by Karrie Jax
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Eddie Russell is many things: A wealthy pillar of the community. An outrageous flirt. A doting best friend. A masochist with a kink for brawling with his bedmates. But he is definitely not a man who invites intimacy. His friends are close but few, his lovers rarer still.
When Eddie runs his Mercedes off the road on a hot July afternoon, Wish Carver comes to his aid—and leaves his number in Eddie’s phone. Wish, a road crew worker half Eddie’s age and sexy as sin, seems fascinated by Eddie’s different sides. Mutual attraction and compatible kinks ignite the sheets, but it’s their connection outside the bedroom that Eddie begins to crave.
When the two come down on opposite sides of a local issue, Eddie finds his growing feelings for Wish at odds with his business interests and his devotion to his best friend, local wakeboarding legend Ben Warren. Torn between old loyalties and his new love, Eddie is reluctant to make a choice. But he knows he can’t make Wish wait too long to make up his mind.
We met Eddie as the very flaming and kink friend of Ben in Double Up. Eddie runs off the road and is rescued by Wish – short for Aloysius – a 20 year younger road worker who happens to have the kink Eddie loves.
They start as a hook-up but it becomes clear fairly early that they are more than a one-night stand.
They have several hurdles: age, income, politics, Ben… But overcoming them is something that the two work out and the make up sex is phenomenal!
First – Eddie’s kink is pain. He loves receiving it and Wish loves giving it. If this bothers you – skip this book – because there is a LOT of it in there.
Second – The writing is excellent and Eddie is a great character. I didn’t get as good a feel for Wish as I’d like. We see everything from Eddie’s POV and so I can’t say I know too much about Wish. However, they really do seem to work as a couple.
I thought there was a bit too much sex (say it isn’t so!) but only because I wanted to see more of the men working as a couple when it wasn’t in the bedroom.
I loved seeing Eddie and Ben’s relationship evolve and it was great seeing Ben married off to Davis at the end – a nice tie in to the first novel.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and even though the sadism/masochism scene isn’t my cup of tea I thought it was handled really well. Eddie wasn’t a submissive and that was made very clear. I appreciated the distinction and how well it was covered.
4 of 5 stars
Generously provided by NetGalley for review
The weather outside is frightful, but this Minnesota northwoods cabin is getting pretty hot.
Stylist Frankie Blackburn never meant to get lost in Logan, Minnesota, but his malfunctioning GPS felt otherwise, and a record-breaking snowfall ensures he won’t be heading back to Minneapolis anytime soon. Being rescued by three sexy lumberjacks is fine as a fantasy, but in reality the biggest of the bears is awfully cranky and seems ready to gobble Frankie right up.
Marcus Gardner wasn’t always a lumberjack—once a high-powered Minneapolis lawyer, he’s come home to Logan to lick his wounds, not play with a sassy city twink who might as well have stepped directly out of his past. But as the northwinds blow and guards come down, Frankie and Marcus find they have a lot more in common than they don’t. Could the man who won’t live in the country and the man who won’t go back to the city truly find a home together? Because the longer it snows, the deeper they fall in love, and all they want for Christmas is each other.
Warning: Contains power outages, excessive snowfall, and incredibly sexy bears.
Frankie gets caught in a snowstorm in Logan (very small town), Minnesota. He’s a very femme stylist and he feels a little too “big” for small-town Logan and worries about being bullied/hurt in such a small town environment.
Marcus is a lawyer who recently moved back to his small town to help his ailing mother. He’s not sure where he belongs and he feels pulled in multiple directions.
It’s a sort of “Goldilocks and the Three (gay) Bears” story… Frankie being the Goldilocks and each of the bears getting their own stories in turn.
Though the two fight their attraction to one another it soon becomes clear that while Paul and Arthur are doing their “thing” Marcus and Frankie really want to do “their own thing”.
Eventually Frankie has to decide (as does Marcus) where his priorities, trust and hope lie. Will he tough it out in the sticks or give up on Marcus for the “safety” of the city.
I have to admit I didn’t like this story nearly as much the first time I read it. Maybe I was in a bad mood (likely – I don’t like Christmas at all), maybe I didn’t appreciate the characters for who they would become (I know a lot more about the secondary characters and why they get so much page time now), I didn’t feel as connected to the MCs as I wanted (which now that I’ve seen them in three stories I really feel a strong connection.). Whatever the case – I really liked it on the second pass.
It’s not my favorite of the series (book two holds that honor) but it’s still a wonderfully sweet story about stereotypes and being true to yourself and true courage and standing up for what you most want in life.
I thought it was lovely how Heidi tied it up at the end by showing Frankie that fear can be found anywhere – something I missed on the first read. I really appreciate how Heidi can talk about a lot of “heavy” topics without feeling heavy handed about it.
