Recent Release: How We Survive (Reclaiming Hope #1) by Michele Notaro

Good Reads Link

With the world in chaos around us, the only thing I could do was try to keep Felix safe as we searched for our older brother. We’d been traveling for over two years, searching Ministry camp after Ministry camp and trying to steer clear of the Rebels. I didn’t know what to do when we ran into a whole group of shifters with guns. But then, the huge, gorgeous guy that found us did the unthinkable…

At first I thought the two young shifters were trying to sneak up on me, but I soon realized they were only passing through. I was going to send them on their way until I heard the others coming. What was I supposed to do? How else was I supposed to save them? The delicious man and his brother would’ve been killed had I not claimed him.

Will Nate and Tre be able to work together to keep themselves and their packmates alive? Or will they let the cruelty of the outside world tear them apart?

***How We Survive is the first book in the Reclaiming Hope series, but is a standalone novel. Each book in the series will feature a different couple, but the couples will show up throughout the series. It’s a paranormal shifter romance between two men with explicit language and graphic sex intended for Adults Only.


This was so good!!!! It’s a dystopian/war type story which I usually avoid like the plague, but the romance is so sweet and the shifter world is really well-developed and captivating that when a friend recommended this I couldn’t put it down!

It’s dark and not super happy, but there are moments of light and I’m hopeful that book 2 will have some more happiness in it as well.

If you’re looking for a real shifter-centered romance where the MCs act like shifter and not just happen to shift now and then – this is for you.

4.5 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Purchased for Review

Posted in 4.5 stars, Action/Adventure, adult - 18+, Dystopian, Dystopian, Fated Mates, Gay, Gay, High but not hopeless, Hurt/Abuse, m/m, Mid level steam/heat, Morgan, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Paranormal, Part of a Series, Purchased, Shifter, Standalone | Leave a comment

Time to Laugh: Exorcising the Exes (Calling Dibs Book 1) by Jill Wexler

Good Reads Link

Blurb: Thanks to their exes, Tanner Kennedy and Dan Markwell each believes himself to be a social mess, an embarrassment to be with, and not worth any man’s interest. When the two men begin talking about their exes, it’s as if they’d dated the same man.
Over a taco orgy, Tanner convinces Dan that they need to combat the scars left by their dating past with exorcisms, only via Instagram instead of holy water. They spend spring break together, purposely acknowledging the little things that their exes pushed upon them or told them to change. Posting to an anonymous Instagram account they created, Exorcising the Exes, they soon banish the demons of their exes with hashtags like #margaritasleadtolooselips and #hellyeahgummybears.

Instagramming their way to self-acceptance, Tanner and Dan also discover what it’s like to fall for someone who likes them for exactly who they are, #notperfectnotaproblem.

Review: #suchafunnybook, #readthisbook
This is a delightful, funny romance. Tanner and Dan were perfect for each other. They bond when they realise that they both have exes that tried to change them. Each time Tanner and Dan owned a habit, they posted pictures with a humourous #. Then there are the geese …
This book hits all my favourite themes – humour, romance, wit. It is definitely going in my ‘re-read to when I need a smile’ list. Really, really good! And I hope there will be another story featuring Jack and Matt.

4.5 stars out of 5


Purchased for Review

Posted in 4.5 stars, adult - 18+, Contemporary, Dee, Friends to lovers, Gay, Gay, Humor, Little to no angst, m/m, Mid level steam/heat, Monthly Theme, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Purchased, Standalone, Time to Laugh | Leave a comment

Guest Post: BA Tortuga with Rough in Wranglers!

OS: Welcome to BA Tortuga here to talk about Rough In Wranglers!


Hey y’all, I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and all around lover of cowboys.

So I’m supposed to be writing about this collection of stories – Rough in Wranglers – and I have to tell y’all, I just…


I got nothing.

I mean – we’ve got everything from a pair of redneck boys that make fishing lures out of vibrators to a couple of hot little stories wherein the Wrangler butts in question get reddened. There are fistfights, nipple rings, drovers and vets. We have cruise ships, Austin food trucks, the Rocky Mountains, and a pair of enemies trapped in an old house by a will.

So maybe I should have said, I got lots.

These stories are just a love note to my favorite type of person alive – the cowboy.

I hope y’all enjoy them.

Much love, y’all,




A Collection of Cowboy Love

Cowboys, blue-collar men, and hot redneck boys. One thing they all have in common is Wranglers, and they’re all falling in love in this eight-story collection. From Navy SEALs to rodeo riders to a food truck chef, all these men want is to find someone to share their lives with.

There are new lovers meeting for the first time, best friends who find out they have someone who loves them already when they think they’ll never find happiness, and old lovers who’ve been apart for years but come back together at the best possible time. From the ski mountains of Colorado to deep in the heart of Texas, love finds a way through old hurts and through years of being apart.

There’s nothing like a man in Wranglers and cowboy boots, and these stories prove it in every line!

Stories include:

Hey, Jealousy

Czech Me Out: An Austin Story

Worth the Work



Where There’s a Will

Cut Bait


Available from Dreamspinner Press on April 13 —

About BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.
Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head. Find her on the web at

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Guest Post: Amy Lane with Crocus!

OS: Welcome to Amy Lane here to talk about Crocus!


A Tale of Two Principals

By Amy Lane

“I’ll tell you what I do know,” Eamon Mills said. “If this had happened on Nobili’s watch, he wouldn’t have gotten in this cop car to find a student if there was money under the seat.”

