I’m so happy and honored to be a part of the Xpresso Book Tours blitz celebrating the release of the heartwrenching romance Dear Holden by Kathleen Maree’! Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for chance to win an ebook copy of your own choice!
It all started with a letter.
This letter I am now holding in shaky hands that I must have read at least a dozen times already. A letter I felt compelled to retrieve from the public trashcan after that woman all but tossed it away. I know it was none of my business. It was wrong, and I know that. But after suffering through the kinds of loss that I had, my gut insisted that whoever took the time to write down their words didn’t deserve them to be left in the trash like they didn’t matter.
Because they should matter.
What’s the big deal right? It’s just a letter…
But the problem was, my name wasn’t Daphne.
And I wrote a letter back.
About the author
Kathleen grew up in the south-western suburbs of Sydney, where family holidays by the beach and tormenting her two younger brothers, was how she spent her early years. But at the young age of 11, when she submitted a short story to a talented writing competition through the NSW schools program, not only did she win it, but she quickly found a love for it as well.
Throughout her schooling, writing was a hobby, along with sketching and various sports. But fast forward to her adult years when she moved to Europe to follow her husbands field hockey dream, and her love for writing surged to the surface.
Her debut story, Cut, was penned over two years where her hobby seemed to lead to the completion of Pennys’ world. The rest of the series came the following year.
Kathleen enjoys writing stories full of self-discovery, emotional journeys and of course, love.
Something else she loves is hearing from her readers, so feel free to follow her blog or drop her an email.
For signed copies of her novels, more information about upcoming stories, or to follow her blog, please visit her website www.kathleenmaree.weebly.com
Connect with Kathleen Mareé
Website • Facebook • Instagram • Twitter • Goodreads
Buy Dear Holden
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Today is my stop on Gay Book Promotions blog tour celebrating the release of the second chance mm holiday romance Love In The Mediterranean by RJ Peterson!
Neil Watkins isn’t too surprised to receive an invitation to Rob Asher and Ben Rockingham’s wedding. After all, he’s been best friends with Ben’s son Kyle for several years. But he is excited to be invited to join them on the honeymoon - a party for a select group of family and friends on an all-expense paid Mediterranean cruise. He’s hesitant at first, but Kyle convinces him to go. Well, his own love life sucks at the moment. Maybe he’ll have better luck in the Med.
When he receives an invitation to their wedding and honeymoon party, Matthew Palmer balks at the idea of joining Rob and Ben on their honeymoon cruise. The master jeweler, a friend to both men, thinks the offer is way too generous, but Rob’s best friend Samantha persuades him to rethink his decision. His last relationship really knocked him for a loop, and maybe Sam was right and he should think about himself for a change
When Neil and Matthew meet, unexpected and undeniable sparks fly. Has their luck finally changed? Can this really be their second chance at love in the Mediterranean?
As he approached the hostess at the doorway to the bistro, she looked up at him and said, “Good morning, sir. Are you dining alone this morning?”
“Yes, plea—“ he paused, catching a glimpse of Matthew sitting alone at a table near the window. “Excuse me,” he said. “That gentleman is part of the group I’m traveling with. Let me ask if I can join him.”
He strode to the table, hoping he wasn’t making a fool of himself by intruding on Matthew’s breakfast.
“Good morning, Matthew. Would it be okay if I joined you. Um, that is, um, if you’re not expecting anyone.” Dammit, I sound like an idiot. Don’t be nervous. He’s just a friend.
“Oh hi, Neil” Matthew sounded genuinely pleased to see him. “No, I’m not expecting anyone and you can certainly join me if you’d like.”
“Thanks.” As Neil sat down, the hostess came over and handed him a menu.
“Enjoy your breakfast, gentlemen.”
“Did you sleep okay?” Neil asked, trying to start a conversation and not sound like he was daft.
“Yeah, I did” Matthew replied. “I love the water and find the sound of it very soothing. I left the balcony door open when I was getting ready for bed last night and that helped relax me after a very exciting day yesterday.” He paused to sip his coffee. “What about you?”
“I did, too, actually,” Neil said. “That surprised me a bit since I often have trouble sleeping in a new place. Even though the seas are quite calm, I could feel a gentle rocking once I went to bed. I think that, combined with the alcohol we consumed at dinner, helped put me to sleep quicker than usual.”
Matthew chuckled. “Yeah, I drank more than I normally do yesterday. I’m gonna need to behave myself on this trip.”
A waiter approached carrying a carafe and asked Neil if he wanted coffee.
“Yes, please,” he replied.
"Are you ready to order?” The waiter asked.
“I’d like the fresh fruit with yogurt,” Matthew said. “And some wheat toast, please. Do you have any peanut butter?”
“Yes sir, we do. I’ll bring some with your toast.”
“A man after my own heart,” Neil said with a laugh. “I love peanut butter. I’ll have the same for breakfast, please.”
“Certainly sir. I’ll be back shortly with your orders.”
