Friday, April 12, 2024

Recent Release-Excerpt: AN ODYSSEY OF SHADOWS by Dion Marc

An Odyssey of Shadows

Author, Cover Artist, and Publisher: Dion Marc

Release Date: April 1, 2024

Genre: 1940’s Period drama and Ancient Greek fantasy

Tropes/themes: Family Drama, Courage, Dealing with Loss, Hero’s Journey.

Length:  298 pages

Heat Rating: 0.5 out of 5

It is the first book in a new series. It ends on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads

Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK 

A Hero's Journey is a Tale of Tragedy

Blurb

A Hero's Journey Is a Tale of Tragedy.

In the wake of his brother's death, Theodore's world is irrevocably shattered. Now he stands alone against the shadows that dance at the whims of Gods. Clad in armour touched by magic and driven by a sharp mind, he faces a world of chaos and trials of unimaginable darkness all to save his brothers life. Each heartbeat of fear, each spark of hope, fuels his fight through a world where his bookish smarts may be his key to survival. Yet, Gods have never been known to play fair - especially the war god - Ar─ôs

‘An Odyssey of Shadows' is the first instalment of a new fantasy series set in the year 1945, penned by Amazon bestselling author and artist Dion Marc. This saga weaves queer protagonists and intricate plot lines into an unputdownable read.


Excerpt

The air was dense, choking me with its acrid stench. I found myself in an unending void, where even my own body seemed to disappear into the oppressive blackness. But the silence was the worst of all—a soundless void that made my eardrums ache with its sheer weight.

Then, a light—faint at first—began to pulse in the distance. A scarlet bloom beckoning me closer. As I drew near, the light revealed itself to be a door, slightly ajar, emanating an even deeper blackness than the void around it. From within, whispers floated out, layered over each other until they became a cacophony of desperate cries and muffled screams.

"Join us. Save us. Take us."

Unable to resist its pull, I pushed the door wider. Inside was an endless expanse of contorted, writhing figures, locked in a dance of agony. Their skin seared, peeling away to reveal muscle and bone, yet they moved as if in rhythm to some ghastly melody.

And there, in the midst of the tormented crowd, was Thomas. His once bright brown eyes were now hollow, devoid of hope or recognition. Chains wrapped around his body, pulling him deeper into the throng. I tried to scream, to shout his name, to reach out, but my voice was stolen by the void, and my limbs were weighed down by invisible forces.

My own cries seemed to echo back to me from the abyss until a blinding surge of scarlet light consumed everything

About the Author 

Bestselling Scottish Australian author Dion Marc lives and breathes queer art. Whether he is painting, writing, sewing or dancing naked in the moonlight he does it with pride. He is a practising Hellenistic polytheist who believes in healing the world one hug at a time and that drinking tea without a biscuit is a horrendous crime. Dion has worked on Harry Potter, Moulin Rouge, Hamilton and so many more creative and flamboyant shows.

Link Tree   |    Facebook Group   |   Instagram

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Wednesday, April 3, 2024

New Release-Excerpt & Giveaway: THE HOUSEHUSBAND'S GUIDE TO DOMESTIC BLISS by Lance Lansdale

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The Househusband's Guide to Domestic Bliss
By Lance Lansdale

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Th​​​ere is a home in New Orleans where—for a price—even the unlovable can find a love story for the ages. Ms. Broussard's Home for Bountiful Beaus offers custom-made automatons, fully versed in the art of homemaking.

Arthur Price is not looking for love. The lonely librarian clings to work and routine to keep himself functioning. When his brother, Jared, arrives in the middle of the night with an i-Series automaton meant to lift his spirits, he realizes his routine life is about to be upended. Cheerful to a fault, Periwinkle is not someone Arthur would normally choose to befriend, much less enter into a romantic entanglement with, but he somehow programs himself perfectly into his life.

Miraculously, Arthur finds himself growing almost… fond of the robot.

Periwinkle may not possess much experience outside cleaning, but he can’t help noticing the loneliness in his librarian’s eyes. If it means giving Arthur Price a fresh start, Periwinkle is more than happy to stitch together all of Arthur’s broken pieces.​​

The Househusband's Guide to Domestic Bliss is a cozy, dual POV, slow-burn romance about a lonely librarian and his made-to-order boyfriend.

