contemporary romance series

Illegal Contact (The Barons, #1) by Santino Hassell 4.5 Star Review!

   Illegal Contact (The Barons) by Santino Hassell 4.5 Stars!

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

Review

Yea! So good! Yea! Gavin and Noah are awesome and watching them fall in love is a joy.

This is a great sports romance with so much couple time. We get a “cabin”romance with two detailed and complex heroes.

Everything about this book shines. The writing is excellent as is the cast and the romance is swoony.

Gavin works hard and is admirable and watching his character develop is pure pleasure. Noah is really great and his internal conflicts are realistic and compelling.

They are a wonderful couple. I really like how Hassell gives us a bisexual hero and full build contemporary world.

If you like Marina Zapata’s The Wall of Winnipeg and me, you will love this book.

 

 

First Season (Harrisburg Railers, #2) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey 4 Star Review!

Review:

First Season - V.L. Locey, R.J. Scott

Layton wants success, Adler wants family, how can love make both these things possible?

Layton Foxx works

hard for what he has. The condo, the career, the chance to make his mark, is all down to the sacrifices he has made. With tragedy in his past, he doesn’t want or need love. Then he meets Adler Lockhart, the extroverted, sexy winger for the Harrisburg Railers and abruptly he can’t avoid love even if he wanted to.

 

Adler Lockhart has had everything handed to him his whole life. Cars, villas, cash, college tuition at the finest Ivy League schools. The only things he doesn’t have are parents who care or the love of a good man. Then Layton walks into his privileged life and shows him what real love can be like.

 

 

Review

 

Adler and Layton launched me back into a huge Sports Romance kick. Hockey! I also preordered the next book in the series right away.

Alder is socially awkward which is a kind of hero I love. It doesn’t come out in the shy way but in the overly outgoing way. 

Layton is buttoned up and his job is crisis management. We get a great opposites attract trope going. 

I love Adler’s hell bent clumsy wooing of Layton. I really liked all the complexities revealed about each hero overtime. 

Adler really wants love and Layton, eventually, can’t help but love him.

We get a great subplot at Layton manages the heroes of the first book in the series coming out a professionial sports setting. All the secondary characters are great.

This book is perfect for a reread in times when you need comfort.

 
 

 

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1618342/first-season-harrisburg-railers-2-by-r-j-scott-and-v-l-locey-4-star-review

Nothing Special by Jay Northcote Review

   Nothing Special by Jay Northcote 3 Stars!

Noah thinks he’s nothing special. Average height, a bit on the skinny side, and cute but rather geeky, he’s relentlessly ordinary. He certainly doesn’t expect to be noticed by Sol, the gorgeous dark-haired stranger Noah sees on his commute home most days. But when Noah’s friend, Dom, persuades Noah to take a huge risk in a bid to get Sol’s attention, things turn out better than Noah dared to hope. Noah and Sol start dating, and much to Noah’s surprise, his feelings seem to be reciprocated.

But Noah’s insecurities make him doubt Sol. He doesn’t believe he’s interesting enough or sexy enough to hold Sol’s attention, and as Sol tries to get closer, Noah’s instinct is to pull away to protect himself. If their relationship is going to survive, Sol needs to convince Noah that he sees Noah very differently than Noah sees himself. Because to Sol, Noah is something very special indeed.

Review

This is sweet wish fulfillment where the hero gets is daily commute crush. They fall in love fast–too fast for the kind of character development that would make this a better romance and there could be a higher heat level but I enjoyed this story.

The Only Guy (The Guy, #2) by Skylar M. Cates Review

Review:

The Guy From Glamour - Skylar M. Cates

Aaron Weiss knows how to escape. Years ago, he ran from a romantic disappointment and impulsively joined the Army. Now, he’s forced to take a medical discharge and readjusting to life at home proves a challenge.

Jesse Ross knows how to hide. He realizes he’s an oddball, and that he’s an outsider within his own family. He also knows his secret love since childhood, Aaron, only wants his good-looking, favored older brother. Yet Jesse could never completely abandon his intense feelings for Aaron. Over the years, Jesse was a faithful pen pal to him. Still, he’s shocked to his core to find Aaron on his doorstep.

As long-buried secrets and past hurts take center stage, the two are overwhelmingly drawn to each other. But it’s their future that may force them to risk everything.

 

Review

 

I  liked this romance well enough that I bought the rest of the series. Loved forever romances are a treat. 

Jesse is a great artist hero and I love who he is as a kid. Aaron took a long time to get a clue but when he did it was worth it.

Both our heroes need to work on communication but it is a fine romance with lots of great details.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1618301/the-only-guy-the-guy-2-by-skylar-m-cates-review

Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Amy Jo Cousins 4 Star Review

    Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Bend or Break Book 6)  by Amy Jo Cousins 4 Stars!

