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

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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 

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DSP Daily Dose MENDED Anthology – Part 1

These books are part of the DSP Daily Dose Mended Anthology which is a themed story released every day in June.

Mended

This year it is all about…..”Each story Life comes with a bit of hurt, but luckily for these men, it also comes with the right amount of comfort to mend their breaks, both of the body and the heart. From facing deranged exes to economic trials, the men in these tales have faced trial by fire–or in some cases water–for the right to love and live. Step into their shoes as they rebuild their family after a gutting betrayal or traverse the stars with an unexpected partner. The Mended Daily Dose package delivers stories about all kinds of second chances built on love.”

❤❤❤❤❤

Cleary Palit

Cleary Palit

by Zahra Owens

The blurb…

Edward “Ted” Cleary and Cazimir Palit have shared everything for eight years. Well, almost everything. They own a successful business together, share a house in West Hollywood, and never travel anywhere without each other, but they’ve never slept in the same bed.

There’s one more thing Ted hasn’t shared with Caz. Ted has a mother, sister, and brother in Atlanta Caz has never met. With good reason. They threw Ted out when he wouldn’t “change his ways,” and he’s never looked back. When Ted is rejected all over again, Caz steps up and proves he isn’t the superficial man Ted always took him for, and Ted’s long-hidden feelings might finally be returned.

So what did I think?

Cleary Palit is the first story of the package and made a nice start to the collection. I enjoyed the story of long-time business partners Ted and Caz. The men have worked and lived together for years and Ted has pinned for the unattainable Caz. He doesn’t think he’s in Caz’s league or Caz’s type. It takes a family situation where Ted needs support for both men to finally start facing their feelings.

This story provided a bitch of a sister (award winning on the bitch-stakes really), lots of family confrontation and an all-the-way happy ending. It was an interesting romance– not hugely hearts-and-flowers– it’s more about showing feeling with actions. Our hero Ted isn’t totally gorgeous, his body isn’t fabulous, he’s a nerd and can’t see a thing without his glasses. I wanted to shake him to stand up for himself at the beginning of the story but he’d endeared himself by the end.

3.5 stars

The Way Things Turn Out

The Way Things Turn Out

by MA Ford

The blurb…

After a serious crash during testing, sports car driver Alan accompanies his injured teammate, Nathan, to the hospital, promising his boss he’ll stay until Nathan’s next of kin can be reached.

Former F1 test driver Nathan was a recent addition to the team, and he and Alan were not on the best of terms. Waiting for Nathan to regain consciousness gives Alan time to think back over the recent races and the ups and downs of their relationship.

Even when Nathan wakes up, Alan remains by his side at the hospital. Nathan is still keeping secrets and needs help more than he’s willing to admit. If they can trust each other, it might open the door to an attraction both assumed was one-sided.

So what did I think?

I’ve got a real soft spot for the books by this author. I think I must be a closet motor sports fan!

It took a little while to settle into reading this comfortably– getting into the flow of the first person present narration, the flashbacks and Alan providing his back story– but once things got going, I really liked it.

It is not surprising that the author has a background in the racing scene due to the level of detail provided. She provides a sense of the lifestyle and does provide information on how the sport works, mentions various tracks and famous drivers but this serves to give the book a realistic setting.

This is a coming-out combined with sort-to-enemies-to-lovers theme – there’s nothing like an accident to bring true feelings to the surface.

3.5 stars

Branded

Branded

by Bru Baker

The Blurb…

When a would-be assassin sneaks into the citadel disguised as a servant, the king requires that all servants who work in the castle be branded with the royal crest for easy identification. Prince Coren is powerless to fight the edict, but he refuses to allow his personal advisor and secret lover Brannir to suffer alone. Coren shows his devotion by wielding the brand to mark Brannir himself, even though he fears it will change their relationship. He’s prepared for resentment, hurt, and anger–every outcome but the one he receives: unconditional love.

So what did I think?

This is the third story in the DSP Daily Dose Mended anthology. It was short but surprisingly enjoyable. I say ‘surprisingly’ because I’m not usually a big fan of fantasy/historical worlds but this one really worked for me.

The story takes place over one night as Corin needs to brand his servant/lover. I could feel Corin’s pain at having to perform the task and admired Bran’s courage due to his love for the other man. I also liked Finnick, the guard, who was so understanding of their situation and amusing.

