~Review Tour~ Neutral Zone (A Christmas Railers Novella) by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey

 
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Length: 40,000 words approx.
 
Harrisburg Railers Series
 
Book #1 – Changing Lines – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – First Season – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Deep Edge – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Poke Check – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Last Defense – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 – Goal Line – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Tennant Rowe has it all, a boyfriend he adores, a loving family, and a career on the rise. He’s sure of his place in the world, and the future can only get brighter. Then one night, in a flash of skates and sticks, life changes forever. Getting back on the ice is Ten’s priority, and experts tell him that it’s just a matter of time.



Jared watches his lover fall in more ways than one, and when tragedy strikes, even the strongest of relationships are tested. Ten is strong, but Jared has to be stronger to help the man who holds his heart. Only, he has to admit that maybe it isn’t just him who can make Ten whole again.



Jared and Ten’s love is forever, but the rocky path to the romantic Christmas Jared had planned may be hard to travel.



Excerpt



Ten



Karma. It’s a real bitch. Just ask anyone.



I’d left my man and my team behind in Harrisburg and flown to—get this—fucking Tucson, Arizona, to begin treatment for my traumatic head injury.



The same city the Raptors played in.



I could open the blinds in my room here in the Draper Neurological Rehabilitation and Performance Center and see the glistening mirrored sides of the Santa Catalina Arena. Funny shit right there. Four blocks over, the Raptors were on the ice for morning skate, and I was here, trying to get my brain healed enough so I could maybe play my game again someday.



Shit, right now I’d be happy to be able to speak or read normally.



“Ho, ho, ho,” I growled, closing the drapes, then pulling my sunglasses off and tossing them to the bed. Living behind sunglasses and blinds sucked. Headaches sucked. Slurred speech sucked. Seeing the pity in the eyes of my boyfriend and family and teammates sucked. Christmas with sand and cactus sucked. I wanted to cry. I wanted to be back home with Mads, decorating our tree and shaking my presents. I wanted to be shopping for gifts for my boyfriend, my mother and father, for my brothers, and for Stan and Adler and all the Railers. I wanted things to be the way they had been before that night. Tears threatened, but I held them in. Crying only made my head hurt worse.



So, I padded out of my room and made my way to breakfast and the first of several rounds of rehab I’d be facing today. I’d been here one day and had come to realize that my brain was now as well-known with the neurologists here as my face was back in Harrisburg. This was the place for athletes to come when they were battling CTE-related brain issues. Most of the men here were older, retired players, lots of football players. I mean lots of them. I’d met three other hockey players so far, all retired, all fighting to keep a step ahead of the disease taking over their brains. Sometimes, late at night, when I was lying in bed, I’d get scared for myself and all the other guys on my team. I worried about Mads. God knows how many concussions he’d had when he was playing. Add that to his heart shit and… well, I worried about stuff now. Lots more stuff than I had before the night my head met the ice, sans helmet.



The facility held a hundred and fifty people, and not all of us were athletes. Lots of patients had come here after car accidents or other catastrophic injuries. There were head injuries and spinal cord injuries being healed. The staff seemed nice, confident in their ability to nurse me back to my old self or as close as we could get. The halls were bright and airy, the food excellent, and the medical staff top-notch. And yes, it was expensive and elite and the cream of the crop. Which was why Mads had stubbornly pushed me into coming here after my initial rehab had been completed. Two weeks at the facility, a couple of weeks back home for the holidays, then back for another four weeks. Then maybe we’d talk about hockey.



“Hey, you’re Tennant Rowe, right?”



I skidded to a halt outside one of a dozen sun-rooms. As though people in Arizona didn’t get enough sun just stepping outside? They needed to make rooms for sun? A tall, burly black man about my age ran at me, hand out. I smiled up at him, trying to pull some information about him from my cloudy memory banks.



“I’m Declan Fidler, cornerback for the Temple Owls.”



“Ah, cool, hey man.” We shook hands. God, he was cute. Short hair and a flashy smile, big wide shoulders and inkwork all over his arms. “Sorry to see you here though, dude.”



“Yeah, I know that.” He ran a hand over his hair. “First game of the season too.”



“That sucks,” I said, then released his hand. “I was on my way to the dining hall.”



“I could eat if you want some company.”



“Totally. Be nice to have someone to talk to who’s under forty.”



“I feel that.”



He joined me on the walk to the dining hall, which looked nothing like the hospital cafeteria I’d been expecting when I first saw it yesterday. This place was upmarket. Round tables with cloth covers, thick royal-blue carpeting, windows that ran floor to ceiling, flowering plants in the corners, and a wait staff.



