A MelanieM Audio Review: Out in the Field (Out in College #4) by Lane Hayes and Michael Pauley (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Max Maldonado loves baseball. He knows playing first base at a private college probably won’t get him to the big leagues, but he doesn’t mind. He loves the game and his teammates. If he has to stay in the closet until he graduates, that’s okay. Baseball comes first. Relationships are complicated anyway. And after his recent messy breakup, Max prefers to keep things simple.

Phoenix Bell is a fabulous theater geek. He’s excited about his recent transfer to a new school with an elite liberal arts program. Life has been on hold for a while, but this opportunity feels like the fresh start he was hoping for when he moved to California. And the chance reunion with the hot closeted jock is an unexpected surprise. The two men have nothing in common and their timing couldn’t be worse. However, when their unconventional alliance blossoms into friendship and perhaps something more, it may be time to make some hard decisions. And perhaps risk it all…out in the field.

I haven’t read all of Lane Hayes Out in College series so found that listening to Out in the Field worked perfectly as a standalone story and such a sweet contemporary romance it was.  Made all the more enjoyable by the lively narration by Michael Pauley who embodied his characters perfectly, I easily connected to Max, his love of baseball and his issues of being closeted.  At home, ata college, and on the field.  Especially after he find out that his “brief meetup” is now on campus and hotter than ever.  And definitely out as can be.

Phoenix Bell is a delight of a character, his energy flies off the page as does his vulnerability.  You definitely fear for his heart.  What you end up  fearing for is Max’s as well.

The characters are all well drawn, the situations realistic and believable.  And the locker room conversations nicely resolved, those I really appreciated.  The development of the relationship was slow but the dynamics works so well, supported by great secondary characters you grow to love just as much as the MCs. Whether it’s Phoenix’s twin sister or Max’s familym bringing them in just adds such a richness to this story and their romance that it made me smile all throughout the story.

As I said before the narration by Michael Pauley just enhanced this already wonderful novel, his ability to key into each character’s personality and bring it to life making this audio’s listening time fly by.

I highly recommend Out in the Field (Out in College #4) by Lane Hayes and Michael Pauley (Narrator) for those of you who love to listen to your contemporary romances.  This is a real gem!

Cover Art is great and perfect for the story.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible

Audio Book Details:

Listening Length: 5 hours and 31 minutes.

Audible Audio, 6 pages
Published July 25th 2019 by Lane Hayes
ASINB07VKGJ587
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOut in College #4

Love Listening to Your Love Stories? Check Out the Audio Tour for Out in the Field (Out in College #4) by Lane Hayes (audio sample and giveaway)

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Title: Out in the Field

Series: Out in College #4

Author: Lane Hayes

Narrator: Michael Pauley

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: July 11

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 5 hrs and 31 mins

Genre: Romance, New Adult, College, Coming Out, Baseball, New Adult, Humor, Opposites

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Max Maldonado loves baseball. He knows playing first base at a private college probably won’t get him to the big leagues, but he doesn’t mind. He loves the game and his teammates. If he has to stay in the closet until he graduates, that’s okay. Baseball comes first. Relationships are complicated anyway. And after his recent messy breakup, Max prefers to keep things simple.

Phoenix Bell is a fabulous theater geek. He’s excited about his recent transfer to a new school with an elite liberal arts program. Life has been on hold for a while, but this opportunity feels like the fresh start he was hoping for when he moved to California. And the chance reunion with the hot closeted jock is an unexpected surprise. The two men have nothing in common and their timing couldn’t be worse. However, when their unconventional alliance blossoms into friendship and perhaps something more, it may be time to make some hard decisions. And perhaps risk it all…out in the field.

Listen to a sample

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were First Place winners in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Bookbub | Amazon

Meet the Narrator

Michael has well over 50 audio book titles currently available for purchase on Audible.com. He is versed in multiple styles and genres including fiction (novels and short stories) ranging from romance to science fiction to crime dramas to thrillers; business strategy books; health and wellness books; and even an occasional children’s book.

Fans of Michael’s narration are welcome to follow him on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

If you are interested in working with Michael to produce your next audio book, you can contact him directly at voice@michaelpauley.info

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A Stella Review: Made For You (Love & Family #2) by Anyta Sunday

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

Ben wants to find a new home.

Twenty-four-year-old Ben McCormick is the primary caregiver for his brother Milo after their parents’ death. A year into the job, he’s totally got the hang of it. Mostly. Sort of. Not at all?
Defeated and thoroughly chastised for his lack in parenting skills at teacher-parent night, Ben slumps away with the resolve to finally get his life sorted: be a better role model, and sell their parents’ house for a fresh start.
But first, he needs to spruce up his house to hit the market. He’s no DIY king, but Milo’s hot-as-hell woodwork teacher is…

Jack wants an old home to fix.
Thirty-nine-year-old Jack Pecker is waiting for the home of his dreams to come on the market in the summer. What better way to wait the interim months than working on a small renovation gig?
Only trouble is, the gig is for the McCormick brothers. And working in close quarters to red-haired Ben McCormick won’t be easy. Not with the attraction that simmers between them. Attraction Ben makes no effort to hide.
But Jack’s professional. Dating a parent is highly discouraged at Kresley Intermediate, and he’d never cross the lines…

Ben and Jack. Two guys searching for a home –– a home that might just be where their hearts lead them.

