Check it out! Annabeth Albert’s NEW release LEVEL UP is finally available for our reading pleasure!!

Title:  LEVEL UP
Series: loosely related to the #gaymers series, but stands alone
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Annabeth Albert
Release Date: May 17, 2018
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 40,000 words
Genre: Romance, contemporary m/m romance, gay romance, geeks, nerds, friends-to-lovers, gamers, gaymers

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Synopsis

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Landon can’t believe he’s let himself
get roped into participating in a charity calendar, let alone one that features
tastefully photographed nudes. The genius physicist is hardly model material
and he’s dreading the nude part of the photoshoot. Amid his reluctance, the one
bright spot is his emails back and forth with the photographer.
However, Bailey ends up being not quite
what Landon expects, and their first meeting is decidedly awkward. Bailey’s
persistent though, and gradually Landon warms to the burly photographer, and
they discover they have a shared love of gamer culture.
A tentative friendship is born, but the
road from friends to lovers isn’t easy. Landon’s battling past trauma and must
decide how much of a risk he’s willing to take. A sexy connection may not be
enough to keep them together unless both are willing to put their hearts on the
line.
Approximately 40,000 words. Previously
released as part of the EXPOSED anthology, and loosely linked to the #Gaymers
universe, this friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort story stands alone with a
guaranteed happy ending. Contains a brief mention of a prior assault, but no
on-screen violence or flashbacks.

 

Excerpt

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LEVEL UP EXCERPT—This is their first
kiss, because I absolutely love writing first kiss scenes!
***
Bailey was the type who moved a lot as
he gamed, biceps flexing, knees wiggling, shoulders jostling. Landon always
liked people who got so into gaming, but it was more than a little distracting.
His body was quickly coming to associate that orange scent of Bailey’s with
good things, and other parts of him apparently liked Bailey’s nearness, which
was a novelty because instead of intimidated, as he would have expected, he was
more than a little turned on.
“Oh man, that was a rush.” Bailey
laughed as both of their health meters dipped to zero. “I’m almost wishing I’d
gone into game art, not photography. Amazing how these graphics have held up
over the years.”
“Totally. And speaking of art, let me
find the Space Villager stuff.” Landon reluctantly stepped away from the game.
He headed to the nearby kitchen, where he was pretty the papers were buried
with a stack of mail. Paper control was not his strong suit. “You’ll go nuts at
the latest screen shots and promo teasers.”
“Cool.” Rather than follow Landon,
Bailey went to sit on the couch.
“You want a drink while I’m in here?”
Landon called to him after he found the papers under a pile of pizza ads. “I’ve
got four flavors of Snapple, soda, and water.”
“Surprise me with a Snapple flavor.”
Bailey looked right at home on Landon’s couch, lounging back.
He really did not look at all like any
photographer Landon had ever met, and curiosity had him asking, “So why
photography? You said you could have done game design?”
“Yeah, I had plenty of friends at the
art institute go that direction. But I’ve been in love with photography ever
since I worked on our middle school yearbook. I figured out quickly that taking
pictures of events and sports was far more fun than trying to do the sports
myself, so I did yearbook all through high school, got a photography scholarship
to the art institute in Portland.”
“So you don’t play a sport?” Landon had
a hard time believing that. With Bailey’s height and breadth, he totally looked
like he lived for weekend games of some type.
“Nope. Hopelessly uncoordinated.” Bailey
shot him an endearing smile when Landon handed him the bottle of tea.
“Me too.” Landon clinked bottles with
him, then held up the papers. “Found the codes. But can I show you some stuff
on the TV screen while you have your drink?”
“Absolutely.” Bailey took a long swig of
tea, and Landon had to look away before he got mesmerized by Bailey’s full
mouth, how it looked when his tongue chased a stray drop of moisture, how pink
it was in contrast to his paler skin and brown beard.
Landon queued up the pre-release trailer
Josiah had sent him a link to. Bombastic music filled his small living room as
on the screen, and a spaceship pulled in for a landing on a planet filled with
ruins of a once-powerful civilization. The narrator had an iconic voice and
detailed all the special features of the expansion pack. Landon had already
watched this a half-dozen times, and it still gave him happy chills.
“Wow. I can’t wait.” Bailey looked
suitably awed. “This is even cooler than when War Elf added the mystic raids.”
“I know, right? Now look at the in-game
screen shots.” He brought up another video, body relaxing more and more despite
Bailey’s nearness. It was just so awesome to have someone new to share this
with. He’d been hyped about this all week, but Pike was distracted by his
boyfriend Zack’s deployment, Savannah didn’t game much, and the rest of his
regular crew seemed to have other things occupying their attention.
Somehow, as he shared more video clips,
he drifted closer to Bailey, so that their knees were almost rubbing. It wasn’t
a giant couch, so there wasn’t a ton of room to move back, but even so, Landon
wasn’t looking for an escape. He was aware of Bailey, very much so, but not
nearly as freaked out as he’d been a few hours ago. Instead, his senses seemed
to soak up Bailey’s scent and nearness, and it wasn’t until the fourth or fifth
video that he realized that he was aroused.
Clink. Somehow Landon’s left hand,
holding his drink, and Bailey’s right hand tangled.
“Oops.” He tried to extricate himself
without spilling both beverages. Bending to put his on the floor, he hadn’t
realized that Bailey had also leaned down until their heads collided.
“Ow,” they said simultaneously.
“Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry.” Bailey
reached out, feeling around on Landon’s head. “Did you see stars? Break the
skin?”
“I’m fine.” Landon didn’t pull away.
Bailey’s hand felt damn nice. Gentle. Soothing more than just the bump on his
head. Their eyes met, and he really needed to move back, break this spell, but
he didn’t, instead leaning into to the touch. Bailey’s eyes darkened, and he
stroked down Landon’s jaw. God, that felt so good, like an extra blanket on a
chilly night, warmth he hadn’t realized he was missing. How long had it been
since he’d been touched like this? Hugged, sure. He’d hugged Savannah
goodnight, and hugged and wrestled around with his best friend Pike at the last
LAN party, but neither of those things was touch like this. Caring. Sweet.
Arousing.
Bailey leaned in again, way slower this
time, all the time in the world for Landon to stop him. But he didn’t. Bailey’s
beard tickled an instant before their lips met, a soft slide of mouths. Not
aggressive at all, not the on-a-tight-schedule rush of a hookup, Bailey kissed
like they had a sleepy Sunday afternoon to kill, like each reaction of Landon’s
mattered, like he was trying to memorize something important and was going to
take his time learning the lesson.
Landon was the first one to take things
further, mouth opening on a sigh, welcoming Bailey’s agile tongue. He tasted
sweet, like tea, and minty like the gum he’d popped after the pizza, familiar
yet new at the same time. How had he managed to forget how awesome kissing
could be? A laugh bubbled up in his chest, but quickly transformed to a groan
of pleasure as Bailey nipped at his lower lip.
Not content to let Bailey be the one
exploring, Landon sent his own tongue on a quest, tracing Bailey’s full lower
lip, delving inside to rub tongues, retreating playfully to earn another nip.
Fuck. This was nice. The video switched over to something random, and he barely
registered it. He couldn’t say how long they kissed, just that he didn’t want
it to ever end.

