Balancing Act by K. Vale

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Balancing Act (Shooting Stars #4)

Genre: M/M, Contemporary

Synopsis:

Greg Dwyer and Kyrie Li are living the glorious couple life in New York City. Or are they? When struggling actor Kyrie lands a modeling job, he’s ecstatic to have extra cash to spend on his best-friend-turned-boyfriend.

Of course, Greg is suspicious Anders Berglund, the gorgeous and androgynous Swedish cover model the designers love to pair with Kyrie, is after his man. And maybe Kyrie encourages a growing closeness with the guy?

Greg is probably to blame if Kyrie is drawn to the openly gay and seriously beautiful Andy. With Andy, Kyrie can be himself, as loud and proud as he’s always been. But Greg’s sexuality stays firmly locked in the closest except when he’s with Kyrie’s supportive family or alone with the man he loves.

To make matters worse, Greg’s out-of-touch mom meets with financial ruin and moves in with the couple, forcing him into the closet in his own home.

Can Greg find a way to stand up to Mommy Dearest and win back a love he fought so hard to reach? He discovers the road to pride begins at home and with accepting oneself first. Otherwise, it’s just a dead-end street.

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Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Kyrie’s amazing day was about to get a cherry on top. He opened the apartment door to the rattle of keys on the other side.

Greg’s mouth dropped open, eyes widening comically, but he spared a nervous glance for the empty hallway behind him before stepping swiftly over the threshold.

He shut the door and locked it with a snap of the deadbolt.

“Is it my birthday already?” Easing his work computer to the floor, Greg allowed the suit jacket draped over one arm to follow unceremoniously. As he loosened his tie, yanking the knot from side to side, his mahogany gaze did a similar zigzag down Kyrie’s exposed body.

“This, my love, is just one of the outfits I was given today when I went for my Spectrum Spectacular callback.”

Greg took in the full extent of Kyrie’s ensemble, what little there was of it, and his auburn brows lowered. Kyrie spun around to give him the complete picture, peeking back over his shoulder with a salacious lick of the lips. The white micro trunks and matching fishnet tank were his favorite parts of the ample cache he’d received. He’d been beyond excited for Greg to get home and see them.

“Why would they…? You got the job?” A grin broke across Greg’s face, but the disapproval was still evident as he continued to eye Kyrie’s appearance.

“I got the job! I got the job!” He grabbed Greg’s hands and pumped them up and down. “I’m modeling with Anders Berglund! Anders. Berglund! The Swedish supermodel! We’re partners for the No Black, No White shoot!”

He clasped his hands together while the rest of his body vibrated with pent-up energy. Anders Berglund was gargantuan, his gorgeous face on nearly every magazine cover in the grocery store checkout aisle. Kyrie’s fairy godmother had waved a magic wand over him, and Greg just stood there with his forehead puckered.

“Well?”

Greg slid his arms around Kyrie, rubbing his back as if he were cold. “So…this is what you’re gonna be wearing?”

“Maybe. Who knows? They gave us a few outfits to try on for size.”

“This is not an outfit.” Greg rubbed the holey fabric between his fingers.

Kyrie canted his head, eyebrows lifting as he delivered his best You’re kidding, right? stare. “This is only a sample. There will be all kinds of clothes at the shoot. I’m sure they’ll pick the best of the best after we’re done.”

“Won’t posing half-naked hurt your acting career?”

Kyrie scoffed, rolling his eyes. “No! Watch how many doors this opens. Just you wait.”

“And this is for what? Gay rights or…something?”

Kyrie ramped up the baleful expression. “Have you been listening to anything I’ve said for the past month? It’s not just gay. It’s everything. A campaign to call attention to all shades of the sexual identity spectrum. We gays are pretty widely accepted these days, you might be surprised to know.”

Greg’s arms stiffened around him, and Kyrie bit down on a sigh. Yes, we gays. Including you. Or maybe bi sits better, but you’ve been sticking it to a dude for almost a year and a half now. Time to officially join the not-so-straight club.

Kyrie expelled a frustrated breath after all. “It’s a phenomenal thing to be part of, never mind the sweet paycheck I’ll be pullin’ in. Never mind that I’ll be working with Anders Fucking Berglund and how much visibility I’ll get out of it.” He squeaked, elation bubbling from him despite Greg’s muted response.

“And I thought his first name was bad,” Greg groused, even as his fingers tested the thin mesh over Kyrie’s back and traveled lower.

Kyrie freely admitted he was damned stunning in the getup. All the white clothing they’d given him popped against the brown skin he’d inherited from his mother. Conversely, Anders was the fairest lad in all the land. He had pale blond hair and porcelain skin, fractured only by startlingly dark eyebrows and a couple of highly fortuitous moles rumored to have launched his career. He’d be dressed in black and guaranteed to look amazing. Together…this was going to be fucking epic.

“I thought you’d be proud of me.” Kyrie pouted, simultaneously arching his ass into Greg’s touch like a cat begging for attention.

“Of course I’m proud of you. I just worry about…well—”

“Everything?” Kyrie reached up to stroke Greg’s cheek, loving the feel of his trimmed beard and mustache combo. It could be soft, skimming over Kyrie’s nipples while Greg flicked a tongue and lit them on fire, or it could be coarse, bordering on harsh, as Greg went savage licking Kyrie’s ass and balls. Sure, that sort of thing was usually reserved for the times Greg had a few drinks on board and abandoned his inhibitions fully. But, oh God, when it happened…

Kyrie’s dick swelled thinking about Greg’s tongue swirling over his asshole. “Want me to pour you a little whiskey to help you wind down after your hard—” he squeezed Greg’s cock through his suit pants, “—day, sexy?”

