Review: Červenà by Louise Lyons

When Joel Jones finds homeless Russian Sasha outside his gay nightclub in Prague, he cannot find it in his heart to turn him away, so he offers him a home and a job as a dancer and stripper.

Despite a fifteen-year age gap, romance develops between them but is interrupted when Joel has to return to England for many weeks to deal with a death in the family.

Upon Joel’s return, he is horrified to discover his business partner, Karel, has gambled away the club’s money and put them all at risk. Joel buys him out of the club, but when Karel continues to gamble, the people he owes pursue Joel for the debt instead—and they’ll stop at nothing to get paid.

Suddenly Joel and those he cares about—especially Sasha—are in danger, and Joel finds himself with no choice but to seek the help of known criminal, Vincenc Jankovic. Ensuring a happy future for himself and Sasha will mean a struggle and some difficult decisions, but Joel is determined to protect what they’ve built together.

Words I'd hope to describe Červenà (prior to reading): hot, plotty, and a believable romance.

Words to describe after reading: soft, sugary fluff and sweet.

And none of the words I'd hope to see.

A book that has crime, a big age gap, cultural differences, opposites attract...weak, too ambitious and boring. Never thought I'd see the day.

As the blurb states, Joel is a premier gay nightclub owner in Prague. The Brit has a heart of gold and is very sweet to all. He know he's "soft hearted". And has doormat underneath the "boss" facade. He saves a homeless youth who calls himself Sasha. Sasha is twenty, been living on the streets for years due to being kicked out by his homophobic parents. Joel takes one look at Sasha, sneaking food out of the club's yard and offers him a job on the spot. That should have been my first warning sign. Or maybe the nonsensical MANTEARS at Sasha revealing his name is false (under no duress) at 6%.

Thus began a never ending rush into insta-love, script like dialogue and poor development (which the characters remarked on from time to time) in Červenà.

What do you get when the entire plot is not only given in the blurb, but is completed before the halfway mark?

A lot of unnecessary filler and no romance development.

Let's get into my ARC quibbles, shall we?

There were many which I hope are problems of the ARC version and not in the final such as:

- The length & pace - They work hand in hand due to the fact the pace is lopsided - lukewarm start lead to rushed info dumpy middle and dragged out ending. The blurb was promising but when the reader is told every thing and still don't get a sense of the main characters or characters for that matter, it makes for a lackluster read. The length could work as long as the weak spots are formed, trimmed and expanded on when needed. Maybe it's fixed on the published version?

- The characters  - flatter than a pancake flatbread sandwich with flatulence. With the style of telling so heavy in this novel, any sense of with main character is lost anytime there was promise. Joel read older than 35, maybe this was cleaned up in the final version but he was out of character for owning a business like Červenà. He was too polite, any conflict he had was readily explained within the next few sentences and he was more troubled about a headache than dealing with a shady partner from the moment there was a hint of trouble. Just writing he was "soft" didn't cut it. And the way Sasha is readily accepted into his world without giving a sense of the harsh life he left behind...c'mon now. Writing homeless characters who are barely homeless in the story is a pet peeve of mine. Why introduce a homeless character if it'll barely be used?  Both were too cookie cutter and their caricature of their characters didn't fit. At one point, Joel tells Sasha (who said he didn't mind stripping) that Sasha doesn't like stripping, he will need to look into a new job. Too many missteps made for a uneven read.

- The style - info dump central and waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much telling. Nothing is shown. The conflict read too difficult for what the author could offer. If softness and romance was the aim, it should have stuck there. The story suffered from this style.

There were also parts that read underdeveloped and not researched. An example:

- Filipov - I do hope in the final version the mistake with Sasha's sister is corrected. I'm not fluent in Russian but I knew his sister being named, "Elena Filipov" was wrong. It should have been Filipova. Sadly, a quick search would have shown the area the author chose wouldn't have worked for Sasha's hometown. Book says he's from Russia, online that surname is prominent in Bulgaria. This is from less than a minute research. So...

I'm not the type of reader who gets excited just because strippers as a plot point are used in a book. I actually expect some work and research on the author's part to make an interesting read. A land where there are probably 100 (or more) romance books featuring strippers, it should stand out or at least attempt to.

This book is too polite and too ambitious. It'd probably work best if it was kept simple, lost the crime since it was sloppily handled with polite "criminals" and tied up way too easily in sentences when it should have been chapters.

I did not like the main characters, I'm pretty sure once Sasha is exposed to more than just the savior/boss he can do so much better. It came off as gratitude rather than love. It's a little sad actually. Criminals who offer their home for you to recover from injuries. Sales of businesses and contracts to be completed in a matter of hours. Love that is told to happen after the main characters remark they haven't spent any time together (it shows). The entire story could have been a 60pg novella at that rate.

My rating is for the attempt (though it fell short), the sex wasn't anything to write home about but it was decently done.

Probably won't be reading more from this author - the style didn't work for me.

Recommended for readers who prefer telling, not learning much from the characters or story, extremely easy answers to conflict and sugar.

Find more on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Relase Day Review: Counting Fence Posts by Kelly Jensen

There are over two hundred thousand fence posts between Syracuse and Boston. Henry Auttenberg likes numbers—it’s his job—but he isn’t going to count them all, even if the view outside the rental car is less confounding than the driver, his attractive but oh so obnoxious colleague, Marcus Winnamore. It’s Christmas Eve, and Henry would much rather be home with his family. When the blizzard that grounded their flight forces them off the road, however, he’s stuck with Marc until the storm passes—or a plow digs them out.

As the temperature outside plummets, the atmosphere inside the car slowly heats up. Henry learns the true reason for Marc’s chilly distance—he’s not exactly straight… maybe… and he’s been fantasizing about Henry’s mouth, among other things. Confession laid out, Marc is all for sharing body heat… and more. Henry isn’t interested in being an experiment, but as the night and cold deepen, he could be convinced to balance certain risk against uncertain reward.

