The Other Book

The Other Book by Roe Horvat: Review by Lost in a Book

The Other Book

Blurb:

It was supposed to be just sex… Famous last words.

Tyler doesn’t overthink pleasure and avoids complications. He knows it might be stupid to get involved with his closeted boss, but the temptation is too great. At first, the cold and beautiful Joel Sandstrom seems to loathe Tyler’s guts.

Except one late night at the office, his reasons become clear…and his control breaks.

Every time they touch, Joel’s stony face comes alive, harsh lines smooth out, and for a minute, he looks serene. Happy, even. Just sex – dirty, intense, spectacular sex.

During their covert encounters, Tyler discovers the power he has over the lonesome man, and it’s a heady feeling. What if he could set Joel free and give him peace of mind? When Tyler realizes how much Joel needs him, he doesn’t regret breaking his own rules.

Gay erotic romance. Contains explicit scenes and sexual interactions between more than two partners. For adult readers only.

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4 Stars

Before we get started, I’ll just need a moment (or ten) to cool down after this read. I decided to start The Other Book while getting a pedicure. At a nail salon.

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This story escalates very quickly and within the first six page swipes I was starting to sweat from gems like,

“Either you get out of my way or you get down on your knees,” I said.

“Hands behind your back.” He did as he was told, looking up at me with defiance. And hunger.

I’m sure it was the hot pedicure water causing me to squirm but dayum, I was all ears for the rest and the pedicure was *ahem* touch and go from there.

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Tyler works for Joel Sandstrom as a freelance employee. They have a lust/hate relationship. Joel is a bossy boss showing little emotion which drives Tyler up the wall. Then, after both men are worked up with all that employee/employer stuff, it’s time for hands and knees (can’t have all work and no play😉). There’s HATE SEXXXXXX.

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It’s fanfreakingtastic hate sex, too. The power exchange is delicious. There’s lots of sex. Seriously, a ton of sex. It doesn’t come off as pornland (even if I started skimming towards the end) because the sex has a purpose and drives the plot forward as characters find their way to themselves and each other. Their relationship is well written and comes with a lot of feels as they deal with internal and external factors. (Homophobia warning) Tyler is a free spirit who likes pleasure and doesn’t apologize for who he is and what gets him off. Joel is tightly locked up in the closet and isn’t able to let go; until Tyler begins to slowly set him free. It’s important to note for some readers that there are explicitly erotic sex scenes with a third and fourth character added. I wasn’t mad at all.

There’s a note from the author I would usually skip over but I’m glad I didn’t. It provides insight that I think is valuable prior to reading. The Other Book is about finding inner peace with who you are and not being ashamed of what you desire. I’m a fan of Roe Horvat and would absolutely recommend this book (although I don’t recommend reading it in public because it’s hot AF).

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Release Blitz: Apple Boy by Isobel Starling out NOW!

New Release OUT NOW!!

Book Title:  Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1)

Author: Isobel Starling

Publisher: Decent Fellows Press

Cover Artist: Valentine Pascadian (Lennel)

Genre/s:  Fantasy, M/M Romance

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length:103 600 words/ 556 pages

Release Date:  February 15, 2019

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Blurb

After a traumatic event, Winter Aeling finds himself destitute and penniless in the backwater town of Mallowick.  He needs to travel to the city of Serein and impart grave news that will bring war to the Empire, but without a horse, money, and with not a soul willing to help him, he has no choice but to line up with the common folk seeking paid work on the harvest.  

As wagons roll into the market square and farmers choose day laborers, Winter is singled out for abuse by a brute of a farmer.  The only man who stands up for him is the farmer’s beguiling son, Adam, and on locking eyes with the swarthy young man Winter feels the immediate spark of attraction.

Winter soon realizes there is a reason he has been drawn to Blackdown Farm.  The farmer possesses a precious item that was stolen long ago from Winter’s family, and he determines to retrieve it.  He also cannot take his eyes off the farmer’s son, and as the young man opens up Winter can’t help wondering if Adam is just kind or his kind!

Excerpt

“Apple Boy” by Isobel Starling

CHAPTER 1

MARKET SQUARE

“You boy, aye, YOU.  Ain’t never seen ye round ‘ere before,” The farmer directed his bellow at me.  

It was sunrise, and at last, I’d found the courage to step out of my hiding place and join the common laborers who gathered in Mallowick market square.  We were waiting for the farmers’ carts to come by and choose their day workers.  I’d watched this ritual each morning for the past three days, peeking out from shadowed doorways, or while crouching behind barrels.  

It was harvest time, and it appeared to be routine for peasants to walk from the surrounding hamlets before dawn and assemble in the square to seek work on the farms.  There was wheat, barley, root vegetables, and tree fruits to be gathered before the weather turned. I was informed by a ruddy looking fellow in the tavern that anyone could get work on the harvest, and so, with my pride cut to ribbons and my pockets empty, I’d stepped out of the safety of my hiding place and joined the commoners.

