Pulp Friction’s 2014 Group Series Has Arrived! Meet the Authors, Enter to Win $25 Gift Card!

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Firestorm by Laura Harner

Cold SnapBlown Away coverHigher Ground cover

Pulp Friction Gang Rides Again!

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ScatteredThoughts is so happy to have the Pulp Friction gang (Laura Harner, TA Webb, Lee Brazil, and Havan Fellows) here again to talk about their 2014 Pulp Friction series and characters.

Contest: They have brought a $25 All Romance gift certificate to celebrate the start of the new Pulp Friction stories.  To be entered to win, just leave a comment and a email address where you can be contacted.  Contest ends 3/21.

Laura: Ever been on a roller coaster? I’m talking a no holds barred, twist and turn, wrench at your gut, show you your lunch, dislocate your spine and give you whiplash roller coaster? Yeah? They’re fun right? Try riding one for a whole year and you’ve got the equivalent of how the Pulp Friction gang felt our first year out the gate with Pulp Friction 2013 – Atlanta.

None of us knew what to expect – there was no rule book, no crib notes, not a damn cheat sheet on how to successfully do a quad-multiple series collection of books with crossovers from all the main characters and a lot of the minor ones while threading in one major mystery that would be the pinnacle of the final book written by all four authors while still spitting out a single book every fifteen days. *breathes* WOW – did we do that?

That is exactly what we did. And you know what? We nailed it! Sure, we had our ups and downs—someone forgot their character’s eye color, or that they had kissed another MC in a different book, or that they had to kill someone soon, or even that their deadline was next up—but our pow wow sessions helped keep everyone in line and were FUN!

Because if you aren’t having fun why the hell are you doing it?

But that’s enough about the past…let’s talk about what that experience did for the future of Pulp Friction. Let me introduce you to Pulp Friction 2014 Flagstaff!

We took everything we learned from last year and brainstormed about how we can learn from it and make another PF year – but do it bigger and better and bolder!
New main characters
More crossovers
Bonus books
Layers of plots that overlap
Teasers that keep you guessing
Cliff hangers
Shocking beginnings

That is one hell of a list we have going there, to make it easier let’s just focus on the first item today. Our new main characters.

I loved our boys of Atlanta, the original group of five and the four newcomers that joined them. They were terrific. So…

STRW: How did the Pulp Friction group step away from their beloved men of Atlanta and start anew?

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Tom: My first instinct was to carry over Marcus’s little (hah) brother and his new love interest into Flagstaff. Then I thought of two things; did I really want to make it “easy” on myself, and if I did, I’d have a revolt in the fan base, plus diminishing the integrity of the characters themselves.

I’ve been a little out of commission the past few months, and joined in the planning a little bit hit-and-miss. My three cohorts have been so patient and kind in their support, and when I thought about what I wanted to do next, their kick-ass enthusiasm made me want to stretch and make my next set of characters something very different. We see big alpha men and smaller mate types all the time. What if…the big guy was laid back and bottom, and the smaller guy was a little swishy, arrogant and an alpha queen? And what if he hit all the big guy’s buttons, but had a past that kept him from committing to a relationship?

Enter Charlie and Amos.

I decided to write in first person this time, and make it from Charlie’s point of view. Charlie is my almost-thirty construction contractor with a business he inherited when his dad died suddenly while Charlie was in college. So my big guy quit school, left his lover, and became the man of the house for his little brother who he adores, and his mom. Now, his brother is fifteen going on brat-aged, and his mother decides it’s time for Charlie to have a life of his own, outside work and family.

And then there’s Amos. Spiffy, smart, full of himself. He’s alone in the world, the owner of an art gallery, and a hit-it-and-leave-it kind of man. Bi-racial, a shorter, lean “mean-girl”, Amos sees Charlie, wants him, and tries his best to leave the man as a one night stand, but something draws him back. There’s heat and fire between them, and the fact Charlie is working for him, remodeling his gallery drives Amos crazy.

It’s bad enough they have their own issues that will cause them to back off from each other, but Charlie’s brother Damon, who is NOT impressed with Amos, creates all kinds of commotion.

