Sunday, October 23, 2016

#REVIEW Enemies of the State by Tal Bauer #gayromance #suspense #romhero

Title: Enemies of the State (The Executive Office Book 1)
Author: Tal Bauer
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: February 14, 2016
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Length: 336 pages

Description: A rogue Black Ops unit with the president in their crosshairs.

A Secret Service agent who will break every rule.

A president falling for the one person he shouldn’t—a man.

Newly elected President Jack Spiers’s presidency is rocked from the very beginning, and he’s working furiously to keep the world from falling apart. Between terrorism attacks ripping apart Europe, Russia’s constant posturing and aggression, and the quagmire of the Middle East, Jack is struggling to keep his campaign promise—to work toward a better, safer world.

For Special Agent Ethan Reichenbach, Jack is just another president, the third in twelve years. With Jack’s election, he’s been promoted, and now he’s running the presidential detail, which puts him side by side with Jack daily. He’s expecting another stuffed suit and an arrogant DC politician, but Jack shocks him with his humor and humanity.

There are rules against a Secret Service agent and one of their protectees developing a friendship—big rules. Besides, Jack is straight as a ruler, and a widower, and Ethan has always avoided falling for straight men. Ethan keeps his distance, but Jack draws him in, like gas to a naked flame, and it’s a lure he isn’t strong enough to turn away from.

As the two men collide, rules are shattered and the world teeters on the verge of war, and a rogue Black Ops unit bent on destruction sets Jack in their deadly crosshairs. Ethan must put everything on the line in order to save the man he’s come to love, Jack’s presidency, and the world.

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Enemies of the State is without a doubt one of the best books I've read this year. It is captivating, intriguing, and ambitious. Bauer very dexterously takes on a delicate topic--a president involved in a gay relationship--as well as a plot by rogue operatives that could endanger the entire world. I love it from the first page to the last!

Ethan is the Secret Service Special Agent in charge of protecting the president. A very lonely president who wants a friend. Of course, Ethan knows he's not supposed to be develop personal relationships with his protectees. He's certainly not supposed to befriend one, or worse, fall for one. Ethan's struggle to remain impartial, to smother his growing attraction for the president is real and felt by the reader as though it were happening to us.
President Spiers smiled, big and broad. "I'd appreciate that, Ethan. You know, I do value your advice. You've seen my predecessors, and all of their foibles and faults. If you have advice for me, I'm always all ears."

That was not what he'd been expecting. Swallowing, Ethan tried to find his tongue. "I'm just your detail lead, sir."

"You're the kind of guy I'd be proud to call a friend."

And there it was, that invisible barrier the president had bemoaned, slamming down between them with all the force of a guillotine. Ethan felt the physical push of the barrier against him, a klaxon blaring in his mind, telling him to back away. This was dangerous, this path to familiarity and traded smiles. Where there was familiarity, there was ease, and where there was ease, there was danger and risk, and breaches in security. He couldn't be a friend to him, the man he was supposed to protect at all costs, even with his own life. How could he ever be objective if he was to befriend this man?
How indeed? Especially when everyone of the president's friendly overtures feels like flirting to Ethan? The slow burn between Ethan and Jack will have you flipping the pages to see where their friendship will go. Is Jack interested in Ethan or is this up-to-now straight man really just looking for a friend?

You'll have to read the book to find out!

There are so many touching moments in this story. The secondary characters characters are amazing and interesting in their own right, including a very interesting president of Russia. You'll be like me and want to know all their stories as well. Lucky for us, Enemies of the State is the first book in a series. Yay! I can't wait for the next one.

If you love slow burn tension that leads to explosive romance in the midst of crises of international importance, this is the book for you!

OUR RATING: 5 stars!

Monday, October 3, 2016

ARC #REVIEW Of Love and Corn Dogs by Parker Williams #RomHero #mmromance

Title: Of Love and Corn Dogs (Of Love And... Book 1)
Author: Parker Williams
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: September 23, 2016
Publisher:  Parker Williams
Length: 168 pages

Description: With more money than he could spend in ten lifetimes, Darwin Kincade still couldn't keep death from stealing his lover. A little older and a whole lot wiser, flirting with his twice-a-week waiter is the perfect no-risk substitute for a real relationship. Until the night his routine is upended by the restaurant's newest employee.

Ricky Donnelly loves people. While being a server isn’t his dream, he’s good at it. When a grumpy man is seated in his station, Ricky sees there’s more to him than he lets on, and when the man relaxes, he’s actually sweet.

As the two men bond over a discussion about corn dogs— something Darwin’s never heard of—he realizes how much he’s missed out on in his life. He vows to open himself to new experiences—including, perhaps, a chance at finding love again.

Not wanting anything to muddy their blooming relationship, Darwin hides part of himself from Ricky. He likes the look in Ricky’s eyes, unclouded by Darwin’s notoriety. Unfortunately, the truth can never stay hidden, and when it comes out, Darwin may lose any hope of holding onto the future they’ve begun to build.

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Of Love and Corn Dogs is the story of Darwin, a very rich man trapped in a life of work and luxury. On the other hand, Ricky's life is all about work and holding his own. The men couldn't come from two more different worlds. But that's half the fun, isn't it?
"Tonight we have a truffle-braised tenderloin served with whipped dauphinoise  potatoes and honey-glazed carrots." In fact, as he recited the special, it became obvious the whole stick had been practiced to death.

Darwin grinned. His turn to do a little teasing. "And what did you think of it?"

"Excuse me?" Ricky asked, obviously not expecting the question.

Darwin tapped his index finger on the table, feigning irritation. The adorable look of consternation on Ricky's face ammused him. "I assume you tried it, so what did you think?"

Ricky bit the corner of one lip, then glanced around before he leaned forward and whispered, "Honestly? I thought it was pretentious. Give me a corn dog any day."

Darwin burst out laughing, which drew unhappy stares from the patrons at nearby tables. He didn't care. "What's a corn dog?" 
This is a slow-burn story filled with moments of incredible romance. Darwin is no ruthless mogul. Rather, he's caring and considerate of all the people in his life, especially those who work for him. But sometimes, money isn't the solution to a problem--it's the cause.
"I am so sorry," Maria apologized. "They're good boys, even if sometimes they need to be disciplined. Unfortunately, Darwin refuses to do it."

"Please," Darwin said, frowning at Maria. "Your kids are way more afraid of you than of me. Hell, I'm afraid of you."

That comment set everyone but Ricky to laughing. He wasn't sure why. It had been funny. But he couldn't get it out of his head that his family had come to a mansion for dinner with a man who had his staff serving them. The words part about it? His mother and sister seemed to be perfectly at ease. 
This odd-couple romance has a wonderful mix of sweet moments, tense ones, and sexy ones. The writing is mostly fluid, and the plot moves along at a steady pace. Of Love and Corn Dogs is a solid start to Parker Williams' new series!

