Check out Tal Bauer’s EXCITING new release The Enemy Within!!

Title:  Enemy Within

Series: The Executive Office, Book 3

Author: Tal Bauer

Publisher:  Self-Published

Release Date: 3/28/2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 176K

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense

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Synopsis

The White House, infiltrated.
The president, running for his life.
A traitorous general, intent on burning the world to the ground.

When everything falls apart, who do you trust?

President Jack Spiers fled Washington DC on the heels of a devastating attack on CIA headquarters, masterminded by one of America’s own, former General Porter Madigan. While the world believes Jack was killed in the bombing, he embarks on a wild infiltration mission, smuggling himself into occupied Russia to rescue the love of his life: former Secret Service Agent and First Gentleman Ethan Reichenbach.

Reunited, Jack, Ethan, and deposed Russian president Sergey Puchkov, along with President Elizabeth Wall—the only person left in Washington DC who Jack trusts—must work together. They piece together a desperate plan, hunting Madigan to the ends of the earth and the bitter frigidity of the Arctic, where Madigan’s world-shattering doomsday plan comes together.

Outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and outgunned, Jack, Ethan, Sergey, and the rest of the team struggle to put a stop to Madigan and his army. In the desolate extremes of the Arctic, their resolve, their strength, and even their love is tested, pushed to the absolute limits as choices must be made: choices that pit the fate of the world against the love in their hearts, and the loves of their life.

As the world crumbles around them, Jack and Ethan find themselves waging a war on two fronts—against an enemy they can see, and another, hiding within their ranks.

Who can be trusted when the enemy is within you?

Excerpt

The sounds of the convoy coming alive in the frosty morning started clattering through their patch of snowy forest. Grumbled Russian, slamming doors and squeaky metal hinges, the crackle of logs in a fire, and the clang of pots and pans that Vasily insisted on bringing from Volga.

Jack nuzzled at Ethan’s neck, and the roughness of his beard, grown thick in the five days they’d been on the road, scratched over Ethan’s skin just before Jack dropped a kiss beneath his jaw. “Morning, love.”

Ethan smiled down at him, de-cocked his pistol, and slid it into his hip holster beneath their blankets. He wrapped both arms around Jack as Jack turned and faced him. “How are you? Are you warm enough?” As Ethan spoke, his breath clouded the air between them.

“I’m good.” Jack peeled off his gloves beneath the blankets and snaked his warm hands up under Ethan’s jacket and sweater. His gentle, searching fingers found the long line of ragged stitches in Ethan’s side.

Ethan flinched.

“Sorry. You know we need to check them.” Carefully, Jack felt around the stitches, testing the skin, and then rested his palm over the top of the mostly-healed wound. “No heat. No swelling. No pus. No infection.” He smiled. “You had me worried after yesterday.”

Ethan ducked his head, his cheeks warming. While rummaging through an abandoned barn, he’d walked right through a rotted-out baseboard and fallen into a cellar, into the rough, loose earth. Not his finest moment. They’d wrangled some supplies, but he’d come away filthy and bruised, his ego smarting. Jack’s worried eyes and his gentle ministrations after they’d stopped for the night had helped sooth the ache.

Jack’s gaze darted over Ethan’s face, searching. He frowned. “Did you get any sleep?”

“Some.”

“Liar.” Arching an eyebrow, Jack sat back but kept his hands under Ethan’s clothes and on his skin. “You should let me watch over you at night, too.”

“I’d rather do it. I have you close to me.” He patted his hip and his holstered weapon. “I have constant protection on you all night long. There’s no way anyone can get to you. Not without going through me.”

“Literally.” Jack smiled, but it faded fast. “I’ll drive during the day again. Rest, and let me watch over you.” He squeezed Ethan’s hip as if to emphasize his point.

Ethan nodded, and the corners of his lips quirked up. This was new, this give and take of caretaking and watching out for each other. In DC, at the White House, there had been their jobs and their duties and the world to react to. They took care of slights and wounds inflicted by the press, their suits and ties a kind of armor against the world. Out in the wilderness, in the forest, they’d fallen into a different kind of caretaking. A sharing of two lives, each supporting the other’s existence. It was primal, in a way, how they had fused together. Half of his life was in Jack’s hands, and instead of feeling vulnerable, it was the most natural feeling in the world. “Deal.” Leaning forward, he pressed a kiss to Jack’s lips.

