Perfect Match by A.G. Meiers

Secrets can derail even the most powerful attraction.
Logger Sven Larson has never found a man worth publicly coming out of the closet for. But his family has other plans. As a thirtieth birthday gift, his mother hires the online dating service Perfect Match to find Sven the love of his life. To say Sven isn’t thrilled is an understatement, but it’s too late to cancel, and Jayden Calver arrives.
Perfect Match’s success rate is unsurpassed, but they don’t come by it honestly: if a client can’t be matched, the agency uses a stand-in to fulfil their guarantee and protect their profit.
Tough luck has left Jayden in debt, and playing Perfect Match’s deceptive game is his only option. So he travels — sparkling toenails and all — to a remote camp deep in the mountains to meet Sven Larson and pretend to be his perfect match for a few days.
Sparks fly on first contact. But as the two men get closer, Sven grows more and more suspicious of Jayden, and Jayden struggles with guilt over his deceit. They both want a future together, but first they must find the courage to be honest with themselves and each other.

This was a really cute and sweet read. I loved Jayden even before readers were let in on his full story and then my heart broke for him. It was hard to get aggravated with Sven for not trusting Jayden for a couple of reasons. The biggest was because Perfect Match wasn’t what it seemed to be and Jayden was trying to deceive him. But there was also the fact that he was really a good person who was at the mercy of his well meaning family. Add to that the fact that he was falling for Jayden just as hard as Jayden was falling for him and it was impossible to not want things to work out for both of them – even though things weren’t stacked in their favor.

There were some extra surprises revealed in the epilogue of Perfect Match that leave some clues to the possibility of a series. I was really not a fan of the crew that runs the haphazard Match Making service, but… Well, I guess we’ll just have to see what comes next 😉

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Tied to Home (Ames Bridge #3) by Silvia Violet (Bout-of-Books 24 Review)

Luke Sumner has spent his whole life being coddled, after nearly dying as an infant. At twenty-one, he is more than ready to break free from his restricted world. He hasn’t told anyone he’s gay, and he’s only just admitted his kinkier needs to himself, but he hopes to work up the courage to say something to the older man who has captured his attention.
Since moving back to Ames Bridge, Jack Lawrence has been consumed with running a successful bed-and-breakfast. He hasn’t considered making time for relationships until he starts flirting with Luke each week at the farmers’ market. By the end of the summer, Jack is wondering where the spark between them could go.
When Luke finally ventures into a club where he can fulfill his desires, he unexpectedly runs into Jack, and they discover they’re a perfect match in the bedroom. With each hot encounter, more tender feelings surface, but between the age gap, not being out in Ames Bridge, and Luke’s need to come into his own, do they dare be more to each other?

I tagged this one as BDSM, because it is – after all, they’re first real encounter took place in a club. It’s also the main focus at the beginning of their relationship, but it’s not hard-core and there’s a lot more to the story. I guess my point is, don’t let that scare you away from this one. 😉

Luke and Jack had a lot stacked against them from the time they even thought about getting involved. Their age gap was the most obvious along with the fact that they were gay men in a town that held a rather opinionated population of prejudiced individuals. The other problem was that his parents hovered over him and treated him like a child along with most of Ames Bridge. He may have been 21 but they all still pictured him as the sickly child who almost didn’t make it.

Jack remembered Luke when he was that small child, but that’s not how he pictured him when he came back to Ames Bridge. He only saw a young man that he was attracted to and that attraction went both ways. They spent a lot of time in their own personal bubble and the more time they spent together the more they realized that they both wanted more. Of course they couldn’t stay in that bubble forever and once it burst reality set in for both of them.

The supporting characters were great and readers who have followed the Ames Bridge series so far will recognize a couple of familiar faces. There are at least a few level headed people in Ames Bridge and it was great seeing them again… 😉

Scarred by Mia Kerick

Even in paradise, beautiful faces can hide scarred souls.
ONE tropical island.
Placida Island’s gentle ocean breezes and rolling surf beckon to those who wish to reside in remote tropical serenity.
TWO men living in self-imposed exile.
Wearing twisted ropes of mutilated skin on his back and carrying devastating damage in his soul from severe childhood abuse, Matthew North lives alone in a rustic cabin on the shore, avoiding human contact.
Gender fluidity his perceived “crime” against family and friends, Vedie Wilson flees his childhood home so he can freely express his identity.
THREE persecutors seeking their warped view of justice.
Vedie’s past refuses to stay in the faraway city he left behind when family members, intent on forcing him to change, threaten the precious peace he’s found.
TOO MANY scars to count.
Their beautiful faces masking deeply scarred souls, Matt and Vedie live in hiding from the world and each other.
Can they unite and embrace each other’s painful pasts, leaving the scars behind, to find love?

