Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Book of the Month: A Different Light by Morningstar Ashley

Bennett Cole had lived next door to Mitchell “Mac” Campbell, III for eighteen years of his life, in the small town of White Acre. They’d never gotten along, never seen eye to eye, and never understood one another…not that they’d ever cared to try.

But when Bennett’s so-called buddies ditched him at a party in the woods where he was assaulted and left for dead, Bennett pulled through. The emotional scars rendered him too terrified to go back to school and face his “friends” or his attackers. With little choice, his family packed up and left town.

Ten years later—at the request of his mother—Bennett returned to the place he’d grown up and the home he’d once felt safe, to oversee the repairs before his childhood house was sold. The contractor? None other than Mac, the once annoying boy next door, who still lives there in the home his parents gifted him.

Being in such close proximity—working together every day, to repair the Coles’ family home—Bennett and Mac’s contentious relationship goes from bad to worse as their personalities continue to clash. But their heated exchanges may not be as antagonistic as they seem. And when new information is revealed, can the men begin to see each other in a different light?

Bennett Cole thought his friends were true and would have his back despite what the boy next door, Mac Campbell said.  He was wrong and Mac was right.  After a horrendous and bigotted attack, Bennet and his family leave their home in White Acre but ten years later he returns to fix up the family home so it can be sold.  He wasn't counting on the boy next door still living there and being the contractor his parents arranged to do the work he can't.  Will they still have the same contentious comradre they had as kids or will adulthood mature them into a new relationship?

I always love giving new authors a read, whether they're new to me or to the publishing world as Morningstar Ashley is, the adrenaline rush I get from wondering "will they be worth my time?" always spurs me on.   Well, I can safely say that Morningstar Ashley is definitely worth my time.  Authors are always learning and growing, frankly an author that doesn't think they have anything to learn is not an author I want to read, so when my first experience with one is as wonderful as Morningstar's A Different Light is I am on a natural high just waiting to see what future stories lurk in her imagination.  This is the author's second book and I have not read her first, Letting Go, but I will most certainly be going back and giving it a read in the weeks to come as I wait for her next one.

A Different Light is an emotional ride that will leave you breathless.  I really loved how Bennett is a Sheldon Cooper-like character that is slightly better at the social aspect of relationships/connections.  Having compared him to Sheldon, don't think that this is a straight up romantic comedy.  There is definitely some humorous moments, the camping trip from hell comes to mind.  A Different Light is a story about romance obviously but its also about friendship, overcoming past trauma and misunderstandings, going home, and second chances.  Mostly though it is about life. I certainly wanted to whack the two men upside the heads at times but I also wanted to bundle them up in bubblewrap that I had left over from Christmas deliveries.  Morningstar Ashley writes her characters in a way that will confound you and leave you screaming "UGH!!!!" at their stubbornness but also leaving you sighing "AWWWWW" with all the heart she's put into their journey.

A brilliant must read that I know will be on my re-read list for years to come.


Mac was so close he lost his train of thought. So close that Bennett could reach out and grab what he wanted all week, but he was so weak with want, he couldn’t get his mind to cooperate to move his limbs.

“You don’t want a reward for your hard work?”

Mac’s hand came up as if in slow motion. At first, it was just his fingertips, gliding against Bennett’s waist. A shiver rushed through him. Then Mac’s palm touched, warming, moving around his side until it settled at the small of Bennett’s back. Mac slowly pulled him to his chest. He could feel Mac’s heat seep through his own shirt. “There’s nothing you can think of that you’d want?”

Bennett’s breathing picked up. His mind raced. His balls tingled and tightened. He knew Mac had to see the pleading and want through his eyes. Bennett couldn’t hide it, not then, not so close to Mac, feeling his body against his and his breath wisp across his lips as they stared into each other's eyes. It felt big, like Mac wasn’t just staring into his eyes but into him, searching for something.

Then Mac was closer, so close he could feel the words against his lips. “Because I think you deserve a kiss for being such a good boy. You want that kiss, Princess?”

