A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Four ( Love By Numbers #2) by Tia Fielding

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

After fleeing from an abusive relationship, genderqueer Kaos is welcomed by friends Makai and Emil (book one – Ten) who give him a safe place to stay while he looks for part time work until he can get a Wisconsin tattoo license. There he meets veterinarian Padraig Donovan, a silver fox who lost his husband four years before and is still having trouble getting used to being alone.

Padraig is stunned when he meets Kaos (who happens to be more feminine that day) since he’s never given a moment of attraction to anyone with feminine qualities before. But everything about Kaos appeals to him and soon they’ve become friends, then friends who kiss and cuddle, and eventually more. But it takes a long time to get there and an equally long time for Padraig to come to terms with his grief and for Kaos to accept his own reactions to his second chance for love.

This is a May-December, slow burn, second chance love story. There’s a lot to like here and the author did a lovely job building the characters and allowing their relationship to develop. And there was plenty of puppy love as the couple adopted and trained a mutt so those who love men with pets stories should love this as well. On a dark note, there was an underlying dramatic turn of events involving a break-in at the vet’s office and a scene describing animal abuse.

But the overall story offers hope and a sweet romance so those who look for age gap and hurt-comfort MM romance should enjoy this one.

The cover by Garrett Leigh features a young blond man looking toward the camera, a hoodie/shrug over his head. This is a great representation of Kaos, and the overall look of the cover is eye-catching.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Dreamspinner Press

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 222 pages
Expected publication: July 23rd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07T8PCDHC
Edition Language English
Series Love by Numbers 

Ten

Four

A Melanie M Review :Made In Lisbon (Made In #5) by Ana Newfolk

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Can you get more than one true love in a lifetime?

Three years after his husband’s death, Vitor is still grieving. Too young to be alone and too old to start again, he feels stuck. Accepting a new job in Lisbon is just what he needs, but it also means going back to the city that sealed his fate nearly thirty years ago.

Between looking for his missing brother and running an LGBTQ Youth Center, Tiago doesn’t have time for dating or commitment. When his best friend asks him to find a family member that ran away years ago, Tiago welcomes the distraction.

A past full of secrets.

An anonymous kiss that turns their world upside down.

When past and present clash, will the two men put everything aside and give themselves a chance at happiness? Or are the things keeping them apart stronger than the feelings keeping them together?

I have been a huge fan of Ana Newfolk’s Made In stories from the first novel in the series.  That  would be Made In New York which launched the series and introduced us to this amazing cast of characters that exist in Lisbon and NYC, intimately connected by families and two LGBTQIA youth centers.  While each story has at its center one couple, other of the characters appear, adding their support and pieces of their history to this rich tapestry of this series universe.  One that only grows more culturally vivid and heartwarming with each new addition and romance.

There have been many unifying storylines running through this series but none that has been no mystifying or has potentially heartbreaking as the mystery of what happened to Uncle Mario’s  younger brother,Vítor who disappeared after a beating and was never seen again.  Vitor had been so young and gay back in Lisbon at a time when it was not readily accepted.  Now  Tiago has been asked to look for him by his family, to see if anyone could find out what happened to him.

Family beatings, especially of gay young men is a recurring element here and it echoes through character after character.  Family issues, acceptance, rejection, a huge emotional bundle that gets examined through character after character realistically and often with great pain.

A mirror action to looking to Vitor is Tiago looking for his younger brother, who is also missing due to parental abuse.  Tiago is loaded down with issues with he meets a man he’s immediately attracted to.  The man is older but gorgeous, kind,  and compelling.  Everything Tiago needs in his life at the moment to help ground him.

While Tiago is dealing with his memories of his brother and the responsibilities to the youth center in Lisbon, this “man” has his own issues as well to work through.

A widower who has been dealt  a shock by a recent revelation about his husband, he is trying to move forward with his life, a wounded and bereaved son who’s redrawn from hin and now a new attraction to a young  man he’s just met.

Between a complicated romance that starts to unfold, we have a wealth of storylines about fathers and sons (good and bad), family dynamics that change over the decades, and just layers of hurt/comfort and forgiveness that not only feels real but will have you in tears.

If anything there is an embarrassment of riches here in what stories the author wants to tell.  Tiango”s brother needs his own story its that compelling and haunting.

There is at the end, a marvelous resolution to make you want to sing.

All of it beautifully located once more in Lisbon and surrounding areas.  As much as I love the NYC books, my heart lies here in Lisboa.  Yours will too.

The Made In stories are beautifully written, full of heart, and great romances.  I recommend them all highly.  But I disagree that they are standalones and feel they should be read in the order they were written to get the full experience and understand all the character relationships and connected histories.

