Image

RELEASE DAY! Blueprint (Out of the Blue, #4) by RJ Jones

Hi everyone, RJ here!

Just a quick reminder that Blueprint, #4 in the series is out today!

the-blues

For those of you that have read the series, this is the one you’ve been waiting for – Jet’s story! He’s so adorable and quirky, I can’t wait for you to read it. Here’s a quick excerpt:

 

“Again?” Gray’s voice penetrated Kylie’s and I removed my earbuds. I hadn’t expected them home so soon. “You can’t still be thinking about him.”

I played dumb. “Who?”

“Who were you thinking about?” Kris stepped up behind Gray, who stood on the other side of the breakfast counter, a knowing look in his eye. “Ooh. You made cupcakes!”

I slapped Kris’s hand away before he had the chance to steal one. “They’re not for you.”

“Jet got laid a couple of weeks ago, and he’s been mooning ever since,” Gray grumbled.

“Cool. Who was it? Anyone we know?” Kris didn’t seem to have a problem that I’d had a date, unlike my brother, who said he didn’t but really did. “Are you seeing him again?”

Gray glared at Kris.

“What?”

“I didn’t get his name,” I said before they started arguing about my love life. “I wish I had, though. His jaw could, you know—” I waved my hand around as I sought for the right word but came up empty. “—cut stuff.”

“Stuff?” Gray raised his eyebrow. “You’re a teacher, for God’s sake, and all you’ve got is ‘stuff’?”

“Hey. It’s drama. I teach people how to be fabulous, not fucking Hemingway.”

Kris snorted. “He’s right, you know.” He turned his attention back to the cupcakes cooling on the counter. “So why all the treats?”

“I’m making them for the new neighbors.” I turned off the oven as I talked, then wiped my hands on my apron. Yes, I wore an apron, but instead of something boring like ‘Kiss the Cook,’ mine had an arrow and said ‘Deliveries in the Rear.’ “Do you know who it is yet? I poked my head out the door a little while ago, but all I saw were big beefy men carrying furniture and I didn’t want to interrupt. Well, I did, but I forced myself not to. I hope it’s a nice couple.”

 

For those of you that haven’t started this journey yet, here’s the blurb:

If only building the foundation for a lasting relationship was as easy as drafting the blueprint.

Jet Black doesn’t date. Even if he wanted a man beyond sex, his ever-watchful identical twin scares potential suitors away. Jet lives with his brother, but since Gray fell in love with Kris, Jet feels like a third wheel. Despite their bond, Jet knows he needs to move out and experience life for himself, whether Gray likes it or not.

After his father dies in a boating accident, Ethan Nichols is devastated. As the last survivor of his family, he realizes the need to put down roots. He leaves Australia and returns home to San Francisco and his old architectural firm. But there’s more to building a new life than simply moving house.

Jet and Ethan’s first encounter is brash and anonymous, but when Ethan moves across the hall, their lives become irrevocably linked. Jet is quirky and fun loving, while Ethan is rock steady and dependable. There’s no denying the passionate spark between them.

But Ethan is looking for a more solid foundation than Jet is ready to offer. Until Jet learns to spread his wings and trust Ethan with his darkest secrets, building a life together will be impossible.

**This can be read as a standalone, however it is best enjoyed reading the series in order as side characters play a major role.**

If you want to read the first chapter for free, head on over to my blog here.

Links:

Goodreads   Amazon   All Romance   Smashwords   iBooks

 

Image

COVER REVEAL: Soaring Hearts by A.L. Boyd

Cover Reveal banner final

Title: Soaring Hearts
Author: A L Boyd
Release Date: October 2016
Genre: MM Romance, Contemporary

SoaringHearts-Large

BLURB
Will hearts soar when pigs fly?
Alex’s job working for his family-owned radio station once took him all over the city reporting on major events—until the accident. His scars, both physical and emotional, cause him to withdraw into a self-imposed, semi-reclusive lifestyle. When his dad requests that he go to the world’s largest hot air balloon festival, he has to find the courage to break his isolation. Now he needs to find the courage to trust and love again.
Jeff had already been planning a move to Albuquerque when he lost his home, parents, and dog to a wildfire in California. To begin his new life, he agrees to help his sister and brother-in-law with their balloon at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. Now he’s seen pigs fly and bees kissing, but will he find the love he’s been searching for?

