Audiobook Review: Dancing Lessons by R. Cooper, Narrated by Brian Schell

Length: 5 hrs and 17 mins

Two years of living with his controlling boyfriend left Chico worn down long before that boyfriend revealed he’d been seeing someone else. With no other choice, Chico moves in above his cousin’s garage in a small town in the redwoods, where he merely goes through the motions. To get him out of the house, his cousin pushes him to volunteer at a local dance studio to help with their annual show.

He’s not expecting to end up in a dance class, or to start feeling alive again in the arms of his dance instructor. Rafael is the studio owners’ son and was once a well-known dancer in his own right, but now enjoys being a teacher. Although Chico likes him, he’s afraid of taking a chance. But Rafael is determined, and it only takes one dance for Chico to start to realize he might still have something to learn.

I have to separate the ratings on this one . . .



I read and reviewed Dancing Lessons back in January and loved it, I gave it 4 ½ hearts and I gushed about all the things. It’s a quiet love story set in a small town with charming characters and sweet and subtle moments. If you are interested in the story I would highly recommend you read it, you won’t be disappointed.

Here’s my original review for all my reasons of loving on these guys.

When the audio came up for review I jumped at it, who wouldn’t want to hear Rafael’s voice?

Chico at one point says “the dance teacher was some king of sexy dancer whisperer”.

In the book, yes. Yes, he is.

In the narration, no. No, he is not.

He’s your Great Uncle Carl waxing monotonically about Great Aunt Debbie’s pickle muffins. He’s reading you the Poky Little Puppy from Little Golden Books to put you to sleep, and it’s working. The Midwestern(?) accent doesn’t work with the setting or the characters.

Note: The accent may not be Midwestern, I could be completely off my geographical rocker, my apologies, but it’s from somewhere with snow and quaint soliloquies.

The book is set in California. I live in California. Californians do not sound like that.

To be fair, the narrator’s voice is clear and concise, it just was an absolute mismatch for this story and that is so unfortunate. In a book full of subtle moments, those moments have to be done just so to realize the impact of the little touches and the shy words. What isn’t said is as important as what is and unfortunately every character had the same voice and I mentally clocked out too often for a book of just over five hours. Well, when I wasn’t clocked out I was being fussy because I really wanted to love the audio for this book and I couldn’t do it.

Unfortunately this was a missed opportunity for what could have been an amazing story on audio, but in the end the mismatch between the narrator and the book just plain killed the moments and I cannot recommend getting the audio for this one. But I’ll always stand by my rec to read Chico and Raf’s story. I’ll be rereading it soon to get my version of them back in my head.

For more information on the book,  Dancing Lessons, check it out at Dreamspinner Press.

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

Review: Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale

Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain Isaac Drake ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him – no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse, constantly treated like a disappointment on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist, and Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold Laurent—or their relationship—together.

Please be advised: This book does contain some non-graphic references to past childhood physical/emotional abuse as well as issues relating to ED (bulimia and restricted eating, disordered thoughts about eating).

This series gets stronger with each book. I made no secret of the fact that I was exceedingly enamored with Misha after reading Power Play, particularly his relationship with Isaac and that relationship enhanced the feels in this book for me exponentially. This book has the most serious tone to date in the series, but Gale found the perfect balance between humor and emotionality deftly avoiding making it too dreary.

There are weighty issues tackled in Empty Net e.g. past childhood abuse, dysfunctional families, disordered eating and discovering sexuality. Laurent's father is awful and through that Laurent has developed several unhealthy coping and defense mechanisms that have kept him largely isolated. His problems aren't glossed over nor are they easily remedied which I appreciated.

He and Isaac have an unpleasant history that began in Power Play and I would not recommend reading this without having read that, at minimum. Despite the animosity between them Isaac grudgingly admits that Laurent is his type to a T. Their relationship moves at a steady and believable pace from enemies to friends to lovers. As their relationship grows Laurent becomes more and more part of the team, something that's always alluded him.

