Review: Surrendered to the Sea by Dessa Lux

When an omega werewolf cast himself into the sea, he never expected someone would be there to catch him...

Omega Devon Griffith feels like his life is already over; he's failed out of school and it's just a matter of time before his parents arrange a loveless mating for the good of the pack. He wants someone to love him for himself, but it seems like he's missed his chance. When he gives in to a dark impulse and slips into the sea, he thinks that one moment of surrender will be the end...

Sea god Lir has spent years living only in the present, forgetting his own troubled past and never worrying about the future. Then his father issues an ultimatum: Lir needs to prove he can care for someone else, or he'll be banished from the sea forever. Lir doesn't even know where to start, until a werewolf falls into his sea and nearly drowns. This is Lir's chance to show he can be responsible for a mortal. He may not know anything about werewolves, but how hard can it be?

When Devon's heat arrives, Lir quickly discovers that caring for him takes more than just food, water, and shelter... and Devon finally feels like he has a future worth looking forward to. Alone together on Lir's enchanted island with a baby on the way, their love quickly blooms. But Devon can't quite forget his life on land, no matter how hard Lir tries to keep him happy in their hideaway. Can Lir and Devon's love survive beyond their magical island, or will too much reality break the sea's spell?

Surrendered to the Sea is an m/m mpreg romance featuring a lost omega werewolf, a lonely sea god, and a happy ending hot enough to melt icebergs!

Devon Griffith is unhappy and slightly depressed as we meet the young Omega aboard a rented yacht with his family in the middle of the sea. Devon doesn’t want an arranged marriage to some Alpha who his family can profit off of for social and financial status, Devon wants to be taken care of, to love and to be loved equally in return. In a moment of despair, he decides to take fate into his own hands and plunges into the cold sea, offering himself to the dark depths if the moon won’t have him.

Lir is a sea god who has displeased Father North aka his dad. He is told he must learn to respect land-dwellers and have a care for their ways even though is domain over the sea does not reach the land. Father North has given Lir the timeline of one year to make this happen or he will send Lir to live among those he holds with such dismal regard. Lir takes this seriously and when he feels a presence in his domain of the sea, and the offer of giving one’s self to his sea, he rescues the land-dwellers and our story begins.

I really have to clear way of reviewing this without giving the entire story away so I will try to be simple about the review.

I adored this book! I know that Devon keeps referring to Lir as an Alpha and while he is indeed one, he isn’t the growly and rough Alpha’s I am used to with shifters. Lir is kind, supportive, protective and a wonderful caregiver to Devon. He wants nothing but to make Devon comfortable and happy and while the threat from Father North is present in his mind, Devon strikes a chord closer to Lir’s heart and that is where his actions come from.

Since Lir as a sea god is part of the sea, he needs to create land for his werewolf to live upon and Lir takes to this with great creativity and care. There is no way to say this but to put it out there…Lir makes a home for Devon, literally. He calls up on the plastic of the sea to come bind together to form an island which he commands moss to grow upon and it becomes a living organism that continues to grow and change into a floating island that later becomes like a reef of sorts that they build their home on. Yeah, the sea god is recycling plastics that assholes put in the ocean to build a home for Devon which is so stupidly romantic, the hippie and environmentalist in me forgets about the disgusting plastics polluting the oceans because Lir is creating an island for Devon to take care of him. He made him an island, folks. Talk about epic declarations, eh?


We get this story told in both POV’s which is lovely because both Devon and Lir are complicated creatures. It’s nice to see the depth and growth of their character through internal dialogue/actions as well as through the eyes of their mate.

So, Devon and Lir get used to one another and start a new life atop the floating island together and then one day, Devon remembers that he is an Omega and what Omega’s are made to do. Yeah, he kinda forgot that he would be going into heat soon, losing track of the days while being thrust into this new odd existence with a sea god who can take many forms, including one with tentacles (yes I had ideas about those tentacles and the heat – judge away) and explains to Lir what will happen with his heat and how much he will need Lir. All Lir wants to do is take care of Devon and he’s looked up mating on Google so he is ready though Devon starts to feel selfish for taking Lir away from whatever his responsibilities are as a sea god.

I will say this…The heat was hot as it always is with the need to fuck, self-lubricating holes made for fucking and a sea god who happens to KNOT during sex. Don’t ask about the knotting, just marinate in it and like it. Mmm Kay? Mmm Kay.

As the time passes during and after the heat, Lir and Devon start to develop feelings beyond what either thought they were made for and it was truly charming to read. I had no idea where a book with a sea god and a werewolf would lead but both of these men were lonely, depressed and yearning for love. They found it in one another but when the heat is successful and Devon laments the loss of his pack; Lir goes beyond what he should to make his mate happy.

There is a bit of angst in this story that made me sadder than I expected to. I adore Lir so much with all he does for Devon. He loves his land-dweller so much that he broke my heart when the angst appeared. How can you not love a sea god who wants to call Devon by an endearment and chooses to call him “Sunlight” because Lir is from the cold, dark depths of the sea? *sigh* I just love him but Lir has issues and he doesn’t remember the reason behind his father’s ultimatum and it’s not until a storm brews between Lir and Devon, that Devon learns the truth from Lir’s brother Mar.

Goodness, but this book packs in some sneaky emotions I wasn’t expecting. It is full of hurt/comfort so much that I feel like I need a tentacle hug from Lir and I don’t do hugs. It was so emotional and the angst made me cry. When Lir remembers the why of Father North’s ultimatum, it’s so freaking sad but he loves his Devon and will do whatever he has to do right his wrong.

