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Guest Post: Shira Glassman talks about Climbing The Date Palm

Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway!


Banner art art by Becca Schauer

It’s a bright and sunny morning and the queen’s girlfriend is on her way back to the palace when she discovers something shocking that will rearrange lots of people’s lives: a beautiful young man, on the point of death, lying across a wandering horse. Who is he? What does his fancy clothing and royal ring mean? How did he get those wounds, and why did he come here for help?

The answer, as he soon reveals from the safety of a sickbed, is that he’s the youngest prince from a neighboring country, and his father has thrown his boyfriend into prison on a trumped-up treason charge. Apparently, in the City of Red Clay, asking that the king actually pay your workers what they were originally promised for a public works project “isn’t patriotic.”

Climbing the Date Palm is the story of two young men—one a good-looking but miserable prince struggling to rise above his anxiety and his father’s low expectations, the other a brilliant and earnestly moral activist who just wanted to do the right thing and never intended to end up leading a mass revolt. They complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses and give each other joy, and when they’re in trouble, they try as best as they can to protect each other.

It’s also a story about family. In real life, same-sex romance isn’t the beginning and end of a gay or bisexual person’s social sphere. There are also our mothers and fathers, our children, our siblings and those best friends who have become surrogate siblings, and our bosses and employees. The world of Date Palm (and its prequel, The Second Mango) reflects this richness, focusing just as much on the friendships between queer people, or between queer people and their straight loved ones, as it does between specific romances.

Come check it out if you’ve ever wanted to read a fairy tale where Prince  Charming is bisexual, or where the male romantic interest is a fat gay nerd. Come visit for the benevolent but fierce dragon, the five-foot-eleven warrior woman, and the kingdom ruled over by a tiny lesbian in braids. And grab some baklava or stuffed grape leaves, because this is a book with serious food.

Kaveh came to Home City looking for someone to save his boyfriend’s life. He found that, and more—a “family of choice” around whom he feels for the first time that he can truly be who he wants to be. I invite you to come follow in his footsteps, and taste the baklava for yourself.

Click here to see an excerpt from the book.

Climbing the Date Palm

Giveaway

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The prize is an eBook copy ( epub (Nook), mobi (Kindle), html, or pdf) of Climbing The Date Palm.

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★★★½ Delsyn’s Blues by Lou Sylvre ★★★½

 See the review for Book #1 Loving Luki Vasquez here.

Vasquez and James #2

More reviews from this series soon.

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Delsyn’s Blues

by

Lou Sylvre

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

 

The blurb

Sonny James and Luki Vasquez are living proof that the course of love never runs smoothly. Ambushed by grief, Sonny listens to a voice singing the blues from beyond the grave. While revisiting the sorrows and failings of his past, in the here and now he puts up a wall against love. Just when Luki chips through that barricade, the couple becomes the target of a new threat from outside: an escalating and unexplainable rash of break-ins and assaults.

Thoughts of infidelity rise between them, a threat that may strain their newly mended love past its limits. To come through the trials alive and together, Luki and Sonny will have to unite against enemies who were once friends and overcome crippling hatred and overwhelming fear. If they succeed, maybe then they can rekindle the twin flames of passion and love.

 

Our thoughts

3.5 stars
Contemporary, suspense thriller, 2nd book in series must read in orderOk let me start with I was not ready for the beginning of Delsyn’s Blues.  Before the end of the prologue I just wanted to cry.  Oh and we find out  a lot more about Sonny’s past.  This installment in the series not only includes murder but betrayal.The second installment in the series starts with Delsyn’s recover from his kidnapping in the first book.  Before the end of chapter one Sonny has told Luki to leave and Luki is trying to deal with the separation.  But Luki comes back any way just after tragedy strikes Sonny again.  This installment takes a deeper dive into Sonny’s past demons and has a lover from Sonny’s past sniffing around that could bring an end to Sonny and Luki’s HEA.While dealing with Sonny’s past Luki is tasked with trying to protect him from a very present threat.  Sonny’s father, in name only, has brought trouble to Sonny’s doorstep.  Again the two men face their past and their fears and grow stronger as a couple.

