Friday, July 19, 2019

#BookReview – “Forevermore” by Kristen Callihan

Blurb

Miss Layla Starling, the young, beautiful, and extremely wealthy heiress, is the talk of London. Until now, she's managed to evade the marriage noose. Despite the fact that she is unfortunately American, she's received a staggering number of offers. And turned down every one.
St. John Evernight does not want to admit the relief he feels every time he hears that she has rejected one of her suitors. Which is unfair of him. Layla deserves to be happy. But he can not offer her happiness. He will never be normal, never be anything but a freak in her world. So St. John resolves to keep his distance, until he is recruited by the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals to guard Layla. For she is in grave danger, and he is about to learn the full extent of his powers.

Review

In book seven in the Darkest London series, Layla Starling returns to London and goes home to her beloved guardian Augustus. He’s raised her since she was a baby, and they love each other like father and daughter. The last person she expected to see sitting in the parlor was St. John “Sin” Evernight, her childhood friend whom she hadn’t seen in several years.
Sin has loved Layla from afar, but after suffering years as a blood slave for the evil fae queen, he doesn’t believe he’s good enough for Layla. He’s a powerful elemental and now Judgment, an angel with the ability to steal souls from evil people and send the souls to Hell. Augustus is also Judgment and Sin’s mentor, and he’s adamant Sin protect Layla from the Damnation demon that is looking for her.
Layla is a half-breed (half Judgment and half Damnation), but she’s probably the sweetest, kindest heroine in the series. Sin is so damaged, his self-esteem so low. Layla’s acceptance and love, and his sisters’ regret for thinking the worst of him, did a lot to help him heal. I really loved the scene when all the secrets were out and Poppy, Daisy, and Miranda finally learned the truth and realized how wrong they were.
There are two couples featured in this story, Layla and Sin being the most prominent. I preferred, however, the romance and reconciliation with Augustus and Lena.
Though commonly believed to be a powerful sanguis demon, Lena is a Damnation demon in love with angel. Needless to say, this couple has not had an easy courtship, mostly due to Lena’s refusal to accept Augustus as her mate.
Augustus was an awesome but very conniving character, and I loved the scene when Lena called him out on it. For over a thousand years, he’s been playing chess, setting people up in the roles he wants for them and pushing them down the right path, so he could achieve his end game. If not for his manipulations, the main couples in this seven-book series never would’ve met, fallen in love, or had even been born. That’s pretty extraordinary.
As with the previous book, I was a little confused with the timeline and the amount of time that has passed. I like twists and turns in novels, but it was surprising that certain truths from earlier stories were revealed as false in this story. Other than Lena’s heritage, the most notable twist was Archer and his “curse” from book one. It’s always irked me a little that Archer/Miranda and Winston/Poppy (from book three) remained human at the end of their stories when all the other couples became immortal. Though I’m happy Archer and Miranda has transformed into something more, I still feel bad for Win and Poppy.
The only typos I noticed were the villain’s name. It was spelled two different ways (St Clair and St Claire).
I’m disappointed my favorite secondary character, Lucien, didn’t show up in this book. He deserves to fall in love with someone, either off-page or on, but it didn’t happen.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I’m sad to see the series end, but everything was mostly wrapped up. (There are some unanswered questions, series-wise, but nothing of great importance.) I see the potential for a spinoff series, and if Ms. Callihan ever writes it, I’ll be sure to read it.
4 Stars

Thursday, July 18, 2019

#NewRelease - "The Rebound Effect" by Linda Griffin


Whirlwind romance–cure for a broken heart or prescription for trouble?
Blurb

In the small town of Cougar, struggling single mother and veterinary assistant Teresa Lansing is still bruised from a failed relationship when Frank McAllister sweeps her off her feet.
Frank is a big-city SWAT officer who moved to Cougar only four months ago. He's handsome, charming, forceful, very sexy, and a bit mysterious. He had his eye on Teresa even before they met and is pushing for a serious relationship right away.
Teresa finds his intense courtship flattering, and the sex is fabulous, but she doesn't want her deaf six-year-old son to be hurt again. Her former fiancé cheated on her when he got drunk after being unjustly fired, but he loves her and her son, and the whirlwind romance is complicated by his efforts to win Teresa back.
And then there's the matter of the bodies buried at Big Devil Creek…

