This is a round up of the books I read on the 2st quarter of this year that I’m too lazy to do a full review.
Nothing Special: A Nothing Special New Year – A.E. Via
New Year’s Eve is usually a night of fun and wild celebrations, but for a police officer, it can be the most dangerous night of the year.
Officer Ellis Mason has worked as a beat cop on the streets of Atlanta for over eight years, and he knows what it takes to survive them. But when Lieutenant Godfrey and his infamous narcotics task force issue a dire warning about a lethal drug that’s coming to the city, Mason finds himself fighting a war he’s not trained for, with God pushing him beyond his limits.
Mason and his partner are both on high alert, but the moment he stops the tall, handsome drifter who wandered into town—with the saddest brown eyes he’s ever seen—Mason knows he doesn’t belong.
Jesse Holstrom is lost and possibly in trouble, but Mason’s instincts tell him that it isn’t the drug-dealing kind. Every night that Mason patrols by and sees Jesse huddled on a park bench, cold and alone, it pulls at his heart a little more. Mason doesn’t know how the young man ended up homeless and lost in his neighborhood, but when Jesse ends up on God’s radar, Mason knows he doesn’t have long to find out.
Mason promised himself he wouldn’t let a good thing slip through his fingers again… not this year.
A charming New Year novella and a worthy addition to a fan favorite series.
Maine Men: Finn’s Fantasy – K.C. Wells
A secret desire
By day, Finn builds houses on the coastline of Maine. Afterhours, Finn dreams of the hot older guy who walks his chocolate lab on Goose Rocks Beach. The man of his dreams ticks all his boxes. Salt and pepper hair. Strong jawline. Blue eyes.
His dream man is perfect fantasy material. As for actually speaking to him?
As if. Their paths won’t ever cross, and the guy is probably straight.
A new chapter
Recently divorced Joel is finally living as a gay man, but he’s not sure he’s ready to jump into a relationship. That doesn’t stop him from noticing his new contractor’s muscular build, hewn from hard, physical work, or his storm-colored eyes. Or the way he wears his tool belt slung low on his hips. The icing on the cake? There’s more to Finn than good looks. Maybe he’s the perfect guy to share long walks on the beach and warm nights in front of a fire.
But it’s been twenty years since Joel was with a man. While he’s not forgotten how to flirt, he’s nervous about making a move.
Especially with Finn.
A very cute meet-cute that turned into a snooze-fest halfway but rallied to a strong finish.
Maine Men: Ben’s Boss – K.C. Wells
“Pearson’s a common name.”
“It can’t be him.”
“God wouldn’t be that cruel.”
A painful history
Walking into the job interview confirms Ben White’s worst fears. It’s been eight years since high school, yet he can still recall Wade Pearson’s taunts.
There’s always a chance Wade isn’t the same homophobic asshole Ben knew. Yeah right.
Except the boy Ben remembers has grown into one seriously hot, brooding man. In another life, Ben would have climbed him like a tree. Wade’s gaze still makes Ben shiver – although now for entirely different reasons.
A secret longing
As soon as Wade read Ben’s application, he knew he had to see him. Ben’s still as gorgeous as Wade remembers. It’s obvious he doesn’t expect to get the job, given their history.
But Wade has an agenda. He has to make it up to Ben for treating him so badly – not that Ben will ever know why he acted like he did. Seeing him every day only heightens Wade’s regret. If he’d had more courage back then, maybe he and Ben could have been something.
The least he can do is show Ben he’s changed.
There’s no way Wade can get what he really wants – Ben’s heart.
An adorable workplace, first-time-gay romance made sweeter by unrequited high school crushes and second chances.
King & Alpha: Prophesy Book III: His Righteousness – A.E. Via
Chaos is inevitable when fate pairs the executioner of evil with a man of righteousness.
In all the years that Adres Cavalerie has inhabited the earth, he never thought he would discover his connection to the Prophesy within the Volkov Alphas stronghold.
As the oldest living vampire, Adres was also the strongest immortal of his time with abilities that surpassed comprehension. He was a warrior and guardian, a champion for the downtrodden and forgotten. His name was legendary, the brutal ways he killed, notorious. But there was a secret to his madness that no one of this world understood.
Until his evil soul comes into contact with Macauley Volkov’s righteous wolf.
“You may be a master at hiding your scent.” The alpha dipped his head low and pressed his nose to Adres’s temple, breaking through one of his impentrable shields, “but, I smell the real you … vampire.”
Adres has come to the White Mountain alphas to fulfill a duty and leave, but after one scent of the virtuous wolf he knew he wasn’t going anywhere. The Prophesy led him to Macauley and his light… Adres can’t turn away from the only hope of freeing his cursed heart.
He had to find out who else he was, and why fate has chosen someone as damaged as him to end the Prophesy?
This story DOES NOT contain or even mention MPREG. No cliffhangers. Ends with a very HEA.
