Review: Torin by Lance Withton

Torin’s anxiety has made it difficult for him to navigate romantic relationships, so instead of trying, he keeps himself occupied with his work. But just because he doesn’t chase relationships doesn’t mean he doesn’t want something, even if he has to get it with a dash of taboo.

At Pillar, the only all-male brothel in the city, Torin makes an appointment with a charming sex worker who goes by the name “Davies.” It becomes hard for Torin to keep his emotions out of the intimacy, and his feelings become more complicated when a designer he works with starts to let on that his interest is more than platonic.

Shy guys are my kryptonite.

This story starts with Torin booking time at a brothel to do some kissing. We aren't told why he's made this decision within the pages, and it doesn't really matter overall. Torin has some deep insecurities, is shy, awkward, and stammers most of the time. He is sweet and endearing as a character. He has clearly been brought up with very conservative beliefs, although the particulars are not explained. It's just there in some of his internal thoughts. None of that matters when he is spending time with Davies.

The story is told from Torin’s point of view so we don’t get to know Davies outside of his role in Torin’s sexual adventures. Even so, he isn’t flat, and his personality for the role he is in is pretty clear. He’s sexy, considerate, and very good at his job. There was nothing I didn’t like about Davies, and he was captivating enough for me to want to know him outside of the context he was in.

For a short story this worked really well. While the timeline jumped from one encounter to the next, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. I enjoyed going on this journey with Torin, and reading him learn about his sexual self. His awakening was smutty and lovely. There is some light humiliation kink interwoven with some high level heat. There is no mistaking that this is erotica, good erotica. I loved all of the scenes, and I could have happily continued to read more. Torin turned out to be a dirty, dirty boy.

There are some issues I had with the language used towards Davies. I felt like the story was supposed to be sex positive but was slightly contradictory. It was off-putting, and that’s why it doesn’t rate as high for me as if that specific confusion wasn’t in there. Some people may find it sexy and edgy, but it didn’t reach me in that way. Overall I really enjoyed this story though. The author had a very clear idea of what this was about, and delivered it well.

If you’re looking for something short that doesn’t feel bite sized, with some high heat erotica, this is the story for you.

I received a review copy for an honest review.

Audiobook Review: The Ghost Slept Over by Marshall Thornton

When failed actor Cal Parsons travels to rural New York to claim the estate of his famous and estranged ex-partner, he discovers something he wasn't expecting...the ghost of his ex! And worse, his ex invites Cal to join him for all eternity.

As Cal attempts to rid himself of the ghost by any means, he begins to fall for the attractive attorney representing the estate. Will Cal be able to begin a new relationship or will he be seduced into the ever after?

Listening Length: 6 hours and 13 minutes
Narrator: Jason Frazier

Hi. *waves*

It’s me in my corner. Again. In my box of shame.

Full disclosure. I’m not one who usually likes ghost stories, but the chance at listening to an audio and a Marshall Thornton one at that, I was hopeful this would change my mind. It didn’t.

Basically this is about Cal, a non-working actor scraping by but just barely. Luck is on his side when he confoundingly inherits the estate of his very rich ex whom he hasn’t seen in 15 years. As Cal arrives in the small town where his inheritance is located, he just wants to quickly liquidate things and move on. However, his dead ex Mac won’t let him do so easily, and Cal unknowingly gets pulled into an extended stay due to the machinations of the town’s small theatre group who're desperate to gain some extensive funding from him. In and amongst these happenings, Cal finds himself getting more and more romantically entangled with lawyer Dewey, who is happy to help him navigate and manage his new assets.

So….. I apparently am not the target audience for such, and apparently my sense of humor switch was not turned on either. The reason why I often scoff at ghosts is because I tire of shenanigans where the MC is trying to look sane while fending off a jealous, malicious, annoying spirit who just won’t let sleeping dogs lie. The farcical moments of everyone not being able to see said ghost, except the one person it’s “haunting”, can be a bit much. However, many many readers thought this funny and quirky so don’t mind me in my corner. I just found the greedy townsfolk bent on getting Cal’s money and the selfish reasons for why Mac wanted him so badly, overshadowed the romance brewing between Cal and Dewey, and it was quite frustrating.

You can’t win ‘em all right?

Narrated by Jason Frazier, I liken him to a more subdued Joel Leslie which may work for some and not for others. However, his very distinctive cadence and rhythm took some getting used to and I never quite warmed up to him, despite his enthusiastic interpretation and great voice distinction.

I so wanted to like this hard. I won’t say never to another ghost story, but I think for now, I’ll just stick to Thornton’s mysteries instead.

Thanks to the author/publisher for the audio in exchange for an honest review.

Release Blitz: Nobody's Prince Charming (Road to Blissville #3) by Aimee Nicole Walker

Nobody's Prince Charming is released! Celebrate with author Aimee Nicole Walker and Vibrant Promotions! Learn more about the contemporary romance today!

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RELEASE DATE: 03.23.18
Nobodys Prince Charming Cover
Fire and ice. Oil and water. Vodka and decisions. That’s what Darren McCoy and Wren Davison are: two opposites that shouldn’t mix well. Dare believes in fairy tales, true love, and happily ever after. Wren believes in fast cars, freedom, and no-strings sex. What can these two men possibly have in common? A magnetic pull strong enough to obliterate logic and reason.
For more than a year, Dare and Wren have worked together at the Curl Up and Dye Salon. Dare has pursued the mysterious, brooding man, and Wren has resisted his provocative charm. Then one day, something happens that allows the men to see each other in a new light. Wren learns that Dare hides a heavy heart behind his brilliant smile. Dare realizes that beneath Wren’s gruff exterior beats the heart of a prince.
Passions ignite once the men stop fighting their attraction, but will it be enough to overcome their differences? Is Wren the prince that Dare is looking for? Can Dare teach Wren that true love does exist?
Nobody’s Prince charming is a modern-day fairy tale where some princes ride Harleys, and castle walls are built to scale. It is the third book in the Road to Blissville series but can be read as a standalone book. This book contains sexually explicit material and is intended for adults eighteen and over.
Nobody's Prince Charming Teaser 1

When I returned to the kitchenette, Dare looked as if he were afraid to believe in me. I wondered if maybe our backgrounds weren’t that different after all.

