NSFW Review: Beneath the Layers Anthology

Eight stories of men who like a little satin and lace.

A Linebacker in Lace by Caitlin Ricci
This ex-linebacker is impossible for his friend to resist.

Satin Secrets by CL Mustafic
Sometimes secrets are better when they’re shared.

Backwards and in High Heels by Elizabeth Coldwell
Tonight he has the chance to live out his dream.

Angels in Delaware by Sita Bethel
When one finds two partners, it helps to dress for the occasion.

All That Entails by E.M. Hamill
A gender-fluid prince with a penchant for gowns finds his unlikely match in an arranged marriage.

After the Dance by Sydney Blackburn
Sometimes happily ever after requires a pretty frock.

A Secret Shared by C.A. Blocke
One sweet secret shared—and a spicy one returned.

Ruffle My Feathers by Asta Idonea
Sometimes love can be found behind a feather boa.


3.0625 average


Let me just tell you how much excite I had when I heard there was going to be a whole book devoted to MANTIES! 




Even though I don't care for anthologies, the MANTIES will not be denied!


WOOF!


Without further ado... my feels. And some NSFW pics.




A Linebacker in Lace by Caitlin Ricci - 2 Hearts

Super rushed. The dialogue's stilted and this "relationship" moves at lightning speed riiiiiight into instalove land. A decent attempt was made to flesh out the characters, but by and large it was a dud; they're still 2D.

Brent is a former football player with a penchant for lace. He meets Arliss at a bar who informs him that his lace is on display. Three whole dates later they're in luuuuubbbb. 

There was very little for me to grasp onto and I'm not a fan of MANTIES wearers feeling shame about said MANTIES wearing so that was a strike against it for me. Also, Arliss works for his sister in her men's lingerie shop, but he seemed inordinately invested in Brent broadening his MANTIES horizons. He straddles the line between supportive and pushy. And it was awkward.

I could actually connect with Arliss on the Power of the MANTIES making one slightly cray but I would've thought during the one sex scene the MANTIES would've played a larger role. Perhaps that's my deviance talking.




Satin Secrets by CL Mustafic - 4 Hearts

I really liked this story. Mustafic developed a tangible connection between the protagonists. They clearly have chemistry and I got good sense of them as characters.

I'm a fan of this kink too. Not just the MANTIES one either. There was some shame over the MANTIES wearing but it seemed to be quickly assuaged.

Sorry this is 16 different kinds of vague but if I say anything more than it's basically a scene between the protagonists, it'll ruin it for everyone. I will say I'm looking forward to reading the novel by this author.




Backwards and in High Heels by Elizabeth Coldwell - 2.5 Hearts

Likable but dry. Billie and Oliver are an established couple and while Oliver's on a work trip to Europe Billie decides to learn some ballroom dances to surprise him. I liked that he's a man on a mission to go all out for his man, complete with a dress and kitten heels as well as the requisite MANTIES.

Billie's a bit of nervous Nelly who struggles with excessive worry over how he's perceived by others and that got a little old, though it did give me a sense of him quickly.  

Bottom line, I like the idea of this story more than the execution of it. It needed some oomph or a hook or maybe a gut punch to make me invest in this slice of life tale. 

I did like the hall sex and the incorporation of the MANTIES into it. Nothing says passion like ripped panties. *eyebrows*





Angels in Delaware by Sita Bethel - 3 Hearts

One word-HEAVY.

This is the heaviest of the anthology, tackling homophobia and its ripple effect destructiveness. 

Angel and Delaware are an established couple looking to add another and have not had much success until they meet Beau at a club one night. Delaware is gender fluid and prefers dresses most of the time whereas Angel leans more femme with guyliner and frequently highlights. Beau's attracted to them, both of them. They're attracted to Beau so BOW CHICKA WOW WOW. 

Their chemistry comes through as a triad and kudos to Bethel for not utilizing the instalove trope. The narrative skirted the preachy line and there were too many tedious details. One thing that niggled was this undercurrent of seemingly derisive attitudes towards casual sex. I get that it's not for everyone, but by the same token, I don't care for negatronic attitudes nor judgeyness towards those who partake either.

Overall, this story struck me as a diamond in the rough and with a little polishing/experience in the writing game will likely improve.

Nevertheless, I bought into the HFN of this triad and appreciated the amount of relationship development Bethel brought to the story as well as the fact that Delaware has zero fucks to give about what other people think of how he dresses. I liked that a lot.




All That Entails by E.M. Hamill - 4.5 Hearts

Lovely! My favorite of the anthology.

This is a fantasy story with an admirable amount of worldbuilding and relationship development between Henry and Darian. Henry is trans F2M who was allowed to be a tomboy up until puberty. He's got a supportive twin brother but his father is cruel. Very cruel. Henry is headstrong and maybe a bit stubborn, but he gives in and becomes Prince Darian's bride even though he hates gowns and corsets and heels.

As luck would have it, he and Darian met at a masked ball once and Darian left an impression.

