Tag Archives: Military

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 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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Cover Reveal for Everything Changes by Melanie Hansen – #MM #Military #Amputee @MelJoyAZ

SMeverythingchanges-DSP

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.

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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

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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3 Stars for Desert Heat by Lucy Felthouse – #MM #Military #Romance

1.3

Title: Desert Heat
Author Name: Lucy Felthouse
Publication Date & Length: January 29, 2015 – 59pgs

Synopsis

Their love is forbidden by rules, religion and risk. Yet still they can’t resist.

Captain Hugh Wilkes is on his last tour of duty in Afghanistan. The British Army is withdrawing, and Wilkes expects his posting to be event-free. That is, until he meets his Afghan interpreter, Rustam Balkhi, who awakens desires in Wilkes that he’d almost forgotten about, and that won’t be ignored.

Please note: this book was previously published as part of the Unconditional Surrender bundle.

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Review

ThreeStar

To me this story felt like two different stories combined even though it is very short. You have the romance side and then you have the military side. While the military side was fairly accurate, it was kind of cut and dry, even for someone with a military background. I didn’t find much to keep me wanting to find out what happens, except for with the romance.
How could these two men have anything happen between them? That is what kept me reading. Then when it does happen, it was almost like a man and a woman, not two men together. My turn, then your turn. It wasn’t like either actually enjoyed being on the receiving end, which made it awkward to read. There didn’t seem to be a whole lot of emotions or feelings until there was the expression of love, which was completely an insta-love situation as they didn’t even know each other outside of the military situations and the between the sheets action.
Altogether it wasn’t terrible though, I just wish it’d felt smoother from the transition of military parts to romance and getting to know each other (or not had the love thrown in and just made it a way to relieve stress or something that route).
Renee

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AuthorBio

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100 publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, is book editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes.

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TWO 4.5 Stars for Dead Shot by Erk Shubach – #FF #Military @erikschubach

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Title: Dead Shot (Music of The Soul #13)
Author Name: Erik Schubach
Publication Date & Length: December 18, 2014 – 143pgs

Synopsis

McKenzie is a soldier and her girlfriend, Katie, is a contractor with the United Nations peacekeeping force. McKenzie’s squad has named her Dead Shot for her uncanny ability with weapons.

When her unit is ambushed, will her skills be enough?

This is set in the same world as Music of the Soul but is a standalone book.

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Review

FourandHalfStars

Kenzi is my favorite kind of hero. She is not only one of the best she is humble about it. I love that she doesn’t care if someone insults her, as long as they don’t insult her country. Her whit and personality make her easy to fall in love with.
I like Katie because of her compassion. She is also a hero in her own right only behind the scenes. I love that she is willing to bend the rules when she thinks it will help.
This is a great read especially if you enjoy military/action books with a touch of romance and a lot of loyalty. Their loyalty to there country as well as each other is truly amazing. I was drawn in from the first paragraph, and the twist and turns from heartbreaking to happy makes it a page turner you won’t want to put down.

Amber

FourandHalfStars

There are typos in this book but not so glaring that it took away from the experience of reading this stand-alone book in the Music of the Soul world.

I really liked the lead characters, McKenzie and Katie. I did not have any backstory on these characters but the flashbacks filled in the blanks. I do plan on reading the other books in the series as I really did enjoy this book.

Schubach used his vivid imagination to get McKenzie and Katie together. McKenzie had never seen Katie, only heard her voice and known her as Valkyrie One. She is the one that would help her team see hostiles before they saw them and had done so for 5 years. McKenzie hears her when she is in a bar. And, of course, it is love at first sight.

I have never been in a combat situation, however, when I read about McKenzie and her team dealing with hostiles, I could get a sense of how a situation like that might unfold and a death toll could stack up.

I could feel McKenzie’s heartache as she felt she let down the members of her squad when some of them were gunned down. They were in a sense part of her family. It was clear the way she was felt about them and they felt the same about her.

Despite the typos, Schubach will draw you quickly into the world of McKenzie and her team and Katie.  Not to mention, will make you cry!

