Category Archives: LGBTQ+

This second chance romance set in a small press is just my cup of tea

9_V&V_Greer_ebook_FINALTurnabout by Laurel Greer

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Second chance romance is one of my favourite tropes, when it’s done well and you can see that there was a valid reason for why they didn’t work at the time and why things have changed.

Here you get just that. When Auden and Carter split in their early 20s after a fairly lengthy college romance, a lot of it was to do with wrong place, wrong time and outside forces they had little control over.

When they meet again a decade later, it’s clear not only did the feelings never go, but also the pain and longing of knowing you had the one but just couldn’t hold onto them.

The way this is resolved works perfectly. The next bit may be slightly spoilerish, although nothing major so I shall hide it.

***SPOILER-ISH***

Although at times Auden irritated me beyond words because, while I could understand he’d been dealing with unresolved trauma from his own personal circumstances, I felt he placed too much weight on his mum’s experiences and not on the difference in his own life. 

***ENDS***

What I loved most about this book was that it emphasises the frailties of humanity, our fears, our flaws, the courage needed to put your heart on the line even knowing it might get stomped on. All of this is present in both Auden and Carter.

It also shows that people make mistakes they live to regret and that pride (looking at you Carter’s dad!) is more often than not the bogeyman in any type of relationship, whether it’s family or lover.

Also, as someone who started their journalism career at a newspaper still printed on hot metal, I absolutely adored all the luxury handpress stationary elements in this story.

This is a lovely romance, it’s quite gentle with a bit of angst, there are family tensions which add to the plot but nothing is overwrought or dramatic.

I loved Carter’s meddling aunt Bee and her wife Gracie, Olivia who comes to interview at the press only had a tiny bit of page time, but she’s fully realised and I loved her too.

My frustrations with Auden knocked half a star off but this really is a wonderful romance.

#ARC kindly received from the publishers Hearts Eye Press in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Blog Tour: Bounce by Becca Seymour

Bounce | Becca Seymour

Outback Boys #2

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Release Date: March 27th, 2021

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Blurb

Standoffish Aiden is content keeping people at a distance and ensuring his boundaries are impenetrable. There’s safety in not opening up, but there’s also a loneliness he doesn’t realise exists until he meets Riley, a new member of the LGBTQI+ adventure group Outback Boys.

Fascinated by the new guy, Aiden is quick to discover his flirtation skills are rusty and his sweet-talking is cringeworthy. But sweet and clumsy Riley doesn’t seem to mind so much.

Even though Riley doesn’t quite know how to handle Aiden’s intensity, he’s willing to step out of his comfort zone and see how their tentative friendship unravels.

Between a surf lesson that resembles a kangaroo on acid and paddle boarding that is trickier than walking a tightrope, Aiden and Riley discover love may be a possibility after all.

Happiness relies on honesty and openness, though. And with both men holding on tightly to past struggles, their future together is at risk. Can the two Aussies bounce back and heal themselves and each other, or are some wounds too raw to recover from?

Outback Boys is a sweet and sexy M/M romance series complete with bruised butts, rope burn, and overworked muscles… all in the pursuit of adventure, of course!

Trigger Warning: Contains themes (discussions) of mental health and suicide.

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Excerpt

“Excellent.” He thrust his hand out. “Aiden.” On autopilot, I took it, aware once again that my skin was heating. His strong hand gripped mine, his palm large like my own. His skin was rough, so much more so than mine. Being a computer programmer didn’t leave much time for hard yakka.

“Riley.” I smiled, hoping it came out naturally and I didn’t come off looking shifty, something my big sister, in her once-teasing way, had told me many years back. Once that seed had been planted, I’d done nothing but water the bloody thing. “Good to meet you.” I finally released his hand and swallowed, trying to get a grip on my nerves.

Talking to a good-looking guy was a struggle at the best of times. Aiden, though, was so spectacular that it sent my pulse skyrocketing. I played with the leather band on my left wrist, trying to keep my cool.

“Hey, Aiden,” Pete said, much to my relief. “This is the Riley from work I was telling you about.”

I blanched at that and turned my gaze to Pete, who did nothing but grin at me.

“Oh yeah, right. I remember you mentioning him.” Aiden returned his attention to me. “I’m pleased you finally joined us.” He angled his head, indicating we should start walking. I could do that. One step in front of the other without tripping and looking like a jerk. “How’d you handle the first ten kilometres?”

“Really, is that what we’ve done?” Surprise flickered to life. Holy shit. I grinned, completely proud of myself.

“It sure is.” Aiden offered me a friendly smile. “Did it feel like more or less?” I looked ahead as we walked side by side, the trail wider in this section. Mark and Trey were a few metres ahead, Pete a few steps behind them.

“Less, I think. Even though I’m already exhausted,” I admitted with a shrug. “I can’t remember the last walk I went on.” Embarrassment had me flushing. I didn’t want him to think I was lazy, though admittedly, outside of work, I holed up at home doing very little.