Set in New Zealand, Made For You (Love & Family #2) is an MM gay romance featuring two guys at very different places in their lives – but both finding out they are looking for the same thing.
Can be read as a standalone.

 

I honestly haven’t read the previous title in the Love & Family series by Anyta Sunday, called Taboo For You, cause the title obviously let me believe it was about something I wasn’t comfortable with. I was wrong and since I loved this new novel so much, I will surely come back to the first book as soon as possible.

Made For You was an awesome reading, I want to recommend to all of you, even if you haven’t read Taboo For You, it worked easily as a standalone. It conquered me, I fell deeply into the plot and the characters lives. I picked this book cause I’m a sucker for the age gap between the MCs and I love stories with children. But I wasn’t ready for the amazing deliver I got from the author.

An amazing reading, well written, engaging and easy and quick to read. I loved Ben and Milo, they were so hilarious although their hearts were still recovering from the loss of their parents. I ached for them but was so happy to see Jack come into their home, first to renovate it, little by little to build a new life for the three of them together.

It was exactly what I was in the mood for, not a shallow read at all, but there weren’t so many dramas or angst, the right amount of sweetness, it was a real and believable novel.

The cover art by Natasha Snow is cute, I like it a lot

Sales Links:

Links: https://www.anytasunday.com/projects/made-for-you/

https://amzn.to/2XIAB0a

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 258 pages

Published May 1st 2019 by Anyta Sunday

ASIN B07QQ4TZLW

Edition Language English

Looking for New Contemporary Romances? Check Out the Release Blitz for The #lovehim Series Box Set by S. M. James (excerpt and giveaway)

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 RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The #lovehim Series Box Set

Author: S. M. James

Publisher: May Books

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs

Release Date: May 4, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s:  Friends to lovers, mild hurt/comfort

Themes:  Coming out, friendship, family, chronic illness, internalised homophobia

Heat Rating:  1-2 flames

Length: 290 000 words/ 1,000 pages

Box Set of three books and three short stories

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

Six stories. Three couples. One perfect kind of love.

Blurb

Read the first three books in the #lovehim series and their short stories. 

That Feeling When 

A summer camp romance where a bi actor and a closeted ballet dancer are blackmailed into keeping their relationship a secret.

No Big Deal 

In the meet cute to To Be Honest, Angus finally gets a roommate … and a big, fat crush.

To Be Honest 

Angus and his adorkable roommate Tyler, embark on a cross country road trip to confront Angus’s catfisher. 

For The Win 

The meet cute for In Case You Missed It, Brooks agrees to one non-date with Darien because they’ll never see each other again … right?

In Case You Missed It 

Love is supposed to be simple, but Brook’s secret will put their relationship to the test. 

PLUS A BONUS NOVELLA NOT YET RELEASED

In Real Life 

The sequel to That Feeling When, where Archie and Landon visit Australia and try to make their relationship work amidst judgmental family and pushy exes.

Excerpt (From No Big Deal)

I groan and give him a playful shove, not able to resist touching him, but it just makes the urge to do it again worse. “I think I’ll manage.”

I’ll manage because I don’t even watch the end. I watch Tyler from the corner of my eye. The way his chest expands with each breath, the way he scratches his nose, or rubs his arm. I catch everything.

I really need to get out of here, to put some distance between us, but I can’t. I don’t want to, which is the really messed up part.

The movie ends with that same song that’s played through the whole thing and instead of choosing another, or returning to his own side of the room, Tyler rolls onto his side, legs hanging off the bed, and tucks a pillow up under his arm.

“Okay, if you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?”

I shift around so I’m facing him and try to be subtle about putting distance between us again. I lean back on my hands, my knees filling the void between us. “Tokyo.”

“Huh. I didn’t picture you for a big city guy.”

I shrug and nod at him. “Same question.”

“The Central Library in Vancouver. Reason one.” He holds up his thumb. “I get to visit another country without having to fly, reason two.” He holds up his forefinger. “I could spend my life there and never read all the books they have. Plus it looks like the Colosseum. Which I’ll never see. Because I hate planes.”

“You’re afraid of flying?” It’s my turn to try and hold back a laugh.

“I happen to have a healthy appreciation for how much it would hurt to plummet to my death.”

“Okay so what do you like?”

He considers the question for a moment. “Quesadillas, marine life, old school computer games … and you.” He shrugs like what he said was no big deal. Just a random list.

I try not to hide how awkwardly I swallow. “I guess you’re pretty cool too.”

He lets my lame reciprocation go. “So football … do you actually love it? Or is it one of those things where you tried it, you were good, and Mom and Dad were so proud you couldn’t give it up for fear of disappointing them?”

“Wow. That was oddly specific. Umm … no. It’s one of the ‘I’m an only child and my mom’s dead so Dad is proud of anything I do’ things.”

“Oh.” Tyler’s eyebrows jump up and it’s weird to see him caught by surprise. “I shouldn’t have pried.”

