Monday, April 30, 2018

April Book of the Month: Hug it Out by Davidson King


Summary:
Riordan Darcy has spent the last fourteen years building a name for himself as a notorious assassin. He travels the world taking the lives of some of the worst humanity has to offer, leaving his signature on every victim.

Riordan becomes unhappy and withdrawn from the world after a job goes horribly wrong and he makes the decision to get out of the life he was forced into, so long ago. When his meddling, older sister gives him a birthday gift that’s impossible to refuse, his plans to leave his life of crime take a backseat when he’s forced to protect the life of a veritable stranger.

When professional hugger and TLC provider, Teddy Harris, is offered a month-long companionship contract, he’s hard pressed to turn it down. Cuddler by day and a video game reviewer by night, Teddy’s need to make people feel loved and cared for is what drives him. When he meets Riordan Darcy, professional challenge and personal temptation collide, making it nearly impossible for him to endure a whole month with the gorgeous, enigmatic man without falling head over heels in love.

When a mole is discovered within Riordan’s organization, relationships are compromised, and people’s lives are in danger. Time isn’t on their side, and they discover answers can’t always be found by hugging it out when someone is hell-bent on eliminating each and every one of them. Can Riordan and Teddy survive long enough to fall in love, or will they die trying?


Riordan Darcy finds himself disheartened in his role as an assassin after a job goes wrong and his family is worried.  Teddy Harris, prefessional hugger and TLC provider, found his calling giving the kind of care to others that he found in his grandmother's arms growing up and he loves every minute of it.  When Riordan's sister hires Teddy for one month, she had no idea what she was starting.  Can these two polar opposites find happiness in each other's worlds or will love and comfort fail to conquer all?

First off I have to admit that when the author told us what Teddy's profession was, I chuckled and thought "okay that's a bit out there".  Now, I know how hugging can change your whole demeanor, how your day can be fulfilled or lacking.  Having set too many times by my mother's hospital bed as she was hooked up to a respirator and had to return to my lonely hotel room without a goodnight hug left many a day incomplete.  So I more than understood the needs and services that Teddy would be providing, I just did not know it was a profession.  So as the saying goes, "you're never too old to learn new tricks".

So on to Hug it Out.  Last fall I fell in love with Davidson King's writing, no that's not accurate enough because what she does is more than writing.  Davidson King is a storyteller.  Some might think that writers and storytellers are the same thing, I don't see it that way.  A writer tells a story but a storyteller creates a world that sucks you in, holds you there, and won't let go.  A storyteller creates a world you want to exist in, people you want to know, communities you want to see unfold outside your living room window.  Haven Hart may be a city that Miss King created but she does it in a way that it could be anywhere on the map.

All authors start somewhere but when their debut novel is as amazing as Snow Falling was, one wonders will their follow-up be The Empire Strikes Back caliber or go the way of Speed 2?  I can safely and honestly say that Hug it Out is a TESB-quality sequel.  Did Teddy and Riordan touch my heart as much as Snow and Chris? Probably not but I wouldn't want to place a bet on the difference.  I won't touch on the plot because as you know I don't do spoilers but let me just say that their story is a humdinger that had me hating such insignificant chores such as eating and sleeping.  I couldn't put it down but when I reached the last page, I kicked myself for not reading it slower to savor the awesomeness.

Some might say I haven't actually said much about the book or the characters and maybe that's true with the whole no spoiler rule I live by.  I will add that even though the characters, main and secondary, might not be people we would meet at the store or pumping gas, I still connected with their pain, tension, and the overall emotions they feel throughout.  Which only goes to strengthen my belief that Davidson King is more than just a writer as I said above.  A true gem that I am already looking forward to re-reading for years to come.

One final thing, for those who are wondering if you need to read Snow Falling first, its my personal preference to say yes but Hug it Out is a standalone in the Haven Hart Universe.  We see Snow and Chris from book one a few times and though it is not necessary to know their journey to understand Teddy and Riordan, I think it flows better if you read book one first but no, it is not a must.

