Thursday, July 27, 2017

Treading Water by Jessie G - Blog Tour with Review and Giveaway


Title: Treading Water
Series: Forgotten Soldier #2
Author: Jessie G
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: July 18, 2017


After devoting eighteen years of his life to the US Navy, Petty Officer First Class Shane Parker is struggling with the very real possibility of becoming unnecessary. If he doesn’t make Chief Petty Officer before his twenty—and it doesn’t seem likely that he will—he’ll be retired from active service and placed on the Fleet Reserve list until his mooring lines are officially cut forever. While it would all be very honorable and ceremonial, he simply wasn’t civilian material.
Before even swearing-in, Julian Brand knew he wasn’t cut out to be a soldier, but refusing wasn’t an option. Generations of Brand man made careers in the military and the expectation of every Brand son was to follow in those prestigious footsteps. Though the prospect of being rolled back dodged his every step, somehow he made it through boot camp and did his time. Six years after not reenlisting, Julian still struggles to find familial acceptance as he fights to live life on his terms.
On the surface, they couldn’t be more different, but when Jared Ramos calls, neither are capable of refusing. If they can find a way to work together, they might be able to save a wounded warrior and each other in the process.
NOTE: The first story in this series is a 6K word short story originally written for an anthology. While it's a different couple, I'm happy to provide that to reviewers as they have a brief appearance in the new book and are central characters to this benefit series.







Happily Ever Chapter - “Well-written story, strong characters.”

Bookobsessed - “Wonderful read”
10% of royalties earned from this and future books in the Forgotten Soldier series will benefit the Gary Sinise Foundation, but I'm not content to stop there. I've set up a fundraising page directly on the Foundation's website and I'm asking for your help in reaching (and maybe surpassing) my goal. Every donation of $10 equals 1 entry to win signed books. If you donate more than that, every multiple of 10 will be an additional entry (so $20 = 2 entries and so forth).

1 Grand Prize Winner will receive all my paperbacks signed (8 books) 
4 Runner Up Winners will win a signed copy of Treading Water





Seeing Sean fall apart was something Shane wasn’t likely to forget. Never could he have imagined a single scenario that included this big, strong, strapping sailor curled up in his blankets sobbing. As Julian climbed back onto the bed, absorbing that pain as if it were his own, Shane feared he was the wrong man to help them. He was barely treading water and the overwhelming emotions coming off both men were like a rip tide threatening to pull him away.

Over the years, he heard Sean worry over his cousin’s emotional stability enough that he thought he was doing the right thing by offering Julian a safe place to vent. It wasn’t like his own emotions were in danger of getting involved—he only had a couple and none of them were tied up in a man he didn’t know.
The same couldn’t be said for Sean. They were more than friends, more than the honorary brothers, and this breakdown had his own eyes itching in an alarming way.

Were those tears? It had been decades. For sure, never in his adult life. Not since…no, it was best not to think about that now. Talk about being useless. If he went down that path, Sean and Julian would be taking care of him.

A warm hand slid along his and the ease in which their fingers twined gave him pause. Cautiously, he looked over and found brown eyes filled with understanding and invitation. He had promised Julian he wouldn’t be alone and the quiet reciprocation had been nice, but nothing he expected to count on.
Without consciously thinking about it, Shane found himself sitting on the edge of the bed. Though it wasn’t built for three grown men, he was able to wrap his arm around his little unit and was surprised how right it felt.

“We’re going to get through this, Sean. Will you let us take care of you?” Julian was still speaking when Shane felt Sean nodding against them.

For better or worse, they were in it together now and Shane refused to let them down no matter how uncomfortable it might get for him.



4.5 out of 5 stars

Treading Water is the second book in the Forgotten Soldier series. The first book was a short story  that featured Micah and Garrison and introduced The Ramos Foundation as the continuing thread through the series. 

Now I absolutely love the Sizzling Miami series so was excited when I had the opportunity to read and review this new series by her. 

Treading Water is Julian and Shane's story. Here are two men tossed together to help give their friend and cousin a support system after an accident leaves Sean severely injured. Jared Ramos approaches Julian and Shane after finding out they are both listed as Sean's medical decision makers but were not contacted after he was injured. Jared wants the two of them to go in there and give Jared the support he needs to fight back and want to recover from his injuries. This throws these two men together after years of Sean trying to get them together and almost forces them to realize that Sean may have been onto something with pushing them toward each other. 

