by Karrie Jax
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Jared Templeton returned to Colin City for one reason, to make it through his sister’s wedding. After that he wanted to return to his home in Massachusetts and go back to his blessed solitude and his life as an assassin. He didn’t plan on attending a viewing for a deceased mentor, agreeing to help his shifter friend rescue a blind man, or learning that he had a shifter mate, a male shifter mate. He’d never been attracted to a man before, but he couldn’t deny that he lusted after this one. And he had no clue what to do about it, or how he could fit the wolf shifter into his life if he did give in to his desires.
Carson Angeni is the enforcer for the Stone Ridge wolf pack. He’s followed his alpha’s commands and obeyed him without question, even to the point of taking lives to ensure the safety of his pack. When he’s faced with a mate who kills for money, with no remorse and no conscience, he questions Fate’s choice. How can he accept someone who seems to get his jollies by goading those around him, not to mention Jared lives halfway across the country? But as he gets to know the man, Carson learns that there is more to him than Jared’s brash exterior displays. There’s definitely a connection between them and both have trouble denying it, but Carson can’t accept Jared’s work as an assassin. And when Carson discovers that Jared knew from the beginning that he was Carson’s mate, it creates even more tension between them. Can Carson learn to trust his mate while trying to convince Jared to give up the only life and the only job he’s ever known, to settle with him in Stone Ridge?
This is the first book of this series for which I’ve done a formal review – but I gotta tell you that I love this series so much!
I chose this book to start with because Carson and Jared hold a special place in my heart – they are so damn funny and so damn sexy that I get excited and giggle any time they get mentioned. So far Charlie Richards has put these guys in several of the following stories and each time they get a little bit cuter and lot more kinky!
I am (desperately) hoping these guys get their own sequel in the future… maybe with babies… hint hint!
In any case… this book introduces them as a couple. At first Jared identifies as straight, but as you know that mating bond takes hold and makes even the straightest guy think twice.
Carson is this tough, stoic, calm (most of the time) guy and acts as the perfect foil for Jared’s outrageous personality. Within moments of meeting Jared is willing to explore the “gay side” of his sexuality and the two go hot and heavy on the dance floor.
Jared is more than just a pretty face, however. He’s got mad skills with a gun and knows his way around security systems and computers, as well.
Together he and Carson help to free some of the shifters who have been captured by the evil scientists and they manage to take time for making out, too!
You don’t have to read the series in order, but it really helps to give it more depth. Each is it’s own HEA and has it’s own pair of MCs but the other characters have recurring rolls, so it’s good to know them ahead of time.
I highly recommend this series and this book in particular if you like snark, humor, hot, kinky sex and shifters who give everything for their mates.
5 of 5 stars
(Copy purchased for review)
Extasy books presents:
*Helping Hand is the first in the series. This story is a spin-off and both books can be read as standalones.
Josh has a plan: get through uni with a good degree and no debt. Focused on his goals, he pays his way by working as an escort. He enjoys the no-strings sex because he doesn’t have time for a relationship. Falling in love definitely isn’t part of the deal—especially not with a client.
When Rupert meets Josh in a bar, he’s smitten on sight. He’s never paid for sex, but when Josh propositions him, he can’t resist. He should’ve known one night would never be enough. Luckily for him he has an inheritance to fund his addiction to Josh, because his job in IT support wouldn’t cover the cost.
With each encounter the lines get blurred, creating something that feels more like a relationship than a business transaction. But they come from different worlds, and to go from client-and-escort to lovers seems impossible. If they want a future together, Josh and Rupert have a lot to overcome.
“I like your lip ring,” Rupert said. His gaze dropped lower to Josh’s collarbones. “What are your tattoos of?”
“Swallows.” Rupert would just be able to see the wing tips that showed in this low-necked T-shirt. “Two of them.”
“Have you got any other tattoos?”
Josh gave a slow, teasing smile. “Maybe. Do you want me to show you?”
