Tag Archives: betrayal

Lacuna hit all my fantasy high notes perfectly

55703944._SY475_Lacuna by N.R. Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, that was a cracker!

I absolutely adore fantasy, it’s my first love and I’m always really happy to see more authors in the MM genre writing it.

With Lacuna, Nic does an excellent job of not only creating a fully immersive world, but bedding a romance into the heart of the narrative.

The premise is simple, four kingdoms, four rulers, one rare event requiring them all to gather, then betrayal and threat from outside forces. But it’s the way she then weaves the culture of her creation into the story which worked so well for me.

Crow, King of the Northlands, and Tancho, King of the Westlands, couldn’t be more opposite if they tried. There are influences in their Kingdoms from our own cultures, the Northlands are icy and vaguely Scandinavia, the Westlands are all watery and heavily evocative of Japanese culture.

An unexpected event at the gathering of these four rulers forces Crow and Tancho together and theirs is a sort of “enemies” to lovers romance.

They were never actual enemies but there’s animosity at first, which slowly, because of circumstances, turns into mutual admiration and respect – and a possibly slightly unhealthy dose of jealousy which provides a lot of the humour in the story.

With a wonderful cast of supporting characters, this story races through a complicated, but never confusing, plot involving alchemy, astronomy, a wee bit of magic and a lot of collaboration and bravery.

While the main plot is resolved in this story, there is enough left that I think there could be more to come and I would very much love to read more. Crow and Tancho’s relationship may have originally begun through forces outside their control, but it very much became one of mutual love and trust.

I also loved the other two rulers of the Eastern and Southern Kingdoms, both Elmwood and Samiel (the only Queen) were engaging characters with definite personalities and I’d be very happy to read more about them too.

Definitely one of my favourite books from Nic and I absolutely LOVE the cover.

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

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New Release Blitz: Chaser by Rick R. Reed

Chaser | Rick R. Reed

Chaser #1

Chaser Banner

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: February 24, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 67,500

Buy Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon

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Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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Blurb

Caden DeSarro is what they call a chubby chaser. He likes his guys with a few extra pounds on them. So when he meets Kevin Dodge in a bar bathroom, he can’t help but stare. As far as Caden is concerned, Kevin is physically perfect: a stocky, bearded blond. But Caden gets tongue-tied and misses his chance.

When Caden runs into Kevin one night on the el train, he figures it’s fate offering him a second shot. Caden manages to get invited back to Kevin’s place for a one-night stand that turns into the kind of relationship he’s dreamed about.

But the course of true love never runs smoothly—Kevin and Caden’s romance is no exception. When Caden returns from a few weeks away on business, Kevin surprises him with a new and “improved” body—one that fits Caden’s shallow friend Bobby’s ideal, but not Caden’s. Caden doesn’t know what to do, and his hesitation is just the opportunity Bobby was looking for.

Excerpt

Chaser
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

“I like fat men.”

“You like big butts?”

“I cannot lie.”

Caden and his therapist laughed together over the song reference, both old enough to remember Sir Mix-A-Lot’s 1992 rap hit “Baby Got Back.” Camille D’Amico reined in her laughter abruptly, pushing her tortoiseshell glasses back up on her nose and fussing with her frizzy halo of brown hair. She adopted a serious expression. “So you’re attracted to heavier men. Is that a problem?”

“Not really a problem, I guess. It’s just that I wonder why. I mean, look at me.”

Caden stood up, turned around slowly, and sat back down in the comfortable overstuffed chair facing Camille. He knew what he was displaying—a very trim, tight five-foot-eleven frame upon which not even an ounce of fat rested. In the dictionary, if one looked up the word “lean,” there was Caden’s picture, the perfect illustration. He rubbed his hands over his black buzz cut and then brought one hand down to the stubble of his just-coming-in beard. Not only was he very fit, he was a very handsome thirty-year-old man.

“What?” Camille asked. “You think you’re too good for a guy with a few extra pounds on his frame? Think you’re slumming if you take a walk on the fat side?”

Caden shook his head and put up his palms in self-defense. “No, no, that’s not it at all. I don’t think I’m better, not by any stretch. I’m just wondering why, lately especially, I’ve been drawn to heavier men.”

“Is this something new for you?”

