Tag Archives: sweet romance

Blog Tour: Kel’s Keeper by K.C. Wells

Kel’s Keeper | K.C. Wells

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MM, Romance, Daddy/boy, age gap

Release Date: 01.09.19

Cover by Meredith Russell

Photographer by Ben Fink

Models: Adam Keith and Joe Ryan

Buy Links:

Amazon US

Barnes and Noble

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Blurb

When Kel Taylor’s life changes irrevocably, he finds himself alone in the world. He might have rebelled a little against his parents, but that didn’t mean he was ready to lose them. Unable to cope with his grief and feelings of guilt, he turns to booze, but before he hits rock bottom, someone dives into the murky waters to save him.

Luc Bryant watched Kel grow from the little kid whose football broke a pane in his greenhouse, into the sexy young man who sent heat racing through him. That was when Luc stopped watching and distanced himself, because he didn’t want to be that kind of a man. And that’s how things continued, until he saw to what depths the boy had sunk. Luc will be damned if he’ll let Kel kill himself. What Kel needs is a friend, and Luc’s shoulders are plenty big enough to bear his burdens.

Kel doesn’t need a friend. He needs a pair of strong arms to hold him, a broad chest to curl up against, someone to listen to him, someone who cares for him… and a whole lot more.
What he needs is a Daddy.
He just doesn’t know it yet.

A stand-alone book that contains an age gap relationship between a sexy daddy and a virgin.

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Excerpt

The time for worrying about Kel had long past. Luc had to do something.

After the funeral, he’d kept his promise and checked in on the boy regularly, and at first it had looked like Kel was coming through this. At least, Luc assumed he was. He didn’t get to see Kel all that much, but their brief conversations over the property boundary were proof that Kel was alive and well, if looking a little thin.

Then the conversations dwindled, as did the phone calls. Kel politely refused Luc’s invitations to eat with him. He refused Luc’s offers of assistance. And lately there had been far too many occasions when Kel didn’t answer his phone. No reply to texts. When Luc had ventured across to knock at the door, there had been no answer. Of course, he could have been out, but somehow Luc doubted that. When April gave way to May, Luc’s disquiet increased.

There were signs of life at the house next door, however. Walmart trucks came and went, and more than once, Luc dashed out to catch Kel before he closed the front door, but he was never fast enough.

Almost as though the boy was avoiding him, which if it were true, would be extremely ironic.

The day arrived when Luc wasn’t content to sit back anymore and wait for something to happen. It was time for the last resort—and that meant Christine’s spare key, the one he’d never gotten around to giving back to Kel. Thank God.

Luc grabbed it from the hook in the kitchen where he kept his keys, and went out of the house. Kel’s car was in the driveway, and judging by the state of the ground beneath it, Kel hadn’t moved it for a while. That only added to Luc’s sense of foreboding.

He went around to the front door, not bothering to ring the bell. After weeks of his knocks going unanswered, there seemed little point. Luc inserted the key into the lock, praying there wasn’t a chain attached on the other side. Thankfully, the door opened, and Luc stepped quietly into the silent interior. He peered into the sitting room, then the dining room, but there was no sign of Kel. When he entered the kitchen, the sight was enough to stop him in his tracks.

Dishes were piled high on every countertop. The dishwasher door was open, and Luc peeked inside. It was full of dirty dishes. The sink was full too, and the trash looked like it hadn’t been taken out for weeks.

Luc noted the pizza boxes and take-out cartons. At least he’s eating something. It was only when he took a closer look at one corner of the kitchen that the full extent of the situation hit him.

Bottles. Lots and lots of empty bottles. And most of it was the hard stuff, Luc was dismayed to see. There were empty cans and bottles of hard cider, and bottles of wine too. It appeared as if Kel had drunk his way through the contents of a bar.

Dear God, what state is he in, if he’s drunk all that?

Luc checked the rest of the first floor, but there was still no sign. He paused at the foot of the stairs, his nostrils flaring. The smell of stale alcohol was very noticeable. Luc mounted the stairs, his heart pounding. This is not good. This is way worse than I thought.Already he was kicking himself for not charging in sooner.

When he reached the door to Kel’s room, Luc paused, steeling himself for whatever lay beyond it, and praying fervently that the boy hadn’t choked to death on his own vomit. He pushed open the door and heaved an internal sigh of relief at the sight that awaited him.

Kel was in his bed, only the top of his head visible above the comforter, but he was clearly breathing. The room was in semidarkness, and the reek of alcohol was at its strongest, accompanied by the smell of stale sweat. Luc crossed the floor, put his hand to the lump beneath the covers, and gave Kel a light shake.

Nothing.

Luc gave him a stronger shake, and Kel’s groggy voice shattered the quiet. “Wha?”

“Kel,” Luc said urgently. “It’s Luc.”

“Go ’way.”

Like Luc was going to do that. “No, I’m not going anywhere. Remember?” He slowly drew back the comforter, only to have Kel seize it from him and pull it back over himself. Half-closed brown eyes regarded him with incredulity.

“How’d you get in here?”

“I have a key. You mom gave it to me. Remember, she asked me to check on the house?”

Kel propped himself up on his elbows, and the comforter slid lower, revealing…

Well, I certainly didn’t expect that.

Kel had a tattoo, a pattern of black swirls and spikes that covered his right shoulder, his pec and came halfway down his upper arm. There was also a lot more body hair than Luc had been prepared for. Before Luc could utter another word, Kel set his jaw. “I want it back, then I want you to leave.”

Luc slowly shook his head. “No. You need help.”

Kel’s eyes blazed, and he sat bolt upright. “You. Need. To. Go. Now.”

“And let you keep doing this to yourself? Kel, you’re better than this.”

Kel’s jaw dropped, then he snapped it shut. “You need to go,” he repeated through gritted teeth. “I don’t want you seeing me like this. I’m a pathetic excuse for a human being. Helpme? You couldn’t help me. I’m a hopeless case. I’m worse than useless.”