Greg grunted and rocked his hips into Kyrie’s hand. “I can always use a little tension release.” His eyes, hooded, stared at Kyrie’s lips.

He parted them slowly and dragged his tongue tip across his top teeth. “I think I have one of those stress balls around here somewhere.”

Firm and fast, Greg hauled him flush against his chest and stole Kyrie’s breath. His fingers explored Kyrie’s ass crack—crude, demanding, bunching the satiny material between his cheeks before dragging lower to feather behind his nuts.

“Think I found my two favorite stress balls right here.” Greg wore a wicked grin. “Trying to hide ’em on me?”

He gathered the back of Kyrie’s tiny tight boxers, taking the wedgie to another level. He gasped and lifted on his toes. His sac was trapped, kinked up on one side of the seam almost painfully tight. Greg cupped Kyrie’s slung nuts, the touch so gentle it reminded him of ice over fire. Cool, crisp sheets after a day from hell.

Kyrie loved being the seductive bottom, igniting Greg with his teasing and flirting, backing off while he simmered. Then Kyrie would stoke him higher, feeding the inferno until Greg eventually crumbled and became the domineering top. Usually they made the game last, pushing each other’s buttons in their own drawn-out version of foreplay.

The sliver of pain slicing down Kyrie’s crack paired succulently with the throbbing wood pressed against his lower belly. All signs told him they were going straight to sudden death—no warm-up, no scrimmage, just hot, fast action. Game on.

My Review: 5/5 Stars

So we meet Kyrie and Greg in Hard Act to Follow, the third book in the Shooting Stars series. That one was about two best friends figuring out they love each other and doing what needs to be done to get together.

Balancing Act is about Greg coming to terms with the fact that he is indeed gay and that he is in a loving relationship with a great man. Kyrie is supportive, but also wants Greg to come out as well. Do I think both men handled the situation wrong, yuppers, but it was awesome to see them come together and stay together. Sweet baby Jesus, I did not like Greg’s mother, at all.

Balancing Act is an emotional roller coaster with a hint, okay a good amount of drama thrown into the mix. I won’t lie, I read it the same day I got it.

Buy Links:
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Author’s Bio:

k. Vale

K. Vale writes erotic romance of all stripes, from hot hetero to mouthwatering manlove. Find her M/F work published under Kimber Vale. Stalk Kimber on Facebook and Twitter, check http://authorkimbervale.com/ for updates, new releases, and freebies, and sign up for her newsletter to receive an exclusive free story. Come for the sex. Stay for the story.

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*** An ARC copy was given to me for a honest review.

Surfacing by Daniel Stephens

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Surfacing

Genre: M/M, Romance

Synopsis:

Used to luxurious, high-profile city life, Chris’s world is shattered when tragedy takes his husband and young son. Seeking a life free from pain, Chris returns to his grandfather’s cabin on the shores of Wolf Thorn Lake, Maine.

When Chris meets Jake, the earthy young man who resides across the lake, Chris faces his most challenging decision yet. Does he continue his life alone, or does he risk his heart and the potential of love he sees illuminated in Jake’s warm eyes?

A young man running from pain, a rural free spirit with the ability to heal, and a wolf who haunts the shore-line of Wolf Thorn Lake illustrate the endurance of the human heart, the capacity to learn how to love again, and the heart’s ability to restore even the most wounded of men.

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Review: 4/5 Stars

Chris is lost, and he is trying to find his way again by moving into the house that his grandfather left for him.

Jake is carefree guy, and when he meets Chris he thinks Chris is out of his reach, but he knows he’s the man for him.

They have a connection, they both know it, but Chris has to find his way out of the pain.

The premises behind the book and Chris’ journey to finding himself keeps you turning the page. I swear I wanted to know why the wolf was so important. Jake’s grandmother was awesome, and she didn’t take any bs from Chris especially when it came to her grandson. Overall, I enjoyed the book and would definitely read more from this author.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Wild Rose

Author Bio:

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Daniel Stephens has a PhD in Victorian literature and teaches Victorian and GLBT literatures at a mid-sized university in eastern PA. His primary research is Victorian Sensation fiction of the 1860’s. Three years ago, he decided to take a breather from academic writing and dive into romance: ‘Surfacing’ is the result.  He is currently writing a second m/m contemporary romance set in Greenwich Village NYC. Under the pen name Frances DeleCourt Winters, he wrote the str8 romance “The Fortune Teller’s Garden” which was published by Black Lyon Press in 2014. Highly influenced by classic French fairy tales, Stephens tries to blend the wonder of those tales with the natural world and a healthy dose of romance into his creative fiction.

A Place to Call their Own: by Dean Frech

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A Place to Call Their Own

Genre: M/M, Western, Historical

Synopsis:

Is it possible for two Civil War veterans to find their place in the world on the Kansas prairie?

Frank Greerson and Gregory Young have been discharged from the Army and are headed to their childhood homes. They both defied their parents in 1861 when they joined the Army. After battling southern rebels and preserving the Union of the United States of America, the two men set out to battle the Kansas Prairie and build a life together. Once they find their claim, they encounter common obstacles to life on the Kansas Prairie in 1866: Native Americans, tornadoes, wild animals, and weather.

When a prairie fire destroys their crops and takes their neighbor’s lives, Frank and Gregory are instructed to find their young son’s aunt. Faced with leaving a destroyed claim, the railroad coming through their land, and dwindling funds, Frank and Gregory must decide whether to leave the place they have worked hard to make their own or fulfill their friends’ dying wishes.

