Saturday, February 25, 2017

Reckless Hearts by Heather Van Fleet Blog Tour

Three alpha men and a baby.
What could possibly go wrong?

From boot camp to the Iraqi desert, best friends Collin, Max, and Gavin have been through hell and back. But these rugged Marines might need help facing their biggest challenge: raising Collin’s nine-month-old daughter, Chloe.

After the death of his girlfriend in an accident, Collin Montgomery has sworn off serious relationships. His buddies have his back—and convince him it’s okay to cut loose sometimes. Enter the hottest, smartest girl he’s ever met. But what he really needs is a nanny.

Addison Booker needs a job desperately—and fast. She shows up to interview for the nanny position only to find the sexy, cocky man she can’t get out of her head. Collin knows hiring her is a bad idea—they disagree about almost everything—but Addison is so good with little Chloe. And there’s no substitute for chemistry, right?

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To curb the anxiety brewing hot inside me, I grabbed Addie by the wrist and marched her to the door.

“Hey, watch it.” She clawed at my hand, only making me want to hang on tighter.

“What is your deal, Collin?”

“It’s time for you to go.” I kept hold of her arm, but not as tight, and grabbed her coat, shoving it against her chest.

“What’d I do this time?” She lifted her chin—always lifting her damn chin. Taking pride to a level I wasn’t even capable of most days anymore.

“Nothing.” I let go of her arm, my hands itching to grab her and pull her close.

Instead, I walked to the door and unlatched the lock.

“Oh no. Don’t think so, buddy.” She threw her coat and her hat onto the floor, crossing her arms just under her breasts. “If I’m going to work for you, we need to set some ground rules.”

I tightened my hands into fists, fingernails digging into my palms. One step forward, then two, and she was in front of me, one eyebrow arched. Her curled lips saying I won’t back down. And damn I didn’t want her to. She messed with me, all fire and sass. And it made me fucking hot.

“You are the most ungrateful son of a bitch I’ve ever met in my life, and if you really and truly want me to be your child’s nanny, then you better cut the attitude or else I’m gonna—”

“Stop talking.” Couldn’t help myself. I had to do it. So I grabbed her waist and yanked her to my chest, while clutching the bottom of her shirt with my other hand. Eyes wide and lips parted, I took what I wanted and kissed her. Hard. Unforgivingly. Relentlessly.

And holy shit.

I mean, holy.


That kiss was so much. But it wasn’t enough—never would be enough either. Not until I had her against the wall, touching her anywhere she’d let me touch her. Skin on skin, flesh on flesh. Just once, that’s all I’d ask for. I wasn’t a greedy man, just needy and desperate for the only woman who’d ever mind-fucked me before she actually fucked me.

Fighting against every instinct I had, I used my tongue to explore, only to feel her arms wrap around my neck and her fingers dig into my scalp in response.

With her reaction, my restraint snapped in half.

I walked her backward. She obliged, hands desperate and tight as she clung to me. Warm body soft against mine, pliant and so damn sexy. Almost as needy as my own.

My knee went between her thighs as I pushed her back against the door. She moaned against my lips, the sound going straight to my cock. Her tongue was wet, my brain was fuzzy, but I needed this. I needed her.

I lifted her higher, her legs going right around my waist. She sucked my tongue into her mouth, and I lowered my hands to her ass, squeezing. The skirt she wore rode up higher and higher as she writhed against me, until nothing but her panties pressed against my jeans. She shivered as I rocked her pussy up and down against my cock.

Hot. Tight. Warm. That’s exactly how I imagined she’d be if I sank inside her.

She tipped her head back, bumping it against the wood. Her breathing was frantic, her chest rising and falling in time with my own. I lowered my mouth to her neck, kissing and sucking her skin. She tasted clean, fresh, and I groaned low in my throat, wanting nothing more than to bite her, mark her. Make her mine for just one night.

“Collin,” she whispered, her body trembling as she moved. I rocked her harder against me, sure I was going to come from the friction of the movement alone.

“Please,” she cried out, dry humping my cock like it was all she’d ever need again. And if this was the last woman I ever made come, I’d damn sure not regret it.

“Ain’t gonna stop. Wanna make you feel good.”

I’d been an ass all night to the girl. The least I could do was get her off…and enjoy myself at the same time.