Wow. Did I say anything of substance about this book? I am just floating along on this happy cloud having finished it. It’s not your traditional shifter romance as it borderlines a fairy tale with a few moments you just need to accept even though they are a tad outrageous like the laptop and phone, because it was so damn sweet.

That epilogue was adorable and the bit with Zoey made me giggle. I do wonder if they author has plans to make this a series because there seems to be something with Harry and Mar that I would love to see explored.

Review: Something Like Stories (Volume 2) by Jay Bell

The Something Like… series is drawing to a close! Before it ends, reunite with favorite characters and meet others for the first time in this special collection of fourteen stories. Highlights include Something Like Champagne, in which Marcello searches for the truth behind a drunken vision. In Something Like Bunnies, a young Jace Holden struggles with his first crush. Ben and Tim return in Something Like Memories as they debate when exactly they should celebrate their anniversary, and Jason finally makes an important decision about his future with William in Something Like Sun. Joyful reunions and tearful goodbyes await you, as do many affirmations of love, in this second volume of short stories.

I don't know where to start. I really, really don't. This is all going to come out in a jumble so I ask your forgiveness in advance.... please and thank you!

Okay. Firstly, this has been on my to-review pile for a while and I feel I should apologise to Jay Bell, and I would, but *I'm not speaking to him at the moment, or possibly ever again because MY HEART HURTS TOO MUCH. AGAIN. I'm not a fan of short stories and I think that's why I've put off reading it (yep, that's what we'll say, it's not because I'm a wimp). I personally think short stories are hard to get right and often find that authors who do fab novels don't hit the right spot for me short story-wise. Of course, this is Jay Bell, so I should have known better. I would tell him, but see above.*

Secondly, Jay's writing is amazing but oft times bloomin' harrowing. I've still not finished SL Autumn because I just can't. I did think that short stories wcouldn't be that bad and I was completely right... until I was wrong. A cat, Jay Bell. A freaking cat. You git.

Thirdly, I never know how to review anthology/short story compilations. Do I write a review for each story? Pick a few to concentrate on? Or just give a summary of the whole?

I know, right! Choices. Decisions.

I've decided to go for the summary option because frankly all you need to know is that every story in this book was a 4 or 5 heart read. Mostly 5 but I can't be too generous now, can I? There is something for everyone in here. Something Like fans - don't put off reading this (I'm surely not the only one who did?), it's such a fantastic way to read about the interim parts of various characters. 

As I was going to sleep last night I had a really clever (snorts) analogy worked out to describe the way these stories fill in the gaps of the books but fuck if I can remember what it was beyond it involving water...So in a non-clever way I'll say, these little insights to the characters lives that happen between the stories, or off page, or from another perspective are amazing. Each one can change how you view a story or character - let's face it, this is what Jay Bell does best. Everyone should read these books, even if it's just to gain understanding of the complexities of people and how to learn about people's actions/motives/perceptions/perspectives. 

Seriously, we know from the novels how cleverly this is shown, how we can 'hate' a character in one book and love him in the next, even set in the same timeline and events. These stories just add the decorations on top of the icing on the cake. They're the hundreds and thousands on top of the cherry. 

Each story is different though. Some are funny, some sad, some a little off the wall - but what they all have in common is fantastic writing and a need to read on, read more, gain that extra bit of understanding. The Something Like world is our world. It's the people we do and do not know. It's just brilliant.

My personal favourite is the last one (even though it's the reason I'm *no longer talking to the author). How anyone can write like that, from that perspective and still be so real and so loving and heartbreaking I don't know. The only other author I can think of who managed it is Michael Morpurgo. It's a talent and if someone explained the story I'd have been all 'nah, you're good mate, I'm not reading that, totally not my cuppa tea.' But they didn't and I did read it and I am so glad, and sad, and happy, and confused that I did.

So I say to you, dear reader, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read this book. 

*NB: just for the record, I am really still talking to Jay Bell. Mostly.

A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Bad Boy's Bard by E.J. Russell

E.J. Russell is here today talking genealogy within her Fae Out of Water series. Bad Boy’s Bard is the latest installment & the grand prize of a $50 Riptide credit is still up for grabs, so be sure to leave a comment below to be entered to win. Good luck!

In the Fae Out of Water series, Gareth is tagged as the last true bard in Faerie—so that begs the question: if he’s the last one, how did he learn his craft? In The Druid Next Door, Mal confesses to Bryce that he outed Gareth as a bard when he discovered him healing his own hand with song. That resulted in Gareth being snapped up by Arawn, the ruler of Annwn, the Welsh otherworld (where, in my story world, the Kendrick brothers lived until Arawn departed, making Annwn inaccessible).

Gareth’s teacher was Gwydion, one of the sons of the goddess Dôn. Gwydion was a powerful magician as well as a bard, but his code of ethics was more than a little…shall we say…flexible? The story of how he caused a completely spurious war—which resulted in massive casualties on both sides, as well as the death of Pryderi, king of Dyved, at Gwydion’s own hand—to enable his brother to rape their uncle Math’s virginal attendant, is told in the fourth branch of the Mabinogion, tales from the oral traditions of pre-Christian (probably pre-Roman) Britain that were written down in the 12th or 13th centuries.