Again this is another action packed read that I really can’t say too much about because it would be a complete spoiler.

Drug abuse is talked is talked about in this story.

Bookjunkie xx

 

More reviews from this series soon.

  • Loving Luki Vasquez (book #1) - click here for review
  • Delsyn’s Blues (book #2) – in this review
  • Finding Jackie (book #3)
  • Saving Sonny James (book #4)
  • Yes (book #4.5)
  • Because of Jade (book #5)

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★★★ Better Than Friends by Lane Hayes ★★★

Mishyjo reviews the third book in Lane Hayes’ Better Than Series

  • Better Than Good (Better Than #1)
  • Better Than Chance (Better Than #2)
  • Better Than Friends (Better Than #3) – in this review.

 

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Better Than Friends

by

Lane Hayes

 

The blurb

 

When Curt Townsend, a successful young DC lawyer, attends his first gay wedding, he doesn’t expect anything more than a great evening out spent celebrating two lucky guys willing to commit to one another. He certainly doesn’t anticipate meeting someone like Jack Farinelli. Fourteen years Curt’s senior, Jack owns two businesses: a gay bar and a motorcycle shop. He’s gorgeous and self-assured, but Curt is positive they have nothing in common.

Jack is comfortable in his own skin. He’s attracted to Curt’s quick wit and easy manner but most of all, to their unexpected mutual love of baseball. As they forge a friendship based on their shared enthusiasm for the sport, they begin a journey which reveals how their differences might be the catalyst behind a growing attraction. Both men have experienced their share of pain, but they realize they need to set aside the past and learn to trust in a future if they are to have one together.

Our thoughts

 

Better than Friends is book 3 in Lane Hayes’s Better Than series.  Although I liked it well enough, it wasn’t quite a good as books 1 and 2 in my opinion.
I loved Jack.  Although the story was told from Curtis’s first person point of view, I felt that we got to know Jack really well.  There was a strong sense of who he was and how he had gotten there without a huge information dump.  His character here was nicely different than what I expected from the little bit we knew of him from book 2.  The real Jack and his prior relationship with Peter was far more complex and Jack was far more likable than the glimpse of him we got from Jay’s perspective in Better than Chance.
But I also felt a little misled about Jack through much of the book.  He owned a leather bar. Was he a leather daddy?  I kinda hoped so.  He was a biker and owned a bike repair shop as well. Was there gonna be an MC in the background?  That would have been fun too.  There were hints that he had a bit of a Dom thing going on.  Was a D/s type of relationship going to develop between the MCs?  That would have been awesome.  I suppose we were figuring Jack out as Curtis was, but in the end I was a bit let down about how these various assumptions played out.
Curtis I liked less.  I understood his insecurities.  To the extent there was a love triangle, it didn’t bother me although the fallout was predictable.  But there were moments that he was downright whiny.  Those moments were not only annoying but didn’t seem consistent with who Curtis was and I couldn’t see why Jack tolerated him at those times.
The romance itself was pretty good.  I liked the chemistry between the two and the way that Jack and Curtis played off of each other.   At times the relationship development felt somewhat similar to that in Better than Chance, however, and the two story lines are now a bit confused in my mind.
I think that writing books in a series can be a double edged sword for an author. Although there is already a built-in audience by the time book 3 rolls around, there are also expectations that have to be met, including the dueling expectations that the story be as strong as the prior entries and consistent in their feel while not so similar as to become predictable formulaic.
I am both hopeful for a book 4 in this series and optimistic that it will carry it’s own weight in this series and not ride on the coattails of the first 3.
3 stars

Hope you enjoy – Mishyjo x

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★★★★ Enough by Matthew J Metzger ★★★★

 

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Enough

by

Matthew J Metzger

 

The blurb

 

Jesse can do the math: Ezra’s perfect, he isn’t, and this relationship is doomed. Until the accident forces Jesse to recalculate.