I really enjoyed this story, and the characters, both main and secondary. The whole concept of the Ramos Foundation and helping soldiers may not be new but the idea behind this one is solid and well developed. Of course the characters are solid, well-written, multi-faceted characters who experience all sorts of emotions and growth through out the story. I particularly liked Julian, but have to admit him with Shane, as they fall into a relationship is all sorts of sweet and adorable. There are many deeper moments with the characters, centering both around their relationship and also around making Sean better. 

The pacing of the story kept me hooked into the story until I finished it, so for me this was a one sitting type of book. Which just makes me want the next one in the series...and I'm hoping we see more of Jared and Aidan.. hopefully in their own book? *hopes*  

This is going to be another highly addictive, thoroughly enjoyable series from this author. I imagine that she has at least a few books planned to continue it because I can see a LOT of potential storylines just from this second book. I highly recommend this one to pick up and enjoy...and hopefully enjoy again as a favorite re-read. 







Like many readers, the dream of being a writer has been with me a long time. After three decades of trying, I'd begun to doubt. Thanks to social media, I followed my favorite authors hoping to glean some words of wisdom as I pounded out half-formed ideas with alarming regularity. Two repetitive themes emerged: to be a great writer you must read a lot and your butt must be in the chair every day like it's a job. The more you write, the easier it will be to write and the better you will be at writing. I took that advice to heart and write every day. With three series in the works and a full schedule of releases planned for the next two years, it's been amazing to have made this dream my reality. I am a firm believer in marriage equality, love at first sight, power dynamics, and happily ever after. I'm a lover of strong secondary characters, and series filled with families—biological or chosen. All are themes you'll find throughout my books.






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Get A Grip by L.A. Witt - Blog Tour with Giveaway



Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt blog tour for Get a Grip, the latest Bluewater Bay story!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding Get a Grip) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 29th, and winners will be announced on July 30th.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

About Get a Grip

If a tree falls in Bluewater Bay . . . could it be fate?

A year after his divorce, Shane Andrews isn’t interested in dating—not that he has time, between three kids and a demanding job as a grip. When a windstorm knocks a tree onto one of the Wolf’s Landing soundstages, Shane’s there to help with the mess . . . and so is firefighter Aaron Tucker.

A former smoke jumper, Aaron’s an adrenaline junkie and way too restless and reckless to be relationship material. As far as he’s concerned, monogamy is for penguins, and he’d rather be alone than tied down. Signing up to be a stepparent? No, thank you.

But after a scorching-hot night together, they’re hooked. Aaron is a taste of the excitement Shane’s been lacking, and Shane’s pushing buttons Aaron didn’t know he had. The more they’re together, the less Aaron craves wild nights with other men . . . but the more Shane wants to play the field like he never got to in his twenties.

This could be the love neither man knew he needed, but only if Shane gets his feet back on the ground before Aaron walks away.

Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/get-a-grip

About Bluewater Bay


Welcome to Bluewater Bay! This quiet little logging town on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula has been stagnating for decades, on the verge of ghost town status. Until a television crew moves in to film Wolf’s Landing, a soon-to-be cult hit based on the wildly successful shifter novels penned by local author Hunter Easton.

Wolf’s Landing’s success spawns everything from merchandise to movie talks, and Bluewater Bay explodes into a mecca for fans and tourists alike. The locals still aren’t quite sure what to make of all this—the town is rejuvenated, but at what cost? And the Hollywood-based production crew is out of their element in this small, mossy seaside locale. Needless to say, sparks fly.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by eleven award-winning, best-selling LGBTQ romance authors: L.A. Witt, L.B. Gregg, Z.A. Maxfield,  Heidi Belleau, Rachel Haimowitz, Anne Tenino, Amy Lane, SE Jakes, G.B. Gordon, Jaime Samms and Ally Blue. Each contemporary novel stands alone, but all are built around the town and the people of Bluewater Bay and the Wolf’s Landing media empire.


About LA Witt

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

L.A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).  

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Get a Grip, one lucky winner will receive their choice of two ebooks off L.A.’s backlist and a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 29, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!



Peep Show by Clare London - Release Blitz with Excerpt and Giveaway




Length: 16,000 words

Cover: Tibbs Design

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Blurb

Ever wanted to spy secretly on other people's lives?

Ken doesn't have a choice: his student summer job is manning the CCTV screens for the new central London shopping mall. But instead of spotting criminals or vandals, he becomes fascinated by a cute waiter from the local bistro who sneaks out to the backyard for his break, and plays sexy to the camera.

