Category Archives: Amy Lane

Tour: The Deep of the Sound (Bluewater Bay #8) by Amy Lane *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

DeepoftheSound_TourBanner

The Deep of the Sound (Bluewater Bay #8)
by Amy Lane

An M/M Romance
From Riptide Publishing
Released June 15th 2015

add-to-goodreads-button31

Cal McCorkle has lived in Bluewater Bay his whole life. He works two jobs to support a brother with a laundry list of psychiatric diagnoses and a great uncle with Alzheimer’s, and his personal life amounts to impersonal hookups with his boss. He’s got no time, no ambition, and no hope. All he has is family, and they’re killing him one responsibility at a time.

Avery Kennedy left Los Angeles, his family, and his sleazy boyfriend to attend a Wolf’s Landing convention, and he has no plans to return. But when he finds himself broke and car-less in Bluewater Bay, he’s worried he’ll have to slink home with his tail between his legs. Then Cal McCorkle rides to his rescue, and his urge to run away dies a quick death.

Avery may seem helpless at first, but he can charm Cal’s fractious brother, so Cal can pretty much forgive him anything. Even being adorkable. And giving him hope. But Cal can only promise Avery “until we can’t”—and the cost of changing that to “until forever” might be too high, however much they both want it.

 

DeepOfTheSound_600x900

Riptide | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ARe

 

Review

5-stars

If there ever was a character who my heart went out to within pages of meeting him, it was Cal. Poor guy couldn’t catch a break (no pun intended!). Caretaker to his uncle and his brother, Cal spends his mornings fishing and his nights working just to make ends meet. With a non-existent love life, Cal settles for the occasional hook up with his boss. His life has no room for anything else, so when Avery walks into his life his world is turned on its axis.

Avery is everything Cal isn’t looking for, but the very man who manages to bring him back to life. He’s funny, quirky and determined to make it on his own in Bluewater Bay. Things don’t work out as planned, initially. But regardless of the circumstances he’s enjoying the time spent with Cal. Especially since Cal isn’t judgmental of Avery’s ways, out to get something from him or indifferent of his presence.

But with everything that’s going on in their lives, can these two meet somewhere in the middle to make something of the connection they share?

*sigh* It’s been a while since I read an Amy Lane book and with this story I scolded myself for being a fool. With her trademark mix of humor, emotions and complex characters, Amy Lane made The Deep of the Sound my favorite book in the Bluewater Bay series so far.

I loved Cal. His life was not an easy one, but he remained stoic through it all–even at his expense. It was easy to admire him for his dedication to family and even easier still to cheer him on once he met Avery. Those few moments when he allowed himself the chance to live for himself showed how remarkable a man he was and how much weight he carried around because of his responsibilities. That is why having Avery come into his life when he did was a treat to read for me.

Avery was a fun character to get to know. He felt deeply, yearned for something more and had an amazing caring heart. He complemented Cal in every way–understanding his needs and adjusting his role accordingly. And he did this while dealing with his own plethora of problems. How can I not love him too?

Of course, this wouldn’t have been such a fantastic read without the connection and chemistry the author made sure to develop between the Cal and Avery. Their every interaction showed that they had something worth exploring. Be it the awkward moments were neither one knew how to proceed, the smexy ones where they let loose or the honest ones where they confessed their deepest fears–every single interaction worked to strengthened their initial connection. So when the time came for emotions to come up to play, both Cal and Avery were deeply invested in their ‘friendship’.

All in all, a wonderful romantic read that reminded me how much I enjoy Amy Lane’s work.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

We don’t always know when the end of a relationship is coming.  When I was in college,  two different guys broke up with me while I was totally concentrating on something entirely different.  Boy, did I look stupid when I kept thinking we were together, and it turned out I was just counting a drawer at McDonald’s, or waiting for my cue line offstage, and my boyfriend was telling me we were better off as buddies.

