Category Archives: Lynn

3.5 Star Review for Dinner for One by Meg Harding #MM #Romance @Cumberstone61

CoverTitle: Dinner for One
Author Name & Publisher: Meg Harding (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 13, 2016 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Bastien isn’t used to bad reviews. His French restaurant is the toast of the town, and when a well-known critic insults it, he’s left off-kilter. Luckily for him he’s found a distraction. He’s just met an attractive writer at his niece’s school bake sale. He’s into food, into Bastien and the touch of kink they share, and there’s a chemistry between them that might make the perfect recipe.

James isn’t expecting to meet a good-looking French chef at a bake sale, but he’s not going to let the chance slide. It comes as a surprise when the chef turns out to be the owner of a place he knows—and has reviewed—and it puts James in a sticky situation. So he might have to omit some pertinent information to make it work… at least for now.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

This is only the second book I’ve read by this author, the first was a short Christmas story, which I really enjoyed. In this book the relationship just felt forced and I had a really hard time getting into the book. I liked James, but for some reason Bastien I just could not connect too. I think this might be due in part to the author’s writing style. It’s written in third person yet it felt cluttered. That makes me really disappointed as I love reading books dealing with Chef’s. I enjoyed the sex scenes they were really HOT!! I also enjoyed reading about the little games James and Bastien played it was great to read a little humor in the story. Overall it was a plot I’ve read before so I think I wait to see if this author comes up with something I’ve not read before.

Lynn

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5 Stars, 4 Stars and 3 Stars for The Edge of Control by Lou Kelly @loukellyromance #MM #RomanticSuspense

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Title: The Edge of Control
Author Name & Publisher: Lou Kelly
Publication Date & Length: June 1, 2016 – 265 Pages

Synopsis

When passion pushes David Carlson into dangerous territory will he walk the razor’s edge between life and death in order to be with the man he loves?

As the youngest Chief of Medicine at Southside General Hospital, David Carlson has no business lusting after the most hostile nurse on the ER staff. A professional, hard-working, over-achiever, he’s finally realized his life-long dream of promotion, and the last thing he needs now are complications.

But he can’t help being intrigued by the enigmatic Ian James. Not only is Ian flat-out gorgeous, he’s also mysterious. And he awakens in David a passion that he hasn’t felt since … well, ever.

Unfortunately, Ian James is a man with a dangerous past and an even more dangerous present, and loving him will come at a cost. Can David trust him? Is he willing to put his entire career on the line to protect a man who might be playing him? Is Ian capable of loving and trusting him back?

Discovering the truth will take David into the heart of blackmail, corruption, and scandal. Straight to the edge of control.

The Edge of Control is a stand-alone, full-length novel with NO cliffhanger!

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Review

FourStars

I really enjoyed this book; it was exciting and romantic at the same time. The connection I had with David was almost immediate; with Ian it took me a little while to warm up to. As the author wrote I was able to fully understand why Ian was a difficult individual. The biggest thing that hit me was the understanding David was able to give Ian. That understanding was the heart in this book, but there was also emotion and really HOT sex. I loved the secondary characters especially Sawyer and hopefully he will get his own story. It was clear that the men belonged together and was glad that they were able to get their HEA.

Lynn

FiveStars

Wow. This book blew me away. It was just so amazing. I loved the mystery, the characters, the suspense, the love story, the scandal, and the intrigue of the story. This book flowed so effortlessly that it was almost like watching a movie.

David is such a character that I fell in love with him from the start. His inter thoughts just make the story. He has this sense of humor about him that grips you from the start. And the way that he fell for Ian from the start and did not give up on him made him that much more of an amazing person.

Ian has not had an easy life so that is why I think that he has such a hard time excepting that David is the real deal. Ian is so strong to have indured everything that he has but I do not think that he realizes what an amazing individual he truly is and I think that it takes David’s unwavering love that finally gets through to him and helps him to fight for his life and for their love.

This story was truly a wonderful read. I do not want to go into too much detail and ruin the story for others but I will say this…. If others do not read this book then they are truly missing out. It has everything in it as far as a book goes from action, mystery, suspense, love and scandal. It is definitely a must read.

Tosha

ThreeStar

Really?  Fiction can make me believe in vampires and shifters, clairvoyants and serial killers, but this story of a far too young Chief of Medicine (who also does surgery?) and his one dimensional sidekicks chasing down a corrupt judge and his evil allies to save a handsome nurse from his horrific existence as blackmailed sex slave was a little too much for me.  When the author added in suspicious suicides, undercover cops and child prostitution, the story became a somewhat farcical melodrama.  

Some of the sleuthing was exciting.  Ian, his sister and her kids were fantastic characters.  I also enjoyed David’s family.  Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy David himself.  His confidence felt more like arrogance and his interest in Ian felt more paternal than sexual.  He also came across as a very old forty year old.  

I’m pretty sure the relationship between a young nurse and the Chief of Medicine could work.  This one probably could have been sweet instead of slightly stalkerish, but I just didn’t feel the connection between these two men.  

Ultimately, the three stars is for the intrigue, not for the romance.  I really struggled with this story, finding it difficult to engage with.

Sarah

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5 Stars, 4.5 Stars and TWO 4 Stars for Chasing the Dream by Andrew Grey #MM #Romance @Dreamspinners

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Title: Chasing the Dream
Author Name & Publisher: Andrew Grey (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 11, 2016 – 183 Pages

Synopsis

Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Brian Paulson has lived a life of luxury and ease. If he’s been left lonely because of his family’s pursuit of wealth and their own happiness, he figures it’s a small price to pay for what he sees as most important: money.

Cade McAllister has never had it easy. He works two jobs to support himself, his mother, and his special-needs brother. They don’t have much, but to Cade, love and taking care of the people who are important to him mean more than material possessions. When Cade is mugged in the park, he can’t afford to lose what little he has, and he’s grateful for Brian’s intervention.

