Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts

December 8, 2016

Review & Giveaway! Saving Jason by K.C. Wells


When David Merrow is given the task of finding a suitable soup kitchen so his company can improve their PR, he realizes he needs help. He turns to Jason Garton, the owner of the coffee house that David visits every morning. Funny how it took David so long to notice all the food and beverages Jason gives away to the homeless. Because until then, Jason had been almost invisible. 

But the more David learns about him, the more intrigued he becomes. There’s something about the selfless, lonely older man that pulls David in, and what began as work becomes so much more.



KC Wells has a way of writing that makes you feel like you’re a part of the story. It feels like you’re living everything right along with the characters, all the happiness, the tears, the success and the disappointments. It’s all there from beginning to end and it’s an incredible experience. For this, and many other reasons, I keep picking up every novel she puts out there. 

Saving Jason is a story about self-discovery and acceptance, about learning how to make peace with the past in order to embrace the future. 

Jason is going through the paces and doing his part in giving back and paying it forward, but he is not actually living. 

Every day is the same and the guilt he’s carrying around is keeping him from trying to find what he’s always longed for. 

David had never thought that a job will end up changing his life so unexpectedly. He’s never paid much attention when it comes to what is around him and meeting Jason is an eye opener. 

Working together day by day brings this two men together, and Jason will learn that it’s okay to let go, to look forward to the future and allow someone in his life in his heart.

Sometimes, it just takes one moment to change a life. Stop and look around you. You’d be surprised at what you might discover.

If you’re looking for a short, soulful holiday story, Saving Jason is the perfect choice. I highly recommend it.



Born and raised in the north-west of England, K.C. WELLS always loved writing. Words were important. Full stop. However, when childhood gave way to adulthood, the writing ceased, as life got in the way. K.C. discovered erotic fiction in 2009, when the purchase of a ménage storyline led to the startling discovery that reading about men in love was damn hot. In 2012, arriving at a really low point in life led to the desperate need to do something creative. An even bigger discovery waited in the wings—writing about men in love was even hotter…. 

K.C. now writes full-time and is loving every minute of her new career. The laptop still has no idea of what hit it… it only knows that it wants a rest, please. And it now has to get used to the idea that where K.C goes, it goes. 

And as for those men in love that she writes about? The list of stories just waiting to be written is getting longer… and longer…. 

K.C. loves to hear from readers. 
E-mail: k.c.wells@btinternet.com 
Twitter: @K_C_Wells 


February 1, 2016

Excerpt & Giveaway! Benoit's Surprise Christmas by Catherine Lievens




Belgium expat Benoit Girault has only worked in the administrative department of Toys for All in Milwaukee for a few short months, but it’s long enough for him to miss everyone back home and to fall for coworker Jake Manning—not that Jake ever notices him. Or so Benoit thinks.

Jake notices Benoit all right, but he doesn’t want to risk mixing business with pleasure, not when it could create problems in the office. So when Jake’s friend and boss, Randall, tells him to team up with Benoit to organize a Saint Nicholas party, he’s less than thrilled. But as they work together and Jake nurses Benoit through an illness, he realizes some people might be worth risking it all for.



YOU WANT me to do what?”

Jake’s boss smiled at him as if he were asking nothing much—the bastard. Randall knew exactly what he was doing, just like he knew Jake would react like he did. He hated parties, and everyone in the office knew it.

“Organize a party for the new clients.”

“Janet usually organizes the parties.”

“She’s busy with another contract. The Belgian clients are yours, Jake. It seems obvious to me that you should be the one in charge of this.”

“But I don’t know anything about the saint you’re talking about.”

“You have enough time to learn something about him and about the Belgian traditions that go with it.”

“You can’t do this to me, Randall. Please. I’m already busy with this new contract. I don’t have time to organize a party.”

“The clients were delighted when I told them there would be a party.”

Jake gaped at his boss. “You told them?”

“Of course. When Mr. Leblanc said he was bringing his wife and son along, I just knew we had to do something for the kid.”

“Someone could take him to the zoo,” Jake muttered.

“Jake, we’re a toy company. Why would we take a kid to the zoo?”

“It’s not like we actually have the toys in this office. That’s what the stores are for.”

Randall set his jaw and narrowed his eyes. He obviously wasn’t going to be swayed by Jake’s protests. But what about pleading? “Randall, I just don’t have the time to do everything on my own, especially if you want a kiddie party.”

“That’s why Benoit is going to help you.”


Catherine Lievens has always loved books. She’s not sure how she managed to marry a man who doesn’t read, but she deals with it and buys enough books for both of them. Just ask him—he frequently wonders if the books on her shelves mate with each other to produce new ones. She never told him it’s only her buying more books.

After brushing up her English to graduate in English language and translation, she decided to put it to good use and write the characters she always dreamt of. She likes writing about creatures people say don’t exist, like shifters and harpies, because her life’s too boring to write about what she knows, and she always wanted to be a cat anyway.


January 18, 2016

Excerpt & Review! If Only In My Dreams by Keira Andrews


To be home for Christmas, they must bridge the distance between them.

Charlie Yates is desperate. It’s almost Christmas and his flight home from college has been delayed. For days. Charlie promised his little sister Ava he’d be home for her first holiday season since going into remission from leukemia. Now he’s stuck on the opposite coast and someone else grabbed the last rental car. Someone he hasn’t even spoken to in four years. Someone who broke his heart.