Here’s a partial tree of Gwydion’s happy little family:

In addition to the tale of Gwydion’s warmongering/procuring, the fourth branch also tells of his devotion to his nephew, Lleu Llaw Gyffes—in fact, he treats him like a son. In some interpretations of the Mabinogion, Gwydion is framed as the biological father of both of Arianrhod’s sons. I don’t claim to be a historian or a scholar of such things, but I’ve always had my suspicions about that. Now granted, incest was kind of a thing among ancient pantheons in a number of cultures, but one of the earliest translations of the Mabinogion doesn’t actually name Arianrhod’s partners. She gave more or less instant birth, thanks to Math’s magic wand, but Gwydion himself suggested her as an appropriate candidate for the post of Math’s foot virgin (don’t ask). Presumably, if he knew better, he wouldn’t have broached the subject.

Personally (and again—not the expert here, but it’s at least a possibility), I think Gwydion took responsibility for one of his magically born nephews because the northern kingdom (Gwynedd) was matrilineal at the time. Gwydion himself acted as his uncle’s heir, more or less. He’s referred to as Gwydion ap Dôn—no mention of his father. Arianrhod’s amorous adventures were her own business—until she tried to apply for a position for which she lacked the primary qualification.

Govannan, Gwydion’s brother, plays a pivotal role in Bad Boy’s Bard, but when it comes to finding references to him in the Mabinogion—or anywhere else for that matter—he doesn’t get much love. We know he was a smith, and that he threw a spear that killed his nephew Dylan (Arianrhod’s other magically induced son), but that’s about it.

From a reader’s perspective—and I devoured Evangeline Walton’s retelling of the Mabinogion back in the mid-seventies—this is terribly frustrating. From an author’s perspective, however, it’s a golden opportunity. In the absence of any contradictory information, we’re free to make up stuff! So in my story world, Govannan is still atoning for killing Dylan and Gwydion, the self-centered jerk, hasn’t learned compassion for anyone outside his younger brother and his nephew.

Gee, they sound like a couple of other Welsh brothers I know…

About Bad Boy’s Bard

As far as rock star Gareth Kendrick, the last true bard in Faerie, is concerned, the only good Unseelie is . . . well . . . there’s no such thing. Two centuries ago, an Unseelie lord abducted Gareth’s human lover, Niall, and Gareth has neither forgotten nor forgiven.

Niall O’Tierney, half-human son of the Unseelie King, had never lost a wager until the day he swore to rid the Seelie court of its bard. That bet cost him everything: his freedom, his family—and his heart. When he’s suddenly face-to-face with Gareth at the ceremony to join the Seelie and Unseelie realms, Niall does the only thing inhumanly possible: he fakes amnesia. Not his finest hour, perhaps, but he never revealed his Unseelie heritage, and to tell the truth now would be to risk Gareth’s revulsion—far harder to bear than two hundred years of imprisonment.

Then a new threat to Gareth’s life arises, and he and Niall stage a mad escape into the Outer World, only to discover the fate of all fae resting on their shoulders. But before they can save the realm, they have to tackle something really tough: mending their own broken relationship.

Now available from Riptide Publishing.

About the Fae Out of Water Series

Once upon a time, there were three brothers, nobles of the Seelie Court of Faerie, who set out to seek their fortunes. The eldest—

Scratch that. Rrrrrewind.

Nowadays, when tales are told in 140 character bursts on tiny LED screens, rather than spun out by the glow of a midnight campfire, even Faerie’s elite have to get with the program.

The Kendrick brothers have traded longbow for briefcase, battle steed for Harley, and enchanted harp for electric guitar.  But while they’re finding their feet in the modern world, instead of finding their fortunes, they stumble straight into love.


About E.J. Russell

E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.

E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Connect with E.J.:

To celebrate the release of all three books in the Fae Out of Water series, one lucky winner across all three tours will receive a GRAND PRIZE of a $50 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 23, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the Bad Boy’s Bard tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Review: Calm (Tidal #2) by K. Evan Coles & Brigham Vaughn

A love worth the wait.

When Riley Porter-Wright comes out as bisexual and confesses his feelings for Carter Hamilton, it severs their friendship. Carter’s rejection forces Riley to move on and he’s shocked to learn Carter’s marriage has fallen apart.

Overwhelmed by his failure as a husband and father, Carter misses Riley, but feels guilty for disappearing after Riley’s coming out. After Riley extends an olive branch, the former friends agree to repair their relationship. Slowly, Carter pieces together a new life, admits his attraction to men and confesses his feelings for Riley.

Leery of Carter’s initial rejection, Riley turns his focus to a new man, Will Martin.

Disappointed, Carter fosters new friendships with men like Jesse Murtagh and Kyle McKee, while also navigating new waters with his ex-wife, Kate, as their children learn their parents are dating other people.

As they rebuild their friendship, both Carter and Riley draw strength from each other, hoping the choices they’ve made are for the best.

Reader Advisory: This book contains expressions of homophobia by multiple secondary characters, divorce, references to parental neglect, disownment, references to adultery and m/m/f threesomes.

In the aftermath of Riley’s revelation, and Carter’s personal decision to come clean to his wife, the friends are no longer speaking. Riley has come to terms with the fact that he is never going to be with Carter the way he wants, so he is moving on, and living his truth out in the open. He has found someone he wants to move on with, but unfortunately he still holds a flame for Carter, and it is causing him to hold back with his new man, Will. Will is trying to be patient, but it is difficult to fall in love while the object of that love is still pining for someone else.

Carter is getting divorced, trying to forge a new path with his ex-wife and children, and is exploring his bisexuality by dating. His easygoing personality is a little tarnished, and he isn’t as joyful as he was before. He has depression, and sometimes everything is just too hard.

