Published in 2020

Give Me a Hand by Gwen Martin: Exclusive Excerpt!

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by Gwen Martin

“Want another?” Jude asked from in front of the fridge, raising an eyebrow. Cam’s brain was still fuzzy from the exam he had taken an hour before. He tilted his head up from the couch and blinked owlishly at Jude.

“Wha’?”

Jude chuckled softly and nodded. “That’s a yes.”

Cam watched Jude shuffle through the small number of drawers in their dorm kitchen, muttering something to himself, the back of his shirt scrunching up as he scratched the base of his spine. Cam chewed on the side of his lip as he remembered the way Jude looked without any clothing.

He’d never seen Jude naked before, but now Cam had that mental picture with the bonus of how Jude looked when he was coming.

He took a deep breath and shook his head. He can’t be sporting a boner when they’re supposed to be having movie night, Jesus.

Cam rolled his head to face the paused movie on the small, flat-screen TV. It was a Christmas gift from Cam’s parents, and with the impressive backlog of Vudu movies that Jude had collected between himself and his older brother, they have a legit set up.

“Dude, Brie Larson is so hot in that suit,” Jude said, handing Cam a beer bottle as he settled to his left onto the too-squishy loveseat.

The dorms seemed to have cheaped out on furniture despite the monstrous amount they charged for rent. Most of the items looked like they came out of an abandoned house that was used two decades before.

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Late Night Poetry by Nell Iris: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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by Nell Iris

Thursday, November 5, 1990. 06:14 PM

“I thought about you today. When it snowed. About how much you love the snow. I wondered if you tried making snowballs, even though the snow was too loose. And if you made a cup of hot cocoa afterward. Then I saw the weather report and they said it will be warmer tomorrow and the snow will melt, and I know you’ll be so disappointed. I’ve never met anyone who loves snow as much as you do.”—Throat clearing to cover the crack in his voice—“I got a library card yesterday. I checked out a couple poetry books. Can you imagine what my dad would say if he knew? ‘Don’t read that shit, Lou. It’s for sissys and fags.’”—disgusted snort—“Anyway. I wanted to read something to you. Are you ready? ‘When we two parted, In silence and tears, Half broken-hearted, To sever for years, Pale grew thy cheek and cold, Colder thy kiss; Truly that hour foretold, Sorrow to this.’ I probably didn’t read that very well.”—Long silence broken by the roar of a passing truck in the distance—“Take care.” 

I don’t listen to his message again but I don’t delete it either. Instead, I walk over to the window and look out at the snow still glistening on the trees and shrubbery on the street outside my apartment building. I shove my hands into my pockets and lean my forehead against the cold glass, letting my long curls fall across my face, hiding me from the outside world, wishing the chill penetrating from outside was enough to freeze all the memories of him out of my head.

Our first date-that-wasn’t-officially-labeled-a-date was on a snowy December day almost two years ago, when he laughed at what he called was my child-like enjoyment of the snow slowly sailing from the sky. We strolled side by side—at a respectable distance so anyone watching us would think we were just two friends hanging out—through the Christmas market, me carrying a steaming cup of hot chocolate and him sipping from a mug of coffee that smelled so bitter even at a distance I almost grew hair on my chest. 

Our walk was littered with awkward silences and sideways glances at each other. It was the first time we hung out alone—we’d only seen each other in the company of others, his friend Bill knew my friend Lyle—and even though neither of us had said the d-word out loud, we both knew this was more than a friendly outing. 

He was so handsome that day, in faded black jeans, a denim jacket that accentuated his broad shoulders and that looked far too cold for the weather. His usually wild, wavy brown hair was flattened by his hat and he wore a gray scarf around his neck, pulled up to the bright red tip of his nose. His blue eyes glittered more brightly than the cloudless winter day, and two red spots glowed high on his cheeks. I still don’t know if it was due to the brisk, nippy air or the fact that it was his first date-not-a-date with a man. 

He wasn’t out—hence the respectable distance between us—but he told me his dream was to be able to be open about himself one day. I understood his reluctance—still do—because it’s not easy being out. Not even in our fairly liberal town. 

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Forgotten by Colette Davison: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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by Colette Davison

“I’m falling in love with you,” Kyrone said.

“You’re…” Jared shook his head. “I don’t even know what being in love feels like.” He had no clue what kind of relationships he’d had before the accident, but since it, this thing with Kyrone was the longest he’d spent with one man.