Someone has accused Larx, one of the main characters of Bonfires and Crocus, of having a superhero complex, and I guess that’s not far from the truth. He faces off against guys with guns, puts himself out to defend his students, and works overtime to make sure his little community stays stable and keeps moving toward peace. Go Larx! But he can’t possibly be real, can he?

But Larx (and his unseen but oft maligned predecessor, Nobili) are both based on people I saw as a teaching professional—and yes. The “real” Larx was a superhero, and the real Nobili was an ass.

Let’s start with Nobili.

One fine June evening I was sitting on a folding chair on the football field with about two-hundred and fifty graduating seniors when the principal—let’s call him Nobili—stood up to speak.

The senior next to me—a kid I’d known for four years—leaned over. “Ms. Lane,” he whispered. “Who the fuck is that?”

“Uh, that’s your principal?”

“No, the guy talking!”

“Yeah, that’s him. That’s the guy in the yearbook.”

“No—the principal is Dr. Jordan, next to that guy. Who’s talking right now!”

“That’s your principal! I sweartagod, look him up in the year book!”

And then the girl next to us pipes up. “Yeah, that’s him. I had to go to administration once to get his signature on something. He’s the guy in the principal’s office.”

“Well I don’t know him,” the first kid huffed. “I don’t want him speaking at my graduation.”

So, uh, yeah. Not the most involved of guys. Not a guy the kids knew, and not a guy the kids trusted and not a guy the kids even wanted to drone on at their graduation. That guy? Who in the hell was he?

Now, change scenes to the other guy, that same year. The year he decided to get his administration degree.

The campus had been full of unrest. The teachers were cranky because nobody was making decisions, gang activity was getting more and more prevalent, and there had been some ugly fights in the quad that had become harder and harder to break up.

Someone was going to get hurt.

One day, after fifth period (the worst period—after lunch, when the kids struggling were tired or hungry because they had no food and everybody needed a nap because the environmental controls weren’t in our control and the classrooms were 80 degrees) there was a massive roar at the quad. I couldn’t see, but I could hear—something big was going down.

I had sophomores that year—not kids I could say, “Here, hang tight, I’ll be right back,” because they’d dismantle my room and sell it for parts before I did get back. This was the year our school’s free lunch rate went from 68% to 98%, and the first year I couldn’t trust kids in my room for ten seconds unsupervised. I went through three ipods this year, and some asshole stole my lunch every day for kicks.

So I couldn’t leave the kids to see that roar, just tell them to get in my room and threaten them with suspension if they didn’t get in there right the hell now.

I heard enough from the kids who’d seen it, from the pictures they’d shown—and some phone video as well—to put together the picture though. Some kid was getting the beat down, and our “Larx” stepped in to stop it—but this kid was really unpopular. The crowd watching turned ugly, and “Larx” ended up in the center of it, shielding the kid with his body and telling everybody else to get the hell out of there, security was coming.

If kids hadn’t loved him—if he hadn’t been one of those people that everybody knew and everybody loved and everybody respected—he would have been killed.

He got his administration credential—he wanted to be a Vice Principal so he could work with the kids. He was so good, he got promoted reluctantly to Principal—and from what I understand after I left, the job wasn’t kind to him. It sort of ate him alive. But when people asked him why he went from drama teacher—which he loved—to administration, it wasn’t the money. It was that he wanted the job that would help the most kids. He was literally the only person I know who went into administration for that reason—which explains a lot about most schools if you think about it.

So when Larx ends up in seemingly impossible situations—situations his predecessor wouldn’t dream of being involved in—I always think of this particular teacher.

This guy who protected a student at 100-1 odds.

This superhero who broke his heart in the job he didn’t love best but was best qualified for.

The real “Larxes” of this world will never get enough credit, and they’ll never get enough money and they’ll never get the full support of the administration—ever.

But they will be loved, and they will be remembered, and by God when they get up during graduation—the good teachers reward day—the students they labored for will by God know who they are.



Bonfires: Book Two
Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.
High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.
But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.
Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart?


