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INTERVIEW, EXCERPT AND GIVEAWAY! The Baker by Serena Yates

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AboutTheBookBaker[The]LG

Title: The Baker

Series: Workplace Encounters

Author: Serena Yates

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Length: 40000 words

Release Date: July 15, 2015

Blurb: Ian Wallace works as a baker for his tyrannical father in their family owned Scottish Bakehouse in Casper, Wyoming. He wants to represent the bakery in the upcoming Tartan Day competition, but his father refuses to reveal the secret ingredients that make them so successful—unless Ian gets married and has a son, proving he is fit to continue the family line.

Just before New Year’s Eve, Cameron Lewis, a former Marine turned police detective, comes into the bakery for donuts for his department and some black buns for himself. Cameron is hooked, and as his visits become more frequent, they stir Ian’s father’s suspicions. But threats can’t stop Ian from donning his kilt and entering the competition anyway—to show his father what he can do on his own. Though he might not have the secret ingredients, Ian and Cameron might still discover a recipe for happiness.

INTERVIEW

Thanks for joining us today, Serena. Congratulations on our new release.  We are also happy to have the opportunity to ask you some questions.

The Baker is the 6thth book in the Workplace Encounters series. How did the inspiration for the series come about?

Serena: I think it was a combination of things. There are lots of office romances where people fall in love with their bosses, or assistants, or colleagues. And there is something wonderfully “forbidden” about that. But I was looking for a twist on that trope, and came up with two changes. One, the romance would not take place at the office, and two, the office wasn’t the only place people work. Hence “Workplace Encounters” and a focus on blue-collar jobs. They are fascinating to me, and there are not that many books with main characters in those professions. I have found the occasional firefighter or handyman, but there isn’t a lot of variation. So I set out to research potential jobs I could be looking at, and when I came across elevator mechanics, and steamfitters, and carpenters, and lumberjacks, I guess I got inspired.

Do you have a favourite occupation in the series, a workplace you found the most fun to be the setting of one of your stories? And do you have a favourite couple in the series so far?

Serena: Not really. I get so involved into each new profession I research that I like them all. As for a favorite couple – that is the same thing. I will always have a special place in my heart for Joe and Bill, of The Elevator Mechanic, because they were the first who popped into my head. Not to mention that Bill is deliciously kinky and opens Joe’s eyes to a whole new world of sexual play and adventures. But as I work with each new couple, I discover things about them I really like too. I mean, take the guys in The Baker. Ian with his overbearing father learns to stand up for himself – and wears a mean kilt. And Camron, the studly former Marine turned detective who is up for promotion and still finds the time to support Ian. What’s not to love?

Can you tell us a little more about Ian and Cameron? And perhaps share a little something that isn’t mentioned in the blurb?

Serena: I’ll share the first part of their New Year’s brunch with you…

Cameron had arrived early, just to be sure they’d have a table. Right before eleven a tired-looking Ian walked in, and Cameron waved him over. He got a refill for his coffee, Ian got a new mug, and they were left to their own devices with a huge menu as the frazzled waitress hurried to the next table demanding her attention.

“Hi.” Ian hardly looked up from his coffee, clasping his mug with an intensity worthy of a life raft, not a portion of caffeine.

“Happy New Year?” Cameron couldn’t help phrasing it as a question.

Ian’s body language couldn’t be clearer—Ian was not feeling even close to happy.

“Yeah.” Ian looked up, and his eyes flashed with something like anger. “Happy fucking New Year.”

Cameron’s eyes widened of their own accord. He hadn’t known Ian, who’d so far seemed so even-keeled, had it in him.

“Oh my God. I didn’t say that out loud, did I?” Ian’s eyes were as big as Cameron’s felt.

Cameron nodded, not at all sure what to say. The father of three seated at the next table, right behind Ian’s back, had turned around and thrown proverbial daggers at Ian with his eyes, but Cameron wasn’t about to tell Ian. He seemed distraught enough as it was.

“I’m sorry.” Ian deflated, almost sinking under the table as he slumped in his chair.

“No problem.” Cameron tilted his head, curious what had prompted this outburst. “But I’d like to know what caused you to swear and help if I can.”

“I’m not so sure anyone can help, but thank you.” Ian righted himself a little and poured half his coffee down his throat in one big gulp. “And I don’t want to bother you with my issues.”

