Lydia Reviews: The Escort by Jeff Erno


TITLE: The Escort
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Self Published through Amazon
Pages: 279
Characters: Travis Sheppard and Darren Kinney
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

At twenty-five, Travis Sheppard knows all about taking care of himself. He’s been on his own since the age of seventeen, and he learned long ago how to use his assets and natural-born talent to get what he needs…and wants. Travis is a hustler, a male escort, and he caters to men of means who like to shower him with gifts and cash in exchange for his affection—sometimes for his mere presence.

When Travis accepts an overnight gig with a new client, he’s surprised by the fact the customer has pre-paid. When Travis arrives at the gentleman’s surprisingly modest home, he learns that his client is an accomplished, best-selling author. Darren, otherwise known as DJ Torrent, makes Travis a proposal. He wants Travis to accompany him to a gay literature conference. The catch is that for their five days together, Travis is to be more to Darren than just his escort. Darren wants Travis to pose as his husband.

Review:

The Escort is one of Mr. Erno’s latest releases. The main characters, Travis and Darren, are well written and pull you into their story from the beginning. While readers may have a hard time imagining these two together, they really do mesh well.

Travis is an escort. When he found himself on the street as a kid, it was the only job he could find. It is not a job for everyone but it is one he is good at. His latest client surprises him in many ways. Darren is a well-known author. Normally he stays home writing and socializing with fans on social media. But a convention is coming up, one he needs to attend and Darren needs someone to pose as his husband. Enter Travis.

I loved watching these two together. Travis teaches Darren how to come out of his shell, while Darren teaches Travis about love. The author does a wonderful job with these two men, bringing them and their story alive in a way that is believable.

As much as I loved the relationship between these two, the secondary characters are just as engrossing and I loved how they helped bring the story alive. I have never been to a GRL retreat and I realized that a lot of poetic license was used for this story, but I could not help wondering if some of the craziness that goes on in this book isn’t based on some actual events. Many times, I found myself laughing at what was going on. While most of the secondary characters are friendly, there is one that throws the men’s lives into turmoil. Thankfully he does not do too much damage and the way he is handled will make many readers happy I am sure.

Fans of Mr. Erno’s are sure to love The Escort. I cannot wait to see what the author will bring us next and think The Escort is a great book for anyone wanting to give this author a try.

Reviewed By: Lydia

Click HERE to purchase The Escort by Jeff Erno

Life Without Parole by Jeff Erno Blog Tour

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Is Prison Romance Just another Form of “Gay for You”?

The idea of a prison romance has intrigued me for some time, but I hesitated to embark on the project due to a number of misgivings I harbored. For one thing, the very notion of situational homosexuality made me uncomfortable. It doesn’t quite fit within my personal view of sexual orientation and more or less contradicts what I’ve argued for many years—gay people are born gay. You can’t be persuaded or recruited into the “homosexual lifestyle”. Writing a story that depicts a straight person falling in love and becoming sexually active with a member of their same sex felt hypocritical to me. In a way, it seemed like a betrayal.

But in so many ways, this reasoning proved hypocritical. For one thing, “Gay for You” is a very common trope, and some of my previous works could arguably at least border on that categorization. And even more significantly, prison romance is a reality as is situational homosexuality. Rather than denying its existence, wouldn’t it be better to explore it and try to gain a better understanding?

I believe there are two valid explanations for situational homosexuality in a prison setting. The first is that most humans are not one hundred percent heterosexual or homosexual. Regardless how we identify in terms of orientation, few people land in the far outer reaches of the Kinsey Scale. So in the absence of the opposite sex, it makes sense that people who are mostly heterosexual but who’ve entertained homosexual thoughts or fantasies, could be willing to explore those feelings more deeply. If you’re in prison for a long sentence, possibly even a life sentence, wouldn’t you find a way to make the best of your situation?

Secondly, I don’t think sexual intimacy is always about expressing love and attraction. Sometimes, as in the case of rape, it’s about power and domination. In a prison setting, an entirely separate hierarchy exists from that in the outside world. And often it becomes a matter of natural selection where the fittest survive. The most powerful control those beneath them in the pecking order. I can see where a person would submit to the will (and sexual desires) of one more powerful in exchange of protection or other favors.