Oh how I do love Jizzmas in July!

Counting Fence Posts did not disappoint and it actually worked really well for a July story since the Christmas theme is subtle. It’s there but it’s subtle. This is a sweetly realistic character driven story. Given that it’s just over 60 pages, the author was able to give me fully fleshed out MC’s with enough backstory to give them depth and without the time I did have with them used to info-dump unnecessary filler.

Marc and Henry are returning from a business trip when they get stuck by a snowstorm leaving them on the side of the road and waiting for a plow to get them out. Henry has idolized the seemingly perfect Marc since he started at the financial firm they worked at. Marc is a few years Henry’s senior and he’s on the fast track to success. Marc is a little intimidating and, Henry assumes, very straight. They haven’t had much conversation on their trip to this point and Henry just assumes that Marc is too much of a single minded workaholic to bother with the likes of Henry.

As they set out on the road to try and beat the storm home, it turns out the assumptions Henry had been making weren’t even close to being accurate. And this is where the author did such a good job of making these characters read as real people. The evolution of their conversations was spot on to what their personalities would have allowed. They have moments of frustration with one another, but they were minor, good natured and the result of the situation and aforementioned assumptions.

Since the two of them are stuck and really don’t know each other well, the conversations started out slowly and were pretty superficial, as would be expected. Henry started to see glimpses of the “real” Marc and that didn’t really help with the crush he’s got on the guy. Henry is a very methodical man. It works for him, making him good at his job and helps to keep him safe from heartbreak, especially when crushing on a straight guy who is the star of his fantasies. He keeps his head down and focuses on his job. Marc assumes Henry is shy and as the communication continues it shows that neither of them knew the other at all.

So, it turns out that Marc isn’t as strictly straight as Henry assumed and he’s got some crush-worthy feelings of his own towards Henry. The story evolved here perfectly. The author intertwined the assumptions each guy had of the other with the sharing of information they had going on to move the connection forward organically. Marc’s feelings aren’t new to him, but this is the first he’s acted on them, Henry is protective of his heart and not interested in being a “gay experiment”. I appreciated the honesty and mature dialog that can be so rare to read and even more so in a Christmas novella.

Marc and Henry may not have given each other enough of a chance had they not been stranded as they were. The situation gave them more of an opportunity to be open and honest without sabotaging their potential relationship with incorrect assumptions.

The story ends on an optimistic HFN with a little help from a dash of Christmas spirit. There were no declarations of undying love or plans to pick out china patterns. There was however, the promise for open-mindedness and a commitment to try because each thought the other was so worth it. I would love a follow up story with the two of them.

There’s a lot of delicious potential with these two in introducing Marc to the realities of a relationship with another man. There’s also a lot of potential for some serious sweetness as they open themselves to each other romantically and support each other through their new dynamics. I would auto buy that story.

For more information and to get your copy of Counting Fence Posts, check it out at Dreamspinner Press.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

Review: We Awaken by Calista Lynne

Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.

But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.

Victoria's life took a turn for the worse when a car accident killed her father and put her brother in a coma.  She loved to dance and that's almost the only bright spot in her life. She has her mom, but her mom has so much grief from her son's state that she's kind of checked out. Victoria is just trying not to let her mom bring her down with her. 

Victoria has her friends, but they all seem to be going in a different direction than her. They're always trying to hook her up, and while Victoria knows she's a lesbian, she just doesn't feel that sexual urge all her friends seem to have. 

In her dreams she meets someone that she starts to call friend... Ashlinn. She appears in her dreams often and through Victoria's dreams they start to get closer. Ashlinn doesn't just appear in Victoria's dreams, she is a sandman. She takes care of people's good dreams. 

Through their relationship, Victoria starts to understand why she's different than her friends. Why she doesn't have the same sexual urges they do. She discovers she's asexual and is able to explore that part of herself with Ashlinn, who is also asexual. 

I don't think I've read a book with an asexual character before (and if I have, it didn't express what being asexual means as well as We Awaken did). I really loved how to author showed what asexuality means through Victoria and Ashlinn's relationship. I admit to not really knowing much before, but after reading their story I feel like I have a better understanding. 

The whole dreaming plot was a bit thin. I feel like there was some information missing. There was a character mentioned that I figured would play a big role and then... nothing. The dream sequences were boring to me. I found myself skimming a couple of them through the middle. 

I liked We Awaken. Nothing really "wowed" me, but it was worth the read. I especially enjoyed the way the author wrote Ashlinn and Victoria's relationship. I always enjoy reading about something new and I think the author did a great job portraying their asexual relationship. 

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find more info at Harmony Ink Press or Goodreads

Review: Blue Boy Boxed Set by Garrett Leigh

Enjoy the heat (and the summer) with all three Blue Boy books for cool, low price!

I don’t read many porn star books, but I tend to enjoy the ones that I do. I really liked the setup of the Blue Boy series - a group of lonely porn stars finding love and happiness. The MCs are an odd family, seeing as they’ve all slept with one another at some point, but they all care for and look out for each other.

In case it’s not your thing, the MCs in this book have on-page sex, sometimes as part of porn scenes and sometimes not, with men other than the love interest. It comes with the territory, so there’s your heads-up.

I’ve read most of Garrett Leigh’s work, and her writing is always consistent. Leigh knows how to tell a story, and how to tell it well. The stories in this boxed set aren’t any different. They’re well-written, and it’s easy to clearly picture whatever’s happening on page.

My favourite of the three novellas is ‘Bold’. Overall, I enjoyed this boxed set. This series is a good mix of angst, sex, and romance. I’m hoping the author continues the Blue Boy series, because there’s clearly more to tell!

