Review: Wicked Winds (3.5 Elemental Elements Pulp Friction 2014) by Havan Fellows

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Wicked Winds coverWick Templeton and Ned Harris have begun to settle into their relationship after the traumatic events of the past year. So when Ned decides to go west to Arizona to check on an old friend, Wick goes with him. That each man’s past is about to collide in Mountain Shadows, Arizona, is something neither saw coming.

Can Ned’s past break the men apart when Wick’s past pulled them together?  What waits for them and their relationship on top of the mountains of Arizona, and what surprises lie in store for Wick and Ned that will change the way they look at each other forever?

Wick, Wick, Wick. How I love that man!  I  became addicted to him in Havan Fellows’ Wicked Ways series from  Pulp Friction 2013 and now he’s back and I couldn’t be happier.  But this time, it’s Wick who is along for the ride and its Ned’s mission they are on.  Quite a switch up.  And that strange change about of roles continues throughout this story.  What an astonishing group of surprises, no shocks, really, that are in store for us all, characters included.

Ned is there to find an old friend.  Wick is there to figure out how that friend fits into their newly established relationship.  That and check up on Cannon and the problems he has been hearing about from Chance and Rory.  Mountain Shadows is just one violent episode away from a complete meltdown on many fronts and Wick and Ned are there to add flame to the fire.

This is a short story and almost anything I can say about the plot falls into spoiler territory as the shocks start immediately when we find out just who Ned’s friend and partner was.  Didn’t see that one coming.  The implications are huge for all and the guns and knives are out the minute Wick’s opens the doors on his and Ned’s rental car.

Wick and Ned are never good at talking about their relationship, what it means to them and where it’s going.  But that will have to change and it does in an astonishing manner.  The emotional confrontations here are intimate, painful, angry and no amount of scared.  But who comes apart is just as unexpected as the rest of the story.  Fellows’ plot eddies and swirls, with elements from last year’s series intermixing with those of this year’s Elemental Connections.  It works and the mixture proves as explosive and addicting as all the rest.

Will we see them all again?  Not sure because no one is sure what happens next.  Not the characters nor the readers.  And that’s the way I like my mysteries…and my men, uh characters that is.  Rowen and Wicked, what a fabulous duo!  I can’t wait to see what Havan Fellows has in store for them next.  Stay tuned.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Love it.

Buy Links:             All Romance ebooks (ARe)            Amazon                     Wicked Winds

 Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 84 pages
Published August 6th 2014 by Appleton Publishing Avenue
ASINB00MHVFDPM

The Pulp Friction 2014 series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters, events and plot:

Round One:

Firestorm (Fighting Fire: 1)by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Whispering Winds: 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake: 1) by TA Webb

Round Two:

Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner
Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil
Blown Kisses (Whispering Winds #2) by Havan Fellows
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) by TA Webb

Round Three:

Backburn (Fighting Fire #3) by Laura Harner
Cold Feet (In From the Cold #3) by Lee Brazil
Blown Hard (Whispering Winds #3) by Havan Fellows
Tremors (Earthquake #3) by T.A. Webb

Round Four:

Flare-up (Fighting Fire #4) by Laura Harner
Out In The Cold (In From the Cold #4) by Lee Brazil
Blown Chance (Whispering Winds #4) by Havan Fellows
Aftershocks (Earthquake #4) by T.A. Webb

Round 3 and 4 Side Stories:

Taking Chances by Lee Brazil (a In From the Cold story)
Wicked Winds by Havan Fellows (PF2014 3.5)

Round Five: to be released

Radiant Burn (Fighting Fire #5) by Laura Harner
Cold Day in Hell (In From the Cold #5) by Lee Brazil
Final Blow (Whispering Winds #5) by Havan Fellows
Terra Firma (Earthquake #5) by T.A. Webb

Sixth Book Series Finale Written by all the Authors
charactersFinn Lorensso

Review: Cold Feet (In From the Cold #3) (In From the Cold #3) by Lee Brazil

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Cold Feet coverMany things brought Cannon Malloy west from Atlanta.  Cannon wanted to put his past behind him, including ex boyfriends and the trauma that went along with them.  Cannon most importantly want to find out  what it meant to finally live his life as an out gay man after years of living in the closet.  But that initial step out of his self deception didn’t mean Cannon felt comfortable as a gay man until now.  With help from his flamboyant neighbor at Mountain Shadows and some well applied eye liner, Cannon is ready to try once more to connect with the handsome Finn Lorensson.   With a newfound sense of self-appreciation and  confidence he approaches Finn’s cabin with more than lust on the mind to make up for their last unhappy encounter and repair some of the damage he caused.

But professor Finn has plenty of problems of his own, one especially that arose around a malicious student and his impact on Cannon.  Finn’s unsure of how to proceed, with the student and the newly confident Cannon.  Both require his immediate attention and how he handles them both might mean the end of his tenure as a professor and any chance of happiness he might find with Cannon.

Cannon finally seems over his own brand of cold feet when it comes to Finn and relationships.  But how long that will last and what Finn will do about it is anyone’s guess.

Of all the interconnected Pulp Friction 2014 series, Lee Brazil’s seems the most introspective of the four.  With all the others, while the characters are undergoing emotional upheavals and personal problems, they are also being impacted by outside forces and obstacles.  But Cannon and Finn are grappling, almost solely,  with Cannon’s past and its effect on each other and the possibility of a relationship.  Cannon Malloy is the fulcrum of In From the Cold.  He is the pivotal element on which most of the plot threads rest or emanate from.  A character displaced after the events in Atlanta (Pulp Friction 2013), Cannon was an ambivalent character, deeply closeted, married and the cause of much pain to the main character Chance.  He ran from Atlanta to Flagstaff, unable to operate due to the events that occurred in Atlanta and is floundering in his role as a professor.   From a dislikable personality to one clearly in need of compassion and understanding, Brazil has moved Cannon through his journey in cautious, fearful steps to this point.  It’s been realistic and painful.

