Guest · New Release · Release Blitz

Guest: Beth Bolden – ‘Rough Contact’

Hi,

Alongside fake relationships, my favourite trope is forbidden romance. How I wish that stories set in so many sports didn’t fall into it. 😔 Unless p’raps they were brothers…

Neil Fisher & Jamie Wright may not be siblings, but sadly, their story is still forbidden in their world. A very warm welcome to my guest Beth Bolden with her new release Rough Contact.🥰

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Rough Contact

Author: Beth Bolden

Publisher: Beth Bolden Books

Cover Artist: Angsty G Book Cover and Media Design

Release Date: October 14, 2020

Genre/s: Gay sports romance, forbidden romance, age gap romance

Heat Rating:  4 flames   

Length: 93 000 words

It is a standalone story.

Goodreads 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited


Universal Link | Amazon US | Amazon UK


Their romance is forbidden. Their love is a secret. 

They’re the Romeo and Juliet of football.


Blurb

Neal Fisher knows heartbreak. It’s the clock ticking down in the Super Bowl. It’s missing the most important field goal of his life. It’s losing everything: his thirteen year career as an NFL kicker, his future, and his pride.

Jamie Wright knows love. It’s everything on the line as the crowd holds their breath. It’s a perfect kick as the ball soars through the goal posts. It’s NFL fame and glory laid out before him.

Neal is on his way out, and Jamie–if he can withstand the pressure of tryouts–is on his way in. The one person Jamie should avoid is the veteran kicker, and the last thing Neal wants is to sink Jamie’s chances. But a chance meeting and a wild and undeniable chemistry proves to be irresistible.

Neal thought he knew heartbreak. Jamie thought he knew love. 

They were both wrong.

Their romance is forbidden. Their love is a secret. 

But if they trust each other, maybe their growing relationship won’t end in tragedy. It might even be the beginning of football’s greatest love story.


Excerpt

It felt surreal to be surrounded by so many people he’d only watched on TV. There was Bran Phillips, the famous center for the Riptide, just over there, a small girl balanced on his shoulders, and they were both laughing. Rashad Green, the best running back in the league, was sitting on a chaise lounge, sipping something fruity and frozen from a plastic margarita glass. And then there was Heath, making sure he got something to eat, and introducing him to everyone who they met. “The new kicker,” Heath said several times, even though it was hardly like he’d won the job. But then Heath would know that better than anyone, because he was on the coaching staff and he knew how many kickers they’d brought in to try out. But every single time he said it, Jamie felt like giving an addendum of not quite yet, but maybe, hopefully? If everything works out.

But Jamie didn’t, because even though Heath was more relaxed than Jamie had ever seen him, he was still Heath Harris, and he contained so much goddamn confident certainty that after meeting most of the people at the party, it was hard not to think of himself as the Riptide’s new kicker.

You’re getting ahead of yourself; you still gotta make it happen, he reminded himself. Tomorrow is the day you’re gonna have to prove yourself, again. And then you’re gonna have to do it over and over again, and then probably a couple hundred more times, for good measure.

Maybe then Coach R and Coach Toby might be satisfied.

He was sitting on the edge of the pool when suddenly he felt a body drop down next to him. He was half-expecting it to be Heath or maybe even Sam—which was surreal because he’d never imagined he’d be in the kind of position to be sought out by either of those guys—but then when he glanced over, he nearly fell into the pool.

It was Neal Fisher, and he was just in a pair of navy blue trunks, with little green palm trees scattered across the fabric. He was pale, like he’d spent too long inside this summer, but he was still undeniably handsome, his green eyes glowing in his gorgeous face, offset by his dark hair. It fell into his eyes a bit, probably because it needed a trim.

Jamie’s hands tightened on the edge of the pool and he prayed he didn’t make a fucking fool out of himself. He was just meeting his idol, that was all, and a guy he’d probably spent way too much time fantasizing about over the years.

Do not tell him you’ve jerked off to him about a thousand times. Do not even think about it.

“Hey,” Neal said casually. So casually that Jamie had a feeling that he didn’t know who Jamie really was. “You told me to come find you.” He smiled then, and though it was only a shadow of his former smile, which Jamie was embarrassed to admit he was intimately familiar enough with to tell the difference, it was still a smile. He poked Jamie in the shoulder. “Found you.”


About the Author 

A lifelong Oregonian, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband and their sweet kitten, Earl Grey. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published twenty novels and six novellas.


Author Links

Blog/Website | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub



Giveaway  

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Guest · Release Blitz

Guest: Nell Iris – Regaining Trust

Hi,

A very warm welcome to my guest, the wonderful Nell Iris, with her new novella Regaining Trust… 💚

 

RELEASE BLITZ

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Book Title: Regaining Trust

Author: Nell Iris

Publisher: JMS Books

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Release Date: September 30, 2020

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope: Second chances

Themes: Established couple, infidelity, learning to trust again

Heat Rating:  3 flames

Length:  31 306 words

It is a standalone story.

Goodreads 

Buy Links

JMS Books  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

Kobo  |  Apple books  |  B&N  |  Google Play 

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Can trust once broken be rebuilt?

Blurb

When workaholic Lawrence Weller walks in on the aftermath of his fiancé Frankie cheating on him, his world shatters. Frankie’s the love of his life, the only person he’s ever trusted, and the betrayal leaves him devastated.

Franklin Ennis makes a huge mistake he regrets deeply before it’s even over. He pleads for a second chance, willing to do whatever it takes to save their relationship.

A love that deep doesn’t just stop, so Lawrence agrees to try. But mistakes don’t happen in a vacuum. Are they both willing to own up to their part? Will their love be enough to repair what was crushed? Can trust once broken be rebuilt?

Excerpt

You never told me you were lonely,” I say.

“I did!” His protest is loud and takes some of the defeat from his body. “I’ve told you a thousand times. How I miss you when you’re always working late and wish we could do more stuff together.”

I knit my eyebrows together, trying to think back and remember. He’s right. He always hugs me tightly and tells me how much he’ll miss me when he knows I’ll work late. Or how he wishes we could do something together, even if it’s only watching a show while cuddling on the couch.

”I thought that was your way of showing me how you feel about me. You being sweet and caring. Not once did I think it meant ‘I’m so fucking lonely I’ll suck someone else’s dick.’ Was it even your first time?” The question is a pained scream, hurting my throat, my head, my soul. I don’t like yelling, so I take a deep breath and start counting to ten in my head to calm down, but I’m interrupted before even reaching three.

“Of course, it was the first time,” he roars. “I’m not a cheater.”

His words are a thundercrack in an otherwise dead silent apartment, and I rear back, scramble off the couch, and turn to leave.

“No. Please.” He’s pleading now, voice cracked and bleeding out on the floor. “Please don’t leave me, Lawrence. I’ll do anything. I love you so much, don’t leave me.”

I’m frozen on the spot. Undecided. The hurt, overly-dramatic part of me wants to storm off in a huff, throw some stuff in a bag, and retreat somewhere to lick my wounds, and rage and scream and curse the treachery, while wailing out my broken heart. But the other, more rational part of me won’t let me move, the part that still remembers how much I love him, still remembers his loving kisses, his devotion. His passion.

So I sink back down on the couch. Rub my palms over my face and swallow. “I don’t know what to do here, Frankie. I’m hurt and betrayed, but at the same time I just can’t turn off my feelings for you. But how can I be with you if I can’t trust you?”

“You can trust me. You can.” He’s so sincere, so heartfelt, leaning forward — hands twitching so he shoves them between his knees — begging, willing me to believe him. And I want to. I really do.

“How?”

