Audio Tour, Excerpt, Review & Giveaway:On a Midnight ClearBy Lily Morton


It can safely be said that Lord Barnaby Greenwood is not having the best of Christmases.

He’s penniless, up to his eyeballs in debt, and about to lose his estate. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that when a local property developer offers a lot of money to buy King’s Wood from him, Barnaby is very tempted. But his father had always impressed on him that the green wood was sacred and must be protected at all costs, so he finds himself saying no.

He knows this will result in the loss of his home, but duty comes before everything. However, that fateful decision leads instead to a magical Christmas for Barnaby, complete with an old god who grants him a favour, and a beautiful statue that comes to life.

Cosmo is perfect for him. He’s funny and kind and completely enraptured with Barnaby, and for the first time in his life, Barnaby falls in love. But how can this lead to anything but heartache, when on the last stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, Cosmo will go back to being a statue and take Barnaby’s heart with him?

From best-selling author, Lily Morton comes a truly magical romantic comedy.


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Excerpt

I stare at the builder who is sitting opposite me. His florid face glows in the light, and even as I watch, he runs his handkerchief over his forehead, mopping up the sheen of sweat. Then he folds his arms and directs a belligerent glare at me.

“Listen, Lord Greenwood. I have the utmost respect for you, but the time’s come to stop playing silly games.”

I wonder idly why people always say they have respect for you and then go on to prove the direct opposite but put a polite smile on my face as he carries on with his tirade.

“I want King’s Wood, and I mean to have it.”

I spread my hands and lean back in my chair at my desk. The leather creaks warningly, but like so much about my house, it just squeaks through. “Then we have a problem, Mr Thompson, because I own that wood, and I have no intention of selling it to you. You want to bulldoze it and build housing on the land.”

He glowers. “So? Is there something wrong with building new houses for people who need them?”

“Not at all,” I say mildly. “Only the people you build them for don’t need them, per se, as they are all rather rich. You build mansions and not social housing. Roughly translated, they’ll be clogging up the country lanes with their huge cars, speeding everywhere, and being appallingly rude to the local people as if the simple act of possessing three cars and holidaying in the Maldives automatically puts them out of the reach of politeness.”

He scoffs. “It’s not exactly your business.”

I wrinkle my nose. “It sort of is, Mr Thompson. That wood has been in my family’s possession for hundreds of years. It directly abuts my gardens. My father entrusted it to me with a solemn undertaking to keep it safe. Do you know anything about King’s Wood?” He shakes his head crossly, but I continue. “Druids worshipped there. There is still a circle of ancient stones in the centre about which we know very little.”

Druids,” he says in a tone of disgust. “Are they those funny folks who run around in their nighties?”

“I’m so glad you could sum up our ancient pagan history in just a few words.”

He blows his nose belligerently. “I don’t hold with any of that London nonsense.”

I blink. “Well, it’s actually local business. King’s Wood is sacred land.”

“Bloody ridiculous. It’s prime building land, Lord Greenwood, and I want it.”

“Well, as my old nanny used to say, we can’t always get what we want.” I pause. “It was either her or Mick Jagger.” I smile politely at him. “I feel we are at an impasse.”

A smile crosses his face that instantly makes me nervous. “Well, we’ll see about that.”

“What do you mean by that, Mr Thompson?”

He shrugs, standing up and pulling on his coat. “It means that Mr Watson and I play golf together.”

“You play golf with my bank manager? I’m unsure why that was said in such a threatening manner unless he cheats or steals your balls.” Despite my flippancy, anxiousness stirs in me, and by his smug smile, he knows it.

“Him and me, we’ve had some very interesting chats.”

I sigh. “Spit it out, Mr Thompson. I think we’re finally coming to the point after months of these chats of ours.”

“Mr Watson says that you’re in danger of losing all this.”

He waves his hand to encompass the room, and anger boils inside me at his careless gesture.

“Oh really?” I say silkily.


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Review

On a Midnight Clear was a mixed bag for me, there were parts I really enjoyed and others I struggled with. The narrator plays a big role in my enjoyment of a book, I’ve listened to a lot of audiobooks narrated by Joel Leslie and some I have loved and others not so much, this one was a not so much and I think I would have enjoyed the story more if I had read it rather than listened to it because I didn’t get on with how he narrated the characters.

That being said, the story was sweet and full of magic. I enjoyed the mythology behind the story and liked the idea that the statues come alive every night for an hour and get to mingle with each other.

Cosmo was very sweet and enthusiastic about everything around him which was what Barnaby needed, a little magic in his life and a new way of looking at things. I wish I had Cosmo’s ability to use magic to fix everything and help people’s moods. Barnaby was a little sad to begin with, especially how isolated he was from the villagers and how they behaved towards him because they thought he was rich and didn’t care about the village, being he’d lived there all his life I was surprised he didn’t have more friends and had no one to share his problems with within the community. But at least through magic, he had his beloved statue come to life and change his world.

A no angst, sweet Christmas novella with a happy ever after.


About Lily

Lily is a bestselling gay romance author. She writes love stories filled with heat and humour.

She lives in sunny England with her husband and two children, all of whom claim that they haven’t had a proper conversation with her since she got her Kindle.

Lily has spent her life with her head full of daydreams, and decided one day to just sit down and start writing about them. In the process she discovered that she actually loved writing, because how else would she get to spend her time with hot and funny men?

