Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Random Tales of Christmas 2018 Part 3

Love Happens Anyway by RJ Scott
Hiring a boyfriend for Christmas; what could possibly go wrong?

Derek is facing yet another Christmas where his life feels out of control. He has a new career that doesn’t feel like his, and parents who would just love to see him settled down. All he needs is a temporary buffer for the parties he has to attend, and for his parents to leave him alone. Enter, Luke.

Luke is twenty-thousand dollars short for the renovations on Halligans; his family’s bar in New York’s Financial District. A favor for a buddy has him agreeing to play the part of boyfriend to a guy with more money than sense.

But when the spirit of Christmas works its magic on the two men, and they begin to fall for each other, Derek runs scared, and Luke needs space.

It doesn’t matter what obstacles you throw in the way of love, or how much you run in the other direction, because, when you’re least expecting it, whether you want it or not, love happens anyway.

Audiobook Review December 2018:
There's not a whole lot that I can add to my original review from last year in regards to the excellence of the story so I'll just say that Sean Crisden once again brings voice as only he can to RJ's words.  That's not quite true, no, he brings life to the world RJ Scott has created in her holiday tale.  RJ wrote Derek and Luke as if they were people you would meet at the store in your hometown but Sean's voice lets you feel like they are right there in the room with you.  That you are witnessing firsthand their blossoming romance which is helpful because as I said last year there was more than one occasion that I wanted to whack Derek upside the head and Sean made me feel like if I just stretched out my arm I could do just that😉😉.  RJ and Sean are a combo that I hope continues for years to come.

Original ebook Review December 2017:
As Derek continues to settle into life at the top and head of the family business he also finds himself trying to fend off his mother's meddling in his personal life.  In hopes of easing her off the "Derek settled down" train he's told her about Marcus, the boyfriend.  Unfortunately there is no boyfriend.  Luke is in need of some cash to help his family restaurant so when his friend offers him a chance to make a few bucks for the holiday season he really doesn't have the choice to turn it down.  Will Luke make the perfect Marcus or will Derek find Luke to perfect just as he is?  Can business turn to love?

If you follow my blog and/or reviews then you are familiar with my love for the worlds created by RJ Scott.  She is the reason I found the M/M romance genre but its more than that, her love for all things romance is clear when you read her work.  As for her holiday romances, well there is just something extra special about them and Love Happens Anyway is no different.

Derek and Luke's story has a little bit of everything, okay maybe there's no sci-fi element and no murder mystery but it has everything else: lust, romance, humor, and plenty of holiday heart.  Sure, I wanted to grab Derek by his expensive lapels, give him a good shake, and scream things like "Tell your mom the truth", "Open your eyes", and "Luke Is Marcus" but alas, Derek never listened to me.  So I just buckled up and went along for the ride.  I'll just say this: despite wanting to whack Derek upside the head more than once, I loved every minute of Love Happens Anyway.  As for Luke, well you can't help but love him for the way he's accepted what life has thrown in his path and kept going, not everyone would but he did.

I don't have a lot of time to do any re-reading during the holiday season, there's just so many wonderful new stories every year, so I think I'm going to have to do a Re-Read Holiday Style next summer and Love Happens Anyway will definitely be in the running for that list.  I have read so many wonderful tales over the past few years that I have long ago learned to never judge a book by its cover but I would be failing in my review if I didn't mention how much I absolutely adore RJ's cover for Derek and Luke's journey.  The color is eye-catching but its the snowman's cheeky smirk that really makes it perfect and once you read Love you will understand it's significance.  Most of all, I think it speaks volumes to the author's understanding and appreciation for meshing romance, drama, holiday spirit and just the right amount of humor to bring to the reader that extra special fun factor.


The Eighth Night by Jenna Kendrick
Fresh off months of round-the-clock work launching his company's first successful video game, Kai gives up a celebratory vacation with friends in order to spend Chanukah with his parents. Instead, he finds himself home alone pet sitting their ankle-biting dog. Upset and lost in his thoughts about being misled, he doesn't notice his old friend Ari standing next to him in the elevator until they're trapped during a power outage. Hours of conversation to stave off panic lead to an invitation to spend the holiday together.

Disowned by his religious family, Ari has never second-guessed his decision to become an escort. That is, until Kai treats him like a boyfriend instead of a boy toy. Now he has eight nights with his former crush before he needs to come clean. And then he'll need to say goodbye, because it's going to take a miracle for Kai to accept what Ari was doing in his building that first night.

A Christmas Manny by Trina Solet
Christmas is approaching fast and Gary Radcliff is still recovering from an injury. He can use some help especially with his little boy, Scotty. Gary doesn't want him to be cooped up when there might be snow out there any day now. He hires Wayne to help him give his kid a happy Christmas. 