A question hovered in the forefront of Ethan’s mind, weighing on his thoughts. Every morning, he felt the weight of his secret resting over his heart: two rings, made before the world fell apart around them. Some moments, asking Jack was on the tip of his tongue, ready to tumble from his lips with his next breath. He forced himself to swallow the words. Not yet. It wasn’t the right time. Not yet.

Jack leaned into Ethan, and his hands wound around Ethan’s back beneath his sweater. “At some point, we won’t be sleeping in this jeep anymore,” he whispered into their kiss. “We’ll have room to stretch out… share a sleeping bag…”

Smiling, Ethan pulled off his gloves and brought his hands up to Jack’s face, his thumbs caressing Jack’s cheeks. “We don’t need a sleeping bag…” One hand snaked around Jack’s neck, and the other dropped to his hip.

In a flash, he flipped Jack, laying him on his back across the bench seat. Jack wrapped his legs around Ethan’s waist as Ethan slid his hands through Jack’s blond strands.

Jack grabbed his shoulders and pulled Ethan closer, his legs tightening and holding Ethan in place. He captured Ethan’s lips, kissing greedily as his hips rocked upward. Even through the layers they wore, Ethan felt Jack’s hard cock, pressing against his own.

“I want you,” Jack breathed.  “I want you to make love to me.”

Ethan’s blood burned, searing through his body from his head to his toes, and part of him wanted to tilt Jack’s head back and ravage his throat, work his way down, unwrap him like a present until he found his cock. Suck him deep. Work him open with his tongue until Jack begged for more, and then sink his cock into Jack’s warm, tight body. Jesus, he wanted Jack. So much.

The springs on the jeep’s suspension squeaked with their rocking, and the tires groaned and crunched against the snow on the ground. In the distance, low chuckles sounded, and one catcall.

Deflating, Ethan dropped his forehead to Jack’s chest. He rode Jack’s deep, heaving breaths and listened to his racing heartbeat. “I don’t want an audience when I make love to you again.”

Jack’s legs dropped, one falling over the back of the front seat, and the other squishing against the window. His hands stroked over Ethan’s back and tangled in his hair. “I don’t want to have to be quiet.”

“Jesus.” Ethan gripped Jack and surged against him, thrusting against his hard cock once more. “That’s not helping.”

Smiling, Jack rocked his hips up once and then scooted backward, propping himself up on his elbows as Ethan sat back and tried to straighten out his clothes. A prominent bulge strained the front of his cargo pants. He ached, nearly painfully hard for Jack.

From the center of the camp, Scott called, “Coffee’s ready if you are!”

Rumbling laughter, deep and throaty, from nearly all the men.

Shaking his head, Jack started to pull himself together next to Ethan and fished out his balaclava from the pocket of his cargo pants. Outside of the jeep, he wore a full-face balaclava and, on their drive, he kept everything but his eyes covered. Ethan insisted, and Scott and Sergey both backed him up. The members of their convoy, of course, knew who Jack was, and just after Jack had shown up, Sergey had delivered a scathing speech in Russian to his people that had had even Ethan flinching, though he didn’t understand a word that had been said. But, they were traveling through a war zone, parts of Russia that were contested in the coup, under attack from Moroshkin’s forces, and that had been bombed by the United States and other nations, all trying to stop Moroshkin.

Who knew what was out there, or who was out there. Jack was, to the world, brain dead in Bethesda Naval Hospital. A front-page picture of him alive and well in Russia would go over as well as a nuclear bomb.

“Scott came by?” Jack tucked his undershirt into his pants, taking a moment to readjust. His cheeks were dusted crimson, a faint flush that Ethan wanted to nibble.

“Yeah.” He tore his eyes away from Jack and fanned the bottom of his sweater, trying to cool his body.

“How’d the scouting go?”

“The route is clear for the morning. More abandoned villages. They found fuel and some supplies. Vasily is cooking eggs.” Ethan reached out, and his fingers traced Jack’s spine through his sweater and jacket. “And you should talk to Sergey.”

Turning, Jack stared at Ethan.

“I think Scott’s worried about him.” A tight, strained smile, curved his lips. “And that’s saying something.” Scott’s trust in Sergey, and in their Russian allies, extended from meal to meal. Day to day, hour by hour. If everything came apart, Scott would be the first to say “I knew it”.

“He hasn’t wanted to talk to me.” Swallowing, Jack leaned back with a sigh. His hands dropped to his lap, and he picked at the wool fibers of the balaclava. “He’s kept his distance since Volga. I’m not sure I’m the person he wants to see right now.”

