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. 😉 

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Crossing Borders (Crossing Borders #1) by Z.A. Maxfield

CrossingBordersTwo dudes walk into a bookstore…
Tristan knows he’s got issues. His latest ex-girlfriend knows it too. He can’t blame her for dumping him—even though she gets her brother to do it for her. Since he can’t stop staring at said brother’s package, he figures it’s about time to put a label on those issues. He likes guys.
He heads to a local bookstore with what he’s sure is a foolproof plan to find someone to show him what he’s been missing. But who should crash his little adventure? Officer Michael Truax, who gave him a really expensive ticket back in high school for skateboarding without a helmet.
Michael has been trying to catch Tristan for years…to give him a second ticket. Suddenly faced with “Sparky”, all grown up and looking to get laid, Michael’s protective instinct kicks in—and presents him with an opportunity that’s hard to resist. After all, the kid must know what he’s getting into, so why not?
But when a man with a plan connects with a man with a hunger, the result is nothing short of explosive.
This book has been previously published.
Warning: Contains high-octane hair, a clawfoot bathtub, and a story that will make you believe in love at first sight. Okay, second sight, but who’s counting?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I liked Crossing Borders, honest. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that parts of it made me kind of squirm. The more I got to know Michael and Tristan though, the less uncomfortable I became with the two of them together and the more I realized their relationship just worked.

I guess the only reason that I brought up that uneasiness was in case anyone else felt it and stopped reading. Michael could initially be viewed as kind of stalkerish, especially because of the age difference – which really wasn’t that much. I’m a patient reader, so I’m telling you, don’t stop… don’t judge, just stick with Michael and Tristan and trust Z.A. Maxfield to prove to you just how right these two are for each other.

Honestly, these guys had me at the bookstore. The texting and banter between the two of them was hilarious. Tristan had absolutely no idea what he was doing and Michael was totally amused by the whole situation. He was also in protection mode. He’d been attracted to Tristan for years, but he had kept his distance. Seeing Tristan put himself out there with little or no thought brought out every instinct he had to keep Tristan safe.

Tristan had a lot more on his shoulders than the average young college student. He felt responsible for his mother and siblings and took his role in their family very seriously. I loved that family dynamic. Michael only had his quirky mother, but he had a sense of responsibility toward her as well.

The turning point in Tristan and Michael’s relationship was as inevitable as it was heartbreaking. There was no easy way to fix it, but there shouldn’t have been. The obstacles were real. I kind of like stories that don’t make it easy on the characters. It makes the eventual HEA all the sweeter 😉

Like Crossing Borders, What Child is This? was also previously released. I’m looking forward to seeing how Tristan and Michael are doing in the next installment.

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Lights, Camera, Cupid (Bluewater Bay #6) Multi-author Anthology

LightsCameraCupid_400x600Cupid is visiting Bluewater Bay, and he’s leaving chaos in his wake.

Nothing’s been the same in this sleepy little logging town since Hollywood came to shoot the hit TV show Wolf’s Landing—especially Valentine’s Day.

In L.A. Witt’s Just Another Day, beloved actors Levi Pritchard and Carter Samuels have an announcement for their fans, while in Z.A. Maxfield’s I’ll Be There, actor Spencer Kepler and his boyfriend Nash Holly brave a blizzard and a fan convention to spend their first February the 14th together.

Of course, it’s not just TV stars celebrating the day. In Anne Tenino’s Helping Hand, an aspiring artist eager to escape Bluewater Bay decides he just might have a reason to stay: lust-inspiring logger Gabriel Savage. In S.E. Jakes’s No Easy Way, a local teacher reconnects with an old lover working security on the film set. And in Amy Lane’s Nascha, a Bluewater Bay elder recalls how his own unconventional family used to celebrate the holiday.

Real life may be nothing like TV, but when Cupid comes to town, there’s plenty of romance and drama to go around.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1What a fantastic Valentine’s Day treat ❤ All written by authors I know and adore. Some familiar characters and some new characters. Some laughs and even a few unexpected tears. If you’ve been following the Bluewater Bay series, you need to add this one to your TBR list.

Just Another Day by L.A. Witt

Levi and Carter were introduced in Starstruck, the first book in the Bluewater Bay series, so it was very fitting that they were included in Lights, Camera, Cupid. It was fun spending time with these two again. Being in a relationship hasn’t gotten rid of all of Levi’s little quirks, but he’s working on it. He proves in Just Another Day that Carter’s the most important part of his life and he’d do anything to show him how much he means to him.

Nascha by Amy Lane

Out of all the stories in Lights, Camera, Cupid, this one seemed the most out of place… but it really wasn’t. Nascha’s story wasn’t a happy one, but it turns out that it serves a purpose. I liked the story regardless, but I knew there was more to it than just a old man’s sorrow over what he lost. Turns out that Nascha gives readers some background for the next book in the Bluewater Bay series, The Deep of the Sound, also by Amy Lane.

