In Our Spotlight: Fallen Angel (The Angel of 13th Street Book 2) by Eden Winters (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Fallen Angel

Series: The Angel of 13th Street 2

Author: Eden Winters

Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books

Release Date: 2/27/17

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 63,000 words

Genre: Romance, Age difference, urban, rent boys, redemption, second chances

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Synopsis

Who can save the rescuer of lost souls?

For ten years ex-rent boy Noah Everett has fought the good fight, offering second chances to those still in the life. Now he’s cracking under the stress. What began as a two-man mission is now going corporate, meaning rules, regulations and inexperienced volunteers needing guidance in a field Noah makes up as he goes along. Who can he turn to when his mentor’s strength is all but gone and his lover is leaving for college—possibly for good?

Four years at State with a full ride scholarship will launch Jeremy Kincaid’s future, but his present includes Noah, Doc, and the closest he’s ever had to a family. And a meth addict who’s become Jeremy’s own personal mission.

An attack sends Noah spinning out of control. Jeremy has to find the way to reach Noah before the man he knows and loves disappears forever.

Excerpt

Noah slammed a case of beer down in the cooler and fished his ringing cell phone out of his pocket. Nobody called his personal phone at this time of day without good reason.  “Noah Everett.”

“Noah? Hey, man. It’s Chip.”

Noah emerged from the cooler, passed through the bar and mouthed, “I’ll be back,” to Mary behind the bar. He stepped out the back door of The Twelfth Street Bar and Grill and plunked down onto a dry spot on the stoop. The rain had finally stopped, raising the humidity to sweltering levels. If this call didn’t need privacy he’d have stayed in the cooler.

“Have you thought any more about what we discussed?” Given the phone call, the caller probably had. Trouble was, thinking alone didn’t seem to be getting them anywhere.

The casual, “Yeah,” didn’t bode well.

“And?” Fuck.

A long silence followed. “Well, my… my boyfriend isn’t a bad man. I mean, he treats me good and stuff, it’s just that I don’t like… I don’t like—”

“You don’t like him pimping you out to other men,” Noah finished for Chip.

Inside his bar, sixty-seven notches decorated a doorframe, signifying sixty-seven rent boys who’d left prostitution behind and started over someplace else.

Had Doc Cook carved a notch somewhere when he’d pulled Noah from the gutter, dusted him off, and pointed him in the right direction?

What the hell made Chip stay with the user? Noah should’ve notched him in at sixty-eight by now. Instead Chip sat on a fence, dreaming of a better life and fooling himself into believing he could have it here.

 

An exasperated huff sounded in Noah’s ear. “Yeah. Things were cool until he started arranging dates for me.”

Arranging dates? Noah ran his fingers through his short hair and blew out a breath. Motherfucking pimps. More like pimples on the ass of mankind.

Chip continued trying to talk himself out of seeing reason. “I dunno, maybe he’ll stop. I mean, I know he loves me.”

Loves me? Chip had strange ideas of love. He loves me, and we’re only doing this until we have enough money to go away and have it be just us. Noah had said those same words to himself once.

 

But “us” never happened.

Empty promises had sustained him through sleazy meetings that had started with come-ons and a handful of cash and ended with Noah grateful when johns did him in a hotel room so he could scrub himself raw after they left.

And some johns had scared the fuck out of him.

Chip would be a hot commodity in certain markets. Cute, in an innocent, boy-next-door kind of way, easily influenced, with an inborn willingness to please, and, worse yet, gullible, much as Noah had been many years ago. Chip might as well hang a sign around his neck: “Use me!” No way would the boyfriend give up such a low maintenance source of cash.

Noah began pacing behind the building, boots crunching against gravel. Every kid who called forced him to relive his own past, his own fuck ups.

Damn it all to hell! Had the kid known so little love in his life that he’d cling to a sick illusion?

“Do you actually believe he’ll stop?” Noah kept because I sure as hell don’t to himself.

More silence, a sigh, and then a rare scrap of reality from Chip. “No.”

Noah forced his voice calm when he really wanted to jump through the phone and fix the dumb kid’s life before it was too late. “From what you’ve told me, your parents are out of the question, but how about your grandparents? Or older brother?” Those were Noah’s first choices: stick Chip on a bus and let others with a personal interest manage putting his life back together. Second choice? Put him on a bus to a safe house; let those better qualified handle the details.

This time, no uncertainly colored the adamant, “No! Definitely not! I can’t go home.” More quietly Chip added, “But I’m not sure how long I can stay here, either. He… he talked to a friend of his yesterday.” Even through a telephone connection, Noah envisioned a shudder. “I don’t wanna be in videos.”

Oh shit. Videos. Noah slammed his hand against the wall. No!

“Charge extra for pictures, Noah,” Stevie had said. Noah’s pimp didn’t want to miss a buck, and every time Noah flexed and stretched, it was an easy extra that went straight into the pimp’s pocket.

 

Bad enough how Noah had made his living without adding hard evidence. It was only a matter of time before Stevie sent him to a studio.

 

Noah couldn’t go back in time and save his eighteen-year-old self, but he could save Chip. If only the guy would listen.

Purchase

Rocky Ridge Books | Amazon

Meet the Author

You will know Eden Winters by her distinctive white plumage and exuberant cry of “Hey, y’all!” in a Southern US drawl so thick it renders even the simplest of words unrecognizable. Watch out, she hugs!

Driven by insatiable curiosity, she possibly holds the world’s record for curriculum changes to the point that she’s never quite earned a degree but is a force to be reckoned with at Trivial Pursuit.

She’s trudged down hallways with police detectives, learned to disarm knife-wielding bad guys, and witnessed the correct way to blow doors off buildings. Her e-mail contains various snippets of forensic wisdom, such as “What would a dead body left in a Mexican drug tunnel look like after six months?” In the process of her adventures she has written fourteen m/m romance novels, has won several Rainbow Awards, was a Lambda Awards Finalist, and lives in terror of authorities showing up at her door to question her Internet searches.

When not putting characters in dangerous situations she’s a mild-mannered business executive, mother, grandmother, vegetarian, and PFLAG activist.

Her natural habitats are airports, coffee shops, and on the backs of motorcycles.

Website | Facebook | Twitter
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|  eMail |Rocky Ridge Books

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Re-Release Day Blitz & Giveaway for Settling the Score by Eden Winters

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Title: Settling the Score

Author: Eden Winters

Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books

Release Date: 10/6/2016

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 86,000 words

Genre: Romance, Humor, Age Difference, Movie Star, Author, Small Town, Mechanic, Getting Even

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Synopsis

Outed and dumped on national television by his rising star boyfriend, Joey Nichols must face the bigotry of the locals in his small Southern town alone. His dreams of a happy ever after lie crushed at his feet.

