You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining second novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and weights up!
Narrator: Chip Hurley
Listening Length: 6 hours and 6 minutes
Reviewer: Shee Reader
This is the second Nicky and Noah Mystery, and I didn’t know quite what to expect, since I had not read or listened to the first one.
Nicky and his life partner Noah are both professors in the drama department at the tiny campus college in Vermont. They have teamed up with the bodybuilding department (who knew such a thing existed? Not me!) to help produce an outstanding body building contest. Suddenly the contestants (and some faculty too) are dropping like flies, and Nicky always seems to be on hand with his over the top amateur sleuthing whenever a new dead body comes to light.
The long-suffering detective who was the happy recipient of Nicky’s “Help” in the first book is back again. There is a huge number of suspects for Nicky to snoop around and each and every one is like a larger than life caricature, so much so, that the descriptions are somewhat cartoony, but are none the worse for that.
How Nicky manages to fit in his teaching time, working out, popping vitamins, amateur detective work and taking part in his and Noah’s enthusiastic sex life I have no idea!
We are left hanging until the end for our ‘who dunnit?’ and the journey is magical.
What can I say about this audio book? It was fun, funny, cheeky, sassy, tongue-in-cheek, over the top and brilliant. The writing is so energetic and hilarious and the narration was awesome. Such good characterisation and an engaging tone. It was exhausting in the best possible way. If I had one tiny criticism, it would be that the book is so over the top that I had to be in the right frame of mind to listen to it, but really it was so much fun. Recommended!
I was given a free copy of the audio book in exchange for an honest review.
Heidi Cullinan is here today to promote the second book in The Roosevelt series, Shelter the Sea.
She's also offering a pretty cool giveaway. See details at the bottom!
Love Doesn’t Make Depression Go Away
An important element in Emmet and Jeremey’s relationship will always be the factor of Jeremey’s depression and anxiety. In Shelter the Sea, Jeremey’s depression intensifies, which can be common for someone in his stage of relationship and life development—but of course it can also happen to someone with major depressive disorder for no discernible reason at all. And so because Emmet is Jeremey’s partner, he must learn how to manage how Jeremey’s intensifying depression relates to his own life.
Being the partner of someone with depression can be a challenge, and handling that mantle improperly can inadvertently make the loved one’s burden worse. In Emmet’s case, he also has his own unique needs to consider, meaning the situation is even trickier. Part of the reason I wanted to show this chapter of their story was to let the reader see how the two of them navigated this aspect of their relationship, but it was also to drive home the reminder that for people with depression, falling in love doesn’t magically make their depression leave.
My partner struggles with depression (and is open about his issues), and we learned a number of lessons the hard way when he was first diagnosed. For the longest time I kept trying to fix the situation, to help him, to make his sadness go away, and he wanted it to go, so he let me try. It’s an irresistible impulse for many partners of people with depression, because it’s almost physically painful to see someone you love be swallowed by a black hole you can’t see, touch, or fight in any way. The hard lesson all of us in that position eventually have to learn is to be supportive, not invasive. We can stand beside the black hole, and we can send in love and support and maybe the occasional load of supplies, but we can’t go inside. It’s not our depression, it’s not our battle. It’s not ours to fix.
I wanted to let Emmet struggle with this issue, but I also wanted him to be smarter than I was and get to the better path faster—because at the end of the day Emmet would say he’s smarter than I am, and he would be correct. I hope you enjoy reading how Emmet and Jeremey find their way to the next phase of their happy ever after together, and all the new aspects that make of that journey.
Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, and Emotional Support Animals
In Shelter the Sea, one of the characters acquires a service dog during the course of the novel, and in researching for the book, one of the most interesting things I learned was that the terms service dog, therapy dog, and emotional support dog are not interchangeable, that each animal does a slightly different job and has a distinctly different classification.
Service dogs are specifically trained to assist one person, and their primary function isn’t to provide companionship or emotional support, though the individual they care for often forms a tight bond with the dog and vice versa. They’re required (and trained to) tolerate a wide variety of experiences, environments, and people. They’re also covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, meaning their owners have a right to bring them into public establishments, and they may live with their owners even if the building has a “no pets” policy.
