Tag Archives: guilt

New Release Blitz: Raining Men | Rick R. Reed

Raining Men | Rick R. Reed

Chaser #2

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: March 9, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 100,416

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 Blurb

The character you loved to hate in Chaser becomes the character you will simply love in Raining Men.

It’s been raining men for most of Bobby Nelson’s adult life. Normally, he wouldn’t have it any other way, but lately something’s missing. Now, he wants the deluge to slow to a single special drop. But is it even possible for Bobby to find “the one” after endless years of hooking up?

When Bobby’s father passes away, Bobby finally examines his rocky relationship with the man and how it might have contributed to his inability to find the love he yearns for.

Guided by a sexy therapist, a Sex Addicts Anonymous group, a well-endowed Chihuahua named Johnny Wadd, and Bobby’s own cache of memories, Bobby takes a spiritual, sexual, and emotional journey to discover that life’s most satisfactory love connections lie in quality, not quantity.

And when he’s ready to love not only himself but someone else, sex and love fit, at last, into one perfect package.

Excerpt

Raining Men
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Bobby sat on a leather chair in therapist Camille D’Amico’s office, took in his surroundings, and mused on why the therapist had arranged the office as she had.

He made certain assumptions. Camille had placed the seating to be comfortable, yet not confrontational. Bobby supposed she wanted her office to have the effect, the ambiance, of a living room—a safe, calm place where she and her charges could relax like two old friends, just gabbing, getting to the heart of their problems. The office was dimly lit—blinds drawn and a Pottery Barn ceramic lamp the only illumination, sixty watt—and for Bobby, it had what he imagined to be the desired effect: calming. From the small charging/speaker unit on Camille’s desk, the violin of Joshua Bell played softly, a warm background accompaniment.

Camille adjusted her halo of frizzy brown hair, running her fingers through it, and pushed her glasses up on the bridge of her nose. She didn’t say anything, and Bobby supposed she was waiting for him to begin.

Bobby fidgeted with a button on his sport coat, not sure where to start. Camille eyed him up and down, and Bobby knew what she saw: a tall, lean man with above-average—well, way above if he were being honest—looks. And it wasn’t just his vanity that informed him. He had been told more times than he could count that he was gorgeous, hot, that he had the kind of virile beauty seldom seen outside of men’s fashion magazines. His clothes were expensive, tasteful—a soft navy blazer with a white, button-down, Egyptian cotton shirt crisp beneath it. His jeans were indigo blue, the kind that went for hundreds of dollars a pair. His red suede sneakers bore the subtle Prada logo beneath the laces. Bobby had thrown the look together to display a kind of casual elegance, and from the way the therapist was eyeing him, it succeeded in spades.

Even Bobby’s face spoke of good health and clean living. Skin so fine it almost appeared without pores. His auburn hair, close cropped, had just a touch of product to give it sheen, even here in this dimly lit warren. From him wafted the aroma of Hermès, sprayed in a cloud that Bobby had walked into, to ensure he got just the right amount on him.

In short, he knew he appeared to be a man who had everything—health, looks, money.

He imagined the therapist must be thinking: So what the hell is he doing here? And then, sadly, he guessed her next thought might be: And why is it impossible for him to erase that mask of sadness that seems to cling to his face, marring those perfect features?

I’ll wait for him to tell me.

Bobby knew how therapists operated, even if he had never been to one. He had read enough about them and seen enough of them in movies and TV shows to know their modus operandi. She would know, Bobby surmised, that silence was often the most powerful tool in a head doctor’s arsenal. Silence prodded, pushing for respite, for release. It was human nature, these days especially, to want to fill that quiet void with talk.

But Bobby, too, waited. A full two or three minutes had passed since Camille had made her initial small talk greetings. Yet Bobby still played with the pewter button on his blazer, seldom lifting his arresting gray eyes to meet her gaze.

Camille tapped the toe of her shoe on the bamboo flooring, and Bobby wondered if she was beginning to get impatient. She stopped tapping suddenly when Bobby moved his gaze from looking around the room to her foot. He finally spoke.

“Caden sent me.”