All Bennett could do is close his eyes and nod. Speaking was beyond his abilities at that point. When did Mac become so sensual, so full of sex, and radiate desire so easily? Bennett loved sex, the tease, the lead up to the physical explosion of pleasure. But Mac brought it to a whole other level. Using words and small innocent touches, turning it dirty and provocative.

“B, open your eyes.”

Bennett listened. As hard as it was to not just stay floating in the place of just feeling, he opened his eyes. What he saw made him moan. The want, the need in Mac’s eyes matched what Bennett felt coursing through his own body. He couldn’t think of anything else, because as lost as he was in the sensations Mac had him feeling with his eyes closed, he was just as lost in the heat that poured off the man now.

“What did you think would happen, B? Coming out here all flustered and angry with just a t-shirt and those cute boxers on?”

At first, Bennett had no idea what he was talking about, but then he remembered. He slept in his ‘Particle Physics Gives me a Hadron’ boxers and had been so lost in his anger that he’d never put on pants.

He swallowed, trying to loosen his tight throat so he could speak, but Mac leaned in, lips touching Bennett’s ear, and the only thing that came out was a whimper. He never whimpered. Fuck.

“Nothing turns me on more than you in full on Princess mode with your geek on full display.” And to prove that, Mac pulled them tighter together with the hand that still sat in the small of his back. Bennett could feel Mac’s hard length pressed against his. The barrier of the worn jeans that Mac had on and Bennett’s boxers was like paper between them.

“I’ve been good this week too. Not kissing your sweet lips, not touching your body, not taking you against any and all surfaces when you were so goddamn sexy with the paint splattered all over you and your shirt sticking to your body, soaked from your sweat. So, maybe I deserve a reward too.”

“Oh, god, yes.”

Mac pulled his face back just enough so that Bennett could look into his eyes again. He had that cocky grin playing at his lips but this time it didn’t annoy Bennett, it lit him on fire.

Mac’s eyes dropped and stared at his lips, making his nerves come alive. He licked his lips and Mac moaned. That sound. God, that sound went straight to the center of all that swirled around them.

Bennett remembered his moans from that blowjob, the sound doing just as much that night as seeing Mac on his knees soft lips wrapped around Bennett’s cock. And hearing it again brought those memories flashing through his mind taking an already heated moment and making it hotter and more.

“Please.” He didn’t know what else to say. It’d felt like they’d stood there frozen forever. Simple touches doing more than any amount of foreplay Bennett had ever experienced.

“I like when you beg me, B.”

Author Bio:
Morningstar Ashley is a transplant from the Yankee-controlled territory of New York, and now finds herself in the heartland of cowboys and longhorns—Texas. Armed with her imagination, wit, and trusty sidekicks in the form of her two crazy kids, devoted dorky husband, big lap dog, and rambunctious cats, Morningstar spends her time reading the books she loves, crafting her own characters, and arguing the merits of hot chocolate over the bitter brew known as coffee (Hot chocolate wins, FYI.).

Morningstar loves graphic design, so much so she returned to school for a degree and regularly tromps her exams and maintains a stellar GPA that occasionally leaves her confounded and pleased. She can while away the hours on new designs, and perfection isn’t too much to hope for when it comes to her art.

Her ideal career would be full-time artist and author, and so far, she hasn’t come up against anything to stop her on her journey. A fierce and devoted friend, Morningstar tries her best to always be kind, always be learning, and always improving. Giving up isn’t an option, and her greatest talent may be in her ability to convince others not to give up, either. After a lifetime of trying to get people to realize her first name wasn’t Ashley, Morningstar decided the best way to settle the debate was to put her name on a book cover. An avid reader and fiction reviewer for the blog and site Diverse Reader, Morningstar harbored a dream to one day join the ranks of her heroes, and she sweeps into the contemporary gay romance genre with her debut novel, LETTING GO. With plans to conquer gay, lesbian and LGBTQA+ romance, Morningstar has her gaze set on the horizon, her determination her own guiding star.


