Review: Hook by Gina L. Maxwell

HOOK
Series:
Neverland #2
Genre: MM Romance
Author: Gina L. Maxwell
Release Date: October 29, 2019

Journey back to Neverland, NC with NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author Gina L. Maxwell as she turns your favorite villain into the hero you never knew you needed.

THEY CALL ME HOOK

I’m Captain of the Pirates; a villain by design and a loner by nature.

I don’t need anyone. More than that, I don’t want anyone. Especially Officer John Darling who insists on seeing the good in everything, including me. If there was ever any good inside of me, it was snuffed out long ago.

I’ve avoided him for years, but now I need his help to save my brother’s life and take down Fred Croc, the monster from my childhood and my current employer.

Now Darling is undercover in my crew, living in my loft and forever working out shirtless. Taking Croc’s operation down from the inside is dangerous as hell, but Darling’s probing gaze and the natural way he defers to my dominant side might just be the end of me.

But I’ve lived in the dark for too long, and no amount of light can save me. Not even one as bright as Johnathan Darling.

HE CALLS ME DARLING

I’m a Task Force Officer with the FBI; a protector of the innocent and a man in love with a villain.

Before I was even old enough to understand it, I had a crush on the broody teen called Captain Hook, following him around like a puppy and hoping he’d show me the slightest bit of attention.

He never did, though, not for years. Not until I became his only viable option for getting his crew member back and throwing Croc behind bars. Now he can’t ignore me, and he can’t hide the desire burning in his eyes when I sink to my knees, eager to serve my Captain however he needs.

But secrets are hard to keep in close quarters, and when I discover the darkness lurking in his past, eradicating the evil in Neverland is no longer my only mission. Come hell or high water, I’ll make Hook see that he’s never been the villain of this story…he’s the hero.

*Trigger Warning for readers sensitive to characters with sexual assault in their pasts. Please read the Author’s Note in the beginning of the book for more details.

AMAZON

He is my Captain. And for as long as he’ll have me, I am his.

If you know me or follow my reviews, than you already know just how much I love a good tortured hero. And let me tell you, it doesn’t get more tortured than James Hook. The man is tortured personified. He’s utterly broken in the most captivating way. The second he appeared on the pages of Pan, he stole the show, and I was counting down the days until I could get my hands on his story. I’ve read a few modern fairytale retellings, and I’ll say that this one stays pretty darn close to the details. I especially love the way that Gina incorporates little pieces of Peter Pan into this book. From the evil crime boss, Fred Croc, to his loudly ticking pocket watch, everything came together flawlessly.

Hook is the Captain, or essentially the boss of his merry band of bandits or pirates as he calls them. In order to save his little brother from the evil clutches of Croc, he made a deal with the devil, at the expense of his soul. From the very first, you know there’s something darker to Hook’s history, and while the author alludes to it in the first book, she throws you into the deep end of his painful past in this one. Hook is a man that you can’t help but love. You know that his callousness and hard exterior hides the soft heart of a wounded man that’s never known affection. Hook has known nothing but suffering, but he’ll take it ten times over in order to spare the others and his brother especially.

John Darling is a cop that has been crushing on Hook ever since they were boys and he followed his sister sneaking to the School of Lost Boys to see Pan. Now he’s a grown man and understands that the child’s crush he had runs much deeper. John is determined to bring Croc’s operation down, and he’s not above maneuvering Hook in order to set up his cover as his new pirate.

Now full disclosure, Gina does make a foreword letting the reader know to suspend your disbelief when it comes to procedural details of this book. I didn’t have any problems with that. But I did have one asshole reader moment over a detail that plagued me for the entire book. You have a cop working with the FBI that goes undercover to catch a ruthless crime boss, and he uses fake tattoos. Like the stuff that can flake off when he gets into a fight or sweats or showers. And try as I might, I just couldn’t get past it. I’m sorry, okay?! I love Gina’s words, but the struggle was real here. I was on the struggle bus for the entire undercover gig. I just couldn’t with this detail. I’m an asshole when it comes to certain details, and this just ate at me. Le sigh.

Having said that, it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book. The story that we get here is a beautifully and gripping, emotional and oh so steamy. Darling and Hook set the pages on fire with their chemistry. I absolutely loved them together. Gina treads the line of darkness by giving the reader just enough details of Hook’s past to build a devastating feel for why he is the way he is, without getting into the super gory details. She doesn’t spare your heart strings, though, and plays those like a violin. My whole heart!!!

I fell so hard for John and Hook’s story and romance and couldn’t get enough of them. I absolutely adored their road to a HEA and couldn’t have dreamed a better ending and epilogue. I’m so hooked on this series (see what I did there? *snorts*) and can’t wait for more!

