Monday, February 27, 2023

New Release-Review & Excerpt: MUSIC TO HIS EARS by Ariella Zoelle (Harmony of Hearts #4) - Includes Giveaway!

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Music To His Ears
By Ariella Zoelle

Music To His Ears Cover

Harmony of Hearts, Book 4

Sal and Haverford are forced to live together, but that doesn’t mean they have to like it. Sparks fly between them, but will it lead to love?

Sal Henrik

Coming home from a world tour early to find out my roommate sublet my room sucks. But being forced to share my room with the most annoying attorney on the planet? I’d rather launch myself into the sun, thanks.

Since that’s not an option, and I refuse to be chased out of my own room, I have to suck it up and share a bed with my enemy. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I discover Haverford is a secret cuddlebug—and worst of all, I don’t hate it.

If he insists on staying in my space and making me delicious dinners, he has no one to blame but himself for making me fall in love with him, right?

Haverford Delaroche

My peaceful subletting situation is thrown into total chaos when Sal comes home early. We start as enemies, but I begrudgingly develop a fondness for his fiery tenacity. That doesn’t excuse me waking up every morning to discover I’m cuddling him like my favorite teddy bear, though.

But when it feels like he was made for me to hold, how can I resist falling for Sal when he’s everything I didn’t know I needed?

Music to His Ears is the fourth book in the Harmony of Hearts series and part of the Sunnyside universe. This novel features a comedic enemies to lovers, forced proximity, rock star, age gap, opposites attract, gay romance. If you love cute sweetness, sexy fun, and no angst stories that will make you laugh and swoon, you’ll enjoy this satisfying HEA without cliffhangers. Each book can be read as a standalone or as part of the series in order.

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Chapter 1: Sal Henrik

If I didn’t get some sleep soon, I was going to burn the world down. Staggering into my apartment at four in the morning after a thirty-seven-hour flight from hell, I dropped all my sh*t in the living room and headed straight to my pitch-black bedroom.

There wasn’t any point in turning on a light when I was three seconds away from crashing in my bed I had dearly missed while being on the road for our international tour.

I stripped on the way before crawling under the sheets. Exhaling a heavy sigh as I closed my eyes, I melted into a boneless puddle, more than ready for sleep to claim me for the night.

“Is there some reason you’re in my bed?”

My eyes flew open as I startled back with a noise of shock from the sound of a man’s voice that did not belong to my roommate. In the darkness, I could see the faint outline of a person next to me I had somehow missed earlier. My heart jumped into my throat as I fumbled for the lamp on my nightstand. In true me-fashion, all I did was knock the stupid thing onto the floor and break it.

The stranger sat up with a sigh and turned on the other bedside table lamp. I squinted against the sudden brightness. My mind reeled at the sight of a gorgeous god of a man in my bed.

Whereas my reaction was one of fear, he didn’t seem the least bit unsettled, which was amazing, considering I’d woken him up. He ran his fingers through the black hair that framed his face, looking freshly tousled by a good f*ck that gave me dirty thoughts. The sheets dipped low, making me realize we were both naked. That really didn’t help me think thoughts that weren’t about f*cking.

The man appeared to be older than me by quite a few years. His flinty gray eyes watched me with an intensity that made my heart pound. His handsome face had an annoyed frown on it as he studied me with disdain. “Again, I’ll ask: is there some reason you’re in my bed?”

My fear morphed into rage. “Your bed? What are you talking about? The better question is, what the hell are you doing in my bed?”

I may have been deeply flustered by the appearance of the naked stranger, but he was almost infuriatingly cool, calm, and collected. “I refuse to argue semantics with you at this ridiculous hour. Remove yourself from my presence at once.”

What kind of asshole used the word “semantics” at four in the morning? His authoritative tone rankled me. Who did this guy think he was? A prince who could order me around as if I was a peon?

My stubborn streak asserted itself. “I’m not going anywhere! If anything, I should call the cops and have you arrested for breaking and entering!”

