Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: Screwing the System by Josephine Myles


Title: Screwing the System
Author: Josephine Myles
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: April 27, 2017
Cover Design: Harper By Design
Summary:
When Boss meets brat…

Forced to apply for a job he doesn’t want, Cosmo Rawlins has only one aim in mind: fail the interview and get back to making music. But his attempt to shock the sexy, sharp-suited Alasdair Grant has a very different result.

Instead of getting thrown out of the office for flaunting an interest in BDSM, Cosmo finds himself on his knees, apologizing to the most dominant man he’s ever met.

Alasdair has more important things on his mind than training a novice sub, especially a rebellious bad boy like Cosmo. But there’s something beneath the youngster’s bratty attitude that fascinates him.

As Alasdair takes Cosmo in hand—and for a wild ride on his Harley—he becomes obsessed with bending the young rocker to his will, both in and out of bed. But while Cosmo might enjoy the kink, he’s not up for becoming Alasdair’s household slave.

When Alasdair goes one demand too far, Cosmo is gone in a cloud of dust. Forcing Alasdair to admit that earning Cosmo’s loyalty—and love—will involve the toughest challenge he’s ever faced.

Warning: This title contains an overbearing Top with a less than glamorous job, a rebellious brat who refuses to call him sir, and a total lack of high-end BDSM clubs or playrooms. Expect floggings over the kitchen table instead. Written in Jo’s usual exceedingly “English” English.

This book is a re-release.


I want to start out by saying that this is not a genre I often read, not that BDSM is outside my comfort zone because truth is I read everything so there is no boundaries to my comfort zone.  So if I was to list my sub-genre norms,  zombies/dystopia is probably the only thing I read less of than BDSM.  So having clarified that I can simply but honestly say, Josephine Myles' Screwing the System was pretty darn good.

There really isn't much I feel I can say without revealing spoilers so I'll keep this short.  I loved the characters, their chemistry, their attitudes, and their passions for each other but also for living.  Cosmo is not your typical sub, he's almost what I would call an anti-submissive sub.  Now that's not saying he doesn't want to be a submissive, he's like the soap opera bad boy doing good which is often called an anti-hero.  To say that neither Cosmo nor Aladsair is expecting the other is an understatement but they manage to make it work.

If you are a fan of BDSM than I highly recommend Screwing the System but if you're like me that doesn't read this sub-genre often but just enjoy a well written tale, I also strongly recommend giving this book a go.  You won't be disappointed.

RATING: 


Cosmo crossed his ankle over his knee and began humming. It wasn’t deliberately to annoy the blonde chick behind the reception desk. No, he’d had this tune buzzing around in his head ever since waking, but what with having to come along to this interview for a piece-of-shit job, he hadn’t had a chance to get it down yet. That was why he couldn’t hold down regular employment, see? It wasn’t laziness or stupidity, no matter what his old teachers might have said. Nah, he was just one of those creative types. He’d told that to Irene—she was his advisor at the Jobcentre. He’d told her he was looking for jobs that would utilize his musical skills. She’d said, “In High Wycombe? Dream on, Cosmo,” and told him he had to put down a wider range of acceptable jobs or she’d bloody well do it for him.

In the end, she had started to arrange interviews for him, which explained why he was sitting here, waiting to be interrogated about his suitability as a “sanitary disposal operative”—in other words, the poor sod who had to go around emptying bins in ladies’ toilets.

Fuck that.

The skinny bloke who’d gone in before him loped out of the shuttered office and hightailed it across the lobby to freedom. Cosmo sighed and popped a stick of gum into his mouth. Fresh breath, see? It looked like he was making an effort so he’d get brownie points, but chewing gum during an interview was guaranteed to piss off pretty much every manager out there. As was asking how many cigarette breaks you got per hour.

“Mr. Rawlins?” the blonde chick called. “Mr. Grant will see you now.”

Cosmo stood and smoothed down his black drainpipe trousers. He even had a well-ironed shirt and tie on. Thing was, he’d discovered that on him, the smart clothes and grade-two haircut made him look less like a good little worker and more like a thug. He’d probably get a job as a bouncer if that was what he was going for—not that he had the intimidating build or anything, but he looked well hard, what with the couple of scars on his chin and the one across his eyebrow from fighting off angry closet cases, plus he could do a mean stare if he felt the need.

But he had other tricks up his sleeve too. Quite literally. Cosmo massaged his sore wrists and headed on into the boss man’s office, giving Blondie a huge grin on the way. She smiled back, all coy-like. Barking up the wrong tree there, love.

