Tag Archives: Annabeth Albert

RELEASE BLITZ: All Note Long (Perfect Harmony #3) by Annabeth Albert

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

AllNoteLong
Cover Artist: Cora Graphics/Kensington

Giving true love a spin . . .

Michelin Moses is a country music star on the rise. With a hit single under his Texas-sized belt buckle and a sold-out concert tour underway, his childhood dreams of making it big are finally coming true. But there’s one thing missing—a promise to his dying mother that he’d find it—him—when the time was right. With a little luck, he won’t have to wait too long . . .

Lucky Ramirez is a hunky boy toy who dances at The Broom Closet, one of West Hollywood’s hottest gay bars. He loves what he does, and he’s good at it—almost as good as he is at playing dumb when he spots Michelin Moses at the bar. What happens next is off the charts—and keeps Michelin coming back for more. He’s just not sure it’s the right move for his career. But if Lucky gets his way, Michelin will get Lucky—and no matter how the media spins it, neither of them will be faking it . . .

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Book Series : Perfect Harmony, Book 3 (stands alone well too)
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Heat Level: 4 (explicit m/m sex, but lots and lots of plot too!)
Pairing: Male/Male
Book Length: aprox. 80,000 words/ 232 pages
Genre/Tags: Romance, M/M Romance, contemporary romance, multi-cultural

EXCERPT:

Michelin Moses had no business at a gay bar, especially not one as notorious as West Hollywood’s The Broom Closet. And the line to get in totally underscored that—the vestibule was a long, narrow tunnel filled with kids out to enjoy their Friday night. Babies, really. Fresh-faced young things who probably didn’t even need to shave jostled one another in the tight space, laughing and joking as they admired one another’s club wear and gossiped about who was fucking who.

Not that Michelin was listening in, but the space was so tiny it was hard not to. He didn’t have club wear to ogle. He had “please for the love of God don’t notice me” clothes. And the idea of openly pointing to another dude in line and announcing to one’s friends, “Oh yeah, I hit that last weekend” was so totally foreign that he couldn’t help but gape a bit. The plexiglass walls of the tunnel gave off weird shadows—neither the lights outside the club nor the dim track lighting along the bottom edge of the tunnel were enough illumination.

He tugged at the collar of his Henley shirt. Damn, it was hot in here. Too small. Too tight. Not enough air. Shut up. He was not claustrophobic. If this line ever moved, he’d feel better once he was inside the Closet.

If that’s not a metaphor for your whole damn life…

“ID please.” Finally, the line reached the bouncers who were taking ID. Michelin couldn’t even remember the last time he’d had to stand around like this, show ID. At least unlike these nineteen-year-olds with their fake identification, Michelin’s Oregon driver’s license was likely to hold up. The bouncer was a huge guy—so tall and jacked that Michelin felt for the tiny stool that held him up—with surprisingly small, delicate hands.

He held the card aloft before finally handing it back and nodding. “Okay, cowboy. Enjoy your night.”

At least he hadn’t laughed outright at the name. That was something. Shoving his license back in his wallet, he stumbled a bit coming out of the tunnel.

“Watch it,” someone barked behind him.

“Sorry,” Michelin mumbled. Hell, he couldn’t even successfully enter the Closet. A nervous laugh bubbled up in his throat, something he stamped right back down. Forget the stupid bar, coming out of his personal closet was out of the question, and he didn’t need the crowd jostling behind him to remind him of that.

“This your first time here?” a kid to the left of him asked—short little guy with far more bravado than brains. Michelin made a noncommittal response but the kid grabbed his sleeve, his eyes going soft and hooded. “How about you be my daddy for the night? We can make sure it’s your lucky night.” The kid winked.

Ugh. Getting lucky wasn’t even remotely in the cards for his night.

“No thanks.” He pulled away from the kid, scanning the cavernous space for signs of the private party room his friends had promised. And oh holy hell, knowing in the abstract that this place had go-go dancers was a far cry from actually seeing said dancers dispersed through the place on platforms and in cages and even on something resembling a trapeze. Gleaming bronze skin and tiny shorts everywhere he looked.

