Guest Review: Misdemeanor (Responsible Adult #1) by C.F. White

Life isn't always responsible.

After his mother tragically dies and his deadbeat father goes off the rails, nineteen-year-old Micky is left to care for his disabled little brother, Flynn.

Juggling college, a dead-end job and Flynn's special needs means Micky has to put his bad-boy past behind him and be the responsible adult to keep his brother out of care. He doesn't have time for anything else in his life.

Until he meets Dan…






Reviewer: Lost in a Book

Let’s start off with a warning. There’s a cliffhanger at the end.

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If cliffhangers aren’t your thing either, I would definitely wait until the next book is out. This isn’t a little one. It’s freakin’ huge. Also, there should be a trigger warning for abuse and suicide.

This book was a perplexing read because there were many moments where I was really enjoying it and then moments when I was scratching my head. It’s an average length read at just over 200 pages but to me read reallllllllly long; especially the first half.

In Misdemeanor, we get to know Micky; the broody, closeted and almost reformed bad boy. After the gruesome death of his mother and the kicking out of his dead beat dad, Micky becomes the sole caretaker of his special needs little brother, Flynn. Sweet Flynn was the star of the show with his quirky, bright and literal personality. Micky gets a job at the grocery store (Morgan’s) and that’s where he meets Dan, his boss. Dan is the ultimate nice guy. Micky and Dan forge a pseudo-friendship that leads to benefits.

Oh the benefits. Things go from their first kiss to fucking in 2 seconds flat…. ok, maybe like 20 seconds but still. Micky knows his way around a man and isn’t afraid to show Dan. With this added complication, the whiplash begins. Micky was very hot and cold with Dan and has a hard time reacting when life throws a curveball. Dan just wants to be a part of Micky and Flynn. He wants to be the someone that Micky needed. It was sweet to see how their relationship changed throughout the second half. Obviously, with as much baggage as Micky is lugging around, Micky and Dan hit a lot of speed bumps.

“Hey, I get it. I get you’re angry,” Dan pleaded. “But don’t shut me out.”
“Shut you out?” Micky scoffed with a callous chuckle. “You barely got in, Danny.”
“One layer you peeled. One. Don’t try to go any further. It ain’t fucking pretty.”

Their relationship wasn’t the only angst present. Micky has a lot of bottled up emotions about the death of his mother as well as the trauma from an abusive father. Also, as Flynn’s only caretaker, Micky has to prove himself stable enough to become his guardian. To make matters worse, Flynn is having a very difficult time at school with other kids. Flynn has been picked on and injured which makes Micky have even less patience for those involved in hurting Flynn.

There are a lot of different components of this story that piece together to make a rather enjoyable read. However, there's a troubling one as well. For some reason, there is a big focus on being overweight. A. Lot. I was really hoping there was a reason for this and that it would reveal itself in one of the MCs as the story progressed. Maybe they had an eating disorder? IDK, I was hoping anything would make this relevant. It didn’t. It came across as a very odd obsession on the author's behalf throughout the entire book. I love a chiseled 6 pack and jaw as much as the next person but I don't have to body shame to make that point. I highlighted dozens of instances where a character was referred to as fat, chubby, how much is consumed and the noises they make while eating, how they get stuck in booths because they are too large, etc... Not all, but most of this was written about Dougie, a grocery employee. I didn't understand why so much emphasis was written about Dougie’s size, his multiple chins and his apparent obsession with food. It added nothing and with every occurrence, detracted from the story.

“The shirt rubbed against the curly dark hairs scattering his fat body and made the unbearable scraping of nails down a chalk board.”

“His dark hair was always closely cropped and his newly grown beard managed to mask his many chins.”

“The long brown overall uniform Dougie wore was one of the largest sizes Dan had ever ordered and yet the buttons still stretched around Dougie’s midsection.”

That’s just a sampling and I don't get the point? If these character “thoughts” were supposed to add humor, they failed miserably in execution.

I took a star off for shaming on a story that I would have otherwise enjoyed. Unfortunately, for such a big part, it added nothing.

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A copy provided for an honest review.


Giveaway + Blog Tour: Chief's Mess (Anchor Point #3) by L.A. Witt


L.A. Witt's here today and she's offering an incredible giveaway of 2 backlist books AND a $10 Riptide credit! 