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Excerpt

Periwinkle couldn’t speak. He couldn’t do much else than stare into Arthur’s eyes. Did Arthur even have to ask? Of course, he’d missed him. Arthur was his home. Periwinkle knew he needed to answer, but it was like someone had shut off his voice function. Like they’d cracked his skull wide open and taken out his courage, piece-by-piece.

So, when Periwinkle couldn’t speak, he did the only thing he could think to of. He brought his index finger to his lip and pressed a kiss to the tip. When he was done, he held it against Arthur’s lips. And if a tear trickled down his cheek when Arthur kissed it back, that would just have to be their little secret.

Periwinkle spent the rest of the night watching Arthur rest. He couldn’t deny how nice Arthur’s arm felt wrapped around him. He wondered if it would be like this going forward. Would Arthur always share a bed with him? If he did, would Arthur expect the things Periwinkle saw in his magazine.

 Heat sizzled across his face. It was far too early in the morning for Periwinkle to worry about the men in the magazine.

Far too early, indeed.

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Enter the Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of The Househusband's Guide to Domestic Bliss, Lance is giving away a paperback and an eBook of the release!

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!

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About the Author:

Like Kent Fox, I'm a thirty-something gay man with a flair for the dramatic and a passion for gay romance and LGBTQ+ fiction. I write stories focusing on queer joy and families found along the way. My debut novel, We Burn Beautiful was released last year.

Connect with Lance:
lancelansdale.com
instagram.com/lancetastik
Facebook: Lance Lansdale


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Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Audiobook Review & Excerpt: FALLING FOR RAINE by Lane Hayes - Narrated by Joel Leslie - Includes Giveaway!

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Falling For Raine
By Lane Hayes

Narrated by Joel Leslie

Falling For Raine Audio

The gentleman, the hot mess, and a little British adventure…

Raine

Moving to London is scary and daunting, but I desperately need this job–and a redo. Okay, so I may have oversold my qualifications. That shouldn’t be a big deal, though. I mean, being an assistant’s assistant seems easy enough, and I’m a fast learner.

Hold up!

I’m already in over my head with spreadsheets, new pronunciations, and temperamental appliances. And just as I’m mentally preparing to face going home early, the big boss offers me an opportunity I can’t refuse. And I definitely should because Graham Horsham is an infuriating, complicated grumpy bear with a razor-sharp tongue, a wickedly dry sense of humor, and…I like him far too much.

Graham

I’ve been bamboozled. I’m not quite sure how I ended up with an assistant who spills coffee daily, wears wrinkled shirts, and chatters nonstop. He can’t stay, but I don’t want him to go and that’s madness. The Horsham Group is closing one of our biggest deals ever and I won’t jeopardize it. This one is personal.

Yet so is Raine.

He’s a breath of fresh air—silly, impetuous, lighthearted, good-natured, and…quite lovely. I like him more than I want to admit. For some reason, I can let my guard down with him. It’s unnerving and probably unprofessional.

But not to worry…I will not, under any circumstances, fall for Raine.

Falling for Raine is an MM, age-gap romance featuring a British gentleman, a desperate but adorable American, and a UK adventure!

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Excerpt

What in the hell was going on? It was as though I’d entered an alternative universe. Everything looked the same, but it was different.

Of course it was Raine.

I studied him shaking hands with everyone in the shop as I shrugged on my jacket. He was…hypnotic, addicting—a cross between an inappropriate dinner party guest and a fistful of forbidden sweets when you were on a diet. He didn’t fit in this world I’d carefully constructed, yet I kept inviting him in and forgetting whatever reason I’d concocted for this to make sense.

Like now.

“Perhaps you’d like to try something on.” I stuffed my hands into my pockets so I wouldn’t be tempted to touch him.

He widened his eyes and sidled close, whispering under his breath, “Are you nuts? One shirt here costs half my rent. Unless…oh, no. Oh, no, no, no!”

“What?” I demanded, pulling him with me outside.

“Are you going daddy on me?”

“Excuse me?” I furrowed my brow, stopping under the eaves where rain sluiced off the roof and fell like a curtain around us on two sides.

“Slow your roll, G, I’m not looking for a meal ticket, and I’m not taking hand-outs. I can be talked into bedroom daddy kink, but if you want me to call you Daddy—”

“Oh, for f*ck’s sake, you daft man. I do not want you to call me Daddy,” I growled just as a well-dressed man stepped onto the mat next to me, pausing for a moment to close his umbrella and dart a quick look between us.

