Saturday, September 22, 2018

Title: Hush
Author: Tal Bauer
Genre: M/M Romance, romantic suspense
Release Date: July 12, 2017
Publisher:  Tal Bauer
Length: 462 pages


A federal judge running from the truth.
A U.S. marshal running from his past.
A trial that can plunge the world into war.

Federal Judge Tom Brewer is finally putting the pieces of his life back together. In the closet for twenty-five long years, he's climbing out slowly, and, with the hope of finding a special relationship with the stunning Mike Lucciano, U.S. Marshal assigned to his D.C. courthouse. He wants to be out and proud, but he can't erase his own past, and the lessons he learned long ago.

A devastating terrorist attack in the heart of Washington, D.C., and the capture and arrest of the terrorist leads to a trial that threatens to expose the dark underbelly of America's national security. The Russian president is gravely injured and fixated on revenge, while a gay Russian dissident is arrested and put on trial in Judge Tom Brewer's courtroom.

As Russia beats the drums of war and the United States struggles to contain the trial before it races out of control, secrets and lies, past and present, collide in his courtroom, before his bench. With the world's attention fixed on Tom, secrets from his past explode during the course of the trial, which place him at the very center of the case and make him the only man who can try to stop the world's slide into war.

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When we heard that Tal Bauer had released Hush, we were excited, but also a little worried. How could Bauer possibly write another book as good as the ones in The Executive Office series?

Well, we shouldn't have worried. Bauer has done it again! Hush is once again set in D.C., but this time, we are plunged into the fascinating world of the Federal Court system where Federal Judge Tom Brewer meets sexy U.S. Marshal Mike Lucciano.

Tom has been in the closet since being given an ultimatum between being gay and going to law school. So, for twenty-five years, he's been celibate, but now that he's found Mike and now that times have changed, maybe it's his chance to come out, to be himself, and live the life he's always wanted to have.
"Living like I have, I don't recommend it."

Mike pulled back slowly, his hands on Tom's shoulders. He searched Tom's gaze, his expression unreadable. "Why now? Why are you doing this now?"

He squirmed. "I... fell for a guy," he breathed. "I fell for this guy, this amazing guy. I think he's worth it."

Mike looked like Tom had just kicked his puppy. "Tom..."

"It's okay, I don't expect anything. I know I'm not your type. But you are amazing, Mike. Just this. Just... telling you." He squeezed his eyes shut. Licked his lips. "Feeling your hands on me. It's worth it." His eyes fluttered open.

"You need to stop saying that," Mike grunted.

"Saying what?"

"That you're not my type." Mike swiped his thumb over Tom's cheek, brushing away the river of tears. "I met this guy, too. He's..." Mike sighed. "He's so brave. So, so brave."
With Mike at his side, Tom decides to take baby steps towards coming out. First with friends, and maybe later at work. But then there's an attack on the Russian president on the steps of the Capitol, and Tom's worst nightmare begins to unfold.
He couldn't think. Couldn't put two and two together. Could not string neurons into a coherent thought. Blind panic had replaced all higher order functions. Pure, unadulterated panic.

This was everything he'd feared. Exposure, media evisceration, millions of eyeballs poring over his life, his every movement, following him everywhere he went. Fears fell like drenching rain, and he tried to swim out of the rising tide before he drowned. Mike, the choices he'd started making, planning for his eventual coming out.


All of that, everything he'd planned, every careful step he'd agonized over, was going up in smoke. 
Page by page, Bauer weaves a web of plots, deals, and double-crossings that will blow your mind when it all comes to a head in a Bauer's usual spectacular way.

OUR RATING: 5 stars!

See our review of Enemies of the State (The Executive Office, Book 1) here.
See our review of Enemy Within (The Executive Office, Book 3) here.

Monday, April 24, 2017

ARC #REVIEW Enemy Within by Tal Bauer #mmromance #suspense #adventure

Title: Enemy Within (The Executive Office Book 3)
Author: Tal Bauer
Genre: M/M Romance, romantic suspense
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher:  Tal Bauer
Length: 485 pages


The White House, infiltrated.
The president, running for his life.
A traitorous general, intent on burning the world to the ground.

When everything falls apart, who do you trust?

President Jack Spiers fled Washington DC on the heels of a devastating attack on CIA headquarters, masterminded by one of America’s own, former General Porter Madigan. While the world believes Jack was killed in the bombing, he embarks on a wild infiltration mission, smuggling himself into occupied Russia to rescue the love of his life: former Secret Service Agent and First Gentleman Ethan Reichenbach.

Reunited, Jack, Ethan, and deposed Russian president Sergey Puchkov, along with President Elizabeth Wall—the only person left in Washington DC who Jack trusts—must work together. They piece together a desperate plan, hunting Madigan to the ends of the earth and the bitter frigidity of the Arctic, where Madigan’s world-shattering doomsday plan comes together.

Outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and outgunned, Jack, Ethan, Sergey, and the rest of the team struggle to put a stop to Madigan and his army. In the desolate extremes of the Arctic, their resolve, their strength, and even their love is tested, pushed to the absolute limits as choices must be made: choices that pit the fate of the world against the love in their hearts, and the loves of their life.

As the world crumbles around them, Jack and Ethan find themselves waging a war on two fronts—against an enemy they can see, and another, hiding within their ranks.

Who can be trusted when the enemy is within you?

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Enemy Within is another fabulous addition to The Executive Office series. Seriously, I can't get enough of these guys and of Tal Bauer's incredible writing. The characters are vivid, the dialogue is snappy, the action is riveting, and the romance is entrancing. Here's an example of the tension, pervasive in this final (?) battle to save the world from the villainous former General Porter Madigan.
One of Ethan's arms rested under the blankets and wrapped around Jack's chest, holding him tight.

His other hand gripped his pistol.

He'd kept hold of his weapon all night long. At the slightest noise, Ethan had it up in the darkness, ready to fire.

Another snap, and then the crunching of footsteps in the snow, coming up the side of the jeep.

Ethan's arm tightened around Jack, and his gloved finger hovered on the trigger. He held his pistol ready, pointed at the passenger window, and waited, not breathing. 
I loved every word of this book. The characters and actions are so well portrayed that the reader is there with them, through every skipped heartbeat and drip of sweat. There are three main angles in this novel: Jack and Ethan, Sergey and Sasha, and Adam and Faisal. Each of these couples continues to face completely different hurdles, yet equally unwinnable odds. They are all heroes, willing to lay down their lives to save their respective countries and the man they love.
Perfection rolled through Sergey, a wave crashing against his soul, followed by searing, roaring flame, enough to blind him and whiteout his vision. Everything clicked into place suddenly, as if he'd been trying to solve a Rubik's cube and could previously only see one side. His life came into focus with a snap, a clarity that stole his breath away.


He saw, in Sasha's eyes, his desire, his passion, and even, deep in his ice-blue gaze, his love, tangled and twisted around an aching, gnawing fear. "Sasha..." 
Congratulations to Tal on a truly epic series. I truly hope that we have not seen the last of these amazing men.

OUR RATING: 5 stars!

See our review of Enemies of the State (The Executive Office, Book 1) here.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

#REVIEW Falling for Him by CL Mustafic #mmromance #romhero

Title: Falling for Him
Author: CL Mustafic
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: April 17, 2017
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Length: 116000 workds

Description:  Doctor Gavin Addison’s marriage didn’t end on the friendliest of terms, and his estranged wife’s continual harassment has the local police visiting his home so often they’ve started calling him “the doc.” One of those cops, Officer Lex Turner, has a crush on the handsome doc, even though he knows there’s no chance the doc would ever consider dating a man.

A chance encounter on a crowded dance floor ends with both men in the same bed with the same woman—but with questionable results. When the doc wants to try that again, Lex becomes more involved than he’d dreamed possible as he helps his new friend navigate the kinkier side of sex. Knowing it’s just sex for Gavin, Lex finds it hard to keep his feelings hidden. But when Gavin finally figures out he has feelings for Lex that go beyond what a guy should feel for his buddy, will he let Lex convince him to take a chance with him—even if it turns both their lives upside down?

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Falling for Him is an interesting story with fun, endearing characters and a twist of intrigue. It's surprisingly light despite the darker themes also present in the story: stalking, harassment, and psychological abuse.

After his divorce comes through, the oh-so straight Doctor Gavin Addison let's his friends take him to a bar to get laid. When Gavin finds himself in a threesome with a woman and Officer Lex Turner, one of the cops who's been helping him out, he's confused and... excited!
Rachel pivoted to face him and grabbed his hips and pulled Gavin in close. Lex stayed where he was and continued to move to the music. When Rachel had Gavin secured, Lex plastered his body against her back. Lex wasn't going to give an inch when he was only a couple of inches from the man he'd been fantasizing about for the past couple of months. So close he could smell the intoxicating combination of the doc's cologne and sweat.

But when the evening doesn't turn out as Gavin had hoped, he meets up with Officer Lex and begs him for a do-over!
"Um, it's about the other night actually," Gavin said without stuttering; thank god. The look on Lex's face became guarded. "It's nothing bad. I, uh, was just wondering if maybe... I mean, if you wouldn't mind if we could have ah, um, a do over?"

Beer came out of Lex's nose and splattered the table before he could put his hand up to catch it. He coughed and reached for a napkin. When Lex got himself under control, he gave Gavin a long look. "So, you want to call a mulligan?" he asked. The amused look was back on his face.
Let the games begin!

Now for those of you wondering if this is a menage book, it isn't. While Lex is bisexual and knows it, Gavin is only just coming to terms with his growing attraction to Lex. The rest of the story focuses on that relationship. Pick up a copy and enjoy this fun story filled with humor, intrigue, suspense, and hot sex!

OUR RATING: 4 stars!

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!