Wednesday, January 6, 2016

After Christmas Holiday Reads

Well, the holidays are over and the new year has begun but there were still a few Christmas romances that were burning up my Kindle.  So here are the reviews for those holiday tales and it's never too late to surround yourself with the magic of Christmas.

Not Every Time by Alexa Milne
What would you give up for love?

Raziel Slade and Jack Hastings have been best friends since Raz saved Jack’s life twelve years ago. Jack has spent years searching for the perfect woman with the help of his wingman, Raz, the man he thinks of as his guardian angel. At a company Christmas party, the world Jack thought he knew turns on its axis, and feelings he didn’t know he had punch him right between the eyes. Can Jack learn to see his friend in an entirely different way?

Openly gay, Raz loves his best friend and has given up more than Jack will ever know to be with him, but he’s never dared to tell Jack how he truly feels, or to reveal his true identity. For twelve years, he has waited in the wings.

Now, with Jack’s sudden epiphany, can these two best friends work out if they have a future together?

A new author for me is always a great find and with this holiday romance it's even better.  Jack and Raz have been best friends for years, watching them become something more is heartwarming.  A great addition to my holiday library.


The Proof is in the Pudding by Nic Starr
Steve never expected making a Christmas pudding would bring him the man of his dreams.

Steve Hayes is away with a group of friends who are spending the Christmas break together. He's determined to put his two-timing ex-boyfriend in the past, and enjoy his week away. Steve is happily surprised to find that Corey Oh, the guy he's been admiring from afar, has been invited along too. But Steve knows there's no way someone as wonderful as Corey, who could have any man he wanted, would be interested in him.

However, thanks to a misadventure with a Christmas pudding, Steve will find that dreams can come true.

I have a few Nic Starr stories on my kindle but I've yet to read them.  After this, I'll be bumping them up on my TBR list.  Sometimes friends really do know what's best for us and sometimes they don't have a clue.  A great little holiday read.


Found in the Library by Christi Snow
His entire life, Tommy Garrett has dealt with self-doubts. He thought he’d conquered the majority of them until a chance meeting with an author brought his illiteracy to the forefront...again. Growing up with un-diagnosed dyslexia has left Tommy barely able to read, but books are his Nirvana. Now he spends his life creating art dedicated to the love of those “untouchable” items.

Robert McIntyre, Mac, is a best-selling, highly celebrated author. But his point of view has become a little bit too narrow...until Tommy opens his eyes. That chance meeting has changed everything about his world. He has no idea how to find the beautiful man he met, and offended, at the library book sale. But when he does, Tommy’s life is in crisis-mode. It’s the holidays and Mac can’t just standby when Tommy needs help, whether Tommy wants it or not.

Two artistic men. One shared passion for books.

Life is hard, and sometimes when conflict arises you have to write your own plot twist to pull yourself out of the fray.

I love when a book makes the character and the reader think about how they see things, and Mac definitely has to rethink his life when he meets Tommy.  Again another new author for me and a great way to make an introduction.  Definitely can see myself rereading this next Christmas.


An Assassin's Holiday by Dirk Greyson
Brick Colton has been hired to kill Santa Claus—or at least the kindhearted accountant playing Santa for the kids in an orphanage. Brick grew up in an orphanage himself, but that isn’t the only thing bothering him about the contract on Robin Marvington’s life. The details don’t add up, and it’s looking more and more like someone has set Robin up. As Brick investigates, Robin brings some much-needed cheer into his life, the light in Robin’s soul reaching something in Brick’s dark one. But all of that will end if they can’t find the person who wants Robin dead.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar package "Sleigh Ride".

Definitely one of the more unusual meetings I've read, an assassin paid to kill Santa.  What these two find with each other is what the holidays are all about: hope.  Such a great addition to my holiday library and another great new author find.


A Little Christmas Magic by KC Faelen
A story from Boughs of Evergreen: A Holiday Anthology

It's the day after Thanksgiving and Ryan Forsyth is helping his friends decorate for Christmas. Little does he know that the weekend will usher in a profound change to his life, a chance for happiness if he isn't too afraid to reach out and grasp it.

Boone Ainsworth has been friends with Ryan since junior high, ever since their mutual friend Greg Hayes introduced them. Since the day they met, no one has stood a chance at claiming Boone's heart except Ryan, but Ryan is so deep in the closet, he hasn't got a clue.

Their happily ever after is just a step away, until a panicked decision changes everything. From that point on, things don't go smoothly and Ryan and Boone make mistakes neither may be able to forgive. But it's the holidays, and Ryan is banking on a little Christmas magic to help smooth the way.