“Well, that’s brilliant that you’re taking it in your stride. Ten kilometres is no easy feat.” I cast a glance at him as he continued. “Starting off is always hard, and there’s always reasons not to do it, right?”

I nodded. “Yeah, but I think I finally realised they were excuses, you know?” My honest words just continued to tumble forth. “I’m thirty-six and creeping closer to the big four-oh.” I snorted. “It was about time I got healthy, and this seemed like a good start.”

“It really is. And the last few kilometres will seem so easy compared to this morning.”

“You think?”

“Yup.”

“You’re trying to make me feel better, huh?” I gave a small laugh.

His smile widened. “Maybe.” He shrugged. “I only got back into fitness outside my regular day and all this adventure stuff a few years back. I remember the blisters and how much it sucked.”

“Hey, I didn’t sign up for blisters. Is there an Uber service around here or something?” I joked, enjoying how easy Aiden was to talk to. Perhaps it was the whole unattainable thing that had me loosening up, maybe that I understood the devastation of loss, but whatever it was, my steps came easier with him walking beside me, and our flowing conversation seemed natural.

“I think we’re just out of range for a rescue.”

Bounce 3 riley

Stumble

Outback Boys #1

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Blurb

Trey has a problem he’s worked hard to manage. It involves not turning into a bumbling mess while around a gorgeous brown-haired man who’s way out of his league. Eight months’ practice from being part of the same LGBTQI+ adventure group, Outback Boys, means he’s perfected the skill.

That’s until an epic stumble makes his head spin and he throws all caution to the wind. But there’s no turning back now, especially since a snow-filled trip means they’re forced to spend even more time together.

Mark has no concerns about the changes unfolding between him and Trey, the giant of a man who’s adorably reserved. He’s been crushing on him for so long that he’s eager to explore more. But when their latest adventure is over and they fall back into the real world, balancing work, life, and a relationship proves more challenging than he envisioned.

Something has got to give, and neither man knows the best way ahead without upsetting the status quo. Can the two Aussies work their way through their new connection, or will they stumble at the first hurdle in their way?

Outback Boys is a sweet and sexy low-angst M/M romance series complete with bruised butts, rope burn, and overworked muscles… all in the pursuit of adventure, of course!

This title was originally part of the Winter Wonderland Giveaway. The Amazon version, however, includes new bonus content–two extended scenes and a must-read epilogue.

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About the Author

Becca Seymour lives and breathes all things book related. Usually with at least three books being read and two WiPs being written at the same time, life is merrily hectic. She tends to do nothing by halves so happily seeks the craziness and busyness life offers.

Living on her small property in Queensland with her human family as well as her animal family of cows, chooks, and dogs, Becca appreciates the beauty of the world around her and is a believer that love truly is love.

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Release Blitz: Ponyboy by AE Lister

Ponyboy | AE Lister

The Braided Crop Ranch #2

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: April 12th, 2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 71,200

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Blurb

Owen Lipke is looking for adventure. When he hears about a ranch in the Muskokas catering to kinky men who don’t want to settle for backroom amateurs, he signs up in a second.

At the Braided Crop Ranch, Owen finds what he’s looking for: A sex-positive space with safety protocols and Doms (trainers) who know their business. And a stable full of well-behaved ponyboys to prove it.

Owen thinks his trainer, Kamal, is hot as hell but finds being a ponyboy isn’t as intuitive as he expected. As he struggles to learn the basics of equine pet play under the firm hand of his trainer, he finds himself falling for the experienced older man.

And perhaps Kamal is developing a thing for the young, adventurous newcomer. But there are rules about fraternizing with staff at the ranch. And Owen wonders if it’s wise to fall in love with the pragmatic trainer who unravels him layer by layer to expose his deepest needs and most secret proclivities.

But perhaps wisdom is overrated. And maybe the rewards of adventure are only achieved when you abandon caution and take a huge leap of faith.

Excerpt

Ponyboy
AE Lister © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Shadows and dim lighting made the inside of the club appear deceptively edgy. The Stocks boasted a selection of the most overrated brews and clientele in the city, in my opinion. But this particular club was one of the few places I could go to try to find the kind of man I was looking for.

“Hey, Lipke, what are you doing here again?” Sandro smiled, clapping a hand on my shoulder and taking the stool next to me. “I thought you had the real deal? You know, a nice cozy apartment with your man.”

“We broke up,” I said, staring at the bar and trying not to let the fact I didn’t feel much disappointment about the end of my relationship bother me.

“Ah, shit, that’s too bad,” Sandro replied, but I saw a glimmer of satisfaction in his eyes as he motioned to the bartender. “Hey, a drink for my buddy here, Paulo.” He turned back. “What are you having, Owen?”

I shook my head and tossed the dark hair out of my eyes. It was getting way too long in front. I’d been meaning to get it cut, but I was so unmotivated to do anything these days. “Thanks, but I’m hoping for some action tonight.”

I never trolled for Doms with alcohol in my system. I’d learned that lesson a long time ago.

“How about a Coke, then?”

“Okay, sure. Thanks.”

