Our Favorite Reads for the Weeks of May 28th – June 10th ~ Boy Meets Boy Reviews

Boy Meets Boy Reviews

From the frying pan into the fire.

After a critic’s review attacks both Chef Liam Walker’s culinary skills and his personal life, Liam can no longer take the heat of the cutthroat New York City restaurant scene. He needs to get out of the kitchen—at least long enough to cool down and regroup.

At the Overlook Resort in North Carolina, Liam meets owner Carter Galloway. Carter has a passion for the hospitality business to rival Liam’s own, and it’s not hard to see where their shared interests—and attraction—could lead. But Carter has no interest in a fling, and Liam has no intention of walking away from the career he fought so hard for. If they want a taste of happiness together, they’ll have to find the courage to break the bonds threatening to pull them apart.

 

 

THIS! This book right here is what the Dreamspun line is all about. This has it all and I am beginning to think that Ari McKay and I have a fantastic chemistry because I cannot get enough of their writing and the romance they bring to me.  YES, to me because this book was made just for me!

Goodness. I love a slow burn romance and when you have a line like Dreamspun that produces instalove  like Starbucks does coffee via drive-thru windows, it’s so refreshing to get the slow burn that can drive you crazy. Seriously, it was done so well that I just wanted to lock these boys in a closet or a broken walk-in freezer and not let them out until someone got off.

And yet… I wouldn’t have this story any other way than how I got it. It was, well? Perfect.

 

See Full Review

 

 

Confronting the past is never easy.

Cole Whitaker is happy. He has the job and boyfriend he always wanted. His heart’s in no danger of being broken, and he can’t ask for more from life. As a kindergarten teacher, he sees it all; however, one troublesome student has him reaching out to the parent, wanting to help. There’s something about Savanah that tugs at his heartstrings.

He never expected her father.

Zander Brooks hasn’t had an easy life, and he’s made some mistakes. Freshly retired from the military and working as a firefighter, Zander thought he’d left Cole in the rearview mirror. He’s not expecting him to appear in St. Petersburg, Florida, of all places, teaching his daughter’s kindergarten class. Suddenly, his biggest mistake is being shoved in his face.

This is Zander’s chance to close a door he’d never fully shut, but time with his former flame might change his mind.

 

 

Oh but I am a sucker for a second chance romance and when you add in Zander and Cole being teenagers meeting on a Military base, being each others first and everything for months, back when feelings were involved and hearts were broken and we are now 17 years later? GAH! My heart just aches for the story, for the backstory of what happened now and how will these two navigate the present as the waters of their past threaten to drown them in a tide of emotions.

Oh boy. The angst and UST in this were so damn good!

I have to throw this out there… I LOVE how Cole is with his animals and I am totally jealous of all that land he has. Le freaking animal sanctuary sigh, Cole. Le Sigh.

 

See Full Review

 

 

A desperate father. A lonely ranger. Unexpected love that can’t be denied.

Jason Kellerman’s life revolves around his eight-year-old daughter. Teenage curiosity with his best friend led to Maggie’s birth, her mother tragically dying soon after. Insistent on raising his daughter himself, he was disowned by his wealthy family and has worked tirelessly to support Maggie—even bringing her west on a dream vacation. Only twenty-five, Jason hasn’t had time to even think about romance. So the last thing he expects is to question his sexuality after meeting an undeniably attractive park ranger.

Ben Hettler’s stuck. He loves working in the wild under Montana’s big sky, but at forty-one, his love life is non-existent, his ex-boyfriend just married and adopted, and Ben’s own dream of fatherhood feels impossibly out of reach. He’s attracted to Jason, but what’s the point? Besides the age difference and skittish Jason’s lack of experience, they live thousands of miles apart. Ben wants more than a meaningless fling.

Then a hunted criminal takes Maggie hostage, throwing Jason and Ben together in a desperate and dangerous search through endless miles of mountain forest. If they rescue Maggie against all odds, can they build a new family together and find a place to call home?

Road to the Sun is a May-December gay romance from Keira Andrews featuring adventure, angst, coming out, sexual discovery, and of course a happy ending.

 

 

5 Hearts? NO! ALL THE HEARTS! Including my less than perfect one because this book gets them all!!!

Okay. I am going to warn you right now, this will be one hell of a rambling review because this book has left me strung out. I finished it, less than 20 minutes ago and I already have over 2,000 words and notes that have been transcribed from my recordings of thoughts. I had to record them last night on my way to yoga and this morning as I drove my boys to school. There was no time to actually write anything down but I had to get it out so I wouldn’t forget how I was feeling. Pish Posh! As if I could forget a single word or emotion this book gave me.

So, this book starts off with a bang of a prologue that I wasn’t expecting and one that had me wondering where it would all fit in. Once we get into the first chapter, I kinda forgot about what happened because you know, we get Jason Kellerman with his adorable daughter Maggie meeting the hunky Park Ranger Ben Hettler.

I have to take a quick moment to say how much I loved the setting of Glacier National Park in Montana. The park and specifically Lake McDonald (which you drive through the area to get to “Going-to-the-Sun Road” aka “Road to the Sun”) are on my bucket list and my phone’s background is of the gorgeously multicolored stones that show through the crystal clear water of the lake. It’s breathtaking in pictures and I can only imagine the lake, the stones and the park under the big sky is nothing less than stunning in person.

 

See Full Review

 

 

It’s been one hundred and forty-five days since the world ended. Paragon has swept through the city of Pleasance like a reaper’s scythe. Now the dead walk the earth, seeking the flesh of the living. Still Jarod Samuels refuses to die.

As a hunter, Jarod safeguards the Hive, the ruined mall he calls home. He exterminates zombies to protect the city’s last few survivors, and to keep Gabriel Anderson unharmed, their lives intertwined now more than ever.

But in a city ravaged by Vertex’s corruption, there’s no telling what dangers each day will bring, whether the threats within the Hive’s walls might be deadlier than those without – or whether monsters from the past still lurk and linger in the city’s shadows.

This romantic horror story is approximately 69,000 words in length.

 

 

Dear Soren Summers,
You did it again. I am not sure if I should side-eye you for making me read zombies or thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone. I don’t do zombies and yet I was surrounded by them because I couldn’t get enough of Jarod and Gabriel. And there was the other stuff, just the daily stuff that happens within these 20 days and all that has been declared as a civilization that is now the Hive. There was so much I had to know and though you tossed Tyler in there, I will forgive you because you also tossed in Danny.

Yeah, you are some sort of wizard or just a brilliant and talented author because you made me, the zombie loather, read a book full of zombies.
Also, that end? Did you hear me yell when I read it? Well done.
Still a fan but now with possible side-eye while I wait for the next book,
Red.
This ain’t your normal zombie story…
After a day testing Daniel’s limits and then a day being spoiled, Daniel has some time to reflect on his and Ryan’s relationship. He thinks they’re ready for their next step; planning a weekend away.

I give up and I give in. These two, Daniel and Ryan are addicting and regardless of how short each book in this kinky serial romance is, I am hooked.

This one was ridiculously hot. Like crossing your legs and squirming at your desk while you read it in your office during a career workshop for students hot. So hot.

This installment is basically one day out of the now standard weekends spent with Ryan and Daniel trying out new scenes and this Saturday was incredible. So freaking fracking incredible and so hot.

Have I mentioned it was hot? *winks*

I like that we get glimpses of the relationship turning from seduction by donut, to D/s scene play and then to more as the men spend time together. It’s not just the time they spend, it’s the level of trust growing between them to give the other exactly what they want and being rewarded by it.

 

See Full Review

 

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Xenia’s Rant

                                        

How we view the world

Hello everybody,

I’m Xenia and I’m starting my first real blog here on QRI. I can’t promise regular entries, since living with two small children can make your life take funny turns, but I’m going to try to write on a monthly basis.

