Tag Archives: broken boys

REVIEW: The Art of Hero Worship by Mia Kerick

TAOHW Front Cover-1 The Art of Hero Worship by Mia Kerick

Release Date: February 14, 2016

Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing

Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris

Pages or Words: 212 pages

Categories: Contemporary, Crime Fiction, Gay Fiction, LGBT

Blurb:

Trembling on the floor, pressed beneath a row of seats in a dark theater, college freshman Jason Tripp listens to the terrifying sound of gunshots, as an unknown shooter moves methodically through the theater, randomly murdering men, women, and children attending a student performance of Hamlet. Junior Liam Norcross drapes his massive body on top of Jason, sheltering the younger man from the deathly hail of bullets, risking his life willingly, and maybe even eagerly.

As a result of the shared horror, an extraordinary bond forms between the two young men, which causes discomfort for family and friends, as well as for Jason and Liam, themselves. And added to the challenge of two previously “straight” men falling into a same-sex love, are the complications that arise from the abundance of secrets Liam holds with regard to a past family tragedy. The fledgling passion between the men seems bound to fade away into the darkness from which it emerged.

Jason, however, is inexplicably called to rescue his hero in return, by delving into Liam’s shady past and uncovering the mystery that compels the older man to act as the college town’s selfless savior.

The Art of Hero Worship takes the reader on a voyage from the dark and chilling chaos that accompanies a mass shooting to the thrill of an unexpected and sensual romance.

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Our Thoughts:

Mia Kerick packs an emotional punch with The Art of Hero Worship. Two victims of a theater shooting come together for each other and it’s more than anyone would have believed possible.

As Jase is lying in a puddle of blood on a cold theater floor, Liam swoops in. Pressing Jase under the seats and then shielding him, Liam saves Jase’s life that day. The day a fellow student, a guy from their dorm, snaps and kills multiple people. They manage to escape but the horror and fear they can’t run away from.

From the shooting to the escape to the aftermath, we’re gripped by the unfolding of events. Liam is a rock, someone to maneuver Jase through the motions of escaping and then surviving. A complete stranger becomes a guardian angel and a companion Jase can’t live without. Jase is in such a panic state that he is only settled when near Liam. In turn Liam needs to protect Jase and keep him safe.

As days pass, Jase and Liam become more attached and start to bond in a more personal and intimate way. It’s baffling because neither one has ever been attracted to another man before the shooting. Severe stress seems to be the catalyst for them to pursue more with each other. Jase is willing, no eager, to give Liam his heart and his body. With Liam he is safe. With Liam he is slowly getting his life back.

We soon discover that Liam has some demons from his past that could come between Jase and Liam. Jase cannot fathom loving Liam only to lose him and it’s at that point they have to determine what they can accept in their relationship. Liam has to be a hero but maybe what he really needs is a hero of his own to save him.

Many emotions swirl in this story. So much pain and loss. There’s also a lot of security through touch, understanding and shared experience. I enjoyed the dynamic of Liam and Jase’s relationship. They were together because it felt right. Their hearts loved each other and their minds just had to catch up with the fact that their true love was of the same sex. Liam needs to shelter, to protect, to save. Jase needs reassurance and submission. They find those things with each other. Jase truly hero worships Liam but over time they realize that they both needed a hero at different times, for different reasons.

The Art of Hero Worship is a beautiful story of strength, growth and recovery. Most of all, it show how beautiful love can be when we break away from social norms and titles.

RATING: STILETTOS!!

BLOG TOUR: Safety in Numbers (Sizzling Miami #5) by Jessie G

Blog Tour SiN

Safety In Numbers by Jessie G.
Series: Sizzling Miami book 5
Release Date: October 31, 2015
Publisher: Jessie G. Books
Cover Artist: Andrew Reyna
Pages or Words: 76,000 words
Categories: Gay fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

Today we welcome author Jessie G! It’s always a pleasure to host her and bring her latest novel to 3 Chicks After Dark. Jessie G graciously agreed be interviewed for her Safety in Numbers blog tour and we’re happy to share that interview with you today.

Give us an interesting fun fact (or a few) about your book or series.

When I wrote Past Hurts, I didn’t know I was writing a series until Bull appeared in a scene toward the end of the book. I finished that chapter, took my fingers off the keyboard and asked aloud, “Where did he come from?” I have those WTF moments a lot since I do very little of what anyone would call plotting.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

I don’t have trouble with titles or blurbs and usually have both written before I even start writing the book. It’s about the only guideline I give myself. Where either comes from is as big a mystery to me as it is to everyone else.

