Review Tour: Eldridge’s Release by Evelise Archer

Eldridge’s Release | Evelise Archer

 Universal Book Link

 Length: 50,000 words approx.
Publisher: MLR Press
Cover Design: Winterheart Design

Blurb

Eldridge Cristoff worked hard and rarely played, always leery of letting himself go after the humiliation he suffered at the hands of his college boyfriend. Best friend Isabella Catana, submissive and lover of Johnson Petri, invited him to a night at an upscale BDSM club, Club Rebellion-owned and operated by Johnson and his trio of friends. All dominants.
Dalton Peters has never collared his own sub nor had the desire until he met Eldridge. Dalton was immediately taken with the skittish man, deciding to make it his mission to release Eldridge from his sexual prison.
Slowly Eldridge realized the world he was meant to be in. A loving man and master at his side; he discovered submission was not a weakness but a true testament of his strong inner spirit.
With Dalton’s careful guidance, Eldridge had no choice but to give into his desires and heart, allowing Dalton to dominate his body and soul.

 

Excerpt

 

Eldridge parked his car, popped a wintergreen breath freshener in his mouth, and headed toward the entrance. He walked up to the nondescript, solid black door that had no peephole, nervously wiped his hands against the leather pants, and rang the bell.

The building was located in the swankier section of Philadelphia and sported its own parking lot, which was a rarity in the city as most establishments utilized city parking garages or the street. From that, Eldridge surmised that the place had been doing very well. By the layout of the parking lot, he could tell the area used to house a building that had been torn down to create the space.

He shouldn’t have been sweating in the outfit he wore. Eldridge was told — no, ordered — to wear his black leathers. They were soft as butter to the touch and so skintight his package was outlined. He also wore a white close-fitting muscle shirt and a jacket.

He’d tried to get underwear on; even a jock, but the pants were so tight that any seams showed through, so he elected to go commando. He couldn’t believe that he’d been talked into the outfit. He’d bought the leathers as a joke for a party he’d attended. They’d been very expensive, so Eldridge never threw them out. But he never thought he’d be wearing them again. And definitely not to a club.

He waited less than twenty seconds after pressing the illuminated button before a very large man in blue jeans and a black T-shirt opened the door. After stepping over the threshold, Eldridge looked up and noticed the camera above the door. He handed the bouncer his invitation with the club’s logo on it — a raised CR in black with a muted gray picture of a flogger in the background.

The tattooed gentleman nodded and said, “Good evening, Mr. Cristoff.”

How in the hell would he know me? I’ve never been to the club before. Although they did have his picture on file from the background check that the club had performed before sending the invitation.

The bouncer, Sam, according to the embossed name on his T-shirt, pointed to the next set of double doors and told Eldridge to go right in. But not before placing a red band on his wrist emblazoned with the word Guest.

Eldridge was amazed he’d heard nothing from the other side; not a sound. The walls must be soundproof. What the hell have I gotten in to?

Red leather covered the surface of the double-access, and Eldridge felt like he was walking into an alternate universe. The problem was, he had no idea what universe he’d ambled into. At first glance, it looked like any other club — people sitting at the bar, tables, and booths while talking, laughing, and drinking. Then he got a better look at the clientele. Men and women appeared in various stages of dress and undress. He tried not to gawk, but it was difficult. While heading to the bar, he spied a woman attached to a long chain by her nipples and casually strolling with a man holding the other end. Shit.What the hell have I gotten into?

The club was beautiful and sleek. An artist would say the straight lines and dark, muted colors enhanced the desired atmosphere. Almost everything was leather — sofas, chairs, barstools, even the edge of the bar. The color scheme was black or white with gray or subdued yellow accents. The lighting was low but sufficient to give a secure and homey feeling. Mirrors and abstract art adorned the walls. Eldridge didn’t understand the point of abstract art, but from what he saw, the decor went perfectly with the club.

“Pina colada. Nonalcoholic, please.” He leaned forward and spoke to the bartender. He loved a fruity drink, and that one was his favorite. Chunks of coconut and bits of pineapple. Was a piña colada cliché for a gay guy? He didn’t care.

As he took his beverage, Eldridge turned around in hopes of finding Isabella and her boyfriend. He spotted Issy waving to him before he’d even completed the turn and walked toward the couple. The two were comfortably ensconced on a white leather sofa with Issy perched on Johnson’s lap and her head tucked under his chin. Eldridge stopped in his tracks. The couple looked absolutely beautiful together and completely content.