Therapy dogs can also tolerate a wide variety of experiences and environments, but they aren’t trained to support just one person, meaning they aren’t tailored specifically for them. They’re trained to assist generally, helping multiple people. They aren’t covered by the ADA, as they aren’t designed for individuals, only for specific spaces and instances where there would be no conflict for their use.
Emotional support animals, which can include dogs but don’t always necessarily only include them, are mostly there to provide, as the name suggests, emotional support. They aren’t covered by the ADA, as the ADA has ruled their work isn’t directly related to their disability and they’re not specifically trained for that individual, and therefore they can’t necessarily go everywhere. They are, however, sometimes allowed in places with “no pets” policies.
You can read more about the rules about service, therapy, and emotional support animals on the ADA website.
Some heroes wear capes. Some prefer sensory sacks.
Emmet Washington has never let the world define him, even though he, his boyfriend, Jeremey, and his friends aren’t considered “real” adults because of their disabilities. When the State of Iowa restructures its mental health system and puts the independent living facility where they live in jeopardy, Emmet refuses to be forced into substandard, privatized corporate care. With the help of Jeremey and their friends, he starts a local grassroots organization and fights every step of the way.
In addition to navigating his boyfriend’s increased depression and anxiety, Emmet has to make his autistic tics acceptable to politicians and donors, and he wonders if they’re raising awareness or putting their disabilities on display. When their campaign attracts the attention of the opposition’s powerful corporate lobbyist, Emmet relies on his skill with calculations and predictions and trusts he can save the day—for himself, his friends, and everyone with disabilities.
He only hopes there isn't a variable in his formula he’s failed to foresee.
Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn't writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her family. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Seventeen-year-old Nate Shaw should know; he’s been talking to them since he was twelve. But they aren’t the only ones making his high school years a living hell. All Nate wants is to keep his secret and keep his head down until he can graduate. That is, until the new boy, James Powell, takes a seat next to him in homeroom. James not only notices him, he manages to work his way into Nate’s life. But James has issues of his own.
Between dead grandmothers and living aunts, Nate has to navigate the fact that he’s falling in love with his only friend, all while getting advice from the most unusual places.
Ghosts, bullies, first love: it’s a lot to deal with when you’re just trying to survive senior year.
Sold, sold, sold by that GORGEOUS cover and the fact that I like me some ghosties in my reading!
My rating for this was hovering between the 3.75 and 4 heart mark, I decided to round it up though because I did enjoy the story. It was a cute YA with a bit of a twist and I think the premise could have made it a 5 heart read for me, but I felt the narrative needed a little tightening up.
What I liked was the relationship between Nate and James. I love friendships that develop into something more. I love reading about characters who are perhaps a bit different, I like finding out why they don't quite fit into the society created for them by the author. Getting to know characters like these and seeing more of them than their book peers can makes for a great story as far as I'm concerned. Once I'm relating to the character I'm on their side and wanting them to win through. Nate and James both had me rooting for them.
In some ways though, this story felt a bit 'bitty'. There were parts of the plot that needed editing through. One of my notes says why so many movies? Because this duo seemed to watch a lot of films - but they didn't add to or tie into the plot in any way. I have to admit watching a good night of telly is my idea of fun in my old age, but it seems like this young couple of friends can't find anything else to do. It didn't feel ironic or meant though, just a bit unimaginative and lazy on the part of the author. There felt no reason to it other than the MC's had to be doing something...
The other point that felt irrelevant to the story was the whole Nate not living with his mum thing. There seemed no point to it, it added nothing to the story other than a few extra words. I'm going to misquote something I read years ago, I believe it was by Alfred Hitchcock but I could (and am highly likely to) be completely wrong about that. It went something along the lines of, if there is an umbrella in scene 1, it had better have rained by scene 3. Basically, everything added needs to have a definite reason for being there and I couldn't see the reason for Nate having to live with his aunt.
That said, as I started with, this was an enjoyable read, I just wish it had had one more story edit by the author to tighten it all up a bit.
For more information see Goodreads.
Quinn has resigned himself to living a life alone. His cabin, on the outskirts of a village, is the perfect place for him to paint. No distractions, lots of peace and quiet—until he goes out for a run as a wolf and sees another wolf scarpering for its life.
