Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Gentleman's Madness by Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon

Summary:
An imprisoned heart finds escape in forbidden love.

No pride. No privacy. No hope.

Academic John Gilliam thought being caught embracing another man was the worst that could happen. Until he agrees to “treatment” at an asylum, where a vicious attack leaves him shaken and afraid.

But having all means of writing or reading taken from him… That is a serious threat to his sanity. Then a moment of kindness from an asylum attendant begins to restore his dignity.

Sam Tully feels sorry for the patient everyone calls “the professor”, but with a back injury that cost him his job on the docks—and without the education that would have bettered his position—he tries to keep his head down, and a tight lid on his attraction to men.

As John prays for freedom, he grows closer to the gentle, innately intelligent Tully. In spite of themselves, forbidden attraction leads to touches, kisses, and more. But there’s something other than curative treatments going on at the asylum. When John and Tully uncover a heinous conspiracy, their very lives are in danger.

Warning: Contains heinous crimes and frightening treatments—oh, and some sweet and loving sexy times between two healthy, not-crazy men.


John's journey definitely broke my heart but when Sam Tully entered his room, heartwarming feels popped up all over the place.  John and Sully wormed their way into my heart.  I say it often because when I read a really good book, the characters, the story, the setting, everything really gets under my skin and in my heart.  I invest all of me in it and The Gentleman's Madness is no different.  Once again, Dee & Devon have showed their devotion to historical detail in this amazing story.  I have to admit that the look in the eyes on the cover creeped me out a bit and because of it, Madness got pushed down on my TBR list a few notches but the farther into the story I got when I finally picked it up, the more it seemed perfectly fitting and now I can't imagine any other design.

RATING: 


John didn’t often lose his temper these days. Punishment came fast when one did, particularly when one had been diagnosed as aggressive. But their intrusive presence now, after this morning’s humiliation, proved too much for his temper. No more pens in his life. He’d been reduced to nothing more than a trembling child hiding under the covers. No. He must fight for what little he had left. Not dignity, but a faint shadow of it.

He drew the blanket from his face, down to his shoulders, too aware of his undressed state. “Dr. McAndrew, if you must speak of my illness and symptoms as if I am deaf, please be so good as to do it outside of my room.”

He looked over the group of four men. Earnest, well-educated men. As he had once been, but nothing like him any longer. His voice trembled, but he didn’t shout. “There is no reason one should be forced to listen to one’s diagnosis.” And then he lost all words. Familiar blue eyes met his, widened with shock, then pity and, worst of all, contempt.

The day’s pain suddenly increased beyond physical torment.

“Stanhope,” he whispered.

Stanhope hadn’t changed much in the last few years. He still wore his hair too long, and the shadow of freckles touched his nose.

“You look well,” John said, pretending that his old friend had answered. “I know the same cannot be said of me. I had heard you were going into medicine.”

Stanhope stepped back so he was at the rear of the group. The blank look he gave John now held no recognition. Except he gave a sharp glance to either side, probably to ascertain no one gazed at him with repulsion—as if John’s condition of madness was contagious.

“Oh, do not pretend you don’t know me.” John sat up, heedless of his naked torso. The dark rage boiled now. “For pity’s sake, that is too much. We were best of friends at school. No, gentlemen, not like that. He was spared any sort of perverse desire. Please, you must learn to hide your disgust better than this, especially you, Stanhope, if you hope to deal with patients who possess more intelligence than turnips.”

McAndrew stepped forward so his black jacket was all John could see. “Mr. G., you must calm yourself.”

He should, he knew. Instead, he rose from his narrow iron bed and wrapped the blanket tight around his shoulders. They had taken all but his drawers from him, and he knew he looked silly standing there, a skinny, crow-nosed fool, no doubt red-faced and staring. If he hadn’t been mad before, he had become so; he had nothing left. They had taken his pens, and now they stripped him of his past.

“I have nothing left,” he told them all, looking at Stanhope, whose gaze had dropped to examine something on his sleeve. “Apparently, even the inside of my brain is tainted. With despair, I should think. But no disease, no aberration is nearly as grotesque as pretending you do not know your old friend. You leave me with nothing.”

He should retreat and shut his mouth, but he knew that if he stopped railing, he would begin to weep. Anger kept the tears away, and he refused to cry in front of Stanhope and the rest of these gawping, muttering “gentlemen”.