“Not really, but it’s only something I’ve been acting on in the past few months. I have this friend, Bobby, who I usually go out with and he’s, well, he can be kind of superficial…” Caden’s voice trailed off as he thought of his gorgeous friend, who looked a lot like the porn star, Dawson, with a trim build, cut abs, closely shorn auburn hair, and luminous gray eyes. The difference between Bobby and Dawson was that Bobby was much choosier than Dawson, although perhaps no less promiscuous—no mean feat when one considered one of Dawson’s films was entitled Dawson’s 50-Load Weekend. Anyway, this session was supposed to be about Caden, not Bobby. “And he always gives me a hard time about wanting to meet, as I said, heavier men.”

“And this Bobby’s opinion is important to you?”

“He’s my best friend.”

“Important enough that you would alter going after what you really want for him?”

Camille’s question stopped him short. He’d never really thought of it that way. Why did it matter what Bobby thought? So what if he didn’t approve of the bearded redhead he met online and invited over last week? And what business was it of Bobby’s if he liked to peruse the profiles at footballplayerbuild.com?

Obviously, it bothered him enough to bring it up here today with Camille, whom he had been seeing for the past three weeks. His visits to her were his thirtieth birthday present to himself. He hoped to figure out why, at age thirty, he had yet to find a relationship that lasted more than three dates.

He had begun wondering if there was something intrinsically wrong with him. He was a good catch—at least that’s what his mother told him—but on paper, he did look good. No one could argue with that. He was handsome, having inherited his mother’s Sicilian olive complexion, black hair, and eyes that ranged from amber to green. His nose was strong, patrician, some might say (his mom again, anyway). He wasn’t a bodybuilder, but years of running four to six miles four to six days a week, along with summertime lakefront bike rides, had given him a good, solid build.

And it wasn’t just in the looks department where he thought he had a lot to offer. He had a good head on his shoulders. That he got from his late father, who had been a fully tenured professor of English literature at Northwestern University in Evanston before passing away unexpectedly one morning in the bathroom of a heart attack. That same head on his shoulders had given him, if not a stellar job, a solidly respectable and reliable one as a copywriter at a medical association in downtown Chicago. He had been there since graduating from Northwestern nine years ago, starting out as an editorial assistant on one of their trade journals.

So why did he feel the need to try to apply the same standards Bobby applied to his own dates, standards that could be summed up by Bobby with the initials FG, which stood for “fucking gorgeous”? If a man was not FG, so Bobby’s rationale went, he was not worth fucking.

Sometimes Caden wondered why he had Bobby as a best friend. But he could be hilarious at times, and he could be a lot of fun. Caden on his own in a bar was a wallflower, but with Bobby, some of his charm and charisma, the devil-may-care attitude, rubbed off on Caden.

Plus, going out with Bobby usually meant he would hook up with one of Bobby’s FG prospects’ fucking gorgeous friends. Because, as Bobby always said, “The hot ones travel in packs.”

Caden shook his head and looked at the therapist, who was sitting patiently, waiting. “What did you ask me again?”

“I asked you if Bobby’s opinion was more important to you than getting what you want.” Camille cocked her head.

“No, no, of course not.” He answered too quickly.

“You know,” Camille said, “I’m like what’s in your own head. There’s no need in here to try and come up with what you think is the right answer. No need to censor yourself. Do I need to remind you there’s no judgment here?”

“No.”

“So, I won’t ask you about Bobby’s opinion again, but I do want you to think about your answer.”

“Why?”

“Because you brought up your attraction to heavy men for a reason.” Camille shrugged. “It doesn’t matter so much what the reason is, so much as it matters what you think about it. Look, people are attracted to other people for all sorts of reasons, and there’s no right or wrong way to be attracted. Take my mother—please!” Camille laughed. “Ever since my father passed away a few years ago, she’s been all about younger men. And I am not talking forties and fifties here. I’m talking about much younger, your age, Caden, and even in their twenties. Mom’s sixty, but she’s a knockout.”

“Cougar?” Caden asked.

“Use that word around her and you might get your eyes scratched out. Anyway, my point is that it’s what she likes, and even though I did question it at first, especially when she was having me meet guys who were younger than I was, it wasn’t my call to make. Attraction is subjective—totally.”

“You’re right.”