Larx’s phone, sitting on the table next to him, buzzed, and he was damned grateful.
Hello, Principal—are you being a good boy and getting your work done?
Larx groaned. Sort of. Olivia showed up on the doorstep this morning. Oh hell. He didn’t even want to ask Aaron about using his house.
Is she visiting for the weekend?
The phone rang. “Are you kidding me?”
“Sorry, Aaron.” He sighed and sipped his tepid coffee, then took a deep breath. “I don’t know what’s going on. She came in talking a mile a minute, tripped over the dog—”
“Is Dozer okay?”
Larx had to laugh. “Your dog is fine, Aaron.”
“He’s your dog,” Aaron protested weakly. Yes, the puppy had been a gift for Larx when his oldest cat passed away, but Aaron—big, solid, strong—had apparently been waiting for Dozer for most of his life.
Larx wasn’t going to argue that the dog was definitely Aaron’s, but it was true. Dozer—a mixed breed somewhere between a Labrador retriever and a German shepherd—was fine with Larx, answered to him just as well as he did Aaron, appreciated the hell out of the full food bowl, gave plenty of sloppy, happy kisses, and pranced about on spindly legs and feet the size of dinner plates.
But when Aaron came home, Larx watched the dog melt, roll to his back, offer up his tummy in supplication, and beg for pets.
Larx couldn’t object or be jealous—he felt the same way. Except Larx wanted Aaron to pet more than his belly.
“That dog’s your soul mate from another life,” Larx said now, scratching Dozer behind the ears. “Yes, you are. Yes, you are. But you can’t have him. He’s mine.”
“Wow. Just wow.”
Larx chuckled, because the distraction had been welcome, but now… now grown-up things. “She’s asleep on the couch,” he said softly. “Aaron… she’s not sounding….” He took a big breath. His ex-wife had suffered from depression after a miscarriage, and he remembered coming home from work bringing dinner once so she didn’t have to cook or clean up because she’d been so sad. She’d yelled at him—didn’t he think she was capable of cleaning her own kitchen? Then she’d burst into tears for an hour, while Larx had fed the girls and tried to calm her down.
It had been like standing on the deck of a ship in a storm—and Larx had that same feeling now, with his daughter, when his children had always been the source of peace in his heart.
“Pregnancy?” Aaron asked hesitantly. They were so new. Larx hadn’t spoken about Alicia more than a handful of times. Nobody talked about depression or mental illness.
Nobody knew what to say.
“Yeah.” Larx didn’t want to talk about it right now. He just couldn’t.
“Baby….” Aaron’s voice dropped, and considering Larx had gotten him at work, where he had to be all tough and manly and shit, that meant he was worried.
“Later,” Larx said gruffly. “Just not, you know….”
“When the whole world can hear. I get it.” Aaron blew out a breath and then took the subject down a surprising path. “Larx, do you have a student named Candace Furman?”
Larx stared at the paperwork in his hand, shuffling back to where he was right before Olivia had knocked.
“Yeah. Not one of mine, but… huh.” He reached over to his laptop and accessed the school’s portal site. “Hm….”
“That’s informative. Want to tell me what you’re looking at?”
“It’s sort of privileged, Deputy. Want to tell me why you need to know?”
Aaron’s grunt told him he was being annoying, but Larx couldn’t help it. He didn’t want to just divulge information on a kid if it wasn’t necessary. It went against everything he’d ever stood for as a rebellious adolescent.
“I just got…. It was weird. We got a domestic call to her house—her parents answer, and it’s all great. ‘No, Officer, we have no idea why somebody would call in screaming or a fight in the snow.’ We take a look inside, house is okay—but really clean.”
“Like somebody just swept up all the pieces of all the things?” Larx hazarded.
“Yeah. Either that or just… unhealthily antiseptic. And Candace and her sister—”
“Shelley,” Larx supplied since he had the file open on his computer.
“Yeah. Anyway—the girls are fine. ‘Yessir. Nossir. It’s all okay, sir.’ But they’ve both got these… like, girl masks on?”
“Makeup?” Larx said, trying to picture it.
“No… like… face goop. Like… whatwazit? Mrs. Doubtfire stuck her face in the cake ’cause she didn’t have her makeup on?”
It took Larx a minute to process all that. “A facial,” he said, blinking hard because the movie was that old, and the antitrans messaging had been so strong that Larx forgot he too had been part of America who’d laughed their asses off at a man in a dress with flammable boobs.
“Yeah. That. And that shit could be hiding anything, right? Their eyes were red, but then, for all I know the facial goop did that. So I’m not sure if they’re hiding shiners or if their neighbors just got hold of some bad weed—”
“Did you knock on their door?” Larx asked. Between him and Aaron, they really did know most of the town. “Who’s their neighbor?”
“Couple of brothers,” Aaron said thoughtfully. “Just moved at Christmas. Youngest one goes to Colton High—”
“Jaime Benitez,” Larx said promptly. “Junior.” He pressed the right link and there was the master schedule. “He and Candace are in some classes together.”
Aaron grunted. “Well, the older brother had been lighting up pretty hard—but it doesn’t seem like Jaime’s the type to indulge.”
“You didn’t bust them?” Larx asked curiously. He’d done his share of weed in college—but Aaron had been off fighting and bleeding for his country when Larx was in college. This was something they’d never talked about.
“Hell,” Aaron muttered. “Unless they’re growing to distribute, it’s mostly legal. Not for minors, of course, but both boys were functional, polite, and their eyes were clear. Roberto—who’s twenty-one, by the way—actually produced a prescription for anxiety without being asked. I could have made a stink about it, but I couldn’t see the point.”
“I love you so hard,” Larx breathed. “Seriously. I can’t think of a sexual favor good enough for you. I’ll have to make something up.”
“I’m sorry?”
Larx couldn’t articulate it. It wasn’t that he’d smoke it now unless it was prescribed, and he didn’t want his kids—or his students—indulging without cause. But something about knowing Aaron, for all his law-and-order propensities, didn’t push rules just for the sake of there being rules made Larx even prouder of him.
“Just you’re a good guy. Jaime Benitez is getting good grades. He’s part of the local service clubs, including one where he tutors eighth graders in trouble. Nice boy.”
“In your class?” Aaron wanted to know.
“Senior year, like Kirby. Christiana is sort of—”
“Special,” Aaron said fondly. “Yeah. I know.”
Well, Larx’s youngest was the girl with the flower—her brightness and sparkle was coupled with a quiet good sense. Irresistible. She was also razor-sharp, which was why she was taking Larx’s class in her junior year.
“So what about Candace?” Aaron prompted.
Larx sighed. “She’s… well, she was a straight-A student, but no involvement in anything.”
Aaron might well be surprised. It was a small school in a small town. Activity involvement wasn’t mandatory, but if a kid wanted any sort of social life, being part of a club or a sport was pretty much the only thing going on after school.
“No—that’s odd. And that’s probably why I can’t place her. Her sister’s in grade school, so I wouldn’t know her. But Candace is just… not involved.”
“Was,” Aaron prompted, and Larx rested his chin on his fist and looked woefully at his paperwork. Ye gods, the pile wasn’t getting any smaller.
“Yeah. Was getting straight As. Is no longer. Is veering off into C and D territory. And I have in front of me, waiting for a signature, her very first referral for behavior.”
He stared at it, wondering how the pieces fit.
“What’d she do?” Aaron asked patiently.
“Well, it says she got to class late and then ran out a few minutes after the bell rang. It was her first-period class, and when she came back—looking pale—the teacher asked if she was okay. Apparently she laughed hysterically and told the teacher to fuck off.”
Larx sighed. “Yeah. That’s why I’m up to my eyeballs in paperwork, Aaron—so I can look for kids like this and ask them what happened. I’m on it.”
“That’s my boy,” Aaron praised softly. “Good. Keep me in the loop, okay? I don’t know if the girls were being abused, and frankly I didn’t have enough evidence to so much as make them wash their faces. I don’t know the story behind the boys living together without parents, and I don’t know why one of them would be anxious enough to get a prescription for a ton of weed. These are things I would like to know before I go venturing in there with CPS and the DEA to make sure everything is kosher, you understand?”
“Got it, Deputy.” Larx looked at both kids’ files again and wondered at the puzzle. “Aaron, I’m serious. You’re a good man. These kids—there’s pieces missing here. Yanking them away from their homes, dragging them into the fray—I’m not sure if that’s the best thing here.”
Larx was starting to know Aaron’s grunts—this one was the respectful disagreement grunt. “Some stuff needs to see light, Mr. Larkin,” he chided gently. “If something’s festering in that girl’s life, it’s our job to make sure she’s okay.”
Of course.
“Roger that.” Larx tilted his head back and pinched the bridge of his nose.
“Have you eaten?” Aaron asked.
“Uh….” He’d gotten a sandwich for Olivia, but he’d put off getting his own.
“Eat, Principal. Work on your paperwork. And maybe take a nap on the couch before I get there. Save up your strength.” He gave a chuckle that was absolutely filthy. “You’re going to need it.”
Larx whined. “But… but Olivia—”
“If hearing us have sex gives her reason to move out, more’s the better,” Aaron intoned darkly.
Oh shit. “She… uh… she sort of hinted… never mind.”
“My house. Yes. We’ll move her tomorrow.”
Larx groaned and rested his forehead on the paperwork on the table. “God. You’re the perfect man. Where’s the rub? Where’s the flaw? There’s got to be something here that makes me want to smack you—where is it?”
Oh yeah. That conversation they weren’t having because of all the conversations they were.
“Understood.” Larx sighed. “I’ll see you when you get home.”
“Eat, dammit.”
Larx smiled, reassured. “Sure. Take care of what’s mine.”
“Always do.”
“Love you.”
“Thanks for the info.”
Aaron signed off, and Larx’s text pinged thirty seconds later.
Love you too.
Yup. Too good to be true.
Larx’s worry about his daughter—and about Aaron’s input into the situation—doubled down in his chest.
Please, Olivia—please. Don’t make me choose between you two. Please.