She leaned forward, whimpering as she buried her forehead against my neck. I shut my eyes, blocking out everything around us and inhaling her hair, a smell I’d never forget.

Sweat dripped down my temples as I guided her up and down my length. My hands, as greedy as my lips, now digging tighter into her ass over her skimpy panties.

“Jesus. Addie.”

She shuddered at my words, moving faster, softly crying through what I knew was a quick release.

Damn, did I love that sound. Hadn’t realized how much I missed it until it came from her. And I wanted to hear it again, until she cried out my name next time, loud as hell so the world would know I’d been the one to do this to her. For her.

But then her breathing slowed and she kissed my neck, the sensation light and soft. Too intimate. Too much.

And that’s when the high came crashing down, hitting me as hard as a truck.

I’d just dry-fucked my daughter’s new nanny against the front door.

And I liked it.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Addison Booker is a day care worker who is recently unemployed. And if she doesn't find a job soon, she will be homeless too. She loves working with children but there are only a few options in the small town where she lives. While out one night with her BFF McKenna, they see several sexy men that are part of what looks like a rugby team. When one approaches Addie, she is ready for a fight to get him to leave her alone. But he is the one she has been watching all night.

Collin Montgomery and two of his buddies are former Marines and they are raising his daughter. After his girlfriend, Amy, died in a tragic car wreck while he was still overseas, he has so much guilt because he wasn't home at the time. He doesn't feel that he deserves to be happy, he just needs to raise his daughter right and the way Amy would want him to.

When Collin meets Addie at the bar, the sparks fly and he can't stop thinking about her after she speeds away. And when she shows up for the nanny position, he blows it way out of proportion, because he knows it will be hard for him to keep his hands off her if she is close to him.

Can Addie make Collin see that they are meant to be together? Will Collin release the guilt he feels before it is too late for him and Addie? Will his buddies have to knock some sense into him before he screws things up for good?

This is a good story and I wanted to love it but there was something, and I can't put my finger on it, but something seemed to be missing for me. It kept me interested at times, but didn't pull me in and make me want to stay for every word.

One thing, and this is a pet-peeve of mine, when an author is writing about the Marines, it must be capitalized. This is a thing for me, being raised a daughter of a Marine. I know that most would not think anything about it, but it bothers me.

Anyway, this is a first for me from this author and I can't wait to see where this series might go with the buddies and Collin's sister.

2.5 stars

There is a sweet and meaningful story in between the pages, but somehow the writing doesn't quite let it shine. My biggest problem was the somewhat frenetic style of writing. I gave Addison a break, as she was young enough, and certainly immature enough, to behave in such a way – but men who have been to war? And suffered loss, and bringing up a baby? It was stretch too far for me.

We get snippets of the side characters, and seeing the book release schedule, I assume that they will each get their stories. Maybe because of that, we only get some of their story, but it can seem disjointed and lacking in continuity. I guess only when the books are available will that become clear.

We are all different, and just because it didn't work for me, doesn't mean that you will not enjoy it, so do give it a go and see what you think. It has some funny scenes, and Chloe is inevitably cute.

Contemporary romance author Heather Van Fleet is stay-at-home-mom turned book boyfriend connoisseur. She’s a wife to her high school sweetheart, a mom to three little girls, and in her spare time you can find her with her head buried in her Kindle, guzzling down copious amounts of coffee. Heather was born and raised in Moline, Illinois, where she lives with her wonderful family.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Reckless Hearts (Reckless Hearts #1) by Heather Van Fleet to read and review for this tour.

Midnight Chat by Jo Ramsey

Mira MacDonald, a proud lesbian, and Rob Stevens, gay but in the closet, don’t have it easy at their high school. Luckily they’ve always had each other and their close friendship to rely on, and it makes facing the bullies a little easier. At least for Mira. Rob is also struggling with untreated depression, and lately, Mira’s sweet and funny friend has become increasingly paranoid, suspicious, and obsessed with death.

Things go even further downhill when Mira begins dating Talia Acevedo and Rob becomes convinced Talia is driving a wedge between them. Mira knows Rob needs her, but his jealousy and irrational fears are becoming harder to balance with her relationship with her girlfriend. Add to that escalating harassment from bullies, and Rob is being driven closer and closer to an edge Mira worries she can’t pull him back from.

