Recent Release: Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker

Chasing Rainbows Press LLC:

Second wind: a new strength or energy to continue something that is an effort. After an amicable divorce, Lincoln Huxley is ready to embrace the sexuality he repressed for more than two decades. Rush Holden is no longer willing to settle for closeted men or those who don’t share his dreams of marriage and fatherhood. A chance encounter on a lakeside pier is the second wind they both need. Or will it just be a painful reminder of all they had lost?

Second chance: an opportunity to try something again that failed one time. Rush and Lincoln have shared a lot of firsts—friendship, young love, and heartbreak. Cruel reality forced the two men to choose paths that took their lives in different directions. Twenty-six years later, they get a second chance to fall in love with each all over again. Can it really be that simple, or will the same issues ruin their happiness a second time?

Happily ever after: to live happily for the rest of one’s life. Rush and Lincoln know that love and life can’t be defined by words alone. Patience, commitment, and the determination to do whatever it takes will be the only way the two men achieve their happily ever after.

We meet Rush and Lincoln when they are going through difficult times in their current relationships. During this time both of them recall events during their childhood when they were friends and were each other’s first love. This sets the scene perfectly for me. I understood the struggles and longings both of them were going through. So when they actually do meet again falling in love and lust felt so natural in the story. Such a beautiful twist of fate and timing. Lincoln has finally accepted who he is and Rush has learned from past mistakes. They both needed to be at this point in their lives for their second chance to be their forever. This is the kind of story that made me wonder where it was going whilst reading and sigh with content at the end. Aimee Nicole Walker I applaud you for such a wonderfully written story.

4.5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review







Posted in 4.5 stars, adult - 18+, Author Provided, Book, Closeted, Contemporary, Gay, Gay, Homophobia, Hurt/Abuse, long distance love, Mary D, Mid level angst, Mid level steam/heat, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Older MCs, pining, Reconcilliation, second chance at love, Stalker/Abusive Ex, Standalone, The one that got away | Leave a comment

Guest Post: Laura Lascarso on When Everything is Blue

OS: Welcome again to Laura Lascaro who’s back to discuss her book!


 The covers not chosen

Since you were so gracious as to reveal the cover of When Everything Is Blue a few weeks ago, I thought I’d come back now, toward the end of my blog tour to share with everyone the covers that were not chosen (through no fault of their own). All of these comps were designed by one of my favorite artists, book cover designer extraordinaire AngstyG, who I request specifically for all of my projects because she is so talented and wonderful to work with. If you are ever in need of a cover, please check out her amazing work on her website,
Part of the challenge in choosing a cover was that I had a very specific idea of what Theo looked like, and it was difficult to find a stock photo that fit my vision of him. Another challenge was matching the tone and mood of the story, which is why I went for the slightly more muted and atmospheric cover rather than some of the brighter blues. It’s always a challenge to pick a cover that accurately represents your story while still catching the eye and appealing to readers. It’s something I really struggle with in matching my own personal aesthetic to what I think readers will like.
That said, I absolutely adore the cover which is now being used for When Everything Is Blue, but as you’ll see below, it was oh-so-hard to choose!

What do you think? Did I make the right choice? Share your thoughts in the comments below!






















































Sometimes the people we need most aren’t bonded by blood but by something deeper.

When they were kids, golden boy Chris Mitcham rescued dweeby Theo Wooten from the neighborhood bullies and taught him how to “be cool.” Now, years later, Theo’s developed feelings for his best friend that “arise” at the most inopportune times. Theo hates lying to Chris, but in coming out, he might lose the one person who understands him best, a risk he’s not willing to take.

When a relationship with another young man goes south, Theo is forced to confront his own sexuality along with his growing attraction to Chris and the stunted, tenuous relationship Theo has with his father. Will Chris abandon Theo when he learns the truth, or will he stand by him in this tumultuous season of self-discovery? In this quirky coming-of-age romance, Theo’s path to manhood is fraught with several awkward firsts, a few haters, but also the tender comfort of an unexpected lover.


– Author bio
Laura Lascarso wants you to stay up way past your bedtime reading her stories. She aims to inspire more questions than answers in her fiction and believes in the power of storytelling to heal and transform a society. When not writing, Laura can be found screaming “finish” on the soccer fields, rewatching Veronica Mars, and trying to convince politicians that climate change is real. She lives in North Florida with her darling husband and two kids. She loves hearing from readers, and she’d be delighted to hear from you.
Twitter: @lauralascarso

Buy Links
DSP eBook: https://www. when-everything-is-blue-by- laura-lascarso-9420-b

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link:
Embed: a Rafflecopter giveaway


Excerpt (Chapter 1: Be Cool)


