Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review: Roughing It by Holden Wells

Reviewed by Whuppsy
Roughing It by Holden Wells
Hela Press
4 Pants Off

cott Thompson, rock star, has spent years burying the pain of a tragedy in his past by indulging in reckless, often injury-inducing adventures during the band's downtime. His latest brings him deep into the backwoods, where he's taken captive by a group of hired rednecks for 48 hours of physical, sexual and psychological torture. He expects the pain and degradation going into to--but he doesn't expect the instant attraction he feels for the leader of the group, a dark-eyed enigma of a man named Johnny Lee.

Wow. Just Wow. This is the story of Scott Thompson and Johnny Lee. And what a story it is!! This story blew me away!!

Scott is a rock star who has had some pain and tragedy in his past. He’s a thrill-seeker who as he’s getting older is trying to do something that has always been a fantasy for him. He’s set up a weekend with this mysterious group called The Company. They set-up and give you the fantasy that you’ve always dreamed of. Hardcore Fantasies. So hardcore that you have to sign a waiver that relieves them of any liabilities short of death. That’s some hardcore stuff right there.

Scott has this Deliverance fantasy that he’s had since he was a teenager and he decides to go for it now. The story starts as Scott is in the bayou and he gets caught by Johnny Lee and his 2 cohorts. Scott’s fantasy starts off with a bang and just keeps on going from there. What Scott goes through is just….WOW!! Physical, Sexual and Psychological torture. It’s what he’s paid for and boy does he get it. It’s so pervasive throughout the entire story.

Now this was just a novella, but from the moment I picked it up and started reading, I was hooked!! I didn’t stop until the book was over and even then, I didn’t want it to be over. I wanted more. I was pulled along for the ride and I didn’t want to get off. It was Dark. It was Intense. It was worth taking the risk of reading.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes stories that are outside of your comfort zone. Who like their stories dark and intense. Who aren’t afraid to see into the mind and soul of someone who is hurting and looking for something. Following it to wherever it goes. I would like to caution anyone who has had any kind of abuse in their past that this might not be the book for you.

4 Pants Off

Excerpt & Giveaway: Single Use Only by Pender Mackie

All Romance eBooks
Mike Strenton is tired of the hook-up scene. All the men he meets in the Las Vegas gay bars are interested in only one thing and only one night. Been there done that. About to turn thirty-eight, Mike avoids casual sex until his need for contact is too great to ignore. He secretly longs to meet someone who sees beyond his laugh lines and broad shoulders to the sensitive lover underneath. A man who’ll choose him over the early morning walk of shame.

Twenty-seven year old Chris Bennington has never even been to a gay bar though he’s into men as well as women. He sees the funny side of just about everything, even his first time with Mike. Chris wants a lover who doesn’t have a problem with his quirky sense of humor, his inability to cook or his bisexuality and he thinks Mike fits the bill. All he has to do is convince the big guy he’s not just sticking around for breakfast.


Chris opened the trunk of his car and checked his watch. He’d lost track of time and most likely missed seeing any dancers. The show was only a few hours away. Ah, well. He lugged the box through the hotel complex. Up ahead was the theater; he could see the giant posters for the Erogenous Zone from here. Chris paused in front of a life-size photo. They must have updated the posters, because he didn’t see Jesse.

Wait, there he was, hands on his hips and a big-assed grin, looking like he fit right in. Weird how all the dancers seemed so similar when oiled and shirtless, a cookie-cutter idea of what a sexy man should look like. Even the beefier ones or the guy with longish hair didn’t stand out from the others.

There had to be an admin office. He looked around, checking for a hallway or some kind of signage. He’d never been to the theater before, but he’d thought about coming down to watch rehearsal, see what Jesse did for a living. Jesse had invited him, but the idea of watching his roommate bump and grind felt kind of weird.

He found the office, but it was closed.

Now what? He shifted the box. It wasn’t heavy, just awkward. Maybe he could leave it with someone.

From around a corner a young guy appeared. Dress pants, dress shirt, a black vest with a name tag. Perfect.

“Hey,” Chris called, “you work here?”

The guy, tall, blond, and with one of those faces that was all cheekbones and eyes, stopped and scowled. “Why?”

Great. The only employee around, and it had to be one with an attitude. Chris half held out the box. “I wanted to drop this off. It’s a bunch of costumes.”

Mr. Attitude—Devon, according to his name tag—deliberately folded his arms. “Do I look like a stripper?”

“I don’t know.” Chris looked Devon up and down, taking his time. If the guy was going to be an asshat, he deserved to be messed with. “Do you?”

“Puh-lease.” Devon rolled his eyes. “I’m the bartender.”

Huh. This was the guy who had replaced Val? Chris hoped the cranky bartender didn’t depend on tips to make ends meet. “So can I leave this with you?”

“No. I have to get the bar stocked, ready to open. You’ll have to come back later.”

Devon stared at him, a smug little smile playing around his mouth. It was clear he expected Chris to do some groveling or maybe argue, but that was so not happening. Chris didn’t say anything, just waited him out patiently. In his line of work as a blackjack dealer, he met a lot of people with overinflated egos, and it took more than a bartender with a chip on his shoulder to get a rise out of him.

Devon gave a long-suffering sigh. “I guess I could find someone for you. Wait here.”
He turned and headed back the way he’d come.

Chris set the box down and slouched against the wall. Five minutes later he was starting to think the bartender had had the last laugh. He’d have to try again another day. What a pain in the ass.

“You’ve got a delivery?”

Chris straightened. From farther down the hall, a man wearing jeans and a T-shirt strode toward him. The guy was a few years older and big. Broad shoulders, powerful arms, dark blond hair pulled back in a no-nonsense ponytail. Sexy little goatee that was more stubble than beard. Nice.

Chris bent and picked up the box. He waited as the man came closer. Striking blue eyes full of good-natured intelligence, a few threads of silver shot through that dark blond hair. Very nice.

“Devon said you had a delivery.”

Chris mentally cursed out the bartender. What an airhead. “Not exactly.”

He explained about Jesse’s old costumes. When he mentioned Jesse’s name, the man’s face lit up, but he waited for Chris to finish speaking. “…but the office was closed, and that bartender wasn’t the most helpful guy.” Or the brightest bulb in the chandelier.

“Yeah, Devon’s kind of self-obsessed.” The man’s tone said Devon was old news. “So how do you know Jesse?” he asked with more animation.

“We were roommates.”

“You’re Chris.”

The big man examined him. Under that curious gaze a tendril of heat unfurled in Chris’s gut, like the first wisps of smoke from a fire. Down, boy.

Chris looked up at him from under his lashes. “That’s me. And you are…?”

