Tag Archives: potential triggers anxiety

Felice delivers another heart-warming & spicy romance

61898447Where You Are by Felice Stevens

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

What I love about Felice Stevens’ books is that her characters always feel like they could be someone you’d bump into on the street or in the pub or at work.

She embeds them deeply into their culture or their jobs with a deft hand so that when you’re reading, it’s like catching up with a bunch of people you’ve known about for years and now you’re just finding out more.

I also love that her MCs are often Jewish and proud of their heritage, even when they’re not practising or don’t have strong religious feelings, there are still little nuggets of that ethnicity which bring depth to the characters.

Here it’s Isaac (Gabriel from The Fall Guy’s BFF), a former child star and model who turned his back on that life after 9/11 to become a FDNY firefighter in Brooklyn and is now being sent out on an outreach program working with volunteer firefighters in rural areas.

On his first night in the quiet town he’s landed in, he has one of the hottest nights of his life and is disappointed that the guy didn’t leave his number before he left.

No worries though! He bumps into him at the regional firehouse when he goes to explain all about the outreach program.

Unfortunately Levi’s not out and he’s petrified of being discovered so what follows is a rollercoaster of a ride which covers a multitude of emotional dilemmas and which I thought was believable even if it did get a little bit wearying.
Not because I felt Levi should just come out, given the situation that would have been highly unlikely, but because I was impatient for them to get to discussing the feelings that it was pretty clear both had for the other, even if they were hiding them.

However, the way things develop did work very well for me, I liked the catalyst point that Felice used for there to be changes made and conversations had, there wasn’t any overly dramatic scene that felt forced.

I loved Levi’s extended family, his Aunt and Uncle and his brother’s girlfriend, we don’t see his parents because they’re arseholes, and his brother Jacob clearly loved him, even if couldn’t get his head around why Levi didn’t want to date any of the women he tried fixing him up with.

Isaac’s parents are fab though.

The way the happy ending is achieved also worked well for me, the pacing of the narrative was good, there were a few tension drivers that helped stop it being either too much sexy times or being too much Levi’s fretting, and I could really believe in their future together.

We get a very nice Epilogue too which helps to solidify the fact that the connection between Isaac and Levi wasn’t just based on their lustful first encounter but on the bedrock of support Levi found in Isaac and the knowledge Isaac had that Levi wasn’t out for his fame and connections.

I also loved the little guest appearance of Bryce and Matty from Influenced who are friends with Jacob and whose B&B is in the same part of the country.

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

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Definitely my favourite in the Boston Rebels so far

58867968._SY475_Snowed by R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well that was a – very good – surprise and nothing like I was expecting from this duo’s ice hockey series’

The Boston Rebels books so far have all been very different in tone and style while sticking to the sports romance genre. This one veres far more into romantic suspense than sport, even though Kyle is the goalie for the Rebels.

It’s a mostly second chance/forced proximity romance but the suspense element really added to the pacing of the book and I found myself quickly enthralled in what could be responsible for Kyle’s night terrors.

I personally thought the plot reveal to be quite plausible, although it then did head off into slightly dramatic, but not unbelievable, territory which amped up the tension big time in the run up to the last few chapters.

The relationship between Christian and Kyle is so beautifully written, each of them is hiding deep seated hurts, and with Kyle’s additional anxieties and fears, it adds up to a wonderfully poignant reunion.

I absolutely LOVED how it was so clear from that start that neither of them had moved on. There hadn’t been any attempts to “get over” Kyle leaving their tiny Manitoba village to head to the NHL or for Kyle to try and move on from his love for Christian.

Overall this is probably my favourite of the stories in this new interconnected series and I am very much enjoying the different takes RJ & Vicki are going with them.

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

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Release Blitz: Mr. Jingle Bells by Leta Blake

Mr. Jingle Bells | Leta Blake

Home for the Holidays #3

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Release Date: November 1st, 2021

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Blurb

Opposites attract as frosty business partners become fake boyfriends in this Christmas gay romance!

Playing fake boyfriends starts their sleigh ride into love!

After an emergency forces Ashton Sellers from his apartment, all he wants for Christmas is new lipgloss, zero contact from his abusive family, and a place to stay for the holidays. Cue his business partner begrudgingly taking him in.