 

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

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Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance
novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in
the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf,
she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. The #OutOfUniform series
joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance #Gaymers,
#PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series. To find out what she’s working on
next and other fun extras, check out her website: http://www.annabethalbert.com or
connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be
sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests.
The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus
content and exclusive contests.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny
stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding
happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights
supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a
rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter |
Goodreads
| Instagram | Annabeth’s Newsletter | Annabeth’s Angels

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Lydia Reviews: Loose Ends by Jeff Erno

TITLE: Loose Ends

Author: Jeff Erno

Publisher:  Self published through Amazon

Pages: 183

Characters: Tucker Brown and Ivan Ramsey

POV: 3rd POV

Sub-Genre: Mystery

Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Homicide detective Tucker Brown hasn’t always made the right decisions, but one thing about his life he’ll never regret is his son Jaydin. While at the hospital for his four-year-old’s tonsillectomy, he encounters Jaydin’s nurse, Ivan Ramsey. Tucker is taken aback, however, when he discovers he’s been assigned to investigate the potential murder of Ivan’s mother.

Ivan Ramsey is a pediatric nurse, and he loves his job more than life. Raised in a devoutly religious family, he’s not yet out to a lot of people, but on the very night he chooses to come out to his mother, she dies tragically in a house fire.Devastated by the news, Ivan all but falls to pieces, and to make matters worse, a cocky, know-it-all police detective shows up asking nosy questions. The cop implies his mother’s death might not have been an accident and even infers a family member might be responsible.