Raine pursed his lips, then burst into laughter when the man entered the shop. “Ha! You should see your face. I was kidding.”

“You’re ridiculous,” I huffed, my lips twitching.

“I’ll be good, Daddy. Don’t spank me.”

“Don’t test me.” I pretended not to notice him fanning himself with a slack-jawed expression as I gestured toward the pub on the next block. “If we stay under the eaves, we’ll stay dry, but we’ll have to hurry.”

“No need. I bet they sell umbrellas in there.”

I squinted at the tourist shop at the corner on the opposite side of the street, its windows papered with Union Jack memorabilia. “That’s crap, Ray-n.”

“So what? It’s fun crap. My treat.”

He sprinted into the deluge, dashing into the tourist shop while I stared after him. What was he doing? Now he’d be wet and stuck with a tatty tourist umbrella that would undoubtedly flip inside out at the first gust of wind.

A crack of thunder spurred me into action. I borrowed a sturdy umbrella from Ives and Harris with the promise to return it as soon as possible, then walked down the street to find Raine.

I shouldn’t have been surprised that he’d managed to make a friend in under five minutes. He stood in front of a wall stuffed with tartan throws, holding two compact umbrellas and chatting up a salesman. It took a bit of persuading to convince him he didn’t need the blanket—however, I couldn’t talk him out of purchasing two Union Jack umbrellas. I warned him that they were poorly made, but he didn’t care.

We squabbled all the way to the pub, argued over what to order, who was paying, and where to sit before finally settling into a table for two at the window. I frowned when he beamed a sunshine smile my way.

“Stop being so happy,” I teased, cradling my glass. “It’s miserable out there.”

“But it’s warm and yummy in here,” he countered, sliding his calf along mine under the table. “And you’re cute when you’re cranky.”

“I am neither cute nor cranky. I’m—okay, never mind, I am cranky. If we’d come straight here, we could have avoided the queue and had that corner booth.” I pointed at the booth currently inhabited by a gaggle of noisy businessmen. “Do you ever listen to reason?”

“Have you met me?”

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Carra's Review

I’ve enjoyed many of this author’s previous books, so when I saw this one and that it was set primarily in England (one of my favorite places), I knew I wanted to add it to my reading list.  Putting one very likable mess of a young man together with his suave, worldly, and wealthy British boss was a combination I couldn’t pass up.


Raine is one of those guys that everyone seems to like, someone who endears himself to even the most stern, no-nonsense people.  Graham is quite the opposite, serious and focused, never letting business and pleasure mix.  Put them together and they do complement each other—and of course the sparks between them physically are awesome.  


While you might think Raine is one of those party-type guys who is just looking to coast from one thing to another, he actually takes responsibility for the bit of a mess he’s gotten himself into and owns up to it.  Everyone loves him, it’s hard not to.


Graham is a tougher nut to crack, but Raine worms his way in anyway.  You know that will happen, and it’s just a matter of whether Graham will let himself be happy in the end.


Falling for Raine was a solid 4 star story for me, and I’d recommend it to any M/M romance fan, especially if you like the boss/employee trope.  The two of them are pretty hot together, so this book is meant for readers and listeners 18+ for adult language and sexual content.


The narration is absolutely excellent.  Joel Leslie does another incredible job voicing Raine and Graham, and even kicks it up a notch when Graham’s character starts slipping into his hometown accent.  The narration elevates the story, and gets 5 stars from me!


Enter the Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of Falling For Raine, Lane is giving away the Winner's choice of an audiobook or ebook of your choice from her published works!

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!

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About the Author:

Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. She loves wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and her fabulous pup, George.

Connect with Lane:
My Readers’ Group, Lane’s Lovers

Newsletter - Blog - Twitter - Facebook - Amazon - BookBub - Instagram - Goodreads - TikTok


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Tuesday, March 26, 2024

New Release-Excerpt & Giveaway: FRIENDS LIKE THEM by Aimee Nicole Walker (Redemption Ridge #4)

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Friends Like Them
By Aimee Nicole Walker

Friends Like Them Cover

Redemption Ridge, Book 4

Owen Doyle’s rough beginnings taught him not to form attachments, yet he’s drawn to Tyler Booth like a magnet. Their relationship has blossomed from strangers to best friends, with each twist in the journey weaving their connection tighter. But Owen has a six-year secret that’s become unbearably painful to keep. As the seams of his resistance fray, Owen will lean into a new mentoring opportunity to keep from ruining the best thing in his life.