Walker’s a fuddy-duddy with no sense of fun, but he does have a safe, warm home with four adorable dogs and delicious food on the table.

If it turns out Walker’s also a secret softy with a tender side and a hot body beneath his endless parade of golf shirts? Great, good, cool. And if Walker wants Ashton to pretend to be his boyfriend for his sister’s Christmas-themed wedding? Awesome, amazing.

Could Walker be the safe haven Ashton missed out on as a child? Could they be falling in love for real?

But when Ashton uncovers a painful mistake in Walker’s past, it hits too close to home. As the jingle bells quiet and the snow settles, will Ashton be able to forgive Walker, or will their relationship be over before it ever truly begins?

Mr. Jingle Bells is a gay Christmas story by Leta Blake featuring f, and a taffy-sweet happy ending. It’s set in the Home for the Holidays universe, which began with Mr. Frosty Pants, but can be read as a standalone.

Content warnings for childhood abuse, past addiction issues, PTSD episodes, and gambling.

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Excerpt

Hearing Ashton’s name, Walker froze in place. When he looked up, he almost couldn’t breathe. Ashton wore a pair of tight, black pants that cupped his ass and package, and a soft-looking, gold blouse beneath a black, faux-military jacket covered with gold and red trim.

He carried a Starbucks cup, like every morning, and, in the winter light from the big windows, he looked stunning. Absolutely breathtaking. What with his pale skin, dark hair, and all that black, gold, and red contrasting so perfectly. He looked like a model. Or a famous actor. He looked unreal. It was maddening.

Walker wished they’d instituted a dress code back when he, Casey, Ashton, and Nicole had met with their business attorney to draft all their other office policies. At the time, he’d barely known Ashton and hadn’t realized they’d need to prohibit Ashton’s entire wardrobe due to the risk of it sending Walker into a dazed and confused state nearly every single day. For fuck’s sake! How the man dressed, how he talked with that little lisp, the way he held his hands and moved his hips…none of that was Walker’s business. Why couldn’t he stop noticing it?

“Come here! You have to draw for Secret Santa!” Kayla said.

Ashton released a soft squeal of joy and rushed forward to shove his free hand into Kayla’s proffered bowl. Walker stayed only long enough to witness the overly dramatic production Ashton made of swirling the remaining four papers around before choosing one. Without waiting to see Ashton’s reaction to the name he’d chosen, Walker stalked off, his skin prickling with unwarranted irritation.

Once safely inside his lightly cluttered office, Walker shut the door and dropped his lunch on his desk. Settling into his ergonomic chair, he folded the piece of paper with Ashton’s name on it into a tiny square and slipped it into his desk drawer. He couldn’t quite bring himself to throw it away. It felt rude somehow. Ashton might make Walker feel confused and agitated but he still deserved better than the trash can.

Hoping the spicy banh mi wrap would distract him, Walker took a bite. Unfortunately, his tension didn’t dissipate, but at least he was sweating now from the spice and not from a riot of unwanted emotions over Ashton Sellers.

Why did he feel this way?

It wasn’t as if he were attracted to Ashton. Walker could never want a man like that—all feminine and glamorous, all gut-churningly beautiful. No. Walker liked women who were stereotypically feminine, and men who were, well, stereotypically masculine. Thickly muscled. Hairy in the right places. Button-ups during the week, and Polo shirts and golf shorts on the weekends. A beer drinker. A golfer.

Always a golfer.

Walker winced. His last boyfriend had been a traveling golf pro. Sebastian had spent most of their short relationship on tour. He’d never been around when Walker wanted him, much less needed him. He’d been only so-so in bed. But he’d ticked most of Walker’s boxes of someone worthy of interest, and they’d had a good run. Until it was over. That was always the way with the men Walker dated.

Not much work but not much reward either.

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About the Author

Leta Blake Icon

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

If you’d like to be among the first to know about new releases, you can sign up for Leta’s newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bdn32H

Bonus material for the Heat of Love series, Will & Patrick Wake Up Married series, Training Season series, Smoky Mountain Dreams, Mr. Frosty Pants, The River Leith, and more is available on Leta Blake’s Patreon account. Sign up here: https://www.patreon.com/letablake

Social Media

On the web: https://letablake.com

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/letablake

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/LetaBlake

Giveaway

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