“Does ye wants work or no’?  Look at me when I’m talkin’ to ye.  What’s yer name?” The burley farmer roared.  I looked up, stunned to be singled out from among all of these strapping men and hardy looking women, for I felt invisible.  Four carts had already passed and taken their pick of the young, strong peasants, but none of those farmers gave me a second glance.  I should have known something was afoot, for when this particular wagon turned up the women in the square shrank back into doorways, and men sidled away to lean against buildings.  On the side of the wagon, writ-large in bold off-white letters were the words BLACKDOWN FARM. There were around thirty of us left on view, like cattle.

I had never partaken in manual labor or any kind of work before.  I was a gentleman and far more familiar with spending my days relaxing, reading, attending social events in the city, or taking a horse for a gallop in the country.  But my life had changed since I’d become stranded here in the Pasturelands provincial town of Mallowick two weeks earlier.  Now I was living on my wits.  Each day was a fight for my life, and I’d sold all of my fine belongings, intending to pay for passage on the stagecoach from Mallowick to the city of Serein.  But I had not thought things through, and it did not happen that way.  My body’s needs took precedent. I’d become so ravenous, and therefore the meager coin I’d gathered from selling my finery was spent on what I could afford—basic rough barley bread and ale, just enough to stave off the gnawing pangs of hunger in my belly each day.  Now, I had no belongings, and the money was all but gone. I was no thief, and the only thing I had left to sell was my body. Looking like a wretch, I did not believe I could earn even a copper that way! Before I left on my travels, I was warned that the province of Erias had strict rules about men bedding other men and I did not want to tempt fate.  I was at a loss—hard labor or starvation were the only choices available to me. Gods, if my father could see how far I’d fallen in such a short time, he would be thoroughly ashamed.  I was living hand-to-mouth, and if I dared to seek out my reflection and observe my disreputable state of dress, I was sure I would see I was no longer a gentleman at all.

I assured myself that all would be well as soon as I could get to the city of Serein.  There I would attend my father’s depository and obtain funds from his account—as had been arranged, and then, I could find my way to my uncle’s residence and attend to a much grimmer business.  

So, with no other choice, I was here, standing in Mallowick market square with a bunch of rough-looking fellows and ruddy-faced women with just the ragged clothes I stood in to my name.  I wondered if my visage had taken on the same gaunt, starved, haunted look some of them wore.

“WELL?”  The farmer roared.

“Leave him be Pa; I think he’s a mute.  P… p… please don’t—” A swarthy young man urged, stepping to the farmers’ side.  The man appeared to be in his early twenties, with broad angular shoulders, slim hips, and wavy jaw-length hair that longingly reminded me of Montestein tea.  When the morning sunlight broke through the clouds and caressed him, the strands of his hair revealed all the shades of autumn.  It was beautiful.  His eyes were bright emerald green, and his skin bore the wind-burned tan of a man who spent his days working the land.  I met his gaze for a second that seemed to stop time, and I felt a flutter of longing erupt in my gut. I found myself mesmerized by him.  He appeared a little embarrassed, for himself or for me, I wasn’t quite sure. The farmer turned to his son.

“Shut that filthy mouth o’ yours, apple boy!” he spat.  His large meaty hands twitched.  He sneered and glared at his son in such a wicked way I knew it should have been followed up by a sharp slap.  I worried that the young man would endure further public humiliation at the hands of his father, but the farmer moved his disdainful glare back to me.  I shuddered with fear. I had a feeling that he was saving his son’s punishment for later—away from the prying eyes of the townsfolk. I did not like that thought, not one bit.  I did not know why the farmer was drawn to me, but he sized me up with a sweeping glance of consideration, then wrinkled his nose as if he’d sniffed a revolting stench—I hadn’t bathed in two weeks, so maybe I did smell a tad ripe!

“Is ye a mute?”

I shook my head.  I would say, if anything, I was deeply traumatized by the unfortunate circumstance I’d found myself in, but no, I was certainly not a mute.  I just wasn’t used to a lowly man speaking to me so roughly. Generally, men who dared to address me knew their betters and behaved appropriately.  But here in Mallowick, in the province of Erias, I was no better than a beggar on the street.  There was no one I could call on for favors, no one who, on hearing my family name, would loan me coin for the stagecoach or a horse to ride to the city and send word to my father.  

When I’d first arrived in Mallowick, telling the truth of my station had gotten me dragged down an alley where my finger and earrings were stolen, and I’d received a beating.  This farmer from Blackdown Farm had no idea who I was, and I would not make the same mistake again.

I took a breath and stepped out of line.  “Master Irwin Harding, sir. You may call me Win.”  I winced at hearing my own soft, well-spoken voice, with my accent, the clipped tongue of Thorn.  I had not used my real name and wished I had not used my true voice either.  The fact that I was the son of the Duke of Thorn meant nothing here.  Thorn was west of Erias, on the other side of the Silua Montis Mountain range, and I doubted any of these illiterate souls in Mallowick knew anything other than that folklore passed around by storytellers.

