Happy Book Birthday to For the Love of April French by Penny Aimes! I’m so happy and honored to be a part of the Carina Adores Blog Tour celebrating this highly enjoyable, warm and hopeful story!
“This book gave me every last one of the Intense Romance Feelings I crave.” --New York Times bestselling author Talia Hibbert
April French doesn’t do relationships and she never asks for more.
A long-standing regular at kink club Frankie’s, she’s kind of seen it all. As a trans woman, she’s used to being the scenic rest stop for others on their way to a happily-ever-after. She knows how desire works, and she keeps hers carefully boxed up to take out on weekends only.
After all, you can’t be let down if you never ask.
Then Dennis Martin walks into Frankie's, fresh from Seattle and looking a little lost. April just meant to be friendly, but one flirtatious drink turns into one hot night.
When Dennis asks for her number, she gives it to him.
When he asks for her trust, well…that’s a little harder.
And when the desire she thought she had such a firm grip on comes alive with Dennis, April finds herself wanting passion, purpose and commitment.
But when their relationship moves from complicated to impossible, April will have to decide how much she’s willing to want.
April French was having what she considered to be a good night. She was lonely and she was horny, but the lovely thing about Frankie’s, even on a Wednesday, was that she was probably not the only one. And the welcome wagon gambit was working. New doms always responded well to a little attention. She wondered how many of the hookups in her limited sexual history it accounted for—post-transition, of course. Her sexual history pre-transition was not only limited but singular.
On second thought, that was a depressing thing to contemplate. She decided to steer her mind back to the present, because her present was damn good-looking. He was Black, looked to be about her age, dark-skinned and tall, with narrow hips and shoulders that were probably narrower than hers, too.
There were clear hints of lean muscle under his suit, and the suit looked expensive. She didn’t really care about the name brand, but she had to admit the cost was reflected in how well it draped his body. He had short-cropped, wiry hair and that sexy kind of two-day stubble thing happening. A reassuring bass voice and an unreadable calm that made his face a handsome mask. The tightly wound dominants were almost always the most fun to see come unraveled with desire.
“So. You can flirt,” she said, trying to keep her voice even despite the smile tugging the corners of her mouth. It wouldn’t do to tip her hand just yet about how attractive he was. “And you wear nice suits. What else should I know about you?”
“Well, I just moved here,” he said. “Which you also knew. My name is Dennis. I came here from Seattle.”
She nodded, as Aerith set down a new Painkiller in front of her. “I’m April. Grow up out there?”
“No,” he said, shaking his head. “Illinois, actually. Little tiny town.”
“Oh hey,” she said, her smile shifting to be a little less flirtatious and a lot more genuine. It was always a treat to meet someone from the same basic context; someone she could count on to get it. Not that she expected to spend much time talking about growing up in the Midwest, but it was still a nice bonus. “Ohio. I went to school out East, though, and worked there for a while.”
He laughed. “So a lot like me, but in the opposite direction. UC Santa Barbara.”
She bobbed her head. “Wesleyan.”
They exchanged graduation years; she guessed he was probably thirty-five or thirty-four to her thirty-two. “What took you out there?” he asked.
“It was as far away as I could get without driving into the ocean,” she said with a laugh. “And they had good financial aid. You?”
“About the same, about the same. Lots of loans, in the end.” She nodded as he went on. “While I was getting my masters, a couple of my friends got a start-up going and brought me in, and we headed up the coast to Seattle.”
“Ooh,” she said. “A techie. I should’ve known.”
“Oh? Why’s that?”
“Well, most of the folks who come here from the West Coast are,” she said. Especially the ones who could afford that suit.
“You’re right, anyway. I was the support team, not the talent, though. My degree’s in technology management.” He sipped. “Start-up life isn’t for the long haul, so I came here to take a job as CTO for a small firm. What about you?” he asked.
She fidgeted with the little straw in her drink, then drew it out. Chomped a cherry deliberately. “Poli-sci major. I don’t use it, though.”
“Hm.” His eyes watched her mouth. Good. “So weird, isn’t Austin where they have that political particle accelerator?”
He was smirking at his pun, and she snorted. “Queeons and Kingons?” At his blank expression, she added, “You don’t read Terry Pratchett, do you?”
He shook his head. “No, I was just teasing.”
