Darker tone to the latest Cayuga Cougars romance

overtime-coverOvertime by V.L. Locey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The narrative of this one is much darker than the others in the series but it still fits perfectly with the other Cayuga Cougars stories.

Sander has always been there on the periphery, Dan’s college boyfriend and mini ass in training, but here we find out there’s much more to the brash young player than that.

I loved the whole set up of this one. A chance meeting with a semi pro baseball player with an artist boyfriend and an instant connection between three very different young men.

Mateo was a tower of strength but it was Noah, the somewhat fae manga creator, who anchored the trio together. Both Sander and Mat naturally gravitated around him and he was quietly instigating the direction the relationship went.

There’s loads of great conversation between the three as they realise how each feels and while they work out the dynamics and OMG, this might just be the hottest smexy times that VL has written. They burn up the sheets in their various encounters.

This plot also deals well with its more sensitive aspects, the trigger warnings should be noted as both Sander and Noah have really traumatic experiences which cause anxiety.

I take my hat off to the author for how these were written and handled in this book, powerfully done and with extreme sensitivity.

I’m not going to go into much more as this book needs to be read blind, there were a few moments which truly made me gasp, and I don’t want to spoil people’s experience of those.

All in all another brilliant addition to the roster and yeah, Victor is still an ass 😉

#ARC kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Re-Release Blitz: A Time To Rise by Tal Bauer

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A Time to Rise | Tal Bauer

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Publication Date: June 13th, 2018

Cover Artist: DAMONZA

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Blurb

History says the Knights Templar were destroyed in 1307.

History is wrong.

Vampires haunt the sewers beneath Rome, revenants desecrate graveyards, ghouls devour helpless passersby, and incubi stalk dark alleys and seedy nightclubs in Italy’s capital. Deep in the Vatican, a brotherhood exists, sworn protectors of the earth, and they stand firm against monsters from the dark depths.

Operating in secret and silence, they protect our world from the sinister, the etheric, and the evils that exist beyond the Veil. But it’s a lonely life, and Alain Autenburg knows that more than most.

His lover was ripped from him years ago, and he vowed never to get close to another soul again. Even when the loneliness presses down on him, and his empty heart cries out for something more.

Something more comes in Christoph Hasse, a new soldier arriving in Rome to serve in the Pontifical Swiss Guard. Young, brash, and fitting in at right angles everywhere he goes, Christoph struggles in the murky, deceptive labyrinth of the Vatican.

Propelled forward by a past he can’t understand, Christoph collides with Alain, and both men crash headfirst into the darkest secret of the Vatican…and of the world.

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Excerpt

“I know what you saw, too, Alain. I was pretty out of it. But I did see my face on the incubus. It was wearing my face when it pulled you in for a kiss.” Cristoph’s chin lifted. “And Lotario confirmed it.”

Damn that man. Damn Lotario.

“‘Your deepest desire,’ Lotario said. “The incubus shows you what you want most.”
Finally, Cristoph’s question.

The one question Alain never wanted to hear, never wanted to answer. He didn’t want to confront this, didn’t want to answer for his feelings, for the way his heart had run away from his ironclad control.

Because no matter what, no matter how he felt, no matter how Cristoph felt, and no matter how warm and wonderful and agonizingly beautiful it felt to have Cristoph look at him the way he did, just like in his dreams, nothing could happen.
The faucet dripped. In the courtyard below, a braying laugh burst out, one guard messing with another.

“Is it true?”
Nothing could ever happen between them.
Alain shook his head. “I’m flattered, Cristoph, I am. You don’t know what it means to me, that you would—”
He coughed. Hitched his shoulders as he gripped the counter. “It doesn’t matter if it is,” he grunted. “Nothing can happen, Cristoph.”
“What?” Cristoph’s voice was soft, a shocked breath escaping his lips.
“Alain—”

Cristoph froze, halfway around the kitchen counter. His eyes went wide as his lips parted. “Is this—” Cristoph shook his head once. “Is this about the guy you lost? You and he— You were lovers, weren’t you?”
Alain whirled, facing Cristoph as he braced himself back on the sink. “I can’t, Cristoph!” he hissed. “I can’t!”