RATING: 


When I opened my eyes, Riordan was watching me. He looked away quickly, but not fast enough. What did he see when he looked at me? A goofy gamer who loved to hug? Did he see the man behind the bunny suit? Maybe he wished I looked more like my friends and less like a nerd.

Odd that this was bothering me. Normally, I didn’t give a shit what people thought. Riordan was a client and I needed to remember that.

“I didn’t mean to be insulting, Teddy, or accusatory. It’s not every day I find out the man hired to keep me company is friends with Christopher Manos’ husband, a man who happens to be a well-known crime boss.” When he lifted his sunglasses and exposed his eyes, I felt better. The barrier was unnerving and reading people was better this way. “In my line of work, people are judged by those they associate with. Too many times, I’ve been right. Hang out with shit and you start to smell.”

Now it was my turn to react. “Snow is not shit. He’s an amazing guy. He may be married to a crime boss, but he’s not like that. He’s my friend because he treats me with respect. Now, I think I will be ending this lunch. You can put it all away. I’ll call a cab to take me home.”

Riordan jumped up when I did. His hands were inches from my arms, yet I could feel them as if they were on me. “Whoa, calm down. I wasn’t calling him shit. Wow.” He chuckled. “You’re a spitfire, huh?” He rubbed his hand over his buzzed head almost like he was nervous. “Here I thought you were all marshmallows and rainbows. It’s nice to see there’s a fire in your belly.”

“Look,” I said as I began putting the food away since it was obvious Riordan wasn’t going to do it. “I want to help you. Aisling hired me, and I know we said we’d give it a week, but I’m not sure it’s going to work. Perhaps you’d be more comfortable with someone else.”

I’d guessed Riordan was gay and called him paranoid. Both assumptions I would have never made with any other client. I also didn’t fight with clients. I was breaking all my own rules and cutting this short would be wise.

“You want to quit because we had a little spat?”

“It’s not a spat.” I tugged the blanket until he got the hint and moved off it. “I work for people who want me there. You don’t. This isn’t about you being a jerk about my friends or dropping me off to park.” I was mid-fold when I turned to give Riordan a sardonic look. “You do realize you pulled into a spot to let me out to find a spot, right?”

I could practically hear Riordan counting to ten as he closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I know. I had to deal with something. I can’t tell you, but…” He inched closer to me, eyes soft and sincere. “I don’t think you’re horrible. Our company is strange, but I like it. Let’s just do the whole month, it’ll be fine, I’m sure. I don’t want to start over with someone else.”

In a gesture almost too sweet, Riordan brushed a curl from my forehead and smiled. “I need you to not ask me about the things I do. I can’t tell you. Ever. But I promise I will relax more and stop being such a jerk.”

I could see the truth in his eyes. I knew calling it quits was probably the right thing to do. We were clashing left and right. He’d try to see things my way, but we’d argue again. But I was a fool sometimes and I really believed I could help him. “Okay. We can stick to the schedule for the month as planned. But if it doesn’t work, if we’re fighting or it’s stressful, we need to break the contract. Agreed?”

 “Agreed.”
Author Bio:
Davidson King, always had a hope that someday her daydreams would become real-life stories. As a child, you would often find her in her own world, thinking up the most insane situations. It may have taken her awhile, but she made her dream come true with her first published work, Snow Falling.

When she’s not writing you can find her blogging away on Diverse Reader, her review and promotional site. She managed to wrangle herself a husband who matched her crazy and they hatched three wonderful children.

If you were to ask her what gave her the courage to finally publish, she’d tell you it was her amazing family and friends. Support is vital in all things and when you’re afraid of your dreams, it will be your cheering section that will lift you up.


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Hug it Out #2

Snow Falling #1
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Monday's Memorial Moment: The Captain and the Cavalry Trooper by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead


Summary:
As the Great War tears Europe apart, two men from different worlds find sanctuary in each other’s arms.

