An Ali Review: Starting from Zero (Starting From #1) by Lane Hayes

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Justin Cuevas is going through a rough patch. A broken relationship, a scandal, and the demise of his band have shaken the aspiring rock star’s confidence. Working two jobs and sleeping on his friend’s sofa isn’t ideal, but Justin isn’t ready to give up yet. With a little luck, he’s hoping to re-launch his music career in LA with his new band, Zero. The key is to stay focused, and not get distracted by his past…or the sexy songwriter he can’t get out of his head.

Gray Robertson has written dozens of hits and worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. But he’s never met anyone like Justin. The younger man is fiery, passionate, and smart. A powerful voice for a new generation. Other than an unforgettable one-night stand and a passion for music, the two men have nothing in common. Or do they? Justin knows the out-of-the-blue challenge to write a quintessential love song is a huge opportunity. And it’s the ultimate test for someone who’s doesn’t believe in happily ever after. When sparks fly, Justin and Gray realize they have a shot something special if they start from zero together. Maybe even love.

This was one of the best books I’ve read in awhile. I always enjoy this author’s work but this one really stood out to me. The writing here was gorgeous. In addition to being a very good book, it was also very romantic. One of those that makes you do a happy sigh when you’re done reading it.
The story revolves around two men who on the surface seem very different. They meet at a club after Justin performs and they are immediately attracted to each other. They agree to go somewhere to talk but they neither thinks it will go anywhere and neither is looking for a relationship anyways. Their chemistry jumps off the pages and they find they are so attracted to each other they can’t stop at just talking. After a scorching scene public bathroom sex, they go their separate ways. Fate has different ideas and brings them back together a short time later when they end up working together.
I liked both of the MC’s very much and I especially liked them together. I’m not generally a big fan of age gaps but I thought it was really well done here. I found their relationship believable despite the differences in their life experiences. I rarely comment on sex scenes in my reviews because I can take or leave them depending on the overall plot. Here though they really stood out. These two were smoking hot together. I think this author did a great job of not only showing their chemistry but also used the scenes to show their overall relationship development.
If you’ve read this author’s Out In College series you will recognize Justin. He is the older brother of Rory from book three. Both Rory and Christian makes some appearances in this. If you have not read that book though it will not matter. This book is totally a standalone.
There was nothing about this book that I disliked. I thought it was really well done and I highly recommend this. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
Cover:  I like the cover. It’s is eye catching and visually appealing. I also feel the model on the cover fits the main character.

Sales LInks:  Amazon |

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 215 pages
Published April 19th 2019 by Lane Hayes (first published April 16th 2019)
Edition Language English
Series Starting From #1

Need Something New To Read? Check Out the New Release Blitz for Starting From Zero((Starting From #1) by Lane Hayes (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Starting From Zero

Series: Starting From Series, Book 1

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: April 15

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 68000

Genre: Romance, Rock star, May/December romance, Bisexual, LA, Humor, New beginning

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Synopsis

Justin Cuevas is going through a rough patch. A broken relationship, a scandal, and the demise of his band have shaken the aspiring rock star’s confidence. Working two jobs and sleeping on his friend’s sofa isn’t ideal, but Justin isn’t ready to give up yet. With a little luck, he’s hoping to re-launch his music career in LA with his new band, Zero. The key is to stay focused, and not get distracted by his past…or the sexy songwriter he can’t get out of his head.

Gray Robertson has written dozens of hits and worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. But he’s never met anyone like Justin. The younger man is fiery, passionate, and smart. A powerful voice for a new generation. Other than an unforgettable one-night stand and a passion for music, the two men have nothing in common. Or do they? Justin knows the out-of-the-blue challenge to write a quintessential love song is a huge opportunity. And it’s the ultimate test for someone who’s doesn’t believe in happily ever after. When sparks fly, Justin and Gray realize they have a shot something special if they start from zero together. Maybe even love.

Excerpt

Justin turned to me with a fiery expression and gestured toward the glittering lights below. “Everyone here wants more than what they have. And I guess I’m the same. I don’t need recognition and I sure as fuck don’t want love, but I wouldn’t say no to a few bucks,” he commented with a laugh. “What about you?”

I did a double take. I was two steps behind, struggling to keep up, and if possible, memorize every word he’d said. I hadn’t been around anyone so raw or so honest in a long time. He made rules and broke them with at whim, letting me in and then shutting me out. He had a way of revealing himself that made me feel as though he was holding a mirror to me, daring me to acknowledge my broken pieces too. He was either slightly insane or incredibly gifted. I suspected it was the latter. The cadence of his speech lured me in…and made me want more. I’d tell him anything he wanted to know, just to be near him and this intense spark of…newness, creativity, and wonder.

“What about me?” I asked in a low raspy voice.

“What do you want to accomplish before you leave the planet?”

“I want to write the perfect song,” I replied unthinking.

“There’s no such thing.”

“Maybe, maybe not. But it would be nice to leave something that felt special.”

Justin held my gaze then inclined his head in agreement. “Yeah. I want that too.”