“I just want you to know that I will not be upset if you change your mind, Wren.” It was cute the way he tried to put me at ease.

“Dare, there’s something you need to know about me.” He nodded eagerly, biting his lip nervously as he waited. “Rule number five: I never say things I don’t mean, and I don’t do things I don’t want to do.”

“That’s two different things,” Dare said. “That should be rules five and six.”

“They mean similar things, so they share a rule.”

“Saying and doing aren’t even close to the same thing,” Dare argued. “It would make sense if it was: say what you mean and mean what you say. They could share a rule.”

“They’re my rules, and I’ll categorize them as I see fit.”

“Well,” Dare said huffily. Then he tipped his head to the side and studied me speculatively. “I’ll let it drop if you tell me your first four rules. Not gonna lie, I kind of want to see if I can make you break them.”

“Not a chance,” I declared. His look said we’ll just see about that.

Aimee Logo
I am a wife and mother to three kids, three dogs, and a cat. When I’m not dreaming up stories, I like to lose myself in a good book, cook or bake. I’m a girly tomboy who paints her fingernails while watching sports and yelling at the referees. I will always choose the book over the movie. I believe in happily-ever- after. Love inspires everything that I do. Music keeps me sane.

Blog Tour: Staggered Cove Station (Coast Guard Rescue #1) by Elle Brownlee

Elle Brownlee is here today to tell us a little about Staggered Cove Station, her latest Dreamspun Desires release! See our 5 <3 review HERE!

Be sure to check out the vid too!

Hello, hello! I'm Elle Brownlee and it's great to be here to share something about my latest book with you. Staggered Cove Station is a romantic suspense with hunky Coast Guard heroes, and I couldn't be happier about that.

I've been wanting to write something with more action and suspense for a while, but couldn't ever settle on a world to build such a story in. I wanted cop-like but not actually cops, I wanted the great outdoors to be more than a backdrop but didn't want to shoehorn it in, I wanted team dynamics but not sports or game fisherman or SEALs. Just nothing I thought of was quite clicking or sticking. And then came a quilt project I had to finish in a hurry (stay with me--these relate!).

To keep me company as I cut and pieced and sewed, I searched for a show with a lot of episodes that could play for hours. I happened on a Coast Guard reality show, was pleased to note had several seasons for me to catch up with, and was immediately hooked. It combined so much of what keeps my interest, from nature in all her savage glory to daring actions, from stroking my competence kink to letting me learn cool new stuff, from a culture of procedure to that camaraderie of close-knit team members giving each other the business between rescues.

As I watched and built that quilt, I also started building a world where my stories with more action and suspense could take form. My plot ideas had found inspiration and a fitting home! Everything started clicking and sticking. And the first of these is Staggered Cove Station.

And hooray! I found this sizzle reel for the show so you can get a little taste for yourself:

Hope you enjoy the inspiration vid--and the read!
❤ elle

PS: I finished the quilt in time, and it looked great and made its recipient very happy and cozy.

Staggered Cove Station is book one in my new Coast Guard Rescue romantic suspense series. There’s thrills, chills, mystery, and hunky guys to the rescue. It releases March 20 from Dreamspinner Press.


Rescues are wild in the Alaskan terrain. So is romance.

Sun-kissed California guardsman Dan Farnsworth might be at home in the water, but he’s out of his element at remote, rugged, and freezing Staggered Cove Station. Acclimating proves hard enough, but he’s also digging into how the station’s previous rescue swimmer was lost at sea. Was it an operation gone bad... or something more sinister? Add to that instant tension between him and his partner, no-nonsense Alaska-born Karl Radin, and Dan has his hands full.

As his investigation heats up, so does the attraction between Dan and Karl—even if they don’t completely trust each other. But as suspicious events escalate to sabotage, Dan starts to fear he and Karl won’t get the chance to become more than reluctant coworkers.

Book URL:

Dreamspinner Press

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Author Bio:

Elle Brownlee has always followed her creative, adventuring spirit. Growing up she loved westerns and taking long hikes. On these explorations she’d craft miniature worlds with moss and rocks while making up stories about everything that happened there. This often included dashing cowboy heroes. As an adult, not a lot has changed. She still loves westerns, long hikes, and allowing her imagination to roam. Usually with a pot of tea at her elbow. Her romances feature flawed but relatable characters in immersive settings, told with wit, tenderness, and a sly note of sarcasm. Though a cynic in many ways, Elle believes love can conquer all. Every story is a little bit naughty, a whole lot of nice, and will always end with happily ever after.

Review: Mage of Inconvenience by Parker Foye

Can they find the magic in a practical union?

West is on the run from his werewolf pack, but if he cannot renew his magical defenses, he won’t get far. What he needs is a mage….

Julian is part of a wealthy and ancient family, and one day, his legacy will include his mother’s vast library of spell books—and the knowledge he needs to correct his past mistakes. But his inheritance comes with a stipulation: he has to be married before he can collect. What he needs is a husband….

