Sunday, April 29, 2018

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






































Sunday's Short Stack: Beau and the Beast by Rick R Reed


Summary:
Beau is a down-on-his-luck street artist living on the streets of Seattle. One rainy night, he is accosted by a group of fag-bashing thugs, intent on robbing him of his art supplies and humiliating Beau for who he is. Beau is beaten into unconsciousness ...

... And awakens in a bedroom, head bandaged, with no memory of how he got there. Outside his window pine trees and mountain vistas beckon.

Beau’s tale grows more mysterious when a large, muscular man begins bringing Beau his food. The man says nothing -- and wears a wolf mask. When he finally does speak, it’s only to tell Beau to call him “Beast.”

What secrets does the mask hide? What do these two outsiders have in common? And will their odd circumstances bring them to the brink of love -- or rip them apart? Inspired by the timeless fairy tale, this is a haunting love story that reveals that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.


Beau and the Beast is a lovely written modern day fairytale.  Truth is its more than just an updated take on a beloved classic, it takes what we grew up with and gives it a horrifying yet fun and entertaining spin.  What I loved most about Rick R Reed's Beau and the Beast is how you don't even truly realize that you are learning, well not really "learning" because I hope you already know the old adage about not judging a book by its cover so perhaps "being reminded", a valuable life lesson.  Now having said that, don't think the author is trying to teach you anything or that the book reads as a learning course, because it doesn't.  Oh no, Beau and the Beast is most definitely first and foremost, entertainment and if you walk away learning something about yourself well then consider it just an added bonus.

Some might find that the near insta-love is a little too much but considering this is a short story you really don't have the pages to fill with prolonging their connection.  I personally found their instant connection, even if Beast tries to deny it and shy away, to be endearing and very believable.  The characters are intriguing, the setting brings to life what said characters are experiencing, and watching their journey unfold is magical.  This tale may be short on pages but it is certainly not short on enjoyment.  Could this have been even better had it been a full length novel? Perhaps, but its pretty perfect in my opinion just as is and its won a space on my future re-reads shelf.

RATING: 


The door opened and a large figure, clothed all in black, stood for a moment, framed in the doorway. His massive shoulders were so broad that Beau wondered if he would have difficulty making his way across the threshold. The man -- and Beau was sure it was a man despite not being able to see his face—stood well over six feet tall, perhaps closer to seven. In the form-fitting black jeans and long-sleeved T-shirt, Beau made out a pumped-up body in which the muscles were piled on like slabs. His hands, huge, dwarfed the silver tray he clutched, a tray containing a ceramic teapot and several bowls and plates.

Breakfast? Dinner? What time was it, anyway?

And, more importantly, was he a prisoner here?

The last thought came unbidden, but bolstered by the logic of the most mysterious and disconcerting aspect of the man standing before him -- his face was completely covered.

And it wasn’t merely covered, but covered in a most unusual fashion: with a mask made of rubber that looked surprisingly realistic -- the visage of a wolf. The salt and pepper fur crowning the top of the mask blended perfectly with a mane of salt and pepper hair that hung halfway down the man’s back.

“Who are you?” Beau managed to stammer and his words seemed to propel the man forward, although he offered no response. His silence was equal to his appearance in eeriness.

Beau caught his breath as the man approached the bed, his footfalls echoing on the hardwood. Beau wanted to ask more, but suddenly lost the power to form words. He could only stare.

The man paused at the bed and stooped over, one hand outstretched. Beau imagined he was going to touch him and recoiled, drawing back.

But all the guy did was push the Tiffany-style lamp on the bedside table over a few inches, so he could set down the tray. Once he positioned the tray just so, he stood back up and clasped his hands together, staring down at Beau.

Even though Beau could not see his face, he had a certainty that this man, creature, whatever was hiding behind the mask, was smiling. Beau glanced up at him and, for the first time, their eyes met.