Review: Goalie Interference by Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn

GOALIE INTERFERENCE
Series:
Hat Trick #2
Genre: Contemporary, MM Romance
Author: Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn
Release Date: September 30, 2019

It’s goalie vs. goalie in this brand-new enemies-to-lovers hockey romance from Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn…

Ryu Mori has had a stellar season as goalie for the Atlanta Venom. So when he’s called into management’s office, he’s expecting to hear he’s the new starting goalie for the team, not that some new guy—an incredibly hot, annoyingly bratty rookie—is here to compete for his spot.

Not everyone gets to play in the best league in the world. Emmitt Armstrong knows that, and he’s not about to waste the opportunity after grinding his way from the bottom to the top. If the Venom is looking for a meek, mild-mannered pushover, they’ve got the wrong guy.

Ryu doesn’t want to admit the other goalie’s smart mouth turns him on. Beating Armstrong at practice feels good, sure, but there are other, more fun ways to shut his rival up.

In this league, it’s winner takes all. But there’s more to life than winning, and if Emmitt and Ryu can get past their egos and competitive natures, they might just discover they work better as partners than they ever imagined possible.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

AMAZON 

 

Ryu was in love—head over skates in love—with his teammate. His competition.

If it’s enemies-to-lovers, color me all over it. This trope is my catnip, and when it’s a smokin’ hot MM and hockey romance to boot? Stick a fork in me, I’m done for.

The premise to the story is seriously finger licking good; two goalies after the coveted spot on the team. Emmitt is the rookie with everything to prove, and Ryu is the seasoned player fighting to keep his spot. Sound delicious? Because it was. What made it even more enticing was the fact that both characters were not white. In a white bread world of sports romance, this was such a refreshing change of pace of not just one but both of the characters adding diversity into the mix.

The rivalry between these two is almost as hot as the undercurrent of attraction that runs between them. But where Emmitt doesn’t hide the fact that he’s bi, no one knows that Ryu is gay, not even his parents. This was a sizzling slow burn that was a bit diluted by too much internal monologue at times, but I still loved it. I loved Emmitt’s vulnerable and playful side almost as much as I loved Ryu’s grumpy and temperamental one. Talk about your opposites attracting. And you know what they say about the quiet ones, right? Because when you finally get a peek into Ryu’s intensity in the bedroom, it makes you think twice about the man’s quiet and unassuming personality out of it.

I really enjoyed this and it was a solid 4 stars for me until the ending. It felt a bit abrupt and rushed and gave me none of the resolution I was hoping for. It was a satisfying HFN on the one hand, but I was desperately wishing for an epilogue too. I have a feeling we may be getting more of these two in the next book of this series, but I still couldn’t help but feel a little of my enjoyment fizzle. But that aside, this was still a fantastic and enjoyable read and I’m definitely hooked on the series.

Review: Riven by Roan Parrish

RIVEN
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance
Author: Roan Parrish
Release Date: May 29, 2018

Theo Decker might be the lead singer of Riven, but he hates being a rock star. The paparazzi, the endless tours, being recognized everywhere he goes—it all makes him squirm. The only thing he doesn’t hate is the music. Feeling an audience’s energy as they lose themselves in Riven’s music is a rush unlike anything else . . . until he meets Caleb Blake Whitman. Caleb is rough and damaged, yet his fingers on his guitar are pure poetry. And his hands on Theo? They’re all he can think about. But Caleb’s no groupie—and one night with him won’t be enough.

Just when Caleb is accepting his new life as a loner, Theo Decker slinks into it and turns his world upside-down. Theo’s sexy and brilliant and addictively vulnerable, and all Caleb wants is another hit. And another. That’s how he knows Theo’s trouble. Caleb can’t even handle performing these days. How the hell is he going to survive an affair with a tabloid superstar? But after Caleb sees the man behind the rock star, he begins to wonder if Theo might be his chance at a future he thought he’d lost forever.

AMAZON

He was lust and heat and power and I fucking loved it.

Have you ever read a book for the cover alone? What? Now don’t look at me like that. Have you seen this cover? There’s just something about it that’s utterly magnetic. It lures you in. And then you read the blurb, and INSTANT HOOK!

This was my second book by Roan Parrish and I’m definitely a fan. Riven is an emotional, character driven story that was as gripping as it was raw. Now normally, I don’t really enjoy a romance where the main characters hook up in less than 20% of the book. But that’s what happened when Theo first stumbles onto Caleb. The unwilling rockstar that’s trying to escape his reality meets a brooding recovering addict and sparks fly immediately. After no more than some conversation over their love of music and a romantic walk, they fall into bed together. But yet somehow it totally worked in this story.

The chemistry between Theo and Caleb may have been instant, but it also progresses over the course of their courtship. Caleb struggles daily with his sobriety. He was such an endearingly imperfect character. This is a man that’s as far from perfect as it gets, and he knows it. After several failed stints in rehab, he hopes his third will be the charm. Cutting himself off fully from his previous life is the only way he sees of serving sobriety this time around. And Theo and his fame threatens everything he’s worked so hard for.

