Silver Publishing Author: Julie L. Hayes





For Love of Max by Julie L. Hayes

Blurb:

Life is truly beautiful! Richard actually asked me to marry him, do you believe it? Of course there’s a small hurdle we have to cross – namely that gay marriage isn’t legal here in Missouri. But it’s a start, right?

Things are looking up for us, now that I know the truth about Richard. Our careers are doing well, we’re blissfully happy together, and Mother has given us her blessing! My sister Diana is going through boyfriends like some people change clothes, I wonder if she’ll ever find Mr. Right? Cat’s cousin has turned out to be a real interesting character, and the most interesting thing is – he’s a werewolf! And more disturbing than that, I think that maybe my father (that shadowy figure who’s never figured in my life) might just be someone named Jason. It’s a long story.

Just when I thought I had things figured out, they change, and I find out that what I thought I knew was just so much nonsense. In other words – lies. Who can I trust? Other than Richard, of course. And what should I believe? And why does it seem like the world is trying to shake me out of my lycanthropic closet?

What’s a gay werewolf to do?



Excerpt:

“Max, quit wiggling and stand still!” Richard admonishes me, “or I’m going to get mascara in your eye, and that won’t feel good at all. Not to mention it might get infected.” Obediently, I still my movements. I don’t relish having that wand shoved into my wide open orb. Or anywhere else, for that matter. And as squeamish as I am about germs, I’ve no desire to find myself fighting some sort of ocular infection either.

I’m not very sure about this, not sure at all. Yet I’ve allowed myself to be talked into it. Naturally. My silver-tongued boy of mine can talk me into just about anything. This can’t be news to any one of you, whether you’ve been following this tale from the beginning, or arrived at any point in between. Max in Richard’s hands is simply Silly Putty.

“There!” he exclaims with satisfaction, standing back to admire his handiwork. I can see by the gleam in his eyes he’s very pleased with the result. Lust exudes from every pore as he scans my form. I pirouette prettily for his inspection and delectation as we stand together in our bedroom. I’m garbed in an ensemble consisting of a red silk corset, black garters, strategically torn black fishnets, and black platforms which if I’m lucky I won’t fall from. I also have a face full of cosmetics—white foundation, blue shadow, kohl mascara, and eyeliner enough for several people. I draw the line at lipstick, though; I find the texture of it abhorrent on my lips. I don’t even care for ChapStick. Richard accedes to my wishes. Says he prefers my natural shade anyway. It makes it that much easier to kiss me, which he proceeds to demonstrate. And if you haven’t guessed from that description what we are about, it’s Rocky Horror Picture Show night, and I’m dressed as Doctor Frank-N-Furter. Richard’s been trying to get me to do this for some time now, and I’ve finally given in. Or given up. Surrendered. Cried uncle. However you want to say it, I’ve done it. Richard will play Rocky, of course, in a tight gold lamé Speedo which makes my blood pressure rise just looking at it, causing other things to rise as well.

“You’re sure it’s not too cold for that?” I ask, nodding at his skimpy costume.

“I have you to keep me warm, sweet thing.” How can I argue with that? I can’t, of course.

Not that I intend to let him walk out of the house like that; he’s going to wear a long coat over the requisite white bandages, both of which only come off inside the theatre itself, and only to the gaze of the Rocky Horror aficionados. I myself have a black cloak, ala the mad doctor, and I won’t take it off ’til then either. Unless I regain my sanity in the meantime, and refuse to take it off at all. Is that very likely? You tell me.

“You know something,” he says, his eyes continuing to caress my costumed figure blatantly, “I think if you offered yourself up for the Virgin Auction, you’d probably fetch a good price. I’d certainly bid on you.”

“Fat chance of that,” I snort derisively, “I know better now. And besides, I no longer qualify as a virgin, as you very well know.”

He smirks at me in return. “I’ve quite taken care of that, haven’t I?”

“Very funny, that’s not what I meant, and you know it. Besides, I wasn’t a virgin when we met, if you’ll recall. You didn’t seem to object then, now did you? No, I was talking about the first time we went to see Rocky Horror, which would be the only time that we were actually virgins. In that respect, that is.”

He moves closer, his arms sliding around me, his hands caressing my buttocks through the medium of the silken material between us. “You wouldn’t even dress up,” he remembers, a soft smile gracing his face.

“No, I wouldn’t.” No argument there.

“No, you wouldn’t,” he echoes, his lips running softly over mine, “and if you want to be technical, we didn’t even get to see it, did we?”

No, we didn’t. All my fault. That time.

Is the White Knight in Shining Armor Passé?

