Wednesday, November 23, 2022

New Release-Excerpt & Giveaway: AWAKENED DESIRES by Colette Davison (My Kinky Housemate #5)

Author and Publisher: Colette Davison

Cover Artist: Designs by Jo

Release Date: November 23, 2022

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: friends to lovers, slow burn, first-time dad, bi-sexual awakening, kink

Heat Rating:  3 flames

Length:  78 000 words

It can be read as a standalone, but is better read as part of the My Kinky Housemate series.

It does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads

Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK


Blurb

Seventeen years ago, my life fell apart. By attempting to protect me, my best friend, Rory, accidentally tore us apart. After being in a dark place, I’m getting my life back on track.

A surprising summons to London threatens to throw my life into disarray once more. It’s probably the worst time to reach out to Rory, yet rekindling our friendship could lead to something new. Something stronger.

Rory and his kinky housemates welcome me and open my eyes to things I never thought I’d be interested in. When my life gets more complicated, Rory is there to help. The closer we get, the more I realise I want more than friendship. Will past trauma stop me from having what—or who—I want now?

Awakened Desires is a friends-to-lovers, slow-burn romance with a first-time dad, a bi-sexual awakening, several first experiences, some hurt/comfort, and sensory play. It’s the fifth book in the My Kinky Housemate series. While it can be read as a standalone, it’s better to read it as part of the series.

Trigger warning: One of the main characters is an alcoholic who has been sober for some time and was a victim of abuse in their youth.

Excerpt

“Rory.”

He freezes.

“Would you sit?”

He nods slowly and then sits. I can see the tension in his shoulders and jaws.

“I think we need to talk, don’t you?”

Rory stares past me, his expression unreadable.

“Clear the air,” I say. “Get everything we couldn’t say as kids off our chests.”

He finally makes eye contact with me. “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry? What for?”

“Betraying your trust. Telling your secret to the Garda. I just“—he clenches his teeth, squeezes his eyes shut, and shakes his head—“I couldn’t let him keep hurting you.”

“I know. I’m not angry about that, Rory. I’ve never been angry about what you did.”

“You left without a word. You never called or wrote. I thought—”

“Mam and Dad convinced me I needed to put everything behind me. They thought it was the only way I’d heal.” I let out a bitter laugh. “If only. But that’s in the past now. It’s all in the past. Things are better. I’m okay.” I reach across the table and squeeze his hand. “You shouldn’t feel guilty for what you did.” I manage to smile. “I hope you left some deep gouges in that bastard’s car when you keyed it.”

“Three.” Rory’s smile is watery. “They were deep and long.”

“Good.” I take my hand away from his. “This is weird.”

He nods. “Are you really okay, Cal?”

God. It’s been so long since anyone has called me that. It was always Rory’s nickname for me. It was what he called me before he could say my name properly, and then it stuck. I’ve never asked or wanted anyone else to call me Cal. A knot of emotion makes it hard to breathe. I clear my throat to dislodge it so I can answer his question.

“I am now. It took a long time.”

About the Author

Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding. She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2022

New Release-Review & Excerpt: A GIFT-WRAPPED HOLIDAY by Amy Aislin

A Gift-Wrapped Holiday

Author and Publisher: Amy Aislin

Cover Artist: LC Chase

Release Date: November 22, 2022

Genre: Contemporary M/M romance

Tropes: single dad, age gap (10 years), small town, found family

Heat Rating:  3 flames

Length: 69 000 words / 272 pages

It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon  |  Apple  |   B&N  |  Kobo

Blurb

Mal's first priority is giving his six-year-old son the best Christmas ever, a goal made trickier by a recent move to New England after losing his job. As a single dad, he's not looking for romance—especially not with a blond California boy ten years his junior.

After being ridiculed at the family business, Luca sets out to prove himself by opening an eco-friendly gift-wrapping store in a small town with a hard-on for Christmas that’s about as far from LA as he can get. Out of his comfort zone in snowy Maine, love is the last thing on his mind.