Part 2 is both frustrating and well balanced. The stars have not aligned for Carter and Riley, and they are both in very different places in life. This part of their journey is inevitable as they clean up their mess, but the distance is also secured by their inability to communicate, and Carter’s resentment of Riley’s choice to come out and turn what Carter thought he knew on it’s head. Stubbornness is a good word for Carter. While wallowing in his own misery, he maintains the distance he created by ignoring Riley for a while. Thankfully they eventually get it together enough to get back their friendship but there is still a distance between them as their lives develop in different ways.

Kate is understandably angry in this story. I really felt for her. I think it was important for her character to not be as accepting and easy for Carter to just brush off. She deserves her time on the page, with all her fiery bitterness at the secret life her husband decided to keep. What makes her a hero in this story is that she tries. She tries not to let the anger consume her and turn her into someone bitter and twisted. Her life is a mess, but she is still going to make the most of her situation and not let her broken heart impact her children’s relationship with their father. She also does what most people wouldn’t, and tries to be okay with Riley.

I enjoyed this story as much as I did the first part. The additional characters are all well developed and bring something to Carter and Riley’s life. Everything is not all roses and soft landings. It can’t be. The decisions Carter and Riley made and continue to make impact those around them, and each other in a big way that is not clean, and requires work to move past.

Between the two parts of this story, it is long. Especially when factoring in timeline. But it is so balanced and there is nothing slow about it. Every part of the story is a part of the character’s development, and each point of view provides another part of the whole.

I still wanted these two together, but about halfway through I almost accepted that they would not be the couple they should have been. Almost. I mean what’s the point of all of this if they aren’t together right? But sometimes friendship is enough, and stronger than a relationship with so much baggage.

The authors did a magnificent job of making all the characters in this story loveable in their own way. It isn’t all serious and sad. There is a lot of joy between these pages, and some hard won happiness. I am in no way disappointed with any of this and I highly recommend this story for anyone who enjoys complex relationships and a good dose of feels.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion.

Review: The Garden (Lavender Shores #2) by Rosalind Abel

Beautiful Gilbert Bryant designs jewelry for the rich and famous, and he made his escape from his gossipy little hometown of Lavender Shores. However, with so many friends and family, he keeps getting pulled back. When he attends his best friend’s engagement party, Gilbert can’t help but sample one of the new men in town. It’s just some innocent—or not so innocent—fun. Nothing that will even cross his mind once he gets back to his everyday life.
Walden Thompson dreamed about living in Lavender Shores since he visited as a child. He finally gets his chance, and he embraces the opportunity to start over, to become someone new. He leaves both hurts and dangerous habits in the past, where they belong. When Gilbert crosses his path, Walden gives in to his baser instincts. He can indulge in the carnal pleasures this once and still be okay.
Their few hours together haunt Gilbert, the two-hundred-mile buffer from home no longer shutting out the past or the sexy man he left behind. Walden is just beginning to recover from the smoldering encounter with Gilbert when they are thrust together once more. This time, neither of them can walk away, no matter how hard they try. But when their pasts crash into each other as surely as the magnetism that pulls them together, walking away may be the only option.

This series has fast become one of my most anticipated reads and The Garden did not disappoint!  I loved this just as much as I did The Palisade but for wholly different reasons.  Where the first book was full of swoon-worthy romance and tropey goodness, Gilbert and Walden's book had a more serious tone.  That's not to say I didn't laugh during this book because I LOL'ed quite a bit, especially with Walden.

One of the things I love most about this series and this author is that the characters and the story are never what I expected.  I will think a character is going to be one way but then they take off in a completely different direction.  It's fantastic!  Take, for instance, Walden.  A big, tall hunk of corn-fed man meat with an ass for days (dat ass!) and I'm expecting Toppy McTopperson, III with a big ole' chip on his shoulder.  What I got instead was a shy, sweet, awkward middle school science teacher with a big heart and an even bigger desire to have his field thoroughly plowed.

Walden is some kind of special.  He's incredibly awkward and oh so adorable.  Completely pocket-worthy.

Her brother? She was going to introduce me to her bother? A Bryant, obviously. Holy shit, what if she introduced me to Gilbert? How was I supposed to play that off? Obviously I wouldn’t look at her and be like Oh, we know each other. He used my ass so hard I was still feeling him this morning.  
Or worse, what if Gilbert wasn’t her brother, but a cousin or something and she introduced me to whomever her brother actually was. Then Gilbert walks up, and it looks like I’m trying fuck my way through the entire Bryant family?
You get in my pocket right now, Walden!  Do you hear me, Mister?  RTF Now!

And Gilbert... I thought I had him pegged from the first book but he surprised me even more. I thought he was a playboy who didn't take life very seriously and would be a bit immature.  Nope!  Not this Gilbert.  Yeah, he was rough around the edges and talked a good game but underneath was sensitivity and the kind of maturity that gets my motor running and will guarantee a successful read for me.  This is a man who conquers his demons the right way, through therapy, and isn't afraid to admit when he's afraid.

That wasn’t how being a man worked. How being an adult worked. You fixed yourself. You didn’t wait for love to do it for you. You fixed yourself, and then you earned love.
*dreamy sigh* 

I'm so incredibly in love with this series I can hardly stand it.  The way the author portrays these characters has me swooning.  The communication!  Lawd, the communication in this book is outstanding!  Communication is so damned sexy.  Gilbert and Walden actually talk to each other, about what they're thinking, about how they're feeling and it. Is. Fabulous!  There are zero Big Misunderstandings here.  Yes, they have secrets, but - and here's the kicker - they share them with each other.  I know, right?!?!?