Author Bio:

Amy Lane has two grown kids out of college, two half-grown kids in high school and middle school, three cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with some of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

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Guest Post with Xenia Melzer for A Dom and his Artist

OS: Welcome to Xenia Melzer here to talk about her new book!

The incident with the hare
(This little story refers to an incident Collin mentions during his first meeting with Martin on a deserted street outside Miami.)
With a sigh Collin climbed out of his beat-up old truck to open the gate guarding the old factory building that was his studio. He really didn’t see why it was necessary to have the fence and the gate to protect his measly belongings. It wasn’t as if his art was worth that much and the most expensive things he owned were his colors and canvases, which were of little use to a thief, unless said thief was an artist himself and somehow Collin didn’t see other artists stealing from a colleague. But Jude insisted on the gate and he came by often enough to notice if Collin got sloppy with closing it, and since Collin could do without the argument that would surely follow, he dutifully went through the process of opening the gate, driving his truck through it and closing it again. Once he was done, he gathered the branches and stones he had collected in the woods to bring them inside his studio. When he opened the door, he was greeted by a happily bouncing Dog, whose enthusiastic barking had started the moment Collin had pulled up in front of the gate. Laughing at the Rottweiler’s attempts to cover him in slobber, Collin managed to fend him off long enough to dump his findings in the corner left to the door. As soon as his hands were free, he started petting the huge dog who could never get enough of being touched. Usually Dog took his sweet time greeting Collin, but today he started bouncing in the direction of the small kitchenette after only a few minutes of affection. Collin followed him without hesitation, wondering what was going on.
The moment he crossed the wide space littered with easels, paint, half-finished sculptures, and canvases, Collin noticed a strange, metallic quality in the air that made his nostrils flare. It was distinct enough for him to realize what it was – blood. Dog was yapping excitedly, grabbing the hem of Collin’s T-Shirt and dragging him toward the kitchenette.
There, on the old wooden planks, lay a hare. Collin knew it was a hare because of the head with the long ears that stared at him with a slightly accusing look. The rest of the animal was – everywhere. Bits of fur had made it as far as the sink, the blood had seeped into the dry planks of the floor, leaving stains that formed an oddly interesting pattern of drops and smears, bits of flesh and colorful innards were splattered around, and Dog was looking so proud and happy, Collin just didn’t have it in him to reprimand him for the mess. He patted Dog on the head. “You did well, Dog. That’s a very pretty hare. Where did you catch it? I’m proud of you, you deserve a treat.”
Dog’s short tail wagged furiously at the mention of a treat and as soon as he had his dried pig’s ear to chew on, he retreated to the couch to enjoy it, leaving Collin alone with the mess in the kitchen. The first thing he did was picking up the head of the hare by the ears. “I’m really sorry about that. Dog can get a bit over-eager sometimes. I know it sucks for you, but perhaps you’d feel better if I told you that I can use your skull for one of my sculptures. In a way, you’re going to be immortal and even though that can suck, too, it’s still better than being completely forgotten, don’t you think? And I promise I won’t forget you either, so there’s that.”
Collin gently placed the hare’s head on the kitchen counter, got his cleaning supplies, and went to work, all the time thinking about how fragile life was, how easily it could end, how persistently it kept coming back, how it never really stopped or gave up, and how it was his job to see it all, to honor it and make some room for the dead in his art and his thoughts.