Remember Marian the Librarian, Meredith Willson’s heroine in The Music Man? Brash, bold and independent, she braved the ignorance of the town she lived in regarding her relationship with an older gentleman, and with her book knowledge and her intimacy with such scandalous authors as Balzac and Rabelais! She was the subject of gossip by every biddy in town, but she never backed down, nor apologized for who she was! And yet even she sat in her window seat, gazing up at the full moon with dreamy eyes, and professed her desire for a white knight on a noble steed to come into her life.

Times have certainly changed. Back then, normalcy consisted of the man of the house as the breadwinner, who braved the big bad world every day in his quest to make a living for his family and bring home the bacon so his wife could cook it up. She, on the other hand, took care of the house and children, and found fulfillment in being housekeeper and nanny. An unpaid job, perhaps, but a very important one. Those times are for the most part gone. While there are still women who do not work outside of the home, they are now the exception, rather than the rule. It’s really only been over the last thirty to thirty five years that these changes have been wrought. When I was married to my first husband, back in the mid-70’s, it was expected that I would stay home and he would work. The fact that that didn’t last was not a testimony to anything but my bad taste in men.

Now the economy requires that both the husband and wife work in order to support the household, not to mention that there are households with only one parent, who have no help in that regard. What of the jobs that were once the purview of the housewife—the house and the children? At first, the wife was expected to not only work a full-time job, but to juggle the rest of it as well. And not complain about it. While her hubby came home from work, and relaxed in front of the TV with his newspaper, while he waited for his evening meal to be served.

Well, the times, they certainly have changed. Women took a good look at their lives and said wait just a minute buddy, it’s your house and your kids too. You’re not special, lend a hand. And many did. Some who didn’t quickly found out the meaning of the word d-i-v-o-r-c-e.

So, what has this done to that old bastion of female escapism, the romance novel? The hero has undergone some dramatic changes. Women have stopped looking for that white knight on a steed who’ll carry them away to a mythical land of milk and honey and love everlasting, because they know that’s a dream, and it doesn’t exist. What they want now is a man who is capable of changing a diaper, fixing a broken sink, searching for a lost dog, and being thoughtful and caring, while remembering all major holidays and special occasions without having them imprinted on his forehead. And he doesn’t have to be Mr. Hunky to do it. Face it, Mr. Hunky’s nice to look at, but muscles and dreams only get you so far.

Women have also changed in their romance novel reading habits with the meteoric rise of the m/m romance novel. Men and women both have embraced this genre, and their attitudes and lifestyles are reflected in the various heroes that can be found on the market. While there are plenty of Mr. Hunky’s out there, there are also men who are beautiful inside and normal guys on the outside (except to their partners, of course).

One book that never fails to come to mind when I think of a regular hero is Bernard: Diary of a 46 Year Old Bellhop, by SL Danielson. Bernard is 46, overweight, suicidal—and yet underneath it all beats a good heart, one which the writer reveals in the course of the novel. While his crush/partner, the gorgeous doctor who saves his life and steals his heart has character flaws of his own that aren’t immediately apparent on the surface.

Today’s hero has to do more than look good, he has to be useful. And he has to be caring. Men born and raised in generations past were taught not to show their feelings, so they didn’t. They held back in many ways, while the women were taught to accept what was offered to them. Today, the men have gained the right to show their emotions, while the women are free to stand up and say no, that’s not what I want.

Maximillian Montague is the hero of my series, To the Max. At forty-four, he is a nice looking guy, but no Adonis. He’s intelligent, caring and sensitive—and he’s gay. Plus he’s a werewolf. It’s hard to tell sometimes which causes him more problems. Maybe it’s his family and friends?

The second book in the series has just been released by Silver Publishing—For Love of Max, which continues where the first one left off. Having overcome adversity and heartbreak in the first book, you’d think Max’s life is happy and on course—not! Life is throwing him some more curves, ones that he has to deal with, including an issue which he never actually expected to have to deal with in his lifetime. Amy, the villainess from the first book, is still around, and she just may have competition for the title of worst person in Max’s life. With Richard by his side, Max feels he can weather anything. But can he? Only time will tell!

Hunky heroes are still around, of course, and always will be, but let’s hear it for the every day Joe who barrels into our lives in his used car and his sensible shoes, and his heart of gold!

Thank you for having me here today, Amber! And thanks everyone who stopped by! Tell me about the heroes in your life and what they mean to you! I’d love to hear about them!

