Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Kink Aware (Kiss of Leather 9) by Morticia Knight - Release Blitz



Book Title: Kink Aware (Kiss of Leather 9)

Author: Morticia Knight

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Genre/s: Gay/Genderqueer BDSM Contemporary Romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 58 500 words/184 pages

It can be read as a standalone story, although part of a series. 

If it is part of a series are the other books also available for review? Yes

Release Date: December 18, 2018


Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon Germany


Blurb

Working at Rogue Ink is a dream job for Cruella, especially being around the hunky co-owner, Ray. Even though the money isn’t great, the eye candy and Ray’s caring heart make it all worthwhile. When Cruella risks rejection by inviting Ray to be their partner for a shibari class at Kiss of Leather, they’re thrilled when Ray accepts.

Cruella’s invitation both excites and terrifies Ray. He wants Cruella, but does he also want to become more kink aware? Still, he could kick himself for not making a move yet on the sweet and beautiful Cruella, so maybe this is his chance. His protective instincts have gotten him into serious trouble before, so he’ll be sure not to make the same mistake with Cruella. They’ve made it clear they can take care of themself.

Cruella fears that Ray won’t accept their genderqueer identity and Ray aches to be the strong man Cruella needs. However, when Cruella’s dark past intrudes on their blissful present—Ray’s definition of strength might turn out to be harsher than Cruella is willing to accept.


Excerpt

I don’t know why I torture myself like this.

Cruella slid each delectable garment along the new arrivals rail in the Rags & Rhinestones vintage clothing store, almost drooling over the spectacular collection of goodies that Heath had picked up at an estate sale over the weekend. Their rather limited clothing allowance of the past couple months had gone to purchase rope for the shibari class. They sighed. It would be soworth it if Ray would let them tie him up in bed.

It certainly seemed to turn him on the other night when I suggested it.

If they were being honest, the idea had them rather hot too. When they had originally signed up for the class, the eroticism of the art hadn’t been the strongest attraction to learning shibari. At least not in terms of tying up a partner for sex. Their thought process had been more along the lines of the visual appeal, not necessarily using it as a prelude to, or as part of, making love.

They stepped behind a round rack to conceal their arousal as their mind wandered to Saturday morning when Ray had kneeled before them in the shower and sucked them to completion. While they’d never viewed themselves as someone who wanted to dominate a partner, they’d begun to consider that the desire to do so had been there all along but hadn’t been allowed to flourish.

That sure as hell was the case with Tucker.

Ray on his knees, Ray tied up and at their mercy, Ray beneath them as they fucked him into the mattress—all those scenarios had been playing on a loop in their head ever since they’d last seen him. They knew one thing for sure, when they got together with Ray that night to finally work on their class project, they were going to get a little rope action in bed if nothing else.

“Hey, Cruella. See anything you like?”

Cruella glanced up at the shop owner, Heath. “Hi, hon. Trust me, I see plenty I like.” Cruella let out another mournful sigh. “But I’m broke this month.”

Heath tsked, shaking his head. “I keep telling you, come work for me. You have a better sense of style than anyone who’s ever worked here, andyou’d get an employee discount.”

Cruella barked out a laugh. “And never come home with a paycheck. No, they pay me well at Rogue, at least a couple more bucks an hour then I would get for that type of job. Especially since I’m not a manager or anything.”

“I’ll match what they’re giving you right now, with an eye toward making you a manager here eventually.”

Cruella blinked repeatedly as they stared at the tall, blond-haired cutie they’d come to know over the past few years of being a regular at the shop. Heath had teased them more than once about coming to work for him, but had never made such a serious offer. Cruella hadn’t been kidding, though, about never coming home with a paycheck. The killer clothes, shoes and handbags that regularly filled the shop to the brim would suck the cash right out of their pocket. Their buyer resistance was next to non-existent.

“You can’t be serious, hon. Why would you do that? And why do you need a manager?”