When friends lose the benefits, can the friendship be saved?

Love Me Like A Rock

With the right art tools, there’s almost nothing Austin can’t make real. Except an official relationship with his best friend, rowing teammate and occasional hookup, Vinnie.

Emotional and sexual frustration fuel a spark between Austin and Sean, the nude model in drawing class. After a quick and very dirty encounter, all the reasons Austin has been waiting for Vinnie go fuzzy in his mind.

But if Austin can’t get his head and his heart on the same page, he could lose both his friend, and his lover.

Hard Candy

Vincent always assumed he and Austin would eventually end up together. But now that Austin’s in love with another man, Vinnie is at a loss.

After the world’s most awkward one-night stand with Bryan, a dance major, Vinnie is drawn to his vibrant spirit and calm center.

Physically, the rowing jock and the glittery dancer can match each other stroke for booty pop. But for the lovers to meet on common ground, they’ll have to find a way to get moving in the same direction.

 

Review

This is a lovely pairing of a romance.

We get two best friends Austin and Vinnie who are not good romantic partners for each other. They each find love that helps them grow and become their richer selves.

I enjoyed Austin and Sean romance a great deal. I do wish that we had been in Sean’s head. He was a great character I loved how he went after his crush on Austin. This is a wonderful coming of age story for Austin where he learns to love and be loved. Sexy too with lots of fun moments.

Vinnie and Bryan’s romance is a bit more moody. As they come together to trust as well as like each other the tenderness of the romance comes in. There is an intersting discussion of sexual desire that I wish had more page time but overall I was really happy with this queer New Adult Romance.

The overlap and braid of the two love stories makes this book special.

Nothing Serious by Jay Northcote Review

Review:

Nothing Serious - Jay Northcote

Mark O’Brien is finally being honest with himself. His relationship with Rachel is over and he’s moving out of the home they’ve shared for six years. They get along, but he can’t fix a relationship when the person he’s with is the wrong gender.

Jamie Robertson, one of the removal men, is huge and ridiculously gorgeous, and Mark is smitten at first sight. When a cardboard box splits, revealing items of a personal nature that Mark never wanted anybody to see, he’s mortified. But it sparks the start of a beautiful friendship with benefits.

As Jamie initiates Mark into the joys of gay sex, the two men get increasingly close and “nothing serious” turns into something rather important to both of them. But communication isn’t their strong point. Will either man ever find the courage to be honest about his feelings?

Review

Such a nice sexy romance between an man who has just come out and a younger hero who has always been himself.

 

Northcote writes a lovely little character driven love story. A good way to spend the afternoon.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1592385/nothing-serious-by-jay-northcote-review

Short Stay (Love Lessons, #3.5) by Heidi Cullinan 4 Star Review

Review:

Short Stay (Love Lessons) - Heidi Cullinan

Hot messes have a hard time with happily ever after.

 

Baz Acker and Elijah Prince have it all. They’re engaged, and their wedding is guaranteed to be a spectacle no event will ever top. So why are they hunkered down in a quiet corner of the Acker mansion, restless and edgy while they wait out the holidays?

 

When Baz suggests a road trip with Walter and Kelly to Las Vegas, it sounds like an ideal escape, but it turns out Vegas only amplifies their unease. Elijah can’t slough off the self-hating his parents programmed into him, and he worries how that will affect his marriage. Baz, crippled en route because of too much time spent in the car without rest, must face the truth that his wealth and influence can’t always counteract the limits his disability will put on his–and Elijah’s–life.

 

With help from their friends, a wily poker player, a take-no-prisoners drag queen, and a smooth-talking casino owner, they face the truth that happiness is a state of mind, not a destination where they book a stay. What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas–it will follow them all the way down the aisle.

 

Review

 

At first I was reluctant to read this short story with Baz and Elijah because I wanted no more drama for them.

I am glad I did. This is a wonderful New Year’s Eve romance that puts all the whipped cream and cherries on their happily ever after.

They struggle through self esteem, chronic pain, and lack of communication issues but they learn how to be a unit. 

There are ton of easter eggs in here for Cullian’s other series.

It is a great big romantic time.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1599416/short-stay-love-lessons-3-5-by-heidi-cullinan-4-star-review

Owning It (Metropolis, #3) by Riley Hart and Devon McCormack 4 Star Review!

   Owning It  by Riley Hart and Devon McCormack 4 Stars!