My first topic is one that kind of leaped into my face a few weeks ago, when summer finally decided to show up. Suddenly FB was swamped with statements that everybody should be allowed to wear what they want and need to feel comfortable during the hot season. To be honest, I was shocked that many people with bodies that don’t fit the society-approved norm felt the need to make a preemptive strike. I thought the times of body-shaming among decent folk were over. Boy, was I mistaken! When I read some of the acidic and down-right mean comments, I couldn’t believe it.

The longer I thought about it, though, the more obvious it became that probably nobody refrains from judging others, almost always in a negative way. It’s what we do as human beings. I discussed it with my husband and he said it was once a matter of life and death to decide on first glimpse whether another person was a threat, a potential sex partner, or a friend. This habit of putting others in groups we either relate to, admire, or look down on is like a reflex and comes to us as naturally as breathing. We look at other people and thoughts about their clothing style, their hair, their jewelry, their car, the way they talk, walk, or act, flit through our mind. We compare them to ourselves, and either feel intimidated, because we sense they are somehow better than we are, drawn to them because we recognize a kindred soul, or we loathe them, because, obviously, they do things the wrong way.

And because we constantly judge others, even if we don’t want to, even if we view ourselves as tolerant, liberal persons, we also judge ourselves. We always measure our own lives against those of the others and that makes for a very stressful existence.

I’m not saying judging others is a bad thing per se. It does well to steer clear of people we think are a threat to our lives, because there are dangers out there and our instincts are not completely superfluous. The problem is how we still allow them to rule over us in normal situations. It’s a difference if I think a tall man with a hoodie who follows me around after nightfall poses a threat to me (he could be perfectly harmless, of course, but chances are, he isn’t), or if I talk bad about somebody because I think the way they dress insults my sense of fashion.

Most of us know where to draw the line. We realize it’s one thing to bitch about a person’s body among friends and telling that person to the face. Most of us are also, sometimes dimly, aware that a man in biker clothes is not necessarily evil incarnated (the same goes for women with ‘slutty’ clothes, men with fabulous make-up, people with multi-colored hair or tattoos, or, or, or… you know what I mean).

The real problem are the people who have forgotten where the line is. People who don’t give a damn about being decent or polite. People who are so unhappy with their own lives, they have to constantly talk others down in order to justify themselves.

I know, nothing really new about those insights. But here’s the good news. Neuroscience has found out that the way we view the world, the way we view ourselves, shapes who we are more distinctly than scientists ever thought possible.

The next time you feel the need to think something mean about another person (we all do, usually multiple times a day, depending on our mood, it’s natural) try to rein your thoughts in and find something positive instead. So that woman does have a few pounds too many, but her hair is beautiful and she’s wearing a stunning tunic. So that man has crooked teeth and with his leather jacket, he looks like a member of the Hell’s Angels, but his bike is really cool and he just bought a stuffed toy. These are, of course, the usual examples, but I’m sure we all have encountered all kinds of different, yet similar, situations. I tried to get a grip on my inner bitch and though it doesn’t always work and there are times when I gladly let her out to wreak some havoc, I also noticed that trying to be positive about others has made me more positive about myself. I don’t reflexively assume the worst when somebody talks behind my back anymore, because I’m trying not to talk bad about others as well, which makes me less suspicious. And that is a great relief.

 

If you like my blog, or want to add your own opinion, I’m always happy to hear from you! You can also visit me on www.facebook.com/XeniaMelzer

RELEASE DAY BLITZ: Aqua Follies by Liv Rancourt

Aqua Follies banner - Liv Rancourt

Author: Liv Rancourt
Book: Aqua Follies
Page/Word Count: 200 pages, 60K words
Categories: Gay Romance, Historical Romance
Release Date:
Cover: Kanaxa

Buy Links:
Buy Aqua Follies by Liv Rancourt on Amazon Buy Aqua Follies by Liv Rancourt on Barnes & Noble Add Aqua Follies by Liv Rancourt on QueeRomance Add Aqua Follies by Liv Rancourt on Goodreads

Blurb:
The 1950s. Postwar exuberance. Conformity. Rock and roll.

Homophobia.

Russell tells himself he’ll marry Susie because it’s the right thing to do. His summer job coaching her water ballet team will give him plenty of opportunity to give her a ring. But on the team’s trip to the annual Aqua Follies, the joyful glide of a trumpet player’s solo hits Russell like a torpedo, blowing apart his carefully constructed plans.

From the orchestra pit, Skip watches Poseidon’s younger brother stalk along the pool deck. It never hurts to smile at a man, because good things might happen. Once the last note has been played, Skip gives it a shot.

The tenuous connection forged by a simple smile leads to events that dismantle both their lives. Has the damage been done, or can they pick up the pieces together?

Buy Aqua Follies by Liv Rancourt on AmazonExcerpt:
It was almost midnight when Skip and Ryker slid into the red Naugahyde booth at Beth’s Café.

“What’s the word from the bird?” Ryker clutched an unlit cigarette between his fingers.

I saw the man of my dreams. Skip covered his grin with his hand, picking a tamer response. “I want some red meat.”

“You and me both.” Ryker lit up, blowing smoke across the table. He was small and dark with a slicked-back duck butt and a greaser’s sneer. Whenever the subject came up, he claimed he got his coloring from his little Welsh grandmother. Skip usually asked if the milkman had been Italian.

Ryker usually told Skip to get bent.

Skip recognized most of the usual crowd, the musicians, the waiters, the kind of people who were out and about when late night turned into early morning. He extended his long legs under the table. After so many hours in the aqua theater’s small orchestra pit, his knees and calves thanked him for the stretch. Since Ryker was blowing smoke over his half of the table, he guessed he could take up some extra floor space.

The waitress came over, her blue-green uniform barely buttoned over her buxom chest and a fine black net covered her peroxide curls.

“What can I bring you gentlemen?” She directed her question at Skip. He aimed her at Ryker with a good-natured toss of his head, sending curls spilling into his face. All the pomade in the world couldn’t make his hair behave.

“How ’bout a burger with a side of titties…um, taters?” Ryker’s grin broadened the harder she blushed.

Skip kicked him under the table and gave the waitress an apologetic grin. “I’d like a steak and a large Coke.”

She passed them menus and stalked off. Ryker flirted with every woman he came across. He’d meet the right girl at some point, but till then, he put himself at risk for getting slapped unless Skip intervened.

An older, grumpier waitress came to take their order.

“It’s your own fault,” Skip said, glad there was still a waitress willing to help them. He needed to get to bed before his alarm went off in the morning. Four thirty was gonna come early. Getting to bed after midnight just made him hate his job at Boeing even more.

The grumpy waitress scratched their order on a pad and shuffled off, and Ryker tapped his cigarette against the edge of the plastic ashtray. “I wanna get my hands on that little dark-haired aqua baby we saw tonight.”

Skip disguised his laugh by flipping his hair out of his eyes. She was cute, but not his type. None of the water ballet girlies were his type. Their coach, now, the one who’d been stalking along the deck like Poseidon in chinos? Skip didn’t try to hide his grin. Tall and broad and clean-cut, he was the kind of man who caught Skip’s attention.

A fellow could get arrested if he happened to cross a vice cop, but Skip hadn’t been caught yet. He’d give a strange man a friendly smile, just to see what would happen. Tonight he would have had to be dumb and blind not to notice the flash of interest the man at the lake had done his best to hide. Nothing would come of it, but a guy could dream, couldn’t he?

About Liv Rancourt:
I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.

5 Questions with Liv Rancourt:

Thanks so much for having me as a guest! Since this is my second visit, I chose questions I didn’t answer last time.