He was trying to butter me up because he wanted to hook up. He’d tried with me before, but I had been in a relationship that didn’t allow for “extras” so I’d had an excuse to turn him down.

“A Coke for Owen, please. And a ginger ale for me,” he said, throwing a tenner on the bar.

“Thanks,” I said again, looking Sandro over and wondering if he could give me what I wanted.

He wasn’t a bad-looking guy; a little heavier in the gut, but it worked for him. He had a decent “Daddy” vibe going on and appeared to be pushing forty. Maybe he had the experience to give me something…more. Something solid and demanding and ruthless.

The Stocks was an underground fetish bar, where I’d come innumerable times to find the type of hook-up I was after. But anyone I’d ever gone home or played downstairs with, had disappointed. It wasn’t operating on the down-low. The club was literally underground, which made it even darker and dingier inside than most places—almost claustrophobic.

Everyone played games. That was often the point with fetish and BDSM, and a lot of guys were perfectly happy with that. But I was tired and bored with it all.

I’d had a connection with Simon, my ex, but even he couldn’t give me what I wanted in the end. I couldn’t define that particular desire but I knew I hadn’t fulfilled it—ever.

At night I’d dream about a Master who took total control, put me in my place easily and perfunctorily, without a thought to my comfort, yet took care of my needs like they were his own. This mystery man became a shadowy, elusive presence in my waking world. I’d never encountered an actual human being who could measure up to the Dom in my dreams. Maybe no one ever would.

Maybe I should make the most of what I could get, here and now.

Sandro handed me the Coke and winked. “So, you’re a free agent tonight,” he said.

I grinned. “Yep. Trolling for Doms.”

He laughed, looked away, and then back. “Wanna come home with me? We could have some fun.”

I picked up my glass and sipped the cold, sugary-sweet syrup, considering his offer. “You live close?”

Sandro nodded. “Down the street. Walking distance. You can leave your car here, and pick it up later, or in the morning if you decide to stay over.”

It was thoughtful of him to offer me the whole night. Such an invitation was rare in this environment, where most people simply wanted a quick fuck or a fun kink session and didn’t give a shit what you did with yourself after.

“Yeah, okay.”

“Really?”

I found his excitement flattering, if misplaced. I didn’t feel like anything special these days, but I was up for a quick screw.

“Sure. But let’s enjoy our drinks first. We’ve got all night.”

Sandro had fair-to-good conversation skills. He was intelligent, perceptive, and witty. I warmed to my decision over the time it took to finish our drinks. Maybe the evening wouldn’t be a washout after all.

Sandro sighed. “I wish there were more kink places in this city. I mean, this place is fine but it gets boring after a while.”

I agreed with his observation completely. There were several options across the river from Ottawa in Quebec that offered more hard-core entertainment, but in terms of convenience, this place was closest. And even when I had ventured as far as Gatineau or Montreal, I’d been largely disappointed.

“I hear Toronto is the place to be for this kind of scene,” I said. “Maybe I should move to the Big Smoke.”

“Maybe. I thought about it a couple of times. But my family is here, and my job.”

“I don’t know if I could sacrifice the green space,” I said.

The easy access to nature was one of the things I loved about Ottawa. There were a multitude of parks and treed spaces; bike paths, beaches, and water everywhere. And the Gatineau hills were right across the Ottawa River. I enjoyed hiking and camping more than almost anything else. Spending regular time in nature was essential to my being. I doubted I’d be happy in a concrete city like Toronto.

Then again, was I happy here?

“I heard about this place in the Muskokas,” Sandro was saying. “It’s a ranch, but not the kind of ranch you’d expect in that touristy area.”

“Huh?” I asked. A ranch? I had absolutely no interest in horses.

Sandro nodded. “It’s set up like a real ranch, but instead of horses, they get men to dress like ponies.”

If I had been a pony, my ears would have swung toward him. “What? No way.” Something in me thrilled to the thought of it.

He laughed. “Yeah, they put them in harnesses and bridles and make them do stuff. It’s all set up to make the experience as realistic as possible. At least that’s what I heard.”

I pretended not to be as interested as I was. “Hmm. Weird.”

“Yeah, well, I guess some guys get off on that stuff. Not me. I’m happy with the regular kink experience myself, although it would be nice to have a few more bars to go to.”

Men in harnesses and wearing bridles? A ranch for pony fetishists? Why hadn’t I heard about this before? My balls ached at the thought of it. I’d never explored animal role-play, but the thought of being a pony at a fetish ranch rang every one of my bells. Maybe a fetish ranch was the kind of immersive experience I needed. Sure, it was still a game, but maybe they did it so well you forgot it was a game and became fully invested in submission and objectification.

I drained the rest of my glass. “Ready to go?”

Sandro beamed as his gaze raked over me. “Absolutely.”

Ponyboy New Release

Meet the Author

AE Lister/Elizabeth Lister is a Canadian non-binary author with a vivid imagination and a head full of unique and interesting characters.

They have published many other books, one of which (Beyond the Edge) received an Honorable Mention from the National Leather Association–International for excellence in SM/Leather/Fetish writing.

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