Release Blitz + Giveaway: Unexpected Christmas by Nell Iris


Celebrate the release of Unexpected Christmas with Nell Iris and Signal Boost Christmas! Check out the excerpt and enter in the backlist giveaway!




Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS

Length: 13,527 words

Publisher: JMS Books

Blurb

Daniel Erickson stormed out of his family celebration after choking on turkey served with a side of bigotry. Utterly miserable, he reluctantly lets himself be charmed by the hulk of a man and gets into the stranger’s car ... hoping he won’t be axed before the night is through.


Axel Wilson -- Ax for short, unfortunately -- is a sweetheart. Really. He may be badass-looking but his heart melts into goo at the mere mention of his four-year-old niece. Surely he isn’t dangerous?


Thrown together by family drama, the two men spend the evening getting to know each other. Axel is nothing like Daniel expected. But it doesn’t matter that he loves poetry, is gentle and patient -- and hot! -- Daniel is absolutely not falling in love at first sight. There’s no such thing.


Right?



Excerpt

A few minutes later, a vehicle approached from behind. Reacting instinctively, I turned around and waved my arms, hoping the big truck would stop and have mercy on my freezing ass.


I let out a giddy yelp as it slowed down, but it got stuck in my throat when the driver rolled down the window.


He was huge and couldn't hold his head upright without banging it on the ceiling. Big steel gauges adorned both his ears -- at least an inch and a half wide -- and his hair was black and so closely cropped it resembled a five o'clock shadow more than an actual haircut.


"You need a ride?" he asked and his voice was deeper than the Mariana Trench, perfectly matching his frightening appearance. Black tattoos crept up his neck and snaked down his hands below his sleeves. His shoulders were wide, his muscles strained the sleeves of his thick black jacket, and his cheeks were hollow. I was one second from shitting myself.


"I'm not riding with a serial killer!" The words slipped out of my mouth and I groaned. I couldn't have kept my mouth shut for five fucking seconds to avoid being chopped up and thrown to the wolves?


He threw his head back and let out a thunderous laugh.


"What's so goddamned funny?" I glared at him, but he didn't seem to care.


"I'm no serial killer."


"And I'm just supposed to take your fucking word for it?" I raised an eyebrow. I knew I was being combative and taking out my frustration on this stranger, but I couldn't stop myself.


"You could call my ma for references."


"Ha ha. Very funny." With a deep sigh, I resigned to my fate and started walking again. No way was I getting into a car with that mammoth of a man.


"Where you goin'?" he called after me. When I didn't bother to answer, he eased off the break and let his truck crawl after me.


I swirled around. "Stop following me, you creep," I hissed.


He let go of the steering wheel with one hand and held it up as if he surrendered. "Look, man. It's freezin'. You're wet and miserable. Get in the truck and lemme take you wherever you're goin'." His deep voice was surprisingly gentle. Non-threatening, as if he'd come to expect reactions like mine.


"I'm really not a bad guy." He stuck out his lower lip in a pout that would have made a five-year-old girl green with envy and I had to bite my lip to stop a smile from erupting.


"Really?" I tried to hang on to my mistrust, but he made it hard. His appearance screamed RUN AND HIDE, but there was something soft in his eyes that told a different story.


He shot me a crooked smile. "It was worth a try. It works on my niece every time."


The fucker knew all the right words to say to disarm me. "And how old is she?"

"Four."


I huffed out a reluctant chuckle. "Well, you know how it is. Everyone always says how they couldn't believe their neighbor was a serial killer because he seemed like such a nice guy."


His eyes grew big and round. "You're sayin' you don't trust my niece as a character witness?" He sounded as I'd just delivered the biggest insult of his life, but the amused glint in his eyes told me it was all for show.


"Can you blame me?"


"I guess not." He sighed and grew serious. "Please. I couldn't live with myself if I left you here to freeze to death."


My body screamed at me to take him up on his offer. The ice pellets were relentless and I was soaked and gloomy and was starting to feel like maybe being ax murdered wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen to me right now.


The openness in his posture and honesty in his eyes had me on the verge of caving. "You promise you won't kill me?" I sounded like a scared little kid even to my own ears.

Author Bio

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along but let’s face it, she’s not Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!


Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.


Nell is a 40-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, where she spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her life long dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.


Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, and wants to write diverse and different characters.


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Sunday Funday Jizzmas: 2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers - Week 3


How's your yuletide coming along? Been wrapping your white elephant presents in good cheer, caroling in a sleigh and jingling your bells? Or are you gathering kindling to start the mother of all fires with the sole purpose of committing Santacide while swilling hot buttered rum? Either way we've got you covered! So let's get our Jizzmas on this last week before the jolly fat man breaks into your house and eats your food.

ICYMI: Week 1 | Week 2

Poison Marked by T.J. Nichols

Kill his lover or disobey his king and instigate civil war?

As the feared court poison master, Nikko is sworn to do as his king bids. As the lover of the king’s nephew, Lord Rodas, Nikko must hide his affection or risk being labeled a traitor and punished. A former thief who clawed his way into the palace from the filthy streets, Nikko longs to be deserving of Rodas’s love.

A respected war hero, Rodas is in a delicate political situation. He is not the kingdom’s natural heir, though many support his claim over the wastrel, Prince Fortin. The last thing Rodas wants is war. His highest ambition is for Nikko to openly wear the jewels he’s bestowed on him as a public declaration of their love.

Neither man is prepared for the king to order Nikko to poison Rodas during the solstice feast or for the deadly intrigue they’re plunged into, which exposes their affair and rocks the foundations of the kingdom.

R *A Reader Obsessed* - 4 Hearts

A historical setting is typically not my usual jam these days, but this had just enough nostalgia and certain plot details in the blurb to catch my attention.

Nikko is the Poison Master, there solely to protect the king and carry out his orders. He’s caught between a rock and a hard place since he’s also the secret lover of the people's favorite - Rodas, the king’s nephew - who often shines brightly next to the smarmy prince who’s next in line to inherit the throne. Not only do Nikko and Rodas have a sharp difference in social rank separating them, their relationship can definitely be interpreted as a conflict of interest - or worse, treason - should their affair ever be discovered.

Jealousy, paranoia, honor, and loyalty are strong themes that run throughout this short story that never felt rushed. Poor Nikko must weigh his duty to the king and his love for Rodas. As multiple agendas converge, Nikko only hopes his vast knowledge can prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

This isn’t overtly smexy unfortunately, but the political intrigue and suspense, along with the deep romantic feels, made me one very satisfied reader, especially as these two men get their well deserved happy ending! Yay!

