In His Arms Again – Lisa Marie Davis

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“After five years of denying himself, resisting temptation, distracting himself with work and family concerns, Ayden was at a crossroad, but he had no control of the direction he was about to take.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. Honestly, I wasn’t really sure if I was gonna like this one, but then it punched me right in the feels and I was totally here for it. Ayden is a business man who has spent the last five years in a marriage of convenience with a woman because of his homophobic father’s scheming. He has been living a lie for all that time, and would probably have continued on with it had a reason to change not literally fallen right into his lap. Ayden meets Simon on a plane and they form an immediate connection (and then join the mile-high club, because go big or go home I guess). Ayden’s not sure what’s come over him, but he knows that he desperately wants to be with Simon while at the same time knowing that he can’t if he wants to keep the family company. Things are a bit different now than they were five years ago, and Ayden’s realizing that neither he nor his wife are happy in their marriage anymore. They both want to be able to live their true lives, but they can’t unless they’re willing to make some very drastic changes. The situation that Ayden is in, through no fault of his own, is heartbreaking. Between his late father’s fuckery, his monster of a step-mother’s evil, and his own unhappiness with it all, he’s got a lot to deal with. Finding Simon was a bit of a dream-come-true for him, even though he came very close to losing him. The emotional ups and downs in this book are amazing, especially for a read this short. I also really loved the support system Ayden found for himself, and the love they all shared. The epilogue was maybe a bit too sweet for my tastes, especially considering how the main story ended, but I still enjoyed the ride from beginning to end.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Five years ago a cruel clause in his father’s will forced Ayden Judson into marriage to keep the family company, and to protect that business from his stepmother’s machinations, Ayden decided to live without love. But when handsome gallery owner Simon Gibson literally falls into Ayden’s lap on a transatlantic flight, he shakes Ayden’s resolve, and by the time they land, Ayden knows he doesn’t want to live without Simon. Simon, burned before by a married man, refuses to hide. So once more, Ayden must choose between happiness for himself and the good of the company-threatened by how dark his stepmother’s plans have become-except Ayden knows he’ll give up all the money and success in the world just to have Simon in his arms again.

 

[available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble; also available in the bundle Lisa Marie Davis’ Greatest Hits]

 

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Derek – B. G. Thomas

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“Men with men. Men who weren’t afraid to be with other men. Men who admitted who and what they were. Yes. He had a future. Who knows? Maybe it would start here. Tonight.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This was sweet and heartwarming and a quick read. All good things. Derek, the titular main character, is newly divorced and is a bit nervous about finally being able to live his life as a gay man for the first time in years (though, the first time he was ‘out’ it wasn’t really so openly). One of the baristas at his new favourite café befriends him suddenly and invites him to a party where he can meet other gay men. He meets Marshall at the party, and through him learns about letting go and being in love for real for the first time. This story is about a romance, but it’s also about letting go and moving forward. Derek has had his only two relationships fail, and isn’t sure if he should gamble his heart on a third. With Marshall’s help he’s able to gain some perspective on his past and look forward to what his future as an out gay man will hold for him. The story isn’t all that long so the characters aren’t totally developed (especially the many side-characters that are mentioned), but I still liked Derek and Marshall and their love story (even though it does technically tip into the insta-love category). I also really enjoyed the positive feel everything had. Derek is trying to deal with the death of a long-term relationship and what that means for him in the grand scheme of things; and even though it wasn’t necessarily a totally happy experience, Derek’s takeaway of it isn’t totally negative either. The message of the story, about not living in the past and looking forward to the future (loosely paraphrased), was also pretty positive.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) The end of his marriage leaves Derek Newton hurt and confused, but it also grants him the opportunity to embrace who he really is: a gay man. While navigating his new life with the help of friends in the local GLBT community, Derek meets Marshall Kenworthy, a man who embodies all his fantasies.

To Derek’s surprise, Marshall is as interested as he is, and they make a date. But a failure to communicate leads to a misunderstanding. The party they attend is not what Derek expected—at all—but Marshall, ever the gentleman, makes sure Derek feels comfortable. As they get to know each other, they see how much they have in common. Derek begins to heal and soon realizes he might thrive in this new chapter of his life—and it just might be with Marshall by his side.

 

[available for free at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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QR: Eugene and the Box of Nails – Jaime Samms

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“Yes. Let’s do that. Exchange numbers, go on another date. Yes.”

 

In a word: Read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Every time it seems like things are looking up for Eugene Kraft, disaster hits. Bankruptcy, a bigoted sibling, and a back-breaking accident have all left him with little money and less faith in the universe.

His last-ditch effort at peace is the small lakeside property where he is building a tiny house from recycled materials. If he can get it livable before the cold sets in, maybe he’ll be okay. Hopefully Cullen, the foreman on the construction site next door, won’t notice Eugene pilfering discarded materials from his dumpster.