Excerpt

     From the beginning the massage had been more sensuous than sexual, but now it was getting more personal by the minute. His hands were on her breasts, at first through the fabric and then underneath, stroking and cradling. She was neither frightened nor aroused, but he was very definitely making her feel something strong and deep. She held her breath, and he said, “Relax” again. He finally moved on, his hands warm on her bare midriff and her belly, down inside her shorts. Teresa moaned softly.
     Draw a line, she told herself, but she didn’t stop him. She was being manipulated, but she liked what he was doing. He moved on to her upper thighs, deeply kneading muscles that were a little tired from the beach, and on down her legs, with briefer attention to her feet this time, and back up the insides of her calves and thighs. One hand slipped between her legs. It was both an unpressured, natural continuation of the ritual, and very deeply arousing.
     She opened her eyes and looked into his. “This is supposed to relax me?” she asked.
     “Yes.” His hands were still now. “Are you relaxed? Are you ready to go to sleep? Do you want me to kiss you good night and get in the other bed?” 

Buy Links

Author Bio

I was born and raised in San Diego, California and earned a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. I began my career as a reference and collection development librarian in the Art and Music Section of the San Diego Public Library and then transferred to the Literature and Languages Section, where I had the pleasure of managing the Central Library’s Fiction collection. Although I also enjoy reading biography, memoir, and history, fiction remains my first love. In addition to the three R’s—reading, writing, and research—I enjoy Scrabble, movies, and travel.
My earliest ambition was to be a “book maker” and I wrote my first story, “Judy and the Fairies,” with a plot stolen from a comic book, at the age of six. I broke into print in college with a story in the San Diego State University literary journal, The Phoenix, but most of my magazine publications came after I left the library to spend more time on my writing. The Wild Rose Press published my romance, Seventeen Days, in 2018. 

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

#NewRelease and #AuthorInterview - Luanna Stewart

Welcome to my blog, Luanna. Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat!
Author Interview

* What process did you go through when you picked your characters’ names for Love Proof?

Ordinarily, character names just pop into my head and that’s it. No going back. I heard an interesting name on TV, a contestant on a British game show, and I used that name for a hero. (Love & Redemption

The naming process was a bit of a challenge for this latest book. The series was developed by my publisher and lots of names were already used or spoken for. My original name for the heroine in Love Proof was too similar to a name in use by another author so I had to come up with a different one. That was hard. My character was that name. I consulted baby name websites, fussed and fumed, and finally found Fiona (apologies for the alliteration, hehe). Now, of course, she couldn’t have been anyone else but Fiona. 

* What do you prefer:  ebook or print? Why?

They’re both great as far as I’m concerned. I read an ebook in bed at night so that a reading light won’t disturb my DH. I seldom remain awake long enough to read more than a few pages at a time, unfortunately, so those books last for weeks. My daytime reading is usually a paperback and I can polish one off in a few days. My problem is that I spend so much time writing my own books I don’t have nearly enough time to read through my TBR pile, which never seems to shrink.

* What did you do when you received your first Acceptance Letter?

My first acceptance letter came from Wild Rose Press and when it landed in my inbox I danced around the kitchen. Then I drove to the store and purchased a bottle of Prosecco to toast my success with DH when he got home from work. And then I nervously awaited the edits since I had no idea what to expect. My newest book is my sixth publication with WRP.

* All writers suffer from writer’s block at least once in their career. What’s your go-to cure?

When I get stuck (a better word than blocked, in my opinion) I step away from the scene I’m struggling with and look at the big picture. Sometimes the easiest way to move forward is to change the Point of View (POV) character. Maybe the hero should be in charge of that scene instead of the heroine. 

Other times the plot might have veered to the left instead of to the right. I’ll backtrack a few scenes or even a few chapters to make sure I’m on the correct path. 

Occasionally I’m stuck because I don’t know my characters well enough and so I can’t understand why the heroine up and quit her job at the end of Chapter 10 when she’s the sole supporter of her kid sister. What was she thinking?!?! I clearly need to delve deeper into her character and figure out what makes her tick.  To help with that exercise I use several sections in Story Genius by Lisa Cron as writing prompts. A few days of that and I’m raring to go. Another tool I use and reference throughout the writing is a goal, motivation and conflict grid. (Debra Dixon wrote the book.) If I don’t know the GMC for each main character in every scene, then I’ll get stuck, guaranteed.