“It’s so nice to find a fellow peanut butter lover,” Matthew said.
“I have a confession,” Neil said, blushing a little. “I may have packed some single-serve containers in my checked luggage. But I completely forgot to bring one with me this morning.”
“That’s hilarious,” Matthew chuckled. “And I wish I had thought of it.”
“Well, at least they have some on board. And if they happen to run out before the end of the cruise, I’ll share my stash with you.”
The waiter returned a few minutes later with their breakfast, refilled both coffee cups, and departed.
“Do you have any plans for today?” Neil asked, as he smeared peanut butter onto one of the toast slices.
“I was thinking of walking around a bit and maybe figure out where things are.” Matthew answered. “I still can’t believe we’re on a cruise ship. I mean, everything is so large. It’s nothing like I expected.”
“I know exactly what you mean. I looked at some photos on the cruise line’s website and watched a video, but it’s still so much more than I expected.”
Neil sipped his coffee and continued. “I was planning on exploring a bit, too. Maybe we could check things out together? Might keep us from getting too lost.”
“That’s a great idea,” Matthew effused. “I gotta admit, it seemed a bit overwhelming to try and discover things all on my own.”
“If you remember correctly, before we left on this trip, we cruise virgins agreed to stick together,” Neil smiled brightly. “We’ve got this.”
The thought of spending at least part of the day with Matthew made everything seem a bit brighter.
About the Author
R.J. Peterson is a retired graphic designer. He is an avid reader, preferably while sipping a vodka martini or bourbon on the rocks. He's had a long and varied career, including library page, car wash attendant, travel agent, and graphic designer in the marijuana industry. He also worked in banking for twenty-five years. He loves to travel and has been on 50+ cruises. When not on a cruise, he and his husband live in New England.
He didn’t grow up thinking he’d be a writer. That was never on his radar. Then a fateful day in January, 2021 changed it all. He woke with a story stuck in his head and started typing. The more he types, the more ideas he gets.
His debut novel, Love On The Horizon, was published in May 2021.
Connect with RJ Peterson
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I’m so happy to be part of Gay Book Promotions blog tour celebrating the release of the wonderful feelgood Christmas story A Gift-Wrapped Holiday by Amy Aislin! Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for chance to win your own signed paperbook copy!
Mal’s first priority is giving his six-year-old son the best Christmas ever, a goal made trickier by a recent move to New England after losing his job. As a single dad, he’s not looking for romance—especially not with a blond California boy ten years his junior.
After being ridiculed at the family business, Luca sets out to prove himself by opening an eco-friendly gift-wrapping store in a small town with a hard-on for Christmas that’s about as far from LA as he can get. Out of his comfort zone in snowy Maine, love is the last thing on his mind.
But the magic of the season has other ideas. As Mal and Luca collide on wintery streets, will they let their first Christmas in Lighthouse Bay lead to happily ever after?
Content warning: stillbirth. Although it took place off-page and in the past, it is discussed on-page.
Mal slowed at the bottom of a driveway and nodded at the house. “This is me.”
“I was wondering who lived here,” Luca said, taking in the house’s boxy structure.
“Why? Because it’s hideous?”
That startled a laugh out of Luca. “Well . . . yes. It doesn’t match the rest of the houses.” The area just west of Christmas Lane housed Lighthouse Bay’s historic homes, but this modern construction was decidedly not historic. Luca had passed it a couple of times on his evening gift deliveries and wondered what the owner had been thinking. “Why’d you buy it if you don’t like it?”
“I’m not. I’m leasing.”
Even so, Mal had gone all out with the decorations. Icicle lights hanging from the roof, flashing multicolored lights framed around each window, static white lights around a nine-foot-tall pine tree, and a lit-up reindeer family. He even had some sort of spotlights buried somewhere in the yard that swirled red and green snowflakes on the house in an unidentifiable pattern.
“Which is probably another reason I haven’t unpacked,” Mal continued. “I hate this place.”
“Why lease it, then?”
Mal blew out a breath that ghosted the air in front of him. “The short version is that I was in a rush.”
“And the long version?”
“The long version is something I’ll have to give you another time.”
Luca glanced at Otis. “I think he’s asleep.”
“Bet he gets a second wind as soon as I walk in the door.” Mal’s voice was a disgruntled grumble that Luca shouldn’t have found as charming as he did.
“Thanks for walking us home.”
“Thanks for letting me. I like talking to you.”
Mal’s smile went lopsided. “I like talking to you too. Still want to do it again sometime? I promise not to feed you ice cream while it’s below freezing outside. Real food only. Scout’s honor.”
Luca’s armpits went damp despite the winter weather, and butterflies took flight in his belly. He dug his toe into the sidewalk. “You must really want to date me if you’ve asked me out twice in one week.”
“Or I just want an adult to talk to for once,” Mal said, a teasing tilt to his smile.
Luca stuck his tongue in his cheek and backed down the driveway, keeping his gaze on Mal’s. “Or maybe you like me.”
