A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Pride & Protection (Southern Boys #2) by KC Wells

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Del Walters, an out and proud bear, moves from San Francisco to a small town in Tennessee to open a business with his brother. Rainbow Racers attracts the wrong kind of attention pretty quick. There aren’t a lot of out and proud gay men in this town, where the homophobes are loud and proud. It’s no surprise vandalism strikes the shop before it even opens. Called in to investigate, police officer Taylor Cox takes one look at the bear and his imagination takes over. Deep in the closet, he dreams of the day when he might be able to approach Del on a personal level. Too afraid to let his ideal bear know how attracted he is, Taylor locks himself up tighter.

The small coffee shop in town attracts them both as well, giving more opportunity for conversation and Taylor slowly thaws. But it’s not until each is on a much-needed trip to Atlanta’s gay bars that their spark erupts, and Del has a chance to let Taylor know he won’t rush him, and he won’t out him, but he definitely wants him.

Most of the story is the slow buildup of romance between the two men, and then Taylor’s introduction to what it’s like to be with a man sexually—one who cares about him. Opportunities arise in his personal life for him to come out slowly but surely, and the guys finally get their chance to be together as partners. The story takes place over the course of two months so some may label this insta-love; however, there was no “jump into bed with each other too soon” moment, and I like the way the author handled their early attraction, with Del respectful of Taylor’s fears. He certainly seemed to be the kind of man—or silver bear as Taylor called him—who would be worth waiting for.

I’m not a huge fan of the homophobic cop stereotype. I know it exists but I just don’t like reading about it so that impacted my appreciation of the story, but overall, I enjoyed this romance and I especially enjoyed the time spent with Del, the big, fuzzy bear. A sweet man with a ton of commonsense, self-confidence, and smarts—Del is an easy character to love. Taylor, on the other hand, was timid and closeted at first, and I didn’t like him, but his personality grew on me as he gained in confidence and started letting his true self come forward and his fears take a backseat. So, in summary, yes, I highly recommend this May-December MM romance.

The cover by Meredith Russell features a photo by Kristofer Weston—he’s the perfect bear—the man on whom KC Wells based Del Walters. Also featured on the cover is a young man in a cop uniform who matches the description of Taylor Cox, the other MC. It’s wonderful to see a cover photo actually match the characters inside.

Sales Links:  Smashwords | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 259 pages
Published June 18th 2019
ASINB07TDFR2ZB
Edition Language English
Series Southern Boys #2

An Alisa Review: Life Is A Stevie Wonder Song by V.L. Locey

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Authors know that their muse is a fickle creature. Best-selling spy novelist Stephen Ramsey has been in a hate-hate relationship with his inspiration for months. When Stephen’s publisher lays a legal ultimatum upon him, with a rapidly approaching deadline, he knows he must do something to kick-start his creativity or face the unemployment line. His daughter comes up with a possible answer: a summer camp for the creative soul. With nothing to lose, Stephen packs up his laptop, phonograph and beloved record albums and heads from Greenwich Village to the Catskill Mountains.

There, among a horde of college students attending for extra credits, is Declan Pomeroy, a photographer of fey creatures who is twenty-two years younger than Stephen. The woods are a magical place, and he quickly finds himself falling under the spell of the free-spirited photographer. Confusion wars with desire inside Stephen as he succumbs to the feelings welling up inside. But, sadly, summer camp always has to end. Can a man who has just found himself really leave the person that makes his heart sing?

This story just pulled me in and I really enjoyed it all the way though.  I love seeing guys have and accept a life altering change and see how it makes their lives better.  Stephen has succeeded as an author even as he has had multiple marriages come apart.  Declan is a free spirit who for the most part is very patient with Stephen’s slow acceptance of their connection.

The story is told from Stephen’s point of view which makes it easy to see his frustration with his writer’s block and confusion in regards to Declan.  When he gave himself the chance to let go and see what would happen it was freeing for him.  I was able to see Declan’s emotions through Stephen’s eyes even when he didn’t always seem to understand.  I loved Declan’s determination to stay true to himself and make Stephen make the big change of moving but it was for the better for both of them.

