An Alisa Review: Temporary Dad (Bad Valentine #4) by Dev Bentham

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Nick Compton owns a small but mighty fashion magazine. He already has enough on his plate, between work and, well, work. There’s no room for a kid in his life but when his sister drops her seven-year-old daughter for an extended stay, he has to figure it out. Just before his niece arrives, Nick meets a blazing hot firefighter. They get on like a house a fire and the sex—scorching. Too bad the he disappeared in the morning. Like smoke. Now Nick’s stuck with a kid he doesn’t know how to manage and without the man he’d love to get his hands on again.

Dylan Gil wishes like hell he hadn’t taken his roommates advice and lied about who he was. He’s finally met someone he really likes and can’t stop thinking about. But now he’s too embarrassed to confess that he’s just a second-grade teacher, not a manly firefighter. Good thing that work gets distracting, particularly when one of his brightest students goes to stay with her uncle and all hell breaks loose. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have kids.

If the term “dad pants” means anything it’s that taking care of children and fashion aren’t compatible. Does that mean these two doomed? Or is this the beginning of forever?

Nick gets thrown in the deep end taking care of his niece and while it helped the story I couldn’t help but think how irresponsible it was for his sister to not explain anything to him.  When Dylan and Nick meet again they are both surprised, for different reasons.

It broke my heart to see Nick realize that he was causing problems for his niece when he had no idea but I loved that Dylan was willing to step up and help, even if he thought he would never be more than a friend.  I loved Nick’s surprise at the end for Dylan.

The cover art by Jordan Castillo Price is cute and I like how the series all go together but not at the same time.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 81 pages

Publication: February 1, 2019

Edition Language: English

Series: Bad Valentine #4

An Alisa Review: Hidden Hearts (Bad Valentine #3) by Clare London

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Accident-prone Ethan has a dating history that reads like a disaster movie script. Strong and silent Kel can’t seem to master the necessary small-talk on a proper date. When they both get signed up anonymously for a Valentines’s night event—”for those with an adventurous spirit but an open diary”—they never imagined they’d be matched. They never imagined the romantic sparks would fly. To be honest, they never imagined they’d survive the week.

A catalogue of disasters dogs the footsteps of their blossoming romance, including a coffee date with food allergies as an added extra, an intimate dinner that strays too close for comfort to chopped chillies, and a sensual massage with hot wax candles that threatens to alert the local fire brigade.

But if they can hold tight to their sweet, surprising, yet single-minded attraction – they might just survive this Valentine’s Day with something very special to look forward to.

Oh gosh, I loved this story.  Ethan isn’t who Kel would have usually gone for but they connected immediately on their blind date.  Kel is everything Ethan has dreamed about but never thought he could have.

I liked how this was a bit opposites attract but they connected so beautifully.  I loved how Kel didn’t even blink at Ethan’s clumsiness and wouldn’t let it scare him away.  And the best part an epilogue, it always wraps a story up nicely to me.

The cover art by Jordan Castillo Price is cute and I love the visual of Ethan.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 68 pages

Publication: February 1, 2019

Edition Language: English

Series: Bad Valentine #3

Release Blitz and Giveaway for My Anti-Valentine Collection by DJ Jamison

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb
 

My Anti-Valentine: Jaded by relationships gone wrong, Bret throws an anti-Valentine’s Day party to celebrate being single and burn his ex-boyfriends’ belongings. Bret’s low interest in sex has destroyed every relationship he’s had and tarnished his view of romance, but a cute blond guy at the party who says all the wrong things inspires him to hope for more.


My Anti-Boyfriend: Brad has everyone fooled. He’s the casual, sexy friend. The fun-time guy who sleeps around. Except not really. There’s one man who holds his heart: his best friend — with benefits — Riley. Too bad Riley has no interest in a relationship, and as far as Brad can tell, never will. But once Brad acknowledges his feelings for Riley, he can’t continue to ignore them. Riley’s days of having his cake and eating it too are over. Then again, maybe Brad is tasty enough to keep a man satisfied.


My Anti-Marriage: Love has never been a good bet for Chris, so going on a Vegas wedding trip for his friends is bittersweet. Especially when Ant, the last man to break his trust, is suddenly along for the ride. Which explains why Chris wakes up in his hotel room with the mother of all hangovers. Not so much why Ant is in his bed … or worse, wearing a matching wedding band.