West and Julian can help each other, and at first they don’t want anything further. But as they dodge meddling cousins, jealous rivals, and an insidious drug, it becomes clear that their lives are entwined in ways they never imagined—and they’re in greater danger than they thought possible.

New to me author Parker Foye just knocked my ginger socks off and knocked them off hard! I love a good marriage of convenience story but adding the paranormal aspect to make it a Mage of Inconvenience made this particular story amazing.

Yup, Red is gonna go on a ramble folks.

The clause states you’ll only inherit if you’re in a, and I quote, ‘stable relationship or magical bond, as demonstrated to both mundane and magical administration, by the end of the year in which this will is read’ end quote.
We meet West as he is finishing his day of work at the diner and preparing for his walk home. Through West’s thoughts, we know he is a meta wolf or lycan as his pack likes to call themselves and that West has left his pack. On his way home, he comes across a small group of young wolves acting strangely and it’s here that we are told about the magical drug running rapid through wolves called Rabid. It’s a fitting name for what it does to those affected and West does what he needs to do, makes an anonymous call to the Metaschemata Law of Ontario to let them know the drug has infected their territory. Trust me, knowing about Rabid is important, okay? Anyway, once at home in the mage spelled and protected cabin West came upon and is now basically squatting in, someone has breached the spells that are becoming weak and West, he needs a powerful and trustworthy mage to renew the protection spells.

Mage Julian Colquhoun comes highly recommend to West from his childhood friend and West sets out to ask the mage for help. But Julian, he has his own agenda when he meets West and it involves finding someone to marry so he can inherit what his late mother has left him. There is one minor problem; Julian needs to find someone who wants to not only be in a fake marriage but stick around for six months and be able to fake a magical bond that will pass an investigation from the Mage Alliance Administration. To quote poet G. K. Chesterton; “I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.” And fate has fallen in the laps of Julian and West who once presented the option of helping Julian and getting his protection spells renewed in turn, makes his decision.

I adored West and Julian so damn much. There is instant chemistry between the men though they know nothing about one another. West doesn’t know why the marking he shows Julian affect him so deeply and Julian doesn’t know what form of meta West is. Julian doesn’t know that West has been studying Metaschemata History and West doesn’t know the magic and side jobs that Julian holds and what is in his past. Julian doesn’t know what pack West belonged to and West doesn’t know that his pack name haunts Julian. Yeah, a few secrets between two men who just met but the truth comes out. Eventually.

It was so much fun watching these two get to know one another. What I am finding with the Dreamspun line of late is the stories are taking on the form of true romantic categorical and giving us the slow burn romance to the story and not over sexing it. I know some readers need that on page sex but for me, getting to know the characters and watching them develop intimate attachments gives me more of a swoony feeling than them falling into bed immediately. There is something so romantic about watching two humans find common interest and in this story, not only fall in love but form a magical bond that makes them physically ache… yeah, I’ll take that over magic penises any day.

Now, let me jump off my soapbox and get back to the story.
Was he using West?
He had used West, certainly.
As West had used him.
But going forward, they’d walk side by side.
These two were delicious. They are both so open and yet guarded at the same time wondering what they have gotten themselves into and are they going into this fake marriage for the right reasons. I don’t think it mattered once they started to have feelings for one another, or really after Julian took those gorgeous shots of West on the yacht, but once danger comes their way again, they have to lay everything the table and get the truth out, the story got even better.

West, is such an amazing young man and wolf. It took guts to leave his pack the way he did with nothing and try to make a new life for himself. His brother is an ass and addicted to Rabid and trying to create a true traditionalist lycan pack and has skeletons in his closet that shocked me when I found out the story behind the magical drug. But West, he knows that Julian is someone that can be trusted to protect him and his heart and when he realizes he knows Julian in another way, I was so damn happy.

Julian is a fantastic character. I loved learning what he could do as a mage and the power and following his mother had as well. Her clause in her will for Julian to find a magical bond proves that even in death, a mother knows what is best and I still think that in some way, she brought Julian and West together.

But really, the romance between West and Julian made me all swoony and happy that I was invested in them from the beginning. They take some time to accept they are more than just a convenience and good lord that first kiss turned me into goo and goo is so good. The players of Julian’s greedy cousins, and West’s Rabid addicted family adds to the story to make it fun and push these two further into acknowledging their bond but West and Julian… this is a couple driven story and I am so in love with it.

That end… so good. I loved how Julian was so Julian being engrossed in what he’s been given and West still being wide eyed and awed at Julian’s magic.

So good. Just. So good.

Don't miss today's Mage of Inconvenience author visit HERE!

Review: In the Shadows (Metahuman Files #3) by Hailey Turner

Take a chance.

Staff Sergeant Alexei Dvorkin doesn’t trust easily, and he most certainly doesn’t trust spies. He’ll work with them if ordered to, but that doesn’t mean he has to like it. Except Agent Sean Delaney is proving to be the exception to the rule. There’s something about Sean that gets under Alexei’s skin and won’t let go. Alexei would be lying if he said he wasn’t interested in what lay beneath the agent’s mask. When they’re assigned together for a mission, Alexei vows to keep Sean safe all while trying to coax the hot agent into his bed.

Hold onto hope.

Agent Sean Delaney has spent his entire adult life living a lie for his country. When the MDF tasks him with finding evidence of criminal wrong-doing against the owner of a private military company, Sean knows exactly how to play the game to get what he wants. He just doesn’t know how to handle Alexei’s advances, nor his own attraction to the younger soldier. Being a spy is lonely work, and Sean knows he should keep his distance, but saying no to Alexei is impossible from the moment they first kiss.