Beau was struck by the intensity of the eyes peering out from behind the holes in the wolf mask. Not only was the gaze fixed and passionate, but also the eyes themselves were remarkable. They were a pale green, the palest shade of green Beau had ever seen on a person, almost a kind of aquamarine, and they were rimmed by long black lashes.

They were the kind of eyes, Beau thought, that had inspired that careworn clichΓ© for the eyes: the window to the soul.

Just this connection with the man’s eyes calmed Beau somewhat. Even though the man had spoken not a word, there was something in those eyes of his that told Beau he was safe and that the man standing above him meant no harm.

Author Bio:
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.

He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). His novel, Raining Men, won the Rainbow Award for Best Contemporary General Fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, "a writer that doesn't disappoint."

Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever "at work on another novel."


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Release Blitz: Flowers for the Gardener by Sharon Maria Bidwell

Title: Flowers for the Gardener
Author: Sharon Maria Bidwell
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: April 28, 2018
Publisher: JMS Books
Summary:
A warm-hearted rich man's son, Richard Gardener needs to overcome three obstacles: find a way the family business can run without him, help his mother cope with grief, and stop butting heads -- and other parts of his anatomy -- with the gardener.

Ethan Fields has worked for the Gardener family for many years. He’s struggling with debt and the desire to leave, and has loved Richard far longer than the man would believe. Ethan can cope with most things, but his anger with Richard’s mother won’t fade. Until that and his feelings for Richard are resolved, he feels trapped and, alas, the idea that sex will get Richard out of his system isn’t working.

To make the situation worse, both men assume too much and don’t say the right words, and Ethan’s offer of ‘just sex’ grows more complicated by the day. Can Richard and Ethan stop getting their wires crossed before their paths diverge?


Sounds of splashing made Ethan glance over his shoulder, witness to Richard's ineffectual efforts to clean his hands. While the teakettle worked away making a noise in the corner, Ethan tore off a few sheets from a roll of blue paper, tougher than the type intended for kitchen use, and handed over the wad.

"Wipe yourself with this first and pull back those sleeves. I'll change this."

He took the dish of now dirty liquid and tossed it out. By the time he walked back, the pot -- always so-called by his father -- started the little familiar jig before clicking off. Time they got a new one but no point asking for these things. No one up at the house would pay for them while those who worked on the estate could 'make do'. Ethan must wait until the appliance blew up or died. He made busy pouring out cold and hot water before handing over a small screwdriver.

"You might wanna dig out some soil if the brush don't get rid of it all." Not to say a little dirt on Richard Gardener wouldn't be an improvement.

Much improved by the view of things. Those grey-green eyes were brighter than Ethan recalled. The boy now a man and broader in the shoulders, and ... a quick glance to make certain and, yes, Richard filled out his trousers well. A number of people might find it strange Ethan noted Richard's eyes before giving his body and crotch a once-over-many people believed a person's eyes a female preference -- but a bright gaze always attracted Ethan.

He set to making tea, including one for Richard, though he didn't bother asking if his boss wanted any. The man needed brains more than tea. Damn fool to come out without a jacket in this weather, which ... fine, so had Ethan, but he worked, built up a sweat, and he didn't react to winter's bite like the rich boy, more used to it. The reason Ethan gave Richard warm water was owing to how red his fingers were; so, too, his cheeks. Digging into the soil with bare hands ... the idiot was a walking invitation for frostbite.

"Sugar? Or are you sweet enough?"

Well, damn. Richard flushed. Ethan tried to hide his amusement, unable to tell whether he succeeded. "You can sweeten it as you like, or not." He put the mug near the other man who eyed it, gaze narrowed, lips pursed under a lowered brow. No doubt he suspected to find it laced with weed killer. Didn't take it, but he was preoccupied, still cleaning his nails. Be no surprise, though, if the tea went untouched. All because Richard didn't trust him. Might be worth his while to do something about the dislike.

"Remember last time you stood here?"