Release Day Blitz: Rebel by KM Neuhold & Nora Phoenix

Title: Rebel
Authors: KM Neuhold & Nora Phoenix
Series: Ballsy Boys #1
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: January 31, 2018
"I don't do relationships, I break them." ~ Troy

If there’s one thing life has taught me it’s that everyone eventually leaves. But that's okay because I have a strategy: no friends, no boyfriends, limit repeat hook-ups, no sleep overs, and above all leave them before they leave me. I’ve put my break-up skills to work doing others’ dirty work for them.
The last thing I expected when I agreed to do an embarrassing breakup song and dance was to end up on the doorstep of the very recognizable—and stupidly sexy—Rebel. When you meet a man like Rebel you'd be insane not to make a move. And just because he has me tossing out every single one of my rules doesn't mean I'm in trouble, right?

“I’m everyone’s friend, but no one’s everything.” ~ Rebel

I love working for Ballsy Boys, but when you make the kind of videos I do relationships are pretty damn impossible. Besides, guys find me sexy and want to either be with me or be me, but no one has ever cared enough to see the real me.

Until I meet Troy. He has no problem whatsoever with my job, but he’s determined to keep me at a distance. For the first time, a hook-up alone is not enough. I want more with him. Hell, I want everything. But he resists at every step until I’m about ready to give up. What do I need to do to show him that this is real and worth fighting for?

***Rebel is the first book in the Ballsy Boys Series and is a super sexy MM romance with plenty of good times. While this book and this series do contain some instances of sex outside of the main relationships, they DO NOT contain cheating.

Seriously, I’m a fucking porn star, but some of what they show here has me paling and my stomach rolling uncomfortably.

“What the hell is that?” Troy whispers, pointing toward a big contraption that looks like a torture device, with big leather straps and spikes everywhere.

Before I can say anything, the salesman has spotted me, and his eyes light up in recognition. Oh, fuck.

“Rebel!” he says excitedly and hurries over to shake my hand. “I’m so happy to meet you in person! I’m your biggest fan!”

“It’s nice to meet you, too” —I squint to read his nametag— “Donald.”

“Can I interest you in a demonstration of one of our products? I’ve got great cock rings and spreaders as well as brand new ball gags, the best on the market. And of course, we have a wide range of leather products for your pleasure, ranging from whips and floggers to all kinds of restraints.”

Troy is fighting hard to suppress his laughter, and I can feel his body shake with the effort. He knows how I feel about shit like this. I mean, to each his own, but this kind of stuff is a big no for me. I like my sex in all positions, and I don’t mind a little rough, but other than that, I’m as vanilla as it gets.

“I’m not really an adventurous type, sexually speaking,” I try to discourage Donald politely, but he won’t budge.

“Psh, nonsense. A hot gay porn star like you, of course, you like a little kink.”

Troy gives him a manly slap on the back. “You’re absolutely right, Donald. Rebel should live a little, experiment, right?”

Donald nods enthusiastically and starts a lengthy discourse on whatever the fuck he’s trying to sell me. Troy turns away from us, and I know he’s laughing his ass off, the fucker. I will so get him for this.

“You know what,” I say sweetly, “I’ll take a ball gag and a pair of handcuffs, please.”

“Excellent!” Donald beams and quickly grabs them for me. “Promise me to give us a shout out in a video if you like them!”

Troy turns to face me, looking distinctly less amused now.

“I will after I’ve tested them thoroughly.”

Troy narrows his eyes. “You wouldn’t dare,” he hisses.

I waggle my eyebrows. “Keep provoking me and you’ll find out.”

What is the biggest influence/interest that brought you to this genre? 
KYLEEN:  Honestly, the biggest thing that made me decide to write MM was the community surrounding it. I was writing MF before getting into MM and as I started reading MM I saw how wonderful the MM reader and author community was. Authors were so much more welcoming and friendly than I’d experienced before, and readers seemed so much more open to different things. I felt like I’d be able to have a lot more creative freedom and get to tell the beautiful stories about forever love I really wanted to tell.

NORA:  The first MM romance I read was J.R. Ward’s ‘Lover at Last’ in the Black dagger Brotherhood series. I loved that series, but all books until then had been MF. She has already started their relationship in the previous book, and I found myself very intrigued. When the book came out, I devoured it. It was so good…and it touched me in a completely different way. I was curious to see if there were more MM books, and holy crap, this whole world opened for me. Interestingly enough, one of the first authors I read was K.M. I totally fangirled over her and reviewed her book and that’s how we first connected. That makes it so special for me to co-write Rebel with her, because she’s one of the people who made me fall in love completely with this genre.