The farmer stepped to stand in front of me.  He was a big, bulky bastard of a man and stank of stale sweat and baccy.  He had a grizzled podgy face and thick dark hair shot with strands of silver pulled into an untidy tail.  The tension grew between us, and I worried I’d spoken out of turn. I looked down and watched my bare, filthy feet as if they held endless fascination.  I’d seen men like him before. He had hands like shovels, and I’m sure they’d done damage in their time. My father would have used a man like him well, probably as muscle to intimidate the city folk while the Royal Chancellor did the rounds collecting taxes.  

Afraid and sweating with anxiety, I glanced up and away, unable to look at the farmer directly and meet his fierce piggy eyes.  Instead, I looked left and caught the eye of his son. I felt another flutter of attraction. I was grateful for it because it dampened my fear a little.  The glance the farmers’ son sent me back was sheepish, apologetic. He shrugged and put a finger to his lips, signaling for me to hush. I’m sure now he knew what was coming.

Master, is it?”  The farmer gave a raspy malevolent chuckle.  “Well, well, well aren’t ye an uppity little scrote.  Such a pretty voice an’ all. Have your balls dropped yet, lad?”  

The townsmen men standing around me shuffled on their feet and snickered uncomfortably.  I could tell from the tentative laughter they were afraid of this man too. My chest tightened with fury, and I felt the flare of heat rush to color my cheeks.  If in Thorn I would have put this fellow in his place, but as directed by the farmers’ handsome son, I held my tongue.  

I dared to look up as the farmer scratched his grizzled chin and consider me.  It was then I saw it. A chill iced my bones. On his chubby right index finger, he wore a gold ring set with a large red gemstone that I was aghast to see held the intaglio engraving of a rose thorn—my family’s seal.  How had this disgusting Pasturelands farmer come upon my family’s ring?  Anger curdled my gut, but I forced myself to focus and fixed my features so as not to alert the man to what I was looking at.  That ring was more precious than I could say. It was not set with any common gemstone, oh no, the setting was Star-fall.  The legend was that mortal tools could not cut the rich-red Star-fall stone.  The gemstone was shaped by sorcery, and the power that carved into the gem was stored inside it as if the Star-fall was a reservoir for the magic.  It was illegal for any other than the Twin Kings of Osia to own Star-fall.  The king’s men had scoured the Empire to remove all traces of the priceless gem from common and aristocratic hands and possessing it was a death sentence.  Did this ruffian have any idea what he wore?

Not getting a rise from me, the farmer stepped yet closer and found out for himself if my balls had dropped.  He reached for my privates and squeezed.

Ahh, ye got some big stones de’re al’right, boy,” he said with a filthy sneer.

“Done any labourin’ before, lad?”  My eyes watered.  I shook my head and winced as the pressure on my most sensitive parts rose.  I wanted to shout and push him away, punch him in that bristly pug face. I’d trained in hand-to-hand combat and swordplay, but that was of little use to me now that I had no sword and was cast as naught but a commoner myself.  I stood frozen to the spot with fear, my cock, and balls in the hand of this brutish man. I was sure that clutching my nethers was not the best way to test if I would be a good apple picker.  

The farmer let go, stepped back, and looked me over again like he was sizing up a prize pig.  I wanted to keel over, hold my sensitive parts and howl, but, with my eyes watering, I kept my back ramrod straight and looked past the farmer, using his son’s regretful, pretty green eyes as my focus.  

I appeared to be a boy, but I am nineteen and about to make my majority.  I have a tall, willowy frame, and little muscle to show for my near twenty summers.  Weeks before, I was clothed in the silken garb of a lordling, but all I wore now were my stinky silk britches and a once-white linen shirt.  I’d even had to sell my fine leather boots. My flaxen hair hung loosely to my shoulders and was bedraggled. My mother had always told me my hair shone like a golden halo.  I guessed that was no longer the case. I had not seen my reflection in two weeks so I could only imagine how frightful I appeared to onlookers. My circumstance was terrible, but I refused to let it defeat me.  I was a son of Thorn, I was a gentleman, damn it, and I was prepared to do whatever it took to do to find my way to my destination and seek justice for all the ill-luck that had befallen me.  

“Right, scrote, up on the wagon,” the farmer declared.  “We can always do wit a few extra scurrier’s fer the windfalls.”

I had no idea what that actually meant, but strangely relieved to be selected, I nodded subserviently and then, ducking my head to avoid the farmers’ glare, I scurried to the wagon where I surreptitiously gave my aching intimate parts a gentle rub.  

I’d heard from a fellow in the tavern that harvesting wheat at Robinswood Farm was backbreaking, as was digging root vegetables at Windy Oakes Farm.  He advised that apple picking was easy work and if I could get employment at Weatherby’s or Blackdown Farm, they paid good coin.  He said the mistress at Blackdown was particularly well-liked and always gave laborers a bread and cheese luncheon with last season’s cider.  I was so hungry that bread and cheese sounded like a banquet. The fellow had neglected to tell me that the farmer was a brute!

