Tag Archives: military

RELEASE BLITZ & REVIEW: STRONG SIGNAL by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

Today we’re thrilled to celebrate the release of Strong Signal, a brand new, stand alone m/m romance from Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell! If you love m/m romance as much as we do, this is one story you won’t want to miss, in case you can’t tell from our five star review below. :) Enjoy!


StrongSignal-fI was counting down the months until the end of my deployment. My days were spent working on military vehicles, and I spent my nights playing video games that would distract me until I could leave Staff Sergeant Garrett Reid behind.

That was when I met him: Kai Bannon, a fellow gamer with a famous stream channel.

I never expected to become fixated on someone who’d initially been a rival. And I’d never expected someone who oozed charm to notice me—a guy known for his brutal honesty and scowl. I hadn’t planned for our online friendship to turn into something that kept me up at night—hours of chatting evolving into filthy webcam sessions.

But it did. And now I can’t stop thinking about him. In my mind, our real life meeting is perfect. We kiss, we fall into bed, and it’s love at first sight.

Except, like most things in my life, it doesn’t go as planned.

*Strong Signal is a standalone, full-length novel with no cliffhanger*

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This story captures exactly what it’s like to connect with someone online. While I don’t know about it from a romantic perspective,  I did meet some of my closest friends online. At first it seems strange, kind of like an out-of-body experience. You have these ideas of who people are based on your very limited interaction and shared interests. For me, it was books. Many of the ladies I consider among the most important people in my life live around the country – around the world – and I owe it to Twitter parties celebrating our favorite books and authors for bringing us together. For Kai and Garrett, it’s video games and Kai’s famous stream channel that bring them together.  I will say Garrett has an advantage, because at least the channel offers a glimpse of what Kai looks like. For most of us, it’s just profile pics and avatars and praying we’re not being catfishes. Wondering what Garrett sees? Check it out on Kai’s fan-created tumblr page.

I love the way Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell develop the connection between Kai and Garrett slowly but steadily, an easy attachment that seems safe. It would’ve been really easy for this to get creepy and stalkerish, but Strong Signal‘s dual POV gives us both sides which is key to keeping it on the level. We see that each guy’s in control of his involvement, and that’s exactly how the online world works.  Online relationships are precarious; they can become more, less or hold steady all depending on the perspective and desire of the end user. Kai and Garrett are in very different places with different needs – this interaction fills very individual voids for them. I find it interesting to watch them find common ground and work through all the phases of their unconventional relationship. Throw in some more common LGBT themes like coming out and homophobia, and it makes for a very complex, engaging story with a complete emotional spectrum and some hot, hot sexy times.  All I’m going to say is if you thought phone sex was hot, just wait.

While this is a standalone story, I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in the Cyberlove series, Fast Connection. I’m not going to lie, I found Dominic Costigan more than a bit annoying in the first book, but I’m hoping Erickson and Hassell can redeem him. No matter what, I’m certain they’ll make it an interesting ride.



Megan Erickson picMegan Erickson is a former journalist who switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better. She likes to pretend she has control now, but usually her characters are the ones who hold the reins. Her romance novels have a touch of humor, a dash of nerdy, and always a happily ever after.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and two cats named after John Hughes characters. She’s still waiting for the party she was promised when she grew to five feet… maybe because she never got there.



Other Works by Megan Erickson:

In Focus series:

Trust the Focus
Focus on Me
Out of Frame (Coming soon)

Bowler University series:

Make it Count
Make it Right
Make it Last

Mechanics of Love series:

Dirty Thoughts
Dirty Talk
Dirty Deeds

Gamers series:

Changing His Game
Playing for Her Heart
Tied to Trouble
Leveling the Field (coming soon)


Santino Hassell PicSantino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.



Other Works by Santino Hassell:

Five Boroughs series:

Book 3: FIRST AND FIRST coming in April 2016

Standalone books by Santino Hassell:

STRONG SIGNAL (with Megan Erickson)


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Today we’re thrilled to be part of the Part & Parcel Blog Tour celebrating Abigail Roux’s latest book in the Sidewinder series. Thanks so much for joining us – be sure to enter the giveaway!