Isabella hadn’t had an easy life prior to meeting Johnson. Afterward, it took time for the Dominant/submissive thing to run smoothly. Their late-night talks had given Eldridge an earful regarding Issy and Johnson’s relationship. He knew his friend had truly found peace in her life, whatever the lifestyle may’ve been.

He made his way to the couch where they were seated and could see what appeared to be a stage. Actually, there appeared to be three raised zones lit with various degrees of lighting. The center one was subdued, but the flanking areas were lit. One sported what looked like a large X-shaped structure. If Eldridge remembered correctly, Issy had told him that it was called a St. Andrew’s cross. A woman was attached to it and was being flogged by a very large man. Eldridge was too far away to hear any of the sounds coming from the woman, but if her expression was any indication, she was enjoying herself very much.

As Eldridge leaned down to greet Issy with a peck on the cheek, he noticed the man sitting on the far end of the sofa. Yum. Scary. Dominant. It was easy to surmise based on the way the man carried himself even in a sitting position and the way he was dressed that he was probably a Dom. Once Issy had convinced Eldridge to visit the establishment and after he’d filled out all the necessary paperwork, he’d perused a few sites on the Internet so he could at least know the difference between a Dom and a sub.

The club sported the lifestyle, as Issy liked to describe it. It was a way of life that for some unknown reason Issy felt her bestie needed to explore. Issy was a submissive when it came to her home life. At work, she was a total go-getter that took a stance on designs and implementation. And she bossed around even the largest men. But in her domestic life, she allowed Johnson to rule the roost; from Eldridge’s perspective, anyway.

The only problem was, Eldridge didn’t know if he completely agreed with the lifestyle. How could a person give that much control to another? Although, if Eldridge really, really, thought about it, the idea did spark something inside him. He was always in control at work, but sometimes he wanted someone else to take the reins. He wanted to relax, but it scared the hell out of him to allow someone else to rule.

Eldridge wanted to sit at the feet of the man at the end of the sofa, which completely threw him for a loop, and he immediately locked the thought away in the recesses of his brain. The last time he wanted to sit at a man’s feet, he was told that he was depraved and sick. Damn, Ned had done a number on him. He’d done unimaginable things to him. Ned had turned out to be sick in his physical and emotional treatment of Eldridge. Not that Eldridge desired to be physically hurt, but he did crave more. As confused as he was, he didn’t know what the more was. Isabella thought she knew what he needed.

He kissed Issy on the cheek and shook Johnson’s hand.

“El, this is Dalton. One of my partners in the club.” Johnson spoke as he pointed to the man at the far end of the arc-shaped sofa.

Eldridge crossed over to stand in front of Dalton. Dalton stood and extended his hand in greeting. The grip was strong and solid. His eyes raked Eldridge up and down.

El supposed he was a good-looking guy. At least that’s what Issy had always told him. She called him man-pretty — not completely masculine and not necessarily feminine. Man-pretty. At times, he wasn’t sure if that was an insult or a compliment. He’d always known he was gay. When their classmates were looking at the opposite gender, Eldridge always looked at the boys. He loved the hard and delineated lines of their chest; not soft mounds that protruded and got in the way. Girls’ breasts, yuck.

His family knew he was gay. He’d come out to them in his early teens. His parents were supportive and accepting even though it probably wasn’t the lifestyle they would’ve chosen for him. He never brought boys home as dates, so his parents were fine with his homosexuality as long as it wasn’t flaunted in their faces. Sometimes Eldridge felt very lonely, but at least he had Issy.

He wasn’t the biggest, tallest, or most talkative in their current circle of friends. In fact, when he wasn’t in the boardroom and high-strung from all the intensive work he did to keep his clients rolling in money, he could’ve been classified as a wallflower; reclusive. Eldridge didn’t mind going out for a drink or two with Issy and Johnson or his coworkers, but he very much preferred to be by himself.

Finding the right man to date was hard. Eldridge didn’t know how women were on the prowl all the time. His introverted personality made contacting a stranger difficult. But there had to be someone out there for him, didn’t there?

Eldridge gauged the man before him with rapt attention. Damn, he thought as he tilted his head back to get a better view. Large was the first word that popped into Eldridge’s mind. An imposing figure, Dalton had to be at least six-feet six-inches tall. El wondered if the size of his cock matched his height.

