Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Rock Star by Stacey Kennedy Release Blitz


A high school reunion is about to get down and dirty and a whole lot more complicated in this new erotic romance from USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy.

Veterinarian, Rae Evans expects to attend a dreadful ten-year high school reunion. Instead, she’s confronted by a past she’s never gotten over. The love of her life, Travis Walker, has returned to Catfish Creek, and the now-famous rock star wants only three things: Her. Naked. And screaming his name.

Fresh off his last world tour, Travis has returned to town to get a dose of reality. With fame casting a superficial cloud over Travis’s life, he’s scrambling to stay afloat. He needs an anchor, and Rae is that for him. But as he finds himself, he’s determined to remind Rae of the heat that once burned between them.

Before they know it, their one hot night is three, and soon, just like ten years ago, Travis holds the strings to Rae’s heart. But Rae’s not that young girl who watched her high school sweetheart race off to become famous. She’s a woman who knows what she wants and realizes when a man needs her. She just has to decide if she should put the past on repeat, or walk away from it forever.

Add to Goodreads –


Book 5
Buy Links

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary☆☆☆☆☆
This is a great second chance romance for Travis and Rae. It begins 10 years in the past, when they both decide that following their dreams is for the best.

While Travis is going to New York to become the next big rock star, Rae will stay in Catfish Creek to become a veterinarian. But 10 years later, Travis is drowning and needs to come home to find Rae to make him feel grounded again. So he is back in Catfish Creek for his 10 year high school reunion and is singing a song and it is just for her. After the song is finished, he has to find Rae to tell her the truth that he should have told her all those years ago.

Rae can't believe that Travis is at the reunion and he is headed straight for her. Can she handle it if he touches her? He still looks the same but way more sexy and confident. She has kept up with his career, but don't tell him that.

Will they be able to spend a few days together and then walk away again? Can Travis leave her and not feel like he is drowning again? Will they be able to make things different this time around?

I love Stacey Kennedy and her writing style is great and this story just shows how great. It is filled with passion, heartache, love, and maybe a happily ever after.

When I accepted to read this one because it was, after all, written by Stacey, I didn't realize it was a series. I will be going back to read the rest of the series when I get a chance.


Avid Reader☆☆☆☆☆
4.5 stars
M/F Second Chance Romance

This is a great second chance romance story. We get to see the young couple making their way through the young love stage and then jump to their 10 year reunion and see if they made their own dreams come true.

Travis is an amazing musician and wants to make it big time. He is going to leave Rae behind in order to chase his dreams. While he knows that he loves Rae, he listens to her when she says that they both need to follow their hearts and his just isn't in Catfish Creek anymore. He needs to go, travel, become the rock star that he was born to be.

Rae is also amazing. She has a plan for the next several years – she wants to open a couple vet clinics by the time she's 30. While it breaks her heart when Travis leaves without asking her with or without looking back, she trudges on and makes it! She has amazing friends and she loves what she does – she loves animals.

When Travis surprises his classmates and returns to put on a concert for their 10 year high school reunion, he's really just hoping to see Rae again. He wants to feel like the old Travis again and he knows that seeing and being around Rae will provide that.

This is such a sweet story with some communication issues, but overall, a very sweet story.


Ruthie☆☆☆☆
This is one of a series of books with the same theme, but by different authors. I started with this one and am looking forward to reading the rest.

This is a short story of about 100 pages, which gives a well-rounded and satisfying read. A second chance romance with enough detail of their original relationship and why it ended, plus the very good reasons why they would be better off together than apart. And then there is their sizzling chemistry.

The rather lovely part of this story was their intentions of finding a compromise in a situation that seemed impossible.


Lee’Anne☆☆☆☆
The further into this series I read the more I love the entire idea of having five different authors write about the same event – it’s intriguing and each of the couples is getting a second chance at love.

Travis and Rae were madly in love in high school and had hoped to be together forever. Then after graduation, their dreams took them in different directions. Travis moved away to pursue his dream of becoming a musician, while Rae stayed to become a veterinarian. Now, 10 years later, Travis is missing something in his life and the closer it becomes to the reunion, the more he realizes it’s Rae he’s missing – and this time he doesn’t plan to leave her behind. The moment they see one another, all of their old feelings return and they realize that leaving one another this time would be a million times harder than last time.

