Tide of War (Defending Epsilon) by Lori A. Witt

TideOfWarLieutenant Commander Kyle West is one of Earth Fleet’s greatest fighter pilots. Every day, he leads his squadron into battle over Earth’s cities in a seemingly endless war against a vicious alien race, defending his home and his loved ones.
Millions of miles away, the Fleet’s Elite Squadron attacks from another angle, engaging the enemy on its home turf. Casualties are high, and the Squadron needs more of the Fleet’s very best. But joining the Elite is a death sentence—a surety Kyle isn’t willing to face. Until a devastating attack wipes out the family he refused to leave.
Commander Andrei Dezhnyov, an Elite Squadron gunner, isn’t sure what to make of the cocky new American pilot. Kyle is equally uncertain about the snarly Russian, but as they warm up to each other, their tentative alliance becomes a deep bond—one that endangers them both when a daring and disobedient rescue reveals secrets that call into question everything they’ve ever believed about their enemy. Secrets that their superiors would kill to protect.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I’m not exactly sure how to review this… I’ve honestly started it three times… at least. You’re just going to have to forgive me for being vague. Without giving anything major away, there’s just no other way to review The Tide of War, so here it goes…

This is a book of love, loss and betrayal… but not in the conventional sense. Honestly, romance takes a back seat to the real story, but it’s still an integral part of what happens. The twists and turns, hints of what’s really going on and several moments of complete and utter heartbreak… All of that and more comprise this story.

There’s very little down time, lots of suspense and some touching, heated moments laced within the mystery of Epsilon. I loved the interaction between not just Kyle and Andrei, but all the other characters as well. I also like the not so subtle message that was delivered within the story. In other words, this is a book that makes you think… and those are some of my favorite.

The Tide of War is the first in a series and that’s a very good thing. Even though the story doesn’t end in a cliff hanger, the story is obviously far from over. I can’t wait to see what happens next in Defending Epsilon.

DragonFlyRating4

Ready to Were (Shift Happens #1) by Robyn Peterman

ReadytoWereI never planned on going back to Hung Island, Georgia. Ever.
I was a top notch Were agent for the secret paranormal Council and happily living in Chicago where I had everything I needed – a gym membership, season tickets to the Cubs and Dwayne – my gay, Vampyre best friend. Going back now would mean facing the reason I’d left and I’d rather chew my own paw off than deal with Hank.
Hank the Tank Wilson was the six foot three, obnoxious, egotistical, perfect-assed, best-sex-of-my-life, Werewolf who cheated on me and broke my heart. At the time, I did what any rational woman would do. I left in the middle of the night with a suitcase, big plans and enough money for a one-way bus ticket to freedom. I vowed to never return.
But here I am, trying to wrap my head around what has happened to some missing Weres without wrapping my body around Hank. I hope I don’t have to eat my words and my paw.

I love these short, fun reads. I’m not a ‘judge a book by its cover’ kind of reader, but I just know when I see this style cover it’s going to be a light, happy read. ;)

Of course, along with being a short, happy read there has to be some conflict somewhere and Ready to Were was full of it. Conflict, tension, total miscommunication, a crotchity grandma and a gay/vampire best friend as well as some really bad (in a totally evil way) shifters and meddling drama queen weres who needed to be put in their place.

I do believe that Shift Happens is going to turn into another ‘go-to’ on my ‘fun to read’ list. ;)

DragonFlyRating4

Hard as Stone (SoulShares #1) by Rory Ni Coileain

HardAsStoneFaeTiernan Guaire is a Fae in exile. Forced from the Realm into the human world for the unimaginable crime of a brother’s murder, he lives by a century-old vow, to trust no one, and never to allow himself to love or be loved.
Kevin Almstead has just lost his future, to a vote of the partners at his law firm. Trying to escape for an evening, he ventures into Purgatory, the hottest all-male nightclub in Washington, D.C., where he allows himself to be seduced by a stranger with long blond hair and ice-blue eyes.
Drawn into a Soulshare bond with his intended one-night stand, Tiernan soon learns that the most ancient and evil enemy of the Fae still walks the human world, and it will stop at nothing – certainly not Kevin Almstead – to possess the magick of a Noble Fae.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I’m kind of torn on this one. I loved the premise. The idea that a Fae could be exiled and lose part of his soul in the process is a unique twist. I think my main problem with Hard as Stone was that it was a little too short to fully develop the twists and turns.

