Love Comes To Light Audiobook (A Senses Story) by Andrew Grey Narrated by Greg Tremblay

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Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-comes-to-light-by-andrew-grey-7423-b

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A Senses Series Story

Artist Arik Bosler is terrified he might have lost his creative gift in the accident that left his hand badly burned. When he’s offered the chance to work with renowned artist Ken Brighton, Arik fears his injury will be too much to overcome.

He travels to Pleasanton to meet Ken, where he runs into the intimidating Reg Thompson. Reg, a biker who customizes motorcycles, is a big man with a heart of gold who was rejected by most of his family. Arik is initially afraid of Reg because of his size. However it’s Reg’s heart that warms Arik’s interest and gets him to look past the exterior to let down his guard.

But Arik soon realizes that certain members of Reg’s motorcycle club are into things he can’t have any part of. Reg can’t understand why Arik disappears until he learns Arik’s injury was the result of his father’s drug activity. Though neither Reg nor Arik wants anything to do with drugs, the new leadership of Reg’s club might have other ideas.

Review

(Reviewed here previously)

This is the sixth book in the senses series and in this book we experience “touch”. Arik has lost partial use of his hand and feeling in that hand is important as he’s a painter. He thinks his career as an artist is over until he wins a contest with Ken – from Book 1 – who is still painting and sees something in Arik’s work.

Arik has a troubled past and is wary of big guys like Reg, but also attracted to him too. Reg is very attracted to Arik and willing to work through his issues because he sees something in him that he thinks he wants around forever.

There’s some drama with Reg’s Motorcycle Club and Arik’s family and we get to see the guys from Book 4 too.

All in all this was another great addition to the series and I think fans of the series will really like it. It can be read as a standalone but is better if read in order.

4 of 5 stars

Audio

Greg Tremblay is such a joy to listen to. He is so easy on the ears! I always know when he narrates a story, that no matter what, I’ll have a great time listening to it. He differentiates characters so well, adds in appropriate and honest emotion, has a wonderful sense of timing and always adds to my overall enjoyment of a story. In this case, there are no significant accents, but he manages to portray who is speaking clearly without manufacturing something artificial to achieve this.

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

Overall, 4.5 of 5 stars

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Tasting Notes Audiobook by Cate Ashwood Narrated by Michael Pauley

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tasting-notes-by-cate-ashwood-7395-b

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West, a venture capitalist, has paid for his wealth and success with long hours at the office and no personal life to speak of. Meetings, conference calls, and paperwork dominate his waking hours and have kept him from honoring the promise he made to his late grandfather years before.

After leaving the Marines, Rush returns to his hometown and settled in as a Christmas Tree farmer. His life is quiet and simple, and he likes it that way. When West arrives in town and buys Rush’s parent’s vineyard on a whim, that simple life is turned upside down. The animosity between them is palpable, but Rush shelves his preconceived notions in order to protect his parents’ legacy. He agrees to help West learn how to run the vineyard, and Rush soon realizes that love doesn’t necessarily come in the package he expected.

Review

(Reviewed here previously)

West is a very rich but lonely, workaholic. He loses his only family, his grandfather, a few years ago and hasn’t yet taken time to properly mourn him nor spread his ashes as he had planned. A glimpse at his own mortality (via watching another person die) spurs him into action. He drops all his obligations on his work partners and travels with his urn out to California. There he ends up in a sleepy but quaint town with a wonderful winery that he falls in love with. He ends up simply buying it (though it wasn’t originally for sale) and moving in with no firm plans on where to go next.

Rush is a cranky almost misanthropic retired Marine who now runs a Christmas tree farm in the same little town as his parent’s winery. He sees West across a crowded pub and though he can see the attractiveness in the man, he pigeon-holes his type as a rich prick and instantly dislikes him. When Rush finds out that his parents sold the “prick” their winery without even discussing it with him, he’s pissed. He takes out his anger on the unsuspecting West and the two are set up instantly as mortal enemies.

But… West needs help with the winery. He has no tools necessary to keep it running and Rush is attached to the idea that the winery shouldn’t fail just because some idiot bought it. So, very reluctantly, Rush agrees to “mentor” West in the running of a winery until he can either do it himself or find someone who can.

As can be imagined, their constant togetherness leads to a romantic entanglement. But… West still has obligations in Chicago and Rush can’t (or won’t) abandon his dreams to follow West. So their relationship is destined to fail unless someone is willing to bend.

**

There were parts of this story that really worked for me and parts that didn’t.

I thought Rush and West were great “yin and yang” and helped one another to be better people, thus were a great couple. Their chemistry was excellent and I thought the whole “mentorship” was a great way to get them together.

The sale of the winery and the relationship between Rush and the winery never made a lot of sense to me. Why didn’t he want to take it over himself? Since he claimed to want nothing to do with it, why did he care if someone else did? That seemed a bit contradictory.

West’s work in Chicago never quite made sense either. If the business can run so successfully that he has literally millions just waiting around to spend on anything and he doesn’t have to even be there for that to happen, why hasn’t he done something sooner? And, realistically, could such a big business be expected to run without him? When he moves back “temporarily” to Chicago to “fix things”, I wasn’t really sure what the plan was. It seemed to me he needed to have acknowledged either the end of the relationship right then or be planning on doing something extreme with the business if being with Rush was ever going to be an option.

So, as a story there were some plot holes that bothered me, but as a romance I really liked the MCs and their chemistry and found their HEA to be very sweet and satisfying.