In this case, Avery thinks he’s making a move to change his relationship for the better.  What he doesn’t see is that there’s no walking away from the train wreck that happens when he flies off the rails.

*

“Are you going out today, Avery?”

Avery Kennedy rolled over in bed and glared at his phone on the charger. “You’re asking me that now?” Christ. Six a.m.? Was that even legal?

“We need milk, Avery, and food—you got a problem going shopping or are you too ‘busy’ with your ‘job’?”

Avery sat up in bed and put on his glasses, the better to squint at Billy Rivera—current boyfriend and giant fucking tool. Yeah, he was still good looking—square jaw, blue eyes, dark-blond hair, square shoulders, swagger—but Avery wasn’t nearly as impressed with a good-looking guy in a suit anymore.

“My ‘job’ is paying for that ‘food’ you want so badly,” Avery said, letting some of his irritation burn through his exhaustion. “And the rent on this shitty apartment—which you are conveniently living in while you go to your ‘job’ that requires you to buy suits you can’t afford and really fucking nice shoes.”

Billy jerked, obviously stung. “Look, A—we talked about this. I’m in an internship for the business and I got to look the part—”

“Whatever,” Avery grumbled, not wanting to lose sleep over fighting. He took off his glasses and grabbed his phone, making sure it was set for 8 a.m. “You go look the part—I’m going back to sleep so I can wake up and finish the article that’s going to buy your groceries.”

“You didn’t finish last night?” Billy asked idly, going to the closet for one of the really awesome ties Avery had bought from Nordies to celebrate the stupid internship. Oh yeah—they’d been happy at first because sure, it didn’t pay as much as getting a job right out of college might, but the possibilities! They’d seemed endless—six months ago they’d seemed endless. Now Avery was wondering when there was an end to the possibilities and a beginning to Billy getting a freaking job.

Which was hilarious, because the more Billy sat and ate lunch (which he bought with Avery’s money because his check barely paid for utilities in the little apartment in North Hollywood), the more he complained to his new work friends about Avery getting a freaking job.

“No,” Avery mumbled, wondering why Billy was so interested in him all of a sudden. God, where was Billy when Avery wanted to talk? Well, usually Avery wanted to talk around one, two in the morning, so that wasn’t really fair, but geez, didn’t it suck to be woken up and told you weren’t good enough. Again. “I was waiting for some data from the company. It’ll be here by eight.”

“So what was all that typing I heard last night?”

Avery blinked and widened his eyes, playing for time. “You were up? Sorry, babe. Didn’t mean to keep you up.”

“No—I mean, I was sort of thinking about coming to . . .” Billy raised his eyebrows above his blue eyes and nodded his head in the classic C’mon baby, gimme sumpn sumpn gesture, and Avery smiled a little, remembering that Billy’s charm and his humor had attracted him in the first place

“Yeah, well—” he yawned “—next time come ask. I was writing some fanfic while I waited for a response. Got a whole story done, was—”

Billy’s curled lip radiated disgust. “You mean you’re all complaining about being tired and you were just fucking around?”

“I was on the computer getting some crucial data!” God, he was pissed now, and there went any hope of going back to sleep. Urgh, he hated that—fucked his day all up, because first he’d get up and work, then he’d take a nap, then when the rest of the world was on the fucking road or in the grocery store or at the post office, that’s when Avery got to run errands. “I was working, and I took a break and did something I enjoyed. You know, like when you read Buzzfeed at work and send me six thousand stupid links about shit I don’t care about?”

Billy’s look of hurt was unmistakable. “I thought we were connecting,” he said, and Avery sighed and ground his face into the pillow.

“You’re right. We were. But you go sit and eat lunch with all your friends and tell jokes, and me and my friends make GIF sets and write stories about Wolf’s Landing. It’s my chance to play, that’s all. I’ve been working on this piece about fracking for a week—I’m pissed, I’m depressed, and I feel like the world’s gone to hell in a fucking handbasket. Let me have my heroes, okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Billy muttered in disgust. “Are you going to submit it and get paid today? Because tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day and I’d really like to go out to dinner—”

“With me this time?” Avery asked suspiciously, because last time it had been to take the boss out to dinner, and there went half a commission in expensive scotch.