“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this place,” I murmured as I followed Declan to a table by the windows.



“I feel the same way,” he said as we took our seats. “I mean, I grew up wealthy, my father’s the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and I was still blown away.”



“That’s impressive. Did he…?” My brain went totally blank, and I scrambled to find the proper word. “Push. Yeah, did he push to get you in here?” I winced at the slip.



Fuck this shit. Really. Push? How fucking hard it is to recall a word like push?



An older woman in a tidy uniform filled our water glasses, then asked if she could have our room numbers. All the meals here were prepared by nutritionists with an eye to the patients’—athletes in my case—unique needs.



“Big-time. He was adamant about me coming here after the initial rehab. Said that this place would do things to counter the damage that no regular rehab could do. You here for CRT?”



“I uhm…” and that skip again. Fuck. “Dude, sorry, I’m like…” I tapped my temple.



He reached over the table to take my hand. “Ten, man, do not sweat it. You should have seen me when I got here. Barely able to string four words together. Sometimes I still trip up, just like that. But it’s all good. We’re tough motherfuckers. We’ll train our brains.”



“Yeah, train the brains. Cool.”



He gave my hand a squeeze and then released it. “So CRT?”



Our food was served, my platter loaded with scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, a bowl of oatmeal, and chocolate milk. My meds also sat on my tray. Declan’s food was similar, as were the meds in tiny cups lined up for him.



“Cognitive rehab therapy,” he said before shaking out his napkin and laying it over his lap. I did the same and tossed down the pills. I had no idea what they were pumping into me, and I truly didn’t care. As long as they got me back on the ice, they could be dumping Soylent green into my body via the milk. Man, that old movie rocked. What I wouldn’t give to be curled up on the couch with Mads watching it again. “Speech, occupation, and physical therapy. You don’t have any big physical issues, do you?”



“Some weakness on the left side, my arm, but it’s getting better. I hardly drop anything now.”



“That’s good. Once the swelling goes down, things tend to get better.” He took a bite from a slice of whole wheat toast. “I can’t believe I’m sitting here eating with you. Cup winner, LGBT crusader. Thanks for doing that, coming out, being proud and gay. I know how hard that is. My family and team have been amazing about my being queer.”



“Excellent. Glad they’re… fuck, I just. Give me a sec. Yeah, uhm, glad it’s good for you. I’m sorry. Sometimes I can go, like, whole days and barely fuck up, and then I’ll hit this patch where my brain glitches out and… shit. Fuck. Okay, I’m going to shut up for a minute and let my neurons… fire or something.”



“It’s fine. I understand.” And he did. I could see it in his eyes. He totally got it because he was living it too.



I wished everyone else in my life could get it as Declan did. We ate in amiable silence, not that heavy, cloaking pity blanket of quietude that my family draped over me every time I fumbled.



Therapy followed that pleasant breakfast, hours of it. Doctors and nurses, therapists, reading and tests and poking and prodding. Weights and treadmills and medicine balls. Shoving tiny pegs into tinier holes, pet therapy which was actually cool because who didn’t love a dog kiss? Speech therapy was last, and I tanked at it. Totally blew it to shit with my inability to recall one simple phrase. It made me so mad I flipped the table, sending papers and pencils flying. Then, because I had no clue where that outburst had come from, I felt even shittier.



“Tennant, it’s okay,” the woman, who was some fancy kind of advanced speech therapist, said as we picked up the mess I’d made. “Temper flare-ups are common. It’s frustrating not to be able to express yourself. We see that frequently in stroke victims.”



“That was uncool. Just so uncool. I didn’t… it wasn’t… shit.” I dropped to my ass, hands full of work sheets that looked as if a four-year-old had scribbled them down, buried my face in the papers, and wept.



Julie. Yes! That was her name. Julie sat down beside me, rubbed my back, and told me all kinds of reassuring things.



“I’m kind of done for the day,” I told her, and she let me go. I walked the halls, feeling discouraged and sickened with myself. Once I got back to my room, I called home, needing to hear Jared’s voice. As soon as he picked up, I kind of began babbling. A lot of it wasn’t sensible, and it was garbled because I’d have to stop, think, and then restart. But through all of that, Jared listened and never interrupted. When I was done, I fell back onto the bed, exhausted, battling a headache, and sick to death of myself and my stupid brain.