Camille nodded. The simple nod and the sudden light in Camille’s eyes told Bobby she remembered his old friend. He imagined what the pair must have once discussed, here, in this very room. She had probably helped Caden through love problems that most young men experience and issues with his mother’s battle with cancer. Camille smiled, and Bobby thought it was because she knew Caden was now in a good place, in love with a wonderful man. Bobby wondered if she had heard Caden was moving in with his boyfriend, Kevin. Bobby wanted to tell her that Caden’s mother was winning her battle with that hateful disease and that she was now recuperating at home, struggling through chemo treatments with grace and humor.

But he only knew these latter two things because he had heard them from a mutual friend one night at Roscoe’s along the Halsted strip known in Chicago as Boystown. He had not heard them from Caden.

He had not heard a word from Caden.

“Caden DeSarro?”

“That’s the one.”

“He’s a good friend to have.”

“Was. Was a good friend.” Bobby realized Caden must have stopped coming to see her before Bobby had betrayed him, and the shame caused a rush of heat to rise to his face.

“Oh?”

“He and I kind of reached a parting of the ways, I guess you might say. I…” Bobby sighed and his voice trailed off. He stared down at the floor.

Camille said nothing.

“I kind of screwed up our friendship. I was an ass.”

Camille cocked her head, a subtle indication for him to continue.

“You want to know what I did, huh?”

“I want to know what you want to tell me, Bobby.”

“I tried to steal his boyfriend.”

Camille nodded.

“In my defense, I didn’t think Caden wanted him anymore.”

He guessed that the therapist’s first reaction to such news would be to recoil. Why not? Here before her was a man who had done a very bad thing, a reprehensible thing, and it seemed like he was sitting here wanting to blame the victim. He didn’t think Caden wanted him anymore? Seriously? What kind of defense was that? Even if that was the case, and it was, someone still didn’t go after a person their best friend had fallen in love with, no matter how sweet and sexy the man was.

But Camille, if she had any judgments, kept them to herself. Her face revealed nothing but a sincere desire to know more.

About the Author

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning.

Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…”

Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his beloved husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.

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Annabeth triumphs with this first in a new series about hotshot firefighters

49897760._SY475_Burn Zone by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fabulous start to this new series from Annabeth.

It combines the camaraderie of her Out of Uniform series with the small town vibe of her Rainbow Cove books and I loved it.

Lincoln needed a shake or a good talking too so he got his head out of his backside but I totally got him.

Jacob is an honest and direct guy, he wants Linc, always has. But his dead brother’s ghost hangs over them both.

There’s angst, but it never becomes overwrought, Linc is struggling with his own feelings for Jacob and guilt about his best friend’s death.

I loved how Annabeth wound their relationship around the Smokejumper team’s first season following Wyatt’s death and how they tried to come to terms with his little brother taking his spot.

The chemistry between them is incendiary, touched with a sense of the forbidden, as Linc does his best to push Jacob away.

With danger on the edges constantly, this is a romance rollercoaster that ultimately leads to an explosive finish.

Grab it if you love hard-headed men with a soft centre and a feeling of family among a group of men who literally put their lives in each other’s hands.

#ARC kindly received from the publisher Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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A masterful demonstration of love after crippling loss

Running from My Heart (Rock Bottom #3)Running from My Heart by Felice Stevens

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This book is about loss. It is about stored up guilt and untethered emotional pain.

It’s a masterful demonstration of how two people can suffer the same paralyzing loss and yet deal with it in drastically different ways.

But, ultimately, it is about the resilience of the human spirit, our need to connect and to find meaning in our experiences.

It’s a love story wrapped in slightly prickly wrapping paper, it might burn your heart a wee bit but the emotional journey which grows out of the ashes of a lost love and the unexpected wreckage of an unknown betrayed love is truly beautiful.

I loved how Felice gives the reader two radically different men with a shared common ground which moves them closer together in an almost organic way.

There is work done, on both parts, for each man to start healing, but the love which grows is as free as the lakeside wilderness where both Ross and Arden learn how to properly live again.

So, a glowing review so why wasn’t it a 5* read? See below as I don’t want to potentially influence other readers expectations.