Captain Robert Thorne is the fiercest officer in the regiment. Awaiting the command to go to the front, he has no time for simpering, comely lads. That’s until one summer day in 1917 when his dark, flashing eye falls upon the newest recruit at Chateau de Desgravier, a fresh-faced farmer’s boy with little experience of life and a wealth of poetry in his heart.

Trooper Jack Woodvine has a way with strong, difficult stallions, and whispers them to his gentle will. Yet even he has never tamed a creature like Captain Thorne.

With the shadow of the Great War and the scheming of enemies closer to home threatening their fleeting chance at happiness, can the Captain and the Cavalry Trooper make it home safely? More importantly, will they see peacetime together?

πŸ’₯Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, some of which is homophobic, and a brief scene of sexual assault.πŸ’₯ 


When Trooper Jack Woodvine arrives at Chateau de Desgravier, he takes a liking to Apollo, a horse that frightens most of the other grooms.  When Jack meets Apollo's rider, Captain Robert Thorne, he's not sure which is more in need of tempered care.  Their love of Apollo brings together these two soldiers in a time when the end could be just over the next hill but is it enough when Jack is given his orders to return home and Robert is sent to the front?

I love World War 1 era stories and there just isn't enough in the M/M genre, so when I come across one I jump at the chance to read it.  I may be a bit of a history buff but I will be the first to admit that as much as I am fascinated by the era, WW1 is a time that I have limited knowledge of so I can't speak to all the accuracy of The Captain and the Cavalry Trooper however I do think the emotions of the time are pretty spot on. 

Jack's desire to care for Apollo and Robert, Robert's desire to see Jack safe, Apollo's devotion to both men.  Some might say its a little over the top in regards to love and sweetness in a time of war but I don't see it as OTT, I see it as living while you can.  Tales like Jack and Robert may not be commonplace in regards to the Great War but its not entirely unheard of either.  Afterall, this is work of fiction in a historical setting so there is definitely room for creative tampering and I think the authors balance accuracy with said tampering very well.

The Captain and the Cavalry Trooper is a well written tale of historical love with intriguing characters, both main and secondary,  filled to the brim with romance, drama, lust, desire, and enemies.  Talking about enemies, I won't give anything away but let me just say that there is a couple of secondary characters in here that I longed to see them get what was coming to them but you'll have to read for yourself if they doπŸ˜‰.  This is a lovely addition to my historical shelf.

RATING: 


Northern France
1917
The wagon carrying Jack Woodvine bumped and jerked along the poplar-lined lanes, a fine spray of mud rising up each time the huge wooden wheels splashed through a puddle.

He had given up checking the time and, even though the journey was far from comfortable, tried to doze as he passed along under the iron-gray sky. A chateau, they’d said. Different from the barracks he’d been in when he was first deployed. Doubtless it would be a dismal old fortress, but was it silly of him to hope for bright pennants fluttering from a turret?

Finally, the wagon drew up at a gatehouse of pale stone. As Jack climbed out, dragging his kitbag behind him, sunlight nudged back the clouds and turned the gray slate of the roofs to blue.

“You the new groom?” A soldier appeared from the gatehouse. His cap was so low over his eyes that Jack couldn’t make out his expression.

“Yes—Trooper Woodvine. Jack Woodvine.” He took a letter from his pocket and held it out to the man. “I’ve been transferred from another battalion. This is the Chateau de Desgravier?”

“Yes, Trooper! Turn left at the bottom of the drive for the stables. Quick march!”

The last thing Jack wanted to do was march, quickly or otherwise, but he shouldered his kitbag, jammed his cap onto his head and marched down the tree-lined avenue.

It was thickly leaved, but through the branches he could see the white stone of the chateau ahead. He rounded a bend in the driveway and he saw it—Chateau de Desgravier.

An enormous tower rose up in front of him, its roof reaching into a delicate point. Jack sighed, the spots of mud on his face cracking as he smiled. It might not have had pennants floating from it, but it was exactly like something from a fairytale. Beside the tower were the stone and brick and filigreed windows of what looked to Jack like a palace. Who would ever think that the front was only a few miles to the east?