 

Audio

Michael Pauley is a good narrator. He always sounds a bit “winded”, like he’s holding his breath while he narrates, but he has a really nice tenor to his voice and is good with emotions and timing. He didn’t give either MC a hugely different voice, but I always knew who was speaking. Occasionally, he paused in places that weren’t exactly appropriate, but those were not very often.  I think that this was a great way to experience the story and I recommend it.

 

4 of 5 stars

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Fish Out of Water by Amy Lane

release day review30813756Blurb

 

PI Jackson Rivers grew up on the mean streets of Del Paso Heights—and he doesn’t trust cops, even though he was one. When the man he thinks of as his brother is accused of killing a police officer in an obviously doctored crime, Jackson will move heaven and earth to keep Kaden and his family safe.

Defense attorney Ellery Cramer grew up with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but that hasn’t stopped him from crushing on street-smart, swaggering Jackson Rivers for the past six years. But when Jackson asks for his help defending Kaden Cameron, Ellery is out of his depth—and not just with guarded, prickly Jackson. Kaden wasn’t just framed, he was framed by crooked cops, and the conspiracy goes higher than Ellery dares reach—and deep into Jackson’s troubled past.

Both men are soon enmeshed in the mystery of who killed the cop in the minimart, and engaged in a race against time to clear Kaden’s name. But when the mystery is solved and the bullets stop flying, they’ll have to deal with their personal complications… and an attraction that’s spiraled out of control.

 

Review

I love Amy and consider myself one of her devotees. Thus, I chose this book knowing it was a mystery, but because Amy wrote it, it might be ok…

I HATE mysteries. Hate them. I don’t watch mysteries, I don’t read them, and I don’t like them. I tolerate them when my romance is intertwined with them.    Leading to…

This is a mystery by Amy Lane so…. It’s good.  It’s got lovely Amy characters and lovely Amy imagery and lovely Amy dialog.  But lots of action, less emotion and not much of the ooey gooey stuff that makes the Amy angst worth it. (For me.)

And… There are girl parts. Yup. Be warned, there are girl parts and on page sex with the girl parts so…

Oh – and – it’s a series starter – so not everything is all tied up in a  bow at the end!  Be warned! (I think…)

I didn’t really pay attention to the mystery stuff… I’m sure it was well thought out and wonderful – but I just skimmed til the boys start kissing-  then I paid attention!

If you like mysteries, don’t mind girl parts, like humor and romance in your mysteries and lots of action – this is the book for you.

3.5 of 5 stars

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Prince of the Playhouse Audiobook (Love in Laguna Book 3) By Tara Lain Narrated by KC Kelly

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Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/prince-of-the-playhouse-by-tara-lain-7248-b

515dWtLPEbL._SL300_Blurb

Driven by his desire to become a successful fashion designer and concerned with hiding his questionable past, Ru Maitland lets his obsession with action movie star Gray Anson on the big screen replace his social life. Then obsession and reality collide when Ru is asked to design fashion costumes for a special performance of Hamlet at the Playhouse in Laguna starring none other than Gray Anson. Gray turns out to be a compelling mix of shy and brash and, despite a high profile engagement to a female socialite, the signals Gray sends Ru have his libido doing the salsa.

Gray Anson has what most people only dream of—great wealth, huge fame, a job he loves. For that, he’s given up any semblance of privacy and the right to say no to the thousands of people who depend on him and the millions who love him. He sees everything he’s ever wanted just outside the bubble of his life, but how can he make the compromises needed to embrace it? When Ru’s shady past crashes into Gray’s paparazzi-haunted present, both men have to learn that sometimes the only acceptable compromise is the truth.

Review

(reviewed here previously)

Loved this so much!

This is book three in the series Love in Laguna and I highly recommend reading all three in order to really appreciate this book – though technically it can be read as a standalone.

Ru is Shaz’ BFF and assistant. Now that Shaz is moving up in the world, Ru is taking his turn to really shine his own light.

Ru has never been shy about his willingness and desire for sex – without strings – but he’s not a player. In fact, he’s more of a homebody than anything else.

He’s had a terrible crush on actor Gray Anson and though he knows nothing will ever come of it – he still longs for the guy he sees up on the screen. So… he’s shocked out of his socks when the guy ends up doing a play at his very own playhouse in town and Ru ends up being his costumer.

Gray is hiding his secret gayness with a pretty but ruthless beard. Nobody – including his family – knows he’s gay and it’s been a huge stress for him.

When Gray needs some help with his lines, Ru steps in and the two have an instant connection. The problem is keeping their hands off one another in public because the paparazzi is literally everywhere and nobody thinks Gray could be “out” and keep his action/adventure hero status in the box office.

**

This book ties closely with book one as my favorite in the series! I love, love, love Ru! He’s so unexpected! Nothing he does is without plotting or planning and yet you’d never guess his history or what he does behind closed doors.

He’s totally unique and wonderful! Gray is the sweet side to Ru’s tough-as-nails attitude and they make a great couple.

I was glad to see the “coming out” part finally reach it’s conclusion as that was getting to be a big strain – but adding in the ghosts from Ru’s past kept the story vibrant and on it’s toes!

Though it felt a little OTT, I liked the scene in the church with Gray’s family and thought they were very sweet.

I highly recommend this book and this series.

Audio

I just love KC Kelly and thought he was a GREAT choice of narrator here! He gives Ru a lovely, not-too-lispy voice and handles the Hispanic accents well, too. Gray and the other characters are nicely done as well. I love his emotion and timing and really feel that he absolutely adds to the enjoyment of the stories he narrates. He has a way of drawing the listener in and making them a participant in the story that really brings it to life. I highly recommend this as a way to enjoy this fantastic story!

