Tuesday, December 5, 2023

New Release-Excerpt: LONELY DINER by Dann Hazel

by Dann Hazel

Publisher: The Original Press

Cover Artist: Josh Fippen; Photograph by Cura Photography

Release Date: December 4, 2023

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Military Romance, Coming Out, Overcoming Adversity, Second Chances

Themes: Dealing with Trauma, Gay in a New City, Forgiveness

Heat Rating:  4 flames   

Length:  109 000 words

It is part of a series, but each novel can be read as a standalone. 

It does not end on a cliffhanger.


 Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

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Two conflicted military men. A longing for happiness. One Lonely Diner, where people often search for a recipe for love. (The food is good there, too.)

One man plays it straight. Another grieves over a lost best friend with benefits.

Everyone thought they were meant for each other. Lance, an Air Force computer engineer, and Ryan, a former submariner in the Navy and now a military college professor, are gay men blinded by the painful wounds of their past decisions. Both men are ready for love. But because of their pasts, they’ve slammed the brakes on their desires.

Now thirty years old, a younger Ryan Ball decides he can be happy only by conforming to social expectations. So what does he do? He decides he must have a wife and kids. Though he acknowledges that he can never be straight, he is convinced that with effort, determination, alcohol and erectile dysfunction meds, he can play the necessary roles.

Vikki, Ryan’s girlfriend in high school and now his wife, begs to differ.

At thirty-one, Lance Dingle falls for his best friend and roommate, Randy, a stunt pilot who agrees to a friends-with-benefits arrangement. From Lance’s perspective, there’s a spark in their arrangement that Randy denies. Then, tragedy strikes. Lance finds himself alone and lonely, living with memories of Randy and an ever-expanding list of “what-might-have-beens.” Finally forcing himself into the dating scene, Lance discovers that Mr. Right is more elusive than he ever imagined.

Then, Callie Yenti, transwoman, drag performer extraordinaire and entrepreneur, enters the picture. She owns the popular Lonely Diner and possesses an uncanny insight into the workings of the heart.

Even the complicated hearts of her two hard-headed friends, Lance and Ryan.

An HEA gay romance.

Trigger Warning: This novel includes scenes from a sexual assault and a PTSD episode.


It was at this point—this question—that Ryan slammed both hands flat against the table. He heard Diamond’s short scream and grimaced. He lowered his voice. “Okay. Fine. The two of you want the truth? The whole truth? You’ll have it, then.” 

​He could imagine what Vikki would say. She would never have advised handling his parents the way he intended now. ​

Ryan inhaled deeply. “For years now, I have denied a big part of who I am. In my denial, I asked Vikki to make a sacrifice—a sacrifice of which she was unaware for years—while I sorted my sh*t out. A fool’s way of avoiding the truth. It took a stint in the Navy but finally, I did. I sorted everything out and realized I am gay. There. I said it. And I said it without fear or shame.” ​

“Oh, dear God!” Mr. Ball’s voice boomed, echoing against the walls of the dining room. “What kind of farce do you have in store for us next? That you’ve fallen in love with a sailor, and with him, you intend to live happily ever after?” A pause. Then: “Gay!” He spat out the word. “Another fad. Another trend. It’s not real. I’ve known men who thought they were homosexuals, then after years of lying to themselves passed, I discovered they were happily married with children.” 

​“How many people have you told?” Mrs. Ball demanded. “To what degree have you brought shame to this family?” And then, after a thought: “And what about Vikki? Can you say with certainty that you’re really Diamond’s father? After all, you’ve been at sea for months at a time.”

 ​“Wait just a minute!” Ryan’s voice exploded. “First, I must say that your assertion is offensive—both to me and, I’m sure, to Vikki. Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I can’t perform sexually with a woman.” He turned to his father. “Which probably is part of the reason why your gay acquaintances were able to pull the wool over your eyes so successfully. Being gay is more than just sex, you know.” 

​Mr. Ball glared at his son. “I am so fearful of what will happen to this country when your generation takes the reins.” 

​“Just—stop it! Just shut the f*ck up! Both of you. I’m tired of it. Tired of the bullsh*t.” 

​The expression on both parents’ faces confirmed the fact that their son had never spoken to them using this tone, these words. ​

Ryan lowered his voice to a subtle whisper. “What Vikki and I are dealing with? Well, it’s our concern. No one else’s.” 