His pants became tighter than they already were, and his face heated as he continued to stare from beneath his lowered eyelashes. Hair so blond that it was almost white hung past his shoulders, held back with a leather thong. The strands looked silky. But what really drew Eldridge were his eyes — cobalt blue, piercing, and the kind that could look straight into a man’s soul. Eldridge shook his head as if coming out of a fog and composed himself.

That was someone Eldridge would want to get to know better. Eldridge didn’t even know if he was gay. There was no way someone that large and masculine could be gay.

Okay, maybe he was stereotyping but he was most likely a Dom to boot. Some woman would be very lucky to land this fine specimen of a man.

But Dalton held Eldridge’s hand just a touch too long for a casual handshake, and something sparked briefly in his eyes.

“Nice to meet you, Dalton.”

About the author

Evelise Archer is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She is a new-found lover of tea, and don’t look in her office because what you find may astound you. She currently has twenty tins of tea leaves just waiting to be brewed for her drinking pleasure. She is bilingual, lives in one of the original thirteen colonies, and is a lover of the cold weather and snow. It’s a safe bet that you may find her on the beach in the autumn and winter, but rarely in the summer. She’s been married for over thirty years to a loving man who puts up with her obsession to clean—she currently owns three vacuum cleaners—, read, and spin a tale when the voices speak to her. When she’s not in front of the computer, search her out in the local gym.



Email: evarcher5@gmail.com

Blog: http://sexyforreview.blogspot.com/

Website: http://evelisearcher.blogspot.com/

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Too much instalove for me to buy into the romance

Eldridge's Release (Club Rebellion, #1)Eldridge’s Release by Evelise Archer

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

2.5*

This one didn’t work for me at all unfortunately. It was a lot of tell and very little show. Outside of a shifter/true mate romance, this type of instalove needs some really clever plotting to make it work and for me, this one didn’t have that.

Everything was on the surface and Eldridge and Dalton were in love within about 20 seconds of meeting each other! Okay, it wasn’t quite that fast but the narrative really didn’t justify that type of connection, especially within the BDSM world.

The writing was good though, the scenes are very well executed and there was definitely a connection between the two men when it came to the BDSM element but, overall, I just felt like I was being told everything instead of being given the chance to read it come to life.

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

ETA: The lovely Jaime actually explains the best my thoughts on this book in her review here (although she ultimately rates it higher than I did)

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Release Blitz: Unexpected Christmas by Nell Iris

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS

 Length: 13,527 words
Publisher: JMS Books
Blurb
 

Daniel Erickson stormed out of his family celebration after choking on turkey served with a side of bigotry. Utterly miserable, he reluctantly lets himself be charmed by the hulk of a man and gets into the stranger’s car … hoping he won’t be axed before the night is through.

Axel Wilson — Ax for short, unfortunately — is a sweetheart. Really. He may be badass-looking but his heart melts into goo at the mere mention of his four-year-old niece. Surely he isn’t dangerous?

Thrown together by family drama, the two men spend the evening getting to know each other. Axel is nothing like Daniel expected. But it doesn’t matter that he loves poetry, is gentle and patient — and hot! — Daniel is absolutely not falling in love at first sight. There’s no such thing.

Right?

Excerpt

A few minutes later, a vehicle approached from behind. Reacting instinctively, I turned around and waved my arms, hoping the big truck would stop and have mercy on my freezing ass.

I let out a giddy yelp as it slowed down, but it got stuck in my throat when the driver rolled down the window.

He was huge and couldn’t hold his head upright without banging it on the ceiling. Big steel gauges adorned both his ears — at least an inch and a half wide — and his hair was black and so closely cropped it resembled a five o’clock shadow more than an actual haircut.

“You need a ride?” he asked and his voice was deeper than the Mariana Trench, perfectly matching his frightening appearance. Black tattoos crept up his neck and snaked down his hands below his sleeves. His shoulders were wide, his muscles strained the sleeves of his thick black jacket, and his cheeks were hollow. I was one second from shitting myself.

“I’m not riding with a serial killer!” The words slipped out of my mouth and I groaned. I couldn’t have kept my mouth shut for five fucking seconds to avoid being chopped up and thrown to the wolves?

He threw his head back and let out a thunderous laugh.