Bullet (Blue Boy #1) - 2 Hearts

Levi Ramone is one of Blue Boy Studio’s most popular tops. He’s known for being rough and dominating. But after years in the porn industry, Levi feels little in his scenes. It’s all mechanical for him. When he’s offered a large sum of money to finally pop his cherry on camera, Levi finds it difficult to refuse because he needs the money.

Levi’s not looking forward to bottoming, and he’s even more ticked off when it turns out that it’ll be a threesome with Sonny Valentine, a go-go dancer that he can’t stand. Sonny isn’t happy about it either, because the dislike is mutual, but he’s willing to put aside their differences to help Levi prepare for the scene.

I’m a sucker for an enemies-to-lovers romance. Or, in this case, an annoying-acquaintances-to-lovers romance. Levi and Sonny’s dislike of each other isn’t entirely rational, but I didn’t hold that against them. Sometimes you just don’t like someone, even if you can’t fully explain why.

It also seemed to be a case of classic schoolyard denial - you know, like when you were a kid and vehemently said you didn’t like someone, even though you had the biggest crush on them? That’s what Levi and Sonny were doing here.

As much as I liked the set-up, the actual romance was lacklustre. The progression from adversaries to lovers isn’t very clear. It seemed like the only reason the two fell for each other was because they suddenly found the other less annoying than usual. There was a lack of emotional connection. Granted, this is a short story, but I needed more relationship development.

The relationship development was pushed into the background because of the family drama. That drama took up way too much page time. I thought that it all - Levi’s mother’s alcoholism, the financial burden, revelations about his father, and the dramatic conclusion - was too much for such a short book.

The sex was okay, if not anything special. Sonny tutors Levi in bottoming and anal play. The two start off awkward and adversarial, but the sexual tension is clearly there, and the two can’t deny it. I liked how different Levi was with Sonny, going from the uber-alpha top to a hesitant and eventually eager novice.

Overall, ‘Bullet’ was an okay short story. There’s the beginning of a romance here, but I thought that Levi and Sonny were drowned out by Levi’s family drama.

Bones (Blue Boy #2) - 3 Hearts

A veteran top at Blue Boy Studios, Cam likes working in the porn industry. However, lately he hasn’t been enjoying his scenes. Ever since he began playing toxic sex games with his possessive boss, Cam’s hasn’t been scheduled for any hardcore scenes. But more than that, he just feels like something’s missing from his life.

When Cam runs into Sasha, it doesn’t take long for him to develop a crush. The two soon become friends, bonding over their love for BMX bikes and skateboards. Cam thinks he and Sasha could build something real, and it looks like Sasha agrees, but then Sasha suddenly backs off. As if things weren’t crappy enough, Cam then gets some news that turns his world upside down.

I was a bit nervous going into ‘Bones’, because unlike the other two books in this boxed set, the love interest in book #2 isn’t in the porn industry. I’m always uncomfortable when I read MM in which one of the MCs is a porn star and hides it from his significant other. Thankfully I didn’t need to worry, because Sasha has watched Cam’s work in the past, and he’s fine with Cam’s field of work.

So yes, Cam does have sex on-page with other men, and not always because he’s filming a scene, though it’s before he and Sasha are serious. ‘Bones’ was actually quite a lot steamier than book 1. I thought the sex was pretty hot, whoever Cam happened to be with.

I would say that this novella is more about Cam’s emotional journey than it is about the romance, and that’s not a bad thing at all. It’s easy to connect with Cam and understand his predicament. He’s in an unhealthy quasi-relationship, has a job he’s not sure he wants anymore, and doesn’t know who to talk to about it because his fews friends work for the same porn company.

He’s stuck in a rut, and doesn’t know how to get out. I liked seeing the way Cam changed over the course of the book, as he made the necessary changes in his life so that he could be happy.

That’s not to say that the romance is lacking. Cam and Sasha have an immediate connection, so I was rooting for them from the beginning. It takes an unfortunate event for the two to finally come together in the second half of the book, but it’s clear that what they feel for one another is real.

By the end of the book, there’s no doubt that Cam and Sasha belong together.

Though it’s quite a short novella and the romance comes second, ‘Bones’ delivers an enjoyable story of healing and finding happiness.

Bold (Blue Boy #3) - 3.5 Hearts

Kai is Blue Boy Studio’s resident sweet bottom. His small size and easy smiles make him a fan favourite. But lately, getting pounded by power tops just isn’t doing it for him. Kai wants something different, and after thinking it through he has an idea - he wants to try topping on camera.The studio’s owners think it’s worth a shot, and pick out newcomer Matthew to film with Kai.

Kai and Matthew know they have chemistry, so they’re more than willing to see where it goes. As the two spend more time together, and Matthew begins tutoring Kai for his GED, Kai can’t stop himself from falling for Matthew. But Kai’s been alone for a long time, and he can’t imagine why Matthew, with his bright and successful future ahead, would want Kai.

The set-up in this novella had me grinning from the start. Two nerdy twinks getting dirty and then falling head-over-heels for each other? Yes, please!

I fell for Kai pretty quickly. He’s like a lost puppy, in a way. Having been abandoned by family and friends in the past, he looks for affection where he can find it. It was tough to read him being so hard on himself.

Of the the three romances in this boxed set, Kai and Matthew’s relationship is the one I found most believable and fleshed-out. Though they first begin spending time together because of the porn scene, it doesn’t take them long to become friends. Matthew and Kai are quite different in personality and background, but they compliment each other.

I loved seeing the two fall for each other during their study dates.

While the inevitable conflict comes, it doesn’t take Kai and Matthew too long to patch things up. They learn to communicate, and by the end of the book are in a strong place.

This was quite a sexy read. Kai and Matthew don’t sleep with other men once they commit to a scene together, so they spend a lot of time finding out what works for them. Having always been the bottom, Kai’s eager to experiment being the dominant one in the bedroom. Kai and Matthew have an undeniable spark, but their exploration was also light-hearted and funny at times.

