Cover Reveal, Excerpt & Giveaway: Platonic Rulebook by Saxon James

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PLATONIC RULEBOOK

Divorced Men’s Club – Book Two

by Saxon James

Release Date: June 15, 2022

Cover Design: Story Styling Cover Designs

Photo: Wander Aguiar Photography

Model: Sam M.

Genre: M/M Later-in-Life Romance
Trope: Friends to lovers, second chance at love



Synopsis

Griff

Walking away from my marriage was my idea of a fresh start.

My kid is in college, my ex-wife and I are on good terms … but being single in my forties is a world different to being single in my teens.

But my best friend, Heath, has my back like he always does and is ready to take me out and show me how the bachelor life is done.

He was never supposed to show me literally.

After we wake up in bed together, I can’t stop looking at him differently, and one thing becomes abundantly clear.

I talk a big talk about us only being friends, but my platonic rulebook has gone out the window.

Heath

When my best friend comes to me for help post-divorce, I’m only too happy to impart wisdom on him.

After all, Griffin isn’t my type, but even I can tell he’s a complete lumbersnack. Good with his hands, kind eyes, and a killer smile. All the guys and gals are gonna eat him alive.

But the more time we spend together, the less “not my type” he becomes. I’m the one who can’t get enough of him.

Neither of us are interested in a relationship, so what’s a little fun between friends?


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Excerpt

“Want to take off your shirt before we get started?”

“Sure.” He strips out of it and settles back into the chair again, but not before I get an eyeful of back muscles.

“You’re checking me out again,” he says.

“I told you you’re not going to have a problem tomorrow night.”

He laughs softly while I take off my shirt just in case, then pull on the gloves and get to it. I work in silence for a couple of minutes, just while I get the hang of everything.

“Do you remember the rules I gave you?” I ask.

He hums. “No names. No bringing anyone home.”

“Well done.”

“I feel like an immature kid for needing rules again.”

“Don’t.” I don’t like when he doubts himself. “You know your weaknesses and you’re working with them. That’s a good thing.”

“Well, let’s hope. Otherwise this time next week I could be in a relationship again.”

We both laugh, but mine is forced. I’m going to have to keep a closer eye on him than I thought.

“No strings, Griff,” I remind him. “Harmless fun. We’re living the bachelor life together.”

“I’m going to fuck all of this up, aren’t I?”

“Not if you don’t want to.”

But even saying that, I’m not sure. He has a big heart, and when it comes to people he loves, he’s committed. Poppy, Felix, me. He’s always done whatever will make us happy, and I just know if he finds someone kind and easy to talk to tomorrow night, he will ask for a name and number.

There’s a chance they won’t give it of course.

But they’d be an idiot if they didn’t.

When I think I have most of his hair covered, I start to massage it in, rubbing my fingers into his scalp. His head relaxes back into my grip as a rumbly moan catches in his throat, and while I know it’s only because of the massage, that sound piques my interest. It’s low and raw and fucked if my cock gets the memo who it is that made the sound.

“Harder … yeah,” he mutters. “That feels so good.”

I have to close my eyes for a moment.

The massage, he means the massage, obviously.

But even as I remind myself of that fact, I’m picturing Griff naked in his kitchen again, cock in hand, murmuring about how good it feels.

Sweet fucking Jesus, where are these thoughts coming from?

“Why are you breathing like that?” he asks, snapping me out of my thoughts.

“Like what?”

“All … heavy …”

Ah, fuck, he’s right. I could lie, but he knows me too well for that. “Because you have a filthy fucking mouth, Griff.”

“What?”

I pitch my voice. “Oh, baby, that feels so good. Rub me harder, Heath. Get in there.”

His answering laugh is loud. “What?”

“Your filthy talk and moaning like a porn star. Geez, man, I’m only human.”

“You’re turned on?”

I shift around to the front of him, continuing to massage in the dye. “What do you think?”

His stare drops to my shorts, where I’m sure the hard outline of my cock is visible. I’m so focused on his hair and not watching his face in an attempt to read his thoughts, that I don’t notice when he reaches up.

He skims over my V with the back of his finger and a spear of arousal shoots down deep in my gut. My abs tense and I suck in a breath, caught off guard at just how good that felt.

“Sorry.” His voice is husky. “Your skin looked … warm.”

“Warm?”

He swallows. “It’s been a really long time.”

