Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Home Free by Claire McEwen (Spotlight, review, excerpt, and GIVEWAY) GFT

Home Free

by Claire McEwen


GENRE: Contemporary Romance - Category



His first taste of freedom was only the beginning…

Arch Hoffman has paid for his crimes. All he wants is to come home to rural California and start over. He's not looking to be a hero when he rescues a wedding cake from hitting the dirt at the ranch next door. But culinary artist Mandy Allen's irresistible smile makes him glad to save the day—and thankful that they're neighbors.

Mandy's just the distraction Arch needs. Her sweet voice quiets the memories that threaten his chance to be a better man, and he's determined to help her confront her fears. But the past is its own prison, and even love might not be enough to set them free.



“Your cake is okay, too.”

His words were small pieces of a miracle. How was it even possible? Mandy pushed herself up to sitting, every part of her stiff, shaky and stinging.

The dark-haired man was on one knee, as if he was about to propose. And in his arms, perfectly upright, perfectly intact, was her perfect cake.

Mandy stared at him, wondering if she’d fallen right into some kind of fairy tale. Because only in stories did someone this handsome show up out of nowhere and save the day. He even had the wavy black hair of a fairy-tale prince.

Holy cow, she was staring at him like a possum at a flashlight. She scrambled to her feet, brushing at her hands and elbows, trying to ignore all the throbbing and stinging. “Thank you!” Her throat was pebbled with gratitude, tumbling the words out ragged as she leaned over and lifted the tray from his outstretched hands. “I can’t believe you saved it!”

“My pleasure.” He rose from the dirt. And rose. And rose. There had to be over six feet of him.

“It was a really good catch.” She sounded like a kid meeting a sports hero, all awestruck. But he was overwhelming. Each piece of him, from his height to the sharp cheekbones that slashed across his angular face, was larger than average. He was hard to take in all at once. And he’d saved her cake.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Claire McEwen lives by the ocean in Northern California with her family and a scruffy, mischievous terrier. When not dreaming up new stories, she can be found digging in her garden with a lot of enthusiasm but, unfortunately, no green thumb.
Claire enjoys discovering flea-market treasures, walking on the beach, dancing, traveling, and reading, of course!  She loves to write complex heroes and heroines who grow and find themselves through their search for love.


Instagram: Claire_McEwen_Writer



a Rafflecopter giveaway

The tour dates can be found here


My review:

4.5 out of 5 stars

Home Free by Claire McEwen tells of the return of Arch Hoffman, after a ten-year absence. A lot has changed since he was one of the despised and feared members of his family, including his younger siblings and the ranch they grew up on. Arch is trying to be a better man, and has to work hard to convince those who knew him in the past to give him a second chance, but fortunately, he finds inspiration in Mandy Allen, who inspires him with her own courage and her acceptance of his shortcomings. They each have a traumatic past to overcome, but have to decide whether they have the courage to reach for happiness.

This contemporary western romance is a story of redemption and atonement in a small town setting. I love the way the author was able to shift perception of a despised and hated person into gradual acceptance and eventual forgiveness, and found this story heartwarming and inspiring. For me, it was important that Arch not only paid his debt to society, but sought to make amends to those he had wronged in the past, albeit with occasional backsliding. The courage displayed by him and those who come to accept and love him is delightful, and I enjoyed watching the relationship slowly blossom into a passionate bond, even though I was irked by the setback they experienced. Mandy was pretty stunted at first, understandably given her past, but I was happy that she also managed to blossom into a self-reliant person and therefore become an equal partner. I had the pleasure of reading a previous book in this series, so I was familiar with some of the background, but there would be no problem reading this as an enjoyable stand-alone story.

A copy of this title was provided to me for review

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Jake Bernstein FBI series by Donna Del Oro (VBT, guest post, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

The Jake Bernstein FBI series
by Donna Del Oro


GENRE:   romantic suspense

A riveting blend of romantic thriller, mystery and WWII espionage that spans sixty years of lies. England’s secret service agency MI5 recruits Jewish-American FBI analyst Jake Bernstein to go undercover and investigate an elderly, naturalized American grandmother, suspected of being a notorious Nazi spy wanted for war crimes during WWII. Jake runs into a series of complications: This spy knows a secret that could endanger the British royal family; Jake’s attraction to the old woman’s beautiful granddaughter; a ruthless and violent Irish neo-Nazi group is tracking him; and a clever, cagey old lady stands in the way of justice. His priority shifts from finding the evidence to staying alive!



