A Family for Christmas – Review

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This was sweet from start to finish. Rudy is adorably awkward in a way that I’m sure more than a few people can sympathize with, and Zac is his opposite. While on the surface it appears as if Rudy is doing more for Zac (providing him a family environment), Zac is doing just as much for Rudy whose self-esteem is definitely lacking. The two men compliment each other.

A Family For Christmas is a relatively quick feel-good holiday read that leaves a warm feeling in your stomach.

 A Family for Christmas
Author: Jay Northcote
Publisher: Jaybird Press (self published)
Length: 44,000 words approx
Genre: Contemporary m/m romance, feelgood, heartwarming
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh
Release Date: Friday 18th of November
Series info: This book is a standalone

Blurb

Zac never had a family of his own, but Rudy has enough to share.

Shy, inexperienced Rudy has a crush on Zac from the moment his new colleague walks through the door. On an office night out before Christmas, Rudy finds the courage to make a move, and they form a tentative bond. When he discovers Zac will be alone at Christmas, he invites Zac to come home with him.

Zac prefers to keep people at arm’s length. Yet when Rudy offers him a family Christmas it’s impossible to resist. With no parents of his own, Zac is pleasantly surprised to be welcomed by Rudy’s. The only drawback is that everyone assumes they’re a couple. Unwilling to disappoint Rudy’s mum and make Christmas awkward, they decide not to deny it.

It’s not a chore for Zac to pose as Rudy’s boyfriend, but the pretence makes him want things that scare him—things like a real relationship with Rudy. Zac’s suffered enough rejection in his life already and is afraid to risk his heart. If he can get over his past rejection and let Rudy inside his armour, he might get more for Christmas than he ever imagined.

Available at:
Universal Amazon link: http://mybook.to/AFFC_JayN

Saturday Short – Chandler & Dustin

Part 2:

Despite the protests of Chris and Marc, Dustin goes home with thirty minutes to spare before he needs to head to the arena for the game. He’ll play better if he gets to check on Chandler himself – not that Henrik’s snapchat of Chandler with a deer imposed over his slack face hadn’t been soothing.

Chandler’s still in bed when Dustin peeks his head around the doorframe. He’s a lump under the covers, only his mop of golden hair visible on the pillow. Dustin’s brain says to leave Chandler to his rest, while his heart urges him to crawl into the bed beside him.

“C’mere.” Chandler’s voice is rusty from disuse and slurred with sleep.

Dustin isn’t about to turn him down, though. He climbs in – still wearing his jeans and a shirt – and can’t help the noise of utter relief that leaves him when Chandler rolls, curling against Dustin’s side. He’s heat and firmness, slinging his arm over Dustin’s stomach to hold him in place. He’s buried his nose against Dustin’s neck, and he’s inhaling deeply, exhaling warm puffs of air across Dustin’s skin.

Carefully Dustin wriggles an arm free and gets his hand in Chandler’s hair, beginning to lightly – as gently as he can – massage Chandler’s scalp. It’s the first time he’s touched his head since the accident, terrified he’d somehow hurt him further. But Chandler melts under the touch, body going limp and satisfied rumbles shaking his chest.

“Missed you,” he says, lips grazing Dustin’s skin. Before Dustin can answer, Chandler starts to shake his head and then groans. Dustin resumes rubbing, making helpless shushing noises till Chandler calms again. Chandler’s eyelashes flutter against Dustin’s earlobe. “S’not the same.”

Dustin’s heart flutters quickly in his chest. “Yeah?” What does that even mean?

Chandler’s sigh is gusty. “Mhm.”

Dustin wants to demand Chandler explain himself, but Chandler’s breathing is already sliding into soft snores.

 

 

Saturday Short – Chandler and Dustin (To Arizona)

Part 1:

There’s something not quite right about being on the ice without Chandler during practice or warmups. Knowing that when he plays tonight, Chandler won’t be in the building or even watching at home. It feels like Dustin’s off balance. He keeps turning to chirp Chandler or to seek praise for a drill well done.

But Chandler’s not there. Concussions suck.

Chandler hasn’t left the house – has barely left their bed – in the week and a half since his hard head had done the unthinkable and betrayed him. He can’t handle lights or noise, and their conversations are relegated to low whispers of Dustin begging Chandler to eat, shower, and take his meds. When Chandler’s not sleeping, he’s a ball of misery. Dustin feels bad, really he does, but he’s at wits end. He’s doing everything he can, when he can, and it’s not enough.

