A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: One-Eyed Royals (Seven of Spades #4) by Cordelia Kingsbridge

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

OMG! Get ready for an exciting roller coaster ride, right from the beginning!  Every page held drama. Every. Single. Page. I am so excited by this series—it’s incredible.  I want everyone to read it so I can chat with them about all the emotional twists and turns, ups and downs, and the heartwarming and gut-wrenching action that takes place between these pages.  It’s incredible that the author can continually best the previous book in the series and hold my attention for the length of the book.  I never, repeat NEVER, sit still to read an entire book, but here, except for a few hours of sleep, I did not put this one down.

Where to start?  Well, if you read the previous books you know the strain Dominic and Levi are under—not just from the Seven of Spades who continues to F up their lives, but also with each other. Have no fear though—just because they aren’t together, they manage to find their way to bed a few times and survive the morning-after guilt. 

There’s two concurrent plots going in this one: a kidnapping/extortion ring who murder one of their victims and the Seven of Spades exacting revenge, on behalf of Levi, on the four men who beat him senseless in a gay-bashing when he was in college. They were never IDed, never caught, but Seven finds them and offers them to Levi one by one as a birthday gift.  Oh, joy. 

Those kidnappers, meanwhile, are continuing to kidnap and when payment isn’t made quickly, they gouge out the eye of their victim and send it to the family. The author isn’t satisfied with getting Levi’s and Dominic’s paths to cross multiple times during this investigation, she adds to the drama by having someone close to them kidnapped.  Not saying who, ’cause spoilers…  And then, of course, Dom’s losing his possessions left and right to pay his outstanding gambling debts and to have seed money for more.  Levi’s losing too. He’s losing his temper, losing his appetite, and ultimately losing his job.  There’s so much packed into these pages that’s it’s impossible to even highlight all of it. It just doesn’t stop. Not for a minute. Skip a page and you’ve missed another plot twist.  I love this story, did I mention that?  Love it! 

Don’t despair, however. If you love these guys, hang in for the ending. It’s a pip and thankfully not as much of a cliffhanger as the last one. But, let’s face it, with one more book to go, there’s no way I’d miss a chance to read it, no matter how this one ended. 

Honestly, if you are looking for high quality action adventure, a mystery that spans a five book series—who is the Seven of Spades?—romance, hot sex, addiction and recovery, anger management, murder, mayhem and more, this is the book—and series—to pick up.

The cover by Garrett Leigh, like others in the series, features playing cards, in this case, the cards are set against a dark background and blood is dripping from them onto the floor. 

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 366 pages
Published September 10th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626496392
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Seven of Spades :

Kill Game

Trick Roller

Cash Plays

One-Eyed Royals

A Chip and a Chair – coming soon the last book in the series.

Geoffrey Knight on Writing Action/Adventure Series and his new release ‘The Temple of Time (Fathoms Five #5)’ (guest post, excerpt and giveaway)

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 Temple of Time Tour Banner

TEMPLE OF TIME

FATHOMS FIVE SERIES, BOOK 5

GEOFFREY KNIGHT

GAY ACTION & ADVENTURE

RELEASE DATE: 06.17.18

TempleOfTime_FINAL_cvr 

 

COVER DESIGN:  Adrian Nicholas

AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/2ISL6pG

AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2tUSNqU

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Geoffrey Knight here today, on tour with his latest novel The Temple of Time.  Welcome, Geoffrey.

♦︎

Pack Your Passport, It’s Time for Adventure!

by Geoffrey Knight

Hi there, and thanks so much for having me! I’m so excited to be here talking about my new Fathom’s Five book – The Temple of Time.

For anybody who isn’t familiar with Fathom’s Five, it’s my series of gay adventure novels featuring five hunky treasure-hunters who journey across the globe in search of ancient relics and the clues to solve some of the greatest mysteries of all time. To give you an idea, the first book in the series – The Cross of Sins – was aptly described by one reader as ‘Gay raiders of the lost da Vinci code’. That just about sums things up.

By way of introduction, our five Fathom’s heroes are Jake Stone, a New York adventurer and treasure hunter  who has problems learning how to care about anyone but himself; Dr Eden Santiago, the clever and courageous Brazilian biologist and physician; Shane Houston, the Texas cowboy who has a knack for maps and cartography and a love for animals; Luca da Roma, the Italian fashion model and art history expert whose skills uncover the secrets hidden in works of art; and Will Hunter, the college quarterback and ancient history major who knows his way around a pyramid just as well as he knows his way around a bedroom.

Combined, they have all the skills they need to solve some of the greatest mysteries of all time.

Of course, to write an adventure series like Fathom’s Five, there are certain boxes I needed to tick:

  • Hot gay heroes ready to outsmart, outwit and outrun trouble? Check.
  • Insanely over-the-top chase scenes and action sequences? Check.
  • Bad guys oozing with villainy? Check.
  • Far-flung exotic locations full of peril and intrigue? Double check.

In fact, that last point is where I have the most fun with my Fathom’s Five books.

Coming up with the locations for each story is my favourite part of writing an adventure tale. Where will I send my boys next? What will they find there? What kind of action scene can I set in that place?

