Release Blitz: Fearing the Dream by Ann Marie James + Excerpt!

Fearing the Dream by Ann Marie James

What happens when a man who is always alone meets a man who never is?

Sergei is the leader within the Russian immigrant community in Raleigh and the head of his family. He is a successful businessman who has carefully cultivated his intimidating persona, not correcting people when they believe him to be the head of the area’s Russian mob. Everyone comes to him if they have a problem. His problem is that he doesn’t know how to tell them no, especially his sister.

Stuart spends a lot of time alone, working from home as a graphic and website designer. He doesn’t want to be alone, but it’s simply how things have worked out. Stuart was devastated when his mother let his stepfather kick him out of the house as soon as he graduated high school. Working two—and sometimes three—jobs to put himself through college didn’t leave him a lot of time to socialize. He has had to look out for himself for a long time now and finds it hard to let anyone in. Becoming friends with Lee Clark at Everyone’s Mechanic is one of the best things that has ever happened to him and it leads to him meeting Sergei.

Sergei has to break through Stuart’s protective shell and give him a home and family. Stuart needs to teach Sergei that it’s okay to have boundaries, even with loved ones.

Available at: Amazon

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Baking Battles by Sophia Soames: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Baking Battles

by Sophia Soames

Mattias should protest. Honestly, he should, but the photographer is back in his face and he tries to remember where this Pablo has told him to put his hips. Not that he doesn’t look a twat standing there in a t-shirt that is several sizes too small for him, where his nipples are poking through the thin fabric and his arms are getting goosebumps from the fan directed at his face to make his hair move. Well, there is so much gel in his locks that it probably wouldn’t move if a hurricane swept through the studio, and that Pablo is nowhere to be found to rescue him, so he just resigns himself to the photographer hurling instructions at him and demanding that he pouts.

He knows he can veto the photos, and somewhere in the deep dark pit of his stomach, he knows Danijel won’t let him look like a complete arse. Even though the said man is now dragging him off into a dark corner, letting a small giggle rip loose as the tips of his fingers poke at Mattias’s gelled-back hair.

“You look weird, man.” He says, but his eyes are twinkling and Mattias just stares at him.

“Please let me out of this hell…” Mattias begs.

“No way, Matt, my man. This is going far too well. Far too well.” Danijel’s grin is evil. “I have ten contestants in place, all are checked in. I have the most awesome host, and Caroline. Oh, thank God for Caroline. I don’t know how we let her walk all those years ago, because nobody manages the floor better than Caroline.”

He lets his eyes follow Danijel’s gaze over to where Caroline is shouting into the headset that is now clipped into her ear as she gestures wildly at someone at the back of the studio.

“Now watch this, and tell me that we are not creating magic.” Danijel whispers, then shouts out, “Silence,” and, on cue, the room falls into complete quiet. It’s a well-built-in word in the industry. One little word that makes everyone tiptoe on their rubber-soled feet. It makes movements slow down to careful gestures. Voices effortlessly quieten down to whispers.

“And ACTION!

Mattias can see one of their resident cameramen swing his dolly into position, showing that he is ready and rolling as the lighting almost blinds the man walking through the unmanned baking stations, letting his hands gently touch one of the bright red baking machines before he looks up, his eyes focusing on the camera lens and his mouth curling into a blinding smile.

Mattias watches on the side monitor, as Danijel’s breath hitches in anticipation. The man on the screen is taking his time and the practical side of Mattias is already thinking that they will need to shout, “Cut!” But, at the same time he is mesmerised. The man is, well, Mattias has never seen him before, yet of course he has. He knows who this guy is. He would recognise his voice, that deep baritone vocal that the country seems to have fallen in love with, anywhere. He’s tall and sleek, curves and angles in all the right places. Dark hair neatly cropped back into the man’s signature style. His skin flawless and powdered into perfection. His eyes pierced at the lens.