I also enjoyed the inclusion of the studio’s new owners, Mac and Jude. I really liked how they worked to create a healthier environment at Blue Boy, and how that made life better for the men who worked there. I wouldn’t mind reading how Mac and Jude met and fell in love.

This last novella is sweet and sexy. Kai and Matthew’s story was very good addition to the series.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Review: Softpaw (Smilodon Pride #1) by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus

Connor’s life could have been the dream of any cultured werecat. He is spending his days in Paris’ gay quarter with comfortably little real work, playing the piano, surrounded by art, fine food and good friends. It could have been, if not for a feral vampire preying on the prostitutes of ‘his’ quarter, killing the boys of the Marais one by one. 

When Connor invites a newly arrived hooker to stay on his houseboat, the last thing he expects is Michel to be a member of the Brigade Criminelle - a troubled, hunky rookie cop sent undercover to explore Connor’s connection to the murders, picked mostly because he had been a boy of the Marais himself, not so long ago. 

Hiding their true nature becomes a problem for both when their realize there maybe is more to their inital attraction. But in order to bring down the serial killer and maybe have a chance at making their relationship work out, one of them will have to 
take the first, critical leap...


Tags: Romance - Gay - HFN - Paranormal - Paris - France - Shifter - Vampires - Cops - Death - Prostitution - Undercover - Rough Sex - Explicit Sex

I wanted to love this book. I kept trying and trying to grab on and take the ride but just when I thought I had it...

I didn't have it.

It would take off in these weird tangents that lost me; shook me off like a bad habit. Everything I was interested in got scuttled to the back burner in favor of on overwhelming amount of aesthetic minutiae that left me bored and oftentimes confused. 

Softpaw revolves around a serial killer who is targeting male prostitutes in the Marais arrondissement of Paris. Michel is assigned to the case *seemingly* due to his colorful background which includes prostitution. There is an odd meeting between him, his direct supervisor and some nebulous woman whose role is never clearly defined but we're left with the distinct impression that she has some sort of stake in the investigation and maybe she hand picked Michel for it? 

However, Michel is bar none the shittiest cop ever. The prime suspect is Connor who happens to be a sabertoothed werepanther and local piano player. One would think a cop would get close but not too close to the prime suspect and most certainly stay alert. Nope. Michel seems to get a case of narcolepsy every time they're together then once he wakes up proceeds to berate himself extensively for falling asleep and losing track of Connor.

His shoddy investigative skills, and sexual peccadilloes definitely qualify him as peculiar. He's not boring, I'll give him that. He's a danger junkie who enjoys being humiliated and used and not in the kinky way either. He'll take any sort of attention and he's insecure to the point of finding it necessary to get into a verbal fisticuffs with a 15 yr old. So... not exactly likable.

Connor is slightly better but he too is moody and he's got a vicious streak when he's angry that had me all...

How the authors incorporated Paris making it part of the story was what I enjoyed most. They also did a good job constructing these two imperfect characters and I applaud them for the unusual shifter. 
The overall impression I'm left with is esoteric and unfocused. It's not that I think the narrative is bad it's just clunky. The dialogue never seems natural what with the absence of contractions not to mention the peculiarities. I didn't get the sense of humor. The things that were given precedence were quirky. Everything was just slightly obscure, most especially the bizarre council/government connection that bookends the story.

The sex was eccentric as well. There are probably 3-4 pages of lead up which included buttons being unbuttoned, shoes being taken off and some bossy behavior by one werepanther but the actual sex was glossed over. And it was a marathon with a big guy bottom! I would've liked some focus on that rather than the buttons. Even the hate sex confused me because I didn't understand the level of hate. Then again, I never was convinced of Connor and Michel's connection despite the repetitive internal dialogue each of them have regarding their feels for each other.

One thing I hesitate to even mention mainly because I am super white and 16 different kinds of privileged so my rule of thumb is just to shut my cake hole when it comes to things that may or may not be racist my opinion, if it doesn't push the story forward and serves no purpose with regard to character development then I see no need for things like this and wish they were omitted altogether. It strikes me as unnecessarily inflammatory not to mention divisive.

My late husband always said you negros would be the end of us all, but there's just as many rotten apples among you as there is among normal people.

It probably could've used a final edit to catch the thing with Connor being a neat freak but then suddenly Michel finds black cat hair all over his clothes. I know a neat freak with something like 19 cats and you'd NEVER find a cat hair on you. 

Like I said, I didn't hate it and this has an audience; just check the other reviews. The framework of the story is appealing but the final product left a little to be desired for me.

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Alpha's Redemption (Alpha/omega Verse #3) by D.C. Juris

D.C. Juris is celebrating their latest release in the Alpha/omega Verse series, book #3, Alpha's Redemption. Not only is there a hot excerpt, but there's an even hotter GIVEAWAY. One lucky winner will have a chance to win an Ebook copy of Alpha's Redemption!

Alphas Redemption 1000x400

Author: DC Juris
Title: Alpha's Redemption
Series Title and Number: Alpha/omega Verse #3
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kristin Norris
Release Date: July 27 2016
Heat Level: 5
Pairing: male/male alien
Length: 17,651
Genre:Gay Romance, Science Fiction, Alternate Universe, Aliens

Alpha's Redemption Cover


Tondreau has spent the last four years helping raise Cadajen's terminally ill daughter, Linea. Though not mates, they've carved out a happy life with each other. It all comes crashing down when Linea's health takes a turn for the worst. Together, they must face the hardest decision of their lives. Will it tear them apart? And can Tondreau put aside his fears and be the Alpha Cadajen needs him to be? .


Tondreau faced him, shaking his head. "You love her, and you show her that love every day, every chance you get." He frowned, his brow furrowed. "Do you know how many of us walk through life without love? How many of us would give almost anything for four years of love?"