 

EXCERPT FROM MY ANTI-VALENTINE


Bret pointed an accusing finger. “No couples! This is anti-Valentine’s Day. You can take your cards and your candies and your flowers and go to one of the bajillion places celebrating loooove tonight.”


“Ew, no,” Darla said with a laugh. “Harry is my cousin, not my boyfriend. I wouldn’t break your rules, anti-love guru!”


Bret did love the name Harry, mostly when applied to a boy wizard with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead. He gave Harry another onceover, noticing his sky-blue eyes and perfect cheekbones. Nope. Still didn’t like him, especially the frown that was twisting his features.


“Someone must have done a number on you,” he said.


Bret bristled. “Why do you say that?”


“I mean, to be this bitter about Valentine’s Day? It’s hard to imagine you really hate the commercialism of the holiday that much. I bet if you had a girlfriend it would be a different story.”


Bret rolled his eyes. “It really wouldn’t. Romance is a manufactured concept, you realize that, right? You might love someone, but if you do, you should appreciate them every day, not once a year with the most predictable gifts ever. That’s without even getting into the origins of Valentine’s and how very un-romantic it actually is.”


Darla grabbed a drink from the counter and swatted Bret’s butt playfully. “I’m going to leave you boys to it. If you get over your romance phobia, Harry’s on the market, and he hasn’t landed a nice guy in ages, so he’s pretty much a sure thing.”


“Darla!” Harry shouted after her, his cheeks turning bright red. “What the hell? Jesus, that’s not how I usually …”


“What?” Bret asked, feeling uncomfortable.


He’d thought he was engaging in friendly debate with a straight guy, only to discover he’d been bantering with someone cute, available, and gay. And that wasn’t at all the point of this party.


“Um, you know. Tell people I’m gay, or that I’m available. I definitely try not to go the ‘I’m so desperate I’ll take anyone route,’ but Darla seems to have taken care of that for me.”


He cracked a smile. It was crooked, a smidge embarrassed, and way too charming for Bret’s well-being.


“I’m not interested,” Bret said stiffly. “This is an anti—”


“I know!” Harry said, holding up his hands. “I’m not actually desperate.”


Bret stopped short, frowning. Was Harry implying he’d have to be desperate to like Bret? Ouch. He wasn’t Abercrombie and Fitch material like Harry, but he didn’t think he was that bad.


“That came out wrong,” Harry rushed to say. “You’re cute in that nerdy hipster way.”


“Unbelievable,” Bret muttered under his breath.


“I mean it,” Harry said, misunderstanding the reason for Bret’s shutdown. “I would totally do you.”


Bret avoided his gaze. “Thanks, but no thanks.”


He made a quick exit from the kitchen, more than ready to get the real party started now that everyone had arrived.


“Hey, who wants to burn some shit?” he called out, grinning when a round of cheers went up.


EXCERPT FROM MY ANTI-BOYFRIEND


Brad had everyone fooled.


He wore his sexuality like a disguise. The short shorts, making his ass look fine and flashing perfectly tanned skin 12 months a year? The mesh shirts, the halter tops, the extra-tight T-shirts that showed his lithe form and nipple rings? Yeah. It was all the equivalent of his bat ears, cape and tights.


Well, tights worked for every disguise. But that wasn’t the point, he reminded himself. It’s just that tights can be so distracting, and Brad — like a playful kitten — could be easily distracted by shiny objects or balls of … well, not yarn. More like balls of Riley.


Too bad he couldn’t fool himself.


Brad watched Riley grinding on another slender guy with platinum blond hair and sultry lips on the dance floor of Club Ozone. A guy who wasn’t him. And his heart panged.


Fucking panged.


He threw back another shot to drown that feeling ASAP and flashed a grin at the two guys at the table with him.


He’d come out with his regular circle of friends. For the past few years, he’d met up with Riley, Chris and Harry for a few drinks before they each went out to pick up a man. Then Harry met Bret, his boyfriend of a little more than a year now, and he gave up their regular nights out.


Tonight, he and his boyfriend were both there, having been guilted to attend, so Brad had to put on a cheerful face. Just one more element of his disguise.


“You guys ready to get your dance on?”


Harry looked at Bret, and his boyfriend shrugged. Bret was a real cutie, and he could crack up a whole room at a board game night or house party, but put him around a bunch of sweaty, half-naked men and he went quiet.


