4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level artists Book Contemporary DA Dreamspinner Fan Art Gay Geek/Jock Heat Index Hurt/Abuse Insta Love Karrie Jax m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Motorcycle Club Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Reviewer

Love Comes To Light by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents


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.

Love Comes to Light - Andrew Grey


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


Reviewed by Morgan

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review



6 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Bi-Sexual Book Contemporary Exploration Fan Art Fated Mates Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse Karrie Jax m/m Mid level steam/heat Military Morgan mpreg Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Purchased Shifter Virgin

Blaze (Fated Mates Book 4) by Wolf Specter and Angel Knots


A dragon who doesn’t know how to love….
Fate hasn’t been kind to Ivan, but he doesn’t blame her. He’s spent the last couple of centuries doing terrible things to the humans who live in the Eastern European territory once claimed by his sire, Nikolai… which makes him the last person with any right to expect kindness from something as fickle as fate.
It doesn’t matter that he’s changed, Ivan knows that some things are simply unforgivable.
Now, for the first time in his life, Ivan has people he can claim as friends. He knows he’s not good at friendship—and certainly not worthy of anything like the love he sees between the other dragons and their mates—but that doesn’t stop him from wishing things could be different.
A soldier who loves dragons…
Ty is dragonkind’s biggest fan. Three years ago, he’d learned that the majestic, fire-breathing creatures really exist when his twin brother was claimed and impregnated by one, and he now counts all the North American dragons among his closest friends. Ty loves everything about dragons; their loyalty, their protectiveness, their unconditional devotion to their fated mates.
He’s never admitted it to anyone, but Ty secretly dreams of being claimed by a dragon of his own.
That’s impossible, though. For one thing, dragons are male, and Ty isn’t gay. For another, all the ones in Europe–where he’s currently stationed with the U.S. Army—are evil… and evil is the thing Ty idealistically enlisted to fight against.
A destiny worth fighting for…
When a human and a dragon share a soul, fate won’t let anything stop her from bringing them together. But unfortunately, that isn’t any guarantee that life won’t find other ways to pull them apart…
Blaze is the fourth book in the Dragon’s Destiny: Fated Mates series. It is a standalone novel with a HEA ending, a satisfying epilogue, and NO CLIFFHANGERS!
Series Spoilers: Although it’s not necessary to read this series in order, Blaze contains “spoilers” for the first three books in the series.
Content Alert: This book is a steamy gay romance of approximately 100,000 words that includes a tea-drinking dragon who loves to cook, a potty-mouthed soldier who drops 797 F-bombs before finding his happily ever after, and male pregnancy, or Mpreg.


OMG! I absolutely adored this book!!!! (And not just because the author put me and my friend Karrie in as a character!)

I have loved this series since book one and each subsequent book has only gotten better and better. This is the fourth in the series and though technically a standalone it is far better to have read them and in order.

In this we finally get Ty and Ivan’s story. It’s been hinted at in book three that the cranky “used to be a baddy” Ivan and Ty “I want my own dragon so bad I can taste it” are mates and finally – FINALLY – they are! Ty and Ivan spend a bit of time “finding the other” , both despairing ever finding their own version of happiness as they watch the happily mated couples around them wallow around in mated bliss, but when they do meet it doesn’t all magically get easy.

First, Ivan has a history that sets off warning bells in Ty. Then Ty makes some mistakes that push Ivan away. Following that reconciliation there is the fact that Ty is still active in the military and must go on a mission for nine months. In other words – lots of drama!

But – man! – what a ride! Being in Ty’s head for this book – a long one! – is such a rush! He is hysterical. Every other word is f**k – literally – and he also has some other catch phrases that make him one of the most endearing MCs I’ve ever read. He absolutely steals the show as far as this series goes. I loved Zander in book three and he makes a return in book four – Ty calls him “twinkie” – and he was a great character – but Ty is so funny, charming and kid like in his adoration of all things dragon that it is literally – for real ( as Ty would say) – impossible not to love him to pieces.

Ivan is a great match for him – a bit of an Eyeore and gloomy, but so very loving and devoted once he realizes Ty is his mate.

I couldn’t put this down and was bummed that I had to work all day to wait to read it!

I’ll warn you in advance that the authors are not afraid of giving us a little angst and there is some sadness in this book – I for one was CRUSHED by the twist the story takes but later … ah – later I was elated so… it all ends up in a wonderfully sweet and super sappily happy ending that makes us almost forget the sadness.

I really can’t recommend this book or the series enough – 6 of 5 stars!


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(These is the link to the earlier reviews of books in this series:

4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Billionaire Contemporary Dreamspinner Fan Art Gay Heat Index Insta Love Karrie Jax m/m Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words)

Lay it Down by Mary Calmes

release day review


Dreamspinner Presents

lay it downBlurb

Paradise can be hell.

