Saturday, December 16, 2017

Review tour: Secret Santa by Jay Northcote



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 38,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design

Blurb

Keeping secrets is never a good way to start a relationship

Theo hardly has time to date. Between work and caring for his four-year-old son there aren’t many hours left over. He’s lonely though, so he joins a hook-up app and starts chatting to a guy called Luke. Luke seems friendly and they arrange to meet. Theo doesn’t mention that he has a child. It’s early days and he’s worried about putting Luke off before they get to know each other.

Luke is currently working as Santa at the local shopping mall. He figures Theo never has to know. Christmas will be over soon and Luke will move on to a new, less embarrassing job. He’s surprised when Theo and a little boy visit Santa one afternoon. Theo doesn’t recognise Luke, and Luke realises he’s not the only one with a secret.

Despite misgivings on both sides, they start dating, and the chemistry is amazing. But as Christmas approaches their secrets pile up like colourful packages under the tree. If they’re not careful, they’ll lose the best gift of all—each other.




November 24 - Gay Book Reviews, Mikku-chan
November 27 - Out Of My Head, Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings
December 1 - The Day Before You Came, Millsy Loves Books, V's Reads
December 4 - BooksLaidBareBoys
December 6 - Drops of Ink, Au Boudoir Ecarlate
December 8 - My Fiction Nook
December 12 - Valerie Ullmer, Padme's Library, Nicole's Book Musings, Wicked Faerie's Tales & Reviews
December 14 - Books Lovers 4Ever, Making It Happen, Slashsessed, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Wicked Reads
December 16 - Jim's Reading Room, Bayou Book Junkie, Xtreme Delusions, The Way She Reads


Author Bio

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

Website: https://jaynorthcote.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jay_Northcote
Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/dellamere
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/jaynorthcotefiction
Newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/JN-readers
Jay’s books: http://author.to/JayNorthcote



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I don't normally go for Christmas stories as I've found them in the past to be sicky-sweet and mostly fluff that a unicorn vomited. That's not to say that there aren't any good ones out there, because I'm sure there are and I'm probably doing them an injustice by not reading them.

Case in point:  Secret Santa. When I was first approached about reviewing this story I balked. But, as I always do, I read the synopsis and blurb I received before making an actual decision on whether to review it or not. This one intrigued me so I decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did.

It's a great story. I like the story line in that it was quite refreshing and the way that the characters interact is really good.

There wasn't anything I didn't like or was iffy about, yet I can't seem to pinpoint what made me like Secret Santa. I just do.

Well done, Mr. Northcote, well done.

I give Secret Santa a 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to anyone looking for a light, enjoyable read.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Review tour: Love Happens Anyway by R.J. Scott



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 42,500 words approx.

Blurb

Hiring a boyfriend for Christmas; what could possibly go wrong?

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

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

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

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




December 6 - Xtreme Delusions, Valerie Ullmer, The Way She Reads, Gay Media Reviews
December 8 - Lelyana's Book Blog
December 11 - Hearts On Fire Reviews, Millsy Loves Books, My Fiction Nook
December 13 - Mirrigold:Mutterings & Musings, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Book Blog, Nicole's Book Musings, MM Good Book Reviews
December 15 - Jim's Reading Room, Making It Happen, Padme's Library, Sexy Erotic Xciting, Wicked Faerie's Tales & Reviews
December 20 - Dog-Eared Daydreams, Book Lovers 4Ever, Au Boudoir Ecarlate, Wicked Reads
December 22 - A Book Lover's Dream, Bayou Book Junkie



Excerpt

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

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

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

“They’re fine.”

“Did he find good homes for them?”

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

“Socks? The dark one?”

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

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

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

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

Shit. “Spiders are hardy.”

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

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

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

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

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

Oh God, what?

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

“I’m not sure—”

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

Shit. Shit. And double shit.

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

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

So many lies.

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

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

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

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

Which sucked big hairy balls.

Because that was another thing I had made up.

There was no Marcus either.




RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn't with family either reading or writing.

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

mailto:rj@rjscott.co.uk
Website
Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter
LibraryThing


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Amazing, amazing, amazing. Did I mention it was amazing?

I am a huge fan of RJ Scott, and I have to tell you this is one of her best works.

It didn't just draw me in. It tied me to a Saturn V booster and launched the rocket. Seriously, within the first five pages I was drawn in so deep I couldn't put it down. I read it cover-to-cover in one sitting, only stopping to take the breaks my body demanded that I couldn't ignore.

I could say it's because I have a thing for stories that revolve around Firefighters, but that's not the only reason. I can't really put my finger on why I enjoyed it so much. I just did.

I could explain how I could relate to one of the characters and a setting in the book, but that would require me to give out spoilers, and share a bit of personal history, neither of which I will do. If you would like to know more about this, use the contact form at the bottom of this page to send me a message. My answer will, of course, contain spoilers.

The writing was done in typical RJ Scott's typical style:  brilliant. The characters were likable and the story flowed smoothly. I liked the alternating POV and I found it easy to follow.

Unquestionably, 5 out of 5 stars and this is an absolute must read book. I can easily see it becoming an award-winning best-seller.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Review tour: Inseparable by Sloan Johnson



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 60,000 words approx

Blurb

Trevor and Gabe never knew life without the other. As only children, they grew up as close as brothers, but their love grew to something more. Something they couldn't talk about because their parents wouldn't understand.

Gabe is gay and unapologetic about his sexuality. He refuses to live his life in the shadows, but that doesn't mean he isn't harboring secrets.

Trevor is his parents’ miracle child and he doesn’t want to hurt them. Coming out, admitting he's in love with Gabe, could ruin everything. 

Heading off to college was supposed to finally free them to be together, but nothing is as easy as it seems. Can they find a way to navigate this new world, living and loving openly?
Author Bio

Sloan Johnson is a big city girl trapped in a country girl’s life. While she longs for the hustle and bustle of New York City or Las Vegas, she hasn’t yet figured out how to sit on the deck with her morning coffee, watching the deer and wild turkeys in the fields while surrounded by concrete and glass.

When she was three, her parents received their first call from the principal asking them to pick her up from school. Apparently, if you aren’t enrolled, you can’t attend classes, even in Kindergarten. The next week, she was in preschool and started plotting her first story soon after.

Later in life, her parents needed to do something to help their socially awkward, uncoordinated child come out of her shell and figured there was no better place than a bar on Wednesday nights. It’s a good thing they did because this is where she found her love of reading and writing. Who needs socialization when you can sit alone in your bedroom with a good book?

Now, Sloan is a tattooed mom with a mohawk and two kids. She’s been kicked out of the PTA in two school districts and is no longer asked to help with fundraisers because she’s been known to lose herself with a good book and forget she has somewhere to be.

http://authorsloanj.com/
https://facebook.com/authorsloanjohnson
https://plus.google.com/u/1/+SloanJohnsonAuthor
http://instagram.com/authorsloanj
http://pinterest.com/authorsloanj
http://authorsloanj.tumblr.com/
https://twitter.com/authorsloanj


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Inseparable is a nice story where the characters face situations that just about any mixed gay couple (out/in closet) can face.

How many of us have been in either Trevor or Gabe's shoes (just call me Trevor)? I'd be curious to find out.

There is a good balance of angst and sweetness to keep readers interested and the down-to-earth characters are very likable.

If you're looking for a story that is filled with graphic sex scenes, you'll be disappointed. Sexual interactions between the main characters are alluded to rather than described in detail. This is a refreshing change.

If you're looked for a good story that revolves around the character's lives outside the bedroom then Inseparable is the story for you.

All that being said, and I must emphasize that this is my own opinion and does in no way reflect on the quality of the novel, while it did hold my attention and I did like the story, it just didn't grab me like other stories from Ms. Johnson have. I think the reason for that is there were a couple of sections of dialog where I had to read through them in order to figure out who was speaking and which character was which. This does happen to me from time to time with other novels as well.