Breakfast in the hotel dining room was to be served at 7 a.m.. Next stop: Cardiff, the capital of Wales, then their ferry ride to Ireland. He’d finally looked over the itinerary. The motor coach would be leaving that afternoon, after a tour and lunch in Bath. A quick perusal of the day’s agenda showed him they had the afternoon free to wander around Bath and do some shopping. Maybe he could invite Meg and her grandmother to spend some time with him.


Still drowsy with sleep, he looked over at the pillow next to his. Visualizing Meg lying there, her lush hair with all its variegated blonde hues fanned out, stirred him. The erection he’d awakened with grew harder; not surprising, he thought, considering his celibacy of late. Strictly his choice, despite the offers tossed his way.


The opportunities had been there and he’d ignored them, stubborn man that he was.  Even late last night, when the two New Jersey sisters had called and invited him to a private party in Hank’s room. He’d declined tactfully.


At thirty-two years old, he found himself holding out for more. 


Stupid fool, he scolded himself. Or as the Brits would say, sodding wanker!  Or something to that effect. He should learn to take it when it was offered to him on a platter, free of charge.  All he had to do was be nice to a girl for a few hours, promise to call her, and then…


Ah, but as Grandpa Nate would say, “nussing is free in dis vorld”.


Dreams of Meg had plagued him—rather entertained him—all night. Even now, recalling how her small, plump breasts bounced up and down while she ran alongside him, how her long ponytail swung back and forth, filled him with unbridled lust. The one time they’d stopped at the Roman ruins, they’d let their arms brush together. Neither had pulled away. Just that light touch had flooded his insides with longing. She appeared to feel the same.  She’d flushed to the roots of her hair and after that, had touched him in some small way every chance she got. Each touch was electric, sizzling!


What he liked about her was her total lack of coyness or flirtatiousness. Meg was straightforward, without guile; she wasn’t playing games. He could read the honesty in her face when she told him about her breakup with the ex-fiancé and her distrust of men and their empty promises and vows. All lies, she’d mused with just a hint of bitterness. She’d finally come to accept the reality of men.


Or some men, she’d amended, adding quickly that she’d apologize if she was offending him. No, he’d said; I agree with you. Most men lie through their teeth. It’s a guy thing.


That admission had elicited a small, rueful laugh from both of them. And she’d let her arm brush his again, as if to reassure him. He was different, she was saying.


No, I’m not, he’d wanted to say. I’m a liar, an impostor. And you’re going to hate me when this is all over.

Buy links


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Donna is a retired high school English teacher and is finally able to fulfill her dream of writing fiction. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats. When shes not writing novels, shes singing with the Sacramento Valley Chorus or traveling with her husband. Life is good and she feels very blessed.

Visit her on Facebook or at her website

Contact her:

This tour is featuring the Jake Bernstein FBI Series 

LIES IN WAIT, Book Two of the FBI series will be out January 4, 2017, and the 3rd book, WHERE DANGER LIES, will be released a few months after.


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The tour dates can be found here

Monday, November 28, 2016

King Peso by Carmen Amato (VBT, guest post, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

I have the pleasure of hosting author Carmen Amato today, who generously answered multiple questions!

ELF: What do you think is the strongest attraction about the genre(s) you like to write in?

CA: First, thanks so much for having me today and letting me introduce your readers to the Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series and KING PESO, the latest mystery. Emilia is the first female police detective in Acapulco, taking on Mexico’s drug war and culture of machismo.

Mystery is one of the most popular genres, possibly because suspense is so addictive. We love to escape into an absorbing story but it’s not a mindless escape. We have to pay attention, follow the clues, and puzzle out the crime. Personally, I love to chase the motive and the relationships between characters.

Basically, a mystery reader is pitted against the plot. Can we guess whodunit before the big reveal? The experience of reading a well plotted mystery with a well-developed main character is compelling, and yes, addictive.

ELF: What was the most difficult thing to overcome on your path to becoming a published author and how did you conquer it?

CA: What a thought-provoking question! I think the most difficult thing I had to overcome was bad advice.

Several years ago, before I wrote KING PESO and the Detective Emilia Cruz series, I was trying to get an agent for my first book, the romantic thriller THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY. During my search for an agent, I connected with a well known US fiction author. She was a real publishing insider and I had high expectations. Our conversation went something like this:

Well known author: The novel is set in Mexico. All the characters are Mexican.