When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process (outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)?
KLYEEN:  Getting to know the characters. I guess that would be along the lines of plotting, but before I actually get to any plotting I think about the characters and start the process of falling in love with them. That’s usually when I find out about quirks about them or other interesting things. To me that’s the most fun part before the work of doing them justice begins.

NORA: I don’t think there’s a writer in this planet who will love editing most! I used to write extensive outlines, but I don’t anymore. Now, I start with developing the characters, but even that’s more in general terms. I’ll know their occupation, for instance, or some broad characteristics. Then I come up with a premise, a basic gist of the main conflict between the two main characters. After that, I start writing, and as I write, I fill in the details. Sometimes, it takes me a while to get inside the character’s head, and when I do, I may have to go back and change some things I write before, but that’s fine. But it’s that aspect I love the most, to make characters come alive and give them a background, a story, a pain and a dream in life. I guess I fall in love with them, just a little…and that’s where the magic starts.

When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
KYLEEN:  I mainly read MM, but on occasion I will read sci-fi or horror

NORA: I read almost exclusively MM romances, but within that genre, pretty much any subgenre. My one requirement is that the book has to have a happy end, aside from quality requirements. I love books that are a bit more on the steamy side, but I’ve read sweet gay romances as well that I completely loved, so I’m really open to anything.

If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
KYLEEN:  I’m not sure anyone could beat Nora Phoenix. Working with her has been amazing. I never expected we’d get along so well and work so seamlessly together.

NORA: I was super happy and honored to co-author with K.M. Neuhold on Rebel. Since we have more books coming out in this series, I wouldn’t even have time to co-author with anyone else! But if I had time, I would love to write a book with Nora Roberts and show her how awesome the MM genre is, lol. I’ve been a fan of her books for many, many years, and she is such a terrific writer.

Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you "later in life"?
KYLEEN:  I started writing literally as soon as I learned words. I’ve always been a day dreamer and I realized very young that it was even more fun to day dream if I wrote it down afterward.

NORA:  I started writing stories when I was a teen. First in longhand, then on a typewriter, before switching to a computer. So it’s really been something I have always done. But I didn’t focus on it until a few years ago, and last year was when I decided I really wanted to go for it. I’m still super grateful that I did, and also proud of myself for making a lifelong dream come true.

Nora Phoenix
When she was a little tot, Nora’s mom got a library subscription for her. That, as they say, was that, and a lifelong love for books was born. Nora never stopped reading and doesn’t exaggerate when she says she devours books, rather than plain reads them. She started writing stories as soon as she could hold a pen, and wrote her first full book as a teen (on a typewriter!). It took her waaaay too long to follow her dream to become a romance author.

Nora writes M/M romance, because hello, sexy boys, and likes her men flawed, strong, and a tad broken. She appreciates a little kink, but insists on a happy ever after.

KM Neuhold
I'm an author of m/m and new adult romance. I have a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well.

Nora Phoenix

KM Neuhold

Release Tour: Earl of Sunderland by Aubrey Wynne

Title: Earl of Sunderland
Author: Aburey Wynne
Series: Wicked Earl's Club #4
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Plato Publishing
He’s inherited the title of rake. She hides behind her independence... Fate accepts the challenge.

Grace Beaumont has seen what love can do to a woman. Her mother sacrificed her life to produce the coveted son and heir. A devastated father and newborn brother force her to take on the role of Lady Boldon at the age of fifteen. But Grace finds solace in the freedom and power of her new status.

Christopher Roker made a name for himself in the military. The rigor and pragmatism of the army suits him. When a tragic accident heaves Kit into a role he never wanted or expected, his world collides with another type of duty. Returning to England and his newfound responsibilities, the Wicked Earls’ Club becomes a refuge from the glitter and malice of London society but cannot ease his emptiness.