Cade is given a chance to return the favor when Brian’s grandfather passes away and Brian’s assets are frozen. Cade offers Brian a place to stay and helps him find work, and the two men grow closer as they learn the good and the bad of the very different worlds they come from. Just as Brian is starting to see there’s more to life than what money can buy, a clause in his grandfather’s will could send their relationship up in smoke.

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Review

FiveStars

I so enjoyed reading this book. This is a book about becoming the person you are meant to be and leaving behind those that hinder you. It is about finding love and passion and coming into ones own self.

Brian is used to having people around him. But the thing is that the ones around him did not make him feel any less lonely. I believe it made him more so. Then he stepped in and saved Cade and suddenly everything fell apart and came together at the same time.

I think that until these two men met, neither of them was truly living. They both went through the motions of their lives and even though they both led totally different lives it was the same none the less. They was both lonely, they both wanted love, and they both wanted someone to expect them for who they are inside not what they have on the outside.

I really enjoyed taking this journey with these two men. I enjoyed following them both down the path that life laid out for them and seeing how they handled everything. Andrew Grey never disappoints with his books and this one is another wonderful example of how wonderful of an author Andrew Grey is.

Tosha

FourandHalfStars

This was another winner from a favorite author of mine. Andrew Grey writes stories that touch the heart (not much angst) and this was another. I loved the challenge that Brain’s grandfather left for him (no I won’t tell you, you have to read it for yourself). This was not a plot I’ve ever encountered before and felt inspired by it. I loved both Brain and Cade but I fell in love with Phillip. I loved the different personalities of both MC’s and felt privileged to be able to be with them in their journey of love. Andrew Grey is a go to author for me when I want to read something inspirational. Excellent job and I can’t wait to read another story from this author.

Lynn

FourStars

I thought this was a really sweet book.  I am sure a lot of people didn’t like Brian at first but I did. He was a product of his environment so he couldn’t help how he acted. Cade was super sweet from the beginning and you couldn’t help but love him. This story shows there are still good people out there willing to help others in need, which the real world needs more of. Most people do find out who their true friends are when the crap hits the fan, just like Brian did have to admit, this book made me cry a time or two. I really want to know why Cade didn’t confront his mom on all the missing money and address that situation more. I loved Phillip too, and what Brian does in the end it wonderful. A sweet story with lots of emotions.

Angie

FourStars

Ah, Andrew Grey, I love your writing style.
So, here we have a new book with a fairy tale like twist. Sorta. Brian is the guy born with everything and could as for anything. Cade is barely making anything to stay afloat, but he’s getting by to support his mother and brother. I loved that.
There was nothing too hard to understand about the book. It was straight forward, romantic and hot. Could something like this happen in real life? Probably not, but like I said, it reminded me of a fairy tale. I liked seeing these to interact and reading about Brian’s reaction to his sudden new life without wealth. Cade being by his side and supporting each other. The attraction between them was hot.
Cookie

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5 Stars for Heat (Salisbury Stories #1) by Chris Quinton & R. J. Scott #MM #Romance #Mystery

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Title: Heat
Author Name & Publisher: Chris Quinton & R. J. Scott (Love Lane Books)
Publication Date & Length: October 23, 2014 — 141 Pages

Synopsis

Serving up passion, family, love and hate, with a side order of arson.

Lewis has lost nearly everything, and now it seems that Devon is here to take the last thing he has left – working in his beloved restaurant, Laurels. But when an arsonist threatens everything Lewis loves, he realises sometimes everyone has their ghosts, and he discovers an unexpected ally who is prepared to risk everything for him.

* * * * *

Set in the small cathedral city of Salisbury, Master Chef Lewis Mandineau no longer owns the Laurels, the restaurant that had been in his family for generations. Betrayed and robbed by an ex-lover, he’s had to sell to Trelawney Enterprises, an American corporation. That isn’t all Lewis has to contend with. Rachel, his beloved younger sister has been left severely hurt by the car crash that killed their parents, and taking care of her has to be his priority.

Enter Devon Trelawney III, sent to assess the viability of the restaurant and its staff. Devon knows all about family tradition. But he also knows sentiment has no place in business matters, and the Laurels’ potential is swamped by the debts it has accrued. Devon is a hardheaded businessman, first and foremost, but Lewis and Rachel test his resolve in different ways. Soon Devon is forced to admit that what seems like an impossible love can sometimes become something very real.

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Review

FiveStars

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was full of mystery, resentment, lust, sadness, loss, happiness, and love. It was an all around wonderful book.

I enjoyed reading this book because it hit to the heart of things. It dealt with mental illness, it dealt with head injuries, with the loss of family, with the loss of home and company, it dealt with having to overcome selling the company and having to live with the choices of of selling and repaying off debt from the the ex stealing from the company. It is a very realistic book in ways that things that happened to thee the these people really happen in real life. This book has so many real life experiences in it that it was hard to forget that it was only a story.

I also love how two people who originally started out hating each other turned that passion into so much more between them. And that even when bad things were happening around them they stuck together and was straight no for one another.

This is an amazing story of overcoming heartache and learning to move past the bad to get to the good. I enjoyed it immensely and would recommend it to other people to read. Cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

Tosha

FourandHalfStars

I really love when authors I love team up together, it makes for a really good book. Lewis was sweet and amazing in everything he did. The love he had for his sister Rachel was inspiring. It took me a little while to warm up to Devon because he was a total jerk in the beginning. I loved the conflict between Lewis and Devon as it made for a really interesting story. It also has a little mystery in the book as the fire department is looking for an arsonist. Lewis did not hesitate to take on Devon when he felt he was screwing up. I loved the reaction Devon had when Rachel was teaching how to load the dishwasher. The secondary characters were also amazing and I loved Gran-Em, who looked after Rachel.  Overall, this was an excellent book and I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

Lynn

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THREE 5 Stars, 4.5 Stars and 3 Stars for Live for Love (All Cocks #5) by T. M. Smith @TTCBooksandMore #MM #Erotic #Romance

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Title: Live for Love (All Cocks #5)
Author Name & Publisher: T. M. Smith (TTC Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: July 1, 2016 – 200 Pages

Synopsis

Beauregard Boudreaux is a native of New Orleans Louisiana, born and raised there, he never thought he would ever stray far from home. The untimely death of his first love left Beau lost, adrift, looking for a place as far away from the pain as possible. Initially, he came to New York to visit a friend, the city growing on him, so he decided to stay. His law degree comes in handy at the LGBT Center he runs, but his bar is his baby.