Sometimes the perfect man can be found in the most unexpected place….

Martin Carmichael owns a security firm and is part owner of Club Whisper. He’s a Dom in search of the right guy, and when his car breaks down on a lonely stretch of road, he thinks he might have found him.

Artist Collin Malloy is talented, easygoing, but somewhat insecure. Still, he has a big heart and is quick to offer help when he sees Martin in need. To thank him, Martin invites Collin to dinner, where the attraction between them becomes harder to resist.

But what will become of their budding relationship when Martin reveals that he likes his men bound, submissive, and in pain? Is it something Collin can accept… and possibly enjoy exploring? Even if he can, Collin has a secret of his own—a secret he doesn’t even realize he’s keeping.

Buy Link

Author Bio

Xenia Melzer is a mother of two who enjoys riding and running when she’s not writing stories. She doesn’t like beer but is easily tempted by a Virgin Mojito. Or chocolate. Truffles are especially cherished, even though she doesn’t discriminate. As a true chocoholic, she welcomes any kind of cocoa-based delight.

You can contact her through her website: http//
Or befriend and follow her on Facebook:

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Time to Laugh: Overtime Audiobook (ficlet) by Avon Gale narrated by Scott Smith

Good Reads Link


This short story (approximately 4000 words) takes place after the events of Power Play and before Empty Net. It features Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie Isaac Drake — as well as a few other familiar faces — and is available as a bonus for Avon’s newsletter subscribers.







I can’t do a month about laughing and NOT include Avon Gale.  She cracks me up!  This is a little ficlet she has available for free on her blog – including the audio!

I don’t love Scott Smith but he has become the voices for the characters in this series to me and so by extension I now love him.

This is an adorable look at Misha and Max and the goalie before he meets Saint.

4.5 of 5 stars


Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Purchased for Review

Posted in 4.5 stars, adult - 18+, Audiobook, Author Provided, Book, Contemporary, Established Couple, Established Couple/Sequel, Fade to black/No Steam, Gay, Gay, Hockey, Humor, Little to no angst, m/m, Monthly Theme, Morgan, Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words), Part of a Series, Time to Laugh | Leave a comment

Guest Post: KA Mitchell with Bad Attitude!

OS Welcome to KA Mitchell, here to talk about Bad Attitude!


Jamie and Gavin are both full of attitude. I don’t think I’ve had many titles that were a better fit for the characters and their story. Jamie and Gavin both use their attitudes as weapons to keep from getting hurt. The excerpt that follows is one of the scenes where they unbend enough to admit that there might be something going on deeper than just sweaty good times.
It touches on something from Jamie’s past and the night they met, when Jamie rescued Gavin from a fall into the river. It also addresses how very different they are, yet how much they’ve become tangled with an awareness of feelings.
I loved telling the story of these two men who sometimes can’t get out of their own way. They still make me smile every time they pop up in the other Baltimore books and they’re still finding ways to surprise me.


Saving lives never used to be this complicated.

Gavin Montgomery does what’s expected of him by his wealthy and powerful family—look good in a tuxedo and don’t make waves. When a friend takes a leap off a bridge, Gavin tries to save him, only to fall in with him. At least at the bottom of the river he won’t feel like such a disappointment to his family. But he’s pulled from the water by a man with an iron grip, a sexy mouth, and a chip on his shoulder the size of the national deficit.

Jamie Donnigan likes his life the way it is—though he could have done without losing his father and giving up smoking. But at least he’s managed to avoid his own ball and chain as he’s watched all his friends pair off. When Montgomery fame turns a simple rescue into a media circus, Jamie decides if he’s being punished for his good deed, he might as well treat himself to a hot and sweaty good time. It’s not like the elegant and charming Gavin is going to lure Jamie away from his bachelor lifestyle. Nobody’s that charming. Not even a Montgomery