Tiernan was pretty broken. Not only had he committed the most treasonous act imaginable, he was saddled with eternity to live with the consequences… and the guilt.

Kevin was broken in a subtle way. He never felt quite connected. Once he met Tiernan, he understood why.

Tiernan fought his attraction to Kevin as soon as he figured out who he was. He’d spent decades avoiding his SoulShare. As miserable as he was, he wasn’t ready to give up his immortality, but he also didn’t think he deserved to be happy. His guilt over the crime he committed made him hide the truth from Kevin.

As if all the tension between Kevin and Tiernan weren’t enough, there was a mysterious force out to get both Kevin and Tiernan. The tension and mystery in Hard as Stone was pretty much non-stop. So was the heat between the two main characters.

Gale Force is the next book in the SoulShares series. Even though it is centered around a totally different couple, there were still some loose ends that need to be tied up. Hopefully the second book will answer some of my questions.

DragonFlyRating4

Alpha (War of the Alphas #3) by S.M. Reine

AlphaNo longer an Omega, Deirdre Tombs has found her animal. She only had to die and rise from her own ashes to discover it.
And she’s returned with a purpose.
For the first time in history, the role of Alpha is up for election. If Everton Stark takes charge, he could disband the ruthless government organization that has made life miserable for shifters like Deirdre.
One problem: Stark doesn’t want to run. He only wants vengeance against his wife, Rhiannon, who killed many of his followers and stole the Ethereal Blade.
While Stark is focused on revenge, Rhiannon is focused on winning the election for Alpha. Victory means tearing the Winter Court apart with civil war. It means riots. It means unleashing a deadly unseelie assassin that devours souls. Anything to get her dragon shifter mate in power…with Rhiannon at his side.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1The Alpha Wars are heating up… I honestly didn’t mean that to be a pun, but it’s true regardless.

Deirdre spends a lot of time juggling between trying to keep Stark under control and keeping him from killing her. As if that weren’t a full time job in itself, she’s also found a few more enemies that want her out of the equation. She’s pulled in several different directions and I was pulled right along with her. Confusing, I know, but if you’ve followed the series of books leading up to the War of the Alphas, you’d totally understand my emotional upheaval. I know that Riley isn’t exactly who Dierdre thinks she is, but I also know that Dierdre has a legitimate complaint about what happened to her and others after Genesis.

There are a few characters that I am not at all confused about and Melchior tops that list. He is definitely someone who looks out for no one but himself. There is an ulterior motive to everything he does and his character is one of the few things that I totally agree with Stark on. He plays with Deirdre’s emotions and shows no mercy. He and Rhiannon both need to go down… how exactly that’s going to happen is anyone’s guess.

A few characters make return appearances in Alpha. Some were expected and some I was pleasantly surprised to see the roles they’ve taken since Genesis. This series may be shorter than the others in this world, but it’s not lacking in action or developments. Throwing vampires and the Fae into the paranormal mix has definitely made things more than interesting.

I’m not sure that SM Reine can ever turn Stark into a character that I like, but she’s trying to give him at least a semblance of humanity. Deirdre has her flaws as well, but she has definitely grown on me as the story progresses. I’ve come to the point that I can almost forgive her for her distrust of Riley. Almost.

If you’ve been following this series from the beginning, you might already know that the War of the Alphas was originally supposed to be a trilogy. As the story progressed, SM Reine decided that there was too much to squeeze into just three books and tell the story that needed to be told, therefore Omega, Beta and Alpha will be followed by PAS.  No complaints here. I’m personally never ready for a saga by this author to end. As I’ve said before, if she writes it, I will read it… period.