Our eyes lock as my hands pause and I read the uncertainty in his face as easily as my own thoughts.

What if we crossed that line … just once?

It would be easy. He’s hot, he’s available, and I know him better than anyone in the world. If there was ever a man I could read perfectly in bed, could drive out of his mind with want, it’d be Griff.

It would be a disaster.



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One of Five eARC’s for Platonic Rulebook

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ROOMMATE ARRANGEMENT

Divorced Men’s Club – Book Two

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Purchase Link

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About the Author

Saxon James unapologetically writes happy endings for LGBT+ characters.

While not writing, SM is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee.

Member of SCBWI.


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New Release Book Review: The Witch’s Power Play by Mia Monroe

I am really enjoying the Covens of Eaton Falls series, I like the way the books continue on from the previous one and things don’t get rehashed all over again.

As Leo’s best friend in book #1 Never Trust a Guy With Fangs, this time around it’s Presley’s turn to get his vampire. In book #1 Presley was assigned Beto to guard/look out for him, and we know he and Beto had definite chemistry between them that they both were fighting, one of the reasons, the curse, is no longer a reason and these two are finally able to act on their feelings. I really liked that once they’d established they were both interested that they were both all in, and things certainly got steamy for these two.

Presley has some tough things to deal with after getting together with Beto and I loved that he was able to take control and realise how strong he was even without his magic. He was much more capable than he believed and once he saw what he could do and learned to have confidence in himself, there was no stopping him.

We learn a bit more about the demons and the leader ‘the beautiful one’ (as named by Presley) behind their war, but there are still many questions to uncover. The supernatural community are all going to have to pull together if they are going to defeat whatever ‘the beautiful one’ has planned.

I am really looking forward to the next instalment.

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway: Irresponsible Puckboy by Eden Finley & Saxon James

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IRRESPONSIBLE PUCKBOY

Puckboys – Book Two

by Eden Finley & Saxon James

Release Date: May 11, 2022Cover Design: Story Styling Cover Designs
Photographer: Michelle Lancaster
Model: Lochie Carey
Genre: M/M Sports Romance
Trope: Best friends to lovers, bi-awakening


Review

I enjoyed this second book in the Puckboys series, I liked both main characters, but at times I felt so sorry for Tripp, hiding his feelings for Dex the way he had to, and Dex being so utterly unaware of how much his best friend was struggling, mind you I felt sorry for Dex when he couldn’t understand why Tripp was pulling away and needing his own space.

When one of Dex’s ‘bright ideas’ ends up causing all sorts of issues, both between Tripp and Dex and in their careers and with their families, it could make or break their friendship.

It would be tough to be in love with your best friend and know there is no way anything could happen because they are into the opposite sex. That Tripp has managed to navigate their friendship as well as he has, especially with Dex being so touchy-feely all the time showed just how much importance he put on their friendship. I felt terrible for both Tripp and Dex the way Tripp’s friends carried on about how close they were, and how they treated Dex when Tripp invited him away with them, I thought it was pretty unfeeling of them on several counts. I would have liked to see Tripp stand up to them and not go along with their plan to keep them apart.

I enjoyed the way these two started to explore a more intimate relationship with each other and loved how eager Dex was to make a go of things once he realises his feelings. I thought they could have communicated a bit better so they were both on the same page, but I guess there has to be some tension and something to resolve, as much as I love things to be smooth sailing all the way, I know it isn’t always like that and really, the angst around this is very low.

I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.


Synopsis

TRIPP

The worst part of being in love with my straight best friend is the fact he’s too oblivious to see it.
Years of pining have left me exhausted, and I need a break from Dex. I need space to get over my feelings. But when his relationship falls apart and he turns to me for comfort, I cave immediately.
If there’s one thing I hate more than being hurt, it’s seeing Dex struggle. I can’t leave him in a time of need, even if my friends say it’s my biggest downfall.
They say Dexter Mitchale is my weakness, but if that’s true, I don’t want to be strong.

DEX

I’ve always been the dumb one. It’s what I’m known for, and usually I don’t let it get to me.
I have hockey, and I have my best friend, Tripp. What more do I need?
To settle down? No thank you. Marriage? Hard pass.
According to ex-girlfriends, that makes me “irresponsible.”
But the solution I come up with to get over my fear of commitment might be my dumbest idea yet. Not only does it have team management breathing down my neck, but it puts a strain on my friendship with Tripp.
This PR nightmare could lose me the only person I’ve ever loved.
Losing girlfriends is nothing. Losing Tripp? It’s not an option.
I’ll do whatever it takes to keep him.


