New Hand (Bluewater Bay #23) by L.A. Witt

Months after his husband’s death, Garrett Blaine desperately needs a fresh start. He sells his house in Seattle, leaves his accounting job, and starts bartending in Bluewater Bay. There he meets a man who wakes up his nearly forgotten libido.
Jesse Connelly’s friend with benefits bolted after Jesse disclosed his HIV status. Stood up and stinging, Jesse tries to drown his sorrows . . . and finds an unexpected connection with a lonely bartender.
Jesse and Garrett quickly bond over a shared love of comics and card games, and they can’t get enough of each other between the sheets. Not even a bumpy start and a fifteen-year age gap can derail them as they go from strangers to lovers, then friends, then much more.
But as Garrett’s feelings for Jesse deepen, so does his grief for the man he lost—especially as he sees hints of his late husband in his new boyfriend. Now Garrett has to figure out if Jesse is his second chance at true love, or if Jesse’s just filling in for the man he’s never fully grieved. And he needs to figure it out soon, because Jesse’s starting to wonder the same thing.

I have to admit, I was more than a little sad when I found out that New Hand would be the very last book in the Bluewater Bay series. Even so, I’m happy to say that it ended on a high note and it was rather appropriate that L.A. Witt wrote both the first and last book in the series (plus a few in between.) I really like these multi-author series. They not only introduce me to authors that I may not have otherwise known about, but they also give perspectives on a whole spectrum of ideas, situations, issues… that I didn’t know existed or never considered. In the Bluewater Bay series, there were even a couple of F/F books thrown into the mix, which isn’t one of my go-to genres. I can’t say that I’ve become a true fan, but I like stepping out of my comfort zone from time to time. Even though most of these books would have been easy to read as a stand alone, I personally think that you get a lot more out of each book if you’ve read them all. New Hand is a good example of that. Not only were some of the characters from Starstruck (the first book in the series) but Jesse was introduced in Outside the Lines, and characters in that book played an important role in New Hand. Just my opinion though. Honestly, there are very few books in the series I wouldn’t recommend. 😉

As for Jesse and Garrett’s story – these guys took turns breaking my heart. They were equally broken for very different reasons. Garrett was grieving and trying to run away from the memories. Even though he was attracted to Jesse from the first time he saw him, he spent a lot of time in his head second guessing his feelings. It didn’t help that he had well meaning (and some not-so-well meaning) friends and family re-inforcing those doubts. It seemed like for every positive step forward he took, he was pushed back two or more.

In the mean time Jesse was dealing with rejection and he couldn’t risk his heart any more by being a rebound for a grieving man. Once he realized that Garrett’s response to his admission wasn’t rejection, things got better, but he still wasn’t sure. The crazy part was, neither was Garrett, but he didn’t want to give Jesse up. He just had to convince him of that before it was too late.

There was a lot to love about this book. If you’ve been here before, you know how I feel about supporting characters and New Hand had some of the best. I fell in love with Lydia, Simon and Ian from Outside the Lines all over again, but especially Lydia. There were even more characters from previous books thrown into the mix which was also fun. Garrett went a little fan boy from time to time, which was kind of adorable, especially since he was the older man in this May/December romance.

So yeah, New Hand brought this series to a satisfying end. I’m kinda hoping that some of the authors treat readers to at least a peek at a few of the characters in the series in the future. Even if that never happens, I’m pretty sure that this is a series that I’ll pick up again.

Outside the Lines (Bluewater Bay #22) by Anna Zabo

Miniature artist Ian Meyers has one week to rebuild his damaged set. Needing help, he goes to End o’ Earth, the local comic and gaming shop. Owner Simon Derry pushes all of Ian’s buttons, and he also has steady hands and the skills Ian needs.
Before they can even grab a beer, Ian meets Lydia Derry, Simon’s wife. If Ian had any interest in women, he’d suggest a threesome, but then Simon explains that he and Lydia are polyamorous, and if Ian wants Simon, neither of them will complain. If anything, Lydia encourages the relationship.
Ian’s all in, and it’s fantastic working with Simon to piece together his set and then take each other apart at night. His friendship with Lydia grows too. The only problem is, the more time he spends with Simon, the more he wants everything Simon already has with Lydia: A house. A cat. A commitment. So Ian runs, and shatters the trust he has with them both—right when they need him the most. Piecing their relationships back together might prove harder than a smashed set.