Fuck the private room. I need a soda. Something to relieve his suddenly parched throat. He turned toward the main bar area and ran smack into one of the elevated dancers’ platforms. Two platforms flanked the opening of the club, directing the stream of traffic toward the bar, sort of like how a different sort of place might have large statues. Only instead of works of stone or ice, this…piece of art in front of Michelin was all man.

And what a specimen he was. The dancer probably wasn’t much older than the kids waiting to get into the club, but there was nothing juvenile about his tall, ripped body or that juicy bubble butt that he worked to perfection the way Michelin’s guitar player did a solo—each muscle working in concert with the others, each wiggle carefully choreographed for maximum appeal. Said butt was encased in a pair of shorts. Or at least Michelin guessed that one would call them shorts—they were longer than underwear, but not by much, and made of a clingy, silky red material. The stitching did things to the guy’s package that shouldn’t be legal.

Those muscular legs and that smooth, oiled chest also needed outlawing. The dancer had completed his look with thick, chunky combat boots, sunglasses, and a necklace with a medal on it. The boots and glasses upped the hotness factor to supernova, giving him an untouchable appeal that made it no surprise that he had a fair-sized crowd around his platform. Right as Michelin completed his muscle-by-muscle catalog of the guy, the dancer’s glasses slipped, revealing chocolaty eyes. His eyebrows went up, and the message he sent Michelin was unmistakable: You gonna stay there all night?

Oh fuck. Michelin was blocking the line of traffic, and more important, blocking access to the platform for the patrons who wanted to slip tips in the guy’s waistband.

Should he? He shoved a hand in his pocket, considering. Did he dare risk touching a piece of that gleaming skin? The lights reflecting off the dancer’s body totally made Michelin think of caramel dripping off flan—rich golden tones only enhanced by the contrast of the shiny black combat boots and his closely cropped black hair.

What the fuck was the protocol in a situation like this? Hi, I’m sorry I’ve been eye-fucking you for the last ten minutes, here’s a five? He’d never been to a straight strip club either. Hell, he avoided most bars like the plague. And eye-fucking? He never ogled—and not just because it could be disastrous to his career. Most of the time he simply felt oblivious, but something about the dancer perked up parts of Michelin that usually stayed dormant. Two people shoved around him to stuff money in the dancer’s shorts, their arms trapping Michelin briefly in place. Coming here had been a giant mistake, just as Gloria had warned him.

“You can’t go to that party! Gossip is already high about you mentoring two gay groups—”

“They’re not gay groups. They just happen to have gay members,” Michelin said wearily, already tired of this latest publicist the label had shoved at him.

“Whatever.” Gloria flipped her bony wrist. “They’re a risk you can’t take right now.”

“It’s no big deal. There will be straight people at the party.” Michelin didn’t bother with the “other straight people” pretext. Gloria knew the drill. “There’s no risk in celebrating a friend’s birthday.”

Except now, looking at the dancer, Michelin knew how wrong he’d been. This place was risk personified, and that dancer was the embodiment of everything Michelin denied himself. The dancer was a triple pour of top-shelf whiskey and Michelin couldn’t stop thinking about the heady rush touching him would bring. He should turn around now. Get back to his car now before he really embarrassed himself—

“Mi—boss! There you are!”

Oh thank you, small mercies, that Lucas stopped himself before he said Michelin’s name. Still, Michelin turned toward him warily. Play it cool, he tried to tell Lucas with his eyes.

Lucas nodded, just slightly. Message received. Like everyone else in the club, Lucas was in his early twenties and about a decade younger than Michelin, but at least he was one of Michelin’s favorite kids, especially because he was here to lead Michelin away from the temptation that was the dancer with the sculpture-worthy ass.

“The party room is back this way.” Lucas motioned with his hand. “Follow me.”

“Babe!” A familiar rangy figure with a punk haircut draped himself over Lucas. “You found him.” Cody had a smile for Michelin, but his affection was all for his boyfriend.

Ordinarily, Michelin loved being around the two of them and the other guys he mentored. Their energy was infectious, and their passion for music renewed his own. But tonight, Michelin’s stomach cramped as he followed the two of them to the rear of the club. Happiness practically rolled off them and their movements were totally in sync with each other. Once Michelin had thought he might get to know what that was like, but those days were long past.