“Sounds like a rough first day,” Jared said. I rolled to my side, tucking my knees up, my gaze on that shiny arena where the Raptors were playing hockey right now. “Are you sure you don’t want me to come out? I can get a hotel room.”



“No, you need to work. The team needs you.”



“You need me as well, Tennant.”



“No, I got this. You can’t do this for me, Mads. Neither can Ryker or Brady or Jamie or my mother. It’s just…” I exhaled through pursed lips. “It’s so much harder than I thought it would be. I mean, I knew it would be hard but fuck sake, I couldn’t recall simple words. How will I ever be able to play if I can’t…” I stopped and calmed myself down. “I hate that this happened. I hate Aarni so much for doing this to me, Jared. I never thought I could ever hate anyone.”



“I know, babe. I wish you’d reconsider and let me come out there.”



He sounded as sick at heart as I was. And truthfully, in that moment, I was close to telling him to fly out. I so needed his arms around me.



“Tell me you love me.”



“I love you.” He drew in a shaky breath. “Do you want me to come out? Just say the word.”



I sat up slowly to avoid a head-rush and the pain that went along with those. “No, I’m good.” I pushed to my feet and went to the window. The sun was setting now, the mirrored sides of the Santa Catalina Arena glowing scarlet and pink. “I’m a tough camper. My Mom said that to me the first time I went to hockey camp.”



“Yeah? How old were you? Five months old or so?”



That made me chuckle. “Nah man, I was like six. And this camp was in Buffalo. I wanted to go so bad. I mean, I can be kind of stubborn when I want something.”



“I’m well aware of that fact,” he replied. Was he sitting down or pacing? Probably pacing because he was tension-riddled over me. “You were persistent about us.”



“Damn right I was. I knew we’d be good.” I touched the pane of glass as a smile of remembrance played on my lips. “I went to that camp, and as soon as my folks dropped me off, I wanted to come home. But Mom wouldn’t let me. She said I had to be a tough camper and that once the homesickness wore off, I’d be glad I stayed.”



“Were you?”



“Yeah, I loved it. Scored my first goal against Tommy Wayfarer. He got mad and cried.” The lights of Tucson began to flicker to life. Someone walked by my door humming Santa Claus is Coming to Town. “I’ll be okay. I just have to score my first goal here.”



“You will.”



“Yeah, I will. So, tell me about morning skate. How did the lines look?”



We talked about the Railers and about Ryker and Declan, my new therapy buddy. We talked about old movies and new songs. We talked for hours. Darkness had blanketed the city when I dozed off on him. I woke up a second later, phone still to my ear, my boyfriend chuckling.



“Wow, you snored yourself awake,” Mads said, then groaned, rising to his feet I assumed.



“Shit, yeah, I fell asleep.” A yawn rolled out of me. I flopped to my side on the bed, my sight on the desert sky over Tucson.



“I need to turn in too,” he said around a yawn.



“Yeah, you’re a couple of hours ahead of us. I’ll call you tomorrow at the same time. I love you, Mads.”



“I love you too, Ten. And your mother was right; you are a tough camper. You’ll begin to see improvement, I know you. You won’t stop until you do.”



“Thanks, Coach.”



“Wiseass.”



“I miss our goodnight kisses.” My eyes were so heavy I could barely keep them open.



“You’ll get plenty when you get home.”



“Mm, loving sounds good.”



“Yes, it does. Get some rest. Heal. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”



“Night,” I mumbled, ended the call, and then fell into an exhausted but fitful sleep. The bed was too hard, too narrow, and far too lacking in Jared Madsen’s big, broad body.

USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott writes stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, a happily ever after.

RJ Scott is the author of over one hundred romance books, writing emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the links below:

USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Dr. Who, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.

 


 

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~Release Blitz~ Neutral Zone (A Christmas Railers Novells) by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey

 
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Length: 40,000 words approx.
 
Harrisburg Railers Series
 
Book #1 – Changing Lines – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – First Season – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Deep Edge – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Poke Check – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Last Defense – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 – Goal Line – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Tennant Rowe has it all, a boyfriend he adores, a loving family, and a career on the rise. He’s sure of his place in the world, and the future can only get brighter. Then one night, in a flash of skates and sticks, life changes forever. Getting back on the ice is Ten’s priority, and experts tell him that it’s just a matter of time.



Jared watches his lover fall in more ways than one, and when tragedy strikes, even the strongest of relationships are tested. Ten is strong, but Jared has to be stronger to help the man who holds his heart. Only, he has to admit that maybe it isn’t just him who can make Ten whole again.