Mr. Grant, on the other hand… There was a tree he wouldn’t mind barking up. Or climbing up, more like. He was huge and had to be old enough to be his dad, which wasn’t actually all that old, seeing as how his dad was only fifteen when he got his fourteen-year-old excuse for a mother up the duff. But this wasn’t some fat old geezer with white hair bristling out of his nostrils. Mr. Grant wasn’t big like that. He was built like a bricklayer, all broad chest and shoulders bunched with powerful muscles. It was obvious, even with his body covered up by the fancy suit, he spent time down the gym.

“Cosmo Rawlins,” the boss-man said, holding out a huge hand, which swallowed up Cosmo’s in a warm and firm handshake. What a grip. Cosmo had all kinds of naughty thoughts about where else he’d like to feel a hand like that and wondered whether getting a boner in the interview would be something this Mr. Grant would report back to Irene. Best not take the chance. “I’m Alasdair Grant. Please take a seat.”

Usually these things were done across a desk, but Mr. Grant didn’t seem to need the prop to boost his ego and had a load of comfy chairs arranged around a giant coffee table at one end of his office. The man was clearly doing all right for himself. Cosmo could have fit the entire ground floor of his shared house in there and still had room to swing a cat in. Not that he believed in cruelty to animals or anything.

“Nice place you’ve got here,” Cosmo said as he settled into the chair indicated.

“Thanks. It’s taken me a decade to build this company up, but we’re now the largest sanitary services operation in the South East.”

Cosmo tried not to look too impressed, but it was bloody difficult not to when faced with the sight of Alasdair Grant seated across from him, like a stern George Clooney with that handsome face, cropped salt-and-pepper hair and designer stubble so thick it was bordering on beard territory. He had these sharp grey eyes fixed on Cosmo. It was unnerving, sitting there with the bloke looking at him like that.

Was Boss-man checking him out? Yes, definitely, but Cosmo was buggered if he could tell if it was purely a professional assessment or if there was a more salacious interest lurking in his gaze. Alasdair Grant didn’t have a wedding band, but Cosmo wasn’t going to read too much into that.

“So, Cosmo, has your advisor at the Jobcentre let you know exactly what the job entails?”

“Emptying rag bins in the ladies’ lavs, as I understand it.”

Boss-man gave this pained smile and leaned forward a little. Shit, it felt like he was looming over Cosmo, despite him being the other side of the coffee table. “That’s certainly an element of the work, but it’s a more responsible position than that. We provide a full replenishment service for all disposables, like paper towels and hand soap. We also empty and top-up the vending machines, so there’s a cash-handling element. You’d be in charge of one of our vehicles and acting as a frontline representative of Sanco Solutions at all times.”

Cosmo tuned out the words Boss-man was saying and just enjoyed the sound of his voice. There was this deep bass rumble to it that made him think those lungs must be huge, but that was overlaid with a melodic timbre not all that many speakers had, and there was a smooth, easy rhythm to his speech. Shit, he could listen to him for hours. Cosmo found himself tapping his foot and drumming his fingers along with his words. Gave him ideas for inserting a rap in the middle of the new song. Some UK Garage or Grime stylings, maybe. Would that work? The rest of the band would hate it. Rizzo especially, which made it doubly appealing.

“Mr. Rawlins. Am I boring you?”

That made him snap his head up. “What?”

“You looked like you were lost in music.” Boss-man stared pointedly down at his fingers.

“Oh, that. Sorry, it’s just habit. I’m a musician, see, and I can’t help it. I find inspiration everywhere.” Actually, this was good. Playing the flaky-musician card put off most employers, but he didn’t normally get a chance to until the bit at the end when they asked him if he had any questions.

“A musician? What do you play?”

“Guitar, and I sing too. I’m in a band. ScarDue, we’re called.” How much longer he’d be a member, he didn’t know. They were currently experiencing a bout of creative conflict. In other words, the rest of them were content playing cover versions of alt-metal hits in local pubs, whereas he wanted to experiment with crossing genres, come up with a completely original set and go places.

“Should I have heard of you?” he asked.

“I doubt it. Not unless you make a habit of hanging out down the White Horse on open-mic night.”

“Can’t say I do. The White Horse… Is that still a bikers’ pub?”

“Kind of. More emo and goth kids these days, but there’s a few bikers still hanging around. Freddie’s mates.”

“Freddie Henderson? Is he still the landlord?”

