Tag Archives: frenemies

A fabulous frenemies to lovers foodie romance

57431907._SY475_On a Roll by Beth Bolden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the third book in Beth’s excellent Food Truck Warriors series and it’s my favourite one so far.

The tension between Gabe and Sean is palpable and they come together and fight like two mating stags, raging and expecting the other to back down.

However, as the story progresses, the reader becomes aware of Sean’s reason for his truck’s name and at once sympathies begin to twist and turn and Gabe’s determination not to change his seems less important and more just stubbornness.

Of course, Gabe doesn’t know the reason, because Sean’s just as big a stubborn donkey as Gabe is and there were times while I was reading this (once I again I beta read for Beth) that I wanted to bash both their heads together and tell them to grow up!

It’s very clear though that they both need something from the other and if they could only get over themselves and actually talk about the situation, a compromise could be found.

Tony gets involved in the stirring and forces them to work together, in turn prompting the heart to heart both have really needed and then setting them on the path to happiness.

Full of all the foodie love this author is known for, On A Roll is beautifully paced, steamy and sweet.

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

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Blog Tour: The Good Ship Lollipop by Patrick Benjamin

The Good Ship Lollipop | Patrick Benjamin

BANNER

Release Date: February 14th, 2021

Cover Artist: Rebecca Covers

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 140,000 words/430 pages

Buy Links

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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The Good Ship Lollipop Front Cover

Blurb

Kyle must choose between the love of his past and the man he could love in the future

For fifteen years, Kyle and Dustin seemed like the perfect couple. That was until Kyle came home to discover Dustin in bed with a yoga instructor half his age and twice his flexibility. Two years and countless therapy hours later, Kyle has almost put the incident behind him. Being nearly forty and single makes a man bitter, but he’s making do.

Yet, when Kyle’s best friend asks him to be her Man of Honor, on her ten-day Caribbean wedding cruise, Kyle finds himself in a most uncomfortable situation. He ends up trapped on a seafaring vessel for ten days with the man who practically destroyed him.

Face to face with Dustin for the first time since the breakup, unresolved feelings float to the surface, and Kyle and Dustin both begin to wonder if their story is as over as it seems.

While navigating unchartered waters with Dustin, Kyle also meets Jax, a sexy Australian who likes to cruise in more ways than one. Kyle is more than happy to let Jax distract him for ten days.

Still, when Jax suggests that he might want more than just a few days of fun, Kyle must choose between the love of his past or the man he could love in the future.

BANNER 2

Excerpt

No, absolutely not!” I nearly choked on a spinach leaf.

“You have to come,” Sapphire insisted. “I want you to be my Man of Honor.

“A) That’s not a thing. B) The answer is still no.”

“I can’t get married without you.”

“Sure, you can. There’s no law against it. People do it all the time.”

When Sapphire offered to take me to lunch, I should have suspected something treacherous was afoot. Sapphire and I were like sisters. Sisters of different races and one of them with a penis, but sisters, nonetheless. Our relationship was something enormous and incomprehensible to most people. On paper, we had nothing in common. We had completely different backgrounds and cultural experiences that cultivated entirely different perspectives of the world around us. Despite those differences, we had found each other.

As close as we were, the girl had never offered to buy lunch. She seldom volunteered to pay for anything. That should have been warning number one. When she suggested my favorite Italian restaurant, Armando’s, that should have been warning number two. When she volunteered to foot the bill to attend her destination wedding cruise, I should have known to prepare myself for the Armageddon of bad news.

“You spent fifteen years with the man. What are ten more days?” She spoke with her hands. A piece of chicken flung off her fork and onto the table beside us. The senior couple, who were trying to enjoy their eighteen-dollar salads, glared at us like we each had two heads.

“I’m so sorry,” I mouthed to them.

“I can’t believe you would miss your best friend’s wedding over a tiny, little, uncomfortable inconvenience like this.”

“A cockroach infestation is a tiny inconvenience. Gonorrhea is uncomfortable. What you’re asking me to do is far worse.”

“Don’t be dramatic,” Sapphire said, waving her hand. “Dustin is not that bad.”

“Isn’t he?” He was too tall, too fit, too classically pretty, and all too aware of the fact. He was narcissistic and untrustworthy, but he was also charming and exceptionally good at putting on an innocent act. He could flash his white teeth and his dimples and get people to believe anything he wanted. Still, if you looked into his eyes, you could tell he was soulless.

“Why would you want everyone to join you on your honeymoon, anyway?” I shifted focus. “I hate to tell you this, but if you can’t stand to be alone with Justin for ten days, you probably shouldn’t marry him.”

“Very funny,” she said dryly. “I want everyone there because I want my wedding to be an experience. An amazing memory we can all look back on together.”

“I am not spending ten days, on a tiny boat, in the middle of the Caribbean, with him.”

“It’s a cruise ship,” she corrected. “Besides, you won’t be with Dustin. You’ll be with me.”