Now, with those characters, who will notice Marcus and his Benjamin are in Atlanta, happily married?

See? PF2014Flagstaff rocks, baby!

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Havan: It wasn’t easy, I was really scared. Everyone seemed to either love or hate Wick—but they all agreed they wanted more of him. Were they going to look at Rowen and Mick and expect to see Wick in one of them? I hoped not, because personally there could only be one Wick in my life.

Then one night we were brainstorming about Pulp Friction 2014 and Flagstaff and I thought to myself—my guy is a recluse! After months of not being able to think of anybody to write the next year Rowen slammed me with an overabundance of information about himself. He was a loner who wasn’t an ass, but darn sure wasn’t an open and inviting person. He doesn’t trust easily, he has issues (I know really? lol) He…well I guess I shouldn’t say too much about him, you know? But who in their right mind would agree to go toe to toe with such a man?

Mick approached me with a huge smile on his face. Talk about the epitome of a happy go lucky no worries type of guy—oh he’s perfect for Rowen! Now comes the fun part. In book one you got an introduction to the characters…what book two has to offer, well you’ll find out in mid-April. 🙂

On a side note, I’ve been asked if I’m done writing about Wick and Ned? I believe in never saying never…*blinks* even if I just said never twice, I mean three times. I haven’t closed the door on Wick or Ned—I probably never will—but right now Wick is more interested in enjoying what Ned has to offer than what I do. *winks*

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Lee: Some might say I took the easy way out by bringing over one of my characters from Atlanta. That seed, by the way, was carefully planted in the final books of 2013. You’ll find mention of Cannon’s relocation in Chance in Hell and Odd Man Out. It probably wasn’t all that surprising then for many people to see him.

I don’t think that using an established character lightened my work load though. Cannon is not an easy man to like. I think just about everyone who read PF 2013 absolutely loathed the man.

By moving him to Flagstaff I committed to taking this man everyone hated and showing what went on in his head, making him likeable and heroic even.

In light of the fact that Cannon was supposed to be the love interest in Chances Are, I felt I owed it to the man. After all, it wasn’t his fault that everyone, including Chance, liked Rory better. I knew by the time I finished Chances Are that Cannon had lost his place, but I continued to abuse him throughout the series. Creating a HEA for a villain everyone despised won’t be easy at all.

But after everything he went through, Cannon deserves a chance at happiness.

Finn Lorensson is just the man to give it to him. Finn was born in a single moment, from a few lines that popped into my head before I even started writing notes for the stories. If you’ve read Cold Snap, you probably recognize these lines. For me, they are the essential sum of Finn’s character.

“I like to hear a man’s voice crack when he says please. I like to hear the soft desperation in the way he breathes. I like to see his skin flush and his chest heave.
“I like to know he wants what only I can give.”

Perfect for Cannon, don’t you think?

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Laura: I’ll echo what the others said about starting over with new characters being scary. We all have ideas for books, but it isn’t easy to come up with an idea that will meld with the ideas of three other authors.

I spent many years working for the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management and given the tragic fire in Prescott this past summer, the characters of Scott, the injured wildland firefighter, and Robby, the NPS Ranger, are a natural fit for me.

In the first book, Scott is clearly shown to be a hero, but there are hints to his personality there. He will always rush in first, consider consequences later. I think you’ll see the dark side to that character trait in the next book, Controlled Burn.

Robby tends to be the opposite. He wants to consider all of the angles, and will almost always make decisions on what he believes is best for everybody—often at his own expense.

I also have a little surprise for fans of my Willow Springs Ranch Series. Park and Tanner arrive at Mountain Shadows and interact with a few of the characters in a brand new PF 2014 Bonus Book. Kismet and Cartwheels will be out this week, along with the next release in the Fighting Fire Series, Controlled Burn.

We really want to thank all of the Pulp Friction fans who have spread the word about our crazy interconnected serial fiction: four series, 20 books, the grand finale. In Atlanta, we started with a core cast of characters, who already considered themselves family. In PF 2014, we hope you will enjoy watching this group of relative strangers grow into a family by choice. Sort of the way Tom, Havan, Lee and I have become a family, too.