Wayne has worked as a health aid before but never as a manny. He takes his work seriously, but it turns out that working for Gary and Scotty is more fun than work. Right away, he fits in with those two. 

He also finds himself incredibly drawn to Gary. Unaware that Gary feels the same way, Wayne thinks it's hopeless. If only Wayne can be brave enough to speak up, their attraction might turn into so much more. 

It doesn't take much to ignite their desire, but will demands of real life get in the way of their happy life?

Mistletoe Marriage by Riley Knight
This Christmas, two single fathers have one last chance at love… 

When David was a teaching assistant, he met Jonathan, a beautiful young student. The two became close friends, but the romance budding between them was forbidden and impossible. After the death of David’s wife, the older man is left a single father, longing for his best friend. It isn’t until Jonathan gets divorced that they have their chance. 

When David invites Jonathan and his son to live with him in the aftermath of the divorce, both men begin to wonder if the spark that was once there between them still exists. As the holidays approach, will the opportunity for love rise once more? 

Can two lonely fathers create a family in time to save Christmas? 

Mistletoe Marriage is a hot and tender second chance romance between two single fathers, with explicit scenes and a happy ending guaranteed. 

Christmas Lane by Amy Aislin
Lighthouse Bay #1
It's recent college graduate Zach Greenfeld's favorite time of the year and he's just received a temporary gig planning Lighthouse Bay's Christmas parade. Not only does it speak to his penchant for organization, it also puts him face to face on a daily basis with his unrequited crush--Holland Stone. But his new job starts off in disaster when the most important float--Santa's sleigh--gets damaged.

Holland needs to win the Lighthouse Bay Christmas parade float competition in order to grow his new dollhouse-making business. The prize is an article in a major city newspaper, and nothing beats free advertising. Except, eager to help the adorable parade organizer, he volunteers to help fix Santa's sleigh, leaving no time to work on his own float, and putting his prize at risk.

Damaged floats, snowstorms, and a last-minute parade emergency force Zach and Holland closer than ever. All they need is a little bit of Christmas magic to help them realize they belong together.

Christmas Lane is a sweet, May/December, small-town Christmas romance with an HEA!

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Random Tales of Christmas 2018

Part 1  /  Part 2

Love Happens Anyway by RJ Scott
I knew Marcus was six-two, just a little taller than me. I knew he had blue eyes, and dark hair with red tones in certain light. He had a brother, but they didn’t see each other much, being that his brother was in the Navy. His parents were retired in Florida, but they’d had Marcus and his brother Adam late in life. Marcus was twenty-nine, same as me with only a few months separating our birthdays, and he was a firefighter. Oh, and he was a good, kind man who was thoughtful all the time and treated me like a prince.

“That’s such a shame. Anyway, how are Marcus’ kittens?” Mom asked. I pulled myself back to what she was saying. It was never good to not pay full attention to anything Mom said, otherwise you’d end up agreeing to all kinds of things she’d throw at you when your defenses are down. I loved her dearly but she was sneaky like that.

Which is how I got myself into this mess with Marcus in the first place.

“They’re fine.”

“Did he find good homes for them?”

“Absolutely, the last of them went to a widowed grandmother in his apartment block.”

“Socks? The dark one?”

I glanced at my notes. “No, you remember Socks went to his uncle; Spider went to the old lady.”

“Oh yes, of course, although why someone would name a kitten Spider I don’t know.”

“There were spiders in the house where Marcus found the kittens.”

“I still don’t understand how there could be spiders in a burned-out house.”

Shit. “Spiders are hardy.”

“You said the house was razed to the ground, dear.”

Now I was losing the will to live. “Well, maybe the spider was outside. Mom, I need to go, Moira is at the door and she needs me to sign off on the new AbbaLister raisins account.”

“Of course dear, just, please tell Marcus he is welcome at any time. We so want to meet him and thought it’d be better at the house.”

“I will, I know he’s keen to meet you.”

“Oh good,” she said, and I knew I’d fucked up and somehow given her an opening. I’d never mentioned once that Marcus wanted to meet them, because that would just give them the impetus to take matters into their own hands. My worst fears were confirmed. “Oh, I’ve had the most wonderful idea.”

Oh God, what?

“Your dad and I are coming into the city on Monday; book us dinner on any night, or lunch, breakfast, anything. I want to meet this young man of yours and if it has to be in a restaurant then so be it.”

“I’m not sure—”

“Derek, he can’t be busy every night next week, and every lunchtime, goodness me, we’ll even take a quick coffee if that is all he can manage.”