DragonFlyRating5

Blind Man’s Wolf (Tooth & Claw #1) by Amelia Faulkner

BlindMansWolfEllis O’Neill is an art dealer with too many problems: his eyesight has deteriorated to the point of night-blindness; he’s estranged from his family, to whom he owes a considerable sum of money; and his guide dog went right off him the night Ellis died. Without his dog, Ellis is trapped in a life bouncing between home and work, dependent on his personal assistant.
Werewolf Randall Carter has problems of his own. He loves his pack, he really does, but as their Omega he’s always the one to bear the brunt of their rage. It’s a role he can’t avoid, and Randall isn’t sure he can take it for much longer, so he buries himself in his day job. Randall’s the best dog trainer in the city, and when he’s offered a client who needs him to work evenings he’d be a fool to turn it down.
Soon Randall is falling for someone he should despise. Everything about the undead is anathema to his kind, but Ellis is exactly the kind of guy Randall would want to ask out on a date – if he were still breathing. Worse, they may not have too long to figure their feelings out. Someone or something is gunning for Ellis and anyone else who gets in the way; they won’t rest until the vampire is destroyed.

Werewolves and vampires… two of my favorites when it comes to PNR reads. It’s not very often that the two ‘species’ become love interests though. I kind of liked the twist.

There are some pretty strict guidelines the supernaturals created by Amelia Faulkner have to follow. Makes sense because if there weren’t rules, there would be utter chaos. Ellis keeps his ‘identity’ pretty quiet because of those rules. Humans aren’t supposed to know that they exist. Randall’s never encountered anyone ‘like’ Ellis before so he can’t quite figure out exactly what he is. He only knows that he’s attracted to him and by the time he figures out that’s not allowed, it’s too late.

I really liked the connection between Ellis and Randall. I also liked the story itself. Ellis had an unknown enemy that was determined to destroy him. By the time the story ended… yeah, there’s a lot more to come. Basically if I had one complaint it would be that there wasn’t a lot of closure at the end. One problem was solved, but it opened the door for an even bigger one that remained. I suppose that’s what sequels are for… Speaking of which, Blood Moon Rising is the next book in the Tooth & Claw series and I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before I pick that one up too. ;)

DragonFlyRating4

Bout-of-Books 13 Grand Prize Winner!

BoB13-200x200Bout-of-Books 13 may have ended on May 17, but that isn’t the end of the fun for me. Once the Grand Prize winner is announced I get to play. This time around I got to help Emma from Word And Peace create some graphics to dress up her site and her Twitter page.

Emma organizes virtual book tours at France Book Tours. All genres represented, but all books have a connection with France

FranceBookToursButton180x180Emma has been book blogging at Words And Peace for almost 5 years. She reads all kinds of genres, but tends to prefer historical fiction as well as books in translation, especially from the French or the Japanese.

She is also an English-French literary translator, a French online tutor, and an artist, painting exclusively on rocks

Words And Peace is on FacebookTwitter, Google+Goodreads, and Pinterest.

It was a pleasure working with Emma and help her dress up her sites. Be sure to stop by and say Hi! when you get a chance.

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By creativedeeds

Tide of War Blog Tour

TideOfWar_TourBannerWelcome to the Riptide Publishing/Lori A. Witt blog tour for The Tide of War!
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (including books written as L.A. Witt or Lauren Gallagher, excluding The Tide of War) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 28th, and winners will be announced on July 29th.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

Andrei stretched his neck and rolled his shoulders beneath his stiff, starched dress uniform. He and Ogrufina didn’t usually spar quite as long as they had last night, and he was feeling it today. He was pretty sure, though, that the twinges in his hips and lower back were less from boxing and more from that second wind they’d both had right about the time they’d gone to bed.