Reacting to Cannon is professor Finn Lorensson, a confident, handsome man.  Cannon, however, is strewing Finn’s life with stumbling blocks and obstacles in Finn’s pursuit of the skittish Cannon, the last one of which might have lasting consequences for all.  I love how Brazil has taken this self assured mountain of a man and added cracks and fractures to a strong personality that seemed unbreakable.  It’s a lovely, believable transformation, especially with love as the impetus behind it.  With the exception of the disgruntled student who feels entitled to take what he wants, all the movement and changes made have been done so because of internal arguments and decisions, changes of attitudes and self worth.  It’s an internalized and introspective storyline and its very intimacy is conveyed through thoughtful inner monologues and bouts of painful fretting on the characters part.

The other characters and plots exist in Lee Brazil’s series but sometimes it feels as though we see or feel them at the very perimeter of Finn and Cannon’s lives.  Such an inward facing story structure has been a wonderful way to relate to both difficult characters and their fragile steps towards each other.  But I expect that is about to change.

Cold Feet and the other three stories are at the midway point in the series and changes are about to fall on all the people involved.  I expect Finn and Cannon to change their direction, and move outward to embrace the other characters and the tumultuous events occurring at Mountain Shadows. I can’t wait to see how the author folds these two back into the main story thread that flows through all the series and the evil that has clearly visited the woods around them.    I love these characters, the series and the entire Pulp Friction 2014 grouping.  It’s compelling, gorgeously depicted and as wide ranging as the mountains themselves, and I can’t get enough of their lives and their stories.

I highly recommend this story and series (all of them) to you.  However, you must start back at the beginning to understand the scope of the stories and the characters involved.  I have listed all the series for you below.  Don’t miss out one a single one of them…..

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Love these covers, perfect branding and great models.

Buy Links:       <a href=”Cold Feet: Pulp Friction 2014 (In From the Cold Book 3) ” title=”Cold Feet At Amazon”> Amazon         ARe

Book Details:

ebook
Published June 1st 2014 by Lime Time Press
edition languageEnglish
seriesIn From the Cold #3, Pulp Friction 2014 #10

The Pulp Friction 2014 series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters, events and plot:

Round One:

Firestorm (Fighting Fire: 1)by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Whispering Winds: 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake: 1) by TA Webb

Round Two:

Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner
Cold Comfort  (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil
Blown Kisses (Whispering Winds #2) by Havan Fellows
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) by TA Webb

Round Three:

Backburn (Fighting Fire #3) by Laura Harner
Cold Feet (In From the Cold #3) by Lee Brazil
Blow Hard  (Whispering Winds #3) by Havan Fellows
Tremors (Earthquake #3) by T.A. Webb

Round Four: to be released

Flare-up (Fighting Fire #4) by Laura Harner
Out In The Cold (In From the Cold #4) by Lee Brazil
Blown Chance (Whispering Winds #4) by Havan Fellows
Aftershocks (Earthquake #4) by T.A. Webb

Round Five: to be released

Radiant Burn (Fighting Fire #5) by Laura Harner
Cold Day in Hell (In From the Cold #5) by Lee Brazil
Final Blow (Whispering Winds #5) by Havan Fellows
Terra Firma (Earthquake #5) by T.A. Webb

Sixth Book Series Finale Written by all the Authors
charactersFinn Lorensso

Review: Blown Kisses (Whispering Winds #2) by Havan Fellows

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Rating: 5 stars out of  5

Blown Kisses coverRowen Smithe’s world got infinitely larger and more complicated the day he met Mick Rutger, a friend of Finn’s.  Mick is determined to draw Rowen out of his cabin and confined lifestyle and into Mick’s much larger and outgoing circle of friends.  Rowen is equally determined to stay away and removed from the gregarious,handsome Mick.  But now that Mick has moved just across the road from him in another rental cabin, it has become so much harder to ignore his neighbor.

Mick Rutger is fascinated by Rowen Smithe.  Everything about the man from his long black hair to his secretive ways is attractive to Mick and he is determined to find out more and be the man’s friend, if not something even better.  His first move is into the cabin across from Rowen’s and a stray cat to share with his neighbor.   But then something more appears…a threat not only to their shared cat but to all the creatures of the woods, woods Rowen is bent on protecting.

Rowen Smithe’s top priority is no longer trying to quiet his inner demons but to put an end to the evil that has invaded the woods of Mountain Shadows leaving the bodies of small tortured animals in its wake.  And he will need the help of a very nosy neighbor to track and remove those behind the animal deaths.

I should just make this review as short and sweet as this story and just say “go, go now and get this series”.  Don’t dilly dally, or shilly shally around.  This story and series are ones everyone should be grabbing up (and its companions series to boot). Havan Fellows has created in Rowen Smithe, a tortured soul whose background and secretive ways has made the man an enigma to many (including the readers).   Rowen is alternately sexy. self assured and bold, or distressed, angst filled and withdrawn, and all within a space of 5 to 10 minutes.  His is such an unexpected personality and that aspect draws everyone to him like moths to a flame.  And that includes readers as well.  A true naturalist and outdoorsman, his respect for nature is boundless.  Less so  his regard for his fellow human beings.  Only a few have been let inside his personal space and now he is beginning to consider that Mick might be one more person to include in those he trusts.

The model on the cover is perfect for the larger than life persona that is Mick Rutger.  Charming, enthusiastic with all the energy of a Golden Retriever, Mick is determined to get close to Rowen and a kiss from the man in question has only fueled Mick’s desires.  But for every step forward he makes in his pursuit, Rowen takes twice as many in retreat.  Rowen is a puzzle Mick is intent on figuring out and the reader is just as eager as Mick is.  How I adore these characters.  This excerpt is sure to entice you:

Rowen slouched lower and watched through a crack between the curtain and window as the bane of his existence rocked slowly with that fat ass cat sitting on his lap, her head bouncing up and down from his attentions.

