Friday, January 19, 2018

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: NOT ALL CHOCOLATE AND CUCKOO CLOCKS by Rebecca Cohen



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Length: 45,613 words
Cover Design: Brooke Albrecht
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press


Blurb

Neither of them wants to fall in love, but getting exactly what they don't want might be the best thing to ever happen to them.

Mark hopes his boredom with his current job will be alleviated by a short stint in Basel, Switzerland. When he meets Steffen, who struck out on his own from an old-money family to establish an IT firm, Mark expects some fun, great sex, and a clean break when his job is done. The arrangement is perfect for Steffen, who has been content with casual after a betrayal-and has a taste for British men after attending university in the UK. But as they explore the city's rich history and traditions, Mark begins to see Steffen as much more than a tour guide with benefits. If he isn't careful, the trip meant to break the lull in his career might end up breaking his heart instead...




Excerpt

Mark had two and a half months left in Basel, and the idea of several weeks of no strings attached sex was as exhilarating as it was nerve-racking. It was the kind of offer his younger self would’ve jumped at—but he wasn’t that man anymore, and he wasn’t sure he could be again. “I wouldn’t say reticence.”

“No? Then perhaps my English is rusty, as I do not have a better word for it.”

“Okay, you’ve a point. But you have to understand that it’s not every day that an attractive man states so bluntly that he wants to f*ck me.”

“Then the men in the UK are stupid. Or you are not mixing with the right type of men.”

Steffen wasn’t completely wrong. The truth was he had spent his university days shagging about, enjoying the writhing mass of bodies in the clubs and gay bars. At the time he’d loved the anonymous and varied encounters, but then he’d decided he needed to grow up and join the adult world. Suit, tie, steady job, and long-term boyfriend, with cozy Friday nights in and dinners for two, not body shots and glory holes. “I gave up clubbing after university. These days I don’t go to the type of places where men go to keep things casual.”

Steffen seemed to consider his response before replying. “So it would be the fleeting nature of our encounters that would bother you?”

“Possibly. I suppose my needs changed, and I wanted more than the emptiness of another hollow shag.” It felt like an important admission, something he’d never talked about before, but it needed to be said to explain why he wasn’t dragging Steffen out of the restaurant and back to his lodgings. “The only one-night stand I’ve had in the last ten years turned into a yearlong relationship. I hadn’t planned it. It just sort of happened.”

Steffen waved a piece of veal in his direction. “I cannot give you permanence.”

“I’m not asking for it,” Mark added quickly, and he meant it.

“What I am hearing is you are not against the theory of enjoying a few weeks of fun before you return home. But equally, I am not convinced you are fully in favor either. If you do not wish this, we will finish our dinner, shake hands, and depart as friends. You are not beholden, either way.”

Steffen wasn’t offering an anonymous shag. It wasn’t thanks for the f*ck, now f*ck off, but instead something in the middle. Mark’s love life had been in the doldrums since John left, ostensibly because Mark’s job had eaten away any free time and John had decided enough was enough. He didn’t have any more free time now, and that wasn’t going to change, which would no doubt annoy any new boyfriend, so why not take Steffen up on his offer? He picked up his wine and took a sip of liquid courage. “Throw in being my personal tour guide of the city and I’m in.”

Steffen offered up his wineglass in a toast. “I plan to give Basel Tourism Office a run for their money.”

Mark copied and took a sip of his wine. Never had agreeing to sleep with someone felt so formal, borderline making a business deal. But somehow it didn’t feel wrong; instead it was as though he was entering something that didn’t require constant renegotiation. He would know where he stood with Steffen. Sex, hopefully very good sex, if he was lucky, and he suspected Steffen’s experience might make up for his own rusty skills and help polish them up nicely. “Let’s hope I don’t find you lacking—I’d hate to leave a terrible review on TripAdvisor.”

“Oh, there are plenty of people who can attest to my abilities.” Steffen waggled his eyebrows. “I will give you my personal guarantee that you will not find me wanting—in any capacity.”

Mark skewered the last piece of meat. “You’re certainly not lacking in confidence.”

“Have you only just noticed?”


Carra's Review

This is a fun story that goes from “let’s be friends with benefits” to a whole lot more once the characters realize exactly how they really feel about each other.  Their relationship is kind of a whirlwind, set in the city of Basel, Switzerland which is intimately detailed in the story.  Mark and Steffen are scorching hot together—chemistry is certainly no problem for these two, and that spills over from the physical to a lot more…no matter how much they tell themselves it shouldn’t.