Laurent pulled at my heartstrings and his relationship with Isaac delivered on the hurt/comfort. What I liked best about them was how they communicate. Laurent has a lot of trouble expressing himself and Isaac is very intuitive and meets him where he is. How their sexual relationship evolved was hot and sweet. They don't rush because virgin and first relationship, but once they get there... *eyebrows* Hint: biting

I don't wish to give the impression that Isaac is lacking in any way. He's not. But I think his relationship with Misha, and to lessen extent Max, has provided him with a foundation to build this relationship by giving him with a home that's supportive-his first. His relationship with Misha is paternal and I believe the unconditional love he gives Isaac has allowed him to become his best self. Never was that more in evidence than when Isaac had to confront Laurent on his eating disorder. I'm such a sucker for making families and not just in a superficial way either, though no one could characterize Misha as superficial, and this family that they've made just increased by one. A very deserving one.

The secondary characters, especially Mrs. Bowen, were a treat as was the conclusion. I felt my heart swell on a number of occasions and I'm really going to miss the Spitfires. But I think I can see where the next books are going and I have some excite for those. I'm hoping for a coach/player romance!

Recommend for all MM romance fans.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press!

FREEBIE! Helping Hand (Housemates #1) by Jay Northcote

Need a "Helping Hand"? Well, Jay Northcote has a few for FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't mind mind our enthusiasm.

Helping Hand will be free this weekend (2-4 Sept on Amazon)

Get it while it's hot!!!


Jez Fielding and James MacKenzie—Big Mac to his mates—are in their second year at uni. After partying too hard last year, they make a pact to rein themselves in. While their housemates are out drinking every weekend, Jez and Mac stay in to save cash and focus on their studies.

When Jez suggests watching some porn together, he isn’t expecting Mac to agree to it. One thing leads to another, and soon their arrangement becomes hands-on rather than hands-off. But falling for your ‘straight’ friend can only end badly, unless there’s a chance he might feel the same.

This book is a complete story and can be read as a standalone.

Length: 33,000 words approx
Cover art by Garrett Leigh

Buy Links
Universal Amazon link:

See our review of Helping Hand here.

GIVEAWAY + Blog Tour: Bear Among the Books by T.J. Masters

Please welcome T.J. Masters, who's making his first clubhouse appearance!

BLOG: Hunting the Bears.

It was with no small hint of irony that I had librarian Ben read/perform the Michael Rosen children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. As a teacher of young children I used to love reading the book to them with all the actions and sound effects and, just like Ben I am labelled a gay Bear. What do I mean by that?
In gay culture the term first appeared in 1970’s San Francisco as an affectionate label for hairy men of all shapes and sizes. Gay men however, love their groups and sub-groups, so it was not long before these men were divided into bear (stocky) wolf (medium) or otter (slim).

Debate as to the group definitions continues to this day and the sub culture will continue to evolve. Room has already been made for leather bears, muscle bears, daddy bears, bondage bears and polar bears. For most people however, the general term ‘bear’ will always mean bigger, older, masculine but cuddly men. Young bears are’ of course, known as cubs.

In recent years the term has also become more flexible and it’s use has even leaked out of the gay community. Straight or bi men exhibiting the same characteristics are often called bears and some non-gay celebrities have embraced an affinity with the gay community and been accepted as honorary bears (Ben Cohen?).

Asian bears (oriental) are now known as pandas. They may have many of the same physical appearance but are characteristically smooth skinned. There is also a lesbian sub-group who have adopted the distinct label of Ursula (from the latin, ursus, meaning bear) to describe their bigger, more masculine appearance.

What about Jason in the novel? Our handsome young man is clearly attracted to the warm, friendly, intelligent and cuddly bear. To some he might be labelled ‘twink’ but in the parlance of the sub culture, he is known as a bear ‘chaser’.


Forty-eight-year-old Ben Thompson is a librarian, a passionate book lover, and a man who embodies the definition of a bear. He’s also lonely after the loss of his long-term partner. Young ex-gymnast Jason Barnes piques his interest, but Ben quickly realizes there’s more to Jason than his good looks. While Jason visits the library almost every day, he never checks out a book.