In a world of lies, the truth can be deadly.

When the mission takes a turn for the worse, the only thing left to do is run. In the wake of betrayal, and in the path of danger, can their fragile trust survive the battle?

In the Shadows is a 104k word steamy gay sci-fi military romance with a HFN ending that skirts HEA. There is military violence within the story that may not be suitable for everyone, as well as explicit intimate scenes not suitable for readers under the age of 18. This is a direct sequel to In the Ruins and reading the previous books in the series would be helpful in enjoying this one.

I have to get this off my chest. WHEN ARE THEY GONNA GET THE BADDIES?!?!?!??!?!

Well, I feel better now.

I tip my hat to you, Hailey Turner.

You're playing the long game with these elusive baddies. I'll play along for two reasons: (a) I like these people and (b) this series is full of action-packed goodness.

In the Shadows is focused on Alexei and former CIA agent Sean. They had some *eyeballs* happening in the prior book and here is where Alexei makes his move.

Alexei is hot in more than one sense of the word. He's a pyrokinetic and Russian and possessive: A Trifecta! He's also kinda grumpy and oozes confidence, so I am officially #TeamAlexei at this point.

Sean is slightly older and very focused on his job which has been detrimental to his love life. I like that Turner flipped the script making the older character the less experienced of the two. Sean's sweetly bashful and self-conscious. But he cannot deny the powerful attraction simmering between he and Alexei when they get paired up on a mission as "fake" boyfriends. We all know how that goes.

I wouldn't say they have more chemistry than Jaime and Kyle but how much Sean turns Alexei's crank and how verbal he is about that did it for me. That second sex scene when he had Sean sit on his face also did it for me. Muchly.

Another thing I really like is this team. This is actually one of those series that I wish would spin into MF or MMF or something because Katie, Madison and Annabelle are badasses. Turner writes women well. All of them are strong, smart, funny and levelheaded in a pickle, so when Kyle and Alexei's former commander showed up to assist in one of the missions and started making googoo eyes at Katie I got a little sad knowing I'd never get to read their story.

Alright. End of the pity party of one.

There is much action, adventure, they all have cool ass powers and many things get blown the fuck up, so if you are a fan of your romance being action packed this book and this series are for you! Much more spycraft is present in this one which made the plot complex but not convoluted. I suspect things are going to get even dicier as the series progresses.

So you win, Hailey Turner. I'm in for book 4. I sure hope some baddies are gotten in that one.

A review copy was provided.

Blog Tour: Mage of Inconvenience by Parker Foye

Parker Foye is here today to introduce us to their new Dreamspun Beyond title, Mage of Inconvenience. There's an excerpt too!

Don't miss our 5 <3 review HERE!

Hello, and thanks to Boy Meets Boy Reviews for hosting me today!

Though I'm more of a reformed pantser these days, I usually still make a few false starts when beginning a new story. Setting, character backgrounds, how our love interests first meet; the big picture tends to form as intended, but details take a bit of hammering out.  Sometimes diversions are great fun, and you learn a lot you didn't know about characters, but sometimes I meander wildly off course. As a result, I tend to have a few skeleton drafts loitering in the annals of My Documents.

When I was thinking about this post, I dredged the archives for an early draft of MAGE OF INCONVENIENCE to share—but there's nothing there. From first draft to completion, the story took shape as I first imagined it (except the final version is much, much better, thanks to beta readers and Dreamspinner's editing team!). There's definitely something special about this one for me.

With the idea of executing plans in mind, the extract I've chosen to share is from the first part of the book, where West and Julian (Colquhoun, here, in West's POV) are learning to live with each other. Julian has made it his mission to build their backstory, and West is swept up in the scheme by Julian's exuberant personality.

Why this scene? Well, the same way as this story took shape right out of the gate, so too does West and Julian's partnership. Even when—especially when—they both still think they're faking it.

I hope you enjoy this snippet, and the rest of the book!

Colquhoun beckoned West over to look at photographs on his tablet. There were more than West remembered being taken, more than he’d ever seen of himself. He itched with discomfort as he took a seat at the table, picking at a slice of toast. Though he couldn’t see it in the morning sky, the moon pressed on him, brooding with fullness.
“All of these already?”
Colquhoun nodded, scrolling through the images. “We need some of both of us, though. And not just selfies. But that’s a good place to start. Come here,” he said, moving until their shoulders touched. He opened the camera and stretched out his arm with the tablet, angling to position them both in the frame. “Pretend you’re in love!”
West rolled his eyes but did as ordered, trying to imagine what it would be like to be in love with Colquhoun. If they’d met at the diner, and they’d grown to know each other, and maybe one day West had dared to ask him out. He felt himself smile at the idea. Joe would tease them both forever.
“Like that. Perfect.”
No one in the pack had seen the need for photographs. They’d lived and worked in one another’s pockets, each day unfolding enough like the one before that no one needed document one from many. Or at least that’s what he’d thought. West had started to take photographs of sunrises and sunsets after buying his phone, with Joe’s help, and each of those seemed different from the last. Each one more beautiful. He had one picture of Joe, taken in the kitchen. One of the diner. His cabin. But he had none of the home he’d left. None of his family, for whatever that would’ve been worth.
West had never seen a photograph of himself until Colquhoun’s enthusiasms. He wasn’t certain the man on Colquhoun’s tablet, looking at the camera with such a soft expression, could be him. It barely seemed possible.

Can they find the magic in a practical union?

West is on the run from his werewolf pack, but if he cannot renew his magical defenses, he won’t get far. What he needs is a mage….