“Yeah, you know him?” Cosmo couldn’t imagine the two of them moving in the same social circles. For a start, Freddie had a shaved head, handlebar moustache, and the rest of his body was pretty much covered in tattoos and black leather. Alasdair Grant, on the other hand, was corporate establishment through and through.

Boss-man got this weird expression on his face. Fond? Yeah, it was that, but there was something more. Something kind of hot, like he was remembering sexy good times.

Author Bio:
English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

Jo’s novel Stuff won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Romance, and her novella Merry Gentlemen won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy. She loves to be busy, and is currently having fun trying to work out how she is going to fit in her love of writing, dressmaking and attending cabaret shows in fabulous clothing around the demands of a preteen with special needs and an incessantly curious toddler.


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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saturday's Series Spotlight: Behind the Love by PC Zick


Series: Behind the Love #1-4
Author: PC Zick
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Behind the Altar #1
Summary:
Leah Bryant lives a quiet life helping others. When her future mother-in-law, Geraldine, threatens her causes, she’s left confused by the hypocrisy and befuddled by a stranger who roars into town on a Harley.Dean Davis never wanted to return to his hometown. But when his father dies, he knows he must return and faced his mother, Geraldine, and his ugly past. When Leah discovers the stranger is the brother of her fiancĂ© that she’d been told was dead, she’s drawn to him and furious about the deception. Both are bowled over by an intense attraction to one another. The magnetic pull draws them into a passionate embrace within minutes of meeting.

Leah’s controlled life and Dean’s emotional barriers both shatter and force them to examine their lives. Leah must choose between her safe engagement to Dean’s estranged brother, Jacob, and a dangerously passionate affair with Dean. And Dean must confront the demon from his childhood, his mother. Dean’s fear of loving and Leah’s need for security pull them together, rather than apart.

But none of it will matter if they can’t stop Geraldine, an unhinged woman on a destructive course to abolish everyone who opposes her thirst for power. When Dean and Leah, along with Jacob, threaten her, she goes on a rampage to destroy them all.

Behind the Altar is the first novel in the Behind the Love contemporary romance series that features sizzling attractions, dramatic confrontations, and intertwined and complicated lives. Set in the fictional small town of Victory, Florida, friends fight and love and form families of their own choosing.

Behind the Bar #2
Summary:
Susie Williams yearns for a romantic wedding with her boyfriend of five years. Reggie Barker runs from demands to marry any woman, including Susie. After the wedding of their best friends, Reggie resists Susie’s hints about marrying. He suggests they take a break. An angry and heartbroken Susie kicks him down the road and into the arms of the voluptuous Sally Jean. After Susie is mugged, she discovers Reggie’s gambling debt brought the thugs to Victory to scare him into paying. With her love for Reggie in doubt, she is tempted by a rich publisher and reconsiders her options. Meanwhile, Reggie starts to realize Susie means more to him than the tavern he owns, more than the gambling he’s hidden, and more than any other woman he knows.

But it all might be too late for Susie, who begins to unravel a mystery from a night long ago when Reggie and all the other characters played a pivotal role in her life. And before Reggie can commit to marriage, he must come to terms with a father who abandoned marriage many years earlier Both Reggie and Susie must learn to trust each other before love can ever survive a second chance.

Behind the Bar is the second novel in the Behind the Love contemporary romance series, but it is also a stand-alone romance. Once you read one novel in this series, you’ll want to learn more about the romances that feature sizzling attractions, dramatic confrontations, and intertwined and complicated lives. Set in the fictional small town of Victory, Florida, friends fight and love and form families of their own choosing.

Behind the Curtain #3
Summary:
Lisa Williams has discovered a way to achieve her life-long goal of becoming a famous actress by bringing a reality television show to her hometown. Tommy Jackson despises the idea of exploiting the town and hates it even more when his editor assigns him to cover the show for a Tampa newspaper. Lisa and Tommy have known each other all their lives. Tommy even dated her baby sister, Susie back in high school. But he’s not her type, and her values disturb him. Besides, when she returns to town, she comes with her boyfriend, Jet, who will also star in the television show. When Sally Jean makes an appearance on the show, the producer falls in lust with her, and Lisa worries that Sally Jean will be made the star of the show. Tommy is disgusted by Lisa who seems intent on dragging her family and friends through painful memories in her pursuit of stardom.

When Tommy’s mom is diagnosed with cancer, Lisa shows a different side to her character. Sitting with Mrs. Jackson during her final days gives Lisa a perspective on her own life she’s never had before. Tommy and Lisa are drawn to one another through the real-life tragedy unfolding. But first they must deal with an out of control Jet and reality show producer who want to exploit the small town even more as they see the potential of showcasing some of the more famous of Victory’s citizens, such as the fallen football star, the criminal publisher, and a tattoo artist turned farmer. Mrs. Jackson and Lisa’s sister Susie share in the circle of life to bring this dramatic romance to a bittersweet end.