Goddard is that wolf. He’s been running for God knows how long, and he’s tired of looking over his shoulder, waiting to be found by the one man Goddard doesn’t want finding him. Injured, he discovers a cabin and goes inside.
Quinn’s and Goddard’s lives are changed forever when they realize they are bonded mates. The thing is, there’s still the problem of the man from Goddard’s past to get over, and when an incident in the village means Goddard’s whereabouts is public knowledge, things might take a nasty turn.
Gone are the days when the two men had to stick by human law. Being mated means wolf law comes first—and if it means killing to keep each other safe, then that’s what they’re prepared to do. They must protect each other. No matter what.
*** I am going to start this off with the warning that this book has on page killing of a woman and children and is done so not as wolves. It’s told in flashback but I felt it was important for anyone who could be affected by reading the scene. ***
Quinn left the busy city life that he knew to live out in the remote country. The stress of hiding the secret of his wolf was becoming too much and the quiet country life with just him and his art was appealing. When he has a restless night and decides to let his wolf run to exhaust him to sleep, he comes across wolf being hunted by his farmer neighbor and tries to help. The wolf evades Quinn but ends up naked and shifted back into human form on Quinn’s kitchen floor and this is how we meet Goddard.
Told from the dual POV of the wolves, we get a very British story that is a different take on shifters than I have read so far. Traditionally when you have mates, there is sense of insta-knowing that the wolf across from you IS your mate and both wolves have the urgency to get it on - RIGHT. THE. FUCK. NOW - but with Quinn and Goddard it’s more of a questioning the feelings game. There is no pack politics in this book and actually not a lot of pack knowledge at all. Goddard knows a bit more than Quinn but really, all they know is a small handful of stories about the need to roam being the call of one’s mate but neither man holds it to gospel.
“Do you like it, roaming? I ask because my grandfather did it once. Took about five years out, he said, to be just wolf. Then he ended up in a small town and saw my grandmother.”
“Sounds like he roamed until he found his mate. That’s what we’re meant to do, isn’t it? But I always thought it was bullshit. A myth.”
We find out that Goddard is on the run, though we don’t get reason immediately. There is a brief discussion of both men being shifters and of Brent, the farmer, who shot Goddard. When Brent, shows up at Quinn’s door asking about the “dog” that was sleeping in his barn, Quinn doesn’t exactly lie saying he hasn’t seen it as Goddard is a wolf and the farmer leaves. What he leaves is a shaken Goddard who is finds himself quickly liking hanging out with Quinn and has no idea Quinn is feeling the exact same way.
Quinn decides to let Goddard rest at his place after being hunted and shot by the farmer and Goddard in appreciation, offers to help Quinn out with a few jobs around the house.
The story moves fairly quick, as it’s a short, with the relationship though we don’t get much character development of Quinn nor Goddard. We do get flashbacks of Goddard's life allowing us to know why is running and from whom and that flashback is the trigger I mentioned earlier. I find the reason a bit of a suspension of reality because it didn’t seem like enough to have him running as a wolf for so long but it also wasn’t enough to bug me.
I liked the romance and the new to me mate deal. It’s slower and less shall we say, slutty than the usual fated mate stories that I read but I liked it. The pace was enough to briefly get to know bits of each man; have their pasts meet their present and move forward into their future and the epilogue was enough to give me satisfaction and closure.
This wasn’t a mind blowing sexy AF fated mate story I am used to, but it was a decent romance read quickly at my desk during a short work day that let me get lost.
The hum of a tattoo machine was Brian “Berzerker” Anderson’s favorite sound in the world. He’d won a coveted spot at Twirled World Ink with a legend in the business, Gib Phelps. Creating beauty with his large, scarred hands was his happy place—the place where he fit in the world. Although, nothing could remain perfect forever, his boyfriend of over a year decided to move on and up without him in tow. He had two choices, return to living with his friends and co-workers or take an offer too tempting to pass up.
Landon Phelps grew up in an unconventional home as the only child to Legendary Tattoo Artist Gib Phelps and mother, Peaches. He always felt a bit out of place when he became a boring accountant instead of following in his parents’ footsteps. Boundaries were in place early on; he didn’t date the employees of Twirled World Ink. Sometimes rules were meant to be broken. Bezerker was his idea of perfection, large, husky and tattooed; the thick, grab-worthy beard was a bonus. So when the boyfriend became the ex, Landon decided it was time to get his man.
