Tag Archives: artist

Release Day Reviews: Love Me Like a Rock and Hard Candy (Bend or Break #6 & 7) by Amy Jo Cousins

Love Me Like a RockLove Me Like a Rock (Bend or Break #6) by Amy Jo Cousins

Released 22 March 2016

Published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Pages: 154

Categories: MM Romance, Contemporary

Blurb:

In art and in love, it s the rough edges that make things interesting.

Having grown up with artistic implements always in hand, there’s almost nothing Austin can’t make real. Except for one thing—an official relationship with his best friend, rowing teammate and occasional hookup, Vinnie.

The combination of emotional and sexual frustration fuels a spark between Austin and the nude model in his drawing class. Austin isn’t used to having trouble focusing; models are merely challenging subjects to be rendered on paper. But the geology TA’s direct blue gaze is powerful enough to drag Austin’s focus away from his physique.

After a quick and very dirty post-class encounter, all the reasons that Austin has been waiting for his best friend go fuzzy in his mind. Sean is nothing like Vinnie. Sean is persistent, pays attention, and makes it clear he wants to be together.

But if Austin can’t get his head and his heart on the same page, he could lose his friend, or his lover. Or both.

Warning: Contains rock geeks, tent sex, a dictatorial cox whose idea of a good time is drawing naked dudes, plus one naked dude who wants to be more than a good time.

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Our thoughts:

Sometimes the sweet, easy stories can really satisfy. Love Me Like a Rock is a perfect mix of opposites attract, easy love and low angst. I’m not a fan of angst, so it was just right for me. Happy from start to finish!

Austin is a an art student at University. He’s a bit quirky. Always lost in his art projects and not really taking too much seriously. At least that’s what all his friends think. Deep inside, Austin has a lot of thoughts and feelings he never let’s loose because he’d rather just go with the flow. That’s how he became a causal hook-up for his best friend, Vinnie. Years of waiting around for Vinnie to express that he wanted or needed from Austin and it never happens.

Austin’s in a model sketching session when he is consumed by the model. Feelings he can’t quite turn off bombard him and it becomes obvious the same is happening to the model, Sean. So begins a whirlwind of lustful adventures for Sean and Austin. Good dating intentions are thwarted by hormones many times over! All the years needing attention from Vinnie and now Austin has Sean’s undivided attention.

Austin discovers a life outside of his rowing team and art. His small circle of friends grows with Sean’s geologist crew. Yes, geologist! Some of the best moments are when Austin is experiencing camping and a new outlook on nature with Sean. Sean is the ultimate boyfriend, attentive and caring. He likes Austin for who he is with full acceptance. He’s also patient enough to let Austin discover what he wants and needs from Sean in their relationship.

I found these two to be sensitive but not sappy. Loving yet passionate and sensual. Eager yet relaxed with each other. They have their moment of misunderstanding but it’s worked through and they move on and become stronger. It’s nice to read a fun, sweet couple!

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!

Hard CandyHard Candy (Bend or Break #7) by Amy Jo Cousins

Released 22 March 2016

Published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Categories: MM Romance, Contemporary

Blurb:

How to get over someone? Get under someone else—as soon as possible.

Vincent Lim always assumed his best friend (and occasional hookup) Austin would be waiting for him—that eventually they’d end up together. But now that Austin’s in love with another man, Vinnie is at a loss.

After the world’s most awkward one-night stand with a dance major, Vinnie knows the drill. Minimize the embarrassment by pretending they’ve never met. Yet Bryan’s vibrant spirit and calm center lure Vinnie like a shelter from an emotional storm.

But Vinnie’s thrown off his game by the rest of Bryan’s total package. Vinnie’s a rowing jock with a single-minded focus on living up to his parents’ academic and social expectations. Bryan might as well be outfitted with glittery butterfly wings—with plenty of pride to match. Vinnie’s haphazard attention to a lover won’t cut it this time.

Physically, they can match each other stroke for booty pop. But for the lovers to meet on common ground, they’ll have to find a way to get moving in the same direction.

Warning: Contains one uptight rower, a dancer who can rock a skirt like nobody’s business, yoga lessons, and the benefits of being very bendy.

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Our thoughts:

After knowing so much about Vinnie through Austin in Love Like a Rock, I was anxious to see how Amy Jo Cousins would redeem him. Redeem? Yes. Vinnie’s wound tight and a user. Maybe a tyrant would be an accurate description. Actually, those are a bit harsh, but not far off the mark.