Her smile snatched at the corners of her mouth again. “Teasing’s okay.” She was fighting herself not to relax fully into the moment, to keep up her boundaries until they crossed the preliminary hurdles. This might not be anything, yet. But he was cute, and he was funny, and he was—so far—gentle. She thought she could really like this guy. She knew she liked the way his eyes settled on her, the weight his gaze seemed to have.
This was such a fast-paced and entertaining read! I really enjoyed the trans woman perspective, all diversity and the amazing character development of both main characters.
Read my full review here: For the Love of April French
Connect with Penny Aimes
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Buy For the Love of April French
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Today is my stop on the Gay Book Promotions Tour celebrating the release of the heartwarming gay sports romance The Red Zone by Beth Bolden. Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!
Spencer’s deep in the Red Zone and it’s time to even the score.
Nine years ago Spencer Evans became the first player out of the closet to be drafted into the NFL. Everyone believed he had aspirations to change the world but all Spencer ever wanted to do was play football for a team that accepted him wholeheartedly. But they never would, and Spencer began to conceal all the parts that made him different.
When a terrible injury forces him to re-evaluate his life and his choices, he realizes there’s only one man who can help him.
The very first gay sports agent, Alec Mitchell has given his life and his career to making queer athletes’ dreams come true. He can’t help but think of Spencer as the one who got away—professionally and personally.
Alec thought he’d buried his desperate longing for Spencer ages ago but it turns out it was just lying dormant, waiting for the right spark. When he begs Alec to take him on as a client, everything they’ve been burying for years surfaces once again.
With Alec’s help, Spencer can change everything about his life he’s come to hate. An extraordinary future—and an undeniably extraordinary man—are waiting for him.
The play has been called. All he has to do is catch the ball and score.
“You should try my wine,” Alec said, gesturing towards the bottle. “You said you don’t drink wine, not that you don’t like wine. And this is an easy drinking red, real fruit forward, not too many tannins on the back end.”
“Is this how you want to do this?” Spencer asked suspiciously. “Make me try things I don’t think I’m gonna like?”
“How will you know, if you don’t try?” Alec hesitated, and slid his jacket off, hanging it over the back of one of the barstools. “Come over here. I’m not going to bite.”
Spencer shot him a look, full of heat, and Alec remembered why it was probably better not to take his jacket off and why it was definitely better not to make jokes that could be taken in any kind of sexual context.
Well, he’d done it and he wasn’t going to take it back. If they couldn’t figure out how to make this work, then Spencer wouldn’t get what he needed—and Alec wanted that more than anything else.
“Fine,” Spencer said with a sigh. He skirted around the edge of the kitchen island, approaching hesitantly as Alec tilted the half-full glass in his direction.
“Isn’t there supposed to be a special way I do this?” Spencer asked as he took the glass.
Alec raised his eyebrow. “A special way? You take a sip. Swallow it. Decide if you like it or not. Though, really, you should try it twice. The first sip will clear your palate from that god-awful beer you’ve been drinking.”
“That’s what I mean,” Spencer said. “I don’t want to do it wrong.”
“Not drinking it, that’s doing it wrong,” Alec said, even though he knew what Spencer was referring to. But all of the swirling and the legs and the aroma, all the self-important recital that true wine connoisseurs participated in was only going to confuse Spencer. Alec just wanted him to fucking try it.
“Alright, fine,” Spencer said, grumbling, and lifted the glass to his lips.
Spencer made a face, and Alec said, “Nope, not yet. Don’t tell me you don’t like it yet. You’ve got to clear your palate.”
“How do I do that?”
Alec put his hand on Spencer’s arm, stopping him from handing the glass back. “Take another drink,” he instructed. “In a minute.”
When he pulled his hand back, he could still feel the heat and solid strength from Spencer’s forearm. He was going to have to get used to all this touching and personal connection, and hopefully when he did, it wouldn’t affect him this strongly.
“Alright,” Spencer agreed. “It wasn’t . . . well, it wasn’t what I thought it’d be.”
“You didn’t hate it,” Alec guessed, leaning against the edge of the countertop.
“I thought I would,” Spencer confessed. “Wine’s just so fancy and complicated, and I’m not . . . I’ve never been either of those two things. And beer is fine.”
“Beer is fine, sure. You might not dislike it. But what if you liked something else better?”
“I don’t know,” Spencer agreed. He hesitated, and Alec watched him closely, even though it almost hurt to look at him like this. So unsure and vulnerable and wanting so hard to do the right thing, the best thing. “It’s why I asked you to do this.”
