Contemporary Romance

Risky Behavior by L.A. Witt & Cari Z

Risky BehaviorRating: 4.25 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publication day:
 May 1, 2017
Length: 
309 pages  
Publisher:
 Riptide Publishing

It’s day one of Darren Corliss’s career as a detective, and not only has he been assigned a notoriously difficult partner, but the guy might also be a pill-popping dirty cop. Internal Affairs needs proof, and Darren gets to be their eyes and ears whether he wants to or not.

Detective Andreas Ruffner doesn’t play by the rules, and he doesn’t play well with others. With bodies piling up and a list of suspects who are way above his pay grade, the last thing he needs is a wet-behind-the-ears kid for a partner. Or babysitter. Not even if that partner is easy on the eyes.

As Darren gains Andreas’s hard-won trust, they both realize there’s more than just mutual suspicion simmering beneath the surface. But their investigation is heating up as quickly as their relationship, and Darren has no choice but to go along with Andreas’s unorthodox—and borderline unethical—methods. As IA puts the squeeze on Darren to give up the man he’s falling for, he has to wonder—is Andreas the only cop left in this town who isn’t dirty?

My View: Risky Behavior is a police procedural thriller with a dosage of romance. Everything unfolds slowly until the very end, including Darren’s and Andreas’s relationship.  You have to pay attention to all the clues, and even so, you’d get surprised.

I enjoyed how all the characters–good & bad–are interrelated, not only with the investigation but with the main characters itself.  The pacing keeps the reader entertain, curious, and Andreas’s vulnerability is a nice reward. Darren is a more traditional character and it meshes well with his new, older partner.

I’m glad we get both POVs and extra opinions from other main players. There are a lot of conversations during the downtimes, but it was well-balanced with the rest of the action. Overall, this is a good romantic suspense with a strong HFN. Definitely, I’m looking forward to the next installment.

What I liked the most: How Darren got under Andreas’s skin.

I wanted more/less: More time with Darren and Andreas getting to know each other.

Who should read it: Fans of law enforcement stories.

ARC provided by Riptide Publishing, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

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Back Piece by L.A. Witt

Back PieceRating: 3.5 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary; Military
Publication day:
 April 25, 2017
Length: 
316 pages  
Publisher:
Swerve

Colin Spencer is a tattoo artist with a past he’d prefer to keep a secret. Actually, he has a few secrets that he’d rather people didn’t know about, which is why Colin doesn’t do commitment. But when a shy sailor approaches him at the gym, Colin finds this guy pushing all his buttons.

Growing up in a conservative family, then escaping with the Navy, Daniel Moore is an unsure virgin who feels like he can’t share his true self with anyone. Seeing Colin—and his tattoos—at the gym are the sign Daniel needs to finally get those tattoos he’s always wanted, and maybe try his hand at flirting.

As Colin and Daniel spend more time together, their awkward hesitations turn into a deep passion neither expected. But with both men harboring secrets, will their relationship be able to survive their insecurities and become something beautiful?

Back Piece is a sexy, emotional journey of two people learning to love and finding acceptance for who they really are.

My View: Back Piece is a beautiful story about self-discovery and first loves. Even when the characters aren’t new adults, the story has a youthful feeling. Both, Colin and Daniel have complicated pasts that keep them from moving forward with the lives they want. This book shows us their journey and how hard, but worth it, it was for them to heal and move forward.

As always, the accuracy of the military descriptions gives this story a strong sense of place. The tattoo details just add to the overall picture. I liked the slow pace of their relationship, but I think they have a stronger connection as friends/mentor than as lovers.

If you want to know more about enlisted military men with everyday jobs and tattoo artists, this is a perfect story for it. It’s not an easy book to read due to the MCs backgrounds, but it’s an interesting start to a series.

What I liked the most: The military accuracy.

I wanted more/less: More of a love connection between the MCs.

Who should read it: Fan of military stories.

