Secrets and High Spirits (Secrets book 4) By Lou Harper

secrets high spiritsBlurb

Their love is an explosive cocktail—stirred, shaken, and served with a twist.

Secrets, Book 4

Teag and Bruce dream of opening their own bars, but that’s where the similarities end.

Teag, a popular bartender at West Hollywood’s hottest club, is willful, opinionated, and likes to take charge. He envisions his future bar as a boozy oasis for craft cocktails. Unfortunately, while he’s big on ideas, he’s short on funds.

Bruce, on the other hand, is a tower of pirate-tattooed muscle with a laid-back attitude. While he’s good with people, he’s a walking paradox—a wannabe boss with a weakness for bossy men.

Their partnership is a natural fit, but every time they meet, sparks fly as they rub each other the wrong way. Or is it the right way? In the heat of the moment, it’s hard to tell.

Between renovation pitfalls, meddling friends, and miles of police tape, Teag and Bruce struggle to keep their venture—and their budding relationship—from going up in flames. And not the good kind. More like the one on the top of a B52 shot.

Warning: Contains a whipcord-lean and whip-smart bartender who knows what he wants—and how hard he wants it—and a go-with-the-flow bar manager who secretly likes to be told how hard to give it.

 

Review

Teag used to be roomies with Dylan (from book 3), now he’s on his own. He’s a bartender who you could call a “purist”, he knows the “real” way to make every drink and is really into the mixing of being a bartender.

Bruce is a beefy bartender who likes to go to renaissance festivals and dress up like a pirate and though he’s big he likes to be told what to do.

At first there is a misunderstanding between the two and they fight, then they show up later at the same empty building thinking the same thoughts about opening their own bar.

The first half is both guys deciding what they want from life, the next half is them dealing with the bar and renovations and the mystery.

What I liked:

Harper is a great writer. She makes really great characters. Uses an economy of words to make her point. Creates interesting and fun mysteries. Describes LA perfectly.

I loved that Teag was the top to Bruce’s bottom. I loved that Bruce only had sleeves because he didn’t want to wax. I loved that Teag was fussy about every little thing. I loved the “ghost”.

What I didn’t love: the romance was a small blip in this book. Easily 90% of the book was simply about the bar and the mystery and the romance felt like it almost fell out of the running. I couldn’t really buy their success as a couple because I never saw the romance between them develop. I hope it will work, they complement one another well, but I needed more page time with them “working it out”.

So… if you love a romantic mystery with a teeny tiny paranormal aspect to it – this is for you! If you want a romance with a mystery attached, you might want to keep looking.

(I do love these covers! We do see a lot of Dylan and Simon in this one – fun!)

3 of 5 stars

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Copy provided by NetGalley for an honest review

Samhain Publishing Presents

https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5613/secrets-and-high-spirits

 

 

 

Tasting Notes by Cate Ashwood (Review)

tastingBlurb

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

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.

**

I always find Cate Ashwood’s stories easy to fall into as her writing is so smooth and engaging. Most of this story really worked for me but there were a couple of parts that didn’t work as well.

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

I loved the whole city meets country, “Green Acres” (if you’re old enough to know the reference with Zsa Zsa Gabor) thing was great!

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? I wish I’d had more background information surrounding this.

West’s work in Chicago was unclear for me as well. If the business ran so successfully and he has literally millions just waiting around to spend on anything 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. I know this gets worked out in the end, but I would have liked to know more about the process.

So, as a story there were some small things 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.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy provided by publisher for review

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7003

Tasting Notes by Cate Ashwood Tour!

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Release Date: October 26, 2015

Blurb:

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.

 

Pages or Words: 64,000 words

 

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance

 

TastingNotesFSExcerpt:

The drive over felt the same as it always did. Rush thought his truck probably could have found its way anywhere in town, but the trip to Lennox Hill was one he’d made at least a few thousand times. It was weird to think the property no longer belonged to his family. Enough of his sweat had soaked into the soil that a part of him lived in that land.

He parked his truck in the same place as always and opened the door, calling to Casper to jump out before closing the door behind him. The door to the main structure was closed and locked. Rush peered through the windows of the wine room as he walked past, but the lights were off and the space was abandoned. Rush and Casper followed the pathway toward the house. Casper sat down as Rush knocked, waiting patiently for an answer. When none came, he knocked again with a little more force. West’s car was parked in the driveway, so unless he had decided to walk somewhere, he should be here.

