Fantastic fake boyfriend follow up in this college series from Lane Hayes

Out in the End Zone CoverOut in the End Zone by Lane Hayes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review tomorrow when I’m at the laptop.

Weeee, this was a delight. It overlaps with book one in the series but can still be read as a standalone. I loved Evan and Mitch.

Evan was like a giant puppy, eager but naive and sensitive and, once his past was revealed, it made perfect sense.

Mitch was just a great character, he’s out and proud and happily living his life without complications, but he’s also vulnerable, apart from his grandmother, he’s never been put first as a priority, both his parents essentially abandoning him for their careers.

There’s just a really sweet romance at the heart of this “fake” boyfriends trope when it becomes clear that pretending to have a relationship – so Mitch can use the YouTube videos for his final year project on the impact of social media – not only isn’t a hardship but, for Evan, is becoming the central part of his life.

I will say, Evan also frustrated me for a long time but, once I knew what happened in his past, it became crystal clear why he behaved as he did. It’s not horrible behaviour, so no need to worry there! Just a wee angsting about accepting his bisexuality.

Also, there was a brief bit of plotline which just didn’t seem to go anywhere and, while I got that it was a bit more background to the big reveal later, I think it may have benefitted from a small follow up reference as to whether Evan did anything or not about it. Sorry to be cryptic but it’s a fairly big spoilery type thing!

Even though these guys are college age at just 23, I firmly believed in their Happy Ever After and can quite easily picture them muddling along together for the rest of their lives.

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

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Series Review Tour: Jenna Wade

Series Review Tour | Jenna Wade

BOOK 1

Book Title: Up to Code

Author: Jena Wade

Publisher: Self-published

Genre/s: mm, romance, mpreg

Length: 28 000 words

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Blurb

Aiden was an Omega who needed a job doing what he loved. He never imagined he’d meet his fated mate during the interview. He was ready to bond right away, but something stopped his Alpha from claiming him. Aiden’s patience held strong, but being near his mate every day without bonding threatened to drive him insane.

Brandon owned a successful company, and he wanted to share that success with his mate and their child. But the continued thefts troubled him and the last thing he wanted to do was drag his new mate into any danger. Danger found them anyway.

This is a 28K non-shifter mpreg novella featuring a sweet romance, a HEA, and no cliffhanger

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Excerpt

With one deep breath and a quick step I crossed the threshold and came face to face with pure sex dressed as a six-foot grown man with broad shoulders, slim hips, dirty blond hair and piercing green eyes.

Holy hell.

Mate, my mind screamed.

Blood roared in my ears as I took in his scent. Oh my God. I’d always wondered how a person knew when they’d met their fated mate. You’ll just know was all I was ever told by my Omega dad.

I knew, all right. I could feel it in every part of my body. I belonged to him and he belonged to me already and I hadn’t even heard him speak. All he had to do was give the word and I’d bare my neck, ready to bond.

I couldn’t form words. I never was good with people, least of all people I was attracted to. Though, that hadn’t happened in a long time. I would have to leave the house in order to meet someone and I didn’t do that very often, unless it was for work. In those cases, I kept it professional.

I didn’t feel very professional right now.

BOOK 2

Book Title: Down to Earth

Author: Jena Wade

Publisher: Self-published

Genre/s: mm, romance, mpreg

Length: 26 000 words

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Blurb

Everett Surlin longed for the day that his Fated mate finally recognized him. It’d been eight years since he’d first met Matt Jenkins, he’d never imagined it take this long for his mate to realize their connection.

Matt Jenkins had done his best to put his past behind him. The abuse he’d endured as a child stayed locked away inside him, never to be shared with anyone. He’d assumed that as a result of his upbringing, he was broken and he would never have a mate. That didn’t stop him from desiring Everett and wishing that they could be together.

When tragedy strikes, Matt stays at Everett’s side, which just might be the push he needs to discover what had been there all along and a future he never dreamed would be possible.

This is a 26K non-shifter mpreg novella featuring a sweet romance, a HEA, and no cliffhanger.
This is the second book in the Directions series but can be read as a standalone.

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Excerpt

I twirled the wedding band around in my hand, running my fingers over the smooth, silver metal. The ring had once belonged to my father, and hopefully someday it would belong to my mate.