But she has no idea how serious the situation is until, during one of their midnight chats, Rob reveals he has a solution—a desperate final measure to put an end to the bullying… permanently. This time, trying to help her friend and save the school could cost Mira her life.

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Harmony Ink

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

What would you do if you best friend was being bullied every day for years? How would you help it stop? How would you help them cope? This is what Mira is facing. She is her best friend Rob's only support and he relies on her friendship and their midnight chats.

Rob has been the target of school bullies for years and his mental health is deteriorating. The adults in his life fail him. He doesn't like Mira's girlfriend and this adds pressure to their friendship.

This story shows us the serious damage that bullying can do to a person's mental health and that the bullying doesn't just hurt the person being bullied. I found myself wondering what I would have done in Mira's place. It is not hard to see how Rob ends up coming to the conclusion he does.

I'm not sure I'd say I enjoyed Midnight Chat but I would say it is a good book and it is good to see stories like this one bring this serious issue out in the open.

JO RAMSEY is a former special education teacher who now writes full-time. She firmly believes that everyone has it in them to be a hero, whether to others or in their own lives, and she tries to write books that encourage teens to be themselves and make a difference. Jo has been writing since age five and has been writing young adult fiction since she was a teen herself; her first YA book was published in 2010. She lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, her husband, and two cats, one of whom likes to read over her shoulder.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Midnight Chat by Jo Ramsey to read and review.

Trust Trade by Ki Brightly

Life hasn’t been good to Jeb Birchman. When he attempted to escape his abusive, zealot father, he found himself on the streets, making a living the only way he knew how, the victim of more violent men—one of whom orchestrates a series of vicious attacks that leave Jeb deaf. Now that he’s aged beyond his latest client’s interest, Jeb knows he needs to escape his risky lifestyle before it’s too late. Seeing one last chance for himself, he earns a GED and enrolls in college.

Freddy Williams enjoys a life that couldn’t be more different from what Jeb has survived. He loves sports, being a personal trainer, and hanging out with friends. The son of deaf parents, Freddy is an outspoken advocate of the Deaf community and works as an interpreter at his college. When he meets Jeb at the bookstore, he’s struck by how attractive he is, and as they get to know each other, he finds Jeb’s good heart just as appealing. By the time he learns of Jeb’s past, it’s only a few steps behind them, and Freddy must make a choice between school and his familiar routine and protecting the man he’s falling in love with.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars

This is a dark, gritty story and I thoroughly connected with the main character’s fight to restart his life on his own terms. Jeb’s transition from prostitute/houseboy to disabled college student is difficult and I loved his determination.

While I loved Jeb’s character, I still can’t decide what I think about Freddy. It felt too convenient that Jeb’s first college connection is a guy whose parents are both deaf. And while Jeb feels older than his years at times, Freddy feels really young and frat-boyish for much of the story. I understood Jeb taking on parental responsibilities, but there are times Freddy isn’t mature enough to sort his own emotions out let alone take on the weight of Jeb’s brutal past. I liked these two together by the end, but some of the sex scenes are oddly written and I struggled to feel any heat in the relationship.

The strength of this story is in Jeb’s personal struggle to accept his hearing loss. His denial, his angst, his discomfort with the deaf community feel honest and truthful. His battles with university bureaucracy and his determination to succeed at college were very moving. These very human scenes make this story and this character memorable.

I enjoyed some of the suspense and action, but my reservation with this book is that there is just too much story here for one novel. Jeb moving from his dark past and adjusting to life as a college student would have been enough of a story on its own. Adding the corrupt politician, the corrupt cop, the revenge seeking pimp, the abused child, the witness protection program, the bigoted parents… my head was spinning by the midpoint and I struggled to keep everything and everyone straight in my head. There are enough plot threads here to support a series and the result is erratic pacing and storylines that aren’t fully developed.

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
3.5 stars
M/M Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

There is a lot going on in this story. It seems that there are three very distinct storylines and sometimes they overlap and sometimes they stand alone.