Darian is gender fluid but leans more femme. All the things Henry despises Darian adores. He's also bisexual but expected to marry well to fill his kingdom's coffers. Never let it be said that serendipity isn't serendipitous. And that dress scene... ALL THE FEELS! SO SWEET!

The writing is strong with well drawn characters that are relatable and likable. This isn't necessarily a romance, more the genesis of something that could turn into something more. What made me uneasy were the pronouns. Every time Henry was misgendered, I winced.

I will definitely be on the lookout for more stories by this author.




After the Dance by Sydney Blackburn - 4 Hearts

This story is so ding dang cute I want to hug it! I'm not sure when or where it's set but it has a very early 1900s vibe to it with the dialogue, attitudes and its chasteness.

Frank is a mechanic and has a crush the size of Montana on Charles Quinn, son of the owner of Dominion Air, where he works. He is a shy fellow who blushes frequently-something I found charming-and is a man of few words. 

Charles is very dashing but being from money he's expected to marry well. To that end, his parents have notified him of an upcoming ball they've arranged wherein he's expected to choose a bride. Trouble is he's pining for Frank. Ahhhhh, unrequited love. Is there anything sweeter? Answer-yes! When there's cross-dressing involved!

I got the sense that Frank is lean with delicate bone structure and pretty. That he can easily fool others about his gender when he's all dolled up which leads to a very sweet HEA. Super sweet. I *may* have floated around on the sugar high for a minute. Or two.

I almost immediately invested into this relationship and these characters. The building of tension between them was admirable given the story's length. My one wish is that the worldbuilding had been better developed and more succinct with more details about the characters, but that would've probably pushed it out of short story range. Overall it was incredibly sweet, made me AWWWWWW and I didn't want it to end. 





A Secret Shared by C.A. Blocke - 3 Hearts

There is a lot of potential in this story. I immediately zeroed in on the nerd/jock trope and *might* have bounced a lil bit when it came out that Tommy, the big, muscle-bound jock was the one into MANTIES. *squeak* One of my many kinks is size difference and when the big guy begged to bottom... Good gravy! *stumbles* 
*drools* 
*chokes a tiny bit*

So many things to like including realistic dialogue but it needed time to percolate to get me to invest in the romance between Tommy and Michael. They are an established couple who are keeping their relaysh on the DL, because QB of the football team, but I've no idea how long they've been together. 

"A Shared Secret" is really more of scene between the two, a sexy scene to be certain, but there's not enough meat on it for me to connect with them, though I did have a huge grin on my face at how accepting Michael is of Tommy's desire to delve deeper into his MANTIES fetish. Man after my own heart, he is.

I'd love to see what this author could do with a full length novel.





Ruffle My Feathers by Asta Idonea - 1.5 Hearts

Oof! I didn't care for this one at all, I'm sorry to say. I've read some of this author's work in the past and enjoyed it so I'm hoping this is just a fluke.

Barrett is a construction worker by day and a drag queen on the weekends. It's his escape and a tightly kept secret and it, among other things, causes him much angst. Keith, after years of living in the closet, decides to hit the drag bar. Because reasons.

Lookit, I get that it's a short story and the inherent limitations contained therein, so I can't understand why SO MUCH time was wasted on minute details. I'm familiar with the mechanics of driving a car and opening a bottle. Those were wasted page time, IMO. Furthermore, there's nothing to differentiate these characters from one another, no depth, though they both have some serious angst over... everything. But the straw that broke the Cupcake's back was why these two are even together. Because they're both gay and work together? That's not enough for me. Not near enough.

I did like that they were accepted by their peers, rendering most of their angst pointless, but I'm sure they'll find something else to angst over soon enough.




There were continuity errors and silly editing mistakes in several of the stories and like every anthology I've ever read there were gems and duds. However, if you're a fan of MANTIES, non-binary or cross-dressing then you should give Beneath the Layers a try. 






A review copy was provided.








Release Blitz + Giveaway: Laurent and the Beast (Kings of Hell MC #1) by K.A. Merikan


Celebrate the release of Laurent and the Beast (Kings of Hell MC #1) with K.A. Merikan and Signal Boost Promotions! Don't miss the Devil's Ride eBook giveaway! Good luck!







Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Length: 135,000 words


Cover: Natasha Snow


Blurb




Nothing can stop true love. Not time. Not even the devil himself. 

1805. Laurent. Indentured servant. Desperate to escape a life that is falling apart.

2017. Beast. Kings of Hell Motorcycle Club vice president. His fists do the talking.

Beast has been disfigured in a fire, but he’s covered his skin with tattoos to make sure no one mistakes his scars for weakness. The accident not only hurt his body, but damaged his soul and self-esteem, so he’s wrapped himself in a tight cocoon of violence and mayhem where no one can reach him.

Until one night, when he finds a young man covered in blood in their clubhouse. Sweet, innocent, and as beautiful as an angel fallen from heaven, Laurent pulls on all of Beast’s heartstrings. Laurent is so lost in the world around him, and is such a tangled mystery, that Beast can’t help but let the man claw his way into the stone that is Beast’s heart.

