Tag Archives: Adult

Release Blitz: Sweet to the Core by Amy Aislin

Sweet to the Core | Amy Aislin

Lighthouse Bay #3

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Release Date: May 17th, 2022

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 64,000 words/ 250 pages

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Blurb

Dev has pined for his cousin’s best friend for years, but no matter how hard he wishes, Clark sees him as nothing but a friend. And it’s as a friend that Clark comes to him for help.

Clark’s father is on the brink of losing his house and the fastest way to make a quick buck is to win the $10,000 prize in the inaugural Sweet to the Core apple baking contest. Only problem? He’s never baked anything that hasn’t come out of a box.

But Dev has. As a baker, he’s Clark’s best chance.

For the first time, Dev has something Clark wants. Only problem? Dev needs the prize for himself. The only thing he wants—besides Clark—is to buy the local lighthouse where he last spent time with his parents before they died.

Working together means opening a lot more than a barrel of apples, though. They may have found the recipe to love.

But will Dev have to give up the only connection he has left to his parents in order to have it? Or will Clark let his father down? They can’t both have everything.

Or can they?

SweettotheCore-Promo1-1

Excerpt

“I wanted to talk to you about Sweet to the Core.”

“I already told you I’m not entering.”

“What if you had a partner and entered as a team?”

Dev swirled the beer in his bottle. “Why would I do that? I work alone.”

“As they say, two heads are better than one.”

“No, thanks.”

“Don’t you want to know who it is?”

“Are they an expert in baking with apples?”

“Uh . . . no,” Clark said. “They’re not really an expert in baking . . . anything. Except homemade pasta. And cock croissants.”

“Then again, I ask, why would I want to do that?” Why would he split ten grand with someone who couldn’t actively contribute? “Wait.” An expert in making homemade pasta? Cock croissants? “You want to compete?”

Clark crossed his arms and squinted against the sun. “I looked the rules up online. That social media component? It’s all about documenting your journey through the competition. Whoever gets the most cumulative likes at the end gets a thousand bucks, six months of free advertising, and web design consultation.”

“Yes, I know all this. That’s why I’m not competing. I don’t have time for all the social stuff.”

“Right. That’s where I come in.”

Dev regarded him through narrowed eyes. What universe had he been dropped into that Clark wanted to partner with him for a baking contest? There wasn’t a single part of that sentence that made sense. “Explain.”

“What if I take care of the social media stuff?” Sitting forward, Clark braced both elbows on his knees and regarded him. “Whenever you’re doing contest-related stuff, I’ll tag along, take photos, and post them with a catchy caption. Easy. I’ll have everyone eating out of the palm of your hand. Which leaves you free for the baking. If we win, we split the prize fifty-fifty.”

Dev pursed his lips. Fuck, it was tempting. So very, very tempting. Half the prize would speed up his timeline for acquiring the lighthouse and light keeper’s cottage by months. He could be out of Holland and Zach’s hair that much faster. Within the year if the one-story cottage could be renovated quickly.

The prospect of spending all that time with Clark, though . . . Dev both dreaded it and ached for it desperately.

“Why?” he asked. “Why would you do this? There’s a lot of prep that goes into this kind of thing. It’s not about submitting my bake and hoping for the best. There are two rounds of—”

“Judging. I remember.”

“It’s not just that,” Dev stressed, trying to drive the point home that this wasn’t something that would take an hour of Clark’s life before he went on his merry way. “Whatever I enter in the contest needs to be test-baked several times to ensure it’s as perfect as it can be. That means I need to check my personal inventory to determine if I have enough ingredients to cover multiple bakes. If it’s not, I need to buy some—flour, baking powder, whatever. And this is an apple baking contest, which means going apple picking to select the best apples. I also need to research other countywide contests to see what kinds of bakes have won. Granted, I’ll be doing all of this in the evenings after the bakery has closed, so if we do team up, it won’t interfere with your job. But it’s still going to take up a lot of your time in the next four weeks. This isn’t one of your hookups; there’s a time commitment involved.”

