New Release Book Review: When the River Rises by Rachel Ember

I love this series and have been looking forward to When the River Rises (Wild Ones #5) since finishing As the Tallgrass Grows (#4) it was great to finally clear up the mystery that we first encountered in The Long Winter (#1).

I liked finally getting to meet Jake, getting to know him, and learning more about the animosity between him and his cousins. And I loved meeting Cam and getting to know him too, it seems like an unlikely match, but Cam and Jake really hit it off and have big impacts on each other.

This book is told in two timelines, the present-day and two years ago. The chapters alternate between the two with Jake telling the present-day timeline and Cam the one from two years ago. While I usually enjoy dual timeline stories and it was needed to get the whole picture, I found myself wanting to keep focusing on each one and being disappointed when I got pulled out from each timeline.

Jake has so many hidden depths and I liked how Rachel Ember slowly peeled back the layers for us to see, his story and his family situation are not one of happy families, though his uncles Bo and Dylan do a good job of making up for some of the deficits while he was growing up. All isn’t as it seems with Jake and we are left to wonder for most of the books what happened after he left Cam.

Cam’s aunt is a criminal and the reason he meets Jake in the first place when Jake is charged with keeping him safe. Cam is so far removed from the criminal world and had a nativity to him that I hoped he wouldn’t lose.

I thoroughly enjoyed When the River Rises and really hope we get to see the Chase family reunite and heal the rift that was created decades ago.

While this can be read as a stand-alone, I personally would read them in order, there are storylines that are overarching and they are all such great reads you won’t be disappointed.

Thanks to the author for a digital copy in return for an honest review.


Wild Ones series:

The Long Winter (#1)

Signs of Spring (#2)

The Burning Season (#3)

As the Tallgrass Grows (#4)

When the River Rises (#5)

New Release Book Review: Wonderland by Rachel Ember

Review

A second chance at love with your estranged best friend, man did Peter and Riley deserve that chance!

I really enjoy Rachel Ember’s writing and I’m so glad she has written a book in the Vino Veritas series. I really enjoyed Wonderland, everything about it made for an engaging read. I loved both Peter and Riley and was cheering them on from the get-go. As the reason for their estrangement slowly gets uncovered, I liked the way they were both able to communicate easier and forgive each other for what happened in the past. I enjoyed the chemistry and the friendship they shared.

Riley’s grandfather Gene is a character, and I enjoyed seeing the relationship between him and Riley rebuild itself and seeing Riley realise how much faith Gene was putting in him by allowing him to see how vulnerable he was and what a mess he had let his property and himself become and seeing Gene pull himself out of it with Riley and Peter’s help.

The setting of the broken-down amusement park was as much a character as the people and I enjoyed exploring it and seeing it come back to life.

I enjoyed seeing them both interact with some of the other Vino & Veritas characters I have come to know and love and I liked that they were all there to support Riley when he needed them.


About the Book:

I left Vermont on the most painful day of my life and swore I’d never go back. Meadows Park–the shuttered amusement park that’s been in my family for generations–is the home of all my finest and worst memories. They all star Peter Landry–the best friend I ever had, and the only guy I’ve ever loved. 

But then my eccentric grandfather buried two million dollars on the property and couldn’t remember where. 

So I’m back, and asking Peter for help. He’s an Ivy League lawyer now. Still gorgeous, and able to gut me with a single smile. And I’m still a disappointment, living in the city and washing dishes to get by. As soon as we strike off down the first sunlit path, the Meadows Park magic begins to fill my heart with yearning, lust, and most dangerous of all—dreams.

I’m secretly relieved each time the day ends, leaving us empty-handed. I know it’s wrong—without that money, we could lose the park.

But if I find the treasure, I lose the guy.


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Cover Design: Christine Coffey

New Release Book Review: A Family’s Trust by Louise Guy

Domestic Noir/thriller/drama isn’t a genre I read a lot of, years ago I did, but these days I limit my reading to just a few select authors. Louise Guy’s newest novel had me completely hooked whilst also being scared to read on because I was so anxious about what was going on for the characters and what would happen next.