“Lies!” I wasn’t buying any of it. “I know exactly what will happen. You and Justin will be too busy enjoying your Caribbean honeymoon to spend any time with me. Then I’ll be trapped, in the middle of the ocean, with no one to talk to except Beelzebub’s concubine.”

“He’s not going to be the only other person there, you know. Several other people will be in our group. You can make one of them your wingman. My father loves you. You can hang-out with him.”

“Honey, don’t take this the wrong way. If I’m on an exotic vacation, and the only man who wants to spend time with me is your sixty-five-year-old arthritic father, I might drown myself in a bathtub.”

“Don’t be silly,” Sapphire dismissed. “You’ll be surrounded by water. There’d be no need to draw a bath.”

I did not look amused.

“I can’t believe you’re still so angry. It’s been over a year.” It had been eighteen months since the breakup, and yes, I was still harboring, hurting, and hating.

I hadn’t seen or spoken to Dustin since the incident. As instructed, he had been gone when I returned to the apartment. With Sapphire’s help and some very strategic planning, I had avoided him throughout the entire decoupling process.

I left yellow Post-it Notes on everything he could take and was extremely vindictive about it. He could have the Blu-ray player, but not the discs or the TV. He could take the kitchen table, but not the chairs. I even kept the Keurig, though I permitted him to take his pods. What kind of monster drank decaf anyway? I also instructed Sapphire to guard the jazz record collection with her life. I detested jazz music, and we both knew it. I planned to pawn or destroy the albums later.

The first few weeks after the breakup, Dustin tried tirelessly to communicate with me. He sent me text messages that I didn’t answer and left voice mails that I refused to listen to. Dustin tried everything short of smoke signals. He even sent me an old-fashioned letter, which I didn’t open and burned immediately. I had nothing to say to him and had no desire to hear what he had to say to me. I had never been an incredibly trusting person, and his betrayal had reinforced all those walls that I had been trying, for years, to dismantle.

Being the forgiving person she was, Sapphire tried to convince me to give Dustin a second chance. Still, I refused, steadfast in my determination that he’d had his chance. Since then, she had been careful not to mention him. Even though I knew full well that she saw him regularly. He was her fiancé’s twin brother. She had to remain cordial. I did not and had no intention of ever being so.

“You simply have to come. We’re going to so many beautiful islands: Turks and Caicos, Bonaire, St. Thomas, and Aruba. You’ve always wanted to go to Aruba.”

That was true, but still, “If you put us on a ship together, I promise you, I will throw him overboard.”

She smiled wide, her teeth gleaming white against the contrast of her chocolate skin. “That’s fine! Just promise you’ll make it look like an accident.”

“Duh,” was the most mature response I could muster. “I don’t want to end up someone’s bitch in a Caribbean prison.”

“Don’t you, though?”

Dirty, prison sex would have been the most action I’d seen in a while. Thirty-nine may have been young by hetero standards, but in the queer world, I was practically a spinster. Being classified as an elder gay meant that my dating pool had been reduced to a few categories. First, those men who were so weird or creepy that nobody wanted them, or second, those who were so bitter and jaded by relationships past that dating them was like trying to build a house out of straw. I was a card-carrying member of category two.

Of course, there was always a third group. Younger men. They were excellent in theory, with their zero percent body fat and their permanent erections. However, too often, their perfect bodies and sexual appetites only camouflaged the fact that they lacked any real substance. If brains were dynamite, most of them couldn’t blow their nose. There were always exceptions. Old souls that knew how to converse about more than just Rhi-Rhi’s new album or T-Swizzle’s latest boyfriend. Those younger men wanted more than sugar daddies. Though, I still couldn’t imagine having enough in common with someone who hadn’t even been alive during the original run of Friends.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t get a date. Even close to forty, I was still cute. Not as attractive as I was at twenty, but I wasn’t a hunchback or anything. My deep green eyes matched my red hair, which I kept cropped short to avoid the bozo-clown-realness it would become if left to grow-out. I was tall and still decently shaped, a little thicker in some places than I’d prefer, but that came with age. At least, that’s what I told myself. I had a good understanding of where that put me in the queer hierarchy. Guys would still bang me; they just wouldn’t brag about it anymore.

Admittedly, the realization that I was no longer prime real estate took some getting used to. Before Dustin, I had been a penthouse in Manhattan, but after fifteen years in couple-town, I was shocked to discover I was now a brownstone in Queens. Next stop? Condemned building in Jersey!

That being said, I was optimistic about my life, even if it meant spending it alone.

“The ship is huge,” Sapphire was still talking. “You won’t even really have to see each other. There are also excursions at every port: zip-lining, snorkeling, hikes, surfing. Come on. You can orbit around each other for ten days without committing a violent felony.”

“Great, so I can spend the entire time by myself?”

“There’s going to be thousands of people on this ship. It’s a floating city. If you’re so worried about being by yourself, you could always try making friends.”

“You’ve known me for twenty years. Am I the type of person who makes friends?”

I was about to find out.

patrickhead

About the Author

This is Patrick Benjamin’s second novel. He was excited to try his hand at something lighter and more humorous than his debut novel (The Road Between). Patrick can most often be found spending quiet evenings at home with his husband, Jarrett and his puppy, Dax.