Cover Artist: Rhys Athanasiadis-Lawrence, Ethereal Ealain  Love that cover.  Vitor all over.

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 227 pages
Published July 6th 2019
ASIN B07T8PN73B
Edition Language English
Series Made In #5

 

 

 

 

 

Made In Lisbon is May-December MM romance with hurt/comfort themes, lots of steam and a HEA.

Made In Lisbon can be read as a standalone but will be better enjoyed as part of the Made In Series as characters and stories from previous books appear in this story.

Series reading order:

Made In New York – Book 1 (Max and Isaac)
Made In Portugal – Book 2 (Joel and David)
Made In Paris – Book 3 (Dorian and Jean-Paul)
Made In Manhattan – Book 4 (Max and Isaac)
Made In Lisbon – Book 5 (Vítor and Tiago)
Made In Love – Coming Autumn 2019

Join In the Blog Tour for Made In Lisbon (Made In #5) by Ana Newfolk (excerpt and giveaway)

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BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Made in Lisbon (Made In Series Book 5)

Author: Ana Newfolk

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: Rhys Athanasiadis-Lawrence, Ethereal Ealain

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s:  May-December

Themes:  Hurt/comfort

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 60 000 words

Add on Goodreads 

 

Blurb

Three years after his husband’s death, Vitor is still grieving. Too young to be alone and too old to start again, he feels stuck. Accepting a new job in Lisbon is just what he needs, but it also means going back to the city that sealed his fate nearly thirty years ago.

Between looking for his missing brother and running an LGBTQ Youth Center, Tiago doesn’t have  time for dating or commitment. When his best friend asks him to find a family member that ran away years ago, Tiago welcomes the distraction.

A past full of secrets.

An anonymous kiss that turns their world upside down.

When past and present clash, will the two men put everything aside and give themselves a chance at happiness? Or are the things keeping them apart stronger than their feelings?

Made In Lisbon is a 60k word May-December MM romance with hurt/comfort themes, lots of steam and a HEA.

 

Made In Lisbon can be read as a standalone but will be better enjoyed as part of the Made In Series as characters and stories from previous books appear in this story.

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link 

 

 

Excerpt

Excerpt from Vítor’s POV

The doorbell rang right on time.

“Hey, sweets, how are you doing?” Luís asked before enveloping me in one of his big bear hugs. I allowed myself to melt into it before I answered.

“I’m okay.”

I’d met Luís on the same night I’d met Rodrigo at a student party. I’d been talking to Luís and had thought he was cute, but Rodrigo stole my heart from the first moment our eyes met. When Dri had stolen me away at the party I’d thought I’d never see Luís again, but when we’d bumped into each other at the university campus a few days later, we went out for coffee and ended up becoming good friends.

“Are you really okay?” He put a hand on my chin to tilt my head up so I could look him in the eye.

“I was going through Dri’s shirts earlier and it brought back some memories. Hey, I don’t suppose you want his shirts? You’re the same size.” Despite asking the question I was relieved when Luís said he didn’t feel right taking the shirts, and besides, he didn’t have any use for them since he was an artist and spent more time covered in paint than in nice clothes.

“So, where’s this dinner then? I’ve not eaten since breakfast in anticipation. And since the others aren’t here, I expect a mega portion.”

I smiled and guided him to the kitchen.

This house was Rodrigo’s indulgence. When he’d asked me to marry him, even before it was legal for two men to marry in Portugal, he’d promised he’d design the best house in the country. I never needed something so big, but the kitchen was the one part of the house I was grateful I’d allowed him to indulge in the design.

The food was perfect as always, then again, cooking this meal most Sundays for nearly thirty years, I could almost do it wearing a blindfold.

We ate mostly in silence, which was welcome because I was feeling out of sorts. I also wondered what was in Luís’ mind. In the nearly thirty years I’d known him I’d never seen him go longer than a few minutes without talking. Even when we were younger, he’d always been the one who would bring someone into the conversation by asking the right questions and making them feel like they were the only person in the room.

That was how he’d got me talking that night in the bar, until a single look from Rodrigo had made me feel like he and I were the only people on the planet.

The thought made me shiver. Luís looked at me but didn’t say anything.

Since it was just the two of us, I hadn’t bothered making dessert, but I had made an effort to get Luís’ favorite pastries.

“Have I ever told you how much I love you?” Luís said before stealing one of the mini palmiers part dipped in chocolate with a sprinkle of coconut.

“Several times.”

We took our coffees and a plate with the tiny pastries and sat in the living room facing the garden.

“What’s going on?” Luís asked before I had a chance to take a sip from my coffee.

“What do you mean?”

“Something’s not right.”