Luc’s stomach turned over. What the fuck had happened? “I have no idea where all this is coming from,” he said, doing his best to keep his voice even. “I know you, Kel. You’re nothing like the person you just described.”

Kel stared up at him, a dazed look in his eyes, his mouth open. “Know me? You don’t know me! Even my parents didn’t know me!” His chest rose and fell rapidly, his breathing harsh and staccato. “If they did, they’d have shunned me for the abomination that I am.”

Abomination? “Kel, I—”

I was not a good son! Kel yelled, the cords of his neck standing out. “And if they’d seen into my heart, they’d have been horrified. I went against their teachings.” He brought his left hand down hard on his right pec, wincing. “This. This would have given them so much pain, and I stillhad it done, knowing that.” His eyes glistened. “And there was worse than this. So many things I wanted to tell them, but I couldn’t, because they’d have been so damned disappointed in me. And now it’s too late. They’re never going to know what I’m really like. And I can’t bear that.” Tears spilled over his cheeks, his shoulders shook, and he sobbed.

Luc knew what he was seeing. In an instant, he sat on the bed, drew back the comforter, and pulled Kel into his lap, his arms around him. It was no surprise when the boy threw his arms around Luc’s neck and buried his face in Luc’s chest, his knees up to his chest, harsh sobs racking his body. “It’s okay,” Luc whispered. “Let it out. It’s all right to let it out, Kel.” Hot tears soaked into his shirt.

“I… can’t… stop… it from… hurting…” Kel choked out between sobs.

“It’s supposed to hurt.” Luc held onto him, one arm around his back, the other around his legs, cradling him, aware of the tremors that jolted through Kel’s frame. “This is grief. You’ve held on to your emotions so tightly, but now you have to let go.”

Kel’s sobs increased in volume and frequency, and Luc remained silent, gently rocking him in his arms, a weeping young man dressed only in his briefs, curled up against Luc’s chest and clinging to him. Luc’s arms were full to capacity: Kel might have been shorter than him, but he’d obviously been working out at some point. Little by little the tears subsided, and Kel’s breathing became less erratic. Luc brought his rocking to a halt, his nose buried in Kel’s hair. Finally, Kel moved gingerly, as though embarrassed by his position.

Luc let go, and Kel sat on the bed beside him. He sniffed, then wiped a hand across his eyes. “I’m sorry.”

“You have nothing to apologize for. If you knew how long I’ve been waiting for you to show some emotion over their deaths….” Luc stroked Kel’s hair. “It’s perfectly normal. And nothing to be embarrassed about. Although….” Luc wrinkled his nose.

Kel swallowed. “I guess I smell a bit ripe, huh?”

“Just a little,” Luc lied. “Nothing a good shower wouldn’t put right. If you think you can stay upright for that long. You might be a little shaky on your legs.” He stood, and held out a hand to Kel, who took it and pulled himself to his feet. Luc watched him anxiously. “Well?”

Kel expelled a long shuddering breath. “I can manage a shower.”

Luc nodded in approval. “And while you’re doing that, I’ll go downstairs and make you something to eat.” He cocked his head to one side. “That’s assuming there’s food in your kitchen. Edible food.”

Kel bit his lip. “Yeah, about that…”

Luc rolled his eyes. “Get washed. I’ll go to my place and raid the refrigerator. Take as long as you like.”

For the first time since Luc had entered his room, there was a flash of the old Kel. “Is that Luc-speak for ‘you stink’?”

Luc laughed. “Shower, dirty boy. Then I’ll feed you. And then… we can talk.” He felt a good deal lighter. That had been a cathartic moment, and while Kel still had a way to go, the outlook was hopeful.

What puzzled him were a couple of things Kel had said. At this point Luc wasn’t sure if he was going to leave them for now, or bring them out into the open. Because sooner or later, they had to talk about them.

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About The Author

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K.C. Wells started writing in 2012, although the idea of writing a novel had been in her head since she was a child. But after reading that first gay romance in 2009, she was hooked.

She now writes full time, and the line of men in her head, clamouring to tell their story, is getting longer and longer. If the frequent visits by plot bunnies are anything to go by, that’s not about to change anytime soon.

If you want to follow her exploits, you can sign up for her monthly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cNKHlT

You can stalk – er, find – her in the following places:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KCWellsWorld

https://www.facebook.com/kcwells.WildWickedWonderful/

KC’s men In Love (my readers group): http://bit.ly/2hXL6wJ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6576876.K_C_Wells

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00AECQ1LQ

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/k.c.wells/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/K_C_Wells

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/k-c-wells

Newsletter : http://eepurl.com/cNKHlT

Blog: http://kcwellsworld.blogspot.com/

Website: http://www.kcwellsworld.com/

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Great solid opener to this new small-town romance series from Ed

Hard Hart (Hart's Bay #1)Hard Hart by E. Davies

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I do like Ed Davies’ style of writing and the way there’s always a sweetness at the heart of the narrative.

I’ve only not rated this one higher because I felt the middle part of the book had an odd pacing where all of a sudden, both Jesse and Finn started second-guessing and doubting each other.

I say odd because, up to that point, they’d been communicating pretty well and moving their relationship on in a steady and believable manner even though only a short period of time had passed.

The major conflict in the book is going to run through the series if I understand it right. The tensions coming from the fall out between two sides of the Hart family.

It all wrapped up a little neatly here but, honestly, I didn’t care too much about that because Jesse and Finn were just too cute together and rather steamy.

Things happen over a fairly short time period but, again it didn’t feel instalove-y because the chemistry between them was clear.

Now I’ve just been surprised at who the next book is about as Rain Hart, Finn’s cousin, is the next family member under the spotlight but his love interest isn’t who I expected.

Om looking forward to seeing where Hart’s Bay goes next.

