Book Review

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The Wolf at Bay (Big Bad Wolf – Book Two) 

by Charlie Adhara 

Amazon link: http://a.co/d/4O1UKMp

SYNOPSIS:  

Going home digs up bad memories, so it’s something Bureau of Special Investigations agent Cooper Dayton tries to avoid. When he’s guilted into a visit, Cooper brings along Oliver Park, his hot new werewolf partner, in the hopes the trip will help clarify their status as a couple…or not.

When Park’s keen shifter nose uncovers a body in the yard and Cooper’s father is the prime suspect, Cooper knows they’re on their own. Familial involvement means no sanctioned investigation. They’ll need to go rogue and solve the mystery quietly or risk seeing Cooper’s dad put behind bars.

The case may be cold, but Park and Cooper’s relationship heats up as they work. And yet if Cooper can’t figure out what’s going on between them outside of the bedroom, he’ll lose someone he… Well, he can’t quite put into words how he feels about Park. He knows one thing for sure: he’s not ready to say goodbye, though with the real killer inching ever closer…he may not have a choice.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

This book is approximately 84,000 words

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“The Wolf at Bay” is Book Two of the Big Bad Wolf series and picks up four months after the ending of Book One, “The Wolf at the Door.” Cooper Dayton and Oliver Park are now partners at the BSI, but they are struggling to define their relationship outside of work. Cooper returns to his childhood home for a family event, and Oliver decides to go with him. Cooper is nervous, not only about seeing his family, but also having to deal with not so nice childhood memories. When skeletal remains are uncovered, Cooper’s father is the number one suspect. Cooper and Oliver try to prove his father’s innocence, but other childhood events are brought to light, leaving Cooper with even more questions about his childhood.

I can’t tell you how much I loved this book. It was so much more than I expected.  Yes, it was a romance, but the author did a fantastic job of weaving a murder mystery into the story.  I kept trying to guess who it could be, and of course, I was completely wrong.

I also adored both Cooper and Oliver. Cooper had a lot to come to terms with, but I also think it helped make their relationship stronger. Their conversations had me laughing over their teasing/snarky comments and I cannot wait for Book Three.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you! Reviewed by Diana Murphy ~ Turning Pages at Midnight ~ Goodreads group ~ https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/125752-turning-pages-at-midnight-book-blog

Highly recommend, but start with “The Wolf at the Door”   (Big Bad Wolf – Book One) Amazon link: http://a.co/d/7OTUBUT

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Book Tour

Title: Evan’s Encore
Series: Meltdown: The Conclusion
Author: RB Hilliard
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Rock
Release Date: October 3, 2018

Evan Walker is living the dream. As Meltdown’s new keyboardist, he has finally found where he belongs. Unfortunately, his wife doesn’t share the same dream. When the band decides to take a break, Evan goes home, only to discover his reality is not as it seems. 
Unthinkable secrets are revealed, flipping his world upside down. 
Quinn Kinley has lived a charmed life, but after suffering a terrible loss and her mother’s sudden move to Florida, she finds herself left with a bar to run and more house than she knows what to do with. She comes up with a plan: get a housemate.
 
He’s a rock star. She’s a country girl.
She’s looking for a housemate. He needs a place to live. 
 
Love isn’t a consideration… but sometimes love happens when you least expect it.

 

 

Don’t miss out on Sexy Evan– Amazon Review

 

“Welcome to Margo’s. Can I get you another beer or some food?” I asked, focusing my attention on Evan.
 
Leveling that green gaze on me, he said, “Yeah, can I get a burger?” My pulse fluttered under his rapt stare. The man wasn’t cowboy enough for me, but he sure was something worth looking at. His dark hair and beard only helped to accentuate those fabulous green eyes. Now that I was up close and personal, I also took note of his lips. They were full, perfect, and very sexy.
 
“Hello?” he called out in a somewhat irritated tone.
 
“Oh, uh, sorry. What was that?” I asked, embarrassed to be caught staring.
 
“Food?” he clipped.
 
I started to apologize again, but instead, found myself saying, “Yes, what about it?”
 
“Can we order some or are you going to stand there staring at us all night?” Talk about rude.
 
