Tag Archives: ex-NFL star

Blog Tour: Calling Your Bluff by Saxon James

Calling Your Bluff | Saxon James

Love’s Gamble #2

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Universal Link:

https://getbook.at/CallingYourBluff

Add to Goodreads:

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Calling your bluff

Blurb

Zane
Four years ago, I met Liam Holdsworthy.
Hot, snarky, and hiding behind a sadness I couldn’t place. I wanted him, even back then. There were only two problems.
One, I was deeply closeted.
And two, he was dating my best friend.
Now I’m retired from the NFL and openly out, there’s nothing to stop me from getting my gay on.
When Liam comes back into my life, and I find out he’s single, I’ll find any reason to spend time with him. That’s how I created a list of gay first experiences I coax him into helping me with.
But I don’t just want his help.
I still want him.

Liam
After leaving a long-term relationship with a closeted NFL player, I went through a string of guys trying to find the one. None of them were boyfriend material, let alone the forever type.
I’m looking for a guy to come home to. Someone serious and down to earth.
I’m definitely not looking for Cooper Zane.
Yet, I can’t shake him, and not only because I’m helping him with his big bi bucket list. Every time I see him is like a shot of adrenaline to my system, and I’m always left wanting more.
I need Mr. Serious, and Cooper’s the least serious person I’ve met.
He’s newly out.
He’s never had a relationship.
And most importantly, he may be retired, but he’s not done with football.
He’ll do anything to get it all back. And I’m not prepared to be relegated to the sidelines ever again.

Promo 2

Excerpt

Seeing the way Liam’s face lights up when we meet has me brimming with unearned confidence. I pull him into a quick, one-armed hug, wishing I could feel him against me a little longer, before we turn to the menu.

“I’m starving.”

“You must work up an appetite getting all sweaty with those hot football players.”

“Hey,” I say warningly, pointing at his face. “Enough from you. I’m the only player you’re allowed to think is hot.”

He blinks at me innocently. “I thought you said you weren’t a player anymore?”

“Still stands,” I grumble as he steps forward to order a hamburger. I almost snort. That’s barely an appetizer.

After I order a double with everything we stand off to the side and wait. He’s quiet, but there’s a soft smile curling the corners of his lips that I’m sure I can get to follow through. “I wonder what will happen right here, exactly one hundred years from now.”

His eyebrows jump. “Right here?”

“Yeah, in this exact spot. Will people still be waiting on burgers? Will it be a park? An underground sinkhole? Will people be chilling on hover boards, or will they beam the food to wherever they are?” I finally look over at him. And I was right, the a smile has split his face.

“Maybe aliens,” he adds.

“Or a meteor.”

“Or nothing.”

I really, really shouldn’t smile at the concept of nothing. “That took a turn. You have a dark mind in that pretty head.”

“We can’t all be perpetual sunshine.”

“Eh.” I run a hand through my hair. “I’ve had my fair share of storms.”

Our orders are called which thankfully derails that line of conversation. Last year was the hardest one of my life. First Mom’s cancer, then my ankle. I’m determined never to go through something like that again.

“Tell me about your job,” I say. Hanging out with Liam is way more fun and interesting than I would have guessed. And even as I get to know him better, the pedestal I’ve put him on keeps getting higher.

We find a table and chairs outside the burger place and take a seat in the late afternoon sun.

“Ah. My job.”

His tone gives me pause. “I thought you liked it?”

“I do, it’s… I thought I’d be getting a promotion to lead teacher last year, and I was passed over.”

“Wow, that sucks. Why did you think you’d get it?”

“I’ve been at the same middle school for a while now and passed all my reviews. My students do really well, and I know I can manage the extra work. But it wasn’t even mentioned.” He takes a bite of his hamburger and pulls a face. “Argh, no cheese.”

“You didn’t ask for cheese.”

“I thought it came with it.”

I don’t point out it wasn’t on the menu. “So. Lead teacher. Did you bring it up at your review?”

“It’s not up to me to bring it up.”

