Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hot Under the Collar by Summer Devon

Summary:
Love dogs and smoking hot men? The Love Off Leash series is for you. Different authors. Unrelated stories. Shared theme of new love and pets.

Attorney Sam Trevisani never thought he’d play the bad guy, but now his job makes him the enemy of every dog owner in town—and whenever he meets his main opponent, Dan Bailey, the vet gives him the evil eye. Tired of playing for the wrong side, Sam has to find a solution. Maybe the tempting Dr. Bailey can help him find a solution for his restless need for change. Or maybe it’s his attraction to the vet that pushes him to pay a late-night visit.

Tired of town politics and manipulative games, Dan has no interest in helping the flashy lawyer. Yet Sam's dogged interest in him proves oddly appealing. Dan reluctantly allows the attractive lawyer into his house, and sparks fly. Sam doesn't mind hookups, but Dan doesn't do them--yet in one night, they both change their minds.

Determined to keep Dan from running away from something promising between them, Sam has to get past his attorney uncle, Dan's pack of misfit dogs, and a powerful but unpleasant client who could end not only the town's chance for a dog park but any chance of romance between the lawyer and the vet.


This is my first Summer Devon contemporary romance and it was a lovely introduction to her take on present day love.  If you are looking for an angst filled dramatic romance well then this is probably not the story for you.  Hot Under the Collar is light, fun, and heartwarming that has moments of conflict to fuel the flames but it is not angsty.

Some might say that Dan and Sam's story is an enemies to lovers tale and I suppose to a certain extent that's true but I personally would not classify them as enemies, I think adversaries is more accurate.  Whatever terminology you use or trope you want to tag them as, Hot Under the Collar is a lovely read that left me smiling, happy, and overall entertained.  What more can a reader ask for?

Whether you are a pet lover or a dog person really won't matter because Sam and Dan's chemistry is what really tells the story.  Their connection may not be smoldering or off the charts but it is definitely there, speaks volumes, and will keep your interest alive from page one to the end.

RATING: 


The dogs scrabbled at the door as Dan unlocked it. The barking continued and then got louder when the canine crew realized they didn’t know the person at the door.

Dan did. “What the hell are you doing here?”

Sam Trevisani showed all those pearly whites. “May I come in?”

Dan sighed. “Yo, guys, back off,” he bellowed. Everyone went quiet except Howard, the chi mix, who seemed incapable of shutting up. The dogs awkwardly reversed, scrabbling backward, and let Sam in the door.

The lawyer cringed and drew his hands up to bunny position, the international signal for a non-dog person. With his hands like that, the dogs thought that meant he was holding something interesting and began to surge around again. A few rose up on their hind legs.

Dan considered letting them intimidate Sam enough to chase him away, but that wasn’t good for discipline. “Off,” Dan ordered.

The dogs dropped to all fours, gave a few sniffs, swirled a bit more, then went off to look for something more entertaining. Howard held his ground, growling.

Dan looked Sam up and down. He was still in his good suit, but he seemed rumpled now. His hair looked as if he’d just gotten out of bed. Oh no, not going there.

“What do you want?” he asked.

“Do you have some coffee or something?”

“It’s almost ten at night. Why do you want coffee?”

“Because I’m a lightweight, and I just drank two scotches.”

“Coffee doesn’t really sober you up. But if you want a cup of coffee, may I recommend the all-night diner? That would not be me, by the way.”

“Okay, no coffee, that’s fine,” Sam said cheerfully. He nodded down the short hall. “Kitchen this way?”

Dan nodded before realizing that might be taken as permission to do a walkabout in his house.

“What the fuck do you want?” Dan trailed after him into the kitchen. Now that the humans had moved to the best room of the house, the dogs rejoined them. Sam seemed less worried about them. He stood in the middle of the floor and shoved at his hair, pushing that fancy cut back into place.

Dan paused in the doorway. “Why are you here? I have to get up in about five hours.” More like seven, but he didn’t mind lying to a goddamn lawyer.

“I want to apologize.”

Dan considered that for a few moments. “No, you don’t.”

“Sure I do.” For the first time, Sam seemed mildly ruffled. He wet his lips. “Really.”