“Damn. And here I thought I wasn’t being obvious at all.”
The butterflies floated into Luca’s throat. “Text me?”
“I will.” The darkness enveloped Mal as he moved away from the sidewalk and into the shadow of the house, but Luca could still see the quirk to his lips. “Good night, Luca.”
Luca watched Mal and Otis head inside, waved at Mal through the glass-fronted door, then turned toward his own home only a couple blocks away, an extra bounce to his steps.
This was such a wonderful feelgood story with all the right Christmassy ingredients; Christmas markets, charity tournaments, hot chocolate, gift-wrapping, family celebrations and of course, a truly sweet and heartwarming love story. Great fleshed-out and relatable characters, with a wonderful small town community. Very low on angst, but full of warmth, forgiveness, redemption and kindness. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to get into the Christmas spirit and read a book that will warm your heart and make you smile!
You can find my full review here: A Gift-Wrapped Holiday by Amy Aislin
About the Author
Amy’s lived with her head in the clouds since she first picked up a book as a child, and being fluent in two languages means she’s read a lot of books! She first picked up a pen on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class had to stay inside for recess. Tales of treasure hunts with her classmates eventually morphed into love stories between men, and she’s been writing ever since. She writes evenings and weekends—or whenever she isn’t at her full-time day job saving the planet at Canada’s largest environmental non-profit.
An unapologetic introvert, Amy reads too much and socializes too little, with no regrets. She loves connecting with readers. Join her Facebook Group to stay up-to-date on upcoming releases and for access to early teasers, find her on Instagram, or sign up for her infrequent newsletter.
Connect with Amy Aislin
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I’m so happy to be a part of Xpresso Book Tours blitz for the dazzling and evocative romance Maybe in Monaco by Kaya Quinsey Holt! Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for chance to win your own ebook copy!
Immerse yourself in the dazzling world of best-selling author Kaya Quinsey Holt’s in this evocative romance full of “unrest, deceit, and heartbreak in one of Europe’s most spectacular places” (Readers Favorite).
Charlotte Levant left Monaco ten years ago in order to allow the man she loved to pursue his dream but she left with more than a broken heart. Only a select few knew that she gave up her baby. Facing a personal crisis, Charlotte returns to Monaco, thinking she can quietly sneak back without a fuss. But it’s hard to keep a secret in Monaco.
For recently retired Formula One driver Freddie Ridgeport, losing Charlotte was more painful than a car crash, but he quickly found company among his fans. Now back in Monaco, the responsibility of caring for nine-year-old Nicholas has been thrust upon him after he is unexpectedly named as the legal guardian in a will.
Will fate finally reunite these star-crossed lovers? And if so, can the truth make up for a ten-year-long secret that runs deeper than the adjacent Mediterranean sea?
“So, where are you visiting from?” the taxi driver asked, turning briefly to look at her.
Charlotte smiled. “Manhattan.” The driver returned his attention to the road. New York City was another world, Charlotte mused as the car performed a hot lap past the Monte Carlo Casino. A throng of tourists with cameras crossed in front of the taxi, slowing all of the traffic behind it. Perhaps the two cities had some similarities, Charlotte thought.
Today, the body of water and anonymity that protected Charlotte was 4,000 miles away.
Charlotte was a French teacher at a private school on the Upper East Side, where she put her New York University education to use. Ample time, money, and effort were spent on rebuilding her life—an accomplishment she previously thought unimaginable. What Charlotte accomplished in those ten years astonished her and her grandmother.
In Manhattan, Charlotte cultivated a refined and private image. She socialized vigilantly, and her acquaintances consisted mainly of private school colleagues. Though she scarcely noticed, Charlotte was admired and desired by many. Charlotte enticed people with her softness, attentiveness in conversations (aided by her social media avoidance), adoration for anything vintage, and passion for French impressionist art. However, Charlotte’s romantic affairs were often cut short, and she developed a reputation for fleeing when relationships threatened to become too serious or prodding.
The men who courted Charlotte inevitably crashed into the walls that guarded her. Privacy was Charlotte’s priority, and the less that people knew about her, the better. She feared the discovery of her imperfections, which lurked beneath every layer.
Charlotte preferred blending in to standing out. As usual, she was dressed in simple, high-quality items, which she—or her relatives—had owned for years. Her haphazardly-piled, classic travel bags were passed down from Charlotte’s late mother, and her antique camera and matching leather bag belonged to her late father.
Contrary to her intention, Charlotte’s subtleties spawned second glances. Strangers couldn’t help noticing the authentic glamour of her well-worn Hermes handbag, slightly upturned nose, chestnut blunt cut grazing her freckled collarbones, and sparkling eyes that never gave anything away.
Slowly, Charlotte’s destination crept into sight. Le Soleil was a luxury condominium with coastal views of the Côte d'Azur. Charlotte dreaded stepping out of the car, and wondered if returning was a dire mistake. “Monaco is my home,” she silently repeated, as she promised herself she would.