Julian is part of a wealthy and ancient family, and one day, his legacy will include his mother’s vast library of spell books—and the knowledge he needs to correct his past mistakes. But his inheritance comes with a stipulation: he has to be married before he can collect. What he needs is a husband….

West and Julian can help each other, and at first they don’t want anything further. But as they dodge meddling cousins, jealous rivals, and an insidious drug, it becomes clear that their lives are entwined in ways they never imagined—and they’re in greater danger than they thought possible.

Buy the book at Dreamspinner | Amazon CA/COM/UK | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

About the Author: Parker Foye writes speculative-flavored romance under the QUILTBAG umbrella and believes in happily ever after, although sometimes their characters make achieving this difficult.

An education in Classics nurtured a love of heroes, swords, monsters, and beautiful people doing stupid things while wearing only scraps of leather. You'll find those things in various guises in Parker's stories, along with kissing (very important) and explosions (very messy). And more shifters than you can shake a stick at.

Used to living out of a suitcase, Parker is currently of fixed abode in the UK but still travels regularly via planes, trains, and an ever-growing library.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Moth and Moon by Glenn Quigley

Discover new historical alternate universe release, The Moth and Moon, today! Celebrate with debut author Glenn Quigley and IndiGo Marketing! Enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!

Title:  The Moth and Moon
Author: Glenn Quigley
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: March 19, 2018
Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 63000
Genre: Alternate Universe, Historical, LGBT, historical, gay, friends to lovers, sailor, baker, pirates, family drama

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In the summer of 1780, on the tiny island of Merryapple, burly fisherman Robin Shipp lives a simple, quiet life in a bustling harbour town where most of the residents dislike him due to the actions of his father. With a hurricane approaching, he nonetheless convinces the villagers to take shelter in the one place big enough to hold them all—the ancient, labyrinthine tavern named the Moth & Moon.

While trapped with his neighbours during the raging storm, Robin inadvertently confronts more than the weather, and the results could change everything.


The Moth and Moon
Glenn Quigley © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Mr. Robin Shipp pulled his cap lower as he took a deep breath of salty morning air and watched the sun emerge from behind the headland. Stepping from the pier into his little boat, he ran his heavy hand across the prow, catching his coarse fingers on the loose, chipped paintwork. He picked a jagged flake off the wooden frame and held it up to the light, the vivid scarlet catching the pinks and oranges of daybreak. He let go and it drifted through the air, carried away on the gentle breeze, before settling on the soft, lapping tide. Most of the paintwork was in some state of distress. Deep cracks marbled the entire hull, belying the fisherman’s profound affection for his vessel. Bucca’s Call had seen better days.

“I’ll paint you tomorrow, Bucca, I promise,” he said.

He made this very same promise every morning, but every day, he found some reason to put it off. Before too long, he was humming to himself and hauling his well-worn oyster dredge over the stern of Bucca’s Call.

“Beautiful!” he said as he emptied the net into a nearby tub. The shells clattered against one another as they fell. The boat bobbed about gently on the waves while gulls screeched and circled overhead. Her nameplate was missing a couple of letters and her white sails were truthfully more of a grimy beige these days, but she was as reliable as ever.

He was close to the shore and could see the whole bay—from the headland to the east, down to the harbour, past the pale blue-and-white-striped lighthouse that sat out at sea on its desolate little clump of rocks and scrub, and over to the beautiful sandy beach curving around and out of sight to the west.

The little fishing village of Blashy Cove sloped up the hills beyond the harbour, and with his gaze, he traced the low, stone walls lining each cobbled road. It was the only significant settlement on the tiny island of Merryapple, the southernmost point of a little cluster of islands nestled off the Cornish coast. The village had everything one would expect to find, except a place of worship. No lofty cathedral had ever been built there, no church of granite and glass, not even the smallest wooden chapel. When the empire of the Romans had fallen a thousand years earlier, its church had fallen alongside it. The invaders hadn’t lingered long on the mainland, and had never set foot on these islands. Once they were gone, the people picked through the remains, seeing the value in certain aspects and thoroughly disregarding the rest, scouring the regime clean from the face the world and consigning it meekly to the tomes of scholars and students. In its absence, the old gods returned to their forests and deserts, their mountains and streams, their homes and hearths. Spirits of air and land and sea. Woden and Frig, The Wild Hunt and the Bucca, piskies and mermaids, the Green Man and the wights, all were changed, made kinder and gentler by their brief exile. On these islands, the old ways had been the only ways, but even these had mostly died out, sloping into traditions, superstitions, and habits. It was now August in the year 1780, and people believed in themselves.

At this time of morning, sunlight hit the brightly painted houses and sparkled on the gentle, rolling waves. The village’s livelihood mainly revolved around the sea, but there was more to life than just luggers and lines and lobster pots. The Cove had long been a haven to those of a more creative bent. Painters and sculptors, engineers and inventors, they all found their home there. Some of them had come from the nearby Blackrabbit Island, which wasn’t known for its love of the finer arts. This abundance of skill, and the nurturing of it, meant Blashy Cove had adopted some innovations not yet common in the rest of the world.

Robin had been out for some time by now and, as usual, had already eaten his packed lunch. Soon, his substantial belly rumbled and he decided it was time to head back to port. Packing away his nets, he heaved in his empty lobster pots, secured the tub filled with this morning’s catch, and sailed the small craft homeward. As he did, he noticed a thin, grey line on the horizon.

“Looks like some bad weather on the way, Bucca,” he muttered to the little boat.

