Contemporary Romance

The Farther He Runs by Lynda Aicher

the-farther-he-runsRating: 4 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publication day:
 December 6, 2016
Length: 
224 pages  
Publisher:
Loveswept

After years away from home, Tanner Dorsey is back and sorting through feelings that have him in a stranglehold. The hardened Marine will do anything for a fallen comrade, so when an accident leaves Finn Kelley fighting for his life, Tanner’s eager to be there for him. In fact, Tanner’s ready and willing to do anything Finn asks—especially if it means finally acting on the sexual tension that’s always kept him craving more.

Finn senses it too—when he brushes against Tanner’s stubbled jaw, when he inhales the scent of the T-shirt that clings to Tanner’s body like a second skin. Now that he’s more vulnerable than ever, Finn knows the time is right to take control, even if it means risking the heart and soul of their friendship. The bond they share goes beyond desire; it’s a bond of brotherhood, forged under conditions few could imagine. But once they cross that line, there will be no more secrets. No more boundaries. And no turning back.

My View: The Farther He Runs brings friends-to-lovers and brothers-in-arms to a different level. The connection between Finn, Chris, and Tanner formed during their time in the military. There are many references to military terms and their time in service. One thing they didn’t share was an “in-love” relationship.

I didn’t read book #1 in the series, but I don’t think is necessary to understand when the brotherhood between Finn and Tanner turned into something more. Many of the main characters’ thoughts revolved around this concern. They both wanted more but didn’t want to lose their friendship.

As soon as Finn and Tanner met again, their worlds turned into rights. I love the scene when Tanner arrives and the one when all the men paid their respects. Their time in the cabin was interesting and very creative. The BDSM elements weren’t that convincing but didn’t detract from the story.

We also get to see the characters from the previous books and learned more about their current plans and their futures. Overall, this is a good addition to the series.

What I liked the most: How the military and its brotherhood is portrayed.

I wanted more/less: Less inner dialogue.

Who should read it: Fans of the series.

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

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[Blog Tour] Will You Be My Escort (The Carlisles, #2) by Meagan Harding

I’m glad to have Meagan Harding here today talking about her upcoming release of Will You Be My Escort (The Carlisles, #2) Thank you for stopping by!


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Will You Be My Escort (The Carlisles, #2)

200 pages

Dreamspinner Press

Cover by Reese Dante

BLURB:

A Carlisles novel

Jackson Carlisle has rotten luck with men and women, and after an especially bad situation, he takes a step back from romance. But with a two-week family reunion in Hawaii looming, his mom is determined to set him up with one of the sweet singles she knows would be perfect for him. A normal person would tell her no and be done with it. Instead, Jackson tells her he has a boyfriend. The only problem? He doesn’t.

Aaron Wilkes is an escort. He’s a little surprised when a friend’s girlfriend hires him to date her brother, but he’s had stranger jobs. Jackson is cute, and he thinks a fling with Aaron might be just the kind of no-strings-attached fun he needs to get over his dry spell. As they explore the islands together, their carefully laid plans begin to get away from them. Feelings aren’t supposed to come into play, but that shouldn’t be a problem. After all, you can’t fall in love in two weeks….

EXCERPT:

Part of being in a large family means everyone knows everything. And it’s never forgotten, because inevitably someone remembers it. So Jackson doesn’t know how he hasn’t heard about the family reunion until he’s staring at the ridiculous card on his dark-cream tiled counter. Someone has taken the time to make a collage of the entire family’s faces and merge them into lettering that reads “You’re invited to the Carlisle Family Reunion.” He’s not sure whether to be impressed or appalled.

His phone starts to trill. He picks it up without looking. “Are you seeing this?” asks James. “I think I’m hallucinating it.”

“No,” says Jackson. “I’ve got it in front of me. It’s painfully real.”

The last thing in the world he wants to do is attend a family reunion. It’s a two-week-long affair at a resort in Hawaii (which would be lovely if the family reunion aspect was removed), occurring in three weeks’ time, during which they’re going to be surrounded by obnoxious extended family. It’s like something from a horror film.

