Wednesday, September 30, 2020
“Look out for Zach and don’t hit on him.”
My brother’s request sounds easy enough. Keep an eye out for his best friend on campus and keep my hands to myself.
Even if Zach is a quintessential nerd, who I’ve always thought was cute, I don’t have the time to think with my … stick.
There’s only one stick I should be focused on this year, and that’s my hockey stick. My goal once I graduate is to get an NHL contract.
The last thing I need is a distraction. On or off the ice.
Only, keeping to the rules is harder than I thought it would be.
People confuse me.
And no one more than Foster Grant.
I’ve barely spoken two words to him in the whole time I’ve known him, but the second I step foot on campus, he’s impossible to shake.
I can never anticipate his next move. And whenever we’re together, my next move is a total mystery as well.
I want to give in to him, but that might mean coming clean about something I’ve never been bothered about before.
I’m still carrying my V-card.
And I think it’s time to turn it in.
Power Pucks & Straight A's is a fan-freakin-tastic read. This Eden Finley and Saxon James book is one of my new all time favorites. The first book in the CU Hockey series, I am super hopeful the rest of the series is this good. Seriously, this is one of the best books I've ever read.
A mix of my two favorites types of stories, best friend's brother and sports romance, it's amazing! I fell in love with the writing style and the characters immediately and couldn't get enough of these men.
In this opposites attracts tale, Zack is a nerd who knows nothing about sports. Getting involved with his best friend's twin was never the plan. Foster is a college hockey player who can't stop his attraction to the geeky Zack.
They are a fabulous couple. They're supportive, loving, romantic, funny, and hot. It's a tale with first times and conflict. I love every single second of this book. I've already read it twice and plan on reading it many more times.
Power Plays & Straight A's is just that good. If you're a fan of sports romances, you will love this book. This Eden Finley and Saxon James book is one that has to be devoured in one sitting. Dear lord, I can't wait to get more of this series.
If only Finch were a Disgrace, but alas. Some things simply aren’t meant to be.
Sensible and straightforward Finch has served as Hugh Drake’s secretary for over a decade, and secretly loved him for just as long. Hugh is the light of his life, but he’s also entirely too gullible, which is why Finch refuses to believe his claim that Disgraces are dragons. They’re not. Finch would know, since he is one. But that little fact will have to stay a secret, because Finch would rather his love go unnoticed than be the one who breaks his dragon’s heart when he fails to produce a clutch.
Finch is an 80,000 word hilarious omegaverse mpreg-ish romance set following the events of the Forbidden Desires series. It contains an adorably clueless dragon, a faithful secretary whose heart is invested in more than just his job, the best Funfetti cake ever, “slippery” situations, and a single amethyst cufflink. For maximum enjoyment, Finch is best read following the events of Clutch, Bond, Mate, Swallow, and Magpie.
Their relationship is one of longing, secrets, and fated mates. I love the way Hugh has no clue about Finch, as well as the way Finch's secret comes out. That scene had me smiling throughout.
Title: Starting From Here
Series: Starting From, #3
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Release Date: October 1, 2020
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Enemies to lovers, Rock and roll, Second Chance, Fake Boyfriend
Two bands, one goal, and a second chance…
Everything is finally going well. I have a new band, a new label, and a debut album coming out. And then my drummer breaks his wrists. Just my luck. I need a quick replacement to record one more song, but my options are limited, and of course, the obvious candidate hates my guts. Okay, so I may have given him a few reasons over the years, but isn’t there an expiration date on holding a grudge?
I don’t trust Declan McNamara. Sure, he’s talented, smart, and has more sex appeal than any one person should be allowed. And yeah, he may be a rock star in the making, but beware—he’s trouble. However, our new record label’s survival may depend on a truce and extreme measures…of the fake boyfriend variety. If it’s our best shot at the big time, I’m willing to set the past aside and start over…here and now.
Starting From Here is a MM, bisexual romance rock and roll style…rival bands, fake boyfriends, and a second chance at a new love story. Each book in the Starting From series can be read as a stand-alone.
Their tale includes a whole lot of manipulation and interference, which is pretty much to be expected in their business. There are plenty of contributing secondary characters, with a couple of them being pure evil.