Behind the Curtain is the third novel in the Behind the Love contemporary romance series, but it is also a stand-alone romance. Once you read one novel in this series, you’ll want to learn more about the rest of the romances that feature sizzling attractions, dramatic confrontations, and intertwined and complicated lives. Set in the fictional small town of Victory, Florida, friends fight and love and form families of their own choosing.


Behind the Door #4
Summary:
A VOLUPTUOUS WOMAN UNLUCKY IN LOVE. A WOUNDED PSYCHOLOGIST ON A MISSION. AN UNDENIABLE ATTRACTION WITH AN ETHICAL DILEMMA.

Sally Jean Compton is in love. And this time it's with a man who isn't in love with someone else. Dr.Brett Gorman arrives in Victory to help the veterans of Deer River with PTSDsymptoms. When tragedy strikes, neither Sally Jean nor Brett are prepared for what happens next.

The shocking aftermath of the terror of PTSD untreated leaves the entire town of Victory reeling. But none are more affected than Sally Jean and Brett who must deal with their own pasts and the trauma left behind. When Sally Jean seeks out the expertise of Dr.Brett, the psychologist of the river folks, they discover an intense attraction that leads them both to learn about themselves.

But before anything happens, Sally Jean must learn she deserves to be loved, and Brett must forgive himself for the death of his friend and his sister, his wife. It's a rocky journey to love.

Behind the Door is the fourth novel in the Behind the Love contemporary romance series that features sizzling attractions, dramatic confrontations, and intertwined and complicated lives. Set in the fictional small town of Victory, Florida, friends fight and love and form families of their own choosing.


Behind the Altar #1
Dean turned and walked out the same door he’d entered a few minutes earlier when he’d captivated Leah so thoroughly. No wonder he looked familiar, Leah thought. He and Jacob were brothers. She ran to the door, ignoring her fiancĂ©’s plea to stay there. She needed to know more about Dean.

She found him sitting on a motorcycle on the side lawn of the church used for Sunday morning parking overflow.

“Where are you going?” Leah asked as she approached the bike where he straddled the engine. He was sitting back with his arms crossed over his chest. He rolled his eyes at her approach.

“What do you care?” he asked. “You almost accepted my invitation for dinner back there. Why?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I was being tested.”

“For what?”

“For my love for Jacob. I wouldn’t have gone on a date with you.”

“But you wanted to go with me.”

“For a few seconds, yes, I did.”

She walked closer to him. He grabbed her arm and pulled her close until his knee rested on her hip. He placed one arm around her shoulders and put the other around her waist. He leaned so close to her, their lips almost touched as they stared into each other’s eyes. It happened so quickly that Leah didn’t have time to react. Now that they were touching, she couldn’t even think, let alone pull away from him.

“It won’t take you long to find out what I learned at a very early age,” he said softly, his breath caressing her lips. “When you do find out, you’ll come running to me for more of this.”

He leaned down until his lips touched hers, gently at first, but then he pushed with a hardness that made their teeth clink. Leah parted her lips further, allowing his tongue to enter. She put her arms on his chest and felt the hardness of his pecs. She started to push him away, but then she lost herself in the sensations of his touch.

Leah forgot everything, until the sound of a horn from the street only yards away startled her. It was enough to draw her back to reality. She pushed against his chest with the palms of her hand and pulled her head away from his.

“I have to go back inside,” she said. “I can’t do this. I don’t know what happened.”

“Have it your way,” Dean said. “I’m finished with those two, but you go back to them. If they lied to you about me, what else have they lied about?”

Behind the Bar #2
SUSIE WILLIAMS WATCHED AS her best friend, Leah, exchanged wedding vows with Dean. She stood next to the bride, and on the other side of Dean, stood Reggie, her boyfriend of five years. Susie—while happy for her friends who had only met a few months before—couldn’t help but wonder when she and Reggie would stand next to one another and vow to love and cherish until death.

When she glanced around the couple, she tried to catch Reggie’s eyes. But he wasn’t paying attention to the ceremony. His body was turned toward Leah and Dean, but Reggie’s head was turned out to the guests. His eyes roved around the crowd. Despite her fervent prayer willing him to look at her as they witnessed the open expression of love between their best friends, Reggie never turned toward her.