“Christmas is my favourite time of the year, when families come together to spend quality time with the people they love. Where guestrooms are prepared for visitors from far away, where friendships are reunited, and gifts are exchanged. Where sometimes religion plays a part, and sometimes our celebrations just centre around that little thing we call love. Where we look after those we care for, where we show each other friendship and gratitude. Where we thank those of us who have helped us throughout the year, people like our teachers and medical staff, and where we tell those close to us that they are needed and cherished. And even though we may not see each other every day, at this point of the year, we make the time to meet. To bond. To love each other just that little bit more. That is what Christmas is to me, and then, of course, I would be on the completely wrong show if I don’t mention the thing that Christmas is really all about.”

The man stops again, letting his body lean just that little bit forward as the camera zooms back. And Mattias breathes out. He shouldn’t have been holding his breath, but this, the very first minutes of a show can make or break a series. It needs to be right and if they have to film it again, and again, so be it. Not that they will have to reshoot shit with the guy on the monitor popping a biscuit in his mouth. Where the fuck was he hiding that biscuit?

“Because Christmas is all about food, drink and…” The man wriggles his half-eaten biscuit, sporting that shit-eating grin and a crumb on his chin, as all the deep dimples on his face show. “Baked goods.”

He laughs and Mattias now almost shouts “Cut!” himself. The guy is chewing his biscuit and leaning casually against one of the worktops, angling his head and flashing that smile again.

“Ladies and gentlemen. Boys and girls. Welcome to this very special Christmas edition of Baking Battles, where some of our most loved celebrities will show off our fantastic range of Norwegian Christmas traditions, some old, some new and some with a new twist no doubt. So sit back and grab yourself a glass of Gløgg, and get ready for the most wonderful season of baking, cooking, laughing, and yes, of course, there will be drama and tears. It wouldn’t be Baking Battles without them, now would it?”

He steps forward again, stopping only to cross his arms over his chest, showing off just the right amount of muscle tone through the thin designer shirt spray-painted onto his body, as he smiles again.

“I’m Christopher Pedersen, and this, is Baking Battles.”

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Second Priority by Este Holland: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Second Priority

by Este Holland

Riley glanced at me but had to concentrate on the traffic as we neared the airport. It wasn’t anything like LAX, but there were plenty of cars. The hotel was standard, and I checked us in without any trouble. We took our bags, grabbed the elevator, and I let us in with the keycard.

I sighed again, deeper this time. “I thought I’d be done with hotels for a few weeks.”

Riley groaned. “I’m sorry. I didn’t even think of that.” He threw his bag on the bed. “We could find an Airbnb, maybe?”

“No, she’ll be right.”

Riley smiled. “You don’t say stuff like that very often. Not that we’ve been around each other that much.”

He fiddled with his bag, and I walked over to take his hand in mine. “I don’t spend much time in Melbourne.”

He stilled and stared into my eyes. “Why?”

I shrugged and played with his slender fingers. “Not a lot of good memories.”

Riley frowned and leaned his forehead against mine, and we stayed like that for several heartbeats. Then, he leaned in slowly and pressed his lips to mine, soft and sweet. It made my heart ache.

“I need a shower.”

Riley nodded. “I’ll get us some food. What do you feel like?”

“Doesn’t matter. Whatever’s close.”

I went to the bathroom, undressed and showered. When I came out, Riley wasn’t back yet, so I sat on the bed in my towel, drying my shaggy hair. I needed a cut. I grabbed my phone and stared at a picture I’d taken long ago. I’d snapped it of a printed-out photo in a frame, so I’d have it with me. Me, Mum, Dad, and Jamie. My little brother. We were happy, smiling like idiots with sunscreen on our noses at the beach.

I shook off my mood and looked up when the door opened. Riley stopped and stared at my chest. The door slammed shut, and he jumped. I chuckled and stood to grab the pizza box he held. He shrugged off his coat, but his eyes kept straying to the tattoo over my left pec.

“You’ve seen me without my shirt.”

“Not this close.” His cheeks flushed red, and I smiled and sidled closer.

He swallowed and tried not to stare. I wasn’t huge, more lean and wiry, but I had decent muscle definition. Surprising me, he lifted his hand and traced the outline of my ink. It was a vague representation of the Australian continent made of native leaves and flowers and a tiny bee.

I watched his fingers. “I didn’t want to forget where I came from, though it hurts to think of it most days.”

“Why?” Riley whispered.

I squinted one eye as I peered at him, then bit my lip. “Why don’t we eat, and you can grab a shower, and then we can talk?”