When reality hits Ryan in the face, will he run from it or embrace it?  There are moments in this tale that is very heartbreaking but watching them come to terms with everything is also heartwarming.  Everything that makes a great holiday story, I added it to my kindle last Christmas but just never got around to it, and I missed out, but not anymore. Ryan and Boone worked their way into my heart and hopefully you'll give them a chance too.


Joys R Us by Kim Fielding
Reece is a practical, orderly man, a financial analyst who considers most holiday events wasteful. But his sister coerces him into standing in line overnight for this year's must-have toy. Supplies prove smaller than expected, and Reece gets trampled in the resulting stampede. Toy store manager Angel tends to Reece's wounds. When Angel discovers Reece's cynical attitude, he invites Reece to spend Christmas Eve with him. Over the course of the day, Angel shows Reece what Christmas means to him. With Angel's guidance, maybe Reece can finally understand the joy of the holiday—and maybe even find love as well.

This may be a super short read but it is also super cute, super fun, and super lovely.  A nice little change of pace for the stress that often accompanies the holidays.


Third Solstice by Harper Fox(Tyack & Frayne Mystery #6)
Gideon’s managed to swing a few festive days off, and he and Lee are looking forward to celebrating their little girl’s first birthday. But duty calls, and Gideon is too good an officer to ignore the summons. He finds himself on the streets of Penzance, helping police the midwinter Montol celebrations.

It’s his third winter solstice with Lee, and disturbance, danger and magic are in the air. His daughter is beginning to show some remarkable gifts, and not all the family can cope with them. As the Montol festivities reach their fiery heights, will Lee and Gideon find a way to keep those they love best on the right side of the solstice gate?

How did I not know this came out before Christmas?  I fell in love with Lee & Gideon a few months back and it's a great treat to find them in a holiday setting.  Don't think that just because it's Christmas their lives are any less hectic or paranormal.  When their daughter shows what she can do, will it make things easier or more troubling?  Well, for that you'll have to read it and you most definitely will want to do so.  Now I can file Lee & Gideon under both paranormal and my holiday shelf.


Merry Gentlemen by Josephine Myles
’Tis the season of goodwill to all men…even the one who dumped you.

Riley MacDermott’s ambitions are simple. Managing the annual Bath Christmas Market—which involves long hours in the cold and a whole lot of hassle—will secure the promotion he needs to afford to move out of his noisy, top-floor flat. Where not even his balcony is safe from an aggressive herring gull.

The last stallholder he expects to see is his ex. Riley never recovered from their break up, and five years on the old chemistry still sparkles. So does their habitual head butting.

Stan never wanted to leave the love of his life, but the pull of the woods was too strong—and Riley was firmly planted in the city. Reconnecting is painful, but Stan still jumps at the chance to stay with his old flame during the Market. And damn the consequences.

As the weeks pass, the two grow closer than ever. But despite scorching sex and cozy intimacy, they both know they face a cold and lonely future. Unless one of them can compromise.

Warning: Contains sex in a shed, a seagull with a grudge, glamping, awful Secret Santa underwear, misuse of an Abba song, and as many wood-related puns as the author thought she could get away with.

I featured Merry Gentleman in Part 3 of my Random Tales of Christmastime posts but I only just a got a chance to read it after the holiday.  I've never read Miss Myles before but I will be checking out her backlist this year.  Interesting story of getting what you want only to realize, is it really what you want?, when better than the holidays to have an epiphany about what is really important in life.


Not Every Time by Alexa Milne
Angelo Raziel Slade glared at the bathroom door behind which stood his best friend, Jack Hastings. He shrugged on his jacket and sat on the bed. “For heaven’s sake, Jack, stop complaining. This is your work’s Christmas party, and we’re only here because I’m tired of you whining about your pathetic love life.”

“I realize that, but you know how much I hate these occasions. Last year— No, I don’t want to remember that debacle. I want it made clear that I’m only here because you insisted and said you’d come with me. You know what I’m like.”

Raz sighed. He certainly did.

“I’m hopeless with small talk. Women come up to me and I panic. How come you can speak to women? Is it something to do with being gay? Do you lot have a special understanding of how women think, or what?”

Jack emerged from the bathroom, opened his arms wide and twirled. “So, will I do?” he asked.

Raz swallowed a gasp and crossed his legs. Oh, my God. You will do, but you could wear a sack and you’d do for me. “You clean up well. I told you a suit would be better. Women prefer men in a suit, but with more than a hint of stubble and the suggestion there might be something worth investigating underneath.”

“Is that the sort of men you like?” Jack asked.