And so, to give you a little taste of what I mean – but without giving any spoilers away – I thought I’d list my 10 favorite exotic locations (in order of books in the series) that I’ve chosen for some of my Fathom’s Five adventures.

ANKARA, TURKEY

The Book – The Cross of Sins: Fathom’s Five Book One

The Scene – While chasing down a villain who tries to kill him, cowboy cartographer Shane Houston realizes he needs a mode of transport fast or he’ll lose his target. With no car, he grabs the first thing he can find – a camel – to race through the Turkish capital of Ankara creating chaos in the streets.

VENICE, ITALY

The Book – The Cross of Sins: Fathom’s Five Book One

The Scene – Trapped in an underground chamber right beside the Grand Canal, the Fathom’s Five boys must figure out a way to escape. But the clock is ticking, for the chamber wall has a crack in it and soon a trickle of water from the canal turns into a gush, flooding the chamber with our heroes trapped inside.

SIBERIA, RUSSIA

The Book – The Riddle of the Sands: Fathom’s Five Book Two

The Scene – I kick start the second Fathom’s Five adventure with a visit to the remote Laptev Strait Prison, a fictional jail that houses the most dangerous and psychotic criminals in the world. Unfortunately for Shane, the Professor, and British reporter Daniel West, a dramatic prison break frees the prisoners and puts all their lives in peril.

CAIRO, EGYPT

The Book – The Riddle of the Sands: Fathom’s Five Book Two

The Scene – While trying to find a legendary lost pyramid, our hunky heroes find themselves in a forbidden steamy bath house in Cairo where they’re about to get more than they bargained for, in particular Jake Stone whose masseuse has murderous intentions.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

The Book – The Curse of the Dragon God: Fathom’s Five Book Three

The Scene – In order to get closer to a man who has vital information needed to solve the mystery, Jake must enter a deadly dune buggy race over the sand dunes of the Dubai desert where losing is not an option.

BEIJING, CHINA

The Book – The Curse of the Dragon God: Fathom’s Five Book Three

The Scene – Trapped in a seedy gay strip joint called Beijing Betty’s, Shane is drugged and thrust upon the stage, forced to dance and strip his way to freedom if he has any chance of solving the Curse of the Dragon God.

MAURITIUS, INDIAN OCEAN

The Book – The Tomb of Heaven: Fathom’s Five Book Four

The Scene – In the underwater lab of a crazy scientist, Jake, Shane and Daniel find themselves in a flooded section of the facility surrounded by man-eating sharks. Sharks… why did it have to be sharks!

KARACHI, PAKISTAN

The Book – The Tomb of Heaven: Fathom’s Five Book Four

The Scene – Pursued by hooded villains, Jake, Shane and Daniel end up in a bizarre chase in a crowded Pakistani bazaar that sees them make a getaway in a tiny car that barely fits their bulky bods.

LONDON, ENGLAND

The Book – The Temple of Time: Fathom’s Five Book Five

The Scene – The opening scene of The Temple of Time is a flashback that features a young Professor Fathom and explains how he lost his sight while being pursued through the streets of London to one of the city’s most famous landmarks.

THE MATTERHORN, SWISS ALPS

The Book – The Temple of Time: Fathom’s Five Book Five

The Scene – Desperate to outrun a merciless mercenary on the snowy slopes of the Matterhorn, Luca, Sister Margarita and the Professor’s housekeeper – the beloved German cook Elsa – must think outside the square and use a rather unconventional getaway vehicle when it comes to escaping the mountain alive.

So… feel like packing your passport for some globe-trotting action? Then perhaps a Fathom’s Five book is your ticket to adventure. I hope you have some fun, but be warned, the books are very sequential. To get the most out of the series, please read them in order to fully experience the world of Fathom’s Five… there are a lot of little subplots along the way that pay off later in the series.

Happy reading!

BLURB

There is a civilization that vanished without trace. There is a lost temple that can change time as we know it. There is a fragile fraternity that protects the most important secret in human history. And there is one man who will destroy everything and anyone to know the truth—his name is Caro Sholtez.

In his possession are the four pieces of the most powerful mythical clock in the world, and the only person who can stop him from finding the Temple that can unlock Time itself is Professor Fathom.

And so it seems to Caro Sholtez that distractions, kidnappings, killings are necessary to disperse the Professor’s men to keep them from stopping him from finding the one thing he wants—the power to control the passage of Time.

From the markets of Marrakesh to the pot parlors of Amsterdam, from the landmarks of London and Prague to the very cradle of Mayan civilization, join hunky New York adventurer Jake Stone, Brazilian biologist Eden Santiago, Texas cowboy Shane Houston, Italian art expert Luca da Roma, and Californian college quarterback Will Hunter on their greatest adventure yet.

**Please note: This is the fifth book in the Fathom’s Five adventure series. It is recommended to read the series in order to fully appreciate the sequence of events.

 The Temple of Time Teaser 1

The Temple of Time Teaser 2

 EXCERPT

Big Zettie walked toward the dining table with a large tray of tea. Her hands were shaking so much from the news that the cups clattered loudly. Will helped her ease the tray down before returning to his nervous pacing.

Everyone had gathered around the table.

Elsa sat beside Luca, rubbing his back as a mother would care for a distressed child.

