Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Slow Dating the Detective by Sue Brown - Release Day Review

Cowboys & Angels #3

189 Pages


A gentle bartender might have what it takes to mend a relationship-phobic detective’s broken heart… but first they have to admit they’re dating.

Keenan Day could kick himself for letting the hot, dark-haired stranger he met outside a strip club get away. Instead of a phone number, he gets a punch in the face—from the boyfriend of his prospective employer at the Cowboys and Angels bar. When two cops come to check up on him, one is the sexy stranger, Detective Nate Gordon.

The initial attraction hasn’t cooled, and though Nate is leery of commitment, one hookup turns into another until they’re seeing each other in everything but name. After a recent nasty breakup, Nate balks at being part of a couple, and Keenan agrees, even though that’s all he’s ever wanted.

Just as they reach a standstill, a crisis shows them what their friends have known all along—they’ve already moved way past hookups. Now they just have to decide how to move forward.


Slow Dating the Detective is the third and, as far as I know, last installment in the Cowboys & Angels series, and it’s a delightful, at times touching and often steamy, read.

To be fair, it should be surprising I use the word delightful because these two men are guilty of committing what I consider a most serious relationship crime, not communicating, for the longest time.

But let me start at the beginning and the meeting of two men who are obviously attracted to each other, but don’t get the opportunity to act on it. The frustration of that first encounter appears to be something that will stay with them, even once they do meet up and act on that attraction. There’s no doubt these two men find it impossible to ignore each other, but it’s just as clear neither of them is sure what to make of that fact.

Keenan is a charming but somewhat broken man, who’s lost a lot of his confidence after an accident that also ruined his career and future plans. When he also loses his current job, his life appears to spin out of control until he’s offered a job in Cowboys & Angels.

Nate is a bit more of a dark horse in this book since the story is told from Keenan’s perspective and we only get to guess at his motives, thoughts, and feelings. Nate makes it perfectly clear that he doesn’t date, and Keenan takes his word for that, despite the fact that they spend more and more time together going on what closely resembles…dates.

What follows is a process of one step forwards two steps back that leaves Keenan questioning everything: Nate, his feelings, what he wants, and what he is prepared to put up with. As is so always the case, Nate and Keenan need a shocking and devastating crisis as well as a good talking to from people close to them before they open their eyes, trust their hearts, and, at last, start talking about things that matter.

As I said, this was a delightful read. It was wonderful to reconnect with characters from Speed Dating the Boss and the cast of secondary characters, young and old, were vivid and charming. While there were one or two moments I would have loved to hit Nate and Keenan’s heads together to get them to see sense, there far more moments when I smiled
or even laughed out loud, making this book a well-rounded and hard to put down read. And if one thing is never in doubt it is that these two men are very well matched in general and made for each other when it comes to sex, leading to several enticing and rather hot scenes.

Long story short, I thoroughly enjoyed this story from start to finish.

I just discovered, to my shock, that I somehow managed to miss reading Secretly Dating the Lionman, which is an oversight I intent to fix shortly.

Related review: Speed Dating the Boss

Sunday, 27 October 2019

When All Is Said by Anne Griffin

272 words
Book Club Read


Five toasts. Five people. One lifetime.

'An extraordinary novel, a poetic writer, and a story that moved me to tears.' John Boyne

'I'm here to remember - all that I have been and all that I will never be again.'

At the bar of a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan. He's alone, as usual - though tonight is anything but. Pull up a stool and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally ready to tell his story. Over the course of this evening, he will raise five toasts to the five people who have meant the most to him. Through these stories - of unspoken joy and regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden, a fierce love that never found its voice - the life of one man will be powerfully and poignantly laid bare.

Heart-breaking and heart-warming all at once, the voice of Maurice Hannigan will stay with you long after all is said.

'A hugely enjoyable, engrossing novel, a genuine page-turner.' Donal Ryan


“I’m here to remember – all that I have been and all that I never be again.”

