Excerpt Reveal & Giveaway: Cracks in the Ice by Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood

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CRACKS IN THE ICE

by Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood


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.

Release Date: September 14, 2022

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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Excerpt

I didn’t know if I’d ever find anyone to love again, or if Cole was even interested in me, but there was only one way to find out.

“Benny?”

“Yeah?”

He eyed me curiously. “Are you all right? I called your name a couple of times.”

I relaxed into a smile. “Good. I’m really good.”

“Diana said she’ll call you later. Her mom needed something, and she had to run.”

When I remained quiet, Cole’s eyes darted to the side and he said, “I’m sorry.”

I focused on his plump, rosy lips again. Not to mention his pink cheeks, blue eyes, and silky, golden hair. “Sorry for what?”

“For what I almost let happen before. I don’t know what came over me, but…”

A hum started in my chest, radiating tingles around my body. “I’m the one who started it. I liked it.”

He blinked rapidly. “You did?”

My stomach flipped at how his voice squeaked.

“I did.” The humming and tingling grew stronger, and I stepped forward until I was standing in front of him. “I do.”

“Oh.” His chest rose and fell quickly, and he whispered, “Me too.”

I was tempted to back away, but fuck that. Reaching out, I stroked his chin with a thumb. My heart knocked against my ribs as I leaned over. He inclined his head, moving it toward mine. With only a hair’s breadth separating us, we caressed the space between us with our lips. Who made the final move, I’ll never know, but powerful, almost forgotten sensations washed over me—soft, warm lips against mine; electrifying surges of emotion; an overwhelming desire to hold him.

We wrapped our arms around each other, and gentle brushes of our lips led to a real kiss. I hadn’t remembered how sweet it could be, how right it could feel, how it was somehow the most intimate thing two could share.

Cole withdrew enough to lick the corners of my mouth before pressing his lips against mine again. We went back and forth, kissing lips and stubbly cheeks and jutting chins. It was a new experience for me. I loved how Cole purred when I kissed along his cheekbone. He didn’t have much of a beard, but as we moved, his short whiskers caught against mine. Even holding him was a new experience—his body firm where I’d been used to soft, defined in a different way. The moment was perfect as we returned to each other’s mouths time and again, huffing air through our noses when we had to breathe. We held each other close, and I hoped we’d never have to move again.

Time was lost, and when we eventually parted, he panted at me through swollen lips. “Oh, Benny. That was…”

“Yeah.” I gulped, already wanting to kiss him again. “It was.”

He drew his eyebrows together. “Did you mean it? Why did you do it?”

“Because I had to. I meant it more than I have anything in a long time.”

He took my hands while a grin spread across his face. “Me too, but…”

A jolt of anxiety had my heart taking off again. “What? Did I do something wrong? I never kissed a guy before.”

He erupted in a short, maniacal laugh. “Wrong? Did you do something wrong?” He sighed and laid his hand over his chest. “It was the best kiss I ever had. You did everything right.”

“Thank God.” My breath considered returning to normal. “Because it blew me away.”

Moving his hand from his chest, he trailed his fingers along my cheek. “It was the first time you’ve kissed a guy? Really?”

I nodded.

“Do you feel okay about that part of it?”

“I was nervous, to be honest, but I feel incredible. I’m hoping we can do it again.”

He tilted his head and quirked an eyebrow. “Does that mean you’ll stick around this afternoon?”

I grinned, hoping I didn’t look too dopey. “If you’ll let me.”

“Oh, I’ll let you. I have to admit, though—I never saw that one coming, Benny Caldwell.”


© CRACKS IN THE ICE by Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood. All rights reserved.



Pre-order Link

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Giveaway

One of Five eARC’s for Cracks in the Ice

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

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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

Sign Up for Our Newsletter


Social Media Links

Shop Merch

Ryan Taylor’s Amazon Profile / Joshua Harwood’s Amazon Profile

Ryan Taylor’s BookBub Profile / Joshua Harwood’s BookBub Profile

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Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway: Frat Wars: Presidential Chaos by Saxon James

FRAT WARS: PRESIDENTIAL CHAOS

Frat Wars – Book Three

by Saxon James



Review

I think this is my favourite in the Frat Wars series. I really liked Zeke and Charles and enjoyed the push and pull dynamic they had between them. They are both drawn to each other despite desperately not wanting to be, neither are out and proud and they are from opposing frats which is supposed to make them enemies.

I really liked the chemistry between Zeke and Charles and how once they really became aware of each other in more than a frenemies kind of way, they couldn’t stay away from each other. Having to deal with someone trying to take down Zeke’s fraternity and trying to cast the blame on Charles and his fraternity might have pushed them to work together, but it was the respect and chemistry between them that turned them into friends and lovers.

There was humour alongside the more series matters that were going on and I felt it was all really well balanced.

I loved getting to know these two and enjoyed seeing their feelings for the other change. I liked how as they got closer, caution was thrown to the wind on both sides and standing by each other became the most important thing.

I liked catching up with the other couples from the previous books, I will still never understand the whole fraternity scene but I’ve enjoyed the series nonetheless.