Part&Parcel COVERNick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott had their happy ending in sight when a friend’s call for help almost ended with them losing it to the blade of a knife. Now, in the aftermath of near-disaster, both men are trying to heal and move on.

Moving on together, though, is harder than either of them realized it would be. Kelly struggles with simply being a lover instead of the Doc, while Nick is mired in his recovery. The distance between them inches along in stilted silence.

Desperately seeking solace, Nick finally gathers the courage to sort through the possessions his dear friend and fellow Sidewinder teammate Elias Sanchez left him when he died. Instead of comforting memories, Nick and Kelly find a stack of letters and strict instructions from Eli that prompt them to send out a call for assistance. With Eli’s letters in hand, Sidewinder sets out on one last mission together, seeking peace and absolution from beyond the grave—and from each other.

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It feels so good to be back in the Sidewinder universe. I’d almost forgotten just how much I miss these guys! Part & Parcel reminds me that Kelly & Nick have quickly become my favorites- sorry Ty & Zane. I’ll always love you, but there’s just something about Doc & Irish that sets my heart all aflutter.  Their connection is so genuine and touches me in a way that the best of romances affect readers,  one that guarantees their story will stay with me for a long time to come.

Along with her signature romance Roux takes us on an emotional roller coaster of epic proportions. The issues Nick & Kelly tackle are gut-wrenching and difficult,  seemingly impossible at times. As if that isn’t enough, Part & Parcel is packed with just as much action and adventure as ever. There’s certainly never a dull moment when these guys are around.  Needless to say, this book will have you on the edge of your seat and holding your breath all while begging for more.



Abigail Roux was born and raised in North Carolina. A past volleyball star who specializes in sarcasm and painful historical accuracy, she currently spends her time coaching high school volleyball and investigating the mysteries of single motherhood. Any spare time is spent living and dying with every Atlanta Braves and Carolina Panthers game of the year.

Abigail has a daughter, Little Roux, who is the light of her life, a boxer, four rescued cats who play an ongoing live-action variation of Call of Duty throughout the house, a certifiable extended family down the road, and a cast of thousands in her head.




To celebrate the release of Part & Parcel, we are selecting TWO giveaway winners! One will receive the last four Cut & Run books in audio, and the other will receive the full Sidewinder series in audio. Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 26, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries.  Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway, and don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!

Spotlight: Road to Love (Triple R Series #4) by Jules Dixon

We’re shining the spotlight on Jules Dixon’s fourth installment for the Triple R series. Be sure to read the excerpt and enter the author giveaway for Road to Love, Oliver and Holt’s story.

The Road to Love CoverPublished by Reed Alan Group, Inc

Published on March 30, 2015

Pages: 264 pages

Categories: M/M Romance, Contemporary

Free on Kindle Unlimited


ATTENTION: The cowboy and the playboy in this novel are known to induce tears, laughs, hot flashes, and joy in readers. Enjoy at your own risk.

Playboy Oliver Aston never hid who he is from anyone, but he still has skeletons in his closet that haunt him. Betrothed at birth to the local town sweetheart, cowboy Holt Jamison spent his life believing that revealing his true self would disappoint his family, but after finding his heart’s other half, that justification is getting harder and harder to stand by. After a heated lovers quarrel in the desert, Oliver is sent back to the States. When Holt leaves the military and moves far from his Alabama home to Oliver’s hometown, is it a second chance the two hearts deserve? Or will a woman from the past come knocking to stake a claim on one of them?

The road to love is bumpy, but it’s worth it.


Ollie + Holt = 4EVER ❤

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“Want some company?”

Crave your company, Aston. Just wish the feeling was mutual.

“I won’t argue to havin’ another body in the room.” I went back to my paperwork. He sat in the chair beside my desk. The citrus scent of his shower gel and the musk of a man who had done a hard day’s work had my heart pumping my blood just a little faster through my body. We completed our normal interaction about the day and what was happening in the world outside the Middle East sandbox we called temporary home.