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Buy Links:

JMS • Amazon USAmazon UK • B&NAReOminilit

Review: 4.5/5 Stars

This is the first book I have read by Dean and maybe the second or third historical m/m book I have read. We have Frank and Gregory, two war veterans, who are looking for a place to call home. In A Place to Call Their Own, Dean takes you through the journey of living a secret relationship, but not. You get the trials and tribulations of basically starting from scratch and making something out of nothing. A couple times, I thought well dang can they just catch a break.

The Frank and Gregory are there for each other no matter what and they know what their end goal is and works towards that. The reason for the missing half star was because I didn’t very much care for the ending, although I seen that Dean is working on another book, but still. Also, it seemed they argued about the same thing over and over again, once they already made a decision.

All in all it’s a good read. You have two men determined to make it on their own, neighbors they can lean on, and Indians that aren’t as bad as everybody makes them out to be. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

Author Bio:

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With inspiration from historical tourism sites, the love of reading, and a desire to write a novel, Dean started crafting his debut novel, A Place to Call Their Own, in 2008. After four years of writing and polishing the manuscript, it was accepted and originally published 2013. His second novel, Disappear With Me, set in Edwardian England was published later that same year. Both novels were re-released in May 2015.

Dean lives in Kansas City, Missouri with his two cats. He’s involved in his church and enjoys watching movies, outdoor activities in the warmer weather, and spending time with friends and family. In addition to writing, Dean’s hobbies include reading and patio gardening.

Dean is currently working a standalone title, Sartin, a merman romance, and The Higher Law, a continuation of the story of Frank and Gregory’s family set in the 1930s.

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Blog Tour: Job Hunt by Jackie Keswick

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Job Hunt

Genre: M/M, Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

You don’t greet your new boss dressed like an underage rent boy. But when Jack Horwood—ace hacker and ex-MI6 operative—opens the door to Gareth Flynn, he’s too busy to worry over details like that. And anyway, his potential new boss is his former Commanding Officer – the same guy Jack has had a crush on since he was seventeen. So he should understand, right?

When he applied for the job in Nancarrow Mining’s corporate security division, Jack had hoped for peaceful days repelling cyber attacks. Maybe a bit of corporate espionage on the side. His plans didn’t include rescuing abused children, hunting pimps, or dealing with his overly protective and hot-as-hell boss, Gareth Flynn.

Walking away is not an option. Jack never takes the easy way out. More than that, meeting Gareth raises old ghosts that Jack needs to put to rest. Rescuing kids. Taking risks. Saving the day. Jack can do all that – but deciding what to do about his attraction to Gareth isn’t the sort of cloak-and-dagger game Jack plays well. Yet Gareth, strong and smart and always on hand when needed, might be Jack’s salvation.

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Excerpt:

Streetlights glowed through the thin mist like orange Christmas baubles strung up early, giving the quiet Richmond cul-de-sac an almost Victorian feel—if one ignored the cars lining curbs and driveways, that was.

Jack parked his Gixxer beside Gareth’s Triumph, blew warm breath on his freezing fingers, and berated himself for forgetting his gloves. He was relieved to find that Gareth was home, as if, at the very back of his mind, he’d expected the man to stand him up.

The porch light was on, and the enticing aromas of spices and roasting meat hung around the front door. It didn’t smell like anything he could identify, and as Jack leaned on the bell, he wondered about the extent of Gareth’s culinary skills.

While they’d served together, Gareth had mastered the art of one-pot cooking for a crowd, using whatever ingredients came his way. He’d had a well-deserved reputation, and their fire had always been good for tasty, filling stews and the very best curries. Jack also recalled large pans of softly scrambled eggs and even pancakes on the odd day when eggs, flour, and milk happened to coincide with time to cook breakfast.

Whatever Gareth was cooking tonight smelled homely and inviting, yet at the same time richer than the food Gareth’s mother had cooked during the week Jack had been staying with her and the boys. More… decadent, somehow, and Jack’s stomach growled in happy anticipation.

“I almost thought you weren’t coming.”

“Yeah, I can smell that you thought that.” The smile on Gareth’s face started butterflies in Jack’s gut. He managed a smile of his own, held out the wine he’d brought, and then bent to take off his motorcycle boots. “What is this, anyway?”

“Goose.”

“Goose?”

“Goose.”

Jack looked up into amber eyes and considered. Gareth didn’t seem to be pulling his leg. And technically goose was very much like duck or chicken, so why shouldn’t it be edible?

“You said you didn’t have any preferences, and I felt like it. It’s a grown-up thing, sort of.” Gareth sounded almost apologetic as he set the wine on the shoe cupboard and turned to lock the door. “You don’t have a problem with eating goose, do you?”

“I’ll tell you after dinner,” Jack said. He set his boots down and shrugged out of his jacket, hanging it beside Gareth’s. Freed from the restraints of damp leather, he wrapped his arms around Gareth’s neck. “It smells damn nice. And I missed you.”

“In that order?” Gareth wasn’t slow returning the embrace. He nuzzled Jack’s shirt collar out of the way to trace his lips along the strip of leather around Jack’s throat.

“Maybe not,” Jack allowed, tilting his head to give Gareth’s lips more space to explore. The warmth and soft light, the scents of cooking, Gareth’s hands and mouth on him, even the shivers running up his spine, all made Jack feel as if he was coming home—until a sudden alarm sent his hand flashing for a weapon.

