Tag Archives: low angst

Release Blitz: Third Time Lucky by Aurora Crane

Third Time Lucky | Aurora Crane

A Chain Reaction Spin-Off

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Release Date: January 28th, 2023

Cover Artist: Cormar Covers

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 80,000 words

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Trust didn’t always go both ways, and Grady Donehue learned that the hard way. He hadn’t learned better after the first betrayal, but he wasn’t going to make the same mistake a third time. Striking up a strange friendship with the equally strange—and straight—soldier, Lake, who had sunshine in his eyes? Grady could do that. He could even handle helping Lake figure out he might not be so straight after all, in a very hands-on way. But falling in love? No, thanks.

Lake McKenna has spent his whole life absolutely confident in who he is and what he wants. Even when the picture-perfect future he’d always envisioned seemed further away than ever, none of his plans included another man. But the more time Lake spends with his new friend: grumpy and sneaky-sexy detective, Grady, the more he thinks that maybe what he really needs is something different to what he always imagined.

Neither man was prepared for the other, but Lake is nothing if not flexible. Doubt isn’t part of his make-up. He knows how much more incredible they could be together; if only Grady could see it too. Grady has to decide if Lake is worth risking his heart again, and whether he’s brave enough to see if it really is third time lucky.

Third Time Lucky is an 80,000-word MM romance. It is a bi-awakening, friends to lovers romance with low angst and high feels. It is set in the Chain Reaction universe but can be read as a standalone.

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“Is there a reason you don’t like your house?” Grady asked.

It was a fair question, since they hadn’t spent a lot of time in the last few months at Lake’s, even though they’d spent so many evenings together.

Lake didn’t answer at first, staring out at the dozens of people milling about like ants with a purpose. “It’s empty,” he said quietly. “I bought it when my grandpa died about ten years ago, from my half of the inheritance. There was a lot of space for a family, and a pool, and a big yard for a dog. I fixed it up using money I got from a really long deployment.” He stared down at his hands. “I guess I thought it would be filled by now.” He couldn’t quite smother the feeling of failure when he thought about all the personal accomplishments that he hadn’t ticked off yet. As though his life were nothing more than a checklist that he had to work his way down. He knew that wasn’t right, but it slithered in there, anyway.

“It’s okay to not have found the person you want to make a family with yet,” Grady said softly. “Sometimes it takes longer than we’d like, but when it’s right, you’ll know.”

“I would never have pegged you for such a romantic.”

“Don’t tell anyone. And stop trying to dodge.”

Lake sighed. He knew, logically, that Grady was right. And he had dated a few people over those years that he’d thought maybe, but nothing had ever panned out. “It just feels big when I’m there by myself. Even with the TV on the silence gets to me. I like your house.” He shrugged. “It’s small, and cosy, and it has you in it.” He didn’t know if that admission was allowed, or what it even meant, when it felt like so much more than he could find the words for.


“I know we haven’t known each other long, but friendships are like that sometimes, aren’t they? I like being around you.”

Grady didn’t respond and Lake awkwardly fiddled with the beaded and leather bracelets around his wrist.

“Do you have food at your house?” Grady asked, eventually. That hadn’t been what Lake had expected him to say. He’d been bracing himself for rejection. Lake had gotten too clingy, wanted to spend too much time with him, and it was time to part ways. Lake would have understood. He knew that he was a lot to handle and sometimes he figured the only reason Felix and Zach had stuck around so long was that they’d had so long to get used to it.

“I guess it depends on what you mean by food?” Lake replied. “Why?”

“Because I like your house, Lake,” Grady said patiently. “And you shouldn’t have to feel like you can’t be there.”

“I—what? You like my house?”

“Well, yeah. It’s big, and it’s inviting, and it has you in it.” He paused and then turned to Lake with a grin that had Lake’s mouth going dry. “And it has more than one bed. Just in case.”

“All of my spare beds are being fumigated,” Lake said, hoping he didn’t sound as desperate as he felt. He didn’t give a fuck if it was weird; he liked waking up next to Grady, liked how big Grady was and how much space he took up on the mattress, the heat that radiated off him in waves. There was no mistaking he wasn’t alone when Grady was with him.

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About the Author

Aurora Crane logo

Aurora Crane is an Australian author with a particular love for books featuring poly relationships. You can always find a healthy serving of banter, snark and heat in her books, along with impossible men falling in love, even if sometimes it takes them a little while to get there!

She has an appreciation for men in suits and frequently spreads that love in the Facebook group she shares with her muse, fellow Aussie, and co-writer Briar Kearney.

When not in the writing cave—a rarity to see this author out of her natural habitat—she can be found playing video games, building Lego sets, or hanging out with her fiancé and their menagerie of animals.

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I cannot wait for more after the jaw-dropper Louisa left here!

62798838._SY475_Conduit Crisis by Louisa Masters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holy cliffhanger paranormal fans!

Totally expected as this is a series with an ongoing story arc, but even so, the twisty in the tale here came as a surprise and I loved it.

Just like I loved seeing Skye get his man as Daniel realised that the reason he’d always been drawn to him was more than just friendship.