Cadajen had expected the first half of the statement. But the second half… "You're not without love."

Tondreau's frown deepened and he shrugged. "I didn't mean me, specifically."

"But you're not. You have to know that. Linea and I both love you. You must be able to smell it on us, at least."

The Malorcian shuffled his papers, shoved them into his bag. "Should I bring home something for dinner, or did you have a plan?"

Cadajen couldn't help but sigh and shake his head. "It never fails to amaze me."


"You Alphas. You're supposed to be so strong and brave, but the simple things throw you."

"Love isn't simple," Tondreau countered.

"It's the simplest thing in the universe. It's all the mating and linking that complicates it, but that’s on us. We scramble it up. You shouldn't be afraid of love."

"I'm not," he refuted. "The scrambling it up part concerns me, though."

"I don't think we'd scramble it up."

"There are things you don't know about me."

"Nothing that would change how I feel."

Red shimmered faintly at the edges of Tondreau's irises, his Alpha instincts responding to the words.

Cadajen reached out but stopped short, frowning at the material of Tondreau's long sleeved coat. Wasn't that just so metaphorical? There was always a barrier between them, wasn't there? Not physical, like the clothing -- they'd been naked with each other hundreds of times. He knew Tondreau's body as well as he knew his own. But they'd never been bare together, had they? Well, Tondreau hadn't. There was always something. Some deep dark secret Tondreau feared to reveal and it kept him just out of Cadajen's reach.

He looked back up. The red was receding now. Cadajen wanted nothing more than to rip his glove off and press his hand to Tondreau's skin, chase that fleeting emotion, catch it to him and hold it close. Prove himself worthy to Tondreau. Without truly thinking it through, he stepped forward into Tondreau's space. They were close; close enough to feel the warmth of each other's breath, the heat of each other's bodies, and their lips… Cadajen leaned in a tiny bit closer and stopped when Tondreau tensed. He looked up then and his heart shuddered. “Am… am I wrong?”

Seconds ticked between them, the question hung in the air, and just when Cadajen was certain he’d made a mistake, Tondreau sighed softly. “You're not wrong.”

Cadajen reached for him.

Tondreau stepped back. "We can't."

"Why?" Cadajen barely recognized the voice as his own as the word forced its way out his throat. He knew he sounded like a petulant child, but he couldn't help it. His omega instincts screamed at him to make Tondreau understand, to beg if he had to. "You said I wasn't wrong."

"Daj…" Tondreau sighed again, heavy this time, and raked his fingers through his hair. "You're not…"

"Don’t you dare say I'm not worthy." Not that. Anything but that.

Tondreau's eyes widened and the red threatened again. "I'd never say that. That's not… It's me who isn't worthy. You don't understand."

"Then explain it to me," he pleaded. "We've known each other for seven years. You've helped me raise my child. We practically live together. I love you. I'm in love with you. Don't tell me you didn't know. And don't tell me you don't feel the same. Don't lie to me like that."

"I'd never lie to you." He opened his mouth to continue, but the alarm on his pager interrupted him. He glanced down at it.

Cadajen recognized the alert as the 'if you don't leave now, you're really, really going to be late' tone. They'd set it up years ago, after Tondreau had lingered too long with Linea a few mornings in a row, and the Academy had slapped his wrists for it. He laid his gloved hand on Tondreau's arm. "Go. It's all right. But we're going to finish this conversation. Promise me. You owe me an explanation."

Tondreau nodded. He stepped close quickly, pressed a chaste kiss to Cadajen's cheek, and fled, no doubt grateful for the reprieve.


Torquere Press

Alpha's Redemption Square 

Meet the Author

Romance author, sci-fi fan club Captain, cosplayer, reigning Queen of Monkeyland, and random menace. Yep, we're talking about DC Juris. She’s a cupcake-making, football-watching, rubber-duck-collecting, drag-show loving, full-of-fabulous-with-a-capital-F kinda gal. She's also an ordained minister and an amateur photographer. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband, three dogs, and three cats. When she's not writing, you can find her in her favorite chair watching Star Trek and Supernatural repeats on Netflix, or surfing the web for porn. Er…research. Surfing the web for research. She may speak softly but she lives and loves loudly. Just ask the neighbors. ::wink::

@dcjuris on Instagram and Periscope


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Audiobook Review: Dirty Heart (Cole McGinnis, #6) by Rhys Ford

Former LAPD detective Cole McGinnis’s life nearly ended the day his police partner and best friend Ben Pirelli emptied his service weapon into Cole and his then-lover, Rick. Since Ben turned his gun on himself, Cole thought he’d never find out why Ben tried to destroy him.

Years later, Cole has stitched himself back together. Now a private investigator and in love with Jae-Min Kim, a Korean-American photographer he met on a previous case, Cole’s life is back on track—until he discovers Jeff Rollins, a disgraced cop and his first partner, has resurfaced and appears to be working on the wrong side of the law.

As much as Cole’s fought to put the past behind him, he’s soon tangled up in a web of lies, violence, and death. Jeff Rollins is not only trying to kill Cole’s loved ones, he is also scraping open old wounds and long-forgotten memories of the two men Cole loved and lost. Cole is sure Rollins knows why Ben ruined all their lives, but he isn’t looking for answers. Now Cole is caught in a cat-and-mouse game with a cold-blooded killer with the key to not only his past but his future.

Listening Length: 7 hours and 19 minutes
Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Greg Tremblay…

I have binge listened to this series over the past 6 weeks and the fact that I'm still not sick of listening to Tremblay's voice after 40ish hours of listening to him, is saying something about his talent.

I said this in my review for Dirty Kiss, but Tremblay's voice for Cole is amazing, not because of the type of voice he uses but the inflection he has and the way he accentuates certain words. I wish I could copy and paste sections of his narration and put it here as an example, but because I can't, you'll have to do with my poor excuse of trying to explain his talent in words.