Jesse has never had a real boyfriend before. He’s a firefighter, and that’s all that anyone’s seen before—a quick and thrilling screw, and a story for the future. So when he lands Ezra Pryce, the most beautiful man in the whole of Brighton, Jesse can’t quite understand why Ezra is still here eight months down the line.

Not that he’s going to complain. Ezra’s sexy, sarcastic, and doesn’t treat Jesse like he’s stupid, but Jesse can do the math. Ezra is nothing short of perfection; and Jesse falls a very way short of it. Jesse isn’t going to be enough for someone like Ezra in the long run, and he is living—and loving—on borrowed time. When a disastrous weekend in Norwich introduces Jesse to the staunch disapproval of Ezra’s family and the six-pack of his ex-boyfriend in one fell swoop, Jesse’s fate is sealed. He cannot hope to live up to an ex who has every intention of getting Ezra back, and all the looks and charm to do it too. Jesse is not enough for Ezra and he’s never going to be.

 

Our thoughts

 

This was my first time reading this author and I have to say I am really glad I gave this book a try.  it was unique in that it started with an already established couple which I though was a nice change.  When the story starts Ezra and Jessie have been together 8 months.  Ezra is a school teacher and Jessie is a firefighter.  They have a stable relationship but are not yet living together.  Despite their stability both men are struggling with issues of their own.  Ezra has a mother and a sister who have not accepted his homosexuality and Jessie’s background still effects his self image and self worth.  As the story unfolds the two men are forced to deal with their issues and try to strengthen their relationship along the way.
What I really liked about this book was not a lot happened and yet I couldn’t put it down.  Don’t get me wrong, things happened, but no big, dramatic, angst filled events.  Just, for the most part, normal events.  The strength to me was that the author showed me two people working through every day life events and every day struggles and he still kept me up late turning the pages.
I loved both Ezra and Jessie’s characters and I thought they were really well done.  All of the side characters were also well done and I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a character as much as I did Ezra’s sister.  What a vile creature.  The romance felt real and while the sex scenes were minimal it worked for this story.  I found myself rooting for these two and their happily ever after.
Overall I though this was a really well done book.  The writing was strong, the characters drew me in and I enjoyed it from beginning to end.  I would recommend this book to others and I will definitely be checking out more of this author’s work.

Hope you enjoy – Alisa x

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Guest Post: Renae Kaye

We are very excited to welcome our friend, Renae Kaye to Two Men, talking about a topic very close to her heart!

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Give me some more of that humour!

Everyone has a sense of humour.  But there are a lot of different senses, and a lot of different humours.  As a woman, I don’t get fart jokes.  I just don’t.  Men seem to adore them.  I blink and change the subject, really quick.  Ejections of (often) smelly air from our bodies in loud, noisy ways do not tickle my funny bones.  Yeah.  Umm.

My mother tells me I share the same humour as my father – and I have to concede she is right.  Some of my precious memories are of sitting over breakfast, passing the comics back and forth with my father and laughing so hard I was snorting milk.  We would try to make Mum join in, but she never got it.  Her humour is different from ours.

Humour is often selective like that.  People describe humour with terms such as “dry wit” or “sarcastic comebacks”.  You can be jovial or straight-faced or even droll.  I’m not really quite sure what I am.  I just know that I find humour in all types of places.

The ability to tell a joke or a funny story is something that some people have – or conversely, don’t have.  My mother-in-law cannot tell a joke.  She.  Simply.  Cannot.  We shake our heads despairingly at her.  She’s one of these people who forgets what she’s saying halfway through, and has to stop and think about the joke while we all sit in horrified fascination at how badly she’s stuffing up the story.  When I first met her, I didn’t understand this.  Now, some of the most traumatic moments of my life occur after she speaks the words, “I heard this joke today…”

Sadly for me, my husband is exactly the same.  He often tells the punchline first, completely missing the impact of the joke.  I race to catch up, trying to work out what he’s trying to say.  There’s an awkward pause while I run through the joke in my head (in the correct order), then I laugh.  About twenty seconds too late.  Yeah.  Umm.