“Sure thing, honey. What would you like?” I asked in a sugar-sweet voice. His green eyes narrowed in on me and I smiled. Take that Rock Star.
 
“I would like a hamburger.”
 
“On it?” I questioned.
 
“On what?” he asked, clearly getting more irritated by the second.
 
“What would you like on it?” I asked, carefully enunciating each word. His friends laughed.
 
“Cheese, Let—”
 
“Kind?” I interrupted.
 
“Huh?” he questioned.
 
“What kind of cheese, dude?” his buddy asked for me.
 
Catching the female’s eye, I winked and she smiled.
 
“Fuck!” Evan hissed. “I don’t care. Just give me a damn cheeseburger with the works.”
 
Lifting my brows, I asked, “The works?” I wanted to make sure I’d heard him right.
 
“Yeeees,” he replied in the same slow tone I’d given him earlier.
 
Tit for tat, I thought, but answered, “Sure thing, doll. One burger with the works, coming right up.” This guy was a real twit. After taking the other orders, I quickly escaped to the kitchen.
 
“You’re sure he wants the works?” Sam asked.
 
Somehow managing to keep a straight face, I confirmed that the customer did, indeed, want a burger with the works. I left Sam mumbling behind the stove and returned to the bar, smiling all the way.
 
“So, what are they like?” Alex-Ann whispered.
 
“Chaz and his girl are nice,” I told her.
 
“And Evan?”
 
“I’m back,” Gretchen interrupted. “Thanks for watching my table.”
 
“Order up!” Sam called from the kitchen.
 
“That’s for table six,” I directed at Gretchen. Not even two minutes passed before the bar was interrupted by a loud commotion.
 
“What the hell is on this?” I heard shouted from across the room. My inner bitch gave a silent whoop and a fist pump and I had to bite back the urge to cackle with glee. Serves the shit-heel right.
 
A minute or so later, Gretchen called out, “Quinn, you’re needed at table six!”
 
Zeroing in on my smirk, Alex-Ann whispered, “What did you do?”
 
Ignoring her question, I slid out from behind the bar and made my way over to table six. Evan’s face was no longer pale, but more like the color of a ripe tomato. That’s what habanero peppers would do to you.
 
“What the hell did you put on this?” he wheezed between gulps of water.
 
“I’m sorry, you did say you wanted the works, didn’t you?” I could tell the guy wanted to blast me.
 
“He did,” Chaz chimed in, which earned him an evil glare.
 
“People are staring. Let’s go,” Evan grumbled.
 
“I’m sorry. Did I do something wrong?” I questioned, my tone filled with fake concern. Without answering, he scooted from the booth and walked out the door.
  
 

RB Hilliard lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and two children. In 2012, she began writing His End Game, the first book in her MMG Series. Hilliard has not only published six books in this series, but has gone on to publish her hilariously funny Whisky’s novels, as well as her Rock Star Romance Series, Meltdown.

 
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Book Review

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Craft Brew (Trouble Brewing) 

by Layla Reyne 

Amazon Link: http://a.co/d/grdVoO2

Synopsis:

Assistant US attorney Dominic Price is staring down the barrel of his father’s debts. The bull’s-eye on his back makes him a threat to everyone he cares about, so when his lover wants to go public with their relationship, he bolts. Not because he isn’t in love–he can’t stomach the thought of putting Cam in danger.

Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne is determined to figure out what trouble Nic is running from, but devastating news from home brings him back to Boston and to the cold case that has haunted his family for two decades. Shoving aside his pride, he calls Nic for help.

Together they search for answers, navigating the minefield of Cam’s past. But when they get too close to the truth, Cam must use every skill in his arsenal to save the man he loves…before it’s too late.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

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Craft Brew is book 2 in the Trouble Brewing series by Layla Reyne, and also a spinoff of Irish  & Whiskey series. Although I did struggle a bit with book 1 in this series, I absolutely loved this one.

It has been four months since Cam and Nic became a couple, even though their relationship is still unknown to their friends. Nic is still looking over his shoulder because of his father’s activities are still a problem, with no solution in sight. Nic is determined to keep himself and his friends safe and out of harm’s way.  He is almost relieved when Cam has to return to Boston for his family. But when open wounds get the best of Cam, he asks Nic for help. Together, along with Jamie, they try to put an end to a nightmare that has been plaguing Cam and his family for years.

