Saturday, December 31, 2011

LR Cafe's 'Best of 2011' Awards were announced

2011 LRC’s “Best of” Awards Nominee List

Best Paranormal/Fantasy Book
Andrea Speed-Pretty Monsters
Protect & Serve: Sex on a Hoof by Silvia Violet
Aurora Rose Lynn- Sweet as fire
Cynthia Sax-Fangs in the Frosting
Stephanie Burke-How not to date a fae
Desiree Holt-Silent Hunter
Lark LaTroy-Here Be Dragons
Alisha Rai-Hot as Hades
Brannan Black-Wolfman 5: Genesis
Stormy Glenn-Cat’s Pride
Dakota Dawn-Desperate Fay King
Lynn Hagen-Tater’s Bear
Cindy Spencer Pape-Motor City Witch
Marjorie M. Liu-The Wild Road
Sophie Jordan-Vanish
Rowen Speedwell-Bitterwood
L. Shannon- The Wish
Lynne Connolly-Griffin’s Treasure

Best Book of 2011
TJ Klune-Bear, Otter and the Kid
Rick R. Reed-Caregiver
Kat Martin-Against the Storm
RJ Scott-Texas Winter
Cooper Mackenzie-Thanksgiving at Sanctuary
Rita Sawyer-Her Mr. Wrong
Lee Brazil-Keeping House
Marianne Stephens-Anything You Can Do
Kiru Taye-His Treasure
Kim Harrison-Pale Demon
Sherrilyn Kenyon-No Mercy
KA Mitchell_Bad Boyfriend
Kim Dare-Written Request
DJ Manly- Extreme Sports
Aleksandre Voinov-Dark Soul Vol 1
Sue Brown-Nothing Ever Happens

Best GBLT Book
Damon Suede-Hot Head
Laura Harner -Ty Hard
SJD Peterson-Quinn’s Need
Margie Church-Hard as Teak
Amber Kell-Trials of Tam
TJ Klune-Bear, Otter & The Kid
Patricia Logan-Captive Lover
Brannan Black-Wolfman 4: Salvation
Laura Tolomei-Re-Scue
RJ Scott-Texas Winter
DC Juris-Orion’s Way
LA Witt-Ex Equals
Cat Grant- Once a Marine

Best Contemporary Book
Debbie Macomber-1225 Christmas Tree Lane
Damon Suede-Hot Head
Andrew Grey- Love Means…Healing
Amber Kell-Taking Care of Charlie
Lily Harlem-Orchestrating Maneuvers
Johnny Miles-Learning to Samba
Desiree Holt-All Jacked Up
Sherryl Woods-Driftwood Cottage
Lee Brazil- Keeping House
G. A. Hauser-Down & Dirty
Rita Sawyer-Deliberately Brazen
Chris Quinton-Home and Hearth
Casey Crow-Can’t Fake This
ZA Maxfield-The Book of Daniel
Lee Brazil- Telling the Truth
Dominique Eastwick-Hunting JC
Cat Johnson-Cole
Lena Matthews-Priceless
Grace Wen-The Imperfect Wife
Laura Tolomei- The Pirate’s Seduction

Best Historical Romance Book
Gwen Masters-After all these years
Kay Berrisford-Bound for the Forest
Angela Claire-Mastering Lady Macalister
Cindy Spencer Pape-Steam and Sorcery
Erastes-Muffled Drum
Julie Moffett-Her Kilt Clad Rogue
Great Ceaser’s Ghost by Cindi Myers
Lizzie T. Leaf-Making Christmas
Rain Chapman-Finding the One
Jianne Carlo-The Seducer
 Fae Sutherland & Marguaritte Labbe-The Gladiator’s Master

Best BDSM Book
Cherise Sinclair: To Command and Collar
Desiree Holt-Bite the bullet
Claire Thompson-Switch
Cooper McKenzie-Silken Bonds
Cassandra Carr-Caught
Sophie Oak-Siren in Waiting
Allyson Young-Wishes
Lila Munro-Three to Keep
DC Juris-Orion’s Way
Jianne Carlo-Deviant Devil
Kim Dare-Orders Enclosed
Brita Addams-Romeo Club 1: Surprises
Kari Gregg-Collared

Best Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller Book
Gwen Masters-After all these years
Desiree Holt-F-Stop
Wynter Daniels-Protective Custody
Josh Lanyon-Snowball in Hell
Ellery Adams-A Deadly Cliché
Destiny Blaine-Guarded Secrets
June Kramin-Double Mocha, Heavy on Your Phone Number
JD Robb-New York to Dallas
Derek Thompson-The Silent Hills
Michelle Levine-Never Moon a Werewolf
KC Kendrick- Double Deuce
Lynne Connolly-Learning to Trust
Carol Preflatish- Saved by the Sheriff

Best Author of 2011
Desiree Holt
Sandy Sullivan
Anya Bast
Shelby Morgan
Selena Illyria
Diana DeRicci
Dominique Eastwick
Cassandre Dayne
Damon Suede
Andrew Grey
Kat Martin
Kelley Armstrong
G. A. Hauser
Ethan Day
Johnny Miles
Hank Edwards
Lee Brazil
Marie Harte
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Beth Wylde
Tara Lain

Best GBLT Author 2011
Andrew Grey
SJD Peterson
Margie Church
Xavier Axelson
Amber Kell
Jambrea Jo Jones
Kim Dare
Serena Yates
Carol Lynne
Bailey Bradford
TJ Klune
Mary Calmes
Sue Brown
Lynn Hagen
Stormy Glenn
Joyee Flynn
Chris Quinton
Brannan Black
Johnny Miles
ZA Maxfield