“I can tell you how I feel about you, if that would help?” Kyrone suggested.

Whether it would or not, Jared was too curious not to let Kyrone speak, so he nodded.

“I get butterflies in my stomach whenever you smile,” Kyrone told him. “I feel giddy when you kiss or cuddle me. I feel insanely happy when you’re around, and I miss you when you’re not. I love the feel of you.” He rolled them over again, this time straddling Jared so he was pinned beneath him. Then he kissed him, a slow, deep kiss that made Jared’s toes curl. “I am in awe of how brave you are and of how together you are for a guy who literally lost everything eighteen months ago. You amaze me. Being with you makes me feel fulfilled.”

“You’re pretty filling yourself,” Jared said, needing a joke to make the air around him easier to breathe.

He’d been holding his breath through most of Kyrone’s words. Each statement had made his heart swell a little more, and his head too. 

Kyrone nuzzled his neck. “I like filling you up,” he whispered, before looking up with a grin plastered on his face. 

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Making Rules by Susan Hawke: Exclusive Excerpt!

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by Susan Hawke

I gave him the once-over, noting for the first time that he wore guyliner and had polished his nails in a soft pink to match the polo he was wearing with his white chinos. Before this moment, I hadn’t looked away from his pretty face long enough to see that he was indeed quite fabulous. I was still laughing as I shook my head. “Oh, shoot. We really do need to be friends, I think. I mean, I always did love hanging out with the divas.”

Davey winked. “I will accept the title of diva because it fits, and don’t you forget it. So now that my interview seems to be over, what’s the deal with you and your hot Daddy? How long have you guys been coupled up? Mind you, I’m only asking because I’m nosy and like to know everything about a person when we meet. It never hurts to have too much information.”

“Right? Too much info is never a bad thing. Daddy and I have been together for about four years. We are so coupled up, as you put it, that we are officially in a domestic partnership. We would be married by now if it was legal. Isn’t it stupid that I could legally smoke pot in this county if I were sick enough, but I can’t marry the love of my life?” Daddy and I often talked about which one would be legalized first—gay marriage or recreational marijuana usage. My only thought on the subject was that I’d better be able to marry my boyfriend before my stoner friends could walk into a store to buy weed. But in our society, who knew how it would go? Honestly, here in California, it could go either way.

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Book Review: Testing the Waters by Skylar M. Cates

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Testing the Waters
Author: Skylar M. Cates
Series: Shelby Beach #2
Heroes: Zane & Jordan
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 240 pages
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: February 12, 2020
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: What if the right person could change everything?

Random hookups, saying “yes” to whatever, Zane thinks adulting should be easy. His childhood was a hard enough mess. After a health scare, however, Zane reevaluates his life and starts anew. When Zane meets Jordan, everything he secretly desires is finally in front of him. But Jordan Shelby’s family practically owns the town of Shelby Beach. Why would Jordan take a guy like Zane seriously?

Jordan only wants swimming lessons, so hiring Zane might have been a huge mistake. Even if Jordan resists Zane for now, the mere sight of the beautiful trainer fills him with yearning. Swimming isn’t Jordan’s only anxiety. Being nonbinary, Jordan’s dating life—hell, his life in general—isn’t always clear. Can he really trust Zane with his body? His heart?

Testing the Waters is a romance with a gender-fluid MC, a hurt/comfort trope, and a guaranteed happy ending.

Although it is in the Shelby Beach series, Testing the Waters can be read as a standalone. Note: Please look inside the copyright page for mentions of potential triggers.
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Categories: 3 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2020 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Work-Love Balance by Allison Temple

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Work-Love Balance
Author: Allison Temple
Series: Out & About #1
Heroes: Brady & Nash
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 244 pages
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: March 9, 2020
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: The customer always comes first, but IT consultant Brady Jansen loves to hate Nash O’Hara. Except the fine line between hate and attraction means sometimes Brady can’t help it when he crosses the boundary between professional and personal.

Recently divorced, workaholic Nash knows he’s hard to please. When the smart-mouthed IT consultant he depends on to keep his office running offers a no-commitment hookup, it seems like exactly what he and Brady both need to get through a busy summer at work. No one has to know about their arrangement.

But the more time they spend together, the more secrets they have to keep from the people around them—and from each other. The lies are piling up, until it’s hard to tell who’s fooling whom. If Brady and Nash want to find the balance between work and love, a little honesty will go a long way.