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30039749-soaring-hearts

add-to-goodreads-button

About the Author
A cartographer by day, A.L. Boyd spends most of her free time with her horses, gardening, or reading. She never intended to be a writer, but stories like this one sometimes just pop into her head. The writing came about as a way to get the stories out. Her first story for the Goodreads M/M Romance DRitC event Crest Ridge Vacation was expanded to the novella titled Crest Ridge.

Contact Links: Email | Goodreads | Facebook

Other works include:

Crest Ridge (Novella): Amazon

The Dawn of Darkness (Free Short Story): Amazon

And a short story included in the Anthology Kickass: Amazon
(written and donated to help fellow author Eric Arvin with his medical bills).

Embrace button

Image

RELEASE DAY! As the Ice Melts by RJ Jones

Two weeks ago saw the release of book #1 in RJ’s Love for the Seasons series, As the Leaves Fall which is getting some rave reviews. Today, we here at Two Men are so excited to announce the release of the second in this wonderful series set in England. If you haven’t checked out book #1 yet, you can purchase As the Leaves Fall here.

Amazon   All Romance   Smashwords   iBooks   Barnes & Noble

 

But today we are here to celebrate the release of the second in the series, As the Ice Melts. Isn’t the cover gorgeous? Keep reading for the blurb and exclusive excerpt.

Ice 600

Blurb…

As hearts begin to thaw, a betrayal of trust threatens to put out the flames.

When Marcus McDonald receives a formal warning from his employer, he knows it’s time to tuck tail and head home to Manchester. His medical condition forces him to keep people at arm’s length, and it wouldn’t be the first time his temperament has landed him in trouble.

All Adam Radney wants is some time to paint, but his father’s death, leaving Adam and his mum up to their ears in debt, means taking on two jobs. Working at the family’s run-down Manchester fish and chip shop, Adam is confronted by a new, surly face in town and instantly dislikes the icy newcomer. So what if he pushes all of Adam’s hot buttons?

When the ice melts and things heat up between Marcus and Adam, Adam thinks all his dreams have come true. With Marcus’s help, new customers arrive and the chip shop starts to flourish, easing Adam’s mind. But when Adam puts all his trust in Marcus on the busiest night the shop has seen in years, thing go awry and it leaves Adam with more questions than answers.

Excerpt…

When we got downstairs and out into the freezing cold, I bundled Marcus awkwardly into the passenger seat of my old banger. His arms and legs didn’t seem to want to move properly. While I drove, his head fell against the window.

“Where can I take you?” I asked.

Without lifting his head or opening his eyes, he mumbled, “I can crash at Colin’s place till morning. He won’t mind.” He jerked upright then and grasped his head in his hands, presumably to stop it spinning. “Shit. They’ve gone away for the weekend. I knew there was a reason why I picked tonight to drink. I’ll have to go home.”

“Will Gran be awake?”

“No, but it won’t matter. I’m not capable of being that quiet. Oh God, she’s going to kill me. If it wasn’t for my mother, I’d be able to get away with this shit.”

I wondered why he lived with his gran and not his parents. “What’s wrong with your mother?”

“She’s an addict,” Marcus stated simply.

I whipped my head towards him so quickly I nearly passed out. “What have you taken?” I demanded, trying to keep my eye on the road.

“Fuck. Nothing. I swear. I had a few cocktails. That’s all. I know better than to take anything else.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Really? Why are you so out of it if you’ve only had a few drinks?”

“I… I’m on medication, and I’m not supposed to drink. I haven’t had a drink in nearly two years, okay?” His tone turned bitter. “Sue me; I just wanted to get out of my head for a bit.”

“God. You’re stupider than I thought.”

Marcus flinched and turned away from me, hunching in on himself against the door. I could see his reflection in the window, and although he had his eyes closed, a lone tear slipped down his cheek. I felt like an arse.

“Where am I taking you?” I asked after a while. I was nearly home, which was just around the corner from Gran’s so I could have taken him there, but it didn’t seem to be the option he wanted.

Marcus blew a short breath through his teeth. “I don’t know. Just let me out. I’ll walk around until I’m better; then I’ll head home.”

“Do you know how cold it is?” I wouldn’t let a cat out in this weather, let alone a drunk and very fuckable young, gay man. “You can sleep on my sofa. Just don’t vomit.”

Marcus turned and faced me, gratitude shining in his baby blues. “Thank you.”