Angela

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AuthorBio

Website:
http://erikschubachauthor.blogspot.com/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/erikschubach

Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Erik-Schubach-Author/438534946240951

5 Stars for Falling Slowly by Lila Bruce – #FF #Military

Two beautiful girls in the background of spruce forest

Title: Falling Slowly
Author Name: Lila Bruce
Publication Date & Length: November 12, 2014 – 110pgs

Synopsis

Badly wounded in Afghanistan when the helicopter she is piloting goes down under enemy fire, Captain Quinn Briscoe is struggling to rebuild her life. Facing not only a disfiguring injury, but a medical discharge and the end of a serious relationship, Quinn increasingly shuts herself—and her heart—off from the rest of the world. Her first meeting with lovely, self-confident and successful business owner Alison Jenkins is disastrous, and Quinn feels an instant antipathy for the woman, along with an undeniable attraction.
Trying to get along for the sake of her sister Rebekah, who’s gone to work for Allie, Quinn offers to fly the attractive boutique owner to a family wedding. However, what should have been a quick one day trip to the mountains of North Carolina suddenly turns into a long weekend at a romantic lodge. When a series of circumstances makes it increasingly clear that Quinn won’t be able to deny the growing passion between them much longer, will she be able to put the scars of the past aside to build a relationship with Allie worth fighting for?

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Review

FiveStars

First off I absolutely love the cover of this book. It’s stunning. And it’s fitting for Quinn and her history with the military and as a helicopter pilot.
The dynamics between Quinn and Allie are great. They start off on the wrong foot, and then another wrong foot and finally they get on the same page and things turn much smoother for the pair.
I really enjoyed watching Quinn get over the scars her ex caused her while Allie learned that Quinn wasn’t what she first appeared to be. Both had a lot to learn about each other, but somehow made it happen in this short novel.
It was great, a few steamy scenes toward the end to go along with the growing and changing relationship added a nice touch to a pretty well rounded story.
Renee

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AuthorBio

Lila Bruce lives in the North Georgia Mountains, where the air is sweet and the summers are hot. When not writing, she spends her time adding to her ever-growing pack of basset hounds and dreaming of being able one day to leave behind her evil day job.

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3.5 Stars for In His Sights by D.D. Symms – #MM #Military @ddsymms

In His Sights

Title: In His Sights
Author Name: D.D. Symms
Publication Date: November 21, 2014

Synopsis

Wounds on the inside can be the hardest to heal. Dalton Blake takes responsibility for the death of his comrade and lover when a roadside bomb explodes in Afghanistan.

Back in the states, and preparing to end his military service, Dalton withdraws from society and is prepared to face a new life alone. A perceptive captain on the base notices the pain and tries to find a way to Dalton’s heart and soul.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

This was a very quick read. I really enjoyed the characters. Bruce and Dalton are both healing from loss. They find part of their souls within each other, because they both have been wandering around for a while without that piece of themselves.

Symms wrote a sad story that gave hope to the reader. Hope for more for each of these characters – Hope that they would find themselves again and not simply exist. I think Symms does that in this story. Symms allows the characters the find new life in a new friendship/relationship.

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Writing has been a theme in my life. It’s usually been shorter works and corporate writing.

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4 Stars for The Marine by John Simpson and Robert Cummings – #MM Romance #Erotica #Military

The Marine

Title: The Marine
Author Name: John Simpson & Robert Cummings
Publication Date & Length: September 20, 2014 – 100pgs

Synopsis

Two young men, David Stauffer and Matthew Kendricks, meet while processing into the Marine Corps for Basic Training. David is immediately attracted to the red haired, Matthew. As their training begins, David pursues Matthew to find out if the attraction is mutual. To his great pleasure, David learns that his attentions are not unwelcomed, but rather feared. Matthew, unlike David isn’t as comfortable with his fellow trainees finding out he’s gay.
As training progresses David proves himself to be superior to the other trainees. As a reward, he is given a short, on post leave and is allowed to take Matthew with him. This allows them a chance to explore each other’s bodies, rather than just glimpses in the showers.
From that moment the spark between the two burns hot and sets the stage for what is to come. When training ends, questions about their futures arise. Both men are forced to make decisions that will impact their futures, and potentially out them to the entire Marine Corps.