Tyler will never regret going to jail and getting sober because meeting Owen saved his life and taught him how to trust again. Their inseparable bond has earned much teasing over the years, but Tyler doesn’t recognize himself without Owen. When he senses a yawning chasm between them, he’ll turn to mutual friends for help. Their well-meaning advice opens Tyler’s eyes to unexplored possibilities and will snap missing puzzle pieces into place.

Some hopes are too big to stifle, and some truths are too big to ignore. A photo booth, smoking-hot kisses, and honest revelations will take Owen and Tyler’s intimacy to a whole new level. But before they can achieve their happily ever after, they must unload the baggage from their pasts. Will the road to discovery guide them to the necessary healing, or are the guys destined for the highway to heartache?

Friends Like Them is book four in the Redemption Ridge series. Though each story features a different couple, reading the series in order is essential. Friends Like Them contains mature themes and is intended for adults.

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Excerpt

“Ty, I want to get pictures with you in the booth.” Owen’s voice was soft, but his suggestion landed like a bomb. That tiny, cramped space wasn’t big enough. One would have to practically sit on the other’s lap. Tyler’s mind didn’t need additional encouragement to replay the earlier fantasy.

“Ty.” Owen’s voice was more urgent as he stepped beside him. “Are you okay?”

No, he wasn’t, but an honest answer would only invite additional questions he wanted to avoid. Tyler forced a smile and said, “Yeah. I’m great. Let’s go take pictures.”

Owen responded with an excited whoop before he bounded out of the kitchen. Tyler dried his hands and trailed behind him at a more sedate pace so he could coach his body and brain into remaining calm. It felt like every pair of eyes was on them as they made their way toward the booth, which looked even smaller up close. Owen reached for the door just as it swung open. Finley and Kieran stumbled out with mussed hair, swollen lips, and strips of photos in their hands. Clearly, the couples used the cramped space to suck face instead of smiling for the camera. Tyler’s heart skipped a beat before galloping like a racehorse.

“It’s all yours, fellas,” Fin said with a sweeping gesture.

Kieran winked at them as they passed by, and Tyler re-experienced the sensation he was the last to figure things out.

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Enter the Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of Friends Like Them, Aimee is giving away 3 e-copies of the release!
 
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!
 
 
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Catch up on the rest of Redemption Ridge with Book 1:
Guys Like Him

Guys Like Him Cover

Redemption Ridge, Book 1

Kieran Sullivan is broken when he arrives at Redemption Ridge. A wrongful conviction and twenty months in lockup will do that to a man. The ranch is a place for second chances and fresh starts, but for him, it’s an opportunity to discover who set him up. Get in, get answers, and get out. The plan sounds easy enough until Kieran meets an equine specialist whose sunny smile could warm the coldest heart.

Finley Ashe is a sucker for bruised spirits and sad eyes. The horse whisperer and broken-boy magnet is six months into a hiatus from love when Kieran, the king of emotionally unavailable men, gets assigned to work under his supervision. Mutual attraction is gasoline on proximity’s flame, testing Finley’s resistance in new ways.

Priorities shift, shields come down, and truths get exposed. Will the inevitable combustion redeem Kieran and Finley or consume them?

Guys Like Him is book one in the Redemption Ridge series. Though each story features a different couple, reading the series in order is essential. Guys Like Him contains mature themes and is intended for adults.

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About the Author

Ever since she was a little girl, Aimee Nicole Walker entertained herself with stories that popped into her head. Now she gets paid to tell those stories to other people. She wears many titles—wife, mom, and animal lover are just a few of them. Her absolute favorite title is champion of the happily ever after. Love inspires everything she does, music keeps her sane, and coffee is the magic elixir that fuels her day.

I’d love to hear from you.