Needing an escape from his late brother’s memory and reputation, Kit volunteers to inspect the family property near Scotland. Lady Grace, a beauty from a neighboring estate, becomes a welcome distraction. When the chance to return to the military becomes a valid possibility, the earl finds himself wavering between his old life and the lure of an exceptional—and unwilling—woman.

Early May 1814
London, England 
Lord Christopher Roker slapped his twin brother, the Earl of Sunderland, on the back. “A fit of the blue devils on your wedding day, eh? Come now, the bride seems a prime article to me.”

“She’s not the woman of my choice. I’m more than an unwilling groom. I’m downright defiant.” Carson tucked his white linen tails into the pale gray pantaloons, gave his matching waistcoat a tug, and adjusted his neckcloth again. “Yet our parents are deliriously happy over the match because she is the daughter of a marquess.”

“You made your own name.” Christopher shook his head and gave his brother’s shoulder a hard squeeze. “Gambling and womanizing has its place when you’re more boy than man. By Christ, we’ve just passed thirty.”

“How did I know I’d fall in love and my reputation would haunt me?” Carson walked over to a polished oak side table and poured two glasses of brandy from the crystal decanter. He handed one to Christopher. “Or that the woman who stole my heart would have a self-righteous father who despises me?”

“How many times did I warn you to pull back on the reins? There are always consequences to one’s actions. You will be the Marquess of Falsbury in your own right someday. It’s time you accepted responsibility.” He took a sip of the amber liquid as Carson downed his in one gulp and poured another. “It’s a bit early for that, isn’t it? You might want to pace yourself.”

Sunderland sank heavily onto a chair, pushing his fingers through a tangle of black waves. “Kit, trade places with me. Marry the chit and take the title. You should have been the heir anyway. You’re better to this type of life than I am.”

“We had this conversation when we were twelve, and you wanted to be a sheik and live in the desert. And then again at sixteen, when you wanted to run away and join the Navy.” He smirked and sat down opposite Carson. “Besides, Mother would know at once.”

“She’d stay quiet for her darling Christopher. You’ve always been her favorite.” He tipped back his head and gulped the second glass of brandy. “A little courage for the ceremony.”

A knot tightened in Kit’s stomach. He had a bad feeling about this wedding but knew better than to admit it. It wasn’t the match itself. Lady Eliza was a beauty and came with a generous dowry. And he didn’t believe for a moment Carson loved another woman. Infatuation was more likely. He fell for one and before he hit the ground, another had taken his fancy. While Kit loved his brother, he also accepted his faults. His abilities did not include accountability or dependability.

“You’re dipping too deep, brother,” Kit said as took the third glass of liquor from his twin, recognizing the slight glaze in those familiar chestnut eyes. “Let’s get you to the church, shall we? At this rate, you’ll be foxed before the end of the wedding breakfast.”

“That’s the plan, sir. Then I won’t feel those leg shackles I’ve acquired.”

Meet twelve of the most wickedly sinful earls in all of Regency England.
Together they make up the Wicked Earls’ Club. A secret group,
marked with a single golden W; it is a place where these deliciously
devious earls can indulge in their darkest desires.
Though fate may have something else planned for them entirely.

Author Bio:
Bestselling and award-winning author Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas.

Her short stories, Merry Christmas, Henry and Pete's Mighty Purty Privies have won Readers Choice Awards and Dante's Gift received the 2016 Golden Quill and Heart of Excellence award, as well as being a Maggie and Aspen Gold finalist.

Besides her Chicago Christmas novellas, Aubrey will release "A Vintage Romance" series inspired by tales of her stepfather, who served for the British Air Force in WWII. The stories will be set in the 40s & 50s. Her medieval fantasy series will launch in 2017 with Rolf's Quest.

Subscribe to Aubrey's newsletter for new releases and exclusive excerpts and free stories.

A place of handsome knights, dashing gentlemen, beautiful, sassy women, and romance from the past to the present. You’ll also have some opportunities to help promote Aubrey with her upcoming releases if you feel so inclined. There is fun to be had, prizes to be given, and heroes and heroines to fall in love with. Come join Aubrey's street team.


Earl of Sunderland #4


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