Friday, May 25, 2018

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: LAST DEFENSE by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey (Harrisburg Railers #5)



Buy Links: 


Length: 52,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Harrisburg Railers Series

Book #1 - Changing Lines - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 - First Season - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 - Deep Edge - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 - Poke Check - Amazon US | Amazon UK


Blurb

Two men afraid to feel, have to make choices that could end up breaking down their defenses and leading them back to love.

Every time Max Van Hellren steps on the ice he knows it could be his last time. At thirty he's past his hockey prime but he's also hiding a life-threatening injury that private doctors warn could kill him. This is his last season, and there's a chance he could lift the Stanley Cup after fourteen years in the NHL. He just needs to stay safe and healthy; difficult when he's known for his heavy hitting and with a propensity for dropping the gloves and putting his body in the way of pucks to keep his team safe.

A one night stand with a sexy man was just what he needed, dangerous and hot, but what if it turned into more? Would he actually have to share the secrets he so desperately tries to hide?

Ben Worthington had it all. A fulfilling job running the CrossRoads Shelter, his loving aunts, and a husband that understood his devotion to animals. Then, the love of his life left him, succumbing so quickly to an unexpected sickness that Ben never had time to say goodbye. The violent loss scarred him.

Unable to move past his fears, he moves from lonely encounter to lonely encounter, slaking a desperate need that is eating away at him, but never making a connection that could lead him back into love. One night with Max makes him want more, but will giving into the temptation open the door to feelings he can't contain?

Can these two broken men ever find a way to be together?



Excerpt

“Nice dog.” I paused just this side of the players’ entrance at the deep voice coming from behind me. There was something about that man’s voice…the timbre of the bass or the way he spoke. Not sure what it was, but the last time he’d spoken to me my body had had the same kind of reaction. A spear of latent heat low in my belly followed by a shiv of icy dread.

“Thanks.” I wanted to stare at the door. Or run. I couldn’t do either of those, though, so I turned to face the bearded man. Christ, but he was fierce-looking. Like a Viking, with piercing eyes and an aura that screamed berserker. He was bigger than me. Taller by at least four inches and probably sixty pounds. He was wearing a suit, as Stan and Erik had been, but his looked incredibly fine on his burly frame. Dark blue with a silver tie and a white shirt. His biceps strained the material trying to contain them.

“His name is Bucky.” There now, I had spoken to the man who made my heart leap around inside my chest like a frog on a highway.

“Like Captain America’s sidekick?” He looked down at my worn T-shirt with Cap’s shield on it.

“Exactly like that.”

He took another step, which put him into my little personal space bubble, his gaze and mine locked. I wet my lips and jerked my chin up a bit. I wasn’t going to let some hockey player intimidate me.

“Cute dog. Hot owner.” He gave me a long, slow look, petted Bucky, and stepped around the dull-witted man trying to digest the fact Mr. Fear had said he was hot. “Are you coming in, or are you teaching your dog to open doors mentally?”

“I’m here to see Layton Foxx.”

“Yeah? Well, I’m here to participate in morning skate.”

“I know who you are. Max van Hellren. You played for Washington four years ago.”

He tugged the door open and settled a kind of bored look on me. “Yeah, that was me. You like Washington?”

“Hometown team.” Bucky barked to back me up. Max smiled. All the ferocity that oozed out of him dissipated when he smiled. The man was seriously fine.

“Maybe I can change your mind about which team to cheer for, Mr. Washington Fan.”

“Ben. My name is Ben.”

He nodded just once, his hand still keeping the door open. “Ben. I like that. Suits you. So, are we coming in or are we going to flirt here in front of Pete?”

A security guard peeked around the door and winked at me. I wanted to die. Right there.

“I don’t flirt,” I snapped. I stalked around Max and Pete and went off to find Layton Foxx. Determination hot in my breast kept me from looking back to see if Max was checking out my ass. I hoped he was and I prayed he wasn’t.


Carra's Review

I’ve really been enjoying this series so far, and Last Defense held up to my expectations with Max and Ben’s story.  These authors continue to collaborate well together, and it’s reflected in the solid writing and strong characters in this fifth book in the series.

Max is very much an in-your-face kind of guy, very forward and does not beat around the bush when there’s something he wants.  Ben is the opposite, much more laid back and hesitant to get involved.  But Max is like that proverbial dog with a bone (see what I did there?), and Ben loses the battle to resist—good thing too because these two together are pretty darn hot.

