Kimberly Reviews: His Wildest Dream by Xander Collins

Title: A Portville Mpreg Romance, Book 3: His Wildest Dream

Author: Xander Collins

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages: 177

Characters: Daniel, Cameron, Maggie

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Male Pregnancy

Kisses: 3 

Blurb:

Dreams really do come true …

When Daniel goes into a debilitating super-heat while delivering a package to the office of one of the wealthiest men in town, he is horrified. It’s not like any other heat he’s had before, and he finds out it could have been caused by some very compatible pheromones.

Those of billionaire Cameron Styles.

He can’t fathom that Cameron could be interested in a poor, young omega like him, but when he’s asked to move into Cameron’s penthouse condo, he can’t turn down the chance to live out some of his dreams.

Cameron has hidden himself away in his penthouse ever since his omega partner was killed in an accident. He has made sure to not come into contact with anyone who might set off his powerful alpha hormones, or touch his heart.

Until Daniel walks into his office, that is.

After Cameron inhales Daniel’s scent and sees the sweetness in his eyes, he can’t get him out of his mind. But he’s afraid of love and pain, and most of all, of scaring an innocent omega with his depraved desires.

Can two people from different backgrounds let go of the pain in their pasts and come together to find the love they’re searching for?

Review:

As a fan of male pregnancy stories, I was hopeful that His Wildest Dream would hit all my buttons in delivering a nice romance where boy meets boy and make a baby. And, while the novel did hit the right notes in certain areas, there were some elements that were either only lightly touched upon or ignored entirely.

The premise is that Daniel, a virgin omega who has had a hard time in life thus far, is working as a bike messenger. On his daily run one morning, he is tasked to hand-deliver an envelope to Cameron Styles, of Styles Investments, in the penthouse of The Marguerite. That kicks off the inevitable meeting between Daniel and his destined alpha, Cameron. Their relationship seems ruled by biology more than shared interests, but it is something that neither can deny. They must be together and there’s no way around it. And what develops is a happily-ever-after story where Cameron rescues Daniel from a bad living situation, sets him up as a live-in nanny for his daughter, Maggie, and they inevitably fall in love, get married, and have a baby together.

While the story itself is sweet and follows a relationship that is mostly untroubled, it did feel like more of a surface level story than one where the author wanted to go in-depth into the characters. We know that Cameron feels guilty for the death of his former omega, Gregory, and that Daniel comes from a broken home, with the intent to help others who might be in his same situation, but the exploration of these repercussions of past history was missing. Maggie doesn’t seem affected by her dead father, Daniel seems to take to his destined pairing without reservation, and Cameron’s money solves pretty much any issue that might come up in their lives. Also, there were a few editing issues in terms of word choice, spelling, and punctuation that highlights how the book could have benefited from an editor.

One area to keep in mind when picking up His Wildest Dream, if you are looking for a focus on the pregnancy aspect, is that it takes up very little of the book. We have a lot of build-up in solidifying the relationship between Daniel and Cameron, which takes place in quite a whirlwind of two weeks from meeting to marriage, but the pregnancy itself was almost a side note of what must happen next before we move to the subsequent step in their lives. I also remain confused as to the biological construct of this alpha/omega world in terms of pregnancy length, which is shortened in comparison to human gestation since Daniel was only pregnant for five months total. Further information to help the reader understand both this and the societal construct of alpha/beta/omega status would have been helpful.

Despite these issues, however, the novel is a happy love story and one that holds the potential for more exploration. If you’re looking for a fast read with a male pregnancy pay-off, His Wildest Dream is definitely worth picking up. And I do look forward to seeing what the author could do with the male pregnancy concept in other novels. It’s one of my favorite genres, and one that doesn’t get a lot of coverage in quality LGBT fiction, so I support any author who wants to explore it! 

Reviewed By: Kimberly

Click HERE to purchase His Wildest Dream

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Are you looking for a good book to read? Check out the NEW releases from JMS Books!