Novelist Troy Steele has an axe to grind against Hollywood heartbreaker types. Transforming Joey into a gorgeous, unobtainable hunk would be payback worthy of Troy’s poison pen. It’s a brilliant way to get back at Joey’s image-obsessed ex-boyfriend and the movie producer who’s mutilating Troy’s novels.

What begins as simple revenge may tangle them together in something far more complicated. Living well may be the best revenge, but Troy and Joey could rewrite that to loving well.

Excerpt

The Nichols’ dining room table could easily seat six people if it weren’t covered with business records, homework, and car parts. Instead of clearing it off, the family assembled in the living room, parents on the couch, Joey and his sisters on the floor. Overloaded plates balanced on each lap.

“Hush, it’s starting,” Joey’s mom warned, mostly to thirteen-year-old Stacey.

“Oops! Gotta go!” Stacey disconnected her call and dropped her phone onto the floor.

Joey and Jackie were quiet already, Joey afraid he’d miss something important if he so much as blinked.

Ten years separated him and his twin from Stacey. Mom often joked that it had taken her that long to forget the horrors of giving birth enough to try again.

Dad blamed his cousin’s homebrew.

“Good evening, I’m Evelyn Hugh. Welcome to Hollywood Seen. Tonight’s hottie, err, I mean, hot story”—the show’s hostess began, grin unapologetic—“is a young man who’s got all of Hollywood talking. Riker Sanderson has what it takes to survive in this town: looks, talent, and a legion of screaming fans.”

On cue, the camera focused on the audience, where the legion, mostly young and female, chanted, “Riker! Riker!”

“Sorry to disappoint you girls. Rumor has it that Mr. Sanderson is taken.” Evelyn pouted for the camera. “Or is he? Joining me tonight is none other than Riker Sanderson, star of the action thriller, Something to Die For.”

Taken? Joey swallowed hard. Surely she couldn’t mean…

The camera zoomed out, showing the beautiful man who’d stolen his heart and who’d shared his apartment up until a few months ago. Riker, more muscled thanks to a heavy training routine for the movie, sported gold highlights in his now much shorter hair. He looked downright sinful in tight-fitting T-shirt and jeans.

Joey idly toyed with the silver band on his middle finger, a nervous habit, before noticing its mate missing from Riker’s hand. Maybe he’d taken it off for the movie. It didn’t mean anything. No, nothing at all.

All worries disappeared when Riker slowly raised a simmering gaze to the camera. Something clenched deep in Joey’s insides. Those dark eyes hypnotized him, even if they were on a TV screen and not actually in the room. Bedroom eyes intense enough to cause instant paralysis. How many times had Joey lost himself in them, lying in a sweaty, satisfied tangle with Riker?

“Thank you for joining us,” the bleached-blonde hostess gushed, a woman Big Joe said gave him gout.

“Why does she do that to her hair?” Mom asked. “She’s ruined it.” She added the tried and true statement guaranteed to grant forgiveness for any unkindness spoken by a Southerner: “Bless her heart.”

With her whiney voice and constant fawning, Evelyn Hugh reminded Joey of one of the teenaged fans. “I can call you Riker, can’t I?”

“Sure, if I can call you Evelyn.” Her ordinary name sounded exotic when spoken in Riker’s deep tones. That was his gift. He could make anyone feel like the most important person on the planet just by talking to them. Joey had warmed himself by Riker’s fire on many a cold winter’s night.

“I loved you in the romantic comedy, Trying the Knot, filmed in your home state of Georgia. Although only a minor supporting role, your portrayal of the obnoxious cousin at the wedding turned out to be a real scene-stealer and resulted in your big break, didn’t it?”

Riker hadn’t really wanted the cousin role that required him to wear a fat suit and play a backwoods redneck, even if he’d had to beat out a lot of other hopefuls for the part.

“Well, Evelyn,”—Riker turned puppy dog eyes on the hostess—“I’d originally auditioned for the role of Chuck.”

“The pain-in-the-ass playboy who seduced several bridesmaids? Oh, you’re too sweet to play such a cad.”

“You’re too kind.”

A better-known actor had won the honors of playing asshole Chuck. Riker had stormed around the apartment for days.

Riker smiled like he’d hit the jackpot by missing the role. “Actually, I found the cousin part more intriguing. I mean, it stretched my acting skills to play someone so unlike myself.”

“Oh, please, I’m trying to eat here,” Jackie spat.

Joey flashed her a quick evil eye and went back to watching TV.

What a tantrum Riker had thrown about “playing a hick nobody.” In the end he took the money, and assurances from his agent of appearing with a few big stars being a good career move and a way to get noticed.

But he’d done the part enough justice to bring Hollywood knocking.

“What an amazing experience,” the man of Joey’s dreams replied, though that’s not what he’d called it to friends. “It really helped me grow as an actor.” He’d privately referred to the part as beneath someone of his talent and his own personal hell.

“What’s it like working with powerhouse actress Clair Clancy?”

Joey lost the battle to keep a straight face. He’d gotten more earfuls about “Clair, the air-headed bitch.” She’d only spoken to Riker twice during filming when their roles overlapped.

Onscreen, Riker described her as, “An amazing actress. A true professional.” He waved at the camera. “Congrats on the birth of your little girl, Clair. You’ll be an amazing mother.” This from the man who’d wanted to pass a law making it illegal for the woman to breed. Wow, what a good actor. For a moment even Joey believed him.

“In a real-life Cinderella story, a relatively unknown actor is chosen for the lead role of Mitchell Keller in the biggest film of the year. How’s that working out for you?” Evelyn leaned her head on Riker’s shoulder, eyeing him through batting lashes. How dare she? She needed to back off.

A punch to the shoulder brought Joey back to reality, breathing hard and fingernails digging into the palms of his clenched fists.

“She does that with everybody,” Jackie murmured. “What’s your problem, anyway?”

Joey took a deep breath and let it out slowly, a flush creeping up his cheeks.

After what could have been two years, or more probably, two seconds, Riker answered, “It’s really amazing.”

“Doesn’t he know any adjectives besides amazing?” Stacey cut in. “I mean, really! He’s an actor, he’s supposed to be good with words.” Oops, the last holdout in the family swayed to the “We don’t like Riker” side.

Joey ignored her. He’d show them. Soon he’d be living the good life, basking in the California sun. He and Riker had even talked about getting married.

“…and my producer, Ian Hagan, is amazing,” Riker was saying.

Stacey made an “I told you so” face.

Their mother swatted her arm, nipping in the bud whatever sarcastic remark she’d been about to sling.

Riker plowed on. “He took a huge chance in hiring an unknown for such a major role, and I’m grateful he believes in me. I’ve done everything I can to make sure he doesn’t regret taking a risk. We’ve wrapped up the final scenes. Now it’s in post-production, where they’ll add the Hollywood magic.”