Is he an old friend, or just an anonymous exhibitionist? Should Ken be excited by this naughty peepshow, or will people think he's a voyeuristic pervert? Poor Ken's confused and thrilled in turn. It's like living in one of the movies he's studying at university. He knows the man can't see him, yet Ken feels a connection of some kind. It all encourages Ken to continue with his guilt-ridden Waiter Watch.

Ken bears the suspense as long as he can, until a chance meeting and an abortive blind date provide the explanation to the secret assignations. But will this guide Ken to a real-life chance of romance?

First Edition published by Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure, 2013.

Excerpt

Ken had to admit he hated his job. With a passion. Or rather, with a slow-burning boredom and distaste. Passion implied some kind of energy, the agony and the ecstasy!, and Ken had none of that left after another night sitting in the small, stuffy room and gazing at a wall of screens.

He leaned back in his hard-backed chair, stretched, and yawned. A glance at the clock confirmed it was a good hour until his official break time, when the steroid-enhanced Tomas would reluctantly pause in strutting his security patrol around the shopping centre, and arrive to cover Ken's post while he went for coffee and a sandwich. Then another two hours until the end of the shift at 2:00 a.m., when old Charlie would shuffle in for duty, complete with his tatty Aran cardigan, his Maeve Binchy paperback, and an oversized thermos of homemade vegetable soup, to take over from Ken until the offices opened.

Ken sighed. What a way to spend a Saturday night, or any night, for that matter.

Over three hours to go.

Over three hours...

He yawned again. The screens flickered and settled into a range of views from another angle. There was a bank of them, covering critical points around the shopping centre, and they were manned 24/7. Ken was one of those 'manning' people. He was meant to watch the screens closely at all times. The centre was a small one, in Surbiton on the outskirts of London, and couldn't compete with the massive retail complexes built off the M25 in Essex or central London's Oxford Street. It was really just a dozen shops hanging out together under the same roof. But these were high-fashion, prestigious-designer stores, full of valuable goods and constantly at threat from thieves, vandals, and general abusers. Or so Ken's summer-job employers, Safeguard Assured, would have people believe.

Ken thought it wouldn't be so bad if he actually saw something. Look out, it's beHIND you! He knew it was ludicrous to wish for theft, destruction, or general abuse, whatever that covered, but he'd been working here for over a month now, and he'd seen nothing untoward. Nothing at all. No fights, no malicious damage to the shops or the building, no tanks ramming through the night-time shutters, no intercontinental ballistic missiles shrieking in from the dark night skies above, only twenty-four hours left to protect historic London! to destroy everything the population held dear...

Okay, so his mind was rambling again. His mum always said he had a vivid imagination. He'd chosen well when he took a media and film studies course at Kingston University, because he'd always spent far too much time imagining book and movie quotes around real-life events. Of course, Mum's respect wasn't always matched by the rest of the family, Dad said Ken lived in a fantasy world, and his teenage brother, Joe, said he was just a sad bloke. Ken sighed again. He knew he was pretty safe here in the control room, except, of course, from the intercontinental ballistic missile scenario, because he wasn't expected to leap into personal action if he saw any crime taking place. There'd never been any training session for that, just a brief run-through of the screens and the logging in and out procedures, and a schedule of the night-time shifts. He'd been given a list of contact numbers if he needed help. From the way his boss had wrinkled his nose at that, Ken knew it wouldn't be welcome if he called up his boss at a quarter to midnight to ask where the milk was for his tea. I'm sorry, caller, there's no record of that number... No, the contact numbers were for the duty security guards like Tomas, and also an emergency number to the local police station. That was if something went seriously wrong.

Which it never did.

No, of course he wasn't inviting that missile again. But Ken hadn't seen any action so far except people coming and going at the takeaways and late-night restaurants, which stayed open until the early hours of the morning. He swung aimlessly back and forth on his chair and opened another packet of cheesy snacks. He could feel the coating sticking to his teeth, but at least chewing it off helped to keep him awake. The Lord of the Rings paperback, three books in one, special offer!, had been last week's additional incentive, but the boxed set of assorted crime thrillers he'd borrowed from Mum this week, murder, intrigue, and suspense from some of Britain's finest!, hadn't worked as effectively. Screen-watchers weren't meant to spend their time with their head in a book, how would they see the incoming missile?, but it was about the only way to keep the boredom at bay.