His eyes darted back and forth between mine. “Okay.”

We drank sodas and ate pizza, then after Riley showered, we sat together on one of the queen-sized beds in our pajamas. Riley smelled of soap and mint from his toothpaste. 

I loved being close to him, breathing the same air, and touching feet under the blankets. The curtains were open, and we talked as the snow drifted down outside in the yellow glow of parking lot lights.

I handed him my phone with the picture of my family pulled up.

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Release Blitz: The Redemption of River by Eli Easton + Giveaway!

The Redemption of River by Eli Easton

River Larsen is a world traveler, truth-seeker, and tantric healer. He’s a master of loving all—and no one. Both his past and his spiritual path warn him against attachment. When he falls for his surrogacy client and coffee magnate, Brent McKay, River tells himself it’s a temporary idyll, a beautiful encounter they’ll both enjoy and move on from like mature adults. Only his heart misses that memo.

Brent McKay hasn’t been interested in sex since his wife died two years ago. When he goes to Expanded Horizons sex clinic in Seattle for help, he meets River Larsen, a sex surrogate specializing in reiki massage and tantric sex therapy. Brent never expected to be interested in a man, but River’s light-filled spirit, inner peace, and electric touch bring him back to life. Brent’s loyal heart is ready to commit again. But how can he convince River that love can last forever—if you just have faith?

The Redemption of River features a widower who surprises himself, a gorgeous hippy who thinks he’s a dandelion puff, an age gap, midlife discovery of bisexuality, foodie Seattle, a houseboat, dogs, a trip to Mumbai, and tantric secrets. (You know, the ones that let you have sex for hours. Those secrets.)

The Redemption of River takes place in part at the Expanded Horizons sex clinic and is thus book #4 of the Sex in Seattle series. It features a brand new couple and can be read as a stand-alone.

Available at: Amazon

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Book Review: Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

Reviewed by Heather C

Title: Love Her or Lose Her
Author: Tessa Bailey
Series: Hot & Hammered #2
Hero/Heroine: Dominic/Rosie
Genre: M/F Contemporary Romance
Length: 347 pages
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: January 14, 2020
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.

Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to-emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippie. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous—yet surprisingly helpful—assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret… and it could demolish everything. Continue reading

Categories: 5 Star Ratings, Book Review, Heather C's Reviews, M/F, Published in 2020 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: I’ll See You Again by Chris Bedell

Reviewed by Astros

Title: I’ll See You Again
Author: Chris Bedell
Heroes: Cyrus & Nico
Genre: YA M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: 227 pages
Publisher: Deep Hearts YA
Release Date: March 6, 2020
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: It’s the start of his senior year, and Cyrus should be worried about college applications, procrastinating on homework, and staying up past his bedtime. And he does, until his mother’s cancer returns.

To make matters worse, Nico Valentine—the person Cyrus hates most—insists on being his friend. Carefree, flirtatious, and spontaneous, Nico is everything Cyrus’s childhood never allowed him to be. When their English teacher offers Cyrus extra credit to tutor Nico, Cyrus knows he shouldn’t accept. He could use the distraction, though.

A fling soon ensues, and Cyrus realizes they have more in common than he thought. What is more, Nico is the first person who seems to get him and who is there no matter what. But, if Cyrus wants his romance with Nico to turn into something real, he’ll have to do something he’s never done before—be vulnerable with another person.

Adam Silvera’s HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME meets Rachel Lynn Solomon’s YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE in this tale of heartbreak and second chances.

Content Advisory:
This novel contains discussions and scenes of self-harm and suicide ideation.
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Categories: 3 Star Ratings, Book Review, Guest Reviewer, LGBT, Published in 2020 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Release Blitz: Why Can’t Freshman Summer Be Like Pizza? by Andy V. Roamer + Excerpt!

