Anne Reviews: The Ugliest Sweater by Gillian St. Kevern

TITLE: The Ugliest Sweater

Author: Gillian St. Kevern

Publisher: NineStar Press

Pages: 56

Characters: Dan/Jake

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Series, Contemporary, Humour

Kisses: 5

Blurb:

Dan’s favourite festive sweater is so ugly, it’s cost him not one but three boyfriends and sent him back to his parents’ place for the third Christmas in a row. About to give up hope of ever having a Christmas date, Dan meets Jake, a hot guy with a rock and roll edge. Jake is infatuated with Dan’s sweater but vanishes before Dan can decide if Jake is for real or really in need of an eye-check. After all, no one has ever liked the sweater.

Dan’s sweater is rocketed to national attention, when Jake’s radio colleagues launch a hunt for the mystery man in the hideous jumper. Dan jumps at the chance to meet Jake again, and they hit it off in a big way, to the accompaniment of intimate gigs, exclusive clubs, and the paparazzi. Dan falls hard, but despite obvious mutual attraction, Jake refuses to take him back to his apartment. Is the relationship real – or a ratings stunt? After all, Jake has a reputation for cool that Dan, a lowly gym instructor, could never approach. Is a fondness for tacky Christmas clothing the only thing they have in common? Or does uber-cool Jake hide a Christmas secret of his own?

Review:

The Ugliest Sweater is a short, sweet, feel-good story. I loved the tone and humor and found myself smiling as I was reading.  It’s a great mix of romance and fun with quirky characters.  The description of the sweater itself was… impressive…. and visual.  Truly an ugly sweater.  Dan and Jake are a perfect match, both in personality and their Christmas obsessions.

Although it is a feel-good story, there’s still some tension within the relationship as both men struggle with their own insecurities, which made their path to a relationship feel realistic. I appreciated the fact that Dan feels out of place at Jake’s work function—it reaffirms the fact that although these guys are quirky, they’re still three-dimensional characters.

There’s a bit of sex for such a short piece, but the story is such fun, an easy read, and left me with a warm glow. Although it’s a Christmas story, it’s one to enjoy all year round.

I’d recommend The Ugliest Sweater to readers who enjoy a short, sweet, feel-good story with likable characters, and a very ugly Christmas sweater.

Reviewed By: Anne

Click HERE to purchase The Ugliest Sweater

Gabbi Reviews: From a Jack to a King by Scotty Cade

Title: From a Jack to a King

Author: Scotty Cade

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 200

Characters: Bay Whitman, King Slater

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance

Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

New York Times best-selling mystery writer Bay Whitman leads the life of a celebrity—at least on the surface. In public he’s self-assured and in control. Women hang on his every word, while men envy his confidence and swagger. But in reality, Bay is a loner. He’s shy and introverted, and his life consists of sitting in a dimly lit room writing his famous Jack Robbins mystery novels. His one vice—gambling. Winning an escort in a poker game will change Bay’s life in ways he never imagined.

Matthew “King” Slater is one of the hottest tickets in gay porn. He spends his days in front of the camera and his nights as a highly paid escort to the rich and famous. Deep down, he craves romance and a real connection, but his past makes it hard to separate the needs of his body from those of his heart. For now, it’s easier to think of sex as just a job. But while doing a shoot in Vegas, King is hired for a tryst at a famous hotel and casino, and his handsome client might blur the line between work and play.

Review:

I just finished reading From a Jack to a King and all I can say is, Whew! Scotty Cade can write romance! There is something special about the way his heroes connect with each other that really make his stories a well-written, beautifully told romance.

King is an unapologetic gigolo and porn star. He’s good at what he does and he enjoys it, too. At first, King seems to be very arrogant and his confidence about himself that borderlines a superiority within his field that can almost be off-putting. At first, I honestly didn’t know if I was going to like him.

Here’s the thing about King. He is a very complex character. As more about him is revealed, I began to really care for him. I liked how Mr. Cade did not sugarcoat his character or some of his behaviors at all. Why? Because watching King’s personal growth and how hard he falls for the sweet, intelligent and sexy Bay was a heartwarming thing to experience.

I understood why King fell so hard for Bay. Bay is a genuinely nice guy. He has a knack for poker, he’s a very successful writer and is an all-around likable guy. But, Bay is a very introverted man who is afraid to open up and allow people to see who he is on the inside. When he meets King, Bay is challenged to take a hard look at himself, as well as, allow himself to be opened to new possibilities.

I loved this book. Yes, there were times I wanted to strangle King, but those moments were few and far between. As a reader, I appreciated the way these two men learn to communicate and open their hearts and minds to one another.

I also loved the difference between King going through the motions at his job vs making love with Bay. Yes, there was a significant difference between it, and I was swept up in how each touch King and Bay shared between them was a loving, beautiful one.