​Then, a voice. Vikki’s voice. Coming from the doorway. Diamond, still absorbed in her coloring activity in the family room. 

​“Please understand. Both of you. I was able to handle your son’s honesty. Was I deeply hurt when I discovered the truth? Yes. Of course. And I’m sure you bear some hurt of your own. But you should not weaponize that hurt into anger against your son. It’s important that you try to do what Ryan and I did. It took some effort, but it was worth it. With open communication and a willingness to be accessible to one another, we began to work things out. I know there are still challenges ahead of us, especially with our little girl. That’s uncharted territory, to be sure. But Diamond is loved. By both of us. We will still be a family, even when Ryan is in Florida and I’m here, in Virginia. We want both of you to be a part of our family. But that’s not going to happen if the two of you can‘t see your way forward to cultivate a little understanding.” 

​To avoid escalating the situation even more, what Vikki and Ryan did not say was that Mr. and Mrs. Ball would never see their grandchild again if they could not surmount their anger, doubt and resentment.

About the Author

Dann Hazel has been writing both fiction and nonfiction for more than twenty years. 

Besides writing romance, he has taught high school English and journalism, college psychology and human sexuality, directed federal grants and worked as a therapist in a psychiatric hospital. His fiction genre interests include thrillers, horror, literary and gay romance. He has published the Some Like It Haute Gay Romance Series, including Room for DessertMy Own Private Biscuit and Lonely Diner.

Nonfiction works include Witness: Gay and Lesbian Clergy Report from the Front and Moving On: The Gay Man’s Guide for Coping When a Relationship Ends.

Dann’s personal interests include reading and writing, cinema, jogging, Broadway, keeping abreast of current events and travel.

Currently, Dann lives in Central Florida with his husband, Josh, and their American Eskimo canine, Flurry.

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Monday, December 4, 2023

New Release-Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway: BAD AT BEING GOOD by A.L. Morrow

Bad at Being Good

by A.L. Morrow

Publisher: SourGirl Books

Cover Artist: Morningstar Ashley Designs

Release Date: November 28, 2023

Genre: Contemporary M/M romance, new adult

Tropes: brother’s best friend, friends to lovers, first love, bad boy

Themes: coping with grief, forgiveness, hurt/comfort, found family

Heat Rating: 4 flames  

Length:  73 000 words

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

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Available on Amazon, Kobo, Apple Books, B&N, and Smashwords

Universal Buy Link

No one is good all of the time. Especially me.


Six years ago, I promised my friend Kellan that I’d never mess around with his little brother. I accepted it. I didn’t regret it, and I didn’t think twice about it. Milo Sterling—the good student, perfect son, and promising dancer—was off limits.

But that was before.

Before we went away to college. Before Kellan died. Before I flunked out of school.

Now, I’m back home, and Milo’s different. He’s quieter and colder, no longer a boy but a man. And that hurt in his eyes? I put it there the night I failed to save Kellan. I have a lot to make up for. Falling for Milo, no matter how much I want him, would be one more thing to add to my list.

But promises are meant to be broken, and if there’s one thing I’m bad at, it’s being good.

Bad at Being Good is a best friend’s brother/brother’s best friend (dual POV) M/M romance featuring hurt/comfort, found family, coping with grief, and—of course—a happily ever after. Readers are advised to check the Author’s Note for content sensitivities.


“I’m sorry for your loss.”

I ignore the next person who tries to talk to me, exactly like I did the last. Dad’s eyes bore into me. When there’s a break in the people approaching, he steps closer and leans over my shoulder.

“Milo, stand up,” he scolds. “These people are here to support us. Snubbing them is rude.”

Mom comes between us immediately. She places her hand on Dad’s arm, but her gaze is warm when it turns toward me. “David, leave him alone. He’s going through enough right now. He shouldn’t have to worry about other people, too.”

At least Mom gets it.

Dad frowns but stands straight again. Sighing, he looks out across the church.

Then, he scowls.

“I can’t believe that piece of sh*t showed up.”

I glance over my shoulder in the direction of his stare, and I see him.

“Benji?” I whisper.

Our eyes lock, and I can barely breathe.