Vinnie was fine with using Austin for release once his stress had built up enough during a paper or leading into an important exam. He’d get drunk and then pull Austin into his bed, letting Austin lead from there. Vinnie would get his release and Austin was left hanging on, wondering if Vinnie would ever want more, even a real relationship. Vinnie overstepped their friendship and then would back off, time and time again.

One night Austin isn’t willing to be the stress relief. He has Sean and Vinnie is on his own. That leads to Vinnie in Bryan’s bed, sick from over indulging. Bryan is sweet and kind to Vinnie. He seems to actually care about him and the state he’s in. Vinnie is just mortified. Those small sentiments and kindnesses worm into Vinnie’s psyche and won’t pull back. Bryan has consumed Vinnie’s every thought and he can’t resist seeking him out.

Bryan is tall, lean and in dancer shape. Beautiful and charming. A very no-nonsense personality who’s very straightforward. Bryan doesn’t have time for song and dance. He also isn’t going to deal with not being a priority. All this scares Vinnie a little but he also likes those qualities in Bryan. He is who he is and isn’t willing to change, Vinnie could learn something about bravery from him.

Bryan’s peacefulness and touches are healing for Vinnie. He’s never felt so much before and he knows he’s falling for Bryan. He just has to work through his hang ups before Bryan gets fed up and walks away for good.

I really enjoy Austin’s companion novel and worried I wouldn’t like Vinnie’s story as much. Wrong! So wrong! He shows growth and courage. He’s willing to fix his shortcomings and never once intentionally hurts Bryan. Pleasantly unexpected! Vinnie was suffering more than we knew and Bryan is the perfect one to soothe him mind, body and soul. Bryan is all kinds of wonderful.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!

Found at the Library (Found #1) by Christi Snow

Found at the LibraryFound at the Library by Christi Snow

Published 23 October 2015

Published by Christi Snow

Cover design by AM Design Studios

Blurb:

His entire life, Tommy Garrett has dealt with self-doubts. He thought he’d conquered the majority of them until a chance meeting with an author brought his illiteracy to the forefront…again. Growing up with un-diagnosed dyslexia has left Tommy barely able to read, but books are his Nirvana. Now he spends his life creating art dedicated to the love of those “untouchable” items.

Robert McIntyre, Mac, is a best-selling, highly celebrated author. But his point of view has become a little bit too narrow…until Tommy opens his eyes. That chance meeting has changed everything about his world. He has no idea how to find the beautiful man he met, and offended, at the library book sale. But when he does, Tommy’s life is in crisis-mode. It’s the holidays and Mac can’t just standby when Tommy needs help, whether Tommy wants it or not.

Two artistic men. One shared passion for books.

Life is hard, and sometimes when conflict arises you have to write your own plot twist to pull yourself out of the fray.

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Our Thoughts:

My first book from Christi Snow and I’m hooked! Found at the Library was the perfect mix of struggles and romance.

Tommy and Mac meet at the public library. Mac is volunteering and Tommy is purchasing books he will use for his art. When Mac discovers Tommy won’t be reading the books but ‘defiling’ them instead, he’s mortified. So much judgement and improper conclusions set these two off wrong from the start. Mac isn’t one to give in and he cannot clear Tommy from his mind.

You see, Mac is a famous writer and boy does he like to let everyone know it. At first he comes off a bit arrogant and pompous over his ‘best seller’ moniker. It’s that hubris that pushes Mac to find and stalk Tommy once he discovers he’s T. Garrett, artist indeed. What Tommy created from one of the books he bought, Mac’s book, was amazing. Tommy not only wants the creation but the man behind it.

What results is a sequence of events that push Mac and Tommy into a whirlwind relationship. They might have started off rocky but once they opened up to each other it was sweet romantic times together and sensual, lust-filled, sexual moments. They’re good at taking care of each other in all way. ;)

They’re so good together that Tommy brings Mac to meet his brother and he also discloses his biggest secret, his dyslexia. That’s why he doesn’t read. He does listen to books. He devours books just as greedily as most avid readers, just in a different format. I’m pretty sure I bookmarked every page when Tommy was explaining his dyslexia and his feelings about his frustration and diagnosis. I saw my child in those passages and Christi Snow really nailed that. She really put accurate and true feelings into Tommy. The struggle is real. His feelings were real. Excellent writing.