The steam in this series is both low and high. There are numerically fewer steamy scenes in these than I expect from her, but the intensity of those scenes is very high.
To sum up, I really loved this series – So Much!- and I loved all the MCs, and this book on its own is wonderfully sweet, but as part of the series it really helps to set up the background for the other MCs which really helps you to understand them all the more. It’s definitely worth a read on its own merits but I also recommend it as a lead in to the other two books.
4 of 5 stars
Copy Purchased for Review
Samhain Publishing Presents
Six years ago, Noah Wheeler went to meet his boyfriend, Dante Cerreto, at the airport, and his world ended. Dante was kissing someone else and claimed to be in love. So Noah took his heartbreak-and the sonogram pictures of their surrogate child-and closed the door on the big picture of what he thought his life would be, focusing instead on the piece of the dream he got to keep, being a father.
Now on vacation in Las Vegas, Noah accidentally runs into the Cerreto family, and then the man himself, and learns that not only was he deceived, but Dante was as well. Now Dante wants to make up for lost time, six years’ worth, and to do that he needs Noah, the only man he’s ever loved, and Grace, the daughter he didn’t know he had, to give him a chance at happiness. Dante’s going to have to take a crash course in communication and seduction, though. Noah’s not going to fall in love just to be broken again.
Noah went to the airport to surprise his boyfriend Dante with a sonogram of his child only to find Dante in a clench with his work partner. When confronted Dante tells Noah he wants out of the relationship and that he’s fallen in love with someone else.
Though Noah is crushed he does what he can to share with Dante their child, but to no avail. It isn’t until 6 years have passed that they cross paths only to find out that things aren’t what everyone originally thought.
This is a short story, only 96 pages, so much of it happens in a re-telling and the only “real time” is a matter of hours.
As usual I loved the characters. Noah is the perfect guy who did everything “right” but with all the wrong information.
Dante, you think is all bad, isn’t at all… but he still screwed up, and how! But… he’s the alpha guy who makes your eyeballs melt and nobody can just let that get away.
Dante’s family is also perfect and helps to smooth everything over. Noah’s current “boyfriend” is perfectly stupid and manages to do just the right thing so that nobody feels bad about what happens to him.
Most of this is typical Mary wonderfulness and I loved it. What I didn’t love was the brevity and what it did to the story. Instead of having our MCs work out something realistic (Mary does like to split her guys up – for years!) they end up making up in less than 48 hours and it felt really forced. I just hadn’t gotten to the point where I was able to buy into them getting back because Dante hadn’t done enough to earn his right to be back in Noah’s life.
It was close… but I couldn’t quite feel good about it.
So though it pains me to do so, I must give this a 3 of 5 stars. Great for Mary fans, but those less forgiving might not like this title as much.
(Copy Purchased for Review)
Do you believe in love at first sight? Paul Auster doesn’t. Paul doesn’t believe in much at all. He’s thirty, slightly overweight, and his best features are his acerbic wit and the color commentary he provides as life passes him by. His closest friends are a two-legged dog named Wheels and a quasibipolar drag queen named Helena Handbasket. He works a dead-end job in a soul-sucking cubicle, and if his grandmother’s homophobic parrot insults him one more time, Paul is going to wring its stupid neck.
Review the book and the audio version:
Can’t. Write. Laughing. Too. Hard!
Oh my effing God this book is funny! TJ has said that he resembles Paul the most of any of his characters and I can believe it. Paul is hysterical. He has absolutely no filter and he is neurotic as hell. His family and friends are just as off the charts colorful and laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying inducing.
When I read the book I laughed out loud so many times my husband made me tell him what I was reading – I had him going on some of the lines delivered too.
Paul has a sarcastic GPS named That Damn Bitch that wants to kill him. At one point:
“You have arrived at your destination,” That Damn Bitch said.
“We’re in the middle of the freeway!” I shouted at her.
“Recalculating,” she growled.
“She just wanted us to stop so we’d get hit by a tractor-trailer,” I muttered.
“Please make a U-turn,” That Damn Bitch said.
Sandy stared at the GPS. “Isn’t she supposed to say make a U-turn when it’s safe to do so?”
I shook my head. “She used to say that, but for some reason she stopped. I thought it was a malfunction at first, but now I know she just wants me to die.”
Paul has a grandma with a homophobic parrot named Johnny Depp.
“Here comes the rump ranger!” every time I walk into her house.
Paul is at the zoo and falls into the Hippo exhibit.
“Sandy! Oh God, Sandy! I think I got some of the hippo shit water in my mouth! Call the fire department! Call the army! Send big guns! I don’t want to die! There are so many things I need to do! I always wanted to learn to line dance!”