“Don’t fucking scratch her so hard. She may be big but she still has a tiny neck,” Rowen mumbled to no one.

He realized what he’d just said and twisted on his heels from his squat to land on his ass against the wall between the front door and the window he’d just been spying out of. He must be mad to be worried about a stray cat that did nothing but run from him every time he stepped outside.

The irony of that thought was not lost on him; he just chose to ignore it for the moment.

But you are mad, aren’t you?

He banged the back of his head against the wall once, twice…when he lifted his head for a third round of punishment, the knock of flesh on wood happened before the contact between his skull and the wall did.

Huh?

Rowen sat quiet for a second, wondering where the extra noise came from when it happened again, and he looked up to the right.

“Shit…” he muttered under his breath. Someone was knocking on his door.

He turned his body, slowly moved the curtain out of the way, and with only his right eye, peered out the window. He couldn’t see the front door from this window, but he wondered if a certain…

Two clear pale blue eyes stared back at him, crinkled around the edges undoubtedly because of the smile Rowen couldn’t see from this close.

Mick moved back enough to lift up Filigree—no, the stray cat—and wave her paw at Rowen.

Rowen gracelessly fell backward on his butt, the curtain fluttering closed when he pulled away. He flipped himself over and scuttled up the stairs to his second floor window and his blessed tree.

He easily climbed out of the cabin and onto the branch then froze with one hand on the window frame and the other on the limb above his head.

Standing beneath him and slightly to the left, a blond-haired man sans a stray feline smiled up at him.

“Thought I’d find you here. So, do you want steak for dinner?”

 

Irresistible right?  Mick waving that little paw at Rowen? Adorable.  But as sweet and funny as that moment and others are, the narrative also is quick to turn as dark as the voice inside Rowen’s mind.  When the small  dead animals start to turn up, its clear that other demons haunt the woods around Shadow Mountain.  Soon the hunt is on for the culprit or culprits and everyone around is drawn into the task.

The narrative is very much like a day on a mountain,  It can start off so promising with blue skies and a warm sun shinning down on you, but before you know it, a front moves in and you are caught out in the wild as a storm rages around you and rescue looks bleak.  That how quickly the mood and relationships twist and turn here.  It makes for a quick, provocative and suspenseful read.  It’s one of the elements that makes this story and series so successful and the Pulp Friction group as a whole.  You never know what’s coming next or which layer is going to be pulled back to reveal a tortured past or criminal element. It’s surprising how fast it all goes by.  It pulls you into the story so completely that when you reach the end you are ready for the next story because you want it to continue immediately.  But I have to wait and so do you, at least for a little while.

If you are new to these characters and series, start with the first story, Blown Away, then Blown Kisses.  So go now, get started reading.  You will fall in love with these characters and their series.  And then move on to the other connecting stories.  They are as addictive as they come and are highly  recommended for all.  All are listed below.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  I love these covers, from the models to the branding for the Pulp Friction group.  Just perfect.

Book Details:

ebook, approximately 45 pages
Published April 14th 2014 by Appleton Publishing Avenue
ISBN PF1400002
edition languageEnglish
seriesWhispering Winds #2

Round One of Pulp Friction 2014:

Firestorm (Fighting Fire# 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold# 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows# 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake# 1) by Tom Webb

Round Two of Pulp Friction 2014:

Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner
Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil
Blown Kisses (Where the Wind Blows #2) by Havan Fellows
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) by Tom Webb

Review: Cold Snap (In From the Cold #1) by Lee Brazil

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Cold SnapWhen Dagfinnr Lorensson, professor of literature, comes across a freezing Dr. Cannon Malloy in the staff parking lot, it’s not the first time the two men have met, but only one of them remembers.  Cannon Malloy has just arrived in Flagstaff, Arizona, fleeing the traumatizing events and deadly stalker of the last summer in Atlanta.  Cannon is to take over the neurosurgery clinic at the university.  Somehow Cannon thought putting a large distance between himself and his friends in Atlanta  (Chances Are series) would help him get past the events that have left his hands shaking and himself fearful almost all of the time.

Now Cannon stands shivering next to his 66 Shelby, painfully aware that clearly neither his beloved car or himself was prepared for the winter weather that occurs in Flagstaff and the mountainous regions that surround it.  Dagfinnr rescues Cannon and takes him to a local  hotel where Finn is staying until the roads are safe to travel home.  The night at the inn ends in explosive sex.

But Cannon is a man living in fear and even the smallest emotional advances send him running out into the night, seeking the refuge of his new rental cabin on Mountain Shadows.  It’s not until Cannon runs into trouble again on the snow packed mountain road that he realizes his rescuer from work is also his new neighbor.  With winter storms and proximity working to throw them together, will Finn find a way past Cannon’s shields and his fear?  And will Cannon find the strength to stop running and let someone inside all the barriers he has raised against love?

Cold Snap is another terrific start to what looks to be a gripping and emotion packed series.  Unexpectedly Lee Brazil has brought Cannon Malloy, a problematic character if ever there was one, over from the original Pulp Friction 2013 group series.  Now a main character, Cannon Malloy is someone the reader is certain to feel ambivalent about.  He was the closeted man who hurt Chance so deeply in the Chances Are series. His return into Chance’s life sparks all sorts of upheavals in the core relationships of the Pulp Friction 2013 group of friends.  He disappears towards the end of that storyline after some horrific events.  It now appears that he ran off to Arizona in hopes of starting a new life as an out gay man for the first time in his life.  This process starts to transform a self involved personality into someone the reader can start to relate to and empathize with by slowly revealing the frailties behind the self centered appearance.

