Tag Archives: anxieties

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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Release Blitz: Dirty Laundry by Heidi Cullinan

Dirty Laundry | Heidi Cullinan

Tucker Springs #3

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Winner, Best LGBT Erotic Romance in the 2013 Elisa Rolle Rainbow Awards

Release Date: March 29, 2019

Publisher:  Reissued by Dreamspinner Press.

The title is revised with some significance and expanded from the original release.

Buy Links: 

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon (US) • Amazon (CA) • Amazon (UK)

Audible (First Edition version)

Barnes & Noble

Google Play • Hoopla (audio first edition)

 iTunes

Kobo (US) • Kobo (CA)

Find on Overdrive

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43527040-dirty-laundry

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Blurb

Sometimes you have to get dirty to come clean.

When muscle-bound Denver Rogers effortlessly dispatches the frat boys harassing grad student Adam Ellery at the Tucker Springs laundromat, Adam’s thank-you turns into impromptu sex over the laundry table. The problem comes when they exchange numbers.

What if Adam wants to meet again and discovers Denver is a high school dropout with a learning disability who works as a bouncer at a local gay bar? Or what if Denver calls Adam only to learn while he might be brilliant in the lab, outside of it he has crippling social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Either way, neither of them can shake the memory of their laundromat encounter. Despite their fears of what the other might think, they can only remember how good the other one feels. The more they get together, the kinkier things become. They’re both a little bent, but in just the right ways.

Maybe the secret to staying together isn’t to keep things clean and proper. Maybe it’s best to keep their laundry just a little bit dirty.

Excerpt

Adam closed his eyes, head lolled back onto Denver’s shoulder, and when he spoke, his voice was so subdued he almost slurred. “It’s not that I don’t want you.”

“I figured that one out.” Denver cupped Adam’s erection, teasing his fly undone with his thumb.

“It’s just not… safe to be alone with someone like that. That alone and vulnerable.”

Had something happened to Adam? Was that why he was so nervous, bopping around like a rabbit? The idea made Denver hot to find whoever had hurt Adam, made him so afraid, and pound them into oblivion. He pulled Adam in tighter, turning his fondling of Adam’s cock into a caress. “You tell me what you want, baby. Tell me what is safe, and I’ll give it to you.”

“This.” Adam’s hands rose up and back to clutch at Denver’s head, knocking at his hat and rubbing against the bristles of his cheeks. “God, this.”

“In the hallway, right by the door?”

“Yeah. Against the wall, you behind me. They can see me, but they can’t touch me, because you’re here. Like with the laundry. You won’t let anyone fuck with me.”

The words rushed through Denver, making his whole body swell with pleasure, pride. “Just me.” He pulled Adam’s cock out of his pants and stroked him meaningfully. “I’m going to fuck with you, though. Fuck you, baby. Right into the wall.”

“Yes.” Adam’s hands clutched harder at Denver. He was so lost he was barely there. High on mineral water and Denver. Denver fucking loved it.

“I want to fuck your mouth.” Denver growled this into Adam’s ear, stroking him harder. “I want you on your knees in front of me, looking up while I fuck that sweet mouth.”

Fingernails cut into Denver’s neck. “Yes.”

God help him, he almost did it right there. It wouldn’t be the first time someone had fucked on the main floor, maybe even at the front door. He could have whipped it out and rutted fast, burying into Adam like he was asking for, knocking some good moans out of him so enough people heard to look and admire. The very idea of it filled him with such a rush it made his teeth ache, made him want to turn animal and just do it.

But even if Jase wouldn’t hang him for it, or the cops, who felt the need to nip in and make sure the world wasn’t coming to an end via public exposure, he didn’t want people seeing Adam that way. He got the feeling this wasn’t something Adam did on a regular basis, and he wasn’t sure Adam understood that if Denver fucked him against the wall, others would try to repeat the performance when Denver wasn’t around—they’d ask, but again, he just had this feeling that Adam didn’t quite know how to play this game.

Adam had decided Denver would protect him, so Denver would. Resisting the urge to fuck him into the wall, at least right here, seemed to fit into that scenario.

He kept Adam snug against him as he walked into the bar, waving at Kevin to get his attention. Taking a break, he mouthed, jerking his head at the storeroom.