Quick march!

Jack continued on his way, turning to his left just as he’d been ordered. The path here bore evidence of horses—straw, manure, the marks of horseshoes. Ahead, an archway, figures at work. A lad of Jack’s age maneuvering a wheelbarrow, another leading a horse out to the paddock.

This wouldn’t be so bad. It seemed to be a peaceful place, and easy work for a lad like Jack. He raised his hand and grinned at the grooms as he headed under the archway and into the vast stable yard.

Then he heard singing. In French.

Jack dropped his kitbag and looked round. The voice was that of a man, yet heightened slightly, giving it a teasing, effeminate edge, and Jack couldn’t help but follow it like a sailor lured by a siren, pulled along the row of open stables toward that lilting chanson. Inside those stables young men labored and sweated, brooms swept and spades shoveled, yet one of the boxes at the far corner of the yard seemed to have been transformed into an impromptu theater.

Jack hardly dared glance through that open door, yet he couldn’t help himself, blinking at the hazy darkness of the interior where half a dozen grooms lounged in the straw, watching the chanteur in rapt silence.

Right in front of Jack, his back to the door, was the figure of a young man, clad in jodhpurs, polished riding boots and nothing else. No, that wasn’t quite true, because he was wearing something, the sort of something Jack didn’t really see much of in Shropshire. It was some sort of silken scarf, a shawl, perhaps, that was looped around his neck twice, the wide, dazzling red fabric decorated with intricate yellow flowers. They were bright against the pale skin of his naked back, as bright as the tip of the cigarette that glowed in the end of a long ebony cigarette holder that the singer held in his elegant right hand. He gestured with it like a painter with his brush, making intricate movements with his wrist as he sang, his voice a low purr, then a high, tuneful trill, then a comically deep bass that drew laughter from his audience.

He moved with the confidence of a dancer, hips swinging seductively, head cocked to one side, free hand resting on his narrow hip and here, in this strange fairytale place, he was bewitching.

The singer executed a near-perfect pirouette yet quite suddenly, when he was facing Jack, stopped. He put the cigarette holder to his pink lips, drew in a long, deep breath and blew out a smoke ring, his full lips forming a perfect O.

“Well, now.” He sucked in his pale cheeks and asked, “Who on earth have we here?”

Jack blinked as the smoke ring drifted into his face.

“Tr-trooper Woodvine, reporting for Captain Thorne. I’ve been transferred—I’m his new groom. I don’t suppose—”

The words dried in Jack’s throat. As enthralling as this otherworldly figure was, with his slim face and high cheekbones, there was an unsettling glint of mockery in his narrow blue eyes.

“Sorry.” Jack took a half-step backward. “I interrupted your song. I should…”

The singer moved a little, just enough that he could dart his head forward on its slender neck and draw his nose from Jack’s shoulder to his ear, breathing deeply all the way. They didn’t touch but the invasion, the authority, was clear. However lowly their station, Jack had wandered innocently into someone else’s domain.

When the young man’s nose reached Jack’s ear he threw his head back and let out a loud sigh through his parted lips, arms extended to either side. Then he finally spoke again, declaring to the heavens, “I smell new blood!”

Behind him, his small audience tittered nervously and his head dropped once more, those glittering blue eyes focused on Jack.

“Trooper Charles, sir!” He executed a courtly bow, the hand that held the cigarette twirling elaborately. “But you’re so darling and green that you may address me as Queenie. Aren’t you the lucky one?”

Jack reached for the doorframe to casually prop himself against it and essay the appearance of calm. Queenie?

“You may call me Jack.”

He extended his free hand to shake. A handshake showed the mettle of a man, his father was always telling him so. A good, firm hand at the market and a fellow would never have his prices beaten down.