And to help in this process hopefully is Dagfinnr Loresson, professor of English literature, neighboring renter at the cabins at Mountain Shadows (the location for the Pulp Friction 2014 series), and apparently a man searching for love and a little kink with Cannon Malloy.   As this is just the first story in the series, Brazil is laying the groundwork necessary for the complicated relationship that is sure to follow.  Here it would help to have read the previous Pulp Friction series or at least the Chances Are series, although not completely necessary as the author starts to work bits and pieces from Cannon’s past into the current storyline.

Towards the end of the last series, Cannon was starting to explore the world of bdsm sexuality and it did not go well for a number of reasons. But all those unanswered questions and unresolved feelings are still there under all the barriers Cannon has erected to protect himself from physical and emotional harm.  And Finn recognizes that in Cannon he might have meet the man to match his own desires and kink.  The drama and, I expect, the fun, will be in watching the author brings these two disparate personalities together into a rewarding relationship.

There are also mysteries that start to emerge and I expect elements from Cannon’s past to figure into the plot as well.  I have always found it hard to believe that Brazil can pack so much story into only 56 pages.  The characters are so vivid and real that they threaten to burst out of the page and the location feels as alive as the tall trees that surround the cabins and main lodge.  My only complaint is, that like an addictive snack, you finish one and then immediately want to reach out for the next.  That’s the way I feel about Cold Snap and all the rest of the Pulp Friction 2014 series.

The anticipation has settled in.  My curiosity is engaged and the suspense is building.  I am already in love with the series and all the characters, wounded, quirky, dominate, and complex, that are showing up one by one at Mountain Shadows.  There are so many elements to be found here, love, romance, kinky sex, wounded men, and mystery, that there is something for everyone.  I definitely consider this highly recommended!

Cover art by Laura Harner is terrific and perfect for the man and story inside.

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 56 pages
Published January 30th 2014 by Lime Time Press
ASIN B00I5SWYZS
edition language English
series In From the Cold, Pulp Friction 2014

One of the Pulp Friction 2014 Series

 From the Pulp Friction Group: The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends. The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth. Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Firestorm (Fighting Fire: 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows: 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake: 1) by Tom Webb

Review: Long Time Gone (Hell or High Water #2) by S.E. Jakes

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When a tornado meets a volcano, nothing is safe.

Long Time Gone coverAfter their last “off the grid” mission was finished, Tom Boudreaux was given a choice of partners,  Cope or Prophet.  Tom chose Cope thinking that he would keep Prophet safe by removing him from Tom’s bad luck.  But now three months later Tom’s decision has brought him nothing but regret.  Regret and a constant anxiety over Prophet’s whereabouts and  safety as Prophet has left EE Ltd and no one is sure of his whereabouts.

When Tom Boudreaux walked away from him and their partnership, Prophet realized two things.  One that he no longer wanted to work alone, and secondly he had just let the man he wanted walk out of his life.  After Tom left, he wrote Prophet emails, including one that asked him for a personal favor, never sure if the man would get them.  He did.  And now Prophet is heading to New Orleans to see Della, Tom’s aunt,  to make sure she stays safe as a hurricane approaches.

Fearing for his aunt’s safety as a hurricane bears down on New Orleans, Tom disobeys his employer’s orders and leaves for his old home town and an explosive reunion with Prophet, a man he hasn’t been able to forget.  The horror that is Tom’s past rises up around them along with the flooding bayou waters bringing alligators, murder, and old enemies to the surface. Tom and Prophet must fight not only to stay together but for their lives as well.

SE Jakes has done it again! Long Time Gone, the 2nd book in the Hell or High Water series, is one sexy, tumultuous, and action-packed roller-coaster of a novel.  A Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Spy Hunt for adults and it couldn’t be more satisfying.  With  Tom Boudreaux and Prophet Drews, Jakes has added to her pantheon of complicated, conflicted Alphas intensely connected by their pasts as well as professions as spies and covert ops.  These are tough, wary, secretive warriors.  So it makes sense to make these men (and us) work hard to establish any sort of realistic relationship, if one is possible.

As Catch A Ghost ended, we saw Tom accept a new partner, walking away from Prophet and their intense relationship.Three months have passed since that event and things can’t be more different for both men.  Tom is bored out of his skull, buried in a job he doesn’t want with a partner who is making him crazy.  He is missing Prophet so deeply that he is writing the man emails he isn’t sure Prophet will ever receive.  Why?  Because the man has disappeared and even those closest to him are unable to find him.  Prophet left EE, Ltd, their agency after a fight with their boss.  And now he wanders the globe on his own dangerous missions that by their varying nature send pointed messages to the security agencies around the world.  These men are coming to a crossroads and it will take a hurricane to set them back on the path together.

The world is familiar with the impact a hurricane can have on the City of New Orleans and it’s surrounding parishes.  So it definitely works to bring the reader immediately into the setting for this novel by bringing this natural disaster back to life in the same place where Katrina left so much devastation and death.  It lays an emotional, knowledgeable base for the actions that follow and the choice of New Orleans, with its fantastic mix of voodoo and beignets, of alligators and corruption, is the perfect stage for a story where “the seventh son of a seventh son”, and a man named Prophet will reunite to deal with Tom’s demons, ones that have haunted him from birth, just as a new hurricane bears down on a town familiar with disasters of every kind, natural and man made.