After parking on the street, I helped him up the three flights and settled him on the couch. I untied his boots, and when I handed him a pillow, he grabbed my wrist and pulled me down. Suddenly his face was right there, his lips an inch away from mine, soft, plump, and a little rosy from the cold. I watched as his tongue darted out to wet them a little. Just when I was about to pull away and go to bed, Marcus closed the distance and moved his mouth hesitantly against mine. A brush of warm lips sent electrifying signals to my dick. He tasted sweeter than I thought he would. He opened and I let myself fall in, but only briefly. I straightened and moved away, pulling my shirt down to cover the skin his fingers had brushed just a second before.

“I want you to fuck me.” Marcus looked up at me from his position on the couch, his eyes hooded with lust, or meds and alcohol. I couldn’t tell which.

“I’m not fucking you,” I stated.

“Why not?”

“Because I don’t like you.”

Marcus cringed a little, but his features quickly straightened. “You don’t have to like someone to fuck them.”

“No, you don’t, but it goes a long way to actually wanting to.”

“You know, my arse is so tight, if I squeeze my butt cheeks together I could rip your dick off.”

I huffed. Could this guy be any ruder? “That’s good to know. Not making me want to fuck you any more. Now go to sleep. I want you out of here before I wake up.”

As I stomped down the hallway to my room, I swear I heard Marcus mumble, “And I’m not stupid.”

Amazon   All Romance   Smashwords   iBooks   Barnes & Noble

Image

COVER REVEAL AND DISCOUNT! Black & Bluhe by RJ Jones

Black and Bluhe FBBlack & Bluhe

By

RJ Jones

Today we unveil a gorgeous cover by RJ Jones. This is the second in the Out of the Blue series and will be released in July/August 2015.

Blurb: 

(UNEDITED AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

Grayson Black has never forgiven himself for not being able to save his identical twin brother, Jet from a savage beating. Gray was usually the target of his father’s wrath so he shoulders the blame for Jet’s near death. He has sworn to protect his brother ever since. Gray can’t afford a distraction, the type of distraction provided by a gorgeous blond who has been showing up at their gigs.

Kris Larson is a firefighter with the San Francisco Fire Department. Since the split from his girlfriend he’s spent time watching the Black Brothers play in the bars of San Francisco. It’s not until the brothers are left homeless after a fire at their apartment building that he realizes just how much he’s attracted to the brooding guitarist.

Before Gray and Kris can have a lasting relationship, Gray must learn to forgive himself, let go of the past and lay more than one demon to rest.

Black and Bluhe 600

 4aba9-goodreads-button

To celebrate, RJ is offering the first book, Out of the Blue for only $.99 for the entire weekend. See below for buy links.

OutOfTheBlue_150dpi4pdfOut of the Blue will be on sale for 2 days for only $.99. So if you’re looking for something to read over the weekend why not pick it up?

The Blurb:

When everything happens Out of the Blue…

Lt Cameron Cooper has been with the San Francisco Fire Department for fifteen years. He’s seen and dealt with a lot of horrifying situations. He’s always considered himself mentally tough, but when he attends a multi-vehicle accident and sees a dead boy with features remarkably similar to his long-time boyfriend, his mental health takes a hit.

All Jake Montgomery wants is to propose to his boyfriend on their ten-year anniversary. He’s already bought the perfect rings, but when Cameron struggles to look at him after a tragic accident, he has doubts about their future. Cam is withdrawing, and Jake doesn’t know why.

With heated arguments and cold shoulders, Cam and Jake’s life starts to fall apart. Just when Cam thinks he can overcome his issues and finally talk to Jake, memories from Jake’s past threaten to push them apart forever.

Buy Links:

Amazon   ARe

Image

INTERVIEW: Stay With Me by A.L. Lamb

Today we’ve been joined by our good friend Lily who is celebrating the release of her first story. She has kindly provided us with an interview.

stay with me

Blurb

It has been weeks since Curtis first saw the young waiter with the haunted eyes. No matter how often he went to the café watching him and to find the right opportunity to introduce himself, that moment simply did not come. Joseph was aware of the gentle giant who quietly came to have his lunch and then left. Fearing his father’s wrath and under his ever watchful eyes, he made no moves nor overtures. Until one day…

Interview

Congratulations on the release of your first book! I know what a wonderful and terrifying journey it is. I was hoping you could share a little of your experience with your new fans.

Firstly the cover. The cover, with its pretty Frangipani’s is eye catching, and obviously gives a clue to the characters. Can you share with us a little about the cover design process, and how difficult it was to capture the essence of the book?