What? Riker said a few hours ago that they were still shooting. Well, maybe they had to reshoot some parts.

“Oh, that’s fabulous.” Evelyn’s fake smile lost its battle to look sincere.

Joey knew how she felt. The standing local rule: Never mention acting around Riker unless you had a least an hour and didn’t mind listening. Folks in town phrased their words very carefully.

“Now, Riker, I know you’ve heard the rumors and seen the pictures posted on the Internet of yourself with someone who is apparently very close to you.”

Joey’s heart pounded and his ears rang. Rumors? Pictures? He peeped over at Jackie, who sat up straighter and put her plate down on the floor.

The smile fled Riker’s face, and he wore the same pleading expression he’d used to get out of cooking. “Yes, I have. For the record, I’d like to state that my personal life isn’t anyone else’s business.”

Oh, shit! What had they found out?

“Breathe, Joey,” Jackie urged.

No matter how he tried, Joey couldn’t, because Evelyn dropped a bomb. “Are you gay?”

Oh, my God! They’d been careful since Riker signed the movie deal. How had anyone suspected? Sure, in a few months maybe, when they were ready. Not now!

Jackie stiffened and Joey held his breath.

“Yes, Evelyn, I am.” Riker sighed, his anguished eyes filling with tears. Joey had never seen anyone who could cry on demand quite so convincingly, not even Stacey. “I’m not ashamed of being a gay American, and I don’t see how my orientation has any bearing on my acting ability.”

“I knew it!” Stacey shrieked. Jackie shushed her. Joey ignored her again.

Evelyn scented blood and went for the throat—her trademark. “The man shown with you in the pictures, is he your boyfriend?”

Man in the pictures? Boyfriend? Surely it couldn’t be… Who the hell were they talking about? If it wouldn’t have given too much away, Joey would have made a mad dash to his parent’s aging computer to find out. Evelyn Hugh moved much too slowly. Stomach too queasy to eat, Joey plopped his uneaten meal down on the coffee table.

Riker sat quietly gazing into the camera and Joey almost heard the wheels turning under that mop of highlighted hair. Finally, his lover became his ex-lover with the casually spoken, “I guess you could say we were in a relationship at the time. Nothing serious. We’ve decided to cool things down while I focus on my career.”

What!? Nothing really serious?! Joey gaped at the screen, a flash fire creeping up his cheeks all the way to his ears. Did Riker mean him? A boulder formed in his throat.

They’d talked about forever. He gasped for breath, unable to turn away from the train wreck of his life unfolding on national television.

“Yes, it’s true.” Riker used the same sorrowful tone the hick cousin had during a big scene in Trying the Knot. “I mean, he’s back home, I’m here. It wouldn’t work out.”

Jackie might have snapped, “Oh, cry me a river!” Joey was too caught up in his own personal drama to know for sure.

He knows I’m watching! He knows I’m seeing this! Why is he coming out now? Why couldn’t he tell the nosy woman it’s none of her damned business?

Riker focused directly on the camera, as if seeking Joey out. “Yeah, we kind of grew out of each other. It’s time to move on.”

“I certainly appreciate your candor, and I’m sure there’s plenty of people around town willing to keep you company.” Evelyn sat up, patting at her hair. “We all look forward to your upcoming movie. It’s sure to be a blockbuster. Thank you for joining us.”

Joey dared not dart out of the room like he wanted to and give too much away. At the moment the family only knew that he’d had a gay roommate. Should he act surprised?

The camera left Riker and zoomed in on the hostess. Joey saw her through a glaze of tears and fears. “Remember that you heard it first on Hollywood Seen.” Her goofy grin dimmed a few watts. “Now, here’s another Hollywood Seen exclusive, the photographs that started it all. Last month they began circling the Internet. Until tonight, spokesmen for Mr. Sanderson firmly denied their authenticity. A pity, really. They made such a handsome couple, don’t you agree?”

Joey’s reality crumbled, replaced by a nightmare. The TV screen filled completely with an image of Riker and himself dancing at the club in Atlanta, Riker’s leg wedged between Joey’s, Joey’s mouth locked to his lover’s neck and his crotch pressed against Riker’s denim-covered thigh.

Oh dear God! He looked like a humping vampire!

The image lasted forever. Enough already, take it down! He’d been stripped naked. Laid bare, all his deepest, darkest secrets exposed.

Calm down, no one can tell it’s you. Maybe they’ll think it’s someone out in Hollywood. That hope dashed to pieces with another picture, probably taken shortly after the first. In it, Joey and Riker both faced the camera. The hostess delivered the killing blow. “Our sources tell us that the man in the picture with Riker Sanderson is Joseph Nichols, Jr., with whom Riker lived in Georgia before moving to California.”

Joey fumbled his cell phone out of his pocket and barely managed to hit the right number. Instead of one of the ever-changing heavy-metal ringtones Riker used, a recorded message stated flatly, “The number you have dialed has been disconnected…”

Purchase

Rocky Ridge Books | Amazon | Allromance eBooks

Settling the Score SquareMeet the Author

Author AvatarYou will know Eden Winters by her distinctive white plumage and exuberant cry of “Hey, y’all!” in a Southern US drawl so thick it renders even the simplest of words unrecognizable. Watch out, she hugs!

Driven by insatiable curiosity, she possibly holds the world’s record for curriculum changes to the point that she’s never quite earned a degree but is a force to be reckoned with at Trivial Pursuit.

She’s trudged down hallways with police detectives, learned to disarm knife-wielding bad guys, and witnessed the correct way to blow doors off buildings. Her e-mail contains various snippets of forensic wisdom, such as “What would a dead body left in a Mexican drug tunnel look like after six months?” In the process of her adventures she has written sixteen m/m romance novels, has won several Rainbow Awards, was a Lambda Awards Finalist, and lives in terror of authorities showing up at her door to question her Internet searches.

When not putting characters in dangerous situations she’s a mild-mannered business executive, mother, grandmother, vegetarian, and PFLAG activist.

Her natural habitats are airports, coffee shops, and on the backs of motorcycles.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

Giveaway

One lucky winner will win an ebook copy of Settling the Score and an ebook copy of Diversion.

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Coffee Sip and Book Break with P.D. Singer ‘Otter Chaos’ (excerpt and giveaway)

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Otter Chaos by P.D. Singer
Release Date: October 9, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books
Cover Artist: Dar Albert, Wicked Smart Designs

Buy the book: Amazon | Amazon Kindle |All Romance eBooks | Smashwords | Rocky Ridge Books

Apple i Tunes | Kobo

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Blurb

Otter Chaos (includes Tail Slide)

Lon Ewing snowboarded in and turned economist Corey Levigne’s life upside down, introducing him to a world he didn’t know existed. Corey’s still adjusting to a boyfriend who shifts into an otter and raids the koi pond—and now Lon says Corey’s department chair is a werewolf?