And then, setting all this aside, I would also add that gay people—openly gay people—do get sentenced to prison, as do transgender people. So it is entirely possible that a gay inmate could fall in love with another gay or bisexual inmate. Or a transgender person, forced to identify as their birth gender rather than their true gender, could fall in love with a person of their birth gender.

In Life Without Parole, I don’t offer distinct, iron-clad explanations for the orientations or genders of my characters. When a happily-married, middle-aged corrections officer receives oral sex from a transgender inmate, I don’t explain if he’s gay, bi, or straight. I don’t explain the motivation of the inmate either. It is what it is. It happens.

And when my main characters, Jeremy and Trey, fall in love, I let the reader decide how to label them. In my mind, this is not a gay for you love story, but I wouldn’t argue with any reader who sees it that way. I wanted to present a genuine love story within a not-so-typical setting and simply let the chips fall where they may. I allowed the characters to lead me into some situations I found shocking and confusing. Some twists and turns occurred I didn’t originally anticipate. But instead of trying to explain the “whys” I simply showed the story as I saw it.

I personally like what happens between Jeremy and Trey. They each broke my heart at different times. They cracked me wide open, made me angry, made me hurt in ways I haven’t for a long, long time. And this is the sort of writing I started out with so many years ago but somehow managed to veer away from in pursuit of approval and sales.

I’m not sure if Life Without Parole is going to be a huge success, and to be honest, I don’t really care as much as I probably should. It’s a story that seemed to find me, and not vice-versa. I had to let go of my concerns that my preconceived opinions would be challenged and simply follow my characters.

I do appreciate all who are willing to give this series a shot. I won’t lie and tell you it’s going to appeal to everyone. I understand in many ways it is controversial, possibly even offensive or capable of insulting one’s sensibilities. Yes, it’s raw and very harsh in some places, but it also contains tenderness and very primal, deep-seated passion. It is both complicated and simple. The multiple storylines of the many characters twist around each other but hopefully in the end all becomes clear. And yes, it has some too-good-to-be-true happy endings, for the most part. But if you know anything about me, you realize I can’t write a story of any kind without an HEA.

I’d like to thank Michele and Gabbi for hosting me and participating in my blog tour. It’s awesome to be back here on the website where it all began for me. I’d like to offer a giveaway prize for those willing to comment. I’m going to give away a gift at each blog stop and conduct a final drawing at the end of the tour for a complete set of the Life Without Parole series. It’s six books total. Please leave a comment or question to enter.

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Blurb:

Trey Palmer killed his stepfather three years ago, stabbed him repeatedly with a butcher knife, and now he’s facing life behind bars. He doesn’t deny what he did, nor does he regret it. But he’s plagued with flashbacks of a torturous childhood in which he was abused by this man he finally extinguished. In prison, Trey employs a strategy of avoidance. He becomes a loner and a workaholic, steering clear of the gangs and their drama. His life changes one day, however, when a new cellmate arrives. Jeremy Banks, also in for murder, decries his innocence. With his long hair and angelic face, he’s too pretty for a men’s prison. Though at first annoying and mouthy, Jeremy begins to wiggle his way into Trey’s heart, and Trey starts to wonder if maybe the kid really is innocent. He really does seem like an angel. Their feelings for each other evolve, blossoming into something forbidden yet beautiful. But how can a love like theirs last in a place like this?

Gabbi Reviews: Fallen Angel by Jeff Erno


Title: Fallen Angel
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Pages: 129
Characters: Trey Palmer, Jeremy Banks
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kisses: 4.5


Blurb:

Their love, forbidden yet beautiful, hardly stood a chance of surviving a place like this.

Trey Palmer killed his stepfather three years ago, stabbing him repeatedly with a butcher knife, and now he’s facing life behind bars. He doesn’t deny what he did, nor does he regret it. But he’s plagued with flashbacks of a torturous childhood in which he was abused by this man he finally extinguished. In prison, Trey employs a strategy of avoidance. He becomes a loner and a workaholic, steering clear of the gangs and their drama. His life changes one day, however, when a new cellmate arrives.