“I have done no such thing.” He narrowed his eyes in a warning glare that made my heart skip a beat for all the wrong reasons. Damn him for being so attractive! “You seem to suffer from the delusion that I’m a trespasser when you’re the one who broke into my room.”

My temper flared as I raised my voice. I did not need that type of bullsh*t before 5:00 a.m. after a hard day of travel on the heels of a long world tour. All I wanted to do was sink into dreams. “Because I live here!”

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Carra's Review

I love this author’s Wonderland series, so I thought I’d try one of their contemporary romances.  I’m really on the fence about this one.  On the one hand, the plot point used to bring Sal and Haverford together was a bit of a stretch for me, particularly once we learn more about Haverford’s personal situation much later in the story.  On the other, I did enjoy most of the interactions between the two of them, and they had great chemistry together.

For the most part, Sal’s negative reactions to Haverford sticking to his resolve to stay in his room were understandable; but they did start to grate on me since it did feel a bit over the top the longer it went on, especially once Sal seemed more or less resigned to the situation.

I will say though that I want my own Haverford to keep for myself.  While the way he spoke felt somewhat formal most of the time, he was calm, patient, smart…and boy that man sure can cook ;-). He definitely complemented Sal’s personality, making them a great match.

The story did feel to me a bit stretched out given how easily things seemed to resolve, but I did really like Sal and Haverford together once they did clear up their issues.  Me personally, I’ll probably be sticking to this author’s Wonderland series rather than their contemporary as I prefer the storytelling style in those books.  But if you’re a fan of music star romances, you’ll likely want to check Music to His Ears out.

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About the Author:

Ariella Zoelle adores steamy, funny, swoony romances where couples are allowed to just be happy. She writes low angst stories full of heat, humor, and heart. But sometimes she's in the mood for something with a bit more angst and drama. If you are too, check out her A.F. Zoelle books.

For real time updates on her writing progress, please join her Facebook group for exclusive teasers or follow her on Twitter or Instagram. You can also sign up for her newsletter to gain access to bonus chapters, previews of upcoming books, exclusive visual guides, and more.

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Friday, February 24, 2023

99¢ Sale: CHASING HOPE by Gwen Martin

Chasing Hope

Author and Publisher: Gwen Martin

Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood Designs 

Release Date: February 19, 2021 

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Hurt/Comfort; Out for you; Small Town Romance; Bisexual Romance 

Themes: Grief/loss; second chance at love 

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 68 000 words/ 286 pages

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

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Loss chased him away. Hope brought him love...But is that enough?


Sean is only twenty-seven, but he’s already lost everything that gave him life. On the verge of losing hope for a future, he moves to a town where no one knows about him, the death of his child, or his failed marriage; but when his nightmares and his guilt follow him without the pitying glares, he realizes he can’t move forward on his own.

Jonah has worked tirelessly to keep his father’s memory alive and be a fixture in the small town he grew up in. Now, nearing forty, his dreams have been long forgotten to keep everyone else’s alive, and he doesn’t know how to reclaim his life as his own without losing his last connection to his father.

But when the two men’s lives collide, they’re forced to confront their grief and accept that there can be life and hope after loss—if you’re willing to chase it.

Chasing Hope is a 68k small-town, second chance at love, M/M Romance. There are subject matters in this book that may act as triggers for some. Readers are invited to check out the complete trigger warning on the copyright page, which can be viewed by clicking on the "Look Inside" preview or by downloading the sample. These triggers contain spoilers for the book.


“Well, don’t ever do what I did and sleep with your best friend’s brother.” Jonah rubbed the back of his neck, color tinting his cheeks. “I said that wrong. There’s no ill will or anything. It didn’t last long.”

When Sean spoke, his voice came out hoarse and shaky. “I’m sorry.” 

Jonah waved his hand. “Eh, it’s not a big deal. It was a long time ago, and we’re still super close. Candice worries I’ll never date again but dating at 37 is far harder than when you’re in your twenties.”