Jared and Ten’s love is forever, but the rocky path to the romantic Christmas Jared had planned may be hard to travel.

 
Excerpt



Ten



Karma. It’s a real bitch. Just ask anyone.



I’d left my man and my team behind in Harrisburg and flown to—get this—fucking Tucson, Arizona, to begin treatment for my traumatic head injury.



The same city the Raptors played in.



I could open the blinds in my room here in the Draper Neurological Rehabilitation and Performance Center and see the glistening mirrored sides of the Santa Catalina Arena. Funny shit right there. Four blocks over, the Raptors were on the ice for morning skate, and I was here, trying to get my brain healed enough so I could maybe play my game again someday.



Shit, right now I’d be happy to be able to speak or read normally.



“Ho, ho, ho,” I growled, closing the drapes, then pulling my sunglasses off and tossing them to the bed. Living behind sunglasses and blinds sucked. Headaches sucked. Slurred speech sucked. Seeing the pity in the eyes of my boyfriend and family and teammates sucked. Christmas with sand and cactus sucked. I wanted to cry. I wanted to be back home with Mads, decorating our tree and shaking my presents. I wanted to be shopping for gifts for my boyfriend, my mother and father, for my brothers, and for Stan and Adler and all the Railers. I wanted things to be the way they had been before that night. Tears threatened, but I held them in. Crying only made my head hurt worse.



So, I padded out of my room and made my way to breakfast and the first of several rounds of rehab I’d be facing today. I’d been here one day and had come to realize that my brain was now as well-known with the neurologists here as my face was back in Harrisburg. This was the place for athletes to come when they were battling CTE-related brain issues. Most of the men here were older, retired players, lots of football players. I mean lots of them. I’d met three other hockey players so far, all retired, all fighting to keep a step ahead of the disease taking over their brains. Sometimes, late at night, when I was lying in bed, I’d get scared for myself and all the other guys on my team. I worried about Mads. God knows how many concussions he’d had when he was playing. Add that to his heart shit and… well, I worried about stuff now. Lots more stuff than I had before the night my head met the ice, sans helmet.



The facility held a hundred and fifty people, and not all of us were athletes. Lots of patients had come here after car accidents or other catastrophic injuries. There were head injuries and spinal cord injuries being healed. The staff seemed nice, confident in their ability to nurse me back to my old self or as close as we could get. The halls were bright and airy, the food excellent, and the medical staff top-notch. And yes, it was expensive and elite and the cream of the crop. Which was why Mads had stubbornly pushed me into coming here after my initial rehab had been completed. Two weeks at the facility, a couple of weeks back home for the holidays, then back for another four weeks. Then maybe we’d talk about hockey.



“Hey, you’re Tennant Rowe, right?”



I skidded to a halt outside one of a dozen sun-rooms. As though people in Arizona didn’t get enough sun just stepping outside? They needed to make rooms for sun? A tall, burly black man about my age ran at me, hand out. I smiled up at him, trying to pull some information about him from my cloudy memory banks.



“I’m Declan Fidler, cornerback for the Temple Owls.”



“Ah, cool, hey man.” We shook hands. God, he was cute. Short hair and a flashy smile, big wide shoulders and inkwork all over his arms. “Sorry to see you here though, dude.”



“Yeah, I know that.” He ran a hand over his hair. “First game of the season too.”



“That sucks,” I said, then released his hand. “I was on my way to the dining hall.”



“I could eat if you want some company.”



“Totally. Be nice to have someone to talk to who’s under forty.”



“I feel that.”



He joined me on the walk to the dining hall, which looked nothing like the hospital cafeteria I’d been expecting when I first saw it yesterday. This place was upmarket. Round tables with cloth covers, thick royal-blue carpeting, windows that ran floor to ceiling, flowering plants in the corners, and a wait staff.



“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this place,” I murmured as I followed Declan to a table by the windows.



“I feel the same way,” he said as we took our seats. “I mean, I grew up wealthy, my father’s the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and I was still blown away.”



“That’s impressive. Did he…?” My brain went totally blank, and I scrambled to find the proper word. “Push. Yeah, did he push to get you in here?” I winced at the slip.



Fuck this shit. Really. Push? How fucking hard it is to recall a word like push?



An older woman in a tidy uniform filled our water glasses, then asked if she could have our room numbers. All the meals here were prepared by nutritionists with an eye to the patients’—athletes in my case—unique needs.