I love that this story is intriguing, funny, and emotional all rolled into one. I absolutely adored Rae’s character and Travis was pretty awesome too. The story was fast paced, easy to follow, and I found myself laughing out loud several times throughout. I think my favorite part of this series is that it doesn’t matter what order you read them in and you get a small glimpse of the other characters in each.




Stacey Kennedy is the USA Today bestselling author of the Dirty Little Secrets and Club Sin series. She writes deeply emotional romances about powerful men and the wild women who tame them. When she’s not writing sensual stories, she spends her time in southwestern Ontario with her real life hero, her husband, their two young children, and her other babies: a mini labradoodle named Jax and a chocolate labrador named Murphy. Stacey is a proud chocolate, television show, Urban Barn, and wine addict. She likes her heroes in her books like she likes her coffee…strong and hot!

Connect with Stacey

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Rock Star (Bad Boy Homecoming #5) by Stacey Kennedy to read and review for this tour.

Riding with Brighton by Haven Francis


Yesterday, Jay was convinced his life was damaged beyond repair.

Yesterday, Brighton was sure his life was perfect.

Then today happened.

Realizing he’s wasted his life in the meaningless pursuit of popularity and athleticism, Jay Hall knows he has nothing in common with alternative, free-thinking artist Brighton Bello-Adler. But he’s determined to change that.

Brighton’s managed to fill his life with an eclectic mix of people and interests that keep him satisfied. As the only gay guy in his small town, the one thing that’s missing is a man, but Jay’s not gay, so Brighton’s not sure what he’ll gain by letting him into his life. Still, he’s willing to find out.

Heading off on an impromptu road trip, the boys chart a course connecting their worlds, and along the way discover pieces of themselves they didn’t know were missing. As the sun rises on a new day, Jay and Brighton know their lives have changed. Now they just have to figure out how to live in them.

In a fresh and clever romance that turns stereotypes upside down, the journey to coming out and coming of age is full of challenges and surprises, but ultimately, acceptance and love.

Add to Goodreads –



Buy Links

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Harmony Ink



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Veronica☆☆☆☆☆
Jay is a jock and pretty much most popular guy in school. He wakes up on Friday morning and has an epiphany. He is not happy with his life and he wants to make changes. He realises the highlight of his week is the class he shares with Brighton, the school's only openly gay student.

The story follows Jay through a most amazing and transformative weekend of life. In class on Friday, Jay gets Brighton's number after a flirty, innuendo filled conversation about pens. On Saturday, a nervous Jay meets Brighton in a local park and he spends a fun-filled day with Brighton, exploring Brighton's world and their town.

With Brighton's help, Jay bravely take steps to come to terms with his sexuality and to change his life for the better. Jay is smitten with Brighton and it is easy to see why. Brighton is adventurous, full of life, creative, entrepreneurial, and the list goes on. I loved their conversations and their honesty with each other.

While the guys are together in their own little bubble everything is great, but eventually the rest of the world seeps in and Jay has to face the reality of his friends and family learning the truth about his sexuality and it’s rough going at times.

The story concludes with an inspiring epilogue that left me on a high. As I write this review and think back on the story, I can't stop smiling. I had a great time following Jay and Brighton through their weekend. This is a terrific story.

Age recommendation: 15+ due to descriptive sex scenes.



An escapist filled with wanderlust, writing is HAVEN FRANCIS’s responsible adult version of getting in the car and driving without aim. Reading and music are close seconds. She and her husband can often be found checking out their favorite bands locally or hundreds of miles away via road trips. Reading is something they don’t have in common, but he tolerates her dimly lit late-night habit.

Haven graduated with a BA, double majoring in English literature and fine arts. She made a living writing about trends in interior design but thoroughly enjoys that fact that people, unlike furniture, can fall in love. She especially loves when they fall desperately and into a forbidden kind of love. She has a slightly embarrassing fascination with the period of life that sits awkwardly between childhood and adulthood; the years when nothing is certain, lots of mistakes are made, falling in love is inevitable, and finding yourself is a struggle. For her it’s a fun place to escape to and she hopes her readers agree.