Jeremy Banks, also in for murder, decries his innocence. With his long hair and angelic face, he’s too pretty for a men’s prison. Though at first annoying and mouthy, Jeremy begins to wiggle his way into Trey’s heart, and Trey starts to wonder if maybe the kid really is innocent. He truly does seem like an angel. Their feelings for each other evolve, blossoming into something forbidden yet beautiful. But how can a love like theirs last in a place like this?

Review:

Fallen Angel is the first book in the Life without Parole series by Jeff Erno. I admit, I was hesitant to request this book to review. Why? Well, in all honesty, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about reading a romance set in a prison setting. I’ve watched enough prison shows to know that life behind bars is NOT a pretty one, so I wasn’t sure if I would like this book or not. One thing I DO like is Jeff Erno’s stories. Mr. Erno writes thought-provoking romances that aren’t always wrapped up in a nice pretty bow. It’s because of my trust in this author’s work that I decided to give this book a shot.

I’m glad I did.

I’m not going to kid you…this wasn’t an easy read for me. I guess it’s the feeling of impending doom I couldn’t shake why reading this story. From the beginning, we are met with Trey who is unrepentant for killing his pedophile, abusive father. Because of his insistence to keep his sister and mother from experiencing more grief, he pleads guilty and gets life without parole. That’s right, Trey has no desire to fight for freedom and balks at his family for still working to earn him his freedom.

Trey keeps to himself. He’s been incarcerated for three years and has learned the ins and out of the prison system. He isn’t there to make friends. He just wants to do his time, be left alone and go about his day to day existence.

On the other hand, Jeremy is just arriving at prison for being committed of a crime he didn’t do. Alone and afraid, Jeremy is thrown into a world full of violence and corruption. He is quite naïve as to prison politics and who to trust. When he becomes cellmates with Trey, its Jeremy’s innocence that draws Trey to him.

There is a lot going on in this novel. Mr. Erno builds the world of prison life as well as the politics the inmates live with in a very frank and realistic fashion. Along with Jeremy, we get to meet a cast of characters who aren’t as they seem. As Jeremy learns about these men, so do we and it’s not always a pretty sight.

One of things I really liked about this book is the slow buildup between Trey and Jeremy’s relationship. I enjoyed watching them become friends and become close. It was good to see both men begin to really open up to each other and learn to rely on one another as well. Of course, just when the book was really getting interesting, it ends…so now I’m anxious to see what happens to these two characters next.

If you are looking for a happy ending, this doesn’t really have one, but it does end sweet *in a Trey and Jeremy kind of way* and I enjoyed it. I admit, I still have that doomed feeling even after finishing this book. Why? Because I have a feeling both of these men will probably have some heartache ahead of them, but I trust this author and I’m interested in seeing what is in store for us next.

Jeff Erno proves once again that he is the master at writing gripping, thought-provoking stories that will live with you long after you finish reading the book.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Fallen Angel by Jeff Erno

Enter to Win a Copy of Forever Fearless by Jeff Erno!!

Hello Friends!

The amazing Jeff Erno is giving away a free copy of his latest book, Forever Fearless!! All you have to do to enter the contest is make a comment below and you’re automatically entered:)

The Contest will run until midnight at 04/09/14

Good Luck!

Forever Fearless

Blurb and Excerpt:

The Forever Vampire saga continues…

In the aftermath of unspeakable slaughter, Robbie and Colt have escaped to the wilds of Alaska to face their immortal future. Things aren’t so certain for their sworn enemies, Dylan and Issa, Matarian soldiers sworn to hunt them down and slaughter them.