I love romantic tales that sweep me up into the lives of complex, sexy, intelligent men who clearly are made for one another. Mr. Cade is a master storyteller and I adored every moment I spent reading this book.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed by: Gabbi

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Homepage

Click HERE to read my review of An Unconventional Courtship by Scotty Cade. *It’s one of my all time favorite reads*

 

 

 

Gabbi Reviews: In Too Deep by Kate Sherwood

Title: In Too Deep

Author: Kate Sherwood

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 234

Characters: Cade, Aiden

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance

Kisses: 4

Blurb:

At first glance, Cade and Aiden hardly seem like a match made in heaven. Their worlds couldn’t be further apart. Cade is quiet, serious, and determined to succeed; Aiden’s a party-loving frat boy. Cade comes from a rough home and worked hard to get the scholarships that make it possible for him to attend college; Aiden’s had it all thrown in his lap by supportive, kind, and wealthy parents. Cade wants nothing to do with Aiden, but from the moment they meet, Aiden is determined to find a way to bring their different worlds together.

Aiden manages to persuade Cade he’s a decent guy, and a tentative friendship becomes much more. But a trip to Aiden’s family cottage puts Cade in the path of a ghost from his past, and a dark secret he never expected to face again. Cade did what he had to do to escape his dead-end life, but now he sees he didn’t leave it as far behind him as he thought.

Review:

Kate Sherwood writes strong-willed heroes who always have an interesting story to tell. I had a feeling when I started this book, it was going be an interesting read and I was right.

What I liked about this book was personal growth each of these young men goes through. Cade has had to be street-smart and work hard for each and everything good in his life. Between his excellent work ethic and drive to make the best grade point average, so he can keep his scholarship and continue to work toward changing his life for the better.

On the other hand, Aiden was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He enjoys having fun and being around his family and friends. His zest for life is often contagious and though he can get a little frustrated at times, basically Aiden keeps a positive attitude.

At first glance, these two men are total opposites. Because of his past, Cade has a chip on his shoulder and pushes people away. He has very few friends and likes to keep to himself. What Cade doesn’t expect is Aiden’s determination to get to know him. Aiden’s stubbornness to get to know Cade, even though Cade can be quite hateful at times, shows how much Aiden really wants to get to know Cade and hopefully have him in his life.

In Too Deep is a difficult story to read at times. Cade can be surly and even unlikable at times, but as the story progresses, we learn why he is so scared to open himself to friendship and love from Aiden. Aiden’s sweetness and determination to be around Cade could be considered either lovestruck or even a little stalkerish, but honestly, I thought Aiden was truly a sweet guy who is simply dazzled by the mystery of Cade. In the end, I ended up really getting behind these two men and enjoyed the journey they go through to form a solid bond between them. I liked how these two men brought out the best in each other and loved how everything turned out between them.

In Too Deep is a well-written story with complex characters and a gritty and romantic storyline. I really liked it and I’m looking forward to reading more stories written by this author.

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Homepage

 

 

LeeAnn Reviews: Bad Company by KA Mitchell

Title:  Bad in Baltimore, Book 1: Bad Company

Author:  KA Mitchell

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 200

Characters:  Nate, Kellan

POV:  3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series

Kisses:  5

Blurb:

Bad in Baltimore: Book One

Some things are sweeter than revenge.

“I need a boyfriend.”

Hearing those words from his very straight, very ex-best friend doesn’t put Nate in a helpful mood. Not only did Kellan Brooks’s father destroy Nate’s family in his quest for power, but Kellan broke Nate’s heart back in high school. Nate thought he could trust his best friend with the revelation that he might be gay, only to find out he was horribly wrong and become the laughingstock of the whole school. Kellan must be truly desperate if he’s turning to Nate now.

Kellan’s through letting his father run his life, and he wants to make the man pay for cutting him off. What better way to stick it to the bigot than to come out as gay himself—especially with the son of the very man his father crushed on his quest for money and power. Kellan can’t blame Nate for wanting nothing to do with him, though. Kellan will have to convince him to play along, but it’s even harder to convince himself that the heat between them is only an act….

Review:

At first, Kellan made me mad.

He wanted to use a man who was once his best friend.  To get even with his day, Kellan abandoned him  in high school. As the story progressed, and things became clear to me about Kellan, I began to like him a lot. In this story,  KA Mitchell puts us face to face with the dilemma that Kellan faces. There are truths about himself Kellan was a tiny bit aware of but couldn’t face.

I loved how KA Mitchell fleshed out the characters of both Nate and Kellan. Their mannerisms and the way they held themselves was so clear, I could visualize things as they happened.

Eli was another treat in this book. I LOVED him!  He had this perky personality AND there is something special he could do, BUT the YOU need to read it to find out just exactly what he is capable of.

KA Mitchell didn’t give me the satisfaction I craved in regards to Kellan’s dad, but that is probably a good thing. The way Kellan and Nate’s story unfolds held my attention and made me want to find out how it ended. I enjoyed Bad Company so much, I didn’t want it to end.

I hope Eli will get his own story because I liked him so much and wanted to know more about him.  After watching his interactions with Nate and Kellan,  I wanted him to get an HEA too.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: LeeAnn

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Homepage

Gabbi Reviews: All that Glitters by Kate Sherwood

Title: All that Glitters

Author: Kate Sherwood

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 206

Characters: Liam Marshall, Ben Harding

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance

Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

No matter what he tells himself, wealthy NYC architect Liam has never been able to forget his first love, Ben. But as he approaches midlife and realizes something is missing, can he forgive himself for the worst mistake he ever made—the one that left a hole no amount of career success can fill? Or will fear keep him from the full life he really wants?

