Category Archives: Sarah

TWO 5 and 4.5 Stars for Everything Changes by Melanie Hansen (Guest Post)- #MM #Military #Amputee @MelJoyAZ

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Title: Everything Changes
Author Name: Melanie Hansen
Publication Date & Length: March 13, 2015 – 68,029 Words

Synopsis

Former Marine and lower-leg amputee Carey Everett keeps a grueling schedule of counseling fellow war veterans and their families. The injury he received in Afghanistan forces him to rely on a reserve of strength he didn’t even know he had. A much deserved vacation will let him reconnect with his best friend, who saved his life and has been there for him through devastating injury and painful recovery.

Part-time EMT and aspiring singer Jase DeSantis has been in love with Carey for years, but he’s come to accept that his straight friend will never be able to offer more. Jase fills his days with band rehearsals, ambulance shifts, and willing groupies, all while trying to cope with debilitating PTSD.

A week of sun, fun, and music in San Diego changes Jase and Carey’s lives forever when their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Jase has been longing for that change, but it leaves Carey reeling with confusion. As Jase fights to hold things together, Carey deals with doubts, fears, and his own preconceived notions about labels and the true nature of love.

Review

FiveStars
This is my first novel by Melanie Hansen, and I have to say the Prologue grabbed my attention.
This was one of the most profound, heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching, and beautiful journey’s I have read and I read a lot!!!!
Jase and Carey met and became friends when they were officers in the Army. Jase was a medic and when Carey was wounded, Jase saved his life, and the feelings Jase had for his friend were forever, and deeply embedded in his heart. Carey was indebted to Jase but he also wanted to forget everything that happened during the War. They remained friends but it was strained…until Carey decides to take a visit to Jase, in San Diego. And what ensues is a panty-melting page turning seduction that will leave you flushed and breathless. *fans self* Phew!!!
Melanie Hansen has an incredible way of describing so many gut-wrenching and heart-felt moments, you will sob out loud without even realising it, and not care either. I would suggest not reading this in public as the emotions won’t be contained.
Both have very difficult inner battles to overcome. The war did not leave them unscathed. But with each by their side, the battle doesn’t feel so lonely…. Sigh. I devoured this in one sitting, one morning actually, could not put it down!!! That is all I got, and if you are getting the impression that I loved this author, and the story is a MUST READ, then I said enough.
Reviewer: Kimberley
FiveStars

This is truly a beautiful piece of writing.   The enduring friendship between Marine Corey and Medic Jase is forged in the heat of an Afghanistan warzone.  The men are inseparable on deployment until a tragedy leaves Corey badly injured and Jase trying desperately to save his life even if he can’t save his leg.

Both men return from the war deeply damaged, but their friendship is immutable.  What Jase never tells Corey is how much he truly loves his straight best friend.

Hansen’s elegant prose elevates this book beyond the average wounded warrior story.    Her characters are complex and fully developed.  Hansen never shies away from the realities of war or underestimates the strain of civillian life on former servicemen and women.  Her plot drags readers back and forth in time until we have no hope but to fall madly, deeply in love with both of her captivating leading men.

A character in the story explains that “the best kind of love is friendship that has caught fire.”

Hansen captures this love with sensual, sumptuous language.  Corey’s growing awareness of Jase sexually is delectably slow.  The chemistry between Jase and Corey is explosive, delivering moments of almost unbearable desire.   The slow burn attraction between two men who have loved each other for a very long time is painfully sexy.

Highly recommended.

Sarah

FourandHalfStars

Jase and Carey are kind of an odd couple. They had such a close connection while in the army – so close, that they stayed connected even after the tragedy that is war touched their lives.

Carey seems to hold all of his emotions in side. He hides himself away. Hints from his past creep in to the story and the reader can then guess as to why Carey is the way he is. His character was a hard nut to crack – despite his inner dialogue, he was very frustrating at times. I wanted to hit him over the head to get him to really see how he was living.

Jase is much more free spirited. He is much more go with the flow. However, even with that attitude, he was not unaffected by the war and he has his own demons to overcome.

Despite years of loving each other, neither was able to express that love for quite some time. The story of their love is a struggle – it is filled with years of meaningless encounters with other people, sometimes with each character floating through their life, not really living. While I thought the story was slow at times, I really liked how Hansen brought it all together.

One quote that really hit home was “Just give me one more day. And if that’s all you have to give me, it just today, I’ll take it.” I think that is a great way to get through rough times. This story was about survival, love, finding yourself and finding happiness even among the broken pieces of your life. Today is not tomorrow, nor is it yesterday and these characters were able to live in the moment. So many times, people are not able to do that.

So, this story was touching, hopeful and romantic.

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Excerpt

“You keep looking at me like that, this ain’t gonna last long,” Jase growled. Carey smirked, then twirled his finger in a turn-around motion.

“I feel like a piece of meat,” Jase grumbled good-naturedly, but turned in a slow circle. Carey’s mouth watered as he took in Jase’s broad shoulders and muscular back, tapering in a perfect V into slim hips and high, round buttocks. Carey was a little bemused at how looking at another man’s body was revving him up, but it was. It was just… Jase. Carey already knew how beautiful he was on the inside; now he knew how stunning he was on the outside too.

Using his support leg and his arms, he pulled himself to the edge of the bed and sat up, crooking his finger “Come here.”