“What are friends for?” Cameron was only half joking. He liked Ian, and he wanted to help if he could. He was a fixer of problems, and Ian had already wormed his way under Cameron’s skin.

“Thanks.” A small smile made Ian’s face look a lot more relaxed.

“Let’s order our food, and then we can talk while we wait.”

“Good plan.” Cameron focused back on the menu. He only needed to decide between two options. It was either the philly cheesesteak omelet or the ultimate skillet. Both were equally bad for him, but it was a holiday, and he could always work it off in the gym.

Ohh… that was great. Thank you! 🙂 On a typical day, how much time would you spend writing? Describe your writing environment.

Serena: I usually write 3-4 hours on a writing day. But then because I hate routine, I vary what I do each day. There are days where I do research, or planning, or reading to help me with the setting or the newest Workplace profession. So it isn’t always the same. I write at the desk in my upstairs study, which has a nice view between my neighbors’ houses and across the bay toward the Welsh mountains (more like high hills, actually).

What book is currently on the bedside table?

Serena: Funnily enough, I don’t read in bed. But I am reading The Backyard Lumberjack right now, as well as an anthology of gay erotica, and a few gay romance books.I read quite fast, so it’s rare one lasts more than a day.  You’ll see my reviews pop up on Goodreads as I go through them.

CommonExcerpt

Just before nine things had slowed down to a manageable level, and Ian was about to take a short restroom break, leaving the store to Senga. But then the doorbell tinkled yet again, and the most gorgeous man Ian had ever laid eyes on walked into the store. He was tall, probably over six feet, had blond hair in a ruthless buzz cut, and his warm brown eyes invited Ian to trust him. The man was well built, muscular like a Marine, and wore a smart dark green suit, covered by an open black winter topcoat. His facial expression seemed guarded but curious as he looked around the store. Ian had the strangest feeling he was cataloging exits and potential sources of danger.
Thank God Senga was busy with a group of women unable to decide what they wanted so Ian had an excuse to talk to the guy.

“What can I do for you, sir?” Ian’s voice sounded suspiciously hoarse, and for the briefest moment, a spark of heat appeared in Mr. Good-looking’s eyes.

“I’ve never been to this bakery before….” The stranger trailed off as he examined Ian with the same curiosity and concentration he had used to assess the shop.

I know you haven’t. I’d definitely remember you!

“A colleague at the station recommended your stuff, so I came to have a look.” The stranger tilted his head. “You’ll probably laugh, since this is such a cliché, but I’m looking for donuts.”

“Station? Donuts?” Ian’s brain refused to function for a moment.

“Yeah, I’m a cop. Well, a detective actually, but it doesn’t seem to matter. I love donuts, and so do my colleagues.” The stranger laughed, and the deep, resonant sound thrilled Ian to his core.

“Ah. Right, well, we do sell donuts.” Ian pointed to the display. “It’s not a great selection, since most customers seem to come here for the more Scottish specialties, but I hope you can find some you like.”

“I’ll take two dozen, please.” Mr. Detective smiled. “And what else do you think I should get so my colleagues can find out about your wonderful work? It does smell amazing in here.”

“Thank you.” Ian started to put the donuts into a box and, without thinking, blurted out the first thing he could think of. “Would you like to try my buns?”

“Your… buns?” Mr. Detective’s eyebrows rose, a twinkle appeared in his eyes, and an amused smile curved his dark red lips.

“Yes. The black ones.” Ian pointed at the cakes, only to realize what the stranger must have meant when the man couldn’t stop grinning. Heaven above, was the gorgeous specimen of male beauty gay? But who else would have gotten the joke? Not that Ian had meant it as a joke. He was deep enough in the closet he didn’t know how to begin looking for the door, never mind find it. He definitely wouldn’t mind trying if this guy were on the other side, waiting for him. But Mr. Detective probably wasn’t out either, even if he were gay. A gay cop, or detective, wouldn’t make it out here in the wilds of Wyoming. Ian could feel himself blush even as he realized he was now babbling in his own head.

“Oh, I see.” Mr. Detective bent toward the black buns and grinned. “They look kinda cute. Are they as Scottish as they look with that flag painted on them?”

“Yes, they’re a traditional cake eaten during the traditional Scottish Hogmanay celebration on New Year’s Day.” Ian finished packing up the donuts, closed the box, and placed it on the counter. “Would you like to try one?”