The driver slowed to a stop, and carefully unloaded the aged Keepalls onto the unblemished cobblestone.
Charlotte remained still for a few more moments, summoning enough willpower to open the door. Once she touched her feet to the ground, the truth would land. She was in Monaco.
The trunk of the cab shut with a thud that rocked the whole vehicle. Taking a few deep breaths, Charlotte opened the door and set one ballet flat onto the pavement. She was home.
The suitcases appeared smaller and fewer to Charlotte when she left Manhattan. The driver gawked at the mountain of luggage that now blocked the sidewalk.
“That’s everything,” Charlotte lied, for the driver knew not of her heaviest baggage, smuggled into Monaco upon her freckle-dusted shoulders.
Charlotte paid the driver and watched as the car faded into a sea of traffic. She glanced helplessly at the unattended concierge desk and sighed. Keeping a watchful eye on her remaining belongings, Charlotte hauled her luggage into the air-conditioned lobby. She was no stranger to strenuous labor, but her arms ached and her breath grew heavier with each bag.
Ten years since she stepped foot on that cobblestone sidewalk. Ten years since she left the country—and the person—she loved. Ten years since she fled with two hearts beating inside of her. Ten years, and she was still wondering if she made the right decision. Ten years, she kept a secret.
But it was very hard to keep a secret in Monaco.
I’m so happy to be part of Gay Book Promotions blog tour celebrating the release of the adorable Hockey Ever After series! Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card!
Falling for his teammate wasn’t in the game plan….
Winging It (book 1) blurb
Hockey is Gabe Martin's life. Dante Baltierra just wants to have some fun on his way to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Falling for a teammate isn't in either game plan.
But plans change.
When Gabe gets outed, it turns his careful life upside-down. The chaos messes with his game and sends his team headlong into a losing streak. The last person he expects to pull him through it is Dante.
This season isn’t going the way Dante thought it would. Gabe’s sexuality doesn’t faze him, but his own does. Dante’s always been a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy, and having to hide his attraction to Gabe sucks. But so does losing, and his teammate needs him, so he puts in the effort to snap Gabe out of his funk.
He doesn’t mean to fall in love with the guy.
Getting involved with a teammate is a bad idea, but Dante is shameless, funny, and brilliant at hockey. Gabe can’t resist. Unfortunately, he struggles to share part of himself that he’s hidden for years, and Dante chafes at hiding their relationship. Can they find their feet before the ice slips out from under them?
Excerpt from Winging It
Dante waited in the lobby, curled into a chair that wasn’t quite big enough to be comfortable. He kept his back to the flow of people and his nose buried in his phone. Any other night, sure, he would be happy to sign autographs. Tonight… his brain was going to endlessly replay the scene he’d just walked in on.
How had he not known Gabe was into men? It seemed obvious now. Of course he never picked women up in bars or brought a girlfriend to a team event. Dante felt stupid for not noticing.
Somehow Dante had stumbled onto a huge secret.
And now he had to work out what to do about it.
First, though, apparently he was going to think about Gabe’s broad palm on his partner’s chest. Gabe was a big guy—two inches taller than Dante, even if Dante was more solidly built. His partner had been clinging to Gabe’s muscular shoulder.
He should stop thinking about it, but his brain was trying to fill in details. Where had Gabe’s other hand been? Had it been placed on his partner’s thigh? Had he been putting his weight on it to steady himself? Or maybe he’d used it to tilt the man’s face to the right angle.
Dante exhaled sharply. This was really, really not his business. Dwelling on it would not do him any favors. He needed to pretend everything was normal. And obsessing about your teammate feeling up some guy—and kissing, can’t forget the kissing—was not that.
So. Normal. He’d been sexiled by a roommate. That was fine! It had happened before. Today, actually. He hoped Yorkie was having a better night than Gabe.
Most importantly, sexiling was normal.
Was it hot in here?
Footsteps jarred him out of his spiral, and he looked up to see Gabe walking toward him, head down, shoulders hunched. He didn’t exactly have the look of the freshly laid about him.
Or, like, probably not.
Gabe dropped into the chair across from him. He was loudly projecting that he would rather stand in front of fifty of Kitty’s slap shots than have this conversation.
At least they were on even footing in that respect.
Dante put his phone away. “So, uh, sorry for cockblocking you.” Even if it’s kind of your fault. Who doesn’t use the Do Not Disturb sign? Why didn’t you tell me to pound rocks when I asked to share?
Considering the circumstances, he kept a lid on these criticisms. He could bring them up later, when Gabe didn’t look like he was about to puke all over the hotel lobby.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be a problem,” Gabe said. He slumped farther, but Dante thought his shoulders were relaxing too. “Did you strike out or something?”
“Sort of. We passed her ex on the way back to her place and she made it like ten more feet before she burst into tears. So we stopped at Dairy Queen for ice cream, and then she went to the bathroom and fixed her makeup and we took a selfie for her Instagram, and I came back here.”
