Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Holiday Island by A.D. Ellis

Dreamspinner Presents



No peacocks were harmed in the making of this story.

Rafa’s nautical skills are less than stellar. He’d rather be a full-time artist, but he has a duty to the family business and a fear of standing up to his father and brother.

Carpenter Lucas is determined to rebuild his business after a lover’s betrayal nearly destroyed it. But he runs into a snag when he misses the last boat to the job site.

Rafa offers to take him, but Rafa isn’t much of a sailor.

When they end up on the wrong island, fears for survival gradually give way to an appreciation of the beauty around them—and each other. Rafa insists a holiday miracle will save them, and he teases Lucas for being a Scrooge.

In the end, Rafa’s miracle might come from the last place he expects: inside himself.


This advent calendar short story was so adorable to read. Good descriptions of the island. The scenes involving peacocks in the distance was really cute. There are sexy mm scenes without being graphic. The brother made me want to kick him. Only complaint is that it’s just too short. There are multiple potential chapter routes that the author left open for a full novel, but still a great read.

Number of stars out of 5





Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review


adult - 18+ Uncategorized

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story An Everyday Hero by E.J. Russell

Dreamspinner Presents



When Adam Tyler’s sister announced she was pregnant, Adam decided to move from Portland, Oregon, to Phoenix, Arizona, to fully embrace the uncle experience. However, he didn’t count on the move being delayed until three days before Christmas—and three days before his sister’s due date. And he definitely didn’t count on finding a scorpion in his bedroom. Cue the panicked calls to exterminators.
Garrett Strong doesn’t consider himself at all remarkable—his ex certainly didn’t think so—and Garrett’s pest-control business is circling the drain. Although Adam is his first new client in months, that isn’t the only reason Garrett goes above and beyond for him. He feels a real connection to the younger man and intends to do everything in his power to make sure Adam feels safe and welcome in Phoenix—venomous intruders notwithstanding.


This is my favorite of the 4 I read!

I loved this!!!

It is soooo cute and the guys are so adorable together! There is a wonderful back and forth POV and two opposites totally attracting! I’m a Portlander so finding out about the terrors of Arizona was hysterical and eye opening!

I learned right along with Adam about scorpions and snakes and fencing – Oh My!

Garrett is so self effacing and in need of a big hug – it was wonderful to see the two find each other.

I only wish the story were longer – as is the case with any good story.

Highly recommended!

6 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review


Time to comfort the hurts: Blind Faith (Blind Faith #1) by N.R. Walker

Good Reads


Starting a new job in a new town, veterinarian Carter Reece makes a house call to a very special client.

Arrogant, moody and totally gorgeous, Isaac Brannigan has been blind since he was eight. After the death of his guide dog and best friend, Rosie, his partnership with his new guide dog, Brady, isn’t going well.

Carter tries to help both man and canine through this initiation phase, but just who is leading who?


This was one of my first N.R. Walker books and I’ve reread it multiple times. This is a sweet, slow burn romance between Carter and Isaac, who is blind. Carter is the new vet in town and while doing a house call he meet Isaac and his seeing eye dog Brady. Isaac is noticeably cold towards his dog which is a big issue throughout the book but eventually he discloses why he is having a hard time excepting Brady, which is just heart breaking.

The story is told from Carter’s point of view. He seems like a very optimistic person, which is probably why he puts up with Isaac’s bad attitude. Isaac is a complex man with a lot of issues that all seem to revolve around his fear of being abandoned. I really enjoyed the dialogue between the two men and I also liked that they don’t immediately jump into bed with each other. Watching their relationship slowly progress was both beautiful yet frustrating due to Isaac’s hot and cold attitude.

There are some great secondary character who provide some comedic relief. One of the reasons I love this book so much is because of Brady. Even though his owner Isaac doesn’t have any faith that Brady will be as good as his previous dog, Brady is unshakable in his loyalty towards Isaac.

4.5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World angels Bi-Sexual Book coming of age Contemporary Demons Dreamspinner Exploration Fairies Fantasy Friends to lovers Gay Gay Hurt/Abuse m/m Magic Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Paranormal Part of a Series Shifter Uncategorized vampire Witches/Warlocks/Wizards

Release Day Review: Quenched in Blood By Ari McKay

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents


Asheville Arcana
Will love mean rebirth… or death?
In the course of his work with the Asheville Paranormal Council, reclusive three-hundred-year-old vampire Julian Schaden discovers young Thomas Carter, the heir to a long line of demon hunters—a legacy Thomas knows nothing about.
He also knows nothing about the supernatural world or the danger he’s in. As Julian convinces him and later agrees to train Thomas to use his abilities, he struggles against unexpected feelings. Thomas is too young and innocent to become involved with Julian, but opposites attract, and this is one battle Julian is fated to lose….
Julian and Thomas grow closer as the demonic menace advances. A prophecy from a dying mage comes with a bleak warning: to save Thomas’s life, Julian might have to give up the only man he’s ever loved.