Me: That’s right. It’s about the lives of the people fighting the drug cartels. And Mexico’s class structure.

Well known author: New York will never touch it. And a New York agent is the only kind worth having. New York agents are looking for the next Sex and the City. Glossy. High heels. New York.

Me: This is a thriller. It will take readers inside Mexican culture, the way Martin Cruz Smith’s series does for Russian culture.

Well known author: New York won’t buy a book with all Mexican characters. And your main character is a maid. At least couldn’t you make her American? You know, a college girl from Pittsburgh named Susan or Tess who goes to Mexico on a cultural exchange program to work as a maid for a semester.

I hung up the phone, absolutely crushed.

The character had to be Mexican, it was integral to THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY. Dejected, I put the book aside and started another project, which grew into the Detective Emilia Cruz series. Would I run into the same attitude with a series about the first female police detective in Acapulco?

Then I found the Inspector Silva mystery series by Leighton Gage. All the characters were Brazilian! The series was well-written, immersed in Brazil’s culture, and had a strong following. It made me see that readers loved learning about another culture as they unraveled a mystery.

I pushed ahead with CLIFF DIVER, the first book in the Detective Emilia Cruz series and am thrilled that KING PESO, the 4th book is out. Readers have embraced Emilia and her version of beautiful but deadly Acapulco. The books have even been optioned for a television series.

I never met Leighton Gage, who passed away a few years ago, but he’s the role model who made believe in my characters and have the courage to ignore bad advice.

ELF: What would be your dream place to visit and why?

CA: Someday, I’d like to take a cruise to Antarctica. It’s about as different an environment from Mexico, where the Detective Emilia Cruz books are set, but I have always been fascinated by polar history. I think it comes from growing up in very snowy central New York.

ELF: Which author(s) has/have been the most influential to you and how or why?

CA: In addition to Leighton Gage, there are three authors who have really influenced me:

Ken Follett: His earlier works including Night Over Water, Triple, The Key to Rebecca and The Eye of the Needle all have a tension-filled storyline, interesting characters with complex relationships, and multiple voices that are all integral to moving the plot forward. Not to mention the hot sex scenes.

P.G. Wodehouse: I discovered this British humorist in high school and have read dozens of his books and short stories.His world is that of 1920’s England. All of his books have an invariably tangled plot, crazy characters, and perfect phrasing (“he writhed like an electric fan”) that never grow old. My favorite is The Code of the Woosters.

Robert B. Parker: The creator of the Spenser mystery series is a study in perfect-pitch dialogue. Some of his books are a series of conversations that are so well crafted that virtually the entire plot/mystery is revealed in this way. His action scenes are never gratuitous which means they pack a big punch. My favorites are Potshot and Hugger Mugger.

ELF: What do you do to mentor others?

CA: I belong to a small writing critique group moderated by mystery author Donna Andrews. We all mentor each other. Our meetings are very lively!

ELF: What is your writing process?

I’m an outline addict. Before I start a novel I create an outline. I scribble “scenes” on sticky notes and post them on a wall. I’ll arrange and rearrange until I like the flow at which point I’ll tape them to a poster and hang it over my desk.

That preliminary outline usually survives to about the middle of the book, at which point I’ll have had better ideas and will repeat the sticky note process. For King Peso, I did this three times. By time the book was done, the last poster was a mess, with some stickies overwritten in red and others hidden behind a snowfall of new ones.

ELF: What scares you the most or makes you the happiest about writing?

CA: I’m happiest when editing what I’ve already written. The first draft is the hardest, because you are inventing from nothing. The editing process, which for me includes much of the authentic details about the setting, food, and culture, is the best part about being a writer.

ELF: What is one of your hobbies and how has it enriched your writing?

CA: I’m not sure you can call exercise a hobby but I need to work out to stay sharp and even have a Pinterest board called that! We used to have a house with a pool and I’d always get fresh ideas while swimming laps. Now, I’m more into yoga and long walks with the dog.

At some point, especially in the morning, as the pooch and I amble through the neighborhood, I’ll figure out a sticky plot element. For example, we were walking when I realized that there could be more than one killer in King Peso and said “A-ha!” out loud on the street corner. I couldn’t wait to get home and write down what I’d just “found out.”