Gavin Bloomberg’s childhood friendship with Charlie ended overnight after a day of stolen kisses. With years of resentment between them, they don’t want to be in the same room together, let alone a car. But for Ava’s sake, Gavin agrees to share the rental and drive across the country together.

As they face unexpected bumps along the road, can Charlie and Gavin pave the way to a future together?


***
I wasn’t sure if it was the crick in my neck or the drool dripping down my chin that woke me. Inhaling sharply, I jolted up straight. It was dark, and I blinked at the red glow of taillights. Beside me, Gavin turned down the radio, which had been playing a bad cover of “Santa Baby.” I rubbed my eyes. “Where are we?”

“We passed Wells, Nevada, a little while back.”

The green display on the dashboard said it was just after eleven p.m. I pulled out my phone and read a text from Mom.

How’s it going? You and Gavin be careful on those roads. Don’t drive too fast. Christmas will be whenever you get here. Xxxxx

I tamped down the swell of emotion. Most people did “xoxo,” but when I was little my mom always kissed my forehead, chin, both cheeks, and then the tip of my nose before I went to sleep. She did it with Ava too. I guess it’s our family’s thing, although my dad was always big on the bear hugs. He and Mom are kind of perfect that way. Yin and yang, Aunt Wendy says.

“Everything okay?”

I glanced at Gavin, who looked over with a concerned furrow between his brows. “Um, yeah.”

I went back to my phone and opened my map. Why was Gavin being…nice? He hadn’t deigned to pay me the slightest bit of attention in years—aside from that day in the pizza place, the thought of which sent a prickly rush of anger and shame through me. But earlier when he’d asked about Ava, he’d seemed sincere.

I shifted in my seat, uncrossing my legs. When I’d woken up that morning from my uneasy pre-airport sleep, I’d expected to be back home in Norwalk by now. But here I was in a car in Buttfuck, Nevada—with Gavin Bloomberg. It was so goddamned weird.

And as I focused on the map, I realized I was going to be in a car with Gavin for a long-ass time. “We’re, like, six hours behind schedule. At least.”

“Yeah, it sucks. It really took forever getting out of the Bay Area.” He yawned widely.

With a stab of guilt, I realized he’d been driving since that morning. “I can drive now. Sorry, I didn’t mean to pass out for so long.”

“It’s okay. Should probably get more gas too. At the next station we can switch. There’s a town coming up.”

“Cool.” I fiddled with the laces on my sneaker. This part of the interstate had two lanes in each direction, and white headlights passed by on the other side of a grassy median. The land looked flat as a pancake, but it was too dark to see much. “You ever driven across the country before?”

“Nope. You?”

“No.”

In the ensuing silence, broken only by that incredibly annoying Paul McCartney Christmas song on the radio, I stared out the window, trying to see beyond the flat scrub that disappeared into inky blackness. I racked my brain for something to say. That first summer, Gavin and I would talk for hours and hours about nothing. Comics and movies, and just…stuff. Now we could barely handle the kind of small talk you’d make in a taxi or on a plane.

“How’s Tim?”

Whoa. I swiveled my head to gape at him. “What?”

“That’s his name, isn’t it? That guy you were seeing from Jefferson High?” Gavin adjusted one of the heating vents, casual as anything.

“Yeah. That’s his name. I didn’t…how did you know?”

He laughed uneasily. “What, you thought it was a secret or something? Everyone knew. It wasn’t a big deal. It’s not like you hid it.”

“No one mentioned it to me.” I wrapped one of my laces around my index finger, cutting off the circulation. It wasn’t that I cared about people knowing I was gay—he was right, I hadn’t hidden it. But the idea of Gavin actually talking about me and Tim (probably with Candace) torpedoed bile up my esophagus.

“Seemed like you never really talked to anyone at school the last couple years. You always had your earbuds in, and outside class you didn’t join in anything.”

“I was a little busy with my dying sister.” I tugged the lace harder.

“Oh, I know. I’m not saying…you just seemed…”

“What?”

“Angry.” He shrugged. “You intimidated people.”

I released the lace and let the blood back into my fingertip. “So? I don’t care what people think.”

“I know. I always admired that about you. Most guys I knew in junior high wouldn’t have spent so much time playing with their little sister. You never worried about being ‘cool’ or whatever.”

The flush of pleasure that warmed me was beyond stupid and annoying. “Well, Tim was a cool guy, but we weren’t serious. He’s been at Penn State since last year. Having a good time from what I see on Facebook. Bagging a lot of hot guys.”

“Oh yeah? Cool.” Gavin cleared his throat. “What about you?”

How was this real life? Sure, just talking about banging guys with Gavin. NBD. “Sure, college has been fun. Plenty of guys to hook up with at USF. For a Jesuit school, the party scene is pretty wild.” I’d fooled around with a few students, but that was it. Sex was fun, but I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend.

“I was wondering about that. Not the party scene, but the religious thing. I didn’t think you were a big believer?”

I laughed. “Oh, I’m not. But they take heathens too. I wrote an essay about how cancer kills faith, and they gave me a full ride. It would have been an in-state school for me if they hadn’t. I guess they figure they can save my soul. But I haven’t actually met any Bible thumpers. It’s been chill.”