Be sure to leave a comment to enter for a chance to win a $25 All Romance eBooks gift card. And again contest ends 3/21.

Thanks for hosting us, Melanie.

STRW:  Thanks for stopping by, everyone.  I can’t wait to read the next books in the series.  Again, don’t forget to leave a comment with your email address to be entered to win the $25 ARe gift certificate! Contest ends 3/21/2014.

Pulp Friction 2014: 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 TA Webb

Review: Chance in Hell (Chances Are #5) by Lee Brazil

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Chance In Hell coverAaron “Chance” Dumont, owner of Chances Are bar and restaurant, doesn’t know what to do.  Chance has just retrieved his missing boyfriend, Rory, who disappeared after a huge argument.  Granted the argument was about Chance and his old flame, Cannon, who returned determined to reclaim Chance as his.  Plus Rory, still trying to recover from his rape, is uncertain of their relationship and his status in Chance’s life.  But now that Rory is home and Chance is sure that Rory is the one he loves, things are still unsettled.

Why do things never stay the same?  Even his sanctuary, his bar Chances Are, is going upscale because of his new bartender and his chef.

While Rory agreed to come home, it was also on the condition that there was to be no sex between them.  That this was their chance to really get to know one another before a deeper commitment could be made (and sexual relations resumed).  Now Chance is determined not to screw up a second time, to show Rory that he is loved and treasured above all.

But fate has a messed up sense of humor. Cannon appears, shaken and badly needing Chance’s help.  Someone is stalking him and making threats.  Is there a connection to other unresolved deaths in the area? Soon Cannon is sleeping on their couch, and a killer is circling around the bar and his friends.  Chance is determined to save his new relationship but feels obligated to help his first love.  If there is a chance in hell that someone can keep them all safe, then Chance is the man for the job.

Chance in Hell, the fifth book in the Chances Are series, finds Chance finally committed to his love, Rory, but unsure of everything else in his life.  Everything is changing and Chance is the last person in the world who likes change even when it is for the better.  Lee Brazil does an outstanding job of making the reader understand just how flustered and uneasy Chance is over the changes in his life.  He is happy Rory is home but is tentative about moving forward in any part of their relationship, afraid to make a wrong move.  His bar, Chances Are, has always been a haven for Chance, no matter  the circumstances in his life but that is changing too as his bar has become popular with everyone, not just his old friends and the gay scene.

Even Chance’s band of brothers, his non blood relation family, is at its most variable, with new members and expansions of relationships.  With each description and scene, Brazil makes Chance’s new life seem incredibly authentic and real for the reader.  We feel his unease and the tension that all the changes are bringing about. We understand that Chance knows just how fragile his second “chance” at love with Rory is.  The author also takes the character of Rory and makes him into a  warm, intelligent and yes, endearing young man, a far cry from the troubled, passive “twink” he was portrayed as in the previous stories. Rory is that person that we love unconditionally.  The growth of his character brings out the best in Chance. Finally, even those readers who were not committed to this relationship, can understand the attraction and root for their love to succeed.  We even feel for Cannon, a less than relatable personality whose broken relationship with Chance almost destroyed him and almost demolished Chance’s new one with Rory.  Now Cannon becomes someone worthy  of our sympathy and concern, instead of someone we disliked and was disconnected to, a very nice turnaround by Brazil.

By the end of the story, things seem, at least on the surface, to be settling down.  I love Chance Dumont and his singular voice, all gravely, sarcastic, and knowing.  Rory is a wonderful complement to him and he knows it.  But a mystery is lurking around the edges, and the clues are to be found in the other series.  A Chance in Hell is well named indeed.

This is how it all starts:

The flamboyantly sexy Sin mixed drinks with smiles and laughter and his usual flirtatious banter behind the bar. Gerry cast him a dark glance every now and then, but seemed too busy with the harried waiters, managing the kitchen, and rubbing up against Darrin to actually approach the bartender.

