Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday's Film Adaption: The Darling Buds of May by HE Bates


Summary:
The Darling Buds of May, which came out in 1958, was the first of five Larkin novels and in it readers witness the transformation of Mr. Charlton from a undernourished and timid tax clerk to ‘Charlie’, a fully-converted member of the Larkin way of life: an easygoing celebration of nature, food, drink, and family. In the process, the reader is introduced to the Brigadier, Miss Pilchester, and Angela Snow. Setting the style for the series, the book ends with a grand celebration, and the announcement of the wedding of Charlie and Mariette.


Film
A tax agent falls for a farm girl whose father he's investigating.

Release Date: April 29, 1959
Release Time: 96 minutes

Cast:
Tony Randall as Lorenzo Charlton
Debbie Reynolds as Mariette Larkin
Paul Douglas as Pop Larkin
Una Merkel as Ma Larkin
Fred Clark as Oliver Kelsey
Philip Ober as Wendell Burnshaw
Philip Coolidge as Reverend Osgood
Charles Lane as Inspector General Bigelow
Trevor Bardette as Chief Guthrie
William Smith as Barney
Addison Powell as David De Groot
Rickey Murray as Lee Larkin
Donald Losby as Grant Larkin
Cheryl Bailey as Victoria Larkin
Caryl Bailey as Susan Larkin





Author Bio:
Herbert Ernest Bates was born May 16, 1905 in Rushden, Northamptonshire, England. He left school before the age of seventeen. After brief stints as a reporter and a clerk at a warehouse, he began to establish himself as a writer. His first novel, The Two Sisters , appeared in 1926; in the next fifteen years he published eight novels and more than a dozen short story collections. Among the most critically acclaimed works of his early career are his novel The Poacher (1935), his short story collections Something Short and Sweet (1937), and My Uncle Silas (1939).


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Rescued by Felice Stevens

Summary:
Ryder Daniels is all too familiar with rejection. His parents cut off contact because he’s gay and his boyfriend left him, choosing drugs over love. Aside from his rescued pit bull, his only joy is hanging out with his younger brother. Then his mother does the unthinkable and forbids them to see each other, leaving Ryder devastated and alone. His friends urge him to date, but Ryder would rather throw himself into working at the dog rescue and figuring out a way to see his brother again.

When Jason Mallory’s girlfriend gives him an ultimatum to get married, he shocks everyone by breaking up with her instead. He believes he's too busy for a relationship now that the construction company he started with his brother is taking off. When he discovers a group of abandoned pit bulls and calls the local dog rescue group to pick them up, an uncomfortable encounter with Ryder causes Jason to question feelings he’s hidden deep inside for years.

Jason and Ryder build a friendship, until an unexpected kiss sparks the attraction they’ve been fighting. Jason gives Ryder unconditional love and helps him reconnect with his brother while Ryder shows Jason the passion he’s always missed in relationships. Together they must battle through their family differences and ugly prejudices. Only then can they prove that once you find the right person to love, there’s no turning back.

This is a re-release of the original edition published in 2014. It has brand new content as well as the entire book being revised.


I'll start by saying that I had not read the earlier edition of Rescued so I can't speak as too just how much revision there is but I cannot imagine this story any different than it is right now.  Felice Stevens has done it again and this time their names are Jason and Ryder.  I really enjoyed not only Jason and Ryder's journey but also that of their relationships with, or lack therof, their brothers.  It isn't always easy to balance the main characters' loving relationship with familial connections so when an excellent one comes along, it really grabs my heart.  If you have never read Felice Stevens before and wondering where to start? I highly recommend Rescued as a great jumping off point.

RATING: 


The pulse of the music pounded into Ryder’s brain. Why he allowed Connor and Emily to drag him here, he couldn’t say. They meant well, but he had no desire to chat up some random guy to have hurried sex in a bathroom stall or a dark hallway.

“Come on, let’s get some drinks. This place looks like it could be fun.” Connor pushed him toward the large glittering bar, waving at the shirtless bartender to get his attention. “Two beers, my man, with lime, and one Sea Breeze.” He grinned, and Ryder saw the bartender wink and smile at his friend.

“Another conquest, Con.” Poor guy would be sad to know Connor was here with his wife. And not into threesomes. Ryder accepted the mixed drink from his friend and passed it to Emily. She stood, facing the dance floor, enthralled by the men dancing, the light show, or both. “Em, here, take your drink.”