Gavin held on to the rail. “Is this what you brought me to shore on?”
“No. Gunwales are too high. Rescues use the Hurricanes.” Jamie pointed with his chin.
“Show me around.”
Gavin thought he had Jamie all figured out now. Just pull his string and make him jump. He never should have brought up so much as the suggestion he cared what Gavin was feeling.
“What for?” Jamie folded his arms.
“Because it’s cool. I mean, I’ve been out plenty and seen the harbor patrol boats but never thought about them before. Not until one fished me out of the Patapsco.” Hand on the rail, Gavin stepped around the cabin.
Jamie could physically haul the arrogant fuck off the deck. He was reasonably sure Gavin wasn’t trying to incite a police brutality charge.
But that struggle would get noticed on the security monitor, whereas someone apparently checking or getting gear wouldn’t. The area was gated, had to get to the boat by water or through the station, so unless there was something to see, no one would notice.
Jamie vaulted over the gunwale and intercepted Gavin on the port side of the cabin, where they were shielded from view. “Whatever game you’re playing, stop it right now.”
Gavin leaned against the superstructure. “Nice night for a boat ride. Let’s take it out.”
“Are you high? I can’t—I’m not taking her out.”
Gavin’s gaze narrowed. Was that actually irritation? Frustration? Who the fuck could tell?
“Where’s your sense of adventure?”
“I don’t have one.” Jamie stepped closer. “Now get off this boat.”
Gavin grabbed Jamie’s head and kissed him. For a second, Jamie got lost in the smell and the taste that meant all kinds of good things. He’d slanted his head and was meeting Gavin’s tongue with his own before a moan that echoed hollowly on water brought him back as effectively as a jump over the side would have.
He brought his arms up between them and knocked Gavin’s clutching hands away.
“Christ, Gavin. What the fuck is wrong with you?”
That flash of irritation was gone, buried again under an expression as bland as dry toast. “Nothing that I’m aware of. You seem to be somewhat combustible at the moment.”
Combustible was right. Jamie turned away and leaned over the rail, entertaining a serious idea of sticking his head in the water to cool down before he hoisted the idiot over one shoulder and dropped him on the dock.
Jamie felt Gavin behind him. “Don’t touch me.” Jamie took a deep breath, the smell of diesel and stale harbor water familiar in a way that didn’t get him dangerously close to losing his mind. Jamie turned around and put a hand on Gavin’s chest, not hard, just enough to move him back a step.
“Look. It may not be true in your tax bracket, but for us mortals here on the ground, there are consequences.”
“I thought you didn’t give a shit what people thought.”
“I don’t. Anyone who doesn’t like me or where I stick my dick can fuck right on off to hell, but I can’t—I don’t do crazy shit like that. I’m not risking what I’ve got for a little fun.”
“Little?” Though the rest of his face stayed motionless, Gavin raised his eyebrows. Then he spread his hands. “If anything happened, with the boat or your job, it would be taken care of. Monetary compensation goes a long way toward—”
“Fuck you.” The heat was gone, leaving nothing but cold ash in Jamie’s chest. The whole thing was nothing but a joke, a game. Jamie bet Gavin got a good laugh telling his friends about the hotheaded cop he was doing. “Sorry to screw with your plans for a tax deduction. Bet your accountant would love that line item. Hell, we’ll go back to my truck and drive somewhere quiet. I’ll blow you, and then it can be ‘for services rendered by civil servant.’ I’ll take the deduction in cash.”
In a blink Jamie saw what anger really looked like on Gavin’s face. It wasn’t a lot different than his usual expression. But it was in his eyes, as cold as black ice, a pinprick of reflected light at the center of a darkness that was suddenly bigger than the open water around them. Jamie wanted that feeling gone in both of them. Wanted the heat back. The answering fire he got from Gavin in bed.
“You didn’t want my money earlier.” Gavin’s voice reminded Jamie of an animal cornered and wounded, ready to bite.
“I still don’t want it.”
“What was it you were demanding earlier? Right. To find out if I give a shit. Of course not. I have no feelings. Nothing to complain about. I can buy anything I want, so why should I care about anything.”
“I didn’t say that.” Jamie put both his hands around the back of his own neck and squeezed out a little frustration. “I said….” He took a deep breath. “I said I liked spending time with you, and I wanted to know”—he looked up at Gavin, but the bastard didn’t throw Jamie a lifeline—“if you liked being with me.”
“Okay, then. Glad we cleared that up. Now get off the goddamned boat so we can get the fuck out of here.”
“No, you didn’t say that.” Gavin’s patronizing tone got right the hell on Jamie’s last nerve.
“What?” This was what happened when you dipped your wick in the same spot too many times. Things got messy. And confusing.
“You never said you liked spending time with me. All you asked is if you were boring me.”
Jamie tipped his head to look skyward, but there wasn’t any help coming from that direction either. “Must be entertaining the holy hell out of you right now.”
“Jamie.” There was something about the way Gavin said his name then, almost hoarse, drawn out, and deeper than normal. Though two guys couldn’t be more different, Gavin saying his name like that reminded Jamie of the affectionate teasing in Colton’s Donny.
“You’re never boring,” Gavin went on, “and while I wouldn’t call this evening fun, I do like spending time with you. Even when your dick isn’t up my ass.”
That was better. At least Jamie didn’t feel so raked over the coals. Maybe Gavin was feeling a little crisped. “Okay. But we need to get ashore. Not even the precinct commander could screw around with his wife out here without landing in deep shit. Security cameras.”
Only one word, but Jamie could hear something in Gavin’s voice.
“Could have been fun, though,” Gavin added, “with the boat rocking and us rocking.”
“Don’t you have a yacht or two lying around?” Jamie stepped back onto the dock and checked the lines.
“Oh, one or two at least.” It was easier to read Gavin’s sarcasm now. “But that wouldn’t be the same. No adventure.”
“No risk of me losing my job, you mean?”
Gavin walked down the dock to stand next to one of the Zodiacs. “Is that the one you pulled me into?”
“Your buddy on that one. You were on that one.” Jamie pointed at the Hurricane. “Why does it matter so much?”
“I was kind of out of it. Do you remember all the details of someone saving your life?” Gavin gestured toward the spot where Colton’s tattoo was, then tucked his hands in his pockets and waited.
“I don’t remember it at all. Just what I was told.”
“Which was?”
Jamie looked out at the bridge. “We were being dropped in Guatemala. High-altitude parachute drop. I’d done it before, but this was a little higher, and I guess there was something funky about it for me. I blacked out on the way down. All the safety stuff that was supposed to kick in didn’t. A guy in my platoon came over to rip out my bad chute and pull the backup. We got tangled. He had to cut me free, then carried my weight with his chute. We landed hard.”
“Did he die?”
Jamie looked over at Gavin and shook his head. “Fucked up his ankle.”
“But that tattoo, the wings and empty boots. I know what that means.”
Colton milking it, having Jamie wait on him, that laughing Donny boy echoing every few minutes. Then that stupid prick daring him up on top of the ruins. Which gave, his ankle or the old rocks? Didn’t matter.
“Three weeks later. He was screwing around somewhere he shouldn’t be. He fell, broke his neck.” Jamie bit off the words.
Gavin didn’t say anything but stood next to him as they both looked at the bridge, the water knocking the boats against the dock.
They stood there watching the lights streak across the bridge until Jamie could hear his heart beating in time with the slap of waves.
Jamie took a deep breath of that familiar smell coming off the bay and wanted to fill his nose with the leather and evergreen of the man next to him instead.
As he turned, Gavin put a light hand on Jamie’s shoulder. “Do you have to work tomorrow?”
Jamie shook his head.
“Come home with me tonight.”