For an excerpt click here


Synopsis

Zeke

Being President of a frat house means everything is on my shoulders.
Idiot brothers, epic pranks, a list of organizational duties long enough to make my eyes bleed.
None of it fazes me.
But senior year is almost over, and I’m ready to take a step back.
Until the hazing rumours start.
I might not know where they’re coming from, but I know they’re total BS.
Now, instead of dialing back the stress, we’ve broken the number one rule on the row: Don’t get the dean’s attention.
I need to find out who’s driving the lies.
And all evidence points to one person.



Charles

I never wanted to become Kappa President.
The appointment was made easier, though, when none other than Zeke Ariston took over Sigma house. I’ve always been … drawn to him. Fascinated.
And maybe a little attracted too.
Pity I’ve never been more than an afterthought to him.
But when rumours start to circulate about hazing, and the sources lead back to my house, it puts me square on Zeke’s radar.
I want to help him get to the bottom of it all.
And with his attention finally on me, I want to tell him how I feel.


Release Date: August 3, 2022

Cover Design: Story Styling Cover Designs

Genre: M/M College Romance
Trope: Friends with benefits to lovers, rivals to lovers


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Purchase Link

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$25 Amazon Gift Card

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Other Titles Within this Series


PURCHASE


PURCHASE


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.


Connect with Saxon

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      Goodreads Author Page         Twitter       Instagram

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New Release Blast: Crusher by Daryl Banner

Crusher (A Texas Beach Town Romance #2) by Daryl Banner

Adrian “Heart Crusher” Tyler is the beach town hottie who doesn’t believe in love.

Quintin Ruiz is the sensitive art student he never planned to fall for.

From USA Today Bestselling Author Daryl Banner comes “Crusher”, a steamy new opposites-attract romance set in the balmy Texas resort town of Dreamwood Isle.


Buy Link or Free in KU

Goodreads Link


Review

I really enjoyed Crusher, this was my first book by Daryl Banner and I will definitely be looking for more of his work.

I loved Quintin, he was such a genuinely nice guy who felt the loss of his brother and the expectations of his family deeply, add in his belief that maybe he isn’t cut out to be an artist after all and you have a guy who needs a break.

Adrian was also a lovely guy, afraid of love and with a reputation that isn’t completely deserved, he’s starting to take a look at who he is and where he is heading.

I loved the first meeting between Quintin and Adrian and every interaction from then on hooked me in and had me hoping that these two could really make a go of things, if only they could get past all of their own problems.

A book full of heart, I really enjoyed this read.


Meet Daryl Banner:

Daryl Banner is an author and composer who graduated magna cum laude from the University of Houston Honors College with a degree in Theatre and Psychology. During his time in college, he wrote, composed, and produced a musical under Tony Award-winning musical and Theatre producer Stuart Ostrow, as well as two original plays produced under the mentorship of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson, who also mentored Daryl through the writing of his first novel. In addition to new adult and M/M romance, Daryl writes post-apocalyptic fantasy and dystopian fiction. He is most inspired by the smart and unlikely hero, but urges you (the reader) not to fall in love with them; they may deceive you with their innocence.

Connect with Daryl Banner

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway: Mike Bravo Ops: Rogue by Eden Finley

MIKE BRAVO OPS: ROGUE (Mike Bravo Ops #2) by Eden Finley

Release Blitz

Release Date: July 13, 2022

Cover Design: Cate Ashwood Designs
Photo: Peter Henry Serres
Model: Alex

Genre: M/M Military Romance
Trope: Frienemies to lovers, found family



Review

Once again I enjoyed this entertaining novel, the second in this series. Trav and Dylan were an unlikely couple, but really worked well together even when they were being sarcastic or snarky because that was the way they communicated.

When Dylan runs into trouble on the job and doesn’t know who he can trust, he runs for help from the guy he considers a pain in the backside and possibly not someone who follows the law, but at the same time, he knows he can trust Trav to keep him safe.

These two have a little history, a brief encounter in a bar and then a misunderstanding on a mutual job, it’s caused lots of tension over the years, and Trav has made the most of the time to stick it to Dylan whenever he can. Despite this, they both have a degree of respect for each other. Trav is full of sarcasm and snark, but this is how he tries to keep his heart from being broken. Now they’ve been thrown together, they have to readjust their feelings for each other and what they want for the future. But first Mike Bravo Ops needs to uncover how far the corruption goes in Dylan’s team and within law enforcement.

This was a fun read with OTT action and plenty of bad guys that need to be taken out to keep Dylan and the team safe.

I enjoyed catching up with the rest of the team they provided much entertainment.

For my review of book one Iris click here


Synopsis

TRAV

I remember the first time I met Dylan Rodriguez. It was one sweaty encounter I’ll never forget.

The second time we met, he arrested me. I can still see the hot scowl on his beautiful face as he slapped handcuffs on me and realized I was … me.

Dylan’s main goal in life is to forget he ever met me. My goal is to make him mine.

Turns out, I’m better at this game than he is.


DYLAN

When my law enforcement career falls to pieces in front of my own eyes, I don’t know who I can trust.

I have nowhere to go. No one to turn to.

