M/M romance

Release Day launch for Oversight by Santino Hassell

00:00

OVERSIGHT by Santino Hassell

Series: The Community, Book #2
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
 Release Date (Print & Ebook): June 26th, 2017
 Length (Print & Ebook): 242 pages
 Subgenre: Romantic Suspense, Paranormal
Add to Goodreads
Links: Amazon / B&N / Riptide

Book Blurb

Spoiler Alert! The following blurb contains spoilers for Insight, book one of The Community.

Holden Payne has it all . . . or so he thinks. As heir to the founder of the Community—an organization that finds, protects, and manages psychics—he’s rich, powerful, and treated like royalty. But after a series of disappearances and murders rock the Community, he’s branded the fall guy for the scandal and saddled with a babysitter.

Sixtus Rossi is a broad-shouldered, tattooed lumbersexual with a man-bun and a steely gaze. He’s also an Invulnerable—supposedly impervious to both psychic abilities and Holden’s charms. It’s a claim Holden takes as a challenge. Especially if sleeping with Six may help him learn whether the Community had more to do with the disappearances than they claimed.

As Holden uncovers the truth, he also finds himself getting in deep with the man sent to watch him. His plan to seduce Six for information leads to a connection so intense that some of Six’s shields come crashing down. And with that comes a frightening realization: Holden has to either stand by the Community that has given him everything, or abandon his old life to protect the people he loves.
  
Excerpt 

The man who walked into the office did not remotely resemble the teen boy who'd just strolled through his memories. Adult Sixtus was Holden’s height but corded with about thirty more pounds of muscle. His biceps were nearly bursting from the sleeves and his pecs were clearly visible beneath the tight black polo he wore, making the typically conservative style— look like the prequel to a stripping routine in Magic Mike. He also wore khaki pants so tight his thighs looked like they were being strangled. He'd paired the two articles of clothing with scuffed motorcycle boots with steel toes.

Holden didn't make an attempt to hide his slow ogle, and dragged his eyes from boot to crotch to clavicle before taking in Six's face. His fathomless black eyes were the only familiar feature in that olive complexed face. He had a full beard and mustache, thick black hair tied up in a bun, and wide lips that Holden wanted to suck on. Why did his sociopathic handler have to be a disgustingly sexy lumberjack hipster?

"Huh," Holden said. "He's filled out."

Richard went back to pursing his lips but Sixtus didn't even blink. He didn't scan Holden or react to the intense eyefuck he'd just received. There seemed to be nothing behind those dark eyes. The effect was more disturbing when Holden, by default, reached out with his gift to get an impression. He'd expected a hint of impatience or irritation even if it was muted by the mental shield that was apparently always in place.

Author Bio and Links

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.


Crossover romance series

Recs: Crossover Romance Series

06:42

This week's #RomBkLove prompt on Twitter started a conversation about crossover/mixed series of mf and queer romance. This is my favourite kind of series and to my surprise there seem to be more of them already out there and coming soon than I expected. I have collection all the recommendations made in this Twitter conversation in the following list. Feel free to add more if you know any by either commenting on this post or reaching out to me on Twitter (@e_savova).


  1. Bend or Break series by Amy Jo Cousins. My favourite NA queer series. I have reviewed all the books (7 so far) and there are more to come (soonish, I hope) - Amazon
  2. The Ivy Years series by Sarina Bowen - Amazing NA romances, mostly hockey ones. My review/Amazon
  3. Queers of La Vista by Kris Ripper - series of queer contemporary romances. My review/ Amazon
  4. Treading the Boards by Tess Bowery - queer historical romances. I've only read the third book in the series, mf with genderqueer f, both POCs. My review/Amazon
  5. Scientific Method by Kris Ripper - recommended by Amy Jo Cousins. Amazon
  6. Compass Series by Tamsen Parker - Contemporary BDSM romances. Recommended by @_AJCousins. Amazon
  7. Made in jersey by Tessa Bailey - contemporary romance. Recommended by @_AJCousins
  8. The Beyond series by Kit Rocha - post-apocalyptic romances. Recommended by @_AJCousins. Amazon
  9. The Gamers series by Megan Erickson. Recommended by @alice_exclaims. Amazon
  10. lake Lovelace series by Vanessa North. Recommended by @anacoqui. Amazon
  11. Green Men series by KJ Charles - historical/paranormal romances coming out this summer.
  12. Small Change by Roan Parrish - first book, Small Change is contemporary mf, just release. Next in the series is mm romance with not release date set yet. Recommended by @_AJCousins.
Note: I use Amazon Affiliate links on my blog. The links in this post are for the first books in the series except for Treading the Boards where I have linked book 3, That Potent Alchemy, since the others are not available at moment and this is the one I have read/reviewed.

Alex West

New and Debut: Alex West

00:00

It's time for another New and Debut author spotlight. I'm happy to welcome over to the blog today Alex West, author of mm romance whose debut mm romcom Anything But Real was just released this week. Read on to learn more about Alex, his writing inspiration and what kind of stories can we expect from him in the future. 



Meet Alex 


1. Tell us about yourself and why did you decide to become a romance writer?

Hi there! Well, I love books. And I love romance. And I guess I just decided to put the two together! In all honesty, I’ve always been a real romantic. I think there’s romance in everything, and I love reading about love and watching movies about it. I’ve never been able to get enough! So I wanted to write about it. There’s something so special about two people (or three!) falling deeply in love. 