I was lucky to meet with Melissa Bell, who is the cover artist because she was so patient with me. Frangipani played a big part at the beginning of the story for Joseph but I couldn’t picture it in my head to reflect how important it then was…Melissa is one of those artists who can truly feel the empathy and then reflect what the writer imagined in their mind and voila! Choosing the models was also hard because in my head, I visualized both Curtis and Joseph when I was writing, so meanwhile Melissa had to look for them. We went through many photos, but for both of us these two models stood out and looked good together.

Where did the inspiration for the story come from?

I love the site “intergaycial” on Facebook and follow their posts religiously. The happy stories on that page and the sad news that we often read in the newspapers about how the gay community is marginalized inspired me.

Can you tell us a little about your characters, Joseph and Curtis?

I love reading romance stories about characters who feel real to me and I always thought that is really what love is about… loving someone with all their quirks, and humanness. Curtis is that person to me. He is slightly overweight, introvert and a little insecure about his body shape because of his previous experience. He worked hard and lived  an honest life, whereas Joseph was a  downtrodden underweight waiter who was struggling to get out of the rut that he was living in. His character is inspired by the current issues that happen around the world and sadly we read about them in the newspapers. I wanted to dream a happy ending story for them.

Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?

Oh….I would love to tell you, but do not want to spoil the story because it is a short one… I tried to write it in a way that everything flows and takes the reader along with them … but you know it has a happy end.  

What do you have planned next? Are there more stories in the pipeline?

I wrote a very short story for “Queerromance” Anthology but finished it late, so  I am finishing that one to add it to the one I am actually writing. That story is again about two wounded heroes. I personally love the plot so I am studying and doing some research for the characters’ backgrounds. I hope to publish those two stories together. This should be in about two months time.

I’m sure your readers would love to get to know a little more about you. How do you spend your time when you are not reading, reviewing or writing?

My motto is books are a girl’s best friend and it was never the diamonds so I read every day. My other passion is sewing my own clothes and making gifts. I get a lot of joy out of surprising people with little handmade gifts that are made with love and care. I think that that is my purpose in life; doing something meaningful for others. I am also a serial café crawler. I love sitting in cafes wearing my quirky designs and sipping a cup of good coffee whilst day dreaming. Did I tell you, I love day dreaming?  I am also very vocal about Human Rights issues.

Thank for joining us, Lily. All the best with your book.

About the Author

A.L. Lamb is a philanthropist by day and an Indi Gay Romance writer by night. She is happily married to a very patient and loving man. They have a furry Maltese X who is human-like and arrogant with a hypnotic gaze.

She is a daydreamer of happy endings and is against bullying in any form. She is actively involved with Marriage Equality and stands by the same sex couples who want to have children. She believes that all a child needs is a loving, protective home.

A.L. Lamb’s biggest regret is not studying English formally because writing stories take much longer but she still gets there, thanks to her friends.

Facebook Page

Buy Link

Amazon

add-to-goodreads-button

 

Image

Excerpt and Giveaway! Godsend by Sloan Johnson

Title: Godsend
Author: Sloan Johnson
Genre: Adult, Gay Romance
Release Date: February 4, 2015
You can’t choose who you fall in love with. Despite knowing from a young age that he was gay, Scott Murphy couldn’t imagine life without Shelly. He threw away the labels and had eleven amazing years with her, but now, he feels even more lost trying to figure out how to move on after Shelly’s death. After nearly a year of watching Scott fade away, Shelly’s father forces him to start living again.
As much as Chris loathes the idea of attending a bereavement group week after week, it’s one of the only places he can go in this town, other than the bar, to not feel so alone. When there’s nothing to distract him or dull his senses, he spends too much time obsessing over how he should have been able to help his sister. When Scott shows up at his group session, Chris decides that maybe some good can come out of his sister’s death.
There’s no denying that Chris is the first man to catch Scott’s attention in a long time, but how can he move on when just thinking of Shelly sends him to his dark place?
The road to recovery won’t be an easy one, but Chris is determined to help Scott see that life is still worth living. But before Scott can allow himself to admit what he feels for Chris, he knows he has to reveal the full truth about Shelly’s death.