Oh, God. He held his breath. Please don’t be Chaz. Don’t let me be warm for that asshole dance captain.

“Mike Strenton.” Mike offered his hand. “I’m a friend of Jesse’s.”

Damn, this was Mike? Chris’s preconceived idea of Mike didn’t mesh with the hot guy standing in front of him. Why had he never been lucky enough to be at home when Jesse brought Mike around?

“Chris Bennington.” He juggled the box to shake hands and made a quick save as the cardboard slid toward the floor.

“Whoa.” Mike grabbed for the box too, fingertips brushing Chris’s and causing that tendril of heat to twist and curl.

Chris relinquished his hold. “You’re the props manager, right?”

“Uh-huh.” Mike smiled as if pleased that he knew.

Chris had a sudden urge to finger comb his shaggy hair into submission. He stuffed his hands in his back pockets instead and rocked back on his heels. “So can any of the stri—dancers use that stuff?”

Mike grinned at his automatic correction. “Most of this will probably fit Tyson, and he’ll be glad to get the clothes. His washing machine chewed up a pair of jeans just last week.”

“Uh, he doesn’t wear that stuff at home, does he? Call me crazy, but I’d hate to walk down the street in pants someone could rip right off me with one good tug.”

Though the idea of being undressed by this guy flitted pleasantly through his mind.

Mike laughed. “No, but the guys are responsible for maintaining and washing their own costumes.”

“Right. I knew that,” Chris said. Way to make a good impression.

Their gazes met, and Mike’s smile grew smaller but didn’t fade altogether. There was speculation in those eyes. Maybe a question. Chris let his interest show for a couple of seconds before he lost his nerve and dropped his gaze. Chickenshit.

“I’ll put this in the locker room. I don’t have a lot of time right now, or I’d show you around.” Mike glanced at the box. “Thanks for bringing this down.”

“No problem. I should have done it sooner.”

Mike leaned in a little. “I could show you around another time, or maybe meet for coffee? Catch up on what Jesse’s been doing in New York.”

Chris hesitated. Which one of them was supposed to catch up? He’d talked to Jesse just last week. About to say so, he paused. Maybe Mike and Jesse didn’t keep in touch, or more likely Mike was hitting on him. Did Chris want him to? God, he was crap at this stuff.

He jumped as a man appeared at his elbow as if from nowhere. He’d been so focused on the big blond he hadn’t heard the other guy’s approach.

The man called out a greeting as he passed. “Hey, Mike. How’s it going?”

“Good. You?”

The guy kept walking, waggling his hand from side to side. “Same old, same old.”

Chris allowed himself the briefest of glances at that muscular, denim-clad ass. Was he one of the dancers? He carried a gym bag slung over one shoulder and was built like someone who’d look good naked, not all pale skin and jutting hip bones. Chris’s gaze flicked to Mike. Had he seen him sneak a peek? Hard to say.

Mike jerked his chin toward the man’s receding back. “That’s Brad. He’s one of our senior dancers.”

“Oh…great,” Chris said, which was totally lame.

Mike discreetly checked his watch, and Chris straightened, recognizing he’d been dismissed. Well, no wonder. He sucked at normal-sounding chitchat. “I guess I should let you get back to work.”

Mike smiled, laugh lines appearing around his blue eyes. “Anytime you want to get together, just let me know.”

“Thanks.” Chris swallowed. Maybe he was imagining the flirtatious tone, but he couldn’t stop thinking of their sweaty bodies heaving together. He shook his head to clear it.

“It was nice meeting you, Chris,” Mike said.

Chris liked hearing Mike say his name. For the first time he realized if he dropped the R, his name sounded like kiss. “Same here,” he murmured.

Chris left, aware the other man was watching him walk away. He wondered if that sharp gaze had slipped to his ass. His gait stiffened as he tried to minimize any wiggle of his hips.

Had he just been cruised, or was Mike simply looking for an update on Jesse? He honestly couldn’t tell. He really was crap at this stuff.

About the Author
Pender lives in Canada though she spent her childhood years in England. An imaginative child, Pender wasn't a willing student and didn't learn to read until age nine when her father—deciding some incentive was needed—promised her a pony as soon as she could read a newspaper.

Properly motivated, Pender picked up a book and discovered the joys of fiction.

Though her infatuation with ponies didn’t last, she still loves a good story. When she's not doing what seems like endless housework, she's busy coaxing another story into shape.

Connect With Me Here 


  • Comment with email to win an e-copy of Single Use Only
  • Winner has 48hrs to reply to my email or another winner will be chosen
  • Must be 18yrs and over
  • Contest runs until November 4th 2013 11:59pm EST

Friday, October 25, 2013

Review: Bloody Kiss by Mell Eight

Reviewed by Fehu
Bloody Kiss (Proud to be a Vampire) by Mell Eight
Less Than 3 Press
Short Story
3 Pants Off

Lis had been enjoying his school trip to Egypt until a statue came to life and drank his blood. Back home in Boston, nothing feels or tastes or smells quite the same, he's plagued by strange dreams, and has a craving that nothing seems to satisfy—until the statue shows up again.

So much potential and room for a sequel! What do you do, when you get caught by a statue, after you fall into a cave?  You kiss it of course! At least that's what Lis has done and since he was bleeding at that time, he managed to break a century long curse on said statue that turned out to not be made out of stone after all. After his return to the States Lis begins to have flashbacks about a boy named Cey and all that happens to said boy, who became a vampire and who turned out to be the statue that halted his fall in Egypt.

A bloody kiss is an offer to vampire to be their willing human slave, but only if this blood and the kiss is offered freely. Since Lis found the guy very attractive the kiss was truly given, even if he wasn't aware of what it all entailed. Now Cey was coming for him, but Lis childhood friend and his grandmother don't think it's all that good. A lot has happened after Cey was cursed and the vampires now are bidding their time to kill their own and to grow into more power that way. Unknown to Cey he is travelling in the territory of an old enemy and his Lis, the man he wants to be his lover and companion lives there.

It's not my first book by Mell Eight and I'm glad that I could see the author with every book she wrote. This one was no different, but its potential wasn't really shown to the fullest, which is sad because even with Cey being a murderous and mostly remorseless killer, the author made me feel pity for him and actually made him somewhat redeemable, which is no small feat and takes a lot of skill. I actually found him more interesting than Lis.

There were flashbacks and I didn't mind them, I was more interested in the flashbacks and would have loved to see more of Cey's life. It would have been great if there was half a novel which was about Cey and how he became a vampire and then the time when he met Lis, who woke him up.