Another a-ha moment came when I decided to write a story about how Emilia Cruz came to be the first female police detective in Acapulco, in response to so many reader questions. The only place to find that out is in “The Beast,” the short story that I wrote in response to all the requests. It’s part of the Made in Acapulco story collection available on Amazon OR you can get it for free here as part of the Detective Emilia Cruz Starter Library. You’ll also get my monthly email newsletter, Mystery Ahead.

In addition to “The Beast, the Starter Library includes “The Angler,” a story based on the true-life murder of my pastor, Father Richard, in Mexico City. The drug addict who disrupted Christmas Eve didn’t kill him; in fact his murderer has never been caught. But in “The Angler,” Detective Emilia Cruz will bring the killer to justice.

Thanks for having me and happy reading! All the best, Carmen


King Peso

by Carmen Amato


GENRE: police procedural mystery



King Peso is the fourth book in the sensational Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series recently optioned for both television and film. Emilia is the first female police detective in Acapulco, where Mexican drug cartels battle for control and politicians are bought with blood money.

Three cops are murdered, execution style. Emilia worked with them all.

Her partner’s wife is killed in a home invasion. Was he the real target?

Is Emilia the next?

She hopes to be assigned to a task force to investigate the killings, but is instead directed to a new police unit championed by Acapulco’s ambitious mayor and overseen by a shady union strongman. But when Emilia stumbles upon a falsified report, she will conduct a private investigation, even as another murder victim carries a stark message for her.

Home is no refuge for Emilia; hotel manager Kurt Rucker has a shocking secret that could tear their relationship apart.

Unexpected help comes from a frightened attorney and a famous movie star, but each new clue to the murders unravels the one before. Meanwhile, Emilia’s ongoing hunt for a missing girl, a continuing series subplot, leads to the infamous El Pharaoh casino, a place she knows only too well.

What do a casino and a cop killer have in common? Emilia bets on her partner, but his gamble could cost both their lives.



“I think I’m on the task force,” Emilia said. “Because I worked with all three victims.”

She’d crossed paths professionally with all three of the murder victims, although none had been a close colleague. She hadn’t even met Salinas, just talked to him a couple of times on the phone. But he’d been honest with her and done what he said he would do. A rare and rapidly disappearing commodity these days.

“Who else worked with all of them?” Kurt asked. “Silvio? What does he think?”

“Franco worked with Vega on the arson case, too.” Franco Silvio was Acapulco’s senior police detective and Emilia’s perpetually surly partner. “But he never met Salinas or Espinosa. He wasn’t invited to the meeting, either. None of the other detectives were.”

“Even Loyola?” Kurt asked.

Emilia shook her head. Loyola, who was junior to Silvio, had been made acting lieutenant of detectives several months ago. He now rarely worked cases. “Not invited. He only knew Vega from the arson case.”

“What are you telling me, Em?” Kurt paused. “That you’re a target, too?”

“I don’t know. Maybe.” Emilia stared at the lights twinkling in the dark ocean as the unseen swimming dock bobbed. “The El Trio killer could be another cop. Someone on the inside who is being specific about their victims.”

“I can’t believe you waited to tell me, Em,” Kurt said, exasperation and sudden anger in his voice. “You live here. If you’re in danger, that means everybody in this hotel is in danger. I have to know things like this.”

Emilia bristled. “I’m telling you now, aren’t I?”

Kurt turned to look at the ocean again, elbows propped on top of the wall. “I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wish you were invested enough in us . . . in this relationship . . . to tell me things when they happen. Not a week later. Because you’re thinking how things impact us. Not just you.”

Emilia concentrated on the pinpoints of light out in the bay. Why did they keep having the same conversation and why was it always so hard?

Buy link:




AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Carmen Amato is the author of romantic thrillers and the Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco which was recently optioned for film. Originally from New York, her experiences in Mexico and Central America inspire many of her books.

For a copy of the Detective Emilia Cruz Starter Library, visit her website

Follow her on Twitter @CarmenConnects.



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The tour dates can be found here

Friday, November 25, 2016

Color of Love 2016 Blog hop tour

Welcome to my little corner of the COLOR of LOVE 2016 blog hop!
There's a massive giveaway associated with the hop, so make sure you scroll all of the way to the end once you read about my featured author!