I know that line is in the blurb too, but it is so powerful I had to repeat it here, in my review. It is the essence of this book, a vivid description of Maurice Hannigan’s evening. Because the question at the soul of this book, as far as I’m concerned, is what constitutes a life? What matters when we near the end and we make up the balance of the years we’ve lived? Which are the memories that we hold on to and the ones we can’t shake, no matter how much we might want to? And who were the people who worked their way into our hearts and never left, even after their physical presence on earth came to an end?

As Maurice takes up his usual spot in the bar of the hotel, situated in a building that has haunted his life, he ‘talks’ to his son, who isn’t there and will therefore never hear the full tale of his father’s life. Unsurprisingly, it is in large part a tale of loss. The loss of Tony, who died too young of TB. The loss of Molly, Maurice’s baby girl who never had a chance to live. The loss of Noleen, his sister in law who despite having mental health issues played such a pivotal role in Maurice’s life. Maurice’s toast to Kevin, his son, isn’t at first glance, about loss. Kevin is still very much alive. But maybe that makes this toast even sadder, because it’s clear Maurice believes he never fully connected with his only child, who was the complete opposite of him. The final and biggest loss of all, the one that broke the camel’s back, is that of his wife, Sadie.

“No one, no one really knows loss until it’s someone you love. The deep-down kind of love that holds on to your bones and digs itself right in under your fingernails, as hard to budge as the years of compacted earth. And when it’s gone…it’s as if its’ been ripped from you. Raw and exposed, you stand dripping blood all over the good feckin’ carpet. Half-human, half-dead, one foot already in the grave.”

I’ve known for almost thirty years that loss can be a physical pain. And that, while the body recovers, the heart and mind take longer, and refuse to let go completely. That can be a blessing, but sometimes—and very clearly in Maurice’s case—good memories and even a life-time of love to remember and cherish are not enough to keep a person going. Combine loss with loneliness, and you come pretty close to a description of hell on earth.

“I didn’t need him to do anything other than just be alive.”

Poor Maurice, he blames himself for not being good enough to and for any of his loved ones. And yet, as I read his tale, all I could see what his humanity. He lived his life as most of us do, trying his best and not living up to the standards he sets himself. Because, while Maurice’s is the predominant voice in this story, you don’t have to read deeply between the lines to know that those he talks about would tell him he was more than good enough, despite his mistakes, misjudgments, and not always ideal decisions.

Part of me knew how this story would end when I read the blurb. All of me knew what was going to happen by the time I reached 5% of this story. For what it’s worth, I’m with Maurice on this one. Life may be and often is a gift. Gifts however, can be refused. And when a gift goes past its sell-by date, we are, or at least should be, allowed to discard it.

While I have no doubt there will be those who say that Maurice’s decision is selfish, I disagree. Because you can’t live your life for others alone.

Long story short, I loved this book. It took me through a full range of emotions, forced me to think and feel, and brought home, how much life has changed over the course of a life-time like Maurice’s. This is probably my favourite book club read of 2019, and I can’t wait until we get to discuss it. Opinions will, no doubt, be divided. 😊

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Matchstick Men (Hunt&Cam4Ever #1&2) by Adira August - Release Blitz

- Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow With Kindle Unlimited

Length: 248 pages.


Sometimes it's the cop who needs to hit the floor...

Haunted by the worst case of my career, I knew only one way to exorcise the images from my mind, the victim from my soul ...

Inside the club, I scanned the room. He was here—Camden Snow—a sex god in the guise of unpretentious youth. Only his ice-blue eyes gave evidence of the Dom who took whomever he wished, whatever way he wanted, with a look and a nod. Merciless. Cam found me watching him and fixed me with his arctic gaze. This time, I didn't walk away. He cocked an eyebrow.

The last thing I needed was mercy. I dropped to my knees.

Three days after their explosive first encounter ... 

It was munch night at the most elite underground BDSM club in the Rockies...