The friends-with-benefits to regular couple transition actually didn’t feel rushed to me, even though Mark’s initial stint in Basel isn’t too long.  That might have been because the intensity of things between them was pretty strong, so the two of them being together seemed quite natural from the start.  Steffen’s no-nonsense, straightforward attitude is refreshing and paints him as a strong, alpha character right away which was something I really liked about him.

There are a lot of in-depth details provided not just about the city of Basel but also of the cultural aspects, especially the Fasnacht celebration.  For me, the level of detail is quite a bit more than I prefer—and while as a traveler these types of intricate details would fascinate me if I were visiting a location, as a reader it did detract a little bit from the story itself and the romance between Mark and Steffen.

Overall, this book was still a 4-star read for me, and one I would recommend to others in this genre.  This story is strictly for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.


Author Bio

Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and young son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.




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New Release-Excerpt & Giveaway: MASTERING HER FEAR by BJ Wane (Miami Masters Series)

Mastering Her Fear Tour Graphic
MASTERING HER FEAR
BJ Wane
Series: Miami Masters Book
Genre: Erotic Romance, Suspense
Publisher: Blushing Books
Publication Date: January 12, 2018
He walked away from her once. Would keeping the full truth from him cost her a second chance?
Julie Martin pulled on Jackson Davenport's protective urges the minute he stepped outside and saw his five-year-old neighbor go flying off her swing to land in a heap of gangly arms and legs then come up smiling. When he discovered how her parents pressed her into competing in beauty pageants for their own selfish gratification, he took it upon himself to provide her with the friendship the little girl craved. Years later, just when his adult feelings - and body - began to desire more from the beautiful young woman she'd grown up to be, Julie moved away to take the modeling world by storm. Jackson's first encounter with the changes in her broke his heart and he severed all ties with her.
Six years after Julie lost the most important person in her life, she returns to Jackson a broken woman, unable to cope with the nightmare that changed her life forever. When Jackson discovers her penchant for cutting herself to deal with the fear, he shows her a new side of him she's never seen before, and a new way to get through the darkness that continues to plague her.
Even though Julie embraces Jackson's dominant sexuality and the way his painful administrations work much better at calming her fears, the truth of what happened the night her two friends were murdered stands between them. Will she be able to set aside her guilt to tell him the entire truth, or will she once again lose the only person who can complete her?

PURCHASE LINKS

Mastering Her Fear Teaser 1

Excerpt

The sudden glare of flashbulbs nearly blinded Jackson as they stepped outside, but it was the immediate change in Julie’s demeanor that snared his attention.  Gone was the vain, brittle woman he’d just spent an uncomfortable dinner with and in her place preened a gushing, simpering celebrity putting on airs for the tabloids.  Bitterness that rivaled what he’d felt when Federal agents invaded his home and arrested his parents for drug dealing and complicity in a child’s death rolled through him.  It wasn’t fair to have his illusions ripped out from under him twice in a lifetime.  
Needing to get away, Jackson stepped away from her and hailed the next cab then gave her a quick hug as soon as the reporters left.  “Good seeing you again, Julie.”  He kissed her forehead and turned, ignoring her as she called after him in a puzzled voice. 
“Jackson?”
But as he reached for the handle of the taxi, Jackson held up a finger, bidding him to wait. Spinning back around, he caught a glimpse of confused insecurity on Julie’s face before she masked it behind the façade he’d been staring at all night as he strode over to her.  Yanking her against him, he held her head immobile by cupping her nape.  Swooping down, he kissed her, fast and hard, refusing to give in to the temptation to linger, to savor, to take more.  Her low moan of instant surrender threatened his resolve to walk away, but he forced himself to remember the past hour, the worst he’d spent in her company.  Pulling back with a sigh of regret and heavy ache for all he had lost, he drank in her face one last time.  “Have a good life, Julie.”  Ignoring her astonishment and the arousal in those amethyst eyes, he hopped in the cab and didn’t glance back.
Mastering Her Fear Teaser 5

Other Books by BJ Wane

Seven men from troubled childhoods bond as teens at a summer camp for juvenile delinquents, a bond that carries through to adulthood and adds a penchant for BDSM. Each of these dominant, over-protective men meet their match in the Miami Masters series, filled with emotional trauma and heart-pounding suspense.