Most people would say being stranded in the villa of Spanish shipping magnate Miguel García Arquero on the beautiful isle of Ibiza wasn’t such a bad deal. But Hudson Barber isn’t one of them. To him, being stuck without a passport in a foreign country far from home is a nightmare, made worse by the fact that the person who did the stranding was his flighty twin brother.

Unwilling to turn Dalvon in for identity theft, Hudson is forced to wait, but meanwhile he discovers the chance to rehabilitate Miguel’s failing local businesses—enterprises left to Dalvon’s inexperienced care. The flagging ventures are a badly wrapped gift from heaven, and if Hudson can turn them around, he might be able to leverage the experience to finish his MBA.

Then Miguel returns to Ibiza, and instead of finding a boy toy, he discovers Hudson has turned his cold villa into a warm, welcoming home. Miguel’s path is clear: convince Hudson to lay down his defenses and let love in.



Hudson and Dal are twins. Dal has always been the “pretty” one and Hudson the more practical and down to earth. When Dal finally finds a “steady guy” Hudson couldn’t be happier. All he has ever wanted is for Dal to find some security so Hudson could relax on his protectiveness.

Hudson is out at the Villa with Dal – thinking all’s well, when he wakes up “hung over” one morning to find that Dal has left with his ID and essentially stranded him there in Ibiza while Dal goes back to the states to take up with Hudson’s ex-boyfriend!

Instead of crying over spilled milk, Hudson takes the opportunity to use his education and he makes himself an “internship” of fixing up Miguel’s companies here on the island.

When Miguel returns, he’s expecting to find pretty but vacant Dal – instead he finds Hudson, capable and in charge and oh so attractive.


Mary has this way of making her guys deliciously clueless about how awesome they are. Hudson is so smart and great and he doesn’t know it! I loved that Miguel immediately clues in to the situation and there’s no “big misunderstanding” about it – just straightforwardness.

The smexy times are hot – as usual! – and the peeling back the layers of Hudson is fun and clever. But…I wish we’d gotten to know Miguel a bit better – he seems totally dreamy and of course being a billionaire is exciting – but he’s not really in the story much and we don’t get a lot of time with them as a couple. I feel I know his mother better than him… and she’s awesome! I didn’t understand exactly what was going on with Miguel’s family but I loved that Miguel just went with all Hudson’s changes – no questions asked.

This is another highly recommended Mary Calmes story for her fans as well as anyone interested in sweet, hot, humor-filled romance – don’t forget we get a tropical setting to boot!

4 of 5 stars


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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Fan Art Fated Mates Gay Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Karrie Jax m/m Military Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Reviewer Scorching/high heat Shifter

Relentless by Cheyenne Meadows

release day review


Dreamspinner Presents



Jaguar shifter and sniper extraordinaire, Jag, is tasked with his most difficult and dangerous mission to date—take out the man responsible for his spotter and husband’s violent death. Again.

Sonar, an ocelot shifter, is assigned as the new spotter to the surly and scowling feline alpha. He’s impressed with Jag’s skills but sees more beneath the surface: a grief-stricken and furious man on a trail of vengeance.

Together Sonar and Jag face perils and challenges that test their skills, resolve, and the budding feelings they have for each other. As the death toll rises, so does the heat between them. Their longings could give them the strength needed to persevere, but it also might force them to succumb and sacrifice everything. One thing’s for certain: someone won’t be making it back alive.


Jag loses his husband and spotter to the evil “Sandman” and goes on a revenge hunting spree until he kills him. Now, three years later, the mysterious “Sandman” seems to have risen from the dead. His boss assigns Jag a new spotter, an Ocelot shifter named Sonar.

Though Jag fights tooth and nail that he doesn’t need anybody’s help, he realizes that if he’s dead, he’s no use to his mission. So, reluctantly, he takes on the new guy.

Sonar is tough as nails and not intimidated at all by his new partner, in fact, the opposite.

As the mission progresses they grow closer until – after a close call- they finally act on the smoldering sexual tension between them.

The question remains – is this a one off, or can something real and long term result from their attraction – that is if they even survive.

Relentless - Cheyenne Meadows


I loved this book! Loved it! Cheyenne Meadows used the shifter part of their natures and involved it in the story line. She not only drew out the sexual tension, but then let us have time with the guys as a couple.

I loved the secondary characters, the basic plot and the very sweet and sexy way the two MCs interacted. There was plenty of sex but not so much that it overwhelmed the story.

My only complaint was Mark- I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t divulge what he knew to his husband, especially while they were hunting someone who so fit the bill.

But – that’s a minor complaint.

