Category Archives: LGBTQ+

Keira skilfully navigates a tough subject in this Aussie-set romance

48054988._SY475_Flash Rip by Keira Andrews

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Keira Andrews skillfully navigates her way through a complex closet case romance set in the twin macho worlds of Australia’s AFL and Lifeguards.

Liam is a former AFL star who could have been one of the greats when injury forced him into retirement after four years at the age of just 24.

He’s been a Lifeguard for ten years and he’s hiding a deep secret which is severely affected when 20-year-old Cody joins his team as a trainee.

After an incident with an ex, Cody’s also out and accepted by the rest of the squad and it puts Liam in fear of his own outing.

I thought the way Keira worked through the incredibly deep and painful internalised homophobia Liam suffers from was excellent.

It never becomes over self-flagellant, it’s not turned into a masochistic streak of internal monologues but instead, it presents a forbidding representation of how damaging toxic masculinity can be.

Liam also hides another secret which he thinks makes him less of a man and I just wanted to hug him so hard as this is revealed.

And while everything takes place in a relatively short time, it never feels rushed or too instant love. The connection between them is compelling and the sexual trust is volcanic.

Keira has a serious talent for this type of relationship and here I think she’s outdone herself. As Liam learns that submitting doesn’t make him weak, Cody’s dominant side gets an unexpected awakening.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it’s a bit of a different take on the age gap, sports romance.

As a PS I loved the brief cameo from Keira’s Honeymoon For One couple Ethan and Clay. Totally sweet.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Release Blitz: Dine With Me by Layla Reyne

Dine With Me by Layla Reyne

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Release Date (e-book and audio):

September 16, 2019

Buy Links:

AMZ: https://amzn.to/2CNDzbA

Universal: https://books2read.com/DineWithMe

READ MY REVIEW

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Blurb

Life never tasted so good.

Miller Sykes’s meteoric rise to award-winning chef is the stuff of culinary dreams, but it’s all crashing down around him. He’s been given a diagnosis that could cost him something even more precious than his life: his sense of taste. Rather than risk the very thing that defines him, Miller embarks on a last tour of his favorite meals while he still can.

But there’s a catch: he needs a financial backer to make it happen, and he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s sick.

Dr. Clancy Rhodes has two weeks to come to terms with putting aside oncology to work at his father’s thriving plastic surgery practice. When the opportunity to travel with a Michelin-starred chef presents itself, the foodie in him can’t believe it. It doesn’t hurt that Miller’s rugged good looks are exactly Clancy’s cuppa joe.

As Clancy and Miller travel from coast to coast and indulge in everything from dive bars to the most decadent of culinary experiences, they’re suddenly sharing a lot more than delicious meals. Sparks fly as they bond over their love of flavors and the pressures of great expectations. But when Miller’s health takes a turn for the worse, Clancy must convince him he’s more—so much more—than just his taste buds. And that together, they can win a battle that once seemed hopeless.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

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Excerpt

Clancy was smiling too, albeit sleepily, when he rejoined them. “Negroni, water, coffee,” he said, passing out their drinks. “So, did I pass the test?”

Miller stared into his glass, contemplating a very short cons list versus a growing pros one. The past six months had been the darkest in Miller’s life; the next—last—six promised more of the same. But for two weeks he had the chance to travel well and relive some of his favorite meals in the company of a beautiful, bright young man who seemed every bit the antithesis of darkness. This was a no-brainer.

Lifting his eyes, he met the doctor’s eager green ones and smiled. “Can you be ready for the first meal next Saturday?”

“I can be ready tomorrow,” Clancy said, fully awake now. “Where are we going?”

“Saturday, a week from today,” Miller said. “As for the locations, those will remain a secret, to be revealed as we travel. You good with that?”

“I can’t promise not to make guesses.”

“I can promise not to tell you,” Miller replied with a laugh.

“Can’t fault me for trying.” Clancy raised his mug, almost spilling the contents as he bounced on his toes, his excitement brimming over. “Saturday, then.”

Miller clinked his glass against Clancy’s. “Saturday.”

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About The Author

RITA Finalist Layla Reyne is the author of the Agents Irish and Whiskey, Fog City, and Changing Lanes series. A Carolina Tar Heel who now calls the San Francisco Bay Area home, Layla enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart-pounding romance.

She is a member of Romance Writers of America and its Kiss of Death and Rainbow Romance Writers chapters. Layla is a 2019 RWA® RITA® Finalist in Contemporary Romance (Mid-Length) and 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.