2. Can you share some of your favourite books and authors?

Of course! I have tons of favorite authors and books, and I think, for me, a lot of those favorites change based on how I’m feeling. I will say that I think Riley Hart is an inspiration. I love everything she writes. You can truly feel her characters. I also really love Christina Lee, who has such an easy way with words that I’m jealous! Her writing is clean and superb. 

3. Who/what do you consider your writing influence/inspiration?

I think that life is an inspiration. I know people say that a lot, but there’s something so romantic about living as full of a life as you can. I get ideas every single day! Plus, I really love watching movies and reading books about love. I think you can get ideas from anything. 

4. What kind of stories can the readers expect from you (contemporary/historical/sci-fi, adult/NA/YA, etc)?

Readers can expect warm, happy stories filled with sarcasm, sex and lots of swoony, romantic scenes. I write New Adult, and like to focus on characters who love love just as much as I do. My Anything series is a series of standalone books that are extremely happy. They’re easy beach reads and will put a smile on your face. My Hart Boys series, which will be out soon, is a lot more sexy but still really fun. I like to write characters, so expect big ideas and lots of romance. 

5. Please, introduce your latest/upcoming release.

Thanks! My debut book, Anything But Real, is out on June 20, 2017 and is a warm and swoony romantic comedy. It’s perfect if you want an easy read for summer, or one that will just put a smile on your face. Lots of love and lots of romantic tension. I have another book in the Anything series called Anything Like Lies, which will be out soon. And then my Hart Boys series, which will begin with the first book Watch Me, will be out soon as well! 



BLURB: 

Benjamin Walters and Reid Adams are good at walking away. Good at hiding the truth. So when Ben and Reid find each other again after years apart, they're surprised when the last thing they want to say is goodbye. And when Ben's sister gets engaged, asking Reid to be his wedding date feels like the right thing to do. In fact, everything about being with Reid feels right.
But when an unexpected announcement turns them from second chance boyfriends to fake fianc├ęs, their relationship ignites in lies. Soon, both Ben and Reid are faced with the ultimate decision, one that will define their lives forever. Is their accidental engagement worth losing a future together? Because even though a wedding may be easy to fake, Ben and Reid are beginning to realize their hearts don't lie as easily.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N


Author Bio and Links

Alex West is the New Adult author of Watch Me, book one in the Hart Boys series, and the standalone gay romantic comedy, Anything But Real.




Nalini Singh

Review: Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

00:29

Title: Silver Silence (Psy-Changeling Trinity #1)
Author: Nalini Singh
Date of publication: 13 June 2017
Genre: Paranormal romance, shifters

Author's links:
Add on Goodreads

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh introduces a bold new chapter in her extraordinary paranormal romance saga with the Psy-Changeling Trinity series. Wild passion will encounter the darkest of betrayal...

Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that’s exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater Bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence—her mind clear of all emotion—Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That’s what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious…and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed... 

Review

This story was another winner for me, a worthy addition to a favourite PNR series of mine. This is the start of spin-off series, or as Nalini Singh herself called it" a second season" of the Psy-Changeling saga.

This is the story of Silver, a cardinal Psy and Valentin, the alpha of the bear clan. There are some similarities with previous stories of cardinal Psys and alpha changelings, as it's book 15 in the series, I feel some repetition is unavoidable but it didn't bother me to much. Still, I would welcome more diversity in terms of tropes and how the romantic relationships develop, these things would be beneficial for the series and would make them even more fun to read. And I'm happy to say that there are signs of such changes coming along - we meet our first gay changelings here and I really hope Nalini Singh will give us their story at some point in the series.

Tthe bears turned Stu to be such a fun changeling clan. I didn't expect they would compete with Lucas' cats for the first place of my affections but they really did. Valentin was alpha to the core but also confused and vulnerable and playful which is something I love about all the changelings, even the wolves have this fun, playful side which I think. He was determined and even stubborn in his wooing of Silver, his love strong and unselfish.

In some ways Silver was the typical cardinal Psy - cold, calculating, smart and determined but we see the cracks in her silence as the story goes. There is an emotional side to her, deep caring for her family, for the world as a whole and gradually for the bear clan. I liked how strong she was, a true equal to Valentin. She didn't give in, didn't back down in their arguments and overall, I felt their relationship was very much based on challenging each as much as supporting and providing comfort to one another.

I absolutely loved the twist in eh last quarter of the story. It is a unique take on the amnesia trope which came rather unexpectedly and worked so well giving the story much needed freshness. It made the romance stand out on its own among the rest of the series.

Wwhat made this book extra special to me is that I'm Bulgarian and we have a lot of cultural similarities with the Russians. And I speak Russian, so all those cultural and linguistic bits in the story felt familiar and made so happy. This is the closest I have come to seeing my culture (rather one that is very similar to mine) represented in the romances I read and the feeling is incredible.

AS usual for the series, the complex world building continues, we see more of all the inhabitants of this world and the complex relationships between them which continue to change and evolve. I'm confident that fans of the series will enjoy this story a lot and at the same it is a good entry to point for new readers though some nuances coming from the previous books will inevitably be lost to them. Still, if you want to try Nalini Sighn's Psy-Changeling world, I highly recommend Silver Silence (and then going back to read all the previous books ;)

Purchase Links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iBooks

Blog Tour

Retro review Tour for Enlightenment series by Joanna Chambers

00:00


The Enlightenment series by Joanna Chambers is one of my favoruite queer historical romance series. I read the books last year and here is my joint review. I have all the love for Murdo and David and willingly admit to David coming first in my heart despite what seems the universal preference for Murdo among my reader friends :)

Covers by Natasha Snow

Provoked (Enlightenment #1) 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

David Lauriston is struggling to build his reputation in Edinburgh’s privileged legal world. His humble origins are enough of a hurdle, never mind his recent decision to defend a group of weavers accused of treason, prompting speculation that he may harbour radical sympathies. The last thing he should be doing is agreeing to help the brother of one of the convicted weavers find the government agent who caused his brother’s downfall.

