Well Said

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2014-07-02 20.26.30

Anthology – Campus Cravings: Higher Learning MM Boxed Set

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campusAuthor: KyAnn Waters, Whitley Gray ,Cassandra Carr , Mia Downing , Annabeth Albert (Goodreads Author), Dalton Diaz ,Bianca Sommerland , Sara York ,L.A. Witt
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: C-Squared Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
ISBN:

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary:
Welcome to Cathia University, where school is in session! Nine of today’s hottest gay romance authors have crafted brand-new interrelated novellas celebrating everything wonderful about college, including sophisticated professors, sexy teaching assistants, ambitious grad students, and spirited undergraduates, all looking for the same thing: an A+ in true love.

Annabeth Albert: Winning Bracket

Metrics and tournament brackets—who knew they were sexy? When competing dorm advisors Edwin and Ollie bet on a basketball tournament, neither expects he’s risking his heart. As the challenge becomes a hot bedroom battle to avoid real feelings, the two “frenemies” must change their definitions of losing to win a shot at lasting love.

Cassandra Carr: The Eloquent Jock

Hockey jock and English Lit major Brendan knows he’s gay, but hasn’t come out to anyone, fearing a possible backlash. Then he’s tapped to be a TA for a hot professor and feels an immediate connection. Now he must decide how much he’s willing to risk to score the ultimate goal.

Dalton Diaz: Lesson Learned

Adam Warren is counting down the days until he can put “Professor” next to his name—and his disastrous past with Tyler Ford behind him. When a fluke puts Tyler in Adam’s class, the graduate assistant faces some hard choices while Tyler faces an uphill battle for a second chance at first love.

Mia Downing: Switching Leads

Coach John Graham needs a new assistant for Cathia U’s equestrian team. The last person he expects to get the job walks into the barn and stops his heart. How is he supposed to focus on the team when his ex-lover—sexy horse trainer Finn Parker—wants back into his life…and into his bed?

Whitley Gray: Artistic Endeavor

When friends ask one-night stand connoisseur Michael Esteban to introduce shy virgin Cobey Miller to the joys of sex, Michael balks—lust is his thing, not teaching. But Cobey’s problem meeting men fuels Michael’s decision to help Cobey become a gay-sex-loving guy. It’ll all be fun and games—unless someone falls in love.

Bianca Sommerland: Solid Education

Gage Tackett comes off as a bad boy—detached and maybe a little dangerous. Definitely not Vet Sciences Professor Derek Paulson’s type. When Gage arrives at Derek’s veterinary clinic with a frostbitten stray dog, Derek realizes his most difficult student has a few things to teach him. Things he’s more than willing to learn.

KyAnn Waters: Private Lessons

Ryan Kane could lose his scholarship and his position on the pitch. Jake Finely offers to help. Only Ryan and Jake discover their private lessons have more to do with sex ed than Business Ethics. When a tenured professor offers Ryan an indecent proposal to make the grade, will he choose soccer or Jake?

LA Witt: Did Somebody Order a Pizza?

Paul Switzer has been miserable ever since his childhood love, Cory Bowman, chose a fraternity over him. When a pizza delivery to the frat house lands the exes face to face for the first time in eighteen months, the wound is reopened… and so are Paul’s feelings for the only man he’s ever loved.

Sara York: The Dust Of Everyday Life

Cole only has the courage to lust after the swim team from afar. When Seever asks to share a table at the packed coffee house where Cole is studying, he’s sure it’s a joke. But after one touch and one scorching kiss, Cole thinks the chance meet could lead to something with substance.

Review: The stories in this collection are related by the setting – the area of and around Cathia College. As always with anthologies, I had some I liked more than others. In one story, I also had a character that I hated!

Annabeth Albert: Winning Bracket Rated 4

As a huge fan of friends to lovers, this one is a hit, as sort of frenemies to lovers. They like each other, aggravate each other and are total opposites from each other. But when a bet is made with a kiss as the prize, things change. So cute!

Cassandra Carr: The Eloquent Jock Rated 3.5

Hockey jock and English Lit major Brendan knows he’s gay, but hasn’t come out to anyone, fearing a possible backlash. Then he’s tapped to be a TA for a hot professor and feels an immediate connection. Now he must decide how much he’s willing to risk to score the ultimate goal.

Dalton Diaz: Lesson Learned Rated 3

I don’t know – I didn’t totally buy the reconnection. I felt bad for Adam and sometimes those second chance stories don’t convince me. Maybe I needed a little more at the end to know Tyler actually meant it.