Sean laughed. “Oh really? Because I’m 27 and I can say that having been married and divorced by the time I was 26 isn’t exactly great dinner date conversation.”  

Jonah shifted in his seat, resting his arm along the back of the couch. His hand grazed over Sean’s shoulder, his eyes watching the pattern they traced. “Well, that’s a shame on their part. They’re definitely missing out.” 

Sean’s entire body was vibrating, and the muscles in his legs quaking. He didn’t know what he was doing, he didn’t know if he could confess the truth of his sexuality again. Sean had already tried twice, and both times had failed miserably.

Sean had once gone bungee jumping with Parker over the Colossus Bridge in Italy. He didn’t know what he was doing, but the massive expanse of green was so vivid it looked like a photograph. The man who had geared him up spoke broken English and said with a thick Italian accent, “You fly. Be free. Nowhere else but here.”

Sean wanted to take that leap again. Wanted to be free. Wanted to fly.

He leaned over and kissed Jonah.

It wasn’t the best kiss. If anything, judging by Sean’s history of kissing, it was embarrassingly awful. He was a little off center from Jonah’s mouth, and Sean’s lips slid over to the corner. At the same time, he lingered a second too long, and Jonah gasped in surprise, causing Sean’s tongue to slide under Jonah’s bottom lip.

He pulled back, his face burning. Jonah’s hand lifted to his lips, eyes round with shock. Sean couldn’t control his breathing, his hands balling into fists. He licked his lips again, eager to taste Jonah on his tongue. Jonah’s eyes trailed down to Sean’s mouth and stayed there for a protracted beat.

“Um,” Jonah said, his lips pursing out a bit. “That—”

“I’m not straight,” Sean said, blurting the words a bit louder than intended. The rest tumbled out, glued together, sticky and rushed. “I tried to tell you before, but I messed up and I couldn’t—I couldn’t—I mean, I didn’t want to—”

Jonah pressed a finger to Sean’s lips, silencing him. His eyes appeared bluer in the dimming late afternoon, his hair framing his sharp jawline. Sean’s breath came out in ragged huffs as Jonah traced his fingertips along Sean’s chin, over his jaw, and around his temple. He combed those same fingers through Sean’s hair, and Sean couldn’t help but let his eyes flutter shut, lean into the touch.

“When I dated Lee, we didn’t tell anyone because I was worried about Candice finding out about her brother and best friend hooking up,” Jonah said, his voice quiet but even. 

Sean tried to listen, tried to pay attention, but it was hard with Jonah’s dull nails scraping along his scalp. He shivered, biting the inside of his cheek hard. 

Jonah drew closer, his other hand resting on Sean’s hip. “In the end we realized it wasn’t meant to be. We decided we were better off as friends, and a few months later he started dating the man who is now his husband. They’re better together than we ever would’ve been.”

Jonah’s breath ghosted over Sean’s mouth as he whispered, “There’s been no one since.”

Sean breathed hard through his nose when Jonah’s hand cupped around the back of his neck. “No one?”

“Well, there is someone,” Jonah murmured, low and rumbly.

“Ye-yeah?” Sean whispered. His eyes remained closed, too scared to open them and see how Jonah’s eyes looked. He imagined they were full of heat and as captivating as a clear summer sky. Breathing became difficult, and his heartbeat ramped up to a gallop.

“Yeah,” Jonah said, his voice breathy. “I really want to kiss you. Is that okay?” Jonah whispered. 

The huskiness of his voice swirled around Sean like a sharp wind, overwhelming and shocking. He gripped Jonah’s t-shirt and pulled him closer. 

“Yes,” Sean said. He wanted to sound confident and sure, but instead his voice came out raw and desperate. The next word slipped between his lips on its own accord. “Please.”

About the Author 

Gwen Martin grew up in Florida where the sun was always shining, the humidity was high, and Disney was just a hop skip away. She currently lives in Knoxville, Tennessee to experience seasons and be closer to the mountains. When she’s not trying to write one of her million story ideas, she’s usually hanging out with her husband and four cats. 