“I don’t know why you’re complaining,” he says to James. “You’ve got a boyfriend.” He thinks about it. “Can Bastien not come?” He runs two businesses and works a lot, but he’s got a partner who can probably take things over.

“Bastien can come,” grumbles James. “He’s annoyingly excited for it.”

“He’s in for a rude awakening,” mutters Jackson. Bastien hasn’t met anyone outside of their immediate close-knit group yet—he wasn’t around for the last reunion. He’s probably expecting everyone to be like their particular branch of Carlisles. The extended family isn’t like them. Well, in some ways they are, but in others… no. They’re an eclectic group of people who mostly only bother to get together and converse for a period longer than a two-word holiday or birthday card every five years.

There’s a reason for that.

His call waiting goes off. He pulls the phone from his ear. “Mom’s calling,” he says on a sigh. “I’ll call you back.”

“Don’t bother,” says James. “I’m coming over, and we’re going to drink till we forget we’ve been invited.”

Jackson rolls his eyes. “You’re a drama queen.” He drops the call in the middle of James’s indignant squawks. “Hello,” he says to his mom.

“Hello, sweetie,” she says. “Did you get the invitation?”

He glares at their obnoxious collaged faces. “I did.” He looks closer. Someone has photoshopped a curled mustache onto James’s face. He holds the phone away from him as he snickers. Their cousin Bobby must have made the card. He hates James. “James has a mustache in the picture,” he tells his mom. “Did you see that?”

Her sigh is long and pained. “I did. I’m calling to let you know you have to go. You can’t get out of this.” She goes silent, but there’s something about it that makes Jackson feel like there’s more coming. He has a feeling he’s not going to like it. “I know things have been rough, since you had to move and all….”

And he called that.

“But I have a friend, she has a delightful daughter, and I think you two would really get along. She might take some of the pressure off the reunion? And I think it’ll be good for you. I don’t mean to worry, but you haven’t dated anyone since Angel.” He winces at the name. “It’s time to try again, don’t you think? Move on? We’re all worried about you, dear. I have a friend with a son too, he’s a bit older than you, but he’s got a nice job.”

The last thing he wants is to be set up by his mother. A sane person would tell her to butt out and hang up. Politely of course; this is his mom after all. Jackson has a short supply of sanity, though, and he’s been running on very little sleep for the last month. What comes out of his mouth, instead of “no, thank you” or “I don’t need someone else to be happy,” is “I’m already seeing someone.”

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BUY LINKS:

DreamspinnerBarnes and Noble | All Romance | Amazon

GIVEAWAY:

Rafflecopter giveaway

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF and Anglia Ruskin University. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes.  In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Far From Home by Lorelie Brown

far-from-homeRating: 3.75 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary; F/F
Publication day:
 August 1, 2016
Length: 
208 pages  
Publisher:
Riptide

My name is Rachel. I’m straight . . . I think. I also have a mountain of student loans and a smart mouth. I wasn’t serious when I told Pari Sadashiv I’d marry her. It was only party banter! Except Pari needs a green card, and she’s willing to give me a breather from drowning in debt.

My off-the-cuff idea might not be so terrible. We get along as friends. She’s really romantically cautious, which I find heartbreaking. She deserves someone to laugh with. She’s kind. And calm. And gorgeous. A couple of years with her actually sounds pretty good. If some of Pari’s kindness and calmness rubs off on me, that’d be a bonus, because I’m a mess — anorexia is not a pretty word — and my little ways of keeping control of myself, of the world, aren’t working anymore.

And, if I slip up, Pari will see my cracks. Then I’ll crack. Which means I gotta get out, quick, before I fall in love with my wife.

My View: Far From Home is the first FF story I read beginning to end. I started others but never found one I wanted to finish, until now. The storyline’s pretty similar to other romance tropes, making it easy to get into the story. The beginning was a bit rushed, but it moved the story in the right direction.

The way Rachel’s and Pari’s relationship starts with a friendship and the financial implications thereafter ring true with young adults– just like the get-togethers, their jobs, and their everyday life. Everything from their clothes to their apartments added to the overall feel of the story.

