A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Outside the Lines (Bluewater Bay #22) by Anna Zabo

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

I’m a huge fan of the Bluewater Bay MM romance series so I was surprised to see a female on the cover of this one.  I love MM and I’m not a fan of adding in an F to that mix, but as it turned out, I need not have worried, since this is principally about Simon and Ian, and Lydia only plays a minor role in one sexual situation.    

Secondary characters, including recurring Bluewater Bay characters like Carter and Levi and Hunter and Kevyan and the new characters who helped in Simon’s store, Dexy and Jesse, were all amazing and well-developed. I particularly enjoyed the visit by previous characters! Most of all, I loved the storyline and the brilliant execution of a polyamory relationship involving a woman and two men, with the romance and love between the two men taking the forefront, while keeping both men’s love and friendship for the woman realistic and not detracting at all from the love between the men.

Before I read this I would have said it couldn’t be done, but I was so wrong. Simon and Ian took one look at each other and they were lost in lust.  Ian was psyched because he’d found an off-site location where he could rebuild the miniature set he was working on for Wolf’s Landing—and not only a perfect location but a perfect (and perfectly stunning!) man to help with the project. Simon, the owner of End o’ Earth, sells and paints models and miniatures. Watching him do the superlative work on a model when they first meet and seeing that gorgeous face and stunning body—what more could Ian ask for in the perfect specimen of manhood?  Well, being unmarried would have been ideal, but Simon is not. 

Finding out Simon and Lydia have a polyamory marriage is shocking but it allows the men to be together guilt-free and once Ian gets past the novelty of a lovely, friendly woman not only allowing her husband to have sex with him, but encouraging it?  It seems too good to be true. 

As time goes by and they learn more each other, Ian and Lydia become friends, and their mutual respect and admiration transcends the romantic relationship developing between Ian and Simon, allowing Ian and Lydia to grow to love one another as well—in a completely different way, of course.  But nevertheless, they do eventually find that love is the only word they can use to describe the unique relationship they foster. 

I really appreciated the way the author took the time to build this story. The dynamic between the men together, and between each of them individually with Lydia, and then the full threesome together was fantastic.  The story was sizzling hot, but it was also tender and loving and compassionate, showing the love of a man and woman, a man and man, and one friend for another.  It was just superbly done.  I’m totally impressed, and I highly recommend it to lovers of MM romance. 

For those who don’t like F in their MM, don’t worry—lady parts aren’t included.  At it’s core, the story really is a beautiful romance between Ian and Simon and told in alternating POVs so we get to experience all the emotion—from angst to love.

One more thing: I picked this up because I’ve read all the books in the Bluewater Bay series and I didn’t want to miss one, even though I was worried it was MMF.  As I state in my review, that’s really not a concern here.  And it most certainly can be read as a standalone despite the fact that a few characters from previous books are included in this one.  Not knowing them should not detract from one’s enjoyment of this story so please don’t miss a chance to read this gem.      

The colorful cover features all three characters, beautifully drawn by gifted artist L.C. Chase.  Lydia stands facing her husband, Simon, and his boyfriend, Ian.  It nicely represents the trio who make up this interesting story.

Sales Links Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 260 pages
Published December 18th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626496521
Series Bluewater Bay #22

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Sin and Saint (Executioners #4) by J.M. Dabney

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Eric and Ellison Gant better known as Sin and Saint were opposite sides of the same coin. They epitomized the nicknames given to them by their friends in the band Executioners. One thing Sin and Saint did well was fight and being inseparable means they have a lot of disagreements, but one thing they agree on is Sheriff Camden Pelter was theirs. The older, stoic man didn’t agree, yet they were determined to change his mind.

Camden Pelter had the daunting job of turning the Powers Sheriff Department around. The residents of the Georgia town didn’t have much faith or respect in the Deputies serving them. That’s where he came in and he was determined to do his job. That was easier said than done with two annoying brothers Sin and Saint who dogged his every step. No way in hell was he getting mixed up in the chaos that were the Gant Twins. Now if only if he could get them to listen and realize they didn’t have a chance of changing his mind.

Since the first mention of Camden Pelter and the twins, I (and tons of other fans of J.M. Dabney) have been waiting for this book.  Through story after story, Sin and Saint (Eric and Ellison Gant) have been chasing the older, gorgeous Sheriff of Powers, Georgia only to be rebuffed time and again.  Still, we knew that Camden would eventually come to the realization that the twins were his and we’d get that story.

And it would be full of sizzle and probably some kink.

However, I wasn’t expecting some terrific suspense scenes, high action, and some real twists to come our way as well.  Sin & Saint (Executioners #4) by J.M. Dabney delivers with a pack, a punch, and a high note on every level as the last story in the Executioners series.