Asking Trav for help is a last resort, but I’m desperate.

If he can’t get me out of this mess, I may as well turn myself over to the guys hunting me down.

I’m not sure which will be more difficult: protecting my life or my heart.

Because when it comes to love, my heart wants what my brain doesn’t. It wants Travis West.

Click here to read an excerpt


Add to your TBR List!

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Purchase Link

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Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

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MIKE BRAVO OPS: IRIS

Mike Bravo Ops #1

Available Now


Purchase Link

Amazon Universal


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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Cover Reveal: Crusher by Daryl Banner

CRUSHER by Daryl Banner

Release Date: August 5

Adrian “Heart Crusher” Tyler is the beach town hottie who doesn’t believe in love.

Quintin Ruiz is the sensitive art student he never planned to fall for.

From USA Today Bestselling Author Daryl Banner comes “Crusher”, a steamy new opposites-attract romance set in the balmy Texas resort town of Dreamwood Isle.


Goodreads Link


Meet Daryl Banner

Daryl Banner is an author and composer who graduated magna cum laude from the University of Houston Honors College with a degree in Theatre and Psychology. During his time in college, he wrote, composed, and produced a musical under Tony Award-winning musical and Theatre producer Stuart Ostrow, as well as two original plays produced under the mentorship of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson, who also mentored Daryl through the writing of his first novel. In addition to new adult and M/M romance, Daryl writes post-apocalyptic fantasy and dystopian fiction. He is most inspired by the smart and unlikely hero, but urges you (the reader) not to fall in love with them; they may deceive you with their innocence.

Connect with Daryl Banner

Audiobook Blog Tour: Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: The New Next One by Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood

The New Next One (Bethesda Barracudas Hockey, Book 2) By Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood

Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood ~ Release Date: June 30, 2022

Version: Unabridged Audio ~ Whispersync – Voice Enabled ~ Length: 2 hours and 1 minute

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex ~ Pairing: Male/Male ~ Genre: Sports Romance, Contemporary Gay Romance, Romance

Tropes: New Adult, Friends-to-Lovers, Hockey, Medium-angst, Coming of Age


How much are you willing to give up for the man you love?

Best friends Nick Johnson and Tyler Jensen seem to have the world by the tail. The eighteen-year-old stars of their school’s hockey team are looking forward to playing in college and hoping for careers with the pros.

Nick and Tyler know a lot about each other, but there are a few important details they haven’t discussed. To start with, neither man knows the other is gay. Making things interesting, Nick has a massive crush on Tyler, something he’s kept to himself for a long time. And although he’s never said a word about it, Tyler has wanted to date Nick since they met.

On a cold Minnesota night after a big win, Tyler finds the courage to confess his feelings to Nick. When Nick admits his attraction to Tyler, their relationship turns on a dime. As they fall in love, they skate around the challenges of a secret romance in an all-male boarding school, but what will happen when the stakes rise dramatically in a sport not known for being gay-friendly? Will Nick and Tyler make the easy choice or the hard one?

The New Next One is a new adult, friends-to-lovers romance featuring young athletes, plenty of steam, and a lot of emotion. Besides learning the background for Nice Catching You, you will meet the main characters for the authors’ book Fire in the Ice.


Review

An enjoyable short story about Nick who we met in Book #1 Nice Catching You and Tyler who we meet in book #3 Fire in the Ice. Nick J Russo does a good job of portraying the characters in this novella, I really liked his portrayal of Nick.

Tyler and Nick have been friends for years and have hidden the fact they are gay from each other and everyone else. When Tyler takes a risk and expresses his feelings to Nick everything changes for them both, but it’s still a secret from the rest of the world. I really felt for these guys, it’s sad they felt the need to hide who they were so as to be able to play a sport. I loved their blossoming relationship and it was nice to get the background of them both, especially Tyler as his relationship with Nick and their friend Kevin really comes into play in Fire in the Ice. I’d have probably preferred to read this before book #1 as I’m all for continuity of timelines when reading a series, but it still works well reading it after.


Excerpt

“I’ve got an idea,” I said. “It’s way below freezing outside, so let’s make snow.” Tyler looked like he wanted to kiss me, and Kev gave a big Labrador grin. Really, his tongue stuck out over his lower lip.

“I’ve got an electric kettle,” Ty said. “Let’s go up to my room.”

Upstairs, Kevin spent a moment gawking at the old movie posters on Tyler’s wall and checking out his signed hockey card collection. Ty put on water to boil, and one litre at a time, we carried hot water to the window and threw it out into the polar air.

Being stuck in the woods in Minnesota, making snow was a favourite winter pastime for St. Mark’s students. As we’d learned in physics class, cold air doesn’t hold as much water vapour as warm air, so the water condenses in the cold. When you throw boiling water into frigid air, the droplets freeze instantaneously, forming crystals that look like snow.

“Woo!” Ty shouted as his latest toss turned into snowflakes and fell to the ground three stories below. “More snow. Just what Minnesota needs.”

THE NEW NEXT ONE. Copyright © 2021 Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood. All rights reserved.