Leah and Dean exchanged their rings. When the wind blew in the trees, a small branch fell behind the minister as he blessed their union. Susie wistfully watched them kiss.

She wanted to be the bride, not the maid of honor. Reggie and she had dated long enough for her to know he was the one she wanted to marry. But Reggie hadn’t asked, despite her hints. Worse, he made disparaging comments about the institution of marriage every time it came up to whomever would listen. He always treated his comments as a joke, but lately Susie had been worried that he really meant the things he said. The time had come to have a serious talk about their relationship. She’d hinted at what she wanted, and then she’d waited for him to suggest the rest.

She looked at Reggie again, but he still surveyed the small crowd gathered on the banks of the river for the wedding. Finally, she followed his gaze, and to her surprise, she saw her sister, Lisa, standing in the front row with the others who had come to witness the marriage of Dean Davis and Leah Bryant.

Why hadn’t Lisa called to tell her she was coming to the wedding? Typical of her sister, who did exactly what she wanted when she wanted to do it. But Susie was still happy to see her. Lisa had left years ago, but now she’d finally come back to Victory.

Behind the Curtain #3
LISA WATCHED AS HER baby sister, Susie, exchanged vows with Reggie on the front porch of their house. Standing next to her smiling new husband, Susie glowed. Reggie patted his new wife’s protruding belly, and the crowd of friends roared with laughter.

Lisa smiled. At least one of them had managed to find love.

Sally Jean greeted Lisa when she stepped off the front steps to mingle with the folks gathered in the front yard. Lisa had known most of the guests her entire life, even though she hadn’t spoken to many of them in a decade. But Sally Jean Compton had been one of her best friends since high school. The third member of their trio, Mable Cornish, had died years before. Her death had probably drawn Lisa and Sally Jean even closer, even though Lisa lived in New York City.

“She’s a beautiful bride,” Sally Jean said as she hugged Lisa. “I’m really happy for the two of them.”

“Not jealous?” Lisa asked. “I thought you had a thing for Reggie. At least, that’s what Susie thought at one time.”

“I know she did, and I love Reggie like a brother, but that’s all. You know as well as anyone Dean always had my heart. But that ship sailed when he met Leah.”

“But you’re over him, right?”

“I’m more envious that they found one another while I’m still searching for the right person.” Sally Jean frowned. “Dean’s still a hunk though.”

Lisa put her arm around her friend. A decade ago, Sally Jean dated Dean Davis and Lisa was set to marry Sam Rollings. They both thought back then that they’d found their forever princes. But princes turn to frogs. They were all so young. Both those relationships ended right after their high school graduation ten years earlier. She felt sorry for Sally Jean sometimes, but Lisa knew she was just as messed up when it came to relationships as her friend was. What right did Lisa have to judge her? The people in their small hometown of Victory, Florida, already did enough of that.

“I hope you don’t have any lingering thoughts about him. Leah has that man all wrapped up in her arms and legs.” Lisa felt compelled to address Sally Jean’s sometimes misplaced emotions. “Besides, did you know Leah is pregnant?”

Leah would be furious if Sally Jean still harbored feelings for Dean. Leah was Susie’s best friend, and by extension, a friend of Lisa’s as well. Sally Jean needed to face reality, and Lisa was the only person who would tell her.

“Pregnant?” Sally Jean turned pale under her heavy blush. “I’m really happy for them. Dean is probably over the moon. When he settled down, he did it with a big thud.”

“Are you okay? You look pale.” Lisa knew the news had the potential of upsetting her friend, but Sally Jean had to face the facts. “I thought you should know.”

“And I appreciate that. It’s better hearing from you than from the guys down at the Tavern. I like Leah, I really do. But if Dean asked me to be his girl again, I’d be hard pressed to say no.”

“I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that happening.” Lisa watched Sally Jean’s mouth turn down, and she immediately regretted her words. “I’m sorry, Sally Jean. I just meant, their relationship is pretty rock solid. And I want you to be realistic.”

“You’re right.” Sally Jean smiled. “My relationship with Dean ended ten years ago when he left town without saying a word to me.”

“That’s exactly what I did with Sam, and I did it because it was over. But both Dean and I owed you and Sam explanations.”

“That’s true. Dean had to leave because of Geraldine and her awful accusations, and you had to leave because of what Sam did. I understand all that now. And who cares what Sam thinks? He deserved it.”

“What a town,” Lisa said. “The Peyton Place of Florida.” They both laughed.

“We need to put that on the welcome sign at the city limits,” Sally Jean said. “Now let’s forget about the past and get some of that champagne they’re pouring. I want to forget everything but having a great time tonight.”