4 stars

Deep Water

Deep Water

by Coral Moore

The blurb…

Mario Guzman is trying out for the swim team, his ticket to paying his way through college. When he meets Jordan Lewis, an outspoken writer for the school’s paper, he considers coming out even though he’s been very private about his sexuality all his life.

Violence intended for Jordan takes Mario out of consideration for the team and threatens his best hope for an education. He lashes out when Jordan tries to help him in his time of need. Eventually Mario regrets driving Jordan away, and his need to apologize takes him to the scene of the attack, where he confronts his pain and terror. This time Jordan is there to help him face the biggest obstacle in his path.

So what did I think?

I liked this story despite not being entirely sold on the attraction between Mario and Jordan which result pretty much in insta-love. But it was still a nice short and sweet story.

3 stars

Total Immersion

Total Immersion

by Ellis Carrington

The blurb…

Evan Stanton is in over his head. Injured from a fall on campus, he’s let his boyfriend talk him into a senior year total immersion trip—two weeks abroad—only his boyfriend ends up dumping him shortly before takeoff. Evan gets on the plane anyway, but he’s lost his hope and added to his pain.

Chris Bale decided to spend his senior year of college clearing his head after breaking up with the girl he’s dated since high school. He finds himself on a flight to Istanbul next to a surly kid with piercings and guyliner who couldn’t be more his opposite. They strike up a friendship anyway, and as they make their way across a foreign land, Bale realizes he’s too immersed in Evan to let go.

So what did I think?

This short story was lots of fun. I think it might be the first romance I’ve read set in Istanbul so a plus there for originality!

This is the story of poor Evan who starts a tour to Turkey feeling pretty down. He’s just been dumped by his boyfriend plus he has chronic pain from an injury months before. Enter, Bale, the perfect guy to befriend him and become is room-mate. Bale has broken up with is girlfriend and takes Evan under his wing.

It was a sweet story with moments of humour and some little surprises from straight-boy Bale who’s not afraid to jump into a sexual relationship with Evan.

3.5 stars

❤❤❤❤❤

Buy from Dreamspinner Press

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★★★★½ EXCERPT & REVIEW: Forsaking Truth by Lydia Michaels ★★★★½

New release – Book five in the McCullough Mountain series

Forsaking Truth

 

  • Sacred Waters (book #1)
  • Skin (book #2)
  • Chaste (book #3)
  • Faking It (book #4)
  • Forsaking Truth (book #5) – in this review

 

FT

 

Forsaking Truth

by

Lydia Michaels

The blurb:

When Luke McCullough’s athletic potential is diminished by a field injury, his pride pays the price. Returned to Center County a broken man, the long road to recovery seems dreary and overshadowed by opportunities lost, until he meets Tristan Hughes.

Tristan came to Center County to escape his past and start anew, but nothing prepared him for Luke. Intrigued, Tristan cautiously gets to know this powerful man, only to fall head over heels for the vulnerable soul hiding behind all that intensity and drive.

Luke has never been interested in men, so when he can’t get Tristan out of his head he doubles his efforts to fight the inevitable. Stolen glances lead to heated encounters, followed by punishing regret, but Luke’s inability to face the truth of who he really is may cost him the only happiness he’s ever known.

So what did Robyn think? 

4.5 stars

This is book five of the ‘McCullough Mountain series but it can be read as a stand alone. The first four books are MF which I don’t read anymore, but it’s not needed to be able to follow this story.

I had a few issues at the start of the book which lessened my interest in the story at first.  But this didn’t last long!

There is a GFY here which is done well and the internal conflicts of each character were very realistic.  There is one ‘hate-crime’ violent scene in this book which my be triggers for some readers, so fair warning.

The love these two guys had was tangible, you could feel it.  They both had deep issues and it took them quite a while to figure themselves out.  I cried like a baby and although that’s happened before, it doesn’t happen often.

My major gripe was the timeframe.  This book spans 6 years and when I saw the first timeframe jump I wasn’t too happy.  It’s only a small gripe though as this was done quite well and didn’t diminish the feel you got for the characters and their struggle.

If you’re still reading MF I would recommend reading the first four books so you get a better understanding of the side characters but it’s not necessary.  Recommended!

Hope you enjoy – Robyn x

An Excerpt

He stepped close and his palm curled around the back of Luke’s neck. A split second later—too quick to pull back—Tristan’s lips met his.

Luke grunted and jerked away at the first stroke of the other guy’s tongue. “What the hell are you doing?”