Jase’s eyes flared hot, and he took the few steps necessary to reach the edge of the bed. Carey reached up slowly and moved his hands onto Jase’s hips, stroking over the hipbones lightly before tugging him forward to stand between his legs.

“I just want to touch you,” he said hoarsely. “Is that okay?”

Jase smoothed Carey’s hair back from his forehead, his fingertips achingly gentle. “Touch me,” he said

AuthorInterview

One of my characters in Everything Changes, Carey Everett, is an amputee due to an injury he suffered in Afghanistan.  The surgery he received to remove his damaged leg is called a transtibial amputation, which means below the knee.  Carey is fortunate in that respect since transfemoral, or above the knee, amputations are more complicated and prosthetic fittings more difficult.  With a transfemoral amputation, an artificial knee is required so the recovery time and mastering the range of motion takes longer.

Prosthetic comes from the Greek word meaning “addition.”  The oldest prosthetic discovered in history was on the mummy of an Egyptian noblewoman dating back 3,000 years ago.  It was a prosthetic toe made of wood and leather and was fully articulated, meaning it could bend and move exactly like a real toe.

Carey wears a prosthetic made of a blend of lightweight plastic, carbon fiber and titanium.  He attaches it to his residual leg, or stump, with a suction socket.  When he dons, or puts on, his prosthetic, he bears down until air is expelled through a one-way valve and a vacuum seal forms.  When he doffs it, or takes it off, he opens the valve to expel the air and break the seal.

Fitting for a prosthetic is a long, arduous process since an amputee’s residual leg is constantly changing due to swelling or shrinkage.  Physical therapy is painful and involved.  Carey was already dealing with a traumatic and life-changing injury, and adjusting to and learning to walk again with an artificial leg was emotionally and physically draining.  Jase’s support and care during this time made all the difference to Carey’s recovery, and it cemented the existing emotional bond between them which eventually turned to love.

AuthorBio

Melanie Hansen has spent time in both Texas and Florida prisons…for work.   She’s been in a room with a 17-year-old mass murderer who was also one of the most soft-spoken and polite teenagers she’s ever met.  After a 13-year career as a court reporter, she can tell many stories both hilarious and heartbreaking.

She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man.  After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.

Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student.  She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

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4 and 3 Stars for Turkish Delights by Trina Lane #MMM #Menage #Totally_Bound

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Title: Turkish Delight
Author Name: Trina Lane
Publication Date: March 6, 2015

Synopsis

Three very different men from three different countries look to build a love greater than any wonder of the world.

Project manager Garrett Sloan builds majestic hotels for the rich and famous around the world, but when it comes to love, all his relationships seem to crumble. His latest project lands him in Istanbul, where the desire he’s held for a certain French architect heats up under the Middle Eastern sun, and his resolve never to mix business with pleasure melts beneath the added hot stare and skilled hands of a Turkish mason.

The three men discover they want to build a relationship to stand the test of time. Much like Kyle LaFleure’s buildings and Emir Şahin’s stonework. As the bonds between Garrett and his partners grow stronger and more complex they work to lay the perfect foundation on which to build a lasting relationship. Can the three men construct a relationship that will endure? Or will their love reach its zenith when their shared task of finishing the ultimate Ottoman luxury hotel reaches it completion?

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Review

FourStars

Three very different men from three different countries look to build a love greater than any Wonder of the World, while builing one of the most luxurious hotels in the world.

What stood out the most for me was the author’s knowledge of Istanbul, the architecture within the city. The terms in building and creating the masterpiece of a boutique hotel will make you feel as if you are watching the whole project come to life before your eyes. The isn’t to take anything away from the heartfelt and very sexy journey with these three very different men that have a chemistry and maturity for this journey that makes for a most enjoyable story!

Reviewer: Kimberley

ThreeStar

I have to confess that it took me a few chapters to get into this story.  The writing felt clunky at the start and I didn’t feel an immediate connection to any of the three main characters.  I felt that they fell for each other too quickly in a way that felt more like an extended hook-up than a romance leading to true love.  I became more engaged as we learned more about Emir’s family and Kyle and Garret’s professional lives. I really felt for Emir by the end of the story.  Having spent some time in Istanbul, I enjoyed the beautiful descriptive passages about the city and the architectural details of the hotel the three men were building.

I didn’t like the way the book skipped through time very quickly without us learning more about the three men’s lives outside of the relationship and the hotel.  Their lives, interests and other relationships could have been developed so much further.  This book was definately more erotica than romance, focusing on the sex between the three men.  While I love hot m/m/m menage, I found myself skimming through some of the later scenes.  Some of the descriptions of the sex felt mechanical – at one point a sexual act was described as a “method”.  Also, to be very picky,  the American author’s description of her English and French main characters’ lives didn’t ring very true to a UK reader.

However, despite these niggles, I found myself quite attached to the three men and their hotel by the end of the story and would recommend the story to those who enjoy their stories more erotica than romance.

Sarah

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AuthorBio

I can be shy and boisterous, introverted and extroverted. I like to get dressed up in pretty clothes and think slippers, t-shirts and sweats are just fine. I love spending time with close friends and alone with a good book and glass of wine. I have been passionately addicted to romance novels since the age of thirteen and enjoy almost all genres of romance. My only requirement is that all reads have a happily ever after ending. When I am not devouring a new book by one of my favorite authors or thinking up new storylines for one of my own, you can usually find me watching a movie with my husband and cat, working with my other passionate obsession photography, or listening to my iPod. Quite frequently a combination of all the above.