William Richards grew up in Chicago, his family oddly normal and very accepting of his sexuality. Modeling paid the bills, gigs across the country as a model, male entertainer and a personal trainer giving him the opportunity to see the world. He hasn’t experienced loss or pain as Beau has, the common denominator between them is the loneliness. As All Cocks big, brooding bottom Connor, William has found friendship, family and an outlet for his craving to be more submissive than men of his size and stature usually are.

The two men are perfect for each other, their tastes and lives align and the writing seems to be on the wall. But Beau has a secret he shares with a choice few, a secret that not only threatens to keep them apart, it’s deadly. Determined to keep a wall between himself and William, Beau fights the attraction, pushes William away every time he steps closer. Can one man’s determination and strength be enough to tear down a wall that holds back decades of pain and darkness? And if he can, will either of them survive the flood?

Disclaimer: This book is the fictional story of a man living with HIV. I have put a lot of time and effort into presenting this story as true to fact as possible, without going into gory or gruesome detail. If this subject is a trigger for you, you may want to skip this read. But my hope is that you give Beau a chance to capture your heart as he has mine, and William’s.

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Review

FiveStars

I love this series and this book enforced my love for it. Beau lost the love of his life 15 years ago, hasn’t been with anyone since and he has a good reason. William is one of the All Cocks members and has wanted Beau for a while and has set his sights on him. These two are perfect for each other, they seem to balance each other out, calm each other and bring peace to each other. After finally wearing Beau down, William and Beau are together, but not fully, not until Beau tells him everything and once he does, he may lose William for good. This story handles a very delicate situation very well, kudos to the author. The book also shows the strength of friendship and love and how you can make it through anything with love, friendship and family. Great story and even better love story. I can’t wait to see who the next story is about.

Angie

FiveStars

This is the first book I’ve read from the All Cocks series. Although I was a bit lost in some areas, I was still able to understand most of the back stories. I received a free copy of this book from Inked Rainbow Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

The fact the author took the time to do all the research to make this story come to life is amazing. Beau and William’s story is wonderful. Everyone deserves a chance at true love, no matter what his or her medical situation may be.

Beau’s life with HIV begins when his lover Isaiah is infected. “Izzie” became a drug abuser while Beau was getting his law degree. By the time they realized Izzie was sick with AIDS, it was too late for Beau. Beau spends 2 years watching while Izzie slowly dies. Taking a little bit of Beau with him when he goes.

After months of William chasing Beau, William has finally been able to break through the barrier Beau has kept up around him all this time. William could never figure out why there was sadness in Beau’s eyes. Determined to have Beau all to himself, William is relentless in his pursuit. Finally, Beau realizes he has fallen in love with William and reveals why he never let William get too close. When William knows the truth he becomes the most supportive partner Beau could ask for.

Kris

ThreeStar

Grrr.  I was never a fan of Mr. Rochester and I’ve disliked brusque, broody (read miserable) leading men ever since.  In this story, Beau remains miserable right up to the moment the story becomes a safe sex infomercial instead of a romance.

I was never quite sure why William, a young, famous porn star, continued to chase after Beau.  William’s appeal was clear but aside from Beau’s philanthropic projects, I really didn’t get the attraction.  I’m also getting tired of books starring porn stars where the porn star is expected to choose between his job and his relationship for a HEA.  It is a tired, heteronormative and fairly judgemental trope that I just don’t want to see ever again.

And then the sex.  HIV is an important topic, especially in m/m romance, but I’ve seen it handled much better.  Once these two finally hook up, readers are treated to a series of sex ed lessons worthy of a moralising Victorian narrator.  It kinda ruined the chemistry for me.  

I enjoyed catching up with characters from earlier stories in the series, but this story just didn’t work for me.  In a book that is part of a series called “All Cocks” that focuses on the relationships of porn stars, I may not expect brilliant characterisation or plot development, but I do expect the sex to be hot.  And for me, this just didn’t work.   

Sarah

FiveStars

This is a book I would describe as love getting a second chance.

Beau in my opinion has written himself off as being alone for the rest of his life. He is HIV positive and he knows first hand what it does to someone to lose the love of ur life to someone to this disease and so he does not want to do that someone in turn, but life has a crazy way of taking what you plan and throwing a big kink into it. That happened to Beau in the form of William.

I think these two men are perfect for one another. William is scared of the disease that Beau has but he is not about to walk away from him because of it. Instead he embrace it and learns what to do to prevent getting the same disease and loves Beau whole heartedly regardless of what the future may hold.

These two men are a shining example in my opinion of what love should be about. Yes it is scared when one of you may become ill and die because of a sickness but it should not define you as a couple and it should not prevent you from loving someone because of it.

I commend TM smith for writing a book about this subject because most would not. Most would want it to be fairytale sand happily ever after and not a book about reality but I think that TM Smith did a phenomenal job on this book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and also being taught more about this subject. I can’t wait till the next book in the series. Great work.!!!!

Tosha

FourandHalfStars

This book was excellent and it was clear that the author did their homework and it felt very real. It was very refreshing to read a book with a HIV positive MC that didn’t have a lot of angst in it. This book was clearly done with care and understanding. I was honored to meet Beau and to see the relationship that developed him and William.

The author writing style was very good and made it an easy read. As I began to read I was able to really get to know Beau and William and I don’t mean just figuratively. This was an author that was able to bring his characters to life. We got to see the struggle that Beau was going through in trying to tell William of his status. But most of all we got to see the love that William was able to shower Beau with. This was an excellent book that just held me captive from beginning to end and was extremely satisfied to see the Beau and William was able to overcome all of the hurdles of building a relationship and get their HEA.