“I…I thought you wanted me to. You touched me.”

He frowned. No he didn’t. Yes. You fucking did. You’re still touching him. He jerked his hand away. It was the beer! Shit, he needed to lay off the drinking.

“Luke, look, it’s okay. I just thought with everything today—the shower—clearly I misread—”

“Are you dating my cousin?” he suddenly blurted.

“What? No. Ryan’s straight.” Tristan’s answer shouldn’t have relieved him, but it did.

“You’re gay?”

Luke was distracted as Tristan took a deep breath.  Tanned skin shadowed with hair drew his gaze to the cut of his chest glistening with a hint of sweat or maybe spilt beer. “Yeah, but it doesn’t have to be an issue. If you aren’t interested, we can act like nothing happened here and just go back to five minutes ago.”

“Does Ryan know you’re gay?”

“Yeah. He’s fine with it. Most people are. It’s not like I openly maul anything with a dick. I have a specific taste.”

“Me?”

“Well…” He turned and forked a hand through his hair. “You’re very handsome. Christ, I already saw you naked.”

And for some reason Luke had purposely made sure he’d seen him. He wanted him to look, like it was some pissing match or something. Thinking back, it was stupid and nothing like he’d ever done before.

“I’ll go,” Tristan said, grabbing his soiled shirt.

Luke caught his arm. “Wait.”

“For what, Luke? I clearly misread the situation.”

“Did you think I was gay?”

“No, but then…I don’t know. I thought maybe you were bi. You hear things about football players playing grab ass in the locker rooms and shit. I don’t know what the fuck I thought. Then you touched me and I just…stopped thinking.”

“You like being with men?” Well, no shit. That’s pretty much what it was to be gay. He couldn’t fathom it. Did Tristan take the top or bottom? He didn’t look gay, whatever that looked like.

“Well…yeah.”

“What do you do with them?”

“Jesus, Luke, everything. What do you want to know?”

“Does it hurt?”

“Fuck no. It feels fantastic.”

He stepped back, needing to do something, but not the type to fidget. “Have you ever been with a woman?”

Tristan’s expression became serious. “No. It’s always been guys.”

“This is crazy. I need a beer.” He turned and pulled out a new bottle. He’s fucking gay.

Luke never met a gay person that he knew of. He lived in Center County, not the most liberal place. “Man, you picked the wrong town to move to.”

“Tell me where the right town is.” Tristan stepped into the den. “I’m just another guy, Luke. I just wanna work and live and have the right to the same happiness everyone else is looking for in this fucked up world.”

Luke’s gaze moved over his chest. There were over a dozen scars. “That’s why your dad beat you, for being gay?”

“Yeah.” There was so much gravity in that one little word something in Luke broke.

“I’m sorry.”

“I’m not. Taught me a lesson I’ll never forget. No matter how hard someone hits me, or shuns me, or calls me ugly names, I’m still me. They don’t have to like it. They don’t have to live with it, but I do. And I refuse to be something I’m not.”

Luke dropped into the chair. “How old were you?”

“When I realized I was gay? Probably four.”

“No, when your dad did that to you.”

“Eighteen. Five days later my lover tried to kick the shit out of me in front of the whole school and called me everything he was afraid to call himself. Three months later I left for college and never looked back.”

Holy shit. “Did you ever think it would be easier to be straight?”

“I’ve thought lots of things. Sometimes I think it would be fun to fly, but that doesn’t make it possible.”

“No women?”

“No. Only men.”

“I’m not gay.” Luke stated, needing to hear the affirmation.

Tristan nodded. “And that’s cool. I didn’t mean to…”

“Right.”

The silence stretched between them. Finally, Tristan said, “I’m gonna take off.”

“Okay.” He was in a daze. This was some heavy shit.

“Thanks for…”

“Thanks for your help.”

They nodded at one another and Tristan slipped on his wet shirt. A moment later the door closed.

Luke sat there for probably five minutes just digesting everything. He liked Tristan. A lot. Just not in any sort of romantic way. He didn’t swing that way. He liked pussy. He was a boob man or maybe a leg man. Definitely wasn’t a gay man.

He stood and went to hit the lights. He was way past the legal limit and needed to sleep. Maybe things would be clearer in the morning.

He dropped the empties in the bin and went to lock up. As he approached the door it suddenly opened. He stilled and Tristan stepped back in. Why was he back? His return sent a rush of blood pumping through Luke’s veins and his breathing picked up.