Work-Love Balance is a 70k contemporary MM office romance. It’s hot enough you’ll want to make sure the air conditioning is on in your cubicle, and heartfelt enough you’ll want to smack both characters before the end. HEA guaranteed Continue reading

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Book Review: Under the Covers by K.C. Wells

Reviewed by Ami

Title: Under the Covers
Author: K.C. Wells
Series: Dreamspun Desires, #100
Heroes: Chris & Jase
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 218 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Can they find their HEA in Romancelandia?

Chris Tyler loves his job. He photographs some of the hottest guys on the planet, but none stir him like Jase Mitchell. He’ll never let Jase know – he values their friendship too much to spoil it.

Jase is looking forward to the Under The Covers Romance convention. It’s a great opportunity to connect with readers who want to meet their favorite cover model, but more importantly, with agents who could advance his career. Too bad the only person he yearns to connect with is Chris.

What Chris wants is Jase in his life, but he’s afraid that’s sheer fantasy. What Jase desires is a Hollywood dream, but that will mean leaving Chris behind. What both crave is a real-life romance and their own Happily Ever After.

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Imperial Twist by Jessamyn Kingley: Exclusive Excerpt!

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by Jessamyn Kingley

Damian slapped his towel over the bar and walked into his bedroom. Once he got to the closet, he selected a pair of jeans and a T-shirt since he would be relaxing at a ball game. It was a far cry from the tuxedo he’d worn the night before at a networking dinner for Draconis Enterprises. He wasn’t sure if it was necessary for the Emperors to be attending, as they’d long ago handed the company over to executives, but they would do whatever they could for the dragons.

Once his hair was combed, he left the dark decor of his private space to walk into the bright white, teal, black, and green medley that served as the palette for the shared areas of the condo. It made him smile to see the combination of colors that symbolized all of them, even Findlay with his ebony hair and mossy eyes. He jogged down the stairs and found a group of men frowning in the kitchen.

“What are we going to do?” Ellery asked forlornly as he stared at the counter.

“Does it really matter?” Tiri responded, his voice laden with confusion.

Ellery’s black-and-white hair with its gilt beads slapped his cheek as he whipped his head quickly to his best friend. “Of course it matters.”

“What’s going on?” Damian demanded. He tugged his earpiece out of his pocket and slipped it in, sure that something dire was happening, though as the man who ruled security, he should’ve been the first to be told.

“Ask your twin,” Ellery demanded as he aimed a dark look at the man he loved.

Damian was surprised to see so much anger directed at Chrysander; he knew how Ellery adored him. “What happened?”

“I was trying to make you a cup of coffee,” Chrysander told the unimpressed elf-dragon hybrid.

“We need to hurry, or we’re going to be late. Costas and Niko are already on their way,” Tiri complained.

“Well, we sure as heck aren’t going to let Chrys make the coffee. He sucks at it,” Damian grumbled as he strode past the frowning men to the coffeemaker.

“He does not just suck at it; he has broken it,” Ellery snapped.

Damian turned on one heel to face his Emperors. “What do you mean, ‘broken it’? How are we going to live without caffeine?”

“All I did was add the coffee and the water, and the damn thing busted,” Chrysander nearly roared. “Sorry, Tiri, I owe you a dollar.”

“I told everyone you don’t have to pay me for your potty mouths any longer,” Tiri reminded him. He’d arrived at their household from the exceedingly poor Sprite Grove and in order to save his pride at accepting Zane’s money, Ellery had suggested that they each give Tiri a dollar for each curse word they used. All the dukes in their court had readily agreed to pitch in, eager to help the friendly sprite. Unfortunately, Zane had decided to reimburse everyone behind Tiri’s back. When his mate found out, Tiri had demanded Zane stop the program entirely since he now made plenty through his company. No one, however, was willing to end the payments as nothing had changed Tiri’s aversion to foul language.

Zane snorted. “Good luck telling His Majesty not to give you money.”

“I’m not going to argue with you,” Tiri countered as he slapped his hands on his hips. “You guys are going to have to deal with life without your coffee. We need to go. Praxis is going to be mad if we miss his game.”

“I need coffee,” Ellery said dejectedly.

“Come on gang, we’ll find a coffee shop on the way to the field,” Damian decided.

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Like Father, Like Son by Quin Perin: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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by Quin Perin

There wasn’t anything worth shit in this fucking place. I didn’t even know where I was going to live next week. I was going to take what I wanted. Take Devon by the balls, probably literally, and have him make me his for the evening. And then maybe I’d steal his money and go pick up something to eat before going home. The usual.