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An absolute gem of a romance from Clare

Romancing the Rough Diamond (Dreamspun Desires Book 90)Romancing the Rough Diamond by Clare London

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An absolute gem (see what I did there 🤣 ) of a romance, this is my favourite of the Romancing books I’ve read so far.

There’s an element of enemies to lovers about this but it’s really more about trust. About opening up yourself to the risk of heartbreak because you find someone who might just be the perfect partner for your heart to find a home with.

I loved the Britishness of this as well although, as a Brit, I always have a small element of cringe when an author uses the existing British Royal Family and adds on a gay element to it.
A lot of that though is because the author, usually not British themselves, often gets the details wrong and calls it the English Throne or refers to the Queen of England etc, and that really grinds my gears.

Clare does use the existing Royal Family here, but it worked for me mostly because Prince Arthur and his opera singer fiance are treated more as an entity in their own right (even though William and Harry are his older brothers 😉 ) and we never really see them in connection with our real Royal Family.

The plot itself is a fairly straightforward one and it works well. Matt’s a jewellery designer who’s smarting because his family firm just got bought out – he thinks aggressively and without proper acknowledgement of its history – by the company Joel is CEO of.

Their first meet/cute is when they have no clue who the other is and it’s a pretty chemistry-filled encounter before it comes to an unscheduled halt when Matt has to rush home to Norfolk.

Once they meet again, there’s a delicious push/pull of attraction which is compounded by the high-pressure commission they’re working on and I really loved the sparks which fly between them each time they’re in the same room.

This book made me laugh a lot, it made me go awwwww quite a few times too and it’s fairly steamy for a Dreamspun Desires imprint. All in all just my cup of tea.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Book Blast: Penetration Test by Thursday Euclid & Clancy Nacht

Penetration Test by Thursday Euclid & Clancy Nacht

The Phisher King #3

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Publisher: Eine Kleine Press

Cover Artist: Clancy Nacht

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 83,000 words/316 pages

Buy Links:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Add on Goodreads

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Blurb

Sequel to Rainbow Award-winning gay romantic thriller The Phisher King and its sequel False Flag.

For years, brainy, charming FBI techie Sam Dupre has helped Hunter Walsh and Cal Riggs solve their cases. He’s also become one of Hunter’s closest friends, someone Hunter counts on when things get tough.

After the events of False Flag, Riggs is no longer the agency’s golden boy, so when Hunter suspects a gay couple has been murdered in a hate crime in an exclusive gated community in Olympia, he takes the tip to Sam instead. While Riggs and Hunter contend with workplace politics and Riggs’s recovery, Sam Dupre drives the case forward, even securing a partner for his undercover fieldwork: handsome, popular recent transfer Rob Crawford.

Crawford’s a seasoned field agent who doesn’t bat an eye at posing as a gay married couple, but Sam can’t help feeling like Crawford’s mocking him. They rub each other in all the wrong ways in private even as they pretend to be a doting married couple in front of the neighbors…at least, until they start rubbing each other the right way.

Sam’s dysphoria-and his HIV status-has held him back, but as he bonds with Crawford, he starts to feel seen for who he truly is. Surrounded by mystery and danger, now is not the time to blur professional lines, but how can Sam help himself?

Authors Note: An #ownvoices trans character feeling his oats, a dreamboat foreign terrorism agent trying his hand at a domestic (teehee) case, and a supercute adopted housecat. With a special appearance by Callum Riggs, excessive trolling by Hunter Walsh, and, of course, a happy ending!

Excerpt

Meeting Crawford’s piercing green gaze, Sam steeled himself and said quietly, “We suspect religiously motivated White Nationalists could be involved. Whitewoods Olympia’s mission statement is one big conservative dog whistle for ‘old fashioned family values’ and my insider once toured the area looking for a home only to be given the cold shoulder when introducing a black family member to the mix. You may know Olympia is eighty-plus percent white with a two percent black population. Combined with its status as state capital and a cultural center, it’s an ideal location for racial purists to establish a religious enclave close to the seat of power.”

How Crawford took that news would speak volumes. Often the foreign terrorism agents didn’t take domestic terror as seriously, too wrapped up in their administration-sanctioned Islamophobia to acknowledge the clear and present danger of far-right extremists.

“Sounds like a case for Riggs.” Crawford sat back, brows furrowed again as if assessing the situation. Then he nodded seemingly to himself as if the pieces were coming together. Crawford was sufficiently political to understand why Riggs wouldn’t or couldn’t take the case right now.

“So you think someone in the enclave did away with the Millers? Sounds more like old fashioned neighbor murdering than domestic terror, but we do consult on cases of the murdered or the missing. Could just be some nutjob who somehow thinks queers in the neighborhood could lower property values.”