This is the third book in the Riptide series, but it also connects this series to the Food Truck Warriors series in an amazing way. I really love the way Beth Bolden keeps giving us glimpses of the characters from her previous books and how she’s created her own universe by weaving her stories and characters together without making the story plot less understandable if you’d jump straight into this one as your first read. I’m especially happy that my favorite Food Truck Warrior couple Chase and Tate played quite an important role in this book. They have a special place in my heart since Hit the Brakes was my first Beth Bolden book and completely blew me away!
The Red Zone was an adorable and heartwarming story about second chances, the power of love and acceptance, and about being brave enough to risk your whole career for a chance of true love and happiness.
Read my full review here: The Red Zone by Beth Bolden
About the author
A lifelong Pacific Northwester, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.
Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published twenty-three novels and seven novellas.
Connect with Beth Bolden
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I’m so happy and honored to be a part of the Gay Book Promotions blog tour celebrating the release of the charming and adorable The Wingman by A. Poland! Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for chance to win your own copy!
Always the wingman, never the “one”.
Nathan, a college student with a thing for funky hats and a definite not-thing for the great outdoors, has been a wingman extraordinaire for his lifelong best friend Lorcan for as long as either can remember. With his innate ability to talk endlessly about how great Lorcan is to anyone who’ll listen, Nathan has always been the best man for the job—even if he’s secretly waiting for the day when Lorcan will realize that Nathan is the only guy for him.
But then, Lorcan sets his sights on Miles, the suave, leather-jacket-wearing musician with a love of mountaineering and a family of six overprotective sisters, and Nathan must once again put his wingman skills to work.
Trouble is, Nathan is getting tired of the old routine, and Miles is the only human being on the planet immune to Lorcan’s charm. Not to mention that Miles’s interest is immediately piqued by the outspoken and completely oblivious wingman.
Nathan blinked blankly at his best friend.
“My help?” he parroted, not quite getting what Lorcan was suggesting. It wasn’t as though he could go up to this Miles guy and talk his ear off about Lorcan to encourage him to make the first move. They’d already met; they’d spoken. If Miles was interested, he’d make a move.
Hope stirred in Nathan’s chest.
If Miles was interested, why hadn’t he already made a move?
“Yeah, I need you to do your thing.” Lorcan nodded, looking at Nathan expectantly, as though that would make Nathan whip out a ready-made action plan on how to get into Miles’s pants.
“Dude, I do that so you can talk to them without doing the awkward introductions yourself.” Nathan spoke slowly, as though explaining how to draw a straight line to a child. “You’ve already covered that.”
“Well, then think of this as a part two,” Lorcan allowed with a huff, probably because Nathan was making very valid points. “I don’t know if he’s even into guys.”
Nathan frowned thoughtfully. Normally, it was easy to tell if someone was into Lorcan. Or at least to Nathan. He liked to think his dad’s perceptiveness had been inherited—to a lesser extent, of course, because Nathan was good, but he wasn’t that good—enough that he made a great wingman to other people, not just Lorcan. Hell, a few of the people in their friend group had asked for his help before.
It wasn’t as easy, sure. But Nathan had a pretty high success rate. A few of them in happy, long-term relationships to boot.
Maybe he should have business cards made.
Nathan Reed—will get you laid.
Nathan shook off that thought as quickly as it had come because that made him sound like a matchmaker, and he was decidedly not experienced enough to consider that as a career path.
“So you…what? Want me to meet him and suss out if he’s interested?” Nathan tried talking slowly, one brow apprehensively raised.
“Yeah!” Lorcan grinned. “Exactly. Work your magic.”
Nathan huffed out a laugh, rolling his eyes at Lorcan’s enthusiasm about Nathan’s apparent “magic.” It wasn’t magic; it was just knowing how to talk to people. Specifically, talking to people about Lorcan. Who, in Nathan’s opinion, was the easiest thing in the world to talk about.
Sometimes, on very good nights, Nathan didn’t have to do as much. Sometimes, the woman would know exactly why he was approaching and just cut to the chase. He always appreciated those; they made his life a lot easier.
“Okay, I’ll do you this one favor.” Nathan sighed, clearly teasing. There were no favors between them. No one kept tabs over who owed the other what. “Now drive me somewhere to get food. I’m starving.”