You can reach me at:


BookBub - Twitter - Facebook - Instagram - Blog


Want to be the first to know about my book releases and have access to extra content? You can sign up for my newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/dlhPYj

My favorite place to hang out and chat with my readers is my Facebook group. Would you like to be a member of Aimee’s Dye Hards? We’d love to have you! Click here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AimeesDyeHards/


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Friday, March 22, 2024

Audiobook Excerpt & Giveaway: SOMETHING WICKED by Lily Morton (Black and Blue #3) - Narrated by Joel Leslie

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Something Wicked
By Lily Morton

Narrated by Joel Leslie

Something Wicked Audio Cover

Black and Blue Series Book 3

After powerful psychic Blue Billings fell in love with Levi Black, he believed their biggest challenges would arise from Blue’s ability to see and speak to the dead. So it’s rather alarming when he and Levi are confronted with a spate of new—and frightening—problems that have to do with the realm of the living.

A sadistic serial killer is stalking their beloved York, and Blue himself is in the killer’s crosshairs. Blue and Levi must race against time to catch the murderer as the deaths increase in ferocity. But when they’re forced from their home, and close acquaintances seemingly disappear like mist over the Minster’s spires, Blue finds that he is completely and terrifyingly on his own, and for the first time in his life, he’s without his powers.

This is the third book in the bestselling Black and Blue series. The books are meant to be read in order.

Please see the disclaimer at the beginning of the book for content some readers may find triggering.

Audio US Link

Audio UK Link

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Check out the Series on Goodreads

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Excerpt

I relax as I see my Crow—or Bernard, as I’ve christened him. He’s dressed in the black funeral clothes that make him look like a Victorian undertaker. He stands glumly staring up at the house, his body language clearly screaming that if he were wearing a sandwich board, it would state that the end of the world is nigh.

“Evening, Bernard,” I say cheerfully, and he turns to look at me. After a year of seeing him, his empty eye sockets no longer freak me out, but his utter stillness still does. It isn’t normal to be so still. Well, not in this world.

“Any message?” I ask, twirling my house keys around my finger. “Speak now or forever hold your peace, because Levi’s waiting for me.”

He hesitates, and for a wild second, I think he’s going to actually say something.

I hold my breath, as his mouth opens and closes.

My breath leaves me in a shocked grunt as black blood suddenly begins to ooze from his eye sockets. It drips down his wrinkled cheeks in gruesome streams as his mouth opens in a silent scream.

“What the f*ck?” I gasp, stumbling back. My ankle turns awkwardly, and I narrowly avoid jettisoning into the wall. I right myself, taking in great gulps of air.

I glance at Bernard and discover he’s himself again, staring silently up at the house.

“Bernard, that’s naughty. Warn a bloke, will you?” My words are light, but I’d bit down hard on my tongue when I’d stumbled, and there’s a lingering grittiness in my mouth that tastes like fear. He’s never shown me that side of himself before. “I really wish you could talk,” I add. “You’re like the world’s creepiest non-singing telegram.”

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Enter the Giveaway:

To celebrate the AUDIO release of Something Wicked, we are giving you a chance to win your choice of any book from Lily’s backlist! Three winners will be chosen!

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About the Author

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.

Facebook | Lily's Snark Squad Facebook Group
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Wednesday, March 20, 2024

New Release: CO-STAR by Ava Olsen

Co-Star

Author and Publisher: Ava Olsen

Cover Artist: Furiousfotog

Release Date: March 20, 2024

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance 

Tropes: Friends to enemies to lovers, hurt/comfort, second chances

Themes: Coming out, mental health, addiction, healing trauma (not SA) 

Length: 75 252 words/300 pages

Heat Rating:  4 flames   

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

Goodreads

Buy Links Available in Kindle Unlimited 

Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 Love in the spotlight is not made to survive. Will we?

Blurb

Reed: Tate Aduma is a Hollywood actor that everyone wants and no one really knows. Our first meeting as young dreamers sparks a decade of incredible highs and lows. 

I’ve loved him, I’ve hated him, and I can’t live without him. 

But I know that love in the spotlight is not made to survive.

Will we?

Tate: Reed Larkin is the only constant in my chaotic life of movie sets, parties, and nameless lovers. But while being on stage is second nature, being myself in real life is a role I struggle to play. 

Then I’m offered the biggest part of my career, working alongside Reed as my co-star, and my love interest.

This time, however, neither one of us is acting.