“Can I ask you something?” He leaned forward resting his elbows on his long legs.

“What?” I listened but focused on finishing a task.

“Are you gay?”

I dropped my pen.

“That’s not an appropriate question.”

“Why not?”“‘ Cause that’s my business, not yours.”

“What if I want to make you my business, Holt?”

That was the first time he had called me anything other than Lieutenant Jamison. Looking him up and down, I struggled to determine if what he was saying was actually what I thought he was saying. My breathing became shallow. “I am”— I swallowed and took a deep breath—“ gay.”

“Why the long pause?”

I went back to my translating.

“Definitely sure that isn’t any of your business, Lieutenant Aston.”

I wasn’t ashamed of who I was, but the words weren’t easy to say out loud. I hid my truth from my family for so many years, lingering guilt and a healthy dose of self-preservation made me reticent to share the truth. He pushed from the chair.

Stepping into the doorway, he leaned against the doorjamb and crossed his arms over his chiseled chest. On most people, I would consider the move to be arrogant and unfriendly, but on this soldier it made him interesting and alluring. My mind wandered wondering what his thin hands would feel like skimming my body. How my large rough hands would encircle his runner’s-thin waist, how his slender body would fit against my own, and how the curves of his muscles would complement mine.

My heart thumped in my chest and my insides jumped like a frog on hot concrete. He raised his voice. “I’m bisexual, Holt. I like you, but I’m tired of waiting until you find your testicles to make a move on me. If you ever want to find out where the attraction between us could lead, you come find me.” My head reeled back.

Turning on his brown boot heels, he and his military-issue desert-brown camo-capped head were gone. I’d known Oliver Aston for about a year and in that time he had banged about every female contractor or off-duty colleague who came sniffing around, then talked up his conquests trying to impress the other male soldiers with innuendo of his escapades. I wasn’t impressed. That behavior didn’t scream ‘gentleman’ or ‘stud’ to me; it only indicated a person compensating for something, but since I was usually just a day-visitor to his base station, I only had to ignore him on occasion. But people can change. Turned out I had to spend six months at his base station on an assignment. Our paths crossed about once a day, sometimes more. I started taking notice of him and that there just might be more to the white-haired wonder. Sure, it was clear that the gods had gifted him with looks. His oval face, his high cheekbones and his eyes, those crystal blue eyes were half crackling ice and half burning heat. Over time, my attraction matured past his appearance. Eventually, his cocky attitude grew on me like moss on the side of a barn, hard to tell how the invader started but it wasn’t worth stopping nature from taking its course.

Then the dreams started. I reprimanded myself for even thinking he could be anything to me. His clear message of his hetero orientation told me to stop my overactive imagination. But as my stay went on, his tales of conquering became fewer and fewer and his visits to my office became more frequent. He started to make himself comfortable inside the room, not just in the doorway. He would walk into my office, rounding behind my chair, pausing briefly behind me before continuing on his wandering journey. There was no reason to imagine his behavior was anything other than extra energy he needed to expend.

But after that exhibition, I knew what , or rather who I wanted, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about the bisexual thing. It was hypocritical of me to judge his orientation, but to know I might never be enough for my man didn’t sit right with me. If he needed to satisfy some of his needs and get affection from someone else… well, from past experience, I knew I wasn’t one to be used as a doormat. I had made a scene or two, making my feelings known. I didn’t do it often, but when I did I made a statement and left an occasional broken nose. Leave what’s mine… alone. When I left the office the sun was setting, creating a burnt orange haze over everything . Deciding a good night’s sleep was really what I needed over food, I headed toward my eight -foot by eight-foot piece of solace on the sandbox. Basically, a room with a bed and air conditioning and not much else, but it was enough. Just get a good night’s sleep. He was probably just jacking with you.