  1. As an author myself, I know inspiration is everywhere and can strike at the most inopportune moments (like in the shower, when you don’t have anything to write with!). So, what was the inspiration behind Aqua Follies? It started out with a publisher’s call for submissions, looking for stories set in the ‘50s. The novella I submitted get a lovely rejection – really, the editor was very nice! – but I wasn’t ready to let the story go. I liked the characters and was fascinated by having the ‘50s as a backdrop for a gay romance, so I went back to work and rewrote it as a novel. The different social dynamics at work in that decade fascinated me, and I wanted to write about it.
  1. What is your writing process? (i.e. plotter or panster, explain) Never met an outline I didn’t love. (lol!) Seriously though, a few years ago I would have described myself as more of a plotter, but now I’m pretty much in between the two extremes. I’ve been working with a co-writer, Irene Preston, and in addition to being a fabulous writer, she’s pretty much a pantser. It’s been great for me to work with her, to learn another style of doing things.
  2. There’s a big leap a writer takes from putting words down on paper for the love of it and actually publishing those words for public scrutiny. What was that journey like for you? When I was a kid I wanted to be a writer, and I’ve always had a knack for putting words on paper. I wrote off and on, mostly journaling and (horrible) poetry, hitting the occasional creative writing class in college and after, though I never took it seriously. My career, then marriage, then family were my priorities.Then I hit my late forties and realized if I didn’t get busy, it was going to be too late to reach my lifetime goal of “being a writer”. About the same time, I injured my back, so I couldn’t sit for long enough to crochet or do fancy needlework, my main hobbies. I couldn’t stitch, but I could lay on my belly and write with pencil and paper. I started writing stories, one word led to another, and here I am.
  1. What do you think makes a good story? Wow. This is a great question. At the most basic level, I think the reader needs to care about the characters and what happens to them. Beyond that, the definition of a great story is up to the reader. Like, I can’t be bothered with most literary fiction, preferring genre stories, where the underlying assumption is that the main character is capable of surviving the challenges they face. But judging from what you find on the New York Times Book Review, not everyone agrees with me. 😊
  1. What can readers expect from you next? Irene and I are about ¾ of the way through with the first draft of Nocturne, the next book in our Hours of the Night series. If you’ve read Vespers, or our holiday novella Bonfire, be prepared. Thaddeus and Sarasija are being tested in all kinds of new ways. (Mwah-hah-hah…see the quickie below about evil masterminds…)

5 Fun Quickies

  1. Favorite curse word: Depends on how tired I am. The eff bombs get fast and furious when my filter gets sleepy.
  2. You’re auditioning for American Idol. What’s your song? My dream is to sing lead in a Dixie Chicks cover band, so it’d probably be “Long Time Gone” or “Sin Wagon”.
  3. Over or under (toilet paper, of course): Just do me a favor and replace the roll. (I have teenagers. It’s a thing.)
  4. Weapon of choice: Words
  5. Evil mastermind, easily convinced partner in crime, or innocent bystander: You could make an argument that all writers are evil masterminds, so…

Where to find Liv Rancourt:
Liv Rancourt Amazon Liv Rancourt Page Liv Rancourt on Facebook Liv Rancourt's Facebook Author Page Liv Rancourt on Goodreads Liv Rancourt on Instagram Liv Rancourt Newsletter Liv Rancourt on Pinterest Liv Rancourt on Twitter Liv Rancourt Website

RELEASE DAY REVIEW: The Great North by J. Scott Coatsworth

RELEASE DAY REVIEW: The Great North by J. Scott Coatsworth

Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Book: The Great North
Page/Word Count: 34K words
Categories: Gay Romance, Fantasy/Paranormal/Sci-Fi, Myths & Legends
Release Date: June 14, 2017
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Cover: Freddy MacKay

Buy Links:
Buy The Great North by J. Scott Coatsworth on Amazon Buy The Great North by J. Scott Coatsworth on Barnes & Noble Add The Great North by J. Scott Coatsworth on QueeRomance Add The Great North by J. Scott Coatsworth on Goodreads

Blurb:
Dwyn is a young man in the small, isolated town of Manicouga, son of the Minstor, who is betrothed to marry Kessa in a few weeks’ time.

Mael is shepherding the remains of his own village from the north, chased out by a terrible storm that destroyed Land’s End.

Both are trying to find their way in a post-apocalyptic world. When the two meet, their love and attraction may change the course of history.

—————

The Great North was inspired by St. Dwynwen’s Day, also known as Welsh Valentines Day: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwynwen

Excerpt:
“We celebrate Dwyn’s Day as a testament to true love and sacrifice. It’s a remembrance of the way things were and the way they’ve come to be. In the end, let it be a reminder that every one of us has the power to change the course of events through love.”
—Dillon Cooper, New Gods and Monsters, Twenty years After Dwyn

The gray clouds scudded by overhead, blowing in quickly from the east.

Dwyn shivered and pulled on his woolen cap. It was cold out, unusual for so early in the fall. The rains had been heavy this season, the wettest in a generation, and Circle Lake was close to overflowing its banks. If he stretched to look over the rows of corn plants, he could see the waters lapping at the shore far below, as if hungry to consume his village of Manicouga.

His father had consulted the elders, some of whom had seen more than fifty summers, and everyone agreed things were changing. Whether that augured good or ill was anyone’s guess.

He shrugged and moved along the row of plants, breaking off ears of corn and throwing them into the jute sack that hung from his shoulder.

Ahead of him, two of his age-mates, Declan and Baia, were working their way down the next two rows.

Dwyn frowned. He got distracted easily, and he’d let the two of them get a jump on him. That wouldn’t do.

He redoubled his pace. He moved with focus and purpose, and soon he was closing the gap with his friends.

“Someone’s being chased by a lion,” Baia said with a laugh.

“Or a tiger.” Declan grinned, his nice smile only missing one tooth, lost to a fight with one of the Beckham brothers the year before.

Dwyn grinned. “Or a bear?” Dwyn only knew lions and tigers from the fairy tale his mother used to tell them, “The Girl and the Aus.” He had no idea what an Aus was, either.

Bears he knew. The hunters occasionally brought one home, and old Alesser had a five-line scar across his wrinkled face that he claimed came from one of the beasts.

A shout went up from ahead of them. Dwyn craned his neck to see what the ruckus was, but he couldn’t make out anything. “What’s going on?”

Declan, who was half a head taller, looked toward the commotion. “Hard to tell. Something down by the road.”

Dwyn laid down his sack carefully and ran up the hill to one of the old elms that dotted the field. He climbed into the tree, scurrying up through the leaves and branches until he had a clear view of the Old Road. It ran from up north to somewhere down south, maybe near the ruins of old Quebec if the merchant tales held any truth. Hardly anyone from Manicouga ever followed it, but occasionally traders would follow it to town, bringing exotic wares and news from the other villages that were scattered up and down its length.

They swore it went all the way down to the Heat, the great desert that had consumed much of the world after the Reckoning.

“What’s going on down there?” Baia called from below.

Dwyn tried to make sense of it. “There are three wagons coming down the pass. They’re loaded up with all sorts of things. They don’t look like traders though.”

The first of the horse-drawn wagons had just reached the field above the main township. It stopped, and someone hopped off to talk with the villagers who had gathered from the fields.

“We need to get down there,” Dwyn said, scrambling down the tree trunk. “Something’s happening.” Nothing new ever happened in Manicouga, and he wasn’t going to miss it.

He grabbed his sack and sprinted toward the Old Road, not waiting to see if Declan and Baia followed.

Guest Post:
In the middle of 2016, I was challenged to create an MM romance based on an existing myth.

When I was growing up, I was crazy for mythology. I devoured books on the Greek Gods, in particular, and couldn’t get enough of the epic nature of mythic fiction.

So when I had to choose a myth to recreate, I searched first in the Greek Pantheon of the Gods. But over time, my tastes have changed, and there’s always the desire as a reader and a writer to explore over the crest of the next hill.

So I broadened my search, and came across a Welsh holiday I’d never heard of before. From Wikipedia:

Dydd Santes Dwynwen (Welsh for St Dwynwen’s Day) is considered to be the Welsh equivalent to Valentine’s Day and is celebrated on 25 January every year. It celebrates Dwynwen, the Welsh saint of lovers… In the 5th Century Dwynwen fell in love with Maelon Dafodrill. Maelon returned her feelings but they could not be together for her father forbade the marriage and her father had already promised her to someone else. Dwynwen, distraught by her love for Maelon, prays to fall out of love with him. After falling asleep, or possibly while still awake in a woods she had run to in her distress, Dwynwen was visited by an angel, who appeared carrying a sweet potion designed to erase all memory of Maelon and turn him into a block of ice. God then gave three wishes to Dwynwen. First she wished that Maelon be thawed, second that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers and third that she should never marry. All three were fulfilled, and as a mark of her thanks, Dwynwen devoted herself to God’s service for the rest of her life.

