9 Willow Street, Book Recommendations, Family Found Series, Of Autumn Leaves and New Beginnings, Sale, Us Again

Book sale – 50% off ebooks

 

eoss v2 fall

My fabulous publisher JMS Books has a sale on all ebooks to mark the end of summer, because when fall comes we need more books. Because books and tea and candles and warm socks are perfect for fall, and go together like…um, I’m not gonna say peanut butter and jelly because I’m not a fan of that combination, but pick something you feel really go together. I’m choosing hamburgers and onions, because I can’t eat burgers without onions! 😀

Anyhooo. That means that my ebooks are 50% off at JMS Books this weekend and through Monday, so if you need to refill your TBR to make sure you have something to read when the days grow colder this is the perfect opportunity.

Why not pre-order my book Of Autumn Leaves and New Beginnings (release day September 21) if you haven’t already done it, because as you can tell, it’s all about the autumn. It’s also about two men in their late forties starting over.

My collab story with Kris T. Bethke, Falling Into Love also takes place in autumn, so if you’re in the mood for the found family trope, this is just for you.

9 Willow Street also takes place in fall (despite the happy green cover) and features a super cute bunny shifter. Us Again is a short, second chances story with lovely fall colors on the cover.

But all my books are on sale, of course, so check out this link to my author page on the JMS website to see what else I’ve written!


I have some recommendations for books written by other authors you can buy, too, if you already own all of mine 😀

  • Wild Fragile Vines by Vivien Dean (that I reviewed here) is on pre-order. It will be re-released by JMS on September 4 (it was previously published by Amber Quill), and I absolutely adored it. I loved it so much I’m actually considering buying it again (even though it’s the same cover and everything) just to support Ms. Dean.
  • Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds by Kris T. Bethke. It was the first story I read by my dear friend Ms. Bethke and I bought it only because of the fun title, but it turned out to be a great little book and it made me a fan of her writing. It’ll be re-released by JMS (it was previously published by Dreamspinner Press) on September 21 and will share book birthday with Of Autumn Leaves and New Beginnings!! Yay!
  • Chicken Soup by Mel Bossa, which I talked about here. It’s a very short story but full on the feels, and it’s only 50 cents now so clickety-click and buy it. You won’t regret it.
  • Cultivating Love by Addison Albright. I’ve raved so much about Prince Marcelo from the Plans series lately, so I need to give some love to Ed and Joe so they don’t feel neglected. It was my introduction to Addison’s writing, and it’s one of my favorite re-reads!

recommendations

Book Reviews

Friday review

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heel Heel by K.M. Neuhold

 

“I’ve never thought of calling a man Daddy before, but I can’t think of a word that fits Vale better. He’s my Daddy, and I’m his pup.” 

Broken and bruised, there’s nothing I won’t do to protect Adrian. I picked him up and made him whole before, and I’ll do it again. Adrian is a sweet pup with a smile full of sunshine and a heart made for love. A sweet pup needs a gentle hand, and that’s exactly what I intend to give him.

There’s nothing quite like slipping an expensive pair of high heels onto Adrian’s feet and watching him light up. If he wants a fairytale, I’ll happily be his Prince Charming.


CW: This review (and the book) contains mentions of domestic abuse, so if this is something you find difficult, please don’t read any further.

I know we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers, but when I saw this book at a release blitz over at my friend Addison Albright’s blog, I instantly fell in love. It’s so cuuuuute! 😍 I downloaded a sample and loved it, so I bought the book and I do not regret it.

This is a puppy play romance with very light BDSM elements about Adrian and Vale, containing many of the things I love to read about: age gap (Adrian is 25, Vale is 40), the power dynamics of BDSM without most of the props (except for puppy related props), a flamboyant character (Adrian), and a caring, soft-hearted dom (Vale).

It also contains two fabulous characters. The story starts with Adrian at the hospital with a broken wrist, because his current partner and dom, Nathan, has hurt him. Adrian returns home despite the objections of his friend who works at the hospital, because it was the first time Nathan was violent. The situation escalates when Nathan gets home that evening and more violence ensues. Adrian realizes that it wasn’t a one-time experience and he runs out of the house—without shoes—to get away. He calls the friend from the hospital and he and his partner pick Adrian up and let him stay in their house.