His words are clipped, like they usually are when he’s on the defensive. And yes, I find it ridiculously cute—like a Chihuahua trying to take on a Great Dane—but this time I bite my tongue. There’ve been a few times lately when Liam has mentioned something he’s not happy with, and every time I get him to explain, it becomes clear to me that his expectations are what’s letting him down. Going on a date? He expects to meet the perfect man. Wanting a promotion? He assumes people will know he’s interested. Orders a burger…

“Okay then,” I say.

“Anyway, the promotion thing sucks, but I’m excited to meet my classes this year. Seventh grade is such a good age. They’re not quite old enough to be jaded and still young enough to make an impression on. It feels important, you know?”

“Aww, listen to you.” And I make sure it sounds like I’m teasing, but I need to swallow to shift the lump in my throat. He’s adorable when he talks about things he’s passionate about. And it serves to remind me I’m not passionate about anything anymore.

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About The Author

Saxon James is an author from Australia who’s obsessed with writing queer characters. She has a range of books from YA to adult and they all have one thing in common: swoony, sweet love.
When not writing, Saxon exists on a diet of coffee and chocolate while putting her KU subscription to the test.

Social Media

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pg/thesaxonjames/

Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/saxonssweethearts/

Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/profile/saxon-james

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Saxon-James/e/B082TP7BR7

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/19404191.Saxon_James

Instagram: www.instagram.com/saxonjameswrites/

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Giveaway

To celebrate Saxon’s new release, we are giving away $25 Amazon GC and an e-copy of Book One in the Love’s A Gamble Series, Bet On Me.

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!

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Release Blitz: Calling Your Bluff by Saxon James

Calling Your Bluff | Saxon James

Love’s Gamble #2

Calling Your Bluff Banner

Release Date: May 21st, 2020

Length: 250 pages

Publisher: May Books

Universal Link: https://getbook.at/CallingYourBluff

  Add To Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53337105-calling-your-bluff

Calling your bluff

Blurb

Zane
Four years ago, I met Liam Holdsworthy.
Hot, snarky, and hiding behind a sadness I couldn’t place. I wanted him, even back then. There were only two problems.
One, I was deeply closeted.
And two, he was dating my best friend.
Now I’m retired from the NFL and openly out, there’s nothing to stop me from getting my gay on.
When Liam comes back into my life, and I find out he’s single, I’ll find any reason to spend time with him. That’s how I created a list of gay first experiences I coax him into helping me with.
But I don’t just want his help.
I still want him.

Liam
After leaving a long-term relationship with a closeted NFL player, I went through a string of guys trying to find the one. None of them were boyfriend material, let alone the forever type.
I’m looking for a guy to come home to. Someone serious and down to earth.
I’m definitely not looking for Cooper Zane.
Yet, I can’t shake him, and not only because I’m helping him with his big bi bucket list. Every time I see him is like a shot of adrenaline to my system, and I’m always left wanting more.
I need Mr. Serious, and Cooper’s the least serious person I’ve met.
He’s newly out.
He’s never had a relationship.
And most importantly, he may be retired, but he’s not done with football.
He’ll do anything to get it all back. And I’m not prepared to be relegated to the sidelines ever again.

Promo 2

 

Excerpt

“I’m done with fun.” Liam drains his drink. “I’m ready to find someone I can settle down with.”

I groan. “A whole life without fun? Kill me now.”

He shoves me. “Well, you’re out now. You can get started on all the fun you like.”

“That’s the thing, though. I don’t know where to start.”

“Grindr?” He snorts.

“I’ve definitely considered that option.” I shrug. “Not sure I want a random hookup to be my first gay experience.”

“I don’t think it matters. You’ll probably be disappointed either way.”

“Wow.” I lay a hand over my heart. “You have not been sleeping with the right guys.” But as soon as the words leave my mouth, I realize I’m talking about Taryn here, and the whole conversation feels cringey.

“Maybe Mr. Strong and Silent upstairs might break the streak.” Liam laughs.

My eyebrows jump up. “You’re going to sleep with him?”

Liam shrugs and sets down his glass before lying back on the deck. “Probably not.”

I really shouldn’t be as relieved by that as I am. Yeah, Liam is gorgeous, and my crush on him used to be enormous, but he’s definitely not the guy I’m going to get my gay on with. No matter how Taryn feels about it, I’d feel too much like I was betraying him.

