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    AUDIO REVIEW: Shot In The Dark by Riley Long

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    Shot In The Dark – Riley Long

    If you win the bet, we’ll let you disappear. If you lose, you’ll be trapped on stage forever.

    I’m definitely straight, but when rock god Eli Steele offers me the opportunity of a lifetime in exchange for being his fake husband for a year, I can’t say no. That’s how I find myself sharing a bed – and more than a few kisses – with the lead singer of Blood Money. All I have to do is stay focused on my work and pretend to be in love with him. Easy, right?

    I took a stupid fucking bet and now I have to convince Charlie to fall for me without using mind control. He’s straight, but the bigger problem is that he’s human and I’m not. Once he finds out I’m really a vampire, will he be able to look past my fangs and see what’s in my heart?

    Shot In The Dark grabbed my attention because of several things. We have a rock star who’s also a vampire who wrangled a fake husband in order to win a bet. If he wins, he gets to hang up his guitar and fade into oblivion a.k.a. retire. What he didn’t count on was falling in love with his fake husband who is straight.

    The rock star in question is Eli, 290 years old, the youngest in a band of vampires known as Blood Money. He’s tired of his current life and wants to leave it all behind. The band made a deal with him that they would end their life as a band if he falls in the love with the first person who walks in the bar.

    Eli is my favorite vampire here. He’s got that intense vampire charisma down pat. He’s also gentle, sweet, caring, and generous. He closed his heart, determined not to fall in love again, after his human lover was killed by a coven of vampires many, many years ago. That’s why the band came up with the bet.

    The other members were Drew, Rudy and Zach. The one who stood out the most was Drew, mostly for being an ass. He was right about a lot of things but did he have to be so goddamn obnoxious about it?

    Charlie was the lucky man who came in at the right place, at the right time. He’s an aspiring filmmaker who wanted to create a documentary about Blood Money. Meeting the great Eli Steele, he couldn’t help but feel things even if he was as straight as they come. And to his amazement, the rock star offered to let him secretly document the notoriously private band in exchange for pretending to be in love and becoming his husband. They had to convince the band their relationship was real.

    At this point, I was left wondering, how come nobody questioned that Eli was suddenly married despite knowing Charlie for only a couple of days? I would assume Drew was sharp enough to pick up on that suspicious timing.

    That little niggle aside, Eli and Charlie went about this fake husband thing in the most spectacular way. Right off the bat, the chemistry between the MCs was palpable and gave the story sparkle and zing. The way the romance was pulled off, in that delicious journey from uh-oh there’s only one bed to I can’t he’s straight to so very gay for you right now, was the best thing about the book.

    And alongside of the romance, the friendship that blossomed between Eli and Charlie was a beautiful thing too. It highlighted how good they are for each other. Charlie is lovely! I loved his open-minded approach to their relationship and how he just naturally fell into place in Eli’s life.

    I also liked many of the concepts presented in the story. However, they were as not fully explored as I would have liked. The world building was minimal, just enough to give paranormal color. We get only a small glimpse of the larger vampire world but that is already at the latter part. The secret documentary could have been an interesting issue, especially with vampire identities needed to be kept on the down low but that went nowhere. I also wished we get a more fleshed out backstory for Eli and his friends. Majority of the book was spent with the band on tour but I didn’t get a strong grasp of the other personalities apart from Eli, Charlie and Drew.

    Too bad we only hear about Eli’s fierce fighting skills after Charlie was captured by the bad vampires. That would have been one heck of a climactic scene had it been shown. Instead we get a ridiculous separation period that was totally unnecessary. Although, I get that the book was going for conflict but it could have been done differently.

    The audiobook is narrated by Andrew Morrison. He is a new-to-me narrator. He brought Eli, Charlie and their friends to life with distinct personalities, recognizable voices and accents. Although, there were a couple of dialogues where the accents bled a bit into another character, specifically Eli’s British accent and Charlie’s American accent. Nonetheless, I greatly enjoyed his performance. I was able to listen to the story in one sitting because he made it flow so easily.

    Shot In The Dark is a sweet, low-angst novella, focusing primarily on the romance with the paranormal elements mostly low key. If vampire-flavored fake husbands, gay for you tropes tick your boxes too, this one is definitely worth a shot.


    Thank you to Gay Romance Reviews and Audible for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: One Shot In The Darkness
    Artist: Joshua Hyslop
    Album: One Shot In The Darkness

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  • song,  Uncategorized

    SOUNDTRACK: One Shot In The Darkness by Joshua Hyslop

    Soundtrack to Shot In The Dark by Riley Long

    For the soundtrack to a novella about a tired rockstar vampire, I went with Joshua Hyslop’s aptly named song that speaks about a musician on tour for many years, already growing long in the tooth, and slowly burning out. I especially liked the line “It takes one shot in the darkness/To change my mind”. It’s Charlie coming into Eli’s life and changing everything.

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    REVIEW: Prince Of Killers by Layla Reyne

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    Fog City: Prince Of Killers – Layla Reyne

    No indiscriminate killing. No collateral damage. No unvetted targets.

    These are the rules Hawes Madigan lives by. Rules that make being Fog City’s Prince of Killers bearable. Soon, he’ll be king—of an organization of assassins—and the crown has never felt heavier. Until the mysterious Dante Perry swaggers into his life.