Louise Guy has written characters who seemed so real to me that I was drawn into their dramas, their relationships and their emotions as if I actually knew these people, especially Jess and Reeve. It took me a bit longer to relate to Reeve than Jess, but once caught I was horrified at what she was going through with her possible early onset dementia and the repercussions of things she had no knowledge of doing or saying. Jess’s past trauma within the foster system was terrible and it doesn’t help to know that these sorts of things still occur, I liked that Jess as an adult was working in the foster system in order to try to make things better for those going through now. As things in Jess’s past come to light both good and bad secrets are uncovered.

Not only are Jess and Reeve going through their personal dramas but added to that is the passing of Martin and what this means to both women and the consequences of his life and his death.

As the story progressed I began to have a few theories about what was going on and my anxiety ramped up, I wondered if things were going to turn out well or not. While one of my theories was correct, there were many twists in the story that had me thinking ‘oh my god’ quite a few times.

This was a well-written novel with its secrets woven carefully together to create an engaging read that I recommend to anyone who enjoys this genre.


About the book

Family are the ones you can trust…aren’t they?

Reeve Elliot and Jessica Williams are polar opposites. In contrast to Reeve’s privileged upbringing, Jess suffered intense emotional trauma in the foster care system—trauma she’s tried to bury yet has recently come back to haunt her.

As Jess does her best to deal with her past, tragedy shakes the foundations of Reeve’s present. But heartbreak and grief come with a silver lining—the unexpected knowledge she has a half-sister, Jess.

Discovering their biological link, Reeve pushes to form a bond with her sister, a bond tested by Reeve’s unpredictable behaviour and fears she is following in her mother’s footsteps of early-onset-dementia.

But family is everything, and the sisters are committed to supporting each other. However, that’s easier said than done when a large inheritance is at stake, and the lines between greed and family and right and wrong begin to blur.

Someone is lying. Someone is manipulating the truth. But is it one of the sisters? And are they even sisters at all?

New Release Book Review: Outback Skies by Suzanne Cass

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series, though, with the amount of crime and danger the people of Stormcloud Station deal with, I’m kind of glad I don’t work there. In this 6th and final novel in the series, more danger is afoot for one of Stormcloud’s own, Indy and undercover police officer Finn.

Finn and Indy have a connection from their first meeting, though where Finn is completely taken with Indy, Indy herself is a bit on and off about her feelings for Finn to start with. She also makes some decisions due to her being pretty headstrong that place her in unnecessary danger.

Once again Suzanne Cass has created some complex characters with issues they need to deal with and pasts that could come back to bite them. It’s a fast-paced read with plenty of suspense, action and romance. We meet some newcomers on the muster as well as the found family members of Stormcloud who get drawn into the drama of murder and drug running. Who among them can be trusted is the big question that puts some level of fear into them all. The answers show just how far some people will go for money, power or revenge.

I’m sad to say goodbye to the people of Stormcloud, but I enjoyed the epilogue which set the scene for a positive future for all.

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway: Cracks in the Ice by Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood

CRACKS IN THE ICE by Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood


Review

I enjoyed meeting Benny and Cole; they were lovely guys to get to know, and I enjoyed their slow-building relationship. I liked the fact that despite Benny finding his attraction to Cole something new, he didn’t freak out, but just accepted it, if only everyone would just be chill like he was and accept people are attracted to who they are attracted to and this can change throughout our lives.

Benny is still dealing with the loss of his wife, he had previously hit rock bottom and I liked that this new role as a coach was able to give him a way to have a break and start something new. Meeting Cole certainly helped with starting something new. Poor Cole, used and abused, but still believing in true love and lucky for him along comes Benny. These two really did work well together.

There was some drama with one of the players on Benny’s team, and there was more than one underlying reason behind his behaviour, but I think he needed a lot of professional help to deal with all his issues.

I enjoyed the small catch-up with the guys from the other books, it’s always nice to see how characters you’ve grown to love are getting on.

A sweet low angst read.

To read an excerpt click here


Synopsis

How can they trust love not to hurt them again?

Benny

I’ll never fall in love again.