Liam and Ben were childhood sweethearts, then college boyfriends. But when Liam cheated on Ben, Ben forced himself to cut ties and move on. He’s still living in the small town where they grew up, teaching, but it’s not the life he imagined for himself as a younger man. Still, when Liam returns, he can’t risk his heart again. He certainly can’t allow himself to love Liam again after fighting so hard to get over him.

Neither man wants to let go of the past and face their apprehension at starting over. They don’t want to fall in love a second time—but sometimes love happens whether it’s wanted or not.

Review:

All that Glitters is a lovely told story about redemption and rekindling a love once lost. I’m a newish fan of the author, Kate Sherwood and was admittedly a little hesitant to read and review this book. Why? I’m not a huge fan of reading about heroes who cheated. I dislike a cheating storyline *hey, I read romance for romance, not for a lot of true-life heartache and angst* but because the hero, Liam, cheated over 15 years ago on Ben, I thought I would push my reservations aside and give this one a try.

I am glad I did.

At first, I wasn’t sure of what I thought of Liam. He successful and a bit arrogant, bitter even, but I quickly saw that there is so much more to Liam than meets the eye. Though Liam can be a tad materialistic, he is also searching for something he is missing in life. Liam’s social card is always full, but inside he is lonely and unsatisfied with his life. I liked how Liam is willing to put himself out there and allow Ben and his former friends to vent their anger and frustration at Liam’s past betrayal and behaviors. I also liked how much Liam himself, goes through some personal growth and begins to strive to hopefully gain Ben and his friends back into his life. Liam’s determination to find his “Passion” for life became a journey that I enjoyed reading.

Ben was also a complex, interesting hero. I liked his integrity and genuine affection and love he freely gives to the people he cares about. I understood why he was so bitter towards Liam, but I was honestly glad to see him become willing to look inside himself and see if starting something special with Liam was something he truly wanted to do.

Both Liam and Ben have a heart of gold and I quickly became fond of them both. The secondary characters also brought something special to the story. Between the genuine friendship and love they all shared among them, I felt like all these characters were likable and interesting within their own right.

Best of all, Ms. Sherwood penned a serious tale with enough humor and lightness to make this reader not only laugh out loud at times, but my heart was filled with warmth for these two heroes and all her characters as well. All that Glitters is an easy book to recommend and I can’t wait to read more from Ms. Sherwood in the future.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Homepage

Gabbi Reviews: Love You So Hard by Tara Lain

Title: Love You So, Book 1: Love You So Hard

Author: Tara Lain

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 77

Characters: Craig Elson, Jesse Randall

POV: 3rd Limited

Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series

Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Craig Elson’s life has hit rock bottom. Even though he’s one of the best strategic planners around, a more confident guy takes credit for his work, and despite being a good-looking man, he suffers insults from the slimiest creep at the bar. Taking care of his beloved mom, who has Alzheimer’s, uses all his funds, leaving him in a plain, depressing car… and a plain, depressing life.

Until he sees gorgeous grad student Jesse Randall and his T-shirt that reads “I Would Bottom You So Hard.” The message seeps into Craig’s soul, and he asks Jesse to teach him to top.

Jesse’s had his eye on the quiet hottie who comes into the coffee shop, and he’s more than eager to perfect his tutoring. He sets out to get Craig a new job, a new apartment, and a new life so far outside plain and depressing that it’s unrecognizable. The problem is, Craig loves his lessons—and his teacher—too much to want to graduate. How can Craig reach the top without losing his sassy bottom?

Review:

Tara Lain writes romances with sexy, unique characters. I’ve read several of Ms. Lain’s books and I’ve enjoyed every one of them. She seems to have a real knack for writing romantic tales filled with sensual and likable men. I was in the mood for a light, romantic read and Love You So Hard filled that need for me perfectly.

Love You So Hard is told from Craig’s perspective. Since he is a good storyteller and an interesting character, I found myself quickly becoming intrigued by the story he had to tell. Craig is a quiet, shy and thoughtful man who gets overlooked by others. He’s a good son who takes care of his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and he is a good worker who never gets the recognition he deserves. The one bright light in Craig’s life is the sexy man he sees at the coffee shop every morning. The younger man’s zest for life and sexy disposition makes Craig wish he was more bold, more confident and more comfortable within his own skin.

One day when Craig is at the shop he is surprised when the young man, Jesse, approaches him and begins talking to him. Soon, Craig is almost overwhelmed by Jesse’s interest in him and is almost unsure of how to handle himself around the sexy man. When Craig blurts out that he needs Jesse’s help *You’ll have to read what he wants help with* and Jesse seems more than a little excited and interested in helping him, Craig is determined to enjoy every moment he has with Jesse…no matter how long or short it is.