“Attendant!” McAndrew didn’t shout, but the word held menace. Maybe John would have heeded the threat two hours earlier. Perhaps he would have heard it if he’d gotten some sleep the night before, but they’d been playing some sort of sleep-and-wakening game with him, seeing if they could wear him down.

“Attendant, now!”

The other men shuffled back to make room for the big oaf in gray who came into the room, moving far too quickly for a hulk like that. “Remove Mr. G to the restful room.”

“Mr. Gilliam. My name is John Gilliam,” John shouted at them all. “I still exist.”

The large gray-covered arms came around him, fast but not rough. He fought against the hard bands of those enormous arms, but they only tightened around him, catching his own arms helplessly at his sides. Too much like the man who’d attacked him in his sleep only a week earlier at Dr. Maxwell’s Asylum, and John began to panic, his heart beating erratically.

“Hush now, sir,” a voice said next to his ear.

“Give me one good goddamn reason why I should.”

The attendant didn’t answer as he expertly shoved John’s hands and arms into restraints.

“I hate this,” John said. He stopped fighting and allowed himself to be strapped and buckled into the jacket, which had been designed to calm the hysterical. Yes, that fairly described him at the moment.

At least the others had moved on, out of the room, so he could let go of the anger. “I fucking hate this all.” And he let the tears fall.

The attendant said, “Yes, sir,” and with a firm hand on his shoulder, marched him passively out of the room and down the hall.

“Today is not a white-letter day for me.” John talked just to hear his own voice rather than their footsteps, which echoed in the long, empty hall. Or rather, the attendant’s boots thumped. John’s bare feet, his ineffectual flesh, merely slapped against the floor. They went into the stairwell, and now their steps shuffled and clapped on the iron steps. “Do you know where the term black-letter day came from?”

He didn’t expect an answer, but the attendant said, “No, sir.”

Rather than think of his lost dignity, of the scorn in Stanhope’s eyes, of his own idiotic response, of anything to do with his proclivities or the fact that the large, ignorant bear of a man who held his shoulder had complete power over him, John began to babble. “A black-letter day is an unlucky day, one to be recalled with regret and sorrow. The Romans marked their unlucky days with a piece of black charcoal, and their lucky ones with white chalk.”

As always, knowledge soothed him. That small bit of the ancient past in his head connected him to the rest of the human race, to all that he had learned and all that he would someday return to. He could breathe without sobs again. And think, thank the good Lord.

“If I can think,” he said to no one as he waited for the figure of doom next to him to fumble with the jangling circle of keys, “I am not lost after all. I shall survive.”

“Yes, sir.” The attendant fitted the right key into the lock, and iron scraped against iron.

John’s storm had passed. “I suppose I will have to ask McAndrew to forgive my outburst,” he said, wishing he could wipe the tears and mucus from his face. He tried hunching his shoulder, but that didn’t reach the worst of the mess on his cheek.

“You might, later.” The attendant’s voice was mild and deep. So far the man hadn’t shouted or barked, a pleasant change from most of the asylum’s staff.

The door opened, the door closed, and John stood alone in the entirely empty room. I have nothing, he thought again, though the storm of self-pity had passed and the thought aroused no strong emotion. I am nothing, and I am alone.

Although no, he wasn’t alone. The attendant had come in as well.

“Get away from me,” John said. “I am not interested. I don’t know what they told you about me, but just get away.”

“I thought perhaps I might take the restraints off, sir.” The attendant stood, hands at his sides. Not impatient or scornful, simply waiting.

“Yes, yes. Thank you.” Unable to keep his balance correctly with the straitjacket, John dropped suddenly to the floor. He landed on his rear with an oomph.

“Whoops.” The attendant lunged forward as if to grab him.

John flinched. “No. Stay away.” He added the word, “Please,” not because he was begging, but because he remembered he was a civilized man and had been taught manners. Ah, damnation, the tears would start again.

He shut his eyes, and something soft, some fabric, touched his face.

With a cry, he jerked away. “Damn me,” he muttered when he realized the attendant had pulled out a handkerchief. He’d wiped John’s cheek. He cleaned the rest of his face carefully, as a nurse dries the tears of a screaming baby, which John supposed fit the situation.

The big man tilted his head to the side to inspect the cleanup he’d done. “That’ll do,” he said.

“Thank you.” It was time to pretend to be an adult human again. “How do you do? I am John Gilliam, as you probably know. You are?”

“Tully. Sam Tully.”

Author Bios:
Bonnie Dee
I began telling stories as a child. Whenever there was a sleepover, I was the designated ghost tale teller. I still have a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch and a talking cat.