In 1805, Laurent has no family, no means, and his eyesight is failing. To escape a life of poverty, he uses his beauty, but that only backfires and leads him to a catastrophe that changes his life forever. He takes one step into the abyss and is transported to the future, ready to fight for a life worth living.

What he doesn’t expect in his way is a brutal, gruff wall of tattooed muscle with a tender side that only Laurent is allowed to touch. And yet, if Laurent ever wants to earn his freedom, he might have to tear out the heart of the very man who took care of him when it mattered most.



Excerpt 



Hound’s alarmed growling was coming his way, along with whines, when he reached the right door and opened it, only to have the massive Rottweiler’s body rush past him and into the corridor. Beast expected his pet to rush toward the room where the accident happened just minutes ago but Hound looked back at Beast, as if signalling he wanted to be followed, and rushed the other way, stirring the worst of feelings in Beast.

Was there an intruder somewhere in the house? With the sheer size of the former asylum that has served as the Kings of Hell Clubhouse for the last fifteen years, it was easy to overlook things happening in the disused parts of the property. They once had a bunch of teenagers who came over wanting to spy on the orgy. That thankfully didn’t end in blood, and out of the whole mess they got Jake to join their ranks.

Beast wondered whether he shouldn’t go back to the armory and get himself a gun but ultimately decided against it. There would be police and emergency services coming for Davy, and he didn’t want to run around with a firearm, no matter how good their relationship with the local police was.

Hound moved as if he were following a clear trail, but Beast couldn’t smell anything apart from dust and dampness. They were leaving behind the shouting and even the sound of the ambulance approaching, and eventually entered a corridor so disused it had a thick layer of dust on the floor. Now even Beast could see faint footprints in the dust, and next to them, dark droplets that could be blood.

Hound smelled the traces, looked back and broke into a run, which had Beast following him with the worst of expectations as to what he would eventually find. His heart beat faster as they ran down the dark hallway.

The building was a labyrinth, and this far away from where they all lived and worked, it wasn’t even wired anymore, so he breathed in the smell of mildew and followed Hound through the darkness in hope he would not stumble.

Windows in the doorless rooms on both sides of the corridor were the only source of light, now delivering a faint red and blue glow of the approaching ambulance. For all Beast knew, this could have been a gothic castle, something out of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with bloodthirsty monsters waiting for their next victim in one of the endless hallways, and yet he only ran faster, listening to the steady tap of Hound’s paws.

Without any hesitation whatsoever, Hound rushed inside one of the rooms and gave a growl so vicious something inside Beast mourned his decision not to take a gun with him. But no one shot at him when Hound let out a single bark. Beast pushed past the empty doorway, jumping over a fallen chair, only to see someone hiding in the shadows.

Judging by the long, wavy hair and small stature, Beast at first thought it was a woman, but then the person spoke with a distinctly male voice.

“I… I’m not certain where I am.” The stranger took half a step out of the shadow, and into the flashing light coming from outside. His accent was distinctly foreign. French maybe?

Beast took him in with a scowl. Blood covered the stranger’s face, hair, dripped from his chin, from the tips of his trembling fingers, and stained the outfit that looked as if he’d stolen it from the set of a costume drama. Knee-high boots, fitted pants, a vest worn under a tailcoat.

“What the fuck are you doing on our property, boy?” hissed Beast, watching the soft features of a very young man. “Whose blood is this?” he asked, still cautious. In his experience, a non-threatening presence could hide an adept fighter, so he was not taking any chances as he joined Hound in front of the stranger, who was so short in comparison to Beast’s own six foot five form that his red-stained head only reached Beast’s pecs.

The stranger backed away into the corner, whimpering in fear the moment Hound growled at him again and lowered his head, but Beast wasn’t having any of it and grabbed the boy’s arm. “Is the blood yours then? Someone attacked you? Where?” he asked, not hesitating to pat the intruder down, to make sure there were no weapons hiding under the fancy coat.

The boy tried to weasel out of his grip, but he didn’t seem adept at using force. “N-no. I don’t think it’s mine. I don’t know. Is this hell?”

Beast groaned, staring at the silly-looking young man, whose white shirt was completely drenched in red. Someone must have died to produce this much blood.

“You will explain yourself to King.”






Author Bio

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.


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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Tied to You (Wild Side #2) by Riley Hart


Welcome Riley Hart and the Tied to You (Wild Side #2) Release Blitz to the clubhouse! Check out the excerpt and don't miss the $10 Amazon gift card giveaway--ends May 10th!

Tied To You RDB Banner

TIED TO YOU
WILD SIDE BOOK 2
RILEY HART
M/M ROMANCE

Tied To You Cover

COVER DESIGN: X-Potion Designs
COVER PHOTO: John Karrer
ARTWORK: Sarah Jo Chreene

BLURB

Miles Sorenson prides himself on his brutal honesty. Facts and logic are a hell of a lot easier to deal with than emotions. He’s got his career and a small, close-knit group of friends, and he doesn’t need nor want anything else. The total opposite of Quinn Barker, who doesn’t take life too seriously and thinks a good laugh can cure anything.