Jeb is a sex slave. He has found the one way that he can survive. After leaving his home – running away from his abusive father – he didn't have many skills. However, he found that sex paid. After finding himself in a very compromising situation, he's hurt, scared, and running for his life. Skip ahead, he's with Nolan, who is an abusive jerk-wad. You can see that Jeb is used to being treated poorly – it's something that he has grown accustomed to. The main issue he is having is that Nolan has agreed to pay for his education, despite Jeb saying he cannot "work" with Nolan anymore. You also have to factor in Max, Nolan's son, whom Jeb watches over and protects.

Freddy is the next person to really come into the story. I found him to be slightly confusing and frustrating. He wants to have a relationship with Jeb, but comes from a very different life. His parents know sign language and he has always known sign language. What he doesn't understand is how Jeb can survive without that skill or the other helpful tools that other deaf students use (i.e., recording devices, note takers, etc.). When Jeb and Freddy come across each other, Freddy is immediately friendly, which makes Jeb slightly suspicious. But then, Freddy has so many mood swings that it is hard to track where he is coming from and what exactly he wants.

Finally, you have Max. He runs to Jeb when his father goes too far. Max knows comfort from Jeb and despite knowing what Jeb was doing for his father, knows that Jeb will protect him too. This turns into more of the story than Jeb and Freddy's romance. I think that this is the part of the story that I liked the most. Nolan is after all people related to his lifestyle and that most definitely includes Jeb and Max. When they are all in danger, there is even a slight mystery to the story, which I liked a lot.

Overall, this love story was very up and down and I didn't think that Jeb and Freddy had a lot of chemistry. It was almost that they were together due to circumstance. It was just an okay story as a whole for me.

KI grew up in small-town nowhere pretending that meteor showers were aliens invading, turning wildflowers into magic potions, and reading more than was probably healthy. Ki had one amazing best friend, one endlessly out of grasp “true love,” and a personal vendetta against normalcy.

Now as an adult living in Erie, Pennsylvania, Ki enjoys the sandy beaches, frigid winters, and a wonderful fancy water addiction. Seriously, fancy waters… who knew there were so many different kinds? It’s just water… and yet…

Ki shares this life with a Muse, a Sugar Plum, and two wonderful children.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Trust Trade (Gem City Grit #1) by Ki Brightly to read and review.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Going Down Hard by Carly Phillips Blog Tour

Billionaire Bad Boys: Rich, Powerful and sexy as hell.

Derek West rose from poverty to take the tech world by storm. He's sexy, confident and gets any woman he wants. And who he wants is Cassie Storm, the rich girl he’s never been good enough for.

She’s desperate to save her family company and there’s only one man who can help. But Derek isn’t interested in helping. He wants to possess both the company and the woman he’s never been able to forget.

His plan? To seduce her out of his head. Except once he’s had a taste of Cassie, he doesn’t want to let her go. Her family remembers where he came from, and they won’t allow it. When the truth about their pasts comes to light, though, it may be Cassie who’s going down hard.

A stand-alone Billionaire Bad Boys novel.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
Whenever I pick up a book by Carly Phillips, I know I'm going to a find a story that is going to pull me in and I won't put it down until I'm finished. That happened once again with Going Down Hard.

Derek West is a self-made man, growing up poor and disadvantaged, he managed to go to college on a scholarship and, along with three of buddies, created an app that stormed the tech world. The people his family worked for were rich and powerful, but mostly conceited and arrogant. Except for Cassandra, she seems to be real and hiding it beneath the superficial veneer.

Cassie Storm is doing everything she can to save the PR empire her grandfather started but her father is set is in his old ways and hasn't embraced the tech age. But today, her father is going to make announcement that is going to change her life forever – she knows that he is going to give her a chance to turn this company around. Until he gives it to her brother, the wayward Spencer Storm, who's been living it up in Europe doing who knows what and being irresponsible.

This is a second chance story intertwined with family drama. I love the way that Ms. Phillips can take a simple plot line and thread complex throughout.

The next book in this series is about Julian and Kendall and I honestly can't wait to see how she redeems Julian and makes him worth rooting for.

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/F Romance
Triggers: Sexism

Derek is looking for revenge. He was living a good life with his mom and dad. His parents were servants in Cassie's house. When the unthinkable happens, not only does his dad become ill, but they don't have the money or insurance to help him recover. Derek sees buying Cassie's dad's company as an opportunity to right the wrongs of his past. What he doesn't realize is that his mom has already moved beyond the past and hopes that he will too.