Just then a tall man with red hair approached them with two glasses of champagne.

“What are the two most beautiful women at this wedding doing over here in the corner without drinks in hand?” Tommy Jackson handed each of them a glass of champagne as if he’d heard Sally Jean’s suggestion.

Author Bio:
Bestselling author P.C. Zick describes herself as a storyteller no matter what she writes. And she writes in a variety of genres, including romance, contemporary fiction, and nonfiction. She's won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction.

The three novels in her Florida Fiction Series contain stories of Florida and its people and environment, which she credits as giving her a rich base for her storytelling. "Florida's quirky and abundant wildlife—both human and animal—supply my fiction with tales almost too weird to be believable."

Her contemporary romances in the Behind the Love series are also set in Florida. The novels in her most recent series, Smoky Mountain Romances, are set in in Murphy, North Carolina. She is currently working on a new romance series, Rivals in Love. Join the Crandall family of Chicago as the siblings find love despite their focus on successful careers. All of her books are stand-alone reads, even if they appear in a series.

Her novels contain elements of romance with strong female characters, handsome heroes, and descriptive settings. She believes in living lightly upon this earth with love, laughter, and passion, and through her fiction, she imparts this philosophy in an entertaining manner with an obvious love for her characters, plot, and themes.

You can keep track of P.C. Zick's new releases and special promotions by signing up for her newsletter by clicking here. For more immediate information, sign up for P.C. Zick’s Lovers of Romantic Tales on Facebook by clicking here.


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Behind the Altar #1

Behind the Bar #2

Behind the Curtain #3

Behind the Door #4(Coming May 16, 2017)





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Laurent & the Beast by KA Merikan

Title: Laurent & the Beast
Author: KA Merikan
Series: Kings of Hell MC #1
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: April 29, 2017
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
Summary:
Nothing can stop true love. Not time. Not even the devil himself.

1805. Laurent. Indentured servant. Desperate to escape a life that is falling apart.

2017. Beast. Kings of Hell Motorcycle Club vice president. His fists do the talking.

Beast has been disfigured in a fire, but he’s covered his skin with tattoos to make sure no one mistakes his scars for weakness. The accident not only hurt his body, but damaged his soul and self-esteem, so he’s wrapped himself in a tight cocoon of violence and mayhem where no one can reach him.

Until one night, when he finds a young man covered in blood in their clubhouse. Sweet, innocent, and as beautiful as an angel fallen from heaven, Laurent pulls on all of Beast’s heartstrings. Laurent is so lost in the world around him, and is such a tangled mystery, that Beast can’t help but let the man claw his way into the stone that is Beast’s heart.

In 1805, Laurent has no family, no means, and his eyesight is failing. To escape a life of poverty, he uses his beauty, but that only backfires and leads him to a catastrophe that changes his life forever. He takes one step into the abyss and is transported to the future, ready to fight for a life worth living.

What he doesn’t expect in his way is a brutal, gruff wall of tattooed muscle with a tender side that only Laurent is allowed to touch. And yet, if Laurent ever wants to earn his freedom, he might have to tear out the heart of the very man who took care of him when it mattered most.


Hound’s alarmed growling was coming his way, along with whines, when he reached the right door and opened it, only to have the massive Rottweiler’s body rush past him and into the corridor. Beast expected his pet to rush toward the room where the accident happened just minutes ago but Hound looked back at Beast, as if signalling he wanted to be followed, and rushed the other way, stirring the worst of feelings in Beast.

Was there an intruder somewhere in the house? With the sheer size of the former asylum that has served as the Kings of Hell Clubhouse for the last fifteen years, it was easy to overlook things happening in the disused parts of the property. They once had a bunch of teenagers who came over wanting to spy on the orgy. That thankfully didn’t end in blood, and out of the whole mess they got Jake to join their ranks.

Beast wondered whether he shouldn’t go back to the armory and get himself a gun but ultimately decided against it. There would be police and emergency services coming for Davy, and he didn’t want to run around with a firearm, no matter how good their relationship with the local police was.

Hound moved as if he were following a clear trail, but Beast couldn’t smell anything apart from dust and dampness. They were leaving behind the shouting and even the sound of the ambulance approaching, and eventually entered a corridor so disused it had a thick layer of dust on the floor. Now even Beast could see faint footprints in the dust, and next to them, dark droplets that could be blood.

Hound smelled the traces, looked back and broke into a run, which had Beast following him with the worst of expectations as to what he would eventually find. His heart beat faster as they ran down the dark hallway.