Be Cool
Being horny and almost sixteen is the absolute worst.
Take it from me, Theodore Wooten III, resident expert in the spontaneous boner. The cause of my lovesickness: Christian Mitcham. The cure: hell if I know.
With his sun-bleached hair, warm brown eyes, and devil-may-care attitude, people gravitate to Chris like sugar ants on a soda can, me included. He’s been my best friend since sixth grade when some neighborhood punks held me down on the sidewalk and tried to spit in my eyes. Chris called them off and threatened to beat their asses even though he was outnumbered and outgunned. I guess they believed in his conviction. I know I did.
“Chris is back.”
My twin sister, Tabitha, rushes into my room, even though the door was mostly closed. When we moved into this apartment, the owner paid a contractor to split the master bedroom into two bedrooms, so that we could each have our own room. Tabs got the en suite bathroom, and I got the window. Considering the view overlooks Chris’s property, where he can often be found strutting around shirtless in the wild, it now seems like a fair trade.
“You’re supposed to knock,” I grumble. My gut is a brew of excitement and nerves at the knowledge that Chris is back. My feelings toward my best friend have become more complicated over the past year or so. I’d hoped a summer apart would simplify things.
“I did knock, Theo. You just didn’t hear me,” says Tabs, she of the last word.
I was watching some skate videos online with my cans on. The music was loud, but not that loud. I toss my tablet on the bed, stand, and stretch, delaying the inevitable.
“Oooh, he looks good,” Tabs says as she opens my window, piquing my interest even more. “Buff and tan. He’s been working out.”
“Probably just surfing.” A cloud of swampy Florida air envelops me as I steal a glance over her shoulder. She’s right. He’s even more godly than two months ago. Lucky bastard doesn’t even need to try. Ever since Chris turned thirteen, his muscles have been bursting out like microwave popcorn. He lifts a burger to his mouth and sprouts biceps, sits up in bed and boom, there are his abs. Meanwhile, I grow taller and lankier and have to deal with my mom telling me to stand up straight or I’m going to get scoliosis, which I’m pretty sure isn’t how that disease works, but it’s hard to argue with my mom when she thinks she’s right.
My sister calls down to Chris. He’s carrying a new surfboard—midnight blue, probably a gift from his dad. He glances up and lifts his free hand in a friendly wave.
My gut twists in a nausea-inducing way. The feelings are still there, the sharp knife of longing that slices down my sternum and scrambles my guts. I lift one hand in greeting and hope I’m far enough away so he can’t see anything unusual on my face.
“Come down,” Chris calls. “Bring your suits.”
I’m already wearing my board shorts and a T-shirt. Standard summer attire. We live close enough to the beach that I can bike or skate there, even though my mom hates me going through all the traffic. Sometimes I just go to skate along the sea wall and smell the ocean. It reminds me of Chris.
The twist in my stomach coils into a hard knot of anxiety at the thought of our reunion, but it’ll be weird if my sister goes and I don’t. Plus, I’ve missed him like crazy. I got so bored this summer, I was finally able to nail a nightmare flip on my skateboard. Something to add to my college applications.
“Be right down,” Tabs calls to Chris, then bounces out of my room like a happy Pikachu. My sister’s always been the cheerful, outgoing one. I’m slightly sour.
I glance back out the window to find Chris still looking up at me. Of course I’ll be down. As if there was ever a question. I always do what Chris tells me. And until recently, I’ve been happy to do it. I trust him to know what to do in just about any situation.
Me, not so much.
I trail behind Tabs across our driveways and through the gate into his backyard. He’s laid out on a lawn chair, shirtless of course. His hair’s gotten longer. He likes it that way, so he can tuck it behind his ears. He’s got a deep summer tan, and his abs are even more ripped than when he left for summer a couple of months ago. His sunglasses are reflective so I can’t see his eyes. I worry he can tell I’m checking him out, so I stare at the shrubbery instead.
“What is this, a race?” Chris rises from the lawn chair to give me our usual bro-hug. He means my height. I must have grown two inches over summer, but I didn’t realize the difference until I have to lean down a little to embrace him. I catch a whiff of his hair—a mixture of sunshine, salt spray, and coconut shampoo. His skin is warm and feels good in my palms—dangerously good.
Chris hugs my sister too and asks her if she highlighted her hair. She did. He tells her he likes it, and my sister’s smile cracks wide open. We have good teeth, my sister and I, bright white and straight thanks to orthodontia. Our dad’s a dentist and our mom’s a dental hygienist. Our smiles are the one trait people say we have in common, though they probably see a lot more of Tabs’s teeth than my own.
“I wish my hair was your color naturally.” Tabs tugs at Chris’s golden locks playfully, which draws another deep chuckle from him. I study the flecks of quartz in the concrete and try to ignore the fact that my sister is flirting with my best friend. And she’s doing a really good job of it.
“How have the waves been?” Chris asks, drawing me back into the conversation. He never lets me stray too far.
“A couple tropical depressions came through and kicked up the surf. We got a few good days down at the pier. Probably nothing like an average swell in Cali, though.”
Chris shrugs. “It was all right. Nothing too special. I kind of missed it here.”
He looks at me then with his mile-long gaze, and I wonder if he’s saying that he missed me or if it’s just my lovesick imagination trying to bridge the gap between friendship and something else.
“It was pretty boring.” I glance out at the chemically blue water. The summer has been drab and gray without Chris. Feels like the sun is just now breaking through.
“Learn any new tricks?” he asks, meaning skateboarding. I don’t usually surf too much without him.
“Yeah, a nightmare flip.”
“No way.”
“Yeah, landed primo a few times and almost sliced my balls in half.” I stop at the mention of my balls, feeling my whole face flame up, which is stupid because we’ve probably talked about our balls a million times before, so why is it so weird now?
“Ew, Theo, gross. No one wants to hear about your junk,” my sister says, saving me.
Chris chuckles. “Can’t wait to see it. The flip, that is.”
I feel intensely hot under the heft of his stare, like my body might spontaneously combust. Instead of saying something else weird, I drop my towel on a chair and take off my shirt, then dive into the water and start doing laps. I spent a lot of time swimming laps in Chris’s pool over the summer. I like being submerged.
When Chris and I met, he was in seventh grade and I was in sixth. At the time my mom, my sister, and I had just moved into the gardener’s cottage next door because my parents had recently separated. I told Chris they were getting back together—I was so sure of it. But I’ve realized since then we were only my dad’s starter family.
Chris told me about his own parents’ divorce and then, when it happened to me later that year, he was there to talk me through it. I’ve never met another person I connected with like that. It felt special from the beginning.
And then last year, I started noticing things more—Chris’s muscles for one, the texture of his skin—warm and golden like honey—the pucker of his lips when he’s thinking, his hands. His smell. I started imagining what it might be like to kiss him, and when we’d happen to touch, it made my body go completely bonkers. It got to the point where I couldn’t be in the same room with him without getting a hard-on. Then he left for California for the summer, and I hoped the feelings would pass.
But they haven’t, and I’m scared they won’t.
