Saturday, July 1, 2017

Saturday's Series Spotlight: Memories by Felice Stevens

Memories of the Heart #1
Ruthless, Controlling, A Loner. All words used to describe Dr. Micah Steinberg by the hospital staff for their next head of surgery. When a letter arrives from his grandmother’s friend at the assisted living facility, his orderly world tilts dangerously out of control.

Josh Rosen had everything until it was revealed much of his world was a lie. Forced to re-evaluate his life, Josh gives up his career and returns home to New York City to care for his beloved grandmother. What Josh didn’t figure on was an attraction to a man who on the surface, appears to be exactly like the life Josh chose to leave behind.

As Micah struggles with the reality of his grandmother’s illness, the bond they share deepens, as Josh helps Micah heal, then open his heart. Micah discovers there is more to life than work, control and success. Josh is in deep but has yet to tell Micah who he really is. When the fight for the hospital’s head of surgery turns ugly, Josh’s past and present collide. Micah must let go of the past and accept who he is, if his life is going to move forward.

Life is full of surprises, and as both Micah and Josh learn, love can happen whether you plan for it or not.

One Step Further #2
Alex Stern has it all; good looks, charm, a job he loves and everyone calls him a friend. He lives life to the fullest at a breakneck pace, in the city that never sleeps. But Alex is also a master pretender; not even his best friend sees the pain that Alex hides so well. Alex himself isn’t sure who he is or what he’s searching for, he only knows that he hasn’t found it yet.

As a veterinarian, Rafe Hazelton loves each animal that crosses his path; they don’t care if he stutters a bit or that prefers men. Their love is unconditional, but his life is still empty; they can only give him so much. New friendships convince him it’s time to break the wall of loneliness he’s hidden behind since childhood and discover what he's been missing.

Alex and Rafe forge a friendship that turns physical, and they both swear that the relationship will last only as long as the fun does. But when old heartaches come to light and secrets hidden for years are revealed, Alex and Rafe discover if they accept what’s in their hearts and take it one step further, the greatest reward is waiting for them in the end.

The Greatest Gift #3
After five years, Alex Stern and Rafe Hazelton have what seems to be the perfect marriage. Alex is entering his last years of residency and Rafe’s veterinary business is busier than ever. For Rafe, all that is missing is a child, but Alex, afraid of ending up to be a man like his father, isn’t as sure. He doesn't want to make any mistakes.

When a new patient enters the hospital, Alex is drawn to the young, desperately ill single mother, who shares her fears for the future of her young son. Rafe worries about the toll on Alex becoming emotionally invested in a patient, yet he too can’t walk away once he meets the little boy, and together they vow to help in any way possible.

Families are not always born of blood— love is a gift no one can plan for. And sometimes from the darkest of tragedies, the brightest light will shine.

Memories of the Heart #1
Original Review February 2015:
I loved how these two men really shouldn't even be in the same room together let alone a relationship and yet I couldn't really imagine one without the other.  I won't lie, there were times that I just wanted to throttle Micah but then Josh didn't exactly just roll over and take it, which thrilled me to no end. Enemies to lovers can be more difficult to accomplish than most people think, especially when the pair do both, fight and love, so amazingly well.  Throw in a couple of grandmothers and you have a story that went straight to my heart.  Felice Stevens is definitely an up and coming author to keep in your sights.

One Step Further #2
Original Review June 2015:
I just want to start with saying that I have a short list of authors that are an automatic "1-click without blurb" and even though I've loved everything Miss Stevens has written, she is just now officially on that list.  She as a way of taking the flaws we all have and molding them into characters that we not only enjoy reading but want to know.  Most authors give us characters that we come to understand and respect by the end of the book but not many create characters that we wished were in our every day lives.  You don't need to have read Memories of the Heart before One Step Further although there are character connections between the two books.  I love how Alex and Rafe are great individually but together are spectacular and the journey that takes them there, simply put is enjoyable.  There might be more creative ways I could describe their journey and even do so without giving spoilers but for me "enjoyable" says it all and  just like Felice's writing, doesn't require embellishing.