Theo was absolutely adorable. There was something so vulnerable about him that you can’t help but fall for him. He wears his heart on his sleeve and his emotions all over his face. He’s one of the most genuine characters I’ve read in a long while. His fame is still a shock to him and something he struggles with. He loves music, but hates the notoriety that has come with it and the weird vibe that he seems to have with his bandmates. Caleb is his escape from his own gloom reality.

Theo had burrowed deeper than I’d realized, dug barbs into me. And when he’d ripped away—when I’d pushed him away—it had felt like they all tore loose at once.

This was a bit slower paced than I normally like, but it still worked for me. I loved the characters, and I absolutely loved the story. It may not have been my normal cuppa, but it was one I enjoyed from beginning to finish. Caleb and Theo were adorable together and oh so sexy. If you’re looking for an emotionally charged, character driven story, this is a definite must read.

#DGRFave Review & Giveaway: Undone By You by @KittyMeader

UNDONE BY YOU
Series: Chicago Rebels #5
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance
Author: Kate Meader
Release Date: March 5, 2018

Dante Moretti has just landed his dream job: GM of the Chicago Rebels. And screw the haters who think there should be an asterisk next to his name because he’s the first out managing executive in pro hockey.

He’s earned the right to be here and nothing will topple him off that perch—especially not an incredibly inconvenient attraction to his star defenseman, Cade “Alamo” Burnett.

Cade has always been careful to keep his own desires on the down low, but his hot Italian boss proves to be a temptation he can’t resist.

Sure, they both have so much to lose, but no one will ever know…

As Dante and Cade’s taboo affair heats up off the ice and their relationship gets more and more intense, they’ll have to decide: is love worth risking their careers? Or is this romance destined to be forever benched?

AMAZON | iBOOKS

Cade Burnett was choosing to put himself out there, and Dante intended to reward him with the hottest experience of his life.


Sexy, emotional, and absolutely perfect! The first MM romance I’ve read from the uber talented Kate Meader and it was a HUGE winner!!

Dante is the GM of the Chicago Rebels hockey team. He’s also ridiculously good looking, mostly grumpy and openly gay. When he runs into one of his star defenseman in a gay club, he’s stunned. When the man he thought to be straight as an arrow and having a fling with one of the Chase sisters clearly propositions him, he’s equally shocked and tempted. Cade is super sexy, easy going, funny, and super off limits. But as determined as Dante is to resist Cade, Cade is just as determined to seduce him. Thus begins the most delicious game of cat and mouse and back and forth.

Dante is hesitant to get involved with a closeted hockey player. He’s had his heart broken in the past and he’s not looking to put it all on the line again. He’s put in blood, sweet and tears into his career, as well. It takes a lot for an openly gay man in the league to get the respect he deserves and Dante earned it the hard way. How can he put all of that at risk for a man that threatens everything, including his sanity. A relationship with a player is frowned upon. The fact that no one knows Cade is gay doesn’t help matters.

Cade was absolute perfection. He knows what he wants and he goes after it with a singleminded intent. He doesn’t shy away from a challenge and he’s not afraid to push all of Dante’s buttons. I loved his easy going nature. I especially loved the way these two alpha males balanced each other out with their completely different personalities.

Full of witty banter, incredible chemistry, and endearing characters, Undone By You totally owned my heart. I loved the connection between Dante and Cade. I loved the slow burn of their developing relationship. I especially loved the way that Cade handled his coming out and Dante and the rest of the team supported him. I loved all the interactions with the secondary characters. I just seriously loved this book and this story.

Originally from Ireland, Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, a fire hose, or a hockey stick, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines (and heroes) who can match their men quip for quip. Visit her at KateMeader.com.

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Review: Hello Forever by Sarina Bowen

HELLO FOREVER
Series: Hello Goodbye #2
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance
Author: Sarina Bowen
Release Date: July 14, 2017

A SINGLE BASKETBALL GAME CHANGES EVERYTHING…

When they were only teenagers, Axel and Caxton were caught making out in the woods at church camp. And afterward, Cax had disappeared from all the youth group activities.

Six years later, Axel is astonished to spot his first love’s face in the crowd of a college basketball game he’s watching on TV—at a school which has just offered him a job. It’s a thousand miles away, in a tiny rural town. But suddenly, he can’t wait to get there.

Cax can’t believe his eyes when Axel appears in the same Massachusetts town where he now lives. And he’s still just as drawn to Axel as ever. But he can’t let himself go there again, because loving Axel will mean giving up everything else he holds dear.

Both men have so much to lose. But as far as their love is concerned, it’s Hello Forever.

Hello Forever is a stand-alone novel with no cliffhangers. Readers of Goodbye Paradise will get to check in on Caleb and Josh and their clan.

AMAZON

Axel had walked into my life holding a basketball when I was eight. And without even knowing it, he’d made my life at home more bearable.