Well, this was a first and if it hadn’t been a part of the Bluewater Bay series, I might have passed it up. Can I just say that I’m so glad that I didn’t.

I don’t think I’ve run into a couple in a book that I loved more than Lydia and Simon. Okay, that may be a stretch, because I’ve run into a LOT of couples that I love, but these two were so perfect for each other and so obviously in love. They just knew each other so well and respected, worried, cared… Lydia knew what Simon needed and she wanted him to be happy. Adding Ian to the mix just worked… but Ian wasn’t so sure. He saw the love and connection between Simon and Lydia and he didn’t want to ruin it. It breaks his heart when he walks away, but he knows it’s for the best – at least for Simon and Lydia.

I’m not sure exactly what I expected from Outside the Lines, but I walked away with a lot more. The romance was sweet, hot and heartbreaking. (Yeah, there were a couple of teary moments…) There was also an artistic aspect that I really enjoyed.  I also liked that there was drama outside the romance, which brought in even more characters from previous books in the series that I loved. There are even some new characters that readers will get to know even better in New Hand, which is sadly, the very last book in the Bluewater Bay series. *sigh*

On a side note, this was my first Anna Zabo book, but I doubt it will be my last. 😉

Operation Green Card (Bluewater Bay #21) by G.B. Gordon

Arkady Izmaylov is a family man. He’s also gay. In Russia. His sister Natalya has been telling him to get out for years, but it’s only after an attack in the street that he finally concedes and says yes to her desperate plan of him marrying a stranger for a green card.
Jason Cooley was taught from birth that he’s no good to anyone. Then the military taught him he was good enough to save other lives, but that purpose got amputated along with his leg. He’s now working security at Wolf’s Landing and sending monthly checks to his ex for their daughter’s education. When Natalya asks him to marry her brother, Jason knows right away he’ll do it more for the mission than the money she’s offering. But when he actually meets Arkady, his mission turns complicated.
Jason quickly discovers he’s not as straight as he thought. He’s also the man of Arkady’s dreams. Arkady must convince Jason that he’s worth loving, and that Arkady won’t disappear from his life like everyone else. Because Arkady has always wanted a family of his own, and he’s not letting go of this one.

My first reaction after reading Operation Green Card was… I really loved this one, but there were just a couple of teeny tiny issues… More on that later…

Operation Green Card was told from alternating POVs. The first chapter was from Jason’s POV and gave readers a pretty good idea of where he was coming from, which helped set the stage for his accepting Natalya’s offer. The second chapter was from Arkady’s POV and it gave readers a pretty glaring view on Arkady’s situation and why he needed out – as soon as possible – and why he would even consider what Natalya proposed.

Broken characters are my kryptonite when it comes to romance and when both characters are a little bit broken it doesn’t take me long to fall in love with them. The thing about Arkady and Jason is that even though the goal was to help Arkady, Jason needed Arkady’s help just as much – even though he wasn’t ready or willing to accept it. No one had cared about what Jason needed up until that point – at least he didn’t think so. Watching these two grow closer and eventually fall in love was amazing and it just felt to right to even question.

The supporting characters were great. I wasn’t a huge fan of Anna and Natalya’s story, but I always like Natalya. She won me over even more in Operation Green Card. Jason’s ex-wife was great too and she still really cared about Jason, even though he couldn’t understand why. He honestly thought that everyone he cared about would be better off with him out of the picture, but it didn’t mean that he shrugged his responsibility where his daughter was concerned.

