Release Day Review: TAKING CARE OF FAMILY by Dani Gray

Title: Taking Care of Family
Author: Dani Gray
Series: Taking Care
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense
Heat Rating: Scorching
Publisher: Book Strand
Cover Artist: Harris Channing
Release Date: November 1st, 2017
Purchase:
Bookstrand

Steven Deans never thought he would find love, especially not after his fiancé and baby girl die in a car accident. Living deeply in the closet for so long, and with his abusive parents, Steve isn’t sure if he would ever be ready for a relationship. Coming to help protect his brother and the others he lives with introduces him to the man of his dreams.

When Jason Marks is called to help his former commander when they are being attacked, he meets the man who he could see spending the rest of his life with. Helping Steve after his home is broken into leads them to finding more to add to their family.

While trying to make a relationship and heal the last wounds of the past, can these two make the most of the gifts that life has given them?

Dani is a new author, this being her third novella, but she packs a lot into a smallish package. This may not be a large novel, but I promise you won’t miss the word count as the story unfolds. Steve is a kind and gentle guys that just wants to live his life, escape the viciousness of his biofamily, and build a better relationship with his brother. Years ago the family came between him and his brother due to their extreme homophobia. And now his family is at it again as is someone else. Someone broke into his home and stole his memories of his lost child and best friend.

Jason is hired to help protect his former commander’s new employer and family, which includes Steve’s little brother. When they meet, the sparks fly, but that doesn’t mean everything will be perfect. Who broke in? What can they do about the threat to their loved ones, which now includes Steve? And what about the pregnant woman both men feel responsible for?

Yeah, Dani doesn’t make things easy for her characters! But it’s well worth the read. I loved the journey, seeing all the old characters from the first two books, and getting a tease of who might be the next to fall in this series. If you enjoy fun and steamy, then this might just be the book and series for you. So take a chance on a new author and enjoy!

 

Steve was getting up, slowly. He had that night off, so he decided to be lazy. Something he hadn’t done in a while. He lounged about in bed, then moved over to the couch, not even bothering to get dressed. Since he didn’t have to go anywhere, he stayed in his sleep shorts and T-shirt. He figured, If I’m not going out today, I might as well relax and enjoy it.

After a couple of hours of mindless TV—and who the hell could watch this crap day in and day out amazed Steve, it was all useless noise—Steve got up and went to check out the contents of his fridge. Doing a quick look through, he settled on making spaghetti from scratch.

While he was getting his ingredients pulled together, his phone rang. When he saw it was Andy calling him, he answered the phone with a smile.

“Hey there, little bro, how are you doing? Feeling any better yet?”

“Steve, don’t talk, just listen. Amy was beaten up by someone and she’s in the hospital. We are assuming it’s the cousins since they are missing. Abe and Shane are sending someone to come get you. His name is Jason. Pack a bag, anything special since we don’t know if the cousins know that you were talking to Amy. Please, come here. I can’t be worried about you, too.”

“Okay.” Steve had to agree. The cousins were crazy and he didn’t want to deal with them. “How soon will Jason be here? I’ll try to be ready when he arrives.”

“Abe is sending him in a couple of minutes, so you have maybe fifteen or twenty minutes.”

“Gotcha. I’m going to hang up now. This way I can pack some stuff and be ready. Tell Shane thanks for this. I wouldn’t want to be here alone if Harvey, Hank, and Harry are after me. You can fill me in about Amy when I get there. Love ya, bro.”

Steve hung up the phone and rushed to his bedroom. He grabbed a couple of bags and threw some clothes and toiletries in it. He then went and grabbed his box off his dresser. This had Tanis’s rings in it, as well as Lynn’s little bracelets. He refused to leave them here.

He also grabbed the most precious items he owned, the photo albums with the pictures of Tanis growing up and the photos of Lynn. Since all the ones on the walls were duplicates of what was in the album, he didn’t feel the need to take those.

By the time he had packed two bags, and finished making sure the house was locked up, someone was pounding on his door.

“Steve, this is Jason, we need to move,” he heard a voice yell.

He ran to the door and opened it to the most gorgeous man he had ever seen. He was six foot three inches of blond hair and blue eyes of amazing eye candy. He wished he had the time to drag the man into his room and lick him all over.

Would he taste as good as he looked?

“Hi.” Steve could have kicked himself. He knew he sounded like an idiot.

He watched as Jason shuddered, then leaned forward and grabbed one of Steve’s bags. “You ready?”

“Let me lock this door, then I am.”

Jason took the bag out to a large SUV, and stood at the driver’s door, scanning the area while he quickly locked up and ran over to the vehicle. Throwing his bag in the back with his other one, he hurried over and got in the passenger seat. Jason immediately got in and threw the SUV into drive. Steve could hear the tires squeal as they suddenly took off.

Steve watched as Jason hit a button on the steering wheel and he heard a voice asking what he wanted to do. “Call Abe.”

The phone rang, then a voice asked, “Go.”

“Coming in hot, have one truck in pursuit, ETA fifteen minutes, maybe ten if I don’t pay attention to the speed limits.”

“We’ll be ready with a welcoming committee.”

 

I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. I still remember one of the first books I read, it was the Bobbsey Twins. As I got older, I moved into the more interesting books, but some of the typo’s made me nuts! So, after contacting writers I started a career of where I began editing, beta reading and brainstorming. After being harassed for a couple of years by some of the writers, I gave in and have now begun to write.

I live in central Canada with my hubby of over 25 years, 4 kids, and 5 grandkids. We have a collection of pets, including our guard cat. I love nothing more than curling up with a good book, or my laptop to work on the next thing that catches the muse.