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EGOTISTICAL PUCKBOY

Puckboys – Book One

Available Now

Purchase Link

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About the Author

Eden Finley is an Amazon bestselling author who writes steamy contemporary romances that are full of snark and light-hearted fluff.

She doesn’t take anything too seriously and lives to create an escape from real life for her readers. The ideas always begin with a wackadoodle premise, and she does her best to turn them into romances with heart.

With a short attention span that rivals her son’s, she writes multiple different pairings: MM, MMF, and MF.

She’s also an Australian girl and apologises for her Australianisms that sometimes don’t make sense to anyone else.


Connect with Eden

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About the Author

Saxon James unapologetically writes happy endings for LGBT+ characters.

While not writing, SM is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee.

Member of SCBWI.


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New Release Book Review: Inferno by Jennifer Cody

Inferno (Hammer and Fist: Geminatus # 1) and a spin-off from Sledge & Claw (Hammer & Fist #1) was yet another fabulous read from Jennifer Cody, who at this point I have to say, I would read anything she writes.

Inferno is set in the same world as Sledge & Claw and you can find a short prologue at the end of that book, which sets up the background of Inferno.

Hunter/ Ranger are one person who shares two bodies, he calls them his avatars, and it is a secret he has had to keep from everyone, never understanding why he is different, he has had to pretend to be two separate people, living two different lives simultaneously. All that changes when an encounter with gremlins changes his life and he learns about the IDIA – the Inter-dimensional Immigration Agency and all the different beings that inhabit the earth.

When Hunter/Ranger ends up in the hospital after his encounter with the gremlins, he meets a nurse Cedric Clark, a shy unicorn who is flying under the radar of the IDIA and who becomes the love interest of Hunter/Ranger.

Living with Hunter/Ranger is their adopted sister/neighbour Sally who knows nothing about the IDIA or what Hunter/Ranger really is.

All they know is about to change when Hunter/Ranger is drawn into an investigation into who or what is causing so many different inter-dimensional beings, and bad ones at that, to end up in their sleepy little town.

Oh, I do enjoy a Jennifer Cody novel, this one required extra attention due to the conversations and interactions with Hunter/Ranger and coming to an understanding of how their mind/bodies worked.

I really enjoyed learning more about this world and I loved the romance that bloomed between Cedric and Hunter/Ranger as well as the friendships that formed between Cedric and Sally and Dustin an agent with the IDIA.

There was plenty going on and not for a second did I want to drag my attention away from this novel. I can’t wait to go back to this world in both series. Though the author says this can be read as a standalone, personally I would recommend you read Sledge and Claw first and the prologue at the end, it will give you a much better handle on this amazing world she has created.


About the book: After an encounter with gremlins that almost kills one of my avatars, I’m forced to get involved with the government agency that enforces the laws that govern non-humans on Earth. The Inter-dimensional Immigration Agency—IDIA, according to the office agent assigned to my case—has a vested interest in me. I’m a species that they’ve only just discovered, and I have a few gifts that I shouldn’t. Plus, I’ve been doing the work of a field agent for more than a decade, and they want to recruit me into the fold. It may be time I start getting paid for my efforts, but I’ll only agree to it if they can respect the family I’ve built and the people I’m protecting. If they want my loyalty, they’re going to have to earn it.

Inferno is an MM Urban Fantasy. This is a spin-off of Hammer and Fist: Lextalion and better read after Sledge and Claw but it stands alone. 

Cover Reveal: Wicked Flame by Ella Frank

Wicked Flame, the sizzling hot conclusion to the Chicago Heat Duet, set in the beloved Chicagoverse from USA Today bestselling author Ella Frank is coming May 24th and we have the delicious cover!

Jameson

Life is hard. I learned that at an early age growing up on the South Side of Chicago. I accepted it, even came to expect it. With a sister who was a constant source of worry, and a track record of losing anyone even remotely close to me, trouble seemed to follow me no matter where I turned.

Some people were born lucky. I was just born.

That’s what I used to believe, anyway, until GQ. The gorgeous guy in the fancy clothes who for some reason decided to look twice at me. He gave me a place to call my own, a space to feel safe, and he made me believe in the impossible—that love was more than just a four-letter word.

