Tag Archives: San Francisco setting

More lack of communication but it doesn’t spoil the enjoyment

47884987._SY475_Hard Ride by A.M. Arthur

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It would seem that the main hallmark of this series is the absolute lack of communication which drives the main plot point of preventing two people who quite clearly have big feelings for each other getting it together until almost the end.

And, like my ridiculously long sentence above, it can be a bit wearying.

However, with this book I actually liked both Slater and Derrick enough as individual characters that their repeated introspections about how they other person had to be the one to say something didn’t annoy me as much as it might have done.

I love the setting, the found family and how they all have each others’ backs and I love the messages of hope that the Clean Slate Ranch series gives for people who might have made mistakes in the past.

This one’s medium steam but it works for the narrative as Slater’s recovering from literally falling down a mountain for most of it and red hot sex would have utterly broken the realism!

I’ve always erred on the side of liking the books in this series more than disliking them and this one’s even more towards the I really liked it end of the scale.

~ARC kindly received from the publishers Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Release Blitz: A New Empire by Layla Reyne

A New Empire | Layla Reyne

Fog City #3

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Release Date (Print & Ebook/Audio): November 11 (Ebook & Print); Audio TBD

Length (Print & Ebook/Audio): Approx. 52,000 words

Subgenre: MM, Romantic Suspense

Warnings: Explicit sex; explicit language; violence.

Buy Links:

http://getbook.at/ANewEmpire

https://www.amazon.com/New-Empire-Fog-City-Novel-ebook/dp/B07Z6P2944/

ANE

Blurb

Legacies were made to be rewritten

Assassin Hawes Madigan wants to do right–by his family, his organization, his city, and the man he’s falling for, ATF agent Christopher Perri. But Hawes’s rules are being challenged by someone willing to kill for the old ways. To save his soul and his empire, Hawes must make an impossible decision: fight from the outside or bend the knee to win back his throne from within.

Chris is used to being the inside man, the one undercover. Now, he’s on the outside marshaling forces in support of the man and the ring of assassins he was supposed to take down. His mission shifted when he found something that’s been missing for ten long years–a home, with Hawes.

As Hawes and Chris make a dangerous play for control, the lines between allies and traitors blur. Trusting the wrong person could destroy the legacy Hawes envisions for the Madigans. But not trusting anyone, or each other, could mean lights out on their love and lives forever.

The King and King Slayer fight together in this thrilling conclusion to the Fog City Trilogy!

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Teaser

“Listen to me, Madigan.” He gritted through the pain of pulling his arm out of the towel sling, because dammit, he needed two hands for this. He framed Hawes’s face, holding his gaze, his attention, their world, steady. “The organization needs you. Your family needs you. I fucking need you.”

“Why?” Hawes choked out.

“Because I don’t just think I’m falling for you. I fell, baby, the minute I walked into Danko and saw you across the room. Your head held high, like you fucking owned the place. The second you called me Mr. Perry.” He gave him a little shake for emphasis. “I know.

Hawes closed his eyes, and Chris’s heart skipped a beat, until they opened again, full of resolve. Of that same confidence he’d fallen for. “I fell for you that night I walked into my condo and saw the box of mooncakes. You got it; you got me. I know too.

“Then we’ll get her,” Chris said, heart racing now. With love, and hope for the future. “And we’ll get justice for Isabella, for our families, and for us.”

“And then?”

“And then we’ll rebuild the empire, by your rules, better and stronger than ever before. Together.”

The king smiled, wicked, deadly, and fucking glorious.

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Release Blitz Q&A with Layla Reyne

Q: Secondary Characters: Why they are important to the story?

LR: For Hawes in Fog City, his siblings, Holt and Helena, are the bricks of his foundation, along with love interest, Chris, and friend and ally, Braxton Kane. Hawes, Holt, and Helena run both family businesses with him, he trusts them implicitly, he looks to them for input, and they each contribute differently to the family unit. He wouldn’t want to do this without them.

Q: If you listen to music while writing, share your playlist.

LR: Here’s my Fog City playlist, which alternated frequently with The Revivalists albums. I swear, every one of their songs seems to fit this series!

playlist

Q: What would a love letter between the characters look like?

LR: From Hawes to Chris:

Dante, I know. –H

From Chris to Hawes.