Website | Facebook | Bookstrand

 

Guest Post: Andrew Grey, #Author of CLENSING FLAME, #giveaway #excerpt

Title: Cleansing Flame
Author:
Andrew Grey
Series: Rekindled Flame Series Book 2
Genre:  M/M Contemporary Romance
Publisher:
Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Mar 10 2017
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print

Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes and Noble |Dreamspinner Press

Life has been grinding Dayne Mills down almost for as long as he can remember. First he lost the love of his life in an accident that also left him with a permanent injury, and then his mother passed away a year later. When his house burns to the ground, it’s the last straw. He can’t take any more, and if it wasn’t for kind and handsome firefighter Lawson Martin offering him a hand up and a place to stay, he doesn’t know what he’d do. Dayne would love for his relationship with Lawson to evolve into something beyond charity, but he knows going after a man so far out of his league will only lead to yet more heartache. It’s best to just keep his mind on his research.

It’s that research that leads Dayne to an old student journal that not only provides clues to the Native American heritage Lawson has been searching for, but chronicles a century-old love story. The tale that unfolds might be just what Dayne and Lawson need to remember that no matter how dark life becomes, love can find a way to shine through.

Guest Post

How do you prepared yourself for negative reviews in case they happen?

This is a hard question because it’s never easy to do that. You’ve put some of yourself in a book and negative reviews can easily be taken as personal. They aren’t. Reviews are an opinion and what someone likes, someone else may not. It’s the way it is. (Shrug) Here’s what I try to do.

  1. Read bad review
  2. Swear
  3. Call reviewer a nasty name in my mind
  4. Close the computer and go eat something (preferable chocolate)
  5. Return, decide if there is anything I can learn from the review
  6. Open manuscript
  7. Go back to work
  8. Wash, rinse, repeat – Hopefully not too often

Excerpt

Lawson sat next to him on the sofa, and Dayne turned to him, jaw set. If Lawson said one more time that everything was going to be all right, Dayne wasn’t sure if he could stop himself from hitting him. He didn’t know where his anger was coming from, but it boiled up from deep inside. He clenched his fists and closed his eyes, trying to keep from flying into a million pieces as he waited for what everyone seemed to want to say.

Instead, Lawson wrapped his big arms around him and held him tight. The anger slipped away as quickly as it had built, and Dayne buried his face against Lawson’s chest, holding him in return. “Sometimes words just aren’t what’s needed,” Lawson whispered. “You take all the time you need. No one is going anywhere.” He rocked slowly and rubbed Dayne’s back.

It had been so long since anyone had been so nice to him. Over the last year, he had learned that loneliness ate at you from the inside and perpetuated itself. Sometimes he had longed for contact with others so badly that he was almost willing to make a fool of himself to get attention. Dayne didn’t cry, which he was pretty proud of. He did soak in Lawson’s warmth and attentiveness. He knew this was only because of the loss he’d suffered and because Lawson was trying to help him, but it felt nice to be held and looked after, even if the huge, handsome man felt sorry for him.

“Better?” Lawson whispered, and Dayne nodded slowly. “Good.” Lawson released him and then slowly got to his feet. He moved the way Dayne imagined someone might around a skittish horse they didn’t want to frighten. “Give me a few minutes and I’ll finish up dinner.” He left the room, and Richard leaned forward in his chair.

“Are you feeling more comfortable?”

“I guess.” Dayne shifted on the sofa, because even while he was in shock, Lawson’s hug had set his stupid dick to thinking things it shouldn’t be thinking. He wanted to thump the damn thing and tell it to behave, but it didn’t seem to want to listen, especially when it came to Lawson. “I appreciate you coming over.” God, he hated playing the part of the damsel in distress. It really sucked.



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Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Amazon Author Page | Barnes and Noble Page | Dreamspinner Press 
Facebook | Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey | Goodreads 
Twitter @andrewgreybooks | Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

4.5 Drops Review: DARKNESS RISING by Dirk Greyson #BlogTour #excerpt #giveaway

 
Title: Darkness Rising
Author: Dirk Greyson
Series: Yellowstone Wolves (Book 3)
Genre: M/M, Paranormal Romance, Shifters
Release Date: Feb 6, 2017
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
The last thing Tobias, alpha of the small Greenview Pack, expects is to find a lost human asleep in his storage building. As soon as he sets eyes on Pete, Tobias knows they are destined mates. But he cannot act on his attraction, no matter how much he feels compelled. Exposure to the human world could mean the end of their way of life, so he decides to help Pete get a room until he can reunite with the tour group he separated from.
 
But Tobias’s disgraced half-brother, Zev, has other ideas. He takes a liking to Pete and decides he wants what Tobias has—both his position as pack leader and his mate. Tobias can’t let that happen, but protecting Pete means keeping him close, which only increases the mounting tensions between them.
 
Duty, protection, desire, and secrecy clash as the darkness within Zev rises to the surface, and only Tobias can save his mate—even if he never plans to tell Pete that’s what they are.
 
This third installment in the Yellowstone Wolves series does not only live up to its predecessors, it makes me wonder what else Dirk has up his sleeves. Tobias is powerful, resourceful, determined, and… an idiot when it comes to his human. Pete is so sweet and just wants to do what’s right for everyone, but he’s been hurt before so trust of the heart doesn’t come easy. Then you add in Zev and well, things just don’t go well. Oh, and the taint of Anton just won’t leave these poor wolves alone, or will it?
 