With gentle persistence, Ben befriends Jason and learns the nineteen-year-old’s tragic secrets. After years of abuse at his father’s hands, Jason was kicked out of his family home for being gay. And despite his apparent love of books, Jason never learned to read. Ben offers to teach him, and the two men bond over their lessons. Ben can’t deny his attraction to Jason, but he wonders if Jason is too young and too handsome to return his interest. With the help of the close-knit library team and Jason’s growing self-confidence, they move beyond the books and into the bedroom, where their own story is just beginning.


Whenever Jason checked books out, he only seemed to keep them for two or three days before he returned them again. He always brought a ray of sunshine to our mornings with his ready smile and cheery greeting upon arrival, but it was difficult to engage him in any lengthy conversation. Even Daisy warmed to the lad, and while she might not count him among her favorite people, she had at least stopped complaining about him. For Daisy, this was a big, positive step.

One Thursday morning, we had a group of youngsters in from a local primary school. I had worked hard to forge links with all our local schools in an effort to get kids using the library. With my own teaching background, I had the skills and the drive to push this, even if the irascible Daisy found children difficult to cope with. On this particular morning the group was lively, but well-behaved, and I loved their natural curiosity and enthusiasm. I gathered the twenty-five or so seven-year-olds together, and they now sat cross-legged on the floor. I’d just read one short story to them. It was the lovely picture book called The Patchwork Quilt  by Valerie Flournoy. I loved the story, but it was also a great stimulus for talking about things like death in the family, multiculturalism, and inclusion. After we’d talked about it for a little while, I asked the children if they had a favorite book they wanted me to read. I was a little surprised when they all asked for the same book: Michael Rosen’s W e’re Going on a Bear Hunt. I asked why they all liked that one so much, and one forthright young lady gave the game away.

“Miss said that you read it funny!”

I glanced at the teacher, who was looking very red-faced as she mouthed an apology. Of course she had seen me do my performance of the story before. As if on cue, one child suddenly appeared before me and thrust the slim copy into my hand.

“I found it for you, Ben.”

“Why thank you. It looks like that’s decided, then.”

As I went through the story with all the appropriate sounds and actions, the whole group became animated and joined in with the bits they knew and reacted with joy and excitement as the tale unfolded. Partway  through the reading, I looked up and noticed that just behind the teacher, Jason was standing watching the whole thing with a huge smile on his face.

Part of me felt embarrassed at him seeing me behaving like this. At the same time, I registered the similarity between the look on his face and those of my young audience.


Author T.J. Masters recently and somewhat reluctantly passed his 60th birthday. After a long and happy teaching career T.J. wanted to follow a new path before senility set in. Books and stories have been a lifelong passion and there are many tales waiting to be told.
As a happily partnered gay man T.J. chooses to write what he knows best. His overactive and ever exploring mind is probably best described by the Oscar Wilde quote that “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”.


Twitter: @TJMasters


Also available on Amazon and Are


Do you have a favourite bear either fictional or real? Tell us who it is and why by posting in the comments here through Monday, September 5th (with a means to contact you, i.e. email) and I will choose the best one to receive a free copy of one of my previously published short stories. 

Review: Blind Date (Back in the Game, #1) by Kay Doherty

Dekker Callan is content with his life though he knows something is missing. Wanting the kind of love his friends share with their partners, Dekker is talked into taking part in a modeling and dating show as part of a fundraiser. He immediately falls in love with the anonymous, sexy voice on the other side of the wall, but fate has a surprise in store–his mystery man isn’t single.

Slade Gannon wasn’t supposed to take part in the dating show. That spot was for his roommate, Phil, who becomes ill and asks Slade to take his place. Slade has just recently gone through a breakup with his cheating boyfriend, George. Shocked and pleased when he wins the interest of handsome Dekker Callan, before he can go on the obligatory blind date, his ex asks for a second chance. Believing Dekker can’t possibly be as good on the inside as he looks on the outside, Slade agrees.