We stared at each other. Whispers of conversation floated from the far corners of the rooftop deck. We weren’t alone, but we might as well be. I couldn’t remember ever feeling so intimately connected to someone I’d never really touched. It was puzzling and enchanting at the same time.

He shivered when the breeze kicked up. I took it as a sign from above and pulled him against me. I had to feel him. I studied the sexy indentation in his bottom lip before giving into impulse and resting my hands on his hip. Justin gave me a funny look but he didn’t push me away.

“You shouldn’t be anonymous. You have too much to share. Too much to say,” I said.

“What are you doing?”

“I…I’m not sure. Is this okay?”

“Yeah. It’s good.” Justin nodded and snaked his arms around my waist.

We were still for a while. He was so close I could feel his breath on my lips. The lingering quiet was deceptive. A casual observer might have mistaken us for old lovers engaged in a tender moment. Or maybe they’d guess we were tentative strangers anxious to make the right moves. Not too fast, not too slow. Neither was correct. There was no quiet here. An electric current sizzled and hissed between us. Intense sexual awareness and something more. Something fiery and passionate. He was wild and rough with jagged edges and a sharp mind. Instinctively, I knew I should proceed with caution because walking away wasn’t an option.

“I want to kiss you,” I whispered, inching closer so our noses brushed.

Justin gave me a crooked smile and tugged at my belt loop. “Then do it.”

I tilted my chin slightly and pressed my lips to his. He was deceptively tender at first. He closed his eyes and hummed into the connection. When I licked at the corner of his mouth, he let me in without hesitation. I couldn’t get enough. He tasted like gin and nicotine with a hint of peppermint. All the things I apparently couldn’t do without.

I pulled him closer, cupping the back of his neck to kiss him harder and deeper. Our tongues twisted in a growing frenzy until everything and everyone around us dissolved into white noise. Justin lulled me into complacency and let me think I was in control. I pushed him back slightly and wrapped my fingers around his neck to keep him in place when he leaned forward to nip my bottom lip. He grinned like a madman and then lowered his eyelashes in a show of faux subservience. I didn’t trust him to stay still or obey for a second. Justin was wild and headstrong. He wasn’t going to do anything that wasn’t either his idea or a bad idea.

I should have known then that I’d met my match.

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is finally doing what she loves best. Writing! An avid reader from an early age, Lane has always been drawn to romance novels. She truly believes there is nothing more inspiring than a well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Lane discovered the M/M genre a fews ago and was instantly hooked. She is the bestselling author of the Better Than, Right and Wrong, A Kind of Stories and Leaning Into Series and the Out in College series. Lane’s novels placed first in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an empty nest.

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A MelanieM Review: Inside Out (Road to Blissville #6) by Aimee Nicole Walker

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Romeo Bradly and Julius Shepherd moved to Blissville for the same reason: a fresh start. Romeo was looking for a school district where he could make a real impact in the lives of students and faculty, and Julius was eager to teach one of his passions to the best and brightest at a school with a nationally ranked science program. But the sleepy little town offered them much more than they’d bargained for—quirky people, unlikely friendships, and an all-consuming attraction that turns them inside out.

When unexpected circumstances threaten to cancel the school play, Romeo’s theater background and Julius’s musical expertise make them the perfect pair to save the day. Working together so closely makes it harder for the men to ignore their growing feelings. After all, the heart knows what it wants and doesn’t care about age gaps, race, or professional conflict of interest. Romeo and Julius will learn that they have far more in common than they realize, and their differences will make them stronger if they give love a chance.

Their commitment to each other and the play will be tested when outside forces target them as a couple and exert pressure to cancel the production. Romeo and Julius vow to prove their love can conquer any challenge and will burn strong well beyond the curtain call.

Inside Out is a whimsical, May/December romance featuring a man learning to love again and a man falling in love for the first time. It is the sixth book in the Road to Blissville series and can be read as a standalone book or part of the series.

I had no idea when I picked up a book called Unscripted Love set in a small town called Blissville about a veterinarian and a writer looking for love how deeply I would come to love this series and a small fictional place that exists nowhere else but in Aimee Nicole Walker’s imagination and this series.  Should it actually exist, my bags would be packed, the boxes stacked, and the car running, ready for the move I’d make without hesitation.  You see, over the course of; as of Inside Out, six books, I know Blissville as intimately as any of these characters.  I want to have my hair done at the Curl Up and Dye, walk the quaint, beautiful tree lined streets with my dogs, meeting my neighbors, heading over to Books and Brew. There I’ll have my coffee, choose from any number of pastries, get a baked doggie treat from Mae or her brother and go outside to sit at a table.  Maybe I’ll read the local paper, get caught up on the gossip, learn how to get mustard out of my clothes, and find out how the Blissville Bulldogs are doing as well as all the other local school sports teams. If I don’t feel like cooking?  Always head to the Dinner for some of the best home cooked food in the area and see friends as well.   The charm and magic of Blissville runneth over, book after book, couple after couple.  Inside Out is one more wonderful novel in this series that captivates me.