“Yeah, with you this time! And with Sandy and Anthony, because I sort of owe them from—”

Avery buried his head in the pillow and growled. “Oh my God. Billy, could you, I don’t know, maybe stop spending my money long enough to hear what I was planning to do with it?”

Billy’s jaw dropped. “What’s it to you, A? Man, the money just appears in the account anyway—why do you care how we spend it?”

“Because I am saving money for a trip to Washington in March, do you remember that?”

“For what? So you and your friends can all wax your knobs about Wolf Hammer and Greg Sandford or what the fuck ever?”

Wolf’s Landing and Gabriel Hanford,” he snarled. “And he’s played by an out actor, so maybe show a little respect. And you know what? Go to work, impress your friends. But I want to split our accounts again, okay? You are so not hearing me when I talk about finances.” Oh yeah, Billy thought he was just going to let that “appears in the account” thing slide. Avery busted his ass too hard to have his boyfriend spending his money without respect.

“Yeah, fine, you do all that paperwork shit,” Billy scoffed. “But when you want sumpn sumpn, you make sure you flash that wallet, big man, because that’s the only way a guy like you can get some.”

With that he threw on his expensive suit coat and slammed the door, leaving Avery wide-awake and fuming.

He knew he wasn’t that great a prize to look at—tall, narrow, all angles, elbows, and ears, with a thatch of dark hair he’d rather comb than cut—but Jesus, that didn’t mean he had no pride, right?

It took him half an hour in his boxers with his phone and the computer to disentangle his and Billy’s finances. It was just a . . . a pulling back, right? A . . . a disentangling, to find something else that worked. They’d done pretty well when they hadn’t been living out of the same bank account, right?

Avery remembered those first couple of months, being so very careful about who had which refrigerator shelf and making sure he treated for movies at least half of the time. Billy had pulled his weight then, hadn’t he?

They used to use Avery’s spending money for shared trips to the movies and weekend getaways to the beach. Nothing too extravagant—Billy had been starting his internship and Avery had been establishing his reliability as a freelancer, but it had been nice. Simple. Avery had liked it that way.

Maybe splitting their finances would get things back to where they’d been at the beginning. Before Billy had decided he was too good to be seen with a guy who looked like a walking haystack and would rather hang with his fanfic forum than people who worried about the shine on their shoes.

 

About the Author

Amy Lane exists happily with her noisy family in a crumbling suburban crapmansion, and equally happily with the surprisingly demanding voices who live in her head.

She loves cats, movies, yarn, pretty colors, pretty men, shiny things, and Twu Wuv, and despises house cleaning, low fat granola bars, and vainglorious prickweenies.

She can be found at her computer, dodging housework, or simultaneously reading, watching television, and knitting, because she likes to freak people out by proving it can be done.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Amy Lane Anonymous | Goodreads

 

Giveaway

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for an eBook package of all of Amy Lane’s backlist titles with Riptide! (Excludes The Deep of the Sound and anthologies.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 20, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!

Review: Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane

kitsch

Title: Christmas Kitsch

Author: Amy Lane

Published: December 9th 2013

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Genre: M/M New Adult Contemporary Romance

add-to-goodreads-button31

flourish_sb

Buy the Book
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ARe

flourish_sb

Synopsis

Sometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them—just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity—Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not—but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.

flourish_sb

Review

5-stars

If it doesn’t make me cry, grin and sigh, it is not a proper Amy Lane story. Yep, I’m convinced of it. And this one? Well, let’s just say that my eldest thought I was having an ‘episode’. According to her, I was laughing out loud one moment, sighing the next, wiping my eyes, swearing, crying and then grinning like the cat that caught the canary. Do you need me to say that I LOVED this book?! I think you get it, but if you’re, for any reason, on the fence about it (*gasp* really?!) let me be clear.