There were also a couple of spots where a character named Alan pops up, but there is no mention of who this character is and how he fits into the story.

Over all, I give Inseparable a 4.5 out of 5 stars and definitely recommend it. I would like to see more of Trevor and Gabe, post-graduation, perhaps?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Review tour: Deep Edge (Harrisburg Railers #3) by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey




Length: 52,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Harrisburg Railers Series

Book #1 - Changing Lines - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 - First Season - Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

One man’s passion, another man’s lies. Can love fix even the darkest of hearts?

Trent Hanson is a figure skating phenom adored by millions around the world. His whole life has been dedicated to the sport he loves even when the sport - and his own family - have turned against him. From the playground to the Olympics to his parent’s living room, Trent has fought against bullies and homophobes to be the out and proud gay man he is. But the constant fighting has left Trent tired, lonely, and skittish. All those fears will have to be shelved though when he’s hired to spend the summer working with the Harrisburg Railers ice hockey team. Who would have guessed that the man fate has decided to pair him off with is Dieter Lehmann, all-around sex god and a man who seems to have everything to prove and doesn’t care who he hurts to get what he wants.

Dieter has spent too many years languishing in the minors and a secret addiction to prescription painkillers means his career is in a downward spiral. His ex is blackmailing him and he’s close to walking away from it all. But when he’s called up in the run for the Stanley Cup to cover injuries he has a taste of what it’s like playing in the NHL and he realizes that a place on the Railers roster is what he wants more than anything. More than listening to his heart, and even more than caring for the infuriating figure skater who gets under his skin. When he crosses the line to get what he wants, he knows he has lost his way. He has to change, but is it too late for both his career and any chance he might have at love?



December 1 - Reading In Sarah's Corner, Urban Smoothie Read, Nerdy Dirty & Flirty, The Smut-Brarians, Xtreme Delusions, Mirrigold: Musings & Mutterings, Nautical Star Books, Jessie G Books
December 6 - Making It Happen, We Three Queens, My Fiction Nook
December 8 - Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Sarandipity, Wicked Reads, Jim's Reading Room, MM Good Book Reviews
December 11 - Wicked Faerie's Tales & Reviews
December 13 - Padme's Library, Book Lovers 4Ever, The Geekery Book Review
December 15 - Bayou Book Junkie 


RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn't with family either reading or writing.

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

mailto:rj@rjscott.co.uk
Website
Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter
LibraryThing


V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a flock of assorted domestic fowl, and two Jersey steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and GoodReads.

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Goodreads
Blog

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Once again, in yet another superbly written story, the gang is brought together in the continuing saga of the Harrisburg Railers.

In this amazing story we actually have to different stories going on.

The first story is about a Olympic figure skater who is struggling to keep his staking rink, a safe place for LGBT youth, and his mother's house.

The second story of a minor league hockey player with big dreams of signing with an NHL team while hiding big secrets.

Between the two brilliant characters and a strong supporting cast, Deep Edge gives us a look into the lives of professional athletes, both their professional and personal lives.

You don't have to read Changing Lines (Harrisburg Railers Hockey book 1) and First Season (Harrisburg Railers Hockey Book 2) in order to enjoy Deep Edge.

However, I do recommend reading them in sequence for a much fuller reading enjoyment.

5 stars isn't really enough, but since the scale is 1 to 5 stars, 5 will have to do.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

New from RJ Scott: Love Happens Anyway



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 42,500 words approx.

Blurb

Hiring a boyfriend for Christmas; what could possibly go wrong?

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

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

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

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



Excerpt

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

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

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

“They’re fine.”

“Did he find good homes for them?”

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

“Socks? The dark one?”

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

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

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

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

Shit. “Spiders are hardy.”

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

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

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

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

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

Oh God, what?

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

“I’m not sure—”

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

Shit. Shit. And double shit.

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

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

So many lies.