5 of 5 stars

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Settling Down by Nicole Focine Blog Stop


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:

Little Earthquakes: Book Two

It’s been six months since Tim and Jae got together, and they’re giving Domestic Discipline an honest try. But when conflicting events conspire to interrupt their life, Tim starts to fray at the edges. He’s doing his best to handle everything, but he still struggles with unaddressed issues, both past and present. And seeing Tim trying to hold it together is breaking Jae’s heart.

There has to be a breaking point, and when it arrives, it’s Jae’s turn to take the reins, to provide them both with what they truly need.

 

Buy Link:  https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/settling-down-by-nicole-forcine-7300-b

 

Author Bio:

Nicole Forcine was born a strange child and former Georgia peach. When she was younger, she was never far from a composition book, a pen in hand, and way too many people in her head (she’s even been known to talk back to them). When two or more of them talk loud enough to overshadow the rest, a story is born. After years of writing and storing her tales in those books, she had a revelation: man, there are a lot of dudes kissing in these stories. Her stories include themes of creating families of choice, how love can come in all forms and supersede all boundaries, and the joys and sorrows of earning a happily-ever-after. Currently, she resides in Minneapolis with one of the most laid-back men in history and his even more laid-back cat. When she’s not writing (ha!), she’s saving the world/galaxy/humanity as we know it in the world of video games and general geekiness.

 

Find Out What I’m Up To:

https://www.facebook.com/nicole.forcine

https://twitter.com/nikiforcine

https://nicoleforcine.wordpress.com/

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7160783.Nicole_Forcine

 

Excerpt:

Tim lay on the couch with his head on Jae’s lap and ice in two sandwich bags over his cheek. Peas? Only if they were going to eat them right after. And with it being nearly 4:00 a.m., no one was in the mood for dinner.

Jae petted his hair as the TV softly played one of those late-night infomercials. “So why not just put some condoms and little packs of lube in some mesh bags with your card and call it good?”

“That’s so… ordinary. And besides, I did that for Pride last year.” Tim shifted to get more comfortable. “Went like hotcakes, but this is a special event.”

Jae may’ve been Head of Household, but when it came to Tim’s shop, Little Earthquakes, he was the expert and man in charge. It didn’t mean he wouldn’t bounce ideas off people. Gloria was ready to strangle him, though, because of his fretting, which made him even more nervous, and then he was in the overcrowded space he called his office, and before he knew it, an open box of little lube packs smacked him upside his fool head.

Gloria had shooed him upstairs to his apartment to treat the bruise because she was his newly promoted manager and occasionally took charge in the store. The queen to his king. Or the queen to his queen, if he was going to be honest.

Which meant they were doing well enough to look for a clerk for the late-night shifts. Great, one more thing to worry about. Hiring people for a place like his was a careful art. Had to weed out the pervs and one obvious wannabe investigative reporter, probably wanting to “expose” his shop as a seething sex pit corrupting the youth (thank fuck for search engines) since he put the ad out two weeks ago. One had to be able to talk sex without blushing too much, and be able to discuss it non-judgmentally and maturely. Pretty much he was looking for another sex educator, or someone willing to learn the ropes.

But that was a worry for tomorrow.

LAID 3 by AJ Llewellyn Book Blitz and Giveaway!

Laid3 Blurb Banner

Title: Laid 3

Author: A.J. Llewellyn

Series Title and Number: Laid #3

Publisher: Torquere Press

Cover Artist: John Bruno

Release Date: 8/3/16

Heat Level: 5

Pairing: Male/Male, Ménage

Length: 19K

Genre:Gay Romance, Menage, Police Procedural, Noir

Add to Goodreads

Laid3 Cover

Synopsis

Supercop Jack Cannon’s met the man of his dreams and isn’t about to give up loving Lucky… even when the man is marked for death.

LAPD Swat team member, Jack Cannon, takes on an unusual assignment, Threat Management, a new crack team created to target LA’s most violent criminals, The Hollywood Ten. Then… Jack is shot and forced to take a vacation. He flies to London to spend time with his hot and sexy lover, Lucky, in London.

Jack’s man is working on an undercover assignment. Jack’s plans for a feisty little R and R don’t sit well with the hit man who’s been hired by a mysterious source to bump off Lucky.

With things heating up between Jack and Lucky all over London from public restrooms to five-star hotels, Jack lures the wild assassin into their sensual web. This is either gonna be the beginnings of a spicy, feisty threesome… or a triple homicide.

Excerpt

“I see someone in the driver’s seat,” one of the bad guys said. They sounded very far away. It was the bulletproof glass.

Where the fuck is Zuniga?

I pulled out my phone again, texting for backup, I hated having to do it in the middle of a job but I wasn’t going to be much use to the mission if I was shot full of holes. I wasn’t invincible as much as I liked to pretend to myself that I was.

I couldn’t play cowboy and take on these pistol-packing peanuts alone. Or could I? Go down in a blaze of glory? I didn’t want a life without Lucky. They’d be doing me a big fucking favor if they shot me.

The message came back. Stay where you are. Don’t move.

“He’s texting! He’s texting!” one of the little assholes outside yelled.

“Shoot him!” the guy beside me said. I heard the one sound I didn’t want to hear. A gunshot. It bounced off the passenger window.

They started to rock the SUV back and forth.

Where the fuck is my backup?

I drew my gun out of the holster as I heard the second sound I absolutely did not want to hear. My door releasing.

And opening.

I was ready for the little shit and shot him from my left hand, clear in the chest with my new, handy-dandy, state-of-the art, gazillion-watt Taser X26C gun. His eyes rolled up like escalator stairs and he flew back, billowing out on the ground, twitching with the force of the electro-magnetic impulse.