Nodding slowly, Ethan frowned. Sergey’s harsh accusations, thrown at Jack at Volga air base, had been the last direct contact the two had. “After all this time, you think he’s pulling away because of…”

Because of their love? Because he and Jack were together? Because Sergey had been loved by a gay man? Was this some kind of reaction, a fear that falling in love with another man “was contagious”, as he’d hurled at Jack?

“He’s pulled back before.” Jack sat forward, slipped the balaclava over his head. He tugged it down around his neck. “I want to do the right thing by him. I don’t want to piss him off.” He frowned, deep lines furrowing his brow. “But, no matter what else is going on, he’s devastated about losing Sasha. I remember what it felt like when I thought you were dead. I can at least try to talk to him about that.”

Ethan’s chest constricted, and his heart almost seized. Was it only a week ago that he’d thought Jack was dead and gone as well? Never, ever, again. He’d do everything in his power to keep Jack safe, keep him from ever coming to harm. And, he’d never lose faith like that again, either. The darkness that had swallowed him on his race from Saudi Arabia to Russia. The emptiness, the silent scream within his soul. The way he had wanted to die, had begged the world to kill him.

Together. They’d face everything together from now on. No matter what.

Adjusting the balaclava, Jack leaned over and pressed a chaste kiss to Ethan’s lips. “Time to face the music, love.”

Ethan pulled out his own balaclava, tugged it down around his neck, and gripped the door handle. They piled out of the back of the jeep, and Ethan caught the smothered grins and barks of laughter sent their way. Scott raised a dented metal mug toward them both. Jack headed for him, and for the small fire on which Vasily was cooking.

One of the Russians who went out with Scott every morning, Aleksey, slid up to Ethan. Middle-aged, Aleksey had been a federal police officer in Sochi and had fought back with Sergey against Moroshkin and Madigan’s forces the night of the coup. Now, he was one of Sergey’s officers in the insurgency. He had a small beer gut and a thick salt and pepper mustache beneath ruddy, pockmarked cheeks, a quick, sharp smile, and perpetually messy hair.

His eyes glittered as he clapped Ethan on the back. “You are good Russian lover!” he crowed. “Quick!”

Others laughed, and Ethan spied Jack smothering his grin and rolling his eyes as he took the coffee Scott offered. Scott shrugged and hid his smile in his next sip.

Ethan clapped Aleksey on the upper arm, smiling along with the others. When he and Jack had first met the men in Sergey’s insurgency, they’d worried about how they would be received. Two men in love in a country where only months before, Sasha had almost been killed for being gay. Another man, Evgeni Konnikov, had been murdered.

Sergey’s men, however, had been nothing but accepting. They were believers in Sergey’s government, after all, and Sergey had made equality a foundational platform of his politics and administration.

They just showed that acceptance through good Russian ribbing and teasing. The more ribald the better.

“If we had actually got going,” Ethan began, winking first at Jack and then sending Aleksey a grin, “we’d be here for days.”

More laughter. Aleksey wagged his finger in Ethan’s face and squeezed his elbow before handing him a cup of bitter, sludgy coffee. Vasily waved him and Jack over, and he scooped the last of the eggs into a scavenged plastic bowl they shared. “I save for you,” Vasily said, pointing to them both.

Jack thanked him. As they ate, Ethan spotted Sergey standing in front of his jeep, his hands resting flat on a spread-out map of Russia draped over the hood with his head bowed low. He looked up, and his piercing gaze fell on Jack. There was a moment where his face flickered, something dark passing through his eyes, but it was gone before Ethan could catch it.

And then, Sergey folded up his map and climbed into the driver’s side of his jeep. He kept his eyes downcast, not once looking at Jack again.

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Meet the Author

Tal Bauer is an award-winning and best-selling author of LGBT romantic thrillers, bringing together a career in law enforcement and international humanitarian aid to create dynamic characters, intriguing plots, and exotic locations. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

Pronouns: They/them & he/him

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Lydia Reviews: Just Like Cats and Dogs by BA Tortuga


TITLE: Just Like Cats and Dogs
Author: B.A. Tortuga
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 206
Characters: Sam and Gus
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Paranormal
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Can cats and dogs ever get along, let alone fall in love?
Sam knows you can never go home again. As an orphaned feline shifter raised by wolves, being an outcast is nothing new to him. But the pack is still his family, and when one of them passes away, Sam returns to the New Mexico desert to say good-bye.
Gus is a loner who rarely returns to his pack, but as fate would have it, Sam is there when he chooses to visit. The history between Gus and Sam is tumultuous, to say the least, but when Gus gets an eyeful of the grown-up and gorgeous version of his childhood bully, he can’t control his reaction. And he isn’t alone.
The attraction is powerful, but so are their differences. And with trouble brewing in the pack and danger surrounding them, Sam and Gus might not have the opportunity to seek com-mon ground.
This action-packed shifter novel is the ultimate opposites attract and enemies-to-lovers ro-mance, and it includes a bonus novella, In the Dog House.