We are celebrating multicultural and interracial love, so if you enjoy romance novels featuring people of color, then keep reading.

It is my pleasure to share a couple of Tara Lain's m/m titles that I have enjoyed. I admit, it took me a little while to remember that there were persons of color in several of Tara's stories, as that aspect is nicely melded in with the storyline and provides richness to the story as one partner learns more about another's culture (even though sometimes that is shapeshifting mores or other paranormal societal aspects, lol). Please make sure to visit Reviews by Crystal to see a couple of Tara's other stories, and leave a comment at the bottom to be in the giveaway for an e-book from Tara's backlist (does NOT include the two recent releases, Cowboys Don't Come Out and Death Dancer)

These are ADULT titles

Cowboys Don't Come Out

by Tara Lain

Blurb: Rand McIntyre settles for good enough. He loves his small California ranch, raising horses, and teaching riding to the kids he adores—but having kids of his own and someone to love means coming out, and that would jeopardize everything he’s built. Then, despite his terror of flying, he goes on a holiday to Hana, Hawaii, with his parents and meets the dark and mysterious Kai Kealoha, a genuine Hawaiian cowboy. Rand takes to Kai’s kid brother and sister as much as he drools over Kai, but the guy sports more prickles than a horned toad and more secrets than the exotic land he comes from.

Kai’s earned his privacy and lives to protect his “kids.” He ought to stay away from the big, handsome cowboy for everyone’s sake—but since the guy’s just a haole on a short vacation, how much damage can he do? When all of Kai’s worst fears and Rand’s darkest nightmares come true at once, there’s not much chance for two cowboys who can’t—or won’t—come out.


What did I expect? Whatever he thought, this wasn’t it. The small living room/dining area/kitchen combo shone so clean and bright, it defied the shabbiness. An old couch had been decorated with a bright throw covered with Hawaiian flower prints, while a couple of chairs stood opposite it, looking comfy if worn. At the center of things, a large table was set for three with mismatched but colorful ceramic dinnerware, and at the stove, wearing shorts, flip-flops, and an apron, stood Kai.

He frowned stormily. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“I brought the kids.” Rand crossed his arms. Not moving.

Kai’s dark eyes flashed at his sister. “Damn it, Lani.”

Rand took a step forward. “Don’t you yell at her because you’re too chicken to face me.”

“Chicken?” He glanced at Lani and Aliki, and his chest expanded with a big breath. “It’s complicated.”

Rand walked to the couch and sat. “I’ve got time to hear all about it.”

Kai huffed and turned back to the great-smelling onions frying in his pan. “Go back to your girlfriend and leave us alone.”

Rand glanced at Lani, who gazed at him like he should do something. “I already explained to Lani and Aliki how sorry I am about breaking up our party unexpectedly. My mom invited Julie, and I was so surprised, I didn’t act appropriately. I apologize.”

Aliki walked over and wrapped his arms around Kai’s waist. “Hey, brah, give the cowboy a break. He’s our friend, right?”

Kai looked down at his brother. Rand tilted his head to see Kai’s expression, and it was—soft. “Yeah, kaikaina, he’s our friend.” Kai looked over Aliki’s head, his face neutral. His chest expanded, contracted, and he said, “You want to stay for lunch, brah?”

Rand nodded. “Yeah. I’d like that. What can I do to help?”

“Maybe Aliki can be persuaded to eat salad if he knows his riding teacher made it?” He held Aliki’s chin and stared into his face. The kid wrinkled his nose and ran to the back of the house. Kai yelled, “Change your clothes and then come back and help.”

Lani had removed her boots and was wiping them with a cloth. “I’ll change too and be right back.” She grinned at Rand and walked out.

Alone—at last. “I really am sorry about yesterday.”

“Nothing to be sorry for. Hell, what you and your folks did for my kids—I can’t even say.” He shook his head, but his eyes never left the pan to which he’d added tomatoes, ground beef, and a bunch of spices that made the whole room fragrant and Rand’s belly rumble.

“I’m talking about you. You and me. I’m sorry for putting you in such a weird position.”

He glanced at Rand, frowned, and lowered his voice. “There’s no ‘you and me.’ You’re a haole tourist, brah, who goes back to his life tomorrow. I’m a brown-skinned dropout with mouths to feed.”

As kicks in the teeth went, that one qualified as pure, fourteen-carat-gold truth.