If you are looking for angst, there’s a little but this is mostly a character and relationship based story, which I loved.  Told in alternating povs, each man is new to Blissville, having accepted new jobs in the Blissville school system recently.   Both are making adjustments in their lives, not only in location, but emotionally as well.  There are differences in age, type of support system, even race in our main characters, but the author shows that they also have so much in common from the very beginning that their very differences add flavor to a romance that not only works but is perfect for each other.

There is a wonderful story thread about a student play called Inside Out that has multiple meanings here.  The play itself becomes as real as the three students who wrote and fight to put it on, that I almost wished it too was as authentic as it came across.  I certainly wanted to listen to the score.

And by the end, I was so happy.  Not just with the wonderful romance and love of Rome and Julius, but with Howard, who’s friendship with Rome helped  to lift him out of his mourning and back into life.  And with meeting Priscilla, the Dragon who guarded the desk of the Superintendent and much more,  Rome’s sister and family, Julius’ mother and younger brother, on and on. When you enter a Blissville story, you enter a community of people you will soon take to heart, Inside Out is no exception.  The end result is that it left me happy, content, and wanting a swift return to a place I so wish was real.

You don’t need to read these stories in order but in doing so it’s like gathering a group of friends that you see again and again in each tale.  I think it’s just lovely and I highly recommend them all.

Cover Art: Jay Aheer.  I really like this cover with the clasped hands, touching and works.d

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 222 pages
Published January 14th 2019 by Chasing Rainbows Press LLC
ASINB07MTLPZZ4
Series Road to Blissville #6

Road to Blissville Series

Unscripted Love

Someone to Call My Own

Nobody’s Prince Charming

This Time Around

Smoke in the Mirror

Inside Out

New Release Blitz for Inside Out (A Road to Blissville Story) by Aimee Nicole Walker (excerpt)

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INSIDE OUT

A ROAD TO BLISSVILLE NOVEL

AIMEE NICOLE WALKER

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: TBD

inside out cover 

COVER ARTIST:  Jay Aheer/Simply Defined Art 

BLURB 

Romeo Bradly and Julius Shepherd moved to Blissville for the same reason: a fresh start. Romeo was looking for a school district where he could make a real impact in the lives of students and faculty, and Julius was eager to teach one of his passions to the best and brightest at a school with a nationally ranked science program. But the sleepy little town offered them much more than they’d bargained for—quirky people, unlikely friendships, and an all-consuming attraction that turns them inside out.

When unexpected circumstances threaten to cancel the school play, Romeo’s theater background and Julius’s musical expertise make them the perfect pair to save the day. Working together so closely makes it harder for the men to ignore their growing feelings. After all, the heart knows what it wants and doesn’t care about age gaps, race, or a professional conflict of interest. Romeo and Julius will learn that they have far more in common than they realize, and their differences will make them stronger if they give love a chance.

Their commitment to each other and the play will be tested when outside forces target them as a couple and exert pressure to cancel the production. Romeo and Julius vow to prove their love can conquer any challenge and will burn strong well beyond the curtain call.

Inside Out is a whimsical, May/December romance featuring a man learning to love again and a man falling in love for the first time. It is the sixth book in the Road to Blissville series and can be read as a standalone book or part of the series. This book contains sexually explicit material and is intended for adults 18 and older.

inside out teaser 1

inside out teaser 2

EXCERPT

I couldn’t contain my laughter if someone offered me a million dollars. Luckily, Rome laughed right along with me instead of getting pissed. How could he not? It was fucking hilarious.

“But wait! There’s more,” he said, sounding like an infomercial. “At my old high school, one of the boys bragged to his buddies in the hallway that he received a hummer the night before, and I heartily congratulated the kid and gave him a fist bump. It was much later that I realized he was talking about getting a blow job and not a new SUV.”

“I…can’t…” I laughed until I gasped for air and tears ran down my face.

“Do you realize we spend as much time laughing together as we do anything else?” Rome asked when the laughter started to fade. “It’s so wonderful I’m not even mad that it’s at my expense most of the time.”

No one affected me the way he did. I laughed harder, my heart beat faster, and my senses were heightened until he was all I could taste, feel, see, and hear. Just him. I cupped his handsome face and stroked my thumb over his square jawline. “There’s nothing I would change about us, Rome. Nothing.”

He leaned into my touch, closed his eyes, and sighed. It felt like he truly believed we could have something real and sustaining for the first time. When he opened his eyes, I knew I was right. No doubt. No hesitation. Only soul-deep gratification. “Me either.”

aimee nicole walker 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.

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Kim Dias on Writing, Stories and her release ‘Breakfast at Midnight’ (guest post)

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Breakfast at Midnight by Kim Dias
Dreamspinner Press
Cover art by L.C. Chase

Release Date:
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kim Dias here today on her Breakfast at Midnight tour.  Welcome, Kim.

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with the author of Breakfast at Midnight… Kim Dias

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I find this one of the hardest questions to answer because, well, I don’t really know! I definitely share traits with several of my characters, but when I’ve finished writing, I sometimes feel as though there’s more of my characters in me than there is of me in them. Which can make me feel a little bit crazy sometimes! When a character has a really strong voice, I’ll sometimes find myself talking in their voice rather than them talking in mine. It’s a good thing, I think. I’d rather have their voices come easily to me than struggle with them.

  • Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work? Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it? Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

This happens more with characters than with plots. I’ll often have a character in my head for years and years before I find the right story for them. Shawn from my short story “How to Build a Shed” was one of those characters. He was in my head for ages before I managed to find the right story for him.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Do you mean choosing one over the other? Because I really can’t do that. It depends on the story. If the ending fits the story, I like it. I hate seeing a happy ending forced into a story, the same way I hate seeing sad endings forced into a story because a happy one didn’t seem artsy enough, I guess.

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

My two favourites are “How to Build a Shed” and “Two Captains”. I really love the storyline of “How to Build a Shed”; it takes me to such a happy place, and I love my characters in that one. As for “Two Captains”, well, I call it “my queer lady pirate story”, and I love it just for the fact that I can give it that description. It does important things for representation, I think, and I’m incredibly proud of it.

  • If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

My current work station is pretty great—it’s just a desk set up in my bedroom, but its atmosphere is really conducive to getting work done. It’s also where I got the news about Breakfast at Midnight’s publication, so there are very fond memories associated with this desk.

But if I’m dreaming, I’d love a house on the beach with a study overlooking the ocean. A big desk. A whiteboard on the wall so I can scribble down my ideas when they’re overflowing from my head. Bookshelves absolutely filled with books. Someone to bring me cups of tea.

I have a hard time working when I’m surrounded by clutter. My desk is currently a mess and I’m struggling with everything. I need to set aside some time for cleaning because clutter at my work station seems to create clutter in my brain.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I’m currently at school. I’m majoring in writing at the University of Victoria in Canada. So there’s lots of writing, but it isn’t always the kind of writing I want to be doing. My current goal is to survive this semester, but I’m always playing with ideas for my own creative pursuits. Editing Breakfast at Midnight was such a rewarding, but exhausting experience that I haven’t ventured out into romance since we wrapped up, but I think it’s time. I want to write about people falling in love again. It’s my favourite thing to do.

About Breakfast at Midnight

Hope can be found in unexpected places.

Lonely, still struggling with his divorce, and suffering from writer’s block, successful thriller author Fred spends much more time in an all-night Denny’s than is healthy for any man. It’s the last place he thought he’d meet someone like Callum, who has literally run away from the internationally famous boy band Leos.

Despite their age difference, the two become friends, and their long nights of soul-searching might help them find the courage to face their problems: Fred’s deteriorating relationship with his daughter and Callum’s career issues. It’s easy for their lives to tangle together, and each might provide the other the means to move beyond the past—even if it’s not a journey they can take together.

About the Author

Kim Dias has been writing for years, but has been making up stories for what feels like forever. She writes love stories, preferably with a side of hot sex; Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction Awards constantly inspire her to do better.

When not focused on her studies at the University of Victoria, Kim spends her time working on her novel, which she swears will one day be finished. She loves dogs, reading in front of fireplaces, and days spent in the sunshine. She believes whole-heartedly that stories can change the world.

You can find her online at kimdias.tumblr.com.

A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Tender with a Twist (Rainbow Cove #2) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

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.

With the release of Tender with a Twist by Annabeth Albert cements Rainbow Cove as one of my favorite destinations for love and romance.  Of course it started with Trust with a Chaser (Rainbow Cove, #1) where Mason Hanks with his friends Adam and Logan Rosner open a bar and grill in an Oregon seaside town desperately in need of revival.  Mason finds love with the town’s Sheriff Nash Flint while they struggle to keep their new restaurant alive.

In Tender with a Twist,  we find both the town and the restaurant all still trying to survive.  The restaurant is trying to make it through the off-season until the tourists return and the town is trying to adapt and understand what it would mean to be an LGBT destination point if the new resort opens up and the influx of new  businesses arrive.  Not all the townspeople are happy with the new developements.  In every way change appears as a force to be faced here in this story.

For both Curtis and Logan, the need for change is at the heart of the issues both men are facing.  With Annabeth Albert, there’s never any “telling” in her stories.  The author’s ability to telegraph the deep confusion, grief, frustration, and pain these men are going through to the reader is real and amazingly vivid.

For Curtis, he’s caught in place by the loss of his husband, held in stasis by his mother-in law’s grief as well as his own,  plus her guilt that refuses the let them both move forward towards anything like a life without her son. That’s she is also his last remaining tie to the man he loved? Just another knot on the ropes holding him in place…the fear that if he moves forward he will lose her too. He’s let everything go, abandoned their old friends, their pleasures, even houses.  Only one thing he has left personally…his need to be a sub.  And that has just been pulled away from him when the Dom he’s been using has said they can’t continue.  Plus his best friend, Nash, has just found a partner.  So now Curtis truly feels alone and isolated.  Albert makes us feel every bit of the pain and heartache emanating from Curtis Hunt.