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

View all my Goodreads reviews

This feel-good romance just made me smile

ZestZest by Clare London

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just as cute as Accidental Baker, which is where Clare London first introduced Donnie and Will.

This is a romance about two ordinary blokes, one a little bit older than the other but both just fumbling their way through life and trying to make the best of things.

Donnie is such a sweetheart, he’s the one everybody turns too but he finds it hard to put his own needs first.

Will is older and has his Veterinary practice, but he’s a bit lacking in confidence both in bed and in relationships overall.

There are some stumbles on the way to the happy ending but this is really just a lovely feel-good romance.

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

View all my Goodreads reviews

Review Tour: How To Run With The Wolves by Eli Easton

How To Run With The Wolves | Eli Easton

Howl At The Moon #5

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Universal Link

Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Cover Design: Reese Dante

READ MY REVIEW

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Blurb

Zeus loves his job on the Mad Creek Search & Rescue team, and his inner Saint Bernard is finally being used to his full potential.

When he sees a mysterious and wild-looking quickened—a dog shifter—at an earthquake site in Alaska, Zeus is compelled to investigate. Zeus falls hard for the primal beauty of Timo and of Alaska itself. Both call to his deep canine soul. But the Qimmig pack’s laws are as harsh as the Alaskan winters, and Timo is out of his reach.

Timo’s pack of dog shifters left their Inuit village generations ago and have lived wild ever since. Not trusting the “one-skinned,” and with their numbers dwindling, the Qimmig are on the verge of extinction.

Timo is shocked to discover a whole group of “two-skinned” working as a rescue team, and he is particularly fascinated by Zeus, a gentle giant. He senses what Zeus feels for him… but it’s forbidden.

Can Mad Creek save this lost quickened clan? Perhaps—if they can learn how to run with the wolves.

Howl At The Moon Series

How To Howl At The Moon (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK

How To Walk Like A Man (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK

How To Wish Upon A Star (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK

How To Save A Life (Book #4) – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Exclusive Excerpt

Chapter 1 – Fault Line

August

Anchorage, Alaska

Zeus

“All right, guys. Remember: stay in your section and stay with your partner. No matter what. And make sure your radios are on so I can contact you. Check them. Are they on right now?”

Zeus knew his radio was on, but he obeyed Matt and checked it anyway, as did the other eight quickened in the Mad Creek Search and Rescue team. Yup, the red light was illuminated.

“Mine is on!” Sammy called out with barely suppressed excitement. Other voices rang out too. The team was eager to get moving, Zeus included. His skin itched with the need to run, sniff, find.

But their team commander, Matt, didn’t release them just yet. He had his hands on his hips and was giving them all a stern look. His glower was all for show, Zeus knew. You could see the pride behind it, wanting to break out. Matt was a good leader. He was a full-blooded human, so he was less likely to get distracted by the job than the rest of them, and he knew just how to coordinate with the other human relief crews at a disaster site. And if people thought the Mad Creek group was weird, Matt dealt with it somehow, keeping the secret of the quickened, well, secret.

“All right, team.” Matt clapped Sammy on the back. “Go save some lives!”

They scattered, everyone running. They looked like orange confetti, Zeus thought, with everyone wearing the Search and Rescue uniform—heavy neon orange canvas pants, orange T-shirts, black heavy-duty hiking boots, and small gray vest and packs with first aid gear and tools. Blood pumped hard in Zeus’s veins. Since joining Mad Creek Search and Rescue, Zeus and the team had been deployed three times, once to a flood and twice to help with wildfires. And even in his brief stint with the group, Zeus had found a sense of purpose and usefulness he’d never felt before.

He was born for this! And it felt incredible to let that part of him operate to its potential.

Zeus and his partner, Sammy, headed into the section Matt had assigned them. From their command post in Delaney Park, they ran north on G Street. They had the area from 3rd to 9th streets to the north and south and H to C streets west to east. Some of the street signs were down or hidden in rubble, but Zeus could still see the map in his mind, and he knew where to go.

The 7.5 earthquake had hit near Anchorage eight hours ago. It had struck just after nine in the morning when the downtown buildings and streets had been full of people. Since then, the city had been rocked by several large aftershocks. Roads were cracked and split apart, becoming stairsteps. Shattered glass was everywhere from windows that exploded under the pressure of buckling walls. Rubble made haphazard mounds that spilled into the street. Tall brick buildings had gaping holes that looked like missing teeth, and a couple had lost their heads entirely. The landscape was uneven, a building here and there in ruins while others stood tall and straight, unaffected or missing only a few panes of glass. And there were so many smells! There were dangerous smells like oil and smoke and sad ones like blood and fear and even death.

For a moment, Zeus hesitated, looking down G Street. Where to start? He wanted to go everywhere at once. A loud siren pierced the air, hurting Zeus’s sensitive ears, but he was too focused on the job to care.

Sammy stepped up beside him and pointed to a field of rubble on the right between two taller buildings. Big cement slabs stuck up and jagged ends of rebar were exposed like broken bones. A triangular slab stood into front of the pile, one pointed end buried in the asphalt as if it were a memorial statue. “Look, Zeus! I bet that was a parking garage. And I bet people are trapped in there. Let’s see if we can help.”

“Okay!” Zeus agreed, and the two of them ran toward the rubble. His blood sang in his ears. Find them, find them, find them.

They scrambled over cement and dust. Zeus could smell people here, people trapped under the collapsed parking garage—one, two, at least four people. The scent drew a mind map in his head of where they were located, how deep, how far from him in 3D. He sniffed around and around, moving in a circle, skin thrumming, every sense on alert. Yes, here, and here, far down.

Zeus pointed and rattled off his finds, interpreting the scent-pictures for Sammy, giving him distances and head count. Sammy wrote numbers on the little flags, planted them where Zeus said, and relayed the news to Matt over the radio. There were two older people, a man and a woman together, probably in a car. There was blood with them, but not much, and their heartbeats were strong. They calm one another, Zeus thought, an idea that entered his head and flittered away again with so much to smell and others to help. 