“Don’t even think about doing anything now. You’ve got too much riding on this year. Don’t be foolish. You’ve got the number one country song in America right now. Don’t mess with your momentum.” Gloria’s voice rang in his ears. Nope. No way was Michelin ever getting what his friends shared. No sense in pining for it either. He had a career he loved, friends who made him laugh, and family at his back. He’d known what the trade-offs were when he decided to trade his rock stardom for country crossover success.

Tonight’s strange melancholy mood had him aching to get back home, push all these feelings into working on a new song. With any luck, Michelin could say happy birthday to Jalen, make a round of greetings to the other musicians he was mentoring, and get the hell out of Dodge. Preferably without running into the dancer again. He didn’t need another reminder of how little he fit into this world—or how much he wished life were a bit different.

PURCHASE A COPY: Kensington Publishing | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Itunes | Kobo Books

All Note Long Square

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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.

CONNECT WITH ANNABETH:

Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Tumbler | Fan Group | Newsletter

 

GIVEAWAY:

Rafflecopter Prize: One winner will be selected to win a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card.

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Beta Test (#gaymers, #2) by Annabeth Albert

Beta TestBeta Test (#gaymers, #2) by Annabeth Albert

Released: May 30th 2016

Publisher: Carina Press

Pages/Word Count: 178 pages, 64,000 words

Sales link: Amazon

Blurb:

Player vs. Player. Fight!

Brilliant graphic designer Ravi Tandel is ahead of the game—he’s just been asked to present a top secret project at a huge conference in Seattle. All systems are go…until he learns his buttoned-up office nemesis is coming along for the ride.

Tristan Jones isn’t really the gamer type, but he knows the back end of the video game business inside out. Together, he and Ravi will give an awesome presentation. If they survive the cross-country trip first.

Tossed together in close quarters, Ravi’s shocked to see Tristan’s sexy, softer side emerge from such a conservative shell. He’s less shocked to learn his handsome colleague’s prominent family would never support an out-and-proud son. But Ravi didn’t struggle through his own coming out to hide who he is now. To be together, Tristan will have to push past his fear and ultimately decide: Does he want a future with Ravi? Or is it game over before they’ve even begun?

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Our thoughts:

 
Beta Test is the second book in the #gaymers series by Annabeth Albert. I thoroughly enjoyed Adrian and Noah in the first book so I had high hopes for another stellar installment. That’s exactly what Albert delivers with Beta Test.

Ravi and Tristan work for Christopher Exploration Industries. Hired the same day, Tristan and Ravi couldn’t be happier to be with the company, but they don’t leave a good impression on each other. It doesn’t take much time for Tristan to realize that Ravi is cool, popular, chic, flashy, and active in everything charitable. Ravi has a ‘fan club’ at work and Tristan refuses to fall into that group. Tristan is opposite of Ravi is every way. He’s reserved quiet, unassuming, and unpopular. He is good at his job though and loves the company so he really doesn’t want anything to harm that. Keeping his head down and trudging on is Tristan’s way. Alone at work and at home.

Tristan and Ravi are put on the same project, Space Villager. Events at a promotional party thrust Ravi and Tristan into traveling to the big reveal in Seattle for the game. Tension is thick to start but it doesn’t take long for Ravi to figure Tristan out and put him at ease. They bond over tough family issues they both navigate in their personal lives. They bond over not wanting any relationship or fling impacting their job.

Tristan’s closeted ways and Ravi’s fear of work knowing and it costing his job propel the two to keep their budding relationship a secret. However, after a week together they’re hooked on each other and find parting less than ideal. Tristan and Ravi are extremely connected. Emotionally they’re charged. From misconceptions, family troubles, to their antics in bed, they’re riding some intense waves of emotions. All they know is that they feel good together. Everything is right when they’re together. They want more with every day that passes. They want to go to bed and wake up together, to be there for each other. How did this fling become an intense relationship they can’t seem to break off?