Marc whacks him with his stick as Dustin skates by the goal. “Hey, come over and hang out after practice, yeah?”

Dustin skates back around and shakes his head, the straps of his helmet bouncing off his neck.  He wants to, but…. “I can’t.” Someone needs to check on Chandler and make sure he’s alive.

“You can,” says Marc, stubborn to his core. “Henrik or one of the other guys can go keep Chandler company.” He pokes Dustin. “You look like shit. Consider this your intervention.”

“I don’t need an intervention.” He needs Chandler to magically become healthy overnight.

Chris skates up then, spraying ice over the two of them like the obnoxious otter he is. “Someone said intervention. We talking about turning that frown upside down, buttercup?” He slaps the palm of his glove to Dustin’s helmet and shakes him.

Dustin flails a little, trying to get away when Chris follows. He scrunches up his nose, warmed by their actions  but not wanting to show it. He can’t encourage their being nosy, interfering shifters. He’d never have peace again. “I’m fine.”

“That’s something someone who wasn’t fine would say,” says Marc. “If you don’t want to consider that this is for you, look at it as us saying we miss you. Come give us attention.” He tries to hug Dustin, his catching glove glancing off Dustin’s shoulder and clipping the side of his head.

“You guys are awful,” says Dustin, really meaning that they’re the best in the world. “I’ll come over so you’ll shut up.”

Chris slaps his 200.gifback. “Sweet. We’ll swim and barbecue. Steaks for all.” He frowns. “Unless you want fish. Today is about you. And pregame naps! We’ll do a cuddle pile.”

Dustin is definitely not choking up thinking about how lucky he is to have these two guys in his life. His eyes are watering cause he’s tired. That’s all. He’s been sleeping in a separate room from Chandler so he doesn’t disturb him, and it’s led to tossing and turning and not much sleeping.

He blinks quickly, trying to clear his vision and maintain his dignity. “Steak’s good.” His voice doesn’t crack. Not at all.

 

Saturday Short

Bastien wraps his arms around James’s waist, notching his chin against his shoulder. When James leans back, Bastien widens his stance and takes his weight. James’s hands rest over his, cradling them to his stomach.

“It’s gorgeous,” says James, the words almost swallowed by the noise of the crowd around them, the awe almost concealed.

img_6987They’re looking at the Eiffel tower from their position on the bridge, standing steady in a sea of people all going somewhere. The merry-go-round spins, children and adults riding the ceramic animals in dizzying circles, the music spilling out into the night. It’s two minutes to eleven, and they’re waiting for the hour. The tower is going to brighten, lights sparkling and tap-dancing across the structure. Bastien has promised James that once he sees it, they’ll take a spin on the carousel.

Bastien tightens his arms, ducking his face to press a kiss to the cool skin of James’s neck. He smells like fresh air and a hint of salt, sweat from spending the last fourteen hours trekking the streets of Paris. “Je t’aime,” he says, lips grazing flesh. Three years they’ve been together now, and he never tires of letting James know.

James shivers beneath his touch, and his chest rises and falls with a low sigh. “Je t’aime mon cheri,” he returns, voice husky, twisting to press a kiss to Bastien’s cheek. His lips linger, warming Bastien.

The Eiffel Tower comes to life, splashing flashing lights across the dark sky.

 

 

It’s Here!

Will You Be My Escort

willyoubemyescortfs_v1A Carlisles novel

Jackson Carlisle has rotten luck with men and women, and after an especially bad situation, he takes a step back from romance. But with a two-week family reunion in Hawaii looming, his mom is determined to set him up with one of the sweet singles she knows would be perfect for him. A normal person would tell her no and be done with it. Instead, Jackson tells her he has a boyfriend. The only problem? He doesn’t.

Aaron Wilkes is an escort. He’s a little surprised when a friend’s girlfriend hires him to date her brother, but he’s had stranger jobs. Jackson is cute, and he thinks a fling with Aaron might be just the kind of no-strings-attached fun he needs to get over his dry spell. As they explore the islands together, their carefully laid plans begin to get away from them. Feelings aren’t supposed to come into play, but that shouldn’t be a problem. After all, you can’t fall in love in two weeks….

Find it at: Dreamspinner  / Barnes and Noble / All Romance / Amazon

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What readers are saying about the second Carlisles novel

“I absolutely love the Carlisle family. They are a large, close-knit, in your business family that loves, respects and accepts each other for the person they are.” H. Martin – Bayou Book Junkie

“There is a lot of angst in this as well as family love, loyalty, hot sex, misunderstandings, denying feelings, nosey family members and lust. The games are fun to read about and instead of making the MCs heroes, they fall and have to pick themselves up just like normal people.” Babs – Amazon Review

I loved the premise and the execution. Filled with humor, hot sex, and enough realism that I didn’t have to suspend disbelief to get through it, this absolutely hit the spot in all the right ways.” Belen – Gay Book Reviews

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Win a paperback copy of Dinner for One the first in The Carlisles series.

Bastien isn’t used to bad reviews. His French restaurant is the toast of the town, and when a well-known critic insults it, he’s left off-kilter. Luckily for him he’s found a distraction. He’s just met an attractive writer at his niece’s school bake sale. He’s into food, into Bastien and the touch of kink they share, and there’s a chemistry between them that might make the perfect recipe.

James isn’t expecting to meet a good-looking French chef at a bake sale, but he’s not going to let the chance slide. It comes as a surprise when the chef turns out to be the owner of a place he knows—and has reviewed—and it puts James in a sticky situation. So he might have to omit some pertinent information to make it work… at least for now.

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Coming soon: The third installment in The Carlisles series, Checking it Twice, arrives on November 28th, 2016. Join Dorian and Eric on their not so smooth romance.

Closeted professional hockey player Eric Belanger is falling hard for an out-and-proud male model. He’s unable to resist Dorian’s charm and pushing personal boundaries he never thought he’d cross. But Dorian is the kind of guy who deserves someone who isn’t afraid to be himself. Eric’s fears about what coming out will do to his career clash with the future he hopes to build with Dorian. He knows he’ll eventually have to make a choice.

 Dorian Carlisle knows better than to date a man who wants to keep him a secret, but there’s something about Eric he can’t ignore. So he’ll take the risk, and it’ll be all right, because this isn’t a forever romance. He’s happy to live in the moment. But somehow, at some point, feelings sneak up on him and he’s not okay anymore. At a breaking point, Dorian must also make a decision. Their time together will either be the start of something wonderful or nothing more than a happy memory. 

 

 

One week and counting!

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A Carlisles novel

Jackson Carlisle has rotten luck with men and women, and after an especially bad situation, he takes a step back from romance. But with a two-week family reunion in Hawaii looming, his mom is determined to set him up with one of the sweet singles she knows would be perfect for him. A normal person would tell her no and be done with it. Instead, Jackson tells her he has a boyfriend. The only problem? He doesn’t.

Aaron Wilkes is an escort. He’s a little surprised when a friend’s girlfriend hires him to date her brother, but he’s had stranger jobs. Jackson is cute, and he thinks a fling with Aaron might be just the kind of no-strings-attached fun he needs to get over his dry spell. As they explore the islands together, their carefully laid plans begin to get away from them. Feelings aren’t supposed to come into play, but that shouldn’t be a problem. After all, you can’t fall in love in two weeks….

68k / Cover designed by the amazing Reese Dante / Published by Dreamspinner Press

 

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Releasing on October 14th, Will You Be My Escort is the second novel in a series of four. Haven’t read the first one and want to find out what it’s all about? You can enter to win a paperback copy of Dinner for One at the link below!

Giveaway: Paperback copy of Dinner for One

You can pre-order Will You Be My Escort at the below retailers

Dreamspinner  

Barnes and Noble

All Romance

Amazon

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What readers had to say about Dinner for One

“As for the plot, there wasn’t one thing I didn’t love about it. From the description of the baking/cooking, the detail of the small but important things and the fact that we actually got to watch the relationship between Bastien and James grow meant that it was a solid 5 star for me.” – Elaine White, Divine Magazine 

“Let’s get straight to the point, shall we? I fucking LOVED this book. It is steamy, romantic, refreshing perfection.” – Gigi, Gay Book Reviews

“Dinner for One was a sweet, sexy and succulent romance. I adored the hell out of both men but have to give a hug to my fellow ginger Bastien for making James fall head over heels with all his wonderful ginger traits. I loved everything about this and hope that if you give it a try, you’ll love it too.” – Sara, Oh My Shelves

 

 

Release Day: Dinner for One

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Bastien isn’t used to bad reviews. His French restaurant is the toast of the town, and when a well-known critic insults it, he’s left off-kilter. Luckily for him he’s found a distraction. He’s just met an attractive writer at his niece’s school bake sale. He’s into food, into Bastien and the touch of kink they share, and there’s a chemistry between them that might make the perfect recipe.

James isn’t expecting to meet a good-looking French chef at a bake sale, but he’s not going to let the chance slide. It comes as a surprise when the chef turns out to be the owner of a place he knows—and has reviewed—and it puts James in a sticky situation. So he might have to omit some pertinent information to make it work… at least for now.

 

Published by Dreamspinner / Cover art by Reese Dante / 200 pages 

DinnerForOne_headerbanner

What readers have to say about Dinner for One

“As for the plot, there wasn’t one thing I didn’t love about it. From the description of the baking/cooking, the detail of the small but important things and the fact that we actually got to watch the relationship between Bastien and James grow meant that it was a solid 5 star for me.” – Elaine White, Divine Magazine 

“Let’s get straight to the point, shall we? I fucking LOVED this book. It is steamy, romantic, refreshing perfection.” – Gigi, Gay Book Reviews

“Dinner for One was a sweet, sexy and succulent romance. I adored the hell out of both men but have to give a hug to my fellow ginger Bastien for making James fall head over heels with all his wonderful ginger traits. I loved everything about this and hope that if you give it a try, you’ll love it too.” – Sara, Oh My Shelves

Find it at: 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2a9m8Tu
All Romance: http://bit.ly/28Q7eQV
Dreamspinner Press: http://bit.ly/29nFdn9

Weds Review: A Kind of Romance – Lane Hayes

a-kind-of-romance.jpgZeke Gulden is a ruthless Wall Street exec. His hard-edged, no-nonsense attitude has served him well in the cutthroat business world, but less so in his personal life. When he finds out his ex-boyfriend cheated on him with a coworker, Zeke can’t let go—not until he finds a way to get even. However, his meddlesome father has other ideas. The new hire at the family-owned bagel store is somewhat colorful, but his dad is sure he’s the perfect man for Zeke.

Benny Ruggieri is a fiercely proud New Yorker who dreams of making it big as a costume designer in the theater. In the meantime, he’s working two part-time jobs in the food biz. When his new boss sets him up with his successful son, Benny has zero expectations. If nothing else, he figures he can entertain himself by making the uptight businessman squirm. Instead, the two become unlikely friends with an inexplicable attraction they can’t ignore. Benny might be the one to help Zeke set aside his quest for revenge, if he’s willing to let go and forgive what he can’t forget… and give in to an unexpected kind of romance.

Published by Dreamspinner Press / Cover art by Aaron Anderson / 234 pages

Review

This was my first time reading anything by Hayes, and I went into it having heard many good things about her writing. I wasn’t disappointed. Zeke is… somewhat unlikable. At the same time, though, he was easy to relate to and it was clear why he had the issues he did. Benny is the opposite, he’s the eternal optimist, and it’s not hard at all to fall for him. So it makes sense Zeke – who is in desperate need of someone to show him the half full glass – would find himself tangled up in feelings for the man.

Benny helps Zeke learn how to move on from his past and shows him that being different isn’t a bad thing. Some of Zeke’s hangups come in the form of his perception of what his ideal partner looks and acts like (not Benny) and the rest come in the form of his family. Which, you might need tissues. As someone who is very close to their mom, this hit me smack dab in the feels. It’s probably what tipped me over into Zeke’s favor.

This was a sweet story about moving on and letting go of old hurts. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

5 Stars

Find it Here:

Dreamspinner Press / Amazon / All Romance 

Preview: Dinner for One

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Available on July 13th 

Pre-order available now

Published by Dreamspinner Press

Cover art by Reese Dante

63k words

The first in The Carlisles series

Contemporay

Blurb:

Bastien isn’t used to bad reviews. His French restaurant is the toast of the town, and when a well-known critic insults it, he’s left off-kilter. Luckily for him he’s found a distraction. He’s just met an attractive writer at his niece’s school bake sale. He’s into food, into Bastien and the touch of kink they share, and there’s a chemistry between them that might make the perfect recipe.