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Review

FourStars

This story starts out with two perspectives. David is caught in a world of violence and hatred, Matthew is surrounded by family. However, each of these men only know a skewed version of family. David has been on his own for a while, despite living with his father and Matthew is fulfilling a familial obligation.
Simpson did an okay job developing the relationship between David and Matthew. It is after DADT is lifted, but they both realize that the culture is slow to catch up.  I really enjoyed their boot camp experience – it was refreshing that the higher ups were tough, but also progressive. Despite having a bully in their class, both David and Matthew develop a strong bond – a respect for each other and in turn, a respect for the Marines.
I really enjoyed that all of the commanding officers that David and Matthew served under were behind the couple. They supported them and then when new commanding officers were skeptical, stood up for them again. I also liked that David and Matthew were respectful of their fellow marines and tried very hard not to “flaunt” their relationship, but did not let prejudice hinder their relationship either. They became men throughout their relationship.
There was one section in chapter 10 that I believe needs to be edited further. There is a mix up in characters – I had to go back and read a few times to see who the author was talking about. Overall, this was a quick, easy read and I enjoyed it.
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AuthorInterview

  • What motivated you to start writing?
    • John Simpson had contacted me after I came home from Iraq. He wanted me to assist him in a police story and he ended up asking me to join him on the series. I keep writing because I love creating worlds and populating them with interesting characters and scenarios.

 

  • Who or what is your biggest inspiration for writing?
    • My lengthy law enforcement career and time in Iraq undoubtedly flavor all of my stories. Not to mention really, really bad choices in dating.

 

 

  • What is your writing environment? (Where do you write, what do you do to prepare right before you start writing)
    • I like to write secluded from any background noise or distractions. I have a room in my house that I sit in my Grandfather’s recliner and close the door to block out the rest of the world. My dog Boo usually curls up next to me and keeps me company.

 

  • What is the hardest part of a book for you? Any particular scene(s)?
    • When it comes to interpersonal relationships I have a hard time writing the more intimate scenarios. I’ve always been a close to the vest type of person but I’m trying to improve that.

 

 

  • If you only could write in one genre, what would it be? And if you couldn’t write in that genre what genre would you pick next?
    • I like to stick with what I know: Police and Military but if I couldn’t write in that genre I would probably do science-fiction.

 

  • If you could spend a day with one author, who would it be and why?
    • I have two answers for this question: Mark Twain because of his colorful personality and Harry Turtledove to pick his brain on alternate history writing.

 

 

  • What do you like to see in book reviews? What makes a review better than other ones to you?
    • I prefer to see both sides of the coin; good and bad. I need to know what people love about the writing so I can continue to incorporate those things in my writing. I also need to know what doesn’t work so I can avoid any serious mistakes in the future.

 

  • If you could give one tip to new writers, what would it be?
    • Write what you know.
  • How do you make hard decisions with your books? Like the title of the book or some of the characters actions?
    • Honestly it’s whatever idea strikes me as I finish the story. I like to be playful with the titles.
  • If you could only use 4 words to describe yourself, what would they be?
    • Adventurous, open minded, naïve and loyal.

Teaser

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Excerpt

David and Matthew were drawn to each other like magnets. This was one of the few times they could lay on top of each other without anyone commenting on it. The tight green shirt pressed against David’s lean chest, Matthew licked his lips as they squared off to attack.

“You go first,” Matthew insisted.

David charged at Matthew full speed, the boy attempted to grab David’s wrist but was unsuccessful. David did not want to humiliate the Matthew in front of anyone so he stopped and backed up. He laid his hand on top of Matthew’s and placed the clammy hand where it needed to be for a successful hip throw.

Matthews’s shorts began to bulge out in the front, “Flip me.”

“You didn’t do yours yet,” David said confused.

“Flip me now, I’m getting hard,” Matthew whispered into David’s ear.

David smiled and grabbed the red head’s wrist. He flipped him onto the mat and leaned down to help him up. David pulled Matthew up.  While he dusted his back off he slightly brushed his hand against Matthews tight little bubble butt.

“You’re not helping,” Matthew protested.

A drill instructor came over to them, “What in the ever loving world are you two doing? I better see more flipping and less jawing, do you get me!”

“Sir, Yes Sir!” they replied in unison.

AuthorBio

John Simpson:

John Simpson, a Vietnam-era Veteran, has been a uniformed Police Officer of the Year, a federal agent, a federal magistrate, and an armed bodyguard to royalty and a senior government executive. He earned awards from the Vice President of the United States and the Secretary of the Treasury. John has written articles for various gay and straight magazines. John lives with his partner of 35 years and three wonderful Scott Terriers, all spoiled and a breed of canine family member that is unique in dogdom. John is also involved with the Old Catholic Church and its liberal pastoral positions on the gay community.