Buy links:

And at iBooks


My review:

4 out of 5 stars

Cowboys Don't Come Out by Tara Lain is a contemporary m/m romance story featuring Rand McIntyre, whose forced vacation to Maui with his parents has unexpectedly pleasant consequences. Unwillingly driven to pursue his attraction to Kai Kealoha, Rand discovers the complex Hawaiian cowboy has plenty of secrets of his own, and their relationship may end before it can even begin, especially since they are both in the closet.

There are certain things I can depend on when I read one of this author’s stories, including sexy caring males with plenty of baggage, and a learning curve as each has to learn about the other’s lifestyle. I am always amazed that she is able to adeptly address poignant and serious issues in a way that acknowledges the pain and angst that accompanies them without making the reader feel overwhelmed and weighted down. Her main characters all share determination and tenacity, and I was particularly enchanted by the humility and loving nature displayed by these guys, even as I regretted the pressures that made them afraid to admit their attraction. There are a couple of awkward scenes that seemed a bit forced, but the overall story gave me a warm fuzzy feeling even as it reminded me of the beauty and history present in the Hawaiian Islands, not to mention the fascination that horses seem to engender in people of all ages. This was a wonderful way to armchair travel while enjoying a sensual and heartwarming story that required a tissue or two, but had such charismatic secondary characters that I hope to see them all again at some point.

A copy of this title was provided to me for review


Tackling the Tight End
by Tara Lain

A Novel in the Long Pass Chronicles

Everyone wants the best for SCU student and tight end Raven Nez—and they know exactly what that is. Enter the NFL draft, become a big football hero, promote his tribe’s casino, and make a lot of money to help people on the reservation. Just one problem. Raven’s gay and he really wants to work with gay kids. Plus he figures a gay Native tight end will get flattened in the NFL. Then the casino board hires a talented student filmmaker to create ads for the tribal business and asks Raven to work with him. But the filmmaker is Dennis Hascomb, a guy with so much to hide and a life so ugly it’s beyond Raven’s understanding. Still, he’s drawn to Dennis's pain and incredible ability to survive. Captivated by Raven’s stories of the two-spirited and by the amazing joy of finally having a friend, Dennis knows he has to break free from everything he’s ever been taught was good—but that’s a struggle that could kill him and Raven too. Is there a chance for “the great red hope” and the “whitest guy on earth”? A future for the serpent and the raven?


Dennis’s heart kept pounding in his throat as he crawled out of Walt’s car in the parking lot of the burger place and watched Raven’s long legs emerge from the front seat onto the pavement beside him. Jesus, he was about to go eat with this guy who looked like a god. Man, that was some kind of new milestone. He leaned over and peered in the front seat. “Thanks for driving, Walt. And for including me. Good to meet you.”

“Yeah. Same here.” Walt gave a wave to Raven. “See you later, lover.” After Raven slammed the door, Walt drove off.

“He seems like a great guy.”

Raven nodded as he walked toward the door of the diner. “Yeah, he’s the best. Been my friend since we were kids.” All those strong planes in his face seemed to soften. “Sometimes I’m not sure how I’d get through a day without Walt.” He pulled his jacket tighter and seemed to shudder against the breeze. Weird that Dennis wanted to wrap his arms around Raven to keep him warm. Weirder since he probably couldn’t get his arms halfway around the guy’s chest.

“But Walt’s not your boyfriend?” He swallowed hard.”

Raven seemed to take a breath. “Uh, no. Just friends.”

“I heard he was your guy.”

He shrugged. “We exaggerate our friendship a little to keep our families from trying to hook us up. I’d appreciate it if you kept it to yourself.”

“Sure. No big.” Why did he want to laugh? Maybe just because Raven Nez trusted him with a secret.

They got inside and were given a booth in the back. Walking behind Raven, Dennis got to watch people stare. Women’s lips parted and stayed open like they couldn’t catch their breath. A few people nudged each other, probably recognizing him from TV or the newspapers. The height, the hair, the overall gorgeousness. Hell, who wouldn’t stare? They slid onto the bench seats opposite each other and ordered burgers with fries and Cokes.

Raven smiled. “I really enjoyed getting to see that film in a new light. You were right. I’d never noticed the complete lack of law in the film—except for the law of the crooks. But the nihilism thing. I don’t know. The film is so exuberant and full of fun. I don’t think it says that God or meaning is dead, you know?”