Buy Links

iTunes

Audible US

Audible UK

Amazon AUDIO Universal

Amazon AUDIO US

Amazon BOOK Universal

Amazon BOOK US

Goodreads


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of The New Next One in audio, Ryan and Josh are giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Giveaway Link


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.


Social Media Links

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Shop Merch

Ryan 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 / TikTok

Cover Reveal, Excerpt & Giveaway: Frat Wars: Presidential Chaos by Saxon James

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FRAT WARS: PRESIDENTIAL CHAOS

Frat Wars – Book Three

by Saxon James

Cover, Blurb & Excerpt Reveal

Release Date: August 3, 2022

Cover Design: Story Styling Cover Designs

Genre: M/M College Romance
Trope: Friends with benefits to lovers, rivals to lovers



Synopsis

Zeke

Being President of a frat house means everything is on my shoulders.
Idiot brothers, epic pranks, a list of organizational duties long enough to make my eyes bleed.
None of it fazes me.
But senior year is almost over, and I’m ready to take a step back.
Until the hazing rumors start.
I might not know where they’re coming from, but I know they’re total BS.
Now, instead of dialing back the stress, we’ve broken the number one rule on the row: Don’t get the dean’s attention.
I need to find out who’s driving the lies.
And all evidence points to one person.

Charles

I never wanted to become Kappa President.
The appointment was made easier, though, when none other than Zeke Ariston took over Sigma house. I’ve always been … drawn to him. Fascinated.
And maybe a little attracted too.
Pity I’ve never been more than an afterthought to him.
But when rumors start to circulate about hazing, and the sources lead back to my house, it puts me square on Zeke’s radar.
I want to help him get to the bottom of it all.
And with his attention finally on me, I want to tell him how I feel.


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Add to your TBR List!

GOODREADS LINK


Excerpt

The door to Hush Hush creaks as I open it, then pause and strain my ears. A noise. Fuck. Breathing, and the soft scuff of feet.

Sure, the one time my nerves took a back seat and I messaged him, our hookup is going to be foiled.

Gut sinking, I’m about to back out of the room when a familiar voice fills the darkness.

“That you?”

He’s here.

He’s here first.

In all the times we’ve done this, I’ve always been the one waiting for him.

I swallow back my sudden excitement as I duck inside and close the door. Even though I’m confident with where I’m going, it’s harder to find knowing Zeke is already there waiting.

“It’s me,” I whisper, and strong hands grasp my outstretched arms. He tugs me in so my body collides with his, and a soft oomph puffs from my lips.

His gravelly hum by my ear gives away that he’s smiling. “You messaged me.”

“You said—”

“I did. And I meant it.” He releases his hold to wrap his arms around me. Warm, big hands splay over my back, and I lean in to inhale the smell of chlorine. It centers me and gives my heart that extra incentive to keep beating. “You looked so stressed today.”

I’m rendered speechless by that. We never talk about real life here, not specifics, anyway. Nothing that can remind ourselves of the person we’re actually with. No names, no details. Just a nameless body in the dark. This is all supposed to be a quick transaction before we go back to our lives and pretend this never happened. Like always.

But something’s … off.

Zeke pushes his thigh between my legs, and the contact wakes my cock up. His lips brush my ear as one of his big hands palms my ass, holding me tighter against him. I can’t place what’s changed, but something in the way he’s touching me feels different.

“I was,” I say, only just remembering to answer him. “Everything going on is … a lot.”

“I’ll say.” His voice is warm and soft, like it usually is when we’re here together. The slow, deep tone always sends tremors through me, and tonight is the same.

Instead of fighting them, I let it happen, grinding my cock into his leg as I run my hands over his chest. I’ve seen him shirtless so many times but never while I’ve been touching him. I’d retake my fucking LSATs to have that privilege. To trace his tattoos with my fingertips.

Zeke leans down to suck a spot under my ear, and I tilt my head right back so he has access. His mouth is right there on my skin, and all it would take is a short turn to the left for our mouths to connect. For us to be kissing. Could I do it this time? Have things changed that much?

Before I can do it, Zeke spins us and presses me into the wall. His body blankets mine, one hand lightly cupping my jaw while the other slowly runs from my chest to my hip. He lets out a heavy exhale, and I have no idea what he’s groping when I don’t have muscles like his.

“So tense … Relax …” he murmurs.

“Not exactly easy.”

“Isn’t that what I’m here to help with?”

I tug him closer. “You are good at it.”

“Exactly. Focus on that.”

I’m trying, but while Zeke wrings me out in amazing ways, being with him has me coiled so tight I could burst.

Relax, Chuck.”

I gasp. “Y-you said my name.”

“You said my name last time. And we talked about it yesterday. I can’t separate it now, and it’s totally your fault.”

“So … you’re, umm, picturing me? Right now?”

His chuckle is husky. “I’ll go you one better.” He shifts, and before I know what he’s doing, a light bursts between us.

I flinch at the sudden burn in my eyes, and when my vision clears, I blink up at him. His intense gray stare is trained on me, and he’s placed his phone on the shelf beside us, giving everything sharp shadows that make his face look thinner and harsher. It makes his eyes more intense.

