Giveaway | June

Book Giveaway

Are you feeling friendly?? In June last year, Holly released Just to Breathe which was written for Best Friend Day. Friends to lovers is not a trope I write often. I don’t read it all that often either. It’s not that I have anything against it. It simply doesn’t happen often.

This month, we’re all about friends, though. Or today, today we’re all about friends LOL. 

Unless I have forgotten some story, I only have one friends to lovers tale – Kisses and Cabins. It’s a short story, and it was included in JMS Book’s 2021 Top Ten Gay Romance Anthology. Cool, ey?

Just to Breathe is a mistaken identity kind of story. Not between Matt and Nico, they’ve been best friends since kindergarten, but Nico gets kidnapped by some thugs who believe he’s someone else, and now he has 24 hours to hand over a thing. He has no idea what thing.

You know the deal. Hop on over to Kingsumo and type in your email address. You’re not subscribing to anything, and make sure you use an address you check since it’s the one I’ll contact you on if you’re the winner.

Join the draw!

kissesandcabins - smallKace and Lukas have been best friends for over thirty years, but the last couple of years they haven’t talked much. Lukas’ girlfriend doesn’t like Kace, he doesn’t know why that is, but he’s dreading the wedding invitation or news about a baby on the way he suspects will reach him any day now.

One afternoon there’s a knock on Kace’s door. Lukas is standing outside, not to deliver a wedding invitation, but to ask if he could stay with Kace for a bit.

He is separating.

When Lukas kisses him, Kace doesn’t know what to do. He wants to kiss Lukas, but Lukas is straight, isn’t he? And even if he wasn’t, Kace doesn’t know if he can risk ruining their friendship. Lukas is the most important person in his life. He can’t lose him.

12,836 words

Read an excerpt

justtobreathe

Nico Allegretti has been best friends with Matt Barnes since kindergarten. There is no one more important to Nico than Matt, and while he’s known for years Matt is the one for him, he’ll never tell him. He won’t risk ruining their friendship.

On his way to meet Matt at the restaurant, a case of mistaken identity ends with Nico in the trunk of a car. When he’s released, his kidnappers give him twenty-four hours to give them what they want. The problem is, Nico has no idea what that could be.

Not knowing what else to do, he turns to Matt, who is a cop. Together they go into hiding while looking for clues. Being kidnapped doesn’t change Nico’s resolve to not let Matt know how he feels, but hiding in a small cabin together makes it hard to ignore. Matt’s small touches and compliments must mean nothing. Had Matt felt the same, he’d let him know by now … right?

15,392 words

Read an excerpt

Wrap-Up Wednesday | May

Time to wrap up the month! I’m chasing deadlines, so there hasn’t been a lot of time for reading, but I’ve read a few books. Let’s dive in, shall we!

Warning! Deep Water by A.L. Lester 

This was part of the World Naked Gardening Day collaboration we did at the beginning of this month. I meant to read them all but time slipped away from me. I enjoyed Warning! Deep Water by A.L. Lester a lot. It’s a gentle tale set in a post-WWII time in a nursery. 

warningdeepwaterIt’s 1947. George is going through the motions, sowing seeds and tending plants and harvesting crops. The nursery went on without him perfectly well during the war and he spends a lot of time during the working day hiding from people and working on his own. In the evening he prowls round the place looking for odd jobs to do.

It’s been a long, cold winter and Peter doesn’t think he’ll ever get properly warm or clean again. Finding a place with heated greenhouses and plenty of nooks and crannies to kip in while he’s recovering from nasty flu was an enormous stroke of luck. He’s been here a few days now. The weather is beginning to warm up and he’s just realised there’s a huge reservoir of water in one of the greenhouses they use to water the plants. He’s become obsessed with getting in and having an all-over wash.

What will George do when he finds a scraggy ex-soldier bathing in his reservoir? What will Peter do? Is it time for them to both stop running from the past and settle down?

https://books2read.com/WarningDeepWater/

The Death of Digby Catch by Amy Spector 

This is also part of the World Naked Gardening Day collaboration, but it’s completely different from Warning! Deep WaterThe Death of Digby Catch is a contemporary mystery, and I loved the setting. Theo and August were great together.

thedeathofdigbycatch

It had been more than eighteen years since August Catch’s uncle Digby had disappeared to the Cape to mourn the death of his sister. So, when August arrives at Arachne’s Loom to collect his late uncle’s things, he wasn’t expecting to find stories of a man larger than life. Or the very real possibility that Digby’s death may not have been from natural causes.

