Tag Archives: first times

Donny’s journey to self-acceptance is hard fought

60423814._SY475_Hot Wings by Eli Easton & Tara Lain

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It takes a lot to turn around a homophobic character and make them into someone who you can find sympathy for but with Donny Canali, his journey was both heart-felt and hard fought.

From the moment he stood up for his younger brother Mike when he realised that keeping his sexuality a secret was taking such a toll on the trainee firefighter, Donny has been struggling with how his previous homophobic behaviour has hurt people.

When he’s knocked for six by what he thinks is hero worship for former Army pilot and now fire bomber Dell Murphy, it takes some time for him to realise what he’s also feeling is a powerful attraction to the self-described alpha male

And Donny fights it, he does his best to fight it because, like Mike, he’s been brought up in family of men’s men who serve either as cops or firefighters, who are strong-willed and opinionated – and also old-fashioned and ignorant – in their views about masculinity.

Dell, on the other hand, is out and proud and has never sought to hide his sexuality, instead going to the max to show that who he prefers in bed has nothing to do with how he either flew helicopter missions in Afghanistan or how he now uses those skills to rescue trapped firefighters.

He also has a complicated family life. After moving when he took up his new role, Dell’s strong willed but flighty mother is struggling to let his younger half-sister regain her independence after a bout with cancer and Dell’s having to take care of them too.

The more time the two men spend together as friends, the more complicated their feelings become and, eventually it becomes clear that Donny wants to submit to Dell’s powerful personality but is frightened of how it might change peoples’ perceptions of him.

I really felt for Donny throughout this. He’s 25 but sometimes comes across as younger, he’s in a high-pressure role as a firefighter where his dad Angelo’s not only in charge as a senior Fire Captain but as the role model who Donny’s always looked up to. He sees his dad struggling with Mike’s coming out and is afraid of what his feelings for Dell might do to their relationship.

There were many times when I wanted to just give Donny and shake and tell him that his happiness was the only thing worth worrying about but I also totally understood how his fears were overwhelming given the previous experience he’d seen with Mike.

When things reach a critical level, I totally understood why Donny got himself caught up in a web of lies and I was pleased Dell didn’t stand for it. My heart hurt for Dell, who had found himself falling for Donny despite the complications.

Donny’s journey is both confusing for him, as he realises not only is he bisexual but that he also doesn’t want to be the dominant partner in bed, it also has wider implications for his job and his relationship with his father.

I definitely preferred this to book one as I felt the distinction of what type of story was being told was much clearer. It’s not a romcom style of story, but there is humour which breaks up the more serious moments.

This narrative skirts a tight line between the light-hearted joking of the Canali family and their extended relatives and the harshness of a sexual awakening journey which is painful not only to the men going through it but also further complicated by the situation they’re in.

I am intrigued as to what comes next. A few obvious hints were given in this book which I won’t spoil but I know what I’d like to see next!

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

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Release Tour: Punching the V-Card by Leta Blake

Punching the V-Card | Leta Blake

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Best friend’s hot older brother? Check. A weekend alone? Check.

Finally punching that V-card? Oh yes.

Carl has a pesky “innocence” problem that requires a solution. His best friend’s brother Devon is the perfect answer.

Devon’s experienced, gorgeous, and Carl’s been secretly crushing on him for ages. Carl doesn’t want to “lose it” to just anybody. Everyone says the first time should be special—and what’s more special than sharing it with the guy of his dreams?

It’s not like Devon won’t enjoy it. Solving this so-called problem is an objectively fun experience for most people! The plan is totally win/win!

Shockingly, Devon agrees. But even though it goes better than either of them ever expected, Carl’s moving across the country soon. It’s not possible to have more. No matter how much they both want it.


Punching the V-Card by Leta Blake is a high heat, NO ANGST, new adult gay romance featuring a best friend’s hot older brother, scorching first times, and falling in love with the guy of your dreams.

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“This isn’t the sort of thing you should ‘just get over with.’ It should be special.”

“I know.”

Devon frowned again. “And I don’t sleep with guys who don’t like me.”

“But I like you, Devon, enough that being with you would be special to me,” Carl said, and for the first time there was a hint of a kind of throaty desperation he’d never imagined hearing from him. “Please understand me. You have to be the one to do this for me.”

