Tag Archives: new beginnings

A glorious homage to both food and love

Blue Plate EbookBlue Plate Special by Layla Reyne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is another wonderful homage to the glory of good food which is wrapped up in a lovely age gap romance coupled with the perfect best friend’s dad side order.

Anyone who’s read Layla’s previous work, or follows her on social media, knows how much of a gastronome she is and so this book’s dedication to the way food can be a symbol of affection and love should come as no surprise.

It’s loosely connected to What We May Be as it’s set in the same town at Ezra is a temporary professor at the same university that Trevor taught at. It’s also directly connected to both Dine with Me and to The Last Drop and so there are guest appearances from characters related to those stories.

At it’s heart though, this is a book about trust, about love and an understanding that comes from being able to build a life with someone when you’ve given up all hope of ever being able to settle down.

I loved it.

#ARC kindly received from the author via ValentinePR. I am voluntarily leaving a review.

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Release Blitz: Reigniting Chase by Jeanne St. James

Reigniting Chase | Jeanne St. James


Release Date: July 30th, 2022

Publisher: Double-J Romance, Inc.

Cover Artist: Golden Czermak @ FuriousFotog

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 368 pages

Available in Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link

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An unexpected collaboration between two authors that’s hot enough to spark a fire…


After an excruciating loss, I’m desperate for a fresh start.

Away from the painful memories.

Away from everyone I know and anyone who knows my story.

That’s how I end up in Eagle’s Landing, Pennsylvania.

As a bestselling author, my main reason for moving to a remote mountain cabin is to overcome the writer’s block that crushed my creativity for the past two years. My hope is to rediscover my words in the quiet, small town where no one knows me. Or my past.

A place where I can blend in enough that I become invisible.


Even though Chase, one of my favorite authors, insists he wants to be left alone, I refuse to let him wallow in whatever’s drowning him.

As a local bookstore owner and author myself, I’m intrigued by the man who’s a master of the written word. Unfortunately, his social skills could use a lot of work.

Even so, I’m determined to pull the irritable and frustrating man out of the dark pit he’s fallen into and back to the surface, no matter how hard he fights it. I only hope dragging Chase down that fiery path just might reignite his spark and that I don’t get burned in the process.

Note: Please check the content warning before reading or purchasing. It can be found at the beginning of the book (accessible by Amazon’s “look inside” feature or by downloading the sample) as well as on my website. This standalone gay romance has a guaranteed HEA, no cheating and no cliffhanger.



I paused my fork halfway to my mouth. I had only made a small dent in the diner’s belly-busting breakfast special so far. It was criminal how much food the server had delivered for five bucks.

Five freaking bucks. On Long Island, it would have cost me at least fifteen.

And for only two more dollars, the coffee came with unlimited refills. If I could mainline that welcomed caffeine right now, I would.

My whole body ached and I was exhausted, not only from sleeping like shit in the motel, but from tackling the seemingly endless job of cleaning the cabin from top to bottom. I didn’t want the furniture I purchased down at a mom-and-pop store in Picture Rocks to be delivered until the place was completely spotless and all my unwanted roommates had been effectively evicted.

While I liked bats and knew they were beneficial, I just didn’t want to share the same space with them. If they returned to sleep in the rafters today, then I needed to find how they were getting in since I had covered the broken window with plastic-sheeting.

But all of that wasn’t what made me pause my eating, it was the man across the diner who wouldn’t stop staring.

Like me, he also sat alone, but unlike me, he seemed to know everyone in the diner. A local just like everyone else there.

The first morning, all eyes had turned in my direction as soon as I walked through The Eagle’s Nest’s door, but now the waitresses were used to seeing me since this was my third day eating in the diner, for both breakfast and a late dinner.

The food was good. The prices and attentive, friendly service even better.

Even one of the thirty-something-year-old waitresses had tried flirting with me. She had no idea she was barking up the wrong tree. Even if I was on the dating market, she was playing on the wrong team. While I had the utmost respect for women, I simply didn’t want to sleep with them.

However, the man who kept staring at me was most likely not on my team, either.

Was he staring because I was simply a stranger in a close-knit community, where everyone apparently knew everyone?

It couldn’t be because I was gay. While I had never hidden it, I also didn’t flaunt it and most women, when I broke it to them gently, were shocked to find out the truth.

Most men, too.

I’d heard, “My gaydar must be broken,” more times than I’d ever wanted to.

Even so, dating wasn’t on my agenda anytime soon. Or ever, since I had no plans on dating anyone ever again.

Life would be easier that way. Plus, at this point, being a team player didn’t matter, I preferred to remain a free agent.

Ignoring the man, I finished shoving the forkful of scrambled eggs into my mouth, hoping the guy would get bored staring at me.

Still ignoring the man, I stabbed a piece of sausage, also shoving it into my mouth and chewing, hoping the guy would lose interest in whatever had caught it in the first place.

Continuing to ignore the rude man, I sucked down half a cup of black coffee, hoping the guy would simply fuck off.