I really loved this book. Not only is it a fast-paced story, I found myself really getting into Craig and Jesse’s romance and the story Craig had to tell. I loved both characters and though it seems like they are polar opposites from one another, together they fit perfectly and easily became a couple with a solid, loving foundation. Though I Iiked both men, I have to say that Jesse’s sweetness and zest for life made me easily see why Craig adored him so much, because I did too!

Love You So Hard is an easy book to recommend. If you are in the mood for a fun and flirty romance with two heroes that you’ll easily adore, then Love You So Hard is the book for you!

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Lydia Reviews: A Breath of Innocence by KA Merikan

Title: A Breath of Innocence 

Author: K.A. Merikan 

Publisher: Self Published

Genre:  Coming of Age, Mafia 

Pages: 330 

Kisses: 4  

Blurb: 

“I would wait a lifetime for this.” 

“You don’t have to wait anymore. I want you.” 

Mark is done with flings. He is looking for something real, and he knows just where to find it. Years ago, he fell in love with Charlotte Elswood, but after saving her life, he made the difficult choice to stay in a cartel for the sake of his family.
Now, free of the bloodstained work, he’s ready to rekindle what he’s lost.
But in England, he meets someone who is also blond, blue-eyed, and irresistible. Problem is, Griffith Elswood is Charlotte’s brother. Should Mark even consider putting his hands all over an innocent who would push him away if he knew what kind of monster Mark is?

After years of homeschooling, Griffith wants nothing more than to finally spread his wings at university. Secretly, he dreams of meeting a man he can fall madly in love with. A man he would have all the firsts with. But it’s hard to trust anyone after witnessing his sister’s heartbreak.
When Mark moves in next door, Griffith reaches out despite his sister’s warnings. Mark is mysterious, experienced, cocky, and just oh-so-dreamy. Alternating between hot and cold, Mark’s presence sends Griffith into a frenzy of passion like he’s never known before. So hot in fact, it might just burn him if he isn’t careful. 

Review: 

A Breath of Innocence is the eighth book in the Guns n’ Boys series by author K.A. Merikan.  The author recommends that the series be read in order, something I did not know when I read this book.  While I did not feel lost while reading this story, it did make me want to go back and read the books I missed.  If you do not want to read all seven prior books, I strongly recommend you at least read books 4-7 as this is when Mark comes into the series.  Also book six is when Charlotte is introduced which sets this book up well.   

Mark has decided to step back from the family business and try to make a go of it as a photographer.  At least that is what he has told his fathers.  In actuality Mark has gone to England, not just for schooling, but also to track down Charlotte, the young girl he fell in love with back in Columbia.   Only the loving reunion he has been hoping for turns out to be anything but.  Charlotte has moved on with her life and wants nothing to do with the young man that kept her safe during a trying time.   

I have to say that at first I could understand Charlotte’s reasoning, even if she is a bit of a hag, but it was not until I read book six that I really started to dislike her.  Mark has a plan though.  He’s going to buddy up to Charlotte’s brother, Griffith and use him to get close to Charlotte. 

After his sister’s little adventure in the jungle, Griffith’s parent become a  little over protective, making his life miserable.  When he turns 18 and is finally able to leave home he can’t wait.  Although he does not always get along with his sister, he can’t wait to move in with her and look for some adventure of his own.  What he does not plan on is someone like Mark, or how the other man will affect his life.  

I have to say more than once I wanted to shack Mark because of how he planned to treat Griffith.  However, once Mark realizes just were his happiness lies, he goes after what he wants.  Now if everyone else would just mind their own business he would be happy.   

A Breath of Innocence is different from the other seven books in this series.  While there are a few little twists and one or more secrets, this story is a lot tamer than the previous books.  Since there is an ongoing story line running through the series, one that does not come into play in this story, I wonder if this is the last time we see Mark or if he will return to the family fold when they need him.  If he does, what does that mean for Griffith?  

Reviewed by: Lydia  

Click HERE to purchase A Breath of Innocence

Check out Penny Brandon’s Release Blitz of her series, The Looking Glass!

RELEASE BLITZ and SERIES REVIEW TOUR

THE LOOKING GLASS

UNIVERSAL BUY LINKS

Choices: https://books2read.com/u/4EyQZ0

First Kiss: https://books2read.com/u/mqZGd2

His Heart’s Desire: https://books2read.com/u/3krvMg

BOOK 1

Choices (The Looking Glass 1) 44,000 words/130 pages

Goodreads

Amazon US

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Blurb

Marc was straight, always had been and always thought he would be, but when shown his true love in a magic mirror he was shocked to find out his true love was a man. Not only that, it was up to him to convince his true love they were meant to be together. All bad enough, but after finding Liam, the only way he’s able to persuade Liam to go out with him is to offer him sex – even though that was something Marc was definitely not ready for.

Liam thought Marc was crazy. Marc was straight and he was talking about true love and making a life together, but Liam didn’t believe in love and he certainly wasn’t going to fall in love with a crazy straight guy regardless of how sexy he was. But he hadn’t reckoned on Marc’s pushy attitude or his offer of sex which, no matter how much he knew he should, Liam couldn’t turn down.