A short distance away, he found two bodies both ten feet down. Near them he detected the faint smell of old urine, like you might find in a stairwell. Face sad, Sammy set a black flag with a “2” written on it.

Zeus sniffed around the perimeter he’d set for himself, three times, four, to be sure he’d caught everything, that the little flags matched the map in his head.

Sammy signed off the radio call. “Matt’s gonna let the fire department know. They’ll bring the big machines. It’s so sad. The ones who are alive, are they scared? I bet they’re scared.” He took a crowbar from his tool belt and banged on a piece of rebar sticking from the cement near the yellow “2” flag. “We’re here! We’re here and we will come for you! Don’t be afraid!”

Don’t be afraid. The words echoed in Zeus’s head. Don’t be afraid.

“Oh, those poor people. I wish we could dig! I wish we could dig right now! Are you sure they’re too far down?” Sammy leaned down close to a flag to sniff and listen.

Zeus just grunted. He was sure.

He loved many things about the Mad Creek Search and Rescue team.

He loved that everyone on the team—except for team-leader Matt—was a quickened and thus had a dog’s keener sense of smell and hearing and doggie instincts.

He loved that his teammates had boundless energy and enthusiasm.

He loved their compassion and can-do attitudes. They never got cranky and they never complained. Zeus had been born quickened, but he’d worked with many humans over the years, so he appreciated those traits.

He loved the sense of pack he was developing with his S-and-R brothers and sisters. The Mad Creek Search and Rescue team was made up of Sammy, a young chocolate lab, Goldy, a pretty and bouncy golden retriever in her twenties, a middle-aged German shepherd named Bacon, a somber young bloodhound named Watson, and a tough pit bull named Lola Blue who was thick and stocky with a square face, small gold eyes, grayish brown skin, and short hair the same amazing shade of blue-gray as her dog fur. Georgia and Roscoe, both mixed breeds, rounded out the team. Matt was the only human in the group. All together there were nine of them.

In short, Zeus loved this job. If Mad Creek had become too crowded to take, the S-and-R crew was small enough for Zeus to bear. Even if he sometimes felt he would never really be one of the Mad Creek quickened.

Zeus continued, picking his way over the rubble, scrambling on his hands and feet when the way got rough. The heavy steel-toed boots on his big arched feet enabled him to step anywhere, testing each foot-place for stability before settling his considerable weight on it. Despite his large size, he felt light and nimble with the adrenaline coursing through his veins.

He had Sammy place several more yellow flags. And then….

“Here!” he told Sammy, huffing the rich scent. “There’s a man buried right here. We can get this one. He’s not far down at all.”

Sammy sniffed the ground, his face lighting up. “He’s alive.”

“He’s alive,” Zeus agreed. He went down on his knees and began to dig with both gloved hands.

A scree hill of gravel and powdered cement had landed here, next to a fallen piece of wall. Zeus’s hands were faster than his tools for small material like this, and his heavy gloves were nearly as good protection as the thick pads of his paws in his dog form. Sammy joined in, and the two of them scooped out the loose material and pulled away small chunks of cement and metal, finally clearing a hole under the piece of wall.

The hole was dark for a moment as the cloud of debris settled. Then fingers reached up. They were a man’s fingers, rough-hewn and covered with gray dust.

“Hello,” came a voice, then a cough. “H-hello? Are you there? Help me, please?” His voice had an accent Zeus had never heard before.

“Hello!” Sammy called out, his voice happy. “Yes, we’re here to help you. Are you hurt?”

More coughing. “Oh, thank fuck. I’ve felt better. I think I’m okay, but I would like to get out now.”

“We’ll get you out. Don’t worry!” Sammy enthused, while Zeus examined the situation. They had to be careful, because they didn’t want to cause the rubble to collapse. But the piece of wall on top of the hole felt stable when Zeus tested it. It wasn’t going anywhere. With some more digging—the man helped from inside with his bare hands—they managed to enlarge the hole. Sammy shone his light inside and they saw the man’s face. He was a young man, maybe in his twenties, and he had skin deeply tanned by the sun, eyes with a slight epicanthic fold, black hair covered in dust, and a lop-sided grin. Zeus thought he might be Inuit.

Sammy passed the man a bottle of water, and he unscrewed it and drank it thirstily, water making tracks in the dirt down his blue T-shirt.

Zeus sat back on his heels. The man was not badly hurt. He and Sammy could pull him out and send him on to the hospital. Then they could keep working. There was so much work to do. So many more to find! And hopefully they’d find more survivors, like this one, maybe even more they could dig out on their own. It was so satisfying to see them climb out of the earth like newborns, to know he had saved a life. Zeus would never tire of it in a million years.

As he waited for the man to finish drinking, Zeus’s gaze scanned ahead over the field of rubble. They could probably scramble over most of it and….

And that was when Zeus saw him.

About thirty feet away, standing on the flat roof of a small building, was a man.

The sun was behind him, his form outlined in the glowing light. He was average in height but taut and whip lean in faded, low-slung jeans, wide belt, and a short-sleeved T-shirt that was molded to his muscles. His brown hair gleamed red where it was struck by the sun and was incredibly thick, straight, and long, falling to his waist. Strands floated around him in the cold breeze. His eyes looked pale, though it was hard to tell from this distance.

Zeus sniffed, catching the barest tease of a new scent. It broke through the cloying, heavy aroma of dust and oil and smoke as though someone had opened a window in a stale house. The new scent was fresh, like the wind off a glacier, and there was something wild in it, too, wild and free, like deer or elk or… or…

Wolves?

Zeus couldn’t see the man’s face very well, backlit as he was, but something about him took Zeus’s breath away. His posture was agile and proud. And he was staring at Zeus. Right at him. His body was rigid, and Zeus could swear he was scenting him too.