Wolves at the university, wolves in the bank—across Lon’s desk sits Professor Melvin Vadas and his hench-wolves, demanding a construction loan for the pack’s new lodge in the mountains. There’s just one little problem: the proposed building site is home to a breeding population of rare fish.

What do wolves care for stupid human rules, an otter who’d barely make a good snack, or one pesky human determined to protect the environment? Once they’re snout to snout with Corey and Lon there’s more than silverscale dace on the Endangered Species list.

Includes Tail Slide (the short that kicked off otter madness)

Fresh powder snow and running water in the Colorado back country call Lon like the moon calls the wolves. Belly-sliding to a good time on the weekends makes up for a workweek at a desk, and meeting Corey adds a whole new level of fun to snowboarding.

It’s easy to slip away for time alone in the woods without raising suspicion, but how’s Lon to entertain himself when bad snow and a worse spill force them off the mountain too early?

Never give an otter a box of Cheerios.

 

Pages or Words: 84500 (11000 Tail Slide, 73500 Otter Chaos) 276 pages total
Categories: M/M Romance, Paranormal

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Excerpt


Threading his way between the tables to reach the group, Corey intended to set the glass down on the small table in their center without interrupting the flow. Maybe he didn’t really need to steady himself on Lon’s shoulder, but it was a good excuse to touch his boyfriend, get a little squeeze and a promise for later in at the same time. “Bet you need to wet your whistle.”

Lon jerked up hard enough to jostle Corey’s arm. Brown liquid slopped over the rim of the glass. At least it missed Lon’s instrument, but what—?

“No. Sorry. But no.” Lon twisted under the strap of his guitar. “We need to leave. Now.”

“Wha—?” Corey all but dropped the glass. “Why?”

“Now. Please.” Lon was up and sidling toward his guitar case.

Corey followed. What else could he do? The man who’d been gleefully leading fiddles and mandolins had cased his instrument and bolted out the side door. Lon barely waited on the porch of the old house turned brewpub, dashing to the passenger side of the RAV4 before Corey was quite outside in the chill spring night.

“Go, go, go,” Lon begged. “Quick.”

“Okay.” Corey tucked his long legs under the steering wheel and peeled out of the parking lot. “Want to explain the sudden need to be elsewhere?”

Lon’s knuckles practically glowed with their whiteness—if the armrest of the passenger seat breathed, Lon would have choked the life out of it three blocks back. “I smelled wolf.”

That again. “I did see Melvin come into the pub.” Corey aimed the truck toward south Boulder, because Lon had that trembly look where his dark brown hair and beard seemed to puff out bigger. Absolutely no reason to stress him, and every reason to take him home and pet him into exhausted, sweaty peace.

“Can you get a job at Harvard or Stanford or somewhere far, far away from CU?” Lon whimpered. “Or decide you don’t like me anymore?”

“No and no.” Corey gave his lover a stern look on the turn into the driveway. “I’m headed for tenure here and I love you. I don’t want to change either one of those things.” He pulled Lon across the console to plant a kiss in short, sleek, hair. “Let’s go look at the koi one last time, and then last one into bed is a rotten egg.”

“Rotten egg! Ick!” But Lon was diverted enough to scamper to the back yard, not too fast to be caught.

 

 

RC

 

Meet the author:

P.D. Singer lives in Colorado with her slightly bemused husband, two rowdy teenage boys, and thirty pounds of cats. She’s a big believer in research, first-hand if possible, so the reader can be quite certain PD has skied down a mountain face-first, been stepped on by rodeo horses, acquired a potato burn or two, and will never, ever, write a novel that includes sky-diving.

When not writing, playing her fiddle, or skiing, she can be found with a book in hand.

 

Where to find the author:


Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Bayou Book Junkie, Inked Rainbow Reads, Full Moon Dreaming, Jessie G. Books, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, My Fiction Nook,

The Hat Party, The Jena Wade, Molly Lolly, Carly’s Book Reviews, Havan Fellows, Open Skye Book Reviews, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, BFD Book Blog, V’s Reads, Mikky’s World of Books, MM Good Book Reviews, Divine Magazine, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, SA McAuley, Posy Roberts, Nephy Hart, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Multitasking Mommas, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

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Giveaway

Rafflecopter Prize: 1 signed print book, or  1 ebook (mobi, epub or pdf), otter ornament (offer as separate prizes please).  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.  Please see disclaimer.

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A MelanieM Review: Redemption (Diversion #5) by Eden Winters

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5       ★★★★★

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]Living is the easy part.

Agent Lucky Lucklighter and his partner escaped Mexico alive, only to plunge into bureaucratic fallout from their mission. Hell, maybe Lucky should have stayed south of the border. Especially when the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau places Bo into rehab, and Lucky’s facing both therapy and an inquiry into a fatal shooting. Watching over his shoulder for a vengeful drug lord or a cartel don calling in favors leaves him scarcely able to imagine a future for them as agents, or as a couple.

Bo Schollenberger once had a vision for their life together, but he’s bowed beneath the weight of his undercover work. Lucky’s hanging on by his deeply chewed fingernails, clinging to hope by making Bo’s dreams of a home into reality. The last thing he needs is a phone call from a dangerous man who knows too much, summoning him back to Mexico for “an early Christmas present.”

Not when the SNB brass asks tough questions, like “How well do you know your partner?”

I am so in love with this book that if I had a copy in paperback I would be drawing little hearts all over it like a schoolgirl.  You know, those big fat ones drawn with pink or red markers.  Silly?  You bet.  Heartfelt?  Absolutely.

You see this is the book I needed to read after all the pain and anguish that Eden Winters put Lucky and Bo through in Manipulation. Boy, was that a tough book to read.  Beautifully written, brutally realistic, gritty and painful.  And it left the boys in a dark and wounded place.

Now comes their recovery.  We see how Bo and Lucky are dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath of the events in Mexico and their situation is devastating at every level.  As it should be. Again the author doesn’t try to sugar coat what those events cost Bo.  Forced with drug addiction again, then the pain of withdrawal, the struggle for sobriety and then to face how he felt under the influence and then after.  Winters lets this overwhelming tide of fury,pain, and remorse pour over her readers as well as Bo and Lucky.  Its effect is immediate and heartrending.

In addition to having Bo in pain, there is the trauma of killing a human being that Lucky has to deal with.  So many issues that  strike at the core of who these men think they are with the potential to shatter those images. As can be imagined the cost to Bo and Lucky’s relationship is high as well. For them to get themselves back together as a couple and as partners is struggle that we are as emotionally invested in as they are because we have seen what is has taken for them to trust each each and get to the stage that each is ready for a permanent, lasting relationship, one neither thought they would ever have.  It has taken four  books, bloodshed, and a ton of bullets and name changes!