“Well. You were doing your job, right? You knew what you were doing going in. Why the sudden remorse?”

Now he really looked uncomfortable. “I don’t think I should talk about it. But take my word for it, I’m sorry.”

“Shouldn’t talk about it or don’t want to?”

“Both.” The grin was back. “But mostly shouldn’t.”

“If you don’t want to talk about it, why the hell are you here?”

Sam walked to the rickety kitchen table and pulled out a chair.

“Don’t settle in for a long stay,” Dan warned.

“Just a few minutes. I biked here, and I’m out of shape.”

That was a lie, Dan suspected. “Biking is better than driving when you’re drunk.” He pulled out another chair and sat. “Go on, apologize.”

Sam looked down at his leg. “What does this dog want?”

Howard stood on his hind legs, pawing at Sam’s thigh and growling.

“He wants you to pick him up so he can bark in your face.”

“Nice. I’m surprised a vet lets his animals…” He let his words die away.

“Yeah, that’s right. Come in my house without an invitation and start criticizing my dogs. That’s not much of an apology,” Dan said, but then he snapped his fingers and pointed at the floor. “Knock it off, Howard.”

The dog lowered himself back to the ground. He gave one last growl and tossed a sneering look at Dan before trotting out of the kitchen, probably off to find one of the two cats to hassle.

Sam pulled off his jacket, revealing, of course, suspenders. He bent his arms, one at a time, to undo his cuff links.

Dan watched. Sam’s arms were well muscled, and his elbows under the cloth seemed large and square. Dan was in bad shape if he was going to notice a guy’s elbows. Particularly this guy.

“No big surprise you’re a suspenders-and-cuff-link type. Why do people wear cuff links anyway?” Dan asked.

Sam grinned as if Dan had made a joke. He dropped the flat gold rectangle cuff links on the table, clink, clink. “I like the feel of them, the weight. But I figure it’s kind of a way to get into my role.”

“What, as an asshole?”

He didn’t get pissed off and leave in a huff as Dan half hoped he would. Sam pursed his lips and said, “If I were a butcher, I’d wear an apron, and if I were a mechanic, I’d put on coveralls. You wear a white coat, right? So this is what I put on to do my job.”

“Those things you mention protect the people from the grubby shit at their work. So you’re saying you have a nice layer of money as a shield between you and the crap you produce?”

“Damn, if I’d known I’d was going to face some sort of anti-lawyer argument, I would have been better prepared. Know any bad lawyer jokes?” Sam still smiled at him.

There was nothing more annoying than trying to anger someone who refused to cooperate.

“What are you talking about? Why I object to you has nothing to do with being a lawyer and everything to do with the moron who’s after me and you work for. By the way, I’m still waiting for the apology.”

“I’m sorry,” Sam immediately responded. “I mean, I’m sorry about the dog park.”

That didn’t soothe Dan’s feelings. He went to the sink and got himself a glass of water. He considered offering Sam something, particularly when he noticed the man watch him drink. But the greedy look in his eyes might have nothing to do with water. Really, he needed to go. The strange visit, all this…made Dan itchy in a way he’d prefer to ignore.

Since Gary had moved back to Springfield, he’d lived alone and had too much to do to entertain visitors in his house. Having another person in the house, particularly this person, made him feel on edge.

“You’ve apologized and apparently stripped out of your lawyer persona. Are we done yet? Or are you here to tell me why your client is after me?”

“I already said I can’t talk about that, even with the cuff links off.” He stretched his arms up over his head. Patches of perspiration showed in his crisp light blue shirt. Dan wondered if he were actually nervous, then remembered he’d biked over.

Not offering the guy water seemed childish. He sighed and held up his glass. “Want water?”

“Yes, please!” Sam couldn’t sound more excited if Dan had offered him a glass of hundred-year-old whiskey, so it must have been thirst for water that had made Sam’s dark eyes glint with excitement at the sight of Dan drinking.

Dan got another glass from the rickety cupboard, filled it, and handed it over. He tried not to watch the way Sam’s throat moved as he drank down the water eagerly, then wiped his wet lips on the back of his hand. Yeah, the lawyer had vanished, and now a man sat at his table. A man in suspenders, he reminded himself.