​Gwen first started writing at a young age, coming up with stories in class instead of paying attention to the math lesson. Since then she has been exploring her love of writing in various fan communities where she has learned how to cultivate character development and romantic interactions. 

​She has a strong love affair with cold brew coffee, black cats, and nerding out in various fandoms. When she’s not writing, she’s reading everything she can get her hands on, listening to a lot of lo-fi and making playlists, chilling with her four gatos and obsessing about Pusheen. Because it’s always about Pusheen.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2023

LOVE AND VALENTINES AT CAYNHAM CASTLE - Review & Excerpt: FAE-TED MATES by Morgan Brice - Includes Giveaway!

Love and Valentines at Caynham Castle

Authors: Jeanne Adams, Morgan Brice, Caren Crane, Seressia Glass, Nancy Northcott

Publisher: Rickety Bookshelf

Cover Artist: Lyndsey Lewellan

Release Date: February 1, 2023

Genres:  Contemporary, paranormal, MF, MM


Caren Crane's story—opposites attract & forced proximity

Jeanne Adams' story—Grumpy-sunshine, forced proximity, different backgrounds/worlds

Seressia Glass's story—friends-to-lovers, grumpy-sunshine

Morgan Brice's story—hurt/comfort, evolving relationship

Nancy Northcott's story–Second chance at love, redemption

Themes: holiday, dealing with the past, bargains and deals, redemption, facing the future

Heat Rating: Varies by story

Length:  150 000 words/482 pages

This is the fourth in the Caynham Castle shared-world holiday romance series. 

Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

One castle, five authors, five love stories, all at the same holiday event!


Racing Toward Love by Jeanne Adams

Dr. Oriela Deschamps was overjoyed to get a job appraising an estate for the Wellington family in the small English town of Caynham-On-Ledwyche. From the first meeting with the Byron "Bo" Wellington, Ori knows the job is going to be a challenge. First, there's Bo himself - the sexy, grumpy heir to Ribald Racing Stables. Then, there's the exceedingly dangerous artifact that's the centerpiece of her appraisal. That artifact, a set of riding silks from 1947, carry a curse and someone wants them for dark and desperate reasons. Can Ori's magic save them, or will the would-be thief kill both Ori and Bo, just as they find their special Valentines?

Fae-ted Mates by Morgan Brice

Dawson and Grady King are honeymooning at Caynham Castle, hoping to take a break from monster hunting. They have one piece of family business to handle, involving a generations-long agreement with the Welsh Fae. When things go wrong, will Dawson and Grady survive, or will they be trapped in the Faerie realm forever?

Romance Sells Records by Caren Crane

After watching her mother’s hope for a grand romance get dashed time after time, Hannah Evans grew into someone with no tolerance for romance. Callum Hughes’ parents had an enviable relationship, and he wanted the same for himself: if only he could convince Hannah to trust what they could build together.

Cupid Comes to Caynham by Seressia Glass

In Cupid Comes to Caynham, Oliver Jones' family has run the Boar and Knight off and on for centuries. After his father's death, it is now Oliver's responsibility to manage the ancient pub, a duty that leaves him no time or desire for love--until professional tourist Shayla Munroe literally falls at his feet. With Valentine's and Shayla's departure date fast approaching, does love have time to bloom or will it die on the vine? Not if Venus and Cupid have anything to say about it.

The One Who Got Away by Nancy Northcott

Hastings Whitney grew up driven not only to succeed but to be seen to succeed. His focus on success cost him two marriages and any number of relationships. Now he has a second chance with the woman he never forgot, jewelry designer Corinne Lanier. Has he changed enough to balance work with a relationship? Or will a business crisis bring old habits back to the fore? And is there a sinister side to his problem?

Excerpt from Fae-ted Mates by Morgan Brice



“I can’t believe we’re really here.” Grady King pulled Dawson along by the wrist to the check-in desk. “It’s a real castle!”