Highly Recommened – 4.75 of 5 stars


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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

6 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book coming of age Contemporary Cop/Crime Exploration Fan Art Fated Mates Gay Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse Insta Love Karrie Jax m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Purchased Shifter Virgin

How to Walk Like a Man (Howl at the Moon Book 2) Audiobook by Eli Easton Narrated by Matthew Shaw


walk like a man audioBlurb

Deputy Roman Charsguard survived Afghanistan where he lost his best friend—his K-9 handler James. Roman was a military dog until two years ago when he developed the ability to shift into a human. It’s not easy to learn how to be a man. He found a place to live in Mad Creek, a haven for the secret world of dog shifters. Finding a reason to live has been harder. That is, until a certain human walks into the Mad Creek Sheriff’s office and starts making trouble.

Matt Barclay has the worst luck. First he was shot in a SWAT drug raid, then he was sent as DEA investigator to Mad Creek, a little town in the California mountains. Matt’s job is to keep a lookout for illegal drug farms, but nobody in the town wants him there. And then there’s Roman, Matt’s erstwhile baby-sitter. He’s the hottest guy Matt’s ever seen, even if he is a bit peculiar. If the town doesn’t kill him, sexual frustration just might.

The town is counting on Roman to prevent Matt from learning about dog shifters, Matt’s counting on Roman to be his work partner and tell him the truth, and Roman’s trying to navigate love, sex, and a whole lot of messy human emotions. Who knew it was so complicated to walk like a man?

How to Walk Like a Man - Eli Easton

(Book reviewed previously on this site)

Such an amazing sequel!

We met Roman (and fell head over heels in love with him!) in book one. He’s a newly quickened German Shepherd who lost his master, James, in the war in Afghanistan.

He’s adapting, slowly, to life on two legs with the help of Lance and Tim and of course, Lily.

Near the end of book one, Roman saves a DEA agent (who reminds him of James) from drug dealers. That DEA agent is Matt Barclay. Matt got injured in that drug raid, and is still recovering and though he’s grateful to the man who risked his life for him that day, but perplexed by his actions, as well.

When he meets Roman again at a joint DEA/Mad Creek task force meeting, he realizes that Roman is a unique guy. He’s at once innocent and sweet, but with a will of steel and a heart as big as the sky.

Lance tasks Roman with keeping Matt occupied and out of town so as not to give away the secrets of the quickened. Roman diligently drags Matt all over the mountains both in search of the drug dealers who might be praying on the town and because he’s fascinated with him.

It doesn’t take long before Roman’s affections turn from friend to more and he struggles with understanding these new emotions and desires. Luckily *smirk, he has Lance to go to when he’s got questions.

When Roman gets shot and Matt is faced with some questionable actions from both Roman and the rest of the town, will Roman have to give up his new love? Or will Matt be able to accept Roman for who he really is?


OMG this was even better than book one and I absolutely LOVED book one. I’ve already rhapsodized on how amazing I think the “quickened” concept is in my review of How to Howl at the Moon here:

Roman grabbed me by the heartstrings in book one and he continues to tug at them throughout this entire story.

Gawd. When Roman “tells” the story of James and his training days and the day he turned into a man I was seriously sobbing. It’s such a touching story and so obviously in tune with that relationship between man and dog. There’s no question that the love Roman had for James was deep and abiding and Roman’s pain and loss is so deep and heartbreaking.

The parts where Roman is discovering his sexuality had me howling with laughter. Lance and Tim’s “help” is hysterical.

“I think I need a doctor.”
“What’s the matter?”
“My… my penis is all swollen up and hard. Could it be a spider bite or… or…” Roman swallowed, pressing down the panic. “I don’t know. Cancer?” He knew cancer killed a lot of humans and involved lumps and tumors.
There was silence from the other end of the line. A long silence.
“Yeah, uh, Roman….” Lance sounded strained. “You’ve never had this happen before? I mean, since you’ve been human?”
“Ah.” Lance covered up the phone with his hand and said something. Roman didn’t understand his words, but he thought he heard Tim giggling on the other end. Lance came back. “Sorry about that.”
Roman felt a tinge of annoyance creep in among the fear. “Do I need a doctor, sir?”

This had me in tears, it was so funny!

The slowly developing relationship between Matt and Roman is so sweet, my only regret is that we didn’t get to see them as a couple for more than a few pages. I loved how easy going Matt was and how tender and gentle he was when he figured out Roman was a virgin.

The rest of the townspeople continue to entertain me endlessly with their “dogisms” and the drinking of broth instead of coffee was another inspired detail.

Watching Lance nearly screw up everything with his overprotectiveness also made me laugh out loud. In the movie theatre:

Then, Beaufort compounded the weirdness. Because, you know, this wasn’t already strange enough. He stood up, faced the people sitting behind them, and loudly said. “We’re just going to quietly enjoy the films.Quietly. Without comments, talking, or noises of any kind.” Then he sat back down.

So funny! I must have underlined a dozen passages that cracked me up.

I can’t express just how entertaining this book is. The dogisms are hysterical, Roman is an absolute sweetheart and the love story is so very sweet.

