slow seduction

Play It Again, Charlie by R. Cooper 4 Star Review

      Play It Again, Charlie by R. Cooper  by R. Cooper 4 Stars!

After an accident left him broken in body and spirit, Charlie Howard retired from the police force to teach at a community college. Life has taught him that he’s unlikely to get what he wants, so he’s stopped asking. Instead, he hides from the world in the apartment complex he manages. After all, no one can leave him if he doesn’t let anyone in.

Will, a sexy, classic-film-loving twink, moves into the apartment across from him and—to Charlie’s surprise—makes it clear that he’d like nothing more than to hole up with Charlie and get kinky. Will has no problem expressing what he wants in bed or out of it, but he’s never dated anyone long-term, and Charlie isn’t sure Will’s ready for anything serious.

Charlie is a serious kind of guy. He wants Will and everything a relationship could mean, even if he doesn’t have any experience in that scene—even if that makes him vulnerable. As they grow closer, Charlie realizes that it’s time to start asking for what he wants, and if he wants to be happy, he’ll have to risk everything and ask Will to stay.

Review

This is a tender and hot romance between a gruff older Criminal Justice Professor and a young hair stylist.

It is an opposites attract romance between Charlie and Will, neither of whom are great at talking or letting themselves be fully scene. At the end of the book, Charlie’s lack of sharing is frustrating but because there are all kinds of levels of intimacy (the heat factor is much higher here than in most Cooper books), the struggle to articulate and risk on these heroes part feels more natural.

I think the love between them is a healing love and I liked the slow flowering. The end of the story was a bit of a mess but we get an HEA that satisfies. They fully see each other.

Grounded by Aidan Wayne Review

     Grounded by Aidan Wayne 3.5 Stars!

Between raising his daughter Camille, his work as a full-time pastry chef, and his hobby of capoeira, Baz’s life is pretty full. He may be a little lonely, but he’s too busy to think about it all that much.

When his cousin Alaina introduces him to Terry, another capoeira student, Baz is instantly drawn to him. Though quiet and withdrawn, Terry ends up being a fun, interesting person who Baz can’t help but fall for. And when Baz does things, he doesn’t do them halfway.

Terry is a successful voice actor and a talented martial artist. But the fact that he’s shy, on top of being a trans man, has kept him from really dating. He likes Baz, he does—he just doesn’t want to mess up their friendship by failing at romance. Still, Baz is nothing if not stubborn, and Terry is willing to give things a try.

Review

I liked everything that was in this book but to make this romance really sing I need much more to make an emotionial investment.

I like the slow unspooling of Terry’s character. I enjoyed the details of how Baz’s manages single fatherhood and the scenes with his daughter. The details of each hero’s job were were well done. I like how sexual desire and romantic affection is handled.

I like Baz and Terry and their courtship and relationship.

However, so much floated in this story that I couldn’t engage. Setting needed much more developed. Baz’s sexuality isn’t really discussed as well as many aspects of his back story. A great deal about Terry is shadowed as well. We don’t get much martial arts really either.

So, it is sweet and gentle romance with great everyday details but I needed more emotionial intimacy.

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).

Spun! (The Shamwell Tales, #4) by J.L. Merrow Review

     Spun! (The Shamwell Tales)  by J.L. Merrow 3 Stars!

An ill-advised encounter at the office party leaves David Greenlake jobless and homeless in one heady weekend. But he quickly begs work from his ex-boss and takes a room in Shamwell with easygoing postman Rory Deamer. David doesn’t mean to flirt with the recently divorced Rory — just like he doesn’t consciously decide to breathe. After all, Rory’s far too nice for him. And far too straight.

Rory finds his new lodger surprisingly fun to be with, and what’s more, David is a hit with Rory’s troubled children. But while Rory’s world may have turned upside down in the last few years, there’s one thing he’s sure of: he’s straight as a die. So he can’t be falling for David . . . can he?

Their friends and family think they know all the answers, and David’s office party hookup has his own plans for romance. Rory and David need to make up their minds and take a stand for what they really want — or their love could be over before it’s even begun.

Review

I like a great deal about this book but it ends before we get a fully developed relationship. I wanted to see Rory and David as a couple and in love. They just basically start really being together when the books ends and it was frustrating.

Rory is a great guy. I love that he has shared custody and the underlying discussion of gendered childrearing. His sexuality could be better discussed between him and David for richer emotionial intimacy.

David is wonderful as well if we take him for his actions in this book. We might need a bit more self reflection as he grows up and gets what he really needs here. I like his interactions with his mom around love.

