Tag Archives: publisher: dreamspinner

Stranded With Desire by Vivien Dean & Rick R. Reed

Stranded with Desire

Stranded With Desire by Vivien Dean & Rick R. Reed

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on August 1, 2016
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Colby takes his job as assistant to CEO Maine Braxton very seriously. He would to anything for his boss. Not only because he’s good at his job, but because he also harbors feelings for the man that he knows he shouldn’t. After all, Mr. Braxton is engaged to be married to a woman after they get back from this trip. But that will only happen if they do make it home–their plane has just gone down in the middle of nowhere and it’s up to the two of them to work together to find their way to safety…and to a phone. And while the experience leads Colby to rethink whether he can keep working for a man that he’s falling in love with, it also forces Maine to confront some realities of his own life at the same time.

This is one of those stories about finding love right in front of you and how it can creep up on you when you least expect it. But it’s also about being open to possibilities and not closing yourself off because of what others may expect of you or what you may expect of yourself. And sometimes that can be the biggest challenge of all.

Switch Hitter by Cheyenne Meadows

Switch Hitter

Switch Hitter by Cheyenne Meadows

Series: Shifter Hardball, Book 3
Published by:
 Dreamspinner Press on June 5, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Tucker Wilde is one of the best second basemen in the all-shifter professional baseball league. Or at least he thought he was until a rookie showed up and claimed his spot in the starting lineup. And things with his girlfriend seem to have run their course. But he also spent the previous night in the throes of passion with one of his teammates–something completely out of character for a straight man like Tucker. Dixon Foxx must admit he enjoyed his night with Tucker Wilde; he’d wanted the man ever since he first met him. But he is less pleased that Tucker views it as a drunken mistake that will never happen again. And although Dixon is a star player himself, his heart’s never really been in it, a heart that he risks being broken if he can’t either get through to Tucker or find a way to move on. But moving on is hard for both of them since they still have to see each other every day…

Being someone you’re not can be dissatisfying and challenging. But so many times we force ourselves to meet what we believe to be the expectations of others in our life, all the while robbing ourselves of chances at true happiness. And sometimes those expectations can become so internalized that we don’t even consider that we may want or need something different out of life. These are issues that both Tucker and Dixon must face, albeit in different ways and for different reasons. But if they’re wise, they may be able to help each other go through it together…

Fair Catch by Leigh Carman

Fair Catch

Fair Catch by Leigh Carman

Series: Players of LA, Book 2
Published by:
 Dreamspinner Press on March 20, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Professional football player Sullivan “Van” Archer is outgoing, sensational, and definitely straight. Or at least that’s what he needs everyone to think in order to keep his position. The truth is that there are some thick walls around his closet that he hopes will never come down. After Van suffers and injury that results in a recommendation to take yoga classes, Van finds himself in the class of Tobias Bennett–one of Van’s one-night stands that he hoped he wouldn’t cross paths with ever again. Tobias is quiet, still recovering from an abusive relationship, and has very little patience for Van’s attitude. But there is something between them that neither of them can easily shake, and it’s clear they will need to figure out what it is if they’re going to figure out what to do about it.

It can be easy to forget that each of our actions has an impact and that sometimes those impacts are not intended. And sometimes we cannot foresee how things just might come back around to haunt us. But ignoring people and feelings is not a way of resolving them, and finding resolution may mean needing to let down the walls that one has put up for protection. After all, if you close yourself off to possibilities, are you truly living? This book does an excellent job of addressing these questions and issues as we follow these two young men down a road of new experiences, taking chances, and letting go.

This is the second book in the series, but it is not necessary to read the first book to follow, understand, and enjoy the story.

Camouflage by Jon Keys

Camouflage

Camouflage by Jon Keys

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on January 20, 2017
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Luke Meyers lives a somewhat quiet life as a rancher in Oklahoma, though that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t long for something more. It’s not exactly easy to find a steady boyfriend in his area of the world–one night stands with closeted men, yes, but not as many men interested in long-term romance. He’s been video chatting with Nash Gallo, an attractive young man from Atlanta, and has invited him to come stay at the ranch for a bit and get away from things for a while.