“Don’t worry about it. I was young, I barely remember her.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“No. Trust me, if I do, I won’t be much fun for the rest of the day. I mean … it’s hard to miss something you never had. And, well, it makes me feel a bit guilty.”

Tyler’s looking at me with so much sympathy it’s kind of hard to look away from. He reaches out and gives the spot just above my knee a squeeze. I feel it all the way up my leg.

“Okay, how many guys have you hooked up with?” He’s trying to take my mind off it and I’m so grateful.

“Umm … two. The first was the summer before I came out. It was kind of a confirmation, I guess. Sloppy and rushed. The second …” I rub at my mouth to try and hide the smile. “The second was last Christmas break. Dad and I went to a Christmas party with some of his work friends. I didn’t know the guy, and I know I’ll never see him again, and I think that’s what made it so hot.” I nod at him again. “Same question.”

“How many guys have I hooked up with? I can honestly say zero.” He catches my eye with a grin. “Sorry, Angus.”

He gets a laugh from me. “If you ever want to try it, you know where to find me.” I don’t know what makes me say the words but I immediately regret it. Maybe repressing my sexuality for so long isn’t the best idea.

“Noted.”

“Obviously I meant girls, you idiot.”

“In that case.” He frowns as he thinks. “Also zero.”

“No way.”

“I know. I struggle to believe it myself.”

“Do you ever get lonely?” I’m not sure where the question comes from.

Tyler’s serious when he answers. “Only all of the time. Mom and Dad are super busy, and I don’t really have any friends.”

“Except me.”

He lets loose his smile, all teeth and squinty eyes. “Except you.”

“It’s very possible you’re my only actual guy friend too. At least, the only one who doesn’t see me as the gay kid.”

“What do you mean?”

“I just have so be so careful around people. Honestly, it gets pretty exhausting, but it’s safer. Like, I can’t joke around with my teammates in case they think I’m coming on to them or something. I mean, I’m not an idiot, I wouldn’t set myself up to fail by falling for a straight guy.”

“Yet you just offered to hook up with me.”

My stomach clenches and he starts to laugh but I’m kind of uneasy about it. I’d meant it as a joke—obviously—but to him … it had been too easy to say.

About the Author

S. M. James writes books for teens about squishy sweet characters.

While not writing, SM is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee.

​​Unapologetically dishing out HEAs for LGBTQ characters.

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Instagram

BookBub

Goodreads

Giveaway

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Looking for Your Next Contemporary Romance? Check Out Kicking Up My Heels…in Heels (Kev #3) by Liam Livings (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Kicking Up My Heels…in Heels

Series: Kev, Book Three

Author: Liam Livings

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: February 11, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 67300

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, gay, Cross-dressing, drag queens, AIDS, new adult

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

It’s the year 2000 and Kev’s twenty. He’s a proper grown up now. Maybe. He knows what he’s doing. And what he’s doing isn’t what he wants to be doing. He’s working in TK Maxx and instead he wants to be singing and dancing and bantering and laughing on stage. He. Loves. It. And they pay him too!

Kev’s continued search for his Prince Charming leads him to look in all the wrong places for all the wrong men and, inevitably, gets him in something of a pickle: physically, emotionally, and medically too.

But his mum and friend Tony are there to help pick up the pieces when it all falls apart as it so often does with Kev.

Optimism, a plan, and being really good at performing on stage, drive Kev forward. After all, he’s been performing off stage all his life.

Contains gay pride marches, multiple incidents of alcohol-induced idiocy, friends and family who stick with you no matter what you do, a lot of showtunes and camp humour, and a complete absence of smartphones and social media. He’s Kev, fly him.

Excerpt

Kicking Up My Heels…in Heels
Liam Livings © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
November 1999

Kieran and Jo were back from uni in London for half term, autumn term, or some term or another, and I met them in Salisbury for a drink and a good gossip. I met them in full Ginger Spice outfit. During the day. Yes. Part of the I am Kev hear me roar approach Tony and I had come up with, I was trying this new fearless, notice the fear and do it anyway thing, on for size. It seemed to suit me actually. It was also two big fingers up at my ex-boyfriend Aaron and his vile comments to me about dressing up, and the whole Arthur or Martha thing. Well, I wanted to dress as both Arthur and Martha, depending on how the mood took me, so Aaron and anyone else who didn’t like that could stick it.

Ever since Daddy Do Nothing, as Mum and I referred to him, had come back into my life, then disappeared again, just as quickly, it has spurred me on to dress more. It was a sort of two fingers up to Daddy Do Nothing too. An “I don’t need your approval, I know what I’m about, and I am fabulous, so you can disappear to your village and back to your new girlfriend and stepdaughter, and I’ll be fabulous over here”. All of that. His rejection to my cross-dressing had inadvertently brought out the flag waving slightly military—as in strong, organised, standing up for my rights not as in part of the actual army—drag queen in me.

Some people in my life had been more accepting of it than others. Jo, in particular, was always a bit sniffy about what I wore, and when I wore it, but he wasn’t really one of my friends, he just came as a set of two with Kieran. Of course, I wouldn’t ever tell Kieran that, I’d never want to upset him, so I simply bit my tongue and ignored Jo’s comments, or how he sometimes excluded me from things with his subtle and slimy excuses. It wasn’t worth making a fuss, not for Kieran’s sake. But today, when I was meeting both Kieran and Jo, I knew what I had to do. I knew I had to dress to both impress and make an impression. If I could stand on stage and sing to a packed pub, I sure as hell could walk into a pub dressed like a real woman and order a few drinks.