Excerpt

Simon glanced up from his incessant paperwork as the light tinkle of the bell above the door announced the arrival of a customer. Glad of the respite, he pushed the bundle of inventory notes to the side. He stood and slipped out from behind the vintage walnut desk that functioned as his service counter, and approached the man.

“May I help you?” he asked, smiling.

The smile the customer attempted to give back was filled with confusion. “I’m not sure. I don’t actually know what I’m doing here; I was on my way for coffee…”

The silence that followed the bemused confession was interlaced with the loud and continuous ticking of the antique grandfather clock situated at the far end of the shop. Sometimes soothing, sometimes irritating, never unnoticed, it ticked off a few seconds while the customer grew more confused, especially when he looked around and saw where he was.

Simon nodded slowly and brushed a dark strand of hair from his face. He was familiar with these types of customers; those searching for something though they had no idea what it was. He was going to have to show him.

He looked the guy over. Youngish, around mid-twenties, neatly dressed, suit and tie, smart haircut. Not his type, though cute if you went for the office look, but if the man was here for the reason Simon suspected, being his type would not have made the blindest difference in the world. The customer belonged to someone else.

Inwardly smiling this time, Simon inclined his head and took off his glasses, tucking them into his shirt pocket. “I think you may find what you’re looking for over there,” he said, indicating the back of the store.

“But I’m not looking for anything.” The tightly voiced remark only confirmed Simon’s thoughts.

“Then maybe something is looking for you.”

He motioned for the customer to follow as he headed toward the rear of the shop, noticing light brown eyes narrowing before the man reluctantly trailed after him, though he kept pausing and his eyes kept darting to and fro. He seemed more confused than ever, which was no less than Simon now expected. A lot of his clients were confused when they came here, but they all had a compulsion to find out what it was Simon offered to show them. That waswhat Simon was here for.

As they walked through the antique furniture and collectibles, the customer occasionally brushed his fingers against the larger, more opulent pieces. At one point he stopped and picked up an ornate frame, his fingertips caressing the heavily carved wood. Sensual, Simon noted, and smiled wistfully. Not my type, belongs to someone else, he reminded himself. Yeah, but it had been years.

The monotonous ticking got louder as they neared the far wall. The antiques here were older, bigger, heavier, and had been in the shop a long time—as had the piece Simon needed to show the man. At the further expression of bewilderment on the man’s face, Simon guessed he didn’t go for antiques; that his tastes ran toward a more contemporary look. That was okay. Simon wasn’t trying to sell him anything.

“Perhaps you’ll find something of interest in that corner,” he said, pointing. The man looked at him, his expressive eyes full of speculation. “Trust me,” Simon added, indicating the corner once again.

The man took a step toward the dark recess that housed the shop’s oldest piece. His steps were hesitant at first, but at a glint of reflected light, he moved closer.

The mirror stood six feet tall, its scratched and dented teak oval frame plain and simple while the glass surface was speckled and dusty. It did appear old, but not as in ancient, just neglected and unwanted. In reality, it didn’t even look like it should be in a shop like this. Maybe in some secondhand junk store with the bargain-basement pieces, but unlike the rest of the items in the shop, the mirror was priceless; its worth immeasurable.

“Do you see anything?” Simon asked, holding his breath slightly in anticipation.

The man glanced back at him, then stood in front of the mirror and gasped.

Some found the mirror on their own. Others, like this one, needed to be shown. All of them reacted the same way.

“What is it?” the man asked, his hand outstretched, his fingers a hairbreadth away from touching the surface. He wouldn’t touch it. No one did.

Simon smiled again. He always liked this part. It made all the years he’d been here tolerable.

“It’s your one true love.”

BOOK 2

First Kiss (The Looking Glass 2) 47,000 words/154 pages

Goodreads

Amazon US

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Blurb

The second Brenn saw Joey’s image in the magic mirror, he was hooked. The moment he saw him in real life, Brenn knew Joey was going to be his forever. Joey was flirty, and fun, and he had the most gorgeous smile, but then Joey told him he was dying. Though devastated, Brenn didn’t want to give up on Joey, so he offered to look after him and make his last few days as comfortable as possible, but was that going to be enough when all Brenn really wanted was for Joey to live?

Brenn was everything Joey could have wished for; strong, built, and with the most amazing eyes. Also, Brenn was in love with him. That would have given Joey something to live for, if it hadn’t been too late. He had about three weeks left, but that didn’t seem to matter to Brenn. Brenn wanted to take him home, and Joey was willing to go with him, but on two conditions. He wanted Brenn to make love to him before he died, but no kissing.

Excerpt

“Joey Singleton.” Joey put out his hand and Brenn took it. A tingle started from where their hands touched and traveled through Brenn’s body with lightning speed, igniting heat in his balls and cock. Instantly, he knew this was right, that what the mirror had told him, shown him, was exactly how it should be. Joey was his, now and forever. He smiled.

“Brendon Collins, but my family and friends call me Brenn.”

Joey’s hand remained glued to his until someone, Brenn suspected the dark-haired man, cleared his throat. Joey let go but not without a warm, knowing smile. He leaned in close, enough so the other men could still hear. “Don’t mind Paul. He thinks he’s my keeper.”