OUR RATING: 4 stars!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

ARC #REVIEW The Role by Richard Pearson #RomHero #mmromance #theater

Title: The Role
Author: Richard Taylor Pearson
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: March 30, 2016
Publisher:  Lethe Press
Length: 256 pages

Description: Mason Burroughs is an actor on the verge of giving up after being turned away at audition after audition. But his life changes when he bumps into Kevin Caldwell, an old crush from acting school. Kevin helps Mason land a role that could make him the next Broadway star. However, as rehearsals begin, Mason learns that there’s a lot more drama than just what’s on stage. With a personal trainer claiming he can mold his body to resemble a Greek statue, an underhanded understudy waiting in the wings to replace him, a megalomaniacal director, and Kevin hellbent on breaking up Mason and his boyfriend, Mason must choose how much he is willing to sacrifice to make his Broadway dream a reality.

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Well written and captivating, The Role is an intriguing behind the scenes view of Broadway theater. Mason Burroughs is a struggling actor who lands the role of a lifetime with the help of an old crush, Kevin Caldwell. The two will play gay lovers, something Mason had always hoped they'd be. But things are different now. Mason has moved on. He has a boyfriend, Eric, whom he loves.
Kevin grabs me, pulling me close, and begins to ferociously invade my mouth with his tongue. I try to pull away, banging my fists on his compact chest, but he has no problem overpowering me. [...] Just as I'm about to try biting down, Kevin releases me and tosses me on the side of the bed.

"What was that?" I shout, rubbing my aching jaw.

"A congratulatory gift. I got you the job, now you can give me on. You know, quid pro quo and all that," he says, grabbing his crotch.


"Normally, I'd expect more than a blowjob, but since we're old friends..."
 Part of Mason's training involves getting more fit so he can better portray his character. He is becoming the man, the actor, he always wanted to be. Because of his crazy hours that conflict with Eric's the two are drifting apart. In the meantime, Mason and Kevin's personal relationship starts to mirror that of their characters. The line between fantasy and reality starts to blur.
Holding his face between my hands, I kiss him with renewed vigor, managing to not only match his intensity but eclipse it, pushing him to keep up. No longer concerned with just his pleasure, I guide his hands to my ass, showing him how much I want him. the music that was barely audible before, now seems to swell as the light drains from the room, but even as we are consumed by the shadows, I know this moment has forever altered us.

"Hold," a voice cries out, followed by a great murmur of voices and a soft sound of applause. Light returns, illuminating the stage and reminding me that I am in a play, that none of this is real. The intensity of being Caleb is hard to let go of, and it takes me a few minutes to remember who I was before rehearsal began.
For the first time in his life, Mason can have everything he's ever wanted--the career, the money, the man. But where does that leave Eric?

If you enjoy the workings of theater and are fascinating with actors taking on a persona to play a role, The Role is the perfect story for you.

OUR RATING: 4 stars!

Friday, August 26, 2016

ARC #REVIEW Resurrection by S. Davidson #RomHero #mmromance #military

Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: May 22, 2016
Publisher:  Encompass Ink
Length: 322 pages

Description: His war has just begun.

James (Jamie) Massey has been raised in a strict military household and grew up with the sole purpose of becoming a soldier. He never imagined the heartache his choices in love and war would weigh on his soul, and when he loses everything, he can’t imagine ever being happy again.

Chris Baker grew up in a small town, raised on the rodeo circuit. When he met Ben, he thought he’d live blissfully every after, but things have a way of not going along as planned. Chris, devastated by his loss, was barely hanging on.

When Jamie and Chris end up in the same small town diner, it can only be credited to divine intervention. But are both men too damaged? They say God works in mysterious ways. Well, he certainly had his hands full when he chose these two for saving.
Is it too late?

Triggers: Deals with PTSD, death, and realistic wartime violence.

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Resurrection is an interesting story. Jamie is a soldier, a fighter, a survivor. Chris is a natural caretaker. Both men are alpha. They grow up very differently, and have extremely difficult lives before meeting each other. This makes their story all the more bittersweet.

This review is a little difficult to write because the book is split into three parts, and the writing style changes throughout the story. I must admit that while I love military men and their stories, Jamie's section (a full 1/3) of the book didn't grab me. What happens to him is heart-breaking, but the writing consisted of page after page of telling. The first 3% is entirely backstory with entire scenes about Jamie's father and grandfather. There are huge sections of narrative (telling) and only the occasional non-narrative scene (showing). But those few scenes were very good and are what kept me from tossing the book aside.

Fortunately, the second section about Chris was much better written with only the occasional long narrative passage. Although this section was shorter, I still connected better with Chris. I felt I knew him better and understood his struggles.

The third section, Resurrection, where Chris and Jamie finally meet made reading through the first two sections all worth it. It's very well written. The secondary characters are fleshed out, and the love story between these two men is realistic (given their pasts and health issues) and hot! They have great chemistry both in the bedroom and out. Both men have things they need to change about themselves if their relationship is to have a chance. They can't fall back into old patterns. The challenge is considerable and very exciting for the reader.

Had the first two sections been tighter (less backstory, less telling, more showing), I'd have given this story a 4.5 stars. As it is, I have to give it 3.5 stars.

Readers who enjoy sagas and epic stories of two men who struggle through life to achieve, finally, their happily ever after will love Resurrection.

OUR RATING: 3.5 stars!

ARC #REVIEW Mr. and Mr. Smith by HelenKay Dimon #RomHero #mmromance #military

Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Publisher:  Random House LLC
Length: 215 pages

Description: Fisher Braun knows how to keep a secret. As a covert paramilitary operative, his job—and his life—depends on it. He’s at the top of his game, ready for action and always in control. No enemy has ever brought him to his knees, but one lover has: Zachary Allen, the man currently sharing his bed. The perfect package of brains and brawn, Zach is someone worth coming home to, and Fisher hates keeping him in the dark about what he does. But the lies keep Zach safe. Until the day Fisher loses everything. . . .

Zachary Allen is no innocent civilian. Although he plays the tech geek, in reality he’s deep undercover for the CIA. In a horrible twist of fate, the criminal enterprise he’s infiltrated has set its sights on the man whose touch drives him wild. Zach would do anything for Fisher—except blow his own cover. Now, in order to save him, Zach must betray him first. And he needs Fisher to trust him with all his heart if they want to make it out alive.

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Loved, loved, loved this book! The suspense starts on page one and keeps going right to the end. Undercover becomes double cover and behind it all is a blazing attraction and love. The danger is thrilling, the banter is witty, and the sex is hot.
"Sometimes you'd hum." Zach smiled at the memory. "I doubt you even realize you did it."