Co-Star is a best friends to enemies to lovers, MM romance filled with combustible chemistry, indelible love, and a HEA a decade in the making. 

About the Author 

Ava Olsen writes steamy and dreamy contemporary romances filled with heartwarming characters, cheeky banter and swoony moments. 

Social Media Links

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Sunday, March 17, 2024

New Release-Review & Excerpt: STACKED by Linden Bell (Mars Fitness #2) - Includes Giveaway!

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Stacked
By Linden Bell

Stacked 2

Mars Fitness, Book 2

Sawyer

I've been in love with my best friend and roommate since the first day of boarding school over a decade ago. But Preston has always been oblivious, obsessed with his PhD research, and more importantly, straight.

When the new, sexy grad student walks into my gym, I have to wonder... is it time for me to move on?

Preston

Some guy is trying to steal my best friend. I won't let him. Sawyer's mine.

Maybe I haven't appreciated Sawyer enough over the years, but that's going to change now. I'll do whatever it takes to keep him by my side. Even if it means kissing him.

Stacked is a best friends-to-lovers, bi-awakening, nerd/jock MM romance between possessive, protective, and co-dependent roommates. Expect the most tender caretaking, slipping into each other's beds in the middle of the night, and adorable clinginess. It is the second book in the Mars Fitness series and can be read as a standalone.

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Excerpt

“Who the hell are you?”

Mom and I spin around at the new voice.

In the doorway is another boy, shorter than me and scrawny. The school uniform he’s wearing is wrinkled, one pant leg is caught in a sock, and the tie is loose and off-center. He’s got a mop of black hair and thick black-framed glasses, but what really catches my attention are his eyes.

They’re blue. Like the ocean. Like the sky. And they’re zeroed in on me with such intensity that my lungs stop working. My brain stops working. The only response I’ve got is whoa and cool.

Beside me, Mom clears her throat and steps forward. She puts on her mom voice when she speaks. “This is Sawyer and I’m his mom, Ms. Paige. He’s moving into this room today. And you are?”

The mom voice works because the boy shrinks back and clutches the textbook he’s holding closer to his chest. “Preston Boyer,” he says, eyeing Mom warily.

“So nice to meet you, Preston.” Then she hooks her thumb over to my side of the room. “Would all this be yours?”

Preston’s eyes dart from Mom to the bed, piled high with clothes, to me. There’s a little furrow in his brow like he’s trying to think of a response and drawing a blank. Like maybe all this stuff isn’t actually his.

Then he blurts out, “You’re not my roommate.”

Mom’s in front of me, so I can’t see her face, but I know exactly what it looks like. Her eyebrows are halfway up her forehead and her lips are pursed into her “What did you just say?” expression.

Oh sh*t. Preston’s in trouble.

“As a matter of fact, he is. Sawyer’s enrolling as a student at Westbourne and he’s been assigned to this double room. So your choices are to become friends and get along or find another room to sleep in. Either way, you need to move your things. Now.”

With each word coming out of Mom’s mouth, Preston shrinks into himself even further. I kind of feel bad for him, even if he’s being a jerk. Getting on Mom’s bad side is never a good idea.

“Hey, Pres. What’s taking so long?” A pretty blond girl wearing a cheerleading uniform materializes behind Preston. It takes a second for her to notice me and Mom in the room. “Oh! Hi! You must be Sawyer.”

She squeezes past Preston and approaches Mom with a big smile plastered on her face. The girl is brave. “I’m Madison. Preston’s girlfriend.” She extends a hand for Mom to shake, then does the same with me.

“Mads!” Preston hisses like Madison is consorting with the enemy. “What are you doing?”

Madison glances back at him. “I’m welcoming them. Come on, Pres, don’t be a jerk. You knew you were getting a roommate.”

“No, I didn’t!” Preston shuffles into the room, staying behind Madison like she can protect him from Mom. Madison looks like she can hold her own, but no one can stand in Mom’s way if she’s determined.

“Yes, you did.” She rolls her eyes and turns to the mess on Preston’s desk. “The Residence Office sent you a letter, remember?”

She shuffles through his things, tossing them around as Preston’s expression grows pained. He’s probably one of those people who has some weird ass filing system that only makes sense to them.