I took a deep sigh. What could I tell him? That I felt like part of me had died with my husband and the other part was slowly dying because my son wouldn’t talk to me? That I hated going to work because the desk next to mine was empty? Was three years too long to still be missing him? Or not long enough?

“Talk to me, sweets,” Luís said, putting his hand on my cheek and rubbing his thumb gently over my skin. I always loved how tactile Luís was, almost like touching people was part of his language.

“I don’t know what to say. I feel lost without Dri and Mateus won’t talk to me. I don’t know how to handle it all on my own.”

 

 

About the Author

Ana Newfolk was born in Portugal but has lived in the United Kingdom for so long, even her friends sometimes doubt if she really is Portuguese.

After getting hooked on reading gay romance, Ana decided to follow her lifelong dream of becoming an author.

These days you can find her in front of her laptop bringing her stories to life, or in the kitchen perfecting her recipe for the famous Portuguese custard tarts.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

BookBub

 

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

your choice of ebook from the author’s backlist or 1 x $10 Amazon Gift Card.

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Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

 

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Arctic Wild (Frozen Hearts #2) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Oh, my! This book has so many of my favorite tropes that I really enjoyed it immensely. I’d tag it age gap, May-December, slow burn, men with children, family drama, Alaska, hurt-comfort, and second chances. Plus, it had a sneak peek at past characters Griff and River to let us know how they are doing.

As the story opens, Reuben is irritated when he learns his friends aren’t going to make the flight to Alaska to begin the vacation they’d insisted he take to destress from his high-powered corporate law office. Add to his irritation the fact that his ex-wife needs an immediate answer about buying out his share in their law firm and he’s not a happy man when he boards the tiny plane in Alaska to begin a solo tour with a chatty tour operator named Toby.

Toby has been providing for his ailing father and younger sister for years so he’s no stranger to responsibility. And he’s flown this trip many, many times over his favorite areas in Alaska and is happy to give personal attention to his solo traveler. Too bad the silver fox is grumpy and straight, or so he thinks. But halfway through the trip, a sudden storm causes them to crash, and it’s Reuben who rescues Toby before their plane catches fire. 

I loved the way the author took both men out of their comfort zones and allowed them to have new experiences and new perspectives—aha moments, so to speak. One of my favorites came at the end of the book when both men acknowledge that the summer they spent together has been all about second chances and what they plan to do with those chances. I’m glad the author didn’t make the crash site the entire setting of the story and, instead, gave them the perfect excuse to spend a few months together and infuse a few other interesting characters into the mix.

Both characters are well-developed and engaging, and added to the chemistry between Reuben and Toby, we have a 14-year-old teen daughter for Reuben who was a spot-on perfect example of an annoying teen girl of that age. (Been there. Had that!) Watching her slowly gravitate toward her father, and he to her, was heartwarming. Meanwhile, Toby had to learn to rely on help from others, giving him a new perspective on how his father has felt for years. Both men changed over the time they spent together during Toby’s recuperation, and the changes had a ripple effect on their families.

When they allowed themselves to live their dreams, the impossible became possible. Set against the background of the most majestic state I’ve ever visited, how could I not love this story? I highly recommend this to lovers of MM romance, especially those who love the tags I mention at the beginning of this review.

The cover predominantly features glorious Alaska scenery with a top pane that holds a partial shot of the MCs’ faces.

Sales Links: Kobo | Barnes & NobleAmazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: June 3rd 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488051275 (ISBN13: 9781488051272)
Edition Language English
Series Frozen Hearts :

Arctic Sun

Arctic Wild

Arctic Heat coming soon

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Arctic Wild (Frozen Hearts #2) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Oh, my! This book has so many of my favorite tropes that I really enjoyed it immensely. I’d tag it age gap, May-December, slow burn, men with children, family drama, Alaska, hurt-comfort, and second chances. Plus, it had a sneak peek at past characters Griff and River to let us know how they are doing.

As the story opens, Reuben is irritated when he learns his friends aren’t going to make the flight to Alaska to begin the vacation they’d insisted he take to destress from his high-powered corporate law office. Add to his irritation the fact that his ex-wife needs an immediate answer about buying out his share in their law firm and he’s not a happy man when he boards the tiny plane in Alaska to begin a solo tour with a chatty tour operator named Toby.

Toby has been providing for his ailing father and younger sister for years so he’s no stranger to responsibility. And he’s flown this trip many, many times over his favorite areas in Alaska and is happy to give personal attention to his solo traveler. Too bad the silver fox is grumpy and straight, or so he thinks. But halfway through the trip, a sudden storm causes them to crash, and it’s Reuben who rescues Toby before their plane catches fire. 