With the help of the matchmaking Twirled Crew, can Landon finally get Berzerker to see him as more than a friend and the employer’s son?
Author's Note: Although this is the first book in a series each book is a standalone and every book deals with a separate couple.
The blurb caught my eye with the description of Zerk from the get go. His description is basically my character crack so there was no way I wasn’t going to be reading this one. And I liked it, it was a good low angst story with appealing characters and a positive set up for the series.
On the upside, the theme is like brain candy; a tattoo parlor full of misfits, one of whom is a delicious toppy bear who’s been unlucky in love, his complete opposite who has been in love with him forever and a shared kink for rough possessive boneage. SOLD! I appreciated the fact that the story was low on the angst and high on the fluffy love. Turns out Zerk and Landon had been crushing on one another for years and all the pining is finally paying off. Zerk has been dumped by his douche of a BF and Landon is conveniently single too so the two enter into a roommate deal and the friendship escalates to teasing and flirting and it was really just sweet as hell.
The supporting characters are truly supportive, not just accessories to the tale of Zerk and Landon. There’s enough info on the rest of the crew to set up further books without distracting the reader away from the MC’s.
It fell into a couple of traps though that took me out of the story now and again. The use of the word “man” just kills me sometimes. And this is a personal niggle of mine, but it makes the speaker’s voice sound too diva in my head and I just long for a name or a more prolific descriptor to give actual spice to the scene, not
“ . . . Landon’s claim on the big, gruff man.”
“ . . . Landon couldn’t help laughing at the man’s sulk.”
“In this case, the pretty man bent over the nearest surface . . .”
They’re men, I got it, give me something else.
I didn’t really ding for the editing, because I try not to let that get me too much and usually it doesn’t, but I also know it can really dig at some readers so I have to mention it as it did effect my enjoyment of the story. When a question is being asked, I need a question mark and too many pronouns and the overuse of “man” instead of a name had me rereading conversations to get the correct tone and to figure out who the hell said what 4 lines later. No major changes are needed, but some thorough editing would raise this story up a notch.
All that being said, it’s the start of a fun series and I’ve already bought the second one because I do like the world the author has built and I know enough about the secondary characters to know I want to read their HEA’s too.
**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**
JL Merrow's here today for the Wake Up Call tour! Be sure to enter to win a $20 Riptide credit below!
Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Wake Up Call, the first of my contemporary MM romances in Riptide’s multi-author Porthkennack series.
About Wake Up Call
South London mechanic Devan Thompson has gone to Porthkennack to track down someone he’s been waiting all his life to know. But Dev’s distracted from his quest by Kyle, a broodingly handsome local of only a few months, who’s already got a reputation as an alcoholic because of his strange behaviour—including a habit of collapsing in the street.
Kyle Anthony fled to Porthkennack to escape from the ruins of his life. Still raging against his diagnosis of narcolepsy—a condition that’s cost him his job as a barrister, his lover, and all chance of normality—the last thing he wants is another relationship that’s doomed to fail. But Dev’s easy-going acceptance and adaptability, not to mention his good looks, have Kyle breaking all his self-imposed rules.
When disaster strikes Dev’s adored little sister, Kyle steps up to the plate, and Dev sees a side of his lover he wasn’t prepared for: competent, professional—and way out of Dev’s league. With one man determined that they don’t have a future, and the other fearing it, life after Porthkennack is starting to look bleak for both of them.
Now available from Riptide Publishing! http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/wake-up-call
Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur's Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.
This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.
Check out Porthkennack! http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack
About JL Merrow
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.
She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through is a 2013 EPIC ebook Award finalist. She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
Connect with JL:
- Website: www.jlmerrow.com
- Twitter: @jlmerrow
- Facebook: facebook.com/jl.merrow
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/.J_L_Merrow
To celebrate the release of Wake Up Call, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 22, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
Strong and silent type Orion is the only member of his den without fangs, a dhampir who wears metal points on two fingers so he can give the human guests what they crave. He uses parties like this one to keep the savage side of his nature in check. When his fellow den members suggest he claim Eli for the weekend, Orion agrees, since the little human is just Orion’s type.