Nash has been hesitating on taking Luke up on his offer. But his hesitation has not been because he doesn’t like Luke–it’s exactly the opposite. He just doesn’t know if Luke would be able to accept the fact that Nash has been working as a hustler to make ends meet. And he does not want to get his hopes up, but even more than that he doesn’t want to let Luke down should they meet in person and the sparks he’s felt online quickly develop into something more. After being assaulted by one of his Johns, Nash decides to go visit Luke for a while, not entirely sure about what may come of his visit.

So many times we think that life would be better if we keep our secrets to ourselves. And it may be true that some secrets will only complicate relationships if they are revealed. But by keeping a secret, there is always the possibility that it might come out. So is it better to share the information on one’s own terms with a chance of controlling the fallout or to live with a shadows hanging over everything that could come crashing down at any time? This is exactly the situation for both Luke and Nash, who each find themselves worrying that the other man may not be able to accept certain truths. But sometimes love can overcome the things that we may not like about ourselves or be most proud of and other times it can’t. Isn’t it better to live authentically and know exactly where one stands?

Outing the Quarterback by Tara Lain

Outing the Quarterback

Outing the Quarterback by Tara Lain

Series: Long Pass Chronicles, Book 1
Published by:
 Dreamspinner Press on September 18, 2014
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Will Ashford wants to be an artist. And he’s good enough to make it. But it doesn’t fit into the life his father has laid out for him. He’s the quarterback for the SCU football team and a business major, with the expectation that he will continue to play professionally and eventually take over his father’s business. So he attends art classes in secret, even using an alias to help ensure he won’t be found out. But there’s something in his newest class that might make it harder to keep his other secret: Will is gay, and he has designs on his classmate Noah Zajack. Will is hoping he will be able to secure a prestigious scholarship so that he can leave his father’s life (and money) behind to pursue his dream. But Noah also hopes to get the scholarship, as he may not have the means to continue his studies without it. Will is torn, not only when it comes to living his truth (and figuring out exactly what that truth is) but also when it comes to his own designs on the scholarship and the direct conflict with the man he loves. But the fact that one can’t always have everything is a cliche for a reason, and there are some decisions Will must make.

I can’t say that there were a lot of unexpected twists and turns with this story, but I found myself glued to the pages from beginning to end. The situation is ripe for drama and conflict, and it certainly delivers. But there are some great moments between the characters (not just Will and Noah, but many of the supporting players as well), and I found Noah particularly endearing. Definitely worth a read.

Extrasensual Perception by Rayna Vause

Extrasensual Perception

Extrasensual Perception by Rayna Vause

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on January 5, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Christopher Vincent has tried his best to avoid drawing attention to his psychic abilities. That’s more of his mother’s thing, and he’d like to try to live a normal life. But when a bit of desperation leads him to accept a job as a psychic at his friend’s club, it looks like he may have no choice. And then there’s the issue of his friend’s brother, Jack. Chris can’t keep his eyes off the man, and they even had a brief encounter years ago, but they’re from two different worlds. Which is made even more apparent by Jack’s clear disapproval of Chris’s work in the club. But when a mysterious stranger begins to target the three of them, they may all have to rely on Chris’s abilities even more than any of them expected. And it just might be what’s needed for Chris to break down the wall between him and Jack once and for all.

I would describe this as a light and easy read, despite the fact that there’s a very dark character hanging out on the periphery for most of the book. There are some definite twists and turns that I didn’t expect while still keeping many of the elements one might expect from a romantic thriller. Enjoyable, entertaining, and recommended.

Bloodlines by Andrea Speed

Bloodlines

Bloodlines by Andrea Speed

Series: Infected, Book 2
Published by:
 Dreamspinner Press on December 16, 2010
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Roan McKichan was born infected–it’s what he’s always known. But in a world where the virus turns people into werecats, the noninfected don’t really care how you got it. An ex-cop, Roan works now as a private investigator with a reputation for taking cases many others might not. Despite being newly married, Roan is not one to slow down, and the case he’s just pulled is one that is going to pull him down to some of the lowest depths of society while rubbing elbows with some of the most well-known elites in the city. With Roan’s line of work, he knows everyone meets their end at some point–even though many of us are often unwilling to face what that means until it’s too late.

I know this series is not “new” per se (hey, it’s new to me), but there’s a freshness to it that I found to resonate with me as a reader. The entire cast of characters really reflect a humanity that I think would appear (and be needed) in a world like this. And there are some strong parallels to some things we have seen throughout our own history reflected back in this story of an alternate future. As much as he would probably refuse to admit it, Roan is also developing as a character, and I am very interested in seeing where he goes next.