“Maybe in a few,” Harry said with a smile.


He leaned in and kissed Bret’s cheek. Gag. Who needed that kind of affection, right?


Pang.
Brad jumped up. “Okay, party poopers. Catch you on the other side!”


He stormed onto the dance floor, ready to burn away his sudden onset of melancholy. A good adrenaline rush and an erection rubbing against his ass would take care of him in short order. After all, why should he care that Riley was sexing up his next conquest on the dance floor? That’s what he did. That’s what they both did.


They agreed years ago that hearts and flowers were not for them. They were friends, wingmen and occasional fuck buddies.


But that was all.


EXCERPT FROM MY ANTI-MARRIAGE


“We’ll take off the rings. Problem solved.”


“No, problem not solved. We’re still married.” Chris’s breathing sped up. “We have to undo it!”


Ant guided him to the bed and pushed him down on the edge. Squeezing his shoulders, he met Chris’s eye.


“Come on now. Maybe this isn’t what it looks like.”


Chris laughed harshly. “I know that line is like your bread and butter as a player, but it’s always what it fucking looks like. Why the fuck else would we be wearing wedding rings?”


“I don’t know,” Ant growled.


“Do you remember last night?”


“Some,” he said grudgingly. “I remember hitting every casino we passed on the strip and taking a few shots at each one. You were hell-bent on checking out wedding venues for Brad and Riley. Maybe we took that too far, huh?” Ant smiled wryly. “What about you?”


“Not much after you found me at the fountain,” Chris admitted. “You were playing the responsible sober guy card with me, trying to get me to go to dinner. So, how the hell did we end up here?”


“My guess? You were totally unreasonable,” Ant said.


Chris huffed. “Sure, it’s my fault. I made you follow me around like a muscled-up bodyguard.”


Ant rolled his eyes. They were getting off-track. “So, we both have a few memory gaps,” he said, massively understating the issue. “I’m sure I’ll remember eventually. Or you will.”


Chris sighed. “What now? Everyone’s waiting on us downstairs.”


Ant shook his head. “Brunch first. Try to act normal. No one has to know. Divorce can wait for dessert.”


“Annulment,” Chris corrected. “Annulment makes it like it never happened, right? I want that one.”

 

Author Bio


DJ Jamison is the author of more than a dozen m/m romances, including the Ashe Sentinel series and the Hearts and Health series. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that, and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors’ books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, two fish and, regrettably, one snake.

 

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An Alisa Review: Please Be Mine by Shawn Bailey

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

It’s Valentine’s Day again and popular technologies executive Flynn Reynolds has received more than his share of candy from the single women employees and mother’s of marriageable age daughters. His best friend Greer Sheen thinks it’s funny that every year Flynn has to lug a ton of chocolate home from the office. Usually foreigners don’t get this much attention in Tokyo! But Flynn isn’t just anybody. He’s the youngest son of the richest American man in Japan. They both get the surprise of their lives with a young Japanese man appears and presents a box of candy to Flynn. Straight laced Greer is shocked that a guy has offered his heart to Flynn, even though Flynn has professed to be gay. Greer just thinks it’s a phase Flynn is going through. After all, Flynn had married a woman and had a son, but he could be wrong, especially since Flynn looked completely enamored by dark-haired, dark-eyed guy who was brave enough to show up with sweets. Would Flynn be foolish enough to risk his reputation and cause an international scandal in Tokyo?

This was a cute story.  You could see how flattered Flynn was and Chiriro’s pure interest and how much he has invested his heart before they even met.  I am still thrown on the traditions and expectations of the culture and haven’t felt they have been well described for me.  I really liked seeing these two go with their feelings despite what any around them may say or do.  The only thing that I had an issue with is Flynn would refer to himself as bisexual in one sentence and then gay in the next like he couldn’t decide either way.

The cover art by E Keith is cute and is perfect for a Valentines story.

Sales Links: Painted Hearts Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 35 pages

Published: February 2, 2017 by Painted Hearts Publishing

Edition Language: English

A Lila Release Day Review: Hearts and Flour by Tara Lain

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Can a raw food enthusiast find love with a guy who bakes cupcakes?