Forbidden love, gods and angels, and a frozen love – this story had all kinds of things I could work with. I’d already decided I wanted to write a bit of a post-apocalyptic tale, but as it unfolded on my screen, it decided it wanted to be more of a fantasy, so I followed my muse.

Dwynwen became the handsome young and conflicted Dwyn, and Maelon cecame Male, the beautiful, exotic blond from a town north of Manicougan, where the story takes place.

Oh, and did I mention the world is full of reawakened gods?

I hope you enjoy the tale. And if you’re familiar with the story of Dwynwen of Wales, I hope you get a kick out of this thoroughly gay re-enactment of that classic tale.

reviewericon-evette

3✨s – For such a short story this novella is chock full of quite an incredible world.

When we meet Dwyn I was not impressed. In fact I never love him, but I do grow to see what Mael sees. Their entire relationship is taboo in Dwyn’s world, but love is love, and their love may be able to save the world.

Insta-love (yay), tons of judgy McJudgertons (boo), a crashed wedding (yay), a world destroying storm-perhaps the work of a vengeful god (boooooooo). The story was a bit over the top, yet the parallel story line of the couple and their children of the storm shelter made for an interesting read. This is the first book in the series, I’d definitely be interested to follow along on the journey.

Author Bio:
J. Scott Coatsworth - authorScott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

Where to find J. Scott Coatsworth:
J. Scott Coatsworth Amazon Author Page J. Scott Coatsworth on Facebook J. Scott Coatsworth on Goodreads J. Scott Coatsworth on Twitter J. Scott Coatsworth Website

RELEASE DAY BLITZ: Frank at Heart by Pat Henshaw

RELEASE DAY BLITZ: Frank at Heart by Pat Henshaw

Author: Pat Henshaw
Book: Frank at Heart
Series: Foothills Pride Stories, Book #6
Page/Word Count: 95 pages, 30K words
Categories: Gay Romance, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 31, 2017
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover: AngstyG

Buy Links:
Buy Frank at Heart by Pat Henshaw on Amazon Buy Frank at Heart by Pat Henshaw on Barnes & Noble Buy Frank at Heart by Pat Henshaw on Dreamspinner Press Add Frank at Heart by Pat Henshaw on Goodreads Frank at Heart on QueeRomance Inc.

Blurb:
Everything about thirty-five-year-old Stone Acres hardware store owner Frank McCord is old-fashioned—from his bow tie and overalls to the way he happily makes house calls to his dreams of lasting romance, true love, and marriage. Frank’s predecessors have run the store and been mainstays in the small California town for over a century. While genial Frank upholds tradition and earns the respect of friends and neighbors, he fears he’s too dull and old to attract a husband.

Then handsome thirty-six-year-old electronic games designer Christopher Darling and his fifteen-year-old son, Henry, come into his life. Christopher has everything Frank could want in a potential partner: charm, kindness, and compatibility. Also, he’s a terrific father to Henry. When their Stone Acres home turns out to be uninhabitable, Frank offers the Darlings temporary lodging in his ancestral farmhouse, where he and his tenant Emil reside. Since Emil thinks Frank is his, sparks fly. Suddenly, Frank’s monotonous life promises to explode with love and threatens to change him forever.

Video Trailer:

About Pat Henshaw:
Pat Henshaw has spent her life surrounded by words: teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs.

Now retired, Pat, author of the Foothills Pride Stories, was born and raised in Nebraska and promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and now Sacramento, California. Pat has found joy in visiting Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and relishes trips to Stowe, Vermont, to see family.

Two of her fondest memories include touching time when she put her hands on the pyramids and experiencing pure whimsy when she interviewed Caroll Spinney (Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch). Her triumphs are raising two incredible daughters who daily amaze her with their power and compassion. Her supportive husband keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away while writing fiction.

Where to find Pat Henshaw:
Pat Henshaw Amazon Pat Henshaw Page Pat Henshaw on Facebook Pat Henshaw on Goodreads Pat Henshaw on Twitter Pat Henshaw Website

UPDATE: Where We’re At and Where We’re Going!

Hey all,

These last few weeks, we took a big step forward in our long-term strategy with the introduction of our filter search, allowing visitors to narrow down on just the books they want. Today the book page filters should get prettier. 🙂

I thought it would be fun to share some of the other changes coming down the pike – no dates on these yet, but our developer is working on them.

–Negative filtering (ie: I don’t want to see…)

–Filtering books by retailer (great for Payhip or KU fans)

–Featured retailer link – Authora can let readers know where they make the best return

–Pop-up synopsis for book covers on our book pages

–Coming Soon/New Release Ribbons

If there’s anything you’d like to see added to the site, let us know!

–Scott & Mark

Our Favorite Reads for the Week of May 21st – 27th ~ Boy Meets Boy Reviews

Snow, steam, and secrets.

The latest snowstorm carries something unexpected to the doorstep of Hutch’s secluded Alaskan cabin: a stranger named Jude, the most beautiful man Hutch has ever seen. Jude says he’s in the area for a ski trip and that he fled a domineering lover, thinking he could make it into town. But Hutch is a suspicious SOB and treats his unwanted guest warily. The problem is Jude isn’t just gorgeous, he’s funny and smart and flirtatious.

Two gay men snowed in for three days—things happen. Really good things. By the time the storm clears, Hutch finds himself a little too attached to Jude Devereaux, San Francisco-based male model. But is Jude what he claims to be? Or is he entangled in the secrets Hutch moved to Alaska to escape?

Listening Time: 5 hrs 39 min
Narrated by: John Solo

 

 

Sweet lord, I have missed the cracky fluff that is the Dreamspun series! I *may* have gorged a teeny lil bit on this one.

I couldn’t help myself, though, because this fluff was primo. We have the pretty boy model in Jude meeting the strong silent type in Hutch under some life threatening circumstances in the wilds of Alaska. Hutch is guarded and gruff. He trusts no one which is why he lives between the middle of nowhere and the end of the line, but the bubbly Jude is very appealing. I started dancing a little bit at this development. You know my feels on the grumps.

 

See Full Review

 

 

Six years ago Ellis walked into his first briefing as the newest member of London’s Specialist Firearms unit. He was partnered with Wayne and they became fast friends. When Wayne begins to notice changes—Ellis’s erratic temper, the effects of sleep deprivation—he knows he has to act before Ellis reaches his breaking point. He invites Ellis to the opening of the new BDSM club, Secrets, where Wayne has a membership. His purpose? He wants Ellis to glimpse the lifestyle before Wayne approaches him with a proposition. He wants to take Ellis in hand, to control his life because he wants his friend back, and he figures this is the only way to do it.

There are a few issues, however. Ellis is straight. Stubborn. And sexy. Wayne knows he has to put his own feelings aside to be what Ellis needs. What surprises the hell out of him is finding out what Ellis actually requires.

 

 

Oh my gosh, where do I start with this book?

It was so wonderful to revisit Eli and Jarod from the Collars and Cuffs series with their new life in London, starting with their BDSM club, Secrets. I loved reading about all their friends coming for the grand re-opening. Super fun.

Now this story: Wayne and Ellis are specialist armed police officers. They work in a tight-knit team and have been best friends for over six years. In all that time, Wayne has never seen Ellis how he has been in the last few months. Exhausted, strung out, emotional and prone to flares of rage. Ellis is near breaking point. In all their years of friendship, Wayne has never made any move towards his straight best friend. He has never revealed aspects of his personal life. Never admitted that he is in love with his best friend. As Ellis gets closer and closer to a full break down, Wayne knows he must do something. Will Ellis accept his best friend as a Dom? Will Ellis let Wayne take control of his life and help him find peace and balance?