I started writing on a whim when one of the thousands of stories that float around in my head stuck during the daily commute to my office. As the week progressed the storyline got more elaborate. I decided to write it down and it eventually became SEALing Fate.

I want to encourage everyone not to be afraid of trying something new. It’s scary and thrilling but the rewards can be grea

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3 Stars for As Natural As Breathing by Thianna D #MM #BDSM #Erotic @the_weremouse

As Natural as Breathing

Title: As Natural As Breathing
Author Name: Thianna D
Publication Date & Length: August 7, 2013 – 213pgs

Synopsis

For Christian Darringer, life isn’t worth living. Just back from the Middle East; scarred and with permanent damage to one leg, he does not think anyone will want him for anything. Meeting a gorgeous man he finds himself thinking about constantly is not in his plans. Pulled toward the startling younger man with striking blue eyes, he begins to question a lot of things – especially his sexuality. Not one to hide from a challenge, he plunges ahead only to find himself more than just attracted to Logan who is full of life and joy, he finds himself head over heels in love.

Logan Mannette has almost everything he ever wanted: loving parents, happiness, friends and security. The only thing missing is finding the love of his life, a love that is just like his parents’. When he meets Christian at a party, everything changes. Instantly attracted, he does his best to help this sad man and quickly finds himself feeling more than he has ever felt before. Raised in a domestic discipline household, he holds that ideal as what he wants but his interest in spanking became a fetish and when Christian admits that he wants to be spanked, Logan believes he might have found the perfect man.

Just as everything begins for them, Christian’s past intercedes and one of his brothers makes waves about him dating a man. If it weren’t for Logan’s support, he might fold; but with the love of one amazing man, Christian finds that living his life rather than just existing is as natural as breathing.

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Review

ThreeStar

Christian is an injured war vet.  He has recently returned home damaged both physically and emotionally.  Logan is a university drama student in Seattle.

Christian’s father works for Logan’s father and the two men meet up at a Christmas party.

This feels much more modern than recent m/m New Adult books I’ve read because the writer has drawn two loving, accepting families for Christian and Logan.  She may have pushed things a little too far when Christian’s girlfriend of eight years tries to set the men up – but it was refreshing not to have to wade through secretive, closeted angst with one or both of the young main characters.   It resonated quite truthfully that the parents understood their children’s sexuality before Logan and Christian did.

I liked the way Logan was able to help Christian with his injuries and his PTSD without there being any suggestion that Christian’s problems were ever going to be treated easily.

I liked the supporting characters.  Both sets of parents were great – though I felt a little squeamish at the amount of sharing in Logan’s family.  I liked Kelli, Christian’s saint of a girlfriend.

I’m still not sure there was any need for Brian’s character.  He wasn’t believable.  How does an open, loving family raise a bigot?  And even stranger, why didn’t Christian’s parents make Brian leave?

THis book was marketed as BDSM.  Interestingly, it wasn’t something that really caught my attention.  The spanking scenes were pretty tame.  I felt that Logan’s description of his desired domestic discipline lifestyle seemed somehow clinical and emotionless.  Also, somehow Logan managed to be fully trained enough to be recognised as a club Dom before graduating from college. Right.  But there were a couple of hot sex scenes that involved spanking, so who needs to quibble details?

The writing was choppy and the story was unbelievably saccharine at times.  If you like Sandrine Gasq-Dion’s style, you’ll love this.  If you are a stickler for formal standard English, you might get frustrated.  I alternated between the two.  In the end, I suspended my disbelief and enjoyed the story.

Sarah

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Dinner was easy, the easiest first date Christian had ever been on. Logan laughed, talked, teased, but it felt like he was with a friend rather than with a date…but then again, that was what he asked for. After two large platters of sushi disappeared between the two of them, they paid and left. “Okay, we can drive or we can walk. The theater is only ten blocks.” Then Logan’s eyes dropped to his leg. “Damn, I forgot about your leg. Maybe we should drive.”

Shaking his head, Christian placed a hand on his arm. “Naw. I walk by the river all the time. I think I’d like to walk.”

Logan watched him, as if trying to make up his mind if Christian meant it or not. When he figured he did, he beamed. “Great. There is this cool piece of art you have got to see.”

AuthorBio

Thianna loves to write strong stories with even stronger heroes. While all of her books have an erotic overtone, it is the story that is the most important to her. “The story should be able to stand on its own. The erotic elements are an add-on.”

She enjoys writing about couples with kink, paranormal couples, and straight out strangeness. But more on that later… mm.thiannad.com.

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3 and 4 Stars for Remarkable Restraint (Grad School Guys #1) by Devon Rhodes #MM #Romance @devonrhodes @Totally_Bound

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Title: Remarkable Restraint (Grad School Guys #1)
Author Name: Devon Rhodes
Publication Date & Length: March 20, 2015

Synopsis

This is book one in the Grad School Guys series.

When Justin gets fed up with his best friend Chaz avoiding him, he decides it’s well worth sacrificing his favorite T-shirt to try to save their relationship.

Chaz is finding it impossible to hide his attraction for his straight roommate, so he tries avoiding Justin until he leaves for the summer. He just has to get through a few more days, then he’ll be home free—at least until Justin comes back in a couple of months. Still, he firmly believes space between them is the best answer for now.

But Justin is not a man to be ignored. He’s known Chaz for almost a decade, and can tell when something is weighing on his mind. And being shut out is not acceptable, especially just when he’s finally ready to commit to more than friendship. When closer than usual proximity just before his trip to Central America turns up the heat between them, he takes matters into his own hands by restraining Chaz’s hands—and feet—until he gets some answers.

