Latest Herc’s Mercs nearly made me cry!

No Pain No Gain (Herc's Mercs, #7)No Pain No Gain by Ari McKay

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This one near made me cry, definitely my favourite one of the series and the one which had the most depth to the romance.

This isn’t a bodyguard falls for the client or mercs on a job getting it together, this deals with the very real trauma of PTSD. It’s done respectfully and with careful consideration.

It’s also the hottest of all the series for me, Hunter and Payne burn up the pages when they let go outside of a therapy session. I thought the idea of using BDSM to help Hunter process his trauma worked well and it never felt like it was just being given lip service.

Great story and romance and a more emotionally connected addition to the series. I hope there’s more to come.

#ARC kindly provided by the authors in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Review Tour: No Pain, No Gain by Ari McKay

 Universal Buy Links

 Length: 68,000 words
 Herc’s Mercs Series
 
Book #2 – Line In The Sand
Book #3 – Bloody But Unbowed
Book #4 – Once A Hero

Blurb

Hunter Callahan loved being a merc. As an explosives expert for Lawson & Greer, he’s dealt with everything from IEDs to rogue nukes. But when a suicide bomber in the form of a seven-year-old boy walks into camp, Hunter learns there are some fates far worse than death.

Payne Gibson recognizes the “thousand yard stare” of the PTSD Hunter refuses to acknowledge, and as a natural caretaker, he can’t resist when his boss, Cade “Hercules” Thornton, asks him to help. Hunter is resistant until their surveillance assignment turns dangerous, and Hunter realizes he’s in danger of losing his career, the only thing in his life that matters to him anymore.

Conventional therapy hasn’t worked, so Payne suggests an unorthodox form of therapy: BDSM. As a Dom, Payne thinks he can help Hunter face the issues he’s been avoiding. Having come to trust Payne and knowing his career is on the line, Hunter agrees to try.

Their relationship as Dom and sub deepens more than either of them expected. Payne knows adding emotions into the mix is dangerous, but he can’t help it when Hunter is both the man and the sub Payne has hoped to find. But Hunter doesn’t feel he deserves love, not when his best friend is dead because of him, leaving behind a wife and child to mourn — and to blame Hunter for their loss.

Payne can help Hunter to stare into the abyss… but what stares back might be more intense than either of them can handle.

March 23 – MM Midnight Cafe

 

About The Authors

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

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This book drew me in and I was lost in Jason, Chase and Shade’s story

rule-of-thirdsRule of Thirds by Aidan Wayne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know where to start with this one or what to say really other than, if you’re looking for a hot menage, this isn’t your book.

I’ve never read this author before but I absolutely will be keeping an eye out now because this book was stunning. A character-driven exploration of the terrors of PTSD and trauma, nothing cured by magic dick.

No one recovers, Jason and Shade (oh God, how much did I fall for Shade), still suffer trauma. They don’t reach their best self, but they do become a better self.

The concept of AI becoming sentient independent beings is also superbly explored. Chase and Shade are not constructed AI, both had their awareness birthed through circumstance.

Shade has been badly treated, Chase is his rescuer, his love, his partner, together they offer companionship in the form of a home help essentially. Jason is so deeply traumatised he fears himself.

To watch these three begin to break barriers and for Jason to open up to touch and to emotion really was beautiful. Theirs is a long, slow, at times painful journey, but it’s absolutely worth the pay off.

There’s no steam in this and it totally works for the narrative. There is a lot of communication, a lot of learning to rely on others, an element of of assumed belief of what’s going on off page between Shade and Chase, then later with Jason too.

There is, however, lots of love. It’s shown in a myriad of ways, from Chase’s baking, to Shade’s loyalty and to the gentle kisses that start to bring Jason joy.

Imho there’s been a lot of research into PTSD and the various ways it can manifest gone into this book. I believed in these guys and I loved reading their romance.

#ARC kindly provided by the publishers DSP, in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Get your copy here at DSP: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/rule-of-thirds-by-aidan-wayne-451-b 

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Another superb story in the Pelican Bay series from Sloane

Sanctuary-found-customdesign-JayAheer2018-eBook-complete.jpgSanctuary Found by Sloane Kennedy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t care what she writes about, Sloane Kennedy just meets my book reading desires easily each time.

Her invariably flawed men always have some past trauma which defines their character and they invariably meet someone with the perfect set of personality traits to help them move on.

Her men are also never cured by magic dick either. If they’ve suffered trauma, then they continue to need to deal with it either through therapy or physical actions and they remain affected by it.

The second in her Pelican Bay series is a real beauty, dealing as it does with an ex military Lieutenant dealing with PTSD and a young man who’s had more to deal with in caring for his brother than anyone should have to.

But together, they provided the strength and the structure to allow their family to start healing. I loved Isaac and Maddox and little Newt was cute without being overbearing in his abilities and he very much acted his age.

Sex is hot but there’s a really lovely slow burn frenemies vibe for a long time before the two finally get down to things and it worked well.

Maddox’s sexuality, or lack of any overwhelming interest until Isaac, is handled well without hitting the reader over the head with it and it felt believable.

There’s an element of suspend disbelief towards the end but I really didn’t care and I adore the cover!