Matt.

My body heated at the thought of my mate, as it often did. I’d known for almost a decade now that Matt was my mate.

Matt remained oblivious.

My fists clenched instinctively. I couldn’t help but feel angry at Fate for showing me my mate before he was ready. I often wondered if he would ever be ready. Usually, it was a magical moment full of marvel and enlightenment.

Eyes met, fireworks burst, and nature took its course. A mate bond was established, and the couple lived happily ever after. I’d never heard an Alpha recognizing his mate before their Omega.

BOOK 3

Book Title: Back to You

Author: Jena Wade

Publisher: Self-published

Genre/s: mm, romance, mpreg

Length: 25 000 words

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Blurb

Victor Docimo loved his mate more than anything, and he’s worked hard to provide Charles with the life that he deserved. He’s strived to be the Alpha that his own Father was not.

Charles spent the last twenty-six years mated to his perfect Alpha. He raised their son and managed their home. He’s tried to provide his Alpha with a family, despite the fact that he can’t have more children. After seeing Victor with another Omega, he begins to wonder if he’s enough.

Now, the two of them must face their greatest challenge yet, something that shouldn’t be possible: a broken bond.

This is a 25K non-shifter mpreg novella featuring a sweet romance, a HEA, and no cliffhanger.
This is the third book in the Directions series but can be read as a standalone.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Excerpt

I was about to tell my roommate I was heading home when the air in the room shifted. I became hyper-aware of everything around me and, as silly as it sounds, time stood completely still. I searched around the room, looking for what had changed, what was causing this awareness in me that made my skin tingle. Then, I locked eyes with him.

Victor.

Something in the back of my mind whispered his name to me. I knew him. Though I had only seen him one time and spoken to him for less than a minute. He made his way over to me, the crowd parted for him as he moved through the room. I couldn’t look away. I couldn’t move. I didn’t want to look away.

When he finally reached me, he smiled. There was kindness in his eyes, but also a heat and arousal that set my body on fire, and we hadn’t even touched yet.

“Charles, right?” he said.

“Mate.” My hand flew to my mouth. I couldn’t believe I’d said that aloud. I realized that it was the truth. The man, Victor, standing before me right now was my mate.

He chuckled. “I was hoping you’d notice this time.”

About the Author

Jena began writing in January of 2013 as a New Year’s Resolution—and so far she has stuck to it!

She lives in Michigan. By day she works as a web developer, and at night she writes. Born and raised on a farm, she spends most of her free time outdoors, playing in the garden, or riding her horses. She also helps run the family dairy farm.

Social Media Links

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Felice Stevens nails the redemption arc in this beautiful romance

Cort—Unbreakable (Man Up Book #4)Cort—Unbreakable by Felice Stevens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Felice Stevens sets out to write a redemption arc there’s no holding back and this one nails it completely.

Anyone who has read One Call Away knows how much of an absolute bastard Harlen was, vicious and hateful and the cause of so much pain.

Here, while he’s never excused for that behaviour, he is explained, the reasons behind his cruelty were just as damaging to him as his subsequent behaviour was to others.

The villain of that piece really does become a changed man through his own efforts and also because one man wouldn’t give up on him.

Cort is the real deal, an honest Texas cowboy in the Big Apple and he knows what it’s like to be rejected. He sees something in Harlen and what then becomes a most beautiful love story begins.

Everything in this story worked for me. I loved the two of them together, I loved that Harlen owned his shitty behaviour and that he had the courage to take the hand he was offered.

Now I’m waiting for the ultimate enemies to lovers when James finally gets his story told 🙂

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

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Review Round-Up: Montana Series by RJ Scott

Crooked Tree Ranch (Montana, #1)Crooked Tree Ranch by R.J. Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love starting a series from RJ Scott because I know I’m going to get a well-crafted tale of family and romance with a side order of steamy encounters and a little bit of humour.

Montana is no different and this relatively short opener sets all the scene without ever being a wall of exposition. We see Jay and Nate connecting and falling for each other, we see Gabe and Ashley doing the same.

There’s tensions enough to stop the narrative all being one tone but they’re the everyday life kind, not mad dramady or unbelievable events.

I can’t wait to find out more.