Me?  I love telling jokes.  I’m a bit of a performer and in my childhood I did some amateur theatre.  My first role was playing a girl who talked to herself.  Often.  Then I played Dracula’s crazy mother who had to be locked in the dungeon.  I rounded off my acting career by playing a teacher whose students gave her a nervous breakdown.  I guess you could infer that I play the crazy quite well.  Yeah.  Umm.

I think that my humour comes from desperation.  Sometimes, unless you laugh at yourself, you’ll go crazy from the depression.  And that’s never a good look.

So, do I use humour in my books?  Umm, yeah.  Sorry ‘bout that.  I don’t think I can turn it off, and do you know what?  That’s okay.  I’ve heard people say they can’t take any more angst.  Or any more sadness.  Or any more depressive, maniacal horror.  I’ve yet to hear someone say, “Oh, my gosh.  I don’t think I could take any more laughing.  I’ve read three comedic books in a row, and I’m just so sore from laughing, I’m going to burst.”

My second novel, The Blinding Light, was released on the 14th of July, and I am so proud of that puppy!  It has been well received and my heart is glowing from the love it is causing.  It even made the “Movers and Shakers” list on Amazon for its strong sales.  And I am so happy about that, and I love that people love it.  Because love and happiness is what we all need.

So if you would like a dose of happiness today, check out what I’m talking about.  You won’t regret it.

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❤ Project Fierce Chicago – A message from Sophie Bonaste ❤

Today we welcome Sophie Bonaste, another of the wonderful authors who contributed to the Project Fierce Chicago charity anthology.

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Hello Readers! My name is Sophie Bonaste and I am one of twenty writers in a very special anthology. The Project Fierce Anthology, published by Less Than Three Press, is a charity anthology for Project Fierce in Chicago. All of the proceeds with help this organization get off the ground and aid homeless LGBT all over the city.

I am very lucky to be part of this anthology. All of the stories in it are truly wonderful and touch on a vital issue. Today I want to share a little information about my story, A Mysterious Savior. The story follows Dylan, a young adult living on the street after being kicked out of his home for being bisexual. Life hasn’t been easy for Dylan and his thoughts have started to turn desperate as he struggles to figure out a way out, through any means necessary. But just when things are at their darkest, a mysterious man comes to Dylan’s aid. He doesn’t know what to make of this man and struggles to trust him. But Dylan’s last hope may reside with this mysterious savior.

When I was planning this story out, I loved the idea of Dylan being saved by a complete stranger. I think it’s important to remember that any one of us can be a savior at any time. We all know that life is hard and there are times when giving someone a few minutes of your time or paying for someone’s meal makes all the difference in the world. All we have to do is reach out.

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Now I don’t mean to be preachy or imply that we have to devote every waking moment to helping people we haven’t met. We all have lives and families that need attention too. But if we all spent a few minutes a day helping those in our community who needed it, then the world would be a much better place. So reach out! And if you are scrambling for ideas, one of the first things that you should do is to support Project Fierce and buy this anthology. Since all of the money goes directly to Project Fierce you can know that you have helped LGBT youth in Chicago start their lives the right way. All of the information is below.

I want to thank everyone for reading my post! I also want to send a special thank you to Nic Starr and everyone at Because Two Men Are Better Than One for helping to publicize this anthology. Because together, we can ensure that one day everyone will have a home to call their own.

Project Fierce Chicago

Nobody deserves to be without a home. In collaboration with several authors, Less Than Three Press offers up an anthology of stories about young people who find that home and family are not always where you expect to find them.

All proceeds from this charity anthology will be donated to Project Fierce Chicago.

Project Fierce Chicago’s mission is to reduce LGBTQ youth homelessness in Chicago by providing affirming, no-cost transitional housing and comprehensive support services to homeless LGBTQ young adults. PFC also aims to encourage community-building and civic engagement through cooperative living and youth leadership development.