Then there’s the surprising bundle of character traits that is Logan Rosner.  He is one of the most amazing characters and one I absolutely adored.  Logan too is bound by a past that won’t let go.  This time it’s his parents who refuse to see him as an adult, keeping him firmly planted in his painful past, binding him in their fears and in their image of him.  But Logan has strengths he has kept hidden, including the fact that he’s a Dom. An untried one, basically, but still a Dom and Curtis fits everything he wants in a sub.  And more…Curtis fits everything Logan wants in his life.

How Annabeth Albert works these two complicated men past the age barrier, the grief, their backgrounds, their families that are holding them back, all the realistic elements and then moves them forward into a relationship that the readers see lasting for the rest of their lives?  Well, it’s one of the most heart warming stories that I’ve read in awhile and one that’s made me love the Rainbow Cove series even more (if that’s possible).

The D/s element is so well done here, especially as it can’t be part of the romance, at least not at first.  Curtis can’t handle that.  So it’s woven into a different part of their lives as they discover more about that aspect of each other.  That level of trust then allows an openness for other revelations to follow.  And yes, it’s sexy and very, very hot!

But for me it’s the healing of two hearts and the love that these two men find together that even now starts to send me back to the beginning of their story to start to read it all over again.  Rainbow Cove is a very special place and as much as I love all of Annabeth Albert’s series, I suspect that this one has found it’s way to the top of the list.   It’s certainly my top destination location.   Make it yours!  You don’t have to have read the first in the series to read Tender with a Twist but it helps to give you that additional background knowledge on the place and characters you will meet here.   Plus it’s another fantastic story.  I highly recommend this one and the series.

Cover design: Sloan J Designs.  I love this design.  It’s perfect for the character and I love the tone that comes across.

Purchase at Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 2nd 2017 by Annabeth Albert
SeriesRainbow Cove #2 settingOregon (United States)

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Breakfast at Midnight by Kim Dias

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Hope can be found in unexpected places.

Lonely, still struggling with his divorce, and suffering from writer’s block, successful thriller author Fred spends much more time in an all-night Denny’s than is healthy for any man. It’s the last place he thought he’d meet someone like Callum, who has literally run away from the internationally famous boy band Leos.

Despite their age difference, the two become friends, and their long nights of soul-searching might help them find the courage to face their problems: Fred’s deteriorating relationship with his daughter and Callum’s career issues. It’s easy for their lives to tangle together, and each might provide the other the means to move beyond the past—even if it’s not a journey they can take together.

Breakfast at Midnight by Kim Dias is short but the author does a remarkable job of packing a lot of heart, angst, and promise into 66 pages.  A first for me by this author, the story of two men, each having huge difficulties in their lives and professions.  They meet and connect at a Denny’s, that connection grows into a possibility for the future and while that happens, they set their own lives a little straighter as well.

That’s it.  Only the possibility of a HFN, but the manner in which the author builds the tenuous relationship feels realistic.  There’s no instalov which I appreciated, given the age difference and the problems each man is facing in their own lives.  There’s even the acknowledgement of the age difference, the idea the Callum has no idea who he is yet and needs to find that first (again a wonderful authentic touch), and that Fred needs time to work on his own issues and by the end of the story is well on his way to resolving some as is Callum.

At the beginning of the story the men met at a crossroads, something wonderful happens and now it’s up to them how the future unfolds.  At the end of the tale, we see the potential for a future.  That’s lovely.

Is the end a bit abrupt?  Yes.  Does the story have some narrative issues of its own.  Sure but the whole here it still sweet and real, it leaves you rooting for something more for both Fred and Callum, even if it’s not lasting.  I felt good after reading Breakfast at Midnight.  I felt hopeful and wanted to learn about what happens next.  Maybe the author will deliver that in another story.  Maybe not.  Either way, I recommend this one to you lovers of romance!

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase.  The cover art does a great job with both characters and the major element of the location of most of their scenes.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 66 pages
Expected publication: October 11th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635338997
Edition LanguageEnglish

Coffee Sip and Book Break with Age Is Just a Number, a Wayward Ink Publishing Anthology (an May/December Romance Collection Across Genres – giveaway)

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Age Is Just a Number MIni Tour Banner

Title: Age is Just a Number
Authors: Eric Gober, Layla Dorine, Lily Velden, Dale Cameron Lowry, Eddy LeFey, Asta Idonea, Louise Lyons, Kassandra Lea, Carol Pedroso, Aimee Brissay
Genre: Gay, Romance, May/December Romance, LGBT
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Synopsis

There’s something to be said for life experience, a little gray at the temple…

And then there is the appeal of youth.

When it comes to what the heart wants, Age Is Just A Number.

Buy Links

Don’t miss the limited time discounted prices on publishers’ and all major retailer sites!

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/age-is-just-a-number-a-wayward-ink-publishing-anthology/
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-ageisjustanumberawaywardinkpublishinganthology-2090671-166.html
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Age-Just-Number-Publishing-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01KMSZ7X4/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Age-Just-Number-Publishing-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01KMSZ7X4/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Age-Just-Number-Publishing-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01KMSZ7X4/
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/Age-Just-Number-Publishing-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01KMSZ7X4/

AIJAN Anthology Cover

Stories Included

TWENTY LIGHT YEARS BETWEEN US

Eric Gober

An alien encounter…
An unfortunate misstep…
A lightning fast journey through space…
The laws of physics are about to wreak havoc on Walt and Michael’s May-December love.