Dennis grinned. Wow, Raven got it. The waitress brought their food, and Dennis dug in. So great getting to eat something his mother hadn’t cooked, and with another person—kind of like a friend. Of course, Raven wouldn’t be anything like a friend if he knew who Dennis was and what he did. He fought a shudder.

Raven took a huge bite, chewed, then tried to talk around his swallow which was kind of cute. “Butch and Jules get away, don’t they? I mean, it seemed like they both found something.”

“Yeah, interesting observation. I mean, it’s like one found God.”

Raven nodded. “And the other found love.”

Together they said, “Same thing.” Raven laughed and spit some bread on the table. It was fun to see him a little less than cool.

Dennis wiped his mouth with his napkin. “You ever been in love?”

“Not yet.”

“Is, uh, falling in love with a guy the same as falling in love with a girl?” He snorted. “Sorry. Dumb question. You just said you’ve never been in love.”

“And I’ve never been with a girl.”

“No kidding? Not even in high school or anything?”

“No. I knew I was gay when I was little. My grandfather raised me to accept the idea that some people are two-spirited, so I was actually excited when I realized I was. I rushed to tell my folks.” He shook his head. “As you can imagine, they weren’t quite so thrilled.”

“That must have been tough.”

He shrugged, but he didn’t look casual. “My grandfather intervened and told them stories of the old ways.” He shoved a couple of fries in his mouth.

“So your grandfather brought your parents around?”

“Not really. They accept my being gay, but they don’t like it.”

“Hell. Accepting is huge compared to some people I know.” Dennis shuddered. “So Indians, I mean, Native Americans accepted, uh, homosexuality?”

“Some tribes. It’s not the Native way to deny something out of existence or make laws against stuff that happens in nature. In some communities the two-spirited were actually revered and considered closer to spirit. Of course, often they were more like what we might call transgender. Not just guys who love guys.”

“Hell, that seems a lot better than being told you’re bad by your church for something you can’t change.” Jesus, he should change the subject. This one made him want to cry.

Raven shoved back his empty plate and sipped his Coke. “Yeah. I volunteer at the Gay Youth Shelter and, man, between their parents throwing them out and their churches calling them perverts, a lot of those kids barely escape suicide.” He stared at the dark liquid in his glass. “Some of them don’t escape.”

“That’s crazy.” So crazy he totally got it.

Buy links:

Also at iBooks


About Tara:

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 34. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!




  • 1st prize $75 GC + 7 ebooks
  • 2nd prize $50 GC + 7 ebooks
  • 3rd prize $30 GC + 7 ebooks
  • 4th prize $15 GC + 7 ebooks
  • 5th prize $10 GC + 7 ebooks
  • 6th prize $5 GC + 7 ebooks

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Reviews by Crystal and I also have a giveaway!

One person who comments on either of our posts for the Color of Love Tour about one of the must-read titles or authors found on this tour will win an e-book from Tara's backlist (does NOT include the two recent releases, Cowboys Don't Come Out and Death Dancer). Please leave a valid e-mail address. A winner will be chosen from those who have left a relevant comment after December 5, 2016.


Follow the hop to discover more great books and authors, and maybe even a giveaway or two!


Kiru Taye  16. Sharon C. Cooper  31. Synithia Williams  
2. Nana Prah  17. Candace Shaw  32. L. Loren  
3. Empi Baryeh  18. Natasha Blackthorne  33. LaQuette  
4. RWOWA  19. Sydney Aaliyah Michelle  34. Jamie Wesley  
5. Sexy Romance Novels  20. Kenya Wright  35. A.J. Locke  
6. Kai Tyler  21. Delaney Diamond  36. A.C. Melody  
7. Love Bites and Silk  22. LaVerne Thompson  37. Kay Blake  
8. Felicia Denise  23. Tia Kelly  38. Sheena Binkley  
9. Guinevere & Libertad  24. Patience Saduwa  39. M.J. Kane  
10. G.L. Tomas  25. Paulette Harper  

11. Georgia Lyn Hunter  26. LENA HART  41. Reviews by Crystal  
12. Lea's Crazy Nights  27. S.W.Frank  42. Dionne Grace  
13. Lily Harlem  28. Reana Malori  43. Nana Malone  
14. Kim Golden  29. Rina Gray  44.  
15. Ines Johnson  30. Joyfully Reviewed  45. Inger Iversen