Ann - 4.5 Hearts

Damn, that was good!

I loved the world the author built and would read a full length version of this story in a heartbeat. This tale is set around the celebration of the Winter Solstice and I liked reading a different take on the holiday season through this fantastical historical.

Rados is chivalry personified and his devotion to Nikko is obvious in everything he does and every thought Nikko has. They never actually talk about future and feelings, it’s not an option for them and their stations in life and putting words to the impossible, out loud, is too much for Nikko to bear. The story is told from his perspective so we don’t get as much insight into Rados’s thoughts, but the author is so good at showing rather than telling I just knew Rados cherished Nikko through Nikko’s thoughts, memories and the little moments the two had. And the bit of mystery that stayed around Rados added to the magic of the environment the author built.

Nikko’s profession was fascinating. He was an outcast, he was revered, he was feared and he was respected (mostly from the fear). He was incredibly loyal, much like Rados, and their devotion to the crown drove the story making it believable and heartbreaking at the same time.

There’s political machinations afoot and no one can be trusted on the night of the solstice. Nikko is put into an impossible situation and the thought of harming Rados is unimaginable to him. The action was stressful, in a great way, I liked reading about Nikko in his environment and his take charge moment showed his strength and why he and Rados are such a perfect fit.

Poison Marked is a quick read, too quick, because I didn’t want it to be over. I’ll be rereading it and I really hope the author gives some thought to expanding on Rados and Nikko’s story, because this is one Peach that would LOVE for that to be a thing.

Chelsea - 4.5 Hearts

This was incredible! The type of story I compare all novellas too, there was amazing world building, in depth characters and a relationship that I cared about. I didn't want to put this book down.

This book is set in a historical time of kings, knight's and poison makers. Nikko is a kid from the slums who stumbled across the opportunity to be trained as a poison maker and now finds himself in the king's service. He also happens to be having a secret affair with the king's war-hero nephew, Rodas.

There is so much I could say about this book, but I need to keep this review relatively short. It captivated me from the beginning and kept me glued until the end. The world building was spectacular, even some novels aren't as in depth as this story. I loved the tension and all the forbidden love involved in this secret affair! So yummy!

There's not much ‘Christmas’ here, but when I love the story as much as this, I can let the lack of Jizzmas slide. I'd say this ended on a HFN, but a really good one... like a mix of HEA and HFN. Definitely read this one, even if it's not Christmas!

NeRdyWYRM - 4 Hearts

Star-Crossed Intrigues

I usually measure a short story by whether or not it could translate well to a full-length novel. In other words, did the author manage to flesh out the characters and the world enough that it makes me want more.

In this case, the answer is an emphatic, "Yes!"


I liked the characters even if I vehemently disliked the world they lived in and the pressures it put on their hearts. I believed they had a connection, that they loved each other, and that, given a chance, they'd be together forever. Poor saps.

I had a couple of niggles about the pacing. There was a lot of angst-xiety in the middle of this one that I wouldn't say was unnecessary per se, but given the length, it may have rushed the resolution and the ending a bit.


Stinking short stories. When they're good, I wish there was more. When they're bad, I wanna launch something flammable through a window ... like a Molotov cocktail. Shhh! I get passionate about bad books.

Thankfully, this one didn't turn me into a maniacal pyro-vandal. I really liked it. I was surprised that I liked it—I have a well-documented dislike for short stories—but occasionally one comes along that floats my boat. I enjoyed this one; I really, really did.

Short and sweet, dark and twisted star-crossed intrigue. It was a good read for a cold day. Give it a shot.

Sara - 5 Hearts

Holy mother effing swoon! This was so so SO GOOD. Nichols had one of my favorite stories last year and the trend continues with this.

They’d been sneaking around for three years. For a time it was exciting. Now it rasped over Nikko’s skin like a rough blade. He wanted more.He couldn’t have more.Especially not with a man of royal blood

Told from the POV of Nikko, the Kings Poison Maker, opens the story as he watches his lover and the king's nephew Rodas engage in a planned fight with his cousin. As the fight goes on and Rodas lets his cousin win, we get how Nikko sees Rodas. We know Nikko and Rodas have been together for three years and done whatever they can do keep their relationship secret while staying together. Nikko is an orphan turned Poison Maker and Rodas is of noble blood so them together, ain’t going to happen.

I LOVED these two. I love that we got moments between them of chivalry, pure intimacy and ultimate swoonage. The way Rodas and Nikko feel about one another is evident even with the absence of three words being exchanged. The theme between them of Winter Solstice adds a fresh feeling to the normal holiday story and I love that this pivotal moment in their lives and love comes along with the holiday.

This book had me on edge as Nikko decides to not disobey the king but not poison his lover and the man he loves. It has me holding my breath as Rodas declares his fate and it had me wanting to throttle the king as well as his slimy son. It has me sighing as Nikko tries every which way to bend every situation to carry out the king’s order but to keep Rodas alive. I was filled with angst toward the last pages but the author gave me the most wonderful ending that all I could do was sigh.

This book has stellar world building and character depth in such few pages it has me so hooked on these two, I’m wondering if there will be more planned. You know, like a series? *grins*



The Probability of Mistletoe by E.J. Russell

When software engineer Keith Trainor decides to start his own company, he knows exactly who he wants as his partner: Parker Mulvaney, his best friend from high school. But in the ten years since graduation, their contact has dwindled to nothing, and it’s all Keith’s fault. If he hadn’t tried to kiss Parker under the mistletoe at the winter formal their senior year, Parker wouldn’t have bolted. At their ten-year reunion, Keith intends to do everything in his geeky power to make amends.

Parker should have known that scheduling the reunion the day before Christmas Eve was a recipe for a headache of monster proportions. But when Keith sends a text that he’ll be attending, the evening doesn’t look so bleak. Can an unnecessary makeover, a nostalgic breakfast, an abortive shopping trip, and a whole lot of mistletoe culminate in a long-overdue first kiss?