I promised Ma that I wouldn’t drink my dinner every night, but some days, it’s impossible to keep that promise. I tell myself that it’s different on days like today because I’m not drinking to forget how much I miss Jill, I’m drinking to forget how miserable some people choose to make one another. Today, I just about lost it and told one couple that there’s no point in them even trying to get along. Unfortunately, my partner frowns upon me telling couples that sometimes two people just aren’t meant to be together, as was this case with this pair.

It takes a minute for my eyes to adjust to the dark atmosphere of Brewster’s after walking around for thirty minutes trying to tell myself I didn’t need a drink. I find an empty seat at the end of the bar and signal the bartender for my usual. Okay, so maybe Ma had a point since he simply nods and has a tall whiskey sour sitting in front of me in less than a minute.

I look around, the same way I do every night, wondering if this town will ever start to feel like home. It’s a nice enough place, but there’s a definite divide between those who are from here and those who move here at some point in their lives.

I sit a bit straighter when I see Scott, the quiet, broody guy from group, sitting at one of the high top tables in the center of the room. He looks absolutely miserable. When I catch a glimpse of his date for the evening, Adrian the annoying twink who thinks he’s God’s gift to all gay men in town, the annoyance radiating off Scott is understandable.

I nurse the first drink, rather than down it as quickly as possible. I’ve wanted to talk to Scott the past few weeks, but he’s ducked out as soon as the official meeting ends, even though Jim hangs around for a while. I’ve considered following him when he leaves, to see if I can talk to him, but then I tell myself that he must have his reasons for not wanting to deal with people and I have to respect that.

I feel like a creep, watching Adrian and Scott eating dinner, but I can’t help it. A few times, I’ve thought Scott was checking me out the same way I have been him and this is the first confirmation I have that I might be right. Scott excuses himself from the table and Adrian reaches out for him as he walks away. I laugh when Scott practically jumps back to keep from being part of an awkward and unwelcome embrace.

Once he’s in the restroom, I order another drink before putting a five-dollar bill in the jukebox. I don’t give a shit about the music, but it’s the closest I can get to Scott without following him into the bathroom, which is a level of creepy that I can’t imagine stooping to.

Sloan Johnson is a big city girl trapped in a country girl’s life. While she longs for the hustle and bustle of New York City or Las Vegas, she hasn’t yet figured out how to sit on the deck with her morning coffee, watching the deer and wild turkeys in the fields while surrounded by concrete and glass.
When she was three, her parents received their first call from the principal asking them to pick her up from school. Apparently, if you aren’t enrolled, you can’t attend classes, even in Kindergarten. The next week, she was in preschool and started plotting her first story soon after.
Later in life, her parents needed to do something to help their socially awkward, uncoordinated child come out of her shell and figured there was no better place than a bar on Wednesday nights. It’s a good thing they did because this is where she found her love of reading and writing. Who needs socialization when you can sit alone in your bedroom with a good book?
Now, Sloan is a tattooed mom with a mohawk and two kids. She’s been kicked out of the PTA in two school districts and is no longer asked to help with fundraisers because she’s been known to lose herself with a good book and forget she has somewhere to be.
HOSTED BY:
Image

★★★★½ Sweetwater by Lisa Henry ★★★★½

 

22611970

Sweetwater

by

Lisa Henry

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

 The blurb

 

Wyoming Territory, 1870.

Elijah Carter is afflicted. Most of the townsfolk of South Pass City treat him as a simpleton because he’s deaf, but that’s not his only problem. Something in Elijah runs contrary to nature and to God. Something that Elijah desperately tries to keep hidden.

Harlan Crane, owner of the Empire saloon, knows Elijah for what he is—and for all the ungodly things he wants. But Crane isn’t the only one. Grady Mullins desires Elijah too, but unlike Crane, he refuses to push the kid.

When violence shatters Elijah’s world, he is caught between two very different men and two devastating urges: revenge, and despair. In a boomtown teetering on the edge of a bust, Elijah must face what it means to be a man in control of his own destiny, and choose a course that might end his life . . . or truly begin it for the very first time.

Our thoughts

 

Elijah is a lonely and isolated young man in Sweetwater, Wyoming, 1870. Scarlet Fever left him an orphan and partially deaf. People in town believe being deaf means being slow and so they treat him as such. Elijah would rather talk to people as little as possible than to be made fun of for his speech. He also feels like he’s a poor substitute for the family his adopted father lost before taking him in. This all leaves Elijah feeling like he doesn’t belong, like he’ll always be apart.