Mia Downing: Switching Leads Rated 4.5

Probably my favorite of the anthology, it’s definitely a case of second chances with a character who actually realizes the mistake he made in leaving his love. There are also misunderstandings (the job, especially) caused by other people that made things forgiveable. This one definitely made me say awwww.

Whitley Gray: Artistic Endeavor Rated 4.25

Another favorite, Michael comes across as the world-weary, been there done that guy while Cobey is the innocent. Yet as it goes on I felt like the roles were actually reversed. Cobey had a lot to show Michael, who has been hurt in the past, about how things can be. Adorable.

Bianca Sommerland: Solid Education Rated 3.5
I wasn’t enamoured with Derek at all but I liked Gage tremendously and I loved Matty. Derek’s tendency to judge people before he knows them, as well as his asshat attitude pissed me off but Gage, Matty and the memory of Gunner made this lovely.

KyAnn Waters: Private Lessons Rated 4

Ryan is a soccer player and he needs his grades to stay high. When he has a professor that seems to happily grade him poorly, he knows he needs some help. This comes in the form of Jake, the TA. The two begin a physical relationship that is tested by the professor. I liked them both, the professor is a jerk but I thought it was a realistic twist.

LA Witt: Did Somebody Order a Pizza? Rated 2.5

I would have rated this higher but I just hated Cory. There is no love evident in how he treated Paul and he never goes looking for him, it’s just a coincidence that he sees him. For 18 months you could have seen what you threw away and didn’t bother. Then when he chooses that pin over Paul, well, you lost me there.

Sara York: The Dust Of Everyday Life Rated 3

Even though I kind of felt like Cole would have liked anyone on the swimming team (he has a swimming man obsession!), I felt the relationship was okay. The homophobic outing was a little OTT.

 

 

Will Parkinson – Wet Paint (Transitions #2) ARC review

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wet paintAuthor: Will Parkinson
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Harmony Ink
Genre: Young Adult
ISBN: 9781632162519

Rating: ★★★★¼ 

Release date 9/18/2014

Summary: Transitions: Book Two

Although Addy’s heart and body bear the scars from his life before he was adopted by the Deans, he’s ached for something he thought he would never find. Until he met Benny. He isn’t sure how anyone can care for someone as broken as he is, even though he wants it desperately.

High school senior Benny Peters has his whole life planned out for him, until a chaste kiss at summer camp opens a new world of possibilities. Determined to erase Addy’s insecurities, Benny works to take away his boyfriend’s pain and replace it with love.

When Addy’s past intrudes on their future, it’s going to take everything Benny can muster to show that no matter what–or who–they face, they belong together

Review: Oh, Addy. He’s been through so much in his life already and he has a weariness that makes you want to scoop him up and protect him. That boy, he just can’t catch a break. Or can he? He has some awesome parents now and has gained the attention of high school senior, Benny. What to even say about Benny? Benny is, in a word, amazing. While he’s a senior, he comes across as being much older, probably because of the high expectations his parents have always had for him. We got to know him as the loyal best friend in Pitch and this time, it’s his story.

Benny works at a camp for abused high schoolers and it is here that he meets Addy Dean, who happens to be the adopted son of one of Benny’s teachers. Addy, who has had way more than his share of abuse at the hands of his father, is skittish and afraid. Benny likes Addy; more than that, he wants Addy healthy, whole and happy.

Again, Benny does seem much older than a high school senior throughout nearly everything. The way he talks, in particular, remind me much more of an adult man instead of a high school student. Benny’s family has their own agenda and kudos to Benny for knowing that his life is his. Then, kudos to them for thinking it through. “No child should ever think they’re not important.” That right there is the truest thing I’ve heard all year.

As they two cautiously make their way through the terror that is Addy’s past and the trauma making up his present, they show each other what it means to be friends. I admit, there were times when I wanted to ask Addy, “what is the matter with you!” (such as when he tells Benny about problems at school but then gets pissed at him for feeling protective and nearly calls him a thug) but then I remember, this is progress for Addy, to stand up for himself.

Let’s talk Liam. If any character other than Addy needs an HEA, it’s this guy (hint, hint). His past is on par with Addy’s but while Addy turned inward, Liam grasps for any sign of affection in whatever form he can find. This causes some problems, since what he wants right now is Benny. I felt so much sympathy for Liam. Yes, I got angry with him for a minute but it didn’t last and I liked him very much. Wounded soul, that boy.

There is sex here, and of course, Benny reads up on it so they know what to do. That just is so Benny! “for now, talk nerdy to me.” Addy, in his “I wanted something you wouldn’t mind touching” outfit, just aww. Especially since Addy Dean just doesn’t get a break. From a horrific past that intrudes on his present to bullies who won’t leave people alone, he goes through enough that you’d think he’d break. That he doesn’t is a testament to how strong he is. Benny being there to support him and refusing to be pushed away makes it possible and makes it better.