When Tobias finds Pete, he finds more than just a lost human, he finds his destined mate. But, what’s he to do with him? The wolves are so reclusive that they never tell humans what they are. Ever. It’s too dangerous. Right? But the Goddess wouldn’t give him a mate he couldn’t have, would she? If you’ve read the first two books (and if not, why not?!) you know she wouldn’t do that. So really it’s a matter of Tobias believing he can’t have Pete, nothing more. But there’s also Zev, Tobias’s half-brother who not only wants Pete, but seems to be bent on some kind of dark path. When Pete returns to his home in the city, danger follows. It’s up to Tobias to overcome his fears and protect his mate. Oh, and let him know he even in a mate. So no big right? LOL
 
If you love shifter stories where the men are hot, the story is solid, the passion is off the chart, and the HEA is both earned and deserved, then this is a must read. I have loved this series from the beginning and can’t wait to read more. (Hint hint… what’s next Dirk?)

 
 

Pete closed his eyes as he checked the outer pocket of his bag and found a flat, small, giveaway flashlight he’d received from some conference or other. He pressed the button and the tiny light came on. It wasn’t much, and the rain and gloom swallowed most of its glow, but it was enough to see a few steps ahead and that was all he needed. Pete figured he’d go a little farther and hoped he’d find shelter, because hope was all he had left. He slung his pack onto his back once again and wove around the trees and brush.

He was watching the ground and nearly face-planted into the corner of a structure. It was wooden, rough-hewn, and probably quite old, but Pete didn’t care. As long as it wasn’t a cougar den, he could deal. Slowly Pete made his way around it. His flashlight flickered,
and he managed to find the door and push it open, and used the last of his light to take a look around.

It was some sort of old storage building. There wasn’t much inside, but the building seemed solid and dry enough. The back was stacked with sacks from floor to ceiling, and that took up almost half of the structure’s volume. The rest was empty except for some tarps lying on hay.

Pete knew hay meant that someone used this as a barn. But he hoped they wouldn’t mind if he crashed here. He swept the loose hay together with his foot and spread one of the tarps over it to help soften the floor a little. Then Pete dug into his wet pack and pulled out his spare clothes. The plastic bag enclosing them was intact, so he stripped out of his soaked things and dressed quickly. He wrung out his clothes in the open doorway, then closed the door and laid them to dry over a board, knowing the owner would not thank him if he got the hay wet.

Pete pulled out his last bottle of water and a granola bar, ate it and drank half the water, then set the rest aside. How in the hell did he get into these situations? He lay down on the tarp and used another as a blanket. He was still cold, but it helped some. At least he was dry, and he could listen to the rain as it beat on the roof overhead rather than onto his face. He’d had something to eat and drink. For now he was dry and safe enough, and that was all he could hope for. At first light he’d leave his shelter and make for the hill so he could get some reception and hopefully call someone to rescue his sorry butt.

Lightning flashed, illuminating the space through the single small window beside the door. Thunder rolled and wind whipped around his shelter. It sounded as though Mother Nature was letting out all her fury tonight. Pete huddled a little deeper under his tarp blanket, hoping the building remained in one piece.

Pete was weary as hell, but the storm kept him awake. Once it abated, the strange sounds from outside—including the calls and answers of wolves—scared the living hell out of him. The noises weren’t near the barn, but that didn’t mean very much. After the cat and now wolves, Pete would be happy to get the hell out of here and back home to New York, where he could stare at the walls for all he cared. He was never leaving the safety of the city again, writer’s block or not. Writing nothing was better than losing his life and being ripped to shreds by whatever was out there.

More lightning flashed and the thunder shook the barn around him. Small bits of hay floated down from the rafters. Pete wanted to cover his head, but the tarp wasn’t the best-smelling thing he’d encountered. He shook a little and prayed the storm would lessen or move on.

Unfortunately, from the sound of it, the storm seemed content to stay where it was, and more little bits floated down from above as clap after clap of thunder tried to shake his shelter apart. Pete curled into the fetal position, comforting himself as much as possible. He’d been so dumb, thinking he knew what he was doing. Even as the wind rattled the door and whistled outside, he was in much better shape than if he’d still been outside.

“Roger, if I get out of this alive, so help me, I am going to slap you silly the next time I see you. ‘Go out west. Have an adventure. See things. It will spark some ideas for your next book.’ Bastard!” He clenched the tarp as another peal of thunder rattled the building. They were supposed to come on this trip together. But no. Roger managed to get mono, probably from kissing every man in New York. In his raggedy, sick voice, the asshole had urged him to go on his own.

“The point of this trip was so you could get ideas and stop moping around. It’s a tour of Yellowstone. You’ll meet people and have fun.” Those words rang hollow now. He had met people and gotten separated from the group. This whole thing was turning into a nightmare, and the least Roger could have done was be here to suffer along with him.

After what felt like hours, the storm moved off and it grew quieter outside. Pete rested his head on the tarp and closed his eyes. If he got a little sleep, it would help him in the morning.

Being out of the weather made Pete relax, and finally, even on the hard floor, he closed his eyes, tried to picture himself at home in his warm, soft, queen-size bed, and eventually dozed off.

 

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Dirk is very much an outside kind of man.  He loves travel and seeing new things.  Dirk worked in corporate America for way too long and now spends his days writing, gardening, and taking care of the home he shares with his partner of more than two decades.  He has a Master’s Degree and all the other accessories that go with a corporate job.  But he is most proud of the stories he tells and the life he’s built.  Dirk lives in Pennsylvania in a century old home and is blessed with an amazing circle of friends. 
 