Heath draped an elbow over the rail and leaned against the rack. “So fucking serious, doll, you have no idea. Look, to begin with, most of the staff who come through here are either clueless and couldn’t give two shits about fashion or chose this job by wandering down the street until they spotted it and thought, ‘gee, this looks like a great place to steal from.’ I can’t even with these losers anymore.” Heath glanced around the shop, the few other customers in the large, rectangular space seemingly lost in their own perusing. He leaned in closer. “I love this shop. I’m flippin’ proud of what I built up over the past five years. But damn, honey. I haven’t had a social life since I turned twenty-two.” Heath huffed. “And I was only out and proud for two years before that, so this girl hasn’t had nearly as much fun as she should’ve by now.”

Cruella fingered the nineteen-twenties mauve velvet coat that they could totally picture themselves in and considered Heath’s words. “Wow, I guess I never thought about how much work it must take to run this place on your own. Although, the owners of Rogue seem to work nonstop. But at least there’s three of them to handle the responsibility.”

Heath furrowed his brow. “Is that little sweetheart who was kidnapped still doing okay?”

After the dust had settled from the horrible events surrounding Liam’s kidnapping, Cruella had been able to work out that Heath’s shop was where Neal had called the police from.

“He’s doing fine. I think in his case having the responsibility of a new business has done wonders at keeping him distracted and dwelling on what happened.” Cruella chuckled. “Of course, his fiancé keeps him more than distracted enough anyway.”

Heath smiled. “That’s good to hear.” Heath glanced over his shoulder as someone approached the register. “Listen, you think about what I said.” He squeezed Cruella’s arm. “I meant every word.”

Cruella let their finger run down the beaded edging of the coat until they found the price tag. They sucked in a sharp breath as they absorbed the amount of the vintage item. Two hundred and twenty-five dollars. They whimpered. I wonder how muchof a discount?

About the Author 


Author Morticia Knight spends most of her nights writing about men loving men forever after. If there happens to be some friendly bondage or floggings involved, she doesn’t begrudge her characters whatever their filthy little hearts desire. Even though she’s been crafting her naughty tales for more years than she’d like to share—her adventures as a published author began in 2011. Since then, she’s been fortunate enough to have several books on bestseller lists along with titles receiving recognition in the Rainbow Book Awards, Divine Magazine and Love Romance Café.

Once upon a time she was the lead singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She currently resides on the North Oregon coast and when she’s not fantasizing about hot men, she takes walks along the ocean and annoys the local Karaoke bar patrons.

Author Links: Blog/Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram



Monday, 17 December 2018

Little Harbour by Sophia Soames - Book Blast



Book Title: Little Harbour

Author: Sophia Soames

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Miriam Latu 

Genre/s: M/M, contemporary romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 135 377 words/468 pages

It is a standalone story and is the first book in series of stories set in Scandinavia.


Tagline

A story of love and grief, second chances, and family life. An M/M GFY-ish romance, featuring a hoard of feral children, a stolen pram, a Midwifery blog and an ill advised stint on TV. Oh yes and a Man who has lost hope and another who never gave it up.

Blurb

This is a story about life and death. Because there has never been anyone else for Jens. He had been with Sofie almost all his life, from the day they met at school when they were fifteen, until the day she took her final breath against his chest. She was always everything to him. As he was to her. He never doubted that. Not for a minute.

This is a story of hope, where Axel Kleve keeps himself too busy to even stop and think. Work, sleep, eat, repeat. He loves his job as a Midwife at Oslo’s University Hospital, He’s good at lecturing and training, and now he has somehow been pushed into running “Ask Axel,” a midwifery blog on PNN.no, the parenting-site everyone in Norway trusts.

This is a tale of second chances. Jens, he doesn't let himself think of Axel. He doesn't think of Axel at all. And Axel needs to stop longing for that one crush he’s never been able to leave behind. It’s just plain ridiculous. He should have got over Jens Sommerfeldt years ago.