I had my chance, and I was the happiest man you can imagine. One day, it all came to an end. The only thing left was playing hockey, but it wasn’t enough, and I became my own worst enemy.

When my old school offered me a lifeline, I took it. As a coach, I could at least be miserable in a different place.

But when I arrived, there he was—bright and warm, like sunshine. I’d lived in the dark for so long my soul was frozen, but he thawed me out. I started feeling things again, wanting things. For the first time since the dark times began, I wondered if there was a chance. I’d never thought about being with another man, but so what? Could I be lucky enough to find love twice?

Cole

I was done. No. More. Men.

I’d always made the worst possible dating choices, and one guy after another took advantage of me. Invariably, I thought I was falling in love. Once I told them, they’d show their true colors and run.

Worn out and unable to stand another heartbreak, I swore off love. I almost had my master’s degree, and playing the piano was a much safer route to happiness.

No sooner had I made up my mind than there he was—hot as a forest fire, yet very sad. When I found out why, I understood. Someday, he’d love again, but there was no reason I shouldn’t be a friend.

Then he kissed me, and everything turned on a dime. I needed to protect myself from getting pulled in again, but the harder I tried, the more I believed in him. Was I making another horrible mistake? Would this time be different, or was I setting myself up for the biggest letdown of all?

Cracks in the Ice is a gay sports romance featuring hurt/comfort, sensitive men, unexpected connections, first times, an age gap, faculty/student romance, explosive chemistry, hard-earned happiness, and a very satisfying HEA.

Content warnings for partner deaths, traumatic accidents, and alcohol abuse. While these issues happened in the past, they may still be difficult for some.

Cover Design: Cate Ashwood Designs

Genre: M/M Sports Romance
Trope: Age-gap, opposites attract, instant connection, second chance at love, first time, hurt/comfort


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~ Amazon Universal ~


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$25 Amazon Gift Card

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About the Authors

Ryan Taylor met his husband and co-author, Joshua Harwood, in law school. They live in a suburb of Washington, DC, and share their home with a big, cuddly German shepherd. Ryan and Josh love to travel. In addition, Ryan also enjoys swimming, and Josh likes to putter in the garden whenever he can. They began writing to celebrate the romance they were so lucky to find with each other, and the sharing soon developed into a passion for telling stories about love between out and proud men.


Connect with Ryan & Joshua

Shop MerchRyan Taylor’s Amazon Profile / Joshua Harwood’s Amazon Profile Ryan Taylor’s BookBub Profile / Joshua Harwood’s BookBub Profile Ryan Taylor’s Goodreads Profile / Joshua Harwood’s Goodreads Profile Website / Instagram / Twitter / TikTokFacebook Author PageFacebook Reader Group


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New Release Book Review: It’s Not Unusual to be Loved by an Alien by Chloe Archer

This book was so good and so original, I was lucky enough to get an early copy and then I reread it on kindle unlimited and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. For a novel that is just over 100,000 words, I flew through it in two sittings without once realising it was such a long novel. It flowed really well and I was fully engaged from the start to its HFN cliffhanger-like ending.

This book had so much humour I was constantly grinning at something our main characters were doing or saying, especially River, well mostly River in fact. He was absolutely adorable, a self-proclaimed sci-fi geek who strongly believes aliens are real and gets far more than he bargains for when he and his uncle Benji follow their neighbour who they believe is an alien.

I loved Kai, the very straight-laced alien in charge of keeping aliens on earth safe, and when River shows up at their top secret base his life is thrown into turmoil, but the best kind.

I adored River and his rambling, his humour and his pop culture references. I loved the way he set his sights on Kai and didn’t let Kai’s taciturn behaviour put him off one little bit. Kai has had a bad past experience with dating a human, so initially fights his attraction to River, somethings just can’t be fought though. These two were made for each other. Their relationship though fast timewise is also slow burn and I enjoyed every bit of it.

I thought the cast of side characters was also really great, Uncle Benji and River’s BFF Evan and Kai’s parents Maddox and Ellie and his brother Mal all just made for a wonderful treat. Along with all the crew from the ANAL team.

I also enjoyed the snippets of River’s tentacle porn story he writes and would love at some stage to read the whole thing.