This is an amazing series. It’s really rich and full of tremendous world building with lively and engaging characters and a bad guy really worth going after.

I loved the relationship building here – I felt like it went at a great pace and kept me interested without rushing it.

Of course the virgin aspect mixed with the “slut” as partner was really hot! But it was also really tender and Julian did a lot of growing along side Thomas.

The action/adventure was just enough without overwhelming the romance.

Overall I think this was excellent and I highly recommend it to any fan of the author, the series, paranormal romance and fantasy. I do think this is best read in order but you could muddle though if you really don’t want to.

5 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review


Recent Release: Seer (Soulmates #2) by Erin M. Leaf

Good Reads Link


No one knows that Nick Auspex is a Seer, but his power is very real—that’s why he knows he’ll always be alone. Since childhood, he’s seen visions of his soulmate caught in the midst of a terrible fire. So when he’s assigned to protect Jeff Wright, he knows their mutual attraction is destined to go nowhere.

When Jeff opens the door to find the Craft Council’s security expert on his doorstep, his first instinct is to send Nick away. Jeff is human, but Nick is a powerful Crafter, and everyone knows relationships like that never work. Jeff needs to figure out who murdered his parents, not screw around with some random guy when he’s never even dated another man before.

Of course, neither of them can control fate—and when two soulmates meet, destiny trumps fear. Will fire destroy lives or illuminate the truth hiding in the darkness?


I loved the amazing bonding and magic and self discovery . The fire and danger got a little old. But I loved the connection these guys had with each other.  Really recommended to fans of magic and insta love/mate bond.

Much better than book 1 and I really enjoyed book 1.

5 of 5 stars


Cover Reveal for Ward Maia- Beneath these Fields

Title: Beneath These Fields
Author: Ward Maia
Release Date: January 25, 2019
Category: Contemporary, World of Love
Pages: 144
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht


Sometimes true worth is well hidden.

Ellis Campos is a successful divorce lawyer with little to no time for a personal life. His predictable routine is disrupted when he inherits a coffee farm from an estranged aunt. There’s no room in his life for all the complications that come with managing a farm in another state. But his plans to quickly sell it and go back to the big city fall apart when he’s manipulated into spending a week on the estate.

Adding to the unexpected surprises, he meets Rudá, a native Brazilian who works on the farm, and while teaching him about his aunt’s home and family, also tempts Ellis like no one ever has.

He doesn’t expect his life to change in such a short time, but as he finds value and comfort in the farm’s routine, Ellis quickly realizes that, like the land itself, Rudá has secrets that could send him running back to Rio.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

Buy Link:


Author Bio:

Ward Maia was born and raised in Brazil and has seen almost every corner of that great and beautiful country. With a M. in Geology and Metamorphic Petrology, spending time in underground labs was more commonplace than interacting with real humans, which lead to the creation of entire fictional universes. The heroes that populate those universes are usually flawed and find love in unexpected places.
Having traveled throughout the country from North to South, Ward now calls the northwest of Brazil home. Alongside a grumpy sixteen-year-old poodle (that insists on always having the last word) and hundreds of paperback novels, Ward lives five minutes from the beach and enjoys drinking copious amounts of coffee and feeling the ocean breeze while writing about unexpected places and people.
Twitter: @_WardMaia


Interview with narrator Nick J Russo!

Morgan: Help me welcome Nick J Russo!

Nick is a narrator whom you’ve all heard (probably) by now and whom we’ve reviewed here on Open Skye. He’s done many titles you are familiar with like:

and many, many more.

You can find his complete listings here:

He’s been so gracious as to stop by and answer some questions for us!

MS: Can you tell us a little about your background, training, experience, etcetera?  How did you get into narrating?  How did you get into narrating for Dreamspinner and Dark Night Sound?

– I’ve been narrating for almost five years now, having landed my first book at Falcon Sound Company in the winter of 2013/2014. My friend, fellow narrator John Solo, was looking for new narrators and I immediately auditioned. Other than various school productions over the years, I hadn’t had too much prior experience in acting/narrating. I was more of a musician than an actor. But almost five years and 130+ audio books later, what started as a fun side gig has morphed into a full time dream job. Not only do I voice for Falcon Sound (doing mostly Dreamspinner projects), but I also opened up a studio of my own, Dark Night Sound, which my wife and I run together.  