 
Other Works by Dirk Greyson
Yellowstone Wolves Series
Day and Knight Series
Standalone Titles
 

** eARC received from author in with the hope that I will leave my Unbiased Opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising". **

Fortunes Told: PLAYING WITH FIRE by Dirk Greyson

 
Title: Playing with Fire 
Author: Dirk Greyson
Series: Standalone
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: Nov 4 2016
Edition/Formats: eBook & Print
Book Links:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Dreamspinner Press
Jim Crawford was born wealthy, but he turned his back on it to become a police officer. Add to that his being gay, and he’s definitely the black sheep of the family.
Dr. Barty Halloran grew up with lessons instead of friends and toys, and as a result, became a gifted psychologist… with only an academic understanding of people and emotions.
When Jim’s pursuit of a serial killer goes nowhere, he turns to Dr. Halloran for help, and Barty thinks he can get inside the shooter’s mind. In many ways, they’re two sides of the same coin, which both scares and intrigues him. Together, Jim and Barty make progress on the case—until the stakes shoot higher when the killer turns his attention toward Barty.
To protect Barty, Jim offers to let Barty stay with him, where he discovers the doctor has a heart to go along with his brilliant mind after all. But as they close in on their suspect, the killer becomes desperate, and he’ll do anything to elude capture—even threaten those closest to Jim‘.

Continue reading “Fortunes Told: PLAYING WITH FIRE by Dirk Greyson”

5 Drops Review: PLAYING WITH FIRE by Dirk Greyson

Title: Playing with Fire 
Author: Dirk Greyson
Series: Standalone
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: Nov 4, 2016
Edition/Formats: eBook & Print
Book Links: Amazon
| Barnes and Noble | Dreamspinner Press
Jim Crawford was born wealthy, but he turned his back on it to become a police officer. Add to that his being gay, and he’s definitely the black sheep of the family.
Dr. Barty Halloran grew up with lessons instead of friends and toys, and as a result, became a gifted psychologist… with only an academic understanding of people and emotions.
When Jim’s pursuit of a serial killer goes nowhere, he turns to Dr. Halloran for help, and Barty thinks he can get inside the shooter’s mind. In many ways, they’re two sides of the same coin, which both scares and intrigues him. Together, Jim and Barty make progress on the case—until the stakes shoot higher when the killer turns his attention toward Barty.
To protect Barty, Jim offers to let Barty stay with him, where he discovers the doctor has a heart to go along with his brilliant mind after all. But as they close in on their suspect, the killer becomes desperate, and he’ll do anything to elude capture—even threaten those closest to Jim‘.
Playing with Fire is hot, is sexy, is complicated, is different, is…. Yes, it is all those things and more. When Dirk set out to write a suspense mystery that had an MC that was not your usual, he scored with this story. Now, we all know that Dirk isn’t know for just going with the flow, he tends to step outside the box, but Barty is more than just a little different, he’s not like anyone Jim’s ever met, or like many real people have dealt with. Mind you, I know a few people that remind me greatly of Barty, which only made me love this story more. Having an MC that was not suave, cool, experienced, and more was refreshing as too often the MCs in stories are all that and more. I mean, I know that past high school, many are at least experienced, but really, if everyone was a “real catch” and everyone could see it, they wouldn’t still be single, right?
 
As for the story itself, wow. The community-building, the writing, the plot (and it’s twisting), and how it all comes together, were masterfully done. This was a one night read for me that will be reread more than once, I’m sure. It was fun, engaging, and made me have to flip the page. Mind you, that meant it was well past when I ought to have been asleep when I finished it (bad Dirk! And I didn’t even get sex Sad smile ) .
 
Watching as Jim and Barty not only raced against time and the killer, but danced around each other was wonderful. The chemistry was hot and the suspense will have you clutching your reader (be careful… they aren’t indestructible, lol) as you root for the couple both as a couple and as investigators. One of the nice things about Dirk’s writing is that his secondary characters are “real” too, so the story is not one of robust vs flat, but one of love, one of good vs evil, one of acceptance in the face of pain. It is a story you won’t want to miss! This is a great read and one I’m thrilled to have read. Thank you Dirk for writing all you do.

He set up his laptop and spent the rest of the day working through what he’d read and seen to develop a profile of the killer, but there was so much information he was missing that what he came up with was only in general terms, and that frustrated him. He liked his answers to be solid, but what he kept coming back to was nebulous and could apply to millions of people. Jim played the message that had been left for them, and it reinforced Barty’s profile but didn’t fill in any of the blanks.

Jim had pretty much left him to his own devices for the afternoon, and that was precisely how he liked to work. But Barty found himself checking for Jim every half hour or so. He kept wondering about him, and not in an academic way. First thing, Jim had actually answered Barty’s questions honestly, which told him he was a pretty self-aware kind of man. Barty had also divulged things about himself. Academically he knew that could be the start of a friendship, and he liked that notion. He didn’t have many real friends. He’d never been good at making them. Mostly he had acquaintances and contacts.

Something else niggled at the back of Barty’s mind, but he didn’t understand what it was in the least.

“Have you come up with anything?” Jim asked, placing a cup of coffee next to him.

Barty smiled. It was nice that Jim thought of him when he got a coffee for himself. He lifted his gaze from his laptop and caught Jim’s smile. It was nice, warm, and genuine. Barty had made a study of smiles as part of his work. People smiled for different reasons—for example, to cover up embarrassment or discomfort. Sometimes a smile could be menacing and chilling. Jim’s smile was nothing like those. It was like he was happy to see him. A flutter in his belly that had been simmering all day flared into a flight of butterflies, and Barty wondered if he might have eaten something that didn’t agree with him, but there was a pleasant feeling, like an aftertaste.