After about twenty laps, I climb out of the pool feeling a little more relaxed. There are snacks on one of the tables, probably brought out by Paloma, their housekeeper. I towel myself off and check out the spread. Chris lowers his sunglasses and looks me up and down, not even trying to hide it. I don’t know if it’s out of competition or appreciation.
“Been working out?” he asks in that bro-code way.
I flex my barely there biceps as a joke, but they’re not as puny as I remember. “Just swimming and mowing lawns. Got a jobby job.” I grab a grilled cheese sandwich off a plate. Paloma must have made it special for me, knowing they’re my favorite. There’s also cut celery and carrots for Tabs, who it seems is always on a diet, and chicken wings for Chris. He loves bar food—the greasier the better. He should weigh five hundred pounds, but he’s doesn’t. He’s perfect. Le sigh.
“Who you working for?” Chris asks. Beads of sweat have collected on his bare chest, drawing my eyes to the growing patch of rangy brown hair between his chiseled pecs. And, yeah, there it goes again. There must be some kind of pill I could take—the anti-Viagra—for when you want your dick to be cool.
“A patient at my mom’s office,” I answer, glancing anywhere but at him. “Jack Lawson. Owns Lawson’s Lawns. He needed someone who can speak Spanish to the crew.”
My mom’s Puerto Rican, and she and I mostly spoke Spanish in the house while Tabs and I were growing up. Tabs understands it, but she hardly ever speaks it. She’s always trying to fit in, telling us to “act normal,” whatever that means. Half the people in South Florida speak Spanish, so it’s not even that uncommon.
“Saving up for college?” Chris asks.
I grin at that. Chris is always telling me not to worry about college, that I’ll get a scholarship with my grades and his parents will probably have to pay extra to get a university to take him. He’s always trying to even things out between us so that money isn’t an issue—him having it and me not. Even though my dad’s a dentist and comes from money, he’s working on his fifth kid with his third wife, which means the child support well is drying up fast.
“I’m trying to buy a car,” I remind him.
“What do you need a car for?” His sandy eyebrows draw together, giving him a stern appearance. He looks put out by it. He’s been giving me rides since he got his license last year. Sometimes I feel like I’m taking advantage of his generosity, and I don’t like it.
“You know, to get around. I’m getting my license soon.”
“I thought I was your ride.”
A bit of melted cheese gets stuck in my throat and I have a little coughing fit. Chris jumps up and slaps my back, though I’m not sure it helps. I recover pretty quickly but not before noticing the hesitation of his hand, his warm palm against my cold skin and a slight, reassuring rub that sends the exact wrong message to my dick.
“You going to let me drive your car, Theo?” Tabs calls, hitting me like an anvil to the head.
“Not without a license.” My sister has shown no interest in learning to drive. She only got her learner’s permit because my mom made her, and she hardly ever practices. I don’t understand how she can be so reliant on others. I hate asking people for things.
“You’re still going to ride with me to school, though, right?” Chris says, moistening his lips with his tongue, drawing my attention to the pink that stands out against his tanned skin. His jaw is smooth. No more soft, downy hair. He must have started shaving this summer. Makes me think I should too.
I shrug. “Or, you could ride with me.”
He looks pleased with the suggestion. “Hopefully you’ve gotten better at driving this summer.”
“Like you’re the expert, Curby.”
He throws his shirt at me and I throw it back, but not before catching a whiff of it. Ack. Sensory overload. I claim the lawn chair on the other side of my sister. Physical distance helps. I close my eyes and try to envision the perfect wave instead of imagining what Chris looks like naked. Unfortunately it morphs into what Chris would look like surfing the perfect wave while naked, so then I imagine my fingernails being pulled from their nail beds because only thoughts of physical torture seem to work in these situations.
Tabs sits up, hands the sunscreen to Chris, and asks him to do her back. Without waiting for a reply, she angles toward him and sweeps up her ponytail. Like it’s nothing.
I tell them I have to use the bathroom so I won’t have to watch the rub-a-thon. Inside, I say hello to Paloma and ask about her mother, who’s still recovering from a recent illness. They’re from the Dominican Republic, and I think she likes speaking Spanish to me. We catch up for a bit. Then I hang out for a while in the bathroom, wash my hands meticulously, and count to a hundred until I’m sure the sunscreening is over.
When I come back, they’ve traded places and Tabs is doing Chris’s shoulders. I can tell she’s enjoying it. Really working it in there with the palm of her hand and taking her time. Who wouldn’t? All that warm, teasing skin…. I don’t want to watch, but I can’t seem to look away, so I stand there trapped with a crampy feeling in my balls.
“You need sunscreen?” Chris asks.
I turn fifty shades of red and stammer, “No, I’m good.” The last thing I want is to sprout a hard-on while Chris rubs my back. Jesus, I hope this is just some weird hormonal thing. I’d take acne and voice cracks over impromptu erections any day.
“Brown people burn too,” Tabs says, our mother’s constant reminder.
“I’ll be all right,” I say tightly.
The three of us lounge around in the shallow end, soaking up the sun and our last few days of freedom before school starts. My sister gossips about what went on while Chris was away visiting his dad in California, which couples from school have broken up and who’s gotten back together, who’s cheated or been cheated on. Who’s pregnant or on drugs or in rehab. I tune her out and quietly float on a raft until I hear her start talking about our birthday.
“Guess who’s turning sixteen soon?” she says to Chris.
“Ummm, Theo?” he says with a smile on his face.
She punches his arm playfully. “And me.”
“Really, I thought you were at least seventeen by now.”
She shakes her head and laughs. It echoes across the water, and my twin-sense tells me she’s working up to something. My ears perk up.
“So, I was thinking…,” she says in that nasally voice she gets with my dad whenever she wants something.
“What were you thinking?” Chris asks, playing along.
“I was thinking maybe I could have my birthday party here.” She motions with her manicured hands at the pool and surrounding veranda.
“No,” I call from my inflatable island in the deep end. I hate it when she asks our dad for things. Asking Chris is, like, a million times worse.
Chris ignores me and says, “Will there be a lot of hot chicks here?”
I roll my eyes and groan at his predictability.
“A ton,” she says with this huge smile on her face, and I already know he’s going to give in to her. Everyone does. My sister’s a master at getting her way.
“Will you plan it without any help from me?” he asks.
“Of course I will.” She claps her hands together.
“Will you help clean up?”
“A thousand times yes!”
“One last question.” He glances over at me. “Will I be invited to this party?”
She laughs and strategically places one hand on his bare shoulder. Seeing her touch him like that gets me all moody and pissed. I hate feeling that way toward Chris. And my sister too. I wish I could stop it, or even better, rewind my biology back to when I didn’t have these feelings at all.
“You’ll be my guest of honor, Christian Mitcham,” she says dramatically.
Chris waggles his eyebrows at me. “And what about birthday boy over there, is he invited?”
Tabs turns and lowers her sunglasses, stares at me like I’m the mutant tail she just can’t seem to shake. “I guess so. It’s his birthday too.”
“I’m not going,” I announce. I hate birthday parties, especially joint ones with Tabs. I’m always on edge because she’s so uptight about me not making her look bad.
“You have to go, Theo,” Chris whines in a high-pitched voice and splashes me. “It’s your sweet sixteen.”
A car horn interrupts my everlasting groan.
“Oh, that’s Lizbeth,” my sister says, climbing up the stairs and quickly toweling off. She dons a slinky sundress over her bikini and grabs her bag. “Going shopping at the Gardens. Want to come with?” She directs the question at Chris, not me. My sister rarely asks me to do things with her and her friends. I’m too weird, she says. I don’t talk enough and when I do, I say strange things.
