Tag Archives: Carina Press

Out of Bounds (Boundaries #1) by A.R. Barley

Out of BoundsOut of Bounds by A.R. Barley

Released: March 14th 2016

Published: Carina Press

Series: Boundaries book 1

Page count: 154 pages

Blurb:

When the weather outside starts cooling down, inside the dorm things are heating up. Can these college roommates fall in love without going out of bounds?

Beaten and heartbroken, Jesse Cole is placed in a new dorm room after his last roommate attacked him. Just wanting to be left alone to heal in peace, he’s shocked when tall, dark and dangerous-looking Nick Moretti walks in.

Nick doesn’t have time to tiptoe around his new roommate—he’s too busy working in order to pay for school. But something about Jesse brings out his protective instincts. As their cautious friendship grows and becomes loaded with sexual tension, he wants to make Jesse comfortable.

Enter the perfect plan: a line of tape down the center of the room. Boundaries established.

But as innocent movie nights become hours-long temptation marathons, and whispered chats from across the room delve into straight-up dirty territory, crossing the line has never been so satisfying.

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Our Thoughts:

From the opening chapter, I knew Out of Bounds was going to be a great read. Barley worked all the right angles and the voices were bright and fun. The right elements to keep the pages turning.

In Out of Bounds, Jesse Cole finds himself in a predicament when he’s beaten by his roommate after a flirtatious mix-up. Alone and bleeding, his savior, resident assistant Kelly, takes him to the hospital to be patched up then leaves him in the only open room he can find in the senior dorm. Somewhere Kelly can keep an eye on him even though Jesse is a sophomore.

Dumping Jesse in Nick’s room is probably a mistake, but Kelly doesn’t have another choice. Nick’s trouble but he’s their only choice.

Jesse is skittish and overwhelmed after the incident. All he wants is to get settled, gain back control of his life, and finish the semester. The guy who’s now his roommate is freaking huge and intimidating but seems nice enough. Maybe he’ll make it through this after all.

Nick can’t believe Kelly dumped Nick in his room. Typical payback from his ex. The last thing Nick needs is this scared little bunny twitching and jumping every time Nick moves an inch. Something needs to be done and Nick knows just what to do.

Setting boundaries and establishing trust go a long way toward helping Jesse become comfortable and feeling safe again. Nick’s a great guy and Jesse can’t help becoming enamored with the handsome, hulking man.

What really made this story work for me was the slow crawl for Jesse and Nick. They move from timid new roommates to friend/protector status as a perfect pace. Nick establishes trust and Jesse beings to settle in. Things change when Jesse discovers Nick is gay, then all bets are off. The attraction growing between them can no longer be denied. They enter boyfriend status and hang there for a while. The black moment is short and worked through swiftly, thank goodness because these two needed each other!

I liked both Nick and Jesse a lot. Nick had some hang ups but his patience was saintly. He was compassionate, smart, loving and a stellar protector. Jesse really comes into his own. By the end of the book we see the confident man he is able to become once the trauma is worked through and overcome. Nick has a lot to do with Jesse’s transformation. They’re just meant to be together and I always enjoy when a story allows that to happen from start to finish.

A bonus chapter from the second book in the Boundaries series, Suspending the Rules is included at the end of the book. I was delighted to see it will be Kelly’s story. He was an important secondary character in Out of Bounds. He’s stoic but miserable. I’m anxious to continue on with the series when book two releases in summer 2016. Definitely something to look forward to!

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!

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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Viscount’s Wager (Gambling on Love #3) Ava March

Viscount's WagerViscount’s Wager by Ava March

Gambling on Love book 3

Released 10 August 2015

Published by Carina Press

Blurb:

London, 1822

You never forget your first love, but is a second chance worth the gamble?

Anthony, Viscount Rawling, knows exactly what he wants in life and he isn’t above having a look about London for it. When he spots recently widowed Gabriel Tilden at a ton function, he thinks he might have found love…again.

Gabriel is as gorgeous and reserved as he was when he broke Anthony’s heart seven years ago. But they were only adolescents then…surely Anthony won’t hold the incident against him. And especially not when the attraction between them is stronger than ever.

Gabriel came to London in search of distraction, and a teasing Anthony is impossible to resist. As Anthony introduces Gabriel to the pleasures that can be found in the city—and in his bedchamber—their bond deepens into something more. Yet both men are hiding secrets that could pull them apart forever…

Excerpt: http://www.evangelinecollins.com/avamarch/viscountswager.html

Sales links: Amazon  •  All Romance eBooks

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Our thoughts:

I was a big fan of Tristan and Max from All in with the Duke, book one of the Gambling on Love series, but now I’m thinking Gabriel and Anthony might share the number one spot!

The way Anthony gave with all his heart was endearing. His desire to have a relationship and true love, regardless of the fact he’s gay in 1800’s England, was admirable. He’s not naive, he’s just a man who knows what he wants and doesn’t want to believe it can never happen. He has a past history with Gabriel, one where Gabriel broke his heart and left him wanting. Years later when Gabriel returns to London, Anthony isn’t sure what he should do. Of course he takes the high road, another reason to love Anthony, and makes friends with Gabriel again.