Shit. Shit. And double shit.

“I’ll see what I can organize.” I kept my tone regretful, to at least give the impression I would try to organize them meeting Marcus, but that it would be unlikely.

We finished the call, and I replaced the handset in the cradle, fighting the urge to throw it against the wall, sit and cry at my desk, or maybe, less drastically, move to Montana and become a cowboy.

So many lies.

There was no Moira standing at my door. It was still closed and I’d lied to my mom.

There were no kittens, I made those up, and the spider story. The word spider came about because when I’d been talking to my mom about Marcus and the kittens, a tiny spider had crawled over my notes.

I closed the notebook in which I had the names of five kittens with their various characteristics listed.

Mom wanted to meet Marcus, any night, any lunch, anytime.

Which sucked big hairy balls.

Because that was another thing I had made up.

There was no Marcus either.

Christmas Lane by Amy Aislin
Chapter One
22 days until the parade
There was a butt sticking out from underneath the sink in Tiny’s Panini. It was a nice butt. Round. Firm. Encased in faded denim.

Zach Greenfeld would know that butt anywhere.

He stopped mid-step on his way into the café from the kitchen and swallowed back drool. Someone bumped into him from behind, making him fumble his box of tea bags. A few of them fell off the top, scattering across the floor.

“Move, Zach.”

His older sister, Alana, brushed past him. She turned to that Grade A butt but didn’t seem as enamored with it as Zach.

“How’s it going, Mr. Stone?”

The butt backed out from underneath the sink, revealing a strong torso, solid shoulders, and corded arms in a white, V-neck, long-sleeved T-shirt, and a narrow face with a slightly pointed chin, long nose, and high forehead. The chin and jaw were unshaven and covered in dark brown scruff liberally peppered with gray, matching the hair on his head that stood up in careless spikes.

Holland Stone could’ve doubled as a piece of art.

He stood to his full six-foot-two height and dropped a wrench and a flashlight into the toolbox at his feet. “Should be fixed now,” he told Alana. Turning the knob on the sink, he let the water run for a few seconds before shutting it off again. “If you have any more problems, let me know.”

Alana blew out a relieved breath. “Thank you so much, and I apologize again for bothering you on a Friday evening. I feel like we’ve called you in here to fix something at least once a week for the past few months.”

Holland shrugged. “That’s what I’m here for.” Crouching, he threw a few more tools back into his toolbox, then snapped it closed. “Call me if you need anything else.” He stood, toolbox in hand, making the muscles in his upper arms strain against his shirt. “You guys have a good night.” He gave a two-fingered salute and was gone a second later, having grabbed his winter jacket off the coat rack next to the café’s front door on his way out.

Zach’s shoulders drooped and he almost dropped his box. “He’s never going to notice me.”

“Who?” Alana looked from him, to the front door where Zach was still gazing morosely, back to Zach, back to the front door, her light brown eyes—identical to Zach’s—widening with each head swing. “Mr. Stone? You’re talking about Mr. Stone?”

Zach winced. “Why do you say his name like he’s a professor or something?”

“He was your third-grade teacher!”

“Yeah. A million years ago.” He placed his box on the counter.

“You’re twenty-four,” Alana pointed out, her voice at a register that made his ears hurt. “Third grade really wasn’t that long ago. But, seriously.” Her head swung back to the front door, but Holland was long gone down the dark street. “Mr. Stone? You have a crush on Mr. Stone?”

“Shhhh.” Zach glanced wildly at the dozen or so seated patrons. All he needed was for small-town gossip about his ill-advised crush to reach Holland’s ears. He’d never be able to face the man again. “Will you relax? Nothing’s ever going to happen. He only knows me as the guy who keeps calling him over to fix stuff that’s broken.”

“But...but…it’s Mr. Stone.”

“Can you stop saying his name like that?” Zach picked his wayward tea bags off the floor and threw them into the garbage.

“He’s twice your age!”

“Actually, he’s only fifteen years older than me.”


“Oh my god, will you stop screeching? What’s the matter with you?”

“It’s Mr.—”

“Yoo-hoo!” A knock on the countertop. “Alana, darling.”

Alana’s back tensed and her eyes screamed Help me! at Zach.

“Alana? I know you can hear me. You’re only two feet away.”

Zach choked on a laugh.

Alana pasted an imitation of a smile on her face and turned. “Mrs. Shoemacker. How lovely to see you.”

“Mm-hmm.” Mrs. Shoemacker’s wrinkly lips pressed into a disapproving line. “It’s twenty-five days until Christmas, Alana, and I notice you still haven’t put up the Christmas lights on the awning outside or any decorations in the front window.” She glanced around the café as though a decoration might appear as if by Christmas magic.

