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Release Blitz: Two more Vino & Veritas stories are out today

Today we have two more Release Blitz for the Vino & Veritas series in the Expanded World of True North from Laurel Greer and Jay Hogan

Series Link: https://hearteyespress.com/wotn#/vino-and-veritas/

vinoveritas

Turnabout | Laurel Greer

Vino & Veritas #9

9_V&V_Greer_ebook_FINAL

Universal Link: https://geni.us/AmazonTurnabout

Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/35VpOWG

Shorby: https://shor.by/vino-and-veritas

READ MY REVIEW

Blurb

I don’t have time for an unplanned visit home to help out in my father’s struggling letterpress shop. My stint in Vermont will have to be short, for a couple of reasons:

One, I’m a busy executive trying to climb the corporate ladder.

Two, my ex is still my dad’s right-hand man in the shop. And I am not over him.

Nothing has changed at the Burlington shop. Auden still has his infuriatingly sexy Scottish accent. He’s still hot, and still stubborn. Between operating the antique press with his shirtsleeves rolled up, and moonlighting at Burlington’s hottest inclusive wine bar, he pushes every one of my attraction buttons.

My falling-in-love-again buttons, too. Except I’m his polar opposite. I love change, and taking chances. Everything he avoids in life.

So why am I trying to convince him to reach for more than we’ve ever dreamed of—the possibility of forever?

Turnabout is a second-chance romance with interfering family, groveling, and a large helping of artisan stationery geekery.

16

Excerpt

He lifts a dark eyebrow. “I said, I want to work with someone willing to wallow with paper and design. Tease out the one-of-a-kind magic.”

His voice is quiet, soothing. It demands I take a deep breath and get out of my feelings.

“I’ve been reminded of how much of an art it is,” I say. “And that I can get by, but you—you have a gift.”

Rosy splotches bloom on his cheeks. “You know what you’re doing, too.”

“I don’t have the rhythm of it like you do. The innate… mastery, I guess. The relationship.”

Auden tilts his head and looks out the front window.

“What?” I ask. “He’s not coming back.”

“I know, but hearing the words rhythm and mastery and relationship when it comes to using a press… I’m looking for locusts, frogs, horsemen—any sign of the apocalypse.”

“Fuck off,” I mutter.

Rhythm, mastery.

When he repeats the words like that, I’m not thinking of cast iron machines—I’m thinking about sex.

I can’t believe he didn’t call me on how filthy that sounded.

He’s biting his lip, still a little pink in the face.

Okay, maybe he’s thinking it, at least.

“I could show you,” he says.

Meeting his gaze is like swimming in a lake, when you dive down, down on a bright day, and you have the dark depths below, and the streams of light from above, and it blends around you like you’re wearing a crown of green water and sunlight.

Holy fuck. He’s too much sometimes.

“Come here.” He crooks a finger for me to meet him at the Chandler and Price.

Definitely too much.

I join him anyway.

He takes my left hand and places it on the small shelf on the front of the press where we’d normally collect the cards during a run. The wood is smooth. And it would feel exactly like palming a flat piece of wood always does, except his big hand covers mine.

“Artisanry demands that relationship.” His voice is insanely low, but he’s only inches from me, so I don’t miss a syllable.

“I’m not an—”

“You have the artistic talent. You just need a little patience.” He puts his other hand on my right hip and positions me square to the press. He taps his toe against my heel, a silent command to put my foot on the treadle.

“We’re missing some parts.” Paper. Ink. The frame. Everything that actually turns into a product.

“We’re not making anything.” He’s at an angle to me. If he leaned forward three inches, his dick would be pressed into my hip. His left hand is still holding mine to the shelf. The other is a heavy weight just below my waist.

“I don’t understand,” I say.

“Just watch it, Carter.” He sounds amused. “You want to know every quirk. And not to try to learn when you’re rushing through eight jobs at once. When you have time to go easy.”

“Really.”

“Really,” he says. “Grip the wood with your other hand, too.”

Grip the wood? You’re fucking with me.”

“A little.” I can’t see his face from where he is behind me, but I hear his smirk.

A little? A lot. I grab hold of the shelf anyway.

“Just work the treadle,” he says.

I press my toe into the pedal, making the flywheel whir.

“And listen,” he says. “Watch.”

I do that, too.

I’ve been so damn busy since I got here—paper in, paper out, paper in, paper out—I haven’t actually watched anything I’ve done.

The rollers, mesmerizing as they glide over the circular, iron platen.

“What color’s the ink?” Auden’s hand tightens on my hip. His breath tickles the side of my neck.

There is no ink.

“Green,” I say. I can’t get that sunlit lake off my mind.

(I don’t want to. Ever.)

My tie… Why am I wearing something meant to restrict my airflow? I want to loosen it, but Auden told me to keep my hands on the shelf, so I’m keeping my hands on the goddamn shelf.

“Hear anything in the flywheel?” he says.

Just the whir and clicks and whuffs it normally makes. “Should I be?”

“Nothing unusual, but the more you know the sounds of it, the more you know exactly when to feed the paper.” He taps the top of my hand once. Twice. Again. Matching it up to some sensory memory that’s so ingrained in him, he probably dreams in that rhythm.

Anchored by his touch, I’m the one who leans in the three inches. My shoulder, touching his chest. His breath, much more than a tickle. A caress.

“It’s a pulse,” he murmurs, so gruff, the consonants and vowels mix together. His fingers brush the hollow above my shirt collar. My knees wobble.

“A pulse.” I tilt my head to the side, exposing my neck.

“Aye.” Bending his head, his lips land on the same sensitive spot.

My head’s turning faster than the flywheel.

“Auden.”

“See? You know the rhythm.”

Oh god, I don’t know anything right now.