To date, Haven has published five New Adult romance novels, two of which have been Amazon best sellers. She also works as a graphic designer but considers Mom her most important title.

Connect with Haven

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https://www.harmonyinkpress.com


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Riding with Brighton by Haven Francis to read and review.

The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean


The one woman he will never forget…

Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…

After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…

The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day The Day of the Duchess.


Add to Goodreads –


Book 3
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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Erica☆☆☆☆☆
5 ran-my-emotions-up-and-down-a-scale-like-on-a-xylophone stars.

I'm a self-admitted Sarah MacLean fangirl, so be forewarned that I might overlook things which may be a con to others. Over the years, I've enjoyed watching the author bloom, each book better than the last. I read her first book, and almost didn't read anymore thereafter, which would have been a tragedy. I felt so-so about the Love by the Numbers series, only reading the first book, to the point I almost didn't read The Rules of Scoundrels series – which, book 4 proved how the author grows from one book to the next. I will be going back to read MacLean's debut series over the summer. Her books are on my reread-able list.

The Day of the Duchess was highly anticipated by me, because I was unsure how the author could change how the readers saw Malcolm after his actions in past books, but she did a splendid job. The Day of the Duchess was quick read, one in which I read from page one until the end, refusing to be interrupted. Truthfully, I read it through the night, ensuring I was uninterrupted, not going to sleep until after 4 a.m.

The storyline is told in two times – the past and present, painting an entire picture. It's a mystery in and of itself, what happened in the past while we watch the aftermath unfold in the present. When in the present, I wanted to know what was happening in the past. When in the past, I wanted to know what was in the present. When reading either era, I was bereft when thrust back into the other, even though I wished to unravel it all. This led to a very feverish read for me.

There are plot points I'd love to discuss, but I fear they would be a major spoiler. Those reading this review after-the-fact will understand. MacLean did an impressive job, yanking very real emotions out of me, as I felt for both Malcolm and Sera in the aftermath. I was able to empathize, place myself in the moment, and I cried – relieved at other times how I laughed.

The epitome of a toxic relationship, even a bit toward the end of the novel too – it will forever linger. There is a thin line between love and hate, because there is no line at all. Indifference is the opposite of love – you don't care what happens to someone one way or another. To hate is to still love, is to still give power over your emotions to the other person. This is Malcolm and Sera, holding power over each other, ruining their relationship due to pride and tragedy.

Sera's marriage to Malcolm was a bad one, we readers knew this in previous books but none of the details. The details were painful to read, playing my emotions, proving how perception is reality.

Both Sera and Malcolm are stubborn, Sera more so. She's strong, witty, and independent, but also flawed and insecure, thinking she doesn't deserve everything her heart desires. Malcolm is persistent in a way that Sera needs to feel loved.

The story unfolds, proving to be tragic, heartwarming, sensual, devastating, humorous, light, dark – up and down my emotions went as the book transitioned from the present to past and back again.

Sera's sisters, the kitty, the girls at the house party, and the American added the levity that was necessary to keep this book from delving too dark. I smiled and laughed as often as I cringed or fought the urge to cry.

Sarah MacLean also did a wonderful job at seeding this book with just enough info to whet the appetites of reader for the next. I can't wait to see what happens with the American.

It goes without saying that I highly recommend this series, as well as The Rules for Scoundrels, and I'll soon know whether or not to add Love by the Numbers to that list as well.


Also Available in the Scandal & Scoundrel Series

Book 1
Buy Links

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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our stop on The Rogue Not Taken Blog Tour.


Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our A Scot in the Dark post.




Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance and bemoaning the fact that she was born far too late for her own season. Her love of all things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book.

Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, baby daughter, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels. She loves to hear from readers.

Connect with Sarah

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http://avonromance.com/


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel #3) by Sarah MacLean to read and review.

Make Me Stay by Sidney Halston


Secret identities, second chances, drama, desire: It’s all going down in Miami Beach in this tantalizing novel from the bestselling author of Pull Me Close, which was hailed by Aurora Rose Reynolds as “a heart-gripping story about... the power of love.”