David’s personal life is no more successful. Tormented by his forbidden desires for other men, and the painful memories of the childhood friend he once loved, David tries his hardest to live a celibate existence, castigating himself whenever his resolve slips.

But then—into David’s repressed and orderly world—bursts Lord Murdo Balfour.

Cynical, hedonistic and utterly unapologetic, Murdo could not be less like David. Whilst David refuses to entertain the prospect of entering into a loveless marriage for propriety’s sake, Murdo is determined to wed one day—and has no intention of giving up the company of other men when he does so. But as appalled as David is by Murdo’s unrepentant self-interest, he cannot resist the man’s sway.

Murdo tempts and provokes David in equal measure, distracting him from his promise to find the agent provocateur responsible for the weavers’ fate, and forcing him to acknowledge his physical desires.

But is Murdo more than a mere distraction?

Is it possible he could be the very man David is looking for?


Beguiled (Enlightenment #2)


Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Two years after his last encounter with cynical nobleman Lord Murdo Balfour, David Lauriston accidentally meets him again in the heart of Edinburgh.

King George IV is about to make his first visit to Edinburgh and Murdo has been sent North by his politician father to represent his aristocratic family at the celebrations.

David and Murdo’s last parting was painful—and on Murdo’s part, bitter—but Murdo’s feelings seem to have mellowed in the intervening years. So much so, that he suggests to David that they enjoy each other’s company during Murdo’s stay in the capital.

Despite his initial reservations, David cannot put Murdo’s proposal from his mind, and soon find himself at Murdo’s door—and in his arms.

But other figures from David’s past are converging on the city, and as the pomp and ceremony of the King’s visit unfolds around them, David is drawn into a chain of events that will threaten everything: his career, his wellbeing, and the fragile bond that, despite David’s best intentions, is growing between him and Murdo.

Enlightened (Enlightenment #3) 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

David Lauriston has been recuperating at Lord Murdo Balfour’s Laverock estate for the last five months. At Laverock, he has regained his health and confidence and has found—with Murdo—more happiness and contentment than he has never known before.

David is all too aware that some day soon he will have to leave Laverock—and Murdo—and return to his legal practice in Edinburgh, just as Murdo will have to return to his life in London. But when David’s mentor, Patrick Chalmers, asks David to return to Edinburgh to visit him on his deathbed, it seems that day has come sooner than either David or Murdo would have wished.

Chalmers begs David to undertake one last piece of business for him: to secure the future of Chalmers’s daughter Elizabeth. But to carry out his old mentor’s wishes, David must travel to London, with Murdo.

No sooner have the two men arrived in the capital than they encounter Murdo’s ruthlessly manipulative father, who reveals a shocking secret that rocks David to his foundations. What’s more, when David discovers Elizabeth is facing far greater danger than even her father feared, he is determined to help her, no matter the cost to his own safety.

As the stakes rise, it is Murdo who must choose what he is prepared to sacrifice to keep David at his side, and ask whether there is any possibility of lasting happiness for men like them.




June 13 - Bike Book Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews

June 15 - Keysmash, The Librarian's Corner

June 17 - Dog-Eared Daydreams, Padme's Library

June 19 - Jessie G Books

June 21 - It's About The Book, Sarandipity, Bayou Book Junkie, My Time Out Book Blog, Gay Book Reviews, Ellie Reads All The Books, My Fiction Nook, Urban Smoothie Read, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, From Top To Bottom Reviews, Boy Meets Boy Reviews


Author Bio

Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. She spent over 20 years staring at blank sheets of paper and despairing of ever writing a single word. In between staring at blank sheets of paper, she studied law, met her husband and had two children. Whilst nursing her first child, she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna lives in Scotland with her family and finds time to write by eschewing sleep and popular culture.


a Rafflecopter giveaway





Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions


Contemporary Romance

Release Day Blitz for Lost Without You by Molly O'Keefe

00:00

LOST_BANNERNOWAVAILABLE
Lost Without You by Molly O'Keefe is NOW AVAILABLE! "With wonderfully drawn characters, deep emotions, and O’Keefe’s draw-you-in-and-hold-you-tight writing, Lost Without You is totally one-clickable!" — J. Kenner NYT and Internationally Best Selling Author
MOLostWithYouBookCover6x9_HIGH
BUY NOW!
Amazon / iBooks / Nook / Kobo / Google Play

Beautiful young couple hugging and kissing isolated on black background.
ALL DEBTS MUST BE PAID
Tommy Seven years ago, I thought I could save Beth, the girl I loved from the monster who was supposed to take care of us. I thought I could keep Beth and all the other kids at St. Jude’s Home for Court Placed Juveniles safe. I failed. Badly. Now we all have blood on our hands and owe a dangerous man a very dangerous debt. We don’t know when he’ll come calling for payment, but when he does – we pay, or we suffer. When my turn comes, I’m ready for anything. Except seeing Beth again. LOVE IS NEVER FREE Beth No one ever tells you that the cost of having your dreams come true is literally every single other part of your life. Yes, I’m a huge pop star these days, but I’m pretty much a mess, too. I’ve spent my life hiding behind disguises, make-up and costumes, all to protect myself from the kind of pain that comes from revealing your true self to someone. I did that once. With Tommy. The only person I ever loved. It didn’t turn out so well. And now, with everything else falling apart around me, I’m suddenly in the backseat of his car. Being kidnapped. And the past we’ve both tried to run from is catching up with us. 
Contains The Debt: A Prologue and 50,000 more words in the continuation of Tommy and Beth's story
MOWhereIBelongBookCover6x9_HIGH
PREORDER WHERE I BELONG - June 26th 