MS: Do you have a process that you go through to find the right voice for a character?  How do you keep track of voices when there’s a series?

– Certainly! Our process includes an initial pre-read of the book to get an idea of what makes each character tick. Often times, a voice just comes out of my preread and works organically with the material, other times I try to imagine a famous actor or actress I would cast in the role if it were a TV series or movie, then model my voice accordingly. For any given title, (but especially for series), we record a generic line for each recurring character to ensure consistency – you can imagine the challenge of keeping track of a series with 20+ voices! So keeping recordings to rely on is important.    

MS: Do you still audition or are you inundated with requests at this point?  Do you read the book before hand?   How long is your typical work day?

 – I still audition from time to time if I see something that piques my interest, but more often than not I have a pretty full schedule I’m focusing on instead! It’s very flattering to be approached by an author or publisher to voice their hard work. 

My typical work day is about four hours of booth time, and another four hours of post production work. That usually includes things like cleaning, (removing hard P or B sounds, tongue clicks, pops, etc), mastering, and rendering completed chapters. 


MS: I know you can’t pick a favorite story or author – that would be too hard I’m sure 😉

– It is! At this point I have about two dozen favorites! 😀 


But was there one character or another that was more fun to portray or more difficult or more unique… something about them that made them stand out in your mind?  One that took a lot of effort and planning for?  Something like that?

 – I have the pleasure to work with so many talented authors: they’re so good at writing such unique, fascinating characters! They are all fun in their own ways though. Whether it’s voicing a stoned vampire for LA Witt,

a steampunk caped crusader for Amy Lane,

or a down on his luck phone sex operator for Quinn Anderson,

there is ALWAYS a layer of enjoyment. One of my most recent collaborations with Lane Hayes, Leaning Into Forever,

was quite the emotional journey in the character of Geordie. He is such a layered and broken character, and an absolute thrill to voice. In one of his climactic scenes, I was so enthralled with the material that there wasn’t really any “acting” involved – I had to stop myself and wipe away some tears! 


MS: How many “takes” do you usually need to get through an hours worth of narrating (finished product).

– I’d say an hour chapter takes me about an hour and a half to record. I typically do a few takes on any given line of dialogue until I feel like I captured the tone that the author was going for in that moment. If I’m lucky, I nail it on the first take, but other times I’ll be sitting there saying the same line a half a dozen times until I get ‘the one’. 


MS: Where did you grow up? I know I saw a post from you in Oregon…   Sometimes you have what seems like an accent but other times you don’t!

– I actually don’t live in Oregon – but my wife and I eloped there last fall and LOVE IT out there! We’re actually from the Midwest and live in Columbus, Ohio. I’ve heard before that mid westerners have some form of accent, but I couldn’t tell you what it sounds like! 

What does your partner/family/coworkers think of your books?  Do they listen and critique or not? 

– Since my wife runs Dark Night Sound with me, she actually is in charge of our Quality Control, so she listens (and critiques) to every book we produce! My coworkers are other narrators, so we all try and support each other the best we can. Overall, my family and friends are very supportive and encouraging of my career! 

MS: Thank you so much for stopping by Nick and we look forward to hearing more from you in the future!

Thanks for having me, Morgan! Have a great week and thanks for listening! ?


Tour: Infinite Blue by Natalina Reis



OS: Welcome to Natalina!  Here to interview their character Shahin!