My knees feel weak.

His lips hitch up on one side. “Hi.”



Pre-order Link

Amazon Universal


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Giveaway

One of Five eARC’s for Frat Wars: Presidential Chaos

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

ENTER HERE


Other Titles Within this Series

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PURCHASE

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PURCHASE


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.


Connect with Saxon

Website    Newsletter       Facebook Author Page       Facebook Reader Group  

      Goodreads Author Page         Twitter       Instagram

Amazon Author Page

Bookbub Author Page


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Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway: Nothing Special by Casey Cox

NOTHING SPECIAL

by Casey Cox

Release Date: June 27, 2022

Cover Design: Wicked by Design

Genre: M/M Romance
Trope: Best friends to lovers, opposites attract, feel-good, satire



Review

This was a really good best friends to lovers read, these two guys, Benji and Darren were so made to be together.

Both of the MCs had a lot of issues to work through to become their best selves; body image, self-esteem issues, self-worth, and mental health issues. After a 10-year friendship that could have been much more,

Darren has returned home from LA after his dream of becoming an actor is crushed, dealing with his feelings of not being enough and his long-held love for his best friend, when Benji needs help with writing his latest novel, Darren comes up with a plan to not only help him out but to finally make Benji see what has been in front of him the whole time. I really enjoyed the friendship these two shared, I loved the humour between them, the way they could laugh and communicate about nearly everything and that they really did have each other’s backs, it wasn’t just an empty promise.

Darren’s plan Operation BF2L (best friends to lovers) to help Benji with his novel, was such a lovely way to allow them both to open up and learn things about each other, to get Benji to see him in a different light. I enjoyed their walks and their chats about everything and anything.

At times my heart broke for the different things Benji and Darren were going through, but their friendship saw them through it all. I thought that the moments Darren’s dad opened up to him were really lovely and I think it’s a shame more parents don’t open up to their children in that way.

The RED’s were a fun bunch of older people who live in their building and they made for some amusing scenes, especially the first yoga scene when Benji is completely oblivious.

I really enjoyed this heartfelt novel which both tugged at the heartstrings and made me laugh and smile and believe in true love and HEA’s, just like a romance book should.


Synopsis

They don’t write romance novels about guys like me…

Benji:
Trust me, I know. Crafting swoon-worthy happily ever afters is literally my day job. Being a quirky introvert with an overactive imagination, underwhelming social skills, and a few pounds overweight, I’m no leading man.

My best friend, though? He’s total cover model, call the plumber because I just flooded my basement material. He’s also outgoing, charismatic, free-spirited, and basically the best guy ever.

I may know romance, but I’m no dummy when it comes to reality. I’m nothing special. And the truth is, a guy like Darren would never fall for someone like me.


Darren:
I’m the poster child for failure to launch. Twenty-seven, didn’t make it in Hollywood, forced to slump my sorry self back home to Australia with my tail in between my legs.

The only bright spot in my life is nabbing the apartment next door to my best friend, Benji. He’s like no one I’ve ever met. Genuine. Sensitive. Nurturing. A talented author. An amazing cook. So freaking handsome. And yeah…I am so stupidly in love with him it’s not even funny.

When Benji needs some inspiration to clear his writer’s block, I gladly help out. He wants to write a friends-to-lovers romance, and hello, I’m his best friend. This should be a cinch. It’s not as if he’s suddenly going to fall in love with me. I’m nothing special. And the fact is, a guy like Benji could do so much better than someone like me.

Nothing Special is a stand-alone best-friends-to-lovers MM romance with two lovable (yet totally clueless) besties, gray yoga pants hotness, sweet midnight walks, an apartment block filled with nosy neighbors, and one swoonariffic (and oh so special) happily ever after!


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About the Author

Casey Cox is an Australian MM romance author whose work includes the hugely popular VET SHOP BOYS series.

Casey loves spending time at the beach and is the proud paw-rent to two utterly adorable French Bulldogs – Ralphie and Lilly.


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Release Blitz: Book Review, Giveaway & Excerpts: The Kite by NR Walker

Review

This was a great action-packed read with two men who become unlikely allies and then unlikely friends and lovers. I really liked both Harry and Asher, they both had sad backgrounds and the job they did only made their loneliness and isolation from meaningful relationships more obvious. When they are thrown together because their lives are both in danger there are plenty of issues for them both to work through for them to learn to trust each other.

This novel was darker and much less sweet than some of NR Walker’s other novels, but I really enjoyed it and she did a great job of keeping my interest and conveying all the situations they were in, the different countries and areas they passed through and the many emotions these two heroes went through on their journey to find safety and love.

What scared me the most about the corruption situation in this novel was the thought that our governments and those in power probably are behind assassinations and manipulations throughout the world and we know nothing of this. Is this a good thing or a bad thing and who is policing those in power making those decisions?

While there was action, chaos and danger, there was also humour and plenty of chemistry between Harry and Asher which I really enjoyed. Even when they first met and didn’t trust each other at all, they had respect for each other and I liked how that respect grew into something more. Once this happened there was plenty of sweetness between them.