“That’s good. What’s your major going to be?”

“No idea. I’m taking a bunch of stuff this year, and we’ll see if anything sticks. What about you?”

“Engineering.”

“Nice.” I should have known he’d be doing something super smart. His dad was a civil engineer, and I still wasn’t really sure what he actually did, but it was probably hard.

“How are your parents?” he asked.

“Good. Better now. It’s been hard with Ava and everything.”

“Yeah, I bet. Is your dad still at the same firm?”

I smiled briefly. “He just made partner, actually. It was a pretty big deal.”

“Cool!” Gavin’s face lit up, a grin pushing the dimples into his cheeks and making my stomach flip-flop like a fish on the bottom of a boat. Do not go there, Charlie. Get a grip. “Is your mom going back to work now?”

“Not sure. I think she’s gotten her fill of hospitals, you know? But she might do some private nursing or something. We’ll see.” I cleared my throat and stared out the windshield at the red lights. “How are your folks?”

The bright-eyed remnants of his grin vanished, and Gavin sped up to change lanes and pass the car in front of us. “They’re fine. Oh, there’s the exit for that town.” He accelerated more to get back in the right lane.

Huh. As we exited the interstate and pulled into a gas station, I rolled it around in my mind. Gavin and his parents had been tight, but maybe something had changed? Sure, Hanukkah might not be a super important high holy day or whatever, but it was totally weird that they’d spend the holidays without him. But maybe they’d wanted him to come and he’d elected to be with Candace instead.

Ugh. She of the perky tits and golden hair and even, gleaming white teeth. Just thinking about her made me clench my fists.

“Candace is making the new guy feel right at home!” Pete Stiffler crowed with a braying laugh.

I yanked open the car door and stalked into the gas station, shivering in the surprisingly cold night. Bells jingled merrily, and it looked like Santa’s workshop had barfed all over the interior of the convenience store, with garlands and cheap ornaments strung over the shelves and lights along the tops of the fridges. The middle-aged guy behind the counter wore reindeer horns.

I nodded to him as I grabbed a Red Bull and a bunch of snacks, wondering what the Bloombergs thought of Miss Candace Allen. She’d been near the top of our class and was going to Columbia, because of course she had beauty and brains. It was nauseating.

As I surveyed the chip aisle, wondering if Gavin still loved sour cream and onion, I sighed. I knew I wasn’t being fair. How could I blame Candace for seeing him at that stupid party and grabbing him? It wasn’t her fault he wanted her back. Of course he did—she was a straight guy’s perfect cheerleader fantasy.

Wasn’t her fault he didn’t want me.

Through the window, I could see him pumping the gas, watching the numbers climb. He’d been beautiful the first day I saw him, and he’d grown into a gorgeous man. Tall and lean and long legged, and…why the hell was I thinking about this? So what if he was good looking? I’d thought we were friends, but I’d been nothing to him. Some little experiment he’d tossed aside for the hetero delights of Candace Allen. I hadn’t even been worth talking to after school started.

Jerking away from the window, I grabbed a bag of Doritos. After I paid the cashier, I climbed behind the wheel of the Jetta. When Gavin got in the passenger seat, he tucked away the gas receipt in the glove box.

He asked, “I guess we’ll just take turns filling up? And at the end we’ll see if one of us paid more.”

“Sure,” I gritted out as I started the engine. I could see him watching me from the corner of my eye as I peeled out of the station.

“What? Do you not want to do the gas that way?”

“The gas is fine. And obviously I owe you for half the car too. I’ll pay you when we get home.”

“I know you will. I’m not…okay. Fine.” He flipped on the radio and left it on a station playing my mom’s favorite carol.

“They looked up and saw a star.
Shining in the east beyond them far.
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night.”

My breath stuttered as I remembered last Christmas and driving my mom home from the hospital after another of Ava’s endless treatments. I couldn’t sing for shit, but as we’d passed all the twinkling lights and snowmen, I’d warbled the verses I could remember.

It had only made my mom cry harder, but then she’d gripped my hand and said I was right—we couldn’t give up hope. I’d only sung it to make her feel better because she liked it, but I guess it had been the right thing to do.

The star shining in the east now was the town of West Wendover. We drove into Utah over two faded white lines painted on the road, under the watchful eye of a giant neon cowboy and the glittering lure of casinos. A sign informed us we were now in mountain time, which made me feel like we’d just fallen another hour behind schedule.

Past the undaunted dazzle of buffets, country cover bands, slot machines, and Arby’s, rocky hills rose. Soon we were cloaked in darkness again, with only a few fellow travelers on the road as midnight ticked by. As we went, the hills disappeared and the flat ground became strangely bright. “Jesus. Is it snowing?”

Gavin leaned forward in his seat, peering intently. “I don’t think so, but I guess it snowed earlier? It’s all white. Oh, wait—look at the sign.”

Bonneville Salt Flats Recreation Area

I exhaled. Salt I could handle. We’d have enough snow to deal with as we went farther east. “Oh, duh. Wow. That’s a lot of salt.”

We passed the miles and miles of salt flats, the carols playing softly, people singing about joy to the world, decking the halls, and silent nights. After a while, I realized Gavin was asleep. His lips were parted, and his chest rose and fell evenly. He’d taken off his leather jacket and folded it against the window as a pillow.