“Thanks.” Her hand reached out, but her gaze remained fixed on two men out on the floor. Their bodies were sinuously entwined, arms and lips pressed together. To Ryder, they looked hot, wild, and sexy as fuck.

“They are so free and beautiful, aren’t they?” He had to bend down to hear her. “I can’t see how anyone could think this is wrong.”

A tight little grin thinned his lips. “Well, obviously my parents do, since they have no desire to ever see me again unless I become ‘normal’ in their eyes.” He gulped half his beer, licking his lips afterward.

Connor draped an arm over his shoulder. “Screw ’em, I say. You’re doing nothing wrong. Live your life and find some happiness. We’ll always be here for you. You know that, right?” His friend’s arm tightened around his shoulder as Ryder nodded.

“They’ll come around one day, Ryder. You have to believe that. In the meantime, find someone to share your dreams with.” Ryder watched his friend’s gaze flicker over to Emily, who returned his look with her sweet smile. “It’s no good to be alone, man. It sucks the soul out of you.” Connor took his wife’s empty glass and placed it on a mirrored shelf next to where they were standing. “Now I’m going to dance with my wife, and I want you to find someone to dance with.” He took Emily’s hand and pulled her onto the floor.

Ryder chuckled and took another swallow of his beer. When he finished, he looked to put his bottle down, but instead caught the eye of a man who stood watching him. He recognized that look. It was one of heat, desire, and the need to get down and dirty as fast as possible. His groin responded, but he ignored it and instead returned to the bar to get another beer.

It took a while to make his way to the front of the bar and catch the bartender’s attention to order a drink. A large palm pressed against the small of his back. “Why did you turn away from me?” The voice murmured in his ear, sending tingles up his spine while a hard body pressed him into the wooden railing of the bar. An impressive erection nestled into the crease of his ass. He could feel the heat pouring off the man’s body.

Ryder froze. He took his change from the bartender, then spoke. “You need to take your hands off me.”

“Come on, I only wanted to talk and maybe get to know you better.” The man moved closer, rubbing himself against Ryder’s ass. In another minute the guy would be humping him in public.

That did it. Snarling, Ryder whipped around to face him. “I said back the fuck up, man.”

The stranger was extremely handsome. European, Ryder surmised, with a pale complexion, dark hair and eyes, and a full, sexy mouth that hinted at all things wicked. His six-foot-plus frame was clothed in an expensive suit, which did little to hide his broad shoulders and narrow waist. The thin shirt he wore pulled against the muscles of his chest, and Ryder could see the hard nipples poking through the silky fabric. Heat blazed in his glittering black eyes.

“I noticed you as soon as you walked in, so beautiful with your golden hair and skin and those bright blue eyes like a summer sky.” He licked his lips, drawing Ryder’s attention once more to their fullness. “I like your mouth too. I watched you drink your beer and wished your lips were wrapped around my cock instead of that bottle. Imagine, a grown man being jealous of a bottle.”

Ryder sucked in his breath. He’d never been so blatantly seduced. In his mind he pictured this man stripped bare, pale body, glowing damp with perspiration, draped over Ryder’s own naked flesh. If he wanted, he knew he could take him, lead him to the back, and have him on his knees within minutes. Ryder imagined sliding his zipper down, pulling out his dick, and stuffing the man’s sexy, full mouth.

Sex with a stranger, in a club. How predictable and fucking depressing.

Finishing his second beer, he reined in his temper. “I don’t like people touching me unless I give them permission first.” He leaned closer, catching a whiff of the man’s cologne, mixed with the faint aroma of tequila and sweat. “And I didn’t give you”--Ryder touched the man’s nose with his fingertip--“permission to touch me.”

A groan burst forward from the man’s mouth as he closed his eyes. Ryder took the opportunity to escape and join his friends on the dance floor. Emily slipped her arm around his waist. “What was that all about, sweetie? He looked hot and totally into you.”

Ryder shrugged and swayed his body to the music as he danced with his friends. “Nothing and nobody. Someone looking for a fuck buddy for the night.” The music changed, and he made a face. “I hate this song. Come on, let’s get another drink.” He grabbed her hand, pushing his way off the dance floor, Connor trailing behind them, grumbling about rude friends.

“I’ve got this round, Connor. What’ll it be?” It was so tight by the bar they overlapped shoulders. Connor, touchy-feely bastard that he was, clasped the back of Ryder’s neck, resting his hand there.