Oh le swoon. Sarina Bowen brings the swoons one more time with book two in her Pay It Forward series. Hello Forever was previously published as It’s Never Over and while I never read the original, I enjoyed this one so much!

Axel and Caxton were childhood friends. Finding each other at a time when they needed the other the most, they became instant best friends. But over the years that friendship began to transform into something…more. Until a kiss at church camp gets them caught and everything changes.

Not having seen each other in over six years, they now lead very different lives. Axel is openly gay and has an amazing mother that loves him no matter what. After his recent relationship fail, he takes a chance on job at a small town, but there’s more to it than that. In his research of the college, he spots a very familiar face in one of their online videos. A face that never fails to ramp up his heart rate. A face that he needs to see again because it’s one he’s never forgotten or gotten over.

He tasted of everything I ever wanted. His tongue slid warm and wet across mine, and I wrapped my arms around him to get as close as I could.

Caxton is rocked to his very core to see Axel in his town. Deeply closeted with a mean bigot of a father, Caxton has put his life on hold to be a solid presence in his younger brothers’ lives. But Axel is one person that he’s never forgotten and the years did nothing to dilute his feelings.

They slowly pick up where their friendship paused all those years ago but it’s not long before their feelings for one another become too strong to ignore.

Caxtastrophe and Axeldental were absolutely adorable together. They were so sweet in a tentative and romantic sort of way. There’s no guessing game to how they feel about each other. The only angst come from outside factors like Cax’s a-hole of a father and keeping his sexual orientation a secret.

We get to catch up with Josh and Caleb, which I loved getting more of. Hello Forever was sweet and sexy and I simply loved Axel and Cax together. It brought the feels and the swoons and a dollop of angst and I loved how everything wraps up at the end. It was such a treat to finally see Cax grow into his own and not hide from who he is. There’s also a secondary character that was introduced here that I’m seriously hoping will be getting his own book.

Jenn’s Review: Wound Tight by @mstessabailey

WOUND TIGHT
Series: Made In Jersey #4
Genre: MM Romance
Author: Tessa Bailey
Release Date: December 5, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

wound-tight

A sexy new M/M romance from New York Times Bestselling author Tessa Bailey

When CEO Renner Bastion walks into a room, everyone keeps their distance. Well, everyone but the sarcastic, tattooed, Boston-bred security guard whose presence has kept Renner in New Jersey longer than intended.

As if the unwanted attraction isn’t unsettling enough, Renner finds out his protector isn’t as unavailable as originally thought.

Milo Bautista just came out to his wealthy, ultra-confident boss, a man he secretly respects and admires…in more ways than he’ll admit.

Worldly, experienced Renner would never look in his direction, let alone share some of that confidence he wears like a cloak, so Milo has set his sights on someone else to be his first.

Until Renner offers him private lessons in seduction…

Buy LinksAMAZON | iBOOKSReview-DGR

 Spontaneous combustion does exist. Because that’s exactly what happened while reading this book. Oh man oh man oh man. The business man and the security guard GET…IT….AWWN!!!! It’s impossible for Tessa to NOT write dirty words.
à la Mode St. » fashion

“Take it out,” Renner rasped. “Take out your dick and jack yourself off for me. But if you stop giving me what I need, I’ll make you put it back away. I don’t care how pretty it is to look at. You understand?”

à la Mode St. » fashionRenner is THE BOSS!!! Of my libido! Give. Him. To. Me. He is the man in the suit, always in charge. We meet Renner in the previous book, Worked Up, and I was freaked the fuck out when I found out Tessa was writing her first M/M. And she did NOT disappoint. Renner and Milo were made for each other. Renner has been dating men for a long time, and at the beginning of this book, he believes Milo to be 100% heterosexual. But he is in for a pleasant surprise.
à la Mode St. » fashion

“You let me pull your pants down, let me fuck myself up against your pretty-boy ass, and then challenge me? You’re not ready for what I’d like to give you right now. You won’t be ready for a while.”

à la Mode St. » fashionMilo. Let me tell you, I usually go for the man in the suit. But give me this charming, dimpled, blue-collar, Boston security guard every damn day. Milo was hired to keep the factory safe, including the boss man who runs it. There is an instant attraction and connection between these two hotties. Milo recently discovered that he likes a dude for the first time (and it isn’t Renner), but he has no idea how to even to date a guy. So he asks Renner to help him woo another guy. Definitely not a good idea when Renner wants him already, but Milo quickly learns that he wants Renner too. *cue all the swoons. MILO!! Stop charming the socks…and my bra…and my panties… off me! Ugh.
Oh god. The manly banter between these two. I could just listen to Renner and Milo talk to each other and
“fight-flirt”
….all….day.
à la Mode St. » fashion

“I’m healthy as a fucking horse, and unless you want some good, hard confirmation on that, Bautista, I would refrain from comparing me again to your daddy.”

