In the Stacks (Advent Edition)

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, I can officially start talking about and obsessing over this years advent stories. Also, December is my birthday month so I tend to overindulge (even more than usual) in the book category, both because I love this season and I love holiday stories! Here are the ones I’m looking forward to reading (like now):

Winter Ball by Amy Lanewinter ball

Through a miserable adolescence and a lonely adulthood, Skipper Keith has dreamed of nothing but family. The closest he gets is the rec league soccer team he coaches after work—and his star player and best friend, Richie Scoggins.
One brisk night in late October, a postpractice convo in Richie’s car turns into a sexual encounter neither of them expected—nor want to forget. Soon Skip and

Richie are living for the weekends and their winter league soccer games—and the games they enjoy off the field. Through broken noses, holiday decorating, and the killer flu, they learn more about each other than they ever dreamed possible. Every new discovery takes them further beyond the boundaries of the soccer field and into the infinite possibilities of the best relationship of Skipper’s life.

Skipper can’t dream of a better family than Richie—but Richie’s got real family entanglements he can’t shake off. Skipper needs to convince Richie to stay with him beyond winter ball so the relationship they started on the field might become their happy future in real life!

Humbug by Joanna Chambers

humbugQuin Flint is unimpressed when his gorgeous colleague, Rob Paget, asks for extra time off at Christmas. As far as Quin is concerned, Christmas is a giant waste of time. Quin’s on the fast track to partnership, and the season of goodwill is just getting in the way of his next big project. But when Quin’s boss, Marley, confiscates his phone and makes him take an unscheduled day off, Quin finds himself being forced to confront his regrets, past and present, and think about the sort of future he really wants…and who he wants it with.

 

If Only In My Dreams by Kiera AndrewsPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00058]

To be home for Christmas, they must bridge the distance between them.

Charlie Yates is desperate. It’s almost Christmas and his flight home from college has been delayed. For days. Charlie promised his little sister Ava he’d be home for her first holiday season since going into remission from leukemia. Now he’s stuck on the opposite coast and someone else grabbed the last rental car. Someone he hasn’t even spoken to in four years. Someone who broke his heart.

Gavin Bloomberg’s childhood friendship with Charlie ended overnight after a day of stolen kisses. With years of resentment between them, they don’t want to be in the same room together, let alone a car. But for Ava’s sake, Gavin agrees to share the rental and drive across the country together.

As they face unexpected bumps along the road, can Charlie and Gavin pave the way to a future together?

What Happens at Christmas by Jay Northcote

what happensJustin is recently and unhappily single. Christmas is coming, and he doesn’t want to face his ex alone at their office party. So Sean—Justin’s best mate and long-time secret crush—volunteers to go with him and pretend to be his new flame.

Sean has always lusted after Justin from afar, but there’s never been a good opportunity to ask him for more than friendship. Posing as Justin’s boyfriend isn’t a chore, and if Justin wants to rebound onto him, Sean’s more than willing. At the party pretence and reality blur, and a kiss on the dance floor leads to a night of passion.

In the aftermath, they both assume it was a one-time thing until fate intervenes. Stuck together in London over the holidays, they give in to temptation again. But what happens at Christmas stays at Christmas… right?

 

Winter Oranges by Marie Sextonwinter oranges

Jason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

Rebound Remedy by Christina d’Abo

reboundThe last thing Cole expects to get for the holidays is dumped. But there he is, in the airport on his way to Banff for a romantic getaway, helplessly watching as his boyfriend’s ex declares undying love, proposes—and is accepted. With a few weeks to go until Christmas, Cole’s mood dives from jolly to jaded. But instead of sitting at home alone and feeling sorry for himself, he goes to his favorite bar, McGregor’s, for a pint and some company.

The moment Owen McGregor sets eyes on Cole, he knows there’s something wrong. So he takes it upon himself to ensure that Cole has a happy holiday: twelve outings for the twelve days before Christmas. Even if he can’t quite think up twelve activities that don’t involve getting the forlorn hunk into his bed.

With each outing they take together, Cole realizes that the love he thought he’d shared with his ex was less than perfect. And that Owen might prove to be more than just his rebound remedy.

Christmas Miracles of a Recently Fallen Spruce  by Brandon Wittsleigh ride

Paxton Peterson’s favorite day of the year is his annual Gay Boy Christmas dinner. He’s checked and double-checked his to-do list, because nothing stresses him out like the unexpected. Confident everything will run smoothly, Paxton embarks on his yearly snowshoed hike through the Rocky Mountains near his home. His perfectly planned evening is cut short by Logan Charles’s careless enjoyment of his brother’s snowmobile, and he is stranded in the woods. It’s the worst thing that could’ve possibly happened to him—or maybe the best.