The results are explosive and more than either could have dreamt, but the abrupt shift in their relationship is almost impossible to reconcile in the short time they have left together. It will take remarkable restraint from both to find a way to weather the separation, stay friends…and to grow into something more.

Reader Advisory: This book contains light BDSM elements and bondage.

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released in the Games In The Dark Anthology. It has been considerably expanded for release with Totally Bound Publishing

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Review

FourStars

Justin and Chaz are such a cute couple even when they don’t know they are a couple. I really enjoy how you get to see their relationship develop and despite them both being slightly stupid when it comes to love and themselves, they have a great relationship.
Justin is one who is not to shirk his responsibilities and I really like that about him. Chaz is an easy-going, lovable character. He’s almost naiive and innocent, but the thoughts he has about his best friend are less than pure.
The exchange and development of their relationship is gradual, but not so slow that it makes the book drag, which I appreciated.
While I wish there were more written when they were physically together, I can appreciate their long distance relationship too.
I hope there will be a continuation of their story.
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ThreeStar

This is a hot new adult short story.  Justin and Chaz have been best friends forever, but it is only well into graduate degrees that Justin finally finds the courage to admit his attraction to Chaz.

Chaz has always fancied Justin, but he assumed his friend was straight.

As a dominant, Justin takes the lead initiating submissive Chaz into a sexual relationship with him.  Unfortunately, he has to leave the country for two months, so much of this story focuses on the two men’s long-distance relationship.

For me, the story lost stars because of the long-distance relationships.  This is a short story.  The focus is sex, but the two lovers aren’t even in the same country for  much of the book.  Yes, there were sexy presents, toys and phone calls, but I felt more actual sex was needed.

That’s not to say the story was only about sex.  There were some very sweet passages as Justin and Chaz worked through the dramatic shift their relationship makes as best friends become lovers and partners.

Sarah

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AuthorBio

I have always had my nose in a book and my head in the clouds!
Now I’m finally doing what I love as a career.
When I’m not lost in my imagination, you can find me in beautiful Oregon

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4 and 3 Stars for His Soldier by Anna Lee #MM #Erotic #Military @annalee59

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Title: His Soldier
Author Name: Anna Lee
Publication Date & Length: March 6, 2015 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Sometimes you find love where you least expect it, for Sergeant Ryder Brooks that’s writing letters home to Dean Anders, his army pen pal…

After a tragedy, in a way to honor his brother and try to cope, Dean becomes a army pen pal to Sergeant Ryder Brooks. The two connect through letters and phone calls for a year, falling in love and making plans to meet when Ryder finishes his tour. However, in an effort to save one of his men who steps on a mine, Ryder loses his leg. Broken and depressed, he doesn’t think Dean will want him. But once Dean learns what happens, he immediately goes to Ryder, determined to help him heal and show him that he loves him no matter what. Ryder has a long road of recovery ahead of him, but with Dean’s support, he realizes his life isn’t over, it’s just beginning if he’ll only give them a chance.

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Review

FourStars

This was a wondering story. It has pain, loss, but it also has happiness and hope. We all know that when a soldier comes home, sometimes they come home to a different type of fight, but not any less important.
I loved the relationship that Ryder and Dean embark on. Their long-distance letters bring both peace and hope to lives that were both damaged by war.
I really wanted to hug Joel every time he was mentioned in this story. He was supportive, open-minded and grateful. Not only did he witness what true friendship was, he also demonstrated it right back. The friendship is one that will withstand anything.
I wanted to boot Bentley in the rear each time he was mentioned. It is asking too much of anyone to hide any type of relationship – to not allow his friends to be who they are. Bentley was someone who never was going to learn that lesson and the fact that he tried to hurt both Ryder and Dean, that he had no redeeming qualities, I could have done without him in the book.
Finally, I LOVED Dean’s family. When I say family, I mean those he surrounds himself with. DNA does not make your family. It was so awesome that Dax was his friend – so often people have no where to turn.
I really enjoyed this book
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ThreeStar

This book had me crying from the second page.  If you’re a fan of Nicholas Sparks or John Green, you will enjoy this raw, emotional story.

When Dean loses his brother in Afghanistan, he signs up to offer pen-pal support to another deployed soldier.

Ryder is a sergeant deployed in Afghanistan.  When Dean’s first letter arrives, Ryder is lonely and experiencing huge stress.  But Dean’s letters start to quickly make Ryder’s life just a little bit better.

The two men write and talk over the course of Ryder’s deployment.  After nearly a year, they are close and looking forward to Ryder’s return.  When Ryder loses his leg in a last minute act of heroism, plans change.

Ryder needs rehabilitation and emotional support when he returns and he doesn’t want to make demands on a man he’s never actually met.   Both men struggle with relationships and and neither man trusts easily.

I really loved the premise of this book, but the execution was slightly clunky.  The book needs a final grammar and punctuation edit.  The developing emotional bond between the two men was at times overshadowed by a series of complex sub-plots and discussions that seemed to repetitively re-hash the same topics.  There were obvious reasons for the sex scenes being delayed and tentative, but it was difficult to sense any real heat in the bedroom scenes that were included.  Supporting characters, like Beth, Joel and Jessie were well developed, but more villainous characters were pretty one dimensional.