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

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

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

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

Which sucked big hairy balls.

Because that was another thing I had made up.

There was no Marcus either.




RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn't with family either reading or writing.

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

mailto:rj@rjscott.co.uk
Website
Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter
LibraryThing


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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Review tour: Holding On by Sarah Hadley Brook



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books

Length: 96,300 words approx

Publisher: JMS Books

Blurb

Eighteen-year-old Aaron Pickard is dealing with a lot: he’s falling for his straight best friend, his mother has ended up in the hospital after a violent assault by his father, and he’s trying to decide when to come out. Tack on the stress of an upcoming prom and graduation, a part-time job, and the possibility he could lose his best friend, and he’s an emotional wreck.

Aaron’s best friend Jeff Leaton provides a soft place for him to fall when his life is thrown into chaos, literally holding him each night as they fall asleep. As Jeff helps Aaron navigate through the mess that has become his new normal, Aaron’s feelings for Jeff intensify.

Aaron’s pretty sure it’s all going to end badly, but he’s holding on to hope.


November 27 - Bonkers About Books, Wicked Faerie's Tales & Reviews, Reading Is Our Satisfaction, Nerdy Dirty & Flirty, BooksLaidBareBoys, Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, Cupcakes & Bookshelves, Millsy Loves Books
November 29 - OptimuMM, OMG Reads, Dog-Eared Daydreams
December 4 - MM Good Book Reviews
December 6 - Bayou Book Junkie, Jim's Reading Room, Wicked Reads, Words Of Wisdom From The Scarf Princess, Boy Meets Boy Reviews 

Author Bio

Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the nonprofit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have costarred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.



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Loved it!

Holding On, I believe, is a must-read book for anyone struggling with their sexuality while dealing with family abandonment and crush issues.

The two main characters, Aaron and Jeff are great guys. At the same time, they can be frustrating. You don't know whether to hug them or rent two eighteen-wheelers to pull their heads out of their asses, or at the very least knock their heads together.

Reading about the struggles Aaron goes through makes me wonder how many other Aarons are out there. How many Aarons are out there without a Jeff in their lives to act as their support system?

How many Jeffs are out there ready and able to help the Aarons?

I can't help but wonder how I managed to make it through without my Jeff. While my home life wasn't completely like Aaron's, it was similar.

In the past I have been in both positions, so it is easy for me to identify with the guys.

Both are lovable and easy to connect with. I'm hoping that Ms. Brook will continue their story.

5 out of 5 stars, and should be on everyone's reading list.



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Promo tour: Chase and Capture by Hurri Cosmo

Title: Chase and Capture
Author: Hurri Cosmo
Genre: M/M Romance 
Release Date: November 27, 2017 
It had been Tanner’s goal to make sure Camden didn’t waste another birthday all alone. Yep, his good buddy from college was hell bent on getting Camden “some action” as he put it. In fact, the idiot set up an entire weekend get-away on a private remote island where a group of men, including him, would be playing a very sexy game of chase and capture. Happy Birthday, Camden! Oh yes, it promised to be quite the game. An adult twist on "Capture the Flag". Very adult. Especially when it came to what the "flag" actually was and where it went. The fun, very adult part? You still needed to capture your opponent's flag to win. However, Camden had immediately ended up the prey and that big, sexy, dark haired, muscle bound, relentless god of a man, Gunner, was the hunter. And he was closing in. Shouldn’t it be the other way around since this was supposed to be Camden's birthday present? Well, it didn’t matter. There were going to be three rounds of this game. And it appeared like this round Camden was going down before he even reached the first check point. Yep. Going down on all fours, stripped, flag confiscated and – well – let’s just say he would be screwed. Oh yes, well screwed. So... what was the down side of losing again?
“So, Tanner told me you had a nasty breakup with your last…lover.”