THE GIRL I LOVED IS THE WOMAN I CAN’T HAVE It was simple: Pay the debt and I stay out of jail. Pay the debt and I stay alive. But I sacrificed it all for Beth. I didn’t pay what I owed. I’m sure punishment is coming, but I can take it - as long as Beth is safe. Away from her mother and everyone else who would hurt her. I gave it all up for two days with her. And it was worth it. She always was. THE SECRETS WE KEEP ARE WHAT TEARS US APART We’re supposed to be done. Over. Tommy goes his way, I go mine. Cue the heartbreaking music. I’m supposed to forget him, but I don’t think I can. And when the danger closes in on Tommy, we’re on the run again. From Bates. From my mother. From our past. And there are no safe places to hide. Except one. And it’s the place that will hurt Tommy the most. But maybe it’s time for me to face my past. My demons. Maybe it’s time for me to save Tommy for once.

LOST_JKENNER1

About the Author:
Molly O'Keefe is an award-winning author of over 30 romance novels. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her family and the largest heap of dirty laundry in North America. Sign up for her newsletter to get release day news, exclusive excerpts, sale announcements and in-depth author interviews!

Annika Martin

Review: Enemies Like You by Joanna Chambers & Annika Martin

04:33

Title: Enemies Like You
Author: Annika Martin & Joanna Chambers
Date of publication: 15 May 2017
Genre: Romantic suspense, MM romance
Annika Martin: 
Joanna Chambers: 
Add on Goodreads

My rating: 3 stars

Blurb

They're dangerous men. Absolute enemies. And totally hot for each other.

Will has never met anyone like Kit. He’s arrogant. Gorgeous. Lethal. The most expensive bodyguard money can buy. 

And Will can’t seem to resist him. 

A simple command in Kit's cut-glass accent makes Will want things he’s never wanted, do things he’s never done. Their red-hot chemistry is off the charts. 

Just one problem: Will has vowed to kill the billionaire that Kit is hell-bent on protecting.

And Kit has secrets, too—his own reasons for sacrificing his soul, piece by painful piece, to keep one of the worst men on earth alive.

Review

When two favourite authors team together who could resist reading their joint book. Carolyn Crane (aka Annika Martin) has written my favourte mf romantic suspense, The Associates series, and Joanna Chamber's mm historicals are a joy to read. 

The prologue to this romance which is actually the first 8 chapters and is available for free was totally addicting and left me impatient to see what happens with these two. I admit Will read a bit amateurish as an undercover agent, though I expected to see him acting more professionally in the rest of the story. This was not the case and I ended up  sadly disappointed in this aspect of the story.

I liked Will much better as a person and in his reactions to Kit. I liked seeing him break down and rationalise his attraction to Kit, his desire to submit (which was a new thing for him and which he found surprising and a bit unnerving initially but came to accept as part of himself and eventually enjoyed it in the fullest). Kit, oh Kit was my favourite, so self-assured initially, gradually we see his troubled soul. 

The romance was the best element of this story for me, enemies-to-lovers is a favourite trope of mine and it was powerfully and convincingly done here. There is a lot of character growth and the more I saw of the inner world of these two, the more I fell in love them and rooted for their HEA. 

My main complaint with this book was the suspense plot. It felt rather weak, bordering on ridiculous at times and I hated it. It was an unpleasant surprise to be honest since I know both authors can do so much better than that. I'm not really familiar with spy/undercover work but a lot of it here felt naive, too contrived, a particular subplot with Kit's parents was definitely overdone in my opinion. I do realise that reading romantic suspense requires some suspension of belief but it felt too much for me to buy into the spy stuff.

Another thing that did not sit very well with me in this story and I feel it should be mentioned was the bit with Kit's cross-dressing. I found it interesting in the beginning but than the way it was further presented in the story felt disturbing, like it was there just for shock value and not an integral part of character. Will and Kit did have an honest conversation about it but I still feel it was a poorly done element in the story.

In short, while I liked the romantic aspect and the growth and change the characters undergo, this book did not quite work for me. There were one too many things that bothered me and I hesitate recommending it.

Purchase links:  iBooks | Kindle US | Kindle UK | kindle AU | Kobo | Google Play | Nook |

Nalini Singh

Release Day Blitz for Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

04:29



The next installment in the Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh, Silver Silence, comes out on June 13! It's the start of second season of the series under the title Trinity and it features Silver Mercant finding her mate in a certain alpha bear. I absolutely loved this story and I can't wait for you all to read it so that we can gush over it together. For now, check the book info (including purchase links) and enjoy a short excerpt.


Title: Silver Silence (Psy-Changeling Trinity #1)
Author: Nalini Singh
Date of publication: 13 June 2017
Genre: Paranormal romance, shifters

Author's links:
Add on Goodreads

Pre-order links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iBooks 

Blurb

Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that’s exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater Bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence—her mind clear of all emotion—Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That’s what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious…and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed...

Excerpt

Laughing at the cubs’ antics, Valentin jogged down the slight incline and waded into what had to be ice-cold water after kicking off his boots and socks. He splashed the cubs, laughed when they splashed him back. Running so they could chase him, he turned abruptly and chased them back, to their unhidden joy.

