Thursday, April 30, 2020

Blog Tour Review & Excerpt: (Hotshots #1) by Annabeth Albert

Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts…

Smoke jumper Lincoln Reid is speechless to see Jacob Hartman among his squad’s new recruits. Linc had promised his late best friend he’d stay away from his little brother. And yet here Jacob is…and almost instantly, the same temptation Linc has always felt around him is causing way too many problems.

Jacob gets everyone’s concerns, but he’s waited years for his shot at joining the elite smoke jumping team, hoping to honor his brother’s memory. He’s ready to tackle any challenge Linc throws his way, and senses the chemistry between them—chemistry Linc insists on ignoring—is still alive and kicking. This time, Jacob’s determined to get what he wants.

Close quarters and high stakes make it difficult for Linc to keep his resolve, never mind do so while also making sure the rookie’s safe. But the closer they get, the more Linc’s plan to leave at the end of the season risks him breaking another promise: the one his heart wants to make to Jacob.

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Blog Tour Intro from Annabeth
I’m so thrilled to be here today celebrating my latest release, BURN ZONE, which is also my 15th release from Carina Press and is available at all your favorite retailers! This is an older brother’s best friend forbidden romance between two smoke jumpers on the same team. For today’s excerpt I wanted to share one of the turning points early in the story, when things start to shift towards the growing sensual tension between the heroes. I also loved this scene because we’re in Linc’s head, and we get to see all the ways in which Jacob throws him for a loop. Linc’s battle between what his heart wants and what he believes to be the right thing was so gratifying to write—this is a hero who is loyal to his very core and who feels deeply. I hope you enjoy him as much as I do! 

[…] Linc ended up heading outside to the firepit like he hadn’t known all along where he was headed. Jacob was just working on lighting the thing as the evening temperatures dropped.
“Need a hand?” he asked, squatting down next to him.
“Yours? Always.” Jacob was far too flirty for his family being close by, but Linc liked the warmth in his tone too much to call him on it.
“Here.” Linc handed him some kindling. Same as with the baby, they worked together silently, doing this task like they’d done it a thousand times before, when the reality was that the firepit had always been Wyatt’s domain, not Jacob’s. He liked working alongside Jacob, something that had both annoyed and buoyed him the last week, the way Jacob could often read his mind, anticipate what he was about to ask.
And somehow once the fire was going, they ended up the only two out there in the big wooden chairs, alone but not really. They sat in a companionable silence for a while before Jacob shifted, leaning forward, voice a bare whisper. “You know, I’ve been thinking—”
“Please don’t.” Linc wasn’t trying to be funny. The look on Jacob’s face, at once mischievous and earnest, so damn appealing, both turned him on and put him immediately on edge.
“We need to get this—” Jacob gestured between them “—out of our systems. Once and for all.”
“No.” It didn’t work like that, and it spoke to how damn young Jacob still was that he thought it did.
“Hear me out. One night. Then we can concentrate on work after. Put it behind us. Take away the mystery maybe.”
Linc snorted. It might be simply curiosity for Jacob, but it sure wasn’t for him. “It wouldn’t work.”
“Maybe not, but I at least want to try. You don’t?”
“I’m not an itch you scratch once.”
“That sure of yourself, huh?”
More like he was that sure of Jacob, but he said nothing, just stood. His no might be firm now, but he wasn’t made of iron either. Enough wheedling from Jacob and he might get twisted up enough to agree to that ridiculous plan.
“Night. You have a nice time now with your family. And see you tomorrow. At work.” He chose his words carefully, reminding them both about the two big reasons they couldn’t do anything foolish.
“Just think about it,” Jacob urged.
“It’s cake time!” someone called from the house, saving Linc from answering. But he would. He’d think about it all right. He’d think about it tonight, alone in his bed. And probably tomorrow, in the shower. And he’d want it, just like he had for years now, every cell in his body aware of what he could have but wouldn’t allow himself. Lord, how he’d want it, especially now that Jacob had made this diabolical little offer. One night.
And it didn’t help that a small piece of himself kept whispering, It might work. Never know. It could work. That part was wrong, of course, but it spoke to his want, wormed its way into his thoughts until he wasn’t sure how long his willpower could hold out.


What I thought about Burn Zone

Annabeth Albert has a new M/M series set around some sexy smoke jumpers!  Burn Zone is the first book in this Hotshots series.

Jacob has always had a crush on his late brother's best friend Linc and now has the opportunity to work with him, setting things up for some older brother's best friend action. The attraction Jacob felt for Linc is still there but there are some obstacles for them to overcome and when those obstacles are wrapped around Linc's deceased best friend and Jacob's brother.  Complicated!