***SPOILER***

For me, what happens with one particular plot thread just took me down a half star because while it worked within the narrative, it felt more like a means to an end (of one character’s unfailingly devotion) to enable the relationship plot to move on.

That’s not to say it didn’t feel totally believable, because it did, but for me it seemed to be the way by which one of the guys could move on and he might not have done so otherwise.

There’s a fair bit of Foster and Justin in this one and it was lovely to see them still being happy.

I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes with the offshoot Felice is planning.

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

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Quirky mystery suspense romance from Amy

TheHeightseBookThe Heights by Amy Aislin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, this book. I have thoughts, lots of thoughts but mostly I really loved the whole premise of the plot and I think that element was carried out perfectly.

Now, my other major thought is that, due to the vast majority of the romantic elements – including the smexy times which help to build up an emotional connection between the characters and the reader – happening mostly off page or fading to black, I wasn’t as invested in Nat and Quinn as a pairing as much as I was with their individual story arcs.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved them together, I’d have just liked to have seen more of them together and I don’t necessarily mean steamy erotica, but just more of the emotions that come through physical intimacy.

But, the main plot itself, about dealing with loss and guilt and the idea of what makes a family, was mostly well done, with the exception of Quinn’s real parents.

It may be, as this is a new series, that this element is continued on in future books, but I did feel something was missing there.

Overall, this book was a success for me and I liked that it wasn’t a traditional romance or a traditional suspense/mystery but married the two together.

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

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This book just hit all my buttons and almost made me cry

RegretRegret by Christina Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book needs a tissue warning! I didn’t full out blub but I was so close and definitely had very leaky eyes at the ending.

Sometimes a book just resonates with you as a reader and this was one of those for me. I could feel every ounce of Nick’s guilt and grief and all I wanted to do was reach into the book and wrap him in the world’s biggest hug.

Brin, on the other hand, for a lot of the book I wanted to sit down and just talk to, get inside his hurt and ask him to think logically about why Nick might have done what he did. His hurt was perfectly valid and I totally understood why he’d cut him off but as soon as they reconnected, it became really clear there had been something seriously wrong at the heart of Nick’s behaviour.

There’s nothing more delicious to me than a true enemies to lovers or second chance romance and this book turns both up in spades. Christina Lee is a writer who has such an authentic way of connecting her readers to the characters she’s writing. They are honest and real and flawed but also beautiful and hopeful and loving.

The sadness at the centre of this book is also wholly believable, it never once feels like a plot point thrown in just to create the drama. It was heart-breaking and something you know sadly happens more than we’d like to think and which leaves people living half lives.

The characters which surround Nick and Brin are also fully drawn out, inhabiting their own slice of the story perfectly and bringing the necessary depth to anchor their relationship reconnection on.

I’m really hoping this is the start of a new series Christina because I want to know more about Tristan and the mysterious Mr V’s boyfriend!

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Unmissable!

Torch (Unbreakable Bonds #3)Torch by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A word to the wise, don’t start reading this at 10.30pm otherwise you won’t get to sleep until 2.45am like I did last night.

This book is everything I’d hoped it would be and is a brilliant follow on from Shiver and Shatter. Rowe is still reeling from the murder of his wife Mel nine months ago when his old Ranger buddy Noah arrives having finally left the service.

Noah is the only man Rowe has ever had an emotional connection to outside of his friendships with Lucas, Snow, Ian and the men they love, but he ran after one steamy night in Prague years before Mel.

Now that Noah’s back in his life, Rowe is wondering whether running was a huge mistake although the guilt he feels with Mel’s death, and the looming threat from Boris Jagger, is still holding him back.

But one night a little bit of green-eyed jealousy and a touch of booze lets the walls down and Noah back in.
What follows then is the usual emotionally gripping and scorching hot ride you’d expect from these two wonderful writers.

The suspense and mystery in this book is cleverly paced and, unlike the first two, there is a sudden twist I didn’t see coming. It also makes it clear why Ian couldn’t be the subject of book three and neatly sets everything up for both his story with Hollis and the conclusion to the criminal activity which had threaded through all the Unbreakable Bonds books so far.

Having to wait now until spring next year for Ian’s story to round up this tale of four incredible men and the ones they fall in love with is torture!

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