The cover art by Sloan J Design is nice and I love having visuals of both of the characters.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 87 pages

Published: 2nd edition, April 18, 2018 by VL Locey

Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Vice Enforcer (Vice City #2) by S.A. Stovall

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Holding on to a life worth living can be hard when the nightmares of the past come knocking.
Eight months ago, Nicholas Pierce, ex-mob enforcer, faked his death and assumed a new identity to escape sadistic mob boss Jeremy Vice. With no contacts outside the underworld, Pierce finds work with a washed-up PI. It’s an easy enough gig—until investigating a human trafficking ring drags him back to his old stomping grounds.Miles Devonport, Pierce’s partner, is top of his class at the police academy while single-handedly holding his family together. But when one lieutenant questions Pierce’s past and his involvement in the investigation, Miles must put his future on the line to keep Pierce’s secrets.The situation becomes dire when it’s discovered the traffickers have connections to the Vice family. The lives of everyone Pierce cares about are in danger—not least of all his own, if Jeremy Vice learns he’s back from the dead. Pierce and Miles face a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels—one that will gladly destroy them to keep operating. As Pierce uses every dirty trick he learned from organized crime to protect the new life he’s building, he realizes that no matter how hard he tries, he might never escape his past.But he’s not going down without a fight.If you love noir, if you’re in love with hard men with even harder outlooks with little hope for a future, let alone love.  You know the ones I mean,  they’ve survived somehow the worst that life has thrown out them, they expect to see more.  They’ve been made so incredibly tough by their pasts, that the walls they have erected, inside and out might as well be titanium.  Except for the cracks they allow for certain people and in certain circumstances.  Take that man, put him in stories that fit him beautifully because they are dark and gritty.  The criminals are rank,  the corruption is deep and often elusive .  But hope can come from the most surprising places.  So can love.I fell in love with Pierce back in Vice City (Vice City, #1), a stunning introduction to the man and his lover,Miles Devonport.  Now in the equally intense, incredible sequel, Vice Enforcer (Vice City #2) ,  S.A. Stovall picks up shortly after the first one leaves off.  Supposedly mob enforcer Nicholas Pierce has  “died” and PI in training Percy Adams (much to Pierce’s dismay at the name) is alive and well and living with Miles in a rundown house in suburbia, along with visits from Miles’  brother and sister.  And it’s going exactly as well as you might expect.

Especially Pierce’s attempts to garden and talk to seedlings while dealing with Mile’s sullen siblings who clearly think that “Percy” is pulling their brother under.

Then everything goes further to hell while on a dubious PI training run with the older investigator who is running the program.  Stovall thrusts the reader and her characters immediately into a powerful action packed, fast paced scene because Shelby, the lead PI hasn’t been exactly straight with his trainees. And because Pierce isn’t who he seems to be (a naive PI in training),  knows the setup for what it is and figures out what’s coming, well…Pierce is both ready to flee and shoot depending upon the situation.

By now the reader’s skin is tingling, the hair’s slightly raised because the writing is so damn good that our apprehension levels are off the charts along with Pierce’s.  It stays that way through revelations about human trafficking, the reemergence of the Vice family and the mob, the threats to the new identity Pierce and Miles have established for him as well as keeping him safely dead in the eyes of the Vice family.  This is an intense, gritty story.  If it has its humorous moments, and it does, they too, border on the dry, wry, and the dark.  Consider the perspective and it makes sense.

Even the romance falls under the same lines.  No hearts and flowers here.  No, its more like that radish that refuses to die in Pierce’s garden.  It lives no matter what.  They have each other’s back…no matter what.  The sex is rough, the need for each other is there although Pierce might not always acknowledge it.  And while Miles would like a change in the sexual dynamics, something that Pierce’s past won’t allow, its a topic that  comes up.