The Greates Gift #3
Original Review December 2015:
Alex and Rafe are possibly my favorite Felice Stevens' couple so when I heard they were going to be starring in their own Christmas story I was beyond stoked.  Let's just say I was not disappointed.  I have not had any intimate experience with cancer but I have spent a few Christmases sitting by my mother's hospital bed so just after reading the blurb I knew a few tears would fall, and fall they did.  I can't really think of more to say that wouldn't leak spoilers so I'll just say this is a beautiful story that needs reading because not only is it a great tale but you just might walk away learning a little something about yourself too.


Memories of the Heart #1
What do you care about, Micah?” Josh couldn’t help but ask.

“My grandmother,” he promptly answered. “I know now what a shit I’ve been, dumping her away and thinking my money would take care of everything. I was no better than my parents, was I? Giving shelter and food, but nothing else.”

“It’s not too late, though. You’ve changed since that time I first saw you.”

Micah’s unblinking gaze focused on Josh. “Not really. I’ve spent a little more time with her and I have you and your grandmother to thank for that. But if I’m going to go for head of department at the hospital, I won’t be able to see her as much again. I’ll have too many responsibilities.”

And once again, Josh saw how different the two of them were. He’d left all that behind when he left Craig. When they’d won their big case, he’d let Craig do most of the media interviews, since he was the one who loved being on television and getting recognized. Occasionally they’d want Josh to speak and he did so, but only when necessary. Josh preferred to use his minor celebrity status for better causes and spend time at local youth organizations, lecturing at-risk teens on how they too could make something of themselves even if their parents and friends had cut them off for being gay.

Josh had no interest in being the biggest or the best in his field. He’d learned to be satisfied with what he had. Lately though, he thought he’d like to practice again, maybe open a small employment-discrimination law firm.

“Why do you want it then? What will it do for you that you don’t already have?” The money, prestige and power held no allure for Josh. He’d experienced that already and it had brought him nothing but misery.

“Are you kidding? It lets the world know you’re the most successful at what you do. You’re respected by all your peers. You have power and control, the best research opportunities. It’s endless.” Josh might have had four heads the way Micah stared at him.

“But what about you, your life? Don’t you get lonely?”

With the graceful movement of a jungle cat, Micah grabbed Josh around the waist, pulling him close. Their breaths mingled, lips barely touching. “I’m not alone now, am I?”

At those simple words, desire flooded through Josh, spilling thick and rich through his veins like warmed honey. His breath caught in his throat. All the warning signals Josh tried so studiously to pay attention to went out the window when Micah cupped his jaw, smoothing his thumb across Josh’s lips.

The spaciousness of Micah’s living room closed in on Josh, until all that was left in his line of vision was Micah’s dark, hungry gaze. Nerves fluttered beneath Josh’s skin; he struggled for his equilibrium.

“No, you aren’t alone.” Josh could barely choke out the words. He didn’t know when the rules had changed, when he had changed them, but Josh wanted this man. The air pulsed heavy with heat and sex. So long, so long. Josh moaned, his mind a whirlpool of sensation as Micah stroked his face with his beautiful hands. He hadn’t been touched like this in years, not even by Craig who was supposed to have loved him. Was he merely auditioning for another notch on Micah Steinberg’s bedpost? At this point Josh ceased caring and gave in to the need that seized him, pulling Micah’s head down to kiss his mouth.

One Step Further #2
Through his years of practice and experience, Rafe had learned to help and comfort, to step in when his expertise was needed, and step away when there was no hope left at all. What Alex didn’t know was that Rafe always held out hope for life, and though he might give the appearance of a man ruled by quiet and calm, in truth he was tenacious as a bulldog and refused to accept defeat.

So Rafe allowed Alex to sit in his moody silence until their beers came and they both took long, bracing swallows.

“Can I speak now?”

Alex shrugged. “Suit yourself.” That offhand comment led Rafe to believe Alex didn’t expect much from people or life in general. Perhaps he too had been disappointed by the people who should have always been there for him and weren’t.