Q – Today I have a special guest, coming directly from the pages of Natalina Reis’s latest book, Infinite Blue. Please, help me extend a warm welcome to Shahin.
S – Hi, guys. Glad to be here.
Q – Could you introduce yourself to our readers who are yet to meet you in between the pages of Infinite Blue?
S – There’s not much to tell, really. I’m your average guy who rides a motorcycle and eats his meat almost raw.
Q – That doesn’t sound very regular to me. Raw meat? And truth be told, you’re far from regular. Your blue eyes are mesmerizing, you tower over pretty much everybody, and your neck tattoo…what is it?
S – It’s a black rose.
Q – Does it hold a special meaning?
S – Yes, but I can’t reveal it here. You’ll have to read the book.
Q – You have a secret, right? Could you elaborate on that?
S – I’m a shifter, a cambiador like we were called in the old country. In other words, I share my body and soul with a red-tailed hawk.
Q – How does your hawk side affect your human side besides the obvious physical changes?
S – I have a constant craving for flying and the sense of freedom it brings me. When I’m in my human body I balance that need with my motorcycle rides and jumping off mountains in my wingsuit. I also prefer under-cooked meats unlike most people.
Q – You mentioned the old country. What country are you referring to?
S – My flock is originally from Andaluzia in Spain. My mother still speaks the language.
Q – Speaking of your mother. She’s the leader of your flock and I understand you two don’t quite see eye to eye.
S – My mother can’t wrap her head around the fact I’ll never spawn any fledglings. She wants more grandchildren and I’m her only child yet to produce one. The fact that I’m gay doesn’t seem to sink in with her. She also hates that I live in my own place and not under her roof with the rest of the family.
Q – But I heard that there was an even more serious disagreement between the two of you.
S – That’s an understatement. Let’s just say that my mom resorted to a pretty unusual and dangerous way to keep me away from my boyfriend.
Q – The boyfriend…Cai, he’s a full human, correct? Isn’t it unusual for a shifter to mate with a full human?
S – Unusual yes, but not unheard of. We couldn’t stay away from each other even if we wanted to—we’re soul mates, destined to be together.
Q- Which means you feel a physical pull toward him and he toward you. A pull so strong it makes you physically sick if you stay away for long. Have you ever wished it wasn’t so?
S – No, because I know that even if we weren’t soul mates, I’d still love him. Cai has brought something to my life that wasn’t there before: a sense of peace, of fulfillment. He makes me feel like I finally belong. He’s my home.
Q – Any final words to the readers?
S- A warning. Never, ever fly at night. Nothing good comes to hawks after dark.
Q – Well, thank you for being here with us today. Readers don’t forget, you can get to know Shahin and his mate better in INFINITE BLUE. Never stop reading.

COVER - Infinite Blue
Natalina Reis has a new MM paranormal shifter book out: Infinite Blue.

When a shifter and a human are bound by fate, neither man knows if their connection will be enough to save not only their growing love, but their lives.

Shahin Halcón has been taught that if and when he meets his soul mate, he’ll know immediately. Always the rebel, he doesn’t believe it until the day he crosses paths with Cai, a full-human.

Plagued by unsuccessful relationships and heartache, Cai Banes’s life is quiet and unexciting. When he meets young and wild Shahin, his life is turned upside down, and he’s not sure he likes it.

But neither can deny the powerful pull that draws them together.

Old secrets and ancient myths about cross-species relationships plague their romance and threaten to put their happiness and life at risk. Will their love for each other be strong enough to survive?

Hot Tree Publishing | Amazon | Amazon Paperback | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Amazon AU | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads


Natalina is giving away two prizes with this tour – an eBook copy of “Lavender Fields” (backlist, m/m paranormal romance) and a $10 Amazon gift card. Enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct link:


MEME - Infitinte Blue
Cranky didn’t even start to describe how Cai woke up that morning. The day ahead loomed over his horizon like a large bird of prey ready to pounce on him. Why hadn’t he said no? Why was it always so hard for him to say no to his sister? All she had to do was bat her thick lashes and he was lost.

A little witch is what she is.But he loved her and he was hopeless against those baby blue eyes of hers.

He was going to suck it up and be a man. How bad could it be? He would go to the assigned meeting place, meet this guy his sister was so excited about, and if he was as bad as Cai thought he was, all he had to do was make some excuse and flee the scene. Memories of the last time his sister tried to set him up with someone flooded his mind. He remembered a red-purplish face as his date emphatically declared himself “very straight” many times over. Lyra had assumed the man to be gay and had been determined to pair them together.

Oh shit. This could be bad.

By the time he left his house, his bad mood had reached fever pitch, and if anyone was unfortunate enough to approach him, he was afraid he would eat them alive. There were very few things he hated more than blind dates. He was not exactly someone who qualified as a hot number. Even though he was in his midthirties, his hair had gone silver many years back and he wore it as a protective shield against possible disastrous relationships.

On his way to the restaurant where he was to meet the amazing Shahin—his sister’s words—he decided he needed some strong coffee if he was to survive the humiliation of another failed attempt at romance. It hadn’t been a bed of roses for him since Jack, his boyfriend of many years, had made the startling announcement he’d met the love of his life. As if the shock of betrayal had not been enough, Jack announced—shortly after the breakup when Cai’s heart was still hemorrhaging—that he was marrying his high school sweetheart, a woman Jack had frequently referred to as only a friend.

Starbucks was on the way, a beacon of promised comfort and relief. A cup of good coffee had always been his self-medication—nothing a good cup of java wouldn’t cure. The line was long and the room was packed with the usual crowd, a mixture of college students, writers, and a few moms with their toddlers in tow. As Cai waited for his turn, he scanned the room. He loved people-reading, a term his sister had coined a few years ago after realizing that was one of her brother’s favorite pastimes.