When Micah Truveen’s devoted health-food customers start showing up with white flour, Micah wants to chew nails! To make his misery worse, he finds his yoga teacher boyfriend in bed with another guy the day before Valentine’s Day. Micah decides to drown his misery at a friend’s anti-Valentine’s Day orgiastic hookup party—and meets the beautiful Queen, a gorgeous cross-dresser who’s got Southern sugah in his mouth and the right equipment under the dress. But when the hookup turns serious, Micah has to compromise to protect Queen’s secrets from his beloved grandmother. With everything against them, can two hearts rise above the flour?

Hearts and Flour is a non-traditional anti-Valentine’s day story and the main characters have non-traditional jobs to go with the story. It has a cross-dressing baker and a grumpy raw vegan in need of loving.

This is a lite-hearted sweet short with several funny moments and some interesting characters. It’s an opposites-attract romance with two men finding something they didn’t know they were looking for. Queen’s grandma adds the comedic relief to the story and a group of helpful friends is perfect for such a short story.

There are several miscommunication moments that took away from the story and some of the wording needed updating; especially since this is a second edition. Overall, this is a typical Tara Lain story; quirky, sweet, and hot.

The cover by Reese Dante follows the style of other books by the author. It goes with the theme and the Laguna Beach stories.

Sale Links: DreamspinnerAmazon | NOOK

ebook, 87 pages
Published: February 14, 2018, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781640805170
Edition Language: English

 

A Lila Release Day Review: Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A friends-to-lovers novella that came from Out of the Shadows, because Nate and Dylan needed a story….

Nate and Dylan have been pals for a long time. So what if their friends think they’ve got a little bromance going? Doesn’t mean there’s anything more to it than that, right? And even if there is, Nate and Dylan are totally oblivious….

Until the night they share a drunken kiss—and everything changes.

Bromantically Yours was an unexpected surprise. I didn’t know this story was related to Out of the Shadows until the moment I started reading it. It can be read as a standalone but having the background of Nate’s and Dylan’s friendship complements the reading experience. It gives the reader an extra in into their relationship that’s not available with most short stories. Also, it’s good to see Christian and Josh again.

I liked the slow start to their transition from bromance to romance. It was unexpected for them, but they didn’t let their new feelings get in the way of their friendship. They asked questions and took the time, not only to date but to get to know the other’s expectations and fears.

It was funny, sweet, and smexy. The short length didn’t take away from the character development or the story plot. It’s simple, traditional, and nothing out of the ordinary but it works perfectly for the holiday.

The cover by Brooke Albrecht shows a perfect representation of Nate and Dylan. It is a cute Valentine’s cover for a sweet short story.

Sale Links: DreamspinnerAmazon | NOOK

ebook, 97 pages
Published: February 14, 2018, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781640805347
Edition Language: English

A Stella Release Day Review: Letters from Cupid by Ari McKay

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

letters-from-cupid-by-ari-mckayAfter breaking up with his partner, English professor Dr. Derek Chandler feels like a failure who will never win at romance. His aloof colleague, Dr. Macon Pinney, disagrees and pens an anonymous note of encouragement to Derek, which he signs “Cupid.” Thus begins an exchange of correspondence, a courtship through words where the two men find out they have a great deal in common. Meanwhile, Derek reaches out to Macon, not knowing Macon is his anonymous pen pal. Derek reveals through his letters that someone close by has piqued his interest. Could he mean Macon—or has Macon missed his opportunity and lost Derek to another man?

Perhaps the time has come for Cupid to put in an appearance, and when better to do so than Valentine’s Day?

First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2015.

Surprisingly Letters From Cupid was the first book I read by Ari McKay. This is actually a second edition but I haven’t read the previous one so I am not sure how much the story was revisited.

Derek has just been left by his boyfriend, he’s a little depressed especially because Valentine’s Day is approaching but he is well aware his ex boyfriend wasn’t the right person and Derek wasn’t really in love with him. Now he is single and some days before Valentine’s Day he finds a letter from Cupid in his office at the University he works as an English professor. From that moment a correspondence between Cupid and Derek begins.

Macon teaches creative writing at the same University, he is a reserved man, the hermit of the English department. Until one night a flat tire will bring him to know Derek, his neighbour of offices.  And between a chat, a coffee and a croissant, the crush is assured.