Silver took a seat on the grass. When the female bear looked her way, she inclined her head in a silent greeting. The bear did the same, then they both watched an alpha bear play with two energetic cubs, his hands holding rough care for their small bodies.

By the time Valentin made his way back to her, he was drenched and his eyes weren’t human in any way. When he spoke, his already deep voice was so low it felt like thunder against her skin. “Couldn’t resist,” he said, pushing back his wet hair with one big hand. “If you weren’t in recovery and if I wasn’t in terror of Nova’s wrath, I’d have invited you. The small monsters wanted to play with you.”

Silver didn’t get to her feet. “Can we stay here a little longer?” It was patent that Valentin had an extremely high tolerance for the cold, but he might want to dry off.

“Sure,” he said, and, moving away several feet, shook off the wet.

Fine droplets settled on the skin of her cheek, but she didn’t flinch at the unintentional tactile contact. She also controlled her urge to reach up and touch the water where it lay against her skin. There was no reason to do that, and Silver was alive because she only did things that were rational.

Settling beside her, Valentin waved at the cubs as their guardian led their tired forms toward a path in the trees that was at the same level as the stream. “Gentler climb,” Valentin told her.

“They seem too exhausted to make it to Denhome.”

“It’s all an act—they’re hoping for a ride on their aunt’s back.” His tone held the same fond affection she’d heard when he spoke of Dima. “It’d take more than a few minutes’ play in the water to wipe out those two.”

The cubs had played with Valentin for almost a half hour. “They’re hyperactive?”

“They’re baby bears.”

Silver watched as those baby bears turned toward her and rose up on their back paws, as if in challenge. A stern sound from their caretaker, and they dropped down and scrambled to catch up with her. Their bodies disappeared into the trees as dusk began to turn from orange to shadowy gray.

Beside her, Valentin sprawled out, bracing himself on his elbows. His drenched T-shirt clung to the ridged muscles of his abdomen, pulled tight across his pectoral muscles, shaped itself over his shoulders. His jeans weren’t much better, outlining the raw muscle of his thighs.

Valentin Nikolaev was a man of violent physical strength even in human form. Yet he clearly had iron control over it; when he’d played with the children, they’d displayed zero fear of their alpha.

“You thought about where you’re going to live when you escape the bears who’ve kidnapped you?”

When she raised an eyebrow at him, he grinned. “Fringe netter with his own Internet channel sent out a breaking report last night. Pasha—who obviously needs more work duties—made up a fake account and posted a comment swearing to have seen you being pulled into a black van by six burly bears in bear form.”

“You don’t seem too concerned.” Amber eyes and deep voice, he remained very much a bear in human form.

“Well, according to this ‘eyewitness,’ the getaway driver was in bear form, too. Must’ve been tough for him to steer with one paw since he was drinking a beer at the same time.”

“Bears,” Silver said, making Valentin throw his head back and laugh that huge laugh that wrapped around her.


Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Nalini Singh, 2017.


Abuse

Review: Under Her Skin by Adriana Anders

00:57

Title: Under Her Skin (Oxford #3)
Author: Adriana Anders
Date of publication: 7 Feb 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Past abuse, Mild kink

Author's links:
Add to Goodreads

My rating: 4 stars


Blurb

Her Body is His Canvas


A darkly possessive relationship has left Uma alone and on the run. Beneath her drab clothing, she hides a terrible secret—proof of her abuse, tattooed onto her skin in a lurid reminder of everything she’s survived.

Caught between a brutal past and an uncertain future, Uma’s reluctant to bare herself to anyone…much less a rough ex-con whose rage drives him in ways she will never understand. But beneath his frightening exterior, Ivan is gentle. Warm. Compassionate. And just as determined to heal Uma’s broken heart as he is to destroy the monster who left his mark scrawled across the delicate tapestry of her skin.


Review

This is the debut novel of Adriana Anders and found it following a recommendation by Molly O'Keefe, a favourite author of mine. I was worried about it being too dark for me but I'm glad I took a chance on it. It's not an easy read but it was absolutely worth it.

The premise of an abuse survival finding there way back to life/themselves is not something new but the particular abuse described here was something I had never heard of before. I was taken aback by the cruelty of it, yet I came to admire the heroine for finding a way to cope and overcome it. The authors gives us a heroine who is a survivor and a fighter and a hero with a lot of anger and violence in himself. They seem unlikely pair the start but they turned out to be a perfect fit by the end of the story. There is a mild kink play which I found fitting to the characters and really working for them as a couple.

Uma was amazing, I really liked the way she was portrayed as an abuse survivor with flashbacks to how she got to where she was, how blind she was at the beginning of her relationship with her abuser, how easy it is sometime to end up a violent relationship and how difficult it is to get out of one.

I liked her determination, her tenaciousness, her desire to get her life back to herself, to reclaim her body, her sexual desire. And here comes Ive, a giant of a man, a blacksmith with a temper and anger issues of his own. On the surface they didn't appear to be suitable for each other. She should have been afraid of his violent past (his anger flares up even now). Yet, the author shows us he has another side as well, he is caring and kind and there for her. Their sex games of her dominating him came as a surprise for them but actually worked for both Uma and Ive. I saw this a her reclaiming her desire/freedom/power and for him it was an unexpected turn on which quickly accepted as an element of his desire. Maybe it was also a way for his own violent/aggressive nature to take a step back. He was a man of action, led by his own principle of justice and duty, one who always takes charge, is responsible, provides for the others. Letting her run the show in the bedroom was a change from his usual modus operandi, a side of himself he never knew existed because his past lovers have never given him to chance to be anything but aggressive and domineering. Nobody expected submission from him because all they saw in him was a big, scary brute.