Review:

Just Like Cats and Dogs
is the first book in the Sanctuary series by author B.A. Tortuga. This is the second edition of this book and was originally published by Torquere Books. A novella follows this current edition, as well as a sneak peek at the second book in this series.

Sam is a feline shifter adopted by a wolf shifter family. Because he is a feline, he has always been an outcast, even within his own family. When he left New Mexico, he had no plans of returning, but then his adoptive father died and Sam returned to say his good-byes.

Gus is a wolf and during their high school days he enjoyed tormenting Sam. When he sees, the other man has returned he can’t help getting a few jabs in. At the same time, he is drawn to Sam.

This shifter story is a little different from others. It’s not the fact that the MC’s are from different species, or that they are mates. It is the fact that these two don’t realize right away that they are mates. There’s no “pull” that makes them come together, instead there is a rightness that makes them want to be together. That does not mean that everything between them is roses and sunshine. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

Gus’ life and family is in New Mexico. Sam’s is in New York. They think of each other often and when they unexpectedly run into each other, they take advantage of the situation. While they may not be ready to reveal their feelings to each other, they are no longer denying those feelings to themselves. I love the connection that develops between these two men. Even though they do not come out right away and declare their feelings for each other it is evident in the way they act. I love that they call each other puss and pup.

This story also has a few twists and turns that readers will not see coming. Even though I had read this book when the first edition came out, I was still shocked and worried about Sam. I did want the smack Gus a little and loved that Sam’s sister and brother were there to talk some sense into him.

The author did a good job wrapping this story up. Readers will approve of not only the ending, but also the short story that follows. I can’t wait to see what the second book will bring as the author did a great job building the suspense with the short story and sneak peek. Fans of this author really need to add this book to their must-read list if they have not done so already.

Reviewed By: Lydia

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Website

Gabbi Reviews: Step by Step by KC Wells


Title: Step by Step
Author: KC Wells
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 256
Characters: Jamie and Guy
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

Jamie’s life is one big financial mess, and it really isn’t his fault. However, the last thing he expected to find in the library was a Good Samaritan. He might have been suspicious of Guy’s motives at first, but it soon becomes apparent that his savior is a good man who has been lucky in life and is looking to pay it forward. Guy being gay is not a problem. Jamie’s not interested… or so he thinks.

Guy is happy to help Jamie, and the two men get along fine. But when Jamie’s curiosity leads him from one thing to another, Guy finds himself looking at the young man with new eyes. What started out as a hand up is now something completely different….

Review:

Step by Step by KC Wells is a beautifully written story with two incredible characters that will live within your heart long after the story is finished. This story will be a true delight for anyone who craves an exquisitely written romance. I simply adored these characters and was enthralled by the story they had to tell.

In life, almost all of us need a helping hand. When we meet Jamie, he is literally at the end of his rope. He is almost homeless and in desperate need of guidance and a lot of compassion. When an older man, Guy, approaches him and is willing to help him out with NO strings attached, Jamie cannot believe his good luck and at first is doubtful about Guy’s compassionate nature and willingness to open up his home and his life to him.

Having no other choice, Jamie takes a chance and decides to give Guy the benefit of the doubt and he swallows his pride to allow himself to be helped. Neither man knows that this decision will change the course of their lives forever.

What starts as a tentative friendship develops into a rich and thriving relationship between two people who truly like, love and respect one another. I loved every minute I spent reading this book and I truly hated to see it come to an end.