Be sure to enter below and good luck!


About Chief’s Mess


Anthony Talbot is in Anchor Point to visit family, but after two days of strife, he needs a break. A local gay bar is calling his name.

When Chief Noah Jackson sees that red head stroll into the club, he immediately wants him. They’re perfectly matched, and before long, they’re burning up the sheets. Noah can’t get enough. Anthony can’t stay in Oregon for long, but as soon as he leaves, he’s counting down the days until he can fly back for more. And between his increasingly frequent visits, there’s always phone sex, sexting, webcams . . . anything they can get.

But Noah’s got a carefully crafted fa├žade, and Anthony can’t help noticing the slowly forming cracks. The scent of alcohol in the middle of the day. The extra drinks at dinner. The hint of red in his eyes. Anthony knows what it means. He doesn’t want to believe it, but he’s seen this before, and there’s no denying it. If Noah doesn’t get his downward spiral under control, he’s going to lose both his career and the first man he’s ever really loved.

Available now from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/chiefs-mess

Also check out Just Drive and Afraid to Fly, the first two titles in the Anchor Point series!


About LA Witt

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

L. A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).



To celebrate the release of Chief’s Mess, one lucky winner will receive their choice of two eBooks off L. A. Witt’s backlist (excluding Chief’s Mess) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 24, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!


Review: A Kind of Home (A Kind of Stories #4) by Lane Hayes

Isaac Dalton is the guitarist for Spiral, arguably the biggest rock band in the world. The band’s meteoric rise to superstardom has its perks, but fame and fortune aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Nonstop touring and performing exhaust him, and when an overzealous fan makes it imperative that Isaac travel with a clingy bodyguard, he is ready for a break from the madness. More so when his newly single first crush shows up on his doorstep. The man is strictly off-limits. He’s a memory from a place Isaac would rather leave behind. And he’s straight.

Fun-loving former athlete slash construction worker Adam McBride desperately needs a new beginning. And New York City is the perfect place to start over and think about how to rebuild his life. A short stint as roommates with his brother’s best friend from high school seems like a mutually beneficial arrangement. However, when friendship gives way to fierce attraction, both men find themselves in unchartered and possibly dangerous territory. Isaac has to decide if he’s willing to take the ultimate risk for a kind of love and a kind of home he never dreamed possible.


Once again another fantastic addition to this series! This book was definitely the fluffiest of the series. We had a nice slow friends-to-lovers with some looovveerrrllly sexual tension thrown in, a good solid relationship once they were together without denying or hiding from feelings. And yes it was a teeny tiny bit slow at times, hence the 4 hearts.

So this book follows our lead guitarist of Spiral, Isaac. He is a surprisingly serious man who is stressed with the rock star lifestyle and has a significant lack of family and friends to support him, other than his bandmates.


Luckily for him his high school best friend’s older brother and ex crush crashes at his house and Adam is just adorable! Also Adam literally looks like Superman. Yummy!


Adam was the light of this book. He is such a happy relaxed man and I adored him. He's just gotten divorced and has had to reevaluate how he wants to live his life, which he has and is taking life by the balls! He's loving it and it's just was Isaac needs. Like I said it was a little slow to get started, but these two were super cute!

I actually liked the stalker plot, it wasn't overdone and didn't overturn the romance. The end climax was pretty good too. Adam was fantastic as always!

I don't think there is anymore planned for this series, and if that's the case then this was a good place to end. On a nice fluffy note. Will definitely reread this series over and over!



Audiobook Review: Redesigning Max (Foothills Pride #2) by Pat Henshaw

Renowned interior designer Fredi Zimmer is surprised when outdoorsman Max Greene, owner of Greene’s Outdoors, hires Fredi to revamp his rustic cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Fredi is an out-and-proud Metro male whose contact with the outdoors is from his car to the doorway of the million-dollar homes he remodels, and Max is just too hunky for words.

When Max comes on to Fredi, the designer can't imagine why. But he’s game to put a little spice into Max’s life, even if it’s just in the colors and fixtures he’ll use to turn Max's dilapidated cabin into a showplace. Who can blame a guy for adding a little sensual pleasure as he retools Max’s life visually?