“Big-time. He was adamant about me coming here after the initial rehab. Said that this place would do things to counter the damage that no regular rehab could do. You here for CRT?”



“I uhm…” and that skip again. Fuck. “Dude, sorry, I’m like…” I tapped my temple.



He reached over the table to take my hand. “Ten, man, do not sweat it. You should have seen me when I got here. Barely able to string four words together. Sometimes I still trip up, just like that. But it’s all good. We’re tough motherfuckers. We’ll train our brains.”



“Yeah, train the brains. Cool.”



He gave my hand a squeeze and then released it. “So CRT?”



Our food was served, my platter loaded with scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, a bowl of oatmeal, and chocolate milk. My meds also sat on my tray. Declan’s food was similar, as were the meds in tiny cups lined up for him.



“Cognitive rehab therapy,” he said before shaking out his napkin and laying it over his lap. I did the same and tossed down the pills. I had no idea what they were pumping into me, and I truly didn’t care. As long as they got me back on the ice, they could be dumping Soylent green into my body via the milk. Man, that old movie rocked. What I wouldn’t give to be curled up on the couch with Mads watching it again. “Speech, occupation, and physical therapy. You don’t have any big physical issues, do you?”



“Some weakness on the left side, my arm, but it’s getting better. I hardly drop anything now.”



“That’s good. Once the swelling goes down, things tend to get better.” He took a bite from a slice of whole wheat toast. “I can’t believe I’m sitting here eating with you. Cup winner, LGBT crusader. Thanks for doing that, coming out, being proud and gay. I know how hard that is. My family and team have been amazing about my being queer.”



“Excellent. Glad they’re… fuck, I just. Give me a sec. Yeah, uhm, glad it’s good for you. I’m sorry. Sometimes I can go, like, whole days and barely fuck up, and then I’ll hit this patch where my brain glitches out and… shit. Fuck. Okay, I’m going to shut up for a minute and let my neurons… fire or something.”



“It’s fine. I understand.” And he did. I could see it in his eyes. He totally got it because he was living it too.



I wished everyone else in my life could get it as Declan did. We ate in amiable silence, not that heavy, cloaking pity blanket of quietude that my family draped over me every time I fumbled.



Therapy followed that pleasant breakfast, hours of it. Doctors and nurses, therapists, reading and tests and poking and prodding. Weights and treadmills and medicine balls. Shoving tiny pegs into tinier holes, pet therapy which was actually cool because who didn’t love a dog kiss? Speech therapy was last, and I tanked at it. Totally blew it to shit with my inability to recall one simple phrase. It made me so mad I flipped the table, sending papers and pencils flying. Then, because I had no clue where that outburst had come from, I felt even shittier.



“Tennant, it’s okay,” the woman, who was some fancy kind of advanced speech therapist, said as we picked up the mess I’d made. “Temper flare-ups are common. It’s frustrating not to be able to express yourself. We see that frequently in stroke victims.”



“That was uncool. Just so uncool. I didn’t… it wasn’t… shit.” I dropped to my ass, hands full of work sheets that looked as if a four-year-old had scribbled them down, buried my face in the papers, and wept.



Julie. Yes! That was her name. Julie sat down beside me, rubbed my back, and told me all kinds of reassuring things.



“I’m kind of done for the day,” I told her, and she let me go. I walked the halls, feeling discouraged and sickened with myself. Once I got back to my room, I called home, needing to hear Jared’s voice. As soon as he picked up, I kind of began babbling. A lot of it wasn’t sensible, and it was garbled because I’d have to stop, think, and then restart. But through all of that, Jared listened and never interrupted. When I was done, I fell back onto the bed, exhausted, battling a headache, and sick to death of myself and my stupid brain.



“Sounds like a rough first day,” Jared said. I rolled to my side, tucking my knees up, my gaze on that shiny arena where the Raptors were playing hockey right now. “Are you sure you don’t want me to come out? I can get a hotel room.”



“No, you need to work. The team needs you.”



“You need me as well, Tennant.”



“No, I got this. You can’t do this for me, Mads. Neither can Ryker or Brady or Jamie or my mother. It’s just…” I exhaled through pursed lips. “It’s so much harder than I thought it would be. I mean, I knew it would be hard but fuck sake, I couldn’t recall simple words. How will I ever be able to play if I can’t…” I stopped and calmed myself down. “I hate that this happened. I hate Aarni so much for doing this to me, Jared. I never thought I could ever hate anyone.”



“I know, babe. I wish you’d reconsider and let me come out there.”