It’s not that often that I’ll read something and immediately want to reread it as soon as I finish it, but Step by Step is one of those books. KC Wells is a master at writing bewitching, romantic stories with characters that live and breathe off of the written page. After reading this book, I am a fan of hers for life. I loved this book and cannot recommend it high enough.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Website

Gabbi Reviews: Rushing Love by Meg Bawden


Title: Rushing Love
Author: Meg Bawden
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 93
Characters: Grayson Harland, Flynn Webb
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Western
Kisses: 2

Blurb:

After a devastating breakup with the man he thought he’d spend his life with, Flynn Webb takes a vacation to a South Dakota dude ranch. It’s something completely different from anything he’s done before, and it helps that it’s as far away from his ex as possible. Trapped in his own depressive thoughts, Flynn is surprised to meet Grayson Harland. Not only is Grayson a sexy cowboy—one fifteen years younger—but he’s the most charming man Flynn has ever met.

Flynn doesn’t have much experience with being seduced, and he has even less with guys like Grayson taking an interest in him—and Grayson is definitely interested. What begins as a fling while visiting iconic South Dakota sights soon develops the potential for much more. But Flynn is afraid that falling in love again so soon—and with a man so much younger—will lead only to another catastrophic heartbreak. Luckily for them both, Grayson isn’t giving up without a fight.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Review:

Rushing Love is the first book I’ve read by this author. I have to admit I really looked forward to reading this one. I love a May/December romance, but unfortunately this one didn’t work very much for me.

Flynn is a thirty-something man who has decided to travel to a dude ranch in South Dakota with his best friend. His lover of nineteen years has cheated on him and he needs both a change of pace and to hopefully mend his broken heart. The minute he meets the younger, Grayson, Flynn life is immediately changed forever.

Here’s what worked for me: I thought the author did a good job describing South Dakota, as well as some of the interesting touristy things you can do there and I did enjoy it. I also liked the age difference between the two heroes. I liked the premise of the story and though the chemistry between Flynn and Grayson could be pretty good at times.

I had an issue with both Flynn and Grayson’s behavior in the book. Flynn is supposed to be heartbroken over the loss of his partner for 19 years, but after just two days he’s willing to uproot his life for Grayson? Here’s the thing, I love insta-love, but only if it works and it is written well…but this one was a little over the top for me.

I also thought the dialogue was stilted and well…strange at times. Grayson says stuff that made me wonder if he was 13 year old boy *with bad manners* instead of a young man. He pursued Flynn doggedly and won his man. Ironically, I DID kind of like his determination and he DID have some cute moments, but unfortunately I rolled my eyes more than anything from his and most of the characters behavior and stilted conversations.

I’m sorry but this book didn’t work for me at all. I know there will be other people who will read it and like it, I just wasn’t one of them.

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press website

Gabbi Reviews: Rough Edges by Cardeno C.


Title: Rough Edges
Author: Cardeno C.
Publisher: The Romance Authors, LLC
Pages: 46
Characters: Kyle Potter, Brent Haralson
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Kyle has an unwelcome crush on his nemesis Brent. Brent has a welcome crush on his friend Kyle. As it turns out, the line between a friend and an enemy doesn’t have to be a line at all.

Born on the wrong side of the tracks to the wrong family, Kyle Potter has spent his life clawing his way toward a better future. When he gets the perfect job at the perfect firm in perfect Los Angeles, Kyle is sure there are only blue skies ahead. And then he meets perfect Brent Haralson.

Born with a silver spoon to a well-established family, Brent Haralson has never been interested in leveraging his connections. Friends, success, and dates come easily to Brent and rejection isn’t something he has to deal with in life. And then he meets perfect Kyle Potter.

Kyle despises his unwelcome crush on his lazy, arrogant nemesis. Brent welcomes his feelings for his stubborn, brilliant friend. As it turns out, the line between a friend and an enemy doesn’t have to be a line at all.

Review:

Any time I read a story written by Cardeno C., I know that I’m in for a delicious treat. There is something special about her stories that keeps this reader highly satisfied and coming back to them time and time again.

To say that Kyle hates Brent is almost an understatement. Almost from the first day they meet and anytime they are around each other, Kyle does NOTHING to hide his emense dislike for him. Between the snarky comments, body language and down and out rudeness toward Brent, I truly wondered two things.

The first thing I wondered was if Kyle would ever soften up to Brent. Sure, Brent was born into money and though Kyle thinks he is a waste of human life because he does not work, Brent is kind-hearted and extremely likeable. Even though Brent allows Kyle’s snarky comments roll off of his shoulders, Brent is no push-over. He can be sarcastic and very witty and most of the time was able to keep Kyle in his place. Through half of the story, Kyle hates Brent and honestly searches for reasons to almost be mean to him.