Why the sight should strike him so deeply, Zeus didn’t know. But the man didn’t look like a rescue worker. He didn’t look like an office worker. He didn’t look like anything Zeus had ever seen before. He seemed to be a mirage, like something pulled up from the buried depths of Zeus’s own mind.

There was a grunt and a scramble next to him. Zeus turned to see the Inuit man dusting off his shirt.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“You have blood on your pants,” Sammy said worriedly. “Is your leg hurt? You can lean on me.”

The man shook his leg and stomped his foot twice. “Nah, I’m good. Just a scratch.”

Zeus looked back to where he’d seen the strange man—but he was gone. There was nothing there now but an empty roof and the bright glare of the afternoon sun.

“Did you see him?” Zeus asked Sammy and the rescued man. He pointed at the roof. “There was a man. Right there.”

Sammy looked confused. “Huh? I didn’t see anyone, Zeus.”

But the dark-skinned man grimaced, his face knowing. “Qimmig,” he muttered.

“What?”

The man coughed, then wiped his mouth. “It’s a tribe. They’re around. They work on the big buildings. Construction, you know? Hey, thank you guys for finding me. My name’s Aput. You saved my life, dudes!”

Aput gave Sammy a hug, which Sammy was happy to reciprocate. Then Aput turned to Zeus, his arms held wide. Zeus wasn’t much of a hugger with strangers, but the man’s grin was infectious, so Zeus hugged him too.

“I have a wife and three little ones back in my village. They’ll want very much to thank you! Man, I thought I was going to die in there.” He wiped a hand across his sweaty brow, smearing dirt. And despite all his brave words, his hand was shaking.

Well, of course it was. It would be terrifying to be buried for—Zeus checked his watch—nearly seven hours since the earthquake struck.

“We’re so happy you’re alive!” said Sammy. “Are you sure you don’t need to sit down and rest?”

But Zeus was anxious to keep moving, anxious to find more people to help, maybe anxious to see that Qimmig again too. “There’s first aid and food and water at the convention center. Do you know how to get there?”

“Yeah, I do. Hey, where are you guys from?” He looked at Sammy curiously, then up at Zeus. “Not Alaskan, huh?”

“Nope, we’re from Mad Creek!” said Sammy proudly. “That’s in California. We’re the Mad Creek Search and Rescue.” Sammy turned around and pointed to his back where the name was printed in black on the bright orange T-shirt. “I’m Sammy and this is Zeus.”

“Well, Sammy and Zeus. I’ll look for you again. Okay?”

“Okay!” Sammy said. “Be careful walking to the first aid station. Watch out for glass! You wouldn’t want to fall on your ass. Ha ha.”

Man, Sammy’s jokes. Zeus didn’t find them funny, but in this case, he was pretty sure he wasn’t the only one. He moved ahead, shutting out everything but the rubble under his feet.

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About the Author

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Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli Easton has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.

Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.

In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.

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Release Blitz: How To Run With The Wolves by Eli Easton

How To Run With The Wolves | Eli Easton

Howl At The Moon #5

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Universal Link

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Cover Design: Reese Dante

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Blurb

Zeus loves his job on the Mad Creek Search & Rescue team, and his inner Saint Bernard is finally being used to his full potential.

When he sees a mysterious and wild-looking quickened—a dog shifter—at an earthquake site in Alaska, Zeus is compelled to investigate. Zeus falls hard for the primal beauty of Timo and of Alaska itself. Both call to his deep canine soul. But the Qimmig pack’s laws are as harsh as the Alaskan winters, and Timo is out of his reach.

Timo’s pack of dog shifters left their Inuit village generations ago and have lived wild ever since. Not trusting the “one-skinned,” and with their numbers dwindling, the Qimmig are on the verge of extinction.

Timo is shocked to discover a whole group of “two-skinned” working as a rescue team, and he is particularly fascinated by Zeus, a gentle giant. He senses what Zeus feels for him… but it’s forbidden.

Can Mad Creek save this lost quickened clan? Perhaps—if they can learn how to run with the wolves.

Howl At The Moon Series

How To Howl At The Moon (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK

How To Walk Like A Man (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK

How To Wish Upon A Star (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK

How To Save A Life (Book #4) – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Exclusive Excerpt

Chapter 1 – Fault Line

August

Anchorage, Alaska

Zeus

“All right, guys. Remember: stay in your section and stay with your partner. No matter what. And make sure your radios are on so I can contact you. Check them. Are they on right now?”

Zeus knew his radio was on, but he obeyed Matt and checked it anyway, as did the other eight quickened in the Mad Creek Search and Rescue team. Yup, the red light was illuminated.

“Mine is on!” Sammy called out with barely suppressed excitement. Other voices rang out too. The team was eager to get moving, Zeus included. His skin itched with the need to run, sniff, find.

But their team commander, Matt, didn’t release them just yet. He had his hands on his hips and was giving them all a stern look. His glower was all for show, Zeus knew. You could see the pride behind it, wanting to break out. Matt was a good leader. He was a full-blooded human, so he was less likely to get distracted by the job than the rest of them, and he knew just how to coordinate with the other human relief crews at a disaster site. And if people thought the Mad Creek group was weird, Matt dealt with it somehow, keeping the secret of the quickened, well, secret.

“All right, team.” Matt clapped Sammy on the back. “Go save some lives!”

They scattered, everyone running. They looked like orange confetti, Zeus thought, with everyone wearing the Search and Rescue uniform—heavy neon orange canvas pants, orange T-shirts, black heavy-duty hiking boots, and small gray vest and packs with first aid gear and tools. Blood pumped hard in Zeus’s veins. Since joining Mad Creek Search and Rescue, Zeus and the team had been deployed three times, once to a flood and twice to help with wildfires. And even in his brief stint with the group, Zeus had found a sense of purpose and usefulness he’d never felt before.

He was born for this! And it felt incredible to let that part of him operate to its potential.