Bound and Saved

Master Me, Please

About BJ Wane

I live in the Midwest with my husband and our two dogs. I love dogs, enjoy spending time with my daughter, babysitting dogs and kids, reading and working puzzles. We have traveled extensively throughout the states, Canada and just once overseas, but I now much prefer being homebody. I worked for a while writing articles for a local magazine but soon found my interest in writing for myself peaking. My first book was strictly spanking erotica, but I slowly evolved to writing erotic spanking romance with a touch of suspense. My favorite genre to read is suspense.
BJ Wane's Email: bjwane@cox.net

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Pre-Order & Giveaway: TAKING CHANCES by J. Bliss (Chances Series #2)


TAKING CHANCES
Chances Series, Book 2

by J. Bliss

Thursday, January 18, 2018

New Release-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: THE STATION by Keira Andrews



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Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Designs


Blurb

Ever since Cambridge-bound Colin Lancaster spied on stable master Patrick Callahan mastering another man, he's longed for Patrick to do the same to him. When Patrick is caught with his pants down and threatened with death for his crime, Colin speaks up in his defense and confesses his own sinful nature. They're soon banished to the faraway prison colony of Australia.

Patrick never asked for Colin's help, and now he's stuck with the pampered fool. While it's true that being transported to Australia is a far cry from the luxury Colin is accustomed to, he's determined to make the best of it and prove himself. Although Patrick learned long ago that love is a fairy tale, he's inexorably drawn to sweet, optimistic Colin.

From the miserable depths of a prison ship to the vast, untamed Australian outback, Colin and Patrick must rely on each other. Danger lurks everywhere, and when they unexpectedly get the chance to escape to a new life as cowboys, they'll need each other more than ever.

This historical gay romance from Keira Andrews features an age difference, an eager virgin, hurt/comfort, and of course a happy ending.




Excerpt

Waiting only a moment after knocking, Colin’s mother, Elizabeth, entered his room. Colin glanced over from the window seat. He’d been watching Patrick in the meadow exercising the young colt born several days before. “Yes, Mother?”

Elizabeth was forty-two and quite beautiful, with a regal nose and posture and the same thick, chestnut brown hair as Colin. “You haven’t bathed yet? Guests will be arriving within the hour.”

“I was about to, if you’d leave me to my privacy.”

When he wasn’t studying or walking the grounds, Colin whiled away the hours sitting by his window reading novels of thrilling adventures in faraway lands. Sometimes Patrick would appear in the meadow, training the horses. Colin’s book would lie forgotten on his lap as he watched Patrick at work. He seemed as if he belonged in one of the fictional tales Colin devoured. Colin could easily imagine him with sword in hand.

“Of course, dear. I had Charles press your jacket. It’s hanging there.” She pointed across the room, where, sure enough, his formal wear waited. “Katherine was partial to that one, if I do recall.”

Colin couldn’t hold back a sigh. “Yes.”

“Darling, you gave up on Katherine far too easily. Tonight will be another chance for you to win her hand. You’re quite a catch, you know. Off to Cambridge soon. Katherine will want to ensnare you now.”

“Mother, Katherine Crawford has turned her favor elsewhere. She’s moved on.” So had he. Most definitely.

Elizabeth’s pretty face pinched into a frown. “It’s an honor that the Crawfords are attending this evening. You will be on your best behavior. I don’t know what exactly you did to ruin things with Katherine, but tonight you will do your utmost to undo it.”

“Yes, Mother.” He would attempt no such thing, but Colin had learned years before that arguing with his parents got him nowhere. Soon he’d be at Cambridge and he would be able to make his own decisions. Soon he’d have a new life.

Mollified, Elizabeth closed the door behind her. Flopping down on his bed, Colin thought of Katherine and cringed. It wasn’t until a most ill-fated outing with Katherine Crawford several months ago that Colin had admitted to himself that his interest in Patrick was far from intellectual.

Katherine was a beauty, all glossy blonde hair and moist, pink lips. For some reason Colin couldn’t fathom, she had shown an interest in him at a holiday gathering down the road. The courting had begun soon thereafter, with Colin escorting Katherine on various activities. Unlike William, who railed against the inconveniences of chaperones, Colin was grateful for the matrons’ presence.