“It’s called Caynham Castle. Not exactly a surprise—it sort of looks like one,” Dawson teased fondly.

“Yeah, but ‘Magic Kingdom’ isn’t a real kingdom,” Grady retorted. “Truth in advertising is rare.”

The lobby was in one of several buildings along the wall of the outer bailey. Dark wood wainscoting covered the lower half of the hewn stone wall, matching the counter. A large oil painting of a man in the opulent clothing of another century hung behind the check-in desk. Grady assumed it was one of the many Earls of Caynham whose most recent descendant still owned the castle and ran it as a hotel and event destination.

The woman behind the counter watched their banter with a bemused look. “Welcome to Caynham Castle. I’m Constance. Could I have your last names, please?”

Grady plunked their joined hands onto the counter so that the matching rings showed. “King. My husband and I have the honeymoon suite.”

“Theatrical much?” Dawson joked. “She’s seen married folks before, I’d wager.”

We’ve never been here before or been married before. Don’t dim my joy.” Grady knew he was being over the top, but everything about the trip had his excitement cranked up to the max. Honeymoon. England. Castle—and our own suite. Vacation. And no monsters for two whole weeks.

“He had a lot of coffee on the flight,” Dawson told the woman in a faux-apologetic tone. His grin made it clear that he enjoyed Grady’s enthusiasm.

“You have to understand,” Grady confided in Constance, “we’ve had several friends who absolutely loved their stay here. They told us plenty about the castle. I want to find all the gargoyles.”

“Let’s get you checked in so you can deposit your luggage and go hunting,” Constance said with a smile.

Grady’s eyes widened. “I didn’t mean hunting them—” He snapped his mouth shut, realizing that she hadn’t meant their kind of monster hunting. Dawson subtly elbowed him in the ribs, but his unspoken message was clear.

Don’t freak the mundanes.

“Grady and Dawson King.” Grady tugged a bit on their joined hands, loving how the matching gold bands caught the light.

“Ah yes, here’s the reservation. And it seems as if your friends have sent some welcome gifts. There’s a package from Teag Logan and Anthony Benson, one from Erik Mitchell and Ben Nolan, and another from Simon Kincaide and Vic D’Amato.”

Her tone shifted as she read the names, and her eyes widened. “Oh. Oh, my. Are you all in the same business?” She dropped her voice. “Do we have a ghost problem again?”

Carra's Review of Fae-ted Mates

Dawson and Grady should be able to enjoy their honeymoon at a castle in England without having to worry about supernatural shenanigans, right?  Oh, sure, of course.  I mean, they’ll just run quick errand visiting the fae while they are there, and then get right back to celebrating.  Easy peasy.  Oops.

I’m sure you already know - after all, if their friends who are also all involved in the supernatural couldn’t avoid it when visiting Caynham Castle before them, why should Dawson and Grady be any different?  But things are always tricky with the fae, so of course the guys take every precaution.  Yet we all know things rarely go as planned, so get ready for an unexpected twist to add some eerie drama to the mix (okay, yes, of course we’re all expecting it—that’s what we’re here for after all).

Given the shorter story format for the collection things move quickly, just shy of being rushed, but the devotion of the two men to each other shines through when things are at the most desperate point.  That heart of the story is bookended by another great look at the castle and surrounding area, and a chance to help castle residents with their own disturbance of a different fae variety.

Fae-ted Mates gets 4 stars from me, and if you’re wondering if the guys get up to any naughty physical activities, relax—the obligatory scenes are there too for your enjoyment.  Of course that means I’m going to let you know this particular story in this collection is meant for readers 18+ for sexual content ;-)

Meet the Authors  

All five authors are members of the same Facebook Author Group - Romance Bandits

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Tuesday, February 21, 2023

New Release-Excerpt & Giveaway: PLAYING DEEP by Beth Bolden (Miami Piranhas #5)

Playing Deep

(Miami Piranhas Book 5) 

Author and Publisher: Beth Bolden

Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood Designs

Release Date: February 15, 2023

Genre: gay contemporary sports romance

Tropes: hookups to lovers, mysterious past, player and reporter

Themes: loyalty, honor, and unconditional love

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Length: 98 000 words

It is #5 in the series, but could be read by itself.