Finally, unable to ignore him anymore, I dropped the fork on my plate with a clatter, tipped my head down and rubbed my forehead. I steadied my breathing in an attempt to lower my quickly rising blood pressure.

I only wanted to eat in peace. I wasn’t here to make friends, or even enemies.

I only wanted to be left the fuck alone.

But of course that wasn’t going to happen.

This was exactly why I left Long Island, everything I knew and everybody who knew me.

I wanted to live somewhere no one knew me or my backstory. I had gotten to the breaking point, swallowed up by pity on one hand, or people thinking it was time I “got over it” on the other.

I’d never get over it.

Not fucking ever.

Fuck! screamed through my head when the dark-haired man rose from where he sat at the counter. After throwing a few singles next to his plate, he turned and headed away from the entrance and toward my booth.

Of. Fucking. Course.

Dread rose from my gut into my throat and began to choke me. The man might have recognized me somehow.

Lifting my coffee cup, I peered over the rim to keep an eye on the approaching man. My muscles and spine stiffened more with every step taken closer to where I sat. Trying to mind my own business.

Trying to eat breakfast.

Trying to exist in peace.

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About the Author


JEANNE ST. JAMES is a USA Today, Amazon and international bestselling romance author who loves writing about strong women and alpha males.

She was only thirteen when she first started writing. Her first published piece was an erotic short story in Playgirl magazine. She then went on to publish her first romance novel in 2009.

She is now an author of over fifty contemporary romances. She writes M/F, M/M, and M/M/F ménages, including interracial. She also writes M/M paranormal romance under the name J.J. Masters.

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Blog Tour: If You Love Something by Jayce Ellis

If You Love Something | Jayce Ellis


Release Date: December 28th, 2021

Publisher: Carina Press

Buy Link: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9780369717917_if-you-love-something.html

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57188050-if-you-love-something




A marriage lost is found again in this cheeky new romantic comedy from acclaimed author Jayce Ellis.

As executive chef at one of the hottest restaurants in DC, DeShawn Franklin has almost everything he’s ever wanted. He’s well-known, his restaurant is Michelin starred and he can write his own ticket anywhere he wants. Until his grandmother calls him home and drops two bombshells:

1) She has cancer and she’s not seeking treatment.

2) She’s willing half her estate to DeShawn’s ex-husband, Malik.

Make that three bombshells.

3) That whole divorce thing? It didn’t quite go through. DeShawn and Malik are still married.

And when DeShawn’s shady uncle contests Grandma’s will, there’s only one path back to justice: play it like he and Malik have reconciled. They need to act like a married couple just long enough to dispense with the lawsuit.

Once DeShawn is back in Malik’s orbit, it’s not hard to remember why they parted. All the reasons he walked away remain—but so do all the reasons he fell in love in the first place.



I tried to ignore the increasing butterflies in my stomach as I pulled off 495 and wound through the streets of suburban Maryland. I’d never been all that interested in having a home in the ’burbs, but it had always been Malik’s thing, and I drove down the streets of named development complexes, past the recreational center, leasing office, and horses grazing in a pas­ture, before pulling up near the end of a cul-de-sac. Not at the circular portion, but only two or three spots down.

Next to me, Corey whined softly, and I ran my hand over his head. “It’s going to be okay, boy. Malik and his dog will love you.”

I hoped like hell that was true. I climbed out and walked around, unfastening Corey from his doggy seatbelt before leashing and walking him up the front steps of the house.

This was just a meet and greet. A chance for the dogs to get to know one another, and for me and Malik to have a real conversation about what we were doing without prying eyes watching our every move. It was one thing to play reunited lovers for the cameras, for the courts, but I knew without a doubt that Malik would be pushing this divorce through as soon as he had the opportunity.

What I also knew, what had become abundantly clear be­tween receiving Grandma’s news, having dinner with her, and the meeting at Larry’s office? This, this right here? Was what I’d been missing.

Oh, sure, I’d acknowledged for years that I missed Malik with the fire of a thousand suns. That didn’t hold a candle in the face of actually being near him again, actually being able to touch him, to feel him. One look and I’d been ready to risk it all. Ready to say the hell with this entire career, if it meant I got to see that face every day for the rest of my life again.

But if I told Malik that? He’d probably laugh his ass off, not because he thought I was serious, but because he’d as­sume I was making a joke at his expense. It was his defense mechanism.

I took a deep breath, then rang the doorbell. The loud, deep barking from inside had Corey giving it back in spades, and I heard Malik’s exasperated sigh. “Calm down, Bruno. It’s okay, boy.”

Bruno did not calm down, and neither did Corey. He matched the growls on the other side of the door, his body going stiff and taut on my leash, warning Malik’s dog of his impending doom.

Malik unfastened the locks, and I could tell he was strug­gling to keep Bruno in line, only opening the door a crack before an absolutely huge mastiff nosed it open all the way. His position immediately changed, and the big lug sat down, panting.

