NSFW-ish Review: Golden by R.L. Mosswood

Harem boy might not be the most appropriate role for someone who’s never really seen the appeal of sex, but Elin’s status as dahabi: golden in a land of tan and brown, has marked him for The Dragon’s service since birth. He’s content enough with his life of uncomplicated, if restrictive, luxury, until an unremarkable chore becomes a case of love at first sight.

Mysterious newcomer Hathar, a roguish “merchant adventurer” from far-off lands, ignites an exploration of Elin’s first taste of physical desire, as well as a desire to experience life beyond the palace. Now, they must find a way to escape before Hathar’s ship departs, stranding them forever in The Dragon’s harem.











A treasure hunt turns up the most unexpected prize.


It's a fantasy based world in R.L. Mosswood's Golden. Elin lives in The Dragon's harem. He's a dahabi, or golden in looks, from is golden curls and golden skin, to his golden brown eyes. Any male who is born with this coloring is considered dahabi and to be in service of the Dragon Queen.

That's right, a lady dragon is running things!


Actually she's more like this:


The queen stays in a mostly human form to praise hymns to an erotic god with her hoard of golden men, aka bone her way through hundreds of men. ;)

Elin however isn't attracted to anyone especially not the Dragon Queen, so much so when his initial night into hymning he was not attracted and let's say it's better to read what happened next. Let's leave it as sad and embarrassing.

After that night, Elin is the bottom of the harem pile, someone the other harem men look down on. Virtually ignored, he is nothing more than a shiny golden toy that lost its luster but he has to remain trapped in the toy box. None of the harem is permitted to leave...ever.

Enter new captive Hathar!

Elin is tasked for cleaning up the brutish man. And from the moment he looked in the solver eyes of Hathar, Elin felt a pull. Something he's never felt before. The attraction scares Elin at first. Then he warms up to it.

The connection helps smooth the fear. The fact that Hathar also seems to share this connection doesn't hurt.

Hathar doesn't belong in the harem and has a life outside of it, only coming tot he mythical island in search of a dragon's treasure.

I really like the way the author played with dragon mythology. I figured out the treasure fairly quickly but it was fun to read along as Hathar discovered the truth and also fall for Elin. Hathar only has about 2 weeks to say in the harem before catching up with his ship, so the pace in which Elin falls for Hathar is fairly quick.

The reader doesn't get a chance to delve as deeply as I would have like with Hathar and Elin. This is lighter and fairly erotic. And it check off a characteristic I enjoy finding in a romance:  a gential piercing!



It's like a treasure discovery for this reader every time (though it was underutilized). There is a decent amount of sex scenes, smutsters. But I'd probably rate them 2.5-3 out of 5 on a hotness scale. If I don't look too deeply, it went off smoothly enough.

The pace however, it could have been smoother for me. Sometimes Elin or Hathar would chat just a smidge too much or explain something or return to explore a point made.  I'd find my attention waning.

Overall, it was a good read.Golden has a HEA, it's light with a bit of adventure. If you're in the mood for dragons, harems and platinum haired sea adventurer (pirate for me) with a female dragon shifter in charge, give Golden a try.



I would try this author again see what other ideas they have. The execution in Golden was good enough for the main ideas.




Guest Review: Facing West (Forever Wilde #1) by Lucy Lennox

The first book in a new series by Lucy Lennox!

Nico:


I left my family and tiny Texas hometown fifteen years ago to escape small-town gossips and to give my mom and sister the chance at a better life. But when a phone call from an attorney back home informs me that my sister passed away, leaving me custody of her newborn baby, I’m shocked out of the steady life I’ve built for myself running a tattoo shop in San Francisco.

The thing is: I don’t do babies. And I don’t do small towns. Or commitment. And I especially don’t do family. My plan is to go back to Hobie just long enough to sign adoption papers, giving my niece the kind of stable, loving family I could never provide.

But the moment I meet my niece in the arms of Weston Wilde, my sister’s best friend and the town’s handsome doctor, my plans begin to change. Because suddenly, I see a different future. One with the very thing I thought I never deserved: a family. If only I can convince West that I’m not the same good-for-nothing kid ready to bolt when things get tough.