"You should knit," his mate Simon had suggested. Simon knitted, but not lumpy long scarves or hideously misshapen Christmas gloves like Ken's gran. Si created cool beanie hats and cotton gilets and wonderful album cover designs on sweaters. He was studying textile design at the same university, with fellow students far more arty than Ken's peers, judging by their clothing and the bold interior design of their rooms. Ken had tried knitting a hat once, you shouldn't knock it until you've tried it, right?, and Mum was still using it as a tea cosy. She said the gaps down the side gave the steam somewhere to go. Ken hadn't battled with knitting needles again, he was happier with a storyboard. Yet where had his first year of film studies taken him? Watching rain fall on the concrete pavement outside a shopping centre for hours at a time. There was irony there, somewhere.

He'd tried plenty of things to help pass the time. He played solitaire until he found himself almost homicidal when a three of clubs refused to reveal itself. The book of crosswords had been abandoned at page nine, after he'd expressed his frustration by inserting every obscene word he could think of, whether they fit the grid or not. And his songwriting attempts had never got any further than I woke up this morning before he started salivating for bacon sandwiches and brown sauce. He'd tried sketching out a storyboard for a film project of his own but, unfortunately, Charlie had caught sight of it one night, and now he kept suggesting Ken should remake a couple of Maeve Binchy's classic stories. Charlie even suggested casting and the songs for the soundtrack. Much as he liked the old codger, Ken now found it less teeth-grinding to keep that work for the privacy of his own room. So he was back to nothing but the screens for distraction.

There was a small yard at the back of one of the restaurants where the waiters came out to smoke. It was plumb in the middle of Ken's central screen. This one was a French bistro, which meant the prices were too high for his student pocket. Spare a coin for a sandwich, sir? He didn't have sound as well as a view, but he watched the way the waiting staff nodded to each other, laughed, shared matches for the ciggies. There wasn't much space to move around in the yard, because the wall between the restaurant and the next-door dry cleaners was covered almost entirely with huge, shoulder-high recycling and waste bins. The waiters leaned against the bins or scuffed their shoes on them. Sometimes the chef opened the door from the restaurant and yelled at them to get their arses back to work. Well, Ken couldn't actually hear the words, but the chef's face looked flushed and impatient, even in grainy black-and-white, and Ken's imagination supplied the language. Although the waiters rolled their eyes and mimicked his gestures as soon as he turned his back, they usually stubbed out the cigarettes quickly and shuffled back indoors.

Sometimes Ken saw them leaving at the end of their shift from a gate at the farthest point of the yard. It was a shortcut back to the housing estate across the ring road. He had to imagine the gate, because it was out of view of the camera, but the waiters would tumble out of the back door with their coats on and backpacks slung over their shoulders, waving and joking with the new shift who were taking over. The place did breakfasts too. Didn't it ever close?

He'd noticed a group of friends who seemed to work and travel everywhere together, a cluster of students like him, presumably, all dressed in similar hoodies and jeans; two men who were obviously a romantic couple; a mother and daughter who still had a smile for each other after a long night in the kitchen.

Ken grimaced. So it had come to this, he was getting familiar with the monochrome faces of people he'd never meet in real life, probably didn't want to meet, and who probably wouldn't want to meet him. He didn't think of them as friends, did he? That's what his other good mate Robbie said when Ken shared some of his stories at the pub. "Youíre not mates with these people, Kenny. That'd be bloody weird." Everyone around the table agreed with Robbie. In fact, Ken laughed and agreed too.

Because that's not how it was. He preferred to consider the people caught on CCTV as his own private soap opera. Previously, on the Surbiton Spectrum Shopping Centre Security Channel. The waiters at the restaurant. The foxes that came sniffing around the bins, arrogantly careless of anyone else. The police cars that periodically cruised the front of the centre. The fat man who ran the all-night grocer/newsagents, who took a break every now and then, drained a bottle of cola, and had a thorough scratch of his crotch through trousers shiny with wear. The young couple who stocked up the Moroccan cafe at weekends and who loitered in the service road behind the shop for a snogging session. The boy would have taken it further; Ken could see his eagerness, and bloody quick hands, but the girl was always looking over her shoulder in case someone caught them.

Yes, even outside shopping hours, there was a lot of activity in and around the centre. It wasn't really what Ken was employed to watch out for, but he reckoned he could weave it into his film projects; he could let it inspire him. Everyone enjoyed people-watching, didn't they? And his personal soap opera was benign. It wasn't full of cliche gun battles or car chases. Only sometimes did he feel like a voyeur, but without the sexiness.