Camden choked and nearly spit his coffee right back out. “Tanner has a big mouth,” he growled, wiping his mouth and setting his cup down.
Gunner laughed as he glanced around tentatively. “That surprises you?”
Camden sighed. “No.”
“So what happened?”
Camden moaned. Crap, that idiot of a so-called friend. What the hell was he trying to do? If this was his way of getting Camden laid it wasn’t any kind of right path to take. Keep emotions and shit out of it. But he decided to answer the question anyway. He would just have to try harder to keep his heart safe. This was nothing but a diversion for all of them. No one was going home engaged to be married.
“Keith was his name. And I simply figured out the guy was nuts, that’s all.” Camden took a long sip from the coffee cup, relishing the heat and the knowledge that sweet caffeine was making its way to his veins.
“Nuts?”
Camden eyed Gunner as he watched him peer around the room. “What are you doing? Picking out targets?” For some reason it irritated him that Gunner just might be sizing up the other men in the room, because Camden hadn’t missed how they were certainly sizing him up. This god he sat with was want for nothing, and each and every one of them had to know that by now. They acted like schoolgirls, giggling behind their hands and all but pointing.
“Just making sure—how did you put it again—nerd face—isn’t lurking around anywhere.”
Camden had to laugh. “What? Why?”
Gunner’s beautiful blue eyes came back to rest on Camden’s face. “If he comes, and he will, he’ll sit here and we’ll have to stop talking. I don’t want him to overhear anything you and I talk about.”
It was so matter of fact, so genuine, Camden’s heart leaped. Then he saw Gunner smile. If he hadn’t already been tumbling down that steep hill into the bottomless ravine, that smile would have surly sent him there.
“So how nuts we talking? Babbling idiot or evil doer?”
Camden had to laugh again, because it took him a second to come back to the original question. “You mean Keith? Probably babbling, I guess. Actually, he just…he constantly thought I was cheating on him. Drove me crazy.”
“Were you?”
“What? Cheating? Hell, no! I don’t do things like that. But it never stopped him from thinking it and grilling me day in and day out about it. ‘Where’d you go for lunch? With who? Who else did you see?’ He even hacked into my email to be able to read everything coming in and going out. It wasn’t so bad when it was my personal email, but somehow he was able to get into the one at work, too. I never had anything to hide, but it was still an invasion. Not to mention the fact he obviously didn’t trust me.”
“Geez. The guys was a fruit loop.”
“That’s not the half of it. Once he even hid out in the bushes outside where I work and watched me with binoculars. Some old lady saw him and called the cops and the next thing I know I get called into the office and given a warning letter like I had something to do with it. They eventually rescinded the letter, but it was fucking embarrassing to find out you’re being stalked by your own boyfriend.”
“That when you ended it?”
“I wish. No. He claimed to have had a bad reaction to some pain meds he was on at the time. He had hurt his back and was off work and was taking Vicodin and he swore the drugs were making him loopy. No, I waited until a year ago today—yep, you got it, on my birthday—to come home to every piece of glass I owned broken and lying all over my apartment. Keith was yelling and screaming obscenities while being pushed up against the wall in a police headlock, all the while my next door neighbor, Mrs. Erickson, was wagging her finger at me telling me I’m going to hell because of being gay.” He took another large sip of coffee. “Then, while I’m cleaning up the mess after the police took Keith away, my landlord shows up with eviction papers. Happy birthday to me.”
I live in Minnesota where I hold tight to the idea that here, where it’s cold a good part of the year, I won’t age as fast. Yep, I avoid the truth as much as I avoid mirrors. But one of the reasons I love writing is reality doesn’t always offer up a “happily ever after” and being able to take control of that is a powerful lure. Being a happy ending junkie, writing just makes them easier to find. Oh, I don’t mind “real life” and I do try to at least keep it in mind when I write my stories, but I truly love creating a wonderful couple, knowing they will fall in love and have their HEA. Every - single - time. And, of course, that is exactly the reason I love reading this genre, too. Give me a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate, and my computer, whether I am reading or writing, and I will entertain herself for hours. The fact I actually get paid to do it is Snickers bars on the frosting on the cake.
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