Cassie is trying to show her father that she is capable of taking over his beloved company – bring it into the 21st century – into the cyber age. When she is passed over because her brother decided to come home, she can't help but be livid. But not only does her father undervalue her worth, he then allows the prodigal son to come home and kick her out of her house. I hated Cassie's family. They were self-centered, narcissistic, and entitled beyond belief. I had a difficult time understanding how she was not a product of her environment. But in the end, she came out the winner and her family had to kind of slither back into their dark bubble.

This is a story about overcoming obstacles that they thought defined them, but came to realize when they chose a different path, they were able to break away.

3.5 stars

This is the third in a linked series – and there is another to come, which also sounds good.

The story revolves around two people who may have been worlds apart when they grew up, but through hard work, Derek is now even wealthier than his parents' former employers and family. He also bears a serious grudge against them, as they destroyed his parents' reputation and, in his views, their lives.

When his opportunity to get his revenge presents itself, he finds that Cassie, his teenage crush, is in fact maybe not who he had imagined her to be at all. We get to see them come to terms with their feelings for each other, and the way that they start to trust and open up to each other. This is really enjoyable to read and the story moves very quickly. In addition to the duo, we get to know a bit more about both their mothers, and how their views on events are very different. I think this worked really well at explaining how perception can seriously affect one's views.

This is a well-paced, sexy read, and leads seamlessly into what to anticipate in the next release.

Carly Phillips has quickly become a go to author – I don’t even need a blurb anymore, her books are always fantastic and this one is no exception!

Cassie Storm’s family comes from money while Derek West’s family works for Cassie’s. When Derek and Cassie are teens they have a crush on one another, but when Cassie’s friends laugh that Derek is nothing but the help, their relationship ends before even beginning. Now, years later, Derek has one thing on his mind. Revenge against the Storm family for firing his parents and leaving them with nothing, and now that Derek is a tech god, revenge is in sight. Cassie is working at her father’s company with hopes of taking over one day – while Derek has hopes to buyout and dismantle the company. When Cassie approaches Derek for an interview, Derek sees it at the perfect opportunity to begin his plan. The only problem is, his feelings for Cassie throw a wrench in the middle of everything.

I really enjoyed the fast pace of this read, from one chapter to the next it’s just a book you won’t want to put down. Derek was one of my favorite Billionaire Bad Boys yet. I can’t wait to see what Carly Phillips releases next!

Also Available in the Billionaire Bad Boys Series

Book 1
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For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the Going Down Easy Blog Tour.

Book 2
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For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the Going Down Fast Blog Tour.

After a successful fifteen-year career with various New York publishing houses, and over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels published, N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips is now an Indie author who writes to her own expectations and that of her readers. She continues the tradition of hot men and strong women and plans to publish many more sizzling stories. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She's a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she's a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers.

Connect with Carly

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Going Down Hard (Billionaire Bad Boys #3) by Carly Phillips to read and review for this tour.

Down by Contact by Sloan Johnson

There’ve been two great loves in Zach Kendricks’ life. He lost one because of his commitment to the other.

After Griffin walked away because he refused to live his life in the closet, Zach put everything he had into achieving his football dreams. When he was drafted, he began to understand that Griffin had done the best thing for both of them by leaving. But that doesn’t mean he’s ever forgiven his first love.

Now in his second season with the Wilmington Breakers, Zach’s committed to keeping his head down so he can prove his rookie stats weren’t a fluke. He knows his resolve will be tested when he’s selected to participate in Outside the Pocket, a reality show which follows players through training camp. He’s almost convinced himself it won’t be a distraction when Griffin walks into the room. Distraction becomes an understatement when he’s informed he will be spending nearly every waking minute for the next six weeks with the only man he’s allowed to hurt him.

Will Zach’s love of the game be enough to keep him from being downed by contact again?

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I am usually not one to read books about sports, but Sloan Johnson convinced me to read baseball in the past so why not football this time? I love Zach and Griff’s story. I don’t care for the reality TV part of the book, just because I am not a big reality TV person. This was a sweet love story, sometimes some things seemed to just be accepted way to easy, but hey, sometimes in life you actually get lucky. There was a little angst but nothing that made you ball your eyes out. I will say though, that I did cry when reading this book, I am just a sap like that. I can’t wait to see who the next book is about, there were a few characters in this book I wouldn’t mind seeing up next. Great start to a new series.