With the hurricane coming, and New Orleans as the setting, Jakes has all the elements she needs to create a story wide ranging in emotions, explosive in actions and incendiary in the sexual heat generated by  Tom and Prophet, really this story has it all.  Tom and Prophet were enigmas in Catch a Ghost.  Here we start to flesh out their backstories, Tom’s especially.  The angry, out of control agent seen fighting in the first novel is laid bare, his character explained through the bayou, his family and the past events that continue to stain relationship and friendships today.  The bayou and the Cajun culture flourishes here in the touches  and in the metaphors Jakes creates for her two battled scarred men fight nature and others to be together, including their own  doubts and best intentions.  As the lightning flashes and the storm rages outside the house where Tom’s aunt lives, it parallels the passion and emotional chaos occurring within Tom and Prophet as they meet up again under dire circumstances.  It’s scary hot, swirling with anger and longing yet still oddly humorous at the same time.  The water rises along with Tom’s past, bringing up bodies, old enemies seeking revenge and retribution  in a maelstrom of hate, anguish and pain.

It’s also not just Tom’s past that is dealt with, Prophet brings his own share of torment as well.  The thunder and lightning flashes mimic the sounds of guns and warfare throwing Prophet into paralyzing states of PTSD and flashbacks.  One man’s horror combines with another’s man terrifying upbringing but salvation or success is never a given.  Not with these two, the most they can ask for is time and hope.

I suppose this is the best time to bring up alligator kink.  I now have one thanks to SE Jakes and her boys.  I never saw that coming. I admit that when someone mentions alligator ‘rastling’ in the past, it conjured up images of good old boy poachers ,bootleg tanners and hokey sideshow venues in the south or any show on TLC.  No more.  Now I think of Tom and Prophet and New Orleans. It’s a wild scene as they roll passionately about Aunt Della’s kitchen floor, as well as a cabin in the swamp.  It’s sexy and funny and yes, satisfying as the boys reunite after 3 months of separation. All those wet, naked rolling bodies is further later detailed as Tom puts on a show as he wrestles and rolls an alligator into submission.  It opens a new sexual kink for Prophet, one that plays out in a white hot moment to come.

So much lovely, lusty sex here, which works on many different levels.  Sex is the number one choice of communication between Tom and Prophet.  They use it to defer those “we have to talk” situations while saying so much to each other by their touches,caresses, and telling strokes.  Because these boys have forgotten how to talk, how to open themselves up to another person, if they ever knew how to begin with. So when Jakes’ plot forces them to share parts of their past with each other, its realistically painful and monosyllabic.  It also makes us (and the person on the receiving end of said pertinent data) so appreciative of the information that we do get while making us a little frustrated at how much more there is to know and understand about the complicated men before us.

To continue the metaphor, Jakes’ narrative is a pitching deck on hurricane waters.  If the story feels a little choppy in places, its because that format works to keep every one off balance, as the waves throw one thing after another at our couple.  Sometimes it looks like they are going to drown in their past other times they crest towards the surface and safety.  I love that we are never sure what the next page and scene will bring us.  The suspense is wonderful and agonizing for us as well as Tom and Prophet.

Tom Boudreaux and Prophet Drews are the real deal, that addictive couple that snares us at the beginning of a potential relationship and never lets us go.  Each stumble forward, every tentative gain made towards a lasting relationship is met with a realistic picture of just how fragile and momentary those new stages in their relationship are.  Just one phone call, one appearance by the wrong person and all could be lost.  Such an overview paints a veneer of uncertainty and suspense over all the events and actions that occur within the story.  Tom and Prophet are together again but for long how?  Where is the next enemy coming from?  Their present or their past?  Jakes keeps us teetering on the edge of our emotions along with Tom and Prophet as they navigate the rough waters ahead.  I can’t wait to see how they will handle what this fine author has to throw at them (and us).  It is guaranteed to be chilling, unexpected and downright sexy.  I was always one for the E Ticket rides and this is that in spades.  I just hope we all survive the journey.

Long Time Gone and the Hell or High Water series are highly recommended to all.

LC Chase has again supplied us with an outstanding cover, perfect for the man and  his story inside.

Books in the Hell or High Water series in the order they should be read:

Catch a Ghost (Hell or High Water, #1) 
Long Time Gone (Hell or High Water, #2)

Associated Series: Men of Honor and Dirty Deeds:

Dirty Deeds (DirtyDeeds #1)

Book Details:

ebook, 270 pages
Published October 28th 2013 by Riptide Publishing (first published October 27th 2013)
ISBN139781626490604
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/long-time-gone
seriesHell or High Water #2

Winners of the Pulp Friction 2013 Contest

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Congratulations to our Pulp Friction 2013 Series Contest.  The Winners are:

  1. Bluesmokey  richards851(at)sbcglobal(dot)net
  2. Helen helenj@odont.uio.no
  3. Kerry books2read69@hotmail(dot)com
  4. Bobbie Walker Bobbie022@sky.com

Please double check that I have your email addresses correct and let me know if there are any corrections.  The authors will be sending our copies of their series to the winners.  Happy reading everyone and Happy Holidays!

ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Review of Odd Man Out, the Pulp Friction combined series finale story.

Pulp Friction 4 covers

Review: Odd Man Out by Lee Brazil, Havan Fellows, Laura Harner , and T.A. Webb

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Odd Man Out 2013 Finale coverChance Dumont. Marcus Prater. Zachary Carmichael. Wick Templeton.  These four men have considered each other brothers, family by choice instead of by blood.  They thought they knew everything about one another and they have been through the worst of times with each other.  Or so they thought.

Now Wick has disappeared and won’t return their phone calls. And the remaining men are left feeling betrayed and angry over Wick’s absence and the events that caused it.  Then the Twins, brothers from Wick’s past, turn up dead, killed in the same manner as other gay young men recently.  The man they thought had been arrested for the previous torture and deaths of gay youth is out of prison.  Could the killer be the same man who killed the Twins?  The killings are starting to look personal, and when a meeting is called at Chances Are, everyone is expected to show, even Wick.