“I don’t have a car here.”

Right. He’d picked him up. “I’ve been drinking.”

“I could call a cab.”

“Or you could crash here.” He hadn’t thought about his offer, it just slipped out.

“Or I could crash here.”

Luke stared at him and waited. Sure, Tristan could crash. He could sleep on the recliner. Luke swallowed. He felt like he was doing something very wrong. Part of him was glad he couldn’t drive. So glad, that when the thought of calling Sheilagh and asking her to take Tristan back to his Aunt Rosemarie’s popped in his head, he immediately shoved it away.

“I was about to hit the sack anyway,” he said.

Tristan nodded. “You got an extra blanket?”

“Yeah. I’ll grab it. Make yourself comfortable.”

He went to the closet in the hall and pulled out a spare blanket. When he turned, Tristan was in the den, kicking off his boots. “Here you go.”

“Thanks, Luke. Listen, I’m sorry about all this. I hope—”

Luke slammed his lips to Tristan’s mouth. He didn’t know who was more shocked, him or Tristan. All he knew was the thought of Tristan, who’d taken his fair share of beatings for only being who he was, apologizing to him, cut him apart. He silenced him the only way he knew how.

About the author

Award winning author, Lydia Michaels, writes all forms of hot romance. She presses the bounds of love and surprises readers just when they assume they have her stories figured out. From Amish vampyres, to wild Irishmen, to broken heroes, and heroines no man can match, Lydia takes readers on an emotional journey of the heart, mind, and soul with every story she pens. Her books are intellectual, erotic, haunting, always centered on love.

Lydia Michaels loves to hear from readers! She can be contacted by email at Lydia@LydiaMichaels.org

Webpage: www.LydiaMichaels.org

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A Rookie Move by Sam B. Morgan

A Rookie MoveA Rookie Move by Sam B. Morgan

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Fifteen years with the Los Angeles Police Department, Mike Graham is a seasoned cop and a damn good training officer. On the brutal streets of LA, he’s witnessed every type of crime and taught countless rookies how to survive while they protect and serve. Nothing surprises him anymore. That is, until he meets Nathan York.

Nathan York shouldn’t be a cop. With his Beverly Hills background and pretty boy good looks, he’s fit for the land of movie stars and nose jobs. Too bad being LAPD is all he’s ever wanted. No longer a rookie, he thinks he’s ready for anything, even if the next challenge is working with his hard-assed yet magnetic ex-training officer.

Partners on the job, Mike and Nate both struggle with an attraction that has no place in their world. Their explosive chemistry reaches a point it cannot be ignored, but the same chemistry that consumes them could destroy the very thing that binds them together.

So what did I think?

I was sucked straight into the story of Nate and Mike, right from the first action scene, through their emotional turmoil (not that it was really that angsty) and to the happy ending.

I love a story that is able to blend the romance with ‘real life’ action so I really enjoyed the scenes where the guys were responding to calls and performing their jobs as police officers.

Mike is the older of the two men and he is partnered with Nate to act as his mentor. He is good at what he does with a tough reputation, putting his rookies through their paces but turning out good cops. Mike is in the closet with an immediate attraction to Nate. He resists but ultimately he breaks all his rules with Nate.

Nate is only in his mid-twenties and still learning the ropes. His love life has always been lacking and he is in a dead-end relationship with his girlfriend. When that relationship ends and he starts to look at Mike in a way he has never looked at another man before, he starts to get an inkling as to why the sparks were never flying in the past.

These guys are hot together! I love the combination of slightly older and more experienced partner, I liked Nate just waking up to his sexuality, I liked the internal conflict as each man tried to work through their issues.

Mike’s doubts seemed so real as he questioned whether Nate would stay with him, sure that Nate’s feelings would run their course and he would want to broaden his experience. But Nate knows exactly what he wants – he may be new at this but he isn’t shy!

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

To find out more about Sam B. Morgan and books visit the website.

Buy A Rookie Move from Amazon.

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★★★★ Track Limits by M.A. Ford ★★★★

Track LimitsTrack Limits by M.A. Ford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Is motorsport ready for a gay driver?

As the opening race in the Global GT Challenge approaches, lead driver Mark Hunter struggles to regain his confidence after Randolph Racing’s last disastrous season. Mark hesitates when owner Randy says he’s found the perfect replacement for their arrogant previous teammate, Brad Wilkins. Former single-seater star Jordan Matthews is excited to join the crew and ready to put past troubles behind him.