Writing childish stories for my own pleasure led to majoring in English at college. Like most English majors, I dreamed of writing a novel, but at that time in my life didn't have the necessary focus and follow through. Then life happened. A husband and children occupied the next twenty years and it was only in 2000 that I began writing again.

I enjoy dabbling in many genres. Each gives me a different way to express myself. I've developed a habit of writing every day that's almost an addiction. I don't think I could stop now if I tried.

Summer Devon
Summer Devon is the pen name writer Kate Rothwell often uses. Whether the characters are male or female, human or dragon, her books are always romance.

You can visit her facebook page, where there's a sign up form for a newsletter (she'll only send out newsletters when there's a new Summer Devon or Kate Rothwell release and she will never ever sell your name to anyone).

Bonnie Dee
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EMAILS: summerdevon@comcast.net
katerothwell@gmail.com



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Pre-Order Blitz: Seaside Lovers by Melissa Foster

Title: Seaside Lovers
Author: Melissa Foster
Series: Love in Bloom: Seaside Summers #7
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Expected Release Date: July 20, 2016
Summary:
Seaside Summers is a series of stand-alone romances that may also be enjoyed as part of the larger Love in Bloom series.
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“You can always rely on Melissa Foster to deliver a story that’s fresh, emotional and entertaining. Make sure you have all night, because once you start you won’t want to stop reading. Every book’s a winner!” New York Times Bestselling Author Brenda Novak
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“Melissa Foster is synonymous with sexy, swoony, heartfelt romance!” New York Times Bestseller Lauren Blakely

In SEASIDE LOVERS…
After months of long-distance communication, actress Parker Collins and artist Grayson Lacroux finally plan to reconnect in the seaside town of Wellfleet, Massachusetts. But Parker never shows, and weeks pass without a word, leaving Grayson to believe he’s misinterpreted their budding relationship.

Parker has been running on autopilot ever since she lost her friend, mentor, and the only family she’s ever known, Bert Stein. Armed with junk food, tequila, and her big, lovable dog, she’s prepared to hole up and mourn–and determined to mend a fence Bert had never been able to with his estranged and bitter brother. But Parker didn’t count on the sinfully hot artist she’s been fantasizing about for nearly a year walking in on her grief-induced drunken night.

When Grayson stumbles across Parker, he has no idea what to make of the gorgeous blonde who blew him off despite the heat sizzling between them. But that doesn’t stop him from feeling protective of the woman who’s consumed his thoughts for months, and when he learns of Parker’s plans to confront an angry old man, he refuses to leave her side. As Parker’s past unfolds, they’re led on an unexpected journey of discovery. Their connection deepens, and late-night fantasies become passionate realities, until good intentions spark painful secrets, threatening the love they’ve found.


***Seaside Summers is part of Melissa Foster’s bestselling Love in Bloom series. All Love in Bloom books may be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, or as part of the series.***

SEASIDE SUMMERS
Seaside Dreams (Bella)
Seaside Hearts (Jenna)
Seaside Sunsets (Jamie)
Seaside Secrets (Amy)
Seaside Nights (Sky)
Seaside Embrace (Hunter)
Seaside Lovers (Grayson)
Seaside Whispers (Matt)

Read the complete LOVE IN BLOOM series:
SNOW SISTERS
THE BRADENS (at Weston, CO)
THE REMINGTONS
THE BRADENS (at Trusty, CO)
THE BRADENS (at Peaceful Harbor)
SEASIDE SUMMERS
WILD BOYS AFTER DARK

For a complete reading guide, family tree, checklists, and more, visit Melissa’s website.


"Trust me?” Grayson asked.

“Trust a guy who hauled me over his shoulder and kidnapped me?” She looked toward the bar.

“Yeah, trust that guy.”

“I do trust you.” She poked him in his chest. “But if I end up on the front of some rag magazine, I’m hiding out in your basement. With Christmas, chocolate, and a boatload of horror movies that you have to watch with me.”

“Sweetheart, if you move into my house, you won’t be watching movies or hiding out in the basement. You’ll be lucky if you make it out of the bedroom. In fact”—he slid his hand to the nape of her neck, causing her eyes to glaze over with desire—“maybe I should take a few of those pictures and make that happen.” He’d taken a chance, saying something so brazen and holding her like this in the cab of his truck, but he couldn’t hold back.



Author Bio:
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary CafĂ© and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.

Melissa hosts an Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Visit Melissa on social media. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.


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