Daniel sat beside Shane, squeezing his hand for reassurance.

Jake stood in the doorway, side-stepping from one foot to the other as though ready to make a move as soon as the Professor gave the green light.

At the head of the dining table sat the Professor with Eden by his side.

In front of them were three opened envelopes, and beside each of these was a short letter.

Eden read them aloud one by one for the Professor.

“This was the message left at Will’s house,” Eden said by way of explanation.

“I expected to see Felix,” Will interrupted, his anxiety evident by his quivering voice. “He’s always there, always telling me to slow down… or finish my homework… or eat my goddamn vegetables. The house was so quiet and empty. It was so fucking empty without him.”

Jake grabbed Will’s shoulder and hugged him tight.

The Professor nodded for Eden to continue. “Please read me what it says.”

Eden took a breath and delivered the message. “Dear Master Hunter, if you ever wish to see your faithful Felix Fraser alive again, you’ll solve this riddle… Voiceless I howl, toothless I bite. Cities will crumble in the wake of my might.”

Silence filled the room. “What the hell does that mean?” Jake said, his brain refusing to function and the fuse of his temper quickly burning to its frayed end.

“Patience, Jake,” said the Professor, himself trying to remain calm and composed. “He wants to rattle us. He wants to cloud any sense of clarity we might have with anger and fear. Our emotions are our weakness right now.” He turned to Eden. “Please, Eden. Continue.”

Eden picked up the second letter. “This was the letter left for Shane.”

“That goddamn asshole Claudius Welles handed it to me while I watched the home my father built burn to the ground,” uttered Shane through gritted teeth. “That stupid coward saved himself rather than try to save my mother.”

Daniel clutched Shane’s hand tight. “We’ll get through this. We’ll find your Mom and we’ll all get through this together.”

The Professor said nothing to Daniel’s comment. He could already see how this was playing out. Caro Sholtez was indeed about to divide and conquer in a somewhat ruthless and spectacular fashion.

“Eden, please read on,” the Professor said.

Eden held the second message in his hands. “Dear Mr. Houston, if you ever wish to see your beloved mother alive again, you’ll answer this riddle… Angry I run, cold I am still. But when I am hot, the air I will fill.”

“I think I see where this is going,” said Daniel, his mind clearly ticking over.

“I’ve no doubt you’re correct, Daniel,” said the Professor. “Eden, would you mind reading the final riddle?”

Eden picked up the third letter, the one addressed to Luca.

Luca said nothing. He had replayed the words over and over again in his head so many times he didn’t need to hear it again. He turned away.

“Dear Signor da Roma,” Eden read aloud. “If you ever wish to see your cherished Bride of Christ again, you’ll answer this riddle… My colors I change, by day and by night. My fury is dark, but my silence is bright.”

A sniff escaped Luca. He lifted his face to reveal his glazed eyes and numb expression. After a moment, he uttered quietly, “Sky.”

“What did you say?” asked Jake, unable to hear Luca’s mumbled words from his place in the doorway.

“The answer to the riddle is ‘sky’,” Luca replied in a monotone voice. “I’ve read it so many times, I’ve thought of every possible answer, and the only one that makes perfect sense is the sky. The sky changes color every hour of the day. Yellow at dawn, pink at dusk, blue at noon, black at midnight. When there’s a storm it’s dark and angry, but on a calm, quiet day, the sky is clear and bright.”

Daniel, the puzzle-solver of the group, stood nodding. “He’s right. All the answers are part of nature. Voiceless I howl, toothless I bite. Cities will crumble in the wake of my might. That’s the wind. The answer to Will’s riddle is the wind.”

“It howls and bites and tears buildings to shreds in a tornado,” agreed Will, some hope finally returning to his voice.

“And as for Shane’s riddle, that answer is water,” said Daniel. “Angry I run, cold I am still. But when I am hot, the air I will fill.”

Shane nodded, understanding the references now. “Raging rivers run. Ice is still. And boiling water…”

“Rises into the air as steam,” finished Jake. “But what does it all mean? Sky, wind, water… the answers just leave us with more questions and no clues what to do with them.”

“The clue is in Caro himself,” the Professor said. He turned his head toward Jake and Will and gestured for them to stop pacing and join the others at the table. “Please, gentlemen, take a seat. It’s important I tell you everything there is to know about Caro Sholtez. Or at least everything I know about him.”

“If it leads to Felix and the others,” said Will, quickly pulling up a chair, “then hit us with everything you’ve got, Professor.”

“There is a Temple somewhere in the Mexican jungle known as the Temple of Time. Nobody knows where it is, at least nobody left alive today. The last known sighting of it was by a man named Hernando Cortez in the late sixteenth century. Cortez was a thief who stowed aboard a ship in the Spanish Armada, posing as a Conquistador. He was after gold and silver and bragged that he had plundered a lost temple in what is now known as the Lacandon Jungle in Mexico. Unfortunately for Cortez his bragging was short-lived. The natives soon realized what he had done and quickly captured him, sacrificing him to their gods for his crime. But legend has it Cortez found more than simply gold and silver… according to the stories, he found—and stole—the four pieces of the clock inside the Temple of Time. The natives were furious. They put safeguards in place to stop anyone else from finding the Temple, but the damage had already been done. The pieces of the clock were gone, and Cortez… well… he had no idea how close he came to finding the greatest discovery in human history. You see, according to legend, the Temple holds the key to unlock time itself.”