Ryan

Life is unexpected. I learned that just recently when I walked into a bar on the South Side and found the love of my life—Jameson Clarke.

He’s everything I’ve always wanted, and yet somehow even better than I imagined. He’s brave, brash, protective of those he loves, and under all that bravado is a vulnerability that calls to my very soul.

Jameson’s a storm cloud, but he thinks I’m the sun. If that’s true, then I’m determined to break through the shadows of his past and steal his heart the way he’s stolen mine.


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About Ella Frank

Ella Frank is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust and is the co-author of the fan-favourite erotic serial, Sex Addict. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!”

A life-long fan of the romance genre, Ella writes contemporary and erotic fiction.

Some of her favourite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Philips.

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Check-in Post and Challenge Update

So, I’m a bit late to post this month, everything fell by the wayside on the 26th of March when my furbaby Suki, who you were all introduced to in February went missing. (If you want to skip to the book part scroll down) .I came home from work to find she’d jumped the fence and when she couldn’t get back in the must’ve panicked and run. My poor girl was lost in the bush for 9 days, and if you know the Australian bush, then you’ll know this is a scary concept. Below is a clip of where we were looking for her.

I engaged a service called K9 Welfare Mission which is run by volunteers to help people get their dogs back who are lost in the bush, the lady I worked with was amazing. From advice to support whenever I needed it, she was there. And though her advice went against what I wanted to do and what others were telling me to do, I chose to listen to her, she was after all the expert. I’m so glad I did because I honestly don’t think I’d have gotten Suki back if I hadn’t done everything she asked of me. This involved many cold nights sitting in the bush cooking sausages, setting up food and scent stations and laying my scent trail to hopefully lead her home.

She ran a fair way from home, at least 4.5km south from home and another 4.5 km north, there were 6 days between sightings and I had just about lost hope.

The final night; a brief story: Last night I went out and laid my scent again, I set up the food station with a tiny bit of food. Then I walked from my house with hot sausages, to where I’d left a cushion the week before that she’d found and moved, I sat in the dark for an hour, she came down the hill at one point, stopped when I said hey Suki you coming home, then ran off, but not a full-on run. I sat for another 45 minutes then left a sausage on the pillow, I walked home with the rest of the sausages, where I heated them up at the front of my carport and put the container on the roof of my car. She followed my scents home, 💓💓💓 she’s so clever.

I couldn’t believe it, I was sleeping and heard her cry outside the window. I opened the back door, said hey baby and she ran through the gate and into the house, so excited to see me.

She was so happy to see me, she was covered in ticks, had lost weight and was so tired and I couldn’t stop crying. Happy tears obviously. She got some love, and a bit of food and promptly fell asleep on the couch she’s still sleeping. We’ll go to the vet later after some tick medication.

I couldn’t have done it without them, and without the community behind me.


So, now to the books, I’m a bit behind in some of my reviews, as you can imagine, reading was not my priority, even if my brain had allowed me to concentrate. But I did read a good amount of books up until Suki had her 9 day misadventure. I read 18 books and listened to 2 audiobooks.

This month I didn’t cross anything off of my challenges other than my Goodreads challenge which I am now on 64/150 books for the year. I don’t do TikTok and one of the things to cross off is a book trading on #booktok, so if anyone has a suggestion from there please let me know.

Here’s hoping April is full of reading and no dramas.

Blog Tour: Excerpt & Review: Infinite Bond by L.Rose

This novel had me up all night, my just one more chapter became nearly 90% of the novel with only hours before I had to get up for work, I managed to put it down, albeit reluctantly.

I am a fan of L. Rose’s Paranormal works and this one completely pulled me into the world she has built, full of magic and supernatural beings, power-hungry bad guys and wonderful main characters.

When we meet Micah he has no knowledge of the supernatural beings that are all around him, he is a young guy with little self-esteem who is struggling to make ends meet whilst paying for his deadbeat mother’s gambling addiction. I liked Micah straight away and grew to love him throughout the novel. A genuine person who wants to make something of himself, but just hasn’t had the opportunity. When he suddenly finds himself with powers he never knew existed, he is thrown headfirst into a completely new world full of beings he thought were only things of myths and legend.