Perfect cover ~ Bah! If you know me, you know I’m a cover slut. So yeah, I judge my books by their covers and this one was perfect.

Awesome main characters ~ I loved how adorably clueless rusty was. His heart was huge and his pain unbearable, but he made me smile and his strength of character, even when things went downhill, was wonderful. Oliver? Oliver was just too much. Loyal to a fault, understanding, determined but never too pushy (and when he was, it made for some fantastic couple of pages!). He was the ideal man for Rusty, even of Rusty took a while to ‘see’ it.

Interesting secondary characters ~ There were a LOT of characters introduced in this story and each of them added something to the story whenever they came into the scene. I loved Oliver’s dad and Rusty’s sister. But my favorite was Rex, Rusty’s roommate in college. He was truly a character.

Emotions, emotions, everywhere emotions ~ Really, I have to explain? It’s Amy Lane!!! Even with her fun stories she manages to wiggle the emotions in there to get at you. But even though she brought a whole range in emotions, I didn’t find the story angsty.

Surprise, surprise ~ Okay, so I was under the impression that this here was a Young Adult story (serves me right for looking at other people’s shelves!), so I wasn’t expecting anything more than some kissing and roaming of the hands. Er, nope. Well yes, there was that. Just that first kiss was…nevermind. You have to experience it for yourself and what it all entails. I’ll just say this – NEW ADULT! (to those who have it shelved wrong!)

So there you have it – a wonderful holiday read with two of the most engaging characters I’ve read in a while and a story that was as heart-warming as it was entertaining. Ahhh, gotta love M/M Romance (and Amy Lane, <3 her too!).

*I received this title from the publisher in exchange of my honest opinion and like my fellow reader Heather I bought it too! (It’s Amy Lane, people!!!)

City Mouse (Country Mouse #2) by Amy Lane, Aleksandr Voinov

City Mouse (Country Mouse, #2)Rating: 5 stars

Publisher: Riptide Publishing (March 18, 2013)

Synopsis: A magical weekend, a breathless declaration, a happy ever after . . . Right?

Wrong.

When Malcolm Kavanagh took his first step toward emotional maturity by declaring his love to Owen Watson, that was just the first chapter in their story. Anyone who’s ever been in love knows that happy endings take a lot more work than that.

One problem: Malcolm has never been in love. He doesn’t know the rules of a relationship and isn’t confident enough to trust that his is real. He learns the ropes by sharing his life and his flat with Owen, but relationship boot camp proves a challenge. Everything is a struggle, from accepting Owen’s low-status job to putting his boyfriend above his personal trainer.

Luckily, Owen knows a little more about relationships, and labors patiently to survive the first six weeks of their life together. From the art galleries of Cambridge to the tawdry majesty of the Dominion theatre, Owen adapts to England while Malcolm adapts to the whole human race. Maybe, if Owen is patient enough and Malcolm learns to give, the two of them can make it past Relationship Armageddon to a real happy ending.

Review: Apparently I like my books with a touch of angst, a lot of smut and characters that get on my nerves but endear themselves to me regardless because I’ve been on a Aleksandr Voinov and Amy Lane kick recently if my ‘read’ shelf is anything to go by.

So here we are visiting the city slicker and the mellow Yank a week after Malcolm asked Owen to stay in London. Like any relationship everything was going fine during the honeymoon phase until Malcolm started reverting to his routine of late nights at the office. Add to that the fact that he had some issues with Owen’s job and financial stability and you are correct in assuming that everything is not as peachy keen as it looks.