This is a generally low angst – demonic threats aside – romance in which the guy who’s been in love with his ‘straight’ friend gets the best kind of surprise when it turns out he’s actually crushing on him too.

With the same humorous element that’s been present throughout this series so far, we get a plot that develops more about Skye’s ability to interact with spirits from the otherworld and that sees him facing his past when his mother returned to town after deserting him when he was only seven.

When he and Skye end up in a fake boyfriend situation after Skye’s mother confronts him and pairs scorn on his small town life, it doesn’t take him long to discover he likes the thought of being able to kiss Skye.

Surprisingly, we don’t actually get much on page exploration but there is a super hot frotting scene before Skye plucks up the courage to ask Daniel of he’s just an experiment.

Skye and Daniel are incredibly sweet together, I loved how Daniel was so chill about realising he was bisexual and had been attracted to men before without really understanding his feeling.

By the time we reach the end of this book, there’s been all kinds of excitement, not least the discovery of a demon plot with the potential to end the world!

Roll on June for the final book, which will be The Collective’s Gatekeeper Gabe and Skye’s best friend Tom, whose ghostly Nonna haunts his taxi cab passing judgement on everything!

I can’t wait for it.

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

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Release Blitz: Climbing to Believe by F.A. Ray

Climbing to Believe | F.A. Ray

Rock Jocks #1

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Release Date: January 10th, 2023

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“You’re going to be the death of me.”

“Then I better make it worth it.”

Ty never planned on sleeping with his biggest climbing idol, but when he gets the chance, is he really going to say no?

As a teen, Ty idolized Elijah Reed for coming out publicly. Now Elijah is here watching Ty climb, and it’s everything Ty fantasized about as a young climber searching for his place in the sport. Elijah might be older than him, but Ty won’t let this man slip away that easily.

When Ty invites Elijah out to dinner, Elijah actually says yes, and Ty knows this is his chance. Elijah could be a lot more than a distant climbing idol if he’d just let Ty get close. But the mere mention of competitive climbing seems to open an old wound. Elijah clearly wishes he was still competing.

Why can’t he?

They could have it all — climbing, each other, even a relationship. That is, if Elijah will let Ty in.

Climbing to Believe is a high-heat, low-angst MM sports romance with an age gap, rock climbing adventures, an idol/fan dynamic, spicy open-door scenes, and a HEA.

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His toe caught. The surface he found to stand on couldn’t have been larger than a marble, but the rubber of his slightly pointed, down-turned climbing shoes clung to it like it was as wide as a six-lane highway. Some of the weight and pressure came off his hands as he shifted his weight onto that tiny, tenuous foot.

Elijah peered up the face of the boulder. The sun was starting to creep over it, glaring right into Elijah’s eyes. He squinted, blinded, body trembling, hands and feet screaming for relief as they perched on razor blades made of rock.

It was the greatest feeling in the world.

If Elijah weren’t gasping for breath, straining every muscle, he’d be whooping with pure joy. There was nothing like being on real rock, nothing like the bite of a boulder, the grit of a fleck of a foot, the strain of glimpsing the crest of the climb but not knowing if you’ll manage to reach it.

He had only seconds before his body gave out. Climbing a boulder was generally a sprint, not a marathon. And this climb had pushed his body to its limit. He’d fallen off dozens of times — not just today, either. Elijah had battled this particular foe many, many times already. He’d never yet won.

Today, a mere foot of rock stood between Elijah and victory. There was no reward awaiting him, no prize or glory to be gleaned. Nothing but the pure intrinsic need to conquer his own limits.

Doing so would require Elijah to push off of that marble-sized foothold and propel his body upward. He’d only get one chance. Once he started moving, there was no way he’d be able to reset. The momentum would rip him right off the microscopic crimp holds keeping him twelve feet off the ground.

“Come on, Elijah,” someone shouted beneath him. “Stay with it.”

Several other voices joined in shouting encouragement up to Elijah. Elijah couldn’t spare a look down at the climbers both rooting for and spotting him, but their words pushed him to give this final move his all regardless. He knew that if he missed he was in for a long fall, but the climbers on the ground had set up large crash pads so he could land safely. And they would spot him so he fell only on those pads and not on the hard ground. Too often, missing or misplaced pads resulted in broken ankles and other injuries, but the folks with Elijah today were all highly proficient climbers with years of experience spotting each other outdoors.

If only things outside were as simple as they were in a gym. There was no substitute for real rock, for sun and air and nature. But Elijah did have to confess that climbing in a gym was sometimes nice simply because the entire floor was made of these squishy crash pads. Injuries weren’t impossible, but they were certainly more rare.

He shook himself, mentally, at least. This wasn’t the time for doubts. This was the time for single-minded focus.

He gazed up again. Even though the sun blotted out his view, he could tell where the rock above him ended. It wasn’t far to the lip. He just had to go for it. Off tiny holds. Twelve feet above the ground.

Come on, he thought. Don’t give up on it. One move.

If I fall, I’m screwed, a voice answered, a voice that had been growing ever louder over the years.

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About the Author


F.A. Ray started writing as a child and never really stopped. They live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with their partner and cat – and lots of good bouldering rocks.

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