“You should talk to people, interact,” she had said, her protective sisterly claws fully out. “Instead, you sit there watching them.”

“Anthropologists have been doing it for a long time.” His usual comeback.

“Anthropologists actually interact with the people they’re studying, bro. What you do is just a bit creepy. And definitely sad.”

She wasn’t wrong. It was a little pathetic that a thirty-five-year-old would be satisfied to sit in a coffee shop observing people and life happening around him without ever stepping in to participate. Satisfied was not the right word for it though. Cai feared what may happen if he stepped out of his comfort zone. He had taken a chance with Jack and look what it got him—nothing but heartache.

A deep blue caught his eye from across the coffee shop. A pair of amazing eyes met his scrutiny with a take-a-good-look-I-dare-you glint. Cai’s first instinct was to look away, but he couldn’t, captured and paralyzed by the electrifying vibe the man with the deep ocean eyes was emitting. The man—younger than him—had short honey-colored hair that spiked slightly on top and left his face and neck exposed. An intricate black ink tattoo stretched down the side of his neck to hide underneath the plain white T-shirt he was wearing, only to emerge again from below the short sleeves and down his well-defined biceps.

Were those roses? Cai’s body caught on fire as the desire to trace the edges of the tattooed flowers grew to alarming heights. He stuck his hands in his jeans pockets, trying to control the itch on his restless fingers. The strange man with the bottomless eyes was still staring at him, caressing without touching, tender and passionate all at the same time.

“Can I take your order?”

The voice startled him and Cai looked away momentarily, placing his order for a flat white. When he looked back, those eyes were still glued to him. Cai swallowed hard as his admirer licked his lips.

I need a cold shower right now.

The phone vibrated in his pocket. Reluctantly, he pulled it out and answered. “Yes?”

The other man was still staring at him with a fire that defied the laws of physics, for it soothed as much as it burned.

“Are you there yet?” It was his sister. There where? Then he remembered.

“On my way,” he lied. “Stopped for liquid courage.”

“For God’s sake, Cai. You sound like you’re walking to the gallows.” Sometimes he wished Lyra didn’t read so much. She didn’t talk like normal people her age.

“I might as well be, Lyra.” He stole a quick glance across the room to check if the handsome stranger was still there. He was. God, Cai was the arrow in a compass and he was the North Pole. Irreversibly and powerfully attracted.

“Don’t embarrass me by not showing up, Cai.” He had almost forgotten about his sister on the other end of the phone line. “He’s my coworker’s cousin. Please, bro. I promise I won’t ever try to set you up again.”

Not that he believed her, but it was a very tempting proposal. “Okay, I promise. I’m leaving right now.”

Hanging up, he took a couple slow breaths, trying to get in control of his body. Good thing he was wearing a long duster coat he could use to disguise how much the stranger affected him. Cai held the coat by the edges, wrapped it closely around him, and grabbed the coffee cup to leave. As he walked by the object of his sudden madness, the other man’s sexy full lips stretched into a wicked smile, releasing a million butterflies in Cai’s chest.

How would it feel to touch my lips to his?The coldness of the silver snake bite he wore on his lower lip rubbing against Cai’s unadorned mouth and tongue would be as thrilling as exploring the muscles barely hidden under the T-shirt. Cai shook his head and made himself lower his eyes to the floor. Like it or not, he had committed to this blasted blind date, and he was not one to renege on his promises.

Just as he was about to walk past, the stranger reached out quickly and handed him a business card. “Call me.”

Author Bio

AUTHOR PHOTO - Natalina Reis
Natalina wrote her first romance at the age of 13 in collaboration with her best friend, Susana. Since then she has ventured into other genres, but romance is first and foremost in almost everything she writes. She’s the author of seven romance novels that reflect the amazing diversity of humankind and the universal power of love.

After earning a degree in tourism and foreign languages, she worked as a tourist guide in her native Portugal for a short time before moving to the United States. She lived in three continents and a few islands, and her knack for languages and linguistics led her to a master’s degree in education. She lives in Virginia where she’s taught English as a Second Language to elementary school children for more years than she cares to admit.

Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.

Author Website:

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LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

4.5 stars adult - 18+ Author Provided f/f Gay Gay Homophobia Karen Mild level angst Mild/low level heat Monthly Theme Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Shifter Standalone TIme to get Paranormal Uncategorized

Time to Get Paranormal: Bitten By Her (Regent’s Park Pack book 5) by Annabelle Jacobs


Good Reads Link


Brought together by fate, torn apart by family.

Rachel Tregarrak, Penwith pack beta and daughter of the alpha, has always called the rugged Cornish coast her home. With its beautiful landscapes, bracing sea air, and vast spaces to run, she can’t imagine living anywhere else.