Queenie’s narrow gaze slid down Jack like a snake and settled on his hand. He didn’t take it, didn’t move at all for a few seconds as the silence between them grew thicker. Then, in one quick movement, he placed his cigarette holder between Jack’s fingers and said, “Have a treat on me. Welcome to Cinderella’s doss house!”

Jack brought it hesitantly to his lips, smiling gamely at the grooms who made up Queenie’s audience. He pouted his lips against the carved ebony and inhaled.

The cough was so violent that Jack nearly dropped the holder, but an instinct in him born of a lifetime on a farm of tinder-dry hay meant he clamped it between his fingers. As he heaved for breath, he stamped on the nearby straw, suffocating any sparks that might have fallen.

The other grooms laughed and Queenie’s head tipped back to emit a bray of hilarity as a strong hand walloped Jack’s back.

A friendly Cockney burr chirruped, “Cough up, chicken—there’s a good lad!”

“We have a new little chicky in our nest,” Queenie told his audience, turning to address them. “I want you all to make him terribly welcome, or he might burn down our stables and then where would your Queenie sing?”

The stocky lad who had rescued Jack from his coughing fit was a head shorter than him. He pulled a face that could have been a smile or a sneer and took the cigarette holder from his fingers. He passed it to Queenie, all the while fixing his stare on the new arrival.

“Trooper Cole. Wilfred, that’s me. You’re Captain Thorne’s new boy, aren’t you?”

He laughed, then turned his head to spit on the floor, pulling a skinny roll-up from behind his ear.

“I’m Jack Woodvine. I mean…Trooper Woodvine.”

“I s’pose me and Queenie better take you to your quarters?”

“That would— But…oughtn’t I to introduce myself to Captain Thorne?”

“I’d say that’s a bit difficult, seeing as he’s not here at the moment.” Wilfred picked up Jack’s kitbag as easily as if it were spun from a feather. “Come on, soldier. Your palace awaits!”

“Captain T is an angel.” Queenie draped one arm sinuously around Jack’s shoulders and walked him back across the stable yard, his naked torso pressed to Jack’s rough tunic. “You’re going to have a bloody easy war, he’s soft as my mother’s newborn kitten.”

He glanced back at Wilfred and asked, “Wouldn’t you say so, Wilf?”

“Not half!” Wilfred laughed, striking a match to light his cigarette. “You couldn’t find a nicer bloke in the entire regiment.”

Jack grinned as they headed up the creaking wooden stairs above the stables. New quarters and new friends, and he wouldn’t have to rough it in a tent. Maybe there’d even be warm water for a bath.

“Well, that’s good to know. The officers were a bit…brusque at my last place.”

“Brusque?” Wilfred raised an amused eyebrow. “That’s a fancy word for a groom!”

“Ignore our lovely Wilf. Strong as an ox, bright as a coal shed.” At the top of the stairs Queenie turned to address Wilfred and Jack, his pale hand resting on the crooked handrail. “Thorny is adorable, not brusque at all. Welcome to our little slice of heaven!”

With that he lifted the latch and threw the door open, directing Jack to enter with another low bow.

Catherine Curzon
Catherine Curzon  is a royal historian who writes on all matters of 18th century. Her work has been featured on many platforms and Catherine has also spoken at various venues including the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, and Dr Johnson’s House.

Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, writes fiction set deep in the underbelly of Georgian London.

She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.

Eleanor Harkstead
Eleanor Harkstead likes to dash about in nineteenth-century costume, in bonnet or cravat as the mood takes her. She can occasionally be found wandering old graveyards. Eleanor is very fond of chocolate, wine, tweed waistcoats and nice pens. Her large collection of vintage hats would rival Hedda Hopper's.

Originally from the south-east, Eleanor now lives somewhere in the Midlands with a large ginger cat who resembles a Viking.


Catherine Curzon
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Release Tour: Witch Wants Forever by Victoria Danann

Title: Witch Wants Forever
Author: Victoria Danann
Series: Witches of Wimberley #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy
Release Date: April 27, 2018
Summary:
YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'VE GOT TILL IT'S GONE.