But still, the men are sweet and their emerging relationship is charming.  The story of loss and new hope is gentle and tender.

Ultimately, Anna Lee definitely knows how to pull at heart strings.  You will need a box of tissues, a glass of wine and a tub of Ben and Jerry’s for this one.

Sarah

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Excerpt

Hey Ryder,

So, uh, I’ve never really done this. I mean I had a pen pal when I was, like, eight, and I waited for the mailman every day to see what Skylar would say about kangaroos in Australia. Everything is so techy now, you know, email, texts, and written letters are rare. I guess that was part of the appeal—this just feels more important taking the time to write by hand. And you deserve that.

The reason I decided to become a pen pal is I recently lost my brother and, well, I thought in his memory I’d do more to give back and find ways to support guys like him going through hell over there and fighting for our country. I want to say thanks, and I honestly do admire you. I don’t think I could do it. I’m a creature of comfort and complain ridiculously when it’s hot.

Anyway, I keep going on about me. Thanks for everything you’re doing. I hope you’re staying safe. I’m sure you got a lot going on so if I don’t hear from you it’s okay. I just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you and wishing you a safe journey home.

Take care,

Dean

AuthorBio

Anna Lee graduated from the University of California Riverside with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Living with a disability, she has overcome many challenges and puts her passion for life and love into her writing. She lives with her family and dogs and enjoys writing late into the night. When she isn’t writing, Anna enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephew or chatting with her friends about her favorite books and TV shows.

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5 and 4 Stars for Blue Blood’s Trifecta (Wind Warriors #6) by Cheyenne Meadows #MMF #Action @Totally_Bound

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Title: Blue Blood’s Trifecta (Wind Warriors #6)
Author Name: Cheyenne Meadows
Publication Date: March 27, 2016

Synopsis

When past meets present things begin to sizzle.

When an emergency call goes out, FBI agent Ryan tags along with his sister on a Wind Warrior mission. Along the way, he meets Tempest, a beautiful female pilot who stirs his desires and Rogue, a former Army buddy. Seeing Rogue again brings out feelings Ryan doesn’t understand and isn’t prepared to accept.

Their old rivalry returns as both men want Tempest, who happens to be Rogue’s employee.

The mission that had brought the three of them together comes back to haunt them all with danger hanging over the head of every Wind Warrior and their loved ones.

Can Ryan work through his newfound interest in Rogue even as he’s falling for Tempest? Will they pull together and unite in time to save each other from a hired assassin?

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for release with Totally Bound.

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Review

FiveStars

I loved this.  Lots of action, hot men, strong women… fantastic.  I love books about super covert ops, but this time, two women were included on the front lines which made it even better.

The romance in the story focuses on Ryan, an FBI agent who was once an army ranger.   He has feelings for Tempest, a kick-ass helicopter pilot and aeronautical engineer and Rogue, a former military buddy who is now Tempest’s boss.

The action in the story focuses around Ryan’s sister Lark’s covert ops group called the Wind Warriors and Ryan’s own role as an FBI agent.

I’m going to have to read back over the first five books in the series to get the whole story, but there was enough offered to make this a good stand-alone action book.  In this book, the good guys are hunting heroin dealers who are out for revenge.

This was a really sexy book – though the sex really only took part in the second half of the book.  Leading up, we have all sorts of action, attraction and angst.  The chemistry between all three characters is explosive and the author puts her imagination to good use thinking up new ways to use all the possibilities three characters bring.

A great read!

Sarah

FourStars

Ryan, Tempest and Rogue are kick ass, take no prisoner’s type people. This trio is both hot and tender towards each other.

Although I have not read the previous stories, I did not feel that I was missing too much – I could follow the story well.

Ryan and Rogue’s characters, while similar, were also so different. I appreciated that Meadows was able to create that distinction. So often soldiers are written to be all the same, but these two were rough, tender, fierce and sweet depending on the situation.

The action in this story was fast paced, well executed and exciting. The love in this story was great between each pair, but lacked a little for me amongst the trio itself.

This was a great story, but I wish the interaction and romance was more played out. It was more about the mission and less about the relationships.

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// Cheyenne Meadows – Erotic Fiction Author published by Totally Bound – The home of Erotic Romance //

Growing up in the Midwest, I began reading romance novels in high school, immediately falling in love with the genre, to the point where I decided to write professionally for a career. However, that dream splattered against a brick wall, resulting in a quick death in my first writing class in college when my professor told me bluntly that I wasn’t any good at it. I shifted gears quickly, and left my writing dreams behind, eventually settling on becoming a nurse.

A few years back, I stumbled across a fan-fiction writing site on a favorite author’s webpage. I began to read stories others wrote, not only making some wonderful close friends from the experience, but also, really learning to write for the very first time. Here I was able to share short stories, practice my writing skills, and truly develop into a writer. More than that, the experience allowed me to revitalize my dream, as I rediscovered joy in writing. Now, I spend my days off with my alpha male characters, quick witted heroines, and see how much trouble everyone can get into.

When I’m not working or writing, I enjoy working in the garden, canning, and seeing my backyard as a living canvas for my whimsical landscaping, and, of course, reading romance novels.   

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5 Stars for Spice by Lilah Suzanne #MM #Romance #RomCom @lilahsuzanne

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Title: Spice
Author Name: Lilah Suzanne
Publication Date & Length: April 2, 2015 – 250pgs

Synopsis

As writer of the popular “Ask Eros” advice column, Simon Beck has an answer to every relationship question his readers can throw at him. When it comes to his own life, the answers are a little more elusive—until computer troubles introduce him to the newest and cutest member of his company’s IT support team. Simon may be charmed by Benji’s sweet and unassuming manner, but will he find the answer to the one relationship question he has never been able to solve: how to know when he’s met Mr. Right?