Letting go, he collapsed forward, falling to his knees on the worn linoleum of his kitchen. He tried to breathe, tried to drag in a ragged breath, but couldn’t. “He’s more than gone,” he whispered. His body trembled, shivers that coiled up his spine. “He doesn’t exist. Not anymore.”

Alain’s eyes slid closed. His arms shook as he fought to remain standing. He was going to die. His heart couldn’t take this, not this constant longing mixed with despair.
The counter was going to crack beneath his grasp.

He pitched forward, burying his face in Cristoph’s neck. There were no sobs, no tears. Not after twelve years. “I can’t survive that again. I can’t let there be any risk of that happening to you.” Cristoph’s scent burrowed into his nose, warm and bright. “I can’t take that kind of loss again.”

Cristoph kneeled in front of him, hands grabbing his shoulders as his big eyes stared into Alain’s. “Jesus, Alain. He doesn’t exist anymore? What the hell does that mean?”
Cristoph tried to smile. It stabbed Alain in the center of his heart.
“You don’t want to start anything because you’re afraid you’ll lose me?”

Desperately, Alain tried to fight his body’s reaction to Cristoph, to his warmth and his strength and his damned determination. “It’s the only way to be sure.” His eyes blinked past Cristoph’s neck, studying his weapons hanging on the wall. Mental calculations flew through his mind, which classes of weapons worked best against each type of supernatural creature or etheric entity. Anything to keep his mind off Cristoph and his touch. Alain fought not to sigh into his arms. He stiffened. Tried to pull away.

Cristoph let him go. He sat back. “So, I want you, and you want me, but…”
Nodding, Alain grimaced. “But.”
Cristoph pulled himself up. He held out his hand for Alain. Alain clambered up, unsteady. Cristoph held him until he was balanced.
“Alain…” Cristoph’s dark eyes found his, burning with desire. Hunger. And sadness. “What do you really want?”
He wanted to fall to his knees and beg for forgiveness.
Time seemed to stop as Alain stared into Cristoph’s eyes. He struggled not to scream or rage at God and the universe, or to seize Cristoph with both hands.
He wanted to grab Cristoph, haul him close, bury his fingers in Cristoph’s hair, kiss him senseless.

Alain’s soul was screaming. His heart burned, thrashing and pleading and begging for what was right in front of him. For another chance.
Alain closed his eyes and stroked his hands down Cristoph’s arms. His fingers found Cristoph’s, tangled them together. He leaned close, pressing their foreheads together, nuzzling his skin. A sigh slipped past Cristoph’s lips.

There was no end to this hurt, no bottom to his desire. Unrestrained, unbridled yearning burst from him, laced with a bitterly resigned anguish. Why did it have to be this way? Why couldn’t he reach forward, close the single breath separating their lips? Why did he hold himself back?

One bloody night twelve years ago answered him in his memories. Alain shuddered. His hands rose, gripping Cristoph’s shirt, tangling in the white cotton. Cristoph’s breath hitched, a quiet gasp. Alain reached for the back of Cristoph’s head, stroking his neck. Silken blond strands slipped through his fingers.

Alain shoved Cristoph hard, driving him backward. Cristoph’s eyes went wide as he hit the kitchen wall, but Alain followed instantly, cupping his face. His thumbs rose, sweeping across Cristoph’s cheeks. Noses brushed, sliding together.

“What do I want…” Alain breathed. His lips brushed against Cristoph’s as he spoke, an almost-kiss that maddened his blood. They were too close. Shaking, he tried again as his fingers stroked through the hair on the back of Cristoph’s neck. “I haven’t let myself want. Not in twelve years. I thought I couldn’t want anything anymore.”
Cristoph blinked, but his burning gaze stayed locked to Alain’s.
Alain licked his lips. Cristoph’s eyes darted down, watching, and a soft moan escaped him.

He was flying apart. He’d leaped off a cliff, and he didn’t know if there was anything there at the bottom. His teeth clenched, and a bitten-off curse caught in the back of his throat.

“I want you,” Alain whispered. “God, I want you.” His voice shook, trembled. Nearly fractured apart as he tried to speak again. “I want you so badly. I want to kiss you. Have you. I want to make you mine.” His voice dropped, nearly growling. “I want—”
“Tell me,” Cristoph begged. “Tell me, Alain.”