A song about family and love and happiness found in small doses. Of trying to parent when you don’t know how. Of finding love where you always knew it lived.

This is the story of a little harbour. The place in your heart you didn’t know was there.


Buy Links: Amazon US  | Amazon UK

- Available on Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt

“Can I have a hug? Please?” Axel asks. He can’t help it. He needs one. He needs to know that Jens is still Jens. His Jens. The one who hugged him every time they met up all those years ago. Jens always hugged him to say hello. Always hugged him goodbye. Always. He needs Jens to still be Jens.

Jens doesn't hug him. Jens body slams him, so hard Axel thinks he might fall over. Stumbling backwards while Jens’ arms are squeezing him, so hard he can’t breathe, and there is hot breath against Axel’s neck and it is so Jens. All-consumingly Jens. Allhim.

“I fucking missed you so much.” Jens whispers, his voice hoarse and quiet.

I’m all yours.” Axel whispers back. “I always was.”

About the Author 

Sophia Soames should be old enough to know better but has barely grown up. She has been known to fangirl over tv-shows, has fallen in and out of love with more popstars than she dares to remember, and has a ridiculously high-flying (un-) glamourous real-life job.

Her long-suffering husband just laughs at her antics. Their children are feral. The AuPair just sighs. She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in Scandinavia.

Discovering that the stories in her head make sense when written down has been part of the most hilarious midlife crisis ever and she hopes it may long continue.

Author Links:

Facebook: Sophia Soames

Twitter: @sophiasoames 

instagram: sophiasoames

Tumblr: sophia soames
 
Rafflecopter Giveaway




Come and enter a super chilled Scandinavian style laid back competition. Just sit back, follow Sophia on social media if you wish, and enter to win a cozy Little Harbour inspired  ‘Hygge’ pack featuring a Little Harbour printed tea towel and an Amazon £10 gift card. And it wouldn’t be Scandinavian without FIKA, so I will throw in a $5 Starbucks gift voucher too. How is that for a relaxing prize?

Competition ends December 22 and 3 (yes 3!) lucky winners will be drawn to win a Hygge pack each. Good luck!

 



Sunday, 16 December 2018

The Map of Salt & Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar




Reading Group Read
357 pages

Blurb

The story of two girls living eight hundred years apart—a modern-day Syrian refugee seeking safety and a medieval adventurer apprenticed to a legendary mapmaker.

It is the summer of 2011, and Nour has just lost her father to cancer. Her mother, a cartographer who creates unusual, hand-painted maps, decides to move Nour and her sisters from New York City back to Syria to be closer to their family. But the country Nour’s mother once knew is changing, and it isn’t long before protests and shelling threaten their quiet Homs neighborhood. When a shell destroys Nour’s house and almost takes her life, she and her family are forced to choose: stay and risk more violence or flee as refugees across seven countries of the Middle East and North Africa in search of safety. As their journey becomes more and more challenging, Nour’s idea of home becomes a dream she struggles to remember and a hope she cannot live without.

More than eight hundred years earlier, Rawiya, sixteen and a widow’s daughter, knows she must do something to help her impoverished mother. Restless and longing to see the world, she leaves home to seek her fortune. Disguising herself as a boy named Rami, she becomes an apprentice to al-Idrisi, who has been commissioned by King Roger II of Sicily to create a map of the world. In his employ, Rawiya embarks on an epic journey across the Middle East and the north of Africa where she encounters ferocious mythical beasts, epic battles, and real historical figures.

Review

“The winter before Baba went in the earth, he never missed a bedtime story. Baba made my favourite one, the story of the mapmaker’s apprentice, last two whole months. Mama listened at the door, getting Baba a glass of water when he got hoarse. When he lost his voice, I told the ending. Then the story was ours…”

This is a very hard book for me to review.