Madigan, I know. –Mr. Perry

Layla Reyne

About The Author

RITA Finalist Layla Reyne is the author of Dine With Me and the Fog City, Whiskey Verse, and Changing Lanes series. A Carolina Tar Heel who now calls the San Francisco Bay Area home, Layla enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart-pounding romance. She is a RWA® RITA® Finalist in Contemporary Romance (Mid-Length) and Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.

Social Media

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AMZ: https://www.amazon.com/author/LaylaReyne

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/layla-reyne

 Giveaway

JLayla Reyne is giving away one Grand Prize of a Set of signed Fog City paperbacks (within the contiguous USA) or a set of Bookplates (international). Enter now!

a Raffle copter giveaway

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Prince of Killers is just my kind of romantic suspense

Prince of Killers EbookPrince of Killers by Layla Reyne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I knew this was going to end with a cliffhanger and, you know what, I didn’t care because Layla Reyne is rapidly turning into one of my top of the tree romantic suspense authors and if I have to wait to get the next instalment, then so be it!

This is a powerfully strong opener to her new San Francisco set trilogy, packed with interesting and intriguing characters, twists and red herrings, double crosses and unexpected plot lines, a strong sense of time and place and, above all else, two utterly compelling main characters whose chemistry sparks off the page.

I’m not sure how things are going to move on from where Layla left the ending, but that twist was one I hadn’t seen coming and it will have massive implications for both Hawes and Dante going forward.

Argh, there’s so much I want to say but the narrative is so intricately intertwined that I can’t even leave hints, so I’ll just say – read this book!

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

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I might even love these more than Irish and Whiskey ;)

Imperial Stout (Trouble Brewing, #1)Imperial Stout by Layla Reyne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, that was just as good, if not even better, as an opener for this follow-up to the Irish and Whiskey series.

Assistant Attorney Dom and Aiden’s number two – Jamie’s best friend Cam – are even more alpha male than their fellow law enforcement colleagues and there’s a slow burn with intense chemistry going on here.

Another really good plot, involving historical artefacts and a seriously twisted double crossing FBI plot sits alongside threats to Nic’s life from his estranged father’s actions.

As with the first series, the book’s story wraps in this one, with the main narrative arc continuing through the series.

I’m loving it!

More serious turn of events in this book but still superb plotting

Craft Brew (Trouble Brewing, #2)Craft Brew by Layla Reyne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This one had a totally different feel to it than book one as it intimately involved Cameron’s past and his biggest regret and guilty mistake – a case he’d never been able to solve.

Without going too much into the connection and the plot, there’s more emphasis on the suspense and investigation elements in this narrative but there’s still just as much attraction between the two men

Nic’s still trying to avoid painting more targets on those he’s beginning to realise are family and Cam’s dealing with issues involving his own family back in Boston.

It’s an interesting move to bring both men together but with huge fears still causing them anxieties but I think Layla pulls it off.

Tensions ramp up to a fitting end, it would have been difficult to narrate any other outcome I think but I would have liked perhaps a bit more of the aftermath from the legislative conclusions as well with the bad guy.

The tone of these is quite different to the Irish and Whiskey series but it’s no less enthralling.

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Release Blitz: Foothills Pride Vol 2 by Pat Henshaw

Foothills Pride V2

Dreamspinner:
Amazon: 
Amazon UK: 
Barnes& Noble: 

The second half of Pat Henshaw’s Foothills Pride series is finally coming out in print – four of her stories in one volume:

During the recession at the beginning of the 21st century, many gays and lesbians moved from the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento to the Sierra Foothills. FLAG (Foothills Lesbians and Gays) was formed. This series was written for them.

The influx of San Francisco Bay Area gays is now commonplace in Stone Acres, California. But that means big city problems—much to the dismay of long-time residents of the small community.

In Relative Best, Zeke Bandy’s hotel becomes a haven for a battered youth. Native American Vic Longbow, who escaped a similarly brutal upbringing, comes face-to-face with it at Zeke’s place. With trouble surrounding them, can Zeke and Vic find their own peace and love?

On the outside, hardware store owner Frank McCord is the town’s bachelor handyman in Frank at Heart. Inside, he’s pining for true love, particularly the regard of software designer Christopher Darling. But recently divorced Christopher isn’t looking for another husband.

Country contractor Ben in Waking the Behr has always believed he’s heterosexual…until he meets city entrepreneur Mitch O’Shea. Mitch never thought he’d settle down with a guy from the country. Can a gay city mouse and a sexually confused country mouse find love?