While the ending is a bit fairy tale, it made me smile because it was Benny and Addy. If anyone deserves a happily ever after, it’s Addy Dean. I’m glad he gets one.

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Crimson Ties by VL Moon and JT Cheyanne Tour with Contest

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 Crimson TiesSynopsis

Not everything in Heaven is as holy as it seems… 

In Crimson Ties, the second installment of the Crimson Nights Saga, Laziel is nowhere to be found, and with the ferocity of Malachi Denali’s vampiric temperament growing out of control, Rome’s Vatican enclave and those that dwell there risk everything to keep their King’s throne out of Darklon De Sangue’s treacherous hands.

As Darklon’s mental state deteriorates, his treasonous plans to overthrow Malachi know no bounds. With Arial dancing upon a deadly double-edged sword and working to gain Darklon’s trust, this continuing saga keeps everyone on tenterhooks as new treaties are strengthened and friendships are forged by oaths and blood.

Will Laziel return in time to save Malachi from those that threaten the male he loves, or will the fury of Malachi’s distain for emotion see Laziel ascend if he refuses to accept the hand that destiny has dealt him and the gift of his angel’s love?

With emotions running high, and Malachi’s past turning up to haunt them both in the form of the mysterious Vischeral Bourne, the twists and turns may prove too much for Laziel and his vampire. While Malachi and Laziel struggle with fate, an alliance with the wolves and the secrets behind the Nephilim and their sadistic Queen threaten to rock the very foundations of the supernatural world.

Who knows what ties will bind and which will fade away.

With a high element of supernatural romance and erotic sexcapades between male lovers, Crimson Ties may not be to some people’s taste, but for those brave enough to step into the wicked world of Laz and Lachi, we hope that you will read and thoroughly enjoy…

Buy Links

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MJQSYHE/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00MJQSYHE/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/466448

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-crimsonties-1592625-349.html

 

Crimson ReignBook #1 Crimson Reign

Synopsis

A pulse of light preceded the gift of life breathed into the coldest and darkest of souls. Bathed in the glow of celestial love and swathed in a blanket of black satin wings nestled a king among kings, a vampire born to destroy the decay threatening to eradicate the race he was destined to save.

An angelic heart torn by yearning, suffering and pain throbbed to the rhythm of the life he created; a life prophesied in the scriptures by the Creator’s own hand. A vow of servitude given in blood sealed the fate of a Seraphim’s heart and tied it eternally to the creation he craves, protects…loves.

Ancient treaties are lost and reborn, rising from the ashes as the Nephilim ravage the vampire race. The deviant desire that soared in Malachi Denali’s blood threatens to bring Rome to its knees when Malachi’s world, his soul and his heart are brutally shattered and torn apart.

Will purity born of an angel’s love be enough to calm the savage mind of Malachi Denali? Or will Laziel be doomed to a life of purgatory for loving the life he was gifted to create…

This is not a HEA, or even a HFN….Who knows what will happen to seal their fate…only time will tell. Vampires, angels, demons and wolves together with love, betrayal, sadness and yearning make up the ongoing story that is…

Excerpt

“As the female once sang…Que Sera Sera, whatever will be will be,” Laziel’s voice sounded almost melodic, and Arial momentarily pushed aside the feeling of foreboding weighing him down.

“You seriously didn’t just quote Doris fucking Day of all people. Jesus Mary and Joseph, you’ll be singing Surrey with the Fringe on Top to me next,” Arial teased.

“Oh, you know that one do you? I could just imagine you acting out Curly for me. Want to duet?” Lorenza’s eyes held so much mischief it was easy to believe things would turn out for the best. But, Arial wasn’t so young or so foolish anymore.

He forced a smile as he gently lifted Loz and placed her petite frame back on the chaise lounge. He needed to leave, but the thought of leaving Laziel alone filled Arial with dread. Dainty fingers caught his hand and gripped his fingers tight.

“Let fate lead the way, Arial. One day at a time. Just look after Lachi for me. Please. Keep that arrogant fucker from hurting himself, and if you do bang heads again. Play nice.” Laziel’s tone although playful still held a hint of warning.

“I swore an oath, remember, one where I pledged my allegiance to him,” Arial stated. “But, nowhere in that oath did it state your creation could attempt to rip my damn throat out, or drink my blood. I could have fucking killed him with the toxins running through my veins. Its pure evil, the very filth of Lucifer’s demon spawn, and he had it in his mouth. Creator save me, Laziel he had that shit in his god damned stupid mouth. I saw the look on his face and it wasn’t good.”