My only complaint is the late strife. I know it makes sense with the progression of the story, but I really don’t like late black moments! I guess I just hate to see two guys that are obviously in love, hurt so much and spend time apart. Luckily, they get their acts together quickly so they can be the happy, passionate couple again.

The #gaymers series is not one to look past. The books, so far, can be standalones but the cameos from Adrian and Noah in Beta Test can be appreciated more after reading Status Update. I highly recommend this series.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!

Book Blast and Review: Love Me Tenor by Annabeth Albert

BannerTemplate-Love Me Tenor

Love Me Tenor by Annabeth Albert
Series: #PerfectHarmony Book Two
(This book can be read as a standalone.)
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Pages or Words: 87,000 words
Publisher: Kensington
Cover Artist: Cora Graphics
Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Gay Fiction, New Adult, Humor, M/M Romance, Romance, Singer/Musician

Blurb:

Trevor Daniels is feeling aimless. A recent college grad, he’s not sure what to do with his useless degree, and his family all but abandoned him after he revealed the truth about himself. But a friend’s suggestion that he take his chances on a reality show aimed at finding the next big boy band strikes a chord with him—until the show’s producers convince him to act like he’s in a relationship with a guy who’s not at all his type. It isn’t exactly love at first sight for Jalen Smith either—but lust just might push them in an unexpected direction. If only their secrets weren’t even more twisted than their sheets, threatening to cost them the win—and each other…

LovemeTenor

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Excerpt:

“You brought your luggage?” The receptionist looked at Trevor like he’d brought a snake to the movie studio offices instead of a rolling suitcase and a backpack.

“My flight was late. And then customs—”

“Fine.” She held up a hand, shimmery with the sort of nail art Trevor’s sisters weren’t allowed to wear. “You can have a seat.” She motioned to a seating area with square leather and chrome chairs and a metallic-looking shag rug.

“Wait. Is my group here yet? Stand Out!?”

“Let me check.” She glanced at a pink sheet on a clipboard. “No.” She made a shooing motion back in the direction of the waiting area.

“Thanks.”

The receptionist disappeared back down a hallway, teetering on shoes that put her a good six inches taller than Trevor. The building was kind of a letdown. The whole complex was a series of gigantic gray warehouses, but the inside of this one was like any other office building in America. Or Canada. He’d only been in Vancouver a couple of hours and kept forgetting he wasn’t in the States anymore.

His bag made a loud clickety-clack sound as he dragged it across the tile floor to the seating area, but the only occupant in the chairs didn’t even glance up. The guy was about Trevor’s age, maybe a bit younger. His eyes were half-closed, like waiting for producers to call his name was just so boring. He had that jock sprawl, maximizing every inch of the low chair. Trevor took a seat with a good view of the guy. Indifferent eye candy was his favorite kind.

He had this thing for straight guys, particularly jocks. Jocks were his personal kryptonite; they made his knees turn into magnets, headed straight for the floor. And the guy across from him was the deadly, heart-stopping red kryptonite brand of jock. His build was perfect—not too tall, because Trevor was picky about that—but jacked like a Chevy with a lift kit. Hell, even the dude’s neck was ripped. Jock’s foot moved back and forth in motion with the music pumping in his ears from pricey Beats headphones.

Because dude’s eyes were shut, Trevor felt free to continue his inventory of hotness. Baggy shorts. T-shirt for a wrestling team. Wrestling. Trevor had to shift around on the slick leather couch before continuing his appraisal. Cheap white socks, but black shoes that probably cost more than Trevor’s bike. Rich elitist jock? Yes, please.

The outfit was notable because Trevor would have figured most guys coming to a TV studio would want to dress up a little. He had, but of course now his pressed khakis and dress shirt seemed horribly overdressed compared to jock boy and the receptionist wearing a cutoff denim skirt and a tank top that seemed to be made out of nothing more than knotted rope.

Maybe dude wasn’t there to be on TV. Or if he was, maybe he was there for a different show from the music reality show Trevor was on. He certainly didn’t look like the boy band type. Dude looked ready for an MMA-fighter type show, or maybe working as a stunt double. But if he wasn’t on Trevor’s show, that meant—

“You done checking me out or you need me to turn to the other side?” Jock’s eyes snapped open. They were a startling shade of hazel, almost amber. And at the moment, they were filled with undisguised irritation.