When UC Davis horticulture grad Fen Miller agrees to help out in his cousin’s nursery over Christmas, he rents a room in sous chef John Barton’s Victorian house. John, another shorter than average man, catches Fen’s interest. But John’s past comes back to threaten them both in Short Order.

Publisher | Amazonfoothills-meme-3


Excerpt

From Relative Best:

“I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight. You’ve been a great audience.” The couple at the center table looked up at me with almost identical grins. Despite this being an extra gig in a very busy week, I’d enjoyed playing for their bachelor party—even if it made me feel my loneliness more sharply.

“I’ll leave the happy couple with these words from an old Native American chief who, if he was smart, said them to his other half: ‘I will fight no more forever.’” I raised my glass of water and shouted over the noisy crowd, “To Sammy and Ned—may they have a long, happy, peaceful life together!”

The raucous audience at Stonewall Saloon whooped and hollered through my words and got even louder after my last sentence. Rising from their seats, Sammy and Ned raised their clasped hands like boxers who’d won a particularly hard bout but now were on their way to a great wedding.

As they gushed about how happy they were that everybody could make it to their wedding, I started to pack up my banjo and guitars. Tonight I’d left the fiddle backstage because I was so tired. I’d been burning too many candles from both ends. After locking away the instruments in the storeroom and breaking down the mic and the amps, I caught the end of Sammy’s speech.

“If you enjoyed Zeke Bandy’s guitar and banjo playing, remember he’s here at Stonewall Thursday and Friday nights. We’re honored to have him play at our wedding.”

When the crowd cheered, I stood, turned, and waved to the fifty or sixty bobbing heads on the other side of the stage. Whistles and catcalls joined the shouts and cheers. I had my fans and a lot of regulars in the audience.

“See ya tomorrow, Red! I love you!” some drunk yelled, and the crowd cheered louder.

“Oh, cut it out, guys! You’re making me blush.” And they were, with all their yells and waves and hoots and hollers.

A cry went up about more beer from one side of the room, and the night proceeded like all the others when I played. Attention spans flew out the window as the beer and hard drinks flowed.

Completely sober, I put away the rest of the equipment and shut off the power on the platform that bar owner Guy Stone had designated as a stage.

Jimmy Patterson, Stone’s significant other and owner of Penny’s coffee shops here in Stone Acres, California, waved at me as I returned to the barroom from the storage area in the back.

“I got a table!” He was trying to shout over the noise.

As I limped toward him, men slapped me on the back and told me how much they enjoyed my playing. I kept moving, even though guys tried to stop me and give me requests for Thursday night. One guy even grabbed my face and kissed me, which would have been really flattering, even hot, if he hadn’t stopped, stared at me, and said, “You’re not Tom.”

I turned to walk away, only to hear him shout, “Red, you’re cuter than Tom.” I didn’t turn back but heard him yelp like he’d been hit.

I ended up sitting at a big table in the corner of the drinking area with a decent view of the tiny new dance floor. At the table with Jimmy sat four guys—flamboyant designer Fredi Zimmer and his husband, staid, reliable Max Greene, both of whom I knew fairly well, and two guys I didn’t know.

My eyes were drawn to the one who had strong cheekbones, long blue-black hair, and vibrant adobe-colored skin. He could easily have been a poster boy for the California Native American Heritage Commission. If I could pick a guy to kiss me unexpectedly, he’d be my choice. The libido I thought dead from overwork rose from its grave.

While the guys wrangled over who was paying for the next round, I took in the other man to the left of my preferred eye candy. This guy flaunted nearly white-blond hair, startling blue eyes, and a California tan, like the ultimate surfer dude. He did nothing for me, but I appreciated the effect he’d probably have on a lot of other guys here tonight.

I could easily see the humor in the three of us sitting at the same table, though. Considering I’ve got bright red hair, porcelain white skin with a thick spattering of freckles, and cornflower blue eyes, this table covered a large portion of the rainbow.

Jimmy introduced us while he partially stood to get Stone’s attention. “Zeke, these are two of the groomsmen, Vic Longbow and Hayden Weller. Zeke Bandy.”

Both of them nodded, a nod I returned.

“Hey, man. Nice pickin’ up there.” Hayden, the beach god, waved his nearly empty glass of beer at me.

“Thanks.” I never knew what to say when someone complimented me after a performance. While part of me was floating on the post-performance high, the rest of me was critiquing what I’d done and what I’d like to do over.

“Are you recorded?” Vic’s voice was low and soothing, the kind of sound that oddly created a center of calm in the middle of the barroom noise. I gladly stepped into the peace and took a deep breath.