Raz stood and closed the distance between them. “This tie needs adjusting, though. Here, let me do it.” Up close, the smell of his friend’s aftershave filled his senses. Why did he torture himself in this way? So I can be near him. Because I can’t bear the idea of not being near him.

“There, that’s better. A tie needs a Windsor knot. My father used to say you should always make an effort to be at your best.”

“You must miss them at this time of year,” Jack said, placing a hand on Raz’s arm.

Raz stared over Jack’s shoulder through the window into the dark December night. “My father was always too busy saving the planet to have much time for me, and I don’t remember my mother.”

“Just as well that my family love the bones of you then. You are still coming to ours for Christmas Day, aren’t you? Mum and Dad would skin me alive if you didn’t, not to mention Lisa. They think the sun shines out of your backside.”

“Yes, I’ll be there as usual. I thought Lisa was bringing Bradley this time, now that they’re official.”

“She is. He’s a brave man taking on my sister. Right, let’s get this over with. I’m glad we booked the room so we can both have a drink.” Raz pulled a face.

“It’s all right. I’m not going to have too much because women don’t like a drunk. And I know to ask questions, but not suck up too much if I see anyone I fancy. The place will be packed, so perhaps this will be the night.” He nudged Raz. “All those bankers together in one room.”

“That’s one word for them,” Raz whispered to himself.

Jack put his hands on his hips and struck what Raz called his Henry VIII pose. “Look, you insisted I come tonight and stop sitting at home complaining no one loves me and that my wrist aches.”

“Well, you won’t find Ms. Right if you stay home with me every Saturday night, now will you?” Even if I love every minute of it and hate the thought you might not be there.

The Proof is in the Pudding by Nic Starr
Chapter One
Whose stupid idea was it to make a Christmas pudding? Oh right, mine. For God's sake, it was over thirty degrees Celsius in the shade and the kitchen was like a bloody sauna. Steve could feel the perspiration beading on his forehead, the slow circling of the ceiling fan overhead hardly stirring the warm air. He tore a piece of paper towel from the roll in the dispenser and used it to dab his brow before chucking the crumpled wad in the bin and stalking over to the switch on the wall. He twisted the dial, smiling in satisfaction as the fan sped up and a gentle breeze wafted against his heated skin.

Steve had no doubt he looked terrible. Hot and sweaty, with his face flushed and his brown hair plastered to the back of his neck. He really should have gotten a haircut before coming on this trip, but he'd had hardly had time to pack due to his work obligations, let alone the luxury of much preparation. That's what you got when your caring, don't-take-no-for-an-answer friends dragged you out into the real world while your boss was breathing down your neck.

He washed his hands under the cool water from the sink then dried them on his cargo shorts. The beige shorts were covered in...What is that gross brown slimy stuff? He peered closer. Mushed sultanas by the looks of things. On further observation, his T-shirt hadn't fared much better. Maybe he should have worn an apron, or at least made an attempt to wipe his hands on the tea towel and not his clothes. He shook his head as he spun on his heel and returned to the kitchen bench. It didn't fucking matter, he had no one to impress anyway.

With a disgusted sigh, he went back to the task of mixing the dried fruit he'd been chopping and dicing, for what felt like hours. Sultanas, currants, raisins--no wonder his shorts were so sticky--and green apples. He'd even chucked in a grated carrot as he followed his mum's recipe. It was taken straight from the Australian Women's Weekly so how could it go wrong? At least, he hoped that would be the case. It'd piss him off to no end if he went to all this effort and the pudding turned out like crap.

"What did whatever's in that bowl do to you, Steve?" Malcolm asked from the doorway.

"What?" Steve gave his best friend a brief glance before turning his attention back to his ingredients. "I don't know what you're talking about." The metal spoon dinged on the edge of the stainless steel bowl with each agitated rotation. Steve grunted as he put more elbow grease into the motion, ensuring each piece of fruit was liberally coated in brandy.

Malcolm walked closer and peered into the bowl of brown mush. "Are you mixing or pureeing?" he chuckled.

Steve stopped stirring and glared at Malcolm, suddenly aware of the ache in his muscles. Malcolm grinned back, his smile wide. Steve couldn't help but mirror that open smile. Malcolm was a good guy and maybe, just maybe, he was being a tad aggressive with the mixture. Steve let go of the spoon, allowing it to clang against the bowl.

"Fuck. I need a drink." He eyed the brandy bottle sitting on the kitchen bench but in truth he wasn't really tempted to swig that cheap stuff.

"C'mon, take a break. Come outside and have a beer."