Sam bristled at Crawford using the word “queers” like it was his word to use. Sure, that was often how Sam described himself, but Crawford was a bro. He had no business using it. He bit back a keep that word out of your mouth and grunted instead, acknowledging the probability.

“Riggs is still recovering from the white nationalist attack from the group Weisse Drache, or I’m sure he’d be all over this. It’s definitely his wheelhouse.” Sam kept his voice as even and authoritative as he could, despite his urge to lash out. It was that self-control that had allowed him to climb so high in the Seattle office. “Even if it’s not White Nationalistic domestic terror—which I’m not theorizing; it’s what my anon suggested—it sounds very much like a hate crime. But…”

Sam trailed off, studying Crawford and doing his best to mask his irritation. Then he asked, “The other disappearances… What’s behind those?”

“Inconclusive.” Crawford stared, almost seeming to challenge Sam. “At least per the local PD. We could go in, see if we can draw some conclusions. If you really think it’s a hate crime, we could go in undercover. Either way, if we infiltrate the community, we can see what’s what.”

“We go in undercover,” Sam echoed, disbelieving. “We ‘infiltrate the community’.” Really, that was Crawford’s go-to?

After a beat, Sam grimaced, letting it all sink in. “That would be one way to access their information infrastructure and surveil the environs. The family is maintaining the house for the missing Millers, and from what I’ve heard they’d cooperate and let us use it as a base of operations for our efforts. You’ve got the green light to pursue this?”

“I was told to check it out, so that’s what I’m doing. Checking it out.” Crawford turned to his computer and put in his password along with the security dongle code. “Doesn’t need to be really deep cover. We could claim to be part of the family, housesitting, but make ourselves really at home. See what we can see.”

“Have you tapped someone to partner with you in the field?” Sam pulled out his phone, ready to plug in their third’s data, and looked up to meet Crawford’s eyes expectantly.

“We,” Crawford gestured between the two of them. “Can check this out. I really just need you there to give the appearance of a gay family. You can come in to work as usual if you need. The rest of my crew’s still in Turkey. It could take weeks to get another agent—if they’d assign another at all right now. By then, I may be off again.”

“You want to pretend we’re a gay couple?” Sam’s voice came out much squeakier than usual, and he cursed internally, hating how pubescent he sounded. “You want to replicate the Millers’ situation and see if there’s a bite?”

Technically Sam could do most of his work remotely, but pretending to adore Crawford was not a viable career choice. What the shit?

Then he thought of Hunter’s worried face, remembered how hollow Riggs seemed at Sunday dinner. They weren’t in any place to investigate this, even if Riggs could get the go-ahead, and the last thing Hunter needed was to be separated from Riggs right now. Or rather, the last thing Hunter needed was to go undercover himself, because he’d done enough of that, and Sam was over it, officially.

“Is that coffee done yet?” It sounded more plaintive than Sam had hoped, like he was in desperate need of caffeination, but he was. God, he really was.

“Sure.” Crawford turned and moved the press closer and pushed the plunger down steadily, big meaty hand on the top. “Listen, as a field agent who often works undercover, it’s not my first gay rodeo. Though, I’ll admit, it’s why I can’t just call just anybody in to help. You know, some people around here…”

Crawford leaned in as if taking Sam into his confidence, also implying that he was a cool kid somehow for not being squeamish about doing his job. “Particularly lately. We can just go in say we’re more or less housesitting until the Millers come back, leave it open ended but make ourselves at home, if you know what I mean. See what the mood is. If it’s nothing, we’ll just leave, no need to make a big deal of it until there’s something actionable.”

He pushed the finished coffee closer. “Sound like a plan?”

About the Authors

Thursday Euclid is a strange and elusive creature dwelling in the Texas Gulf Coast region. Frequently mistaken for Bigfoot, Chupacabra, or the monster of the week, he is, in fact, a 30-something black sheep with a penchant for K-pop, geekery, and hot and sour soup.

When he’s not playing Dragon Age or SWTOR, he’s probably watching B-movies or talking to his best friend and frequent collaborator Clancy Nacht. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or email him at thursdayeuclid at gmail dot com.

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Clancy Nacht is a bisexual genderqueer person who lives in Austin. Clancy has published several bestselling romances. Many of her books have been honored with Rainbow Awards; Le Jazz Hot won for Best Bisexual/Transgender Romance & Erotic Romance.