The second thing I wondered was if I was ever really going to like Kyle. While reading this story, I liked and admired Brent and honestly didn’t care for Kyle’s stubbornness when it came to deliberately hating Brent…no matter how nice Brent was or how much Brent set out to help him. His insistence to find fault with Brent’s whole life began to grate my nerves badly and at one point in the story, I truly began to hope that Brent would tell Kyle to kiss his ass and find someone else to obviously like and admire.

I shouldn’t have worried because this is a Cardeno C. story. Trust me when I say that this author knows how to write relationships and romance. Even when you wonder if the chips will be down and there is no hope for this couple, Cardeno C. is always able to somehow turn things around and make these characters not only likeable but made for each other.

The thing is…even though Kyle could be a jackass there was an interesting backstory as to why he felt the way he did and why he was a stubborn and sometimes too serious for his own good. I liked how Brent was able to see through Kyle’s hard outer shell and into the softness Kyle had deep inside. Kyle and Brent both are complex and interesting characters and I ended up loving them both.

If you are looking for a well-written story and you enjoy a good sarcastic hero with more bark than bite, then Rough Edges is definitely the story for you! I wish the story had been longer. Just when it was getting so good, boom, it was over. Ugh! But the happy ending still left a smile on my face and I know I’ll revisit these characters soon when I’m in the mood for a quick and very satisfying read.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Rough Edges by Cardeno C.

Gabbi Reviews: First Flames by Drew Hunt


Title: Fireside Romance, Book 1: First Flames
Author: Drew Hunt
Publisher: JMS Books
Words: 30,180
Characters: Simon Peters, Mark Smith
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series
Kisses: 4

Blurb:

All four novels in Drew Hunt’s best-selling gay erotic romance series, Fireside Romance, are now available in one box set! Contains the stories:

First Flames: One evening, when the loneliness becomes overwhelming, Simon gathers up his courage and goes to the red light district of the town to buy a little human companionship. As the weeks pass, Simon and Mark find warmth and friendship indoors. When an explosion injures Mark, Simon has to make a decision. Can he offer Mark shelter and nurse him back to health without revealing his true feelings?

Burning Brighter: After declaring their love for each other on Christmas Day, Simon Peters and Mark Smith settle down to a cosy life of domestic togetherness. Snuggle up in an easy chair and toast your toes in front of the fire as you read Simon and Mark’s continuing romantic adventures.

Heating Up: Simon and Mark’s social life grows. However, a near tragedy reminds them to celebrate such togetherness because it could be snatched away. Simon discovers he has a kinky side, one which he and Mark often explore. Join them as they navigate the highs and lows of life.

Glowing Embers: Numerous challenges face Simon and Mark. Because of his time on the streets, Mark worries about HIV. Mark’s dad gets back in contact and brings issues of his own. Can this unconventional family pull together despite all the world has thrown at them?

Review:

Simon is a lonely man who longs for male companionship. Not only does he long for a companion, he wishes to have someone special to share his life with. But, being a librarian and a little bit introverted, Simon doesn’t have a lot of opportunity to meet people.

One night he is so lonely he opts to buy a male prostitute for a couple of hours of his time. Though he knows sex is always an option, Simon wants to just hang out with a man, maybe watch television and cuddle for a while. When he spots “Jim” and purchases some of his time, Simon isn’t prepared for the unexpected feelings he has for “Jim”.

As the two men get to know one another, both seem to crave an emotional connection. Both Simon and “Jim”, who has now confessed his name is truly Mark, enjoy the time they spend just in each other’s company and a budding friendship begins to form.

As time goes by, when Simon finds out that Mark has been injured, he leaps to the young man’s rescue. As their feelings continue to develop, both men must learn to face their insecurities if they want to truly have something special between them.

First, Simon is a likeable man. He’s a hard worker and enjoys his job. Since the story is told entirely through his eyes, we truly get to see how his feelings for Mark, as well as his own insecurities, grow as the story continues. Though I liked Simon, I thought he needed to spruce up his life a little bit. At times, he was a little bit too much into his routine and maybe a tad bit dull, so I was glad to see Mark come into his life and bring some sparkle into it.

Mark is also a likeable man. He comes from a difficult home life, leading to his lifestyle choices. I found myself charmed by his sweetness and thought he was well-matched for Simon.

If you are looking for a romance between two likeable characters without a lot of angst, but with plenty of sweet moments, First Flames is definitely the book for you! I liked these two men and enjoyed the story the author had to tell.

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase First Flames by Drew Hunt