“What do you mean, unlock time?” asked Daniel.

“I’m referring to the ability to control time. Bend it. Contort it. Travel through it,” said the Professor. “It is a place of untold power.”

“Travel through time?” Shane asked. “Are you serious?”

“I’m deadly serious. And so is Caro. Finding the Temple has been his entire life’s obsession. He has murdered his way across continents to fulfill his quest.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Geoffrey Knight is the author of more than 30 gay fiction novels, novellas and short stories, ranging in genre from gay adventure, gay romance, gay suspense and gay comedies. He is the recipient of two Rainbow Awards including Best Mystery Winner and Best Overall Gay Fiction Runner-up. His work has been featured in several anthologies including Best Gay Erotica 2013, and he appeared as Guest of Honor at the inaugural Rainbow Con in Florida, 2014.

Geoffrey has worked in advertising, politics and journalism, but nothing is as fun as telling stories. He lives with his partner, their baby daughter, two dogs and two cats in a rambling old house in North Queensland, Australia, where the paint is fraying and life is good.

Amazon Author Page

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LJ Hayward on 1% Inspiration and her new release Where Death Meets the Devil (guest blog and giveaway)

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Where Death Meets the Devil by L.J. Hayward
Riptide Publishing

Cover art by: L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here at Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host L.J. Hayward today on tour for her new story Where Death Meets the Devil. Welcome, L.J.

♦︎

1% Inspiration? by L. J. Hayward

Most writers claim to hate the old “Where do you find your inspiration?” question. Personally, I love to talk about my thought processes and progression and, yes, inspiration, for my stories. My problem is finding anyone to ask the question who is also willing to listen to me ramble. I’ll promise not to ramble here.

Inspiration for Where Death Meets the Devil wasn’t a single ‘eureka’ moment. I bet few ‘inspiring’ events are. Rather, I think of it as a catalyst. That often indescribable thing that lets a bunch of random thoughts coalesce into a workable idea. For me, all my random ideas were centred around wanting to write an M/M book but feeling incapable of producing a romance novel. One of my all-time favourite M/M series is Manna Francis’s Administration and its distinct characters. I’m also a proud Aussie and while I do get immersed in stories set in the USA and UK, I want to see more stuff set in Australia.

All these things clicked into place with the single thought, what does Australia have an abundance of? Empty land that can be deadly.

Suddenly, I had a setting. The middle of the desert, a dangerous place to be alone. But what if you weren’t alone? What if you weren’t sure if the man with you was friend or foe? What if he happened to be so intriguing you began to forget your doubts? Around these questions, the rest of the story began to take shape.

Hi all!! Welcome to my inaugural blog tour. I’m incredibly excited to be here, introducing you to my new book, Where Death Meets the Devil!! It’s full of action and suspense and two damaged men who shouldn’t be friends—or more—coming together to uncover a common enemy—and more. I’d love to have you join me on the tour where I’ll be dorking… ah hem, talking about the importance of titles, the dangers of research, theme songs and other stuff. And if watching while I potentially embarrass myself isn’t enticement enough, there’s a chance to win a $10 Riptide gift card!

About Where Death Meets the Devil

Jack Reardon, former SAS soldier and current Australian Meta-State asset, has seen some messy battles. But “messy” takes on a whole new meaning when he finds himself tied to a chair in a torture shack, his cover blown wide open, all thanks to notorious killer-for-hire Ethan Blade.

Blade is everything Jack doesn’t believe in: remorseless, detached, lawless. Yet, Jack’s only chance to survive is to strike a bargain with the devil and join forces with Blade. As they trek across a hostile desert, Jack learns that Blade is much more than a dead-eyed killer—and harder to resist than he should be.

A year later, Jack is home and finally getting his life on track. Then Ethan Blade reappears and throws it all into chaos once more. It’s impossible to trust the assassin, especially when his presence casts doubts on Jack’s loyalty to his country, but Jack cannot ignore what Blade’s return means: the mess that brought them together is far from over, and Ethan might just bring back the piece of Jack’s soul he thought he’d lost forever.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

 

About L.J. Hayward

L.J. Hayward has been telling stories for most of her life. Granted, a good deal of them have been of the tall variety, but who’s counting? Parents and teachers notwithstanding, of course. These days, the vast majority of her story telling has been in an honest attempt to create fun and exciting ways of entertaining others (and making money).

As such, she is still a mad (always provoked!) scientist in a dungeon laboratory (it has no windows—seriously, the zombie apocalypse could be going on outside and she’d have nary a clue) who, on the rare occasions she emerges into the light, does so under extreme protest and with the potential hazard of bursting into flames under the Southeast Queensland sun.

Connect with L.J.:

Webiste: http://www.ljhayward.com/

Twitter: @lj_hayward

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Where Death Meets the Devil, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 3, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Review: Hell and Back by Dirk Greyson

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

Seventeen years ago, Forge Reynolds fell in love… and had his heart broken. When Staff Sergeant Gage Livingston was brought into Forge’s Army field hospital, temporarily paralyzed, Forge sat with him, read his letters, answered his mail, and formed a connection he thought would last. But Gage was sent home, Forge transferred to a new post, and his letters to Gage went unanswered.