TITLE: Bisexual Blues
AUTHOR: David O. Sullivan
ISBN: 9781634865814
GENRE: Gay / Bisexual Erotic Romance (MMFF)
LENGTH: 20,960 words
PRICE: $3.99

PURCHASE EBOOK

Being a cop isn’t easy. Being a gay — or even bisexual — cop can sometimes add fuel to the fire.

For best friends Dino Parelli and Norris Bander, friendship quickly morphs into much more. But things are more complicated than either man wants to admit. Dino must contend with his bisexual desires while acknowledging he loves Norris. For Norris, coming out is something he eventually wants, though even he finds himself wondering if maybe he’s really bi, as well.

Both men soon discover they aren’t alone on the force. When they learn two female officers are just as sexually adventurous, Norris and Dino must learn to navigate the relationship waters … with the women as well as with each other.


TITLE: Hot Shots
AUTHOR: Michael P. Thomas
ISBN: 9781634865623
GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 10,500 words
PRICE: $3.99

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Since he first laid eyes on Michael Phelps as a teenager, young Beau has longed to be an Olympian; the better to sleep with as many other Olympians as possible. Too bad he’s a flop at every sport he tries.

An offhand reference by his European mother reveals a family connection to the world of competitive shooting, and a quick — if not wholly truthful — email nets Beau an invitation to Luxembourg to train with Marcel, a dashing rifle champion. He jumps at the chance, and, when he learns they aren’t actually related, at the champ.

Sparks fly, but Beau’s never exactly been what you’d call a one-man man. Will Beau’s smoldering desire for Marcel burn hot enough to keep the torch of his Olympic dreams aflame?


TITLE: Jay Bird
AUTHOR: Thomas Grant Bruso
ISBN: 9781634865951
GENRE: Gay Romance
LENGTH: 23,087 words
PRICE: $3.99

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Introverted, socially awkward Jay Kirkman, known to his Grams as “Jay Bird,” is riding the ups-and-downs of youth while living with overbearing parents and dealing with the pressures of being a senior in high school.

A month away from graduation, Jay hopes to flee the small upstate New York town of Milton for a life anywhere but in his dead-end hometown. He wishes for more than he has now: scholarly, eccentric parents, and watching Grams, the closest person to him, slowly dying before his eyes.

His equally withdrawn but edgier best friend Rocco has a hearty appetite for drugs, alcohol, and promiscuous sex. When the law comes knocking, asking questions about a crime Rocco may or may not have committed, he finds himself in big trouble and turns to Jay for help.

Is Jay and Rocco’s friendship strong enough to sustain life’s tough obstacles as they navigate the highs and lows of growing up together?


TITLE: Love for the Holidays Box Set
AUTHOR: J.D. Walker
ISBN: 9781634865647
GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance Box Set
LENGTH: 68,641 words
PRICE: $5.99

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Seven of J.D. Walker’s best-selling holiday gay romance stories in one box set! Contains the stories:

And Good Will to All: When Lonnie “Mack” McDaniel returns to town after twenty years, Charles “Charlie” Mayburn is stunned. But he overlooks their past — and the love he still feels — and hires Mack for a job at his self storage facility. Charlie senses that Mack is hiding something, and finally discovers he’s homeless. Will the offer of a home be enough to heal Mack and let Charlie back into his heart—to stay, this time?

Boyfriend Countdown: Milo Slowiak doesn’t do relationships, hence his little black book. Nelson Agnew, a frequent buddy in Milo’s bed, has been fine with that, too, until Christmas Day, when he changes the rules. Now, Nelson wants a relationship, and Milo has until New Year’s Day to make his decision. Milo is upset, but he can’t erase the feeling that he could be missing out on something good. Should he take the leap?

Grateful for You: Jared Gillespie left home five years ago because his boyfriend, Walt Schneider cheated on him. With a woman. What he doesn’t realize is that Walt, the man he still loves was trying to tell him something, which Jared figures out after his mother convinces him to come home for Thanksgiving. Harsh truths are revealed and second chances become possible. Something to be grateful for.