I can’t recommend this and the entire series enough.


Matthew Shaw did the first book in the series and he did another amazing job. He does well with some of the “accents” and he really does a great job of giving Roman this sort of halting, reserved but deep tone. I loved the emotions in this audiobook and I know this will be one of the ones I listen to over and over!

6 of 5 stars


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Audible link

6 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book Christmas coming of age Contemporary Cop/Crime Dreamspinner Fan Art Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Humor Hurt/Abuse Karrie Jax m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract

Re-Reading: The Last Thing He Needs Audiobook by JH Knight Narrated by Michael Stellman


Dreamspinner Presents:

Tommy O’Shea is raising his seven younger brothers and sisters without any help from his drug abusing father and stepmother. Since he was fifteen years old, he’s managed to keep the children fed and out of foster care. It takes up every ounce of his energy and the last thing he needs is romance complicating his life further.
Rookie cop Bobby McAlister doesn’t belong in Tommy’s harsh world, but Tommy can’t push him out. As their unlikely friendship turns into a tentative relationship, they weather the daily storm of Tommy’s life with a lot of laughs and more than a few arguments.
Tommy isn’t used to trusting outsiders, and he’s never asked for help in his life. But when a tragedy strikes the O’Shea family and threatens everything he’s fought for, he’ll have to learn to do both to recover from the brutal hit.


The Last Thing He Needs - J.H. Knight
(Originally Posted Here


Tommy O’Shea has a rough life. He’s in charge of his 6 younger siblings, didn’t finish high school, has drug-addled parents messing up his life, and he’s very poor.
Bobby McAlister has been around for most of Tommy’s life. He’s a gay cop who only wants to love and be loved.
It isn’t easy for Tommy to trust – everyone he knows has let him down – so when Bobby comes around, he’s immediately treated with a heavy dose of skepticism and mistrust.

With time, perseverance and a lot of love, Bobby worms his way in to Tommy’s life and heart and the result is this amazing love story written by JH Knight.
I was blown away by this story when I first read it. I’ve since re-read (and listened to) it many, many times as it stands on my “favorites” shelf with only a few other select titles.
The story is so sweet, so tender, yet tough and gritty at the same time.
The problems Tommy and his family face are realistic and heart-breaking and I really loved that the “gay” part was really the least of their worries.
This was a story about trust, devotion, optimism and most of all, family. Despite all the odds and all the reasons why things really should not have worked out, family prevails, and in ways we could never predict.
I really loved the relationship between Bobby and his mother, June. I just think her involvement in the story added that the icing to this delicious cake of a book. She rounded out the family and brought everyone in that much tighter. She reminded us that you’re never too old to need a “Mommy”.
I felt the love scenes were erotic and touching and just numerous enough to add texture to the story without being the focus. The kids were amazing and I really hope we see more of their stories in the future.
JH Knight gave us a WONDERFUL present with this “Epilogue”:


Michael Stellman did a fantastic job with his narration here. He doesn’t do anything over the top with the voices but does a really solid job with the emotion and the timing of the story. He subtly changes the tenor to differentiate the different characters and it allows you to become immersed in the story. I really got swallowed up by both the wonderful words of JH Knight and the way it is so artfully told by Michael Stellman. This is one of those audiobooks I will listen to again and again and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

6 of 5 stars


Reviewed by Morgan

6 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary DA Fan Art Friends to lovers Gay Geek/Jock Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Humor Hurt/Abuse Karrie Jax m/m Military Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Porn star Purchased Scorching/high heat

Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

release day review

strong signalBlurb

I was counting down the months until the end of my deployment. My days were spent working on military vehicles, and I spent my nights playing video games that would distract me until I could leave Staff Sergeant Garrett Reid behind.

That was when I met him: Kai Bannon, a fellow gamer with a famous stream channel.

I never expected to become fixated on someone who’d initially been a rival. And I’d never expected someone who oozed charm to notice me—a guy known for his brutal honesty and scowl. I hadn’t planned for our online friendship to turn into something that kept me up at night—hours of chatting evolving into filthy webcam sessions.

But it did. And now I can’t stop thinking about him. In my mind, our real life meeting is perfect. We kiss, we fall into bed, and it’s love at first sight.

Except, like most things in my life, it doesn’t go as planned.

*Strong Signal is a standalone, full-length novel with no cliffhanger*


Garrett is finishing out his last tour in Afghanistan while playing an online role playing game and being grumpy. He’s a mechanic and he thanks the military for getting him out of his crappy town but beyond that, he has no sentimental ties to his time in uniform. One night, while playing, his “dude” in the game is killed by some other “dude” and in terms of etiquette, Garrett feels he’s been slighted. So… he stalks the other “dude” and finds out so much more than how to get even.