“I’ve never done anything like this before, never kissed anyone, hardly ever looked at anyone like that. It was a huge mistake and I regret it. So, so much. I know I can’t prove it, but I was going to tell you. That’s what I was worried about when you walked in. How I would tell you. How you’d react. If you’d hate me.”

I must look skeptical because he hurries to continue. “I know. It’s easy to say when there’s no way of proving intent. But I’m not a liar. You know I’m not.”

“Do I?” I push out the question around the lump in my throat.

He slides to his knees on the floor in front of me, sits back on his heels, and tries to catch my gaze. I give in to his silent pleas and meet his eyes.

“You know me, Lawrence. You know you do. You know what kind of person I am. I’m only human and make mistakes like everyone. This one was huge and more stupid than most, I know that. I’m not perfect, but I’m not a liar. I’m not disloyal. And I own my mistakes.” His face is open. He blinks away tears, but his gaze never falters. His hands rest on his knees, palms open and turned up, and everything about him invites me to see the honesty in his heart.

And maybe I can see it. The slight tremble of his hand and the pulse fluttering visibly in his neck betrays his anxiousness, but he doesn’t move. Doesn’t squirm or fidget, doesn’t look away from me. Nothing indicates that he’s lying.

There’s no way he’s that skilled a liar. He’s always been open and honest and prone to blurting his emotions as soon as he experiences them. That thought deflates me and I fall back against the couch.

“Yeah, I know. I believe you.” And I do. At least my head knows. I’m not sure about my heart. Or my gut, rather.

His eyes well up and a tremble racks his body, but it’s the sight of his wobbly chin that finally cracks me. I hold out my hand, unable to not touch him anymore. “Come here.”

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About the Author

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies’ room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook Author Page  |  Facebook Profile

Twitter: @nellirisauthor  |  Instagram: @nell_iris  |  Goodreads

QueeRomance Ink   |  BookBub

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Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

your choice of ebook from Nell’s backlist (5 winners)

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Guest · Release Blitz

Guest: DJ Jamison – Faking A Groom

Hiya,

I’m hoping to return this week, but in the meantime… to get it off to a great start…

A warm welcome my guest DJ Jamison with her new release, the irresistibly titled ‘Faking A Groom’

RELEASE BLITZ

 Faking A Groom

Author and Publisher: DJ Jamison

Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh at Black Jazz Design

Release Date: September 24, 2020

Genre Contemporary M/M Romance 

Trope/s: Fake relationship, second chance,

lingerie/femme clothes exploration

Heat Rating:  5 flames    

Length: 103 000 words

It is the third book in the Marital Bliss series but can read as a standalone.

Goodreads


Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK 


Can two men fake an engagement for the greater good?


Blurb

Avery Kinkaid has been bowing to his father’s will far too long. But when his dad supports anti-LGBT legislation, he’s had enough. Sen. Kinkaid says things would be different if Avery had a fiancé in the wings. Well, fine: He’ll just have to get one.

Rory Fisher is an activist with a heart of gold and nerves of steel. He’s not afraid to call Avery on his bullshit, and that’s why Avery knows Rory is the perfect fake fiancé to help him take a stand. If he still feels a little too much for his ex, well, he can shove that down and suck it up to beat his dad at his own game.

Until Rory encourages his most hidden desires. Until he makes Avery feel stronger, braver, and freer than he’s ever been.

Loving Rory is easy, but Avery’s father won’t just sit back and let them have their happily ever after. They will have to fight: for their love, for justice, for a future together.

This is one power struggle they can’t afford to lose
.


Excerpt 

Avery knew that Gil wanted him to tell his father he was coming out, in no uncertain terms. He didn’t understand the manipulative powers Drake Kinkaid possessed. Or maybe he did, now that he worked for him. Avery had never been able to out-argue his father. Each time he tried, he found himself carefully repositioned, as if a piece on a chess board, until he was agreeing to his father’s terms.

“I don’t know what do,” Avery said. “I’ve tried to be patient, but he always talks me out of coming out. I think I’ve got my mind made up, and he somehow convinces me to keep waiting. I hate that I’m so damn weak.”

“Don’t be so hard on yourself. Your dad is a politician. He persuades people for a living.”

“He’s always got a loophole,” Avery grumbled. “Like today. He said, it’d be different if—”

He stopped short, eyes locked on a man who walked past their table toward the bathrooms. Something about the shape of him and the way he moved—long legs, slim hips, smooth stride—reminded him of Rory.

He couldn’t see his face, but his hair was the right color. It was gathered in a knot at his neck instead of loose, so it was tough to gauge exact length, but damn, that ass. Was it possible to recognize a guy by his ass?

“Avery?”

He blinked and looked back toward Gil. “Hmm?”

“You were saying that your father said it’d be different if…?”

“Oh.” He cleared his throat, trying to shake the vision of Rory and the niggling feeling that he should go talk to him. It felt significant that he was here tonight, if he was here. Avery wouldn’t put it past himself to imagine things. Rory had been on his mind a lot since the gala.

“My father said it’d be different if I was engaged. That he’d support me then.” His gaze drifted back to the bathrooms, watching as Rory emerged. He was sure it was him now. He’d recognize those sharp features anywhere. Heart thumping, he asked Gil, “Do you think he means that?”

“Maybe,” Gil said, though he sounded dubious. “I don’t know.”

Avery rapped the table with his knuckles. “Right. He could be bluffing. There’s only one way to find out.”

“And that is…”

Avery took a big swallow of his beer. Then grinned at Gil. “Guess I have to get engaged.”

“Wait, what?”

Avery nodded. “You keep telling me to do something. Well, you’re right. I have to call my father’s bluff.”

“Oh, Avery, I don’t know…”

“I’ve got the perfect person in mind to help me.”

“Uh…who is that?”

“Rory Fisher.”

Rory, the guy who left you because you wouldn’t leave the closet? How is he the right—”

“Because he’s here,” Avery said, feeling euphoric as intoxication, years of regret and longing, and a desire to break free all coalesced into the best idea ever. “It’s fate, man. It’s like the universe is telling me to make my father put his money where his mouth is. He’s always got a reason, an excuse, a loophole. Well this time, I’ve got the loophole, and I’m going to take it.”

“By getting engaged,” Gil said disbelievingly. “To a man who dumped you.”

Avery laughed. “Crazy, right?”

“Yes,” Gil said emphatically.

“Good.” Avery shoved back his chair. “Because I’ve tried sane and respectful and calm. It’s time for a little crazy. It’s time for drastic action.”

“Yeah, but Avery…”

He held up a finger. “Hold that thought. I have to go propose to the man who got away.


About the Author 

DJ Jamison is the author of more than twenty m/m romances. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors’ books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, one snake, and a sadistic cat named Birdie.


Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Facebook Group  |   Twitter: @dj_jamison_ 

Instagram  |   Newsletter Sign-up  |   KoFi for bonus content


Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win your choice of the Marital Bliss series in ebook (or audiobook if available) and a $10 US Amazon gift card

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Guest · New Release · Release Blitz

Guest: Release Blitz – Evan J. Corbin

Hiya,

I haven’t broken anything for a few days, so I’ll have a bash at writing the last part of My Way over the weekend. 😁 I’m truly sorry for the delay. In the meantime, I’d like to welcome my guest, Evan J. Corbin. I found the title of his new release far too irresistible to pass up…

RELEASE BLITZ

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Book TitleAtonement Camp for Unrepentant Homophobes

Author: Evan J. Corbin

Publisher: Atonement Book, LLC

Cover Artist: The Book Cover Whisperer

Release Date: September 3, 2020 for the print book and September 17, 2020 for the eBook.