Only one thing could be worse than never finding the love of your life...finding her and forgetting.

From New York Times bestselling author, Victoria Danann, "mistress of modern romantic fantasy".

"...illustrated that love is the strongest magic of all."

Rachel can't imagine life without Dashiell Fonteneau. They were the kind of couple who believed they were destined to find each other eons before they were born.Married people, but forever lovers.

When Dash goes to Denver on a business trip that was supposed to last for three days and doesn't come home, Rachel finds herself in conflict with the colony at Wimberley over what to do.

The entire community is in complete agreement when they decide magic can't be used to bring him back. They say she'll have to learn to live without him.

"I was tense the entire time I was reading this book. It keep me riveted. I couldn't put it down."

READERS ARE SAYING: It's the perfect blend of angst, humor, and a little night magic.


A year and odd months earlier, he’d spent a few weeks celebrating finishing his MBA at Tulane. And there was no place better to celebrate anything than the home of Tulane, New Orleans. He was on top of the world. Twenty-six years old with a prestigious degree from a prestigious school and a string of prospective job courtiers lined up to write him a golden ticket. So that he didn’t have to accept the path of least resistance and go to work for his family’s business.

Any day he was going to decide which lucky company would be honored to have him agree to work for them. While he was mulling, he was partying. Right up until the day he got the mysterious invitation to come to an exclusive presentation.

Normally that sort of suggestion would make him scoff and snort at the same time.

He tried throwing the card away. Several times. But would always go get it out of the trash and look at it again. That cycle repeated itself for three days before he called the number and agreed to see what they were offering. Just so his curiosity would be satisfied and he could get back to deciding between serious offers.

He attended the presentation, went to choosing week at Wimberley, and, most important, met Rachel. After that he wouldn’t have cared if he worked as the dog catcher in the world’s tiniest town just as long as he could be near her.

Dash had a tendency to see the world in patterns that largely consisted of numbers. Nature had balanced his business genius by giving him scant imagination and no reason to think he was missing out. So his perception of Rachel as a woman surrounded by light that was a symphony of sparkle and movement, was mesmerizing. Permanently.

In a community full of couples experiencing the kind of marital bliss that was indeed bliss and not intended as tongue-in-cheek snark, Dash and Rachel managed to stand out. It was generally accepted by the residents of the enclave that their relationship was unique.

Dash had given up a career that might have eventually landed him on the cover of Forbes, but once he met Rachel, he no longer cared where he worked. When he’d shown up for the invitational not really knowing why he was there, just like the other guys, he hadn’t needed it to slowly become clear that he was half of a fated match. He saw Rachel across a crowded courtyard and knew instantly where he was supposed to be.

He didn’t need to wait to hear the way her voice slid over his spirit and soothed him like a favorite song. He didn’t need to wait to feel the electricity that arced between them when he shook her hand. He didn’t need to wait to see her blush from the intense way he was visually devouring her.

Dash was more than content to manage the enclave’s money and investments, which benefitted not only the witches and their families, but the residents of Wimberley as well. It was a good fit for his particular talent, skill, and interest. Satisfying to the core.

Willem #1
Summary:
Romance that is destiny laced, fantasy infused, and dressed in a little night magic.

If he leaves, he can never come back. But is he dumb enough to get in his car and drive away anyhow?

New York Times bestselling author, Victoria Danann, begins a sizzling new series about an enclave of modern day witches who are sexy, philanthropic and living in the Texas Hill Country. They're selfless to a fault when it comes to generosity, but when it comes to the men they choose for themselves, they don't settle for anything less than the best. 

"Enchanted from the very first page. I couldn't put it down!"- Night Owl Reviews 5* TOP PICK

While waiting for what would probably be his last acting audition ever, the guy standing in line behind Willem gave him a card with a phone number on it and said, "You're a good looking guy. If you're definitely quitting, try the witches."

Willem took the card for the sake of being polite. He planned to throw it away, but didn't. Crazy as it sounded, it seemed like the card was bugging him. It even kept him awake when he put it in the refrigerator.