April:
Walking away from Matt Moreno was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Lying to him was a close second, but for his safety, I had no other choice. I was undercover, working to put some nasty people behind bars. But when Matt nearly recognizes me on Lincoln Road a year later, all those very real feelings come rushing back. Now that my assignment’s almost over, will he understand why I lied? Why I had to leave? Most important, can he ever forgive me?

Matt:
I was madly in love with June Simpson... or, at least, with the woman I thought was June. Then she just disappeared while my family’s nightclub went through hell. And after months of searching, when I think I’ve finally found that sexy, raspy voice and those exquisite blue eyes, she slips away once more. Turns out, “June” is actually Detective April White. She’s been playing me the whole time. And she’s about to rock my world all over again.

Add to Goodreads –


Book 2
Buy Links

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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo 



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary Jo☆☆☆
A guy and a girl meet, fall in love, and the girl disappears.

A year later, the guy sees the girl on the street and the girl denies that she's the same person. Later she tells him who she really is. She's the person who planted the bugs to find evidence to put his father in prison and cost him his career as a lawyer. He's upset and can't forgive her, until she's severely beaten by a thug who blames her for him going to prison.

As Matt takes care of April during her recovery, he begins to realize that not everything is black and white, that the shades of grey is where the truth lies.

I enjoyed this book, but the flashbacks – from both points of view – made it hard for me to stay in the continuum of this book.


Mary☆☆☆☆
This story starts out with Matt thinking he has found June after a year of her missing. She just vanished, but the only thing besides the voice that is familiar is those blue eyes. But the woman claims to be someone named Zara. So Matt has to wonder if he dreamed up June last year or if she was real because he fell hard for her.

April/June is living and working undercover, but she never thought she would fall for Matt. When she is pulled away from the case, she has to let him go to show that he is innocent and not the one they are looking for.

When she is able to tell Matt the truth, will he accept it and be able to forgive her? Will April be able to forgive herself for all the pain she has put him through? But when she is attacked and badly beaten, can Matt put aside his pain and help her recover?

I loved how the story went back and gave us June and Matt's story and then came back to present day. It made for a better and more enjoyable story for me.

I love how each story touches on some form of disability or disease. In Pull Me Close, Kate had a bad case of PTSD and in this one, April has her own thing she is fighting, you will have to read it to find out what. I love this series and can't wait for Fox and Lola's story.


Kris☆☆☆☆
After reading the first book in the Panic series, I was slightly worried about picking up number two... but because it was Matt's book I really wanted to give it a try. Pull Me Close had a very anxiety ridden character that almost made me crazy, so I worried that the author was going for all flawed leading ladies and had no idea where book two would take us. Matt's character in book one was written well enough that I wanted to see where his story would go.

I enjoyed this installment. It was very different from the first book in the fact that, yes, while our leading lady, April (May? June?) had Crohn's disease, she wasn't a total mess. In fact, she was very strong and sassy. Without spoilers, it's hard to tell much, but Matt and April's story had a lot of deception and angst. When Matt does find June after she disappears following the raid on Matt's nightclub, Panic, she's no longer dark haired and she's no longer June. Trying to reconcile what happened, Matt is left to care for this new person after she's been attacked and left for dead.

I felt for Matt, his character had to come to terms with some serious deception by the people he loves. Having to help and care for the person he used to love but betrayed him in the worst ways. I found Make Me Stay a good read. His struggle was well written and kept me interested.


Sarah☆☆☆☆
Can you fall in love with someone who has lied to you about everything? The second book in the Panic series focuses on Matt, Nick’s twin brother, and the woman he first knows as June. This is a tense and angst filled romance – it’s not quite romantic suspense, but it is an exciting read.

This story actually starts before the first book in the series. I was a little confused at first but the split time narrative works well and it gives readers more insight into Matt and Nick’s life before and after their father’s arrest. I like the puzzle created for readers with the dual narration and the need for readers to sift through truths and lies. This book has a little more Miami nightlife glamour than the first and I enjoyed the increased focus on Panic this time round.