“I’ll stay here and catch up with Theo.” Chris smiles warmly at her. He has this amazing quality of making you feel special just with a smile.
“See ya, Tabs,” I call.
“Yeah,” she responds and saunters off with this swishy walk she does when she thinks somebody might be watching. She has a nice little body, and she knows it. Her sandals go clack-clack-clack on the concrete, and then she’s gone.
“Same old Tabs,” Chris says with a chuckle.
“Yep,” I agree, though I don’t find it at all amusing. She could have at least asked me about her birthday plans before springing it on Chris. I’d have said no—hell, no—which is probably why she didn’t. Maybe too I feel a little possessive over Chris. She has a ton of friends already. Does she have to add Chris to her collection?
“A party could be fun,” he says, trying to warm me up to it.
“I’ll be up there.” I point to my bedroom window.
“Like hell you will. If I have to put up with Tabs’s friends, you do too.”
I groan again even though I think Chris and Tabitha have both become immune to my resistance. The only thing I want to do on my birthday is go down to the DMV and get my license, then drive down A1A in my mom’s car with the windows down, unless I have my own car by then. I’ve got a few thousand saved up from a lifetime of being cheap, along with my pay from summer work. A car means freedom, independence, and not having to rely on Chris or my mom to cart my ass around town all the time.
Chris turns on me then with a mischievous grin, crosses the pool in two strides, and upsets my float, dumping me into the cold water. It’s a bit of a shock to the system. Even more so when he wraps one muscular arm around my neck and dunks me under just to show me he still can.
I come up with a full-body shiver and shake the water from my hair. “Had to get that out, huh?” I ask, hardly even annoyed.
“Got to make sure you still know who’s boss.” He punches my shoulder lightly.
Boss is my nickname for him, whenever he’s being pushy or trying hard to get his way, which is most of the time.
“So, what have you been up to?” Chris asks. “You hardly texted me at all this summer.”
He’s right about that. Mainly because it just made me miss him more. I did send him a few pictures, mostly of the beach and the waves, since that’s always been his favorite view.
“Nothing too exciting happened while you were gone. Didn’t seem like much worth mentioning.”
He scowls like he doesn’t believe me, though he should know nothing fun ever happens when he’s not around.
“I got a new board. Want to see it?” Chris has a lot of toys, but he gets super excited about his boards.
“I’m surprised you held out this long.”
“I figured Tabs wouldn’t be into it. Not the way you would.”
“Yeah, sure.”
We climb out of the pool and towel off. I follow Chris over to one of their outdoor sheds where he keeps his half-dozen surfboards, all quality-made, on wooden racks. If the boards don’t stand up to the test, Chris trades or sells them, which means his collection is always evolving to suit his style of surfing.
The floor is a concrete slab and the couple of dusty windows light the shed in a buttery yellow haze. I can’t see the color and design as well as if we were outside, so I run my hand along the edge of the board where it straddles two sawhorses. It’s a short board with a slightly upturned nose. The epoxy resin is smooth as glass, not a drop of wax on it. It’s probably never even been floated before.
“You haven’t used it yet,” I remark. Usually Chris takes them out his first day, or he arranges to test drive them before buying.
“This weekend. Taking a trip to Sebastian before school starts. You coming?”
I have nothing planned other than working with my lawn crew, which I can probably get covered for the weekend, but it’s hard enough keeping my junk in check when we’re alone. I don’t want the pressure of being around his ultrahetero friends or watching him make out with his squad of surfer girls.
“I don’t know, Boss. School starts on Monday.”
“Whaaat?” he whines and I shrug like What can I do about it? “Come on, T. I really want you to come with me. We haven’t hung out all summer.”
“I know, but….” I drift off, not knowing how to finish that thought without telling him the real reason—it’s too damn hard to be constantly tempted with something you can’t have.
“I’ll give you Lady Macbeth.” Chris grins slyly, sweetening the pot. Lady Macbeth is my favorite of his collection, a long board made by a local guy named Casper. We named her that because we’re convinced she’s suicidal. On good days that board can sail. On bad ones she drops me on my ass. I can relate to her temperament.
“I always get Lady Macbeth.”
“To have.” He crosses his arms over his broad chest, accentuating the swell of his biceps and the meat of his pecs.
Chris is always giving me stuff. Before I got too tall, he used to give me his old clothes. My bike used to be his, too, and a couple of my skateboards. He’s too generous, especially to me.
“That board’s worth, like, $500. Not including sentimental value.”
“It’s practically yours anyway. I never ride it.”
“So you’re telling me you want me to store it in my garage,” I say to mess with him. I don’t want him to think I’m using him for his stuff, part of why I started working this summer. To give back.
“No,” he says, getting a little flustered. It doesn’t happen often, but I do enjoy seeing Mr. Calm, Cool, and Collected squirm. “You can still store it here. You probably should. Don’t want to make the others jealous.”
“Ha,” I say as my eyes land on the ridgeline of his collarbone and the gold chain that rests there with a shark’s tooth attached. I found it way back when on the beach and gave it to him—biggest tooth we’d ever seen. Chris had it made into a necklace. The tooth belongs to a great white, he always tells people when they ask, the same shark that chomps on surfers up and down the coast. Not us, though. By wearing its tooth, it shows the sharks we’re one of them. Like most surfers, Chris is a bit superstitious.
I turn away so he won’t see my face and pretend to inspect Lady Macbeth. “She’s pretty dinged up, though.”
“You little shit.” He shoves me lightly. “You’re the one who dinged her.”
I smile. He’s so protective of his boards. “If I take her off your hands, she might not answer to you anymore.”
“She never did. I’d have sold her if it weren’t for you.” He lays his hand on the board’s edge and gives her an affectionate little squeeze. His ruddy golden hand with his sun-bleached nails, next to mine, so close they’re practically touching. Chris is always just an inch too far away.
“So, you’ll come to Sebastian with me?”
Is it my imagination, or is there some unspoken plea in his voice? I don’t know how I’m going to survive the weekend with him, much less my entire sophomore year. Lots of cold showers. But like most things with Chris, I don’t have the willpower to say no.
“Yeah, I’ll come. But I get shotgun.” I always get shotgun unless there’s a girl in the car, Hopefully he’s not bringing a girl with us.
“Damn, Theo, I go away for a summer and you’ve turned into a shark.”
I shake my head and nudge him lightly with my shoulder, my bare skin brushing against his. I glance over, and even though I can’t see them in this light, I know that’s where he collects his freckles, on the tops of his shoulders. I’ve spent way too much time memorizing them, but it’s partly his fault for never wearing a damn shirt.
“You know you always get what you want in the end,” I tell him. As if there was ever a question.
He smiles with an arrogance that only adds to his appeal. “Don’t make me work too hard.”
That deep, gravelly voice gets me every time. Feels like my heart is being rubbed over a cheese grater. I remind myself to breathe, then make up an excuse about something I need to do at home and walk back out of the shed with his fumes still in my nostrils and his voice humming in my head.
Our summer apart hasn’t changed a thing. If anything, it’s only gotten worse. I’m still hopelessly infatuated with my best friend.
My straight best friend.