In this follow-up book to Country Mouse we get to discover a different side to both Owen and Malcolm. Although it was clear that Malcolm was a stubborn man with issues it is in City Mouse that we truly get a sense of who he is and why he behaves as he does. On the surface he appears cold and unapproachable, but as I kept on reading I found him to be more like an insecure, confused child. He knew what he wanted but couldn’t believe it was in front of him for the taking. He knew he loved Owen, but he also knew that his behavior was insufferable and that Owen wouldn’t stand for it. Did he try to stop it? Er, nope.

For his part, Owen kept to his laid-back attitude accepting Malcolm as he was even if at times it rankled to khow that the man he loved behaved that way. He tried his best to keep the peace and let Malcolm adjust and learn how a relationship worked but in the end it became too much for him to let it slide and it all exploded in a confrontation that left both men confused and emotionally drained.

As with County Mouse, Voinov and Lane’s collaboration came together without a glitch. This time around there was less of the funny but more of the angst and emotions. From the honest, intimate moments to the explosive flare of the men’s temper through to the hurt each one encountered when confronted with the fact that maybe this relationship was bound to fail, Voinov and Lane’s writing was outstanding. The men’s emotions were clearly expressed on the page to make me connect to them even more than I had in the previous book and the dialogue shared between them was both enlightening as it was entertaining. It was through their interactions and inner thoughts I could understand where Owen and Malcolm were coming from.

Needless to say that their chemistry was explosive. With Voinov and Lane in charge, every time Owen and Malcolm came together (no pun intended) you could clearly see how much they wanted each other, but more than that, you could see how much they cared for one another. Although dominant and appearing in control Malcolm always managed to give into Owen, just as Owen always tried to make Malcolm yield to him on another level. It was such a treat to see them this way!

I thoroughly enjoyed this visit with Malcolm and Owen and would love to know how they fare as a couple now that they have gotten some of the most important issues dealt with. I wonder if there is more to come, because I know for a fact that Malcolm and Owen’s story will always be an interesting one. I guess time will tell.

I received this title from Riptide Publishing through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Sidecar by Amy Lane

SidecarRating: 5 stars

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (June 29, 2012)

Available at: Amazon, B&N, Kobo

Synopsis: The year is 1987. The boys wear pink Izod shirts, the girls wear big hair, everyone has a stash box, and AIDS is just an ugly rumor rumbling like a thunderstorm from the cities. A teenage runaway wanders the side of the road, a heartbeat away from despair, and is rescued by a long-haired angel on a Harley.

But that’s just the beginning of their story.

Josiah Daniels wanted peace and quiet and a simple life, and he had it until he rescued Casey from hunger, cold, and exhaustion. Then Joe’s life is anything but simple as he and his new charge navigate a world that is changing more rapidly than the people in it. Joe wants to raise Casey to a happy and productive adulthood, and he does. But even as an adult, Casey can’t conceive of a happy life without Joe. The trouble is getting Joe to accept that the boy he nurtured is suddenly the man who wants him.

Their relationship can either die or change with the world around them. As they make a home, negotiate the new rules of growing up, and swerve around the pitfalls of modern life, Casey learns that adulthood is more than sex, Joe learns that there is no compromise in happy ever after, and they’re both forced to realize that the one thing a man shouldn’t be is alone.

Review: Casey has run away from home after his parents found out he was gay. He has been living on the streets for two months, surviving every day by doing unthinkable thinks and hanging on by a thread. He wants to give up and end his suffering, but just went he thinks he can’t continue on a kind biker comes into his life offering food and shelter without wanting anything in return except that Casey finish school and enjoy what is left of his teenage years.

Josiah is a kind soul that believes that every one deserves a chance. He has lived his life and done things he’s not particularly happy to revisit but doesn’t regret. Now that he has settled into his life he only wants the peace and quiet that his house and his dog offer and he is determined to keep it that way. Until he sees Casey walking along the road. Believing that he could help the young man, Joe offers him help wanting to have Casey safe from the cold and fed.

