Anthology

Friday Favourites with Xan West

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My guest today is the author of queer stories Xan West. Read on if you are curious to get to know Xan better and to learn more about their short story Tenderness included in the Queerly Loving Anthology vol. 2 which was just released. Xan also shared a short excerpt from the story which you can read the end of this post. 

PS: Don't miss Xan's recommendations for favourite contemporary romances with bi MCs. They have never stirred me wrong re good books. Make sure also to check their book review site - Corey's Book Corner


Meet Xan 

1. Favourite place: I love libraries and bookstores. One of the ways I treat myself is to include a trip to the library in with my errands. My favorite library these days is the central branch of the Berkeley Public library.

2. Favourite food and drink: These days I’m all about licorice tea as far as hot beverages go. For cold, I am favoring Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi. Foodwise, I have been over the moon recently for full sour garlicky pickles, everything bagel with lox and cream cheese, and smoked almonds.

3. Favourite music/genre/artist/song: I love showtunes with all my heart, and when I sing, that’s usually what I’m singing. I have a soft spot in my heart for soul, particularly Otis Redding, and for jazz standards (I love Ella Fitzgerald). I also have a deep love for particular artists and bands that cross musical influences and genres, like Leonard Cohen, Candye Kane, Nina Simone, and The Shondes.

4. Favourite movie/TV series: Picking a favorite movie is impossible. Top 12 movie musicals:
·         Victor/Victoria
·         Fiddler on the Roof
·         Guys and Dolls
·         Funny Girl
·         My Fair Lady
·         Singin in the Rain
·         Dreamgirls
·         Hello Dolly
·         Cabaret
·         A Chorus Line
·         Yentl
·         Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

5. Favourite hobby besides writing, if you consider writing a hobby: I don’t think of writing as a hobby, more like a vocation. Reading is close to that as well, but is a bit more like a hobby. I like puzzles, that would be more like a true hobby. And I like playing solitaire.

6. Favourite books (feel free to list as many as you want; all-time favourites or newly released ones; grouped by sub/genre or other criteria)

Okay this is simply not a fair question. Top 15 fave contemporary romances with bi MCs (as the MC of the story I discuss in the next question is bi).
·         The King of Bourbon Street by Thea de Salle
·         Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman
·         So Sweet by Rebekah Weatherspoon
·         Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
·         Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai
·         A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde
·         Tactical Submission by Ada Maria Soto
·         The Boss by Abigail Barnette
·         The Submission Gift by Solace Ames
·         Team Phison by Chace Verity
·         Sated by Rebekah Weatherspoon
·         The Love Song of Sawyer Bell by Avon Gale
·         To Seek and To Find by Tamryn Eradani
·         F*THS by GL Thomas
·         Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

7. Please introduce your latest/upcoming release (what inspired you to write, what can the readers expect from it, etc.)

My story “Tenderness” just came out 2/15 in the anthology Queerly Loving Vol 2, edited by G Benson and Astrid Ohletz. It has a special place in my heart as an autistic writer, as it’s also the first published piece I’ve written that centers an autistic character. (I have a novel and a novella WIP with autistic MCs, but they aren’t finished yet!)

I wrote Tenderness at a time in my life when I was struggling, and had reached out for help, and gotten a tremendous amount of support. I wanted to capture that feeling of, it’s okay to fall apart, we’ve got you, you aren’t alone, and put it in story form, focused on showing what queer chosen family love can be like. The spark of the story came from a conversation with a close friend, about bi representation and the things that are rarely shown.

I put those two things together and wrote a story centering a Jewish fat bisexual autistic femme with chronic pain (Judith has chronic migraines), who has just been dumped by her lesbian girlfriend right as the story begins. Judith falls apart, has a migraine flare, and a meltdown, and struggles to deal with what this breakup means, both the ways it devastates her and the ways it frees her. She does not do this alone; instead you see her getting supported by her genderqueer BFF Shiloh, and then later on by her queer chosen family. You get to see her surrounded by love and support, from people who let her be where she is at, hold space for her as she falls apart, and help her figure out her next steps. It’s a story intended to be full of comfort and hope, the kind of coziness that comes from being surrounded by a loving queer chosen family that sees you and honors who you are.