For the most part, I adored this book. It’s gloriously written with the words providing such evocative details that it is almost possible to see the scenes, smell the aromas, and feel the sensations. This vividness is only enhanced by the fact that young Nour has synesthetes which means that she perceives the spoken word in color. It is impossible to read her tale and not become fully aware of the horrors of war and the desperate situation refugees find themselves in. In fact, this book would have been an almost endless list of the horrors those who are unlucky enough to find themselves in parts of the world torn apart by war and conflict find themselves in, if it hadn’t been for the story about Rawiya, which, while fictional, runs parallel with Nour’s tale.

Rawiya and her ‘straight from a thousand and one nights’ adventure are a perfect addition to this story. Rawiya’s voyage and adventures show many parallels with the journey Nour and her family are forced to undertake. But because it’s a fairytale, Rawiya’s obstacles and dangerous encounters are all overcome through a mixture of bravery and good old fashioned good luck.

The addition of Rawiya’s tale is also a clever device in that the story gives eleven year young Nour a frame of reference the real world can’t provide. Nour has to learn about the harsh realities of life under the most dire of circumstances. It’s a crash course in growing up for her while she learns that the world is sometimes anything but friendly, welcoming, or save.

Having said all that, I did have one major issue with this story and that is that too me, Nour never read as an 11 year young girl. The words she uses and the thoughts she has sounded much older than she is supposed to be.

“I wonder if almost can cost you as much as did, if the real wound is the moment you understand that you can do nothing.”

This quote of Nour’s thoughts after she and her older sister are attacked by men, sounds like something a grown up might think, not the musings of a child, no matter how fast she has to grow up.

So, I’m a bit torn. The story touched me deeply. I loved the clever parallels between the fictional story and Nour’s reality. I loved the metaphor provided by the maps, which detail so much more than 'just' the places we live in and travel through. And I was impressed at how the author managed to make this story both a vivid and stark reflection of the reality refugees face and a convincing coming of age story. I’m just not convinced Nour’s voice was appropriate for a character her age and, unfortunately, that fact did pull me out of the story once or twice. No matter how beautiful, at times poetic even, the dialogue and thoughts were, I never really believed they were Nour’s. Which is why I’m giving this memorable, thought-provoking, and gorgeously written story ‘only’ four stars.




Saturday, 15 December 2018

Operation Toy Rescue by Sarah Hadley Brook - Release Blitz



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books

Length: 29,000 words approx.

Publisher: JMS Books

Blurb

When Jules Evergreen lands in trouble at the North Pole and gets shipped off to Snow Hope Island for ninety days, he never expects to take up the cause of the forgotten toys waiting for new homes. Falling for his new boss is not on the agenda either, but his heart has other ideas.

Felix Winterson has grown up on Snow Hope Island and now runs the place. He isn’t thrilled when party boy Jules arrives, and Felix tries hard to ignore the man’s charms. He has other problems, anyway. For years he’s tried to get Santa to look at the growing inventory of damaged toys in the warehouse, to no avail.


When Jules comes up with a plan to save the toys, the men find themselves working closely together. As Christmas Eve looms, there’s a lot at stake. Can they save Snow Hope, convince Santa to rescue the toys, and fall in love all at the same time?


Excerpt

He was surprised that no one else was in the building yet. Unless they were upstairs in the loft, or locked away in an office. He thought he’d seen Eve’s coat hanging from a peg up front.


Jules opened the laptop and logged in, ready to get started. He really wanted to take that trip to the warehouse with Felix and the quicker he finished logging things in, the quicker that could happen. As he carefully opened a rather large box, he heard a door open and turned to see Felix, Eve, and Zuzu hurry out of Felix’s office. All wore a look of panic and his heart jumped.


“What’s wrong?” he asked as Eve grew closer.


“The Big Guy is coming for a visit three days before Christmas! We just found out. He never does this. Never, Jules.” Her voice rose as she spilled the news.


Jules glanced at Felix and caught his eye, holding it for a moment. “Isn’t Santa coming a good thing?” he asked, confused.