His thick eyebrows had been pretty messy when we first met, but he’d started plucking in high school. The urge to reach over and run my finger over his left brow was ridiculous, and I ripped my gaze back to the road.

Unfortunately, the highway was a flat line in danger of hypnotizing me, so I let myself look again. Gavin wore a red Henley with three open buttons at the neck. Dark hair poked out from the collar, and I wondered how thick it was over his chest.

Turning my head, I forced in a long, deep breath and held it for a few seconds before exhaling. I wondered if his lips would still feel surprisingly soft, and if—

I took another breath and held it for longer this time as I clutched the wheel. What ifs would only make this trip even more torturous. I needed to concentrate on getting home, and then Gavin and I would go back to being strangers again. All that mattered was seeing Ava and my family.

All that matters is making it home so she won’t get sick again.

I cursed myself for the nagging worry over that fucked-up dream. But no matter how often I reminded myself it wasn’t real, it was like I could feel the hospital tiles under my feet and the helpless grief that had doubled me over as the doctor shook his head.

Shivering, I turned the heat up a notch, glancing at Gavin as he shifted and licked his lips before settling again.

Fuck, I didn’t want to think about him either, but the road was flat and straight, and my traitorous mind wandered back to that Labor Day weekend before the first day of ninth grade…

***

What do you do when, after many years, you come face to face with the person who broke your heart into tiny, tiny pieces and yet you can’t stop caring about?

Charlie and Gavin haven’t parted in the best of ways and they sure never expected to suddenly bump into each other in a middle of a snow storm.

Years of resentment and hurt feelings can’t be put aside in a moment but old loyalties can’t be ignored either.

While the storm closes in, Charlie and Gavin will have to find a way to put aside whatever they think they might feel for each other and try to get home in time for the holidays.

This was a sweet story of two young men who struggle with overcoming fear and resentment in order to find their happily ever after.

The dual point of view was a nice touch because it’s easier to understand the characters and gives depth to the story.

Charlie’s love for his sister and his willingness to do anything to keep his promise to her was one of the things I loved most. 

There’s a great accent on family values, trust and loyalty all throughout the novel, which gives the story a sense of reality. 

If Only in my Dreams was my first Keira Andrews book and I was pleasantly surprised. 

I’ll go back for more of her novels for sure and I highly recommend you do the same. 

Happy Reading!




After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal, and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.” You can find out more about Keira and her books at her website, and on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter for news, giveaways and more.

December 18, 2015

Release Day Blitz!! A Serious Thing, Will & Patrick 1.5 by Annabelle Jacobs


Patrick has a plan, and he’ll go to great lengths to see it through.

After three weeks apart due to work and school commitments, he and Will are finally getting to spend some time together. Patrick is staying with Will over the Christmas holidays, and he intends to tell him how he feels on Christmas Day. It’s going to be perfect.

But of course, Patrick’s plans don’t always go smoothly….



~*~
Will took his time in the shower, letting the hot water ease his tired muscles from the three-hour drive, and he was only just done toweling off when the doorbell rang.

“For fuck’s sake.”

Who the hell could that be?

If it was one of his mates, they’d have to go away and come back tomorrow, because no way did he want guests in his house when Patrick got there. Which would be in—he checked his phone—roughly an hour. He grabbed a dry towel from the rail and wrapped it around his waist, cursing under his breath at the chill as he marched downstairs.

A familiar figure stood on the other side of the front door. His features weren’t visible through the opaque glass, but Will would recognize him anywhere. He unlocked the door and yanked it open, only to be met with a gust of cold air.

“Fuck, that’s cold!”Patrick snapped his head up from where he’d been staring down at his phone, and a huge smile spread across his face at the sight of Will. “Well, hello to you too.” He quickly stepped forward and bundled Will back inside, closing the door behind him. “This is like old times,” he said, bracketing Will up against the wall.

~*~



Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats.
An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They're usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

December 17, 2015

Excerpt & Giveaway! For Me, Rent Me #4 by Brina Brady




The entire Dubrovsky family heads to snowy Russia for a family Christmas. Brennen fears Dmitri’s homophobic father’s rejection. Dmitri believes when they present their daughter, that all will be forgiven, but steps into a mess upon arriving with his husband. Instead of greeting Dmitri and Brennen with hugs and kisses, Grandma Dubrovsky whisks baby Dominika away, leaving them alone with Dmitri’s angry father. Can they stay if it means abiding by his rules?

This is a story of love, forgiveness, and miracles during the holiday season. Dmitri and Brennen overcome issues which have been troubling their relationship, each growing and learning how to best be what the other needs. There are many surprises during the holiday season for all of them. 

This is best if read after Make Me (Book 3 in the Rent Me series.) If you read it as a standalone, you will surely wish you had read the first three books.


~*~
Adrik was deep in conversation with Valerik when they approached the porch. Their conversation terminated when Dmitri and Brennen arrived. Mischa was right behind them. 

“Why is he here? He’s not a Dubrovsky. He’s your wife, so he needs to be baking in the kitchen.” Valerik spit on the snow.

Brennen lowered his eyes for a moment and when he’d had just about enough, he spoke in Russian to be sure the old man heard and understood. “That is the last cheap fucking insult you get. One more insult from you and I’ll personally take Dominika home. You’ll never see our daughter again.”