When Quinn takes Miles home, it’s supposed to be a one-time deal. Except they really click in the sack and end up spending the weekend together, enjoying each other's bodies as much as their company…to Miles’s dismay. Matters get even more muddled when, months later, they run into each other at the popular West Hollywood bar, Wild Side, and pick up right where they left off.

On the surface, Quinn and Miles are like oil and water, but the draw between them is undeniable. As their lives further entwine, they realize there’s more to their connection than the way they singe the sheets together.

But demons from the past have a way of catching up, and no matter how strong the link is tying Miles and Quinn together, the pressure may be enough to make it snap.



2 tied teaser 4
2 tied teaser 2

EXCERPT


Quinn leaned back on the couch and crossed his arms. Miles knew he wasn’t going to say anything. That he would sit there and wait until Miles got out whatever he needed to get out, and he was partially thankful for it but also annoyed. He didn’t want to feel like he could read Quinn and he sure as shit didn’t want Quinn to be able to read him.

“You’re driving me out of my fucking mind.” Miles ran a hand over his head as he started to pace the room.

“Me? What did I do?”

“I don’t fucking know and that’s the thing that’s driving me batshit crazy. I don’t like not having the answers, Quinn. One plus one is always two. It’s always been two for me, but now there are all these fucking variables that make me continuously come up with a different answer.” He had no idea if what he was saying made any sense. It did in his head, but by the way Quinn’s brows knitted together, he was pretty sure Quinn had reduced him to speaking gibberish.

“Me spending the weekend with you? That was not one plus one equaling two. Me coming home with you from Wild Side and staying when you asked? Nope. Not two either. Asking about your past sure as hell wasn’t two and texting and emailing isn’t two and playing video games and telling you about my past is as far from fucking two as you can get.”

“So, I’m kind of like the anti-two?” Quinn asked and Miles stopped moving. He turned and looked at him and, motherfucker, he wanted to kiss him. Wanted to shove Quinn to his knees and force his cock into Quinn’s mouth and fuck it.

“You’re ridiculous.”

“But you’re also smiling…and looking at me like you want to jump my bones. Looks like I might earn my treat after all.”

He wanted to laugh. Damn it all to hell, he wanted to fucking laugh but this was serious to him. Miles needed to understand what was going on.

“Why aren’t you two?” he asked, hating the vulnerability in his voice. He’d never been vulnerable to anyone in his life, outside of Chance and Oliver.

Quinn sighed. “Maybe I am two. Maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m just a really good fuck or maybe you realize you’re tired of keeping yourself closed off or maybe we’re destined to be best friends. Maybe we’ll just screw each other’s brains out for a few weeks and then never see each other again, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. You can’t always have the answers.”

“But I need them,” he said simply, because it was true.”

Riley Hart Logo

Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic, a lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together.
She loves reading, flawed characters, and hanging out with her husband and children, who she adores. She and her family live in Southern California, soaking up the sunshine while also missing seasons. Not a day goes by that she isn’t thankful she gets to wake up and do what she loves.
Life is good. Riley also writes young adult and new adult under the name Nyrae Dawn.
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Review: The Puritan Pirate by Jules Radcliffe

The Caribbean, 1664

An uptight naval lieutenant. A free-living buccaneer. Enemies from the first.

It all changes the night Quinn reluctantly rescues Lieutenant Peregrine from the consequences of his folly. Their tentative truce leads to a wild tryst and the thrilling discovery that their unconventional desires are perfectly matched.

Perry is the most delightfully submissive lover Quinn has ever had, and he wants Perry by his side for good. But such an affair would not only end Perry’s career, he may never be able to return to England and his family. Fearful of discovering Perry’s desire for respectability is stronger than his love, Quinn leaves him behind in Port Royal.

But in his darkest hour, Quinn discovers that Perry will risk his life for them to be together.



It was like this was written for me...

"Will you punish me?"
"Do you need to be punished?"
"I have such... wicked thoughts of you."
"Dear God, I hope you do."


Pirate fans? This is the book for you. I can't believe how wonderful this book was. And as I look through my pages upon pages of quotes, I can't help but gush from this novel. (Seriously, I probably highlighted a third of this book)

New-to-me author Jules Radcliffe delivered historical kinky pirates with action and adventure. "Perry" aka Lieutenant Thomas Peregrine is an uptight Puritan British naval soldier ordered to be on buccaneer (pirate) ship, Audacious.  Pirates and the British are working together, pirates no longer are considered against the King's army with proper documents. But on Audacious, led by the famous captain Black Wolf, no one trusts Perry.

And Perry doesn't make it easy to be liked. He is quiet, judgmental and with the former quartermaster, Irish Gabriel Quinn, he can't seem to hold his tongue. There's been animosity between the two from the moment Perry stepped on the ship. Enemies that are filled with passion can make the best lovers when they put their mind to it.

Quinn saves Perry one night and the passion takes a sharp turn into more. The thing is the story is not linear and the sexy times happen fairly early. It felt like the culmination already happened in the beginning. I warn of this because the story isn't written linearly. And if you need the story to be straight, you'll be disappointed. The story uses flashbacks to help flesh out the plot. The characters come in their own as the story moves along.