Genre/s: Contemporary LGBTQ Fiction; Speculative Fiction; Humour

Trope/s: Fish-out of water comedy

Themes: Coming out, cultural assimilation

Heat Rating:  2 flames

Length:  70 600 words/ 283 pages

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited and Paperback

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

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Atonement Camp.

Pastor Harris is only going to save his career.

But while he doesn’t want to be there, a change of heart may be just what he needs…

Blurb

The oldest translation of a Gospel is returned to the world by a secret society long dedicated to its preservation.  In it, Jesus explicitly condemns bigotry and homophobia. In a new world in which LGBTQ passengers receive preferential boarding for flights and the United States has elected its first lesbian President, Pastor Rick Harris is stalwart, closeted preacher who doggedly holds onto his increasingly unpopular convictions.

When an incendiary sermon goes too far and offends an influential family, Rick makes a painful choice to keep his job:  He attends an atonement camp run by drag queens for society’s most unrepentant and terminally incurable homophobes.

Atonement Camp is immersion therapy for Pastor Harris, and it might be working. An open bar with pedicures, a devastatingly attractive roommate and an endless supply of glitter help him manage to make new friends. Soon, Rick and his cohorts learn the camp may hold its own secrets.  Amid the smiling faces and scantily clad pool boys who staff the camp, a clandestine group plots to discredit the New Revelation and everything it stands for.

If Rick has the conviction to confront his own hypocrisy, he might be able to uncover the conspirators with help from his adopted flock—and find new truths within himself.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Northern Syria

It was just after sunrise. The call to prayer from the nearby city’s rooftop loudspeakers receded as Dr. Michael Donahue’s driver left a familiar road for the makeshift trails that led deep into the desert. One faith bridged to the next, he thought. Before long, he wouldn’t need the light jacket, but he wore it anyway. It was a mysterious quest, and he tugged the jacket tight around his chest.

The jeep bounced over the rough terrain as Dr. Donahue carefully poured hot water from his thermos over his yerba mate leaves. His second mate would be less bitter than the first. Each time he made a fresh tea, the leaves lost more of their bitterness to the boiling water. The same leaves could be used again and again any given morning. It reminded him of his profession. Archeology was the sober study of the forgotten—people who lived, laughed, suffered, and died, their history diluted by each passing year. Dr. Donahue was determined to learn as much as he needed to reanimate their past with subtle detail, adding context to what would otherwise be merely more than a list of dates and details for his undergraduates to memorize before a test.

As promised, a man stood by the still-empty dig site. He was dressed in a Western style—no keffiyeh or other head dressing. With short sleeves and rugged boots, his attire was more practical than fashionable. Dr. Donahue always appreciated utility and function above much else. He acknowledged that his estimation of the man’s credibility was thus-far unearned, but he nonetheless felt more comfortable in the company of the familiar.

The site had been Dr. Donahue’s home for most of the past year. His team would return after Ramadan. Dr. Donahue’s research specialization centered almost primarily around the early Christian era. He took a certain guilty pleasure in casually admitting his atheism each semester to the newest crop of freshman at his university in Washington, D.C. Like all things, he saw it as a learning opportunity. One is not excused from understanding something just because they don’t agree with it, he’d remind them. The site itself was an early Christian refuge under the Roman Empire. Forgotten by time, but now rediscovered. Painstakingly, he and his team would uncover artifacts and consider what stories they told about the people who made them. Dust from the jeep’s tires made a gritty fog that enveloped the air. Dr. Donahue squinted, his eyes already dry. He coughed and plodded through the sand to the man silently awaiting his arrival.

“Dr. Donahue.” The professor extended his hand to the stranger.

The man took his hand and smiled. “Thank you for coming. Your research associate mentioned your name last year when he worked with us, and we immediately knew we needed to meet with you.”

Dr. Donahue fanned the remaining traces of the sand from his face. “We?”

The man flashed a half smile. “Consider us like yourself, Professor. Archeologists.”

“I would assume, but that doesn’t answer my question.”

The man chuckled. “By the end of the day, I expect that to change. Come. Follow me,” he beckoned.

Still confused, the professor followed the man down the makeshift stairs to the dig site.

“We’re not certain where it was found,” the man said, waving his arm over the site, “but this is likely close and as good a spot as any.”

“What, exactly, was found?”

The man frowned. “Technically, it was never lost. Let me be more precise. This is where it will be rediscovered.”

The professor felt his frustration growing. “What, and by whom?”

The man turned to face the professor, still smiling. “The oldest copy of the Gospel of Mark ever discovered. I’m what we refer to as a Custodian—a group of people committed to protecting this draft as we have done for more generations than our history may account for.”

The professor’s jaw dropped. He looked for answers in the man’s eyes to questions he could not manage to formulate.

“Every truth has its season, professor,” the man said, lowering himself to sit next on an empty crate near an assortment of digging tools. “This region has been plagued with war. We fear that if the artifact is not returned to the world now, it may never be.”

If his research associate hadn’t already vouched so strongly for the meeting, the professor was certain he would have already left the madman in another cloud of obscuring sand. Instead he asked: “Why have you kept it in the first place?”

“It contains a passage not found in any modern text. What’s the American expression? ‘One man’s waste is another man’s treasure’? That’s how our forefathers saw it. They saw something worthy of protection until the world was ready for the message. That time is now.”

Dr. Donahue smiled. His birthday was the following week, and the realization that his research associate might have set this up as an elaborate practical joke began to seem like the most likely explanation. It wouldn’t be out of character for him, he thought.

“So, where is it?” he asked, playing along.

The man pointed to a black chest. Taking the bait, Dr. Donahue carefully lifted the lid, expecting some puppet to pop out and exclaim “Happy Birthday!” Instead, the heavy lid creaked open to reveal a scroll bound in plastic and wound over on itself. His smile faded. Even without the aid of his radiocarbon dating equipment, he could tell the document was old. Very, very old.

***

About the Author

Evan is a member of the LGBTQ community who fancies himself as a playboy socialite, living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Between work and lucid moments of sobriety, he writes a little.  His debut novel is a light-hearted work that still manages to confront religious hypocrisy and contemporary LGBTQ struggles to balance their loss of culture with new-found civil rights.  His friends say the book is great!  Hopefully, you will as well.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |   Instagram: @atonementbook  | Newsletter Sign-up

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Guest · Reviews

Guest: Brenda Murphy

Hi…I hope you’ve had a great weekend.

I’m sorry I’ve been so tardy in completing My Way. It will be on its way as soon as I feel better, but I’ve been a bit blighted by injuries of late. All of which have left me in no fit state to give Mac & Joe a fitting ending. On the plus side? The list of things I can’t do have freed me up to do one of the things I love best of all. I read more novels last week than I have for months; authors both new-to-me and firm favourites.

I’d love to share a few of those with you but first and foremost… I’d like to welcome an author from the latter category and celebrate her 2020 Goldie Award for Erotica and the release of her latest novel: On The Square.

My special guest and most beloved f/f author…the brilliant Brenda Murphy.

On The Square by Brenda Murphy

Series: University Square, Book One

Heat Level: 3

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 64400

Website: http://blog.writingwhiledistracted.com/

💜💜💜💜💜

Blurb

Dropped from her television show after a very public split with her cheating ex, celebrity chef Mai Li wants nothing more than to reopen her parents’ shuttered restaurant and make a fresh start in her former hometown. So what if twenty years of neglect has left the building in need of a major renovation?

Seduced by Mai’s charm and determination, hard-edged contractor Dale Miller agrees to take on her renovation project.

After a spring storm causes significant damage to the building and renovation costs exceed Mai’s budget, Dale offers her a deal, but is it a price Mai is willing to pay?

My Review

There is but one way to begin this review. A cards on the dinner table declaration: I loved this novel.