The farmers’ son met me by the wagon and offered to help me aboard.  For a moment, from the look of consideration in his eyes, I thought he could see past the disheveled state of me to the gentleman I’d once been.  But that was ridiculous. The farmers’ son hopped up onto the back of the wagon with dexterous athleticism, and then offered me his hands. I took them without a thought.  His warm touch and the strength in those work-roughened fingers twisted my gut into uncomfortable knots. He fixed my gaze as he gripped both of my hands and tugged me up as easily as if he were lifting feather down.  He pulled me closed and pressed me to his hard chest.

“Don’t back chat him or it’ll be the worst fer you,” he whispered the warning to my ear.  Alarmed, I eased back from him and cautiously met his eye for a split second. In the look he gave me I saw that the warning was well-meant.  Bewildered, I nodded in thanks and understanding. I had no idea why this stranger was looking out for me, but the fact he was warmed my heart.  I choked back a tear. No one had looked out for me over these past weeks, and I had been so terribly lonely. I’d learned some hard life lessons on this leg of my journey, and I’d come to understand that here my title was irrelevant, and without money I was suddenly invisible; therefore small kindnesses meant more than I could say.

My adventure into the provinces had been made to appease my father for my supposed ‘lack of direction.’  I’d become bored with my easy life in Thorn, and not intending to marry; I’d told my father that in-light of my upcoming twentieth Bloomsday I wanted to tour the Empire.  If I were to one-day become Duke of Thorn, I needed to know a little of the politics of each province and so, pleased with my initiative and happy to be rid of me for a while, he’d set me on my way.  I’d toured the provinces of Terria, Corvay, and Reuss and then continued to the province of Osia, spending time in the capital city Altea, at the court of the Twin Kings, Kristoff, and Fabian Von Harte.  With this journey to Erias, I was to have the full set of provinces under my belt.  But fate was not on my side.

On benches affixed to either side of the farmers’ wagon sat fourteen men morosely staring at their bare, filthy feet, not a word of chatter between them.  They each owned a small pack of belongings and a wrapped blanket that each had stowed beneath the bench. At this moment they were better-off than me, for I did not even have a blanket to my name.  There was space for me and five more, totaling twenty men. The farmer chose from the remaining laborers with less consideration than I had been afforded.

“Right…  I’ll take Allin, Jed, Arthur, Bartram, and Matty, that’ll do me fer the week,” he hollered decisively.

The week?  I thought I’d promised myself for a hard day’s labor?  But then again, I considered the harvesters who were sitting in the wagon, and yes, they appeared to have prepared for an overnight stay.  Confused, I sat down as the other laborers were pulled up onto the wagon by their comrades, and then we shuffled along the benches until we were all seated.  I noticed the shoulders of the remaining men in the market square sag a little in apparent relief as if some mighty weight had lifted from them. I didn’t understand it.  I thought they’d wanted to work?

The farmers’ son clambered over into the front of the wagon.  His father climbed on, the man’s bulk shaking the timbers of the rickety wagon as he settled on the bench beside him.  The son handed his father the ribbons, which the farmer greedily snatched up, and then with a fearsome bellow of “Geddup” and a thunderous whip crack, the large mottled grey workhorse began its cumbersome trot down the main street and onto the dusty road to Blackdown Farm.

About the Author

Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art in Ireland.  She relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, Isobel started to write and found she loved writing more than making art.

Isobel is currently working on her nineteenth book.  

“As You Wish” (Shatterproof Bond#1) narrated by Gary Furlong won the Audiobook Reviewer Award for Romance 2018.  It is the first M/M Romance audiobook to win a mainstream audiobook award.

Author Links

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Decent Fellows Press

Any Old Diamonds

Any Old Diamonds (Lilywhite Boys #1) by K.J. Charles: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR -Buddy Read with Adam

Any Old Diamonds (Lilywhite Boys #1)

Blurb:

Lord Alexander Pyne-ffoulkes is the younger son of the Duke of Ilvar, with a bitter grudge against his wealthy father. The Duke intends to give his Duchess a priceless diamond parure on their wedding anniversary—so Alec hires a pair of jewel thieves to steal it.

The Duke’s remote castle is a difficult target, and Alec needs a way to get the thieves in. Soldier-turned-criminal Jerry Crozier has the answer: he’ll pose as a Society gentleman and become Alec’s new best friend.

But Jerry is a dangerous man: controlling, remote, and devastating. He effortlessly teases out the lonely young nobleman’s most secret desires, and soon he’s got Alec in his bed—and the palm of his hand.

Or maybe not. Because as the plot thickens, betrayals, secrets, new loves, and old evils come to light. Now the jewel thief and the aristocrat must keep up the pretence, find their way through a maze of privilege and deceit, and confront the truth of what’s between them…all without getting caught.

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4 Stars

There’s something so comforting about a K.J. Charles historical romance. Well, as comforting as intrigue, murder, jewel thieves, and filial retribution can be…which for me is as effective as a cozy blanket and a mug of hot chocolate. #content

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Lord Alexander has harbored rage for years after his family was turned away by his father, Duke Ilvar. The Duke and Duchess remain quite wealthy while their children live in poverty. With their anniversary coming soon, the Duke has commissioned a diamond parure for his wife and Lord Alexander (Alec) hires renowned jewel thieves to steal it.