Why Can’t Freshman Summer Be Like Pizza? by Andy V. Roamer

RV, having successfully completed his freshman year at the demanding Boston Latin School, is hoping for a great summer.  He’s now fifteen years old and is looking forward to sharing many languid summer days with his friend Bobby, who’s told him he has gay feelings, too. But life and family and duties for a son of immigrant parents makes it difficult to steal time away with Bobby. RV has to work at his father’s friend’s garage and help his father get ready for his upcoming citizenship test. Bobby, too, has pressures.  His father also pushes him to work at a summer job so he spends  whatever little extra time he has practicing skills necessary to make Latin’s varsity football team. On top of everything, RV’s best friend Carole goes away for the summer, jumping at an opportunity to spend it with her father in Paris.   Luckily for RV, there is always Mr. Aniso, RV’s Latin teacher to talk to, whenever RV is lonely. He’s also there for RV when RV inadvertently spills one of Bobby’s secrets and Bobby is so angry at him RV is afraid he is ready to cut off the friendship.

Warning: gun violence, racial slurs, sexual assault (on page)

Available at: Amazon

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Hazardous Things by Beth Bolden: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Hazardous Things

by Beth Bolden

“Did you study my post-op instructions?” Max asked, the corner of his mouth quirking up. Max had a beautiful mouth, and a full lower lip that had entranced Felix for years. He still didn’t know why Max insisted on keeping it covered up with facial hair. Maybe he was worried men and women both would never stop throwing themselves at him if he left it bare.

“It’s important to be informed,” Felix said primly. Let Max think he was just being a good friend; even let him think that Felix was doing this because he felt some kind of work obligation. The only thing Max couldn’t think was that Felix was doing this was because he was crazy, head-over-heels, launch-himself-over-a-cliff, in love with him.

“Maybe you should go to law school,” Max suggested, leaning back after he’d chugged half the bottle of water. Felix took it back from him and put it on the table. He’d read the PT instructions three times, he knew exactly what he needed to do, and he fully intended to do it. But Max wasn’t going to like it and Felix cared too much to casually cause him pain.

“Why this obsession with trying to find me a new career?” Felix asked suspiciously. For the last few months, as the tour had wound down, and the members of Star Shadow had begun to wonder what they might do with the yearlong break they’d insisted on, Max had come up with half a dozen career paths that he thought Felix should explore—some serious and some very clearly not serious.

Max shrugged. “I know you hate being bored.”

“I’m not bored,” Felix retorted. “You guys have plenty going on, even when you’re on a ‘break’.”

“Okay, because I’d hate for you to waste your time working for us when you could be doing something amazing with your life.”

Felix stiffened. “Lots of people would assume that working with Star Shadow is plenty amazing.”

“They haven’t met us, obviously,” Max said with a sharp, quicksilver grin. “I know Caleb offered to hire you for his solo stuff, but I think you should hold out. He can be sort of a pain in the ass. A real perfectionist.”

“I hadn’t decided yet,” Felix said. Which was the truth. He hadn’t. He’d been going to Fiji with Leo and Caleb because it was Fiji, not because he had any intention of being at his brother’s boyfriend’s beck and call. The truth was, he knew he’d have his pick of any PA job he wanted during the break. He’d gotten plenty of offers other than Caleb’s. He just hadn’t decided quite yet what he wanted to do. It was nice not to have to worry, because he had money in the bank to pay for his mortgage, and no pressing need to find a new job.

“At least, if you’re going to take it, make him pay you a ton more. Caleb means well, but Caleb’s . . .”

“Believe me, I know what Caleb is and how he works,” Felix said primly. Caleb was one of the nicest people on the planet—steadfast and loyal and true—but also, like Max had said, a massive pain in the ass with his need for everything to be perfect all the time. He hadn’t been so bad before he’d left, but after he’d come back? He was still the same man, but suddenly with a driving, insatiable need for everything to work out just so.

“Not that you couldn’t negotiate anything you wanted,” Max added ruefully.

“Exactly.” Felix hoped his firm tone of voice indicated that the subject was closed. He was here for Max, not for some kind of misguided career counseling. It wasn’t like Max hadn’t done well for himself, but he’d known what he was going to do with his life at the age of sixteen. He gave freaking terrible adulting advice.

Max smirked. “Message received, loud and clear.”

“Good.” Felix cleared his throat. “First, we’re going to bend a little bit, raising and lowering your ankle. Slowly, and just as much as you can. No need to overdo it.”

Max’s glance was swift and apprehensive. “I’m not sure . . .”