Lis well he wasn't all that fascinating, but I'd love to read more about his best friend, who is a witch and just came into his powers! It's a talent of this author, I think, that she always introduces some characters I'd love to read more about. Actually I'm even curious about the vampire in whose territory Lis lives and would love to see him get his own story, since he appeared to be more of an ambiguous chap, than a true villain. He did help Cey after a fashion, since he didn't tell Cey's maker about his mistake, which allowed Cey to survive long enough, to become a vampire. The ending is pretty open and I was looking for another chapter, when I finished, because it felt like the whole ending and epilogue were missing.

Should You Read It? Well, it has potential and if there is a sequel then you definitely need to read this one! I really hope there is a sequel, because I'd love to learn more about Cey. A lot of characters in this story are quite interesting and I'd love to read more about them!

3 Pants Off
Review: The List by Sandra Bard

Review: Black Dog by Cat Grant

Reviewed by Whuppsy
Black Dog (Bannon's Gym #1) by Cat Grant
Novella: 130pgs
3 Pants Off

Danny Bannon and Eddie Roscoe have been fighting in and out of the ring for more than fifteen years, held together by mutual attraction and small-town ties, yet kept apart by a shared tragedy that continues to haunt them. Their steady on-again off-again is shaken up by the arrival of Tom Delaney, a teenage runaway trying to escape his tense home situation and his punch-happy dad.

In no time, the scrawny homeless kid has shown himself to be a boxing prodigy, and building him up brings Danny and Eddie closer than they’ve been in ages. It seems that the three of them, plus Eddie’s mother, Gloria, are forming a new family unit, much tighter than anything Tom experienced in his difficult past.

But Tom’s politically influential father isn't the only person he left behind. When his mother shows up at Eddie and Gloria’s diner with a shiner and a haunted look in her eyes, Tom is hopeful for her future. But when that hope is snuffed out, Tom is ready to turn his new fighting skills to a deadly purpose: get revenge on his abusive father or die trying.

It’s up to his surrogate big brothers, Danny and Eddie, to put their differences and their painful history aside to prevent another tragic ending.

Not what I was expecting when I read the blurb for the book, however, still an interesting read. Tom really stole the book for me. He was this kid who was running for his life and that just broke my heart.

The story starts when Eddie Roscoe meets Tom Delaney behind his diner as he’s fighting with a homeless man for his things. And thus our story begins. As you read the story you get to meet who these characters are. Eddie-heartbroken and guilt-driven. Danny Bannon-fueled by anger and guilt. As you get deeper into the story, you get a sense of the Push-Pull, On-Off Relationship that Danny and Eddie share.

You will get lots of angst and miscommunication in this book. You will also see the guilt that these follow these two around. The abuse and hurt that all of these characters carry around. The fear of stepping out of the roles that they each placed on themselves. How they overcome them is really sweet.

Tom comes with problems of his own. Abusive Father. Abused Mother. Anger. Lots of anger from Tom. But his strength of character comes through. That he’s a survivor.

I found this short story had such an amazing premise. I loved the idea of people who haven’t had the easiest life, find a way to make a life for themselves. To find the strength to know that where you come from can’t be changed, but that they can change their future. How they feel and how they deal with the past and look forward to the future. I just felt that the execution of the story didn’t really hit the mark for me.

The book shows the three main characters POV. I have to say, at first I wasn’t sure about this, but as I read along it grew on me. I loved hearing how they thought and what they felt. I felt that the book was rushed. Very rushed. The ending came to quickly without a real sense of closure. I understand that it’s part of a new series. I hope that with that comes more. Just more. I would like to see how the characters develop. I would like to see how this family that they have become flourishes.

3 Pants Off

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: Blue River by Theo Fenraven

Reviewed by SinChan
Blue River by Theo Fenraven
Dreamspinner Press
Short Story: 92pgs
5 Pants Off

2nd Edition

Photography genius Ethan Mars is out and living the fast life in Los Angeles until a mysterious mist in Topanga Canyon sends him back in time. There he meets Quinn Parker, a farmer who has hidden his homosexuality from everyone, even Margaret, his fiancée. Falling in love is the last thing Ethan expects, and the last thing Quinn can allow—in 1863, being gay can get him killed. When Ethan is unexpectedly offered a way home, he faces an impossible decision: go back... or stay?

1st Edition published by MLR Press, 2011.

A Timeless Dreams title: While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma.

This is the second edition of story first published for the "MLR Press Story A Day For the Holidays 2011" event.

The appearance of a "time travel" fog connects two different spaces and times. Ethan travels back in time through the fog to the 1800s and meets Quinn, who's in the closet. Quinn is engaged to a woman and the marriage is in 3 weeks because of societal expectations. Meeting Ethan has changed Quinn's outlook on life and love. Both men have to make choices and sacrifices on deciding what is "home."

The time traveling gives them a choice to either live in a gay-tolerant community in the 21st century or stay in the 1800s where the food tastes better. They both have families they don't want to leave behind but they also don't want to leave each other. That is the dilemma the characters face and this is well portrayed by the author from start to finish.

I love the humorous commentary about life in the 1800s and the luxurious amenities of the 21st century. It was fun to read about Ethan discovering the outhouse, bathing, killing and preparing a chicken for dinner. I really enjoy Ethan's voice in the story. At times, he's humorous but other times, he is bogged down with indecision and second-guesses on life. He asks himself some soul-searching questions to decide where is home and what is love. It's easy to connect with these characters and get a feel for life in the 1800s.

The HEA ending was great with just a hint of melancholy because decisions are tradeoffs. The book perfectly balances the realities of life with humor. This story is meaningful, honest, and showcases the good and bad of life. This is a memorable book for me and I highly recommend it.

5 Pants Off

Guest Post & Giveaway: Interview with Vongue (Cover Artist for Bump in the Night)

Hi Vongue, thanks for joining us at Pants off Reviews.

Walk me through your creative process? In what order do you work? 
First I look for similar concepts and search for inspiration in a common theme. At some point in my head a pretty sharp picture forms of how the art should look in the end, and then I start looking for references. Most times it's not a single photo, but different references for the general pose, left hand, right leg... Sometimes for references, when I can't find them online, I take photos of people who kindly agree to suffer for me. =)

How much does the author's ideas of how a cover should look influence the cover design? 
Pretty much. Generally I try to stick to an author's ideas as close as possible, if they are realizable, and if not then I find an alternative.

Do you prefer to use a reference or not, and if so, how do you go about finding the right references for your paintings? 
I think I just answered that in the question about "creative process". =) I can only add that most artists who draw in a realistic style always use references, more or less.

This is your first cover with Riptide Publishing, what are your favorite covers and why? Which author(s) would you like to work with next? 
My favorite covers are by Petite Madame (Fragile Bond, Mark of the Gladiator, He Is Worthy) and Imaliea (Power Play: Resistance, A Glutton for Punishment, The Flesh Cartel #14: Independence Day). I know them from deviantArt and I adore their styles. Colors, realism, composition - everything!