It’s not all chocolates and roses for Mac and Tommy. They have a lot to deal with as far as family and careers. They just have to decide if they can navigate that together or not.

I loved this story, the men, and their journey. I will definitely be on the lookout for the next book in the Found series featuring Stig (Mac’s Ex) and Ryder (Tommy’s brother)! Read this book, I know you’ll love it!

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!

Weight of Silence (Cost of Repairs #3) by AM Arthur

Weight of SilencePublished 6 August 2013

Published by Samhain Publishing

Copy purchased by reviewer.

Synopsis:

The wrong secret can poison everything–even if it’s kept with the best of intentions.

Gavin Perez knows he’s a living cliché. He works a dead-end job, shares a trailer with his waitress mom, has an abusive, absentee sperm donor, and he’s poor. So color him shocked when middle-class, white-bread Jace Ramsey agrees to hang out with him.

Granted, Gavin is trying to make up for dumping a bowl of cranberry sauce on Jace at Thanksgiving. And boy, is Gavin forgiven, over and over again…until Jace goes back to college for finals and stops returning Gavin’s calls.

Back home from the semester from hell, Jace doesn’t want to do anything but sleep through the holidays. It’s easier than coming out to his family—or facing Gavin’s hurt. But Gavin’s ready forgiveness draws them back together, and Jace won’t be able to stay in the closet much longer.

Nor will he be able to keep hiding his pain. He trusts Gavin with his body, maybe even with his heart. But can he trust that a devastating secret that’s eating him up inside won’t destroy everything—and everyone—he loves?

Warning: This book contains one slightly hyperactive hero from the wrong side of town, a frustrated college student looking for a little life experience, and an unexpected romance amid dark secrets that just won’t stay buried. Also contains references to physical abuse some readers may find disturbing.

Our thoughts:

Continuing on with the reviews of the Cost of Repairs series, today is Weight of Silence. With Weight of Silence I felt it was a very different book from the beginning. First, both Jace and Gavin are younger than the men in the prior stories, at 19 and 22 respectively. Secondly, the time this book covers is very short, from Thanksgiving Day to mid January. Thirdly, there was pain. A lot of pain and it was obvious that once the secret came to the forefront, it was going to be devastating.

Jace and Gavin. Two young men just recently discovering who they are. Still trying to figure out what they want from life. Where their place is in the world and what they want to contribute.

Gavin has had to grow up fast. His abusive father left Gavin and his mother when he was just a kid. The hurt and pain he caused them will never be forgiven. The fact he’s gone is little comfort because he’s always threatened he will come back and he has before. Top that with Gavin’s ADHD, and you have one high-strung guy with a big heart and a fun-loving attitude toward life.

Jace is younger less experienced and in the early stages of self discovery. Thanksgiving break brought him together with Gavin just as he was accepting he was definitely gay.  Leaving Jace wanting to act on his urges and the attraction he feels toward Gavin. They meet up and have a few shared moments. Gavin rocks Jace’s world and then…radio silence.

Jace’s return home from college for Christmas break was completely different. Emotionally Jace was a wreck. He was harboring some secrets that were tearing him up inside and impacting him in a negative way. Jace has to decide if he’s going to trust in Gavin and the peace he feels with him. The ability to feel safe, secure and cherished within his arms. Is it enough to speak out and tell his family he’s gay. Will Garvin’s support be enough if they turn their backs?

There’s so much more to Jace’s story and his secrets don’t stop at his sexuality. He’s so broken. He’s been torn to shreds and is in so much pain. Jace literally broke my heart but he had a saving grace. He had Gavin and with him calming peace and love. Within Gavin’s arms Jace can share his burden and confront his demon.

I know I’ve said it already but it’s worth saying again, Weight of Silence with haunt you with its intensity, melt you with its loving embrace and leave you happy with its message of hope.

RATING: BAD ASS (ARTISTIC) BOOTS!!

Guest Post: Melanie Tushmore for Phoenix

We are so thrilled to have Melanie Tushmore as our guest today! She’s here to share a little more about Phoenix. As you know, the book was a big hit here at 3 Chicks After Dark so we asked to have her back and she graciously accepted!

 

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.” ~ Lester Bangs, Almost Famous.

 

Danny sighed, staring at his pile of clothes. “I never know what to wear to these things. You know, Rock Word made fun of us before for wearing spandex and shit. So I thought, okay I won’t wear spandex tonight, but that leaves black, black, or more black… God, I don’t know.”