Richard became a statue, revealing he recalled, all right. So many emotions flittered over his face. Back then, the little Lord of the Manor washed more than his hands. The memory flashed vibrant, the clear sky on a chill afternoon transformed into the blistering heat of high summer by his father's fury. Regardless of age, Ethan's dad had dragged both of them in, one to clean up and one to wait until the other left, intending to give Ethan a hiding, or so Ethan had believed. Turned out his old man didn't have it in him to hit his son, though the margin was narrow. Understandable, with his father afraid of losing his job and livelihood.

The promise -- never to touch Richard again -- Ethan kept, for the most part because of a lack of opportunity.

Last time when Richard stood in this hut, the boy wiped blood and mud off his face before running back to the house. This time, Ethan planned not to let Richard escape.

Sharon Maria BidwellAuthor Bio:
A writer from the UK, Sharon doesn’t get out much these days. She’s too busy creating vibrant worlds and characters to share with others. She writes fiction both light and dark in various genres. She has been approached on occasion to write articles such as reports and publicity material, though her focus will always be story-telling. She loves writing, reading, movies, the theatre, her garden, and seeing other parts of the world, but not the hassle of travelling. Wherever she happens to hang her hat, she lives primarily in a world of her own.


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Release Blitz: Tank by KM Neuhold & Nora Phoenix

Title: Tank
Authors: KM Neuhold & Nora Phoenix
Series: Ballsy Boys #2
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: April 28, 2018
Summary:
Tank
Shallow pretty boy, conceited fuckboy, immature assclown. Take your pick, they all apply to Brewer. The world is his ass buffet and we’re all on the menu. I’ve never hated anyone like I hate Brewer. But when Rebel pairs us to do a scene together, I have to admit I’m looking forward to taking all my irritation out on his...well, you get the picture. But when one scene turns into a whole fake relationship, I’m not sure we’re going to make it out of this without some bloodshed.

Brewer
Tank has got to be the most boring, stuck up ass I have ever met. That man does not know how to have fun, not even when he’s doing a scene. And if there’s one reason to smile, it’s working with me, right? All the more reason to keep my real self from him because he’d laugh me out of the room. But when we have to pretend we actually like each other, something unexpected happens. The more time we spend together, the more I see a different side of him…and dare to show a different side of me. What the hell is happening?

Tank is the second book in the Ballsy Boys Production series. It can be read as a stand-alone, but it more fun reading in order. Expect plenty of laughs and a lot of sparks.


Tank surprises me again when that big hand comes down on my lower back and gently follows the slope of my ass, first my right ass cheek, then my left. “You know, fuckboy, as much as I detest that cocky attitude of yours, I can’t deny I really dig your ass.”

My breath about halts in my lungs. Holy fuck, is Tank actually complimenting me? The world must be ending.

“You wanna know what I like? You feel like a man. You’re rough, and you’ve got all these muscles that tell me you work out or shit, and you’re strong, and I really, really like that.”

He trails my crack with two fingers, and I shiver involuntarily. He steps in closer, bends his head towards me so his mouth is close to my ears, yet his voice is loud enough to be picked up by the mic. “You wanna know why I like that?”

That’s a rhetorical question, right? ‘Cause for some reason taciturn Tank is talking all of a sudden, and his words are hypnotizing. So are his fingers that travel lower and lower, before finally finding my hole.

“I love it because I don’t need to be careful with you, do I?”

Suddenly his two fingers push inside, and I can’t hold back a little moan. The sneaky asshole has found an inconspicuous way of testing to see if I prepped. The fact that he can slide in like this tells him everything he needs, and I know he should be able to feel the lube that’s still inside.

“Oh, no, I don’t have to treat you like you’re delicate china, ‘cause you can take my cock, can’t you?”

It’s not until he grabs my by my hair and pulls my head back that I realize what he’s up to. Fucking hell. He’s watched my videos, just like I watched his. And he’s got my number down pat.

Dirty talk, check.

Hair pulling, check.

Rough fuck, how much do you wanna bet that’s what about to happen?

Rebel #1
Summary:
"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.

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
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Tank #2

Rebel #1

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