Kevin paused in midpull of a draft, looked meaningfully at Adam, who was breathing hard with his cock hanging out of his undone pants. Kevin rolled his eyes. But he nodded too, which was all Denver needed. Pushing aside drunken patrons and a few who made approving or jealous sounds as they got a good look at what Denver was doing, Denver covered the distance to the storeroom door.

The harsh fluorescent lights cast Adam in a sickly, pearlescent glow. His hair had been done in that carefully mussed style, but now it was simply mussed. His lips weren’t swollen, but they were damp and parted. His eyes weren’t bloodshot, but they were unfocused and drunk with lust. No terror, though. Not a drop of fear lit those pretty brown eyes.

Denver ran his thumb over Adam’s lip, soaking in the image. Then he placed one of his huge hands on the top of Adam’s head, pushed him onto his knees, and gripped his hair, drawing his head back as he pulled out his cock and ran it over those sweet, parted lips.

This was a pretty damn good image too.

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To Celebrate the Re-Release of Dirty Laundry, Heidi’s popped in with

some Frequently Asked Questions

Thanks so much for having me today! I’m here to celebrate the re-release of Dirty Laundry at Dreamspinner Press and answer some of the questions I get asked most often about the book.

Where did you get the idea for this story? Did it really used to be a short story?

Dirty Laundry was originally a short story, yes. There are people who have read the short story, the first edition, the audio edition, and are strapped in for the second edition—and I’m grateful to you all!

I think the short story was for a newsletter, maybe? It was free, that’s all I knew, and it was meant to remain a standalone thing. Then I got asked to be part of the Tucker Springs project, and I decided to use these guys since the number one comment I got about the short was “why isn’t this longer?” And the novel was born.

What’s new in this second edition? How much changed?

I definitely did more of a brush up on this than I normally do when revisiting a novel. The story itself is entirely the same, though there are scenes I combined, expanded, and sometimes rewrote significantly. The sex scenes are definitely the places that got the most attention, and though it wasn’t my conscious plan, they all got expanded.

Is the audiobook that’s currently available the same edition as this one?

It is not. That’s something that could potentially change in the future, but not at this time. The audio version for sale now corresponds to the first edition.

If you rerecord the audiobook, will it still be Iggy Toma reading?

That’s one of my biggest conditions for moving it.

Why did you include a character with OCD? Did you do research?

I definitely didn’t sit down and say, “I should make this character have OCD, that’d be a good character element.” I sat with the original characters from the short story and thought about what was going on in their lives that would make expanding worth it. How did they get the laundromat? Why were they there? What deeper aspects of their personalities was I not yet seeing or focusing on that would make the book better?

I always knew Adam was anxious, but as I sat with him and pushed for deeper development, his OCD essentially surfaced. At that time I had a close friend with OCD, so I asked her a lot of questions, but I also read several books.

The funny thing was, my research opened my eyes a little, and I know I have a few obsessive compulsive tendencies—which, so do many people, I learned. It was fascinating to learn how OCD works and how it’s different for different people. I was excited to write Adam’s story, not as a healing journey to “overcome” this part of him but to learn how to adapt with it and accept his full self on his way to his HEA.

Have you read Dirty Laundry’s first edition? What did you think about the story, and are you looking forward to seeing what I changed in the second edition?

*

Read more about Dirty Laundry! First chapter excerpt, buy links, and reviews.

Dirty Laundry is book three in the Tucker Springs series, a collaborative project between three authors. Find other books in the series at Dreamspinner Press and wherever books are sold.

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About The Author

Author of more than thirty novels, Midwest-native Heidi Cullinan writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after.

Heidi is a two-time RITA® finalist and her books have been recommended by Library Journal, USA Today, RT Magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly.

When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading novels and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime.

Social Media

Website: heidicullinan.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/heidicullinan

Twitter: http://twitter.com/heidicullinan

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The second book in this fab series is an emotional ride

42108159Scott by R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I love this new adult series from RJ and Vicki. It’s still got the ice hockey hook but in Owatonna, the main thrust of the stories are about young men finding their way in a complicated world.

My heart aches for Scott, it was torn at all the trials Hayne had grown up with, it broke at the grief these two were having to deal with.

But, it also rejoiced when they found each other, it sang when Hayne got lost in his art and it burst with happiness when they battled their demons to look forward to a brighter future together.

I’m thoroughly enjoying this series and looking forward to goalie Ben’s story next.