...relaxed and informal, highlighted by the weekly Matchstick Challenge game. Detective Sergeant Hunter Dane, reigning champion, looked forward to a relaxing evening to start his 3 days off. A few beers on the deck. A sexy interlude. Stumping a challenger with a new puzzle. Home early for a decent night's sleep.

But some people are so deadly serious about their games.

Now Hunt has a fresh body and a new puzzle to solve in twenty-four hours if he wants to find a killer.

And Dom Camden Snow comes along to help with a few games of his own in mind. Sherlock and John were never like this!

The complete text of the original novella On His Knees, the Hunt&Cam origin story, comprises Part One of this novel. Other books of this series, starting with Dancing Men, are available now exclusively on Amazon.

My reviews

I read part one and part two of this book before they had been bundled into one volume. Therefore, my review below comes in two parts.

Part 1: On His Knees

OMG. This was stunning. And while this book is more or less one long BDSM scene, that’s not actually what I refer to when I call this a gorgeous story. Because as hot as these two men are, that is not what captivated me.

Now, before I go any further, I need to get one thing out of the way. These two men play (although that doesn’t sound like quite the right word to in the context of this story) in a no-safeword dynamic. If that is something you have an issue with, this may not be the book for you.

This is the story of Hunter, a cop who’s just experienced the worst day of his life. He’s been intrigued by Cam, a Dom in the club he frequents. He normally has very strict boundaries when going to his club, which means playing with Cam is never going to be an option. On the night described in this book, Hunter is near breaking point and all too aware of it. He needs something and he’d rather fall to his knees in front of the Dom who doesn’t allow safewords than be crushed by the weight he wears.

Cam is the, literally, ALL demanding Dom in question. He knows Hunter and has been keeping an eye on him, knowing full well that their personal demands and expectations made them incompatible. Until they weren’t anymore…

Their scene together took my breath away. Not so much because it was hot, although God knows it really was. No, what really got to me was the way Cam was both exactly what Hunter expected and completely the opposite. I lost myself in both Cam’s and Hunter’s thoughts and observations. And the way in which Cam ‘broke’ Hunter with such exquisite care was breath taking.

Maybe the story could have been longer. It really is just one scene, a moment in time (but what a moment). But, since I knew there’s a second book featuring Hunter and Cam available, the length of the story didn’t bother me. I read it more like a prequel to what’s to come than a stand-alone story, I guess. But as such, it certainly worked.

Part 2: Matchstick Men

Occasionally I read a book that enthralls me to such an extent that I have no idea how to write my review or what to put in it, apart from ‘this book is magical! Go buy and read it! Now!’  

Matchstick Men was exactly such a book. I knew from the start that I was going to be in for a treat. I read On His Knees, the prequel to Matchstick Men, only two days ago and that short story blew my mind away. I yearned to spend more time with Hunt and Cam and was over the moon that the sequel was ready and waiting for me.

And then the author went and turned what would always have been a fascinating story into my personal catnip. Long before I ever discovered MM and BDSM, Mystery was my go-to genre. Putting two hot men in a D/s situation while they’re solving a mystery, well, it doesn’t get any better than that for me.

I’m still not entirely sure what to say about this story. It is clever, well plotted, perfectly paced, extremely hot, and impossible to put down. And, what’s more, this book actively involves the reader in the mysteries it contains. Of course there’s the murder itself. And, I have to admit, that I had the murderer pegged from the start. That is however no shortcoming on the author’s part but rather the result of me having read so many mysteries that I’m almost too good at recognising how the plot works. And besides, watching Hunt and Cam come to the conclusion I had reached earlier on was as fascinating as trying to figure out the mystery for myself would have been.

But, as much as I enjoyed the mystery and the resolution of it, my main interest (some might say obsession) in this book was the developing dynamic between Cam and Hunt. And, between the two of them, it is Hunter who has really piqued my interest. He is so sure he’s got himself completely figured out.

