Contemporary Romance

Trust with a Chaser (Rainbow Cove #1) by Annabeth Albert 4 Star Review

   Trust with a Chaser  by Annabeth Albert 4 Stars!

One hot cop. One bar owner out for redemption. One smoking-hot summer fling destined to leave scorch marks… Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans. Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for. When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything?

 

Review

I am so excited about this series. I love Annabeth Albert’s writing. These books are warm, sexy and have emotionial depth.

This love story is no different. I like the set up of this series based in the small town that needs the economic boost being a queer friendly town might bring it. This premise reminds me of the real life town of Guernville in California.

I like that we will get a series of the people moving to the town to make it so.

This romance features a man from the wrong side of the tracks moving back home to rejuvenate the town and the closeted police chief. We get family issues, good friends, and falling in love with an older man.

It is a very lovely read.

True Brit by Con Riley 4 Star Review

    True Brit by Con Riley 4 Stars!

Winning the United Kingdom’s favorite singing contest is a challenge for half-Afghani Pasha Trueman. He doesn’t have the best voice, but success would be life-changing. His strategy is simple—he’ll make the British public love him.

Ed Britten is an ex-soldier with a different agenda. Winning means he’ll keep a promise made after a deadly Afghan ambush. His voice is his weapon, but he leaves his heart unguarded.

Ed and Pasha’s discovery that the contest isn’t a fair fight calls for creative tactics. Staging a fake love story could bring victory, only there’s more at stake than the prestigious first prize. If winning means surrendering each other, they could both end up losing.

Review

I was utterly charmed by this book but it has some loose ends that were annoying because if these issues had been addresses it would have went from being a very good lover story to an excellent one.

Pasha and Ed are very different people. However, they are on a singing show together and end up needing each other and liking each other very much.

This a spot on pretend relationship plot for those of you who like me love those. It is great.

They communicate and are steadfast. There are lots of twists and turns that I don’t want to give away. Each character is detailed and the exploration of the heroes and falling in love is grand against the backdrop of the show.

They are both very smart but hurting and take time to show each other fully who they are.

It is a really good book.

The ends that that dangle: A better understanding of what happen to Ed in the army, more with Pasha’s auntie and his sexuality… And others stuff lol.

Very good overall.

Cookies and Coffee by Mathew Ortiz Review

Review:

Cookies and Coffee (Cookies and Coffee. An unconventional love story) - Mathew Ortiz

Peanut butter cookies…are they the key to finding true love? Douglas never imagined he would meet the man of his dreams, while wrestling a bag of cookies from him! No way that smoking hot Dr. Stanopolous would be interested in him…would he? 

Dr. Antonio ‘Tino’ Stanopolous couldn’t decide what he wanted to take a bite out of first; the peanut butter cookies in his hand or the delectable nurse trying to snatch them away…or could he do both?

 

Review

 

I was bopping along and then I realized it is a serial. Agh. Even with Kindle Unlimited where I can get all of the books, serials rarely work for me. 

This is a sweet romance between a doctor and nurse. The nurse is a plain joe which is a favorite of mine and other heroes are super kind. No man whores here. 

Some editing needs.

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northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1622184/cookies-and-coffee-by-mathew-ortiz-review

Jumping Jude (Made Marian #3) by Lucy Lennox Review

     Jumping Jude by Lucy Lennox 3.5 Stars! 

Jude: Reaching the top of the country music charts brings out the crazy, and there’s no one crazier than my ex. Unfortunately, his threats to out me are escalating. Enter the bodyguard of my dreams.

I’d probably chafe under his constant presence if his attention to my body wasn’t so… ah… thorough. Now I have to worry about outing myself to millions of fans if I can’t keep my hands off him in public.

Derek: Now I’m an ex-Marine turned babysitter. If I have to hear Jude sing his mega-hit Bluebells one more time, I might murder him myself, and after 6 years in special ops, I know my way around a weapon. Unfortunately, so does he. Except his arsenal includes washboard abs and a killer set of pipes.

I’ve faced guns, knives, explosives and yet it’s Jude Marian who may end up bringing me to my knees.

Review

 I like this entry into the the Marian series a ton. Jude and Wolfe are very sexy. The conflict makes sense and they have great banter.

They are both wonderful men and it wonderful to see them fall in love and get their happily ever after.

These series is pretty sappy and has a great cast of characters and family members. Good stuff.

Wheels Up (Out of Uniform #4) by Annabeth Albert Review

Review:

Wheels Up (Out of Uniform) - Annabeth Albert

heir love is forbidden, but their hearts aren’t listening to rules and regulations…

Lieutenant Dustin Strauss is a reformed man. No longer a twentysomething hell-raiser, he’s his SEAL team’s new XO—and a man with a secret. Or seven. He’s kept his bisexual identity under wraps for years, along with his kinky side and a fondness for the military-themed semianonymous hookup website Joe4Joe. His latest chat buddy is more than a sexy online distraction—they’re taking their very not-safe-for-work relationship into real time.