But the magic of the season has other ideas. As Mal and Luca collide on wintery streets, will they let their first Christmas in Lighthouse Bay lead to happily ever after?

Content warning: stillbirth. Although it took place off-page and in the past, it is discussed on-page.

Excerpt

Mal slowed at the bottom of a driveway and nodded at the house. “This is me.” 

“I was wondering who lived here,” Luca said, taking in the house’s boxy structure. 

“Why? Because it’s hideous?” 

That startled a laugh out of Luca. “Well . . . yes. It doesn’t match the rest of the houses.” The area just west of Christmas Lane housed Lighthouse Bay’s historic homes, but this modern construction was decidedly not historic. Luca had passed it a couple of times on his evening gift deliveries and wondered what the owner had been thinking. “Why’d you buy it if you don’t like it?” 

“I’m not. I’m leasing.” 

Even so, Mal had gone all out with the decorations. Icicle lights hanging from the roof, flashing multicolored lights framed around each window, static white lights around a nine-foot-tall pine tree, and a lit-up reindeer family. He even had some sort of spotlights buried somewhere in the yard that swirled red and green snowflakes on the house in an unidentifiable pattern. 

“Which is probably another reason I haven’t unpacked,” Mal continued. “I hate this place.” 

“Why lease it, then?” 

Mal blew out a breath that ghosted the air in front of him. “The short version is that I was in a rush.” 

“And the long version?” 

“The long version is something I’ll have to give you another time.” 

Luca glanced at Otis. “I think he’s asleep.” 

“Bet he gets a second wind as soon as I walk in the door.” Mal’s voice was a disgruntled grumble that Luca shouldn’t have found as charming as he did. “Thanks for walking us home.” 

“Thanks for letting me. I like talking to you.” 

Mal’s smile went lopsided. “I like talking to you too. Still want to do it again sometime? I promise not to feed you ice cream while it’s below freezing outside. Real food only. Scout’s honor.” 

Luca’s armpits went damp despite the winter weather, and butterflies took flight in his belly. He dug his toe into the sidewalk. “You must really want to date me if you’ve asked me out twice in one week.” 

“Or I just want an adult to talk to for once,” Mal said, a teasing tilt to his smile. 

Luca stuck his tongue in his cheek and backed down the driveway, keeping his gaze on Mal’s. “Or maybe you like me.” 

“Damn. And here I thought I wasn’t being obvious at all.” 

The butterflies floated into Luca’s throat. “Text me?” 

“I will.” The darkness enveloped Mal as he moved away from the sidewalk and into the shadow of the house, but Luca could still see the quirk to his lips. “Good night, Luca.” 

“Night, Mal.” 

Luca watched Mal and Otis head inside, waved at Mal through the glass-fronted door, then turned toward his own home only a couple blocks away, an extra bounce to his steps. 


Carra's Review

This was such a sweet and mostly light-hearted read, with just a dash of heat thrown in.  I loved this small town setting, and the story had a full set of well-rounded characters - both main and supporting.  It was one of those holiday reads that puts a smile on your face while you’re reading it :-)


There is a theme of starting over, and it applies to both Mal and Luca.  Both have started fresh in Lighthouse Bay after moving there from the west coast, and while there is about a ten year age gap between them, that never really gets in the way of their developing relationship.  Their family situations are opposites - Mal has his son, plus his ex-wife (with whom he is still friends) and her family as well as his own very large family, all living in the same area.  Luca though has left all of his family behind to start again on his own.


I liked the way that most chapters were set up as a Christmas countdown, it was sort of like an advent calendar built into the story.  I was thankful that there wasn’t any angst between the characters, and that their relationship built at a slow and natural pace.  Mal and Luca were wonderful together, and while I’m not usually a fan of kids in books I thought Mal’s son Otis was present in the story enough without taking over from the main characters.


A Gift-Wrapped Holiday was what I consider a perfect holiday romance, and was a 4.5-star read for me.  I also liked that some of the supporting characters - most prominently Luca’s best friend and his brother (and not necessarily together) - left a door open for some possible stories down the road.  I’m looking forward to reading more about the Lighthouse Bay couples and hopefully more stories set there in the future.  If you love M/M holiday romances, be sure to check this one out, it’s meant for readers 18+ for some adult language a sexual content.