It was Friday night and the crowd of boys in blue and the quiet gentlemen of the neighborhood had been replaced by a bevy of gay men who ranged from suave to eager, all drawn by the lure of our sexy new bartender, all spending big and most having to be sent home at the end of each night in cabs. Tomorrow was weekend brunch, and tonight’s crowd would seem even more incongruous when compared to the tourists and families who came for the brunch buffet.

Chances Are was changing, and I wasn’t sure I liked it. Gerry couldn’t be blamed for all of it either. It began with me hiring Blake, who should have been working in a grand establishment, to cook. A trained chef who’d once prepared food for the elite of New York society, he was out of place in my bar. He’d amped up the food, which had seemed safe enough. Then Gerry hired Sin, who despite his vibrant attitude behind the bar, I had yet to see actually follow through on the promise in his name, and crowds came, drawn by his personality. The bar was no longer a refuge, and I really needed one right now.

Why the hell doesn’t anything ever stay the same?

If you are new to the series, then return to the beginning and start there. Here are the stories in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters, their relationships and the events that occur:

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)

Cover art by Laura Harner is perfect for the story and to brand the series.

Book Details:

ebook, 14,500 words, 51 pages
Buy Links All Romance EBooks, Amazon
Published August 30th 2013 by Lime Time Press
edition language English
series Chances Are

Welcome, Lee Brazil, author of Chances Are Pulp Friction series

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words: Author Spotlight and Chat with Lee Brazil, author of the Chances Are series.Chance In Hell cover

Good morning all and welcome to Pulp Friction Week. This week I am happy to have all the authors of the Pulp Friction series in to talk about their characters, and their series…and well whatever they want to discuss with us. Happily for my readers, each author is offering a copy of one of their books in their series as a giveaway. Just leave a comment at the end of each day’s post and you will be entered.

Yes, its that easy. Now on with our chat!

It’s Pulp Friction Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words and we are excited to welcome Lee Brazil to pull up a chair and have a chat with us.

STRW: I have to tell you that I just love Chance Dumont and the Chances Are series. Can you tell everyone a little bit about the Pulp Friction series and yours in particular?

LB:: Good morning everyone! *sips coffee* For those who don’t know me, I’m Lee Brazil, author of m/m romance with Pulp Friction, Story Orgy, Breathless Press, etc. I’d like to thank Melanie for inviting me over today to talk to everyone. As is usual in such a circumstance, I find myself tongue tied and unable to come up with a single thing of value to say.

Isn’t that the way of things?

ST: Let’s start with the Pulp Friction series and Chances Are.

LB: Pulp Friction has been a blast to write, and it’s morphed in ways I never quite imagined when it started. When we first discussed it, the stories were supposed to be no more than 8K apiece, which is why my first story, Chances Are is so short. After I got started, well. It was quite a different tune. Each story grew longer and longer, it became harder and harder to incorporate a little character growth and development in with the need for some sort of mystery/adventure, and sex. Can’t forget the sensual rapport between the two main characters, and the growing emotional attachment as well.

Add in to that the seemingly irrepressible urge our characters had for interacting with one another across the whole series, and yeah. Size was a big challenge.

Size isn’t everything though, *waits for snickers to die down* even though each story is longer than the one that preceded it. All the stories in each series create a big picture of the relationship between a couple, or triad. Then, when you put all the series together, something even bigger is revealed.

And by that roundaboutation, I guess I’m saying that then end has not yet arrived for Chance and Rory and all the Pulp Friction 2013 guys. Look for something special in December.

For everyone who managed to hang in over here, through my sad little excuse for a blog post, I am enclosing a coupon code for Smashwords for you to download Chances Are for free.

Chances Are coverCoupon Code: FM25N
Expires: November 1, 2013

So click on over to CHANCES ARE at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/277629 for your free copy.

That’s my Treat for all of you today…Here’s my Trick. Leave me a comment, telling me whether you’re ever at a loss for words, or if you always have plenty to say, and one lucky winner will receive a copy of Second Chances Are, book two in the series.