The color returned to Gabe’s face and he met Dante’s gaze for the first time since that hideously awkward moment upstairs. “Guess neither of us is getting laid tonight,” he said, a little tentatively, like he wasn’t sure Dante would laugh.
“I won’t tell if you won’t.”
“Deal,” Gabe said. The lines of tension in his face disappeared under a relieved half smile.
Good. Dante was glad they’d settled that. “Great.” He yawned. “So can we go upstairs now? I’ve had just enough booze and ice cream to make me sleepy.”
When they got up to the hotel room, Dante said, “I wish you’d told me you liked guys.” His shoes thunked dully against the wall as he kicked them off. “I wouldn’t have tried so hard to hook you up with chicks last season.” Or last week.
Gabe stared at Dante’s shoes. Then he lined his own up neatly under the desk. “It’s not something I advertise.”
“No shit.” Dante shimmied out of his jeans.
After a beat, Gabe said, “You’re being really cool about this.”
Dante sat in the desk chair. He had a habit of saying the first thing that came to mind, and right now that was Actually, I’m kind of freaking out. He needed to take his time. “I mean, obviously I’m not mad or upset or whatever. I’m—accepting? Ugh, that’s a garbage word.” He huffed, frustrated with himself. “Look, you’re… gay?”
The muscle at the hinge of Gabe’s jaw bunched. “Yeah.”
“Cool.” He drummed the fingers of his left hand on the desktop, realized he was doing it, and forced himself to stop. “And obviously if you haven’t told the team, you’re expecting some of them to be assholes. And that sucks. Because as far as I’m concerned, my reaction? Is, like, a pretty low bar.”
Gabe rubbed the back of his neck. “I mean, it’s not like you could come in and introduce yourself.”
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Dante was losing his grip on reality. “Yeah, maybe not. You mind if I shower now? I stink like dance club.”
“Sure. I’m just gonna….” Gabe picked up the television remote.
The television came on, and a moment later Dante closed the bathroom door behind him and started the water. Mechanically, he removed his clothes and stepped under the spray. The hot water sluiced over him, washing away the sweat and club grime and what had maybe been just a little too much hair gel.
But the image of Gabe kissing another man on the bed in their hotel room stuck with him, and now, in relative privacy and naked, alone with his thoughts, Dante was forced to confront the truth of his own semi.
“I did not see this coming,” he muttered as he reached for his shampoo.
You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.
Scoring Position (book 2) blurb
Ryan Wright’s new hockey team is a dumpster fire. He expects to lose games—not his heart.
Ryan’s laid-back attitude should be an advantage in Indianapolis. Even if he doesn’t accomplish much on the ice, he can help his burned-out teammates off it. And no one needs a friend—or a hug—more than Nico Kirschbaum, the team’s struggling would-be superstar.
Nico doesn’t appreciate that management traded for another openly gay player and told them to make friends. Maybe he doesn’t know what his problem is, but he’ll solve it with hard work, not by bonding with the class clown.
It’s obvious to Ryan that Nico’s lonely, gifted, and cracking under pressure. No amount of physical practice will fix his mental game. But convincing Nico to let Ryan help means getting closer than is wise for Ryan’s heart—especially once he unearths Nico’s sense of humor.
Will Nico and Ryan risk making a pass, or will they keep missing 100 percent of the shots they don’t take?
This was such a wonderful and sweet mm hockey romance series, with the perfect amount of steam and lovable main characters with an absolutely sizzling chemistry! This series truly warmed my heart!
You can find my reviews of both books here: The Hockey Ever After Series by Ashlyn Kane and Morgan James
About the Authors
As an adult, she received a starred review in Publishers Weekly for her novel Fake Dating the Prince. There were quite a few years in the middle there, but who’s counting?
Her hobbies include DIY home decor, container gardening (no pulling weeds), music, and spending time with her enormous chocolate lapdog. She is the fortunate wife of a wonderful man, the daughter of two sets of great parents, and the proud older sister/sister-in-law of the world’s biggest nerds.
Morgan James is a clueless (older) millennial who’s still trying to figure out what they’ll be when they grow up and enjoying the journey to get there. Now, with a couple of degrees, a few stints in Europe, and more than one false start to a career, they eagerly wait to see what’s next. James started writing fiction before they could spell and wrote their first (unpublished) novel in middle school. They haven’t stopped writing since. Geek, artist, archer, and fanatic, Morgan tends to pass their free hours with in imaginary worlds and people on pages and screens—it’s an addiction. As is their love of coffee and tea. They live in Canada with their massive collection of unread books, where they are the personal servant of too many four-legged creatures.
Connect with Ashlyn Kane
Blog/Website • Facebook Group • Facebook Profile • Twitter • Newsletter sign-up • BookBub
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Get your own copy of Scoring Position
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I’m so happy to be part of Gay Book Promotions blog tour celebrating the release of Life is Good and Other Lies by Magdalena Di Sotru and Sophia Soames - a contemporary M/M romance with one MC being an FTM Transman.