I flop back beside Liam, staring up at the black sky. We make our way through the drinks, talking and laughing and jumping from topic to topic like it’s an Olympic sport. I make the occasional trip upstairs to get more vodka, and by the time we’ve finished, there are two large stacks of glasses between us.

When I finally check the time, I realize we’ve been out here for hours, even though it barely feels like five minutes, and I wish I had endless five-minute periods to spend with him like this. As… friends. Or something like that. “I think we’d better head back up.”

“What?” His eyes look a little glazed. “Why?”

“Because that’s the shore.” I sit up and point toward the cluster of lights we’re heading for. “And if I remember correctly, you’ve got a date here somewhere.”

His eyes widen, and he quickly scrambles to his feet. “Fuck. Patrick.” He curls a fist into his hair as he stares blankly at the deck above.

I collect all the glasses and reluctantly stand up too. “Come on.”

My balance is a little off as I follow Liam back to the stairs. I hope no one has noticed us missing, though I’m sure Peter or Parker or whatever the fuck his name is has. And it gives me a sick sense of satisfaction that I held Liam’s attention so completely he totally forgot all about the other guy.

Does that make me an asshole? Probably.

Do I care? I look over at Liam and realize that damnit, I definitely don’t.

Liam starts up the stairs ahead of me, and I remind myself that staring at his ass is not polite yet my gaze drops to it anyway. And god it’s just as round and perky as I remember. Which is not something I’m going to let myself think about too much.

Liam abruptly turns, and I find myself face-to-face with his groin. My cheeks heat, and when I glance up, he’s smirking at me.

“It’s not polite to stare,” he whispers.

I climb the stairs between us until I’m on the one directly below him. Surprisingly, he doesn’t step back or make any attempt to put more distance between us. With him a step higher, it brings us eye to eye.

“Not staring,” I reply. “Just appreciating the view.”

He leans in a little and points over my shoulder. “View’s out there.”

“Agree to disagree.”

His mouth twists with humor. “Well, thanks for the distraction.”

Ah, goodbye time. I manage to keep my groan to myself. It had to happen eventually, but now that the moment’s here, I wish we could skip over this part. Every instinct I have is urging me to ask for his number, but even if he’s still cute and funny and I’m drawn to him like I can’t explain, we’re both on two totally different paths. “Anytime.” It’s scary how much I mean that. “It was fun.”

A small smile tugs at his pink lips as his gaze slides over my face. Damn, he’s hot. Would it really be such a huge deal to kiss him? My heartbeat kicks up at the thought. At imagining finally getting to kiss the lips that starred in way too many of my jerk-off sessions back in the day. Just one kiss. Then he’ll find Mr. Serious, and I’ll find some guys to fuck around with.

“Well, I’m sure I’ll see you around.” He goes to turn, then hesitates. I can practically read the indecision on his face, and I’m trying hard not to wonder if it’s the same thought I’m turning over too.

Except then he starts to lean forward. My hands are full of glasses so I can’t grab him and pull him closer.

But he turns his head at the last moment and his lips land on my cheek. My nose floods with the smell of vanilla, and apparently my cock likes it because it gives a little twitch. His scent, his proximity, his lips on my cheek.

“Less germs than shaking hands I’m told.” His husky voice is right by my ear.

When he pulls back a little, his eyes meet mine, and something heavy passes between us for a moment before he drops his face. Whatever it was is gone by the time he looks up again. “Night.”

“Night, Liam.”

Then he turns on his heel and walks away.

And I have to force myself to let him go.

Promo 5

About The Author

saxon james logo

Saxon James is an author from Australia who’s obsessed with writing queer characters. She has a range of books from YA to adult and they all have one thing in common: swoony, sweet love.
When not writing, Saxon exists on a diet of coffee and chocolate while putting her KU subscription to the test.

Social Media

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pg/thesaxonjames/

Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/saxonssweethearts/

Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/profile/saxon-james

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Saxon-James/e/B082TP7BR7

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/19404191.Saxon_James

Instagram: www.instagram.com/saxonjameswrites/

Giveaway

To celebrate Saxon’s new release, we are giving away $25 Amazon GC and an e-copy of Book One in the Love’s A Gamble Series, Bet On Me.