The building was a labyrinth, and this far away from where they all lived and worked, it wasn’t even wired anymore, so he breathed in the smell of mildew and followed Hound through the darkness in hope he would not stumble.

Windows in the doorless rooms on both sides of the corridor were the only source of light, now delivering a faint red and blue glow of the approaching ambulance. For all Beast knew, this could have been a gothic castle, something out of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with bloodthirsty monsters waiting for their next victim in one of the endless hallways, and yet he only ran faster, listening to the steady tap of Hound’s paws.

Without any hesitation whatsoever, Hound rushed inside one of the rooms and gave a growl so vicious something inside Beast mourned his decision not to take a gun with him. But no one shot at him when Hound let out a single bark. Beast pushed past the empty doorway, jumping over a fallen chair, only to see someone hiding in the shadows.

Judging by the long, wavy hair and small stature, Beast at first thought it was a woman, but then the person spoke with a distinctly male voice.

“I… I’m not certain where I am.” The stranger took half a step out of the shadow, and into the flashing light coming from outside. His accent was distinctly foreign. French maybe?

Beast took him in with a scowl. Blood covered the stranger’s face, hair, dripped from his chin, from the tips of his trembling fingers, and stained the outfit that looked as if he’d stolen it from the set of a costume drama. Knee-high boots, fitted pants, a vest worn under a tailcoat.

“What the fuck are you doing on our property, boy?” hissed Beast, watching the soft features of a very young man. “Whose blood is this?” he asked, still cautious. In his experience, a non-threatening presence could hide an adept fighter, so he was not taking any chances as he joined Hound in front of the stranger, who was so short in comparison to Beast’s own six foot five form that his red-stained head only reached Beast’s pecs.

The stranger backed away into the corner, whimpering in fear the moment Hound growled at him again and lowered his head, but Beast wasn’t having any of it and grabbed the boy’s arm. “Is the blood yours then? Someone attacked you? Where?” he asked, not hesitating to pat the intruder down, to make sure there were no weapons hiding under the fancy coat.

The boy tried to weasel out of his grip, but he didn’t seem adept at using force. “N-no. I don’t think it’s mine. I don’t know. Is this hell?”

Beast groaned, staring at the silly-looking young man, whose white shirt was completely drenched in red. Someone must have died to produce this much blood.

“You will explain yourself to King.”

Author Bio: 
K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.


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Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday's Film Adaptions: The Horse Soldiers by Harold Sinclair


Summary:
This novel is a fictionalized account of one of the most daring cavalry raids of all time. Set during the American Civil War, it vividly brings to life `Grierson's Raid', - the seventeen-day raid by a Union brigade through the heart of Confederate Mississippi. Conscious of the huge odds against them; exhausted, hungry and with a deepening sense of impending doom hanging over them as the enemy gathered forces on all sides, the Union soldiers rode south. Despite this, however, the raid was a triumph and dealt a staggering blow to the enemy. Harold Sinclair's novel brings vividly to life the human drama of this extraordinary episode and conveys superbly the tragedy of a civil war and a nation tearing itself apart.

Film
A Union cavalry officer leads his men on a vital mission behind Confederate lines.

Release Date: June 12, 1959
Release Time: 120 minutes

Cast:
John Wayne as Colonel John Marlowe
William Holden as Major Henry 'Hank' Kendall
Constance Towers as Miss Hannah Hunter of Greenbriar
Althea Gibson as Lukey
Judson Pratt as Sergeant Major Kirby
Ken Curtis as Cpl. Wilkie
Willis Bouchey as Col. Phil Secord
Bing Russell as Dunker
O.Z. Whitehead as Otis 'Hoppy' Hopkins
Hank Worden as Deacon Clump
Chuck Hayward as Union captain
Denver Pyle as Jackie Jo (rebel deserter)
Strother Martin as Virgil (rebel deserter)
Basil Ruysdael as the Reverend (Jefferson Military Academy)
Carleton Young as Col. Jonathan Miles, CSA
William Leslie as Maj. Richard Gray
William Henry as Confederate lieutenant
Walter Reed as Union officer
Anna Lee as Mrs. Buford
William Forrest as Gen. Steve Hurlburt
Ron Hagerthy as Bugler
Russell Simpson as Acting Sheriff Henry Goodbody
Hoot Gibson as Sgt. Brown
Jack Pennick as Sgt. Maj.Mitch Mitchell (uncredited)



Author Bio:
Harold Sinclair was born on May 8, 1907 in Chicago, Illinois. When he was about 8 years old he was sent, along with his sister, to stay with an aunt and uncle in Bloomington, Illinois. As a teenager he worked for the Western Union telegraph company. He dropped out of school, moved to Florida and later returned to Chicago and finally back home to Bloomington. He played in Jazz Clubs and followed a Bohemian lifestyle.