The Rancher's Son (Montana, #2)The Rancher’s Son by R.J. Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

That was so different than book one in this series!

This is more of a mystery/thriller with a romance thread running through it and more of the series long storyline is revealed in this one.

After being missing for 12 years, Adam is found, but there’s no sign of his best friend Justin and he has no memory of where he’s been or what happened.

Ethan, Justin’s older brother, goes to fetch Adam back to Crooked Tree. Along the way, he’ll need to call on all his training as a cop to process information when he realises he’s just as much in love with Adam as he was when he was 17 and Adam was two years younger.

There’s a lot of slow burn in this, understandably so given the circumstances, but it’s clear from the start that these two have a history and feelings beyond friendship.

I felt so bad for Adam, unable to remember anything but still having emotional connections to Ethan and not sure what to do about it.

The main story arc, about the boys disappearing so many years ago, is advanced along quite nicely but we’re still no wiser to knowing why they ran.

I’m dying to know what happened with Justin, whose book is next, and not only where he’s been, but also why a meth lab was such a big deal that two teenagers ended up in the witness program!

A Cowboy's Home (Montana, #3)A Cowboy’s Home by R.J. Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another brilliant – and again quite different – addition to this series which is shaping up to be one of my favourites from RJ Scott.

In this, the prodigal son returns, but it’s Justin’s intention to die on Crooked Tree, not be welcomed home and accepted in spite of his 12-year absence and the whole plot narrative centres on how all the broken pieces come back together because of Sam.

Sam, chef at Branches and a man who is also in search of a home, is the anchor who Justin clings to when the proverbial hits the fan after he discovers the badly injured man hiding out in a cabin on the edges of the ranch.

The pacing in this book is pitched perfectly, there’s drama but it never becomes too much or overly angsty, Justin’s done things he thinks the others will hate him for but he can’t seem to accept he’s the biggest victim of them all.

I loved Sam in this. He has a quiet strength which he’s not really aware of but it shines through as he manages to breach through Julian’s incredibly high walls and discovers only a tiny snippet of the pain he’s hiding.

The rest of the gang is all present too, but unobtrusively, supportive but never overwhelming and I really liked how RJ let the narrative flow so that Julian is the one who slowly unbends and begins to see his life might be worth saving.

I also want to know more about Julian’s fellow black ops friend Rob, who seems to be a prime candidate for an RJ Happy Ever After!

Now, onto the final book so far and it’s another completely different tale – Sheriff Ryan and an actor!

Snow in Montana (Montana #4)Snow in Montana by R.J. Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes I really hate Goodreads. I wrote a review for this which expounded on all the clever planning which went into the narrative and the great way in which RJ managed to pull them all back together into a cohesive storyline which was brilliant and it’s lost it.

So I’m not doing that again – this book is excellent, Sherrif Ryan is gorgeous and he gets his Happy Ever After with the lovely Jordan – read it!

#ARC’s kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Geordie’s romance in all its unique glory made me a bit teary!

Leaning Into Forever (Leaning Into, #7)Leaning Into Forever by Lane Hayes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the moment he sashayed his way onto the page in the Leaning Into series, with his air of vulnerability and his dynamic personality and belting out showtunes, I’ve wanted Geordie’s story.

And now Lane has delivered me Geordie’s romance in all his unique glory, wrapped up in a most beautiful narrative which is so full of humour and hurt, grief and joy, passion and fear that it required two tissues to get through to the end!

I must admit, it can be daunting going into a book you’ve been waiting for, knowing that you need to find out if a beloved character is okay. But there was nothing to be worried about here because Levi is utterly perfect for Geordie.

So different from his lost love Mike, but with the same strength to recognise the hurt hiding behind the exuberant exterior Geordie presents to the world. Just as Mike wanted to take care of his younger lover, so too does Levi, although he himself is now the younger one.

He made me laugh so much as he brought Geordie out of his self-inflicted bubble of grief and loneliness with a pink Vespa and a mutual bonding over bad fonts.

It takes a while, but the steadfast assurances of the new restaurant owner, and his unwavering ability to just “be there” eventually wins the day. But not before I’d had a bit of a tear up when Geordie says his au revoir to Mike.

I have loved this series so much. Nick and Wes remain my favourite pair, but Birdie and his Levi are a very close second.