Trust builds as Mark and Jordan become a fine-tuned team for the number 17 Saleen, earning a podium in Abu Dhabi at the season opener. Their friendship develops into more as they continue to earn prestige for Randolph Racing. But their success sparks jealousy, and people from their pasts threaten vengeance. Jordan is reluctant to ruin his fresh start in racing by exposing the secrets that almost cost him his career ten years ago. If he can’t take the risk, he’ll never realize his dream of kissing Mark on the winner’s podium.

So What Did I Think?

When I read MA Ford’s bio, I wasn’t surprised to see she has a background in the world of motorsport. It sure comes across in her writing. There is a real sense of the life in the sport and what being part of GT racing is all about. At first I was very nervous, the story stating with a glossary of motorsport terminology – and there was a lot! – and then a brief history of GT racing in Europe. I almost lost my desire to read the book before it has really even started. Luckily I kept going!

After the glossary and the history, the story starts and it starts in a quite unique way. First a press release and then a internal note to the teams and drivers, welcoming them to the season and issuing instructions. Different but interesting.

This is the story of the team leader Mark and his new co-driver Jordan. Mark made a choice, many years ago, to deny his true sexuality and choose a path which includes girlfriend Sally. Jordan is closeted and had a Formula 1 career cut short by a sexual relationship with another driver that went wrong.

A strong friendship develops between the men. For Jordan it is instant attraction and even more, for Mark it takes a little longer to admit it is more than friendship.

Lots of drama with race scenes, and rage on the track, as the budding relationship between Jordan and Mark is tested. This is a story of facing the truth about a relationship and taking steps to not live in fear or allow others to dictate how you live your life.

I liked the way Sally wasn’t written to be a complete bitch, I liked the fulfillment of Jordan’s podium dream (although I wanted the big reveal to have more drama and thought there was a bit of lost opportunity due to where/how it happened  – yes, I’m a softy for big, elaborate public declarations of love and coming out scenes) and I liked the characters of both Jordan and Matt. They are just all round nice guys.

The main down side of the story was the lack of on page sex.
“Come on.” Jordan muttered as they quickly removed their clothes. It was all so new, so unfamiliar, and yet seemed so absolutely right.
Afterward, Mark stretched out on one of the narrow beds…….”

The guys sort of started and then there was fade to black. I definitely wanted more on-page action! It felt like a real tease!

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

Buy Track Limits from Amazon.

Buy Track Limits from DSP.

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As Natural As Breathing by Thianna D.

  • As Natural As Breathing (Book #1) – in this review
  • Took My Breath Away (Book #2)

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

As Natural As BreathingAs Natural As Breathing by Thianna D.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

For Christian Darringer, life isn’t worth living. Just back from the Middle East; scarred and with permanent damage to one leg, he does not think anyone will want him for anything. Meeting a gorgeous man he finds himself thinking about constantly is not in his plans. Pulled toward the startling younger man with striking blue eyes, he begins to question a lot of things – especially his sexuality. Not one to hide from a challenge, he plunges ahead only to find himself more than just attracted to Logan who is full of life and joy, he finds himself head over heels in love.

Logan Mannette has almost everything he ever wanted: loving parents, happiness, friends and security. The only thing missing is finding the love of his life, a love that is just like his parents’. When he meets Christian at a party, everything changes. Instantly attracted, he does his best to help this sad man and quickly finds himself feeling more than he has ever felt before. Raised in a domestic discipline household, he holds that ideal as what he wants but his interest in spanking became a fetish and when Christian admits that he wants to be spanked, Logan believes he might have found the perfect man.

Just as everything begins for them, Christian’s past intercedes and one of his brothers makes waves about him dating a man. If it weren’t for Logan’s support, he might fold; but with the love of one amazing man, Christian finds that living his life rather than just existing is as natural as breathing.

So What did I Think?

I enjoyed this story of the wounded Christian returning to his family to heal, both mentally and physically, but finding his healing comes through the love he finds with Logan.

Christian had been wounded under exceptional (maybe unrealistic?) circumstances and is suffering from PTSD. His physical scars and pronounced limp are significant, his mental trauma is severe with nightmares and flashbacks, and through all this he is challenged by his confused sexual feelings. Add to this the torment provided by his brother and it is not an easy time for Christian!