15

Unguarded | Jay Hogan

Vino & Veritas #10

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Universal Link: https://geni.us/AmazonUnguarded

Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2M3qdiU

Shorby: https://shor.by/vino-and-veritas

READ MY REVIEW

Blurb

I fled Boston and my cheating jerk of an ex with three hundred dollars and a lip gloss in my pocket. Waking up the next day in Burlington, Vermont, with a crick in my back and a frozen ass wasn’t exactly in the plan. If there was one. Which there wasn’t. Story of my life.

Three hours later and I’ve been hired as temporary help in the local veterinary and grooming clinic, which is kind of impressive since I know zip about animals and even less about grooming. But one thing I do know—I’m crushing hard on the sexy, absent-minded vet I work for.

My life is a hot mess. The last thing I need is another relationship. Emmett pushes all my buttons, but he isn’t out. He’s overwhelmed with a business to run and a son to look after and the kind of domestic life I never thought I wanted.

I should walk away.

But Emmett believes in me, and I might just be starting to believe in myself. As different as we are, is it possible we’re exactly what the other needs?

13

Excerpt

The final client of the morning was a grumbling, overweight Pekingese cross named Charles, with an attitude to rival Genghis Khan and an owner who refused to come in with her dog because she didn’t want the nippy little demon to associate her with any discomfort.

Under instruction from Ivy, Tai had the growling, muzzled dog wrapped in a towel and pinioned against his stomach, his expression caught somewhere between are-you-fucking-kidding-me and abject terror.

I told him what we were about to do and he stared at me in wide-eyed disbelief. “You did not just say you were going to milk this little guy’s anal glands?”

I swallowed a laugh. “I believe those were my exact words.”

His gaze flicked down to the squirming dog, then back up. “Do I even want to ask why?”

I shrugged and pulled on some gloves. “The anal glands are two little sacs on either side of the rectum. Normally they get expressed every time the dog poops. Helps mark his territory.”

“Oh. My. God.” Tai rolled his eyes dramatically. “I think I dated a guy like that once.”

Ivy snorted while I grappled with an influx of images involving Tai with another guy and that whole territorial marking thing. I snapped the second glove on my wrist like an elastic band, hoping the pain might shock some sense into me.

It didn’t.

Tai got his freak under control and tucked Charles firmly back against his stomach. It was the first time I’d ever been jealous of the mutt.

“I know I’m going to regret asking this,” he said, wrinkling his nose. “But what happens when things don’t get expressed, on the whole anal-gland front? And I can’t believe I just said that.”

“Welcome to my world.” Ivy appeared from the supply room.

I caught Tai’s eye and waggled my eyebrows. He was hella fun to tease. “I’m so glad you asked that question. If they don’t get expressed naturally, not helped by poor diet and excess weight, then the glands can block and get smelly and painful. They can even form an abscess that can burst onto the skin.”

Tai’s mouth dropped open in horror. “Holy crap. And also—another date of mine.”

I gave a strangled laugh and realized I hadn’t had so much fun at work since . . . well yeah, it had been a while.

“Damn, that’s disgusting. The poor thing.” Tai lifted Charles to smooch him safely around the back of his ears. “We need to talk about your diet young man,” he cooed to the dog who, miracle of miracles, appeared to calm. “Fiber is the key, plus plenty of water and attention to timing. Clean, screened, and fit for a queen.” He glanced up with a wicked grin. “Right, Mr. Vet?”

Ivy coughed loudly, while every semi-functioning neuron in my body focused on only one thing that shall not be mentioned.

“I, yeah . . . I guess,” I managed to croak. “Although maybe not the screening thing, not for dogs.”

Tai lifted Charles to eyeball him. “Safety first.”

Ivy joined us at the table. “Okay, you two. Let’s get this done so I can spritz the room. Keep a firm grip,” she told Tai.

His eyes widened. “This is going to smell worse than I thought, isn’t it?”

She wrinkled her nose. “Think fishy.”

Tai got a tight hold on the wriggling dog. “Huh? Not my first guess. Okay, I’m ready. I have to say, it feels a little like an initiation.”

I flashed him an encouraging smile. “You’ll be fine. Now hold that tail up.” As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew, and sure enough—

He snorted. “Not the first time I’ve been told that.”

I shook my head, gently squeezed, and . . .

“Whoa.” He gave a long blink and jerked his head around and out of the way. “Ewww, Charles. That’s some nasty shit right there.”

I grinned from ear to ear, pretty much as I had from the minute Tai had walked into my clinic. I was so fucked.

12

Out-Now

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

View all my reviews

This slow slide into love is a gorgeously crafted romance

56326575._SY475_Starting From the Top by Lane Hayes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I pretty much love everything Lane Hayes writes, but I must admit to having a real fondness for this rock band series.

A lot of it is to do with the fact that Zero aren’t mega famous. They’re on the way, but still mostly able to just be ‘normal’ guys.

Each book has brought something new to the table and with Starting From The Top we get a bit of an age gap, definitely an opposites attract element and also a smidgen of lost souls finding a home.

There’s a lot to be said for developing a realistic slide from a sex only arrangement through into a friend’s with benefits and then having them fall in love realistically.

Especially when there’re tensions from outside forces including ex wives, growing fame and a visual artist running his own agenda.

But it works brilliantly. Sean slowly unlocks the different boxes he keeps his various pieces of his life in as Johnny provides him with the motivation to relax.

The kids are sweet, Parker’s teenage trials pull at the heartstrings, and all the rest of the Zero and Jealousy crew are on hand to add their brand of chaos.

It’s a seriously hot book, but also has a wonderful sense of warmth and comfort. They might struggle through to their happy ending, but it feels even more real for that.

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

View all my reviews

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