Theo Webb has had few people in his life that he loved, and fewer still he could trust. But the estate groundskeeper, Digby Catch, had been one of them. Returning home for his funeral, he’s thrown together with Digby’s nephew, and the attraction is instant. But so is Theo’s certainty that things surrounding Digby’s death don’t add up and that at least one person isn’t telling the truth.

Discovering a killer is difficult when someone is desperate to keep more than just their identity a secret. And when all the clues point in one direction, even Theo isn’t sure what to think. The two of them must work together if they’re going to solve a murder, and not let the thing growing between them be a distraction.

 But then, maybe a distraction is exactly what they need.

https://books2read.com/TheDeathOfDigbyCatch

The Sugared Game by K.J. Charles

This is the second book in The Will Darling Adventures series. I borrowed the first as an audiobook from the library at some point late last year. I listened to the audio version of The Sugared Game too, also from the library, and I’m not one who normally listens to audio, but it was great. I liked this better than the first in the series… or I liked Kim better in this one, at least.

The Sugared GameIt’s been two months since Will Darling saw Kim Secretan, and he doesn’t expect to see him again. What do a rough and ready soldier-turned-bookseller and a disgraced shady aristocrat have to do with each other anyway?

But when Will encounters a face from the past in a disreputable nightclub, Kim turns up, as shifty, unreliable, and irresistible as ever. And before Will knows it, he’s been dragged back into Kim’s shadowy world of secrets, criminal conspiracies, and underhand dealings.

This time, though, things are underhanded even by Kim standards. This time, the danger is too close to home. And if Will and Kim can’t find common ground against unseen enemies, they risk losing everything.

https://books2read.com/TheSugaredGame

Luckless by Cari Z.

Dragons! It was the reason I picked this one. I’ve liked everything I’ve read by Cari Z so far and figured I needed some more dragons in my life. I have to admit, another factor weighing in was that it was short, and I didn’t feel like I had the attention span for something long right now. When I reached the end, I wished it had been a little longer, so that’s good!

LucklessEvan Luck is a dragon rider with no dragon. Five years ago, his dragon gave her life defending the monster-ridden remnants of Marble, and ever since, his ability to connect empathically to another dragon had been as broken as his heart. Now he spends his days dodging his disappointed mayor, crafting arrows, fighting off the not-as-legendary-as-they-should-be beasts that’ve overrun America, and just trying to get by in the city of Forge.

But when he meets newcomer Lee Caldwell, Evan thinks his lonely luck might be changing. Lee is the only person in the city who doesn’t blame Evan for his dragon’s death, and he welcomes Evan into his own little family. There’s more to Lee than meets the eye, though, and between his refusal to talk about himself, pressure from the mayor to split them up, and a monster attacking the city’s foundations, Evan isn’t sure he’ll live long enough to learn the truth.

But not learning the truth will almost certainly be fatal, both to Evan and Lee’s budding relationship, and to the entire city.

https://books2read.com/Luckless

Glitter by Ayla Starr

A reread. I was recommending friends to lovers stories and decided to reread it while I was at it. It’s only 2.8k, so it only takes a few minutes, but it’s worth the time. It’s free.

GlitterI kept tripping over my feet, tripping over my words, and eventually gave up talking all together. You continued to smile anyway.

https://books2read.com/Glitter

Channeling Morpheus by Jordan Castillo Price

I started rereading the Channeling Morpheus series by Jordan Castillo Price. So far, I’ve read Payback and Vertigo. Wild Bill. Sigh. LOL

Payback

The hunt is on.

Pretty young men and women like Michael’s best friend, Scary Mary, are disappearing from underground goth clubs all over Detroit. For over two years, Michael has been scouring the midwest for buried newspaper articles and obscure medical reports, and now he’s finally pinpointed the source of the problem. Too bad he can’t exactly go to the cops and tell them his friend was murdered by vampires. Since it’s his duty to start wiping out the scourge, he’s posing as bait—and he’s got a bag of sharpened hickory stakes to do the job.

Everything should go smoothly, given the amount of preparation that Michael has put into the hunt. He’s got a practiced repertoire of come-hither eyeliner looks and a full blister-pack of the date rape drug Rohypnol. But he didn’t count on Wild Bill showing up.

