Tag Archives: slow burn romance

Blog Tour: Rarely Pure And Never Simple by Angel Martinez

Rarely Pure And Never Simple | Angel Martinez

Variant Configurations #1

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Release Date: June 28th, 2022

Publisher: Mischief Corner Books

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 67,000 words

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Blurb

Variant children are vanishing at an alarming rate. It will take a uniquely mismatched pair of trackers to untangle a web of conspiracy and misdirection to find them.

In his isolated cabin, variant Damien Hazelwood avoids human contact as much as possible to prevent attacks of blind berserker panic. But his rare talent as a locator makes him the go-to contractor for tricky missing person’s cases and when agents bring him a troubling contract involving missing variant children, he finds it impossible to refuse.

Licensed tracker Blaze Emerson can’t help being irritated when he’s expected to follow the strange, twitchy locator’s lead on his latest case. He works alone, he’s damn good, and as a variant sparker, he has both the fire and the firepower to take on anything out there. Though he has to admit there’s something intriguing about a man who can find people with his brain.

With vastly different temperaments and backgrounds, Damien and Blaze need to negotiate quickly how to work together if they’re going to crack this case. Add in the sudden appearance of Blaze’s outlaw ex, the perils of tracking in the wilds, and a maddening lack of discernible motive or method, and they soon find themselves in as much danger as the kids they’re trying to rescue.

Variant Configurations takes place in a future Earth where humanity is reclaiming its spot in a gradually healing world. This book contains mentions of past abuse, action-adventure style mayhem, and the beginning sparks of a slow burn, series-spanning relationship.

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Excerpt

The ice around the weed bed glowed blue as first morning rays stretched tentative fingers across the lake. Even the sun was smart enough not to rush out of bed on a cold-as-a-penguin’s-pecker Vermont morning. Damien, however, apparently suffered from some intellectual deficiency since he was out on the lake already with his ice chisel, chipping away at a likely spot for a fishing hole.

His breath ghosted in front of him, every gulp of air biting into his lungs. It wasn’t that he liked the cold or enjoyed the self-sufficient, mountain-man lifestyle. He hated it. His hands always hurt. He was always hungry. It took him forever to warm his lonely bed at night no matter how many pairs of socks he put on, the frame rattling with his shaking for an hour or more.

Chip-chip-chip. The ice chisel on six-inch lake ice echoed back to him off his cabin in a strange, one-sided conversation.

The move wasn’t for his health or even part of a dream of a better life. He had left Raleigh to escape. Yes, he could have taken it a step farther and vanished. Away from the coasts, out in the abandoned wilds to the west, he might have found somewhere to hole up. Much of the land surrounding the Mississippi was still poisoned, but farther out toward Kansas, the remains of chemical skirmishes diminished.

The life of a wilding was dangerous for a lone person, though, and the constant need to be on high alert against scavengers who roamed the wastelands would have worn him down to nothing within a few months. Here, he was close enough to civilization for relative safety, far enough away for some peace. He’d given a promise for a promise, after all—his promise to Dr. Parma that he would still take the jobs he was uniquely suited to and her promise that he would be a last resort.

Mostly, the arrangement worked.

Up here, they couldn’t hound him so easily with every minute need. Up here, anyone seeking him out had to go to considerable trouble to reach him. They knew where he was, of course. The inconvenient locale enforced the mandate that they think long and hard before paying a call, and now they only showed up when they had exhausted other options.

So he pretended not to hear the crunch of the snow-crawler’s treads as it trundled up the snow-crusted hill accompanied by the whisper-hum of its solar battery engine. Then he deluded himself a few more minutes with the fantasy of late-season sport fishermen. The voices, when they reached him, shattered his careful illusion.

Chip-chip-chip. If I ignore them this time, will they give up and go away? Probably not. Please go away.

“That’s him? He’s kinda puny,” an unfamiliar voice rasped.

They hadn’t sent Cummings? What idiot was in charge now? They’d sent some stranger as the messenger, someone who didn’t understand him?

“Variants come in all the usual shapes and sizes, Wirth.”

There was Cummings. Thank God for small favors.

“But Sledge—”

“Is just one guy,” Cummings snapped, obviously losing patience with what had to be a rookie.