Have you ever given one of your characters the personality of someone you know?

Sure, I have said a little bit of me is in every character I write. There are a couple of characters that have taken on some characteristics of friends, family or even interesting people I see in passing.

What do you think makes a good story?

Plot, chemistry, and resolution. 
Unless you are writing a how-to manual, I think any story should have a plot. Even if it’s a sexfest, I need to know why. 

All relationships – lovers, family, friends, or even enemies – need to have chemistry. Make me believe why these people care for each other or hate each other. 

By the end of the book or the series, tie up all the story lines. Don’t leave your readers hanging. Whoever thought fading to black at the end of the last episode of the Sopranos was an asshole.

What does your family think of your writing?

My immediate family is extremely supportive of my writing and are my biggest cheerleaders.

Thank you so much for hosting Safety in Numbers today. Good luck to all who enter the rafflecopter and if anyone has any questions, I’ll be stopping by to answer. – Jessie

Blurb:

“Bros stick together no matter what.”

When Chris and Liam made that promise, they had no idea how important it would become or how it would be tested in the most brutal way. Nine years later, their bond cemented in blood, that relationship is all they have to hold on to.

“No matter what happens, this friendship will be the one constant we can count on.”

When Billy and Owen made that promise, they knew exactly how dangerous the world could be. They survived prison by protecting each other and they survived freedom by holding that promise sacred. Now they want more than just to survive and they want it from the brothers whose bond is as strong as their own.

“We are stronger together than we’ll ever be apart.”

When Owen reaches his breaking point, Chris jumps at the chance to make things right for all of them. With the future in their grasp, will they realize their strength is in their numbers and finally become the family they crave?

Author’s Note: This is NOT a foursome, but the story of two couples that needed to be told together.

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Excerpt:

That silence hid a lot from their friends, but Liam knew Chris was plagued with memories far worse than his. That’s why they decided not to celebrate alone this year. Billy and Owen were expected any minute and it was the first time they invited anyone to join them. The anniversary was bittersweet for them and they chose to celebrate it because becoming brothers meant that much to them. “Do you think they’ll find it stupid?”

Chris just shrugged as if it was no skin off his back what they thought and Liam knew that was just bravado. Fact was, they both very much cared what the two men thought. “Liar.”

His brother sighed and dropped his head back. As if shit wasn’t fucked up enough, they fell for two bastards just as fucked up as they were. “I know you’re worried about Owen. The business with Colin is growing out of their control and I’m not sure why he thinks it’s a good thing. Is he trying to prove something? And the middle of the night phone calls from the FTR? He’s looking more and more fragile every day.”

Liam knew he wasn’t stating anything new. What he didn’t know was what Chris intended to do about it. Lately, when it came to Owen, Chris conveyed zero intent and seemed to be waiting for Owen to read him as effortlessly as Liam did. Their brother bond had been forged through blood and he was afraid Chris’s expectations of Owen were unreasonable. “Do you see his face every time he thinks he’s failed to understand you? The weight of it is crushing.”

Instead of regret, all Liam saw was anger in Chris. It wasn’t a common emotion for Chris and Liam could name every time he saw it. The fact that Chris knew what he was capable of if provoked had made him extremely conscious of that emotion and he often went to great lengths to contain it.

Owen was the very definition of insecure. Just the type to inspire Chris’s protective instincts, which Liam knew for a fact Owen did. Hell, he inspired Liam’s protective instincts. Owen was stubborn though and he often distanced himself, keeping things bottled up until they manifested elsewhere. Like in panic attacks that felt like heart attacks, which he also tried to hide. Liam nearly lost it when they found out that Billy was keeping Owen’s secret.

Chris nodded slowly, as if he completely followed Liam’s train of thought and waited for him to connect the dots. And just like that, Liam understood. “You’re pissed because he doesn’t come to you when the panic sets in. That he hides it from you and they hide it from us.”

It made total sense, but he had to wonder if they were expecting too much. After all, they couldn’t call what was going on with either man a relationship. No, they were four fucked up bastards trying to come together in some romanticwhat? Not a foursome, eww…he loved Chris, but yeah, that just wasn’t happening. And Owen wasn’t his type any more than Billy was Chris’s type. But—always with the fucking buts, right?—what was happening was very definitely happening to the four of them, and Liam now had to wonder if that was the problem, because trying to come together was definitely not the same as being together.