Wild Bill is a vision in spiked hair and scuffed black leather—exactly the type of guy Michael would have fallen for…if he’d ever had the chance. Unfortunately, with a vampire in his sights, Michael has no time for an actual date. Despite his best efforts, it seems there’s nothing Michael can do to shake Bill loose. Looks like they’re in for a wild, wild ride.

https://books2read.com/PaybackJCP

Vertigo

Long, dark hair. Dewy, khol-rimmed eyes. Ripe young lips just made for kissing.

Guys like that are dime a dozen.

Wild Bill likes a little edge on his playmates, and Michael’s got the whole package going on—plus a loaded gun in his leather jacket, and an unquenchable obsession with vampires.

Michael has managed to follow a breadcrumb trail Bill didn’t even know he was leaving, and the kid’s got a few new tricks up his sleeve. Hopefully the latest addition to his arsenal doesn’t include a wooden stake with Wild Bill’s name on it. But anything can happen in the dark.

https://books2read.com/VertigoJCP

#WhatToReadWednesday | Friends to Lovers

Did you know that May is Date Your Mate Month? Well, it is, so I figured we’d have a look at some friends to lovers books.

I have to say, it’s not a trope I seek out. I have nothing against it, and it’s not like I never read them, but I don’t set out to find friends to lovers books. It happens by mistake LOL

Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! by Claire Davis and Al Stewart

Whenever I’m thinking about friends to lovers, I’m thinking about Charlie and Anthony. I love this story.

Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace!First love – coming of age – family – acceptance

When Charlie was eight years old, his mum bought him a microscope for his birthday. Since then, he’s known how he wants to spend his life. There have been trials, and challenges, but now – finally – the day is here for him to start college with his lifelong friend Anthony Pace.

Anthony is a red-haired force of nature. He writes poetry about their enemies and eagerly participates in all Charlie’s science experiments without understanding a word. Every morning, he waits at the end of their street so they can get the bus together.

But things are changing.

Families are important, and complex. Charlie’s mum hasn’t been well, and his relationship with Anthony begins to shine like a different star in the sky.

Can everything come together in this explosion of physics and chemicals that Charlie calls life? Will Anthony Pace ever share his poems with the world, and can the Chihuahua, Princess Arabella, ever learn to stop licking?

https://books2read.com/AnthonyPace

The One That Got Away by Rhianne Aile and Madeleine Urban

I just remembered this one! So many years since I read it and I haven’t spared it a thought in ages, but now I had an urge to reread it. I’m pretty sure it was among all the ebooks I lost way back when, though. I’ll have a look.

David is injured, and Trace takes care of him. It’s a GFY story, but I remembered liking it a lot.

The One That Got AwayWhen David Carmichael suffers a migraine and a broken shoulder, Trace Jackson, his best friend, simply moves in to take care of him. Their easy camaraderie is threatened when David discovers an undercurrent of heat and tension flowing between them. Despite knowing his best friend is straight, David is not-so-slowly falling in love. Trace has never desired another man. He’s a ladies’ man with quite the reputation, considered a top prize around town. But his close, treasured friendship with David is intensified by the emotion and arousal, and the lure of having David so close is irresistible. Soon Trace makes it clear to David that he wants to know if they can make it work between them. Because Trace is sure he won’t ever want anyone else—he already loves David. 

https://books2read.com/TheOneThatGotAway

Hot Head by Damon Suede

It’s been years since I read this. Best friends Griff and Dante are firefighters and when Dante gets into financial problems, he suggests Griff and him make some money on a gay porn site. Had this been now and not back in 2011 or 2012 or whenever I read it, I never would have picked it up. Pornstars and rentboys are something I avoid like the plague. The glorification of that kind of life turns my stomach, but to each their own and if you like firefighters getting it on, here’s a book for ya! 😉

Hot HeadWhere there’s smoke, there’s fire…

Since 9/11, Brooklyn firefighter Griff Muir has wrestled with impossible feelings for his best friend and partner at Ladder 181, Dante Anastagio. Unfortunately, Dante is strictly a ladies’ man, and the FDNY isn’t exactly gay-friendly. For ten years, Griff has hidden his heart in a half-life of public heroics and private anguish.

Griff’s caution and Dante’s cockiness make them an unbeatable team. To protect his buddy, there’s nothing Griff wouldn’t do… until a nearly bankrupt Dante proposes the worst possible solution: HotHead.com, a gay porn website where uniformed hunks get down and dirty. And Dante wants them to appear there—together. Griff may have to guard his heart and live out his darkest fantasies on camera. Can he rescue the man he loves without wrecking their careers, their families, or their friendship?

https://books2read.com/HotHead

Dangerous Ground by Josh Lanyon

Best friends who work together. It’s Josh Lanyon, not my favourite Lanyon, but you know what you get.