Reluctant Romance: Guys and Guys by Multiple Authors

Title: Reluctant Romance: Guys and Guys
Authors: Multi-Authored Anthology
Publisher: House of Erotica
Pages: 100
Characters: Multiple Heroes
POV: 1st and 3rd
Sub-Genre: Anthology, Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 4




Blurb:

Sometimes true love is reluctant to blossom and needs a little bit of coaxing in order to come out. But a strong will and a heart filled with determination will triumph every time! The authors of the Bigger Briefs present to you these m/m tales of lovers who just need a gentle prod to push them into the relationship they’ve been yearning for.

Review:

Reluctant Romance: Guys and Guys is a multi-authored anthology full of sizzling romance and sexy heroes. All of the stories provided me with plenty of fun and hot romance that was perfect for my desire for a lazy afternoon read. All of the stories are well-written for their short length and I really liked every one of them.

Changing His Mind by MA Church

For the past week Neil has been making efforts to talk to and get noticed by the very shy and sexy Zane. Lucky for Neil, every time he approaches Zane, the man seems to open up a little more, but he still remains a mystery. When Neil asks Zane out on a date, to his disappointment, Zane refused to call it a date; instead he calls it a non-date. But Neil decides to let that slide, just so he can be around Zane. As they continue to get to know each other, the attraction and feelings between them continue to build between them. But Neil suspects there is more to the sweet and shy Zane than meets the eye. Zane is obviously hiding something from Neil, and Neil is determined to do what he can to get to the bottom of it and keep Zane in his life.

I really liked this story. I appreciated Neil’s determination to have Zane in his life. Both characters were interesting and the chemistry between them was pretty hot.

The Teacher’s Seduction by AJ Jarrett

For the past four weeks, Professor Kale Noble has been tormented by his student, Dorian Contos flirtatious behavior. Suspecting that Dorian is just flirting with him to get a good grade, he convinces himself that there is no way the sexy and very popular college student, would ever be attracted to a guy like him. But when Dorian flirts a little too much, Kale finds himself confronting Dorian with his suspicions about why he is flirting and pushes him away. But when Dorian misses several classes, Kale feels guilty and takes it upon himself to apologize and convince Dorian to return to class. But once the two men reunite, sparks of attraction fly between them and Dorian becomes more determined than ever to have his professor in his arms forever.

The teacher/student storyline is one of my favorites, and I really enjoyed this one. Both Kale and Dorian have a sizzling attraction between them and I liked watching them work through their differences and so something special could happen between them.

Lamb to the Slaughter by Julie Lynn Hayes

Elliot Lamb has had a crush on co-worker Roy Slaughter for five years. The problem is: Roy is everything Elliot is not. He’s buff and beautiful and Elliot could be blown over by a gentle wind. Seeing that Elliot is getting nowhere with his crush, Elliot’s friend and other co-worker, Tony, sets out to help Elliot get Roy to notice him, but all fall with disastrous results. When Elliot fears he’ll never find true love, he soon discovers the man he’s been dreaming of has been right in front of him the whole time.

I really liked this short a lot. There is plenty of humor and quick banter between Elliot and Tony that kept me chuckling throughout the story. I liked the surprising twist to it and enjoyed watching Elliot find true love.

Laying the Foundation by Lily Sawyer

Chester Jones doesn’t quite know what to think about Dr. Jesse Waters. Chester has been designing the doctor’s dream home, and is frightened of the intense attraction between them. Chester has been hurt in the past, so he is leery of getting involved with a handsome, successful man like Jesse. But Jesse is persistent and as much as Chester tries to push away, Jesse does what he can to pull them closer together. Will Chester be able to work through his fears and take a chance on love with the handsome doctor?

I loved this story. I liked both heroes and immediately was intrigued by the story they told. Neither man is perfect, yet they seemed perfect to each other. It was fun watching these two finally pushing their fear and loneliness aside and taking a big step to have happiness with each other.

Missing Love by Sara York

When Brad’s longtime boyfriend moves out and leaves him heartbroken, Brad’s best friend Thomas comes over and immediately does what he can to get Brad back on his feet. Soon, Brad realizes that Thomas has feelings for him and this confuses him. He misses his old lover, but has come to appreciate Thomas’s take-charge personality. Before he knows it, Brad comes to realize that having a second chance at love, could even be better than the first time around.

I really liked this story. Both Brad and Thomas were really great together. I enjoyed watching Thomas help Brad pick himself up and get himself together after the breakup and thought their sizzling chemistry together was HOT!

Operation: Seducing Jaden by MC Houle

When Mick and Levy see the sexy the new tenant, Jaden, move in across the hall, both men are determined to bring him into their bed. They set out to seduce him, but end up being seduced by Jaden’s charm and attractive personality. Both Mick and Levy want to bring Jaden into their life permanently, but Jaden is worried this arrangement will eventually lead to disastrous results. Will Mick and Levy be able to convince Jaden to have a relationship with them all together?

