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    REVIEW: Peacemaker by Morgan Brice

    Sharps and Springfield: Peacemaker – Morgan Brice

    Secret agents, forbidden love, danger, and magic!

    Supernatural Secret Service agents Owen Sharps and Calvin Springfield meet on the train to their new assignment in St. Louis, and sparks fly between them. But it’s 1897, and they need to be very careful—falling in love can be dangerous for men like them.

    It’s their first case together, investigating mysterious disappearances—including the two agents who preceded them. Grim evidence leads them to look for a darker purpose. Old ghosts haunt the railroad line, zombie rise, signs point to ritual sacrifice, and they suspect someone is trying to open the gates of hell.

    Can Calvin and Owen stop the mayhem, thwart the vampires, and find true love, or will everything go up in smoke?

    Peacemaker is a high-stakes steampunk MM romance thrill ride filled with found family, paranormal Pinkertons, intrepid reporters, mysterious disappearances, nefarious land brokers, hellhounds, zombies, vengeful spirits, dark spells, absinthe magic, a ruthless vampire railroad baron and a love that won’t be denied.

    Before Colt and Winchester, there was Sharps & Springfield!

    Peacemaker is the first book in the new Sharps & Springfield series


    Finally, gay Pinkertons!

    I learned about Pinkertons from Whyborne & Griffin, the latter being a former Pinkerton detective. I haven’t encountered many MM stories about these detectives, so I was super excited for Morgan Brice‘s latest steampunk series, Sharps and Springfield.

    Peacemaker is Book 1, and while there are no cosmic apocalyptic threats here, there are plenty of things that go bump in the night. The story opens with SSS Agent Owen Sharps’s anonymous meeting with his soon-to-be partner, Agent Calvin Springfield. The two somewhat hit it off, parted ways, met again, and were surprised to learn about each other’s identities.

    The new partners were tasked to take over a case from two missing agents. It involved a massive railroad construction by sketchy billionaires headed by an even sketchier vampire. Later, there were encounters with hellhounds, zombies, witches and gates of hell.

    As a means to lay the groundwork for future books, this opener built a fascinating world of magical secret agents, supernatural allies, badass non-magical humans, and enigmatic villains. As for the steampunk, it was sadly missing.

    A highlight was the Pullman, a historical equivalent of the trailers rockstars use on tour. This one, though, was incredulous. The way it was described, it has three bedrooms with full-sized beds for people over six feet. There’s a kitchen, a shower, and an honest-to-goodness fully stocked library, armament room, AND research laboratory.

    The exact size wasn’t mention, but the damned thing sounds like it’s bigger than my house. And it’s pulled by horses. HOW?!

    I’m on the fence with the storytelling. On one hand, it was consistently engaging, and I had fun. On the other, the investigation involved many interviews with contacts and witnesses. This is realistic, but then most of the key events were told rather than shown.

    Owen and Calvin danced around each other, trying to suss out each other’s gay vibes, but held back from openly pursuing their mutual interest. They practically just met, and with some homophobic folks publicly stirring trouble, they can never be too careful.

    Majority of the time, they spent it apart, individually pursuing certain leads. So it was a stretch when the two suddenly declared they were in love. I would have preferred that they took at least the second book to actually get to know each other before throwing around ILYs.

    Owen is a medium. It amuses me that he’s fan of Dracula the book. He has a Southern drawl and the charm, too. Calvin is a psychometric. He’s a bit more serious, but he loves comics. He used to run with a gang before being a Pinkerton.

    I like Owen, Calvin, AND Winston, the witch butler and the most important character, because the boys are lost without him. I would also love more appearances by the rest of the cast. There’s a wonderful found family forming here, and I’m all for it.

    Overall, Peacemaker has a great premise, the writing worked well for me, the characters are intriguing, and I loved this paranormal world the author created. I’m still wondering where this series fit in her multi-series universe.

    It might be a mix bag, but if there’s one thing I love about Morgan Brice, it’s that her series gets better and better with each new installment. Witchbane is an excellent example. I can’t wait when Sharps and Springfield finally hit its stride. 

    Rating:
    3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it

    Soundtrack: Peacemaker
    Artist: Animal Collective
    Album: The Painters


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    REVIEW: Beloved By The Boss by Leighton Greene

    Morelli Family: Beloved By The Boss – Leighton Greene

    M/M Mafia Romance

    It’s good to be the Boss. That’s what I thought my whole life.