“All my life I’ve been told I was different and that kids wouldn’t like me because of my stutter.      When I realized I was gay, I knew my struggle only increased ten-fold. It made me retreat even more.”

Alex traced the lip of his beer bottle with his finger. “Yeah. I can understand that to an extent.”

“That’s my point. You can understand it to an extent, but not really. I’m not saying this in a spiteful way.” It was so important to Rafe to make Alex understand where he was coming from. “You’re a big, good-looking man with a great personality. Everywhere you go, you make friends so easily; people gravitate to you naturally. It’s a gift, if you think about it.”

“I have many gifts,” said Alex with a wink and smiled for the first time since they sat down. Rafe wasn’t fooled.

“You’re deflecting,” he stated, and like Rafe knew he would, Alex stopped smiling, his mouth thinning to a tight line. “Don’t get angry with me.”

“I’m not. I’m only wondering when you decided to appoint yourself as my therapist.”

Rafe pinned Alex with a stare and a raised brow. “When someone sticks their tongue down my throat, it’s a signal to me that maybe we’ve gone beyond a handshake and a ‘Hi, how are you.’”

Alex stared at him for a moment, then his eyes creased with amusement and he started to laugh.      He didn’t stop, even when the waiter arrived with their food.

Rafe folded his arms and glared. “I’m not finished. You make friends easily but it’s all on the surface, isn’t it? I bet people don’t ever really get to know the real you, do they?”

Once again, Alex stopped laughing, only this time it seemed he’d had enough. “I don’t have to listen to this shit.” He looked around for the waiter. “I’ll get my food to go.”

“That’s what you always do, don’t you. Instead of talking about things, you make a joke or run away. It’s easier to run away.”

As Rafe spoke, Alex’s face grew dark with anger. Now that he’d started talking, Rafe couldn’t stop; the words spilled like water rushing from a dam.

“I know what it’s like. My reason is obvious. I spent almost my whole life hiding behind a wall of silence.     But what reason do you have to play the class clown all the time? People would like you no matter what.”

For a moment Alex stared at him, then smiled a real smile, the first all night. It kindled a glow in his deep blue eyes.

“Do you realize something?” He leaned forward and Rafe swore he could feel the warmth radiating from Alex’s body across the table.

Caught up in the moment, Rafe couldn’t look away. The sounds of the pub faded in the background, including the music, which unfortunately had gone from ’80s retro to modern day rap.     “Wha-what?” His mouth tasted dry even with the beer he’d drunk.

“You barely stuttered, not at all until now.”

Alex’s large warm palm slid over his own hand and gave it a squeeze. “That’s great isn’t it? You must be getting more comfortable with me.” A wide grin broke across his face. “Guess that tongue down the throat action worked for something.”

The Greates Gift #3
“Are you asking me to walk away from it?” Sometimes in the night he’d wake up and ask himself if it was worth it, so he understood Rafe’s concern. But then he remembered Seth’s words, inscribed in his heart—if you give up, maybe that one person whose life you can help won’t make it because you aren’t there.

And that meant everything was worthwhile.

“No, of course not. I know how hard you’ve worked. It’s hard to see you sad, that’s all I’m saying.” Rafe toyed with the beer bottle. “I don’t want you to change from the happy person you always were.”

“Am I?”

His greatest fear, the one that prevented him from adopting a child and giving Rafe that family unit was losing his joy and becoming bitter and disillusioned, like so many others.

Without answering, Rafe took his hand and led him to the sofa where they sat down together, legs entwined.

“No, not yet. But I could see how easily it might happen. I know you’re doing it because of your brother—”

“No, you have it all wrong. It may have started out to beat what killed Seth, but now I want it because I feel as if I am making a difference. That if I help one person it can be the start of helping two or three.”

Alex needed this validation from Rafe, the person he loved beyond anything to ground him. While this residency was brutal emotionally, the rewards it reaped were worth the toil and he’d gladly give of himself if it helped his patients. He needed to know that Rafe wouldn’t give up on him and their marriage.