* Sometimes the romance genre gets a bad reputation for being cliché and full of Fabios. How do you respond to that?

Whenever anyone raises an eyebrow at the romance genre, the cliché and cookie-cutter aspect in particular, I answer by pointing out that it is genre fiction, as are thrillers and mysteries. They all need to meet a set of reader expectations. A thriller must have a bad guy, there’s usually a race against the clock, and the hero/heroine will save the day in the nick of time. A mystery must have a dead body, a sleuth to find the clues, and the killer brought to justice. A thriller in which the heroine fails to catch the killer and instead opens a knitting shop is not going to sell. Equally valid is a reader of romance expecting two people (usually) to meet, go through a crisis of some sort, and fall in love by the end of the book (usually, although a happy-for-now ending is fine, too). 

* Besides writing and reading, what are some of your hobbies?

My favourite way to relax is to head to the kitchen and bake bread or a cake, or whip up a curry or a pizza. I’m forever trying new recipes and I enjoy fiddling with and adjusting ingredients. My go-to cuisine is probably Italian – pasta! cheese! sausage! My next favourite is Indian, but not too spicy. I find that if it’s too hot I can’t enjoy all the exotic spices. I make bread every few days, a basic sandwich loaf, and we always have cake or cookies or squares for dessert. Always. Every night. We’ll have several desserts to choose from on special occasions.

Lest you think all I do is eat, I also enjoy rug hooking, knitting, counted cross-stitch, and playing the piano. The summer months are filled with bike rides, kayaking, and puttering in the garden. 


Title:  Love Proof
Author:  Luanna Stewart 
Genre:  contemporary romance
Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press
Publish date:  June 26, 2019 

Blurb

Unemployed photojournalist Raynor Elliot stops at a bakery near the famous Deerbourne Inn. Not only does he get a lead on a job but the bakery’s owner is that awkward kid he knew in high school, only now she has fabulous curves and an irreverent sense of humor. The cozy bakery, with its aroma of sugar, vanilla and spice, has more to offer than tasty cookies.

Fiona MacLeod has been plagued for years by the need to make amends for telling The Big Lie. When the lie’s victim strolls into her bakery with his icy blue stare and killer charm, she feels like she’s standing too close to a hot oven.

Between running her bakery and frosting cupcakes for the Mad River Garden Party, she's pretty sure she's falling in love with this infuriating, sexy man. Can Fiona dredge up the courage to confess, face the consequences, and hope for forgiveness?

Excerpt

“I remember those days.” She pushed the calculator to the side, too tired to worry about planning the week’s baking schedule. “Why’d you study journalism?
“Truth is important to me. I was tired of all the lies in government, at every level. I wanted to change that. Ultimately make the world a better place. Easy peasy, right?” His lips quirked and he shook his head.
“That’s why I decided to be a baker. Brighten someone’s day with a special treat.”
He scooted his chair closer and pointed at the column of numbers on the page. “You want me to do the rest?” His arm, bare to the bicep, lightly tanned, dusted with blond hair, a little lighter than on his head, rested less than an inch from her own spindly pale arm. Not spindly compared to other women, hefting bags of flour and moving trays of baked goods did take some muscle power. But spindly compared to his manly toned muscles flexing under skin that she’d bet her last jar of sprinkles was smooth and warm. She clenched her hand.
No touching allowed.
“We have cupcakes to frost.” She bounded from the chair and rushed into the kitchen.
Holy moly, the guy oozed sex. In a good way. A very good way. She pulled a clean apron off the shelf and cinched it around her waist. An extra layer of armor between her and temptation in the form of Raynor. The seeker of truth. The man whose mission in life was to expose lies. The reporter who thought liars were not decent human beings.

Buy Links


Author Bio

Luanna Stewart has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. At the tender age of twelve she discovered her grandmother's stash of romance novels, after which all plots had to lead to a happily-ever-after.

Luanna spends her days writing sexy romantic suspense, steamy paranormal romance, and spicy historical romance. When she's not torturing her heroes and heroines, she’s either in her kitchen baking something delicious, or protecting her garden from the chickens. She lives in Nova Scotia with her incredibly patient husband and two spoiled cats.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

#GuestPost - "Destiny of a Warrior" by Mary Morgan

Thank you so much for stopping by, Mary. Let's hear about your new book! 