Weston:


There’s one thing I know for sure about Nico Salerno: he was a good-for-nothing as a kid and judging by the purple-haired, tattoo’d punk who shows up at his sister’s funeral, he hasn’t changed. There’s no way I’m letting him take custody of my best friend’s baby.

But the more time I spend around him, the more I realize that his rough exterior is just a shell and that beneath all the tattoos is a scared, insecure man searching for a place to belong. And pretty soon I know exactly where he belongs: in my bed and by my side.

The problem is, he abandoned his family once before, how do I know that if we become a family he won’t do it again?

Facing West is the first in the new Forever Wilde series about the huge Wilde family from Hobie, Texas, whose patriarchs aren’t above a little meddling if that’s what it takes to help their grandkids find true love.


Reviewer: Annika

If you've read Lennox's Made Marian series you can pretty much expect the same set up for this series as well. We have another family with an abundance of gay young and attractive men. Add in a couple of nutty and meddling grandparents and you have the complete dish. The main difference is that this series seems to be a bit saner, more grounded. Doc and Grandpa are saner and more credible than the old ladies in her previous series. Sure they can be a bit out there, but they are sweet and fun. More balanced.

But I’m also sad to admit that I was a bit disappointed by this book. My main issue was West. He got on my everlasting nerve and I never really warmed to him. He was just too judgmental and selfish. He came across like and arrogant prick. And that really rubs me the wrong way.

Didn't he ever wonder why a 15 year old boy leaves home never to be heard from again? What drove him to leave everything behind, everyone he'd ever known. Did he think that a life as a homeless runaway at 15 was all roses and shiny rainbows?? And to then blame everything that went on in the town he left behind on that 15 year old? Just no. And West never really redeemed himself in my eyes, never tried to make things right. He constantly kept demanding things and answers from Nico but never really giving anything in return. And in my book that doesn’t make him a swoon worth guy. (Sorry for the rant guys)

I never felt the connection between Nico and West, but that might be because I disliked the latter so much. And the progression of their relationship didn't really feel natural too me. One minute they are at each other’s throats, fighting and where every word is colored with a lot of distrusts. The next minute, they are suddenly BFFs , hanging out every night with major hots for each other. So yeah, that didn't work for me.

I loved Nico a lot, but he also broke my heart. Cast aside time and again by everyone he’d ever known and trusted, he doesn't believe he deserved to be loved, to be happy. His biggest fear was to love someone (in this case Pippa) only to have them disappear or leave him alone. He’s always alone and looking in, longing for the family that he’s been missing but never felt he deserved. I kept waiting for Nico to be put first. To have someone truly in his corner and fighting for him no matter what. But that never really happened. Sure he had Griff and Rebecca fighting for him, but only from a distance. Everyone should have at least one person championing you and building you up, and it broke my heart that Nico never really got that.

If you are looking for some mindless fluff and aren't too picky with the details you will probably enjoy this book. It is predictable, but sometimes you just need to have that mindless read and get away for a while. And that's exactly what Lennox delivers with Facing West.



A copy of this book was provided for an honest review.


Trivia Question: In the Sunshine and Happiness series, who did housemate River have a secret relationship with? 10 pts

Random winner will be chosen on (or about) Noon EST 11/19.

Anniversary Shenanigans: Author Visit + Giveaway - Victoria Sue




Victoria Sue is here and she's got a story to tell you! 
Caution:  You might want to grab a tissue or two.




And of course it was raining.


Bo picked up the last box from his empty apartment and groaned at the stiffness in his muscles. Gavin had cleared out last night. They’d even argued over that. Debated who was going to hand back the keys. Gavin had offered but then Bo had insisted as he’d said the apartment was in his name, so it should be him.


Gavin had shaken his head and swallowed. “It’s handing over an envelope to Mrs. Chen, Bo. It’s not exactly a huge responsibility.”


“Good job I’m not asking you to do it then,” Bo snapped back immediately. The distress in Gavin’s eyes immediately made him regret the dig. It had been a stupid mistake. A fucking birthday card; that’s all it was. Bo had been working late, again… and had asked Gavin to mail his gran’s birthday card, and he’d forgotten.

Gavin had realized two days later and had immediately told Bo and apologized over and over, even offering to call his gran and explain but Bo had snapped and called him irresponsible. He’d been chasing a promotion and he’d just found out it had been given to Alan suck -up Wainwright an hour before Gavin had told him he’d forgotten to post the card.