Arial shook his head. “He tries that shit with me one more time, and I’ll knock that superior son of a bitch right onto his regal arrogant ass, oath or no oath. I won’t be responsible for poisoning the very thing I promised to protect.” Shame contorted Arial’s face.
As much as he tried to hide it, the indignity he felt toward his curse threatened to consume him. His chest went tight, and the tattered remains of his once glorious wings drooped. The visual reminder slammed into Arial, robbing him of breath and buckling his knees until his powerful, towering frame played the horizontal tango with the hard wooden floor

Buy Links:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F8QFP24/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00F8QFP24/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/469328

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-crimsonreign-1297312-351.html

About the authors

Laz and Lachi Publications is the combined writing team of J.T. Cheyanne and V.L. Moon. The two met in 2010, fell hard and fast for each other and married in April 2014. They write both independently and together in the gay erotica and gay paranormal genres. They also have a couple of contemporary romance novels under their belt.

Social media links

Our joint page

https://www.facebook.com/LazLachibooks

Website

http://www.lazandlachi.com/

JT Cheyanne

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jtcheyannestories

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JTCheyanne

VL Moon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VenusMoonstories

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VenusMoon5

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WIN! A Secret Match by Kelli A. Wilkins

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secretBlurb: Everett Kinkade is a world-famous professional wrestler and a sexy heartthrob for millions of adoring female fans. But Ev has a secret he doesn’t dare share with anyone–he’s gay. After years of being Ev’s secret lover, Josh is tired of hiding in the shadows and wants Ev to openly acknowledge their relationship. Coming out, however, is the last thing Ev wants and fears it will ruin his career. But one night in a moment of truth, Everett outs himself on live TV. There’s no going back, and his announcement sparks a firestorm of problems, both personally and professionally. He’s forced to come to grips with who he really is while facing down a tag team out to destroy him. Torn between living a lie and losing the man he loves, Ev has risked everything. Can he find a balance between his career and his heart?
Excerpt:

“Do you like me?”

Everett glanced into Josh’s brown eyes. Josh was cute and sexy and smelled fantastic, but he wasn’t sure where all this was heading. “Yeah, I do.”

“Then nothing anyone else thinks matters. If you always wonder and worry what other people think, you’ll never live your own life. They’ll win, because they’ll keep you from being happy, being who you are.”

“I get that, but how do you tell someone? And what happens if they freak out?”

“Close your eyes and say it. It’s like jumping into a pool. Make the leap and have faith it’ll work out.” Josh patted his shoulder. “Then brace yourself. Within a week, sometimes less, you’ll know who your real friends and family are. After that, it’s smooth sailing.”

“Why?”

“Because you’ll dump the pricks who turn on you, that’s why. And you’ll be closer to your real friends who accept you for you.”

“Good to know. But I’m still not comfortable with it.”

“There’s no rush. But remember that, because one day you will be ready. You’ll know when the time is right.” Josh leaned closer. “Now that we’ve talked, what else would you like to do?”

Everett finished his beer and gazed around the living room. It was comforting to have someone to talk to, instead of constantly keeping everything bottled up inside. It had been years since he’d been alone with a guy, and he liked Josh, liked him a lot. But he was worried. What if something went wrong? What if Josh told someone?

Josh gave his shoulder a little shove. “Come on, out with it, Muscles. Either you really love staring at my bookcase, or you’re too shy to face me. I know you’re thinking about something behind those beautiful blue eyes.”

“I… nah…”

“What? Anything. Say it.”

He sneaked a glance at Josh out of the corner of his eye. “I was wondering what it would feel like to”—he bowed his head—“kiss you.”

“Why don’t we find out?” Josh took Ev’s empty beer bottle and set it down on the marble end table. “Come here.”

He let Josh draw him into his arms and pull him close. Ev closed his eyes and waited, his heart hammering out of control.

A second later, Josh’s lips gently pressed against his. Ev gasped and kissed him back gingerly. Josh increased the pressure, and their mouths moved in unison. The scent of Josh’s spicy vanilla cologne washed over him and he lost himself in the tender embrace. Josh’s beard grazed his cheek, sending an electric tingle racing up his spine. God, this was good.

He clutched Josh tighter, holding on to him for dear life, not daring to let go. Josh groaned and slid his tongue into his mouth. An adrenaline rush of excitement flooded through him, and his cock sprang to life.

Dear God, he wasn’t supposed to have these kinds of feelings, this hunger, for another man, but it felt right. The wet heat of Josh’s tongue swirling around his drove him into a frenzy, and he kissed Josh deeper, praying this would never end.