Rustic wooden tables and chairs, barn lighting, and local artwork gave Tiny’s Panini a homey feel, but there was nary a holiday decoration to be seen.

Alana’s fists clenched. “As I told you yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, I’m currently short staffed and haven’t had time to decorate. It’s on my to-do list. I don’t need you to remind me every day.”

Mrs. Shoemacker harrumphed. Zach filched a cookie out of the cookie jar and watched in fascination as his sister went toe-to-toe with the head of Lighthouse Bay’s Business Improvement Association.

“Well, it seems that I do indeed need to remind you, since the deadline to have the decorations up was the day after Thanksgiving.” She paused dramatically, pale gray eyebrows rising up her forehead. “And that was over a week ago.”

Zach swallowed the last of his cookie and wiped his hands on his apron. “I’ll have them up by the end of the day tomorrow, Mrs. Shoemacker.”

“See that you do.” She speared Zach with her steely-eyed gaze, then turned back to Alana. “I don’t want to have to fine Tiny’s Panini for failing to follow the rules. You knew your obligations when you took over running the café from your parents.” By obligations, she meant the one-hundred-page document that outlined proper business ownership in Lighthouse Bay’s downtown area. “We all need to do our part to ensure Christmas Lane is a success.”

With that parting shot, she left.

“Christmas Lane.” Alana scoffed. “I still think it’s stupid.”

“I like it,” Zach said. Christmas Lane was what the locals referred to Main Street as from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day. All the businesses put up lights and decorations, a Christmas tree stand popped up on the corner of Main and Regent Streets, carolers serenaded pedestrians every weekend in December, and the clock tower at the end of the street lit up red and green every night.

Alana rolled her eyes. “You would. You’re obsessed with Christmas.”

“Obsessed is a harsh word.”

“And you can’t put up the decorations tomorrow,” Alana spoke over him. “You have a job interview.”

“It’s not going to take all day. I’ll put them up in the afternoon, after my interview.”

“And who’s going to help me here tomorrow afternoon, then?”

“Okay, I’ll put them up in the morning.”

Alana threw her hands in the air. “Then who’s going to help me prep the food?”

Zach took a breath and bit his tongue. Alana knew how to run a business and had kept their parents’ café afloat despite the rundown equipment, yet she couldn’t seem to find part-time help to save her life. Applicants were either too young, too old, lacked experience, had too much experience, or weren’t available the days she needed them. But in a town the size of Lighthouse Bay, Maine, where people tended to move out more frequently than they moved in, she really needed to get over her misgivings because, at this point, she’d never find anyone and Zach would be stuck working for the family business for the rest of his life.


Not that there was anything wrong with working in a café. It just wasn’t what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. But it wasn’t like jobs in event planning were aplenty, and ones for recent college graduates were even more scarce. Especially since he lacked the coveted experience.

But how was he supposed to get experience if nobody would hire him?

The conundrum of every recent college graduate everywhere.

Even with the holidays upon them, and parties happening everywhere, he still couldn’t find anything.

The pay at Tiny’s Panini wasn’t awful, but most of it was going to his student loans. The sooner he found a job in his field, the sooner he could pay them off. He had his side job/hobby as a calligrapher too, and while the orders coming through his Etsy store weren’t huge, they were enough that he could set a little bit of money aside for himself.

To someone else, calligraphy might not appear to be the most interesting of hobbies. But for Zach, it was soothing. In a world that was messy and unorganized, calligraphy was precise yet artistic. A break from the busyness of life. Working his way through a project—invitations, notecards, placeholders, event signage—was almost therapeutic.

“Why don’t we just put the decorations up after we close tonight?” he said.

“Because I’ve been here since six a.m., and I’m tired.”

“I’ll call Zari. See if she can take my shift tomorrow afternoon, and I can put the decorations up then.”

“Okay, thanks.” Alana’s smile was relieved as she pulled a box of coffee cups from under the counter and replenished their supply next to the coffee maker. “Where’s your interview tomorrow again?”

“The Gold Stone hotel chain—”

“Right,” Alana interrupted. “In Florida, right?”

“No, their corporate office is in Orlando, but the job I applied for is at their hotel in Portland.” Which was only forty minutes away.

“Can you pass me the box of sugar packets?”

Zach sighed and rooted in the cupboard for the box while keeping half an eye on the front door.

In case Holland came back. Which, of course, he didn’t.

RJ Scott
USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott writes stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, a happily ever after.

RJ Scott is the author of over one hundred romance books, writing emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the links below.