Now in the middle of a bitter divorce, Forge is sick and tired of his husband’s manipulation. He’s almost ready to make any sacrifice to get closure—then he finds Granger murdered execution-style in their home. Forge had no idea about Granger’s illicit activities, but the killers don’t believe that. They think Forge has something they want, and they’re coming after him.

When Forge’s lawyer arranges for professional protection, the last face Forge expects to see is Gage’s. Can he even contemplate a second chance for them after almost two decades, or will hope only lead to more heartache? Before they can explore the possibilities, they must figure out what information Granger had—that others are willing to kill for—or that possible heartache could become a certainty.

I have to admit that as much as I thoroughly enjoyed Hell and Back by Dirk Greyson I have been going back and forth over the rating for this review.  Sigh.  I hate it when that happens. Pure entertainment value over elements that just  stopped me in my tracks mid or end story that are jerking me back and forth here. So let’s start off with the wonderful shall we?

The wonderful is the couple at the center of Hell and Back, Forge Reynolds and Gage Livingston, two men who meet under the most stressful conditions when enlisted and then lose track of one another.  Two of my favorite tropes is lovers reunited and second chance at love, both of which are beautifully covered here.  Greyson delivers a frightening scene, plus all the emotional impact of a reunion we could ask for and more.  I just fell in love with  both characters and stayed that way.

It also helped that Greyson let Forge work through his emotions over his ex/dead husband with Gage.  To totally abandon those feelings and ignore “the body” as it were would  have done the men an injustice as well as the romance and relationship that the author is so carefully building up.  No the romance and the couple are the glue that holds this story together for me.  I adored them and the danger that the author puts them in, especially Forge, creates an anxiety and suspense for the reader that doesn’t let up until the end.

No, for me where the story falls apart is the criminal element, the police work, and shockingly, Forge’s action’s towards a criminal at the end, in the presence of law enforcement agents (of many agencies, mind you) that would never, ever, be allowed to happen. It would compromise their case and I was absolutely floored it was in there.  Especially after a scene of beautiful restraint earlier that was so much better.  If you are going to have such an elaborate criminal structure, why not make it as great  as your love story?  And why ruin it with that gesture that would never fly past any agency?    Especially those that, in the author’s own words had worked years to put those men away?  Made no sense whatsoever. There are other nitpicky things about hard drives that I thought Gage or someone should have  picked up on.  But the huge thing?  The story never recovered after that.

I read the epilogue which was lovely, but I never recovered my connection which was a shame.  I did wish I could see that desk and jade puzzle box though.

If you are a fan of Dirk Greyson, then this is a story for you.  If you love romance, second chance at love and lovers reunited, then perhaps again this is a story for you.  But for those who love  police procedurals, crime stories, and law enforcements action adventure?  Maybe not.  I’ll leave it up to you.

Cover art by L. C. Chase is terrific. Colorful and eye-catching. Love it.

Sales Links:  AmazonBarnes and NobleDreamspinner Press

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published October 27th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635339062
Edition Language English

In the Spotlight: Alpha Delta by R.J. Scott (excerpt)

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alpha-delta-by-rj-scott

Alpha Delta by R.J. Scott
L
ove Lane Books

This book was previously published with All Romance Publishing. There are no additions to the original story, just a change of cover art but due to the demise of All Romance, if you have already purchased this title and require a copy, please email Rachel (rjscott.team@gmail.com) with proof of purchase and she will send you a replacement.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 

The Book 

Officer Finn Hallan has never run from a fight. With Niall’s life and love at stake, he’s not about to start now…

Finn Hallan is a member of the elite Norwegian Emergency Response Unit, code name Delta. When the team is sent to respond to a hostage situation on a Oil Platform in the Norwegian Sea, he has to face demons he thought he had buried a long time ago.

Scottish engineer Niall Faulkner’s skills in oil platform decommissioning takes him to the Forseti platform at the worst possible time. When he’s captured by terrorists, his only thought is that he will never get to tell his lover how he really feels.

Can Finn keep Niall alive? Or will they both die at the hands of hijackers in the frigid waters of the Norwegian sea?

Excerpt

Chapter 1

The call came in just past fourteen hundred hours, Erik beating him to ops by about two seconds, both men pulling on vests and arranging holsters.

Finn had been reading, spending the quiet down time before dinner trying to get his head around some of the shit that had gone down today. Time at the Urskar training facility was hard work but it wasn’t hard physical work that was bugging Finn. He knew exactly what it was.

Niall.

They’d talked this morning; he was working on the Forseti platform in the Heidrun oilfield for the next few weeks. They wouldn’t be seeing each other for a while, and that was fine. Finn was good with that. Of course, he didn’t like the fact Finn was flying in this weather. The storm passing through near the Forseti platform was a big one. And yes, he had to admit to himself he’d checked. And that was the problem. He’d checked the storm, he’d worried about the flight, and he was already missing the feisty, nerdy, sexy engineer enough to have it consuming his thoughts. All the what-ifs and the whens, and mostly the whys. He didn’t usually do serious, but Niall could make him change his mind. One guy with a soft voice and a wicked mouth comes along and suddenly Finn was losing control of his touch but don’t keep policy.