Jewel thief, Jerry Crozier is unapologetic about his profession and instructs Alec that he must get in the good graces of the Duke and his wife. This is a really tough pill to swallow for Alec who has to alienate important people in his life to see the mission through. Part of the mission requires Jerry and Lord Alexander to become the very best of friends. The benefits they discover and partake in are strictly a bonus.

Jerry is harsh and doesn’t sugarcoat his past nor what he expects out of the present/future. Alec is independent but craves someone to take control in the bedroom (Jerry was good at doing control type things and let’s just say I was here for it). I do wish Jerry and Alec had more getting to know you moments instead of always hopping on the orgasm train… which isn’t totally a complaint but I wanted more. I could *see* some subtle moments during those intimate times, moving them closer together. Yet, I would have definitely welcomed more relational development.

The plot has a lot of moving pieces and I really like all the ground work that has to be laid in order to pull off the heist. There are lots of twists and turns along the way.

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Holy plot twist Batman. I also enjoyed the mentions of the Vanes and Cirencester from the Society series. Any Old Diamonds is not a touchy feely romance. It’s sexy, entertaining, gruesome, and suspenseful, with plot twists around every bend. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

Cash (Lucky, #2)

Cash (Lucky, #2) by Garrett Leigh: Review by Lost in a Book

Cash (Lucky, #2)

Blurb:

Cash is a car mechanic with a secret. Head down, sleeves up, he hides from the past as much as his shattered heart, until a reluctant stumble into a Tottenham bar ends in the one night stand of his dreams.

Hunt saboteur Rae can’t believe his luck when he wakes up the next morning. Cash is gorgeous, and the hottest hook up he’s ever had. He doesn’t expect to see him again, until a twist of fate lands him on Cash’s doorstep a few months later.

United by a cause that’s broken Cash before, they are drawn together. They have more in common than they ever imagined, but with Cash haunted by the past, and Rae so tangled in the present, it’s not long before love isn’t enough to keep them alive.

Part of a series, but can be read as a STANDALONE.

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3.25 Stars

Welp, this starts out with a bang…literally. Cash and Rae meet in a pub, have a night full hot sex, and move on the next morning as if the hook-up(s) never happened. This works until Rae ends up back on Cash’s door step looking for someone that came from the life Rae leads.

Cash is a mechanic, living a simple life, and trying desperately to remain unattached to the sab life that Rae lives and breathes. Rae is obsessed with the fox hunting cause and his days are marked by hunts, sabotage, and roughing it on a patch of land with his group of like-minded friends.

Being thrust back into each others lives has brought Rae and Cash closer together. They have a tentative friendship and smokin’ hot chemistry. I really enjoyed their personalities and the way they are together. Unfortunately, we don’t get much time with them in a relationship due to other circumstances. The characters are fleshed out but their relationship isn’t. The romance is very minimal and stays in the shadows with the fox hunting/sabbing being front and center. I love animals and want them safe but the topic overshadowing the relationship threw off my reading enjoyment/RL escape. It’s a creative story with a platform that shines a spotlight on an issue I lacked prior knowledge of. I really liked Rae and Cash but I found that I could put the story down and go about my day without the burning desire to pick it up.

This is Garret Leigh so there’s depth with an interesting twist along the way. The rating is strictly for my enjoyment of this story and not the quality of the writing. There are triggers for depression and off page mentions of animal cruelty. I will absolutely continue on with the series. If you’re a fan of GL and/or animal activism, I’d recommend.

P.S. Googling fox hunt saboteurs is an interesting experience.

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Copy provided for honest review.

New Release & Giveaway by Roe Horvat

 

Buy Links: Amazon USAmazon UK Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 42,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design:
 
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
 
Blurb
 

It was supposed to be just sex… Famous last words.

Tyler doesn’t overthink pleasure and avoids complications. He knows it might be stupid to get involved with his closeted boss, but the temptation is too great. At first, the cold and beautiful Joel Sandstrom seems to loathe Tyler’s guts.

Except one late night at the office, his reasons become clear…and his control breaks.

Every time they touch, Joel’s stony face comes alive, harsh lines smooth out, and for a minute, he looks serene. Happy, even. Just sex – dirty, intense, spectacular sex.

During their covert encounters, Tyler discovers the power he has over the lonesome man, and it’s a heady feeling. What if he could set Joel free and give him peace of mind? When Tyler realizes how much Joel needs him, he doesn’t regret breaking his own rules.

Excerpt

(warning: adult language, but no explicit scenes)

Thursday was a long day.

I messaged Christoffer to say I wouldn’t be able to make it this weekend because my boss was a slave-driving ass.

At least it’s a good-looking ass, Christoffer replied.

Tina knocked on my booth at half past eleven.

“Tyler? Joel says he wants you in the conference room at one for the meeting with Mercury.”

I scowled, my mood getting worse by the second. “He could have emailed me, messaged me, or come down here to tell me himself. You’re not his secretary.”