ALL ROADS LEAD WITHIN

Layla Dorine

When James spotted Rogue, a young man for whom wandering is like breathing, half-dozing on the hood of his car, he never expected that warning him about the dangers of sleeping out in the open would lead to a weekly visitor at his door.

NORTH PASTURE

Lily Velden

Upon the death of his grandfather, up and coming Fantasy author, Thomas, returns home.
A place he left four years earlier to get over his unrequited love for Sam Fletcher, his older, straight, and very much married neighbor.
Thomas soon discovers, however, that things are much changed with Sam…

AMERICAN MASTER BAKER

Dale Cameron Lowry

Baking is a way of life for Joey, a young pastry chef vying for first place in the popular reality show American Master Bakers.
But the judges have been showing favoritism to Terence, an aggravatingly attractive older man with more experience under his belt.
When the competition gets hot, so do the two men. Can a relationship that started in hatred end in love?

ALPHA AND OMEGA: THE CLAIMING

Eddy LeFey

A young Omega shifter meets a much older Alpha.
Will Elliot let Issac help him be who he is too afraid to be?

STAND AND DELIVER

Asta Idonea

Necessity has forced former soldier Captain Keen to assume the occupation of gentleman highwayman. His fortunes take a turn, however, the night he stops the Marquis de Beaumont’s coach and gets more than he bargained for when he utters the words “Stand and deliver!”

LOST AND FOUND

Louise Lyons

The loss of his best friend leads Phil to find love.

TRAIL TO LOVE

Kassandra Lea

There’s only one thing Kit Conley likes more than horses and that’s Roman Meadery.
But will the elite rider ever notice him?

CRUISING WITH LOVE

Carol Pedroso

Gus is under the thumb of a controlling father. Can meeting his mate give him a reason to make a break for freedom?
Nelson is twice Gus’ age, and very protective of what is his.
What will happen when Gus’ father tries to split them up? And what surprises does Nelson have up his sleeve?

NEAR MISS

Aimee Brissay

A few seconds, that’s all it takes to make a difference between life and death.
Between killing someone and stopping on time.
But is it enough to turn yourself around when you’ve hit bottom?
Or to make you recognize something good when you have it?

Exclusive Excerpt from Eric Gober’s Twenty Lightyears Between Us:

“It’s gotta be a hoax of some sort. We’re probably on Candid Camera right now, about

to make big fools of ourselves.” I picked up the 8-track player. “Let’s just go back to our

picnic spot.”

“No way; we’re investigating this.” Gary stepped inside and retreated down a corridor

with Michael.

Against my better judgment, I entered the vessel.

I followed Michael and Gary into what looked like a living area. I had to admit the

room’s decor was unearthly. There was no blue shag carpeting or fake wood paneling. No

beanbag chairs or chained swag lamps either. Everything was spotless and appeared exotic

and very expensive. The lighting—a strange tint I couldn’t quite pinpoint in the spectrum—

had no source that I could see. The furnishings were ultra-modern. All were crafted using

odd angles, asymmetric shapes, and peculiar materials I’d never seen before. The room’s

sophisticated palette defied description. There was no harvest gold, avocado green, or

walnut brown anywhere. In fact, I’d have wagered the colors inside here couldn’t have been

duplicated by Michelangelo or Sherwin-Williams.

Two fiercely handsome men lounged on plush objects. I wouldn’t call the objects chairs

because they had no legs and didn’t touch the ground, but rather seemed to float. I didn’t

see anything suspending them. The man with lighter, golden skin stood when he saw us. He

wore an iridescent jumpsuit made of otherworldly fibers, and he had to be six and a half feet

tall.

Book Trailer

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An Alisa Release Day Review: Bear Among the Books by TJ Masters

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Bear Among the Books by TJ MastersForty-eight-year-old Ben Thompson is a librarian, a passionate book lover, and a man who embodies the definition of a bear. He’s also lonely after the loss of his long-term partner. Young ex-gymnast Jason Barnes piques his interest, but Ben quickly realizes there’s more to Jason than his good looks. While Jason visits the library almost every day, he never checks out a book.

 

With gentle persistence, Ben befriends Jason and learns the nineteen-year-old’s tragic secrets. After years of abuse at his father’s hands, Jason was kicked out of his family home for being gay. And despite his apparent love of books, Jason never learned to read. Ben offers to teach him, and the two men bond over their lessons. Ben can’t deny his attraction to Jason, but he wonders if Jason is too young and too handsome to return his interest. With the help of the close-knit library team and Jason’s growing self-confidence, they move beyond the books and into the bedroom, where their own story is just beginning.

 

This was a very enjoyable story.  Ben has been alone since his partner passed away putting all he has into the library he manages, making his own family out of the other employees.  He is drawn to Jason when he first sees him and befriends the young man hoping to draw him out of his shell.