“Dinner’s ready.” Gareth’s warm breath against Jack’s neck comforted and soothed, and he was unfazed by Jack’s grab for the knife. “Good timing.” He dropped a brief kiss on Jack’s forehead and headed toward the kitchen. “Bring the wine?”

“My timing’s crap,” Jack groused, shoving the knife back into its sheath and picking up the bottles. He’d been hungry when he arrived, but now his body didn’t want goose. It wanted Gareth. And it was anyone’s guess when he was going to get that.

My Review: 4/5 Stars

Jack has applied for a behind the desk kind of job, but he didn’t count on working with Gareth. His ex commanding officer. Jack decides he doesn’t want to take the job, but Gareth has other ideas. He goes to talk some sense into Jack and finds himself helping take down a pimp.

Bet you didn’t think I would say that, or maybe you did. They work great as a team and Gareth talks Jack in taking the job with him. Jack is not only a kick as avenger, he also has awesome IT skills, where everybody wants him.

So now Jack and Gareth are working side by side, not only at Nancarrow Mining’s, but to take down some bad guys. What are two head strong men to do when they are constantly bumping heads, and there is sexual tension that you can cut with a knife?

I enjoyed Job Hunt, there were a few parts that were slow for me, but the action and kick assery (I know it’s not a word) makes up for it. Jack is not your average veteran or IT guy. He has his own system of right and wrong. He can kick ass and take names later one minute, while hacking into the system to know everything about you and you will be none the wiser the next.

The chemistry between Jack and Gareth is explosive, though there were not enough sex scenes for me. (I know there is something wrong with me.) Though it worked for the book, so I can’t really complain. I felt it showed their strength in not jumping into bed with each other at every moment, but at the same time they supported each other, even though a serious relationship scared the hell out of both of them, Jack more so.

The side characters where amazing and I was really rooting for Nico and Daniel.

So now I have two questions. Will there be another book because that epilogue, OMG. And what is the tattoo on the side of Jack’s face. I think I missed that and I went back to see. I only know that he did it while he was drunk.

Buy Links:
Amazon – Kobo – DreamSpinner Press – Print

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Author Bio:

Jackie Keswick

Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurrent dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.

Jackie loves stories about unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don’t follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She has a thing for green eyes and tight cyclist’s butts and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.

And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.

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*** An ARC copy was given to me for a honest review.

Blog Tour: Coffee Cake by Michaela Grey

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Coffee Cake

Genre: M/M, Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Bran Kendrick never expected to fall in love. He’s asexual, after all. What chance does he have of finding someone who’ll see past that? So when Malachi Warren catches his eye, Bran tells himself his crush will pass. Malachi disagrees. He has been attracted to Bran for some time, something he is delighted to find Bran reciprocating. They begin to date and feel their way through an intimate relationship that meets both their needs.

Suddenly Bran finds himself juggling a new boyfriend, a demanding job, and a college degree he’s not sure he wants, but he couldn’t be happier—until a series of seemingly random accidents befall Malachi. When they escalate, Bran realizes someone is trying to take away the best thing that ever happened to him, and he must scramble to keep Malachi safe while they search for the would-be killer.

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Excerpt:

EVEN IN early September, Vermont meant that Saturday morning dawned crisp and cool, and Bran tugged on his favorite beanie and scarf before making the trek across campus to the Grind, the tiny coffee shop that was his main source of income.

He couldn’t help the smile that flickered across his face when he walked into the kitchen, breathing in the smells of bread, cinnamon, almonds, and toasted sugar. He could feel the tension draining from his shoulders as he mentally flipped through the list of things he needed to do before he opened the café.

Start the blueberry muffins first. They can bake while I put together the topping for the coffee cake. Sweet-talk the cappuccino maker into starting up and leave yet another note for Naomi about getting a new one. Put the croissants in the oven last; I really need to set aside a couple of days to perfect making those myself so I can actually recommend them with a clear conscience. Call Katie and find out where the hell she is and why I’m here alone again.

He spent the morning making cappuccinos, espressos, and Americanos for the students who straggled in, bleary-eyed and hungover from the night before. He knew a lot of them—it wasn’t a large college, after all—and he dispensed smiles and the occasional aspirin along with the blueberry muffins and croissants.

When the bell jingled midmorning, Bran was in the back. He was handling the store alone, since Katie had phoned in sick.

“Be right there!” he called. He tugged a tray of muffin batter out of the massive refrigerator and slid it into the industrial-size oven before wiping his hands on his apron and hurrying back into the storefront.

Only to slam on the brakes and stare at Malachi leaning against the counter, smiling at him.

“Um,” Bran said eloquently.

“Couldn’t have said it better myself,” Malachi agreed. “What’s good this morning?”

Bran dragged his brain into gear. “The, uh, coffee cake is decent. I made it myself. Or the blueberry muffins. I don’t recommend the croissants—we don’t make them in-house.”

“Coffee cake sounds good, Bran! Can I have a hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles with that, please?”

“Sure,” Bran said, and he moved to obey, mind whirling.

Malachi leaned on the counter and watched him, and Bran still couldn’t figure out what to say.

“Did you go to any good parties last night?” Malachi asked, and Bran jumped.

“I, uh, no,” Bran said, cursing his fumbling tongue. “Had to study. I don’t… party much.” And there goes any chance of Malachi wanting to get to know me, he thought a little despairingly.

“I know what you mean,” Malachi said, and Bran turned to stare at him, nearly dropping the coffee cake. Malachi lifted an eyebrow. “Oh, I party plenty, don’t get me wrong. But this English class is kicking my ass, and I can’t seem to get my head wrapped around it.”

“Do you have a study group?”