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Review Tour: Knitting A Broken Heart Back Together by Ari McKay

Knitting A Broken Heart Back Together | Ari McKay

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner

Length: 40,603 words

Cover Design: Bree Archer

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

KnittingABrokenHeartBackTogetherFS_v1 (1)

Blurb

When a Christmas shopping expedition brings Tomy Peralta into Jason Winters’s yarn store, both men feel an immediate and intense spark of attraction, but dance instructor Tomy intends to propose to his boyfriend, Sean, at Christmas. Unfortunately for Tomy, marriage isn’t on career-minded Sean’s agenda.

Heartbroken, Tomy throws himself into his work until his mother convinces him that learning to knit might help take his mind off his failed romance.

Jason falls hard for Tomy, but he knows Tomy needs time to heal and to trust in love again. As Jason teaches Tomy to knit, Tomy teaches him to dance in return. Just when it seems Tomy is ready for a new romance, Sean shows up, wanting Tomy back.

Will Tomy give his heart to Sean once more, or will Tomy finally see Sean for who he truly is, and choose the man who helped him knit his heart together again?

Excerpt

Chapter One

TOMY PERALTA opened the door of the yarn shop, feeling a little out of place as the cheerful ringing of the bell announced his presence in this unfamiliar territory. Stitchin’ Time was one of Mama and Lola’s favorite stores, but Tomy had never been here before himself, only heard about it when they gushed and cooed over the hand-dyed yarn they’d bought there.

The shop itself was large, and the rent in the fashionable Lenox Square area of Atlanta must have been enormous, but it had a surprisingly homey feel. Rather than traditional retail metal shelving, whoever had designed the interior had opted for wooden storage units, woven baskets, and what looked like enormous pasta racks dripping with hanks of yarn instead of spaghetti.

There were also finished knitted and crocheted pieces displayed on the walls and on hangers at the ends of the shelves. There were the expected sweaters and scarves, of course, but also stuffed animals, knickknacks, and one intricately cabled afghan draped over the sofa where a group of gray-haired women were gathered, chatting and laughing. Several of them looked up when he entered, but he was greeted with friendly smiles rather than surprise.

The sales counter was visible from the door, a large wooden affair with more baskets of yarn and other knitting supplies stacked neatly around it. Behind the counter sat a man, square-jawed, blond, and broad-shouldered, working a set of knitting needles with amazing speed and agility. He, too, glanced up, smiling, and called out to Tomy in a deep, smooth Southern drawl.

“Hey! Welcome! Feel free to look around, and let me know if you need any help.”

Tomy gave the man an appreciative once-over. Sure, he had a boyfriend, and he hoped to be happily engaged after Christmas, but he could still look. Then he glanced around, briefly considering whether he ought to muddle through on his own, but he dismissed that thought.

He was way out of his depth here, and he didn’t even know where to begin. Best to ask the professional rather than waste time wandering around utterly clueless.

“Actually, I do need some help,” he admitted, offering a sheepish smile as he approached the counter. “I want to buy something for my mother and sister, and I know they shop here a lot, but….” He looked around again and shrugged. “I have no idea where to start.”

The blond put his knitting aside—Tomy didn’t know what the item on the needles was, only that it was deep forest green—and stood up. He was tall, at least four inches over six feet, and up close, Tomy could see his eyes were a soft blue.

“I know that feeling,” he said. He moved out from behind the counter, walking with a slight but noticeable limp. “Who are your mother and sister? If they’re regulars, I can definitely help you with things I know they’d like.”

“My mother is Ana Lucia Peralta,” Tomy replied, trying to ignore the zing of wayward attraction he felt for the hunky knitter. He’d always been drawn to tall, burly blonds, much to his boyfriend’s dismay.

Despite being tall, blond, and hot himself, Sean got jealous easily. He wouldn’t even let Tomy watch any of the superhero movies with Thor or Captain America in them when he was around. “My sister is Lola Barrett.”

He picked up the tasseled end of the navy blue scarf he wore, which was an elaborate pattern of cables and bobbles. “Mama made this for me, if that helps. Lola made the hat,” he added, gesturing to the slouchy hat he wore, which had wide abstract colorwork stripes.