As the story unfolds, we learn that even though Nathan was never physically violent toward Adrian before that night, he’s been verbally abusive for most of the six years they’ve been together, and Adrian displays signs of being abused. Despite this, he tries his hardest to keep a hold of his sunny personality, which is different from how a lot of other domestic abuse victim characters I’ve read handle the situation. And I’m not saying that to minimize anyone’s reaction to being abused (either book character or real person) but it was an interesting take on the subject I haven’t encountered before.

“I won’t hide, and I won’t cower. I’ve been through worse than this, and I can make it through this too.

I’m going to be just fine, I resolve as if thinking it can make it so. If anyone is stubborn enough to pull it off, it’s me.”

Vale, the other MC, calls Aidan “Sunshine” and that’s the most appropriate endearment I’ve read, I think.

“I read somewhere once that if you keep smiling, you can trick your brain into being happy. It worked when I was living on the street, and it’s going to work now if it kills me.”

And this is how Adrian approaches his life after Nathan. He tries so hard to be his normal, sunny self and for most part, he succeeds. Then there are the moments in between, the moments when he can’t help but to react to situations in the way he’s learned to react around Nathan over the years, and those moments break my heart.

Vale is a puppy trainer (yes, people-puppies, not dog-puppies) and he’s know Adrian for seven years. Vale helped Adrian off the streets when he was 18 and living in his car, gave him a home, and helped him get on his feet. He agreed to train Adrian to be a puppy (in a non-sexual way) because that’s something Adrian had wanted for years. Overall, Vale was Adrian’s super hero.

Adrian has had a crush on Vale ever since, but at the time Vale felt that the age difference was too great for something to happen between them (when Adrian was only 18 and he was in his 30s). When Vale finds out what has happened to Adrian, he immediately steps up and helps, and he’s just what Adrian needs. Adrian’s crush on Vale has never faded, and the reader learns that Vale likes Adrian back, but he fears that Adrian only wants him because he’s grateful.

That is not the case, as I’m sure you’ve realized by now 🙂

Adrian and Vale both help each other to grow. Vale helps Adrian get over the abuse, to grow and find happiness. Adrian in turn brings life and happiness into Vale’s lonely existence, because despite having trained countless of puppies over the years, he’s never had a puppy of his own. Even though Vale is the dom caretaker, Adrian is equally important for him and his growth.

Arguments can be made that the relationship happens too fast, that Vale is just a rebound for Adrian, but I don’t feel that way at all. They’ve known each other for seven years, it’s clear that Nathan feels threatened by Vale, and Adrian liked Vale from the start – all this tells us that it’s not a rebound. If anything, Nathan was a rebound for Vale, for a relationship Adrian wanted with Vale but never got.

It’s a very sweet story with two great characters whose love for each other jumps off the page. Adrian is a ray of sunshine, and I love how the author gave him puppy-like characteristics even when he’s not in his puppy-gear. He wiggles and scrambles and bounces, and it endears him to me even more. Vale is a big teddy bear in a dom package with a big heart. They are just the kind of characters I love.

If I have to complain about something, it’s that after they have sex for the first time, there are a bit too many sex scenes for my taste, but since I think most romance books have too many sex scenes, that’s probably just me 🙂

This book is the second in a series, but it can be read as standalone. I haven’t read the first book and had no trouble following the plot.

I warmly recommend Heel. I dare you not to fall in love with Adrian! 🙂

“[…]he’s standing completely nude by the sink, doing his best to wrap his cast.

“Only a few more days,” I say, taking the cling wrap from him to help get it on correctly.

“I can’t wait. I’ve been making a list on two-handed things I want to do like play the piano and juggle.”

“Do you know how to do either of those things?” I ask with a half-smile.

“No, but I’m a very fast learner,” he assures me in a sultry voice that makes me think we’re not talking about playing the piano anymore.”

Buy link: Amazon

Awakenings and French Songs

#FlashbackFriday

“This book wasn’t about passion or need. It was more of a discovery of wants and hopes.”

awakeningsAn existential awakening and lots of French chansons equal a favorite neighbor seen in a new light.

Iggy Wilker never expected his 36th birthday to turn into an existential crisis. When Iggy’s friends celebrate him with his usual favorite pastime—drinking, dancing, and willing guys—he suddenly wants nothing to do with any of it. He’s fed up and ready for something else. The question is what?

Ronan Clenney has had his eye on his neighbor forever, but as a single father of a precocious eleven-year-old, he’s never believed he stands a chance. But over a late-night cup of tea, it seems that circumstances have changed. Is this the right time, finally?

Iggy has never believed in romance, but can Ronan show him he’s wrong? That love is a real thing?

