A Second Chance – Van Cole

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“It was childish to cling to the idea of this boy that had built me up and ruined me, especially ten years later – but there was nothing I could do. I was a slave to the lack of closure. I couldn’t move on.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. Not exactly what it says on the tin, though. The summary gives the impression that what we’re about to read will be a more complete novel than what we actually end up with. It’s not entirely inaccurate, but it’s making promises that it doesn’t really deliver. Having said that, this is still a good read and I did enjoy it, there just wasn’t a whole lot to it. The whole story, which is fairly short and only took me about an hour to read, is told from Dane’s first-person point of view. The way it’s written is less like reading events as they take place and is more like Dane is summarizing the events for us and telling his story from some nebulous future point. Some of the story takes place in the past, when Dane was in high school, but the parts that take place in the present read the same way. Even without much focus on Sam’s thoughts and motivations, and the somewhat stilted delivery, I still felt that this was a solid story. I do wish we could’ve gotten more focus on some aspects, there were a lot of points (mostly having to do with Dane’s family) that could’ve been expanded on, but as it is it’s still pretty decent. The main point of the story is Dane trying to get closure over the disaster that was his first love, and I really liked the read. The emotions in the story were great, though not as explored as I would’ve liked in some places, and I thought the outcome was great. The writing isn’t the best, but the story was really good and I would definitely recommend it for the experience of reading it.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Will A High School Reunion Bring These Lovers Back Together?

Sam and Dane were two young men on the brink of their futures. Sharing high school adventures together, these two young men were both figuring out how to deal with their homosexuality when they found solace in the sexual expression of each other. Confused and concerned, Sam and Dane live in a world of mixed emotions, fighting their desires while finding each other undeniably linked.

When Dane shares with his family the fact that he is gay, his world is turned upside down and he turns to Sam for comfort. But, family pressures and a societal fear push the lovers to the breaking point, life and prejudice seeming to separate them forever. Life goes on and two worlds are built…two very different worlds. Then, an invitation threatens to turn their worlds upside down.

Ten years after a graduation, will the reunion of their two souls bring them back together for good?

Or, will time and fate tear them apart forever?

This Romance Short Story Was Formerly Title The Reunion

 

[available for purchase at Amazon.ca as part of the Surprise Baby: Gay MPREG Romance Collection]

 

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Lone Wolf (Bluewater Bay #4) – Aleksandr Voinov & L. A. Witt

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“Kevin was a literary genius and one hell of a twisted pervert. In other words, Hunter’s catnip.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. I will admit that the third-act breakup miscommunication nonsense that happened near the end was a bit annoying, but other than that this was a very enjoyable read. This is the fourth book in the Bluewater Bay series, and the first book where we get a proper introduction to Hunter Easton, the author and creator of Wolf’s Landing, the in-universe popular book series and TV show most of the characters are connected to. Before this I think Hunter had maybe one or two actual appearances (though he is mentioned more), but this time the story is all about him and we get to know him a bit better. I really liked Hunter, I found him to be a genuinely good guy and also pretty funny and cute. I felt the same about his love interest, Kevin Hussain, who is a lot like Hunter except with an extra layer of geek. Their whole story is a bit of a fan’s fantasy, with Wolf’s Landing fan Kevin meeting and starting a relationship with his favourite author and also getting to turn his fanfiction into something profitable and integrated into the show’s canon. I don’t think I’ve read a book that focused so much on fandom and the relationship between fans and creators (though it didn’t go too deep, that wasn’t the main focus of the story). As a fan myself, that was pretty fun to read. The main focus of the story was on Hunter and Kevin trying to figure out their relationship while also dealing with Wolf’s Landing writing obligations and Kevin’s sudden rise to fame. I really liked how the story played out, though I could’ve done without the lack of communication surrounding their romantic expectations. A whole lot of grief could’ve been avoided if Hunter and Kevin had actually talked to each other like the adults they were supposed to be. That whole drama wasn’t even close enough to ruining the book by any means, it’s still a solid read. And as a bonus we got some more scenes with Levi and Carter (from Starstruck), and maybe a bit of clarification on what Wolf’s Landing is even about.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Hunter Easton is screwed. Fans, producers, and his agent are all chomping at the bit for the next book in his wildly popular Wolf’s Landing series, but he’s got epic writer’s block and is way behind deadline. Then he reads The World Tree, a fanfic novel by his online friend “Lone Wolf.” It isn’t just a great story—it’s exactly what the series needs.

Kevin Hussain is thrilled when “Wolf Hunter” wants to meet up after reading The World Tree. When Wolf Hunter turns out to be Hunter Easton himself, Kevin is starstruck. When Hunter tells him he wants to add The World Tree to Wolf’s Landing, Kevin is sure he’s being pranked. And when their online chemistry carries over—big time—into real life, Kevin is convinced it’s all too good to be true.

The problem is . . . it might be. The book deal, the sex, the money—everything is amazing. But fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and Kevin is left wondering if Hunter really loves him, or just loves his book.