Dangerous GroundSpecial Agents for the Department of Diplomatic Security, Taylor MacAllister and Will Brandt have been partners and best friends for three years, but everything changed the night Taylor admitted the truth about his feelings for Will. And when Taylor was shot a few hours later, Will felt his reluctance to get involved was vindicated. For Will, the team and the friendship have to come first–despite the fact that he hasn’t failed to notice just how…hot Taylor is.

Taylor has been in love with his partner and best friend since they were first partnered. There isn’t much he wouldn’t do for Will–but he doesn’t know how much longer they can stay teamed feeling the way he does. Still, he agreed to a camping trip in the High Sierras–despite the fact that he hates camping–because Will wanted a chance to save their partnership.

But the trip is a disaster from the first, and things rapidly go from bad to worse when they find a crashed plane and a couple of million dollars in stolen money. With a trio of murderous robbers trailing them, Will and Taylor are on dangerous ground, fighting for their partnership, their passion…and their lives.

https://books2read.com/DangerousGround

Waiting for Clark by Annabeth Albert

Cosplay and best friends. This is cute!

Waiting For ClarkWhen Bryce Weyland agrees to go to a comic convention dressed as a superhero, the last person he expects to see is his one-time best friend (and hopeless crush), Clark Kenmore. But Clark is impossible not to notice—he’s wearing spandex tights, a rainbow cape, and the same disarming smile that haunts Bryce’s dreams.

Five years ago, they shared an ill-advised kiss that torpedoed their friendship. But now Clark has returned to Portland, and he wants nothing more than to return to the easy friendship that defined their college years. But the glowering Bryce makes it clear Clark’s mission is going to require a super-human effort—and more than a little luck.

https://books2read.com/WaitingForClark

Take My Picture by Giselle Ellis

Ah, another old one. This is a case of not only one but two people completely blind to the relationship their having. There is a lot of frustration, but I liked it.

Take My PictureAaron has no idea what he’s walking into when he shows up to pose for a famous—and famously bad-tempered—photographer. He certainly doesn’t expect to end up working as Jake’s assistant for five frustrating, thrilling, and crazy years instead of in front of the camera.

It all works until Jake realizes Aaron has become the focus of his life, a life that’s threatened when Aaron actually leaves him to start a relationship with someone else. Though it breaks his heart, Jake realizes he has to set his beloved muse free to have any chance of winning Aaron back.

https://books2read.com/TakeMyPicture

Finding Zach by Rowan Speedwell

This is a little darker than the rest. Zach was kidnapped, and it takes a lot of effort to build himself up again. It deals with PTSD and how to move on from major trauma.

Finding ZachFor five years, Zach Tyler, son of one of the world’s richest software moguls, was held hostage, tortured, and abused. When he is rescued at last from the Venezuelan jungle, he is physically and psychologically shattered, but he slowly begins to rebuild the life he should have had before an innocent kiss sent him into hell. His childhood best friend David has lived those years with overwhelming guilt and grief. Every relationship David has tried has fallen apart because of his feelings for a boy he thought dead. When Zach is rescued, David is overjoyed–and then crushed when Zach shuts him out. Two years later, David returns home, and he and Zach must come to terms with the rift between them, what they feel for each other, and what their future could hold. But Zach has secrets, and one of them might well destroy their fragile love.

https://books2read.com/FindingZach

Nor Iron Bars a Cage by Kaje Harper

We need a little paranormal representation too. I’ve listed this before, but it’s well worth the read.

Nor Iron Bars a CageFirst I was a sorcerer. Then I was a hermit. For so long—for years that seemed to go on forever—I couldn’t bear to be touched. I put up not just walls but whole stone bunkers to keep everyone out, emotionally, and physically as well. I was protected from people, from ghosts, from specters real and imagined. Sure, I was alone. But I felt safe. Only, after a while, I wasn’t sure any longer whether a totally “safe” empty life was really worth living.
Then Tobin came along. Out of the blue, out of my past, with a summons from the king that he wouldn’t let me ignore. I tried to cling to my isolation, but he wouldn’t give up on me. Tobin never believed in walls.

https://books2read.com/IronBars

Glitter by Ayla Starr

I reread this right before writing this post to see if I still thought it was as amazing as I did the first time I read it. It’s a Valentine’s letter, I’d forgotten that. I remembered it was a letter, but not for Valentine. Seriously, people, it’s a free 2.8k long story, and it leaves me blinking rapidly and with a lump in my throat. Read it.