“Yes, please. I have no idea what’s inside, but I like surprises. I’ll try to figure out what the ingredients are.” Mr. Detective looked back up. “Gives me a fun mystery to ponder.”

“Okay, I’ll get you one in a small box.” Ian wasn’t going to ask about the other mysteries, the not-so-fun ones, in the man’s life. He might be a homicide detective, and eww, Ian wasn’t going there. “Anything else I can get you?”

“Nah, I’m okay for now.” Mr. Detective grinned again. “But if your stuff tastes as good as it looks and smells, I’ll definitely be back. Can’t believe I’ve worked here for five years and have never noticed this place. Don’t tell anyone, or they’ll take my badge.”

Ian laughed as he rang up the purchase and took the guy’s money. As far as I’m concerned, you can come back anytime, Mr. Detective!

BuyLinks

DREAMSPINNER PRESS (eBook)

AMAZON US

ALL ROMANCE eBOOKS

AboutTheAuthor

I’m a night owl and start writing when everyone else in my time zone is asleep. I’ve loved reading all my life and spent most of my childhood with my nose buried in a book. Although I always wanted to be a writer, financial independence came first. Twenty-some years and a successful business career later I took some online writing classes and never looked back.

Living and working in seven countries has taught me that there’s more than one way to get things done. It has instilled tremendous respect for the many different cultures, beliefs, attitudes and preferences that exist on our planet.

I like exploring those differences in my stories, most of which happen to be romances. My characters have a tendency to want to do their own thing, so I often have to rein them back in. The one thing we all agree on is the desire for a happy ending.

I currently live in the United Kingdom, sharing my house with a vast collection of books. I like reading, traveling, spending time with my nieces and listening to classical music. I have a passion for science and learning new languages.

|| Website || Facebook || Twitter || Goodreads ||

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Books 7 & 8 of The Men of Riverside series by Serena Yates

Men of Riverside explores the lives of a group of men who all share a high school in the fictional town of Riverside, Texas. Not all of them know they are destined to be couples. Some of them believe they are only friends.

Circumstances and life separate them, sometimes for several years. But luck, determination and love will help them get the reunions they deserve.

Reading Order:

  • Finding Elliot (book #1) 
  • Rediscovering Adrian (book #2) 
  • Understanding Mark (book #3)
  • Saving Zeke (book #4) 
  • Forgiving Jason (book #5)
  • Loving Vincent (book #6)
  • Convincing Landon (book #7)  – in this review
  • Helping Harry (book #8) – in this review

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

Convincing Landon (Men of Riverside, #7)Convincing Landon by Serena Yates

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Afraid of being openly gay, Landon rejected Kendall after a brief affair. Will they be able to make a fresh start when chance reunites them years later?

Landon Tully is a social worker who only returned to Riverside for his father’s funeral. But when a job opportunity opens up, he decides to stay for a while. Within days he runs into Kendall Gable, the man he’d thought was too young for him eight years ago – only now Kendall is all grown up and on the opposite side of a bidding contest for the land Landon has been asked to obtain to build a homeless shelter.

Kendall has made a life for himself as an architect. Focusing on work has helped him fill the hole in his life that Landon left behind. Running into him is painful, but helps him realise some of the issues in his professional life need fixing.

Will Kendall be able to convince himself, and Landon, that they deserve a life together after all?

So what did I think?

This was a really nice addition to the series. There are some hot moments of sizzling sex but really this is about more. Landon has sacrificed a lot of his dreams, firstly to protect and look after his younger brother and secondly to protect his career as a social worker (yes, he really is a nice guy!).

The story covers a number of years providing some little snippets of Landon’s early years and family life, his first meeting with Kendall and his subsequent contact with the man years later. Although young and inexperienced, Kendall is very forward thankfully! But things don’t end well and it isn’t until even more years have passed that the men finally get their chance together.

There’s a bit of a morale with the corporate giant versus the good guy charity in the story. The resolution is a bit quick but really, who cares as long as it is a happy ending, right?

3.5 stars because I was just in the mood for a sweet quick read!

Helping Harry (Men of Riverside, #8)Helping Harry by Serena Yates

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Tim’s attraction to his friend Harry flares up once again when they run into each other at their ten-year reunion, but will it be enough to build the lasting relationship they’ve both longed for?