“What’s so goddamned funny?” I glared at him, but he didn’t seem to care.

“I’m no serial killer.”

“And I’m just supposed to take your fucking word for it?” I raised an eyebrow. I knew I was being combative and taking out my frustration on this stranger, but I couldn’t stop myself.

“You could call my ma for references.”

“Ha ha. Very funny.” With a deep sigh, I resigned to my fate and started walking again. No way was I getting into a car with that mammoth of a man.

“Where you goin’?” he called after me. When I didn’t bother to answer, he eased off the break and let his truck crawl after me.

I swirled around. “Stop following me, you creep,” I hissed.

He let go of the steering wheel with one hand and held it up as if he surrendered. “Look, man. It’s freezin’. You’re wet and miserable. Get in the truck and lemme take you wherever you’re goin’.” His deep voice was surprisingly gentle. Non-threatening, as if he’d come to expect reactions like mine.

“I’m really not a bad guy.” He stuck out his lower lip in a pout that would have made a five-year-old girl green with envy and I had to bite my lip to stop a smile from erupting.

“Really?” I tried to hang on to my mistrust, but he made it hard. His appearance screamed RUN AND HIDE, but there was something soft in his eyes that told a different story.

He shot me a crooked smile. “It was worth a try. It works on my niece every time.”

The fucker knew all the right words to say to disarm me. “And how old is she?”

“Four.”

I huffed out a reluctant chuckle. “Well, you know how it is. Everyone always says how they couldn’t believe their neighbor was a serial killer because he seemed like such a nice guy.”

His eyes grew big and round. “You’re sayin’ you don’t trust my niece as a character witness?” He sounded as I’d just delivered the biggest insult of his life, but the amused glint in his eyes told me it was all for show. “Can you blame me?” “I guess not.” He sighed and grew serious. “Please. I couldn’t live with myself if I left you here to freeze to death.”

My body screamed at me to take him up on his offer. The ice pellets were relentless and I was soaked and gloomy and was starting to feel like maybe being ax murdered wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen to me right now.

The openness in his posture and honesty in his eyes had me on the verge of caving. “You promise you won’t kill me?” I sounded like a scared little kid even to my own ears.

Author Bio
 

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along but let’s face it, she’s not Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a 40-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, where she spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her life long dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, and wants to write diverse and different characters.

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Simply brilliant world building

Slow HeatSlow Heat by Leta Blake

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is so far beyond hot it goes off the supernova scale. The opening paragraph alone is enough to set off a hot flush.

But, it’s also so much more than just the sex, there is world building of such a clever degree that it’s easy to believe this could be a reality some time in our future.

In this Alpha/beta/omega world there are no more females of the Human species and an event horizon level disaster fused man’s genetics with those of the wolf. There are mPREGnancies, usually something which isn’t a favourite of mine as it normally gets fade to black-ed or happens off page without any “biological” explanation of just HOW!
Not in this book, Leta gives a rational explanation which isn’t just random theory, I could see humankind developing to make it possible.

Lots of elements of this book reminded me of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian classic The Handmaid’s Tale although – unlike that book which I absolutely hated (sorry feminists and fellow women) – I absolutely loved this one.

Jason and Vale were fully realised characters, totally believable within this world of alphas, betas and omegas and they were surrounded by a cast of absolutely compelling secondary characters, religion and history.

This book made me think as much as it gave me a hot flush. This isn’t our world but it mirrors elements of it. There are moments of intense passion, intense pain, emotional connections and true friendships.

I understand some readers have been concerned about something which happens with Jason and his friend Xan but I have to say it didn’t bother me. It fit into the context of what was happening once Jason met Vale and their Erosgape (basically a biological desire to imprint which develops into a soul mate bond over time) kicked in.

It was drawing an end to Jason’s life before Vale, he was saying there would be no more “comfort fucks” for Xan because he’d met his life partner, even if they knew absolutely nothing about each other at this point.
I didn’t think it was cheating but I can see why others might consider it as it came after Jason met Vale and got the “instalove” but – for me anyway – before they’d had any time to develop a relationship at all. It was Jason’s way of closing the door on his youthful impulses and fun times with Xan.

This is a fascinating world with its omegaverse but non-shifters and I hope it’s the start of a new series because i want to know that Xan is safe and gets his HEA. Oh and the cover – smoking!

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