Ann - 4 Hearts

I do so love a second chance romance and the story of Parker and Keith getting the possibility of another shot at the one that got away was simply adorable. The author’s humor translated well to both characters and I chuckled when I read their inner thoughts. The boys were opposites in many ways when they met, but they had a shared love of enough things to have a strong connection and complement one another at the same time. The flashbacks to their teenage years were so sweet and I loved reading about their growing attraction as they both figured things out slowly but surely. Parker made a sacrifice his teenage brain thought was right and the two lost their connection over the next ten years. Keith comes back to town for the high school reunion and to make Parker an offer he hopes Parker can’t refuse. There was a little bit of manufactured drama that I didn’t need, but it didn’t have too much page time so that was good for me. They made perfect use of their second chance though and picked up where they left off and then some. Even though they were just starting out again, and in a big way, their history gave me all the confidence they’d get their HEA.

Sara - 4 Hearts

What do we have here? Opposites attract, the one that got away, second chance romance with best friends from high school? Seriously? What’s not to love about this story?

Ack. I can’t even get my fingers to type what I want to say because this was adorable. I loved friends to lovers stories and Keith and Parker were best friends all through high school. But Parker made a decision for both their lives while standing under mistletoe when Keith tried to get out of the friend zone and now ten years later, the boy are back and they aren’t making mistakes again.

I adored both men in this story and was thankful to get POV’s from both of them. I like that Parker lived with the regret of not kissing Keith that night but that he feels he did the right thing by his best friend even if it’s made them lose touch over the last ten years. I fell for Keith and his uber geek ways but how he wanted to do everything he could to get Parker as his business and life partner. It was so freaking cute to see them at breakfast, not shopping for Christmas gifts and the party at Parker’s family house.

That end was great. The kiss gave ME butterflies and I hope the probability of mistletoe is always one hundred percent with Keith and Parker.



A Timely Gift by Kris T. Bethke

Sometimes the right gift can be life-changing….

On the solstice, Rory’s grandfather gives him a pocket watch that he claims will have Rory’s life sorted and his problems solved by Christmas. Rory starts out skeptical, but when he reconnects with an ex he never thought he’d see again, he has to admit there might be some holiday magic working after all.

Deacon’s life is in shambles, and he’s returned to Syracuse for a fresh start. Running into Rory again feels like much more than a coincidence, and neither of them can deny the passion between them is still smoldering. With the watch behaving oddly at just the right moments, Rory and Deacon might receive the gift of a lifetime—if they’re willing to accept it.

R *A Reader Obsessed* - 3.5 Hearts

My second Bethke in a matter of weeks, and I was not disappointed.

Apparently Rory’s grandfather thinks it’s time he settle down, and what better way to ensure that but to give him a meddling pocket watch that helps him snag his long lost ex.

Though they parted on good terms 13 years ago, Rory and Deacon’s whirlwind romance way back when was a very heady time and looked upon with great fondness. Now that Deacon has returned to town, Christmas is the perfect excuse to show the holiday spirit since he has no one to spend it with.

These two reconnect - quickly and sexily. If they need a few nudges from a possessed watch, then so be it. This was very feel good and it went down the hatch with nary a niggle! Enjoy!

Ann - 4 Hearts

This was an absolute just right second chance romance.

Rory and Deacon are meant to be together and I appreciated how the author gave them a past without a plethora of drama. Sometimes life just happens and two young men who are absolutely connected are just not connected at the right time. And that’s OK. There doesn’t need to be some major wrong that needs to be righted, they just needed time. Opportunities were taken advantage of and life moved forward. But, since this is Christmas, a second chance romance and since Rory and Deacon are meant to be together, the reconnection happened. There is an air of supernatural faith to the story that gives it a magical holiday feel that’s subtle enough to chalk up to coincidence, but why would you want to?

NeRdyWYRM - 4 Hearts

Pleasantly Unfeigned

I won't say much about this one just because it should be allowed to speak for itself. This was a perfect holiday short. There's a little poignance, tantalizing chemistry, a little whimsy, a little mysticism, a dash of fate and a whole lotta love wrapped up into this short little nugget.

All the ephemeral things I enjoy about the holidays are present here. The emphasis is all on family, friends, and knowing when to get out of your own way to hold onto a good thing when it's smacking you in the face.


Even better, there's a hot tidbit lovingly squeezed into the middle of this story that makes it just that much more believable. Chemistry, feels, a little hot sex, and luuurrrve. What more do you need?

This story was very well-written. It felt smooth, natural and it flowed well. Pacing a short story must be hard to do with any finesse because many shorts fall short in that department. But not this one. Not today.


I believed what the characters were serving up. They were realistic in their recollections of their first go-round in the "relationship" department. No rose colored glasses or revisionist history. Just a sense of mutual, if distant, fondness that a 3 month fling would bring if two people were emotionally and sexually compatible but young and going their separate ways.

There wasn't any years-long pining or showy breakup, no angsty drama or family shenanigans that contributed to their paths diverging. It all came across as an entirely-possible-in-real-life scenario. The fact that there wasn't any of the usual nonsense made it that much easier to buy into the feels without attributing it all to nostalgia.

Now I'm rambling. So I'll wrap it up. I loved this short. In many ways it embodies all the good things about the holidays. It's got that "feel" to it. Add in all the other pluses I mentioned and this is a no brainer. Read it. And enjoy.

Sara - 4 Hearts

A second chance romance fueled by a fated pocket watch at Christmas? Shut up and take my money!

First I have to say that I loved Rory’s Grandda and chuckled when he called Rory a daft idiot when Rory questioned him. His Grandda loves Rory and only wants the best for him so on the night of the Winter Solstice, he gives Rory an old pocket watch that will help him sort out his life.

Rory isn’t one to believe in fate but the watch is gorgeous and a family heirloom so he accepts the gift and goes about working his shift at the Animal Clinic as a vet tech. When his shift ends he decides to grab a quick coffee and is met by his past in the form of his college boyfriend Deacon.

These two were so damn adorable from the get go I couldn't read this fast enough. I loved that they remembered so much about one another even after 13 years apart when Deacon left to fulfill his career dream of playing piano with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. It was a bittersweet goodbye but they’d only been together a few short months and Rory is a good guy and would never stand in Deacon’s way. But now, Deacon is back and Rory is single and the damn watch is loud enough to make both men pause to really see what’s in front of them.

This had everything a holiday romance should have in it including a comedic pet in the form of an African Grey who can mimic all sorts of sounds and um, moans, family that loves when Rory is happy and easily accepts Deacon into the fold. This story has the offering of two men who were parted by circumstance to have fate step in to bring them together in hopes for a future that time will stand still for, or at least a watch that will keep time as they grow old together.