This was not an easy book to read, but I’m glad I did… Also, I’m not a “judge a book by its cover” kind of reader, but every once in a while (and not often enough) a cover captures a character perfectly. This one comes so close to how I pictured Matt in Scarred that it’s scary…

Both Matt & Vedie were broken. They both ended up on Placida Island to escape and hide. Matt was hiding from his past and Vedie was trying to find a place to be himself and feel safe while doing it.

Watching Matt keep his distance from Vedie and lie to himself about his feelings for him was painful. Watching Vedie try to be what Matt needed to be and knowing it would never be enough was even more painful. They loved each other, they needed each other, but there was too much baggage between them… My heart broke for them throughout most of Scarred.

There’s hope though and it takes them almost losing each other to find it, but eventually they do… and a lot more than they expected.

The Art of Breathing (Bear, Otter & the Kid #3) by T.J. Klune

Tyson Thompson graduated high school at sixteen and left the town of Seafare, Oregon, bound for what he assumed would be bigger and better things. He soon found out the real world has teeth, and he returns to the coast with four years of failure, addiction, and a diagnosis of panic disorder trailing behind him. His brother, Bear, and his brother’s husband, Otter, believe coming home is exactly what Tyson needs to find himself again. Surrounded by family in the Green Monstrosity, Tyson attempts to put the pieces of his broken life back together.
But shortly after he arrives home, Tyson comes face to face with inevitability in the form of his childhood friend and first love, Dominic Miller, who he hasn’t seen since the day he left Seafare. As their paths cross, old wounds reopen, new secrets are revealed, and Tyson discovers there is more to his own story than he was told all those years ago.
In a sea of familiar faces, new friends, and the memories of a mother’s devastating choice, Tyson will learn that in order to have any hope for a future, he must fight the ghosts of his past.

This is the second time I’ve read The Art of Breathing (I should probably mention that it won’t be my last…) For some strange, unexplainable reason, I neglected to write a review the first time. The only excuse I may have is that this book gave me such an emotional hangover that I couldn’t come up with anything coherent to write… For the record, waiting and reading it again hasn’t helped, but I owe it to this book and series to give it a try…

The Art of Breathing is told from Tyson (the Kid’s) POV. It’s rather ironic in a way because the other books in the series are told from Bear’s POV and in this book Tyson realizes, much to his dismay, that he and his brother have much more in common that he’s comfortable admitting. 😉

There were a lot of surprises in The Art of Breathing. A lot of tears, a lot of laughs and a fair amount of heartbreak. As per usual with T.J. Klune, those moments can make you shed tears of laughter followed by tears of heartbreak within the span of just a few pages… I kinda both love and hate him for that. *sigh*

Tyson wasn’t in a very good place through a lot of The Art of Breathing, mostly because of Dom. Because of that, regardless of how unfair it was, I spent a lot of this book not very happy with Dominic. Nothing’s exactly as it seems though and as the story unfolded I actually fell right back in love with him. Their story needed to come full circle and I understand why things happen the way they did, but it didn’t make experiencing them through Tyson made them any easier. I think to me, regardless of how much he’s grown in this series, I’m always going to see him as just the “little guy” we met in Bear, Otter and the Kid.

Tyson was at the center of this story, but there was so much to love about The Art of Breathing that I’m not quite sure I can list it all. To be honest, I decided to re-read the Kid’s book for a couple of reasons. First, the next book in Klune’s At First Sight series is coming out soon and since Why We Fight is Corey/Kori’s book and I first met him/her in The Art of Breathing, I wanted to refresh my memory. Second… I have decided that 2019 will be the year that I finally put on my “Big Girl Pants” and read The Long and Winding Road.