Better by Jaime Samms

Better

Better by Jaime Samms

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on January 26, 2012
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Jesse Turbul has tried hard to put the traumatic events of his last relationship behind him. The experience left him unable to trust–not just someone else but even himself–and as much as he wants to move on, it seems like the reminders just keep coming back to haunt him. When he meets Aadon in the library, he finds himself wanting to get past his issues more than ever, but he learns that you can’t rush things that shouldn’t be rushed. What Jesse doesn’t know is that Aadon is dealing with some issues of his own. His brother, Ricky, experienced some trauma of his own in his youth, and after turning to drugs to cope, is in a facility–and Aadon is the only member of his family who is willing to support and stand by him. It is a lot for one person to take on, and while it might make him uniquely suited to understand where Jesse is coming from, it might also mean that Aadon is much closer to his own breaking point than anyone realizes. Can the two find the right balance between love, support, and space to deal?

There is a lot of backstory here that reveals itself as the book goes on and brings out the characters’ pasts (especially Jesse’s) in layers. This works to help readers understand the complexity of the issues at play without throwing everyone our way all at once. There are some details that are never revealed, but this is balanced with enough information to get the picture and a recognition that those details aren’t necessary to engage with the plot and the characters and understand what they are going through. I found this to be an enjoyable and interesting read, and although it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, there is a bit of an uplifting feel to it overall.

The Virgin Manny by Amy Lane

The Virgin Manny

The Virgin Manny by Amy Lane

Series: The Mannies, Book 1
Published by:
 Dreamspinner Press on January 1, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Tino Robbins has always worked hard to achieve his goals. He’s taken his education seriously, and he’s managed to balance working and attending college to keep himself on track. And it’s all about to pay off as he approaches graduation with a business degree and a trajectory for a bright future. But when he covers one evening for his sister’s dinner box delivery service, he finds himself bumped off that trajectory and not sure if he can get back on track. To blame? Channing Lowell, a charming and successful businessman who has just gained custody of his young nephew, Sammy, after his sister’s tragic passing. Tino’s quick connection with Sammy and ability to calm the chaos in the Lowell household after just a few minutes of being there leads Channing to make a lucrative proposition: if Tino will be Sammy’s manny for the summer, Channing will pay off Tino’s student loans and provide him with a glowing letter of recommendation, which should be enough for him to get a job anywhere. The offer seems too good to be true. And there’s also the fact that Tino’s not sure he could spend the entire summer living in the same house with Channing and hold not his virginity. But he also can’t help but question if that’s such a bad thing…

What an interesting cast of characters in this one! There is honestly quite a bit packed into these 228 pages, and it is interesting to watch the various characters–Tino, Channing, and Sammy for sure, but also some of the supporting cast–go through some major changes over the course of this book. Nothing seems forced, though, and as a reader, there was just enough reality laced into what many might see as a bit of a fantasy-type situation. How often does one just show up at a fancy house and get an offer like Channing’s? But as readers get to know him a bit better, it’s easy to understand why it doesn’t faze him much at all to make his proposition. Worth a read!

Slide by Garrett Leigh

Slide

Slide by Garrett Leigh

Series: Roads, Book 1
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on October 14, 2013
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Tattoo artist Ash has trouble trusting people. A life that started in foster care and ended on the streets taught him to be self-reliant. Which is why even he is surprised when he starts to fall for his paramedic roommate, Pete, and the feelings seem to be mutual. What he finds with Pete helps to keep his demons at bay, and he thinks he may just be able to make it. But it can take quite a bit to exorcise the ghosts that haunt us. And a series of unexpected events and miscommunications send everything crashing down for Pete and Ash, leaving them unsure if they will be able to piece everything back together…

Sometimes it is easy to forget that bring able to trust someone, to give them your heart and really mean it, can be a scary and difficult prospect. And that’s not just for those who have experienced heartbreak, abuse, or violence in their past. But those experiences certainly complicate matters in ways that we can’t always understand. By recognizing this and understanding that everyone brings things to a relationship that are beyond their control, perhaps we can be a bit easier on ourselves and give ourselves permission to love freely, to trust another person, and to really engage. Some deep themes here in what is a well-written story of acknowledging and confronting the past rather than simply hoping it will go away.