I like the diversity Pari and her family introduced to the book. It wasn’t only her being a lesbian, but all the cultural repercussions that made this a nice read. How Rachel dealt with her sexuality and learned more about Pari and herself are the central part of this book.

I did find some areas too slow and others lacking some details, but overall, this was an entertaining and lovely romance.

What I liked the most: The relationship between Rachel and Pari’s mother.

I wanted more/less: I wanted to see what happened between the end of the book and the epilogue.

Who should read it: Fans of contemporary romances; especially FF.

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

[Guest Post] Safe House and Tiny House Bundle Sale

Label-back-redI want to thank Charley Descoteaux for stopping by to tell us about her upcoming release of Safe House, and the Tiny House bundle sale. I had read both books and I highly recommend them. Don’t miss the chance to get your copies.
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The release date for Safe House, Buchanan House: Book Four, is coming soon! To celebrate, Dreamspinner has created a bundle sale—Pre-order Safe House and get Tiny House (Buchanan House: Book Three) for $0.99! The sale runs September 12 until release day—September 19!

This is a true series so to get the most out of it I recommend to read the books in order. With that in mind I’ve stocked a Rafflecopter with two chances to win the first book in the series, Buchanan House. Visit any stop on my tour between September 12th and October 1st to enter!

Pre-0rder Safe House at the Dreamspinner store and get Tiny House for $0.99! Sept. 12-19: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/safe-house-by-charley-descoteaux-7536-b

SafeHouseFS_v1Safe House (Buchanan House: Book Four) by Charley Descoteaux

It’s never too late for a new beginning…

Kyle Shimoda is an asshole magnet, has been for as long as he can remember. At forty-seven, he doesn’t see much chance for improving his luck in love. His friends who run Buchanan House, a gay retreat on the central Oregon coast, know he wants to find “someone nice” to settle down with, and they set him up with Officer Brandon Smith. Kyle has a turbulent history with law enforcement, but he can’t deny his attraction to the buff cop.

Brandon has been a police officer in Lincoln City almost since the day he graduated from high school over thirty years ago. He’s cultivated the facade of a serious, disciplined law enforcement officer, but beneath his overdeveloped chest beats the soft heart of a drama queen. A cancer scare shifts Bran’s focus from finding a serious relationship to having as much sex as he can—putting his goals squarely at odds with Kyle’s. If he can’t find the courage to be honest about his feelings for Kyle, the happiness they’ve both been searching for could slip through their fingers.

Read Chapter One at the Dreamspinner store to meet Kyle. Meet Brandon in the excerpt below.

Chapter Two

Brandon barely paid attention as he drove between the cemetery and the apartment he shared with two roommates. He’d hoped to find a voice mail from the doctor after the funeral, but no such luck. He did find one saying the new guy, Dylan, had called in sick, and Brandon was expected at work within the hour. He would have been happier to stay at the cemetery and talk with Paulie a little longer. And Kyle. Bran had met Kyle before, but they hadn’t spoken. He had noticed then how handsome Kyle was, and he was even more striking with his hair longer, framing his high cheekbones and full, sensuous mouth. His silky black hair looked so touchable.

This isn’t getting me to work any faster.

At least work will be a distraction.

He hurried home and changed into his uniform. His quick spot check in the bathroom mirror turned into a lingering appraisal. Brandon ran an open hand over his chest, not to smooth the impeccable fabric of his uniform shirt, but to reassure himself that nothing had changed. He grimaced at his reflection, thinking a little less gray and a little more brown in his hair might be a nice change.

Brandon shivered as he recalled the MRI he’d endured three days prior, which had revealed a suspicious lump in his chest. Forty-seven minutes in a tiny tube while the machine hummed and took pictures of his breast and lymph tissue. Just thinking about the way it had felt to lie there made him shiver—it was worse than the needle biopsy he’d had the following day. With every inhale his shoulders had brushed the walls of the tube on both sides, and less than halfway through he’d had to talk himself out of fleeing. He wasn’t a tall man—something that had bothered him throughout his life—but until that day he had taken pride in his body, in the bulk he’d cultivated without sacrificing speed or agility.