While I struggled in book 1 with Nic and Cam being in a relationship, this story solidifies their feelings. Nic is protective and caring for Cam when Cam, himself, is struggling on many different levels. In fact, I moved Nic to the perfect boyfriend list.

I am thrilled that is going to be a third book. I hope that we finally get to see more of Nic’s past and hopefully overcome his demons.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher/NetGalley, in exchange for a honest review. Reviewed by Diana Murphy of Turning Pages at Midnight ~ Goodreads ~ https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/125752-turning-pages-at-midnight-book-blog

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Release Blitz

Release Blitz, Reinventing Us, The Rock Gods Book 9 by Author Ann Lister

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The highly anticipated Rock Gods book 9 is NOW LIVE!!

The wait is over 1-Click your copy TODAY!

Download FREE with KindleUnlimited

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Alex-Zander Metcalf knew his life would always be filled with twists and turns, especially living in the public eye while playing the role of front man for his band Ivory Tower. That’s what made life interesting and he loved every aspect about his job in the music world.
Living in a long-term polyamorous relationship with a husband and a wife also created a fair amount of ups and downs. Add two rambunctious daughters to the house and you had a sweet cocktail of chaos and pure joy and the unexpected awaiting him every day. His life was overflowing, but he wouldn’t have changed a thing, because it was damn near perfect.
He knew nothing in life was guaranteed and never to take things for granted, but that didn’t have him anymore prepared for what he was facing now. With his life completely upside down, Alex wasn’t sure how he’d ever be able to move forward. But life as he knew it was gone, and it was up to him to dig deep and find a way through the fog with the only remaining “constant” in his life: Chase.
How do you find a new path when you feel so lost you can’t see the road ahead of you through the unrelenting darkness? Where do you even begin such a journey, when the landscape is so vastly different from what was once familiar, and the resentment you have for needing to start over tastes like acrid bitterness on your tongue?
Alex must find the strength to push on and find a way to reinvent himself and all the relationships in his life, but creating this new version of himself won’t come easy.
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ADD to your M/M must read shelf on Goodreads
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Catch up with The Rock Gods
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The Rock Gods series is comprised of love stories between beautifully creative men from two different rock bands; Black Ice and Ivory Tower, and their friends. All of the books in this series are stand-alone stories, but tied together with rock stars that are colleagues and also friends. Each of my rock stars are flawed and emotionally damaged men at the height of their musical careers and in search of the one thing that still eludes them: love. I hope you’ll take this musical journey alongside me with each of The Rock Gods novels and discover what it truly means to love; love unconditionally, love without restrictions or labels – just to simply love.
Read the complete series FREE with KindleUnlimited.

Ann Lister is a native New Englander currently living in Florida with her husband. She has pulled details from her years living in the New England area and uses many local settings and landmarks in her novels.

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After graduating art school, marrying, and raising two daughters, she established her own video production company. Her nearly two decades working in video production included work within the music industry and won her a coveted Telly Award. Her ‘behind-the-scenes’ exposure to the music world and her love of rock music is the inspiration for her erotic rock star romances.

The Rock Gods series gave her Bestselling Author status on Amazon. Beyond The Music, Book 7 in the series, hit #1 in the Gay Erotica genre during the Pre-Order and held that spot for several weeks. This last book in The Rock Gods series launches the spin-off series, Guarding The Gods, which releases in early Summer of 2016.

Fall For Me, Book One in the series was a Finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Award. Each book in this series brings her two favorite elements together: musicians and the love between two men. These stories focus on what it truly means to love; love unconditionally, love without restrictions or labels, love without fear or judgment – to just simply love.

Subscribe to my newsletter here –https://www.annlister-author.com/

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Release Tour

Title: Hold Me
Series: Music for the Heart – Book 1
Author: Faith Starr
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 30, 2018
Joey has a knack for writing songs that make women swoon. It’s no wonder his band, Steam, is burning up the alternative charts.
Teva is into her studies and career. She has no time for romance or the drama that comes along with it. Until she lays eyes on Joey at a meet and greet contest her friend won.
Sparks fly between Joey and Teva. 
One night of fun with a rock star wouldn’t hurt anybody. Would it? 
It might if the sparks don’t fizzle out like Joey and Teva anticipate. 
How can two people who live completely different lives make a relationship work? Is their passion enough to withstand the pressures of fame, distance, family-struggles, and possible career changes?
Hold Me is Book One in the Music For The Heart Series. All books in the series can be read as standalones but are best read in sequence. All of Faith Starr’s books have Happily Ever After endings.
 