Dekker and Slade hit it off immediately, drawn to each other despite Slade being involved with someone else. They finally get their opportunity to be together when Slade finds out his boyfriend is still cheating, but just as they seem to discover the happiness they’ve been waiting for, George throws them one last hurdle—and this one may prove to be insurmountable.

I have no shame in admitting, I jumped to read this because there was cheating mentioned in the blurb. Warning: there is on page sex between an MC and another character.

(Good) cheating romances aren't easy to find. Unabashedly doing whatever to get the other person...even if it means to break another's heart? It can make for a strong story. A lot of times when there is cheating in a romance, the author will cop out, try to make it the new person's fault for the other person who is currently in a relationship for stepping out.

Basically, blame game is supposed to be the stand in for passion. The old 'I wasn't myself, you made me do it' excuse.

You can find a version of that in Blind Date. For readers who need the protagonists to not admit to being guilty or owning up to their feelings from the start, Blind Date might be a choice for you.

Dekker Callan falls for a guy's voice during a charity dating auction. He wasn't allowed to see his contestants. He meets his choice, Slade Gannon on their blind date and falls for him after a conversation of shallow small talk. Slade just got back with his boyfriend...even though he feels something too for Dekker. And is upfront about it.Which kind of makes him a jerk but I can understand where he came from after the first date. Days of flirting stretched into weeks to try to move the story along, painting Slade's boyfriend George as a possessive cheater and liar though...pretty suspect for me.

First time author Kay Doherty read like...a first time author's effort to me. There were too many characters (who were also unofficial mind readers), too much superficial, poor development and over the top antics. Plus, instalove.

I tried to like this book. But it was a sinking ship when one of the MC's declared, "I'll start my seduction then. I'm gonna...I'm gonna eat food and make him wish it was him, and then I'll win".

And it kept sinking with contradicting antics from the characters like Dekker who told the reader he was outgoing and acted shy. Or declaring he was going to "go full force" in seducing Slade and by the next paragraph declaring he wasn't going to "force the issue".

The ex-boyfriend got crazier as the story progressed, though his behavior and the characteristics had me question his purpose for the story. Without him, the story has no conflict. And is just a lot of 'I can tell by the way you listened to his voice, he's perfect for you'

Rather than go into all of the quotes that I quibbled with. I'll just leave a few questions.

Simple questions: Do most friends waltz into bathrooms while showering and talk to each other naked? [Take out them being men as a factor] Or make out with each other (while in relationships) to make their sad friend feel better? Or know exactly what you're thinking by looking at you? Why was everyone able to read each other's mind, know exactly what they were thinking and thought exactly the same?

*tilts head*

Something about the way the men interacted with one another read unnatural to me. The thin romance, the extreme HEA...nothing worked for me. If I don't find anything remotely worthy in either MC, I'm not invested into whatever is dished out. One guy is a adult toy store owner, the other is a wine and gallery owner. The fact that their jobs read tacked on and no development was given to either guy, more attention was paid to having cute twins and their hot buff boyfriends parade about... read paper thin. The premise was interesting, the delivery didn't work for me.

I know I'm not the right reader for this writing style. It's in the same vein of Stormy Glenn/Scarlet Hyacinth/Joyee Flynn which has a solid readership. Fans of that band of authors,  might enjoy Kay Doherty's efforts.

The story isn't bad. I'd be curious to see a story from this author, after a lot more books under her belt. But I'm pretty sure, this is a one time deal for me.

If you prefer not be invested in the characters, just want a solid HEA with an over the top/left field plot twist thrown in...check out Blind Date.

Find out more info on Goodreads or below!

Purchase Links:
NineStar Press:

Author Bio

Kay lives in Colorado with her husband and their animal children. Family is important to her so there are weekly visits to her parents and frequent text messages with her brothers. She has a severe addiction to coffee and Mexican food. She loves to read and write and can easily become consumed by it for hours, much to the dismay of the husband and dogs. On occasion she can be convinced to venture out into world of the living.