à la Mode St. » fashionAnd like every Tessa book, I give you the best similes:
à la Mode St. » fashion

“The man has a grip like King Kong on a bad day.”

à la Mode St. » fashion

“like a filthy poem that made no sense.”

à la Mode St. » fashion

“You think I’m going to act like a teenage girl at a One Direction concert over some nipples?”

à la Mode St. » fashion

“Ah God. The boss man’s voice had deepened. A lot. It smoked out from between Renner’s lips and slithered in between Milo’s ribs, gathering in his stomach, like a living thing.

I pray to God this is not Tessa’s last M/M!!!


THE MADE IN JERSEY SERIES

CRASHED OUT
BUY 

ROUGH RHYTHM
BUY | LANA’S REVIEW

THROWN DOWN
BUY 

WORKED UP
BUY | LANA’S REVIEW

Review & Exclusive Excerpt: Heart of the Steal by Avon Gale & Roan Parrish

HEART OF THE STEAL
Genre: MM, Contemporary Romance
Authors: Avon Gale & Roan Parrish
Release Date: July 11, 2017

Responsible, disciplined William Fox channeled his love for art and his faith in the rules into being an FBI Art Crimes agent. Right and wrong, justice and injustice—the differences are clear, and Will has spent his career drawing a line between them. Maybe his convictions have cost him relationships, but he’s not willing to compromise what he knows is right. Until the night he meets Amory Vaughn.

As the head of his family’s philanthropic foundation, Vaughn knows very well that being rich and powerful can get him almost anything he wants. And when he meets endearingly grumpy and slightly awkward William Fox, he wants him more than he’s wanted anything. Vaughn is used to being desired for his name and his money, but Will doesn’t care about either.

When Vaughn falls back on old habits and attempts to impress Will by stealing a painting Will admires, their nascent bond blows up in his face. But Vaughn isn’t willing to give up on the glimpse of passion he saw the night he took Will apart. Before Will knows it, he’s falling for the man he should have arrested, and Vaughn has to realize that some things can’t be bought or stolen. Love has to be given freely. But can a man who lives by the rules, and a man who thinks the rules don’t apply to him, ever see eye to eye?

Heart of the Steal is a standalone romance with a happy ending. It features a Southern gentleman who thinks he’s always right, a buttoned-up FBI agent who secretly likes his buttons unbuttoned, and wall sex. And desk sex. And picnic blanket sex.

AMAZON | B&N | iBOOKS

 

I followed him up the stairs and down a hallway carpeted in thick brown shag, then through the last door on the right. Once inside, he dropped our overnight bags on the floor and began fussing with the bedcovers, the line of his shoulders tense.I slid a hand up his back and leaned over him.

“I’ve been cooking up a fantasy while sitting with your family and watching football, William.”

“Oh?”

“Oh, yes.” I crowded him, bending him forward over the bed, spread with a navy blue comforter trimmed in red. “We’re in your childhood bedroom,” I murmured into his ear, kissing the skin behind it until he shivered in my arms.

“Mmhmm?”

I slid a hand under his sweater and splayed my palm against his warm stomach. His back was pressed to my chest and I could feel his heart beating. “We’re in high school. You’re a junior and I’m a senior. You invited me over to do homework, so we brought our books upstairs.”

I licked a line up the side of his throat and pulled him more firmly against me so he could feel the evidence of what this fantasy was doing to me.

“What subject?” he asked, pressing his hips backward.

“History. The Revolutionary War.” I gave his earlobe a nip and saw the corners of his mouth draw up. “You’re very studious. Serious. You’re concentrating.”

“Mmm, and what are you doing?”

“I…am being very distracting.”

I slipped a hand inside his dark jeans and ghosted my fingers over the ridge of his hard cock.

“I keep bumping your knees with mine. Touching you. I can’t help myself. You’re so damned hot.”

He moaned softly, shuddering as I took a firmer grip on him. He made no attempt to turn around, just ground his taut ass back against my hips, teasing my swollen flesh. I pulled my hand from his pants and he gave a plaintive whimper. I kissed the back of his neck, feasting on soft skin until his hands clutched at me.

“What,” he gasped. “What do you do next?”

“Well, that all depends.” I dropped my voice low, knowing how much it turned him on. “You’re a junior, William. Are you a virgin?”

He gasped and craned to look at me. He nodded, sunk fully into this game. Lust shot through me at the idea of being Will’s first; of sliding inside his body where no other man had been, opening him, owning him.

“Well then,” I murmured. “I’ll have to be very.” I kissed his neck. “Very.” The skin under his jaw. “Gentle,” I whispered against his mouth, and felt his moan.

I pushed him forward enough to pull off his sweater, then pressed against him again.

“The first time I touch you,” I told him, “you aren’t sure what to make of it. Am I teasing? Should you react? Or am I just being friendly?” I ran my hands up his sides, tracing his ribs. “But then I touch you here.” I circled his nipples with my fingers, plucking them until he arched against me. “And you know I’m not just being friendly anymore. You know that I’m going to do things to you no one has ever done before.”