Book Description

In part two of Queerly Loving, our authors bring you short stories with characters across the fantastic queer spectrum, with endings that will leave you warm and smiling. Trans love interests, demisexual characters trying to find their way in the world, bisexual characters dealing with a heartbreak in the best way, and lesbians on escapades.

Dragons roar into life, dystopian futures unfold, mermaids enjoy space voyages, and modern-day adventures will curl your toes and make you cheer. There are first kisses, friends that are like kin, and aromantic characters discovering their place among a queer-normative family.

Get ready for your queer adventure.

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Purchase links: Publisher / Kindle / Paperback


Author Bio and Links 

Xan West is the nom de plume of Corey Alexander, an autistic queer fat Jewish genderqueer writer and community activist with multiple disabilities (including chronic migraines, like Judith in Tenderness). Xan adores vulnerable tops; strong, supportive bottoms; red meat; long winding conversations about power, privilege, and community; showtunes; and cool, dark, quiet rooms with comfortable beds. Their recent collection of queer kink erotica, Show Yourself To Me, is out from Go Deeper Press, and has been described by M. Christian as “a book that changes what erotica can and should be.” Xan is currently working on Meet Cutes, a lighthearted polyamorous butch/femme/genderqueer butch kinky romance novella centering autistic and disabled Jewish queers, a couple of whom have cameos in Tenderness. Xan also has a queer kinky polyamorous romance novel in the works, Shocking Violet, which centers disabled characters, many of whom are trans and non-binary, and includes a cameo from Shiloh, who appears in Tenderness.


Excerpt from Tenderness

Shiloh had been giving Judith massages to help her migraines since they’d met. In fact, it was how they met.

Gideon had brought Shiloh to where Judith was hiding out in his bedroom and said, “This is Shiloh and ze is really good at massages. How about you let zir try to ease your migraine, so maybe you can rejoin the seder?” Before that moment, Judith had never tried massage for her migraines. Maybe Shiloh’s big hands knew what to do, because it actually had helped. The migraine hadn’t disappeared, but had faded enough that she was able to return to the table.

Touch was intense today. Judith’s body had retreated into a shell and Shiloh was making the shell walls thinner with the massage. It was almost too much to have zir hands on her, but when ze started to work the tightness in her neck, it hurt in a way that was easier to manage than the rest of zir touch. Like her body welcomed the sharpness. It made her more clear-headed, this pain. She was trembling, though. That was a new thing to manage. Shiloh ran zir palms down her hair and everything felt so huge all of a sudden, she had to wrap her arms around herself she was shaking so much. Then the tears started.

Shiloh led her to the couch, and wrapped her in zir arms. Judith was mid-sized, rarely the smaller one, but Shiloh was much broader, fatter, and taller than her, and she felt wonderfully engulfed. She could not stop shaking, or sobbing, safe in the circle of zir arms. She rode the wave of it all the way through, her head on Shiloh’s chest as ze murmured softly. Afterwards, Judith was exhausted. She scooted down to lie on the couch with her head against Shiloh’s furry thigh, zir hand stroking her back. Ze began to sing, softly, and she let herself drift to the sound of “Try a Little Tenderness” in Shiloh’s raspy sweet voice.


Billionaires

Review: Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen

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Title: Brooklynaire (Brooklyn Bruisers #4)
Author: Sarina Bowen
Genre: Sports romance, hockey, boss-assistant, tech billionaire
Release Date: 12 Feb 2018

Author's links:
Add to Goodreads

My rating: 4 Stars

Blurb

You’d think a billion dollars, a professional hockey team and a six-bedroom mansion on the Promenade would satisfy a guy. You’d be wrong.