Bio: To learn more about Vongue's art, please visit her DeviantArt page at

About Bump in the Night:

Turn off the lights . . . and turn on your darkest fantasies.

Demon pacts. Ghostly possessions. Monsters lurking in the depths. The things that go bump in the night frighten us, but they also intrigue us. Fascinate us. Even turn us on.

Join us as fan favorites Ally Blue and Kari Gregg bring over-amorous aquatic beasts to life with their mythic twists on the Siren and the monster in the lake. Erotic horror pros Heidi Belleau, Sam Schooler, and Brien Michaels show us just how sexy scary can be with a pair of demon deals destined to curl your toes and set your heart thrashing. And literary masters Laylah Hunter and Peter Hansen weave haunting worlds where ghosts and dead lovers can touch our hearts (and other, naughtier places too . . .) and teach us lessons from beyond the grave.

By turns exciting, evocative, and exquisitely explicit, the stories in Bump in the Night are sure to scratch your sexy paranormal itch. Explore your wildest fantasies with us in this collection of dark erotic tales.

You can read an excerpt from each story and buy the whole anthology here!

Contest:Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $25 Riptide Publishing gift certificate! Entries close at midnight, EST, on November 2nd, and one grand prize winner will be contacted on November 3rd. Contest is valid worldwide.

Guest Post: Stallion-Shifters, Horror, and "Dark Menagerie" by Lor Rose

Up until now all of my anthology releases have related back to some series of mine... except this one. "The Four of Us", my short for Storm Moon Press' Dark Menagerie, was my first release unrelated to any series I currently have. Well, that's a lie... "The Four of Us" was the first installment of a four part mini-series-thing. The next installment doesn't come out until February (more on that one later).

"The Four of Us" is more mythical than paranormal. I took the legend of the Mares of Diomedes, the Eighth Labour of Hercules, legend and spun it a bit. Stallions of Diomedes sounded much better. Plus, I've seen a hard stallion, and it's like wow. Anyway...

Stallions are more my thing genderly (is that a word?) speaking. You know, 'cause of the penis aspect. It doesn't hurt that I know quite a bit about horses. So why not mix my knowledge of penises and horses? It sounded logically to me.

The story just came to me. At first, I wasn't completely in love it (the outline sucked) but as I wrote, the story got better and better. There was a twist in there I wasn't aware of, and that twist ended up really making the story for me.

"The Four of Us" has a tint of horror. A beta reader of mine said it was straight up horror, and I was completely surprised, since I've never attempted horror before in my life. It might be the 'flesh eating thing' or the 'murder thing', who knows. ;)

I sent off my little flesh eating horses into the Storm Moon Press submissions slush pile (I like to think the slush pile is a snowy happy place where manuscripts go to play and have fun; not a fiery inferno) and waited to hear the verdict. Obviously, I was successful!

This story, along with its counterpart (the one releasing in February), is one of my favorites. I love the concept of taking such beautiful creatures and turning them into equal parts beautiful and horrifying, flesh-eating monsters. Sometimes, juxtaposing the two opposing forces can really bring out the best in both, and I hope that comes across in my story!

My challenge with "The Four of Us" was to create characters the reader could love. Build them up and give them depth... and at the last moment, make them characters readers would hate (in a good way). It wasn't something I set out to do, but I found it happening almost as if my keyboard had been hijacked whenever I blinked. It was scary! But I think I managed the balance well enough. I hope I did. Why don't you guys be the judge? :D

Thank you to Darien and Pants Off Reviews for hosting me today! You guys can read more about the Dark Menagerie anthology below. Check it out!

A shifter leads two lives: one as a human, and one as an animal. Sometimes these lives are intertwined, and sometimes they are not, but always the shifter has to find a way to reconcile one with the other. Dark Menagerie follows characters as they explore the darker side of what it means to have one foot in the animal world and one foot in the human world. Some struggle to keep the animal starkly separate from their lives as a human being, but for others, their shifting leads them to a darker corner of the mind where human and animal are nearly indistinguishable.

First, in Dominant, Kade has left everything he valued in his life behind; his family, his fiancée, his entire future. He tries to make peace with what he has become by running away to a small town, but fails. Then, a monster in a suit walks into his life, a monster just like him. Then, the four in The Four of Us devised a game: pick two humans, lure them in, and hunt them down. The game, the shared thrill of the hunt, was what brought them together, but also what threatens to tear them apart.

Justin, of Horsefeathers, had one job—to get a new Mustang for his boss' ranch. But at the holding pens, he can't look away from a stunning stallion. He isn't at all what the boss wants, but Justin can't say no. He soon learns that he's brought back much more than simply a beautiful horse, and that there are some legends that he wished weren't based in truth. Finally, Breathe concerns a young dolphin shapeshifter who has to deal with his own hateful feelings about himself, a deadly dull partner, and the presence of a new shifter in town. And a hurricane bearing down on their home in Key West, of course.

Dark Menagerie - Now Available from Storm Moon Press for $4.99 (ebook) or $9.99 (print)!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guest Post: Atypical Shifters, Atypical Approach – Forgotten Menagerie & Cari Z

So, I have a confession to make: I have no creative process. At least, not a reliable one, and I think that helps me when it comes to making up stories that are meant to take readers outside the norm.

A lot of the thoughtful writers I know have systems. They have set places they go to write, set things they like to drink or eat while doing that, ways of developing their inspiration in the form of listening to songs or browsing through photos, some of them even keep spreadsheets... it's not usually a concrete kind of thing, but there is at least a thing. The spark that gets them started has to come from somewhere, right? It has to be fostered and grown and remembered, and this is how they go about it. Not me.

This isn't to say there's no method to my madness once I get going, but the initial inspiration for the story itself? That can come from absolutely anything, out of the blue, a strike of lightning, or the slow culmination of months and months of truncated thoughts on the same subject. There is no consistency. There just is.

For my story "Dangerous Territory" in the Storm Moon Press anthology Forgotten Menagerie, the inspiration for my novel shifter character came while I was watching The Princess Bride. I confess, as ridiculous and cheesy as they are, I love the ROUSes (Rodents of Unusual Size), and while I watched everyone's favorite Dread Pirate Roberts rolling around on the ground with one of them, well... ideas happened. But I don't care for rats, and since I was setting my story in an alternate-history American west, I decided the animal to use instead was a mongoose.

Yeah, I know they're not indigenous to the Americas, I know the above makes no sense if you think about it... you see? What creative process? I draw connections between things that cheerfully ignore history, biology, and zoology, and a whole bunch of other sciences that I profess to love and yet abuse constantly—I'm SORRY, okay?! Physics still isn't speaking to me, and let's not even get into poor religious studies. Anyway, I then use those connections to create entirely new paradigms for the worlds in which I set my stories.