I can’t wait for book 2, I just wish it were December already.


More about #TentacularTales Book 1

A sexy alien living incognito on Earth meets a sci-fi-loving nerd who wants to rock his universe. What could possibly go wrong? Besides the unexpected tentacles and the accidental Mating Courtship Ritual, that is…

It’s Not Unusual to be Loved by an Alien (Tentacular Tales #1) is a (102,000 words) M/M sci-fi rom-com featuring an adorkable twink with unexpected secrets and a slight obsession with extraterrestrials, the reluctant alien he wants to make his boo, tentacles with a mind of their own, zany extraterrestrial shenanigans in Sin City, and enough humour to fill an entire spaceship. This is the first book in the series. There is no cheating, and this book ends with an HFN. Never fear, the series guarantees readers a HEA by the end!

Buy Link 📖 getbook.at/TentacularTales1

Enter the #Giveaway for your chance to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card & an e-copy of It’s Not Unusual To Be Loved by an Alien. Two winners will be chosen!

Enter here: https://bit.ly/TT1_Giveaway

And follow @chloearcher_author on Instagram for extra entries!

New Release Book Review: Wildfire by Garrett Leigh

Review

I was excited to hear there was going to be a new series set in the Vino and Veritas world and I loved being back there in the first book Wildfire (In Vino Veritas #1).

Oh boy, Kai and Joss, what can I say, they are both damaged and slightly broken, or that is how they see themselves, both for different reasons. Kai is struggling with PTSD after being involved with a terrible accident he could do nothing to stop, and Joss has ADHD and non-verbal Tourettes, which he has learned to live with, but wishes he liked these parts of himself better.

Joss can’t settle anywhere, he’s searching for something but has no idea what, when he turns up at Vino and Veritas to start up the kitchen for his friend, he plans on being there a few months, long enough to set things up then he can take off again for new places.

Kai is working at Vino and Veritas, hiding from life after his experience, afraid to be around people and afraid to move on from where his life has taken a detour.

These two men, wow, Garrett Leigh has done a great job of portraying their issues and really making me care about both of them. I loved Joss’s quirkiness and could understand a lot of his issues with ADD having it myself. I thought the connection they had was beautiful, the way they just got each other and accepted each other’s quirks and tried to make things easier for each other without even thinking about it; when you find someone like this it’s a once-in-a-lifetime connection. They both have a lot to work through, as individuals and as a couple, but it is so worth it.

I didn’t want to put this book down, reading through until I couldn’t keep my eyes open because I was so invested in these two men.

I loved catching up with the characters I came to know in the original series, it was like catching up with old friends and seeing how they were getting on.

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series as they become available.


About the Book

A gorgeous new sexual awakening romance with sizzling first times, snarky British banter, and off-the-charts chemistry. 

Life doesn’t always pan out as you expect. When it explodes in my face, literally, an old friend offers me a place to heal and a job renovating the kitchen of Burlington’s coolest wine bar.

V&V is a chill fest. Living above it should be a blast. But I’m not built to be a social butterfly. Not anymore. I’m a damaged man. 

And I’m not its target clientele.

At least, I think I’m not until I come face to face with the most beautiful human I’ve ever seen. Joss is the new chef and my roommate. He has hair like spun gold and it’s as pretty as the rest of him. Crystal blue eyes. Megawatt smile.

I can’t stop staring. Or thinking about him. He chases my nightmares away. And when he spots my crush a mile off, his solution to our chemical attraction blows my mind.

An experiment of sorts. Science. Is this sexual exploration or sex education?

Either way, Joss is only here for the summer. He’s leaving.

I can’t fall in love with him.

I can’t.

Shame my foolish heart never got the memo.

WILDFIRE is a heartfelt MM friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort romance in the True North world, with a brooding lumbersexual, a wild-hearted chef, sweet angst and all the Vermont food. Content warning: contains mentions of depression, ADHD, suicidal ideation, and PTSD recovery.