The kinda okay third and final installment of an attempt at a paranormal series where the author lost interest midway and rushed to a half-baked finished.
Treasure Trail: Blink – Morgan Brice
Ghosts always remember. Mobsters never forget.
Erik Mitchell helped Interpol bust cartels, oligarchs, and spoiled billionaires for art fraud. As an undercover cop, Ben Nolan helped bring down a Newark crime family. Now Erik and Ben have started over in Cape May, leaving their danger-filled jobs behind them, excited about a fresh start and their new relationship.
Plans to renovate a historic old theater stir up dangerous ghosts and revive interest in unsolved Mob hits. The curse of a murdered witch strikes a close friend, old movie props reveal clues to long-ago crimes, and a shakedown scheme sends Ben’s cousin running for cover.
Time is running out to lift the curse. The Russian Mob wants revenge on Erik, and the Newark Mob is gunning for Ben. A grieving ghost seeks justice. Secrets, lies, and deception unravel in the blink of an eye.
Erik and Ben were planning for happily ever after. But unless they can outwit witches, wraiths, and wise guys, they could go down in a hail of gunfire and a blast of dark magic—and see their plans go up in smoke.
Blink is a suspenseful MM paranormal romance mystery-adventure filled with second chance love, hurt/comfort, true soulmates, awesome food trucks, dangerous secrets, restless ghosts, psychic visions, powerful witches, angry mobsters, and a very haunted theater.
Book Two in the Treasure Trail series.
A fabulously riveting mix of history, cinema, ghosts, mobsters, and curses with a lovable established couple caught at the center of it all.
Shadows Of London: Twisted Pretty Things – Ariana Nash
Something wicked is moving in the shadows of London…
In the underground world of glitzy illegal auctions, fast cars, and stolen magical artifacts, John “Dom” Domenici knows he’s out of his depth. But he needs the job at Kempthorne & Co like he needs to breathe. The alternative-going back to the organized crime gangs of London’s East End-is unthinkable.
So when Alexander Kempthorne, boss of Kempthorne & Co Artifact Retrieval Agency, wants him on a special case to track down an illegal artifact dealer, Dom can’t say no.
It shouldn’t matter that Kempthorne’s world is full of deadly secrets. It shouldn’t matter that the billionaire is sexy as sin, and it really shouldn’t matter how there’s an American agent stalking Dom, an American who knows more than he should about Dom’s case, including the real reason Alexander Kempthorne hired Dom.
The only thing that really matters to Dom is solving the case and finding the artifact dealer. Because there are worse things in London than a conflicted billionaire and a trigger-happy American. Something wicked is stalking London’s streets, and if Dom doesn’t stop it, its shadows will rise and consume them all.
Came for the pretty card tricks that remind me of Gambit from X-Men, stayed for the twisty-turny plot that blew me away.
Shadows of London: Tide of Tricks – Ariana Nash
A darkness runs deep beneath London …
Reeling from recent revelations and forced to lie for Kempthorne, the unthinkable happens: Dom fails the latent competency test. One more strike and he’ll be deemed unstable, have his registration stripped, and the life he’s come to love at Kempthorne & Co will be over.
If that weren’t bad enough, someone is stalking him, taunting him. Someone who knows what Dom did all those years ago.
While Dom juggles Kempthorne’s lies and his own shady past, latents are being murdered. The police won’t help, so it’s up to Dom, Kempthorne & new-recruit Kage (Hollywood) to find the killer, before they strike too close to home.
Dom soon finds himself at the heart of it all with his control slipping, his trick breaking free, and the shadows rising.
He’s coming undone. And for unstable latents, there’s only one way out …
Jaw-dropping reveals and a swoony requiting of years worth of pining swept me away!
Will Darling Adventures – K.J. Charles
A m/m romance trilogy in the spirit of Golden Age pulp fiction. It’s the 1920s and tensions are rising along with hemlines. Soldier-turned-bookseller Will Darling finds himself tangled up in spies and secret formulas, clubs and conspiracies, Bolsheviks, blackmail, and Bright Young Things. And dubious aristocrat Lord Arthur ‘Kim’ Secretan is right in the middle of it all: enigmatic, unreliable, and utterly irresistible.
Objectively, a K.J. Charles best, but sadly, this is not my year for historicals, so it was more of a slog than a slide.
(still 4 stars all)
Luckless – Cari Z
Evan Luck is a dragon rider with no dragon. Five years ago, his dragon gave her life defending the monster-ridden remnants of Marble, and ever since, his ability to connect empathically to another dragon had been as broken as his heart. Now he spends his days dodging his disappointed mayor, crafting arrows, fighting off the not-as-legendary-as-they-should-be beasts that’ve overrun America, and just trying to get by in the city of Forge.