Tim Jacobi, who owns and runs his parent’s car dealership, is professionally successful but lonely. When his high school reunion brings his best friend Harry back to Riverside after a ten-year separation, he realises he is still attracted to him. And this time around, he can admit it to himself.

Harry can’t believe the strong feelings his best friend awakens in him. Despite being afraid of rejection, he opens up and tells him the truth about the intervening years—why he is now divorced and has sole custody of his two children.

When Harry’s ex-wife reappears—demanding not only visitation rights, but threatening to sue for custody—Tim find himself facing more obstacles than he’d expected. Will he run for cover or help Harry get the relationship and life he has always wanted?

So what did I think?

The strength in this story was the inclusion of children in a realistic way. I liked the consideration given to the children as Harry and Tim’s relationship blossomed! I particularly liked the children’s easy acceptance of Tim in their lives and the innocent, honest reaction to his skin color.

This is the story of Harry, compelled to marry Lisa when he gets her pregnant, and the choices he makes when the relationship with his wife disintegrates. He is a tower of strength, fighting for what’s best for his children when faced with her alcoholism. When Harry returned to Riverside for his school reunion, I was just rooting for him to find some happiness at last and build a family for his kids.

We get a little peak at the lovely gay men we’ve met in Riverside in the series of books up until now although I must admit that all the couples and relationships – friends, brothers, lovers – started to get a bit confusing causing me to stop and ask ‘who’s he with again?” 🙂

Love, support, family, sex and a nice happy ending!

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

To find out more about Serena Yates and her books, visit her website.

Buy the Men of Riverside Series from Amazon.

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Books 5 & 6 of The Men of Riverside series by Serena Yates

Men of Riverside explores the lives of a group of men who all share a high school in the fictional town of Riverside, Texas. Not all of them know they are destined to be couples. Some of them believe they are only friends.

Circumstances and life separate them, sometimes for several years. But luck, determination and love will help them get the reunions they deserve.

Reading Order:

  • Finding Elliot (book #1) 
  • Rediscovering Adrian (book #2) 
  • Understanding Mark (book #3) 
  • Saving Zeke (book #4)
  • Forgiving Jason (book #5)  – in this review
  • Loving Vincent (book #6) – in this review
  • Convincing Landon (book #7)
  • Helping Harry (book #8)

Forgiving Jason (Men of Riverside, #5)Forgiving Jason by Serena Yates

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Jason vows to protect Steve from the bigots who attacked him, but can Steve forgive Jason for what he’s done?

Steve Jacobi is a window washer who is very focused on his financial independence. He’s always known that he’s bisexual, but never had the courage to approach one of the men he was interested in. Relationships have taken a back seat in his life…until goes car shopping and meets Jason Fortin.

Jason is a fun-loving salesman who likes his job. He hasn’t come out because he’s never met a man he was interested enough in. Yet he has no problem approaching Steve, and their relationship quickly develops to the point where Jason is ready for more.

But when bigots attack Steve, Jason reconsiders. Can Steve forgive him for the pain his protectiveness causes them both?

So what did I think?

In the previous book Saving Zeke, Zeke finally acknowledged his feelings for his best friend Ben. In this book, it is his brother Jason’s turn.

Jason runs into Steve, someone he’d had a crush on in high school but they had lost touch when Steve graduated. He starts to feel some very strong feelings for Steve that make him think that maybe he shouldn’t be hiding his sexuality. “Maybe it ran in the family? Not just the being gay, but hiding it until they met the man they were ready to break all the rules for.”

Together the young men explore their sexuality. Neither of them have any experience so it is nice to see things progress slowly in the book and to see them show such concern for each other.

They face harassment in both their places of work. Jason deals with a colleague threatening to out him before he is ready but Steve faces worse from his homophobic work mates at the company where he washes windows.

Jason makes the decision to leave Steve so as to protect him and the story follows Steve and Jason as Jason works hard to get another chance.

A nice story about second chances!

3 Stars

Loving Vicente (Men of Riverside, #6)Loving Vicente by Serena Yates

My rating: 3.5 of f 5 stars

The Blurb…

William loves Vicente with all his heart, but can he give him the life he deserves, free from financial worries and danger, without making Vicente lose his self-respect?