How so? The gift that is Perry's submission and his acceptance of his needs, Gabriel's mastery of Perry is showed a thousand times fold.

"Gabriel, what I give to you cannot be taken; 'tis a thing you've earned. To submit is my gift to you, and pleasure is your gift."

At only 22 years old, Perry has had a hard life. He's been used and abused (trigger warning: off page abuse, torture) and he carries the scars, figuratively and literally. Gabriel knows his man and follows Perry's cues.

The flashbacks show when the men originally met, Perry's start in the navy. Also, how Quinn left the Audacious to be another master on the female led pirate ship! I wondered how could the men have so much chemistry if they weren't on the same ship. But their chemistry is just that palpable.


The novel isn't just sex. There are pirate ship fights, double crossing, some suspense and cool adventurous rescue! The author interjected wit within historically accurate dialogue. I'll admit the dictionary function on my Kindle became my BFF while reading this book. But I wasn't lost.

The enemies are the Spanish navy. And they show themselves while the pirate crew are on the open seas. And the novel got a little dark which enhanced the entire experience. While the action and adventure satisfied the pirate lover in me. It's the romantic side that gutted me.

"God, but I love being inside you," he whispered in his own tongue. "So perfect, your body iron hard and petal soft. So beautiful, your satin mouth, your starlight eyes, your silken skin. My heart beats for you, sings for you."

Gabriel, the rough and tough Dom with a heart of gold, was possessively smitten by his needy kitten, Perry. Perry knew his was submissive, but Gabriel nurtured that side. Gave his boy just what he needed. And it was kinkly delightful: CBT! Bondage! Spanking!

I haven't been this pirate satisfied since Caged.

The writing is very strong, the tale entertaining. I didn't want it to end.

"They'll know I tamed you, and it's no secret I've a liking for rough play. But exactly what goes on betwixt us?" [...] "Your submission belongs to me alone. But everyone is to know you're mine, and no one else is to lay a hand on you. No one."

And that ending? Fitting for the time and just swoon-worthy. Matelot squee!

If I had to nitpick, it got a tad schmoopy in the last bit. But overall, this novel is stellar. It's on my 2017 favorites list. The author took time to detail without making it drag, the research is very evident. And a lot of showing how the characters choose the paths they follow.

And this pirate will battle ye if ye say nay!





Arr! Just kidding, mateys. I'll love this book even ye'll not love it.

Highly recommended for readers who enjoy pirates, historically accurate writings that doesn't give contemporary feels and a yummy kinky love story!





https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33657106-the-puritan-pirate

Audiobook Review: The Worst Best Man by M.J. O'Shea

It was her special day... but his worst nightmare.

A rekindled romance wasn’t part of the plan.

Despite his American background, August O’Leary is the most sought-after wedding planner in London. Naturally, Libby and Edward come to him for a wedding the city will never forget. But Edward is an international businessman, so the details are left to Libby and her best friend—who happens to be the love of August’s life and the one who broke his heart eight years ago: Christopher Burke.

How’s August supposed to pull off the event of the year with Christopher distracting him and old feelings crashing the party uninvited?

Christopher has let money and status dictate his life, but no more. His failure to stand up to others’ expectations cost him his future with August—one he hoped would include marriage. Now he has to face August’s hurt and anger and prove he’s still the best man to make August happy.

Listening Length: 5 hours and 20 minutes
Narrator: Dorian Bane


Reviewer: R *A Reader Obsessed*

This was my first Dreamspun Desires book, and I have to say on a whole, it was pretty good with just some niggles.

Way back when in college, August and Christopher were fabulously in love. They were inseparable and believed they’d never be apart. However, they were from vastly different worlds, with most likely hundreds of millions of dollars separating them in social status, and ultimately, Christopher was pressured by his parents to break things off with August. Ever since then, Christopher hasn’t forgiven himself and has regretted his decision, never having moved on. So, when happenstance allows him to meet up with August years later, he’s determined to right some wrongs and get his man back. August understandably, is still hurt. He too hasn’t found someone to measure up to what he had with Christopher, but he’s hesitant and wary, not trusting Christopher to carry things through.

Admittedly, there was some initial angst, especially when these two first meet back up again, but the gradual wooing and winning August over was very sweet and enjoyable. I admit, I was hesitant to read this due to the preconceived notion that this was smexy-light but was oh-so pleasantly surprised. Granted, there isn’t act after act after act, but what we got was nice and steamy. Things progress smoothly until that requisite misunderstanding inevitably occurs, a tactic that I feel is overly used and is often tiresome...  

SPOILER: It’s basically one big miscommunication that seemed to me, a bit blown out of proportion, and while forgivable, it dragged out way too long. Then the conflict was rectified so quickly it made me wonder what all the fuss was about in the first place.

However, this is O’Shea and she typically writes easy breezy, sweet romance, which this delivered on except that last 15% or so. I think this DSP series definitely has its pros, and I’m not opposed to more!