Best Cover of 2011
Damon Suede-Hot Head
Laura Harner-Ty Hard
Andrew Grey: Work Me Out
Cherise Sinclair: Club Shadowlands 6: To Command and Collar
SJD Peterson-Quinn’s Need
Silvia Violet-Paws on Me (Serve & Protect)
Serena Yates-Convincing Landon
Carol Lynne-Sunset Ridge
Desiree Holt-Bite the bullet
Johnny Miles-Learning to Samba
GA Hauser-Down and Dirty
Sandy Sullivan-Two for the price of one
Cari Quinn-Unwrapped
Lee Brazil-Loving Jacob
Sherrilyn Kenyon-No Mercy
JD Robb-New York to Dallas
Lacey Alexander-Hot for Santa
Ally Blue-Convergence
Damon Suede-Grown Men

Best Cover Artist
Reese Dante
Jinger Heaston
Posh Gosh
Kelly Shorten
Beth Walker
Dawné Dominique
Valerie Tibbs
Angela Knight
Anne Cain
Justin James
Scott Carpenter
Stella Price
Tuesday Dube
Croco Designs
Jet Mykles

Best e-Publisher 2011
Dreamspinner Press
Riptide Publishing
Silver Publishing
Samhain Publishing
Changeling Press
Secret Cravings Publishing
Loose Id Publishing
Liquid Silver Publishing
eXtasy Books
Champagne Books/Carnal Passions
Carina Press
Total E-Bound Publishing
Lyrical Press
Siren-Bookstrand Publishing
Evernight Publishing
Decadent Publishing

Best Science Fiction/Futuristic/Dystopian Book
Amber Kell-Soldier Mine
Lena Austin-Sex World: Bodyguard
Belinda McBride-Uncommon Whore 2: If I Fall
Berengaria Brown-Raw Want
Lauren Dane-Goddess with a Blade
Michael Merriam-Last Car to Annwn Station
Linda Mooney-Captive Surrender
Marie Harte-Journeyman’s Ride
Brannan Black- Wolfman Salvation
Lynn Lorenz-Duty Bound
Stevie Woods-Cold Fear
L. Shannon- The Jade Prince
LA Witt-A Chip in his Shoulder

Best Western/Cowboys Book
Andrew Grey-A Troubled Range
SJD Peterson-Quinn’s Need
Amber Kell-Tyler’s Cowboy
Desiree Holt-Bite the bullet
Belinda McBride, Sierra Cartwright & Cherise Sinclair-Doms of Dark Haven 2: Western Night
Destiny Blaine-Roping in Forever
Sandy Sullivan-Two for the price of one
Stacey Espino-Hogtying the Cowgirl
Elle Saint James & Lara Santiago-Unbridled and Unbranded
Debra Kayn-Chantilly’s Cowboys
Desiree Holt-Stark Naked
Lorilei James-Cowboy Casanova
 Heidi Champa- The Right Wrong Turn
Sue Brown- Morning Report

Best Ménage Book (any combination as long as it’s three or more people in the relationship)
Imari Jade-Rhapsody
Wendy Zwadiuk-Savin’ Me
Cari Quinn-Unwrapped
Berengaria Brown-Untamable
Tonya Ramagos-Running from Angel
Gale Stanley-Spitfire
Lila Munro-Three to Keep
Caitlyn Willows-Cataphilia
Giselle Renarde-Painting with Brushes
Lillith Grey-At His Throat, A Promise
Jennifer Labelle-Spice It Up
Sandy Sullivan- Love Me Once, Love me Twice

Best Anthology Book
Chasing the Dream
Christmas Advent Series
Doms of Dark Haven 2: Western Night
Holiday Kisses
Men Under the Mistletoe
Story Orgy Vol 1

Best Series All Around (can be multi-author or single author)
Serve & Protect Series Multi-Author Series
Gym Series by Andrew Grey
Larson Legacy Series by Amber Kell
Supernatural Mates series by Amber Kell
Blood Slave: Nibirui Vampire Warriors by DJ Manly and AJ Llewellyn
Phoenix Agency by Desiree Holt
How Not to…by Stephanie Burke
Wolfman series by Brannan Black
Badlands Series by Marteeka Karland and Shara Azod
Whispering Pines Ranch Series by SJD Peterson
Marie Harte’s Dawn Endevour Series
Genetic Attraction Series by Tara Lain
Lady Blue Crew by Stormy Glenn, Lynn Hagen
Cowboy Boots Series by Natalie Acres
Sherman Series by Dominique Eastwick
Truth or Dare Series by Lee Brazil
Dark/Dream Hunters by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Hollow Series by Kim Harrison
In Death Series by JD Robb

End of a year, a New one begins

One year is ending as another begins...seems like it was yesterday that it was summer and poof! it's now the last final days of December. Where did the time go? This year had a few low points with a ton of high points for me, personally and professionally. By far, I have enjoyed getting to know some new authors online, either in my yahoo chat loop, the LRC, or on facebook. I also found some great new books to rave about, start my M/M Print collection and wonder how I was going to get all these e-books read by the end of the year. *laughs* You can better believe that I am really thrilled I got a Nook Simple Touch this year for I can relax in bed reading instead of killing my eyeballs at the computer. :-)

As this year closes, I am thankful that my children are happy, content and well adjusted; that my honey and I weathered a few rough patches in our five and half year relationship and are still going strong; that even though we lost a dear family member this autumn, he will never be forgotten-by myself nor my children. Life is like a river, it ebbs and flows at it's own pace, never giving you a chance to be complacent. What I hope to have in 2012 is a world where violence is not the norm, where love and marriage is given to everyone-regardless of their sex and that I can continue to explore authors' and their books while sharing that love of books with other like minded people.