I finished my realistic makeup, adjusted my red wig with a bleached stripe, just like Ginger Spice’s hair. I checked there was enough padding for my bra to make an impression under the little Union Flag dress I’d run up for myself exactly like Geri Halliwell had, by sewing a tea towel onto the front of a little black strappy dress. I pursed my lips, reapplied red lipstick, added a touch more blue eye shadow in both a homage to the blonde one from Abba, and Geri, obviously, and I was ready to go. I clumped my way downstairs in the black platform boots I’d bought with my staff discount from TK Maxx.

I swept past Mum in the kitchen.

She was drying some crockery at the sink with a spotless tea towel. She put the mug down. “Don’t take this the wrong way, love. You look fabulous. Honestly, it’s the ginger one from that girl group, isn’t it? Where do you think you’re going like that, love?”

“I told you. I’m seeing Kieran and Jo, in town.”

“Singing afterwards?”

“Nope. Just them, then I’ll be home. It won’t be a late one. Promise.”

She looked me up and down, trying to take in what she saw before her. She pursed her mouth. “So, what’s with the outfit, love? Seems like a lot of effort for a drink with some friends. I worry about you, what people say. Some others are like that Aaron you went out with.” She paused, clasping her hands together in front of herself. “Sadly.”

I’d already explained to her my I am Kev hear me roar, and she knew how upset Dad’s disappearance had made me, so I simply said, “I am not letting people like Dad or Aaron, make me ashamed of who I am. I am who I am and I’m doing it more and more.” I put my hands on my hips and thrust my fake bosoms towards her. “All right?”

She nodded slowly. “Just you take care, love. I don’t want anyone hurting you. Watch where you park. Walk where it’s lit. Don’t cut along by the river. That’s dark this time of year, and you never know the sort of people who hang around the industrial entrance out the back of Argos. Watch yourself.”

“Promise.”

She tapped her cheek.

I kissed her cheek then jumped into my car, checking my reflection one last time in my mirror, brushing aside a minor doubt about whether I was doing the right thing, and drove to the nearest car park to the sports pub where I’d asked them to meet me.

There was no need for me to worry, I was well used to doing female impersonations by now in public. Kieran and Jo were full of uni talk, as expected, but they seemed to be enjoying it, so I was pleased for them. Jo gave me a few looks and made some comments, as I knew he would, but I easily brushed them aside. And a man mistook me for a real woman, so that made my day. I’d passed, as they say in cross-dressing circles. My first passing.

I only felt slightly scared once as I tottered loudly on my heels back to the car, using the long route through town. I came across a big group of teenagers on the corner by the bank on the way to the market square. I debated crossing the road and then decided they’d know I was scared, so instead, flicked my hair over my shoulder, stuck my fake bosoms up, and clip-clopped through the middle of them with a few words about being sorry and could I squeeze through. A few of them looked up and looked back at me again—I saw them in the reflection of shop windows as I continued tottering to the car—but no more. I held my head high. If anyone had started anything, I was in a busy bit of town, which even that late was full of people, and after a few loud screams, I was sure they’d have run away, most bullies being cowards in disguise really.

So, battle fought and won, now for the next one.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Liam Livings lives where east London ends and becomes Essex. He shares his house with his boyfriend and cat. He enjoys baking, cooking, classic cars and socialising with friends. He has a sweet tooth for food and entertainment: loving to escape from real life with a romantic book; enjoying a good cry at a sad, funny and camp film; and listening to musical cheesy pop from the eighties to now. He tirelessly watches an awful lot of Gilmore Girls in the name of writing ‘research’.

Published since 2013 by a variety of British and American presses, his gay romance and gay fiction focuses on friendships, British humour, romance with plenty of sparkle. He’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and the Chartered Institute of Marketing. With a masters in creative writing from Kingston University, he teaches writing workshops with his partner in sarcasm and humour, Virginia Heath as http://www.realpeoplewritebooks.com and has also ghost written a client’s 5 Star reviewed autobiography.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Love to Listen to Your Romances? Check Out in the Deep (Out in College #1) by Lane Hayes and Michael Pauley (Narrator)

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Both Now Available in Audio!

Title: Out in the Deep, Out in College #1
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Narrated by: Michael Pauley
Release Date: January 17th, 2019
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 4 hrs and 34 mins
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Bisexual, College romance, Water Polo, Coming out

Add to Goodreads
Listen to an Excerpt & Purchase at Audible

Synopsis

Derek Vaughn is a little too serious. He’s a type A control personality with a penchant for order and a love of water polo. But he’s determined to enjoy his last year of college. The real world with a serious job and big expectations can wait for a few months. He’s going soak up every minute on campus with his friends and teammates before he moves on. The only possible kink in his plan is the new guy on the team… also known as his nemesis.