When he’s not writing, Patrick can often be seen performing on stage as his glamorous drag persona Tequila Mockingbird. He also volunteers on the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization that has proudly served the LGBTQ2S+ community for 45 years.

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Release Blitz: All SCrewed Up by Beth Bolden & Brittany Cournoyer

All Screwed Up | Beth Bolden & Brittany Cournoyer

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Release Date: November 6th, 2020

Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood Designs

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 55,000 words

Buy Links:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

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All Screwed Up Ebook

Blurb

All’s fair in love and remodeling.

Griffin Caldwell can’t wait to make a fresh start: a new job, new town, new house. He’s even realized the lifelong dream of owning his own home. Except when he arrives, nothing is what he expected, and Griffin’s celebration turns from triumphant to terrible.

Not only is his “cute bungalow” a derelict heap, it needs major remodeling work to be livable. And it turns out there’s only one person in town who’s even willing to commit to the project.

The first time David Webber talks to Griffin about his disaster zone of a house, he’d like nothing better than to hang up the phone. But he’s stuck. All his grumpy behavior has gotten him is a whole stack of bad reviews online and no clients.

From the moment they collide over a busted toilet, sparks and snark fly. The only thing that might be hotter than their mutual animosity is their intense chemistry.

Neither of them wants to admit it at first but as the project evolves and their lives intertwine, maybe what they’re working on isn’t just a house. It might even be proof that a caring partnership can build a strong, long-lasting foundation–and an even fiercer love.

ALL SCREWED UP 1

Excerpt

“What are you doing?” he asked when he stepped inside and spotted David ripping into a wall.

“Baking a cake,” he responded dryly before muttering to himself, “what does it freaking look like I’m doing? Knitting a damn sweater?”

“What flavor?” Griffin asked, choosing not to respond to the rest.

“The best flavor—chocolate.”

“I beg to differ. Chocolate is good, but nothing beats a super moist red-velvet cake with delicious cream cheese frosting.”

David stared at him, crowbar in one hand, sledgehammer in the other. “Are you saying chocolate cake can’t be moist? Because if so, you’re having the wrong cake.”

“No, not at all. I’ve had some decent chocolate cake. It’s just more dense than other flavors.”

David snorted. “Was there anything else you needed? Or did you just stop by to tell me my choice in cake is dense?”

Griffin crossed his arms over his chest. “You brought up the cake conversation, not me. All I did was ask what you were doing.”

David sighed and looked toward the sagging ceiling, as if searching for a way to respond to Griffin. The ceiling was another thing that had given up in that house. The entire thing looked like it’d just had enough standing up in the battle against the elements, animals, and trespassers. And had definitely gotten tired of doing so alone—since it’d sat empty for so long. It’d given up, finally waving the white flag as tree roots took over and the crushing weight of snow had caused certain parts to cave in. The thought of seeing the house in such despair and feeling the sadness among the walls hurt Griffin’s heart, and he hoped all the time, money, and arguments with David were worth breathing new life into the house. It deserved a chance to shine in all its glory, and even though it didn’t look like much now, the bones were still solid. It just needed some love.

“When I get asked a question where the answer is obvious, I can’t help but respond with sarcasm.”

“What was that?” Griffin asked, startled by David’s voice. He’d been so lost in thought about his depressing home that he’d forgotten he was in the middle of a conversation with David.

David sighed loudly and muttered under his breath again. “Did you need something? I’m a bit busy here.”

He waved his arm around the room, the one Griffin intended to be his master bedroom, to indicate the piles of drywall he’d ripped down.

“Just wondering if you need any help.”

“We’ve already had this conversation more than once, Griffin. Right now, it’s best if you stay out of the way until I have the basic demolition finished.”

Griffin pursed his lips as he tried not to stare at the way Griffin’s sweaty T-shirt clung to him like a second skin and his jeans hugged his thick thighs like they were drawn on him. Jesus. He could crack walnuts with those thighs.

Even though it was still fairly early in the morning, the sun was already high in the sky and the humidity was even higher. And just walking outside to collect the morning paper would cause sweat to bead on your upper lip and temples. And while Griffin hated it, he had to give his thanks to the weather gods since David had taken his shirt off more than once while doing work. And Griffin couldn’t help but accept the gifts in the form of his bulging, sweating muscles, eagerly. It’d be rude not to, after all.

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About the Authors

Banner.beth

A lifelong Oregonian, Beth has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband and their sweet kitten, Earl Grey. 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 novels and six novellas.

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brittany

Brittany was born in Enterprise, Alabama and moved to a small town in Indiana when she was thirteen. And, even though the town is named Kokomo, it’s nothing like the Beach Boys song. During her free time, she loves to read amazing books, watch mindless television, and spend time with family and loved ones.

Oh, and squeeze in writing some time throughout the day as well. She is also the mom to an adorable, yet precocious, Border Collie named Delilah. When not doing any of those fun-filled activities, she works at a hospital as a switchboard operator.

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