LT3′s Project Fierce Chicago charity anthology includes 20 short stories from Aeris, Vicktor Alexander, Talya Andor, C.J. Anthony, Blaine D. Arden, Kayla Bain-Vrba, Sophie Bonaste, Kenzie Cade, Jana Denardo,Alessandra Ebulu, Dianne Hartsock, Leta Hutchins, Caitlin Ricci, Lor Rose, B. Snow, Rin Sparrow, Andrea Speed, Piper Vaughn, Layla M. Wier, and Xara X. Xanakas.

 

Biography:

Sophie Bonaste is a novelist who never set out to be a novelist. As a child, she wanted to a Broadway actress and spent her childhood in numerous productions. But when adulthood set in and reality took over, Sophie chose to give up the theatre for a steady paycheck and instead turned to writing as a creative outlet. She stumbled into the M/M genre through fanfiction and never looked back. Sophie is quite happy with her change in artistic expression and doesn’t plan to stop writing for a long time.

A self-proclaimed nerd, Sophie is an avid fan of all things Star Wars and Harry Potter. (Sophie is a member of the Slytherin house, for those who were wondering.) Sophie also spends many hours watching and re-watching nerdy television shows. When she is not obsessing over the latest and greatest in nerdy entertainment, Sophie can be found screaming at her television during American football games. (Go Pack Go!) Sophie currently lives in Pennsylvania, about twenty minutes from her childhood town of The Middle of Nowhere.

 

Buy the Project Fierce Anthology here!

or from Amazon.

Learn more about Project Fierce at www.projectfiercechicago.org

Sophie’s Website- sophiebonaste.blogspot.com

Sophie’s Email-sophiebonaste@gmail.com

Sophie on Twitter-https://twitter.com/SophieBonaste

Sophie on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/sophie.bonaste

Sophie on Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7263780.Sophie_Bonaste?from_search=true

 

 

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Book Blast and Giveaway: Not Quite Broken by Diana DeRicci

 

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Not Quite Broken

by Diana DeRicci

Cover Artist:  Lex Valentine

Publisher: MLR Press

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The Blurb…

Can Dex survive a nightmare that won’t let go?

Dex’s life has gone into a tailspin. One night that ruined his entire world. He can’t sleep, he can’t eat. He’s lost his job, and is about to lose the last of his sanity. When the world crashes down around him, he’s ready to let the world win.

Dex has friends, though, who are determined to not let him self-combust.

One man will be there to guide him through his nightmare, to hold him to keep the demons at bay, and still let him be strong enough to find the strength to love after his darkest hour.

Excerpt 

Brian tempered his smile at Dex’s miffed tone. There was still a spark of the man he was before the night of his attack. He’d seen it in snatches for a few days when Dex was trying so hard to pretend that night hadn’t happened at all, especially when they were at Chad and Sonny’s. He knew with good insight Dex didn’t want either of them to worry. Then life started to return and invade and the nightmares began. Doctors, police, therapy. He couldn’t outrun them. The stress of it caused nightmares. He didn’t know if any of Dex’s other friends, who seemed to be sparse, were equipped to help him handle the aftermath.

That lack of family or friends in his life was partly why Brian had taken such a personal interest in Dex’s recovery.

He was being devious about it, taking Dex on these little errands, putting him in situations where he couldn’t evade. Brian wasn’t going to allow anyone to hurt him, least of all Dex himself, by hiding.

He opened the glass entryway door and Dex obediently followed.

“Hi, Samantha,” Brian called to the girl behind the counter. He got a wave and smile, though he didn’t slow down to talk.

“It’s loud in here,” Dex complained.

“It’s a gym, not the ballet.”