Max, for his part, is grateful when Fredi takes him in hand, both metaphorically and literally. Coming out is the most exciting and wonderful time in his life, despite the conservative former friends who think they’re saving him from sliding into hell.

Narrated by David Ross
Listening Length: 2 hours and 55 minutes



Pat Henshaw is an easy read author with, from what I’ve read, uncomplicated love stories. That’s not to say that there isn’t depth, or that the characters don’t have complicated lives, I just find the relationship development straightforward and easy on the heart.

This story has no real angst to it, and I think it is a good thing. It leaves the plot development to the world around Fredi and Max, rather than creating drama within the relationship. This is my favourite type of relationship development. While life can sometimes be messy, I prefer characters who are adept at keeping their romantic lives as tidy as possible, while unwinding mess through discovery and action.

Fredi has been commissioned to revamp a rustic cabin that Max received as part of an inheritance settlement. It is in dire need of a professional touch, and Fredi is an award winning designer who is perfect for the job.

Max has decided that it’s time he came out and stopped hiding. He takes an instant interest in Fredi, and is subtle in his approach to flirting and making his intentions known.

I found Fredi to be a fun complex character. He doesn’t put up with crap from anyone, least of all the town bigots. But he is a little bit over-reactive when it comes to pulling out his Boner……..

This story had a nice easy flow. Some drama to keep it exciting, but the ease with which Fredi and Max communicated was what held my interest.

I’ve read this series out of order, starting with book four, but I don’t think it’s really necessary to read them in order. Each story stands on its own, with no wider story arc, but with enough intertwining to feel the familiarity of some of the characters.

That being said, I would still recommend these be read in order if you are starting from the beginning.

David Ross is always a pleasure to listen to, and I don’t think he could ever make a story sound bad. Top notch voice acting skills that makes him someone I look for when picking new audiobooks to buy.

I would recommend this for those who enjoy straightforward gay romance, with some nice depth and good character development.


A review copy was provided.




Guest Review: Find His Way Home by Nell Iris

Shakespeare-loving teacher Elliot Dunn has been unhappy living in the big city for a long time. He yearns for fresh air, visible stars, and stillness, but his relationship with divorce lawyer Mick Hudson keeps him from moving away.

When a dramatic event occurs in Elliot’s class, he’s shaken to his core and suddenly can’t stay anymore. He leaves his partner of two years behind and returns to the tiny town in the mountains where he grew up.

Living in a rented cabin in the woods, with only an owl for company, Elliot slowly regains his peace of mind. But being away from Mick is agonizing, and when a ghost from Elliot's past pays him a visit, everything comes to a head.

Elliot is faced with a hard decision. Should he stay on the stress-free mountainside alone, or return to the hustle of the city and try to make a life with Mick?


Reviewer - Lost in a Book

How? I am not sure how I made it through this with my sanity remaining… Maybe it isn’t intact? This was bizarro world meets odd story line. Going into this book I thought it had good bones based on the synopsis. You know, the story mapping was there and all that was left was for the world building and character development to be fully realized. Yeah, nope. Forget about those “good bones,” we need to get them calcium and Vitamin D, STAT.

Elliot is a teacher. Already, I wanted to give a star because that’s my world. I am drawn to the world of education even in books because I can completely sympathize and really feel what they are going through. Again, bizarro world because this depiction of classroom events was ridiculous. Ok, back to Elliot. Elliot is an english teacher and in a relationship with “his lover” of two years, Mick. Both men live in the city and Mick works for a law firm but is still very much in the closet with his colleagues and partners of the firm. This has obviously put some stress on their relationship.

While teaching, Elliot has a “dramatic” situation where a student brings a knife to school. The circumstances that follow lead to Elliot taking a leave of absence. This happens very early on and had my eyes practically rolling in the back of my head. I’ll try to explain without spoiling it for anyone that decides that this is their cuppa and wants to read it. The description of the knife incident, Elliot’s reactions during and after as well as the schools stance were completely off base. I’m not saying this from a teacher and school administrator perspective; anyone that reads this would be scratching their head.

Elliot decides that while on his leave of absence, he is going to go back home to the peace of the country that he has desperately missed. While back home, we learn a lot about what he is eating, when he is going to the coffee shop, what he orders, and books he is reading. Some “mysterious” person from his past shows up. Mick hears about it and rushes to Elliot’s aid. The question becomes, does Elliot stay in the country or follow Mick back to the city.


