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!

Friday, April 15, 2016

ARC #REVIEW Imperfect Harmony by Jay Northcote #mmromance #romhero

Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: April 15, 2016
Publisher:  Jaybird Press
Length: 189 pages

Description: Imperfect harmony can still be beautiful…

John Fletcher, a former musician, is stuck in limbo after losing his long-term partner two years ago. He’s shut himself off from everything that reminds him of what he’s lost. When his neighbour persuades him to join the local community choir, John rediscovers his love of music and finds a reason to start living again.

Rhys Callington, the talented and charismatic choir leader, captures John’s attention from the first moment they meet. He appears to be the polar opposite of John: young, vibrant, and full of life. But Rhys has darkness in his own past that is holding him back from following his dreams.

Despite the nineteen-year age gap, the two men grow close and a fragile relationship blossoms. Ghosts of the past and insecurities about the future threaten their newfound happiness. If they’re going to harmonise in life and love as they do in their music, they’ll need to start following the same score.

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Imperfect Harmony is the lyrically written character-driven story of two men with very sad pasts. One is a man in the middle of his life, conventional, set in his ways, and still recovering from the loss of his partner of twenty years. The other is a young man, a little flamboyant, a lot him, who is struggling to rebuild his life after a regrettable accident takes the life of his bandmate and partner. Neither one feels ready to move on, but both need to.

When John first meets Rhys at choir practice, his reaction is telling.
"Oh, um... I'm John." John floundered, pinned by the bright blue of Rhys's eyes and expectant smile. His heart beat faster, and long-forgotten neural pathways lit up as he felt a surprising flicker of interest in another man for the first time in years. 
As the title would imply, it is their mutual love for music that brings these two musicians together. It is what ultimately heals their souls.
John started slowly, quietly. Rhys recognized the tune although he couldn't place it. Haunting and heartbreakingly beautiful, the music grew to fill the room. It cut through Rhys making the lump grow in his throat and tears prickle in his eyes. The melody wasn't in a minor key, yet there was somehow loss woven into every note--sadness, and a yearning that was almost unbearable.

But there was hope too, and as John drew out the final notes, Rhys was left breathless, wanting, and full of too many emotions to name.
The relationship between John and Rhys begins with friendship, two people in need of companionship. Music is the glue that bonds them. The story itself moves slowly, mimicing the build of the romance (slow burn). 

Imperfect Harmony is very realistic. I felt as though Rhys and John could be two guys know. I loved that. My only minor quibble is that I felt the story lacked a little intensity. Overall, this novel is excellent proof of how love and music can help us to overcome the worst of ordeals.

OUR RATING: 4 stars!


Monday, April 11, 2016

#COVERREVEAL - Lover on Top by Kristine Cayne --> Hot #mmromance For Readers Who Love Men in Uniform! #RomHero #lgbt

Are you ready to see the smoking hot cover of Lover on Top
Close your eyes. No peeking! One, two, three.
Lift that tarp!


TitleLover on Top
Series: Six-Alarm Sexy series (but can be enjoyed as a standalone)
Author: Kristine Cayne
Genre: M/M romance
Cover Photographer: Andre DeLoach/Empyrean Photography
Cover Models: Matt Schiermeier and Cameron Earnheart

Sexy-as-sin paramedic Chad Caldwell has always been out and proud. Sure, some gay-bashers are harassing him, but he’s determined to be true to himself. There’s just one problem: He’s hung up on Hollywood, his older brother’s straight best friend. When Hollywood’s apartment is damaged by fire, Chad reluctantly takes him in. Will Chad’s heart survive such close proximity to a man who’s both unattainable and everything Chad wants?
A perpetual bachelor, firefighter lieutenant Hollywood Wright hops from one woman’s bed to another, searching for something he never finds. Has his father’s emotional and physical abuse somehow damaged him? Or is something else going on, something that involves the intense and uncomfortable feelings aroused by his best friend’s little brother?
To their mutual surprise, Hollywood finds Chad and his world fascinating—and much hotter than anything he’s ever experienced. But with a rabidly homophobic father, is Hollywood doomed to die in the closet? Chad won’t accept anything less than a public relationship, no matter how amazing the sex is. Can Hollywood ever accept the man he’s always buried deep inside?

Excerpt from Lover on Top

Hollywood’s focus rose to Chad’s eyes, and held. “I know what I want now.”