The sound of cheerful squealing rang in the background before she hung up. I stared into space for a minute or two, feeling very…alone. I didn’t want to slip into teenage levels of self-pity. There was really nothing lamer than a privileged grown-ass adult whining about mommy issues. I flipped through television channels, pausing on a special about great white sharks. Then I tossed the controller aside and picked up my cell again.
Would you ever swim with sharks?
My phone buzzed immediately. I smiled when Tegan’s name lit the screen. Are you high?
I wish. Swimming with sharks is a thing. People get in cages and film themselves being surrounded by predators…for fun.
People are fucking crazy.
What are you watching?
National Geographic. I was hoping for a sex in the wild segment, but I got sharks instead.
I grinned. Nope. I don’t think I’m ready for that.
It’s not exciting. Fish sex is seriously unhot.
My chuckled morphed into a belly laugh as I sank deeper into the cushion. I shared a quick story about the saucy squirrels who were getting it on outside my window last spring. Tegan teased me for being a rodent voyeur, then recommended a few human porn sites I might appreciate instead.
Btw, it’s officially midnight. Congrats.
I stared at the screen for a moment. I typed and erased two or three thank-yous that seemed a little too effusive. I didn’t want to come across as too excited or too grateful and somehow clingy, so I gave up and pressed Call.
“Are you really fucking calling me?”
I chuckled. “Yeah. I am. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. But it’s midnight, and I hate talking on the phone, so good ni—”
“Don’t hang up.”
I stared at the TV unseeing. “Nothing. I just…I’m keyed up and I need someone to talk to. What was your first release like? I know Zero’s record is still doing well. But…what was like in the beginning? How’d you feel?”
“You want the truth?”
“It was anticlimactic.”
“Oh. That’s kind of depressing.”
“No, it’s just life. Nothing ever happens as fast as you want it to. You’ve got to be patient and keep doing your thing,” he advised. “We came home from our summer tour thinking we made it. What didn’t turn into superstars, but we made progress. And every day it gets better. But who knows what will happen? Maybe you’ll wake up at number one. Just stay positive and…stop torturing yourself.”
I smiled when Tegan’s uplifting advice gave way to exasperation. It was cute.
“It’s what I do. I excel at the art of self-sabotage. Ask my mom. If I bomb, you can be sure she’ll be the first one to say ‘I told you so.’ She’ll choose her words carefully, though. She’ll be kind-ish before she gently suggests that it’s time to throw in the towel and join the family firm. Fuck my life.”
“But it’s your life. The honor of making mistakes or kicking ass is all yours. You wrote those songs to be heard. Not everyone will love what you do, but plenty of people will. You just gotta be right in your own head. Ask yourself if you gave your best. Did you?”
“You’ll do just fine, then. If you sell a million copies, great. If not, you’ll still learn something.”
“Thanks. I needed that,” I said softly.
“You’re welcome. Now go to sleep.”
“I’m an almost rock star, and it’s midnight. My night is just beginning,” I lied, stifling a yawn.
“Have fun, rock god,” he snorted.
“I’m kidding. I’m channel surfing.”
“You mean porn surfing?”
I barked a quick laugh. “No, I get my porn on the internet like everyone else. I was watching that show about hoarders. It made me feel better somehow.”
“You’re a freak. Get your computer and jack off. You’ll feel better, and you’ll sleep better,” he advised sagely.
“Thanks, Dr. Monroe. I’ll report back in the morning.”
“Not necessary. Especially if there’re boobs involved.”
“I watch more dick porn than chick porn. I watched a great locker room scene last night. The coach and the quarterback. Sexy as fuck.”
“Are you really sharing a spank-bank story?”
“Yeah, you want the link?”
Purchase at Amazon
Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.
But dreams are fickle things. Shatter them and it’s hard to pick up the pieces. Hard to believe. Hard to start again.
But the hardest thing of all? Finding the courage to trust in love and build a new dream where you least expected it.