    Now I am the Boss. I’ll shoulder that responsibility with my beloved husband beside me. As long as I have Finch, I can handle whatever life throws at me.

    But what they say is true: Be careful what you wish for.

    My Family has been decimated. My allies are few. I’m holding onto power by a thread.

    And the truth is, my husband is more vulnerable than ever. He’s always been a lost soul, and now he’s suffered yet another crushing loss.

    I can’t protect him from Fate’s cruel blows. But I’m determined to protect him from our enemies, no matter what it takes—as soon as I get my own house in order.

    Because I’m starting to wonder if there’s a traitor in the Morelli Family…

    If I can’t even trust my own men, how can I keep my beloved safe?

    Beloved by the Boss is the sequel to Married to the Mobster, and is the second book in the Morelli Family Mafia Romance series.


    My mafia romance streak continues with Leighton Greene‘s Morelli Family. This series has one of my all-time favorite couples, Luca and Finch.

    Married To The Mobster, Book 1 of the series, was released in 2020, and since then, I’ve been waiting for the audiobooks. It wasn’t until last year that the author announced none other than the great Michael Ferraiuolo would be narrating, and I was ecstatic because his style suits the characters to a T!

    And it was a spot-on performance for Beloved by the Boss!

    In the first book, Luca was forced to marry Finch to save the young man’s life. Unknown to the mobster who forced the marriage, the two had a meet disaster that ended in a magical night and a separation of 5 years. Majority of the book, we see Luca putting Finch at arms length despite obviously worshipping the ground he walks on.

    Beloved by the Boss takes a 180-degree turn. Luca, now smarter and with his priorities straight, is the new Don Morelli struggling to gain the respect of his capos and other families. Finch is the center of his universe, and the two have Friday date nights and open communication. Luca is committed to putting Finch first, consequences be damned! And boy, were there consequences!

    The Commission, an organization overseeing all the Families, is calling Luca to explain Don Augustino Morelli’s death, along with the death of a made man from the rival Fuscone Family. The Morellis also had to find out who is snitching on them to the Fuscones. As if there’s not enough on their plate, the Donovans’, the Irish mob headed by Finch’s sister Maggie, appears to be working with their rival family.

    What I remembered most about Finch is that he is a fun character. He’s a sassy twink and a spoiled rich kid who “wilted like a lettuce left out the fridge” when he was forced to slum it (at that time, Luca was just a regular mafioso and wasn’t rich yet). Now, he’s still sassy and spoiled, and uses his considerable smarts as the unofficial consigliere.

    And because the humor was what I remembered most, I forgot how gritty this series could be. The story is told in dual POV. Luca’s POV showed his struggles as the new Morelli boss dealing with one major loss after another. Finch’s POV is all fun and games until the twists and turns slammed in! It was betrayal and death at every turn!

    It’s heart-breaking because most of the deaths and betrayals are connected to him directly and they hit him hard! Finch wasn’t just there to make saucy comments. He was also a grieving son, a reformed drug addict, a vulnerable target, and a mob boss’s husband trying to roll with the punches life and mobsters threw at him.

    Luca and Finch don’t know who to trust, not even those related by blood. I loved how the two went from strength to strength, working as a team because

    “When you want something done right–”
    “Do it with your husband,” I finished for him.

    Their romance is still as sizzling as ever, the chemistry even better now that Luca reveals an unexpectedly poetic side with his swoony lines. And it tickles me pink every time I hear him call Finch “baby bird” or “angel.”

    And it’s not just the chemistry. I also loved how they grew as a couple and as individuals. The scene where Luca surprised Finch at the wake spoke volumes about how well they knew each other and how far Luca will go just to be there when Finch needed him.

    I love reading about mafia politics and it was fascinating to see the Commission in action or the divide between the west and east coast families. The writing struck a good balance between humorous and dark, and between the action, romance, and suspense.

    The supporting cast stood out as well. Frankie and Celia have always been there, so I hope to see them in future books despite what happened (It was tragic and bittersweet). I’m excited for Angelo’s book and Aiden’s, too. One casualty gutted me because he was such great character, and I’m sorry we won’t be seeing him again.

    Beloved by the Boss is a compelling story of two men deeply entangled in marriage and the mafia. It is an almost perfect sequel to an entertaining mafia romance. I took away half star because it went on a bit too long. Overall, emotional, thrilling, and hella swoony!

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Fire On Up
    Artist: Paper Kings
    Album: Look At Me Now

    P.S.