 

See Full Review

 

 

Will and Blake couldn’t be happier. They have a beautiful little boy, Nathan, and Sophie finally has the little brother she’s been demanding. But all is not bliss in the Davis household. Coping with reality is going to change all their lives.
Rick and Angelo are sick and tired of trying to get a wedding organized. If it was up to them, they’d be married already, but Angelo’s mother has plans and they keep getting bigger. Angelo can see problems on the horizon: big, traditional Italian wedding and gay do not go well together. Something’s got to give.
Colin receives an unexpected call from an ex, with bad news. He feels compelled to help, regardless of the consequences. Ed loves Colin’s big heart and supports him in his efforts, but when the truth comes out, he finds it difficult to keep a lid on his emotions.
As the coming months unfold, the friends are going to need each other more than ever.

 

rated 4.75 hearts

 

Having read the previous books in the Personal Series, I was dying to read this book, which checks in with, and shows the next step of life challenges for all the Personal couples. I was not disappointed! It was wonderful and moving and emotional and heartfelt.

The story opens with Blake and Will anxiously awaiting the arrival of their second child as the surrogate is in labour. Sophie, their daughter, is four years old and waiting for her little brother to arrive. Blake and Will receive support from their close friends, Rick and Angelo, and Ed and Colin whose stories I enjoyed in previous books. Finally, baby Nathan arrives amid much jubilation and love. Unfortunately, Nathan isn’t quite the perfect baby he looks. The issued involved were dealt with really well by KC. Realistic and accurate and so emotional.

 

See Full Review

BOOK BLAST: Starlit by J.V. Speyer

BOOK BLAST: Starlit by J.V. Speyer

Author: J.V. Speyer
Book: Starlit
Page/Word Count: 91 pages, 31K words
Categories: Fantasy/Paranormal/Sci-Fi, Gay Romance
Release Date:
Publisher: MLR Press
Cover: Melody Pond

Buy Links:
Buy Starlit by J.V. Speyer on Amazon Buy Starlit by J.V. Speyer on Barnes & Noble Add Starlit by J.V. Speyer on QueeRomance Add Starlit by J.V. Speyer on Goodreads

Guest Post by J.V. Speyer:

Why Science Fiction Romance?

There are a few different answers to that question, and they’re all true. The first, and probably least exciting, answer is that I write the story that’s in my head at any given moment. If it’s a story about a lawyer doing lawyer things in Boston, then I’ll write a contemporary romance like Midnight. If I see a story about a supernatural trauma survivor taking control of his life and kicking butt, I’ll write an urban fantasy like Rites of Spring.

If I see a love story about an alien and a human, I’ll write science fiction.

The more detailed answer is that speculative fiction has always been an important part of my life. It’s romance that’s the newer genre. My dad used to sing me a song, by the Byrds, called “Hey Mr. Spaceman.” It’s my first real, clear memory. We sought out shows to watch together that involved space travel and other “what if” books, and it was incredible.

My uncle gave me a copy of Interview With A Vampire when I was maybe ten. I’m not sure my dad approved. I know my mom didn’t. It was my first foray into the darker side of fiction, and it definitely stuck with me.

What I love about all of the genres under the speculative fiction umbrella is the “what if” factor. What if you had an evil overlord trying to doom the world, and the only thing that could stop him would be keeping him away from a dangerous object? What if you stuck a bunch of rebels and a bunch of the guys they’re fighting on one starship and got them really, really lost for a long time? What if you accidentally started the Apocalypse?

To create the world for Starlit, I had to do a little bit of “what if” myself. I had to think about what human culture would be like, thousands of years in the future. I wasn’t exactly going into this in the dark. My undergrad degree is in archaeology, so I’ve studied population movements and how cultures evolve over time. Some things change, some things don’t.

Another fact is that people aren’t going to just go ahead and head off to colonize the far reaches of the galaxy without something behind them pushing them forward. Sure, people like to explore, but they don’t bring their families along. They don’t move populations, unless moving into the unknown is a better option than what they’re leaving behind.

So for Starlit, every human population on Earth got to ship its best and brightest of childbearing age and younger off to colonize future worlds as Earth became non-viable. It’s up to the reader when that happened, but each group got a planet of their own. As time went on they built alliances and formed unions with other worlds, unions that might not have made sense on Earth.

This was fun for me. This was almost as fun as getting Sahak and Azat together. My mother will be thrilled to know I actually used my archaeology degree, too.

Science fiction is a great way to answer the “what if” question. It opens up a host of possibilities for settings and for conflict in a story, and it allows for a greater variety of plot points that might not be available in, say, a contemporary setting. It’s fun. It’s hopeful, even when it’s on the darker side.

Science fiction romance allows me to stay in a setting that has always been comforting to me, while focusing on the relationships between characters the way I love to do.

Buy Starlit by J.V. Speyer on AmazonBlurb:
Can a rebel and a smuggler find a way to come together, when an entire universe conspires to keep them apart?

When rebel pilot Sahak escapes from a primitive holding cell on a distant mining colony, he doesn’t expect to rescue an alien smuggler. He can’t leave the man behind, either.

Azat has seen many things from humans, and none of them were kindness. He has no choice but to throw his lot in with the handsome rebel who bursts into his cell — he can escape with Sahak, or he can wait for his own execution.

Neither of them is looking for love. When they find it, will it be enough to keep them together?

Excerpt:

Sahak pushed himself to his feet and fought against the chemical haze that tried to drag him back to the ground. The walls of his cell were stone, less built than carved out of the gray bedrock itself. The bed was made from the same material, jutting out from the rough-hewn wall like someone had just gotten tired and stopped chiseling. Sahak didn’t like to think about that. He didn’t like to focus on the dark stains on the rock shelf either, so old and ancient they couldn’t be bleached out. The musty smell with its iron tang sent electric jolts of alarm right up his spine.

Sahak couldn’t stay here.

He could be certain he wasn’t meant to stay here for very long. His captors wouldn’t take long to identify him, if they hadn’t already. They wouldn’t trust a low-tech cell with rock walls and a metal door to hold him, either. He’d escaped better. He wasn’t exactly a high-value target, but he’d definitely made a name for himself with the Federated Armies, and not in the way his mother had intended all those years ago. The Feds wouldn’t be content to leave him on this rock.

The people he’d been with, though, were another matter. He couldn’t leave his comrades, not if he had any chance of finding them. The consequences to Khajag and to Siran, if they’d been taken, would be so much worse than they would be for Sahak.

He paced the tiny cell for a few minutes, trying to evaluate his options with a calm mind. He’d been here for a few hours and no one had come with food or water. He didn’t know how long he’d been unconscious after the ship had been captured, but docking would have taken at least an hour.

He had no way of gauging the time of day down here; the artificial lights never changed from their ghastly mocking glare. He recognized the tactic. It was mean to soften them up before the real questioning began. He’d guess, based on his thirst and his hunger, that he’d been here for at least eight hours. That didn’t bode well for his captors’ intentions. If he was lucky, he’d face summary execution in about half that time. He’d never been more than nodding acquaintances with luck.

Sahak had no plans to make it that easy for them. He could, in theory, sit and wait to be questioned, assuming they tried. He could trust the Federated System’s laws against torture would protect him from harm or ill treatment. He still had scars from the first time he’d trusted in the rule of law to protect him from zealous enforcers, enough of them to ensure it would be the last time he made that mistake.

Sahak hadn’t survived the Rebellion for as long as he had by sitting back and waiting for rescue, either. He’d always believed if he wanted something to happen, he had to make it happen for himself. This little cage was no different. If he wanted out of here, he was going to have to do it under his own power.

He considered his physical status. He had a few bumps and bruises from when his ship had been attacked, but they were minor irritants. He could fight with them. His clothes had been left intact, for which he was grateful. He hadn’t been that fortunate every time he’d been in captivity. His captors had searched him thoroughly, though, taking everything with them that he could have used to aid in his escape. They’d even taken his metal jewelry, most likely to keep him from using it to pick locks or disrupt electrical systems.