Linc really needs to be convinced that they can work together and Jacob has his work cut out for him.  I felt bad for him at times because Linc was a bit too focused on some self sense of honor at the expense of his own emotions and feelings. Oh there's plenty of sexy times, but the emotional connection and the willingness to embrace being a relationship takes a bit longer to get there.

There were some slow spots butI thought this was a good start to the series and I'm ready for more! 

An ARC was provided. This is my honest review.

About Annabeth Albert

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Connect with Annabeth Albert

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

5 Star Review & Excerpt: Sea of Ruin by Pam Godwin

Bennett Sharp is on the run.
Wanted for piracy, she fears neither God nor death nor man.
Except Priest Farrell.

The unfaithful, stormy-eyed libertine hunts her with terrifying possessiveness. Nothing will stop him from coming for her. Not his unforgivable betrayal. Not when she’s captured by the ice-cold pirate hunter, Lord Ashley Cutler.
She must escape Ashley’s prison and Priest’s deceit. But can she walk away from their twisted desires?

Two gorgeous captains stand on opposite sides of the law. When they collide in a battle to protect her, the lines blur between enemies and lovers.
Passion heats, secrets unravel, and hearts entangle until they break.
Can love prevail in the sea of ruin?

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The short story, KING OF LIBERTINES, can be read before or after SEA OF RUIN.
It’s only available in the AUSTRALIA anthology:


Footsteps sounded behind me, the tread of a single pair of boots approaching from the shore.
Beads of sweat trickled between my breasts and gathered beneath the stays. I knew that lazy, arrogant gait. I feared it.
Pushing back my shoulders, I girded my spine and turned to face my biggest mistake.
A few paces away, the pirate leaned against a wooden post. His thumb hooked casually in the straps of leather that wound around his trim hips. His other hand hung at his side, dangling my lost compass by the chain.
Rancor battled longing. Scorn collided with sadness, and my outrage bowed beneath the helpless, banal attraction I’d always felt for him.
His brown breeches fit him like a glove, the threads molding around powerful thighs and the sizable bulge of his groin. His loose shirt tucked into multiple belts at his waist and laced up his chest to open at the neck. A strong neck, covered in scruff and sinew.
I swallowed thickly, my entire body pulsing with an unwanted ache as my gaze rose to his.
Eyes glinting like polished steel glared down at me. Moonlight cast his prominent features in stark relief—stern forehead, defined cheekbones, perfect nose, full lips—leaving the rest of his face in shadow. The severe straight line of his mouth amplified the intensity in his expression.
He was furious. Seething with two years’ worth of blistering, unresolved ire.
My heart died a thousand deaths before I found my voice. “Priest.”
“Bennett, my love.” He spilled the endearment into the air, each syllable a vicious growl of torment. “How I’ve missed you.”

What I thought about Sea of Ruin

If you were to ask me my favorite dark romance authors, Pam Godwin would be at the top of my list.  When I saw that she was writing a dark  historical romance about pirates, I couldn't think of a better author to tackle something a story like this. And that cover! Wow!  I wanted to read this just because of that gorgeous cover.

Anyway, I'm not going to get into too many details, the summary handles that.  There's a very strong heroine in this story, if that is your thing, and some terrific dialogue. It hasn't always been an easy journey to get to where she's at.  Of course she has two heroes to fall for her in this unique love triangle, so I expected hot and steamy and that's what I got.

As usual, there's twists and turns and a plot that comes together like fine tapestry. There are also some surprises along the way.  Sea of Ruin is a standalone, but there is a short story in the Australia anthology that you might enjoy along with this story.Sea of Ruin is lusty and erotic and the relationships aren't the usual sort.  If you are looking for something hot and steamy with engaging and unique characters, this might be for you.

An ARC was provided for review.

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Pam Godwin, lives in the Midwest with her husband, their two children, and a foulmouthed parrot. When she ran away, she traveled fourteen countries across five continents, attended three universities, and married the vocalist of her favorite rock band.

Java, tobacco, and dark romance novels are her favorite indulgences, and might be considered more unhealthy than her aversion to sleeping, eating meat, and dolls with blinking eyes.

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 Other books by Pam Godwin





DELIVER series
Deliver #1 (FREE):

One is a Promise (FREE):

Heart of Eve (FREE):
Dead of Eve #1:
Blood of Eve #2:
Dawn of Eve #3:

Knotted #1 (FREE):

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Release Day Review: 5 stars for Highland Conquest (Sons of Sinclair #1) byy Heather McCollum


Cain Sinclair has a plan. In order to finally bring peace to his clan, he will wed the young female chief of their greatest enemy. Only problem: capturing her and forcing her back to Sinclair castle doesn’t exactly make her want to say yes. Ella Sutherland may be clever, passionate, and shockingly beautiful, but what she isn’t is willing.