Of Love and Feather Boas: Zachary Bodine can’t seem to move on from the betrayal of his ex, Maddox five years ago on Halloween. Lucius ‘Lucille’ Lombardi, a gorgeous drag queen is determined to change that. The plan? A few home-cooked meals, kisses, and Dinah Washington. When a surprise visitor appears on Halloween night, Zachary has to choose: let the past rule his life, or don a feather boa and grab hold of Lucius.

Paulie and the Wedding Bell Grouch: Paulie Hajek loves weddings and enjoys working for a wedding planner. What isn’t enjoyable is dealing with the wedding planner’s brother, Van Tremaine on a daily basis. Paulie’s heart was broken by Van a year ago because he wouldn’t commit to something permanent. But now, Van is up to something, and Paulie’s not sure if it will end up being everything he’s always wanted, or a disaster.

The Hippie Whisperer: Carl Neilson meets his match in Ben Brooker, an artist with questionable fashion sense and a garish hairstyle. Ben calls things as he sees them, including the way Carl uses his college-aged son Chester as a crutch. The truth is hard to take, but it forces Carl to look at himself in a new way. And in the end, a willingness to find love in unexpected places might be enough, in spite of it all.

A Hippie Independence Day: Carl Neilson and Benjamin “Ben” Brooker are total opposites, but they’ve made it work for over a year. Carl has made great strides in letting his son Chester live his own life, though he’s still being stubborn about getting rid of the Hawaiian shirts. This Independence Day, Ben will stop at nothing to get Carl to open up to him, and maybe make some fireworks of their own, in the process.


TITLE: Velvet
AUTHOR: Xavier Axelson
ISBN: 9781634865944
GENRE: Gay Historical Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 50,471 words
PRICE: $4.99

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When an irresistible discovery unravels the forbidden secrets of a man’s heart, the very fabric of his existence is threatened.

Virago is the royal tailor of a corrupt prince. Left to care for his blind brother, Virago devotes himself to his trade until an unexpected delivery changes his life, and a wandering minstrel knocks on his door. What he discovers will test the bonds of brotherhood and unravel the forbidden secrets of his heart.

Loosely based on the 14th Century Laws of Sumptuary, Velvet takes readers to a land where cruelty is disguised as allegiance, loyalty is masked by obligation, and the laws of sumptuary govern the people. But nothing is more dangerous than Velvet.

Lydia Reviews: Bone to Pick by TA Moore

TITLE: Bone to Pick

Author: TA Moore

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 240

Characters: Cloister Witte and Javi Merlo

POV:  3rd

Sub-Genre:  Mystery

Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Cloister Witte is a man with a dark past and a cute dog. He’s happy to talk about the dog all day, but after growing up in the shadow of a missing brother, a deadbeat dad, and a criminal stepfather, he’d rather leave the past back in Montana. These days he’s a K-9 officer in the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and pays a tithe to his ghosts by doing what no one was able to do for his brother—find the missing and bring them home.

He’s good at solving difficult mysteries. The dog is even better.

This time the missing person is a ten-year-old boy who walked into the woods in the middle of the night and didn’t come back. With the antagonistic help of distractingly handsome FBI agent Javi Merlo, it quickly becomes clear that Drew Hartley didn’t run away. He was taken, and the evidence implies he’s not the kidnapper’s first victim. As the search intensifies, old grudges and tragedies are pulled into the light of day. But with each clue they uncover, it looks less and less likely that Drew will be found alive.

Review:

Bone to Pick is a great mystery that is sure to pull readers in from the beginning.  Both the main characters are in law enforcement, one local and one federal.  Cloister is a K-9 police officer with a lot of baggage.  When the story opens he is taking down a druggie.  The author does an excellent job with the opening scenes and not only did it pull me into the story, it brought to mind episodes of COPS or PD Live.  I did have to laugh a time or two, especially when the meth head thought he saw a bear.

Cloister is pulled from his usual shift when a call comes in about a missing boy.  Arriving in Plenty, Cloister runs into Javi Merlo, an FBI agent he has history with.  There is a tension between the two men that will leave the reader wondering what went down between the two men.  I really liked the way the author handled the romance between the two men.  While the author could have easily had their relationship be one that developed fast and with little conflict, she did not do so.  Instead, the relationship between them is rocky at times and I wondered if there would even be a HEA for them.  This really added to the story and was one of the things that kept me turning the pages.