He called the number, entered the competition and won. Winning meant getting everything he'd never even dared to dream about.

Author Bio:
Victoria Danann is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty romances. For the past four years in a row, Victoria's Knights of Black Swan series have won prestigious Reviewers' Choice Awards for both BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES and PARANORMAL ROMANCE NOVEL OF THE YEAR. This past year three of her series and three of her novels were nominated. Two of her series took the top two places and two of her books took first and second place in the PNR Novel of the Year category.

In addition to vampire hunting knights, Victoria writes other paranormal romance, scifi, fantasy, and contemporary romance.

Victoria is co-host of the popular ROMANCE BETWEEN THE PAGES podcast.


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Witch Wants Forever #2

Series

Brought to you by: 

Book Blast: Kiss Your Scars by Avril Ashton

Title: Kiss Your Scars
Author: Avril Ashton
Series: Loose Ends #3
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Summary:
Being the king of Atlanta’s underworld used to have its perks, but lately all undercover agent Renzo Vega has seen is the downside. Someone is auctioning off women in his city, and he’s damn sure not about to let that offense stand. Just as he’s set to make a move, Renzo’s club is ambushed and he’s shot. Unsure of who to trust, he turns to the one man he definitely knows wants him dead.

Yanked from his bed, blindfolded and spirited away in the middle of the night, Lowell Scott is shocked to find the darkly gorgeous Renzo bleeding and in need of his help. The very last thing he wants is to come to the aid of the man responsible for his cousin’s death, but the knife at his throat doesn’t give Low much options.

Close proximity doesn’t temper the hatred Low harbors for Renzo, it only brings up new problems. Like the vicious attraction Low struggles to control, and bullets that won’t stop flying. It’s a tough sell to believe there’s anything good in a man as unapologetically dangerous as Renzo. And even if Low could forgive the unforgivable, Renzo is still shadowed in secrets. When they’re exposed, those secrets will bring far-reaching consequences that could sever not just their shaky bond, but Low’s family ties as well.

This is book three in the Loose Ends series, but can be read as a standalone.

Warning: Contains references to subjects that may be triggering. Please read with caution.


Everything about him was magnetic and dangerous, and he moved like a rogue wave on an abandoned beach, wiping away your foundation before you had a chance to prepare for the hit.

Right now his gaze devoured Low, making it hard for him not to squirm.

“There is something between us.” Renzo put his hands in his pockets. Low tried not to notice the way that action tugged his pants waist lower and rucked up his shirt. “You and I both know that.”

“No.” Low held up a hand when Renzo took a step forward, but that didn’t stop him from coming closer. “I have a boyfriend.” So yeah, he’d upgraded Chance. “I don’t want you.”

“Yes.” Renzo got in Low’s space, trapping Low between him and the locked door. “You have a boyfriend but here you are, sneaking off to see me. Why are you at my club? Are you here looking for love? Looking for a fuck?”

Low’s eyes widened and Renzo touched him, a slide of his knuckles down his cheek. That touch. He’d thought about. He’d fantasized about it. He’d grieved for the loss of it.

“Doesn’t matter which. I’m good for either one.”

Low jerked his head up and slid closer. He couldn’t help it, couldn’t fight the coil in his belly that pulled tighter with every word Renzo spoke, bringing them together until their bodies made contact, front to front.

Step away. He should step back. But Renzo kept him right there with his heat and the smell of him. Low leaned forward slowly, seeking more of it.

The heat.

The scent.

His lips brushed Renzo’s neck.

Renzo groaned. Low’s entire body clenched.

Have mercy. “Leave me the fuck alone,” Low whispered. But there was no force beyond that plea. Just empty words mocking him, because the truth was he wanted Renzo closer.

Renzo grabbed him by the arm and pushed him up against the mirror overlooking the main area of the club. They could see out, but no one could see them as they stood, Renzo at Low’s back, humping him, sliding his hardness all over Low’s ass. Slowly.