May 2012 bring you love, happiness and peace for you and your family.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Welcome AJ Jarrett today/Blog Tour Stop

A new year is coming to a close and I have to say it has flown by. For me it’s been because I’ve had my nose stuck in my laptop writing. My hobby has become my passion and time flies when your bringing characters to life.

My name is AJ and come January it will be a year since I started on this journey of wanting to become a writer. I was a little hesitant at first but my husband said you never know unless you try. So here I am a year later with three books coming out through Silver Publishing and I’m happy to announce I just signed with Siren Publishing for a book schedule to come out in April.

Fate’s Second Chance is where it all began for to me. I love the characters of Marc and Shawn. Their story is one of heartache, struggles and ultimately a happy ever after. But getting to that happy ever after is harder than anyone could have guessed. A little humor is mixed in because I love to laugh and I think it helps lighten the mood of the story as to not make it a depressing story but one of hope.

I had a fun time bringing these character to life and I hope others enjoy this story that is near and dear to my heart.

Check out the entire tour schedule and get in on the end of tour giveaway HERE


Fate’s Second Chance (Twists of Fate, Book #1)

by AJ Jarrett



Marie thought dying was the worst thing to happen to her, until informed she's always been a man's soul trapped in a woman's body. As Marc, he's got one shot to set things right--by finding love with his best friend and soul mate--with only a month to do it. 
Marie Carter has never felt comfortable in her own body, and it took dying to find out why. Ross, her unlikely guardian angel, informs her that mistakes were made and he needs her help to save her fate, Ross's wings, and her best friend's heart.
Six month's after Marie's death, Marc arrives with one month to heal Sabrina's—his sister's—suffering, and win his soulmate, Shawn. If he fails, Sabrina will never know peace, Ross will be kicked out of heaven, and the love of his life will die from a broken heart. Will that be enough time to heal the wounds a lifetime in the wrong body has caused?

I always assumed when I died my life would flash before my eyes, but that was so not the case. Sitting on an airplane with complete strangers as the massive piece of machinery plummeted to the ground, all I could think was why the fuck did I take the earlier flight.
I was being a little dramatic I know, but I was about to die and leave my sister and my best friend. The only people I loved in the world, plus the only family I had. I was more than likely leaving them due to faulty equipment or engine malfunction. What a lousy way to go.
My poor sister Serena, what would she do? Our parents died when I was fifteen and she twenty-two. We were all we had in the world, and now I would be bailing on her too. Of course, this entire situation wasn't my fault but it didn't make it any easier. She'd been my friend and parent for the past ten years. I loved Serena, she was truly the best sister slash parent a girl could ever have.
Then there was Shawn, my best friend since kindergarten. The only man I ever truly loved. He was there when my parents died, there when Serena caught me having my first beer, and there when my first boyfriend broke my heart. Whenever I needed someone, he was there to pick up the pieces no matter how big or how small. I couldn't have picked a better friend.
The only thing bad about being in love with Shawn was that he's gay. I'm a girl so a romantic relationship would never happen. Now I wouldn't even get the chance to say I love you in more than a friend kind of way. Maybe going down was for the best. Telling Shawn my true feelings would ruin our friendship.
These were the things going through my mind minutes before the plane crashed and I'd die. To have just one more chance to tell Shawn and Serena I loved them, I would have given anything.
The swift drop in altitude told me the engines had stalled. I heard other passengers screaming, crying, and praying, but I sat there with my eyes clenched tight. Behind my eyelids, all I saw were Shawn and Serena. Then nothing.
* * * *
Sometime later I woke up. I took in my surroundings--white walls, white bed linens, and I was wearing a white gown. My nose twitched at the sterile clean smell of the room. I had to be in a hospital.
How could I have survived a plane crash? Maybe I had dreamed the whole thing. I sat up and looked around me. I took notice of the large white room with fluffy white fog floating around the floor.
Okay, that was weird. I had to be dreaming.
"You're not dreaming, sweetheart. You're dead as a doornail."
What the fuck? I spun around and clutched my blanket to my chest. There was a man leaning against the wall. I could tell even in a relaxed state he would tower over my short stature. He had a golden complexion, platinum blond hair that came to his shoulders, and a smile on his face that lit up the room. Definitely gorgeous in a preppy guy way, as if he just stepped out of a J Crew ad. He wore all white as well.
What was up with all the white? Okay, this wasn't the time for stupid questions. I needed to focus.
"Yes, please focus since we don't have a lot of time here, sweetheart, but thanks for the compliment."
Okay, is he reading my freaking mind? I tilted my head to the side to study this apparent psychic medium.
"Yes, I can read your thoughts, but can you start using your mouth? It would make this less awkward," the man said as he pushed away from the wall. 
I tried to swallow but my mouth was too dry. I wasn't sure if it was the rising fear or shock that had me unable to move or react. "Where am I?" Start slow, Marie, you can do this.
"Okay, once again, speak words to me. Reading your mind is giving me a headache and that's just poor manners." The man came and sat down at the end of the bed I was lying on. "To answer your question, you're in what we like to call limbo. There has been a mistake, or actually," the man let out a small chuckle, "a few mistakes but who's counting. My name is Ross and I'm your guardian angel."
The angel named Ross held out his hand for me to shake. So I did. After all, I was completely crazy. The dude just said I was in limbo. Crazy Town, population me.
"Girl, seriously, snap out of it. My name is Ross, your guardian angel. Let us speed this up, shall we? You remember the plane crash?"
Plane crash, plane crash, plane crash. Fuck! Ross nodded up and down. "I'm really dead. My whole life seems like a dream and I'm just now waking up." I looked around me to get a better look. "Is this the waiting room for Heaven?" I whispered as I leaned toward him.
Ross shook his head at me. Sue me; I was new to all this dying business.
"L-I-M-B-O. Did you get that? Jeez, you're slow," Ross said as he relaxed back on his elbows.
"Dude, you don't need to shout at me or spell shit. I hear perfectly fine and speak English. You're just a lousy explainer," I said as I pointed my finger at him. Okay, maybe yelling at the crazy man claiming to be my guardian angel wasn't the smartest thing for me to do.
"I'm trying to explain but you're not listening." I watched as Ross ran his hands through his white blond hair as he mumbled something I couldn't make out. "Okay, let's try this again. My name is Ross, you died in the plane crash, and you're sitting in limbo. Long story short, there's been a mistake and like I said this dying business isn't the first mistake to happen to you."
I chewed on my lower lip as I tried to digest all the info. All I heard was mistake, dying, and wasn't the first mistake. Where does a person begin?
"What do you mean mistake? To me someone dying is a huge thing to fuck up on. Don't you think?" I shouted.
"Okay, first off, you can't yell at me if I can't yell at you, and second you cuss way too much. I've always thought that, you know," Ross said as he flipped his hair back in a very feminine manner.
Was this guy serious? "Listen here, grandma, if you don't explain yourself I'm going to want to speak to your boss or manager or some shit like that." There, that didn't sound completely absurd or anything.
Breathe, Marie, everything is all right, you're not crazy. My breaths started rushing in and out of my chest with so much force I thought I might hyperventilate.
"Take deep breaths and calm down. Can't have you dying on me again." Ross started to laugh and I narrowed my eyes at him. "Too soon for death jokes?"
"You think?"
"Sorry, you need to lighten up and laugh, because you're going to be laughing after I explain this whole mix up." Ross sat up a little straighter and crossed his legs at the knee.
"Okay." What else could I say? I didn't know how to get out of this place so listening to Ross was my only option.
"Twenty-five years ago I became a guardian angel. The night I got my wings, I went and celebrated with some other angels. That ceremonial wine has a kick like you wouldn't believe." Ross started to laugh but at my lack of amusement, he went on with his story. "Anyway, I overslept my first assignment. See, when we get our wings, we're given charges to follow from birth to death and you are mine. Actually you're my only one."
"You sound bothered by that. Why am I your only one? Are you supposed to have more than one?" This dude sure wasn't gaining my confidence.
"Well, I made a mistake and until I fix this debacle, I'm stuck with just you. And let's just say you're not the most exciting person in the world."
"Hey! We are talking about your fuck–up, not my boring life. And for the record, my life is so not boring." I stuck my tongue out at him. Childish? Yes, but I didn't care.