What’s not to love about this story? Joe and Casey’s story was one on love, heartache, compromise and loyalty. With interesting characters, great humor, engaging dialog and musical references this emotionally driven story had all the elements I have come to expect from Amy Lane and then some. From the humor to the pain each man felt at times, Amy Lane brought a range in emotions so great that at times I had to step away to get a grip on myself.

Joe and Casey’s story tugged at my heart strings and left a grin on my face days after I was done. It was sweet, romantic and so very heartfelt. I loved it!!! It’s Amy Lane and she has not disappointed me yet.

 

Country Mouse (Country Mouse #1) by Amy Lane, Aleksandr Voinov

Country Mouse (Country Mouse, #1)Rating: 5 stars

Publisher: Riptide Publishing (April 23, 2012)

Available at: Amazon, B&N, Kobo

Synopsis: Owen may be a bit of a country mouse, but he’s loving his vacation in London. After a long day playing tourist, he’s on the hunt for some cheap beer and a good burger. Instead he finds a man hunting him, an arrogant prick with only one thing on the brain: the kind of meat that doesn’t come on a bun.

Eighty-hour weeks at a trading desk don’t leave Malcolm Kavanagh much time for meaningful relationships. Besides, in his world, everything’s a competition-even sex. When his newest one-night-sub fails to show, Malcolm sets his sights on the pretty young Yank on the bar stool beside him.

Owen’s all for an adventure with a native, but he’s not the pushover Malcolm thinks he is, and Malcolm’s not as shallow as he tries to be. They both soon learn that nothing’s too intimate to share with a stranger, and the strangest things happen when two people share the most important pieces of their hearts.

Review: I read this back in January and I can’t believe I never wrote a full review. But there are times when I am so overwhelmed by a book that I can’t narrow down what it was about the content that made it so enjoyable for me. Here’s my original review on GR and I thought that I should expand on that now that a follow up book is out.

I loved the story as a whole but it was those sweet moments between Malcolm and Owen that really got to me. Owen, an American visiting London, was adorable with an unexpected sexy side to him. I liked how he stood up to Malcolm and thoroughly enjoyed how he gave himself to him too. He was honest in and out of bed and it was his persistence in getting to the real Malcolm that made this story a funny, sweet read.

Then there was Malcolm. Geez, that guy had so many layers to him that I was surprised he knew who he was in the morning. He would go all Alpha Dom on one page and all melted bottom in the next. It was a treat to see the way he became frustrated by Owen’s laid back attitude and completely flustered when Owen was screwing him.

Malcolm and Owen’s chemistry was palpable and explosive every time they got together, regardless of who was topping. I loved each and every one of those times, not only because it made for a formidable hot read, but because it was a these times that I would come to see different sides to these characters.

Of course, it helped that this collaboration was between two great authors that when together bring the funny, the angsty and the sexy to the page beautifully and seamlessly. I loved Owen and Malcolm’s banter, their honest moments and their passionate moments too. Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov did an excellent job of bringing together the uptight British city slicker and the mellow Yank with a penchant for honesty in a believable way that made me cheer for them to find their happily ever after.

As I mentioned on my previous review Country Mouse has all the elements necessary to make it an awesome read for me –  humor, sweet and hot moments, great dialogue, awesome characters and that emotional edge I love so much.

All in all, a great story by wonderful authors.

Keeping Promise Rock (Promises #1) by Amy Lane

Keeping Promise Rock (Promises, #1)Blurb: Carrick Francis has spent most of his life jumping into trouble with both feet. The only thing saving him from prison or worse is his absolute devotion to Deacon Winters. Deacon was Crick’s sanity and salvation during a miserable, abusive childhood, and Crick would do anything to stay with him forever. So when Deacon’s father dies, Crick puts his college plans on hold to help Deacon as Deacon has helped him.

Deacon’s greatest wish is to see Crick escape his memories and the town they grew up in so Crick can enjoy a shining future. But after two years of growing feelings and temptation, the painfully shy Deacon finally succumbs to Crick’s determined advances and admits he sees himself as part of Crick’s life. It nearly destroys Deacon when he discovers Crick has been waiting for him to push him away, just like Crick’s family did in the past.