Kai is an online gamer who gets paid to do it! He sits in front of a camera all day and records himself playing games and he’s so charming and interesting and good at what he does, people pay to watch him do it! (This is a real thing in life!) He finds Garrett’s “stalking” intriguing and they slowly go from reluctantly respectful of one another, to more and more curious, until one day they finally begin to talk to one another as people.

From that point on their relationship moves forward like any sort of “online” dating … a bit of information sharing, some flirting, then more flirting, then a lot of flirting… you get the idea.

By the time Garrett’s time is up, he and Kai are very close and Garrett is sure it will translate into a physical “real life” relationship. Kai knows it won’t….


This is one of the best books I’ve read… It literally has something in it for every single reader.

I’m not gonna give too much more away about the plot because really – that’s for you to discover. The important part of this is the amazing characters that Megan and Santino have created and the way they organically evolve for us over time. The parts of the book where two MCs are apart should feel “uncomfortanle” and be something that – as a reader- you want to race through to get the guys together. But the way these two writers did it, I couldn’t skim, couldn’t begrudge the distance, instead I was captivated by just watching their relationship develop – slowly – as it did over time.

This book is at times amazingly tender and sweet, then raunchy and “dirty”, followed by nerdy and hysterical, then moving and heart-wrenching. It seriously has it all. There were times I had to ask my IT-ish/Gamer-ish husband what the leet speak was so I could figure out what they were saying – but that’s part of the fun!

Kai and Garrett don’t do the “big misunderstanding”, they don’t lie, they don’t communicate super great – but hey – who does? – so their relationship really feels authentic. Kai’s illness is handled with grace and intelligence and Garrett is just about as huggable as can be. I loved them as a couple and enjoyed their online interactions almost as much as their in person interactions.

There are so many great secondary characters in this story as well and one of them gets his own book! I can’t wait to read that…

I highly recommend this book – it is truly wonderful – not surprising given that the two authors involved are so gifted – together their chemistry is off the charts!

6 of 5 stars


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A Tour/Guest Post/Blitz Fan Art Karrie Jax

Taking the Long Way by Max MacGowan Exclusive Book Excerpt





Book Tour!







Book Page:

Author Bio:

Max MacGowan is a work in progress. They’ve just turned forty, and are determined not to go gently into that good night.  They identify as nonbinary genderqueer, and prefer they/them pronouns. While Max lives in North Carolina, they daydream constantly of Seattle and Portland and all other colorful points West. In the meantime, they’ll satisfy themselves with coffee and trying every recipe that piques their interest on the Food Network. While they can be quiet, friends will tell you all that still water can’t quite hide Max’s quirky personality, Or maybe it’s the ever-present puckish twinkle in the eyes that’s really to blame.

Max has a fantastic time writing male/male romance, and is especially fond of polyamory, found families, love in unexpected places, friends who become lovers, and romantic comedies. They’re owned by two rowdy tomcats who take pains to make sure their owner doesn’t ever get the status confused.

You can find Max online via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and their website.





You can also send Max an e-mail at They’d love to hear from you!


Male escort Rye Bellamy is looking for a way out. Any way out. He’s getting older, and clients are getting more dangerous. If he doesn’t find something better, he knows he won’t survive.

He sees his chance in Marcus Townsend, a functionally blind Army veteran. Marcus, who refuses to accept his condition as immutable, has a shot at seeing a specialist who might be able to help him—but that doctor’s based on the other side of the country.

When Rye and Marcus meet, they realize they can help each other. Marcus can’t drive, but Rye can. Marcus knows what Rye is, but he likes him anyway. In fact, he more than likes him. Driving cross-country with a near stranger is a daunting task, but Rye’s biggest risk is falling for the gentle, stubborn-hearted soldier—and it might already be too late to stop that.

They plan to part ways when they reach their destination, but plans change as the affection between them grows. Now neither wants their journey to end, but continuing means finding a way to bridge the distance between who they were and who they’d like to become.

Taking The Long Way - Max MacGowan

Exclusive Excerpt:

It took three buses to carry Rye and Marcus from one side of town to the other. Not the quickest or most discreet way to make for a hideout, for sure, and Marcus made himself extra conspicuous by standing on all of them even when seats were there for the taking.

Rye thought he understood. Soldiers—men—like Marcus stood up tough and tall. If threats came knocking, they answered the damn door.

Good way to get killed, if anyone were to ask Rye.

But they didn’t, and Rye owed Marcus one for the rescue. Rye kept a close watch on their backs all the way there, and as far as he could tell, they weren’t being followed. Made sense. Pardloe wouldn’t have invested too much effort yet, and it wasn’t likely Baldy would go crying to the cops over being beaten up by a hooker. Maybe. He did seem the special kind of stubbornly stupid that could be unpredictable.

But not yet. He had to wake up first. Rye grinned at the notion. Might be suicidal, but it’d been damned satisfying too.