“I did,” Malachi said, popping a toothpick in his mouth. “But we went our separate ways at the end of last year, and I haven’t found anyone else to work with yet.”

“You should talk to Dave,” Bran said, and then he wanted to kick himself. Why hadn’t he volunteered himself? He could study with a senior, couldn’t he?

“Dave’s a great guy,” Malachi agreed, “but what about you?”

Bran did drop the coffee cake that time, and stood there staring at the mess on the floor for way too long. Idiot. He went to his knees and began picking up shards of pottery.

“You okay down there?” Malachi asked.

“Fine,” Bran said, and then he gasped as he sliced his hand on a sharp edge, blood welling up and then dripping onto the mangled coffee cake on the floor.

Malachi rounded the counter and pushed Bran away from the wreckage, gripping his wrist. “You idiot, what were you thinking?” His voice was warm with concern, and Bran couldn’t think of anything but how gentle Malachi’s hand was on his skin.

Malachi reached up, grabbed a clean towel from the counter, and wrapped it around Bran’s hand with deft movements. Then he stood up. “Stay there,” he told him, and disappeared.

Bran obeyed, resting his head against the cabinet. Dimly, he heard Malachi’s voice and the jingle of the coffee shop door. Silence fell.

That was that, then. Bran sighed. He was a klutz, and he’d scared off the cutest boy he’d ever seen by being a fumbling idiot who didn’t know how to talk to people like a normal person.

He nearly jumped out of his skin when Malachi appeared above him again.

“Whoa, hey, easy there!” Malachi said, grabbing his shoulder.

“I… thought you left,” Bran said, then wanted to kick himself.

“Nah, I closed the shop. Kicked out the few people savoring their muffins and locked the doors behind ’em. We’ve got the place to ourselves. Now get up, c’mon, we need to clean that wound and bandage it properly.” He steadied Bran by the arm as he levered himself to his feet, holding the red-soaked towel aloft with a grimace.

“Not feeling faint from blood loss, are you?” Malachi asked, steering him toward the back.

Bran shook his head. He was light-headed but it wasn’t blood loss. It was the firm hand that held his arm, steadying him as he led Bran to the bathroom, and the concern in those bright brown eyes.

Malachi opened the bathroom door and tugged Bran inside. It was a tiny room, and Bran held his breath at his proximity to the other young man. Malachi turned on the sink and unwrapped the towel with careful fingers. Bran hissed as it pulled at the edges of the gash, and Malachi winced.

“Sorry, kiddo,” he murmured. He dropped the bloody towel on the floor and held Bran’s hand under the running water, tightening his grip when Bran involuntarily pulled back at the stinging pain. “Gotta clean it out,” he reminded him. “Where’s your first-aid kit?”

“Under the sink,” Bran managed through his teeth.

Malachi fumbled for it one-handed, his soft hair brushing Bran’s arm as he bent down, and Bran swallowed hard.

Malachi came up triumphantly with the kit clutched in his fist and set it on the edge of the sink. After turning off the faucet, he gave Bran a gentle push toward the closed toilet lid.

“Sit. I’m gonna put my astounding first-aid skills to work here, and I don’t need you passing out halfway through. I need constant positive feedback or I shrivel up and die, you know.”

Bran huffed a laugh and sat down. “Are you a trained medical professional?” he teased, and Malachi grinned at him.

“Nah, I just play one on TV.” He examined the edges of the wound, tsking to himself. “The bleeding’s almost stopped, and I don’t think it’ll need stitches, but I can take you to the emergency room if you want?”

Bran’s head swam at the thought of having that long with Malachi, of being in a car with him, having his attention, but he shook his head regretfully.

“I can’t leave the store,” he said. “There’s muffins in the oven and, I have a lot more to bake, and Naomi would kill me if I took off now, especially since Katie’s not here to cover.”

“Sense of duty, huh?” Malachi said as he pressed gauze into place and began to wrap the wound. “I like that in a man.”

Bran blinked. Was Malachi… flirting with him? He fumbled for something to say, something witty, something that would make Malachi laugh, but then the moment passed, and Malachi was standing back to admire his handiwork.

“I can’t guarantee you’ll play the piano again,” he said, “But you’ll be able to impress all the girls with your wicked scar, so that’s something, right?”

“I’m not… interested in girls,” Bran mumbled, ducking his head.

There was silence from above him for a moment, and then Malachi laughed quietly. “Neither is my brother. Me, I figure the more the merrier.”

“What, like threesomes?” Bran said, then nearly clapped his hand over his mouth.

Malachi snorted. “No, I mean I don’t care what someone has down their pants. Attraction, for me, isn’t based on gender. But Tris is like you: he’s gay. Although he’s also the most socially awkward dude I’ve ever met, so if he ever gets a boyfriend, I may keel over in shock.”

“I’m not gay either,” Bran blurted. He wanted to run, to hide and never look at the young man standing in front of him, but at the same time a weird feeling of relief was stealing over him. Malachi was the first person he’d told. Come what may, he’d admitted to someone what he was, and that was a step forward, no matter how Malachi reacted.

Malachi was utterly still above him, and Bran swallowed hard. This was it, the part where Malachi told him to have a nice life and took off back to his normal friends.

Malachi tilted Bran’s chin up, and Bran’s eyes widened as he met his gaze.

“Nothing to be ashamed of, kiddo. So you’re ace?”

Bran nodded jerkily.

Malachi smiled at him. “Are you aromantic too?”

“I, uh….” Bran floundered for words.

“Haven’t gotten that far in your research yet?” Malachi winked at him. “Look it up. We can talk about it when we get together to study tomorrow.”