There is so much here.  Wyatt, Mile’s supervisor  who is definitely in the closet. Shelby, the PI with the past.  The Vice family. Mile’s and his family.  Oh, yes and the Timo family that lives next door.  Everything gets pulled together in one magnificent tapestry that twists and turns, stuns and pulls at your heart.  And when it ends, you want not only another story but to reread the books one and two all over again.

This is a wowzer of a series. Vice Enforcer (Vice City #2) by S.A. Stovall is everything I could want in a sequel or even a standalone.  I highly recommend it and Vice City.  Both are must reads!

Cover art: Aaron Anderson.  What a great cover.  Perfect for this story and series.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications | Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 259 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by DSP Publications
Original TitleVice Enforcer
ASINB078JQJNF8
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesVice City #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Road To The Sun by Keira Andrews

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

I couldn’t catch my breath when I read the blurb and learned this was available for review! Keira Andrews is one of my favorite authors and May-December MM romance pushes all my buttons. And, oh my gosh, to get into it and find out the younger MC is a father and has never acknowledged his attraction to men so—virgin!—what’s not to love here?

Jason Kellerman loves his daughter, Maggie, above all else, and from the time of her birth when he was only a young teen, she’s been the driving force in his life. Maggie, 8 years old and very enjoyably precocious, was the result of one night when he and his BFF decided to experiment. Unfortunately, Maggie’s mom died in an auto accident with her parents when Maggie was only six months old. Though Jason’s wealthy parents tried to obtain custody, thinking they could do a better job of providing for her needs, the judge awarded custody to Jason who had just turned eighteen. He left everything he knew behind in his bid for independence and his struggle to show everyone that he could raise her on his own and so far he’s done an amazing job.

Maggie is quite the character throughout this story and though I often don’t care for kids who seem too far beyond their years, in this case, Maggie is perfect. Jason has brought her to a national park in Montana where she can pursue her love of animals, birds, geological formations and the great outdoors. She’s smart and sweet and he’s worked his tail off to give her the vacation she’s asked for—even if it means her daddy has to work twice as hard to pay the bills when they return, and in the meantime, might get eaten by a bear!

When they meet forty-one-year-old park ranger, Ben Hettler, Jason is struck by how much he likes the man, going so far as to think he’s attractive as well. Though uncomfortable about this, he realizes he can just enjoy his time in Montana and not worry about finding another guy attractive.

Ben is equally attracted to Jason, and though concerned about the age gap, Ben sees how Jason looks at him so is hoping for a chance at a vacation romance. But when he realizes Jason has never been attracted to men and is actually sexually inexperienced with men or women, he’s shocked, yet still intrigued.

It’s not until disaster strikes, however, that things heat up between the two and their reliance on one another and their closeness steps up the attraction. But first, they need to work together in a race against time to save Jason’s daughter. And then, maybe, there will be time for them. Or maybe not.

This is a wonderful story, very fast-paced, nail-biting, and scary, and yet the author manages to incorporate a beautiful May-December romance with engaging characters, both of whom I want to meet and befriend forever.

Jason may be young, but he’s not immature. The author takes the time to build his character and to show the beautiful interactions he has with his daughter, and Maggie is blessed to have such a strong, yet loving man as her role model. Ben is everything I would hope for in an older man who’s looking to have a loving relationship with someone he can eventually partner with for life. He’s always wanted children but his former partner put it off until it was too late for them, but with Jason, he sees a possible future. He’s a bit self-sacrificing, however, and allows Jason to leave without telling him his true feelings. Will he eventually get up the nerve to act in their best interests? One needs to read the book to find out. 

Honestly, this book is worth every penny and worth every minute of your time. It’s not just a romance—it’s an adventure. Highly recommended.

Cover is sweet and eye catching and was unavailable at review time.

Sales Links

amazon square borderamazon_global

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 314 pages
Published May 22nd 2017 by KA Books (first published May 19th 2017)
ASINB0711YJ1BT
Edition LanguageEnglish