I loved the way the author took both men out of their comfort zones and allowed them to have new experiences and new perspectives—aha moments, so to speak. One of my favorites came at the end of the book when both men acknowledge that the summer they spent together has been all about second chances and what they plan to do with those chances. I’m glad the author didn’t make the crash site the entire setting of the story and, instead, gave them the perfect excuse to spend a few months together and infuse a few other interesting characters into the mix.

Both characters are well-developed and engaging, and added to the chemistry between Reuben and Toby, we have a 14-year-old teen daughter for Reuben who was a spot-on perfect example of an annoying teen girl of that age. (Been there. Had that!) Watching her slowly gravitate toward her father, and he to her, was heartwarming. Meanwhile, Toby had to learn to rely on help from others, giving him a new perspective on how his father has felt for years. Both men changed over the time they spent together during Toby’s recuperation, and the changes had a ripple effect on their families.

When they allowed themselves to live their dreams, the impossible became possible. Set against the background of the most majestic state I’ve ever visited, how could I not love this story? I highly recommend this to lovers of MM romance, especially those who love the tags I mention at the beginning of this review.

The cover predominantly features glorious Alaska scenery with a top pane that holds a partial shot of the MCs’ faces.

Sales Links: Kobo | Barnes & NobleAmazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: June 3rd 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488051275 (ISBN13: 9781488051272)
Edition Language English
Series Frozen Hearts :

Arctic Sun

Arctic Wild

Arctic Heat coming soon

S.A. Stovall on Writing,Influences, and her new release Vice Enforcer (Vice City #2) (guest interview)

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Vice Enforcer (Vice City #2) by S.A. Stovall
DSP Publication

Cover art: Aaron Anderson

Buy Links:   DSP PublicationsAmazon  

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to  have S.A. Stovall here today answering questions about Vice Enforcer, the sequel to Vice City, both highly recommended novels here at our blog.  Welcome, S.A.

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with  S.A. Stovall

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Definitely. When I was younger, I read all sorts of sci-fi and fantasy. I couldn’t get enough of them. I love anti-hero characters (moral ambiguity fascinates me) and all of that has somehow filtered into my writing.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

When I was younger, I loved Robert A. Heinlein. I hope I can write great works of science fiction like him one day. I loved his worlds, and his characters. Today I love Stephen King—not because I treasure all his books (I actually dislike quite a few) but because he has so many books that people typically like at least one. I want to be a writer who writers so prolifically that most people say, “Yeah, I’ve heard of her and like this one book…”

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why? 

Well, VICE CITY was my first published novel, so it’ll always have a special place in my heart. However, I think my favorite stories are always my science fiction ones. I don’t know what it is, but I love futuristic space settings. They’re amazing.

What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

 I find hard work, the desire for truth, and logic all interesting traits in an individual. Most of my characters have at least one of these (maybe all three). Typically side characters meant to cause the main character grief have none of them—those are the characters I love to hate.

Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?

 Oh, yes. I’m working on an epic fantasy novel right now. I love the book, but the middle got me stalled for a bit—sometimes with large casts of characters it’s hard to weave them all seamlessly together. I can’t wait to share it with the world now that I’ve crossed the hurdle, but it was in limbo for a long time.

Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

Yeah, I did use a book to help me with a break up. Basically, the entire story has hints and tidbits to all the best parts of the relationship. The novel was a romanticized version of what a perfect relationship could be if it all worked out. It really helped me understand what went wrong, and now I’ll always have this book to remind me.

What’s the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

  The wildest scene I’ve ever imaged was a girl cutting her own heart out to replace it with the still-beating heart of an ancient god.

And yes, it did make it into the story!

With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write to tell good stories. I love to entertain. The second reason I write, is to highlight the awesomeness of humanity. I love heroes who overcome—or villains who realize life is so much better when celebrated. Sometimes, in science fiction, I write about interesting scientific concepts, but that comes after the good story and awesome heroes.

What’s next for you as a writer?

Tons. I have a WWI fantasy coming out, an MMA romance, and a science fiction story set on a corrupt space station. So many stories—I can’t wait until they’re all released! Trust me. I’ll have plenty for everyone in the future, and hopefully everyone enjoys!

Release of VICE ENFORCER (Vice City #2)

Blurb

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.

About the Author

S.A. Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family having a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.

As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was the moment Stovall realized that story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world, and she hopes you enjoy.

You can contact her at the following addresses.

Social Media

Twitter: @GameOverStation

Website: https://sastovallauthor.com/

Awards

Vice City Rainbow Award Winner

Reviews

“To say the characterization was good would be like saying I love reading. It’s a gross understatement… Overall, I loved every inch of it.”