The writing was solid, the whole plot was neat and had an easy natural flow to it. My only complaint is that Uma's constant comparisons between Ive and Joey were too much and distracted me from her budding new relationship. I see their point and place in the beginning of the story but they became annoying and overused as her relationship with Ive progressed. It felt joey was always there in the back of her mind, even when she was Ive and it bothered me making me feel it was not fair to Ive.

Apart from this minor issues, I really liked the story. The dark of her horrific abuse was balanced by her growing relationship with Ive, the growth both of them underwent and the overall feeling of hope for the future. I can strongly recommend this book and can't wait to read the next in the series.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N

Contemporary Romance

Release Day Blitz for Small Change by Roan Parrish

00:00


Title: Small Change (Small Change #1)  
Author: Roan Parrish
Release Date: 6/1/2017
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 429
Buy links: Amazon



Book blurb

Ginger Holtzman has fought for everything she’s ever had—the success of her tattoo shop, respect in the industry, her upcoming art show. Tough and independent, she has taking-no-crap down to an art form. Good thing too, since keeping her shop afloat, taking care of her friends, and scrambling to finish her paintings doesn’t leave time for anything else. Which … is for the best, because then she doesn’t notice how lonely she is. She’ll get through it all on her own, just like she always does.

Christopher Lucen opened a coffee and sandwich joint in South Philly because he wanted to be part of a community after years of running from place to place, searching for something he could never quite name. Now, he relishes the familiarity of knowing what his customers want, and giving it to them. But what he really wants now is love.

When they meet, Christopher is smitten, but Ginger … isn’t quite so sure. Christopher’s gorgeous, and kind, and their opposites-attract chemistry is off the charts. But hot sex is one thing—truly falling for someone? Terrifying. When her world starts to crumble around her, Ginger has to face the fact that this fight can only be won by being vulnerable—this fight, she can’t win on her own.

Small Change is the first book in a series that will include M/F and M/M romances.

Author Bio


Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.

When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

She is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.


Praise for Small Change

“Small Change is a gem. A beautifully written, deeply emotional story with tons of life bursting out of it’s pages. I loved this story! Can’t wait for more.” --Molly O’Keefe, USA Today Bestselling Author

“I can always count on Roan Parrish to deliver emotional truths and gritty realism. Like many readers, I was waiting for Ginger's story. And what a story it was!" -- Sarina Bowen, USA Today Bestselling author of Goodbye Paradise

"It sounds anemic to say, 'You will fall in love with Ginger,' but you will! This tattoo artist heroine manages to be both a delight and a total badass at the same time. Parrish makes her characters work for their happily ever after, which means Small Change has it all: vulnerability and great big leaps of faith, broken hearts and patched-together hearts the stronger for that patching. (Also: smashing the patriarchy and amazing sandwiches.)” --Jenny Holiday, USA Today Bestselling author

Excerpt

Christopher broke into a smile. He put my coffee on the counter between us and held up the bagel for a long moment, assessing me. Instead of putting it in a bag, he put it on a plate with a napkin. His raised his eyebrows over eyes sparkling with mischief, and bit his lip, like he was waiting to see if I’d call his bluff. He looked like a kid reaching for a second cookie when he’d been told he could have one.

Warmth bloomed in my chest at the idea that he was actively angling to have me stay here and talk with him as I ate. “Wow, you’re not subtle, huh?” I said.

“Nope.”

His p popped, and his grin was sunny and boyish. I liked his lack of subtlety. That he was clear about wanting me to stay.

I narrowed my eyes at him, just in case he was joking, but I left the bagel where it was. I shrugged out of my jacket and draped it over the stool, then I sat down across the counter from him. He squeezed his hands into fists and grinned.

“Yay,” he said softly, and I felt another trickle of warmth flow through me that had nothing to do with the coffee.

Excerpt Reveal

Excerpt Reveal for The Debt by Molly O'Keefe

00:00


The Debt by Molly O'Keefe is NOW LIVE and TOTALLY FREE! Grab the prologue to The Debt Duet now & keep reading for an excerpt!
MOTheDebtBookCover6x9_HIGH
COMPLETELY FREE!