His roommates Cade, Zeke and Hyde all have very different reactions to him as their world is turned upside down by their need to protect him and eventually make him theirs. I adored these guys, even Cade who makes things very difficult for Micah to start with. I loved exploring the connection these four had and loved how each character changed and grew as their relationships with each other did. As Micah gets to know his roommates, he starts to come into his own and starts slowly at first to believe in himself, as he comes into his powers, the extent of them is mindblowing to all those around him.

Micah’s one and only friend, Tanika is the one to help introduce him to his new life, she was a great friend, most of the time, but there were times she annoyed the hell out of me. Luckily she turned out to be a true friend, and we all need one of those, but Micah did especially.

This is a book I’ll be reading again, I enjoyed it that much. A great MMMM romance with plenty of romance, sex, excitement & danger.


About the book

With three hearts to worry about, as well as my own, time will tell if I’m up for the task.

Infinite Bond, an all-new magical M/M/M/M paranormal romance from bestselling author L. Rose is available now!

With three hearts to worry about, as well as my own, time will tell if I’m up for the task.

I’ve always been normal. Okay, maybe more of an average guy, who’s quiet and awkward. Just someone who’s trying to survive living in my trailer while dodging my mom’s debt collectors.

Everything changes when a power within me surfaces, and my eyes are thrown wide open.

Humans aren’t the only ones who walk the earth.

Read that again, but slowly. I know. I can hardly believe it either.

There’s more. With my newfound power, I’m expected to attend a college to learn how to use my slightly terrifying and temperamental telekinetic ability, a power I apparently should have received when I was a kid, not at twenty-one.

Throw in my new roommates and my brain threatens to overload while my heart can’t figure out who or what it wants. All my traitorous heart is sure of is that it’s greedy and beats far too fast when any of the three not-completely-human men are around.

Not that my wanting will do me any good. There’s Cade who hates me, Zeke who’s super nice and understanding but way out of my league, and Hyde who’s as scary as he is quiet.

I have no idea if I’ll survive the changes, but I really want to. Just wait and see for yourself. As soon as you meet these guys, you’ll understand and see our undeniable connection. Just be warned, nothing but death will stop me protecting my hearts.


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Excerpt

Reaching down, I picked up the bag and noticed the duffle on the floor, so I grabbed it as well. The weight of both had me stumble a little to the side. My face heated. Maybe it would be best to run for my room and hide in there until Sebastian pried me away for classes.

Groaning inwardly, I flicked my gaze to Zeke, who stood there with his arms crossed over his broad chest, smirking.

“Are you shy?”

My pulse raced, my stomach churned, and I wanted to… God, hide once again. “Yes.” I nodded. “And, um, awkward around meeting people.”

Why?

Why did I say that?

My blush deepened and I was close to throwing up.

“Got it. Look, I’m going to give it to you straight.”

Now I wanted to pee.

“Yes?”

“Cade is an asshole. Hyde is…. Well, he’s a dick sometimes too. Don’t let their attitudes get you down. You’ll get used to them.”

In other words, I would have to deal with more bullies. Great.

Grazing my bottom lip with my top teeth, I nodded. What else could I say to that? There wasn’t anything. What I wanted to do was curl into an emotional ball and rock back and forth over the daunting situation I was now in. My stomach rumbled and twisted. At least Zeke couldn’t see my shaky hands since I was holding both bags tightly.

“Hey” was said softly, but I still jolted at the closeness of his voice. My eyes snagged on his feet in front of me first before they traveled up his long legs to his chest. A shiver raked over me when Zeke cupped one side of my neck. “It’s not all bad here. Promise.”

I nodded again, not convinced my voice would work from the feel of his warm hand on my skin.

Why was I reacting to his close proximity? Why did my heart beat faster than it had in fright? Why did I have the urge to hug him?

It was crazy. No, beyond that. But I couldn’t get my mind to work to find the word I was looking for.

“Get some sleep. I’m sure you’re wrecked from the night.”

With another nod, which he chuckled at, Zeke pulled his hand away. I watched him through the curtain of my fringe as he walked to the kitchenette. Before I could make a fool of myself again, I raced to my door and turned the handle. I walked into the door when it didn’t open, smacking into it hard.

My face burned, the blush spreading down my neck when I heard a low chuckle. I gripped the handle and got the door open on my second attempt. I didn’t look back, even when I wanted to. Closing it, I dropped the bags to the floor. My back hit the door, and I slid to the ground, wrapping my arms around my knees and burying my forehead against them.