This is not a romance. This is what happens when life goes on, when people grow and fall out of sync. Not out of love; some people are just meant to be.
Thomas at least hopes that is the case, even though he sometimes feels like he’s clinging to his marriage by a brittle thread.
Frank clutches to the scraps that are left, knowing he’s the root cause of Thomas’ grey hairs, their kids being hormonal monsters and his own sanity being questionable at the best of times.
Gabriel needs to stop worrying and take control of his life, but with young kids and a body that refuses to do what it’s supposed to do—to sustain and nourish and build muscle to keep bones in place—his feels like a traitor, laughing in his face when he struggles to keep it together. He knows he is loved. His kids are everything. But his marriage feels like a distant memory, and he’s tumbling from one disaster into another. It’s just…life.
Bruno thought this holiday would bring them closer together as a family. Isn’t that what a trip abroad is supposed to do? Four weeks in the Swedish mosquito-infested countryside, sharing a farm with strangers. He should have known better.
Life is good. But the rest? Lies. All lies.
This is the first of two books following a lifelong friendship between two families. A slice of life from two established M/M couples, children galore, stray sheep, heat, sizzle and laughter, this is what happens after the HEA.
The second book, Life is Right Here will be published in December 2022.
“You know, Thomas, there’s no need to feel jealous,” Bruno said softly.
“I’m not.” Thomas laughed again, but it sounded fake. Hollow.
“Well, I am.” Bruno admitted with a touch of cockiness. “I’m fucking raging that he can talk to Frank, this dude he’s just met, about things he struggles to talk to me about. He should be talking to me. Shouldn’t he?”
“You just said I shouldn’t feel jealous!” Thomas almost shrieked, gripping the worktop until the wood creaked under his knuckles.
Bruno grinned. Classic psychology. Worked every time.
“You are jealous, and that’s the way it should be. You have a very, very handsome husband who loves you to the point that he can barely see through the love haze the two of you have going on. Frank adores you. You just don’t always see it, but that doesn’t mean he can’t talk to other people, have close friends, talk about things that he might not be able to talk to you about. It’s healthy and normal.”
“Bloody doctors, you’re all the same, talking a load of crap.” Thomas was smiling underneath the stiff pose he was still holding. Thank God.
“Yup, it’s all textbook doctor bullshit, mate.” Bruno laughed. “And I wasn’t lying about being jealous. But why would Gabriel even look twice at some random Norwegian dude when he has all this prime Italian quality stud at home?” He slapped his chest like some ridiculous alpha male, and Thomas chuckled and shook his head.
“You’re such an idiot.”
“I know.” Bruno smiled, taking a step forward so he could pat Thomas’s shoulder. “I wouldn’t make it a week without Gabriel. He keeps me going, sorts me out. Puts me to bed at night and gets me up in the morning. Without him, I would probably be dead.”
“Did you ever suffer from…you know. Stuff? Do you get it all? Like, do you understand Gabriel?”
“Let me tell you something.” He took a deep breath because this wasn’t something he’d ever talked about, and he didn’t know why he suddenly felt like sharing. “I don’t understand much, and let me tell you, I’ve spent years specialising in the human body and mind. Personally, I’ve made some horrible mistakes, huge mistakes, and there are things I’ve done that I will always, always regret. I still struggle to grasp how the human brain works. I learn new stuff every day. But I understand depression. I understand losing control of your mind, and you do too. I bet you’ve stood at the edge of a cliff in your head and wondered what it would be like to jump. I know I have. I’ve wobbled and struggled and bloody lost my mind more than once, but the difference between you and me and Frank and Gabriel…”
“There is no difference. We’re all human. It’s just our brains are wired differently. We still live, eat, sleep, fall in love, have families and die when our time is complete. Some of us have to try a little harder. Some of us struggle a little more. Fall a little harder and cry a little longer. Struggle to swim against the undercurrent, while the rest of the world seems to go with the flow. It doesn’t make us less human or worth less than anyone else.”
It was nice to see Thomas smile, despite his shoulders sagging and the way he shook his head like Bruno was talking nonsense.
“Seriously, dude. Don’t be jealous. Don’t create drama where there is none. Let Frank and Gabriel have this. They need it. Well, I hardly know Frank, but Gabriel does. We’re just a bunch of messed-up gay men on holiday. Take it for what it is. Nothing more.”
This was quite a unique story - not a romance as such, and not very romantic at all - but rather a story about what happens to a relationship when everyday life takes its toll on the big epic romance. It was beautiful, honest, heartwarming and so very realistic.
Read my full review here: Life is Good and Other Lies by Magdalena di Sotru and Sophia Soames
About the authors
Sophia should be old enough to know better but has barely grown up. She has been known to fangirl over TV shows, has fallen in and out of love with more popstars than she dares to remember, and has a ridiculously high-flying (un-)glamourous real-life job.
Her long-suffering husband just laughs at her antics. Their children are feral. The dogs are too.