Grateful by Kim Fielding

sleigh rideNate Roth’s latest dumb stunt has left him with a broken arm, black eye, and stitched chin—and extra trepidation about visiting his family for Hanukkah. He fears his relatives will put him through another round of criticism for his foolish choices and his nonexistent love life. Several mishaps during his short journey to his parents’ house don’t bode well. But along the way he meets impossibly gorgeous Gio DiPietro—and maybe it’s time for Nate’s risk-taking impulses to turn out well for a change.

Hapless by Therese Woodsonsleigh ride

All Ty wants is to propose to his boyfriend, Micah, before Christmas Eve. He has the perfect ring, the perfect setting, and the perfect plan, but the universe has other ideas. A sprained ankle, a choking woman, and a crying sister are just the tip of the iceberg as Ty stumbles toward his happy ever after. Now, as Christmas Eve looms before him, he has to figure out how to ask the biggest question of his life without his perfectionism getting in the way or he might lose the person he wants to spend the holiday, and every day after, with.

Loving and Loathing Vegas by Lex Chase

sleigh rideJackson has loved Vegas since God created Man—literally. As demonic incubi hailing from the Seventh Circle of Hell, Jackson and Vegas have never been anything more than roommates. Now living among humans, they run Eaven, a TripAdvisor-recommended detour-worthy diner famous for their devilishly decadent pies. Business is dead on the holidays, and Jackson will gleefully stab himself with a spatula if he has to clean spotless pots and pans one more time.

For fun—or torture—Vegas makes him a bet that should Jackson win, they take a much-needed vacation. Should he lose, he’s doomed to clean out grease traps for all eternity. When the challenge is to fall in love with other people by Christmas, it proves Vegas isn’t the least bit interested. But when they find an abandoned baby in the trash, she could be the Christmas miracle to warm Jackson’s cynical heart.

Old Acquaintance by Avon Gale

sleigh ride

Andrew Starling thought when he sold his medical database software to a national corporation, it would finally give him and his wife the financial security needed to build their dream home in the exclusive, wealthy community of Ponte Vedra, Florida. But Andrew’s wife leaves him for another man before the ink dries on the contract, leaving Andrew to enjoy the fruits of his labors—and their sprawling, oceanfront home—all alone. Despite being convinced he has nothing much to celebrate, Andrew goes to the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club’s annual New Year’s Eve party… and meets Elias Rivas, the young, good-looking server who’s always had his eye on Andrew. It might be the new beginning Andrew didn’t even know he needed.

Talk Turkey  by Bru Baker

sleigh rideCarson is a California transplant settling into life in the Windy City. On his first Christmas away from home, he assures his worried family he’ll be having a real Christmas dinner.

Recent culinary school graduate Tom Stockton earns some extra money giving out cooking advice at the Talk Turkey hotline. Tom’s honeyed voice and sharp sense of humor are attractive to the lonely Carson, and Carson finds reasons to call the hotline again and again. But on Christmas Eve, Carson’s call is less playful and more panicked with the big meal looming. Carson is just looking for advice, but Tom has a surprise in store that might lead to much more.

Worth the Wait by Caitlin Ricci & Cari Z. sleigh ride

When Tate promises his niece Addie he’ll get a book signed by her favorite author, he never expects to end up in a line four blocks long with sleet coming down around him. It’s three days until Christmas and he’s cold and miserable, but Addie will be devastated if he gives up.

A cute guy who offers him an umbrella is just the encouragement Tate needs to stick it out, especially when Brandon brings him something hot to drink. But the signing ends before Tate can get to the front of the line, and Tate is sure he’s ruined Christmas for his niece. Luckily Brandon gets him in to see the author, who happens to be his mother.

A simple thank you isn’t enough for Tate, and neither he nor Brandon wants to end things there. For two men unused to such an instant mutual attraction, the Christmas season just got a little more merry.

Candy Canes and Coffee Beans by Saxon Hawke

candy canesWill Christmas’ biggest fan get his own taste of holiday magic?

Asher Rye lives for happiness – for himself, and the rest of the world. By day, he spreads joy one cup of coffee at a time as a barista. At Christmas, he’s Dasher the elf, spreading the magic of the holiday season to every child and adult who visits Santa.