It’s entertaining to watch Max fall for Ben even though he keeps telling himself it’s just sex.  But Ben’s selflessness and the sheer strength of the attraction between them is no match for Max’s willpower.  The two match up very well with each other, they’re definitely complementary characters.  What’s also entertaining and exciting to read about was the Railer’s run for the Stanley Cup.  There’s also an added dose of drama thanks to Ben’s late husband’s brother with his blatantly homophobic and bigoted attitude—something that contributes quite a bit to the conflict later in the story, but which can also be found threaded throughout the book.

Last Defense was a solid 4-star read for me, and is another great addition to the Harrisburg Railers series.  While you might think that the plethora of M/M relationships within one team might become excessive, I really don’t get that feel with this series—and I’m glad to know there’s another book on the way!  Last Defense does get hot and steamy during the intimate scenes, and that along with the adult language makes this one for readers 18+.


RJ's goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

RJ Scott is the bestselling author of over one hundred romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn't with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week's break from writing she didn't like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn't defeat.




V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Dr. Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.




GIVEAWAY!



May 16 - Reading In Sarah's CornerXtreme DelusionsUrban Smoothie Read

May 18 - Katie's Book CornerWe Three QueensThe Geekery Book ReviewGay Media ReviewsBookaholic & Kindle

May 21 - MM Midnight CafeScattered Thoughts & Rogue WordsMy Fiction NookMy Book Filled Life

May 23 - OMG ReadsJim's Reading RoomMM Good Book Reviews, RAM PA Group

May 25 - Nerdy Dirty & FlirtyMaking It Happen

May 28 - Wicked Faerie's Tales & ReviewsWicked Reads

May 30 - Book Lovers 4EverPadme's Library

June 1 - Book Review By Virginia LeeMirrigoldBayou Book Junkie

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New Release-Excerpt & Giveaway: VENOMOUS HUNGER by Mary Auclair (Eok Warriors #2)

Venomous Hunger
VENOMOUS HUNGER
Mary Auclair
Series: Eok Warriors Book 2
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction Romance
Publisher: Eclipse Press
Publication Date: May 25, 2018
His lust devours their worlds. Her love will free them both.
After being left for dead by her people, Aliena wakes up under the care of alien pirates. She escapes, only to be captured by a creature straight from her darkest nightmares, bent on the destruction of everything she holds dear.
An Eok warrior turned pirate, Kamal is one to be reckoned with. He is on a mission for the Eok nation, and his only goal is to find and save the humans before he can return to his life, a life he excels at. He has no intention to allow a headstrong human female to get in his way.
As Aliena embarks on a mission to rescue her uncle from Minister Knut's clutches, Kamal is at a crossroads. If he chooses help the human, the price might well be his own life.
When the Mating Venom unleashes its torment, Kamal has to decide. Will he change his ways and claim Aliena's heart, or is the life of an outlaw too hard to leave behind?
Publisher's Note: This steamy, thrilling sci-fi romance is the second in the Eok Warriors series, however it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone.

Excerpt

"I won't let anything happen to any of you." Kamal's eyes glittered and his grin faded. "That I vow to you."

His face lost all humor and she was pinned by the intensity of his stare. Her eyes wandered over his exotic, hard features, and she was once again entranced by the pattern of tiny bumps on his skin.

Hesitantly, like she was afraid he wouldn't allow it, she reached for his cheek. His skin was hot under her fingertips but also smooth, the texture thicker than a human's, but warm and pleasant. Her fingertips slid along his jaw with its myriad of tiny bumps, their formation so close and forming swirls so intricate, it was almost like a tattoo.

Kamal's eyes gleamed and his body was unmoving. He was watching her in silence, allowing her to touch and explore.

"What are those?" Aliena asked.

"An Eok earns his warrior status by marking his body. I only stopped to spare my father's record."

Understanding came, fast and shocking. Those patterns, intricate and wonderful, were created by blood and blade, through an amount of pain she could not even comprehend. She pulled her hand away but Kamal caught her wrist.

"Such fragility." He examined her hand under the moonlight. "Such beauty."

"Let me go."

Aliena pulled but her hand was a prisoner. Kamal's eyes locked with hers, and he tugged her closer, forcing her hand to flatten against his cheek again.