Thanks to Netgalley and BlueHeart Press for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.


Blurb for THE KITE

Ex-Australian Specialist Response Group, Tim “Harry” Harrigan, has been running covert ops for almost a decade. A lone wolf, he’s single-handedly taken down terrorists and national security threats, or so he thinks. He’s been in the game far too long, and when he sees a familiar threat, he knows his time is up.

Asher Garin is a dangerous man. A man without loyalty, a man without a nationality, without a country, or a home. He’s also a mercenary for hire to the highest bidder. His next job is a face he recognises, and after a tip-off, he learns he too is a marked man.

It’s a different game now, and Harry and Asher have a better chance at surviving if they stick together. But it’s not just the game or the rules that have changed. The stakes have too.

Because on their own, they had nothing to lose. Together, they do.

~

Genres: LGBTQ+ Romance, Suspense

#EnemiesToLovers #GayAssassins #UsAgainstThem

Caution: on-page physical and gun violence. Reader discretion advised.

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Excerpt One

Harry crossed the street. No one crossed after him, but whoever was after him was closer now.

He could feel it.

That cold stab of dread, sixth sense, gut feeling. Like icy fingers down his skin.

And if someone was after Harry, it wasn’t good. He was the hunter, never the hunted. If he was the mark . . .

Christ. He was the mark.

Harry ducked past two women, slipping through a narrow utility alley, and he ran. He was being chased now, silent and fast. At the end of the alley, he turned left and went through an open door, up a set of stairs to the roof, his heart hammering.

He ran along the roofline, exposed but faster than on the street. He heard footsteps chasing behind him but didn’t dare turn around, and as the muted whirr of a bullet pinged past his head, he jumped.

He knew the sound of that gun. It was a SIG Pro 9mm with a suppressor.

French special forces, standard issue.

He landed on a first-floor balcony, using his momentum to leap again, this time to the ground. Pain shot through his ankle but he kept moving, down another alley, and through an open door and into a darkened hall.

Hands grabbed him, spun him and pinned his back against the wall as the door closed behind him. In half a disorienting second, Harry pulled his gun to his assailant’s head at the same time he realised he had a pistol pressed against his.

Eyes flashed in the dark, familiar and close. A man’s body pressed him hard to the wall, their chests heaving. A hand covered his mouth.

“Shh.”

Harry didn’t dare breathe, his finger on the trigger, still aimed at the man’s head. The cold press of metal against Harry’s temple told him to wait.

The sound of feet outside came running. The crackle of a radio, a French voice just outside the door. “I’ve lost him.” The footsteps faded, and only after a long moment did the man move his hand from Harry’s mouth.

Harry could see then who it was.

Asher Garin.

Asher fucking Garin.

Adrenaline exploded through Harry’s veins and he started, pushing his pistol harder into Asher’s temple. Asher gnashed his teeth. Anger and defiance flashed in his eyes. “Keep quiet or you’ll kill us both,” Asher hissed, barely a whisper.

His words didn’t make sense.

Asher had saved him?

If there was anyone on the planet sent to kill Harry, it would be Asher. He was the only other man good enough. They were the top two government assassins in the world. Yet Asher had just saved him from the French?

Keep quiet or you’ll kill us both.

Both?

After an eternity, Asher released him, though he kept his pistol aimed at Harry’s head. “We need to get out of here,” he murmured.

Harry’s heart was thundering. His finger itched to pull the trigger. Itched. “The fuck?”

Asher held up his phone to show Harry the screen. “Sent to all agencies.” An assignment, just like any other. Just like any of the thousand he’d received in the last decade. Locations, dates, names, and photographs.

Two photographs.

Harry’s blood ran cold, and his eyes met Asher’s.

Asher nodded, his stare intense. “You and me; double hit. They want us dead. You’re a kite, and your government just cut you loose.”

Harry grappled with his fight or flight instinct, his heart hammering, his ankle throbbing. But given two men had just tried to kill him and the fact Asher hadn’t killed him—and the assignment on his phone screen—Harry could assume what Asher said was true.

Asher must have seen the realisation in Harry’s eyes because he slowly lowered his gun. Just an inch. “We need to trust each other,” he whispered. “The only chance we have is if we stick together. Can you do that?”

Trusting any other person went against every cell in Harry’s body, but what choice did he have? If he said no, one or both of them died right here. If the assignment was sent to all agencies, there wasn’t a country or government anywhere in the world that could protect them.

Harry had no choice.

Answering without a word, he took his finger off the trigger.


Excerpt Two

“You were here to kill me?” Harry asked. “I was your assignment? Three days ago?”

Asher nodded, almost cheerfully. “Yes.”

“So why didn’t you do it?”

Asher shot him a wary look and chewed on the inside of his lip for a second before he concentrated on the traffic for a moment. “Because it was you.”

Harry stared at Asher, at his gorgeous profile, at the hint of a smile on his lips. “I never realised you were a fan.”

Asher laughed, not entirely a happy sound. “Not quite. But I thought about it, what it meant that they wanted you dead. I knew you wouldn’t have done anything wrong, which means they’re cleaning house, and if they’re getting rid of you, then I had to be next.” He shrugged again. “Then my informant sent me the picture this morning. I can only guess they sent me to kill you so we’d be in the same place at the same time. Convenient to have us both taken out.”