Redemption is a more relationship/character driven story than either of the books that came before.  And while I  love those  novels, I loved this even more because it concentrated on Bo and Lucky’s relationship as  well as Lucky’s mental health.  Sometimes Lucky’s mental state gets overlooked when dealing with Bo’s frailties but not this time.  Eden Winters adds in some remarkable elements.  One, a new character named Moose.  Won’t spoil who Moose is but prepare to fall in love.  Secondly, Lucky gets a bestie.  Yes, I know Bo is Lucky’s best friend as well as lover but sometimes Lucky needs someone more and here he gets it in a character  I just plain out adore.  In fact, Rett’s so damn wonderful I could see her getting her own story and fan  following.  Rett is 6 feet of tattooed attitude magic! We’ve  seen her before but here in Redemption she snarks, sizzles, punches and comes to life in a way that makes you love her.

This story while lacking the action/suspense makes up for it in the sheer emotional heft, depth and beauty of Bo and Lucky’s slow rebuilding of themselves and their relationship to the stage they can go forward once more.  Winter’s dialog snaps and sings with the colloquialisms and thoughts that make staying in Lucky’s head such a mesmerizing journey and often so much fun.  I often find myself wanting to pull up a chair next to Delores, grab an extra cat or two and watch the goings on along with her.  These characters long ago stopped being paper beings and become people I cared about.

Then at the end, Eden Winters delivers the final cherry on top and ties up one more loose plot thread in a way that’s so satisfying, so fabulous I was quite beside myself.  The best news  yet?  There are three more books planned  for the series and the next is called Reunion!

Haven’t read any of Eden Winters Diversion series?  Don’t start here.  They need to be read in order because the relationship are slow to develop and the events follow a  specific time line.  I highly recommend them all.

Cover art by L. C. Chase.  I like this new cover.  Modern and crisp.

Sales Links:  Rocky Ridge Books |  All Romance (ARe) |  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, First
Expected publication: August 8th 2015 by Rocky Ridge Books (first published August 2015)
original titleRedemption
seriesDiversion #5

Diversion Series in the order they were written and should be read:

 

 

Cover Reveal Time for Eden Winter’s Redemption (Diversion #5) (excerpt and giveaway)

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Redemption (Diversion #5) by Eden Winters
Release Date: August 8, 2015

Goodreads Link (Add to your shelf)
Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

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Sales Links:   Amazon

(Bonus link: Check http://www.rockyridgebooks.com/334/
to get Diversion, the first book of the series, for .99!)

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Living is the easy part.

Agent Lucky Lucklighter and his partner escaped Mexico alive, only to plunge into bureaucratic fallout from their mission. Hell, maybe Lucky should have stayed south of the border. Especially when the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau places Bo into rehab, and Lucky’s facing both therapy and an inquiry into a fatal shooting. Watching over his shoulder for a vengeful drug lord or a cartel don calling in favors leaves him scarcely able to imagine a future for them as agents, or as a couple.

Bo Schollenberger once had a vision for their life together, but he’s bowed beneath the weight of his undercover work. Lucky’s hanging on by his deeply chewed fingernails, clinging to hope by making Bo’s dreams of a home into reality. The last thing he needs is a phone call from a dangerous man who knows too much, summoning him back to Mexico for “an early Christmas present.”
Not when the SNB brass asks tough questions, like “How well do you know your partner?”

Pages or Words: 73,000 words

Categories: Crime fiction, Fiction, Gay fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery, Thriller

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

“What’s your current credit rating?”

Lucky didn’t often use credit. After getting out of prison to work for Walter, he’d bought his car from a police auction for cash, and lived a low-key lifestyle. Before that, Victor Mangiardi had taken care of him. A nice way to live, but other than a car stereo in his teens, he’d never made payments on anything. And he’d been Richmond Lucklighter then. He’d only been Simon Harrison for a short time, and although he’d used credit cards to make expense reporting easier when on assignment, he paid them off every month. “I’m not sure.”

“Then let’s see.” The woman tapped on her laptop and whistled. “Mr. Harrison, I don’t think we’ll have a problem getting you the loan.”

He owed Walter one hell of a lot of those frou-frou coffee drinks from Starbucks for giving him a credit score to make a loan officer whistle.

An hour later Lucky fought to hide a grin from a woman who’d put the Energizer Bunny to shame. “Now, I’m familiar with the house you’re considering. Offer 180. Trust me.” She winked and handed him the phone.

He pulled a dog-eared card from his wallet and dialed.

“Mr. Harrison?” The Realtor didn’t sound too happy to hear from him, not that he blamed her. She’d been working hard for her commission. That’s why she got commission.

“Is that house still available? The fixer-upper in the gated neighborhood?”

“Y… yes.”

“I want to make an offer.”

Now what was he gonna tell Bo?

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Captivated young by story-telling, Eden Winters’ earliest memories include spinning tales for the family’s pets. Her dreams of writing professionally took a sojourn into non-fiction, with a twelve-year stint in technical documentation.

She began reading GLBT novels as a way to better understand the issues faced by a dear friend and fell in love with the M/M romance genre. During a discussion of a favorite book, a fellow aficionado said, “We could do this, you know.” Good-bye gears, motors, and other authors’ characters; hello plots and sex scenes.

Somewhat of a nomad, Eden has visited seven countries so far. She currently calls the southern US home, and many of her stories take place in the rural South. Having successfully raised two children, she now balances the day job with hiking, rafting, spoiling her grandchildren, and stalking the wily falafel or elusive tofu pad Thai at her favorite restaurants. Her musical tastes run from Ambient to Zydeco, and she’s a firm believer that life is better with fur kids and Harley Davidsons.
Find Eden’s other works at http://edenwinters.com or contact her at edenwinters@gmail.com

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdenWinters
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eden-Winters/300380906658065
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EdenWinters1
Blog: http://www.edenwinters.com
E-mail:edenwinters@gmail.com

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Tour Dates & Stops: August 1, 2015
Parker Williams, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, BFD Book Blog, Mikky’s World of Books, MM Good Book Reviews, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Bayou Book Junkie, The Hat Party, Jessie G. Books, The Jena Wade, Christy Loves 2 Read, Inked Rainbow Reads, Molly Lolly, TTC Books and More, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Iyana Jenna, Andrew Q. Gordon, Boy Meets Boy Reviews, Ogitchida Book Blog, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Reviews by Jessewave, Velvet Panic

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Redemption’.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Prizes and link provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
Rafflecopter Code:
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Final

Books in the Diversion Series in the order they were written and should be read for character development, and plot development (not standalone stories):

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Time to Reveal 4 New Covers for the Diversion series by Eden Winters! (excerpt and giveaway)

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Bo and Lucky Have A New Look!

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Collusion (Diversion #2) by Eden Winters
Release Date: Second edition releases June 20, 2015

Goodreads Link:
Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:  Rocky Ridge Books

Blurb:

Dead men can’t love.