Zeus and his partner, Sammy, headed into the section Matt had assigned them. From their command post in Delaney Park, they ran north on G Street. They had the area from 3rd to 9th streets to the north and south and H to C streets west to east. Some of the street signs were down or hidden in rubble, but Zeus could still see the map in his mind, and he knew where to go.

The 7.5 earthquake had hit near Anchorage eight hours ago. It had struck just after nine in the morning when the downtown buildings and streets had been full of people. Since then, the city had been rocked by several large aftershocks. Roads were cracked and split apart, becoming stairsteps. Shattered glass was everywhere from windows that exploded under the pressure of buckling walls. Rubble made haphazard mounds that spilled into the street. Tall brick buildings had gaping holes that looked like missing teeth, and a couple had lost their heads entirely. The landscape was uneven, a building here and there in ruins while others stood tall and straight, unaffected or missing only a few panes of glass. And there were so many smells! There were dangerous smells like oil and smoke and sad ones like blood and fear and even death.

For a moment, Zeus hesitated, looking down G Street. Where to start? He wanted to go everywhere at once. A loud siren pierced the air, hurting Zeus’s sensitive ears, but he was too focused on the job to care.

Sammy stepped up beside him and pointed to a field of rubble on the right between two taller buildings. Big cement slabs stuck up and jagged ends of rebar were exposed like broken bones. A triangular slab stood into front of the pile, one pointed end buried in the asphalt as if it were a memorial statue. “Look, Zeus! I bet that was a parking garage. And I bet people are trapped in there. Let’s see if we can help.”

“Okay!” Zeus agreed, and the two of them ran toward the rubble. His blood sang in his ears. Find them, find them, find them.

They scrambled over cement and dust. Zeus could smell people here, people trapped under the collapsed parking garage—one, two, at least four people. The scent drew a mind map in his head of where they were located, how deep, how far from him in 3D. He sniffed around and around, moving in a circle, skin thrumming, every sense on alert. Yes, here, and here, far down.

Zeus pointed and rattled off his finds, interpreting the scent-pictures for Sammy, giving him distances and head count. Sammy wrote numbers on the little flags, planted them where Zeus said, and relayed the news to Matt over the radio. There were two older people, a man and a woman together, probably in a car. There was blood with them, but not much, and their heartbeats were strong. They calm one another, Zeus thought, an idea that entered his head and flittered away again with so much to smell and others to help. 

A short distance away, he found two bodies both ten feet down. Near them he detected the faint smell of old urine, like you might find in a stairwell. Face sad, Sammy set a black flag with a “2” written on it.

Zeus sniffed around the perimeter he’d set for himself, three times, four, to be sure he’d caught everything, that the little flags matched the map in his head.

Sammy signed off the radio call. “Matt’s gonna let the fire department know. They’ll bring the big machines. It’s so sad. The ones who are alive, are they scared? I bet they’re scared.” He took a crowbar from his tool belt and banged on a piece of rebar sticking from the cement near the yellow “2” flag. “We’re here! We’re here and we will come for you! Don’t be afraid!”

Don’t be afraid. The words echoed in Zeus’s head. Don’t be afraid.

“Oh, those poor people. I wish we could dig! I wish we could dig right now! Are you sure they’re too far down?” Sammy leaned down close to a flag to sniff and listen.

Zeus just grunted. He was sure.

He loved many things about the Mad Creek Search and Rescue team.

He loved that everyone on the team—except for team-leader Matt—was a quickened and thus had a dog’s keener sense of smell and hearing and doggie instincts.

He loved that his teammates had boundless energy and enthusiasm.

He loved their compassion and can-do attitudes. They never got cranky and they never complained. Zeus had been born quickened, but he’d worked with many humans over the years, so he appreciated those traits.

He loved the sense of pack he was developing with his S-and-R brothers and sisters. The Mad Creek Search and Rescue team was made up of Sammy, a young chocolate lab, Goldy, a pretty and bouncy golden retriever in her twenties, a middle-aged German shepherd named Bacon, a somber young bloodhound named Watson, and a tough pit bull named Lola Blue who was thick and stocky with a square face, small gold eyes, grayish brown skin, and short hair the same amazing shade of blue-gray as her dog fur. Georgia and Roscoe, both mixed breeds, rounded out the team. Matt was the only human in the group. All together there were nine of them.

In short, Zeus loved this job. If Mad Creek had become too crowded to take, the S-and-R crew was small enough for Zeus to bear. Even if he sometimes felt he would never really be one of the Mad Creek quickened.

Zeus continued, picking his way over the rubble, scrambling on his hands and feet when the way got rough. The heavy steel-toed boots on his big arched feet enabled him to step anywhere, testing each foot-place for stability before settling his considerable weight on it. Despite his large size, he felt light and nimble with the adrenaline coursing through his veins.

He had Sammy place several more yellow flags. And then….

“Here!” he told Sammy, huffing the rich scent. “There’s a man buried right here. We can get this one. He’s not far down at all.”

Sammy sniffed the ground, his face lighting up. “He’s alive.”

“He’s alive,” Zeus agreed. He went down on his knees and began to dig with both gloved hands.

A scree hill of gravel and powdered cement had landed here, next to a fallen piece of wall. Zeus’s hands were faster than his tools for small material like this, and his heavy gloves were nearly as good protection as the thick pads of his paws in his dog form. Sammy joined in, and the two of them scooped out the loose material and pulled away small chunks of cement and metal, finally clearing a hole under the piece of wall.

The hole was dark for a moment as the cloud of debris settled. Then fingers reached up. They were a man’s fingers, rough-hewn and covered with gray dust.

“Hello,” came a voice, then a cough. “H-hello? Are you there? Help me, please?” His voice had an accent Zeus had never heard before.

“Hello!” Sammy called out, his voice happy. “Yes, we’re here to help you. Are you hurt?”

More coughing. “Oh, thank fuck. I’ve felt better. I think I’m okay, but I would like to get out now.”