Lorcan laughed, his mood clearly elevated from earlier. Even that was enough to settle Nathan a bit more. Sure, his brain might still be working overtime on limited sleep, but Lorcan’s coming-out experience had been painless for him, and that was something at least.
“Your wish is my command,” he quipped back, starting up the car and taking them to their usual haunt.
There was nothing better than getting food with Lorcan. Lorcan was a picky eater, while Nathan happily consumed anything deemed edible. Which meant Nathan tended to get extra of whatever Lorcan didn’t like, and no food was wasted.
Win-win all around.
But this time, the experience was different.
Nathan hadn’t been worried about any uncomfortable silences or lapses in conversation after being away for so long, and he’d been right not to.
But he never thought to be worried about Lorcan never shutting up.
Which, under normal circumstances, would have been fine. But these weren’t normal circumstances.
Lorcan wouldn’t stop talking about Miles.
In the last half an hour, Nathan learned more about the guy than he ever wished to. His gut twisted with each and every new fun fact presented to him, his shoulders drawn tighter and smile more strained.
So far, Nathan learned the following:
Miles was a musician.
A lot of people were musicians, especially in LA; it wasn’t a big deal. In fact, Nathan had taken piano lessons for an entire week and could still successfully play “Twinkle Twinkle.”
Miles was a graduate from Juilliard.
Nathan might have asked Lorcan to repeat himself because there was no way he’d said Juilliard.
But he had. And that was fine. Juilliard was a college just like any other. Saint Andrews was nothing to scoff at either.
Miles was adopted.
It made sense. Probably adopted into a wealthy family with plenty of connections, considering the Juilliard thing (fucking Juilliard).
Miles’s eyes were this unusual gray color.
Lorcan spent a great deal of time talking about the color of Miles’s eyes. (There were only so many ways to describe stormy gray with flecks of brown, Nathan groused, please move on.) Anyway, Nathan had been told that he had unique eyes. Granted, they’d been compared to a swamp before. But still. Swamps had a bad rap—they had frogs.
But no, Lorcan clearly had a thing for smoke-colored eyes now, not gunky-green.
Miles was hugely involved in environmental activism.
This was such a fast-paced and fun mm romance! I binge-read it in just a few hours, so smitten by the charming story and the adorable characters, not the least the wonderful father-son relation that was utterly heartwarming!
Read my full review here: The Wingman
When they’re not daydreaming of the next meet-cute, A. works as a video producer and a full-time dog mom to her pride and joy, Gizmo.
Connect with A. Poland
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I’m so happy and honored to be a part of the Xpresso Book Tours blog tour celebrating the release of the wonderful, poignant and emotional Grenade Bouquets by Lee Matthew Goldberg, the second book in the amazing Runaway Train series! Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for chance to win your own copy!
I had stars in my eyes and I couldn’t see around them…
The year is 1995 and my parents have finally allowed me to take the summer to tour in a VW van across the country with my boyfriend Evan and our band. Yes, my dream to be a singer became reality. Even with Clarissa, Evan’s jealous ex-girlfriend, as the lead singer, it’s my presence on stage that led us to a major record deal. There are moments you’ll always remember in life, but I can’t imagine anything more cool than hearing your song on the radio for the first time.
But being a Rockstar isn’t as easy as it sounds. Using alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms, nothing but tension surrounded me, hurting my still blossoming relationship, and continued grieving over my sister’s death.
A love letter to the nineties and a journey of a girl becoming a woman, Grenade Bouquets charts the rollercoaster ride of a band primed to explode on the scene, as long as they keep from actually exploding.
Grenade Bouquets was a breathtaking rollercoaster ride that was sad and hopeful, heartbreaking and heartwarming, gripping and addictive with relatable and authentic characters, as well as a brilliant love letter to the nineties era!
This series is such a raw and honest tale about the nineties and a troubled girl’s journey to find herself and heal. It’s both sad and upsetting at times, but also so hopeful and full of the magic of music. Just like in the first book in this series, the writing style had such a wonderful flow and authenticity, and the concept with the chapter titles being the songs on Nico’s mixtape was brilliant in the way each song matched the mood of the chapter.
Read my full review here: Grenade Bouquets
After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in The Millions, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Monkeybicycle, Fiction Writers Review, Cagibi, Necessary Fiction, the anthology Dirty Boulevard, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City.
Connect with Lee Matthew Goldberg
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Buy Grenade Bouquets
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About the tour
Find all tour dates and more here: Xpresso Book Tours Grenade Bouquets