Dread filled me, thinking about what tomorrow would bring.

How was I going to live through everything without combusting into a nervous pile of goo?

Not for the first time, I wished I had a bigger pair of balls.


About L. Rose

Bestselling author, Lila Rose, writing as L. Rose to bring you a brand-spanking-new reverse harem paranormal romance series. You’ll laugh, maybe cry, and hopefully enjoy feisty Paige and her annoyingly hot men.

Connect with L. Rose Amazon Goodreads Website

New Release Book Review: 12 Weeks of June by Rania Battany

Rania Battany made me cry again. It doesn’t matter what story she decides to tell, I know I can count on her to deliver a fabulous read with very real and flawed characters who are dealing with issues just like we do.

I like that I don’t necessarily like the main characters all the time, that they annoy me in some ways, and I realised on reflection, that in Rania’s novels, the reason I don’t like little aspects of some characters, is because they remind me of my own annoying traits, and this is exactly how I felt about Chloe. Chloe was a great character, I completely understood her desire to find love the ‘real’ way, this is me, I hate the whole internet dating thing, people pretending to be something they aren’t and only being interested in one thing, and this was exactly how Chloe felt. When she tries to go without her mobile phone and revert back to the 90s you really begin to understand just how much we rely on technology to get through each day.

I loved Matteo, he was just the kind of guy I could fall for. His personality worked really well against Chloe’s and he was a genuine guy who understood Chloe and went out of his way to help her when she decides to dig into her grandparents’ past.

Chloe Idolises her grandparent’s marriage and when she decides to reinvent the cafe they owned together for so many years, she stumbles across secrets that have been buried for over 50 years and uncovers things that will change everything she believed.

Interspersed between Chloe’s story, we get Arthur’s story, her grandfather, from 1959 when he meets her grandmother June. Arthur is just beautiful, from a completely different place from June, their friendship and then more is not appropriate, but it isn’t until much further along, that we find out the whole truth about their relationship.

So many secrets and half-truths, Chloe has no idea what she will uncover when she starts digging, and we the reader don’t uncover it all until she does either. The ending of this novel made me cry, both happy and sad tears, tears for what was, what could have been and what still might be for Chloe.

I really enjoyed this novel, and definitely recommend you read it.


About the book: 2018: All Chloe wanted was an eternal love – like that of her grandparents. What she got was a broken heart and a rude reminder of single life in the digital age.
After her fiancé leaves, Chloe decides to re-invent the cafe her grandmother June opened in 1959. There, buried amongst her grandmother’s possessions in the abandoned building, lie long-hidden secrets. Secrets that could shatter everything Chloe believes about love … and her grandparents.

1959: Arthur comes from the wrong side of the city. It’s never been an issue … until he fell in love with the beautiful and wealthy June.
There are many reasons to stay away, but when June asks Arthur to renovate her dream tearoom, Arthur doesn’t say no. Each week he falls more in love with a woman who cannot be his, but his heart refuses to listen, and he finds himself doing what no honest man should do – keep secrets to be with the one he loves.

New Release Audiobook Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt: Ice Angels by Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood

My Review

ARE YOU READY TO FALL IN LOVE WITH TODD AND DREW?

I was lucky enough to read this book and then a couple of weeks later listen to the audiobook. I loved reading it, and considering I struggle with American narrators, I actually did enjoy listening to it afterwards, I did struggle at times with the audio, keeping track of which character’s chapter it was, on listening to it it seemed much harder for me to tell the two characters apart than when I was reading it for myself.

I loved Todd (Cleevs) when I met him in Fire in the Ice and was really looking forward to his story. The tagline for this book is “Are you ready to fall in love with Todd and Drew?” and I certainly did fall in love with them both.

My heart went out to these two guys who had been together for three years but had kept it secret all that time, but the strain was starting to take its toll on both of their happiness and I completely understand. Long-distance relationships are hard, let alone when you can’t be open about them when you do catch up like these two have been doing.

It’s a shame when your sexual orientation can make or break your career, and though things over the years have changed and Drew coming out would not be the big thing it would have been 3+ years before due to there being several LGBTQI players out, he kept putting it off. But it was time for them to have a serious conversation and for Todd not to put his fears onto Drew that he might resent him if things don’t go well.