ST: Trust me, lovely readers, you won’t want to miss out.  This is a terrific series and gets got me addicted to the characters and their relationships.  Thank you, Lee, for stopping by today and for the surprise gift for all the readers.

Review: Wicked Truths (Wicked’s Way #05) by Havan Fellows

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Wicked Truths coverWicked Templeton is not happy.  Usually he is in total control of his life and that’s the way he likes it.  But lately things are happening all around him that make him feel edgy and unsettled.  First of all Ned has disappeared.  No calls, no friendly break-ins at his home, no dinners or worst of all no sex.  Plus someone is still targeting young gay men, torturing and killing them, putting many of his friends lovers at risk.

Then Wick finds out that his past has returned and is behind Ned’s disappearance.  All Wick’s secrets have come back to play and that is a wickedly deadly thing to happen.  Wick must first save Ned and then his  circle of friends but at what cost to himself?  When all the secrets are revealed, Wick’s life changes forever.  Who will be left standing at the end?

Wicked Truths is the fifth in the Wicked’s Way series and is a marked departure from all the stories that preceded it.  In those stories, Wick Templeton is  almost supernaturally great at  everything he does.  He is quick with a quip or a gun, knows where the bad guys plan before they do and how to outsmart even the smartest criminal. Wick is also seemingly impervious to pain, angst and any form of commitment outside of friendship.  A kind of James Bond outlook  but much grittier and, of course, definitely gay.

But in Wicked Truths, many of the carefully crafted images we have of Wick is shattered.  With Ned’s disappearance, we see cracks in the hard veneer Wick has created for himself over time.  He misses Ned and hates that he does so.  And as his life starts to spiral out of control, we get to see not only Wick Templeton’s beginnings but how that history has created the man Wick Templeton is today.  True to form, this is not a happy past but one so torturous and twisted that everything about Wick and his personality becomes understandable.

Havan Fellows does a terrific job in bringing the horror and banal evilness that is Wick’s past to life.  Her descriptions are succinct and perfectly reflective of the depraved personality at work behind the events that occur.  Wick’s desperation is made all the more real because we have never seen the character in this mental and emotional state before.  It’s a revelation as the truth about Wick shatters our assumptions about him and his character is created anew from the rubble around him.

The ending of the story is heartbreaking but leaves a path open for more.  It’s realistic, grounded in Fellows characters and the lives they have built for themselves.  And now I want more.  So will you.  What a tremendous series, what a compelling character! If you are new to the series, start at the beginning.  Its necessary to understand the characters and all the events that follow.

Here is a small excerpt:

Wick opened the fridge and grabbed one of his hard ciders. In the middle of his second long swallow, he heard a strange ringing noise. Bottle still upturned at his mouth, he briefly glanced around. It came from the corner of his counter reserved for those uni-tasker appliances that he never messed with. If it wasn’t a toaster or coffee maker, he had no use for the damn things.

After setting the half empty bottle down, he walked across the kitchen to the ominous corner and moved the electric can opener—wasted appliance when he had a perfectly good handheld one.

There, tucked back in the corner, was a landline phone. When the fuck did he get a landline phone installed? He picked up the cordless phone and stared at the face of it as it rang for the umpteenth time. The whole thing lit up with each ring, and he could honestly say he’d never seen this damn thing before in his life.

He set it down ringing and took the three steps over to the other counter, leaning against it as he took another sip of his drink.

He watched that black piece of electronic plastic as he tilted the bottle to his lips, eyeing it like he expected it to do some sort of trick or something.

“That’s thirty,” he whispered as it kept with that damn annoying eighties ringtone. Either it was defective or someone who had a number he never even knew he had wanted to talk to him really badly.

Cover Art by Laura Harner.  Perfect for the conflagration that is this story.