“That was uncalled for,” Dmitri shouted at Valerik. “I stand with Brennen on this. You insult my husband one more time, then you’ll never see any of us.” 

“That goes for me, too. I won’t allow you to treat Brennen like this. We love him and he is part of us. You need to apologize,” Mischa said.“I agree. Brennen has been part of the Dubrovsky family since he was a child. Keep your homophobic attitude out of Christmas. We’re here to celebrate as a family. None of us will visit you ever again if you continue this abuse,” Adrik said.
~*~


I am from Huntington Beach, Ca. I taught various subjects at a Continuation High School in Los Angeles, California for 27 years. I obtained a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in history, Secondary Social Science Credential and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Reading and Secondary Education from California State University, Long Beach. I also enrolled in some creative writing classes at UCLA. I am currently taking classes from Romance Writers of America. 


December 12, 2015

Release Day Blitz: Snow and Mistletoe by Alexa Riley



Noelle's voice has captivated Alex, and she's become his greatest obsession. Since he hired her to read audiobooks, listening to her is the only thing that makes his lonely world bearable. Thank God she's never seen him. His scars would only scare her away. 

Alex has starred in every fantasy Noelle's had since she first heard his voice over the phone, and reading erotica samples to him only fuels her desire. Listening to him on the other end of the phone is the best part of her day, and she's willing to do anything to please him. 

On Christmas Eve a storm comes through, sending Noelle in search of her reclusive boss. Once she's at his cabin with no place to go, there's only one way to keep warm. 

Warning: This is the sweetest, cheesiest, most Christmassy book ever! It's filled with late-night confessions, dirty deeds, and a lifetime of love. If you love this time of year, I've got some cheer for you!




~*~
“I…uh…” I say, trying to break the silence between us for the second time today. I’m totally getting fired. Hell, I kinda knew that when I popped on my audiobook and my voice wasn’t even on it. As much as I want to ask, I don’t feel like poking the bear he seems to have turned into.

I knew he was the silent broody type, but I didn’t think he bit. Now I’m not so sure. He could rip my heart to shreds with a few harsh words. Maybe this is why I spend so much time with my head in the clouds and my nose in books, dreaming in my own little world. This real-life romance shit is hard and scary.

“Follow me. I’ll show you where you can put your stuff,” he says without looking at me as he heads towards a hallway. It’s as if he wants to shove me into a room as quickly as possible. He won’t even look at me, and a lump starts to form in my throat. Forget it. I can’t do this.

“Maybe I should just…” I turn to grab the door handle, but I remember I don’t have my shoes on so I can’t make as quick of an escape as I’d like. Before I can turn to grab my shoes, big arms shoot out on either side of me, landing on the door. His warm body presses into mine.

“Don’t go.” His words are soft this time, and they tickle my ear. He doesn’t move, and I can’t seem to form any words with him pressed up against me like this. “Just let me show you to your room. You can take a warm bath if you like.”

“Okay.” The fight leaves my body at his deep, sensual voice. My answer comes out breathy, and it takes every muscle in my body to stop myself from leaning into him. I want to rub against him like a cat in heat. I’ve never done anything wanton in my life, but Alex makes me do a lot of things I’ve never done before. Like drive three hours in a snowstorm, pretending it was all about saving my job, when really I’m being a low-key stalker.

Maybe I can just say I’m cold or something if I rub against him. Oh my God, I’m totally trying to cop a feel! My cheeks burn with embarrassment at my own thoughts, but Alex still makes no move to release me. I can’t move until he drops the big arms that are caging me. God, how I wish I was facing the other way and staring into his dark blue eyes. I was so sure they would be brown when I pictured him, but my thoughts didn’t do those eyes justice.

“Don’t try to leave again.” The firmness in his voice is one I know all too well. I am about to tell him I’ll do whatever I want, but feeling him pressed against me banishes any thoughts I have of leaving this cabin. “It’s dark, the snow is falling thick, and the coyotes will be out.”

With that caution, the warmth of his body leaves mine, and I miss it instantly. Sadly, I think I could have stood like that all night and been utterly content. I turn, following him down the long hallway. The cabin is cute. It’s hard to make out much with so few lights on, but all the walls and floors are wooden. It’s rustic and homely and utterly perfect. The place looks like it was plucked right out of some catalogue. It would be the perfect place to spend Christmas.

The thought reminds me that it’s Christmas Eve. I haven’t heard anyone else, but I feel bad, not only for intruding but for possibly putting someone out of a bedroom. “Are we alone?” I’m prying for information, but I’m wondering if a girlfriend or someone like that is going to pop up.

“I’m always alone.” That makes me happy until the words really sink it.

He takes me upstairs, and we pass one door before we stop outside another. He turns the knob and pushes the door open. He half-turns to me, but the light is off, and I still can’t really make out his face. I can tell he has a strong jaw and nose, but seeing so little only makes me long to see more.

“Get some rest. I’m sure it was a long drive.” With that, he turns and heads down the stairs, his big body disappearing into the shadows of the cabin.

I go into the room he told me to take and flip on the nearby lamp. I ignore everything but the bed as I toss my bag onto it and let myself fall into its softness.I’m always alone.