The mystery that is woven through out Bone to Pick is one that really had me guessing.  I have to say, I spent a lot of time changing my mind about who the bad guy was.  I think the readers will be just as surprised by the way this part of the book plays out.  For me it was a toss-up as to which I enjoyed more the romance or the mystery.

I will be looking out for more from this author and hope that there will be more books with these two main characters.

Reviewed By: Lydia

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Homepage

 

We have a Release Day Blitz for Love by Number by DJ Jamison!

Title:  Love By Number

Author: DJ Jamison

Publisher: DJ Jamison

Release Date: October 12, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 31,000 words

Genre: Romance, LGBT, m/m contemporary romance

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Synopsis

Aidan doesn’t have the best record with relationships, but he’s had a lifelong love affair with baseball. Player stats and computer simulations make sense. People don’t. But when he needs a ride to the World Series, he must rely on another person: a sexy artist who is as spontaneous as Aidan is predictable.

Jesse doesn’t care about baseball. As an artist, he’d rather paint a player than watch him at bat. But his grandpa loves the Kansas City Royals, so he takes him to every home game. He has no idea a fender bender in the parking lot is about to deliver new inspiration in the shape of a man with a whole bag of quirks.

Despite their differences, Jesse and Aidan hit it off, and their sexual chemistry is fantastic. But when Aidan’s numbers betray him, Jesse isn’t prepared for the fall-out. If Aidan continues to put his passion for baseball stats above everything else, he could miss out on the most important numbers in life: the number of smiles, kisses and laughs they could share in a lifelong journey together.

Excerpt

Aidan clutched at his hair, heart hammering in his chest. The front driver’s side of his black Saab was crumpled. The wheel well took a direct hit, the force of the collision pressing it into the tire. He could tell from just looking that the axle must be bent, if not broken, by the way the tire tilted at the wrong angle.

It’s not drivable, he thought, and his heart hammered harder. He felt his hands trembling, and not as an aftershock of the accident. Well, not from experiencing the accident, at least. He was shaking because his plans had just been thrown in the blender.

“Hey, you okay?”

He looked up, gazing blankly at the figure approaching him. A man, but his features were lost in the shadows. Not that Aidan could focus on something like facial features right now. That wasn’t easy on a good day, much less in a moment like this.

“It’s not that big a deal,” he muttered to himself, as he’d learned from his therapist years ago. “It’s not. It’s not. But …” He groaned and clutched at his hair some more. “How am I going to get to the World Series now? I have to get there!”

He’d wrapped up so many hopes in getting to that series, in watching the Royals perform in high-stakes games. It was the perfect time to prove out his math. It might not be rocket science, but Aidan still wanted to watch his math come to life on the baseball field, in the most important series of the season. In person.

A hand touched his shoulder, and he flinched away.

“I’m sorry. Are you hurt?” a voice asked. A nice, mellow voice. He liked the raspy quality of it and the cadence of the man’s words. His tone calmed Aidan.

He managed to drag his gaze from the damage to the man’s face. “I’m …”

Sexy Artist Guy.

He faltered when he recognized the dark hair tinted with maroon highlights, dark eyes and sculpted lips — all coming together in a perfect symmetry. A perfect representation of geometry in nature, really. And the freckles splashed over his nose, highlighted now by the security lights overhead? They somehow added to his sex appeal instead of detracting from it.

Aidan had seen an open sketchbook on this man’s lap more than once when passing by on a bathroom break. He mostly drew portraits, from the look of it, but Aidan had only caught a glimpse. It made sense he was an artist since his entire appearance was like a work of art to Aidan’s eyes. He couldn’t imagine being so creative with his hair or his wardrobe or his skin, where Sexy Artist Guy had embraced both tattooing (his right bicep) and piercing (both ears and right eyebrow).

“I’m so sorry,” Sexy Artist Guy said again. “I saw an opening and went for it. I didn’t see you coming, but my grandfather was distracting me—”

“Blame it on the old man, why don’t ya?” a hoarse voice boomed loudly enough to make Aidan jump.