“Who cares what they think?” Alex came to stand beside him, gently sifting through Danny’s clothes. “Let the music speak for itself.” He held up a pair of leopard print leggings, and tried to hold back a smirk. “These would look cute on you.”

“Hah.” Danny shook his head, chuckling. “I only ever wore those under ripped jeans, when it was cold. I didn’t know they were in here.” He sat on the bed in defeat, and accepted the leggings Alex handed to him. He yanked the spandex in his hands thoughtfully. “Actually once, we were backstage waiting to go on… it was one of our very first gigs, and Jake and Zakk start having this discussion about tights. Like, which were the best tights to wear under ripped jeans.”

Alex stared at him. “What? Really?”

“Yeah.” Danny laughed, tossing the leggings over his shoulder onto the bed. “They were all like, well, I like leopard print… oh but, zebra print is cooler but the denier is thicker so you get hotter.” Danny groaned. “In the end, they concluded leopard print tights were the best to wear.” He glanced at Alex for his reaction and laughed anew. “Yeah, I know. Ridiculous, innit? I remember listening to them and thinking, Jesus Christ, who cares? They’re just clothes. I want to play a gig.”

Trying not to laugh, Alex sat next to him. “Sure, but clothes are… they’re like the icing on the cake, aren’t they? One of the first things I remember when going to concerts was seeing all the leather jackets people wore, with patches and studs and stuff. It’s a statement, isn’t it? Telling everyone what club you’re in. I loved that.” ~Phoenix, Melanie Tushmore.

Hey guys,

This is the last stop for the Phoenix blog tour, thank you for reading!

I wanted to touch on a topic, and also one of my favourite quotes from Almost Famous, the one about what really matters in life:

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.” ~ Lester Bangs, Almost Famous.

As the story progresses, the reader will see young Alex grow from a clueless kid into an open-minded young man. He starts out as just a fan, and is lucky enough to meet and form a bond with his major-crush, guitarist Danny Death.

The way the boys’ relationship starts is Fan/Famous Person. It later changes and becomes more equal, as Danny offers Alex a part of his life that not many people are privy too. Later on in the story, their relationship is more Two Dorks Who Just Happen To Like Each Other.

As in, they’re just normal people.

Danny himself is only twenty-two, to Alex’s eighteen, when they begin getting to know each other properly, and Alex realises that Danny is pretty normal and clueless himself at times.

And that even famous people worry about their clothes. ;)

 

Phoenix

Published 17 September 2014

Published by Less Than Three Press LLC

Blurb:

Young painter Alex Tatton has always loved music. When a tragic accident takes away his parents, he turns to a darker style of music and discovers the rock band, Death Rose. Feeling isolated from his own life, Alex develops a crush on guitarist Danny Death who, despite the name, is vivacious, full of life, and has a reputation for being ‘the nicest guy in rock n’ roll’.

After a gig, Alex finds Danny to give him a signed painting. Danny is everything a star should be: charming, sexy, a beacon of light in Alex’s otherwise dark life, and after meeting him Alex is determined to see him again—and this time he wants more than just an autograph.

Pairing: M/M
Content: Contains explicit content.

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Excerpt:

Even with the AAA pass hanging from his neck, like some sort of illicit medal, Alex still couldn’t believe he was being granted access to the Death Rose dressing room. Giddy with excitement, he followed Danny inside.

The room was plain, but full of open bags and suitcases spilling their contents, promising clothes of sexy black leather, spandex, studded garments and more. When he imagined who’d be wearing them, Alex felt hot. The warm air in the room didn’t help matters.

There was no one else here, though voices filtered in from the hallway. The entire structure was temporary. Sounds eked through: music, shouts, bangs. Alex was about to ask where the others were, just for something to say, when Danny stopped in front of him and turned. Alex almost stepped away, about to apologise for getting under his feet. Danny’s arm snaked around his waist, drawing Alex to him. Alex barely had the wherewithal to look up as Danny’s mouth pressed against his.

It felt like a dream, too surreal. Alex opened his mouth and kissed back while he was still living the fantasy. Danny’s kiss was fast, full of want, but altogether too brief. Suddenly he pulled back, half turning away. Alex was left reeling, his lips wet and his nose full of Danny’s smell.