All illogic aside, I do take my world building very seriously, and while the pickiest of nitpickers might take umbrage with my continuity issues, I think most of us are willing to roll with discrepancies for the sake of a stronger narrative. "Dangerous Territory" was a wonderful story to write, the first time I've ever use the West—as in the Wild Wild West, not the American West of the present day—as a setting, and even though I've taken plenty of liberties with it (so many liberties, oh, how I <3 freedom) I love the rustic, hard-scrabble foundation that many of us know so well. There are cowboys and cattle and cowboys and gunslinging and cowboys and giant snakes, and did I mention cowboys? Because you can't have a western without them, or I'm just not expansive enough to create a new paradigm that excludes them.

Why? Because cowboys are hot! Add in tribes of shifters that are strong enough to keep the United States from ever becoming united, a Louisiana that still pays homage to the French crown, and an independent nation of Texas (just what they've always wanted), and it's a brave new world.

Why? Because cowboys are hot! Add in tribes of shifters that are strong enough to keep the United States from ever becoming united, a Louisiana that still pays homage to the French crown, and an independent nation of Texas (just what they've always wanted), and it's a brave new world.

I think that was what appealed to me most about the idea of doing a story dealing with atypical shifters. There were almost no expectations attached to it, nothing about packs or alphas that I had to adhere to for the sake of reader expectation. I understand reader expectation; I have it myself when I read about certain subjects. When the story is expressly meant to be outside the norm, though, it's rather freeing.

I hope readers enjoy what I've put together in "Dangerous Territory", as well as the rest of the Forgotten Menagerie anthology, on sale now at Storm Moon Press. With every story I write, I think I get a little braver.

"This is a new country we're building up. There's no room in for weaklings—men or women!" --The Virginian

Cari Z is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She just got back from two years of living in West Africa and is still delighted by the magic of hot running water and the glory that is Wi-Fi. Check her blog for info on new releases, upcoming projects, and works in progress.

Spotlight, Review & GIVEAWAY: Soulless by T. Baggins

Soulless by T. Baggins
A Man of Science

Nicholas Robinson is a chemist decades ahead of his time. Crippled by a riding accident and embittered by his injuries, he shuns the world, focusing on his laboratory and experiments. But when the sale of his country estate, Grantley, leads to an encounter with a vampire, Nicholas realizes there is more in heaven and earth than he ever dreamed possible.

A Creature of Darkness

Although three hundred years old, Bancroft Ulwin is young by supernatural standards. Enslaved by his cruel, deformed maker, Ban is forbidden from relations with mortal men unless it ends in death. But his liaison with Nicholas, expressly against his master’s wishes, soon expands beyond mere lust to something more.

A Love Predestined

Long ago while still mortal, Ban met Serafino, the only true love of his life. When death separated them, Ban accepted his role as an enemy of human kind. But as he comes to suspect Nicholas is Serafino reincarnated, Ban begins to question everything he once believed. Including his own damnation.

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About the Author
Orphaned at birth, T. Baggins was raised by wolves until age fourteen, when the pack moved on one night without a forwarding address. Returning to human society, Ms. Baggins taught herself to read and write by studying fan fiction. Cutting her teeth on Kirk/Spock (Star Trek: The Original Series, baby!) she soon began slashing rock stars and X-Men. Despite a lifetime spent in the southern U.S., T. Baggins considers herself a citizen of the cosmos and a freethinker, which is good, because no one has offered so much as a penny for her thoughts. In her spare time she enjoys blogging at Shades of Gay, emptying gin bottles and tweeting into the void as @therealtbaggins.

Nicholas Robinson is a man consumed. He is lord of his manor, a brilliant chemist yet he leads the life of half of a man. He has a bad temperament caused by an accident that left him crippled and where his wife ran away with the doctor. So yeh, he's a bit bad tempered and because he's a cripple and lost his bollocks he pretty much gets leave to be a drunkard and eccentric. Nicholas is thinking of selling his family home Grantley and he is to meet with an interested buyer who decides to have their meeting in the evening. That’s usually the time that Nicholas is well on his to being all sorts of drunk, and it would be wise for him to keep out of the cups for company but...its Nicholas he is crippled and in pain and being a little tipsy won't make a difference.

Nicholas never expected Bancroft Ulwin, a man so sensual he's having thoughts that no god fearing man should ever have for another male. Yet while Mr Ulwin is beautiful there is also something dark about him and Nicholas knows he should be wary but that gets all muddled when Ban places his lips upon his own and feel of another person after all the years is just good. Then that all comes crumbling down because Ban is no man he is a vampire and Nicholas has just invited him into his home (no not the cheesy you have to invite a vampire in).

The men life become more crossed and Nicholas finds himself owned by Ban when he gives up his home and offers his life to save someone he cares for deeply. Ban is pretty his lord and master but they share a bond that seems destined and something has awakened in Nicholas he long thought dead. For Ban, he is pretty much playing with fire because his lord and master is cruel powerful vampire and his punishments are to be feared. His only objective was to acquire Grantley but he went and fell for its owner who reminds him of a time past, a past filled with cruelty that also came from the hands of his master Sebastian. He has pulled Nicholas into a dangerous game and endangered the people his Nicky has sworn to protect.

I feel like this book could have been great because T. Baggins is an amazing author. I do like that these vamps made no apologies about what they are, they drink blood so freaking deal with it. No inner angst about I'm a monster and so on and so forth, they know they're better, faster, and stronger and they use it. I really liked the developing relationship between Ban and Nicholas, wasn't perfect from the beginning and utter doom was impending but they were flirty with each and it made me smile. This one also had a real strong sense of place and intelligent characters and everyone served some kind of purpose.

What irked me above all else is the character Martha. Yes, she was intelligent and I liked her brass manner and strong young girl way but if that girl said "cock" or "quim" anymore I was gonna behead her. I get it, men can be dogs especially in that time but it was established no one was going to put their cock in your quim so need not ask about it so much. And for someone so dead set against any form of physicality the ending came as a surprise. This brings me to the other part that irked me. Seriously, that’s how its gonna go down? That’s how its gonna end? Its sweet, beautiful even but that bit with Martha is a little contradictory to the character she was until that point. Still it was a wonderful horrific story with evil vampires and unlikely heroes.

Should You Read It? I can't recommend T.Baggins enough, I haven't read a book by this author that I didn't enjoy immensely. Soulless was wonderful but that freaking cover doesn't do it enough justice.