"Yeah. Just give me a sec." Steve used some plastic film to cover his bowl and put it in the fridge to marinate overnight. He'd use the brandy-infused fruit the next day to make the Christmas pudding.

While the fridge was open, Malcolm used the opportunity to snag a couple of bottles from the door and headed to the deck. Steve followed, holding a bottle in each hand.

* * * * *
Malcolm led the way with Steve hot on his heels. Steve let out another sigh, this time of relief, as he exited the oppressive heat of the house and stepped onto the deck where the rest of the guys were already making themselves comfortable, and had been doing so for hours.

Douglas and Matt, the only couple amongst them, were seated around the timber outdoor setting, empty bottles on the table in front of them. Malcolm passed out the fresh beers and grunted as he dropped into a chair. Ken was sprawled on the Balinese-style daybed, balancing a jar of salsa on his ample chest. The corn chips were in a bowl on the coffee table, well within reaching distance, and Ken was making a continuous circuit from bowl to dip to mouth. He stopped briefly to grab the beer Steve thrust his way.

Steve had expected it to be cooler in the mountains but it seemed they were having a hotter summer than usual. It was still warm, even this late in the afternoon, although there was a faint breeze that had started to cool things down. The temperature had dropped slightly from the heat of the middle of the day. Steve welcomed taking a break from cooking and leaned his arse up against the railing as he raised the bottle to his lips. The beer was cold and wet, and went down like a treat. At the first welcome sip, some of his earlier tension started to melt away. Just being here, so far from the city and his usual routine, was already working its magic.

"Holy shit!" They all turned at the exclamation, to stare at the slim figure framed in the wide doorway. "This place is freaking amazing, and the view is spectacular. It's no wonder we're paying a small fortune to stay here." The owner of the voice laughed. ""

"Corey!" The name echoed as the guys greeted their late arrival. Corey glanced around the group, a broad smile lighting up his face. Warmth snuck up Steve's neck and touched his face as his gaze met Corey's dark eyes. Steve nodded, suddenly tongue-tied as Corey moved closer.

"Holy shit," Corey murmured again, and stepped up to the balustrade.

Steve found his heart in his mouth as he gazed at Corey's outline framed by the spectacular mountain backdrop. Fuck, fuck, shit! He hadn't known Corey was joining the group on this trip, and had initially been relieved when he'd noticed Corey's absence. Bloody Mal. He looked away from Corey's cute arse to where his friend was sitting at the table. From the shit-eating grin on Malcolm's face, Steve knew this was his doing. Fuck! Now, Steve didn't know if he was annoyed or excited, as his racing heartbeat could have been attributed to either.

Steve had known Corey for over a year, and had thought he was gorgeous for just as long--something that had pissed Steve's boyfriend, now ex-boyfriend, off. Steve's stomach plummeted as he thought of Richard. He gave himself a mental kick. For God's sake, it's been months. This week is all about getting on with my life. Stop thinking about that arsehole. But forgetting was easier said than done. He thought back to Richard and his reaction to Corey. In reality, Richard should have had no reason to be worried about Steve and his feelings towards anyone else. However, Steve had never been able to make Richard understand that, just because he found another man attractive, didn't make Richard any less appealing and there was no fucking way in hell Steve would have initiated anything with another man anyway. Look but don't touch was fine, but that was it. Steve had seen enough infidelity to know he could never put anyone in that position. Shame Richard hadn't felt the same way. Arsehole.

Thoughts of Richard fled as Corey's gaze met his again. He shot Steve a smile that went straight to Steve's heart--okay, if he was honest, straight to his dick. Steve attempted an answering grin then focused on lowering himself into a nearby chair to hide his unexpected arousal. A sideways glance showed him that Mal was still smirking.

Corey bounced on the balls of his feet and peered over the railing then glanced back at the house, all the while talking. "What time did you guys arrive? It was a shit drive due to traffic, but not so bad once I got off the expressway. Worth it, though, from the looks of this place." Corey was cheery for someone who'd just driven a two-hundred and fifty kilometre road trip from Sydney to the Barrington Tops in holiday traffic.

"Coupla hours," Douglas said. "Matt and I drove up with Ken."

"And Steve and I arrived first thing this morning," added Mal. "Steve was keen to get started on his world famous Christmas pudding." He winked at Steve.

"Fuck off," Steve responded.

"Did you, or did you not, say you needed time to cook the damn thing? Your exact words, if I recall correctly, were ‘the fruit needs time to marinate so the flavours can develop.'" The guys laughed at Mal's falsetto.

"Fuck off. I'm just doing what Mum told me."

"I think it's great you're making the pudding," Matt said. "I'm sure you'll do a fabulous job. We may make a chef out of you yet."