Lynn

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4.5 Stars for Violated {AUIDOBOOK} by Jamie Fessenden @jamiefessenden1 #MM #Audiobook @Dreamspinners

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Title: Violated
Author Name & Publisher: Jamie Fessenden (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 21, 2016 – 9 hours 42 minutes

Synopsis

Derek Sawyer thinks he has it all—a high-salaried position, a boyfriend, a dog, even a new cabin on the lake—until a business trip with his manager and best friend, Victor, shatters his world.

One night of drunken horsing around in their hotel room leads to the most intensely personal violation Derek has ever endured. As if the humiliation of working under his attacker every day isn’t enough, Victor reports Derek for sexual harassment. Now he’s without a job, without a boyfriend, and the mortgage on the cabin is due.

Officer Russ Thomas has worked with rape victims before, and it doesn’t take him long to sort out the truth in Derek’s tale. With his support, Derek finally reports the crime, months after it happened. But restraining orders and lawyers further Victor’s anger toward him, and even though a relationship develops between Derek and the policeman, Russ can’t be there to protect him all the time.

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Review

FourandHalfStars

Trigger Warning: rape and abuse

This is my first book by this author and I got to try out the Audiobook. I’m still getting used to having someone read to me but the narrator, K.C. Kelly, was pretty good. I dislike when a narrator just reads with no emotion or changing their tone when switching characters. This narrator did a very good job.

In this book the author is dealing with some pretty tough situations. I feel the author hit the nail on its head when he wrote this book. It was very realistic. The connection I had with Derek was almost immediate and I didn’t like Tim at all (so glad to see the back of him). Russ was also great, not only in understanding the situation Derek was going through but just an overall really good guy. This book was so realistic that at times I had to take a break from it. Derek reactions to the rape and the aftermath were done in a way that lets you know what he was going through and I feel very realistic. This book was not just gloomy; there were defiantly some humor in it. To me an author that can write a story about rape and abuse and still inject humor into the story is exceptional write. Great job Mr. Fessenden, you did an excellent job with this story.

Lynn

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5 and 4.5 Star Reviews for Heat (Salisbury Stories #1) by R.J. Scott and Chris Quinton #MM #Romance

CoverTitle: Heat (Salisbury Stories #1)
Author Name & Publisher: R.J. Scott & Chris Quinton (Love Lane Books Limited)
Publication Date & Length: October 23, 2014 – 141 pgs

Synopsis

Serving up passion, family, love and hate, with a side order of arson.

Lewis has lost nearly everything, and now it seems that Devon is here to take the last thing he has left – working in his beloved restaurant, Laurels. But when an arsonist threatens everything Lewis loves, he realises sometimes everyone has their ghosts, and he discovers an unexpected ally who is prepared to risk everything for him.

* * * * *

Set in the small cathedral city of Salisbury, Master Chef Lewis Mandineau no longer owns the Laurels, the restaurant that had been in his family for generations. Betrayed and robbed by an ex-lover, he’s had to sell to Trelawney Enterprises, an American corporation. That isn’t all Lewis has to contend with. Rachel, his beloved younger sister has been left severely hurt by the car crash that killed their parents, and taking care of her has to be his priority.

Enter Devon Trelawney III, sent to assess the viability of the restaurant and its staff. Devon knows all about family tradition. But he also knows sentiment has no place in business matters, and the Laurels’ potential is swamped by the debts it has accrued. Devon is a hardheaded businessman, first and foremost, but Lewis and Rachel test his resolve in different ways. Soon Devon is forced to admit that what seems like an impossible love can sometimes become something very real.

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Review

FiveStars

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was full of mystery, resentment, lust, sadness, loss, happiness, and love. It was an all around wonderful book.

I enjoyed reading this book because it hit to the heart of things. It dealt with mental illness, it dealt with head injuries, with the loss of family, with the loss of home and company, it dealt with having to overcome selling the company and having to live with the choices of of selling and repaying off debt from the the ex stealing from the company. It is a very realistic book in ways that things that happened to thee the these people really happen in real life. This book has so many real life experiences in it that it was hard to forget that it was only a story.

I also love how two people who originally started out hating each other turned that passion into so much more between them. And that even when bad things were happening around them they stuck together and was straight no for one another.

This is an amazing story of overcoming heartache and learning to move past the bad to get to the good. I enjoyed it immensely and would recommend it to other people to read. Cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

Tosha

FourandHalfStars

I really love when authors I love team up together, it makes for a really good book. Lewis was sweet and amazing in everything he did. The love he had for his sister Rachel was inspiring. It took me a little while to warm up to Devon because he was a total jerk in the beginning. I loved the conflict between Lewis and Devon as it made for a really interesting story. It also has a little mystery in the book as the fire department is looking for an arsonist. Lewis did not hesitate to take on Devon when he felt he was screwing up. I loved the reaction Devon had when Rachel was teaching how to load the dishwasher. The secondary characters were also amazing and I loved Gran-Em, who looked after Rachel.  Overall, this was an excellent book and I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

Lynn

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4.5 Star and 4 Star Reviews for A More Perfect Union by B.G. Thomas, J. Scott Coatsworth, Jamie Fessenden, Michael Murphy #MM #Romance

 coverTitle: A More Perfect Union
Author Name & Publisher: B.G. Thomas, J. Scott Coatsworth, Jamie Fessenden, Michael Murphy (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 26, 2016 – 350 pgs

Synopsis

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made a monumental decision, and at long last, marriage equality became the law of the land. That ruling made history, and now gay and lesbian Americans will grow up in a country where they will never be denied the right to marry the person they love.

But what about the gay men who waited and wondered all of their lives if the day would ever come when they could stand beside the person they love and say, “I do?”

Here, four accomplished authors—married gay men—offer their take on that question as they explore same-sex relationships, love, and matrimony. Men who thought legal marriage was a right they would never have. Men who, unbelievably, now stand legally joined with the men they love. With this book, they share the magic and excitement of dreams that came true—in tales of fantasy and romance with a dose of their personal experiences in the mix.

To commemorate the anniversary of full marriage equality in the US, this anthology celebrates the idea of marriage itself, and the universal truth of it that applies to us all, gay or straight.