So what were my issues with Operation Green Card? I’m guessing it’s because those close to Jason wanted him to be happy and thought he deserved it, but I really thought at least one of them should question his motives in marrying Arkady. There wasn’t even a blip. It was great, because no one should question anyone’s motive for falling in love. It was definitely the way it should be, just not the way things usually happen. Other than that, Operation Green Card was a great addition to the Bluewater Bay series. By the time I got to this review, I’d already finished the last two books in the Bluewater Bay series. It was bitter sweet to say goodbye to one of my favorite multi-author series. Stay tuned for my reviews on Outside the Lines and New Hand. 😉

Get A Grip (Blue Water Bay #19) by L.A. Witt

If a tree falls in Bluewater Bay . . . could it be fate?
A year after his divorce, Shane Andrews isn’t interested in dating—not that he has time, between three kids and a demanding job as a grip. When a windstorm knocks a tree onto one of the Wolf’s Landing soundstages, Shane’s there to help with the mess . . . and so is firefighter Aaron Tucker.
A former smoke jumper, Aaron’s an adrenaline junkie and way too restless and reckless to be relationship material. As far as he’s concerned, monogamy is for penguins, and he’d rather be alone than tied down. Signing up to be a stepparent? No, thank you.
But after a scorching-hot night together, they’re hooked. Aaron is a taste of the excitement Shane’s been lacking, and Shane’s pushing buttons Aaron didn’t know he had. The more they’re together, the less Aaron craves wild nights with other men . . . but the more Shane wants to play the field like he never got to in his twenties.
This could be the love neither man knew he needed, but only if Shane gets his feet back on the ground before Aaron walks away.

Yep… it’s another L.A. Witt addition to my review pile. She’s been one busy author lately, but I’m NOT complaining. Especially when she found time to introduce readers to another Bluewater Bay couple. Aaron and Shane turned out to be among my favorites. 😉

Besides the fact that I loved Aaron and Shane in Get a Grip, I loved the twist. Neither one of these guys were looking for anything serious, as a matter of fact, Aaron hardly ever looked beyond a single encounter. There was something about Shane that pulled him in though. Shane felt the same pull, but he had his kids to think about as well as the fact that he had only really experienced long term relationships, which hadn’t exactly worked out so well. He was definitely not ready to tie himself down again. And there was the twist… the playboy found himself ready to settle down and the family man wanted to keep things casual.

There were a couple of other things that I really loved about this story. The supporting characters were great (especially Leo… I liked Leo a lot 😉 ) The mutual love and respect that Shane shared with his ex was great. That love and respect carried over to the kids, which won me over even more. (I’m secretly kind of hoping that readers get to see more of Leo… ❤ )

Needless to say, Get a Grip was a great addition to the Bluewater Bay series. The next book in the series is Three Player Game by Jaime Samms, which I’ve already read and reviewed. Coming in October is Anna Zabo’s Outside the Lines.

Three Player Game (Bluewater Bay #20) by Jaime Samms – Bout of Books 20 Review

Vince’s life has improved immeasurably since he moved to Bluewater Bay two years ago. He’s gone from working for a man he hated, to helping found a company he believes in. And he and boyfriend, Pete, have built a delicate balance of power between them that keeps them both grounded and thriving.
Almost, anyway.
Pete’s job on the set of Wolf’s Landing is demanding. He needs lots of downtime off set, and that’s where Vince’s firm but gentle control isn’t always enough. And for Vince, Pete’s constant high-energy needs are turning out to be more than he can handle alone.
It’s no surprise to either of them, then, that sparks fly when Vince’s coworker Lee enters the picture. Outwardly, Lee is tough and confident, but when a bad back confines him to Pete and Vince’s spare room, the cracks start to show and his desire for connection begins to peek through.
Pete and Vince both like what they see under Lee’s prickly outside, but now the three men must learn that love isn’t about beating the game—it’s about balance, trust, and letting each other in.

If you’ve been here before, you know that BDSM is not my go-to when it comes to contemporary romance. However, I haven’t skipped a book in the Bluewater Bay series yet and I really liked the last book that Jaime Samms wrote in the series (How the Cookie Crumbles), so there was no reason to skip this one. As a matter of fact, I will probably go back and read that book again, because it was 8 books ago and I need a little bit of a refresher, especially since the main character in Three Player Game all got their start in How the Cookie Crumbles. 😉

As for Three Player Game? It’s complicated. I really liked Pete, Vince and Lee individually… together? Let’s just say that their dynamic bugged me a little. Oddly enough, it had nothing to do with the BDSM, mainly because it was mainly a mental Dom/Sub situation, not really physical. At least not on the page. The awkward part for me was the menage situation. Not in general. I’ve read quite a few books that centered around a menage relationship that worked… The relationship between Pete, Vince and Lee… I just didn’t get, or at least I couldn’t wrap my head around why it worked.