On a side note, I listened to this story narrated by Dorian Bane. This was my first from this narrator, and I’m not completely sold. His voice is consistently raspy/husky which made it hard at first to differentiate between all the characters, but luckily, the MC’s were distinct - August having a Boston accent, Christopher a British one. I was a bit tickled though, because Christopher sounded exactly like Jude Law to me, so if you like his voice, then you’ll surely enjoy this. Overall, this narration was just “okay”.



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34802040-the-worst-best-man

Re-Release Blitz + Givaway: Screwing the System by Josephine Myles


Celebrate the re-release of Screwing the System by Josephine Myles with the author and Signal Boost Promotions! Check out the kinky boss/employee romance and enter the Josephine Myles back list eBook giveaway!




Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 


Length: 228 pages


Cover Design: Harper By Design


Blurb


When Boss meets brat…

Forced to apply for a job he doesn’t want, Cosmo Rawlins has only one aim in mind: fail the interview and get back to making music. But his attempt to shock the sexy, sharp-suited Alasdair Grant has a very different result.

Instead of getting thrown out of the office for flaunting an interest in BDSM, Cosmo finds himself on his knees, apologizing to the most dominant man he’s ever met.

Alasdair has more important things on his mind than training a novice sub, especially a rebellious bad boy like Cosmo. But there’s something beneath the youngster’s bratty attitude that fascinates him.

As Alasdair takes Cosmo in hand—and for a wild ride on his Harley—he becomes obsessed with bending the young rocker to his will, both in and out of bed. But while Cosmo might enjoy the kink, he’s not up for becoming Alasdair’s household slave.

When Alasdair goes one demand too far, Cosmo is gone in a cloud of dust. Forcing Alasdair to admit that earning Cosmo’s loyalty—and love—will involve the toughest challenge he’s ever faced.

Warning: This title contains an overbearing Top with a less than glamorous job, a rebellious brat who refuses to call him sir, and a total lack of high-end BDSM clubs or playrooms. Expect floggings over the kitchen table instead. Written in Jo’s usual exceedingly “English” English.



NB. This book is a re-release.


Excerpt



Cosmo crossed his ankle over his knee and began humming. It wasn’t deliberately to annoy the blonde chick behind the reception desk. No, he’d had this tune buzzing around in his head ever since waking, but what with having to come along to this interview for a piece-of-shit job, he hadn’t had a chance to get it down yet. That was why he couldn’t hold down regular employment, see? It wasn’t laziness or stupidity, no matter what his old teachers might have said. Nah, he was just one of those creative types. He’d told that to Irene—she was his advisor at the Jobcentre. He’d told her he was looking for jobs that would utilize his musical skills. She’d said, “In High Wycombe? Dream on, Cosmo,” and told him he had to put down a wider range of acceptable jobs or she’d bloody well do it for him.

In the end, she had started to arrange interviews for him, which explained why he was sitting here, waiting to be interrogated about his suitability as a “sanitary disposal operative”—in other words, the poor sod who had to go around emptying bins in ladies’ toilets.

Fuck that.

The skinny bloke who’d gone in before him loped out of the shuttered office and hightailed it across the lobby to freedom. Cosmo sighed and popped a stick of gum into his mouth. Fresh breath, see? It looked like he was making an effort so he’d get brownie points, but chewing gum during an interview was guaranteed to piss off pretty much every manager out there. As was asking how many cigarette breaks you got per hour.

“Mr. Rawlins?” the blonde chick called. “Mr. Grant will see you now.”

Cosmo stood and smoothed down his black drainpipe trousers. He even had a well-ironed shirt and tie on. Thing was, he’d discovered that on him, the smart clothes and grade-two haircut made him look less like a good little worker and more like a thug. He’d probably get a job as a bouncer if that was what he was going for—not that he had the intimidating build or anything, but he looked well hard, what with the couple of scars on his chin and the one across his eyebrow from fighting off angry closet cases, plus he could do a mean stare if he felt the need.

But he had other tricks up his sleeve too. Quite literally. Cosmo massaged his sore wrists and headed on into the boss man’s office, giving Blondie a huge grin on the way. She smiled back, all coy-like. Barking up the wrong tree there, love.

Mr. Grant, on the other hand… There was a tree he wouldn’t mind barking up. Or climbing up, more like. He was huge and had to be old enough to be his dad, which wasn’t actually all that old, seeing as how his dad was only fifteen when he got his fourteen-year-old excuse for a mother up the duff. But this wasn’t some fat old geezer with white hair bristling out of his nostrils. Mr. Grant wasn’t big like that. He was built like a bricklayer, all broad chest and shoulders bunched with powerful muscles. It was obvious, even with his body covered up by the fancy suit, he spent time down the gym.

“Cosmo Rawlins,” the boss-man said, holding out a huge hand, which swallowed up Cosmo’s in a warm and firm handshake. What a grip. Cosmo had all kinds of naughty thoughts about where else he’d like to feel a hand like that and wondered whether getting a boner in the interview would be something this Mr. Grant would report back to Irene. Best not take the chance. “I’m Alasdair Grant. Please take a seat.”