Loved it like Haagen Dazs Pralines ‘n’ Cream with hot fudge sauce and nutty sprinkles. Warm walnut shortbread. Freshly baked bread. Whiskers on kittens. Those are a few of my favourite things…another? This story.

As the blurb covers the plot, I’ll focus on a few more favourites instead:

1. The characters. Always my clincher. The plot doesn’t matter to me as much as people it revolves around…but this book is a buffet of both. A feast of treats; beautifully written with fantastic characters. I adored Mai. Loved her. She’s as hot as hell and as passionate in her beliefs as she is in the bedroom. The sort of woman who would rather surrender everything than the courage of her convictions. Who loves harder than she’s had to be, in order to survive. I’d marry her in a heartbeat. This woman can cook. She’s feisty and fabulous and has dress sense t’die for. I may be a meeny mite in love with her.

2. Dale is the perfect foil for Mai. The sparks that fly at their first meeting set up the story and the start of their relationship wonderfully well. The sexual tension sizzles as fabulously as a flambé. I very much enjoyed the fact that Dale – the lushly curved, femme character – was more dominant than Mai. How I love a tenderhearted butch, but they are oft so few and far between in fiction; where sass takes precedence and attitude is all. I like my badasses with a soft centre. Mai’s is cherry brandy. Rich and luscious with a kirsch kick. Irresistible.

3. Life has been harsh to our heroines. When we meet them they are badly bruised, without being embittered. Dale has been betrayed and her finances decimated by her last long-term lover. Mai has forever suffered a double dollop of discrimination; for being both visibly butch and mixed race. I adored that she not only expressed her anger when treated despicably, but stood up for herself in shovelfuls. Not only that, she took Dale to task for failing to understand the fury she had every right to feel, and did so while retaining her dignity. She was magnificent in her rage, an utter goddess. I loved this woman. I may have mentioned that.

4. This tale has so many more treats to bring to the table. It was splendidly seasoned by the delightful duo of Noah and Eli; Dale’s son and father. Noah is a gem, the story is enriched by his very presence. I adored that Mai was able to connect with him in addition to drawing him out through their mutual love of cookery. He was a joy to spend time with, as was Eli – a fabulous old cove with Cpt. Jack plaits in his beard who tells it like it is – in that wondrous way older folks delight in doing so well.

While Brenda’s writing is always as emotionally rich as it is erotic, it was a real treat to have the former brought to the forefront in On The Square. I relished this more romantic story telling; it was Bailey’s Irish Cream after Tequila Slammers. Both delicious but serving the senses with their own distinct charms.

As hitherto mentioned, Ms Murphy is an award winning writer of erotica. She has always crafted fascinating women as diverse as they are deserving of the happy ever afters she gifts them. In this – the first novel in her new University Square Series – she proves that her characters can whip up a family soufflé as superlatively as they wielded a whip.

💜💜💜💜💜

AMAZON US: https://www.amazon.com/Square-University-Book-ebook/dp/B08FR64BTY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=P8C6I8W5OXRQ&dchild=1&keywords=on+the+square+by+brenda+murphy&qid=1600036471&s=digital-text&sprefix=on+the+squ%2Cdigital-text%2C310&sr=1-1

AMAZON UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Square-University-Book-ebook/dp/B08FR64BTY/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=On+the+Square&qid=1599979054&s=books&sr=1-1&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21

Guest · New Release · Release Blitz

Guest: Remember My Name by Laurencia Hoffman

Hi🥰

A warm welcome to my guest, Laurencia Hoffman with her new release ‘Remember My Name’.

I’ve been reading a lot of thrillers and suspense novels of late; an added dash of mm romance proved irresistible.😻

RELEASE BLITZ

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Book Title: Remember My Name

Author: Laurencia Hoffman

Publisher: Encompass Ink

Cover Artist: The Illustrated Author Design Services

Release Date: September 4, 2020

Genre/s: M/M Romantic Suspense

Trope/s: Second Chance, Soul Mates, Exes to Lovers, Dark Secret Keeps Them Apart

Themes: Love, Survival, Death, Injustice

Heat Rating: 1 flame

Length: 58 582 words

It is a standalone story.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon  US  |  Amazon UK 

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Suffer in silence or live to regret it.

Blurb

Dark and twisted secrets mar Shane Coulter’s skin, and darken his fragile heart. Yet he keeps his nightmarish truth hidden from all those he holds dear with a smart mouth and abrasive attitude.

His first love, Callan Reid, refuses to accept Shane’s tough exterior. Convinced something truly horrific lurks beneath Shane’s defenses, Callan vows to uncover the truth.

But some things are better left buried. As darkness from the past threatens to be brought to light, there are those who would kill to prevent it. Can Callan break down Shane’s walls? Or will digging into the past come with deadly consequences?

Excerpt

Heaving an exasperated sigh, he stood in the waiting area and listened to the cheesy music. It was just like Troy to be late, leaving Shane to fend for himself in a crowded and uncomfortable area. If they weren’t best friends, he’d be getting a lot of shit for it.

He kept checking his phone, trying to appear busy since some of the patrons were shooting him looks. Shane didn’t own just-in-case clothes, so he didn’t have anything appropriate to wear to a restaurant like this. If he had known, he would have borrowed something from Troy.

Shane didn’t care how he looked most of the time. It wasn’t that he was lazy or didn’t try, but he didn’t care to carter to the judgments of other people. His comfort was the most important thing to him.

His eyes flicked upward to settle on a familiar face. He would have sworn that his eyes were playing tricks on him, yet, when he blinked and returned his gaze to the tall, handsome blond, he was still there.

The blond was laughing and patting one of his friends on the back. Shane didn’t recognize the people he was with.

For a moment, he was frozen. This seemed like a dream, a nightmare, or a hallucination – anything but reality.

And then those sparkling blue hues spotted him, and the blond’s face turned white as a ghost.

“Shane,” he whispered.

Lifting his chin, he looked the man up and down as if he had only just noticed him. “The one and only. How long have you been back, shithead?”

The man’s cheeks flushed pink and he excused himself from his group of friends. As he took a step closer to Shane, Shane took a step back.

“Just a couple of weeks. I’m here for work.”

“Of course you are. I’m not sentimental enough to think that you’d be here for me.” Running his tongue along the front of his teeth, Shane folded his arms.

The older man swallowed hard. “Do you think we could talk outside?”

“Oh, sure. Wouldn’t want your friends to think I ever meant something to you, right?”

The blond gave him a stern look. “That’s not fair.”

Heaving a sigh, he obliged the man by exiting the restaurant and standing to the side of the entrance.

“What the fuck do you want to talk about, Callan? How you broke my heart, and abandoned me, forever tainting my view of love?”

“Did I really?” With a sigh, Callan shook his head. “I thought you might have forgotten me by now.”

“Unfortunately for the both of us, I didn’t.” He wanted to say so much more, like how the six months they had spent together had changed his life in good ways and bad. But he didn’t want to give Callan the satisfaction of knowing just how deeply he’d been affected by their time together. “What’s with the entourage?”

His features brightened, happy with the change in subject. “They’re my colleagues, actually. I’m sure you remember my love of photography.”

“How could I forget?”

“Well, I’m dabbling in journalism now. And I’m able to provide my own pictures.”

“Good for you.” He wanted to grumble something about how he’d never doubted Callan, but thought better of it. “What are you working on?”

“Just a piece about some of my favorite places.” He paused. “I could include you if you want.”

Shane’s first instinct was to say yes. Callan had been his first – and only – adult relationship. At the time, he had been convinced that he would never need anything more, that Callan was the one and only person for him. And when that had fallen apart, he’d been devastated. Did he want to open himself up to the possibility of being hurt like that again?