He sounded as sick at heart as I was. And truthfully, in that moment, I was close to telling him to fly out. I so needed his arms around me.



“Tell me you love me.”



“I love you.” He drew in a shaky breath. “Do you want me to come out? Just say the word.”



I sat up slowly to avoid a head-rush and the pain that went along with those. “No, I’m good.” I pushed to my feet and went to the window. The sun was setting now, the mirrored sides of the Santa Catalina Arena glowing scarlet and pink. “I’m a tough camper. My Mom said that to me the first time I went to hockey camp.”



“Yeah? How old were you? Five months old or so?”



That made me chuckle. “Nah man, I was like six. And this camp was in Buffalo. I wanted to go so bad. I mean, I can be kind of stubborn when I want something.”



“I’m well aware of that fact,” he replied. Was he sitting down or pacing? Probably pacing because he was tension-riddled over me. “You were persistent about us.”



“Damn right I was. I knew we’d be good.” I touched the pane of glass as a smile of remembrance played on my lips. “I went to that camp, and as soon as my folks dropped me off, I wanted to come home. But Mom wouldn’t let me. She said I had to be a tough camper and that once the homesickness wore off, I’d be glad I stayed.”



“Were you?”



“Yeah, I loved it. Scored my first goal against Tommy Wayfarer. He got mad and cried.” The lights of Tucson began to flicker to life. Someone walked by my door humming Santa Claus is Coming to Town. “I’ll be okay. I just have to score my first goal here.”



“You will.”



“Yeah, I will. So, tell me about morning skate. How did the lines look?”



We talked about the Railers and about Ryker and Declan, my new therapy buddy. We talked about old movies and new songs. We talked for hours. Darkness had blanketed the city when I dozed off on him. I woke up a second later, phone still to my ear, my boyfriend chuckling.



“Wow, you snored yourself awake,” Mads said, then groaned, rising to his feet I assumed.



“Shit, yeah, I fell asleep.” A yawn rolled out of me. I flopped to my side on the bed, my sight on the desert sky over Tucson.



“I need to turn in too,” he said around a yawn.



“Yeah, you’re a couple of hours ahead of us. I’ll call you tomorrow at the same time. I love you, Mads.”



“I love you too, Ten. And your mother was right; you are a tough camper. You’ll begin to see improvement, I know you. You won’t stop until you do.”



“Thanks, Coach.”



“Wiseass.”



“I miss our goodnight kisses.” My eyes were so heavy I could barely keep them open.



“You’ll get plenty when you get home.”



“Mm, loving sounds good.”



“Yes, it does. Get some rest. Heal. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”



“Night,” I mumbled, ended the call, and then fell into an exhausted but fitful sleep. The bed was too hard, too narrow, and far too lacking in Jared Madsen’s big, broad body.

USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott writes stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, a happily ever after.

RJ Scott is the author of over one hundred romance books, writing emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the links below:

USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Dr. Who, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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~Review Tour~ Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

REVIEW TOUR

Title: Better Not Pout

Author: Annabeth Albert

Pages: 288

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Male/Male, Holiday

Imprint: Carina Press

On-sale Date: November 12, 2018 (ebook), November 27, 2018 (MMP)

Price: $4.99 (ebook), $8.99 USD (MMP)

Format: ebook, Mass Market Paperback (MMP)

ISBN: 9781488038686 (ebook), 9781335924841 (MMP)

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Amazon UK

 

Blurb

One hard-nosed military police officer.

One overly enthusiastic elf.

One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.

The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.

 

 

About the Author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

 

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Better Not PoutBetter Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not a huge fan of holiday romances but I loved this story. Teddy was just one of those characters that you couldn’t help but love. And Nick, well, I love his stubborn broodiness too because hidden behind it was a beautiful heart. Teddy’s family was pretty damn amazing too. I definitely recommend this one.

View all my reviews

~Blog Tour~ Beat of Their Own Drum by K.M. Neuhold

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BEAT OF THEIR OWN DRUM

REPLAY SERIES, BOOK 3

K.M. NEUHOLD

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 11.08.18

Beat of their own drum cover

BLURB

Jude

Every rock band needs their bad boy. Hookers, drugs, DUIs— been there, done that. I’m in a Downward Spiral and proud of it (see what I did there?). When the band manager, Archer, hires Bennett to keep me from screwing up while the band is on hiatus, I may have finally met someone who won’t take my attitude lying down. With the three of us cooped up together for weeks on end, I have a feeling things might get interesting.