Then, this morning he’d fucked up. Big time.

He hadn’t been paying attention and he’d seriously blown things in training. He’d let his guard down and got a helmet full of pink dye with a spot-on head shot from a crowing Erik. It wasn’t so much the kill shot, it was why Finn had been distracted. He’d been thinking about Niall, and not in the I want to fuck that sideways kind of way, but in an I hope he’s okay and I’ll miss him kind of way.

Then Erik had to go and manage to kill him. It was the first time Erik had ever gotten the drop on Finn in training. It had taken three hair washes and vigorous scrubbing to get the pink out of his hair and off his left temple.

Fucker.

When they reached the briefing room Erik grinned at him, that shit-eating grin that told Finn he wouldn’t be living it down that Erik’s team had taken first blood in the mini war game they were taking part in. The grin didn’t last long, subsiding as soon as Cap walked in. After all, it didn’t matter what had happened this morning; now they were all about whatever had caused them to be alerted.

“About thirty minutes ago four bodies were found at the Grane oil terminal, identified as security assigned to the NorsDev Forseti Platform.”

Cap stared straight at Finn and for a brief moment Finn wasn’t really understanding the words. Then one thing hit him square in the chest. Forseti. That was where Niall was.

Rising to his feet he didn’t know what to say as fear gripped him. “Four?”

“We have reason to believe these four men were replaced so that a team of hijackers could get onto Forseti.”

“That’s being decom’d.” Erik sounded puzzled. “What kind of collateral does an empty oil platform have?”

“Only four?” Finn interjected. “What about the engineers? Niall Faulkner and his brother Ewan?”

Erik looked up at him and Finn could see the moment the information made sense in his head.

“Fuck. Niall is on Forseti?”

“Both of them… Niall and Ewan. Did they go? Does someone know if he…?” The rest of the team all stared at him, Cap included, and Finn realized he was coming off as a mad man. He subsided. No one could get information out if Finn was raving like a fucking lovesick moron.

“The pilots are back, they took one engineer and four security replacements. So, souls on the platform are one engineer, six skeleton crew, and the four security replacements. Eleven souls in all.”

The bottom fell out of Finn and dread stole his breath. Was it Niall or Ewan on Forseti? With who? Terrorists?

“Intel is showing no communications, or demands, but chatter has it that this is an isolated cell connected to the Hofstad Network out of Denmark.” Cap slid his finger on the laptop and the screen changed behind him to show four faces. Three fair-haired, one dark, all in fatigues with long addendums at the bottom of the photo. Ex-Marine, one former SAS. The names a blur. Except for one.

Svein Roberg.

“He’s dead,” Erik said in disbelief, echoing Finn’s thoughts exactly. Roberg had a long history of fighting the good fight for whichever side paid him most. Ex-Special Forces, he had finally been taken down by the ERU two years before, just after Finn joined the team. In fact, it had been Finn who faced him down after tracking him to a small holding in Alta. They’d chased him to the Alta Dam, where the murdering fucker had died.

The bastard had tried extortion in the name of environmental concern and had killed three oil workers in an explosion at one of the dry land containment depots. Finn would never forget Svein’s face. He didn’t even fight when Erik and Finn had him cornered, simply dropped his weapon and raised his hands.

In the best traditions of all grandstanding bad guys he laughed then said, “I live to fight another day,” repeating this over and over as he fell to his knees. There had been madness in his words, and cunning in his silver eyes. Only when Finn had stepped forward did the madness manifest in a blur of motion, the two men grappling for the weapon and a bullet leaving Finn’s gun and carving into Svein’s neck, blood spurting. Time had slowed and Finn had watched in horror and a curious fascination as the terrorist leaped in a grotesque twist of muscles over the dam wall and down into the churning water below.

“They never found his body,” Finn said softly. But Finn hadn’t cared then. The fucker had a bullet in his neck and had fallen over six hundred feet. He had to have been dead.

“Until four weeks ago his file was silent, but chatter indicated there was movement and he was implicated right in the center of it all.”

“And no one thought to brief us?” Finn demanded hotly. “Why the fuck not?”

Several others in the team, Erik included, added their alarm.

Cap held up a hand and quieted the room. “Wheels up in ten,” he said.

And that was it. They knew nothing. They didn’t know why Forseti was the platform involved or why Svein Roberg had shown up. But, whatever information they received, they would be ready for action when they knew what the hell to do.

Erik grabbed his arm as Finn made to leave. “Finn?” he asked. The question was loaded. It was, are you sure you’re okay, do you know the man you’ve been seeing is on Forseti, and can you handle this, all wrapped up in one word.

Finn nodded. Didn’t matter how he felt or what he actually said to voice any of it, he was going with the team and he wasn’t putting doubt in Erik’s head.

“Let’s get this done.”