Voices preceded the arrival of people into the dressing room. With a shy glance from Danny, Alex realised this was why he’d stopped, and silently cursed whoever it was for interrupting them. He pressed his lips together, preserving the feel of Danny’s lips on his.

The people who’d entered the dressing room were arguing. Nicky D. Muir, Death Rose’s drummer, was being apparently told off by a pudgy, older man with a tan, wearing glasses. “Don’t push me, Nicky,” he said, as Nicky grumbled and collapsed into a battered couch.

Danny glanced at the pair over his shoulder, but otherwise kept his back to them. He didn’t seem overly concerned with the row unfolding.

Alex took the opportunity to risk a look at Danny’s body, wondering if Danny was hard, like he was. He so wanted to reach out and feel, onlookers or not. God, what he wouldn’t give to touch Danny … But nerves held him frozen. He would follow Danny’s lead, wait for his cue.

Alex’s eyes wandered. There was a suitcase open, balanced on a chair. Alex hadn’t noticed its existence until Danny rummaged inside it. It had to be his. Clothes of black and some varied colour escaped at either side.

Danny said quietly, “What do you want me to wear, Alex?”

The continued argument in the room was mildly distracting, but Alex’s focus was on Danny. Even so, he was sure he’d misheard him. “Pardon?” he stuttered.

A smile teased Danny’s lips, like he was about to laugh. He picked out a pair of black, spangly leggings. “What do you want me to wear? To be honest, I don’t think I can get away with leggings right now, unless you get my guitar for me so I can hide this stiffy.”

Alex’s groin flooded with warmth, making him even harder. He laughed, feeling dizzy with nerves and want. His next words came out more breathy than he’d intended. “I wouldn’t mind seeing that.”

Danny looked at him, like he had to check if Alex meant it. His eyes seemed larger, searching. Again, Alex had a small stab of realisation that perhaps Danny wasn’t as sure of himself as he’d assumed.

Either that or he was a pretty good actor.

Who cared, Alex thought. This was better than his fantasies of Danny. This was real. The desire must have showed in his eyes, on his face. Alex did nothing to hide it. A dirty grin spread over Danny’s lovely mouth, then his hands went to his belt. “Help me with my shoes, gorgeous.”

His words were barely audible, but they were the only thing Alex heard. Heedless of where he was, Alex dropped to a crouch. It seemed only fitting to kneel before someone like Danny, like he’d been born to please this man.

As much as Alex wanted to lean in and bury his face in Danny’s crotch, he kept himself in check. Perhaps he was still in shock at the situation, it all seemed too good to be true. What if one hasty move prompted Danny into action? Would Alex be expected to suck him off in a backstage dressing room?

Alex’s blood heated, and his dick clenched. I’d do it, I would. But … what would happen after? Would he throw me out, never speak to me again?

He swallowed, and tried to concentrate on the simple task at hand. Get Danny’s shoes off. Danny’s jean-clad legs were stuffed into black cowboy boots, and now Alex was closer he noticed patterns of rhinestones up the sides of the boots as they caught the light. Danny raised one foot, and Alex gripped the boot, wriggling it free. His whole body thrilled at the task. It wasn’t how he’d envisioned undressing Danny, but for now, this would do.

One boot off, and Alex helped rid Danny of the other boot. He noticed Danny’s black socks, saw one was actually inside out. Just that tiny detail made Alex’s heart expand to painful proportions. He longed to be the one to dress Danny, and undress him, every day for the rest of his days. Make sure he wore his socks the right way round.

Alex tried to quash down his impulsive thoughts. A potential hook up was one thing, and seeming more and more likely by the minute, but anything more than that? Hollie was right. He was only setting himself up for a fall. A big one.

He must have paused, as Danny said softly, “Hey? You okay?”

Alex snapped out of it. He resolved to deal with the fall out when it happened. He could just paint his experiences for the rest of his days. Being with Danny now was like having a real life muse. Raising his head, Alex looked up at him, memorising every detail.

Danny’s belt was undone, his hands poised at his fly, waiting.

Alex promised himself he would paint this picture one day. Smiling, he bit the bullet and said, “Sure am.”

Links:   Less Than Three Press • All Romance eBooks • Amazon

 

Tush’s 80s Playlist:
Mötley Crüe – Stick to your guns
The Cult – Sweet soul sister
WASP – Wild child
Ozzy Osbourne – Shot in the dark
Hanoi Rocks – Oriental beat

 

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