Archer

Downward Spiral is my baby. Not only am I the band manager, I discovered them ten years ago when they were nothing but a bunch of high school kids playing in a hole in the wall bar on the weekends. But it’s obvious I haven’t done a great job because they’re falling apart. If the lead singer isn’t trying to kill himself, it’s the bass player telling me he can’t write any new songs. And no one gets under my skin more than Jude, who seems determined to snort and drink himself into an early grave. There’s only one man I can think of who might be able to get Jude back on the right track, Bennett Schmitt. Unfortunately, he’s also the man I let get away sixteen years ago and haven’t gotten over since.

Bennett

If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s take control of a situation. In fact, control is kind of my thing. Which is probably why I’m the best in the business when it comes to getting out of control celebrities back on track. When my ex calls and tells me he’s desperate for my help, I can’t turn him down. Between the infuriatingly sexy drummer with no idea what kind of trouble he’s asking for, and my ex looking better than ever, there’s no way this isn’t about to get messy.

* This is an MMM romance with D/s play and mild daddy kink (NO age play)

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EXCERPT

I’m at my desk, doing my daily news check to make sure there haven’t been any new stories picked up in the past few days, when a sharp knock comes at my door. I tense in my chair, memories filling my mind of Bennett in my office, in my bedroom, following me with his eyes, tempting me to give in to something that can only end in heartbreak.

“Archer?”Jude’s voice is quiet, almost unsure, and like nothing I’ve ever heard from him before.

“Come in,”I call back, my heart beating faster as the door pushes open to reveal the young drummer looking slightly flush after his morning run with Bennett. He hesitates in the doorway for several seconds and I take the time to take him in. I know we’ve only been here nine days, but I can already see a difference in Jude—he seems more settled, less volatile, maybe even happier? I suspect that has more to do with whatever he and Bennett were up to last night than the cabin itself.

My stomach twists at the memory of last night, Bennett and I having a wonderful chat, just like we used to when we were in college. Then Jude came by to say he was going to bed and Bennett excused himself to follow a few minutes later. It doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together, which is a good thing because I’m obviously not a genius, getting jealous over my ex and my client.

“What can I do for you?”I ask gently. It’s not Jude’s fault my feelings are all mixed up and I refuse to take it out on him.

“I don’t…um…”He looks a little lost like he’s not even sure what he’s doing in my office, let alone what brought him here.

“Why don’t you come in and have a seat,”I suggest, waving to the small couch in the corner of the room. He gives a jerky nod, stepping all the way inside and closing the door behind himself before making his way to my couch. “Things good with Bennett?”I check, worry rising up in my chest that maybe he’s here because something happened that made him uncomfortable.

“Hm? Oh…um…yeah.”

Not the most reassuring answer I’ve ever gotten.

“Look, I know it’s not my business and the last thing I want is to pry for details but are you happy with the arrangement you have with Bennett? Are you comfortable with the things he wants you to do?”

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I’m an author of m/m and new adult romance. I have a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well.

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~Review~ Embracing His Syn by A.E. Via

Embracing His Syn (Nothing Special, #2)Embracing His Syn by A.E. Via

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an incredibly apt title. Because one you meet Syn, you’ll definitely want to embrace him. There’s something about A.E. Via’s characters. They’re so perfectly described that you can see their big boots clomping across the floor, you can feel their strength oozing from the pages and your heart will pound as if all of that sexiness in standing in the room next to you. But you also get humor, you also get sarcasm, you get playfulness and you get more love than you thought possible. These books are a perfect blend, an amazing smoothie with everything you need, that goes down perfectly.
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View all my reviews

~Review~ The Husband Gambit by L.A. Witt

The Husband GambitThe Husband Gambit by L.A. Witt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are so many things about this story that made it click with me. The adorable sarcasm between these two, the wonderful ease in which they moved from colleagues to friends to lovers, like an ocean wave moving slowly up the sand. And the dialogue too. When you read things like Jesse nodded, “I don’t want you because you’re distracting. You’re distracting because I want you
And
the gate began a slow inward arc, opening but taking its sweet time about it as if to make sure we knew no one was in any rush to let us in. A passive aggressive gate. Nice.
And
I signed into the stillness of my empty bedroom. I’d imagined a lot of ways this arrangement could get complicated. Falling in love with my husband had not been one of them
Romance, snark and angst. A pretty damn perfect recipe if you ask me.