You know what else is sexy?  Dirty talk.  Holy hotness of the mouth, this had some serious dirty talk in it!  I thought I was going to burst into flame during some of the scenes, especially that first scene.  Like, whoa.  Gilbert, man... he's got some serious talent there.  He could teach a class on it, like 'Dirty Talk 101' or something.  Hoo boy!

I want everyone to read this book.  I want everyone to read this series.  I want everyone to fangirl along with me.  I loved this so damned much!

Blog Tour: Tufted & Tatted by Jacques N. Hoff

Jacques N. Hoff is here today to talk peckers & peckerology! Read on and be enlightened!


Welcome to the world of Undercover Peckers. Where love is instant the moment you find your mate. Where there’s only one true pecker for every man. Where the sex is so hot it will singe your tailfeathers. Where bird watching is both a recreation and a preoccupation—that usually leads to feathers flying. Let Simon and his avian shifter mate Jay lead you through this world of sinful and ridiculous exploration.

Are You a Peckerologist?

Now Webster defines it as Bird-Watching as in the practice of observing birds in their natural environment as a hobby. However, I like the term Peckerologist much better. Bird’s peck with their bills which makes their bill peckers or is it the bird becomes the pecker? Either way, it’s a great term and hence why we used it as a series name. This did not come without peril.

Sam and I were driving back from Indiana when we came up with this silly idea. Once we decided to write about bird shifters and our character Simon would be the one to set up an underground support group for these unique birds, we had to have a name. We considered using words like bird, feathers, flight but none had a good “ring” to them. We finally settled on “Pecker” and here is where the dangerous part comes in. Sam suggested Under Cover Peckers for Simon’s group of lonely shifters. Which of course I thought was brilliant. It then hit me that UC Pecker would work. I said it out loud and Sam and I burst out laughing. We laughed so hard we were crying. Laughing, tears and slight hysteria is not a good place to be in while driving down the expressway. We survived (thank goodness) and UC Peckers is the perfect name for these boner popping peckers J


Freed from the Australian zoo where he was the subject of forced breeding experiments, Atticus makes his way to the tufted puffin grounds in California, only to find he may not be free after all. Atty is a loner, but he doesn’t want to fight the pull of a flighty surfer who gives his inked skin a pleasant, uncontrollable itch.

Scott has the sun on his face, the waves beneath him, and gratitude for every second of life he gets to embrace. Then Atty appears, and it’s like the universe has tuned his meditation bell to the perfect frequency.

The Tiki Pro surfing competition in Florida is calling to Scott, and Atty agrees to make sure Scott gets there safely. A cross-country road trip in the Hunny Wagon seems like a perfect way to live in the present and get tantric all at the same time.

But they aren’t making this trek alone.

Buy Link

My father told me all about the birds and the bees. The liar. I went steady with a woodpecker until I was twenty-one. I now travel the world in search of the hottest pecker—in tandem with my best friend Simon Spoonwell and his blue jay partner Jay Azure. What you read here is all true. Well, at least in the world of UCPeckers it is. Wherever you see peckers, you may just find me there.
Jacques N. Hoff is the brainchild of SJD Peterson and SA McAuley. Two authors who shouldn't be allowed to interact with each other (at least in public). It was either co-write hot pecker porn or plot world domination. It's not clear which outcome will take the forefront on any given day.
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Review: A Matter of Priorities by Jon Keys

After being disowned by his family, Cooper judged his self-worth by his latest hookup. But circumstances change as he learns about true love.

Cooper Diaz is a better-than-average college student with a major in architecture and a love of dogs. But while he plays the role of campus playboy, in reality, he believes no one would care enough to worry about him—except his best friend, Liam. His expectations are simple—searching for the latest hookup. His newest obsession is his professor, Lucas Nyman, who has asked Cooper to work as part of the team for an out-of-class project, which he eagerly accepts.

At a celebratory evening at Professor Nyman's home, Cooper is invited to fulfill his latest fantasy--a ménage à trois with the professor and his husband. But the fun turns into something much weightier when pillow talk turns into friendly advice from the pair whose bed Cooper has shared. After a close call that leaves Cooper shaken and a confession from Liam, Cooper begins to realize that life is not as he envisioned.

Reader Advisory: This book contains a ménage-à-trois scene.

For an erotic short, this was mostly sexy. I enjoyed the ‘celebratory evening’ with the professor a lot. It was hot and dirty, and definitely the fantasy I expected from the blurb.

I honestly didn’t really connect with the main character. Maybe because I’ve never been a college student? I don’t know about that life. While I have had my fair share of flings, and enjoyed my single life, I’m not sure I completely understand Cooper’s self destructive streak. Also, Cooper is a size queen, which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing, but because of his obsession with dick size he missed a lot of the emotional subtlety around him.

Cooper appears to be on the warpath when it comes to fucking anyone and everyone. We are told this anyway. He doesn’t seem to be particularly safe about it either, and this is where the drama in the story lies.

Suddenly he is confronted by feelings with his roommate/fuck buddy and it sort of evolved (devolved?) from there.

I don’t think the character development was quite deep enough for me. I would have loved Cooper if I had more of his honesty. I did enjoy the dog-shelter stuff and I thought that Cooper and Liam were great together. This wasn’t the smutty professor/student fantasy story I was expecting, so surprise!

It was still a sweet story, and I think if it hadn’t been going in two different directions, I would have enjoyed it a bit more.

For a sexy short, this is definitely worthy. And if you’re into reading menagé erotica then this will definitely get you flushing.

A review copy was provided for an honest review

Blog Tour + Giveaway: A World Apart by Mel Gough

Welcome new author Mel Gough and IndiGo Marketing to the blog today! A World Apart blog tour makes a stop with a character bio and a NineStar Press eBook giveaway! Check out today's post for more info!