Robert Cummings:

Robert Cummings lives in Pennsylvania with his partner and their black lab mix dog. Robert is an Iraqi freedom veteran with a seventeen-year law enforcement career. He enjoys the outdoors, family, and travel.

SocialLinks

John Simpson:

Email: Johnsimpsonbooks@hotmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/johnsimpsonbooks
Author’s Website: http://www.johnsimpsonbooks.com/

Robert Cummings:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robert.cummings.330
Email: robert.cummings1976@gmail.com

Giveaway

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4 Stars for Unconditional Surrender – An M/M Military Bundle – #MM #Romance

Unconditional Surrender

Title: Unconditional Surrender – An M/M Military Bundle
Author Name: Cat Grant, Cassandra Carr, Annabeth Albert, L.A. Witt, E.M. Lynley, Lia Davis, Sasha Devlin, Lucy Felthouse, Rhi Etzweiler, Kerry Adrienne, Keira AQndrews, Brit Blaise, Amelia C. Gromley
Publication Date & Length: October 13, 2014 – 600 pgs

Synopsis

Strong. Sexy. Sizzling.

There’s nothing like a man in uniform, and thirteen of today’s hottest gay romance authors are celebrating military heroes and the men brave enough to love them.

These brand-new novellas feature all branches of the service and offer something for every reader. Almost 300,000 never before published words!

Add to GoodReads

CharacterInterview

An Interview with Jack Turner by Keira Andrews

Can an army captain who can’t forget Afghanistan make new memories with a ranger in the Arctic?

Meet Jack Turner, a Canadian army captain at a crossroads.

Please tell us about you: job, hobbies, special talents, and anything else you would want to share.

I’m a captain in the Canadian Armed Forces. I almost came home from Afghanistan in a body bag, and now I’ve got a desk job in Ottawa, which is the capital city of Canada. Hobbies? Um, let’s see. Does watching TV or playing stupid games on my iPad count? Oh, I have a dog. His name’s Neville and he’s a pug. I tell people I named him after Neville Chamberlain, but secretly it was Neville Longbottom.

I don’t have any special talents I can think of. I guess it was a special talent that I didn’t get blown up in the Middle East when I probably should have. Wait, can you change that answer? I don’t want my parents to see it. They’ll just get upset and bug me about going to therapy.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Kanata, a suburb of Ottawa. It was mostly cornfields even when I was in my twenties, but now they’re paving over it all for subdivisions and box stores.

Tell us about the first time you met Kin. Was it love at first sight?

No. I thought he was good looking, but he’s a subordinate, and it was inappropriate to even consider it. Besides, I didn’t make a great first impression on him. He thought I was a bit of a jackass. Wait—he’s calling from the other room. Kin wants to clarify that he thought I was a complete jackass. Not just a bit.

What drew you to each other?

Well, there’s something about being trapped in a tent in the high Arctic that can bring two people together. Sometimes you need to share body heat! But really it was Kin’s quiet confidence. His steadiness. We’d both suffered the loss of people we cared about, and I could talk to him in a way I hadn’t been able to talk to anyone since I came back from the war.

What is your favorite part of him?

This is a PG-13 interview, right? Kidding, kidding. *whispers* It’s his soul. I’m not one of those hippy-dippy spiritual people who usually believes in that crap, but Kin has a beautiful soul. I can look into his eyes and see it shining out.

Do you love a challenge? If so, how do you handle it?

*calls loudly* Kin, would you say I love a challenge? He’s laughing his ass off now. That’s a yes. Let me tell you, the high Arctic is nothing if not a challenging place. I guess I handle a test the only way you can: by diving in headfirst.

Favorite childhood memory?

Probably going canoeing with my folks and my sister in Algonquin Park. We went for two weeks, camping and canoeing deep into the forest. We’d have to portage between lakes. Portaging means you carry the boat over your head. I think it might be a Canadian word. Our ancestors did a lot of canoeing.

Favorite vacation spot?

Considering it’s -50 F outside right now (and that is not a typo—you read that correctly), I’m going to say anywhere around the equator.

Favorite eye color?

 Silvery gray-blue.

Care to share future plans?

The Canadian Armed Forces has plans in the Arctic. That’s all I can say for now.