That’s only a teeny small fraction of the hilarity in this book. Add to that the narration by Michael Lesley and it’s doubled! Michael adds just the right amount of lisp to Paul’s monologues and diatribes to make you cackle and just enough sugar to Helena Handbasket’s drawls to make you purr.
You can’t listen to this anywhere you need to be quiet. You will be laughing out loud. Seriously guffawing.
Besides being a LOL book – for once, really, laugh out loud – it is a sweet, sweet romance.
Vince is a gorgeous if a somewhat clueless homo-jock that falls for Paul instantly despite the fact that Paul does absolutely EVERYTHING wrong.
Helena/Sandy helps Paul to realize he has to be brave sometime and even when Paul is brave he manages to fall on his face. (You remember the scene where he hits his head on the mattress – right?) But it all works out in the end and like all TJ’s work it ends so sweetly.
I cannot rate this book high enough! If you want a book full of hilarity and a sweet romance – look no further, this is the masterpiece.
Six out of five stars for both the story and the audio version.
Copy purchased for review
Book 1 – Shifter’s Uprising Series.
Can be read as standalone.
Carlin is an Alpha Wolf Fighter, one of only three in the top spots at the Souterrain – an underground fighting club, run by the Elite to punish shifters who have gone outside of the laws. He’s happy enough, only has to fight exhibition matches, has his own apartment space, food and sex on tap – yep, life it good. So when Martin offers him the chance to fight for his freedom, Carlin turns it down. It’s no fun being a lone wolf and Carlin is quite happy where he is.
Then Lucas catches his eye. A handsome man, a stunning fighter, moving up through the ranks fast. Lucas might not have the killer attitude that most men at the Souterrain have, but he’s got the moves. Carlin has no problems insisting the man is bought to his apartment – sex is never a bad idea. But when he catches Lucas’s scent and realizes the man is his fated mate, suddenly getting him to bed is the least of his problems. Lucas wants to be free, and for the first time in a long time, so does Carlin.
Unfortunately there is more to Lucas than meets the eye. Martin certainly has no intention of letting them go, and if he has to have Carlin killed to keep Lucas at the Souterrain, then the man has no problems with that either. Suddenly the deal Carlin makes with Martin goes horribly wrong, and Carlin and Lucas realize that the price for freedom might be Carlin’s life, and even then Lucas will not be free.
Warnings: M/M sex, HEA, some violence (they are in a fight club after all). A growly Alpha who lets his emotions get the best of him, and a hybrid shifter with a wicked imagination.
Carlin and Lucas are both victims of an administration that wants total control of it’s subjects. Carlin has a bit more freedom, but ultimately he’s just as limited as Lucas when it comes down to it.
When Lucas and he figure out they’re true mates they both suddenly have something worth fighting for and against.
Though this is a much darker shifter story (perhaps that’s the influence of Lisa Oliver’s son as writing partner) it still has that very romantic element along with the wonderful world-building.
I loved that Lucas has the ability to shift into more than just a wolf – that’s a unique twist that makes me excited to see what else happens in this series!
I recommend this book and the author highly!
4.5 of 5 stars
Copy Provided by Author for honest Review
[Thomas] Hi there, thank you for hosting us here today. Our book, Uncaged is set in a world where shifters can be imprisoned for life if they break any shifter laws. The laws are upheld by a force called the Elite who work for a ruling family, the Masons.
[Lisa] At the heart of this story is a true mate romance. Lucas is a hybrid shifter who is fighting his way up through the ranks of cage fighters. Carlin is an Alpha Wolf shifter who has already attained one of the top positions and is quite happy with his lot…until he meets Lucas and realizes they are true mates. Now freedom is on his mind, and he will fight to get it.
This book is a little different from my other books (the Cloverleah Pack, Bound and Bonded, Stockton Wolves and the Alpha and Omega series) but that is to be expected with a collaborative effort. For me the important element of the story was the love growing between two men…
[Thomas] …and for me it was the fight scenes and the underlying theme of this series which is how men will act under an oppressive ruling family. I think we got a good balance and hopefully readers will think so too.
[Thomas] Well, Carlin loves to cook but it’s not something he gets a lot of chance to do very often…
[Lisa]…and Lucas loves to listen to jazz music, something even Carlin doesn’t know.
[Lisa] I have – some of the Cloverleah Pack books, like where Scott walks away from Damien in book 3, and Anton acts like such an ass to Troy in book 4 – for some reason both of those scenes made me tear up at the thought of it, and I had to work extra hard to get those men their HEA.
[Thomas] This is my first book, so the short answer is no. But I imagine Mom will have me thinking of some soppy stuff in the next one…not that it will make me cry, but Mom probably will.