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Review

FiveStars

Simon and Benji

This is a wonderful book!  It is the very simple story of the beginning of a relationship.   It is the story of Simon, an advice columnist at a women’s magazine in New York.  It is also the story of Benji, an IT technician at the magazine.

At the start of the story, Simon is slowly extricating himself from an unhealthy relationship.  His friends are marrying and settling down and he feels lonely.

Benji is the consumate geek.  He references science fiction films, wears character t-shirts and has collections.

This book is so well observed.  As the central characters developed, I moved from thinking that I’d known people exactly like them to wondering uncomfortably if Suzanne was actually writing about me and my relationships.  The relationship between the two characters was real.  It was possibly the third character (though Walt the pit bull might have something to say about that).

This wasn’t an urgent, passionate rush for bed followed by declarations of undying love.  Instead, and unfortunately unusually, it records the slow, sometimes awkward getting to know a new lover.  It observes the equally awkward and sometimes frustrating meshing of lives and homes that follows.  Above all, it manages to capture very accurately the silly moments, the unfailing support offered by true partners, and the playful interludes that make everything else in life worth doing.

So often, romance is serious and passionate involving exaggerated misunderstandings and artificial barriers.  This is just real.  The story is funny and sweet and almost painfully well observed.  I loved it.

Sarah

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Excerpt

“How about you? Did you always want to be a writer?”

“Yeah. I think I did.” He finally gives up on work completely and closes the laptop. “I mean. I guess what I write about is kind of pointless, but I wanted to be a poet once upon a time, so I guess it could be even more pointless,” he jokes.

Benji’s eyebrows knot. “It’s not. Why would it be pointless?”

Simon gives a humorless laugh. “I mean, I write a sex column for women. Not exactly moving prose or hard-hitting journalism.”

Benji scoots over little on the desk, sitting with his legs so close to where Simon is sitting low in his chair that he can smell Benji’s crisp laundry detergent and citrusy soap. He suddenly has to fight the urge to move a fraction to the left, press his nose to the inside seam of Benji’s jeans and breathe him in.

“You listen to people. You remind them that they’re valuable and worthy of love and respect. How is that not important?” Simon is struck speechless, chest tight and breath caught.

Then Benji claps him on the shoulder and hops off the desk. “Come on. Let’s go have lunch.”

AuthorBio

Lilah Suzanne has been writing actively since the sixth grade, when a literary magazine published her essay about an uncle who lost his life to AIDS. A freelance writer, she also authored a children’s book and has a devoted following in the online fan community.

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5 Stars for for Inheritance (Dominion #1) by Lissa Kasey #MM #Mystery #Paranormal #UrbanFantasy @parisbvamp

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Title: Inheritance (Dominion #1)
Author Name: Lissa Kasey
Publication Date & Length: March 3, 2015 – 176 pgs

Synopsis

As the only male studying magic in a female-dominant society, Seiran Rou’s life is already on a precarious perch. Then he finds a dead co-worker on his doorstep, and Sei realizes someone is trying to set him up for the fall. It could be anyone—including his own mother, a powerful witch and leader of the Dominion, the ruling body of elemental magic.

Sei’s only saving graces are his on-again, off-again vampire boyfriend, Gabe, and the mysterious Jamie, who wants to help him for reasons Sei doesn’t understand. They may be all that stand between Sei and the Dominion’s demands to control his magic. One man’s devotion could be the key to save Sei’s life and pull him back from the brink of losing his humanity to the magic he possesses.

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Review

FiveStars

This is fantastic.  Finally an m/m urban fantasy series to rival the best of the mainstream offerings.

Seiran is a witch.  A male witch.  Possibly one of the most powerful earth elemental witches in the world.  His mother is the most powerful witch in the world and Seiran is pretty sure she’s just waiting for the right moment to kill him.

Lissa Kasey has done her reading before developing Seiran’s world.  We have a little of Jennifer Estep’s elemental assassin, a little of Laurel K Hamilton’s posh vampire lairs and necessary heirs, Keri Arthur’s sexual freedom, Patricia Briggs’ shifters and Chloe Neil’s magical world.

But Seiran isn’t a composite.  He’s not as nasty as Gin.  He’s not as helpless as Mercy.  His lover is powerful but not the war lord Anitia’s is.  He may call himself slutty, but has so many more hang-ups than Arthur’s Riley or Hamilton’s Anita.

Like all New Adult books, this is a coming of age story.  Seiran doesn’t trust easily.  He doesn’t do relationships, he just wants to fuck.  When his powers develop and bad things start happening, Seiran must learn to trust and he must trust himself to choose the right people.

There isn’t a simple love story in this novel.  Seiran doesn’t “double dip”.  At least he didn’t until Gabe, and now he’s not too sure that his one-time hook-up hasn’t started to look like a relationship.  So he runs scared.

Gabe is a great character.  He’s an ancient vampire who runs a bar (Laurell K Hamilton again?) and tries desperately to keep his relationship with Seiran as casual as Seiran wants so he can continue to take care of the young witch.