“Damn straight I am!” Paul scowled again as Joey laughed.

Brenn’s groin tightened, and he hoped no one was going to ask him to stand up anytime soon because he guessed his erection might raise a few eyebrows. But then, if Joey laughed like that again, an erection wouldn’t be a problem; he’d come in his pants.

“I noticed you from across the room.” Oh, that was cool. Brenn almost groaned as he realized what he’d said.

Joey’s open smile told him Joey didn’t mind. “I noticed you too. I mean, it’s pretty hard not to, being as you’re so big.” His smile changed, and Brenn could have sworn he saw something lewd in the tilt of Joey’s lips and in the unexpected gleam in his eyes.

Suddenly feeling awkward, Brenn glanced at the other two men at the table. Paul was still scowling, and Brenn wondered what he’d done to deserve it. Did Paul have a claim on Joey? Unbidden possessiveness had Brenn scowling back until he noticed the man sitting next to Paul put a hand on Paul’s arm. The touch was intimate and instantly recognizable as one between lovers.

“Leave him be, Paul.”

The man turned to Brenn and held out his hand. “I’m Dave, Paul’s partner.” Dave’s tone was calm, his smile warm.

Brenn shook Dave’s hand and then offered his hand to Paul. Paul took it with a little show of reluctance. Brenn wondered what his problem was. Paul was obviously with Dave, so what was it with Paul and Joey?

“Would you like a drink, Brenn?” Joey’s light voice broke into Brenn’s thoughts. Brenn turned back to him. “No, I’m fine. Thank you.”

“Well, I would. Paul, can you get me a beer?” Joey’s request was both a question and a demand, and it surprised Brenn to hear the authority ringing in his tone. It also intrigued him.

“You don’t—”

“Paul.” The warning note in Dave’s voice stopped Paul from saying any more—so did the grip Dave had on his arm. Paul grumbled but got up. Joey looked at Dave.

Dave grinned. “I’ll go with him.”

Joey watched as both men left the table; then he sighed in relief. “Now that they’ve gone, we can talk. So, how big are you?”

“Big?” Brenn pulled a face. “Six-three, why?”

“No, I mean how bigare you?” Joey held his hands apart and indicated a length. The lewd look was back and so was the sparkle in Joey’s perfect blue eyes.

“Oh.” Now that wasn’t a question Brenn had expected to be asked, not so soon anyway. “Um, nine inches.”

“Nine! Are you kidding me? That’s huge!” Joey’s eyes widened, and some color rushed to his cheeks. “How do you cope with something so big?”

Brenn quickly looked around. There was no one within hearing distance. “I’ve never had any complaints.”

“I’m sure you haven’t. Shit, I don’t know if I could take nine inches.”

Not certain where this was going, Brenn smiled. “Well I wasn’t asking you to, but I’m sure you could if you tried.”

Joey’s smirk had Brenn’s dick jumping to attention again. Damn, and he’d only just got it down.

“Pity, ’cause I’d love to try.”

“Are you flirting with me?” Brenn couldn’t help grinning. He hadn’t been sure what Joey would be like, but this cocky attitude was something he found fascinating.

“Flirting? I thought I was coming on to you thick and strong.” Joey leaned even closer and winked. “So where to? Your place or mine?”

“You want to come home with me?” Fuck!Had Joey picked up how Brenn felt about him, or was this how he acted with everyone he met?

“Yeah, I know. Stupid idea, but it was worth a shot.”

Stupid? No, Brenn didn’t think it was stupid. “I’d love to take you home, but don’t you think it’s a bit sudden?” he asked, trying to work out where Joey was coming from. He wanted Joey, but he wasn’t sure if Joey was joking or not. There was something off about this conversation, as if Joey was making fun, but of himself.

“Yeah, I guess so. And I don’t think Paul would let me. He really takes looking after me far too seriously.”

“Looking after you?” That was a strange turn of phrase.

Joey nodded, his smile slipping slightly. “You didn’t notice the wheelchair?” He tapped the arm of the chair he sat in.

Brenn hadn’t noticed it; he’d been too busy gazing at Joey’s face. He peeked down and eyed the wheelchair. Standard hospital issue. “What did you do, break your leg?”

Joey shook his head slowly. “No.”

Brenn glanced back up to Joey’s eyes. They were clouded in sorrow now. “What is it?” he asked, sudden dread filling his heart.

Joey stared at him for a moment as if unsure Brenn was for real, but then he smiled again, though it was twisted with apology and regret.

“I’m dying.”

BOOK 3

His Heart’s Desire (The Looking Glass 3) 51,000 words/161 pages

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Blurb

As the keeper of a magic mirror that shows those lucky few their one true love, Simon dreams of the day it will show him his, but he never dreamt of a punk-assed kid with ripped jeans and rainbow colored hair. Devastated, Simon tries to push Alex away, refusing to tell him they were fated, but Alex keeps coming back, showing all the signs of a man drawn to his soulmate. Realizing he’s made a terrible mistake, Simon figures the only way to fix it is to be the man Alex wants because Alex is the man Simon needs if he’s ever to have a future.