Buy Links: Amazon / Audio
Add to Goodreads
Cover Design: Christine Coffey


Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt: Sapphire Spring by C. Travis Rice

Sapphire Spring, an all-new heartfelt and touching MM romance in the Sapphire Cove Series from New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice writing as C. Travis Rice, is available now!

Review

I enjoyed Sapphire Sunset (book #1), so I was looking forward to returning to Sapphire Cove and getting to know some of the other characters better. I have to say, my return was just as enjoyable as I expected.

I liked getting to know Naser who we meet briefly in book #1 and learning about his background and meeting his family. Bullied through school, those experiences have had an impact on his life and they are memories that have not really faded. I completely understood where Naser was coming from and I really empathised with him on this front. When out of the blue he bumps into one of the men who bullied him he is definitely not happy.

Mason, hmm well his life is a mess, he’s addicted to drugs and alcohol and living a life where he is not happy, dealing with a father who is not a nice person and treats him pretty badly, something that has been happening most of his life, and he is still hanging out with one of the mates he hung with a school. However, he is starting to question why they are still friends.

These two men meeting again sets off a chain reaction that will change both of their lives in more ways than one. I found this a really emotional read, both of these men had been through a lot and dealt with some painful things. They each created to these in different ways, one going off the rails, the other making his life so rigid and controlled there isn’t room for the unexpected. These guys broke my heart and then put it back together again.

I loved the relationship that blossomed unexpectedly between Naser and Mason and I was more than happy to follow along with them on their journey from enemies to lovers to more. There were plenty of steamy scenes and they both get to explore some of their kinkier sides together and also gain an understanding behind those kinks. While at first, it was hard to understand how Naser could put aside his negative feelings and have anything to do with Mason, their chemistry was so strong that neither could deny their feelings, which worked out well because I don’t think either would have been able to heal and move on if they hadn’t connected.

There were once again some great side characters, Mason’s neighbour was a wonderful friend to Mason when he hit rock bottom, and Naser’s workmates were really good support for him while he was trying to work out his feelings. Mason’s dad however was not a nice character, though we do get to uncover why he is the way he is, he has a lot of making up to do for the emotional impact he has had on Mason.

I really enjoy this author’s writing, he does a great job of pulling me into these characters’ lives and becoming fully invested in them. I’m looking forward to book #3.


About the book

Under his new pen name, C. Travis Rice, New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice offers tales of passion, intrigue, and steamy romance between men. The second novel, SAPPHIRE SPRING, once again transports you to a beautiful luxury resort on the sparkling Southern California coast where strong-willed heroes release the shame that blocks their heart’s desires.

Naser Kazemi has never met a problem a good spending plan couldn’t fix. But working as the chief accountant for his best friend’s resort isn’t turning out to be the dream job he’d hoped for. It doesn’t help that his fashion designer sister is planning an event that just might bring Sapphire Cove crashing down all around them. When the wild party unexpectedly reunites him with Mason Worther, the gorgeous former jock who made his high school experience a living hell, things go from bad to seductive.

The former golden boy’s adult life is a mess, and he knows it’s time to reform his hard partying ways. But for Mason, cleaning up his act means cleaning up his prior misdeeds. And he plans to start with Naser, by submitting to whatever the man demands of him to make things right. The offer ignites an all-consuming passion both men have denied for years. But can they confront their painful past without losing each other in the process?


Fall in love today! Amazon / Amazon Worldwide / Amazon Paperback / Amazon Paperback Worldwide / Amazon Audio / Amazon Audio CD / Audible / Apple Books / Nook / Kobo / Google Play

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Excerpt

“I won’t be here long. I’ve got to get to work.” Naser set the papers in front of Mason and gestured for him to read. Mason skimmed, recognizing the bare bones of an investment agreement. Some of the language seemed boilerplate, and some of it seemed pure Naser. Once he had the gist of it, Mason set the contract down. “I thought your sister didn’t need investors.”

Naser smiled. “Far be it from me to deny a man a chance at redemption.”

“As far as we are from Saturday morning, apparently. No offense, but this is one of the worst investment agreements I’ve ever seen, Naser. The rate of return is basically zero. And the dollar amounts and schedule are both blank.”