*Note to Reader: This book contains sensitive material and adult themes. It is recommended for those over 18

JOEY’S POV
“The show was incredible. Thank you again for all you’ve done for us tonight. Highly unnecessary but greatly appreciated.”“The night’s not over yet.” The words sort of just slipped out of my mouth. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from her. God, her skin was like porcelain. The touch of makeup she wore only highlighted the sapphire twinkle in her eyes, and the soft shade of pink lipstick filled out her full lips. Fuck, she was ten times prettier up close. A natural beauty, to say the least.

 

 

 

TEVA’S POV
Joey studied me. “I see the wheels turning in your head.”
“You don’t know me well enough to see the wheels turning.” I kept my voice calm, trying not to act defensive.
“And you don’t know me well enough to make judgments about my character based on generalizations you have preset in your mind.”
He caught me off guard with his brilliant insight. “You’re right. You’ve impressed me yet again.”
“Again? You mean I’ve been working my ass off to impress you, only to find out I didn’t need to try?”
“Not in the way you think.” I smiled.

 
 
MEET FAITH STARR
When I’m not managing my husband’s medical practice or taking care of things for one of my three kids, I love writing romance fiction.
There is absolutely nothing like getting into the minds of my characters, bringing them to life, and giving them a life of their own with all the emotions that go along with it. I am swept away, head over heels in love, with each and every alpha male I create and the confident women who steal their hearts.
Being a romantic at heart, with a bit of a dirty mind, I relish creating stories that touch upon readers’ heartstrings, provoke thought, and hopefully provide a bit of insight into some heavy topics.
 
Being married for over twenty-two years ─ holy cow, how time flies ─ I honestly believe in “Once Upon a Time” and “Happily Ever After” endings because I found mine. Aww, I know, so mushy. But that’s me, a softie with a big heart. A bit of a nut too.
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Release Blitz/Giveaway

Title: Facing the Beat
Series: Young Spades #2
Author: Riley Long
Genre: NA M/M Romance
Release Date: October 1, 2018

 

Lead guitarist for the indie rock band Young Spades, Liam Wilson has a shot at big city fortune–or he would, if he wasn’t too busy licking his wounds to admit the real reason his girlfriend left him. Determined to stay single, Liam has no time for anything–or anyone–new. 
 
Jack Newton is used to playing the field. A talented photographer, he knows exactly what he wants and how to get it. There’s just one hitch: when an enigmatic guitar player wanders in front of his lens, Jack feels the tug of a chord he has never heard before.
 
 
 
 
The bathroom was empty, and Liam thanked his lucky stars. He made his way to his favorite shower stall, last in the row, and pulled the curtain behind him. The bench in the little changing area was dry, so he placed his clean clothes on it, and hung his towel on the hook. Liam shucked his clothes and turned on the water, the sound echoing in the tiled bathroom, as he waited a few moments for it to come up to temperature before stepping in.Immediately, Liam sighed. The water was hot and relaxing, and he was glad he’d decided to shower now, in the middle of the afternoon, when there was nobody else around. He had the whole bathroom to himself, which almost never happened. Usually the times Liam was free, the bathroom was teeming with underclassmen. He relished the time alone.

As the surprisingly good water pressure eased the knots out of his shoulders, Liam soaped himself up and washed his hair. He stood there, letting the water rush over his body for longer than necessary and after a couple of minutes, he decided to relax further. He slid a hand down to his groin and palmed his dick, then began stroking.

He let his mind wander to his go-to jerk-off scenes, mostly images from porn he’d mentally filed away for later. Sweat, fingers pressing into flesh, teeth digging into tender places. He pulled up mental images of breasts, legs, asses. Nothing was doing it for him though.

His thoughts jumped to what Shane and Ari were doing after all, then steered himself aggressively in another direction. Ari was his roommate for Christ’s sake. Shane was in his band. It was just fucking weird.