Twitter: @kdohertyauthor
Pinterest: @KDohertyAuthor

Kay Doherty © 2016
All Rights Reserved

Dekker kept his eyes locked on Alek as he walked onstage to exuberant applause and whistles. He shoved his hands into his pockets and shifted nervously from foot to foot as Alek made him sound like an oversexed Thor. He ducked his head to hide his blush behind the cowboy hat. He really wished Alek would just shut up. There was no way Dekker could live up to the expectations Alek was creating. He glared at Alek as he was escorted to his seat. Alek chuckled softly as he took his seat beside Dekker.
“Keep your head up and the hat back. These people paid to see that gorgeous face of yours. Don’t disappoint,” Alek whispered.
Dekker blew out a nervous breath and did as he was instructed. He wanted to fidget. He wanted to try to close the shirt over his exposed chest. Somehow, he managed to remain still.
Alek lifted the microphone to his lips while watching Dekker from the corner of his eye. “Contestant one, what would you like to ask our bachelor?”
“Well,” said a disembodied voice from the other side of the barrier. “Like everyone else here tonight, I like to have a lot of sex.” Great, contestant one was a player, thought Dekker. “I’m curious what kind of stamina you have? Can you manage multiple orgasms in one night?”
Dekker groaned to himself as he slid sweaty palms over his denim-clad thighs. “Yes, I can,” he answered. Applause erupted in the audience, and he shot Alek a pleading look. This was beyond uncomfortable. Alek smirked as he continued on.
“Contestant two, what’s your question?”
“Yeah, I prefer experienced men, so I’m wondering when you lost your virginity?” came a voice that was higher and younger than contestant one.
Dekker took a deep, fortifying breath. When he had lost his virginity said nothing about his experience level, but whatever. “Fifteen with a girl, eighteen with a boy,” he answered. He dipped his head down to hide the embarrassment, but a gentle nudge to his ribs from Alek had him raising his head again.
“Okay, contestant three, your turn,” Alek prompted.
“I have to admit, I’m eager to see you naked. How many dates would I have to get through before that happened?”
Contestant three’s voice was deep and gravely, like a smoker’s, with a slight southern drawl. Dekker caught Alek’s eyes. He imagined Alek was eager for that answer, as well, since they’d dated for months without it ever progressing to the bedroom. He scrubbed his face with both hands before answering.
“Um, I don’t know. Depends on the connection, I guess,” he answered. He’d had sex on a first date, but also never had sex at all with some men despite dozens of dates. Alek shook his head.
“Man of few words. Contestant four, you’re up,” Alek said.
“What would a first date with you consist of?”
Dekker shifted in his seat. Contestant four’s voice was warm, husky, and slid over him like honey. His entire body took notice. Damn, the man’s voice was sexy. He didn’t realize his thoughts had drifted until Alek addressed him over the mic.
“Dekker, what’s your answer?”
Dekker rushed to cover his sudden distraction and arousal by clearing his throat. He’d never been turned on by just a voice before.
“Sorry. I was thinking,” he said and once again scrubbed his hands down his pants. “There’s this indoor skydiving place that I’ve always wanted to try, so we’d do that first. After that I’d take you to the Tibetan restaurant I like. Then…I guess we’d decide if we still like each other’s company and go from there.”

Audiobook Review: Red River (Pack #2) by Cardeno C.

Two Alpha shifters join together to lead their pack and build a family.

Commitment, loyalty, and strength aren’t enough to make Wesley Stone’s birth pack accept an Alpha with a physical imperfection, even if it’s a meaningless mark. Putting the safety of his pack above his own wellbeing, Wesley trades himself for another Alpha and agrees to mate with a stranger in a mysterious, insular pack.

Alphas from Jobe Root’s family have led the Red River pack from the first day shifters walked the earth. Now the time has come for Jobe to fulfill his destiny, but to do that, he needs his mate by his side. Spiritual, easygoing Jobe reveres Mother Nature and trusts in fate, yet he can’t help being nervous about how his mate will react to his new life in Red River, his new life with Jobe.