Christmas Grace by C.L. Miles

Christmas has been a lonely time of year for Aaron since losing his family fifteen years ago. But now he’s seeing Craig, and though Aaron is sure they belong together, both have been hurt in the past, so they’re taking things slowly. So far, Craig has been supportive of Aaron’s struggles with anxiety—struggles that cost Aaron relationships in the past.

On Christmas Eve, Aaron is closing his bookshop when Craig surprises him with a specially planned evening. Will this be the night they take that final step and deepen their physical relationship? Aaron hopes so, but things aren’t that simple. Craig has been keeping a secret…. Can Aaron take his place as part of a family again and accept the love he’s missed for so long—or will he find that some deceptions are too big to be forgiven, even with the help of some Christmas grace?

Ann - 2 Hearts

Well, this one . . . happened.

Honestly, if the shenanigans would have happened even slightly differently, this would have been so much better. So Craig has been keeping a secret from his boyfriend Aaron. They’ve been dating for 9 months and Aaron has never been to Craig’s apartment. The secret was a secret that didn’t have to be, so the drama felt manufactured rather than sincere and in a short story that just doesn’t work. Without being tooooo spoilery . . . Craig could have told Aaron the truth and just not introduced the secret someone to him until they were more solid. That would be completely fair. Aaron also suffers from anxiety, so the secrecy was unintentionally cruel and Aaron’s reaction was extreme and then his recovery was FAST, too much emotional whiplash to be terribly believable. Once the resolution happened all the happy family was thrown together so quickly it made the secret seem even more pointless.

Sara - 2.5 Hearts

I really liked the idea of this story but it didn’t work for me.

I liked bookish bookstore owner Aaron, how the author portrayed his anxiety and how he dealt with it in the beginning. As someone who suffers from Anxiety, the lengths that Craig went to so he would be prepared IF Aaron had a panic attack was endearing. I really liked these two as a couple and while the blurb hinted at them moving forward in their sexual relationship, I was fine with where they were.

When we’re told Craig has been keeping a secret and Aaron hadn’t been to his place even once in the 9 months they had been dating, I already knew what the secret was. I don’t like how it was handled though. Without spoiling it, Craig could have been upfront about the secret but kept Aaron from it until he was secure in their relationship and its future.

That being said. The reveal, Aaron's reaction to it, his guilty AT his reaction and the way everything was swept under the rug then tied with a bright bow of resolution didn’t sit well with me. The sex, I could have done without it because it felt forced after the secret being told and not authentic to the story. I think had the not gone all the way and maybe enjoyed the holiday without it and their new status, it could have gone better. But. It didn’t.



An Unexpected Sanctuary by Cassie Decker

An aggressive super-flu pandemic wipes out a majority of the population over the course of one Christmas holiday—and brings Tobin and Kyle together. For almost a year, they’ve been trekking across the country from Colorado toward a sanctuary in upstate New York. Kyle’s survival skills have kept them alive, and Tobin wants to repay the man he loves with a very special gift of his own making. He sneaks off in search of the last few pieces… only to get himself and Kyle kidnapped by a desperate stranger. With their journey to New York on hold—possibly indefinitely—they’ll need to accept that home isn’t always defined by a place as much as the person you’re with.

R *A Reader Obsessed* - 3 Hearts

Who doesn’t like to see some well deserved happiness during the apocalypse?

Tobin and Kyle have understandably had a shit year on the move after a pandemic flu decimated most of the human population. They need a reprieve in the worst way and when they find a deserted town, they think this is a perfect place for to find some time to rest and recoup.

Their short lived luck runs out quickly when they’re captured by a stranger, or does it?

This really was too short, but the feels between Tobin and Kyle were of course sweet and tender. A nice romantic holiday quickie with a Walking Dead feel minus the zombies.

Ann - 4 Hearts

Who would have thought an apocalyptic- level disaster based story could be so damn sweet? I certainly didn’t and I was certainly wrong. Tobin and Kyle are one another’s method of survival and the author did a great job of showing their connection well in a minimal amount of time. The story was from Tobin’s POV, but I easily saw Kyle’s dedication in their interactions. Kyle had the most practical survival skills, but Tobin brought his own strengths to the relationship and Kyle loved him so much for it. Even though the setting is pretty bleak, I never felt a sense of hopelessness while reading, in fact, just the opposite and I would owe that all to the MC’s. Even at the point where “shit got real” I had faith in Kyle and Tobin. The detour the two took made for an even more hopeful ending than what their original goal was and the end felt all kinds of Christmassy. Kyle has a beautiful way with words too and when he shared his feelings with Tobin when they exchanged their homemade gifts I swooned pretty hard.

Sara - 5 Hearts

What is it about an apocalypse story at Christmas that screams ROMANCE at me? I don’t know but it worked here and this could possibly be my most favorite read of the 2017 Advent Calendar.

When a super-flu pandemic takes out the majority of the country, it takes our narrator and survivor Tobin Abernathy a week to venture out for supplies when he is rescued from a group of thugs by Kyle Morris. From that moment the two young men are inseparable for the next year with Kyle’s survival skills and their need to find a rumored sanctuary in New York fueling their cross country trek.

I really REALLY want to write a crap load about a book that is less than 50 pages but I won’t. I am going to say that this was amazing. With the pandemic taking place right before Christmas it leaves the world stuck in this tinseled and decorated land of holiday spirit with broken promises. Totally fitting for an apocalypse story right? It gives this eerie feeling as Kyle and Tobin make their journey walking 20+ miles a day until they reach New York.

A rest taken in an Ohio town in a fully decorated B&B gives the young men a chance to catch their breath, get a little intimacy and for Tobin to get the last piece he needs for Kyle’s Christmas present. But fate takes a turn when they are kidnapped by a burly man and taken to a barn type building that is more than what it seems.

This story has the right amount of tension and angst in the beginning with Tobin being a wonderful narrator letting us know the situation fully. He’s scared but in love and really wants to give something to Kyle who he feels has kept them alive this past year with Tobin just mildly bobbing along. But it’s what this unwanted opportunity in Ohio that will show them both that sanctuary is in the heart of those you love and who love you.

Their sanctuary is an unexpected gift, a Christmas miracle if you will, that provided a wonderfully romantic story and I would really love to see these boys every Christmas to know how they are doing.


ARCs were provided by the publisher in exchange for honest reviews.

Join us next week for a special Christmas Eve Jizzmasing! Until then be sure to make your yuletide gay! 