Characters: Well written
Sex: Yes
Religious: No
Would I recommend to others: Yes
More than one book in the series: Yes
Genre: M/M Romance
Would I read more by this author: Yes

Oooh – Sloan Johnson and a new sport! American football is as unfathomable to me as baseball, but the men are still pretty, emotionally needy, and a bit sweaty, so it’s all good. The sport may be new but Zach, the main character, is the brother of Nate in the last Homeruns book. In this story, Zach is unexpectedly reunited with Griffin, the man he loved and lost in college. Zach may have one last chance to own up to his sexuality and his feelings for Griffin, but he also only has one chance to make it in the NFL.

I really loved this story. Themes from the Homeruns books are back as Zach struggles with the pressure to remain closeted as a professional sportsman. There are new ideas here – Griffin works for a company that is filming Zach’s team for a reality show, and I really liked the way the author questions the ethics of manipulating lives in pursuit of reality TV show ratings.

Zach and Griffin are sexy together. I love the second chance element of this romance and the complex history between these two.

Zach’s teammates are wonderful and I’m hoping the new series title means that we’ll see more of these men. As always, Sloan Johnson has written a wonderful sports romance and I think the quality of her writing is getting better with every new book. This is an easy reading pleasure.

Although this is the first in the series, we are, in fact, meeting Tate's twin, Zach. Tate and PJ's story was the focus of Line Drive (Homeruns #6). So the sport may now be football, but the characters feel wonderfully familiar.

I really enjoyed this book. It does an amazing job of making pre-season training exciting. By using the vehicle of a no holds bar behind the scenes TV show to deliver a powerful plot and a really yummy romance.

Griffin left Zach in the belief that he would be better off without him – now he finds he is the cameraman shadow for the man as he prepares for the season. Unbeknown to him, Zach has just revealed to his coach that he is gay, and is tired of living a lie. As the story unfolds we are always a little on edge as to how the news will be released, how it will affect Zach, and whether there can be a second chance for these guys. There is little doubt that they have strong feelings for each other, but can it be enough?

I really enjoyed the story, and the hints as to who may feature in future releases – I am looking forward to it already!

Sloan Johnson is a big city girl trapped in a country girl’s life. While she longs for the hustle and bustle of New York City or Las Vegas, she hasn’t yet figured out how to sit on the deck with her morning coffee, watching the deer and wild turkeys in the fields while surrounded by concrete and glass.

When she was three, her parents received their first call from the principal asking them to pick her up from school. Apparently, if you aren’t enrolled, you can’t attend classes, even in Kindergarten. The next week, she was in preschool and started plotting her first story soon after.

Later in life, her parents needed to do something to help their socially awkward, uncoordinated child come out of her shell and figured there was no better place than a bar on Wednesday nights. It’s a good thing they did because this is where she found her love of reading and writing. Who needs socialization when you can sit alone in your bedroom with a good book?

Now, Sloan is a tattooed mom with a mohawk and two kids. She’s been kicked out of the PTA in two school districts and is no longer asked to help with fundraisers because she’s been known to lose herself with a good book and forget she has somewhere to be.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Down by Contact (Wilmington Breakers #1) by Sloan Johnson to read and review.

Just Like Cats and Dogs by BA Tortuga

Can cats and dogs ever get along, let alone fall in love?

Sam knows you can never go home again. As an orphaned feline shifter raised by wolves, being an outcast is nothing new to him. But the pack is still his family, and when one of them passes away, Sam returns to the New Mexico desert to say good-bye.

Gus is a loner who rarely returns to his pack, but as fate would have it, Sam is there when he chooses to visit. The history between Gus and Sam is tumultuous, to say the least, but when Gus gets an eyeful of the grown-up and gorgeous version of his childhood bully, he can’t control his reaction. And he isn’t alone.

The attraction is powerful, but so are their differences. And with trouble brewing in the pack and danger surrounding them, Sam and Gus might not have the opportunity to seek common ground.

This action-packed shifter novel is the ultimate opposites attract and enemies-to-lovers romance, and it includes a bonus novella, In the Dog House.