"An Eok warrior learns to master pain." He turned his head slightly and a kiss landed just at the base of her wrist, creating an electric current of arousal down her entire body. "One has to master pain if one wants to conquer pleasure, wouldn't you agree?"

"I wouldn't know," she forced herself to answer, even though her throat was closed and her heart beat like a crazed animal between her ribs. "Pain isn't one of my pastimes."

Kamal's lips stretched in a predatory grin, exposing his fangs, and a hand closed on the small of her back, pulling her closer into his male heat. His breath caressed her lips, his eyes imprisoning her like a blanket of lead.

His mouth closed on hers with purpose. It laid waste to everything she thought she knew, to everything she ever thought she wanted. This kiss was a claim, a brand on her very soul.

Kamal took possession of her mouth, his tongue sliding in and out, rubbing over hers, filling it with his taste, his scent. Her tongue answered, responding automatically. She slid it over the sharp tips of his fangs and a tangy taste tickled her taste buds. A rush of adrenaline and heat spread inside her body and she moaned into his mouth.

Kamal's hands slid to her ass and he pressed her against his erection, hard and large under his pants. One hand slid to her front, cupping her small breast through the heavy layer of clothing. Unable to resist the sudden surge of lust, Aliena's hand ran down Kamal's perfectly muscled chest, then lower, along the flat of his stomach.

She held his erection, squeezing lightly.

Kamal broke the kiss, and locked gazes with her.

Tour Schedule

Upcoming Book Tour from May 30 - June 12, 2018!
Save the date! We will have a Book Tour on Venomous Hunger starting May 30! Join us and visit each tour stop daily and discover more features, excerpts, reviews, interviews and other extras about the book! To check the latest tour schedule, visit the Venomous Hunger Book Page at Book Unleashed.
Venomous Hunger Tour Graphic

About Mary Auclair

Mary grew up in the quiet peace of a small rural village in the heart of Quebec, Canada.
She spent her childhood chasing butterflies and catching frogs, playing in the mud and generally being as unladylike as she could. Her love of science led her to complete a mechanical engineering degree at the Ecole Polytechnique of Montreal, where she met the love of her life.
Years later, as she enjoyed the role of full time mom to her two wonderful children, she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.
She now write as much as her busy schedule allows to bring to life her inner world, filled with exotic planets, mysterious creatures and off course, hot, alpha heroes and the women who melt their hearts.
When she's not writing, she can be found in the garden, walking her dogs or playing with fire in her kitchen as a part time hit-or-miss chef.
She loves to hear from her readers, so don't be shy and drop her a line!


Giveaway!

WIN $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD
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Contest runs from May 15 - June 12, 2018.

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Spotlight-Excerpt & Giveaway: FIXING SYDNEY by Diane Zparkki (Branson's Kind of Love #1)

Fixing Sydney Tour Graphic
FIXING SYDNEY
Diane Zparkki
Series: Branson's Kind of Love Book 1
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
Finding love with suspense mystery hovering over her
Sydney Sommer's world fell apart after senior prom. Since then, her life had become a constant loop of unfortunate scenarios that kept her in constant fear of what might be lurking around the next corner. Her trust in others was at a standstill. Even those who were closest to her were held at a distance.
After serving active duty overseas, Jaxon Triggs moved away from his hometown, hoping the change in scenery would help him build a new future for himself. What he wasn't expecting was to fall for a girl who was broken.
From the first moment Jaxon laid eyes on Sydney, he was curious. He became determined to do everything he could to break through the armor Sydney held around her so securely. His instinct to protect her and keep her safe kicked in as the dangers she encountered became more personal.
With dread always looming close by and secrets discovered, would Sydney be able to handle the new changes in her life yet heal at the same time?
"Story starts off with a bang and doesn't let up."
- Emily, Goodreads Reviewer
"Diane Zparkki really manages to captivate the reader with her words and descriptions. I felt the fear, I felt the raw need, I felt the emotions come off these characters."
- Bailey Ember, Goodreads Reviewer

Purchase Links

Excerpt

Sydney

Staring at myself in the mirror propped up in the corner of my bedroom, I wondered, How the hell did I get here? I stood there for another ten minutes, thinking I better contemplate something else. 