Hello Amber!

I’m thrilled to be on your lovely blog today! Destiny of a Warrior is the fourth and final story in the Legends of the Fenian Warriors series. With this final book, I must confess to a bit of sadness on ending another series. However, knowing these mighty warriors, I’m confident there’ll be more over the years.

Let me share a preview into the greatest Fenian Warrior from my fictional Fae realm...

The great Aidan Kerrigan was a tale I feared to write. When he first appeared in the story, Dragon Knight’s Medallion, Order of the Dragon Knights, Book 2, I panicked. I did not know he was a Fenian Warrior until he walked through the crowd of people at the airport to greet his daughter, Aileen. His presence loomed mighty and grew with the previous stories in the Legends of the Fenian Warriors. Regardless, I knew then that his and Rose’s love story had to be told.

With each Fenian Warrior’s story, I shared a layer about this Fae. Little did I know when I penned his first line of dialogue that he was the leader of the Fenian Warriors, came from royalty, and his sister was Queen of the Fae realm.

He chose not to reveal any of this to me. And this is why I became terrified. What more could he share? Well, dear readers, Aidan made it simple. He told me to write a love story, stating, “For you see, love is greater than all the power attained in the world—be it human or Fae.”

Therefore, I took you back in time to when he was the leader of the Brotherhood—Fenian Warriors. To when this great warrior had no blemish to stain his life and love flipped his world upside down.

And the lovely Rose MacLaren was a perfect match. As he professed to her, “I saw beauty inside the depth of your soul. Your intelligence would rival any Fae in the herbal gardens, and you possess a wisdom that sparks from a desire to learn more. You challenge me, leannan.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed a glimpse behind the scenes of this powerful love story. Here is a piece of music that helped to inspire my writing for this couple:

CELTIC GATE - INTO A MAGICAL FOREST.
Youtube: https://youtu.be/GlPF-CSCf2o


DESTINY OF A WARRIOR, Legends of the Fenian Warriors, Book 4
By Mary Morgan
Release date: June 5, 2019
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Fantasy, Celtic Mythology, Folklore
Length: Novel

Blurb

"You met him in the Order of the Dragon Knights. Now, journey to the realm of the Fae and witness their greatest legend!”

As leader of the Fenian Warriors, Aidan Kerrigan’s accolades are many and his loyalty to the Fae unwavering. When an unexpected mission sends him to the human world and a chance encounter with Rose MacLaren, he’s tempted for the first time in his existence to discard duty and claim what is forbidden.

Rose MacLaren, a Society of the Thistle member, yearns to expand her botanical knowledge with her love of history. After her rescue by a handsome stranger, she is compelled to look beyond what her rational mind comprehends and unravel the secret of the standing stones, as well as the man who captivates her.

In a mystical world ruled by ancient laws and edicts, can a fierce warrior choose a path destined for love? And will a woman honoring the ways of the land believe in a myth only spoken of in legends? If they do, will their love be enough to defy death’s punishment?

Excerpt

Her sister’s words of warning echoed within her. “Help me to see,” she whispered her plea to the Goddess.

“Whom do you wish to see, Rose?”

She turned so fast that her hand toppled two cups on the table to the floor. Aidan’s eyes blazed like the starlight she’d witnessed, and she fought a wave of dizziness.

He stepped around her and placed the bowls of soup on the table. Grabbing her by the shoulders, Aidan drew her near him. Her instincts were to curl up in his arms. Safe, warm, and seductive.

Rose lifted her head and braved the storm she feared would come with what she would do. He ignited a firestorm just by looking at her. Standing on her tiptoes, she cupped his face and brought his full lips down upon hers.

Aidan tried to throttle the dizzying current racing through him as the first brush of her lips touched his mouth. The heady sensation left him spiraling. His warrior instinct screamed at him to push her away. Spurn her advance and stop this insanity. Yet, he found himself eager and erratic as a summer storm on his home world. His whole being seemed to be waiting for this moment, and Aidan was lost in the euphoria of holding her in his arms. Her kiss was one of exploration—hesitant and unsure, and his calm resolve shattered with the hunger for more.

Grasping her firmly around the waist, Aidan crushed her body to his. Desire ripped through his veins. His tongue sought entry into her soft heat, and he inhaled her scent. Rose returned his kiss with reckless abandon. When she wrapped her arms around his neck, he groaned deep within her mouth.