– Divine Magazine

“The noir setting absolutely gripped me with stark details. As a lover of crime fiction, I highly recommend this book in what will hopefully be a very long and satisfying series.”

– The Novel Approach Reviews

Audiobook Blitz and Giveaway for September (Pride and Joy #1) by Robert Winter and Narrator: Kale Williams

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Title:  September

Format: Audiobook

Series: Pride and Joy, book 1

Narrator: Kale Williams

Author: Robert Winter

Publisher:  Robert Winter Books

Release Date: February 7th,  2018

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 10 Hours 01 Minutes

Genre: Romance, May December, hurt comfort, second chance

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

A May-December contemporary gay romance for lovers of second chances

David James is smart, successful, handsome… and alone. After the death of his lover, Kyle, from cancer, he buried himself in his law practice and the gym. At forty-eight, he is haunted by his memories and walled off from the world. When David injures himself working out, he’s assigned to Brandon Smith for physical therapy. The vibrant young therapist is attracted to David and realizes he needs a hand to get back into dating. What begins as a practice coffee date escalates to friendship, passion, and maybe something more, as they navigate a new relationship in Washington, DC, and the gay mecca of Provincetown.

But David remains trapped behind the barrier of fear and guilt. Will he remain loyal to Kyle’s memory if he moves on? Can he and Brandon manage a twenty-two-year age gap? Brandon thinks he understands David’s concerns, and for him, the answer to those questions is yes. He wants to be with David, and he believes he can overcome David’s barriers. But Brandon fails to account for the world’s reaction to a handsome young man attached to an older, wealthy lover.

David’s memories, Brandon’s pride, and an unexpected tragedy might cost them something very special…

Listen to an Audio Excerpt

Purchase

Robert Winter Books | Audible | Amazon | Itunes

Meet the Author

Robert Winter lives and writes in Provincetown. He is a recovering lawyer who prefers writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail | Instagram

Meet the Narrator

Kale Williams lends his voice to bring to life romance books of all stripes. Known for his distinct characterizations and natural intimate storytelling, he is as comfortable with the cowboys on the prairie as he is with the cops of the big city, from the slow burn to the hot steam to the HEA. Love is love is love.

Giveaway

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Loved Rainbow Cove? Check out ‘Tender with a Twist’ by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Tender with a Twist

Series: Rainbow Cove #2, but stands alone well

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Annabeth Albert

Release Date: October 2, 2018

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 79,000 words

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, May-December, BDSM (light), Small Town

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

One kinky wood carver. One younger chef looking to try new things. A series of lessons that bring both men more than they bargained for…

Curtis Hunt has made a name for himself as a chainsaw wood carver, winning national competitions and operating a small business in Rainbow Cove, Oregon. As winter whittles away his tourist traffic, his goal is just to survive the season and try to not get lost in grief for his dead lover. It’s been two years, but he’s sure he’ll never be over the love of a lifetime. However, his body has a certain restlessness that he doesn’t quite know how to calm.

Logan Rosner knows a thing or two about restlessness. It’s what drove him to Rainbow Cove to be a chef at a bar and grill run by his friends. And it’s what drives him to a single sizzling encounter with the local legendary lumberjack. Both men get far more than they expected and learn that first impressions aren’t always accurate…

But when Logan proposes a series of sexy lessons, Curtis must decide how much he’s willing to risk. He knows he can’t afford to get attached to Logan’s good cooking, his easy smiles, or his caretaking, but he keeps going back for more, even as deeper emotions become involved. Soon, Curtis must decide whether to risk his heart again or risk losing Logan for good.

Tender with a Twist is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, featuring a second chance at love, opposites attract, loads of sexy times with mild BDSM elements, and one emotionally-charged, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.

Excerpt

Logan

The crazy woodcarver was shirtless. Again. It was a sleepy Thursday in January on the Oregon Coast which meant most sane people were in flannel and jackets and bundled for the sharp bite of the wind. I was wearing fleece-lined bike pants and a long-sleeved cycling jacket myself as I celebrated the first good ride of the year, and I was still chilly when I stopped my ride near the jewelry store on 101—the main highway running through Rainbow Cove. I told myself that I’d stopped for some water from my bottle, but I knew it was a weak excuse. Really, I’d been transfixed by the sight of Curtis Hunt carving up a giant tree trunk with his chainsaw.

For all that rumors flew about his eccentricity, the man was an unparalleled artist, and watching him do his thing was a true pleasure. Sweat dripped from his head and back despite the cool temperature, and he worked like a man possessed, moving this way and that around the piece, dancing almost as his chainsaw flitted about with the sort of grace I’d expect from the jeweler, not this buff lumberjack with heavy machinery.