Bran stared at him. When had they agreed to that?

“In the meantime, you have a coffee shop to run, so let’s get you back to it, shall we?” He flapped his hands at him until Bran took the hint and stood up, feeling a mile tall as he towered over the shorter man. Malachi just tilted his head back and grinned up at him. Then he shooed him out of the bathroom and back into the store, where he grabbed a chair from the dining area and dragged it behind the counter.

“Sit,” he said firmly, and he cocked an eyebrow when Bran hesitated. “You can’t serve food with an open wound, kiddo. So you’re going to direct me and work the register, and I’m gonna run this place for you.”

Bran just stared at him as Malachi grabbed the dustpan and began cleaning up the coffee cake mess on the floor.

Malachi whistled as he cleaned and then opened the front door, and Bran stayed quiet and watched him, head swimming.

Malachi hadn’t run. He hadn’t disappeared when Bran had told him what he was. Why not? Bran was different, not normal. Malachi couldn’t possibly be interested in Bran, so why was he still hanging around?

Malachi snapped his fingers, and Bran blinked, looking up.

“You’ve got a customer, kid, and the oven just dinged at me. Either it’s flirting with me, or the muffins inside are done. Could go either way. What do you want me to do?”

Bran gathered his thoughts. “Um, get the muffins out, put the tray on the cooling rack back there, and set the timer for five minutes. Then you’ll take them out of the tray, but they need to set up a bit before you do that or they’ll collapse.”

Malachi winked. “You got it.”

He disappeared, and Bran stood up to take the first customer’s order with a smile on his face.

My Review: 4.5/5 Stars

At first I was wondering to myself why the name of the book was Coffee Cake. Don’t get me wrong coffee cakes are awesome though sometimes they have to much cinnamon on them for my taste, but when I figured out the reason for the name I was like ‘well damn, that was clever.’ Just wanted to throw that out there.

Bran is your average asexual ‘ace’ person. He’s fine with the way he is, but feels that no one will want him because he doesn’t desire sex. In walks Malachi (Mal).

Bran has had a crush on him and doesn’t think it’s going to go anywhere, but boy was he wrong. Mal doesn’t only want him, but he’s fine with the fact that Bran is an ace. That right there made me fall in love with Mal.

They start to date and everything is going great until a few accidents start to happen and Bran is scared that he is going to loose Mal. When all the players are on the table I swear I went back and forth on who the would be murder was. Let me tell you nobody was safe from my assumptions well except for Tris (Mal’s brother) and Callan (Bran’s brother), and of course Bran.

When you first meet Mal, you will never think that he has insecurities because he is just that awesome, but as things unfold, you will realize that he just wants someone who will want him for him and not what he brings to the table.

There is family drama, where I wanted to cuss some people out for Mal, cause let me tell you dysfunctional. Tris sort of grew on you and OMG Callan was awesome. Especially when he was there when Mal and Bran showed affection towards each other and the ending was awesome.

The story is engaging. The MC’s and supporting characters are likeable. The story flowed together well. The only things I didn’t like were it was only in Bran’s POV and that they used kid and young man sometimes when referring to each other. It didn’t seem logical because they were the same age.

Other than that, awesome read!

Buy Links:
DSP •  Amazon • ARe

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Tour Schedule

May 11: Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents • Andrew Q. Gordon

May 12: Elisa – My reviews and Ramblings • Carly’s Book Reviews

May 13: The Purple Rose Tea House • Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

May 14: Divine Magazine • Wicked Faeries Tales & Reviews

May 15: My Fiction Nook • Drops of Ink

May 18: Nessa’s Book Reviews • A Celebration of Books

May 19: Prism Book Alliance • MM Good Book Reviews

May 20: Lynley Wayne – Wordsmith Wednesday • Hearts on Fire

May 21: Because Two Men Are Better Than One • Love Bytes Reviews

May 22: BFD Book Blog • Diverse Reader

Author Bio:

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Michaela Grey told stories to put herself to sleep since she was old enough to hold a conversation in her head. When she learned to write, she began putting those stories down on paper. She and her family reside in the Texas hill country with their cats, and she is perpetually on the hunt for peaceful writing time, which her four children make difficult to find.

When she’s not writing, she’s knitting while watching TV or avoiding responsibilities on Tumblr, where she shamelessly ogles pretty people and tries to keep her cat off the keyboard.

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*** An ARC copy was given to me for a honest review.

Blog Tour: Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain

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Knight of Ocean Avenue (Love in Laguna #1)

Genre: M/M, Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

How can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help support his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor’s license he so desires, and fear of his mother’s judgement blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.

Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz—Chase Phillips—a rising star, celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted—stalwart, honest, brave—but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in common find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?

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Excerpt:

GAGA’S “EDGE of Glory” played in his ear. Damn. Quit.
He reached out and pawed at the edge of the coffee table until he finally felt the phone. His fingers found the mute button and he clicked it. Peace. He tried to roll over. Heavy.

“Merwaorwr.”

“Mewr.”

Claws dug into his chest as the weight lifted, then disappeared. “Go back to sleep.” He rolled over until his face and body were pressed against the back of the couch. Ouch. His dick hurt. Sleep. Ouch.

Well, damn. Slowly he rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. He glanced to the side. Clancy and Yerby gazed at him like they could command him with will force alone to open the tuna. “Hang in there, guys.”

Oh man. Not hung over. He’d had half a beer. But here he lay fully clothed on his couch, aching in his bones and feeling like someone had kicked him in the nuts. That would be him. He’d done it to himself.