“I want—” There was no going back, not after this. All of his fears blazed. All of his longing surged. “I want to love you,” he growled, his voice dropping an octave. “And I want you to love me.”

A tortured moan burst from his lips as one fist flew, punching the kitchen wall next to Cristoph’s head hard enough to dent the plaster.

Cristoph didn’t blink. “Tell me what you want.”

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Tal Bauer is an award-winning and best-selling author of LGBT romantic thrillers, bringing together a career in law enforcement and international humanitarian aid to create dynamic characters, intriguing plots, and exotic locations.

He is happily married and lives with his husband and their Basset Hound in Texas. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America.Visit his website for more of your favorite characters, including secret excerpts & behind the scenes snippets.

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Series Review Tour: Shoes & Ties by Jena Wade

Shoes & Ties Series | Jena Wade

SERIES REVIEW TOUR

Book 1: Shoes & Ties 

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Silver Heart Design

Genre/s: gay contemporary romance

Length: 33 000 words

Goodreads

Blurb

Ashten Brody is a chef fresh out of college. He lands his dream job working as a personal chef to Trent Cole, local luxury hotel owner. As it turns out, Trent is also his dream man.

After working together, the two are unable to deny their attraction. One late night they can’t hold back any longer. Too bad Ashten rushes off soon after.

In the weeks that follow, it appears to Ashten that he has landed his dream man and his dream job. He and Trent appear to be on the path to a serious relationship and life-long happiness. Life seems to be just too perfect…

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Excerpt

Ashten Brody smoothed his hands down the front of his suit one more time. He hadn’t expected Trent Cole’s security guards to frisk him at the door. The man ran a luxury hotel in North Carolina. It wasn’t like he was a celebrity. Though he had the appearance of one.

As flustered as he was now, Ashten was confident that he was the right person to be Trent’s new personal chef. He was not confident, however, that Mr. Cole would hire him. He’d only just finished his degree in culinary arts and hospitality management. He was young and green, but he wanted this job and would do anything to get it. Well, that was a slight exaggeration, but he would wear a bland, conservative suit complete with a tie and jacket if it helped him beat out the competition.

The elevator pinged, and he took a deep breath as he stepped out, still in awe that he had gotten an interview. The main office was located on the top floor of the ten-story hotel—convenient if Trent ever worked late and needed to crash at the office.

Finding the secretary easily, Ashten stood next to her desk and patiently waited for her to finish her phone call. The lobby area was comfortable, with decor that matched the rest of the hotel. Doors lined the walls, and a few windows revealed the insides of conference rooms and small offices. Ashten rested his hands on the mahogany horseshoe desk. It was large enough to fill his old apartment.

“May I help you?” Annette, as her nameplate said, asked as she hung up the phone.

“I have an interview scheduled with Mr. Cole. I’m a bit early. My name is Ashten Brody.” His voice sounded calmer than he felt. It was important to make a good impression on the secretary, though; they were the ones who ran the whole office.

The secretary raised her brow. She opened her mouth to speak, but the elevator at the opposite end of the room dinged, and Mr. Cole stepped onto the floor, a deep scowl etched on his handsome face.

Ashten’s breath hitched in his throat. He bit his lip, pain stopping any reaction his cock might have had to the man capturing his attention. The pictures he’d found in his Internet search hadn’t done the man justice. Trent Cole oozed confidence. Ashten’s eyes followed him as he crossed the floor. A touch of afternoon stubble shaded his strong jaw, and his tailored suit outlined his broad shoulders perfectly.

The open jacket revealed lean hips, which brought Ashten’s tongue out to wet his lips. Trent walked directly past the desk, not bothering to glance at Ashten or Annette. Everyone in the office moved faster and looked busier now that the boss was in the room.

“Annette, please send in the applicants as they arrive. The sooner I get these interviews over with, the sooner I can get back to real work. Thanks.” Without waiting for a reply, he stepped inside his office, leaving the door wide open.

Ashten’s face heated, and his heart pounded. He rolled his shoulders back to try to get ahold of himself.