He liked Katherine well enough. She was intelligent and kind and pleasing to look at. But Colin knew something was missing. Katherine didn’t set his blood on fire, and he rarely thought of her when she was absent.

The absences were as long as Colin could manage while still maintaining the guise of courting. He was a perfect gentleman at all times with Katherine, which he found a simple feat. William and his school chums all needled him in private and made winking suggestions of what was actually going on between him and Katherine, and Colin let them believe what they wanted.

The Lancasters and Crawfords had both been guests at a country estate for an Easter celebration. Colin’s sister, Rebecca, was delighted. On the ride over, she had chattered constantly about the beautiful Katherine and how she might one day be her sister-in-law. Colin loved his sister dearly but wished she’d find a new interest.

Colin had been fast asleep the first night at the country estate when Katherine crept into his room. Despite his protests about the impropriety, she’d insisted he dress and accompany her for a moonlight stroll. He hadn’t really a choice.

It went badly.

Despite Katherine’s obvious beauty and heaving bosom, Colin had remained utterly uninterested. He’d tried. Truly, he did. Under a large willow tree, Colin had kissed Katherine and caressed her soft skin under her skirt, her hand firm on his wrist, guiding him. He had been unable to get excited, and when she’d reached for him to find him flaccid, Katherine Crawford had had quite enough.

She’d stomped back to her room and avoided Colin for the remainder of the weekend. Colin could hardly meet anyone’s eyes. His family had obviously required an explanation, and he’d had none.

When they returned home after a torturous journey, Colin had jumped from the carriage, eager to be away from his inquiring parents and sister, who’d demanded to know how Colin had made such a mess of things. Colin had almost barreled straight into Patrick, who had come to take the horses. At the sight of him, his lean muscles, his maleness, Colin had been struck with the vivid memories of what he’d witnessed in the stable that day long ago. He had to bite his tongue to stop himself from begging Patrick to take him into some dark corner and have his way with him.

That was what he wanted. He would never want the Katherine Crawfords of the world. No matter how beautiful, how rich, how ideal for a wife. Colin wanted a man. Oh, God, did he want a man.

Can I be of assistance?” Patrick had affected a guileless expression, and Colin had realized he’d been staring dumbly.

Awkward and ready to crawl out of his own skin, Colin had mumbled something and hurried off. All the denials he’d repeated to himself had finally been silenced. He’d locked himself in his room, took himself in hand, and, muffling his face in a pillow as he thought of Patrick, attained the most satisfying release he’d experienced since that day at sixteen years old, hiding in the stable.

Remembering now, Colin stroked himself quickly, careful not to muss himself too much before the party. He thought of Patrick, of his Gaelic lullaby and of his grunts as he’d penetrated the man in the stable years before. As he rubbed himself with one hand, legs spread, Colin caressed his lips with his fingertips, imagining what it would be like to be kissed—really kissed. He didn’t even know if men kissed each other, but he would like to try it.

Sometime later, Colin straightened his navy tie and vest under his dark jacket and peered into the full-length mirror in the corner of his bedroom. His large eyes were a deep brown that matched his hair, and his jaw was narrow. His nose was straight and unremarkable. Katherine had once told him that his smile turned her knees to jelly and his eyes were bottomless pools she could stare into for eternity.

Colin doubted it, somehow.

He decided he looked as presentable as he was able to and went to join the party. Naturally, the first person he saw was Katherine. Dressed to the nines in an ornate, yellow, bell-shaped gown and looking lovely, she was laughing gaily at something William had said. Her hand was placed just so on his arm, and Colin saw the flash of her eyes as she spotted him. She laughed again, even louder.

Colin felt like laughing himself. If she only knew. Before he could do anything, Rebecca towed him into the drawing room, her voice low and urgent, grip firm. “Honestly, I don’t know what William is thinking. You mustn’t pay them any mind, Colin. Are you very upset?” Her pretty face, very much like their mother’s, creased with worry.

Shaking his head, Colin kissed his dear sister’s cheek. “I won’t give it another thought. William is welcome to her. Perhaps Father will take some solace if the family is connected to the Crawfords in the end.”

Rebecca, fourteen and very dramatic, hugged him tightly. “Oh, Colin. You’re ever so brave.”