“Get me another beer and Em another Sea Breeze.”

He’d given the bartender his order when he came face-to-face with the man he’d left before. Only this time the sexy mouth was sneering, and his handsome face twisted in an ugly grimace.

“So you let this pretty boy touch you, but you disappear on me?” His anger had Ryder taking a step back, forcing Connor to grasp him around the neck. The man’s eyes flashed. “He came with a woman. I saw. You like it three way, maybe? I can arrange for that.” He stepped in closer, and Ryder knew he had to get out of there.

“I’m out.” He spoke over his shoulder to Connor. “See you tomorrow.” Ryder pushed past the man and hustled out of the club. The cold wind bit through his shirt. Shit, he forgot his jacket inside. He texted Connor to get it from the coat check and take it with him when he left. There was no way in hell he was going back in there. Hailing a cab was simple, and within minutes he was hurtling down Broadway back home. Another disaster. Letting his head fall back on the headrest, he closed his eyes, and as always when he was alone and depressed, his thoughts turned to his former lover, Matt.

Was the man even alive, or had the path he’d chosen--drugs over his love--sent him to an early grave? What a waste of life. Matt had been so vibrant and healthy when they’d first met at the gym. But his easygoing, California-surfer-dude mentality hid a dark side. Drugs had always been prevalent in the music industry, but Matt wasn’t into weed. He was into the hard stuff--heroin. Ryder begged him to get help, to go to rehab, but his boyfriend insisted he didn’t have a problem. Working for an Internet radio station gave him easy access to all the drugs he could ever want.

The last ugly episode, when Ryder came home to find Matt passed out with a needle on the floor, would remain forever scalded in his brain. Never in his life had he been so scared as he was at that moment.

“Matt, Matt.” His earsplitting screams had no effect on his unconscious lover. Waiting for the ambulance to arrive, Ryder thought he’d go mad. He tried slapping Matt, pushing him, anything to rouse him out of his stupor. But Matt remained unmoving.

Three days later in the hospital, still looking like shit, Matt tried to joke it off. “Come on, dude, it wasn’t so bad. I promise I’ll cut back.” He grinned that wide-open smile that before had always melted Ryder’s heart.

Not this time.

“I can’t do it anymore. You have to make the choice.”

Matt’s grin faded. “I don’t know, man. It makes me feel good. And life is about feeling good, you know?”

No, Ryder didn’t know. “I’m sorry, but no. I don’t want any part of it.” He stared at the man he thought he loved. Did he even exist anymore, or had the drugs leeched into him too deep to let go? Was he wrong, forcing him to choose? “Aren’t I enough to make you feel good?”

“If you loved me, you wouldn’t make me choose.” Matt’s face tightened in anger, and his brown eyes darkened. “But it’s no problem, dude. I’ll pick up my stuff and head over to Troy’s. He’s cool with me.”

Pain sliced through Ryder’s chest. He gasped. “Have you been sleeping with him?” Though they always practiced safe sex, he didn’t want to know his lover had cheated on him.

A sigh of relief escaped him when Matt shook his head. “Nah, man. Troy’s not gay. We’re friends.” His face softened. “I’m sorry, Ry. We had fun, though, right?”

Fun. That was all their year together meant to the man? Matt didn’t love him, never had. Ryder turned on his heel and left Matt’s room and the hospital.

He never saw Matt again.

The gruff voice of the cabbie interrupted his thoughts. “Hey, buddy. We’re here.”

Swiping his credit card, he tipped the driver, then took his receipt. He scrambled out of the cab, anxious to get inside and out of the cold night air. By the time he made it to the entrance, he was shivering. Clarence, the doorman, pulled open the door.

“Mr. Daniels, where is your coat? It’s freezing tonight, sir.”

Ryder chuckled. “Clarence, you’re like a mother hen. Connor has it, and I’ll pick it up tomorrow. I trust you had a nice holiday?” He pulled his keys out of his pocket.

The elderly, gray-haired doorman smiled. “Yes, all the grandchildren were there, and they kept my lap busy. I trust you had a nice holiday, sir?”

Ryder nodded and knew his strained smile didn’t fool the man. “Well, good night, Clarence.”

“Shane wanted me to tell you he walked Pearl and fed her tonight. He even stayed and played with her a bit. Good night, sir.”