“We don’t know. He never does this. Never,” Eve reiterated.


“She’s right. He doesn’t. What if he wants to make major changes? Or move us to the North Pole?” Felix asked.


Jules crinkled his brow. In his mind, moving to the North Pole would be great. Felix would be closer to Jules. “You don’t want to live at the North Pole?”


All three of them looked at him in shock, their mouths gaping open.


“What?” he asked.


“The North Pole is headquarters. It’s chaos,” Zuzu explained.


Okay, I’ll give them that. But there were good things, too.


“But you’d be closer to ...” he flicked his gaze to Felix and felt his cheeks heat up. “The main operation,” he finished lamely.


“But we like it here. Our island is beautiful and we’re like a family. What if we’re torn apart?”


“I don’t think Santa --”


“You don’t know, Jules,” Eve broke in. “Maybe he thinks we don’t do enough to help these toys.”


Felix was vigorously nodding his agreement, so Jules shut his mouth and sat down in front of his laptop, considering the possibilities. He finally glanced back up, his lips curving up into a small smile as he eyed all three. “Then I guess there’s only one thing to do, guys. We need to show Santa how important the island is to children all over the globe.”


“How do we do that?” Eve asked quietly, her brow furrowed.


“By developing a kick ass plan to get these ‘inadequate toys’ into the hands of kids,” he explained, using air quotes. It was really just expanding what he and Felix had talked about last night. But calling it a plan made it feel more real. More promising.


Again, they gaped at him. Well, all but Felix. He was grinning. Happiness filled Jules’s chest and his heart raced as he grinned back, warmth spreading through him. Their gazes held and Jules felt like Felix was peering inside of him. Like he was seeing the real Jules. Not the guy that always screwed up. Not the guy that only thought of himself. But the one that finally -- finally -- wanted to do something worthy. Something that would bring others joy.


“Jules is right. We need to work together to show Santa we can handle the responsibility of taking care of the toys on this island. To prepare them for new homes. To convince him to take them with him on Christmas Eve.” Felix straightened his shoulders as determination flitted across his face and hope flashed in his eyes.


Jules couldn’t look away. The man was beautiful in every way.


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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A Hometown Holiday by K. Evan Coles




Publisher: Wicked Fingers Press

Pages: 55

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Available to read in KU

Blurb

Life in a college town suits Josh Cassidy. He has good friends and neighbors, and the bookshop café he runs with his family is thriving. As the winter holidays begin, Josh finds himself enamored with police officer, Alex Curiel, an old friend who has recently moved back to town. The trouble is, Alex isn’t ready for the world to know he’s attracted to men.

At Alex’s request, Josh agrees to closet their relationship, but the secrecy quickly becomes a burden. When Josh realizes he is falling for Alex, he has more and more trouble denying his feelings. Soon, both men are forced to decide if hiding behind closed doors is the kind of future they’re looking for.

Excerpt

After work, Josh walked four blocks down Pleasant Street to Jamison’s Pub. He smiled as he imagined his sister’s knowing look, especially after he found Alex at the bar talking with Matt, who was pouring drinks for the after-work and -school crowd. Alex glanced up at Josh’s approach and his smile seemed to light the room.

“Hey, Josh.” Matt set his hands on the bar top. “Alex was just telling me that you’ve been making him listen to your old man music.”

Alex grimaced. “I never called it old man music.”

“No, I did,” Matt countered.

“And I said that I didn’t mind listening to it,” Alex said. “A roommate of mine in college liked jazz.”

“Then your roommate had crap taste in music, too.” Matt moved to pour a pint of Josh’s favorite ale. “Listen, man. Josh and I met on the first day of kindergarten. He’s always been a scrawny, ginger-headed fuckface who listens to oldies and worships the Rat Pack.”

Josh shrugged out of his coat and pulled up a stool. “Now you’re just making shit up. I didn’t start listening to jazz until middle school and I’ve never worshipped the Rat Pack. I’m not even scrawny anymore. It’s not my fault you can’t see past Coldplay and Radiohead. Both bands I like, by the way,” he said to Alex.