Orion isn’t Eli’s type, though—or so Eli believes. But the pleasure he experiences in the dhampir’s hands is more intense than anything he’s felt with a vampire. Beneath Eli’s bratty nature are secret pains that fuel his addiction. Might Orion be a match for him sexually and emotionally?
fangjunkie27 is an erotic M/M novella with lots of angst, a bit of dubcon, and an HFN ending.
This was more than I thought it would be. I honestly thought this would be a PWP vampire-esque grindr style story with guys getting off with hot vampires and lots of biting page after page and yet, this was much more.
Let’s set the scene… Eli wants to get a fix of his fetish and that’s been bitten by a vampire. When he signs up for a “blanket consent” weekend at a vampire den he finds through his fang finder app, he thinks he will finally get what he needs.
Orion is a dhamphir, a half vampire/half human half breed who attends lives at the vampire den and participates in the parties to get what he needs, the chance to hunt a human and feel the warm rush of drinking blood. Orion lacks the super strength of a full vampire as well as the fangs, but doesn’t let the shortcomings stop him. Orion has fang rings he wears to bite and well, he likes being dominant with his humans, and it’s a good thing that Eli is one hell of a brat who needs his submission forced on him.
If you are a reader who is uncomfortable with dub-con, I will warn you it’s here. For me, I am cool with dub-con and liked how it was carried out so I had no problem with it.
So, like I said. Eli is a brat and acknowledges this trait about him to the point of not getting what he needed from BDSM clubs because no one wants to put up with a brat. Orion, he finds Eli a bit endearing and also hot AF because he gets off on making Eli do what he pretends he doesn’t want. Le Sigh.
The first encounter between the men was interesting and somewhat playful as we get both their POV’s throughout. We get Eli getting off on what Orion is doing even though he isn’t a full vampire and we get Orion who does give Eli an out even though he signed the contract… what are these two gonna do?
“You’re such a little shit.”Both men have more to them than the simple case of vampirism that is between them. Orion has hang-ups on not being good enough since he’s a half breed and it doesn’t help that while Eli obviously likes what Orion does to him, he repeatedly throws it in Orion’s’ face that he wants a real Vamp. And then we have Eli whose need for pain goes beyond the biting and to a darker place I wasn’t prepared for. When their first night together doesn’t go as planned, Orion gives Eli the option to leave but leaving is the last thing Eli wants to do… he just wants to be understood and get his fix.
“I prefer to top.”
Eil’s need to be bitten, the itch that he can’t scratch it’s his drug and his handle is truth, Eli is a junkie. It’s amazing how the story transforms from what you think is just a story about a human boy who has a vampire fetish when underneath, it’s a classic story of addition and Eli’s addiction to being bit by a vampire is his qualifier. The story progresses to give us a glimpse into the stress that has caused Eli’s addiction and it’s a tale of many who find release and peace in substance abuse. It became heartbreaking for me to read within Eli’s POV as he struggled with acceptance of his addiction and how he blamed Orion for not being able to take care of it. It’s always the blame of everyone else but the addict for their problem and this remained true even with vampires as the drug.
The other Vampires within the den were a nice addition to the story. With Ava and how she handles the humans to Ross and his knowledge of fang junkies and the ways to deal with them. I liked where the author took Eli and Orion throughout their weekend and am curious if the next installment will continue with them or a new couple. I would like to know how they are handling their choice and if it’s truly working for them.
Find on Goodreads!
When Seth left for college, he was a bookish geek pining for his best friend, Riley. Now he’s home again, armed with silver bullets and an iron will, to hunt down the werewolf that attacked him. Seth’s determined not to let anyone else get hurt—especially Riley.
But Riley has a secret. He’s an alpha werewolf without a mate. He needs an omega, but all he wants is his human best friend. Seth’s return is a second chance for Riley to reveal his feelings—and his secret—if he dares.
Now best friends find themselves on opposite sides, and their secrets might just tear them apart. But when Seth’s attacker strikes again, Seth and Riley need each other more than ever to survive.