Stepping around the back of the building, my feet shuffled to a stop as my dropped eyes encountered two familiar long legs. My eyes trailed up his body until his icy-blue eyes stared into mine. The reflection of the sunset shined in their expressive depths. That moment and the look in his eyes is a favorite one to remember when I am missing him.

Paperback Giveaway:

Jules Dixon is offering up a signed copy of Road to Love: Triple R Series #4. Ends Saturday October 17th. You’ll find the details on Jules Dixon’s site:


Jules DixonMeet the author:

Fuzzy sock collector, martini connoisseur, baseball fanatic, and dandelion lover, author Jules Dixon is a living testament to the genius of sugar and caffeine being able to keep a human alive. She’s addicted to everything related to the amazing emotion of love, probably instigated by her own happily ever after of 25 years with her beer-brewing hubby. Their love story created a sassy, artistic daughter and a computer genius but ultra-sarcastic son.She explores the rich psychology of sexuality, choices, and conflicts of high school, college, and young adult characters with sizzle and humor in her novels and novellas. She’s a busy writer, and she loves it!Jules is on a journey of health: mind, body, and soul. Visit her blog for updates on the struggles and hurdles she faces and how she triumphs (or doesn’t-it’s a close call some days).

Connect with her on Facebook!

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Trasmundo: Escape (Trasmundo #1) by Varian Krylov

Trasmundo: EscapeReleased 6 August 2015

Published by Varian Krylov

Cover art by Bey Deckard

Sales link: Amazon

Copy from author for review


Strange, quiet Luka doesn’t live in this world; long ago he took refuge in his art, escaping into surreal mindscapes inspired by his favorite painters. In the beautifully monstrous realms of his imagination, he is safe from the pain of his losses: his family, his friends, his hope.

Until war breaks out, and he is forced to flee the only home he’s known since he was thirteen.

Captured by an enemy soldier, young Luka is marched across brutal terrain, toward a fate known only by the bearded menace holding him prisoner. Quick with a knife, tireless and strong, Tarik guards the purpose of his mission as he takes Luka deeper and deeper into enemy territory.

When the soldier discovers the painful secret he has been hiding since childhood, Luka fears he is about to endure a new kind of cruelty, worse than being abandoned, ostracized or beaten. Or is it possible the soldier holding Luka prisoner is the one person who isn’t afraid of the truth behind Luka’s silence and lies?


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Tarik leaned in an inch or two closer. “Will you let me— Do you want me to kiss you now?”

For a few seconds, Luka didn’t answer. It didn’t even look like he was breathing. Then his lips parted. Tarik could hear him suck in a breath. Then, barely audible, “Yes.”

A wild, startling thrill tore through Tarik in the wake of that single, fragile syllable.

Holding himself in check, he went slowly. Brought his hands to Luka’s flushed face, soft skin hot under his fingertips. Luka’s eyes big and watchful and frantic and intense, hopefully with anticipation, with want, something close to the dizzying desire Tarik was feeling, and not fear. Luka’s warm breath on his lips. A brief caress, almost as light as the sigh that came after. Sweet soft press, lingering. Slow rising hunger, like nursing. Wondrous, thrilling touch, soft wet tip of tongue pleading for the parting of Luka’s lips. Luka yielding, whimpering against the tongue touching his tongue.

Tarik wanted that kiss to last forever. But they were both already panting, and he was hard, the ache in his groin driving his rising urge to touch Luka, to bare his skin, to lick, to taste. To put him on his back, like he had the night before. Fuck, to put him on his knees…

A fat drop of rain splatted on the nape of Tarik’s neck, the cool wet running down over his hot skin.

“Come on.” Tarik took Luka’s hand and led him back to the lean-to. By the time they were huddled under the tarp, rain-drops were plopping into the soft mulch carpeting the ground, whispering in the leaves overhead.

He meant to be patient. To give Luka a little time, a little space, but everything—his want, the chill dusk air, the tiny enclosure pushing them toward each other—urged him back to Luka. Luka’s cheek cool and wet with rain, now, where it had burned with his blushes during their first kiss. And so soft. So smooth. He really had no beard to roughen the velvet skin of his jaw, his throat. A gray shadow of guilt slid over Tarik, darkening his want.