4 Pants Off

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review: The List by Sandra Bard

Reviewed by Fehu
The List (Proud to be A Vampire) by Sandra Bard 
Less Than 3 Press
4.5 Pants Off

Gavin Summers' quiet, academic life is shattered when he is attacked by a mugger and rescued by Dillon, a member of the Night Watch. Soon Gavin finds himself embroiled in anti-vampire propaganda, vampire politics, and the dangers of associating with vampires in a city where vampires are being killed daily, forcing him to make a choice: remain neutral or stand with the vampires.

Delightful vampire story and I lucked out with my first pick! With a new author, I am always a bit apprehensive, but it turned out I didn't need to be. The List had an interesting premise; vampires are not some obscure myths figures, but a part of society. Of course not all people are happy about them. Vampirism as an answer to human disease is not a new take, but the list adds a twist. There is a list and people need to be on this list to be turned, they are only turned when new vampires need to be made and it is all regulated as to who might get turned and what cases they decline.

Vampires work close with the police, but have their own group: the Nightwatch, which accepts donations in blood or money. After Gavin was assaulted and nearly died, he came across a member of the nightwatch, who introduced himself with a number and told him to report to the police station to make his statement. The vampire he met and who actually did help him get home, Dillon, picked Gavin's curiosity.

In the meantime the anti-vampire protests and actions have reached their peak. Hate groups were killing vampires, by chaining them and letting them burn alive. Gavin's advisor is a very vocal member of the anti-vampire movement and it turns out the vampires suspected Gavin to be of the same opinion. What the vampires didn't know and wanted to find out, was how the haters managed to snatch their people, since vampires are usually faster and stronger than humans and of course how did they find them? That's why members of the nightwatch have been assigned to watch out for the leaders of the anti-vampires groups and people close to them and that is how Dillon has been assigned to watch over Gavin.

The meeting with a vampire turns out to be a catalyst for Gavin, since now he sees all the bad things posted about them and his own advisor makes him participate in the rallies against vampires. His own positive experience and the ones of the many people saved by the nightwatch, don't seem to mean munch in the face of so much prejudice. Meanwhile there is the attraction he feels towards Dillon and the drive to find out more about vampires in general, that motivate Gavin to research more. Gavin's questions about the vampires don't go unnoticed and soon he has to pick sides. Especially after Dillon get's kidnapped by the radicals to be burned by the sun.

I liked the characters a lot. Gavin was a bit naive at first, but it was nice to see him grow a pair and actually fight back against his advisor, who exploited him. Dillon was a bit of a mystery, but he grew on me pretty fast and actually turned out to be a very sweet person and not at all as standoffish as he was when he first encountered Gavin. The regulations of who was to be turned intrigued me, since there didn't appear to be rogues, who turned people at their whim. While this was not a very long story, it managed to be quite engaging with interesting characters and fast moving plot.

Should You Read It? If you search for a good vampire story that avoids the typical tropes, than The List is a good pick.

4.5 Pants Off

Review: Hungry for Love by Rick R. Reed

Reviewed by Fehu
Hungry for Love by Rick R. Reed
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 200pgs
2.5 Pants Off

Nate Tippie and Brandon Wilde are gay, single, and both hoping to meet that special man, even though fate has not yet delivered him to their doorstep. Nate's sister, Hannah, and her kooky best friend, Marilyn, are about to help fate with that task by creating a profile on the gay dating site, OpenHeartOpenMind. The two women are only exploring, but when they need a face and body for the persona they create, they use Nate as the model.

When Brandon comes across the false profile, he falls for the guy he sees online. Keeping up the charade, Hannah begins corresponding with him, posing as Nate. Real complications begin when Brandon wants to meet Nate, but Nate doesn’t even know he’s being used in the online dating ruse. Hannah and Marilyn concoct another story and send Nate out to let the guy down gently. But when Nate and Brandon meet, the two men feel an instant and powerful pull toward each other. Cupid seems to have shot his bow, but how do Nate and Brandon climb out from under a mountain of deceit without letting go of their chance at love?

This one was difficult to review, because I liked the writing, it is a well written story, which moves quickly and smoothly. My problem were the characters, mostly the female character or even more specific, Nate's crazy sister and I thought she was a few apples short of a basket, since she fell in love with a photo and a description of a gay man on a gay dating website AND pretended to be her brother!!! You might say hey, she is a teen, but no she is actually older than her brother who is 34, so she is over 30. I'll start at the beginning.

The story begins; some 20% of it is about Nate's sister and her older gal friend, who both like m/m romance and gay guys. Honestly as someone who reads m/m romance I would not want to be thrown in the same category. So Hannah, yes the crazy person has a name, wanted to see the profiles of a dating site and her friend who was a bit too crazy about gay guys encouraged her. Now Hannah wrote a profile and put a lot of her brother’s info and his name and even his photo. A sane person might have written that she is searching for a boyfriend for her brother. She is not that sane person. No she saw Brandon's photo and read his profile and decided to write him, pretending to be her brother. Brandon of course wanted to meet the person who has written him, no Hanna's brother Nate, who is somewhat of a slut, doesn't know what his sister is doing. Hannah convinces Nate to go to said date after explaining to him what she has done. Nate agrees and likes Brandon. Hannah wanted him to let Brandon down gently.

You would wonder why she wanted him dump Brandon, well see she fell in love with Brandon or at least with his nice photo and is crazy jealous of her brother who is always sleeping with different guys while she is mopping at home, whining that there are no nice guys for her. Since her brother was sleeping around, I don't understand what she had to be jealous about. If she wanted to sleep around, I'm sure she could have found guys?!

What else would such a person do, when said brother was meeting her crush? Stalk them of course! She actually dressed in black and hid her hair and went into the same gay café to make sure her brother dumped the guy, like she told him. She was out of luck, since they clicked. No she was not happy for her brother or for Brandon, who yes, let's say it all together one more time: IS GAY.  You think that was the end of her mad ideas and plans? Wrong! She continues to write Brandon and gets bitchier with every message, telling him what a slut Nate is, still writing as Nate!!! Oh she even wrote about sex, they supposedly had. Who would write a sex scene with ones brother???? Her brother was a liar as well, but he pretended to be a woman and thought of a complete persona, with a husband and children and interacted with his fans as such. Frankly the whole family was strange.

While I liked how the story was written and I've finished it pretty quickly, I disliked the female characters and they overshadowed the main romance plot. At least 30% of the story featured Nate's sister who got her own happy end and a guy (who should have been warned about her less than sane personality). It might seem shallow, but I'm reading m/m romance because I like to read about romance between two guys, not about their mothers, sisters or best friends. No, I don't mind interesting female characters or female characters in general, but here they had a bit too much story time and I hated them as characters. Brandon while nice overreacted about the wrong thing, namely finding out that Nate had an alias as a writer (who cares????). My impression of him is this: He brought his mother on his second date. Nate isn't a bad guy, but his wish to find a partner came out of the blue and wasn't explained in any believable way.