Oh, crap. Trevor gulped hard. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He dug out his phone, giving himself something to look down at. He’d been caught before and it almost never ended well. With any luck, Dawn would show up soon and he would never have to see jock boy again.

“Oh, don’t be shy.” Jock boy had a killer whisper: husky with a hint of command to it. He said it with the air of someone who knew exactly how hot he was. And now he was going to make Trevor pay for noticing.

Trevor didn’t look up from his phone, but inside he was squirming in his chair. In a different situation, he’d be more than happy to let this play out until he was on his knees in the restroom with jock boy berating him, but he’d sworn to turn over a new leaf. Plus there was always the risk that jock wanted all the verbal abuse and none of the fun. No more gambling.

“Yeah. That’s what I figured.” The other guy snorted.

“Trevor! You made it!” Dawn came barreling across the lobby, red hair streaming behind her. She was flanked by two nearly identical blond giants—one wore a blue polo shirt and khaki pants, the other a brown polo and blue pants. Both had the same bored smirk on their faces.

“What are you doing with your luggage?” Dawn’s smile was replaced by a frown, like Trevor was some clueless kid making her day more difficult. “Why didn’t you give it to the receptionist? They’re sending all the contestants’ stuff over to the house while we tape the intro segments.”

“Here. I’ll take it.” Blond giant number one grabbed Trevor’s bags, tossing them like they were a set of hand weights.

“Jalen!” Dawn stepped around Trevor to hug jock boy, who stood up to greet her. “It’s about time. I was starting to freak!”

Just his luck. Dawn hung on Jalen the jock like they were old friends, tugging his headphones down to his neck and rubbing his closely cropped black hair. Oh, geez. Jalen looked a bit young to be Dawn’s boy toy; she had to be in her late twenties. But no matter what Jalen was to Dawn, he was now a giant pain in the neck to Trevor. A sick feeling gathered in his gut and his hands tightened.

“Did you meet Jalen already, Trevor?” she asked.

“No,” Trevor said carefully. The tension in his muscles climbed to trampoline spring tight—any second now Jalen was going to call him out for creeping on him.

“We’re acquainted,” Jalen drawled at the same time.

“Um. Okay.” Dawn frowned but luckily kept talking before Jalen could reveal way more than Trevor wanted. “So this is Carter. And over there is Carson.”

Twins. They had to be twins right? Trevor was already in too much shit for gaping and didn’t want to stare hard enough to figure it out.

“So, are we ready to become the next boy band?” Carter spoke like some dude on an infomercial, each word carefully articulated for maximum impact. “I am so ready to win this thing.”

The riot in Trevor’s stomach grew worse. Win? With Jalen the jock? As in Trevor was now in the same group as jock boy? And the blond giants? For the next six weeks?

“Yeah. Let’s do this.” Carson came back over. Like Carter, he had a macho, commanding voice, probably a baritone when he sang. Heck. Trevor really didn’t want to be the only tenor on a team of One Direction wannabes.

“Okay Stand Out!, let’s go film your intro.” Dawn motioned for them to follow her down the hall.

Oh, hell. He was really going to be on camera, in a boy band, right freaking now.

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Our Thoughts:

If you enjoy reality television shows that focus on singing or making a band, I suspect that this will be an exciting story for you. As it so happens, I’ve never watched nor had a desire to watch said shows. This could have been why I found Love Me Tenor difficult read at certain points. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the book, just the circumstances the protagonists were forced into.

For instance, Trevor is down on his luck and needs to be on this reality show so he has a place to stay and food to eat. He’s been kicked out of his family for being gay. He’s also just been diagnosed with diabetes and isn’t managing his new lifestyle well. Trevor finds himself faking being in a relationship and keeping his dietary needed quiet which is a total disaster in the making.

The other half of the relationship is Jalen. A totally sweet guy who’s doing the show as a favor for his sister, Dawn. She’s new with the production crew and really wants to make this work. See, pressure on both Trevor and Jalen. Different forms but this pressure causes them to do things they wouldn’t normally do. The signed contract pretty much ensures complete compliance from everyone. Like being stuck in a fishbowl and forced to perform tricks too big for the space, for everyone’s viewing pleasure.

That stress plus all the personal baggage Trevor and Jalen already possess is bound to explode at some point, right? Actually I was pleasantly surprised that they handled everything so well. Jalen and Trevor soon find they’re attracted to each other in real life. When off camera they had a little something that was truly theirs and it felt good, right. The hard part for both of them was determining what was real and what was faked. Each one doubted and second guessed so much it became a shadow over so much of their time together for a good portion of the story. Self doubt was strong with these two.

What they were forming was an actual, real relationship. Caring for each other. Confiding in each other. Telling fears and sadness. Jalen became the guy Trevor relied on to help manage his diabetes and his warped guilt when they fooled around. Speaking of their connection, it was so intense. The both had a kinky side and played into each other’s fantasies perfectly. Pin me, hurt me, mark me….so damn hot! True chemistry off camera and in private.

They just had to finally be honest with themselves, accept what they wanted and who they were. Faking too many things and not realizing what was real anymore had to be let go. If not there would always be doubt overshadowing everything.

I really liked Jalen’s character. He was a fixer. Needed to help those he cared for and willing to sacrifice anything for them. A giver through and through, yet so strong and smart. No doubt he is the rock. Trevor was more sulky and a bit grumpy. That’s the ‘coping’ mechanism he was using for all his years for programming from his parents and then being discarded. Jalen was just the guy to see him through his self-loathing and on to a healthier path.

Love Me Tenor has a lot going on with the personal story and the show at the same time. I found it to be a different type of story for me to enjoy. A nice bonus teaser for Michelin’s story, All Note Long follows along with Love Me Tenor’s playlist. Nice treats from the author.

Meet the author:

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

Facebook  •  Facebook Author Page   •  Twitter  •  Tumblr  •  Fan group  •  Newsletter

Tour Date & Stops:

January 16, 2016

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BOOK BLAST AND REVIEW: Status Update (#gaymers #1) by Annabeth Albert

BannerTemplate-Status Update

Status Update by Annabeth Albert
Series: #gaymers book 1
Release Date: December 7, 2015
Pages or Words: 64,000 words
Publisher: Carina Press
Cover Artist: Carina Press
Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Gay Fiction, Humor, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance

Blurb:

Adrian Gottlieb is winning at life. He’s a successful video game designer with everything a man could ask for, including a warm comfy ride to Denver and a date for his sister’s wedding. But he finds himself in need of a total reboot when he’s left stranded at a snowy campground in Utah. Holiday plans? Epic fail.

That is until Noah Walters offers him shelter for the night and a reluctant cross-country ride. Nothing about the ultraconservative geoarchaeologist should attract Adrian, but once he discovers Noah’s hidden love for video games, the two connect on a new level. Soon, a quiet but undeniable chemistry sparks.

Something doesn’t add up, though. As the miles accumulate and time runs out, Noah must face the most difficult choice of his life. Meanwhile, Adrian must decide whether he’s ready to level up. Is their relationship status worth fighting for, or has this game ended before it’s even begun?

Status Update

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Excerpt:

Chapter One

Noah knew the dog was trouble as soon as he and Ulysses entered the campground’s off-leash dog area. The little guy—some sort of Chihuahua/mini-pin mix in a yellow-and-green checked coat—stood in the center of the scrubby grass, barking his fool head off. The only human in the dog area sat at the picnic table on the far side, completely absorbed in his shiny phone, oblivious to his dog strutting around like all eight pounds of him would be enough to keep potential threats out.

Ulysses gave Noah a look, like “you really expect me to ignore that?” Noah tightened his hold on the tennis ball chucker. Ulysses never did well competing with smaller dogs for his toys. He unclipped Ulysses with a stern look.

“Be good.”

Still yapping, the little dog rushed over to inspect his new enemy. Predictably, Ulysses wandered away to do his business. He was too old for these sorts of games.

Noah gave a halfhearted wave in the direction of the owner, but the guy didn’t look up from his phone. The young guy was a typical hipster tourist—thick tortoise-framed glasses, artfully messed-up dark hair, with a thick purple streak, falling over his forehead. Slim build, but his wide shoulders stretched his too-thin jacket, making the shiny fabric ripple with his motions. He wasn’t any more prepared for November in Utah than his designer dog. Still, he was a cute guy, if one was the type to notice things like that, which Noah was not.

Noah looked away, studying the sheer cliffs that surrounded the Capitol Reef National Park. Didn’t matter how much time he spent in Southern Utah, he never got tired of the view. Phone guy was missing the light shifting into one of those perfect late fall sunsets that made the early dusk worth the loss of daylight. Pink streaks mingled with gray sky to cast a rosy glow over the scrubby grass and low fence of the dog area.

Rowwwr. Ulysses flopped at Noah’s feet, a deep beseeching whine rattling out of his barrel chest. He was eighty pounds of unhappy. He’d waited patiently all afternoon while Noah worked, and now he was missing out on his ball time thanks to the teacup gatekeeper.

“Okay, but play nice.” Noah threw the ball hard with the chucker toy, going for enough distance to outstrip the tiny dog’s ability to keep up with Ulysses. Not surprisingly, the little guy was tenacious, cutting off Ulysses’s path to the ball. Ulysses gave a warning woof, and Noah broke into a run, heading after the dogs.

“Down,” he called out. Ulysses wouldn’t attack the smaller dog, but he wasn’t above a major tantrum. And despite the smaller dog acting as instigator, people would see the huge black dog and toss out the “aggressor” label. Noah preferred to exercise him late in the day—Ulysses simply didn’t enjoy playing with other dogs, and Noah wasn’t one to force his dog into uncomfortable situations.

The little dog stood over the ball, yapping up a storm while Ulysses barked and growled, ignoring Noah’s command to sit.

Finally, the owner hefted himself off the picnic bench.

“Pixel, baby, what are you doing?” the owner called in a melodic voice that didn’t inspire Noah’s confidence in the man’s ability to control his dog. “Did the big doggie scare you?”

Hah. Typical. Noah snorted. “Can you grab the ball?” He didn’t trust those little dog breeds—too quick to snap. He’d nearly been bitten trying to retrieve a ball more than once.

“Oh sure.” The guy reached under Pixel—typical cutesy name for an annoying dog—and delicately plucked the ball free, but instead of handing it to Noah, he gave it a toss, sending both dogs running.

Oh great. Noah let out a slow breath, little puffs of vapor in the crisp evening air that did nothing to defuse his tension.

“It’ll be okay.” The way-too-handsy guy patted the sleeve of Noah’s parka. “They just need to work it out. Pixel loves to play.”

Noah took a step to the side. Who did that? Touched complete strangers? But the guy kept up his friendly grin, not unlike his dog, who kept gamely chasing Ulysses. Ulysses won the race to the ball this time and hightailed it back to Noah. Not releasing his prize, he whined softly.

“Hey, boy. You got a toy?” The guy knelt to dog level and extended a hand, but instead of sniffing, Ulysses shook his head.

“Sorry. He’s not much on new people.” Neither am I. Noah’s voice sounded rough to his own ears—too many days with only Ulysses to talk to.

“It’s okay.” The guy straightened, then extended a hand to Noah. “I’m Adrian Gottlieb. You been at Capitol Reef long?”

“Couple of weeks.” He returned Adrian’s handshake, hating it when a little buzz shot up his arm. Unlike his own gloved hand, Adrian’s hand was bare, a hint of a tattoo playing peekaboo with his cuff, his grip strong and firm. And Noah had absolutely no business noticing anything more than the guy’s relentless friendliness.

Adrian smiled expectantly as he released Noah’s hand.

“Oh, I’m Noah. And that’s Ulysses,” he added, because dog people always wanted to know all about the dog. No doubt the guy was bursting to tell Pixel’s life story.

“Add-dreeee-an,” a heavily accented voice called from the gate. A beefy guy close to Noah’s age leaned on the fence, bald head gleaming in the setting sun. “I’m lonely. When are you coming back?”