Jenna Kendrick
Jenna Kendrick writes contemporary, new adult, and paranormal romance about smart guys with a propensity for snark. Jenna went to a small college in the woods of Western Massachusetts, where she alternated between bare feet and hiking boots and used dining hall trays as a mode of transportation in the winter. She fell in love with creative writing after writing a satirical essay to get out of yet another literary analysis assignment. Unable to choose a coast or climate zone, she bounced around the country before settling in Upstate New York. She lives with her husband and several furry creatives, some of whom think of her desk as their own.

Riley Knight
Riley Knight is an avid reader and has always had a soft spot for gay romances. What could be better than a sweet story between two beautiful men who need each other? It only seemed logical for Riley to write these steamy, emotional romances, focusing on an emotional and happy ending.

When not reading or writing, Riley can be found wandering the landscape and loves to go for long walks and observe all sorts of people and situations.

Amy Aislin
Amy started writing on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class was forced to stay inside for recess. Tales of adventures with her classmates quickly morphed into tales of adventures with the characters in her head. Based in the suburbs of Toronto, Amy is a marketer/fundraiser at a large environmental non-profit in Toronto by day, and a writer by night. Book enthusiast, animal lover and (very) amateur photographer, her interests are many and varied, including travelling, astronomy, ecology, and baking. She binge watches too much anime, and loves musical theater, Julie Andrews, the Backstreet Boys, and her hometown of Oakville, Ontario.

RJ Scott

Sean Crisden(Narrator)

Jenna Kendrick

Trina Solet

Riley Knight
Amy Aislin

Love Happens Anyway by RJ Scott

The Eighth Night by Jenna Kendrick
A Christmas Manny by Trina Solet

Mistletoe Marriage by Riley Knight

Christmas Lane by Amy Aislin

Release Blitz: Christmas Sugar by Melanie Moreland

Title: Christmas Sugar
Author: Melanie Moreland
Series: Insta-Spark #2
Genre: Holiday Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: December 3, 2018
Cover Design: Melissa Ringuette @ Monark Design Services
Dylan Maxwell is a busy man. His no-nonsense approach to life and business keeps him balanced – and alone. His life is bland – devoid of any kind of sweetness or light.

An unexpected business trip close to Christmas, however, brings three people into his life he never expected.

An oversharing teenager.
A lisping little angel.
A sexy, unassuming woman unlike any he has ever met. Her bossy attitude challenges him, while her green eyes melt the frost around his heart.
They draw out something in him that he has never experienced.

Are they the Christmas miracles he needs – or will he walk away from the sweetest gift he has ever been offered?

Author Bio:
New York Times/USA Today bestselling author Melanie Moreland, lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her beloved husband of twenty-seven-plus years and their rescue cat, Amber. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.

While seriously addicted to coffee, and highly challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties, and also enjoys traveling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.

Melanie loves stories, especially paired with a good wine, and enjoys skydiving (free falling over a fleck of dust) extreme snowboarding (falling down stairs) and piloting her own helicopter (tripping over her own feet.) She's learned happily ever afters, even bumpy ones, are all in how you tell the story.

Melanie is represented by Flavia Viotti at Bookcase Literary Agency. For any questions regarding subsidiary or translation rights please contact her at



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Release Blitz: The Deafening Silence by Amy Tasukada

Title: The Deafening Silence
Author: Amy Tasukada
Series: Yakuza Path #4
Genre: Thriller, M/M Romance
Release Date: December 1, 2018
An unproven alliance. A broken promise. A mafia boss must shed blood to secure peace…

Nao Murata is on the verge of brokering peace between his syndicate and the rival Mafufgumi mob. To seal the deal, he’ll need to pick up Russian prostitutes to appease his newest ally. When the exchange goes sour, both sides draw blades and Nao has no choice but to care for a blood-soaked enemy. If the man doesn’t make it through the night, Nao and his crew will pay with their lives.

Outnumbered and stranded in enemy territory, Nao is forced to fight his way out before the Mafufgumi Godfather takes the deal off the table. As his wounded enemy’s heartbeat slows, Nao must act fast or condemn his syndicate to a brutal turf war.

The Yakuza Path: The Deafening Silence is the fourth book in a series of Japanese mafia thrillers. If you like twisty action, authentic settings, and a touch of gay romance, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s pulse-pounding series.

Author Bio:
Amy Tasukada lives in North Texas with a calico cat called O’Hara. As an only child her day dreams kept her entertained, and at age ten she started to put them to paper. Since then her love of writing hasn’t cease. She can be found drinking hot tea and filming Japanese street fashion hauls on her Youtube channel. 

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The Deafening Silence #4

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