Amazon -

AJ Jarrett currently lives in the Midwest with her husband and four children. A lover of M/M romances she has started writing her own stories for others to enjoy. She is currently published through Silver Publishing and her first release Fate’s Second Chance is the first in the Twist of Fates series. When she is not chasing around her kids she can be found sitting on the couch with her trusted laptop giving life to the voices in her head. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011


By: Angelica Hart and Zi

We’d like to share with you an excerpt (non-edited) from our Christmas 2012 release CHRISTMAS EVE…VIL.

About the story:

Resisting the fervent advances of Luke Calico while snowbound isn’t Anya’s only problem, she must also hide from the malicious preacher wishing to harness her power while withstanding the demonic spirit trying to lure her soul.


She perceived his struggle as if his mind told him to step away. Yet his mouth moved towards hers with irrevocable insistence. He cupped her face with his hands and met her lips like a hushed whisper, barely touching. In that instant, she fully opened to him, spread out for him like a feast that he could plunder at will, her look further inviting him to devour her. Her lips parted, but their gazes didn’t. It was as if their gazes linked their souls, binding them as surely as if the tether were tangible. He brushed her mouth once more, and again she didn’t oppose him. She became as solvent as liquid, leaning into him, conceding that this was as inevitable as sunrise. Finally, his arms wrapped around her, tightening in a hold that rebuffed struggle as his tongue pierced her mouth.

She didn't comprehend the logistics of this all-consuming want, and found her sensibilities fractured by it. He asked for a more cordial home front, didn't but she sensed he hadn't expected intimacy. Of course, he asked for friendship but nowhere had he implied with benefits. Did he want her touch? A man was oft simplistic. She hoped Luke at that moment in time wanted nothing less than what she wished to share.

Anya couldn’t refuse even if she gave herself that option. She was very far from promiscuous, but she had never experienced this rush of sensation before. Its raw savagery tore through her, demanding a response and she gave it, surrendering without thought, without hesitation. Would that personify her as loose? That mattered not. No one ever invaded her mouth like this, and it tossed her into spasms of ecstasy, traversing regions of her body that she was unaware felt. None ever held her so tightly yet with such care as if she might break, protective yet seductive. She wanted to squeal like a schoolgirl seeing her first prom dress. Sensing his deft skillfulness, she feared she was not as adroit and wasn’t certain what to do with her mouth or tongue, but she tried, mirroring every thrust, every fusion of lips, every plundering motion. His lead in so many ways made it acceptable and with acceptance came pleasure. Her head reeled and her pulse thudded against her wrists and throat with rapid potency. Why had Luke so released her? It was as if he gave her permission to lust and enjoy every bit of those experiences. She couldn’t breathe and she didn’t want to breathe. She couldn’t think and she didn’t want to think. She only wanted now, this moment, this emotion, this tumbling off the brink of sanity to never end. She wanted to fuse in the harmony with sensation, dreaming its epic tale.

We'd love to hear from anyone interested in what we do. Anyone who writes us at with blog in the subject line and leaves an s-mail address, we will send you a gift and add you to any future mailings.