Posted in A Tour/Guest Post/Blitz | Leave a comment

Recent Release: The Necromancer’s Smile by Lisa Oliver

Good Reads Link


Detective Dakar Rhodes is an alpha wolf shifter who’s short on sleep and patience. Called to yet another crime scene, definitely the work of a serial killer, he’s shocked to learn the Pedace Police Department has a Necromancer as a consultant. Considering he’d moved to Pedace because of the lack of a coven in the area, he wasn’t pleased with the new development. His previous dealings with magic users never ended well. But when ordered to show the consultant the respect befitting his position, Dakar bites his tongue and longs for a swift conclusion to the case.

Necromancer Prince Sebastian York, or Sy to his friends, has a real issue with people. He doesn’t like or trust them, but because of his position, he has to deal with them. Dead people are so much easier – at least they don’t want anything from him. But Sy has been raised to do his duty and when he’s called to a crime scene, he doesn’t expect anything much to happen beyond talking to a few spirits. The last thing he thought he’d find is a wolf shifter claiming to be his mate.

One short meeting has a wealth of repercussions. Finding a serial killer is easy; coping with relationships is anything but. Demons, journalists, long held grudges and a familiar with loyalty issues all combine to make for a hectic time. It’s a case of one step forward, two steps back for Dakar and Sy, but when evil comes calling will they be able to rely on each other for a chance at an HEA?

This story is the first in a planned trilogy based on the two main characters. A complete story, the epilogue does set the scene for book two, but this can be read as a standalone. This book contains intimate situations suitable for adults only and is M/M. Trigger warnings: Violence, foul language.


I loved all the awesome powers in this! I thought Sy was awesome and I hope we hear more from the butler, too.

I wish there’d been a little bit more time spent with our MCs as a couple, I really wanted to see them bond emotionally a bit more than we did see.

Lisa is great at world-building and I really hope we see more from this world.

If you’re a fan of “underdogs” who are really bad-ass – this is for you!

Highly recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars


Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Purchased for Review

Posted in 4.5 stars, Action/Adventure, adult - 18+, Alternate World, Angst Level, Bi-Sexual, Book, co-workers to lovers, Contemporary, Cop/Crime, Fated Mates, Gay, Gay, Heat Index, m/m, Magic, Mid level angst, Mid level steam/heat, Mild level angst, Mild/low level heat, Morgan, Mystery, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Paranormal, Purchased, Shifter | Leave a comment

Guest Post: SE Harmon for The Blueprint

OS: Welcome to SE Harmon here to talk about their new book!


Hello! I’m glad to be on Open Skye today, back to the scene of the crime of my cover reveal. I’m here to talk a little bit about my latest release from DSP, The Blueprint. This book is a combination of some of my favorite tropes, all smashed into one—best-friends-to-lovers, sports romances, and OFY/GFY. The characters Kelly and Blue spoke to me so clearly, they might as well have written it themselves.
But of course there’s only so much you can say about a book—the only real way to know if you’ll love a book is to read some of it. So here goes. This is an excerpt from Blue’s POV as he starts to ponder the state of his relationship with Kelly. He knows something is a little off lately, but he’s not sure what to do about it. He also knows that he’s not going to let Kelly go…not if he has anything to say about it.
Thanks for stopping by! ☺


Kelly Cannon is generally satisfied with his life—he has a great job that he loves, friends, and a wonderful family. But his love life has reached a new level of pitiful. Why? Well, his heart decided to break all the rules. Don’t fall in love with a straight guy. And definitely don’t fall in love with your best friend.

NFL standout Britton “Blue” Montgomery has pressure coming at him from all sides. From his father, who’s only interested in Blue’s football career. From his coaches, who just want him to play without getting injured again. The fans. His agent. His mother, who popped back up on the radar after leaving his family years ago. Now his relationship with Kelly is on shaky ground, and that frightens Blue more than anything.

When Kelly admits he’s in love with Blue, bonds are tested, and Blue has to decide what’s really important. He doesn’t want to lose the number one person in his life, but the cost to keep Kelly close might be more than he’s willing to pay.