My outfit included black jeans, converse, and a black tank top. My wardrobe mostly consisted of jeans, hoodies, sneakers, and boots. No dresses. In fact, the only formal dresses I had owned were the two I had worn to prom. The first one was to my best friend Shannon’s prom. Billy asked me to be his date after his girlfriend dumped him two days before to go with one of the football stars. Bitch. I donated that dress to a local charity. The other dress was worn to my own prom the following year. That dress was now long gone, buried at the bottom of some garbage landfill, being wormed back into the earth. Good riddance. 

I was ready for my parents’ famous Sunday barbeque—well, my mom and stepdad, but I just called him “Dad” now. They loved having the family over for dinner. I didn’t know why they thought it was such a big deal when one of us was always there during the week, mooching dinner. If I were honest with myself, the real reason they had these dinners was to check on my mental stability. Over the past few years, those dinners had become a regular occurrence after I moved out to attend college.

I had taken a year off after high school to get myself back on track after I’d had a major meltdown that would have taken out three towns. Now I was coming back at a turtle’s pace, but I was coming back. 

High school was so long ago, filled with great memories of football games, soccer games, pep rallies, dances, drinking, and school pranks. It had been the ultimate high school experience…until I had started dating Steve. Prom night had destroyed all those happy memories. That evening had twisted me up inside, shut me down so tightly nothing was going to penetrate my Teflon wall. It was the closest I had ever felt to death. 

Death…Maybe death had occurred, just not in the physical sense.

I knew what death looked like, and I knew how people acted around it. 

My father died when I was four. My memory was cloudy of him, but I remembered that day clearly. 

My father lay in a plain mahogany coffin, wearing his favorite blue, checkered shirt. I had no idea why I knew it was his favorite; I just knew. He also had on a pair of black jeans, his boots, and his leather vest that had patches on it, like the other men at the funeral. To this day, every once in a while, I would get a whiff of worked-in leather, and it would remind me of him. I didn’t know why I would remember that above all else, though.

I also remembered a man at the back of the parlor, dressed similar to my dad. He had several tattoos, as did the rest of the men who stood with him and shook his hand. 

“Mommy, is Daddy sleeping? Why can’t I wake him? Why won’t he wake up? Daddy, wake up!”

Book Tour

Join the Book Tour from May 23 - June 5, 2018.
Join us and visit each tour stop daily! Discover features, excerpts, reviews, interviews, fun facts and more.
Check the latest tour schedule at the Fixing Sydney Book Page.
Fixing Sydney Tour Graphic

About Diane Zparkki

I was born and raised in the greater Toronto area and raised my own family in the suburbs of the city. I'm a busy working mom with writing being my second full time job. With my husband, we have raised three great kids. Who constantly keep me on my toes and laughing. I enjoy planning themed parties and traveling with my family creating memories. Thrill seeking of some sort is always on the menu which I usually drags my family along with me. Going to the movies is always a good night out or curling up with a book and a steaming cup of tea. I have been known to do some Netflix binge watching.
I was never a big reader or writer in my youth-Coles Notes were my best friend throughout college. My enthusiasm for reading came later in life when I joined a book club. I enjoyed reading those initial books that got me hooked into the literary world, but I wanted raw, simple, and happily ever after with a bit of get down and dirty. That was when my love for Alpha bad boys on a Harley was set in motion.
After becoming an avid reader, my mind started to create my first story, and I needed to get it out.
Fixing Sydney and Holden's Regrets are the first two of Branson's Kind of Love Trilogy. I hope you enjoy Sydney and Holden's stories with Logan's coming in the near future.

Giveaway!

WIN ONE OF TWO $20 GIFT CARDS
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Prizes up for grabs:
Two (2) $20 Amazon Gift Cards
Contest runs from May 23 - June 5, 2018.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

New Release-Review & Giveaway: IF YOU SAY SO by Teagan Hunter


If You Say So
Author: Teagan Hunter
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance Novella
Release Date: May 24, 2018



Blake and I weren’t always together. But, to be fair, we weren’t always not together either.

It began innocently. We were friends, nothing more.

Then two years ago, everything changed.

I noticed his stares. He noticed mine.

We weren’t just friends anymore—we were a whole hell of a lot more than that.

And that’s how we remained, blissfully in love and ready to conquer anything that stood in our way.

Except for ourselves.










This is a short, angsty second chance romance that I was able to finish in just a couple of hours. As the author has said, it does feature some characters from another one of her books, but you don’t need to have read it before starting this one (I didn’t—this is my first book by this author). I’m betting though that if you haven’t read that other book (We Are the Stars), you’ll probably want to just to get Carsen and Elliott’s story.