"Thank you," Steve said, his expression serious. He tipped his bottle toward Matt in salute.

"You'll give Gordon Ramsay a run for his money with that potty-mouth of yours," Ken called from his spot on the daybed.

"Oh, for fuck's sake--" Steve started.

"See what I mean?" Ken chuckled.

Steve rolled his eyes as all the guys, his supposed friends, laughed. "You're the ones who voted me to take charge of the pudding."

"Yeah, but I didn't think you'd make one. You could've just bought one you know," Matt said.

When the group had been making arrangements for the Christmas week away, they'd discussed plans for Christmas Day. Over a couple of rounds of beer, they'd divvied up cooking chores. A couple of years ago they'd done the same thing--a week away with the boys for Christmas, that time to the beach--and his ex, Richard, had taken charge of the pudding. Richard had purchased one of those gourmet puddings, the cost of which could probably have fed a family for a week, and he had provided store-bought, but top of the line, egg custard. There was no way in hell that Steve was going to buy a pudding. He was going to do his damned best to outdo Richard's ostentatious offering. Even if it kills me, he thought ruefully.

An Assassin's Holiday by Dirk Greyson
I KILL people; it’s what I do. It’s all I know, and dammit, I’m very good at my job—and, in turn, my job has been good to me. The last thing on earth that I have is money worries. Unlike the guy who just passed me on the street, stinking of desperation and fear as he heads home to a tiny apartment filled with a wife and kids, wondering how he’s going to make the next rent payment. I could almost see him making calculations in his head to figure out if he’s going to have enough money to make ends meet for one more month.

I never have worries like that. As I said, I’m good at what I do, and I’m paid highly for it. There will be no wondering if my imaginary children will have presents this Christmas, because I could afford any present I wanted without giving it a second thought. Which I don’t, because at this very moment, I’m close.

My target is a block away, and my mind zeroes in on the task at hand. Slowly, I pat the pocket on the inside of my coat, making sure what I need is still there. I don’t feel the cold trying to lick its way through the fabric or up the sleeve of my coat. Minor distractions, like the few flakes of snow that began falling a few minutes ago and are now getting heavier and thicker, barely register in my mind. I know where everyone is around me, and yet I hardly see them. The old man with a cane and tiny dog a few steps behind me and falling farther back. The lady in her thirties rushing past me, arms filled with Christmassy department store bags. As she passes, my senses reach out for any sign of a threat. There is nothing.

After all, I’m the threat. If you cross my path or end up on my list of targets, then hell, for all intents and purposes, I’m the fucking Grim Reaper. And I like it that way. No one messes with me, and I have everything I could possibly desire: a safe place to live, comfort most could only dream of, food, drink, heat in the winter, air-conditioning in the summer, and security. All the things I’d been without for large portions of my life. I have them all now. Every tick box on my proverbial Christmas list has been checked.

“Excuse me,” a man says as he comes out of one of the stores, bumping me with a bag that he then proceeds to drop on the ground.

Without thinking I pick it up and hand it to him.

“Merry Christmas.”

“You too,” I respond with a slight smile that lasts for just a few seconds before the training and goal creep back into my head, and I move on. A few steps later, I surprise myself and turn around to look after him, but the man is gone. I continue down the sidewalk.

My quarry is just ahead. I can see him coming out of his office the same time tonight as he has for the last week. He’s a model of clockwork and predictability. I love guys like that—it makes my job so much easier. Know your target, get into his head, watch him, know his routine, and when the time comes, get in and out fast, cleanly, invisibly. Then disappear into the city with no one the wiser.

Merry Gentlemen by Josephine Myles
You could lose yourself in Stan’s eyes. Well, I could. They reminded me of sun-bleached denim, with a deeper indigo ring around the outside. They were the kind of eyes that spoke of hard work in the great outdoors, and if it hadn’t been for the fact they’d been just the same back when he’d slaved away as a housing officer, I’d believe they really had been lightened by the sun. His hair certainly had. I’d always thought of him as a dirty blond rather than a honey one.

I still thought of him as a dirty blond, although not because of the colour of his hair.

Before my brain could get hijacked by thoughts of just how dirty Stan could be, I recovered my manners and stuck my hand out.

“Stan. Fancy seeing you here. I had no idea. Really.”

Stan stared at my hand like I was offering him a slice of mouldy pizza. I was just about to snatch it back when he grabbed it and held on.

“Ri? You look… You haven’t changed. Not one bit.”

Normally I’d preen a little at a comment like that. Make some allusion to Botox—not that I had any desire to freeze the expression out of my forehead, as how would I cope if I couldn’t do my patented single-eyebrow raise?