For seven years Rebecca has brightened my office with her wit and her smile. She manages both my hockey team and my sanity. I don’t know when I started waking in the night, craving her. All I know is that one whiff of her perfume ruins my concentration. And her laugh makes me hard.

When Rebecca gets hurt, I step in to help. It’s what friends do. But what friends don’t do is rip off each others’ clothes for a single, wild night together.

Now she’s avoiding me. She says we’re too different, and it can never happen again. So why can’t we keep our hands off each other?

Review

I loved this friends-to-lovers romance so much. I have been waiting for Becca and Nate's story since we met them in the first book  and the long wait was totally worth it. It was such a fun, sexy story, with very little angst and a lot of good humour and intense emotions. I'm generally wary of boss-assistant romance but I think the imbalance of power was handled well here. It certainly was a main obstacle before the couple getting together but it was discussed in details and the solution they came up with was a good one, working for them both.

The story is told in alternating chapters of first-person POV of Nate and Rebecca and this is not my favourtie writing style but I got used to it pretty fast. We get flashbacks to their times together through the years written in a third-person POV which I found weird and not fitting very smoothly in the overall narration despite them being important and contributing a lot to the story.

I liked Nate, the geeky tech billionaire, hockey team owner, who has had feelings for his assistant for years and has kept them under lock and key because he valued their friendship and didn't want to risk ruining it and driving Becca away. Becca was fun and all kinds of amazing too, aware of her precarious situation if/when she starts a relationship with her boss. I loved how she came off as smart (despite never finishing college), how good she was at her job.

There is an easy flow to the story, a natural progression of the romance with a few setbacks, btu nothing outrageously improbable (probably except for the Alex plotline which went in a weird and unnecessary direction towards the ed). It's a true friends-to-lovers romance and we see so much of the friendship between the Nate and Becca before they became lovers and it also continued after that. The way the interacted with their friends and families presented their world as full and vibrant. Nate's AI project was hilarious and brought so much comic relief into some tense moments.

We see a lot of hockey action but the story takes a look also a look into the darker side of the sport (concussions and head injuries which were explored indirectly through Becca's fall on the ice and its consequences).

I have a minor quibble with the way Becca was presented as financially struggling which I found odd with her being the personal assistant to the CEO of a multi-million company. While I understand her difficult financial situation with her having to help support her family but it felt overdone and threw me out of the story.

The book ends with the sappiest of epilogues which made me so very happy. We get the perfect completion of the series though I wouldn't mind reading more stories about the Brooklyn bruisers.

Purchase links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook

Author Interview

Friday Favoruites with Talia Hibbert

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I'm excited to have my guest today the lovely Talia Hibbert, author of contemporary interracial romances. She just released her latest one, The Princess Trap, and look at the cover! and the blurb! Who could resist it! 
Read on for a fun interview with Talia and make sure to scroll to the end of the post for an exclusive excerpt from The Princess Trap!


Meet Talia

1. Favourite place
My favourite place in the whole world is actually very boring. I love my bedroom. My bed lies under a large window, and through that window I can see the sunset, and it paints wonderful colours across the sky. At night, I can see all of the stars, because in front of my house there’s only fields for miles. No light pollution. Sometimes I open the windows and lie on my bed and watch the sky until I get cold.

2. Favourite food and drink
My favourite food is sweet potato; specifically baked sweet potato with lots of salt and chilli. I love the fact that it’s orange inside. It makes me happy. My favourite drink is water, because it feels like drinking life, or cleanliness or something. I probably sound really healthy now, but I’m not. I have a sugar addiction. It’s quite bad. 

3. Favourite music/genre/artist/song
I absolutely adore music in general, so this is hard. My favourite artist is, of course, Beyoncé. One time I touched her and we made eye contact and she smiled at me. That was four years ago and I have been blessed ever since. My favourite genre would have to be RnB; it’s a gift. Indie rock comes a close second. My favourite song changes every few years, but right now it’s Bad to the Bone by Little Sims, because every time I hear it I feel it in my chest.