Excerpt

Read an excerpt about Jack and Kin from Arctic Fire

 

Jesus Christ it was cold.

With fingers stiff in his gloves, Jack flicked on his little flashlight under his sleeping bag. It was only zero-four-hundred, but it had been dark for so many hours it felt as though the night would never end. It must have clouded over, since there was no light from the moon making its way through the tent walls. He shuddered to think of what it was like in the winter when the sun barely rose at all.

Carefully, he pointed the flashlight around the tent, aiming it high to avoid waking Kin, who slept peacefully a few feet away. The red of Kin’s toque peeked out from his sleeping bag, and Jack could see his closed eyes and his nose. He was breathing deeply and evenly.

The odds of turning on the stove without waking him were nil, so Jack stayed put, shivering in his sleeping bag. Kin didn’t seem bothered by the cold at all, but Jack’s teeth chattered. He wanted to wrap himself in one of the pelts beneath them, but the idea of moving out of his bag was not appealing.

He should have turned off the flashlight since he was wasting the battery, but he found himself watching Kin sleep. He’d shared tents with dozens of men over the years, but none had intrigued him like Kin Carsen did. Not even Grant. He winced at the familiar sting of guilt twisting in his gut.

His scars flared to life, and he scrabbled at the back of his neck and shoulder, dropping the flashlight with a thud, the beam of light spinning around the tent. It was as if his flesh was burning again, and it prickled unbearably. He yanked off his gloves to scratch properly, squirming in the tight sleeping bag.

“Jack?” Kin murmured.

“I’m fine,” he gritted out. “Go back to sleep.”

Kin’s tone was sharp, all drowsiness vanished. “What is it?”

The light shone in his face, and Jack squeezed his eyes shut and burrowed into his bag. “I said it’s nothing. Leave me the hell alone.” He dug his blunt nails into his skin even though he knew it would pass faster if he left the scars untouched. The doctors said the itching was all in his head, but it was hard to believe when he trembled with hot prickles. At least he didn’t feel as cold.

“I’m only trying to help.”

“Then don’t. I don’t need your help.”

“Well, excuse the fuck out of me. Sir.”

The flashlight snapped off, and when Jack opened his eyes the tent was black again. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. He breathed heavily through his nose, forcing himself to stop scratching. “I’m sorry. It’s not you, okay? It’s a hundred percent me. I’m a bag of shit lately.”

There was silence for a long moment. Then, “Is that the official diagnosis?”

Jack barked out a laugh, some of the tension leeching from his body. He felt around for his gloves but couldn’t find them, so he curled his hands against his chest in the sleeping bag. “It should be. Sorry for being a drama queen. You’re more patient than I would be stuck with an FNG.”

“You’ll have to enlighten me.”

“Fucking new guy.”

Kin laughed softly, and Jack wished he could see the little dimples that creased his cheeks. He tried to think of something else he could say to make him laugh. “I wouldn’t blame you if your GAFF was pretty low right now.”

“Okay, I’ll bite.”

“Give a fuck factor.”

Kin laughed again, and despite the cold Jack felt a bloom of warmth in his chest.

“Do you have an army to English dictionary? My students would love these.”

“No, but someone should write one.”

“Maybe that should be your next assignment.”

“Maybe.”

Jack breathed easily again. There was something nice about talking in the dark in their sleeping bags. Reminded him of when he was a kid sleeping over at Jimmy Leclerc’s house, talking until all hours of the night on the old shag carpet in the basement. And just like he had with Jimmy, Jack inched closer to Kin, shifting himself as quietly as possible.

He didn’t know why he had that urge, since he was a grown man now and he didn’t have the excuse of being afraid of the dark, or the rumbles and clangs from the Leclerc’s furnace. Outside the tent there was only the steady whisper of wind. But he still felt drawn to Kin, and the low sound of his exhalations.

“What’s it like during the midnight sun? When there’s daylight twenty four hours?”

“It’s…lively. The restaurant at the hotel is open day and night since there’s always someone awake. I try to keep normal hours, but it’s hard. There’s a lot more noise, and people out and about. We pretty much hibernate in the winter and make up for it in the summer.”

“Must be strange. I guess you get used to it.”

“Yeah. It’s just the way it is. Everyone has blackout curtains. But there’s always a party going on somewhere. Once—”

Jack waited a few heartbeats. “Once what?”