Rupert met his eyes again. There was a flicker of uncertainty before he answered. “Yes. I’d like that.”
Josh turned over the possibilities in his mind. It had been a long time since he’d had sex for anything other than for money. He usually saw clients at least three nights a week. They scratched the itch for him, and he didn’t have the time or inclination to hook up with other guys. He hadn’t dated since he’d started working as an escort. Josh didn’t like lying about his job, but most guys didn’t want to date escorts.
It would be easy to pick Rupert up tonight, though, and have no-strings sex with him for fun rather than cash. But Josh’s rent was due.
“Me too. But it’ll cost you,” he finally said.
Rupert frowned, obvious confusion crossing his features as he tried to make sense of Josh’s words. “What? I don’t—”
“You’re hot, and I wish I could do this without asking you for money. But a client let me down this evening. I have a hotel room booked and paid for next door, and I need someone to cover the cost for me.” The lie came smoothly. “I can’t afford to have sex for free tonight.”
Rupert’s mouth dropped open. Shock was evident on his face, but there was something else that was harder to read. His cheeks flooded pink again and his eyes went dark. “You’re….” His voice came out husky, and he cleared his throat. “You’re a….”
“A sex worker. An escort, to be precise. Hooker, rent boy, you get the gist. I’m an expensive one too. But my clients think I’m worth the money.” Josh waited, tension making a muscle tick in his jaw as he forced himself to stay still and hold Rupert’s gaze. On the occasions he’d tried picking up clients face-to-face, their reactions had varied. Interest, anger, excitement, disgust… he’d seen them all. He steeled himself, ready for rejection.
Rupert licked his lips. “How much?” he finally asked.
In Helping Hands we met Josh as the roommate of Jez and Mac. He’s known in the house as a “player”, but in reality, he’s a rent boy. So each night out he works hard for the money in order to go to university. His parents are out of the picture and he doesn’t want student loans.
Rupert is a shy IT guy who normally has a hard time meeting people. When he’s stood up at the same bar as Josh one night, the two strike up a conversation. When Josh makes it clear that he’d love to spend more time with Rupert, but it’ll cost him, something takes over Rupert and he finds some new-born confidence.
The sex is phenomenal and both parties are left a bit shaken. They quickly make plans to be together again, and again, and again. Though there is always an exchange of money, it begins to feel wrong as their emotions get involved.
Finally, on a long “working” weekend where Josh poses as Rupert’s boyfriend, the lines get so blurry as to be non-existent between “client” and “lover”.
This book was another wonderful example of Jay Northcote’s ability to give us a very sweet romance, no matter the circumstances. Yes, there were times when I wished she’d delved a bit deeper into the emotional impact Josh’s job had on both parties, but I appreciated that from early on Josh admitted to fantasizing about Rupert while with his other “clients”.
I think that – if you can believe it- there was more sex in this story than needed to be. I wanted to have more of an emotional connection between these guys than I saw on page. Yes, they did do some other, non-sex related things with each other, but I didn’t get to see enough of it to really buy into their HEA.
Rupert is a super sweet MC and though Josh isn’t a bad guy, I didn’t ever see him as being quite “worth” of Rupert… he just needed to spend more time with the guy as himself, not as his escort.
That being said… I enjoyed reading this and the writing was excellent – as always – and I will certainly look forward to any more books in this series.
3.5 of 5 stars
(Copy provided by author for review)
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.
She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.
Hollywood royalty Jeremy Jameson has lived a sheltered life with music as his sole focus and only friend. Before embarking on another international concert tour, he wanders into a bar in what he considers the middle-of-nowhere and meets a man who wins him over with his friendly smile and easy-going nature. Accountant, bartender, and adventure-seeker Reg Moore has fun talking and drinking with “The” Jeremy Jameson and can’t say no when the supposedly straight rock star makes him a once-in-a-lifetime offer: keep him company on his tour by playing the part of his boyfriend.