He swung his legs over the side, sat up on the edge of the couch, and dropped his head. Four eyes stared up at him. “Go open it yourself.”

Three times. He’d wanked himself into oblivion three times while rewinding that frigging porno. Was there one line he didn’t engrave in his brain? Every “unh, unh, unh. Fuck me harder” was emblazoned in his memory. Jesus, Ballew. Yeah, Jesus was the operative word. But if he was going to hell for jerking off, he’d be taking every male in the world with him.

Of course, he didn’t just masturbate; he wanked to gay porn. What the hell is that about? Truth? He’d been kicked in the teeth so many times by so many women, the idea of fucking a nice uncomplicated man kind of did it for him. Well, not seriously, but the theory was attractive. And no, he would not be sharing this revelation with the guys on the job site.

The bang on his door about sent him into outer space. Who the hell? Nobody came here. He didn’t share his address much. No poker with the boys or make-out sessions with the girls. His place. His. Who was it?

The knocking came again.

Shit!

He jumped up. “Yeah?” The cats looked up at his loud voice.

“Billy, it’s Jim.” The voice came through the door.

Jim. Billy looked around, grabbed the laptop, closed it tight, and slid it onto the end table. Lube. Shit. He shoved the open tube into the drawer, then staggered over to the front door. How much did he smell like sex? Damn, his sweats were halfway to his knees. He dragged them back up, then opened the door.

“Hi. Sorry, overslept.” He ran a hand through his hair.

Jim Carney was a little older than him and a good guy, if a bit of a hound dog. He grinned. “Sorry. My truck broke down. I was kind of close to here and remembered your address. Thought I’d see if I could get a ride.”

“Uh, sure.” He glanced over his shoulder. It felt strange having somebody here. “Come on in. I need to feed my cats and take a quick shower, if you want to wait.”

“Sure. Too far to walk and all uphill.” He stepped in. “You have cats?”

Billy looked at Jim. The guy had a tough face with a broken nose that some women liked. “Yeah, I got two. You like cats?”

“No. Just think it’s kind of funny that you do.” He smacked Billy’s shoulder. “You crazy cat lady, you.”

Well, hell. “Make yourself at home.” Kind of. He walked into the kitchen, the boys behind him, and scooped out some cat food into both dishes. “Here ya go, guys.” He raised his voice. “Don’t let feline haters make you feel bad.”

Jim laughed from the living room. “This is quite a place you have. Jesus, man, what are you, some closet decorator?”

Billy frowned and walked into the living room. “No, I just like having a nice place of my own.”

“But you’re so damned neat.” He was holding a glass globe Billy had found in a yard sale.

“So?” He took the globe and put it back on the shelf.

“Nothing. No wonder women like you so much.”

“I’m taking a quick shower.” He started for the bedroom, stopped and grabbed the laptop, then went into his room—small with a big bed.

He glanced at his watch, still ticking on his wrist. Double shit. If he didn’t hurry, they’d both be late for work. Saturday shifts were good for making extra cash, but not if he didn’t get there.

He stepped under the water. Too cold. Shaved so fast he nicked himself and finally got some clothes on and hurried back into the living room. Jim sat on the couch holding a book, the two cats staring at him from across the room. He stared back. Billy laughed. “Have they got you cornered?”

“Shit, man, those two are scary. What are they, ninja attack cats?”

Billy sat and pulled on his work boots. He nodded at the book. “What you got?”

Jim held out the book. “This is heavy shit, my man.” The copy of Jane Eyre kind of weighed down his hand.

Billy tried to keep his brows from scrunching together. “I just like to read. I didn’t get to go to school too long, so I read, okay?” He didn’t say he read because it was like a fucking gift to finally be able to do it.

Jim set down the book and stood up. “You really are different, you know?”

“Thanks a shitload.”

“I don’t mean it bad. You’re just—not like most of the guys.”

Man, was he tired of hearing that.

My Review: 5/5 Stars

Billy is your average blue collar kind of guy. He’s had failed relationship after another. He thinks there is something wrong with him because the women won’t stick around. His mother and sister is always in his business. When Shaz enters his life his world is turned upside down.

Chase “Shaz” is a looked after stylist. He is looking to move his business forward, but there are a few things that are setting him back. When Shaz meets Billy he knows it’s doomed from the start because Billy is straight and Shaz has a boyfriend. Interesting right?

I loved this story, it told the tale of a hard working man (Billy) and your flamboyant wonder stylist. (Shaz) When they first see each other Billy saves Shaz from some unwanted attention, but Billy isn’t really questioning anything yet, that happens when they meet officially. Because Shaz is that good lol.

The story felt real to me, as if that would be how two people met and fall in love. There were a few ups and downs with a quite of few mistakes, with some drama thrown in from friends and family.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and really hope that Billy and Shaz make an appearance.

Will definitely recommend.

Buy Links:
Amazon • ARe • B&N • DreamSpinnerPress • Paperback

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Author Bio:

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Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best­selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”.

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*** An ARC copy was given to me for a honest review.

Blog Tour: Black Balled by Andrea Smith & Eva Lenoir

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Black Balled

Genre: M/M, Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Two dominant males, two worthy adversaries, in a business that takes no prisoners, will soon learn that fate refuses to be ignored .

My name is Troy Babilonia, but I’m best known as Babu, a renowned literary critic with my own online column. I’m followed by thousands! I’m a living god in the literary world. I have no filter, and for that, my flock of humble followers are forever grateful. If it weren’t for me, they wouldn’t know what to read. I have zero tolerance for the weak-minded attention seekers, nor do I have respect for the self-proclaimed geniuses of the Indie world. My advice to all Indie authors is to never break the cardinal rule in this cut-throat business. Ever.