Title:  A World Apart
Author: Mel Gough
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: September 18, 2017
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 51900
Genre: Contemporary, NineStar Press, LGBT, drugs, HIV, AIDS, TB, familial abuse. Bi, gay. alcoholism, hurt/comfort, law enforcement

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Ben Griers is the darling of Corinth Georgia’s Police Department—intelligent, handsome, and hardworking. Thanks to his beautiful wife and clever daughter, Ben’s family is the envy of the town. Yet desperate unhappiness is hiding just below the surface.

When Donnie Saunders, a deadbeat redneck with a temper, is brought to the Corinth PD as a suspect in a hit-and-run, Ben finds himself surprisingly intrigued by the man. He quickly establishes Donnie’s innocence but can’t shake the feeling that Donnie is hiding something. When they unexpectedly encounter each other again at an AA meeting in Atlanta, sparks begin to fly.

With his marriage on the verge of collapse, Ben is grateful for the other man’s affection. But he is soon struggling to help an increasingly vulnerable Donnie, while at the same time having to deal with the upheaval in his own life. Ben eventually realizes that they cannot achieve happiness together unless they confront their darkest secrets.


A World Apart
Mel Gough © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

“What have we got, Lou?” Ben asked as he stepped up to the reception desk at Corinth Police Department. He glanced at a handcuffed man sitting on a nearby bench and staring determinately down at the scuffed linoleum floor. The man’s strawberry-blond hair was disheveled, falling low over his forehead and brushing his reddish eyelashes as his eyes flicked up nervously at Ben. He looked to be in his mid-thirties. One knee was jiggling nervously, and his jaw worked as if he was biting the inside of his mouth repeatedly.

“That guy was driving the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run yesterday,” Lou, the gray-haired desk clerk, said, jerking his thumb at the man on the bench. “Browne and O’Donnell brought him in. They’re with the captain.”

Just that moment, the door to the inner sanctum of the station opened, and Jason Browne strode out of Captain Buckley’s office. The sleeves of his uniform were rolled up as usual, to show off his muscular, tanned arms.

“How was court, brother?” Jason sounded cheerful, but his gray eyes were cold. In Ben’s partner and best friend since high school, that was never a good combination. Ben gave Jason a long look, then shrugged.

“As expected.” He didn’t want to think about the peculiar effect the defendant’s words had had on him, and he sure as hell wasn’t going to discuss it in front of a suspect, or Lou.

“You missed all the excitement.” Jason gestured toward the handcuffed man, who was staring at the floor again. “Saunders here knows some pretty colorful language, and he was none too happy to accompany us, neither.”

“Hence the handcuffs?” Ben asked drily.

Jason nodded, smirking.

“Wasn’t me that hit that kid,” Saunders suddenly muttered, his dark voice shaking slightly with suppressed anger. “Told y’all I wasn’t in town.”

Jason sighed, folding his arms across his chest with exaggerated impatience. “And I told you this: We got witnesses placing you at the scene, smart-ass. It’s your word against theirs. Who’re we gonna believe, some deadbeat, or the boy’s mother?”

Ben frowned at his partner. They had been in the radio car on their usual route the day before when the call about a hit-and-run near Corinth High had come over dispatch. O’Donnell and Myers, the department’s other two sergeants, had been closest and responded to the call. Last night, back at the station, O’Donnell had told them that the boy had a broken leg from being flung off his bike, but that he would undoubtedly survive. There really was no need for Jason to be so aggressive about the issue.

Saunders suddenly sat up straight on the bench, glaring at Jason. “It wasn’t me! Why’re ya not listenin’?” His dark blue eyes were wide with fury.

Ben, knowing Jason’s thought processes and impulses nearly as well as his own, stepped in his partner’s way. Gaze fixed on his friend, he said loud enough for Lou and any bystanders to hear, “Why don’t you and I take Mr. Saunders through to the interrogation room for a statement?” He put special emphasis on the last words, hoping Jason would get his meaning: Anything other than a polite request for an official statement from the suspect would be out of order at this point.

Taking Jason’s reluctant jerk of the head as assent, Ben turned around, intending to escort Saunders to the interrogation room. But as soon as his back was turned, Jason stepped nimbly around him and grabbed the man hard by the upper arm.

Saunders flinched, but Jason’s grip on him was like a vise. Saunders’s eyes met Ben’s, and there was pure animal fear in them, as well as something Ben couldn’t quite place. Anguish, perhaps?

He stepped up close behind Jason. “If you dislocate his shoulder there’ll be an awful lot of paperwork to fill in for both of us, brother.” Ben kept his voice quiet and even, but Jason knew him well enough to detect the steely undertone. After a moment, Jason huffed, then let go of Saunders and took a step back. There were finger-shaped marks on Saunders’s well-defined bicep, just below the rolled-up sleeve.

Now Ben stepped forward, and Saunders looked at him. He was still breathing fast, but the fear was beginning to fade from the indigo blue eyes.

Ben motioned at Saunders to stand, then pointed down the corridor. “Would you come this way, please?”

Good cop, bad cop. Ben really hated playing this game, but Jason had left him no choice. Saunders got up. He was no taller than Ben, who just about scraped five foot ten. Jason towered over them both, still glowering. Saunders gave him a quick, disgusted look, then preceded Ben down the dreary-gray hallway, handcuffed arms held stiffly behind him. As Ben followed, he noticed that Saunders’s shoulders were unusually broad for a man his height.