Listening to music, traveling the world, and jumping off cliffs is fun. Falling in love is even better. But to stay with Jeremy after the stage lights dim, Reg will need to help him realize there’s nothing to pretend about their relationship.
First, I have to say that this is one of my all time favorite books ever and definitely my favorite by this author. It. Was. Amazing!
Jeremy Jameson – “JJ” to Reg- has famous parents and has been in the music industry since he can remember. He’s super famous and really out of touch with the “real world”. He goes out one night “incognito” to a bar to simply “be” and meets Reg, the bar tender there.
Of course, Reg recognizes him, but plays it cool, and the two strike up a friendship over several beers.
Reg is the most laid-back person you could ever meet. He’s the perfect foil for the sometimes overly dramatic JJ. JJ is astute enough to recognize this and asks Reg to come with him on his latest tour. They decide that being “boyfriends” would make this decision make sense to JJ’s manager and the rest of the crew, without having to explain the complexity of why they really want to do this. (JJ needs Reg and Reg is dying to help him out.)
So… even though JJ has been nothing but “straight” and JJ doesn’t even realize Reg really is gay… they embark as lovers on the tour.
The tour is fraught with media blitzes and pushy paparazzi, making JJ crazy. Reg is there to calm him down, however, and with each passing day, Reg is growing closer and closer to JJ and vice versa.
Here is where the story becomes golden for me. JJ continues to act and say and do these ridiculous things – things no straight guy would ever do – but he’s so clueless that it totally works! Reg is never abusive of this trust, only showing him – for once- true love and affection the only way he knows how.
When Halloween comes, the pair go out on the town in costume (JJ in drag!) and suddenly their relationship takes a dramatic turn.
There are a few hurdles thrown in there at the last – but most of this book is really a smooth-sailing adventure of sexual exploration and finding love.
It was tender, sweet and hilarious, all at the same time!
Charlie David does the audio and he is superb! He is one of my favorite narrators and does an excellent job here as well.
The only thing marring the experience from being 100% perfect is that (in the audiobook) there is a theme song. It’s very nice. At the beginning of each chapter and at the end, there is a little blip of the song played. It really made me jump out of the story because it interrupted the flow. I’ve heard some audio books where there is a little music at the beginning of each chapter, but not the end, too. I think that skipping the intro music and definitely not doing it both places would have helped me stay in the story easier.
But – that was a small blip and overall I can’t recommend this story enough. It was wonderful! I’ve read it over and over and already listened to it twice!
6 of 5 stars
Purchased for Review
Ruthless, controlling, a loner. All words the hospital staff used to describe Dr. Micah Steinberg – their next head of surgery. When a letter arrives from his grandmother’s friend at the assisted living facility, his orderly world tilts dangerously out of control.
Josh Ruthn had everything until it was revealed much of his world was a lie. Forced to reevaluate his life, Josh gives up his career and returns home to New York City to care for his beloved grandmother. What Josh didn’t figure on was an attraction to a man who on the surface, appears to be exactly like the life Josh chose to leave behind.
As Micah struggles with the reality of his grandmother’s illness, the bond these two share deepens, as Josh helps Micah heal, then open his heart. Micah discovers there is more to life than work, control and success. Josh is in deep but has yet to tell Micah who he really is.
When the fight for the hospital’s head of surgery turns ugly, Josh’s past and present collide. Micah must let go of the past and accept who he is, if his life is going to move forward.
Life is full of surprises, and as both Micah and Josh learn, love can happen whether you plan for it or not.
Micah is a big ol’ jerk. He’s self centered. Condescending. Job obsessed. Ruthless. Doesn’t believe in love. And he forgets to visit his sweet old grandmother in the nursing home!
Josh is perfect. He’s sweet. Kind. Loyal. Believes in true love. And he visits his grandma every day.