I think the main reason that I had issues with their relationship was the fact that Lee was broken and both Vince and Pete both sensed it. The issues that Lee had were barely touched on and to this reader, they were really important if they wanted to help Lee get to where he needed to be. Other than that, I think that Pete and Vince could be good for Lee… there was just something missing. *sigh* 

All Wheel Drive (Bluewater Bay #18) by Z.A. Maxfield

Healey Holly is battered, depressed, and looking to go to ground in his childhood home. He wants to rent the garage apartment, but it’s Diego Luz’s place now, and the last thing Diego wants is to share it.
Diego is recovering too—from the accident that put him in a wheelchair and the death of his mother shortly after. The garage apartment is where he’s keeping his mother’s things, and as long as they’re up those stairs and he’s down on the ground, there’s no way he can deal with his loss. And that’s just how he likes it.
Healey believes in science. Diego believes in luck. It will take a blend of both, and some prayer thrown in besides, for these two to learn that it’s the journey and the destination that matters.

If you’re not a fan of angst revolving around totally broken characters, All Wheel Drive is going to be a hard book for you to get through. That’s not a warning to not read this one, it’s just an observation and since both Diego and Healy are both so heart brokenly… well, broken, I thought it was worth mentioning.

It’s also worth mentioning that even though my heart broke for both Healey and Diego, I found myself sympathizing more with Healey. There were a couple of reasons for this I think. First, readers who have followed the Bluewater Bay series have already met Healey. His twin brother, Nash was featured with Spencer in the 3rd book in the series, Hell on Wheels. Second, for lack of a better way to put it, Diego wasn’t really very nice to Healy. At times he was downright mean. It’s a good thing that Z.A. Maxfield gave readers his POV, otherwise it would have been really hard to find him worth of Healy. It’s also a good thing that Healy could see beyond the shields that Diego had so carefully put up – just another reason to fall in love with him more.

So, Diego grew on my despite his growly personality… because of Healy. That doesn’t mean that Diego didn’t help Healy see things from a different perspective too, because he did. He gave him a unique view of the world around him, his circumstances and even his family. Especially his sister, who was also wheelchair bound. Diego’s willingness to find a way to help Healy come to terms with the events that landed him back in Bluewater and maybe even a way to get beyond and out from underneath it didn’t hurt either.

There was a lot more to love about All Wheel Drive. The supporting characters, which included a lot of family, were front and center. I had already fallen in love with Healy’s family, but I really liked Diego’s too. His relationship with them showed a softer side that I really liked.

The only complaint that I have with All Wheel Drive is that it ended with everything not quite wrapped up. Diego was well on his way to completing his project, but not quite and Healy’s fate was still a little shaky. Other than that, this was a great addition to the Bluewater Bay series and it’s probably no surprise that I’m anxiously waiting for what comes next. 😉 

For a Good Time, Call… (Bluewater Bay #17) by Anne Tenino & E.J. Russell

Thirty-seven-year-old Nate Albano’s second relationship ever ended three years ago, and since he’s grace—gray asexual—he doesn’t anticipate beating the odds to find a third. Still, he’s got his dog, his hobbies, and his job as a special effects technician on Wolf’s Landing, so he can’t complain—much.
Seth Larson, umpteenth generation Bluewater Bay, is the quintessential good-time guy, content with tending bar and being his grandmother’s handyman. The night they meet, Seth’s looking for some recreational sex to escape family drama. But for Nate, romantic attraction comes before sexual attraction, so while Seth thinks they’re hooking up, Nate just wants to talk . . . genealogy?
Dude. Seriously?
So they declare a “just friends” truce. Then Seth asks for Nate’s help investigating a sinister Larson family secret, and their feelings start edging way beyond platonic. But Nate may want more than Seth can give him, and Seth may not be able to leave his good-time image behind. Unless they can find a way to merge carefree with commitment, they could miss out on true love—the best time of all.

For a Good Time, Call… was a great addition to the Bluewater Bay series, but I wanted more. *sigh* I know, that’s a somewhat frequent complaint I have of books that I really like. This time though, it’s more because so much was happening, so many little story lines were thrown into the mix and not all of them were fleshed out. It just seemed like there either needed to be more, or there needed to be a sequel.

That’s just my opinion though and despite that one minor flaw, I really enjoyed For a Good Time, Call… I liked the slow burn between the two characters and the vast difference in their approach to attraction. For Seth, it was a loose concept. He was up for ‘a Good Time’ pretty much 24/7. For Nate, it was a little more complicated. Their attraction to each other was a surprise for both of them. Nate’s past made him keep his distance regardless of what his heart and body were telling him. Seth just tried to keep himself in check because he didn’t want to risk the bond that was growing between them. 

Aside from the romance, the history and ancestral angle was really interesting. I loved the bond between Seth and his grandmother (who, by the way, was one of my favorite characters.) I liked the fact that this story pulled readers into the Bluewater Bay community and history – its roots, but there was still a strong story line within the Wolf’s Landing cast and crew. There was also an interesting twist that I’m really hoping gets explored more because that story line is just too intriguing to be left hanging. There were also a couple of other loose ends that I want to know more about, but we’ve already discussed this, right?

So yes, For a Good Time, Call… had a few bumps and wrinkles, but I still liked it and I’d still recommend reading this along with all the stories in the series. They’re written by different authors, some I’ve enjoyed more than others and they can pretty much all be read as stand alones. However, there’s enough of a common thread, regardless of how thin, that I think readers would get more out of any of them if they experienced most of the Wolf’s Landing/Bluewater Bay world.

No Small Parts (Bluewater Bay #16) by Ally Blue

nosmallparts_600x900Nat Horn is almost living the dream. His part as a werewolf extra on the hit show Wolf’s Landing has somehow turned into a regular role. Beautiful rising star Solari Praveen has taken an interest in him. He’s even making enough money to think about getting out of Bluewater Bay someday. Except his retired dad’s dependence on pain medications seems to be getting worse, and Nat’s the only one around to take care of him.
When Nat learns that Solari’s interest isn’t romantic, his disappointment is surprisingly short-lived, because in getting to know her, he also got to know her assistant, Rafael. And Rafael turns out to be the kind of friend—and potential boyfriend—Nat never dared to dream about.
Distracted by his astonishing new life, new friends, and new possibilities, Nat lets his guard down, and suddenly his life goes careening out of control. Racked by guilt, he tries to push his new friends away, but the bonds he’s formed are already too strong. In fact, they’re strong enough to pull him forward, into the future he’s been longing for—but to get there, he’ll have to let go of the past.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1First, how in the heck is this the first book I’ve read by Ally Blue? An author who can put her characters through as much as Nat was put through in No Small Parts really should have landed on my reading radar before now.

So yeah, Nat was put through a lot in No Small Parts. Nat’s dad was totally dependent on him, but he was so spiteful that it made what Nat sacrificed for him even more painful. His sister could have helped out, but she was pretty useless. He wasn’t used to depending on anyone else, so when things got even worse, he let his guilt keep him from leaning on anyone. Turns out that there’s nothing wrong with leaning on someone, even if it’s just for moral support. Which turned Rafael into a true hero in No Small Parts by just being there for Nat.

There was so much to love about this story, even with all the pain. Obviously Rafael, but Solari was great too and she had her own crap going on – which I hope gets resolved in a future installment in the Bluewater Bay series (hint, hint 😉 ) There were cameos from previous characters, but No Small Parts could easily be read as a standalone from the rest of the series. The individual authors do a great job of tying the stories together loosely though and there have been few in the series that I wouldn’t recommend, so of course I’m going to tell you to read them all 😉


Bluewater Blues (Bluewater Bay #15) by G.B. Gordon

bluewaterblues_600x900Jack Daley left his music career behind—along with his domineering father—and is struggling to make a new life for himself and his autistic sister in Bluewater Bay. When a summer storm sweeps a handsome stranger into his general store, Jack is more than ready for a fling. No strings attached, because Jack can’t share the secrets he and his sister are hiding from. Unfortunately, his feelings refuse to stay casual.
Mark Keao is married to his job as a costume designer on Wolf’s Landing. He’s autistic, so he’s used to people not knowing how to interact with him, but that doesn’t mean he wants to be a hermit. Especially when he meets Jack Daley, who dances with brooms, shares his love of the blues, and gets him like no one else. But relationships have proven complicated in the past.
Just when Mark is ready to try anyway, Jack pulls back. But Mark isn’t giving up, and neither is Jack’s sister. And then there’s the music both men love, bringing them together time and again. It will take trust, though, to bring them together for good.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1This is the second book in the Bluewater Bay series written by G.B. Gordon. The first was When to Hold Them, which I liked, but not nearly as much as Bluewater Blues.