“Gramps, not now, huh? The guy is freaking out.”

“I’m not freaking out,” Aidan said sharply. The fascination with the stranger’s face faded as he remembered why he was in this situation. He gestured to the damage. “There’s no way I can drive that.”

“We can give you a lift,” the old man said, at the same time the handsome stranger said, “We’ll call you a tow truck.”

“But look at my car!” he said, not sure they understood the direness of the situation.

Artist Guy frowned, then glanced behind Aidan. Following his look, he realized they were blocking traffic. A line of cars snaked through the parking lot, headlights shining on Aidan’s personal disaster.

“I should move my car.” He glanced back at the bent wheel well, frowning. He hoped he could move the car.

“Jesse,” the old man spoke, “you help him push. I’ll get in and put it in neutral.”

They all took their positions, and with some work managed to push the car into an empty space next to the Lincoln Towncar that had so cruelly crunched the Saab. Aidan cringed at the scraping metal sound as his car rolled out of the lane of traffic.

Once off to the side, Jesse pulled out his wallet. He handed his license to Aidan, who stared at it. He took in all the details: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes, born one year after Aidan, making him twenty-six.

Jesse cleared his throat, and Aidan glanced up.

“Aren’t you going to take a picture?”

Damn. He’d been staring. The old saying popped into his mind: Take a picture, it’ll last longer.

He flushed. “Sorry.”

He started to hand the license back, but Jesse looked at him as if he had a screw loose. Then it clicked. Take a picture. For insurance. Right.

He dug out his phone and clicked the pic of the license, and then of the insurance card that Jesse handed over. He was still rattled by the accident, thrumming with bottled-up anxiety.

“You okay? You’re pretty twitchy,” Jesse said. “I’m sure the insurance will cover the damage.”

“Yeah, but it’s my car.”

“Yeah?”

Aidan waved to his car, unsure how to make Jesse understand.

“It was reliable.”

“Um, won’t it still be reliable when it’s fixed?”

“The World Series is in two days.”

“So …”

“Jesse, stop being thick,” the old man interrupted. “Obviously, he was going to drive up to St. Louis, and a Saab is a foreign car. He won’t be able to get the parts locally. Maybe not even the mechanic. They don’t make those cars anymore. He can’t get it fixed in time.”

“Oh.”

“I have to go to that game. I go to all the away games within driving distance. I always do. And this is the World Series. I’m going to have to take a bus, and, oh God, I can’t stand to ride the bus—”

“Jesse will drive you.”

Aidan looked at the older man. He had a bushy head of white hair and enough wrinkles to give a Shar-Pei a run for its money, but his tone was confident, the kind of confident that brooked no nonsense. He’d heard that tone from his own mother too many times to count.

“He will?”

“I will?” Jesse echoed. “Gramps, I’m sure Aidan doesn’t want—”

“That would be great!”

Normally, Aidan wouldn’t want to ride long distance with a stranger, but when contrasted with a bus full of strangers, he jumped at the opportunity. Besides, Jesse and his grandfather had been at every home game. If Jesse were some kind of predator or bully, he’d have shown it by now. Right?

He’d only had one other interaction with Jesse. He’d walked up to Aidan once, when he was trying to quickly record the stats from the latest play and compare them against what he’d predicted for that player’s performance. Aidan had been too distracted to make conversation, especially small talk with a stranger. But he couldn’t help noticing his great smile. Jesse was one of those people who smiled with his whole being, not just his mouth. His eyes brightened, his cheeks dimpled and his body even seemed to vibrate with happy energy.

Aidan liked that because it was easy to see Jesse’s happiness. It wasn’t subtle, which would be lost on him, or confusing — like when people’s mouths smiled but their eyes stayed cold. He didn’t understand that. Was he supposed to respond to their mouth or their eyes? And then there were some people who just smiled all the time, even when they said mean things. What did that mean? Smiles could be confusing, but Jesse’s wasn’t.

“I have tickets to the games,” Gramps was saying now. “I was going to ask you to go, as a favor to me.”