About the Author 

Amy’s lived with her head in the clouds since she first picked up a book as a child, and being fluent in two languages means she’s read a lot of books! She first picked up a pen on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class had to stay inside for recess. Tales of treasure hunts with her classmates eventually morphed into love stories between men, and she’s been writing ever since. She writes evenings and weekends—or whenever she isn’t at her full-time day job saving the planet at Canada’s largest environmental non-profit.

An unapologetic introvert, Amy reads too much and socializes too little, with no regrets. She loves connecting with readers. Join her Facebook Group to stay up-to-date on upcoming releases and for access to early teasers, find her on Instagram, or sign up for her infrequent newsletter.

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Sunday, November 20, 2022

New Release-Excerpt & Giveaway: VOW MAKER by Lily Morton (Mixed Messages #4)

Vow Maker
By Lily Morton

Vow Maker Cover

Mixed Messages, Book 4

Dylan Mitchell wants to get married.

However, after seven years of being engaged, that’s looking slightly doubtful. After going through ten wedding planners, they’re gaining a reputation somewhat akin to Henry the Eighth on the wedding circuit. 

Gabe has vetoed symbolic dove releases, forests of flowers, fire-eating performers, and puce as a wedding colour. He’s confounded an army of wedding professionals, and now Dylan, the man who knows and loves him better than anyone, has joined the ranks of the confused. Can anything please his fiancé and get them to the altar?

From bestselling author Lily Morton comes the sequel to Rule Breaker. A romantic comedy novella full of family chaos, meddling friends, sexy bathroom encounters, and love. Always love.

Universal Link

Goodreads

Vow Maker Teaser 3

Vow Maker Teaser 2


Excerpt

I sigh. Another one bites the dust. At this point in our journey towards matrimony, I’ve said those words so many times I could part-time as a Freddie Mercury impressionist. Gabe looks at me as if expecting me to leap in and save him, but it’s every man for himself. I dealt with the last five wedding planners. It’s his turn.

And I must say it’s a very entertaining use of an hour as I watch Gabe finally meet his match. Helen moves from a vigorous defence of her wedding vision—one that belongs only in a Netflix historical drama—to indignation and, at last, rage. It’s a familiar destination if you’re dealing with Gabe.

Finally, however, she accepts defeat, saying in a very shrill voice, “You will never know marital bliss with that kind of attitude, Mr Foster.” Slinging her pashmina over her shoulder, she exits our house in a cloud of ire and Chanel perfume.

I stretch as Gabe comes back into the room after letting her out. “Helen, one. Gabe, nought.” I mime a tennis swing. “New balls, please.”

“That’s a very mixed metaphor and explains a great deal about your sports knowledge.” The love of my life heads to the cupboard and pulls out a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label. He waggles the bottle at me. “Want one?”

Now? Isn’t it a bit early?”

“You tell me. Haven’t we got another planner coming in an hour? They’re like excessively happy buses.”

“I’ll have half the bottle,” I say promptly.

 

Vow Maker Teaser 1


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LilyMorton-Logo-Tagline 

About Lily:

Lily is a bestselling gay romance author. She writes love stories filled with heat and humour.

She lives in sunny England with her husband and two children, all of whom claim that they haven't had a proper conversation with her since she got her Kindle.

Lily has spent her life with her head full of daydreams, and decided one day to just sit down and start writing about them. In the process she discovered that she actually loved writing, because how else would she get to spend her time with hot and funny men?

She loves chocolate and Baileys and the best of all creations - Chocolate Baileys.

Connect with Lily:
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Friday, November 18, 2022

Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway: HIS LOVER. HIS GOD. by Darragha Foster

His Lover. His God. Banners

His Lover. His God.
By Darragha Foster

His Lover His God Cover

To paraphrase Poe: They loved with a love that was more than love. Hadrian, Emperor of Rome, loved Antinous in life, and after his lover's death, worshipped him as his god. This is a romantic, fictionalized account of one of history's greatest love stories. Antinous refuses reincarnation until he can be fully reunited with Hadrian. Almost two thousand years pass before he returns to modern Egypt to profess his undying love to Hadrian's restored soul. Can Antinous, a god, on the 1892nd anniversary of his passing and ascent, convince an ex-pat tour guide that they belong together...again?