Wicked’s Way series in the order they were written and should be read:

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)

Book Details:

Buy Link:
All Romance EBook, Amazon
ebook, word count 16, 649, approx. 55 pages
Published September 13th 2013 by Appleton Publishing Avenue
ISBN HFPF000004
edition language English

A City In Need and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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Washington, DC, home of the federal government, the Smithsonian, the World Bank and all those other government agencies who names are reduced to alphabet letters, doesn’t have a shelter for LGBTQ endangered youth.  How is that possible?  We have food banks, shelters for homeless families (although not nearly enough) and shelters for battered women (House of Ruth, although again horribly more is needed here too).  We have famous this and that, shiny new, expensive condos are rising up everywhere to help shelter the masses of people, young and old, who are returning to the city to live and work.homeless youth are real sign

Where is the shelter for those thrown out of their homes for their sexuality?

Discarded like garbage, removed from family, schools, and every type of support possible, these kids are then forced to scramble to survive on the streets while lacking the skills to do so.  Fragile prey who often meet the predators just waiting for them. Others arrive thinking the city offers some hope and answers and find neither.

Who is going to answer their cries for help?

There used to be the Wanda Alston House but they went bankrupt.  Other shelters I reported on apparently (from sources working in DC close to the situation) are turning away LGBTQ youth because of their sexuality. *shakes head*  But there is a glimmer of hope at least for Homeless Youth out in the streetsthe future.

Yesterday, my Metro M/M group (authors, bloggers, publishers and readers)  met to talk books, conferences, and other things at the  wonderful Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City VA.   A friend mentioned that the Wanda Alston House is being revived as The Alston Project and she is working with the organizers.  That is wonderful and much needed news.  We need this shelter, the LGBTQ youth need this shelter and I want to help.  And hopefully you do too.

So I will keep you all posted.  Watch for a blog on The Alston Project.  I have ideas percolating to launch a Homeless youth 40 percent picdonation drive when it is ready for one.  Maybe even auctioning off/giving away ebooks and t-shirts for money to go into this project.  Let me know if you all have any ideas!  Lets pool our thoughts, our resources, our energies and make a shelter for LGBTQ homeless youth a reality.

We read books about them, romances and fictional stories by authors whose extraordinary talents make us weep over the plight and reality of gay youth so lets channel those emotions and help them in other ways too.  Keep tuned in for more information and ways to help our LGBTQ endangered kids!

Here are links to LGBTQ shelters in other  cities that need help and donations too:

www.aliforneycenter.org (New York City)

U CAN – LGBTQ Host Home Program (Chicago, IL)

Lost-n-Found Youth, Inc. (Atlanta, GA)

Article on House Bill – New House bill seeks to aid LGBT homeless youth

And now for the week ahead in reviews:

Monday, Sept. 23:  Heroes and Villains by Harper Kingsley

Tuesday, Sept 24:   Blessed Curses by Madeleine Ribbon

Wed., Sept 25:          Summer Lovin’ Anthology

Thurs., Sept. 26:       City Knight by T.A. Webb

Friday, Sept. 27:       Roughstock: Blind Ride, Season One by BA Tortuga

Sat., Sept 28:             The Case of the Missing Aha Moment – Scattered Thoughts Mini Rant on Writing

Review: Second Chances Are (Chances Are #02) by Lee Brazil

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Second Chances AreChance Dumont has decided to move forward wit his life.  Chance decides the best way to put the past behind him is a relationship with the young man, Rory, who idolizes him. At least it seemed like a good idea at the time.  But lately the relationship feels constricting, and Chance can see it deteriorating in the near future.  But how to tell Rory that its over?  Unfortunately, Rory saw it coming and made one of the worst decisions of his young life.  Now both men must deal with the tragic outcome.  Chance realizes that second chances are hard to come by and makes a hard decision.  Then his past walks through the doors of his bar after five years.  And Chance is face to face with the hardest decision he has ever made.  Who will get the second chance at love, his past or his present?

Second Chances Are picks up shortly after the end of the first book in the series, Chances Are.  Chance Dumont, that quintessential damaged ex cop is back and trying to move on with his life,  one that was destroyed both career wise and emotionally five years earlier.  Chance has decided to put his past behind him and give romance a try once more.  His choice of partner?  That would be Rory, a young gay cop who is clearly in love with the older man.  Lee Brazil brings us again into the weary, sarcastic personality that is Chance Dumont, a man who gained his  nickname from a grandmother he both loved and hated.  One who always said, “Chances are you will come to no good, just like your pa”, and the appellation stuck.