It’s a good thing his nickname is the Blueprint—it’s time to draft a new set of plans.

Buy Links


I glanced down at my phone again. No missed calls, no missed texts. There was no point in redialing until Kelly was forced to get a restraining order against me. Nothing would budge him when he was being stubborn.

I wouldn’t stop by after we docked.

No matter how much I wanted to.

I was trying to give him his precious space. I scowled. Although why I was suddenly supposed to give Kelly, my best friend for practically most of my fucking life, space was beyond me. All I knew was that, a couple weeks earlier, he gave me some rambling speech about “finding himself” and “figuring some things out.” He needed time to figure out where his life was going.

I was doing my best to comply. But like most things you didn’t realize you were addicted to, staying away was easier said than done.

I would stay away. But if he didn’t answer in a couple of days, I’d track him down—in person. I sent him a text to that effect, using the word motherfucker quite liberally, and put my phone back in my pocket.

As far as threats went, two hundred and fifty pounds of irritated tight end on your doorstep was usually pretty effective.


S.E. Harmon has had a lifelong love affair with writing. It’s been both wonderful and rocky (they’ve divorced several times), but they always manage to come back together. She’s a native Floridian with a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters in Fine Arts, and now splits her days between voraciously reading romance novels and squirreling away someplace to write them. Her current beta reader is a nosy American Eskimo who begrudgingly accepts payment in the form of dog biscuits.

Posted in A Tour/Guest Post/Blitz | Leave a comment

Friends to Lovers: Blood Moon Book 1 Audiobook by MJ O’Shea Narrated by Michael Stellman

Audible Link



Zack met his best friend, Noah, at Harper Lake when they were five years old. Summer after summer, his feelings grew, but he assumed Noah didn’t feel the same. But one night when they were 17, Zack kissed Noah…and Noah kissed him back. Zack was sure he did. But the next morning, Noah put an end to their friendship and walked away, leaving Zack with a broken heart.
A year has passed, and Zack goes back to the lake – where every leaf, rock, and turn in the road remind him of the biggest mistake he ever made. He hates thinking about what he lost, and more than anything he wants his best friend back. He figures it’ll be the longest summer ever. But then Noah shows up out of the blue, apologetic and more gorgeous than ever. Noah is sweet and attentive, and Zack can almost believe nothing had ever gone wrong. But there’s something different about his old friend, something not quite right. Zack doesn’t want to ruin the fragile new bond between them, but he has to know…what secret is Noah hiding?


This is a great YA/NA friends to lovers story with a paranormal twist.


There is some good action and this books sets up the series nicely.


While it’s a bit predictable, it hits all the things I love in a paranormal romance and leaves us wanting more. There is a surprising amount of heat and not as much angst as I worry about seeing in YA/NA stories. The action/adventure is good, too.


Michael Stellman does a nice job with the narration.



Overall 3.5 of 5 stars



Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Purchased for Review

Posted in 3.5 stars, Action/Adventure, Audiobook, Book, Contemporary, Dreamspinner, Enemies to Lovers, Fated Mates, Friends to lovers, Gay, Gay, Homophobia, m/m, Mid level angst, Mid level steam/heat, Morgan, New Adult, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Paranormal, Part of a Series, Shifter, Standalone, vampire, Virgin, young adult | Leave a comment

Audiobook: Off the Beaten Path by Cari Z. Narrated by Jack Wesley


Dreamspinner Press

When Ward Johannsen’s little girl Ava shifted into a werewolf, she was taken into custody by the feds and shipped off to the nearest pack, all ties between father and daughter severed. Ward burned every bridge he had discovering her location, and then almost froze to death in the Colorado mountains tracking her new pack down. And that’s just the beginning of his struggle.

Henry Dormer is an alpha werewolf and an elite black ops soldier who failed his last mission. He returns home, hoping for some time to recuperate and help settle the pack’s newest member, a little pup named Ava who can’t shift back to her human form. Instead he meets Ward, who refuses to leave his daughter without a fight. The two men are as different as night and day, but their respect for each other strikes a spark of mutual interest that quickly grows into a flame. They might find something special together—love, passion, and even a family—if they can survive trigger-happy pack guardians, violent werewolf politics, and meddling government agencies that are just as likely to get their alpha soldiers killed as bring them home safely

(Book reviewed here previously by Mary)

I’m always looking for a new twist on a shifter story and this did not disappoint.
With the way the world is is could see werewolves being treated in manner described in this story. Used when it suited the Government but kept isolated out of fear. The world building is superb. The treatment of the werewolves is so unjust they gained my sympathy immediately and I was so pulled in that I was sorry when I came to the end of the book. I felt connected with Wade and Henry. To have the Government take your child and never to see her again would be heartbreaking. He is strong in his determination to get her back. Henry is pulled in so many directions. He has his duty to his pack as Alpha and to his role as an elite black ops soldier. I liked the way both Wade’s and Henry’s situations were explained without taking too much time away from the crux of the story, the burgeoning relationship between Henry and Wade and Ava not being able to shift back. I hope Cari Z has plans for a sequel or a series.

The only problem I had was that it is written from both Henry and Wade’s points of view in alternating chapters. This did throw me a bit and I kept checking who’s POV I was reading. However I was so captivated by the story it didn’t affect my enjoyment. If you are a fan of shifter stories I wholeheartedly recommend Off the Beaten Path.

(Review by Morgan)

I agree with Mary, but I want to add that sometimes this was really hard. I’m sure there are some allegories between this story and “real life” camps that strike home.

I think, depending on your frame of mind, the hate and distrust and the making people feel isolated and different can really strike a nerve given our political times.


I thought Jack Wesley (new to me) did a great job. He was easy to listen to, did a nice job with the emotion, and helped differentiate the characters.

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars


Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review


Posted in 4.5 stars, adult - 18+, Alternate World, Audiobook, Book, Dreamspinner, Dystopian, Fated Mates, Gay, Gay, High but not hopeless, Hurt/comfort, m/m, Mary D, Mid level steam/heat, Military, Morgan, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Paranormal, Part of a Series, Shifter, Single Parent, Teacher | Leave a comment

Mnevermind book 3 by Jordan Castillo Price is in Audio!