#ARC kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Loved this First World War set historical romance

thecaptainandthecavalrytrooper_800The Captain and the Cavalry Trooper by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I do love a good historical romance and I very much enjoyed this one set during the horrors of the First World War.

There were a whole heap of interesting characters, an excellently drawn villain who gets his comeuppance in the end and a glorious Happy Ever After which had me smiling a great deal.

Jack and his Captain were super sweet together and the smexy times were pitched just right. There’s some angst but it’s not over yet top and it works within the narrative.

This was the first book from this pair that I’ve read but I’m looking forward to book two very much.

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

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New Release Blitz: The Recruit by Addison Albright

The Recruit | Addison Albright

The Recruit Banner .png

Publisher: JMS Books, LLC

Release Date: June 16, 2018

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: Novella / 69 pages in PDF / 22,181 words

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Vampires, HEA, Gay, Bisexual, Contemporary, Bargain, Hope, Blood Mates

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cover_therecruit

Synopsis

Albert Manlii has walked this earth for more than two thousand years, but survival on his own was never easy. Now he leads a faction of highly organized vampires who carefully guard the secret of their existence. Unlike the old days, potential recruits are carefully selected and presented with an offer.

Phillip Brewer has weeks to live—if he lets his disease run its course. He doesn’t want to die, but given a choice, will his desire to live outweigh his concerns about the vampires’ ethics?

When the new recruit’s missteps are cause for concern, can Albert control the fallout, or will Phillip’s life once again be torn apart?

Excerpt

The man moved to the bench and raised a brow in a welcoming fashion, silently inviting Phillip to join him. Phillip shrugged. He’d planned to sit here anyway, so why not have a conversation with a pleasant man while he did it?

“My name’s Albert.” He held out a hand, and Phillip shook it. The hand felt cooler than Phillip expected for someone walking on a warm day, but not exceptionally so. Perhaps he had a fever himself, and that made the man’s hand seem cooler than normal.

“Phillip.” He didn’t elaborate. There wasn’t anything he could think of to add. Small talk eluded him.

“I’m pleased to meet you, Phillip.” Albert paused, as if gathering his thoughts.

“Likewise.” Phillip kept his reply simple. Oddly enough, something about the gravity of Albert’s demeanor gave him the impression the man had directed him to the bench with a purpose in mind that had nothing to do with idle chit-chat, so he might as well let the man control the conversation. Albert didn’t give off a crazed serial-killer vibe, not that it would matter at this point as long as whatever he chose to do didn’t add pain to Phillip’s death. Not likely he’d try anything like that in broad daylight with people around, anyway.

Albert looked directly into his eyes with a steady gaze. “Phillip, I want to show you something, and I ask that you keep an open mind and hear me out before reacting.”

Phillip sat back. He hadn’t developed any expectations for this conversation, but if he had, this direction wasn’t anything he would have considered.

“I think we can help each other,” Albert continued.

“I’m dying,” Phillip said. He would have thought his appearance made that apparent, but perhaps not. “Whatever you have in mind, I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to make a deal with you.”

“Please, hear me out.” Albert held out an arm. “This seems like an unusual request, I know, but I’d like you to examine my arm. Go ahead and touch it. I want you to assure yourself that it is, indeed, my real arm and not any kind of advanced prosthetic or makeup designed to create a special effect.”

Phillips eyes widened. “Unusual request” was putting it lightly. But what the hell, he might as well add an interesting interlude to his final hours—or minutes, if this man turned out to be a homicidal maniac.

He put both hands on the well-shaped forearm. He felt for a pulse at the wrist and found one. The hairs appeared natural and moved appropriately as Phillip ran his hand across them. Veins were visible where expected. Phillip manipulated the man’s fingers and wrist. The bones on the back of Albert’s hand, and tendons at the inside of his wrist, moved correctly, becoming more or less prominent when the hand flexed. Then he lightly pinched Albert’s skin in various places. It felt perfectly normal, although still slightly cooler than usual.

When Phillip withdrew his hands, Albert lowered his arm. “Are you satisfied that this is indeed my natural arm?”

“Yes.” Phillip eyed him warily.

“Remember, keep an open mind and maintain your composure. Give me the opportunity to explain what you’re about to see.”