Tina rolled her eyes. “Calm down, Avenger. I bumped into Joel in the kitchen. He mentioned you might need to be there. I told him I’d let you know.”

It took a me a while, but in the end, I had to admit I had no comeback to something so…normal. Damn it. He didn’t even give me valid reasons to hate on him.

“I’ll be there,” I mumbled, turning back to my screen.

“He’s a good guy, Tyler. Cut him some slack,” Tina said.

“Me?” I pivoted on my chair to face her. Joel was the one being a jerk. And he was the boss! How was I supposed to cut him slack?

“You know what I mean,” Tina threw over her shoulder, walking away toward her desk.

“What?” I called after her, but she didn’t reply.

Two hours later, I parked my butt in the conference room, opposite Joel. He was looking at his laptop screen intently, not acknowledging me. He never talked to me unless he absolutely had to.

“Nice tie. Matches the ice in your chest,” I commented.

“They will be here in three minutes. Please behave,” Joel said evenly, still not lifting his gaze from the laptop.

“You don’t like it when I behave,” I told him, leaning back.

His eyes flashed to me for an instant, and his lip twitched. Otherwise, expression Number One: immaculate control and contained rage. “Tyler, can you act professionally for ninety minutes?” he hissed.

That was it. How come I was suddenly the unprofessional one?

“How’s your throat today, Joel? Sore?” I asked loudly just as the door creaked open.

Joel sucked in a breath and clenched his jaw. Red stain crept up his neck, but he stood gracefully and offered his hand to the forty-something woman who entered the room. A tall young man in a lovely dark-blue suit followed her. He had high cheekbones and porcelain skin, and he blushed fiercely when he saw me. Nice. I made sure to smile at him when we shook hands. His eyelids fluttered. Matt, who held the door for the Mercury people, gave us a tight greeting and closed it.

We sat, and my attention shifted from the young beauty back to my boss. Joel’s stare became glacial. I smirked. This was going to be fun.

It wasn’t fun. At all. Their requirements were unspecific, their expectations exaggerated, and the pretty boy was a pretentious jerk. I suffered through the hour and a half trying not to let them know they had only wasted my time.

Joel accompanied the Mercury people to the hall and shook hands with both. I tried to slip past them back to my soundproof sanctuary, intent on closing myself in there for the rest of the day. I hated client meetings with a passion—even when they involved pretty young things. But Joel called after me, ruining my escape.

“Tyler? Can you wait in the conference room? It will only take a minute.”

I let out my frustration by making the face of a backstabbed warrior, and slowly turned around.

Back in the conference room, I sat down on the same chair, which was still warm from my butt. Hopefully, Joel would only want to go through the details of the meeting and then I could go hide again.

He stepped inside and closed the door.

“I have a request,” he began slowly. He stayed by the door, as far from me as possible.

I leaned forward and supported my chin in my palm, waiting.

“I can’t let the situation get out of hand,” Joel continued, suspiciously vague. “I have some serious private matters going on right now. I hope you will understand and help me to…handle this gracefully. I can’t afford any added complications.”

Oh, it was that kind of a request!

“Joel, I told you, I won’t out you. I’m not a complete shit,” I said with disgust. What the hell did he think of me?

Joel flashed me a disturbed look. “No, I know that. I only need us to…stop being personal.”

“You mean you won’t suck my dick anymore, boss?”

He had the grace to wince, yet he didn’t reply.

 
Author Bio
 

Queer fiction author Roe Horvat was born in the post-communist wasteland of former Czechoslovakia. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, Roe traveled Europe and finally settled in Sweden. He came out as transgender in 2017 and has been fabulous since. He loves Jane Austen, Douglas Adams, bad action movies, stand-up comedy, pale ale, and daiquiri, with equal passion. When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, he can be found trolling cafés in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.

More about the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roe.horvat.98
Twitter: @roehorvat
Website: roehorvat.com
Publisher: http://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/?n1=authors&id=107

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Fireworks

Fireworks (True North, #6) by Sarina Bowen: Review by Cupcake

Fireworks (True North, #6)

Blurb:

Skye Copeland is on paid leave from her broadcasting job after accidentally drawing a pecker on the traffic map.

Let that sink in. Like it’s her fault the traffic pattern that day created a perfect schlong?

Skye isn’t laughing. She needs this job. And that’s the only reason she’s agreed to chase down a story in her least favorite place—that hell on earth known as Vermont.

A quick trip. In and out. Much like – never mind. Skye can sneak into the town that once tried to break her, get the story and get back into the good graces of her producer. Easy peasy.

Except things go sideways even as she sets foot over the county line. Her step-sister is on the run from a violent drug dealer. And the cop on the case is none other than Benito Rossi, the man who broke her teenage heart.

His dark brown eyes still tear her apart. And even as she steels herself to finally tell him off after twelve years, the old fireworks are still there.

Things are about to go boom.

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3 Stars

What I like so much about this series, plain and simple, is the Shipleys. The further removed from the Shipleys it gets, I’ve noticed my interest usually wanes. The problem is, we’re running out of Shipleys.