But someone is missing from Chances Are, someone unexpected.  And soon its evident that one of their brother’s has been taken by force.  Is it the killer?  Or someone completely different with their own grudge?  The remaining band of brothers must act and quickly before their family is shattered forever.

Four outstanding series, all on Scattered Thoughts Best of 2013, have been leading up to one explosive finale and Odd Man Out doesn’t disappoint! Each series in the Pulp Friction group (Chances Are, City Knight, Triple Threat, and Wicked’s Way) revolve around a strong, charismatic, and densely layered main character.  In their own series, each man exhibits a magnetism and strength that sometimes push the other characters in their own series into the shadows.  So I was curious as to how the authors would be able to find a balance among such compelling, formidable men.  Would one overshadow the others when combined into one book?  The answer is no, the men and their stories mesh as seamlessly as you would expect given their back stories and history together.

And when by seamlessly, I mean realistically. Because these alphas can spend their time in arguments, shoving, anger and hurt that is the result of letting others close, especially to this almost hermetically sealed off group of men.   As all four series and their main characters collide, each man is in the midst of a personal upheaval caused by the introduction of a new love and partner into their lives.  For some like Ben and Marcus, their acceptance of each other has been relatively easy, or as easy as it can get for a member of this tight-knit brotherhood.  Chance and Rory, Zachary, Archer and Jeremiah too, have also recently settled into a loving partnership.  Only Wick and Ned, well, Wick, is still fighting Ned’s new role in his life in a grudgingly humorous manner expected of Wick Templeton.

So much jostling of roles, so many new men to accept within the tight ranks of family. And it’s not just the original members but Ben, Rory, and Jeremiah who have formed bonds to each other.  I love that as much attention has been paid to the links forming between the secondary characters as it has been to the main ones.  Each author has kept all the threads of their series taut while weaving them into the other stories and the series finale.  It is a testament to how well this group of authors know and like each other that their characters play so nicely and believably with each other.

Each man has some huge issues to work through as they race to save one of their own.  And once again, these problems carry with them substantial emotional baggage that each man must examine before the somewhat broken bonds can be reformed between Wick and Zachary, Chance, and Marcus.  The anger and hurt these men carry because of Wick’s actions resonate through each conversation and scene.  It’s powerful, its authentic and we get it because we have come to believe in these characters and their love for each other.  So when they break trust with each other, we feel the anguish as powerfully as they do.  The four authors have presented the readers with four rock solid characters and made them real and their stories compelling.  How can we not feel as they do?

There is also plenty of anxiety and anticipation to go with the white knuckle suspense of Odd Man Out.  As the authors build momentum and suspense into the search for the missing man, we “hear” the thoughts of the captured man and his tormentor interspersed with scenes of the others gathering clues to help them pinpoint who and where their brother has been taken.  It’s a heart pounding, pulse racing ride and you will be on the edge of your seat every step of the investigation and hunt.

I won’t give anything away but there are moments of humor and funny asides to go with the thrills scattered throughout this finale.  Sometimes it used to alleviate the headache inducing tension that is building, other times it  illuminates a man’s character, a means of hiding one’s true emotions behind a facade.  Odd Man Out is really such a rollercoaster ride of emotions, events and turbulent relationships, a true E ticket (for those who remember them).

I loved this story and all the series connected to it.  I hope this doesn’t mean we have seen the last of Wick Templeton, Chance Dumont, Marcus Prater and Zachary Carmichael.  These characters pack a punch whenever and wherever they appear, whether they are together or separately.  I have come to love them all and would love to see them again wherever their futures are taking them.  They have plenty of stories to tell and I would love to read them all.

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 145 pages
Published December 3rd 2013 by Pulp Friction

The Pulp Friction Series of 2013 are:

Wicked Truths coverWicked’s Way Series by Havan Fellows:

Wicked Solutions (Wicked’s Way #1)
Wicked Bindings (Wicked’s Way #2)
Wicked Incarceration (Wicked’s Way #3)
Wicked Guidance (Wicked’s Way #4)
Wicked Truths (Wicked’s Way #5)
Odd Man Out (4 series finale, #6)

Chance In Hell coverChances Are Series by Lee Brazil:

Chances Are (Chances Are #1)
Second Chances Are (Chances Are #2)
Fifty, Fifty Chances Are (Chances Are, #3)
Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are, #4)
Chance in Hell (Chances Are #5)
Odd Man Out (4 series finale, #6)

Darkest KNight coverCity Knight Series by T.A. Webb:

City Knight (City Knight #1)
Knightmare (City Knight #2)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3)
Knights Out (City Knight #4)
Darkest Knight (City Knight #5)
Odd Man Out (4 series finale, #6)

Duplicity coverTriple Threat Series by Laura Harner:

Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1)
Retribution (Triple Threat #2)
Defiance (Triple Threat, #3)
Crucify (Triple Threat, #4)
Duplicity (Triple Threat #5)
Odd Man Out (4 series finale, #6)

Scattered Thoughts Summary of Reviews for October 2013

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October 2013 Summary of Book Reviews

It was a terrific month for books.  Sarah Black came out with her sequel to The General and the Horse-Lord titled The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari.  In my opinion it is the best book she has written to date, wide in scope with subtly nuanced characters that stay with you long after you have finished the story.  Also the Pulp Friction group of authors, (Lee Brazil, Havan Fellows, Laura Harner and T.A. Webb) start to bring their interconnected series to a close with 4 outstanding stories to equal the memorable characters to be found within. S.A. McAuley also brought us the second novel in The Borders War series, Dominant Predator.  I love those men, and need more of their history and complicated relationship.  Sue Brown gave us The Isle of Wishes, second in the Isle of Wight series, plus Ariel Tachna’s Lang Downs series (one of my favorite) expanded to five with Conquer The Flames, a “must read” book for all.