Will shuddered and I drank his reactions like the finest whiskey.

“Have you thought about them, William? Alone in your room, in your bed. Have you thought about what it would feel like to have another boy’s body against yours? A man’s hand around your dick instead of your own? The sensation of a man kissing your mouth, kissing you everywhere?”

Will shook his head, mouth open.

“No? You haven’t thought about it? Or you haven’t wanted to?”

He froze in my arms.

“It’s okay, love. I’ve got you.”

I wanted to overwhelm him, take him out of himself and everything he recognized and give him a mirror that would reflect him back to himself the way I saw him. Beautiful, brave, and scared.

This book was nothing like I normally gravitate to. It has zero angst. It’s not twisty and unpredictable. And it also doesn’t have hot man abs on the cover. What? Don’t you judge me. Like you haven’t made those ill fated purchases because man abs lure you on. God. Judgy much? As a matter of fact, if I let my inner cover wh*re do the picking, she’d merrily click right past this book. And what a shame that would be. Because this is a classic case of not judging a book by the cover.

I wondered where in the world William Fox felt completely, totally comfortable. Absolutely himself. And damned if I didn’t want to see what it was like to be there with him.

Heart Of The Steal was a super sweet romance between two men that couldn’t be more opposite of each other. You have Will, an FBI agent for the art crimes division that wears poor fitting suits and couldn’t flirt to save his life. Will is not a man that does one night stands but he’s not exactly great at relationships either. After a disastrous end to his last one, he’s not exactly swimming in suitors, but he’s perfectly content with that too. Being forced to go to an art show that his twin sister and budding party planner dragged him to isn’t his ideal way to plan the evening, but at least he can enjoy some art.

Amory Vaughn is the exact opposite of who would normally catch Will’s attention. He’s a rich philanthropist who’s not unused to people only being interested in him for his money. So why does that man that blushes when Amory catches him staring and then runs away before talking to him completely steal his attention?

Can an uptight and proper FBI agent and flirtatious, rich, would be philanthropist thief have anything beyond sizzling hot chemistry in common?

Sparks fly immediately with these two. But when Will learns of Vaughn’s art theft, he knows he can’t cross that professional line with him. He may let him walk away from a deserved arrest, but he can’t fall for his flirty smiles and smart mouth. Too bad the chemistry between them proves too strong to deny for even a stuffy FBI agent.

On Monday morning,” I said into his ear as I reached around and took him in hand. He cried out, knuckles white where he grabbed the desk. “I’m going to sit there and imagine you just like this. Legs spread, open and begging for me.”
I licked a stripe up the side of his throat.
“I’m not…begging…” Will gasped, and I smiled against his damp skin.
“No,” I conceded. “No. Not yet.”

Once these two get past their…uhem…differences, the book takes a different turn. It goes from a slightly enemies to lovers vibe to just lovers. It shows two people slowly but surely falling in love as they get to know each other. Admittedly, this would normally bore me, but in the case of this book it was just adorably endearing. I simply loved these two together. I loved their individual quirks and I absolutely loved watching Vaughn fall deeper and deeper for Will. I loved watching Will lose more of his stuffiness in the presence of the enigmatic Vaughn. And I simply loved the sides of each other that they brought out when they were together. It was sweet, and swoony, and at times just ridiculously sexy.

My only quibble is Amory’s description and comparison to Lucius Malfoy, which didn’t inspire the sexiest of images. But after a while, I’ll admit that it really suited Vaughn and I looked right past it. I loved the differences between him and Will, but not as much as I loved the two of them together.

There was no crazy drama, no angst, no twists or action. It was beautiful in it’s simplicity, actually, and I adored every page of it.


Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.

When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

She is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.

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Avon Gale wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it — even if it was a bit weirder than the other, more normal hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after — though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Avon is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.

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Review: Damaged Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

DAMAGED LIKE US
Series: Like Us #1
Genre: Contemporary, MM Romance
Author: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Release Date: June 27, 2017

Don’t date your bodyguard.
It was the one rule he had to break.

Maximoff Hale is a force of nature. A ship unwilling to be steered. Headstrong, resilient, and wholly responsible — the twenty-two-year-old alpha billionaire can handle his unconventional life. By noon, lunch can turn into a mob of screaming fans. By two, his face is all over the internet.

Born into one of the most famous families in the country, his celebrity status began at birth.

He is certified American royalty.

When he’s assigned a new 24/7 bodyguard, he comes face-to-face with the worst case scenario: being attached to the tattooed, MMA-trained, Yale graduate who’s known for “going rogue” in the security team — and who fills 1/3 of Maximoff’s sexual fantasies.