"Fuck it." Fisher whispered the words as he moved. In two lunging steps his hands slid over Zach's shoulders and pushed his back against the wall.

Their mouths met in a hard kiss. Deep and devouring. No slow burn here. They raced from cool and arguing to skin on fire. Lips tasted and hands roamed. A grumble sounded in the back of Fisher's throat. He was all over Zach, crushing him into the concrete while he cradled Zach's head in his palm.
What more could anyone want in an m/m romantic suspense? Oh, how about some heart-wrenchingly impossible situations?
The emotional distance showed in every line of Fisher's body and the stark look in his yes. His mouth pulled tight until tiny lines formed at the edges.

Zach guessed this was what hatred looked like. He'd seen so many emotions cross Fisher's face during their time together. Heat, longing, need, caring. They'd come full circle. Wariness and doubt lingered there now. No warmth. Worse, no trust.
Both Zach and Fisher are intriguing characters. I'd love to know more about them and see how they do in a real-life relationship.

If you enjoy hot, alpha heroes with guns, who happen to love men, pick up a copy of Mr. and Mr. Smith. You won't regret it!

OUR RATING: 5 stars!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

#REVIEW My Dirty Detour by Grace Risata (An Alpha Male Mafia Comedy Romance) #RomHero

Author: Grace Risata
Title: My Dirty Detour (An Alpha Male Mafia Comedy Romance)
Genre: M/F Romance
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Publisher:  Grace Risata
Length: 323 pages

Description: A dominant leader flees the mafia, looking for a fresh start in a small town. He put all his effort into starting a business and resigned himself to a life without love.
A neurotic germaphobe lives vicariously through the books she reads, preferring to play it safe in real life and hide behind her sarcastic remarks.

“I am NOT that neurotic! I just have germ issues and I tend to over-analyze things. Sure, I second guess myself all the time and have a tendency to freak out over the small stuff. I’ll admit that I do ask a lot of “what if…?” questions. Fine. I’m neurotic.” 

One fateful day, the simple act of taking a wrong turn leads Violet right into Rocky’s life and completely turns it upside down. Accustomed to his orders being obeyed immediately and without question, Rocky doesn’t appreciate Violet challenging his authority at every opportunity.

“I don’t like being told what to do. Especially when some arrogant tough guy thinks he can boss me around. I might have argued with him just to keep him close. He smelled like heaven. Although with a body like his, I knew he was no angel. 

Violet charmed her way into his heart with her quick wit and stubbornness, causing Rocky to fail at his many attempts to resist her.

“He’d never met anyone like me before. I trash talk, curse like a sailor, and pretty much say whatever’s on my mind. Life is too short to pretend to be something that you’re not.” 

Rocky tries to keep his violent past hidden from Violet, but it suddenly catches up to him and he can no longer deny who he really is. Will Rocky turn his back on the life he built or stay and fight for what’s his? When Violet is faced with situations that rival anything she’s merely read about, will she be able to face her fears and work together with Rocky or will the truth tear them apart?

“It’s one hell of a wild ride! Take a look inside the first few pages and I’ll tell you all about it.” 

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My Dirty Detour was a welcome surprise. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from "An Alpha Male Mafia Comedy Romance." Turns out, this was a perfect description! The book is filled with sexy dangerous men, witty dialogue, and truly humorous scenes.

Rocky is a man who finds himself in the heart of a mafia family. Danger, fighting, and survival are all he knows. Until he decides that he's had enough and moves to small-town nowhere to start anew, making Olde Devil Gin. As a protege of the Don, Rocky is used to having his word heeded immediately. That all changes when this hunky strongman meets Violet. At first sight, she has the appearance and personality of the stereotypical librarian: meek and mousy. But as Rocky and the reader soon learn, what's on the inside is quite different. And she definitely does not listen. Violet is headstrong and naive. After all, what does she know about Mafia families? That she can give back as good as she gets is one of the things I really like about this character. And it seems, Rocky does too. :)

As for the side characters, they are all a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the interplay between Rocky and his friends: Sergio, Dmitry, Vasily, and Vasily's wife Irina.

There were six shot glasses filled with a clear liquid on a tray and each of us took one. I wanted to ask what it was first, but I didn't want to stand out as being a coward. I held my nose and downed the shot in one gulp. Big mistake. I started sputtering and gasping for air. My throat burned like it was on fire.

"What was that? It tasted like ASS!" I promptly exclaimed.

Irina grinned and replied, "That, my friend, was a shot of Olde Devil Gin made at Grim Rock Distillery."

Oh no! Talk about putting my foot in my mouth. I slowly turned around to look at Rocky with a sheepish expression.

"Thanks, Violet, good to know we're making a quality product. 'ASS' was exactly the flavor we were going for," Rocky told me, looking very offended.
While there is a lot of humor and many light moments, there is also a considerable amount of violence, which is expected given that this is in fact a mafia romance. Rocky is a darling, but he is VERY rough around the edges, especially early on in the story.

If you love books with dangerous, alpha men and spitfire heroines with no filters, you'll love My Dirty Detour!

OUR RATING: 4 stars!

Friday, July 8, 2016

ARC #REVIEW In The Present Tense by Carrie Pack #RomHero #mmromance #timetravel

Title: In the Present Tense
Author: Carrie Pack
Genre: M/M Romance, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Release Date: May 19, 2016
Publisher:  Interlude Press
Length: 336 pages

Description: Miles Lawson goes to sleep dreaming of a future with his boyfriend Adam, but wakes to find he is married to Ana, an acquaintance from high school. When he learns he has been time traveling, Miles is consumed with finding a cure for his rare condition—and finding his first love.

Traveling more frequently, Miles assembles the puzzle pieces of his life and, in doing so, alienates his wife. As he loses control, Miles must realize that sometimes fixing your past mistakes means changing your future. But will he be able to convince Adam he is telling the truth before it’s too late?

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In the Present Tense is a truly fascinating story. Is Miles really time-travelling, or is it some sort of multiple personality disorder? That's the question that gets explored in this first installment of what is sure to be a great series!

The story opens with a very confused Miles who wakes up one day--in the future and in bed with a girl from his high school.
"Oh shit, it's happening again," Ana said, her eyes wide.

"What is?"

"The time travel thing."

"What time travel thing?"

"Oh shit, how young are you this time, Lawson? Don't tell me I got the version of you who hasn't figured it out yet."

He stared at her. Time travel? Had she lost her mind?

"Fuck me running," she said when he didn't respond. "Have a seat, Marty McFly. I've got a story for you that's gonna blow your mind."
The relationships in this story are complicated and intense. Miles wakes up in the body of an older Miles who is now married to Ana. He finds out that he broke up with Adam, the boy who was the love of his life, but he doesn't know why. Older Miles is seeing a psychiatrist, but is she helping or hurting? Does anyone really believe him?