Bear, Otter and the Kid was my first T.J. Klune read and this series has pulled me into an author’s world like no other. Saying goodbye to these characters isn’t going to be easy, but like this review, I owe it to them to finally see it through. ❤

Between the Lines (New Milton #2) by Sally Malcolm

Theo Wishart has given up on finding love.
Luca Moretti doesn’t want to find it.
A handful of summer days may change their lives forever—if they’re brave enough to look between the lines.
Eyes might be windows to the soul, but for Theo Wishart they’re all shuttered. His dyspraxia makes it hard to read people. He doesn’t do relationships and he certainly doesn’t do the great outdoors. Two weeks spent “embracing beach life” while he tries to close the deal on a once great, now fading seaside hotel is a special kind of hell.
Until Luca. Gorgeous, unreachable Luca.
Luca Moretti travels light, avoiding all romantic entanglements. Estranged from his parents, he vows this will be his last trip home to New Milton. His family’s hotel is on the verge of ruin and there’s nothing Luca can do to save it. He’s given up on the Majestic, he’s given up on his family and he’s given up on his future.
Until Theo. Prickly, captivating Theo.
No mushy feelings, no expectations, and no drama—that’s the deal. A simple summer fling. And it suits them both just fine. But as the summer wanes and their feelings deepen, it’s clear to everyone around them that Theo and Luca are falling in love. What will it take for them to admit it to themselves—and to each other?

Well, this may be a first. I unknowingly picked up the 2nd book in a series – which for the record, happens more often than I’d like to admit. The new part was that I had already read the first book in the series, Perfect Day before I even knew it was part of a series. So I read Between the Lines not knowing it was part of the New Milton series. Rather serendipitous, don’t you think? Since all of the books can be read as standalone, I probably didn’t need to pick up the novella, Love Around the Corner, that falls between the two, but why break an unintentional streak?

Now, on to Theo and Luca… They were both thrown into impossible situations. Luca’s family feels they have no choice but to sell the Majestic – a huge part of their family history. It’s also a place that Luca called home while growing up, until he decided no home was better than one where he wasn’t welcome. He wants to save it, but has no idea how to go about it. Theo wants nothing more than to take his rightful place in the family business and the only way to do that is to close the deal on the Majestic. The only thing standing in his way is Luca.

I loved and felt for both these guys. It was a great “enemies to lovers” story. They both went into their “relationship” with no expectations, but somewhere along the way things changed and I loved watching them fall.

Between the strained family dynamics, their growing attraction and the fate of the Majestic, this was a pretty quick read for me. The romance was sweet and the guys were clueless when it came to where their hearts fell into the mix. I’m really glad I decided to pick this one up and I’ll definitely be checking out more from Sally Malcolm. 😉

Chasing Forever (This Time Forever #3) by Kelly Jensen

Old wounds, new directions, and a forever worth chasing.
Malcolm Montgomery was a history teacher and track coach until an accident left him with two broken legs. He’ll recover, but life has knocked his feet out twice now. He’s not sure if he’s ready to try again, especially when it comes to love—and slick guys like Brian Kenway. Still, he needs help mentoring the school’s LGBTQ society, so he asks Brian to take some responsibility.
Brian has been hiding behind his reputation as a liar and a cheat for so long that he actually believes he’s that guy—until his nephew, Josh, turns up on his couch, tossed out for being gay. Brian has never considered being a father, but he knows all about being rejected by loved ones. Now Brian wants to be more: a partner for Mal and a role model for Josh.
But when Mal’s recovery is set back and the sad truth of Brian’s past is revealed, the forever they’ve been chasing seems even further from their grasps. It’ll take a rescue effort to revive their sense of worth and make Brian, Mal, and Josh into a family of their own.

I didn’t want to like Brian, but he started working on me just a teeny tiny little bit in Renewing Forever so I knew it was inevitable. What I didn’t expect was to adore him – that was a total surprise ❤ I also didn’t expect for Chasing Forever to be my favorite book in the This Time Forever series – but that just happened too. Well played Kelly Jensen, well played indeed…

So, what tipped me over the edge? It wasn’t just one thing, it was a little bit of everything. The glimpse into his past, his determination to protect Josh and a few well kept secrets all added to my love of this seemingly unlovable character. Things aren’t always as they seem and Brian had become quite adept and keeping his best traits well hidden.