Naser smiled and sank into the chair he’d declined a moment before. “The investor in question knows nothing about the fashion industry and has not expressed a desire to learn. In light of that, giving the investor any sort of creative control over the business in question would be a grievous mistake for all involved. Further, the investor’s motives for investing lie far outside any concerns that could be considered…businesslike.”

“The investor is sitting right here, and he doesn’t remember making any of these statements. Also, I think it’s cute that you start sentences with further out loud and not just in emails.”

Naser raised one eyebrow. “The investor is known to have a spotty memory. And there are suggestions he has issues with reliability and consistency as well, so any proposed payment schedule should be…dramatically shortened.”

“The investor has questions,” Mason said.

Naser spread his hands in a welcoming gesture.

“Did you reconsider my offer because you got more info about the state of your sister’s business after you left my house?”

“Are you bisexual?”

Mason flinched. Naser’s stony expression said that had been his intention—and that his sister most certainly did need new investors. “How are those two questions related?”

“We’re only sitting here because for three years you and your buddies subjected me to a form of sexual harassment that’s still considered semi-acceptable in most secondary school settings.”

Mason took a deep breath. The door was still closed. And locked.

“Yes. I’m bisexual.”

Naser seemed startled by the direct answer. He nodded slowly, his tongue making a lump under his upper lip. As if this whole thing would have been easier for him if Mason had deflected or lied, and now he was having to reassess.

“So Fareena wasn’t just busting my balls. Your sister really needs money, doesn’t she?”

Naser smoothed invisible lint off the thighs of his slacks. “I knew you were bisexual,” he muttered.

“Then why did you ask?”

“I don’t know, maybe you were gay and closeted. But Fareena’s Fareena. She’s not going to waste time on a guy that doesn’t have a genuine attraction to her.”

“So I repeat, why did you—”

“Do your buddies know?” Naser was staring at him, eyes blazing with anger.

The question knocked Mason back in his chair an inch. “Tim’s been dead five years.”

Naser looked to the carpet. “I’m sorry.”

“You don’t need to be. He was terrible to you. The Coach Harris email was all his idea.”

Naser drew a deep breath. “Thanks for letting me off the hook, I guess. How did he pass away?”

“Pills. He always said they were for a sports injury from USC, but he warmed the bench the whole time, so that story never made sense. I think he really liked pills. We’re not sure if it was deliberate or if he overshot the mark. There wasn’t a note, but his life wasn’t in a great place.”

Remembering those last few visits with Tim now that he was trying to get sober was more painful than he’d anticipated. Back then, Mason had thought he’d had his shit together, and by comparison to his old friend, who’d dropped out of college and was working odd handyman jobs for his uncle’s contracting company, it had certainly seemed that way. He and Chadwick had even talked about hauling Tim into a rehab—over beers.

Naser nodded, and a silence fell. A silence that, like everything else between them, seemed to bend the laws of time.

“And Chadwick Brody?” Naser’s voice was drawstring tight, but his gaze was steady and penetrating, full of the unspoken recognition that Chadwick had always been the worst out of the three.

“He’s still around.”

Naser was staring at him, waiting for him to say something further. Sensing, it seemed, that Mason’s answer hadn’t been complete or entirely truthful. But maybe expressing hesitation or shame around the topic of Chadwick was what Naser needed to see.

“And no, he doesn’t know that I’m bi. And yes, if you were to walk out of here right now and share this information with the world, you could really screw up my already screwed-up life. Especially with the man down the hall.”

“I’d never do that.”

“I wouldn’t blame you if you did.”

For a second, Mason thought the guy might soften toward him.

“I know what it feels like to be outed before you’re ready,” Naser said. “I’d never inflict that on someone else.”

“We didn’t out you. Everything we did was wrong, but it wasn’t like we knew for sure that you were gay.”

“Yes, you did. You knew every time I looked at you. That’s why you did it.”

Was Naser admitting to having been as hot for Mason as Mason had been for him?

Maybe so, because Naser looked away before Mason did.

Mason picked up the contract. He did some quick math in his head, quick enough that he couldn’t think too long and hard about the consequences of what he was about to do.