The circle of friends and the setting is great. Even though most of these books have had problems for me, I like this world and wouldn’t mind reading more but with more couple time and longer romance time.

Winter Knight by L. Valko Review

  Winter Knight by L. Valko 3 Stars!

fter three years living as a rich man’s toy, Micah Zaine is on his own again and struggling to salvage both his career and a shattered sense of self-worth. Accepting a position as a substitute kindergarten teacher seems like an excellent start, until he develops a crush on a student’s father.

Two years after the death of his beloved wife, Jacob Lournigran’s life revolves around work and raising his young son—a social life is nowhere in the picture. Until his meddling sister extends a holiday dinner invitation to his son’s handsome kindergarten teacher.

Spending time with Micah makes Jacob wonder if a friend could be just what he needs to start rebuilding his broken heart. And when financial difficulties and an angry ex put Micah in distress, Jacob has all the makings of a knight in shining armor.

Except Jacob is straight, and Micah is no damsel.

Review

This is a slow burn with Micah who is starting over after leaving an affair with a married man and Jacob whose is still grieving for his wife while raising his child.

Jacob is likely demisexual but the novella doesn’t talk about it much. This is mainly a book about falling in love, healing, and a bit of fairy tale love makes everything okay.

The Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters by Amy Lane Review

 The Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters  by Amy Lane 3 Stars!

Rance Crawford is an alpaca rancher, fiber mill owner, and self-proclaimed grumpy bastard. When sweet, charming tenderfoot Ben McCutcheon moves onto Crawford’s rural road, Rance is very aware that Ben makes it a grand total of two gay men in their tiny town, and even though he is instantly, painfully smitten, any move he makes could be simply chalked up to being hard up. Using his best weapon and favorite skill, Crawford launches an awkward, wordless effort to make sure Ben is kept warm during the cold Colorado winter, every last piece of him—especially his heart.

Review

I enjoyed this novella a lot and it is a great kick off this this series which I loved.

Rance is super gruff and social awkward and a badass sweetheart.

Ben is just charming.

The setting and the circle of friends and all the knitting are great and come on Alpacas.

This is a slow burn and we get much more of Rance and Ben in the other books in the series but the characters while engaging are pretty flat. The courtship is wonderful but the book would have been better with more after they are together time and insight into their pasts and day to day love story.

There is one crazy part that almost knocked me out of the book and I can’t believe it survived editing where Lane refers to being aroused is a very disconcerting way. It happens twice and then lucky NEVER AGAIN. lol

So, a must of the knitter and pretty fun for all.

One Small Thing by Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea 4 Star Review

Review:

One Small Thing - Piper Vaughn O'Shea, Finn Sterling

Daddy” is not a title Rue Murray wanted, but he never thought he’d have sex with a woman either. Now he’s the unwitting father of a newborn named Alice. Between bartending and cosmetology school, Rue doesn’t have time for babies, but he can’t give her up. What Rue needs is a babysitter, and he’s running out of options. He’s on the verge of quitting school to watch Alice himself when he remembers his reclusive new neighbor, Erik.

Erik Van Nuys is a sci-fi novelist with anxiety issues to spare. He doesn’t like people in general, and he likes babies even less. Still, with his royalties dwindling, he could use the extra cash. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of manny—and even more reluctantly, he finds himself falling for Alice and her flamboyant father.

Rue and Erik are as different as two people can be, and Alice is the unlikeliest of babies, but Rue has never been happier than when Alice and Erik are by his side. At least, not until he receives an offer that puts all his dreams within reach and he’s forced to choose: the future he’s always wanted, or the family he thought he never did.

 

Review

 

I loved this feel good romance with hidden depths. I adored the premise.

 

Rue is a wonderful hero. He works hard and loves his baby. He is fun and loving. This is book is a compelling look at single parenthood particularly with an infant.

 

I like romance novels that balance family life and friendship with the love story. One Small Thing does this well.

 

Erik is a great hero too who blooms as he falls in love and friendship.

 

I love the nerd aspect and the becoming friends and then lovers as well as the acceptance of each hero exactly how he is.

 

I wanted more time after they got together and after the first major couple crisis I honestly wanted more sexy times as well but what I got was very good and I know I will see more of this family in the next book in the series.

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Who’d Have Thought by G. Benson 5 Star Review!

   Who’d Have Thought by G. Benson 5 Stars!

Top neurosurgeon Samantha Thomson needs to get married fast and is tightlipped as to why. And with over $200,000 on offer to tie the knot, no questions asked, cash-strapped ER nurse Hayden Pérez isn’t about to demand answers.