There was a lot more to love about Chasing Forever besides Brian. The supporting characters were great, which included new characters as well as those from the previous books. There were a few characters that brought out the “momma” in me and made me want to jump into the book and shake some sense into them… I also liked the focus on second chance romance for all the characters in this series who thought they had reached an age where that chance had passed them by ❤

Brian was the perfect way to end This Time Forever, but I’m still sorry to say goodbye to this group of friends. I’m really looking forward to what Kelly Jensen has in store next for readers. 😉

Rough Trade (Woodbury Boys #3) by Sidney Bell

Quick-witted hustler Ghost is no stranger to living dangerously; survival has always been the name of the game.
He’s just always gone it alone.
Now he’s got the wrong people breathing down his neck, and the only way out demands placing his trust in the unlikeliest of heroes: Duncan Rook, a gruff cop whose ethics are as solid as his body.
Cozying up to a criminal is hardly what Duncan’s reputation on the force needs—especially when that criminal is temptation personified. Ghost is Duncan’s polar opposite, and the last person he expected to fall for.
So then why does every imaginable scenario for taking down their common enemy end with Ghost in his arms?

Oh Ghost… I’m always sad to see a series end, but it was inevitable. After all, there were only three boys and the only one that this series could possibly end with was Ghost. Rough Trade provided a perfect balance in what seemed like impossible odds against both Ghost and Duncan….

Readers who have followed the Woodbury Boys have seen many sides of Ghost, but even those who had known him the longest couldn’t really say that the knew him. His friends loved him, worried about him and would pretty much do anything for him, if he’d let them. He kept his distance on purpose. He loved his friends too, but he didn’t really like knowing that they knew it. He even gave himself excuses for doing the things that he did for them. He depended on no one but himself and he wanted to keep it that way. He also didn’t care about what other people thought about him, until Duncan.

I, like a lot of other readers, wondered who Sidney Bell could possibly pair Ghost with and Duncan was definitely not what I expected. He was perfect though. The dynamic between Duncan and Ghost was crazy and ironically fun considering that they were basically on the run from the beginning of Rough Trade. Ghost’s “logic” about right and wrong and skirting the law drove Duncan nuts. On the flip side, for reasons that not even Ghost understood, he wanted to be “good” and not disappoint Duncan and that drove ghost nuts. The attraction that Duncan felt for Ghost and his determination to ignore it at all costs kept the tension thrumming between them. Ghost had no idea how to deal with that determination and Ghost being well… Ghost, considered it a challenge.

Aside from the romantic tension flowing between Ghost and Duncan, there was a lot going on in Rough Trade. They were on the run from two very powerful people in powerful positions. The odds were definitely against them and they had to find a way to rely on others while still trying to keep them safe. That alone kept the pages turning. Readers also learned a lot about Ghost’s past and none of it was easy.

I can’t pick my favorite in this series. From the time I picked up Loose Cannon I was hooked and couldn’t wait for Hard Line. Rough Trade brought everything to a satisfying end and is just one of the reasons why Woodbury Boys has been added to my list of favorite series.

Stay a Little Longer (Fate, Texas #1) by Jess Bryant

Country music superstar, Trent Thorne is on the run. What he’s kept hidden from the world is no longer a secret. He trusted the wrong person, a man he’d stupidly thought he was in love with, and instead of a happily ever after all he’d gotten was outted. Unwilling to sit around and watch his private life get plastered all over the news, Trent hits the road and somehow ends up in his best friend Lemon’s small hometown of Fate, Texas.
Lance Nichols knows a thing or two about hiding. He’s so deep in the closet he can’t even see daylight. The former womanizer finally admitted the truth to himself a few years ago but he never thought he’d be able to say the words aloud, not to his family, not to his friends, and certainly not to his secret celebrity crush when the guy stumbles awkwardly into his life.
Fate brought these two together, but will it also tear them apart? One newly outed man refuses to go back in the closet. The other can’t imagine coming out of his.

What brought Lance and Trent together was a comedy of errors, which was hard to not see coming, but it was still a really interesting way to meet. If not for the events that brought Trent to Fate in the first place it would have been even more comical.