4. Favourite movie/TV series
Again, this is hard! All I do is stay in my room and read/watch/listen to cool stuff, so you’re killing me with these questions. I’m gonna choose a TV series and say... My Wife and Kids. The nostalgia factor is real, and Michael reminds me of my dad. Take from that what you will.

5. Favourite hobby besides writing, if you consider writing a hobby
Makeup! I love doing my makeup. I don’t often wear it outside the house; I just like playing with my face.

6. Favourite books
Oh, God. This is extra hard because once I read a book, I tend to forget all about it. Even if it was the best book in the world and it broke my heart or whatever. I’ve been trying to do better and keep track via Goodreads, but I’m struggling. So, please enjoy this disorganised and incomplete list, which comes to you in no particular order: 

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms x N.K. Jemisin

A Promise of Fire x Amanda Bouchet 

Down by Contact x Santino Hassell

Hold Me x Courtney Milan

Signal Boost x Alyssa Cole

Glutton for Pleasure x Alisha Rai

Tamed x Rebekah Weatherspoon

Romancing the Inventor x Gail Carriger

7. Please introduce your latest release.

My latest release juuust came out, on the 8th of February. It’s called The Princess Trap and it’s a royal romance featuring a fake engagement, which is something I’ve never written about before. 

I’ve always loved princess stories, but black princesses are severely underrepresented. (Side note: shoutout to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella for keeping my tiny dreams alive.) A certain royal engagement reminded me that monarchy is a real thing that actually exists (wild, I know), so I decided to take advantage of that and write something about it. Something with lots of kissing and black girl magic, of course. 

Here is a list of things you can expect from The Princess Trap: 

- a Scandinavian prince 

- a fake relationship

- a globetrotting cat

- frequent lipstick applications 

- secrets whispered in the dark 

- adorable families 

- plus one not-so-adorable family 

- fairy cakes 

It’s gonna be a wild ride. 

Title: The Princess Trap
Author: Talia Hibbert
Genre/Themes: Contemporary, Interracial romance, Royals

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Purchase links: Amazon US / Amazon UK 

Blurb

He’s reckless, dominant, and deliciously dirty. This prince is no fairytale. 

Prince Ruben of Helgmøre knows exactly what he wants—and his current obsession is Cherry Neita. Everything from her rollercoaster curves to her fearsome attitude commands his attention. 

And best of all? She has no idea who Ruben is.

Until the paparazzi catch them in a dark alley, her scarlet lipstick smudged, and his hands somewhere naughty…

All Cherry wanted was a night or two with the hottest man she’d ever seen. Turns out, that man is actually a prince, and now he needs her to play princess. 

Well, princess-to-be. One year as his fake fiancée, and he’ll make all her problems disappear. Easy. Right? 

Wrong. 

The closer Cherry gets to Ruben, the brighter their passion burns. But the royal family hides dark secrets, and their palace is a diamond-studded trap.

Can true love bloom from false beginnings? Or will this fairytale end in a happy-never-after?


Author Bio and Links

Talia Hibbert is a writer and educator from England, U.K., by way of both the West Indies and West Africa. She writes contemporary, interracial romance novels featuring steamy love scenes and bad jokes. In her free time, she eats lots of ice cream despite being lactose intolerant. 


Excerpt

The room was veiled with inky darkness. As he shut the door behind him, his vision blanked out completely. But he waited, knowing his eyes would find the faintest scrap of light somewhere, if he gave them a chance. He’d spent a lot of time locked in dark rooms as a kid. 

Sure enough, the outlines of furniture came into view, so faint and shadowed he wasn’t sure if he really saw them, or somehow sensed them. But those were the kinds of fanciful thoughts he’d taken comfort in as a child—maybe I’m special, maybe I have powers, and one day I’ll use them to make everyone pay. 

Now he was an adult, and he knew that his supposed night vision was thanks to cracks in the curtains and underneath the doors, and pupils wide enough to drink in those drops of light and put them to use. 