Author Bio

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

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

mailto:rj@rjscott.co.uk

www.rjscott.co.uk/

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www.goodreads.com/author/show/3432558.R_J_Scott

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www.librarything.com/author/scottrj

Cover Reveal for Alpha Barman by Sue Brown

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Sue Brown – Alpha Barman

Release Date: November 24 2016
 
Blurb
 

Jake Tyler walked out of Special Ops two years ago, a devastated, broken man after he discovered his sister brutally murdered by her husband, Riley. Since then heís found a kind of peace running a rural bar. The last thing Jake Tyler expects is his former team to turn up with grim news. Jakeís ex-brother-in-law has escaped from prison and is heading Jakeís way. The team is here to protect Jake, whether he likes it or not ñ a decision reluctantly shared by their leader, Jakeís ex-lover Mitch Mitchelson.

Mitch is angry and hurting. The man he trusted ñ the man he adored more than anything ñ abandoned both his team and Mitch. Jake never gave Mitch a chance to help or come to terms with his desertion. Regardless of mission protocols, Mitch isnít about to open his heart again to that kind of pain.

But the strong attraction between them canít be denied. How are they ever going to work together when Mitch still resents Jakeís disappearance, and to Jake, the team represents everything that destroyed him in the first place? And meantime they wait for Riley to find them… and to settle the threat once and for all.

Author Bio

 
Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact she hides so she can plot, and has become an expert at ignoring the orders.

 Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. She had an Aha moment and put pen to paper that same day. Sue may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

Come over and talk to Sue at:
sue@suebrownstories.com
Her website can be found at:
http://www.suebrownstories.com/

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A Paul B Review: Germ (Demon Elite #6) by April Kelley

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

germ-by-april-kelleyJeremy Russell is the Demon Elite team’s computer genius.  While most of the men are out in the field, he stays behind and acts as the point person for the team.  Surveillance, information, and hacking are the tools of his trade.  He also tries to keep the guys from getting too serious with his flirting over their communication system.  When Reggie Mize was rescued a short while ago, he developed a major crush on him.  But being the socially awkward computer geek that his is, Germ decides he might not have a chance with him.

Reggie Mize has been beaten down his whole life.  First it was his father that subjected him to emotional abuse.  With his father gone, his sister Victoria picked up where their father left off.  Luckily for him, the Demon Elite team rescued him before Victoria could sell him into slavery.  Now he is living in the team’s estate worried that either his sister or his father’s men will come after him.

During a game of paintball among the team, their boyfriends and Reggie, Germ vows to protect Reggie throughout the game.   At the end, while Germ had been “killed,” Reggie had not been.  For once Reggie trust that someone is not out to hurt him.  They make a date to go out shopping with others in the team.  While at the mall, the hit man currently working for his sister finds him because of a tracking device that was implanted inside of his arm.  Germ cannot believe that Reggie had not alerted them of this fact and think the shopping trip is a trap to eliminate his team.  Reggie does not want the others harmed and is willing to turn himself over if Germ isn’t hurt.  While all members of the team escape, they must still deal with the hit man and Victoria Mize once and for all.  Germ will have to see that Reggie is not like other men and work his way back to trusting the abused man and how to deal with him.

This sixth book in the Demon Elite series keeps the action and passion going.  As each man of the team begins to find their respective partner, the net is slowly coming around their enemy and former boss Victoria Mize.  The awkwardness of Germ and Reggie comes from different places and understandable.  Germ is more comfortable in front of a computer while Reggie has been psychologically abused most of his life.  This is a romance you cannot help but root for.  The story of how Germ got his nickname was cute and not at all what I thought it would be. 

The cover art by Latricia Waters is absolutely perfect for the novel.  Germ is pictured as the sexy geek that I would have pictured him. 

Sales Links

eXtasy Books LLC

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Book Details

EBook, 114 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  September 9, 2016 by eXtasy Books

ISBN:  978-1-4874-0877-0

Series:  Demon Elite

Crash (Demon Elite #1)

Wolf (Demon Elite #2)

Cosmo (Demon Elite #3)

Tanner & Shade (Demon Elite #4)

An Alisa Release Day Review: Confessions (Reno PD Case Files #1) by Ethan Stone

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

ConfessionsA serial killer known as the Confessor is kidnapping and torturing gay men, and Reno Police Department Evidence Technician Leif Carson is determined to catch him.

 

His personal life isn’t any less stressful. Despite being a virgin and having zero experience with men, he can’t stop thinking about his best friend’s ex, Rafe Castillo. Rafe is suffering from PTSD, but that doesn’t stop Leif from wanting to be with him.

 

Complete opposites, they’re an amazing fit once they do get together—until Rafe’s PTSD gets in the way and he walks away from the relationship before it has a chance to truly blossom. Even though he has intense feelings for the man, Leif has no choice but to let him go.

 

When the Confessor kidnaps Rafe, Leif does everything possible to locate him before he’s murdered. Rafe’s near-death experience changes him profoundly, but the danger isn’t over yet. Leif and Rafe will have to face pure evil together if they’re going to last.

 

This was a great story.  From the very beginning Leif is doing everything he can to help fine the confessor along with his friends also working at the police department while still trying to learn how to have his own personal life.

 

Leif is the only single person in his group of friends and really wants to find someone to love and have someone to love him.  When Leif brings his friend’s ex home to sleep off his drunkenness the events of the next morning give him hope that he may have found that person.  However, a misunderstanding on Rafe’s part send him right back into a drunken haze.