That invasion, seemingly so minor, made his skin crawl.

They’d replaced the jewelry with bioplast, which was even more invasive but it gave him something to work with. It gave him some clue as to their plans for him. They didn’t plan to kill him, not right away. Either they didn’t know who he was, or they’d decided enslavement would be a better result than execution. Neither one was a great option in Sahak’s humble opinion. He’d been down the slavery road once before and it had been terrible, but at least he’d gotten away.

Execution would probably be a little harder to overcome, but Sahak was a resourceful guy.

In an ideal world, he’d be able to get away without having to try his hand at going back into slavery or looking at the firing squad. That meant getting out of this cell. A quick examination of the door confirmed the technology was primitive, but he would need more than a uniform-tunic and trousers to make it open. That meant he would have to get aggressive.

He grinned. He wasn’t usually a violent guy, but he figured that could be excused if he wanted to take out his frustrations on a day like today. Anticipation chased the drugs out of his system.

The door didn’t have a window or view screen. His cell didn’t have any cameras. There was no place to hide. There was only the shelf and the door. Everything else was bare, damp rock. All Sahak could do was sit on the bare shelf-bed and wait.

He had to wait for an hour or so; he couldn’t be more precise than that. He couldn’t hear anything from the rest of the prison, just the dripping of water from above and the harshness of his own breath in the cool air. He had to try to combat his own mind while he prepared. He wasn’t afraid, not exactly. He’d faced down death a hundred times before, and if it came he’d deal with it then. There were worse fates, after all.

He might not be scared, but he was anxious. His anxiety wasn’t for his own skin, but that of his companions. He’d been part of a crew of five, and nothing bothered him more than not knowing their fates. Siran, another fighter and more or less a constant companion for years, had been at the workstation beside him and would have taken as much of the blast as Sahak had. They had saved one another’s lives a thousand times over, ever since they’d joined the insurgency as teenagers. If she hadn’t been taken captive, it could only have been because she was dead. What about his captain, Khajag? Or the medical staff they’d had on board? What had become of them?

He had to struggle against his concerns for them and try to keep himself from giving in to despair. He could worry when he got out and got the lay of the land. For all he knew, the cell was at the bottom of a hole, with no way out.

He almost shouted with relief when the door finally opened. He channeled his exuberance into action instead. He punched out with his left fist once, twice, and sent the first jailor to the ground. He didn’t stop to check on the man, but turned his attention to the second. That one fell to a knife-edge attack to the throat. It wasn’t much of a fight. Sahak wasn’t the best hand-to-hand fighter, but he was trained and he could hold his own. They called him scrappy. All these centuries, all this time, and humans were still falling prey to one another’s bare hands. Far be it for Sahak to bemoan the fact, of course. He didn’t want the Feds to start wearing effective armor.

He moved his hands quickly over the soldiers’ bodies until he found a keyring, and he shook his head. He couldn’t think of any planet in such a primitive state that they would still rely on physical, metal keys, but this is what they had. It made his job easier, so once again he didn’t complain. Instead, he dragged the stunned guards into the cell. He took the rest of their tools, too, although he didn’t have time to do as thorough of a search as he would have liked. When he’d taken as much as he could, he locked them in the tiny little cave and stepped out into the hall.

His luck held, for once. The hallway lacked surveillance of any detectable type. He supposed they didn’t have much space for cameras, given how deep below the surface they had to be. He’d worry about that, and what it meant for his escape bid, later. Right now, he had to find his people.

None of the doors had windows. Sahak would have to open every door and look into every cell. Any one of them could be a trap. For half a second, he considered walking away. The risks were too high. Someone could come looking for the two guards he’d incapacitated. One of the other cells could be booby-trapped. He could be in a regular prison and accidentally release a dangerous criminal–Sahak wasn’t so naive as to believe that they didn’t exist right alongside the political prisoners.

No one would blame him if he left, but Sahak couldn’t do that. He had to find the others. Maybe no one else would judge him for leaving them, but he’d always judge himself.

He moved quickly down the corridor, unlocking doors and peering into cells. The first cell held a corpse, gone for at least a week. Sahak fought back bile. He hadn’t been wrong about the intentions of the people holding him, then. He closed the door behind him and continued to the next one, covering his mouth in hopes of restraining his sickness. Later, he promised himself. There would be time to break down about that awful sight later.

The next three cells were empty. The one after that contained someone he desperately wanted to see.

Siran leaped at him, floppy dark hair flying as she launched into a kick that would have been devastating if he hadn’t been prepared for it. “Siran!” he hissed. “It’s me!”

She landed without a hitch. Siran had always been graceful. “Sahak? You got out?”

He shrugged. “They came into my cell first, I guess. They’re locked in, but I don’t know how much time we have.” He passed her one of the blasters he’d taken from the goons and looked her up and down. “What kind of shape are you in?”

“Right arm’s shot,” she reported, shrugging her left with a wince. “Nothing some nanobots can’t fix as soon as we get to some.”

Sahak bent to examine her damaged shoulder. He thought it would take more than a few nanobots to fix the wound properly, but if they could find those two doctors they’d been transporting when they were taken it might work out okay. “We need to find Khajag and those medics.” He strode across the hall and on to the other row.

Siran joined him. “I don’t know if we will. They were outside the blast radius. They might have been able to get away.” She stuck her head into the cell. “Empty.”

Sahak grunted. “I’d feel better if the medics got a look at that shoulder.” He moved on to the next door, cursing the slowness of the process. Maybe this was the enemy’s real goal in using such a primitive technology for their jail. Every minute wasted in unlocking and opening empty cells was time that the garrison here, wherever here was, could discover their freedom and try to take it away.

The corpse in the cell next to his sprang back to Sahak’s mind. He put on an extra burst of speed.

The cells on the opposite side came up empty every time they opened one. On the one hand, that meant that Khajag had gotten the medics out and hopefully to safety. Since getting the medics where they needed to go had been the whole mission, Sahak supposed that was a victory. On the other hand, he had an injured crew mate here and he’d just wasted ten minutes searching an empty jail. Only one cell remained, the one directly across from the one where he’d left the guards.

“Did you lock someone in?” Siran asked, tilting her head at the door to Sahak’s former cell.

“I didn’t feel up to just killing them.” Sahak walked over to the last cell in the row and went to unlock it. The cell wouldn’t have anyone he knew inside, but he couldn’t in good conscience leave a prisoner in the clutches of the Federated Systems after an escape like this. He knew all too well what would happen.

He slid the key into the lock.

****

Azat slumped against the rough-hewn rock and closed his eyes. He’d been down here for three days now, and at this point he figured his jailers had either forgotten about him or were trying to find out how long he could go without the necessities of life. He considered himself fortunate that these sadists knew nothing about Arascid biology. They could deprive him of water for another two weeks at least, and of food for longer than that. No, it would be the lack of touch that killed him in the end, and he wasn’t about to let them know.

He shook his head, despair putting aside its war with disgust and making common cause. Humans. They cloaked their sadism in a thin veil of scientific curiosity and convinced one another it was for the greater good. Someone should have found a way to contain them, or exterminate them, centuries ago. They’d managed to more or less destroy their original planet. How long before they turned the rest of the galaxy into lifeless craters, too?

Well, there was nothing to be done about it now. Not by him, and probably not by any other Arascid. Arascids had once been renowned warriors, but there weren’t enough of them to stand against the damned humans anymore. Azat himself wouldn’t be standing for much longer. He’d been caught smuggling. Maybe the authorities here on Kavadh would come for him and put him on trial. It was one of the hazards of a smuggler’s life, but he’d known that when he started in the trade. It was a risky business, but anything open to non-humans was risky business, if it brought them into contact with the universe’s most invasive species. He might as well get rich doing it. He had very little to lose.

Maybe they’d execute him out of hand. He wasn’t human; he had no legal rights. Even humans had few rights that the Federated authorities bothered to acknowledge in practice.