For one thing, we now get up close to the twins.  The author delivers more nuanced characterizations with Eric (Sin) and Ellison (Saint), two who may look identical to those who don’t know them but who’s differences extend from the emotional to physical variations that have had an huge impact on one of them.  Past histories too that have done the same.  Camden Pelter comes in for close inspection in every way as well, from his background and local familial ties to his sexuality…his need to dominate and take care of those he loves.

Then all three men are pulled gently together to form a loving triad quite unlike any of the triads already in existence in the connected series.  It’s a slow, hot pace that should leaving you with a need for a fan.

However, Sin and Saint is not just about romance but also the need to tie up some loose ends with regard to the last corrupt  Sheriff and his organization.  In comes the high action, suspense, and some great twists in the narrative that I just adored.  Truly I love it when my expectations are overturned and the plot takes a turn I didn’t expect all of which happened here.

It ends as it should and I was hopelessly overjoyed and looking forward to the beginning of the new  series.  That would be the Trenton Security series, although I’m not yet sure that’s the name.  It will involve the guys in the Trenton group that we’ve meet before and were heavily involved here in this story.  And yes, I can’t wait!

So another great series, Executioners comes to an end with Sin & Saint but what an ending it was!  A great storyline, a long anticipated romance and triad coupling (can that be with three), and just some wonderful writing that drove this narrative crazily along to an ending that was exactly what I hoped for.   All that and more is why I’m highly recommending this story  and all the books in the Executioners series by J.M. Dabney.

If you haven’t met her glorious bunch of huge, damaged, sometimes violent men and the ones that love them, there’s no better series to start with that this one.  But now you have three series to read before the fourth series start, grab them all up and get reading! I have the list below for you all to check out.

Cover by Winterheart Designs:  I love this cover.  That’s  Sin and Saint personified.  Just perfection.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Edition Language English
setting Georgia (United States) 

A Lila Review: Waiting for You (Lifesworn #1) by Megan Derr

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Shanna has spent her whole life waiting—waiting to be old enough, waiting for the day she must pick a consort, waiting for a chance to finally overcome her despicable stepfather… and waiting for someone to finally banish the loneliness that comes with being a queen-in-waiting one step away from being murdered.

On the eve of the two-week event during which she must pick a consort from a bevy of suitors, two strangers arrive claiming to have been invited—though she knows full well they did not receive any such invitation. But the handsome, mischievous Prince Kallaar is too intriguing to resist, and his quiet bodyguard too compelling to ignore…

But she’s learned the hard way never to let anyone get too close, and on the verge of gaining true independence her stepfather will stop at nothing to see she never gets it.

Waiting For You is an interesting take on triad stories in a fantasy setting.  Between this and the fairy tale-like plot, it almost felt as a fae poly troupe. It starts directly into the action and we get to meet Shanna and learned about her life up to that moment. At the same time, we are introduced to other relevant characters in the story.

As with other stories by this author, the main characters’ sexuality is not an issue. In their world, they have a sort of implicit bisexuality that it’s natural and accepted. Which opens the door to a diverse group of consort prospects for Shanna. They come, by invitation, to take part of the two-week festivities and we learned enough about the candidates, their lands, and how they all would benefit from a marriage alliance—including the uninvited prince and his bodyguard.

I enjoyed the story, but the world-build and the characters’ connection wasn’t strong enough to carry the plot forward. It is a good introduction to the series and it’s probably going to get better in the next books, but at the moment is hard to see how they would work as a triad in the future. We will have to wait and see.

The cover by Natasha Snow is pretty, but similar to other covers by the artist. It has a fantasy feel but could be used for other genres as well.

Sale Links: NineStar | AmazonNook

ebook, 173 pages
Published: June 5, 2017, NineStar Press
ISBN: 9781947139169
Edition Language: English

Series: Lifesworn
Book #1: Waiting For You

Review: Retribution (Triple Threat #2) by L.E. Harner

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Triple Threat Retribution coverWhen Archer Wilde gave Zachary, his husband of 15 years, a submissive named Jeremiah for a year, he never anticipated the fallout that was to come.  Both Archer and Zachary are Master Doms, and only within their relationship, does Zachary take a submissive posture.  So Archer thought a  submissive of his own would make Zachary happy.  But the reality was exactly the opposite and it threatens to destroy their happy and balanced loving relationship of 15 years, one they have worked hard to achieve.

Submissive Jeremiah has a signed contract and nothing else.  He had hoped to find a loving home and a Master Dom to teach him the ways of the lifestyle he needs in order to be whole.  Instead he finds a household in discord because of his presence and the very real possibility that he will be asked to leave before he even is given a chance to prove himself.