That’s it folks. That’s the story. Except I would be remiss to mention that although this isn’t a fairy tale or magical land, everything that could happen does. I seriously had to suspend reality for about 90% of it.

Hooting owl conversing with human? Sure, no prob!

A stray cat seeing he is sad and offering him his “kill?” Absofuckinglutely!

Situations resolved perfectly and tied in a pretty bow that Cinderella couldn’t even do? Uh huh!

Far-fetched sequence of events that the odds of them happening are one in a million?


*SMH*

To make things worse, Elliot is a pushover. In everything. He makes excuses for reasons why Mick couldn’t come out at work. *eye roll* He felt guilty that he wasn’t there to ensure Mick was eating properly. *eye roll* He was a pushover at work even though the entire situation was weak sauce. *eye roll* I felt like both men were portrayed as weak and that’s not really appealing. I don’t need a big strapping lad with tattoos and facial hair (won’t complain though, either). I would just like them to have a backbone and not be a doormat. Let’s talk about heat and angst? There was no angst and very little heat in this book. The lack of heat is probably due to the fact that they spent 85% of the book separated.

Let’s talk editing. The words “his lover” were used 29 times.


29 TIMES in 74 pages. I got so sick of Mick being referred to as “his lover.” His lover’s face, his lover’s boss, hIs lover’s skin, his lover’s crotch and etc…

Also, each chapter is a different month. Time obviously jumps between each and then during the next month, there is a flashback to explain what was missed. I became perplexed on the concept of a large time jump if the lapsed events are going to be fully discussed in the next chapter as a flashback?

*sigh*

On a positive note, I’m glad the relationship between Elliot and Mick wasn’t full of drama. I unfortunately can’t recommend this book.

At least there was an owl name Hedwig. Can’t go wrong with a Harry Potter reference. *shrug*


A review copy was provided.


Release Blitz + Giveaway: A Way With Words by Lane Hayes


Lane Hayes and IndiGo Marketing celebrate the release of A Way With Words! Check out today's blitz and enter in the giveaway for a chance to win $10 Amazon gift card!



Title:  A Way with Words
Series: A Way With Stories Series
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Self Pub
Release Date: June 22
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 24k approximately
Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Humor, New York City

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis


Tony De Luca is a simple guy. He works for his uncle’s Brooklyn-based construction firm. And he knows from experience that keeping his head down and doing his job is the best way to deal with the meddlesome family members he sees daily. They think he’s quiet and maybe a little awkward but the truth is more complicated. Tony has a secret he isn’t ready or willing to share. He’s an expert at avoiding familial scrutiny. At least he was until the sexy guitar player showed up.
Remy Nelson is a small-town, free-spirited guy looking for a new life in the big city. He stays busy playing his instrument on a busy Manhattan street corner during the day and bartending at night. Remy is more interested in finding steady employment than a mate, but he can’t deny his attraction to the dreamy construction worker with soulful eyes, a kind heart, and a unique way with words. Falling for Remy wasn’t what Tony expected, but keeping him will require courage. And an end to keeping secrets.

Excerpt

“Yeah, that’s no fun. But it’s good to make new friends.” He gave me a sideways grin. “Like us.”

“Yeah, except you make me sweat,” I admitted with a half chuckle. Then I added, “In a good way. I like you.”

Remy hummed softly and sidled closer to me, resting his thigh against mine. “I like you too, Tony. You make me smile.”

We stared at each other for a long moment. All those funny details came rushing at me. Things I never noticed about other people. The gorgeous halo of curls, the shape of his eyes, the freckle on his cheek and those luscious lips. The lone bulb above the back door illuminated him in a yellowish light that shouldn’t have been flattering but I had a feeling Remy would look good with a paper bag on his head. Wait. That didn’t make sense. I furrowed my brow and cocked my head just as Remy set his arm over my shoulder and pulled me forward.

My heart raced when the tips of our noses brushed and our breath commingled visibly in the cool air. With a courage I didn’t know I possessed, I angled my head and slowly touched my lips to his. Just a touch. He had room to pull away. Hell, he even had room to punch me if I got this totally wrong. But when he purred softly and licked the corner of my mouth, I knew we were on the same page.