I liked the writing style a lot, I was caught in the story since the first words I read and it was a quick and easy. I liked the double POVs, I followed the MCs thoughts and wishes and it was a beautiful journey. I found the novellas cute and sweet, I loved how Derek and Macon met, and I adored the final part, to know a little more of what happened to them was perfect.

I feel to recommend Letters From Cupid by Ari McKay, it’s the right story to read on this Valentine’s Day or any other day you want. I’m surely going to check out more stories written by these two authors.

The cover art by Bree Archer is adorable. I love it.

Sales Links

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BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 2nd Edition, 94 pages

Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published February 4th 2015)

ISBN 1635334454 (ISBN13: 9781635334456)

Edition Language English

Its Writing, Research and Their Latest Release ‘Letters from Cupid’ by Ari McKay (author interview)

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Letters from Cupid by Ari McKay
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host McKay of the writing duo known as Ari McKay here today to talk about their latest release Letters from Cupid.  Welcome, McKay!

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Hi, I’m the McKay half of Ari McKay! I’d like to thank Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for giving me the opportunity to be a guest blogger today. Ari and I are currently celebrating the release of our Valentine’s Day story, Letters from Cupid, from Dreamspinner Press.

I loved the questions that Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words provided, so I’m going to answer some of those!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I think it’s safe to say there’s always a little bit of Ari and me in the characters we write. In Letters from Cupid, I wrote Macon, who is a tenured professor in creative writing. I was going to say that Macon isn’t the character who is closest to me out of all our books, but now that I’m thinking about it, he’s pretty close! We’re both academics and creative writers who are introverted, single, and over forty. There’s one scene in which I shamelessly channeled my own opinion through him, and that’s when I let Macon go on a little rant about administration bloat. I could have easily let that rant go on for a good page or more because I have Opinions. I will say his view on faculty meetings and departmental parties isn’t that far from mine either. 😉

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

Not really. I think what makes a character a Mary Sue/Gary Stu is their lack of flaws. Everyone loves them, and every obstacle is easily overcome because of their intelligence/super powers/whatever. There’s no real character growth because the character is already “perfect”, and there’s no real conflict.

To me, that’s very different from using your own experiences to create a character. For example, I used a lot of my experiences in academia to create Macon, but I wouldn’t consider him a Gary Stu because he’s an imperfect character, and forcing himself to emerge from his introvert bubble in order to help Derek changes him over the course of the story.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Ari and I both enjoy doing research. We’re both history buffs, and when we write historical books, we like to make sure we’re getting the details right. So having to do research doesn’t deter us from writing in a particular genre. We enjoy world-building as well, so for us, it comes down to asking “How hard is this plot bunny gnawing on our ankles?” rather than “Do we want to tackle research/world-building?”. If we feel strongly enough about a particular story, we’ll write it, regardless of genre.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

HEA! I think Ari would agree with me when I say we have enough problems, stress, and things out of our control in our real lives that we like being able to fix things for our characters. Writing HEA romances is a form of escapism for us. We may put our characters through the angst mill, but we’ll make it up to them by the end every time.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I know there are a lot of print purists, and I like the weight of a real book in my hand as much as the next bookworm, but I think ebooks have their advantages as well. I like that I’ve got an extensive library on my phone as well as on my bookshelves. I used to carry a book everywhere, but now I whip out my phone to read while I’m waiting at the doctor’s office.

I think, too, that the rise of ebooks has been beneficial to writers. There are now other avenues for getting published than the traditional publishing houses, and I think having those choices is beneficial for the authors and readers.

There are drawbacks as well. We’ve seen some indie publishers go under in the last year, but I’m inclined to attribute some of that to less than stellar management. Amazon has the potential to saturate the market with self-published works that haven’t known the touch of an editor’s hand.

I think overall, the ebooks market is going to thrive, and it’s not going to spell the end of the print book market because there are plenty of people – myself included – who like reading words on a page instead of a screen sometimes. I think there’s room in the world for both.

What’s next for you as an author?

Right now, we’re finishing up a revision of Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows, which is a 2nd edition story that will be released by Dreamspinner Press in September. After that, we’ve got a to-do list lined up: the first book in a new light contemporary series, a new Herc’s Mercs book, and another book for Dreamspinner’s Dreamspun line. We’re never at a loss for something to write! Our main problem is time. Too many plot bunnies, too little time.

Thanks again to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting us on our blog tour!