“I have a basic profile,” Barty said, and Jim leaned closer. “It’s definitely a man, in my opinion, and he’s smart, super smart.” Barty paused before he got into what he wanted to say. “This is all opinion at this point. A theory that we need to prove or change as we get more evidence.”

“Like, you smart?”

Barty colored. His intelligence was a source of pride for him, but he’d learned that it intimidated other people. “You can be as smart as you like, but don’t make others feel dumb,” Nana had told him.

“Maybe. But in a different way. He’s smart, and at the same time, ruthless and without empathy. He doesn’t care what his actions do to others. His entire emphasis is on himself and the effect others have on him.” Barty turned away from his computer screen. “He’s the kind of subject that people in my profession would love to be able to study. He’s aware of his strengths and very good at minimizing his weaknesses. However, the exception is his ego. I think that’s what’s driven him to this extreme.”

“How so?” Jim asked.

“To boil things down, let’s say we have two people, both raised in pretty much the same way. But as adults, one turns into a serial killer and the other one studies people who become serial killers.” Barty might have been getting a little close to himself, but the example seemed to work in this case. “The two people are like two sides of the same coin. One turns evil, and the other goes on to lead a fairly normal life. One of the things that can help decide which way they go is ego. Let’s say that both of them have the potential to climb on rooftops and shoot people. Not everyone is going to do that.”

“So the one most likely is the one with a biggest ego?”

“Possibly,” Barty said and turned to Jim. “You be the bad guy. You’re our serial shooter. You’re smart and think you’re smarter than everyone else. Therefore, you’re the best at everything. So something triggers your superiority. You get passed over for promotion, or flunk a class that you think you should be teaching because the instructor is a complete idiot. Or your girlfriend leaves you for someone else, but of course you’re the best lover and best boyfriend in the world, so she should definitely want to be with you. Therefore, something is wrong with the world and you need to change that.” When he looked into Jim’s eyes, heat built up inside him, and he wondered why the room had suddenly gotten warm. “So you need to change the world and set it back to right where you are better than everyone else. Our shooter is doing just that. There’s an event that triggered these episodes, but we don’t know where to look for that yet. There is also some escalating event.”

“I don’t understand.”

Barty ran his finger under his collar because it felt a little tight. He lost his train of thought as he momentarily fell into Jim’s brown eyes. Barty blinked and got back on track.

“Okay, so we have you as our potential serial shooter. You believe you’re better than everyone else, therefore other people matter less than you do. They’re expendable because you’re the very best. Something happens that triggers your righteous indignation because things aren’t right. Your ego is bruised, but you grind your teeth and continue on, because after all, you are smarter than everyone else and know what’s best. But the world doesn’t return to where it should be. You are slighted over and over again, and each time the anger and resentment builds and builds. Other inferior people are being promoted over you… whatever it is. Then something happens that sends you over the edge, and you have to take action because the wor
ld isn’t righting itself, and you feel it isn’t going to.”

“Jesus,” Jim said softly.

“The problem is that it often isn’t until after the fact that we’re able to piece these incidents together and come up with a real cause or answers. Sometimes we never can at all. There are people who would be fantastic research subjects, but they won’t talk. Others do nothing but talk, but their information is so skewed and facts hard to corroborate that we get no usable data.” Barty sipped his coffee, then set it aside. He was still too warm. “Is there something cold to drink?”

“Sure. Give me a minute.” Jim left, and Barty breathed as normally as possible, trying to determine the cause of this reaction. Jim returned with a bottle of water that had condensation on the outside, and Barty opened it and drank half. “How do we use this to try to find him?”

“I’m still working on some things. There are a number of possibilities. A lot of super intelligent people work in academia because many of us don’t have superior social skills. Though I’m not saying that’s a given, but it might be a place to start. You could try MENSA, but I don’t think that’s the kind of group our shooter would join. He’d surround himself with smart people, but no one potentially smarter than he is. That way he’s always the biggest and best in the room.” Barty stopped. “Chess clubs,” he added.

“You said that this is a game a couple of times.”

“Yes. He thinks many moves ahead, and that’s something chess players do. So try looking at the various chess clubs, but only at the very top players. He’d definitely be one of the best….”

 
Dirk is very much an outside kind of man.  He loves travel and seeing new things.  Dirk worked in corporate America for way too long and now spends his days writing, gardening, and taking care of the home he shares with his partner of more than two decades.  He has a Master’s Degree and all the other accessories that go with a corporate job.  But he is most proud of the stories he tells and the life he’s built.  Dirk lives in Pennsylvania in a century old home and is blessed with an amazing circle of friends. 
Goodreads | Twitter @dirkgreyson

FLIGHT OR FIGHT by Dirk Greyson

 
Title: Flight or Fight 
Author: Dirk Greyson
Series: Standalone
Genre: M/M, Contemporary Western Suspense
Release Date: Aug 5 2016
Edition/Formats: eBook & Print 
Hartwick County, South Dakota, represents a fresh start for Mackenzie—“Mack”—Redford. Life in the big city wasn’t what he expected, and now he’s home and serving as sheriff.
 
Brantley Calderone is also looking for a new life. After leaving New York and buying a ranch, he’s settling in and getting used to living at a different pace—until he finds a dead woman on his porch and himself the prime suspect in her murder.
 