A moment later, the door swung open and West stood there, naked from the waist up, his hair disheveled and his cheeks pink.

“What the fuck?” he asked.

Rush saw red, which was a blessing because it kept him from seeing the way West’s body looked beneath his clothes. The guy was sleeping, and it was nearly noon. He’d owned the vineyard for less than a week, and he was already slacking off.

“Can I come in? I want to talk to you.”

West stepped to the side to let Rush enter. He looked around. Everything was the same as he remembered it. The house was warm and comfortable, begging you to come in and stay a while. Rush had always loved this house. He peered into the living room, noting the two empty wine bottles on the coffee table.

“Is that a fucking wolf?” West demanded, breaking Rush out of his train of thought.

“What? No. That’s Casper. My dog.”

With a subtle nod from Rush, Casper sat next to his master, his eyes glued to West, but quiet.

West narrowed his eyes. “Why are you here?”

“I came to offer my help. You said you needed help, and my mom told me you didn’t know a fucking thing about running this place, so I figured I’d bail you out.”

“Why?” West looked awfully mistrustful. Rush couldn’t blame him. He didn’t trust West either.

“Because they’re my family, and you’re the dickhead who bought the place they poured their hearts and souls into. I’m not going to let you run it into the ground because you have some romantic fucking idea about being all sophisticated and worldly, owning your own vineyard. Not going to happen.”

“Look, what is your fucking problem with me?” West asked, crowding Rush’s space. “You’ve been nothing but a complete bastard to me since the moment you laid eyes on me. I haven’t done shit to you, and you’re giving me a rough time for no goddamn reason.”

Casper growled, but Rush calmed him with a gentle pat to the head. “Sue me if I don’t like spoiled little rich kids. You blow into town in your tricked-out sports car and think you can do whatever you want here because you have a shit ton of money. You take what you want without any regard for the people around you.”

“You don’t know a thing about me, but you think you’ve got my number. Well, you can go fuck yourself. You saw my car, and you made a snap decision about me. You didn’t bother talking to me or getting to know me at all before you rushed to judgment. Maybe you should give me the benefit of the doubt before you tell me who I am.”

“I don’t need to. I know exactly who you are. I’ve met guys like you. You’re arrogant, spoiled, and selfish. You put on a good front, pretending to be this philanthropic nice guy, but when it comes down to it, you’ll choose your money over everything else.”

“Oh, for fuck sakes. You storm in here, waking me up and screaming at me. In case you missed the memo, this is my home now. You’re on my property. What gives you the right to show up and give me shit about something you know nothing about?”

“Your name may be on the deed, but that’s as far as it goes, asshole. Lennox Hill is in my blood, and the last thing I want is for you to completely destroy it out of sheer ignorance.”

“Well, then there’s something we agree on. It’s why I came to your house in the first place, in case you need reminding about that. I don’t want this place to fail any more than you do, so how about you get your head out of your ass, stop being such a fucking prick, and help me?”

Rush stared at him, not saying a word. He hadn’t anticipated the conversation taking this turn. Hell, he hadn’t anticipated this conversation period. There was something there, behind West’s eyes, a kind of rawness Rush hadn’t expected. He stepped forward, his eyes locked on West’s. He felt drawn to him like a compass to north, locking onto that flicker of something unnamable.

He was not in control of his body. He pulled a quick intake of breath as the space between them evaporated. He was close enough that he could feel the crackle of electricity between them, as tangible as if West was statically charged.

“Fine, I’ll help,” Rush said, knowing West could feel his breath as he spoke.

“But this doesn’t mean I like you,” Rush growled.

“Understood,” West replied. “I don’t like you either.”

“As long as we’re clear.”

 

Buy the book: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7003

 

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Meet the author:

Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot-pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.

Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband, her little boy, and their two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.

 

 

Where to find the author:

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cate.ashwood

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cate-Ashwood-Author/288329491267435?fref=ts

Twitter: @cateashwood

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cateashwood/

Other: https://instagram.com/cateashwood/

 

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26785563-tasting-notes

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska


Tour Dates & Stops: October 26, 2015

Parker Williams, Divine Magazine, Happily Ever Chapter, Just Love Romance, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Cheekypee Reads and Reviews, Louise Lyons, Jessie G. Books, BFD Book Blog, Iyana Jenna, 3 Chicks After Dark, The Jena Wade, V’s Reads, Havan Fellows, Bike Book Reviews, Molly Lolly, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Andrew Q. Gordon, Sassygirl Books, Bayou Book Junkie, Unquietly Me, Inked Rainbow Reads, The Hat Party, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, QUEERcentric Books, Open Skye Book Reviews, S.A. McAuley

