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EXCERPT: More Than Christmas by Lane Swift

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Title: More Than Christmas

Author: Lane Swift

Series: Michigan Seasons #1

 

BLURB

Keeping life simple can be a complicated business.

High-flying young British executive, Nick Harris, knows exactly what he wants out of his two-year American assignment—a bigger salary, a promotion and some no-strings fun. How convenient then, that his gorgeous hunk of a next door neighbour, Dale Hepburn, is friendly, single and bisexual?

But Dale has had his fill of casual and he’s holding out for love that will last. Knowing that Nick’s stay in America is temporary, he welcomes him into his life as a friend; they train together in his garage gym, hang out and watch television, and dress up for the neighbourhood kids at Halloween.

Then the first snow falls, and with Christmas approaching and temperatures plummeting, Nick finds he increasingly yearns for the warmth of Dale’s arms—only he’s worried that pushing Dale for more heat in their relationship will land him outside in the cold.

Nick’s long-term future in America may not be certain, but if he wants a future with Dale, he must find a way to persuade him they can be more than Christmas.

A heartwarming romance with a satisfying HFN
~32,000 words

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

EXCERPT

The weather was still warm. I stretched, scratched, and ambled downstairs in my boxers. Sleepy-eyed, and stiff-necked from too many hours in the car, I shuffled into the kitchen, heading straight for the kettle. I hadn’t shut the blinds across the patio doors the night before, and through them I had a crystal-clear view. The lawnmower I’d heard was in my garden, and Dale was pushing it.

He hadn’t seen me. He was almost at the back fence, about to turn. I could have gone upstairs and put on some clothes before I introduced myself, but I’m not shy, and this was my turf, so to speak. After scrubbing my face with my hands, I slid open the patio door, walked onto the deck and, hands on hips, waited for Dale to notice me.

The second he did, the buzz of the lawnmower withered and died, along with his fierce expression of concentration. His jaw dropped. He looked away, and lifted his hand, like he was trying to shield his eyes from the sight of me in my undies. He seemed so shocked, that I looked down to see if my dick was hanging out. (It has been known to happen, once or twice; though that’s another story.)

‘I didn’t think you were home,’ he said to the back of his hand. ‘I knocked but there was no answer.’

‘I got back late last night. I was knackered—must have slept through it.’

The temperature was cooler than it looked from inside the house. My nipples tightened. But that was the chill air, and had nothing to do with Dale in a white T-shirt tight enough that I could see the outline of his nipples and the shape of his pecs through the fabric.

‘Sorry,’ he said. ‘Did I wake you?’

‘Nah.’ He already looked guilty and embarrassed enough; to add to it would have been cruel. ‘Can I get you a drink?’

‘Ah, yeah. Sure.’ Dale clutched at the back of his neck and his ample bicep bulged. He had quite a grip. ‘I’ll have whatever you’re having.’

‘That would be tea. With milk.’

For a moment, it looked like the beginnings of a smile played at the corners of his mouth. I wasn’t sure. His face was still partially turned away from me.

‘If you have ice,’ he said, ‘I’ll take mine cold, no milk. Two sugars.’

He must have known I had ice. The refrigerator he’d installed in the kitchen had a water and ice dispenser. I must have really flustered him. Who’d have guessed my five-foot-nine of fairly average could be that disarming?

About the Author

12715686_1687991428142110_6410281020405230469_nLane Swift is a fiction writer, mainly of contemporary romance, sometimes featuring a mild dash of paranormal.

She lives in Hampshire, England, between the sea and the South Downs, with her husband, two children, and two guinea pigs. She can often be found running the roads and trails in her local area, or at her beach hut, imbibing coffee and dreaming up happy-ever-afters for her heroes and heroines.

Over the years, she’s worked as a waitress, a lab technician, a science teacher, and a telecommunications consultant. She’s also played rugby, climbed one mountain, and run one marathon, but has never managed to learn how to whistle.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Reading #mmromance #gayromance

Are you looking for a holiday story?

Get into the festive spirit with my Christmas story from last year. Experience an Aussie Christmas in the bush as a group of friends go away to enjoy the Christmas break together.

Blurb:  The Proof is in the Pudding

TheProofIsInthePudding_432Steve never expected making a Christmas pudding would bring him the man of his dreams.