Review: Beauty and His Beast by Bey Deckard

Novella (~38,000 words)
Genre(s): Fairy tale, science fiction, xenophilia, magic penis, love story, LGBTQ+

They call him Marrex the Monster.

Deformed and wretched, Captain Marrex roams the black of space with only a pair of eccentric AIs for company. The curse in his DNA means a long, bitterly lonely life for the Ghelyxian, and it’s a fate Marrex knows he can’t change.

After a long sleep in stasis, Juniper Bo wakes to discover he’s an unwelcome guest aboard Captain Marrex’s ship. Though he tries to stay away from the surly Ghelyxian, he just doesn’t get why the curse is such a big deal—then again, Juniper knows his tastes are rather… unusual for a Human.

When friendship blooms between Marrex and Juniper, they realize they face a future that neither could have predicted in their wildest dreams.



Light Bey Deckard, y'all! If his darker work scares you, this is a title that you can try.

This was light and sweet and just a bit snarky. Fun time to be had here!

Beauty and His Beast is an adaption of the famous fairy tale told in SPAAAAAAAAAAACE! And did you read the tags? The tags are everything because:


That's right, boys and girls....MAGIC. PENIS. Before you start thinking about all of the fun possibilities... let's chat about the stars of the story, hm?


Not the penis (though it definitely made my top mental list of fave magic penii). I'm talking about Marrex and Juniper Bo! Beauty in this case is a human names Juniper Bo. He's been in stasis for seventeen years and is awakened by 2 mischievous AIs, S1N and VAL. Okay really one is more the leader and the other follows. But thanks to their interference, Beauty aka Juniper was freed. Time has passed for the 22 year old and he doesn't know what Marrex's lonely ship found him. but he's grateful.

Marrex is an alien that resembles a demon in a way (red fur, four horns, fangs +> You know I was ALL over that). He is a disfigured due to a curse from puberty and banished from his home planet. He works on a space ship by himself and has his AIs for company. Finding the human scarred the loner and puts him out of his element. Being as Marrex takes his nickname 'Marrex the Monster' to heart, he acts like one in the beginning. It takes time and Juniper's charm to finally thaw the Beast.

This story has low angst. Marrex seems grumpy at first, but inside he's sweet. He's never had anyone to cal his own and he can't believe anyone would look at him favorably especially someone as beautiful as Juniper. There are so many variations of this theme and I really liked what the author did with it. There was enough time to get to know the main characters as they got more familiar with the other. And the AIs brought snark relief.

The conflict was good. I was curious about Juniper's family and wanted to really delve into why they were that way. His sisters got under my skin. The ending and epilogue were great but I wanted more resolution with the sisters. And maybe how the family aspect got to be that way as easily.

The sex was hot. Duh, magic penis.

LOL no seriously magic penis was le awesome. Marrex's anatomy was different. You'll need to read to see what it does. (Hint: O-mazing) It wasn't sex heavy, keeping with the lighter fun theme. But each sex scene was meaningful.

All in all a sweet, romantic story between an alien and his human.

Let's hear it one more time for magic penis.



Yeah, that's the stuff!





Group Review: Desperately Seeking Santa by Eli Easton

Journalism student Gabe Martin gets his first professional assignment—to write about a Christmas charity dinner that benefits a children’s home. It sounds like a total snooze-fest until Gabe learns that the event’s Santa is a mystery man. He shows up in costume and no one has a clue who he is. Uncovering Santa’s identity sounds like the perfect angle to turn a fluff piece into serious journalism.

Mack “The Mountain” McDonall, at 6’10”, is University of Wisconsin-Madison’s enormous star wrestler. When Gabe first claps eyes on him at a wrestling match, it’s lust at first sight. Gabe’s friend, Jordan, sets up the pair on a date. But when Gabe chatters on about his plans for outing Santa, Mack goes cold, and their first meeting becomes an epic fail.

As Gabe researches the children’s home, he learns that Mack has secrets a guy famous for being a brute wouldn’t want the world to know. Can Gabe find his holiday spirit, write a killer article, win the heart of a surly giant, and give everyone a very merry Christmas?

NOTE: This 50,000 word short novel features a new couple but includes Jordan and Owen, from the author’s book “Superhero”. It can be read as a stand-alone.

Averaged


Lost in a Book - 3.5 Hearts

Want a feel good, low drama holiday read? This fits the bill with its fluffy, low angst, and likable characters. I liked it, but it didn’t blow my elf socks off like Easton typically does. While many readers may want a feel good, easy peasy holiday romance, I’m all gimme my angst, kindle combusting steam and then seal it with sweetness. *shrug*

Gabe Martin, college senior and aspiring journalist has been assigned to cover the annual Elks Christmas Charity dinner that benefits St. Mark’s Children’s Home. After some research, Gabe decides to turn his story from puff piece to an investigative article on revealing the Santa that has a hidden identity yet brings much joy to the children at this dinner.

Now, I sure do hope you have read Superhero by Easton because it’s awesome and we're treated to Owen and Jordan being secondary characters in this story. Jordan invites Gabe to Owen’s wrestling match and he begrudgingly accepts. Apparently the idea of skin tight singlets on fit wrestlers wasn’t that appealing... until he sees Mack “The Mountain” McDonall.


Mack is a 285lb wrestler that’s straight muscle and stirs up an urgent need to learn all about “mountain climbing.” Gotta watch out for that high altitude and proper hand holds/placement. Maybe throw a carabiner in, too. *bites fist*

“That’s not a man, that’s a zip code.”

Yassssss… tell me more.

I was giddy with anticipation for Mack and his ability to pick up huge men off the ground. I was already dreaming about the *ahem* possibilities of someone that big and strong connecting with another man. Except, Mack wasn’t his wrestling persona. Don’t worry, I dig gentle giants too. He was shy, quiet, reserved, smart, and kept his head down to get through school and move on to the next stage. He wasn’t dealt the best hand at life but he is doing his part to make a difference.

Gabe and Mack are officially introduced when Jordan attempts to set them up. It’s all going swell until Mack retreats at Gabe’s mention of investigating Santa’s identity and using it for his article. The night ends quickly but it doesn’t stop Gabe from tracking Mack down. They form a tentative friendship and it slowwwwwly progresses. It grows as much as it can when both men are still tentative and hesitant to take it further. Much of the story shows their developing friendship with some real UST thrown in. An actual relationship doesn’t happen until the last 20% of the book which brought out my *disappointed face*. Gabe and Mack were opposites but likable characters and while I appreciated the foundation they built leading up to that moment when it all changes, I wanted more. More relational connection. More assertive in their wants. More of them together as they transitioned to boyfriends. And yes, I’ll say it, more heat.