He moved gingerly through the room, still managing to catch a side table with his hip, but not falling over anything or otherwise disgracing himself. When he reached the foot of Cherry’s bed, he felt a little presumptuous sitting down—but the darkness was too disorientating for him to stand on ceremony.

“Oh, by all means,” she said acidly as he sank onto the mattress. “Make yourself at home.”

“There’s at least four feet of space between us, so don’t have a fit.”

“Why the hell did I tell you to come in?”

Ruben sighed. “I don’t know. I’m insufferable. I apologise.”

He received nothing but silence in reply. He couldn’t quite grasp the quality of that silence. Was she agreeing, or simply surprised by his words, or too tired to bother with conversation? He supposed it didn’t matter. 

“Believe it or not,” he said, “I didn’t come here to irritate you.” The words reminded him of conversations with his siblings. He was beginning to think he had issues. He felt the sting of rejection too keenly, and yet, he chased it down.

“So why did you come?” She demanded. Even though she’d been lying in the dark, she didn’t sound tired. But then, as far as he could tell, she spent all day in the library reading books and playing with her cat.

So he just said, “Our meetings aren’t going well.”

“Meetings,’ she murmured. “Is that what we’re calling them?”

“I don’t see what else we could call them,” he said reasonably. “Preparation for the Grand Deception?”

She snorted. Which was close to a laugh, right? He’d made her laugh once. Before she’d learned to be wary of him. 

Spurred on by that snort—edged in derision though it was—he tried again. “Improving Cherry’s Ruben-Threshold?”

“Something like that,” she admitted. She shifted slightly on the bed, and he felt the motion through the mattress as if they were lying side by side. He’d said there was distance between them, but he had the oddest feeling that if he reached out, his hand would find her ankle, or her calf. He laced his fingers together and put them firmly in his lap.

“I know this is hard,” he said. “And I know you don’t like me, and you don’t trust me. But this will go easier on both of us if we know something about each other once we leave this place. And fuck, I wish we didn’t have to, but we do. I do.”

“And I do too,” she murmured. “I decided to do this. I agreed to it. And I suppose I have been… shirking my obligations. Which isn’t the way I usually behave.”

He chose his words carefully. “I think you could be forgiven for feeling unlike yourself, at the moment.”

“I’m sure you’re right,” she said dryly. “But the world keeps turning, and all that. I think I’ve wallowed long enough. It doesn’t really suit me.”

“If you’ve been wallowing, it was the most graceful and glamorous wallowing I’ve ever seen.”

She did laugh at that; an adorable little giggle that bubbled out like water from a fountain. She tried to hide it; he could tell. He couldn’t see her, but he’d bet money on the fact that she’d put a hand over her mouth. Didn’t matter. In the quiet of the night, and with the way she captured his attention so very thoroughly, he couldn’t miss it. And the sound made him bold.

“I want to know you,” he said, honestly enough. But he clambered up the bed as he said it, finding the headboard with outstretched hands before settling down beside her.

She tutted. “You think you’re so smooth.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

She tugged at the covers. “You’re hogging the blankets.”

“I’m not even under the blankets.”

“I should bloody well hope not. But you’re lying on them and it’s pulling them off me.” He felt her foot knock into his calf through the covers, a glancing blow. He wasn’t sure if she’d kicked him on purpose or if she’d come across him by accident and snatched herself away in the next breath. He wanted her to do it again. 

But that wasn’t why he’d come, he reminded himself sternly.

“I think we should play twenty questions,” he said.

Her reply was doused in sarcasm. “Oh, really? Are you going to ask me if I’ve ever kissed a boy?”

“No. I save that sort of thing for truth or dare.”

“You’re ridiculous.”

“I certainly am. Shall I go first?”


AOW

Review: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

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Title: The Wedding Date
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Genre: Contemporary romance
Release date: 30 Jan 2018

Author links: Goodreads / Twitter / Website
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My Rating: 3 stars

Blurb

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn't normally do. But there's something about Drew Nichols that's too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend...