Disappointment, tiredness, frustration, yes, but none of those had been an excuse for the unforgivable low shot he’d fired at Gavin. That he understood family didn’t mean anything to Gavin, but that it was important to Bo. He’d hated himself as soon as the words were out and seen the hurt on Gavin’s face because it was true. Gavin didn’t know what a family was because he’d been brought up in seven different foster homes.

Bo had reached for him immediately, but Gavin had turned away, slamming the door as he ran out, and he hadn’t come home that night.

He’d finally got a text from Gavin the next morning saying he was moving out and would be gone the next day. Bo had volleyed one back saying it was good timing because he’d been offered a room with one of his co-workers in the city and it would be less of a commute. He hadn’t gotten a reply to that text at all.

It had been totally dumb. Just like all their arguments over the past couple of months. Something had rattled Gavin and Bo had been too caught up in work to really find out what. It was probably a good job they were splitting up. He was a selfish asshole who didn’t deserve someone as sweet as Gavin anyway.

The ache that accompanied that thought was worse than the one in his shoulders because that hurt was in his heart. Ignoring the rain that was pelting his face he turned around after loading his last box into his car and stared back at the old house. It was split into three apartments, but Mrs. Chen wanted to retire and he and Gavin had talked about putting in an offer for it and turning it back into one big house. It even had a small yard at the back—totally private—that they could deck out properly and turn into a lovely space.

At least Gavin would have been able to. Gavin was good with his hands. The thought of how good Gavin was with his hands…his lips…his teeth, had the ache in his chest doubling, and because Bo was a masochist instead of getting in his car he ducked around the building and entered the small enclosed yard through the tiny gate at the back.

He’d known somehow it wouldn’t have been as empty as he thought. 

For a second he stared into the brown eyes of the man getting as soaked as he was as he stood in the middle of the empty yard.

“What are you doing?” Gavin croaked out, and Bo knew by his voice that not all the water on Gavin’s face was from the rain.

“The same as you,” Bo replied and walked up to Gavin.

Gavin laughed shortly, the hollow sound still heard even above the noise of the downpour. “I doubt it,” he whispered.

Bo’s eyes raked Gavin’s face. So expressive as always. The hurt, disappointment was there, but it was the longing that made Bo’s breath catch. “What I said was unforgivable.” 

Gavin swallowed. “I got a letter,” he blurted out. “About a month ago from an old social worker I used to have when I was a kid.” He paused. “Some guy’s come forward saying he’s my dad.”

Bo gasped. The delight for Gavin was immediately tempered with the crushing realization that Gavin didn’t feel he could tell him. And guilt, because that was all on him. “That’s fabulous,” he said infusing his voice with as much excitement as he could muster. Gavin didn’t look excited though, he looked scared to death, and clarity was a punch to Bo’s gut.

He gathered the smaller man in his arms trying to keep as much rain off him as possible. “There are a million reasons why he never stepped forward before, not least that he might not have even known you existed.” Bo was thrilled when Gavin didn’t try and pull away from him but just lowered his chin into the crook of Bo’s neck. They used to stand like this and just sway when one of Bo’s favorite tunes came on when they were making breakfast together.

He couldn’t remember the last time they had eaten breakfast together. Chasing the promotion had made him go into work early and come home late. He had made a shit ton of mistakes and at the end of the day work never mattered, not really. He’d lost the only thing that really did. The man he held in his arms and was about to walk away from. “I made a decision,” he said, finally.

Gavin raised his head to look at Bo.

“I’m going back to school. You know I want to be a realtor, but I was too afraid to lose the steady wage and go commission only. You hate working for Cormicks. We talked about flipping houses together so many times, and we both have a bit of money saved up. I think we should try.”

Gavin’s eyes widened. “But why would you want to go into business with me when we’re splitting up?”

Bo pressed their foreheads together. “I’m an idiot. I’m impatient and a stubborn ass. I don’t think there’s ever anyone that could stand working with me.” His breath hitched. “Or living with me.”

Gavin looked up. The brown eyes shimmering again. “I think you would have a line of guys wanting the job.”