“Why, because I’m one of your favorite places?”

“Well, of course.”

He rolled his eyes. “A person can’t be a place.”

“They can be if that person is home.”

Shane’s nostrils flared, furious that he had the audacity to say something like that after the way they’d left things. “I don’t think so, Cal. Maybe if we were strangers…”

“Why can’t we be?” he asked in a hushed tone.

“You want a clean slate?”

It was something to consider. In their six months together, Shane had managed to keep all of his secrets, including his health. He had fallen hard, and fast, and he didn’t want that to happen again. If they were even going to consider speaking to one another, it needed to be on his terms.

“Okay. If we’re going to play that game, it’ll be by my rules.” When Callan didn’t protest, he went on. “I’ll text you a time and a place and we’ll meet for the first time all over again.”

Callan smiled. “I’m looking forward to it.”

“Are you now?” Shane lifted the cell phone in his hand. “Things have changed since the last time we saw each other. I’vechanged. And you’re going to be treated just like anyone else.”

He furrowed his brow before nodding. “Okay…are you going to tell me what that means?”

“I guess you’ll find out. Or maybe not. Is your number still the same?”

“Yes. Do you remember it?”

“Of course I remember it, you idiot.”

After checking to make sure there was no oncoming traffic, Shane walked through the parking lot, waving his hand in the air.

“Good luck!”

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About the Author

Laurencia Hoffman is the author of several novels and novellas and co-author of The Wages of Sin series. She specializes in horror but loves to dabble in other genres including fantasy and romance.

When she’s not writing, she also enjoys making her own line of natural products, satisfying her sweet tooth, and watching films.

Author Links

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Newsletter Sign-up  |   Pinterest

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Blog Tour · Guest · Interview

Guest Post: Abstract Love by Sara Dobie Bauer

Hiya,

Today, I’m delighted to welcome my guest, Sara Dobie Bauer with her new novel, Abstract Love. The moment I saw its cover I was hooked. I’m so looking forward to reading Sam & Donovan’s story. 

Special thanks to Sara for being kind enough to be interviewed too. I couldn’t agree with her more about what makes a great story…and very much suspect Abstract Love will prove itself a portrait of exactly that.

 

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Abstract Love

Author: Sara Dobie Bauer

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date: September 4, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary MM romance

Trope/s: enemies-to-lovers, age gap, co-workers, office romance,

bisexuality, businessmen, artists, bondage, comedy

Themes: sexual awakening

Possible triggers: depression, suicidal ideations, biphobia

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 71 000 words

It is a standalone book.

Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

I hate Sam Shelby. So why do I want to kiss him?

 

 

Blurb

 

 

Sam never expected to move back to Cleveland.

Donovan never expected to be attracted to a man.

Well, shit happens.

After high school, Sam Shelby moved to New York. Eight years later, he returns to Cleveland and lands a job at the best ad firm in town. It would be the perfect gig, if his boss weren’t such an ass.

After his wife leaves, Donovan Cooper questions everything. The arrival of a young, arrogant, gifted graphic designer at Donovan’s firm is the last straw.

Tempers flare over office gossip, and following a nasty argument and scathing kiss, Donovan flails away from heterosexuality while Sam struggles to keep his “no relationship” rule intact.

Despite ugly socks, fiery fights, and their best intentions to not fall in love, these bullheaded coworkers can’t deny their chemistry. Donovan seeks happiness while Sam seeks success, but is there room for more?  

💙

 

Interview with Sara

 

Do you use images to develop your character’s looks?

Oh, for sure! I ROUGHLY base my characters on actors I love. In Abstract Love, for instance, Donovan is Daniel Craig and Sam is Timothee Chalamet. (Yes, the characters are ROUGHLY based on these men, but Sam’s fashion choices are actual outfits Timothee has worn in real life, for better or worse.) In the past, I’ve used Benedict Cumberbatch, Alexander Skarsgard, Armie Hammer, Tilda Swinton, and more.

Are your characters based on people you know?

Not usually, but in the case of Abstract Love, yes. Monica is very much based on my beautiful friend Keri.They have the same hair, tattoos, glasses, and style. They’re both sassy, smart, confident women. I love women who stand out amongst the masses and embrace their identities without fear. That’s Keri.

Do you use your experiences in your books?

I’d say I use my feelings more than my experiences. As a theater minor in college, I used to channel my emotions into my performance on stage, and I’ve transferred that catharsis into my writing. So, nope, you’re not going to see anything autobiographical here, but the emotions—heartbreak, joy, fear—come from a place that is very, very real.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Nope.

What do you think makes a good story?

Strong, complex, believable characters with chemistry. The plot doesn’t much matter to me if I’m spending time with characters I love. Especially characters with a great sense of humor. I have a weak spot for snarky protagonists. 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Energize. More than anything else in my life. Except maybe sex. (My mom isn’t going to read this, right?)

What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?

I released Handsome Death in April through Carnation Books. Due to the pandemic, we weren’t sure what kind of sales we might get. The night of the book’s release, my publisher messaged me freaking out. She couldn’t believe the sales numbers. We broke that publishing house’s record that night. I couldn’t sleep. I was so pumped, I stayed up, watched Clue, and drank absinthe. It was such a dark time for me and for the world; Handsome Death’s book birthday was an unexpected bright spot.

What do your friends and family think about you being a writer?

They think it’s awesome … but don’t really understand what it means to be “a writer.” (My hubby is an engineer, so it’s the same when he talks about work. Since his words don’t make sense, I just focus on how hot he is.) My friends and family celebrate new releases and read my books, but my day-to-day existence is a great mystery of the universe to most people. I like it that way.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Bartend and practice yoga to stay healthy and sane. Oh, and I read. So much reading. 

Do you like music or silence when your write?

SILENCE IS GOLDEN.

Thank you.

 

💙

 

ABSTRACT LOVE 2

Excerpt

Donovan sifted through a few hand-drawn logos on the desk and froze when he found a crudely drawn sketch of himself. Sam must have done it during a meeting at some point, capturing Donovan’s faux hawk, wide jaw, and severe expression.

Jesus, was this what other people saw when they looked at him? Did he really look so miserable?

“Make yourself at home?” Donovan dropped the picture and stood straight at the sound of Sam’s voice. He leaned against the doorframe, with one ankle crossed over the other.

“It’s really bullshit when people say that, you know?” Sam said. “Make yourself at home. No one actually wants their friends to take off their pants, drink all their beer, and binge The Great British Bake Off.” He paused. “What are you doing in my office?”

“I didn’t mean to snoop.”

The office door closed as he stepped inside. “Sure you did, or you wouldn’t be in here, so what’s up?”

Sam circled the desk, so Donovan circled the other way, although he noticed it was true what coworkers said: Sam did smell good—like clean laundry and cedar.

“I think we started off on the wrong foot.” Sam snort laughed and flipped through some files on his desk.

“More like wrong continent, man.” When he found what he was looking for, he tapped the file’s corner against his palm. “I can handle guys like you, you know.” Donovan shifted back on his heels.

“Guys like me?”

“Hmm. Corporate assholes. All you see are dollar signs. You take no pleasure in your work. Advertising is money to you, not art, but without the artists, there wouldn’t be advertising, so…”

He sucked his cheeks into his mouth, a momentary fish face.

Donovan wanted to tell him it wasn’t true. Donovan loved art. He used to love art.

Sam continued, “I know I look like a six-foot-two Disney princess, but you’re not gonna rattle me.” To prove his point, Sam got right up in Donovan’s personal space until Donovan took a step back. Again, he was not used to dealing with someone his own height. “And I’m right about the Great Lakes ad campaign. If you’d pull your head out of your ass, maybe you’d notice.” He turned away abruptly.