I loved that once they had the conversation, there was no procrastinating and Drew followed through with no hesitation, I really am not a fan of angsty romance books, so I like it when things run pretty smoothly.

I loved that their friends and teammates (mostly) were so supportive of their relationship and that Drew ‘coming out’ wasn’t a big deal for them (as it shouldn’t be, ever).

There were some really sweet lines between these two characters and I really hope I find my someone one day who feels about me the way these two felt about each other.

About the book

Drew and Cleevs love hockey, but they love each other more. How can the men find a way to save what matters most?

Todd Cleever and Drew Simon are crazy about each other. They started dating three years ago when “Cleevs” was a rookie defenseman for the Chicago Ice. Drew, the team’s captain, was a few years older than Cleevs. Both men were deep in the closet, but it didn’t take long for them to fall in love.

Cleevs was traded to the Bethesda Barracudas a year later, causing a heartbreaking separation. Ever since, they’ve skated around the problem with occasional stolen nights together and brief vacations under the guise of “friends,” but two years of living apart have taken their toll.

As the holiday approaches, Drew and Cleevs decide things have to change. Still, with their careers and two professional hockey teams in the way, how can they score the game-winning goal and save everything they cherish most?

If you like fierce love, low-angst, a smallish age gap, exciting hockey, and a steely determination to make things work—not to mention enough steam to fog up all your windows and a fantastic HEA—this is the book for you.

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Gay Romance, Sports Romance

Tropes: Hockey, Closeted, Secret Relationship, Low-angst, Established Couple

Length: 4 hours 19 minutes

Version: Unabridged Audio Whispersync – Voice Enabled Narrated by Nick J. Russo

iTunes Audible US Audible UK Amazon Audio Universal Amazon Audio US

Amazon BOOK Universal Goodreads

Excerpt

Nothing put me out like boring, late-night TV, so I climbed into bed and turned on the set. Relaxing back into the pillows, I ignored the talk show and thought about coming out. There was no reason not to since the league was welcoming gay players with open arms. Todd had already told people he was gay, and I needed to man up and do it too. Then we’d be able to make life a lot simpler, not to mention more rewarding, by coming out as a couple. I knew Todd loved me but wasn’t sure he was ready for that. He always changed the subject when I tried to bring it up. We had been committed for years, and I planned to talk to him at Christmas and see what he thought about taking the next step in our relationship. After a loud, frustrated groan, I turned on my side and considered jacking off, but I was too tired. If I could get Todd on the phone in the morning, maybe we’d do it together.

Snowflakes bounced off the back of my neck, leaving an icy burn behind. I pulled my coat tighter and hunched over against the wind. God only knew why we’d rented a cabin in the woods instead of going to the Caribbean, but I couldn’t wait to get inside. Todd already had a fire going, and I needed to thaw out. Odd beeping sounds made me walk faster; electronic noises in the middle of the woods had to be bad news.

“Drew, wake up.”

“Mm.”

“Drew?”

“What the fuck?” I yelled, sitting bolt upright.

“Easy, babe. It’s me.”

A man sat on the edge of the bed, silhouetted in moonlight. Two buttons were undone at the top of his fitted blue shirt, revealing a patch of pale skin that made my breath quicken. He had a beautiful angular face with sunken cheeks and a strong jaw covered by the perfect amount of stubble. His deep-set dark eyes glimmered with mischief, and his black hair was swept away from his forehead. He’d had a haircut since I saw him last, and the new style suited him.

I took a deep breath as warmth spread through my chest. “You’re a sight for sore eyes. I’ve been missing you so bad.”

“Missed you too.” His voice was soft and deep.

“I texted you twice. You didn’t answer.”

“Wanted to surprise you.”

“How’d you work it out? Aren’t you guys flying to Montreal tomorrow?”

His lips curved upward, and he took his time tracing a finger down my cheek and across my chin. “Told them I had to go see my dads for something important. Said I’d meet the team at the hotel in Montreal tomorrow night.”

“Smart.” I caressed his sides, impressed as always by the hard muscles there. They met at the front in the kind of abs most men only dream about having. “Did you warn your dads in case someone calls?”

“Of course.” He leaned forward to kiss my nose. “Pops said he was tired of lying for me and I should make an honest man out of you.”

“Okay.” I couldn’t stop the grin that worked its way across my face.