Tucker and Ivan at first clash. Their strikingly different personalities are oil and water, but soon they begin to work together to determine the real cause of Ivan’s mother’s death. In the process, sparks begin to fly and a romance ignites. Ivan falls hard, not only for the sexy detective but also his adorable son.Tucker, equally smitten, has made some discoveries he can’t yet reveal to his lover. There are so many loose ends and unanswered questions for both of them, and when the truth finally comes out, it just might tear them apart.

Review:

Loose Ends is a recent release by author Jeff Erno.  This is a story that starts out strong from the beginning and keeps going that way through out the rest of the book.

Main character Ivan is a nurse in the pediatric ward.  He loves his job and finds himself drawn to Jaydin, one of his patience.  He has a hard time understanding why the little boy’s father seems to have little time to spend with him, especially since Jaydin will be having surgery soon.  Imagine Ivan’s surprise when Tucker, Jaydin’s father, shows up and Ivan feels a something for him.  To cover for his awkwardness Ivan is a little short with the other man,something he later regrets.

Tucker is a cop working hard trying to keep his job under control while being a full time father, even if he and his wife are divorced.  Although he knows he should be with his son, he has no choice but to leave the hospital when he’s called out on the job.  Imagine his surprise when he finds out the death he is investigating leads him right back to the nurse taking care of his son.

I really love Mr. Erno’s characters.  This is an author that writes characters that come across realistically.  Because of that, they are not perfect and in fact their flaws make the readers care more about them.  While there were times I wanted to smack both Tucker and Ivan I could understand why they behaved the way the did.  I loved watching them forge a relationship that allowed them to become a strong couple.  But all is not easy for them.

Mr. Erno weaves a murder mystery through Loose Ends that will leave the reader turning the page to see what will happen next.  I cried right along side of Ivan when he receives news of his mother’s death.  I will not say to much more on this so that I do not give anything away.  I will say this however, the twists and turns that the mystery in this book take are very well done.

Mr. Erno is one of my go to authors.  His books generally end up on my favorites shelve and I have read many of them numerous times.  He is an author I would highly recommend to those who have not given him a try.

Reviewed By: Lydia

BUY LINK

 

 

Gabbi Reviews: A Love to Remember by Sarah Hadley Brook

Title: A Love to Remember

Author: Sarah Hadley Brook

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages: 79

Characters: Graham Hayes, Sam Morgan

POV: 3rd Limited

Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance

Kisses: 3.25

Blurb:

Graham Hayes decided long ago he’d never be in a relationship. It was better to stay single than to fall in love only to be left alone, which he was certain would happen to him. He’d seen Alzheimer’s ravage his family members all his life, leaving their loved ones to deal with the fallout. Some of them stayed, but some didn’t. Graham isn’t going to risk it.

When he hires nurse Sam Morgan to take care of his dad during the day, his pledge to stay single is put to the test. He soon finds it difficult to maintain a professional distance.

Graham’s guarded his heart for so long, but his resolve is crumbling. Will he be able to conquer his fear to give himself a chance at love? Can he trust Sam to stick around for better or worse?

Review:

A Love to Remember is a sweet story. Full of promise and hope for the future, it is a lovely story I liked.

Since the blurb does an excellent of describing the story, I won’t rehash it. I will say that I enjoyed the different relationships between all the characters in this book. I admit I haven’t read many stories with one of the secondary (or main) characters having Alzheimer’s disease, so I thought Ms. Brook had an interesting backstory and premise to the story itself. I think the author did an excellent job at describing the sorrow, worry, and fear of a relative dying of Alzheimer’s disease. I liked how much Graham worked at keeping a good relationship with his father and appreciated how much Graham wanted to continue to take care of him as long as he could.

I also understood why Graham was so fearful of contracting the disease itself and could empathize as to why he did not want to have a long-lasting relationship. Though Graham keeps potential love interests at a distance, it was easy to see what a loving heart he had.

I liked Sam, too. Although the story is told through Graham’s point of view, I thought the author did a decent job at allowing us to see what Sam was going feeling through the eyes of Graham. I liked how persistent Sam was as to getting Graham to give their budding relationship a chance and I thought the chemistry between them was pretty good.

All in all, A Love to Remember, is a pretty good read. I did feel like it was told a little too quickly and that it hashed through things faster than I wanted, but it was still an enjoyable story to read. There is a definite insta-love factor between the two men. As a general rule, I enjoy insta-love most of the time, but this one wasn’t as fleshed out as I would have liked. I also liked Marc *Graham’s best friend* and would like to have read more about him.