Fucking painfully slow.

“Watch him,” Renzo murmured at his ear. “Watch your boyfriend. Does he know he’s your second choice, Low?”

He shuddered, panting, but he still held his head high, squirming as he tried to get away from Renzo’s hold. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Renzo laughed. “You know.” His tongue slid over the shell of Low’s ear.

Low’s breath hitched as he locked his knees to keep from falling. Renzo melted him. He destroyed Low and he remained in that grip, loving their destruction.

“Where does Chance think you are, Low? Men’s room? Outside getting some air? When you leave here, will you tell him where you were, I wonder?” Renzo nipped at his earlobe and Low gave him everything. Every shudder, every gasp. “You gonna tell him you were rubbing your ass all over my cock, Low?”

“No.” He moaned. God. Fuck. Low gave up his moans, too. “Please.”

“You gonna tell him you can’t stay away from me? That you only brought him here to make me jealous?”

“I don’t want you.” His voice was an embarrassingly thin thread of sound that wavered under the weight of Renzo’s touch, like a ribbon wrapped around a tree branch, fighting against a heavy wind.

“Doesn’t matter how much you tell yourself you hate me,” Renzo whispered. “You still close your eyes when Chance touches you and pretend it’s me.”

The stark truth in those words buried him. “No.”

Renzo ignored his weak protest. “Does he know what you like, huh?” He touched Low, one hand at his chest, lips at his ear. “Has he fucked you lately?”

“Renzo.”

“Yes.” Renzo moaned, too, the sound hitting Low in the balls. “The way you say my fucking name.” He pressed closer, rocking against Low. He clasped Low’s throat, tilting his head against his shoulder. “Good?” he asked, voice turned husky. “He fucks you good, Low? The way you want, the way you need?”

“I don’t…” Low choked, but he was moving with Renzo, on him, sliding up and down, riding the hard ridge of Renzo. Unable to stop. Just for a second. He’d forget himself just for however long it took for this hunger to work its way through him.

“Does he eat you out? Lick it up?” The hand around Low’s throat tightened. “Does he tell you you’re the best?”

Low sobbed for him, trembling, fingers clinging to the hand Renzo had splayed over his lower belly. Done, he was fucking done.

“You’re the best I’ve ever had, Low, and I haven’t even fucked you yet. Let me get that.” He touched lower, cupping Low’s erection through his jeans and squeezing. “Let me tear it up while you call me Daddy. Let’s stay here, like this, you riding me till we both come.”

“No!” Low wrenched himself away, stumbling as he glared at Renzo as arousal crawled along his spine. “You killed my cousin.”

Renzo shrugged. “Did I?” 

What is the biggest influence/interest that brought you to this genre? 
I just really wanted to see two men fall in love and live happily ever after.

When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process (outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)?
I don’t plot before I write, so I discover and learn my characters in the moment. Peeling back their layers and figuring out who they are is my favorite thing.

When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing? 
I read romance. That is all I need. Happiness. Fulfillment. Love. Laughter. Heartbreak too. That’s what interests me.

If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
I’d never be a good co-author, so I don’t even entertain that.

Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you "later in life"? 
I’ve always been in love with books and reading. I only entertained the idea of creating my own worlds in my early twenties. I guess that would be considered late in life?



Author Bio:
A Caribbean transplant, Avril now lives in Stone Mountain, GA. with a tolerant Spousal Equivalent. Together they raise an eccentric daughter who loves reading and school (not so much school anymore). Avril's earliest memories of reading revolve around discussing plot points of Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys with an equally book-minded mother

Always in love with the written word, Avril finally decided to do the writing in August of '09 and never looked back. Spicy love scenes, delicious heroes, and wicked women burn up the pages of Avril's stories, but there'll always be a happy ending; Av remains a believer of love in all its forms.

A lover of cake, the ID Channel and the UFC, Avril writes Erotic and GLBT Romance.


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Kiss Your Scars #3

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Week at a Glance: 4/23/18 - 4/29/18