Twenty-seven-year-old Farrow Keene has one job: protect Maximoff Hale. Flirting, dating, and hot sex falls far, far out of the boundary of his bodyguard duties and into “termination” territory. But when feelings surface, protecting the sexy-as-sin, stubborn celebrity becomes increasingly complicated.

Together, boundaries blur, and being exposed could mean catastrophic consequences for both.

The Like Us series is a true series, one continuous timeline, that follows a family of wealthy celebrities and the people that protect them. Damaged Like Us can be read and enjoyed without reading any of Krista & Becca’s other novels.

AMAZON | iBOOKS

I broke the unbreakable rule. Don’t fuck your client.

So….confession time…
*whispers*
This is the first book I’ve read by these authors.
*ducks head in shame*
Yes, yes, I’m wearing the cone of shame as I write this, mkay? So quit looking at me with those judgy eyes already. I realize what I’ve been missing out on and currently kicking my own ass. Cut me some slack here.

I have all of their books on my TBR but for some unknown to me reason just never got around to reading them. I can tell you that I will be rectifying that HUGE mistake immediately but devouring their entire backlist. But enough about that. Let’s talk about this book.

Firstly, let’s address something right off the bat. I could clearly see that I was missing quite a bit of backstory with the secondary characters here as this is a spin off from Calloway Sisters series and Addicted series. As a matter of fact, Maximoff is the son of Lily and Lo. This series introduces all of the children and I was absolutely smitten with it. It took me a bit to wrap my mind around all of the connections, but the authors did a fantastic job really introducing all the secondary characters so that I never felt lost.

Born into one of the most famous families in the country, Maximoff Hale is pretty much American royalty. His father is just as known for his past alcoholism as his business, and his mother is just as famous for being a sex addict as her family’s business, he’s used to living his life under a microscope.

Fame is my friend and foe. It’s a part of me. A tangible thing that lives inside of me. This is the only life I’ve ever lived . It’s the only life I know.

Privacy is a luxury that he’ll never have and a real relationship is something that he’ll never experience because he’ll never expose someone to what he goes through on a daily basis. A life of NDAs and meaningless one night stands is what he’s used to.

When he learns that he’ll be getting a new bodyguard, he’s not exactly thrilled. The Hale bodyguards are more then employees, they’re a 24/7 presence and friends and confidents. When he finds out that his new bodyguard is the star of all his teenage fantasies, a crush he never got over, and a man that he’s still uncontrollably attracted to, life becomes a little more complicated.

He’s made permanent camp in my cerebral cortex and cock, and I don’t know how to extract him.

The more time they spend together, the more difficult it becomes to deny the overbearing sexual tension that brews between them. Admittedly, that delicious tension was one of my favorite parts about the book. Every time these two so much as had a conversation, you could feel the chemistry crackle and burn. And their first kiss? Holy mother of god! It was hotter than any sex scene. Swear.

Farrow returns the aroused, taut sentiment. Our short breaths are the only true noise.
The headiest exchange of my life.
Undeniable.
He leans forward, his lips an inch from mine. And very deeply, very huskily, he whispers, “What do you want, Maximoff ?”

There’s a lot that happens here that goes beyond the main couple. While the romance is absolutely the center focus, you get introduced to a slew of secondary characters. While usually this may cause me to struggle, I felt like it just connected me to these characters even more. I loved the bond that these siblings and cousins share.

But Maximoff and Farrow most definitely stole the show. I loved these two together. I loved Maximoff’s intensity and Farrow’s easy going flintiness. He’s such a fan chapter. His presence totally sucks you in. The authors created such a vivid character with him. All of his aneurism, eye brow quirks and gum popping served to endear me to him more and more. And when these two guys get together? Yowza!

We’re like lightning and thunder, inherently different but alike enough to share the same sky.

It was the perfect blend of swoon and steam. I adored these two together and I already can’t wait for more. The parents have quite a bit of redeeming to do after what happens at the end of this book. I love that we get a satisfying HFN to tide us over until the next book. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to binge the Ritchie’s entire backlist.

Review: Enemies Like You by Annika Martin & Joanna Chambers

ENEMIES LIKE YOU
Genre: MM Romance, Suspense, Erotic
Authors: Annika Martin & Joanna Chambers
Release Date: May 15, 2017


They’re dangerous men. Absolute enemies. And totally hot for each other.

Will has never met anyone like Kit. He’s arrogant. Gorgeous. Lethal.

The most expensive bodyguard money can buy. And Will can’t seem to resist him.

A simple command in Kit’s cut-glass accent makes Will want things he’s never wanted, do things he’s never done. Their red-hot chemistry is off the charts.

Just one problem: Will has vowed to kill the billionaire that Kit is hell-bent on protecting.

And Kit has secrets, too—his own reasons for sacrificing his soul, piece by painful piece, to keep one of the worst men on earth alive.

 

This is a stand-alone contemporary M/M romance.

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I like my sex like I like my grenades: simple, fast, and furious. One-time use.