Hunky Knitter stepped closer and looked at the hat, smiling slightly, then picked up the end of Tomy’s scarf, running his fingers over the cabling. “Ah, yes. I remember when your mother bought the yarn for this. It was a special order. She wanted a particular shade of blue, and I dyed at least four batches before I managed to get the color she was picturing.”

“You dyed the yarn yourself?” Tomy gazed up at Hunky Knitter, impressed by his crafting skills. “Thanks, I really like the color. She wanted it to go with my coat, and I think it’s a perfect match,” he said, holding out his arms to show the pea coat he was wearing.

“So it is. I’m Jason, by the way.” Jason held out his hand, his eyes crinkling at the corners as he smiled.

“Tomy Peralta,” Tomy said, enunciating his name to make it clear it was pronounced like Tony, not Tommy. “Nice to meet you.” He clasped Jason’s hand, which was warm. Jason’s grip was firm, the touch sending little tingles along Tomy’s arm, and he felt his knees wobble just a little. I have a boyfriend, and we’re very much in love, he reminded himself sternly.

“Nice to meet you too.” Jason released his hand with what Tomy thought might be a tiny bit of reluctance. “Yes, I dyed the yarn. I do custom work for people who want it, and I like to try out the various dyes and yarns just to see what they look like. I prefer not to sell or recommend things to my customers that I haven’t tried myself.”

“Are you the owner?” Tomy asked. He didn’t know many men who were into crafts, much less enough to own a shop devoted to crafting.

“Yes.” Jason’s grin became a little sheepish. “I know I don’t look like the kind of guy who’d own a yarn store, and to be honest, never in a million years did I think this is what I’d be doing, but I love it. I majored in marketing at Vanderbilt, but I was a football player. After graduation, I played in the NFL, but in my second season with the Falcons, I blew out my knee.”

He slapped his right leg. “Had to get an artificial replacement, so it was goodbye, NFL. I started knitting during my rehab, and one thing led to another and… here I am.”

Tomy didn’t hear any trace of self-pity in Jason’s voice, only a matter-of-factness that implied he’d had to explain his situation before. Tomy imagined an ex-football player turned yarn shop owner got a lot of questions about his life choices.

“Who taught you to knit?” he asked, voicing the first question that popped into his head. Of all the therapeutic exercises in existence, he wondered how knitting ended up being Jason’s choice. “I know it has a lot of therapeutic value, but not for knees.”

Jason laughed. “It was mental therapy, mostly. Moving hurt, but sitting almost hurt more. My mother got tired of me always moving restlessly whenever I was in a room, so she taught me how to knit as a form of distraction. If I had something in my hands to occupy me, I tended not to dwell on the pain in my knee as much.”

“That makes sense.” Tomy nodded, and then he noticed the ladies on the sofa were watching them with avid interest. He knew matchmakers when he saw them, and he cleared his throat and took a step back so they wouldn’t get the wrong idea.

“Anyway, presents? I’m open to suggestions. I have no idea what they might want or need, but I want to get them something they’ll really like this year, not just a gift card.”

“Of course.” Jason nodded, suddenly all business. “I know there’s a set of knitting needles your sister has had her eye on for a while. They’re rosewood. Your mother has indicated she’d like to knit an afghan for her sofa, and so perhaps a pattern and the yarn for it? I recently dyed a batch of a bulky superwash wool in tonal greens I think she’d like. That might run a little more than you’d like to spend, though.”

“Sounds perfect!” Tomy smiled widely, pleased with the suggestions. “Do you know which pattern she’s interested in, or is there a pattern book she might like? I don’t care how much it costs.”

He gave a sheepish shrug. “I don’t mean to sound like I’m bragging or anything. It’s just that I want this to be a special Christmas. I’m planning to propose to my boyfriend, and I want everyone to be as happy as I am. I guess that sounds silly, but joy to the world, right?”

July 6Gay Book Reviews, Megan’s Media Melange, Two Chicks Obsessed, July 9OMG Reads, July 11 Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, MM Good Book Reviews, July 13RAM PA Group, Bonkers About Books, We Three Queens, July 16Diverse Reader, July 18Drops Of Ink, Love Unchained, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, July 20Bayou Book Junkie, Valerie Ullmer, Lillian Francis, Sexy Erotic Xciting, Mikku-chan

 

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Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure.

Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge-watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full-time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attention to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public.

Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

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