 

Ben is almost thirty years older than Jason and despite his feelings tries to keep their relationship as friends only until his friends and Jason’s grandmother convince him that all that matters is how they feel about each other.  Jason has been through so much he deserves to have happiness in his life.  Both characters have to open up to the possibility of more than what they currently have in their lives.

 

This story is told from Ben’s point of view, so we can easily see his emotions and thoughts.  It takes a bit to understand some of Jason’s feelings, but he is very open with how he feels.  I was so happy for Jason being able to gain friends through the library employees and the love he deserves from Ben.  Even though Jason is much younger than Ben he is more mature than his age in many ways, but you can still see his youth come through during the story.  I was very happy with how this story ended and am glad they got their happy ending.

 

Cover art by Alexandria Corza is perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

Sales Links

        

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | ARe

 

Book Details:

ebook, 230 pages
Published: September 2, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN-13: 9781634772716
Edition Language: English

In Our Book Spotlight:Connection (Evan and Jeremy #1) by Brigham Vaughn (author guest post, excerpt and free book)

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Connection Final Cover

Connection (Evan and Jeremy #1) by Brigham Vaughn
Cover Artist: Brigham Vaughn
Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press (Indie/Self-Published)
Goodreads Link

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Brigham Vaughn here today to talk about her  novel, Connection, and the inspiration behind it.  Welcome, Brigham.  Tell our readers about Connection and the series its linked to.

When I began writing the novella “Equals” I never dreamed that almost two years later it would become a 4-novella series with a 2-novel spin off. I loved Russ and Stephen–the couple in the original series—but Evan and Jeremy slowly but surely stole my heart.

Jeremy was a side character in the first book. An ex of Stephen’s whose crippling car accident fifteen years prior set Stephen up for a host of relationship issues and created one of the main conflicts between him and Russ in “Equals”.

Evan was a throwaway character, originally written into “Partners” to give Stephen’s hometown of Putnam a more sympathetic face and depth.  He was a lost, lonely young man, aching to find gay men to look up to and found in role models in Russ and Stephen. Russ caught a glimpse of that and a very tentative friendship was formed, leading Evan toward a future in Atlanta.

By the time I finished “Partners” I knew I needed to tell Evan’s story. My betas strenuously agreed.  As I tossed around ideas of who I would pair Evan with, Jeremy popped into my head. At first it seemed preposterous; Jeremy was thirty-six, mentally and physically scarred from the accident, and bitter and jaded by the idea of dating. Twenty-one-year-old Evan—despite his shyness and insecurities—was wide-eyed and optimistic. He longed for a relationship and the security it would bring. They had nothing to offer each other.

Except, I’d just written a May/December romance where the age difference between Russ and Stephen worked. They balanced each other out.  What if Jeremy’s brashness was the perfect counterpoint to Evan’s shyness? What if Evan’s optimism softened Jeremy’s pessimism? What if they gave each other the strength to work through their own fears and insecurities? What if they were better together than they could ever be apart?

With those thoughts, the idea of the story fell into place. The characters fit together like puzzle pieces in my head. It wouldn’t be an easy road to get them to that point, but once I did, I knew they’d be perfect for each other.

The first book, “Connection,” was released last October. The second half is called “Trust” and it is available today.  The books will take you from Evan’s arrival in Atlanta and through the next year of his life as he and Jeremy meet and build a relationship.

If you’re new to the “Equals” world, you can read “Connection” and “Trust” as standalone novels.  But if you’d like to start at the very beginning, pick up a copy of “Equals”. It is available for free.

I have no doubt you’ll love all four men as much as I do.

Blurb

After a lifetime of being told he’s worthless, shy, sheltered Evan Harris is forced out of the closet and kicked out of his home. Friends in Atlanta give him a place to stay while he gets on his feet, but despite his eagerness to explore the city, it isn’t exactly what he expected.

Physically and emotionally scarred from a devastating car accident, Jeremy Lewis struggles to reconcile the brash, outgoing man he used to be with the social recluse he’s become.

Loneliness draws them to each other, but a strong mutual attraction isn’t enough to overcome their pasts. In order to be together, Evan must discover his own worth and Jeremy must trust someone to see past his scars.

Series and Number: “Connection” Series Book 1 of a 2-part series

Excerpt

“So how do you know the grooms?” The man he was pretty sure he recognized from the sporting goods store dropped onto the stool to his left, and Evan jerked, spilling some of his drink on the bar.

“Oh, um, I met Russ and Stephen last fall when they were in Stephen’s hometown. I worked at the funeral home there when they buried his father.”

The guy frowned. “So you’re just visiting Atlanta then?”

Evan shook his head. “No. I moved to Atlanta in February. When we met last fall, Russ was nice enough to kind of”—he struggled to find the right words as he mopped up the spill—“take me under his wing, I guess. Once I moved here, Russ and Stephen helped me get settled and find the guts to go off on my own.”

He chuckled and nudged Evan’s elbow with his. “I dunno, seems like you must have had some guts in the first place.”

“Maybe.” Evan blushed. “I’d like to think so.”

“How do you like Atlanta?”