Harry thought about what Asher was saying. It made sense. Except . . . “You knew I wouldn’t have done anything wrong? So you are a fan.”

Asher rolled his eyes. “We’ve been doing this a long time, you and me. I’ve followed your work. Keep-your-enemies-closer kind of deal. And anyway, there’s a reason you’re the second best.”

“The second best?”

Asher looked right at him and laughed, and Harry hated that he found him attractive.

Christ.

“You never received an assignment for me?” Asher pressed.

Harry shook his head. “No.”

“Shame,” Asher mused. “I’m a little disappointed they never sent you to try and kill me. It would have been fun, no? To finally see which of us would win.”

Was he enjoying this? He certainly looked like he was, like this was all a game.

Harry glared at him. He had more confirmed kills than Asher, and they both knew it. Asher was renowned for sniping, clean and efficient, from a distance; no one ever saw him. The man was an enigma. Harry was better on the ground, close combat. Oh, he could do stealth when he had to, but he had no problems backing himself in close quarters. “What’s in Morocco?”

Asher shot him a look. His jaw bulged. “It’s not Europe.”

Both men were quiet for a while. Traffic was light as they left the city. The weather was good. Harry did his best to ignore the pain that was now radiating through his ankle and foot and up his shin.

“How bad is it?” Asher asked.

“How bad is what?”

“You’re injured. You took pills before and you have sweat on your brow.”

Goddammit.

He couldn’t let himself be a liability. If he slowed Asher down, Asher would simply rid himself of the deadweight. Harry knew this because he’d do the same.

“I’m sure it’s just a sprain,” Harry admitted. It felt worse than that, but he’d never admit it. Anyway, he’d endured worse.

“When you jumped off the roof,” Asher deduced. “That was stupid, by the way.”

“It was jump or be shot. I’d take my chances with the jump, thanks.”

They were quiet again, the miles flying by.

“So,” Harry said eventually. “What’s your plan? You didn’t just not kill me when you had a chance. You saved my ass. And I’m not buying the whole us-against-them bullshit.” He waited for Asher to look at him. “What do you need me for?”


Excerpt Three

Asher watched Harry sleep. Much like he’d watched him these last three days. Much like he’d watched him these last eight years. Harry had been on the scene for two years when Asher started, and he’d known of him by reputation before he’d ever laid eyes on him.

He’d never forget when he first saw him. Six-foot-three inches tall, three-feet wide. The man was a mountain. A ruggedly handsome mountain. How he’d remained off-radar was beyond Asher. He wasn’t exactly difficult to miss.

He had sandy blond hair cut short and blue eyes sharp enough to cut glass. His nose had been broken at some point. He had a scar above one eyebrow. His whole face had healed nicks and bumps, evidence of a decade of war.

It just made him more attractive.

Asher had considered, very briefly, in fulfilling his contract to kill Harry. Driving to Madrid, he was certain he could do it. Just another job. Safe distance, sight the target, pull the trigger. Easy.

Until he saw him.

What Asher had told Harry was the truth. The fact they wanted Harry dead meant Asher was also on that list. Of that, he had no doubt. Then he got the assignment screenshot. Seeing the French mercenary follow Harry into the street had put Asher into motion without him even realising it. His mission, his entire life, changed in a single heartbeat.

He’d wondered if Harry would try to kill him on sight. Sure, Harry had put his pistol to Asher’s temple, but he was never going to pull the trigger. Asher’s words had struck a chord. Not to mention the fact he’d saved his ass.

Seeing his eyes flash with recognition, with steel, had been unexpected.

Pressing him against the wall in the dark was another bonus.

Dangerous, exciting. Hot.

He looked like a different man asleep across from him now. Still annoyingly handsome but . . . smaller. Peaceful. That harsh set to his eyes was gone. The permanent scowl was softened.

It was almost a shame to have to wake him.

Except he didn’t have to. The man driving the boat made the mistake of opening the door with a thud, and in a split second, Harry was on his feet, pistol drawn, aimed at the intruder. The poor man fell backward in shock and Asher couldn’t help himself.

He laughed.

He motioned for Harry to back off, helped the man to his feet. “That’s why I didn’t want to wake him,” Asher said in Spanish. “He’s a little grumpy.”

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N.R. Walker Bio

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

For more about N.R. Walker you can find her at:

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Cover Reveal, Excerpt & Giveaway: Rogue by Eden Finley

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MIKE BRAVO OPS: ROGUE

Mike Bravo Ops #2

by Eden Finley

Cover & Excerpt Reveal

Release Date: July 13, 2022

Cover Design: Cate Ashwood Designs
Photo: Peter Henry Serres
Model: Alex

Genre: M/M Military Romance
Trope: Frienemies to lovers, found family




Synopsis

TRAV

I remember the first time I met Dylan Rodriguez. It was one sweaty encounter I’ll never forget.

The second time we met, he arrested me. I can still see the hot scowl on his beautiful face as he slapped handcuffs on me and realized I was … me.