Petty Officer Wes Lowe has a smart mouth, a take-charge attitude and an uncanny ability for making things go boom. The life of an enlisted man isn’t always enough to satisfy him, but one wild, no-questions-asked weekend with his online love comes close. When a transfer order comes in, Wes feels ready and centered. He’ll make a good impression on his new SEAL team and keep his growing feelings for Dustin on the down low.

But as they log more time online and some very real emotions surface, Dustin and Wes struggle to pretend they’re just a harmless fling. And when his commander introduces Dustin to his team’s newest member, they’re in for the shock of a lifetime…and a crushing disappointment: their difference in ranks means even a friendship without sexual contact could end their navy careers for good. 

With their hearts on the line, Dustin and Wes may not survive their next mission, let alone find a way toward a future together.

 

Review

 

I like Annabetb Albert a great deal and I love this series. I didn’t love this book and struggled to finish it. 

I adored the opening with Dustin and Wes meeting in San Diego but once that got to San Diego the book went south for me. 

Partly, I never really got over Dustin not being more honest and open with his brother (a hero from a previous book in the series). I am also not a huge fan of forbidden romance but good writing (and Albert is a very good writer) can move me past that. However, I just never adjusted the the angst and the lack of couple time in this book.

Not for me. 

I was given this book for my honest review. So, there you have it.

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northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1622167/wheels-up-out-of-uniform-4-by-annabeth-albert-review

Taming Teddy: Made Marian Series by Lucy Lennox Review

   Taming Tedd by Lucy Lennox 3 Stars!

Teddy: If there’s one thing I don’t do, it’s commitment. You don’t become an award-winning photographer by staying in one place. I’m always on the road, looking for the next shot, the next award, the next hot body. Which is how I end up on Dr. James Marian’s front porch in the middle-of-nowhere Alaska. He’s known as the Wildlife Whisperer, and I want to photograph him in action. He’s reluctant at first, but I can be persuasive.

Soon enough I have him in bed saying yes over and over and over again, but my ability to shoot and scoot is frozen by a Denali snowstorm.

Jamie: I always thought of myself as the marrying type. Until I got left at the altar. Now I have a new motto: never commit and never fall in love. So when a cocky nature photographer decides I’m the key to his next masterpiece, it seems like the perfect arrangement: the hotshot’s only in town for a brief assignment and then he’ll be gone. No commitment, no strings, and no chance of getting my heart broken again.

There’s just one problem: I think I’m falling in love. Now I’m afraid that maybe I’m the marrying type after all. And he definitely is not.

 

Review

The animal lover in me loves this book and I like Teddy and Jamie. They are fun and have great chemistry.

I like the rest of the Marian clan as well and the Alaskan setting is awesome.

The conflict is a bit lame and the issues with Jamie’s ex are really not clarified in a way that makes him a real person.

This was a nice fun read overall and I will check out the rest of the series.

Hottie Scotty and Mr. Porter by R. Cooper 4 Star Review

Review:

Hottie Scotty and Mr. Porter - R. Cooper

To help out his sister, Scott moved to the small town of Montgomery, where there isn’t much to do and no one for him to date. Well, there’s one other openly gay man in town—Henry ‘Cole’ Porter, a widower who runs the school library, but after one drunken night together, Cole has kept his distance. Scott is used to that. He spends a lot of time working out to look good, and from the slow way he talks and the frat house atmosphere at the fire station where he works, it’s easy to assume he’s stupid. Most people are happy to admire his body and assume that’s all he wants from them, and deep down, Scott is too afraid to try asking for more. 

Which is why sweet, romantic Scott has been secretly pining after Cole for months when some of the town’s nosier residents decide Cole has been single long enough. They have a plan to throw every successful, smart, professional gay man in a thirty-mile radius Cole’s way, whether he likes it or not. Their list of candidates doesn’t include Scott, and Scott’s insecurities prevent him from stepping forward—even when it seems as though Cole is asking him to. 

Cole is everything Scott isn’t; highly educated, stylish, with refined tastes. He’s also stubborn and sarcastic, and not nearly as smart about the workings of his own heart as people might think. It might take a lot of the wrong men for him to realize the right one has been in front of him all along.

 

Review

 

 

I liked this romance very much. It looked carefully at two very different men seeing their way to be together and in love. The conflicts are mainly internal but we do have a lot of blocking going on.

Scott is younger and shy. He is very good looking and thus people see him as shallow and not bright even though he is clearly kind and smart.

Cole is a widower and funny. He is older and more established and people think he is too smart for Scott.

However, Scott and Cole are very attuned. I love those moments in the book where Cooper manages to show us just how right these two are for each other. 

Cole has to see Scott and Scott needs to value himself more but they get there. As with most of Cooper’s books lack of communication is a huge issue (quit it!) and the story needs to be longer after the couple really connects.

There is a weird aside in this book with all the straight women matchmaking and basically objectifying the gay men in town which is very meta to the Male/Male Romance dynamics that is worth a look as well.

 
 

 

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The Arrangement by Felice Stevens Review

     The Arrangement by Felice Stevens 3 Stars!

