Tag Archives: festive romance

The crossover to end all crossovers

ForeverWildeinAsterValley-f900-webForever Wilde in Aster Valley by Lucy Lennox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a really fun meeting of three of Lucy’s series’ which sees the Marian and Wilde families make their way to Aster Valley for a big reunion.

Central is the romance between newly discovered Marian and Wilde cousin Miller and bakery owner Darius.

It’s perhaps a little insta-lovey but i honestly didn’t mind, the connection was there from the off.

Having everyone in one place means we also get to check in with all the couples we know and love from the other books, which was cool.

I was also pretty happy to see that the level of ‘obnoxious old ladies’ was vastly reduced too.

There’s a few choice comments and they’re still up to no good and interfering left, right, and centre but without the overtly crude sexual references of earlier Marian books.

I’m definitely a fan of Darius, he’s straight forward without any manipulation or artifice. He’s attracted to Miller from the off and doesn’t play games about it.

Miller’s attitude occasionally wandered a bit close to an air of – not quite martyrdom – but definite overly wallowing.

***SPOILER-Y BIT***

While at the same time, I could still sympathise following his mother’s death, for me, it was frustrating how he seemed to be incapable of seeing any other side to what happened.

Thankfully, it didn’t actually end up that way and his kind heart and thoughtful nature allowed him to forgive Tilly but also accept that her behaviour was just as valid.

Ultimately I felt this part of the story was very truthful and honestly told, it was a situation where there were no good or bad guys, just humans dealing with pain, grief and fear.

***ENDS***

The humour and zany nature of these two families, and their inherent kindness made for a wonderfully festive gathering to which the Aster Valley guys just added icing to the cake.

A perfect festive read imho and perfectly spiced with some steamy scenes as well as lovingly supportive ones between Miller and Darius.

Lucy still uses the Epilogue to set up the next book but it’s nowhere near as obvious as the Aster Valley ones.

Here we get to properly see into the future some months later with Miller and Darius firmly established in their new life together.

I’m definitely looking forward to Julian’s book though which has been delayed a short while but I’m sure will be worth the wait.

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

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Release Blitz: Cosy & Chill by Jackie Keswick

Cosy & Chill | Jackie Keswick

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Cover Artist: Covers by Jo

Release Date: November 10th, 2021

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: approx. 62,000 words

Buy Links:

Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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COVER

Blurb

What does it take to change your life?

Not “manly” enough for his father, quiet, industrious Finn dreams of his own knitting store. He needs Leo’s enthusiasm to take the steps that make his dream come true.

Cheerful, adventurous Leo puts on a good front selling artisan ice cream at the market, but shies away from fulfilling his grandmother’s last wish. He needs Finn’s love and support to tackle his past and put it to rest for good.

Add a Saxon treasure, a fae stranded in the human world, and an empty store with very unusual rental terms and falling in love is not the only challenge Finn and Leo have to face.

But there’s magic in dreams, and all they have to do is hold on tight.

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Excerpt

Finn’s boots squelched with every step. When he kicked them off on his parents’ doorstep, water seeped from his wet socks. “I hate November,” he grumbled while he hunted for his keys. “And weather forecasters.”

They hadn’t predicted this morning’s downpour, and Finn minded that. He might have taken an umbrella had he known. Or a boat.

He’d gone to the post office to drop off his latest batch of parcels, detouring on to the far end of the High Street to look at an empty store on the way back. Double-fronted with a bow window, it was perfect for the shop he dreamed of. He’d lingered in front of the dusty windows, imagining them sparkling clean, and the shelves in the room beyond filled to bursting—until the rain had prompted him to leave.

The shop was all he could think of and if wishes were coins, he’d have rented it already. As matters stood, he hadn’t even enquired.

Finn pushed open the door, and a ball of russet yarn with two needles sticking through it hit him right in the face.

“How many times have I told you not to leave your prissy stuff lying around the house?” His father bellowed at full volume from three feet away.

Finn wanted to point out that his ears worked fine, thank you very much, but knew that it would only make matters worse. He picked up the yarn, grateful that neither needle had poked his eye out, and that his father’s rough treatment hadn’t dropped any stitches.

“Sorry, Dad,” he muttered, meaning it. He’d been working on a commission when he realised that he’d miss the parcel collection if he didn’t hurry. In his rush to the door, he’d brought the half-finished glove in his wake. He should have taken it back to his room and run if he’d needed to, but that was water under the bridge.

He hung up his jacket in the hallway, then stripped off his sodden socks and his T-shirt so he could dry his feet before leaving wet footprints everywhere. He wiped up the water on the wooden floor for good measure before he made his way up the stairs.

If his father was yelling when it was barely five o’clock, then the rest of the evening wouldn’t be peaceful. No doubt he’d already opened the bottle of Scotch he’d bought yesterday.

Finn couldn’t cope with much more of this. Christmas was two months away. His list of orders was as long as his arm and turning away new business was not an option. He needed to work, not sit in his room, keeping half an ear out for trouble.

The familiar, colourful clutter in his room soothed his mind. The space wasn’t large, just roomy enough for a bed, a wardrobe, and his desk. Every free corner held boxes and baskets filled with yarn, and he hunted for a piece he could create in a few hours. Hats were good for that. He could knock those out in no time flat.

His order book showed two requests for hats, and both were his favourites: custom orders.

He opened the first file to the smiling face of a young woman with green eyes, red hair a few shades darker than his own bright copper, and a spray of freckles across her nose. She’d requested a hat in a flattering style, but had specified nothing else. Moss green, his mind supplied immediately. Mohair. A close-fitting hat with a swirl pattern.