When Crick’s knack for volatile decisions lands him far away from home, Deacon is left, shell-shocked and alone, struggling to reforge his heart in a world where love with Crick is a promise, but by no means a certainty.

Rating: 5 stars

Review: Amy Lane has done it to me again. She has turned me inside out by giving me an insight into Crick’s and Deacon’s love story. And what a story it was! She wrapped me up from the very beginning, making sure I was as tightly wrapped up in the story as all the characters were. The pace was amazing, giving us glimpses of two great characters, their everyday life, inner struggles and interaction with others. First, introducing me to Crick, who my heart went out to immediately. Then, I got to know Deacon and my heart broke for him on the spot. He was so shy, so strong and loyal, that you couldn’t help but love him. Crick was too, strong and loyal, but he had an inner strength that made you believe he could surpass anything thrown at him (which he did, mostly). But Deacon, my God. I’ve never felt so much for a character before. I found myself crying with him at every turn (which happens mostly with Amy Lane’s books!).

The characters were fully developed. It was beautiful to see how the MCs came into themselves and gave each other to one another without question. Of course, every character played a special role in this story and helped it come together beautifully.

The writing was exceptional. Each scene carefully worded to bring every emotion to life. Be it happiness, loneliness, humor or heartbreak. The sex scenes were both sensual and emotional and the MCs ‘screw-ups’ were so beautiful executed that I felt I was right there with them (of course, most of the time I wished I was right there with them to smack some sense into them, but that happens often when I read).

Anyway, the story of Crick and Deacon is amazing. The things they had to endure were heartbreaking and at times I didn’t know if they could get over most of them. But leave it to Amy Lane to bring it all together seamlessly. This one goes directly to my keep pile.

Gambling Men: The Novel by Amy Lane

Gambling Men: The Novel

Blurb: Quent Jackson has followed Jason Spade’s every move in business and in poker since their first day as college freshmen. Eight years later, when Jace finally decides Quint is the one man he can’t live without, he sees no reason for that to change.

But as much as Jace believes that poker is life, no one gave Quent the same playbook. After their first passionate night, the real game of love and trust begins, and Jace has been playing alone too long to make teaching the rules easy. Jace only speaks two languages: one of them is sex, and the other one is poker. Between the two, he needs to find a way to convince himself to take a chance on love—and Quent to take a chance on him. It’s a lucky thing they’re good at reading the odds, because they’re playing for keeps, and this is one high-stakes relationship that’s definitely worth the gamble.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review: And here we are. For a minute there I thought this would be a 3 star book. I had to step away for a minute and think about my lovely Jace. You see his whole life is based on poker. And I know nothing about poker, so most of his ‘life lessons’ were lost on me! I had to re-read some passages because HELLO! this is an Amy Lane book and for me to give one of her books less than 4 stars was unheard of. So I had to make sure I had all my points covered.

But that aside, this was a wonderful book. Both Quent and Jace were lovable characters. Their relationship was solid as friends and it was a nice journey to see their relationship develop as lovers and life partners. At times, I could not understand some of the things Jace did or said, not until he ‘showed his hand’ and brought his emotions to the surface. Throughout the book I felt that there was much more to him than what was being revealed and that is one of the reasons I read the book in one sitting. Quent, well, he was adorable. He had such an understanding quality to him and he had the perfect amount of ‘je ne sais quoi’ to counter-balance Jace’s personality. All in all, a wonderful couple!

The writing was amazing. Amy Lane always manages to bring so much emotion and humor to her books and this was no exception. I was laughing in some scenes and others had me crying…oh the vulnerability of some of Jace and Quent’s actions and dialog! Man, they were excellent!

So with great pride I say that I stayed in the game, I upped the “ante” and did not “fold” and at the end of it all I survived the “showdown”. (yeah I know!)