Angelica Hart and Zi
CHRISTMAS EVE...VIL coming soon

Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane

THE FABLE OF SIN-SIN CINDERELLA Series (monthly piece) piece)
Dawn's Reading Nook (Thursday's piece)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Personal Review for Love Means...Family by Andrew Grey

Andrew Grey is one of my favorite authors to stalk...err to read I mean. I was thrilled to see that 'Officer Hunky' AKA Officer Duane Keenan would finally get a story of his own in this charming series. If you haven't picked up one of this author's books, I suggest trying the Love Means... series.

Robert Edward Hawkins or ‘Arie’ to his friends has been through a harrowing experience, losing his sister and her family in a freak plane crash, leaving Arie and his parents lost, alone and drifting. Now four months later, his parents decide that since Robert is the last of their line, he needs to marry and continue the family name; which is quite hard to do for Arie since he is gay and refuses to put any woman or child through that just to settle his parents down, even if it is the grief talking at the moment. Visiting his friend Robbie on the farm seems like a logical thing to do, to escape from the grief and loneliness that pervades his family at the moment. Once there, Arie finds himself relaxing and enjoying himself, maybe even falling for local police officer, Officer Duane Keenan or as Arie calls him, ‘Officer Hunky’. But with both of their families pushing them in opposite directions, can Duane and Robert find a way to be together even as they are torn over their loyalty to their families?

I adore Andrew Grey's books. There is something about them that leaves a smile in my soul after reading one. It might be the characters themselves-they are multidimensional and feel so real to me; the storyline-emotionally charged and full of twists and turns or it could be a combination of all that and more.  This author has a way with his words that leaves you reeling at times, with reeling emotions, some sweetly erotic sex scenes to heat the blood and story-lines that sears the heart.

In Love Means...Family, we meet up with everyone on the farm a few months after Love Means...Healing and this time Robbie's best friend, Robert, or Arie to his friends, comes for a much needed visit after the death of his sister and her family. Finally relaxing away from home, Arie finds himself drawn to Officer Keenan or as he nicknames him, 'Officer Hunky'. The sparks between these two are instant and had me shaking my fingers a few times, thinking they were on fire from the heat these two generated. I loved Arie. He was a man who had his heart broken but with the healing he finds at the farm, he learns to love again with Duane. All I wanted to do is give him a big ole' hug and say it would be all right. Duane is a joy and I was thrilled to see more of him in Love Means...Family. The connection he finds with Arie is a delight to read and experience as well. I was thrilled to see some familiar and beloved characters return and help these two special men find their heart's desires.

Love Means...Family will thrill you till the very end. I enjoyed it immensely and can not wait to see if this author will continue with one more beloved farm story. If you are looking for a sweet, emotional story that will heat you up on a cold winter’s day, and then grab Love Means...Family and settle in for a few hours of reading pleasure. Andrew Grey is one of my favorite authors and I am eager to see what else he has in store for his readers in the future.

My Rating for Love Means...Family: 4 Stars

You can find Love Means...Family in Print and e-book at Dreamspinenr Press

Welcome Ariel Tachna Today

After the “Happily Ever After” by Ariel Tachna

When you think of romance, you probably think of falling in love.  That’s normal and pretty typical, but anyone who’s ever been in a relationship that lasted beyond the first blush of emotion will tell you there’s a huge difference between falling in love and staying in love, a difference that is far more rarely explored in romantic fiction.  After all, we want to read about the butterflies in the stomach, the timid (or not so timid) first approach, the eyes meeting across a bar or a crowded dance floor.  We don’t necessarily want to read about the tedium of paying bills and refinancing mortgages and juggling schedules around business trips and school plays, and yet, as anyone who’s been in a relationship for very long will tell you, staying in love is hard work.  It requires commitment, negotiation, and above all, the choice to stay even when you’d like nothing more than to strangle your partner.

Several times over the past year and a half, I’ve chosen to write about couples who are at a crossroads in their relationship. They have to make the choice to stand by each other or go their separate ways, and those choices aren’t always easy.

Neither is telling their stories.

 From a writer’s point of view, established couples present some different challenges than writing couples falling in love for the first time.  First, there’s the back story.  If you’ve got a couple who’ve been together a year or two years or twenty years, they’ve had time to develop habits and to have a story of their own that isn’t on the page but that informs their present.  If you’ve ever watched an “old married couple” do routine things together, you see that story in their actions without knowing the details.  I think about watching my parents in the kitchen. They move around each other, working together, without ever needing to say a word, although my dad will usually steal a kiss each time my mom gets close enough.  He’ll be cooking the spaghetti sauce and she’ll hand him the onion salt exactly when he needs it before he asks.  They fit together. (For the record, my parents will have been married 45 years in June.) It’s a beautiful thing to see, but it’s not always an easy thing to write because as an author you have to sense (and portray) those patterns without watching them develop initially.  Then there’s those 45 years, or however many the couple has been together.  In that time, my parents have raised three children, seen them get married, had five grandchildren, buried their parents and one of their brothers, watched their siblings marry, divorce, suffer with cancer and heart disease, and all the things that go into life. They’ve stood together and built a foundation for their lives that launched the lives of three successful daughters.  So how, as an author, do you evoke all that, not to mention the beautiful story of them falling in love, if you’re telling a story after the fact?  In Under the Skin, one of the stories I’ve published recently where the story picks up mid-relationship, Nicki and I chose to do a series of flashbacks to earlier, important points in Alexei and Patrick’s relationship.  In Stolen Moments, I chose a different approach and had Beau and Jacob each telling their best friends parts of what had happened and how they’d gotten to where they are at the beginning of the book.  Jacob’s best friend Billy already knew part of the story, but since Beau’s best friend Sean didn’t even know he was gay until Beau told him about Jacob, Beau definitely had some explaining to do.