Camille laughed. “I’m not looking for affirmation. I just want to understand why you chose to bring up this particular attraction with your therapist.”

And Caden realized he’d like to know the reason himself. If he could only get a handle on it, a love handle, if you will. He shook his head, censoring his inner Kathy Griffin.

The therapy session failed to illuminate the rationale for Caden’s attraction, and he left Camille’s office with homework not on why he was attracted to heavy guys, but why he felt that mattered.

It didn’t matter, did it?

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About the Author

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love.

He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…”

Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his beloved husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.

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Release Blitz: A New Empire by Layla Reyne

A New Empire | Layla Reyne

Fog City #3

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Release Date (Print & Ebook/Audio): November 11 (Ebook & Print); Audio TBD

Length (Print & Ebook/Audio): Approx. 52,000 words

Subgenre: MM, Romantic Suspense

Warnings: Explicit sex; explicit language; violence.

Buy Links:

http://getbook.at/ANewEmpire

https://www.amazon.com/New-Empire-Fog-City-Novel-ebook/dp/B07Z6P2944/

ANE

Blurb

Legacies were made to be rewritten

Assassin Hawes Madigan wants to do right–by his family, his organization, his city, and the man he’s falling for, ATF agent Christopher Perri. But Hawes’s rules are being challenged by someone willing to kill for the old ways. To save his soul and his empire, Hawes must make an impossible decision: fight from the outside or bend the knee to win back his throne from within.

Chris is used to being the inside man, the one undercover. Now, he’s on the outside marshaling forces in support of the man and the ring of assassins he was supposed to take down. His mission shifted when he found something that’s been missing for ten long years–a home, with Hawes.

As Hawes and Chris make a dangerous play for control, the lines between allies and traitors blur. Trusting the wrong person could destroy the legacy Hawes envisions for the Madigans. But not trusting anyone, or each other, could mean lights out on their love and lives forever.

The King and King Slayer fight together in this thrilling conclusion to the Fog City Trilogy!

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Teaser

“Listen to me, Madigan.” He gritted through the pain of pulling his arm out of the towel sling, because dammit, he needed two hands for this. He framed Hawes’s face, holding his gaze, his attention, their world, steady. “The organization needs you. Your family needs you. I fucking need you.”

“Why?” Hawes choked out.

“Because I don’t just think I’m falling for you. I fell, baby, the minute I walked into Danko and saw you across the room. Your head held high, like you fucking owned the place. The second you called me Mr. Perry.” He gave him a little shake for emphasis. “I know.

Hawes closed his eyes, and Chris’s heart skipped a beat, until they opened again, full of resolve. Of that same confidence he’d fallen for. “I fell for you that night I walked into my condo and saw the box of mooncakes. You got it; you got me. I know too.

“Then we’ll get her,” Chris said, heart racing now. With love, and hope for the future. “And we’ll get justice for Isabella, for our families, and for us.”

“And then?”

“And then we’ll rebuild the empire, by your rules, better and stronger than ever before. Together.”

The king smiled, wicked, deadly, and fucking glorious.

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Release Blitz Q&A with Layla Reyne

Q: Secondary Characters: Why they are important to the story?

LR: For Hawes in Fog City, his siblings, Holt and Helena, are the bricks of his foundation, along with love interest, Chris, and friend and ally, Braxton Kane. Hawes, Holt, and Helena run both family businesses with him, he trusts them implicitly, he looks to them for input, and they each contribute differently to the family unit. He wouldn’t want to do this without them.

Q: If you listen to music while writing, share your playlist.

LR: Here’s my Fog City playlist, which alternated frequently with The Revivalists albums. I swear, every one of their songs seems to fit this series!

playlist

Q: What would a love letter between the characters look like?

LR: From Hawes to Chris:

Dante, I know. –H

From Chris to Hawes.

Madigan, I know. –Mr. Perry

Layla Reyne

About The Author

RITA Finalist Layla Reyne is the author of Dine With Me and the Fog City, Whiskey Verse, 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 RWA® RITA® Finalist in Contemporary Romance (Mid-Length) and Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.

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 Giveaway

JLayla Reyne is giving away one Grand Prize of a Set of signed Fog City paperbacks (within the contiguous USA) or a set of Bookplates (international). Enter now!

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