“Here it is!” Triumphantly, Madison holds a crumpled piece of paper high in the air. It’s the same thick cream-colored stuff that my acceptance letter was printed on. “Sawyer Paige. Moving in September twentieth. Please clear away any personal items that have been stored on the other side of the room.”

As one, we all stare at the personal items that have definitely not been cleared away.

Silence stretches for long moments before Madison breaks it. “No worries! I can help! It shouldn’t take too long.” She marches over with a big grin and grabs a stack of books off the desk.

“No! Wait!” Preston drops the textbook he’s holding and reaches for the ones in Madison’s hands. “You can’t just move stuff around! I have a system!”

Ha. Called it. This guy is strange. Living with him is going to be a drag, but at least I don’t have to worry about being the token loner.

“Fine, here, I’ll hand you the stuff and you put it wherever you want, okay?” Madison takes him by the shoulders and spins him around so he’s facing his side of the room again. “Just keep it all over there.”

Did she say she was his girlfriend? How the hell did a confident, pretty cheerleader end up with this disaster of a guy? I exchange a look with Mom, who has to be thinking exactly the same thing.

Then she sighs and pats me on the shoulder. “Looks like you’re all going to get along just fine.”

It’s going to be a long year.

 

Stacked Tagline

Carra's Review

I just want to say right off the bat that I adored Sawyer and Preston together.  Okay, with that out of the way (because I couldn’t wait to say that), this is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I did enjoy the story, writing style, and characters.  Plus having the nerd/jock setup coupled with best friends to lovers…that’s a combo that I couldn’t pass up.


I found Preston especially intriguing, with the way his brain works and where he places his focus at any given time.  He gets so wrapped up in his research, totally absorbed and fascinated by what he is doing.  Sawyer takes wonderful care of him, and while yes Sawyer admits early on that he’s in love with Preston (to us readers), he’s also keenly aware that Preston is likely not into guys—though Sawyer continues to hold on to the tiniest glimmer of hope.


Yes, Sawyer has dated and hooked up with plenty of guys over the years, knowing he likely will never have anything more than friendship with Preston.  And yes, as the book starts off he starts seeing someone, which I wasn’t a fan of but it does act as a catalyst for the story.  Once Preston has his “a-ha” moment about what Sawyer means to him, everything from there becomes all about their relationship’s change from supremely close best friends (really codependent) to even closer lovers.


At that point the word to describe Preston I would choose is “enthusiastic”.  As in, get ready for a lot of physical scenes that are incredibly hot.  As yummy as those are, we also get to see a shift with Preston, and through the entire story his character is the one that experiences the most growth.  He realizes his true feelings for Sawyer, starts to adjust his behaviors around others to come out of his tunnel-vision-research mode, and even has a moment with his parents that has been building for quite some time.

Overall Stacked was a very strong 4-star read for me.  Preston is one of my favorite characters I’ve read so far this year, and he and Sawyer together are perfect.  While this book is part of the Mars Fitness series, it can definitely be read as a standalone and I’d recommend it to any M/M romance fan.  This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.

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Check out Book 1 in the Mars Fitness Series:
Ripped

Ripped Ebook 3

Sometimes heartache is a blessing in disguise.

I thought my life was perfect. I lived with my amazing boyfriend. I worked with my ride-or-die best friend. I was on track to made-it-ville.

Then I came home one day to find my boyfriend sleeping with my best friend.

Now I’m lost with no one to turn to except Donnie, the silver fox who lets me crash at his house until I can figure out what the hell went wrong and how I’m supposed to fix it.

But once I’m there, I’m not sure I want to leave.

Donnie’s a lot older than me and he’s still grieving the death of his husband. My life is a trash fire and my career is non-existent. He’s a svelte spin instructor and I’m a film geek. We couldn’t be more different, but we need each other like we both need to breathe.

So maybe my boyfriend sleeping with my best friend wasn’t the worst thing to happen. Maybe it was the best. It brought me to Donnie.

Ripped is an age gap, nerd/jock, opposites attract MM romance between roommates who cuddle on the couch while watching classic movies. Expect steamy shower rooms, teary confessions, disapproving family, and brand new starts. It is the first book in the Mars Fitness series and can be read as a standalone.

CW: off-page sudden loss of a spouse, off-page homophobia, cheating secondary characters. Happily ever after guaranteed.

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About the Author:

Linden Bell writes contemporary MM romances that heat you up and make you smile.

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