After years of living with her mother in her grandfather’s pack, Sara Gallen returns to Penzance to be with her alpha father and her brothers. She wants to build their relationships, get to know the rest of her family better than occasional visits allow.

When their paths cross on the full moon, the attraction is immediate and instinctive. But Sara’s father refuses to allow such a union and forbids any further contact. Sara finds solace with her grandmother in her alpha council residence, and Rachel is sent to a London pack to keep her out of trouble. Both women feel the desperate ache of an uncompleted bond, but unless they find a way to be together, it’ll fade to nothing and their connection will be lost.

Approx 43000 words


This FF novella is a great addition to Annabelle Jacobs’s much-loved paranormal series!

There are a lot of shapeshifter romances out there, but Annabelle Jacobs’s Regent’s Park Pack series really stands out. She has done a tremendous job at the worldbuilding for this series, creating an original and unique shifter universe with a complex judicial system where shifters and humans live together in precarious harmony.

Much like in the real world, there are still those in this fictional world that hold a narrow-minded & bigoted view on women’s rights and value.
Sara and Rachel find that out the hard way, when Sara’s father, and alpha, pulls out all the stops to prevent them from being together. Not letting little things like the potential for a mating bond, or respect for his adult daughter’s wishes and happiness hold him back.
As a consequence, there’s a constant sense of urgency running through the story, because Sara and Rachel can’t complete their bond and so there’s always that worry that their connection might start to fade.

I love how self-sacrificing and responsible both Sara and Rachel are, putting the safety and well-being of others first. They long for each other so badly, and hurt so much because of their forced separation, yet they never give in to their own desire to mate. Instead they wait to take that final step towards their own personal happiness until it is safe to do so, when all risks to their packs have finally been dealt with.
Rachel and Sara are very sweet and sexy together. They make a lovely couple and I hope to see more of them in books to come.

It was great to see some of the other pack members again as well and reconnect with old favorites.
I especially enjoyed catching up with Nathan and watching him grow so much. I hope we’ll get to see him as a beta soon, leading his own unit.
Sara’s grandmother, Celia (Alpha Cornell), is another amazing secondary character, strong, fair-minded and … creative with rules. I loved that she teamed up with Cam to try their hand at a bit of matchmaking!

Number of stars out of 5: 4,5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review


Guest Post: Jayne Lockwood with Euphoria and Giveaway!

OS: Welcome to Jayne!


Hi everyone, and very many thanks for letting me take over your blog for this post. My new novel, Euphoria, has just been released by DSP Publications. The story is about what happens when one alien being decides to travel back in time to save Earth from human destruction.

I’ve decided to list fifteen random facts about one of my main characters, Vardam, which might help you decide if you want to get to know them better. Some of the information is exclusive content and not found within Euphoria‘s pages.

1. Vardam is nonbinary, using the pronouns they/them/their. The Var are one people, all with the ability to reproduce from six months of age. There is no hierarchy and no concept of age. Their lifespan is the same as ours, approximately 90 years.

2. They are amphibious, with gills situated in their ears. These ears are multifunctional, looking and behaving in the same way a cat’s ears do. Their hearing is sharper than humans, but not able to penetrate solid walls.

3. With an inability to internally process cooked food, on Earth they have a diet of raw fish and green vegetation. There was also marine life and kelp-like flora on Var which formed the main part of their diet before the asteroid destroyed their planet.

4. Vardam learned to communicate with Bella through BSL (British Sign Language) which is similar to Var language. However, speaking English is much harder for them. They do discover an affinity for writing and drawing to express their newly discovered emotions.

5. They are intrigued by cats after learning about them from Bella, but they’ve never seen one. They share several similarities, including the cleft top lip, pert, triangular ears, and an enjoyment of head scratches. They are distraught on learning that in Bella’s time, all the different species of cats have become extinct.

6. Vardam sees animals as equal to humans and understands there are fundamental differences in language and abilities. They cannot, however, “speak cat,” or communicate with any other animal. They do eventually discover the ability to purr in order to express pleasure.

7. They can see auras, for example, Kurt’s shows red when he loses his temper, and Tom’s is purple when he’s embarrassed. In this way, they can read humans far more than anyone realises.

8. As part of their defensive mechanism, the Var have an ability to cocoon themselves in an impenetrable shell. This cocoon withstands the heat of entering Earth’s atmosphere, and the impact of hitting the earth’s surface.

9. They also secrete a substance called Vardanium, which has various uses, including healing. It has euphoric side-effects yet is non-addictive. This substance is the basis for new Var life if taken in large enough quantities by a human receiver, as the scientists discover.

