Tag Archives: mystery

Release Blitz: Never Stay Gone by Tal Bauer

Never Stay Gone | Tal Bauer

Big Bend Texas Rangers #1

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Release Date: October 9th, 2021

Cover Design: Angela Haddon Book Cover Design

Universal Link: mybook.to/NeverStayGone

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59223355-never-stay-gone

READ MY REVIEW

Never Stay Gone cover small

Blurb

Six bodies in a single grave… in the same West Texas country where Dakota left everything behind.

Every beat of my heart belongs to you.

Thirteen years ago, Dakota Jennings thought he’d found his forever when he fell in love with Shane Carson. But one afternoon shattered their love story, and both Dakota and Shane left Rustler, Texas, with broken hearts. Even now, Dakota is still feeling the agony of losing Shane. Sure, he’s a Texas Ranger, but that’s not how he wanted to live his life. All he ever wanted was to love Shane.

Loving you is the only time I feel alive.

Shane’s life was supposed to be different than this. There’d been a plan, ever since he was knee-high to his father. But falling for Dakota spun Shane’s world upside down, and for years, Shane has had nothing but the memories of all that he lost: Dakota’s gentle touch, and the sweetness of his lips, and the star-strewn nights they spent wrapped in each other’s arms.

West of the Pecos, there is no law.

When the Rangers get the call about six bodies being pulled out of a mass grave in West Texas, the governor sends Dakota to run the investigation. Dakota heads back to his hometown and comes face-to-face with the last man he ever expected to see again: only now, he’s Deputy Shane Carson… Dakota’s local partner assigned to the case.

There’s nothing Dakota wants more than a second chance with Shane, but so much is stacked against them: six corpses, a murderer on the loose, and history that refuses to stay buried. And the bodies keep piling up as Dakota and Shane try to run the killer down across the West Texas plains.

In a moment, everything changes: the hunters become the hunted, the past fractures, and all Dakota thought he knew comes tumbling down. Secrets break wide open as Dakota remembers–

This is West Texas, and out here, nothing is as it seems.

Big Bend County is a place of beauty and desolation, of secrets and small towns. Where the past and the present collide, and where nothing stays hidden forever.

This MM romantic suspense is the first in the new Big Bend Texas Rangers series. Come along for the West Texas sunsets, the heart-pounding thrills, and the hard-won Happy Ever Afters.

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About The Author

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Tal Bauer writes breathtaking, heartfelt, and often action-packed gay romance novels. His characters are head over heels for each other, and fight against all odds for their happy ending.

Nothing stands in the way of love. Tal is best known for his romantic suspense novels, including the Executive Office series, The Murder Between Us, The Night Of, and his MM sports romance, The Jock.

Visit Tal at www.talbauerwrites.com and on Facebook or BookBub today.

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Another absolute classic from Tal

Never Stay Gone cover smallNever Stay Gone by Tal Bauer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This time I half guessed it right 🤣

Tal has such a talent that whenever I find to review his books, I find myself wanting to say the same things each time.

It’s no different here. If you’ve ever read a book from Tal, you should have your survival kit close at hand.

With this book, you’ll need it more than once as your heart will break just like Dakota’s did 13 years earlier when what he thought was his future was shattered by Shane.

I’m not going into any spoilers about the criminal element of the plot.

Other than to say, I’d got it partially right but still missed a crucial bit of evidence.

The scene setting is superb as ever, I really could feel the heat and taste the dust of this somewhat forgotten part of Texas.

This is such a visceral part of the narrative that it drives the story as much as the murder investigation does.

And, as it has law enforcement officers as its key characters, it’s as exceptionally researched as all of Tal’s other books.

Regarding Dakota and Shane, it takes a while for them to reconnect but 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 do the fires burn when they do!

So many other interesting characters too that I’m intrigued to find out where Tal goes with the series.

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

View all my reviews

Blog Tour: A Right To Know by Jude Tresswell

A Right To Know | Jude Tresswell

County Durham Quad #7

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Release Date: July 31st, 2021

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male Menage

Length: 57,300

Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Add to Goodreads

A Right To Know Cover

Blurb

“A son! A child! How? Why? Fuck! Phil! You can’t have! And does this sperm-child want to see you?”