He came. I texted him the other night to make sure he knew about the arrangements, but he never replied. Still, he’s here, standing way in the back where people light votive candles. His hands are shoved in his pockets. He’s dressed in black. And although he’ll always be my idea of gorgeous, right now he looks like hell. Gauze is stuffed up his nostrils, and a bandage covers his nose. His bottom lip is split, and he’s got stitches by his hairline and bruises on his cheeks. My dad really did a number on him.

“How did he even find out about the service?” Dad grumbles.

Because I told him. I knew you wouldn’t, so I did.

“David, let it go. He was Kellan’s best friend. He has every right to be here.” Mom hooks her arm through Dad’s and takes his hand, holding him back before we have a repeat performance of their fight in the ER.

But she doesn’t stop me.

I’m on my feet, making my way to the back of the church before the next note on the organ plays. Unfortunately, Benji moves just as quickly. He beelines toward the door, knowing he’s been spotted.

“Benji, wait!” I call.

Dad’s voice echoes behind me. “Milo, get back here. They’re about to start. Milo!”

F*ck that. Kellan would want Benji to feel welcome. He’d want him to know he doesn’t blame him for what happened. He’d want him to be all right.

And you know what? I want that, too.

I move faster, jogging down the aisle, taking off after him, but he has too much of a head start. The door to the church swings open. He almost knocks over one of Kellan’s former coaches, but he doesn’t excuse himself or stop.


I know he can hear me. I know he saw me. If only he would hold still for a second and give me a chance to explain, to apologize for my dad …

I follow him through the front door and make it down the front steps of the church in time to watch his Range Rover pull out of the parking lot.

“Benji …”

No, he can’t go. He can’t leave me here. I have too much to say.

He needs to know it’s not his fault.

He needs to know I love him—that I’m in love with him.

But he’s gone.

Carra's Review
These poor characters have been through a horrible tragedy. They are still grieving, but both have endured, though each at a cost. There are a lot of emotions to unpack here, and much of the story is serious with each of them still dealing with the fallout of what happened. But there are also bright spots as they work through things, and a touch of snark with Milo’s best friend.

Milo is at the end of high school (note—he is 18, so technically an adult), ready to move on and hopefully continue his dance career. His father is not a fan of that idea though, and there is friction between them on this topic. Milo has been into Benji for a long time, though as the best friend of Milo’s older brother Kellan, Benji had promised to stay away and not start anything with him.

Benji is really not as bad as you might think. Sure, he got up to the usual antics guys get up to as they’re growing up…but once his best friend Kellan dies he does become a bit self-destructive. He blames himself, and it doesn’t help that Milo and Kellan’s father blames him as well. When he comes back home, Milo’s presence seems to settle him, though Benji still has his moments. He also has his own issues at home with his mother, but it’s good to see how much he cares for her.

There’s plenty for them both to work through, and some frustrating—and later surprising—interactions with Milo’s father. I’d say this is is medium angst, but in the end I was very satisfied with how everything worked out. There was consistent casual use of marijuana, which is entirely not my thing, and I felt like it was a crutch that Benji was relying on, though I understand other readers will not have an issue with it.

Bad at Being Good was a solid 4-star read for me, and I’d recommend it for any M/M romance fans, especially if you like the best friend’s brother/brother’s best friend trope. This story is meant for readers 18+ for adult language, casual drug use (marijuana), and sexual content.

About the Author 

USA Today bestselling author A.L. Morrow enjoys dreaming up steamy scenes and spectacular settings—often along with a touch of magic or myth. She believes that love is love and likes reading and writing various genres of romance.

In her downtime (what’s that?), A finds delight in scouring for secondhand designer fashions. She briefly lived in a haunted mansion, once took a flight to visit Scotland for a day, and is prone to meeting minor celebrities in random hotel elevators. She resides in the eastern US.

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Sunday, December 3, 2023

New Release-Excerpt & Giveaway: INSATIABLE INCUBUS by Dana Frost

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Insatiable Incubus
By Dana Frost

Insatiable Incubus cover Dana Frost

Lads and Monsters, Book 1

A sadistic incubus; a young monster hunter. Sometimes love can be more complicated than murder.

Lucian Darksbane has been tormenting men since the Middle Ages. An impossibly charming incubus, he has left a trail of broken hearts and ravaged bodies in his wake. But now, he lives a secluded life in his sprawling, countryside manor haunted by his dark past.