While working for a hardware store he wrote his first book, The Journey Home (1936). The book impressed an editor at Doubleday who offered Sinclair a four book contract.

His next three books, The American Years (1938), The Years of Growth (1940) and the Years of Illusion (1941) chronicle the history of the imaginary town of Everton, Illinois, from the 1830s to the 1920s. The history and characters in the trilogy were based on the history of the City of Bloomington.

In 1940 he publish, Westward the Tide, an account of the Illinois campaign of George Rogers Clark during the Revolutionary War.

More books followed; The Port of New Orleans (1942), Music of Dixie (1952), and a book commissioned by the Bloomington newspaper, The Daily Pantagraph telling the history of the newspaper, Daily Pantagraph 1846-1946 (1976). He also published several short stories, articles and book reviews.

The Horse Soldiers (1956) was a fictionalized account of Illinois Colonel Benjamin Grierson’s daring raid through Mississippi during the Civil War. This book became a bestseller and is best known as the inspiration of the John Ford/John Wayne movie The Horses Soldiers (1959).

His final novel, The Cavalryman (1958), was a sequel to Horse Soldiers. It was not well received by critics or readers. The book was optioned for a possible television series. That project did not come to fruition.

Sinclair died on May 24, 1966.


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Moments by RJ Scott

Title: Moments
Author: RJ Scott
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: April 10, 2017
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
Summary:
An actor on possession charges, hell bent on destroying his own life meets a man who quietly works to make the world a better place.

Jacob Riley is a typical Hollywood former child star with issues. He has already done prison time and at the age of twenty-six has been arrested again.

Ethan Myers is the owner and manager of Macs, an education center providing teaching and learning to local low income families. Losing his partner to cancer leaves him lost and alone and he buries himself in his work to start to mend his broken heart.

Sparks fly when Jacob has to complete his community service at Macs. Their relationship grows against a background of disenfranchised street gang members, arson, the Oscars, and despite their prejudices.

Can Jacob Riley be saved?

**Please note, this has been with Totally Bound and has been added to and re-edited. If you have proof of purchase I will happily replace the book.**

Re-Edited Re-Read Review April 2017:
If I am being completely honest, there really is nothing I can add to my original review.  I will say that I could not tell you what any of the re-edited or added bits were as every bit of  Jacob and Ethan's journey flowed together as beautifully as it did when I read it in 2015.  

Jacob is still a spoiled Hollywood stereotype who thinks the world is his oyster and he's lined up for the all you can eat buffet.  Ethan is still the humble man who wants to help the less fortunate.  When their journeys converge, fireworks are the result from the starting line, equally stubborn and determined the pair is perfectly matched.  Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom before we see what is really important in life, well Jacob hasn't really hit rock bottom but he is about at his last chance for redemption when he's forced to serve his community service sentence at Ethan's center. I do believe that we all have that one defining moment that can change us and that's what Jacob faces in Moments.
That's about the best you're going to get out of me as for the plot but I will say that I can't recommend Moments enough.  There are points that may seem cliche but there are plenty of points that are not and when you combine them what you have is a beautiful tale of redemption, friendship, love, and finding your place in the world which is something we all want.  Whether you are as I am doing a re-read or completely new to you, Moments is another winner from Miss Scott that you don't want to miss, you just might learn something about yourself as well as be thoroughly entertained and for me that is the mark of an excellent and amazing tale and talent.

Original Review September 2015:
I need to start by simply stating that you will not like Jacob Riley in the beginning.  He is the classic, some might say cliche, Hollywood child actor turned bad boy.  Whether you see Jacob as classic or cliche, it doesn't matter because it works and that's what makes Moments enjoyable.  Despite Ethan's panic attacks he is incredibly patient, more patient than I would be when faced with dealing with Jacob.  I don't do spoilers but I will say there was a point in the story that I thought the author might take a certain path with Jacob's character but she didn't and the road Miss Scott took was much better and appreciated.  Moments may not be what I would classify as an emotional roller coaster but it definitely pulls at your heartstrings and will stay with you.  Moments is another great example why RJ Scott is on my short list of "1-click without the blurb" authors.

RATING: 

Author Bio:
RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn't with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn't like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.


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EMAIL: rj@rjscott.co.uk



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