Liam leaned back on the shower wall and dropped his head against the thick plastic divider between stalls, eyes closed. It figured. Too much pot, too much stress, too much on his mind. Way too tired. Way too tired. He sighed and gave up. Just his luck he couldn’t get anything to happen on the rare occasion he was alone and needed to relax.

He gave up on the shower, turning off the water then toweling off. He’d brought a button-down plaid shirt and skintight jeans, which he tugged on to his damp skin with some effort. He planned to wear this particular outfit to the show tonight, and didn’t want to have to go through the effort of changing again.

All clean, dry, and changed, Liam headed back to his room. He gave the courtesy double-knock he and Ari had agreed on before he walked in, hoping Ari and his boyfriend Shane hadn’t taken advantage of his disappearance to have sex. It happened sometimes, and there was nothing worse than coming back to catch them hastily putting clothes on, or to find the room smelling of sweat and cum.

Liam found them exactly as he’d left them, snuggling on Ari’s bed, watching videos on someone’s phone. He felt a pang in his gut.

“Hey guys,” he said, barely able to conceal his grumpiness. He shut the door and dumped his things onto the dirty clothes pile on the floor.

“Hey,” they said in unison, barely seeming to register his presence.

Liam debated lighting up a joint as he climbed back onto his bed. It would certainly improve his mood, but Ellie would be likely to kill him if she found out he’d been getting high before a show. Liam played lead guitar for indie-rock band Young Spades, and Shane was the lead singer. Ari had become their number-one groupie, and appeared front-row at every show to cheer them on, or perched backstage waiting to tell Shane how fantastic he sounded. They’d only been dating about six months, but Ari had become a fixture at their concerts. Liam didn’t mind—Ari was the best roommate he’d had, and he’d gone through a few during his freshman and sophomore years.

He thought about lighting up again, and sighed. It wasn’t even worth it. Shane in particular took serious offense to anyone smoking anything around him. Liam understood—Shane had lost his mom as a kid to lung cancer, and truth be told, he’d almost not dated Ari because of cigarettes. He sighed again. This wasn’t the mood he wanted to be in hours before a performance.

“What’s going on?” Ari asked, after a minute or so of silence from Liam.

Liam shrugged. “Just not in the mood today, I guess.” He lay down, kicking his backpack to the floor, unconcerned about the books and notebooks inside.

The truth was, he’d started to realize it was his senior year, and he’d done almost nothing except get high, play video games, and join a band. Not that the band was nothing—it was great, and they were planning to move to LA once he graduated. But it felt like not much today. He wanted something more.

Probably living with Ari, seeing him happily snuggling with Shane every moment they weren’t in class or working, wasn’t helping. It couldn’t be good to be surrounded by that lovey-dovey cheer all the time, could it? Maybe that was it—maybe he just wished he had a girlfriend or something.

Ari picked up on his doom-and-gloom mood. “You wanna play some video games before your show?”

“Nah, man, I’m good,” Liam said, even though he knew he needed some cheering up. Instead, he was tempted to take a nap. Getting off wasn’t an option so maybe getting some sleep would help.

Actually, what he needed to do was pick up his guitar and run through a few songs. They’d recently added to their lineup, and while they hadn’t taken the full summer off, they had definitely played fewer shows. He worried a little about getting rusty, if not on the instrument then at least on the tunes themselves.

“Mind if I practice a little?”

“Go right ahead,” Ari said.

At that, Shane sat up. “I’ll join you.”

“Aww,” Ari protested. “You left me.”

Shane smiled warmly and kissed Ari. “I’ll come back,” he promised when they parted.

Liam fought the urge to roll his eyes, grabbed his guitar from its stand, and crossed his legs on the bed. Playing guitar always lifted his mood, and Shane chiming in with his vocals didn’t hurt. After a while, he did feel better, ready to put the weird cloud over his head behind him, and kick ass at the show.

#

Jack lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling. He was going to get up early the next morning and hike to see if he could take some good photos of birds for his class in the morning light, he decided. His phone buzzed.

“Yeah?” he said by way of an answer, without looking to see who was calling.

“What are you doing tonight?” asked the voice on the other end. He recognized it instantly, one of only two people who ever called him. The other was his granddad, the only person in his family who gave a shit about him.