Jeremiah’s predicament leads him to make a disastrous decision.  He calls on an abusive Dom who has a grudge against Archer and Zachary to train him. When Jeremiah disappears, Archer and Zachary race against time before the damage inflicted upon their boy is too deep to undo.  This time, their retribution is personal.

What an astonishing book and series!  With every new development, the characters and their relationships just get more layered with an authentically human  feel to them.  Retribution picks up exactly where Triple Threat left off.  Zachary and Archer have retired to their bedroom ostensibly to talk about Jeremiah but instead they proceed to have white hot sex. Sex that will both reassure them of their love and reestablish a connection that Archer almost broke with his unwanted gift of Jeremiah to Zachary.  That Jeremiah is not exactly welcome is now obvious to Archer’s dismay.   Harner’s characterizations are perfection.  We can see Archer Wilde making this error in judgement because he so rarely doubts his own brilliance that he thinks he knows what is best for all around him.  Plus Archer has made that all too human mistake of forgetting just who his partner is because the years together has lulled them into complacency.

As with Archer, Zachary too is a beautifully realized portrait of a man stunned by his lover’s actions.  It shakes him to his core and not just because he didn’t see it coming.  It turns out that a  past trauma involving a prior submissive of Zachary’s have left Zach scarred and unable to make that commitment again.  All of these mens flaws come to the surface with one bad decision and the one to pay is Jeremiah.

L.E. Harner certainly knows how to build the suspense into a plot.  When Jeremiah disappears, the reader immediately knows something awful has occured. But what had happened and where was Jeremiah?  The answers to those questions are guaranteed to raise the reader’s anxiety, making us despair for Jeremiah’s safety.   Harner’s narrative threatens danger at every curve and a certainty that violence is lurking near the end.  I loved every minute of Retribution.  And that includes the ending.

The characters here have issues to settle amongst themselves,  and by the end of this story, Archer, Zach and Jeremiah are on their ways to resolving some of them.  But not all.  And those unresolved issues will be carried into the following stories.   This aspect of the series continues to give these characters and their relationship a very human feel.  I have always felt that it is a human being’s flaws, not their perfections, that help to connect them with their fellow beings.  And that is as true in fiction as it is in real life.  L.E. Harner recognizes that fact and builds it into her stories and people.

So go and pick up this story and make a commitment to this remarkable series.  But make sure you start at the beginning story, Triple Threat, and work your way through as these are not stand alone tales and need to be read in the order they were written.  For those of you who hesitate when seeing that elements of bdsm (D/s relationships) and threesomes are present,  don’t let this stop you with this series.  It works, it feels real, and you will come to love the men involved just as I do.

Books in the Triple Threat series to date are:

Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1)
Retribution  (Triple Threat #2)
Defiance (Triple Threat #3)
Crucify (Triple Threat #4)

Book Details:

ebook
Published April 1st 2013 by Hot Corner Press
ISBN13 9781937252489
edition language English
series Triple Threat

Review: Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1) by L. E. Harner

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Triple Threat #1Private investigators and partners of over 14 years, Zachary>>>>> and Archer Wilde have been happy together or at least Zachary thought so.  Both were well known Master Doms when they met all those years ago, and it took Archer every bit of three years to woo Zachary and get him to submit.  From there on, they were inseparable, as lovers and owners of one of the most popular and exclusive BDSM clubs.  Then they sold the club, settling into a life of semi retirement as partners of a discreet recovery business with Archer taking only those cases that interested him and leaving Zachary’s life as a Dom in the past.  But all that is about to change….

Archer is finding that their successful recover business is taking up too much of Zachary’s time, so Archer buys a personal assistant for Zachary,  the submissive Jeremiah,  thinking that will make his lover happy.  It doesn’t.   With their delicate balance upset, the men must still investigate the case of the missing insurance millions while trying to deal with each other and the addition of a third.   Can the three men pull together to become a triple threat or will Jeremiah tear Zachary and Archer apart for good?

Triple Threat and its series are a part of the Pulp Friction offerings from authors Havan Fellows, L.E. Harner, Lee Brazil and T.A. Webb that feature a loose circle of friends and acquaintances. And as with the other series, Triple Threat is turning out to be just as terrific and substantial an offering as the rest of the stories.

It also marks a sort of departure for me as m/m/m and D/s are not the normal stories I reach out for when looking for reading material.  But L.E. Harner does a remarkable job in not only creating characters one can relate to, she also makes the D/s BDSM lifestyle accessible and understandable to those unfamiliar with that life choice and sexual kink.  I can honestly say that I enjoyed the relationships that develop within the story as well as those that were already established and I think others will too. The ease with which I connected with these characters and their situation is  due primary to the wonderful writing style and character creations of L.E. Harner.