Maybe they’d sell him into slavery. He’d seen that happen a time or two, seen the wreckage of the bodies left behind when their owners were done with them. He wouldn’t let that happen, not if he could stop it. He’d take his own life first. He might die on a rock instead of out there among the stars, the way he was meant to, but at least it would be on his own terms.

No sound entered the little cell. The walls were too thick, and they were too deep underground. The humans who had colonized Kavadh had wasted nothing, unusual given the way that they usually squandered everything around them, and had repurposed this depleted mine into a prison. Azat could admire their thrift while his violet skin crawled. He had been in what amounted to a soundproof room for three days, or something close to it.

The key sliding into the lock and turning, therefore, was as loud as a thousand glass tumblers being dropped onto a tile floor at the same time.

Azat leapt to his feet, dropping into a ready stance. He could fight, and he wanted to, but he needed to use his brains here. Kavadh was a relatively cosmopolitan port, but Arascids were still rare here. He wouldn’t exactly be able to blend in with the local population if he escaped.

The person standing in the doorway stared up at him with wild, amber-colored eyes. The color, unlike most aspects of a human’s appearance, was striking, and Azat stayed his hand long enough to take in the rest of him. The man’s dirty and singed garments weren’t the uniform of the Federated soldiers. On the contrary, he was dressed more like one of the Rebels fighting to claw control of some of the outlying systems away from the Republic. “You’re Arascid?” The human’s voice was deep for such a small creature; it probably had something to do with that overdeveloped upper body of his.

Azat inclined his head in acknowledgement. He had to admit to some surprise that the human could recognize even that much. Most humans could identify “not human” and “human” and that was the extent of their interest in the matter.

“You can call me Azat.” Azat was not his name. It was as close to Azat’s name as a human’s lumpen tongue could pronounce, though, and it sounded like a name that belonged to the Armenian language this particular human used. Maybe it would make the human less likely to lash out at Azat.

A human woman, thick, dark hair cut short and blunt at her ears, stuck her head in beside the man. “Sahak, come on. We can’t waste time. Is the Arascid with us or no?” She wrinkled her flat nose. “They don’t usually get involved with the revolution.”

“Your revolution is a human struggle.” Azat sniffed. They both stank of sweat and blood. Had they been injured? Now that Azat chose to look closer, he could see blood on the woman’s shoulder. “The rest of us are neither interested nor welcome.”

The pretty man smirked, although his hand twitched by his side. He seemed impatient to leave. “What are you in for?”

“Smuggling.” Azat saw no reason to lie to them. He didn’t care about their moral judgment.

“We don’t have time for this, Sahak.” The woman put her good hand on the man’s arm.

Sahak shook his head. “I’m not leaving a person to rot in here, especially not once we’ve gotten away. They’ll take it out on him, and that blood would be on our hands, Siran. You know it as well as I do.” He jerked his head toward the corridor. “We’re getting out or we’ll die trying. You can come with us or take your chances in the cell.”

Azat took two long strides and emerged into the hallway. “You said it yourself. Staying isn’t an attractive option.” He raised an eyebrow at Sahak. “Not that staying was an attractive option before.”

“Can’t imagine that it was. Were you brought in here while you were awake?” Sahak turned toward the single door leading out of the prison corridor.

“You weren’t?” Azat supposed he should have expected something like that. The humans were rebels, after all. Everyone knew they were crafty. The jailers would have wanted to minimize their risk. Azat himself wanted to minimize his own risk with this pair. “I think that I can probably get us out of here, but what then? It’s not as though I’m going to blend in on Kavadh.”

Sahak led the way. “We’ll steal a ship, of course. I’m hardly going to abandon you on Kavadh.” He opened the door and paused, blaster coming up and online just in case. He didn’t hesitate, not even for a moment, and Azat had to admit he was impressed by the way the human carried himself. Sahak was a true warrior.

Author Bio:
J. V. Speyer has been telling stories since she was a small child. Her father raised her on a steady diet of science fiction, horror, and fantasy, and she came to romance later in life. Most of her inspiration is drawn from music, whether from a specific song or just a rhythm. J. V. grew up in Upstate New York, in a deeply diverse city in the heart of the Rust Belt. She now makes her home just outside of Boston in an old farmhouse with more animals than people. She’s held jobs in security, accounting, finance, and non-profit management before turning to writing professionally. In her spare time, J. V. enjoys baseball, history, and music. She’s recently taken up quilting, since she can’t seem to escape places with snow.

Where to find J.V. Speyer:

J.V. Speyer on Facebook J.V. Speyer on Goodreads J.V. Speyer on Pinterest J.V. Speyer on Twitter J.V. Speyer Website

Filters Are Here! And Check Out the New “By Author” Page!

Filter Search

Hey all,

Our long awaited new feature is here! We just launched our filter search on Monday – you can play with it here:

http://www.queeromanceink.com/filter-search/

It’s a great new way to zero in on exactly the kind of books you want. Please check it out, and if you have any questions or issues with it, email them to scott@queerscifi.com. We will be rolling out filtering and sorting on the various book pages (by genre, by pairing, and by identity) shortly.

We’re also rolling out a new version of our “by author” page:

https://www.queeromanceink.com/by-author/

Complete with author pictures. 🙂

Enjoy!

Our Favorites Reads for the Week of May 7th – 13th ~ Boy Meets Boy Reviews

Tag Team Review: Shelter the Sea (The Roosevelt #2) by Heidi Cullinan

 

Some heroes wear capes. Some prefer sensory sacks.

Emmet Washington has never let the world define him, even though he, his boyfriend, Jeremey, and his friends aren’t considered “real” adults because of their disabilities. When the State of Iowa restructures its mental health system and puts the independent living facility where they live in jeopardy, Emmet refuses to be forced into substandard, privatized corporate care. With the help of Jeremey and their friends, he starts a local grassroots organization and fights every step of the way.

In addition to navigating his boyfriend’s increased depression and anxiety, Emmet has to make his autistic tics acceptable to politicians and donors, and he wonders if they’re raising awareness or putting their disabilities on display. When their campaign attracts the attention of the opposition’s powerful corporate lobbyist, Emmet relies on his skill with calculations and predictions and trusts he can save the day—for himself, his friends, and everyone with disabilities.

He only hopes there isn’t a variable in his formula he’s failed to foresee.

 

 

Chelsea – 5 Hearts

There’s not much I can say that will express how much I love this story, together with it’s predecessor. They’re sooooo emotional, but in a heartwarming and feeling-with-the-characters type of way not a my-heart-is-bleeding-on-the-floor type of way. I couldn’t put this book down! Emmett and Jeremey completely steal my heart and I will always want to read more of them!

Adam – 4.5 Hearts

Carry the Ocean was one of my favourite reads of 2015. Jeremy and Emmet, and The Roosevelt, completely captured my heart.

In this sequel, readers will get all the feels, complex characters, and needed social commentary that made book 1 so great.

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Guest Audiobook Review: Everyday History by Alice Archer

 

Headstrong Ruben Harper has yet to meet an obstacle he can’t convert to a speed bump. He’s used to getting what he wants from girls, but when he develops a fascination for a man, his wooing skills require an upgrade. After months of persuasion, he scores a dinner date with Henry Normand that morphs into an intense weekend. The unexpected depth of their connection scares Ruben into fleeing.

Shy, cautious Henry, Ruben’s former high school history teacher, suspects he needs a wake-up call, and Ruben appears to be his siren. But when Ruben bolts, Henry is left struggling to find closure. Inspired by his conversations with Ruben, Henry begins to write articles about the memories stored in everyday objects. The articles seduce Ruben with details from their weekend together and trigger feelings too strong to avoid. As Henry’s snowballing fame takes him out of town and further out of touch, Ruben stretches to close the gaps that separate them.

Run time: 9 hrs 53 mins
Narrated by Daan Stone

 

Reviewer – R *A Reader Obsessed*

Affecting!