Biting back his mirth, Colin thanked her and pointed her toward her newly arriving friends from down the road. He made his rounds of the soiree, shaking hands and making polite conversation. Dinner was served, and Colin listened to a neighbor tell him about what a wonderful time he’d have at Cambridge. Colin hoped it would be true. The one thing dampening his excitement about finally getting away from home was that he’d also be leaving Patrick behind.

As he spooned his custard, Colin brooded. He knew it was deeply foolish, since the strange affection and desire he had for Patrick was certainly one-sided. He’d only been a child when they were friends. Even if by some miracle Patrick desired him now that he was grown, would Colin really have the nerve to lie with another man? His trousers tightened at the notion, and he was glad for the napkin across his lap.

After dinner, Colin endured the ladies’ singing and gentlemen’s card games. Unable to shake Patrick from his mind as the night wore on, he found himself walking to the stable, unable to stay away. He was almost there when a cry came up. A man burst out from the large wooden doors and fled across the meadow, barely visible in the darkness. In the lantern light from the stable, Patrick tumbled outside, followed by two men Colin recognized as shopkeepers in the next county. Brothers named Harris, he thought.

Colin realized he was running and skidded to a halt just as one of the brothers landed a vicious kick to Patrick’s ribs. “Stop!” Colin shoved the man aside. Blood already streamed from Patrick’s nose and mouth.

The man ignored Colin as if he were naught but a fly, and kicked Patrick again. “Unnatural piece of filth!”

Several other guests who heard the melee drew near. The other Harris brother called out to them. “We need the inspector. A crime’s been committed here.”

“What crime?” Colin demanded.

The man spit at the ground where Patrick lay beaten. “Buggery.”

The world tilted on its axis, and Colin’s stomach churned. He realized Patrick’s breeches were loose, and that the man he’d seen fleeing must have been…

Suddenly Colin’s father was there. In the lantern light, Colin could see the rage on his father’s face, and it chilled him. Edward was short and stout, yet an imposing presence. He issued a terse command to the Harris brothers to follow him and bring Patrick.

Patrick was dragged around the back of the manor house, a growing number of curious guests following. Several women were told to go back to the party, and the servants watched with wide eyes as the brothers hauled Patrick through the kitchen. Inside Edward’s study, a group of men gathered. Patrick was deposited on his knees in the middle of the room as Colin crowded inside with the others. They were soon joined by Colin’s mother.

“What’s going on?” she hissed to her husband. “There are whispers everywhere.”

Edward barely spared her a glance. “This is no place for a woman. An ungodly crime has been committed. Go see to the other guests and tell them everything is fine. We don’t want this getting out.”

“I’m not going anywhere. Tell me what’s happened!” Elizabeth’s cheeks flamed.

The man who’d kicked Patrick spoke. “My wife is feeling ill, so my brother and I went to the stable to ask for our carriage to be brought round.”

“Ill? Not from the food?” Elizabeth appeared horrified.

“For God’s sake, woman, forget the food!” A vein in Edward’s temple throbbed, and Colin feared his father might explode with rage.

“Where’s the other one?” Colin glanced behind him, surprised to hear William’s voice. Apparently the whispers were indeed spreading.

One of the Harris brothers answered. “Gone. I think it was the Nelsons’ carriage driver. Quick bastard, we couldn’t catch him. This one was still tangled up in his breeches. Caught him dead to rights.”

“No need to get the courts involved. Take him out back and hang him from his bollocks,” said one of the other guests.

There was a murmur of agreement, and Edward seemed to seriously be considering it. Colin’s panic increased exponentially as the tension simmered. Many of those present had long been into their cups, and a reckless air swirled through the room. He looked to Patrick, who knelt silently, blood dripping down his face, his hands now bound behind his back. Colin hadn’t seen who restrained him.

“Kill him,” agreed one of the Harrises. To Patrick, he said, “Wouldn’t you rather be put out of your misery now than rot in a jail cell knowing you’re going to the gallows? We’d be doing you a favor.”

The murmur of assent grew frighteningly loud. “Should have expected it from an Irishman,” someone shouted.

“Hang ’im! Save the courts some time and money.” The bookkeeper from the local village reached for Patrick, attempting to haul him to his feet as other men cried their agreement.