Universal Link

Check out more by Darragha on her Goodreads

HLHG Teaser 2

HLHG Teaser 4


Excerpt

Prologue

After I died, but before I rose as a god, the last thing I recall of my life was Hadrian’s kiss. His embrace. His loving touch upon my cold, drowned, dead face. I no longer felt pain or anguish. Or fear. When he wrapped me in his arms, two things were apparent. There was no escaping his love. And I never wanted to escape. Here he was, Caesar…king…ruler of the Roman Empire by divine right, and I was nothing but a man born to run wild with bow and spear. Before his kiss, I would have spent my life hunting and fishing. I relished the outdoors and shunned polite society. My mother would have seen me wed. My father would have preferred me become a praetor. I was happier sleeping in a homemade shelter deep in the hills than wearing linen robes or on the arm of a mentor or woman ready to be made wife.

I chose not to be mentored. It was customary. I could learn much as an apprentice, and perhaps even more in an erastes/eromenos relationship. I did not want to hang on to the arm of an older politician with cold hands and a limp constitution, no matter what he had to offer. Nor did I crave the bed of a woman. When I met Hadrian—all that changed. He was magnificent. Strong. Dark and hairy as a bear. Though he was the most powerful man in the world, the sight of him did not frighten me. He made me hard. He made me desirous of his body inside mine. I wanted to do nothing more than open the flap of fabric covering his manhood and discover what pleasures lay therein.

Never had I been more overjoyed than when he took me to his bed. I was his cupbearer, and thank all the gods, I became more. I was his constant companion. At night—in the dim glow of the oil lamps in his tent—he took me as if I were his wife. Over and over. He showered me with lavish attention, and from his lips, I drew sweet words of love. There was no embarrassment in him over our relationship. He did not give concern to any who knew of our love.

HLHG Teaser 1

Carra's Review

Since I’m a fan of Greek and Roman history as well as mythology, I was naturally drawn to this story when I saw the cover and then read the blurb.  I’d heard of the story of Hadrian and Antinous many years ago, so I decided to check out this author’s take on the story.


The concept of the characters was intriguing, and I was curious to see how their past and current selves would reconcile.  There was some jumping back and forth of scenes from the past and present, and at times it wasn’t clear from whose point of view the story was being told which was a little confusing.  The way the two of them wound up at the end also didn’t make entirely clear how things turned out (and “when” they were in the timeline).


I liked the story idea and how completely devoted Hadrian and Antinous were to each other, I just would like to have had a smoother read.  Overall this was a 3-star read for me, and while the steam factor is not high, it does make me lean towards recommend this for an adult audience.



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darragha foster sept 2022

About the Author:

Darragha Foster enjoys the twisted and unusual. She finds inspiration all around her. Even in the cold case at the grocer. Where she is no longer welcome. But that's another story...

Connect with Darragha:
www.darragha.com, www.authorjjandrews.com
@darragha (IG), darraghafoster (FB), Amazon
@darraghafosterauthor (TikTok)


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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

New Release-Excerpt: GAMBLE ON ME by Ann Lister (Road to Rocktoberfest 2022)

Gamble On Me 

The Road to Rocktoberfest 2022 series

by Ann Lister

Publisher: Rock Gods, LLC 

Release Date: November 15, 2022

Genre: M/M Rockstar Romance

Tropes: Second Chance, Friends to Lovers

Themes: Recovery, Rockstars, Musician and Cop 

Heat Rating: 4 flames

It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger

Goodreads

Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Blurb

Two teenage boys were certain they’d be best friends for life. They had clear paths planned for the future and they were ready to take on the world. All it took was one deep—very adult kiss to throw them off kilter and their plans turned to dust. One chose a path toward stardom and stage lights, the other stayed behind in their hometown to pursue his own dream of being a cop. Both hoped they’d see each other again. Neither thought it would ever happen.