Monday, September 28, 2020
Title: Rocking the Boat
Series: CalPac Crew, Book One
Author: C. Koehler
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: September 28, 2020
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA, Contemporary, romance, gay, new adult, sports, rowing team, multiple partners, in the closet, outed, coach/athlete, university
Nick Bedford coaches the men’s rowing team at California Pacific College, a small liberal arts school in Sacramento. He’s quiet, dedicated—and closeted. He struggles with professional ethics and NCAA rules as he denies his attraction for Morgan Estrada, one of his rowers. While they may not be far apart in age, the difference between coach and athlete leads Nick to worry about exploitation.
But Morgan has desires and a mind of his own, and what he wants is his coach. As the spring racing season advances, Morgan feels his coach’s eyes on him. Morgan may be gay, and while he’s not out to team, he hasn’t hidden it, either. It may be a coach’s job to check out an athlete’s form, but Morgan hopes Nick’s interested in more than his technique.
Morgan corners Nick in the boathouse, and Nick admits that while he wants Morgan he can’t have him. Morgan laughingly points out that he’s not bound by any of those rules and he wants Nick. Nick and Morgan start a relationship, but Nick worries whenever they’re in public: what if someone sees? An anonymous complaint from a rower to the athletics director sends Nick’s worries into overdrive just as the crew prepares for the make-or-break race of the year.
Rocking the Boat
C. Koehler © 2020
All Rights Reserved
Warning: This excerpt may contain sexually explicit material, please proceed at your discretion.
Coach Nick Bedford watched the eight men—his athletes, sweaty and pushed to the edge, their sides heaving like thoroughbreds—do their best to beat each other on the boathouse ergometers. The ergs, specialized rowing machines that duplicated the rowing stroke almost exactly, were his rowers’ best friends and worst enemies, building their conditioning and strength but also devouring everything they had to give and demanding more. He often shared their workouts, but not today. Today he walked around each athlete’s erg, looking for flaws in his technique. The crew’s coxswain helped him, but he was still the coach. It was his job to get them in shape.
They were a small crew, and California Pacific College was a small school. A former college rower himself, Nick was a graduate student working on his master’s degree in exercise physiology at a not-too-distant state university, and around the boathouse, he did it all. He was the resident expert on bodies in motion, guiding each athlete through workouts on land and water, each designed to make the boat go faster. He was the dietician, trying to keep a group whose natural prey was pizza and beer on the nutritional straight and narrow to build muscle and fuel recovery. He was their sport psychologist, helping them through losses and guiding the young men through the shoals of school, rowing, and life. He spent his free time immersed in exercise science literature, reading, reading, reading—anything to give his men that extra edge.
He even rigged the boats, adjusting the hardware and making minor repairs.
Eight varsity athletes, eight seats in the varsity boat. Nick was lucky they were so competitive, even with each other. Posting their erg scores meant someone would be pulling harder next time. He also had a standing offer to the junior varsity rowers: any JV athlete who beat a varsity rower on the ergs could challenge him for a seat in the boat. He’d only had to make good once. Each of his eight rowers put the “I” in team, each determined to beat the others. For a small program, it was ideal. For eye candy, it was unbeatable.
“What’d you think, Coach?” his coxswain asked, coming to stand next to him.
Nick was lucky. Stuart Cochrane had coxed in high school, and the junior premed major was as skilled as they came. “There’s room to improve,” Nick said, never taking his eyes off his athletes. “Look at Sundstrom. He’s hunching his shoulders. On the ergs, it’ll hurt, but on the water, it’ll strain his muscles and make it hard for him to stay in synch.”
“He’s never going to catch Morgan without fixing his technique, either. I’m on it,” Stuart said. He walked over and knelt next to the large rower, watching intently for a few strokes before correcting him. Stuart returned, his coxswain’s strut even more pronounced.
Nick had to smile. The best coxswains were small and light, so they didn’t slow the boat with weight that wasn’t pulling an oar, and they had Napoleon complexes. Stuart fitted the bill: short and cocky and determined to win. “That worked.”
“Of course, it did.” Stuart smirked. “Keep your eye on Estrada. Have you noticed how he speeds up just a bit during the last two k? That’s part of how he keeps beating Brad.”
“I like a nice, friendly rivalry.” Nick grinned. “It keeps the erg times fast.”