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K.A. Mitchell discovered the magic of writing at an early age when she learned that a carefully crayoned note of apology sent to the kitchen in a toy truck would earn her a reprieve from banishment to her room. Her career as a spin-control artist was cut short when her family moved to a two-story house and her trucks would not roll safely down the stairs. Around the same time, she decided that Ken and G.I. Joe made a much cuter couple than Ken and Barbie and was perplexed when invitations to play Barbie dropped off. She never stopped making stuff up, though, and was thrilled to find out that people would pay her to do it. Although the men in her stories usually carry more emotional baggage than even LAX can lose in a year, she guarantees they always find their sexy way to a happy ending.
K.A. loves to hear from her readers. You can email her at She is often found talking about her imaginary friends on Twitter @ka_mitchell.

Twitter: @ka_mitchell
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Audiobook: Spencer Cohen by NR Walker Narrated by Joel Leslie


Audible Link


Spencer Cohen is the guy who gets answers to relationship questions. Playing the role of the new lover, his job is to make his client’s ex realise one of two things: he doesn’t want to break up or he really does. Either way, his client gets answers.

The ex would either apologize and beg, or turn and walk. But in the end, Spencer’s client won. If he wanted his ex back and got him, it was great. If the guy walked away, then as hard it was for the client, he knew it was over. Regardless of the outcome, Spencer’s work was done.

Andrew Landon’s ex left him without so much as an explanation. But his sister can’t stand to see him miserable, so, much to Andrew’s dismay, they hire Spencer to be Andrew’s new boyfriend to get the ex back.

For Spencer, it is never personal. Merely a business transaction. No emotions, no strings, no complications.

Yeah right.

Even a blind man could see how this would end.

Review by Beth

NR Walker has given us a book that shows us that no matter how much you close off yourself to the thought of love, it can show up when you least expect it.

The job Spencer has created for himself let’s him turn himself into whoever his client needs. Pretending to be the new boyfriend, it will either make the old boyfriend come back or ignore the client altogether. Either way there is the answer to where the relationship stands.

Spencer’s new client Andrew just doesn’t understand why Eli just walked away so he is open to trying out Spencer’s services to find out why. In the process of getting to know Andrew, Spencer doesn’t realize he is falling for his client. Everything clicks between the 2. There are too many instances where they have the same tastes and interests. When it all comes to a head, all of Spencer’s issues drive him away. in the end there is a revelation to what drives Spencer and a HEA


I think Joel was made to do this book. His ability to do an accent is spot on and even his female voices are realistic. Add to that his timing, and delivery and you are swept away into the story like you are in a corner of the room observing it as it unfolds!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Morgan

(Book reviewed here previously)
Andrew got dumped – abruptly – by his ex, Eli. His sister just wants Andrew to be happy, so she arranges for Spencer to act as his boyfriend and stir up the ol’ green-eyed monster in Eli to push him back into Andrew’s arms.

If it works, it was meant to be – if it doesn’t, at least Andrew can have some closure.

Spencer moved to America from Australia after some family issues force his hand. He inadvertently helps a friend re-gain her boyfriend and a career is born! (He also does other things – it’s not that lucrative!)

When Andrew and Spencer meet there is instant attraction – they’re like two pieces of a puzzle who click together perfectly. But… Andrew wants Eli right?


Be forewarned – this is pretty classic NR Walker series protocol – so we get a slow, slow burn toward a finale of a … kiss. Granted the sexual tension is off the charts and the looks are seriously smoldering… but no sex.

But – YOU WON’T MISS IT! She is such an amazing writer that this slow burn feels right and the pages fly by.

Of course I can’t wait for the next installment – and you might want to wait for all three are published if that’s your thing – but… this is a wonderful story and well worth the wait.

Both MCs are so complex and fun. Neither is particularly needy or whiny and yet both have this amazing streak of vulnerability in them.

I am thoroughly captivated by this series and I cannot wait for the next book!

Because music is a theme in this book – NR Walker made a spotify list:…/…/playlist…
I highly recommend having it available while you are reading.

6 of 5 stars


So you know I’m a huge Joel Fan Girl but you gotta know – this book absolutely resonates with Joel’s narration – it’s just perfect! Joel moved me to tears with the closing chapters – the emotional tension is held beautifully by the pacing and his intonation. Though this is – by far – not the most angsty of NR’s stories – Joel infuses into the words all the tension we’re feeling by the end of this slow burn romance.

Highly recommended!