After a few minutes, Josh eased away. “You are amazing. That was hot.”

Ev smiled. “It’s been so long. I forgot how good this could be. I feel safe with you. I really do.”

Josh rested his head on Ev’s chest. “You should, because you are. And don’t worry, we’ll take this slow. You set the pace, Muscles. Whatever you’re comfortable with works for me…”

________________________________________________________________________________________________
Giveaway rules (always have to have them)
Entries are limited to persons 18 years of age and older. You are stating you are of age by entering.
Just one entry per email address will be counted.
Winners will be notified via email. We are not responsible for incorrect email addresses on entries, alas.
Thank you to Amber Allure for generously donating this ebook for giveaway.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Kelli A. Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins has published more than a dozen romances in historical, fantasy, gay, contemporary, and paranormal genres. Her romances range in heat level from mild to super-spicy.

Her novellas, A Most Unusual PrincessThe Sexy Stranger, and The Dark Lord were winners in the Amber Heat “Heat Wave” writing contest. Kelli’s “Royal Desires” fantasy trilogy started with A Most Unusual Princess, continued with Dalton’s Temptation, and wrapped up in The Pauper Prince. Her most recent historical/fantasy series includes A Midsummer Night’s DelightsA Midwinter Night’s Delights, and Ultimate Night’s Delights.

Kelli invites readers to visit her website at http://www.KelliWilkins.comto read excerpts from her books, reviews, interviews, and to sign up for her newsletter, Kelli’s Quill.

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Win! (Rough Riders) Transparent Moonlight by A. J. Llewellyn & D. J. Manly

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roughBlurb: (Book 3 of the Rough Riders series) Colby Young and Diego Champagne continue to steal moments together when passion becomes so intense it can not be denied. Danger is ever present as an old enemy of Diego resurfaces and is out for vengeance. And in an attempt to convince everyone around him of his heterosexuality, Diego sleeps with Tammy, who longs to become his “old lady.” His heart, however, belongs to Colby, who must swallow his own pain at the necessary deception. Meanwhile, Diego’s mother falls ill, which draws her and Colby closer as they both fret for Diego’s life. And when it comes to his own family issues, Colby finally learns what happened to his little sister, which completely shatters his world. Now, Diego walks a fine line, maintaining his leadership role and dealing with his emotions, which he sometimes finds difficult to hold in check. And when a sudden change in Colby’s life threatens to pull him away from Diego forever, will the secret lovers find even a moment of true happiness?
Excerpt:

…Crashing on my bed, I tried watching the news on TV. I almost laughed over a report of a bicyclist getting hit by a bus on the highway in Tuscaloosa. He’d been bent over looking for his false teeth at the time.

I fell asleep, my dreams pained and exhausting.

Awakened some time later by a pounding at the door, I wondered fleetingly if it might be Lafleur. I would have really given him what-for. I checked the grimy peephole.

Man, what a sight for sore eyes.

Diego stood on the other side, giving me a finger wave. After snatching open the door, I grabbed him.

“Get in here,” I said.

He let me pull him into my arms, and I slammed the door closed. The lamps and grim artwork on the walls would have jumped, but everything had been nailed down. Clearly, this motel dealt with a really classy type of clientele.

Our mouths landed on each other’s. We traded lingering, wet kisses. Without a word being exchanged, I stripped my man and stared at his naked body.

“Come to Papa,” I crooned, wrapping my fist around his length.

He glanced down at his erect cock, so hard it was pointing up toward his belly.

“I drove like hell to get here. I had to see you. I thought we could talk,” he muttered, shaking his head at his cock. “Guess that’s gonna have to wait.”

“No, no. We can talk. Let me start.”

He seemed suddenly bashful as I pushed him to the small table for two with its mismatched chairs that overlooked the glamorous parking lot.

Diego started to say something as I bent him over the tabletop, but I had words I wanted to say myself. And I drew them in tongue against his hot ass cheeks. I loved the taste and smell of him. A little bit spicy. A little bit musky. A whole lot of Southern comfort. And I don’t mean the boozy kind. More the woozy kind. He was soft, hard, and everything in between.

He jerked at my touch but manfully stayed where he was. I took my time sucking his bubble butt, finally delving into the crack. He let out a moan that touched my very soul. It made me think of the Prince song, “When Doves Cry.” I teased him with kisses, licks, then spread his cheeks with my fingers, focusing on his glorious hole. I shoved one of his knees upward so that he looked like he was climbing the table.