 

This story is told from Colin’s view, but it is told in such a way that I could still understand the other characters feelings in addition to Colin’s.  When Rafe disappears after their misunderstanding he won’t let anything get in his way to find Rafe while also finding the Confessor.  Colin is so innocent when it comes to relationships, but also so grown up with how he acts it was nice not having the younger person throwing a fit as is often seen.  This book is a spin-off of Ethan’s Flesh series, but it isn’t necessary to read them to connect with this story since it didn’t rely on the events of those books.  I can’t wait for another book in this series to see more of these characters.

 

Cover art by Aaron Anderson is wonderful and sets a tone for the story.

 

Sales Links: DSP Publications | Amazon | OmniLit

 

Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages

Published: August 12, 2016 by DSP Publications

ISBN-13: 9781634771788

Edition Language: English

Series: Reno PD Case Files #1

An Ali Review: Grizzly Discovery(Mountain Spirits Mysteries book 2)‏ by AJ Marcus

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Grizzly DiscoveryLandon Weir and Brock Summers are happily settling into their life as a couple, easily balancing Landon’s work as an animal rehabber with Brock’s career as a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer. When they find a bear shot and skinned, they set out to discover who’s behind the heinous act.

Events force Brock to come out to his boss, causing him and Landon to rethink how public they want to make their relationship. As more bear sightings – and more carcasses – show up in the area, Brock is attacked by a black bear he’s trying to release back into the wild, but his injuries don’t prevent him from helping Landon and their friends with the investigation. Despite leads being thin on the ground, the two men try to uncover the poachers before more bears are killed. But when the evidence points them in an unexpected direction, Teller County’s bear population may not be all the killers have in their sights.
I enjoyed this second installment of this series.  This series is more focused on the mystery in each book , with the romance being an addition to the story.  I felt the mystery was well done and interesting.  Each of the books in this series is very full of information about wildlife laws, animal rehab, etc.  If you have no interest in those things you may not like this.  Personally I find these books really interesting and informative.  I like both of the main characters and there are a host of interesting side characters that add to the plot line.  The romance is sweet and there is no angst or unnecessary drama.  This is the second in the series and can be read as a stand alone although you’ll enjoy the romance aspect more if you read them in order.   If you’re looking for something a little different and like animals and/or mysteries I definitely recommend this series.
Cover art.I liked this cover and I think it is a good representation of this story and the feel of this series overall.
Sales Link:  DSP Publications | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 200 pages
Published March 24th 2015 by DSP Publications
ISBN 1632160269 (ISBN13: 9781632160263)
Edition LanguageEnglishSeriesMountain Spirit Mysteries 

An Ali Audiobook Review: Stars & Stripes (Cut & Run #6) by Abigail Roux , J. F. Harding (Narrator)

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Rating:  5 of 5 stars                ★★★★★

Stars & Stripes audiobookSpecial Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett have managed the impossible: a few months of peace and quiet. After nearly a year of personal and professional turmoil, they’re living together conflict-free, work is going smoothly, and they’re both happy, healthy, and home every night before dark. But anyone who knows them knows that can’t possibly last.

When an emergency call from home upsets the balance of their carefully arranged world, Ty and Zane must juggle family drama with a perplexing crime to save a helpless victim before time runs out.

From the mountains of West Virginia to a remote Texas horse ranch harboring more than just livestock and childhood memories, Ty and Zane must face their fears—and their families—to overcome an unlikely enemy and bring peace back into their newly shared world.

This was a re-read for me but the first time I had listened to it on audio. This book remains one of my favorites of the series. The guy’s have worked hard to get to the positive place in their relationship that they’re in. During the course of this story they go to both of their parents’s homes and it is interesting to see the different dynamics between the two families. Most of the story is spent at Zane’s home where they try to solve a case involving Zane’s family ranch. I enjoyed the case in this one and I found it fast paced and entertaining. There are a lot of laugh out loud moments in this story, some really sweet and romantic ones and some of the steamiest ones in the series. I love every minute of this book every time I read it.

Audio:

I had listened to the first four books in this series on audio in the past. There were two prior narrators and this narrator is totally new. I wasn’t sure about his voice for Ty when I first started. The problem with reading a book first, in my opinion, is that you have the characters firmly set in your mind. While his Ty was fine, it wasn’t how I envisioned Ty. His Zane though was fantastic. Deep, growly voice with just a bit of a Southern drawl. After a few chapters I got used to his Ty and decided I liked it. There are a lot of characters in this book, with a lot of different accents and I felt like this narrator did a great job on all of them. I also found him able to do both male and female voices well which is a talent some narrators do not have. I loved listening to this on audio. I think listening to this really emphasized the emotional scenes and made them more heart wrenching (There was a scene between Ty & Zane’s dad that made my eyes water. It was much more emotional listening to it than reading it.) And the sexy scenes? Holy moly they’re burning hot on audio. I would definitely recommend this to readers/listeners.

Cover art by L.C. Chase. I don’t know what to say about the cover really. It’s very simple but it’s a classic and I would never want to see it change.

Sales Links:  Audio at Amazon |  Audio at Audible

Audiobook Details:

Stars & Stripes
Written by: Abigail Roux
Narrated by: J. F. Harding
Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
Series: Cut and Run, Book 6