Well, I will let this list speak for itself.  So many great books here that there is sure to be something for everyone.  Grab up your notepad, IPad or paper, and write down the titles for those stories you might have missed.  I have linked my reviews to each book.  Happy readings!

Lady Reading Book in Chair 50 style    


5 Star Rating:

Conquer The Flames (Lang Downs #4) by Ariel Tachna, contemporary
Chance In Hell (Chances Are #5) by Lee Brazil, contemporary
Darkest Knight (City Knight #5) by T.A. Webb
Dominant Predator (The Borders War #2) by S.A. McAuley
Duplicity (Triple Threat #5) by Laura Harner
Knights Out (City Knight #4) by T.A. Webb
The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari by Sarah Black (contemporary, military)
Wicked Truths (Wicked’s Way #5) by Havan Fellows, contemporary
Wild Onions by Sarah Black (supernatural)

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

Enigma by Lloyd A. Meeker (4.25)(contemporary, paranormal)
Goblins, Book 1 by Melanie Tushmore (4.5 )(fantasy)
Home Team by Jameson Dash (4)(contemporary)
Isle of Wishes (Isle of Wight #2) by Sue Brown (contemporary)
Knightmare (City Knight #2) by T.A. Webb (4.75)(contemporary)
Northern Star by Ethan Day (4.25)(contemporary)
Playing Ball Anthology (4.75)(contemporary, historical)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3) by T.A. Webb (4.75)(contemporary)

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Burning Now by A.R. Moler (3)(fantasy, supernatural)
Fool For Love by Cassandra Gold (3)(contemporary)
Strange Angels by Andrea Speed (3.75)(supernatural)
The Night Visitor by Ewan Creed (3 stars)(contemporary, supernatural)
Wireless by L.A. Witt (3.5)(science fiction)

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:

Justice (Leopard Spots #10) by Bailey Bradford (2)(shifters, supernatural)
The Unwanted, the Complete Collection by Westbrooke Jameson (2.5)(science fiction)

1 to 1.75 Star Rating:

None this month

Other Blogs:
Author Spotlight: Havan Fellows on Wicked’s Way Series and Pulp Friction
Author Spotlight: Lee Brazil on Chances Are Series and Pulp Friction
Author Spotlight: T.A. Webb on City Knight Series and Pulp Friction
Author Spotlight: Laura Harner on Triple Threat series and Pulp Friction
Author Spotlight: Sarah Black on Wild Onions
Author Spotlight: Sarah Black on Writing Old Men and the second General release

Review: Darkest Knight (City Knight #5) by T.A. Webb

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Darkest KNight coverMarcus Prater and his lover Benjamin Danvers have never been happier.  Marcus has reconciled with his brother Frankie and now Frankie and Frankie’s kids are now frequent visitors to his home.  His own wounds have healed as has Ben’s and now they are preparing for their first Thanksgiving as a couple.  What could go wrong?

Well, that would be everything.  Wick Templeton is missing along with his boyfriend Ned.  Archer calls, asking if Marcus has read that morning’s paper. Young, gay men are still turning up tortured and dead, including the twins mentioned in the headlines this morning.  Twins wearing medallions that hold a special meaning for Archer, Marcus and, of course, the missing Wick.

And when one of Marcus’ old contacts on the street, an underage prostitute called Brady,appears bruised and bleeding before Marcus with a startling request, one connected to Ben’s dead friend Travis.  Well, Marcus can’t say no and ends up bringing Brady home with him to keep him safe and to attend to his wounds.   So many painful memories arising, so many hidden secrets starting to come out.  Where will it all end?  Will this truly be the darkest night for Marcus, Ben and all those they love?

Just when I think this series can’t get any better, it surges into a whole new realm, expanding the storyline to incorporate more mysteries, hidden depths to characters we have already met, and exploring the new connections in old established relationships, adding texture and layers to already terrific characters and their bonds with each other.   Of all the books, Darkest Knight is the one that brings all the other men and their lovers together in one place, all but one.

Everyone has gathered together at Marcus and Ben’s place for Thanksgiving.  It starts out as a time of joy and  reconciliation then it turns  painful and bitter with one phone call.  Every  the buried emotions and old pain rushes out, first in Marcus and then in the others, leaving the new lovers to handle the situation.  I loved how  the author brings Jeremiah, Rory, and Ben into their own in this story.  Each demonstrates a new found strength and depth of character that is not only surprising but disarming.  It’s unexpected and finally grounds each man not only in their relationships to their lovers but with each other as well.  It’s wonderful in so many ways.  It redefines how we look at all the relationships present, it exposes old past histories while providing a new avenue of thought with regard to the mysterious deaths of young rent boys in the city.

I loved that T.A. Webb chose Thanksgiving as the occasion to bring them all together.  Its our traditional family holiday and these men have been each other’s family for over 15 years.  And the fact that one of them is not only missing but has kept secrets from some of them all that time is doubling their feelings of hurt and betrayal.  It’s a marked contrast to the new found love that most of the original members  have now found, with those lovers present and now incorporated into that tight band of men.

Then Webb adds Brady, an resilient, underage rent boy and Frankie, Marcus’ brother, to the mix and things really start to bounce out of control.   Brady is a wonderful little portrait of a kid thrown away at a hauntingly young age but has who succeeded in surviving the streets and the predators that hunt there, if only just.  I love Brady and want more of this amazing kid.

Here is a small excerpt as Marcus comes across Brady on the street:

And in every face, every kid standing there with all the false bravado, in every potential target, he saw his love.

He had to focus on their job tonight, though. One young man hadn’t made it, and it broke something in Benjamin when Travis had been murdered. Oh, he still went to school, and made love with Marcus, and joked with Jeremiah. But he’d tried to help the boy and it blew up in his face. And Wick…he’d said he would help and the boy slipped away and now he was dead. Goddamn it, Marcus needed Wick and that crazy Bayou or Banyon or whatever the hell his name was to help him find Travis’s killer.