William Fortin is a forensic scientist who has returned to Riverside after six years for his first job. He wants a social life and to settle down, and when he runs into his old crush from high school, Vicente Vasquez, he knows he has found the man of his dreams.

Vicente is a shy Mexican American who works hard so he can pay for the medical care his wheelchair bound father needs. He is a courier by day and a bartender by night, just to try to make ends meet. Dating the man who was his science tutor in high school is a dream come true.

But how can they possibly be partners when Vicente is struggling just to keep the creditors at bay and his traditional family can’t possibly find out he’s gay?

So what did I think?

What I like about this series is the love, support and happy endings. What I don’t like so much is the familiarity between each story. Once again we have two young men who crushed on each other in high school but haven’t seen each other in a long time. Both are very much in the closet.

For some reason, even though Vicente thought he was pretty good friends with William who used to tutor him, he didn’t hear from him once he left for college. Now William is back and awakened feelings in Vicente that he had kept suppressed for three years. Vicente’s family would not be supportive of him being gay, particularly his gang-involved brother.

This doesn’t stop Vicente lusting after William and wanting to find out more about him including whether he is gay. Luckily Vicente can get information from his best friend Steve who is dating William’s brother, Jason. William and Jason have a third brother, Zeke who is bisexual. “It was wishful thinking to hope the third brother was gay as well. Did that even happen? Probably not.” Well, he was proven wrong because this is Riverside so of course William is also gay!

Zeke’s story can be found in Saving Zeke and Jason’s story in Forgiving Jason

William is a shy scientist who doesn’t have much relationship experience “I was always too busy studying anyway, and for a long time I just thought I was a late bloomer.” “Yeah, like really late. You’re almost twenty-five, man.” So William and Vicente start a relationship. Drama unfolds as they try to hide the relationship from Vicente’s threatening and aggressive brother but they fight to be together in the end.

Relatively short, a nice couple with a good bit of drama. I wasn’t sure about the relevance of William lending Vicente money to care for his father’s debts and it seemed a strange thing to do so early in the relationship but it was nice to know that Vicente would get a bright future with his man and not have to face financial stress.

3.5 stars

4 Stars

To find out more about Serena Yates and her books, visit her website.

Buy the Men of Riverside Series from Amazon.

View all my reviews

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Books 3 & 4 of The Men of Riverside series by Serena Yates

Men of Riverside explores the lives of a group of men who all share a high school in the fictional town of Riverside, Texas. Not all of them know they are destined to be couples. Some of them believe they are only friends.

Circumstances and life separate them, sometimes for several years. But luck, determination and love will help them get the reunions they deserve.

Reading Order:

  • Finding Elliot (book #1) 
  • Rediscovering Adrian (book #2) 
  • Understanding Mark (book #3) – in this review
  • Saving Zeke (book #4) – in this review
  • Forgiving Jason (book #5)
  • Loving Vincent (book #6)
  • Convincing Landon (book #7)
  • Helping Harry (book #8)

Understanding Mark (Men of Riverside, #3)Understanding Mark by Serena Yates

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Rick Dealy and Mark Shrader have the perfect, loving relationship, until a seeming act of betrayal threatens to destroy both their love and their lives…As a newly appointed lawyer in his uncle’s firm, Rick Dealy doesn’t have much time to get involved in a new relationship. But when he runs into Mark Shrader, his friend Adrian’s younger brother, he realises some pursuits are worth the time. He and Mark fall in love and share their lives, until Mark’s new job threatens to destroy everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve.Mark Shrader has had a crush on Rick for what feels like forever. And now that Mark s not so little, he’s determined to make Rick his lover. After orchestrating a chance meeting, things finally seem to be going his way. But when one of the men he performs live music for, Tony Mondello, decides he wants to be Mark’s lover, Mark must choose between his own safety and the life of his lover.Will Rick be able to understand what happened, find Mark and bring him back? Reader Advisory: This book is part of a series and while it can be read on its own, they are best read in sequence.

So what did I think?

First let me start by saying that I enjoyed this book. I liked both the characters of Mark and Rick and was therefore engaged in the story. The plot was interesting with some love, some sex and some drama all set at a good pace.

From the previous book Rediscovering Adrian, we knew that Mark was in trouble. He had gone to see his brother Adrian and was obviously in a bad position, under the control of suspected criminal Tony Mondello. In the previous book, Adrian was focused on his own problems and his boyfriend Peter’s shooting and didn’t let anyone know of Mark’s situation.