As the story bounces between past and present (and future!), we come to know more about Miles, Ana, and Adam and none of it is what it seems.

In the Present Tense is the story of a true love, one that won't give up. It's that chance to perhaps go back and change the things that went wrong, or to reignite old feelings in the present. A second chance... I loved it.

If you enjoy stories like The Time Traveler's Wife, you'll love In the Present Tense!

OUR RATING: 4.5 stars

Friday, May 27, 2016

ARC #REVIEW North to Zombieville by Meg Bawden #RomHero #mmromance #scifi

Genre: M/M Romance, Science Fiction
Release Date: May 18, 2016
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Length: 200 pages

Description: The year is 2028, and Dallas and Raleigh Jenson are torn apart when a worldwide zombie apocalypse ravages their home of Townsville, Australia. After a year of searching, Dallas, a former Australian Army rifleman, finally reunites with Raleigh, but it’s not like old times. Not only do they have zombies to contend with, but they also have to deal with other humans changed by desperation and willing to do anything to survive.

Dallas and Raleigh have changed too. So much so that Dallas struggles with the idea that Raleigh no longer needs or wants his protection. But they will have to rely on each other and find strength in their love as they are forced to evade zombies and watch their friends die. As they fight for their lives in a brutal landscape where every supply and every step toward a potential cure is a battle to the death, only their trust in each other can keep them from perishing.

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North to Zombieville opens with a bit of normalcy. Dallas and Raleigh Jenson are celebrating a wedding anniversary in style. They exchange words of affection...
Dallas stared into Raleigh's pretty blue eyes, his chest tightening at the thought of how much he loved this man in front of him. Raleigh was his world. Did that sound corny? "I love you, Leigh."

Raleigh swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing. "I love you too."
And then their world is torn apart. The two are separated for six months. Dallas who has military training soon finds himself in a leadership position, responsible for a group of survivors. But he never forgets, Raleigh, never betrays him, and never gives up on finding him. Raleigh is rescued by a friend of Dallas' and together they team up with a few others, scavenging and surviving as they can. 

Then one day, a miracle occurs; Raleigh and Dallas find each other. Great right? Not so great. Although their love for each other is as strong as it was, the apocalypse has changed them, made them stronger, different. Their roles have changed. Their relationship must adapt to their new situation. Can they make through as husband and husband? Or will the pressures prove to be too much? 
Being strong wasn't helping anymore, and he fell to the ground beside the bed where someone had already put his bags of belongings. With his back pressed against the frame of the bed and mattress, he buried his face into his knees and cried. He couldn't help it. He cried because there was no tomorrow. It didn't matter how long they lasted, they were going to die. If not physically, then mentally. Their personalities would die. Jesus, he'd already begun to dwindle internally. Not even Dallas being around him could help that. Having his husband there felt like a dream. 
The author did a very good job of world building and of putting her own spin on the zombie lore. As a fan of The Walking Dead, I enjoyed this story a lot, especially because it got into the sexual relationship side of things a little more than the show. :) Dallas and Raleigh are a loyal, loving couple, but their challenges are far from over. North of Zombieville ends on a Happy-For-Now note, as expected, and I'm hoping that there will be a sequel to their story!

OUR RATING: 4 stars!


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

ARC #REVIEW Power Play by Avon Gale #RomHero #mmromance #hockey

Genre: M/M Romance, part of the Second Chances series
Release Date: May 9, 2016
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Length: 201 pages

Description: A freak accident during the Stanley Cup Playoffs put an end to Max Ashford’s hockey career. Despite everything, Max gets back into the game he loves—only this time behind the bench, as an assistant coach of the Spartanburg Spitfires, the worst team in the entire league. But nothing prepares him for the shock when he learns the new head coach is Misha Samarin, the man who caused Max’s accident.

After spending years guilt-ridden for his part in Max’s accident, Russian native Misha Samarin has no idea what to do when he’s confronted with Max’s presence. Max’s optimism plays havoc with Misha’s equilibrium—as does the fierce attraction that springs up between them.

Not only must they navigate Misha’s remorse and a past he’s spent a lifetime trying to forget, but also a sleazy GM who is determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets a player, Misha revisits his darkest days, and that might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build.

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Determined to jump start ticket sales one way or another, the owner of the ECHL Spartanburg Spitfires hires Misha and Max as coach and assistant coach. Why is this a big deal? Because an accident during the NHL playoffs several years earlier ended both their careers. He's hoping that the inevitable hostility between the men will spark interest in his flagging team.
Max Ashford looked a lot different than Misha remembered.

Of course, the way Misha remembered Max was lying unmoving on the ice, still as a corpse. A sight he still saw sometimes, in the dark spaces where his dreams should be.
But while they don't give the owner the fire he wants, things aren't exactly relaxed between the two men. At least not until Max puts Misha at ease with his quiet ways and gentle humor, teasing him about his accent and occasional lack of knowledge of English slang. But Misha soon learns to turn the tables on Max.
"Fine. So we're keeping Drake?" Max put his head on the table and groaned. "He has a lip piercing."

"What was that? I can't hear you. Did you say he... has a hip replacement? He's so young."

Max lifted his head. Misha was calmly eating his dissected mozzarella stick and watching him with something that max was sure was amusement. "You have got to be kidding me."

Misha winked at him. Max's world tipped upside down and flipped sideways.
It was a real pleasure to see these two men working to overcome their pasts, the accident and its consequences, as they built up a winning team. Their relationship grows organically over the coarse of the season. Misha, having the most serious issues, is propped up lovingly by Max, who proves to be so much more than he lets on.

I loved both these men. Their story of triumph will make you smile and want to know more. Oh, and the sex scenes are hot and varied. The author did a great job of integrating them into the story line at just the right time and in the right way.

There are also some very interesting side characters in this story, some of whom will no doubt receive their own books. I can't wait to read them!

OUR RATING: 4.5 stars!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

ARC #REVIEW On The Outside by Louise Lyons #RomHero #mmromance

Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: April 30, 2016
Publisher:  Louise Lyons
Length: 112 pages

Description: When Craig Ferguson is released from prison after a year’s sentence for fighting, he returns home to his father and brother, and the family business. Throwing himself back into the life he left, with family, work, and women, Craig tries to forget his time on the inside, but there’s one thing he just can’t get out of his mind. 

Cell mate, Rocky Kirk, still has six months of his sentence to go, and after a year together in a tiny cell, Craig misses him more than he cares to admit. He does his best to forget, but when Rocky is released, and arrives on Craig’s doorstep, homeless and hurt, everything that happened between them comes flooding back. 