“When you see him, tell him how much I appreciate it, please.” Ryder took the elevator to the sixteenth floor and was greeted by a whining Pearl. She hated being left alone. Ryder gave her some treats, drank two glasses of water, and after shedding his clothes, fell into bed. Within moments he was asleep, his arm around his dog.

* * * * *

At eleven o’clock on Monday morning, Ryder sat, manning the phones at Rescue Me, when an emergency call came in.

“Tell me the address, please.” He jotted down an address in Red Hook, Brooklyn--an area well-known to harbor dogfighting rings. “Okay, we’ll be there within half an hour at the latest. Don’t touch the dogs, and give them plenty of space.” He hung up the phone. Emily was readying herself for the trip. She took out muzzles, large blankets, and some food and bowls.

“I’m ready, Ry. You’ll fill me in on the way there.” She, along with Laurel and Hardy, jumped in their van. Crates were clipped to brackets on the floor. Ryder slammed the door shut, and they started out for the drive to the construction site, where it seemed the foreman had come upon some pit bulls he didn’t know how to handle. Afraid of getting bitten, he called the rescue.

Not twenty minutes later, they were bouncing along the cobblestone and broken-up streets of one of Brooklyn’s strangest areas. On one block were some of the toughest housing projects in the city, and on the next were gentrified townhomes, IKEA, and expensive, charming restaurants. They pulled into a double-wide parking area, their van squeezing by a truck with Malloy Bros. Construction emblazoned on the side.

From the passenger seat, he could see a crowd of men standing around, some in hard hats, along with curious onlookers. One man in shirtsleeves, tall and beefy with curly brown hair, stood off to the side talking into a phone. It was the other man who caught Ryder’s attention.

He was tall, a few inches over six feet. His dark hair fell in loose waves that brushed the top of his collar and curled at the bottom of his neck. He was built strongly, and Ryder could see the muscles bulging through his button-down shirt. As cool as it had been on Thanksgiving, the temperature had risen to an almost balmy fifty degrees today. His shirtsleeves were rolled up to his elbows, showcasing his powerful arms.

“Wow, that is one cute guy.” Emily nudged him. “I see you staring at him. Make sure you go over and speak to him.”

Ryder scowled at her. “I’m here to work, not make a date.”

Emily squeezed his thigh and poked him. “Maybe you can do both.” She winked and gave him her saucy smile.

He kissed her cheek. “Now I see why you and Connor are perfect together. You’re both annoying.”

Her eyes sparkled as she kissed him back. “You love it. Come on, let’s go.” She opened the van’s door and hopped out.

When Ryder looked out the van’s window, he locked eyes with the dark-haired man’s intense stare. He licked his lips, inexplicably nervous.

What the hell is that about?

All thoughts fled as he saw a group of men approach the row of houses and start up the stairs. They had bats in their hands, and one held a chain. In a flash he jumped down from the van and raced toward the group of men.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”

Author Bio:
I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner. My character have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love. 

I live in New York City with my husband and two children. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be a little angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.


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Montana Wild by Roni Hall

Title: Montana Wild
Author: Roni Hall
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Adventure
Release Date: January 20, 2016
Summary:
Born and bred in NYC, fate leads Jamie to the wilds of Montana where the reluctant city girl encounters adventure with the people, the land and even the animals.

Risking her life to save a child, Jamie shares an undeniable bond and escalating passion with her co-rescuer, Kevin. Empowered by her new surroundings, she risks it all…only to have it taken away by past demons. She has no choice but to hurt Kevin in order to save his life and returns to New York. 

Searching for Jamie, Kevin learns the truth as Jamie tries to protect Kevin but this time…gets caught in the cross fire.


Swept up into the sea of travelers at the airport, she focused her attention back to the present as she followed the human current through check-in and security gates. It wasn’t until she was buckled into her seat that she registered the panic present in the far corner of her mind. What am I doing? A sickening wave of nausea rose in her throat as clammy beads of sweat trickled down her face. What the hell am I doing? Get up. Get off the plane now. It’s not too late, go!

Dizzy with indecision, she reached for the buckle on her seatbelt as her alternate conscience spoke up. No, stay. Do I really want to go back to my cramped little studio and spend more time alone? Her fingers released the grip on her seatbelt and she closed her eyes, deliberately trying to relax the tense wires in every fiber of her body.

Uneasy thoughts lingered after her internal schizophrenic conversation and she tried to leave all doubts behind as the plane ascended. Finding it impossible to concentrate on reading, she tried to distract herself by striking up a conversation with the unlucky soul sitting next to her.