~*~

I'm Alexa Riley! Mom, wife, and business woman by day and smut writer by night. I specialize in the Dirty Date Night reading. I wrote my first book, Owning Her Innocence, because well, I just couldn't find any daddy books to my liking. So I sat down and just started writing, bringing the fantasies I find myself often dancing to in the dark of night to life, one page at a time.

Alexa Riley is my alter ego. I can't let the other soccer moms know what I'm up to or the guys at work for that matter. Little do they know that they've got nothing on my dirty talk.

I'm here to give you a quick fix of filthy dirty smut. Got a few hours to kill? Then I'm what you're looking for.



December 7, 2015

Excerpt & Giveaway! Status Update, #gaymers #1 by Annabeth Albert




Adrian Gottlieb is winning at life. He’s a successful video game designer with everything a man could ask for, including a warm comfy ride to Denver and a date for his sister’s wedding. But he finds himself in need of a total reboot when he's left stranded at a snowy campground in Utah. Holiday plans? Epic fail.

That is until Noah Walters offers him shelter for the night and a reluctant cross-country ride. Nothing about the ultraconservative geoarchaeologist should attract Adrian, but once he discovers Noah’s hidden love for video games, the two connect on a new level. Soon, a quiet but undeniable chemistry sparks.

Something doesn’t add up, though. As the miles accumulate and time runs out, Noah must face the most difficult choice of his life. Meanwhile, Adrian must decide whether he’s ready to level up. Is their relationship status worth fighting for, or has this game ended before it's even begun?

Book 1 of the #gaymers series

~*~

Chapter One

Noah knew the dog was trouble as soon as he and Ulysses entered the campground’s off-leash dog area. The little guy—some sort of Chihuahua/mini-pin mix in a yellow-and-green checked coat—stood in the center of the scrubby grass, barking his fool head off. The only human in the dog area sat at the picnic table on the far side, completely absorbed in his shiny phone, oblivious to his dog strutting around like all eight pounds of him would be enough to keep potential threats out.

Ulysses gave Noah a look, like “you really expect me to ignore that?” Noah tightened his hold on the tennis ball chucker. Ulysses never did well competing with smaller dogs for his toys. He unclipped Ulysses with a stern look.

“Be good.”

Still yapping, the little dog rushed over to inspect his new enemy. Predictably, Ulysses wandered away to do his business. He was too old for these sorts of games.

Noah gave a halfhearted wave in the direction of the owner, but the guy didn’t look up from his phone. The young guy was a typical hipster tourist—thick tortoise-framed glasses, artfully messed-up dark hair, with a thick purple streak, falling over his forehead. Slim build, but his wide shoulders stretched his too-thin jacket, making the shiny fabric ripple with his motions. He wasn’t any more prepared for November in Utah than his designer dog. Still, he was a cute guy, if one was the type to notice things like that, which Noah was not.

Noah looked away, studying the sheer cliffs that surrounded the Capitol Reef National Park. Didn’t matter how much time he spent in Southern Utah, he never got tired of the view. Phone guy was missing the light shifting into one of those perfect late fall sunsets that made the early dusk worth the loss of daylight. Pink streaks mingled with gray sky to cast a rosy glow over the scrubby grass and low fence of the dog area.

Rowwwr. Ulysses flopped at Noah’s feet, a deep beseeching whine rattling out of his barrel chest. He was eighty pounds of unhappy. He’d waited patiently all afternoon while Noah worked, and now he was missing out on his ball time thanks to the teacup gatekeeper.

“Okay, but play nice.” Noah threw the ball hard with the chucker toy, going for enough distance to outstrip the tiny dog’s ability to keep up with Ulysses. Not surprisingly, the little guy was tenacious, cutting off Ulysses’s path to the ball. Ulysses gave a warning woof, and Noah broke into a run, heading after the dogs.

“Down,” he called out. Ulysses wouldn’t attack the smaller dog, but he wasn’t above a major tantrum. And despite the smaller dog acting as instigator, people would see the huge black dog and toss out the “aggressor” label. Noah preferred to exercise him late in the day—Ulysses simply didn’t enjoy playing with other dogs, and Noah wasn’t one to force his dog into uncomfortable situations.

The little dog stood over the ball, yapping up a storm while Ulysses barked and growled, ignoring Noah’s command to sit.

Finally, the owner hefted himself off the picnic bench.

“Pixel, baby, what are you doing?” the owner called in a melodic voice that didn’t inspire Noah’s confidence in the man’s ability to control his dog. “Did the big doggie scare you?”

Hah. Typical. Noah snorted. “Can you grab the ball?” He didn’t trust those little dog breeds—too quick to snap. He’d nearly been bitten trying to retrieve a ball more than once.

“Oh sure.” The guy reached under Pixel—typical cutesy name for an annoying dog—and delicately plucked the ball free, but instead of handing it to Noah, he gave it a toss, sending both dogs running.

Oh great. Noah let out a slow breath, little puffs of vapor in the crisp evening air that did nothing to defuse his tension.

“It’ll be okay.” The way-too-handsy guy patted the sleeve of Noah’s parka. “They just need to work it out. Pixel loves to play.”

Noah took a step to the side. Who did that? Touched complete strangers? But the guy kept up his friendly grin, not unlike his dog, who kept gamely chasing Ulysses. Ulysses won the race to the ball this time and hightailed it back to Noah. Not releasing his prize, he whined softly.