Craig’s family takes in Rocky, now known as Kirk, and gives him a home and a job, but he’s reluctant to join in with their partying, and never seems entirely comfortable in their home. A few months later Kirk announces he has to leave, and when Craig presses him for an explanation, Kirk blurts out that his unwanted feelings for his friend are hurting him too much to stay. His admission changes everything, but Craig’s uncertainty, and fears of his father discovering their secret, threatens to ruin anything that could develop between them. 

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The premise of this story is intriguing: two men who share a cell, also share their bodies. Of course, it's just for sexual release... right?

Craig and Kirk are in prison for minor drug crimes. They end up cellmates and friends, and their friendship keeps them safe from the other inmates. But at night, they are more than friends. When Craig is released, six months before Kirk, he returns home to his brother and father. Now these two are interesting. On weekends, father and sons prowl the bars for women that they bring back home for a night of fun. (It's a little weird, but I have discovered that men feel quite differently about this subject than women do.) Craig is determined to get back into the groove of things. A discussion with his good friend Ben makes him realize that he wants more than one-night stands. 
"When did you become Mr. Faithful?"

"I guess I'm bored with fucking around."

"Well, then, you need to do some different things and meet more people. Join a gym or something. The one I go to has plenty of hot women prancing around in leotards."

I considered what he said. It couldn't hurt to take up a new interest. all I did was work, hang out with Dad and Stuart, and occasionally Ben, and wish I was doing something else. I'd been satisfied before, but being locked up twenty-four seven for a year changed my outlook.
The problem is that Craig wants what he'd had with Kirk: the friendship, the easy connection, the fulfilling sex. When memories of his time with Kirk turn into fantasies, Craig is deeply troubled. He isn't gay. It was just sex. His struggle is real.
It wasn't the first time I'd thought about him like that in the past few months. Each time I forced the thoughts away and convinced myself I remembered it because there'd only been him for a year. It didn't matter that his mouth felt better than any woman's; that his rough hands and hard body fired me up like soft feminine curves didn't. It was all in my head.
Several months later, when Kirk is released, he shows up on Craig's doorstep in need of a job and a place to stay. Craig's father lets him move into their spare bedroom and gives him a job in their construction company. 

I enjoyed seeing Craig and Kirk's friendship deepen as they get to know each other outside of prison. His acceptance of his true sexuality is slow, but believable. And his reluctance to come out to his family is even more so. Each step of the way I felt for him and for Kirk, who comes with his own sad story. 

All in all, I liked On the Outside. It is short and could have been further developed, the characters fleshed out more. But it is a  touching story, and Craig and Kirk are sweet. So if you like short and sweet romance with tender-hearted heroes, this is the book for you!

OUR RATING: 4 stars

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

ARC #REVIEW The Heart As He Hears It by A. M. Arthur #mmromance #romhero #disability

Genre: M/M Romance, part of Perspectives series
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Length: 253 pages

DescriptionLove can slip through the smallest crack in the door.

While most of his friends have moved on to “real” careers, Jon Buchanan is content skating through life as a part-time waiter and gay porn star. Firmly single thanks to a previous relationship disaster, he focuses his spare time on Henry, a dear friend dying of cancer.

And with Henry’s happiness paramount, Jon is on a mission to help Henry meet his recently discovered grandson.

Isaac Gregory hasn’t set foot outside for the past year. He has everything he needs delivered, and his remaining family knows better than to visit. When a complete stranger shows up claiming to be his grandfather—with a distractingly handsome younger man in tow—his carefully structured routines are shaken.

Despite his instant attraction, Jon senses Isaac is too fragile for a relationship. Yet tentative friendship grows into genuine companionship. And when Henry’s health begins to fail, they realize Fate brought them together for a reason.

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One of the things I love most about Arthur's stories is that she doesn't shy away from making heroes of the most unlikely characters, and with The Heart As He Hears It, she doesn't disappoint. 

Jon Buchanan is a porn star with body image issues brought on by a bad relationship with a controlling and cruel boyfriend. Issac is a man who's past traumas have left him hearing impaired and agoraphobic. What an unlikely pair! And one that pulled at my heartstrings. How could I not be moved by Jon's kindness and loyalty or by Isaac's sad story and his awakening desire for a better life?
The one task he hated most was the simplest and hardest to do--walking the trash and recycling bags to the curb the morning of pickup. The trip to the sidewalk was twenty feet, and the task took less than forty seconds, because he ran, but for those forty seconds he was exposed. Daylight or not, he had no protection from the outside world, and he always spend the next half hour sick and shaking.

Good thing he didn't have to do that until Thursday.
The world Isaac has built himself is rigid with routine, safe in its regularity. Every aspect of his day is regimented, scheduled, and in lock-step. But all that changes on the day Aunt Nerina shows up on his stoop accompanied by an older man, who claims to be his grandfather, and a gorgeous guy who has suddenly has Isaac thinking all kinds of new thoughts.  
The beautiful man who'd yet to speak or be introduced was even more beautiful up close. He was as tall as Isaac, with the muscle definition of someone who spent a lot of time exercising. Maybe he owned one of those machines Isaac frequently saw advertised during daytime television programs. He smelled like something spicy and warm, probably cologne.

Isaac enjoyed the scent very much.
It was fun to see Jon and Isaac's relationship evolve into something more, which is quite a challenge because Isaac is a virgin, very naive about sex and love, while Jon is a porn star. The way Jon handles Isaac's questions, with gravity and a touch of humor, is really endearing. 

Although I didn't feel as attached to Isaac and Jon as I did to Gabe and, especially, Tristan (The World As He Sees It), I did love their story, the way Jon slowly made a place for himself in Isaac's overly-structured world, how he became Isaac's "safe" place. I also loved how Isaac helped Jon to see himself as he really is and not how others have made him to feel. Their affection was sweet and genuine, and the sex when it comes is great!

If you love damaged heroes who make each other whole again, you'll love The Heart As He Hears It.

OUR RATING: 4 stars


Check out our 5-star review of The World As He Sees It here.

Friday, May 13, 2016

ARC #REVIEW Alien Conception by Max Walker #mmromance #scifi #romhero #mpreg

Genre: M/M Science Fiction Romance, part of The Traveler Series (can be read as a standalone)
Release Date: March 19, 2016
Publisher:  Max Walker
Length: 367 pages

Description: Ryan Diaz thought his life was on track. A boring track, but a track none-the-less. He expected to keep his mind-numbing job, find a girl to marry, and then settle down in a decent sized house with decently smart kids.

But, as we all know, life never follows the plans.

After a night out, Ryan finds himself face to face with a man that promises to change his life forever. And this man? He happens to be an alien who sports an incredible six pack and a massive... ship.

Their initial meeting not only shocks Ryan, but also awakens a part of him he never knew he had. Now, he has to come to terms with his explosive new feelings for the alien and submit to the plans fate has in store for them.

Will Ryan be able to handle this new life and the challenges it brings? Or will he find that being a boring paper pusher was what he was meant to do after all?