Matt made an exasperated sound. “And you wonder why you’re still single.”

“Some people like a little variety.” Josh accepted the pint Matt handed him with a smile. “And one of these days, the right man is going to figure out that I know what I’m talking about when it comes to the old man music. Now shut up and give me a menu, please, because I feel the urge to eat myself into a food coma.”

Matt slapped some menus down before he moved away to take another order, and Alex eyed Josh with a grin.

“The right man, huh?”

Josh smiled. “It could happen. Sorry I was late.”

“I should hope so. Matt started harassing me the minute I set foot in the door, and I’m so hungry I could eat my own hand.”

“Oh, shit.” Josh laughed. “Well, that’s easy enough to fix. How about we split an order of poutine? Would that make you happy?”

“Yes, it would.” Alex’s eyes gleamed. He loved the decadent combination of French fried potatoes, brown gravy, and cheese curds. “But I thought you weren’t a fan?”

“It’s growing on me. Besides, the look on your face every time you eat it makes up for the weird, funky cheese.”

“Okay then, poutine to start.” Alex laughed and ran a hand over his chin. “I sort of dig your music, you know, no matter what Matt says. It’s wild and beautiful.” He dropped the hand to his beer glass and brushed his knuckles against Josh’s. “Like you. You’re beautiful,” he murmured.

For a moment, Josh forgot where they were. He forgot that he and Alex were keeping a secret, and were far more than friends behind closed doors. His cheeks flushed, his heart beat a little faster, and he simply admired Alex’s handsome face.

“You’re the beautiful one,” he said, voice quiet.
They continued like that while they ate—flirting while pretending they were not, almost touching but never quite daring—and Josh’s desire burned hotter with every minute. After dinner, the short drive from the pub to Josh’s house seemed to take forever, and the front door had hardly closed behind them before they pounced on each other.

Review

Oh my. This short story captivated me from start to finish. There was so much in it I loved. For starters, there’s the bookshop café Josh runs with his parents and sister, and the wonderful, loving, and supportive relationship he has with them. Josh’s friend Matt, was just as amazing as his family. And finally, there’s his steamy relationship with Alex. Except, that’s also where we run into trouble, because while Josh would love nothing more than have a real and publicly known relationship with Alex, the man he’s fallen for isn’t out of the closet and not only not sure when he’ll come out but uncertain whether he’ll ever take the risk.

Because the whole story is told from Josh’s perspective, we only get a real impression of his feelings. But, between the lines and through Josh’s observations, it is impossible not to be aware of Alex’s struggle as he’s torn between the feelings he’s obviously developing and his deep fear about what coming out—to his Catholic family and to his colleagues on the police force—might mean for him.

I adored the banter between Josh and both his sister and Matt. The sexy scenes between Alex and Josh left me somewhat breathless. But what I loved most in this story is the way in which family and friends rallied around first for Josh and subsequently for Alex.

I don’t want to say a whole lot else about the story. Alex’s journey and the way it ended was both inspired and heartwarming and should not be spoiled by a careless review.

A Hometown Holiday is a wonderful, uplifting, enthralling, and deliciously sexy story with the just the right amount of angst to keep it from becoming too good to be true.

Author Bio


K. Evan Coles is a mother and tech pirate by day and a writer by night. She is a dreamer who, with a little hard work and a lot of good coffee, coaxes words out of her head and onto paper.

K. lives in the northeast United States, where she complains bitterly about the winters, but truly loves the region and its diverse, tenacious and deceptively compassionate people. You’ll usually find K. nerding out over books, movies and television with friends and family. She’s especially proud to be raising her son as part of a new generation of unabashed geeks.

K.’s books explore LGBTQ+ romance in contemporary settings.