When this story starts out, Nate and Blake are not together after trying to take a break…which didn’t work out quite the way they were expecting. We do get to see some of their relationship before this in flashback scenes, which for me felt a little disjointed since this book is just novella length. I liked both Nate and Blake’s characters, though Blake drove me a little nuts with his indecision. The way he vacillated with his feelings for Nate versus his worry about them being able to be together without losing their base friendship just contributed to the angst level. 

There’s no question that the two have good chemistry together, and not just physically. They just need to communicate their feelings and fears to get past the uncertainty.

If You Say So was a 3.5-star read for me, I would have liked to have seen more of Nate and Blake as they were before things got out of sorts between them, a bit less of the angst, and maybe a short epilogue just to see where things went for them after. There’s a bit of adult language and some sexual content, so this book is meant for readers 18+.




By day I’m a freelance cover designer. By every other free moment, a writer. I’m a Missouri raised gal, but I currently live in North Carolina with my US Marine husband where I spend my days begging him for a cat. I survive off coffee, pizza, and sarcasm. When I’m not writing, you can find me binge-watching various TV shows, especially Supernatural and One Tree Hill. I like cold weather, buy more paperbacks than I’ll ever read, and I never say no to brownies.




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Spotlight-Excerpt & Giveaway: THE BLESSING by Lizzie Lee


THE BLESSING
The Colorado Series Book 1
by Lizzie Lee

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

New Release-Review: SHADES by Jaime Reese


Shades
Author: Jaime Reese
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense
Release Date: May 23, 2018
Cover Designer: Reese Dante



Life made him dangerous. Love made him lethal.

Killian Marks is a third-generation hitman. After hunting monsters for over twenty years, he lives under no illusions of happily ever afters and fairy tales. Until he meets a man who threatens to disarm him, by giving him hope for a future and showing him there’s more to life than just death.

For Nick, living in shadows is second nature. He’s all too familiar with the dark side of humanity and knows how delicate life can be. Each new day is a gift, even though it means doing it alone. But he’ll risk his survival for the one man who awakens something deep within and leaves him yearning for more.

Nick wants to solve the mystery behind the dark, brooding man, while Killian craves the life and light emanating from Nick. They soon discover they have more in common than either could have anticipated. With both their lives and hearts at stake, they must confront the ghost from Nick’s past intent on tying up a loose end. Only then will they truly find peace, and discover the shades of life in between.











Though I have this author’s other books, I have not yet had a chance to read them—but after reading Shades you can be very sure that I’ve moved the rest of her books to the top of my list. Shades was a suspense and tension filled story with an intense slow-burn May/December romance that sucked me in from the opening words. This book kept me up way past my bedtime because I wanted to read it straight through to the end.

Killian, our hitman, is your classic bad guy with a conscience—a character type I love to read about and easily come to care for. At first glance Nick seems like an everyday guy, but as the story goes on we find out there’s a lot more to him than meets the eye. The further into the story you get, the more layers peel back for both men revealing two very complex guys who are tied together by more than just attraction. Things between them develop at a slow pace filled with sexual tension, and the intensity of feeling between them is deep and passionate.

Besides Killian and Nick there are some great secondary characters, my favorite being Killian’s partner Dex. He brings humor to the story, helping to relieve the tension from time to time.

There’s plenty of heat between Killian and Nick, but the on-page physical scenes are few and don’t overtake the rest of the story. Don’t worry though—with their chemistry those scenes contain plenty of heat and passion while also showing the deep emotional connection between the two.

I’m finding it hard to say much without giving anything away, so just know that if you’re a fan of romantic suspense you’re going to be beyond satisfied with Shades. It gets 5 solid stars from me, and is one of the top five books I’ve read in the M/M romantic suspense genre. It’s definitely going to be finding it’s way onto my bookshelf as a paperback, a place only my favorites wind up. Be prepared to clear a day or two in your schedule for this one—you won’t want to put it down once you start reading! This story is for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.



Jaime Reese is the alter ego of an artist who loves the creative process of writing, just not about herself. Fiction is far more interesting. She has a weakness for broken, misunderstood heroes and feels everyone deserves a chance at love and life. An avid fan of a happy ending, she believes those endings acquired with a little difficulty are more cherished.




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