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Festivus Miracle Audiobook by Kim Fielding Narrated by Joel Leslie

festivus miracleBlurb

It’s finals week during Tony McNeil’s second year in law school, and he’s struggling to keep up. Frankly, he’d rather be cooking. Then he meets first-year student Eddie Cohen-Fernandez, who’s heartsick over missing his family’s annual Festivus celebration. Tony can use his culinary skills to lift Eddie’s spirits, but finding long-term happiness? That just might require a Festivus miracle.

 

Review

In this very short and sweet Christmas novella, we meet two law students, Tony and Eddie. Tony is only going to law school to please his parents, he’s miserable and lonely in the small Nebraska town. Eddie, is excited to be in law school but misses his folks in California, especially during the holidays, but can’t afford to fly or drive out there to be with them.

Eddie and Tony meet on campus and decide to study together for finals. This leads to post-finals celebration (naked celebration) and then on to… more.

Eddie helps Tony to realize that it’s okay to “disappoint” your parents when it means keeping your soul happy. Tony helps Eddie to achieve his Festivus Miracle.

With a few short pages, Kim gives us a fully developed story about finding out who you are and living your life to its full potential.

There are some sweet smexy scenes, but most of this is about self discovery and finding that place in your soul that makes you sing.

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Audio

Joel Leslie does an excellent job with this lovely novella. He does a little with the voices, enough to know who is who and is great with the emotion and the pacing of the story.

I really loved both the story and the audiobook and highly recommend both!

6 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Kim Fielding Presents

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Festivus-Miracle-Audiobook/B016X2M4MU/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1445790168&sr=1-1

A Shadow of Wings by Linda Gayle

shadow of wingsBlurb

Thrown out on the street by his homophobic stepfather, Dylan struggles to get his life together. Years of being used and abused have left him tough and determined to make it on his own. When he sees a dog getting beaten, his protective instincts drive him to rescue her. But as the attackers turn on Dylan, out of the shadows comes a hero. One with mysterious eyes and a shy sensuality Dylan can’t resist.

Cam Coburn can’t reveal his true identity to the man he rescues. Nor can he reveal that he’s a freak among freaks, a cockatrice shifter with an unwanted gift for seeking out conflict rather than treasure. Newly independent from his mentor, Cam sees in Dylan his first chance to test the limits of his human guise. Defying every rule, Cam succumbs to Dylan’s seduction for just one night. But Cam finds he can’t let his lover go, and Dylan breaks down every barrier. For he is the one human who can gaze in a cockatrice’s eyes without fear.

Yet even as their bond deepens, danger closes in on them from all sides, and Cam’s dark secrets may save them—or lead to their destruction.

Review

Dylan gets thrown out, lives with some buddies who end up getting him hooked on drugs and living in a slum, and when things begin to get abusive, Dylan finds the strength to pull himself up by the bootstraps and make a new life for himself.

He finds part-time work with a veterinarian and is in the process of rescuing a stray dog one night when the owners of the dog (gang members) attempt to beat the crap out of him. He is rescued by a mysterious stranger, Cam, who then takes him and the dog home to clean up.

It turns out Cam is far from human, he’s actually a Cockatrice (WTF?) – which is this bizarre dragon/bat/chicken thing from mythology. A shape-shifter, sent to America to study with and learn about humanity.

Cam is wildly attracted to Dylan and vice versa, even though interactions at that level are strictly forbidden.

The two begin an illicit tryst and are forming a fragile bond when trouble strikes in the form of back-stabbing Weasels and Brothers – you’ll see what I mean – and the two must make life and death decisions that will affect not only themselves but also the future of humanity.

In the end, after a truly monumental story twist, a super amazing and sweet happily ever after ensues.

I LOVED this book. It was sweet – Dylan is so broken yet warm hearted and his love for Cam so pure. It was sexy – Cam is a virgin (of course) to human love and the scenes between him and Dylan are very hot. It was gritty – none of the characters were perfect, they all had elements of good and bad and it gave the story a very “real” feel, despite its fantastical nature. It was uplifting – the ending is so happy and so sweet, it leaves a big smile on your face.

I really loved this book and the other Linda Gayle book I had read and I am ever so hopeful that she will be writing more m/m in the future.