    Dante looks like a rock god and carries himself like one too, all loose-limbed and casually confident. He also carries a concealed weapon, a private investigator’s license, and a message for the prince. Someone inside Hawes’s organization is out to kill the future king.

    In the chaos that follows the timely warning, Hawes comes to depend on Dante. On his skills as an investigator, on the steadiness he offers, and on their moments alone when Hawes lets Dante take control. As alliances are tested and traitors exposed, Hawes needs Dante at his back and in his bed. But if the PI ever learns Hawes’s darkest secret, Hawes is sure to get a knife to the heart—and a bullet to the brain—instead. 

    There’s no shortage of twists and turns in this new romantic suspense trilogy from Layla Reyne. Prince of Killers is book one of three. Fair warning: buckle up, cliffhangers ahead!

    Like many Layla Reyne fans, I was super excited to start on her new series. Obviously with all the glowing reviews, my expectations were skyhigh. Now that I’ve read it, in a word, Prince Of Killers was FAST.

    So fast that I was still savoring my tour of San Francisco with the Madigans before I realized it, they were already about to do the big reveal. I hardly felt the 5+ hours of the audiobook. Even with that kind of pacing, the story didn’t feel incomplete. The author was able to establish the need-to-knows, build-up, conflict and mystery efficiently. It’s just that I was lulled by the great writing and Tristan James’ narration. I had fun listening to Hawes and his siblings going about their business. Assassins going through the step-by-steps of their jobs never failed to fascinate me and I could listen to that kind of shit all day.

    I was expecting many twisty and shocking events though, but there were only one or two twists that were actually surprising.

    Dante Perry literally walked into Hawes’ life and I was taken aback at how easily the Madigan scion trusted this stranger. This from the leader of a family who trusted no one. Then Dante proceeded to breeze through everything.

    They started sleeping together from day one and from that point on, Hawes fantasized about his getting his HEA. He knew not everyone would be as lucky as his grandparents, Papa Cal and Rose, given his line of work. Still, can’t blame a man for being hopeful. But really? Day one? His brother Holt hasn’t even finished vetting the PI.

    I liked Hawes but for a master assassin, he came across as, well, not bad-ass. I know giving him ‘weaknesses’ was intentional in order to emphasized his humanity, especially to Dante, but I share the sentiment of those who gave lower ratings. Him making this poor a decision on something as major as to who he lets into his inner circle doesn’t ring true to his character. What would Papa Cal say, Big H?

    All this griping aside, I have faith in Layla Reyne and gladly suspended disbelief. One of her strong suits is creating characters you can root for and their awesome family dynamics. She did it in Agents Irish and Whiskey and its spin-off, Trouble Brewing. She also did it again here. She made me rally for the Madigans. As to Dante, I need to get inside his head first. Not warming up to him yet.

    Hawes for all his weaknesses and grey morality, his heart’s in the right place. His twin, Holt, best hacker in town and father of the year. Helena, their sister, now she is bad ass. A ninja moonlighting as a lawyer. Emilia, Holt’s wife, devoted mother and their on-call nurse, is a woman who can do scary things with your pressure points. Together they form a warm, cozy family who just happened to have a deadly business on the side. I really liked how they worked together which why I had a rude awakening when they finally unmasked the traitor. Tsk tsk tsk! To think I liked that character. Too bad. A great twist nonetheless.

    Which made me expect a big Madigan showdown. It was anti-climactic. The boss fight was over in a snap. I nearly missed the part and had to replay it just to be sure. Oh well, they did promise not to hurt the traitor.

    Prince Of Killers is a good series opener. It’s a fun, suspenseful book that promised more action-packed goodness in the future. It did not entirely not wow me but that’s par for course with many series openers I’ve encountered including LR‘s series so no biggie. I know the next book is going to be EXPLOSIVE. I am so hyped up for King Slayer because damn that cliffhanger! Also, Dante’s POV!

    I recommend the Fog City series if you like high-stakes romantic suspense stories about assassins with souls and LEOs finding love outside the law.


    Layla Reyne books here.

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

    Soundtrack: Shot In The Dark
    Artist: Ozzy Osbourne
    Album: The Ultimate Sin

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    Out on the street, I’m stalking the night,
    I can hear my heavy breathing.
    Paid for the kill but it doesn’t seem right;
    something there I can believe in .

    Voices are calling from inside my head.
    I can hear them, I can hear them,
    vanishing memories of things that were said,
    they can’t try to hurt me now.

    But a shot in the dark, one step away from you.
    A shot in the dark, always creeping up on you

    Taught by the powers that preach over me
    I can hear their empty reason
    I wouldn’t listen I learnt how to fight
    I opened up my mind to treason

    But just like the wounded and when it’s too late
    They’ll remember they’ll surrender
    Never a care for the people who hate
    Underestimate me now

    But a shot in the dark one step away from you
    A shot in the dark not a thing that you can do
    A shot in the dark always creeping up on you

    But just like the wounded and when it’s too late
    They’ll remember they’ll surrender
    Never a care for the people who hate
    Underestimate me now

    But a shot in the dark one step away from you
    A shot in the dark not a thing that you can do
    A shot in the dark always creeping up on you