I have to admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book in this series and I was a bit nervous about reading this book. I much preferred Matt and April’s story and I’m glad I stuck with the series. This probably isn’t a standalone – readers of the first book will guess June’s secret straight away and the angst I felt for Matt was almost palpable as he remained oblivious and fell in love with June.

For me, April is a much more interesting character than Katie was in the first book. I didn’t always like April but she intrigued me and I couldn’t help but admire her. This time Matt is possibly the more bland of the two, but the lawyer/club owner is a complicated character and I love the dilemma April posed for him.

It is difficult to say much more without giving anything away but I enjoyed this and it is definitely worth reading.


Shannan☆☆☆
Make Me Stay happens before Pull Me Close even though you read them in the opposite order.

I loved the angst in Pull Me Close. I was captivated from the beginning. Make Me Stay unfortunately didn't have that same effect for me. I found myself bored at times, I was skimming, especially in the beginning. Matt was such an interesting character, but he just fell flat for me. I wanted to love this book, but it just wasn't for me.


Ruthie☆☆☆☆
This is the second book in the series, and I think that you would do well to read them in order. Whilst it deals with the same issue from the other twin's viewpoint, it does draw on some of the knowledge gained in the first book.

Matt is working very hard, in his law practice and also in his family nightclub. So he little expects to find time for a romance, and even less does he expect that she will then disappear on him. As we get to see the relationship form, fall apart, and then the stunning truth emerge, it is only the most faithful romance reader that can imagine that this has any chance of working out. But Ms. Halston is a master of her craft and no such fear is necessary, although the resolution is extremely astute, it is also believable.

A good read, with a great mix of passion, romance, and suspense.


Also Available in the Panic Series

Book 1
Buy Links

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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo 

For reviews & more info, check out our Pull Me Close post.




USA Today bestselling author, Sidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: "Just Do It"—Nike. And that's exactly what she did.

After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative, romantic side and wrote Seeing Red. That first pen stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing. Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she's not writing, you can find her reading and reading and reading. She's a reader first and a writer second. When she's not writing or reading, her life is complete and utter chaos, trying to balance family life with work and writing (and reading). But she wouldn't have it any other way.

Connect with Sidney

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http://readloveswept.com/


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Make Me Stay (Panic #2) by Sidney Halston to read and review.

Coach's Challenge by Avon Gale


It’s been decades since blackmail forced Troy Callahan to retire from playing professional hockey, and he’s built a successful career behind the bench. When he’s offered the opportunity to coach the Asheville Ravens—the most hated team in the ECHL—he’s convinced that his no-nonsense attitude is just what the team needs to put their focus back on hockey. But Troy is disheartened when he finds that the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression. And it only gets worse when Shane’s rough good looks give Troy inappropriate thoughts about a member of his team, even if Shane’s set to retire at the end of the season.

Shane’s career in the majors never quite took off. Wanting to quit on his own terms, Shane agrees to a one-year contract with the Ravens and finds himself playing for a coach who thinks he’s an aging goon and with a team that doesn’t trust him, the coach, or each other. Despite his determination to not get involved, Shane unwillingly becomes part of the team… and is just as unwillingly drawn to the gruff out-and-proud coach. As the Ravens struggle to build a new identity, Shane and Troy succumb to the passion that might cost them everything.

Add to Goodreads –


Book 5
Buy Links

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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes
Dreamspinner Press



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Sarah☆☆☆☆
I have fangirled over this series since the very first book and I’ve always been a fan of everything I’ve read from Avon Gale. And while I did enjoy this book, I have to admit that it is missing a little bit of the magic that made earlier books in this series so unforgettable.

I think this story lacks some of the drama and the personality clashes that I’ve loved in other stories. Troy and Shane are relatively conventional characters in comparison to others in this series. Troy has replaced Laurent’s devilish father as coach of the Ravens and his whole purpose is to bring calm and cohesion to his new team. Shane is a player sent back to the minor league at the end of a long career. The illicit nature of the coach/player affair is very hot and a couple of scenes definitely exploit the pornesque potential of Shane and Troy’s secret relationship. But while the sexual chemistry between them is brilliant, I missed the banter and the playfulness of earlier couples.