I highly recommend this book and give it 5 of 5 stars.

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Copy purchased for reveiw

http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Wings-Linda-Ingmanson-ebook/dp/B00BH6U6ZU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408775304&sr=1-1&keywords=a+shadow+of+wings

 

Romancing the Bouncer by JD Walker

bouncerBlurb

Bennett “Ben” Pachowski has been a bouncer at Throwbacks for years. He likes his job, though he gets tired of being thought of as more brawn than brain simply because of his size. He also prefers to be romanced before sleeping with a man.

Ben’s favorite band, Rebel’s Ultimatum, occasionally plays at the club, which gives him an eyeful of the sexy bass player, Monty Mabuse. They’ve been eyeing each other for months, though Ben is content to flirt and nothing more, since “commitment” seems a foreign concept to the selfish, arrogant and flirtatious bass player.

But Monty wants Ben to become the next notch on his bedpost, and a devious trick to get what he wants blows up in his face.

Will Ben be able to forgive Monty for his deception? Perhaps, but if Monty wants to have a relationship with Ben, he needs to make some changes, and it remains to be seen whether he can become the kind of man Ben will respect, let alone love.

Sometimes, a little romance goes a long way…

Review

Ben is a bouncer at a club. He thinks the bassist for the up and coming band that plays at the club is hot, but a player, so he stays far away, despite the mutual flirting.

One night the bassist, Monty, who won’t take no for an answer, sets up a “rescue” wherein Ben saves Monty from the unwanted advances of a “fan”. After the rescue he then essentially forces Ben to take him home where Monty feeds Ben liquor and then seduces him, despite Ben’s having told Monty repeatedly “NO!”

Ben is pissed when he realizes what’s happened the next day and refuses to see Monty. Monty, who by now is going on tour, is crushed and chastened.

Meanwhile, Ben gives up his career as a bouncer to work in a facility for the care of elderly people.

Monty continues to try to get Ben to forgive him and one day Ben does.

**

I could not get behind this book at all. What Monty did amounted to rape in my mind and Ben should NEVER have forgiven him. They never spent any time together as a couple so I have no idea if they’d make it or not (unlikely since Ben is happy in his new job and Monty needs to travel all the time with his newly emerging rock star status) and for me to believe that suddenly they want to be together and have some kids? Nope. I’m not buying it.

This book just didn’t seem at all plausible or even something that I wanted to support if I was willing to totally suspend my disbelief (which I love to do, I am a paranormal fan after all!).

I can’t recommend this book, and though the writing was fine, the story didn’t pass the grade for me. I always assume a writer can’t write every story for every person, so I will absolutely give this author another chance.

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1 of 5 stars

Copy generously provided by publisher for honest review

Amberquill presents

http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/2256-Romancing-The-Bouncer.aspx

Acting Out Audiobook by Scotty Cade Narrated by Randy Fuller

ActingOutAUDLGBlurb

After one very long tour of duty in Afghanistan and an honorable discharge from the USMC, Elijah Preston comes home to nothing. He barely scrapes up enough money for a cheap motel in Quantico, Virginia, with no money-making opportunities in sight. A chance encounter in a local Walmart finally gives Eli hope for employment. Elijah is ready to sign on with Royce Mackey’s proposition… until he hears what’s required. Royce operates a gay military porn site and wants Eli as his next star, never mind that Eli isn’t gay. Desperate and broke, Eli grudgingly accepts Royce’s offer and soon finds himself immersed in a strange new world.

Hamish Turner’s been there before. Taking Eli under his wing, he teaches him everything he can about Royce’s operation. The two quickly become friends, easing the way for their first scene together. Awkward at first, they both ease into it and find there is more of a connection between them than either expected. Curious to see where their mutual attraction takes them, they begin a relationship off-screen. But life gets complicated when a crazed fan of Hamish’s starts sending threatening letters demanding the scenes between the two men stop. Or else….

Review

Eli was in the military for 8 years, signing up in the first place to get away from an abusive, useless family situation. He saves up all his money while in the service only to find out his a**hole family has spent all his money and wrecked his car. Now he has literally one paycheck, no job prospects, a little training in a career no one is hiring for and a lot of hopelessness.

He runs into Royce at the Walmart and Royce sees someone who could fit right in with the bunch of guys he works with at hotmilitaryguys.com. Royce offers Eli money to “perform” on camera with other straight guys like him. Though he’s skeptical, nervous, embarrassed and doubtful, Eli agrees to check things out, mostly because he’s run out of options.