First, the characters.  The pov is that of Zachary, Master Dom and submissive lover of Archer Wilde, a wealthy, brilliant man who also happens to be a Master Dom as well.  Zachary’s voice is everything I have come to expect of the narrators in the Pulp Friction series.  It is the wry, self depreciating, older voice of a man who has seen and done it all and come out the other side surprisingly content. At least that is the man we meet at the start of the story.  A man whose continued calm, happy lifestyle is about to be upended.  I love Zachary.  As with all the characters found within, he is a man of many layers. Here is our first taste of Zachary and Archer:

“Margaret Blackwell,” I murmured as I led the impeccably clad young woman into the bright morning light of the glass ceilinged solarium. A small gasp escaped her lips as the tall, powerfully built man stood from the table where we’d been sharing a leisurely breakfast minutes before. He unfolded himself into his full height, and she sighed. I understood her sentiment completely.

“Miss Blackwell, may I present Archer Wilde.”

They met in the middle of the solarium, and Archer politely shook the limply proffered hand.

“Please, have a seat. Can Zachary bring you anything? Coffee? Hot tea?”

“No, thank you.” Margaret sat at the edge of the chair, her back ramrod straight and ankles demurely crossed. My, my. Someone attended cotillion as a teen.

“Zachary? Won’t you sit and join us?” Archer’s eyes sparkled with mischief and I couldn’t resist smiling back.

“No, thank you Archer, I think I’ll stand this morning.” We shared a look, then he turned his attention to his guest.

“How may I help you, Miss Blackwell?”

“I want you to find my husband, Mr. Wilde.”

“I see. I’m afraid there’s been some misunderstanding. I…we…”—he inclined his head to include me—“don’t take on missing persons cases. Those are best handled by the proper authorities.”

“I’m afraid that’s impossible. Nona Wilkerson says you are exactly what I need.”

“Ahh…the delightful Miss Wilkerson. You intrigue me. Is your husband in some sort of trouble?”

“My husband is dead, Mr. Wilde.”

Huh. That was a new one.

Just from that scene alone we understand not only who Zachary is but get a glimpse into their relationship as well.  Zachary is the rough to Archer’s refinement and it works perfectly for them both.  At least until now.

Just when we think we know who Zachary is, Harner surprises us with more information about his past that makes the reader reevaluate everything they thought they knew about the man and his motives. The twists and turns here are fabulous.  That Zachary is both a Master Dom and a submissive would be contradictory except that he is only submissive for Archer.  That fact is the key to understanding why Archer would upset the balance the two men have worked so hard to achieve for years.  That plus the fact that Archer’s brilliance doesn’t always means he’s correct in his assumptions.  Like every other character, Archer is full of flaws, he is human and therefore, will make more than his share of mistakes, especially in his relationship with Zachary.

Then Jeremiah arrives on the scene to Archer’s glee and Zachary’s dismay. This is a neat touch.  It upsets an established couple of 15 years.  It shows that Archer had not completely thought through his actions and makes Zachary deal with an aspect of his past he had pushed away. But of all the characters I had to work harder to understand Jeremiah.  A submissive mindset is not one that I can relate to so Jeremiah took time to connect with.   But again, Harner let’s us close to Jeremiah and his needs that it soon becomes clear that this is part of Jeremiah’s nature and he needs it to be whole.  I like that we also see that Jeremiah is also young, highly intelligent and naive in some respects.  It makes his submissive nature easier to connect with, especially as he becomes the third in an already established relationship.

The case of the missing insurance money also turned out to be more finely layered than I had anticipated.   It turned out to involve someone from both Zachary and Archer’s past.  It’s another terrific aspect of this story and the series as it has implications down the line for them all.

Are there scenes of BDSM? Yes and they are well done but not as explicit as you might think. So those of you are uncomfortable with the D/s element will still be able to enjoy the story.  Same goes for the m/m/m aspect as well.  It works here and you will come to care for all  of these men, not just Zachary and Archer.   Wick Templeton and Chance Dumont, or at least the Chances Are bar makes appearances.  You will be as happy to see them as I was.   Plus we get a few more details as to Wick’s background that we wouldn’t have otherwise.

Triple Threat is the wonderful start to a great series.  It surprised me and drew me right in.  I think it will do the same for you.  All the stories in this series and the Pulp Friction group are short in length but large in characterization and plot.  Pick it up now, and settle in for a wonderful read.

Cover art by Laura E. Harner.  It’s delicious and perfect for the book and series.

Book Details:

ebook, 1
Published January 31st 2013 by Hot Corner Press (first published January 13th 2013)
ISBN13 9781937252366
edition language English
series Triple Threat