“No!” When all eyes turned to him, Colin realized he’d spoken aloud. “No. You can’t kill him.” He thought of that day six years before, when Patrick had raced after him and plucked him from the fleeing stallion. His heart hammered as it had that day.

Edward’s eyes narrowed. “Colin, the punishment for buggery is death. It’s what he deserves. This man—if you can call an animal a man—is a degenerate criminal.”

“Then so am I!”

Silence gripped the room in an instant, as if everyone held their breath collectively. Elizabeth went pale. “Colin, you have no idea what you’re saying.” She pulled his arm, urging him toward the door. “I’m sorry, everyone; he’s had far too much brandy this evening. He isn’t himself.”

Colin yanked his arm away. “No, Mother. I know what I’m saying.” He swallowed, his throat dry and thick. “I am myself.” Perhaps for the first time.

A shocked William spoke up, his eyes wide. “Colin, this is madness!”

Edward simply stared, stunned into silence for the first time in Colin’s memory. Elizabeth pulled at him again, but Colin shook free. “If you will kill this man for his crime, then you’ll have to kill me too. Shall you take me outside and string me up?”

“What in God’s name are you doing?” Patrick spoke for the first time, and all eyes turned to where he knelt. He stared at Colin with dazed astonishment.

The sound of Patrick’s voice seemed to spur Edward out of his daze. Edward turned a murderous gaze on Patrick. “If you’ve laid a finger on my son, I swear—”

“I’d sooner bed a horse,” Patrick sneered.

“And probably has!” a voice called out.

Colin felt a ridiculous stab of pain at Patrick’s words.

Patrick went on. “Sir, your son is clearly not in his right mind.”

William’s father, John, a lawyer, spoke next. He was tall and distinguished, the opposite of his brother, Edward. He seemed to be the only calm person left in the room. “Colin, are you saying you’ve committed acts of buggery?”

“Yes.” Even if it wasn’t true, Colin couldn’t let them kill Patrick. At least not tonight, not if he could help it.

Elizabeth shrieked and collapsed into a chair. “Oh, my son. What have you done? It can’t be true!”

“I’m sorry, Mother. They’ll have to kill us both.”

“Don’t listen to him! For God’s sake!” Patrick tried to stand but was shoved back down by Edward, whose face flamed with rage.

John spoke up. “No one’s killing anyone.” He turned to the Harris brothers. “Did you witness the act?”

One of them laughed tersely. “Didn’t have to. They heard us coming, and the other one was off and running. But we saw and heard enough to know what was going on.”

John pondered this, and everyone waited. He seemed to have quietly taken control of the proceedings, for which Colin was grateful. He hoped Patrick wouldn’t be harmed any further for the moment.

“No concrete evidence. None in regards to Colin either,” John said after a lengthy pause.

“Because it’s not true!” Elizabeth cried.

John ignored her and turned to Edward. “I have some friends in the magistrate’s office who should be able to help. I’ll go speak to George Crawford and get him on our side. But too many people have heard Colin’s confession. Something must be done.”

Edward nodded grimly, not looking at Colin. He pointed to Patrick. “We’ll keep this one locked in the pantry for the night. Colin will be in his room with a guard placed outside. William, take him upstairs.”

The shock of his actions slowly settling in, Colin didn’t resist as William led him away. They opened the door to the study to find the hallway crowded with party guests. Katherine was among them, her delicate face transformed into a hard mask. “Fiend!” She dashed down the hall, weeping.

Accusing eyes glared from all sides, and William led Colin to the servants’ back stairway, sparing him the spectacle of being marched up the grand staircase. In his room, Colin tried to speak. “Will, I…”

William raised a hand. “Don’t.” He shook his head sadly, his expression deeply wounded. “I don’t understand. I’ve always thought of you as a dear friend. A brother. Now I feel I’ve never known you at all.” He turned his back, closing the door behind him. A moment later, Colin heard the key turn in the lock, and his life as he knew it was over.


Carra's Review

M/M historical romance is a category that I’m always hesitant to read since it just kills me to see how these types of relationships were regarded in the historical context.  But in the hands of the right author,—in this case, Keira Andrews—what could be a painful, horribly angst-ridden story becomes one of hope, endurance, and courage instead.  