Dylan is poised to begin his first vampire hunt and wants Issa as his partner, but Issa is far more concerned with finding his brother and tracking down the blond boy who nearly died on the battlefield. The entire cast from book one reunites in this thrilling continuation of their story, joined by a host of new faces–friends and foes–whose lives somehow weave together as they cross paths in their efforts to battle evil and attain their own happiness. Humans, Shifters, Daywalkers, and Purebloods confront each other with the guidance of three enigmatic sisters–one a Maenad, one a necromancer, and the other a human witch. Plot twists and surprises mark the paths of these diverse characters, forever fearless in their quest to cling to all they hold dear.

Excerpt:

Chapter One

He woke up screaming, as he’d done nearly every time he tried to sleep. The vivid images played in his head like a movie reel. Relentless, graphic nightmares, or more accurately, flashbacks. The doctor said he was suffering from post-traumatic stress, but she didn’t know the half of it.

Local media had covered the story, labeling it a bizarre wolf attack in which eighteen campers had been killed and another two dozen injured. Issa knew the truth. They all knew, all of the witnesses. There’d been a wolf attack, all right, but those were not ordinary wolves. And in the wake of the confrontation, they’d left carnage unlike anything Issa could have imagined. Body parts strewn everywhere, so badly that many of the victims were not even recognizable.

Worse than these gruesome images were Issa’s memories of the vampire slayings. He thought he’d been prepared. He’d learned all his lessons, completed hours of target practice, and had even watched graphic videos. Sure, he knew it would be bloody, and he knew that ripping a vampire’s heart from its chest was no job for the squeamish. Yet, there was nothing that could have prepared him for seeing it all in living color.

If he knew anything with certainty, it was the fact that he wasn’t cut out for the job. He had no desire to ever again see what he’d witnessed that night, and he definitely was no vampire slayer.

Shockwaves had rippled through the Matarian community as word of the tragedy quickly spread. An emergency meeting had been called to assess the losses and to discuss an appropriate response. The devastation affected every Matarian family, but most significantly those who’d lost a young loved one.

Issa knew all of the victims. They’d been his classmates. His sixteen year old classmates. Boot camp was a Matarian rite of passage, one every Matarian child looked forward to. This pivotal juncture provided transition from youthful fantasies of vampire slaying to the reality of actual field work. Completion of boot camp culminated with a graduation ceremony followed by the assignments of the cadets’ first hunts.

But there’d been no ceremony this year. Instead, the entire community gathered for a massive memorial service. Even the successful vampire slayings, normally a cause for great celebration, hadn’t offset the tragic losses.

“It’s a war,” Issa’s father calmly stated, “and people die in wars.”

“Children, Ibrahim. They were but children,” his mother pointed out.

Sadly, Issa knew many in the community shared his father’s sentiments. Rather than giving them pause and leading them to contemplate the senseless killings, the tragedy had enraged them and made them even more bloodthirsty. Talk of revenge already ran rampant, and now a new enemy had been added to the list. Matarians not only fought the vampires, but also the werewolves.

The deaths of Issa’s brethren lay heavy on his heart, yet he did not yearn for revenge. In fact, he didn’t blame the vampires or the wolves. He knew why they’d come. They were on a rescue mission, there to free the prisoners the Matarians were heartlessly torturing. When stormed by an army of battle-ready cadets, they responded, and many lives were lost.

And the tragedy had cut both ways. At least four from the other side had been mortally wounded, a wolf, two vampires, and a human. Issa had heard the jubilant cheers from his fellow Matarian warriors as the vampires were felled, and the memory sickened him. Brendan and Richard were a couple, and they’d loved each other very much. They’d been together for years—at least decades, if not centuries.

To Issa, their relationship didn’t seem so different than what he shared with Dylan. According to the Matarian teachings, vampires were bloodsucking monsters, not even human, and most people didn’t think they were really even capable of love. Driven solely by their hunger, personal relationships were secondary to them. In most instances, they were solitary creatures who existed only for the purpose of feeding. Killing machines, and nothing more.

But Issa knew otherwise. He knew from his conversation with Brendan. He knew because he’d seen how Richard had reacted when reunited with his lover. And he’d witnessed a similar connection between the young-looking vampire and the human—the little blond kid. Christ, he didn’t look any older than the cadets. Robbie, was it?