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

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The final book in the Under My Skin series is a ‘must read’ imho

Redeem CoverRedeem by Christina Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh Christina you absolutely outdid yourself with this one. Not only did you write a beautiful love story about two flawed men but you most certainly did Redeem Voldemort and the asshole 🙂

Nothing works better for me when it comes to my romances than a redemption arc story.

Both Michael and Stewart will be familiar to the readers of the Under My Skin series as the exes of West (Jonah) from Reawaken and Elijah from Reclaim.

This can be read as a standalone but personally I think you miss out on just how big the redemption is for these two wonderfully broken men who each find in the other their perfect cracked half.

Michael just wants to care for someone, Stewart’s anxieties stem from his childhood and he has to control everything. Neither man was right for West or Elijah but they’re utterly right for each other.

Watching them start off as a hook-up – and oh lordy did Christina lay down the heat for the blistering encounter which opens this book – and slowly build up an almost accidental level of trust and support is beautiful.

Having seen them from the other side in the previous two books, it made me all teary and gave me loads and loads of feels to see that what had seemed to be two absolute bastards incapable of relationships or emotional connections absolutely could do that, and do it with absolute commitment, when the right person appeared.

A must read for me.

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

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Utterly delightful friends to lovers ends the Underdogs series perfectly

YouForeverAlways-KAM-f-900
You. Forever. Always.
by K.A. Merikan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well that was radically different than book two in this series!

Dawn and Mage’s romance is beautifully slow burn and tender and takes its time to develop mostly because of Dawn’s overwhelming anxieties.

The authors treat this with the seriousness it deserves and there’s no magic cure because of love which was good to see, the relationship doesn’t run smooth, even with all the years they’ve been friends.

I do like a friends to lovers romance and that’s what we get here, with some minor hiccups along the way as they each can’t quite believe the other one feels the same way.

This is all ends up sweet and I liked the change of pace from the two earlier books but Asher and Sid remain my faves and Dusk and Lolly still irritate me 😉

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

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The length of this one may put readers off but the slow burn is worth it

Untouchable

Untouchable by Ruthie Luhnow & Kay Simone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s a 4* for me simply because of the length, I felt the same situation arose over and over (the internal monologuing and second guessing of the other person’s thoughts and feelings just got a bit wearing for me personally).

But, that aside, the rest of this book is a beautifully written exploration of how two completely different and disparate people can actually turn out to be perfect for each other and just “understand” how the other one ticks and know how to comfort and support them.

Both Kay Simone and Ruthie Luhnow have written books I’ve previously 5*ed and thoroughly enjoyed and I thought this collaboration between the two of them highlighted and showcased each of their great writing skills for both a sense of place and in the beautiful language used.

It’s written in first person present, which can be a little difficult to get your head around and is one of the reasons for me that the first quarter of the book just felt like it was going on forever with very little happening.

However, once Harp and Parker actually admit to their blossoming feelings, the pace kicks up a gear and we start to see some real character development as Harp gets over his insular nature and Parker begins to stand up for himself and not feel quite so unworthy. Both men have suffered from the slings and arrows of life so it’s joyful to see them start to open up to each other.

There are hurdles along the way though, and this means there’s a lot of angsty and only a little steam – which actually makes sense given the unique natures of each individual man.

I love a good May to December and Harp is almost two decades older than Parker (who is 26), which again leads to a whole other level of anxiety and insecurities and what I liked about this story is that the relationship didn’t all of a sudden remove all those characteristics.

Both men remained anxious at times, insecure at times, fearful and with all their hang ups, but they also grow and adapt, learn to be flexible and rely on the other.

I think this will appeal to readers who enjoy a slow burn, it is glacial at times, but because of the quality of the writing, it’s something you (generic) can live with as it marches on to what’s a bit of a swoony epilogue.

#ARC kindly received from the authors in exchange for an honest and unbiased review

Another enjoyable read focusing on men with issues

The Heart As He Hears It (Perspectives, #3)The Heart As He Hears It by A.M. Arthur

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As with the other books in this series, there’s angst but, like book two, it’s not as bad as the first one.

Jon and Isaac made an interesting pair with their different hang ups and mental anxieties and both brought something solid for the other to rely on.

I liked that there was a lot of conversation between them in this romance, not silly misunderstandings or lack of communication. The odd side plot really didn’t work for me though as it seemed to come out of nowhere even with the red herring in play.

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