View all my reviews

~Now available in Paperback! ~ Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

Better Not Pout Blitz 1

BETTER NOT POUT by Annabeth Albert 9781488038686 Front Cover

“Annabeth Albert delivers another charmer with Better Not Pout. A sweet and sexy holiday read that finds a grumpy St. Nick charmed by a do-gooder elf and his snowy town. Better Not Pout will warm your heart and soul this holiday season.”

— Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whiskey and Trouble Brewing series

Better Not Pout was charming, sweet, and sexy all at once! I love everything Annabeth Albert writes and this was no exception.” — Cat Sebastian, author of The Soldier’s Scoundrel, The Ruin of a Rake, and The Regency Imposters series

Better Not Pout is a heartwarming read full of true love, holiday magic, steamy romance, and nuanced interactions between characters. Old fans and new readers alike will love everything about this book!” — Anna Zabo, author of the Takeover and Twisted Wishes series

Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

Publisher:

Carina Press (Harlequin)

 

Release Date (Print):

Print (mmp): Tuesday November 27, 2018

 

Length (Print & Ebook):

Print (mmp): 288

 

Subgenre:

Contemporary Romance, Male/Male Romance, Holiday Romance, Military Romance

 

Order at:

 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/better-not-pout-annabeth-albert/1128809456?ean=9781335924841

 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Ki8Xl0

 

Book Synopsis:

 

One hard-nosed military police officer.

One overly enthusiastic elf.

One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.

The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.

***

Annabeth Albert says that, “BETTER NOT POUT is a male/male holiday romance featuring endearing characters with a fun, flirty plot that will remind readers of their favorite holiday rom-coms.”

 

Paperback Release Blitz Short Teaser #1

Word Count: 323

“You should come to Thanksgiving.” Rhonda nodded at him. “Right, Teddy? Tell him he’d love it.”

“You’ve seriously never seen so much pie in one place.” Teddy tried again for humor.

“You did get that I’m not looking for a date, right?” Nick sounded like he was starting to run out of patience with them both.

“It wouldn’t be.” Teddy was fast to reassure him, lest he think Rhonda really was trying to push him off on Teddy. “Our family always welcomes people with no other Thanksgiving plans—there are usually at least a few guests from Fort End.”

“I’m not much on pie. Can you try again for a picture?”

“You say that but you haven’t tried my mom’s pineapple cream pie or Aunt Cathy’s cannoli pie. And if you don’t like whipped cream or dairy, Uncle Gus made this salted caramel apple pie last year that was better than sex.”

He realized what he’d said a moment too late as Nick snort-laughed.

“Perfect!” Rhonda crowed as the camera snapped. “A few more…Lean in now, and really grin, that’s it…”

And damn it, Teddy was too busy looking at the camera and he’d missed Nick’s grin. Oh well. There was always the next location. Maybe he’d earn a real smile yet. And while he wasn’t foolish enough to go chasing the guy as blatantly as Rhonda had, he did have to admit that cozying up with Santa was hardly a hardship, and couldn’t deny the little seed of hope in his gut. Maybe Teddy could be just what the grumpy sergeant major needed in his stocking.

“Onto the next shoot?” Nick was already climbing out of the sleigh, voice making it clear he was ready to speed things up.

Okay. Maybe Teddy’s plan was going to take a bit of effort. But most things in life worth having took work. And Teddy could already tell Nick would be well worth the quest.

Paperback Release Blitz Short Teaser #2

“Food is good.” Nick nodded at his now empty bowl. “You tell your mom thanks for me.”

“She’ll be happy someone enjoyed her cooking—she always says she’s happiest when she’s got a packed table for dinner.” Teddy cleared their trays to the kitchen, then returned to regard Nick carefully. He was confounding and grumpy and far, far too appealing. And he was only in town for another month. It was now or never in terms of forging a friendship or anything else for that matter.

Nothing ventured, nothing lost.

“So what do you want to do now?” he asked Nick, coming to stand in front of him, reveling in the warm blast of the fire. “It’s a bit early for bed, but I’ve got all the various streaming services for the TV or a cupboard of board games or…”

“Or?” Nick looked up at him expectantly, taking the bait beautifully.

“Or, I sit on Santa’s lap and tell you exactly what I want under my tree this year.” Teddy didn’t wait for a response, straddling Nick’s blanket-covered lap in a fluid move. “I figure we can unwrap each other’s packages a little early. What do you say, Saint Nick?”

About Annabeth Albert:

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

 

Connect with Annabeth Albert:

Giveaway: Win 1 of 2 e-copies of any back catalog OUT OF UNIFORM series book!

 

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