“We’ll get you out. Don’t worry!” Sammy enthused, while Zeus examined the situation. They had to be careful, because they didn’t want to cause the rubble to collapse. But the piece of wall on top of the hole felt stable when Zeus tested it. It wasn’t going anywhere. With some more digging—the man helped from inside with his bare hands—they managed to enlarge the hole. Sammy shone his light inside and they saw the man’s face. He was a young man, maybe in his twenties, and he had skin deeply tanned by the sun, eyes with a slight epicanthic fold, black hair covered in dust, and a lop-sided grin. Zeus thought he might be Inuit.

Sammy passed the man a bottle of water, and he unscrewed it and drank it thirstily, water making tracks in the dirt down his blue T-shirt.

Zeus sat back on his heels. The man was not badly hurt. He and Sammy could pull him out and send him on to the hospital. Then they could keep working. There was so much work to do. So many more to find! And hopefully they’d find more survivors, like this one, maybe even more they could dig out on their own. It was so satisfying to see them climb out of the earth like newborns, to know he had saved a life. Zeus would never tire of it in a million years.

As he waited for the man to finish drinking, Zeus’s gaze scanned ahead over the field of rubble. They could probably scramble over most of it and….

And that was when Zeus saw him.

About thirty feet away, standing on the flat roof of a small building, was a man.

The sun was behind him, his form outlined in the glowing light. He was average in height but taut and whip lean in faded, low-slung jeans, wide belt, and a short-sleeved T-shirt that was molded to his muscles. His brown hair gleamed red where it was struck by the sun and was incredibly thick, straight, and long, falling to his waist. Strands floated around him in the cold breeze. His eyes looked pale, though it was hard to tell from this distance.

Zeus sniffed, catching the barest tease of a new scent. It broke through the cloying, heavy aroma of dust and oil and smoke as though someone had opened a window in a stale house. The new scent was fresh, like the wind off a glacier, and there was something wild in it, too, wild and free, like deer or elk or… or…

Wolves?

Zeus couldn’t see the man’s face very well, backlit as he was, but something about him took Zeus’s breath away. His posture was agile and proud. And he was staring at Zeus. Right at him. His body was rigid, and Zeus could swear he was scenting him too.

Why the sight should strike him so deeply, Zeus didn’t know. But the man didn’t look like a rescue worker. He didn’t look like an office worker. He didn’t look like anything Zeus had ever seen before. He seemed to be a mirage, like something pulled up from the buried depths of Zeus’s own mind.

There was a grunt and a scramble next to him. Zeus turned to see the Inuit man dusting off his shirt.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“You have blood on your pants,” Sammy said worriedly. “Is your leg hurt? You can lean on me.”

The man shook his leg and stomped his foot twice. “Nah, I’m good. Just a scratch.”

Zeus looked back to where he’d seen the strange man—but he was gone. There was nothing there now but an empty roof and the bright glare of the afternoon sun.

“Did you see him?” Zeus asked Sammy and the rescued man. He pointed at the roof. “There was a man. Right there.”

Sammy looked confused. “Huh? I didn’t see anyone, Zeus.”

But the dark-skinned man grimaced, his face knowing. “Qimmig,” he muttered.

“What?”

The man coughed, then wiped his mouth. “It’s a tribe. They’re around. They work on the big buildings. Construction, you know? Hey, thank you guys for finding me. My name’s Aput. You saved my life, dudes!”

Aput gave Sammy a hug, which Sammy was happy to reciprocate. Then Aput turned to Zeus, his arms held wide. Zeus wasn’t much of a hugger with strangers, but the man’s grin was infectious, so Zeus hugged him too.

“I have a wife and three little ones back in my village. They’ll want very much to thank you! Man, I thought I was going to die in there.” He wiped a hand across his sweaty brow, smearing dirt. And despite all his brave words, his hand was shaking.

Well, of course it was. It would be terrifying to be buried for—Zeus checked his watch—nearly seven hours since the earthquake struck.

“We’re so happy you’re alive!” said Sammy. “Are you sure you don’t need to sit down and rest?”

But Zeus was anxious to keep moving, anxious to find more people to help, maybe anxious to see that Qimmig again too. “There’s first aid and food and water at the convention center. Do you know how to get there?”

“Yeah, I do. Hey, where are you guys from?” He looked at Sammy curiously, then up at Zeus. “Not Alaskan, huh?”

“Nope, we’re from Mad Creek!” said Sammy proudly. “That’s in California. We’re the Mad Creek Search and Rescue.” Sammy turned around and pointed to his back where the name was printed in black on the bright orange T-shirt. “I’m Sammy and this is Zeus.”

“Well, Sammy and Zeus. I’ll look for you again. Okay?”

“Okay!” Sammy said. “Be careful walking to the first aid station. Watch out for glass! You wouldn’t want to fall on your ass. Ha ha.”

Man, Sammy’s jokes. Zeus didn’t find them funny, but in this case, he was pretty sure he wasn’t the only one. He moved ahead, shutting out everything but the rubble under his feet.

About the Author

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Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli Easton has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.

Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.

In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub

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New Release Blitz: Out In The Field by Lane Hayes

Out In The Field | Lane Hayes

Out In College #4

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Release Date: July 11

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 51K

Buy Link:

Universal Link:  http://mybook.to/lh-outinthefield

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Blurb

Max Maldonado loves baseball. He knows playing first base at a private college probably won’t get him to the big leagues, but he doesn’t mind. He loves the game and his teammates. If he has to stay in the closet until he graduates, that’s okay. Baseball comes first. Relationships are complicated anyway. And after his recent messy breakup, Max prefers to keep things simple.

Phoenix Bell is a fabulous theater geek. He’s excited about his recent transfer to a new school with an elite liberal arts program. Life has been on hold for a while, but this opportunity feels like the fresh start he was hoping for when he moved to California. And the chance reunion with the hot closeted jock is an unexpected surprise.