My name is L. Blackburn and I’m an Indie author. My extraordinary genius was loved and worshiped throughout the literary world, until one egocentric critic tried to obliterate my career. It seems I broke some fucking “cardinal rule,” and now I’m paying the price for it. But I don’t plan on going down without a fight.

After all, when a predator goes after your cub, it’s time to go for the throat–and maybe more…much more.

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Larson  L. Blackburn  Bio

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Excerpt:

Out of the corner of my eye, I notice a couple getting a bit frisky at one end of the bar. The woman, Marie Antoinette from what I can decipher from my position, has her hands travelling all over what must be Cyrano de Bergerac if the size of his nose is any indication. I chuckle to myself, wondering if the size of his nose is any indication to the length of his cock. I have pondered that question on many occasions and no, one does not equate the other, unfortunately.

I perch myself on a stool at the other end of the bar from the groping couple. I can’t hear their conversation, but my overly active imagination is already creating their dialogue from their body language alone.

Marie A. is willing and ready to spread her legs, but Cyrano is more annoyed than turned on. His eyes are darting from one person to the other, his minutely trembling fingers circling his glass in an attempt to calm his nerves, maybe? In my mind, their conversation goes something like this:

“Take me back to the room, Cyrano.”

“Get a grip, woman, you’re making a spectacle of yourself.”

“Fuck me, Cyrano.”

“Is this seat taken?”

Well, well, that is definitely not a voice borne from my inner musings. “It is now, ma belle.” My French will be coming in handy tonight. “Who do I have the honor of meeting?” The shit is just spewing from my lips. This classically beautiful woman is not dressed in elegant clothing, but rather is wearing trousers and a man’s coat.

“Je m’appelle George Sand, enchantee, Monseigneur le Marquis.”

George Sand, of course. How the fuck did I miss that?

“Enchante, Mademoiselle Sand.”

Tonight, I’m taking her to my bed because any woman who dresses up as George Sand is worth my attention.

Licking my lips at the prospect of fucking this woman, I take her hand into my own and kiss the back all the while keeping my eyes solely trained on hers. We spend more than an hour talking, drinking and flirting shamelessly. George plays coy one minute and sexually cunning the next. I’m not sure if I want to spank her or fuck her at this point. Maybe both.

“Shall we take this party to my room, George?” I like calling her by a man’s name. It suits my bisexual tendencies.

“I thought you’d never ask,” she answers with her light pink lips pursing into a slight smirk.

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My Review: 3.75/5 Stars

When I first got Black Balled, I stopped everything to read it. Read it in one night, because who doesn’t want to read about two dominate men?

The beginning was amazing. Troy who is a reviewer doesn’t hold his punches when he gives a review for a book he doesn’t like. He comes across a book that he didn’t like that was written by L. Blackburn and writes a review on how he really felt. I loved his spunk with it and he was merciless.

That in turn got the attention of L. Blackburn. He reads the review and  comments on it, which turns out to be a big no-no and a possible career suicide, but he didn’t let that stop him.

Now these two are going back and forth through emails and a few times I kept say well damn, they seriously sent that through an email or time out flag on the play. All in good thoughts because they were both trying to get the upper hand on the other person and I wanted to know who would go the furthest in shocking the other one the most. It was a close call.

Now there is a twist in there that just had me shaking me head and wanting to slap the person that started it. And then another one where I was rooting for Troy and was not at all disappointed in the outcome.

I liked both Troy and Larson better known as Babu and L. Blackburn. Larson was an ass, but he admitted it and owned it and it worked for him and he was cocky too. He let his opinion and feelings be known even when everybody told him not to. He was just awesome sauce.

Now to the rating, like I said I enjoyed the story in the beginning, its when they finally meet each other, knowing exactly who the other person is that didn’t do it for me. I mean this person has basically destroyed your career, but lets go have sex. I’m not saying that they couldn’t eventually be together, but I wanted a little more take. As in each of them had to work a little harder to get the other person. Then the possessiveness just came to fast and it was some serious stuff that again I had to stop and say time out flag on the play, what the heck just happened.

It was an interesting read and I hope there will be little snippets of the life Larson and Troy made for themselves.

Buy Links
Amazon • Amazon CA • Amazon UK • Amazon AU • B&N • Kobo • iTunes

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Author Bios:

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Andrea Smith is a USA Today Best-Selling Author.

An Ohio native, currently residing in southern Ohio. The Past Tense Future Perfect trilogy is Ms. Smith’s first self-published work. Having previously been employed as an executive for a global corporation, Ms. Smith decided to leave the corporate world and pursue her life-long dream of writing fiction.

Ms. Smith’s second series, The ‘G-Man Series’ consists of four novels and a novella. Her ‘Limbo Series’ is her first venture into a blend of romantic/suspense, mystery with steamy scenes and a paranormal edge.

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Eva LeNoir grew up travelling with her parents to various countries in the world. Reading was her constant companion during her travels and her ability to adapt to different cultures fed her mind with endless possibilities. The characters swimming in her head are always from various horizons with a multitude of dreams and aspirations. However, all of these voices always have one thing in common: The women are strong and independent. A true believer in the female cause, Eva’s wish is to portray the women in her books as the leaders. She sees them walking hand in hand with their partners and not be the sheepish followers of the male gender. But most of all, Eva LeNoir wants to offer her readers a moment of pleasure as they dive into the world of her mind’s creation.

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*** An ARC copy was given to me for a honest review.