Oh – and Seiran’s mother.  I’m almost frightened to write her name here!  Fabulous.  We only see moments of her here, and we only see her through Seiran’s fearful eyes.  I’m going to guess she develops into a most terrifyingly intriguing character later in the series.

I love the reverse sexism in the witch world.  A story of powerful women and disenfranchised men is fresh. I like the way the series has started in college, but we know we will soon be leaving college as Seiran develops into a very powerful, independent young man.  I love the hints the author gives us of much more complicated happenings just outside of Seiran’s perception.  And I love the way she uses these hints to promise a very exciting series.

On top of all this – the book is beautifully written.

I can’t wait for the next book.

Sarah

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Excerpt

Professor Wrig gestured to the stump. “Seiran, if you will demonstrate, please?”

Rose looked like she’d swallowed a lemon. “I can show them how it’s done, Professor,” she said.

“I’m sure you can, Miss Pewette. However, I already asked Mr. Rou.”

I took a deep breath and stepped up to the stump, wondering if I was allowed to actually focus with the earth this time. “Can I kneel?” I asked Wrig quietly.

“Whatever you feel is necessary.”

I knelt and waited for instructions.

Professor Wrig explained, “As Mr. Rou is showing you, he is putting himself in close contact with his element. He will be pulling power from the earth. Should he accidentally pull too much, he can give it back without causing damage to us or the surrounding area. He will take the time he needs to focus his power, and then he will place his hands to the stump. All witches with a measurable level will make something grow. A level one will produce moss or ivy. A level two will create flowers or even a small bud of a new tree. His level is set by what grows. Whenever you’re ready, Seiran.”

“Try not to kill any of us,” Rose sneered from behind me.

I sighed, closed my eyes, and left all their scattered whispering behind. It didn’t matter that Rose didn’t shut up or that Blond Hair looked at me like he was imagining what sex with me would be like. The earth and I knew each other well. I let it flow through me, like I was nothing more than a pebble in a lake to be shaped and guided by it. Each breath brought renewed life. I set my hands to the stump, remembering the last time, when I’d made wildflowers burst forth from the dead tree. This time I didn’t even look. The earth would grow what it wanted to with me as its conduit.

The power flowed through me in natural peaks and waves. The crowd gasped. The wood shifted and moved beneath my hands. I let the earth move as it wanted until the final wave subsided. Letting go, I opened my eyes and stared at a giant oak tree, leaves growing to a rich, vibrant green. No wildflowers this time. I smiled at the tree and patted its strong, new trunk, which split the old stump in half.

“Very good, Mr. Rou,” Professor Wrig told me. She offered me a hand up. I stood, dusted off my pants, and went to the back of the line. “Next,” she said.

And so began the testing.

AuthorBio

Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, and collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters. She has three cats who enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at Anime Conventions masquerading as random characters when she’s not writing about boy romance.

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3 Stars for The Moment of Truth (Moments in Time #2) by Karen Stivali #Bisexual #MM #Romance #New Adult @karenstivali

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Title: Moment of Truth (Moments in Time #2)
Author Name: Karen Stivali
Publication Date & Length: March 4, 2015 – 130 pgs

Synopsis

Collin expected to spend another summer fixing cars and working at the college pizzeria. Instead, he’s living in a beach house on Fire Island, waiting tables at a hip seaside restaurant and, for the first time since he and Tanner got together, they can publicly be known as boyfriends. Being “out” takes some getting used to, but with the help of new and old friends, Collin is happier than he ever imagined. And more in love. But newfound freedom brings unexpected challenges, and when friends get flirty, old insecurities arise. Moments of doubt and jealousy threaten their happiness, and Collin and Tanner must confront the truth or risk losing it all

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Review

ThreeStar

This is a continuance of Moment of Impact.  The boys have been together for a while and they go to spend the summer working on Fire Island.  They stay in the shared house Tanner spent the previous summer in.

If we learned more about Collin’s life in Moment of Impact, Tanner’s world becomes much more clear in the second part of the story.  This time the supporting characters are more deftly drawn and more fully developed.  Even Collin’s family is allowed to break type and emerge as more human.

Everything about this story feels more fully developed.  The hot, hedonistic summer island setting is realistic enough to make me nostalgic for my own university summers.  Tedious shift work, after hours clubbing, beach parties and the joys of shared houses are all carefully drawn.

It was the main characters I didn’t always believe. Tanner and Collin feel oddly conservative for two newly legal gay men in such a wildly liberal environment.  Tanner introduces Collin to everything sexual, but he doesn’t help him party or even play very much.  And yet – Collin is wary about night clubs, but not about tattoos?  I’m not sure either character was very believable in the environment they were living in.

Again, both stories together are only the length of a short novel, so it is difficult to understand why they are being sold as two separate books.  I would have preferred them as part one and part two of the same book, saving readers a second purchase.

So yes, this was a more engaging story than the first.  It is more complex and is without the editing errors present through the first.  It is a simple young adult story about finding an adult identity, holding on to a relationship and becoming independent.

Sarah

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Excerpt

His smile twitched as he started up the next staircase. The last one. The one that led to our room and nowhere else. My hearth hammered hard and fast, and not from stair climbing. I needed to touch Tanner, soon, or every part of my body from my brain to my balls was going to simultaneously combust.

Tanner pushed our door open with exaggerated care and stepped inside. Jesus, is he trying to make me crazy? All I want is to….

My back slammed against the wall, and before I could complete my thought, Tanner’s mouth was on mine. The kiss was savage, tongue hot and heavy against mine, cock hot and heavy against mine. Even through our shorts, I could feel how ready he was. My head swam.