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Release Blitz: No Limits by Nora Phoenix

No Limit Tour Banner

No Limit

No Shame Series Book 2

Nora Phoenix

M/M Romance

November 26, 2017

No Limits cover

 Cover Design: Sloan Johnson/Sloan J Design

BUY LINK: myBook.to/NoLimits

BLURB

Josh is convinced he’ll never find someone who’ll love him the way he is. He’s not exactly a catch with his PTSD, which has transformed him into a homebody most of the times. Sweet, maybe, but also boring as hell. Plus, there’s that submissive tendency he recently discovered and is dying to explore. When Connor shows interest in him, he can’t believe the sexy cop would look at him twice, let alone make an effort to get to know him. When he does, Josh discovers theyb have more in common than he’d ever thought possible.

Connor had survived the ordeal that left his best friend and fellow Marine dead, but that survival came at a price. He’s a robot, going through the motions, but barely alive. Until fate intervenes when he meets Josh. The vulnerable man triggers all kinds of protective and dominant urges in Connor, but what would a cute guy like Josh want with an inexperienced, closed-off, bossy steamroller like him?

When Connor discovers his past endangers Indy, all hope for a future between him and Josh seems lost. After all, there’s no way Josh will ever choose Connor over Indy’s safety and Noah’s lifelong friendship. When a crisis hits, can Connor prove he’s strong enough to deal with everything that’s thrown his way?

No Limits is a steamy M/M romance that ends with a HFN, but has a continuing storyline as well. It’s the second book in the No Shame Series, and is not a standalone novel, so make sure to read the first book (No Filter) first. It contains hot sex, a little BDSM kink for beginners, more hot sex, and a beautiful friendship that transcends labels. Also: trigger warning for mentions of sexual abuse.

No Limits Teaser 1

EXCERPT

Connor needed to know. “But you are gay, though?”

“I am.”

“That’s good,” Connor said, then cleared his throat. So far for playing it cool. Oh, fuck it, that ship sailed long ago. You might as well go all in. “Look, before we continue this conversation, can you at least say something?”

Josh tilted his head to the side, his nose crumpling, making him look adorably cute. “About what?”

Connor threw his hands up in the air. “About whether or not you like me back. You still haven’t said a damn thing on how you feel about me, if you like me or not.”

This time, Josh’s answer came wicked fast. “You’re hot and damn sexy, but I don’t know you well enough yet to decide whether I like you or not.”

Connor’s mouth dropped open slightly. “You think I’m sexy?”

Josh rolled his eyes. “Dude, you’re built like a tank, you’re as masculine as they come, you have the whole uniform thing going with a healthy dose of dominant macho and ‘don’t fuck with me’ thrown in. You’re, like, the wet dream of every bottom, including me.”

This brutally honest confession was not what Connor had expected from sweet, shy Josh. To be fair, the guy seemed a little flustered once the words were out, as if he’d said more than he’d wanted to. But holy fuck, those words had lit a fire inside of Connor.

“I’ve never done this before,” Connor said. “I’ve never been in a relationship, haven’t even dated, so I have no idea what I’m doing here, or how to do this.”

Understanding dawned in Josh’s eyes, taking away his previous embarrassment, which was exactly what Connor had intended. He had this baffling urge to make Josh feel better. “You’re not out,” Josh said.

 

Nora Logo Gold

When she was a little tot, Nora’s mom got a library subscription for her. That, as they say, was that, and a lifelong love for books was born. Nora never stopped reading and doesn’t exaggerate when she says she devours books, rather than plain reads them. She started writing stories as soon as she could hold a pen, and wrote her first full book as a teen (on a typewriter!). It took her waaaay too long to follow her dream to become a romance author.

Nora writes M/M romance, because hello, sexy boys, and likes her men flawed, strong, and a tad broken. She appreciates a little kink, but insists on a happy ever after.

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Beautiful love story in a New Zealand landscape

Mended with GoldMended with Gold by Lee Welch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is beautiful, that’s the best way I can describe it. I’ve not read anything by Lee Welch before but I’ll be looking for her other stuff now.

For a novella she manages to create such a rich and compelling storyline with two fully developed characters and a pitch perfect setting. It’s only not a 5* read for me because I wanted more than just a short peak to Alex and Joe.

These two richly portrayed men are both scarred, one in body, one in his soul and it takes a long slow almost torturous build up to get them together. By the time that happens, and it’s mutual blow jobs only, the book ends, but with such a promise of joy and happiness going forward.

I loved this, it just brought happiness to my heart.

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

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Much better plotted than the opening book

No Limits (No Shame, #2)No Limits by Nora Phoenix

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

This is far better plotted than book one was but it still doesn’t seem to be able to make its mind up about what sort of story it is.

There’s elements of BDSM, elements of possible poly relationship, elements of crime thriller and elements of military comfort but it’s all jumbled up together.

There’s also the odd grammatical errors, this one’s stand out being Connor admitting he’s gay being a momentum occasion instead of a momentous one. They stand out for me probably more than they would for a casual reader because I was a journalist and sub-editor for almost two decades.

Now, having said all of the above, I found Josh and Connor’s relationship development to be well done, the Dom/sub nature making good sense as a me and for Josh to deal with his PTSD and it didn’t give me any magic dick feelings.
Although, speaking of, the descriptions of Connor’s and his inhibitions about it were both hilarious and beautifully emotional at the same time, proving it’s not just men with small penises who might have hang ups. It was handled well and worked within the narrative.

Plus, for all the seriousness of a lot of the plot, there was also a good amount of humour in this one to temper the serious elements. It’ll be interesting now seeing what happens with Josh’s wayward brother and how Indy’s criminal threats from his past get resolved.

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

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