Steve Hayes is away with a group of friends who are spending the Christmas break together. He’s determined to put his two-timing ex-boyfriend in the past, and enjoy his week away. Steve is happily surprised to find that Corey Oh, the guy he’s been admiring from afar, has been invited along too. But Steve knows there’s no way someone as wonderful as Corey, who could have any man he wanted, would be interested in him.

However, thanks to a misadventure with a Christmas pudding, Steve will find that dreams can come true.

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

All Romance eBooks

Barnes & Noble

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“I thoroughly enjoyed this short sweet Christmas tale of finding love at Christmas! If you want a quick feel good holiday story, then this is the book for you.” 5 stars from Kylee at Bike Book Reviews

“I found The Proof Is In The Pudding, a totally engaging, heart warming Christmas story. Oh, and as for the heat factor – it wasn’t just the Aussie sun that made me break out my fan.” 4.5 stars from Freya at Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

Happy reading,

Nic ❤

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GUEST POST: Bonfire by Irene Preston & Liv Rancourt

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GUEST POST

Thanks very much for having us back, Nic & RJ! Irene and I are excited to be sharing our upcoming release, Bonfire, with your readers. For this post, we thought we’d talk about some of the behind-the-scenes thinking that led to our new story.

See, Bonfire picks up a couple months after our first book Vespers left off, and takes Thaddeus and Sarasija through the holiday season.

Yep, the holidays.

We finished Vespers, a book about a vampire, his assistant, and an assortment of evil demons, and decided to follow it up with Christmas. Because, like Irene said, “doesn’t everybody love Christmas? Even if you’re an agnotic Hindu vampire’s assistant? <grin>”

The decision isn’t as strange as it might seem. Thaddeus Dupont is a vampire, but he’s also a good Catholic boy, which obviously has all kinds of associated traditions. There are also vibrant holiday customs associated with our Louisiana bayou setting. From holiday carols to the Christmas Eve bonfires on the levee that give the story its name, we had plenty to work with.

Another reason for a holiday novella is to take two characters Irene and I have a great deal of affection for and focus on their relationship. There’s not a lot of opportunity for the warm fuzzy stuff when there are demons knocking on the door, you know? Here’s Irene again…

“The main series has a lot going on and we’re anticipating it’ll span at least three books. I liked the idea of spending some time with the guys outside of those confines. Maybe explore their “normal” life and have a light mystery that we could wrap up in a short space.”

Writing a novella gave us the chance to show Thaddeus and Sara as a couple, and setting the story during the holidays provided a way of framing their growing pains. Sara’s secular Christmas traditions are quite different that Thad’s, and the way they negotiate their distinct ways of celebrating represents how they work through other issues.

If we’d only focused on the relationship though, things could have gotten a little angsty. We didn’t want that (because holidays!), so we gave Thad and Sara a mystery to solve. There’s a definite spook-factor attached to chasing mysterious lights around the swamp at night, but there’s not nearly as much mayhem in Bonfire as there was in Vespers.

Nohea is missing, too. She was such a key part of Vespers, but she doesn’t live at Thad’s house on the river, so she’s not part of everyday life there. She’s also a little (or a lot) frustrated with her vampire-boss as a result of events in Vespers. Until they work things out – which’ll happen in book 2 – she’s making herself scarce. She’s not completely invisible in Bonfire, but she’s not on the page at all.

And yeah, I totally just talked about one of my characters as if they’re a real person. You should try being in my head sometimes. It really is that confusing.

Bonfire’s a little bit lighter than Vespers, but it carries over some important elements, namely how our two heroes relate to each other and how their beliefs influence their behavior. There’s heat, and there’s humor, and there’s eight tiny alligators pulling Santa’s sleigh.

And you know, Thaddeus and Sara might have defeated the Big Bad in book 1, but Weyer’s Praestigiis Daemonum is still out there somewhere, and depending on who gets ahold of it, all hell could very well break loose.

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Releases 15th November

Amazon | ARe | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | More Stores

GIVEAWAY

Prize pack includes $20 Gift Card to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or AllRomanceEbooks.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

BLURB

Silent night, holy hell.

Thaddeus and Sarasija are spending the holidays on the bayou, and while the vampire’s idea of Christmas cheer doesn’t quite match his assistant’s, they’re working on a compromise. Before they can get the tree trimmed, they’re interrupted by the appearance of the feu follet. The ghostly lights appear in the swamp at random and lead even the locals astray.