Carter Haywood lives for the weekends—specifically the one weekend every month when he escapes real life, with all the pressures of work and caring for his special needs brother, to do whatever he wants, with whomever he wants. Sex is only a release; he’s not looking for love, a relationship or even a second night with the same man, until he walks into a bar and finds someone who makes leaving it all behind impossible. After one incredibly passionate encounter, he breaks his rule and goes back. He needs to see this man again. And again.

Damaged goods. That’s all Reed Kincaide sees and hears when he looks in the mirror. Anxiety and ADHD define his life and he’s learned to keep people at a distance, never letting them get close enough to know who he really is. When Carter proposes a monthly weekend of sex without strings, it’s the ideal arrangement for him. Or so he thinks. Every month, leaving Carter proves to be more and more difficult. It’s not only the intensely hot sex they have in their hotel suite; Reed wonders about the secret life Carter refuses to share.

As months pass and they grow closer Reed finds himself falling for Carter, but he needs more than hurried hugs and farewell kisses. He wants it all. Letting Reed into his carefully constructed family life could upset Carter’s whole world, but it might be the risk he’s finally willing to take, if it means keeping Reed. Once bodies are engaged, the heart is sure to follow, and Carter and Reed discover that holding on to each other is the first step in letting go of the past.

Review

I liked each of these characters but the idea so common in Romance novels that one of the heroes can’t even give a hint at what is happening in his home life with his brother is tiring.

Why does it have to be a secret? So, for me the main conflict of this book is too drawn out and it would have been a richer love story if we got more time with them as couple living their lives.

They are both complex enough people that conflict could come from who they are and adjusting to being a family.

How to Walk Like a Man (Howl at the Moon Book 2) Eli Easton Review

Review:

How to Walk Like a Man - Eli Easton

Deputy Roman Charsguard survived Afghanistan where he lost his best friend—his K-9 handler James. Roman was a military dog until two years ago when he developed the ability to shift into a human. It’s not easy to learn how to be a man. He found a place to live in Mad Creek, a haven for the secret world of dog shifters. Finding a reason to live has been harder. That is, until a certain human walks into the Mad Creek Sheriff’s office and starts making trouble.

Matt Barclay has the worst luck. First he was shot in a SWAT drug raid, then he was sent as DEA investigator to Mad Creek, a little town in the California mountains. Matt’s job is to keep a lookout for illegal drug farms, but nobody in the town wants him there. And then there’s Roman, Matt’s erstwhile baby-sitter. He’s the hottest guy Matt’s ever seen, even if he is a bit peculiar. If this job doesn’t kill Matt, sexual frustration just might.

The town is counting on Roman to prevent Matt from learning about dog shifters, Matt’s counting on Roman to be his work partner and tell him the truth, and Roman’s trying to navigate love, sex, and a whole lot of messy human emotions. Who knew it was so complicated to walk like a man?

 

Review

This is a fairly light hearted shifter romance. I like the mythos and the characters. I would like it better if it was a known paranormal world. The conflict of “nobody must know” gets a bit old but it fun.

 

Roman is wonderful of course. It is cool the way Easton has him settle into his human body.

 

I like Matt less and would have wanted more time with him after he was out but all in all this is a sweet fun tale with adventure thrown in.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1593835/how-to-walk-like-a-man-howl-at-the-moon-book-2-eli-easton-review

Crunch (The Riley Brothers #4) by E. Davies Review

   Crunch (The Riley Brothers Book 4) by E. Davies 3.5 Stars! 

“I don’t have a right to complain.”
Tattoo artist Floyd Turner’s faith in justice was destroyed when he was a rookie cop. He struggled for a couple years with drinks and his own anger. He’s long past that stage – now, he runs a tattoo shop downtown. But despite his fulfilling career, he’s nervous about the upcoming high school reunion. Not having a date to bring there reveals his insecurity: he aches for something more. And then, when he thinks things can’t get any more stressful, his former patrol partner walks in.

“These tattoos better make a difference.”
After his past caught up with him, cop Greyson Peters became a fitness instructor and moved back home. His old career was hard from the start, and he’s always struggled to find a healthy outlet. He’s slowly healing, pouring his energy into exercise, but he’s still got unsightly scars he wants covered. It’s hard to be a playboy when his self-confidence keeps taking hits. Worse yet, his family keeps pressuring him to get back into the force.

“I turned my pain outward, you turned it inward.”
With Floyd’s family chasing him for a debt he’s long since paid and Greyson struggling to find closure for the career he still misses, the two old classmates are drawn together sharing skills. Both men are openly gay now, and they slowly realize they could always be fake dates for the reunion. As their feelings strengthen, can they even hold out until the reunion to admit that they’re both afraid of wanting more? And can they open their eyes and see the support all around them?

Review

Davies books are always solidly good. This romance between Floyd and his ex police partner explores a range of topics from guilt, to policing, to self harm, to what we own our families.

The romance is hot and tender.

I am so happy for Floyd to get a happily ever after and to rejoin this circle of friends in this lovely series.