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited 

Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |   Amazon UK


Kenyon Ellis knows getting involved with Julian Anderson is an enormous mistake—but from the very first night, he finds him annoying, intriguing and ultimately, irresistible.

One, Kenyon is a player, and Julian is a reporter, so hooking up with him, no matter how spectacular the nights are, is a terrible idea.

Two, he’s falling for him, even if Julian continues to be prickly and impossible. But every time Julian’s walls shift, Kenyon sees the real man behind the attitude, and he only wants more.

Three, between the Piranhas and the charity work he’s committed to, Kenyon really doesn’t have the time for a relationship—but a relationship with Julian turns out to be exactly what he wants.

Maybe even exactly what he needs.

But when Julian starts calling out his performance on the field, the last thing Kenyon expects is his betrayal. But is it betrayal? Or does Julian see something in Kenyon that he’s lost?

The answer leads him not only to love, but to the biggest crossroads of his life.

The fifth and final Miami Piranhas book.


“You really didn’t know who I was, did you?” Kenyon asked.

Julian shot him a look. “I told you, you’re going to believe what you want to believe.”

“I want to believe,” Kenyon said, his voice a little unsteady, “whatever the truth is. That’s all. I promise.”

“What if the truth isn’t what you want to hear?” Julian angled his head, licked his lips. He was trying to be flirty again. Tough. Put those walls back up between them. Kenyon could see his technique now, easy as breathing.

The thing was, Kenyon could never hate Julian flirting with him. Even if it was because he was trying to deflect from the truth.

He pressed a palm right into Julian’s chest, felt the firmness of his pectoral muscles. He was slim, but he was strong. What would he look like naked?

Gorgeous, that’s what he’d look like.

Kenyon kept trying not to think about it, but instead, it was all he could think about, the possibilities fogging up his brain, obscuring every bit of good sense he had.

“Fine,” Julian said with a resigned sigh. Like he was finally giving in. “Fine. Okay. I didn’t know who you were.”

Kenyon curled his fingers into the cotton of Julian’s polo. This one was baby blue with a tiny white and red stripe through it. The man looked like the hottest goddamn American flag that he’d ever seen.

It should have been such an asshole move, like he was the guy who mounted a flag on the back of his giant truck, or hung one from the tallest mast of his f*cking sailboat, and Kenyon should’ve been desperate to steer clear. But that wasn’t Julian. He knew it wasn’t. He could see just a flash, just a glimpse of the guy behind the polo. Behind the act. So, instead, he took another step closer. Until he felt the warmth of Julian’s thighs through the thin fabric of his shorts.

“Thank you,” Kenyon said. “I think we both deserved the truth, didn’t we? It was . . .” He hesitated.

There was another crack in Julian’s armor. A genuine smile, flashed quickly, Kenyon barely getting the impact of it before it was gone. “The best thing that could’ve happened and also the worst?”

“I think,” Kenyon said, dipping his head, so tempted to just end this ridiculous standoff by kissing Julian so thoroughly he always smiled at him that way, “we should just focus on the best part.”

Julian shot him an unimpressed look, clearly trying to pretend he wasn’t affected by Kenyon’s nearness, but Kenyon could feel the faintest tremor in his chest, just like he’d trembled last night and there was no denying it now. Kenyon wanted him to give in. Wanted to feel him shake when all that self-possession and self-control fell and the orgasm overtook him.

“It would be a terrible idea to do it again,” Julian said. There was a look in his eyes, though, that said he wouldn’t exactly mind it.

Kenyon knew it was a bad idea to repeat their initial mistake. But they’d done it last night, hadn’t they, and the world hadn’t stopped revolving. Coach hadn’t found out. Julian’s boss hadn’t discovered any deep, dark, dirty secrets about him.