“This is good,” Felix soothed. “It helps to make sure clots don’t form. And afterward, we’ll ice you up. It’ll be fine.”

Max gritted his teeth and slowly began to bend his knee, raising his ankle slightly above the large mound of pillows it was currently propped on. “That’s great, you’re doing great,” Felix encouraged as he moved it back down, and then repeated the movement a second time.

“This sucks,” Max said, sweat beading at his hairline. Clearly not from the minimal effort, but from the discomfort.

“Well, yeah, I didn’t think it was going to be a walk in the park,” Felix said, feigning nonchalance, even though he was sweating too, at the thought of the pain Max was in. “Did you?”

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When I First Saw Red by Kasia Bacon: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from When I First Saw Red

by Kasia Bacon

A common human. A soldier, gods have mercy, as big and strong as an ox, and likely just as witless. A crass simpleton, with a penchant for violence, perhaps, considering his enormous size and mean countenance to match.

I was doomed.

Black spots danced before my eyes, so I squeezed them shut. Immediately, an image of the man’s powerful arms and broad shoulders assaulted my mind. Seated at the bar, he seemed to own the place, looming over squirrel-sized Ranélle like a thug. A very attractive thug, whose dark and dangerous allure made me hard, wanton and exasperated. All against my will. Lifting my eyelids did nothing to eradicate the memory of his fervid, sooty gaze or his masculine, rough-hewn features. They’d imprinted themselves on the back of my eyeballs.

Oh, he would be back, of that I had no doubt— the hex that had hit me would be affecting him as well. I could’ve done without the irritating excitement that spread tingles across my abdomen. Despite hating the idea of meeting the human, I already longed to see him again.

It felt a little like unfair punishment and a lot like the irony of fate. What could I possibly have in common with a crude army lad? Me, an opposer of the military and everything to do with it? An enthusiast of fine arts, sophisticated conversation, and good wine?

My jaw tightened as a surge of anger jolted through me. Of all the pleasure houses in the Western Empire, why did he have to stumble into mine? Our street alone housed three other brothels, for the gods’ sake. The cheek of him, barging in here, all because he fancied a shag. Without a shred of awareness, he had set in motion something that threatened the way I’d lived and liked my life.

I’d earned my silver by steadily fucking through the upper crust of Nygläär. The nobles honoured my extortionate fees without as much as an arched eyebrow. Did I mind that they made a fetish of my rare background? Did I, fuck. I simply charged an arm and a leg for the privilege of my company. Coin, although essential in providing me with the luxuries I’d grown accustomed to indulging in, wasn’t my sole objective.

My profession complemented my nature. It satisfied the fundamental demand issued by my blood. The unquenchable Incubus in me revelled in carnal pleasure and debauchery. He thrived on promiscuity and seduction, never ceasing to chase after yet another conquest. In plain words— not only did I enjoy fucking, but I had a physical need to frequently engage with multiple partners to keep my demon sated and controlled. And that, in turn, allowed me to remain sane, balanced and relatively content.

The very presence of the brawny soldier downstairs put my hard-won sanity, integrity and contentment in jeopardy. Because the oaf at the bar, currently doing his best to drink himself unconscious, was my soulmate, and my demon wanted to jump his big bones with a vehemence that knocked the wind out of me.

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Love in Progress by Logan Grey: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Love in Progress

by Logan Grey

JAYCE

He’d quickly realized that a night in some stranger’s bed wasn’t anywhere near as satisfying as just being with Blaine. What they had was far more intimate than anything he’d find with a stranger. 

Caleb was in the same boat, though whatever reason Jason had for holding back was anyone’s guess. They were clearly meant for each other. 

I wonder if people ever think that when they look at Blaine and me? 

He glanced at Blaine for a split second before tearing his gaze away. Blaine looked fantastic, even hungover, though his eyes were a little red, probably because he needed more sleep. 

Jayce hoped maybe the jealousy Jason had showed, according to Blaine, had resulted in some form of action for Caleb. Then, at least one of them could get what they wanted so desperately. 

Unfortunately Jayce couldn’t say the same. So he remained silent and pining. At least until it passed and faded into the back of his mind again. 

But the question that persisted deep in his heart was how much longer could he go on until it wasn’t enough?

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