Unable to believe, hell, unable to think, under the force of that seductive green assault, Chad’s blood roared southward. He licked his lips. “And what’s that?”

The fire in Hollywood’s eyes flared, turning Chad’s blood into lava as he waited, feet on the edge of a cliff, for Hollywood’s response.


Chad swayed. “Oh boy.”

Stepping back, Hollywood chuckled, clearly aware of his effect on Chad. “Get that look off your face. I’m keeping my hands to myself tonight.”

“All night?” The words barely out of his mouth, Chad winced at the disappointment in his voice. But, Jesus, he was disappointed. For months now—no, if he were being honest, it had been years—he’d been dreaming of what it would be like to hold Hollywood, to kiss and touch him, to sink his cock between those muscled ass cheeks. Not that he expected to do all that tonight, or anytime soon, but something. Christ, he needed something.

Hollywood gently tapped his cheek and snorted. “At least until after dessert, Loverboy.”

Loverboy. Chad felt as though he’d entered some kind of twilight zone or an alternate universe where a determined, confident Hollywood said all the things Chad desperately wanted to hear. “Is that what I am to you?”

Hollywood brushed two fingers along the edge of Chad’s hairline and wiped away the beads of sweat popping out as Chad’s heart hammered faster and faster. “It’s what I’d like you to be.” He moved closer and, slipping his hands under Chad’s topcoat, pushed it off his shoulders.

Chad shuddered as the coat slid down his arms and dropped onto the carpeted floor with a muted thud. Taking a deep, calming breath, Chad leaned in so his chest was almost touching Hollywood’s. “Where is all this self-assurance coming from?”

He hoped like hell this new version of Hollywood stuck around, because this man was hot-as-fuck. Not only did Hollywood not take the expected step back, he took one forward, pressing their chests fully against each other. “I’ve done a lot of thinking in the past couple of days.”

“Oh, yeah? And?”

Hollywood grabbed Chad’s ass and ground against him. “And I’ve missed you.”

Feeling Hollywood’s hard-on against his own, Chad’s head reeled. He’d missed Hollywood too. So fucking much. And here they were, hard cocks rubbing together.

Dreams did come true.

About the Author

Kristine Cayne's books have won numerous awards and acclaim. Her first book, Deadly Obsession, was an RT Book Reviews Top Pick and won Best Romance in the 2012 eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards. Her second book, Deadly Addiction, won two awards at the 2014 eFestival of Words and 1st place in the INDIE Awards, Romantic Suspense Category (a division of Chanticleer Book Reviews Blue Ribbon Writing Contests).
Her book Under His Command won Best BDSM Romance at the 2012 Sizzling Awards and was a finalist in the 2013 eFestival of Words and 2013 RONE (Reward of Novel Excellence) Awards, and her book Everything Bared was a finalist in the Erotic category of the I Heart Indie awards.
To learn more about Kristine and her stories, visit her website,

Other Books in the Six-Alarm Sexy Series
Aftershocks (Prequel)
Under His Command (Book One)
Everything Bared (Book Two)
Handle with Care (In-between Novella)
Six-Alarm Sexy, Volume One
(ebook and print, Aftershocks and Under His Command)
Six-Alarm Sexy, Volume Two
(ebook and print, Everything Bared and Handle with Care)

Available from your favorite ebook seller!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

ARC #REVIEW Not Human Enough by Kazy Reed #mmromance #romhero

Genre: M/M Romance, part of The Amsel Clan series (can be read as a standalone)
Release Date: April 8, 2016
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Length: 184 pages

Description: Jake Reinbach is the son of vampires. He is also a high-school senior, hoping to live as normal a life as possible within the human world, but his bright purple eyes and vampire parents make him an outcast. When falsely accused of threatening a classmate, Jake is forced to withdraw from school, and back into the clan in which he was raised. He is devastated, but a young human comes to his door one evening with a startling confession.

Will Hayden is secretly attracted to Jake, and is bereft when the young vampire leaves public school. Fascinated with immortals, Will unfortunately lives in a household where hatred of vampires is part of the daily diet. He realizes his father is entangled in a conspiracy against the vampires, and he goes to Jake’s family and tells them of his suspicions. When he then confesses his feelings toward Jake, he sets in motion a series of events that will change his life—and Jake’s—forever.

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Not Human Enough has it all: sweet romance, sizzling sex, bad guys, good guys, and high-stakes drama!