“Whatever happened to, ‘I don’t beg’ and ‘We don’t have to do this’?” Devon asked, lifting a brow. He knew he shouldn’t tease, but he couldn’t help it. He’d never seen Carl Pink even a little bit undone. And maybe, just maybe that had been a huge incentive behind him saying yes to this entire sordid plan.

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Join the tour over on Instagram for more of Punching the V-Card

You can also enter the giveaway on Instagram or click here for your chance to a $15 Amazon Voucher from Leta!

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About the Author


Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

If you’d like to be among the first to know about new releases, you can sign up for Leta’s newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bdn32H

Bonus material for the Heat of Love series, Will & Patrick Wake Up Married series, Training Season series, Smoky Mountain Dreams, Mr. Frosty Pants, The River Leith, and more is available on Leta’s Patreon account.

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Sign up here: https://www.patreon.com/letablake

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Release Tour: His Heart Knows by Riley Long

His Heart Knows | Riley Long

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Release Date: March 16th, 2022

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People fall in love with their best friends all the time. But for me, the circumstances of this unrequited attraction are even more agonizing.

I am gay.

My best friend, Sawyer, is not.

Since we were fifteen, I’ve harbored this torturous crush. Now, as we both enter our thirties, it seems time to resign myself to the fact that nothing is going to come of it. Ever.

Or so I thought…

One night, a bottle of gin and a little uncharacteristic self-pity were all the inspiration I needed to launch into a ramble about being alone because I’m bad at everything – even kissing. Determined to prove me wrong, Sawyer decided to shut me up with a kiss.

I know he meant for it to be innocent.

Turns out it was anything but.

Sparks flew as we unlocked a side of Sawyer he never knew existed. Now, more than anything, he wants me by his side forever. But this realization comes with its own set of obstacles. Can we learn to lean on each other as we build a future together? Or will the stresses of our day to day lives tear us apart?

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I couldn’t believe he’d given in, but he had, and there we were. I’d spent years teasing him about sex and cracking jokes that made him squirm, but my offers and remarks had never been totally serious—had they? It sure felt serious in that moment. The building could have fallen down around us and I wouldn’t have noticed. All that mattered was Axel.

My breathing tightened as much as my jeans did and it took every ounce of self-control I had not to scramble across the couch and into his lap.

My hand, the one not buried in Axel’s thick brown hair, found its way to his lap and I slid my fingers close to his groin. Heat radiated from his body and I wanted more. I finally reached what I was seeking—the thick bulge of his erection. He inhaled sharply, fingers curling in the hair at the nape of my neck and tugging me closer.

That was all the encouragement I needed. I pushed forward until I was crowding his space, moving purely on animal instinct. I didn’t care that Axel was a man. All I knew was that I wanted him right then. He gave in, pulling me along until we tumbled together onto the couch, me sprawled on top. I moved my hands to his shirt, desperately trying to get to his skin. When I shoved the shirt up, my fingers meeting the tender skin and soft hair of his stomach, Axel shivered. I rocked my hips down against his, practically dry humping him in my excitement.

It was then that he stopped me, one hand on mine, and pulled back. He looked into my eyes, his pupils blown wide, gray irises hardly visible. “You sure about this?” His breathing was heavy and ragged, and under my hip, his erection pressed against me, scorching hot even through layers of cotton and denim.

I wanted to tell him I’d never been more sure about anything in my life. I wanted to tell him if we stopped, I might die. I wanted to tell him I didn’t give a shit about sexuality and labels, that all I wanted was him.

Instead, I just grunted and kissed him again, fucking into his mouth with my tongue. I continued my hands’ journey south, reaching for his belt buckle and unfastening it with desperation. The low, needy groan that came from my best friend’s throat was one I would have paid good money to hear every day for the rest of my life.

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About the Author

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Riley Long is a wife and mother living a quiet life in Virginia, with her husband, son, and one goofy pit bull. She passes her evenings writing, reading, and watching bad television (or not so bad television).

For fun, Riley participates in NaNoWriMo, GISH, and reads with her book club, the BAMFs. She likes things with silly acronyms. The craziest thing Riley has ever done involves whipped cream and hugs.

Riley writes sweet and sexy romance, with a special place in her heart for hipsters and musicians.

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Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/riley-long

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13515411.Riley_Long

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/writerrileylong

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Website: https://rileylongwrites.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WriterRileyLong/



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