I cradled the back of his head and gently threaded my fingers through his hair. I held him like he was a fragile flower or something. Then in my typical bull-in-a-china-store style, I plunged my tongue between his lips. Remy gasped at the onslaught but he didn’t miss a beat. He wrapped both of his arms around my neck, drawing me close as he glided his tongue over mine, twirling and sucking feverishly.

I didn’t know how long we made out on that stoop but I could have done it all damn night. He tasted incredible and he felt even better. I loved the way he pressed his chest against mine and those sexy noises he made drove me wild. I wanted more than we were able to do on a cigarette break. Much more.

We broke for air and eyed each other, looking for clues. Or maybe that was just me. I couldn’t be the one in charge of directing traffic here. I was out of my depth. He had to tell me what came next. I’d never figure it out on my own. Remy caressed my cheek and smiled before leaning in to nibble on my bottom lip.

“I have to go,” he whispered.

“Okay. I’ll see ya ’round.” My huskier than usual voice didn’t mesh with the casual vibe I was going for.

Remy pulled back with a smirk. “That’s all you’re going to say? “See ya”? Don’t you want my number or something?”

“Um yeah. Yeah, I do.” I pulled out my cell and handed it to him. “Put it in. My hands are shaking.”

This time when he smiled, I felt it deep inside me. The butterflies in my stomach fluttered like crazy but in a good way.

Available for Purchase at Amazon


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 winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.

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Series Review: Enlightenment by Joanna Chambers


Provoked

This is a second edition of a book previously published by Samhain Publishing.

David Lauriston is struggling to build his reputation in Edinburgh’s privileged legal world. His humble origins are enough of a hurdle, never mind his recent decision to defend a group of weavers accused of treason, prompting speculation that he may harbour radical sympathies. The last thing he should be doing is agreeing to help the brother of one of the convicted weavers find the government agent who caused his brother’s downfall.

David’s personal life is no more successful. Tormented by his forbidden desires for other men, and the painful memories of the childhood friend he once loved, David tries his hardest to live a celibate existence, castigating himself whenever his resolve slips.

But then—into David’s repressed and orderly world—bursts Lord Murdo Balfour.

Cynical, hedonistic and utterly unapologetic, Murdo could not be less like David. Whilst David refuses to entertain the prospect of entering into a loveless marriage for propriety’s sake, Murdo is determined to wed one day—and has no intention of giving up the company of other men when he does so. But as appalled as David is by Murdo’s unrepentant self-interest, he cannot resist the man’s sway.

Murdo tempts and provokes David in equal measure, distracting him from his promise to find the agent provocateur responsible for the weavers’ fate, and forcing him to acknowledge his physical desires.

But is Murdo more than a mere distraction?

Is it possible he could be the very man David is looking for?

Beguiled

This is a second edition of a book previously published by Samhain Publishing.

Two years after his last encounter with cynical nobleman Lord Murdo Balfour, David Lauriston accidentally meets him again in the heart of Edinburgh.

King George IV is about to make his first visit to Edinburgh and Murdo has been sent North by his politician father to represent his aristocratic family at the celebrations.

David and Murdo’s last parting was painful—and on Murdo’s part, bitter—but Murdo’s feelings seem to have mellowed in the intervening years. So much so, that he suggests to David that they enjoy each other’s company during Murdo’s stay in the capital.

Despite his initial reservations, David cannot put Murdo’s proposal from his mind, and soon find himself at Murdo’s door—and in his arms.

But other figures from David’s past are converging on the city, and as the pomp and ceremony of the King’s visit unfolds around them, David is drawn into a chain of events that will threaten everything: his career, his wellbeing, and the fragile bond that, despite David’s best intentions, is growing between him and Murdo.

Enlightened

This is a second edition of a book previously published by Samhain Publishing.

David Lauriston has been recuperating at Lord Murdo Balfour’s Laverock estate for the last five months. At Laverock, he has regained his health and confidence and has found—with Murdo—more happiness and contentment than he has never known before.

David is all too aware that some day soon he will have to leave Laverock—and Murdo—and return to his legal practice in Edinburgh, just as Murdo will have to return to his life in London. But when David’s mentor, Patrick Chalmers, asks David to return to Edinburgh to visit him on his deathbed, it seems that day has come sooner than either David or Murdo would have wished.