He let loose the lustful beast demanding control and took possession of her.

Aidan lifted her with one arm, as their kisses became a frenzy of passion. Moving along the table, he came to a halt before the large chair. Shoving it around with one foot, he sat down and cradled Rose on his lap.

She twirled her fingers in his hair while he gazed into liquid pools of desire that mirrored his own. He trailed a path across her lower lip with the pad of his thumb and to the base of her throat where the pulse beat as though her heart had risen from its resting place.

He brushed away strands of silver blonde to cascade over her shoulder so he could bury his face against her neck. “You smell of spices and exotic flowers.” Aidan felt her tremble under his touch as he trailed a path along the vein running up her throat with his tongue and then recaptured her lips, devouring their softness.

He drank in the sweetness and passion of the kiss, exploring, teasing, and tempting him beyond all reason. Rose banished the darkness, and in its place there reigned starlight.

One kiss should have been enough. However, his soul cried out for more, and the Fae warrior became the man, yearning to experience what he had been denied.

Aidan banished all rational thought, except one. Conquer and possess the woman in his arms.

Buy Links


Legends of the Fenian Warriors


About the Author

 
Award-winning Celtic paranormal and fantasy romance author, Mary Morgan, resides in Northern California, with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.

Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. It wasn't until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling by writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.

If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.

Connect with Mary at these places:

WEBSITE: http://www.marymorganauthor.com
BLOG: http://www.marymorganauthor.com/blog
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/m_morganauthor
FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/MaryMorganAuthor/
GOODREADS: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8271002.Mary_Morgan
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Morgan/e/B00KPE3NWI/
PINTEREST: www.pinterest.com/marymorgan50/
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/marymorgan2/
BOOKBUB: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mary-morgan
LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-morgan-2634a77a/

Sunday, July 14, 2019

#FreebieAlert - "Calla's Summer Fantasy" by Amber Daulton


Publisher: Daulton Publishing
Release Date: March 18, 2019
ASIN: B07PQ8X4BY
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance 
Word Count: 13k
Heat Level: 5 Flames

Free - July 14-18, 2019
Amazon Only!
Blurb

Calla Lansky needed help at playing the field.
She scheduled two dates for the same night at her favorite seafood restaurant, and she owed her shocked boyfriends an explanation. To her surprise, Nathan Risley and Sam Tomlin handled the awkward situation like pros and happily agreed to her ultimate fantasy: a ménage à trois.
After the hottest night of her life, Calla faced the ultimate decision.
Should she commit to the one man who secretly loved her all along, or keep her options open and indulge in her summer fantasy again and again?

Excerpt

Calla laughed, almost strangling on a bite of grilled salmon as a dirty thought crossed her mind. She forced the food down her throat and chased it with her drink.
“You okay? What’s so funny?” Nathan forked a popcorn shrimp into his mouth. “You only giggle like that when your mind is in the gutter.”
“She crinkles her nose too.” Sam chuckled as Calla covered her twitching nose with her palm. “C’mon, babe. There’s no need to act shy after everything that already happened.” He tugged on her forearm until she dropped her hand.
“Okay, just hear me out.” Calla tapped her feet, drumming her hands on her knees to gather her courage. Then she leaned forward and braced her elbows on the tabletop. The neckline of her dress dipped, revealing a generous amount of cleavage. “I have a silly little fantasy. I’ve always wanted to have a threesome with two hot men who would tease and play with me for hours. Are you interested?” Hope filled her chest, but then Nathan’s mouth dropped open and Sam’s eyes bugged out as though she stood up and stripped naked in the restaurant. She swished her hand in the air. “It’s crazy, I know, and you aren’t into it. I understand. Never mind.”

Please Review... 




Saturday, July 13, 2019

#BookReview – “Soulbound” by Kristen Callihan

Blurb 

Once two souls are joined...

When Adam's soul mate rejected him, there was more at stake than his heart. After seven hundred years of searching, his true match would have ended the curse that keeps his spirit in chains. But beautiful, stubborn Eliza May fled—and now Adam is doomed to an eternity of anguish, his only hope for salvation gone...

Their hearts will beat together forever...