“Sam.”

“What?”

“I’m sorry.” Ouch, that hurt coming out.

Sam’s rebuttal: “Prove it.”

“Excuse me?” He rested a hand on the desk and cocked his hip out—the very picture of young attitude.

“Listen to me in meetings.”

“I was listening.”

“Nope.” He shook his head and ran a hand through his unkempt, unprofessional hair. “No, you were hearing. I need you to listen. There’s a difference. And I know I’m just some fucking kid to you, but I ruled the New York City advertising scene. I know what I’m doing, Donovan, so let me do it.”

“Fine.” He’d had enough. He’d apologized, okay, so he’d done his Monica-enforced duty. He didn’t owe Sam anything else.

He didn’t run for the door, but he definitely moved with speed.  

 

💙

 

About the Author

Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, and mental health / LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. She lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film.

 

 

Author Links

Blog/Website | Facebook | Private Facebook Group

Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter Sign-up | Freebies

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts, interviews, and reviews here

 

💙

 

Guest · Release Blitz

Guest & Review: The Lucky Cat by L M Somerton

Hi,  

Today I’d like to welcome my guest, L M Somerton with her wonderful new release ‘The Lucky Cat’. I was fortunate ’nuff to read a preview copy and have included my thoughts below…

 

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The Lucky Cat

Author: L M Somerton

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Cover Artist: Louisa Maggio

Release Date:  September 1, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, thriller/suspense, light BDSM

Heat Rating:  4 flames    

Length: 60 343 words/ 241 pages

It is the first book in a new series.

Goodreads

 

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Buy Links

First for Romance  |  Pride Publishing 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Antiques and ammunition do not mix well.

Blurb

 

The antique trade is not known for its life or death excitement and Landry Carran is happy that he has to contend only with furniture polish, woodworm and his irascible boss. He gets all the thrills he needs at his favorite BDSM club, Scorch.

Detective Gage Roskam is hunting stolen jewels taken from a Tokyo exhibition then shipped to Seattle. Mired in a deadly race involving the Yakuza, an enigmatic Englishman and too many indecipherable clues, he doesn’t have time to indulge in Dominant fantasies.

When their worlds collide, neither Landry nor Gage expects things to get quite as complicated—or dangerous—as they do. When Landry steps into the path of some powerful, ruthless people, it’s up to Gage to protect him. Along the way they might just discover what they both need.

 

INSTAGRAM

Review

The Lucky Cat is a delightful story, witty and warm with a twist in its tale. It has an atmosphere that evokes a 1960’s crime caper; pairing a kooky hero(ine) with a gruff alpha male along the lines of Charade. Landry and Gage may well have been Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant reimagined; their banter was one of my favourite things. The antiques shop itself was the other, depicted so wonderfully well I could almost smell the beeswax.  

Landry’s inner-dialogue is a treat to read and I adored his observations and tongue-in-cheek takes on the other characters along the way. The antiques shop setting lends this story a charm as unique as Landry’s own. I adored the store and the foibles of its owner—the irascible Mr Lao—described with such incorrigible aplomb by Landry that his boss felt very present, despite the fact he wasn’t.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, the unfolding of the plot is p’raps more important than the solving of it. As the key to unlocking this story’s secrets is telegraphed from the start, I doubt that a reader will remain in the dark until its denouement. That said, discerning its location didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book one bit. It was spending time with the characters that made this story hum along so well, rather than the cogs clicking into place aspect of it.

I’ve promised myself that my reviews will be honest, so I must confess two things:

1) My only quibble is something very specific to me. My catnip is intensity, so I suspect you could read this novel and wonder what I’m waffling on about. Nevertheless, it is the maple syrup that tickles my taste buds, so I feel its absence keenly. If only the intensity had been ratcheted up a tad—the passion made more passionate, the peril more perilous, etc—I would have given The Lucky Cat a five star review. My own proclivities aside, if you prefer a great caper to indulging your egregious emotions in a feel-fest,  I highly recommend this story.

2) I am not the best judge of intensity levels. My base camp is the summit of Everest. If you’d rather embark upon an enjoyable adventure with great characters, this Lucky Cat will make an excellent addition to your collection.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

***

Excerpt 

Sometimes there were advantages to being vertically challenged. Landry, his ass sticking out from under a seventeenth-century folding card table, paused to contemplate other occasions when his five-feet-six-inch stature had been of benefit. Not when attempting to get served at his favorite leather bar, though getting squished between all those black-clad hunks was always bearable. He snorted. Not when reaching for his preferred brand of chips at the market, which were always on the top shelf. Put there, he was sure, by the snotty assistant manager as revenge for Landry turning down his offer of a quick blow job in the staff restroom. As if. Never at family meals when he got to sit between his older twin brothers like a blond munchkin between two extras from Vikings. He reversed, wiggling his back end to avoid a willow-patterned platter balancing on a brass coal scuttle. His knees ached and he’d banged his elbow on a cast-iron fireguard, but he had rescued the battered cannonball making an escape attempt beneath teetering piles of stock.

“Well, there’s a pretty sight.”

“Hey!” Landry went for indignant rather than flattered. He tried to get up too soon and banged his head on solid, woodworm-free oak. “Fuck me!” He finally made it to open air and scrambled to his feet, rubbing his already messy hair into further disarray.

“Is that a request?”

Landry looked up…and up…into a pair of twinkling pale-blue eyes. The customer, because that was who Landry guessed the newcomer must be, was drop-dead, my-ass-is-yours gorgeous and he was grinning. Well, smirking.

“Funny man. What can I help you with, sir?” Landry gritted his teeth and remembered that Mr. Lao, his boss, would swat him like a bug if he snarked at a potential patron. Though, on this occasion, it might be worth it to mess with the man.

“Another leading question.”

Landry rolled his eyes. Black hair, blue eyes and a stubbled, chiseled chin did not equate to a free pass. “The massage parlor is three doors down, just before St. Peter’s. You can get a full-body whatever then confess all in the space of an hour.” He made an ineffective attempt to brush dust from the knees of his ripped black jeans. Blue Eyes reached into his jacket and produced a wallet, which he opened to display a Seattle PD badge and ID card.

“Gage Roskam. Is your boss around?”

Landry was more turned on than intimidated by the badge. Cop plus handcuffs equaled sexy time. Every cop he’d ever met had had a ‘don’t fuck with me’ attitude and a natural bent for control—just the type of man Landry liked to mess with. He batted his lashes. “And what makes you think I’m not the boss?”

“You’re not a sixty-eight-year-old Chinese guy by the name of Jian Lao?”

“Very observant, Officer. All that training paid off.” Landry put an extra bit of swing into his hips as he walked toward the cash desk at the rear of the shop.

“Putting your tax dollars to work, brat.”

“Hey! Aren’t you supposed to call me sir, what with you being a public servant and all?”

“In your dreams, and you should show more respect for law enforcement.”

“Gonna make me?”

“You’re lucky I’m on duty or I’d bend you over the nearest flat surface and give you the spanking you’re begging for.”

 

About the Author 

Lucinda lives in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. She started writing to fill time between jobs and is now firmly and unashamedly addicted.

She loves the English weather, especially the rain, and adores a thunderstorm. She loves good food, warm company and a crackling fire. She’s fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and her stories contain some subtle (and some not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM.