Should You Read It? If you like crazy female characters, go for it!

2.5 Pants Off

Giveaway, Spotlight, & Review: Wallflower by Heidi Belleau

"This gamer geek has a lacy little secret." Art student and MMORPG addict Robert Ng has always been a loner, but he's recently made it his goal to make more (IRL) friends. Which is how he winds up working nights at Rear Entrance Video, shilling sketchy porn and blowup dolls as a favor to his roommate. The longer he works there, though, the more he realizes he'll never be truly happy until he becomes the person he is online: his female persona, Bobby.

Bobby is cuter and funnier than Rob is, and a thousand times more popular with boys. Becoming Bobby IRL presents its own set of challenges, though . . . especially when you're sitting on the fence between two genders, only one of which has caught the attention of your seriously cute customer/classmate.

Dylan Ford is a six-foot Inuit comic book artist who always says what's on his mind, and screw anyone who doesn't like it. As rough as he appears, though, Dylan has a soft spot for Rob. But will out-and-proud Dylan still want Rob if he's not all man?

About the Author
Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write.

She has a degree in history from Simon Fraser University with a concentration in British and Irish studies; much of her work centred on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with unironic papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!)

When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her newborn daughter or standing in line at the local coffee shop, waiting on her caramel macchiato.

  Connect with Heidi:

Robert is a loner, though he lives in a house with plenty of roommates who are close friends he still is pretty much all alone. He was never the cool guy still isn't the cool guy and his awkwardness and self doubt makes him almost incapable of making friends. That doesn't mean his older sister doesn't drag him to yoga in hopes of making him more social but even that is a bust but his butt sure thanks all the classes. The only time Rob truly comes alive is when he gets behind his role-playing game and become the sexy flirtatious Bobby. Because Bobby is the girl Rob sometimes like to become and Bobby says shit Rob can only dream of ever uttering. Too bad it’s his close kept secret and no one can ever know his longing desire to become a woman sometimes. Then there is working at Rear Entrance Video, the porn shop he got suckered into helping out with its sketchy customers. Yet, it’s in that porn shop where Bobby will emerge and change Rob's life truly for the better.

With working at the porn shop Rob also has his art classes, where once again he's invisible and forgettable. There he runs into Dylan a customer from REV and now his classmate, of course Dylan wouldn't remember him but Rob is drawn in by the boy and when they're partnered up for a project their relationship takes flight. They're hot for each other but Rob has secrets and he can't truly feel happy because he's plagued with guilt and afraid he will be found out that he and the bubbly sassy Bobby is one and the same. Of course a transformation such as Bobby doesn't come with a series of ups and down when working in porn shop, and Rob's shame eventually jeopardizes his safety. 

First of all I love the shit out of this book and the reasons aren't about how sexy it was or about it being interracial. There is a wider picture to this book and there are so much topics and meaning I could sit here and write a 20pg review. Heidi wrote about a Chinese/Canadian and an Inuit that in itself is like a huge feet. These characters had culture and not just the title, but actual background and the stigma that comes with being a different race and the assumptions fool ass people make. Then there is that underlying of Rob actually judging those without taking the chance to present himself and letting them draw a decision for themselves. This is where I found the book to be real, because it’s in our nature to expect the absolute worse of people and sometimes the absolute worse is to be expected. Also there is "I'm weird, freaky and wrong" so if someone is hurting me I probably deserve it because after all it’s my fault. I love that realistic writing and it made me feel. So I salute you Heidi Belleau, your writing is a fixture, its cultural, and most of all its diverse. There is just so much to love and talk about in Wallflower just so much to love, I love Rob and his courage, I love Dylan and his "fuck the man" attitude. I somehow see him rocking an N.W.A t-shirt singing "Fuck the police".

Should You Read It? Yes, yes, and more yes. If you want to read something different and not just your cookie cutter M/M romance then this book is for you. I love the play on gender and that there isn't just one way to be yourself. Like our finger prints we are unique and I just love reading that in books.

4.5 Pants Off
Review: Book #1 Apple Polisher

  • Win an e-copy of Rear Entrance Video #1: Apple Polisher! All you have to do is leave a comment on this or any of the other Wallflower tour posts. Each comment counts for another entry, so be sure to follow the entire tour. Just make sure your comment includes a way for me to contact you, be it email, twitter, or facebook. On October 27th, I’ll randomly draw a winner from all the entries who will receive a copy of Apple Polisher in their choice of format. Good luck!

Friday, October 18, 2013

New Reviewers! (Updated)

WooHoo! I am so excited to share with the new additions to the Pants Off team. I know how slow its been here for the past few months, and just Fehu and me we couldn't quite meet the demand. So now with fresh meat there will be so many voices to Pants Off Reviews but what will remain the same is our very honest opinions all the freaking time.

So let me introduce you to Elbie & SinChan for right now and hope you welcome them with big open arms. YAY!!

Hi, I'm Elbie and I am happy to join the Pants Off team.  I live in a small city in a small home where I am vastly outnumbered by pets and vastly outsmarted by a 10-year-old.  My favourite escape is my ereader and the beautiful boys who live in there waiting for love to surprise them.  I sob through their heart aches, cheer their HEAs, and blush through their sexy time (before flipping back to read it again).  I look forward to discovering new authors and to just being a part of the fantastic m/m community.

I first discovered M/M romance from reading yaoi manga and then fanfiction. I'm an otaku at heart. I love Japanese culture and I've been to Japan. I like seafood, sushi, and most Asian foods. Most of the time, I'm on my phone reading ebooks. I love it when books have a happy ending, are well written, and are emotional satisfying. I also review books at my own blog, Books on Silver Wings.

My Mother started my love affair with books when I was just 8 years old. I started reading and just haven’t stopped yet. At 12 I started reading romance novels and that was all she wrote!! I started reading M/M books about a year and a half ago and OH MY LANTA!! I have been on a Roll!! I’m so very lucky to have been able to join the Pants Off Reviews Crew!! Here’s to Way More Happy Reading!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cover Reveal: Stripped Clean by Ellis Carrington

Stripped Clean 
by Ellis Carrington

Carlos O'Shea is stuck. He knocked-up a girl in college after a night of too much drinking, and then married her to be honorable. With little money, fewer options, and no degree, he winds up cleaning the floors in a small town gentleman's club and thinking desperate thoughts about the handsome owner that'll lead to 
nothing but trouble.