M/M Contemporary / 11 120 words

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There’s also a short Valentine’s Day story about Iggy and Ronan you can read after you’ve read the book here on the blog

Excerpt:

We do this a lot, me and Ronan, hang out together without talking, sometimes with music playing, sometimes not. It’s never uncomfortable, I never feel the need to talk just for the sake of talking. I can relax in his company in a way I’m unable to around anyone else. I’ve come to cherish these moments and I crave them more and more.

“Thanks for this,” I say after a few minutes.

“Anytime. Tell me about the ‘eh’ night.”

I sigh and rub my palm on my head. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

“Who says something’s wrong?”

“It must be, right? I don’t like doing the stuff I’ve always loved anymore. The guys brought me to a huge party tonight. I’m not kidding when I say ten guys threw themselves at me during the first hour. And what did I do? Declined their generous offers, drank sugary drinks, and hid in the bathroom where Dicky Potter tried to get me to suck his cock by waving it in my face and insulting my height.”

“Oh, no! Not your height,” he says with a faux horrified expression. “He must’ve had a death wish.”

“Ha ha, very funny.” I throw a mock glare at him. He knows that being vertically challenged is a sore spot for me, but he’s the only one who can get away with making fun of it. Also, anyone with two brain cells can probably figure out why I wear boots that add four inches. Hint—it’s not for comfort.

“And…Dicky Potter?” He rises an eyebrow.

“Yeah, you know. He waved that thing at me as though he tried to Wingardium Leviosa me.” I show the motion I’ve learned from the movies with my finger.

Ronan presses the heels of his hands to his eyes and his shoulders shake.

“What’s so damned funny?”

“I shouldn’t have let you watch Harry Potter with Emery and me. I will never be able to look at them again without thinking about Dicky Potter,” he chokes out between chuckles. “And then Emery is going to ask what’s so funny, and—”

“Stop!” I hold up my hand. “Not another word!” My eyes are about to bug out of my head at the thought of sweet Emery hearing about that. Ugh. I shiver.

He peers at me and we burst out laughing.

The silence returns after our merriment fades. A new song starts playing on the stereo. A haunting violin and a lonely piano is followed by a guy singing. His voice is so full of emotion, I can’t help wondering what he’s singing about. The words hit me right in the heart and make my chest ache with loneliness. A lump appears in my throat and I swallow to keep it from spilling out of my mouth.

I can feel Ronan’s eyes on me. Can he see my weird mood? The shine in my eyes caused by French words sung with a desperation I’ve never heard before? I suck in my lower lip to stop my chin from trembling.

“Would you like more tea?” Ronan’s voice is soft, as though he’s addressing a scared kitten.

I don’t trust my own voice, so I nod. The familiarity of his movements when he fixes my tea reassures me. The care in which he adds loose tea leaves to the infuser and pours water of just the right temperature over them. The way he patiently waits three minutes while it steeps. The gentle smile he gives me as he sets the mug in front of me.

The French guy agitates my heart with his singing, and Ronan calms it with his kindheartedness. The contrasts are intense, making my skin feel too snug for my body, my chest tight, and my stomach worried. My pulse flutters in my neck, and I worry that Ronan will see it. I don’t know what to do with myself.

 

Of Autumn Leaves and New Beginnings

Of Autumn Leaves and New Beginnings – pre-order available now

Of Autumn Leaves and New Beginnings is now available for pre-order at JMS Books. And as usual, they offer 20% off all pre-orders and new releases for an entire week after release date. So clickety-click the link below, and order your copy now 🙂

Cover blurb releasedate

Pre-order: JMS Books (20% off until Sep 27)


Excerpt: 

It’s been nearly three weeks since Mom’s accident—and the leaves are more yellow than green but the heat still refuses to let go—when my phone rings just as I’m on my way back to my office after a long, infuriating meeting. I don’t recognize the number but accept the call. “Oren Walker.”

“Oren. Hi. It’s Pete. Pete Higgins. Your mom’s next-door neighbor.”

“Oh, hey!” I would be lying if I said I haven’t thought about him these last few weeks. In the shower, before bed, while having my morning coffee. He’s hot enough to set fire to my pants, but that’s only part of the appeal. Mom hasn’t stopped talking about him since her accident; about how gentle he was when he helped her. How considerate and thoughtful and nice he was when she was hurt and scared, and in the days that have followed.