Tremblay consistently staying on the right character's voice was very impressive. Not just in this book but across the entire series. Cole, Jae, Claudia, Bobby, Scarlett and every other main side character had their own unique voice and it stayed the same throughout every conversation in every book.

As for the story. Cole and Jae were as beautiful as ever, although I would've like to have seen more of them together, especially being the last of the series.

There was a ton of shooting, of course. A very important side character got shot and it hurt to listen to. Poor Cole has been through and goes through so much more in this book, and Tremblay's narration delivered that extra punch right into the feels.

It was great to finally get some conclusion to the whole Ben fiasco, that was by far my favourite part to this installment. The ending for Jae and Cole was sweet but I did want a bit more... omph or something, considering it's the last we'll see of them after 6 books following their relationship.

I can honestly say I would not have enjoyed this series as much as I did if it wasn't in the audio. Mysteries are never my thing because the romance usually takes a back seat, but Tremblay was Cole, and I needed to stay with him until he got his HEA.

Dreamspinner Press


Our ebook review here!

Review: A Dandelion for Tulip (Being(s) in Love, #6) by R. Cooper

David is in love with Tulip, a kind and unusually quiet fairy in his social circle. But everyone knows Tulip doesn’t date humans. David tells himself he is happy to be Tulip’s friend, because he doesn’t believe a fairy could love him and Tulip has never tried to “keep him”—as fairies refer to relationships with humans.

Fairies are drawn to David, describing his great “shine,” but David knows only too well how quickly fairies can forget humans, and thinks he’s destined to be alone. He can’t see his own brilliance or understand how desperately Tulip wants him, even if Tulip believes David can do better.

But exhausted and more than a little tipsy at a Christmas party, David makes his feelings too obvious for Tulip to deny any longer. Because of a past heartbreak involving a human, Tulip is convinced someone as shiny as David could never want a “silly, stupid fairy” in his life. Now, if he wants to keep David, he’ll have to be as brave as his shiny, careful human.

Three things:

First off, I haven't read all of the books in this series. I have read A Boy and His Dragon. If you're in the same boat as me, you'll be happy to hear that Arthur and Bertie make an appearance near the end of this installment.

Secondly, these books are stand alone. I had no problem jumping into the world R. Cooper created.

Finally, I've come to realize that each book has a common theme: they all have that slow-burning, self-pitying, let's not talk about what we're really talking about way about them.

Now for the review.

Fairies: hippies of the preternatural world. They have a strong aversion to clothing, usually forget their keys, and phone, and the projects they're working on. They love sweets and often eat candy for meals. They are easily distracted and forget often. (You know, apart from the naked thing, I feel like I'm describing myself here...) They love happiness, burst with colorful glitter, and they rarely stay still. But sometimes... Sometimes they meet the right person, and they settle. They stay.

They keep that human and they treasure them.

Tulip has been there, done that, and has the broken heart to prove it. Now he's the fairy with the reputation for not dating humans. That's a complication when he only has eyes for David.

When we meet David, he's maudlin and lonely. Overworked and frazzled, he is the furthest thing from happy.

David also shines. He's the shiniest thing his fairy friends have ever seen, and they tell him all the time. Frankly, he's sick of it. What has being shiny ever done for him, besides break his heart and fuel his attraction to fairies - which is not a good thing, because fairies aren't known for their attention span. David can't take another beautiful, glittering creature getting bored of him and forgetting him.

Yet again, David finds himself in a hopeless situation. For three years, he and Tulip have been dancing around each other. Three years of want, and longing, and settling for friendship. He has all of these feelings for Tulip, and after having too much to drink, and not enough sleep, he asks Tulip for more.

And Tulip lets him down gently.

Welcome to the Pity Party. Population 2.


There was so much angst!!


The good kind of angst, though. The unrequited kind.

But my god, these two were drowning in it.

I just wanted to smash their faces together.


If these two had just talked to each other, really talked, they could have just... boned already, and not wasted so much time! UGH!! *throws hands up and walks away*

There's another commonality to this series as well: Confusion. Conversations are half-held or end before they even begin. Information is never given when it's needed. I spent a lot of time wondering WTF I was missing. It wasn't until 87% in that I got a good handle on what shine was.
"That’s what shine is, after all. It’s the light of the strongest and the most vulnerable, the ones who need help the most, but also with the most to give. It’s no wonder fairies are drawn to them, or that certain humans are considered being-bait. You can all see it, in one way or another. You treasure them, and in return, the humans love you.”

So shine is a reflection of who the person is, not what they are. But even David, the shiniest of them all, didn't know that! He didn't know why Tulip only wanted friendship, or why the fairies were so invested in his happiness. He didn't know much of anything really because there was too much left unsaid.

Some of this confusion is down to the world in which these two characters live; it's filled with prejudices that shape their perceptions.

There's also a significant language barrier between them. Fairies experience things and have difficulty properly explaining their meaning. What seems simple can be infinitely complicated. The same applies to humans, whose misconceptions of the fairy world and their feelings often have fairies planted firmly in the silly, superficial category. Add in short attention spans and fairy personalities, and it often feels like they're having two conversations at once.

And some of it is down R. Cooper's writing style. The author writes angst in spades and uses this confusion and noncommunication as a way to achieve it.

Regardless, if these two had just been able to communicate properly, instead of a hundred conversations that were derailed by short attention spans, noncommunication, and self-pity, they could have saved a lot of heartache. But then again, the journey wouldn't have been as fun, either.

(My frustration is easily buried under a pile of glitter and pure innocence.)

If you're a sucker for sexual tension, unrequited love, and angst, this is the book for you. It also has the added bonus of fantastic secondary characters. From the best friend, Flor (who's just looking for love) to Clematis (who only seeks out cheap interactions because humans view him as vain and cheap), everyone was compelling in their own special way.