Clark opened his mouth to speak. Snapped it closed, brow furrowing. “You seem to have a very low opinion of my character.”

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About the Author

Amy’s lived with her head in the clouds since she first picked up a book as a child, and being fluent in two languages means she’s read a lot of books! She first picked up a pen on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class had to stay inside for recess.

Tales of treasure hunts with her classmates eventually morphed into love stories between men, and she’s been writing ever since. She writes evenings and weekends—or whenever she isn’t at her full-time day job saving the planet at Canada’s largest environmental non-profit.

An unapologetic introvert, Amy reads too much and socializes too little, with no regrets. She loves connecting with readers. Join her Facebook Group to stay up-to-date on upcoming releases and for access to early teasers, find her on Instagram, or sign up for her infrequent newsletter.

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Kane is so much more than his past and I adore him

InStep-400x600In Step by Jay Hogan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While book two still just shades it as my favourite in this series, I have to say, Kane and Abe ran them close to take over at the top.

This book is nothing like I thought it would be.

Kane is nothing like the image we’ve been given of him in the previous stories, although he is also the first to tell people that he does not deserve their pity, or their friendship.

His one act of violence while still a schoolboy has had a lasting effect on Judah, Leroy and the rest of the Madden clan but as he slowly opens up to Abe, you find out more about the life Kane was living at that time.

While it never excuses what happened, it explains it. There was so much more going on than just a bully hitting out at an easy target.

I think Jay dealt with the whole journey, from the tentative friendship which arises between Judah’s choreographer friend Abe, through to the final ending, with supreme skill.

There are some very painful elements which tug at the heartstrings, but also a whole lot of hope and thoughts for a renewed life.

Heed the trigger warnings, there’s plenty to go at with this book, Kane has had a life that really wasn’t pleasant and he’s affected by his experiences in a multitude of ways.

But also, take joy from someone finding out that mistakes made, and one act of impulse, doesn’t have to be the thing that defines the rest of your life.

As someone who used to dance, that element of this book worked so beautifully for me. Jay uses the vehicle of the Argentine Tango in which to express the changes that Kane goes through as he opens up to Abe and then to the wider Madden family.

It’s a dance of passion, of emotion, it’s intimate and connected, it mimics the acts of both sex and love, and it draws you into a world in which two men can dance together and no-one blinks (AT’s roots are as a same sex dance in the ghettos of Buenos Aires where men would dance together to attract the attention of the local prostitutes).

I utterly adored everything about the dance elements which anchor this book, from the work Judah and Abe are doing with the young kids to show them that life with a disability doesn’t have to be limiting, to the growing love between Abe and Kane.

So, while Leroy and Fox still take first place in my heart, I will also have a space for Abe and Kane, and a relationship they worked so hard to reach.

There’s no ridiculous dramady in this one, the angst isn’t from misunderstanding or miscommunication, tensions arise from outside plot events and there is never a sense that things are being played out for plot’s sake.

It’s a beautifully organic romance that develops through two people finding a connection and then working at it when it becomes clear there’s far more than just a lustful attraction involved.

Kane is a complex and vulnerable man, and in Abe he finds someone who can help shoulder his load, for Abe, Kane is somewhere to come home to. I adored everything about this book.

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

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Release Blitz: The Slow Death by Nic Starr & BL Maxwell

The Slow Death | Nic Starr & BL Maxwell

Four Packs Trilogy #1

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Release Date: January 26th, 2022

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 46,000 words/ 165 pages

Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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The Slow Death Cover

Blurb

Caught in the fallout of a rare disease, and members of opposing packs, Zander and Marrok’s future as fated mates hangs in the balance.

Alexander Kingston wasn’t destined to lead the East Territory pack, but fate had other ideas. Becoming the next Alpha in his dead brother’s place and managing his father’s expectations is a challenge, one that’s only getting harder with time. When his father, the Alpha is reluctant to accept outside assistance when one of their own is afflicted with a deadly blood disorder, Zander must take a stand against his father or lose another pack member to The Slow Death.