Gabe Chadwick has big Olympic dreams. His transfer between Southern California universities has nothing to do with scholastics. The degree is his backup plan. He’s not there to party or make friends. And he certainly isn’t going to announce his sexuality. But he can’t deny there’s something special about the uptight team captain. However, when an unwitting friendship and mutual attraction collide, both will have to decide if this is the real thing or if they’re about to lose it all in the deep.


Title
: Out in the End Zone, Out in College #2
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Narrated by: Michael Pauley
Release Date: January 23rd, 2019
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 4 hrs and 58 mins
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Bisexual, College romance, Football, Coming out

Add to Goodreads
Listen to an Excerpt & Purchase at Audible

Synopsis

Evan di Angelo is an upbeat, good-natured goofball who loves his friends and family… and football. A traumatic accident may have ended his hopes of playing professionally, but he’s made the most of his four years on the field at a small Southern California college. He’s learned the hard way to embrace change, take chances and try things outside of his comfort zone…like agreeing to play fake boyfriends for someone else’s senior project.

Mitch Peterson knows that being his authentic self is the path to true happiness. He’s grown from a shy, quiet kid from a broken home to an out and proud budding internet sensation bound for grad school. An awesome senior project is the key. It’s unlikely anyone will believe the hunky, straight athlete is Mitch’s new lover, but it’s worth a shot. However, as their tentative friendship blossoms into unexpected attraction, the lines between reality and fiction blur for both men. Evan is forced to face old demons and decide if he has the courage to take the next step and come out in the end zone.

 

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won First Prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Meet the Narrator

Michael has well over 50 audio book titles currently available for purchase on Audible.com. He is versed in multiple styles and genres including fiction (novels and short stories) ranging from romance to science fiction to crime dramas to thrillers; business strategy books; health and wellness books; and even an occasional children’s book.

Fans of Michael’s narration are welcome to follow him on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

If you are interested in working with Michael to produce your next audio book, you can contact him directly at voice@michaelpauley.info

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Love a Bit of Horror? Check Out the New Release Blitz for Stalker/s by L.J. Hasbrouck (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Stalker/s

Author: L.J. Hasbrouck

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 14, 2019

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 113600

Genre: Horror, horror, new adult, gay, trans, post-apocalyptic, zombies, survival, island

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Brian Jameson doesn’t even get a chance to pick a college before a worldwide pandemic breaks out—and his home is Ground Zero. After losing his parents and sister in a whirlwind of devastation, Brian’s war-veteran grandfather takes him under his wing. But when desperate looters attack Brian’s new home, he and his grandfather must flee into a wintery Midwestern wasteland now populated by intelligent infected known as “Stalkers.”

These ghoulish creatures don’t shamble in hordes—they hide in the darkness waiting to strike, teeth bared in ghastly grins. And they laugh while they’re ripping you to shreds.

But with his grandfather’s training, Brian makes it to the home of his estranged childhood friends, twins Louis and Eva. And Brian gets a chance to experience something else he nearly missed: falling in love. Drawn to the determined—and ruthless—Louis, Brian escapes with him in search of an island paradise away from the relentless snow and infected.

But even if they make it there, it may not be the haven they’re hoping for.

Excerpt

Stalker/s
L.J. Hasbrouck © 2019
All Rights Reserved

12/19, Topeka, Kansas

Jameson Residence

1:06 a.m.

The light from Brian Jameson’s tablet danced across his face in varying degrees of intensity: somber blues, soothing greens, and sometimes the alarming tinge of blood-red. The show’s layered soundscape coursed through his earbuds. Drizzling rain enveloped the muted dialogue of two detectives, their shoes crunching against gravel as they hunted an elusive killer. Somewhere offscreen, a gun exploded. Brian’s pulse pounded so hard it blended with the strengthening downpour.

Jesus, I didn’t expect that.

Brian waited for the scene to change, for stunned gasps, for those dainty footsteps to accelerate into a frantic sprint, but the pair of detectives continued their discussion as if they were taking a stroll through a scenic garden.

Brian paused the video and plucked out his earbuds. Silence. Darkness. A small square of light with an image frozen in time tilted against his knees.

Am I going crazy? I swear I heard a gunshot.

Abrupt knocks shook his bedroom door. Brian’s tablet fell to the bed as he swiveled his legs over the edge, muscles tensed—

“Bri! I heard a buncha loud sounds an’ I’m scared!”

Brian clicked his lamp on and rushed to open the door for his younger sister, stumbling over a still-packed suitcase. After he ushered her in, he shut the door. His racing heart slowed as he gripped her fragile shoulders. We might have heard the same thing. Thunder, or maybe fireworks from the redneck neighbors.

“It’ll be okay, Becks. Tell me what happened.”

Becky’s thin eyebrows knit above glistening pale-blue eyes. “A boom woke me up an’ I ran to Mommy and Daddy’s room, but I heard another boom in there an’—”

“Wait—in their room?”

Becky nodded.

Brian jerked his cell phone from the charger. He pressed the “9” from the emergency screen, Becky’s fearful gaze locked on his. A whimper escaped her as footsteps creaked in the hall outside. Shadow sliced the sliver of light beneath the door.