Usually these things were done across a desk, but Mr. Grant didn’t seem to need the prop to boost his ego and had a load of comfy chairs arranged around a giant coffee table at one end of his office. The man was clearly doing all right for himself. Cosmo could have fit the entire ground floor of his shared house in there and still had room to swing a cat in. Not that he believed in cruelty to animals or anything.

“Nice place you’ve got here,” Cosmo said as he settled into the chair indicated.

“Thanks. It’s taken me a decade to build this company up, but we’re now the largest sanitary services operation in the South East.”

Cosmo tried not to look too impressed, but it was bloody difficult not to when faced with the sight of Alasdair Grant seated across from him, like a stern George Clooney with that handsome face, cropped salt-and-pepper hair and designer stubble so thick it was bordering on beard territory. He had these sharp grey eyes fixed on Cosmo. It was unnerving, sitting there with the bloke looking at him like that.

Was Boss-man checking him out? Yes, definitely, but Cosmo was buggered if he could tell if it was purely a professional assessment or if there was a more salacious interest lurking in his gaze. Alasdair Grant didn’t have a wedding band, but Cosmo wasn’t going to read too much into that.

“So, Cosmo, has your advisor at the Jobcentre let you know exactly what the job entails?”

“Emptying rag bins in the ladies’ lavs, as I understand it.”

Boss-man gave this pained smile and leaned forward a little. Shit, it felt like he was looming over Cosmo, despite him being the other side of the coffee table. “That’s certainly an element of the work, but it’s a more responsible position than that. We provide a full replenishment service for all disposables, like paper towels and hand soap. We also empty and top-up the vending machines, so there’s a cash-handling element. You’d be in charge of one of our vehicles and acting as a frontline representative of Sanco Solutions at all times.”

Cosmo tuned out the words Boss-man was saying and just enjoyed the sound of his voice. There was this deep bass rumble to it that made him think those lungs must be huge, but that was overlaid with a melodic timbre not all that many speakers had, and there was a smooth, easy rhythm to his speech. Shit, he could listen to him for hours. Cosmo found himself tapping his foot and drumming his fingers along with his words. Gave him ideas for inserting a rap in the middle of the new song. Some UK Garage or Grime stylings, maybe. Would that work? The rest of the band would hate it. Rizzo especially, which made it doubly appealing.

“Mr. Rawlins. Am I boring you?”

That made him snap his head up. “What?”

“You looked like you were lost in music.” Boss-man stared pointedly down at his fingers.

“Oh, that. Sorry, it’s just habit. I’m a musician, see, and I can’t help it. I find inspiration everywhere.” Actually, this was good. Playing the flaky-musician card put off most employers, but he didn’t normally get a chance to until the bit at the end when they asked him if he had any questions.

“A musician? What do you play?”

“Guitar, and I sing too. I’m in a band. ScarDue, we’re called.” How much longer he’d be a member, he didn’t know. They were currently experiencing a bout of creative conflict. In other words, the rest of them were content playing cover versions of alt-metal hits in local pubs, whereas he wanted to experiment with crossing genres, come up with a completely original set and go places.

“Should I have heard of you?” he asked.

“I doubt it. Not unless you make a habit of hanging out down the White Horse on open-mic night.”

“Can’t say I do. The White Horse… Is that still a bikers’ pub?”

“Kind of. More emo and goth kids these days, but there’s a few bikers still hanging around. Freddie’s mates.”

“Freddie Henderson? Is he still the landlord?”

“Yeah, you know him?” Cosmo couldn’t imagine the two of them moving in the same social circles. For a start, Freddie had a shaved head, handlebar moustache, and the rest of his body was pretty much covered in tattoos and black leather. Alasdair Grant, on the other hand, was corporate establishment through and through.

Boss-man got this weird expression on his face. Fond? Yeah, it was that, but there was something more. Something kind of hot, like he was remembering sexy good times.








Author Bio

English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

Jo’s novel Stuff won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Romance, and her novella Merry Gentlemen won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy. She loves to be busy, and is currently having fun trying to work out how she is going to fit in her love of writing, dressmaking and attending cabaret shows in fabulous clothing around the demands of a preteen with special needs and an incessantly curious toddler.

Website and blog: josephinemyles.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/josephine.myles.author
Twitter: @JosephineMyles
Newsletter: eepurl.com/hrQ4s




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Review: Secrets of You (Sunshine and Happiness #4) by Skylar M. Cates

It’s never easy to find redemption.

Carrying scars and regrets, River Darcourt avoids too much intimate contact. Among his friends, he is known as a quiet loner. Forget about love. It’s not something he will consider… until sweet, young, and tempting Morgan Hayes becomes his housemate. River closed his heart long ago, but the attraction is impossible to deny.

Morgan Hayes needs a change. He is moving out of his critical father’s home and in with his friends, including his secret/not-so-secret crush, River. Having feelings for River is a terrible idea. But what is a guy to do when the annoyingly sexy mechanic is just across the hall?

While Morgan has overcome ugliness and is ready for love, he’s just not sure River ever will be. They have both experienced pain in their lives. So Morgan dares River to take a chance, and love will either break their fractured hearts in more pieces or, just possibly, make them whole again.