Told from Colin’s point of view, we get to see him evolve from a young, innocent boy to one who discovers his sexual self, to a young man willing to give up everything to save someone who once saved him.  And even given the feelings he winds up developing for Patrick, he’s even willing to give that up as well to continue to find himself and be true to the man he’s become.  This story is very much Colin’s journey, but we also get to see the effect his journey has on Patrick as well—something that is central to the story in the end.

Colin may seem like a pampered young man who basically has everything handed to him on a silver platter, but even as a youth he continually tries to prove himself, something that seems to be ingrained in his personality that clearly shines through once he’s banished from home onto a boat full of prisoners headed for Australia.  He’s determined to survive and make the best of his situation, especially once he and Patrick find their sentence to be much different then they were expecting.

Where Colin has a more romantic view of what happens between him and Patrick once they leave England, Patrick’s view is considerably more jaded…tainted by a previous relationship in his past that has him convinced that love is an illusion and not something to hope for—ever.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and The Station is getting 4.5 stars from me.  There were some points where it felt a tiny bit drawn out, and if it wasn’t for that feeling (which honestly was slight and didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the story), I probably would have gone with 5 stars.  I would definitely recommend this story to any M/M historical romance fan, the author did a good job of evoking the feel of the time period, and of injecting just the right amount of drama when needed to keep me glued to the pages.  This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.



Author Bio


After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said:
“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.” 




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New Release-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: A WAY WITH YOU by Lane Hayes (A Way With #2; Memories with The Breakfast Club)



A Way with You
Series: A Way With, Book 2
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Amazon
Release Date: January 18, 2018
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 30K
Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Humor, Office Romance, New York City

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Synopsis

Reeve Nelson is determined to make it in Manhattan. He’s hardworking, dedicated and willing to put in the extra hours required to be successful at his new job at a prestigious real estate firm in the city. There’s no way he’s going back to small-town living and an ex-girlfriend who won’t let go. But his boss isn’t making it easy. 

Leo Rodriguez enjoys his reputation as a ruthless businessman. He’s a lone wolf who’s scraped his way from the gutter to rebuild his life and launch a distinguished career on his terms. When an opportunity to expand in the market comes up, Leo wants the eager new agent with a sense of wonder on the project. But nothing goes quite as planned. Reeve expected to be intimidated and overwhelmed by Leo, however, the explosive mutual attraction and fierce desire between them is a big surprise. Neither man is looking for love and yet, something special just might happen if they can find their way…together.

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Excerpt

Yeah, this was my idea but I wasn’t prepared to be this close to Leo again. His mere presence overwhelmed me. He smelled so good. I wanted to bury my nose in the collar of his button-down shirt and just…breathe. I told myself Leo was a regular guy like every other guy here, but truthfully, he wasn’t the least bit ordinary. Even in executive chic, Leo turned more heads than the shirtless bartenders. And when he smiled at the young man next to me who offered him his stool, he added another admirer to his list.

I’d never been around anyone who changed the temperature in a room simply by entering it the way he did. It wasn’t his appearance either. His height and sharp sense of style might garner a second glance, but his true appeal was innate. It was in the way he spoke and moved. He didn’t mince words or waste time. He was concise and direct and acted with purpose. I got the impression Leo Rodriguez had a reason for everything he did, including wanting to meet with me.

Leo perched on the vacated stool and then hooked his thumb at me when I didn’t reply. “He’ll have a martini too.”

“No. I mean, yes. But with olives, please. No onions.” I thanked the bartender then swiveled to face Leo, accidentally bumping his knee.

I muttered a quick apology and cautioned myself to pull it together. Leo wasn’t my boss anymore, for f*ck’s sake. I just wished he didn’t make me so anxious.

Commence the nervous chatter.

“Onions? No one orders onions,” I snorted. “And vodka-soaked onions are especially gross.”

Leo’s lip curled on one side like a pirate. “When was the last time you had a vodka-soaked onion?”

“Uh…well, never,” I admitted with a frown. “But it sounds gross.”

“Chocolate covered scorpions and braised frog legs are gross. Onions aren’t in the same zip code.”

I made a face and shivered. “Have you actually eaten those things?”

“Yeah, and actually, they’re not so bad. Chocolate hides the taste of anything, even insects, and frog legs taste like chicken. But you never know unless you try.”

“No thanks.”

Leo tsked playfully. “You have big opinions, a big mouth, and a hot temper, Nelson. No wonder I like you.” He nodded his thanks when the bartender delivered our cocktails then raised his glass in a mock toast. “To onions.”