Former drug trafficker Richmond “Lucky” Lucklighter “died” in the line of duty while working off a ten-year sentence in service to the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau, only to be reborn as Simon “Lucky” Harrison. The newbie he trained, former Marine Bo Schollenberger, is now his partner on (and maybe off) the job. It’s hard to tell when Lucky doesn’t understand relationships or have a clue what any sane human is doing in his bed. Bo’s nice to have around, sure, but there’s none of that picking-out-china-together crap for Lucky.

While fighting PTSD, memories of a horrid childhood, and a prescription drug addiction, Bo is paying for his mistakes. Using his pharmacy license for the good guys provides the sort of education he never got in school. Undercover with his hard-headed partner, Bo learns that not everything is as it seems in the world of pharmaceuticals.

When a prescription drug shortage jeopardizes the patients at Rosario Children’s Cancer Center, it not only pits Bo and Lucky against predatory opportunists, but also each other. How can they tell who the villains are? The bad guys don’t wear black hats, but they might wear white coats.
Pages or Words: 70,000 words

Categories: Crime Fiction, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery, Romance, Thriller

Excerpt:

For once the neighbors were fairly quiet. However, if they started their normal shit tonight, Lucky might have to kill them, or whip out the badge he kept carefully hidden in his closet, along with the golf shirt and ball cap emblazoned with the SNB logo.
A few moments later his cell phone chimed with an answer from Bo. “K. Catching cab.” Not an overwhelming response, but Lucky would take it.
He shoved dirty dishes into the dishwasher, scooped clothes off the floor and tossed them into the closet, and put a pot of water on the stove to make Bo a cup of green tea. A knock counterpointed the steady ba-boom, ba-boom starting up from the next apartment. Fucking hell! Why couldn’t the assholes be decent neighbors for one damned night? Lucky opened the door to find Bo slumped against the wall, shirt wrinkled and hair in an every-follicle-for-itself state of disarray.
“You look like warmed over shit.” Lucky held the door open, suspicions about a drug relapse igniting anew.
Bo managed a half-hearted smile. “Yeah, it’s good to see you, too.” He staggered into the apartment and collapsed onto Lucky’s couch. “God, am I ever tired.”
“Tired? What do you do every day? Sit behind a desk and talk on the phone?” Catty, yes, but after days of being ignored, Lucky wasn’t in the mood to play nice.
“I’ve been scrambling since daybreak, tracking down dead-end leads for someone who might supply us with some drugs.”
Lucky put a finger to his lips. “Shh… keep your voice down. You’ll get my crackhead neighbors excited shouting the ‘D’ word.”
Bo pinned Lucky a glassy-eyed glare. “I don’t care who’s living over there, the scary’s on this side of the wall. As I was saying, I’ve been following leads, trying to locate pharmaceuticals for the hospital.” He gave Lucky a “happy now?” face.
“What kind of leads? Any of interest?”
Bo dropped his head back to rest on padded upholstery. “We’ve been approached by seventeen different wholesalers today, not on the list I gave you, who’ve offered us stock at ridiculous prices. The first question they ask is what meds we’re having trouble getting so they can go snatch them up and sell them to us for enormous markups, the bastards. It’s against company policy to tell them anything.
“Graham called another meeting with the department heads for tomorrow. We’re putting in one more plea to let us consider a gray market broker. We’re pretty fucking desperate.”
“Graham?” And we’re?
“Mr. Danvers, the head buyer.”
Lucky had a file on Graham Danvers, such as it was. Squeaky clean with a nauseating disposition toward humanitarian awards. Apparently, he invested a good bit of time and money in local charities. Ava didn’t seem to like him. The highly vocal pharmacy tech just became Lucky’s new best friend. “Bo, remember what I told you about getting personally involved with suspects? You’ve got to remain objective.”
Bo shot to his feet. “Damn it, Lucky! Graham isn’t a suspect! He’s a pharmacy buyer, for crying out loud. Do you have to be suspicious of everybody?”
He had to ask? “Yes, I do. It’s in my job description.”
“Your job description is the same as mine. I read it, I signed it. There’s nothing in there about mandatory trust issues.” Bo added under his breath, “Or about being an asshole.”
“Hey, maybe you got a new revision. Take Keith, for example. ‘Asshole’ was definitely in his.”
Bo pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. “Lucky, I work with Graham, and trust me, he’s on the up and up.”
“Oh my God! You haven’t told him why you’re there, have you?” Shoving Bo back toward Atlanta seemed more and more likely.
Arms folded across his chest, Bo glowered, the stance and expression reminding Lucky of himself. “Do you actually believe I’m an idiot?”
Lucky opened his mouth to reply but Bo cut him off. “Don’t answer that. But remember, I graduated head of my class at pharmacy school and served my country in Afghanistan. I’m not a moron and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t treat me like one.”
After a moment Lucky ventured again, “Did you?”
“Did I what?”
“Tell him why you’re there.”
Throwing his hands up in the air, Bo stomped across the living room. “No, you suspicious son of a bitch, I didn’t. But I also believe you’re out of your mind if you consider the man a suspect.” He flopped back down on the couch with a huff.
Lucky remained standing, leaning against the bar separating the poor excuse for a kitchen from the poor excuse for a living room. He studied his partner, cataloguing the telltale signs of burnout. Tired? Check. Moody? Check. Less sociable? Double check. Some folks weren’t cut out for handling the type of shit the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau dealt with, and from day one Lucky had suspected Bo wouldn’t make it. Of course, he’d said the same about Keith and anyone else who’d stayed long enough for Lucky to learn their names.
“Are you hungry?” Lucky asked, though at the moment he didn’t have much in the way of vegetarian cuisine handy, unless he counted the makings for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
“No.” Bo stared out the window at the brick wall of the next building.
“Can I fix you some green tea?”
A weak, “That’d be nice,” barely reached Lucky’s ears.
Moseying into the kitchen and going through the motions of tea preparation allowed Lucky time to mull things over. He recognized the listlessness, the lack of greeting when he opened the door. Even to himself, he and Bo appeared to be merely coworkers right now, nothing more. Losing Bo as a lover hurt like hell, for he alone came close to understanding what made Lucky tick. Or, lacking understanding, accepted Lucky’s quirks as part and parcel, never trying to change what made Lucky “Lucky.” Bo only nudged and manipulated for the greater good, like weaning him off caffeine so he slept better. Oh, and the whole, “Tell me about yourself, Lucky” thing. Maybe Bo should have been a shrink instead of a pharmacist.
Plain and simple, the man couldn’t handle the job, though Lucky couldn’t imagine very many people dealing with sick kids and remaining unchanged. Before when the pressure reached critical levels, Bo sought comfort in alprazolam. Had he resorted to self-medicating again?
Watching a man he’d come to care about slowly slide back into the nightmare of addiction, and a possible jail sentence, was more than Lucky could bear. He’d do his damnedest, talk to Bo in a better moment, and only if he couldn’t break through would he fill Walter in.
Not tonight. If Bo allowed him to, tonight Lucky would hold him, love him one last time before doing what he had to do. Because if Lucky’s hunch proved right, Bo might never forgive him.