Lance was the town slut and he didn’t have a lot of friends, but Fate was home for better or worse. Trent’s been through enough without getting attached to someone who can’t be honest, but these two have a hard time staying away from each other. Watching Trent fall and Lance battle with how to keep both Trent and his secret kept the pages turning. The fact that the characters were witty, fun and there was plenty of smexiness didn’t hurt either 😉 I also think that everyone should have a friend like Lemon in their life and if anyone knows if she has her own book floating around somewhere, please let me know…

Speaking of which, this was my first Jess Bryant book, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last. Especially with the next books in the Fate, Texas series. Since her writing covers several genres, which fits with my eclectic reading style, I can’t wait to check out her other series as well. 😉

The Hell You Say (The Adrien English Mysteries #3) by Josh Lanyon

Demons, death threats…
and Christmas shopping.
It’s gonna be one Hell of a Holiday.
In the third in the popular Adrien English series, the “ill-starred and bookish” mystery writer has to contend with a Satanic cult, a handsome university professor and his on-again/off-again relationship with the eternally conflicted LAPD Detective Jake Riordan.
And, oh, yes, murder…

This book could not have had a better title – for so many reasons. By the end of The Hell You Say, I really wasn’t sure if I was more mad at Adrien or Jake. I don’t want to give anything away, because honestly, readers need to walk away as shell shocked as everyone else, but Jake infuriated me. On the flip side, I was almost as upset with Adrien for letting Jake treat him the way he did. In short, I wanted to shake sense into the pair of them. Grrr….

As far as the mystery went, I like where this one went. It was a little spooky, which I really like and the “who-dun-it” aspect kept things moving. A new character was thrown into the mix that I’m pretty sure readers are going to see more of – at least I hope so. Things definitely need to be shaken up in a very big way.

By the end of A Dangerous Thing I was really hoping… oh well. Death of a Pirate King is next and I can’t wait to see where things go from here.

Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2) by Kelly Jensen

Frankie and Tommy once dreamed of traveling the world together. But when seventeen-year-old Frank kissed Tom, their plans ended with a punch to the jaw and Frank leaving town without looking back. Thirty years later, Frank’s successful career as a journalist is interrupted by his uncle’s death and the question of his inheritance—the family resort where his childhood dreams were built. When he returns to the Pocono Mountains, however, he finds a dilapidated lodge and Tommy, the boy he never forgot.
Tom’s been keeping the resort together with spit and glue while caring for Frank’s uncle, Robert—a man he considered father, mentor, and friend—and his aged mother, who he refuses to leave behind. Now Robert is gone, taking Tom’s job with him. And Frank is on the doorstep, wanting to know why Tom is still there and why the old lodge is falling apart.
But before they can rebuild the resort, they’ll have to rebuild their friendship. Only then can they renew the forever they planned all those years ago.

Frank was Simon’s steadfast, loyal, witty friend in Building Forever, the first book in Kelly Jensen’s This Time Forever series. He was also a pro at playing the field, but for all the “fun” he seemed to be having, it was obvious that something was missing… or someone. Once he arrived in the Poconos, it wasn’t hard to figure out what or who that something was.

I have to admit, I got a little agitated with both Frank and Tom at times throughout Renewing Forever. A lot of heartache could have been avoided if these two would have just talked, but as I told my girls when they were younger, teenage boys aren’t known for their insight. It was obvious that these two were still crazy about each other, but even as adults, they had no idea how to “fix” things. Tom made a huge mistake when they were younger, but Frank wasn’t blameless.

In the mean time, they had a property that they both loved that was falling to pieces around them. It kept them busy and was the perfect diversion from facing the feelings and memories they were trying to avoid. Sorting things out was inevitable though and I loved spending time with these two and watching them find each other again.

There was a lot more to love about Renewing Forever. I loved the trips into the past that the author shared that help readers get to know Frank and Tom even better. The supporting characters also added a lot to the story. Simon and Charlie made quite a few appearances – and then there was Brian. I knew from the beginning that he would eventually have his own story, but after he was introduced in Building Forever, I couldn’t see how Simon’s cheating ex could be redeemed. Well, stay tuned because I just finished reading Chasing Forever and even though I started warming up to Brian in Renewing Forever, I was totally unprepared for may feelings for him changing so drastically less than halfway through is story. ❤