She loves chocolate and Baileys and the best of all creations – Chocolate Baileys.


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Audiobook Blog Tour: Giveaway, Excerpt & Review: Ice Devils by Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood

Ice Devils (Bethesda Barracudas Hockey, Book 5)

By Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood

Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Version: Unabridged Audio – Length: 6 hours 31 minutes

Whispersync – Voice Enabled

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex – Pairing: Male/Male

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Gay Romance, Sports Romance

Tropes: Hockey, Jock/Jock, Enemies-to-Lovers, Closeted MC, Teammates, Low-angst, Out-for-You,


Review

I have enjoyed each of the books in the Bethesda Barracuda’s Hockey series and Ice Devils is no exception. An enemies to lovers story, except these guys, Mark Sakamoto and Blake Conti aren’t truly enemies, though they do at first appear to hate each other. But as they say, there is a fine line between love and hate, there’s also a fine line between scared and brave, and Mark is scared of how Blake makes him feel and not brave enough to do something about it, hence the animosity between them.

The snark between Mark and Blake is full-on to start with, but when one of them comes across the other playing a prank things start to change. OMG these two and their pranks had me in stitches, I couldn’t stop laughing, at times barely able to breathe just imagining the chaos ensuing. Yes, they were childish, but they were so funny, and gained them the name Ice Devils, though no one is entirely sure who is behind everything to start with. One prank involving sticky tape just about had me dying from laughing so much.

I really loved that these two tried to take their time to get to know each other properly before jumping straight into bed, but when they did the chemistry was hot. I liked that for the most part they communicated well and both listened to what the other had to say, the one time conclusions were drawn and things nearly fell apart was resolved fairly quickly which was good, because I’m a low angst reader and hate misunderstandings being dragged out when talking and listening would fix the problem.

I enjoyed catching up with the rest of the guys from the Barracudas and their partners, I enjoy seeing the side characters and how they are getting along down the track.

Mark and Blake made a great couple, their relationship involved some risks, but then, anything good is worth taking a chance on and these two didn’t disappoint.


Skating the line between love and hate.

When winger Blake Conti signs with the national champion Bethesda Barracudas, he isn’t looking to get involved with anyone. Still bruised from an old relationship, his focus is on playing hockey. But when one of his new teammates turns out to be the hottest man he’s ever met, Blake wonders if he should reconsider his aversion to romance.

Mark Sakamoto—Sako—one of the Barracudas’ rising young stars, is immediately smitten with Blake. Deeply closeted because he fears revealing his sexuality to his family, Sako resists his attraction by using scorn and insults to push Blake away. Hurt by Sako’s behaviour, Blake reacts in kind, and the two men are soon at war.

Just as their fighting threatens to disrupt the team, the unexpected happens, and Sako and Blake bond over a silly prank. Their newfound camaraderie soon develops into a relationship, and the men become inseparable. With “ice in public, heat in private” as their motto, they keep things secret, but as they fall for each other, Sako knows he has to tell his family the truth. He dreads their reaction, but it’s the only way he and Blake can live happily ever after.

Ice Devils is a low-angst, enemies-to-lovers romance featuring scorching athletes, light-hearted comedy, riveting hockey, sweet-steamy romance, and a beautiful HEA.


Excerpt

We won the game 5– 3, a triumph because we hadn’t beaten Seattle for more than a year. Our victory playlist was already blasting through the speakers when we reached the locker room, and we took time to savour the win. The guys made a big deal about my goal, which put a huge grin on my face. I’d signed with the Barracudas the previous summer as a free agent, and tonight’s was certainly my most impressive goal of the season.

A reporter asked for an interview, and when we finished, I turned to go to my stall. Sako stood in my way with his arms crossed over his chest and a scowl on his face. “Good goal,” he mumbled. Sounds of celebration filled the background while an awkward moment ticked by. “Score a few more like that, and you might convince me you know how to play hockey.”

“Get real. I hope you were watching. You might up your game to a professional level.”

He dropped his arms and stepped forward, too close for comfort, causing me to move back. I’ll be damned if he didn’t inch nearer until we were nose-to-nose. A shudder ran up my spine as his musk surrounded me.

“Oh yeah?” He curled his lips into the half-grin, half-sneer that had taunted me all year. “Conti, I played better than you when I was in juniors.”

While I tried in vain to come up with a smart retort, he called Nick’s name and walked away.

Bitterness washed over me as I wondered again why he hated me so much. I’d never had trouble getting along with people, but arrogant Sakoshit had taken an instant dislike to me the minute we met. Somehow, he knew exactly how to push my buttons. It didn’t take me long to figure out how to push his too, and our interactions quickly disintegrated into a series of snarky comments, glowers, and petty arguments. We both gave as good as we got, and I came to enjoy pissing him off. If he was going to be an asshole, it seemed like I was determined to be a bigger one.

ICE DEVILS. Copyright © 2022 Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood. All rights reserved.


Giveaway

(Runs 5/31 – 6/13)


Buy Links: iTunes / Audible US / Audible UK / Amazon Audio Universal / Amazon Audio US / Amazon BOOK Universal / Goodreads


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 love to travel, and hockey is practically a religion in their house. 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.

You can contact Ryan and Josh through their website

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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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