What he finds is that Royce is totally up front and honest, and he really does work with a bunch of straight, ex-military guys who just need the money. He also meets Hamish, a guy who’s been there for the last 2 years for his own reasons, and is willing to show Eli the ropes.

Essentially, Eli takes to “performing” like a fish to water and he and Hamish form a “bromance” that eases the way for Eli to go from solo scenes to group scenes in the span of 2 weeks.

Though neither Eli nor Hamish will admit to being gay, it becomes clear that the two mean more to one another than just friends and both admit the chemistry between them is undeniably hot.

It’s this chemistry that gets them in trouble.

Someone is watching their growing closeness and is not happy about it. After a video of the pair is aired showing just how steamy they are together, threatening letters and emails arrive, demanding their separation “or else”.

On the relationship front, Eli can’t wrap his mind around being involved with a guy romantically and this drives a wedge between him and Hamish.

The danger of the stalker forces them together and forces them to confront their feelings for one another. Of course we have a very HFN (probably HEA).

**

Most of this is really hot gay sex as discovered by a truly straight guy and it’s written very well.

The relationship between Eli and Hamish is sweet and fairly realistic and enjoyable to watch unfold.

The bit about the stalker felt a little contrived, something to force the relationship in a speedy fashion. In a way I wish the author had stuck with the main hurdle, overcoming labels and dealing with the idea that two “people” can love whomever they want, despite societal expectations. The groundwork was there and it wouldn’t have taken much more effort to forge through Eli’s barriers. Sure, the stalker did it faster, made him re-think his priorities sooner, but the pay out would have been bigger had he come to the realization on his own. (In my opinion.)

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, it’s fast paced and super hot. I recommend it to anyone who likes the GFY trope or enjoys the gay porn trope. It’s very satisfying!

Audio

Randy Fuller does an okay job with this.  He doesn’t do a lot with the voices but he doesn’t detract from the experience.

4 of 5 stars

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Copy purchased for review

http://www.audible.com/pd/Erotica-Sexuality/Acting-Out-Audiobook/B00XBPSY5E/ref=a_search_c4_1_2_srTtl?qid=1443758265&sr=1-2

Promises (The Bounty Hunters Book 1) by AE Via

promisesBlurb

Duke Morgan owns and operates one of the largest bail bond companies in Atlanta. Not only does he bond criminals out of jail, he and his notorious group of bounty hunters will also track them down and ensure they show up for court.

Roman ‘Quick’ Webb is Duke’s business partner and best friend. Both men are in their forties and have given up on the happily ever after with the ranch-style home, and white picket fence. They’d both tried it and failed miserably. But they have their friendship and they have the business.

When Quick’s son, Vaughan Webb returns – after seven years – from studying abroad with his law degree in hand, he’s back to claim what he’s always wanted…his fathers’ best friend… Duke Morgan. Vaughan has always claimed to be a classic gentleman with an old soul. He didn’t party and screw up in school like his buddies. He was focused and dedicated to becoming the man worthy of Duke’s love.

It’s a complex and messy situation as Duke and Quick figure out how to still be best friends when one of them is sleeping with his friend’s one and only son. But when Duke is hurt on the job, all the unimportant trivialities fall to the wayside and Vaughan and Quick put their heads together to save Duke.

Part I of the Promises story is about Duke and Vaughan. Part II will be about Quick and his realization that it’s not too late for any of them to find love.

Review

We met Duke in Judge’s book (Don’t Judge, Nothing Special Book 4). Duke is the bounty hunter who had a no-strings arrangement with Judge until Judge met his forever guy in Austin. Duke, who plays it like it’s no big deal, is actually pretty crushed by this relationship ending.

Vaughan is Duke’s work partner and best friend’s son. He’s almost 20 years younger than Duke and has had a crush on Duke since he can remember. Now that Judge is out of the picture, Vaughan is graduated from law school, he figures it’s his time to move in and make Duke his own.

At first Duke fights the attraction but when he’s reminded that life is short he’s willing to give it a try. They’ve almost begun dating when something so terrible happens it looks like the two will never be together… until Vaughan saves the day.

**

I just love AE Via characters. They continually surprise me. She’s totally willing to put an Alpha and Alpha together, make the older guy the less dominant, a criminal and a cop… you name it. She makes it work.

There is surprisingly little sex in this book but lots of sexual tension and when they do finally come together… HOT!