Author Bio:
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).

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By the Numbers by RJ Scott

Title: By the Numbers
Author: RJ Scott
Series: Sanctuary, Inc #10
Genre: M/M Romantic Suspense
Release Date: May 15, 2017
Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Summary:
Secrets and lies threaten Brandon and Daniel’s new love.

Brandon Hoselton is running scared, finding security in his obsession with patterns and numbers. With his family threatened, he feels he has nowhere left to go, and even considers ending his life to keep them safe. Until Sanctuary, in the shape of the enigmatic Daniel Karnes, gives him a reason to stay alive and offers the possibility of a future free from fear.

Former SEAL Daniel is new to Sanctuary, tasked with watching Brandon, a brilliant geek with way too many secrets. Falling in love with quirky Brandon is easy; now he just has to make sure secrets don’t end up with them both dying.

The only way of destroying Varga is to cut the crime boss’s money, and the two men become part of an intricate take-down involving millions of dollars. But Brandon has a secret he can never share with Daniel, and their new love is at stake.

When the villain has murder in mind, sometimes the only way to stay alive is to lie.


Brandon took down the drapes in his room as soon as he was able to. He could have asked his sisters, but they didn’t know just how badly looking at the geometric pattern in the fabric upset his equilibrium. They knew he was weird; most sisters thought their big brothers were weird. But he also had twitches and nervous tics about certain things, and they’d seen it all, even though his list of crazy was something he could manage now.

They didn’t need to know he’d spent three hours last night counting the squares on the drapes and being irritated to the point of stimming that they weren’t even and the stitching was wrong. And Jesus, stimming—having to move his fingers, loosen his muscles, anything to ground himself—he hadn’t done that in years.

And hell if he was going to ask Daniel into his room to help him, because Daniel was someone Brandon did not want in his space. Not taking down drapes, or talking to him, or even breathing near him. There was only so much of Daniel that Brandon could take, because when he was anywhere near him, he lost his ability to form coherent sentences. He didn’t have time to have these powerful feelings of lust that kept hitting him.

Like the time he and Daniel had met on the landing and Daniel had been in just a towel. They’d only been together a few days, but Daniel was funny, and sexy, and dangerous, and exactly everything Brandon should be avoiding in his life.

He had way too much to worry about, and a date written in his memory that he wouldn’t forget any time soon. The deal he had—to stay alive, to hide himself away, and then to present himself to Varga—was just about the only thing that filled his thoughts.

Varga thought that, on a given date, Brandon would join him in his huge mansion, pull together all the funds Varga had hidden in various places, and then join him in whatever country the US didn’t have an extradition treaty with.

Like hell he would. He was meeting with Varga, getting all his money, dispersing it to the right causes, and sending any intel he could get out to the authorities.

And then Varga would kill him for doing that.

Inevitable, really, and something he’d come to terms with. He’d blown his chance to do this when he’d worked for Varga, so he had to make up for it. He was doing the right thing.

He’d been biding his time in Hope, but had been unfortunate to be scooped up by Sanctuary. He just needed to work out a way to get away from them, and in particular Daniel, but he had about ten days to go yet until that magic date when Varga had decided he would be leaving the country.

For now, Sanctuary was safe for him and his sisters.

So yeah, choosing to avoid having Daniel in his room, with his probing questions and his distracting body, was an easy decision to make in among all that crap.

The only downside was that it meant he had to take the drapes down himself.

Trying to shoot himself hadn't gone so well; instead of being dead and gone, he had a through shot and muscle damage which hurt like knives in his skin. He waited until day four, when the pain in his shoulder had lessened to the point where he could at least manage to get out of bed and to the window but he couldn’t handle looking at those drapes any longer.

Today he actually felt capable of dealing with drapes he didn’t need anyway. There were blinds at the windows, and behind the blinds each window was coated so you could see out but no one could see in. He pushed the offending fabric under the bed and clambered back to a standing position, wincing in pain as he banged his shoulder, and sat on the edge of his bed.

The drapes were still there—he could picture them under the bed—and exasperated, he lay back on the mattress and attempted to think of something else. Blue skies, blue mugs, blue eyes. Anything blue, because it was a color that calmed him.