The second challenge for an author is the story arc.  In a typical romance, you’ve got boy meets boy (or girl), boy falls for boy, boys get together and live happily ever after, in all the infinite variations.  For an established couple, all that meeting and falling has already happened, so what’s the plot? What’s the arc?  That’s the beauty of it.  It’s unlimited.  It can be whatever stumbling block life throws at them as long as at the end of the book, the characters have a stronger, deeper relationship because of it, and isn’t that the way it happens in any relationship? Life throws challenges at you.  You face them together and come out stronger on the other side, or you don’t face them together and go your separate ways.

They might not be traditional romances in the sense of falling in love, but the deepening of the commitment, the reaffirming of the bond still makes a beautiful love story.

About Ariel Tachna:
Ariel Tachna lives in southwestern Ohio with her husband, her daughter and son, and their cat. A native of the region, she has nonetheless lived all over the world, having fallen in love with both France, where she found her career and her husband, and India, where she dreams of retiring some day. She started writing when she was 12 and hasn't looked back since.  A connoisseur of wine and horses, she's as comfortable on a farm as she is in the big cities of the world.

Stolen Moments by Ariel Tachna
Available at Dreamspinner Press

After a year apart, teacher Jacob Peters and county judge Beau Braedon decide they can’t live without each other. There are just a few small obstacles to their Alabama love story. Jacob resents Beau’s paranoia about being outed, but Beau is convinced he’ll lose his seat on the bench if he admits to their relationship, and as a teacher at a Christian school, Jacob’s job is even more at risk. They could relocate, but Beau’s mother has Alzheimer’s and can’t be moved. And then there’s the tiny issue of Jacob’s infant son, Finn, and his mother, whom Jacob wed out of duty. In short, they are stuck.

But Beau has a long-term plan, and he’s prepared to swallow his fears and compromise with Jacob, because sharing stolen moments is no longer enough.

JACOB navigated the country roads between Elliot and Prestonsburg with the ease of someone who had driven the route too many times to count. The familiarity allowed his thoughts to wander to the night ahead and back over the two years that had led them to this point. Sometimes he wondered how he’d ended up here in Elliot, closeted, married to a woman he didn’t love, with a new baby he adored and a lover who only wanted him sometimes.
That wasn’t fair to Beau. Jacob had no doubt Beau wanted him all the time, but the realities of life in a small southern town, the realities of their careers in such towns, made that difficult.
He’d sworn when he left home to go off to college that he was done with the South. He’d thought if he heard his mother’s favorite expression, “That just isn’t done,” one more time, he’d scream. And yet he’d ended up in a different southern town, but just as conservative as the one he’d left. When he signed up for Teach For America, he’d expected to end up in an urban center, dealing with underserved kids there. He hadn’t expected to end up in Elliot. He hadn’t expected to fall in love with Elliot. Sure, it was the same southern conservatism as his childhood home, but the kids were so hungry for knowledge and so in awe of his experiences. When his two-year commitment was up, he’d stayed. He hadn’t been able to remain in the same school because of funding cuts, but he’d gotten a job at the Elliot Christian Academy instead. 
The kids there might be from slightly more well-off families since they had to be able to pay the tuition, but that didn’t mean they were less in need of good teachers, and Jacob was good. He had been in Elliot for six years, and every kid he’d taught, in either school, had left his fourth-grade classroom either on grade level or at least two grade levels ahead of where they had been when they came to him. And many of them were well above grade level.
It was one of the reasons he’d gone along with Beau’s crazy plan. If he came out, he’d lose his job at the Christian school for sure, and finding a job at a public school would be challenging given the financial problems that had led to so many schools cutting positions left and right in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. If he didn’t even have a recommendation because of the reasons for his dismissal, it would probably be impossible. It was unusual enough to have a man in an elementary classroom. He doubted Elliot, or even Prestonsburg, was ready for a gay man in an elementary classroom.
He sighed. Beau. Beau’s court schedule hadn’t allowed him to be as involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters project as Jacob was—Beau still had to hear cases at the county courthouse at least part of the day during the week—but he’d been around in the evenings and on the weekends, his crazy sense of humor endearing him to the kids and adults alike. Judge Braedon presided on the bench with all the dignity one would expect of a man in his position, but once the robes came off, Beau was a little kid, more than happy to play basketball with the boys and just as willing to have a tea party with the girls (even the ones who’d already kicked his ass at basketball).
Jacob had fallen a little in love the first time he’d seen Beau make the effort to draw out Jim, the artistic autistic boy who always sat in the corner and rarely replied to anyone. Beau had sat down next to Jim and started to draw in the sand with a stick. Jacob had stopped to watch, sensing, in the way only those who work with kids can, something miraculous about to happen. It had taken Jim a few minutes to look up from his own drawing, but when he did, he spoke for the first time Jacob had ever heard. “The head is crooked.”
Beau handed the boy the stick. “Fix it for me.”
Jim had taken the stick, erased Beau’s drawing, and fixed it. The two had been fast friends for the rest of the summer. Beau had even managed to get Jim to put down his sketch pad and participate in some of the other group activities. Not all of them. Jim still refused to play basketball. But it was more than anyone else had been able to do.
It was the memories of moments like those that made it so hard for Jacob to end things with Beau. As screwed up as their relationship was, especially now, Jacob loved the man, and nothing seemed to be able to change that. Not the hiding, not the limited number of times they saw each other in the year they were together, not the anger and hurt at yet another canceled meeting that had led him to break things off with Beau, get drunk, and sleep with Melissa a year ago. Nothing.
Because no matter how angry or hurt or frustrated or sad he was at any given moment, he couldn’t deny the existence of the man he fell in love with.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dreamspinner Press New Releases for week of December 26th

Stolen Moments by Ariel Tachna
Contemporary, Novel
Buy E-book HERE
Buy Print HERE

After a year apart, teacher Jacob Peters and county judge Beau Braedon decide they can’t live without each other. There are just a few small obstacles to their Alabama love story. Jacob resents Beau’s paranoia about being outed, but Beau is convinced he’ll lose his seat on the bench if he admits to their relationship, and as a teacher at a Christian school, Jacob’s job is even more at risk. They could relocate, but Beau’s mother has Alzheimer’s and can’t be moved. And then there’s the tiny issue of Jacob’s infant son, Finn, and his mother, whom Jacob wed out of duty. In short, they are stuck.