Never before has Alex fallen so hard for a man who obviously doesn’t like him, but Alex is sure there’s a passionate man beneath Simon’s prickly exterior. Peeling away Simon’s layers is like ripping off a bandaid, but it’s worth it when Alex finally has Simon in his arms. The problem is, though he may have Simon’s body, he doesn’t have his heart, and that’s the part Alex wants most. Until he finds out Simon has lied to him.

Excerpt

SIMON CLOSED THE door, and before he could stop himself, he sank to his knees, all composure gone as he watched his chance of happiness walk away. A small sob erupted from his throat as the pain of loss bit deep. He’d never get another chance now, and the sense of betrayal felt like a stab to the heart.

Not once in all the years he’d been the mirror’s keeper had he imagined he wouldn’t be the one to see hisone true love, hissoul’s other half. It was what Simon had yearned for with every cell of his being, a decade long obsession, but instead of being given his heart’s desire, he’d been relegated to someone else’s.

Curled up into a ball on a cold floor, Simon couldn’t believe how everything had gone so appallingly wrong. He’d undertaken everything asked of him, everything his job entailed, but he must have royally fucked up if Alex was his reward.

Alex was the absolute opposite of who Simon had always imagined his ideal partner to be. Simon had always wanted someone older than him, someone with experience, someone who knew how to treat a man. Alex was young, brash enough to be intrusive, and the way he was dressed… Simon groaned as disappointment shot through him like a double-bladed knife. It wasn’t as if he’d expected to meet someone with impeccable taste in clothes, but he most certainly hadn’t anticipated someone who didn’t give a shit. Unless Alex thought his ripped jeans and stained T-shirt were a fashion statement.

It took a moment for Simon to realize he was not just being a snob, but an ungrateful snob. He should have been rejoicing in the fact there was someone out there for him. Instead he was bemoaning the how and the who. Did it matter? Shouldn’t he just accept the mirror’s gift like all those other men before him? Simon winced as he remembered the way Alex had blithely walked into the apartment without regard to privacy or etiquette. Also the way Alex had grabbed Simon’s arm. Feeling the echo of that unwanted touch, Simon shuddered. No, Alex was not a gift. He was a bloody nightmare.

Cold eventually seeped into his consciousness, exacerbating his misery but at least forcing him to come to his senses. He blinked, noticing the darkness outside his windows. Having no idea how long he’d been lying there but guessing it had been several hours, Simon slowly pushed himself into a sitting position. His limbs groaned in protest, but it was the crushing pain behind his eyes that had Simon moaning.

He took a deep breath to clear his head a little and then wiped away the wetness on his cheeks. Moping wasn’t going to help him sort out this situation; he knew that. However, he had no idea what would. He could very well be released from duty as the mirror’s keeper because he had refused to tell Alex the reason behind the image, or he could be forced to stay here as punishment, forever showing other men their heart’s desire while knowing he’d never have his.

Right then neither of those possibilities were something Simon wanted to consider. He had nowhere to go, not from here. The shop had not only been his place of work, but also his home. It had provided food, clothes, and a roof over his head. It had also given him a purpose over the years, one he’d been happy to fulfill until he’d become jealous and impatient.

Castigating himself for being such a fool, Simon got up off the floor, then automatically locked the door before making his way to his apartment. He bypassed the mirror, ignoring the pull that had drawn him toward its darkened face every night since he’d been its keeper. He used to stand before it, his heart filled with hope, with expectancy, waiting for his chance to be shown a glimpse of his soul mate. That had now been stolen from him, and never again would he allow himself to be mocked by the mirror’s blind cruelty.

NOTE:

Though The Looking Glass is a series of three books, each one can be read as a standalone, however, there is one character (The Mirror’s Keeper – Simon) who is a part of the first two books, and his story is told in the third. So those reading His Heart’s Desire (The Looking Glass 3) may want to read the first book Choices (TLG 1), and then the second book First Kiss (TLG 2) if they want to get the whole of Simon’s story. But those reading Choices or First Kiss don’t need to read either of the others.

About the Author

Penny is a complete romantic who believes everyone can fall in love if only they’ll open their heart to the possibility, which is why she writes those hot, erotic stories that will always have a happily ever after. However, it doesn’t mean she’ll necessarily make it easy for her men to get there. A lover of things that go bump in the night, Penny’s imagination can sometimes run riot, so magic mirrors and evil dolls is only the beginning.

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Gabbi Reviews: My Fair Captain by JL Langley

Title: Sci-Regency, Book 1: My Fair Captain

Author: JL Langley

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 244

Characters: Nathaniel Hawkins, Prince Aiden Townsend

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Science Fiction, Series

Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

A Sci-Regency Novel

When Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins goes undercover to investigate the theft of an IN weapons stash, the mission raises painful memories from his past. Using a title he fled nearly two decades earlier, Nate once again becomes the Earl of Deverell, heir to the Duke of Hawthorne, in order to navigate the ins and outs of a Regency world. But planet Regelence—where young lords are supposed to remain pure until marriage—has a few surprises for Nate, not least of which is his attraction to Prince Aiden.