She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in her native Scandinavia.
Discovering that the stories in her head make sense when written down has been part of the most hilarious midlife crisis ever, and she hopes it may long continue.
Connect with Sophia Soames here: Link Tree • Newsletter Sign-up • TikTok • Facebook readers group
Magdalena Di Sotru
Magdalena is an information security and data protection enthusiast from Norway. She is a mother of two and wife of one as well as a long-established fanfic writer. Her favourite food is (actually) salads (without mayo), her favourite guilty pleasure is fresh bakery goods (and that explains why everyone would think the salad was a lie). She knows her way around knitting, lock picking and skydiving (all at about equal skill levels – go figure). Life is Good and Other Lies is her first novel.
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Today I’m excited to share a stop in the Promo Tour for Entangled With An Elf Prince by Amanda Ferreira! Enter the Bookstagram Giveaway hosted by MTMC Tours to win a $25USD Amazon gift card!
There’s a reason monster hunters are rarely human.
Immune to the mists that flood the woods every night, Keenyn is a dark elf prince with exactly one fear — that he’ll stray too far from his demi-god partner, Bren, and lose him to the curse.
After all, Keenyn’s seen what’s beneath that suit of armor. In detail. And if he ignores his best friend’s perfect body, god-like strength, and endless stamina, it’s obvious that Bren is just a man, as likely to die in the mists as any other.
Now, if only Keenyn’s ability to ignore things was foolproof...
Entangled With An Elf Prince is an adult standalone M/M fantasy romance novella perfect for fans of Ariana Nash, C.S. Pacat, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Madeline Miller. Expect some spicy (18+) sexual situations and gore.
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Cover reveal! Today I’m excited to help reveal the cover of How to Bite Your Neighbor and Win a Wager by D.N. Bryn!
How to Bite Your Neighbor and Win and Wager is a slow-burn paranormal mm romance full of laughter, angst, and thirsty pining.
It is perfect for fans of fangs and scientific interpretations of vampirism, with a medium spice level. Content includes bite kink, bleeding (non-kinky), medical experimentation (not experienced by the point of view characters), one particular lesbian BFF who should be reported to HR, and the use of “bodice-ripping” as a verb.
See the full stunning paperback cover here:
“I want you to bite me!”
Vincent Barnes has suffered four years as a vampire, and they’ve been the most miserable years of his pathetic life. Too poor for black market blood, he feeds from sleeping humans to survive. He tries to never intrude on the same prey twice, but after a single delicious taste of a long-lost childhood neighbor, he can’t help returning for seconds.
Wesley Garcia has been waking up with fang marks. Lucky for him, he needs a vampire—to use as bait. He’s certain Vitalis-Barron Pharmaceutical killed his mother, but to gain access to their covert research labs, he has to bring them a bloodsucker for their experiments.
Step one, a dramatic offer: Stay, and you can bite me.
Vincent leaps at the chance to gobble Wesley up.
Wes’s plan is perfect. He’ll befriend the vampire, then trick him into coming to the lab. No fighting, no fuss. But Vincent is more than Wesley has bargained for: sweet and shy, with intoxicating fangs that awaken new desires in Wes. As the two bond, Vincent believes he might have finally found someone worth putting his trust in... and Wes fears neither of them will survive the betrayal he has planned.
Gay, gay, gay..., vampire x human, bite kink, oblivious pining, friends to lovers, and imminent betrayal.
This was such a witty, fast-paced, adorable and completely unique vampire story! I binged it in just a few hours, so smitten by the sweet and nerdy characters, and the hilarious plot!
Read my full review here: How to Bite Your Neighbor and Win a Wager by D.N Bryn
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How to Bite Your Neighbor and Win and Wager will be released on October 6th!
I’m so happy to be a part of Xpresso Book Tours blog tour for the magical and engaging YA fantasy Stolen City by Elisa A. Bonnin! Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for chance to win a print copy!
Twin thieves attempt to pull off a daring heist in Stolen City, the sophomore fantasy novel from Dauntless author Elisa A. Bonnin.
The city of Leithon is under Imperial occupation and Arian Athensor has made it her playground.
In stealing magical artifacts for the Resistance, bounding over rooftops to evade Imperial soldiers, and establishing herself as the darling thief of the underground, Arian lives a life wrapped in danger and trained towards survival. She’ll steal anything for the right price, and if she runs fast enough, she can almost escape the fact that her mother is dead, her father is missing, and her brother, Liam, is tamping down a wealth of power in a city that has outlawed magic.
But then the mysterious Cavar comes to town with a job for the twins: to steal an artifact capable of ripping the souls from the living–the same artifact that used to hang around the neck of Arian’s mother. Suddenly, her past is no longer buried under adrenaline but intimately tied to the mission at hand, and Arian must face her guilt and pain head-on in order to pull off the heist.
As Arian and Cavar infiltrate the strongest fortress in Leithon and Liam joins the Resistance as their resident mage, the twins find themselves embroiled in court politics and family secrets, and the mission becomes more than just another artifact theft. The target is now the Imperial rule, and Arian will go to any length necessary to steal her city back.