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About Eden Winters…

Eden Winters was captivated young by storytelling, and her earliest memories include spinning tales for the family’s pets. Her dreams of writing professionally took a sojourn into non-fiction, with a twelve-year stint in technical documentation.

She began reading GLBT novels as a way to better understand the issues faced by a dear friend and fell in love with the M/M romance genre. During a discussion of a favorite book, a fellow aficionado said, “We could do this, you know.”

Good-bye gears, motors, and other authors’ characters; hello plots and sex scenes. This has resulted in such prize-winning stories as Settling the Score, The Angel of Thirteenth Street, Naked Tails, The Wish, Duet, and Diversion.

Somewhat of a nomad, Eden has visited seven countries so far. She currently calls the southern US home, and many of her stories take place in the rural South. Having successfully raised two children, she now balances the day job with hiking, rafting, spoiling her grandchildren, and stalking the wily falafel or elusive tofu pad Thai at her favorite restaurants. Her musical tastes run from Ambient to Zydeco, and she’s a firm believer that life is better with fur kids and Harley Davidsons.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdenWinters
Facebook Author Page
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EdenWinters1

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Tour Dates & Stops: June 9, 2015
Parker Williams, Cate Ashwood, Andrew Q. Gordon, Mikky’s World of Books, Inked Rainbow Reads, Bayou Book Junkie, BFD Book Blog, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Happily Ever Chapter, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Divine Magazine, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Charley Descoteaux, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Love Bytes, MM Good Book Reviews, Dawn’s Reading Nook, The Novel Approach

Giveaway

Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotion.

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Rafflecopter Prize: E-book set, 1 each of the four currently published Diversion books: Diversion, Collusion, Corruption, and Manipulation
Rafflecopter Code:

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A MelanieM Review: Manipulation (Diversion #4) by Eden Winters

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Lucky Lucklighter has a new life. His old life wants him back.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]From the jail cell courtesy of a life of crime, complete with drug lord lover, Lucky Lucklighter surfaced with a new life,  a new name and a new career as an agent for the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau.  Now Simon “Lucky” Harrison, Lucky even has a new boyfriend and partner,Bo Schollenberger.  Bo Schollenberger arrived at the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau in much the same way as Lucky.  As a pharmaceutical chemist, Bo ended up with a drug addiction and his  illegal deeds brought him to the attention of the head of the Bureau looking for just the right  or wrong type of men for his narcotics team.

Through perseverance and charm, Bo worked his way under Lucky’s defenses and his “I-Get-Along-Fine-Alone” mindset until Lucky starts thinking the unthinkable…that they might just have a future together.

But now Bo is missing.  Their last case involved unexpected ties to bigger crime syndicates, and a voice from Lucky’s past who whispers ““Did you miss me?”

Now Lucky must figure out who is lying and who he can trust?  The voice belonged to someone he was told was dead and now seems very alive.  And there is more to Bo’s absence than people are telling Lucky.  Is Bo missing by choice or by abduction? Every clue, every trail Lucky follows leads him back to the drug Corruption and the syndicate flooding the US markets full of this dangerously addictive drug.   With temptation all around, what won’t Lucky do to find the man he loves and bring him safely home?

Eden Winter’s Diversion series captured my heart from the moment I met Lucky Lucklighter and Bo Schollenberger in Diversion (Diversion #1).  I love complicated wounded men and here were two that not only fell into that category but did so in a way I had never seen before.  There are so many layers to these men.  Lucky’s background is a patchwork of hot cars, adrenaline rushes, and poor choices that led from boosting cars for drag racing to major involvement with a crime lord as employee and lover.  Lucky is  highly intelligent, walled off, and confident, while still leaving space in his heart for his sister, her children, and finally Bo.

Bo Schollenberger. Where to start?  Each book reveals more complications and dimensions to this already convoluted personality.  At first glance and meeting, Bo came across as extremely affable and gentle, a victim of his addiction and circumstances.  A far cry from Lucky and his unrepentant outlook who when given a choice between continuing life behind bars or freedom as an agent chose freedom.  Certainly a choice made from expediency instead of a need to “do right”.  But nothing is as it seems, and the more that Lucky (and the reader) got to know Bo,  the more we realized that Bo has depths and pain to him and his past then he was ready to reveal or deal with.

Oh the joy of discovery.  Each new story and case has uncovered new insights into each man and their past.  Bo and Lucky’s interpersonal dynamics has deepened and expanded along with their relationship.  It’s hot, sexy, at times tender and rough.  You never know from moment to moment what to expect when they get together.  And to their chagrin and our delight, neither do they.  Uncertainty, hesitation, an emotional neediness…all that is new to Lucky and it has contributed to his inability to commit to just about anything.  I love it when a reader can’t predict what the main characters will do in any given situation.  It keeps us on the edge of our seats as the plot swivels and swoops through dangerous highs and deceptively deadly lows.  This is a E Ticket ride in every way.

Eden Winters has also chosen a highly unusual subject and law enforcement agency, in this case the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau,  as the foundation for this series and as professions for Lucky and Bo.  Think hard, how many series and books are developed around pharmaceutical corporations, over/under the counter drugs, and the criminals associated with the shipping and stocking of known medications?  I can only think of one.  Eden Winter’s Diversion series.  That aspect of  this series has been an eye-opener about the giant pharmaceutical corporations, and not in a good way.  More than once it has sent me running to research different elements that have popped up during Lucky and Bo’s cases, ones that left this reader thinking about new issues far into the night.  This series world building is as quirky, complex, and believable as the characters living out their messy lives within it.  I obsess over the characters relationships, the plots, the surprises and then go back and start them over again to see what clues and secrets I missed out the first reading.  And then wait for the next book to arrive.

This story contains quite a few stunning revelations, more layers of deception than ever before and angst by the boatload.  Once started I couldn’t put it down until it was finished…right around 2:45am.  And could I sleep after that? Uh no. Manipulation contains shocks that will shake the foundations of Lucky, and Bo, and even Walter their boss.  Where there had been certainty, now is left nothing but fog and questions.  The narrative is concisely told, the tension and suspense increasingly exponentially until the plot feels as tightly wound as a coiled spring.  It explodes with all the dangerous impact one might expect and the ramifications will still be unfolding right into the  next book in the series, Redemption (which is being written now).

Each year a book from this series has found its way,  deservedly so, onto the Best of lists for Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words and others.  This year is no different.  Manipulation will be high on my Best of 2014 lists, just as I expect Redemption to be there on the list for 2015.  All are highly recommended and Must Reads that should be on everyone’s TBR stack of stories.