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After reading Alien Visitor, the first book in The Traveler Series, I was interested to read Ryan's story. Alien Conception is much in keeping with the style of the first book. However, this one goes a step beyond, into the fascinating world of mpreg (male pregnancy). Given that mpreg is a guilty pleasure of mine, I was curious to see how this author would explain the "science" behind a human male carrying a child to term. As it turns out, Max Walker did a very credible job, and I give him kudos for that. This book is longer than the first and much more developed.

When the story opens, Ryan has just found out that his best friend Jacob (the hero of Alien Visitor) is gay. Ryan accepts it easily, and Jacob acts as his wingman one last time, because Ryan has his eyes set on his lay-for-the-night and she has a friend. Back at Jacob's place, they are suddenly interrupted by a search and rescue team come to find Bena-drez (Jacob's alien boyfriend). The S&R team, Maxxam and Sarih-ja, arrive stark naked. Ryan finds himself drawn to Maxxam, not Sarih-ja, and he can't keep his eyes from taking Max in.
"Come," Maxxam extended a hand. "I'll explain it all."

Ryan looked at the hand, then back up at Maxxam. His chiseled face seemed warm all of a sudden. the power and dominance that had been there seconds ago gave way to a gentle smile that brightened his features and sent a shockwave through Ryan. 
Ryan has already seen everything Maxxam has to offer, but seeing himwearing clothes was almost as powerful. Suddenly, images of Ryan hooking a thumb under the waistband of those shorts and pulling them down to the floor was the only thing Ryan could think of doing.
What follows is a very heated self-discovery for Ryan, who must come to terms with his change in sexual orientation. He's never been attracted to men, much less tall, oddly-colored alien men.
"No, this doesn't make sense. I'm not gay. I've never been with a dude before, I never thought I'd..."

"Want one as badly as you do? I forgot humans seem to have not grown past the silly labels and boxes that have been so ingrained in your culture. consider yourself, in this moment, as a completely individual person, set apart from the rest of the world. You have your own wants, desires, rules, emotions, lust. Everything is individual. No one has a one-size fits all equation. Consider that maybe you never met the right man who had the power to awaken this side of you. Consider that man to be me." 
I won't go into detail about the sex in this story, other than to say that it is HOT. Pregnancy makes Ryan horny and Maxxam is nothing if not devoted to assuaging Ryan's every need. And I really wish Nistal worms existed. They seem like loads of fun!

The whole pregnancy itself is well done. The emotions the two character experience over the pending arrival of their child are very believable. And, thankfully, the author avoids dipping into gender-stereotypical behaviors and roles for these two, who are so not stereotypical.

If you enjoy a good romance with some hot sex and mpreg thrown in for additional fun, you'll enjoy Alien Conception.

OUR RATING:  4 stars!

Find our review of Alien Visitor, the first book in Max Walker's The Traveler Series, here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

ARC #REVIEW Full Strength by V.L. Locey #mmromance #romhero #sports

Genre: M/M Romance, Book 3 of the Point Shot series
Release Date: March 23, 2016
Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc
Length: 129 pages

Description: What a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago, Victor Kalinski was one of the best and most controversial ice hockey players in the pros. This year he’s playing in the minors, has a paternity case pending, and has just been vindictively outed to the world by one of his own teammates.

But he seems to find life in the tiny town of Cayuga to his liking. A large part of that is Dan Arou, the Cougars’ alternate captain and the man who now holds Victor’s heart. Surely venomous, viper-tongued Victor hasn’t been mellowed by love!

Well, perhaps a little. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t intend to get sweet revenge on those who’ve hurt the man he loves and the friends he’s somehow made along the way.

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To prepare for this review, I was graciously provided copies of Two Man Advantage and Game Misconduct, the first two books in the Point Shot series. Why? Because this series must definitely be read in order.

Victor Kalinski is a foul-mouthed, sarcastic redheaded Polish man who's angry at the world, and that anger gets him into serious trouble, over and over again. Victor is also one of the best things about this series. He is hilarious, and although he starts out as a royal asshole, his relationship with Dan Arou makes him a better man.

Daniel Arou is his teammate on the Cayuga Cougars. A short-statured Canadian Inuit, Dan is a gentle bear who shows his claws and dominance whenever Victor gets too uppity. But Dan has problems of his own--the most important being trying to forgive Victor for the mistake he made and learning to accept Victor's baby momma.
I stepped into my dress slacks and pulled them over my ass. "Italian-Scots talk as funny as you Canucks."

"I've got five Loonies that says you're wrong," Dan countered.

"Stop. Stop with the Loonie, Toonie, double-double with a box of Timbits shit. It makes my freaking eyes water trying to decipher what you're saying half the time."
As part of his agreement with the team owners, Victor is forced to attend counseling sessions with the team shrink to deal with his issues and learn to control his anger. Even his shrink, whom he calls Mrs. Weasley because she's matronly and has red hair, doesn't escape Victor's wit.
Damn shrink was sharp. I had to give her that. She was also persistent. She whittled away at your defenses, wiggling into any tiny hole she could make, then feasting on your pulpy goodness like a pine borer larva.
And despite the fact that he's a sharp-tongued hard ass, Victor is also pure jello when it comes to Dan.
Dan opened his eyes. Instantly I was lost in those brilliant blue pools. You know things are bad when Vic K. starts sounding like some goofy character in a gay romance, but there it is. I do get lost in his eyes, his voice, the way he skates, the touch of his hip against mine in bed and the smile that's meant for me and only me.
With its mix of humor, drama, and colorful cast of characters, Full Strength is the perfect culmination to this three-book series. Readers will be thrilled with where V.L. Locey takes the story, and like me, they'll want more Vic and Dan!

OUR RATING: 4.5 stars!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

#REVIEW The World As He Sees It by A.M. Arthur #mmromance #romhero

Genre: M/M Romance, part of the Perspectives series
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Length: 278 pages

Description: Love knows no limits…but fear could keep them from seeing it.

Gabe lives a double life. As Gabriel Henson, he works multiple jobs to support his remorseless, alcoholic mother. As Tony Ryder, he does internet porn for extra cash and regular safe sex without complications.

Yet when he encounters a scared young man freaking out in a night club, he’s compelled to reach out. Ever since then, the memory of that young man has haunted him.

Tristan Lavelle lives his life thirty minutes at a time. After a traumatic brain injury three years ago, he gets through his day recording his life in spiral notebooks and sticky note reminders.

A month after Tristan’s embarrassingly public meltdown, another chance meeting with Gabe sparks a warm, emotionally fulfilling email relationship. Both men crave more, but fear of the next step stands between them.