I waited a few seconds, then unleashed Corey. He sniffed Bruno, who suddenly seemed more than willing to allow it. And when he was done, Corey let out a short bark, and Bruno took off toward what I assumed was the kitchen, my dog on his heels.

“Just like that, the best of friends,” Malik muttered.

I snorted. “All things considered, I think that’s a good sign.”

Malik’s eyes drifted to me, across my cheeks, lingering on my lips, down my neck. Then he closed his eyes, gave his head a little shake, and stepped back. “Come on in.”

It was nice to know I still affected him. I wanted to still affect him. I wanted him to want me as much as I had him the minute he’d walked down that dingy hallway and into the light. If the physical desire was still there, it meant I could work on everything else. Right?

I followed Malik through the open-concept layout and into the kitchen, pulling up a stool at the beautifully appointed is­land. A light gray granite countertop, white cabinets, all stain­less steel appliances. An absolute bitch to clean, but for just Malik and the dog? Well worth it.

“Your home is beautiful,” I said, taking in the hardwood floors, the outside patio just a few steps away, the fireplace that I wanted to cozy up in front of, weather be damned.

How lovely would it be, to come home and recline on the couch with him, let him lean against me and read his favorite book while I thumbed through recipes? To have the dogs lying next to each other in front of the fireplace, or outside, or wherever.

A whole host of things I never thought I wanted rushed through me. And I blew out a breath to stop the tidal wave of sensation from overwhelming me.

I turned to face Malik, who was staring at me. “Thank you,” he whispered, almost like he didn’t want to break me out of my trance. I smiled again, then nodded toward his hand, which was holding a square plastic container. “What’s that?”

He looked down, like he’d forgotten all about it, then shrugged. “Brownies.”

I held my hand out, and he cracked a fraction of a smile be­fore plucking one out of the container and handing it to me. Malik had been trying to perfect his brownie recipe when we’d separated. I took a bite and—yeah, he’d nailed it.

“This is exceptional,” I said, shoving the rest of it in my mouth and then holding my hand out for another one.

Malik laughed, which had been my hope, but damn, I still wasn’t ready for what that sound did to me. How much it warmed me. How much it calmed me. How much it made me want to lay across the nearest surface and take everything he had to give me.

“So,” I said, forcing that thought out my head and focus­ing on Malik. “How do we want to do this?”

“I guess, I mean—” Malik stopped, closed his eyes and gripped the counter, then blew out a breath and looked at me. “At the end of the day, this isn’t about you or me. It’s about honoring Grandma and her wishes, and not let that lying sack of shit uncle of yours keep her from that. Right?”

“Right.” And it was right. Never mind that I’d nearly forgotten about it in the rush of pleasure that shot through me at seeing Malik again. But he was right, painfully so, and I needed to remember that.

Although, to be fair, it looked like Malik was having a hard time staying on task, too, but I refused to think about what that meant. “The dogs get along, and that’s half the battle.” He grinned and I nodded. Truth, and praise Jesus for it. “So I guess it’s just a matter of setting public and private boundaries.”

I raised a brow. “Are they going to be different?”

His eyes flashed. His nostrils flared, and his tongue darted out to wet his lips. I mirrored his movement and leaned a fraction forward, wanting to chase his tongue with mine. Malik cleared his throat, straightened, and stepped back. Fuck. Hadn’t meant to do that.

His voice sharpened. “Yes. When we’re in public, I’ll follow your lead. You know what plays well with the cameras. Whatever it takes to make us look like a happily married, happily reunited couple. But here?”

After a beat of silence, I prodded him. “Here?”

He frowned, then bracketed his hands on his hips and nod­ded. “Here, we’re roommates. Nothing more. You stay in your bed, you take care of your dog, you fix your meals. You don’t worry about what I’m doing, you don’t worry about how I’m eating, you don’t worry about Bruno.”

“Barely passing acquaintances.”

He raised a brow at me, then gave what I’m sure he hoped was a nonchalant shrug, but it was far too stiff. “Exactly that. That’s what we are while we’re here.”

I wanted to argue, to trample over every word he said. But that wasn’t the way I’d won Malik’s heart in the first place, and if I wanted another chance, disregarding his needs wasn’t the way to go now. I’d had a few weeks to accept that we were still married. I could afford to give Malik time to catch up.

But if he thought I was letting him go again, he had another think coming.


Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.

 Discover a new Carina Adores book every month!

D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins (coming January 25, 2022)

Sink or Swim by Annabeth Albert (coming February 22, 2022)

Going Public by Hudson Lin (coming March 29, 2022)

Book Boyfriend by Kris Ripper (coming April 26, 2022)

Eight Weeks in Paris by S.R. Lane (coming May 31, 2022)

The Romance Recipe by Ruby Barrett (coming June 28, 2022)

About the Author


Jayce spends her days divorcing “happily married couples” and her nights writing about people like her: Black, queer, fighting for their happy-ever-afters, with her husband and two turtles by her side.

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