“Motherfucker!” his friends yelled. They ran toward the front, shooting away at me. I blasted back, getting one little fucker in the shoulder with my state-issue .32, with my right hand. The third little bastard screamed at me. What an asshole.

He jumped over his friend’s writhing body and popped off a couple of shots. One hit the driver’s door. As he neared me, I closed the door toward me and whumped him as he tried to yank at it. It smacked him in the face and I heard a satisfying crunch of bones. I let him have a little Taser juice just because I felt like it. He was on his knees calling me a pig and a honky.

No manners.

I closed and locked my door.

We’d been had.

How did he know I was a pig? And calling me a honky? He was like something out of a seventies’ blaxploitation movie.

I called my supervising unit. Nobody responded. I had three prone assholes outside and an even bigger problem on my hands. Somebody had ambushed us. Keeping my eyes on the road, I realized there’d been no traffic passing by me during the entire encounter with the three guys still sprawled on the ground.

Calling 9-1-1 was supposed to be my last resort but as far as I knew, my partner had been ambushed and the supervising unit was out of commission.

My cell phone rang. I prayed it wouldn’t be Lucky.

Purchase

Torquere Press

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Meet the Author

A.J. Llewellyn’s obsession with myth, magic, love, and romance might have led to serious stalking charges had it not been for the ability to write. Thanks to the existence of some very patient publishers, A.J.’s days are spent writing, reading and dreaming up new worlds. A.J. has definitely stopped Google-searching former boyfriends and given up all ambition to taste test every cupcake in the universe to produce over 200 published gay erotic romance novels.

A.J. wants you to read them all. A.J. can be found lurking on Facebook and Twitter—part-time class clown being another occupation. When not writing or reading, A.J.’s other passions include juggling, kite-boarding, and spending a fortune buying upgrade apps for Pearl’s Peril and Farm Heroes Saga.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/A.J.-Llewellyn/e/B002DBJBC2/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3?qid=1450904407&sr=8-3

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aj.llewellyn

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1914286.A_J_Llewellyn

Newsletter sign-up: ajllewellynnewsletter@gmail.com

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ajllewellyn

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ajllewellyn

Website: www.ajllewellyn.com

I’m an app! Download my FREE A.J. Llewellyn App for Android here: tinyurl.com/lkbc4wm

Giveaway

Rafflecopter Prize: One winner will be selected to win an eBook copy of Laid3.

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Amy Lane Guest Post on Fish out of Water

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OS: Welcome to Amy Lane Author of Fish Out of Water.  Thanks Amy for stopping by!
AL:  Thanks for having me!
OS:  What do you want to tell us about your new book and it’s characters?
AL:  Well, I’d like to talk about bad boys vs good boys.
OS: Sweet!
AL:

The Good Boy

By Amy Lane

 I think the general consensus is that bad boys are more fun.

The guy who dots his I’s and crosses his T’s and checks all his punctuation, laboring over a kitchen table or the den desk every night—seriously, how sexy could he be?

Well, that depends.

There’s two kinds of those guys in this world—the guy who does what’s correct, and the guy who does what’s right.

The guy who does what’s correct is usually not sexy—he’s the middle-manager from The Incredibles—the one who sees the helpless victim of a mugging and hopes his company doesn’t insure the poor man. He’s the idiot police chief from Die Hard who says, “We’re gonna need more FBI guys.” The guy who does what’s correct is the guy who is so busy following the rules he doesn’t see where they lead.

See, people tend to like rules. They often say they don’t, and very often they bitch about how bad the rules are and what they’d do to change the rules—but the rules give them comfort. When I was five I was once sentenced to the corner for five minutes, and told not to speak, no matter what. (I don’t know, something about talking too much—you know. Adults.) While I was in the corner I looked out the window and saw that the brush near the opening of our driveway had caught fire.

I wasn’t supposed to talk, so I didn’t.

Somebody noticed it eventually and my dad said (silly grownup) “Why didn’t you tell us?”

“Because I wasn’t supposed to talk!”

“That’s a bullshit copout—sometimes it’s more important to break a rule than it is to follow it!”

And yes, my parents did use the words “bullshit copout” to a five-year-old because it was the seventies and they were busy breaking a whole bunch of other rules, some of which have been legalized by now and some of which will hopefully never be.

But I did learn the lesson—common sense was way more important than actual rules.

This lesson has gotten me into more trouble than I can possibly recount in one little blog post. I cannot think of one major moment of difficulty in my life that didn’t come with its share of what was right versus what was correct.

And the good boy—the sexy good boy? He knows the difference too. The sexy good boy, the boy scout we love and trust, he loves the rules and he’s not ashamed. He loves that they give people safety, and that good policies can help make the world a better place. He loves that if he dots his I’s and crosses his T’s, he has gone one step further to knowing he’s accomplished something important.

So the rules have their uses, and the good boy can see that—but the thing that makes him sexy? The thing that makes him not the irritating middle-manager from The Incredibles?

Is that the sexy good boy knows when rules stop serving us, it’s time to break them and change them. When what’s correct isn’t working for him, the sexy good boy knows what’s right.

Sexy good boys can be our undoing. Captain America, Falcon, King Arthur, Spock—those are our sexy good boys, and we will follow their rules any day.

In the classical heroic archetypes our sexy good boy is usually the Romantic Hero—not the American Romantic hero, like the sexy bad boy, but the original aristocratic Romantic Hero, who is trying to balance being good—following the rules—and being heroic–which usually means breaking a few rules. The sexy good boy is going to be the boy who tries to resolve the issue without violence, who wants even the bad guy to have a better ending, and who wants his romantic interest’s happiness over his own.