When a sad little boy visits Santa’s castle with his stuffed goat and uncle in tow, Asher is determined to show him that Santa never forgets. In his quest to show the boy and his uncle the magic of Christmas, he never expects to be sprinkled with holiday magic himself.

Will Christmas’ biggest fan get a Christmas miracle of his own?

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In the Stacks

Many of you know that outside of writing (and the devilish EDJ), I have a side gig as a  reviewer. This is because I love to read—like LOVE it. When I’m not writing or plotting or being bored to tears at work, I’m reading. It’s that time to get away and escape into whatever worlds and lives I can become completely enraptured with. Not all stories meet my mark of memorable, but that’s the life of a reader/reviewer. That being said, I never give  up.

That being said, I wish I had more hours in the day. My range of genre is plenty expansive so my TBR is vast. So today, I’m going to share the books I’m looking forward to reading soon. Maybe if I share it, I’ll make myself tackle the TBR. Smile

Up first in the stacks of my Kindle library:

Kaleidoscope by Kristen Ashleykaleidoscope

Sexy, gifted, and loyal, PI Jacob Decker is a tall, cool drink of perfection who had Emmanuelle Holmes at “hello.” His relationship with Emme’s best friend kept them apart for years, but things have changed. Now that a case has brought him to Gnaw Bone, Colorado, the road is wide open for Emme and Deck to explore something hotter and deeper than Emme dreamed possible. So why is she sabotaging the best thing that’s ever happened to her?

It isn’t easy to catch Deck off guard, but Emme does just that when she walks back into his life after nine long years. The curvy brunette had her charms back in the day, but now she’s a bona fide knockout . . . and she wants to rekindle their friendship. Deck, however, wants more. Emme’s always been the one; she excites Deck’s body and mind like no other woman can. But a dark chapter from Emme’s past overshadows their future together. Now only Deck can help her turn the page-if she’ll let him . . .

(side note: this is the sixth book in an m/f series I’ve been working my way through. I love this author)

winter spiritThe Winter Spirit by Indra Vaughn

Nathaniel O’Donnelly likes his life quiet, his guests happy, and his ghosts well-behaved.

Although a boyfriend wouldn’t go amiss. Someone to share his beautiful B&B with, even if it is in the middle of nowhere and he’s long past the wrong side of thirty. Problem is, Nathaniel’s living with a ghost who thinks he’s cupid, and whose arrows fly a little too straight.

Gabriel Wickfield had the unfortunate luck of dying before his time, and now he’s stuck trying to make romance happen to earn his right to move along. Not that he’s bored in the meantime—Nathaniel is just too easy to tease. And also a little bit scrumptious…

With the curse reaching its expiration date, Gabriel needs to make a final match this Christmas. Without it, nothing but darkness awaits.
Love can conquer all, but can it beat death?

(Tis the season! I love, love, love holiday stories! I also love, love, love Indra Vaughn!)

The Falling by J.C. Owens

Once a proud warrior, now a demon’s whore.falling

Brenaith had once been a warrior of renown, companion to the King of Artepia. Now he suffered in captivity as a demon’s whore, his country overrun by a race his people had not believed existed. Driven to the edge of madness by his tortures, the final blow comes when his master, a demon lord, gifts him as a blood servant to a Shadow Knight, Shaynith-una, a monster of legend that destroys even souls. Brenaith does not expect to survive the bonding by Shaynith-una, who is rumored to hold divine blood and is held in awe by other demons.

But with time he begins to see Shaynith-una as more than the monster he is reputed to be. The knight is a demi-god. Half demon god, half elf, the son of rape and darkness, mind taken and molded by his demonic deity father. And Brenaith’s fate and hope are both bound to Shaynith-una for good or for ill.

Can Brenaith break Shaynith-una’s conditioning and discover what and who really lies behind the knight’s facade…or will darkness always rule?

Reader discretion: contains dubious consent, intense emotional elements, and male/male love

(I pretty much devour any and everything this author writes.)

How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton

howl at the moonSheriff Lance Beaufort is not going to let trouble into his town, no sir. Tucked away in the California mountains, Mad Creek has secrets to keep, like the fact that half the town consists of ‘quickened’—dogs who have gained the ability to become human. Descended on both sides from Border Collies, Lance is as alert a guardian as they come.

Tim Weston is looking for a safe haven. After learning that his boss patented all of Tim’s work on vegetable hybrids in his own name, Tim quit his old job. A client offers him use of her cabin in Mad Creek, and Tim sees a chance for a new start. But the shy gardener has a way of fumbling and sounding like a liar around strangers, particularly gorgeous alpha men like Sheriff Beaufort.