A talented artist, Prince Aiden Townsend isn’t interested in politics and the machinations of society gentlemen, and he adamantly rejects the idea of marriage and a consort. Aiden wants the freedom to pursue his art and determine his own future. But the arrival of the dashing and mysterious Deverell awakens feelings of passion and longing the young prince can’t deny.

As Nate uncovers a conspiracy reaching far beyond the stolen weapons, his future is irrevocably altered by the temptations of a life he never thought he could have. Drawn into the web of intrigue, Aiden is in danger of losing his life… and his heart.

Review:

My Fair Captain by JL Langley is one of my all-time favorite books. I read and have re-read the first edition years ago and it has been one of my comfort reads ever since it was published in 2007. When Dreamspinner Press republished it as a second edition, I jumped at the chance to read and review this re-edited and revamped edition of it.

Since the blurb does an excellent job at describing the story, I won’t rehash it. Instead, I thought I’d write about why I love this story and why I consider it a desert island keeper.

Ms. Langley writes heroes that are easy to identify with. They are flawed, likable men who is so easy to come to care for. It’s also easy to see that Ms. Langley loves her heroes because they live and breathe off the written page. You feel as if you are experiencing their journey with them. I loved every minute I spent watching their lives intertwine with each other, and I’m always enraptured by the story they have to tell.

The romance between Nate and Aiden is beautifully told. From the first moment they meet, sparks fly, and it seems to be a natural transition for them to fall in love. What’s even better is…these two men genuinely like and respect one another. Their admiration for their partner is something, as a reader, that I love to watch unfold before me. I love how they love each other and the sexual chemistry between them truly sizzle up the pages they are written on.

Not only will you love Nate and Aiden, you’ll fall in love with the secondary characters, too. Every character in this book *and beyond* have something to bring to the story. I quickly found myself wishing Ms. Langley wrote faster so I could about their lives and future loves. Out of all the secondary characters, you’ll fall in love with Aiden’s two fathers…omg…they are a hoot and soooo sexy together. I hope Ms. Langley writes a prequel about them one day…hint, hint.

The romance drives the story but there is a whodunit mystery that is also intriguing. Between the suspense, danger, and romance, My Fair Captain, will keep you captivated with Nate and Aiden’s story from start to finish.

I simply adore this book and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’m glad I read the second edition and enjoyed it as much as the original one. If you love highly romantic tales that will live with you long after you finish the book, then My Fair Captain is the book for you.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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Kimberly Reviews: The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever by Andrew Grey

Title: The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press, Dreamspun Desires

Pages: 190

Characters: Tommy, Grayson, Petey

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary

Kisses: 4.5

 Blurb:

How can heartbreak turn into happily ever after?

Tommy Gordon is all set for happily ever after—until heartbreak strikes when his husband-to-be leaves him at the altar. In a bid for distraction, his best friend, Grayson Phillips, suggests he takes advantage of the luxury honeymoon anyway! But the last thing Tommy wants is to go alone, so he invites Grayson and his son, Petey, along.

Beautiful Bonaire lends itself to romance, and along with close quarters, relaxing on the water, and a matchmaking kid, Tommy and Grayson soon find themselves closer than ever… and considering more, much to Grayson’s delight. But before they can plan the best best honeymoon ever, dark clouds descend in the form of Tommy’s ex and a sting from paradise that could ruin everything.

Review:

Friends to lovers stories are always a favorite of mine, as are kids-fics, so The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever hit all the right buttons for me. Left at the altar, poor Tommy Gordon feels like his life is over and just wants to be left alone to sulk inside his house in isolation. His best friend, Grayson, isn’t going to let that happen. Instead, they’re going to take the honeymoon trip that Tommy’s already paid for and have a great vacation together, along with Grayson’s son, Petey. And what develops in the island paradise of Bonaire will change their lives for the better.

In terms of character background, I felt like we got quite a rich and cohesive story for the main characters. We find out how Petey entered Grayson’s life and what his current status is, as well as what befell Grayson’s past relationship in terms of prioritizing his son. And we got information on how Tommy and Grayson became friends, standing beside each other over the years, as well as how Tommy’s been a part of Petey’s life since Grayson started raising him. Should we get a sequel within this universe, I’d like to see some more exploration around Petey’s mother, as well as Tommy’s aunt. Both of these women got a bit of time within the story, but there is much more to delve into for both of them. Perhaps we’ll get to learn more later.

I enjoyed seeing how both Tommy and Grayson’s unsaid attraction to each other finally got to come to the forefront. They had such an easy relationship as friends, and Tommy already treated Petey as a beloved nephew, so the transition was pretty smooth to being lovers. There were hints towards the need to ease Petey into the changed status, but overall there didn’t appear to be any real issues ahead. Even the supposed threats from Tommy’s former fiance, Xavier, didn’t put any real barriers towards their eventual committed relationship status.

If you enjoy happily-ever-after stories where best friends become a family, The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever is a great choice! Life can throw curve-balls, and threats might be lurking around the corner, but in the end, it all works out. I look forward to what else Andrew Grey brings us with these characters.

Reviewed By: Kimberly

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