No one can turn back time but perhaps the future can be altered with a little luck—and a lot of love.

Gamble: I was fifteen when I realized I was in love with my best friend, Bix. Since then, not a day has passed when he didn’t cross my mind. I arrived in L.A. at eighteen with nothing more than raw talent and a dream and then fell face-first into drug addiction. But not before my band hit it big and earned us awards and million dollar paychecks. Success was one thing, but I still wanted Bix and the simple life we once had growing up on Starfish Island. 

Bix: I spent a lot of years worrying about Gamble. The entertainment news was great about airing his dirty laundry which kept me aware of how low he was sinking. Now I worried he might not survive. I’ve wanted him since that one perfect kiss we shared graduation night and I’ve wanted a lifetime of more with him ever since. Too bad I don’t see a way it’ll ever happen.  

Possible Triggers: Mentions of drug addiction, overdoses, recovery, and also a gunshot wound.  

Gamble on Me is part of the multi-author The Road to Rocktoberfest 2022 series. Each book can be read as a standalone, but why not read them all and see who hits the stage next? Hot rockstars and the men who love them, what more could you ask for? Kick back, load up your kindle and enjoy the men of Rocktoberfest!

Excerpt

“Bix?” W asked. “Is that really you?”

            He almost stumbled over his own feet as he quickly spun around. Our eyes locked, and the ten long years evaporated in that instant. I held my breath as his gaze raked over my body. I felt his eyes on me as if they were fingers, caressing me to the marrow of my bones. This appraisal was far different from any look he’d given me. But we were kids back then. I barely understood my own feelings for W, so I could only imagine how confused he was about me.

            “Holy f*ck. I can’t believe it’s you,” W said, and then he barreled across the deck and flung his arms around me, almost knocking me down in the process. The woman started laughing at us.

            “Well, I guess I don’t need to ask if you two know each other,” she said and giggled. “Oh wait! Don’t tell me this is him?”

            “Shush you, woman,” W said, his relaxed southern drawl already reappearing. “How ʼbout you give us some privacy instead of playing forty questions?”

            “Fine, but I’ll be asking the questions later,” Daphne grumbled as she trudged toward the French doors that led into the house. “I’ll bring out some lemonade, and then I’ll leave you be.”

            W ignored her words and continued to hug me. He cupped my head, roamed my back with his big hands, and finally pressed our foreheads together, which had me holding on to him even tighter. I gathered his shirt in my fists, unwilling to completely separate our bodies. After ten years of missing him, I wasn’t ready to let him go.

            “I can’t believe you’re here—and I’m holding you,” W said. “I honestly wasn’t sure this moment would ever happen.”

            “I agree,” I said wistfully. “I hoped and prayed I’d see you again, but I never thought it would be here in our hometown.”

            “I let far too many years pass without contacting you, and I’m sorry about that,” W said beside my ear. “F*ck knows I wanted to reach out, but I was afraid of what you might say or that you’d hang up on me.”

            “I would never have done that to you, and for the record, I would have been thrilled if you’d contacted me,” I said.

            “I made so many mistakes with you,” W whispered. “Maybe now that we’re together in Palm Bay again, I can spend some time with you and explain myself and possibly correct some of my mistakes.”

            “Don’t be so hard on yourself, W,” I said. “We were kids trying to figure out who we were and the kind of men we wanted to be.”

About the Author

Ann Lister is a native New Englander currently living in Florida with her husband. She has pulled details from her years living in the New England area and uses many local settings and landmarks in her novels.

After graduating art school, marrying, and raising two daughters, she established her own video production company. Her nearly two decades working in video production included work within the music industry and won her a coveted Telly Award. It was her 'behind-the-scenes' exposure to the music world, her love of rock music, and the sexy musicians who create it that inspired her write Rockstar Romances. If you’d like a backstage pass into this illicit and sometimes taboo universe, then pick up one of her Rockstar titles!

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