I’m not a fan of ménage stories, but I thought this one was cute and to the point. Both Mick and Levy are an established couple and they want to bring Jaden into their lives and bed. The story was erotic and I liked fun, flirty feel it had.

Skye Blue by Nephylim

Ben is tired of his best friend’s new boy-toy celebrity obsession, Skye. For fun, he visits different forums that aren’t always very kind of celebrities, when he meets fellow chatter Jay. As the men start IM’ing back and forth a friendship and trust starts forming between them. Soon, Ben finds himself falling hopelessly for Jay. But Jay is hiding a secret and once Ben finds out the truth; will he still feel the same?

Although, I really liked all of the stories in this anthology, Skye Blue is my favorite one. I enjoyed the chemistry between the two heroes. I liked them so much, I found myself wishing this would have been a full-length story. It’s short, very sexy and fun and I hated to see it come to an end.

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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Sweet Dreams, My Love by Julie Lynn Hayes


Title: Sweet Dreams, My Love
Author: Julie Lynn Hayes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 128
Characters: Jakob Kohl, Damien
POV: 3rd person
Setting: Paris
Genre: Contemporary Fairy Tale
Cover Rating: 4
Kisses: 3.5



Blurb:

Can love conquer all? Is there such a thing as Fate? Do dreams really come true?

To help pay for his mother’s convalescence, Jakob Kohl leaves his musical studies in Germany in order to be a paid companion to his distant cousin Albert. It’s not a pleasant existence, but Jakob does get to travel to Paris, where he meets a beautiful man who asks for his help… a mysterious man no one else can see. Jakob soon fears he may be going crazy, because he finds himself falling in love with Damien, who says they were brought together by Fate—Jakob is the only one who can rescue Damien from the shadowy world where he sleeps and waits for his dream of everlasting love and freedom to come true.

Review:

In turn of the century Paris, the infamous Moulin Rouge was the very definition of hedonism, where courtesans performed the bawdy Can-Can on stage and more private, intimate acts off stage, all for the gratification of their male clientele. It is at this den of decadence that young Damien, on the night of his eighteenth birthday, is hoping to be introduced to absinthe dreams and observe carnal pleasures with the Dreammongers, twelve celebrated artists of the time who also comprise the group of Damien’s surrogate fathers.

Orphaned at birth, Damien lives a bohemian life, spending one month of the year with each of the twelve men who dote upon him and at times employ him as inspiration for their art. Damien’s beauty is unparalleled, his innocence intact, and his coming out a night in which he will, for the first time, partake of the green spirit absinthe in his initiation to adulthood.

In a secret room deep within the Moulin Rouge, where naked male flesh is on display, those twelve disciples who worship their beautiful muse through their art, allow Damien to take his first drink, a drink that will reveal a heinous betrayal by a thirteenth artist, a jealous madman whose betrayal will send Damien into a land of dreams where he will remain hidden and from which he may not escape until he experiences true love’s first kiss.

Sweet Dreams, My Love is a contemporary retelling of Sleep Beauty. As the story advances from 1900 to the year 2010, the reader is introduced to Jakob Kohl, a young German man employed as a companion to Albert, a second cousin who is a regrettable necessity in Jakob’s life. Albert brings Jakob along on a trip to Paris to act as chauffer and facilitator of his married cousin’s secret liaisons with a number of young French men. In the City of Lights, Jakob begins to have lapses in consciousness, in which he encounters a beautiful boy who has been sleeping for more than a hundred years. It becomes Jakob’s quest to rescue Damien from the land between dreams and reality in which he is imprisoned, a quest that is threatened with the passage of each day.

Sweet Dreams, My Love caught my attention from page one, introducing an interesting cast of characters and an intriguing set up to the story. Even as the plot progressed to the modern day, although it was somewhat of a jolt to switch gears and I was disappointed to leave the historical setting, I found myself completely engrossed in the mission to rescue Damien and was fully invested in the outcome of the journey for the two young men.

As the story progressed toward its resolution, however, I felt the plot lost a bit of its momentum. The model Jakob uses as his solution to Damien’s rescue was a bit of a jump-the-shark moment for me that removed me from the story before the menace came to a bit of an abrupt ending.

A wicked villain, a benevolent fairy, and a hero who comes to the rescue of his true love—the stuff that fairy tales are made of—are a combination that, in spite of some reservations, made this an overall entertaining read.

Reviewed By: Lisa

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