When Cullen stops by to talk to Eugene, he’s sure the gig is up—but all Cullen wants is a date. Can two things go right in Eugene’s life? At first it seems possible. Projects on Eugene’s house are getting completed by what he dubs “construction elves” while he’s off site. But like Eugene predicted, his good fortune can’t last, and soon he has a tough choice to make: give up his home… or the man of his dreams.

 

[available for purchase from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble; also available as part of the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar set]

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QR: The Werewolf Before Christmas – Charles Payseur

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“There was nothing quite like making love on the back of a giant flying manta ray while surrounded by the bizarre sight of hundreds of migrating nearly butterballs.”

 

In a word: Read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Ray seems like the perfect boyfriend—he’s gorgeous, incredibly romantic, and has a mechanical suit he invented to become the dastardly MantaRay. For Alec, who also spends his nights making life difficult for do-gooders everywhere, it’s a match made in supervillain heaven. Except that Ray is a bit too into the hit soap opera All My Werewolves. When tempers flare during what’s supposed to be a quiet night out, Alec nearly ruins everything over a stupid bet with an alien gorilla.

Desperate to prove his feelings to Ray, and with Christmas fast approaching, Alec decides the fastest way to Ray’s heart is to embrace the thing that threatens to divide them—a certain werewolf show with a certain actor who Ray admires. A simple kidnapping promises to do the trick, only fur (and fandom) fly when Alec’s romantic gesture leads to a very hairy situation. Can Alec prove to Ray how much their relationship means to him, or will his plans be ruined by the werewolf before Christmas?

 

[available for purchase from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble; also available as part of the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar set]

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QR: New Game, Start – C.S. Poe

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“So there was this guy… and I guess you could say it was pretty one-sided.”

 

In a word: Read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Reclusive medieval scholar, Edgar Royal, has a crush. On a guy. Not a big deal, except that said guy, Walter Chase, is a famous online gamer who has no idea Edgar even exists. Edgar has harbored these feelings for nearly a year, and when Walter announces on Twitter that he’ll be visiting New York City as a guest at the GamerOn convention, Edgar decides he’ll be one of the thousands of fans who responds to the message.

He definitely doesn’t expect to be singled out by the humble, gorgeous, out-and-proud heartthrob. And when it comes to dealing with people, Edgar’s skills are pretty nonexistent. Even with Walter giving all the right signals, Edgar lacks the courage do anything about the mutual attraction growing through their online courtship. He’s always been better with the written word, so maybe the perfect Christmas gift will say what he cannot. But if Edgar can’t get the present to Walter before the convention ends, he may miss out on the boyfriend of a lifetime.

 

[available for purchase from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble; also available as part of the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar set]

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QR: Ghostwriter of Christmas Past – TA Moore

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“Still gotta be the good guy, huh, Tommy? That’s how you got stuck with me in the first place, remember?”

 

In a word: Read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Ever since ghostwriter Jason Burke ended up in loco parentis for his orphaned niece, Mallory, he’s been trying. He goes to parent/teacher events, and he makes packed lunches, so he definitely didn’t mean to forget about Christmas. He just hasn’t celebrated it since he left home under a cloud years ago.

Put on the spot, Jason makes the snap decision to take Mallory to see where he and her father spent their Christmases as kids. The last thing he expects is to run into Tommy, his ex—ex-best friend, ex-boyfriend—who is still living in town… and working as a sheriff’s deputy.

It’s hard to avoid someone in a small town—and maybe Jason doesn’t want to. He got Mallory a Christmas, and maybe now it’s time to get himself a Christmas boyfriend. But first, he owes Tommy some explanations.

 

[available for purchase from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble; also available as part of the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar set]

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QR: A Holiday Crush – CJane Elliott

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“Sure, he was too old, and Michael was practically a kid, but Christmas only came once a year, and this year… this year he needed something to celebrate.”

 

In a word: Read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) San Francisco lawyer Brad Halberstam is in a rut. At forty-one, he’s successful but alone. Even his holidays are predictable—he spends every Christmas golfing in Napa with his ex-boyfriend. Then attractive but oh-so-young filmmaker Michael Blair invites him out. Brad joins Michael and his housemates in their holiday celebrations and learns that life can be joyful. He hesitates to saddle Michael with a much-older boyfriend but as their attraction ignites, Brad’s tempted to let Michael sweep him into a bright new future.

Michael lives in a group house in Berkeley. He loves making life into a celebration, especially during the holidays. Michael longs for a partner, and he hopes serious but sweet Brad Halberstam is the one. Michael’s infatuation grows over caroling and cookies, but his housemate reminds him that Michael always latches on to someone during the holidays, so he won’t be alone. After a misunderstanding, Michael loses heart, no longer sure if his relationship with Brad is real or just another Christmas crush.

 

[available for purchase from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble; also available as part of the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar set]

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