He wrote down a figure, followed by a schedule, then he flipped to the signature page and signed his name. Pari Kazemi, he saw, had yet to add her own.

When he handed the contract back to Naser, the guy read Mason’s additions and went stone still.

“A lump sum payment of one hundred grand on signing?” Naser sounded winded. Mason nodded. “You don’t have to buy my silence, Mason.”

“I’m not trying to buy anything. I’m trying to make this right.”

Naser swallowed and looked to the paper again as if he thought his eyes were deceiving him. “Okay, well, obviously nothing’s final until my sister countersigns.”

“I’ll be here if anyone has questions.”

“Proof of funds would be nice.”

“You saw the house.”

Naser stood. “It’s not your house. I did a title check.”

Mason laughed breathily. “Well, you’re good at your job. I can have proof of funds to you by the end of the week.”

“Good. I’m not saying a word to her until after then. I don’t want to get her hopes up.”

Naser turned and headed for the door. Mason figured his speed was an effort to conceal any evidence of his gratitude.

“Naser.”

He stopped, fingers resting on the knob. They both seemed frozen by the knowledge that if Naser opened the door even a crack before they were done talking, he might let some of Mason’s secrets spill out into the world.

“What was the worst thing we did?” Mason asked as gently as he could.

Mason prepared himself for another verbal strike. But when Naser turned to him, head slightly bowed, he saw the man was struggling to swim through a sea of painful memories, struggling to get his arms around one without drowning, and the twist in Mason’s gut felt almost as bad as a hangover.


About C. Travis Rice

C. Travis Rice is the pseudonym New York Times bestselling novelist Christopher Rice devotes to steamy tales of romance between men. Christopher has published multiple bestselling books in multiple genres and been the recipient of a Lambda Literary Award. With his mother, Anne Rice, he is an executive producer on the AMC Studios adaptations of her novels The Vampire Chronicles and The Lives of the Mayfair Witches. Together with his best friend and producing partner, New York Times bestselling novelist, Eric Shaw Quinn, he runs the production company Dinner Partners. Among other projects, they produce the podcast and video network, TDPS, which you can find at http://www.TheDinnerPartyShow.com.


Connect with C. Travis Rice Website / Facebook / Twitter

Connect with Blue Box Press: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Release Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: The Dating Disaster By Saxon James

The Dating Disaster (Franklin University Series, Book 2) by Saxon James


About the book

Felix

One date.

That’s how long it takes for Marshall Harrows to end up on my bad side.

Luckily I have no plans to see the giant teddy bear again. Except, when he shows up as my new housemate, I can’t escape him, and he’s just as irritating as I thought he’d be.

He leaves cupboards ajar and puts empty milk cartons back in the fridge. His bedroom door is always open, I find his underwear on the laundry floor, and he has this whole bashful sweetheart thing going on that I just … can’t … stand.

But the most completely, horribly irritating thing about him, is that he’s totally my type.

And my friends won’t stop setting us on blind dates.

Marshall

One date.

That’s how long it took for Felix Andrews to steal my heart.

The sparky little spitfire is everything I’m not. Confident, adorable, and completely outspoken.

He also wants nothing to do with me. Which is a real problem when I want to give him everything. Including my virginity.

But the more I try to gain his attention, the more I see the real him. The one who doesn’t feel worthy of being treated like anything other than a one-night stand. So I decide to take matters into my own hands.

A total do-over. One night. One date. Where hopefully I can steal his heart too.


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“Okay, then what about this”—I wave a hand over myself—“would you change to not be disappointing?”

“We are so not playing that game.”

“Why? You’ve never been worried about offending me before.”

He cocks his head in surprise, and then, as though making a split-second decision, he turns his chair to face me too. Our knees have an inch of space between them, and for some reason, I’m overly aware of the distance. “Fine. You shouldn’t have worn black because you’re basically screaming that you either want to cover sweat patches or are anxious about your body.”

He’s right about the sweat patches but not the rest. I might not be some jacked gym bro, but I’m happy with who I am. “Gotta keep them guessing about that six-pack,” I say dryly, patting my soft stomach.

Felix snorts. “Six-packs are overrated.”