The stern of the curious little craft sat low in the water, due equally to the weight of the morning’s catch and the significant heft of Robin himself. While at first it appeared to be a traditional lugger, the kind of boat used by most fishermen in this part of the world, Bucca’s Call was actually much smaller and faster, a one-of-a-kind built many years previously.

Huge ships from the mainland drifted past, their enormous sails billowing in the breeze. Merryapple was part of a small group of southerly islands, and the last sight of land some of the mighty vessels would see for weeks, or even months.

Merryapple Pier was the oldest one anybody knew of. The brainstorm of a local fisherman many years earlier and copied by many other villages since, it might well have been the first of its kind. This clever fisherman realised if there was a way for larger boats to offload their cargo directly, rather than having to put it onto smaller vessels to ferry back and forth between harbour and ship, it would increase the traffic through the little port. The pier stretched out past the shallower waters near the coastline. Little sailboats like Bucca’s Call could dock right up close to the beach or even on the sand, if need be, while bigger fishing vessels could use the far end, in deeper waters. The pier was constructed from huge boulders hewn from the island’s cliff face and supported by a framework of long wooden poles from the woodlands. In the evening, bigger boats from the village fleet usually dropped anchor in the bay, while smaller vessels stayed moored to the pier.

At the shore, some children were chasing each other around a pile of crab pots, hooting and hollering while May Bell finished her deliveries for the bakery. May was around the same age as the other children, but she was of a more industrious bent. She saw Bucca’s Call approaching and ran to help Robin secure his mooring line as he lugged the tub of oysters onto the pier. When he clambered up the weathered stone steps, he steadied himself with a hand against the wall. The steps were wet and slippery, with dark green mould threatening to envelope his heavy boots should he linger too long.

“Morning, Mr. Shipp,” the girl called as she finished tying the worn rope around an old, pitted stone bitt.

“Mornin’, May! Thanks for your ’elp,” he called back, waving to the girl as he lumbered past. Taller than any man on the island, he dwarfed the little girl, drowning her in his shadow.

“Time for food already?” she asked.

“Oh yes,” replied Robin, “an’ I know just the place to get some!”

His legs were stiff from sitting in the boat all morning. He knew he was supposed to get up and move around a bit every once in a while, but when he was out on the water, the chatter of the gulls, the lap of the waves, the smell of the sea air, it was all so relaxing he just didn’t notice the time going by. Only his stomach growls marked the hours.

Mrs. Greenaway, wife of the village doctor and a friend of May’s parents, happened to be passing by on her way home from the market. Seeing their exchange, she scrunched up her face, adjusted the bow on her bonnet, and seized the little girl by the arm, leading her away from the pier and avoiding Robin’s disappointed gaze. He knew May from the bakery, as the master baker was one of his very few friends, but it wasn’t uncommon for people to avoid him.

Robin heaved the awkward tub full of oysters up and marched towards the bustling market, which was a collection of simple wooden stalls selling everything from food to clothes to ornaments. He edged his way through the crowd, past various stallholders and shoppers as he struggled with the heavy container. Finally, he reached the largest stall, which sold all manner of fresh seafood, all caught in that very cove. Robin specialised in inshore fishing, whereas the other boats concentrated their efforts farther out to sea. He was one of only two oyster fishermen in the village. The other, Mr. Hirst, was ill and hadn’t been out in his craft for almost two weeks. He was married, with a young family to feed, and the village had rallied around to help and make sure they didn’t go hungry. The lack of competition, however, meant Robin was securing a bumper crop.

A tall, thin man in a white coat was scribbling notes onto a wad of yellow paper. In front of him lay a collection of various local fish, in everything from buckets to barrels to battered old copper pots.

“Got a nice batch for you this mornin’, Mr. Blackwall.” Robin beamed, holding up the tub so the fishmonger could get a good look.

“Yes, these will do fine, I suppose, Mr. Shipp. Put them down at the front.” Mr. Blackwall was notorious for not getting too hands-on with the product or with much of anything, really. He kept his distance from the beach and fairly resented having to be even this close. Wet sand upset him greatly, as it had a tendency to cling to his shiny boots and sometimes it even marked his pristine coat. He didn’t do any of the actual work with the fish, instead leaving it to his assistants. He’d often said he didn’t see the point of having a stall at all when he had a perfectly good shop on Hill Road. But the market was a tradition in Blashy Cove, and so he had no choice but to participate or lose out. He jotted some numbers down on his paper and then chewed the end of his pencil as he tried to add them up. He always did this, and he never did it quickly. Robin stooped and laid the tub on the ground as instructed, grunting as he straightened.

“Joints sore again?” the fishmonger asked out of sheer politeness, not looking up from his calculations.

“No more’n usual,” Robin replied, rubbing the small of his back and rotating his shoulder. Working the sea wasn’t easy, and it had taken its toll over the years.

Ben Blackwall reached into his inside pocket and produced a fistful of polished coins, which he delivered into Robin’s large, callused hands. Robin nodded appreciatively and stuffed them into the pockets of his calf-length, navy-coloured overcoat. Tipping his floppy, well-worn cap to his long-time buyer, he turned and headed away from the dock.

He passed by other villagers going about their morning routine and jumped out of the way of a horse and cart loaded with apples from the orchard over the hills as he headed straight for the immense building dead ahead. It was a massive, ungainly lump, set in the centre of a spacious courtyard, all crooked wooden beams and slanting lead-paned windows. Every now and then, a shabby bay window or wonky dormer jutted out at funny angles. It was hard to tell exactly how many floors it had. Five, at least, the topmost of which sat like a box that had been dropped from a great height onto the rest of the structure. Rumpled, uneven, and crooked, this odd addition had one large, circular window on each of its four walls. On the ground outside, wooden tables and chairs were arranged, and heavy planters overflowed with hardy, perennial shrubbery. A couple of fat seagulls noisily argued over a few crumbs dropped near the windbreakers. This pair were here so often, they seemed to be part of the building itself. The locals named them Captain Tom and the Admiral. Captain Tom was the leader of a particularly noisy and troublesome band of gulls, and the Admiral was his main rival. They would often fight over even the tiniest scraps left on the ground, and both were marked with more than one battle scar.