Even if it means bossing his romantic interest into accepting affection!

Ellery is the good boy in Fish Out of Water. He was educated in a prep school, groomed to be a lawyer (cause he can’t stand blood) and believes that being a defense attorney is part of making the system work.

When he realizes that Jackson’s friend has been framed by a corrupt system, his first go-to is to make the system work. But when it’s not working fast enough to protect Jackson, Ellery needs to break a few rules.

Ellery is going to seem very much like a cold fish at first. He needs to check his boxes, put his ducks in order, make sure his pencils are in a row.

But once all that’s done?

He’s actually less of a fish than a dog with a bone—a hot blooded dog who needs Jackson’s tomcat self to come to heel.

Buy Links: 
UntitledBlurb:
PI Jackson Rivers grew up on the mean streets
of Del Paso Heights—and he doesn’t trust cops, even though he was one. When the
man he thinks of as his brother is accused of killing a police officer in an
obviously doctored crime, Jackson will move heaven and earth to keep Kaden and
his family safe. 
Defense attorney Ellery Cramer grew up with the
proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but that hasn’t stopped him from crushing
on street-smart, swaggering Jackson Rivers for the past six years. But when
Jackson asks for his help defending Kaden Cameron, Ellery is out of his
depth—and not just with guarded, prickly Jackson. Kaden wasn’t just framed, he
was framed by crooked cops, and the conspiracy goes higher than Ellery dares
reach—and deep into Jackson’s troubled past.

Both men are soon enmeshed in the mystery of who
killed the cop in the minimart, and engaged in a race against time to clear
Kaden’s name. But when the mystery is solved and the bullets stop flying, they’ll
have to deal with their personal complications… and an attraction that’s
spiraled out of control.