The deal is only for a year of marriage, but Hayden’s going into it knowing it will be a nightmare. Sam is complicated, rude, kind of cold, and someone Hayden barely tolerates at work, let alone wants to marry. The hardest part is that Hayden has to convince everyone around them that they’re madly in love and that racing down the aisle together is all they’ve ever wanted. What could possibly go wrong?

Review

 

This is one of the best romances I have read all year and I have read some fantastic books.

The love of the romance genre is alive and well on these pages and the book sings with the pleasure of a marriage of con and a private and uptight heroine vs a much more emotionial and blunt heroine.

It is grand. We get all that forced proximity joy. They know very little about each other and we get to learn about each of them as they learn each other.

It is a sexy as hell dance. Both are wonderful at their jobs in this amazing character driven love story.

The cast is great, the slow burn is great, the writing is spot on.

A 5 Star Romance to read again and again.

Quinn’s Gambit (AURA, #1) by Angel Martinez and Bellora Quinn Review

    Quinn’s Gambit (AURA Book 1) by Angel Martinez and Bellora Quinn 4 Stars!

An unregistered human con wizard and a duty-bound, straight-laced elf cop. As New York explodes with dangerous creatures, their passion goes nuclear.

After a terrible magical accident at Berkeley created unpredictable holes between realities, all manner of non-human creatures started popping into our world. These displacements, called Random Anomalous Reality Events or RARE, have taken magic out of fiction and relocated it firmly in reality, resulting in a great deal of chaos and confusion. Displaced elf Valerian works with AURA, the Agency of Unnatural Resettlement and Assimilation, to intercept these beings as they appear in the human world, helping the peaceful ones and subduing the violent, malevolent ones. It’s good, satisfying work, and Val would be happy if he wasn’t so lonely.

Quinten is a young mage just trying to get by, but New York isn’t the easiest city to make a living in. If his methods are sometimes morally dubious, his heart is still in the right place. Of course, for Quinn, the right place means firmly locked away, protected at all costs. Living by his wits and sometimes magically induced luck, he works as a ‘freelance magic user’, or unregistered mage and small-time con, according to the authorities. The last thing Quinn wants is to draw the cops’ attention, but when an Event happens right on top of him, he’s forced to turn to AURA for help. Valerian isn’t at all what he’d expected in an AURA cop, and he certainly wasn’t expecting to join forces with the sexy elf, a snarky drow and a bitter incubus, when certain individuals in power try to stop the RARE by any means necessary.

Things are not all what they seem at AURA headquarters, and a greater evil lurks at the top than anyone could have imagined.

Review

Quinn’s Gambit is a wonderful Fantasy/Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Romance.

The world building is excellent and based on the idea that there is a magical rift dropping all sorts of magic beings into Earth. One of our heroes is a police Elf older and grieving the lost of his mates in the other realm with Alpha mixed in with the social awkwardness of adjusting to a new culture and being deeply hurt. Our other hero is Quinn, troubled in his own ways, a mage hiding the extent of his power and much younger, working as a con man.

They, of course, get together and the save the world.

This is a slow burn romance with a wonderful cast of others and a great premise of being set in this agency of crime solving and magical being immigration. The other all tone is light but with some dark topics, great character driven romance and adventure.

The New Guy (Office Aliens, #2) by V.C. Lancaster Review

    The New Guy (Office Aliens Book 2) by V.C. Lancaster 3 Stars

Maggie works in Enquiries at DETI (The Department of Extra-Terrestrial Immigration) and they’re a little under-staffed. She’s confused but grateful when a handful of Teissian refugees fresh off the spaceship are allocated to her department. She is put in charge of training Ro, a charming, scaled alien with a sexy voice, cute dimples, and a lot of secrets.

She knows office romances are a bad idea, but she just can’t resist after spending every day sitting opposite him. As the two get closer, however, questions arise that threaten their relationship. Why does his friend seem to hate her so much? What is he hiding about his life on his home planet?

Can Maggie get Ro to open up before it’s too late? Or will his secrets overwhelm them both?

Review

I really loved the first book in this series and while I enjoyed aspects of this book, it suffered from some logic problems in the world building and lack of communication between the characters.

The heroine is into the hero because of his sexy voice and he is nice. They move into dating. It is sweet.

And then they don’t talk and she doesn’t seek out knowledge about him and I can’t believe the other couple wouldn’t have talk to them and that basic knowledge about the aliens wouldn’t be around… rant, rant, rant.

I like the premise and I like some of the new details of world building but I was frustrated. Communication would have made for a much better book with a much better set of conflict.