Chris shook his head and shifted in his seat. No, he was right. It wasn’t just their brother bond that made it impossible to move forward as two separate couples. Billy and Owen had formed their own unique friendship in prison and were no more likely to move forward without the other one either. “Just once, couldn’t we have done something the easy way?”

The fire door banged open and Liam turned to see Billy and Owen, arms full of brightly wrapped packages, struggling to pull a huge cluster of balloons through the door. It was a shocking contrast to their dark thoughts and so uncharacteristically sweet of both men. Billy caught their surprised stare and yelled, “Is this where the party’s at?”

“It is now.” It might seem silly, but it was exactly what they needed and exactly who they needed it from. Maybe they hadn’t been expecting too much at all. Liam rose to give them a hand and glanced down to see the look of longing in Chris’s eyes and thought maybe it was time they all expected more.

we're stronger together

Buy the book:

Amazon  •  All Romance eBooks  •  Barnes & Noble  •  iTunes  •  Kobo

Meet the author:

Like many readers, the dream of being a writer has been with me a long time. After three decades of trying, I’d begun to doubt. Thanks to social media, I followed my favorite authors hoping to glean some words of wisdom as I pounded out half-formed ideas with alarming regularity. Two repetitive themes emerged: to be a great writer you must read a lot and your butt must be in the chair every day like it’s a job. The more you write, the easier it will be to write and the better you will be at writing. I took that advice to heart and write every day. With six published books to date, three series in the works and a full schedule of releases planned for the next two years, it’s been amazing to have made this dream my reality.

I am a firm believer in marriage equality, love at first sight, power dynamics and happily ever after. I’m a lover of strong secondary characters and series filled with families, biological or chosen. All are themes you’ll find throughout my books.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessiegbook
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JessieGBooks
Facebook Author Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/jessiegbooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessieGBooks
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jessiegbooks/
TSU: http://www.tsu.co/jessiegbooks
Ello: https://ello.co/jessiegbooks
G+: https://plus.google.com/+Jessiegbooksmm/posts
Tumblr (NSFW): http://jessiegbooks.tumblr.com/
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bhuja1

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Our thoughts:

Safety in Numbers is a pretty complex story because it deals with four members of The Fork in the Road halfway house at once: Liam, Chris, Billy and Owen. Liam and Chris are step brothers and protect each other at all costs. Owen is Bull’s brother. When Owen went to prison with a target on his back, he fell under Billy’s protection by chance. They’ve been inseparable ever since.

Although we don’t see a lot of action in their story, we have a lot of emotional turmoil and personal growth that the four men must navigate through. Their stories are intertwined because of their friendship/familial status. Chris finds himself attracted to Owen and Billy has the same feelings towards Liam. Nobody wants to act on their feelings without the blessings of their ‘brothers.’

Chris has to overcome years of silence and come to terms with the incident that sent him into prison with Liam. When Owen is floundering to maintain control of his personal demons and is losing his grip, Chris finally finds a reason to break his silence.

Billy was scared he’d eventually fail or hurt Liam so he was afraid to pursue. He realizes he must take the chance or he’ll miss out on being the recipient to such strong love and devotion from Liam. Liam needs to be loved and Chris healed. Liam needs to be happy and spread that happiness. Liam also wants Billy to accept how far he’s come in his rehabilitation.

Now you see why their story is so intertwined. They’re two couple but really one family. They need the stoic strength of Chris to keep them going, Liam’s happiness to keep them grounded. They need Billy to see how much he can contribute so they can all be there to help Owen get through his demons. They are an interesting bunch that deserve love and happiness.

As Safety in Numbers progresses, there are many changes to the businesses and halfway house. Bull and Red are moving on. Billy is spending more time at Ty’s shop working bikes. Everyone is starting to outgrow where they are and striving for more. They’re settling in to relationships and wanting homes and families. Fans of the series will enjoy seeing the changes and growth.

I found this book hard to review because I don’t want to give out spoilers. Also, because their lives are so intertwined that it’s hard to separate out one couple without having a direct impact on the other couple. This is definitely a pivotal book in the series. A lot of changes occur and the foundation laid for more to come in the Sizzling Miami series.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!