“It’s lonely,” Evan said, surprising himself with his candor. The drink he was working on must’ve loosened his tongue. “I mean, it’s fine, I guess. I just haven’t met anyone yet.” In his head, Atlanta had been a gay man’s paradise where there would be available guys everywhere he looked, but it hadn’t worked out that way. At least, not for him.

“Amen, kid.” The guy raised his glass and clinked it against Evan’s. “What’s your name, anyway?”

“Evan Harris.” He glanced at the guy out of the corner of his eye.

“Nice to meet you. Jeremy Lewis.” He narrowed his eyes at Evan. “Wait a minute, you came into Johnson’s sporting goods a while ago, didn’t you? You needed running shoes, I think.”

“I … yeah,” Evan replied, shocked but flattered that the guy—Jeremy—had remembered him. “I did. Russ suggested I go there, actually. Um, thanks for your help, by the way. The new shoes are much better. The fit specialist did a great job.”

Jeremy grinned. “Glad to hear my employees know what they’re doing.”

Evan wasn’t sure what else to say about running shoes that wouldn’t make him sound like an idiot, but he didn’t want Jeremy to stop talking to him, so he changed the subject. “How do you know them?”

“Stephen and Russ? I just met Russ a few months ago, but Stephen’s my ex.”

“Really?” Evan gaped at him for a moment before all the pieces fell into place. Stephen had mentioned his ex’s car accident. That explained the limp and the scar. “Oh.”

“Mmmhmm. Stephen’s always had a thing for younger guys. We met when I was twenty, and he was … oh, must have been about thirty-two, thirty-three, maybe? Hell if I can remember. It’s been fifteen years.”

Which meant Jeremy was in his mid-thirties now. Up close, Evan could see the lines around his eyes when he smiled. Evan liked them.

“You’re not jealous of Russ?” he blurted out, then bit his lip, hoping Jeremy wasn’t offended.

“It’s complicated,” Jeremy said with a sigh as his lips twisted in a bitter smile. “I know Russ is a hell of a lot better for Stephen than I ever was, and I’m glad they’re happy together. It’s … it’s not that I want to be with Stephen, and, hell, I’m not a relationship kinda guy, but something about seeing them together makes me envious, you know?”

“Yeah, I know.” Evan sighed.

Jeremy nudged him with his elbow again. “Come on, kid, I’m sure you can’t have any trouble picking up guys.”

Evan sputtered, nearly choking on his drink and wondering how the guy knew he was gay. Am I obvious? he wondered. “Umm, I haven’t exactly ever done it before …” he muttered into his glass, embarrassed to confess his lack of dating experience but unable to hold his tongue.

“Don’t tell me you’re a virgin?” Jeremy’s gaze was disbelieving, and the tips of Evan’s ears went red-hot.

“Okay, I won’t then.” Evan tilted his drink back and shook an ice cube into his mouth, crunching down on it. He refused to look at the guy next to him for fear he’d turn tomato red.

Jeremy whistled quietly. “Kid, if you go into a gay club it’ll be like waving a steak at starving tigers. They’ll be all over you.”

“I think you’ve had too much to drink,” Evan protested. “I’m nothing special.”

“Oh, Jesus, you have to be kidding me.” Jeremy stood with a groan. “Okay, unless you’ve got somewhere you need to be, I want you to come have a seat with me at a booth over there. My leg is fucking killing me, and we need to have a long talk about why you don’t realize you’re the kind of pretty little twink who makes gay men cream their jockstraps.”

Evan blushed, but he followed Jeremy toward the cozy booths anyway, embarrassed, terrified, and completely intrigued by the gorgeous guy who had called him pretty.

Series and Number: “Connection” Series Book 1 of a 2-part series

Trailer:https://youtu.be/ZDdF89vL7ak

Publication Date: October 16. 2015
Word Count /or Page Number: 62,216 words/ 189 pages

Buy Links:  Amazon US  |  Amazon UKAmazon CA | All Romance  |Barnes & Noble | iTunes |

Kobo  | Smashwords

About The Author

Brigham Vaughn Right

Author Bio:

Brigham Vaughn is starting the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time writer. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga.  She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours. A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.

Social Media Links:

Genre: Contemporary
Couples: M/M
Rating: Adult

Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press (Indie/Self-Published)
Publication Date: October 16. 2015
Word Count / Page Number: 62,216 words/ 189 pages

Equals (Equals #1) by Brigham Vaughn  Goodreads link free at Amazon etc.

 

Being Released Today:

Trust

Trust (Connection #2)

 

Evan Harris thinks his relationship with Jeremy Lewis is going well. But when Jeremy bolts, Evan is left nursing a broken heart. Jeremy loves Evan, but his inability to trust holds him back from facing his past head on and building the future he desperately wants. Evan’s patience is at the breaking point, and he struggles to decide if Jeremy deserves another chance.


Scarred by his own parents’ treatment of him, Jeremy doesn’t trust Evan’s mother’s motives when she reappears in Evan’s life after his father lands in jail. The ensuing disagreement about his concerns puts further pressure on their developing relationship.

Unless Jeremy can learn to trust and Evan can let go of past hurts, they’ll miss out on the relationship they’ve both been searching for.

Buy It here at Amazon