Hunter made no claim of sexual preference (…) He formed no attachments. He simply wasn’t able to.

In other words Hunt:

(…) needed men for power, women for sex and no one for intimacy.

Except that this lack of emotional attachments appears to be less black and white than Hunt likes to think. He may have convinced himself that he doesn’t form or need those bonds with others, I remain to be convinced. As does Cam, who refuses to take no for an answer and knows exactly what Hunter needs, when he needs it, and how to give it to him. In On His Knees Cam gave Hunt what he needed in order not to break:

“Extreme Domism (…) There are no limits. You have no safeword. You do nothing I do not order. I don’t stop until I’m done… You have one chance to walk away. Once I restrain you, nothing and no one can or will rescue you. I am all there is.”

In this book, while the Dom is still there a lot of the time, the extreme is in the background because it’s not what Hunt requires and because Cam now wants more.

“I want you to do what I say because you trust me to make you to feel good. Because you want from me what I want to give you.”

And so Cam introduces Hunt to another beautiful first.  No, I’m not going to tell you what that was, read the book J I will say that the moment took my breath away.

And yet, despite all his Dominance, Camden is ‘just’ a twenty-something young man. And I guess that’s one of the many magical aspects about this book; that Cam is not portrayed as the big bad Dom. He’s allowed to be young, and overwhelmed, and even out of his depth. Just as Hunt is so very much more than ‘just’ a sub (or even a switch). Hunt and Cam are a two way street and when they collide in the middle it is poetry in motion.

Through Cam’s eyes the reader gets to recognise that Hunt doesn’t see himself as clearly as he sees the world around him. And while he’s nowhere near ready to admit to himself that maybe he is capable of becoming emotionally attached to someone else, his own thoughts betray him at times.

“It occurred to me then, that Camden Snow was possibly the most complex, interesting person I’d ever met. Child. Champion. Clever analyst. Extreme Dom. And I barely knew him. It would be easy to become kind of obsessed with him, with solving the puzzle that he was.”

I apologise. I’ve been rambling above and I’m afraid I’m not sure how to fix it. I will however try to summarise my thoughts.

Matchstick Men is a combination of several intriguing mysteries. There’s the murder in the story, there’s the question who and what Hunter really is, and there is the matchstick puzzle for the reader to solve (answer kindly provided at the end of the book). Apart from that there’s the story about Camden and Hunter which takes us from (extreme) BDSM to pure love and back again. Every single aspect of this story is spellbindingly intriguing. It is safe to say that Adira August has captured me. I’ve only just finished this book and I’m already yearning for the next one. And I’ve got a feeling that if we ever get to ‘A Hunter Dane Investigation #3674’ I’ll still be gagging for more.

The Author

I don't write the fantasy HEA. But there are such things as commitments kept, caring unreservedly for another, and never giving up. Which means everything is a love story. Murder investigations included.

My characters and their stories are everything. Hunt and Cam, Ben and Avia, Mike and Cal are vibrant, passionate people. So there tends to be a lot of sex. And they are as real to me as my readers are.


Addi on Wordpress: https://adiraaugust.blog 

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Monday, 7 October 2019

Unfit to Print by K.J. Charles

145 pages
Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


When crusading lawyer Vikram Pandey sets out in search of a missing youth, his investigations take him to Holywell Street, London’s most notorious address. He expects to find a disgraceful array of sordid bookshops. He doesn’t expect one of them to be run by the long-lost friend whose disappearance and presumed death he’s been mourning for thirteen years.

Gil Lawless became a Holywell Street bookseller for his own reasons, and he’s damned if he’s going to apologise or listen to moralising from anyone. Not even Vikram; not even if the once-beloved boy has grown into a man who makes his mouth water.

Now the upright lawyer and the illicit bookseller need to work together to track down the missing youth. And on the way, they may even learn if there’s more than just memory and old affection binding them together...


Unfit to Print was a delightful read for a multitude of reasons.