Josh’s grandma, Ethel and Micah’s grandma, Ruth are friends at the same home. Ethel sends a letter to Micah scolding him for how he’s treating Ruth. This makes Micah so mad he immediately runs down to the home to set her straight but… while there he also runs into the snotty barista he met that morning on his way to work (Josh)! Josh and Micah strike sparks off one another right away. Since Micah was an ass to Josh, Josh believes nothing but bad things about him. Micah believes Josh is a free-loader trying to get the better of his sweet grandmother for her money.
Well, as it turns out, Josh is a lawyer who left his practice when his partner at work (and in life) dumps him for another man. Josh decided his family was more important and he looks to start over in NYC.
Micah and Josh end up seeing a lot of one another through their grandmothers and the attraction between them sizzles. Neither believes the other is a permanent thing, but they can’t help but get involved.
When Ruth’s health takes a turn for the worse, Micah turns to Josh for comfort and he helps Micah realize what is really important in life.
There are a few hurdles left – Josh’s job, Micah’s past, Micah’s job and Josh’s past… but they move through these fairly easily.
In the end they find a delightfully sappy HEA and Ruth and Ethel get to plan their future together!
This was a very low angst read full of hearts and Ruths and sappy phrases. Some will be turned off by this, but not me! I loved it. It was refreshing and sweet and all together enjoyable.
(Rafe, who we meet again in the next book in the series, acted a little strange for someone who’d just met Josh, he seemed awful willing to go to a lot of trouble – but… I’m still eager to read his story with Alex!)
Sean Crisden is a favorite narrator of mine and though he didn’t do much to make either Josh or Micah’s voices stand out, he did a great job with both grandmother’s and their vaguely Eastern European aged accents.
I really enjoyed both the story and the narration.
5 of 5 stars
(Purchased for Review)
Cashel Godfrey is big, tattooed, and angry, so people typically keep their distance. Fresh out of the police academy no one is looking to partner with the six foot four beast. When Cashel scanned the orientation room, he wasn’t expecting sexy hazel eyes to be locked onto him. Eyes of the gorgeous Leonidis Day.
Leonidis is charming, witty, hilariously sarcastic, and the only one that can make Cashel smile. He’s an out and badass detective, but when Cashel saves his life in a raid that turns deadly, he sees something in the big man that no one else does…something special.
Warning: Two sexy narcotics detectives. One with a serious hot spot for big gun-toting men, the other that yields a cannon; so be ready for the obscene sexual bang when these two come together.
So you can tell from the description that we’ve got two cops, super alpha, super sexy who are already friends. What Leonidis (Day) doesn’t know is that Cashel (God) has some secrets… including his sexuality.
Day is out an proud but God seems to be all straight.
There is lots and lots of sexual tension between these boys and a bit of pain. Cash’s family thinks he killed his father and now won’t speak to him.
And of course there are bad guys doing some bad things that put everyone at risk. Pushing God and Day into each other’s arms.
So – yeah – there are some other issues. Homophobic jerks on the squad and a young guy who steals to help his mama and a weird sexual tension between the aforementioned homophobe and… Some of this made the story a little wonky but if you set that aside and focus on the relationship (especially the sex) it’s a pretty sappy, sweet and HOT story.
I definitely think the author got better as the series progressed in terms of writing and plotting, but I still love this story and re-read it often. I just loved how crazy for each other these two guys get and how willing they are to be vulnerable to each other.
I was able to easily overlook some of the stuff that didn’t exactly make sense or seem at all close to reality for the sake of the “lurve” these guys shared.
Another warning – there is a scene at the end – kind of random- where they all “share partners”… some people are really put off by this. It was pretty hot, if you ask me, and definitely didn’t make me feel like “cheating” since all of them were together – but be warned – it’s in there!
So I highly recommend this book to lovers of two alpha males going at it, sometimes silly dialog, over the top sex scenes and really sappy love stories.
4.5 of 5 stars
(Copy purchased for review)
Amira Press Presents: