Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Trust with a Chaser by Annabeth Albert Release Blitz


One hot cop. One bar owner out for redemption. One smoking-hot summer fling destined to leave scorch marks…

Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans.

Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for.

When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything?

Trust with a Chaser is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, a hot law-enforcement hero, opposites attract, plenty of sexy times, and one hard-fought, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.

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Book 1
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Chapter One

Mason

When Adam stepped inside the glorified closet I was using as an office, eyes all twitchy and hands wringing a bar towel, I knew I wasn’t going to like what came out of his mouth.

“Sheriff Sexy just walked in. He’s your problem.”

Fuck. I squeezed my eyes shut and took a deep breath. “Please don’t call Police Chief Flint that. He might hear, and I’m pretty sure he’d find a citation for you. And I am not bailing your ass out.”

“You’re just worried that one of these days you’re going to slip up and call him that.” Adam grinned at me. This was an old argument—he’d been calling Flint that stupid nickname since we were in high school. The hard-nosed cop wasn’t one to cut teen drivers any slack—especially if they were in any way associated with the name “Hanks.” “Anyway, you know he freaks me out. I’ve got no idea what he wants—all our permits are in order, right?”

“Of course.” Standing, I grabbed the folder with the permitting paperwork. I prided myself in the organization I was bringing to the bar and grill that I co-owned with Adam and our friend, Logan. Flint wouldn’t find anything to complain about, not with me in charge. “I’ll go deal with him. You go back to the bar in case we get a rush.”

Adam snorted. Despite it being opening weekend, traffic had been embarrassingly light. We’d worked for weeks transforming the old tavern—a Rainbow Cove institution for decades—into the newly renamed Rainbow Tavern. The gay-friendly bar and grill was our vision for pulling our sleepy little coastal town into the twenty-first century. Logan had crafted a new menu of upscale bar food ready to go, and Adam had innovative drinks specials at the ready. All we needed were customers. And to not run afoul of Nash Flint on our first day of operation.

Flint was a Rainbow Cove institution himself—born and raised here, same as Adam and me, but unlike me, he’d never left, sliding into his father’s shoes as police chief and apparently fitting the role as easily as a pair of broken-in jeans. He’d been Officer Flint last time I’d seen him, almost ten years prior.

Guess I could have seen him had I come down for Freddy’s trial, something I still felt niggles of guilt over, and I told myself that was why my stomach fluttered on my way out to the tavern’s dining room. Unlike Adam, I’d never found Flint particularly…

Sexy. All my thoughts fled as I took in the man sitting in front of the plate-glass window. He dwarfed the small wooden chair, one of dozens that Adam and I had painted bright colors. Broad shoulders stretched the confines of his uniform shirt, biceps bulging under the short sleeves. His cut-glass jaw was firm as ever, as were those hard hazel eyes. But what had been frankly terrifying to my teenaged self made my twenty-seven-year-old libido sit up and take serious notice.

Flint blinked as I approached, head tilting to one side. I’d been getting a lot of that since I’d been back in town. “Mason… Hanks?”

“The one and only.” I stuck out my hand. “What can I do for you, Chief Flint?”

He returned my handshake with a sure grip, only a moment’s hesitation. I guessed he wasn’t all that used to shaking hands with a Hanks. Oh well. I was out to prove to the whole damn town that I wasn’t like my father and brothers, and if I had to start with Flint, so be it.

“Nice place you’ve got here.” His eyes swept around the renovated room—restored antique bar on the far wall where Adam wasn’t bothering to conceal his nosiness, dance floor beyond that, colorful tables and chairs in the front of the bar, only a handful occupied despite the dinner hour.

“Thanks. Our permits are all in order.” I held out my folder. “Liquor license is on top.”

He waved the folder off. “Not worried about that.”

No? Then why the heck was Flint in my establishment? “Good. We’re on the up-and-up. You won’t have trouble from us—”

“Glad to hear it,” he said levelly, eyes skeptical, reminding me that I was, after all, nothing more than a Hanks. “Cheeseburger?”

“Pardon?”

“That Ringer kid didn’t see fit to give me a menu, but I’m trusting you all offer something approximating a burger? Salad, no fries, and an iced tea.”

“You want to order?” I was still struggling to keep up with him.

“This is a food establishment, right?” He shook his head as if he hadn’t expected more from me, and that rankled.

“Of course.” I crossed the room in long strides, grabbed an order pad from the bar, ignoring Adam’s gaping. As soon as I returned to Flint’s table, I added, “Anything you want. On the house.”

“None of that.” He sighed like my very existence was tiring. “Got my meals from the old tavern for years. They kept a tab open for me.”

“We can do the same—”

“Let’s see if you can cook first,” he said, voice drier than yesterday’s toast. “I thought I’d come by, check the place out.”

“Appreciated,” I said and meant it. Business, any business, was good, but people in Rainbow Cove trusted Flint. If he gave us the seal of approval, more locals might give us a try, make us less dependent on the tourist trade that we were going after. Tourism took a while to build, and our grand plans of making Rainbow Cove an LGBTQ travel destination weren’t going to happen overnight. We needed every customer we could get, Flint included, even if he was the unlikeliest of allies.

“You still haven’t brought me a menu.” He shook his head. “But whatever you’ve got passing for a burger is fine. Nothing vegan though.”

“We’ve got local grass-fed beef, third-pound patty on a brioche bun with a pesto mayo and local gouda. Or—”

“I reckon that will do fine.” Flint always had a bit more country than coastal in his voice. Not Southern, but you could tell he was rural Oregon through and through, and I liked the slow, deep rumble of his words. What I didn’t like, however, was the implication in his tone that he wasn’t expecting much from us.

“Sure you don’t want fries? We have hand-cut sweet potato as an option with a chipotle dipping sauce. As far as salads, I’ve got side, Caesar, spring berry and pecan—”

“I’m on duty here. Kind of pressed for time. The burger and a side salad are fine. I don’t need anything fancy.”

Yeah, well, maybe I want to give it to you. I quashed that thought, same as I had the one about how hot he looked in his uniform. Wanting to impress Nash Flint wasn’t going to get me anywhere.

“I’ll put a rush on it.” I made a note on the order pad, not that it was really needed since Logan hardly had a packed house to worry about.

As I walked over to the window to put in Flint’s order, I noticed more than one table giving him curious glances. Hell, maybe I was wrong about any business being good business. Last thing I needed was Flint scaring away what few customers we had. Not that he was known as a gossip or anything like that, but he was awfully… old school. Traditional. The last kind of guy you’d expect to find at a gay bar, that was for sure, and even though we were attempting to attract a mixed clientele, he stood out.




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Erica☆☆☆☆
4 Realistic Stars

Trust with a Chaser is a promising start to a new series by Annabeth Albert. Upon completing it, I cannot wait to get my hands on the next in the Rainbow Cove series.

Mason Hanks is from the wrong side of the tracks in a rural town, from a family who thinks they are 'down on their luck' and it's everyone else's fault but theirs when they get caught in the act. This mentality lends to their dislike of the local Chief of Police, because he arrests them instead of letting them go with a slap on the wrists. But Mason isn't like his father or brothers – he's tried so very hard to crawl out of a piss-poor mentality that has nothing to do with how much money you have in your bank account, and everything to do with earning it versus stealing it.

Chief Nash Flint is walking in his father's footsteps, fearing being out and proud would affect his job. His mother is always holding his father's legacy over his head, not caring if her son is happy or not.

Mason moves back home because his father is in failing health, after buying a local tavern with his best friends. He wants to bring culture and open-mindedness to this rural town mindset. I truly enjoyed the interactions Mason had with all of the Hanks, especially his father and niece. It felt true-to-life, like real people ripped straight from my town and placed on the pages.

Mason's brother had a strong sense of entitlement, thinking Mason and the father should just 'do' for him if he asked. Mason's father was always saying how much he didn't deserve Mason's mother – sainted woman. I kept shaking my head, thinking to myself if she was such a 'good woman,' maybe she would have raised her worthless, deadbeat grown children better. I know I sound judgmental, but love isn't everything, and what was to love if the man of your dreams was turning your children into scum? I'm sure she was a good woman, just one with the same mentality as everyone else in the family, save for Mason.

Trust with a Chaser is a slow-burn romance, set to the backdrop of hiding in the closet, with a slight age-gap between Nash and Mason. While the lust does come easy, the genuine emotions do not. The conflicts felt realistic for the setting, instead of forced and used as a vehicle to move the story forward. It felt organic, the emotions, deep-seated fears, and the journey to happiness.

The only reason I'm not easily passing out 5 stars is merely personal taste, as it removed the rereadability factor for me. I'm not at all uptight or a prude, but I felt there was too much between-the-sheets action. This is usually a great thing, don't get me wrong. While everything else flowed smoothly, storyline-wise, the sex scenes felt 'tucked in' between scenes of actual importance. A few obviously propelled the story arc, through lust to intimacy to love, but the rest were redundant and easily skimmed without missing anything of any importance. In a nutshell, a little bit too much of the same thing.

Also, an entire thread of conflict was ignored – not even written away. Just left to drop off the pages, as if it didn't dominate portions of the book. The vandalism thread.

Highly recommended to MM romance fans who are looking for a realistic, warm, feel-good read.


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

This is a great start to a new series. I can honestly say that I hope the other bar owners get their own story and that you get to see more from Mason and Nash.

Mason is from the wrong side of town. He's known for his family's name, not for himself. His family has had a long line of shady dealing, poor choices, and all-around chaos. This changed with Mason – he didn't want to live the same chaotic lifestyle. Instead, he was able to leave town, get out and see things. He finally comes back to town with a few friends to reopen a dying bar – they revived it and now it's an LGBTQ friendly spot. This doesn't sit well with others, who don't particularly like change.

Then you have Mason's family. In particular, his father and brother, Jimmy. Jimmy has been making poor choices for as long as Mason can remember. Now, Jimmy has a child and putting her in danger is not an acceptable reality for Mason. I don't think it was all that acceptable to their father either, but he's less about what's right and more about family loyalty. So, with a bar that is just beginning to do well, a family member who seems entitled to do whatever he wants and expects Mason to clean up after him, and a boyfriend who doesn't want to come out of the closet, Mason has his hand's full.

Nash Flint is the town's sheriff. He is following in his father's legacy – a man dedicated to the town. However, Nash also realizes that he could have so much more in life. Yes, he loves his work and knows that he is doing something that he loves, but that doesn't really keep him warm at night, cook him dinner, or soothe bad days. When Nash sees Mason again, not only is there an attraction, but all of the other baggage that comes with being from a small town where people don't know his personal business.

While Nash and Mason navigate their early relationship, both have to take chances and defy what others wants. Will their own happiness win out or will family obligations keep them from really seeing what their relationship could be? This was a great story, but there were definitely things that were left "unsaid" or "unresolved," which was hard for me. I wanted more of a resolution.


Angie☆☆☆☆
I really enjoyed this book. Mason came back to his hometown to open up a bar & restaurant with his two best friends. Nash is the town’s chief of police. Mason comes from a family of nothing but trouble, but he has made something of himself. Nash knows all about Mason's family and troubles and doesn't want to believe he is any different. These two guys are hot for each other right off the bat, but Mason doesn't know Nash is gay and Nash sure doesn't want to get involved with anyone because he isn't out. There was a semi-slow burn/build up with these two. I wanted to smack both of these guys a few times when they wouldn't speak up to their families and put their feet down on certain issues. When Nash finally grew some balls, I screamed "about time." The story kept my interest and I enjoyed the secondary characters. I am interested to see what happens in the next installment.


Shannan☆☆☆☆☆
Trust with a Chaser is a fantastic start to the Rainbow Cove series. I fell in love with this little town. The attraction between a small town police chief and the owner of the local tavern, that just happens to be LGBT friendly, is palpable. Nash Flint grew up in Rainbow Cove, he was destined to be the chief, following in his father's footsteps, but to do that he feels he needs to keep his private life very private. He's known the Hanks his entire life but he doesn't remember the youngest Hanks looking as sexy as he does now. Regardless of what Nash thinks of Mason, he needs to stay away from him. The Hanks family isn't a stranger to being on the wrong side of the law, even if Mason is different than his brothers he still could be trouble.

I am so intrigued by this little town. I can't wait to get more of this series.


Sarah☆☆☆☆
When a boy from the wrong side of the tracks returns to his hometown as a business owner, he finds himself surprisingly drawn to the town’s Sheriff. Nash (Sheriff Sexy) might be closeted and miserable, but Mason’s family’s ongoing criminal activity makes it very difficult for Nash to even consider a friendship with the younger man.

The slow burn chemistry between Nash and Mason in this story is wonderful. Both men are fighting against family expectations. Mason seems to spend more time taking care of his brother and father’s messes than he does building his business. Mason fights hard to separate himself from his family and make something of his life, but he is never quite able to escape his history. I loved his drive and his vision and I really wanted to see him succeed.

Nash can’t escape his father’s legacy or his mother’s sense of family honour. I enjoyed watching him grow into himself as he builds up the courage to stand up to his mother. There were times I found his closeted isolation annoying and there were other moments where his cowardice almost made me lose respect for him. He reads as older than he actually is and it took me some time to like him as a character.

Each time Mason and Nash meet, attraction wars against common sense and the result is sometimes sweet and sometimes laugh out loud funny. These two work well together. Mason might be a little too forgiving at times, but I enjoyed the heat and the friendship between Nash and Mason.

This is a new series from Annabeth Albert. It is more grown up than her #gaymers books, a little more complicated than her Portland Heat books, and a little less intense than her Out of Uniform stories. This is a small town romance with an m/m twist. I enjoyed the premise behind the series – a group of businessmen and some locals work to capitalise on Rainbow Cove’s name by turning the small town into an LGBT friendly holiday resort. I loved the introduction to several men I’m hoping will have their own books soon.


Ruthie☆☆☆☆
This is the first book in a new series, and I am looking forward to reading further installments as this one was great. The introduction to Rainbow Cove, its inhabitants, and its history are all done quietly within the developing storylines, and I am definitely curious to know how the plans for the town progress.

That Nash Flint falls for Mason Hanks is hugely inconvenient, and much as he tries to continue to use work as a distraction from his feelings, he fails. I love how he cannot help but care about Mason, who shows him great care back. Whilst it may be on the down low, their behaviour is totally adorable. Not that they don't heat up the pages too – but it is much more than lust from pretty much the start, even if they are both in denial.

There is a lot going on in the book, yet it always feels centred on these two men and the impact on their relationship of the events swirling around them. That really worked for me, as we were not distracted by peripheral incidents, rather they brought more issues to the fore for the duo to address.

Delicious, sexy, and fabulously romantic story. Thank you, Ms. Albert.




Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Trust with a Chaser (Rainbow Cove #1) by Annabeth Albert to read and review for this tour.

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