Leaning against the podium at the front of the briefing room, he took a long swallow of coffee before looking over the new pilots and gunners with tired eyes. Only three pairs of new arrivals this time. Epsilon needed more, damn it. Fortunately, they’d been on stand-down ever since he and Ogrufina had discussed the new strategies with the admiral, which meant they’d been conserving—and accumulating, thanks to the supply ships—fuel and ordnance. They just needed more manpower, and soon.

Rumor had it there was another ship on its way with more crews after this one. Damn good thing, too. One of the squadrons needed at least four more pairs before they could fly in any kind of formation. Andrei’s squadron needed two of these three new pairs to make up for their lost birds, though he’d only be able to snag one from this group.

At least he got first pick from the new arrivals since he’d been assigned to give this briefing. Only one pair would be his, so he might as well get his hands on the best. The other squadron leaders could fight over the other two.

The newcomers’ files were on his tablet, which was beside the podium under a stack of briefing materials. He’d look them over once he’d dismissed everyone. He liked to size them up cold, without any preexisting notions about their simulator scores or flight records. If they’d been deemed good enough to join the Elite Squadron, then they obviously knew how to fly and shoot worth a damn. Well, unless the Fleet was getting really desperate, but at the very least, the crews in front of him had managed to avoid getting killed so far. These days, that was better than nothing.

What he really wanted to know was their personality types. How well would they mesh with his already hand-selected squadron? Pilots were naturally arrogant, and gunners could be even worse, so he expected a certain amount of head-butting and ego clashing. They had to rely on each other to stay alive out there, though, and Andrei was damned good at figuring out who’d throw the whole squadron into chaos and who wouldn’t.

So he went by his instincts first, and the contents of those files later.

He scanned the gathered newcomers.

The lieutenant commander sitting off to the left side immediately caught his eye. Good-looking, that one. Still bleary-eyed from the journey, but alert. Freshly shaved. Familiar too, and after a moment of watching him surreptitiously, Andrei figured out this was the same man who’d been watching him and Ogrufina spar in the gym last night. He also decided his initial assessment—that the man was incredibly easy on the eyes—still stood.

He hadn’t taken a good look at the man’s uniform last night, but now he surreptitiously inspected it from a distance. Over his left breast was a set of gold wings—as opposed to the gold marksman insignia that Andrei himself wore—noting he was a pilot. Still only a lieutenant commander, though. Not unheard of for an elite pilot, but if he was a good enough flyer to be here, then his lack of rank probably meant he’d either been denied promotions or he’d been demoted. Likely for his conduct.

The edge of his collar had a slim blue stripe with three white stars, which meant he was American, and Andrei mused to himself that the blue stripe and the lieutenant commander rank added up to someone who probably didn’t like authority. The men under Andrei’s command insisted that the Elite Squadron didn’t need any more Americans and their cocky attitudes or reckless piloting. Of course, the American higher-ups disagreed; if they’d had it their way, the whole damned squadron would have blue stripes. Arrogant pricks. Andrei wasn’t fond of having a mostly-American squadron, but he didn’t complain when he saw new ones on the incoming roster. Reckless piloting was sometimes the only thing that kept Menarian missiles from knocking them out of the sky.

And while he’d never admit it to anyone except Ogrufina, he rather liked their accents. Especially in bed.

No. Not going there again. No pilots, no gunners. No one but Ogrufina.

He banished the thoughts of Murari and, with them, the grief that still simmered beneath the surface. Tugging at his stiff collar, he shifted his weight and pulled his mind back to the briefing he was about to give. With a more professional eye, he sized up the rest of the half dozen new crew members.

In the middle: two male Japanese fighters, their collars lined with red and white. On the far right: a male American gunner with a female French pilot. Interesting. He’d heard that pilot/gunner pairs’ nationalities were becoming increasingly mixed as the Fleet became more integrated, but few of those crews had come to Epsilon.