In 2013, Black Gold: Double Black was a runner-up for a Rainbow Award. In 2015, Gemini won an Honorable Mention for Gay Erotic Romance and in 2016, Strange Times won an Honorable Mention for Science Fiction.

Wyatt’s Recipes for Wooing Rock Stars was a finalist in the highly competitive William Neale Award for Best Gay Contemporary Romance. The Phisher King won second place in the Rainbow Award for Romantic Suspense, 16th for Gay Book of the Year.

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Once again Rick R. Reed delivers up something unusual

The Secrets We KeepThe Secrets We Keep by Rick R. Reed

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is another unusual romance from Rick R Reed in which the protagonists feel like they’re people he knows whose lives have been played out in front of him.

It’s a strange twist between an angsty May to December romance and a sort of whimsical almost paranormal ghost-like tale of two lives which have known tragedy.

Be aware that this book also has heavy subject matter and, imho anyways, really should have a trigger warning.

As the story begins, I think it’s clear what direction the path of one character is taking but it is still a sensitive matter to deal with on page.

The two men at the heart of the narrative are fleshed out perfectly into distinct personalities even though for much of the narrative they are apart.

It’s not your traditional love story, I was both frustrated and elated by the path taken to happiness.

It’s a Dreamspinner Press publication so the sex is referenced in passing and takes place in bare-bones detail but it works for the melancholy nature of the tale.

There’s a wonderfully uplifting Epilogue which goes a long way to bringing a sense of peace to the relationship between Jasper and Rob which works very well.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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The expanded epilogue still kills me with this fabulous Medieval romance

47948494._SY475_The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

NOTE: Reading again as it’s been re-released 28/08/19

Yep, the updated epilogue still kills me and makes my eyes leak!

However, the rest of this novella is also still as beautifully involving and historically evoking as it was the first time I read it.

William and Christian are brilliantly realised characters, full of honour and bravery, willing to risk all not only for their own love but for the safety and protection of William’s abused sister.

The solution to homosexuality being punishable by death in the early centuries of the Middle Ages still rings true given what we know of the time period and Christian’s actions are still well within the brutal kill or be killed way of life which was prevalent.

The adventure is a slow-burning UST filled ride with many stumbles along the way.

Eli has included the book’s original epilogue when it was first published as part of the Love Has No Boundaries event in the MM Book Group here on Goodreads.

But, for me, even though it makes me cry, the updated Epilogue is the better one because it covers decades of a lifetime’s happiness before a final shout of glory.

I will just say though

*** Spoiler***

if you don’t like to read about character deaths, even though it’s after a pretty long and happy life together, do skip over the new epilogue and head to the older one

Original Review

Oh that epilogue, painfully heartbreaking and yet a herald of a lifetime of happiness at the same time.

I really liked this one, medieval England is a difficult historic setting to get right and there were only a couple of slips in terminology or title.

The killing of Lord Somerfield is a tricky one, required for the plot but still a murder committed with aforethought.

Still, it worked within the story narrative and if it truly had been a serving wench, then self-defence would have been a justification.

William and Christian were two truly beautiful men and their love in a time when not only the law but their immortal souls were on the line according to the times, was cleverly explored.

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Leta Blake continues to impress with this omegaverse series

Copy of Copy of bitter heat high resBitter Heat by Leta Blake

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As with the first two novels in this brilliant series, Leta Blake uses the narrative to raise questions which parallel events which are happening in our own world.

Here it’s more expansion on omega rights, the lack of any control over their own heats for bonded omegas and what happens with a pregnancy which isn’t wanted.

It’s also a redemption story, that of Janus Heelies and his determination to live up to the forgiveness and friendship Caleb (from Alpha Heat has given him as he heads into the mountains to learn how to become a doctor.

There’s an interesting path taken as Kerry is already pregnant with his abusive alpha’s baby, and while he is free in so much as that alpha is now in prison, his obligations to his in-laws mean there is still overwhelming pressure which is weighing him down.

Janus is doing his best to be a better alpha and for the most part he’s succeeding. He’s thrown in at the deep end with his doctoring and he’s learning how to be grateful for life’s small bounties. But Kerry throws a massive spanner in the works.

I loved how their relationship built up so slowly and, without spoiling anything, I really loved the clever path Leta takes with the plotlines here as they move into friendship and beyond.

There’s a fabulous cast of secondary characters, we get to catch up with Caleb and his family and get an insight into where the series may be going next.

These books are wonderfully insightful, superbly crafted and remain among my favourite shifter stories.

This one only isn’t a 5* read for me because I wanted more of Janus and Kerry together and, while Leta gave a wonderful extended epilogue, I would have liked to have seen the growth on page.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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