Review soon!
But don’t wait – look for it now!


Daniel Schroeder wants nothing more than to repair his father’s broken memories, but it’s been a long time since he’s thought of himself as a memorysmith. Even though convincing Big Dan of their current reality is the most painful task Daniel faces every morning, somehow life manages to prevent him from finding a cure. He needs to keep their family business running. And he needs to moonlight at a competitor’s shop to keep all his employees paid. Or maybe he’s just trying to keep himself from exacerbating the situation.

A year ago, Daniel would have presumed he was clever enough to memorysmith his way out of their predicament, but nowadays he’s not so cavalier. Playing with people’s memories shouldn’t be taken lightly, and things can always get worse. Even with the help of some of the best minds in the business, Daniel still isn’t sure how to navigate his way out of the persistent false memory that’s crippled his life. Is new programming the answer? Better gear? More money? Or is time the only thing that can heal Big Dan’s memories…if they can even be fixed at all.

What Daniel needs most is some breathing room, and Elijah Crowe is eager to provide it. Since he’s smitten with Daniel, Elijah is determined to prove himself—and he’s more than qualified to clear Daniel’s schedule by taking over some duties at Adventuretech. With the support of his new boyfriend, possibilities begin to open up for Daniel, hints of things he hasn’t even realized he’d stopped hoping for: the contentment of a harmonious family, the fulfillment of his creative expression, and a chance for a relationship with a man he loves.




Check out the Merch

Support more quality audio by purchasing tees, totes and mugs. Narrator Seth Clayton heartily endorses the Adventuretech Mnems shirt!

Shop for Merchandise »

Posted in A Tour/Guest Post/Blitz | Leave a comment

Release Day Review: Heart of Glass by Ari McKay

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

Blurb: Lawyers In Love

Fear of being like his unfaithful father has put high walls around senior litigator Asher Caldwell’s heart. Can former district attorney Zach Richardson knock them down to reveal the passionate man beneath the commitment-phobic workaholic, or will Zach’s own jealousy destroy what they’re trying to build?

A new life and a new love—that’s what Zach’s hoping for when he leaves the DA’s office and lets his friends give him a makeover. But the jury’s still out on whether the experiment was a success. His new look gets the attention of his boss and secret crush, Asher Caldwell, and leads to a seduction. Unfortunately, to Zach’s horror he learns that Asher assumed he was a paid escort. Asher is equally mortified to discover he had sex with an employee. Even so, the encounter meant a lot to both men, and they want to give dating a shot. Their romance born out of mistaken identity might work if Zack can trust Asher to be satisfied with the love of only one man… and if Asher can trust himself.

Review: What a sweet story, just what I needed after a horrid week!
The romance between Asher and Zach is straightforward, sweet but peppered with a little self-doubt (Zach) and ‘closed-offness’ (Asher).
The blurb says it all, but the gem of the story is the simplicity of their romance, it just is (a romance with dates, meeting the family, etc.). In fact, the story is more than 75% of the way in before ‘the misunderstanding’ occurs, and even then the separation is not protracted, (although Zach should have known better…).
I loved the gift exchange at the end ☺

This story gave me a warm fuzzy feeling, definitely enjoyed it!

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review



Posted in 3.5 stars, adult - 18+, Book, co-workers to lovers, Contemporary, Dee, Dreamspinner, Gay, Gay, Heat Index, Hidden Lovers, Insta Love, lawyer, Little to no angst, m/m, Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words), Part of a Series, Scorching/high heat | Leave a comment

Guest Post: Tara Lain For Rome and Jules!

OS: Welcome to Tara Lain here to talk about Rome and Jules!


Accused of Being a Werewolf – Really!

Hi! I’m so happy to be here to launch my new paranormal romance, Rome and Jules. Rome and Jules is the fourth werewolf paranormal I’ve written, the first three being in the popular Tales of the Harker Pack. Rome and Jules is, so far, a stand-alone story taking place in a super private, very wealthy (and imaginary) community in Rhode Island called Dark Harbor. A lot of readers, including me, love werewolves. Unlike the vampire myth, werewolves can be so close to human and yet with unique powers that perhaps make them faster, stronger, with more acute hearing and vision – and yet just as confused and messed up as regular people.
Most of us know a little about the history of vampires (Transylvania, Vlad the Impaler, Dracula), but werewolves are an inherent part of our culture with not much history in mind, right? Would you be surprised as I was to discover that werewolves were a part of the witch culture? People were actually accused of being werewolves!
The origins of the werewolf fable can be traced back to the Roman author Petronius in 50AD and grew in the Middle Ages. The werewolf association with witches emerged from attempts to provide Christian interpretations of old European folklore. Here’s what Wiki says,
Belief in werewolves developed in parallel to the belief in witches, in the course of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. Like the witchcraft trials as a whole, the trial of supposed werewolves emerged in what is now Switzerland (especially the Valais and Vaud) in the early 15th century and spread throughout Europe in the 16th, peaking in the 17th and subsiding by the 18th century.

While lycanthropy or werewolfery was a small part of the witch trials, it did play a significant role, the most luridly famous event being the trial of Peter Stumpp in 1589 in Germany. Stumpp confessed to the performance of black magic since he was 12. He said the devil had given him a magic girdle that allowed him to turn into a werewolf and that he had been drinking people’s blood for years– of course, they happened to be stretching him on the rack at the time of his confession. He was also accused of incest with his daughter – so of course, they killed her along with him. Don’t we just love the middle ages? (And the many humans who still haven’t left the middle ages?)
So I like my werewolves a lot more than the medieval concept. Writing about werewolves is a lot of fun because they provide an extraordinary platform to let us learn about the dangers of the abuse of great power, the diminishing returns of exclusion, and so much more. I hope you enjoy Rome and Jules, and despite the fate of Peter and those like him, take my werewolves to your heart.