His gaze drifted back to the pair of Americans on the left, and this time he noticed they were obviously a couple. Her hand rested on his knee, his arm was across the back of her chair, and each wore a simple gold band. So much for any thoughts he might have had about an American accent in the bedroom—most of those people were rigidly monogamous.

He glanced at the clock on the wall: 0701. Time to get started. With only six chairs in front of him filled, this threatened to become just an informal gathering, but Andrei preferred formality until the new guys had found their places within the squadrons.

Standing front and center, he cleared his throat. “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I am Commander Andrei Dezhnyov. My pilot, who will be here shortly, is the unrivaled Captain Ogrufina Teterev.”

The gunner on the far right raised a hand. “Sir?”

“Yes?”

The gunner smirked. “Are you really the best gunner the Elite Squadron’s ever seen?” His southern American accent drew out every syllable. “Or is that just bullshit recruiting propaganda?”

This again. Never fails.

At least that meant Andrei had learned to respond without rolling his eyes.

He smiled. “Yes, Lieutenant Commander. It is true.”

The man snorted. “For the time being, anyhow.”

One in every crowd. And always one of the damned Americans.

Andrei tapped the shooter medal on his chest, which had two silver and one gold star across the top. “When you have one of these with a gold star on there instead of”—he looked closer at the American’s own medal—“two bronzes and a silver, then we’ll talk about who’s the best gunner in the Elite Squadron.”

The American pilot on the other end, the one who’d caught Andrei’s eye last night—and again this morning—snickered.

Andrei glared at him. “Something you’d like to add, Lieutenant Commander?”

The pilot shook his head but pointed at his gunner.

She grinned and tapped the shooter medal on her uniform. One silver and two gleaming gold stars.

Andrei stepped a little closer, eyeing the medal. Then he shifted his gaze to her name tape, and his lips parted. Maybe he should have glanced over the files before the briefing.

Straightening, he looked her in the eye. “Commander Blaine. I should have known you’d be one of us sooner or later.” He extended his hand. “It’s quite an honor.”

She shook his hand. “The honor’s all mine, Commander Dezhnyov.”

He turned to the pilot sitting beside her. “You must be Lieutenant Commander West.”

The American blinked. “You . . . know who I am?”

Andrei laughed. “You don’t think I’ve heard the brass complaining for the last year and a half that they haven’t been able to recruit you?” He extended his hand again. “Pleased to finally meet you.”

West shook his hand firmly. “Likewise.”

Though Andrei might have been imagining it, West seemed a little dazed by the exchange. He’d never in a million years let it show, but truth be told, Andrei was a little off-balance himself, and damned if he knew why.

You know exactly why, you fucking fool.

Author Bio

Lori A. Witt is the fourth corner of the Gallagher-Witt quad, and prefers to play in the genres of science fiction and fantasy over all that romance nonsense. Okay, so romance does show up sometimes, but these are the books she writes when she needs a change of pace. Sword and sorcery, spaceships, and just general weird nerdy goodness—Lori writes it all. Like the other members of the quad (L.A. Witt, Lauren Gallagher, and Ann Gallagher), Lori is in the process of relocating from Omahabad, Nebraskastan to the southwestern coast of Spain. In her spare time, she tries to stay out of the middle of L.A.’s and Lauren’s ongoing rivalry, while never missing a chance to trip Ann when she’s not paying attention.
Connect with Lori
Facebook • Website •  
BlogTwitter:

The Tide of War BLURB

TideOfWarLieutenant Commander Kyle West is one of Earth Fleet’s greatest fighter pilots. Every day, he leads his squadron into battle over Earth’s cities in a seemingly endless war against a vicious alien race, defending his home and his loved ones.

Millions of miles away, the Fleet’s Elite Squadron attacks from another angle, engaging the enemy on its home turf. Casualties are high, and the Squadron needs more of the Fleet’s very best. But joining the Elite is a death sentence—a surety Kyle isn’t willing to face. Until a devastating attack wipes out the family he refused to leave.