Mack and Brantley quickly realize several things: someone is trying to frame Brantley; he is no longer safe alone on his ranch; and there’s a definite attraction developing between them, one that only increases when Mack offers to let Brantley stay in his home. But as their romance escalates, so does the killer. They’ll have to stay one step ahead and figure out who wants Brantley dead before it’s too late. Only then can they start the new life they’re both seeking—together.

Continue reading “FLIGHT OR FIGHT by Dirk Greyson”

5 Drops Review: REKINDLED FLAME by Andrew Grey

Title: Rekindled Flame Rekindled Flame
Author:
Andrew Grey
Series: (Set in the Bronco Boys Universe) (Book 1 in Spin-Off)
Genre: M/M Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Publisher:
Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 13, 2016
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
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Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | ARe 

Morgan has worked hard to build a home for himself after a nomadic childhood. When Morgan is called to a fire, he finds the family out front, but their tenant still inside. He rescues Richard Smalley, who turns out to be an old friend he hasn’t seen in years and the one person he regretted leaving behind.

Richard has had a hard life. He served in the military where he lost the use of his legs and has been struggling to make his way since coming home. Now that he no longer has a place to live, Morgan takes him in, but when someone attempts to set fire to Morgan’s house, they both become suspicious and wonder what’s going on.

Years ago Morgan was gutted when Richard moved away, so he’s happy to pick things up where they left off, but now that Richard seems to be the target of an arsonist, he may not be the safest person to be around.

This is one book that I eagerly awaited. I love Andrew Grey’s writing, but as someone that deals with the issues of feeling like not being a whole person due to disability and a “damn chair,” I eagerly awaited seeing how Andrew tackled this issue and gave Richie his HEA. Andrew only gives us HEA’s, but it’s the getting there that’s such a treat and such a journey!

In Rekindled Flame, Richard Smalley and Morgan Ayers had been best friends as children, but then Morgan’s father ripped them apart by moving Morgan away just after then boys had come out to each other. Mind you, they were so sweet and nieve, they didn’t really understand what it all really even meant at that time. Fast forward to our story and wow has time changed these two wonderful men.

Morgan is a firefighter, one of the ones called when the house Richard lives in the small attached apartment of is engulfed in flames. Richard can’t be found, so Morgan dons his fire attire and runs into the burning building to find a man unconscious in a wheelchair. He carries him out, barely making it out in time himself before the fire swallows the rest of the home.

How do you rebuild a friendship and then more while trying to find your footing together, deal with PTSD, loss, an insane arsonist, and more?

Morgan is a romantic that still remembers things from their childhood—like how a friend of theirs bullied them into getting married at 13, lol. Richie doesn’t see his worth or believe that Morgan could really want anything with him for long—he’s only half a man now that he’s in the chair. Who would want to deal with all that comes with being with someone in a chair for the long haul…? Oh, and is his presence in Morgan’s home and life putting him in danger thanks to the arsonist that seems to be after him?

I love that we get to see some of the Bronco Boys again! Love them (happy swoon). And that this story is so uplifting while being so down to earth and real. This is a story of love, triumph, caring, and friendship. The fears are real, the worry is tangible, and the support and camaraderie just what was needed throughout. I can’t praise this book enough on so many points. I can say that not only is this a well-written story, but it’s a touching and at times heart-pounding one where the HEA is sweet and perfect, and the characters are… you’ll have to read to find out Winking smile

“Yeah, I’m going to stop at the hospital to see how the man I helped last night is doing, and then I’m going home.” Morgan headed for the door and threw his bag into the trunk of his car before pulling out and driving across town to a place he knew way too well.

Morgan had saved a number of people over the years. It was one of the things that went with the job. Not getting there in time could rip a firefighter apart, and saving someone brought you a kinship no one else could understand. All he knew about this man was that his name was Richard, but in a few minutes they had shared something unique. Morgan had had an influence on the rest of Richard’s life.

“Can I help you?” the woman behind the visitors’ desk asked as he approached. “Oh, hi, Morgan,” she said when she recognized him. “What can I do for you?”

“There was a man brought into emergency last night. His first name was Richard. I need to know what room he’s in.”

“You don’t want much,” she told him and began typing. Geri was used to his unorthodox inquiries. She was a little younger than him and had worked at the hospital for years. “What happened to him?”

“I got him out of a burning building last night, and I want to make sure he’s okay.” He leaned against the counter, relaxing while she searched.

“I found him. Room 212. It says he can receive visitors.”

She handed him a pass, and Morgan thanked her before striding toward the elevators. He rode to the second floor and then walked through familiar hallways to the ward and down to Richard’s room. He paused outside and heard nothing. Peering in, he saw a sleeping figure in the bed. Maybe he’d come too early. He walked in anyway and stood by the end of the bed.

“Who are you?” Richard demanded in a rough voice that set Morgan on alert.

“I’m the firefighter who pulled you out last night. I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”

“You rescued me from the fire?” he asked. “You should have saved your efforts and left me there. Everyone would be so much better off.” The anger and vitriol rolled off him in a tidal wave of blackness.

“Well, I did,” Morgan said as he put his jacket on the nearby chair. “The kids were worried about you.”

That softened some of Richard’s features as a nurse came rushing into the room. “Mr. Smalley, you need to remain calm.” She helped him lay back down, glaring at Morgan. “His breathing needs to be as regular as possible to give him time to heal.”

Morgan barely heard her. He stared at the man in the bed and let her do her job. Once she left, he moved closer.

“Richard Smalley? Did you grow up on a farm outside Enola?” Even before Richard spoke, Morgan knew the answer.