Sensing his gaze on me, I lifted my face away from him and glanced up at him. He had twisted his head around and looked down at me, a feverish expression on his face. I lost no time pleasuring him again. I stabbed my tongue at his hole. He kept rubbing it against me, anxious for closer contact. I slipped a finger into him, then a second, alternating with my tongue. I was able to stick it into him, making him moan once again. But then I pushed his ass all the way up onto the table, almost tipping it over.

“Oh, God, suck me,” he rasped, as we straightened the table together. He held on for dear life, legs open as I swooped down on him again. This time I swabbed his rigid cock, making him squirm. His chest heaved with the effort to breathe. Good. By the time I was done with him he’d be rode hard and put away wet, as the saying goes…

________________________________________________________________________________________________
Giveaway rules (always have to have them)
Entries are limited to persons 18 years of age and older. You are stating you are of age by entering.
Just one entry per email address will be counted.
Winners will be notified via email. We are not responsible for incorrect email addresses on entries, alas.
Thank you to Amber Allure for generously donating this ebook for giveaway.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:A. J. Llewellyn / D. J. Manly

A. J. Llewellyn lives in California, but dreams of living in Hawaii. Frequent trips to all the islands, bags of Kona coffee in his fridge and a healthy collection of Hawaiian records keep this writer refueled. A. J. loves male/male erotica, has a passion for all animals—especially the dog, the cat and the turtle. A. J. believes that love is a song best sung out loud.

To find out more about A. J., visit www.ajllewellyn.com or you can email A. J. at AJ@AJLlewellyn.com.

* * *

D. J. Manly says, “I write not only for my own pleasure, but for the pleasure of my readers. I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t written and told stories. When I’m not writing, I’m dreaming about writing, doing something wild and adventurous, or trying to make the world a better and more open-minded place to live in. I adore beautiful men, and I know I’m not alone in this! Eroticism between consenting adults, in all its many forms, is the icing on the cake of life!”

To find out more about D. J., visit the author’s website at www.djmanlyfiction.com.

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Lloyd A. Meeker – The Companion

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companionAuthor: Lloyd A. Meeker
Reviewer: Vivian
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press
Genre: M/M Contemporary
ISBN:9781627988506

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Summary:Shepherd Bucknam hasn’t had a lover in more than a decade and doesn’t need one. As a Daka, he coaches men in the sacred art and mystery of sexual ecstasy all the time, and he loves his work. It’s his calling. In fact, he’s perfectly content—except for the terrors of his recurring nightmare and the ominous blood-red birthmarks on his neck. He’s convinced that together they foretell his early and violent death.

When Shepherd’s young protégé is murdered, LAPD Detective Marco Fidanza gets the case. The two men are worlds apart: Marco has fought hard for everything he’s accomplished, in sharp contrast to the apparent ease of Shepherd’s inherited wealth—but their mutual attraction is too hot for either of them to ignore.

Shepherd swears he’ll help find his protégé’s killer, but Marco warns him to stay out of it. When an influential politician is implicated, the police investigation grinds to a halt. Shepherd hires his own investigator. Marco calls it dangerous meddling. As their volatile relationship deepens, Shepherd discovers his nightmares might not relate to the future, but to the deadly legacy of a past life—a life he may have to revisit before he can fully live and love in this one.

Review:

“That’s with me every day, my constant companion.”

 

Life is about being open.

Open. Open to experience everything. The interconnectedness means that good and bad are just temporal, we’re changing. Life is changing. Okay, so if you are willing or interested in books that involve more than the tangible and provable then this story will interest you. This IS NOT a collection of aphorisms, and pithy one-liners about self-realization; it’s about acceptance.

I think the whole story and the meaning can be summed up succinctly with the following quote:

Maybe it merely meant that what I did mattered, that I didn’t have to make myself matter.

But, if you just take that quote then you miss the dance each character has across the pages. So, now I’ve come across completely new age, hippy, crystal wearing, patchouli incense burning lost cause. Even if you think most of this is hokum, you still need to be open enough to accept a character going through fundamental changes in their life. Shepard’s got a lot to sort through and he does it by mixing approaches to try and succeed.

A tragic event brings Marco into Shepard’s sphere. Marco’s a true blue cop. They both know it’s a bad idea, but want is want. How they interact is beautiful and tentative and hurts just when you feel most vulnerable. There’s pain here, but more importantly there is resilience and peace. There’s peace when it is all done.

For me, this was a profound read. It didn’t touch on anything I wasn’t familiar with, but it stirred memories and feelings. It made me think a couple times about things as they came in flashes while reading. So it was an interrupted read, but in the best way possible because it took me out of the book and back into me. Will all readers respond similarly? No. I can’t say how this will affect another reader because it will depend on where they are coming from when they start it.