He wore sawdust splattered jeans, heavy boots, safety goggles and ear protectors, but his red flannel shirt lay discarded on a nearby sculpture of a falcon, showing off his shimmering muscles and tats that even from a distance were impressive. For all that the guy had probably fifteen years on me, he was in amazing shape. Hell, if I had ink and muscles like that, I wouldn’t keep my shirt on, either. All the muscles made something warm unfurl in my gut, but I dismissed the low thrum of arousal as a never-happening-in-this-lifetime thing. Chances were very high that he’d laugh at any of my fantasies, especially the ones involving him, some rope, and his usual intense stare replaced with something closer to supplication.

But, a guy could still look. And want. So I took my time drinking my water, watching as the outline of a bird slowly emerged from the raw tree trunk.

In a town as tiny as Rainbow Cove, the rumor mill worked overtime, and I knew all the rumors about Curtis. Knew he’d lost his longtime lover a year or two ago and that the two of them had been mythic fixtures in the area. Curtis had apparently gotten more eccentric since the other guy had passed, moving into the old gas station he used as a gallery for his carvings, growing his own food, and going notoriously cranky about change.

And change was what had driven me to Rainbow Cove. Change was what my restaurant represented—hope that the area economy could find a new foothold in tourism. So it wasn’t surprising that Curtis didn’t seem to like my friends and me any. Probably wouldn’t appreciate me looking at him like he was a lumbersexual Tumblr all queued up for my viewing pleasure.  But damn, those muscles…

I gave myself last look before I pedaled away, heading away from the center of town, taking the turnoff that would lead me to the narrow residential road that skirted the beach to the south. I was alone on the road, glorious, vast gray skies and sprawling blue ocean my only companions. This was what I’d come to Rainbow Cove for, the space to be alone, the quietness that I’d only ever found before in a dojo. Portland was crowded, and not just with people. My parents’ expectations always loomed large, as did past mistakes and hurts, and the general hustle of the area made it hard to catch my breath, hard to think and breathe and simply be. The traffic. The noise. The demands. All of it had gotten to be too much for me, and when my friend Mason had proposed the idea of the bar and grille here on the coast, I’d leapt at the chance to start fresh, especially since I’d loved the coast from some of my earliest memories of family weekends away.

Eventually, my ride returned me to the tavern where Mason was signing off on a meat delivery from a local farm.

“Chef!” The driver greeted me with a wave as I locked up the bike. “We’ve got some new fillets in. Think you might want some for a special this week?”

My mind immediately flitted away the shirtless woodcarver and back to my real passion—cooking. I loved being the chef here, the guy who made the decisions and the specials. I’d had years of sous chef positions in Portland, growing ever more eager for my own menu, one where I could play with sauces and presentation and choose my own local ingredients.

“I’m picturing a peppercorn crusted fillet with red wine reduction.” I inspected packages Mason was loading into the freezer and fridge. We’d do most of our business with the endless stacks of burger patties, but I loved changing things up with my daily specials, too.

“Don’t know if anyone will pay fillet prices.” Mason shook his head. The slow winter season was starting to wear on my friend, who also served as our business manager. “You can try it as a special, but let’s not over-order.”

I reluctantly took a small order of fillets, ceding to Mason’s wishes, and rounded out my weekly specials plan with cheaper options like shepherd’s pie.

“How was your ride?” Mason asked after the delivery guy was on his way.

“Fine.” I didn’t feel the need to report on my perving of the woodcarver. It had been a little personal indulgence. Not to mention the fact that Mason’s police chief boyfriend, Nash Flint, was close friends with Curtis, which meant I’d be in for double the teasing if I let on that I’d let my eyes wander in that direction.

“You’re not too lonely, are you?” Mason pressed. “It’s your first winter on the coast, and I know that can be hard.”

“Not lonely,” I said, truthfully. I was so happy to be free of all the voices of Portland—my well-meaning parents, my ex, my aikido master, my many opinionated friends, the executive chefs and restaurant managers who hadn’t seen fit to promote me. The silence of the off season meant that for the first time in my life I was finally free to figure out my own direction, and I intended to seize that. I wasn’t telling Mason, but that was my New Year’s resolution—be the person I’d been reluctant to embrace in Portland. It was high time I took a chance on myself.

Purchase at AmazonMeet the Author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: September by Robert Winter

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Title:  September

Series: Pride and Joy #1

Author: Robert Winter

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: Dec 9, 2016

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 100000 words

Genre: Romance, May-December, Contemporary, Provincetown, Washington DC

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Synopsis

David James is smart, successful, handsome… and alone. After the death of his lover, Kyle, from cancer, he buried himself in his law practice and the gym. At forty-eight, he is haunted by his memories and walled off from the world. When David injures himself working out, he’s assigned to Brandon Smith for physical therapy. The vibrant young therapist is attracted to David and realizes he needs a hand to get back into dating. What begins as a practice coffee date escalates to friendship, passion, and maybe something more, as they navigate a new relationship in Washington, DC, and the gay mecca of Provincetown.