And sparkly. It's hard to say no to a beautiful, glittery, candy loving fairy.

There was a missed opportunity with suspenders *grumbles* but at least David got one thing right


Dreamspinner Press


Blog Tour: Confidential Encounters Anthology

CE Tour Banner
Release Date: 06.07.16
Nicole Colville
April Wallington
Louisa Mae
T.A. Reign
Laura Raven
1 Confidential Encounters E-Book Cover
COVER DESIGN: Kellie Dennis/Book Cover By Design
When the pressure at work rises, so does the passion. Five sweltering shorts to heat up your kindle and set your pulse racing.

Relationships in the workplace sound like a fantasy come true, especially with your sexy boss, but it’s not all hot encounters in the stationary cupboard and stolen kisses over the coffee machine. Being a couple in both you professional and personal world could make it easier to face what life throws at you, but it could also threaten to drive you apart.

Confidential Encounters includes five short stories, each very different in their own way with equally different men, but all have one thing in common… their professional and personal lives are mixing.
Though the passion and the heat is off the charts, can they turn hot encounters at work into something more, or is that a step too far?

All the proceeds from this anthology will be donated to the Kaleidoscope Trust which promotes LGBT rights internationally. By reading, you’re helping support a very valuable service to our community. Thank you!!

The Newcomer: April Wallington
April Wallington Profile
Mailroom worker Dylan finds himself working as a spy when his sleazy boss forces him to infiltrate a rival company. Living with an abusive father, Dylan is stuck in the closet. Unhappy and desperate to find a way out of his lonely life, but too afraid to do anything about it, he meets a man who could give him the confidence to take that leap — his new boss and the man he’s spying on.

As co-owner of his own business, sharing his home and work life with his best friends, Jamie appears to have it all: an active sex life and an expanding company to run, but he’s looking for more. When he meets Dylan, he’s offered that chance. Moving on means big changes for them both, and with Jamie’s private and personal life so closely connected, both question if a relationship will work and how it will affect the people close to them.


Born in the Home Counties of England, (I then moved to Whitby before settling in Kilmarnock) I lived a pretty idyllic childhood. Playing out with friends on dry days and indoors reading when it rained. I have always loved reading. My mum encouraged it, getting a new book was a treat and something to be treasured. English was my favourite lesson at school, I hated maths, yet I’ve ended up in a job where maths is a daily necessity. To balance things out I read all the time, every spare minute I have my nose plastered to my Kindle screen.

In 2014, I finally decided to try writing my own MM book. I discovered my love of MM I a few years earlier and a story I’d had buzzing around my brain for a while seemed possible by swapping the younger character from Pippa to Philip. And Second Chance Love was born. I’ve self-published 3 books in total, so far, and have another already in progress.

I’ve beta read for several other authors and that has helped me to make the most of my own work, or I hope it has.

I was so pleased to have the opportunity to write alongside a best seller and I hope that this anthology not only raises lots of money for charity but also gets my name out there a bit more.

Twitter: @sj28wolf
Below The Line: Louisa Mae
Louisa Mae Profile
When confirmed bachelor Connor James arrived at work sporting the hangover from hell, the last person he expected to see was his most recent one night stand. Despite Mr Tall, Dark and Handsome being the hottest person he’s ever met, Connor isn’t looking for a relationship, but fate it seems has other plans.

When self-made businessman Jason Birch took ownership of the up-and-coming marketing firm, the only thing he expected to find was another addition to his expanding firm, Ad-Venture. Coming face to face with his one and only random hook up from the previous night throws Jason a curveball. His every thought since he left their hotel room has been about hunting the sexy blond down, but a relationship with an employee isn’t going to happen.

One night was all either expected from the chance meeting, and an office affair is the last thing they need, but they’re unable to deny the passion which draws them together.


Born and bred in the vibrant city of Leeds in the North of the UK. I’ve always loved reading, and one of my fondest memories from childhood was the weekly visits to the library with my dad. It always seemed such a magical place to escape into through the books I read on a weekly basis.

I’d not really thought about writing in my adult life until I was introduced to the world of Fanfiction and after reading so many I found myself making friends through this new media. My friend, Lori, told me to have a go at writing one, and I did. That work took on a life of its own and opened my eyes to the possibilities. This allowed me to get used to plotting a story and while making the characters my own. I also started to beta/pre read for others and discovered, that much to my surprise, they valued my opinion and input.

Making the move to write M/M or slash as it’s known, took me a little longer. After becoming good friends with a wonderful lady from Illinois who told me (repeatedly,) “You should write slash, I think you’d be good at it.” I shied away from the idea for so long, but the seed was firmly sown in my mind and soon took root and a life of its own. I decided to write a short piece as a surprise gift for Angela’s birthday that year. Emailing it to her, given the time difference between the UK and US this meant I was desperately waiting for her to see in and I think I heard her delighted scream. Thanks to this, and working on writing group competition, I soon found that I preferred writing M/M to M/F.

In 2013 fate intervened and I lost my job. Through my new one, I met Nicole Colville, and the rest, as they say, is history. This marked the start of a beautiful friendship. She encouraged me to make the switch to writing original fiction, and I signed up to Nano Wri Mo 2013, but due to changing jobs I couldn’t commit the time needed. In 2014 I signed up again, and smashed the 50K word goal in 30 days, with a story I love and am proud of.

I’ve been beta reading for Nicole over 17 books now (including the 10 shorts in Knights) and the confidence she inspires in me has been invaluable in my joining this anthology and publishing my first work.

Double Dealing: Nicole Colville
Nicole Colville Profile
Caught in a messy merger with the mounting pressure to close a multi-million dollar deal, business mogul Ryder Granger finds things are more hostile than the average takeover, but he’s not just interested in acquiring the lucrative Lyon coffee chain. He has an entirely more personal motive hidden beneath his cool exterior and designer suit.