He lasted about a minute.

Huffing, he rolled up carefully and reached under the bed, pulling out the drapes and screwing them into a ball. Opening his door, he threw them out onto the landing, not even checking if anyone was standing there.

Daniel. Of course it would be Daniel, who reacted like a ninja and had the drapes under submission in seconds.

Once they were dead, or at least overpowered with some sort of karate move, Brandon felt like he should apologize.

“My bad,” he said, and shut the door in Daniel’s face.

He expected the knock, but hadn’t quite decided what he was going to say to Daniel when he came in. Maybe if he ignored the request to enter and said nothing, then Daniel might go away.

Daniel knocked again, and this time instead of waiting for Brandon to say he could come in, he pushed his way in, looking irritable. He was shirtless, his hair wet—evidence of a recent shower—his sweats hanging low on his hips and every muscle deliciously tight and toned.

“What the hell, Brandon?” he asked, his dark eyes angry, his lips in a set line. He wasn’t holding the drapes, so Brandon counted that as a win.

“I didn’t want them up at my window,” Brandon explained, and eased himself down into the chair by his bed. He was most comfortable there; he could see out the window and it was easier to keep the pressure off his injury.

“So you decided to throw them in my face?” Daniel sounded less pissed and more confused about getting fabric in his face.

Brandon indicated the door. “To be fair, I didn’t know you were there.” Then he couldn’t resist, “And you heroically subdued them so fast, I knew you could handle the danger.”






 

Author Bio:
RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn't with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn't like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.


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By the Numbers #10
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Forever's Fight by Marissa Dobson

Title: Forever's Fight
Author: Marissa Dobson
Series: Forever Creek Shifters #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: March 24, 2015
Summary:
Fighting for love and family.

Patrick O’Reilly left behind his medical practice when he and his siblings were forced into hiding. Determined to live through the war against their species, they vow to serve their kind. Patrick will risk it all to ensure none of them end up as experiments in a government lab.

Clarissa Greenwood worked all her life to become a scientist and to get the position at Hathaway Medical where she thought she would be able to find cures for diseases. Instead, she is witness to experiments on shifters. Disgusted by the truth, she gathers as much information as she can, and flees. She wants no part of the experiments—even if the cost is her life.

Shifters Underground was created to serve their species, not to help a human who had worked for one of the organizations that was hunting them. A message from a trusted shifter leaves them with no other option but to search for a woman who might be able to help them. A treacherous journey brings two destined mates together. Now Patrick and Clarissa must work together to protect not only each other, but all the shifters who fight for their lives, for love, and for family.

“Exciting action, well-developed characters, and a fast-paced lively writing style makes Forever’s Fight sure to please!” ~ New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Lynn Red



“Beast?” She rose up to rest on her elbows. “You’re going to shift?”

There was a mixture of terror and excitement in her eyes that made him want to tease her, but he resisted the urge. “No. My beast is always within me, even when I’m in human form. There’s no need to shift.”

“What a relief. I’m not sure I’m ready to see your animal yet.” She paused, averting her eyes. “Mind if I ask what your second nature is?”

“Second nature. So proper.” He smirked. “I’m a lion.” He spoke with ease because unlike the rest of the world, he didn’t see the animal side of him as a curse or an experiment gone wrong. To him, it was a blessing, something he was proud of. Though times were tough right now, things would get better. He’d see to it.

“I wasn’t sure how to word this…this…ability.” Seeming nervous, she bit her bottom lip. “I’m not even sure ability is the right word.”

“Shifting is a magical thing, and even though the world thinks I should be ashamed of it, I’m not. My lion is as much a part of me as my internal organs. The human society that we live in just doesn’t accept those who are different, but we’re here just like everyone else, and we want to live in peace.”

“That almost sounded like a public relations statement.”

“I just want you to understand who my siblings and I are. We’re no danger to you or any other human. We’re always in control of our animal, no matter what form we may take. That’s what Hathaway Medical and the rest of the government organizations don’t understand. We shouldn’t be experimented on, nor should any other human.” He hated that he sounded like he was lecturing her, but if he was going to take her back to Forever Creek, she need to understand his kind. He didn’t want any surprises later that would send her running. Once she knew their location, if she got spooked and ran off, she’d be a liability.