When the townsfolk link the phenomenon to the return of their most reclusive neighbor, suspicion falls on Thaddeus. These lights aren’t bringing glad tidings, and if Thad and Sara can’t find their source, the feu follet might herald a holiday tragedy for the whole town.

This holiday novella can be enjoyed alone or as book 1.5 of the Hours of the Night Series. Bonfiretakes place the December after the events in Vespers.

EXCERPT

Dorothy ran Pinky’s, a small sundries store with a restaurant in back, the only place to buy groceries within ten miles. In her day, she’d been widely acknowledged for her beauty, though I had always respected her for her intelligence and wit. If she recognized the similarities between me and the Mr. Dupont who’d lived in the River house when she was a girl, she’d never mentioned it. We had an accord, Dorothy and I, one I would be reluctant to break.

While the phone was ringing, I noticed two paper shopping bags in the corner of the room. The phone had just enough cord for me to reach the closest bag, but before I could open it, Dorothy answered.

“This is Thaddeus Dupont.”

“I guess you got my message.” Dorothy sounded annoyed, as if she’d rather I hadn’t called.

“Yes. What can I do for you?” I opened the bag and lifted out a glossy black box. Christmas lights. Surprised, I bit my lip against a sharp surge of irritation.

“Well,” she said, “those lights are back.”

Confused, I set aside the first box and lifted out another. “Lights?” More lights?

“You know what I’m talking about. The swamp lights. Back in my grandmother’s day, she’d say Old Ivey was out looking for someone who got murdered.” She paused, and he could almost hear her collecting her thoughts. “Some call ’em the feu follet, and people been following ’em to find the treasure but getting lost in the swamp instead.”

I lifted a third and then a fourth box of Christmas lights out of the bag. “And what has this to do with me?” Fueled by exasperation, my tone was sharper than normal, but what was Sara thinking? A single ornament was one thing, but I never decorated for the holidays, especially with multicolored, LED, synchronized flashers.

“Maybe nothing, Thaddeus, but after the troubles you all had last summer, I figured I better say something in case Old Ivey’s looking for someone you know.”

I carefully set down the box of lights. “I can assure you, Miss Dorothy, I have not murdered anyone and stashed their body in the swamp.”

She paused for a good long while. “No, no, I suppose you haven’t.” The stiffness left her voice, and she exhaled softly. “But something’s going on, and you know how some people get carried away.”

Sara wandered out of the kitchen, his smile brightening when he saw I’d discovered his secret. “Things will die down. They always do.” I knew that from experience. As a solitary man who kept to himself, I periodically came under scrutiny from the neighborhood. There would be talk, and the bravest would come down the river to my house and poke around. My assistant, or maybe Mayette, would allay their fears, and the next good bit of gossip would distract them.

She snorted. “Well maybe you should, I don’t know, see if you can find where those witch lights are coming from.”

Now we’d come to the root of her problem. She wanted me to investigate. Sara pulled one of the strings of lights out of its box and plugged it in, flooding the room with color. I blinked hard against the glare. “You think that will help?”

“Yep. So far, everyone who’s gone missing has turned back up, but if they didn’t, well, that’d be real bad.”

“Look!” Sara’s enthusiasm bled through his whispered comment. He pressed a button so the lights started flashing. “They work.”

I waved off Sara’s laughter. “I agree. Thank you for the information, and I’ll let you know what I find out.”

She thanked me, grudgingly, and ended the call. I hung up slowly, considering the best approach to take.

“You don’t mind, do you, Thaddeus?” Sara unplugged the string of lights and began packing them away. “I wanted to surprise you, put some lights on the porch and maybe on the banister. We don’t have to do the whole Christmasy-Christmas thing, but the lights are pretty.”

Did I mind? Yes, in theory, though when faced with the hope in his eyes, I found the idea of decorating might not be so intolerable. “We do have a bauble.” I sighed, rubbing at the tension in my neck. “I think, Sara, you could ask me to hang the Christmas star in the heavens, and I would find a way to accomplish the task.”

“You’re crazy.” He ducked, hiding behind a shield of hair.

Unable to resist the temptation, I crossed the room and wrapped my arms around him. “You may be right.”

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About the Authors

About Irene Preston

Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one.  As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe.  Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.

Where to find Irene

IrenePreston.com

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Mailing List | Goodreads

About Liv Rancourt

I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.