Footsteps crunched through the snow toward him. Damien tried to block them out, but his muscles tensed. The terrible sensation of having someone walking up behind him crawled up his back on millipede legs.

Chip-chip-chip.

“Wirth, hold up! You don’t want—”

Something touched Damien’s elbow. The millipede crawling up his spine leaped into his brain and exploded in a thousand spiny pieces. He whirled, snarling, and swept the ice chisel at whatever had put a hand on him without permission.

“Holy fuck!” A dark-haired man leaped back from the makeshift halberd. He fell on his ass and scrabbled backward on the ice, his eyes cow-patty huge in shock.

“I tried to warn you,” Cummings said calmly from the bank. A squared-off man with salt-and-pepper hair, he was the perfect bland-faced federal agent. He stood with his hands in his trench-coat pockets, stance relaxed and nonthreatening. There was a reason they usually sent him alone instead of sending a team or someone from the Guild, as they’d done once or twice. Cummings didn’t judge. Cummings understood Damien’s boundaries. “Maybe you’ll learn to listen now.”

“He tried to fucking kill me!” The intrusive man, presumably Wirth, still scrambled backward as he failed to get his feet under him.

“No. You invaded his space without warning. You don’t do that. I might kill you if you don’t stop acting like a jackass,” Cummings grated out, shaking his head. Then he gave a nod to Damien and said more evenly, “Hazelwood. Good to see you.”

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About the Author

Angel Martinez headshot

Angel Martinez is the pen name of a writer of several genres who writes both kinds of queer fiction – Science Fiction and Fantasy. (What? There are others?)

Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author’s head) Angel has one husband, one son, at least one cat at any given time, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.

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Tal delivers one of the most moving romances I’ve ever read

You--Me-KindleYou & Me by Tal Bauer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was one of the most moving and beautiful romance journeys I’ve ever read 💗

The slow burn and Luke’s dawning awareness of his feelings was a masterstroke. Such a heartfelt and honest narrative.

And the friendship between the boys was another added depth which just brought more richness and emotional reward.

Exactly the right kind of angsting for me with no unnecessary dramas just for the sake of it. From the first opening sentence this book grabbed me by the heart and didn’t let go until the wonderful Epilogue.

Tal’s known for his utterly brilliant romantic suspense and political thrillers where two men fall in love within a world of treachery and danger. But with You & Me, he took things to a different level again.

Everything about it felt so personal, although I’m not a widower bringing up a surly teenager and having a bisexual awakening, it didn’t matter. The emotional highs and lows, the unconditional way a parent loves (or bloody well should do!) their child no matter how much that child rejects them, they all resonated with me.

The Friday Night Lights feel of being a footballing family, with sons who could take the team to championship level – again something I have no familiarity with – was brought to life so vividly I could hear the noise of the stadium, the expectation of the crowd.

This might be a relatively low angst book for Tal in terms of the setting and subject, but have no doubt, it’s still an emotional rollercoaster of a ride which goes through some real lows at times which were heart-breaking to read.

But the two men at the centre of this book, Luke and Landon, are so beautifully expressed that you are willing them on through every step of the journey from friendship and into something that looks a lot like love.

The setting, the other characters, they’re all icing on the cake to what is essentially one man’s journey back to not only connecting with his son, but to finding his own way back into life, having been mired in sadness and lost opportunities.

Bravo Tal, it’s a joyous read.

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

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Neve Wilder made me want with this delicious romance

Want Me CoverWant Me by Neve Wilder

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sexual awakening stories are one of my favourite tropes and when that’s combined with Neve Wilder’s ability to fashion believable characters exploring sex in extraordinarily hot ways it can only be a winner.

As a newsletter subscriber, I’d received each part of this delicious college age new adult romance in serial format, but I’d been holding off reading them until all was done.

Well now not only is it done, it’s got an extra chapter and a fabulous epilogue to round it out and it’s glorious.

Nate and Eric are combustible, they’re all blazing passions and conflicted – on Nate’s part at first – emotions but their connection is clear to see.

I love this pair so hard, they’re shameless in how they make the other one feel but it’s not without complications.

I’m not going to spoil the whole plotline but the journey Nate goes through to realising he is in love with Eric is so well done.

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

View all my reviews

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