One little oddity for me was the integration of Spanish. I’ll warn you that I took Spanish in high school for a few years and only came away with saying “No, I don’t have gum in my mouth” and “can I go to the bathroom.” Clearly, I’m not the expert on it and definitely wasn’t a model student either. However, Gabe embraced his Spanish side but stated that he wasn’t a proficient speaker due to his father not allowing it. Yet, there were many times throughout where Spanish words were thrown in. I have seen this in a few other books but it didn’t seem as forced as it did in this one. Mi Mama, dios, joder, etc., were all thrown in randomly and pulled me out each time. Again, not an expert on language integration and I look forward to some of my fellow reader's thoughts on the authentic-ness of the placements.

All in all, this was a sugary sweet, low angst, holiday read with a HEA. If that’s what you’re looking for, I’d recommend it.

Adam - 4.25 Hearts

It’s Jizmass season!


And as always, Eli Easton delivers on the holiday cheer and romance.

Journalism student Gabe Martin decides to liven up his first assignment by exposing the secret Santa of a local Christmas charity dinner. He thinks it’s a great idea, but it puts him directly at odds with his crush.

Mack “The Mountain” McDonall is the university’s star wrestler. He keeps his sexuality under wraps, but he’s definitely interested in Gabe.

I thoroughly enjoyed Eli Easton’s young adult novella Superhero, so I was instantly excited when I learned that Jordan and Owen would be making a guest appearance. I loved seeing the two happy and still head over heels for each other!

When Gabe first spots Mack in his wrestling singlet, it’s lust at first sight. Jordan decides to play cupid and set the two up on a blind date.

It goes downhill pretty quickly.

I got where Gabe was coming from, wanting to make a mark as an up-and-coming journalist. But his plan to reveal the secret identity of a charity Santa would probably earn him coal for Christmas. So yeah, it wasn’t the best idea.

I could have done with less of Mack’s hot and cold routine, but I understood why he reacted the way he did. It’s obvious to readers from the get-go who the secret Santa actually is.

What isn’t obvious is exactly why Mack was keeping things so hidden. As Mack’s story is revealed bit by bit, my heart hurt for him. It didn’t take me long to fall for this gentle giant!

Plus, I loved Gabe and Mack’s dynamic. While Mack might not be happy with Gabe’s plan, he can’t deny how much he likes Gabe. And Gabe, on the other hand, only wants to make things work between them.

Gabe gradually wins Mack over with a number of cute gestures. And very slowly, Mack opens up and let’s Gabe in under his walls.

The romance was very cute and sweet. Their relationship builds bit by bit, and I really enjoyed the mellow feel to the story. There’s little angst here, but lots of laughs and cutesy feels.

The epilogue had me grinning with every sentence!

Overall, I really enjoyed ‘Desperately Seeking Santa.’ If you’re looking for a low-angst and easy-to-read holiday romance, I’d definitely recommend this book!

Chelsea - 4.5 Hearts

That was a big pile of Christmas fluff right there! Eli Easton's Christmas stories are always such a delight. This one was particularly sweet, I mean it had orphans…. and wrestlers!!!!

Gabe is an outgoing senior journalism student and is working on his first story for the local paper and is dying to make it something spectacular. Then he sees Mack, the 285 pound wrestler and develops something of a huge crush. Mack is completely opposite to Gabe, he keeps to himself and is slow to trust people.

These two are completely adorable and they have wonderful chemistry. They have a fairly shaky start but I felt both Gabe and Mack worked it out maturely and quickly then become so freakin cute.

The sex scene was hot for a YA novel although relatively unrealistic with Gabe taking Mack's 'proportionate’ dick so easily the first time. But what is Christmas all about if not a easy hard fuck with a massive dick and not much prep? Merry Jizzmas everybody!

In all seriousness this book was packed with the feels. I loved Mack's gentle nature and Gabe's understanding and loyalty. We get to see these two develop who they are to each other and individually. Totally adorable!

Like always Eli Easton just made me want more of her characters and more of their story. This will definitely be a Christmas reread next year.

A wonderful Christmas story.

Review: Getting His Man (Getting His Man #1) by B.G. Thomas

A love story worthy of an old movie… with a new twist.

Artie needs a hero, a man like those he’s always revered in Golden Age films. His drug-dealing jerk of a roommate got him arrested, and since his savior isn’t likely to sweep in and save the day, Artie calls a bail bondsman.

August has always imagined himself a hero from a black-and-white movie, but he’s never found a man willing to let him play that role—at least not until he gets the call from Artie.

Both of their dreams might come true, but not before August must use his skills as a bounty hunter as well as a bondsman. Artie is on the run for his life, and August must protect him and help him clear his name. Only then can they both finally get their man.


Oh my goodness, I loved this.

This book is full of old Hollywood movie goodness and read exactly like the movies I used to watch over and over again with my dad. If you love old movies where the rough and tough guy falls for the slip of a girl, you are going to love August and Artie.

Like something out of the old black-and-white romantic movies he liked to watch with his mother. It was romantic is what it was. Marvelously, wonderfully romantic.

When Arthur Bailey innocently eats a medicinal brownie from his pothead dealing roommate Willie, things go bad. Artie gets arrested and charged with something he didn’t do and needs to get bailed out of jail. The bail money will wipe him out of every penny he’s saved to move into his own place to escape the speed metal and cloud of marijuana floating in his shared apartment but what’s a guy to do?

When August is sent to bail Artie out, he gets more than just a case file. From the first look at Artie, August is lost in those big doe like eyes and feels the pull to protect this young man. When August realizes how stoned Artie still is from the brownies, he takes it upon himself to be the one to get Artie through this, no matter what.

Quick note: Now I say young but really August and Artie have less than 10yr age span between them, so young is used really in regards to how Artie looks because while he’s 24, he looks barely legal.

Anyway.

Told from the Dual POV of our leading men, we get to know them through their actions and inner dialogue. Both men have a strong love for classic romantic movies and leading men who are exactly their type. On first site, Artie fits August physically and emotionally. All August wants is a man to love and to take care of. To be that light and strength his man can depend on and protect his lover even if that means taking a bullet for him. August wants to be someone’s hero in every way. Artie wants the strong leading man to swing him around the dance floor while dancing his way into his heart. He wants the most romantic scenario to happen in his life.