Just out of an eighteen-year marriage, the last thing Jackson expects the first time he visits a gay bar is for a sexy, drunk, twenty-six-year-old twink to mistakenly climb into his Jeep. The twink part he’s good with, the drunk part…not so much. As far as Jackson’s concerned, the boy should come with a warning label. But Derek is not as flighty as Jackson thought…he’s actually pretty incredible. Getting to know the wild, funny man is a breath of fresh air. And when Derek calls him Daddy? Christ, he never thought something like that would feel so right.

Derek has serious daddy issues, and his name is Jackson. He’s stubborn and controlling…and ever since Derek woke up in the silver fox’s condo, he can’t get Jackson out of his mind. Maybe because no matter how many times he throws himself at him, Jackson doesn’t take the bait. And maybe because Jackson is the one person who sees him for who he really is. But Derek loves a challenge, and he’s eager to rock Jackson’s world.

Jackson isn’t interested in a meaningless hookup. He wants the real Derek, not just the sassy jokester everyone else sees. But it’s not easy for Derek to open up. He feels much safer guarding his heart. And Jackson needs to figure out the balance between living for himself and the mountain of responsibilities weighing him down. Derek and Jackson must find the common ground between hookup and commitment–if they can’t own their issues and work together to overcome their faults, they could smother the flame between them that’s just beginning to ignite.

Review

I love this romance between the over the top Derek and Jackson.

This romance really works because they allow each other emotionial intimacy as well as physical. Both heroes are complex and engaging and the chemistry is smoking hot.

This is a funny book but it is also tender. Derek gets the love he deserves and so does Jackson.

We also get close friendships. Good stuff!

Grind (The Riley Brothers #6) by E. Davies 4 Star Review

   Grind (The Riley Brothers Book 6)by E. Davies 4 Stars!

“My family could accept me being gay, but not trans.”
James is in trouble. His family turned their back on him after he transitioned, and he was forced to start his new life without them, but now he’s paying the price. Buried in debt, his last chance is to start a business with hunky carpenter Ryan and hope that they succeed. The one thing he can’t afford is a distraction, but what if Ryan is the only one to see past it all and love him inside and out?

“Strictly-business is hard around you.”
Ryan Hart doesn’t rattle easy. From lazy contractors to being the last single friend, nothing bothers him until he meets James. Ryan’s new business partner pushes him to follow his dreams, even though he faces problems Ryan’s never considered. Ryan doesn’t back down from a challenge or from threats to his business, James’s hard-won privacy, and their future together. As business partners, of course. Nothing more.

“I can’t believe they don’t see you as the man I love.”
They both know mixing business with pleasure is a bad idea, but the pull between them is too hard to resist. Can Ryan have it all with the clever, caring, bossy guy who’s won his heart?

Review

This is my favorite book in the Riley Brothers series.

I love James. I love the reality of how hard it is to find good work. I love how he uses his talent.

I love Ryan as well. I like how open and caring he is. I like how James and Ryan are better together than they are apart.

The aspect of their relationship that intersects with transgender issues is well handled.

This is a wonderful love story.

 

For Better or Worse by R. Cooper Review

     For Better or Worse by R. Cooper 3.5 Stars!

To the other firefighters in Montgomery, Javier is a quietly heroic figure with a reputation for staying calm and doing what needs to be done. To the small town gossips, he’s some kind of mysterious ladies’ man, despite how he hasn’t dated anyone in years. Truth is, Javier’s demisexual—it takes him a while to feel desire for someone, and most people don’t want to wait for that to happen. Tired of being hurt, he gave up on dating. He gave up with such determination that two years into spending nearly every free evening making dinners with his best friend, Jimmy, he’s only just realized that he’s in love with him.

Jimmy is noise where Javier is silent. He expresses his thoughts and feelings about every subject imaginable—except the reason he moved thousands of miles away from his family to start a new life in Montgomery. He spends his nights with Javier, cooking and jointly taking care of his rescue dog. If he’s noticed that he and Javier have been all but dating each other for the past two years, he hasn’t said, and Javier isn’t going to risk upsetting him by asking.

That is, until the very public romance between their fellow firefighter, Scotty, and school librarian, Cole, leads Jimmy to reveal more about his past. Suddenly, Javier has hope. If he has to change the minds of the entire town in order to woo his best friend, then so be it. He’s not someone to let a little fear get in his way, especially when it means a chance to make their date nights real.

Review

I like the tone of R. Coopers writing as it is a bit lush and character driven.

This book is best read after the first book in the series. It is really lovely friends to lovers romance featuring a demisexual and a closeted gay man who are best friends and fire fighters.

Jimmy and Javier share a strong connection but they both need to be much better at talking. I would have loved to hear them talk things out.

I liked the book a great deal but the lack of sharing of thoughts was frustrating. It is a great setting and circle of friends and I would like more in this series but more couple time (which was an issue in the first book as well).