I love the glimpses we get of characters from previous books. Isaac Drake almost manages to steal the story a couple of times and Max and Misha made me smile.

Despite this not being my favourite story in the series, this is still a great sports romance. As always, the balance between the sport, the romance, and the relationships is just about perfect.


Rachael☆☆☆☆
OMG... I have to say that the fact that both of these men are older was what partially made me love this story so much.

This story isn't so much love and romance as it is flames and heat. My goodness, these two couldn't keep their hands off each other. That being said, details were lacking for me in these amazing hot scenes. They couldn't wait, had to have each other, but then literally it was over the next line, so it felt very anticlimactic in that sense.

Now what was my absolute favorite part of this story? The banter. My goodness the back and forth between these men was hilarious. They might not have been romantic all that much, but there was definitely a connection and chemistry that showed that they really did care for each other, even if there weren't candles and roses around.

I loved seeing Drake as I think he is my favorite character in the whole series. I loved that Shane's friend is a lesbian.

Another excellent book by Avon Gale. It might be a hockey book (and it really does focus on the sport), but there is so much more there with the characters and secondary characters that makes the book just that much better.


Ruthie☆☆☆☆
This is the fifth book in the series, and I have enjoyed every one of them.

In this book we look at the almost seamless, but unnoticed progress from hook-up to relationship between Coach Troy and Shane, a newly arrived team member. It is a super-hot connection which they seem powerless to avoid, and it is fun looking in and watching how it develops.

The hockey is good too – and we get to see many of the stars of previous installments as they play their way through the season. As a team with a truly terrible reputation, it is interesting to understand why that happened, and how the situation can possibly be turned around.

If you like a strong, thoughtful, and very hot sports romance, then this should be on your to-be-read pile, if not already open on your e-reader.


Also Available in the Scoring Chances Series

Book 1
Buy Links

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Amazon Audiobook  ~  Audible  ~  Dreamspinner Press

For reviews & more info, check out our Breakaway audiobook post.


Book 4
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Dreamspinner Press

For reviews & more info, check out our Empty Net post.



AVON GALE wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it—even if it was a bit weirder than the other hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after—though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.

Avon grew up in the southern United States and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal Midwestern college town. By day, Avon is a hair stylist who loves her job, her clients, and the opportunity to spend her time being creative and making people feel happy and look fabulous.

When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music, or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert, and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Connect with Avon

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads


https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Coach's Challenge (Scoring Chances #5) by Avon Gale to read and review.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Seduced by the Tide by Sean Michael


Meet the Beteferoce brothers. Five dragon shifters, each with a strong elemental power. And each with a fierce desire to find his soul mate…

Deke has yet to meet a man who gives him a rush. Coast Guard rescue has kept the dragon shifter busy, but there's no harder work than finding a mate. Then comes Bryan. Bearded and inked, the personal trainer turned mechanic smells of grease, sweat and red meat. How irresistibly human can you get? And when it comes to hot, slamming sex, they're the perfect fit. Now all Deke has to do is to tell Bryan what he really is, and what he has planned for them.

Bryan has never met anyone like Deke, a consuming lover with a body so arousing it damn near hurts. And he knows how to use every inch of it. Yet he can't shake the feeling that Deke is hiding something. Just not this—the stud he's falling for is a centuries-old dragon who has marked him as a mate.

Bryan has to admit that something inside him is changing. For the first time ever, he's satisfied, body and soul. If Deke really is telling the truth, this could be his destiny—if he's ready to face it.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you're looking for with an HEA/HFN. It's a promise!