No matter how devilishly irresistible Adam was, Eliza couldn't stand the thought of relinquishing her freedom forever. So she escaped. But she soon discovers she is being hunted—by someone far more dangerous. The only man who can help is the one man she vowed never to see again. Now Adam's kindness is an unexpected refuge, and Eliza finds that some vows are made to be broken...


Review

In book six in the Darkest London series, Eliza May has been living a life of luxury with Mab, the fae queen and her grandmother. Though she trusts Mab, she isn’t happy and feels beholden to her supposedly kind benefactor. Her illusions are soon shattered when she finds a horribly beaten man in Mab’s dungeon.
Adam, King of the GIM, is living under a curse. He recognized Eliza as his long-awaited soul mate at first glance, so he chained her to his side, never caring about her feelings. Then he lost his one hope for redemption when Mab and a few others freed Eliza from him. Now, Adam is Mab’s prisoner, his powers gone. Though still charming and arrogant, he’s changed from the cold man Eliza knew. Working together to escape Mab and her cruel brother, Adam and Eliza have to trust one another out of necessity, but their unlikely friendship blooms into something more.
Eliza is a great character. She’s brave, mysterious, and strong enough to handle Adam, but her secret heritage was a little disconcerting.
Adam definitely redeemed himself in my eyes! After seven hundred years of complete numbness, he finally felt emotion when he met Eliza, so it’s no wonder he acted so terrible to her. After failing miserably with Eliza, he finally learned humility and how to put someone else’s needs above his own. Likewise, Eliza finally understood his desperation and why he did what he did. I love virgin heroes! They’re so rare in the romance genre, so I’m always happy to find a book featuring one.
Though I enjoyed this story, I found parts of it confusing due to inconsistencies with the previous book, Evernight. Eliza’s grandparents, Mab and Aiden, had a daughter, so Aiden is supposed to be Eliza’s maternal grandfather. Now, he is her paternal grandfather. If that’s the case and Eliza’s father was an Evernight, why is her surname May? Also, the previous book was set in 1886, this book was set in 1888, and yet the H/h claim they’ve only been apart for about a year and that Adam was only tortured for a few months. Maybe I missed something, but that timeline doesn’t make sense to me.
There are three different realms (Here, There, and Nowhere), and Adam can travel through them at will. Since Eliza’s and Adam’s souls are bound, and he can move about freely, why can’t she do the same at the end of the story?
There were a few grammar issues, but nothing major. Overall, I liked the story and will be reading the next one in the series.
3.5 Stars

Friday, July 12, 2019

#BookSpotlight and #AuthorInterview - "Fall for You" by Valerie Ullmer


Fall for You (A M/M Romance)
Valerie Ullmer
Genre: New Adult M/M Romance

Buy Link


Blurb

Ethan Sutton had come to the stunning revelation that he’d fallen in love with his best friend, Sebastian Young. Although friends since childhood, Ethan vowed to keep his feelings for Sebastian under wraps and live the rest of his life with this one secret between them rather than risk a lifelong connection and never see him again. But when they move into their own apartment at the start of their third year of college, can Ethan keep his feelings from showing when they live so close together?
Sebastian Young had an epiphany about Ethan at the end of last year and arranged for the shared apartment he’d found over the summer to be closer to Ethan and see if a relationship could develop between them. But as they settle into their lives in a new place with such close quarters, ex-girlfriends, nosy downstairs neighbors, and Sebastian’s own doubts, their relationship could be in jeopardy before it even begins.

Can two best friends admit their feelings and fall in love?

Excerpt

Ethan kept his eyes on his phone during the entire trip. It wasn’t as though he didn’t want to speak to Sebastian, who sang under his breath at the song coming through the speakers of his older SUV. But whenever he’d been in an enclosed space with Sebastian, he caught his scent of pine and cedar mixed with a hint of mint, and each time he moved, it drifted over to him and drove Ethan crazy. Even from the other side, Sebastian’s body heat surrounded him and he wriggled in his seat to adjust himself before his desire for his best friend became clear.

For years, the closeness he shared with Sebastian had been enough. It was he and Sebastian against the world throughout high school, and Ethan understood it would be the same in college.

But when they started their freshman year, Sebastian decided he would make up for lost time by dating his way through the female student body at the University of Oregon. Sebastian still made time for him, but it was rare during their first two years of college for Sebastian not to have at least one date on the weekend.