”Sex please, hold the love”

That is the mantra of Ruben. Charismatic, confident, everyone’s best friend. People flock to him to bask in his light, but Ruben’s barely a man, and when he surprisingly develops a crush on his high school teacher, he finds himself changed, intrigued, and determined to discover exactly what it is about Henry that makes him so enticing.

Henry and Ruben are vastly different in all the ways that could possibly count – looks, personality, age, and especially where they are in their lives. However, once Ruben graduates, they act on their attraction, and it’s explosive and intimate. In such a short time, they reveal and learn about the other with an intensity that far surpasses every prior experience… but just because they’re perfectly perfect for one another, they both know that Ruben is just not ready for such a commitment. They kindly use the other to take the next step towards a new chapter in their lives and part ways.

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Review: A Worthy Man (The Men of Halfway House #5) by Jaime Reese

 

Vannguard Shaw has spent the last ten years serving a life sentence and adjusting to the ache of solitude. He accepts his fate, a sacrifice for the only man he ever loved and the one person who saw beyond his rough edges.

Drayton grew up with a trust fund and pre-planned future, but an unexpected encounter one night forces him to abandon everything and start from scratch. He is now a self-made man and developer of one of the most sought after electric exotic automobiles in the world with a fortune greater than that of his birthright. Yet, he’d surrender it all—again—for the only man who’s still ever-present in his heart.

After a decade and entirely too much distance between them, Vann is suddenly released back into a world that has been nothing but cruel. Drayton never lost hope they would once again reunite and pick up where they left off, but Vann’s stubborn nature and repeated encounters with a heartbreaking world prove to be a challenge.

Vann needs to tap into his fighting spirit’s reservoir of strength and hope life doesn’t punish him for taking a chance. Only then will he realize his own value and feel worthy enough to finally have Drayton’s heart. And their chance at forever.

Damn, but every book in this series is such an emotional ride! A Worthy Man is right up there, but I do think this one is even more relationship focused (which sounds weird to say with this series, I know) making it even more romantic to read. The setup is unique in that the two MC’s, Vann and Drayton have known one another since their teens and have been in love since about that same time. And they don’t have that, “Oh aren’t they perfect for each other, how sweet” kind of love, they have that soul deep, eternal kind of love that’s just plain, more.

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Review: Cask Strength (Agents Irish and Whiskey #2) by Layla Reyne

 

Professionally, the FBI team of Aidan “Irish” Talley and Jameson “Whiskey” Walker is as good as it gets, closing cases faster than any team at the Bureau. Personally, it’s a different story. Aidan’s feelings for Jamie scare the hell out of him: he won’t risk losing another love no matter how heart-tripping the intimacy between them. And loss is a grim reality with the terrorist Renaud still on their trail, leaving a pile of bodies in his wake.

Going undercover on a new case gets them out of town and off the killer’s radar. They’re assigned to investigate an identity theft ring involving a college basketball team in Jamie’s home state, where Jamie’s past makes him perfect for the role of coach. But returning to the court brings more than old memories.

As secrets and shocking betrayals abound, none may be more dangerous than the one Jamie’s been keeping: a secret about the death of Aidan’s husband that could blow his partner’s world apart and destroy forever the fragile bonds of trust and love building between them.

 

 

We start five months after Single Malt ended, with our FBI agents moving casually into a romantic relationship and firmly into their professional partnership. On Jamie’s end, he is all in no matter what he promised to Aidan about keeping it casual between them because Jamie has been so gone for Aidan long before anything physical happened between them. He knows Aidan was a man whore before his marriage to Gabe and half listened to Aidan’s points on not being serious – blah blah blah – but Jamie is his own man and he’ll do what he wants as long as he keeps it to himself. There are a few other things he is keeping to himself as well, like knowing the connection between Gabe, Tom and Renaud and not telling Aidan about it nor that Mel has him digging deeper into the accident and all that it involves.
There’s no substitute for the real thing.
I have to say that when I first learned about the men Aidan was seeing on the side I saw red and not just the natural color of Aidan’s hair. I was pissed off but then I turned the page and got Aidan’s POV and settled down. Self-preservation is the solace of one’s own mind and though you don’t agree, you can’t pass judgment because it’s each person’s own validity. Aidan is so terrified to lose Jamie that he tries to keep him at arm’s-length by “dating” copycatsof Jamie and swearing there is no feelings between them. It’s a dick move but when Jamie calls him out on it, we do get some delicious UST that unfortunately leads to more dick moves and then Mel giving them a case back in Jamie’s home town with them undercover and an Au Naturale Aidan as Ian… *swoon* Call him what you want, Agent Irish is edible as his natural ginger self.

Audiobook Review: Dare to Hope (All Cocks #4) by T.M. Smith

 

Tristan is the second oldest of the Brennan brothers and the odd man out. Most of the Brennan men have careers in law enforcement, but as a psychiatrist, Tristan chooses to help people in a different way. Quiet and restrained, he is content to hover in the background of his more gregarious brothers. Then he meets two men, each broken and damaged from losses beyond their control.

Gabriel Simenson is mourning his lover’s death. The random act of violence that took Gio’s life has left everyone at All Cocks reeling. The only thing keeping Gabe from drowning in misery is the friendship he’s forged with Micah, the newest model at All Cocks. He continues to struggle, and at the urging of his All Cocks family Gabe agrees to counseling with Tristan under one condition: Micah must go with him.

Micah Solo can relate to unbearable loss, having lost his leg and so much more in Iraq. The past two years he has been alone, adrift and vulnerable – the memories of war haunting his dreams, spilling over into his daily life. At All Cocks, Micah has found the acceptance he craves and the family he lost, but still he yearns for happiness and peace within.

The friendship between the three is instant, the mutual attraction evident. They circle each other, wanting more, yet unsure if it is truly possible. Is life the mundane reality they’ve each come to accept for themselves or do they dare to hope?

The All Cocks Stories is a series set within the world of online gay porn. Micah’s PTSD is told in detail, including flashbacks to his time in Iraq.

Listening Length: 6 hours and 13 minutes
Narrator: Joel Leslie

 

 

This is a lovely story, with a moving background. Micah’s flashbacks are realistic and emotive, and Gabe’s grief is almost tangible. Tristan helps them both individually, but fights his attraction to both men, believing they’ll be better off without him around. The complexities of the relationships with each other are enthralling. The menage aspect makes the will-they wont-they so much more complex, and the demons each man is fighting make is even more challenging. That said, it wasn’t an overly angst-y book, and was very enjoyable to listen to. So much so, that I stayed awake until 4am one morning to listen to the end!

 

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Review: To Touch You (Mates #4) by Cardeno C.

 

“His name is Salvatore Rossi. He’s a vampire. And he’s my true mate.”

By not relying on anyone except himself, Salvatore Rossi escaped a dead-end existence and reached the height of corporate success. But just when he has everything he always wanted, fate throws Salvatore a challenge he can’t solve alone and a young wolf shifter comes to his rescue.

Since childhood, Yoram Smith’s family was certain he would grow to become Alpha and save their beloved pack from its slow demise. When the time comes for a new leader, Yoram is forced to juggle his duty to care for a splintering pack with his duty to care for an absent mate, and his own strength suffers.

Being turned into a vampire didn’t alter Salvatore’s life philosophy: if you don’t rely on anyone, nobody can let you down. But when the boy who saved his life becomes a man who needs his help, the icy vampire must find his humanity.

I love, love, love how this fated mates story is told. Yoram is young and Salvatore is dying and yet no one messes with the fact that these souls are fated for one another. In fact, they all know how rare it is to find your true mate and refuse to allow Yoram to be without his. I dug how strong and stubborn Yoram is at this point because he is going to be one hell of an alpha.  I shamelessly giggled through Yoram’s father, uncle, Ethan and Miguel discussing how and when they would turn Salvatore to cure him when he was standing there amongst the swirling paranormal shifter chaos wondering WTF is going on! Seriously, it was fun and getting a mini Yoram declaring the adult male as his was adorable. So freaking fluffy.

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