Brian abandoned the phone to reach for the door lock—but someone twisted the knob before he could get to it. A sturdy figure burst in and knocked Brian back. Becky cried, “Daddy!” and flung her arms around their father’s stocky legs. Their mother pushed into the room after him, collapsing to her knees as their father slammed the door and locked it. Brian caught the glint of a gun wrapped in her shaking hand.

While his father paced the room, phone pressed to his ear and daughter wrapped around his legs, Brian guided his mother onto the edge of his bed. Her distant gaze frightened him—she seemed to be looking at something only she could see. A memory, perhaps, something keeping her from the present. Her auburn waves clung to her shoulders in sweat-matted strands. Blood spatter stained the pink and yellow flowers of a nightgown. It framed four crimson gashes gleaming from her porcelain chest.

In the background, Brian’s father spoke to a muffled dispatcher. “My kids are terrified, we’re locked in my son’s bedroom, and there’s a fucking dead guy on my bedroom floor! Why? My wife shot him, that’s why! All I know is I woke up to gunshots, my wife screaming, and some nut springing out of our closet. He scratched her—even tried to bite her! He was out of his mind, stank like…I dunno. I dunno. Can you hurry, please? I’m worried about my wife.”

Brian’s father slumped onto the bed and ran a hand through his close-cropped hair. Becky squeezed between their parents, tiny hands clutching their father’s flannel pajama sleeve while he listened to the dispatcher. His free hand curled into a fist above his bouncing knee, knuckles tightening to white.

Brian’s skin grew clammy. Tingly. He tuned out the sights and sounds around him until they became a blur and buzz, a spinning funhouse tunnel of disorientation. She shot him. This crazy guy that broke in. God, he could’ve come after me and Becks if she hadn’t…

Distracted by the motion of his mother setting the gun on his bedside table, Brian looked at her. He recognized a forced smile he’d seen many times before. “We’ll make it through this one step at a time. We always do.” She glanced down at the bloody slashes, then back up to Brian. “I know this looks nasty, but it’s only a couple of scratches. I’m okay. I promise.”

She pulled Becky to her, giving her the attention their father couldn’t. Despite his muscular build and booming voice, Brian’s father often wilted in stressful situations—like the time he lost his job at the Topeka mall and Brian and his mother found him foaming at the mouth with an empty pill bottle beside his outstretched hand.

Brian’s father lowered his phone and looked at his wife and children, scoffing. “We have to stay in here and wait for them, barricade the door. The dispatcher said we’ll be safe and that we shouldn’t disturb the scene. Can you believe that? They made it sound like you were more of a criminal than the asshole you shot, Ellen!”

“Joel, language.” Brian’s mother covered Becky’s ears. She rested her chin atop Becky’s head and lowered her hands to stroke Becky’s lank hair. Brian’s father sat beside them, staring at the thin blue carpet between his bouncing knees.

“Brian, move your desk in front of the door.”

Any other time, Brian might’ve found his father’s condescension infuriating, but he was happy to have a distraction from the questions stirring within him. He dragged the desk over to the door, hyper-aware and jittery like he’d had too much caffeine.

When he finished, Brian sank onto the foot of his bed. He swept his tablet away, certain he’d never want to finish the episode frozen within it, and curled a quaking hand around his mother’s shoulder. “Mom, tell me what happened. Please.”

She nodded, taking in measured breaths as she threaded her fingers through Becky’s auburn curls. Becky took after their mother both in appearance and spirit. Although Brian possessed the same golden-blond hair and tan complexion as his father, he’d also inherited his tendency toward escapism.

His mother kept him going. She kept them all going. Even though she’d been hurt, she still held her daughter to her, still gripped her husband’s hand in hers, still smiled at Brian.

“Someone must’ve broken in while we were at Nana and Poppa’s,” she whispered. “He hid in our closet, waited until we were asleep… I-I don’t know why he attacked me. But I…I had to protect my family, so I…”

She didn’t say anything else. Becky’s unbearable whimpering forced Brian to voice the panic bashing against his skull. “Who the hell was that guy? Was he some homeless guy that broke in to get out of the cold? Why would he hurt Mom?”

“Bri, if I told you what I saw, you and your sister would have nightmares.” Brian’s father finally looked up and met Brian’s gaze. “Your mother and I will already have them, I’m sure of it. All I know is it was self-defense: they’ll clear your mother, get her checked out at a hospital, and we can go back to normal.” His lips tightened into a strained smile. He’d been fighting to earn Brian’s trust back ever since they found him on that locker room floor, but the sacred trust built between parent and child had been shattered irrevocably.

Brian’s eyes fell from his father’s. They drifted into silence and awaited the police. His gut soured and every nerve in his body tingled until the tips of his toes and fingers felt numb. One second, he’d been watching a by-the-numbers police procedural, the next he might as well have been starring in an episode of his own.

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Meet the Author

Knowledge-seeking animal-lover, supporter of diversity, and OG Floridian. Lifelong gamer who grew up drawing Disney characters, whales, and dinosaurs. Proud INTJ (which I share with the likes of Hannibal Lecter, Batman, and Ellen Ripley).