When maidens from the neighboring village start turning up murdered in the woods, the brooding incubus is the first to be blamed. His spirits are lifted by the arrival of a delicious young lad who may be exactly what this sadistic monster needs to — distract himself.

Wilder Wrenfield is hired to assassinate the mysterious demon of Thornwood Manor. Audacious, wild, and too brave for his own good, Wilder jumps head first into the mission with his signature reckless arrogance — that is, until he lays eyes on his irresistible target.

Posing as Lord Darksbane’s butler, even Wilder’s dreams are no longer private as his master proceeds to inflict his perverted desires on the unsuspecting assassin — the scariest part for Wilder is, how much he loves it. 

An enemy becomes a lover and turns his hired gun on the world to protect his former target. But, as the pair grows closer, old wounds are torn open. Lucian has a secret that threatens to not only destroy their love, but destroy each other.

Insatiable Incubus is an enemies-to-lovers standalone MM monster romance featuring an age gap, kinky scenes, and fated mates. This novel follows a lonely monster with a traumatic past and a bold, angsty human discovering their love through forced proximity.

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Carra's Review

I just want to start out by saying how much I like the cover for this book.  I would have expected a darker story based on it, but this one really wasn’t like that.  I’m also going to point out that this is written in first-person, present tense…not really a favorite of mine, but I haven’t run across many incubus stories so I was okay with giving this one a chance.

Lucian and Wilder are an interesting matchup, but I’ll admit I really wasn’t feeling the connection that I expected with a fated mates situation.  Lucian has a bit of a snooty attitude, and the way he goes about instigating their first intimate encounter was not something I was a fan of.  Wilder was a more likable character, if a bit excessive in his monster-hunting methods.

The writing style of this book wasn’t really for me, and I found that the behavior of the characters was a little over the top.  Sometimes they were even a bit corny.  The supporting characters helped a bit, particularly Lucian’s cook, but the main part of the book focused more on Lucian and Wilder’s physical connections, with most of the resolution regarding the murders coming at the very end, though not how you’d might expect at first.

This story wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I think that’s more attributable to the writing style and less serious tone than I’m used to with these types of books.  While not really my cuppa, you’ll likely want to check it out if, like me, you haven’t found stories with an incubus as a main character.  Note that I’d recommend this for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.

IG II Teaser 2


Well, he sure doesn’t look like much. Dreadful top hat, creased trousers. I suppose he is easier on the eyes than the last one though. Despite the sweat dripping down his face and those ridiculous lapels, at least he doesn’t stink and has a pretty face.

“I’m here for the position of butler, Lord Darksbane.”

“You’re late,” I notify him, incredulously.

“Yes, forgive me, my Lord, no cab would take me all the way. I had to hike through the village and up the hill.

“Yes, yes, alright, I don’t need your life story. Come in and get yourself cleaned up.”

“Thank you, my Lord,” he says and steps into the foyer.

“I didn’t catch your name,” I say rather than ask.

“Wrenfield, my Lord, Wilder Wrenfield.”

“Alright, Wrenfield, I will show you your quarters. It’s already supper time so I won’t expect you to start today, but first thing in the morning I will give you a briefing on your duties. Clear?”

“Crystal, my Lord,” he counters with an innocent smile. Yes, he’s definitely sharper than the last ones. And he seems to be comfortable with my form. Usually, the old farts would almost faint at the sight of me. You would think, in this day and age, any human would be used to the sight of an incubus, but sadly that isn’t the case.

I pluck a flaming torch from the wall and lead him up the creaking staircase to the upper floors. I push open a bedroom with a small sink and a single bed. In the corner, there is a wardrobe for the few items he seems to be carrying with him. He doesn’t look like much of a butler I have to say, but it’s been so dreadfully boring around here lately that I don’t really mind. I think I’m going to enjoy seeing him around the house. When he takes off his top hat and places it on the nightstand, before pulling his thick brown hair back, I know for certain I will enjoy watching him.

“Satisfactory?” I inquire.

“Yes, marvelous, thank you, my Lord,” he says, with what I detect is a small hint of irony. What an interesting human this is.

“Good, the bathroom is down the hall if you need to — wash up.” I let the words hover in the room as I close the door and head back down to my study.