Where to find Liv

LivRancourt.com

Facebook | Twitter | Mailing List | Goodreads

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NIC STARR: The Proof is in the Pudding Holiday Giveaway

It’s time to celebrate the holidays! Yippee!

** $10 All Romance eBooks Gift Voucher to be won **

With so many wonderful holiday stories coming out, I thought you might like a chance to win a $10 ARe Gift Voucher so you can buy the holiday story of your choice (or maybe two!).

I have a Christmas story being released by MLR Press on 4th December. Here’s a bit more about it.

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Blurb

Steve Hayes is away with a group of friends who are spending the Christmas break together. He’s determined to put his two-timing ex-boyfriend in the past, and enjoy his week away.  Steve is happily surprised to find that Corey Oh, the guy he’s been admiring from afar, has been invited along too. But Steve knows there’s no way someone as wonderful as Corey, who could have any man he wanted, would be interested in him.

However, thanks to a misadventure with a Christmas pudding, Steve will find that dreams can come true.

Buy Links

Amazon

All Romance eBooks

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Giveaway

Win a $10 All Romance eBooks Gift Card. The winner will be drawn on 21st December.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter.

 

Happy reading and happy holidays,

Nic xx

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GIVEAWAY & Excerpt: Bowl Full of Cherries by Raine O’Tierney

 I love holiday stories!BowlFullofCherriesLG

Blurb

 Porker, Fatty, Tons-of-Fun: Crowley Fredericks has heard it all. He’s dropped a lot of weight since his high school days, but he’s still a big guy, and the painful words and bullying follow him. Rejected—again—because of his size, Crowley is starting to think that maybe love just isn’t meant for huskier men.

Averell Lang and his twin are so different they might as well not even be related. So when Rell’s brother brings his roommate home to snowy Susset for the holidays, Rell expects the worst—another uptight, pretentious hipster. What he discovers instead is Crowley. Nerdy, fascinating, attractive, Crowley. Rell never expected to look at a man this way, and what he sees in Crowley Fredericks is something he didn’t even know he was looking for. If both men can overcome their hang-ups, they might unwrap more than presents this holiday season.

Excerpt

Even through the snow, Rell didn’t feel the cold. His face burned with the excitement of escaping the Livery and absconding with his brother’s best friend. He clasped Crowley’s hand, pulling him through the street. They ran and skidded and laughed, moving farther and farther away from the club.

“It’s beautiful tonight,” Crowley breathed and Rell squeezed tighter. “Doesn’t it weird you out though?”

“Nope.”

Rell knew what Crowley was asking—didn’t even pretend that he didn’t. Stopping, he tugged lightly so Crowley came stumbling up beside him. He twined his arms around Crowley’s waist and held him for a moment, right there in the middle of the sidewalk.

“Does it weird you out? I’m your best friend’s brother.”

“Not weirded out at all.” Crowley shook his head. His dark eyes shimmered with concern. “But for you… I mean, it was loud in there and hot and fun and there was alcohol and… sometimes… things just happen and—”

“Yeah, things happen,” Rell agreed. “Except I’ve been to a lot of stupid hipster clubs with a lot of Tyler’s friends and….” He leaned forward and kissed Crowley again, letting the experience linger, melting the chill between them. He tasted like nogtini. “And nothing like that has ever happened.”

“But… do you even like guys?”

“Owl. You’re a guy. I like you.”

“But have you been with a guy?”

“Why are you over-thinking this?” Rell asked, gently cupping the side of Crowley’s face.

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Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card

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Click the image or here to enter the Rafflecopter

Buy Links

DSP ebook

DSP paperback

Amazon

All Romance eBooks

About the Author

Raine O’Tierney, a passionate believer in what she calls The Sweetness, writes positive stories about first loves, first times, fidelity, forever-endings and.friskiness? When she’s not writing, Raine can be found fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job.

Raine believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers. She changes sub-genres to suit her mood and believes all good stories end sweetly. Raine lives outside of Kansas City with her husband, fellow Dreamspinner Press author and sometimes writing partner, Siôn O’Tierney.

Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about what kinds dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!