As he pulled on the heavy oak door, the sign hanging overhead creaked and groaned in the wind. Painted on chestnut from the nearby wood, the bulk of the sign was older than the village itself, but it had been modified many times. Formed of several expertly carved layers, it now looked more like a child’s pop-up book rather than the simple plank of wood it had once been. The overall effect was of peering through a forest, out over the cove at night. The outermost tier resembled a ring of tree branches, gently moving up and down. Behind that layer were the turbulent waves, which clicked from side to side. Finally, there was the static crescent moon with a single cerulean moth flying slowly around, completing one revolution every hour. The whole sign ticked and whirred endlessly as its springs and cogs went about their work, and had to be wound up twice a day using a long, metal key kept tucked behind the tavern’s main door. The name of the establishment was weaved around and through the artwork in gold.

This wasn’t simply a place to drink or gather with friends; it was a place to conduct business, a place where people married, and a place where people mourned. It was a refuge from bad weather and jilted lovers. This was the heart and soul of the little village.

This was the Moth & Moon.


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Meet the Author

Glenn Quigley is a graphic designer originally from Dublin and now living in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. He creates bear designs for He has been interested in writing since he was a child, as essay writing was the one and only thing he was ever any good at in school. When not writing or designing, he enjoys photography and has recently taken up watercolour painting.

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Review: Dragon Fire, Angel Light by Shara Godwinson

William is a dragon shifter who, despite having lived for over two thousand years, has never found a true love. When he meets Evyn, a quirky musician/journalist who wants to be a real photographer, he immediately finds him irresistible.

But Evyn’s a little supernatural too, and an evil brotherhood and a band of soul reavers are after him to destroy his pure soul.

Can William protect his love from evil?

Oh my.

I’m always drawn to dragon stories and I loved the blurb for Dragon Fire, Angel Light. The beginning was promising, set in the time of the Battle of Hastings, the language was formal, a little stiff, but it fit the historical setting. Fine, we’re good. As dragons live for centuries, the story moves ahead with the same characters to modern times and from there on out, the story just fell apart. Well, to be honest, it didn’t fall apart, as it never got off the ground.

We’re introduced to William in the beginning and he meets and falls for Evyn, so we are told and therein lies the problem we’re told everything but shown very little. I never did get the connection between William and Evyn even though I was told they were soul mates. There was little to no relationship building on page and this ended up being one of the least romantic romances I’ve read. The stilted language and clinically described sex scenes were off-putting at best. I was convinced at this point that the romance could not be the apex of this story, but was secondary to the paranormal battle that was coming between the Brotherhood and the “Monsters”.

At one point William agrees to have Evyn locked up “for his safety”. I guess? And William can’t deal, so he bails for a couple of weeks and Evyn is left, chained up as a virtual prisoner in a cage with no explanation, no answers. Evyn has told William about his past, including similar treatment by his family growing up, so on what planet or alternative universe is this OK for the love of your life? William finally gets his guts together, returns and Evyn forgives him in a matter of moments. I mean, What? How? More importantly, WHY?

There was a lot of references to past hurts and trauma, all of which seemed to be mentioned then dropped with no resolution, including Evyn’s imprisonment. The references seemed to be used and therefore cheapened to make some kind of point but they were not necessarily relevant. The story was trying to have a hurt/comfort plotpoint without the comfort to balance the hurt. William’s relationship with Mark, the dragon he had relations with in one form or another through history was piecemeal and inconsistent. William suffered domestic violence and torture at the hands of Mark and their resolution was brushed off so quickly it added nothing to the story or to William as a character. Why was Mark even still around? It made no sense.

The introduction of secondary characters, with incomplete storylines, would have led me to believe that there are more stories to come, but there is no alluding to it, therefore many secondary’s served no purpose to the plot. So many of them were killed off (with no sadness or mourning by the MC’s, like AT ALL) or left hanging so when I went to the next page and saw “Epilogue”, I was honestly confused. Nothing was really resolved. The bad guys were not defeated, and again, many characters were left with no wrap up, it’s like the author just got tired of the story and decided to end it where it stood.

I was disappointed that the execution of the story didn’t live up to the blurb.

That cover though? Gorgeous!

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

Review: Safe and Sound by Caitlin Ricci

Twenty-one-year-old Mason has to get out of his mother’s house, where her boyfriend subjects him to unwanted advances—and won’t take no for an answer. Since she didn’t believe Mason when he told her about his uncle’s sexual abuse, Mason knows he’s on his own, and it’s up to him to raise the money he needs. He thinks he’s in luck when he takes a modeling job.

Oliver is a photographer, and getting guys and sex has always been easy for him. His current open relationship is no exception: more friendship and fun than anything. But when Oliver meets Mason, he can see the younger man is fragile and desperately in need of help. Before anything can develop between them, Mason needs to free himself of his terrible living situation and start on the road to healing. Oliver wants to stand beside him as he does. What surprises him is the discovery that he might need Mason as much as Mason needs him.

Mason is having a hard time. His step-father seems to take every opportunity to make him feel uncomfortable while his mother is out of the house, and Mason doesn’t think she would believe him about it if he said anything. Mason needs money so he can escape his step-father and Oliver is hiring models for his stock image portfolio.