“Yes.” Richard lifted his head of sandy-blond hair, the color of perfectly ripe corn. Morgan knew that color so well, even after all these years.

“It’s Morgan, Morgan Ayers. We were friends when we were growing up.” He continued staring at the man Richie had become. “What were we, thirteen the last time we saw each other?”

“Yeah. After seventh grade when your dad moved the two of you away. Where did you go? I went away to summer camp, and when I came back you’d moved.”

Morgan nodded. “Dad lost his job and got a new one in Detroit, so he packed us up and we moved. Not that we stayed there for very long either. After that we were in Cleveland, and then Pittsburgh, where Dad finally stopped drinking and we could settle down. He remarried, and that’s where I spent my last few years of high school.” God, he wanted to hurry forward and give Richard a hug, but he didn’t have the right any longer. It had been decades, but Morgan had never forgotten Richie. How could he? “I wrote you, but I was thirteen and….”

“Yeah. It wasn’t like there was Facebook back then.”

Richard was definitely happier than he’d been, with a hint of the smile Morgan remembered from his friend. The memories had dulled over time as the years had gone by, but Morgan would never forget Richie, no matter how long he lived. That wasn’t possible. How did you forget the one person you told your deepest, darkest secrets to, and he’d not only understood but told you his in return? How did you forget the boy who had made things better and brought you home when your dad drank most of the grocery money away? Richie had been the one who’d helped see that he didn’t starve more times than he wanted to remember.

RoundAndRound Love Comes in Darkness EasternCowboyFS

Andrew GreyAndrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Amazon Author Page | Barnes and Noble Page | Dreamspinner Press

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THE SCHOLAR’S HEART by Antonia Aquilante: 5 Drops #Review, #Excerpt, & #Giveaway

Title: The Scholar’s Heart The Scholar's Heart (Chronicles of Tournai, #3)
Author: Antonia Aquilante
Genre: M/M Fantasy Romance
Series: Chronicles of Tournai
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Release Date: May 30, 2016
Length: Novel (294 pages)
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Purchase Links: Dreamspinner Press ebook | Dreamspinner Press paperback | Amazon | AllRomance | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Apple

Youngest son of a royal duke, Etan is a scholar at heart who juggles his work for the prince with his studies of the history and legends of Tournai, something of particular interest to him because he shares the magical Talent that runs in the royal bloodline. Etan’s peaceful world turns upside down when his best friend—the man he secretly loves—unexpectedly marries a woman. Though Tristan values his friendship with Etan and has always been attracted to him, he is a dutiful son, raised to shoulder responsibility for the family business one day. That day comes far sooner than anticipated, and he makes a deathbed promise to his father to marry the woman his father chose and become head of the company and family.

A year later, Tristan is a widower with an infant daughter and a mother who demands he marry again quickly—something Tristan resists. Circumstances throw Etan and Tristan together, and even as they succumb to the desires they’ve always harbored, Etan battles his feelings, wary of being cast aside again. When Tristan’s daughter is kidnapped, Etan and Tristan must come together to find her, find the person responsible, and support each other through the ordeal… and maybe beyond.

The Scholar’s Heart was… in a word, wonderful. It is a story of love, pain, redemption, friendship, learning, and so much more. It is also one that teases the reader. It made me want to demand, when is book four coming? The author graciously has informed me that we only *cough* have to wait until November/December for the follow-up, and trust me, you will want it.

This is not just as story of romantic love, but one about family. Tristan has a baby daughter and has lost his wife tragically. While he didn’t love her, he did care for her, so this is a hard thing for him. His mother doesn’t make things easier for him. The blurb doesn’t do justice to how pushy and bullying his mother is about the idea of him remarrying.

Etan has loved Tristan for years now, as we all know. He however, pulled away when Tristan married. I can’t blame him, I would have too. But fate, tragedy, and maybe even their friends intercede and before long, they are faced with the truth. But has too much happened, too much time, too much pain, too much hurt. Can Etan trust Tristan? Can Tristan relegate himself, body and heart, to one man? And can they save Tristan’s daughter?

Thankfully, The Scholar’s Heart is an HEA, so yes, but it wasn’t easy getting there. And the things we learn…. The things we are teased with possibilities about…. The world building is again excellent and the characters well developed. The plot twisty enough to be enjoyable, the sex hot enough to require a fan or two, and the romance sweet and tangible enough that my heart hurt, squeezed, and raced for Tristan and Etan. Definitely a ReRead.

Several people milled around the small entrance hall, all strangers to Etan except Adeline, Amory’s sister. She moved gracefully around other people and dropped into a curtsy in front of Philip and Amory. The others in the room noticed the action and the princes in their midst and made their bows and curtsies as well. When Adeline straightened, Amory embraced her and Philip kissed her cheek.

“It’s good you’re here. I know Tristan will be glad to see friendly faces,” she said, reaching out a hand to Cathal and Etan, and then Flavian.

“How is he?” Amory asked. Etan was secretly happy he did, because it saved Etan from having to ask the question.

“A little overwhelmed, I think. With the arrangements, and between his family, Da
riela’s family, and the baby.” She shrugged. “I’m trying to help as much as I can.”

“You’re a good friend, Adeline,” Amory said, smiling and squeezing his sister’s hand.

“Oh, hush. Come, I’ll take you to him.” They followed Adeline’s slim figure, clad in a gown so dark a gray it was nearly black, as she walked farther into the house. People bowed or curtsied when they passed. Etan trailed at the back of the group, still flanked by Cathal and Flavian.