 

BLURB

Social Media Links

Pride Publishing Page  |   Blog/Website and newsletter sign-up   

Facebook  |  Twitter   |  Pinterest    |   Amazon Author Page

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Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

 

Guest · New Release · Release Blitz

Guest: Now or Never by Helena Stone

Hi…

A warm welcome to my special guest, the very lovely Helena Stone with her new novel ‘Now or Never’. 💜

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Now or Never

Author: Helena Stone

Publisher: Helena Stone

Cover Artist: Emmy Ellis

Release Date: August 23

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Hurt Comfort, Older Virgin, Distant (not quite enemies) to lovers

Themes Self acceptance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: approx. 69 000 words/ 192 pages

It is part of a series but can be read alone.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

When the past intrudes, can two lost souls forge a future together?

Blurb

Karl’s carefully erected walls are crumbling. Giving up sex and relationships made perfect sense when he was eighteen. For a decade, he poured all his time and effort into his flourishing career. Doubts crept in the first time Karl met Leo and now, after two years of avoiding him, Karl is in charge of training Leo.

Leo loves his life in The Blowhole. Entertaining the guests during explicit shows under Roger’s guidance meets Leo’s needs and keeps his demons at bay. When Roger leaves, Leo’s job expands but he’s assigned to work with Karl, the General Manager who appears to detest him, and Leo’s anxiety blossoms. It wouldn’t be so bad if Leo hadn’t been attracted to Karl from the first moment he saw him.

Two men. A truck-load of insecurities and an attraction that can’t be denied. When the full horror of Leo’s past comes to light, will their fledgling connection be strong enough to weather the storm?

Now or Never_Out Now_Insta

Excerpt

Karl approached the table, put the white ball on its spot, bent his large frame forward, and took his shot. Karl’s cue action was so powerful, the colored balls parted as if a fuse had been lit underneath them. Leo fully expected at least a few of them to disappear into the pockets, but much to his surprise, none went down.

“Your turn.” Karl stepped back from the table.

“I’m spoiled for choice.” Leo grinned as he got in position for his first shot. He picked his ball, pulled back his cue arm and gently rolled the red ball into the pocket behind it.

A few minutes later, after he’d pocketed all the solid colors as well as the winning black eight-ball, Leo straightened and turned to Karl, unable to keep himself from smirking.

“Fair enough.” Karl laughed. “That’s my arse well and truly handed to me.” He approached the table, gathered the balls and set them up for the next game. “No more Mister Nice Guy.”

It took all Leo had not to spray his mouth full of Bacardi and Coke across the room. Until recently ‘Mister Nice Guy’ would have been the last words he’d have used to describe Karl. Then again, the Karl he’d worked with these five past days had been kind, patient, and accommodating. If it hadn’t been for the few times Leo had caught Karl staring at him with a slight frown on his face, Leo would have thought he’d only imagined Karl’s remoteness in the past.

Afraid he’d lose himself in his mostly inexplicable thoughts again, Leo returned his glass to the shelf and approached the table. After he put chalk on the tip of the cue and made sure the white ball was in the right spot, Leo bent forward. For a moment he swayed, and he had to reposition his feet to get his balance right. Then he moved his arm back and gave it his all as he shot the white ball toward the triangle of colored and striped balls, fervently hoping at least one of them would go down.

“Damn.” No such luck. Leo turned around, fully expecting to find Karl smirking at him, only to find Karl’s gaze fixed on his…groin?

“Your turn.”

Karl raised his head and stared at Leo, clearly shocked by his brusque tone. Leo understood his surprise: he wasn’t sure where that sound had come from, either. The red flush on Karl’s cheeks, on the other hand, was unexpected.

Leo took a long drink from his glass as soon as he reached it before facing the table so he could watch Karl pot the first striped ball. Was he really looking at my package? Leo side-eyed his cocktail, wondering if it had been a drink too many after all. Surely there was no possible scenario in which Karl, the man known for never showing any sexual preference or interest, would be checking Leo out?

As Leo’s mind spun with unanswerable questions, Karl continued potting balls, one after the other. Just as Leo had in the previous game, he looked set to clear the table in one visit. Leo smiled. Karl was a worthy opponent.

“Fuck.” Karl whispered the word under his breath, but not too soft for Leo to hear him.

One glance at the table told Leo what Karl’s problem was. Karl only needed to pot the black in order to win. But, the white and the black ball were positioned in such a way that unless Karl shot the white at two or three cushions before hitting the black, it would take quite a stretch to make the shot.

Karl took up position next to the table and lifted his left leg, resting it on the edge, before bending at the waist and stretching.

Leo had meant to watch the shot. He’d had no intention of focusing on Karl, but he did, and his breath faltered for a moment. The material of Karl’s black pants gripped the thigh that rested on the table, showing the feint outline of muscles. And…Dear God…Karl’s arse was glorious under the stretched fabric.

Karl straightened and Leo snapped out of his daze. He threw a quick glance at the table and saw the black ball had disappeared. In the end he hadn’t even seen Karl make the shot. Because you were too busy admiring his arse. Leo almost groaned out loud when he remembered how he’d wriggled when he’d lined up his shot to start the game. Karl had been looking at an arse, too, which was at the same height as Leo’s groin. So when Leo had turned…

AON_Quote Suit_FB

About the Author

Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.

The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.

Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.

NOW 2

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Blog Tour · Guest · Reviews

Guest post & review: The Experiment by Rebecca Raine

 

Hi… 🥰

I posted Chapter 50 of My Way last night, perchance you missed it. https://zakarrie.com/2020/08/22/my-way-50/

Today, I’d like to welcome my guest Rebecca Raine with her wonderful new novel, The Experiment. Many thanks to Rebecca for the copy I received, read, and reviewed below. In a nutshell? It was a delight to do so.

 

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Book Title: The Experiment

Author: Rebecca Raine

Cover Artist: Bec Rivers

Release Date: Tuesday, 18 August (AEST)

Genre/s: Contemporary MM Romance

Trope/s: Friends-to-Lovers, Gay for You, First-time Gay

Themes: Friendship, Self-discovery, Self-experimentation

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 85 000 words/ approx. 210 pages

It is a standalone book.

Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

When a single kiss calls your sexuality into question,

there’s only one sure path to a reliable answer: further research.

 

Blurb

 

Patrick

I like to think I know myself outside and in. As a developmental psychologist, I’ve spent years exploring the true foundations of my identity. So, when losing a bet means kissing my best friend, Logan, I already know I’m going to hate every second of it. All the relevant questions regarding my sexuality were asked and answered years ago. The results were conclusive: despite the odd same-sex attraction, I dislike being touched by men.

That is, it seems, until Logan is the man doing the touching. The intense desire aroused by his kiss contradicts all my expectations and I have no idea how to integrate the new information. Thankfully, I know exactly how to uncover the truth about myself—once and for all.

Logan

I’ve put a lot of effort into keeping Patrick out of my fantasies and in the friend-zone. Our recent lip-lock may have unleashed my feelings for him temporarily, but I’ll get them back on their platonic track in no time. Falling for a friend, especially a sexually ambivalent friend, is a one-way ticket to heartache.

But, when the unforeseen impact of our kiss inspires Patrick to conduct an experiment into the extent of his bisexuality, I can’t resist volunteering to help. If any man is going to join Patrick on his journey of self-discovery, it’s sure as hell going to be me.

 

 

Review

 

I’m more reluctant to request ARCs than my interest in a novel merits. The reason is simple, I can’t bear the thought of being gifted an author’s work, only to enjoy the book a lot less than I’d hoped. As a result of which, I worry that I’ll wind up feeling dreadful and trying to write a review that doesn’t wound the author. I know…I’m not supposed to take that into account. A fair and honest review is not a personal attack on them or their writing. It is just my not-a-jot defining opinion about a story, that’s all. 