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Book 2
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Carina Press



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Angie☆☆☆☆☆
I will admit I am a HUGE Sean Michael fan, not sure there isn't a book that I haven't liked. However, I freaking LOVE this series and I am not really into the whole paranormal/shifter thing. I loved the first book and couldn't wait until the next one was out, and now that I am done with the second one I need the third one ASAP!!!! We met Bryan in the first book, he is Shae's best friend and neighbor. When Shae's boyfriend Jake's brother Deke comes for a visit, it is instant attraction. The chemistry is off the chart and you can feel the sizzle on the pages. Deke's elemental power is water and, of course, he works for the Coast Guard. Bryan doesn't have a lot of experience with men, especially good experience, but Deke takes care of that right away. There is so much sex and feelings that I devoured the book in one sitting. There is a little angst, but not much and it is due to the bond that Deke didn't know he started. I was hoping that we would find out something more about Bryan's missing brother from his childhood. I hope eventually that will be addressed in some way in future books, I would love for him to be alive and well with his merman. Oh, and I also hope that we get a book about the tattoo artist who is putting all these tattoos on the Beteferoce brothers’ mates. Great series, hits all my buttons!


Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/M Shifter Romance with hints of BDSM
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

Bryan was seen in the previous book. He is Shae's good friend and neighbor. They have a great relationship, but we know that Shae belongs with Jake. What we don't know is whether or not Deke will find a mate in Bryan.

When Deke sees Bryan, there is instant chemistry. Both are attracted to each other and when they get together, there is definite chemistry. Sparks fly and hearts grow. Deke is a Coast Guard because his element is water. Of course, I wish that we would have seen more of him in his job, but Bryan calls.

Bryan is a mechanic who had a tough upbringing. He had to hide himself until he was able to get out. He also had to overcome being institutionalized along with the loss of his brother. Shae is probably his closest friend, but even with Shae's input, Bryan has a very difficult time understanding and believing what Deke is.

When the bond begins, both Deke and Bryan have to figure out a way to complete it. Deke has to convince Bryan and Bryan just has to accept it. I did feel that Bryan's issues were kind of annoying, but understood them.

I do hope that we get to see whether or not his family is out there, and I can't wait to see the other brothers. These books are magical in their ability to bring you with them while they fly and connect.


Also Available in the Dragon Soul Series

Book 1
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Carina Press

For reviews & more info, check out our Branded by Flames post.



Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.

Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.

Connect with Sean

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http://www.carinapress.com


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Seduced by the Tide (Dragon Soul #2) by Sean Michael to read and review.

Slim Chance by Jeff Erno


Can a man improve his appearance without losing everything good inside him?

Oliver has always been obese and suffered from a negative body image. He’s tried diets before, failing time after time, but he vows this time will be different. As he begins an exercise program, his confidence increases—and so does his interest in his friend and coworker Benjy. Though they bonded long ago over a love of online gaming, it takes a lot of courage for Oliver to share his new body and be intimate with another man.

A passionate romance blooms, but as Oliver nears his goal, it seems he doesn’t need Benjy—with his chronic anxiety and troubled past—now that he’s made attractive new friends at the gym. But not all relationships are equal, and Oliver realizes that Benjy, who loved and supported him when no one else did, is more than a reminder of his old life.

A pleasing appearance means nothing when it hides a lonely, empty heart, and if Oliver cannot decide what’s truly important, he’ll lose what he cherishes most.

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Dreamspinner Press



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Erica☆☆☆☆
This is going to be a difficult review to write, not only due to the content, but the way it was written and the focus it held. I apologize in advance for not writing a smooth review, where I just state my overall thoughts.

There are some topics you can't write unless you've been there. I have no idea if the author struggles with their weight, but I don't think it would be possible to write a more accurate representation of the toxic inner monologue most overweight people have constantly streaming inside their minds. I can't speak for 'most,' but I can for myself and family members who struggle with this same damaging thought process. It was as if Jeff Erno was revealing a family member's mind to me.

Weight isn't just about physical size, and it takes a lot of soul-searching to 'grow up' emotionally enough to realize the world doesn't revolve around you, and all eyes aren't on you – judging you. This same thinking goes for a lot of disabilities/insecurities. People really don't care – they're going about their days, and we need to go about ours. Easier said than done.

Oliver has struggled all his life with his weight, and it's infected his entire being, especially emotionally and mentally. Slim Chance is his journey losing weight while finding love, yet most of the book is Oliver's war within himself.