Until Tristan gets the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial that could improve his memory—if the side effects don’t kill him. But for Tristan, the possibility of a real life with Gabe is worth any risk…

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I absolutely LOVED this book. From the first page to the last page, I was captivated by Tristan and Gabe's story. But to be honest, I've been awaiting Tristan's story since first reading The Truth as He Knows It (Perspectives Book 1), where we first meet Tristan and Gabe.

Three years earlier, Tristan and his best friend Noel were gay-bashed, leaving Tristan with a traumatic brain injury that causes him to forget everything after thirty minutes. Fortunately, he at least remembers everything prior to the accident, so he remembers Noel, the only person in his life who has stuck by him.

Gabe and Tristan meet one day when Tristan, desperate to get laid, escapes his adult care facility and ends up at Big Dick's, a bar owned by Gabe's two dads. Thirty minutes later, when Tristan loses his memory and has a meltdown, Gabe is the one who helps him. 

Big Dick's. Big Dick's. Big Dick's. Big dicks. Big dicks. Big--why am I thinking about big dicks?

Tristan Lavelle blinked out the windshield at the scenery going by, somehow both familiar and new. He wasn't driving, which was a good thing. He hadn't driven a car in a long time. Since the accident. The accident was why he couldn't remember something he'd been thinking about... something. Dicks?

This encounter sets the stage for The World As He Sees It. Gabe has been shooting porn as a way to pay the bills for his alcoholic mother, a woman who can't see her son's dedication to her, but has no trouble spending all his money on things she neither wants nor needs. 

Tristan may have a faulty memory when it comes to right now, but he has no trouble knowing what he wants, and that something is Gabe. The brain trauma has taken a lot from him, but not his sex drive. Nor his funny quirkiness. 

"Hey, you guys made it," said a sexy, sultry voice.

Tristan glanced over his shoulder to see who the voice had spoken to, only to find himself staring into a pair of kind, dark eyes. Kind, dark eyes belonging to a stunningly handsome face. Black hair. Tan skin. Tall and well-built. a walking wet dream who was smiling like they were old friends.

Holy fucking hell, he's gorgeous.

"Hey, Gabe," Shane said.


Those kind, dark eyes never broke from his, and Tristan couldn't look away. Gabe was a stranger, yet somehow familiar.

His eyes. The eyes I see. We've met.

Despite being in porn, Gabe is sweet and giving, and exactly what Tristan needs to regain the fun-loving and impulsive side of himself. 

Tristan tilted his head in an assessing way. "I don't do this a lot."

"Do what?"

"Talk about myself with complete strangers."

"Well, we're not complete strangers." He glanced at the clock above the bar. "We've known each other at least five hours now."

Tristan chuckled, a soft, raspy sound that sent tingles down Gabe's spine. "So I can upgrade you to incomplete stranger?"

This time Gabe laughed. "I don't mind, if it means we get to keep talking."

"Definitely. I don't think I've made very many new friends these last few years."

"Then consider one made."

"Excellent. As long as you're not offended when I forget your name in a little while."

The author does a fabulous job in making the reader experience the world as Tristan does--in bits and pieces, some familiar, most not. Our hearts ache with his and Gabe's each time he forgets someone or has to consult one of his many notebooks.

But we also feel their joy when the trial drug starts to improve Tristan's memory, and we feel their fears that the drug could fail. I loved how we faced these fears with Tristan and Gabe, how we supported them through the setbacks and celebrated their successes.

The World As He Sees It is a story of unconditional love, of overcoming challenges, and of being grateful for what we have. Everyone should read it!

OUR RATING: 5 stars

Friday, April 22, 2016

ARC #REVIEW Black Dust by Lynn Charles #mmromance #romhero

Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: April 7, 2016
Publisher: Interlude Press
Length: 312 pages

Description: No matter how busy he keeps himself, successful Broadway musician Tobias Spence can’t outrun the memory of a tragic car crash in his past that claimed a friend’s life and permanently injured his former boyfriend, Emmett.

Even after losing Tobias, Emmett Henderson made peace with that awful night; he lives in his Indiana hometown, where he has become a revered choral director. When his students are asked to perform in New York City, he decides to chance reconnecting with his former love, if for no other reason than to get a proper goodbye.

When Emmett and Tobias finally meet 15 years after parting ways, it is clear to both of them that their feelings for each other have not changed. As they explore their renewed relationship, the two men face old hurts and the new challenges of a long-distance romance. Will Tobias lose his second chance at love to the ghosts he can’t seem to put to rest?

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Black Dust is the bittersweet story of two young men whose world is torn apart by a tragic accident that kills a friend and leaves Emmett severely injured. When the threat of not being able to walk again gets to be too much, Emmett lashes out at the well-meaning, but guilt-ridden Tobias. Tobias leaves and the story continues fifteen years later in New York City. But is their reunion hello or goodbye?
"Okay, so forget the accident, since we've never seen eye to eye on that. Tobias left you, Emmett. He left you lying in a pile in our hallway, unable to get up by yourself, while he traipsed back to New York to become rich and famous. You are worth more than that."

"He left because I was horrible to him. No one would have stayed for that."

"You were in pain, Emmett. Your life had been taken from you."

"And yet, here I am. A viable member of society, living a pretty damned good life."

"He left you at your weakest."

"Maybe, Mom... maybe he left me at his weakest."
Both men struggle with their memories, with their guilt and regrets. Emmett appears to be the more well-balanced of the two, but is he really? Both men have buried their anger and their despair. They've never discussed what happened to them, never discussed the death of their friend. 
It wasn't as if Toby had never dealt with Emmett's iciness before. He knew full well that an extra change of emotional clothes was an occasional need in living with and loving that man.
Emmett has used casual sex to cover up his pain and loss, while Tobias has dived head-first into his career. Both have shied away from meaningful relationships and when they meet again, they finally recognize the reasons for that. 

Music and theater are weaved into this story from beginning to end in a magical, beautiful way. Music and theater are what first brought Tobias and Emmett together and it is what ultimately leads to their healing. 

Our one negative comment is that we'd have liked to know more about both characters beyond their inner struggles. Although we learn a little about Emmett's parents and his friends, we know virtually nothing about the people in Tobias' life, other than his friend Malik. Granted, some of that is because he's kept all his relationships so superficial, but still. 

Black Dust is a beautiful story of true love, debilitating loss, and second chances. If you love music and believe in its power to heal, this is the story for you!

OUR RATING: 4.5 stars!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

ARC #REVIEW After the Scrum by Dahlia Donovan #mmromance #romhero

Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: April 1, 2016
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Length: 163 pages

Description: Caddock ‘The Brute’ Stanford lost his brother and rugby career within the same year. The once man-about-town is now a has-been and guardian to his young nephew. Not sure where life will go after the scrum, he decides to purchase a pub in the Cornwall village of Looe. He never expects to fall in lust—and then love. 