Commander Andrei Dezhnyov, an Elite Squadron gunner, isn’t sure what to make of the cocky new American pilot. Kyle is equally uncertain about the snarly Russian, but as they warm up to each other, their tentative alliance becomes a deep bond—one that endangers them both when a daring and disobedient rescue reveals secrets that call into question everything they’ve ever believed about their enemy. Secrets that their superiors would kill to protect.

The Tide of War is available July 22nd from Riptide Publishing.

By creativedeeds

Red Fox (Experiment in Terror #2) by Karina Halle

RedFoxIn the for­got­ten town of Red Fox, New Mex­ico, a Navajo cou­ple is tor­tured by things unseen and by motives unknown. Wild ani­mals slink through their house in the dark, a bar­rage of stones pound their roof nightly, and muti­lated sheep car­casses are turn­ing up on their prop­erty. Armed with a cam­era and just enough to go on, Perry and Dex travel to the des­o­late locale, hop­ing to film the super­nat­ural occur­rences and add cred­i­bil­ity to their flail­ing web­cast. Only their show has a lot more work­ing against them than just grow­ing pains. Tested by dubi­ous ranch hands, a ghost from Dex’s past, and shape shift­ing decep­tion, the ama­teur ghost hunters must learn to trust each other in order to fight the most ancient of myths…or die trying.

I’m not ashamed to say that this book scared the crap out of me. I had to keep reminding myself that there are 9 books in the Experiment in Terror series, so Dex and Perry were reasonably safe. The more I read, the more I had to keep reminding myself of that fact.

Red Fox begins just a little while after Darkhouse ends. Their first webcast has broadcast and they can’t let any grass grow under their feet before they start the next one. Perry has even more riding on its success now than ever and her only ally in her new career path is Dex. Trust is kind of tough when both parties keep things hidden from each other. That just adds to the tension built in this story.

I love stores based on mythology and Native American legends are some of my favorites. That aspect of this story totally drew me in and didn’t let go even when things got seriously dark. From the time they entered Red Fox, Dex and Perry were in danger. The biggest problem they faced, other than trying to survive, was that they had no idea who they could and couldn’t trust. No one was exactly what they seemed, so they had no idea where the real danger was coming from. Then, it got worse.

Regardless of how scary these books are, I know that I won’t be able to stay away. Beyond the danger that Dex and Perry put themselves in, there’s also the romantic tension between them. Since the books are told from Perry’s POV readers know exactly where her feelings lie, but Dex is a mystery. He’s unstable, mentally and emotionally. One minute he acts like he cares about Perry as much as she does for him and the next he’s distant and professional. It’s driving me nuts, and I totally love it.

Dead Sky Morning is up next and it’s already ready and waiting for me. ;)

DragonFlyRating5

The Deep of the Sound Blog Tour

DeepoftheSound_TourBanner

DeepOfTheSoundCal McCorkle has lived in Bluewater Bay his whole life. He works two jobs to support a brother with a laundry list of psychiatric diagnoses and a great-uncle with Alzheimer’s, and his personal life amounts to impersonal hookups with his boss. He’s got no time, no ambition, and no hope. All he has is family, and they’re killing him one responsibility at a time.
Avery Kennedy left Los Angeles, his family, and his sleazy boyfriend to attend a Wolf’s Landing convention, and he has no plans to return. But when he finds himself broke and car-less in Bluewater Bay, he’s worried he’ll have to slink home with his tail between his legs. Then Cal McCorkle rides to his rescue, and his urge to run away dies a quick death.
Avery may seem helpless at first, but he can charm Cal’s fractious brother, so Cal can pretty much forgive him anything. Even being adorkable. And giving him hope. But Cal can only promise Avery “until we can’t”—and the cost of changing that to “until forever” might be too high, however much they both want it.