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Love Coming Out Romance Stories? Check out ‘Out in the Offense (Out in College #3) by Lane Hayes (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Out in the Offense

Series: Out in College #3

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: January 10, 2019

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 54k

Genre: Romance, New Adult, Bisexual, College romance, Football, Coming out

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Synopsis

Christian Rafferty is a talented quarterback with a big secret. He’s determined to make the most of his final season on the football field, and if possible, avoid any confrontations with his conservative parents about his future. It shouldn’t be difficult; he’s become adept at keeping his public and private lives separate. However, when a math class threatens to derail his plans to graduate on time, he realizes he may need outside help.

Rory Kirkland has a reputation for being a tough guy. He’s a former wrestler and recent college graduate who needs a real job. Until he finds one, tutoring is a decent temporary gig. Luckily, his brain is his biggest asset. Rory is a genius. He credits his sport for helping him deal with angst and rumors about his sexuality when he was younger, but he doesn’t care what others think anymore. He likes his new status as an out and proud bi man; and he recognizes something of himself in Christian. But Rory didn’t count on falling for him. When an unlikely friendship collides with intense attraction, both men begin to realize that coming out on offense just might be the surest path to love.

Excerpt

“Can I do anything to help?” I asked, setting my backpack on one of the two barstools at the narrow counter space.

“Nope. As soon as the veggies are sautéed, we’ll be ready to eat. Want something to drink?”

“Yes, please. Water is fine. Where’s Buttons?”

Rory pulled a water bottle from the small fridge behind him and handed it over, then pointed at a basket next to the sofa.

“She’s hiding behind that basket. She’ll make an appearance if she decides you’re worthy. In the meantime, there’s bread in that basket on the counter next to your bag. Help yourself. I’ll bring dinner out.”

I thanked him, then twisted the cap from the water bottle and took a generous sip before rounding the corner in search of the bread. I was ravenous. I bit into the baguette with gusto before turning to check out my surroundings.

Rory’s apartment was tiny. Probably half the size of mine and much older. But unlike the rough exterior, it was…pleasant. Surprisingly so. A short wall delineated the narrow kitchen from the main living area. There was just enough room for a sofa, an ottoman, a TV console, and a smallish television. Two barstools were tucked under the small peninsula by the cut-out in the kitchen wall. The palette was basic “dude”…dark leather against stark white walls, though a large red throw rug anchored the room and provided a nice splash of color. It was simple—but tidy and very clean.

“Your place is cool,” I commented when he entered the room, carrying two plates and a large bowl.

“Thanks. Let’s sit on the sofa. We have more room to eat there,” he said decisively as he set his burden on the coffee table. “Help yourself. I’ll get some forks, napkins, and extra veggies.”

I obeyed and quickly got to work, scooping chicken fettucine Alfredo onto both plates. Rory joined me a minute later, handing over the silverware before taking a seat next to me. I shot a bashful sideways glance at him as I reached for a napkin.

“Do you eat like this every night?”

“It’s really nothing special. I make sauces in bulk and freeze them. Then it’s just a matter of adding protein and veggies. By the way, this Alfredo is a healthy version. If you want to drown it in parmesan, feel free. I won’t be offended. Cheers.” He tapped his water bottle against mine and winked.

“Cheers. And thanks again. This is incredible and very unexpected.” I smiled as I twisted the pasta around my fork.

“You’re welcome. You sounded anxious, but you said we’re cool. Are we?”

“Of course.”

Rory tilted his head and shot me a challenging look. “Then kiss me.”

“Um…now?”

“Yeah, now. The other night could have been a fluke. Instead of wondering, let’s get it over with. One kiss should be enough to tell. C’mere,” he commanded, leaning sideways.

I set my fork down and met him halfway until our noses brushed. Then I waited for him to make the next move. He stayed stubbornly still. When I couldn’t stand the growing tension, I pressed my lips to his. And wow…amazing.

Rory was a great kisser. He had the simple art of give-and-take down to a science. He molded his mouth to mine and gently pushed his tongue inside. The connection was sweet but bold. It was more about discovery than possession. I hummed as I snaked my arm around his neck, pulling him closer. He sucked my tongue, then bit my bottom lip playfully before pulling back.

“Definitely not a fluke,” he said with a devilish grin.

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Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won First Prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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New Release Blitz for Out in the End (Out in College #2) Zone by Lane Hayes (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Out in the End Zone

Series: Out in College #2

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: October 10

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 44000

Genre: Romance, New Adult, Bisexual, College romance, Football, Coming out

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Synopsis

Evan di Angelo is an upbeat, good-natured goofball who loves his friends and family… and football. A traumatic accident may have ended his hopes of playing professionally, but he’s made the most of his four years on the field at a small Southern California college. He’s learned the hard way to embrace change, take chances and try things outside of his comfort zone…like agreeing to play fake boyfriends for someone else’s senior project.

Mitch Peterson knows that being his authentic self is the path to true happiness. He’s grown from a shy, quiet kid from a broken home to an out and proud budding internet sensation bound for grad school. An awesome senior project is the key. It’s unlikely anyone will believe the hunky, straight athlete is Mitch’s new lover, but it’s worth a shot. However, as their tentative friendship blossoms into unexpected attraction, the lines between reality and fiction blur for both men. Evan is forced to face old demons and decide if he has the courage to take the next step and come out in the end zone.