The vampire was in love with the boy. Issa could only speculate as to what had become of them. Perhaps they’d made it to safety in time, but if so, that would imply Robbie had been converted. Surely, he wouldn’t have survived an arrow through his heart.

Issa didn’t want to know. He couldn’t bear the possibility that the kid, so obviously in love, had sacrificed himself for his lover. And even if he had somehow been saved, he didn’t want to think about what that would mean. They’d be targets. Sitting ducks. The Matarian army was already planning an all-out war, a massive and sweeping retaliatory strike. They were intent upon eradicating all vampires worldwide, once and for all.

But the elders didn’t even know the whole story. Only Dylan and Issa were aware of all that had transpired that night. They were the only Matarians to witness Raoul and Shadi.

“You can’t tell,” Issa had pleaded. “If they find out, they’ll hunt them down and kill my brother.”

“Issa, he’s no longer your brother.” Dylan tried to reason with him. “He’s a Pureblood vampire. He isn’t even human, and he has no loyalty to you or your family.”

“What if it were your brother?”

Dylan took a step back, then slowly nodded. Issa knew how close Dylan was to his brother Taylor. He’d never turn his back on his own flesh and blood, no matter the circumstances. Finally, he sighed. “All right, I won’t tell. But it has to end here. From this point forward, Shadi no longer exists. As far as we’re concerned, he’s gone forever.”

Issa nodded his agreement, but didn’t verbalize a response. He could never make such a promise, not even to Dylan. Shadi was his brother, and Issa couldn’t just pretend he was dead. Though it might not immediately be possible, one day he’d find his brother and they’d have their reunion. In the meantime, he had to find a way to forgive himself for all that had happened. He had to somehow make the nightmares stop so he could go on with his life, so he could concentrate on his future with Dylan.

As he lay alone in his dark room, he thought on these things and stared up at the ceiling. “I’ll find you again, Shadi,” he whispered.

Forever Fearless by Jeff Erno


Title: Forever Fearless
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Ai Press
Pages: 157
Genre: Gay/ Paranormal
Kisses: 5



Blurb:

The Forever Vampire saga continues…

In the aftermath of unspeakable slaughter, Robbie and Colt have escaped to the wilds of Alaska to face their immortal future. Things aren’t so certain for their sworn enemies, Dylan and Issa, Matarian soldiers sworn to hunt them down and slaughter them.

Dylan is poised to begin his first vampire hunt and wants Issa as his partner, but Issa is far more concerned with finding his brother and tracking down the blond boy who nearly died on the battlefield. The entire cast from book one reunites in this thrilling continuation of their story, joined by a host of new faces–friends and foes–whose lives somehow weave together as they cross paths in their efforts to battle evil and attain their own happiness. Humans, Shifters, Daywalkers, and Purebloods confront each other with the guidance of three enigmatic sisters–one a Maenad, one a necromancer, and the other a human witch. Plot twists and surprises mark the paths of these diverse characters, forever fearless in their quest to cling to all they hold dear.

Review:

If you have read Forever Young and was shocked as I was by the ending, you will get your answers from this sequel.

Forever Fearless begins at the ending of the first book and yes it is a jaw dropping, page turning good book!

Mr. Erno has written this story from several POV’s and it works, because this story has so many sides to be told. The Matarian’s want revenge for the innocents killed. The Wolves want revenge for the wolf killed, and the day walkers just want to love their mates and the pure blood Raoul just wants Shadi’s brother Issa.

The plot is well thought out and the time was taken to tell where everyone stood in this spectacular story. Jeff Erno is a great story teller, and these two paranormal stories are two of his best!

I highly recommend Forever Young and Forever Fearless and I will be keeping my fingers crossed that we will be seeing more of this series.

Reviewed by: Cheryl

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Another Dumb Jock by Jeff Erno


Title: Another Dumb Jock
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 200
Characters: Adam, Travis
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Coming of age
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

Jeff Irwin and Brett Willson raised a fine son, Adam, in their unconventional , judgement-free family. But being the son of two dads has its challenges. Although Adam loves them, he’s determined to prove he’s not gay, like they are. To this end he’s become the star pitcher of his high school baseball team, a true jock.