Through the expedience of medical technology, Jake is the human son of vampires. He doesn't quite fit in anywhere. Will is the son of a vampire slayer, so how can things end well when he falls for Jake? In his mind, it can't, so for years, he watches Will from afar... until Will leaves school.

This part of the story is very sweet and tender as the boys experience their first love and first sexual experiences. There is also a lot of humor as Jake's family is on hand... with vampire hearing... if you get my point. LOL

But all too soon, things begin to change... Jake and Will begin to change. What is going on? Who or what are they really? There are many twists and turns in this story, all tied into an over-arching battle between law-abiding vampires and vigilante slayers... remember Will's parents?

The author does a great job of including secondary characters into this novel, making it more than a simple coming of age story. Each of the other characters (many of whom are members of Jake's extended "family," introduced in the first book in this series) brings their own special something to the story. We feel their abiding love for each other, their desire to protect their family, their children, and their mates.

There are many humorous scenes in Not Human Enough that show just how "normal" life in this alternative reality can be. This first example takes place after Christian, Jake's uncle, decides that Jake is old enough not to have parental controls on his computer. Of course, the first thing he does it is check out some porn sites:
I forced my fingers to move, closed my eyes, and hit enter. When I opened them, I laughed nervously. "Holy fuck."

Immediately, Dad knocked on my door. "You okay?"

I jumped, and banged my knee on the underside of my desk. "I'm fine," I said breathlessly.

"Watch your language."

Here's another example between Jake and Will:
The light turned green and our virtual sports cars zipped along an impossibly scenic track. Will distracted me by asking, "Are you going to turn into a vampire?"

My car went soaring off the cliff, and my wrist cuffs heated a little. Will laughed. Then the magic hand of the Gaming God lifted my car back onto the track. I hit the gas and answered without looking at him. "That's the thinking, but I'm not sure when. There've been other vampires who've had kids through the same process, but I'm one of the oldest ones. I don't know if any of the others have changed yet. I'll never be able to have a normal life after that."

"Why not?"

"Because we have to spend the first six years in a subterranean cave with bats."

It was Will's turn to skid out of control, so I flew past him and over the finish line, laughing my ass off. He punched me in the arm. "Very funny, fucker."
Not Human Enough is a wonderful coming-of-age story, in unusual circumstances. Both boys are forced to deal with adult issues that take on a much grander importance in the ongoing battle between vampires and slayers. This story is a great mix of suspense, sweet romance, sweaty sex, deep love, and family drama. Although the writing is good, it could be tightened some more. There are a few clunky spots, but overall, the flow and the pacing of the story is good.

OUR RATING: 4 stars


#REVIEW Torn and Frayed by Rodd Clark #gayfiction #romhero

Genre: Gay fiction, crime fiction, part of the Gabriel Church Tale series
Release Date: January 9, 2016
Publisher:  Driven Press
Length: 277 pages

Description: “Conscience isn’t something all people are born with...”

Gabriel Church is a portrait in contrast. It would be easy to get lost in his pale-blue eyes, ache with the need to feel the strength of his masculine frame. He appears to be nothing but animal and instinct. The only people who know the full depth of that truth are dead, murdered, or two thousand miles away.

Gabe is a serial killer. For the first time in his life, he has more on his mind than his own survival. This time he is running from Seattle to protect the only person he thinks innocent in his laundry list of crime and murder: Christian Maxwell, his biographer and unexpected lover. Drawn to a place he never thought to return, Gabe finds new and different realities. Realities that insist he let go of his tragic past, those incredible perceptions of God, and his own divinity. He must open his eyes to what the love of a good man can do to heal a broken soul.

But when the killer is confronted by his own willingness to love and sacrifice, he is forced to ultimately ask the question: Just how far will he go to save a life . . . when all he’s ever done is take them?

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This second book in the Gabriel Church saga is, in some ways, even more powerful than the first. The previous book ends with Gabe leaving town. Christian has made an error that exposes him to Gabe's evil world and to serious consequences under the law. So, in Torn and Frayed, we see Gabe in his natural habitat--on the road, executing his divine justice, and staying out of sight of the law. It is chilling, fascinating, and awe-inspiring. Gabe is very intelligent and no one, except Christian, has any inkling of who and what Gabe really is.