“What? But you said in the car—”

“Hush,” Gramps said, a gleam in his eye. “I’m not up for that kind of travel. I want you to go in my place, so you can tell me all about it. You take this nice young man. It’s the least we can do. Watch the games for me, and tell me all about it when you come home.”

Aidan pulled out his phone to call the tow truck, watching the two men in a staring stand-off. He made arrangements for the tow and disconnected in time to see Jesse sigh and nod.

“Okay, Gramps. For you.”

“Good boy,” Gramps said, clapping him on the shoulder.

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

 

DJ Jamison grew up in the Midwest and worked in newsrooms for more than 10 years, which came in handy when she began writing stories centered on a series of love connections between small-town Kansas newspaper staffers, their sources and their readers. It was the perfect entrance into the world of fiction, and she has since branched out into ERs, health clinics and other settings to tell the stories of characters who are flawed but loveable. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ is married with two sons and two glow-in-the-dark fish that are miraculously still alive.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | DJ and Company | DJ’s Newsletter

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Check out the New Releases from JMS Books!

TITLE: Brightest Gold
AUTHOR: Olivia Sitter
ISBN: 9781634864534
GENRE: Asexual Genderqueer Fantasy Romance
LENGTH: 21,084 words
PRICE: $3.99

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Ever since their youth, Jorrah has hunted down shining tokens of affection. A ring, a flower, a lock of hair—so long as the trinket glows with the light of love, Jorrah will go to any length to add it to their collection. Their obsession leads them in pursuit of lovers, stopping short once gifted a bright object for their hoard.

A wicked and alluring person stalks Jorrah wherever they go, showing up whenever they begin to settle into a new abode. Uprooting themself repeatedly to avoid the dark presence, Jorrah travels in constant search of a place to call their own.

When they find a home, the past rears from the shadows yet again, refusing to be left behind. Jorrah realizes they must choose whether to continue running forever… or confront the darkness to protect what’s most precious to them.

A fantasy for asexual, genderqueer, and dragon loving people.

TITLE: Earthly Concerns
AUTHOR: Xavier Axelson
ISBN: 9781634864411
GENRE: Gay Paranormal Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 23,647 words
PRICE: $3.99

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It was a peaceful night when Barrett and his daughter were driving home … then something happened. Something sinister.

Something took Barrett’s daughter from him.

Now the only person Barrett can turn to for help is Anson, a man gifted with psychic abilities beyond reason. But Anson is also his ex-boyfriend, a man whose heart he’d already broken.

As Anson delves deeper into the circumstances surrounding Barrett’s accident, he begins to realize he’s in a race against time. Whatever has taken Barrett’s daughter is a force of evil beyond anything either man has ever encountered.

Can both men put aside their heartaches and past to save Barrett’s daughter from an entity that has the power to destroy them all?

TITLE: The New Butcher in Town
AUTHOR: Nanisi Barrett D’Arnuk
ISBN: 9781634864527
GENRE: Lesbian Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 12,580 words
PRICE: $2.99

PURCHASE EBOOK

Amy Gilbert’s been coming to Marvin Wright’s butcher shop for years. It’s the only place her mother trusted. So she’s surprised when she discovers he has a new hire — his niece Jody now works as his apprentice.

Amy’s attraction to Jody is immediate, and she wastes no time asking her out for drinks. Things seem to be heading in the right direction, but when Jody runs away after their first kiss, Amy’s left in turmoil.

What started out as a promising relationship threatens to sputter and die before it even gets off the ground. But when an ex-girlfriend from Jody’s past suddenly appears, Amy is determined not to let the new butcher in town get away from her that easily.

TITLE: The Squire
AUTHOR: Shawn Lane
ISBN: 9781634864282
GENRE: Gay Historical Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 12,170 words
PRICE: $2.99

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Duncan has been Sir William’s squire for two years. During that time, he has lusted after and been in love with the beautiful muscular knight. Too bad Sir William prefers fair maidens …

Suddenly Sir William is called home due to the impending death of his father. On the journey, he catches his squire watching other men having sex and realizes Duncan is also ready for some love play. Once they reach the family’s estates, William and Duncan begin an affair of both body and heart. But the happiness they find together is short-lived when the king dictates that William must marry a suitable heiress.

