Tag Archives: exploration

Release Blitz: The Red Zone by Beth Bolden

The Red Zone | Beth Bolden

The Riptide #3

RELEASE BLITZ

Release Date: August 11th, 2021

Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood Designs

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 97,000 words

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The Red Zone Ebook

Blurb

Spencer’s deep in the Red Zone and it’s time to even the score.

Nine years ago Spencer Evans became the first player out of the closet to be drafted into the NFL. Everyone believed he had aspirations to change the world but all Spencer ever wanted to do was play football for a team that accepted him wholeheartedly. But they never would, and Spencer began to conceal all the parts that made him different.

When a terrible injury forces him to re-evaluate his life and his choices, he realizes there’s only one man who can help him.

The very first gay sports agent, Alec Mitchell has given his life and his career to making queer athletes’ dreams come true. He can’t help but think of Spencer as the one who got away—professionally and personally.

Alec thought he’d buried his desperate longing for Spencer ages ago but it turns out it was just lying dormant, waiting for the right spark. When he begs Alec to take him on as a client, everything they’ve been burying for years surfaces once again.

With Alec’s help, Spencer can change everything about his life he’s come to hate. An extraordinary future—and an undeniably extraordinary man—are waiting for him. The play has been called. All he has to do is catch the ball and score.

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Excerpt

“You should try my wine,” Alec said, gesturing towards the bottle. “You said you don’t drink wine, not that you don’t like wine. And this is an easy drinking red, real fruit forward, not too many tannins on the back end.”

“Is this how you want to do this?” Spencer asked suspiciously. “Make me try things I don’t think I’m gonna like?”

“How will you know, if you don’t try?” Alec hesitated, and slid his jacket off, hanging it over the back of one of the barstools. “Come over here. I’m not going to bite.”

Spencer shot him a look, full of heat, and Alec remembered why it was probably better not to take his jacket off and why it was definitely better not to make jokes that could be taken in any kind of sexual context.

Well, he’d done it and he wasn’t going to take it back. If they couldn’t figure out how to make this work, then Spencer wouldn’t get what he needed—and Alec wanted that more than anything else.

“Fine,” Spencer said with a sigh. He skirted around the edge of the kitchen island, approaching hesitantly as Alec tilted the half-full glass in his direction.

“Isn’t there supposed to be a special way I do this?” Spencer asked as he took the glass.

Alec raised his eyebrow. “A special way? You take a sip. Swallow it. Decide if you like it or not. Though, really, you should try it twice. The first sip will clear your palate from that god-awful beer you’ve been drinking.”

“That’s what I mean,” Spencer said. “I don’t want to do it wrong.”

“Not drinking it, that’s doing it wrong,” Alec said, even though he knew what Spencer was referring to. But all of the swirling and the legs and the aroma, all the self-important recital that true wine connoisseurs participated in was only going to confuse Spencer. Alec just wanted him to fucking try it.

“Alright, fine,” Spencer said, grumbling, and lifted the glass to his lips.

Spencer made a face, and Alec said, “Nope, not yet. Don’t tell me you don’t like it yet. You’ve got to clear your palate.”

“How do I do that?”

Alec put his hand on Spencer’s arm, stopping him from handing the glass back. “Take another drink,” he instructed. “In a minute.”

When he pulled his hand back, he could still feel the heat and solid strength from Spencer’s forearm. He was going to have to get used to all this touching and personal connection, and hopefully when he did, it wouldn’t affect him this strongly.

“Alright,” Spencer agreed. “It wasn’t . . . well, it wasn’t what I thought it’d be.”

“You didn’t hate it,” Alec guessed, leaning against the edge of the countertop.

“I thought I would,” Spencer confessed. “Wine’s just so fancy and complicated, and I’m not . . . I’ve never been either of those two things. And beer is fine.”

“Beer is fine, sure. You might not dislike it. But what if you liked something else better?”

“I don’t know,” Spencer agreed. He hesitated, and Alec watched him closely, even though it almost hurt to look at him like this. So unsure and vulnerable and wanting so hard to do the right thing, the best thing. “It’s why I asked you to do this.”

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About the Author

A lifelong Pacific Northwester, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published twenty-three novels and seven novellas.

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Blog/Website | Facebook | Twitter | BookBubInstagram | Newsletter Sign-up

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Spencer isn’t actually an arse at all and I love him all the more for it

the red zone coverThe Red Zone by Beth Bolden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve spoilered the beta read background to my review thoughts for those who aren’t bothered.

***SPOILER BUT NOT REALLY***

When Beth sent me the beta read Word Doc for this book I started reading it thinking I’d just get a few chapters in and then come back to it later.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. I read it all in one go and my only comment back to her was:

Bloody perfection!

Honestly, I have no comments. Okay, there’s a couple on the Doc but they’re more along the lines of OMG I love this, Me Too Spencer, and I want more 😀

So you can imagine how I feel about this book. 

***ENDS***

We first met Spencer in Chase and Tate’s Food Truck Warriors book Hit the Brakes when he wasn’t particularly nice at all.

Here, we find out why he’s got a reputation as an absolute arse both on and off the field.

As the NFL’s first out player, he’s spent nine years at a team filled with homophobia and bigotry trying to be the most masculine defensive player on the field without any support in the locker room.