He recognized the motel Marcus led him to, a one-level cinderblock dump just off the highway. Anything less sturdy than concrete would have blown over in the backdraft from passing semis. “I’ve been here before,” Rye said while waiting for Marcus to dig out his key to unlock the metal door painted dogshit brown.

Marcus found his key and made a small noise of satisfaction when he fitted it into the lock. “Oh yeah?”

“Mmm. On business.” Rye regretted saying that right away, but he didn’t apologize. Marcus knew what he was. It’d be his problem if he didn’t like being reminded.

Sometimes Rye wondered if he’d forgotten how to be kind. Maybe it was his brand of special stupidity, but a prickle of irritation ran up the back of his neck and made him want to prove that no, that’s not how it is. He lifted his chin as he followed Marcus into the poky little box of a motel room. “Got a first-aid kit?”

“Say what?” Marcus clicked a lamp on and craned his neck around to peer at Rye.

“First-aid kit.” Rye took Marcus’s hand and turned it over, palms facing up. Skinned, scraped, a real mess. “If you’ve got a kit, I’ll take care of this for you.”

“It’s nothing but a few scrapes.”

“Do you know what kind of filth was in that alley?” Rye asked, eyebrow up in a sharp arch.

To his surprise, Marcus laughed. Rye hadn’t seen before how his face changed with humor, how wide his smile was, one slightly crooked eyetooth showing. “Yeah, I do. You knocked him out.”

“Damn right, I did. Doesn’t mean you’re immune to lockjaw. Sit on the edge of the bed. I can wash the scrapes out, if nothing else.”

“I’m up on my tetanus shots.” Marcus collapsed his cane and laid it aside. “But if it’ll make you feel better, I keep a kit under the bathroom sink. You can use it on one condition.” He reached up to lightly tap Rye’s cheek. Rye flinched, surprised by the sting. “This needs looking after too. Fair’s fair.”

Hard to argue with that. Rye sneaked a peek at himself in the dim mirror when he dug out the first-aid kit, and winced a second time. Shit. That big bald bull had marked him up good. Mostly bruises, with a fine black eye forming, and one small split over the cheekbone. At least that’d already stopped bleeding, but he’d look like a moth-eaten panda for days. Real sexy.

Not that it mattered anymore, he guessed. Not if Pardloe wouldn’t let him try and make his own way, and he’d jump feetfirst into hell before he went back to doing it Pardloe’s way.

Marcus hadn’t sat on the edge of the bed, but at the doll-sized table the lamp rested on. “Figured you’d need the light,” he explained. “It can be a little dim in here.” His mouth quirked. “Not that I mind, most of the time.”

Rye snorted. This guy. He never stopped. “You always deal with the elephants in the room by stepping on them?”

“Sometimes I try and ride them instead,” Marcus said.

“A smartass, okay. I see how it is now.” Rye turned the second chair around, tested it to make sure it’d hold his weight, and decided he could take the risk. He spread out the contents of the first-aid kit, better stocked than most, and chose a peroxide wipe to start with.

Marcus passed over his hand without being asked, scrapes up, and tucked the other beneath his chin. Sizing Rye up, by whatever means he had. Rye tracked the movement of his eyes as he patted the peroxide over Marcus’s knuckles. “How much can you see?”

“Enough to get by with.” Marcus shrugged one shoulder. “Sometimes.”

Rye blew over the raw skin to soothe the sting. “How much is enough?”

Marcus frowned. “Shapes. Colors. If you’re going to ask how it happened, I got my brains scrambled coming too close to an IED.”

Vague memories of M*A*S*H episodes flickered through Rye’s head. “IEDs. Are those like land mines?”

“Pretty much. The explosion flipped my vehicle upside down. It could have been worse.”

“Everything can always be worse. Doesn’t make bad things any better to say so.”

Marcus gave a short, sharp laugh. “I guess that’s true.”

“It always struck me as a shitty way to deal with life.” Rye tugged at Marcus’s sleeve. “Other hand.”

Marcus gave it over, still watching Rye thoughtfully, as if trying to figure him out. That was fine. What Marcus saw was what he’d get, pretty much.

“My cousin Jessie would like you.”

It was about the last thing Rye had expected to hear from him, but Marcus had a way of doing that. Rye liked it. Cleaning up the bits of wrapper scattered across the table, he asked, “You have a lot of family?”

“Not many, and not close. My cousin Chad. Jessie’s his daughter.” He grinned, sudden and quick. “She’s eleven. A real firecracker. Chad’s just about able to keep up with her now, but once she hits the teenage years, he’s going to need so much Zen.”

Rye chuckled. “Yeah, I know the type.”

“I guess you would.”

Rye shot him a sharp, curious look, but he didn’t think Marcus had meant any kind of slam by that. To tell the truth, he thought Marcus might have forgotten he was there, having slipped sideways into a fugue.