First and foremost is K.J. Charles’ fabulous writing. Everything works. Her words flow, the conversations sparkle, and descriptions are vivid, taking you right into the setting—in this case, mostly a poor and sleazy part of 19th century London. As for the characters, they were fascinating. For some reason coloured people rarely spring to mind when I think of England in those times. I realise that’s unreasonable of me, especially since Great Britain really did rule the waves back then and had colonies all over the globe. After decades of reading historical books featuring only Caucasian characters, it was both a revelation and a delight to read a story in which they didn’t take centre stage.

As for those main characters, both Gil and Vikram captured my imagination from the moment they were introduced and not because they weren’t white. In fact, their ethnicity, while never completely out of the story, soon became an afterthought, secondary to the mystery Gil and Vikram were trying to solve and their personal reconnection.

Gil has been betrayed so badly he’s built a fortress around his heart.

“If you went around regretting things you might curl up and cry for the lost hopes and the ruined dreams, and bugger that for a game of tin soldiers.”

And Vikram is lost too, be it in a different way, as he struggles with the country he grew up in and the place he was born, a homeland he’s afraid to visit.

“So what if I went home and didn’t feel as though I belonged? […] If home wasn’t home at all, what—who—would I be then.”

These are two men with no real place in the world who, over the course of 124 pages managed to create their own space…together.

I enjoyed the mystery and its resolution, although to me the involvement of the young man Vikram is trying to find and Gil’s half brother posed a question which wasn’t asked or addressed in the book. I don’t mind that, I’ll jump to my own conclusions 😊 But, I think I enjoyed watching as the two men reconnected even more. Their journey from surprise, through reluctance, to embracing and expanding the feelings they had for each other over a decade earlier was glorious, sexy, and at times deeply touching.

What I loved most about this book though was K.J. Charles’ wonderful writing and how the words and phrases she used put the story in its time as much as—if not more then—the descriptions did. I gave one example of that above, and here’s another one:

“Percy’s eyes brimmed with happy malice.”

“Happy malice.” It’s such a wonderful description. It put a huge grin on my face when I read those words.

Long story short, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it was a timely reminder that I’ve got a few unread books by this author on my Kindle, which shouldn’t stay unread for too much longer.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Carnivora (part 1) by Lea Bronsen - Out Now

Hi, and thank you for having me on your blog!

I’ve always been fascinated by dark psychological thrillers that mess with your mind and keep you on the edge of your seat. I toyed with the genre writing my debut novel Wild Hearted, but labeled it a crime drama. Its sequel, Carnivora, evolved over six years to become a full-blown hold-your-breath thriller that deals with grave issues such as kidnapping, child sex trafficking, and self-harm.

Telling five parallel stories with as many voices, it gives you the perspectives of a police informant, a hunted gangster, a mad avenger, an inconsolable girlfriend, and a psychotic kidnapper. I pull no punches weaving these stories, so be prepared for a dark, gritty, and graphic read – a little dirty on the erotic side – that I hope will play with your strings and stick with you for a long time.

Please note that this is part 1 of Carnivora and I am currently working on parts 2 and 3, so if those cliffhangers at the end are killing you, don’t despair. The continuation is right around the corner!


Fight evil with evil.

Crime lord Tomor is serving a life sentence behind bars. Without warning, he’s abducted by mysterious men. A sick manhunt is on, with people around him dying like flies. He will need all his street flair and gangster skills to prevent his loved ones from ending up on the death list.

Luz grieves the loss of her lover while striving to take care of their baby. The last thing she needs is to fall for the new neighbor.

A year after he betrayed his adoptive father and sent him to jail, David is slowly rebuilding his life. Then everything falls apart again: he learns that Tomor has escaped, and his police connections lead him to a child sex trafficking ring involving cold, powerful men.

The cops are in over their heads with “Project Carnivora” … Perhaps the only one who can help bust the pedophile predators is an equally vicious devil: Tomor, the country’s most hunted criminal.