“I don’t want a line of guys,” Bo croaked out. “I’m only interested in one.” The rain must be coming down harder because torrents seemed to be pouring down his face. “That’s if he’ll ever forgive me.”
Gavin reached out and put his palm onto Bo’s cheek. “And what other qualifications are you looking for?”

“Eating breakfast together every day. Dancing to the radio.” He looked up at the dark sky. “Making out in the rain.”

“I want to apply,” Gavin said breathlessly.

“No need,” Bo said as he took him in his arms. “You already got the job,” and he bent Gavin back and sealed their promise with a toe-curling kiss.
It was still raining but he didn’t care.



*Sniff*  That was beautiful, wasn't it?  I love second chance stories.  Be sure to let Victoria know what you thought in the comments.

About Author Victoria Sue

Wrote her first book on a dare from her hubby two years ago and he says he has regretted it every day since. Loves writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best – especially with either a paranormal or a historical twist. Had a try at writing contemporary but failed spectacularly when it grew four legs and a tail. Loves her wolves! Is an English northern lass but is currently serving twenty to life in Florida – unfortunately, she spends more time chained to her computer than on a beach. Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on Facebook.

 

@vickysuewrites
https://www.facebook.com/victoriasueauthor/– sign up for my newsletter and download a free story The Wrong Alpha

Enter to win a backlist ebook of Victoria's and a signed print copy of either Five Minutes Longer or The Alpha King. Two different winners will be chosen! Giveaway ends 11/25 @ Midnight EST. Good luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Don't miss entering in our month long unicorn giveaway HERE! It ends 12/1/17!

Anniversary Shenanigans: A.F. Henley Giveaway!



Make way, make way, A.F. Henley is here! And Henley seems to need some help with that big prize they're carrying!

Let's tell you why the unicorns enjoy some Henley, shall we?

This year, Lorix loved We Three Kings so hard, she raved about it to the unicorns and the world! First time reading from Henley and now she's a certified fan!

And Fantasy Living was gaga for psychic/dystopian novel, Breaker, Henley co-authored with Kelly Wyre!

SRAL of course recs the quirky wolf shifter romance series, Wolf, WY! Breann enjoyed road trip romance, Road Trip!

That's a nice number of choices, right? Why is that important? Because it can help you with the Henley giveaway prize of course! A.F. Henley is giving away SIX eBooks to one lucky person: winner's choice! 

See A.F.'s site info below for a complete back list!

Many thanks to A.F. Henley for the bodacious prize from the Unicorn Mafia!



About the author

Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica. A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish. Henley has been proudly publishing with Less Than Three Press since 2012.


Connect with Henley


 Website   Twitter   Facebook   Amazon Author Page


 Google Plus  Tumblr – NSFW!   Instagram   Goodreads


One winner will have a choice of SIX eBooks from A.F. Henley's back list!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


The giveaway is open until 12:00AM (EST) on 11/17/17. Shortly thereafter, we will contact a winner!

Please respond to the winning notification within 48 hours or we will choose another winner. Good luck!

Don't miss entering in our month long unicorn giveaway HERE! It ends 12/1/17!

Review: Vampire Claus by Robert Winter

’Twas the night before Christmas, but what’s stirring is a little more dangerous than a mouse.

Taviano is nearly two hundred years old and never wakes in the same place twice. Weary and jaded, the vampire still indulges in memories of childhood Christmases in Naples. He lingers in shadow, spying on mortals as they enjoy the holiday.

When Taviano spots a handsome young man in Boston loaded down with presents and about to be mugged, he can’t help but intervene. Soon he’s talking to joyous, na├»ve, strong-willed and funny Paul, a short-order cook who raised funds to buy Christmas presents for LGBTQ children. Before he knows what’s happened, Taviano is wrapped up in Paul’s arms and then in his scheme to get the presents delivered by Christmas morning.

A vampire turned into a Christmas elf… What could go wrong?

Vampire Claus is a 30,000-word standalone gay romance about a lonely vampire and a fearless mortal with no instinct for self-preservation. A heartwarming ending, no cliffhanger, and a young man who discovers he has a thing for fangs. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?