But right now, with Stan holding my hand in his rough, calloused—oh my God, he had genuine, honest to goodness callouses!—paw, I found it hard to do anything other than fight down my body’s instinctive response to him. I wanted to hit him and I wanted to lick him all over, and I couldn’t bloody well figure out which urge was winning.

Actually, right now I needed to stop paying any attention to my body and concentrate on keeping my cool. Couldn’t have Stan seeing me ruffled.

“Well, you’ve definitely changed,” I said. “You’ve got that whole rugged, outdoorsy vibe working for you now.” I didn’t need to hide the fact I was checking him out, thank Christ, so I took my time drinking in the sight of him. “Going back to nature really does pay off, doesn’t it? Shit, you never bulked up this well in the gym. And you’re tanned in the winter, but not a streak of orange to be seen. It’s a modern day miracle. Hallelujah.”

“I don’t need to fake it,” Stan growled, tilting his head back to look down at me and making the most of his three-inch height advantage. It was his arrogant-bastard pose, and he bloody well knew I was a sucker for it because I’d once made the mistake of telling him. Never, ever let a toppy git know just how much they turn you on, or you’ll spend your whole bloody life in a state of perpetual turned-on-ness. Was that even a word? It was now.

“What happened to your hair?” I said, reaching out for a lock. “Totally hot, but aren’t you getting a bit old for the whole surfer look? And you’re way too landlocked, down in deepest, darkest Somersetshire.”

“Piss off, Ri,” Stan said, but there was no heat in his words. The heat was all in his eyes, beaming out and frying me like a laser beam. They’d find me later, nothing more than a pair of melted boot soles on the cobbles.

Was that angry heat or turned-on heat? Couldn’t figure it out on him either. I had to face it, we both had ample reason to be pissed off with each other, but five years was a long time to hold a grudge.

“Much as I’d love to get on my way, it’s actually my job to check up on you. See if there’s anything you need any help with. Lend a hand, you know.” Jesus, could I have made that sound any more like a come-on? Clearly my mouth was in cahoots with my dick rather than my brain. I bit the inside of my lower lip, just to show it who was boss.

But Stan just carried on staring at me, while the sun-warmed denim of his eyes frosted over.

“Right. Just your job.” Oh, that guttural Slovakian accent! After the best part of a decade of living in the UK, Stan’s had definitely mellowed compared to when we’d first met, but it was still sexy as hell. “I’ll make sure I let you know if there’s anything you can help me with.” He stepped a little closer then, and tucked both thumbs into the waistband of his combats, hands framing his package like I needed any reminding of what was hidden in there. Well, not so hidden. Whereas I was a grower, Stan was most definitely a show-er, meaning his tackle was almost as big flaccid as it was erect. Not that that was a disappointment. More of a relief, really. If he’d got any bigger when hard, I’d have had to make like a snake and dislocate my jaw before giving him a blowjob.

And I really didn’t need to be remembering blowing Stan right now.

I thought I’d concealed my arousal pretty damn well, but something must have registered, because Stan got this triumphant grin. “You’d better get back to work. Can’t have you giving up your chance at climbing the corporate ladder for my sake.” And the bastard turned his back on me and went back to fiddling with the display board.

Ouch. That was an old barb, and one I’d had thrown at me many times in the months leading to our breakup. Or my dumping, as I thought of it in my maudlin moments. Usually while cradling a glass of pinot noir and listening to bluesy jazz.

I had to set things straight. Let Stan know I’d turned over a new leaf. “Actually, I’m working for the council now. Public sector. Not corporate.”

“And I should care why, exactly?”

Double ouch. And worse yet, I knew I probably deserved it, as I had made it very clear my career was the priority back then.

“I’ll be on my way, then. If you need anything, Janine and I are patrolling. Should be one of us checking up on you every half hour or so. Oh, and I’m sorry about your pitch.” I indicated the litter bin that sat in front of it. “Not the best we have to offer. You’ll have to get in quick next year if you want one of the prime ones with decent footfall.”

Stan just shrugged. “It’s fine. I’m used to things being quiet.”

“Yeah, I bet.” I wanted to ask him more about how it was going out in the woods, but he’d made it pretty clear he didn’t want to talk. “Bye, then.”

I got a grunt in response. Bloody charming.

Cavemen. You can try to civilise them, but the minute they get back to the great outdoors, they go all feral again. I pitied the good folk of Somerset, having to put up with a grumpy old hermit in their midst.

And I kind of envied them too.

Yeah, I was so not over Stan, it wasn’t even funny.