We reenter Chance’s life just as he has made a decision to try and move forward with his life.  New boyfriend, new attempt at a relationship (although on his terms).  But when the story opens, Chance is realizing that Rory will never be the one he wants and that’s a painful reality.  Chance is a difficult man.  He is complex, with his own set of rules and laws he goes by, not necessarily society’s ones.  He is a Dom and wants someone who not only has the same kink he has but something more.  Something he once had and lost.  Chance is not a bad man and he realizes the damage this is going to do to the young man who idolizes him.  It won’t be pretty, in fact, Chance is sure it is going to get ugly quick.   I love that Brazil’s characterization of Chance is realistically layered and contradictory in his thought processes.  He is human, not always likable but trying to be as honorable as possible.  Brazil’s Chance is a man who knows life is hard but is still surprised by the depths people will sink to.  I really like this man and can see why the author created Rory, his opposite in almost every way.  We need that to illuminate the truth of Chance and it works.

A traumatic event happens to Rory that changes the dynamic between the men.  Just when Chance had made one decision about their relationship, an attack on Rory changes everything. Soon Chance is dropping that hard won decision altogether in favor of a different path, one that is 180 degrees from the realistic one Chance thought was best for them both.  This is a hard choice for Chance and Brazil lets the reader into Chance’s inner thoughts and moral arguments as he works through his own culpability with respect to Rory and the attack.  This intimate look into Chance’s mindset is necessary for the reader to continue to be emotionally attached to a man who can be perceived as cold and removed.   Chance is a great character who continues to grow as more about his past is revealed and our attachment to the man grows with him.

In this case, his past walks through the door towards the end of the story.  The reader knew it was coming but the emotional implications and impact on Chance is still as disastrous as we expected.  It’s wonderful when an author can do that with an anticipated segment of their story, and Lee Brazil does a great job with it.

We get to see Wick Templeton or at least hear him mentioned as a possible course of action, so you know  things are dire when Wick is the weapon of choice.  I think it is wise that Wick is accounted for in these linked series by something as fleeting as a phone call.  I am  not sure that either series can hold both men together at the same time.  That’s a lot of testosterone and trouble for one series, let alone two.

The other aspect I need to bring up is that this is not truly a romance, at least not yet.  There are elements of BDSM, a D/s relationship, certainly affection as well as bitterness over a past love.  But romance? That would be no.  And it’s really not needed here.  This is a portrait of a man who is trying to move forward in his life, leaving his career and obviously love behind.  We don’t have the facts yet but they are coming.  Some of them just walked in the door. What Lee Brazil does give us is tension, the realities and hardships that life dumps at your feet, and taking responsibility for your actions.  This is a grown up story and I love it.

So start at the beginning and work your way through the series.  Then head on over to Wicked’s Way, Havan Fellows’s series and grab that one up too.  I have two more stories in this series to review so stay with us all the way to the end.  You won’t be sorry.

Cover art by Laura Harner is appropriate for the book and the series.  Works well to brand the series too.

Books in the series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and events within:

Chances Are (Chances Are #01)
Second Chances Are (Chances Are #02)
Fifty Fifty Chances Are (Chances Are #03)
Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are #04)

Book Details:

ebook, short story
Published March 1st 2013 by Lime Time Press
ISBN LBRZL00000 (ISBN13: 2940016176192)
edition language English

Review: Wicked Bindings (Wicked’s Way #02) by Havan Fellows

Standard

Rating:  4.75 stars out 5

Series Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Wicked BindingsWick Templeton, private investigator and all around pain in the ass, receives an email on his private account that only his friends have.  The problem?  It’s not from any of his friends, but from that enigma from his last case, Ned Harris. There is a serial killer on the loose, murdering prostitutes and both men are out to stop him.  From Ned Harris’ point of view, it’s all about procedure and legality.  For Wick Templeton?  Not so much.  Wick has always done things his way and Ned is about to find that out.  As the two mens investigations intertwine, so does their interest in each other.  Wick and Ned are playing head games with each other as the killer taunts them from behind a maze of clues.