After a short while, I hear the pipes rumble and the upstairs shower turn on. To my astonishment, I feel my c*ck stiffening and stretching the fabric of my trousers. I can practically feel myself becoming old each passing day that I don’t have my c*ck inside something beautiful. He may not have been much to look at in his state, but he certainly did have something about him. A strong, athletic frame which is all too hard to find out here where the diet of the young consists of sheep fat, brown ale, and blood pudding. And deep brown eyes, something of a favorite of mine. His magnificent bone structure may as well have been carved by Lucifer himself. And that thick brown hair, scrumptious.

Yes, my c*ck agrees with me, it is unavoidable that I don’t have a little fun with the poor boy before his early shift. I won’t go too hard on him though, don’t want to scare off the only excitement I’ve had in two years for being over-eager. I take out my c*ck and start slowly stroking, waiting for my prey to fall into a deep, not-so-private, sleep.

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About the Author:

My name is Dana Frost. From a young age, I’ve been obsessed with fantastical monsters and the paranormal. Now, as an adult, I can’t help but add my love for MM romance and kink into the mix. I enjoy writing love stories with a hint of darkness and heat levels through the roof. My characters are usually charming, witty, and sarcastic, masking their damaged and needy hearts.

I’m originally from Ireland but find myself living in Greece for now. I’m a hopeless coffee addict, love all kinds of crafts, and I run to the beach every free moment I have. Perhaps I will run into my very own minotaur one of these days…

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Friday, December 1, 2023

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: BAD PUCKING INFLUENCE by Michele Lenard (Colorado Bulldogs #2)

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Bad Pucking Influence
By Michele Lenard

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Colorado Bulldogs, Book 2

Thor meets Tony Hawk in this comedic, low-angst/high spice MM romance about a serious hockey goalie who is drawn out of his shell by a bratty skateboarder, a dare involving cake, and a lesson in how to use joysticks-for video games of course.

On the surface, I’ve got it all. I’m the starting goalie and Captain of the Colorado Bulldogs hockey team. I’ve got more money than I know what to do with. I can count an entire team of elite athletes as my friends. And according to the pundits, I’m an eligible bachelor.

That's the image everyone sees, but it’s just a role I play. A part dictated by my career. I have to be just as perfect off the ice as I am on it since everything I do reflects on my team in some way or another. So, those questions I have about why I don’t crave sexual contact the way my teammates do–questions I’m afraid to ask with the world watching… I decided a long time ago it didn’t make sense to look for answers until after I retire.

Then I ran into him.

Tripp is loud, obnoxious, and full of confidence. Some people find his sass off-putting, but not me. I find it intriguing, and I admire his ability to be himself, consequences be damned. Apparently, I also admire the way he looks, since my eyes seem to linger on him longer than they should, and when he sets his sights on me…

Waiting for retirement to explore who I am seems like too big a sacrifice, so when Tripp offers to help me answer some of those questions about myself, I jump.

I'm tired of pretending to be Mr. Perfect… Tripp and his playboy antics might be just the thing I need to figure out who I am outside of hockey. The only problem is, everyone–including our mutual friends–see him as a bad pucking influence.

Bad Pucking Influence is a low-angst, high-spice MM romance featuring a hockey player and a brat, not a hockey book featuring a romance. Fans of bratty playboys and gentle giants will enjoy this light-hearted, steamy yet touching love story.

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Since I first saw Tripp at a team barbeque Xander dragged him to last summer, I’ve found myself noticing him more and more. In my defense, it’s hard not to. Standing at six feet, with perfectly mussed bleached-blond hair and dark stubble that’s hard to miss since the contrast is so stark, it’s the mischievous tilt of his lips that really captures my attention. I often find myself wondering what’s going on in his mind, particularly since he’s a professional at giving people the shock-and-awe treatment. His antics amuse me more than they should, even when they involve silly excuses to measure my biceps with his hands. 

Between his loud looks and even louder personality, he doesn’t exactly fade into the background, and if I’m being honest, I find his brash nature freeing. I sort of like that he’s become a bit of a regular fixture in our social circle. What’s confusing to me is that it’s not just his personality that catches my attention. His appearance fascinates me, especially now, with him skating around shirtless.