“But the government doesn’t classify you as human.” With that statement, she wasn’t able to meet his gaze.

“What about you? Do you think I’m human?” Silence thickened the air until he wasn’t sure she’d answer.

“You look human enough to me.” She reached out and laid her hand on his chest. “You feel human, too. That’s all that matters to me.”

He placed his hand over hers. “This is just one side of me, kind of like a coin. Will you still feel the same way when you see my lion?”


Author Bio:
Born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, Marissa Dobson now resides about an hour from Washington, D.C. She’s a lady who likes to keep busy, and is always busy doing something. With two different college degrees, she believes you are never done learning.

Being the first daughter to an avid reader, this gave her the advantage of learning to read at a young age. Since learning to read she has always had her nose in a book. It wasn’t until she was a teenager that she started writing down the stories she came up with.

Marissa is blessed with a wonderful supportive husband, Thomas. He’s her other half and allows her to stay home and pursue her writing. He puts up with all her quirks and listens to her brainstorm in the middle of the night.

Her writing buddy Pup Cameron, a cocker spaniel, is always around to listen to her bounce ideas off him. He might not be able to answer, but he’s helpful in his own ways.


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New Beginnings: Abel's Journey by Nicky James

Title: New Beginnings
Author: Nicky James
Series: Follow-up to No Regrets
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: May 14, 2017
Summary:
Life is beyond our control. It can bring joy, laughter, and happiness, then turn around and rip your heart out of your chest without warning.

Abel Matheson received a cold dose of life’s reality six months ago when the man he loved most lost his fight against cancer.

Free-spirited, easy-going Abel doesn’t know how to cope with the rotting, festering grief growing inside him. What was once an easy life has become a struggle to put one foot in front of the other.

His grades are slipping, his job is suffering, money is tight, and the nightmares plaguing his sleep are relentless. Something has to give. He can’t keep going like this.

Desperate to end his suffering, Abel falls back on old habits. Self-destructive habits he knows are wrong.

Every time he tries to stand, he ends up face-first in the mud.

On the advice of a counselor, Abel makes attempts to find a support system to help him handle his grief. Unexpectedly, during his quest toward healing, Abel makes a connection with the most unlikely of people.

His mind wants to rebel against the man who stands before him. Run far and fast in the other direction. But his heart forms a bond that annihilates his fear.

Why this man of all people?

Sometimes you find help and love where you least expect it.



No Regrets
Summary:
Life makes no promises, and sometimes, you draw the short straw.

Landon Johnston’s life came to a grinding halt seven months ago, when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

With the encouragement of his grandmother, Landon works his way out of his slump and tries to live life while he still can.

Deciding he doesn’t want to drag anyone else down his morbid path, Landon gives up all friendships and denies himself love. It’s better this way, because all he has to offer is eventual heartache and sadness.

While traveling the world, Landon meets Abel Matheson, a free-spirited, unedited, and nerve-grating man who was supposed to only be a one-night-stand.

Despite Landon’s insistence that he can’t form a relationship with his current diagnoses, Abel is persistent and will not be ignored.

Fighting against all his ingrained urges to run, Landon finds himself drawn down the road he swore he’d never take.

Intimacy grows and bonds form…

Only… Abel doesn’t know Landon is sick.

How can anyone love a man with no future?

Telling him might cause him to run, but staying silent means living a lie. A lie which will only reveal itself in time.

Note: This story is a HFN or bitter sweet HEA read. It contains potential triggers for people who may be affected by cancer and its effects.

Author Bio:
Nicky James lives in the small town of Petrolia, Ontario, Canada. She is mother to a wonderful teenage boy and wife to a truly supportive and understanding husband who, thankfully, doesn’t think her crazy.

Nicky has always had two profound dreams in life; to fall back hundreds of years in time and live in a simpler world and to write novels. Since only one of those dreams was a possibility, she decided to make the other come alive on paper.

Nicky writes MM romance books in a variety of styles including contemporary, medieval, fantasy, and historical.


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