ARC provided by Swerve, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Joy by C.S. Poe

JoyRating: 3.5 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publication day:
 April 5, 2017
Length: 
76 pages  
Publisher:
 Dreamspinner Press

Down on his luck is Gideon Joy’s default state. He doesn’t know why he expected anything different on his cross-country trip, but not surprisingly, the hits keep coming—literally this time. Gideon strikes a moose with his car in New Hampshire, not only totaling his own vehicle, but damaging one belonging to local construction worker Silas Bright. He has no choice but to stay in Lancaster and take a job that’ll pay for the repairs. And in a town so small, Gideon’s always running into Silas. What starts as annoyance between them soon blooms into something much more romantic. But when Gideon’s notorious bad luck rears its head yet again, how many disastrous dates will Silas be willing to weather before realizing Gideon’s not worth it?

Despite Gideon’s desire to remain in the quaint community that has accepted him as one of their own, past fears of inadequacy threaten the very joy he left Los Angeles to discover. If he’s to find a happily ever after with Silas, Gideon must learn that sometimes it’s okay to not be the best. And true happiness might be waiting in a small town nestled among the great White Mountains.

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

My View: Joy starts right into the action and the main characters first meeting. It’s easy to see their personalities and how the rest of their new acquaintanceship is going to be. Gideon spends a lot of time on his head, but it paints a better understanding of everything happening and how his life’s unfolding.

This story has a slow burn and many of the dates between the characters happened off page. I wished we could have seen some of those to help move their relationship forward instead of taking it as a given.

I like Silas and Gideon and how everyone rallied behind them. All the secondary characters are great and take part in setting them up. There’s no angst, or anything else happening during the story, other than their love story developing. We see a little background, but the story is well-centered in the present.

Overall, a very sweet, very quick read. A perfect distraction for a  rainy day.

What I liked the most: How true to form the descriptions of life in a small town were.

I wanted more/less: I wanted a bit more conflict.

Who should read it:  Fans of sweet, angst-free romances.

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Guarding Mr. Fine by Helenkay Dimon

guardingRating: 4 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publication day:
 February 14, 2017
Length: 
240 pages  
Publisher:
 Loveswept

As an agent with the CIA’s special activities division, Seth Lang lives for risk—and yet he’s stuck playing bodyguard to the U.S. consul general in Munich. Although Seth’s last assignment nearly killed him, babysitting some desk jockey in a suit sounds way too easy. But when he lays eyes on the new top man, tactical expert Rick Fine, Seth’s thrilled to see just how hard this job is going to get. Mr. Tall, Dark, and Quiet has a body worth guarding—and he requires hands-on attention day and night.

Dispatched to a German consulate to expose the murder of his predecessor, Rick finds himself in an extremely vulnerable position. He needs a man like Seth—in so many ways. This mission will inevitably plunge them both into jeopardy, but each new threat only brings them closer. Rick just hopes that he can keep his deepest, darkest secret hidden—or else risk imperiling a relationship they’re both fighting for their lives to protect.

My View: Guarding Mr. Fine is a romance with an international political plot line as an important element. It starts with a quick introduction to the main characters, directly into the action. The author didn’t waste time letting us see their personalities and in Seth’s case, his profession.

One of the things I like the most about this story is how comfortable the main characters are in their skin, even when they struggled to connect with a partner. They are so into what works for them, that opening their hearts is more frightening than climbing down a multi-story building.

The romance plot is simple, but the undercover investigation adds to the book flow. Figuring out the good and bad guys isn’t hard, but still enjoyable. There are characters from previous books included but this is definitely a stand-alone book. I love the banter and the quick wits of all the characters, not just Seth and Rick.

There’s a real sense of danger throughout the story and a good sense of place. There are not many changes in settings, but it’s easy to visualize the ones introduced by the author. Overall, this is another good book in the series.

What I liked the most: The chemistry between the main characters.

I wanted more/less: More alone time between Rick and Seth outside the bedroom.

Who should read it: Fans of the series and law enforcement stories.

ARC provided by Loveswept, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Dating in Retrospect Promo Tour

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Title: Dating in Retrospect (States of Love)
Author: Lila Leigh Hunter
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 15, 2017
Category: Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Sex Content: Explicit
Pairing: MM
Orientation: Bisexual
Identity: Cisgender
Length: Novella Words: 38,800 Pages: 101

BLURB

Giving the commencement speech at his alma mater doesn’t fit Clay Keller’s meticulous schedule. As Chief Executive Officer of Travel Mogul—the largest travel connoisseur company on the West Coast—he has no time to get back in touch with his country roots. He left fifteen years ago without a second look, but a medical scare makes him change his mind about the speech and brings him face-to-face with his only regret.