But Beau has a long-term plan, and he’s prepared to swallow his fears and compromise with Jacob, because sharing stolen moments is no longer enough.

Vlad the Paler by Malthea
Fantasy/Paranormal, Novel
Buy E-Book HERE
Buy Print HERE

When half-Korean sci fi-fantasy gamer nerd Cyrus Gae goes out clubbing on his first night of vacation, he’s not expecting to be bitten by a vampire. Not in Florida, the land of sunshine and Mickey Mouse. He’s not exactly averse to being a creature of the night, but he’s righteously pissed off about the vampire’s cavalier eat-and-run attitude. Determined to track down Troy, the bloodsucker who turned him, Cyrus takes the name Vlad and begins a search that will take him to leather bars, vampire dens, and cyber cafés.

As Cyrus hunts the elusive vampire, he meets Logon, the hipster/geek love of his afterlife; Vinnie, his Girl Friday the 13th; and even an intersexual voodoo queen, while learning that being a supernatural bad-ass isn’t quite what he imagined. In fact, hardly anything is what it seems, and Vlad finds himself in the middle of an intrigue involving Florida’s master vampire—who isn’t thrilled about Vlad’s sudden appearance in his domain. With powerful forces aligning against Vlad, he’ll have no choice but to become the hero he never wanted to be if he wants to keep his beloved Logon safe.

Games by Cooper West
Contemporary, Novella
Buy E-book HERE

Former professional skateboarder Art Nichols now runs a business almost as successful as his career on the board. His flourishing professional life is in stark contrast to his string of romantic failures until he meets up-and-coming event promoter Jack Martinez. Jack and Art hit it off right away, but what they have is too good to waste on a one-night stand. It’s a long, slow, romantic seduction—and then scandal breaks just when everything seems to be going right for Art at last. Now he has to decide what kind of role model he wants to be to his young fans and whether that will cost him the love he thought he would never find.

A Wolf in the Fold by Perry Ambrose
Fantasy/Paranormal, Historical-European, Short Story
Buy E-Book HERE

Roderick, who owes his title and estate to his mother’s money, has never been truly accepted by the local gentry. After his mother dies of fright at the feet of the wolf that’s been terrorizing the countryside, talk in the club turns to how to deal with the alleged werewolf. Some of the men wish to mount a hunt, and it’s even suggested that the creature could be captured and sold, perhaps to that mad American, P.T. Barnum. Roderick’s solution is to purchase a dog, hopefully with the help of the handsome Lord Staynesburgh. He's eager for the chance to get Staynesburgh alone, to ask for his discretion: Staynesburgh saw Roderick emerging from a certain London club, and Roderick fears he'll lose the rest of his already low reputation. But the full moon is only a couple of weeks away, and Roderick has preparations to make if he isn’t to risk more than just a few sheep.

Cherish Your Name by Mary Calmes
Fantasy/Paranormal, Novella
Buy E-Book HERE

Malic Sunden is in hell—only not literally... yet. As a warder, Malic is used to fighting demons and squaring off against all kinds of creatures from the pit, but this year he’s facing a new and terrifying prospect: Christmas holidays with his much-younger boyfriend and his family.

He loves Dylan, his hearth, but Dylan’s parents, the Shaws, are another story. They think Malic is a cradle-robber, among other things. At least their neighbor, Brad, seems to like him. Then again, maybe not. When Malic gets offered to a demon who wipes his memory of everything but Dylan’s name, it will take all Malic has to escape his new life in a hell dimension and return to the man he calls home.

Blue Notes by Shira Anthony
Contemporary, Novel
Buy E-Book HERE
Buy Print HERE

Blame it on jet lag. Jason Greene thought he had everything: a dream job as a partner in a large Philadelphia law firm, a beautiful fiancée, and more money than he could ever hope to spend. Then he finds his future wife in bed with another man, and he’s forced to rethink his life and his choices. On a moment’s notice, he runs away to Paris, hoping to make peace with his life.

But Jason’s leave of absence becomes a true journey of the heart when he meets Jules, a struggling jazz violinist with his own cross to bear. In the City of Love, it doesn’t take them long to fall into bed, but as they’re both about to learn, they can’t run from the past. Sooner or later, they’ll have to face the music.

it's a Mancandy Tuesday~Not Work Safe

Welcome BL Morticia Today

What’s sexy about a man in uniform?

Greetings fans and welcome to another BL here at Dawn’s place. Thanks for having me.

Today, I wanted to talk about how sexy it is to see a man in uniform. In particular, Navy garb since my first full length novella, My Lieutenant is a Silver Star on ARE and was in the top 5 of gay mainstream romance books. *squee*

What’s so great about the matching pants and jacket? Or the cap that fits comfortably on his head? The top one, not the bottom one. *grins*

The style of the jacket that has the rows of gold buttons, making it even harder to remove when you want to ravage him. How about the slacks? Nicely fitted, not hanging off his behind like some younger guys wear their trousers. GROSS Nope. Nicely snug in all the right places, especially the crotch.

How about the fact everything must be in order before they pass “the inspection.” That story is next on the list! *wink* All the armed forces have that but the Navy is more spiffy than all the others.