Until he spoke, that was. “They mean well, but they don’t get it.”

Rye knew the feeling. No one who’d never been there, like he and Marcus had, ever did.

Marcus blinked himself back to the real world. “Do you have family?”

“None left that I know of.”

“We’re a fine pair,” Marcus murmured. Outside, a rattle resolved itself into raindrops striking the window. Marcus turned his head as if to watch it. “You ever look at your life and think ‘it’s not supposed to be like this,’ or is that a dumb question?”

“Sometimes.” Rye had finished the job, but didn’t quite want to let go of Marcus’s hands yet. They were good hands. Sturdy rectangular palms, long nimble fingers. He kept his nails trimmed neatly, but not buffed, not polished.

“You ever want to do something about it?” Marcus asked.

Every day. “How did you find me? No, don’t answer that. I know you recognized me. Why did you come after me? No man left behind?”

“Maybe.” Marcus leaned forward thoughtfully. “I’d had a bad day. Seemed like a way to make it better. And because I liked you, when I met you.”

Rye traced the pattern of the lifelines on Marcus’s palms. Slow, slow, steady and slow. He watched Marcus shiver, faint goose bumps rippling up his arms. “Is that so?”

“That’s so.” Marcus had the kind of voice that reverberated in Rye’s chest, so deep, and his lips were untouched by any bruises.

Rye didn’t mean to lean over the table and touch his mouth to Marcus’s. It just happened.

Oh, Marcus did have a sweet mouth. His lips parted slightly—surprised by being kissed—and a whisper of his air passed over Rye’s chin. Rye took hold of Marcus’s shirt, warmed by his skin, bumping his knuckles against the smooth, hard muscles beneath. He slipped his hand under the shirt, and a hint of golden hair tickled his fingers as he ran them along the edge of Marcus’s stomach.

He could see himself reflected in Marcus’s eyes when he let go, his image scruffy and dark. Marcus’s throat worked in a hard swallow, but he didn’t react the way he had every right to. Didn’t throw a punch, didn’t curl his lip, didn’t push Rye away.

Rye licked his lips once, knowing he’d never forget that taste.

Then he lifted Marcus’s hands and summoned up a cheeky grin. “Standard procedure is to kiss it better, but that’s usually for kids. Figured I’d jazz it up. Hope you don’t mind.”

Marcus laughed. Rye thought he was as pleased as he was startled, and Rye had had plenty of experience at reading people. Good.

“That’s twice now,” Rye told Marcus, knuckling him lightly in the ribs. “Then again, after that alley, I think the score’s even. But I’ll still tell you to take care of yourself. I get the feeling you’re not too good at that.”

“You think?” Marcus asked wryly. He’d leaned back when Rye broke the kiss, but he hadn’t run. “What about you? Will you be all right?”

“I’ll be fine. Always am.”

“Uh-huh.” Marcus curled his lip in display of a good bullshit meter. Rye approved even if it made the situation stickier for him. “Stay for a while. It’s still raining. I can’t kick you out in the rain.” He grinned suddenly. “I think there are rules against that sort of thing.”

Rye usually only had one reason for hanging out in a motel room, quality or shitty, but Marcus’s tiny smile was infectious, evoking an equal response. “No union where I come from.”

“Even so.” Marcus cocked his head. “If you leave, I’ll get worried, and then I’ll have no choice but to come and find you on the street. You know I’ll do it.”

He would too. Rye had no trouble imagining that, and Bleeker was no place for anyone good after dark. He rubbed his jaw, careful of the bruises, and then let out a breath. He knew when he was beaten.

But he’d have to be careful. That kiss…. Big mistake. One taste of Marcus only made him want more, and Marcus had made it pretty damn clear already that he didn’t want what Rye had to give. Even for free.

It was the sweetness of him. How was a man, even one like Rye, supposed to turn away from that?

And yet…. No. If nothing else, Rye knew how to control himself and to be what a man needed from him. What Marcus needed was a friend. That it benefited Rye, and that Rye hadn’t had a friend in too many years, was incidental.

“I’ll stay for a little while. Till it stops raining.”

6 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Bi-Sexual Book coming of age Contemporary DA Dreamspinner Exploration Fan Art Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse Karrie Jax m/m Mid level steam/heat Military Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Rent Boy Virgin

Taking the Long Way by Max MacGowan

12620401_10156413371650414_70208152_o (1)

Dreamspinner Presents




Male escort Rye Bellamy is looking for a way out. Any way out. He’s getting older, and clients are getting more dangerous. If he doesn’t find something better, he knows he won’t survive.

He sees his chance in Marcus Townsend, a functionally blind Army veteran. Marcus, who refuses to accept his condition as immutable, has a shot at seeing a specialist who might be able to help him—but that doctor’s based on the other side of the country.