Every touch, every kiss, Luka yielded to with panting breaths, with barely voiced sighs. But when Tarik drew back to see, Luka looked shell-shocked. Pale, frozen stiff and still.

Tarik backed away a few more inches. “Do you want to stop?”

Luka shook his head.

“Then come here.” Tarik reached out, and when Luka gave him his hand, he pulled him in, getting him to straddle his thighs. Now Luka was blushing again; even if it was too dark to see the pink blossoming in his cheeks, Tarik felt the heat under his hands. And Luka’s body. God. So lithe. Lean. Wiry, finely muscled. Such a startling, provoking difference from the women he’d been with. Feral want beyond anything he’d expected before last night ripped through Tarik as he pulled Luka against him.

Torture, kissing. Dick and balls in agony. A torment he’d gladly suffer without relief all night. Hell, all week, if Luka would let him. Was that what Luka wanted? This excruciating safety? Because Luka was hard, too, the stiff ridge of him pressing against Tarik’s belly through their clothes, torquing up Tarik’s pain, his want. Or did Luka want to be touched again? Undressed again? Mounted and gotten off again?

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Our thoughts:

Varian Krylov pens a haunting tale set within a war-torn country in Eastern Europe. We’re witness to war atrocities through Luka and Tarik. Two men on opposite sides of the political power struggle. Both just pawns in the rich political fervor that trickles down to the poor and defenseless, like Luka.

As a young boy Luka was smaller and different from the other kids. His parents ignored what was obvious to them and Luca until they couldn’t any longer. Luka was attracted to the same sex. That dishonor made him and his family outcasts and he was sent away. Basically swept aside and sent to work in a Barber Shop in the central province of their country. Again Luka manages to find trouble.

All he really desires is to be an artist. What he is, a Barber. A profession chosen for him. Living in a flat above the shop in a region he doesn’t want to be in. Mix in that loneliness with impending war and it’s not a good situation for Luka. He’s Bokan and it isn’t long before the Eršban begin treating the Bokan in a manner similar to the way Nazi Germany treated Jewish people. Marked. Shops closed. Houses ransacked. Disappearances. Eventually, camps.

Poor Luka is just whisked away in the turmoil. He’s not the strongest man and seems to find himself taken advantage of and in precarious situations. As a reader, I felt extremely sad for Luka. He had little to no self-esteem. He’d been mistreated multiple time from childhood up into adulthood. It’s like he was a magnet for bad things. Attracting bad people and getting into trouble inadvertently.

When he meets Tarik, game changer. Tarik is a deserter. His reasons are numerous, but he decides that Luka can be a beneficial partner in his journey, so he takes him under his care. Honestly, Luka probably wouldn’t have made it without Tarik. Tarik was strong, had a survivors sense and could handle himself. He also knew of a network to get them to safety.

Trasmundo: Escape isn’t just about two men trying to escape their war-torn homeland. It’s about their journey toward trust, faith, friendship and eventually lust. Varian Krylov masterfully reveals the slow burn of desire between Luka and Tarik. The desperation and need within Luka. The need to be desired, cherished, loved. Tarik’s need to protect, satisfy and soothe. I think kissing has never been so passionate as on these pages!

Throughout the entire book there’s a sense of dread. The possibility of capture or something terrible happening. It’s not overwhelming, but it’s enough to scratch at your conscience as you read and keep one wondering and on alert. I found Trasmundo: Escape to be extremely different from prior Krylov novels and I loved it! Beautifully written. Captivating. Scorching romance with a touch of suspense.

A unique and rewarding addition are the drawings included for our viewing pleasure. Mix media is always a win. Trasmundo: Escape is just one part of Luka and Tarik’s jouney, Trasmundo: Exile will be the next installment but we are left with hope at the end of book one so I personally am anixious to see where their story leads.