Someday, by B.G. Thomas

Lucas Arrowood is walking to school on his first day of kindergarten when he meets Dalton Churchill—a boy who stops and helps him tie his shoe. He knows from that moment he is going to marry that boy one day.  “Boys can’t marry other boys,” his mother explains, but that doesn’t stop Lucas. He knows what he wants.

He and Dalton become best friends—and then, no matter how much he resists, Dalton falls in love with Lucas. Dalton’s very conservative family can’t accept that their boy loves another boy, but finally Dalton stands up for love and for Lucas. Still, he declares he won’t marry Lucas until it is legal everywhere. He hates the “Commitment Ceremonies” gay men have. They aren’t the real thing. Why bother?

So Lucas waits for his day. The day same-sex marriage finally becomes legal and he can be joined forever with the love of his life.

Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth

Alex and Gio had a big fight, and Alex ran away. Then a fire at home destroyed the life they had built together, and threatened to take Gio away from him.

Alex had always thought love was enough to keep them together. Why did they need wedding rings or legal certificates? But now, with Gio lost in a coma, his mother has banished Alex from his side.

What if Alex’s voice is the only thing that can bring Gio back from the brink? Their memories are all Gio has left, and the urge to just let go is getting stronger.

Still, nothing can keep Alex from Gio’s side. If it’s against the rules, he’ll break them. In stolen moments alone together, Alex fights to bring him back, one memory at a time.

Destined, by Jamie Fessenden

When Jay and Wallace first meet at an LGBTQ group, they have no idea they’ll be dating six years later. In fact, they quickly forget each other’s names. But although fate continues to throw them together, the timing is never quite right. Finally they’re both single and realize they want to be together… but now they can’t find each other! With determination and the help of mutual friends, Jay and Wallace can finally pursue the relationship they’ve both wanted for so long.

It’s only the beginning of the battles they’ll face to build a life together.

From disapproving family members all the way to the state legislature, Jay and Wallace’s road to happily ever after is littered with obstacles. But they’ve come too far to give up the fight.

Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy

Living as an open, loving gay couple in the rural South isn’t easy—even today.

When Jeordi and Tom move in together and come out to their families, Jeordi’s family does not take the news especially well. When yelling doesn’t work, they send in one sibling after another to try to separate the couple. When that fails, they call out their pastor to help Jeordi see the error of his ways. But Jeordi’s love for Tom is greater than anything they throw at them.

When an accident sends Jeordi to the hospital, his family goes too far when they try to keep Tom from visiting his partner. Jeordi and Tom are determined to do everything in their power to gain legal protection so this can never happen again. But when a bigoted county clerk refuses to issue them a marriage license, Jeordi decides a big, bold effort is called for, which is precisely what he sets in moVon so no one can ever separate him from Tom again.

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Review

FourandHalfStars

This was an excellent story celebrating the Supreme Courts decision for marriage equality. This was written by 4 different married gay men and I absolutely loved the stories they wrote.

Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth – 4.5 Stars

This story was almost heartbreaking if it didn’t have a HEA. At first I absolutely hated Alex. I mean how could anyone just walk out on their partner that way and Gio’s mother as she forbid Alex from seeing Gio. I love the character development and loved Gio and eventually loved Alex as he redeemed himself in the end.

Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy – 4 Stars

In this story we deal with two men, one who is dealing with the family from hell. I know that this happens quite regularly in the world of LGBT but when reading it, it really seems to hit home of the struggles that gay men and women deal with. Not just from families but from society. I loved the character development and was happy to see that how the author was able to get give them their HEA.

Destined, by Jamie Fessenden – 4 Stars

This was another really great story. In this story we deal with two mean that met and came back together after several years apart. The character development was great and I immediately feel in love with both Jay and Wallace. I loved how the author brought them back together and loved the marriage ceremony.

Someday, by B.G. Thomas – 4 Stars

This was a sweet story about Lucas who meets his soul mate at the age of 5, Dalton. It was also heartbreaking because Dalton refuses to believe he could be gay. Lucas was steadfast in his love for Dalton even when Dalton was dating girls in high school. I loved when they got married and Lucas mother has the privilege of preforming the ceremony.

This is definitely a must read for everyone who enjoys a HEA.

Lynn

FourStars

This is an excellent anthology celebrating the anniversary of marriage equality in the US. These are four very different stories, and there’s a little something in here for everyone. While I didn’t love every single one, it’s definitely a matter of taste and not a flaw with the writing style. All four are well-written. Three out of the four authors were people whose work I’d previously read, and one was new to me. I really enjoyed this collection overall.

Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth – 5 stars

This was my favorite of the entries. It’s beautifully written and heartbreaking with a storyline that kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what would happen. I loved the themes of reconciliation and restoration throughout. While we do get a glimpse of Alex and Gio’s history, there’s no drawn-out meeting and falling in love. They’re already there; this is about how they make their way back from the night which almost destroyed them. Really, really well done.

Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy – 3 stars

This one was okay, but it really felt a bit over the top to me. I suspect that was the point, so it’s more personal preference than anything I think is wrong with the story. Jeordi and Tom are both likable, and despite the exaggeration, it still has a sweetness to it that left me with a warm, happy, hopeful feeling at the end.

Destined, by Jamie Fessenden – 3.5 stars

I loved, loved, loved the first half of this. The way Jay and Wallace meet, over and over until they finally figure out how not to make it accidental, is sweet and charming and funny. I enjoyed the way they bond over geeky pursuits. They are so much fun to read about. Unfortunately, the second half isn’t nearly as interesting. It’s definitely realistic–a bit too realistic, to the point of being uninteresting. I kept thinking something was going to happen, but it’s basically extended details on how they do fairly mundane life things. Sure, they have some obstacles, but those are wrapped up tidily and quickly. It stops feeling like it has a whole lot of plot and more like it just needs to get to the marriage part. That said, I do think many readers could probably relate to the ordinariness of it, so it’s mostly personal preference and not bad writing.