Dylan’s main goal in life is to forget he ever met me. My goal is to make him mine.

Turns out, I’m better at this game than he is.


DYLAN

When my law enforcement career falls to pieces in front of my own eyes, I don’t know who I can trust.

I have nowhere to go. No one to turn to.

Asking Trav for help is a last resort, but I’m desperate.

If he can’t get me out of this mess, I may as well turn myself over to the guys hunting me down.

I’m not sure which will be more difficult: protecting my life or my heart.

Because when it comes to love, my heart wants what my brain doesn’t. It wants Travis West.


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Excerpt

I should give motivational speeches. Three ways to tank your career with one botched raid.

One: Sleep with your target.

Two: Find absolutely no evidence at the scene.

And three: Sleep with your fucking target.

As I stare into the interrogation room behind a two-way mirror at the man who, in my own words, fucks like a god, I want to recoil in embarrassment and shame.

Definition of irony: Newly promoted DEA agent has sex with drug smuggler.

“He’s asking for you,” Special Agent Walker says. “He knows you by name.”

And thanks to the file I was given, I know his full name. Travis West.

I’m regretting giving him my name. Then he wouldn’t be able to ask for me.

I should’ve walked away the minute he pulled his amazing cock out of my ass. No names. No words needed.

“Do you know him?” Walker asks.

Intimately. “We met once. At a bar.” Where he made me come so hard I almost blacked out. I’m not telling my senior officer that.

“Well, he’s the only one who hasn’t lawyered up, but he’s refusing to speak to anyone but you.”

I grunt. How am I supposed to go in there and act like I haven’t had his dick inside me? Worse yet, how am I supposed to stop him from spilling our history, however brief, while I’m questioning him?

My boss will be watching.

Maybe if we’d found the drugs, my unwitting tryst with a suspect could be forgiven. But that ship was clean. How could I have been so wrong when I was convinced that Jason Carter was one of the biggest drug lords in the US with ties to Mexican cartels.

I want to tell my boss I won’t get any information from interrogating Trav, but I already know what his response will be. You don’t know until you try.

Then Trav glances up and smiles at his reflection in the glass, but I know he’s actually directing it at me. Like he knows I’m about to cave.

“Okay. I’m going in.” And on my way, I’m making a new rule for myself: No more random, anonymous hookups.

I enter the interrogation room and try to stay passive, but his sexy voice immediately throws me off kilter. Not because of the deep rumble of his tone, but because of what he says.

“Do you think you could take these off?” He lifts his hands where he’s cuffed to the table by a chain. “I’m not used to handcuffs being around my wrists.”

Fucker. He knows what he’s doing. Because now all I can picture is him fucking me while I’m restrained.

“Sure.” I guess I’ve decided to play good cop. Passive and friendly, but not flirty.

I release him, and he rubs his wrists like they’re so sore.

“You weren’t cuffed for that long.”

“I know, but I’ve seen people do that in movies.” He leans back in his seat. “So how have you been? I didn’t think I was going to see you again.”

“This isn’t a social chat. I need you to tell me everything you know.”

“Find any drugs yet?” That tiny twitch of his lips tells me he’s in on the operation. He knows what’s what.

“What makes you think we’re looking for drugs?”

“You’re the Drug Enforcement Administration. I’d hope you were looking for drugs, or I have to tell you, you might not be very good at your job.”

“But I’m sure you’re good at yours. What is your job exactly?”

“Ooh, smooth interrogation tactic there, Dylan.”

“My name is Agent Rodriguez.” My stupid voice cracks on my last name, making it basically unintelligible.

“What’s that? Rogue-riguez? That sounds promising.” He leans forward. “You willing to go rogue to get the answers you want?”

Rodriguez. And no. I’m sure I could cut a deal for you and your friends, though … if you cooperate. You were the muscle, right? Hired to protect the cargo without actually knowing what you were protecting?”

“Are you implying I’m a dumbass who’s unaware of my surroundings?”

Now I lean in, locking eyes with him across the table. “Are you telling me you know more than you’re letting on?”

Trav smiles. “Damn. Your interrogation skills really are on point. I’m impressed.”

“Impressed enough to tell me what you know?”

“I know lots of things. Useless trivia, mostly. Do you like trivia nights? There’s a really laid-back bar I like to go to when they have trivia. It’s called the Aqua. You ever been?”

The Aqua doesn’t do trivia nights. I should know. It’s where he dicked me out in a bathroom stall.

“Can’t say that I have.”

It’s not like the other guys in my department are unaware that I’m gay, but I like to keep my private life, well, private at work. They all know, but I don’t want them to know details—like where I frequent. I get the feeling that was Trav’s way of gauging whether I’m out or not, so I shut him down. Maybe then he won’t hint at what happened between us.

My job depends on that staying quiet.

Trav eyes me, and I get the impression he’s trying to figure out if I’m denying it for the sake of denying it or if I’m closeted.

Trav glances at his watch and then back at me. “I want to cut a deal.”



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MIKE BRAVO OPS: IRIS

Mike Bravo Ops #1

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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.


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