TheDebt_Promo1
LOVE AND SECOND CHANCES ARE NEVER FREE For the five kids who live at St. Jude’s Home for Court Placed Juveniles, life is a nightmare. Carissa, the youngest, has been there the longest. And barely speaks. Rosa is sixteen and pregnant. Simon keeps his head down and studies, hoping to get back the life he lost. Beth and Tommy, in the middle of the darkness, have found each other, and all they want is to be together. But when they get caught making out at school, it puts everyone in danger. Tommy is used to the beatings from their foster father, but when Beth is singled out for punishment, Tommy can’t sit back and let it happen. AND ALL DEBTS MUST BE PAID What happens that night rips apart the lives of the five teenagers forever. After the blood has been spilled, a bargain is made. A deal with the devil that should have solved things. It should have fixed everything. But nothing is free - not love, not innocence, and certainly not freedom. And sooner or later, all debts must be paid... LOST_TEASER2
EXCERPT:
“What do you want, Tommy?” she breathed. So close. So beautiful. With her free hand she took off her glasses and tossed them on the ground. Her eyes, lined in black liner raked over me. And mine raked over her. “You,” I said, so raw I was practically inside out. “Just once.” She laughed low in her throat. “You have a few questions you want answered, do you?” she asked. “Don’t you?” “God yes.” She stepped forward until she was nearly touching me. It took my inhale for my chest to brush hers. I exhaled and our bodies retreated. She inhaled and we touched. Exhaled and retreated. We each did it again. And then again. Breathing each other in, in turns. Finally it wasn’t enough and I stepped toward her, and my cock pressed against her stomach and she pushed against me. Her breasts and belly imprinted on my skin. “One time,” she said. “One time and we go back to our lives and get on with things. I’m going to forget you, Tommy. And you’re going to forget me.” I doubted it, but I wasn’t going to argue. Not with my dick pushed up against the tight muscles of her stomach. Not with her breath, sweet from the pop and the candy she’d eaten, making me crazy. “I’m serious, Tommy,” she said as if she could read my mind. “I don’t want to be hurt anymore, and I really, really don’t want to hurt you anymore. Promise you’ll forget me.” “I promise,” I said, because when threatened with the idea of hurting her, I’d agree to anything to stop that. “I’ll forget you, right after I fuck you.”
LOST_TEASER3
PREORDER THE DEBT DUET NOW!
LOST WITHOUT YOU - June 19th - Amazon / iBooks 
WHERE I BELONG - June 26th- Amazon / iBooks
LOST_TEASER1
About the Author:
Molly O'Keefe is an award-winning author of over 30 romance novels. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her family and the largest heap of dirty laundry in North America. Sign up for her newsletter to get release day news, exclusive excerpts, sale announcements and in-depth author interviews!
  Connect with Molly:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon / Goodreads  

Author Interview

New and Debut: Liz Jacobs

00:00

My guest in today's New and Debut is the loveliest Liz Jacobs, debut author with Brain Mills Press. her book Abroad, mm NA romance, is coming out on June 27. It's book 1 in a series of 2 and I'm super excited to read it. Come meet Liz, learn what inspires her to write and what stories you can expect from her. There is also an excerpt from Abroad at the end of the post, so make sure you read that too.




Meet Liz

1. Tell us about yourself and why did you decide to become a romance writer?

I have been writing since I've been a kid, and mostly, it has been romances, whether I knew it or not. When I was thinking about how best to tell this particular story, which is so personal to me, it only clicked together when I realized it was a romance. At the time that I started it, I was very new to romance as a genre, but I figured out very quickly that romance was an exceptional way to tackle tough subjects and make them hopeful. Now, especially, romance is important because of that hope, and if I can feel hope through other's writing and maybe give hope through my own, I will be very happy. I love romance as a genre, and will defend it with my entire being.

2. Can you share some of your favourite books and authors?

Oh Gosh, where do I start? My favorite book of all time is Jamie O'Neill's At Swim, Two Boys. At the time I read it, I was reading all the queer lit I could get my hands on, and it was sort of a defining one for me, personally. It's not the easiest read, but it's incredibly engrossing and all-encompassing. Most people I know who have read it, have felt a sort of hangover afterwards. It's a truly incredible work. I have four copies at home. I am not kidding about that.

As far as romance authors, my current favorites are KJ Charles, Alexis Hall, Roan Parrish, Santino Hassell, Harper Fox, and oh man, probably more, but let's leave it there for now. These are my "will 1-click even the craziest premise" authors. KJ Charles' A Society of Gentlemen is probably the greatest histrom work I've read to date. Alexis Hall's Prosperity is just a staggeringly beautiful book--it gave me the same hangover that At Swim, Two Boys did, which is an impressive feat! I mean, I could go on. These are such amazing authors, and all so very unique. 

3. Who/what do you consider your writing influence/inspiration?

Recently, I've definitely counted KJ Charles as an inspiration--I think she is a master at storytelling, pulling back when needed, really not pulling a punch when necessary. She has this amazing ability to hit your solar plexus right when you were getting comfortable, and I admire that so much. Her use of language is so precise, too. Roan Parrish's prose is stunning, and she has such a clarity to her thinking and writing--I'm a ridiculous fan, and take a lot of lessons from her writing, even if I am not always able to replicate them.

I would also count Mary Renault as a big influence. The Charioteer is my favorite of her books, and every now and then I reread it and marvel at her subtlety, her precise language. She is someone who will lure you in, hook you, and then emotionally shred you very quietly. Just marvelous.

4. What kind of stories can the readers expect from you (contemporary/historical/sci-fi, adult/NA/YA, etc)?

All of the above? Okay, maybe not sci-fi--I admire anyone who can write sci-fi, or deep fantasy, but it's definitely not my strong suit. But I'm planning a few YA works, I'm deep into writing a queer historical, and I have a few contemporary ideas on the backburner. I have no idea if that's a smart thing to do or not, but I love immersing myself in different worlds (as long as I don't have to make them up out of whole cloth) and writing in different styles. I can't imagine being able to settle for just one, at least not yet. So, yeah. Definitely all of the above.

5. Please, introduce your latest/upcoming release.

ABROAD: Book One is the first in a contemporary NA duology. It deals with immigration, identity, and in what we do when we don't fit into the world we were born into, or a world we have been forced to flee to, or just a world where your identity is flat-out denied. It tackles queerness, and friendship, and love, and family. It's a very personal book in a way that feels intimidating to me, because Nick and his story is so obviously based on my own, even if it takes a different turn. Mostly, I just wanted to write a story that I had not read before, and explore things I have only ever really thought about, and rarely been able to describe.