 

Tour Dates & Stops:

9-Nov: KathyMac Reviews, Nephy Hart, Foxylutely Book Reviews

10-Nov: Unquietly Me, Prism Book Alliance, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves

11-Nov: Bayou Book Junkie, Books A to Z

12-Nov: The Novel Approach

13-Nov: V’s Reads

16-Nov: 3 Chicks After Dark, Cheekypee Reads and Reviews

17-Nov: Parker Williams, Jill P Rand, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy

18-Nov: Joyfully Jay

19-Nov: Multitasking Mommas, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

20-Nov: Carly’s Book Reviews

23-Nov: Loving Without Limits, Molly Lolly

24-Nov: Love Bytes, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My

25-Nov: Amanda C. Stone, BFD Book Blog

26-Nov: MM Good Book Reviews, Andrew Q. Gordon

27-Nov: Gay Media Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

30-Nov: Cheekypee Reads and Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads

1-Dec: Cathy Brockman Romances, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings

2-Dec: Velvet Panic, MM Good Book Reviews

3-Dec: Sassygirl Books, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

4-Dec: My Fiction Nook

 

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Vespertine by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

VespertineReleased 10 September 2015

Published by Ledra

Cover design by Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs

Genres: Contemporary, M/M, Romance

Length: 401 pages, 132,657 words

Sales links: Amazon

Blurb:

Can a priest and a rock star obey love’s call?

Seventeen years ago, Jasper Hendricks and Nicholas Blumfeld’s childhood friendship turned into a secret, blissful love affair. They spent several idyllic months together until Jasper’s calling to the Catholic priesthood became impossible to ignore. Left floundering, Nicky followed his own trajectory into rock stardom, but he never stopped looking back.

Today, Jasper pushes boundaries as an out, gay priest, working hard to help vulnerable LGBTQ youth. He’s determined to bring change to the church and the world. Respected, admired, and settled in his skin, Jasper has long ignored his loneliness.

As Nico Blue, guitarist and songwriter for the band Vespertine, Nicky owns the hearts of millions. He and his bandmates have toured the world, lighting their fans on fire with their music. Numbed by drugs and fueled by simmering anger, Nicky feels completely alone. When Vespertine is forced to get sober, Nicky returns home to where it all started.

Jasper and Nicky’s careers have ruled their lives since they parted as teens. When they come face to face again, they must choose between the past’s lingering ghosts or the promise of a new future.

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Our thoughts:

I will be honest. I was nervous going into this novel due to the religious content I expected. I mean, how can one of the main protagonists be a Catholic priest and not have religious tones! I didn’t fear it to be preachy, just uncomfortable. Within a few pages I knew my fear was unwarranted.

Blake and Vaughn weave a story of love, loss, bad decisions, rash decisions, trials, hurt, pain, and redemption. One of a rock star scorn and still spinning out of control after the loss. One of a man who became a priest when he feared what he should do and now lives with the weight of expectation every day.

Nicholas Blumfeld, or Nico Blue and his fans know him, is in a deep downward spiral toward hell. He’s severely addicted to drugs and is a shell of himself. It’s been so long since he’s been clean or sober enough to feel anything. When he does feel, it’s still pain from his lover, Jasper, leaving him to join the priesthood. At the height of their love, Jasper just drops the bomb on Nicky that he’s leaving to be a priest. All the years following are Nicky leaving home, joining a band and writing his pain and hatred for Jasper in the lyrics of Vespertine’s songs. But now that’s even gone as his drug addled brain struggles to even write any music of worth.

The band, Vespertine, is crippled from addiction and when three of its members are sent to dry out and detox, Nicky decides to go home to get better.

Going home means not only his parents, but also Jazz. Can Nicky really be in the same town, the same space with the one man who sent him on the drug addicted path he’s on? Nicky gets his moment to give the riot act to Jasper but it’s more infuriating than therapeutic.

Jasper is the epitome of poise and calm. He wears that priest collar tight and with the full entirety of its weight of expectation. His belief has helped him get through leaving Nicky and eventually presiding over his congregational flock and Blue Oasis (a children’s home for abandoned LGBT youth). Jasper helps others because he cannot help himself, or Nicky.

When their worlds collide again it’s not without sparks and hurt. There’s a lot of pain to heal from. There’s also the fact that the hurt and hate from what happened is just a bandage on an open wound. A wound that will never heal because they both still care so deeply for each other.