“My brother snuck off and went fishing with his buddies in the middle of the night. They ‘borrowed’ a boat, and of course they got caught since there they were in the middle of the bay, clear as day. Even in the winter, there’s always someone watching. Hard to keep secrets in Arctic Bay.”

“Have you tried?”

Kin was silent for a moment. “Everyone has something to hide.”

It was all Jack could do not to ask. But he had his own secrets, and it was best to keep it all locked away, no matter how safe it felt cocooned in the dark with Kin. Anything Jack said tonight could haunt him in the dawn.

“That’s why I like coming out here. There’s only the land, and it keeps all its secrets.”

“How about the polar bears?”

Kin chuckled. “They’re the worst gossips. Never tell a polar bear something you don’t want the whole world to know.”

“I’ll keep that in mind next time I’m shooting the breeze with one.” Jack flexed his fingers, rubbing his bare hands together. “Christ it’s cold. I dropped my gloves.”

“Here.”

As material rustled, Jack expected the flashlight to come on. But his heart skipped a beat as Kin spoke.

“Give me your hands.” Kin’s voice was closer.

Jack’s mouth went dry, and he heard his heartbeat thumping in his ears the way he could when he wore earplugs on planes. He shimmied his arms out of the sleeping bag and fumbled for Kin. When their fingers brushed together, he had to bite back a gasp at the flare of desire in his belly.

Smoothly, Kin took Jack’s hands between his and rubbed. He’d taken off his gloves, and he massaged Jack’s fingers. God, it felt good. Kin’s hands were slightly callused—more so than Jack would expect from a teacher. Granted he was also a Ranger, but a Saturday soldier didn’t usually get his hands that dirty.

“Why didn’t you say anything? Frostbite can happen really easily out here. You have to be careful. Your fingers are way too cold.”

Jack opened his mouth to give some kind of excuse, but any words were lost in a strangled gurgle when his index finger was enveloped by wet heat. Kin sucked, and his tongue swirled around, rough and slick at the same time. Jack was glad he wasn’t standing, since so much blood rushed to his cock that he likely would have gotten lightheaded.

Copyright © Keira Andrews

AuthorBioAfter writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.” You can find out more about Keira and her books at her website, and on Facebook and Twitter.

SocialLinkshttp://www.keiraandrews.com

https://www.facebook.com/keira.andrews.author

https://twitter.com/keiraandrews

Review

FourStars

Overall a solid four star read!

This is collection of 13 M/M stories – all involving men in military uniform. Yum! There were several short stories included in this title. I enjoyed most of them, but there were just a few that stuck out.
I enjoyed:
Keira Andre’s Artice Fire – I enjoyed the development of the overall story and theme in this short tale. The characters were from very different backgrounds, but despite that, found common ground. I enjoyed the “Eskimo kiss” explanation the best and I think that’s what really pushed this story over the edge for me. The connection that these two had throughout the story was electric.
Lucy Felthouse’s Desert Heat – I have read a few Lucy Felthouse stories and have enjoyed them all.  This one was right up my alley. I enjoyed that there was a cultural distance that had to be overcome – but with that distance there was understanding and compassion.
**This short tale has some questionable consent, so if that might bother you, skip this one** Ameila C Gormley’s The Houseboy: initiation – it was a coming of age story in a sense, one that had all the makings of a great story – if it had been a bit longer. However, despite its short length, Gorley was able to create a beautiful story line and great characters.
Cat Grant’s The Only One Who Cares – This was a wonderful story of two soldiers who care deeply for each other and, despite it’s somewhat predictable story line, I really enjoyed the story. The characters were developed well and the story flowed nicely.
EM Lynley’s Irresistible Forces: Two friends who joined together, were separated once they graduated their training school. Having found each other again, they explore what they have always felt, but were never able to act on. I enjoyed this story, because it showed great character development. There were some very tender past moments and hot present ones.
L.A. Witt’s Flight Risk. These characters were not as thoroughly developed, but I enjoyed the turmoil between the two and how they were to continue their friendship, despite their attraction.
All of the stories were good, but those previously mentioned were my favorites. The sex was not always scorching, not always tender, but it always added to the character’s relationship and to the story.  If you want a quick read with a lot of different types of stories, all involving hot military men,then you will like this collection.
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