10. The Var method of reproducing involves mouth to mouth contact with another Var, to avoid depleting one’s own supplies of the life-giving fluid and is only done when the population drops to a dangerous level.

11. They are a passive race yet they can defend themselves if necessary, using their tentacles and extreme strength. Although violence is something they would rather not resort to, they have no hesitation in protecting those they have come to care about.

12. The Var do not have family units. They are all one, but Vardam is learning to prefer the human idea of family dynamics, even though they do not understand them. They see Tom as part-Var after they heal his injured hand and through him, they gradually learn about kindness and love.

13. There are an unnamed number of Var pods floating through the universe. The pods have no steering mechanism, and the Var inside them remain dormant until conditions outside the pod are suitable for growth. They are all fitted with a homing device, which will direct them to Earth as and when Vardam sends out the signal. Most wither and die inside their pods, never waking up.

14. Vardam wants to live on Earth and send a message out to their kin to say sanctuary has been found. They have a great admiration for human talent and creativity but have much to learn about the darker side of our nature, especially when Kurt points out that not everyone will like the idea of untold numbers of Var invading the planet.

15. Before the planet Var was destroyed by an asteroid (Bright Star) it was a verdant environment with algae-rich seas, volcanic ash beaches and lush forest. The Var people were technologically advanced, but not enough to predict the coming of the asteroid that ultimately annihilated their home. Consequently, all their inventions were destroyed, apart from the prototype time travel device which Vardam took with them.

So that’s Vardam in a nutshell, or more accurately, a cocoon. I could have added they have no concept of safe sex, which has near-disastrous consequences for one of their new human friends. They are also stubborn, single-minded and have no doubt in their abilities. They will test Kurt Lomax’s patience to the limit before he reluctantly succumbs to their persuasive charms. Then his problems really begin …

Jayne Lockwood has a new queer sci fi book out:

It might take the arrival of an alien being to remind an isolated man what it means to be human.

With a stressful job, his boss breathing down his neck for profitable results, and an estranged wife and daughter, scientist Kurt Lomax doesn’t think life can get much harder. Until a nonbinary extraterrestrial with an otherworldly beauty, captivating elegance, and a wicked sense of humor inconveniently shows up at his apartment.

Vardam watched the destruction of their own world, and they don’t want to see the same thing happen on Earth. They are lonely, and feelings soon develop between them and the supposedly straight scientist—feelings Kurt reciprocates, much to his confusion.

The arrival of cheery interpreter Tom Soames—whose Goth appearance belies a gentle heart—is like a ray of sunshine in the somber lab. He acts as matchmaker for man and tentacled extraterrestrial, unwittingly instigating a national crisis when the news breaks out.

But will a misunderstanding ruin Kurt and Vardam’s chances for happiness together—along with the hope for peace between humanity and the Var?

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Three hours later, they were still none the wiser.

“Any joy with communications?”

Nic shook her head. “None. They don’t seem to respond to any spoken language. I’ve tried binary code, sonar, whale music, radio waves. Not a flicker. I’m not sure how well they can see or hear. They won’t let me near enough to do any examinations. They just keep staring at me like I’m the one who isn’t getting it. It’s really frustrating.”

When Kurt looked again, Vardam was there. With a graceful tilt of the head, they watched him as he approached the glass.

“What about the forensics on that note?”

“Just got them,” Troy said, looking up from his computer. “The note was written with an old-style Bic ballpoint pen by a human female….”

“Human? Are you sure?”

“I can’t argue with the evidence. There was a trace of fingerprint on the paper but nothing I can analyze. The paper looks like any A4 copy from a twentiethcentury printer or photocopier. The only thing is, I think it might have been written by someone in distress. The handwriting is very jerky, like they weren’t sure what to write and then just dashed it down. But….” Troy shrugged his wide shoulders. “That last bit’s a hunch. Could be totally wrong. Still waiting on the DNA.”

“Thanks, Troy. Let me know as soon as you get it.”

He turned back to where Vardam was standing, staring at him with those unnerving gemstone eyes.

“Who are you?”

Vardam raised their hand, running the back of it down the glass close to Kurt’s face. He jerked away. It was too close for comfort, even with three inches of glass between them. Vardam backed away as well, as if alarmed by his sudden movement. For reasons he didn’t understand, he was irritated beyond measure by their wounded expression.

“Talk to me, damn it! What do you want with me?” He smacked his hand against the glass. The sharp slap shocked Vardam into stepping back. They bared gold teeth at him and made a gesture that looked almost obscene. Then they dropped into a crouch. Immediately, a smooth iridescent shell closed over their hunched body, covering it completely.