Author Bio
Amy Lane exists happily with her noisy family in a crumbling suburban crapmansion, and equally happily with the surprisingly demanding voices who live in her head.
She loves cats, movies, yarn, pretty colors, pretty men, shiny things, and Twu Wuv, and despises house cleaning, low fat granola bars, and vainglorious prickweenies.
She can be found at her computer, dodging housework, or simultaneously reading, watching television, and knitting, because she likes to freak people out by proving it can be done.

Connect with Amy:
Website • Blog • Twitter
Facebook Group: Amy Lane Anonymous • Goodreads

Giveaway
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for an eBook package of all of Amy Lane’s backlist titles with Riptide! (Excludes The Deep of the Sound and anthologies.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 20, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!

The Deep of the Sound (Bluewater Bay #8) by Amy Lane

DeepOfTheSoundCal McCorkle has lived in Bluewater Bay his whole life. He works two jobs to support a brother with a laundry list of psychiatric diagnoses and a great uncle with Alzheimer’s, and his personal life amounts to impersonal hookups with his boss. He’s got no time, no ambition, and no hope. All he has is family, and they’re killing him one responsibility at a time.
Avery Kennedy left Los Angeles, his family, and his sleazy boyfriend to attend a Wolf’s Landing convention, and he has no plans to return. But when he finds himself broke and car-less in Bluewater Bay, he’s worried he’ll have to slink home with his tail between his legs. Then Cal McCorkle rides to his rescue, and his urge to run away dies a quick death.
Avery may seem helpless at first, but he can charm Cal’s fractious brother, so Cal can pretty much forgive him anything. Even being adorkable. And giving him hope. But Cal can only promise Avery “until we can’t”—and the cost of changing that to “until forever” might be too high, however much they both want it.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I honestly have no idea where to begin…

If you haven’t read the Valentine’s Day anthology of Bluewater Bay short stories Lights, Camera, Cupid, I’m not sure whether to tell you to read Amy Lane’s short story Nascha before or after reading The Deep of the Sound. I’ll put it this way… enough time had passed since I read it that I forgot a few details, but as soon as I finished The Deep of the Sound, I wanted to read Nascha again. If you have read it, Cal and Avery’s story overlaps with the ending of Nascha‘s story.

Just like I can’t decide where to begin, I can’t decide which one of these characters I loved more. Cal carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. At least his family’s world. He was doing the best he could, but even he knew it wasn’t enough. He lived in real terror that his brother would hurt himself or even worse, someone else. His great uncle had good days and bad days, (which included the heartbreaking task of explaining to him once again that Cal’s parents had died tragically.) The only thing keeping both Keir and Nascha functioning as close to normal as possible was a well timed regimen of medication. Cal was way too young to have so much responsibility and no time to live his own life.

Avery was such a sweet guy. Too sweet to be treated the way he had been by his ex-lover and his parents. He was smart, witty and more capable of independence than even he realized. There were things that terrified him, but he seemed to find the positive in almost every situation. He may have been rescued by Cal on the side of the road, but Avery did just as much to save Cal.

The Deep of the Sound was so much more than a love story between two young men that deserved to find a HEA. It was also a story of the power of love between friends and family. As little as Cal seemed to have, Avery envied him. That family connection was priceless in Avery’s eyes. Cal couldn’t see beyond the present… ‘until we can’t’ was the only commitment that he could promise, but he craved and deserved so much more.

And then there was Nascha. After reading The Deep of the Sound, I’m so happy that he got his story in Lights, Camera, Cupid. I loved him even more by the end of Avery and Cal’s story…

Yes, there were tears. Yes, there was heartbreak and yes, there were some no win decisions that were forced to be made. Having this story wrapped up in a nice, neat bow of happiness wouldn’t have done any of the characters justice. Things weren’t perfect by the end, but there was hope for the future and that’s more than any of them had when this story began. Speaking of which, I’m kind of hoping that this isn’t the last readers see of Avery and Cal. You know… just to make sure they’re doing okay… ;)

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