That friendship quickly turns into more because Gabriel is finally willing to accept he always liked Anthony as more than a friend. His heart was always for Anthony and Gabriel must now right his wrong from years ago.

This task isn’t an easy one for Gabriel. He has too many past demons that threaten his chances with Anthony. His means of escape is gambling and it quickly gets out of hand. He also kind of streams Anthony along. It’s quite sad and irritating. Poor Anthony just wants anything he can get from Gabriel and unfortunately it’s not that ideal relationship he has so desired.

A problem for Anthony is hinted about as the pages turn and as a mother of a child with the same condition, I noticed it right away. Others who read this might not see it until the unveiling from Anthony. Ava March does a fantastic job of keeping it low-key until the big reveal. I found this issue of Anthony’s heartbreaking. His fear of being found out. His disappointment with himself the feeling of inadequacy, all are familiar things I’ve seen in my own child. I couldn’t help but love Anthony more. The fretful moments as he tries to delve through stacks of correspondences to grasp onto one from Gabriel was extremely profound for me. As I said, my heart just broke for Anthony.

But, it didn’t stay broken for long! Anthony and Gabriel are soul mates. They’re not going to let troubles keep them apart.  Their hearts longed to be together and there’s no way they would have endured another long time apart.

Viscount’s Wager is a true romance. Two men reunited must now navigate through mistakes, hardships, troubles and failures. Maybe distance made the heart grow fonder. One thing’s for sure, they must accept and forgive themselves before they can truly love each other.

RATING: STILETTOS!

Penalty Play (Power Play #3) by Lynda Aicher

Penalty Play

Penalty Play by Lynda Aicher

Series: Power Play book 3

Released 10 August 2015

Published by Carina Press

Blurb:

Minnesota Glaciers’ starting defenseman Henrik Grenick is good at two things: hockey and sex. He’s got it all—the career, the biceps, the babes. But the steady parade of women through his bedroom just leaves him wanting more, hunting for the next distraction. Until he meets Jacqui, who awakens a hunger he never knew he craved.

Fiercely independent Jacqui Polson has no time for the seductive hockey player demanding her attention. More band geek than bimbo, she’s in an entirely different league, and growing up with four hockey-crazed brothers left her with no interest in that world. But damn, Henrik’s hot. And when it comes to sex, Jacqui knows exactly what she wants.

As their relationship moves beyond games, Henrik needs more—not just of Jacqui’s touch, but of her. Jacqui discovers there’s more to Henrik than just the gruff facade. But after a lifetime of fighting their own battles, neither has ever let anyone get so close. As they soon find out, needing someone isn’t a weakness, it’s the only thing that matters…

Sales links: Amazon • Carina Press • All Romance eBooks

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Our thoughts:

Penalty Play is the third installment in the Power Play series. A spin-off of Aicher’s prior series, Wicked Play. Personally, I love this world! The last series focused on the BDSM club (which was awesome) but a love of hockey really makes this new series fun and rich with options.

Henrik Grenick is a defender for the Glaciers. A great player on ice, not in real life. His string of girlfriends all leave him after a short time. They take and get to play the rich and famous game for a while. He buys them nice things and then they leave. Is he heartbroken over it? Not really. It’s not like any of these women have ever really known him. He’s never given them his heart either.

Grenick is hiding behind hockey to ease the pain in his life from a loss and also loneliness. The love he doesn’t get from his family, he tries to make up for with his hockey family. But does this made family really know him?

A trip to a music store to find a distraction from the quiet of his home brings Henrik and Jacqui together. She’s passionate about music and Henrik wishes he could have the musical outlet he once held so dear to his heart. One thing he does know, he finds this carefree woman refreshing. Unfortunately, he’s always been awkward with the dating games. They usually come to him, he doesn’t usually have to pursue.

Jacqui is strong, carefree and passionate. She sees a genuinely nice guy in Henrik. He’s polite and refined, but reserved. He’s willing to give his heart to Jacqui, something he’s never done before. She’s too wrapped up in her past illness to really see that all Henrik needs is to be loved in return. He’s never had that and doesn’t even know he deserves it until it’s within his grasp and taken away.

Penalty Play is not as emotional as I expected with the loss and illness. It’s not about broken people finding each other. It’s more about finding the strength within to find what you need and deserve. To seek it, grab it, and hold onto it for dear life.

The passion between Jacqui and Henrik is intoxicating. They sizzle and quake but they’re also gentle and loving when it’s needed. No inhibitions on either side. Henrik is a big studly teddy bear. Mix in a big Irish Catholic family, music and the roughness of hockey and we have another winning goal of a story from Lynda Aicher.

RATING: BAD ASS HOCKEY SKATES (BAD ASS BOOTS)!!