A Love to Remember by Sarah Hadley Brook is a quick read that I enjoyed and I’m looking forward to reading more books written by her.

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase A Love to Remember

Anne Reviews: The Chains of their Sins by Anna Butler

TITLE: Taking Shield, Book 4: The Chains of Their Sins

Author:  Anna Butler

Publisher:  Glass Hat Press

Pages: 276

Characters: Bennet/Flynn

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Series, SF

Kisses: 5 

Blurb:

Shield Captain Bennet arrives on the Gyrfalcon to take up his final year’s posting before returning to the Shield Regiment after his rotation out.

On Gyrfalcon he faces up to the fallout from Makepeace—ethical, political and above all, personal. Will he be able to accept necessity: that knowing what the Maess are up to outweighs the humanitarian issues surrounding the prisoners he rescued from Makepeace? Can he ride out the political furor that follows the loss of the dreadnought Caliban? How will he cope with an entire year of serving under his father, Caeden? And worst of all, how in the name of every god in the Pantheon can he stand to see Flynn every single day, with the Fraternisation Regs standing between them and keeping them apart?

It will be an interesting year. Bennet can hardly wait for it to be over. Of course, things never really do go to plan…

Review:

I’m already a huge fan of this series. The world building is very detailed, the settings easy to visualize, and I love the characters.

This story picks up two years after the last book, and both men’s nervousness about seeing each other again was very tangible, and awkward, and not just because of the anti-Fraternisation Regs.  I really felt for them in this story and could feel their frustration and pain.  It was a difficult read, but that also made the story so good.  I thought the author did a great job showing Bennet trying to, and not coping, with the horror of each new discovery about the Maess and their plans.

As with the previous books, although Bennet and Flynn’s romance plays a part in the story, this is a solid SF story with a romance, rather than a romance against a backdrop of SF.

The plot is complex, and very engaging. I liked the way it linked back to the previous stories and built on them. The author doesn’t shy away from the ethics and politics in this story, which adds to what is already a very powerful read. There are a lot of tough questions asked, and some of the characters come out as definite shades of gray.  The politicians have a store of dirty tricks and are very self-serving in the way they tap into feelings of resentment and powerlessness and use it to their own advantage.  I really liked the analogy of a cup on a volcano used to describe the unrest in the other colonies, and the political situation as a whole.

The complex world building is another one of this series’ strengths.  I love how a little more of Albion’s history is revealed with each new book, and the Egyptian connection to their culture.  I thought the attack flights were very realistic, and easy to visualize. The author writes fabulous action scenes which have me on the edge of my seat.

I already own the first two books in hardcopy, and I will be buying the rest.  This series reminds me of why I love SF. I’m hanging out for the final book although I must admit I’m a little worried about what the author has in store for these characters I’ve grown to love.

I’d recommend The Chains of Their Sins to readers who enjoy an edge-of-your-seat political military SF with fabulous characters and world building.  

Reviewed By: Anne 

BUY LINK: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MZ9QQYQ/

Anne Reviews: Jingle Spell by Chris Ethan

TITLE: Jingle Spell

Author: Chris Ethan

Publisher: Dream Trek Imprint

Pages: 69

Characters: Davey/Avery

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary

Kisses: 4

Blurb:

It’s the most horrible time of the year.

Smooches under mistletoes and tacky reindeer decorations.

Newly single, Davey has had enough of wasting his love and having his heart broken. Better to be single, he decides. No more dates. No more falling in love. No more dreaming of happy-ever-after. Those are for movies.

He’s resolute.

And then Avery steps into his life, bringing care, compassion, and tenderness in his path.
Davey’s so tempted to hope again. But can an online date and a brief encounter turn into anything other than an ephemeral sexual encounter?

Is there a future for them? Will Avery stay? And most importantly, can Davey bear to offer up his heart to the season’s love—just one more time?

Review:

Jingle Spell is a sweet Christmas story.  At first Davey comes across as shallow but as the story progressed and I got to know him I changed my mind. I love when that happens.  Christmas can be a lonely time of year, especially for those not in relationships, and I thought the author captured the feelings of bitterness that often accompany that aloneness perfectly.  Avery’s a nice guy, and I enjoyed seeing the two men’s relationship grow, although realistically they were both second guessing themselves.  After failed relationships on both sides, it was understandable that they would, which I appreciated.  I liked the way they took the time to become friends instead of just jumping into bed first.