“Hey, boy. You got a toy?” The guy knelt to dog level and extended a hand, but instead of sniffing, Ulysses shook his head.

“Sorry. He’s not much on new people.” Neither am I. Noah’s voice sounded rough to his own ears—too many days with only Ulysses to talk to.

“It’s okay.” The guy straightened, then extended a hand to Noah. “I’m Adrian Gottlieb. You been at Capitol Reef long?”

“Couple of weeks.” He returned Adrian’s handshake, hating it when a little buzz shot up his arm. Unlike his own gloved hand, Adrian’s hand was bare, a hint of a tattoo playing peekaboo with his cuff, his grip strong and firm. And Noah had absolutely no business noticing anything more than the guy’s relentless friendliness.

Adrian smiled expectantly as he released Noah’s hand.

“Oh, I’m Noah. And that’s Ulysses,” he added, because dog people always wanted to know all about the dog. No doubt the guy was bursting to tell Pixel’s life story.

“Add-dreeee-an,” a heavily accented voice called from the gate. A beefy guy close to Noah’s age leaned on the fence, bald head gleaming in the setting sun. “I’m lonely. When are you coming back?”

“Coming,” Adrian shouted, then gave Noah a shrug with a “what can you do?” expression on his face. He grabbed Pixel and jogged across the field.

Noah nodded like he knew anything about handling demanding friends. Adrian greeted the mammoth dude with a quick peck. Okay then. Not a friend. He should have guessed, but he was a bit slow about relationship stuff. The country was changing, even way out here, but no one would dare try even that much PDA in his tiny West Texas college town. His stomach gave a weird flip—not quite discomfort, but something else he refused to name. Time to return his attention to Ulysses. He hurled the tennis ball as hard as he could.

~*~


Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.
Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency


December 6, 2015

Excerpt & Giveaway! Snowflake Bay, The Brides of Blueberry Cove #2 by Donna Kauffman



There’s no place like seaside Blueberry Cove, Maine, at Christmas—and there’s nothing like a wedding, the warmth of the holidays, and an old crush, to create the perfect new start…
Interior designer Fiona McCrae has left fast-paced Manhattan to move back home to peaceful Blueberry Cove. But she’s barely arrived before she’s hooked into planning her big sister Hannah’s Christmas wedding—in less than seven weeks. The last thing she needs is for her first love, Ben Campbell, to return to neighboring Snowflake Bay…

As kids, Fiona was the bratty little sister Ben mercilessly teased—while pining after Hannah. But Fi never once thought of Ben like a brother. And that hasn’t changed. Except Fi is all grown up. Will Ben notice her now? More importantly, with her life in a jumble, should he? Or might the romance of the occasion, the spirit of the season, and the gifts of time ignite a long-held flame for many Christmases to come…

Something old might just become something new…


~*~
Big hands gripped her shoulders again and turned her back around. Then she felt rough, thick fingers gently tug at the scarf until her face was completely uncovered, or at least most of it was. Curls still clung to her eyelashes and errant wool fibers remained plastered to her Chapsticked lips.

She finally looked up at him. What the hell. She couldn’t possibly be more mortified around him now than she had been during pretty much every waking, breathing moment of her adolescence, could she?

Any latent, exceedingly selfish hopes she might have harbored that time and age had been unkind to him were extinguished with that one simple glance. He was … beautiful. He’d always been beautiful. Thick, chestnut-brown hair that was forever in need of a trim topped a pair of always twinkling eyes the color of Maine evergreens, and a ready grin set between a strong jaw and sharp cheekbones. Only now, age and time had somehow transformed him into a man who was more rugged, more handsome, more genuinely, heart-grippingly sexy. The kind of sexy a thirteen-year-old couldn’t even begin to appreciate, but the thirty-two-year-old woman standing before him could all too well.

His body was as ruggedly appealing as his face, with broad shoulders to match those wide palms, and the kind of muscles roping his arms and biceps that even the green plaid wool jacket he had on over a faded red hoodie did little to hide and everything to enhance. She didn’t dare look lower. Didn’t have to. He’d always been athletic and agile despite his size. Looking at those long legs and perfectly muscled thighs wasn’t necessary. She imagined them anyway, remembering far too many summers spent watching him and Logan from her bedroom window as they played pick-up basketball at the hoop mounted to the front of the carriage house, in nothing more than gym shorts and gleaming, honey-gold skin.

It seemed so unfair, she thought, even as she drank in the sight of him like a woman who’d been in the desert since, well, since the summer of her eighth grade graduation. Which was when he’d left town, and her unrequited love, in the unnoticed and seriously pathetic dust.

“Hello, Ben,” she said, seeing the wisps of wool still clinging to her lips dance briefly in the warm, dry air. She wanted to close her eyes. Hell, she wanted to dig a hole to China. Instead, she forced herself to maintain eye contact. Adult. Mature. Not thirteen. Not stupidly pining for a guy who never once thought of you as anything but his best friend’s annoying, bratty kid sister.

At the moment, however, he looked sincerely happy to see her. That shouldn’t have made her knees knock. Or her thighs clench.

“I didn’t know you were back in town,” he said.

“That makes two of us,” she said, thinking that her heart had to be pounding against her chest so hard, if she looked down, she’d surely see a cartoon version of it pumping out through her coat. Her fireplug red, down-filled coat.

Yeah.