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About Letters from Cupid

After breaking up with his partner, English professor Dr. Derek Chandler feels like a failure who will never win at romance. His aloof colleague, Dr. Macon Pinney, disagrees and pens an anonymous note of encouragement to Derek, which he signs “Cupid.” Thus begins an exchange of correspondence, a courtship through words where the two men find out they have a great deal in common. Meanwhile, Derek reaches out to Macon, not knowing Macon is his anonymous pen pal. Derek reveals through his letters that someone close by has piqued his interest. Could he mean Macon—or has Macon missed his opportunity and lost Derek to another man?

Perhaps the time has come for Cupid to put in an appearance, and when better to do so than Valentine’s Day?

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About the Authors

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

CONTACTS:

A Lila Review: Love and the Exorcism by Melanie Hansen

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Love and the ExorcismTom Hannity is not boring, despite what his ex-boyfriend says. He loves his circle of family and friends and finds peace in the beauty of flower arranging. Still stinging from his recent breakup, Tom attends an Anti-Valentine’s Day “Ex-orcism,” hoping for some fun and forgetfulness.

Mario Tellez is tired of party boys, and he’s had his eye on Tom for a while. When they run into each other at the Ex-orcism, sparks fly, until an accidentally overheard conversation drives Tom to do something he normally doesn’t do.

What should have been a hot and fun night turns into Tom and Mario seeing each other at their absolute worst, although surprisingly, it brings out the best in them, too. Navigating around the toxic people in their lives isn’t easy, and after a small series of bumps in the road, they finally come around full circle… to Valentine’s Day and laying old demons to rest.

We meet Tom and his sister as soon as the story starts. It gives us the opportunity to learn about Tom’s past relationship, his job, and his family history. As well as his social life and some of his insecurities.

 The exorcism part sounds childish, but we get to understand why it came about as it happens. Tom and Mario met during an odd confrontation during the party, but in the end, it worked for them. They are the kind of couple that would have a story to tell their grandkids when they ask how they met.

 We get to see the worst of them just minutes after they talked for the first time, but their flirty demeanor creates a connection between them. Their one night stand is sensual until life happens, starting the chain of events that would eventually bring them together.

 Their relationship develops off-page, and we move to a point in which they’re finding their footing as a couple. Like every short story, it moves quickly over time, until they start having some problems in their relationship. But as with any good romance, we get a delightful reconciliation and a fulfilling happily ever after.

 Love and the Exorcism is a lovely Valentine’s short story. Perfect for a quick fix of romance between longer books. It’s sweet, easy, and it has a simple, but believable story line.

 The main characters are cute and quirky together. They are happy and realistic. Most importantly, they have insecurities any young gay men could possess. Their background stories were not happy ones, but they learned to overcome them and became productive men. There’s no trauma dragging them down and making them miserable.

 This book is all about their love story and how Mario and Tom get to know each other and move forward after their first problem as a couple.

 My only complaint would be about what caused the problem on Mario’s side. I think the characterization of those involved was stereotypical and felt out of place in such a sweet story. It takes the reader completely out of the “feels zone.” Other than that, I believe the author delivered a nice romance.

A beautiful cover by Bree Archer. It goes well with the Valentine’s Day story and Tom’s job and character.

 Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

 ebook, 47 pages
Published: February 11, 2016, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781634770439
Edition Language: English

Melanie Hansen on How to Throw a Anti-Valentine’s Day Party & Love and the Exorcism (author guest post)

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Love and the Exorcism

Love and the Exorcism by Melanie Hansen
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist Bree Archer

Goodreads Link

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Melanie Hansen here today to share her thoughts, delicious as they are, about Valentine’s Day, how to throw a anti-Valentine’s Day party, and some thoughts on her story, Love and the Exorcism.  Welcome, Melanie.

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If you’re like me, Valentine’s Day might not be one of your favorite holidays.  Maybe you’ve been with your significant other for a long time and nobody cares, or you’re single and nobody cares, or—like my character Suzanne in my new short story Love and the Exorcism—you’ve just gone through a painful breakup and you don’t want to care.  No matter how we each feel about Valentine’s Day, it’s over, and we’ve all survived it another year…

Discount chocolate for the win!

If for some reason you find yourself on the outs with Valentine’s Day again next year, consider throwing an Anti-Valentine’s Day party like Suzanne did in my story.  It was cathartic for her, and bonus, it brought my heroes, Tom and Mario, together!