So, let’s say that all the introspection just isn’t in the cards right now or never in the interest scale. The suspense surrounding Shepard’s life and the tragedy that brings Marco into it is more than interesting enough to make it worthwhile. There are some lovely characters and the plot is well thought out and delivered beautifully. It has an ingrained sense of space that traverses Los Angeles. My suggestion, read it and take what you want from it–there’s plenty to please.

One caveat: There is recitation of sexual abuse of a child, not salacious, but mentioned in a summary fashion by a character. It is not for titillation, but comprehension.

Favorite quote:

All these life forms, interacting in an intricate reciprocity, did so without the slightest sense of entitlement or demand for safety.

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Kay Berrisford – The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate

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mermanAuthor: Kay Berrisford
Reviewer: Sandra
Publisher: Less Than Three
Genre: M/M Paranormal
ISBN: 9781620043981

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Summary: Raef, a lonely merman, spends his days watching the dashing Lord Haverford from afar and dreaming of love. When Haverford is robbed by a pirate, Raef vows to reclaim the stolen goods, hoping his victory will buy him the happiness he yearns for with Haverford.

But Jon Kemp does not match what Raef knows about pirates, and the simple quest Raef anticipated turns out to be an epic journey. For while Jon might be a nobler man than Raef believed, he’s still a pirate. Love and loyalty are not on Jon’s agenda, and he certainly has no plans to love someone not entirely human …

Review: I waffled on the rating for this. There were parts that I loved and would give 4 stars too, mainly any scene with Raef and John Kemp together. But there were also scenes I skimmed through, mostly Raef’s lengthy inner monologue or waxing poetic. There was one section of several pages that was backstory that I actually skipped entirely. I meant to come back to it, but then they seemed to summarize it in one page so I didn’t bother.

But I really liked the main premise of the story. I liked Raef in a lot of ways, and of course I loved (translation: am hot for) The Dread Pirate John Kemp. And although I appreciate the need for the outside story to propel things, I would have been completely content to just have it be character driven with Raef and Kemp figuring out their mer-pirate relationship.

One random niggle, I like my books to be clear on what they are. I was thinking of this as a historical with fantasy elements, then there was one random automaton. Huh? So, is this steampunk? There were no other steampunk elements. And then the automaton didn’t even play a major role, so why include it at all?

Overall, a fun and out-of-the-norm adventure that could have used a tad more focus… and a second sex scene. :)

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Tara Lain – The Pack or the Panther

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pack or pantherAuthor: Tara Lain
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press
Genre: M/M Paranormal
ISBN:N/A

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Narrator Max Lehnen
Length 5 hours and 47 minutes

Summary: Cole Harker, son of an alpha werewolf, is bigger and more powerful than most wolves, tongue-tied in groups, and gay. For 24 years, he’s lived to please his family and pack – even letting them promise him in marriage to female werewolf Analiese to secure a pack alliance and help save them from a powerful gangster who wants their land. Cole then meets Analiese’s half-brother, panther shifter Paris Marketo, and for the first time, Cole wants something for himself

Review: NOTE: This is the audiobook version and the review is of the audiobook and narrator which strongly influenced my rating.

Cole Harker is a gay werewolf and son of the alpha. He’s a tall, sexy, lawyer, and a really sweet guy who can’t manage any public speaking at all. One wonders how he managed to complete law school if he couldn’t even speak to a small group, but I guess that’s why it’s called fiction. His father and the neighboring alpha arrange for Cole to marry the other alpha’s daughter to cement an alliance which will then help Cole’s pack fight off a suspected takeover by a ruthless gang of werewolves who covet their territory. When the bride runs off before the ceremony, the alphas decide to marry Cole to the other alpha’s gay son, Paris Marketo.

Paris is not interested in any way, shape or form. He’s actually the son of a panther mother and takes after her by being a panther shifter. He’s gorgeous, slim, and sexy, very smart, very antisocial, and performs as an exotic dancer by the name of Anthony at an exclusive club. The night before he finds out that he’s to wed Paris, Cole and his best friend, Lindsey Vanessen, scope out the club because they’ve heard that’s where Nikel Eliazer, the badass alpha of the rival pack, hangs out. Cole nearly swallows his tongue when he sees the exotic and sexy “Anthony” perform and when he’s invited backstage immediately after the performance, he and Anthony/Paris engage in hot man sex. His wolf is very possessive, and he wants to protect this man from Nikel who smells of blood and lust, but he manages to get out of the club without Nikel knowing he was there.

Neither young man is happy when they learn they are to be wed, Cole because he doesn’t want to eventually lead his pack, doesn’t want the politics and public speaking, and doesn’t want a loveless marriage when Paris makes it known that he’s not interested in being married. Paris doesn’t want the commitment, and he’s a cat, a loner, and won’t be a part of a pack.