Unable to bear his place beside William and his wife, Duncan flees. Can William find the squire to convince him their love is meant to be?

Please Welcome Anne Barwell! Check out her latest release, Comes a Horseman and enter to win!!


Please Welcome, Anne Barwell!!

We are thrilled that she has stopped by to give us insider information on how she researched her latest book Comes a Horseman and don’t forget to enter her Rafflecopter to win a copy of it.

Location Location

Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for Comes a Horseman, the 3rd and final book in my WWII Echoes Rising series from DSP Publications.

I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter. DSP Publications also have the ebooks for Shadowboxing (book 1), and Winter Duet (book 2) on sale from 17th July-August 4th.

While the first two books in the series are set in Germany, most of the action in Comes a Horseman takes place in France. This change in location brought with it a new set of research parameters. I’d become familiar with Germany in the 1940s, but now had to figure out a couple of routes for my characters to use to reach Normandy as they needed to be in that area before 6th June.

Getting them across the Rhine and into France took a lot of planning via google maps and I also had to find somewhere they could cross without being shot so that meant a safe place to leave Germany, and another to make landfall on the other side of the Rhine. Then, when they reached France, they needed somewhere safe to hide before starting their journey toward Normandy.

I was already tied down to a location that needed to be part of the journey across France because of information given in an earlier book. Luckily the library had just got in a book detailing railway routes in various parts of the world which included a map for the rail system of Paris in the 1940s! I love working in a library! That, and checking railway stations online, proved very helpful.

I’d already decided before I started writing Comes a Horseman that I’d use a fictional village for the location of most of the action once the team reached Normandy. As researching a small village in Normandy in the 1940s was going to problematic I figured at least with it being fictional I wouldn’t run into issues with readers telling me that I’d got a building in the wrong place. After I figured out where it needed to be, a friend came up with its name so it would mesh with its surrounding real locations.

Other locations in the book are real, and I read a lot of travel guides and websites to get an idea of what these places would have been like at the time. That included making sure I described houses built out of the materials they would have been at the time, and noting the cobbled streets. I also checked when the bombing raids took place for those specific locations so it was historically accurate that my characters could have been at those places at that time.

There are also a couple of other locations that I’ve deliberately not named, which play a big part in the story. One example is a coastal battery in France that is based on a real place—thank you to a great online site for the historical site map—although I’ve moved its location a little so it fitted the story.

Another issue with moving countries was the language. I’d sprinkled German through the first two books as I figured people tend to lapse into their own language during times of stress, plus it helped to anchor the books in that location. So, for continuity, I needed to add some French to the mix. Not only is one of the main characters—Michel—French, but the team soon comes into contact with members of the local resistance cell. Language also drove some of the plot as most of the characters are not fluent in French, German, and English. Having to learn a new language in a hurry often means a person can follow basic conversation with some effort but that’s it. Having someone who only knows English and German and very little French suddenly needing to communicate directly with someone who only speaks French and little German is going to cause problems.

As well as the geographic and language changes, I also wanted to ensure that these characters were French. That meant researching styles of dress, customs, food, and their mindset at the time, which meant reading up about such things as the political climate, the Vichy government and the STO—Service du travail obligatoire—which was the forced enlistment and deportation of thousands of French workers to Germany as labourers.

I’ve learned a lot in writing this story, although I didn’t end up using everything in my information crammed notebook, so hopefully it’s a location I can revisit again someday in another story.

Blurb:

Echoes Rising Book 3, sequel to Winter Duet
France, 1944
Sometimes the most desperate struggles take place far from the battlefield, and what happens in secret can change the course of history.

Victory is close at hand, but freedom remains frustratingly just beyond the grasp of German physicist Dr. Kristopher Lehrer, Resistance fighter Michel, and the remaining members of the team sent by the Allies—Captain Matt Bryant, Sergeant Ken Lowe, and Dr. Zhou Liang—as they fight to keep the atomic plans from the Nazis. The team reaches France and connects with members of Michel’s French Resistance cell in Normandy. Allied troops are poised to liberate France, and rescue is supposedly at hand. However, Kristopher is no longer sure the information he carries in his memory is safe with either side.