There are many themes in this book –

  • PTSDand returning from war
  • gay-for-you: Christian comes to terms with the attraction he feels for Logan.
  • domestic discipline: I really enjoyed the spanking scenes between Logan and Christian but some aspects just seemed to wonderfully coincidental i.e. Logan has a kink and it terms out that Christian has longed to be spanked forever. It seemed more pleasure spanking than discipline but was hot anyway! I also found it really strange that Logan’s dad is the one who has instructed him on DD relationships and shared so much of what he gets up to with his wife!
  • intolerance – Obviously it starts with the attack on Christian but once he gets home it continues with Christian’s brother. Christian’s brother is a real asshole. Luckily the rest of the family are the total opposite.

One of the highlights of the story has to be the secondary characters – friends and family who are wonderful. I loved the style of the book and the dialogue and the pace. It was very engaging and an enjoyable story.

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

 

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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
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❄ Blame It One The Mistletoe by Eli Easton ❄

This is a totally wonderful and highly recommended Christmas novella!

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Blame It On The MistletoeBlame It On The Mistletoe by Eli Easton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

When physics grad student Fielding Monroe and skirt-chaser and football player Mick Colman become college housemates, they’re both in for a whole new education. Mick looks out for the absent-minded genius, and he helps Fielding clean up his appearance and discover all the silly pleasures his strict upbringing as a child prodigy denied him. They become best friends.

It’s all well and good until they run into a cheerleader who calls Mick the ‘best kisser on campus.’ Fielding has never been kissed, and he decides Mick and only Mick can teach him how it’s done. After all, the physics department’s Christmas party is coming up with its dreaded mistletoe. Fielding wants to impress his peers and look cool for once in his life. The thing about Fielding is, once he locks onto an idea, it’s almost impossible to get him to change his mind. And he just doesn’t understand why his straight best friend would have a problem providing a little demonstration.

Mick knows kissing is a dangerous game. If he gives in, it would take a miracle for the thing not to turn into a disaster. Then again, if the kissing lessons get out of hand they can always blame it on the mistletoe.

So what did I think?

Blame It On The Mistletoe was a totally wonderful story! This is one of those stories where the characters are just so gorgeous you want nothing more than for them to get together. In this case it is Mick and his roommate Fielding who are jut meant to be together.

Mick has given up football and endless meaningless sex with girls who don’t mean anything to him, to focus on his study and this has meant moving from the dorm with all it’s distractions.

Fielding is his flatmate. Fielding is a genius with a sheltered upbringing, dorky but cute and very naive. But it is Fielding and his strange request “I’m not asking you to kiss me because you want to. I’m talking about a simple transference of skills. The way you taught me running.” that ignites feelings in Mick that he has never felt before.

Mick tries to resist, he’s not gay after all, but can’t get the thought of kissing Fielding out of his mind. And oh, what a kiss! I loved the description of Mick and Fielding together – it just seems so right! Of course, kissing Fielding doesn’t allow Mick to now put it out of his mind. Once h’s had a taste he just wants more.

Mick struggles with his feelings for Fielding and I adored his friend Samantha’s response and advice.
“But, Sam, I don’t want to be gay. I mean, obviously I must be bisexual, but that doesn’t mean I have to choose to be with a guy. Seriously, think about it. If you had a choice would you choose to love your life as a gay person and put up with a bunch of bullshit from people?”
“If I loved someone, and that made me gay, then yes!”

Sweet characters, gorgeous gay-for-you, hot first kisses, public displays of affection, coming out….it all adds up to a great story!

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To find out more about Eli Easton and her books visit her website.

Buy Blame It On The Mistletoe from Amazon.

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Today’s Christmas Song…..Meet Me Under The Mistletoe!

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Eight Second Cowboy by Piper Kay

Eight Second CowboyEight Second Cowboy by Piper Kay

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

It’s Rodeo Roundup time in Houston. Undefeated bull riding champion, Matt Stevens, runs into longtime nemesis, Lance Loskey. Matt is intense, his focus and drive sustain him, but seeing Lance with his carefree attitude rages a plethora of feelings to the surface. This mellow cowboy is in position for more than just the championship after a freak accident paves Lance’s way. This is an opportunity for bull riding opponents to embrace their destiny. Will they succumb to fate, or will stubborn pride end the 8 second ride in tragedy?

So what did I think?