Published Work:


Pride Publishing (Totally Entwined Group)

Tidal Series w/ Brigham Vaughn (Novels)
Wake (May 2017)
Calm (August 2017)

The Speakeasy w/ Brigham Vaughn (Novels)
With a Twist (Coming 2018)
Extra Dirty (Coming 2019)
Behind the Stick (TBD)

Boston Seasons (Novels)
Third Time’s the Charm (Coming 2019)


Off Topic Press (Self-Published)

Inked in Blood w/ Brigham Vaughn (Short Story)

Wicked Fingers Press (Self-Published)

Moonlight (Short Story)
A Hometown Holiday (Short Story)





Friday, 14 December 2018

Romancing the Undercover Millionaire by Clare London - Review Tour





Length: 65,072 words 

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Design: Alexandria Corza

Blurb

Can poverty and privilege find a loving compromise?


Alexandre Bonfils, a rich and spoiled second son, is tired of being ignored and decides to help when the family’s exclusive wine business is in trouble. Going undercover in the warehouse, he loves the adventure—and the chance to be close to the sassy and sexy manager, Tate Somerton.


Tate is hardworking and financially struggling, bringing up his siblings on his own. A suspected saboteur at work is his latest challenge, but now he also has a clueless, though very attractive, new intern. There’s an immediate spark between the ill-matched couple, until a shocking accident cuts short Alex’s amateur sleuthing.


While recovering in the generous care of Tate and his family, will Alex realize what belonging really means? Passion and pride come together to fight for the company they’re both committed to preserving, but can a personal bond remain when the dust settles?




Dec 4 - BFD Book Blog, Urban Smoothie Read, My Fiction Nook, Dec 6 - Amy's MM Romance Reviews, Dec 8 - The Geekery Book Review, Two Chicks Obsessed, Dec 12 - Bayou Book Junkie, Dec 14 - Valerie Ullmer, Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, The Way She Reads, Lillian Francis, Megan's Media Melange, MM Good Book Reviews


Excerpt

“ALEXANDRE, GOOD morning.” Charles Bonfils, the patriarch of Bonfils Bibendum, the highly prestigious London wine merchants, a cousin of an English baronet, and a personal multimillionaire—if he ever had the poor manners to share actual financials with anyone other than his personal advisors—inclined his distinguished, salt-and-pepper-haired head at the young man sitting on the other side of his desk. “Good of you to turn up on time.”

Alex Bonfils inwardly winced. His father was one of the few people who could, without fail, make him feel four years old again. He resisted rubbing his palms dry on his designer slacks, but only just, and nodded in reply. “Papa, when you call, I come. Of course.”


Charles lifted one eyebrow; that was all.


It was enough.


“Father.” Alex took a deep breath and ran his hand through his blond hair, inevitably destroying the artful work of his personal stylist. “Okay, so I know I haven’t been your most reliable son—”


“I only have two,” Charles murmured. “And all I ask is that they are both full participants in the family business. Or any legitimate business, for that matter.” He sounded calm, but his fingers tightened dangerously around his antique ink pen.


“Yeah.” Alex assumed this summons was something to do with him missing the latest Bonfils management meeting. Or maybe it was because of those embarrassing paparazzi pictures taken in the nightclub last weekend with the twin male models. Or when he gate-crashed the Queen’s garden party last summer, or the fact that Alex had never bothered to finish his university business management course, preferring to go backpacking in Ibiza, or… or… oh, many more examples of how he continued to disappoint his august Papa.


“I think the time has come to face facts,” Charles said.


“Yes? I mean, it has? What about?”


Charles grimaced, obviously struggling to keep his temper. “You have shown little enthusiasm in the business to date, whereas Henri….”


Alex bit back a snort. Henri. His revered, very sober and sensible elder brother, with a gorgeous aristocratic wife and two precocious children to carry on the Bonfils family line. Henri was their father’s chosen heir to the business dynasty. Henri was brighter, smarter, more reliable, more respectable, more predictable—


“Alexandre? Are you listening to me?”