While conversation had been quiet in the entrance hall, it was hushed in the room where the coffin was, so much so that the quiet weeping of the older woman who was likely Dariela’s mother was clearly audible. She was in a chair in the corner, a small cluster of women around her, trying to comfort her.

The poor woman had lost her daughter far too young. But still Etan’s eyes sought out Tristan. He stood near the coffin. Etan was used to him shining with his bright blue eyes and his gleaming gold hair. Today Tristan seemed dulled, dragged down by fatigue and grief. Etan ached to make it better, to take some of the burden from his shoulders, to hold Tristan and comfort him, but he couldn’t. He steeled himself against the urge to do so.

They filed past the coffin on their way to pay their respects to Tristan. The woman lying there had been undeniably pretty in life. Etan didn’t know much else about her. In the months they had been married, Etan had done his best to spend as little time with Tristan, with or without his wife, as he could. Self-preservation on his part, giving himself the time to get over his grief and put away his love for Tristan. He hadn’t managed to get over all the hurt yet. And now she was dead. As much as he wished Tristan hadn’t married at all, as much as he wished Tristan returned the feelings Etan had had for him, he never would have wanted that for this poor woman. Etan’s unrequited feelings, his grief, hadn’t been her fault.

And he felt wrong standing at her coffin with her mourners after doing his best to avoid her for so long.

“Etan.”

Tristan’s voice brought Etan out of his thoughts. The musical quality was muted now, but his voice still made Etan’s insides swoop around dizzyingly. As it always had. He ruthlessly ignored the feeling.

“Tristan, I’m very sorry for your loss.”

Tristan nodded. “Thank you for coming.”

The words were stiff, formal, completely different from the words they used to exchange back before Tristan had married. Back when they had been close friends and Etan had reason to hope for more someday.

“Of course.” Yes, of course, Etan would come today to pay his respects after Tristan’s wife died, but Tristan couldn’t have known that, not after he had distanced himself from Tristan and their friendship as much as possible in the almost year of Tristan’s marriage. Guilt stirred inside him, just a little.

As Tristan stared at him, Etan struggled for the polite words he should say in this situation, but he couldn’t seem to find them. He’d been brought up to know what to say in every social situation, but all of that training failed him now. Not that he thought Tristan was waiting for meaningless social niceties. No, Tristan had to expect something more from someone who had been his friend, and Etan should give him that because it wasn’t Tristan’s fault Etan’s heart was broken, not really. But Etan couldn’t find the words.

Thankfully, Amory stepped up, filling the silence with all the words Etan couldn’t conjure up. And that was best. Amory had been Tristan’s closest friend since childhood, was someone Tristan had probably been more than a little in love with. Maybe still was, for all Etan knew.

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The Prince's Consort (Chronicles of Tournai, #1) The Artist's Masquerade (Chronicles of Tournai, #2) The Scholar's Heart (Chronicles of Tournai, #3)

Antonia AquilanteAntonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Rainbow Romance Writers.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads


Writing Day and Knight… from SUN AND SHADOW by Dirk Greyson

Title: Sun and Shadow 
Author: Dirk Greyson
Series: Day and Knight (book 2)
Genre: M/M, Action/Adventure, Erotic, Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 9th, 2015
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase 
Length: 210 pgs 
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Purchase: Dreamspinner Press | All Romance | Amazon

Dayton “Day” Ingram is recovering from an injury suffered in Mexico—and from his failed relationship with fellow Scorpion agent, Knight. While researching an old government document, Day realizes he might be holding the key to finding an artistic masterpiece lost since WWII.

But the Russians are looking for it too, and have a team in place in Eastern Europe hunting it down. Day and Knight are brought back together when they are charged with getting to the painting first.

Knight wants to leave Mexico and everything that happened there behind, and return to the life he had—except it wasn’t much of a life. When he’s partnered up with Day, keeping his distance proves to be challenging. But Day is as stubborn as Knight and isn’t willing to let him walk away.

Their assignment leads them through Germany and Austria with agents hot on their tail—agents willing to do whatever it takes to get to the masterpiece first. If Day and Knight can live long enough to find the painting, they might also discover something even more precious—each other.

Continue reading “Writing Day and Knight… from SUN AND SHADOW by Dirk Greyson”

Release Day Review: SUN AND SHADOW by Dirk Greyson

Title: Sun and Shadow 
Author: Dirk Greyson
Series: Day and Knight 
Genre: M/M, Action/Adventure, Erotic, Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 9th, 2015
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase 
Length: 210 pgs 
Add To Goodreads
Purchase: Dreamspinner Press | All Romance | Amazon

Dayton “Day” Ingram is recovering from an injury suffered in Mexico—and from his failed relationship with fellow Scorpion agent, Knight. While researching an old government document, Day realizes he might be holding the key to finding an artistic masterpiece lost since WWII.

But the Russians are looking for it too, and have a team in place in Eastern Europe hunting it down. Day and Knight are brought back together when they are charged with getting to the painting first.

Knight wants to leave Mexico and everything that happened there behind, and return to the life he had—except it wasn’t much of a life. When he’s partnered up with Day, keeping his distance proves to be challenging. But Day is as stubborn as Knight and isn’t willing to let him walk away.

Their assignment leads them through Germany and Austria with agents hot on their tail—agents willing to do whatever it takes to get to the masterpiece first. If Day and Knight can live long enough to find the painting, they might also discover something even more precious—each other.

Continue reading “Release Day Review: SUN AND SHADOW by Dirk Greyson”