At the door to the interrogation room, Ben let Jason draw ahead. He followed the two men inside and closed the door. Jason approached Saunders, who had backed up against the one-way mirror.

“Turn around,” Jason said gruffly.

Saunders ignored him and stared straight at the bottle-green linoleum floor. Ben spoke before Jason could get angry again. “Sir, the sergeant will move the handcuffs to the front so you can sit down more comfortably.” The indigo blue eyes that met Ben’s were still full of mistrust, but after a moment, they softened and Saunders turned obediently.

“Sit,” Jason said when he had shackled Saunders’s arms again in the front. Saunders sat down heavily in the single chair on one side of the square floor-bolted table. Ben and Jason took the two chairs opposite.

Leaning forward, Ben waited until he had the suspect’s attention. “Do you mind if we record this conversation?”

“Yer arresting me?” The narrow blue eyes were suspicious again, but Saunders sounded more wary than belligerent. And he completely ignored Jason, his gaze never wavering from Ben.

“No, we’re not,” Ben said quietly. “But having a record of what we talk about will aid your cause.”

Saunders chewed this over, trying to decide whether Ben was telling the truth. Eventually he gave a small shrug.

“Sir,” Ben said. “Please state for the protocol: Do you mind if we record this conversation?” Forcing the police procedural on this man was surprisingly distressing. Saunders gave him a pained look.

“Go ‘head.”

Jason pressed the digital recorder button on the small panel in the tabletop to his right. But it was Ben who spoke again. When they interrogated a suspect together, Ben usually started off the interview. His milder, calmer demeanor tended to relax the atmosphere better than Jason’s hot temper. For now, Jason seemed to have gotten all his anger out by playing scary cop in front of Lou and sat quietly back in his chair.

“Statement protocol, September twenty-second, eleven forty-five a.m. Officers present: Sergeant Ben Griers and Sergeant Jason Browne.” Ben nodded at the suspect. “Please state your full name for the record, sir.”

“Donnie Saunders.” The man’s voice was quiet, and he sounded tired.

Ben waited for Saunders to look at him again, and nodded his thanks. Then he glanced at Jason, eyebrows raised, reminding his partner with his most level stare to act appropriately. “Officer Browne will now ask you a few questions.”

“Alright,” Jason said. Ben took this as the opening of the interview and an affirmation that he would stay calm. “Mr. Saunders, your pickup truck was seen driving away after hitting Dennis Mallory on his bike while he was riding home after school yesterday afternoon at about three thirty p.m.”

“I told y’all three times now, it wasn’t me. Why is it that ya can’t hear me?” Saunders’s voice had risen again in volume, but there was a strange quiver in it, too. He leaned back in his chair as far as he could, regarding Jason from eyes narrowed in anger.

Before Jason, who looked ready to explode again, could respond, Ben said quickly, “Let’s rephrase the question: Sir, where were you yesterday at three thirty p.m.?”

Saunders didn’t immediately reply. His eyes darted nervously around the room, never meeting Ben’s, and ignoring Jason completely. Then they settled on the shackled, tightly folded hands in his lap.

Is he trying to come up with a lie?

Eventually, Saunders said, “Was in Atlanta. Had an appointment at the DFCS.” His voice was very quiet, and he didn’t look up. It didn’t sound like a lie, but a truth the man was reluctant to share.

Ben decided not to press for details. It was none of his business why the guy had been summoned to the Division of Family and Children Services. As long as he could determine that Saunders had been forty miles away from the scene of the hit-and-run, he had done his job.

“I need to know who you were there to see,” Ben said just as quietly, and wasn’t surprised when his gaze was met with one of suspicion again. He added in explanation, “A phone call to the person you had the appointment with will clear you.”

Saunders gave a small jerk of the head in understanding. “Stacy Miller.”

“Thank you.” Ben looked at Jason, considering his options. Could he leave these two alone for a few minutes? His partner’s steely gaze never wavered from Saunders, and Ben could feel Jason’s tension. But if he told Jason to make the phone call, would he try very hard to get at the truth? No, Ben would have to call the DFCS himself. He’d just be really quick about it.

“Jason, stay with Mr. Saunders. I’m going to call Ms. Miller.”

Not waiting for Jason’s acknowledgment, or asking permission from Saunders to make the call on his behalf, Ben got up and left the room. He went back to the front desk. “Lou, find me the number for Atlanta DFCS.”

The desk clerk looked grumpy for a moment but then started hacking away at his keyboard without a word. Finally he picked up the phone, dialed a number, and held the receiver out to Ben.

“DFCS switchboard,” a tinny voice announced in Ben’s ear. “How can I help?”

“Stacy Miller, please,” Ben said, ignoring Lou, who was trying hard to look like he wasn’t listening in.

“Hold the line.”

Ben half turned away while he listened to the annoying phone queue music. After a few moments, there was a click and a crisp voice said, “Medicaid assessment team. How can I help you?”

“Is this Stacy Miller?”

“It is. Who’s asking?”

“Ms. Miller, this is Sergeant Ben Griers, Corinth PD. Did a man by the name of Donnie Saunders have an appointment with you yesterday afternoon?” Ben mentally crossed his fingers that the mention of his rank would suffice to elicit this piece of fairly innocuous information. Legally, he had no leg to stand on, but his experience had taught him that a courteous yet firm manner often got you surprisingly far.

And his experience held true again. After only a moment, the woman on the other end said, “Yes, he did.”

“And he attended?”


“What time was his appointment?”

“Three p.m. But we were running late, so I think I started with him around three fifteen.”

“And how long was he there for?”

“About forty-five minutes. Officer, is Mr. Saunders alright?”