Time always moves slower in Southeastern Iowa, and Aaron Grant loves it. He’s added solar farms to the Grant Lanes portfolio and has been teaching at the local university for a decade. The last thing he needs is to have his tenure application compromised by the return of his ex-boyfriend. If he had known who the commencement speaker would be, he would never have volunteered to be the administration liaison.

A proposal—to date for a year—will help them discover that time changes a person, even when everything else stays the same.

Buy Links

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(February 9th to February 28th – Winner to be contacted March 1st)

Dating in Retrospect Giveaway

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EXCERPT 

©2017 Lila Leigh Hunter
All Rights Reserved

Clay—May ’15

Back to the future and all of that were Clay’s first thoughts as he stepped out of the car. The campus looked the same—Midwest Americana at its best. Redbrick buildings and perfectly pruned trees surrounded him, but as if the last fifteen years hadn’t happened, Clay’s world narrowed to the man waiting at the top of the portico stairs. The only thing time had changed? Them.

“Here’s your receipt, Mr. Keller,” the valet said, interrupting Clay’s musings. He didn’t remember being as young as the valet. Mr. Keller was his father, but Clay didn’t feel like correcting the man’s error.

“Thank you.”

“Not a problem. The man in the light gray suit is Professor Grant. He will be your escort today.”

“Perfect,” Clay responded, smiling at the mention of having an escort at his service, especially one whose body he knew well. With a nod and a tip, Clay left the valet behind, turning his attention back to Professor Grant. Professor. Aaron had done it after all. Clay had never doubted it, even after Aaron decided to stay and work at his family’s farm instead of moving with him to LA. Now he needed to find out if he had a chance with Aaron. At least having him there, waiting for him, had to be a good sign. Today was his lucky day indeed. True, he hadn’t expected to see Aaron so soon. He had planned to stop by the farm after the commencement, but he was ready either way. Life had been rough lately, but having the opportunity to see Aaron again was worth coming back to the middle of Nowhere, Iowa.

He walked casually toward the man he’d left behind many summers ago—a man standing like a prizefighter, waiting for Clay to reach him. With only a couple of feet between them, Clay’s step faltered. Aaron didn’t seem happy to see him, more like he was ready to bolt before Clay got to him. Shaking his head and keeping his eyes on his prey, he closed the distance and extended his hand in greeting.

“Professor Grant, I believe you’re expecting me?” He hoped his smile would ease Aaron’s frown.

“That I am, Mr. Keller. As the university liaison, it is my pleasure to welcome you back to your alma mater and to convey the president’s and the board of trustees’ deepest regards.”

“How long did it take you to memorize that spiel? As far as I remember, you weren’t fond of formalities.” Neither of them let go of the other’s hand. Aaron’s touch, familiar and foreign, branded him in seconds.

“Ass.”

Aaron didn’t expect the hug that followed. As soon as their bodies touched, Aaron tensed, but Clay held him tighter.

“Relax, sunshine. It’s been a while.” Clay let Aaron go, but not before he rubbed his trimmed beard against Aaron’s clean-shaven face as he moved back.

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MEET THE AUTHOR

Lila Leigh Hunter is the pen name of a Puerto Rican author with a hyphenated surname. Born and raised on the island, Lila grew up making up stories her siblings pretended to like. But no matter what they say, as the youngest of six, she’s still their mom’s favorite. According to the dusty diplomas on her wall, she’s an architectural designer living in Southern Texas with her husband and four military brats.

She spends most of her free time writing homoerotic romances about middle-aged men finding happiness and the rest hiding from pesky house chores. When outside of her cave, she likes to observe people and try to guess their stories. Sometimes she wishes the voices in her head were real; going out with the boys in her books sounds like a plan made in heaven.

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Website: http://lilaleighhunter.wordpress.com

Email: llhunter.romance@gmail.com

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