Related posts:
Excerpt:
ELLERY CRAMER knew his tie was perfect, but he checked it anyway
as he got off the elevator on the fourth floor. Pfeist, Langdon, Harrelson
& Cooper was one of the best criminal defense firms in Sacramento, and it
didn’t get that way because its employees neglected details.
And Ellery wanted his name on that list of
partners so bad.
When he’d first gotten his degree, he’d dreamed
of opening his own practice, but no. His sister had run numbers on that—she was
an actuary—and had determined that his best chance for financial success lay
with hooking up as a junior associate and working his way up to partner.
Six years after signing on with Pfeist, Langdon,
Harrelson & Cooper, he was one of their most trusted trial lawyers, and he
was conscious of the honor.
He was also conscious of his suit.
Today he wore the silver pinstripe, which,
although it didn’t complement his dark hair and eyes at all, did make
him look severe and imposing, and he was all for that. He’d spent two hours
cross-examining a witness that day and had enjoyed making the guy—a police
officer, no less—crumble like a cookie.
Ellery did so enjoy his petty torments.
But as much as he enjoyed destroying police
officers on the stand, he wouldn’t ever mess with Leonard Pfeist’s secretary.
Nope—Ellery was very good at knowing who to toady, and the
secretary was the heart of the firm.
“Good afternoon, Jade,” he said pleasantly and
was greeted with a heavy-eyed scowl in return. Ellery gaped at her, uncertain
of how to respond. Granted, he and the firm’s legal secretary weren’t close.
Jade was a little too rough around the edges for Ellery to really warm up to.
He got that Leonard Pfeist, the most junior of the partners, did the hiring,
and he seemed to rely on Jade’s street-smart, tart-mouthed
presence, but Ellery had been brought up conservatively. Between Jade’s
unapologetically vibrant appearance and the female sexuality that rolled off
her like perfume, her whole presence made him very uneasy.
But he’d never seen her look like she could rip
someone’s head off with her bare hands, and that was the way she was looking at
him now.
“Took you long enough,” she snapped. “Did or did
your schedule not say you were supposed to be in the office an
hour ago?”
“I was in court!” Ellery objected. “It went—”
“I know when it went to. And I know you stopped
for coffee and probably to schmooze that judge you’re always trying to flirt
with. What you needed to do was to be here because
you’ve got someone here who needs your fucking help!”
Ellery stared at her, his mouth opening and
closing in surprise. Smart-mouthed, yes, but never insubordinate—never rude.
“Uh—”
“Take it easy on him, J—he didn’t know.”
Oh great. Him.
Ellery stared at Jackson Rivers with a distaste
that had nothing to do with the man’s looks. Dark blond hair, green eyes, and a
square jaw—if the remains of an adolescent acne problem hadn’t roughened his
skin, he’d look like a movie star. As it was, he appeared weathered and
capable—stringy, no-bullshit muscle and an uncompromising glare. Jackson was
the law firm’s head PI, and while the job was not supposed to be as glamorous
as television made it look, Ellery had always wondered if maybe Jackson Rivers
didn’t break a few rules to be so goddamned good at what he did.
Need a witness background? Yeah, sure, he was
there. But he was there with the dirt—the stuff that made the
witness unreliable, the stuff that Ellery could use to keep a client out of
prison.
But it was just not fair that he was so
goddamned beautiful. That broke a rule or two that Ellery really
loathed. Jackson was good-looking and personable. He and Jade had history and
kinship; they seemed to speak a different language sometimes. Jackson would
swagger into the office and shake hands with Leonard Pfeist and flirt with the
other secretaries and face the clients, confident and unafraid….
It made Ellery feel like he had in school.
Exceptionally singular, unexceptionally alone.
“He don’t know and he wouldn’t care if the
problem didn’t end up on his lap,” Jade snarled, making Ellery wince. Well,
he’d always thought she harbored sort of a dislike for him, and she certainly
wasn’t bothering to hide it now. “Are you sure this is the guy
we want?”
Jackson’s gaze raked Ellery up and down, and
Ellery had to remind himself that Jackson was a PI—he had no say in
how the firm was run or who got which cases. Leonard Pfeist might think he
walked on water, but there were three other partners who had a say in things,
and Ellery was in good standing with all of them too.
“He’s not afraid of the cops,” Jackson said,
pinning Ellery hard with a green-eyed glare. “Everyone else worked at the DA’s
for a few years—they’ve got ties. This guy doesn’t give a fuck about anything
but winning.”
“Yeah, for himself.”
Jackson’s shrug rankled. He apparently thought
that was fair.
“J, does it matter why he wants to win as long
as he wins for K?”
“Yeah,” she muttered. “Unless he thinks it’s
better to cut and run. He’d better not bail on my brother—he needs us, Jacky!”
Jackson’s jaw tightened and his glare
intensified. Ellery’s hands were sweating, and he hated himself desperately for
wanting this man’s approval. He drew himself to his full six foot two and
pulled his lips back in disdain. “Whatever your little family matter is,” he
sneered, “I’m sure you can deal without me. What makes you think I evenwant this
case?”
Jackson snorted and rolled his eyes. “Don’t
stress yourself, Pinstripes. If you’ve got the guts for it, you’re going to
want it. No self-respecting shark would turn this one down.”
“Let me be the judge of that. Do I even get an
explanation?”
“I’ll tell you on the way to the jail.”
ELLERY’S FAMILY considered themselves liberal, but that didn’t
mean they wouldn’t have pressed the locks on their doors for reassurance if a
man who looked like Kaden Cameron had approached their car.
Easily six foot five with skin of darkest brown
and a head shaved bald, Kaden dominated the small bare conference room of the
county jail. The bandage taped behind his ear didn’t make him look the
slightest bit vulnerable either. He had craggy, ageless features, a scowl that
could shake mountains, and shoulders that looked like they wouldn’t fit through
a door. He appeared to be every inch a badass, from his Lakers sweatshirt to his
black Converse, but his file told another story.
That didn’t mean Ellery’s hand didn’t shake as
he took a quick sip of water and set his cup back down on the plain steel
table.
“So you can put your house down for collateral,”
he said, because the first order of business was always making
bail.
“My house,” Jackson said promptly. “Not his.
It’s a duplex. I have a renter on the other side—”
“That racist asshole still live next door?”
Kaden interrupted, but the look Jackson shot him wasn’t annoyed.
“He’s not racist, K, just old.”
“Yeah, he’s an old racist,” Kaden
grumbled. “Seriously, Jacky, did you hear him arguing against
Kobe Bryant being one of the greatest ever?”
“It was at my house over Thanksgiving, dumbass,”
Jackson said, rolling his eyes. “You two had to be threatened with a potato
gun—and your own wife did the threatening. You remember that?”
Kaden flashed a nostalgic smile. “Heh. Yeah.
Rhonda was pissed.”
“She should have been. You were all up in his
face when he was trying hard to be your friend. He was playing with your
children—he won’t even talk to his own kids. Just because he
doesn’t like your pick of basketball players doesn’t make him a racist. And you
have a daughter, K—do you really want Kobe Bryant to be a hero?
Mike’s a good guy.”
“He’s not going to be so good when he gets
evicted because you gambled his home on me,” Kaden said, and Ellery made a
quick reassessment.
He’d assumed that Kaden had gotten distracted
because—like a lot of Ellery’s clients—he was in denial of how much trouble he
was in, but that wasn’t the case at all.
“Not a gamble, K, ’cause you’re not going to
run. And you know what? Even if you did run, I’d rather get an
apartment than know Rhonda and the kids were out on the street.”
The man who looked Jackson Rivers in the eyes
was obviously capable of meeting reality. “They’re going to be on the street
anyway,” he said. “If I can’t work during this bullshit, we can’t make
payments.”
Ellery didn’t blurt out “Pro bono?”—but he
wanted to. He must have made some sort of noise, though, because Jackson sent
him a glare that was probably meant to shrivel Ellery’s manhood, root, stalk,
and berries. Ha! Little did the man know he put on Kevlar undershorts in the
morning.
Figuratively, of course.
“Your sister’s moving in,” Jackson said, pulling
Ellery back from the shoring up of his self-esteem. “She’ll help Rhonda with
the payments until you can. Don’t worry, K, your people gotchu.” Jackson
glanced back at Ellery. “You got anything else to say?” he demanded.
Ellery glared at him. “You know I do. The bail
hearing is tomorrow, first thing in the morning. I need something to give the
judge besides just who’s going to help with the payments.”
“I’m not going to run,” Kaden said. “I’ve got a
wife and two kids and a fuckin’ dog who thinks I invented the morning crap. I
own a house and part of a business. I’ve lived my whole life in this city. I’m
not a flight risk, and I didn’t kill no fucking cop!”
Ellery sucked air in through his teeth and
looked at the anemic file, which featured the single crime-scene photo. That
alone was weird, because there shouldn’t have been a photo in the file at this
juncture anyway. Even if he normally did have photos at this
point, the fact that there was only one bothered the crap out
of Ellery. Jesus, a hundred CSIs in Sacramento, and they get one lousy photo
and some even blurrier pics of fingerprints? Something horribly wrong was going
on here.
But the image bothered him more than the lack of
evidence. The image was of Kaden slouched down against the counter of the gas
station franchise he owned a piece of. His eyes were closed, and a trickle of
blood leaked from under the black stocking cap he’d been wearing.
A SIG Sauer P229 handgun lay near his
outstretched hand, pointed in the direction of the police officer who lay
sprawled dead with a hole the size of Texas in his chest. A blood pool spread
luridly over the floor.
“Now see,” Ellery said delicately, “we may be able
to get you out on bail, but I think it’s that last part that we’re going to
have trouble with.”
When he looked up from the brief, it was not
Kaden’s hard look of resignation that punched him with the most grit. No—it was
Jackson Rivers’s blistering look of accusatory fury that made him think that
Kevlar undies just weren’t going to be enough.
“I think maybe you need to tell me what
happened,” he said deliberately. “And don’t leave anything out.”
Kaden Cameron met his gaze straight on, and
Ellery wasn’t imagining the hostility there. “There isn’t much to leave out,”
he said, voice flat. “Because I don’t remember crap.”
Yeah. And if that was true, that was going to
make things so much more difficult.
“Well.” Ellery resisted the urge to shove his
chair back and fidget. “This is going to be a real short meeting.”
From the twin looks of disgust he got, he
figured that was the wrong thing to say.