Two Alphas with contrasting personalities, different upbringings, and divergent beliefs come together for the good of their packs. But to stay together, Wesley and Jobe must see beyond the surface and embrace every facet of themselves and their union.

Listening Length: 3 hours and 42 minutes
Narrator: Nick J. Russo

This was one of those audiobooks where I think I would’ve enjoyed it more by reading. I really loved the story and I’ll touch on that later, but the narration was just average. Not bad, but not the best I’ve heard. The narration didn’t ruin this story for me, like bad narration sometimes can. I could still connect to the characters and enjoy the story progression, but the narrator didn’t become these characters, therefore I didn’t always feel the emotion of certain situations coming through.

One of my absolute pet peeves in audiobooks is whispering. When narrators actually whisper when it's stated the character is. They speak so quietly I need to crank the volume up, only to miss the line being whispered, then to become momentarily deaf by the next line spoken at a normal level. Grrr. Needless to say there was lots of whispering at the beginning of this book.

There aren’t many Cardeno C. books I don’t like. They’re full of great characters, fluff, some character development, a hint of conflict and a bunch of hot sex. Red River was just that. I loved the story of Wesley and Jobe. They both come into what is essentially an arranged mating, with two very different stories of how they got there. It was great seeing them come to understand the other person's point of view. It was a nice added twist to a fairly standard shifter story. Although I must say this had the weirdest ‘pregnancy/birthing’ stages I'd ever read. I won't go into it, I'll leave it as a pleasant…. unpleasant? surprise, but I was definitely squirming and laughing throughout it all.

This audio didn’t lack anything necessarily (other than that damn whispering), but I think I’ll enjoy reading this story on my own sometime.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Review: Override (The Underground Club #1) by S.J.D. Peterson

Don’t judge a book by its cover….

At over six feet, with a body honed in the gym, auto worker Donavan Gregory is used to people assuming he’s a dominant top. Unfortunately, they’re wrong, and Donavan’s desire to explore his submissive side goes unfulfilled.

Smaller and older than Donavan, Doctor Seth Manning might not look like a typical dominant, but when the two men meet at Pride, Donavan realized Seth might be his perfect counterpart. The trouble is, Donavan doesn’t have as much experience with the BDSM world as he’d like. What could an educated, handsome, and confident man like Seth possibly see in someone like him? Seth must convince him that despite the differences on the surface, when it comes to kinky fun and discovery, they’ll fit together just fine.

I think because my taste for BDSM focused stories tends to run on the darker side, I find it hard to equate absolute fluffiness with BDSM. I now can do that with no issue, because it was done absolutely perfectly here!

We follow Seth, a 33 year old doctor who is a well established Dom, and Donovan, a 25 year old factory worker who is currently exploring his submissive side, as they fall in love hard and fast. What drew me into this story was the fact the Donovan is a lot physically larger than Seth. Seth is far from effeminate, just lean and average height, compared to Donovan’s 6'2", 200 lbs. It was hot, but I was pretty disappointed there was no over the knee spanking, that’s always a winner with a big sub.

“People expect a lot from you. Growing up, you were told big boys don’t cry. Because of your size, your friends looked at you as the protector. At work and play, you’re the guy who can handle anything, the go-to guy. You pride yourself on being able to help others, but deep down”— Seth teased his fingers across Donavan’s chest, down to his stomach but ignoring his cock—“ you want to let go. To hand that power of control to someone else. ”

The connection these two feel towards each other is immediate and encapturing, as they fall in love fast and without any issues. Despite the speed of their connection, it didn’t feel like insta-love. Maybe because the chemistry was palpable and based on more than just attraction, or possibly because they didn’t rush the progression of the relationship, and took things one step at a time. Whatever it was, it worked really well.

The BDSM scenes are very very light! There’s one flogging scene, but mostly it's about the dynamic of Dominant and Submissive. Even then, Seth and Donovan don’t want the lifestyle full-time, so they’re equals outside the bedroom, which ends up being the majority of the story.