Desperate for more, I grabbed on to him, rolling us toward the door and kicking it shut. Tanner let out a grunt as I pressed him against the hard wood. Could anyone hear us? I didn’t care. I just needed this. Tanner. Now.

As soon as I shoved his T-shirt up his ribs, he yanked it off and tossed it aside. Warm smooth skin greeted my fingertips, filling my nose with his scent. God, I missed this. My mouth returned to his, tongues dueling as my hands fumbled with his fly. I couldn’t stop rubbing against him enough to get the zipper down. Tanner grabbed my ass, crushing his cock alongside mine, humping against me with enough intensity I had to force myself not to come.

I didn’t want that. Not yet. Not standing against the door when that crazy big bed was only feet away. As if he read my mind, Tanner shoved me backward, taking advantage of the moment our bodies parted to strip off his shorts. I tugged off my shirt, and before I could launch it across the room, Tanner had my shorts undone and down. Kicking them away put me off-balance, and Tanner steadied me with one hand clutching the back of my neck and the other wrapped around my cock.

Whimpers echoed through the room. My whimpers. His thumb slicked over my swollen head, round and round in circles that left me dizzy and panting.

“Let’s try out the bed.” Tanner’s voice was low and thick. I’d have said yes to anything he asked with that I couldn’t actually say a word, so I nodded and pulled us down onto the mattress. Holy Jesus. Soft cool sheets, warm hard body, wet velvety tongue. Heaven. Fire Island was heaven.

AuthorBio

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men. She’s also the multiple award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romances. She writes novels about love…like real life, only hotter.

Karen’s lifelong fascination with people has led her to careers ranging from hand-drawn animator, to party planner, to marriage and family counselor, but writing has always been her passion. Karen enjoys nothing more than following her characters on their journey toward love. Whether the couples are m/f or m/m, it’s guaranteed that Karen’s novels are filled with food, friendship, love, and smoking hot sex—all the best things in life.

When Karen isn’t writing (and often when she is), she can be found on Twitter attempting witty banter and detailing the antics of her fruit-loving cat, BadKitteh. She loves to hear from readers (and other writers), so don’t hesitate to contact/follow/like her at the links below.

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5 Stars for A Walk Through Fire by Felice Stevens – #MM #Romance @FeliceStevens1

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Title: A Walk Through Fire
Author Name: Felice Stevens
Publication Date & Length: November 25, 2014 – 239 pgs

Synopsis

Years after running away from an abusive foster family, Asher Davis still struggles with the guilt of leaving his foster brothers behind. He’s climbed to unimaginable heights as a ruthless, high-powered attorney, creating a life of power and control. He takes whatever and whoever he wants.

Blaming himself for the death of his parents, Dr. Drew Klein retreats into a shell of loneliness, merely going through the motions of life. After a disastrous, short-lived marriage, Drew decides to leave his lucrative medical practice to set up a clinic for abused young men and women. The decision has more repercussions than Drew could ever imagine when the dark and sensual Ash Davis volunteers to help.

Although Drew isn’t gay, Ash is inexplicably drawn to him. He vows to simply bed him and forget him like he’s done with every other man. However, Drew’s sweet and caring nature and unexpected passion both stun and frighten Ash, who questions his right to any happiness at all. And when Ash befriends an abused young man who unwittingly draws the clinic into danger, threatening Drew’s safety and that of his beloved grandmother, Ash discovers that there is nothing he won’t sacrifice to protect the love he never thought he’d find.

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FiveStars

What a wonderful book!  Two fabulously complex men and an exciting, intriguing storyline with a beautifully written cast of supporting characters makes for an excellent read.

Asher Davis grew up in care and had to fight hard to turn his life around.  When we meet him, he runs a law firm bequeathed to him by a long term mentor.  Even though the adult Asher has money and professional prestige, he still carries the scars of his abusive childhood.  He has a reputation as an egotistical playboy, but behind the expensive suits, Asher is lonely and afraid.

Dr. Drew Klein has just divorced his wife after only six months of marriage.  He is a highly skilled plastic surgeon, but he wants to use his skills to help teenagers suffering from abuse and neglect.  Drew is still grieving his parents‘ death.  Surrounded by a tight group of friends and family, he is finally realising his dream of opening a clinic for abused teens.

The men meet while finalising Drew’s divorce, but Asher is quickly drawn into Drew’s plans for the clinic.   As the clinic becomes a reality, the men find themselves interacting more frequently.  And the attraction is instant.  But Drew is straight and Asher doesn’t do relationships.

I loved this.  The relationship between the two men is tenderly and sensually written.  Asher’s unlikely relationship with Drew’s grandmother is also beautiful to read.  Drew’s friends and family are colourful and fully developed.  Even the clients at the clinic are sketched carefully and accurately.

Stevens doesn’t shy away from grief and pain and she never suggest easy answers for any of the problems she presents.  As a result, this isn’t a simple romance, it is a story of lives entangling and families expanding.

Highly recommended.

Sarah

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AuthorBio

I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. I started reading traditional historical romances when I was a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that my interest in romance novels became renewed.

But somewhere along the way, my tastes shifted. While I still enjoys a juicy Historical romance, I began experimenting with newer, more cutting edge genres and discovered the world of Male/Male romance. Once I picked up her first, I became so enamored of the authors, the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion of the books, I knew I wanted to write my own.

I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

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