I have been told that, despite all of this, it's a fun book, too, so here is my elevator pitch: a fun book
tackling heavy subjects! Because if you can't laugh, you will cry. And I sort of hope readers do both, because I'm a little bit sadistic.


Title: ABROAD: Book One
Author: Liz Jacobs

Publisher: Brain Mill Press
Release Date (Print & Ebook): June 27th wide release; early access June 17th
Purchase links: BMP / Amazon

Blurb

Nick, a Russian-Jewish immigrant living in America, doesn't know where he belongs. Socially anxious, intensely private, and closeted, he feels like a collection of disparate parts. When he goes to study abroad in the UK, he is forced to be honest with himself for the first time. If only he can speak to other people without wanting to throw up.

Dex knows exactly who he is: a black queer guy who doesn't give a toss what anybody thinks of him. He's got his friends, his family, a glittering future. All right, he also has a bit of a broken heart that he's been nursing for a while, but he is absolutely, one hundred percent, totally fine. Apart, maybe, from his family's abrupt move to an affluent, largely white town. Or his younger brother feeling increasingly isolated as a result. Or that persistent broken heart.

When Nick and Dex meet, both find themselves intrigued--and afraid. The last thing Nick wants is to face his deepest secret. The last thing Dex needs is another heartache. But through endless late night talks, both find it harder and harder to resist the terrifying pull of attraction.

But Dex has had to fight too hard for his right to be where he is; Nick isn’t even sure where he’s from. So how can either of them tell where this is going?



Author Bio and Links

Liz Jacobs came over with her family from Russia at the age of 11, as a Jewish refugee. All in all, her life has gotten steadily better since that moment. They settled in an ultra-liberal haven in the middle of New York State, which sort of helped her with the whole “grappling with her sexuality” business.

She has spent a lot of her time flitting from passion project to passion project, but writing remains her constant. She has flown planes, drawn, made jewelry, had an improbable internet encounter before it was cool, and successfully wooed the love of her life in a military-style campaign. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for her essay on her family’s experience with immigration.

She currently lives with her wife in Massachusetts, splitting her time between her day job, writing, and watching a veritable boatload of British murder mysteries.


Excerpt 

Nick felt liquid, fuzzy-headed and lovely. He was ridiculously pleased with his current life choices. Pleased that he had successfully danced at a club without anyone pointing at him and laughing, pleased that he'd been able to dance with Natali and not flip out.
       "Ohhh my God, I am fucking knackered."
       Nick jolted and looked over to where Izzy had slunk up next to him. Her hair was a wild mess around her head, her top falling off one shoulder. Her bra strap looked red, but it might have been the spotlights messing with him. When he looked beyond her, he caught sight of Dex making his way over to them through the throng.
       He looked...glowy. It was strange to think that, probably, and maybe everyone looked glowy to Nick just then, but he appeared relaxed and happy and just a little rumpled and sweaty. Not like Nick, who was a soggy mess. Nick tipped his head back against the wall and took a sip of his drink. Dex had great legs, he decided. Slightly bowed, steady, long. Lean. His jeans looked really good on him.
       "Having a good time? I thought I saw you dancing with Nat," Izzy said in his ear.
       "Yeah, it's been awesome." He made eye contact. "Thanks for getting me."
       She looked pleased with herself. "Anytime." She caught Dex by the hand and pulled him into her sweaty embrace.
       Now that Nick knew they weren't together, he felt a little...he supposed it was envy, really. He had never felt easy with anyone, not even Lena. Maybe with his sister, but that was different; that was family. They looked so comfortable, Dex sagging against Izzy, dark arm wrapped around her exposed pale shoulder. Nick jumped if you touched him unexpectly. How must it feel, to trust like this? He couldn't imagine. So he just watched them and pushed down anything that could darken his mood. He could feel how a stray thought could pop his temporary joy, and he skated carefully around it, closed his eyes, pretended he was still dancing.
       "All right, I'm going back out," Izzy declared. "There was a dark-headed bloke over there somewhere I needed to look at more closely." She took off without another word. When Nick turned to Dex, Dex was laughing. He had one hand over his dreads, probably in an attempt to keep them out of his face. It made him look rakish.       
       He caught Nick's gaze. "Don't expect to see Izzy much if you go clubbing with her. This is her MO."
       Nick had absolutely no problem with that, which he felt, just then, the need to acknowledge. "I have no problem with that."
       "As long as you know what's in store." Dex settled next to Nick like Nick didn't set his teeth on edge. Maybe he was mellowing out.
       "Are you mellowing out?" Nick asked and then heard a record scratch in his head. Oh shit. When he dared to glance over at Dex, Dex was laughing, head resting against the wall.
       "I so deserved that, man," he said. "Look, I've been a dickhead to you, completely inadvertently, and--" Nick's heart beat hard in his chest. "It wasn't you. At all." He pinned Nick with a look. A look that shivered through Nick's spine. "Basically, I wanted to apologize for that. I'm going to be less of a dickhead from now on. Promise."
       Nick had no idea what to say. All he could think was how Dex's eyelashes were ridiculous and made his eyes look made-up. How the hollow of his throat glistened with a sheen of sweat. How much Nick really, really couldn't have been having these thoughts at all because he--couldn't. It wasn't an option.
       "It's totally fine." Was what he said. "I appreciate it, anyway."  Then he nodded towards the writhing dance floor. "I'm just gonna--"
       "Yeah, sure, go." Dex nodded and plucked at his own t-shirt, unsticking it from his body in an easy movement.
       Nick didn't linger. He ran off.

Flickr Images