Suddenly excited, he went rummaging under his desk for a skein of moss-green yarn that showed tiny speckles of deep red here and there. He stuffed the yarn into his messenger bag along with his needle case, a measuring tape and the customer’s measurements. Then he changed into dry clothes and checked the weather. The rain had let up a bit, and Finn hoped he could make it to the pub without getting soaked again.

His father was swearing at something on the telly, as had become his habit. Finn tiptoed out and breathed a sigh of relief when he stood in the rain. Everything set off his father’s temper these days. Especially Finn.

He really should move out. He would move out. As soon as he’d saved enough to afford the rent on a small shop with a room where he could sleep. Maybe then, his father wouldn’t be so angry all the time and his mother would smile again.

Three hours later, the moss-green hat was nearing completion. Warm through after a dinner of steak pie and chips, and nursing a second beer, Finn felt almost happy. He was a familiar sight in the Crown & Anchor, tucked into a corner with his yarns and needles. It was a place where he could work without fear of interruption, and he’d been coming here ever since his father had lost his job and started drinking.

Food and peace weren’t the only things to recommend the pub. It was a great place to pick up commissions. People always looked for unusual, one-of-a-kind gifts, and he’d made christening gowns, blankets, baby clothes, scarves, hats, gloves, even Christmas ornaments.

The crowd was friendly and Annabelle, who held the pub’s license and worked at the bar that night, was more supportive than his parents had ever been. He’d made her a long cardigan, wine-red yak with a touch of silk, and she was perfectly happy for him to sit in his corner and knit. She even recommended him to friends and customers.

He hadn’t shared his dreams of owning a yarn shop with anyone, but maybe it was time to change that. He was working up his courage to ask her about business loans and setup grants, but he’d wait until she’d finished speaking to the guy leaning on the bar.

He had broad shoulders that tapered to slim hips, a trim backside, and long legs. A fisherman’s rib jumper, Finn’s mind suggested. Navy blue Aaran. Or tweed, indigo with gold speckles. With a high collar to show off that long neck and let the slightly too long blond hair pool like gold against the blue.

You’re staring. Stop it.

That was easier said than done until Finn thought to wonder why the guy had four little Tupperware dishes open on the bar between himself and Annabelle.

He was explaining something to her, talking not just with his hands but with his whole body. There was passion in that lithe form, something bright and shining that held Finn’s interest until he realised he hadn’t stopped staring at all.

He dropped his gaze to his newly finished hat and tried to focus on the pattern, the run of the yarn. It would suit the lady who’d sent the photo. It would frame her delicate face, set off the striking hair, and bring out the green of her eyes. He knew the hat would find favour with her, but—for once—knitting couldn’t hold his mind.

The blond man at the bar drew his mind and his eyes, and Finn caught the moment when all that passion fell to ashes. The man’s shoulders slumped and one of his hands dropped to his side.

Annabelle watched him with an apologetic smile as he returned his dishes to his bag. She pulled a beer for him and handed it across the bar.

For a heartbeat, he appeared as if he was going to refuse. Then he dipped his head in thanks and reached for the glass. He slung the strap of his bag over his shoulder and turned away from the bar.

In a move that surprised him by its daring, Finn caught the man’s gaze, flicked his own to the empty seat at this table. He’d never been so brazen before, but something in the man’s wary determination spoke to him. He wasn’t sure what the blond man saw, but he came over and set his beer on the table.

“May I?”

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About the Author

Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.

Jackie loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who write their own rules. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.

And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.

For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places

Blog/Website | Facebook group | Facebook page | Twitter  | Instagram | Newsletter Sign-up | TikTok | Patreon

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Review Tour: Trusting Jack by Ruby Moone

Trusting Jack | Ruby Moone

MC Securities #1

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 45,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Meredith Russell

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Blurb

 

With only a few days to go until Christmas, Michael Cross has to admit there is something amiss about his latest employee, Jack Whelan.

Quiet, jumpy, thin… he never seems to eat. He is also incredibly gorgeous with dark spiky hair that Michael aches to touch. But as his boss, Jack is off limits. And when it comes to relationships, he…well, he sucks.

Jack Whelan is at the end of his tether. He’s living rough in the middle of winter, and paying off a massive debt, so getting a job with MC Securities is a lifeline. His new boss is also the hottest guy ever. Geeky, broody, and scarily clever.

When Michael stumbles upon the reality of Jack’s life, he offers to help. But as Michael’s feelings deepen, and Jack’s terrible past catches up with him, Michael has to decide between believing in the awful truth that is staring him in the face, or trusting Jack.

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Dec 10  OMGReadsKimmers’ Erotic Book BanterDec 12 – Amy’s MM Romance ReviewsDec 14 – Mainely StoriesBook Corner ReviewsThe Blogger GirlsDec 17 – Mirrigold: Mutterings & MusingsMegan’s Media MelangeSexy Erotic XcitingDec 19 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue WordsBayou Book JunkieDec 21 – Valerie UllmerBook Review by Virginia LeeLillian FrancisGay Media Reviews

About The Author

My name is Ruby Moone and I love books. All kinds of books. My weakness is for romance, and that can be any kind, but I am particularly fond of historical and paranormal.

I decided to write gay romance after reading some fantastic books and falling in love with the genre, so am really thrilled to have my work published here. The day job takes up a lot of my time, but every other spare moment finds me writing or reading.

I live in the north west of England with my husband who thinks that I live in two worlds. The real world and in the world in my head…he probably has a point!

Social Media

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/RubyMoone/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter – @RubyMooneWriter

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rubymoone/

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