But as the separation between Gabe and Christian extends, Gabe begins to realize the depth of his attachment to Christian, the depth of his feelings. 
The allure that bound them was based on something bent and unconventional. It was this distinction that outshone all else, and was the only thing that might've remained standing. It was a Romeo and Juliet tragedy in the making; two souls who'd shared a single foxhole, yet neither could see that clearly enough in those early days.
Gabriel is also starting to realize that his "divine" justice may not be so divine after all. He's also aware that because of his efforts to protect Christian, not only is their relationship at risk, but Gabe's very life is as well. In Seattle, he grew accustomed to talking with Christian and, bereft of him, Gabe discovers the need to talk about his past has not gone away. On one of his journey's Gabriel spots a quaint church, and for some unknown reason he is drawn to it. There, he finds surprising comfort in the form of Father Kait. 
If he'd learned one thing lately, it was how much danger he represented; maybe not for the general public, but for the white lighters who had the misfortune of walking past him and for those he cared about. He didn't need to get Maxwell tangled up inside his shit, and he knew he might just be swapping that preferred time with Chris for that of a stranger, but it was better than keeping everything bottled up inside. Or even the threat that his secrets might escape, only to rise to the surface, as secrets had a tendency to do. Maybe it was true that some things were better buried in the sticky mud at the river's bottom... but it was awful hard to keep them there.
A series of events brings Gabe back to Seattle and to Chris. We are drawn even deeper into Gabe's mind, his twisted logic, his protective instincts, his increasing need for love and acceptance. Chris is perplexed by his insatiable desire for Gabe, even knowing exactly who and what Gabe is. He can no longer pretend that the killings have stopped, because he has evidence to the contrary. He can no longer pretend that there will be a happy ending for him and Gabe, one that involves sandy beaches in a sunny paradise. Gabe has done too much and Christian has seen too much. So where can their relationship go from here? 

If you enjoy dark, twisted tales of serial killers with some seriously steamy sex and a deep and complicated romance, then you'll love Torn and Frayed! As usual, Clark's writing is excellent. However, there were some proofreading issues and I found a couple discrepancies between this book and the first one. 

OUR RATING: 4 stars!


Friday, April 8, 2016

#REVIEW Rubble and the Wreckage by Rodd Clark #gayfiction #romhero

Genre: Gay fiction, crime fiction, part of the A Gabriel Church Tale series
Release Date: January 30, 2015
Publisher:  Driven Press
Length: 254 pages

Description: Gabriel Church knows you can’t take a life without first understanding just how feeble life is, how tentative and weak it stands alone. If you desire murder, you hold a life in your hand. Whether you release it to grant life or grip tighter to end it, it is at your command and discretion. Gabriel is a serial killer with a story he wants told.

Christian Maxwell studied abnormal psychology in college but chose instead to focus on a career in writing. His background comes in handy when he thinks of writing about a serial killer. He can’t think of anyone more qualified to write the story of Gabriel Lee Church, and do so in the murderer’s own words. It’s been done before, but never with a killer who has yet to be captured or convicted.

There was never anything more than a gentleman’s understanding between the two men that Christian would record Gabriel’s life story. The killer did not ask for his complicity in any crimes, nor did he ever ask for his silence. Christian’s interest in the man, though, is fast becoming something more than academic. When the writer and his subject become unexpected friends and then lovers, the question remains: What is Gabriel’s endgame . . . and why does he want his story told?

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Rubble and the Wreckage is one of the most unusual books I've read. It's a dark, twisted, fascinating tale about a serial killer and a writer that seeks to answer the often asked question: how can a person fall in love with someone so evil?

Gabriel Church is a serial killer, who has been righteously executing his duty for some twenty years. The police are nowhere on his tail. In fact, they have no idea that a serial killer is responsible for dozens of murders across the country. But Gabriel isn't satisfied with anonymity. He senses that the end of his run is near and wants people to understand why he's done the things he's done.
When the man didn't offer a conciliatory gesture, Gabe continued, "Before Florida, before Seattle, I had been somewhere else... It was a better place for me because it still held some type of promise. Nothing had been carved into stone... if you'll pardon the pun." Church's head rolled back as if he were about to break into a hearty laugh.