Author Contact:

Email: Raineotierney [at] gmail.com
Homepage: Raineotierney.com
LGBT Author Interviews: http://raineotierneyhatparty.blogspot.com/
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/RaineOTierneyAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RaineOTierney
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7770350.Raine_O_Tierney

Tour Dates/Stops:

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5-Dec

BFD Book Blog

Louise Lyons

Molly Lolly

Velvet Panic

Carly’s Book Reviews

8-Dec

Hearts on Fire

Fallen Angel Reviews

Multitasking Mommas

Prism Book Alliance

Rainbow Gold Reviews

9-Dec

Up All Night, Read All Day

The Blogger Girls

Because Two Men Are Better Than One

Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves

Inked Rainbow Reads

10-Dec

Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

Love Bytes

Iyana Jenna

Cathy Brockman Romances

11-Dec

Crystal’s Many Reviewers

MM Good Book Reviews

Queer Town Abbey

Full Moon Dreaming

12-Dec

Parker Williams

Amanda C. Stone

3 Chicks After Dark

Cate Ashwood

Rebecca Cohen Writes

Michael Mandrake

WillPride

 

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Guest Post ☞ Kim Fielding

Today we are privileged to have Kim Fielding visit with a guest post. Kim talks about setting goals which is very apt at this time of the year when New Year’s resolutions tend to become a focus. She also has a wonderful Christmas story, the royalties of which are donated to charity. So do check it out.

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Hi, I’m Kim Fielding, and I’m so happy to visit here today!

As soon as I finish writing this, I’m going to take my daily walk. I do at least 3 miles a day, and since I began keeping track of these things in July (thank you, Fitbit!) I’ve walked over 645 miles. That’s more than 1.6 million steps. Now, if someone were to come up to me and say, “Hey! Kim! You need to walk 645 miles, starting now!” I would be an unhappy camper. Because that’s a long way to walk. From my house in California, it’s almost all the way to the Grand Canyon.

But you know what? I have walked that far, and pretty soon I’m going to do another 3 miles. And I’m doing it one step at a time.

When I return from my walk, I’m going to finish grading a huge stack of term papers.  I promised them back by Tuesday. When I made the promise, one student looked at the pile, looked at me, and then exclaimed, “Are you human?” I’m pretty sure I am. I’m grading those papers one at a time, and the stack is slowly shrinking.

And then, assuming the term papers don’t fry my brain, I’m going to resume work on my 13th novel. I wrote my first novel, Stasis, for National Novel Writing Month in 2009. I’ve also written a bunch of novellas and shorts, so in a little over 5 years, I’ve written probably 1.5 million words. Holy cow. And how did I write all this? One damn word at a time.

My point—and I do have one—is that a lot of our brightest goals seem impossible. And I suppose they are, if you look at them all at once. But nobody climbs Mount Everest in a single leap. We do it one step, one word, one term paper at a time. And then one day we look around and Oh my God! we’re there. We’ve made it to the Grand Canyon (where a sexy ghost might be lurking; see my novel Motel. Pool.).

My reason for telling you this is twofold. First, it’s a pep talk. Pick your almost-impossible destination and get there bit by tiny bit. Lose those pounds ounce by ounce. Build your savings penny by penny. Knit that enormous sweater, stitch by stich. Become a great cook, recipe by recipe. Earn that degree, unit by unit. I could go on with this analogy all day.

My other reason is to get you to buy one of my new stories, The Festivus Miracle. It’s a light, sweet holiday tale, which is what we could all use right about now. And I donate all my royalties to Doctors Without Borders. Where we can make a difference, dollar by dollar.

***

The Festivus Miracle is available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Festivus-Miracle-Kim-Fielding-ebook/dp/B00MS89DI2/

Blurb:

It’s finals week during Tony McNeil’s second year in law school, and he’s struggling to keep up. Frankly, he’d rather be cooking. Then he meets first-year student Eddie Cohen-Fernandez, who’s heartsick over missing his family’s annual Festivus celebration. Tony can use his culinary skills to lift Eddie’s spirits, but finding long-term happiness? That just might require a Festivus miracle.

***

You can find Kim on her website: http://kfirldingwrites.com or on Facebook: http://www.facebooks.com/KFieldingWrites or on Twitter: @KFieldingWrites

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❄❄❄ Texas Christmas by RJ Scott ❄❄❄

This great series mainly follows one couple, Riley and Jack.  Click here for the review of the first three books and here for Texas Family.

  • The Heart of Texas (book #1)
  • Texas Winter (book #2)
  • Texas Heat (book #3)
  • Texas Family (book #4) 
  • Texas Christmas (book #5) – in this review

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Texas ChristmasTexas Christmas by R.J. Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you follow my reviews, you will know I have a soft spot for RJ Scott’s books and the Texas series is no exception.