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she's the mayor's chief of staff. Too bad they can't stop thinking about the other... 

They're just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century--or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want...

Review

This is a debut romance by an AOC with a Black heroine and while I found it mostly nice and sweet, I aslo had some issues with it.

It started really strong for me, the meet cute in the elevator and the fake date to a wedding both made me laugh and get invested in the characters. I liked the heroine from the start - she is smart, professionally successful, funny, a bit shy and she struggles with some insecurities re her weight and attractiveness, all of which made her feel real to me.

I quite liked the hero too, at least initially. He is nice, smart and equally successful professionally but terrible at personal relationships.

Things between them start as a joke but both develop feelings for each other pretty quickly. This is where the story and romance lost some of it strength for me. They start a long-distance relationship but both avoid talking about what was happening between them and where they wanted this thing between them to go. I found their interactions to be repetitive and the whole conflict was based on a couple of misunderstandings and hasty decisions  which I was not all too happy about. They both  acted like kids and made assumptions which were all wrong.

While I overall enjoyed the story, I had some issues with it. I can enjoy a fade-to-black sex scenes in my romances but here they came after rather explicit descriptions of foreplay and at least to me, they didn't really fit the story. Add to that the fact that the sex scenes were quite a few, all fade-to-black and over time they felt repetitive and at odds the tone of the story.

On the plus side, I liked the glimpses we got into the professional lives of Alexa and Drew, their circle of friends and colleagues, which gave fullness and further sense of realism to the romance.

In short, this is a nice romance, not too bad for a debut book. It has some really strong points -  positive fat representation, POC heroine who is smart and successful, a hero who respects her and is not intimidated by her success but quite the opposite, he values her work and is proud of her success.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo

Author Spotlight

Friday Favourites with Cathy Yardley

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Friday Favourites

1. Favourite place:  Snoqualmie, WA – the location of the series. It’s a real place, and a lot of the locations in the books or are based on real sites.  It’s also my hometown, and it’s my favourite place on earth.

2. Favourite food and drink:  My favorite food is probably ice cream.  I have a weakness for it!  Just about any flavor.  As to drink – hmmm.  Hot cocoa. (Can you tell I have a sweet tooth?)

3. Favourite music/genre/artist/song:  I like different music for different moods and occasions, so it’s hard to choose just one.  I’ve been listening to a lot of 90’s electronic dance music lately, stuff I used to listen to in clubs and stuff I’m finding on Pandora.  Front 242’s Headhunter, or Nightmares on Wax’s Carboot Soul album.  Good stuff.

4. Favourite movie/TV series:  Again, depends on the mood!  I’d say my favorite series is Game of Thrones, because I am super engrossed in it. I have to see what happens!

5. Favourite hobby besides writing, if you consider writing a hobby:  That would be reading. I devour books like I could live on reading alone. 😊   

6. Favourite books (feel free to list as many as you want; all-time favourites or newly released ones; grouped by sub/genre or other criteria)  I love, love, LOVE romantic comedies! Or really so many romances that have strong comedic elements (especially witty banter.)  Jennifer Crusie, Tessa Dare, Kresley Cole. For funny, emotional, and downright hawt, I read Melissa Blue. Right now, Penny Reid is my leading favorite rom com author by a long shot – I re-read her book Beard Science regularly.  Oh, and I just read Teagan Hunter’s Let’s Get Textual and adored the banter in the texts between the hero and heroine. When I’m not reading funny, I love reading Alisha Rai, Courtney Milan, Lisa Kleypas.  I’m also a fan of Jim Butcher, Patrick Rothfuss, Ernest Cline.  