During that forty-seven minutes, he would have been happy to trade his broad shoulders for a smaller frame.

Since I’m making empty wishes, I might as well make one for a better-looking face. A face that could attract a handsome young guy like Kyle instead of scaring him half to death.

Bran’s stomach roiled at his own thoughts, and he resolved to not even think the word death again until—unless—he had to. He was tempted to forgo shaving the sandy brown stubble from his face but fell back on the habit, hoping for the comfort a routine could provide, and reached for his electric razor.

Everything seemed to be happening so fast. Less than a week ago he’d gone in for his yearly physical, and now he was waiting for the call that would tell him whether he needed to make another appointment for that week or next year. In the interim he’d been squeezed into a tube and had a biopsy. And relived the worst time in his life over and over, the time when he’d learned about his father’s diagnosis.

Series: Buchanan House
Book Number: 4
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 19, 2016
Pages: 200
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

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Enter Sept 12 – Oct 1!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Three winners! Prizes: One signed paperback of Safe House (US Only); one ebook copy of book one of the series, Buchanan House; one backlist book (any ebook except Safe House)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.

Rattle Charley’s cages:

Blog: http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charley.descoteaux.3
Dreamspinner Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=879
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CharleyDescote
Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/aqe7g7r
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/charleydescote/

 

 

 

All the Wrong Places by Ann Gallagher

All the Wrong PlacesRate: 4 stars
Genre:
Contemporary
Publication day: 
June 13, 2016
Length:
240 pages  
Publisher: 
Riptide Publishing

Three cheating girlfriends in a row have given skateboarder Brennan Cross the same excuse: he wasn’t meeting their needs. Desperate and humiliated, he goes to the professionals at the local sex shop for advice.

Zafir Hamady, a sales clerk at Red Hot Bluewater, has an unusual theory: he doesn’t think Brennan is a bad lover. In fact, he doesn’t think Brennan is heterosexual. Or sexual at all, for that matter. He also can’t stop thinking about Brennan. But even if he’s right and Brennan really is asexual, that doesn’t mean Zafir has a chance. Brennan’s never dated a man, and Zafir’s never met anyone who’s game for a Muslim single father with a smart mouth and a GED.

Brennan’s always thought of himself as straight. But when sex is explicitly out of the mix, he finds himself drawn to Zafir for the qualities and interests they share. And Zafir can’t help enjoying Brennan’s company and the growing bond between Brennan and his son. They work well together, but with so many issues between them, doubts creep in, and Brennan’s struggle with his identity could push away the one person he didn’t know he could love.

My View: This is my first read with two asexual main characters. I enjoyed how each of them was different and how the author managed to deal with their distinctions without making it feel forced or cookie-cut. The topic is handled with care and enough information to have a clear idea of the topic without generalizations or preachings.

The way Zafir took charge of their relationship from the beginning showed a mature character, comfortable with his identity after learning how to deal with it over the years. Their friendship was exceptionally crafted, and the reader gets to care for them deeply. It’s easy to forget they aren’t the traditional romance troupe. Their relationship is realistic and deals with everyday issues like childcare and making ends meet.

Brennan’s susceptivity for skateboard-related accidents makes him endearing, as well as, his patience to take care of Zafir’s son. He matures during the story. We can see how he started doubting himself and how, with the help of Zafir, he was able to discover how the puzzle pieces of his life work together. The way he reacted when his relationship with Zafir, his sexuality, and his identity were challenged was too dramatic for my taste.

The secondary characters add levity to the story. This is the 14 installment in this series, but the first book of it I have read. This book works as a stand-alone, and the mentions and presence of previous main characters are minimal. Overall, a well-written book about a not so common topic.

What I liked the most: The friendship between Zafir and Brennan.

I wanted more: Time to see how their relationship develops after their reconciliation.

Who should read it: Everyone interested in a different type of relationship between men.

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