Lance’s hackles are definitely raised by the lanky young stranger. He’s concerned about marijuana growers moving into Mad Creek, and he’s not satisfied with the boy’s story. Lance decides a bit of undercover work is called for. When Tim hits a beautiful black collie with his car and adopts the dog, its love at first sight for both Tim and Lance’s inner dog. Pretending to be a pet is about to get Sheriff Beaufort in very hot water.

(Yes, yes… I do happen to know that I’m quite possibly the only person in the world who has not read this book yet, but I bought How to Walk Like a Man, book two, so I need to read this first Smile)

Blue Moon Dragon by Shelley Munro

Take a walk on the dragon side!blue moon dragon

On her 25th birthday Emma Montrose decides it’s time to show bad boy investigator, Jack Sullivan, she’s more than an efficient secretary. She’s a woman with needs, and she wants him.

Jack is a taniwha, a dragon shifter, who requires women to satiate the sexual demands of the beast within. Casual and nothing more is his operating procedure. Voluptuous Emma has relationship written all over her, and Jack intends to keep far, far away, especially during the coming blue moon, which will erode his restraint. Then work forces the reluctant Jack and ecstatic Emma undercover as a couple. Thrown together at a luxury resort to investigate a drugs case, pretense and reality blur generating hot sex laced with risk…

(Urban Fantasy and Dragons… just sayin)

For a Dragon’s Touch by Charlie Richards

dragon's touchTwo men. One wants to kill the dragon. One wants to capture it. Both have secrets.

When men from the northern town of Brock come to Adencass, sharing tales of a dragon, Ian MacGree thinks it’s a ploy to get out of sending their share of support. His father, Chieftain Goth, sends Ian to discover the truth. Never does he think the stories of a dragon terrorizing the area would be true until he runs into Roark, who claims to be a dragon hunter. Ian’s attraction to Roark is almost instantaneous, but as the second son of the chieftain, romance has no place in his life, for his father plans to wed him to another to seal an alliance. But he’s not the only one with secrets. When he discovers Roark’s, will their secrets bring them together or drive them apart?

(If you know nothing about me, know this: I am 99% sure that a man in a kilt can fix anything.)

Sweet Ruin by Kresley Colesweet ruin

A foundling raised in a world of humans

Growing up, orphaned Josephine didn’t know who or what she was—just that she was “bad,” an outcast with strange powers. Her baby brother Thaddeus was as perfect as she was flawed; protecting him became her entire life. The day he was taken away began Jo’s transition from angry girl…to would-be superhero…to enchanting, ruthless villain.

A lethally sensual enforcer on a mission

A threat to the Møriør has brought archer Rune the Baneblood to the mortal realm to slay the oldest living Valkyrie. Whether by bow or in bed, he never fails to eliminate his target. Yet before he can strike, he encounters a vampiric creature whose beauty conceals a black heart. With one bite, she pierces him with aching pleasure, taking his forbidden blood—and jeopardizing the secrets of his brethren.

A boundless passion that will lead to sweet ruin…

Could this exquisite female be a spy sent by the very Valkyrie he hunts? Rune knows he must not trust Josephine, yet he’s unable to turn her away. Despite his millennia of sexual conquests, he can’t ignore the unfamiliar longing she arouses deep within him. When Jo betrays the identity of the one man she will die to protect, she and Rune become locked in a treacherous battle of wills that pits ultimate loyalty against unbridled lust.

(No. It doesn’t come out until December. Yes, I’m dying to read it. Yes, I’m lucky enough to already have it.)

A Gentle Kind of Strength by Kendall McKenna

gentle strengthA police K9 handler believes he’s lucky when a romance starts with the local veterinarian, but then his canine partner is injured in the line of duty.

Sergeant Ray Lerner is a veteran sheriff’s department K9 handler. Damien Federov is the veterinarian caring for Harley – Ray’s canine partner. When taking a man as a lover, Ray’s always been confident. Around Damien, Ray becomes uncharacteristically shy and tongue-tied. When Damien begins their romance, Ray knows he’s lucky.

His obsession with a past tragedy blinds Ray to everything he has with Damien. When Harley is injured on duty, his life is in Damien’s hands. As Ray sits vigil, he has one final chance to allow Damien in all the way, or risk losing everything important, in a single night.

(Another author I devour. This is my current read, btw.)