Ethan hadn’t understood what the churning emotions were each time Sebastian talked about a new woman. Later, he recognized the feeling was jealousy.

There had been a time during his sophomore year, driven by those feelings of jealousy and his newfound awareness he was gay, he’d gone out. Most of the time, with a frequency that matched Sebastian’s frenzied dating life. Ethan resolved to find someone and forget about the man he most wanted, his best friend, so he headed to a well-known bar off-campus.

Although he’d gone home with guys, nothing progressed past blowjobs. For one, it solidified the fact he was gay. Despite knowing, Ethan had no clue what held him back from going further with the willing men he’d met, but something stopped him.

After his break-up with his long-time girlfriend, Sebastian became a constant in Ethan’s life again. Their friendship had never strained during their first years of college, and they grew closer when Sebastian found himself single.

During the summer, they decided they wanted to rent an off-campus apartment and live together. Ethan believed they would request a room together in the dorms, but Sebastian wanted to ditch the dorms and find their own place. Their parents had agreed to it although it would be more expensive.

More than once, Ethan had wanted to look for a place before they were all rented, but Sebastian said he would handle everything.

“Don’t worry. I’ve got it covered.”

And now they were moving in together, Ethan found himself nervous about having his feelings show at the most inopportune moments.

Their freshman year, they were assigned separate rooms in different buildings. And being so far apart from each other became a pain in the ass. More often than not, Ethan would stay at Sebastian’s place, or Sebastian’s at Ethan’s. Unless Sebastian had a date.

It had been easy to hide his feelings then. He wasn’t so sure his desire wouldn't show in such close quarters. But when Sebastian brought up living together, there wasn't a reason not to, and he agreed. Hundreds of excuses became plain as they drove closer to their destination but Ethan didn't voice them aloud.

But his eyes kept being drawn back to Sebastian, his heart kicking in his chest as he took in Sebastian’s tanned arm draped over the steering wheel. Each time Sebastian caught Ethan looking at him, he would give him that easy smile. The smile made every man want to be his friend and every woman fall in love with him.

Although their friendship was an easy one, Ethan sometimes wondered how they grew so close when they were so different.

Welcome to my blog, Valerie. I love featuring authors and I'm excited to talk with you today.
Author Interview

Why do you write romance?

I love a happily ever after. I love to think that these two people I’ve gotten to know throughout a book; their feelings, their insecurities, and the reason why the two of them fell in love are all laid out on the page. The best part, I can go back to their world any time I want and they are still together in the end.

What’s the best advice you have ever given?

Advice is what you ask for when you already know the answer, but wish you didn’t.

What is your favorite day of the year and why?

That first fall day where the leaves have just started their change from green to oranges and reds and yellows. There is a crisp scent to the air that promises cooler weather and the clouds are scattered about in the sky. It’s not cold enough to call it winter and not warm enough to be the end of summer, but it’s the perfect fall day.

How do you define romance?

Well, I have two definitions of romance. In real life, like with my husband, it’s the small things we share with each other I consider romantic. I love it when I make my husband laugh and when he makes me, but it’s the moments where you spend together talking about nothing and everything that make your relationship and romance special. I don’t need flowers, candy, or a night out, I’m most happy when he and I are together with our dog and we’re laughing or talking.
When I read romances, I look for that moment where the book brings out so much emotion, I can’t put it down. Although the book is guaranteed a HEA, during these moments there is a tightness in my chest and my eyes start to water because you are rooting for these two people to finally admit their feelings but one or both unintentionally get hurt and there is a sense of desperation. But the end, knowing the two characters will fight for one another to be happy in the end, I consider that truly romantic.

Do you believe you only fall in love once? Why?

No, I don’t think you do only fall in love once. I think love takes different forms. Some people are in abusive relationships and they’ve sworn up and down they love that person who’s harming them, but once they leave, they stop. Some live their entire lives married to one person and love that one person. Other’s find themselves falling in love easily before realizing that although they might have thought it was love at the time, they are different from who they used to be and aren’t in love now. I believe trying to answer this question is like trying to define love, and no matter how hard you try, I don’t think there is one definitive answer. And I believe love comes in all forms.


About the Author

Valerie writes paranormal and contemporary M/F and M/M erotic romances. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her wonderfully supportive husband and their funny and wise black lab. She's addicted to coffee, crime shows, and reading and writing character-driven romances.

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