Rome And Jules
by Tara Lain
Two werewolf households, both alike in dignity….
Rome Siracusa, youngest son of the alpha of the nouveau-riche Siracusa pack, wants to be a faithful son and pack member, but he’s got two big secrets. One, he’s blessed with enhanced hearing, vision, strength, and the ability to shift at will. Second, he’s gay, a fact he can’t admit to his deadly homophobic father.
Rome crashes a party at the mansion of his pack’s greatest enemy, the ancient, pure-blooded Havillands. Jules, the gay son of the drunkard alpha, is being married off to a rich entrepreneur. Smitten and moved by the beautiful male’s plight, Rome tries to find a way to save Jules—while digging himself deeper into pack politics and navigating his own arranged marriage. Secrets climb out of the caves as the werewolf gods speak through the mouths of their children, and the two great families clash, suffocating the hopes of star-crossed lovers.
Available for purchase at 


 Crawling through the balcony window wasn’t exactly nonconfrontational. He plopped on the grass and pressed his back against the trunk of a tree. Maybe pebbles on the window? And if it’s not his room, dumbass? It made sense he’d have the one balcony on this side of the house. Do I risk it? He’s probably still out with Asshole Anderson. Man, that idea nauseated him. He closed his eyes and bumped the back of his head against the scratchy bark.

Lights shone against his closed lids, and he flicked his eyes open. Somebody’s in that room. He rolled up to a crouch and stared at the french doors. Like he willed it, one of them opened and out walked Jules.

Whoa. Rome sucked a breath, and his alpha-advantage eyes focused clearly on the scene, even though he was many feet away. Jules’s fair hair hung onto his shoulders, shimmering in the moonlight. He’d left his shirt open, and the white fabric barely contrasted with his pale chest—the chest that showed off those surprising muscles. He leaned on the parapet and sighed. Though hardly a whisper, Rome heard it clearly. He slipped a step closer.

Jules’s head snapped up. “Is there someone there?”

Wow. Could he hear that? Think fast. “But soft. What light through yonder window breaks?” Rome stepped out from under the tree branches and stopped. If Jules was going to scream, he needed a head start on the pursuers.

Instead, Jules gave that head cock, full of curiosity and unselfconscious charm. “I’ve always liked the sun.”

Rome let his smile break free. “I thought when I saw you that your hair looks like a great fall of sunlight.”

“How poetic.”

Rome walked slowly to the foot of the balcony and gazed up at Jules. Wild overgrown vines grew on trellises, some of them hanging away from the wall with the weight of the unkempt greenery. Rome pointed toward the window in front of him. “Is there someone sleeping inside?”

“No. There’s no one else in my end of the wing on either floor.”

“How nice.”

Jules rested his forearms on the balcony rail and leaned his chin on them. “When you broke in the other night—and I still don’t know how you did that—you said you wanted to be my friend and that you were worried about me being a pawn in a political game.”

“Yes. That’s all true.”

“Umm. But I don’t have any friends who recite Shakespeare to me. At least not Romeo and Juliet.” He smiled ever so slightly.

Rome’s heart beat hard. “And what does that suggest to you?”

“That the youngest son of the rich, powerful, and very homophobic Siracusa clan… is gay.”







About the Author


Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!


You can find Tara at Lain

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter Goodreads | PinterestGiveaway

Presented by 
Posted in A Tour/Guest Post/Blitz | Leave a comment

Blog Tour: The Pick Up by Allison Temple


Welcome to The Pick Up’s blog tour, presented by Allison Temple and Riptide Publishing! The Pick Up is Book 1 in the Up Red Creek series. This cozy small-town romance tells the story of single dad Kyle, who moves back to his hometown with his princess-obsessed six-year-old daughter Caroline. He doesn’t expect them to stay long, until he meets Adam, Caroline’s too-hot and too-serious teacher.

About The Pick Up


Kyle’s life is going backwards. He wanted to build a bigger life for himself than Red Creek could give him, but a family crisis has forced him to return to his hometown with his six-year-old daughter. Now he’s standing in the rain at his old elementary school, and his daughter’s teacher, Mr. Hathaway, is lecturing him about punctuality.


Adam Hathaway is not looking for love. He’s learned the hard way to keep his personal and professional life separate. But Kyle is struggling and needs a friend, and Adam wants to be that friend. He just needs to ignore his growing attraction to Kyle’s goofy charm, because acting on it would mean breaking all the rules that protect his heart.


Putting down roots in this town again is not Kyle’s plan. As soon as he can, he’s taking his daughter and her princess costumes and moving on. The more time he spends with Adam, though, the more he thinks the quiet teacher might give him a reason to stay. Now he just has to convince Adam to take a chance on a bigger future than either of them could have planned.


Available now from Riptide Publishing!


About Allison Temple


Allison Temple is a romance writer from Toronto, Ontario. She lives with her very patient husband and the world’s neediest cat. Her debut, The Pick Up, will be published by Riptide Publishing in 2018.

Allison has been writing since the second grade, when she wrote a short story about a girl and her horse. Her grandmother typed it out for her and said she’d never seen so many quotation marks from a seven-year-old before. Allison’s fascination with the way characters speak and communicate with each other in novels has not diminished in the ensuing thirtyish years.

Despite living in Canada’s largest city for more than a decade, Allison’s fiction writing draws inspiration from her small-town roots. Originally from Brockville, Ontario, she knows what it’s like to live in a place where nothing is more than a ten-minute drive away, and you’ll see everyone you know on Saturday morning at the farmers’ market. Her first job was selling coffee and making sandwiches at a bakery that has been family owned for over a hundred years. She was once given an award for “most improved tomato slicer.”

Since that early professional start, Allison has been, at various times, an odor lab technician, environmental consultant, corporate proposal writer, and marketing manager. She fills her free time with writing, community theater stage management, and traveling to destinations with good wine.

Allison came late to reading and writing romance novels. She didn’t read her first one until she was twenty-six years old, but it has been a landslide since then. She loves LGBT romance for the stories it tells and the characters it brings to life. She is very excited to be joining the circle of passionate and talented authors in the genre, and credits Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton for introducing her to it.

Connect with Allison:


To celebrate the release of The Pick Up, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 10, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!


Posted in A Tour/Guest Post/Blitz | 5 Comments