“Go right in, dear. Good luck.” Annette gave him an encouraging grin.

Ashten flashed a broad smile. “Thank you, ma’am.” He turned and walked toward the open door.

Book 2: Lumber & Law 

Cover Artist: Silver Heart Design

Genre/s: gay contemporary romance

Length: 29 000 words

Goodreads

Blurb

A few months after his brother’s accident, Jesse Brody can’t stop thinking about Troy Evans, the police office that helped solve the case. Even though Troy almost had to arrest him, Jesse is sure he has a shot at a date.

The two meet by chance and share a nice dinner at Jesse’s apartment, which ends with Jesse all over Troy’s lap. Though he isn’t out at work, Troy agrees to give a relationship with Jesse a chance.

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Excerpt

Jesse settled onto his usual park bench. The warm sun beat down on his back through his T-shirt as he leaned forward, elbows resting on his knees. Runners and walkers passed him without a glance. The happy chatter of Frisbee games and families sitting on outspread picnic blankets filled the air.

Taking a deep breath, he touched the tablet in his hand, pulling up today’s news. He checked the time and tapped his foot against the concrete of the running path. His reason for being here today and every Sunday for the past six months had yet to show.

Any minute now Troy Evans would jog by, his golden retriever following closely behind him.

Jesse ran his fingers though his hair and glanced around the park. Annoyance prickled at his skin. Until his twin brother, Ashten, had been attacked three months ago, he hadn’t even known Troy’s name. It was just by chance that Detective Evans had been on duty when the police were called to investigate Ashten’s hit-and-run assault.

In the week that followed, Jesse and Troy had spoken over the phone and occasionally met at the precinct to discuss the case. Since the woman responsible for hitting Ashten had been arrested, Jesse hadn’t spoken with Troy.

A knot formed in Jesse’s gut as he remembered why he never tried to contact the man again. When he’d found Trent, Ashten’s boyfriend, and Troy together, he’d assumed the worst. Jealousy and anger had spurred violence in him he didn’t know he had. Anger because it appeared as if Trent could replace Ashten so easily, and jealousy because he’d replaced him with the one man Jesse wanted.

Jesse had punched Trent square in the jaw.

Shame filled him at the memory. He’d read the situation completely wrong, and he’d looked like a fool because of it. Had Troy not threatened to arrest him, he might’ve messed up their little sting operation further, and Ashten’s assailant wouldn’t have been arrested that day.

It had only been a few months earlier that Jesse had seen Troy jog by at the park. He’d been mesmerised by the man’s movement. Troy had worn blue basketball shorts and a tank top that stretched nicely across his chiselled chest and abs. Jesse hadn’t hidden his admiration for the man very well. His neck craned until he had to stand in order to continue watching his magnificent form.

The man never noticed him.

Book 3: Forever & Always

Cover Artist: Silver Heart Design

Genre/s: gay contemporary romance

Length: 8 000 words

Goodreads

Blurb

Now that they’re living in their Happily Ever After, Ashten, Trent, Troy, and Jesse are ready to take the next step.
But what happens when the twins choose the same wedding date? May the best couple win…

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

About the Author

Jena began writing in January of 2013 as a New Year’s Resolution–and so far she has stuck to it!

She lives in Michigan. By day she works as a web developer, and at night she writes. Born and raised on a farm, she spends most of her free time outdoors, playing in the garden, or riding her horses. She also helps run the family dairy farm.

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Cover Reveal: Heart of the Colossus by Nicole Grotepas

Heart of the Colossus | Nicole Grotepas

A Holly Drake Job #3

Designed by Deranged Doctor Design

Publication date: July 12th 2018

Genres: Adult, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Space Opera, Adventure

Holly Drake and her crew have seen just a fraction of the Shadow Coalition.

Can they penetrate deeper into the organisation and successfully defeat the Heart and the remaining Hands?

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Author Bio:

I’m passionate about human rights, animal rights, and living life with no regrets. I love how becoming a parent has deepened my devotion to making the world a better place.

I do that best by crafting stories that attempt to answer hard questions–the ones I think about most–while also being entertaining and fun. I live in a landscape that reminds me of my place in the universe, under an endless sky and towering mountains that are older than human memory, and I love it here.

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