But David remains trapped behind the barrier of fear and guilt. Will he remain loyal to Kyle’s memory if he moves on? Can he and Brandon manage a twenty-two-year age gap? Brandon thinks he understands David’s concerns, and for him, the answer to those questions is yes. He wants to be with David, and he believes he can overcome David’s barriers. But Brandon fails to account for the world’s reaction to a handsome young man attached to an older, wealthy lover. David’s memories, Brandon’s pride, and an unexpected tragedy might cost them something very special.

Excerpt

Brandon made it to the clinic that morning with about fifteen minutes to spare, dropped his backpack in the break room, and grabbed his water bottle. “Chilly day, huh?” he asked Josh, another therapist, as he filled the bottle. “Did ya catch the Nats lineup? It sounds like it’s gonna be a good season.” They shot the shit for a few minutes as Josh fixed his coffee.

Shari, one of the assistants to the four physical therapists in the clinic, dropped Brandon’s patient files at his work area, along with a short summary on top. He skimmed the list as he drank water to get hydrated for what promised to be a grueling day. Mia Johnson had bad arthritis; she was responding well with heat and stretching. Miz Williams—nice woman, but ugh, never did her home exercises. Maggie Cook had been injured in a bike accident two weeks back, and it was time to adjust her brace. A new patient, David James, had a torn rotator cuff.

Hmm. Fresh injury, I’ll wanna start simply. He read through his patient notes and flexed his hands as he thought about various massage strokes or exercises that should help. He was engrossed, and he vaguely heard the door to the reception area open and a baritone rumble. A few seconds later, a shadow fell over his desk and a deep voice spoke.

“Excuse me. Are you Brandon Smith? The receptionist sent me back.” Brandon looked up at a man who was holding a medical file out to him, and he almost let his jaw drop.

The guy was tall, a little over six feet, and wearing a suit. His hair was chestnut brown with some gray, parted on the left and smoothly combed up and to the back. He had cheekbones like a model and such brilliant green eyes that Brandon wondered for a second if he were wearing tinted contact lenses. His eyebrows were thick but sharply defined, like upside-down checkmarks. And his full lips would definitely be soft to kiss. Seriously good-looking.

When the silence stretched, the hottie prompted, “Umm…,” and Brandon shook his head.

“Sorry. I was just caught up in somethin’.” He gave a big smile as he stood and held out his hand. “I’m Brandon. Are you David?”

David shook the offered hand with a strong, warm grip. His big mitt engulfed Brandon’s hand and drew from him a slight involuntary moan. David met his eye, and Brandon imagined he saw a little speculative spark there. Yes, I’m available. Though it was wishful thinking that the man would care.

“Good to meet you, Brandon. I’m supposed to give you this file.” David offered the manila folder again, which Brandon took as he gestured for David to take a seat. He opened the file as he sat down, and studied a screen print of David’s MRI on top.

“Rotator cuff. Yeah. Tell me how you tore it.”

“I guess it was doing pull-ups. I felt a twinge when I was working out the other morning, and within a day, the pain was pretty intense.”

“I’ll bet. Rotator cuff tears suck donkey balls.” Brandon glanced up from the file and then looked sheepish. “Sorry. That was unprofessional. Have you ever had physical therapy before?” he asked.

“Donkey balls is about the size of it, so no worries.” David grinned at Brandon. “And no. I’ve been lucky. This is the first time I’ve had anything worse than sore muscles.”

Brandon glanced over David’s suit jacket, which was tailored to show his broad shoulders and narrow waist. “Well, obviously you work out a lot. So if this is your first injury, you must have great form.”

David chuckled. “I doubt that. I’ve just had good coaches that make me careful.”

“Let’s start with your routine, so I can get an idea of what might have led to the tear and what kinda treatment and rehab will work best here. You mentioned coaches?”

“I’ve been doing CrossFit for about a year now. Before that I always ran and lifted weights on my own.”

“CrossFit is keepin’ therapists like me gainfully employed,” Brandon said as he focused again on the medical evaluation in front of him. He sensed, however, that he had annoyed David, and he looked up quickly. Sure enough David had a slightly pissed expression on his face.

“I’ve never found anything as good as CrossFit,” David said, irritation clear in his tone. “It challenges me at a level of intensity that I didn’t manage to achieve on my own.”