How can you contain yourself when looking at such hotness? I already adore a man in a suit and tie. Yes, I like the rock and rollers but if a hot man wore his Navy garb versus a metalhead, I’d quickly go to the Navy man.

Who are some of your fave men to look at in uniform? Well, I’m not a big fan of Prince William but he looks pretty good here.

Alex Loughlin? Oh I love this one! He looks great…very sexy!

This is classic! Richard Gere in Officer and a Gentleman. HOT STUFF. The movie is one of my faves.

I’m sure there are more but I don’t want to keep rattling. *laughs*

What is my Silver Star My Lieutenan? It’s about a discharged officer who’s exploring his gay side and falls in love with a man in his own building. The catch? This man, Nathan, doesn’t want to be in a relationship with someone that isn’t totally gay.

It’s a hilarious tale with the sarcasm you would expect from this wicked girl!

Let me give you a taste and thanks to Dawn for giving me the chance to babble and promote this fab story.

BL is currently a published writer with Rebel Ink and Naughty Nights Press. Her first two novellas, My Lieutenant and Something Fresh Served Hot are Silver Stars on ARe. She writes bi weekly for Erotic Diaries with Rawiya and a column twice a month on Blak Rayne Books.

Sharita L aka Michael M/Rawiya/BLMorticia

The Literary Triad -!
Michael Mandrake -

Blurb: Nathan Ellerby's apartment has been ransacked by his ex who didn't like the fact Nathan dumped him. Trouncing through the debris uttering a string of obscenities, Nathan's shocked to see Lieutenant Bryant Duncan at his door claiming he's already caught the offender. Sensing an instant connection, when Nathan finds out Bryant's divorced and he's straddling the fence between being gay or bisexual, Nathan finds himself in a quandary.
 Although the Lieutenant does everything in his power to prove to Nathan he's worthy, Nathan is afraid to lower his defenses which leaves both men wondering if Nathan will allow love into his life even through his doubts.

PG Excerpt

I kept walking through in horror as I saw all my personal belongings strewn about. My latest sketches torn to bits. “Goddamnit!”  I heard a knock at my door.

“Who is it,” I called out in a menacing tone, trouncing through shredded paper.

The officer looked at me then in the direction of the doorway. “That’s the man that captured the thieves.”

I cocked an eyebrow and turned around.  “Well Hello!”

A very tall, dark, and handsome bald headed man was standing there with a pearly white smile.

“Hey, listen, I caught the guys that went through your things.” He smiled and nodded.

“Seriously?” I opened up the door slowly only to lock eyes with the most, gorgeous man I’d ever laid eyes on.


He  moistened his lips. “Hey, I’m new to the building. My name’s Bryant Duncan.” He put out his hand.

A black Irishman?

I accepted it. His hands were warm but kind of rough just the way I like them. That moment, his skin on top of mine sent heat to my groin. I took a whiff of his cologne. “Nice to meet you, Mr…”

“Call me Bryant, please,” he interrupted me. “Like I was sayin’, I saw the bastards going through your place. When they saw me, they tried to get away but, I called the cops once I got the building security to come up and help detain them.”

Holy shit, my hero…

“You didn’t have to.” I was completely impressed that he cared enough to put his life on the line.

We stood silent a minute.

“Ahem.” The cop came up behind me. “Okay sir, I need you to come down to the station and give a statement. If you could meet me downstairs.” Thiesmann adjusted his belt. “Mr. Duncan, nice work and um, Mr…”

“Ellerby, Nathan Ellerby.” I offered my hand.

The cop took my hand lightly. “Mr. Ellerby, don’t be too long okay?”

He walked back through the door and struggled to crawl under the tape. When I saw that I wanted to laugh but I had more important matters in front of me.

I gazed at him.

“I’m sorry, and you said your name was…” Bryant raised an eyebrow.

“Oh shit, erm.” I cleared my throat, noticing our hands were still locked together. “Nathan, Nathan Ellerby.”

We gripped each other’s palm tightly. “Good to meet you, Nathan.” He released my hand and my gaze then reached into his back pocket of his loose, fitting jeans.

I couldn’t help but follow his arms. They were so big, muscular. I could imagine them cradling me during the night.

“Here we go. My number just in case you need me for anything,” he grinned.

I took the piece of paper, still gawking at those lovely brown eyes. I tried to keep myself from drooling. “Man, I don’t know how to thank you.”

Bryant waved his hand, smiling. “No problem, man. I live right down the hall. I just happened to be on my way out to run some errands.”

“Yeah?” I leaned against the door frame. Suddenly, the robbery seemed less important.

“Yeah, those fools were doing it in the middle of the afternoon.”

“Interesting.” I licked my lips, looking away for a moment. I wanted to continue talking to Bryant, but Thiesmann was waiting on me. “Listen, umm, again, I don’t know how to thank you for what you’ve done. It was very brave of you.”

Bryant smiled, “Like I said, no biggie.” He put his hands together and rubbed them briskly.

This time my eyes didn’t follow. I tried to think of something else to say to keep his attention. “I, um…I need to figure out a way to repay you for this. Maybe, I could take you out to dinner or something?”

Bryant grinned, nodding. “Yeah, maybe we can have a bite to eat. If you need my statements or anything, make sure you use that card and give me a call,” he said before disappearing back down the hallway.

 “Thanks so much, Bryant. I’ll be calling you to setup that dinner.”

“Cool.” He backed away. “See ya, Nathan.”

“Bye,” I said, watching his cute backside make its way down to apartment 17D. “Shii…” I mouthed to myself after I closed my door, grinning like a Cheshire cat. The man was my hero, in the span of five minutes I was in love.

Thank goodness for petty crime!

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