“You know what I think?” Kenyon asked.

“What?” He was still pretending. Kenyon could feel it, and wanted nothing more than to strip Julian down to the bare essentials, so he could see the real man behind the act.

“I think you want me.” He stripped off the practice jersey. Tossed it on the floor. Then reached over and tugged Julian’s polo out of his jeans.

Julian didn’t stop him. Just kept looking at him with those inscrutable eyes.

Like they could see right through him, see down to every single thing he kept close, every single thing he hid from the world.

It was all laid bare before Julian.

“I think you,” Julian said in a soft, damning voice, “want me.”

About the Author 

A lifelong Pacific Northwester, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published twenty-three novels and seven novellas.

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Monday, February 20, 2023

Book Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway: FIRE & ICE by Robin Lynn

Fire & Ice

by Robin Lynn

Publisher: Idle Winter Press

Release Date: December 1, 2022

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Friends to lovers, mutual pining, firefighters, workplace romance

Themes: BDSM, self-acceptance, communication, trauma processing

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 160 000 words/433 pages

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


Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Ko-fi

Fire & Ice is the queer exploration of domination and submission, friendship, love, and lust you've been waiting for! Grab your safeword and come along for the ride as two best friends discover BDSM, themselves, and what it really means to burn.


"What's your safeword?"

Firefighter Tripp Truett has somehow tumbled headfirst into a whole new kind of relationship with his quirky paramedic best friend, Leander. What was only meant to be mutual relief from their high-stress jobs is quickly developing into something more, but with all the missed signals and crossed wires, can these two ever figure out that they're so much closer to being on the same page than they think?


The air is chilly, the wind outright brisk, and Leander can’t help but reflect back on his earlier ponderings regarding the likelihood that his sweatshirt wouldn’t be warm enough tonight. He was right, but there’s nothing to do about it now. 

He’s dazed. So much so that he doesn’t realize he’s been standing in the middle of the parking lot, staring blankly at the engine for several embarrassingly long minutes. It’s not until the side door opens and someone gets out that Leander even makes an attempt to blink himself back to reality. 

Tripp, clad once again in only his bunker pants and a fucking t-shirt, hits the ground moving and strides towards him with a worried look on his face. Despite everything, Leander can’t help but smile at Tripp’s stubborn stupidity, his ridiculous predictability, and his lack of simple common sense. It’s inane, and Leander loves him for it.

“You look cold,” he comments smugly, but Tripp isn’t fooled, reaching out to grab Leander by the bicep and yank him into his chest, hugging him fiercely and clapping him firmly on the back, twice. Tears burst violently into the corners of Leander’s eyes, and he chokes and gasps a little while doing his best to force them back. 

“I know,” Tripp says gruffly, rocking them both from side to side as Leander clings.

“I really need you,” he mutters, soft and rough, and Tripp gets it immediately, pulling back and holding him at arm’s length, but in a reassuring, possessive sort of way. 

“You’ve got me,” he replies, looking Leander straight in the eyes. “I promise. Tomorrow night, soon as we get off shift, I’ll be there.” Tripp squeezes his shoulder while Leander works to put his emotions in check and his face back in order, searching for the right thing to say. Tripp is a miracle, and Leander already owes him so much. What would he have done if they hadn’t gone down this road? That’s not even something he’s capable of contemplating at the moment, so he shoves the thought away.

“Thank you,” he settles on saying, his voice coming out used and gritty. He swipes roughly at his eyes and nods. “Tomorrow, then.” 

The fire engine revs and rumbles behind them, like someone has stepped on the gas without first releasing the brake. Clearly, the crew inside isn’t trying to be obnoxious or insensitive, but someone wants them to get a move on. 

“Text me,” Tripp says, pointing a finger in Leander’s direction as he walks backward towards the waiting truck. With a last nod and a wave, Leander agrees, and lets him go. 