Author Bios:
Alexa Milne
Originally from South Wales, Alexa has lived for over thirty years in the North West of England. Now retired, after a long career in teaching, she devotes her time to her obsessions.

Alexa began writing when her favourite character was killed in her favourite show. After producing a lot of fanfiction she ventured into original writing.

She is currently owned by a mad cat and spends her time writing about the men in her head, watching her favourite television programmes and usually crying over her favourite football team.

Nic Starr
Nic Starr lives in Australia where she tries to squeeze as much into her busy life as possible. Balancing the demands of a corporate career with raising a family and writing can be challenging but she wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Always a reader, the lure of m/m romance was strong and she devoured hundreds of wonderful m/m romance books before eventually realising she had some stories of her own that needed to be told!

When not writing or reading, she loves to spend time with her family–an understanding husband and two beautiful daughters–and is often found indulging in her love of cooking and planning her dream home in the country.

You can find Nic on Facebook, Twitter and her blog. She’d love it if you stopped by to say hi.

Christi Snow
As an avid reader my entire life, I’ve always dreamed of writing books that brought to others the kind of joy I feel when I read.

But…I never did anything about it besides jot down a few ideas and sparse scenes.

When I turned 41, I decided it was time to go after my dream and started writing. Within four months, I’d written over 150,000 words and haven’t stopped since. I’ve found my passion by writing about sexy, alpha heroes and smart, tough heroines falling in love and finding their passion. I’m truly living the dream and loving every minute of it.

My tagline is…

Passion and adventure on the road to Happily Ever After. I have to admit, I am loving this adventure!

Dirk Greyson
Dirk is very much an outside kind of man. He loves travel and seeing new things.

Dirk worked in corporate America for way too long and now spends his days writing, gardening, and taking care of the home he shares with his partner of more than two decades.

He has a Master’s Degree and all the other accessories that go with a corporate job. But he is most proud of the stories he tells and the life he's built.

Dirk lives in Pennsylvania in a century old home and is blessed with an amazing circle of friends.

KC Faelen
KC is a writer of M/M and LGBT Fiction. Her stories are character driven, with a touch of humor, romance, and all the fun that entails. She believes in HEAs, or at least a strong HFN, where the characters in her stories must work for their HEA, but in the end get their love match. KC loves food and will often incorporate scenes of cooking or eating in the stories she writes. She enjoys relaxing with a good book, her favorite genre being M/M, but she reads many others, such as: Fantasy, Paranormal and Sci-Fi.

KC lives in Northern California with her husband and two rescue birds.

Kim Fielding
Kim Fielding lives in California and travels as often as she can manage. A professor by day, at night she rushes into a phonebooth to change into her author costume (which involves comfy clothes instead of Spandex and is, sadly, lacking a cape). Her superpowers include the ability to write nearly anywhere, often while simultaneously doling out homework assistance to her children. Her favorite word to describe herself is "eclectic" and she finally got that third tattoo.

All royalties from her novels Stasis, Flux and Equipoise are donated to Doctors Without Borders.

Harper Fox
Harper Fox is an M/M author with a mission. She’s produced six critically acclaimed novels in a year and is trying to dispel rumours that she has a clone/twin sister locked away in a study in her basement. In fact she simply continues working on what she loves best– creating worlds and stories for the huge cast of lovely gay men queuing up inside her head. She lives in rural Northumberland in northern England and does most of her writing at a pensioned-off kitchen table in her back garden, often with blanket and hot water bottle.

She lives with her SO Jane, who has somehow put up with her for a quarter of a century now, and three enigmatic cats, chief among whom is Lucy, who knows the secret of the universe but isn't letting on. When not writing, she either despairs or makes bread, specialities foccacia and her amazing seven-strand challah. If she has any other skills, she's yet to discover them.

Josephine Myles
Eccentric Englishwoman, absent-minded mother, proud bisexual, shameless tea addict, serial textile craft hobbyist, iconoclastic logophile and writer of homoerotic romance—Josephine Myles is all these things at once. She has held down more different jobs than any sane person ever should and is fundamentally rebellious, preferring the overgrown yet enticing path rather than the wide and obvious one.

Jo once spent two years living on a slowly decaying narrowboat, and was determined that she would one day use the experience as fodder for a novel. It may have taken a few years, but she got there in the end. She usually does.