[Lisa and Thomas] No.
[Lisa] I have always wanted to collaborate with someone else. Writing can be quite a lonely occupation. I never thought my first co-writing project would be with my son, but it was really fun to do and I am looking forward to working on the next book.
[Thomas] I didn’t realize that the writing process itself took so long. I have these ideas in my head, but when we came to putting them on paper it was like…you have to be able to convey what’s in your head, clearly enough on paper so others can see what you are thinking. I found that hard – as well as the sex scenes…my Mom did those and no, I didn’t even talk to her about them…talking to my mother about sex is just freaky.
[Lisa] Yep, you left all that to me, lol. Not a problem. I have trouble with action scenes, I always have. That is what made writing this book so much more fun because I had someone who I could talk to about specific movements, sensations and things like that – there are more action scenes in this book than in any of my other ones.
[Thomas] I try and eat healthy when I can – fruit, vegetables, a lot of water, and fish/chicken. I can guess what Mom is going to say.
[Lisa] too right, lol. Chocolate, chocolate, tea (for fluids) and more chocolate.
Thank you Lisa and Thomas!
Here is an excerpt from their book:
Carlin knew he was behaving like an idiot pacing up and down the floor of his small apartment, but he couldn’t stop. How long did it take for one man to have a shower for fucks sake? He’d ordered food for the both of them. Having been a fighter for more than five years, Carlin knew that Lucas would be hungry – hopefully for food and sex. But if the bloody man didn’t get his skates on then Carlin would eat alone and get straight to dessert when Lucas arrived.
About to call Brian and find out where his errant fuck had gone, Carlin caught the sound of people outside of his door. He threw himself on the couch and picked up a book. He didn’t want Lucas thinking he was waiting for him or anything.
Brian came in, Lucas a few steps behind him.
“Alpha Fighter Carlin. This is Lucas, ranked fifth after today.”
Carlin was surprised. He’d heard the man had moved swiftly up the ranks, but he didn’t realize that Lucas was so close to a shot for an Alpha ranking. In theory, one more fight and he might have to fight Lucas in the ring. For a moment Carlin was tempted to send the man away. He did have some conscience, even after so many years of being a fighting machine. He didn’t want to have to kill someone who had been in his bed.
But then Lucas stepped past Brian, and Carlin was caught in angry eyes. Silver eyes. Something tugged at Carlin’s brain – the eye color had some significance, didn’t it? But then Lucas’s scent hit Carlin’s nose and any rational thought fell straight out of his brain.
“Leave, Brian,” Carlin said, standing up and not breaking his stare with Lucas. He knew his body radiated the power he was famous for, and guessed he might look intimidating, as he heard Brian whisper to Lucas as he scurried out of the door, “I told you not to stare at an Alpha. You’re dead meat pup.”
“Better dead than a fuck toy,” Lucas snarled – his comment for Brian, but those silver eyes stayed fixed on Carlin.
“I agree,” Carlin said, his voice dropping as he got closer. Before Lucas could react, he reached his hand around, grabbing Lucas by the nape and pushing the man’s face into his throat. Whatever Lucas was going to say was muffled by Carlin’s skin, although the man was kicking, punching and doing everything he could to get free.
“Sniff, damn you,” Carlin said urgently. “Fucking sniff, and then I’ll let you go.”
Carlin felt Lucas quieten, although his body still stayed rigid in Carlin’s grasp. Lucas’s deep inhale was the only sound in the room. Carlin knew the moment Lucas had worked out what Carlin was trying to say.
Buy the book:
Meet the authors:
Lisa Oliver had been writing non-fiction books for years when visions of half dressed, buff men started invading her dreams. Unable to resist the lure of her stories, Lisa decided to switch to fiction books, and now stories about her men clamor to get out from under her fingertips.
When Lisa is not writing, she is usually reading with a cup of tea always at hand. Her grown children and grandchildren sometimes try and pry her away from the computer and have found that the best way to do it, is to promise her chocolate. Lisa will do anything for chocolate.
Thomas Oliver doesn’t have a lot of time for writing itself although he can talk about his ideas for hours. A construction worker by day, he has a wicked imagination and it was from sharing some of his ideas with Lisa, that the idea for this series was born.
When not working, Thomas is like any other young man. He loves to spend time with friends, his girlfriend and working on his car. His dream is to do up a project car – something mean, with attitude and plenty of power under the hood.
Anyone wanting to contact Thomas can do so through Facebook.
Where to find the author:
My Blog: http://www.supernaturalsmut.com
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25695445-uncaged
Publisher: Oliver Group Publications
Cover Artist: Lisa Oliver
Fan Art by Karrie
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