James isn’t expecting to meet a good-looking French chef at a bake sale, but he’s not going to let the chance slide. It comes as a surprise when the chef turns out to be the owner of a place he knows—and has reviewed—and it puts James in a sticky situation. So he might have to omit some pertinent information to make it work… at least for now.

 

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Buy Links

 Dreamspinner / Amazon / ARe / Barnes and Noble

 

 

 

Wednesday Review: Practice Makes Perfect – Jay Northcote

PracticeMakesPerfect

Blurb

 Getting experience with the guy next door seems like a great idea—until the lines blur.

Dev, a geeky first year physics student, has zero sexual experience and he’s determined to change that ASAP. After a bad time in halls of residence, he’s starting the summer term with different housemates and a new plan of action.

Ewan lives in the house next door to Dev. He’s young, free and single, and isn’t looking to change that anytime soon. When awkward circumstances throw them together, Ewan offers to help Dev out in the bedroom in return for maths tutoring, and Dev jumps at the chance.

They work their way through Dev’s sex-to-do list, but what starts as a perfect no-strings arrangement gets more complicated as their feelings for each other begin to grow. If they’re going to turn their lessons in lovemaking into something more permanent, they need to work out how they feel about each other—before they get to the end of Dev’s list.

Publisher: Jaybird Press

Length: 54,000 words

Genre: Contemporary gay romance

Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

Release Date: Wednesday 22nd June 2016

Series info: #3 in the Housemates Series but may be read as a standalone

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Review

I’m a fan of Northcote. I went into this with high expectations, and I came out of it with them having been met. I really enjoyed this book and the dynamics between Dev and Ewan. I found it to be a refreshing and different read from a lot of what’s out there right now. The drama is minimal, the problem is small and easily solved once the two get their act together, and the focus is on the two of them learning and figuring out what they want both as individuals and together. It’s very sweet.

This was an easy read for me, but one that had me skipping work and errands so that I could keep turning pages and finish it. I thought about it when I wasn’t reading it. I wanted to know when Dev and Ewan would finally have an honest conversation with each other, and I felt for them when they kept putting it off. Because those conversations are hard. Northcote did a great job of portraying college students falling in love and trying to figure things out.

On a side note, as someone with OCD, I really liked Dev. He’s a very honest portrayal of someone who thrives on order and who over thinks to the max.

5 Stars

Find it at: 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H7V027A
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01H7V027A
Universal Amazon link (will open in your region) http://mybook.to/PMP_JayN

Excerpt

Sitting on his bed, Dev yawned, his full stomach making him sleepy. He stared at his phone as he contemplated calling home but decided he couldn’t face it tonight. He loved his mum, but she did tend to bang on. Once she got him on the line, she’d end up talking for ages and asking him a million questions he was too tired to answer. Instead, he sent his mum a quick text.

All moved in, everything’s good. I’m shattered now so I’m going to have an early night. I’ll call you tomorrow.

She replied within seconds as though she’d been waiting for him to call.

Okay sweetie, glad you’re settled. Sleep well xxx

He picked up his notepad and crossed off phone home. Texting counted. He also crossed off everything else on his list for today. That was Saturday done.

Dev set his notepad aside, opened his laptop, and pulled up his lists app. He liked his notepad for day-to-day organisation; it gave him a certain satisfaction to cross out the things he’d done and to get to the end of the day with all the tasks completed. But for longer-term planning, he kept his lists on his Mac, synced to his phone.

For the first time in six months, Dev could breathe again. Finally he had a safe place where he could get back on track and look to the future. He began to type.

Things To Do This Term

Make some friends

Learn to cook

Research sex stuff

Join Grindr

Get some experience

Find a boyfriend

He stared at the words on the screen and sighed. That seemed like a lot of things to aim for. But it was good to have goals, right? Jez and Mac seemed really nice, so hopefully Dev was already on his way to achieving the first objective. And that bloke Ewan… Dev’s mind conjured up the image of the flame-haired hunk who lived next door. Ewan had been friendly.

Maybe there was potential there too.

Author Bio:

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.

She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.

www.jaynorthcote.com

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