Available from

Put the book on your to-read shelf on Goodreads

See photos that inspired me to write the book on Pinterest


“Time to change your bandage again,” the nurse mutters, voice cool, and pulls my orange-colored sleeve up to the elbow.
She unrolls the long strip of bandage from my wrist and tugs at one corner of the gauze plastered on my wound. It sticks as if glued to the freshly grown skin, and instead of removing the gauze carefully, she tears if off hard, discharging pain through my arm, wrist-to-shoulder.
I open my eyes and lift my head off the pillow. “What the fuck are ya doing, trying to reopen the wound or something?”
“Like you care.” She stops pulling and glares, gauze between her fingers. “I can see who you are inside. You’re playing tough, aren’t you, bad guy? But you can’t fool me.”
“Shut up.” I lay down again, huffing, and stare at the white ceiling above me with its rows of long neon lights.
“You’re a good man.”
I glance back. “I said, shut the fuck up.”
Her eyes shine. She rips off the remaining gauze, ignoring my grunt of pain, and throws it in a bin. “Look.”
No fuck.
“Look at it,” she insists, voice low and demanding.
No. I know what I’ve done, and I can imagine what it looks like. A six centimeter-long deep, reddish, scratched-up ridge along my artery. Layers of skin, fat, meat, and whatnot must be visible and sweating a pinkish liquid from the reborn pores. I don’t need to see it.
I guess the girl wants me to be so horrified, I’ll never attempt suicide again. That’s right. She wants to shock me into acceptance.
You gotta be fucking kidding me, little thing.
She shakes her head. “I don’t understand why they gave you the life sentence.”
“You mean they shoulda given me the chair?”
Instead of responding to my sarcasm, she pivots to look up at the clock and widens her eyes as if realizing she forgot an appointment. Face tense, she returns to her work, applies some cool, gel-like liquid on the wound, and bandages it with quick routine moves.
What’s up with her? In my three days in this woman’s company, I’ve noted the things that make her tick. Maybe she’s upset because I’m leaving the infirmary soon. Earlier, she said she didn’t know when I’d be ready to go back to my cell. She probably knows now, but doesn’t want to tell me.
The door opens. She jumps.
A uniformed guard pokes his head in, checks the small room, and exits.
She seems frozen in place, features tense. Staring ahead and taking deep breaths as if trying to regain composure.
I cock my head a little. “What’s going on? They gonna transfer me?”
She visibly swallows and fixes her gaze on some point on the wall.
I snicker. “Are you sad ‘cause I’m leaving?”
Ha, I can be so ugly, when the girl clearly likes me.
As she sits there avoiding me, I take the time to check out her tits, and drink in the amazing sight of their pressing against her green blouse with each breath. She doesn’t have a name tag. Come to think of it, none of the personnel do. Evidently, so the inmates can’t identify their ‘caretakers’, and should they by some miracle leave the premises, track them down.
I nod to her blouse. “What’s your name?”
She twists back to me, brows raised, before shaking her head. “I can’t tell you that.”
“C’mon, I’ll never see you again.” I grin, then add with an ironic snicker, teasing her, “They’ll never let me slash my wrists, or hang myself.”
She looks away and busies herself collecting the medical stuff, throwing a quick, almost invisible glance to the door. What the hell is making her so nervous?
Coldness fills my chest. Something’s up.
“Come on, Babe,” I coax with my most gentle, sensual voice, wanting to buy time. “Tell me your name.”
“Why?” she whispers, fidgeting with the roll of bandage.
“’Cause I want a name to your pretty face when I jack off in my cell.”

About the author

Lea Bronsen likes her reads hot, fast, and edgy, and strives to give her own stories the same intensity. After a deep dive on the unforgiving world of gangsters with her debut novel Wild Hearted, she divides her writing time between romantic suspenses, dark erotic romances, and crime thrillers.

Meet Lea Bronsen on