Oliver is a photographer who doesn’t say no to the easy access to naked bodies in his photography studio, but does take no for an answer when his advances are rejected.

To be honest, this was pretty cliche. The older photographer finds the shy new boy endearing enough to test the waters but realises there is some damage and decides to take a different approach. Mason is inexperienced, frightened, and just wants to get away from predatory men.

I know Oliver is not supposed to present as a predator but to be completely honest it sure seemed that way to me. He was open about his interest, but in the beginning it was just about sex and since the reader already knows that something is up with Mason, it is off putting the way Oliver approached him.

There was also a scenario that was unacceptable to me, which really got my back up. Putting an abuse survivor in a risky situation is just not on in my opinion. I actually couldn’t believe it was written into the story. I wish it wasn’t in there and the plot was written with a different scenario.

I will say that Mason and Oliver developed a close relationship, and I felt they connected well after the whole hire a model and if he’s hot I’ll sleep with him part. That was tacky and I really didn’t like it. But after my initial revulsion I did come to like Oliver. I don’t know what that says about me. He seemed somewhat redeemed.

I liked his relationship with his boyfriend. I think it was the most honest out of the entire story. I could have enjoyed the story more if it was between them and Mason.

So my overall feelings were that this is a bit of a minefield. Mason is a sexual abuse survivor and I didn’t get the feeling that Oliver was right in the way he handled everything. By the end, I didn’t hate Oliver, and Mason was a sweetheart who needed the room to be away from abusers and start to heal.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion.

Review: Staggered Cove Station (Coast Guard Rescue #1) by Elle Brownlee

Rescues are wild in the Alaskan terrain. So is romance.

Sun-kissed California guardsman Dan Farnsworth might be at home in the water, but he’s out of his element at remote, rugged, and freezing Staggered Cove Station. Acclimating proves hard enough, but he’s also digging into how the station’s previous rescue swimmer was lost at sea. Was it an operation gone bad or something more sinister? Add to that the instant tension between him and his partner—no-nonsense Alaska-born Karl Radin—and Dan has his hands full.

As his investigation heats up, so does the attraction between Dan and Karl, even if they don’t completely trust each other. But as suspicious events escalate to sabotage, Dan starts to fear that he and Karl won’t get the chance to become more than reluctant coworkers.

This book came along when I needed it the most. I’ve been in a pretty down mood of late and needed to find a book that could draw me in and make me feel and this did just that.

Told from the dual POV’s of two Coast Guardsmen as they rescue the lives of stranded strangers and rescue their chance at love, we meet flight mech Chief Petty Officer Karl Radin as he’s out for a morning run along the crisp and frighteningly cold waters of the rugged Alaskan coastline. Karl an Alaskan native who is posted at the Staggered Cove Station and is about to meet the member of his team Rescue Swimmer, Dan Farnsworth. Karl isn’t keen on the newbie on paper yet when Dan arrives, Karl is attracted at first sight.

Dan has followed in the footsteps of his older brother Axe, joining the Coast Guard and becoming a rescue swimmer, but being assigned to Staggered Cove wasn’t by chance, Dan asked for it. You see, Dan’s brother Axe died on a rescue mission that was led by Karl Radin and Dan knows his brother was strong enough to survive the conditions so there must be foul play about. Dan has a job to do and a mystery to solve and both will lead him down roads he never expected.

I loved this story so damn much. The adrenaline with the rescue scenes were so intense and detailed I could hear the blades of the chopper and feel the cold of the Alaskan waters as Dan swam in them. It was amazing to read and just thinking about what a rescue of this caliber requires has me excited but knowing what goes on with Dan and Karl during the rescues has my heart rate spiking.

Speaking of heart rates, let’s talk about the romance. At first, neither Karl nor Dan are fond of one another. Dan is basically there to prove Karl did something wrong in regards to his brothers death and Karl isn't enthusiastic about arrogant rescue swimmers and isn’t quick to trust but there is something about these two that draws them together… it was beautiful to watch.

There is a slow burn feel to the romance between Dan and Karl. They have the mistrust at the start but after a quick turn around with a rescue soon after they meet, they learn that if they can trust the other with their lives on a mission, there has to be other ways they can trust as well. Of course, being roommates and Karl being interested in Dan helps the romance along the way but it was really lovely and romantic to watch Dan finally find someone to open up to and see him through the “I’m fine” facade he presents.

I admit I wanted some sort of confrontation between these two preferably in a storm that ends with them getting physical and having a make out session and while I didn’t get what I wanted exactly, because what I got was even better.

The mystery of Axe’s death provides some heart stopping moments with the men and gives another level of character development to Dan and Karl as individuals and a couple. They have to trust, they have to listen, keep an open mind, accept the unexpected and they have to keep rescuing the other so they can have the type of relationship they are so damn hungry for.

I loved watching Dan and Karl develop into a couple and the intimacy build between them until it was an explosion of want. For me, I don’t need explicit on page sex to feel the connection between these two and what I got was more than enough. Actually, it was so much that I squeed and hugged my Nook at the end and that exchange between them.

Elle Brownlee has created a romance that has me researching coast guardsmen in Alaska and watching a few videos of rescues that have my toes tingling from the cold. It really felt like you were right there during each of the rescues and each of the moments that had action within the romance that it was impossible not to get lost in the story. Dan and Karl are wonderfully complex characters and I am thankful I was able to witness their romance.

Yup. This was good and I can’t wait to see what comes next in the Coast Guard Rescue series.

Don't miss the Staggered Cove Station blog visit HERE!