Brandon held up a hand in a placating gesture. “Hey, I’m glad it works for you. I know some people are crazy about it. But understand, I only see the fall-out when somethin’ goes wrong.”

David relaxed a bit. “That makes sense. I suppose it’s all in the quality of the coaching.”

“Sure. But even the best coach can’t prevent all injuries. It’s inevitable when you train that hard.”

“What’s the program here? How soon will I be able to get back to it?”

Brandon tilted his head and studied the image of David’s shoulder. “That’s hard to predict. I’d say we’re talkin’ weeks, not months.” David groaned, and Brandon couldn’t help smiling a bit. “Look, you’re not gonna lose all that muscle if you rest a few weeks. Let’s get started, and I’ll have a better sense of what we’re gonna try. Okay?”

Brandon rose, gestured for David to follow, and led him to a cubicle containing a padded table and curtains that could be drawn for privacy. “I’ll need to get at that shoulder to see what’s what. Take off your jacket and shirt and your T-shirt, if you’re wearin’ one. Just call out when you’re ready.” Brandon left David and pulled the curtains around.

A few minutes later, David called out, “Ready.” Brandon slipped through the closed curtains, and he caught his breath. David had a beautiful body, which was bared to the waist. His shoulders were broad, with perfect traps connecting his long neck to cannonball-like deltoids. His pecs were almost perfectly smooth. Wonder if he shaves that chest? His biceps and triceps were cut, and his forearms were thick and lightly dusted in silky-looking hair. A nice V-shape ran from his belly down to where his belt and suit pants covered the rest. Brandon flicked a glance over the bulge at David’s crotch. He guessed what was hidden was equally spectacular, and he tried to think of a reason to make David drop trou for a shoulder injury.

“Wow. Forget what I said and stick with CrossFit.”

David laughed and asked, “Are you just trying to keep a steady line of business going?” Brandon flashed him a grin, and David clearly began relaxing into the therapy despite his flirting. Or maybe because of?

Brandon stepped closer and peered up. He was about five inches shorter than David. “Well, I could climb you like a tree, but I think it’ll be easier on both of us if you sit down while I check out your shoulder.” Brandon hooked over a stool with his foot, and when David sat, Brandon grasped his right wrist in his left hand. “Let me do the movin’.” He gently placed the arm in various positions, studying David’s reaction and stopping each movement when he saw the slightest grimace or wince. After a few minutes of that, he—reluctantly—released the arm and leaned back against a counter.

“It seems pretty straightforward, David. This is a common injury, and nothin’ indicates permanent damage. Also, there’s nothin’ troublesome on the X-ray. I’m sure it feels like shit, and you’re probably gonna get mad at me from the exercises I put you through, but I can help. Don’t do anythin’ to the point of pain, but if you want results, you’re gonna need to do a lot of work, here and on your own. The weights will be light, but you’ll do so many reps it’ll be a ball buster. Feel free to curse at me when I push you, but be honest about your pain level. How does that sound?”

“Fair enough. Do we start today?” David asked.

“Absolutely. So, scale of one to ten, what’s your pain like right now?”

“I’d say… five?”

“Well, don’t ask me, cowboy. This is your rodeo.”

David laughed at that. “Then five.”

Brandon leaned against the counter, arms crossed as he looked David in the eye. “Dr. McCracken has you on an anti-inflammatory, right? Good. Okay. I’m gonna get some heat on that shoulder first, and then we’ll go through some light mobilization work.”

Something in David’s gaze—a smolder—made him pause. Although he’d been flirting a bit, it wasn’t with any real expectation that David would respond. Is it possible he’s gay…? He stamped on the thought and continued. “I’ll give you a series of stretches and exercises that I want you to work through at least twice a day until I see you again on Monday. Then I’m gonna put some kinesio tape on the shoulder to help ease the stress. You’ll sleep better, I promise.”

“Let’s do it,” David said.

Brandon flushed a bit at what David had unintentionally signaled and the image it sparked. Don’t flirt any more. You’re probably wrong, and it’s unprofessional anyway. Brandon retrieved a heated towel and laid it over David’s injured shoulder. “Too hot?”

“No, not at all. That feels good.”

“You should do this at home, or at the office if you can manage it. You can just warm a damp hand towel in a microwave. Heat first, then the rehab exercises I’m gonna give you. Finish up with ice. Now you sit quietly for another five minutes while I get some materials together.”

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Meet the Author

Robert Winter is a recovering lawyer who likes writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants.

Robert divides his time between Washington, DC, and Provincetown, MA. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

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The author is offering up FIVE signed paperbacks of the novel, September, to lucky winners! Enter below for your chance to win.

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