“Onions?”

“We sure as f*ck ain’t drinkin’ to olives,” he quipped.

I chuckled at his comedic expression then sipped my martini while I wracked my brain for a non-confrontational topic of conversation to stall the inevitable one.

“What do you have against olives?” Weak. But it was better than nothing, and Leo seemed willing to play along.

“Nothing. It’s a texture thing. I don’t eat them if I can help it but I love olive oil. And tapenade is cool as long as those little suckers are chopped really fine. Otherwise, olives are a hard pass for me. Everyone has a food like that. What’s yours?”

“Kidney beans,” I replied quickly. “I like them in chili but not in salad. I have a great recipe for spicy chili that requires multiple glasses of water on standby. My grandmother made it when we were kids and”—I stopped to take a gulp of my drink before braving a look his way—“I’m sorry. You make me nervous.”


“Why, Reeve?” he purred, leaning into his elbow on the bar next to mine. “Is it because of last night?”

Carra's Review

I just love the books in the Memories with The Breakfast Club Kindle World.  The setting and characters all fit together really well, and I loved getting to see Remy and Tony from A Way with Words again as supporting characters in this story.

Leo and Reeve are an interesting match—Leo is clearly an alpha male, but his personality doesn’t overpower Reeve, and he’s fine with allowing Reeve to lead on occasion.  Leo can be a tough guy at work, but once you get him in a more comfortable, relaxed setting, that surly, demanding demeanor drops away and you get the wonderful guy that matches Reeve so well.  

Reeve is trying to find his footing in the big city, and doesn’t quite get off to the start he wanted when working with Leo.  But Reeve is resourceful and tenacious, so even when things go awry at work he still bounces back…while still snagging Leo along the way.

There’s really not a lot of drama in this book; Reeve’s ex has the potential to introduce it into the story, but Reeve knows better now.  The small bit of drama that does come into play I thought was relatively minor, and was easily handled.  The result is a pretty low angst story that still gives the reader the familiar feel of the Breakfast Club series.  This one gets 4 solid stars from me, and with the hot and steamy scenes between Leo and Reeve you’ll find it’s meant for readers 18+ for the adult language and sexual content.


Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won first prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: IN WILD LEMON GROVES by Selina Kray



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Cover Design: Tiferet Design
Length: 110,000 words approx.


Blurb

A telltale knock on a quiet winter night is a sound no husband wants to hear.

Sébastien Osaki has spent the past three years surviving the loss of his beloved Henry. When Seb lands in Amalfi, Italy, for their would-have-been tenth-anniversary trip, he's haunted by the memory of the man he loved. Following Henry's notebook leads him to some breathtaking coastal views but also right back to his despair. Seb's there to get his groove back, not let the past wrong-foot him at every turn.

Enter Andrea Sorrentino, chauffeur, part-time pet whisperer, a Bernini statue in a soccer tee and tight shorts. From the moment Andrea picks Seb up from the airport, he knows just how to soothe Seb's case of the sulks. But Seb isn't sure he's ready for Mr. Right Now, let alone a potential Mr. Right, in a part of the world where all roads lead back to Henry.

Can sun, sea, and eating your weight in pasta mend a tragedy-stricken heart? Will wine-soaked Amalfi nights and long walks through lemon groves work their magic on Sebís wounded soul? Or will he slink back into the shell of his grief once his grand Italian adventure is over? 


Author Bio

Selina Kray is the nom de plume of an author and English editor. Professionally she has covered all the artsy-fartsy bases, having worked in a bookstore, at a cinema, in children's television, and in television distribution, up to her latest incarnation as a subtitle editor and grammar nerd (though she may have always been a grammar nerd). A self-proclaimed geek and pop culture junkie who sometimes manages to pry herself away from the review sites and gossip blogs to write fiction of her own, she is a voracious consumer of art with both a capital and lowercase A.

Selina's aim is to write genre-spanning romances with intricate plots, complex characters, and lots of heart. Whether she has achieved this goal is for you, gentle readers, to decide. At present she is hard at work on future novels at home in Montreal, Quebec, with her wee corgi serving as both foot warmer and in-house critic.

If you're interested in receiving Selina's newsletter and being the first to know when new books are released, plus getting sneak peeks at upcoming novels, please sign up at her website: www.selinakray.net




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