When I started this book, I honestly did not expect to love Spencer the way I did. I knew there would be more to his story because Beth writes characters who live in the imagination as fully fleshed out people with flaws.

But the pain this guy has had to live with, not only in his isolation at what should be a second family for him – the changing room of his professional team – but also in suppressing every part of his personality which doesn’t fit into his outwardly projected self, killed me.

Alec though, I knew I loved Alec from the off because he’s been there in the background of so many of Beth’s footie and foodie stories as the out agent for a number of big name sports personalities.

When you find out just how long these two have been dancing around each other, and how long they’ve been in love without ever acting on it, I swear your heart will break just like mine did.

Through the clever use of limited flashbacks, we get to see every time Spencer and Alec met and how they came so close but let their fears or outside pressure stop them from connecting.

The opening Prologue of this book is a harsh look at the pressures of professional sport and while a few players are out, they’re still pretty much unicorns in arenas which are filled with unaccepting minorities who are very vocal about their disdain.

The love between Spencer and Alec is a beautiful thing, seeing how the two work together to not only get Spencer away from the toxicity of his pro team, but also in how Alec gets him to open up and actually explore and discover who he is as a gay man, will bring tears unless you’ve got a heart of stone.

It’s no secret that Colin O’Connor and his love Nick from Beth’s The Rainbow Clause are my absolute favourite couple of hers, but I have to tell you, Spencer and Alec pushed them all the way here.

This book is a wonderful addition to the Riptide catalogue.

Oh, and don’t miss out on the Bonus Scene (via Book Funnel sign up for Beth’s newsletter) because it will simultaneously make your eyes leaky and set fire to your undies as Spencer and Alec show why their utterly perfect for each other in the bedroom 🔥🔥🔥🤪❤🔥🔥🔥

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

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Blog Tour: Full Balance by Brigham Vaughn

Full Balance | Brigham Vaughn

The Peachtree Series #3

Blog Tour

Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press

Cover Artist: Brigham Vaughn

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 108,000 words

Buy Links:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Blurb

Love doesn’t always look like you expect.

Russ Bishop and Stephen Parker have settled into wedded bliss.

They’ve moved into a spacious new condo, found professional success, and their connection in the bedroom is as sizzling as ever.

Neither of them ever expected to become parents but when their volunteer work at the Open Doors Shelter makes them realize how many LGBTQ youth are in desperate need of a home, they begin to reconsider.

After a snarky teenager named Austin comes into their lives, their future together will never be the same.

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Excerpt

Russ let out a contented sigh.

“I swear it just gets better with time,” Stephen said.

Russ kissed him. “Me too. I had no idea married sex would be so good. If I did, I might have been more eager to get married when I was younger.”

Stephen chuckled.

“This is going to change, won’t it?”

Stephen slipped an arm around his waist, pulling him even closer as he studied his face. Russ’s expression was soft but there was a little edge of worry in his gaze.

“It will,” Stephen said, knowing he was talking about how becoming parents would change their sex life. He ran his thumb across Russ’s cheek. “We’ll have additional responsibilities and stressors. Much less privacy. But it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’ll be tougher but that doesn’t mean we can’t find some benefits along the way.”

“Like what?” Russ gave him a curious, inquisitive look.

“Like … it may bring us even closer.” He took Russ’s hand and brought his palm to his lips. “It may deepen our relationship further.”

“I like that.” Russ pulled him closer.

“I think going into this with our eyes wide open is our best chance of success. We need our relationship to stay solid so we can give whoever we bring into our lives the best, most stable home we can. Which means working together to solve problems.”

“Agreed,” Russ said.

“No running away.”

Russ gave him a wry grin. “Got it.”

“Hey that’s not just a reminder for you,” Stephen said gently. “I’ve pushed you away at times too. And I think this will probably bring up a lot of baggage we both have about the ways we were raised.”

“True.” Russ’s expression turned serious.

“So we can’t let that overwhelm us. Or come between us.”

“Absolutely.” Russ hesitated. “Are you excited about this at all though?”

“About the idea of becoming parents? Yeah, I am,” Stephen said. “I remember how satisfying it was to see Evan grow into himself and he was an adult and only with us for a month and a half. The idea of being able to watch that growth over years in someone who needs it even more … well that’s a challenge I never expected to take on. But I am excited about it.”

“Me too.” Russ grinned. “I am really looking forward to calling my sister and telling her she’ll be Aunt Addie.”

Stephen chuckled. “I look forward to that as well. Jeremy is going to be shocked. That should be fun.”

“We have a lot to look forward to, don’t we?”

“We do.” Russ pulled him in for a kiss and Stephen went willingly. “Thank you for making this a very happy Valentine’s Day.”

“You know, if someone had asked me five years ago how I’d feel about making the person I’m married to a father, I would have kindly assured them they were very, very confused,” Stephen said drily.

Russ’s laugh was loud and genuine. “I would imagine.”

“And yet …” Stephen couldn’t quite finish the thought. His heart was too full.

Russ smiled as if he understood. So Stephen leaned in to kiss him again. They had the whole night ahead of them to celebrate this happiness. Why not take the time while they had it?

Their lives were about to change in a very big way.

About the Author

Brigham Vaughn Pic

Brigham Vaughn is on the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time author. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga. She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours.

A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.

Her books range from short stories to novellas to novels. They explore gay, bisexual, lesbian, and polyamorous romance in contemporary settings.

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