A waiter ambled out of the French bistro, and Ken's attention darted back to that screen. The young man moved quicklyómaybe he only had a few minutes' break, and made for the far side of the yard. That corner was partially hidden by two of the largest bins and out of reach of the security lights. The only CCTV screen that covered it was one of the oldest and with the poorest picture. Sometimes one of the waiting staff would sneak behind these particular bins, and Ken assumed it was because they didn't want to be seen, either by CCTV or from inside the restaurant. Was that what this man was doing? He had his back to Ken, hiding what he was up to. Was he smoking? Taking drugs? Ken had seen it on other evenings. Was he meant to report that kind of thing, or just crimes that involved damage to the centre itself? And how hypocritical would he be, when he'd smoked more than a few things in his time?

He peered more closely and wished there was a zoom feature. He didn't like to touch the controls too much, since the time he'd fiddled with the brightness, messed up screens one to four, and spent three hours looking at static, I'm breaking up! I'm breaking up!, until Charlie arrived. The old man had shrugged at Ken's apology, turned the control button to its fullest point, thumped somewhere under the desk, and the screens had all popped back into focus. Luckily, of course, the missile hadn't arrived at that very time, though Ken rather thought there'd be other clues if the building were attacked from space.

The man in the yard turned his head, and Ken caught sight of his shadowed profile. He wasn't smoking; he was sucking juice from a carton. A new employee? Ken didn't think he'd noticed him before. Tall, lithe body in tight black trousers and a white shirt that stretched taut over his pecs, short-cropped dark hair, prominent but attractive nose. Ken couldn't see his eyes because he was looking down at the carton, but the heavy lids were sexy. Even though the picture was blurred, Ken could tell that clearly enough. And the way the man's lips tightened on the carton straw was.. Be still, my beating heart. Ken laughed at himself a little bitterly. His poor old dick hadn't hardened that quickly for a long time. He shifted on the seat, trying to get comfortable again. He really needed to get back out in the dating game again. Oh wait, first he had to find the time to date, didn't he? But if and when he did, this was just the kind of look he'd always liked, ever since school days, however shallow Mum would say it was to judge a book by its cover alone.

And then the guy turned towards the camera so that one side of his face eased out of the shadows, and he winked.

Huh? Ken leaned forwards in his chair, startled, but the moment was gone. The waiter turned on his heel, threw his empty carton into the bin, and sauntered back inside the restaurant.



Author Bio

Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. Sheís written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say sheís just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, sheís happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.

All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!

Website: http://www.clarelondon.com
Blog: http://clarelondon.livejournal.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clarelondon
Facebook chat: https://www.facebook.com/groups/clarelondoncalling/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/clare_london
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/clarelondon
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/clarelondon



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Roaring Waters by C.J. Baty - Release Blitz with Giveaway



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 194 pages

The Warfield Hotel Mysteries Series

Drifting Sands (Book #1) - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Crashing Waves (Book #2) - Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

Damien Fitzgerald has lived through hell and is determined to never let anyone get close to him again. A fervent reporter, he throws his life into his work and doesn’t care whose toes he steps on. But someone else does. He’s got a stalker, and the messages are growing increasingly threatening. He turns to his best friend, Justin Warfield and his lover, Private Investigator Marcus Drummond. Seems like a good idea until Robert Wyler becomes part of the package.

Robert Wyler, the manager of the bar at the Warfield Inn, has always been misunderstood. Sure he takes care of his body, wears his hair long and likes tatts, but that doesn’t mean he’s domineering. A cold exterior hides the more passionate man inside. Men like Damien Fitzgerald get on his nerves. Too good looking. Too arrogant. But when Justin and Marcus needed his help to guard the man from a stalker, Robert couldn’t say no.

Damien and Robert have a history. Whenever they are near each other sparks fly. Can Damien and Robert get past their prejudices to find the real men hiding underneath. Will they find love before the stalker gets to Damien and their chance at happiness is destroyed forever…


Author Bio

C. J. Baty lives in southwest Ohio. Her heart, however, lives in the mountains of Tennessee where she hopes to retire some day. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.

The dream of writing her own stories started in high school but was left on the back burner of life until her son introduced her to fan fiction and encouraged her to give it a try. She found that her passion for telling a story was still there and writing them down to share with others was much more thrilling than she had ever expected.


She has a loving and supportive family who don't mind fixing their own meals when she is in the middle of a story, and a network of friends who have encouraged and cheered her on in her quest of being an author.

One thing she has learned from life and she is often heard to say is: “You are never too old to follow your dream!”





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