Someday, by B.G. Thomas – 4.5 stars

I liked this one nearly as much as the first story. It contains all the humor, sweetness, and big heart I’ve come to expect from the author. Simply charming all throughout. Lucas is such a delightful narrator, and I loved every single one of the side characters. Well, maybe not the homophobes, but I did love hating them. I adored Lucas’ mom, and his friend Sam is a trip. This has a little bit of everything–some action, some drama, some steamy sex–all of which point toward the overarching theme of love is everywhere if you know where to look. The only reason this didn’t get 5 stars is that like the second story, it’s a bit over the top, and like the third story, the plot fizzles after the big tension is resolved. However, I think it manages to pull off both of those things slightly better than the other two. Just a gooey, sweet, delightful read.

Overall rating for the anthology is 4 stars.

~AmyM

Excerpt

Someday, by B.G. Thomas

“The first time Lucas Arrowood saw Dalton was on his way to his first day of kindergarten. His mother was walking him to school, he was very excited, and his right shoelace was flopping, untied.

“Baby,” said his mom. “Let’s sit down and try to tie your shoe.”

He looked up at her, excitement temporarily quashed. He couldn’t do it. Couldn’t tie his shoe. And he was supposed to be able to. His mother had tried to show him how—over and over again—but he couldn’t get the laces to go where they were supposed to go, and it just fell apart. He couldn’t do it. If his teacher found out, would they make him go home? Would he have to wait until next year? That would be horrible!

“Hey, you can do it. It’s easy!”

Lucas gave a little jump, turned around, and sighed as he looked into the narrow dark eyes of the most beautiful human being he had ever seen.

“Want me to help?” the boy asked, flipping his mop of dark brown hair out of his eyes with a toss of his head. “I taught a bunch of kids last year when I was in kindergarten.”

A bunch of kids hadn’t known how to tie their shoes? That perked up his ears. Lucas looked up at his mother.

She smiled. “Do you want him to help?”

Then he realized something. He did want the boy to help him. He thought he would do anything the boy wanted him to do, even ask his mom to take the training wheels off his bike (which was a big scary because he was afraid of falling and getting hurt!).

“Sit down,” said the boy, pointing to the landscaping wall along the sidewalk.”

Lucas sat.

“What’s your name?” asked Lucas’s mother.

“Dalton Churchill. Like Winston Churchill. Only it’s Dalton.”

He smiled, and Lucas knew Dalton was the most beautiful boy on the planet.

“Who’s Winston Churchill?” Lucas asked.

Dalton shrugged and got down on one knee before Lucas. “I don’t know. I think he’s a minister. Okay, now, first you pull your laces up and then cross them over, like this.”

Dalton demonstrated.

“I can tie a knot,” Lucas said, wanting very much not to look like a complete dope in front of Dalton. Then he frowned. “It’s the other part I get mixed up on.”

“That’s cool,” Dalton said, tying the knot. “Okay…. So here’s the tricky part. First you make a loop and stick it up so it looks like a tree—see?”

Lucas nodded. He wasn’t sure the upward turned loop looked much like a tree, but he wasn’t going to tell Dalton that.

“Then you take the other lace and wrap it around the bottom like this—like a dog running around the tree.”

Lucas smiled. “My neighbor has a dog. His name is Super Mario.”

“That’s a great name,” Dalton said, laughing.

Then he finished showing Lucas how to tie his shoe.

“Wow,” Lucas said.

But then Dalton untied the shoe.

“Hey!” cried Lucas.

“Now you do it,” Dalton said. He nodded. “You can. I know you can. Easy.”

Lucas wanted to yell, “No, I can’t!” but he quite suddenly knew he could not disappoint the pretty boy with the beautiful eyes. He sighed. What had Dalton said about a tree? He made a loop with one of the laces.

“Just like that, but the other one. Unless you’re a southpaw.”

Lucas looked up through his own dark bangs. “Huh?”

“Southpaw means left-handed.”

“Oh!” Lucas giggled. “I’m not.”

“Tree!” Dalton ordered, brows knitted together.

So Lucas made a loop with his shoelace.

“Yes!” Dalton said with such enthusiasm Lucas would have thought he’d ridden down to the corner and back on his bike without training wheels. He laughed and then thought about dogs running around the base of trees. A moment later, Lucas had tied his shoe. His mother clapped.

“Yes,” shouted Dalton. “I knew you could do it, Lucas.”

Dalton walked the rest of the way to school with them. But even better, he also promised to walk Lucas to school the next day.

Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth

Monday, September 27

There was only this moment. This place. Alex holding Gio’s hand, gently because of the burns on the back of Gio’s arm and hand. The sounds of the breathing machine came in regular soft sighs.

The little green box held in Alex’s other hand– and all it symbolized between them.

All their life together had shrunk down to this moment, this place, this plea. “Please wake up, Gio. Amore mio, svegliati.”

Sunday, September 12. Two weeks earlier

Alex was late getting home, and he was in a foul mood from the long, difficult day at work. One of the properties he’d made a bid on had fallen through, and another client had all but called him a bald-faced liar.

He was looking forward to getting home, taking a long hot shower, then crawling into bed.

Alex was startled to find a whole meal, complete with wine and candles, laid out on their dining room table. Gio must have spent the whole day cooking.

Alex was late. He’d been delayed with his angry client, and to make matters worse, his phone had up and died halfway through the afternoon and he’d been without his car charger.”

He was already annoyed when he walked in the door.

“Welcome home, amore,” Gio called from the kitchen.

“I had a hell of a day….” He caught a whiff of whatever Gio was cooking.

“Come sit down. I’ve got everything ready.”

The dining room looked like a Martha Stewart production of a telenovella Thanksgiving.

“I’m sorry. I’m not really hungry. Things were the shits at work today.”

“Sorry to hear that. Have a seat.” Gio grabbed his elbow and urged him toward his chair.

“Food makes everything better.”

Alex was starting to get annoyed. “Look, I’m sorry, but I’m not hungry. I just want to wash up– ”

“That’s just the job talking.” Gio took his arm again.