Alex jolted back to attention. “Sure. Go on. You were talking about Henri. How does that affect me?” He hadn’t meant to sound snappy, but constant comparison to a preferred sibling would do that to a guy.


“He’s Bonfils’s CEO for a reason, Alex. He’s committed to the company, a fierce supporter of the industry. He listens, and he learns. Then he works hard.”


The implication was there—Henri was and did all the things Alex wasn’t and didn’t.


“I can work hard.” Alex wished he sounded less defensive. He could work hard. He was just so rarely inspired to. Or rather, he was distracted by things more exciting, more dramatic, more intriguing than profit and loss accounts, stock turnover ratios, and five-year operational budgets.


He hid his shudder at the mere thought.


Surprisingly, his father didn’t scorn his protest. Instead, his gaze almost softened. “Believe me, I know you can. And you do, for the things you love. You have many excellent qualities, and the good intention of using them. But I can’t rely on mere intention for the continuing, successful management of this company. It needs to be your life’s work.”


Alex blinked hard. What was Charles saying? “Jesus, Papa. Are you firing me?”


Charles blew out a tight breath. “I cannot fire you, as you so quaintly put it, when you have a unique position as my son. However, I see no reason to burden you with an operational role any longer.” His tone hardened. “Alexandre, I think you should find yourself a new, personally satisfying project. You will no longer be needed at the monthly management meetings. Your personal allowance will continue—it was your mother’s last wish that all members of the family are supported, regardless of their role in the business—but I think it best for both our expectations if you distance yourself for a while from Bonfils’s Bibendum.” He placed his pen down on the desk blotter with exaggerated care.


Alex was speechless. It was an unfamiliar status.


For a long moment, Charles was still. Then he stood and half lifted his hand from his side, as if he was about to shake Alex’s hand or maybe—just maybe—pat him on the shoulder. Instead, he sighed deeply and gestured gently toward the door for Alex to leave. “And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment elsewhere.”


Review


Now here’s a thoroughly enjoyable read if ever I saw one. I mean, what’s not to like about an opposites attract despite class differences story, especially when you add a spoiled rich man who turns out to have a heart of gold and a hardworking de facto family man slowly learning to let go of the tight hold on his life. Throw in a bit of a mystery as well as vibrant and inspired secondary characters, and you have a story you’ll almost certainly read in one sitting (well, I did).

This story is a clear case of first impressions being deceptive. Alex(andre) may at first appear to be a something of an entitled brat, with too much money and not enough sense, it soon becomes clear that while that may have been his reality for a while, it is not because that’s his default character trait. As soon as he places himself (somewhat thoughtlessly) in a situation where he can’t call on his privilege and family connections, his eyes open to the realities most people face from day to day and what’s more, he learns from those revelations and new experiences to reveal that beneath the privilege he has a heart of gold.

Tate is a good soul trying to be everything to everybody while completely forgetting and/or ignoring that he is a man with needs too. I loved how protective he was of those who’d been placed in his care, although there were also times when I felt it wouldn’t hurt anyone if he just relaxed a little.

Tate and Alex together were a delight. Their attraction is pretty much instantaneous and the subsequent journey from mates via friends with benefits to something more yet hard to define, was fun, touching and at times rather hot.

Special mention should be made of the secondary characters. Tate’s siblings, granny, and best friend were all vivid in a jump off the page sorta way. The same is true for Tate and Alex’s co-workers. The banter is all deliciously British and the strong connections between the characters obvious, despite their somewhat boisterous interactions.


This is a Dreamspun Desire, so it shouldn’t’ come as a surprise to anyone that the ending is borderline too-good-to-be-true. And the ‘mystery’ in this book wasn’t all that mysterious. Neither of those things took anything away from the pure enjoyment reading this book was: four hours lost in a romantic fairytale.

Author Bio



Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.


She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.


Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind... she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.


Clare loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her here:





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