Hunter Omega is a standalone M/M paranormal alpha/omega werewolf romance with no cliffhangers.
Reviewer: R *A Reader Obsessed*
Really, a simple shifter story but a well written one at that. Nothing too cheesy or over the top, this delivered on all the aspects I assume lovers of this genre would expect. Bonus points for being of the alpha/omega dynamic plus KNOTTING!
Riley is a werewolf and has forever loved his best friend Seth, but he regrets never having had the guts to tell him the truth, fearing he’d lose him. He lost Seth anyway when he panicked and ran from a kiss a few years back. However, now that Seth’s back, he’s even more determined to make things right despite the fact that Seth is human.
Seth is on a mission. He was attacked by his ex-boyfriend Caleb, who turned out to be a werewolf, and he knows what he has to do - find the bastard and make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else. However, Seth’s plans are thwarted when he’s lured back to his hometown, forcing him to confront his old crush Riley. Though his feelings for Riley have never dimmed, he understandably freaks when he discovers Riley is the same as his ex - a “monster” that needs to be dealt with, right?? These two need to get their ducks in a row and quick, because Seth’s ex has no intention of letting him go, despite the fact that Seth and Riley are destined mates.
Again, easy reading that doesn’t break any barriers but overall enjoyable. Basically a friends-to-lovers-to-mates story that was pleasantly, surprisingly sexy and full of the hot claiming, possession, and marking seen in such a trope. It’s totally what I’d expected, and I’m ok with that. I just wanted more of everything!!
A copy provided for an honest review
Shira Anthony is here today to talk about her latest Dreamspun Cracky Fluff offering!
Also, cute giveaway is cute! See the deets below!
Thank you Boy Meets Boy Review, for hosting this stop on the Forgotten Paradise book tour! I’m offering up a fabulous December Diamonds Cupid merman ornament to one lucky winner in the US who comments on one of the blog tour posts, or a $10 Dreamspinner Press Gift Card for winners worldwide, so be sure to comment below by answering this question: What build is the sexiest on a man? Tall and thin? Muscular? Short and sexy?
For those readers who may not already know, Forgotten Paradise is my second entry in the Dreamspun Desires line of gay romances from Dreamspinner Press. Be sure to read to the bottom of the post for an excerpt from the book, as well as the Rafflecopter giveaway for the book tour.
Forgotten Paradise is an honest to goodness “category romance.” The term comes from the old tradition of publishing a certain number of books on a monthly basis in a certain category. You remember these. When I was a kid, they were the Harlequin and Silhouette romances that were shipped, 4 books a month, on subscription.
Part of the recipe for writing a classic romance is creating tension that builds like a crescendo up to the point where the main characters finally get together. We call these “slow burn” romances. There are different ways to create that tension, but one of my favorites is through the use of secondary characters. These can be antagonists, but they can also be characters our heroes rely upon when the going gets rough.
In Forgotten Paradise, the two main secondary characters are strong women (my favorite kind!). When Jonah awoke on a Punta Cana beach ten years before, Lorene, a native of the Dominican Republic, took him in and nursed him back to health. She’s tough and supportive, and she doesn’t put up with any of Jonah’s crap. He comes to love and respect her and her opinion, even when he doesn’t want to follow her advice.
The other secondary character who appears regularly throughout the novel is Adam Preston’s sister, Karen. She’s an attorney and works with Adam to run their family business. She’s the one who pushes Adam to take a well-deserved break in the Caribbean when things at the office threaten to overwhelm him. She is at Adam’s side through thick and thin and she’s fiercely loyal. She’s also sharp as a tack.
I hope you’ll enjoy the interactions of the main characters with their secondaries. I know I had a blast writing these relationships and these strong, supportive women who aren’t just in the novel for show—they help these two men through thick and thin.
I also hope you’ll enjoy meeting Adam, Jonah, Lorene, and Karen, and that you’ll be able to imagine the sand between your toes as you read Forgotten Paradise. I’ll leave you with the blurb and an excerpt from the book and, of course, the Rafflecopter. Be sure to leave your comment before entering! By the way, my favorite build for a man? Tall and not overly muscular. Good luck on the drawing! –Shira
When a megacompany threatens to take over his family-owned business, programming prodigy Adam Preston escapes the stress with a much-needed vacation in the Dominican Republic. There he meets attractive, intelligent, insightful Jonah James, a scuba dive instructor, and what starts as a holiday fling soon blossoms into much more.
