situation. My breath caught in my throat when I looked into familiar dark eyes. “I don’t fucking believe it.” I had to be dreaming, but my racing heart told me it was real. Fate wouldn’t be that cruel to me. I handed my camera to Nigel before I dropped it.

My obligations were temporarily forgotten as I walked to Lincoln with joyful laughter spilling out of me. He opened his arms wide, and I landed hard against his broad chest. I circled my arms around his waist at the same time those strong arms wrapped around my shoulders.

“I can’t believe it,” we said at the same time then laughed like we did when we were kids. And if that wasn’t enough, we both said, “Jinx.”

“Okay, now it’s getting ridiculous,” I teased.

“What’s ridiculous is that it’s taken me more than two decades to see you again,” Lincoln countered.

I pulled back enough to look into Lincoln’s warm gaze and welcoming smile. I closed my eyes against the swiftly rising emotions that threatened to consume me and rob me of the ability to speak. I pressed my forehead against his and said, “It has been too many years, but my heart would recognize you anywhere, Linc.”

“As would mine,” Lincoln said huskily.

Aimee Logo

I am a wife and mother to three kids, three dogs, and a cat. When I’m not dreaming up stories, I like to lose myself in a good book, cook or bake. I’m a girly tomboy who paints her fingernails while watching sports and yelling at the referees. I will always choose the book over the movie. I believe in happily-ever- after. Love inspires everything that I do. Music keeps me sane.

FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/aimeenicole.walker?fref=nf

AMAZON – http://amzn.to/2C6LWfs

TWITTER – https://twitter.com/AimeeNWalker?lang=en

BLOG – http://aimeenicolewalker.blogspot.com/

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A Caryn Review: The Artist’s Touch (Art Medium) by E.J. Russell

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Do you like ghost stories?  Do you like creepy ghost stories?  I have to say I didn’t think I did, but this book (and maybe the others to follow in the series) changed my mind.  The review, though, was kind of hard to write without giving significant spoilers, and although as you read you can guess what’s going to happen on the next page, I couldn’t predict the outcome from the beginning.  You can read this book in one evening, so just sit back and enjoy….

Luke Morganstern is an art fraud investigator who had been at the top of his field until one big mistake, and he’s been struggling ever since.  He can’t afford to turn down a job anyway, but when a mysterious client contacts him about a possible forgery, he can’t resist when he finds out the artist being imitated.

Jeremiah Arcoletti.  He was a rising star of the American realism movement, until he disappeared without a trace, taking with him his last 13 paintings.  Paintings that he meticulously described in letters to friends, but were never seen.  Paintings that Luke has been able to picture in his mind after studying Arcoletti for so long.  Paintings that were inexplicably starting to turn up in a remote gallery in Oregon.

Stefan Cobbe is an artist with a very promising start to his career, until a tragedy destroyed his paintings and left him with literally only the clothes on his back.  Worse, he found he was completely unable to produce any art at all.  Homeless and destitute, he was taken in by a man who provided him with room, board, art supplies, and a studio.  And Stefan produced finished canvases, miraculously complete in hours – hours that Stefan had no memory of.

Luke and Stefan have a complicated history together, with guilt and blame on both sides that led to their separation years ago.  Stefan is now the most likely suspect for the forgery, and Luke has to decide what exactly he is going to do about that, especially when Stefan claims innocence.

The pace of the story was constant and the tension just kept building and building, with a few surprise twists, and I couldn’t put the book down until I finished (fortunately it’s not too long!).  Well written, great plot, outstanding characterization with significant growth of both MCs and excellent secondary characters, and throughout a perpetual sense of foreboding.  There are definitely some dark places in this book, and seeing Luke and Stefan struggle to escape those places – some of which were in their own minds – was exciting, and a little scary.

Highly recommended, and I’m looking forward to the next in the series!

Cover art by L.C. Chase is fine, though I’m not quite sure which character the model is supposed to represent…

Sales Link:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon (link to follow0

Book Details:

ebook, 2, 130 pages
Expected publication: February 12th 2018 by Riptide Publishing (first published September 23rd 2013)
ISBN139781626497580
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Art Medium

Release Blitz: RJ Scott’s Seth & Casey (excerpt and giveaway)

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Universal Buy Link: 
 
Length: 26,000 words
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Blurb


Seth Wild is a firefighter who has lost everything. Nearly dying in a fire, he is scared and angry and chases away the only good thing in his life—school teacher Casey McGuire.

When a sudden and violent snow storm hits their town he receives a message Casey and ten kids are trapped in an education centre center with no way out. There is no one else who can help, he’s the last fire fighter in town with his bum leg and his icy heart.