    Morelli Family should be read in order. Witness the meet-disaster and Luca’s pining for his “baby bird” in Married To The Mobster.

    Also, the book models are perfect as blue-eyed devil Luca and golden-haired Finch!


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    REVIEW: Paid In Full by Brea Alepou & Skyler Snow

    Vitale Brothers: Paid in Full – Brea Alepou & Skyler Snow

    I’m used to my life being insanity. A family of a-holes, being locked up, and a few loose screws? Yeah anyone would go crazy. (Not that I am. I’m different, that’s all). My brothers say I’m the loose canon of the family. The truth is that I’m the life of the party!

    The party comes to a screeching halt when I meet Ash. Shy, younger, virgin. He’s everything I’m not attracted to. Give me an experienced partner anyday.

    But there’s something about him that makes me want to keep him. Maybe I want to stoke that fire I see in his eyes. Or maybe I’m just lonelier than I thought.

    Either way, he’s mine. Nobody, and I mean nobody, will take Ash away from me.

    (Blurb may change)
    Gritty M/M romance.


    Look at that cover and know that it is perfect. Wait till you get to the part why!

    Paid in Full is the second book of Vitale Brothers, a mafia romance series that stays true to its gritty promises. This stars Giancarlo Vitale, a.k.a. Gin, the next older brother to Enzo, the youngest and MC of Take Me Apart.

    While Enzo’s appeal lies in his eerie calmness and neat freak ways, Gin is the ex-con, the wild child, the life of the party, and the insatiable playboy who can charm the pants and panties off anyone. For some reason, the narrator, Declan Winters, gave him an accent (Bostonian? New York? Not sure) while his brothers speak in what to me is the standard American accent (sorry, not an accent expert). It might be confusing at first, but I loved how it suits Gin’s personality to a T.

    Initially, I considered the second book kind of a necessary hurdle to get to Benito’s book, which I am super excited about. But Gin and Ash surprised me, and I was completely hooked from the get go!

    The opening chapters immediately grabbed interest with Gin at a black market auction masquerading as a charity event. Up for auction is the wide-eyed, virgin son of a man who owes the Vitales money. Just to teach him a lesson, Gin bought Ash and let Ash’s abusive father pay the price to cover what he owed.

    Ash didn’t know what to do with his new owner because, frankly, the guy is crazy! The least he expected was an offer to let him buy his freedom through sex. But first, Gin has to teach him how. Our boy is a fast learner!

    Ash has been through the wringer, enduring beatings, forced to watch other people being abused as psychological torture, and always been told he was good for nothing so he might as well be sold as a slave. Most of the sexual abuses weren’t graphic and are off-page, but the violence and torture are on-page (check the trigger warnings).

    Here comes Gin, an unlikely comfort and a giver of tough love who challenges Ash to be angry, to stand up for himself, to be himself. He is exactly what Ash needs. The best part is when Ash harnesses his big dick energy, and yes, you can take that literally, and unleashes his inner beast.

    I totally didn’t see this dynamic coming, but OMG, they’re fantastic! Gin and Ash were fun and amusing together. Gin is full of stupid jokes and dumb ideas. He made me laugh! He’s big, dominant and possessive, and lets Ash go to town on his ass. Ash is an endearing cinnamon roll, innocent as a puppy, as Gin likes to call him, and always eager to please. Then a switch flicks, and our boy is in control!

    One of Gin’s ideas:

    “Gin, I’m ready to go.”

    “I can practically see a tail wagging.” Gin’s dark brown eyes lit up. “Ash, pull your pants down and wag your dick for me.”

    “What? No.”

    It’s not all fun and games. There are demons to conquer. Blackmailing fathers, evil human traffickers, PTSD, panic attacks, and massive trust issues create conflict and drive wedges, leading to one of the most heart-breaking scenes in the series. That’s why the cover slays!

    Paid in Full is a story of dysfunctional families, complicated relationships, unspeakable crimes and invaluable lessons on how to grow a spine. The uncommon dynamics, the humor and heart-warming moments balance out the darker, bloodier scenes. Overall, intense, wild, and totally worth it!

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Worth the Fight
    Artist: Broods
    Album: Conscious

    P.S.

    Vitale Brothers books can be read as standalones but why miss out on the Vitale charms? Let Enzo Vitale show you how to own a cop and keep him too in Take Me Apart.


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    PAID IN FULLKindle | Audiobook

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