Chalmers begs David to undertake one last piece of business for him: to secure the future of Chalmers’s daughter Elizabeth. But to carry out his old mentor’s wishes, David must travel to London, with Murdo.

No sooner have the two men arrived in the capital than they encounter Murdo’s ruthlessly manipulative father, who reveals a shocking secret that rocks David to his foundations. What’s more, when David discovers Elizabeth is facing far greater danger than even her father feared, he is determined to help her, no matter the cost to his own safety.

As the stakes rise, it is Murdo who must choose what he is prepared to sacrifice to keep David at his side, and ask whether there is any possibility of lasting happiness for men like them.



Love should not be denied.

I’m not sure how I’ll recover from this series. I’ve read some remarkable historicals but this was exceptional and I fear my book hangover will be epic.

I read these in succession. Honestly, I don’t know how you could read one and not them all. They're like potato chips and I'm infinitely grateful I did not have to wait between... chips. Provoked set the stage and drew me into this world just on the tail end of the Regency period in Scotland. Edinburgh plays as large a role in Enlightenment as any character which is told from David Lauriston’s perspective. We follow him on a journey of self-discovery as he falls in love with Lord Murdo Balfour and finds his truest self.


David is a self-made man. He chose to go to university to study law rather than stay on his family's farm. He’s… difficult, peevish. His views on the world and his place in it are practical and somewhat inflexible. He's got a vision of his life and, though lonely, he's committed to it. His morals don't allow much leeway thus he's decided to never marry and have to live a lie. He’s gay and self-loathing about it because he’s been indoctrinated in the fire and brimstone which makes his future happiness seem an unlikelihood if not an outright impossibility. This time period, as confining and provincial as it most certainly is, makes for a brilliant canvas on which to paint an exquisite romance filled with sexual tension, that lingers in the memory and is what keeps me coming back to this genre again and again.

He’d been convinced that his fascination with the act, his desire for other men, was a sign of a weak and sinful nature. Something to be suppressed at all costs.

I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to believe oneself anything other than abhorrent when constantly inundated with the sentiment that homosexuality is not only a sin but a crime, a crime with a hefty penalty. Chambers did a tremendous job of making this worldview the cornerstone of David's character. David’s beliefs are based as much on the law as the views regarding homosexuality and his being a lawyer makes them that much more ingrained. Thus he only allows himself the occasional furtive and anonymous tryst then hates himself afterwards and turns to scotch as a panacea.

Murdo is David’s opposite. He’s hedonistic, charismatic, outgoing, witty, wealthy and maybe a little rakish. The Romantic Rascal, as it were. He’s so easy to like. So easy. But I loved them both equally. Murdo's character isn't simplistic but he wears his heart on his sleeve which made him easy for me to read so I didn't mind not having his perspective. I think he fell in love with David during their first meeting that segued into a debauched back alley blow job.

“God, but I want to do everything to you. I want you in my hand. I want you in my mouth. I want to bury my tongue inside you and fuck you forever.”

David is such a challenge for him, though, and I think his pulling away was a way of protecting himself from heartbreak. When I realized that two years had elapsed between Provoked and Beguiled, I think I maybe had a touch of the vapors! But in those two years both evolved. Happenstance throws them together and from their first meeting I was riveted and ultimately dazzled by the second installment. I felt as though my heart were being basted with romance. Two years may have passed but it's clear neither of them forget the other.

The touch of Murdo’s mouth made him feel alive, his neglected body given meaning by the attentive desire of his lover. Each kiss saying, you are here, in this world, with me.

Make no mistake, David and Murdo are the centerpiece of this series, but the inclusion of the cast of characters that make up David's inner circle drives the plot forward. These characters were all well constructed, can just as easily break as warm your heart and how their lives intersect with David’s and Murdo's made for a couple of verklempt moments. I found I rather enjoyed the bird’s eye view over the more commonplace myopic stories that focus entirely on the couple and their coupletry. It enhanced David, and to a lesser extent Murdo’s, characterizations by showing how far they are willing to go in the service of a friend and each other thereby making for a richer story altogether.