7. Please introduce your latest/upcoming release (what inspired you to write, what can the readers expect from it, etc.)  My upcoming release is called Game of Hearts, and it’s the third in my Fandom Hearts series. I’m an unrepentant geek, and this series is a set of love letters to various fandoms.  The first book, Level Up, had nods to Sherlock; the second, One True Pairing, was for Supernatural and their fans.  This one is not surprisingly dedicated to Game of Thrones.  I’ll be honest: a lot of it was inspired by Jason Momoa!  The hero, Jericho Salomon, hasn’t been home to Snoqualmie in nine years, since his mother kicked him out and he left home to join a biker gang at seventeen.  Now, he comes back to help his best friend’s kid sister, Kyla Summers.  Kyla has an opportunity to get her  sideline costume business into an exceptional spotlight, but she needs help keeping the family auto shop running.  There’s cosplay, there’s geekery, and there’s a healthy dose of tension (and sexy fun times!) 


Title: Game of Hearts (Fandom Hearts #3)
Author: Cathy Yardley
Genre: Contemporary romance
Release date: 30 Jan 2018

Purchase links: Amazon




Blurb

Kyla Summers has been offered the opportunity of a lifetime to get her cosplay business off the ground, and only one thing stands in her way. She needs someone to take over the auto shop, and there’s only one person she can think of to call…

Jericho Salomon hasn’t been back in his home town since he joined a biker gang and rode off nine years ago. When his best friend’s kid sister calls begging for help, he knows that he owes the family a debt and he intends to pay. This is easier said than done once he finds that the kid is all grown up…

She needs a pair of skillful hands. He needs to keep his hands off. When sparks begin to fly, can they keep things strictly business, or will their hearts get hopelessly tangled? No more games, it’s time to play for keeps.

Author Bio and Links

Cathy Yardley needs to get out more. When not writing, she's usually lurking on social media, playing Elder Scrolls Online, or watching D-list movies and adding to her unnatural mental store of character-actor trivia. She's a fangirl of Supernatural, Doctor Who, Sherlock, LOTR, and too many others to name. She lives with her family in Seattle. They are considering performing an intervention for her addiction to pop culture.


Excerpt

She shrugged. “He was kind of a sexist asshat when he dropped it off. Was looking for the mechanic — a man, obviously, not a woman like me.”

She couldn’t help but notice that Jericho looked her over quickly, lingering on her chest just a second after she said woman. His eyebrow went up. “And you didn’t kill him?”

“Nope. I did my patented calming technique, went hyper-cheerful, and sent him on his way.”

Jericho moved closer, all but whispering in her ear. “Someday, you gotta teach me this technique of yours.”

She shivered. I’d love to teach you muscle-tensing and relaxing techniques. Which only brought back memories of last night’s dream.

“Do you really want to know?” she quickly asked, heading off that avenue of thought.

“Yeah, I do.” He smiled at her.

“Promise not to tell anyone?”

“Who am I gonna tell?” She could tell he was trying not to laugh. “Okay, I promise.”

Now she was dying with embarrassment. What was she thinking? Leaning forward, she buried her head against his chest, then muttered, “I do kegels.”

She felt him stiffen. “You… eat bagels?” he asked.

She started snickering, then giggling, then laughing even harder, until he laughed along with her, lightly looping his arms around her.

“Not bagels,” she corrected, breathlessly, her cheeks hurting from smiling. “I do kegels.”

He blinked, leaning back to stare at her. “You do… kegels?” he repeated.

“When I get stressed out, or a customer pisses me off, or I get mansplained by some douchebag cosplay guy or something,” she whispered. “I just smile like Pollyanna on meth and do kegels until the desire to strangle them passes.”

He stared at her for a long moment, and she wondered if he was shocked or uncomfortable, until he started laughing, much like she had. In fact, he’d released her and was doubled over, leaning against a wall. “Oh, my God,” he said, wiping at his eye. “You are too much. Really. You are nuts.”

“Sure, laugh now,” she said, poking him in the midsection and looking up at him, her eyes bright with mischief. “But someday I’ll be a Zen monk who can bend a metal bar with her hoohah, and who’ll be laughing then, huh?”

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