GlitterI kept tripping over my feet, tripping over my words, and eventually gave up talking all together. You continued to smile anyway.

https://books2read.com/Glitter

All Kinds of Tied Down by Mary Calmes

Reminds me a little of Dangerous Grounds, best friends working in law enforcement. It’s not my favourite Calmes story, but I’ve been meaning to read book 2 for quite some time now. We’ll see if I’ll get around to it LOL

All Kinds of Tied DownDeputy US Marshal Miro Jones has a reputation for being calm and collected under fire. These traits serve him well with his hotshot partner, Ian Doyle, the kind of guy who can start a fight in an empty room. In the past three years of their life-and-death job, they’ve gone from strangers to professional coworkers to devoted teammates and best friends. Miro’s cultivated blind faith in the man who has his back… faith and something more.

As a marshal and a soldier, Ian’s expected to lead. But the power and control that brings Ian success and fulfillment in the field isn’t working anywhere else. Ian’s always resisted all kinds of tied down, but having no home—and no one to come home to—is slowly eating him up inside. Over time, Ian has grudgingly accepted that going anywhere without his partner simply doesn’t work. Now Miro just has to convince him that getting tangled up in heartstrings isn’t being tied down at all.
 

https://books2read.com/AllKindsofTiedDown

Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton

Again, a book I list way too often, but it’s one of my favourites.

Between Sinners and SaintsLevi Binder is a Miami bartender who cares about only two things: sex and surfing. Ostracized by his Mormon family for his homosexuality, Levi is determined to live his life his own way, but everything changes when he meets massage therapist Jaime Marshall.

Jaime is used to being alone. Haunted by the horrors of his past, his only friend is his faithful dog, Dolly. He has no idea how to handle somebody as gorgeous and vibrant as Levi.

Complete opposites on the surface, Levi and Jaime both long for something that they can only find together. Through love and the therapeutic power of touch, they’ll find a way to heal each other, and they’ll learn to live as sinners in a family of saints.

https://books2read.com/BetweenSinnersAndSaints

Eleven stories, that should last you for some time, right? If not, let’s move on to the:

Ego Wall

thewingman

A year ago, Cole Hudson got out of an abusive relationship. Since then, he’s been hiding in the kitchen of his bakery, avoiding people best he can. He prefers it there, but his best friend Gavin has other ideas.

Gavin is set on finding him a boyfriend, but Cole doesn’t like hanging around bars, and it’s precisely what Gavin has in mind. As Cole’s self-proclaimed wingman, Gavin is on the hunt for a worthy partner, but it isn’t an easy find.

Cole doesn’t want to date; he only wants to spend time with Gavin. Gavin only wants Cole to be happy. How many men flocking around Cole will he have to chase away before the right one shows up?

 books2read.com/TheWingman

kissesandcabins - small

Kace and Lukas have been best friends for over thirty years, but the last couple of years they haven’t talked much. Lukas’ girlfriend doesn’t like Kace, he doesn’t know why that is, but he’s dreading the wedding invitation or news about a baby on the way he suspects will reach him any day now.

One afternoon there’s a knock on Kace’s door. Lukas is standing outside, not to deliver a wedding invitation, but to ask if he could stay with Kace for a bit.

He is separating.

When Lukas kisses him, Kace doesn’t know what to do. He wants to kiss Lukas, but Lukas is straight, isn’t he? And even if he wasn’t, Kace doesn’t know if he can risk ruining their friendship. Lukas is the most important person in his life. He can’t lose him.

https://books2read.com/KissesandCabins

justtobreathe

Nico Allegretti has been best friends with Matt Barnes since kindergarten. There is no one more important to Nico than Matt, and while he’s known for years Matt is the one for him, he’ll never tell him. He won’t risk ruining their friendship.

On his way to meet Matt at the restaurant, a case of mistaken identity ends with Nico in the trunk of a car. When he’s released, his kidnappers give him twenty-four hours to give them what they want. The problem is, Nico has no idea what that could be.

Not knowing what else to do, he turns to Matt, who is a cop. Together they go into hiding while looking for clues. Being kidnapped doesn’t change Nico’s resolve to not let Matt know how he feels, but hiding in a small cabin together makes it hard to ignore. Matt’s small touches and compliments must mean nothing. Had Matt felt the same, he’d let him know by now … right?

books2read.com/JustToBreathe