Here is Suzanne’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Ex-orcism in all its glory, drink recipes and all.

If you’re a Valentine’s Day hater too, enjoy!

Suzanne’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Party

First, send out some invites that will really get the point across:

When the big day finally arrives, decorate accordingly…

…and greet your guests with some theme music!

“Love Stinks”

“Love Hurts”

“I Will Survive”

“What’s Love Got to Do With It”

“Heartbreak Hotel”

Have some treats out for everyone to nibble on…

…and put out some plain sugar cookies and frosting for everyone to decorate with their own anti-sentiment!

(Don’t forget the severed head cake pops!)

While all this is going on, have a variety of the all-important alcoholic beverages available.  Suzanne’s favorites, plus recipes, are below!

Adios Motherfucker

Ingredients:

½ oz. Vodka
½ oz. Rum
½ oz. Tequila
½ oz.  Gin
½ oz. Blue Curacao liqueur
2 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
2 oz. Lemon/Lime Soda
1 Maraschino cherry
1 Lemon slice

Preparation:

  • Pour all ingredients except soda in chilled glass filled with ice cubes. Top with soda and stir gently. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and lemon slice.

Cupid’s Broken Arrow

Ingredients:

3 oz. Mango Vodka (We used Three-O Mango Vodka)
½ oz. Triple Sec
1 oz. Cranberry juice
Splash of Lime juice
1 Cherry

Preparation:

  • Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.
  • As an ice breaker for shy guests, or just to have some fun, consider offering these party games and crafts while everyone is still somewhat sober:

Broken Heart Bingo – Before your guests arrive, create grids with boxes. Write a statement in each box. Some suggestions of statements you can use:

  • “I have never received a dozen roses.”
  • “I still own an old engagement ring.”
  • “I’m still friends with my ex.”
  • “I have had 2 different dates on the same Valentine’s Day.”
  • “I’m still sleeping with my ex.”
  • “I have never had a date on Valentine’s Day.”
  • “I love Valentine’s Day.”
  • “I think Valentine’s Day is a stupid holiday.”

Put the same phrases in a different order on each grid. As guests arrive, put each person’s name in a bag. Then tell everyone to wander around the party and find people to sign each square that holds true for the person signing. After everyone has quite a few signatures, start drawing names out of the bag. The first person to have 5 names in a row is the winner!

Bitter Arts & Crafts – Make sure that everyone coming to the party brings pictures of an ex. (If not everyone has pictures, I’m sure that some people have more than one picture, and will be willing to share). Invest in some permanent markers and create “art” on your ex with the markers. Give them titles like, “My Ex Without Me,” or “Without Makeup.” Another fun activity is to write out your ex’s full name, and create an acronym. For example:

  • Clown-like
  • Rude
  • Ignorant
  • Lazy

Everyone can share their artwork with the rest of the guests! A prize should be awarded for the best work of art.

I think it’s pretty obvious by now that I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, but I am a huge fan of happily ever afters, and I’m so glad that Valentine’s Day brought Tom and Mario to theirs.

LoveAndTheExorcism_FBbanner_DSP

Blurb

Tom Hannity is not boring, despite what his ex-boyfriend says.  He loves his circle of family and friends and finds peace in the beauty of flower arranging.  Still stinging from his recent breakup, Tom attends an Anti-Valentine’s Day “Ex-orcism,” hoping for some fun and forgetfulness.

 Mario Tellez is tired of party boys, and he’s had his eye on Tom for a while.  When they run into each other at the Ex-orcism, sparks fly, until an accidentally overheard conversation drives Tom to do something he normally doesn’t do.

What should have been a hot and fun night turns into Tom and Mario seeing each other at their absolute worst, although surprisingly, it brings out the best in them, too.  Navigating around the toxic people in their lives isn’t easy, and after a small series of bumps in the road, they finally come around full circle… to Valentine’s Day and laying old demons to rest.

Buy Link:  Dreamspinner Press eBook

About the Author

Mel

Melanie Hansen has spent time in Texas and Florida prisons…for work.   She’s been in a room with a 17-year-old mass murderer who was also one of the most soft-spoken and polite teenagers she’s ever met.  After a 13-year career as a court reporter, she can tell many stories both hilarious and heartbreaking.

She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man.  After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.

Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student.  She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.