One such act of selflessness leads them to Perthshire, Murdo’s newly acquired estate, for a good portion of Enlightened where they’ve lapsed into an easy domesticity filled with fishing and walks in the country and unruffling some neighbors' feathers.


What moved me, and is making this series so difficult to let go of, were the subtle changes both these characters made due to the other’s influence over the course of their story, how they begin to find a way if for no other reason than not to do so would leave them both heartbroken and their futures bleak. I do so love couples who bring out the best in each other and make each other happy. They still disagree and are truly awful at communicating their feelings but when it does finally happen, it’s glorious. And so them.


Somehow, Murdo had become more important to him than anything else. Everything he'd worked for- respectability, a shining career, wealth-all of it would be ashes in his mouth if he lost Murdo.

"To hell with what I deserve," Murdo whispered. "All I want is you."

There is sex and chemistry between them, obviously, and it had its moments, but I think what I liked more than anything was how Murdo cossets David and how comfortable they are with one another. All the small, quiet moments between them-Murdo rubbing David's leg with liniment, pestering him about using the cane, David wearing Murdo's old clothes to go fishing, all the peccadilloes that you know and accept about another person that you live with and the rhythm of their shared life. All those things made it crystal clear how in love they are and how perfectly they fit together, but go unrecognized or are taken for granted until one is faced with the possibility of losing it forever. Their level of comfort truly shone in the epilogue. The epilogue that killed me dead.


The prose is lovely and stays true to the time with Chambers folding in a multitude of historical details that strengthened the narrative. I also really loved all the Scottish details-the streets, the cobblestones, the wet, the tiny pubs, Sir Walter, the kilts, the scotch-all reminded me of a wonderful vacation and how much I loved Edinburgh.

The whole series is magnificent and if you're a historical romance reader Enlightenment is simply a must read.


Review copies were provided.



Giveaway + Blog Tour: Enlightenment Series by Joanna Chambers


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Provoked (Enlightenment #1) 


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David Lauriston is struggling to build his reputation in Edinburgh’s privileged legal world. His humble origins are enough of a hurdle, never mind his recent decision to defend a group of weavers accused of treason, prompting speculation that he may harbour radical sympathies. The last thing he should be doing is agreeing to help the brother of one of the convicted weavers find the government agent who caused his brother’s downfall.


David’s personal life is no more successful. Tormented by his forbidden desires for other men, and the painful memories of the childhood friend he once loved, David tries his hardest to live a celibate existence, castigating himself whenever his resolve slips. 

But then—into David’s repressed and orderly world—bursts Lord Murdo Balfour.

Cynical, hedonistic and utterly unapologetic, Murdo could not be less like David. Whilst David refuses to entertain the prospect of entering into a loveless marriage for propriety’s sake, Murdo is determined to wed one day—and has no intention of giving up the company of other men when he does so. But as appalled as David is by Murdo’s unrepentant self-interest, he cannot resist the man’s sway.

Murdo tempts and provokes David in equal measure, distracting him from his promise to find the agent provocateur responsible for the weavers’ fate, and forcing him to acknowledge his physical desires.

But is Murdo more than a mere distraction? 

Is it possible he could be the very man David is looking for?


Beguiled (Enlightenment #2)


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Two years after his last encounter with cynical nobleman Lord Murdo Balfour, David Lauriston accidentally meets him again in the heart of Edinburgh.


King George IV is about to make his first visit to Edinburgh and Murdo has been sent North by his politician father to represent his aristocratic family at the celebrations.


David and Murdo’s last parting was painful—and on Murdo’s part, bitter—but Murdo’s feelings seem to have mellowed in the intervening years. So much so, that he suggests to David that they enjoy each other’s company during Murdo’s stay in the capital.

Despite his initial reservations, David cannot put Murdo’s proposal from his mind, and soon find himself at Murdo’s door—and in his arms.


But other figures from David’s past are converging on the city, and as the pomp and ceremony of the King’s visit unfolds around them, David is drawn into a chain of events that will threaten everything: his career, his wellbeing, and the fragile bond that, despite David’s best intentions, is growing between him and Murdo.



Enlightened (Enlightenment #3) 


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David Lauriston has been recuperating at Lord Murdo Balfour’s Laverock estate for the last five months. At Laverock, he has regained his health and confidence and has found—with Murdo—more happiness and contentment than he has never known before.