The Legend trilogy is one of my favorite dystopian/fantasy series and this book gave me such wonderful Legend vibes! It had the same kind of strong, fleshed out and morally grey characters and the same kind of creative and unique world building, plus a thrilling magical heist plot. I’m definitely hoping for a sequel to this magical and engaging story!
Read my full review here: Stolen City by Elisa A. Bonnin
A lifelong learner, Elisa is always convinced that she should “maybe take a class in something” and as a result, has amassed an eclectic collection of hobbies. But writing will always be her true love. Publishing a book has been her dream since she was eight years old, and she is thrilled to finally be able to share her stories. Dauntless is her first novel.
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I’m so happy to be a part of Gay Book Promotions book blast for the empowering and highly enjoyable Unexpected Departure by Shannon O’Connor! Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebook copies of Shannon O’Connor’s FF fake dating romance Only for the Summer!
Will she be able to confront her past, learn to move on, and learn to love herself?
Riley is stuck —in a job she hates, a toxic relationship, and in life. She knows the relationship is bad for her, but she also can’t seem to let her go. After catching her girlfriend cheating, again, she finds comfort at her favorite bar, with her best friend by her side.
After punching someone in the face and meeting a mysteriously gorgeous bartender, Riley thinks things may be changing. Sawyer is adventurous, sexy, and confident— all the things Riley yearns to be. And a sunrise motorcycle ride starts to give her hope that things can change.
When she suddenly gets a phone call from her brother, she discovers her estranged mother is dying. After almost a decade of silence, she’s forced to return to her small homophobic hometown, say goodbye, and confront her demons.
“Wanna dance?” We both turn and see a greasy guy at least twice our age. I bask in the audacity of men.
“NO THANKS!” I shout back over the loud music.
He ignores me and starts grinding on Luna’s ass and her eyes almost pop out of her head. She politely tries to move away but he follows her, keeping his body pinned to hers. Luna mouths ‘help’ so I try to pull her away.
“WE DON’T WANNA DANCE!” I yell at the guy. What the hell is wrong with men?
He either doesn’t hear me or he doesn’t seem to care because he grabs Luna’s other arm. She tries to get out of his grasp and he just laughs, enjoying her squirming. I turn to face this guy now. He’s barely an inch taller than me, with sweat stains under his armpits and oily black hair.
“We said NO! Now let go of my friend.” I am nose to nose with this guy and he still doesn’t let go.
“What are you going to do about it?” He laughs, and I can smell the onions he had for dinner on his breath.
Without hesitating, I take a step back as if I’m going to walk away before turning around at the last second and punching him square in the jaw. He stumbles backward, surprised by my strength and action. He falls to the ground, the crowd backing up to avoid catching him. He looks stunned for a moment before he looks angry.
I grab Luna’s hand and try to maneuver out of the crowd. We need to get out of here as fast as we can. Let me just say trying to run through a crowd of people, wearing heels, while half-drunk, and pulling your fully drunk best friend on your arm is not an easy feat.
I turn back to see if he’s still following us, giving me a second to catch my breath. He’s still halfway across the club but he seems to be looking for us, so I hold on tighter to Luna and pull her toward the exit. Only when I feel the cool breeze on my bare legs do I feel safe. We walk to get out of the way of people to where we can take a second to breathe.
“Dude, are you okay?” Luna’s eyes are wide and that’s when I finally realize the impact of my punch. My fist is starting to swell and my knuckles are quickly turning purple; only now do I feel how bad that hurt.
“Jeez, I wouldn’t wanna be on the other end of that hand.” The voice comes from next to us and I look up curiously.
A woman about our age is leaning against the brick wall smoking a cigarette, looking like something out of a magazine. She’s wearing tight dark jeans and a low cut opened floral button-down. Her blonde hair is slicked back like Danny Zuko from Grease. She’s gorgeous. Where did she come from?
“They had it coming,” I mumbled instantly, losing my confidence.
“They did,” Luna confirms. I try to flex my fist and wince in pain. Shit, did I break something?
“Want some ice?” The mystery woman puts out her cigarette and motions for us to follow her.
I look at Luna and we both shrug, following the woman into the side entrance of Puzzles.
Unexpected Departure was a quick and enjoyable story about confronting your past, and learning to love and stand up for yourself. There was a wonderful friendship and a promising sapphic romance around the corner, but also a lot of homophobia and a toxic relationship, so please check the trigger warnings before reading.
Read my full review here: Unexpected Departure by Shannon O’Connor
About the author
Shannon O’Connor is a twenty-something, bisexual, self-published poet of several books and counting. She released her first novel, Electric Love in 2021 and is currently working on several sapphic romance novels. She believes there is a lack of positive Female/Female romances in the world, and wants to make them more accessible. She is often found in coffee shops, probably writing about someone she shouldn’t be.
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