“I want to keep on with it but I don’t want to lose you in the process. If I become a different person or you see me change for the worse you need to point it out to me; smack me in the head and tell me I’m fucking us up.”

There was such tenderness in Rafe’s eyes, and his lips curved in a smile. “You’ll never lose me; I’m in it for the long haul. It’s you I worry about. I don’t want you to lose yourself.”

There was a sense of peace wrapping his arms around Rafe to hold him close; something special and wondrous in being secluded from the rest of the world with the one person who understood and never judged him, who merely loved and provided a warm and safe harbor to return home to every time.

“I’ll try not to.” He rubbed his feet over Rafe’s, warming them up against his socks. “But if I do, make sure you look hard.”

“You could never hide from me,” said Rafe kissing his cheek. “No matter where you go, I’ll always find where you are.”

Author Bio:
Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn't until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth's court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.

But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.


Memories of the Heart #1

One Step Further #2

The Greatest Gift #3

When Eagles Soar by AL Simpson

Title: When Eagles Soar
Author: AL Simpson
Genre: Paranormal, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: June 27, 2017
My name is Kyan Miller and I have the ability to change into an Eagle and soar above the Earth.

Yep, you heard right – an Eagle.

A curse placed on the family in 1626 resulted in all the male members of my family having this unusual ability from the age of sixteen.

I work for the Government in Covert Operations. I can obtain information, other operatives cannot. This mission is one of my most dangerous to date. The US is being flooded by Cocaine from South America and the Governments of these two countries are working together to put a stop to it. They have been receiving valuable intel from two US operatives. Until .... one operative is found dead. The other is missing - Analia Rogers has neither been seen nor heard from for three days, we don’t know if she is dead or alive. I have been sent into the Alvarez family’s drug compound to find answers.

I’m on an inflexible deadline, in three days time, the compound will be blown to smithereens but there are details the Governments aren’t aware of which could place their forces in danger. Can I get the word out in time to prevent them from being slaughtered?

What I find inside the compound has my anger soaring to nuclear levels. Am I in time? Is there anything I can do? And, who has betrayed us?

Chapter One
Soaring above the jungle in a warm air thermal is my idea of Heaven on Earth. Mother Nature is on display in all her magnificent glory. Oranges, reds, and yellows of Bromeliads glisten in the sunshine, water droplets not yet dried by the warmth. Water Lilies bob in pools of water topped up by overnight rainfall. Rubber trees, Acai Palms, Kapak, and Balsa stretch skyward competing for sunlight. The jungle is never quiet, never sleeps. By day, critters scurry about on the forest floor, a symphony of bird calls including Toucan and Macaw fill the air as they call to each other. By night, a cacophony of owls’ hooting mingles with the chirping of crickets and the sound of frogs who are partaking of their evening meals.

Mice, spiders, crickets, small and large snakes, a veritablesmorgasbord of tasty treats, but not for me. I have a human’s appetite. I eat like a man and have the strength of a man, no fifteen pound limit for me.

I flap my wings once and propel myself into another thermal above me. I could stay up here for the rest of my life, given the choice. But, I’m not here in El Supa to enjoy myself and take in the sights, I’m here on serious business.


My name is Kyan Miller and I work for the Government in Covert Operations. My ability to change from human form to eagle makes me a valuable asset in the war against drugs. I was first alerted to my ability to ‘shift’ eleven years ago, on my sixteenth birthday.

My parents had thrown me a ‘Sweet Sixteen’ party but I felt listless, disinterested in my friends, the food, and the games. By the time everyone left, late in the afternoon, I was irritable, exhausted and my head pounded. My father had recognized the signs and taken me out the back for a private discussion away from my sisters......

Author Bio:
I have always loved to write and have a vivid and overactive imagination.

In my spare time, when I’m not writing, I love to walk, read and shop.

I believe no mountain is too hard to climb, no river is too wide to span and no journey is too difficult to complete. I follow my dreams and I urge and encourage others to do the same.

With a positive attitude, the impossible can become possible.


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