But Jonah has a secret: ten years ago he woke up on an island beach with no idea how he got there… or even who he is. Their paradise may not be as perfect as it seems. When Jonah’s memories come crashing back like waves on the sand, will it be Adam clinging to the proverbial life raft, or will the two men find a safe harbor to ride out the storm?
WHILE HENRI washed down the patio, Jonah hung the last two wetsuits and sprayed down the rinsing bins. Small rivulets of sand and water streaked the painted concrete.
“I can finish,” Henri told him.
“Thanks.” Jonah walked over to the benches and retrieved his BC and regulator from a hook. “I owe you a drink.”
Henri laughed. “Good thing they’re free or you’d have to take out a loan.”
“Meet you at Giuseppe’s in an hour?” Jonah hung his gear inside the staff room.
“Not tonight. Got a date with Viola.” Henri stopped spraying for a moment and gestured toward the office. “It’s our six-month anniversary.”
“Six months? Impressive. So what’s for dinner?”
“Sushi,” Henri said. “At Yumi.”
“You’re taking her all the way to Punta Cana?” Jonah chuckled and slapped Henri on the back. “Must be love.”
“A man does as he does.” He winked and added, “I borrowed Torey’s car.”
“A man’s gotta do what he’s gotta do,” Jonah corrected. Henri’s English was damn good, so Jonah enjoyed teasing him the few times he made mistakes.
“So how about you?” Henri asked with a crooked grin.
“Me?” Jonah knew where Henri was going, but he wasn’t going to bite on that particular topic.
“You’ve been here a few weeks now. Met anyone interesting?”
Jonah shook his head. “If I had, I wouldn’t be telling you about it,” he teased.
“Fine. To be that way.”
“Be that way. Not ‘to be.’”
Henri laughed and headed over to the counter, where Viola was working on assignments for the next day’s dives. “The guests think I’m sexier when I get things wrong.”
Jonah pulled the elastic from his hair and ran a hand through his still-damp curls. He waved at Viola. “Have fun tonight!” He slipped on his sandals and headed down the path to the staff dormitories. He’d only made it to the towel-return shack when he noticed a man standing in the middle of the intersection of two paths, rubbing the bridge of his nose.
“Perfect,” the man muttered.
“Lost?” Jonah forced his gaze up from the dusting of reddish hair on the man’s nicely defined pecs.
He looked at Jonah with warm brown eyes. “That obvious?”
“Happens a lot,” Jonah reassured him. “Where’re you headed?”
“Dive shop. Although by now, it’s probably closed.” American, judging by the accent. East Coast. A hint of New Jersey but polished so it was barely noticeable.
Jonah glanced at his watch. “You have another ten minutes.” He pointed the way he’d just come. “It’s about a hundred feet that way. You can’t miss it.”
“No problem.” Jonah offered the man a reassuring smile. “Took me a few days to get my bearings.”
“My mother used to tell me I’d lose my way in a shower stall.”
Jonah chuckled. “That bad?”
The man nodded.
“I could think of worse places to get lost with you,” Jonah quipped, immediately regretting it. The man’s lean body was far too interesting, especially given the no-fraternization policy Jonah had signed when he was hired. Not that the hotel had ever fired someone for taking a guest to bed, but Jonah felt more comfortable following the rule. It made things easier. Celibacy was safer. Flirting was downright dangerous.
The man flushed. Even more interesting.
The man quickly regained his composure. “Do I know you?” he asked.
Jonah also got that a lot. “I’m sure I’d have remembered you,” he said truthfully. It wasn’t every day he met a redhead, let alone one this attractive.
“My mistake.” The man offered his hand. “Adam Preston.”
“Good to meet you, Adam.” Jonah shook Adam’s hand. Strong grip. Confident, but not overly so. “I’m Jonah. Jonah James.”
“I hope so.” Jonah watched as Adam headed toward the dive shop. No fraternization, he reminded himself with a sigh. Maybe it was time to rethink the celibacy gig.
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