With or Without You by Zane Riley Guest Post and Giveaway!

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OS: Welcome to Zane Riley, author of With Or Without You!  Welcome!  Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

ZR:

Hi! I’m Zane, and I’m a queer transgender writer from northern Virginia. Currently, I’m in the process of packing up to move to Washington state, so I’m pretty busy at the moment, but also very excited. I’ve been writing since I was a little kid, although I didn’t get truly serious about it until college when I switched my major to Creative Writing.

With or Without You is my second novel and a sequel to my first. It continues Will and Lennox’s story as they finish up their senior year of high school. As they begin to learn how to navigate their growing relationship, Will plans for his future in college while Lennox struggles to accept that his future is more than surviving until the next day. They each begin to forge their own paths only to realize that the futures they each want may lead them away from each other.

OS: Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than any others? Love? Action? Romance? Tragedy?

ZR:Tragedy is usually the hardest for me to write. If it’s a tragic moment from the past being discussed or remembered I have an easier time getting into the headspace for it, but I struggle fiercely to write tragedy as it happens. Scenes like that take such an emotional toll that it’s hard to get through them, and even harder to go back and edit what you wrote.

OS: What do you think makes a good story?

ZR: A strong set of characters whose lives and experiences create a story. A wonderfully built world is definitely beneficial, too. The biggest thing I’ve learned is if you don’t immediately have a plot for a character’s story, then wait. Don’t force a character into another story idea or plot because you’re impatient and don’t want to wait to write their tale. The story has to come from them and their voice.

OS: Do you hear from readers much? What do they say?

ZR:I hear a lot from readers online, and I love seeing how excited they are about my work! Usually, it’s short messages on Tumblr or Twitter, but it’s really nice to see that other people enjoy and love Lennox and Will as much as I do. Hearing from readers is also a great source of encouragement for me. I originally started writing online through fanfiction, and it was the encouragement of all of those readers that gave me the confidence to continue writing.

OS: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

 ZRWith or Without You is my second novel. It’s a sequel to my first book, Go Your Own Way. At the moment, With or Without You is my favorite. Everything I learned from the editing process on the first book made the experience of writing the second one more exciting. It’s also fun to see how my craft has changed since I wrote the first version of this story about five years ago.

OS: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

ZR: I spend a lot of my free time watching baseball, reading, and recently  hiking. I just moved to the Pacific Northwest so I’m looking into a lot of     outdoor activities and classes that are offered around here. Aerial silks and rock climbing are both high on my list of things to try.

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Author Name: Zane Riley

Book Name: With or Without You

Sequel to ‘Go Your Own Way’

Should be read in order to appreciate the books

Release Date: July 21, 2016

Blurb:

In the much-anticipated sequel to Go Your Own Way, high school seniors Lennox McAvoy and Will Osborne pick up right where they left off—navigating the tumultuous waters of a new relationship and dealing with Will’s disapproving father.

When a violent incident forces Lennox to give up his independent ways, he must come to terms with his past just as Will is grappling with his future. As Will’s college plans become reality, will Lennox have the courage to go after the opportunities he doesn’t think he deserves?

Continue reading “With or Without You by Zane Riley Guest Post and Giveaway!”

Checkmate Tour by Ariel Tachna and Nicki Bennett

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OS:  Welcome to Ariel Tachna and Nicki Bennett authors of Checkmate .  Thanks for stopping by!

 

AT and NB:

Thanks for having us!  We’d like to share a little bit about Swords and Sorcery to give you some background on our new novel.

Swords and Sorcery

Oh, wait, there’s no sorcery. This is a historical, not a fantasy novel. But we had a lot of fun researching the swords our various characters use in the All for Love series and thought we’d share some of that information with you.

Teodoro is a Spanish mercenary. He doesn’t have a lot of luxuries in his life, but the one thing he’s never skimped on is the quality of his steel. He uses a rapier, a thin sword designed as a thrusting weapon, with a complex hilt designed to protect his hand. He also uses a daga izquierda, known in France as a main gauche (both of which literally mean “left hand dagger”), that he uses either to catch an incoming thrust while he strikes with his rapier or to use as a sneak attack—or backup weapon—from the left while his opponent worries about attacks from the right.