“But enough…” He kissed my right cheek. “Talking…” He pressed his warm lips against mine for a heartbeat or two. “Especially…” He licked the corner of my mouth. “About my dads.” He nibbled my lower lip and finally gave me a proper kiss.

When he wrapped his arms around me and slipped his tongue into my mouth, I didn’t even pretend to resist. Not until every nerve in my body screamed for more did I pull back. “Surely you didn’t come all this way just to kiss me. I need a lot more than kisses.”

He growled and crawled on top of me. “Exactly what I was thinking.”

ICE ANGELS. Copyright © 2021 Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood. All rights reserved.

About the Authors:

Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood met in law school and were married in 2017. They live in a suburb of Washington, DC and share their home with a big, cuddly German shepherd. Ryan and Josh enjoy travel, friends, and advocating for causes dear to their hearts. Ryan also loves to swim, and Josh likes to putter in the garden whenever he can. The romance they were so lucky to find with each other inspires their stories about love between out and proud men.

You can contact them through their website.

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New Release Book Review: The Return (#5 Return to Nam) by Carole Brungar

The Return to Nam series has been one of the best series I’ve read. I couldn’t believe it when I looked it up that it had been 4 years since I read The Nam Legacy, I can still feel the impact of that first novel, still, remember the characters who became so real to me I felt like I actually knew them. I can still remember how realistic the scenes in Vietnam were, the trials Jack & Terry and their mates went through to fight for a cause they didn’t really understand.

And now 4 years later we get Jackie’s story, Jack’s daughter from his time in Vietnam, and the final book in this highly recommended series, a fitting and emotional end to all that has come to pass.

Carole Brungar has managed to do it again, to create another highly emotional journey that takes Jackie (and us the reader) on a journey of self-discovery as she fulfils a promise to Terry (one of my favourite characters from this series), the only father she’s ever known. Set nearly 33 years after she was rescued from a Vietnamese orphanage and taken to New Zealand, Jackie reluctantly makes plans to return to Vietnam for the first time and to try to track down the family and the history that she left behind.

Jackie’s relationship with her adoptive father Terry and her stepmother Frankie, whose love story we got to experience in The Nam Shadow was so wonderfully powerful, the love between them was so strong. Jackie was so lucky to have had Terry in her life, and she knew how lucky she was both to have had him as her father and to have been rescued from what her life could have been as an orphan during wartime, and Terry felt the same, their father/daughter relationship was something to be jealous of, from the moment of her rescue, both of their lives were changed for the better.

Jackie was a highly-strung, but very likeable character, her past trauma has formed who she has become and she holds herself to high expectations and doesn’t really do social engagements or relationships. When she bumps into Jeff, an old friend from her student days, things Jackie thought she was happy with in her life are about to be questioned. I loved Jeff, oh to meet a guy who feels about me the way Jeff feels about Jackie (swoon). They are both married to their jobs, but I held out hope throughout that they would work things out, especially knowing how long Jeff had been in love with Jackie.

Jackie’s return to Vietnam was extremely hard for her, she was lucky she had Frankie to go with her and support her through her journey. I enjoyed rediscovering the places I first experienced with Frankie in The Nam Shadow when she was a war photographer, it was a little like I was taking a walk down memory lane with her as she showed Jackie the places that meant something to her and Terry and remembered the people and experiences she’d lived through. Jackie was averse to meeting her mother’s relatives, finding out she had half-sisters and aunts and cousins didn’t mean anything to her when she set out on her journey. It’s amazing what actually meeting people and discovering another culture can do to change our entire perspective on our life, as Jackie discovers on her journey.

Jackie’s trip to Vietnam heralds many changes and she makes some major decisions that will affect both her future and her future with Jeff. For someone who assesses every tiny thing in her life before she makes a decision, meeting up with Jeff again and returning to Vietnam, changes Jackie in big ways.

This was a wonderful ending to this series, I wish it could keep going, I have loved the way Carole Brungar has managed to weave the many characters from the different novels so as they are so intertwined and turn up unexpectedly in each book. I highly recommend this novel and the preceding novels in this series and though you can read it as a standalone, you will get the full feeling for this series if you read it from the beginning.

Oh, and you will need tissues just like you will in each novel.

Read my thoughts on the other books in the series

The Nam Legacy #1

The Nam Shadow #2

Going Home #3

Loving Summer #4