What I really appreciated about this was how honest everyone was from the start. With one exception, there was no BIG MISUNDERSTANDING or hemming and hawing about. Life got in the way and that was a real hurdle. I also liked that the boys took their time and wanted to do things right. No falling into bed right off the bat. They took the time to build the romance. It was really sweet.

I look forward to more from this series and am drooling over the sweet doc and cranky Quick getting their turn!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Via Star Wings Books Presents
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016PHGLT0?keywords=promises&qid=1445573471&ref_=sr_1_3&s=digital-text&sr=1-3

Blood & Thunder (THIRDS Book 2) Audiobook by Charlie Cochet Narrated by Mark Westfield

Blood&ThunderAUDLgBlurb

Sequel to Hell & High Water
THIRDS: Book Two

When a series of bombs go off in a Therian youth center, injuring members of THIRDS Team Destructive Delta and causing a rift between agents Dexter J. Daley and Sloane Brodie, peace seems unattainable. Especially when a new and frightening group, the Order of Adrasteia, appears to always be a step ahead. With panic and intolerance spreading and streets becoming littered with the Order’s propaganda, hostility between Humans and Therians grows daily. Dex and Sloane, along with the rest of the team, are determined to take down the Order and restore peace, not to mention settle a personal score. But the deeper the team investigates the bombings, the more they believe there’s a more sinister motive than a desire to shed blood and spread chaos.

Discovering the frightful truth behind the Order’s intent forces Sloane to confront secrets from a past he thought he’d left behind for good, a past that could not only destroy him and his career, but also the reputation of the organization that made him all he is today. Now more than ever, Dex and Sloane need each other, and, along with trust, the strength of their bond will mean the difference between justice and all-out war.

Review

In this sequel we find Sloane and Dex still trying to get that evil Issac and his anti-Therian thugs. This plays in the background while we watch the developing romances of (practically) the entire team Delta Destroyers. And it is AWESOME!

Sometimes the second book in a series can have a tough road to travel because they are stuck in the middle – the relationship has started, but it is not in its dramatic finish-stage. There are only a limited number of mile-stones that can be covered. This sequel has absolutely no problems keeping things moving and keeping us on the edge of our seats.

First, Sloane has some deep, dark secrets that are keeping him from letting Dex “in”. When one of the psychiatrists from the early days of THIRDS is captured, Sloane’s secrecy is threatened. Sloane has to decide if he wants out of the relationship now, or dig in deeper.

Second, Dex is facing his own inadequacy issues: he isn’t Therian, he isn’t ex-military, he isn’t Gabe… But he doesn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on this. That just wouldn’t be him. Instead, Dex continues to be hysterical and we get another drunken night out, this time with the ex! Lou is great and ends up giving Sloane pointers on how to handle Dex.

The other team members (Calvin and Hobbs, Cael and Ash) have their own stories move forward too. I am hoping to see their stories in the “Couples TBA” at the end of the series.

I absolutely love Charlie’s version of shifters. My favorite part of this book was Therian training where Dex is being shown how Sloane (in Jaguar form) is bonding with Dex. It is HYSTERICAL but oh so damn sweet too. I hope we get to see more of the Therians in their animal form in future books.

There is a partial ending in this book that leaves you very satisfied but the door is still wide open to trouble, setting the stage for book 3. I love the advancement of all the relationships in this book and look forward to seeing who does what next.

Even better than book one! I highly recommend this book and the entire series!

Audio

Mark Westfield did another amazing job with this narration. Sloane is delightfully growly, Tony is deep and rumbly, Isaac is twangy and greasy… all the guys are well represented. I really enjoyed the dream sequences and the “coms” where Mark alters his voice to sound like it’s being broadcast over the airways.
I really think he adds to the story and makes it even more of a great entertainment than just reading it alone.

I think you I can easily say this is a book narration that makes the listening as adventurous (or even more) than the reading.

I highly recommend this narration and give it a 6 of 5 stars.

(For Books Three and Four look for my review here:  http://kimichanexperience.com/rack-and-ruin-audiobook-by-charlie-cochet-narrated-by-mark-westfield/  and http://kimichanexperience.com/rise-and-fall-audiobook-thirds-4-by-charlie-cochet-narrated-by-mark-westfield/)

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Dreamspinner Provided for honest review

http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Blood-Thunder-Audiobook/B00OV9PEWA/ref=a_search_c4_1_5_srTtl?qid=1443757767&sr=1-5