As I’ve never been able to pay heed to what I’m supposed to feel, do, or say, it’s pointless telling me otherwise. So…in order to brave the whole process? I’ve come to regard reading with a view to review as an…experiment of sorts. One I don’t repeat as often as my interest is piqued by the premise, as much as I might wish I could steel myself to do so.

Now you know why I found this book so irresistible…and why I started my review as I did. Patrick’s thought process is about as far from mine as I can imagine; I unerringly follow my instincts, so I found it fascinating to be given such an intimate window into workings of a mind so removed from my own. Particularly, as it transpired, when formatted as research for a psychology dissertation. I was riveted by the end of the first chapter and read the first three quarters of the story in one sitting.

The book was described as gay-for-you, which made me pause before requesting it—aware that some find the trope troubling—but I’m so glad I did. Particularly when it wasn’t a gay-for-you story.  It may have seemed that way, at the start…but it quickly became apparent that, rather than being an avowedly straight man who’d repressed his sexuality? Patrick had spent a great deal of time pondering the issue and trying to ascertain his truth. Doing just that is an intrinsic part of who he is: a developmental psychologist determined to live his life authentically. All of which meant he’d already run a tentative experiment to discover if he was, indeed, bixseual as a teen. An experience so awful that the answer was an unequivocal no.

It is a drunken bet that gives him the courage to reassess those findings. You may find that unfeasible but in all honesty? I’m not sure that I’ve ever found the set up of a favourite trope ‘realistic’ . I don’t read tropes for realism, I read them purely for pleasure. While I love ‘fake relationship’ novels, I don’t for a minute imagine that the world is crammed with pretend boyfriends, fiances, and husbands living elaborately planned lives to inherit a fortune or fool some decrepit family member into believing the lie they’re being sold. Annnd just so happening to fall in love along the way, with an all consuming intensity as luscious as it is…unlikely.  I care not…that’s exactly what I wanted to read when I chose the book.

So…don’t bother reading this story if you find the ‘experiment’ set up ridiculous or unrealistic. You missed a delightful read you wouldn’t have enjoyed.

I did…and loved every minute I spent with Logan and Patrick. A story about two adorable loons in love, told with a ‘methodology’ I found fabulously fresh. I didn’t stop reading until I realised that I was about to be coshed by The Conflict. Yes…I know it’s considered an ‘important part’ of a plot arc. I care even less about that than the realism thing. So…I went for a snack and pulled my unisex pants up. I can do this, thought I. Endure a few chapters of ‘misunderstanding’ or muddle-headed madness, in order to relish Patrick & Logan’s happy ever after. 

Thankfully, it didn’t drag on for long. Better yet, I found myself persuaded that its inclusion did indeed explain the flawed reasoning that forms the premise of Patrick’s experiment. His panic is induced by a family dinner, in which we discover what led to his determination to avoid a latter day epiphany. Thus, he’s hell bent on nailing his sexuality, once and for all, and instigates the experiment to discover his ‘authentic self’. A bit bonkers when sexuality is rarely set in stone, but that’s the idea he’s dead set on, to head off the devastation his dad’s life changing accident wreaked. So, who am I to quibble? Do what you need to in order find your peace…it saves a lot of heartache along the way, not least for yourself. 

I haven’t mentioned Logan very much, but suffice to say…he’s a very willing participant in The Experiment with his ‘best friend’. I adored him, he was my favourite of the two men. He’s witty and warm with a twinkle in his eye, infinitely patient and as hot as hell. The banter between them is an additional delight and I was rooting for them all the way. I loved it.

🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡

Teaser - Drag and claw

Excerpt

“You can do your experiment with me.”

My heart pounds, as I wait for him to respond to my offer. The part of me that’s sure he’ll say yes is already weak with relief that he won’t go out looking for anyone else. I don’t want other men touching Patrick. If he’s only ever going to do this experiment with one man, I want that man to be me.

“I thought you wanted to go back to the way things were.” His gaze is wary, and he has yet to move a muscle. “We’re friends, nothing more. That’s what you said.”

“Yes, and it’s still true,” I assure him. “I do want to go back to being friends. But we can do it after the experiment.”

His breath has quickened and, when he speaks again, his voice is rough. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“It’s the best viable solution,” I tell him, as if coating my possessiveness with a thick layer of pragmatism will make it less obvious. “Don’t forget, it was my kiss that breathed life into your queerness.” My body reacts to the idea of doing it again… and again… and again. However many times he needs to be satisfied. I make a show of licking my lips, enjoying the way he watches with rapt attention. “How much do you want to bet I can get more than a boner out of you?”

With a start, his eyes narrow and he points a finger at me. “No more bets.”

Laughing out loud, I nod. “That’s right. How could I forget?”

He runs a hand over the back of his neck as he looks around the bar, before returning his gaze to me. “I’ll admit, when I decided to do this, my first instinct was to come to you.” He gestures at me with an impatient hand. “You’re the only guy I’ve ever enjoyed kissing and it totally blew my mind. Why do you think I’m doing this in the first place?” he growls, his frustration coming through. “It’s not just because of what happened when we kissed. It’s the fact I can’t stop thinking about it.”

He’s not the only one. I’ve rubbed my cock raw in remembrance. The urge to shove him back against the nearby wall washes over me. I want to give him something new to think about. Ignoring the impulse, I swallow hard and speak in a low voice. “When you’re thinking about it, are these analytical thoughts about what it all means? Or are they wanking thoughts?”

He glances away, trying to appear nonchalant. “Both.”

My muscles tighten at the thought of him with his hand wrapped around his throbbing dick, fantasising about kissing me while he pants and moans his way to orgasm. I want to know what he looks like when he comes. What he sounds like. How he feels.

“But,” he says, with emphasis, interrupting the lustfest going on in my head, “I decided against it because I know you don’t—” The words cut off and his eyes close briefly. “I don’t want us to stop being friends.”

“I don’t want that either but, Patrick, you’re playing with fire here and assuming no one will steal the matches. I’m the only one I trust to do this right.”

He’s still reluctant. I can feel the force of his doubts. But he hasn’t said no.

“Patrick, listen to me.” I slide a hand around the back of his neck, urging him to meet my gaze. “You need someone you can trust to stop when you say stop, no matter what’s happening when you say it. Someone who won’t get pissed at you and accuse you of being a tease when you leave them with blue balls.” Releasing him, I grin. “Besides, you tried looking for someone else to kiss. It didn’t work. You chose me and now you’re stuck with me for the duration.”

He huffs out an indignant sound. “I could find someone else to kiss,” he blusters, “if I looked really hard… for about ten years.”

I laugh out loud, knowing I almost have him convinced. “Yeah, but even if you did, it wouldn’t matter.”

“Why is that?” He leans closer, as if he’s looking forward to my response.

In that instant, I realise how badly I want this—him. I want to tug on every thread of his sexuality, freeing each strand for thorough inspection. I want to tie him in knots, before making him unravel for me. And I want him to know, every second along the way, I’m the one who is doing this to him. That I’m the only man to ever make him feel this way.

Licking my lips, I take a step closer and bring my face in next to his. “Because even if you did hit your limit with someone else, you’d always wonder how much further I could have taken you.” I lower my head, so he can feel my breath against his neck as I go in for the kill. “Patrick, my friend, I’m going to drag your arse so far down my end of the spectrum, you’ll have to claw your way straight.”

 

 

About the Author

Rebecca is a long-time lover of all things romance. Whether it’s a book, movie, or real life, she will always have more fun if there’s a love interest thrown into the mix. She lives in Queensland, Australia with her very own hero husband, two quirky kids and one big, black dog. Other than reading and writing books, her favourite things include loud music, enjoying a glass of wine on the patio, organising everything in existence, and spending too much time on the Internet.

 

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one of five mobi copies of The Experiment

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