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 About the Author

Diana DeRicci is the sexy, flirty pen name of Diana Castilleja. A romance author at heart, DeRicci’s writing takes you into a saucier spectrum of sensuality and sexual adventure, where a happily-ever-after is still the key to any story. Diana lives in Central Texas with her husband, one son and a feisty little Chihuahua named Rascal. You can catch the latest news on all of Diana DeRicci’s writing and books on her website. Feel free to drop Diana an email. She’d love to hear from you.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/diana.castilleja.14

Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/247519905431256/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dianacastilleja/

Twitter: @DianaCastilleja


Tour Dates: 7/18/14

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Tour Stops: Parker Williams, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Cate Ashwood, MM Good Book Reviews, Havan Fellows, Reviews and Ramblings, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Smoocher’s Voice, Prism Book Alliance, Tara Lain, Love Bytes, Hearts on Fire, Fallen Angel Reviews, Wicked Wolves and Dreaming Dragons, It’s Raining Men, Because Two Men Are Better Than One

 

 

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Rafflecopter Prize: E-book of Not Quite Broken

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★★★★ Loving Luki Vasquez by Lou Sylvre ★★★★

 

Vasquez and James #1

More reviews from this series soon.

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Loving Luki Vasquez

by

Lou Sylvre

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

 The blurb

 

Reclusive weaver Sonny Bly James controls every color and shape in his tapestries, but he can’t control the pattern of his life—a random encounter with Luki Vasquez, ex-ATF agent and all-around badass, makes that perfectly clear. The mutual attraction is immediate, but love-shy Sonny has retreated from life, and Luki wears his visible and not-so-visible scars like armor. Neither can bare his soul with ease.

While they run from desire, they can’t hide from the evil that hunts them. After it becomes clear that a violent stalker has targeted Sonny, Luki’s protective instincts won’t let him run far, especially when Sonny’s family is targeted as well. Whether they can forgive or forget, Sonny and Luki will have to call a truce and work together to save Sonny’s nephew and fight an enemy intent on making sure loving Luki Vasquez is the last mistake Sonny will ever make.

 

Our thoughts

 

3.5-4 stars
Contemporary, suspense thriller

A clever little suspense thriller wrapped in an m/m romance.  This story, Loving Luki Vasquez, had some nice little plot twist and a nice little love story thrown in the mix.

Luki Vasquez is a private investigator/bodyguard with his own company.  Sonny James is a tapestry weaver living a sheltered life.  Not really two people you would put together but the chemistry worked.  They meet by chance and there is an instant connection but not insta-love (thank goodness).  They sort of dance around each other in the beginning until some young boys decide to vandalize a mutual friends home.  From there the two men are inseparable and are in a race to find the man taunting them.  Sonny has captured the attention of someone who has no problem with getting rid of “faggots” and at the same time his closest living relative, his nephew Delsyn, has gone missing.  Luki and Sonny realize later that Delsyn’s disappearance is no coincidence.   The clock is ticking for them to bring down a madman and save Delysn’s life.

Lou Sylvre takes us on a harrowing ride dealing with Luki’s past demons and Sonny’s familial responsibilities.  Along the way she shows us beauty is more than skin deep and that love can make things harder and easier at the same time.  Both men have never truly loved another and they way they deal with the ups and downs and insecurities, without the heavy angst, was a pleasure to read.  I really enjoyed both MCs they were not stereotyped by their professions.  The kind heart that Luki tries so hard to hide behind his icy persona and I get the feeling there is a lot more to Sonny than meets the eye…

It did take me a little while to get into the story, the beginning felt choppy and the POV’s changed from paragraph to paragraph at times, which was a little confusing.   But by the second have of the book I was on pins and needles reading wanting to know what would happen next do they find the madman in time, do they find Delsyn in time…  One of the things I loved was that even though Luki is supposed to be all badass he vomits when emotionally stressed and even though Sonny comes across very mild mannered he has a little badass in him as well.

I’m looking forward to the next story in the Vasquez & James series.

Bookjunkie xx

 

More reviews from this series soon.

  • Loving Luki Vasquez (book #1) – in this review
  • Delsyn’s Blues (book #2)
  • Finding Jackie (book #3)
  • Saving Sonny James (book #4)
  • Yes (book #4.5)
  • Because of Jade (book #5)

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