“Liv, we are literally roommates. You could have waited until you got home to ask me that.”

“Fuck you. Now what are you doing tonight?”

“Nothing, really. I’m going hiking tomorrow with my camera so I’m going to bed early.”

“Not anymore. We’re going out.”

Normally he was up for just about anything, but he’d really had his heart set on getting those shots before his Saturday got too far along. “Do I have to?”

“Young Spades is playing. I’ve been meaning to get to a show for ages. I think you’ll like them. And the drummer is hot, so I want to see if I can get her number.”

“Of course you do. And hey, I’m happy you’re over your ex, but why does that mean I’ve gotta play wingman?”

“You’re my best friend. It’s what best friends do.”

“Fine.”

“Listen, you’ve only been out for, what, three years? You’ve hardly hooked up with anyone in months, and you’ve never bothered to have a boyfriend. Have fun. Loosen up.”

“I have fun. I sleep around when I want to get off with someone. I don’t have time for a boyfriend. I’m busy. I wanna build my portfolio so I can get a decent freelance job when I graduate.”

“Photography is great, but have you even had sex before, John Wayne?”

“Fuck you. Keep my real name out of this.”

She laughed—cackled really. “Just because you’re moving literally a bazillion miles away once school ends next semester, doesn’t mean you have to live a cloistered life now. So what time can you be ready to leave? I’m going to work in the art studio until I have to pick you up.”

Jack sighed. “Okay, fine.” He knew he wasn’t going to win this battle, so it was better to give in now than to argue. “What time’s the show?”

“Nine.”

“Oh, God. Nine? Really?” He had zero chance of getting to bed early enough to go hiking the next morning. Not if the show started at nine.

“Yes, grandpa, and you’re going.”

“Hey, my granddad stays up late, like a normal college kid, thank you very much. Come home whenever, eight maybe?”

She snorted. “Sure thing. See you then!” The phone disconnected.

Jack lay there another minute. Young Spades. He’d heard of them, but he didn’t know much about the band. They’d even played at the spring music festival on campus last semester, but Jack never bothered going to those things. His taste in music was pretty terrible by any reasonable standard, so he knew he’d probably hate them, but if it made Liv happy, he’d go. Despite the fact that they shared an apartment and were best friends, they didn’t get much time together, considering they both spent a lot of time with their respective art projects. He didn’t mind sacrificing a single plan of his own to make her happy. Not really, anyway.

In the meantime, he could work on editing some shots he’d taken during the week. Jack grabbed his laptop and camera and transferred the images to his computer, then set to work.

He’d taken some shots around campus, mostly candids of unsuspecting students, because he hadn’t really had time to get out and do much else. The first week of school was usually pretty laid-back, but now that he was a senior, it seemed his professors were determined to make the classes challenging.

The time slipped by, and before Jack knew it, Liv was barging into his room without knocking—as usual. She planted herself at the foot of his bed and stared at him.

“Done yet?”

“I’m never done. You should know that, you’re an artist.” Jack saved his work and set his laptop aside.

“So, you ready?”

Jack glanced at the clock on his laptop. It was significantly later than he expected. “Not exactly.”

Liv sighed.

He closed his laptop and took it to his desk, then began rummaging in his closet for something reasonable to wear. Eventually he settled on a pair of comfortable jeans and a plain black t-shirt. He slipped his sneakers on, grabbed his camera, and stuffed it into its bag.

“You’re taking your camera?”

“When do I not take my camera?”

“Good point. Now are you ready?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be.”

Liv grinned. “Perfect.”

The End

 
 
 
 
 
Riley Long is a wife and mother living a quiet life in Virginia, with her husband, son, and very silly Pit Bull puppy. She passes her evenings writing, reading, and watching bad television (or not so bad television). For fun, Riley participates in NaNoWriMo, GISH, and reads with her book club, the BAMFs. She likes things with silly acronyms. The craziest thing Riley has ever done involves lots of butter and a time lapsed video.