This book takes us back in time to see how Mark and Rick fell in love. It is sweet how Mark arranges their ‘accidental’ meeting after crushing on his brother’s friend for many years (“It made him feel like a stalker, but how else was he going to get Rick’s attention?”) Rick was friends with Adrian so knew Mark but it wasn’t until he saw this grown up version of Mark that his interest was definitely sparked. They make a really cute couple.

The drama begins when Mark starts working for Tony Mondello. Due to Tony’s threats, Mark is forced away from Rick. The story line was interesting as Mark sacrifices everything to protect the man he loves. What I struggled to understand was why Rick let him go – he took what he saw at face value and in typical romance fashion didn’t bother to get an explanation. It was strange that he didn’t think it weird that Mark didn’t return to get his stuff from the apartment, after the one time he knocked on the door. Surely any normal person would make contact?

Anyway, my real issue was the blurb. I felt it gave away too much of the plot. It tells of the ‘seeming act of betrayal’, ‘Tony Mondello, decides he wants to be Mark’s lover’, ‘Mark must choose between his own safety and the life of his lover’. I would have preferred these things to have evolved through reading the story.

The resolution between the men was also a bit too easy for my liking “We’ve agreed that it was all a misunderstanding, so I see no reason why we shouldn’t go back to normal.” but I loved Rick’s grand gesture  and the HEA with totally sweet proclamations of love.

3.5 stars

4 Stars

Saving Zeke (Men of Riverside, #4)Saving Zeke by Serena Yates

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Ben and Zeke have been best friends forever but can they become lovers without losing each other along the way?Ben Dealy longs for a loving relationship like the one his parents have, but he can t seem to connect to any of the women he dates like he does to his childhood friend, Zeke. As a police detective, admitting he’s gay could ruin his career. But when he discovers Zeke is in trouble, not admitting he’s gay may cost him much more than his job.Zeke has been fighting his attraction to Ben since college, but was determined to uphold the ‘expected’ lifestyle. When he discovers his fiancee, Claudia, is only after him for his money, he decides it’s time to stop running from the truth, and start fighting for the man he’s still crazy about.But will Ben and Zeke admit their feelings for each other or will Ben’s need for a career drive them further apart?Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series

So what did I think?

Saving Zeke continues the tradition of this series providing a nice, heartwarming story of two men who start as friends but become lovers.

I enjoyed that the men loved each other on an emotional level, it wasn’t just about the physical for Ben and Zeke. Yes, they did find each other an incredible turn on but it was very much a gay-for-you scenario.

The story is a little predictable in some ways, with the men having known at some level for quite some time that they meant more to each other but running from these feelings.
[They believe it is all one-sided with Zeke going so far as to get engaged and leaving town so as not to ruin Ben’s career.

Ben does a bit of investigation (surely it was an invasion of privacy checking into Zeke’s finances but Zeke didn’t seem to mind!) and realises he needs to help Zeke. Luckily Zeke had just found out the same information that Ben had and was already looking to end things with Claudia.

Moving back to Riverside and sharing a house with Ben presents a few challenges as the men continue to fight their feelings. Ben has worries about a promotion at work and Zeke needs to face his family. Plus there is drama caused by Zeke’s fiance Claudia (who was in the relationship for what she could get from Zeke and not love) which threatens their families and careers.

It was really sweet watching Ben and Zeke change from friends to lovers and the sexual aspects were handled really well. The scenes were romantic and sexy but acknowledged the men’s newness to gay sex. Trying new things was a beautiful experience that they shared together, each mindful of the other so taking things slowly and gently.

3.5 stars

4 Stars

To find out more about Serena Yates and her books, visit her website.

Buy the Men of Riverside Series from Amazon.

At under 100 pages you will need to make a assessment about the value for money for this book (currently at $6.13 on US Amazon)

View all my reviews

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Books 1 & 2 of The Men of Riverside series by Serena Yates

Men of Riverside explores the lives of a group of men who all share a high school in the fictional town of Riverside, Texas. Not all of them know they are destined to be couples. Some of them believe they are only friends.

Circumstances and life separate them, sometimes for several years. But luck, determination and love will help them get the reunions they deserve.