Who will find the killer first?  Or will the killer have the last laugh and turn the tables on Wick and Ned?

Wicked Bindings is the second installment in the Wicked’s Ways series, a series that just gets better by the book.  We pick up shortly after Wicked Solutions ends.  In that story, Ned and Wick part, each thinking they got their own way in the resolution of that case.  As Ned leaves Wick’s office, Wick tells Ned:

“You have no idea what I’m capable of, Ned. Don’t begin a game you can’t finish.”

With these men, a threat is as good as a flirty come on and neither man is very good at resisting either one or each other. This is how it all starts again in Wicked Bindings:

 Wick chuckled and turned back to his computer, tuning out his overnight guests’ babblings. He brought up his private email and his curiosity piqued once more; he didn’t recognize the sender. Since he didn’t use this email for anything except his closest friends, it never received any type of spam.

The subject line contained one three letter word: tag.

And with that one word, the game is on once more.   There is an investigation into the deaths of several prostitutes that pulls both men in and now they have a murderer to catch.  And there will be a clash or two as the sexual sparks fly and their methods of investigation collide on each side of the law.

Without consciously doing so, his hand moved the mouse and his finger depressed the left button when the pointer hovered over that small word.

“Want to come out and play with me again? If you are interested you’ll have to take a turn for the worse, but remain brave and don’t worry—I’ll protect you. Ned.”

So much attitude and characterization is packed into that piece of dialog.  Havan Fellows has created two wonderful characters in Wick Templeton and Ned Harris.  These men ooze vitality and sex appeal.  They are witty with a love a gamesmanship  that they deploy at every possible moment and the reader gets to come along and experience the fun and sometimes terror.

In each new book, the author uses the interpersonal interplay between Wick and Ned to reveal more of their characters and their history.  Of the two, Ned continues to remain more of an enigma.  Wick (and the reader) is not sure exactly what branch of the government  Ned works for, and Ned continues his own personal investigation into Wick’s past and circle of friends.  Through this approach, Fellows creates a level of tension between the men is not strictly sexual.  Is Ned trustworthy?  What is his real intensions towards Wick?  Friend or foe?  As their head games continue, the murder investigation adds another layer of tension and apprehension on top of the existing doubts about each other.  It’s a delicious feeling and the reader can’t help but smile while cringing in dread as the men close in on the killer.

Havan Fellows does a tremendous job of creating a scene that contains comedy and terror, both occurring at the same time.  It’s a wonderful ploy to keep the reader engaged at  several levels.  You are laughing even as you fear for the safety of two men you have come to love.  And yes, I loved every minute of it.   I admit it.  I am addicted to Wick and his Wicked Ways.  You will be too.

These are short stories, under 50 pages or so. And while these are quick reads, they all have the feel of a much longer story.   The end is wrapped up nicely while still leaving us with a clue to the continuing growth in the relationship between Ned and Wick.  The book did not leave me wanting, while the two men made me crave so much more.  Like a certain food item, you can’t have just one.  You want more, so much more.

Havan Fellows has promised that the mysteries will continue with more of Wick and Ned past these four books.  That’s a promise to cheer about. If you are new to the series, start with the first book, Wicked Solutions and work your way forward.

Here are the books so far in the Wicked’s Ways series.  Read them in the order they were written and released in order to understand the characters and the developing relationship:

Wicked Solutions (Wicked’s Way #01)

Wicked Bindings (Wicked’s Way #02)

Wicked Incarceration (Wicked’s Way #03)

Wicked  Guidance (Wicked’s Way #04)

Cover art by Laura Harner does a good job of branding the series while losing the opportunity to make a great pulp fiction cover.

Book Details:

ebook
Published March 17th 2013 by Pulp Friction
ISBN13 HFPF000001
edition language English
series Wicked’s Ways