Tag Archives: slow burn

Forced proximity and a surprise twist make this second entry a hit

58657555._SY475_Declared by Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This second entry in Sam and Fawkes’ alien Sci-Fi series is just as good as the introduction book but has a totally different tone.

The differences between Jax and Wesley were never more obvious than after their ship was forced to land on the ice cold moon Zathkar with most of its systems damaged but Wes is very quick to put Jax in his place about thinking he’s weak just because he’s smaller.

I loved the dynamics between them. Jax may be in line to be the Thorzi’s next Proeliator, their greatest warrior, but he’s also a ray of sunshine, always smiling and very aware of his place as a hybrid.

Wes may be a human, and more susceptible to the intense cold of the moon, but he’s also resourceful and won’t let Jax despair over the fact he can’t “protect him”.

When Wes meets the leader of the ancient enemy the Zathki that live beneath the surface in cleverly constructed tunnels, it becomes very clear that both sides in the turbulent conflict have been played by Crux.

I loved the tone of this book, it’s a bit less directly political than the first one and there’s obviously less need for extensive world building so the narrative moves swiftly through the crash landing and into the revelations that the Zathki are actually Thorzi also, just a different version. They are the Scientists to the Thorzi Warriors.

They bounce off each other as Jax begins to realise that there is more to what he’s been told about their planet’s history and the nature of the human abductions that Crux (he of the bad behaviour in book one and the series’ main nemesis) has been performing.

Learning about the differences in what are essentially the same people has more than a few similarities with how humanity treats people differently because of their ethnicity or where they were born.

It paints a poignant picture of a home world destroyed by people unwilling to work together towards better goals and instead, utterly destroying their planet and being forced into exile on Thorzan and Zathkar.

There’s also a bit more of a sense of slowburn in the relationship between Jax and Wes, even though it takes place over a relatively short period of time. It’s clear there is an attraction between them, but Jax’s honour and his future role makes him feel he cannot accept Wes as a potential mate because of his own hybrid nature.

Wes, with a great deal of humour, some rather funny pointed Star Trek and Star Wars references which had me chuckling, puts Jax firmly in his place about what’s suitable or not and their have a few very sweet and low key sexual encounters before the main story arc kicks in.

Suffice it to say, eventually things take a turn for the better and Wes’ position as Jax’s mate becomes as obvious as Lucas’ was for Kaelum in book one!

And it all leads into the final set-up for book three which I am desperate for. Kaelum’s half-brother Vorian, the Bastard – like literally that’s his official title! Born from Crux’s forced mating of Kaelum’s human mother and Beau, the most vulnerable of the humans who were abducted from Earth.

I can’t wait!

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

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Release Blitz: The Red Zone by Beth Bolden

The Red Zone | Beth Bolden

The Riptide #3

RELEASE BLITZ

Release Date: August 11th, 2021

Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood Designs

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 97,000 words

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The Red Zone Ebook

Blurb

Spencer’s deep in the Red Zone and it’s time to even the score.

Nine years ago Spencer Evans became the first player out of the closet to be drafted into the NFL. Everyone believed he had aspirations to change the world but all Spencer ever wanted to do was play football for a team that accepted him wholeheartedly. But they never would, and Spencer began to conceal all the parts that made him different.

When a terrible injury forces him to re-evaluate his life and his choices, he realizes there’s only one man who can help him.

The very first gay sports agent, Alec Mitchell has given his life and his career to making queer athletes’ dreams come true. He can’t help but think of Spencer as the one who got away—professionally and personally.

Alec thought he’d buried his desperate longing for Spencer ages ago but it turns out it was just lying dormant, waiting for the right spark. When he begs Alec to take him on as a client, everything they’ve been burying for years surfaces once again.

With Alec’s help, Spencer can change everything about his life he’s come to hate. An extraordinary future—and an undeniably extraordinary man—are waiting for him. The play has been called. All he has to do is catch the ball and score.

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Excerpt

“You should try my wine,” Alec said, gesturing towards the bottle. “You said you don’t drink wine, not that you don’t like wine. And this is an easy drinking red, real fruit forward, not too many tannins on the back end.”

“Is this how you want to do this?” Spencer asked suspiciously. “Make me try things I don’t think I’m gonna like?”

“How will you know, if you don’t try?” Alec hesitated, and slid his jacket off, hanging it over the back of one of the barstools. “Come over here. I’m not going to bite.”

Spencer shot him a look, full of heat, and Alec remembered why it was probably better not to take his jacket off and why it was definitely better not to make jokes that could be taken in any kind of sexual context.

Well, he’d done it and he wasn’t going to take it back. If they couldn’t figure out how to make this work, then Spencer wouldn’t get what he needed—and Alec wanted that more than anything else.

“Fine,” Spencer said with a sigh. He skirted around the edge of the kitchen island, approaching hesitantly as Alec tilted the half-full glass in his direction.

“Isn’t there supposed to be a special way I do this?” Spencer asked as he took the glass.

Alec raised his eyebrow. “A special way? You take a sip. Swallow it. Decide if you like it or not. Though, really, you should try it twice. The first sip will clear your palate from that god-awful beer you’ve been drinking.”

“That’s what I mean,” Spencer said. “I don’t want to do it wrong.”

“Not drinking it, that’s doing it wrong,” Alec said, even though he knew what Spencer was referring to. But all of the swirling and the legs and the aroma, all the self-important recital that true wine connoisseurs participated in was only going to confuse Spencer. Alec just wanted him to fucking try it.

“Alright, fine,” Spencer said, grumbling, and lifted the glass to his lips.

Spencer made a face, and Alec said, “Nope, not yet. Don’t tell me you don’t like it yet. You’ve got to clear your palate.”

“How do I do that?”

Alec put his hand on Spencer’s arm, stopping him from handing the glass back. “Take another drink,” he instructed. “In a minute.”

When he pulled his hand back, he could still feel the heat and solid strength from Spencer’s forearm. He was going to have to get used to all this touching and personal connection, and hopefully when he did, it wouldn’t affect him this strongly.

“Alright,” Spencer agreed. “It wasn’t . . . well, it wasn’t what I thought it’d be.”

“You didn’t hate it,” Alec guessed, leaning against the edge of the countertop.

“I thought I would,” Spencer confessed. “Wine’s just so fancy and complicated, and I’m not . . . I’ve never been either of those two things. And beer is fine.”

“Beer is fine, sure. You might not dislike it. But what if you liked something else better?”

“I don’t know,” Spencer agreed. He hesitated, and Alec watched him closely, even though it almost hurt to look at him like this. So unsure and vulnerable and wanting so hard to do the right thing, the best thing. “It’s why I asked you to do this.”

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About the Author

A lifelong Pacific Northwester, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published twenty-three novels and seven novellas.

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RJ crafts a beautiful slowburn recovery romance in this latest Ellery instalment

58663081._SY475_The Gardener and the Marine by R.J. Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oops, forgot to come back to this one.

RJ originally released this as a newsletter serial week by week but I held off on reading it as I wanted to wait til it was done.

It was worth it.

This is a sympathetic portrayal of the effects of combat and survivor guilt and how someone can offer a way by which a life can be given new purpose – but not cured or ‘got over’ by some magic dick.

Harrison isn’t ever going to be free from the effects of seeing his Army buddies die and him being the only survivor.

But working with Toby in the gardens at the veteran’s centre ground him and provide a connection he’s not had with life for some time.

It’s a slow burn, and that’s as it should be, but there’s no doubting it once these two men throw their all into making it work.

One of my favourites in the series .

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

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