Nicky is so broken. His tough start in life, his early entry into music and his addictions. Guys coming and going and nothing of meaning. For all he’s endured and overcome, he’s surprisingly the stronger one when it comes down to it. He knows what he wants and needs. He doesn’t kid himself. He’s an addict, will always be an addict, but he knows he doesn’t want to live that way ever again. He has inner strength and with a support system he just might make it out of this whole situation better off than the rest of them.

Jasper exudes strength but he’s really just a crumbled mess within a stone shell. He’s managed to gird himself enough to put up the front everyone from the diocese, parish, center, family and friends expect from him, Father Hendricks. For once instead of taking the high road and praying through his doubts or troubles, he let’s himself feel. To be touched, to be loved, this is what he’s missed and needed and it just might be Nicky that wins out over all else in the end. If Jasper would let go of expectation and let his heart guide him through.

Vespertine was a phenomenal story. Some stories just have the power to move me from page to page and Vespertine is one of those stories. So much emotion, pain and love. It’s not easy and perfect, just like life. These two men must suffer a bit but it’s just part of the journey and makes the final moments that much more sweeter.

RATING: STILETTOS!!

Sloe Ride (Sinners #4) by Rhys Ford

Sloe RideReleased 4 September 2015

Published by Dreamspinner Press

Cover Art by Reece Notley

Blurb:

It isn’t easy being a Morgan. Especially when dead bodies start piling up and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

Quinn Morgan never quite fit into the family mold. He dreamed of a life with books instead of badges and knowledge instead of law—and a life with Rafe Andrade, his older brothers’ bad boy friend and the man who broke his very young heart.

Rafe Andrade returned home to lick his wounds following his ejection from the band he helped form. A recovering drug addict, Rafe spends his time wallowing in guilt, until he finds himself faced with his original addiction, Quinn Morgan—the reason he fled the city in the first place.

When Rafe hears the Sinners are looking for a bassist, it’s a chance to redeem himself, but as a crazed murderer draws closer to Quinn, Rafe’s willing to sacrifice everything—including himself—to keep his quixotic Morgan safe and sound.

Sales links: Dreamspinner Press  •  Amazon  •  All Romance eBooks

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Our thoughts:

Rhys Ford has done it again. She’s written one of the best Sinners books since the series started. Wait. I think I say that every time!

Truth though, Quinn and Rafe are nearly perfection. A long attraction that never amounted to much for either of them. Just causing them to go in different directions out of necessity, that necessity…. Quinn’ s age!

Rafe has fallen hard and fast from his band and its stardom. Now, he’s just trying to live and stay in control after being out of control for so long. Back home and trying to avoid his adopted family, the Morgans. Mama Morgan will have none of that. Neither will Con, Kane or Quinn. Of course they all have their own reasons and agenda. Only Quinn wants Rafe to clear the noise in his head, to hold the man he’s always dreamed of holding. Will Rafe want him?

Quinn is so full of static and knowledge it’s overwhelming for himself, let alone the people around him. Except Rafe. Rafe has always known how to calm Quinn. To let him talk and feed into the frenzy instead of blowing him off and asking if he’s taken his meds. Poor lamb has always felt trapped, prodded, sheltered and he’s sick of the condescension.

Out of Quinn’s need and Rafe’s understanding, a need grows that can’t be ignored. I love these two together. Seriously sensual and blazing. Creating vivid, bright colors together. Hues of a true and deep love. Rafe is just the man to take on Quinn and his quirks. Someone to listen, not judge and definitely adore and stimulate. They’re beyond compare.

I enjoyed yet another book that sheds light on a person struggling with being different. Different as in, hard-wired differently in the head. I know a person like this. A member of my immediate family and seeing Quinn’s struggle and hardship to put into words his feelings and needs hits so close to home. Loved Quinn. Loved that he had a soul mate in Rafe.

I liked where the Sinners stories have gone. The suspense really brings all the brothers in blue together and keeps readers on their toes. Also, we see a few brothers that were a bit more quiet in the first couple books: Brae and Ian. Between the new faces and a new band, I’m excited to see where Sinners will go from here!

Rhys Ford is a master writer and we are all at her mercy, screaming and pacing for the next book to grace our devices.

RATING: STILETTOS!!