But when he meets newcomer Lee Caldwell, Evan thinks his lonely luck might be changing. Lee is the only person in the city who doesn’t blame Evan for his dragon’s death, and he welcomes Evan into his own little family. There’s more to Lee than meets the eye, though, and between his refusal to talk about himself, pressure from the mayor to split them up, and a monster attacking the city’s foundations, Evan isn’t sure he’ll live long enough to learn the truth.
But not learning the truth will almost certainly be fatal, both to Evan and Lee’s budding relationship, and to the entire city.
A plot reminiscent of The Great Wall by Zhang Yimou made infinitely more awesome by dragons and selfless, self-sacrificing cinnamon roll heroes.
Greynox to the Sea – Kim Fielding
The sea air would be good for me. That’s what the doctor had said. The sea air and the sun. “A few quiet weeks on the coast is what you need. Go for a swim. Explore the beaches and the caves. Maybe you’ll find a mermaid. Or…” he added with a wink, “some hidden treasure, like in your adventure books.”
He was teasing me, I know, but a part of me burned with the idea that maybe… there would be something there, something special, something hidden.
Of all the things to find washed up on the beach, I was not expecting this half-drowned man. Nor what followed after.
A handsome blond wearing a cape and embroidered tunic is on one knee. He’s clutching a smaller man protectively to him. The smaller man is bound hand and foot and wears knee breeches and a long shirt. The blond wields a sword, which he has just used to cut the rope that is twisted around the smaller man’s arms.
This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love Has No Boundaries” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.
A kind-hearted, bookworm gentleman saves a dashing swashbuckling thief and promptly steals his heart in this tenderly romantic pirate adventure that reminds me of that gay pirate show we all love.
Bones: Good Bones & Buried Bones – Kim Fielding
Skinny, quiet hipster Dylan Warner just wants to live a normal life—despite being a werewolf—but when he buys an isolated farmhouse, it comes with more adventure than he anticipated! In Good Bones, Dylan’s sexy neighbor Chris Nock helps Dylan renovate the house, but how can Dylan reveal his furry secret? In Buried Bones, a brand-new relationship is hard enough to handle, but the appearance of a ghost and Chris’s dad threaten to bring Dylan and Chris’s relationship toppling.
Hipster werewolves are the city’s best-kept secret, and it’s the sweet, lonely country boys who bring them to the yard in this very domestic neighbors-to-lovers romance with some unexpectedly dark undertones.
(4 stars both)
Dr. Maxwell Thornton Murder Mysteries: Strange Medicine – S.C. Wynne
Maxwell Thornton isn’t really a people person, but that never mattered to him because he’d lived for his career. After losing a patient during a routine hysterectomy, he’s shaken and afraid to pick up the scalpel again. He resigns his position in the city and takes a job as sole GP in the isolated town of Rainy Dale, Texas, population 1001.
Rainy Dale is populated with eccentrics who test his patience and seem to think he’s not only there to treat their illnesses, but that he’s also there to hold their hand and be their therapist. When one of his most annoying patients ends up dead and floating in Maxwell’s pool, he has some explaining to do to the local sheriff.
Sheriff Royce Callum is intelligent, determined and more attracted to the new doctor than he would like. He can’t imagine Maxwell is a murderer, but he also can’t exactly ignore a corpse in the sexy doctor’s pool.
An intriguing enough opening for a fish-out-of-water murder mystery series I want to delve deeper into.
13 Days of Monster F#cking – K.L. Hiers
Enjoy thirteen unique tales inspired by two-sentence horror stories with wicked passion of beastly proportions, from fierce werewolves to mysterious ghosts to lonely shifters and many more!
-A strange photo appears on a man’s cell phone even though he lives in his apartment all alone.
-The world is shocked when an astronaut comes back from a trip to Mars married and expecting.
-Being trapped in an old haunted asylum is bad. Being trapped there with an invisible entity is worse.
-An infamous mob boss has a dark secret that he’s been hiding from his husband, but the full moon reveals the truth…
…And many more!
SMUT with a surprising amount of HEART.
Off the Beaten Path – Cari Z
When Ward Johannsen’s little girl Ava shifted into a werewolf, she was taken into custody by the feds and shipped off to the nearest pack, all ties between father and daughter severed. Ward burned every bridge he had discovering her location, and then almost froze to death in the Colorado mountains tracking her new pack down. And that’s just the beginning of his struggle.
Henry Dormer is an alpha werewolf and an elite black ops soldier who failed his last mission. He returns home, hoping for some time to recuperate and help settle the pack’s newest member, a little pup named Ava who can’t shift back to her human form. Instead he meets Ward, who refuses to leave his daughter without a fight. The two men are as different as night and day, but their respect for each other strikes a spark of mutual interest that quickly grows into a flame. They might find something special together—love, passion, and even a family—if they can survive trigger-happy pack guardians, violent werewolf politics, and meddling government agencies that are just as likely to get their alpha soldiers killed as bring them home safely.