Alexa Milne

Nic Starr

Christi Snow

Dirk Greyson

KC Faelen

Kim Fielding

Harper Fox

Josephine Myles

Not Every Time

The Proof is in the Pudding

Found in the Library

An Assassin's Holiday

A Little Christmas Magic

Joys R Us

Third Solstice
B&N  /  KOBO  /  iTUNES  /  ARe

Merry Christmas
B&N  /  KOBO  /  ARe

Release Day Blitz: Counter to My Intelligence by Lani Lynn Vale

Title: Counter to My Intelligence
Author: Lani Lynn Vale
Series: The Heroes of The Dixie Wardens MC #7
Genre: Adult, Motorcycle Club Romance
Release Date: January 6, 2016
Sometimes the heart wants what it can’t have.

That’s the motto Silas Mackenzie, the president of The Dixie Wardens MC, has lived by since he was a young man.

Now he’s well on the way to middle age, has three grown children, and he’s lusting after a woman he should definitely stay away from.

Especially not one that his ex-girlfriend had given birth to, and happened to be only twenty seven years old.

Sawyer isn’t a young girl at heart, though.

She’s seen the inside of a jail cell for eight long years, and every one of them she spent paying for a crime she didn’t commit.

Silas Mackenzie knows as soon as he sees her that the girl has sacrificed enough.

And maybe…just maybe…so has Silas.

It’s time for Silas Mackenzie to get what he deserves, and put a little bit of happy back into Sawyer’s world, one rough, bearded kiss at a time.

“I like your vest.”

“It’s called a cut,” he muttered laughingly.

“What’s a cut?” I asked.

The hail and rain got worse, hitting the roof and the side of the garage like tiny little battering rams.

“A leather vest,” he quipped.

I giggled against his chest, turning my face so it could rest against his neck.

He growled when I kissed his exposed throat, but otherwise didn’t move.

“Joking aside, it’s my club. The cut is me. The top rocker, which is the white banner at the top, is our club name,” he said.

I felt along his back as he spoke, feeling what he was saying as he explained what each one was.

“The bottom rocker is our club’s location. We’re in Benton. We have other chapters all over the south,” he explained. “On the front is my name, club title, and the city again.”

I knew he was explaining this to me to get my mind off the fact that the roof was shaking around us, literally.

“I can’t believe Dallas hasn’t at least come to check on me,” I muttered darkly.

He tangled my hands in my hair, and I looked up at him…or where I thought he was.

“Your brother is a shit head. And I don’t think he even realizes that he is. Because if he did, he wouldn’t be telling your parents anything about how you were. My guess is that he really is worried, but he doesn’t know how to handle that worry. So, he closes himself off, telling himself that by telling your mother how he thinks you’re doing, he’s helping. Which, in reality, he’s not,” Silas said. “Maybe it’s time you had a talk with him, let him know you don’t appreciate being treated as a child.”

I agreed, and I’d already planned on doing that.

“I was going to do that today, but then he had that huge freakin’ party,” I told him darkly. “And I had to park in the street.”

He lowered his mouth down to mine.

“Well, then it’s a good thing he’s preoccupied, because right about now I could really fuck you on top of his car and he’d never even know,” he said tightly, lifting my body off the bench and laying me down on the car’s hood.

I laughed. “You know,” I said as he stripped my shorts from me. “This is my brother’s pride and joy.”

“Well your brother’s pride and joy is about to become our fuck stand,” he growled, then he was on me.

Author Bio:
I’m a married mother of three. My kids are all under 5, so I can assure you that they are a handful. I’ve been with my paramedic husband now for ten years, and we’ve produced three offspring that are nothing like us. I live in the greatest state in the world, Texas.


Counter to My Intelligence #7

Heroes of Dixie Wardens MC

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Release Day Blitz: Water Wishes by Elizabeth York

Title: Water Wishes
Author: Elizabeth York
Series: Water #2
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Release Date: January 6, 2016

Candice Monroe had a fiance Chase Matson who she thought was dead. After his funeral she found comfort in the arms of his partner, Jason Monroe. This new yet old love led her down an aisle as wedding bells sang.

Shock and dismay hit as her deceased fiance stood alive and well in the back of the church as she said her vows.

People she thought were dead are very much alive. Love she thought she lost was merely buried under pain. Not being able to grasp the emotional turmoil Candice does what she does best... runs.

Will she ever stop running?

Which man will she choose?

Can she be the hero or will she become a victim as the game of rush and roulette began on her life before she even knew it had.

Author Bio:
Up and coming author Elizabeth York has been writing for about seven years. Located in the southeast, she spends her days drinking sweet tea on the porch with her laptop in hand. She has devoted her life to her family and her books. With the loss of her Father to cancer in 2010 she makes "Dear Daddy" dedication pages in each book and donates 10% royalties to cancer research.

Take the time to get to know the characters and you will love them as much as she does.


Water Wishes #2

Wishing on the Water #1

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