“Knock it off! I’m not in the mood tonight.”

Gio looked hurt, but Alex plowed on, too incensed to stop.

“This isn’t some kind of June and Ward Cleaver relationship.”

“I just– ”

“You have to let go of your stupid, unrealistic expectations of me and this relationship.”

Gio frowned. “That’s bullshit, and you know it. Just because you had a bad day at work, there’s no reason to take it out on me.”

He was right. But Alex couldn’t admit it. “Just leave me the fuck alone,” he said, grabbing his phone charger and storming out. He’d find somewhere else to sleep tonight.”

Destined, by Jamie Fessenden

1999

Doug had seemed terrific when Jay first met him. He was funny, attentive, good in bed, and Jay’s family thought he was great. At family gatherings, that is—not in bed. They were living together in short order.

But after two years, things weren’t going so well. They’d moved to Dover, which allowed Jay to get back in touch with some of his college friends, but their relationship seemed to grow rockier by the day. They fought constantly, though Jay was never really sure what they were fighting about. They just didn’t… fit anymore.

But still he tried. Jay was nothing if not stubborn.

His ties to the pagan/Wiccan world had long ago faded away, since Doug thought that stuff was weird and creepy. In fact, his ties to anything outside the tech industry had pretty much withered to nothing. He worked long hours, during which he thought about nothing but computers and switches and routers. It paid well, and raises were frequent, so he was caught up in the game his coworkers played—pushing for promotions or transfers every six months to a year in order to get salary increases. Like his coworkers, he had an E*TRADE account and spent time between support calls attempting to build a stock portfolio. He had the sense not to gamble the small amount of savings he had, but it was a fun game to play.

But he was unsatisfied. He couldn’t quite put a finger on why until one Saturday, when he was sitting at Café on the Corner and his friend, Steve, happened by. Steve had been part of the medieval reenactment group Jay hung out with in college, and apparently he was still involved with them.

“Michaelmas is coming up,” Steve pointed out, referring to one of the large feasts the group “put on every year. “It’s going to be at the Unitarian Church. You should come.”

Jay couldn’t see that happening. He no longer had any of his medieval “garb,” and Doug was likely to turn his nose up at the idea of hanging out with a bunch of reenactors all day.

Jay said diplomatically, “I’ll think about it.”

“Well, at least stop by the monthly Wiccan group. Julie’s usually there, and Mark. A whole bunch of the old crowd. That’s tomorrow. Same place.”

It would be nice to see some of them. And Doug was working on Sunday. “That might be fun.”

“Are you still writing?”

He wasn’t. Jay had written a lot of science fiction stories in college, and he’d talked about getting published one day. But that, like everything else he’d enjoyed in those days, seemed like nothing more than a dream he’d once had, barely remembered.

This conversation was getting depressing.

“So,” he asked, trying to change the subject, “do you still sing?”

Steve grinned with excitement. “Yeah, man! My band is putting together our second CD.

It’s gonna be awesome!”

The more he talked about his life, the more it became clear Steve was barely scraping by financially. But he was doing what he loved, and he seemed just as happy with his life as he’d been in college. Jay, on the other hand, had plenty of money. He had a career now, a boyfriend, a new car, and a nice apartment. He’d thought he was doing okay, but now he realized exactly why he’d been feeling so uneasy. His life had veered off course. In just five years, he’d lost touch with everything that had been fun and creative in himself. He was no longer Jay.

And he missed himself.

Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy

“When the front door of the trailer slammed shut with a loud bang, followed immediately by an animalistic howl of rage and frustration, Tom knew Jeordi was home. He snickered and shook his head.

“Hey, babe,” Tom called out. “I forgot this was the day you were going to visit your parents. It went that well, huh?”

One glance at his boyfriend told Tom all he needed to know. Despite the scowl and look of anger and frustration on Jeordi’s face, it only took one glance at the man to ignite the most sensitive parts of his nervous system (and everything connected to it).

He couldn’t help but smile at the sight of Jeordi. He wasn’t handsome in the New York runway model sense, but was handsome in the real man sense. Jeordi turned heads every time he walked down the street, although he consistently missed the many glances people cast his way.

All Jeordi saw when he looked at himself was that he wasn’t tall, and he felt his ears were too big. Tom daily told Jeordi that he was the most studly man he’d ever known—and he quietly gave thanks that the man was all his.

Tom felt two strong hands wrap around his waist as he stood at the sink in their kitchen.

Carefully setting down the dish he’d been washing, he leaned his head back against his boyfriend’s solid shoulder, brushing his smooth cheek against Jeordi’s fuzzy cheek—fuzzy not from a beard but from a strong five o’clock shadow the man dependably had every day by late afternoon. Jeordi hated it, but Tom loved it and loved rubbing one part or another of his body over the stubble.

“Love you, babe,” Tom whispered. “I’m glad you’re home.”

“Why?” Jeordi whispered into Tom’s ear.”

“Why? Why? Why do I keep subjecting myself to the same crap?”

“So, they didn’t throw their arms open and tell you they’ve joined PFLAG and ask for your advice on what to wear in the next Pride Day parade?”

Jeordi snorted. “Um, that would be a great big no.”

“What did they do this time?” Tom asked.

“Prayed—and then some. They tried to have some kind of healing service to rid me of the evil that had ‘grabbed hold’ of me, to quote my mother. They said they needed to cast the devil out of my body.”

“Oh, isn’t that special,” Tom joked.

“Not so much,” Jeordi disagreed.

“Was it just your parents?”

“Oh, no. That’s what made this one more frustrating. They had their minister there. He brought a backup minister—poor kid looked freaked out just being in the same room with a known homosexual. Don’t know what he thought was going to happen.”

“They upped the ante, I see,” Tom said.

“Oh, there’s more,” Jeordi said.

“More?”

“Hell, yes. They had some of my more uptight brothers there with them this time.”

“They succeeded in getting any of your brothers to be in the same room at the same time?

How the hell did they swing that one?”