I watched those old movies with my mom and my sister while I was growing up, and they shaped what I want in love. I want the stars. I want a happy ending.

August Sterling… I mean. That name alone is swoon worthy and August has that classic old school Golden Age of Hollywood Leading man vibe to him. Regardless of the character he could be playing, August has being a gentleman down to finest detail and the way he feels about Artie from the first look made me grin and I never stopped smiling. This book follows the formula of the classic romance movies so perfectly that I could see this translated to film. It helps to have all the movies the men like mentioned in the story along with the leading men they admired. If you haven’t seen any of the ones highlighted in the book, do yourself a favor and check a few out. You won’t be disappointed.

Now Artie, and surely he was an Artie. Never an Arthur, is downright adorable. Gosh, I love that he is doing everything he can to be an independent man but being so trusting, he trusted the wrong person and now has been arrested and has to go to court. When August comes to his rescue, it’s like all of Artie’s romantic movie wants have come true because August is Sam Spade, James Bond and Fred Astaire all rolled into one charming package from is dark hair to his sexy feet.

The way Artie sees August is the quintessential romantic hero with all the suave and debonair moves that come naturally to August and sweep Artie off his feet. I can say my feet felt a bit floaty as well while reading because August is swoony.

I love the old school Hollywood vibe of this book! I keep saying that because the story bleeds the essence of those movies. The big strong man of the "law" rescuing the innocent but gorgeous girl, *ahem* boy, in need and falling for them. Yup totally up my ginger alley.

Where was I with this? Goodness I got lost in my own head.

So, August wants to take care of Artie and Artie wants August to take care of him but they play this slow burn slow dance and try to keep things professional between them. But when the bad guys with the drugs and Artie’s roommate start tossing around threats, Artie takes it upon himself to be the martyr of his happiness and do what he thinks is right. He just forgot one small thing, August isn’t just a bail bondsman, he’s a bounty hunter and he knows how to track and find what he wants.

[...]Bailing people out? That’s just a few hours of my week. Getting my man is what I live for.
Oh boy. This got all up in your face hero/rescue/sexy times that had me blushing at my desk while I read. What August does to Artie, what August teaches Artie and what he asks of Artie was so sensual I think I almost melted right off my chair. I loved how every time Artie questioned himself or tried to do what he thought was right, August had to get his man and show him… everything.

Wow. Rambling Red needs to wrap this up, ya think?

This was another winner in the Dreasmspun Desires series. Artie and August stole my heart as they formed a bond over their shared interests, over protecting each other and as they fell in love and got everything the movies they watched promised. Their own Happily Ever After.



An ARC was provided.


Tag Team Review: The Gryphon King's Consort by Jenn Burke

Love takes flight.

The sudden death of the Gryphon King throws the kingdom of Mythos into uncertainty, and Crown Prince Luca rushes both his coronation and an arranged marriage to a man he’s never met. Eirian is young and idealistic, and while they both want what’s best for their people, their philosophies couldn’t be more different. While Luca believes in honoring tradition, Eirian is determined to infuse modern values into their kingdom of magical creatures. When given the choice between loyalty to his husband and his own crusade, Eirian makes a decision that might doom their marriage.

Still, Luca is committed to making their union work, and that means forgiving his brash consort. But when Eirian becomes the target of a deadly conspiracy, Luca must act fast—or forever lose the chance to explore their burgeoning love.



R *A Reader Obsessed* - 3.5 Hearts

I admit that the setting and premise of this story was something that really appealed to me. To say the least, this had some extensive and different world building incorporating the enigmatic gryphon (half eagle, half lion), and I found it quite fascinating.


This is set in the present day where mythical creatures, including but not limited to dragons, spirits, minotaurs, etc., live in overall harmony with humans, where there’s a fine line between maintaining peace and allaying fears. Because of this, the mythos population is sharply divided into traditional and modern factions, differing on how to ensure their safety and way of life - the former wanting to remain separate, the latter seeing the benefits of integrating their kind more with humanity.


Traditionalist Prince Luca unfortunately finds himself suddenly king due to an untimely accident. He’s hastily forced into marriage with the best candidate out there, but instead of a lengthy courtship, he must marry Eirian basically sight unseen to keep the kingdom’s turmoil at a minimum. To appease the masses, he and his advisors know that it would be wise to marry a modernist to keep the balance, and that’s where this story’s conflict arises - bridging the vastly different philosophies between Luca and Eirian, two mated strangers who feel the pull of their magical bond but are also trying to maintain/change a governance that they feel is right for their people’s future.


Sooo, some might not like that the discord here is based on more esoteric matters, though be reassured we do get bit of action and suspense as things progress since not everyone agrees with Luca and Eirian’s union. Intermixed throughout, there’s many an argument as they both try to exert who has the more logical reasoning in their rapidly changing times. This got a bit tedious at times since both are very stubborn in their beliefs, each not willing to compromise much at all. Having said that, I really did enjoy Luca and Erian’s attraction to each other, their burgeoning feelings despite their differences, making the possessive pull and sexy times very nice. This wasn’t perfect but it was different, and I appreciated that. I certainly wouldn't say no should Burke continue with more stories from this world.

Thank you to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Sara - 4.5 Hearts

My first book from this author and my first book with a Gryphon in it could not have gone better. I loved the heck out of this book and fell hard for Luca and Eirian.

I loved a good arranged marriage story and this was done well. Now, this isn’t a forced marriage story where we are going to have our couple at odds. But it is an arranged one and both parties knew the day would come when they would be wed, they just weren’t expecting it to happen so soon.

Told from the dual POV’s of Luca and Eirian, we meet Eirian as he is on a flight to meet his soon to be husband after the King has died in a freak accident. Eirian has known about Crown Prince Luca, but has yet to meet the man himself face to face but that is all about to change.

I like that we get a bit of world building with Eirian reading an interview with People Magazine and Luca about who he would like to marry. It gives us insight to not only the political views that Luca has but it also gives us a brief history on the Gryphons as a shifter society and how they have come to be known by humans. It lets us know they are trying to live among and with humans as well. While Luca is a traditionalist his intended Consort is very much a modernist and that folks is where these two will struggle.
People: What kind of gryphon would be your perfect match?
Prince Luca: One who shares my belief that royalty serves the people, not the other way around
.