“Have you ever been to Montana?”

“Oh yes, my sister lives there and I try to visit her every few years. How about you?”

“No, I’ve never been. This’s my first time and I’m nervous,” Jamie admitted.

“It’s pretty enough, but it’s rough country. I couldn’t live there. What brings you?”

Well, I finally got enough backbone to break up with my abusive, criminal boyfriend Derrick three months ago, and then my best friend and only ally, Noah, left on tour. I have NO family since my father died an agonizing death from lung cancer ten years ago, resulting in my mother becoming depressed and committing suicide two years later. I was pathetic enough to attach myself to one of my patients and become a helpless spectator as death cruelly consumed him. Only days after his death, my only surviving relative and second mother died, leaving me a 31-year-old orphan. So you see, I’m a loser and terribly lonely. So when this man I’ve never met in person asked me to join him on an intriguing escape across the country, I accepted.

That was the whole enchilada she wanted to spew out to the sweet, unsuspecting gray-haired matron in seat 21A. Instead she answered succinctly, “Just visiting a friend.”


Author Bio:
The summer after high school graduation, Roni worked two jobs to pay for nursing school. During the midnight shift as a waitress, a charismatic young man at the counter flirted with her for hours as he consumed seven cups of coffee. Their first date was eventful enough to be a book itself! Thirty-seven years and two kids later, the love story continues. Just like her novels, life can’t be too simple and you must make it an adventurous ride!

Her favorite place to write is in her hammock at their small Michigan cottage where she literally dodges the feeding hummingbirds while being serenaded by the lake’s loons. Besides writing, she loves Slow Rollin’ in Detroit and the combination of good food, better wine, and dear friends.


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I'll Be Seeing You by AP Hallmark

Title: I'll Be Seeing You
Author: AP Hallmark
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 12, 2016
Summary:
She thought he was the love of her life, but Joy’s world is broken when she discovers she has been betrayed not only by the man she loves, but her life-long friends as well. Taking the time to heal and mend her heart, with great effort, Joy slowly begins to forgive as well.

Unfortunately, the handsome doctor’s wicked and devious ex-fiancĂ©, Emma Ford, who was the catalyst of the destruction of Joy and Matthew’s relationship, refuses to go away. What Emma doesn’t know is that her scheming and conniving only solidifies the two lovers’ bond.

Dr. Matthew Davis has the knowledge to make Joy Johnson see for the first time in fourteen years, but her refusal to go under the knife again prevents this from happening.

Will Joy allow her Doctor to perform this miracle, or will Emma get to her first?


The first time I walked into the cafĂ© and saw her sitting there, she was reading in Braille. Her delicate fingers quickly skimmed over the pages; she’s a fast reader. At times, she would come to a humorous part of the story and grin. Once, she laughed. It was a charming giggle and now having heard it, I want to hear it again.

So, what started out as a daily need for a double espresso macchiato was soon replaced by my desire to see her. Sitting across the room, pretending to read a newspaper, or file notes when I have them, I watch her. She recognizes her guide dog periodically, or stops to feel the rays of sun shining on her face that beam through the window. My favorite is when she listens in on someone's conversation.

What really surprised me was my reaction when a longhaired college student-type approached her one morning. Protectively, I tensed up, but her dog immediately became alert and growled at the intruder. It made me chuckle when it scared the guy so bad that he left in a hurry. I got a kick out of the smirk she had on her face as she rewarded her dog with some love.

Today, however, she’s facing the window and looking up toward the sun, smiling. Running my hands through my hair, I force my eyes away from her.

Today's the day, I repeat to myself. Today I’m going to speak to her.

Opening the door, I glance over at her and her head slowly turns in my direction. She also takes a slow, deep inhaling breath.

"Hello, Dr. Davis, the usual?" Myra asks, causing me to jump at the sudden sound of her voice.

"Good morning, Myra. Yes, please, the usual," I reply looking behind me, afraid she’ll leave before I get the nerve to say something to her.

This is it, Davis, time to man up.

Author Bio:
A.P. Hallmark resides in Reno, Nevada, near her youngest daughter and four grandchildren. A paralegal in real life, she started her love of reading at the young age of fifteen, beginning with her first Harlequin Romance … and Fabio.

Her male characters are strong and possessive, her women are strong and feminine. With two powerful lead characters, her stories are filled with adventure, romance, and sometimes their will to be the last one standing gives her readers a fun ride.






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