I was slightly nervous about reading this book, worried the story might be too Christmassy-sweet, but nothing could be further from the truth. Texas Christmas was wonderful, blending story lines of the family kind, with the continuing love story of Jack and Riley, and introducing drama with Liam’s story. It was all perfectly balanced and not overdone – perfect!

Liam is running from an abusive past, young and hurt and afraid. Marcus is older and may not think he is looking to settle down but is the perfect man to show Liam what real love is all about.

Riley and Jack’s family continues to be a focus as they celebrate the birth of a nephew and look to expand their own growing family. There are cute and realistic scenes with the twins and touches of sadness as they wait eagerly for Max to be theirs.

Jack and Riley continue to delight and the scenes of them together are a fabulous combination of erotic and passionate while being romantic and full of love. I love the way RJ creates sizzling sex scenes that are hot and steamy while allowing her men to also show a soft and romantic side.

Oh, and I love that barn!

A copy of this book was provided by the author in return for an honest review.

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

And because it’s Christmas, here’s a carol….When It’s Christmas Time In Texas

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To find out more about. R.J. Scott and her books, visit her website.

Buy the Texas series from Amazon.

Check out my blog for other reviews of books and series by R.J. Scott as I can highly recommend them all!

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❄ Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane ❄

★★★★★ I found it – my 5 star Christmas story! ★★★★★

20% of all proceeds from this title are donated to the Ali Forney Center in New York, whose mission “is to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) youth from the harm of homelessness, and to support them in becoming safe and independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood.” To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit the website.

★★★★★

Christmas KitschChristmas Kitsch by Amy Lane

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blurb...

Sometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them—just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity—Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not—but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.

So what did I think?

It was perfect! A wonderful emotional story that shows what love is really about.

Rusty comes from a well-to-do family. He has good looks and is in with the ‘right’ crowd. He may not be the brightest kid but he seems to have it all. That is until he meets Oliver and things take on a different perspective. “It’s kind of sad when I think about it now. At the time, I thought I hung out with a bunch of okay kids. I figured we were spoiled and sheltered, but that wasn’t our fault, really. I mean, I was proud because we sat down with someone new and different, and didn’t beat him into the ground, Pathetic, really – that’s what I had to be proud of, right? that my peer group didn’t bully people too badly?”

Oliver is the new kid, with an ethnic background and a quick wit. He is also gay and from the moment they meet and Rusty defends Oliver, they are destined to be friends.

It’s a gorgeous story as Rusty and Oliver build a deep bond. Told from Rusty’s POV, he shares his thoughts on his family and his future, his worries and his doubts and his hopes. Rusty may not be overly smart but he is so focused and dedicated and with a heart of gold, should be the son that any parent would be only too proud to have.

Rusty’s parents have his future mapped out. That future doesn’t include Rusty working as a contractor and most definitely doesn’t include him being gay. Not that Rusty thinks he’s gay – he’s ‘undeclared’. Being parted from Oliver, after a single kiss, and now hours away at college, Rusty finds it really hard. He’s adjusting to life at college, struggling with classes, trying to cope with his sexually active room mate.

It was so wonderful to see Oliver looking out for Rusty from afar but it is once Rusty returns home for Thanksgiving that his love really shines. Oliver and his family – father, aunts, uncles, cousins, the whole lot! – are totally wonderful, taking Rusty in when his own parent’s reject him. They may not have a lot of money or material possessions but they open their homes and their hearts.

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a real journey for Rusty as he learns what’s really important and takes a stand for what he wants. And what he wants is to make Oliver proud, to give him the home he deserves. He appreciated the love of his sister, the acceptance from his old housekeeper, the assistance of his new surrogate family, the support of his college friend and the unfailing love of Oliver.

There was heartache and emotion and sadness but there was also love and hope and happiness. The story is wonderfully written with great depth to the characters and a lovely injection of humour. And of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a happy ending! “He was my family. He was my home. But you could never have too much home. It was good to live in a world where we were loved.”

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 And today’s Christmas song….All I Want For Christmas by The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus

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To find out more about Amy Lane and her books visit her website.

Buy the Home For The Holidays books from Riptide.

  • How I Met Your Father (L.B. Gregg) – click here for review
  • Long the Mile (Ally Blue)
  • Lost and Found (Z.A. Maxfield)
  • Christmas Kitsch (Amy Lane) – in this review