This series is a favorite of mine. I like that it is named Sunshine and Happiness because for the majority of the books, it’s quite the opposite but when life is dark, all you want is to bask in the contented light.

My heart hurt for River when we met him in Here for You. When we get more of River and meet Morgan in Lovers, Losers and You, I said… “I really hope that my dear sweet, yet sexy Morgan realizes who saved him… the man who smells of leather and oranges… the man on the motorcycle who is brooding over Brendan’s death and OMG! They better get a damn book because I need it. It has to be those two, HAS TO BE!” And that brings us to the present and me finally getting River’s book – WITH MORGAN - and waiting with bated breath to see how this all works out.

I won’t lie, I came into this book with high hopes. River has been this brooding and mysterious character who we know is mourning the loss of Brendan and the relationship no one knew even existed. I’ve had this book for some time but I had to be sure my angst whore was ready… My heart a mess before I even opened the book and then, I did.

Wow.

This book did not disappoint at all. It had everything and more than I could have hope for with two men who yeah, have secrets but are looking to lay them all on the table for love.

Goodness. Let’s see if rambling Red can review this with a bit of sense?

Told from the dual POV (thank Jeebus) of River and Morgan we begin the story as Morgan is moving into what I now call the Ocean Vista house of gay love and relationships because really, it’s true and it’s magical. Morgan has had a crush on River since he met him and little does our lithe design studying boy know, River has been crushing right back. But everyone is warning Morgan off his crush, worried that River will hurt Morgan with his dark and brooding ways so Morgan tries to play it cool. Try, being the operative word.

Of course we have everyone from the first three books in this one and the housemates are gearing up to attend Cole and Ian’s wedding on a cruise ship. Their honeymoon is also on the cruise ship and they have invited the boys to come along and celebrate. Marc and Tomas have planned to go and then Owen and Andrew decide last minute as well which leaves… Morgan and River alone, in the house, for a total of 14 days. Yeah, there is no way something could happen between two housemates with off the charts hot chemistry that burned my fingers through my Nook. Nothing. At. All. *grins*

I absolutely adore being in River’s head. It’s just about as angsty, anti-heroic and stupidly swoony as I thought it would be. I loved getting to see Morgan through his eyes and how much he wanted to have a relationship with him but was terrified. I hated seeing how hurt he was by Brendan’s actions with their secret relationship and how he thinks he is cursed to lose everyone he loves. River is troubled by his past and the possibility of it hurting Morgan weighed on my heart. River is such a good man, he truly is and he deserves someone who sees through all his bullshit, over his walls and straight to the heart of the oh so sexy mechanic.

And then there is Morgan, who I now will call my yoga buddy because I too have put on Prince to get down on my mat for some freaking cosmic centering. We know from the previous books that Morgan has been assaulted and that he was rescued by someone smelling of orange and leather. We know that it’s totally River but Morgan doesn’t have a clue. I loved that he was so open with River and really gave all of himself to the budding romance between them, even when River tried to deny it was happening. These two are such an amazing couple and that first kiss was gorgeous. Ugh. They just about killed me with the UST and turned me into a puddle when they finally gave in.

There is a sort of third wheel in this romance and it comes in the form of a ghost; Brendan. He’s present because he was a housemate, a friend, Owen’s brother and a fuck buddy to River but he is also competition to Morgan, or so he believes. It was heartbreaking to watch Morgan go through the emotions about Brendan and not have the courage or really feel the right to ask River what he needed to know. I am one of those readers who doesn’t mind miscommunication in her romance because it can lead to some big emotional scenes of revelation and let me tell you, this one is goo worthy.

Can I wrap these two up in the biggest hug? I mean, I love them. They are fun when they flirt, they are adorable when they’re being domestic, hot AF when they’re in bed or anywhere else and they are amazing when they both let down their walls to be honest about their feelings.

Getting River’s past was bittersweet. I have been wondering what he was hiding and the angst of his deal with Brendan was only the beginning. He’s not had the best of things but I loved the character growth and maturity we see in him with this book. The first half was so much fun with the boys getting to a comfortable point with one another and the second half was an emotional journey that had me unable to stop reading to see how they would work this out. I will just say both River and Morgan came through with respect and understanding and it was gorgeous to see it all come to fruition.

I like that though this was angsty, but not as much as I originally expected, the author added in moments of humor that fit this couple well. How they tell their housemates and friends they are together made me chuckle and the end was perfect and fitting for Morgan and River.

I am curious about a character that we met while picking out the Charity River would give the insurance money from Brendan’s accident to and whom Marc knows. Will he be a new housemate? Will he get a story? Also, will Logan ever reach out to Ennio because that just about broke my heart as well.

Sigh. Okay. I think I have rambled enough.

Secrets of You is by far my favorite in the series and if you can’t tell, I loved the hell out of it! I liked River so much when I first met him and knew he deserved to find a love that would last a lifetime and I couldn’t be happier that it’s Morgan.







https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34094984-secrets-of-you