What Elijah desperately wants is for someone to see him. So when Harlan Crane sees what desires Elijah really has, Elijah is drawn to him again and again. Elijah craves the pain that inexplicably gives him pleasure that Harlan provides even if it leaves him full of self loathing.

But there’s another man who also sees Elijah. Grady is a cattle rustler who has dreams of owning his own ranch. He is instantly attracted to Elijah but takes it slow with him for fear of scaring him away. Grady wants to show Elijah that Grady can give him everything he needs. I loved that Grady was gentle and loving but still understood that Elijah craved pain and dominance. He was able to give Elijah what he craved and give him a satisfaction and pleasure that Elijah never found with Harlan.

I truly loved this book. This book is about Elijah’s journey to accept himself and his desires. There is so much emotion in this book. It’s sad and hopeful and just so damn good. Highly recommended.

**A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

 

Otila x

 

add-to-goodreads-button

 

 

 

 

 

Image

★★★★ Never The Perfect Moment by K-Lee Klein ★★★★

22746422

Never The Perfect Moment

by

K-Lee Klein

Publisher: Amber Allure

 

The blurb

Bryan Monroe has always catalogued his life in terms of moments—right moments, wrong moments, perfect moments. But when his best friend and partner on the police force, Chrys Delos, is shot in a raid gone bad, it’s one of the worst moments of Bryan’s life.

Bryan’s been secretly in love with Chrys for years, and the shooting is a wake-up call that it might be time to tell Chrys the truth. The problem is, Bryan’s never been with a man before, so in addition to worrying about Chrys’ injuries, he’s an indecisive wreck over the future.

But with the help of two unlikely matchmakers, Bryan knows it’s time to find the courage, and the perfect moment, to tell Chrys exactly how he feels…

Our thoughts

4 stars

This is a great little short to get you out of a book slump.  Two cops. Best friends. One gay.  One straight.  As a ‘gay for you’ read it felt quite real.  We start the book where Bryan admits he has feelings for his best friend and cop partner Chrys, so we don’t go through the whole ‘coming to terms’ with it drama.  I loved the angle of this story – when is the perfect moment for Bryan to tell Chrys he loves him?  He desperately needs to tell Chrys how he feels but it’s never the right time.  When Chrys is shot in the shoulder and is recuperating at home, Bryan doesn’t tell him.  He kisses him instead.  Perfect moment.

“I’d have a lot of regrets.  Just because I haven’t been with a man before doesn’t mean I can’t be.  Do you want to know what I was thinking about earlier, you know, when you kissed me?”

“Hopefully kissing me again?”

Bryan moaned as he remembered.  “Throwing you against the wall.  Kissing you until you couldn’t breathe.”

 

Grab a cuppa and enjoy a lovely, full of emotion short read.

Robyn x 

add-to-goodreads-button

Between Love and Honor + The Courage to Love

This review is of two books which follow the story of David Harrison. The first, Between Love and Honor, is a short story and is part of the Dreamspinner Press Bittersweet Dreams series.

Bittersweet Dreams, stories of M/M romance with nontraditional endings. It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

The second story, The Courage to Love, picks up David’s tale as he meets Bernard and needs to overcome his fear if they are to find happiness together.

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

Between Love and Honor

Between Love and Honor

by E.E. Montgomery

 

The Blurb...

It’s 1914 and David looks up from his Post Office counter to see the man of his dreams. Carl is everything he’s ever wanted, but Australia has laws against ‘deviants’ and the two men must be circumspect. When World War I breaks out, Carl tries to enlist but is rejected. People see his delicate features and stature and assume he’s ‘less than a man’. He’s scorned for not doing his duty while David is applauded for serving his country at home. Public condemnation turns violent, and Carl and David are torn between love and honor.

So what did I think?

This story had a true sense of time and place, capturing the era and the attitudes beautifully . The time is 1914 and David & Carl are dealing with their growing love for one another in a time when their love was definitely not understood, and also dealing with the impact of the war.

I knew this story was bittersweet going into it and almost read it reluctantly, knowing I was setting myself up for heartache. It is only a short story but managed to really draw me in, leaving me with a feeling of sadness and most definitely wanting to keep following David’s story.

Somehow I think it makes it easier to read these Bittersweet series stories when you know there is another book on the horizon. In this case it is The Courage To Love which follows David’s story as he returns from the war.

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

The Courage to Love
The Courage to Love

by E.E. Montgomery

 

The blurb…

Warning: This blurb is slightly spoilerish if you haven’t read the first book yet so skip to the review section if you don’t want to find out what happened!