When Standartenführer Holm and his men finally catch up with their prey, the team is left with few options as they fight to keep atomic plans from the Nazis. With a traitor in their midst, who can they trust? Kristopher realizes he must become something he is not in order to save the man he loves. Death is biding his time, and sacrifices must be made for any of them to have the futures they want.

Buy Links:


DSP Publications:
https://www.dsppublications.com/books/comes-a-horseman-by-anne-barwell-399-b
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0721QSZJT/

Excerpt:

Matt nodded, his lips moving although he did not speak. He was counting, Michel realized, as they pulled away from shore, and using the rhythm of his movement to distract himself from the darkness.

The moon’s light highlighted the waves lapping around the boat—the water seemed to reach toward them before diving back again. Ken and Matt quickly settled into a unified motion, both focused on what they were doing, although Ken glanced at Matt a couple of times.

Frej signaled for Matt and Ken to change direction slightly and rest the oars. They did that for a few moments, letting the boat drift with the current. If Michel squinted, he could see the outline of the bridge in the distance and several shapes moving at either end of it. The guards on duty would hopefully stay focused on the bridge itself and not notice a small rowboat sneaking over the border. The area was well guarded, but as it had been secured for quite some time, they would not be expecting trouble.

On the other side of the boat, Liang quickly turned and leaned over the side. As soon as he started to make a gagging noise he shoved his hand over his mouth to silence it. If his seasickness got any worse, it would be difficult to mask the noise of him vomiting over the side of the boat. He was doing his best to silence his dry heaving, but his hunched posture suggested he felt miserable and unwell.

Frej leaned toward Ken and gestured. Ken nodded, rested the oars again, and then he and Matt changed direction. Matt was still counting under his breath, and he gripped the oar tightly.

“Who’s there?” The shouted question shattered the silence.

Kristopher glanced around, an expression of panic on his face.

Michel put a hand on his arm to calm him but didn’t dare whisper the reassurance he wanted to. He turned around and strained his eyes, trying to find the source of the disruption. Matt and Ken stopped rowing, the boat drifting back the way they’d come, caught by the current.

He heard boots against wood in the distance—the unmistakable sound of men running, probably over the bridge crossing the Rhine south of their position. “No farther or I’ll shoot,” one of them yelled.

Frej got down on the floor of the boat. Michel and Kristopher followed, then Liang. Matt kept hold of his oar, trying to keep it as still as he could. He leaned down into a crouch, as did Ken.

Gunfire sounded from the bridge. A couple of shots in succession before stopping. Michel heard an engine, a vehicle approaching. A door slammed, and then everything went quiet again. Logically he knew the bridge was a good few kilometers away, but Frej was right about noise carrying on the water. If felt too close for comfort.

Frej waited a few minutes. “Row,” he whispered urgently. “While they are distracted.”

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You can find the list of sites taking part in the blog tour here: https://annebarwell.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/comes-a-horseman-blog-tour


July 25 – MM Good Book Reviews
July 31 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
August 1 – Two Men Are Better Than One
August 1 – Genre Talk at The Novel Approach Reviews
August 2 – Love Bytes Reviews
August 3 – Andrew Q. Gordon
August 3 – DSP Publications Blog
August 4 – Nic Starr
August 4 – Alpha Book Club
August 7 – My Fiction Nook
August 8 – Divine Magazine
August 9 – Aisling Mancy
August 10 – Lucy Marker</em

Bio:

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Authors Speak and Love Bytes.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

Website & Blog: http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anne.barwell.1
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sylvrebarwellhoffmann/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115084832208481414034/posts
Instagram: https://instagram.com/anne.barwell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/annebarwell
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4862410.Anne_Barwell
Dreamspinner Press Author Page:
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/authors/anne-barwell-65
DSP Publications Author Page:
https://www.dsppublications.com/authors/anne-barwell-49
Queeromance Ink Author Page:
https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/anne-barwell/
New Zealand Rainbow Romance Writers:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/491382394538058/