Bowen’s writing style is engaging and infinitely readable, as always. I mostly like Benito; he has his alphahole moments but he clearly worships the ground Skylar walks on and is upfront about it. Devotion and forthrightness are always good character traits in my book. I like Skylar. Benito and Skylar together, though, lacked the spark I’ve come to expect from Bowen. The razzle dazzle wasn’t there for me.

They have a backstory beginning when she was 16 and he 18 told in flashbacks that, for me, I found unnecessary. I’m well aware of the teenage propensity to turn molehills into mountains and that coupled with high intensity emotions can lead to disaster. But of all the people whose word you’re going to take, how in the sam hell did Jimmy Gage make the list? In twelve years it never once occurred to her to verify? And she’s a journalist?

That I found a little unbelievable which, obviously, dovetailed into the second chance trope not working well for me. The opportunity to reconcile not just with Benito but with Colebury and Zara in particular, I did like. I’m just sad that it took twelve years to transpire.

I’ve mentioned before how much I appreciate Bowen’s diligent efforts to keep the opioid epidemic and its catastrophic effects part of this series. Here we have Benito who’s in law enforcement and Skylar’s former stepsister is tangentially involved in the investigation which is what brings Skylar back to Colebury. It’s a fairly intense subplot with the nefarious Jimmy Gage as the centerpiece, but I think it overtook the romance plotline. I liked the resolution and Skylar’s role in it, though.

Colebury is as charming and cozy as ever which is part of what keeps bringing me back to this series and I always like catching up with its residents. In a nutshell, Fireworks is a nice addition to the series, but not a favorite of mine.

Copy provided for honest review.

New Release & Giveaway by Garrett Leigh

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 60,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb
 

Cash is a car mechanic with a secret. Head down, sleeves up, he hides from the past as much as his shattered heart, until a reluctant stumble into a Tottenham bar ends in the one night stand of his dreams.

Hunt saboteur Rae can’t believe his luck when he wakes up the next morning. Cash is gorgeous, and the hottest hook up he’s ever had. He doesn’t expect to see him again, until a twist of fate lands him on Cash’s doorstep a few months later.

United by a cause that’s broken Cash before, they are drawn together. They have more in common than they ever imagined, but with Cash haunted by the past, and Rae so tangled in the present, it’s not long before love isn’t enough to keep them alive.

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with photographer Dan Burgess.

Website: http://www.garrettleigh.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh

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The Friend

The Friend (It’s Just Us Here #1) by Christopher X. Sullivan:
Review by Lost in a Book

The Friend (It's Just Us Here #1)

Blurb:

An asexual man meets a male model… and slowly falls in love.

Mark, the model, has not been challenged in his life and is emotionally withdrawn. He returns to Chicago in the hopes of reconnecting with his college friends, but everyone has moved on without him, starting families and growing up.

Chris, the writer, is socially awkward and introverted. He actively tries to be as invisible as possible.

The two men meet one day in Chris’ favorite park and strike up a friendship. Since this is written as a romance, you probably have a pretty good idea where the story goes from there.

You’d be wrong. (Well… and kinda right.)

I’m Chris and this is my story. It’s not a traditional romance. This is my version of a Happily Ever After, which means Mark and I became great friends… and that’s it.

Mark and I end this first installment of my self-portrait in a Queer Platonic Relationship. There was cuddling and emotional closeness, but nothing remotely sexual… at least not to my mind. Mark obviously wanted more and he would eventually get it, but this book, Book One of It’s Just Us Here, would have been my perfect, ideal romance.

If you need banging and crazy monkey sex to keep your interest in a story, then jump in at Book Four of this self-portrait (The Lover). Otherwise, come along for the ride and meet the man who would sweep me off my feet, Mark Wolff, one of the top ten most self-absorbed men in the whole world.

[NOTE: This book is a 95,000 word romantic self-portrait featuring the beginnings of a queer relationship. It is the first book of a trilogy, which is itself part of a larger trilogy. Low heat… for now. I don’t think we need trigger warnings for this book, but future installments might warrant them. Maybe that can serve as enough of a warning? Warning: this book if full of life.]

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5 Stars

I’ll start off by linking my review for The Book of Beginnings which is where I started on my journey with Mark and Chris and became hooked. Fangirling is probably more accurate. *unapologetic shrug* Warning: This linked review goes well beyond (spoilersish in nature when considering what this book focuses on) The Friend but I feel that my review was much more eloquent (well, as much as I can actually be when squeeing) than what will take place in this review for the single installment of The Friend. I’m not going to walk through this book because the blurb does a great job of explaining exactly what to expect with this “romantic self-portrait.”

My initial thoughts after reading this book were, did I really just read a little over 300 pages about becoming friends? About single individuals finding common interests, while deepening their connection platonically? With some of their interactions having more intimacy than those in physical relationships? It’s not just a book about meeting a friend, it’s so much more because these men are opposites with their own hangups, hard limits, deep feelings, and insecurities. Any other story and I would’ve been sleeping if I had to read that much about a simple friendship. But I think these pages are laced with crack and kept me coming back for more. In this case, the crack I’m referring to are two quirky (both are in their own way) men understanding who they are as individuals and finding their way to a deep relationship that is soooo much more than Friends.