Trace Lyon believes the merger with B&G could be the way out of the closet his strict Southern father keeps him locked in, but there’s one big problem. Ryder Granger is everything Trace wants, and everything his father despises. Two years ago, they shared one incredible night together, but despite the connection and the intense heat, both walked away.

With the deal falling through, Ryder brings an unexpected offer to the table — a more personal type of merger between the two rival families, one Trace is dead against. After all, an arranged marriage in New York in 2016… That could never work out. Taking control in the only way he can, Trace agrees to marry Ryder, but secretly plots to double deal both his father and Ryder. He just has to get this whole absurd wedding out of the way first and ignore how happy Ryder makes him feel.


Nicole grew bored being a supermodel genius who worked part time for NASA, and decided to take a break from helping solve the mysteries of the universe with Stephen Hawkins to write m/m romance.

She has a loving relationship with her hubby of twenty years, and has achieved a lot in her short life considering she's only eighteen. She has fourteen dogs of all different breeds, plus twenty cats, and when she's not tending to their every need, and solving complex math problems, she loves to sew and can be often found knitting in the garden, which she maintains all by herself with her magical green fingers. Finding time to make all of her own clothing and master the kitchen better than Gordon Ramsey, she's also a vegan domestic goddess and can often be found cooking up a storm bare foot in her kitchen.

Okay, so that's not true, especially the cooking part, though I do tend to be bare foot and I swear like Gordon does while burning my latest creation -- and I still think NASA will be getting in touch. Any day now!! *crosses fingers* I could sooo do that job because I'm so obviously awesome, but until they do...

I'm a full time author of M/M Romance and Erotica, and somehow I have several bestselling books under my belt. I've been writing for four years, and I self-publish all my work under Hidden Pleasures with my amazing team of helpers in the form my cover designer Kellie Dennis, editor Jessica McKenna, and all of my beta readers and PA's. I'm a wife to my beloved hubby and mother to two young girls, and I do in fact have two cats who I adore, but no dog, as the hubby put his foot down. I live in Leeds in the North of England and I love it, despite the terrible weather.

Twitter @NikkieColville

Skin Deep: T.A. Reign
Tensa Profile

Nurse Jai Kapoor lives in the shadows, keeping a barrier firmly in place between himself and the world. Considering himself a freak of nature due to his skin disorder, he hides under layers of clothes, hoping to blend in and become invisible. Lonely, touch-starved, and unable to break out of self-imposed restraints, he keeps his head down and focuses his energy on healing and comforting his patients.

Top of his field in orthopedic surgery, Doctor Lazarus Sukas demands perfection from those who work with him and in his private life. Despite his good looks, his only concern is his job and the patients he operates on, not on a relationship. When an explosive encounter in the operating room brings the two men together, their controlled, lonely lives begin to change. The attraction between them ignites in a firestorm of passion, creating a need so intense, neither can deny.


I’m married with two grown children, and live in beautiful Southern California. I have always had a love of reading, and have just recently started to write gay romance. I love a story with a tortured main character, and often write my main characters with broad ethnic backgrounds, quirky family members, and put them in uncomfortable situations that will, once pushed, help them realize they are truly men of extraordinary character.

I started my love of writing through role playing in a cannon group based on JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I tried out for Wrath, the king of the vampires. It was The Warden’s story about Qhuinn and Blay that got me interested in M/M romance. My very first M/M romance book I read was Aleksandr Voinov’s Special Forces Series (love love LOVE Vadim!) From there, the RP group started to write original character stories, and I was invited to try out. The rest, as they say, is history. I credit that group, and its founders, for setting me on this magical path of writing.

I am patriotic, and have deep respect for the military and their families. Their sacrifices and those who came before them are what allow me to live with the freedom to make my own choices. I also love animals, dogs especially. Currently, I have two puppies, Sampson and Daisy, and a middle aged dog named Acapella (Pella for short) Music is my other passion. I am a product of baby boomer parents, and grew up listening to Motown artists, Woodstock area musicians, then later the big hair bands of the 1980's.

Yes, I am a boring white bread American, nothing too exciting in my life. However, I make it up by creating exciting romantic stories, fiery men, and writing hot as hell sex scenes that hopefully will leave you wanting more, or to at the very least, go take a cool shower.

Twitter: @TensaReign

Beautiful: Laura Raven
Laura Raven Profile

With shaggy blond locks, deep green eyes, and a naturally athletic physique, Nathan Finn looks like your quintessential California surfer, but having grown up in Nebraska, he's never actually been on a board. Like many twenty-somethings in Los Angeles, Nathan and his roommate work together at crappy job in a call center while their band works to hit it big. Sadly, aside from working and the occasional gig, Nathan doesn’t really have much of a life to speak of, and those fleeting moments on stage are the only times he really feels alive. His love life is practically non-existent, and he doesn’t really feel the need to change that.

That is, until a mysterious stranger breezes into the office and wakes him up from his zombie-like existence. Nate’s new co-worker is stunningly beautiful… like, could be a model beautiful — lithe with long black hair, smooth pale skin, and blue eyes you want to swim in. From the moment their eyes meet, Nate wants nothing more than to learn everything there is to know about Skye.
There are questions he’s hesitant to ask, however. Is Skye a man or a woman? And, what does it mean that he doesn’t really care?


Laura Raven is the married mother of two very furry babies that walk on four legs and purr. She grew up in the south where her outspoken activism and constant demands for all forms of equality rarely did her any favors or won her any friends. She now lives and works full time in Colorado where the more inclusive atmosphere and eight months of snow a year make her a much happier woman.

As a self-proclaimed nerd, she spends most of her free time reading (especially if there is anything new from Nicole Colville, Emma Marie Leya, or Hannah Walker,) watching anything produced by either Marvel or DC, and playing video games. And now, with a great deal of support and encouragement from her favorite authors, she has achieved her dream of becoming a published author.