“You have one,” I point out. He’s not overly muscled, more thin and lean than anything, but I definitely noticed his abs when he was wearing that crop top last weekend.

“Barely, and only because it’s everyone else’s type, but it’s not mine.”

“You like big guys, right? You don’t want them ripped?” The guy he was with last weekend looked muscly.

“No.”

“Then you prefer …”

His eyes drop, slowly running over me, before he jerks them away. Interesting. If I didn’t know better, I’d think maybe I’m exactly Felix’s type. The way he kissed me supports that theory.

Before he can get up and leave—or go back to ignoring me—I ask, “So what color should I have worn, then?”

“Royal blue.” There’s no hesitation in his answer.

“I don’t think I own anything that color.”

“Yes, you do. That button-up with the subtle pineapple pri—” He cuts off, and I lift my eyebrows. That got specific.

“Pineapple shirt for my next date. Got it.”

He reluctantly meets my eyes.

“Anything else?” I ask. “To make sure my date shows up.”

“Yes, don’t slick your hair back like that. You remind me of my dad.”

I bark a loud laugh that sounds closer to my brother’s usual laugh than mine. “I look like a dad, got it.”

“And …”

“Yeah?” Might as well get it all out there.

“Well … maybe don’t shave. Possibly. Just my opinion.”

I reach up and run my hand over my smooth jaw. It’s not something I normally do, but it grows fast and looked too long for meeting someone for the first time. “I didn’t want to look like a mountain man.”

His exhale is short and shaky. “Some of us like mountain men.”



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To celebrate the release of The Dating Disaster, Saxon is giving away an eBook of the Winner’s choice from her backlist!

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About the Author

Saxon James is an author from Aus who’s obsessed with writing queer characters.

She has a range of books from YA to adult and they all have one thing in common: swoony, sweet love.

When not writing, Saxon exists on a diet of coffee and chocolate while putting her KU subscription to the test.

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New Release Book Review: The Opal Miner’s Daughter by Fiona McArthur

Fiona McArthur has written another wonderful outback romance which encompasses an outback opal mining town full of wonderful Aussie characters.

In this opal mining town of Lightning Ridge, some people live in the hope they will find the perfect opal, some, like Riley’s mum Adelaide, have become hooked on the whole opal mining process and love the freedom digging their mine gives them. I loved that Adelaide after retiring found something that interested her and decided to follow her heart and do something completely out of character; buying a property in Lightning Ridge with a tin shack and an old opal mine. I liked that she didn’t let her husband’s lack of interest stop her, she knew what she needed and she did it, hoping her husband would join her, but unwilling to live a life of boredom to stay with him.

Riley, an obstetrician and fertility specialist decides she needs to talk sense into her mum on behalf of her dad (never a good idea) and takes up a locum position for a month in Lightning Ridge whilst also using it as an opportunity to run fertility clinics for the women in the community and surrounds. Just as there is a lack of medical care and mental health services in the outback, Riley and the local GP Konrad find out just how needed her clinics are and how many families there are who want to start a family, but can’t and have no easy access to a fertility specialist.

Mel, a young local lady who is struggling with PTSD and has been given a safe space to heal and live by Konrad as his medical receptionist, pulled at my heartstrings with her story and her lack of belief in herself. Big changes are underway for her with a surprise pregnancy and unexpected support from the ladies. Riley and Konrad also both play important roles in helping Mel come into her own.

I really like the way Fiona McArthur brings attention to the needs and struggles of these remote communities, I always learn something new when I read her novels.

I really liked local GP Konrad Grey and liked the way Riley and Konrad connected and how they both changed in the short time they knew each other, each allowing the other to see and experience things they had been missing.

The cast of side characters in Lightning Ridge was wonderful, from crusty old Cyrus, a man who seems to have forgotten what personal hygiene is, to Desiree who knows everything that is going on and the ladies of the Friday night get-togethers who are there to support each other and the rest of the community and Toby, a young man who is going through a lot and barely keeping it together. All of these people make for a great read, one I couldn’t put down until the early hours of the morning.

Thanks to Penguin Random House Australia for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.