First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2011.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

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

Gus and Sam are a strange couple to say the least. Wolf and large cat... I found this story very frustrating, because it felt so jumbled. I can normally follow fairly well, but I found myself having to continuously look back and figure out what was happening, where they were, who was doing what.

There were hints throughout this story, but everything just felt incomplete.

There is a love story buried within the pages, but it is slightly obscure and jumps from past to present so quickly.

I didn't get that the two main characters really had that much chemistry. It seemed more of a friends-to-lovers idea, but it just didn't work for me all that well.

Both characters save each other and in the end, they are able to live peacefully, but I just felt that this was missing parts of the story that would have made it that much more clear.

I really love BA Tortuga’s shifter world in this story. I love the way each shifter species informs human personality and characteristics, and I really enjoyed the historic tension between species. Some shifter tropes are borrowed for this book, but there are enough twists to make the story and characters feel fresh and original.

I really loved Sam. The eldest son in a wolf family, he is also a feline shifter who has never been accepted by his family’s pack. He has close relationships with two of his siblings but he has always felt like an outcast in his own family. I love the idea of a cat shifter as a professional dancer – it just works. I would have loved to have seen more of Sam as a dancer and choreographer, but the focus of this story is mostly on his family and his relationships.

Gus didn’t catch my imagination quite as quickly, but as time passes and his attraction to Sam turns to friendship, affection and more, I grew to care for him as well. I like the discomfort between Gus and Sam as canine and feline shifters, and I enjoyed the slow realisation of something beyond attraction between these two men. Tortuga always writes great sex scenes and this is no exception – the chemistry between these two is hot.

My reservations with this story lie with the plot. This story stretches over long periods of time and space. I struggled to keep up with both elements. There also were elements of suspense and action added to the story that felt superfluous – the conflict between Gus, Sam, their families, and Gus’ pack would have been enough to build a novel around.

I really enjoyed this story and I’d love to read more books set in this world.

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy's Girl, BA spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she's not doing that, she's writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA's personal saviors include her wife, Julia, her best friend, Sean, and coffee. Lots of good coffee.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Just Like Cats and Dogs (Sanctuary #1) by B.A. Tortuga to read and review.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Nachos & Hash by Brandon Witt

Darwin Michaels is living his dreams in the Mile High City. While Denver offers the perfect job, scrumptious dining, and whirlwind dating options, Darwin is losing hope he’ll find the right man to spark his interest for more than a one-night stand—until he sets eyes on Cody Russell.

Cody has just accomplished his life’s goal—get the hell out of Kansas. In one fell swoop, he lands a job at Hamburger Mary’s and gets a newfound family and the chance to be with other gay people! All that’s missing is someone special. But when Darwin shows his interest, Cody is sure it’s too good to be true. After all, what can Darwin possibly see in the high school dropout serving him nachos?

As Darwin falls in love, Cody struggles to realize his worth. When his past threatens the fragile life he is building, Cody spirals into a moment of dark desperation. But Darwin is determined to show Cody that love and family and home are there for him… will Cody accept what is offered?

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Book 1
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Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I absolutely loved this story! With less drama and angst than his full length novels, the author has crafted a novella that is just long enough to breathe life into a special romance between two wonderful men.

This is almost a new adult romance. Both Darwin and Cody are in their early twenties and Cody’s previously sheltered life makes him seem even younger than 21 at times. I liked the natural connection between these two. They meet in a bar, a hook-up leads to more – these two are familiar and their romance is sweet. While Darwin is settled into a career, I enjoyed the angst and pressure Cody feels about his future.

There is a dark turn to this story, but it makes sense and feels real. The author highlights the isolation and pain of estrangement felt by so many members of the LGBT community, but also offers hope in the close friendships and support offered within the community.

I love that this is set in the same Denver as Under a Sky of Ash was. Favourite characters from that book are back and I loved seeing Hamburger Mary’s from the awed perspective of two boys from small towns.

I’m a huge Brandon Witt fan and with this novella, it feels like all the pieces fit together perfectly. I’m already looking forward to the next story about one of the Hamburger Mary’s family.

BRANDON WITT’s outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities. Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about…

Connect with Brandon

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Nachos & Hash (Mary's Boys #1) by Brandon Witt to read and review.