Marrok Blain is part of the North Territory pack. With his unique knowledge of The Slow Death, the debilitating progressive disorder that slowly kills with every shift, he offers help, knowing he’ll be met with resistance from his friend’s pack. What he doesn’t expect is the overwhelming pull to the stubborn yet undeniably gorgeous son of the East Territory Alpha.

Four packs coexisting with rising tensions, and a genetic disorder that reminds them of the common thread that connects them all. Zander and Marrok are the key to an uneasy alliance, or all the packs will suffer. Especially Zander, who discovers he’s got one more deadly fight to face.

TAGLINE 1

Excerpt

“I need to speak to the alpha!” Marrok tried to move past the other man who stood slightly taller than his own six foot two.

“Sorry, he’s busy. Can I help you?” He stepped right in front of Marrok again.

“I want to speak to the alpha!” he gritted out, his patience gone.

“What’s going on out here?”

The power of the alpha was immediately felt and Marrok fought and lost as he tried not to bow his head in submission and respect.

“I want to know why you’re not doing more to find Grady a donor.”

The guy who’d tried to stop Marrok stayed close, his eyes focused on him. Marrok shot him a look, and when their eyes locked a force more powerful than even the command of the alpha rippled across his senses. It was there and gone so fast he didn’t have time to put a name to it, so ignoring the shocked expression that crossed the other man’s face, he forced his eyes back to the alpha.

“I want some answers, and if I can help, I want to be involved. Grady’s important to me, and if you’re not willing to help him Iwill. There’s no chance in hell I’ll let him die without a fight.”

Marrok glanced again at the man who still had his eyes locked on him and now had his arms crossed in obvious annoyance, before looking back to the alpha.

“You must be Marrok. I’m Andreas, Alpha of East Territory. This is my son Alexander.”

Marrok looked between the two men and saw the resemblance but didn’t care who the guy was. Whatever had passed between them didn’t matter. His friend came first, and the fact that they had let him decline so much before seeking help pissed him off.

“Why didn’t you reach out sooner? You know we’re close to finding a cure, but even without a cure our registry might help him find a donor.”

The alpha looked to his son and Alexander looked away, out of frustration or shame, Marrok wasn’t sure. He turned to Marrok again. “We’ve done all we can. Don’t you dare storm in here and talk to me this way. I spoke to your grandfather and agreed to see you as a courtesy, but I will not listen to you imply that I don’t care about our pack members. Now if you’ll kindly make an appointment—”

“Great.” The word dripped with sarcasm. He didn’t try to hide his frustration, and he wouldn’t play nice to appease the feelings of a stranger, no matter who they were. Both of them were responsible for Grady’s situation as far as he was concerned, and both of them would pay if Grady succumbed to TSD. Marrok knew he couldn’t hurt them physically, but he could withhold any information and data that would help them and their pack in the future. “How about you let me know when you’re finally ready to save your pack member?”

He realized he’d been staring at Alexander since the alpha had spoken, and he also realized he hated whatever was between them. Alexander narrowed his eyes, and Marrok knew he felt the same. He took one more look at the most beautiful blue eyes he’d ever seen, before turning on his heel and storming from the building.

TROPES

About the Authors

BL Maxwell logo

BL Maxwell grew up in a small town listening to her grandfather spin tales about his childhood. Later she became an avid reader and after a certain vampire series she became obsessed with fanfiction.

She soon discovered Slash fanfiction and later discovered the MM genre and was hooked.

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NIC STARR

Nic Starr lives in Australia where she tries to squeeze as much into her busy life as possible. Balancing the demands of a corporate career with raising a family and writing can be challenging but she wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Always a reader, the lure of m/m romance was strong and she devoured hundreds of wonderful m/m romance books before eventually realising she had some stories of her own that needed to be told!

When not writing or reading, she loves to spend time with her family–an understanding husband and two beautiful daughters–and is often found indulging in her love of cooking and planning her dream home in the country.

You can find Nic on Facebook, Twitter and her blog. She’d love it if you stopped by to say hi.

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