Tall and lean, every muscle is on display, showing off a smattering of tattoos that would otherwise be hidden. They’re kind of mesmerizing to watch as they ripple under his skin. So is the youthful gleam in his eye. It’s not arousing exactly, but it’s something. Something I’ve yet to put a label on, but I only seem to experience it around him. Which might mean sitting here watching him is a bad idea, at least until I sort out some of my confusion. 

If only I could look away.

IG Sized BPI Teaser 2

Carra's Review

Noah and Tripp are one of my favorite couples that I’ve come across in all the books I’ve read this year.  Tripp’s out-and-proud, raunchy, flirty attitude is a great match to Noah’s more laid-back, serious, thoughtful self.  Neither of them are really expecting anything to come from Tripp’s teasing, especially Noah.

Tripp’s exuberant personality and no-relationships lifestyle mean that no one, even his closest friends, gets to see more than what is on the surface.  He doesn’t let people in behind the scenes to find out where he comes from and what he’s gone through in his past.  

Noah has dated a bit here and there, but for the most part he has been concentrating on his hockey career.  He doesn’t really connect with anyone intimately in any meaningful way, but he’s never given much thought about it, figuring he’d have plenty of time after his hockey career was over to find someone.

Tripp and Noah fall into a casual friendship, which eventually leads to Tripp helping Noah figure out his sexuality.  It was almost mesmerizing following along as Noah comes into so many realizations about himself on his quintessential journey of self discovery.  He learns a lot about himself and what he likes, which was really satisfying as a reader.

Tripp, being someone who shuns relationships, still forms a strong connection with Noah, something he tries hard to avoid but still winds up being constantly drawn back into.  We do get to finally peek behind the curtain into his past, which also provides a very satisfying resolution.

I really enjoyed this story, and am giving this 4.5 stars.  It is focused heavily on Noah’s journey, but there’s enough hockey time to satisfy those who want it.  If you’re here for the intimate scenes, you will not be disappointed—there are quite a few, and they are hot and spicy, but they do contribute to Noah’s self discovery so are really not gratuitous.  Given these scenes and the adult language, this book is recommended for readers 18+.

Enter the Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of Bad Pucking Influence, Michele is giving away a paperback copy of the release!
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!

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About the Author

Michele is a tomboy who writes contemporary romance (usually sports themed) that is both sweet and steamy. Her goal is to make you fan your face as you wipe a tear from your eye. Her books are part of a series but there are no cliffhangers so each can be read as a standalone. When she isn't reading or writing she enjoys the outdoors, something that pops up in her books from time to time.

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Thursday, November 30, 2023

New Release-Excerpt & Giveaway: RED FLAGGED by Elle Keaton (Reclaimed Hearts #3)

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Red Flagged
By Elle Keaton

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Reclaimed Hearts, Book 3

Ex-US Marshal turned Cooper Springs Chief of Police, Andre Dear isn’t looking for love. He’s too busy hunting a killer.

The last person Andre expected to see in Cooper Springs was Dante Castone. He left Dante and the rest of his old life behind him when he moved to Washington State and what he thought would be a quiet job in a small town by the ocean.

Dante Brown went into WITSEC for his sister’s kid--sort of.

In reality, Dante's DIYing it; he isn’t the trusting sort. Daniella was the only witness to her mom’s brutal murder and needs both protection and anonymity--plus as normal a life as possible. It's just a bonus that Cooper Springs has Andre Dear too.

He and Andre have a history, and Dante wants to see if they might have a future. Someone is gunning for Andre and, like it or not, Dante is going to protect him. And yeah, feed him too. Does the man never eat?

Andre needs Dante’s help even if he doesn’t want to accept it. Dante's ready to settle down but he’s going to have to prove himself before Andre lets him in again.

Together, they need to catch a killer and maybe find each other in the process.

Red Flagged is book three in the Reclaimed Hearts series. A second-chance, older-lovers redemption story and thrilling romantic suspense set in the wilds of the Olympic Peninsula.

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André’s evening reading was interrupted by a banging against his front door. The hammering was loud, purposeful, and, in André’s opinion, full of false promise. He briefly contemplated not answering. The reverberation alone told him who was on the other side.

He had a choice to make.

For f*ck’s sake, the thundering knock hadn’t even startled him.