David is all too aware that some day soon he will have to leave Laverock—and Murdo—and return to his legal practice in Edinburgh, just as Murdo will have to return to his life in London. But when David’s mentor, Patrick Chalmers, asks David to return to Edinburgh to visit him on his deathbed, it seems that day has come sooner than either David or Murdo would have wished.


Chalmers begs David to undertake one last piece of business for him: to secure the future of Chalmers’s daughter Elizabeth. But to carry out his old mentor’s wishes, David must travel to London, with Murdo.


No sooner have the two men arrived in the capital than they encounter Murdo’s ruthlessly manipulative father, who reveals a shocking secret that rocks David to his foundations. What’s more, when David discovers Elizabeth is facing far greater danger than even her father feared, he is determined to help her, no matter the cost to his own safety.


As the stakes rise, it is Murdo who must choose what he is prepared to sacrifice to keep David at his side, and ask whether there is any possibility of lasting happiness for men like them.





June 13 - Bike Book Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews

June 15 - Keysmash, The Librarian's Corner

June 17 - Dog-Eared Daydreams, Padme's Library

June 19 - Jessie G Books

June 21 - It's About The Book, Sarandipity, Bayou Book Junkie, My Time Out Book Blog, Gay Book Reviews, Ellie Reads All The Books, My Fiction Nook, Urban Smoothie Read, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, From Top To Bottom Reviews, Boy Meets Boy Reviews


Author Bio

Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. She spent over 20 years staring at blank sheets of paper and despairing of ever writing a single word. In between staring at blank sheets of paper, she studied law, met her husband and had two children. Whilst nursing her first child, she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna lives in Scotland with her family and finds time to write by eschewing sleep and popular culture.




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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Kingdom Vol. 2 by R.J. Scott


RJ Scott and Signal Boost Promotions celebrate the release of paranormal romance anthology, Kingdom Vol. 2! Don't miss the $15 Amazon gift card giveaway!




Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Length: 76,000 words

Kingdom Volume 1

Blurb

The Demon's Blood


When Simeon, a mountain lion shifter meets Asher, a blood demon, there is instant attraction. But, how can they act on the way they feel when there is an entire kingdom at stake.


Asherkan Iblis is a blood demon, a slave to elves and a soldier. He keeps the fact he has royal elvish blood a secret. His half brother returns to broker peace but reveals he is actually there for much more and Asher faces a decision that could lead to his death.


Simeon Blue, brother of the leader of the Feline Guild, mountain lion shifter, is tasked to accompany Phin on a mission over the Red Mountains and into the Second Kingdom. He has to talk to the Guild but all they want to do is stay in isolation and his mission is fraught with danger.


When Simeon is wounded Asher hides him and suddenly, next to a kings death, a cousin's hate, and Ludvik's black magic, love falls on the agenda.


The Incubus Agenda


When Nicholas Tarrant sees a broken and bloody Brody Lennox dragged into the Werewolf Coalition he has to decide. Stay under cover or help the incubus live. His decision is simple.


Nicholas Tarrant has worked hard for his position on the Werewolf Coalition. Having access to whatever is happening inside the Coalition is important to the Underground and he's good at blending in.


Brody Lennox is sent to Glitnir to broker talks of peace but is dragged broken and bloody into the Council chambers. Ludvik wants him killed as a traitor.


Can Nicholas save Brody? Or is Brody too broken to be saved?


The Third Kingdom


The story that began as a simple Retriever case, has become the tale of the fight against a thousand years of evil.


The wolf shifters have Niceros to take down. The Vampire Twins have to deal with Cassius. The Second Kingdom is in disarray and Simeon, Asher and Phin are desperate to calm the unrest.


An alpha needs to accept his role, a blood demon has to become the King he was meant to be, and the Vampire twins have to end the war.


Against all this, Reuben and Ethan, lovers separated for a millennium, are thrown back in to a war to end the poison that is Ludvik Peitrol.


In a battle on the barren fields of Arberfan is where this story will end.


How can love survive the evil that is another's hate?




Author Bio

RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn't with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week s break from writing she didn't like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn t defeat.

mailto:rj@rjscott.co.uk
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