If you haven’t discovered this series yet, please, please, don’t start here.  The pleasures and joys that come from the character growth and relationship dynamics is best enjoyed if you start at the beginning and Lucky and Bo’s first meeting in Diversion.  I have a list for you below.  Make it your check list of stories to read. Eden Winters is a remarkable author, and the creator of Lucky and Bo is certain to find her way onto your automatic buy list if she is not there already.

Tag this story and series one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Highly Recommended Must Reads!  Happy Reading!

Cover artist: L.C. Chase.  Terrific cover perfect for the character and story inside.

Sales Links:  Rocky Ridge Books     All Romance (ARe)         amazon           buy it here

Book Details:

ebook,
First Published November 1st 2014 by Rocky Ridge Books
seriesDiversion #4

Books in the Diversion series in the order they were written and should be read:

Diversion (Diversion, #1)
Collusion (Diversion #2)
Corruption (Diversion #3)
Manipulation (Diversion, #4)
Redemption (Diversion, #5) coming in 2015

Review: Corruption (Diversion #3) by Eden Winters

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Corruption coverSNB Agent Simon “Lucky” Harrison has had many lives and just as many names. He started life and entered criminal life as Richmond “Lucky” Lucklighter.  He exited life that way too when it  became necessary to fake his death as a part of a pharmaceutical drug operation that turned ugly and ended up with Lucky “fatally” injured in the hospital.  Now Simon “Lucky” Harrison is a successful agent at the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau.  He is still recovering from his leg injury he incurred during the last drug bust when a new illegal drug operation comes to light.  When a young business woman dies on a dance floor from an overdose of bath salts, she is but the first of many.  The SNB clues lead to a local motorcycle gang and Lucky thinks he is the one most likely to be chosen to go undercover.  But his bosses have another idea.  They choose Bo, Lucky’s partner and love, although he would be the last to admit it.

Former Marine Bo Schollenberger, now SNB Agent Bo Schollenberger has turned his new career into a huge success.   Now his bosses at the    SNB want him to impersonate someone else. Someone named Cyrus Cooper, a bad ass drug dealing biker, a total opposite from the real Bo.  Bo has been taking  classes in undercover work and excelling at adopting various personas to everyones amazement.  But Bo is hiding a secret about his chameleon-like ability, one that just might get him killed or at least lose the man he loves, Lucky Harrison.

Soon Bo is deep undercover and becoming a man Lucky would never recognize.  Brutal, ruthless and deadly, Bo settles things with his fists or a gun and soon rises to the top of the organization.  When another agent dies, Bo needs another man to be his backup and guess who arrives?  But has Lucky arrived too late to save Bo?

With the third book in the Diversion series, Corruption by Eden Winters finds the two main characters at a crossroads in both their careers and their relationship.  In the last outing, we watched as Lucky finally realized that he loved Bo but he had  problems vocalizing his need as well as his love, while Bo was able to tell Lucky he loved him.  That emotional change and uneven state of affairs brought about new issues for Lucky, a man unsure of his position and ability to give Bo what he needs, including a stable relationship and a home.  Bo also  seemed to realize the many challenges ahead if he wanted Lucky in his life.  Corruption begins with both men questioning the relationship and their ability to go forward with a future together.

I love the complexities that Eden Winters continues to build into this series as well as her main characters.  In each new book, she adds new layers and textures to their relationship while revealing more of the depths to each man’s character and past.  Lucky has to be one of the most unusual main characters in  recent m/m romance or any romance for that matter.  A former drug lord’s boy toy and thief, he now works for the same agency that put him away.  But Lucky’s past is only as far away as the next emotional crisis of which there are many these days.  As Walter, his boss and father figure, presses Lucky to take on new responsibilities within the agency, Lucky fights to keep everything the same in his life, both his career and his romance with Bo.  Lucky likes the stasis he had achieved with Bo and his job at the SNB and any change throws Lucky off guard, bringing up old and new insecurities as well as painful instances from his past life.  Bo is pressing for changes as well.  Bo wants a commitment and not just a verbal one. He wants a very specific physical acknowledgement that they are on the same mental and emotional page with each other and Lucky is reluctant to give Bo what he wants.

As the story is told from Lucky’s pov, the reader has an intimate knowledge of Lucky’s thoughts and feelings as Bo presses for more than Lucky is able to give him at the moment.  We understand that Lucky can’t figure out why he is having problems moving forward while knowing exactly what is behind  Lucky’s refusal to change his relationship with Bo because Eden Winters has crafted a man whose motives are elusive only to himself and not those around him.   Equal in complexity to Lucky is the character of Bo Schollenberger.  His depths are still forthcoming as is the pain he continues to carry around with him from his past.  Bo’s position within the SNB has been changing with each book.  Bo has been steadily acquiring new skills and respect within the agency to Lucky’s consternation and pride.  One issue Bo has had in the past has been his emotional involvement with the people he has met undercover and this new case will test everything about Bo, from his character to his ability to continue to work for the SNB.

When Bo goes undercover as Cyrus Cooper, Winters creates yet another fully realized character, only this persona lays overtop a character we already know and love.  Cyrus Cooper is Bo’s complete opposite and yet he is Cyrus Cooper, a fact that not only the reader has to recognize but Lucky as well.  This is quite an achievement by Eden Winter.  She gives us two completely real yet opposing characters inhabiting the same body and makes us believe in both of them.  And then she elevates this aspect of the story by having Lucky relate in different ways to Bo and Cyrus, changing his approach to each man emotionally and sexually.

And as if all this is not enough, Winters throws in multiple plot threads, a charismatic and scary motorcycle gang lord, and a drug bust that ends in a shocking revelation that changes everything for Lucky, Bo, Walter and the SNB.  It is a bit of a cliffhanger and still this is an incredibly satisfying book.

Eden Winters introduced us to the regulations and corporate structures of the pharmaceutical industry and made them seem as foreign and obtuse as any business that has been twisted for criminal means.  It has been a real revelation and a remarkable foundation for this romance action series or whatever you want to label it.  I find myself hesitating, not wanting to put the  limitations of a label on such a unique and revelatory series and cast of characters.  I only know that I want and need more of them and the dubious path that Winters has laid out before them.  It’s an amazing journey and I know you will want to be here with me every step of the way.

If you are new to the series, don’t start here.  Go back to Diversion and start at the beginning of this marvelous series.  Here are the books in the Diversion series in the order they were written and should be read:

Diversion (Diversion #1)
Collusion (Diversion #2)
Corruption (Diversion #3)

Book Details:

ebook, First, 195 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Rocky Ridge Books
edition languageEnglish
url http://rockyridgebooks.com/2013/10/01/corruption/
series: Diversion #3