When Paris is kidnapped by Nikel, it’s Cole and his best friend, Lindsey, who find and rescue him with the unbelievable help of a waitress at the club. That side issue was a bit farfetched, but again, it’s fiction so I can suspend disbelief a bit. Nikel slithers away into the night and rounds up his troops for a full on attack of both compounds. In the meantime, in gratitude, Paris agrees to the marriage with Cole to seal the alliance, but will still not remain by his side.

The war erupts, help comes from unbelievable sources, due to Lindsey pulling some top level strings, and when Cole is captured and about to die, his beautiful mate comes to the rescue.

I enjoy Tara Lain stories, despite the suspensions of belief I have to sustain, and if I read this one, I likely would have rated it 3.5 hearts, but the narration pulled it down, and I would not recommend the audiobook at all. I disliked both the narrator’s pattern of speaking in the narrative sections as well as the voices themselves. His vocal pattern was too “singsong”, and there was not enough variation in speech pattern between the dialogue and the narrative segments. Most of the male characters had higher pitched, somewhat effeminate voices, including the big badass villain, Nikel. When someone should have spoken authoritatively, he made it sound like they were lecturing a group of unruly school children, and once or twice, I was reminded of Mary Poppins— so not good for a principally male cast. In fact, I’m not going to get the audiobook of the sequel because of this narrator. I’ll buy the ebook and read it, instead. Unfortunately, the narration dropped my rating to 3 hearts.

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Tiffany Reisz – The Saint

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1555637Author: Tiffany Reisz
Reviewer:  Danny
Publisher:Mira Publishing
Genre: M/F BDSM
ISBN: 9780373605699

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Summary: Notorious Nora Sutherlin is famous for her delicious works of erotica, each one more popular with readers than the last. But her latest manuscript is different—more serious, more personal—and she’s sure it’ll be her breakout book… if it ever sees the light of day.

Zachary Easton holds Nora’s fate in his well-manicured hands. The demanding British editor agrees to handle the book on one condition: he wants complete control. Nora must rewrite the entire novel to his exacting standards—in six weeks—or it’s no deal.

Nora’s grueling writing sessions with Zach are draining… and shockingly arousing. And a dangerous former lover has her wondering which is more torturous—staying away from him… or returning to his bed?

Nora thought she knew everything about being pushed to your limits. But in a world where passion is pain, nothing is ever that simple.

Review: ** Spoiler Alert **
I cannot say I found this uninteresting; otherwise I wouldn’t have finished reading it. The author succeeded to pique my curiosity.
First, learn that the main characters are Eleanor (Elle for her friends and, later, Nora for her clients), a teenager (who is only 16 years old at the beginning of the novel), and Sren a priest new to the Catholic parish of the teenager. At his previous parish, Father Sren denounced the pedophile priest, which is why he ended up in Eleanor’s village (demotion). He was demoted to have smeared his parish’s reputation.
There are many excesses in this novel:
Apparently, for the author, everyone is a rapist, a pedophile, a killer or a victim of them. The number of rapes and abuses in this novel is amazing. As for the sadism, you would think that for the author, if you’re sadistic, you may at any time lose your mind and seriously injure or even kill someone. So sadists must make great efforts to control themselves in order not to become murderers.
Sren before he had sex for the first time with Eleanor reveals that:
• when he was a teenager, he killed a classmate who wanted to rape him (everyone violated everyone else at this school), and that’s when he experienced his first orgasm (during the killing);
• his sister was raped many times by their father;
• still a teenager, he was raped by his sister while he was sleeping but erect, and then he began a very violent incestuous SM relationship with her (according to him, there isn’t a single sexual perversion they didn’t try);
• during an SM scene (not with his sister), he lost control, and his sexual partner had to be taken to the hospital;
• and later, he emasculated his own father.
After these revelations, he admits to Eleanor that he isn’t sure he could control himself during or outside sex and that she’ll have to help him to do so. He also suggests her to ask Kingsley (Sren’s best friend—maybe more) if it’s risky to have a relationship with him. I think we very well understood that it was dangerous. Does this mean that he did worse than what we already know?! But all this doesn’t deter Eleanor to have sex with him soon after.
With all the horrors that go on at the beginning of this novel, it’s hard not to be curious about what happens next. So despite what I described (or maybe because of that), I kept reading this story.
This novel is well written, the characters don’t lack depth and the story sustains our interest. We can say that Harlequin isn’t frightened by sins of flesh anymore.
I hesitate between 3 and 4 hearts, but I chose to give 3½ because of the misconception about sadism the author promotes.

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