Every attempt Cain makes to woo her seems to backfire on him. A gift? The kitten practically claws his eyes out. A competitive game of chess? Even when he wins, he loses. It seems the only time the two ever see eye to eye is when they’re heating up Cain’s bed. Still, the only thing Ella truly wants is the one thing he cannot offer her: freedom.

But when Cain discovers she’s been harboring a secret—one that could threaten both clans’ very existence—he’ll have to decide between peace for the Sinclairs or the woman who’s captured his heart.


What I thought about Highland Conquest

As I started to read Highland Conquest, I transported, not just to Scotland but back to some of the earliest romances I read back in my teens. I immediately liked that about Highland Conquest.

George Sinclair raised his four sons to believe they were the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  They are fighters through and through.  In an opening battle with the rival Sutherland clan, George Sinclair is killed and the oldest son Cain goes after the warrior who gave the order -- and it's the beautiful daughter and chief of the Sutherland clan, Arabella.  She's no match for Cain, and he captures her with the intent to bring the two families together in marriage to achieve the peace he sees in the future.

Cain really isn't like his father off the battle field, and he's committed to uniting the families without further bloodshed.  But Ella isn't quite on the same page with him, so he must woo her to achieve his goals. And if that kiss Cain gave her as he chased her is any indication, it doesn't take long for  Arabella to see the merits of his plan. 

There is a few obstacles to the plan though, like a huge secret that could have long lasting consequences for Cain and his brothers quest to become the most powerful clan in Scotland. There's also another clan that wants the Sutherland lands and daughter. 

I really enjoyed this story.  There's good chemistry between Cain and Ella, and it was easy to root for them to vanquish their considerable enemies. I loved Ella -- she was strong and determined and a good match for Cain.  There's also some interesting dynamics with Cain's three brothers that has me hooked on this series, so I'm eager for more.

Overall, a very satisfying and enjoyable historical tale that kept my interest to the final pages.

An ARC was provided. This is my honest review.

About the Author

Heather McCollum

Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical paranormal and YA romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology, much to her English professor's dismay. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood of 2009 Golden Heart finalists. The ancient magic and lush beauty of Great Britain entrances Ms. McCollum's heart and imagination every time she visits. The country's history and landscape have been a backdrop for her writing ever since her first journey across the pond. When she is not creating vibrant characters & magical adventures on the page, she is roaring her own battle cry in the war against ovarian cancer. Ms. McCollum recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own Highland hero, rescued golden retriever & 3 kids in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast. 

Monday, April 27, 2020

Review:Flying Gold (American Heavy Metal #2) by Vanessa North

American Heavy Metal is Tiffani Ellis’s sanctuary, or at least it was before her dad died. Being in charge means her own dreams are firmly on the back burner. Now she spends as much time fixing problems as she does the cars she loves. She’s already struggling to find her feet; the last thing she needs is the man who broke her heart showing up at her shop with a car he doesn’t deserve to touch, much less own.

Matt Adams left town, moved to the west coast and became a big shot. But his passion for cars never waned, and neither did his regret over how things ended with Tiffani. Now he’s back, his dream car in tow. He’s gearing up for a big race, he needs help and he knows exactly where to find it.

Tiffani won’t turn down a paying job, but working with Matt stirs up feelings best left buried. What was left behind them is irresistible, but it doesn’t take long to realize that a few hot nights will never be enough. Sex is easy, but forgiveness is not…

Don’t miss Hard Chrome, the first book in the American Heavy Metal series, available now from Vanessa North and Carina Press!

This book is approximately 56,000 words

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What I thought about Flying Gold

In the second book in the American Heavy Metal series, Vanessa North continues the contemporary romance series with a second chance romance story.  When Tiffani's high school sweet heart and heartbreaker Matt returns to town, it's going to take some work for him to get back into her good graces. It's a classic story of regret and the need for another.

I liked this story.  While I found it a bit predictable (and I read alot of contemp romance so you may not find it the same)  that didn't bother me because I really liked the characters and wanted to see them get back together after the appropriate level of groveling. Ten years and a lot of stuff has gone by, so there's a lot for Matt and Tiffani to work through.

There were characters from the first book in the series in this but it did not impact the standalone aspect of this romance.  Overall, an entertaining and satisfying romance set in a classic car and garage setting, if that's your thing.  I enjoyed this.

An ARC was provided for review.  

Vanessa North is a romance novelist, a short fiction geek, and a knitter of strange and wonderful things. Her works have been shortlisted for both the Lambda Literary Award and the RITA© Award, and have garnered praise from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Northwest Georgia with her family: a Viking, twin boy-children, and a very, very large dog. For up-to-date information on new releases and special projects, sign up for Vanessa’s newsletter or follow her on social media:

Release Day Review: The Five Year Lie by Sarina Bowen

Bestselling romance author Sarina Bowen’s debut thriller, about one woman’s search for the truth after receiving a text from her deceased ex...