I love Christmas. I don’t love the commercialization of the holiday but I love the traditions that I have kept with me from a young girl to the traditions I make as an adult. Growing up Catholic, Christmas had a mystical and almost mythical feeling to it with the rituals we had at home as well as at church. So you can see, finding a Christmas story that deals with Catholicism fondly was a blessing for me. Oh, there is also an Italian Vampire who misses mass, has a heartbreaking back story and finds the most perfect human for him on a night perched up on a Catholic church… yeah, this story was made for me.
I have written this review at least four different times and still can’t find the right words to say how much I fell in love with this story.
We meet our resident one hundred ninety- four year old vampire Taviano as he watches mass as close as he dares above the streets of Boston. Taviano is a lone vampire, making his way through the world a day at a time to avoid territorial creatures of the night and not wanting to claim anything for himself. Safe up on his church to perch, Taviano hears the beginning of a mugging that draws his attention. Not only are three men about to mug a young man dressed in red with his hands full of bagged gifts, but Taviano feels something different pull at him he hasn’t felt in years.
His demon’s hunger for blood drove him for such long years. He’d all but forgotten what it was like to hunger for touch.
From the first meeting with Paul as Taviano saves him, I was in love. Not only does Taviano find Paul attractive but finds him innocent, humble and shockingly his bloodbeast doesn’t want to eat him. Paul is observant during his rescue, with how Taviano dealt with the men. The exchange about Taviano being a ninja was adorable, but when they get back to Paul’s place to clean up his wound, he finds out what Taviano really is.
Goodness but I loved the heck out of Paul. He is similar to Taviano in ways of their heritage, both coming from Italian families and both being ostracized from the family for being gay. Paul knows what it’s like to wake up on a Christmas morning alone and doesn’t want the LGBTQ kids at the shelter to suffer the same disappointment so he raised funds to buy them gifts. Those are the same gifts the men try to mug him for when Taviano rescues him and those same gifts get delivered to the shelter in the best way.
Taviano of course owns my heart. He’s this amazing creature, a man turned vampire who has to fight the bloodbeast living inside him and find a way to balance what it wants and what he’s become. He lives from location to location, always on the move to survive and not cause conflict with others. He feeds on those he deems deplorable and does everything he can not to kill, to only feed and to erase the memory of what he’s done. He’s lonely. OMG is he every lonely and his isolation from physical contact and what he loved as a human hurt my romantic heart. I loved how honest he was with Paul about everything and his decisions at the end had me hugging my Nook.
Paul flashed him a grin and it was the sweetest thing Taviano had seen in a very long time. He wanted to see it again. Besides, he might actually have started to remember how to talk normally. How to banter.
Or at least, not act like a monstrous recluse who ate everyone he met.
The take on vampirism in this was refreshing. Taviano’s sire was hell bent on teaching him the ways of living as a vamp but he was deceitful and garish with what he let Taviano believe he could and couldn’t do. Thank goodness Paul likes the vampire enough to challenge what he’s believed for over a hundred years.  I liked that that Taviano considered himself a host to the demon, that he thought them to be separate beings and he tried to control the demon’s blood lust. I liked the inclusion of Ichor flowing through Taviano’s body to keep him “alive” and how the mythology of his vampirism blended with that of Greek gods.
I know. I am being kinda vague about this and trust me, I don’t want to be. I want to tell you about the emotional moments that had me in tears – both happy and bittersweet – of the humor Taviano possess and the way he treats the “language barrier” between he and Paul. I want to tell you how utterly romantic this story is. How the lyrical writing is so breathtaking and beautiful that it flows off the page and wraps around you until you are part of the story. I want to tell you about my heart breaking when Taviano tells Paul how he became a vampire, when he tells Paul about the boy he loved and what happens when he gives his past lover a name. I want to tell you how amazing the action is within this story and about the supernatural beings within. I want to tell you how hot Ichor can be during sex, what it does once inside you and I want to tell you that this ends so damn perfectly that really, I just want to tell you to read this because you won’t regret a single word.
I don’t know what else to say. I am still stuck in the story with Taviano and Paul right now. I went over my notes and highlights and instead of pulling from them for this review, I read the story again. It was that good, that romantic and that special.



An ARC was provided by the author.


Trivia Question: Name the series where a cocky bisexual lawyer falls for a straight bartender. 5 pts

Random winner will be chosen around Noon EST 11/18.