The feel of his heart racing in his chest and the tension in his jaw from grinding his teeth made him stop, close his eyes, and take a couple of deep breaths. Getting mad at Wick wouldn’t do him any good right now. Now, his Benjamin needed him. So fuck Wick, he’d deal with him later. But that made him feel guilty for being mad at his brother, and then he was right back in the same loop.

“Mister Marcus?” He almost didn’t hear the small voice and walked past the kid hanging outside the alleyway leading up to the Zesto’s and McDonald’s. Glancing around, Marcus stepped in the space and nodded for the young man to walk with him.

“Brady. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you. I was worried about you, son.” The boy—he was one of the younger ones Marcus had tried to keep his eye on before he’d been shot, and he’d lost track of him—was skinnier than he remembered, and his hair hung in greasy hanks around his face. He walked stiffly and slightly bent over, and all of Marcus’s red flags went off.

His head nodding as if he heard music no one else could hear, Marcus saw the sideways glance Brady gave him, and then looked around like he was scared of either being overheard or seen. Part of Brady’s twitches were affectations, so people would leave him alone or think him helpless. The fact of the matter was he’d been on the streets since he was twelve, and was alive now at the ripe old age of seventeen only by the grace of God and a buttload of tricks he’d learned over the years. If he was patient, Brady would tell him what he wanted or needed.

What happens next is both heartbreaking and startling in its intensity.  You really have to read it all to get the full benefit of Webb’s realistic descriptions and spot on dialog that brings this young man and his pain so vividly to life.  More than a few tissues will be needed before all the mysteries are solved and bonds can be knitted back together.

City Knight, of which Darkest Knight is the fifth book,  is one of four interconnected series.  The others are Triple Threat by LE Harner, Chances Are by Lee Brazil and Wicked’s Way by Havan Fellows.  You can read each series by themselves.  But read together, you will enter a rich world inhabited by strong, intelligent men, a gritty band of brothers and their lovers.  Grab them all up, and read them one after the other, starting with book one in each series.  Each is remarkable in their own right, but together form a Pulp Friction universe you will never want to leave.

Here are the books in the City Knight series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the men and their relationships and the events that occur:

City Knight (City Knight #1)
Knightmare (City Knight #2)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3)
Knights Out (City Knight #4)
Darkest Knight (City Knight #5)
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Book Details:

ebook, 60 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by A Bear on Books
edition language English

Review: Knights Out (City Knight #4) by T.A. Webb

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Knights Out coverMarcus Prater and Benjamin Danvers are having a wonderful morning when they are interrupted by a phone call.  It’s Zachary and he needs their help.  An old friend of Jeremiah’s, NIck, has gone missing and Jeremiah wants to know what has happened to him.  Since Ben also knows Nick from his time as a rent boy, Marcus and Ben are quick to agree to join a growing search for a young man known for his kindness and help to those on the streets.

Their investigation takes a darker turn when more boys turn up missing. This investigation reminds Marcus that he also has someone he wants to find, his younger brother who Marcus hasn’t seen in years.  Their current search renews Marcus’ resolve to find his brother and make amends for all the lost time between them.  The shocking resolution of both investigations will change everyones lives forever.

Knights Out, the fourth story in the City Knight series, is a wonderful installment in this Pulp Friction group offering.  Here Webb continues to weave the clues to the mystery that runs through all four series, that of the increasing number of missing young men and the culprit behind their torture and subsequent deaths.  In Knights Out two more young rent boys disappear, both of which the readers became familiar with in other stories.  Now we are faced with uncertainty about their fate and the indication that a serial murderer is at work.  Webb builds our tension and anxiety in small but increasingly fearful steps.  Soon we are afraid not only for the missing men but for all the main characters that we have come to love, especially those like Ben and Jeremiah who fit the profile of the men the killer is targeting.  The fact that Ben and Jeremiah have just found happiness just increases our alarm.

But T.A. Webb balances that worry and concern with moments of laughter and love, especially when it comes to Marcus and his brother.  That is such a lovely element in this story.  It made me laugh as well as cry.  As much as I wanted to include that excerpt with Wick here, I just can’t bring myself to spoil the enjoyment of reading it as part of the whole chapter.  Trust me, you will love this moment for so many reasons, one of which is the rare scene of seeing the unshakable Wick throughly discomforted (in a funny way of course).

By balancing a man’s love for his brother and Ben against the horror that is coming., Webb shows just how fragile a state happiness can be.  Nothing is ever certain, nothing is ever guaranteed except death, so grab your love and happiness while you can.   It’s a message that some of the characters are just beginning to accept, however much they may fight it.  The author spreads tension throughout the series, like butter on bread.  Whether it is Marcus’ health, Wick’s relationships, the mens past histories emerging into the present day events, all bring a certain amount of tension and uncertainty to all the investigations and relationships.

All the other characters from the  other series are starting to appear with regularity.  Here Wick and Chance are an integral part of the search for the missing rent boys with implications for both men and their past histories.  And while there is not a cliffhanger to be found in this story, the path is laid for more investigations and more revelations to come.

Tom Webb is certainly bring his love of Pulp Fiction alive with this story and his City Knight series.  None of these books and related series are to be missed.  But you must start at the beginning with City Knight in order to understand the main characters backgrounds and relationships and the events to come.

Here they are in the order they were written and should be read:

City Knight (City Knight #1)
Knightmare (City Knight #2)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3)
Knights Out (City Knight #4)
Darkest Knight (City Knight #5)
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Book Details:

ebook, 50 pages
Published August 15th 2013 by A Bear on Books
ISBN13 9781301563555
series City Knight
buy link All Romance, Amazon Kindle Books