The supporting cast were more stereotypical, but given the length of the story, and the fact that they were seen through Davey’s perspective, I think that reflected his mood rather than a true representation of who they were.

One highlight for me, followed by an ‘aww’ moment was Davey’s description of the picture frames he makes as “keepers of memories.”  I hope these guys have a long happy future together making memories to fill Davey’s frames.

I’d recommend Jingle Spell to readers who enjoy a sweet Christmas romance story, and men who take the time to become friends before they become lovers.

Reviewed By: Anne

BUY LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Jingle-Spell-Chris-Ethan-ebook/dp/B01N6BVH09/

 

 

 

Anne Reviews: All the World’s An Undead Stage by Angel Martinez

TITLE: All The World’s An Undead Stage

Author: Angel Martinez

Publisher:  Pride Publishing

Pages: 151

Characters: Carrington/Erasmus

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Urban Fantasy, Series

Kisses: 5

Blurb: 

Carrington Loveless III, skim-blood vampire and senior officer of Philly’s paranormal police department, has long suspected that someone’s targeting his squad. The increasingly bizarre and dangerous entities invading their city can’t be a coincidence. So when a walking corpse spouting Oscar Wilde attacks one of his officers, Carrington’s determined to uncover the evil mind behind it all.

As a rare books librarian, Erasmus Graham thought he understood some of the stranger things in life. Sharing a life with Carrington’s shown him he didn’t know the half of it. They’ve survived attack books and deadly dust bunnies together and got through mostly unscathed. Now his world and his vampires appear ready to collide again. Books are missing from the rare books’ collection—old tomes of magic containing dangerous summonings and necromancy. He’s certain whoever’s been stalking the Seventy-Seventh is composing their end game. It’s going to take a consolidated effort from paranormal police, librarians, and some not-quite-authorized civilians to head off the impending catastrophe.

Review: 

This series has been on my radar for some time, and it didn’t disappoint.  Although I started with the latest book—and am planning to go back to the beginning and work my way forward—it didn’t detract.  Given the number of characters, it did take me a while to work out who was who, but I think the author does an excellent job in explaining everything for new readers without it becoming an info dump.

I love the world building in this story, and that the police squad is a mix of different supernaturals all working together to solve crime. I read a lot of urban fantasy and I always enjoy seeing the unique way in which authors approach supernaturals, especially vampires.  These vampires are a little different in that they see their reflection, and can walk in daylight but get sunstroke, and I’m curious as to the hints that Carrington’s relationship with Erasmus is having some interesting side effects.  I also liked the fact that Carrington has family, rather than being very old, which is a common vampire trope.  I’m looking forward to reading the series from the beginning to find out more about his background.

The relationship between Erasmus and Carrington is a real strength in the story. I loved the easy sense of humour between them, and it was obvious that they are comfortable together.  I had to smile when Erasmus referred to Carrington as ‘his vampire’, and Carrington called Erasmus ‘my librarian.’  I always love reading about librarians who kick arse, but still are very much librarians in their love of books and ability to research.  The rest of the squad are an interesting mix, both in personality and abilities, and I love Audacity—she’s adorable!  Nice Poe reference with the raven being called Edgar, and I appreciated the choice of name for the coroner. I haven’t read a story before with animated items of clothing as characters, and I thought the author pulled that off extremely well.

The author is obviously having fun writing this series, and I loved all the literary references in this story especially when someone is horrified that a zombie is mangling Wilde.  After all, that is just not on. Erasmus’s mothers being fans of Supernatural and offering advice was a hoot, and I enjoyed the way people in this world just take things in their stride. Of course, there’s a database of necromancers—I would have been disappointed if there hadn’t been one.   I had a bit of a giggle with the choice of name for one character—Ms Teecosi— and the question “To the Batcave?” which is answered by “To the library!”  This is my kind of story!  The story does get a bit crazy in places, but that added to my enjoyment of it, and I got the impression crazy is a way of life for these guys.

I’d recommend All the World’s An Undead Stage to readers who enjoy urban fantasy with a bit of humour, likeable characters who work together and feel more like family than work friends, and fabulous world building.

More please.

Reviewed By: Anne

Click HERE to purchase All the World’s An Undead Stage by Angel Martinez