Her karma clearly didn’t include things like having the sexier-than-ever Ben Campbell reenter her life when she had on cute yoga pants and was in some innocent but super suggestive pose that had him immediately wondering why in the hell he’d never noticed her before.

“You, uh …” He made a brief motion toward her mouth, and then that gleaming white grin flashed. “Either you’ve been slimed by your scarf, or you have a very unfortunate fungal issue. Either way—” He reached past her to nimbly snag a napkin from the holder she’d half buried under her satchel. “Here,” he said, offering it to her.

Aaaaand humiliation complete. Forever thirteen. Ah well, what the hell. Might as well own it. She tugged off her gloves with her probably wool-coated teeth, then took the proffered napkin. “Thanks,” she said, and turned to put her gloves on the marble countertop and do the best she could without benefit of a mirror to de-fungi herself. Turning back around, she crumpled the napkin in her hand and gave him a wry smile. “Better?”

“Mostly,” he said.

She went stock-still again when, teasing grin still firmly in place, he stepped closer, bowed his head, and gazed ever-so-intently at her mouth. She had no idea how her legs held her upright as every one of her adolescent fantasies came screaming back to mind, but in a far—far—more adult fashion. Surely, he couldn’t mean to—

He brought his hand up—not to cup her cheek so he could lower his lips to hers—but to pluck away the few remaining fibers that still clung to her lips.

What did it say that the tips of his fingers brushing her lips elicited a far greater response from her body than the last man she’d actually gotten naked with? Nothing positive, she was sure. About her, or about poor, couldn’t-find-an-erogenous-zone-if-it-was- staring-him-in-the-face Charlie. Which, sadly for them both, one rather universally well-known zone had been.

“Now you’re good,” he said, smiling again as he stepped back.No, not really, she thought. But you sure are. She swallowed against a throat that was suddenly a dry wasteland, while other parts of her were … decidedly not. Oh, so, very, very good.

~*~


USA Today bestselling author of the Cupcake Club Romance series, Donna Kauffman has seen her books reviewed in venues ranging from Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal to Entertainment Weekly and Cosmopolitan. She lives just outside of DC in the lovely Virginia countryside, where she is presently trying to makeover her newly empty nest into something that doesn’t have to accommodate piles of sports equipment falling out of her coat closet (okay, out of every closet...and under every bed....), size 13 cleats and sweaty uniforms cluttering her foyer (and stairwell, and laundry room, and...), and a kitchen that should have come with a traffic light. And a pantry monitor. (Anyone with a clever idea on how to repurpose lacrosse sticks into matching reading lamps, she’s all ears!) When she’s not stripping paint, varnishing an old auction house find, or trying to avoid bodily injury with her latest power tool purchase, she loves to hear from readers!



December 1, 2015

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway!A Very Daring Christmas, Tavonesi #8 by Pamela Aares



In A Very Daring Christmas, USA Today Bestselling author Pamela Aares' newest book in the Tavonesi Series, an invitation to join his teammate for Christmas throws sports phenom Jake Ryder straight into the path of Hollywood sensation Cameron Kelley, the one woman he's fighting to forget. ~ Sensual, intoxicating characters that will steal your heart! ~ (Rachael Herron).

When Cameron Kelly agreed to leverage her status as a Hollywood A-list movie star to help children in Dominia, nothing prepared her for the unthinkable poverty in the remote villages. Nor did she expect to run into a major league baseball star who shocks loose her pent-up desires. The next man she lets anywhere close to her heart will be a normal guy, not a celebrity, and certainly not a cocky All-Star. Yet when she sees the sexy athlete coaching the local kids in a makeshift sandlot, her heart and her body stop listening to her head. Flying high after winning the World Series, Jake Ryder is in the Caribbean to rehab his season-sore body and coach village children who are crazy about baseball. Running into Cameron, though, may send him packing. The heat sparking between the two of them has him rethinking his Three-Date Rule, something he swore he'd never do. And when she tries to manipulate him into a publicity stunt to fund her UNICAN project, he decides it’s game over. He's been used too many times and won't be used again. A surprise invitation to Trovare Castle throws them together once more. A mysterious prince and a fatherless boy complicate their already tense reunion, but they soon discover that the greatest dare is the one that leads to true love.





Pamela Aares is an award-winning, internationally bestselling author of contemporary and historical romance novels and also writes about fictional romance in sports with her new Tavonesi Series. Get ready for Alpha male All-Stars and the strong women they come to love! Her popularity as a romance writer continues to grow with each new book release, so much so, that the Bay area author has drawn comparisons by readers and reviewers to Nora Roberts. Pamela Aares writes romance books that she loves reading, particularly those that entertain, transport and inspire dreams while captivating and tugging at the heart. She takes her readers on a journey with complex characters in both contemporary and historical settings who are thrown in situations that tempt love, adventure and self-discovery. Before becoming a romance author, Aares wrote and produced award-winning films including Your Water, Your Life, featuring actress Susan Sarandon and NPR series New Voices, The Powers of the Universe and The Earth’s Imagination. She holds a Master’s degree from Harvard and currently resides in the wine country of Northern California with her husband, a former MLB All-Star and two curious cats. If not behind her computer, you can probably find her reading a romance novel, hiking the beach or savoring life with friends. You can visit Pamela on the web at http://www.PamelaAares.com