Weirder and weirder. Phillip narrowed his eyes but remained curiously drawn to hearing this man out. “All right.”

Albert took a quick glance around, and Phillip followed his gaze. The people he’d noticed earlier were still in sight, but nobody new had appeared.

Phillip held his breath when a small razor blade appeared in Albert’s other hand. Albert slowly drew the blade across the arm Phillip had just examined, cutting deeply enough for the tissue to separate. There was no way it was a fake blade merely drawing atop his skin. He was cutting deeply, but the blood that appeared was black, not red, and the gash closed up within seconds as the razor dragged up the length of that forearm.

“What the hell.” Phillip gasped and fought to keep his respiration steady as he turned to stare at Albert’s face. He’d been so riveted by what was happening to the man’s arm, he’d neglected to check his expression. Had that hurt? Albert’s face was tight, so maybe, although his mask of calm quickly returned.

“Do you trust your own eyes?” Albert asked. The razor disappeared into a pocket, replaced by a cloth handkerchief, which he used to wipe the remaining dark fluid—blood?—from his arm.

“I’ll admit I’m drugged up, but nothing that would explain that.” He’d pointedly requested medication that would not cause him to hallucinate or overly diminish his ability to reason. There was no point dragging out his life if he couldn’t consciously enjoy it.

He’d seen plenty of street magic in his day. Sleight of hand, etcetera, but this transcended all of that. There was simply no logical explanation for what he’d just seen.

“You accept what you just witnessed at face value?”

Phillip pursed his lips a moment before replying. “Okay. Yes. Obviously, there’s something superhuman about you.” Or he wasn’t human at all. An alien maybe?

“That’s one way to put it,” Albert said. “I was once fully human, but now…no, not quite human anymore.”

Phillip sat still as he digested that comment. Albert had “once” been human. He’d also approached Phillip—seemingly sought him out—and he’d said, “I think we can help each other.” Was there more than one logical deduction to make here?

“Please.” Phillip swallowed as a shiver of hope drifted over his skin. “I need you to spell out what you meant—earlier. Before your demonstration.”

Albert smiled. It was the smile of a man who sensed he had his fish on the hook. “About helping each other?”

Phillip nodded.

“You don’t need to die yet. I’ve been walking this earth for more than two thousand years.” Albert spoke calmly as Phillip froze in place, clenching his hands at his belly.

Two thousand years? And he wanted to make a deal with Phillip?

Did Phillip want to? What was in it for him? Everlasting life, apparently. But would it be an existence he wanted? “Who are you? You’re immortal. But how?”

“Immortal in the sense that I, and others like me, won’t appear to become older beyond our age at the time of transition. Nor will we die of natural causes. We can be killed, though. You’ve witnessed my self-healing abilities, but anything that would instantly kill a human will kill me…us, too.”

“So, if I agreed, this cancer would disappear just like that?” Phillip snapped his fingers.

“Like all of our ‘supernatural’ capabilities, self-healing improves over time. As a new convert, you won’t immediately feel better. It’ll take about a day for you to feel one hundred percent.”

That was hardly a deterrent, but Albert was obviously holding back. What facilitated this “transition”? “You still haven’t answered the question. Who are your people?”

Albert hesitated for a moment before replying. “The word you’re searching for is ‘vampire.’”

Phillip burst out laughing. He didn’t know what the hell he’d been thinking Albert’s answer would be, but the existence of some kind of magical immortality potion was difficult enough to believe without throwing in something that absurd.

Albert’s revelation probably should have made Phillip run in the opposite direction—if he’d believed it, or made him angry—because really, what kind of person fucked with a dying man like that? But at least his final hours were diverting. “You had me going there for a while.”

Tilting his head to the side, Albert raised a single eyebrow as he continued to gaze at Phillip. “Not the usual reaction. Intriguing, though. You don’t believe me, do you?”

“Please,” Phillip scoffed and gestured toward the bright sun overhead.

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Meet the Author

Addison Albright is a writer living in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay romance in contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal genres. She generally adds a subtle touch of humor, a smidgen of drama/angst, and a healthy dose of slice-of-life to her stories.

Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, french fries, “open window weather,” cats, maths, and anything chocolate.

She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.

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The Recruit Teaser Graphic 2