The two men have nothing in common and their timing couldn’t be worse. However, when their unconventional alliance blossoms into friendship and perhaps something more, it may be time to make some hard decisions.

And perhaps risk it all…out in the field.

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Excerpt

We were quiet for a moment. We shared his drink in silence as occasional bits of conversation and laughter from the party drifted our way. We were far enough from the action that the excess noise didn’t penetrate our cocoon. Just a couple of strangers in the dark again, minus the club music and lights and unrealistic hopes from the first time. I didn’t know about Phoenix, but this felt cathartic somehow. Like a fresh start.

“What else is going on? You look sad. It’s not me, is it?” I asked with a comedic expression.

He chuckled. “No. This is nice. I just—I tend to get a little blue on the night of the final performance. The anticlimactic feeling sucks, but it’s the nature of the beast. The cycle of slowly learning lines and getting to know your castmates is followed by long rehearsals where everything starts to gel. The excitement builds before the shows and everyone gets better and better and then…<em>boom</em>! It’s over. All that momentum and all the joy that comes from being part of something special disappears overnight. I’m gonna wake up in the morning back at square one.”

“That’s depressing.”

“Thus the vodka.” Phoenix raised his cup and took a sip. He set it between us before flashing a lopsided smile my way. “It’s just part of the process. I’ve been doing some version of this for years. You’d think I’d be better at transitioning from high to low.”

“Hmm. It’s kinda the same in baseball. When we start in January, most of the guys are out of shape and out of sync. We have to get used to a new crew and figure out how to work together. By the time our season ends in May, we’re a well-oiled machine. I’m not always sad when it’s over. Sometimes I really need the break. But by June, I miss it. The best thing to do is to stay in the game as much as possible. Play, watch, read stats. There’s probably a theater equivalent.”

“Sure. It’s called ‘get a new part.’ I’m already memorizing the script for the spring production at the Arts Center. They’re doing <em>Chicago</em>. God, I love that show. So many juicy roles. ‘And all that jazz,’ ” he sang that last line, then took another drink and handed his cup to me for no particular reason.

I widened my legs and propped my elbows on my knees. His gaze dipped briefly to my crotch before he licked his lips and glanced away.

“Who do you want to be?” I asked. “I mean…in the play.”

“In a perfect world, I’d be Roxie. But…I have a dick, so I’ll have to audition for Billy and pretend not to be crushed when they give me the role of prison guard or mafia henchman number two.”

“Why can’t you be Billy?” I asked before draining the vodka cocktail.

“I don’t have the right look. You’d actually be a perfect Billy. Have you ever thought about acting?”

“Me?” I pointed at my chest incredulously. “Fuck, no.”

“Why so adamant? It’s fun.”

“Theater stuff just isn’t my thing. I play baseball.”

“You can’t do both?”

“Nope. Not me. And I’m not interested anyway.”

He sighed dramatically. “Well…you were a good fantasy while you lasted.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked with a faux scowl.

“Just what you think it means. I know close to nothing about you except that you’re a decent kisser and—”

“Decent?” Now the scowl was real.

“Okay, better than decent. You were amazing. A real-life Prince Charming. But we can be friends now and—”

“I don’t want to be your friend,” I intercepted.

“Why not?”

“ ’Cause I like you.”

“That makes no sense.”

“Yeah, it does. I—” I hesitated for half a second before crashing my mouth over his.

And damn, kissing Phoenix was better than I remembered. I caressed his jaw tenderly before tilting my head to deepen the connection. I didn’t want to overwhelm him, but damn, it took everything I had not to put my hands all over him. I licked the corner of his mouth and groaned. He tasted sweet—like cherries or something. That had to be his lip gloss, I mused before driving my tongue inside.

Phoenix didn’t seem to mind. He moaned when I cupped his neck and tilted my head slightly to soften the connection. I flicked my tongue at the corner of his mouth before biting his bottom lip and pulling away. The kiss was sweet but much too short. And yeah, I was incredibly impressed with my restraint, but I couldn’t afford to start something we’d both regret later. Phoenix wasn’t a stranger anymore. He was a fellow student who knew my biggest secret. I should have been more concerned with resetting boundaries and moving on. But it didn’t feel that simple.

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Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked.

Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were First Place winners in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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Out In Series

A masterful exploration of sexual discovery from Jay

Mud & LaceMud & Lace by Jay Northcote

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s not many people do this type of sexual exploration and awakening quite as well as Jay does as far as I’m concerned.

He’s a master at not only handling the awkwardness of someone realising their sexuality isn’t what they’d always expected, but also at bringing in the inadvertent hurt that can come alongside someone exploring how they express gender as well.

With this one, there’s a double dose of confusion as each of the men in this pairing has some way to go in working out just what their emotions are telling them.

For Wicksy aka Simon, it’s knowing that underneath the sexy hot Lady Gogo is a man and coming to terms with the fact he loves the femininity of a drag queen but also the male bodily parts.

For Charlie it’s realising that exploring his feminine side doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to change his gender and become a woman.

Together the progression of their relationship starts as a hot and a little bit kinky hook up and moves into genuine feelings as Charlie’s feminine layers peel back more and Simon continues to be attracted to the person he finds underneath.

The sex in this starts off all kinky and dirty talk, which both men are turned on by, it’s not just Simon pretending he’s with a woman, but turns into a very much mutually loving connection.

Most of the angst comes from Simon working his way through his feelings about Charlie’s gender and how he deals with it felt relatable to me.

I loved both characters, they’re each full of awareness that they could be on the verge of something special and their relatively young ages (20 and 24) never actually came across as anything other than mature enough to know their own minds.

There’s great support from the other Rainbow Place cast and we get to meet journalist Quentin again, who I hope is going to be the subject of book five.

No sign of his significant other on the horizon though if it will be his romance next. This whole series is a delight though.

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

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