I placed my beer on the bar and closed the remaining distance between us. “Well, there’s a lot I like,” I said. I dragged my fingers over his arm and squeezed his biceps. He was tall but not big. Lean with a narrow waist and broad chest. He wasn’t a bodybuilder, but his arms… they were perfect. “I like strong men who can toss me around the room and pin me to the bed until I’m crying for it.”

Devon’s eyes flashed. That had clearly caught his interest. I smirked. Got ‘im. I probably could have stopped right there, but I kept going. Might as well lay all my cards on the table because when I looked for an older man, I had very specific things I wanted from him. I slipped my fingers lower, tracing across the tattoo on the back of his hand, and tilted my head to the side. “I also have a thing for older men,” I purred, lips almost against his ear. “Wanna be my Daddy for the night?”

His body tensed. Fuck, had I crossed a line? If he wasn’t into it, that was fine. He could find someone else in this half-empty bar, in fucking Ohio, to go home with him. I’d have better luck finding a fuck than he would. That much I was sure of. It was clear he was thinking about what I’d said, but then he shrugged and placed the beer bottle back between his lips. He drained it in no time. “Whatever you want, kid,” he said with a roguish grin.

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The Rivalry by Beth Bolden: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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by Beth Bolden

“Sam?” Heath’s voice was impossibly deeper, and sweeter than he remembered. Oh, you’re in deep. So fucking deep you’re never going to dig your way out—even if you tried. Even if you wanted to.

“Yeah, yeah, it’s me. Sam.” Sam cleared his throat. He sounded just as lame as he had in his voicemail, but he’d apparently lost his chill right along with his heart.

“Sam,” Heath said, with so much certainty that even Sam was reassured. He was here, his name was Sam, and Heath had called him back.

“I’m sorry I’m calling so late,” Heath continued, “I just realized what time it must be there. I didn’t get your voicemail until after practice was over.”

“Practice, yes,” Sam babbled. “Not too late.”

“Good,” Heath said.

“I . . .” Sam suddenly didn’t know what to say. Or maybe it wasn’t so much a sudden or unexpected occurrence as it was a terrifying one. Naturally, he said the very worst thing he could. “I’ve missed you.”

There was absolute silence on the other end of the line. Then Heath cleared his throat. “Is that why you’ve discovered a predilection for throwing yourself down mountains and out of airplanes?”

There was nothing Sam wanted more than for Heath to whisper “predilection” in his ear, in that dark, deep honey voice, while he was even deeper inside Sam. “No?” Frankly he couldn’t even remember why he’d started doing it. Probably because Felicity was insane, and he’d decided to recklessly join in her insanity because the first time he’d done it, on a whim, he’d felt a little better, if only for a moment. He’d been able to focus merely on staying alive, and at the time, that had felt like a very good thing.

“You seem unsure.”

Sam was unsure of every single fucking thing at the moment. “Not much is making sense, right now,” Sam admitted.

“Then maybe I can help.” Heath paused. “I actually . . . I told my agent to leave off the idea of bringing you to LA. You’re good where you are. Or if you’re not, there’s lots of better places to be. We’re good here.”

Sam was breathless, the words knocked from his lungs with Heath’s words. Not only had he told his agent to drop the idea, it had never been Heath’s at all. “All good, then?”

“It’s a passing thing. It’ll pass.” Heath sounded as determined as Sam had ever heard him. That was all Sam needed to know to believe that wasn’t true at all. They both knew it, but Heath would never admit it. Suddenly, Sam was blindingly, pointedly angry. If Heath didn’t want him there, then that was the one place Sam intended to be.

“You really don’t need to come here.” Heath paused. His voice hardened. “I don’t want you to come here.”

Sam’s hand shook on his phone. Not from nerves. Not from the unreal arousal he felt whenever he thought about Heath. Not from anticipation. Nope—they were shaking because he didn’t think he’d ever been so pissed off in his entire life. How dare Heath get on the phone and tell him that he didn’t want him there? Sure, he’d told him during the fishing trip that they weren’t friends, but this was more than that. This was a punch straight to the stomach. Sam thought he’d learned to deal with rejection after Dane had left, but apparently not, because this was a whole new breathless, painful revelation.

“I’m sorry you feel that way,” Sam said.

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