That. Was. So. Freaking. HOT.

No seriously. That was SO FREAKING HOT. I don’t think I even bothered to read the blurb for this book before jumping at the chance to read it. While I haven’t had a chance to read anything by Joanna Chambers prior to this (which I’ll be rectifying quickly), Annika Martin has been an auto-buy for me for years. But really, this book couldn’t have been more custom written for me if it had my name on it.

Enemies to lovers? Check!
Sizzling hot MM? Check!
Suspense interspersed with smoking hot sexy times? Check and CHECK!

Will is a man on a mission. With the CIA at his side, he knows that he’s on a suicide mission that no one expects him to come out of alive. But he also knows that he’ll stop at nothing to kill the man that’s responsible for the single event that still haunts him to this day. Nothing short of feeling his blood seeping through his fingers will make Will rest. There’s only one thing in the way; his target’s ruthless and unstoppable bodyguard.

Their attraction is unexpected. Their connection is dangerous. And their inability to stay away from each other just may cost both of them their lives.

He takes my mouth again, snarling against my lips as his hips pump. His strong fingers intensify their grip. It’s wild and animalistic. And I love it. Kit’s civilized demeanor has fallen away completely, exposing the passion that lies beneath the cool, icy surface.

Enemies Like You was one twisty and sexy ride. I didn’t expect what I got and what I got was entertaining as hell. I don’t want to give you any spoilers, but not everything is what it seems and man did I love that particular twist to the story. But the twists don’t stop. The authors hit you with them from every corner, until your mind is spinning so hard you feel like the lid will explode.

There were a few points that I felt were underdeveloped but it wasn’t anything that took away from my enjoyment of the book. And boy did I enjoy it. THOROUGHLY. It was deliciously naughty and full of action and suspense and with two characters that I couldn’t get enough of. This book is like GI Joe and James Bond came together to make a sexy MM baby. Does that even make sense? Whatever. Just go with me here.

 Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. She spent over 20 years staring at blank sheets of paper and despairing of ever writing a single word. In between staring at blank sheets of paper, she studied law, met her husband and had two children. Whilst nursing her first child, she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna lives in Scotland with her family and finds time to write by eschewing sleep and popular culture.

Connect with Joanna:

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#DGRFave Review: Goodbye Paradise by @SarinaBowen

GOODBYE PARADISE
Series: Hello Goodbye #1
Genre: MM Romance
Author: Sarina Bowen
Release Date: March 21, 2017

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home.

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.

AMAZON | iBOOKS

Caleb,” he whispered against my skin. “Just make me yours.”
“You,” I said, kissing him on the forehead, “are already mine.”

When was the last time you read a romance that was so powerful and sweet that you felt it touch your very soul? For me, that was today and this romance was this book. THIS BOOK. My god. I sobbed my way through almost the entire thing. I couldn’t help myself. It wrecked me and it owned me all at once. I don’t have enough praise to describe everything that was this story. All I know is that Caleb and Josh’s story is one that will stay in my heart forever, and as a voracious romance reader, I don’t make that statement lightly. It was just that good.

Nothing had ever felt better than lying in Caleb’s arms.

Caleb and Josh have been best friends for as long as they can remember. And Caleb has been Josh’s confidant and protector just as long. Growing up in a religious cult where a man’s worth is measured by his strength and ability to withstand hard labor, brainy Josh has always been at the bottom of the food chain. Caleb has always looked out for him and protected him, and Josh has been secretly in love with Caleb just as long.

When it becomes evident that Josh will soon be tossed out, Caleb makes a plan to escape. Having nothing to their name, no IDs, no money, they only have each other to lean on when they end up in a world that Josh had no idea existed and Caleb only had quick glimpses of.

Caleb has always been the strong one, but Josh has always been his strength. Unbeknownst to Josh, Caleb has been in love with his best friend but much better at hiding it. Now that they’re out, there’s nothing holding them back from being together but each other.

Maybe I’d craved him all my life, but I was his first, too. I felt powerful because of it.

This was such a powerful story of an emotional journey of two boys growing into men with nothing to guide them through it but each other. There’s no crazy drama, no silly angst. Absolutely nothing to take away from the incredibly poignant romance.

The secondary characters only served to strengthen the story and add another touching layer to something that was already solid to begin with. I loved the friendships and bonds that these boys formed through their journey. Every secondary character drove the plot further and just connected me to the story that much more.

I adored Caleb’s strength, but what I loved even more was Josh’s silent and unassuming strength. They balanced each other so well and their undying devotion to the other was nothing if not incredibly touching.

Hi baby,” he said under his breath. He leaned in and kissed me on the lips, right in front of God and everyone.

This book is exactly why I’m such a huge fan of this author. It was romantic and powerful, sweet and emotional, it was touching and poignant and everything that I love about romance. It was one of the most unforgettable romances I’ve read in a long while and I simply can’t recommend it enough.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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