Francis Keen hides his crippling anxiety behind his eccentric habits, lush interior design, and beloved dog, Sherlock. Alone by choice after an attack in college left him emotionally scarred, he lives by the sea with his gran, resigned to working small jobs for local businesses. Revamping the pub for the new owner is right up his alley—especially when he realizes who the owner is.Two men, so different, on track for a romantic collision. Can they survive the impact?

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What do a retired rugby player who suddenly finds himself the guardian of his four-year-old nephew and an anxiety-ridden interior designer from a small Cornwall village have in common? Nothing! But opposites attract and that's half the fun.

After the Scrum is a fun story filled with British humor. The chemistry between Caddock and Francis is apparent from their first meeting. Their banter is witty and thoughtful. Of course, Francis is a little odd. He talks to his therapy dog Sherlock and names his car (Watson).
"How do you know he's allergic to sheep?" A deep, almost raspy voice queried from further back in the bar. It might possibly be the most orgasm-inducing voice Francis had ever heart. A deep, gravelly timbre with only the barest hint of an accent. He'd wager the man attached to it would be large--hopefully in all the best ways.

"So? How'd you know he's allergic?" Mr. Orgasmic Voice prompted impatiently, disrupting Francis's wild fantasies.

"I asked him."

"You asked him? Are you mad?" His footsteps moved closer.

"Only on Sundays."
The reasons behind Francis's eccentricities aren't so funny though, and they are one of the things that both draws us to Francis and makes Caddock endearing. Because "The Brute" never seeks to change Francis, he only seeks to help him and love him. I loved how each character completely accepted the other, despite, or maybe because, of how different they were to each other.
Twenty minutes later, the two sat in the much larger Range Rover in awkward silence, still parked by the curb. They looked everywhere but at each other. Sherlock had already made himself at home on a pile of blankets in the back seat.

"All right, sod this, we're getting this out of the way now."

It was the only warning Francis received before Caddock had a hand in his hair, dragging him into a kiss. He held him there until they'd gotten their fill of each other--for now. Released back to his seat, he could only blink repeatedly, trying to settle his breathing while Caddock started the vehicle.

Francis shook his head when he caught Ruth on a nearby pavement giving him the thumbs up. "It'll be around the village in an hour, but they'll be telling everyone we were starkers."

"I could rip your shirt off," Caddock offered helpfully with a hint of a leer. "Could be a great way to pass the time, staring at you."

"Stare at the road," Francis snapped at him, annoyed at the flush of colour that moved up his neck and cheeks. A strong, warm hand gripped his thigh and stayed there. It was going to be a long bloody drive. "Focus on the road."

"I can multitask."
This story also has some amusing secondary characters. I particularly enjoyed Caddock's nephew Devlin. Maybe I'm just a sucker for men and small children. Francis's grandmother is also quite a riot.

I like how the author weaved the sex into the story, giving each scene its own flavor. While not detailed like in erotica (this is a contemporary romance), there is a very slight hint of BDSM in After the Scrum, including a fun wax-play type scene involving chocolate fondue!

If you enjoy small-town stories about mild-mannered slightly-eccentric British gentlemen who love dogs, children, and grandmothers, After the Scrum is for you!

OUR RATING: 4 stars


Sunday, April 17, 2016

ARC #REVIEW More Than Love by Amelia Bishop #mmromance #romhero

Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: March 25, 2016
Publisher:  Amelia Bishop
Length: 198 pages

Description: Dan watched the people in his life settle down, get married, and have kids, while he cycled through a seemingly endless string of break-ups and disappointing relationship fails. So when Ian, the college boyfriend Dan never quite forgot, comes back to town and wants to get together, Dan jumps at a second chance with the one who got away. And despite his track record, he holds out hope that he and Ian might make it work this time.

While Ian is still just as sweet and sexy as he ever was back in college, he’s also harder, slicker, and more secretive than Dan remembers. As a cop, Dan’s suspicions are roused by Ian’s behavior. As a man, he wants nothing more than to ignore those worries and fall headfirst into their new relationship. If Ian is a criminal, turning him in will break Dan’s heart. But ignoring his crimes could ruin Dan’s career.

Sometimes, what destroys us are not the things we fear, but our fears themselves.

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More Than Love begins with a dead drug dealer, graffiti on the wall of a university storage building, and a text message to an ex-boyfriend. When the ex-boyfriend, Ian, texts Dan back asking him to pick him up at the airport, a series of romantic and mysterious events begin to snowball.

Ian is the guy Dan let get away because he was too closeted to have a normal relationship. Dan is the guy who didn't fight for Ian, the guy Ian never forgot. The story flashes back to Ian and Dan's time in college. I really enjoyed these glimpses of the past that revealed so much about how each man had changed.. and how they'd remained the same.
Out of the corner of his eye he caught Ian biting the edge of his thumbnail. He slid his gaze over to get a better view and noted Ian's frown and pinched brows. Dan wanted to touch him, comfort him somehow, but it was too soon for that. He kept his hands on the wheel. "So, what brings you back home?"

Ian straightened in his seat, his face quickly snapping into a composed smile, hands resting professionally on his knees. "Well, it's a long story." He chuckled, a phony sound, and his smile stretched wider. "The company I was working for had some legal issues, nothing serious, but I decided it was a good time to change. I'm thinking of starting a new business here. A friend of mine has a business he's looking to expand, and I'm buying in. I hope."

"Oh? What kind of business?" Dan pulled off the highway and turned the car toward Ian's hotel.

"Direct sales network marketing." Ian said it with the slickness of a well-rehearsed sales pitch, and Dan's heart broke a little at the distance it put between them."
When life brings them back together, can they find their way back to a future together? It's something both men want, but Ian's shady business dealings and his newly acquired upper-middle class status have Dan's cop alarms ringing like crazy. Suspicion sets in and begins to destabilize their deepening relationship.

This second chance story has all the best elements of a romantic suspense: a good mystery, a hot romance, great secondary characters and storylines. Each man has a very interesting family life that has affected their view of what they want dramatically. For example, Dan's mother has Alzheimer's and Ian's father is an alcoholic. There are some incredibly sweet moments in this story, hitting a great range of emotional highs and lows.
Dan shrugged. "It sucks seeing her confused and miserable. I feel like she's dying right in front of me, just, really slowly."

Ian's face scrunched up in sympathy. "I know about that. I mean, it's a different thing, but I've been watching my dad die for a few years now. I get it."

Dan nodded. "Yeah." He forced a smile. "Hey, you know what? Life is short. Let's dance."
There are a few things about More Than Love that I found very refreshing: one, this is an interracial romance that doesn't make a big deal about race, and two, it's one of the only m/m romances I've read where penetrative sex is not on the menu. The author manages to keep the heat high and the variety strong in all the sex scenes without it. Very nice!

OUR RATING: 4.5 stars!