Abandonment, trust, suspicion and compromise—integral parts of a mystery that involves industrial espionage, sperm donation and coming to terms with oneself and the truth.

Sperm donors know that now, under UK law, offspring who reach eighteen have the right to learn a donor’s identity and last known address, but Phil Roberts donated before the law was changed. He is shocked and dismayed to learn that he has a son called Lewis who intends to visit. Phil’s husband, Raith, is furious—and very scared.

What does Lewis Lennon really want? The man he has always called ‘dad’ is dead. Was his death suicide or was he murdered? Lewis wants Phil to find out.

So, Phil, Raith, Mike and Ross, the County Durham Quad, plus their special friend, Nick, are embroiled in another investigation, but, as always, their relationships come under scrutiny too.

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Excerpt

Phil sat at the big kitchen table. His beard, neatly trimmed as always, failed to hide the lack of colour in his face. He looked shocked. He was holding a letter.

“You alright, Phil?” Mike was puzzled and concerned. “Bad news?”

“Not ‘bad’ exactly. Unexpected. Very.” He sighed. “I’ve an eighteen-year-old son. Sperm donation.”

Raith, Phil’s husband, dropped the glass of juice he was drinking. It rolled off the table and smashed as it hit the floor.

“A son! A child! How? Why? Fuck! Phil! You can’t have! And does this sperm-child want to see you?” Raith snatched the letter from Phil’s hands. “I can’t read this fucking stuff; it’s in joined-up. Why didn’t he type it?”

“He probably felt that this was more personal,” Mike suggested, retrieving the letter from the floor where Raith had slung it in disgust and shaking it free of orange juice.

“It’s fucking personal alright. You always said they couldn’t identify you, Phil. What the fuck’s gone wrong?”

“It looks as though we might find out,” said Ross, the fourth member of the quad. He was reading the letter over Mike’s shoulder. “He intends to visit. I think we need to talk.”

***

Mike, Ross, Raith and Phil, four men who shared a home in Tunhead, a tiny hamlet in the Durham hills. Tunhead derived its name from Tun Beck, a little stream that flowed into the larger River Wear. Tun Beck lent its name to BOTWAC too—the Beck on the Wear Arts Centre.

Ross managed BOTWAC, Raith provided paintings and ceramics and Mike carried out the maintenance. Phil was the only one whose work was separate. He was a surgeon at Warbridge Hospital, an hour’s drive away and, in a sense, his medical background was the cause of the morning’s shock announcement. The four of them talked about the news that evening.

“You knew I’d donated sperm, Raith.” Phil had always made it clear that when he was a medical student, like many others on his course, he had donated both for research and for procreation.

“I know that, but you’d always done it anonymously. You said so, and you never did it after they changed the law.”

Raith was referring to a change that occurred in 2005 regarding data held at UK fertility clinics. At licenced clinics, that is. Prior to the change, offspring conceived by sperm or egg donation could learn some information about their donor when they reached sixteen, but what was released was very general. If donors wished to remain anonymous, they could do so. From 2005, though, anonymity was lifted. Sixteen was still the age of release of the ‘non-identifiable information’, but at eighteen, offspring conceived by donation had the right to be told their donor’s name and date of birth and, also, their donor’s last known address.

“I didn’t donate after two thousand and five. I think I’d know if I did.”

“Sperm can be frozen though, can’t it, Phil? Perhaps it was used after the change was implemented.”

“Only for another year or so, Ross, and under the old anonymity rules. There was a transitional period but, after that, sperm could only be used in exceptional circumstances. To create a sibling, for example. I remember being contacted about it. I had the option of… going public, if you like, but I chose not to do so. I didn’t want…I didn’t want a child, well, not one that I’d feel some responsibility for. I suppose, if I’m honest, I did want to pass on my genes, have that sense of immortality—I knew it was unlikely that I’d ever father a child with a woman. I just wanted to… be helpful, I suppose. I gave a brief self-description at the time, but the details would apply to thousands of people: eyes, hair, height, weight, ethnicity. Even if you narrowed the count with ‘student medic’ and my year of birth, you’d still be talking hundreds. I was careful not to leave traces.”

“How thoughtful of you!”

“That’s not helpful, Raith.”

Ross chastised gently but, tonight, too harshly for Raith.