“Don’t know. Must have been one hell of a bribe. They, of course, brought their wives, I guess to show me how a good strong Christian heterosexual marriage works. They pissed me off so much I slipped and asked Beau how he could take part in something like that when he’d been off screwing half the women in the county. He didn’t appreciate it. I guess his wife didn’t know he was a hound dog she needed to keep on a tighter leash.”

Tom stopped what he was doing and dropped his head back, deep in thought. “Hmm, your brother Beau would look damned good in a collar—and naked,” he said. “Now, if you maybe added a blindfold, put him on his knees with his hands cuffed behind his back—now that’s just freaking hot. Maybe I should call his wife and give her a few suggestions. How do you think she’d take that? I’d be doing it strictly to help her out since I doubt she’d ever come up with an idea like that on her own. And of course I’d need to be there to help her, you know, to consult.”

“Don’t go there,” Jeordi warned with a chuckle. Beau was beautiful, but unfortunately he knew it and wasn’t at all opposed to spreading his beauty around to any and all women who’d have him. “At least that got the two of them out of the whole ritualistic crap my mother had planned for the weekly visit.”

“Two down, ten to go,” Tom said.

Tom turned around and wrapped his arms around Jeordi, kissing his neck. “I love you, babe,” he whispered into Jeordi’s ear as he held tightly to his man.

“I’m so glad you do. My family certainly doesn’t.”

“Oh, they love you. They just don’t understand it because the playing field has changed since you came out,” Tom said.

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4.5 Star and 3 Star Reviews for Finding Family by Connie Bailey #MM #Romance @dreamspinners

CoverTitle: Finding Family
Author Name & Publisher: Connie Bailey (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 1, 2016 – 234 pgs

Synopsis

When you find your family, you’ll do anything to keep it.

When Charles Macquarrie inherits a fortune and an international clothing company, he also inherits three young cousins he desperately needs help raising. By a stroke of luck, he discovers and hires Jonathan Lamb, who spent his life in a children’s home due to chronic illness, to be his nanny.

If Jon thought a budding romance with his wealthy boss complicated his life, he has no idea of the hardships awaiting him when he’s charged with embezzlement and kidnapping. But even when threatened by accounting discrepancies and mob connections, Jon and Charles won’t let go of the family they’ve built together without a fight.

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Review

FourandHalfStars

This is my first book by this author and I stupefied as to why I haven’t read more of her books. This is another book in the Dreamspun Desires series. At first I was a little unsure when the author takes the turn into a somewhat mystery but as I read further I just could put the book down. The character development was great even though Jon appeared to be somewhat naïve. I loved the secondary characters almost as much as the main characters. Even though this book can be consider a light mystery it also had humor in it. I really love when a just seems to know the exact point to inject humor into the story. The children in this story were a perfect fit and I love all of them. Overall this was a great story and I would love to hear more from Bunny.

Lynn

ThreeStar

So, in Finding Family, we have orphan Jonathon Lamb, who is accepted to be the nanny for rich businessman Charles Macquarrie’s 3 young cousins. Jonathon was like super nanny, the kids loved him and he could do no wrong. Somehow though, it was hard to connect with him. I liked when he showed quirks like talking to himself, but other than that, I didn’t really get sense of his true self.
Charles was…Charles. I didn’t connect with him either. The romance between them was sort of…not there. I felt no chemistry even if it was told to us that they were falling for each other. They didn’t even really get together until passed the 75% mark on me ereader. It just dragged. The kids were kids. Nothing really special there.
I thought Charles was really dumb for taking somebody’s word that his business was ruined before checking it for himself. DUMB. Instead he packed up the nanny and 3 kids he wanted nothing to do with and took of. That did not endear me to him and I was already struggling to finish the story.
Ah, I’ll give it 3 stars anyway cause the author tried. I just wasn’t into it. The story had potential though.
Cookie

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TWO 4 Star Review for Fall into My Kiss (Merging Violently #1) by T.A. Chase #MM #Romance @PridePublishing

CoverTitle: Fall into My Kiss (Merging Violently #1)
Author Name & Publisher: T.A. Chase (Pride Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: May 31, 2016 – 145 pgs

Synopsis

Will Hunter’s life ever be more than an endless tour of small gigs?

Hunter Lee is lead guitarist of the alternative rock band, Merging Violently. He and his four friends travel up and down the East Coast, playing small gigs. It’s not what he dreamed of when he founded the band, but it’s a way to make a living. Meeting Edward Monterrose might be the best shot he has at hitting the big time.

Edward Monterrose doesn’t have time for a relationship. He’s too busy with his horses and students. Yet he always makes time for a benefit to raise money for charities he supports. While recovering from an injury, he overhears Hunter playing in the park and asks him to play at the benefit.

The two men come from different worlds yet discover they have more in common than they thought. Yet will their relationship last when they’re apart for months on end?

Publisher’s Note: This book is linked to the Home series by T.A. Chase.

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Review

FourStars

I didn’t realize that this book was linked the TA Chase’s Home Series. As I’ve read the first three books in that series it was great to see the connection to that series. This was a story of two men from that was poles apart from each other as you can get. Yet somehow thay were able to make it work. There was so much seriousness to this story and I absolutely loved it. Yet it also had humor in it. I think it’s great when an author can inject just the right amount of humor into a story and not take away from seriousness of the story as well. Ms. Chase did that in spades. I can’t wait to read the next in the series to see what happens to the others.

Lynn

FourStars

Another great book from T.A. Chase. I really enjoyed this book. There was no misunderstandings, or cheating, or unrequited love. This is what I would describe as a sweet love story.

Hunter and Edward both in my Opinion are two very strong men that are horn doing what they love in life. Edward owns his own farm raising show horses and showing and competing them. Hunter is in a band that is not big time yet but will be in the near future. But even with the success I believe they both know a good thing when they find it. These two men in my opinion had an instant connection and hey both knew there was no reason to deny or fight it, instead they both embraced it and now they have their careers and each other.

Like I said this book is what I would call a sweet love story and sometimes that is just what I am in the mood to read. I really enjoyed this book and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series when it comes out. Good job T.A. Chase. Another great book.

Tosha

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