The famous (or infamous) sword fight from The Princess Bride doesn’t feature the daga izquierda, but it’s a cinematic example of the kind of fighting Teodoro excels at.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC6dgtBU6Gs

The Spanish blade is much finer than an English blade of the same time period, which was as used as much for slashing as for thrusting. The swords in Pirates of the Caribbean are good examples of English swords, with the thicker blade and less elaborate hilt. Christian and Gerrard would have carried swords much like the one Will Turner uses, although Christian will be the first to admit he’s no swordsman.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLumu0DcycM

The renowned French musketeers—three of whom feature as heroes in the second book in our series, All for One, which will release in a second edition in September—despite their name, seldom carry muskets except in actual battle. Their court weapons, much like those Teodoro wields, are the rapier and main gauche. While the swords in this clip are more typically English than French, you can see Aramis parrying with his main gauche, and it demonstrates that the movie musketeers aren’t above using any means at their disposal to dispatch an opponent. That’s a lesson Teodoro learned early in his career as a swordsman, and one that serves him well in the fights he engages in throughout Checkmate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Paut4zNx-3c

No discussion of sword fighting, or at least of our inspiration for the scenes in our novels, would be complete without mentioning Errol Flynn. Both of us grew up watching his films, and his iconic scenes in movies like The Sea Hawk and The Adventures of Robin Hood are the gold standard against which every sword fight must be measured. In fairness we also have to credit Bob Anderson, an Olympic fencer who went on to train and design the sword fight choreography for everyone from Errol Flynn through the Hobbit trilogy. He was responsible for designing the fight scenes in The Princess Bride, The Mask of Zorro, all three original Star Wars films (that was him dueling Obi-Wan under Darth Vader’s robes), Pirates of the Caribbean, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and many more classic films. We can’t think of a better way to close a blog post about sword fighting than with this video, which features every sword fight Errol Flynn ever filmed. (The clip from The Adventures of Don Juan shows the combatants using both rapier and daga izquierda, to deadly effect.) We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

https://vimeo.com/1937576

OS: Wow that sounds fascinating!  Thanks for sharing and good luck on your tour!

CheckmateFS_v2Blurb:

When sword-for-hire Teodoro Ciéza de Vivar accepts a commission to “rescue” Lord Christian Blackwood from unsuitable influences, he has no idea he’s landed himself in the middle of a plot to assassinate King Philip IV of Spain and blame the English ambassador for the deed. Nor does he expect the spoiled child he’s sent to retrieve to be a handsome, engaging young man.

As Teodoro and Christian face down enemies at every turn, they fall more and more in love, an emotion they can’t safely indulge with the threat of the Inquisition looming over them. It will take all their combined guile and influence to outmaneuver the powerful men who would see them separated… or even killed.

 

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Excerpt:

Tossing the light cloak he had donned to conceal his weapons behind him, Teodoro exited loudly and clumsily from the back door of the tavern, staggering over the filthy cobblestones and managing a convincing belch as he neared his quarry. “Hola, amigos!” he slurred, managing another few calculated, weaving steps before stumbling. He flashed a hand out to grab Hawkins’s sword arm, as if for balance, while he drew the dagger he had tucked in the back of his belt with his other hand.

Gerrard’s annoyance flared when the drunkard grabbed his sword arm. That turned into anger when he saw the knife in the man’s other hand. Shaking off the confining touch, he drew his own sword with a hiss of steel. “Turn and walk the other way,” he warned in a soft but authoritative voice, the Spanish words heavily accented but perfectly comprehensible. “I do not want to hurt you.”

Behind him, he could hear Christian sinking into the shadows as Gerrard had instructed should a situation like this ever arise. Content that his charge was following orders, he focused entirely on the Spaniard facing him.

Teodoro knew he ought to have struck as soon as he drew his knife. That would have been the prudent move, but it was not an honorable one, and he found himself strangely unwilling to descend to that level before these two. The feint had not been wasted, in any case—he had a good idea now of the big man’s reaction time, as well as his strength. Drawing his own sword with a quiet flourish, he inclined his head toward his adversary. “And I do not want to hurt you, but it seems unlikely both of us will get our wish.”

When the other man drew his sword, Gerrard tensed even more. Clearly this was not merely some drunkard, but rather a man with a purpose. “What do you want?” he asked, hoping it was something simple like gold rather than a far more complicated answer involving the young man behind him.

“I want many things,” Teodoro responded, “but I imagine the only one you are concerned about is your companion hiding in the shadows over there.” He gestured with his sword, watching for the opportune moment. “I don’t suppose you will be reasonable about this and let him go, will you?”

“Not in this lifetime,” Gerrard replied hotly, following the other man’s movements with the tip of his sword. “I don’t know who sent you, but you can tell him to go to hell.”

Pleased at his opponent’s impassioned response—for a hotheaded swordsman was often a careless one—Teodoro decided to fan the flames. “Is it not enough that you have seduced this young man away from his family, but you must insult those who are justly concerned for his welfare?” he taunted.

So that’s the lie the old man is selling, Gerrard realized. It was a dangerous game, one that could have Christian dead if he whispered it in the wrong ear. “You insult me by suggesting such a thing,” he replied, consciously tamping down his temper. “En garde!”

 

 

Buy link:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/checkmate-by-nicki-bennett-and-ariel-tachna-7296-b

 

 

Author bios:

Growing up in Chicago, Nicki Bennett spent every Saturday at the central library, losing herself in the world of books. A voracious reader, she eventually found it difficult to find enough of the kind of stories she liked to read and decided to start writing them herself.

Visit Nicki:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011754789784

E-Mail: nickibennett1@gmail.com

 

When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.

 

She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands).

 

Visit Ariel:

Website: www.arieltachna.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ArielTachna

E-mail: arieltachna@gmail.com