From the first meeting of Luca and Eirian the chemistry is felt and I loved that both men were wanting of the other but were holding off until marriage. Thank goodness the wedding was only a day away. The wedding eve chase between them was charming and sexy with the UST going on already. The whole wedding deal with Luca becoming King AND getting married was pretty damn intense while being beautifully fantastical. What was totally sexy was what happens after they are wed and Luca can’t quite control himself. Uh huh.

The lore of the Gryphons in this had me hooked immediately: the way it’s explained how they exist and how they allowed humans to know of their existence was engaging. I really loved that a male Crown Prince marrying another male wasn’t fussed over. You see, with the male to female ratio being so uneven with Gryphons, the shifters are pansexual and homoromantic, choosing to pair with the same sex, yet they do have the opportunity once a year to procreate to secure their lineage and species. It was interesting to learn of how cold the entire race of Gryphons seems to be with their historic value system and yet they also form platonic bonds with one another that is anything but cold. Also…um… the bond that Luca and Eirian share is hot as hell and so freaking sexy with the claiming and biting and… where was I? Oh, Yeah. It was exciting to get the history but to also know this marriage between Luca and Eirian and the bond they share has the potential to shake a few tail feathers in the face of frigid tradition. You know?

So. Yeah. Gryphons are amazing with what they can shift into. I have no clue if it’s the norm with them but the different forms they can take other than the lion or the full Gryphon was so freaking cool and come on, what Luca shifts into when he spies on Eirian in the kitchen is so damn cute! But really, I dug their many different forms and even how a certain sound came from Luca at a certain time that folks hadn’t seen/heard before… *whistles* These two are so good together and will become so strong in every way and really serve their people – the mythos – and allow them to thrive.
He and Luca would learn to work together. They each had the best interests of their people in mind, Eirian had no doubt. There might be some rockiness as they worked out their differences, but they could do it. He and Luca would be partners— perhaps friends, over time. There were worse fates.
The political views of Luca and Eirian really add to the story and give the characters depth. It makes sense with his age and how he has lived the last 100+ years of his life as a close friend of the late King Arran and becoming the Crown Prince that Luca would be a traditionalist. With Eirian living outside of the royal world and having the opportunity to not be held down by it makes sense that he would latch on to a modern way of living as a Gryphon amongst humans and want to build a stronger camaraderie between them. It also makes sense that the two opinions would collide but it gives opportunity for them to see the other’s point of view as their husband where they maybe wouldn’t of a member of the masses. Yeah. Everyone should matter but… this is romance where the one you lust and love makes you pause and really look at the situation. So, we’ll go with that.

Boy oh boy do I have a lot of notes to go over but I won’t drag this review out.

I loved this book. Arranged marriages are a favorite of mine and with the added opposites attract trope tossed in made for a truly enjoyable read. This is part of the Dreamspun line so the conflict is light though essential, the angst is bearable if not mildly frustrating and the sex is good folks. Good.

For me, this read as a start of series with so much that can be built on with the world and with our newly married King and his Consort. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them at all.







Don't miss The Gryphon King's Consort blog tour + giveaway HERE

Guest Review: Undercover by Lily Harlem


When two alpha males collide, sparks will fly.

Samuel’s job is to scrutinize the store’s customers and make sure everyone stays on the right side of the law. One sexy guy in particular has him not only hot under the collar, but filling his dreams and starring in his wildest fantasies. Yet, he can’t pluck up the courage to spark a conversation and find out if those lingering looks mean what he thinks they do.

Until, that is, a misdemeanor occurs giving him the chance to haul hot bloke into his office. The only trouble is, Samuel soon realizes he’s bitten off more than he can chew. This man isn’t going to take a reprimand lying down, no matter how much attraction is fizzing between them.

There’s only one thing for it and that’s to allow the heat between them to reach combustion point—even if it means switching, pushing boundaries and bending the rules. Undercover or not, burning desire and scorching lust can’t be ignored.

Publisher's Note: This book was previously released as part of the Right Here, Right Now anthology with Pride Publishing.

3.25 Hearts

Reviewer: NeRdyWYRM

Oh-Bee Kay-Bee

What to say? What to say? Alright. Here it is. Jettison any expectations you have for this title. Suspend all disbelief. If you have a lazy eye or an astigmatism, put an eye patch on because the eyerolling is kind of epic. E-pic. As crazy as it sounds, it was still pretty damned entertaining.

epic eyeroll-undercover lily harlem review pics

I had to forget about looking at this title as a romance short and had to instead view it through my erotica glasses. That helped immensely. There is, after all, a Very Big Difference between the two. Without that little adjustment to my perspective, the Paul Blart rent-a-cop wanna-be MC was just Too Damn Much. I mean ... flexing your ass muscles? Really? A GRAPE?! Really?!

That said, for what was basically, in my humble opinion, PWP, it wasn't bad. Like I mentioned earlier, you have to suspend disbelief a little because there were just some serious yeah-the-fuck-right moments (at least for me). But it didn't stop this short from being a fun little romp even if it was more than a little OTT and flimsy in terms of plot.

It was a whole lot of hilariously entertaining to watch/read this ridiculously macho, highly egotistical poseur slightly reminiscent (in a real-life kind of way) of Ryan Foxheart's character—from TJ Klune's stellar Tales of Verania series—fold like a house of cards. Hell, I think that was half the fun. I wanted to take the guy down a few pegs. Kind of like this:

bend the fuck over-undercover review pics

Mm-hmm. Our other very put together MC knew just what he needed to do to take the hot air out of this vainglorious security guard who sort of drove me a little nuts. Now, without giving too much away ... it is a short story after all ... what was also cool about this little nugget was the fact that despite some of it's more obviously lesser charms, you could see that these two MCs actually could have some long-term potential if they were given the chance to shine in a full-length story. It would take a little bit of an overhaul of how at least one of the characters was portrayed because, I mean, come on! But still ... I could totally see it.

I can see it-undercover review pics

I think a successful short is one that has potential to translate to a more involved story. This one fits that criteria even though there are only so many good things I can say about it since it is severely limited by what it actually is.

So, if you want to be blown away by something unforgettably fantastic, this is probably not going to fit that mold. If you want something short, mindless, hot, and fun to pass a little time with, go for it.

More reviews by NeRdyWYRM can be found on Goodreads here.

Images (when present) may be subject to copyright.

An ARC copy of this title was provided for an honest review.