To be honest, I'm not sure readers will be able to connect to Oliver, or be able to easily fall into the story if they themselves haven't experienced the problems faced by being overweight or had someone close to them deal with it. A naturally thin or fit person may become frustrated by Oliver's negative voice, unable to find enjoyment, but it would surely educate to show how the other half lives, maybe empathizing to the point bullying and 'funny' comments were no longer used. It's not funny – only small minds would think lowering a demographic of living, breathing beings is humorous.

Oliver's inner voice is difficult to listen to, page after page, and this is being said by someone who has thought some of the same things, but was able to recognize how toxic and irrational it was. There is something abusive about Oliver, not only to himself, but to everyone around him. So while I applaud the author for being beyond real in the characterization, I personally didn't like Oliver as a 'person.' It had nothing to do with his struggles, or the very real thoughts placed upon the pages, and I could identify with his struggle and the steps to losing weight and keeping it off, but I couldn't connect due to Oliver's lack of empathy, self-reflection, or the ability to see the world outside of himself.

Oliver made everything about him, and I realize the book is 'his' book, but it was a narcissistic personality, where he was placing his view of himself as the lens everyone sees him with, when that is not true. He was unable to see anything, to hear the voice of reason, or see the world with a different lens. Zero empathy. However realistic, in reality, I couldn't have held a five-minute conversation with Oliver, as his only focus was himself. Always. About everything. His view was the only view, and it was borderline abusive to those around him.

The gym bunnies – Oliver was no different, bullying himself and everyone else around him. So while I felt disgusted with the gym bunnies, knowing how demoralizing it makes a person feel – able to empathize with Oliver – Oliver didn't learn anything from it, didn't realize what he does to himself was no different, or how he was treating Benjy. Instead, he allowed vain, vapid, false confidence to be an ego boost. Mixed with his narcissistic, abusive personality, that made him weaker as a person in my eyes. None of this had anything to do with his weight, or the earned pride from losing so much and working so hard at the gym, and everything to do with a toxic personality.

While changing physically, I felt Oliver was never in a place mentally and emotionally for me to buy into the romance, and it made my heart hurt for Benjy. Oliver may have changed the outside package, but the inside was more so tainted than before, which is an accurate representation. I was relieved the author added how therapy would be sought. It was necessary.

Benjy was too sweet, with his own problems, a giver, and it hurt to read, because I recognized the precursors to abuse and the imbalance of power in the relationship. If Oliver's thinking doesn't change, if his therapy doesn't affect his outlook, I won't say the relationship is doomed – Benjy is doomed.

I connected with the story to the point I was able to make the characters 'human,' so I apologize for not just writing a review, but instead wrote about Oliver's toxic dynamic, both with himself and everyone else.

Very real. Very true-to-life. I applaud the author on creating a realistically flawed character, with spot-on emotions and mental signature, who is a representation of a vast majority of people on this planet. However, this didn't lend well to romance. Not that he and everyone else doesn't deserve it, but that Oliver still wasn't in a good place inside his own head not to take advantage and harm his partner.

*I'm not ripping the character apart – Oliver was so real, I could see him reflected in a loved one of mine, and it frustrated me because I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of such a personality. So kudos for the realism.

Possible trigger: cheating.

As I was reading, a felt a desire to have Devon voice a story. Jeff Erno, if you're reading this – and believe me, I know how annoying it is when a reader 'requests' things – if you hadn't thought about that, here is one reader who would be eager to read Devon's story. The gym bunny seemed to have something riding beneath the surface.



Jeff Erno is a gay man who writes gay-themed fiction. His stories include m/m romances, young adult themes, BDSM, paranormal & sci-fi, and mysteries. Jeff Erno grew up in rural northern-Michigan and is very much a country boy at heart. He came out as gay in his early twenties and began writing gay-themed stories in the late 1990s. Initially he wrote for his own enjoyment, then one day posted some of his work on a free amateur website. The positive feedback he received spurred him to continue. By the time he received his first publishing contract, he'd completed four novel-length stories. Many of Jeff's stories are set in his small, northern-Michigan hometown, Boyne City. He's passionate about combating teen bullying and LGBT homelessness. He loves decorating cakes, cooking, crafts, and PFLAG. And he's never written a story without a happy ending.

Connect with Jeff

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https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Slim Chance by Jeff Erno to read and review.