When he returns to his own truck, parked carefully in-between the next set of white lines beside Zosia and Echo’s, the patient compartment is nearly back to its formerly pristine state. “Thank you, Marley,” Leander says quietly, thumbing through his paperwork and the patient demographic information that Marley has kindly retrieved from registration. 

“Dude, I should be thanking you,” Marley quips, zipping up the first-in bag and plopping it on top of the stretcher for next time. “If you need—”

“I don’t,” Leander cuts her off quickly and then offers what he hopes reads as an appreciative look when she glares back at him disapprovingly. “I’m fine,” he assures her. 

“Oookay, if you say so,” Marley concedes, shrugging as she hops down out of the truck and makes her way to the driver’s seat. Before Leander follows, he takes a second to poke his head into the back of Zosia’s rig, only to find Echo doing the same cleaning routine as Marley. 

“Hey,” he says. “You should text Chloe. I don’t know how much she may have seen, but I thought she looked…” Leander trails off and presses his lips together. Echo will understand—she’s been dating his niece for over a year now and knows the interminably stubborn Chloe better than just about anyone. In some ways, the two of them remind Leander quite a lot of him and Tripp: complementary pieces that shouldn’t fit together, but somehow do. 

Except, of course, for the fact that Chloe loves Echo back, and she shows it openly. 

“Thanks for the heads up,” Echo replies sincerely, stopping what she’s doing to lean an elbow against the cabinets and eye Leander with concern. “And you? You don’t look so good.”

“I’m fine,” Leander grumbles, ducking back out of the box and heading for his own truck. “Besides having to reassure everyone else that’s the case.”

“That’s what Chloe always says when she’s not fine,” Echo yells after him.

“It’s what everyone says when they’re not fine, Echo,” Leander shoots back, noncommittal and evasive as ever. He slides into the cab of the ambulance and motions for Marley to get going before Echo can so much as reply (or before Zosia can show up and pile on him, too). That’s the last thing he needs right now. He is fine. Or at least, he will be. 

Tomorrow night. 

Carra's Review

This was a good story with a full cast of great characters.  Tripp and Leander star as best friends who add a new dimension to their friendship by using BDSM to handle the stress from their jobs, which as a firefighter and a paramedic—both in leadership positions—can be considerable.  Theirs is strictly a Dom/sub dynamic, nothing romantic at all.

When things start out, they are just starting to find their way as Dom and sub, and there is plenty of exploration going on.  Both of them benefit, but they each also have their own deeper feelings for each other…which of course neither expresses to the other since from the start they both agreed this was just a stress reliever.

There is plenty of naughtiness throughout the story, erotic and stimulating.  Scenes are highly detailed and extensive, and written so that you have a deep understanding of what both men are feeling.  Given the amount of page time devoted to these intense scenes, this story goes beyond just contemporary romance to what I’d classify as erotic romance.

My one issue with this book is its length.  I felt it was far longer than it needed to be to tell the story, with many points just being covered repeatedly as Trip and Leander both kept waffling on if/when they should tell the other how they feel.  And for me, the fact that this is written in third person present tense made it more awkward reading as well (I strongly prefer past tense as it flows better and is easier for my brain to digest).  There is also a lot of detail in the fire and rescue scenes as well.

The story length—which could likely be reduced by a quarter to a third and still do these guys justice—affected me enough that my rating is somewhere between 3.5 to 4 stars.  I’d probably add a half star to that if it didn’t feel so drawn out.  Regardless, Fire & Ice is still a really good read, and if you’re a fan of M/M erotic romance with BDSM, this book is one you’ll want to add to your collection.

About the Author 

Robin Lynn is a 36-year-old queer, autistic mother of two, an unabashed fangirl sometimes known as “Wings,” and a disabled former firefighter, paramedic, and registered nurse. She writes for queer audiences with the goal of reflecting and centering the lgbtqia2s+ community in more media, because everyone deserves to see relatable, imperfect main characters who mirror themselves simply existing and getting their happy endings. 


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