Annoyed, he set his mystery novel—a British cozy he’d been half paying attention to while listening to the rain pound against the roof—face down on the arm of the couch and rose to his feet. Traitorous anticipation bloomed slowly, languorously, alongside the growing exasperation in the pit of his stomach, rising like the steam from a freshly brewed cup of tea.

“Dear, I know you’re in there. Answer the f*cking door. It’s pissing down out here.”

Wasn’t forty-five too old for a booty call? Was it a booty call when the ass in question showed up unannounced and, well, uncalled?

André didn’t have time to answer any of that in the short distance between his couch and the front door. Reaching out, he flipped the lock open and then twisted the handle, his hand shaking slightly.

This would be the last time.

Seconds later, André was slammed back against the living room wall, his hands automatically slipping under Dante’s leather jacket and cotton t-shirt, his fingertips sliding against Dante’s chilled, damp, skin. Dante murmured something and then his mouth was on André’s, claiming him as he always did.

Always. But never forever.

Within minutes, they were mostly naked and stumbling into André’s bedroom. A trail of clothing was strewn behind them, much like Hansel and Gretel’s trail of breadcrumbs so they could find their way back out of the wicked forest.

André felt his personal forest was much more complicated than Hansel and Gretel’s, but he’d finally found a way out of it.

This was the last time they were doing this.

At least this time, they made it to the bed and hadn’t just ended up on the couch like so many nights before. Falling onto the mattress, André had landed on his back and currently was gazing down his body, watching an equally naked Dante press his nose into André’s crotch. He liked it.

God, he liked it.

His c*ck did too. His c*ck was a fan of everything Dante. But it needed to stop. It had to. A relationship that consisted of late-night knocks on the door (followed up by the best sex André had ever experienced) and an empty spot next to him in the morning was not what he wanted.

The sex was incredible but what happened afterward made him intensely lonely.

As ridiculous as it was for a man of his age and profession—a U.S. Marshal, for godsakes—André wanted a partner. A real partner.

Dante Castone, an undercover operator for the DEA, was not the man for the job.

He wanted someone who’d stand by his side through good and bad times and vice versa. Dante was not that man. No matter how f*cking incredible his lips felt as they closed around André’s c*ck.

“Jesus,” André groaned, arching his back.

Since a partner didn’t seem to be in the cards for André at this late stage in the game, he’d decided to settle for a job that wasn’t actively trying to kill him. He wanted to head into his twilight years like a cop on The Andy Griffith Show or Mayberry R.F.D., giving advice to innocent kids and chatting with senior citizens who would end up having the answer to everything.

“You’re distracted tonight,” Dante rumbled as he let André’s c*ck slip from between his lips so he could begin licking his way up André’s body. He was heading toward André’s neck, which seemed to be a favorite place of his.

“Don’t leave marks,” André complained, his hips jerking as Dante nibbled on a sensitive nipple. “I don’t want to have to explain anything to my coworkers.”

“So many rules. You know I love breaking rules.”

Dante did love breaking rules—André’s rules, at any rate.

“Quit thinking so hard.” Dante punctuated his demand by biting and then sucking hard on André’s nipple, tracing around the nub with his hot tongue.

“F*ck.” André’s c*ck throbbed with anticipation of what was to come—himself and Dante—and he writhed desperately underneath Dante’s pleasantly heavy, muscular body, needing more contact, more of everything.

Tomorrow he’d tell Dante they couldn’t do this anymore. No more rule breaking.

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About the Author:

Do you love inclusive, swoony, and often suspenseful small-town romances featuring complex characters and a unique sense of place? I do too! My characters start out broken and, maybe, they’re still a tad banged up by the end, but they find the other half of their hearts and ALWAYS get their happily ever after.

In 2017 I pressed the Publish button for the first time and have never looked back—making this the longest period of time I've stuck with a job in my entire life.

Currently, there are over thirty Elle Keaton books available for you to read or listen to. I love cats and dogs. Star Wars and Star Trek. Pineapple on pizza, and have a cribbage habit my husband encourages.

Connecting with readers is very important to me. If you are so inclined, join The Highway to Elle newsletter, and keep up to date with everything Elle-related (or join my Ream page and get in on the novels early plus swag and extras). Random topics Include, but not limited to, ‘where are Elle's glasses?' and, ‘why are there cats?’. I can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, and occasionally TikTok.

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