He was a dangerous, sick man; Christian could see that. His reference to the markers of his varied victims, as well as his nonchalant manner in describing his affinity to murder, was unsettling, even for someone as akin to pathology as Christian Maxwell.
When he discovers that Christian Maxwell has some how put together one and one, he finds young writer and convinces him to become his biographer. Christian is fascinated by Gabriel, a man who is a textbook sociopath--charming and dangerous, and oh... he's as sexy as an angel... a fallen one. But as he learns about the past killings, Christian is plunged into an ethical dilemma.
He stood there watching the bathroom fill with muggy heat, rubbing his crotch front to remind himself of the fabric straining against his own fully engorged member. Was he that fucked up that he'd consider throwing himself at a man who had so easily killed so many folks across this country? Apparently so, he reasoned... because he hadn't moved away yet.
Through Gabriel's recounting of his past misdeeds, we are taken deep into the mind of a killer, one who barely acknowledges that maybe what he's done isn't all good. For perhaps the first time in his life, Gabriel starts to care about someone other than himself. Something that could prove deadly for all concerned.
The writer was someone Gabe liked. There were few who could easily fit into that category, and it was because they were friends that he didn't want to make him into a monster. Christian represented life before the murders began--he equally represented what it could have been like if Gabe had never taken his darker road. But he had, and that was an inescapable truth. Half of him wanted Christian held pure of the same ideologies he possessed, because it wasn't a healthy way of living, but the other side of him knew he needed to bring his new companion into the fold, or risk losing him completely.
Will Christian and Gabriel's relationship be what "saves" Gabriel or will it be the impetus that leads to the destruction of Gabriel's carefully constructed world?

Rubble and the Wreckage is very well written. However, there are some proofreading mishaps and instances of head-hopping. Not enough to detract from the story, but enough to be worthy of mention. Also, like many psychological thrillers, the pacing of the story slows down at times when the characters get into long introspective modes. While there is definitely a romance in this book, it is not your typical HEA. But, perhaps, it is something even better? We're anxious to read the rest of Gabe and Christian's story in the next books in the A Gabriel Church Tale series!

OUR RATING: 4 stars


Monday, April 4, 2016

ARC #REVIEW What Once Was Lost by A.M. Leibowitz #mmromance #romhero

Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: March 13, 2016
Publisher:  MLR Press, LLC
Length: 74 pages

Description: When their son goes missing on a camping trip, Brook and Casey are given a chance to make amends for their past mistakes with each other.

Following a volatile break-up with his partner, Casey has been raising his son, Ryan, mostly on his own. While Ryan is on a camping trip in the Adirondacks, Casey and Brook make another attempt to work through their differences, with disastrous results. But when Ryan and his friend disappear in the mountains, Casey and Brook travel together to find him. The tension leads to an opportunity to listen to each other, reconcile their history, and recover the love they once shared.

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What Once Was Lost takes place 18 months after the 6-year relationship between the two main characters ends quite spectacularly with a case of cheating. I won't go into the details of it here, but I will say that as the story progresses, it becomes clear that there was blame on both sides and that the cheating was the result of some pretty awful manipulation by the third-party. I found the choice of main characters interesting. It's nice to read stories about people who don't have perfect relationships.

Regardless, we are eighteen months later and Casey has custody of the couple's teenage son, Ryan, who is actually the nephew of Casey and Brook. At this point, I felt like I'd missed something in the story. I don't know of the author has another book about when Casey and Brook first got together, but it sounds like it would be quite interesting. As it stands, the current relationship between Casey and Brook is, as with most separated couples dealing with visitation, very acrimonious.
In confusion, Casey slammed the door shut.

"Open the damn door, Case," the man on the other side said.

Casey growled and opened it again. "What the hell are you doing here, Brook?"

"I came to get my kid for the weekend because you failed to drop him off."

"We talked about this weeks ago." Casey glared at Brook. "Ryan's going camping with Annie, Chuck, and their kids. You knew about this."

"Maybe I decided the answer is no." Brook crossed his arms. "You never gave me the choice--you just told me what was going on, same as always. I'd like a say in what happens this time."

"Not gonna happen. Also, you have no business showing up at my door. We agreed to a neutral location for a reason."
Despite the hard feelings and anger, both men still have strong feelings for each other. And in an effort to at least be civil for the benefit of their son, they agree to talk while he is away on his camping trip. One thing leads to another and soon those feelings explode, but is this a new beginning or revenge? You be the judge!
Casey's stomach rolled, and he stepped forward with a low growl, causing Brook to press himself against the counter. He hauled his fist back, ready to strike.

"I needed you to feel something for me again!" Brook yelled. "Not that empty place where I didn't know if you even wanted me anymore."