Kurt and Nic exchanged glances, then looked back at the pod. It was completely smooth, devoid of any seams or openings. Every few seconds it quivered. Kurt could almost feel the waves of disapproval emanating from the gleamingsurface.

“Well, that’s new,” Nic said. “Get some rest. I’ll babysit until ten. Troy will take the graveyard shift.”

Kurt tore his angry gaze away from the strange pod. The way it hunched reproachfully in the corner didn’t improve his mood one bit. He knew he was more than tired. He felt emotionally and physically drained and couldn’t remember the last time he had eaten a proper meal. Not that he was hungry. He just wanted sleep.

In his apartment, he lay naked in his wide bed. He was thinking about his continued feud with James Dyer. The issue dangled over his career like a sword of Damocles but all he could see was the beautiful creature. Those eyes, staring into his ragged soul. What did they want?

The telephone by his bed rang, waking him from an unnerving dream. Glancing at the clock, he saw it was 6:15. The last eight hours had passed frighteningly quickly.

“Hello?” His voice sounded faded.

“Sorry to wake you, Professor, but I’ve got the DNA results back. You need to see them.”

“I’ll be right down.”

He stumbled out of bed and into the shower. Twenty minutes later he was down in the lab, a fresh white coat over his shirt and tie.

In the isolation room, Vardam had emerged from their shell. The melon had been eaten, apart from the rinds, neatly scalloped with teeth marks.

“What’s happening?”

“It was just as I thought it would be. There’s human DNA on that note. Female. I took the liberty of cross-checking it against the National DNA Database and found a match. Whoever wrote this note is related to you. Not just distantly, but directly of your bloodline.”

Kurt looked closer at the screen. It was policy to hold the medical details of everyone at the Bunker, including himself. Even so, he wondered why he wasn’t more surprised.

It was impossible but saying so would have been redundant. The evidence was right there in front of him. He walked over to the glass and beckoned to Vardam. They gave him a withering look and turned away, presenting a bony back to the window.

“I think we’re going to have to use the softly-softly approach,” Troy said. “They’re not going to tell us anything until they’re ready. And I’ve got another hunch. I think they’re using BSL.”

“British Sign Language?” Kurt was skeptical.

“I know it sounds weird, but there’s a guy who works at Tesco in Wycombe. He uses it with some of the customers. It looks the same. It’s worth a try, isn’t it?” Troy prodded buttons on his iPad. The official website came up with a finger-spelling option. “Not all words have signs, obviously, so each letter has a sign, right?”

“I know the principles of sign language,” Kurt said irritably. The alien was an inconvenience, however beautiful they were.

“You write in your name, and the finger shapes come up.” Troy typed rapidly. Kurt’s surname appeared on the screen in sign.

Troy gently tapped on the glass. “Hello?”

Vardam turned around, saw it was Troy, and ambled over. Troy showed them the diagrams on the iPad screen. The alien nodded, repeated the signs, and pointed at Kurt. Then it signed, “I am….”

“I can’t tell what they’re saying,” Troy said. “They’re too fast. Hang on.” He typed again. “I’ve found a YouTube video for learning phrases. Ah! This one is easy.” He put the iPad down and signed, making a sad face, swirling his fist on his stomach, then raising both hands over his head, shaking it at the same time.

“What are you doing?”

“Telling him I don’t understand. It’s ‘way over my head.’ Get it?”

Vardam seemed to. They signed “okay,” then turned to Kurt and made another gesture, flattening one hand and punching up into it with the other.

“My instincts are telling me that isn’t good,” Troy said. “Looks like we need to find ourselves a sign language expert.”

“We can’t bring anyone else in at the moment. Certainly not in a professional capacity. The government will be all over us before we know it.” As Kurt said it, the seed of an idea was forming in his mind. “Where did you say that BSL user worked again?”

Author Bio

Jayne Lockwood
Jayne Lockwood has always wanted to learn to fly. Spending free time honing her Peter Pan skills on an aerial hoop, she also creates flights of fancy in her books, mingling sex and romance with angst and a healthy dash of dark humor.

Since she was a small child, Jayne has always sympathized with the villain. It all began with Alice Cooper, even though she was banned from listening to his music by her mother. From wanting to sail away with Captain Hook or redeeming the Child Catcher, the antihero has been an enduring fascination ever since.

After a two-year sojourn in New Jersey and two decades of child-rearing, Jayne is an outwardly respectable member of an English village community. She also is one of the founder members of WROTE podcast, which is dedicated to showcasing LGBTQA authors and their work, and now writes book reviews as well as diverse fiction.

She is also in a sub/dom relationship with a cat called Keith.


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