No Easy Way by S.E. Jakes

This is the first time readers of the Bluewater Bay series are introduced to Cary and Dylan and I’m really hoping that we get to see more of them. Cary was the guy who had everything growing up… and then lost it all. That didn’t stop him from making something of himself. He even got over Dylan when he broke his heart by leaving him. Dylan never thought he was good enough for Cary and knew he would be better off if he wasn’t a part of his life. Nothing is ever as it seems, especially in a world that S.E. Jakes creates. (Oh, and she gets bonus points for mentioning two of my favorite characters from Burnt Toast B&B 🙂 )

Helping Hand by Anne Tenino

I liked Lucas from the time he hit the page in Helping Hand. He was bright, witty and talented and totally at odds with who he was and what he wanted. I really liked the story, but I’m not sure about the ending. I’m really hoping that there’s more to the story between Lucas and Gabe. *sigh*

I’ll Be There by Z.A. Maxfield

Oh Spencer and Nash… I love these guys. In I’ll Be There, readers are even treated to some quality time with Nash’s brother Healey and his geeky friends and boyfriend. Nash goes on a wild trip so he can be there to support Spencer. Meanwhile, Spencer comes to terms with a part of his past that he’s not exactly proud of. I loved spending time with these two again. Hell on Wheels was the third book in the series and another  one of my favorites.

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My Cowboy Homecoming (The Cowboys #3) by Z.A. Maxfield

MyCowboyHomecomingLove can heal the deepest wounds…

A sense of duty brings a soldier home…but a passionate cowboy makes him want to stay.

After his brother’s tragic death, Tripp has to leave the army and return to New Mexico to take care of his mother while his father is in prison for arson. Seeking work at the J-Bar Ranch, Tripp is immediately drawn to injured cowboy Lucho Reyes, whose foot was accidentally crushed by a rescue horse. But will the sins of the father interfere with the desires of the son? Tripp’s father may be responsible for the death of Lucho’s grandfather. Now Tripp must balance caring for his mother, repairing his father’s damages, and trying to win the heart of a man who has every reason to hate him and his family.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Well, I honestly had every intention of reading the first book (My Cowboy Heart) in The Cowboys series after I read My Heartache Cowboy, but then I saw My Cowboy Homecoming… and well… you see where this is going, right?

I mentioned in my review of My Heartache Cowboy that I had a hard time connecting with the characters. The good news is that I didn’t have any issues at all connecting with Tripp and Lucho. I was curious about how Z.A. Maxfield was going to get these two together at all, much less give them a HEA. It wasn’t easy and it definitely wasn’t instant. Tripp had a lot to prove, but he was determined.

There were a lot of twists and turns in My Cowboy Homecoming. Tripp’s father still had a hold on his mother that was frightening and needed to be broken. While trying to bring his mother out of her fantasy world, he had to prove to everyone that the sins of the father don’t always define the son. In the process he also had to figure out who he was. The J-Bar Ranch turned out to be the perfect place to start.

Hopefully I’ll get a chance to pick up My Cowboy Heart before the next book in this series, My Cowboy Promises, is released in June.

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Hell on Wheels (Bluewater Bay #3) by Z.A. Maxfield

HellOnWheels_TourBanner

HellOnWheelsNash is the reliable one in the Holly family, the guy everyone counts on to keep things going. His genius twin brother is off at university, so Nash runs the family’s auto repair business and cares for his partially-paralyzed little sister while his crackpot father invents. His life seems mapped out for the foreseeable future, however much that might chafe.

So when Wolf’s Landing actor Spencer Kepler-Constantine lands in his life, Nash is ready for a diversion. Spencer is in the middle of a very painful, very public divorce and isn’t ready for a relationship—not that Nash wants one. But they both need a friend, especially one with benefits.

As they grow closer, Nash starts to see his family in a whole new light. Do they really need him so badly? Or does he simply need to be needed? Then Spencer’s ex reappears with a grand romantic gesture, and Nash has to figure out what he wants—and how to get it—before Spencer’s gone for good. 

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1This series just keeps getting better and better. I’m really enjoying my time in Bluewater Bay 😉

I do have to kind of admit that I wasn’t really sure about Nash and Spencer at first. Things happened kind of quick. I usually lose respect for characters when things happen that fast, but the more I got to know them, the less it bothered me.

Spencer had a history and was still reeling from what his ex had put him through. He had a lot of realizations to come to in Hell on Wheels. Nash had a family that he needed to be needed by. It sounds a lot more complicated than it was… or maybe not.

I think my favorite aspect of Hell on Wheels was the family dynamic between Nash, Healey, Shelby and Ace. The banter between them and the obvious love and respect that they had for each other was real. It provided the perfect contrast to the Hollywood craziness that their small town had was surrounded by. Of course, Spencer had his own pseudo family that was comprised of his body guard and assistant. Tick and Bast definitely kept things interesting.

There were some rough spots, times when odds were against them and some moments of doubt, miscommunication and crazy madness of the ex-lover variety, but there were just as many heart felt moments, like these….

“Of course they’ll need you. You’re the drums.” Nash didn’t think he’d heard correctly.
“I think that cold water got to you a little, Spencer, I could swear you just said—”
“Rhythm makes instruments work together.” Spencer’s voice was a little too patient for Nash’s liking. “Rhythm is steady. It gives a framework to all the melodies going on around it. Without rhythm, it’s impossible for all the other instruments to shine.”
“Spencer.” Nash barely breathed the word.
“You’re the drums in your family. You’d be the drums in anyone’s life. I hear it when I’m with you, strong and steady. Like the beat of a very warm heart.”

I loved that quote so much I just had to share it. *sigh* In case you’re curious, you don’t have to read the rest of the series before picking up Hell on Wheels. Other than a little bit of background, you won’t be missing anything. I still recommend reading them all though. Each author has added their own little twist on life in Bluewater Bay, and it would be a shame to miss any of it. The next book in the series, Lone Wolf by Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt, (one of my favorite writing duos) promises to be interesting. I can’t wait 😉

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