Reading Order:

  • Finding Elliot (book #1) – in this review
  • Rediscovering Adrian (book #2) – in this review
  • Understanding Mark (book #3)
  • Saving Zeke (book #4)
  • Forgiving Jason (book #5)
  • Loving Vincent (book #6)
  • Convincing Landon (book #7)
  • Helping Harry (book #8)

Finding Elliot (Men of Riverside, #1)Finding Elliot by Serena Yates

My rating: 3.5  of 5 stars

The Blurb…

After five years of forced separation David was determined to find Elliot again but what he gets isn t the closure he was hoping for…After yet another unsatisfying one-night stand David Lear decides it’s finally time to find his former lover Elliot Watkins. He needs closure before he can move on. He is still angry at the man for never getting in touch after his parents moved away when David and Elliot were caught kissing at age seventeen.Elliot Watkins has never forgotten his first and only lover David but lives under his father’s scrutiny, too afraid to come out before he gets access to his trust fund when he turns twenty-five. His fiancee Patricia Hobart constantly nags him and he wants nothing more than to live his own life and to become an architect.Falling back into each other’s arms is relatively easy. But will Elliot be able to free himself from his father’s influence? Will David be able to forgive his lover and have the patience to wait until Elliot is ready?Reader Advisory: This book is the first in a series linked by theme and characters appearing in more than one book. The stories, while they can be read on their own, are best read in sequence.

So what did I think?

I enjoyed this story which tells the tale of David finding Elliot. David and Elliot were in love as teenagers but separated when Elliot’s father catches them kissing and moves Elliot away. Years later, David decides to find the man that he has never stopped loving. He is looking for answers and closure.

I found Elliot a little hard to warm to. I thought him cowardly and his explanations for the separation didn’t seem to justify his actions. It is only further into the story that his behaviour becomes better understood and more acceptable.

The only element of the the book that I didn’t really like was the level of power wielded by Elliot’s father. (view spoiler)[The break and enter with the team of security guards while Elliot and David were in bed (hide spoiler)] seemed a bit overdone and had a lack of realism.

On a side note, usually you get a bit into a book before encountering the first sex scene. Not in this book! This one launches straight in and the first line is David coming! No build up here!

3.5 stars

4 Stars

Rediscovering Adrian (Men of Riverside, #2)Rediscovering Adrian by Serena Yates

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

What happens when the past you’ve been running from finally catches up with you?For the past five years, Peter Adams has convinced himself that his one and only true love, Adrian Shrader, never really cared. Peter has dedicated his life to becoming a private investigator, more determined than ever to keep his memories, and his feelings, locked away. But when a near fatal shooting causes a brain injury, he’s about to discover that his past is anything but behind him.Adrian Shrader disappeared in the hopes that his best friend and lover wouldn’t lose the only family he’d ever known. Aware that Peter’s mother threatened to remove Peter from his sibling’s lives, Adrian’s spent the past few years wishing there was a way to right this wrong. When he hears that Peter is seriously injured and in the hospital, Adrian rushes to his side. Will they be able to rediscover love? Or will history repeat itself?Reader Advisory: This book is the second in a series and the stories, while they can be read on their own, are best read in sequence.

So what did I think?

This was a relatively short story that tells the tale of Peter and Adrian being reunited many years after Adrian had left Peter.

In some ways it is very similar to the first book, teenage boys separated but never forgetting their first love, but in others it is different. The first book had David seeking Elliot who had been taken away by his father. In this book, Peter is not searching for Adrian but finds himself reunited after an accident. The first book focused on the current day and told a little about the David and Elliot’s history. However it is nice that in this book, there are many flashbacks providing a view of Peter and Adrian’s teenage relationship.

This book contains the usual lack of communication and incorrect assumptions being made by the men which caused their separation in the first place and gets in the way of them making immediate amends.

It’s a quick story that cover quite a bit. My main issue with it was the lack of reality in a couple of aspects. Adrian leaves his job to be with Peter and they seem to take but up again with relatively little discussion. Also Adrian clearly forgets all about his brother for weeks even though the last time he saw him he was clearly in trouble. Adrian is regretful but it seems too little too late. I assume the next book is Mark’s story.

3 Stars

To find out more about Serena Yates and her books, visit her website.

Buy the Men of Riverside Series from Amazon.

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