They did feel more like a versatile couple, one just preferring to bottom more often. There was one particularly hot scene which had me salivating slightly, it was one of my favourite kinks, role-playing!!! Yum yum!

I like my fluff books to have a teeny tiny bit of conflict, preferably from outside the relationship. If they don’t have any, I find the story starts to drag. While this book didn’t feel like a fluff overload, it became dangerously close and it may have been too much if it had gone for much longer.

Highly recommended for people who aren’t too sure about BDSM, but want just a smidge of dominating in the bedroom on top of a sweet love story.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.

GIVEAWAY + Blog Tour: By His Rules by J.A. Rock

J.A.'s here today to talk about the re-release of By His Rules!

Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and I’m touring the internet to celebrate the re-release of By His Rules, my first published romance novel. Leave a comment with your contact info in the comments section to win a copy of the new version of By His Rules and a $10 Amazon gift card.

About By His Rules
Aiden Cole can be anything men want—naughty schoolboy, palace slave, virgin twink, or slutty secretary. He's a gifted actor with a gorgeous body who gives legendary head. Aiden could have his pick of any Top in the local leather bar, but is drawn to Scott Runge—a cruel, sexy Dom who pushes Aiden to his limits, allowing Aiden to experience the excitement and danger of the BDSM lifestyle to a degree he never has before. But when Scott goes too far, injuring Aiden, Aiden withdraws from the scene completely. Until he meets Keaton Hughes.

Keaton's looking for something he can't find in any dungeon: A domestic discipline relationship, in which he can provide his partner with guidance, support, and loving discipline. When Keaton takes Aiden in after Aiden's traumatic encounter with Scott, he vows not to pursue any sort of relationship with the troubled sub. But as Aiden struggles to overcome the damage Scott has done and get his life back on track, Keaton's rules might be just what he needs.

What’s New in By His Rules?
For By His Rules’s re-release, I did a good bit of rewriting. I had a lot of fun revisiting and this story, and hopefully was able to give it some new layers. So what can you expect from version 2.0?
It’s Longer.
By about 15,000 words. The overall structure of the story is still intact, but I expanded some scenes and explored the characters’ concerns and struggles regarding their DD relationship in more depth.
And yes, some of the scenes I expanded were sex scenes.
More Character Backstory.
We get more on Keaton’s past, and a bit more on why Aiden’s floundering in the wake of college graduation. I think now it’s less of a story about how one man helps another heal, and more about how each man helps the other grow and move forward.  
A New Cover.
I loved the original BHR cover by April Martinez. So much. It was hard to say goodbye to it, but since I had to do new cover art, I decided to give this edition a cover that’s less dark, and more specific both to the characters’ lifestyle and to the domesticity of the bulk of the story.
Updated Technology.
All right, fine, I understand that smartphones were a thing in 2011 when I wrote BHR—but I didn’t get one until last year. And I think my characters reflected my former belief that flip phones are all you need in life. I have since seen the error of my ways, both as a human and as a writer, and now Aiden (and I) carry modern phones that let us do things like check our email and play QuizUp.

I hope you enjoy the new version!

Tour Stops
August 30 – Boy Meets Boy Reviews
August 31 – Love Bytes Reviews
September 1 – GGR-Reviews
September 1 – Prism Book Alliance
September 3 – Joyfully Jay
September 15 – The Novel Approach
J.A. Rock is the author or coauthor of over twenty LGBTQ romance, suspense, and horror novels, as well as an occasional contributor to HuffPo Queer Voices. J.A. has received Lambda Literary and INDIEFAB Award nominations for Minotaur, and The Subs Club received the 2016 National Leather Association-International Pauline Reage Novel Award. J.A. lives in Chicago with an extremely judgmental dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.


Leave a comment with your contact info for a chance to win a copy of the new version of By His Rules and a $10 Amazon gift card! A tour winner will be drawn at 11:59 p.m. on September 17th.