“I’m not sure how friendly it is. Brad was the fastest until Morgan joined the team and hasn’t taken kindly to being beaten,” Stuart added quietly, his voice just loud enough to reach Nick’s ears over the sounds of the ergs. “And some of the other guys are beating him too.”
“Then Brad needs to up his game.” Nick didn’t want to know about rivalries like that. He’d seen crews torn apart by such distractions. So long as his rowers left their differences on the dock when they rowed, he didn’t care. As he’d told Stuart, a rivalry on the ergs would move the boat faster.
Nick returned his focus to the ergs. He’d kept an eye on Morgan Estrada, all right. It was hard not to. Collegiate rowers were in fantastic shape, but something about Morgan drew his eye. He was tall, taller than Nick (who, at six feet, wasn’t short), but then, rowing selected for tall men and turned them into muscular ones. Sweat dripped from one wavy brown lock, running down his cheek, but Morgan ignored it.
Nick noticed it, however. It defined Morgan’s cheek, flushed red with effort, but normally very fair. There was more conquistador than conquered in Morgan Estrada’s background. All Nick’s men were good looking in one way or another, but something about Morgan pulled him in, something that threatened to swallow him whole.
Eye candy was a perk of his job, but Nick tried not to stare too much. They were his boys; he was their coach. There was a trust there, and he took that trust very seriously.
Still, watching Morgan strain, sweaty and grunting and red, made Nick think of crossing that line.
Christopher Koehler always wanted to write, but it wasn’t until his grad school years that he realized writing was how he wanted to spend his life. Long something of a hothouse flower, he’s been lucky to be surrounded by people who encouraged that, especially his long-suffering husband of twenty-nine years and counting.
He loves many genres of fiction and nonfiction, but he’s especially fond of romances, because it’s in them that human emotions and relations, at least most of the ones fit to be discussed publicly, are laid bare.
While writing is his passion and his life, when he’s not doing that, he’s a househusband, at-home dad, and oarsman with a slightly disturbing interest in manners and the other ways people behave badly.
Christopher is approaching the tenth anniversary of publication and has been fortunate to be recognized for his writing, including by the American Library Association, which named Poz a 2016 Recommended Title, and an Honorable Mention for “Transformation,” in Innovation, Volume 6 of Queer Sci Fi’s Flash Fiction Anthology.
I never thought I’d see him again, but when my former best friend shows up ready to make amends, it becomes clear just how tied to the past I am. He disappeared when I needed him the most, leaving me to navigate my truth alone. Now he’s back.
Nixon’s art leaves me vulnerable, defenseless, and I like it. Bound by desire and past hurts, giving him complete control might be exactly what I need to set me free.
What neither of us expected? The ropes free him too…
Free Me is a sensual second chance, former friends to lovers, bisexual awakening story featuring Shibari. It is book three in the Tattoos and Temptation series featuring hot Miami nights, Latin desserts, and guys with ink. It can be read as a standalone.
Omg, the writing is fabulous. I could see Tate in the ropes. I could see the bulge outlined in his tights. I could feel the pressure of the ropes. I could feel the way the ropes freed Tate. And I could feel the way this turned on Nixon.
Can two men fake an engagement for the greater good?
Avery Kinkaid has been bowing to his father's will far too long. But when his dad supports anti-LGBT legislation, he's had enough. Sen. Kinkaid says things would be different if Avery had a fiancé in the wings. Well, fine: He'll just have to get one.
Rory Fisher is an activist with a heart of gold and nerves of steel. He's not afraid to call Avery on his bullshit, and that's why Avery knows Rory is the perfect fake fiancé to help him take a stand. If he still feels a little too much for his ex, well, he can shove that down and suck it up to beat his dad at his own game.
Until Rory encourages his most hidden desires. Until he makes Avery feel stronger, braver, and freer than he's ever been.
Loving Rory is easy, but Avery's father won't just sit back and let them have their happily ever after. They will have to fight: for their love, for justice, for a future together.
This is one power struggle they can't afford to lose.
Rory and Avery get their second chance in this book. From the beginning, the emotions come alive with the long lost love feeling. Of course, there's plenty of tension and unresolved feelings as well. There's frustration and political motivations at play. And then there's an agreement to become fake fiancees. Personally, I love the way it all develops.