Brook was breathing hard as he looked directly into Casey's eyes, silently pleading with him in a way that brought a new feeling to Casey's gut. Something snapped, and instead of bringing his fist forward to punch Brook, Casey grabbed his shirt and leaned in to crush their mouths together. The kiss wasn't tender; it was bruising and desperate, and Casey poured all his rage and grief and longing into it.
As mentioned in the description, Ryan and his friend goes missing on his camping trip, both Brook and Casey go look for him. When night falls and the boys haven't been found, Brook and Casey go to a motel--yes, a motel. This is the perfect opportunity for the two of them to talk and begin a reconciliation. Trouble is--is this the right time? Some readers might not think so. On the plus side, the chemistry between the two men is powerful and the sex is hot.

The writing in What Once Was Lost is very good. It's smooth, the dialogue is natural, and the emotions are real. And so even while, at times, I was lost, and ,at others, I found the plot to be a little unbelievable, I still enjoyed the story.

OUR RATING: 4 stars


Friday, April 1, 2016

ARC #REVIEW The Necromancer's Dance by SJ Himes #mmromance #paranormal #romhero

Genre: M/M Paranormal Romance, part of The Beacon Hill Sorcerer series
Release Date: February 25, 2016
Publisher:  SJ Himes
Length: 225 pages

Description: In a world where magic is real and evil walks amongst humanity, a young sorcerer is beset upon by enemies, both old and new. Angelus Salvatore is the only necromancer in all of Boston, and his name is whispered warily by the undead and fellow sorcerers alike. He and his brother Isaac are the lone survivors of an attack by an army of the undead, in which Angel used a spell so powerful it forever marked his place in history. Now, years later, Angel struggles to balance his career as a teacher of the higher magical arts, his role as big brother, and a tenuous relationship with an Elder vampire from the local clan. When his brother's boyfriend is used as a pawn in a mysterious plot to draw Angel out, Angel is once again drawn back into the old hostilities that fueled the Blood Wars and led to his family's death.

Leaning on others for help is something Angel cannot do, and while he searches for clues into who may be targeting him and his brother, Angel finds his heart steadily growing occupied with Simeon, Elder and vampire. Dealing with death magic and vampires on a daily basis may leave Angel jaded when it comes to life and staying that way, but the more time he spends fending off the ancient vampire's attention and affections, the more he realizes he wants to give in.

Can Angel find out who wants him dead, and keep his heart safe in the process? How can he fall for a vampire, when his whole family was torn apart by an army of the undead?

Death stalks the streets of Boston's historic Beacon Hill....and there is no one more suited to battle against death than a necromancer.

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The Necromancer's Dance is a wonderful mix of romance, suspense, and magic. In some ways, with it's mix of vampires, werewolves, demons, dragons, and humans with magical powers, it reminds me of Kim Harrison's The Hollows series.

Angel is a necromancer. This means he can wield death magic, and as such, can control vampires, because they are "dead." The Boston vampire clan, of which Simeon is an Elder, both fears and reveres him. They call upon him to help him out when one of their own is poisoned by drinking from someone with even a trace of magic in their blood. The vampires would love to kill him, but then they'd die too. A fact he never lets them forget.
Angel's life energy and focused will exploded through their systems and he owned his attackers in seconds.

They stopped in macabre tableaus of arrested motion, the two who bit him and took his blood. They stood, eyes wild with fear, their bodies now under Angel's control. They had their thoughts, but he owned their actions.
And this is where things get interesting, because Simeon has been gently courting Angel from afar, waiting for the right moment to make his suit known. Unfortunately for him, Angel is just as wary of vampires as they are of him. After all, they killed his entire family, except his younger brother.
"I... " Angel lost whatever words he was going to speak, his tongue refusing to cooperate. His body knew what it wanted. His heart did too. It was his mind that left him struggling.
But before long, Angel is drawn into a plot to try to kill him, one that involves some mysterious players who have the ability to call forth a demon and curse it to never be free as long as Angel lives. Amid a series of chases, explosions, attacks, and murders, Angel finds friendship, but can he find love? Can he move beyond the hurts of the past? Can he repair his broken relationship with his brother? And can he keep Boston from descending into another war between vampires and magical people?

All I can say is that now I want a little dragon. You'll understand why by the end of the book. :)

I recommend The Necromancer's Dance to anyone who enjoys a well-written, sexy paranormal romance.

OUR RATING: 4.5 stars!