Release Day Review: The Mystery of Nevermore (Snow & Winter #1) by C.S. Poe

It’s Christmas, and all antique dealer Sebastian Snow wants is for his business to make money and to save his floundering relationship with closeted CSU detective, Neil Millett. When Snow’s Antique Emporium is broken into and a heart is found under the floorboards, Sebastian can’t let the mystery rest.

He soon finds himself caught up in murder investigations that echo the macabre stories of Edgar Allan Poe. To make matters worse, Sebastian’s sleuthing is causing his relationship with Neil to crumble, while at the same time he’s falling hard for the lead detective on the case, Calvin Winter. Sebastian and Calvin must work together to unravel the mystery behind the killings, despite the mounting danger and sexual tension, before Sebastian becomes the next victim.

In the end, Sebastian only wants to get out of this mess alive, and live happily ever after with Calvin.

Being that this book is obviously Poe-ish, I expected something a little darker, a little more melancholy, a little more . . . emo. What I got was some seriously endearing characters with great banter, a fun, if not a little simple, mystery and the setup to what looks like a great series.

Sebastian Snow is an antique dealer at a crossroads with his live in and VERY in-the-closet, cop boyfriend. Sebastian isn’t one to hide and the imbalance in their relationship is taking its toll. The author did a really good job of handling the transition from one relationship and maybe, possibly into another. It’s still very early on, but obviously Sebastian and Calvin Winter have a future a-brewing.

The break up wasn’t too easy, clean or convenient and read very real. Both Sebastian and Neil (the ex/cop/closet dweller) were hurting and unhappy and while Calvin was there, he wasn’t the cause of the breakup and I appreciated how that all played out. No one was completely innocent and no one was completely at fault, just like real life, generally, and it kept the story grounded.

I really did like Sebastian. He’s extra snarky and being in his brain is a fun ride. Even when he’s doing something he shouldn’t and when he’s feeling all the feels, I just liked all his parts and how he worked through everything he had going on. Calvin, the detective on the case with all the Poe, is basically a walking wet dream for anyone with a cop/military hero fetish and especially if gingery freckles are your kink. So, yeah, I felt all the hots for Calvin along with Sebastian.

Sebastian has achromatopsia, a vision disorder rendering him completely color blind, extremely sensitive to light and with overall decreased vision. I googled. Everyday life is not always easy and his condition weaves into the story and his relationships very organically. Calvin has some real issues of his own and has kept himself walled away from relationships for a long time, so these two will really be well suited to one another in coming stories, I can feel it and I want it. Calvin is incredibly sensual and it’s obvious he has been starved for affection, because damn, when he starts in with the sexy times, that man’s mouth is something else. I felt like this book was a tease as to what he’s capable of when he and Sebastian get to know one another even better.

The start of the “relationship” between Sebastian and Calvin was pretty abrupt. It kind of came out of left field and I was as surprised as Sebastian. I wanted it to be a thing, so I went with it, but it was a little jarring. Being that we only reads Sebastian’s perspective, Calvin obviously had the thoughts of what was happening in Sebastian’s pants since they met, but as a reader, I wasn’t privy so I had a moment of “WTF?, seriously? We’re doing this? Well, OK, it’s pretty frickin’ hot, so I’m down. Please proceed.” 

The mystery wasn’t too overly complex, and the motive and villain were pretty basic, but it was still fun, especially if you’re a Poe fan. Sebastian’s dad is the bestest dad of all dads. He was supportive but empowering in that he offered advice when asked but never hedged in on Sebastian’s independence. I have to admit, I had a little daddy crush going on there too with him. I don’t think he was a ginger, so Calvin still holds my heart, but still, I dug him.

The ending was a little rushed and while Calvin is kind of all over the map with his feelings, it wasn’t like getting reading whiplash that can sometimes happen when a lot of change and momentum happens quickly. Calvin is in the closet, much like Neil, but there’s hope for them in his actions towards the end. I can tell there is going to be a lot for these two to work through in upcoming installments, but if the pace and honesty stay true like they did in this one, it will be very satisfying to read.

Head over to DSP Publications to pick up a copy of The Mystery of Nevermore.

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