At first glance it would seem that Mark and Jack were made for each other. Jack’s life revolved around his sister and it would take a special kind of person to not only understand, but accept and be comfortable with his situation. Given Mark had first hand knowledge of the challenges that Jack faced, the obvious obstacles didn’t exist. The fact that Jack couldn’t be totally honest with Mark made things complicated. Mark was determined to make things work regardless.

Bluewater Blues was a great addition to the Bluewater Bay series. My favorites in this series have been the books that touched on not only tough issues but gave insight into real life situations that not everyone is exposed to or comfortable with simply because they haven’t been exposed to them or don’t understand. Bluewater Blues was that kind of book for me. It was so much more than a romance and that’s one of the many reasons why they’re my favorites.

This was also another book in the series that you could read as a stand alone, but I still wouldn’t recommend it. A few characters are familiar from previous books. I may be a bit biased though since there aren’t many books in this series that I haven’t loved. Next up in the Bluewater Bay series is No Small Parts and since I’m so far behind in all my reviews, I’ve already read it. Stay tuned!


All the Wrong Places (Bluewater Bay #14) by Ann Gallagher

AllTheWrongPlaces_600x900Three cheating girlfriends in a row have given skateboarder Brennan Cross the same excuse: he wasn’t meeting their needs. Desperate and humiliated, he goes to the professionals at the local sex shop for advice.
Zafir Hamady, a sales clerk at Red Hot Bluewater, has an unusual theory: he doesn’t think Brennan is a bad lover. In fact, he doesn’t think Brennan is heterosexual. Or sexual at all, for that matter. He also can’t stop thinking about Brennan. But even if he’s right and Brennan really is asexual, that doesn’t mean Zafir has a chance. Brennan’s never dated a man, and Zafir’s never met anyone who’s game for a Muslim single father with a smart mouth and a GED.
Brennan’s always thought of himself as straight. But when sex is explicitly out of the mix, he finds himself drawn to Zafir for the qualities and interests they share. And Zafir can’t help enjoying Brennan’s company and the growing bond between Brennan and his son. They work well together, but with so many issues between them, doubts creep in, and Brennan’s struggle with his identity could push away the one person he didn’t know he could love.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Oh, how I loved these two young men. I know I’ve said that before, but there was just something about Brennan and Zafir’s story that made me melt for them. *sigh*

All the Wrong Places began with Brennan mulling over the fact that he’d been dumped… again. He’s so desperate for an answer to why he isn’t doing ‘it’ right (according to the girls that have dumped him) that he finds himself in Bluewater Bay’s Red Hot Bluewater. The initial encounter between Zafir and Brennan immediately sold me on this one. I honestly don’t think that my first search for answers in Brennan’s situation would have been the local sex shop, but I loved the fact that it was Brennan’s.

There was so much to love about All the Wrong Places I don’t really know where to start. Obviously, I loved Brennan and Zafir. I also loved Zafir’s son, but I’m a sucker for a smart, witty kid who is an integral part of the story. The only thing better was Zafir’s devotion to his son (as overprotective as it was – which was kind of adorable) and Brennan’s budding relationship with him. I also loved Zafir and Brennan’s friends (with the exception of Brennan’s ex-girlfriend…)

Basically, All the Wrong Places was an excellent addition to the Bluewater Bay series in more ways than one. Given the fact that the series has several contributing authors, variety is expected. Sometimes there’s cohesiveness between the stories, which I really like. However, I don’t mind it when it’s missing because each author seems to add another layer to the ‘community’ which makes up Bluewater Bay. Some I’ve liked more than others, but each one adds another dimension. Some also offer readers who follow the series (like me) exposure to aspects of the LGBTQIA genre that they may not go looking for on their own.

I’m not sure what’s next for residents Bluewater Bay or the cast and crew of Wolf’s Landing,  but whatever it is, I’m there. 😉