6 of 5 stars


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Posted in 5 stars, 6 stars, adult - 18+, Audiobook, Author Provided, Beth Jumper, Book, class difference, Contemporary, Friends to lovers, Gay, Gay, Homophobia, Humor, Hurt/comfort, m/m, Mid level angst, Mild/low level heat, Morgan, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Opposites attract, Part of a Series, Unrequited Love | Leave a comment

Time to Laugh: Shawn’s Law Audiobook by Renae Kaye Narrated by Casey Hunter

Audible Link

Shawn is single, twenty-nine, the full-time carer of his Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, and a frequent victim of Murphy’s Law—although his family calls it Shawn’s Law. Other than caring for mum, his day consists of painting nude men and spying on the guy who walks his dogs along the street every day at four o’clock. When Shawn takes a spectacular fall on his front steps, who is there to witness it other than the man of his dreams?

Harley doesn’t believe in Shawn’s Law—but he soon changes his mind.

The two men make it through a memorable first date and Shawn’s sexual insecurities to begin a relationship stumbling toward love. But when Shawn’s Law causes Harley to be injured, Shawn is determined to save Harley’s life the only way he knows how—by breaking up with him. Not once, but twice. Throw in a serial killer ex-boyfriend, several deadly Australian animals, two dogs called Bennie, a mother who forgets to wear clothes, an unforgiving Town Council, and a strawberry-flavored condom dolly, and Shawn’s Law is one for the books

The slapstick comedy never stops in this story. Shawn should come with a health warning. The majority is Shawn attracting bad luck, but there were a few when I thought come on Shawn where’s your common sense. It was funny though. Being such a frequent visitor he knows paramedics and emergency room nurses by name! Hippie Hotpants aka Harley doesn’t think Shawn’s Law is real, he soon learns. However his doubts do cause a few bumps in his relationship with Shawn. Shawn is one in a million. I was impressed with the way Renae Kaye portrayed Eileen’s dementia, very sensitively done in the context of the humour in the book.
I feel quite mean saying the narration was good enough. Casey Hunter has a pleasant voice to listen to but didn’t take the time to verify the pronunciation of Australian animals or other typical Australian words. It was on these occasions that the narration fell flat for me. There was not a great deal of characterisation but it was clear enough which character was speaking.

3 of stars out of 5



Purchased by reviewer



Posted in 3 stars, Action/Adventure, adult - 18+, artists, Audiobook, Book, Contemporary, Gay, Gay, Humor, Little to no angst, m/m, Mary D, Mild level angst, Mild/low level heat, Misunderstanding, Monthly Theme, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Opposites attract, pining, Purchased, Time to Laugh | Leave a comment

Audiobook: Late in the Day by Mary Calmes Narrated by Greg Tremblay


Dreamspinner Presents


Second from The Vault
Terrence Moss. Conrad Harris. Gold Team Leader. Darius Hawthorne. The Vault. Juggling all these names would bother some, but for Darius, it’s business as usual. When he closes a chapter in his life, he leaves a name—and the people associated with it—behind. He’s managed to keep a few colleagues, even fewer friends, and no companionship through his forty-plus years… but that’s now changing.

The newest chapter of his life is bringing serious change: a stable home, a recovered identity, an unlikely family, and now a chance encounter with the one man Darius ever loved: Efrem Lahm. The reasons they parted are still valid, and there’s no way they can trust each other. But Efrem has already decided he won’t let Darius go… and Darius will have to decide if he wants to take a chance with his heart this late in the day.


(Reviewed here previously by Dee)
This is a difficult review for me because I really wanted to love this book. Note: this is all on me. For one, I have not read ‘A Day Makes’ and so was unaware that this book was in the same universe (hitmen, vaults). And, to make matters worse, I have not yet read ‘Mine’. While this book could be read as a standalone, I would recommend reading either (or both) of the other books mentioned.
Darius is chosen to be the new Vault.
The story continues with Darius helping to get someone out of danger and relocate to a new life in Boston. As he is working on this, he is suddenly face to face with his old love, Efrem Lahm.
The story didn’t work for me – it started at some time in the present (?) with Darius dealing with closing down mob ties. Then it jumped to the past where Darius recalls how he became the Vault. Then fast forward some months later; he is suddenly in the custody of Homeland Security, where he reconnects with Efrem.
Also, Darius and Efrem do not get a lot of time together – the book seemed to revolve around all the other characters. Both MC’s do not get together again until two-thirds of the book.
Again, if I had read the other books, especially ‘A Day Makes’, the writing style would have made more sense.
It’s a good book, one that I’ll re-read once I’ve read the other books.

3 stars out of 5

Review by Morgan

Well, I’ve read everything by Mary Calmes and my review isn’t that different from Dee’s. On the one hand this was a great story for those of us who love to catch up with our favorite characters and love seeing them interact with other characters we love. For that I’d give this a full THUMBS UP! That was a ton of fun and I loved it!

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

I hope this isn’t a spoiler but I’ll assume some of this is….

In any case, I didn’t necessarily buy in to the love story and that dropped my rating down significantly.

3 stars out of 5


Well of course, Greg Tremblay is amazing and he absolutely did this story right. He handled all many and varied voices and accents and “characters” really well and he’s so much fun to listen to. Definitely worth the listen even if this wasn’t my favorite Mary story.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars


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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review


Posted in 4 stars, Action/Adventure, adult - 18+, Book, Contemporary, Dreamspinner, Gay, m/m, Mild level angst, Mild/low level heat, Military, Morgan, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Part of a Series, PTSD, second chance at love | Leave a comment