“Coming,” Adrian shouted, then gave Noah a shrug with a “what can you do?” expression on his face. He grabbed Pixel and jogged across the field.

Noah nodded like he knew anything about handling demanding friends. Adrian greeted the mammoth dude with a quick peck. Okay then. Not a friend. He should have guessed, but he was a bit slow about relationship stuff. The country was changing, even way out here, but no one would dare try even that much PDA in his tiny West Texas college town. His stomach gave a weird flip—not quite discomfort, but something else he refused to name. Time to return his attention to Ulysses. He hurled the tennis ball as hard as he could.

Buy the book:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1VCboRQ
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/status-update-annabeth-albert/1122293774?ean=9781459290594
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/status-update/id1018737404?mt=11
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/status-update-4
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781459290594

Meet the author:

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

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annabethalbert
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/annabethalbertauthor
Twitter: www.twitter.com/AnnabethAlbert
Tumblr: www.annabethalbert.tumblr.com
Fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/annabethsangels/
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/Nb9yv

Our thoughts:

Annabeth Albert rocks the emotional story. Whether it’s a soldier fighting a battle with PTSD or a closeted professor, she knows how to pull at the heartstrings. If you like your men crude and only in it for the sex, this story will not satisfy. If you like a true romance, continue reading this review. :)

Ingredients: one lonely professor, one skinny, tatted, eccentric gamer and two dogs. Add to slow cooker, set on low for 12 hours and voila- the sweetest story ever!

Noah and Adrian cross paths after Adrian is dumped by his boyfriend at an RV park. Noah isn’t sure what to make of this situation let alone the guy stranded with a shivering dog, no shoes, no wallet and a slowly dying cell phone. One thing he can’t do, leave Adrian in the freezing cold of Utah in November to fend for himself. Offered shelter leads to an interesting situation. Noah enjoys Adrian’s company. He’s easy to talk with, they have similar interests and he pushes all of Noah’s buttons.

Adrian is baffled by his impromptu savior. He seems shy, yet confident in certain areas of academia. Noah acts put off by Adrian at first but after a ‘novel’ discovery, it’s apparent that Noah is gay. Adrian didn’t see that coming! As they have a snowstorm to sit through before they can get Adrian to Colorado, they have plenty of time to get to know each other. Long conversations about interests, work and family expectations. These two probably get to know each other better than most people in relationships spanning multiple months.

Adrian is tuned into Noah’s quirks and habits and the same goes for Noah. As time ticks by, they are starting to truly care for each other. Noah takes Adrian to see his family in Colorado and then he sets off again for his hiding place. Noah is so far in the closet he can’t even see the light to come out. Being with Adrian makes Noah want more in his life but decades of fear and hiding are crippling him. Will Adrian’s love be enough to pull him out of the closet and into a life worth living? Will Adrian just wind up broken-hearted again?

These two really talk things through. They take the time to get to know their nuances, flaws, goals and desires. It’s getting those desires and goals to line up that’s the challenge. Adrian is a free spirit and it’s great to see that rub off on Noah, if only a little bit.

The power dynamic is interesting in Status Update. Noah is older and more settled but he’s a novice at love and being an out and proud gay man. Adrian knows how to make Noah feel settled. Heck, he knows how to make Noah feel lust, desire and all the wonders of sexual release! Noah wants Adrian to take control to take away his thoughts and worries, to just let him feel. This complete faith is a thread throughout the story that really connects these two.

Status Update is the first in a series and I’m anxious to see what Albert has in store for us in the next book.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!

Tour Date & Stops:

7 December 2015

Parker Williams, The Hat Party, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, 3 Chicks After Dark, Havan Fellows, Bayou Book Junkie, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, V’s Reads, Jessie G. Books, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Divine Magazine, MM Good Book Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Just Love Romance, Mikky’s World of Books, Happily Ever Chapter, Book Lovers 4Ever, The Jena Wade, Charley Descoteaux, Louise Lyons, Inked Rainbow Reads, Velvet Panic, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Michael Mandrake, It’s Raining Men

 

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