In 1915, after his beloved Carl died from a vicious beating, David Harrison enlisted in the Army and went to war. He returns home to find a world seemingly unchanged, while he will never be the same. At Mrs. Gill’s boarding house, he meets Bernard Donnelly, a young man suffering the aftereffects of his own war experiences. David finds himself increasingly attracted to Bernard, but that terrifies him. He blames himself for Carl’s horrific death and fears he isn’t strong enough to lose another love to violence.

Bernard needs David to help him face each day and find a way they can be together without stigma—and without putting them in legal and physical danger—but David clings to his idea that the only way to keep a lover safe is not to have one. His fears threaten to destroy everything, unless he learns that sometimes the risk is worth it and finds the courage to love.

4 stars

So what did I think?

David’s story started in Between Love and Honor, where David met and fell in love with Carl but they were not destined to have a future together. David is devastated at the loss of his lover and holds himself responsible. The Courage To Love picks up his story once he returns from the horrors of the war.

As with the first story, this book had a wonderful sense of time and place and appeared to reflect what it was like to live in Brisbane in the period after the war– the attitudes, the way of life, the hardship, the illness…

This is a story of fear of loving. And David’s fear is understandable due to what he’d been through– the death of his lover, his guilt, the war experience, his own mother’s attitude. The result is that his love for Bernard meant he kept him at arm’s length, afraid to get too close.

It was a moving story with wonderful characters– I loved Mrs Gill– but I do admit to wanting just a touch more of a physical relationship between David and Bernard. I know that their level and amount of intimacy was appropriate for the story but I couldn’t help but hope.

And after the tears of book 1, thank goodness David got his happy ending!

4 stars

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

To find out more about E.E. Montgomery and her books visit her website.

Buy Between Love and Honor from Dreamspinner Press.

Buy The Courage to Love from Dreamspinner Press.

Buy The Courage to Love from Amazon.

Image

PRE-RELEASE REVIEW: Forty-Two Stairs by A.F. Henley

Forty-two Stairs

Forty-Two Stairs by A.F. Henley

 

The blurb…

Owen has been struggling with addiction since he was a teenager, but it takes a DUI involving another vehicle for him to finally face his issues. The road to recovery is a rough one, and for Owen it’s a journey made harder by bankruptcy, loneliness, and repressed memories.

His new apartment doesn’t help either. It’s small, worn, and hot as hell. The only way to reach it is a tedious stretch of stairs that seems like the final insult on top of a whole pile of misery. Thankfully, the mess comes with one bright spot: intense, pretty Sebastian, who seems to have a knack for keeping his head up and finding the beauty in everything.

So what did I think?

Owen and Sebastian– two men who aren’t perfect, men with issues and baggage– who take a journey of discovery and find out that sometimes it is easier to move forward with someone to lean on, and that “someone” doesn’t need to be perfect.

Owen is at a low point in his life, a drunk driving charge resulting in him losing his job, home and boyfriend. He is placed on probation and needs to start over and therefore moves into a small apartment, directly over Sebastian’s apartment. It takes him forty-two stairs to reach his new apartment– a tortuous journey that Sebastian assures him will become easier.

The story follows the evolution of Owen and Sebastian’s relationship against the doubts they both have. Owen, as reinforced by his brother and his AA sponsor, believes that a new relationship will hinder his recovery. But it’s not as simple as overcoming the physical addiction– there are many ghosts in Owen’s past that drove him to lose himself in alcohol. Sebastian has his own issues and doesn’t want to hurt Owen in any way.

Purple-haired Sebastian is the highlight of the story. There was something so engaging about his character. He also responded so beautifully to Owen, knowing what needed to be said to help Owen to deal with the ghosts from his past and move forward with this life. I would love to spend some more time with Sebastian, to get to know him, more insight into his problems and how he ended up maintaining the apartment block.

Owen’s life does change and his relationship with Sebastian deepens in parallel with his ability to climb the forty-two steps without getting breathless.

“Yeah,” Owen chuckled. “Those first few trips up are nasty. You get used to it, though.”
His mother rose and tugged her clothing into place. “Let me guess? You just have to keep making the trip.”
“And look up,” Owen said brightly. “You’d be surprised the difference that looking up makes.”

3.5/4 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for my honest review.

To find out more about A.F. Henley, visit the website.

Buy Forty-Two Stairs from Less Than Three Press (available 25th June 2014)