When Rye and Marcus meet, they realize they can help each other. Marcus can’t drive, but Rye can. Marcus knows what Rye is, but he likes him anyway. In fact, he more than likes him. Driving cross-country with a near stranger is a daunting task, but Rye’s biggest risk is falling for the gentle, stubborn-hearted soldier—and it might already be too late to stop that.

They plan to part ways when they reach their destination, but plans change as the affection between them grows. Now neither wants their journey to end, but continuing means finding a way to bridge the distance between who they were and who they’d like to become.


From the blurb we find out that Rye and Marcus end up finding each other at the right point in their lives to help the other out. Rye just lost his “job” by pissing off his pimp, and Marcus has lost faith in his VA doctor and is seeking a second opinion in Atlanta, but can’t fly due to his injuries.

Marcus offers the chance to a new start to Rye in a new place if Rye will drive Marcus to Atanta.

What the blurb doesn’t tell you is how amazing the journey is for these two guys.


I absolutely can’t believe this is Max MacGowan’s first book! It is so well done! The writing is clear, crisp and evocative. The MCs are multi-faceted and real. The situation – while improbable – is absolutely possible and even the secondary characters are fully developed.

The pacing is slow – Marcus identifies as straight and Rye doesn’t need any long term involvements so the two dance around their attraction a long time. But that helps them to build their relationship on a solid foundation.

Along the way they meet some great people and I won’t say much – but the DOGS – oy – so touching!

I can’t recommend this highly enough and give it 6 of 5 stars for being an amazing book and extraordinary for a first time author.


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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Review

6 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Bi-Sexual Book coming of age Contemporary DA Demi Dreamspinner Exploration Fan Art Friends to lovers Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse Insta Love Karrie Jax m/m Mild/low level heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Virgin

Dormant Heart by Lane Swift

release day review


Dreamspinner Presents


Amateur photographer Josh Thornton is out but not so proud. He’s estranged from his family, his boyfriend dumped him, and his job at an estate agency is in jeopardy—especially after he crashes his boss’s car in the middle of nowhere on his way to Hartley Manor.

Callum Black works at the English country estate and lives there in an isolated cottage. Left mute by a childhood accident, he’s more comfortable in the company of animals than people. But when Josh—literally—crashes into his life with his camera and his friendship, Callum realizes his peaceful solitude has been more than a little lonely.

Josh’s affection for Callum deepens even as he’s consumed by doubts over Callum’s sexuality and whether Callum could ever love him. And Callum is haunted by the secret that stole his voice—a secret that keeps him tethered to Hartley Manor. When the past comes hurtling painfully back into the present, Josh and Callum have to overcome their fears and breathe life back into their dormant hearts in order to have a chance at their own picture-perfect future.



Josh is having a very, very bad day – in fact – the last three months haven’t been so great. His cranky boss – who seems like he’s up to something – sends him on an errand to the country where he’s meant to take pictures of a house that is coming up for sale. He wants Josh to drive his BMW – for appearances – and Josh ends up late, lost, covered in mud and crashes the BMW.

But… While on his way to meet the seller he runs into an angel in the woods – not really – but a man that looks like an angel – Callum.

Callum is mute since an accident took his voice at a young age. He has no other issues – other than some severe shyness – and he has a way with animals.

Callum and Josh strike up a friendship after Josh asks to photograph Callum with some of his woodland friends. (No – it’s not a fairy tale, but it is romantic and dreamy!)

The two have their issues to work out: Josh is worried about being in a relationship for the wrong reasons, Callum has never been with a guy – though he identifies as bi, both worry about Callum’s mutism and financially, neither man is in a great place.

In the end – after a lot of really moving and emotional time spent with one another – great things happen and our ending is so much more than just happy.


“If I could have got just one shot, I know it would have been perfect: Callum, kneeling down like he was—” I was about to say like he was an angel, but my brain caught up with my mouth in the nick of time. “Like he was out of a fairy tale.”

I’ve not read anything by this author before but I certainly will now! Lane Swift has a gift with words and an ability to evoke emotion that is remarkable. There were so many passages in this somewhat simple romance that read like poetry.

There is a bit of a mystery that gets solved and that’s very rewarding, but the most moving part of this story is the personal growth both characters achieve with one another.

I love that Callum wasn’t hung up on his sexuality. He had some moments of contemplation – but then he merely accepted his bi-sexuality and moved on. (I might even call him demi-sexual… it’s hard to define…but he’s definitely attracted to people not one sex in particular.)

Josh is so wonderful and though his background is harsh, his spirit stays strong. He made a wonderful complement to Callum’s steadfastness in that Josh is delicate and flighty and Callum is strong and solemn.

I devoured this book in one sitting because it was simply so beautifully written.

I can’t recommend this title enough and give it 6 of 5 stars.


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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review