Then Adam is suspended after he gets in a fight at school and his dads find out his grades are slipping.
Determined to put him back on track, they hire him a tutor; a short, nerdy kid named Trevor. Despite his resistance soon enough Adams worst nightmare comes true when he finds himself attracted to Trevor. This gives him a choice; follow his heart or become just another dumb jock.

Review:

I was so thrilled to be able to read a story that included two of my favorite people, Brett and Jeff from Dumb Jock. As I started reading, I kept thinking, “wow! what a brat!” Adam Idolizes his dad Brett who is a manly man, but he looks down on his father Jeff because he is uncomfortable with Jeff’s ‘mothering’ ways.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to change my mind about Adam, and I trust Jeff Erno, so I kept reading. Once Trevor enters the picture, who by the way is absolutely adorable, I began to see there was more to Adam than meets the eye. Adam is just really confused about his sexuality and when he meets Trevor it does not help his confusion.

I found these two young people together to be wonderful, and when Trevor has a crisis at home, Adam proves to be a stand-up guy. I really loved the ‘locker room’ scene, (It will have you grinning so hard that your face will hurt) and some of the scenes between Adam and Trevor are so tender your heart will hurt.

I also enjoyed visiting some old friends from Dumb Jock. It was nothing but pure joy to see how everyone turned out, and when old secrets are brought to life, your heart will go out to Adam just like mine did. So, in the end, I found myself very much in love with Adam and Trevor as I was with Jeff and Brett. Another Dumb Jock is an easy book to recommend. You will fall in love with the characters and enjoy watching two seemingly opposite people form a very special relationship. Another Dumb Jock could probably be read as a stand alone in the series, but I highly recommend reading the first book, Dumb Jock, before this one. Once you read about all of these characters, they will live in your heart just as much as they live in mind.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed by: Cheryl

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Forever Young by Jeff Erno


Title: Forever Young
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: AI Press
Pages: 158
Characters: Robbie, Colt
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: M/M, Vampire, Shifter
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

In less than a summer, shy and introverted Robbie Myers goes from eighteen and never been kissed to the passionate intensity of first love that could last forever. Literally…

Eighteen-year-old Robbie Myers has difficulty talking to people. Not only is he shy, but he seems to say the wrong thing every time he opens his mouth, especially to the mysterious, handsome stranger who shows up at his supermarket job, defends him from an aggressive colleague and then asks him on a date. He can’t believe a hot, worldly badboy like seventeen-year-old Colt Abernathy is actually interested. Yet he can’t deny that the ardor burning in Colt’s dark eyes is just for him. In the space of one breath, Robbie is launched from his plan to attend community college while living at home with his mom and saving up for a car to the tender yet passionate exploration of intense first love. Little does Robbie know…

Brought across during the height of the Civil War, Colt has remained trapped in the body of a lonely seventeen year old. When he spots the slim, blond-haired, blue eyed young man, pushing a line of shopping carts across a parking lot, Colt knows instantly they’re destined for each other. There’s just one major problem: if he survives the impending battle between vampires and the Matarians – an army of brutal vampire slayers – he’s going to live forever. Robbie isn’t…

Review:

Jeff Erno has created a story that I was pulled into and immersed in from the first line. Robbie is so painfully shy that you hurt for this young man. His mother is very loving and so over- protective you can’t help to care for her but cringe at the same time.

Colt looks to be young but has a self confidence about him that speaks of maturity beyond his years. I love these two as a couple and seeing Robbie coming out of his shell with the attention Colt lavishes him with. I grew to care for Colt’s father (maker) Richard and his husband Brendan, who truly love each other.

When Brendan disappears and trouble visits Richard’s home, they have to flee, taking Robbie with them, and try to find Brendan. We meet two Matarian’s who start their own love story while being trained to kill Vampires.. I would highly recommend this story and was so thrilled to see the words To be continued…..

Reviewed by: Cheryl

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