 

[available for purchase at Riptide Publishing, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Flight Risk – L. A. Witt

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“I wanted Aaron. I wanted him to be okay, I wanted him to be with me. I wanted my friend back. And, yeah, I wanted him too.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. L. A. Witt is fast becoming one of my favourite authors; I usually really like her stuff. This one is no exception. Though I will say that this felt… not incomplete exactly, but I felt like there could’ve been more to it. But there’s only so much story that can be put into something this short (it’s about 20, 000 words long), I suppose. Even so, I still really liked the story and the characters. The whole thing is a small window into the lives of Bennett and Aaron, two fighter pilots living on a military base in Japan. This details the story of how they became more than friends and is strictly a ‘getting together’ story. We don’t get a lot of background for much of anything; we only really get enough information to set the scene. Bennett and Aaron are friends; Bennett is also attracted to Aaron but has no idea if Aaron feels the same way about him. Then they spend a night together and everything changes. The feelings and emotions in this are amazing (as usual with L. A. Witt), and both men contribute their fair share. One thing I really like about this book is that Aaron’s ‘hot-and-cold’ treatment of Bennett after sleeping with him, while aggravating, came from a place of actual concern/fear instead of some stupid misunderstanding. The fact that it was resolved easily but still not completely, given the circumstances, was also a plus. I definitely recommend this one.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Fight pilot Bennett “Roid-Rage” McKinney has had a crush on one of his squadron mates, Aaron “Tex” Austin, for ages. The snarly RIO is sexy, sarcastic, gay… everything Bennett wants in a man.

When Tex has a rare night off from the chronic pain caused by an ejection a few years ago, he reaches for the nearest warm body… which just so happens to be Bennett’s.

After a hot night, though, Bennett wakes up alone. Tex starts sending him mixed messages—one minute he wants him, the next he’s cold-shouldering him. Bennett isn’t interested in playing games, not even with the man he’s been lusting after. One night stands are fine, but he’s not getting involved with someone who might disappear at the drop of a hat.

But as the men try to resist each other, he realizes he’s not the only one who’s afraid of getting involved with a flight risk…

This 20,000 word novella was previously published as part of the Unconditional Surrender Military Collection.

 

[available for purchase at Amazon.ca; also available in a bundle at Amazon.ca and Barnes & Noble]

 

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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: The Last Gift – Chrissy Munder

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“Call it his hell, Aaron Hampton couldn’t trigger any more of Nick’s pleasure centers if he was hardwired to Nick’s neural interface.”

 

In a word: In a word:

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) College student Nick Reed works late shift at a convenience store and dreams of graduation, a job he can be proud of, and finding the man of his dreams.

But the man of his dreams is about to find him.

A change in his lab hours forces Nick to swap shifts with a coworker. But no one prepared Nick for Mr. 5:25—Aaron Hampton—a beefy blond who’s Nick’s perfect guy, but professionally and socially out of Nick’s reach. Soon Aaron becomes the highlight of Nick’s workday, and when the overly focused lawyer needs Nick’s help with holiday gifts, Nick is eager to spend time with Aaron.

They become friends, share book recommendations, and are surprised to find themselves at the same charity run. But is that all? When Aaron learns Nick is heading back to his old shift, will he find the courage to ask for one last, very special gift?

 

[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 Probability of Mistletoe – E.J. Russell

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“Well, no matter. Tonight he’d see Keith again and, dang it, he wouldn’t waste the opportunity.”

 

In a word: Read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) When software engineer Keith Trainor decides to start his own company, he knows exactly who he wants as his partner: Parker Mulvaney, his best friend from high school. But in the ten years since graduation, their contact has dwindled to nothing, and it’s all Keith’s fault. If he hadn’t tried to kiss Parker under the mistletoe at the winter formal their senior year, Parker wouldn’t have bolted. At their ten-year reunion, Keith intends to do everything in his geeky power to make amends.

Parker should have known that scheduling the reunion the day before Christmas Eve was a recipe for a headache of monster proportions. But when Keith sends a text that he’ll be attending, the evening doesn’t look so bleak. Can an unnecessary makeover, a nostalgic breakfast, an abortive shopping trip, and a whole lot of mistletoe culminate in a long-overdue first kiss?

 

[available for purchase at 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 Mature Man’s Guide to Surviving Change – Chris Scully

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“I didn’t do jealousy, but in the back of my mind, I knew I’d been gripped with it from the moment Perry announced his intention to date again.”

 

In a word: Read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) In the sunny playground of Palm Springs, growing up was something confirmed bachelor and bad-boy chef Joel avoided at all costs—until a close friend’s death made him reevaluate his priorities. Ever since, he’s been dedicated to helping his widowed friend Perry get back on his feet by teaching him to cook and providing a shoulder to cry on. But when Perry announces that he’s ready to start dating again and then begins receiving gifts from an anonymous secret Santa, Joel is forced to confront the feelings he’s suppressed for so long.

As Joel struggles with jealousy and guilt amid the holiday season, he must decide if he’s ready to grow up and reach for what he’s always wanted but never thought he could have.

 

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

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