He doesn’t hesitate. He always promised he would be Casey’s hero, but will he ever again be Casey’s love?

Excerpt
 

“…New York’s LaGuardia and JFK International airports officially closed on Thursday afternoon due to the storm, according to the FAA. Both airports had been open earlier despite significant flight cancellations. LaGuardia resumed operations around 7 p.m. ET, while JFK said it planned to reopen sometime during the course of the night.”

Casey McGuire rinsed the last of the mugs and placed it on the drainer with the rest. For some reason, it was always mugs they ran out of in this house. Seth had this idea that the dishwasher ate them but Casey was convinced that they just needed a system to make sure they brought all the mugs back to the kitchen when they were done. Last week he’d found a mug in the bathroom, inside the cabinet, full of cold coffee.

Seth had sworn it wasn’t him, but Casey knew it had been.

He didn’t make a fuss. After all, what was one full coffee mug teetering on the edge of a glass shelf? In the grand scheme of things, it meant nothing.

The TV droned on behind him as he took a dishcloth and wiped the first of the mugs.

“…states from South Carolina to Maine are under a winter storm warning and the governors of Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey and New York have declared states of emergency. Forecasters say the northeast states can expect hurricane-force wind gusts and blinding snow…”

The news channels had been warning about this storm for a week, a huge dump of snow that would cripple the eastern seaboard, but that as yet hadn’t caused much concern here in Vermont. Casey glanced out of the window at the yard and wished for more snow. That way maybe Seth wouldn’t be able to leave the house, and possibly the two of them could have a rational conversation that didn’t end with Seth leaving and Casey wondering where the hell he was going wrong.

“…the situation is “ugly” and “dangerous,” and people should stay indoors…”

Last night, all Casey had said was that Seth shouldn’t forget about his appointment next morning. Seth left the house, clambering back into bed at some ungodly hour, reeking of beer or worse. In his sleep, Seth tried to pull Casey close, but Casey had deliberately scooted up and away, and left his husband in the bed.

Today, at ten, Seth had exploded, accusing Casey of meddling in things he didn’t understand, telling Casey he was fine and didn’t need a shrink.

Yet another night when one of them ended up on the couch.

“Hey.”

Casey stiffened at Seth’s soft, gravelly voice. His chest was tight, he didn’t want to argue. He wanted Seth to admit there was a problem, because he couldn’t handle it anymore. Six months of this had taken its toll. Maybe if Seth had seen the specialists when he should’ve, maybe if he’d seen a counselor, then Casey would see he was trying.

Seth was in denial, and it was destroying their marriage.

He didn’t turn to face Seth; he’d made a decision in the early morning, packed a bag with what he could get without waking Seth, and decided they needed space. If Seth had space he might face up to himself instead of taking it out on Casey.

Seth slid his hands around Casey’s waist, resting his chin on Casey’s shoulder and sighed. He’d brushed his teeth so the only scent was peppermint, which at least was a step up from yesterday when he’d attempted a clumsy kiss with beer still on his breath.

“I’m sorry,” he murmured near Casey’s ear.

Casey could turn now, accept the apology, even offer one of his own for pushing Seth, and everything would be normal for a while. Seth could go back to pretending he was okay, and Casey could go back to walking on eggshells and avoiding conflict.

But what kind of a marriage was that?

What kind of a man did that make Casey?

“I know you are,” he said. Then he tensed because that wasn’t the answer Seth wanted, and Casey knew what would happen next. Seth would go straight onto defensive mode, give some bullshit about how he was a firefighter and didn’t need a counselor.

Meanwhile, Seth not accepting any of what he needed was tearing their marriage apart. Casey had been careful with him for a long time, after all, Seth had nearly died. But when months had passed and he was still refusing to listen to reason, that was when Casey realized he’d been wrong in accepting Seth’s view on what kind of healing he needed.

“I think we need some time apart,” Casey said, and placed the dried mug onto the counter. He eased away from Seth’s hold and moved to the other side of the kitchen table. Somehow, having it between them gave Casey the strength to do what he’d decided was the right thing. Seth had this way of holding him, with a near desperation that never failed to have Casey crumbling.

Seth didn’t answer at first. Casey stopped himself from repeating the words and hoped that Seth was just thinking. The only noise in the kitchen was the news, focusing on Greyhound buses and the routes being cancelled.

“Why?”

RJ’s goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

RJ Scott is the bestselling author of over one hundred romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat. 

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

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 217 pages
Expected publication: January 16th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published September 25th 2012)
ASINB078QH89QX
SeriesFighting Addiction