Of course, I noticed all his good sides myself, those few minutes we spent together, and he hasn’t been far from my thoughts whenever I’ve had a free moment.

“I’m sorry to disturb you at work,” Pete says.

“No problem. I just got out of a meeting with some very upset people and could use a friendly voice right now.” I close my office door behind me and throw myself onto my chair. “What can I do for you, Pete?”

“Nothing urgent. I just needed to tell you something.”

“Shoot.” I lean back and close my eyes, rubbing my temples with my thumb and index finger, trying to fend off the threatening headache.

“I just wanted to let you know that I interfered with your mom earlier. She was on her way to the grocery store. On foot, with her crutches, and I managed to catch her when she hobbled past my house.”

I groan. “Oh my god, her stubbornness is unprecedented.”

“Yeah, I hear you, man. I had to sweet talk her forever before I managed to convince her to go back home. The thing that persuaded her was when I lied and told her I was on my way to the store myself so I could pick up whatever it was she needed.”

“I don’t understand. I bought everything on her list the day before yesterday.”

“Nuh-uh. You forgot the chocolate chips. She couldn’t bake cookies for the church bake sale on Sunday. It was a class one disaster and I’m surprised she didn’t call 911.”

I groan again. “I can’t believe her,” I grumble. “I’ve told her, again and again, to call me whenever she needs anything. I bring my phone everywhere. To bed. To meetings. To the fucking bathroom when I take a shit, so I won’t miss her call.”

My rant is interrupted by a boisterous laughter.

“Gaah, I’m sorry. That was way more information than you needed.” My face heats and I slap myself on the forehead. Good job, Oren. Way to seem like a crazed lunatic in front of the nice man!

“Nah, it’s fine.”

“No, I’m sorry. That was highly inappropriate. Mom would be so ashamed of me. It’s no excuse, but I’ve had a long day.”

“I figured.”

I rub my temples harder. “I just don’t understand why she won’t call me.”

“Listen. She’s fiercely proud of you and all the hard work you’ve done to get where you are. She told me she doesn’t want to be a bother.”

“She’s not.”

“I know that. I told her. But she insists that you are busy and stressed and don’t need more on your plate right now,” he says.

“But she’s my mom.”

“Yeah. But take it from me, as a parent. When you’ve spent the biggest part of your life loving and protecting your kids, you can’t just turn it off. It’s instinct. We want to be the strong, invincible protector we’ve always been and it’s hard to accept that the situation might be reversed.”

“Oh.” That makes a lot of sense; I’ve never thought about it like that. “Thanks. That was a lot more helpful than you probably realize.”

He laughs. “Yay! Who woulda thought? Me doling out parenting advice!”

“You’re better than you give yourself credit for.”

 

Nell Iris' Christmas, Writing Update

Writing update

Hi everyone! Did you have a nice weekend? I did, I got lots of writing done. We have an author chat room with JMS books where some of us authors hang out and sprint together, and this weekend I was fortunate enough to sprint with both Tinnean and Elizabeth Noble.

Having other people to sprint with is very helpful: it’s so great to have someone cheer you on, and someone to be accountable to instead of just sitting by my desk and say I’m writing when what I’m really doing is scrolling Twitter. So I’m really grateful to my author friends at JMS Books who hangs out in the chatroom doing sprints. And tonight, I have another sprint date with the lovely T.A. Creech.

So what is it I’m writing, you might ask? Well, I’m working on a holiday story, tentatively called Four Christmases for one of JMS Books Trio collections. If you haven’t heard of the Trio collections, they are, and I quote, “themed collections of three gay romance stories by a trio of authors. Each story is available separately, but readers can get all three for a discounted bundle price.”

Four Christmases is sort of an enemies-to-lovers story, but not really, and it’s about Auden and Poe whose families (who are neighbors) have been locked in a stupid fight for years, but now the MCs meet after haven’t seen each other for a decade or so, and are attracted to each other. The story will be told over four Christmases (hence the title), and start in 2015.

I’m really liking where it’s taken me so far and the plan for tonight is to start writing 2016.


It’s hard, writing Christmas stories in August with palm trees and 35C (95F) outside the window, so to get in the right holiday spirit I listen to music. My husband is not a fan of Christmas music in August and glares at me, but I just smile sweetly and say It’s work, honey, and that’s that 😀


And while we’re on the topic of Christmas, don’t forget that Unexpected Christmas is now available on Kindle Unlimited!

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Amazon | JMS Books (if you want to buy it and own it 🙂 )