 


 

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Release Blitz

Title: A Chosen Man
Series: The Men of Halfway House Series
Author: Jaime Reese
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
(can be read as standalone)
Release Date: September 26, 2018
Photographer: Eric McKinney of 6:12 Photography
For Wall McCormack, actions speak louder than words. He’s giving and protective, loyal to his friends, and devoted to his job. While confident and powerful enough to conquer any challenge, his greatest strength lies in his calm nature. Until an unexpected assignment sends his world into a loud and colorful chaos he never could have anticipated.
 
Rejection. It’s something Dylan Vaughn has known his entire life. But he’s a tough nut to crack and refuses to break. Armed with a sharp tongue and brutal honesty, he pushes through life and at anyone who attempts to take him on. Except for the quiet guardian who piques his interest and dares him to want…more.
 
When Dylan’s past comes back with a vengeance and jeopardizes their growing connection, Wall will stop at nothing to protect the younger man and remain by his side. But convincing Dylan that someone accepts the real man behind the cocky facade might prove to be Wall’s greatest challenge yet.
With his freedom on the line, Dylan must trust the strength of their bond and confront the forces threatening their future. Only then will he realize the dream of acceptance is real and finally have a place to call home.

“You have other skills.”
“I doubt being bratty and having a smart mouth are next on the list of desired skills.”
“Why do you consider those two of your most glowing qualities?”
Dylan looked up. “Huh?”
“You mention them after your computer skills. So they are the traits you associate with yourself the most. Why is that?”
“Um…” Is that a trick question? “Because I have a smart mouth and most people say I’m bratty.” He should add snark and sarcasm as additional languages. Maybe that would beef up his resume.
“I’m not arguing that point,” Matt said with a ghost of a smile. “But it’s obvious you do it with a bit of…spite. So I’m wondering if it’s truly part of your nature or if you do it only because people expect you to.”
Dylan shrugged, not really liking the serious shift in the conversation. He didn’t know how to do this emotional chitchat crap, and Matt was in a sensitive state of mind after everything that had happened. He returned his attention to the book and flicked the edge of the pages against his fingertip, trying to busy himself.
“You’re not alone, Dylan.”
Dylan slammed his book shut. “Try telling that to all the nonexistent people standing around me.” He bit back his usual defensiveness. He saw something flash in Matt’s expression, but couldn’t peg exactly what it was. But he guessed Matt wanted to be his savior. Maybe it was his nature, and Dylan was probably wrong considering his track record with people, but he couldn’t help the feeling tugging at the back of his mind that this determination stemmed from what had happened to the other guys. “You didn’t fail, Matt.”
“What?”
“With the guys. The knife in the room. That wasn’t your failure. It was their choice.”
Matt frowned and ducked his head. He set his glass of lemonade on the ground beside the bench and clasped his hands together, taking a deep breath. “I could have guided them better.” Matt winced, probably realizing he had voiced that thought. “Robbie was at his father’s house for the weekend. Neil told the police that Robbie had mentioned his father would hit him when drunk. The knife was for protection. I should have—”
“Stop it,” Dylan said, with a little more force than he had intended. “How were you supposed to know something Neil told the police after the fact? Robbie didn’t share it with you, he shared it with Neil, and unless you’re a psychic, how the hell were you supposed to know that was happening?” Dylan shook his head. His people-meter might suck, but his logic-detector was fully functional. “You’re just like Sam. Not everyone wants to be saved. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s part of life.”
Matt cocked his head. “Is that your story?”
“I don’t need saving.”
“No, you don’t. You’re obviously resilient as hell.” Matt turned on the bench seat to face him. “But don’t plan your future because of things in your past. Learn from them and consider them life lessons.”
“You should listen to your own wisdom. Don’t beat yourself up because the guys screwed up. That’s on them, not you. Consider it…a life lesson,” Dylan finished with a flourish of his hand and a raised eyebrow. “You offer more help than most, and if people don’t want to take it, then it’s on them.”
“Touché,” Matt said with a shake of his head and a hint of a smile.

 

“See? Told ya. I’m bratty with a smart mouth. Top of the list of my marketable skills. Tons of companies are going to beat down your door to hire me.”
Jaime Reese is the alter ego of an artist who loves the creative process of writing, just not about herself. Fiction is far more interesting. She has a weakness for broken, misunderstood heroes and feels everyone deserves a chance at love and life. An avid fan of a happy ending, she believes those endings acquired with a little difficulty are more cherished.
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