That was a surprising question. State employees usually had no time or interest to worry about the hundreds of people that passed by their desks every week. But then, here Ben was himself, trying to help Saunders as well, as quickly and with as little delay as possible. Maybe some of us do still care.

“He’s fine. Ma’am, if I were to check your office’s visitor register for yesterday, would the record back up your statement?”

“It would,” Ms. Miller said composedly. “And you’d find a parking permit in Mr. Saunders’s name as well. We don’t have much space out front, so clients get timed permits for the parking lot at the back.”

That was more than good enough for Ben. “Thank you for your time, ma’am.”

“You’re welcome, Officer. Have a good day.”

“And you.”

Ben put the phone down, nodded at Lou, and swiftly turned his back before the desk clerk could make a comment or ask any questions.

As he walked down the corridor toward the interrogation room, Ben’s mind was on the phone call, even as he kept telling himself that, beyond establishing a suspect’s alibi, what he had just learned was none of his business. But he couldn’t help wondering about it. Why had Saunders gone to the Medicaid office? He didn’t look ill. Of course, there were a dozen possible reasons. A sick family member. An old injury that no insurance would cover. Or even trying to get at some extra state assistance for no good reason at all. None of this was relevant to the case, and as he reached the interrogation room, Ben tried his best to push the thoughts from his mind.

He opened the door but didn’t rejoin the other two at the table. “Mr. Saunders, your alibi for yesterday afternoon was confirmed by Ms. Miller. You’re free to leave.”

Jason looked around at Ben, scowling. Ben ignored his partner and kept his eyes on Saunders, who, after a fleeting look of surprise, raised his shackled wrists. “Ya gonna let me keep them as a souvenir?”

Surprisingly, he didn’t sound aggrieved. Ben had been prepared for righteous indignation and anger, and wouldn’t have blamed the man for it. But Saunders just sat there, looking kind of tired and defeated. He held his arms out without comment as Jason leaned over with the handcuff keys. Once he was free, Saunders got up and, without a glance at Jason, walked toward the door. When he drew level with Ben, he stopped, eyes on the floor in front of him.

“Thanks,” he muttered quietly, then strode out of the room.

Ben glanced after Saunders as the man continued down the hall, shoulders hitched, face averted from the people milling around the lobby. A strange sensation rose up in him. Was it pity? He tried to tell himself that it was only natural to take an interest, feel something, after what Jason had put this man through without a single good reason.

And for Ben, the whole thing wasn’t over yet. Turning to his partner with a scowl, he asked, “Why were you so sure it was him? You practically had him convicted already.”

Jason shrugged. “Witness said they saw a dark brown pickup, same as Saunders has. And today, he was just sort of hanging around the gas station on Fullerton. Thought we should check him out.”

“Did you have anything else to go on? Description of the driver, partial number plate, anything?”


Jason sounded smug, and Ben had to take a deep breath to keep his voice level. “Did he maybe behave in a suspicious manner?”

“Maybe,” Jason agreed as he got up. In Jason-speak that meant: Just didn’t like the look of the dude.

Jason sometimes got like this; he was all guts and instinct and reaction. That had its uses in policing, too, and Ben usually made excuses for his friend’s hot-headedness, because it mostly came from the right place in his heart. But somehow, this time he couldn’t. Maybe it had happened one time too many. Or maybe, because this time Jason’s ire had focused on a completely innocent party, he’d simply rubbed Ben the wrong way.

As he followed Jason out of the room, Ben hissed, “Since this was your party, brother, you can write it up for the captain as well, alright?” This would annoy Jason more than anything. He hated writing reports.

Without another word, Ben strode past the other man and out into the parking lot. He needed a moment to calm down or else he might well punch his partner and best friend in the face before the day was done.


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Character Bio

Laura Griers

Laura is Ben and Helen’s daughter. She is thirteen years old. Like her dad, she has dark hair and green eyes, and she’s tall for a girl her age. Laura loves baseball, and she is becoming really good at it. Laura also likes going to school. She is a straight A student, and her parents are very proud of her. Her dad is sometimes almost baffled by how clever and strong she is.

Thanks to her cleverness, Laura has also worked out that her parents are no longer happy together long before they tell her. She’s not upset about it nearly as much as Ben especially feared. But she doesn’t like the idea that she won’t see her dad much once he moves out.

When she meets Donnie, Laura immediately warms to him. He’s really interested in what she tells him, and she thinks he’s nice, and that her dad will be happy with him. She’s also looking forward to hanging out with Donnie because he seems fun.
One thing Laura has always wanted is a sibling. She had almost given up hope to ever have a baby sister or baby brother, and now it looks like she’s definitely not going to have either.

Meet the Author

Mel was born in Germany, where she spent the first twenty-six years of her life (with a one-year stint in Los Angeles). She has always been fascinated by cultures and human interaction, and got a Masters in Social Anthropology. After finishing university she moved to London, where she has now lived for ten years.

If you were to ask her parents what Mel enjoyed the most since the age of six, they would undoubtedly say “Reading!” She would take fifteen books on a three-week beach holiday, and then read all her mom’s books once she’d devoured her own midway through week two.

Back home in her mom’s attic there’s a box full of journals with stories Mel wrote when she was in her early teens. None of the stories are finished, or any good. She has told herself bedtime stories as far back as she can remember.

In her day job, Mel works for an NGO as operations manager. No other city is quite like London, and Mel loves her city. The hustle and bustle still amaze and thrill her even after all these years. When not reading, writing or going to the theater, Mel spends her time with her long-time boyfriend, discussing science or poking fun at each other.

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