This book has heaps of strong reviews (on Goodreads), averaging 4.4 stars as I write my own review. I think I must have missed something here because, although I liked the story, there were quite a number of things that I found off putting. I would suggest you check out the reviews of others before deciding on this book based solely on my review because it seems I might be the odd one out (I haven’t yet read the other reviews as I never read them before writing my own review but I will check some out later to see what others picked up on that escaped me). Anyway…

Firstly, I did like reading the book, the story wasn’t bad and it was nice way to while away some time. It wasn’t earth shattering, just a story about a guy who discovers he has unexpected feelings for another man after never having felt that way about a guy before. In this gay-for-you/enemies-to-lovers story, Matt is fearful of coming out on the rodeo circuit which threatens his relationship with Lance. I just had a few minor issues that prevented this book from reaching over 3 stars for me.

I think the main thing that I struggled with from the beginning was the first person, present tense POV. Instead of it providing a deep connection to the character of Matt, I found it somewhat uncomfortable reading. Probably just a personal thing…

Another pet peev of mine is the use of some language that appeared in this book, the sort of language that I find unromantic or lacking in true passion. There was overuse of the word ‘pucker’ and I didn’t like statements like “I squirt my hot juices..” or “..several little squirts, and then a huge discharge..” – it all sounded too clinical and like a festering wound!

At one point, Matt makes a confession about something traumatic in his past. I just didn’t feel the emotion which was similar to other parts of the story where the conversations appeared a little stilted without a natural flow. Plus I found it unbelievable that a bull-rider not only had never ridden a horse but was scared of them!

So all-in-all, it was okay for a quick read, so long as you enjoy the first person present tense and aren’t as adverse to some of the language as I am! And it was only $0.99 so maybe I shouldn’t complain so much. :

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To find out more about Piper Kay and her books visit her website.

Buy Eight Second Cowboy from Amazon.

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✮✮✮✮ Treasure of Love by Scotty Cade ✮✮✮✮

The Love series:

  • Wings of Love (book #1) – click here for review
  • Treasure of Love (book #2) – in this review
  • Bounty of Love (book #3)
  • Foundation of Love (book #4)

Treasure of Love (Love, #2)Treasure of Love by Scotty Cade

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Hunky Alaskan dive master and charter boat captain Jackson Cameron is absolutely sure he’s straight until openly gay treasure hunter Dax Powers calls him and offers him the adventure of a lifetime: Dax and his sister Donatella have found the Anna Wyoming, a ship that went down during the 1889 gold rush on return from Skagway Island—very possibly carrying a fortune in gold.

But real treasure is never free, and this one comes with some heavily armed strings attached. Jack and Dax struggle to keep their small crew safe from a powerful threat while they fight against the attraction they feel for each other. Between the danger of the hunt, the risks in the dive, and the thrill of being lost in passion, Dax and Jack are going to have a hard time holding on to their treasure… and to each other!

So what did I think?

I was a little worried when I started reading this book, knowing the story was about Jack who was pretty much an asshole in the first book. I definitely didn’t like Jack’ character in Wings of Love so had no idea what to expect here.

I needn’t have worried. The Jackson in this book seems a completely different characters to the character we were first introduced too. Some time has passed and Jackson has definitely mellowed in his attitude and there are no signs of his previous intolerance. “Jack had had a hard time dealing with Mac’s sudden change in lifestyle, but eventually he’d come to accept it, and if he was honest with himself, was a little envious of their loving relationship.” In fact its rather fun to see Jack get teased as he clearly develops feelings for Dax.

It was nice to get an update on Mac and Brad, to see where their relationship was taking them, and to have them play a role in this story.

It’s quite an interesting tale with some mystery and intrigue as Jack’s boat is hired for a trip to find treasure. While he and Dax are falling for each other and Jack is dealing with his sexuality, they have to find the treasure and ward off the bad guys.

There is some similarity with the first book – similar lines and a shared gradual romance. In both books, one character is only just realising they are gay and the other isn’t prepared to have a relationship unless they are fully acknowledged by the other.

Once again, the love is pretty instant and the sex is pretty amazing between the men with ‘blinding flashes of light’ and ‘angels singing’ – lucky Jack and Dax! There is fun, there is humour and there is some drama which all-in-all made for a enjoyable story.

4 Stars

To find out more about Scotty Cade and his books visit his Goodreads Author Profile.

Buy Treasure of Love from Amazon.

Buy Treasure of Love from Dreamspinner Press.