I looked down, fleetingly taking in the scarred tabletop, and balanced momentarily on the pinpoint of serenity Vic had presented me.

“No, no recordings. I haven’t ever had the time or energy.” I shrugged. I owned and ran the historical hotel in downtown Stone Acres. When was there time to record?

“Where do you get the songs? Are they yours?” Vic was focused on me so much that the rest of the table dimmed.

“No. God, no. They’re all old tunes that have been knocking around forever, mostly by bluegrass and folk groups. I take it you don’t listen to this kind of sound?”

He smiled. “You’ve opened up a whole new door for me, and I can’t wait to explore what’s inside this new music room.”

His look caressed me enough that my dick perked, and suddenly I dared to believe my dream of finding a boyfriend and possibly a husband wasn’t as nebulous as I’d always thought. If someone this fine could look at my skinny ginger self and respond even half as much as he was, I was on the right path. I grinned at him and he at me.

Yeah, he was too hot for me with his high cheekbones and exotic hair, but I could practice on him and dream, right?


Author Bio

Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride Stories, has spent her life surrounded by words: Teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs.

Pat was born and raised in Nebraska where she promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California. Pat enjoys travel, having visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and Europe, including a cruise down the Danube.

Her triumphs are raising two incredible daughters who daily amaze her with their power and compassion. Fortunately, her incredibly supportive husband keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away while writing fiction.

Author Website: http://patbooked.blogspot.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/pat.henshaw.10

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/foothillspride/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/phenshaw

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6998437.Pat_Henshaw

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/pat-henshaw/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Pat-Henshaw/e/B00BPDEDEA/

GIVEAWAY

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So so beautiful, this is a gorgeous romance

Leaning Into the Fall (Leaning Into Stories, #2)Leaning Into the Fall by Lane Hayes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh Nick, Nick with the lack of filter, you aren’t the arse you came across as in Eric’s book at all are you. No, you’re a beautifully brilliant man who doesn’t know how to shut off his brain.

This book reminded me a lot of the gorgeous film A Beautiful Mind, about John Nash, although that obviously centred on paranoid schizophrenia rather than Nick’s never specifically identified issue. It was more how Nick, like Nash, has scenarios running in his head constantly.

Lane Hayes’ style of writing just works for me. I always feel like I’m reading about people she knows and both MCs, even when written from a single POV, get given so much death and insight. There is always a wealth of detail given to the setting, I can feel myself walking the streets of the Castro with these guys as they live their lives in San Francisco.

And, on top of all the above, Lane references one of my all time favourite film moments in John Cusack’s boombox moment in Say Anything. (Seriously, if you’ve never watched this film, do so immediately!)

I loved Wes, he was perfect for Nick, he had the maturity and the self awareness to know how to help him deal with all the noise and interference. Together they were spell-binding, so so hot.

I also wanted to hug Geordie so much, I wanted to punch Ryan and I’m about to read an ARC from Lane which is hopefully going to redeem Finn and restore Josh’s heart!

This book is about finding the perfect person who can just help you switch off the world and be still. While Nick’s personality traits are never given a label, Aspergers is mentioned in passing and I want to just pop a comment here about how well I feel Lane dealt with Nick not “being normal” (in so much as anyone is ever normal).

His lack of brain filter and awkwardness in social situations was never used as a humour device (outside of with his friends, who love and understand him) and the reader is given a quite painful insight into how his own self-awareness makes him feel inadequate and awkward at times. And Wes doesn’t “cure him”, there’s no magic dick, just a man with the infinite patience needed to allow Nick to just be Nick, flaws and all.

It really is quite beautiful to see Nick being able to slow his brain down and just breathe for a while.

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Gorgeous catch up with Eric and Zane

Leaning Into Always (Leaning Into Stories, #1.5)Leaning Into Always by Lane Hayes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

I loved these two in the short story Lane wrote for the anthology, there’s nothing sweeter than friends to lovers romance.

Here we get to catch up with the pair in the lead up to their wedding when Zane’s old school friend, and first lover, Dean comes back on the scene.

Eric feels vulnerable because he still can’t believe Zane has loved him for years and Dean does his best to play on those worries.

But Zane is true to his love and everything ends with a beautiful epilogue and the two men flying off into the sunset together.

It’s not got more stars only because it’s short! I wanted more of these two as I did in the anthology. I adore Eric and Zane.

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