Greg Moorehouse only invested in a nudie bar to help his best buddy out of a financial crisis. Now his drug-dealing ex boyfriend, his reverend father, and a parade of surgically-enhanced DD's are driving him insane. But what's really stripped him of all good sense is his growing obsession with his married employee, Carlos.

They circle each other in a push-pull of misunderstandings and growing attraction. Carlos needs to get his boss out of his head, and Greg can’t abide cheaters and married men. So what are a strip club owner and the guy who cleans going to do with their undeniable desires?

Please note: This is an adult GLBT romance (male/male romance), for mature readers only. Contains explicit love-making between two hot-blooded men, angsty dark moments, and cupcake-baking exotic dancers.

Available for purchase at 


(iTunes coming soon)

Greg glanced at Carlos’s hand. “You still aren’t wearing your ring. Were you actually married, or was that some kinda fucked-up story?”
Carlos groaned and stared up at the morning sky. “She moved out, which was why I came by the club. I wanted to talk, but you were otherwise engaged.” He coughed a laugh. “I’m not sure what kind of crack I was smoking thinking that we were that kind of friend. You’re my boss for crying out loud.”
“Oh.” Greg pressed his lips together, nodding with mock agreement. “That’s very mature. While we’re being mature, should I trot out the liar-liar-pants-on-fire argument, because I’m pretty sure I saw you kissing that guy in there.”
Carlos thumped down the barely-holding-it-together wood stairs. “You did not see me kissing him in there. Did. Not.”
“Looked a hell of a lot like kissing.” Greg’s insides washed in relief, but he wasn’t sure he was ready to buy what Carlos was selling.
Carlos leaned close. “I handed him,” he said slowly, “a cup of coffee. We were talking. Our faces were close. The screen’s kinda thick on that living room window. Not the most conducive for spying, Greg.”
Oh Jesus. “I wasn’t spying I just happened— You know what? Whatever.” He spread his arms out wide. Took a step back. “So your wife being gone has nothing to do with you humping my leg in your sleep and coming in your pants?”
Carlos didn’t answer, but his face flushed a hot red that would have been sexy if Greg hadn’t been so pissed.
“Yeah. Listen,” Greg said. “This ain’t exactly an out-and-proud part of the country, man. Nobody knows better than I do. I’ve had my share of run-ins.” He stepped backward. Suddenly his stomach was full of rocks and he needed to get back to his car. “I still trusted you.” He nodded again, more to himself this time than to Carlos. “Gotta be honest, that you didn’t? Stings some.”
“Hey.” Carlos’s long legs ate up the distance between them. He gripped Greg’s shoulder with strong, dark fingers and pushed him back against the alcove over the front door, kissing hard.
Oh God. His distant memory of kissing Sammy had nothing on kissing Carlos. This was fire. Passion. Greg’s mouth came alive with Carlos’s lips on his. Their tongues slid together. His cock hardened as their bodies pressed in all the right places. Electricity shot through his veins when Carlos’s teeth grazed his tongue.
Carlos moaned and repositioned his mouth, kissing over and over. Harder. Harsher. Grinding erection against erection, twisting the fabric of Greg’s shirt in his hand.
Greg’s brought his hands to Carlos’s shoulders, and whether he was holding tighter or pushing away, he couldn’t quite tell even to himself.
Carlos pulled away, and Greg was still gasping when Carlos whispered in his ear, “I’m awake now, Greg.”

About the Author

Romance requires a hopeful ending and that is why Ellis Carrington is driven to write it. She loves to create original stories that are gritty, witty, and a little unexpected, just like the heroes who inhabit them. Her guys come in both human and non-human form because spirit guides and vampires deserve love too. Her favorite things are great friends, great music, and books that make her sob like there’s no tomorrow.

You can find her at


Presented By

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Reviewers Wanted!

Hello all *waves*. Once again I need to add to the POR team. We're pretty fantastic over here and would love for you to join us in sharing your honest reviews. I'm easy going and only request about 2 -3 reviews a week or 2-3 reviews every 2 weeks :D. 

Right now I am overflowing and can't quite keep up with the demand, so if you love sharing your honest opinions on books, please contact me at

Seriously, lots of books to be read!

Review: Northern Star by Ethan Day

Reviewed by Fehu
Northern Star by Ethan Day
Wilde City Press
Novel: 249pgs
4 Pants Off

Deacon Miller never had it all—he never really believed he could. Growing up in a broken home with an alcoholic mother and a revolving door of truly pathetic father figures taught him to keep his expectations low. Now at twenty-seven, on the night before Christmas Eve, his life is turned upside down yet again; his boyfriend has dumped him, he just fled the holiday family reunion from hell, and now to top it all off, a blizzard has left him stranded in an airport hotel.

Steve Steele has spent the better part of his forty-four years living a lie, ignoring his attraction to other men in an attempt to fit into the mold of the man he thought he should be, instead of living life as the man he knew himself to be. Recently divorced after coming home from work one day and coming out to his wife, Steve has floundered over the past year, desperately attempting to wade through the guilt and find the courage to start again.

That’s when a chance meeting in a hotel bar brings two lonely men together… and what should’ve been a one night stand turns into something much more than either one ever expected.

Charming story with some serious undertones and very lovable characters. Deacon is having a bad day right before Christmas Eve: his boyfriend dumped him, he fought with his mother again and now he is spending Christmas Eve alone in the hotel bar. Meet Steel, Steve Steel, a car salesman who also comes to the bar and takes notice of the sweet sad guy, with big brown eyes. Sparks fly between them; of course something happens to disturb their intimate time. Ashley, Deacon's teenage sister calls him, only to tell him that their mother, has again been drunk driving and crashed and now she was not only in hospital, but facing jail time. Being a good big brother Deacon has to go back to the house he grew up and take care of his sister.

Steve cannot forget the guy he met, but Deacon hasn't called him back, but he approaches him, when he surprisingly finds him working in the gourmet grocery store, where Steve likes to shop. Of course Deacon has insecurities and his mother and his past are coming back to haunt him, when he finally has found some happiness.

I'm glad to say thankfully it wasn't all that dark and sad like it might have been. While this is not the fun and light story like Sno Ho, the book has enough light moments, that there was no dark or sad and oppressing atmosphere. Instead there were characters who had insecurities, were not perfect and might have been slightly damaged, but in no way broken. I like that most about this story, that hope was present all the way; something did turn up at the moment it was needed. You might say that it's not realistic, but I for one was very glad that this book focused on the good in the people and showed that everyone could get a happy ending. The characters are the very heart of this book.

Should You Read It? I would recommend it for people who like romance, but also don't mind some hurt/comfort in their romance. Also there is a more than 10 years age gap between the characters; it's not a problem for me, but not all people like that in their romance stories.

4 Pants Off