This is a story of Avery having always been forced into the closet. All for political reasons. This is a story of Avery trying to be real to himself, as he learns he doesn't have to live under his father's shadow. And, wow, Rory has an interesting past, with a loving family who all fight to help those who can't help themselves. His family fights for equal rites and more and it's wonderful. And yes, it's a total contrast to Avery's family, as Avery's father works against gay rites, despite knowing his son is gay.
Not only is Avery gay, but he has a femme side that he's longing to explore. He likes silky clothes and makeup. This is a story with stockings, garters, and lace panties. It's all wonderful sexy and fun to read as with Rory, he finally finds someone who can support and encourage him. He's always been conservative on the outside, even though he's anything but. I love that Rory helps him to find himself.
Written in alternating 3rd person pov, the writing is great. The characters are complex and have a compelling journey. The pace and tone are enjoyable and I was left loving every second of this tale. I found myself experiencing all the emotions along with the men and I couldn't put this book down.
Faking a Groom is fantastic book. I definitely recommend this DJ Jamison read the next time you're in the mood for a fake fiancee romance. And if you love lingerie wearing men, this is a must read.
Avery knew that Gil wanted him to tell his father he was coming out, in no uncertain terms. He didn’t understand the manipulative powers Drake Kinkaid possessed. Or maybe he did, now that he worked for him. Avery had never been able to out-argue his father. Each time he tried, he found himself carefully repositioned, as if a piece on a chess board, until he was agreeing to his father’s terms.
“I don’t know what do,” Avery said. “I’ve tried to be patient, but he always talks me out of coming out. I think I’ve got my mind made up, and he somehow convinces me to keep waiting. I hate that I’m so damn weak.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself. Your dad is a politician. He persuades people for a living.”
“He’s always got a loophole,” Avery grumbled. “Like today. He said, it’d be different if—”
He stopped short, eyes locked on a man who walked past their table toward the bathrooms. Something about the shape of him and the way he moved—long legs, slim hips, smooth stride—reminded him of Rory.
He couldn’t see his face, but his hair was the right color. It was gathered in a knot at his neck instead of loose, so it was tough to gauge exact length, but damn, that ass. Was it possible to recognize a guy by his ass?
He blinked and looked back toward Gil. “Hmm?”
“You were saying that your father said it’d be different if…?”
“Oh.” He cleared his throat, trying to shake the vision of Rory and the niggling feeling that he should go talk to him. It felt significant that he was here tonight, if he was here. Avery wouldn’t put it past himself to imagine things. Rory had been on his mind a lot since the gala.
“My father said it’d be different if I was engaged. That he’d support me then.” His gaze drifted back to the bathrooms, watching as Rory emerged. He was sure it was him now. He’d recognize those sharp features anywhere. Heart thumping, he asked Gil, “Do you think he means that?”
“Maybe,” Gil said, though he sounded dubious. “I don’t know.”
Avery rapped the table with his knuckles. “Right. He could be bluffing. There’s only one way to find out.”
“And that is…”
Avery took a big swallow of his beer. Then grinned at Gil. “Guess I have to get engaged.”
Avery nodded. “You keep telling me to do something. Well, you’re right. I have to call my father’s bluff.”
“Oh, Avery, I don’t know…”
“I’ve got the perfect person in mind to help me.”
“Uh…who is that?”
“Rory, the guy who left you because you wouldn’t leave the closet? How is he the right—”
“Because he’s here,” Avery said, feeling euphoric as intoxication, years of regret and longing, and a desire to break free all coalesced into the best idea ever. “It’s fate, man. It’s like the universe is telling me to make my father put his money where his mouth is. He’s always got a reason, an excuse, a loophole. Well this time, I’ve got the loophole, and I’m going to take it.”
“By getting engaged,” Gil said disbelievingly. “To a man who dumped you.”
Avery laughed. “Crazy, right?”
“Yes,” Gil said emphatically.
“Good.” Avery shoved back his chair. “Because I’ve tried sane and respectful and calm. It’s time for a little crazy. It’s time for drastic action.”
“Yeah, but Avery…”
He held up a finger. “Hold that thought. I have to go propose to the man who got away.”
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