Excerpt

Mitch scoffed. “Cooperate, please. This is your intro. Maybe you should put your arm around me and kiss my cheek.”

“Now?”

“Yes. This is a rehearsal, so…go for it.”

I moved to his side, slipped my arm around his waist, and kissed his cheek. His scruff threw me off stride. It wasn’t noticeable because his facial hair was blond, but I could feel it. He smelled and felt different from anyone I’d ever kissed before. Sure, I’d kissed male relatives. I was part Italian. No one in my family shied from physical contact. But a hug and kiss on each cheek from my Uncle Gianni was different from kissing an attractive man. I caressed his cheek impulsively and then leaned in to sniff him the way I’d wanted to since the party. “Mmm.”

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“You smell good. I’ve never kissed a guy I wasn’t related to who had a five o’clock shadow.”

Mitch gave me a funny look. “You kissed me yesterday at lunch.”

“Yeah, but you haven’t shaved since this morning, right? The texture is like sandpaper but in a good way. I like it,” I assured him.

He looked flustered for a second but recovered quickly. “Well, that’ll make the real kiss easier then.”

“Right. When do we kiss, and what’s the intensity level supposed to be? G, PG, PG-13? Or are we going straight to the nasty?” I teased.

“Ha. G is peck on the cheek, which we just covered. PG is peck on the lips. So somewhere in between that and PG-13 works.”

“Got it. Maybe we should practice first,” I said.

“Um…sure.” Mitch turned around and gestured toward the bar stools at the island. “We can sit there, and I’ll set up the tripod a foot or so from where you’re standing now.”

“We don’t have to be in exact position. I just need to get used to touching you. It would be the same with anyone. Guy or girl.”

Okay, fine. I wanted to do it again. I’d thought about him nonstop since the party last weekend. And that throwaway kiss yesterday at the restaurant had opened a Pandora’s box. I was consumed now. I didn’t want to practice kissing him. I had to or I’d go crazy.

“Maybe you’re right. Um…okay. You can kiss me,” he said in a low voice.

“Well, you have to participate,” I chided as I stepped into his space.

“I’m…yes. Do you want to go first? Like…” Mitch set his hand on my hip and inched closer still. “This?”

I lifted my right hand and hovered it above his ear for a moment before threading my fingers through his hair. He suddenly looked nervous, which somehow worked in my favor. I held his gaze, then moved forward and gently pressed my lips to his. And fuck, it felt amazing to be here again. I tilted my head slightly, loving the intoxicating contrast of his soft lips and scratchy chin. Mitch closed his eyes and hooked his arms around my neck so we stood toe to toe and chest to chest. All the ways this felt different no longer applied. I knew what to do here. I was practically a fucking expert.

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won First Prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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A Lucy Review: The Academy by Quinn Anderson

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Sebastian, Theo and Dante are friends at a small private college. Sebastian is a notorious player, screw them and leave them.  When Nick starts at the college, grieving for his father and coming from a large city college, they resurrect an immature ploy from their younger days.  The first one to get Nick to kiss them wins Barbzilla, the trophy.  The caveat is, Nick has to be the one to initiate the kiss.  So they go after Nick, particularly Sebastian.  He is unrelenting in the face of Nick’s obvious distrust.

That is, I believe, what kept this from being a higher rating for me. To be honest, I liked Theo and Dante (secondary characters, friends of Sebastian’s) a little more than I liked Nick and Sebastian.  Theo and Dante were friends working on their relationship.  Nick and Sebastian spent most of the book snarking and being rude.  While I usually have no problem with the idea of “the bet”, having read this trope before, I didn’t like the way it was handled here.  You know at some point the bet will be revealed and it will cause problems but Sebastian’s actions were just so over the top nasty I couldn’t handle it.  The fact that Theo’s action, and true friendship towards Nick, made me believe Theo was the better choice wasn’t a good direction for a romance.  That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed Theo and Dante! They have their heads on straight and try to guide Sebastian.  “For Sebby.” 

Speaking of the secondary characters, I also loved Deen, Nick’s roommate.  “Deen didn’t ask him what’d happened again.  He didn’t say anything else.  He just hugged Nick and didn’t let go until Nick had finished crying.  Then he hugged him some more.”  Plus, he’s funny even though “Deen beamed, like he wasn’t used to people laughing at his jokes.”  Considering his name is Deenabandhu I did snort when he asked, “It is Nickolas, right?  And not like, Nickstopher or something?”  He’s sweet  Really, that’s the friend I want.  Sweet and funny.

The writing was very good in this book, although parts of it dragged.  Perhaps because it was long at 366 pages there were portions that just seemed to go on and on.  I got a little tired of the back and forth between Nick and Sebastian, because I didn’t feel the connection there.  The fact that it’s really just a matter of weeks could have something to do with it as well. 

Overall, the book was okay but not something I’d read again.

The cover art by Garrett Leigh was a little bit misleading for me because it shows two smiling, incredibly happy looking men holding each other.  The book itself didn’t have that fluffy feel to it.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published September 17th 2018 by Riptide Publishing (first published September 15th 2018)
ISBN139781626498440
Edition LanguageEnglish