Did I mention that this is a REAL story? About real men, dealing with real emotions and real life events? I will 100% continue on this journey of finding love while sometimes getting lost and needing to take the scenic routes. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

The Bibliophile

The Bibliophile by Drew Marvin Frayne: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

The Bibliophile

Blurb:
To toughen him up, Nathanial’s father has indentured him to a ranchman, Cayuse Jem, a large, raw-boned, taciturn man Nathanial’s father believes will help teach his son to “become a man.” Cut off from his books and the life he has always known, Nathanial is not only forced to co-exist with Cayuse Jem, but to truly get to know him. In doing so, Nathanial discovers there is more to this silent horseman than meets the eye. And, in the process, Nathanial also learns a few things about life, about human nature, and about the differences in being a man and a boy…

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4 Stars

Well, this one snuck up on me. My love for historical romance pushed me over the edge on choosing The Bibliophile and I’m glad. It’s a unique, nineteenth century story told through journal entries for one of the main characters, Nathanial. This style might not work for some and even though I would have liked some more perspective, I enjoyed it and moved right along from entry to entry.

Nathanial has been ordered to leave his studies and take his place as the only son beside his rich father to learn the family business. He’s an academic at heart and feels the most joy spending his days surrounded by books and having intellectual discussions on anything and everything. Unfortunately, Nathanial becomes indentured as a ranch hand to toughen him up and make him “a man.” Luck is shining down on him because he’s dropped off with Cayuse Jem, a huge, burly man that is the complete opposite of his father.

Cayuse, man of very few words, is a horse trainer with a very patient and gentle hand. He doesn’t believe in bending a horse or person to his will, but to coax them gently. He uses this approach with Nathanial from the first day which builds trust and a deeply meaningful connection. Cayuse slowly built him up after Nathanial’s father and grandmother spent years tearing him down.

There’s a sweetness to the relationship between Cayuse and Nathanial. Nathanial is a virgin in every way, including never being kissed. He finds safety and validation with Cayuse in just being his boy. During an era of reserved life, their relationship and love is simple and peaceful. Cayuse may be a man of few words but that doesn’t make what they have any less meaningful. There’s some erotic heat between the eager pupil Nathanial AKA Boy and Cayuse that helps get through some of the more difficult times.

The Bibliophile has relatively low angst for a M/M historical romance. The angst comes from other circumstances and a devastating loss to both men. The transition from indentured servant to lover was odd. I enjoyed the entries but would have liked Cayuse’s POV. We get to know him through Nathanial’s eyes but there’s so much missing. I think having that extra insight would have helped the transition not feel so abrupt when they become lovers and smoothed some of the other areas that lacked finesse.

Overall, I really enjoyed seeing Cayuse and Nathanial ride into the sunset with their HEA. Recommended for fans of historical romance and classic literature.

P.S. I clearly missed a TON of classics while taking Lit in HS/college because Nathanial is a lover of it all, references them throughout, and left me in the dust with anything beyond Shakespeare.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

New Release & Giveaway by Anyta Sunday

Pisces Floors Taurus by Anyta Sunday OUT NOW!

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Pisces Floors Taurus by Anyta Sunday

Series: Signs of Love #4.5

Publisher: self-published

Release Date (ebook only): January 15th

Length: 4500 words

Subgenre: short contemporary gay romance novella

Order it: https://books2read.com/pisces-floors-taurus

Book synopsis:

Vacation time – time to try something new…

Spend some more time with Zane and Beckett in this short & steamy follow up to “Pisces Hooks Taurus’” as they deepen their bond.

All proceeds of the first month of sales will go to charity. This story was previously posted in three installments in the “KU in the Korner” Facebook group.

Excerpt:

Zane crushed Beckett into a smoldering kiss.

Beckett pulled back, chuckling. “Not tonight.

“But what a brilliant way to keep warm.”

“How romantic,” Beckett said, dryly.

Zane saluted him. “Totally right. My first time should be. I’ll continue offering romantic suggestions, Becky, and when the feels overwhelm you, you’re going to peg—”

“Not what you think it means.”

“Piston—”

“Good Lord.”

“Plunge? Whoa, where are you going?”

“To plunge off a bridge. Apparently once wasn’t enough.”

About Anyta Sunday:

A bit about me: I’m a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. I love to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love.

Some of my favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.

I write a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy.

My books have been translated into German, Italian, French, and Thai.

Connect with Anyta Sunday:

Author website: http://www.anytasunday.com/

Author newsletter signup: http://www.anytasunday.com/newsletter-free-e-book/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anytasundaybooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/anytasunday

Instagram: https://instagram.com/anytasunday

BookBub: https://bookbub.com/authors/anyta-sunday

Giveaway: To celebrate this release, Anyta Sunday is giving three lucky winners paperback copies of “Pisces Hooks Taurus” (shipping internationally)!

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