“Helpful! It’s not help Phil needs—it’s a fucking vasectomy, but he’s eighteen years too late. I’m going up.”

No hugs, no kisses—the little goodnight habits that told the men that they were loved and cared for and cared about. Just “I’m going up” and heavy footsteps on the stairs.

If my books were films…

The books are set in the hills and dales of north-east England, but who would be the actors walking over the wonderful scenery? Choosing is hard. I never visualize the Quad except in the vaguest of ways. That’s one of the reasons why the covers are always silhouettes.

I ‘hear’ my four men, but I rarely ‘see’ them. But, also, would someone known to me, perhaps through British television, be familiar to readers from elsewhere? Not sure, so I’ve chosen some actors that I know have appeared in productions that aren’t exclusively UK based. Three actors anyway – to play Mike and Phil and Raith. I’m stuck for an actor for Ross.

Mike Angells: ex- cop, resourceful and tough but emotionally needy and loyal to a fault, and a man with a local accent. I love the range of accents in England and I know that good actors can emulate them, but I’ve chosen a native northerner to play Mike: Sean Bean.

Well, the Sean Bean of maybe twenty years ago as he was in the series, Sharpe. Mike’s Bishop Auckland accent would be different from Sean Bean’s Sheffield one, but the two would share some features. Softness, roundedness, some of the vowel sounds… I could listen to Sean Bean talk all day and, writing this now, I’m wondering if, subconsciously, I modelled Mike on Richard Sharpe. Even down to the swearing!

Phil Roberts: surgeon, over-worked, cautious and worried. Welsh parents though he was born and raised in Newcastle (on Tyne – there are several UK Newcastles.) 

I’ll choose a proper Welshman: Tom Ellis. I know him from the comedy series, Miranda, but he plays a very different sort of character in the series, Lucifer. I think he’d do Phil beautifully. Exactly the right age (early forties) and, as far as I can imagine Phil facially, the right sort of narrow features. I do know that Phil has a neatly trimmed beard – just like Tom Ellis’ on his Wiki page. Tom would have to ditch the smiles, though: Phil is a (mostly) serious guy.

And so to Phil’s husband, Raith Rodrigo Roberts-Balaño aka Raith Balan. Artist, ceramicist, a one-off. Fool or genius? Who knows? He’d need to be played by someone who could run with his extremes.

I know who it would be: Eoin Macken. I think that, in the USA, he’s known for the series The Night Shift, but I know him from Merlin. His Sir Gwaine would hit just the right Raith-note. What’s more, Macken is, or was, a model. He’d know how to carry off Raith’s eccentric clothes and appearance.

In the new tale, Raith has threaded miniature bells all through his long, dark hair. I’m sure that Eoin Macken in Gwaine mode would look great as he tinkled his way over the Durham moors to paint the streams and waterfalls. So that’s three of the four, but who would play Ross?

Ross Whitburn-Howe: Mike’s civil partner. (England and Wales: civil partnerships. Not marriages, but with many protections of marriage e.g. regarding wills) Slightly built, curly hair, lively, brisk. Late thirties now, but still cute – very. Nobody cute enough springs to mind. I’m open to ideas. 

Thank you for the opportunity to chat – Jude

Re. the scenery, drone footage with extracts from the stories can be found on Jude’s YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKhPb-WpyW3fUXnqjvTnCqA

Series Graphic

Discover the entire series

Tales that track the exploits of Mike, Ross, Raith and Phil, four men who live and love in County Durham, North-East England. Together with, from Book three onward, their friend, Nick Seabrooke, the Quad solve crimes, are accused of crimes and, occasionally, commit crimes.

Their actions jeopardise their relationships. Sometimes, the biggest threat they face is staying together. Each tale comes with its own plot, and background is included to aid new readers. Feel free to jump in anywhere.

Available from Amazon

About The Author

I’m a long-married, asexual, cis-gender female who lives in southeast England. I’m from northern England though, and the north is the setting of all my stories. You can see the setting on my Youtube channel. This isn’t a #ownvoice tale, though there’s certainly some ace-rep in it.

Part of the motivation was my dismay at receiving, unasked for, the results of an ancestry test earlier this year. A different situation from Phil in the story, but I felt for him!

A TW: parental suicide. Again, it’s something I have experience of. I hope I have dealt with it sensitively.

Website | Goodreads

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