Sunday, June 30, 2013

Book Tour for Grand Slam by JT Cheyanne (Review & GIVEAWAY)

Today I get to bring to you a book with one of my favorite themes, a book set in the sports world.  Grand Slam by JT Cheyanne is set in the world of baseball and is a fast-paced read featuring a pitcher on the cusp of fame and a staid accountant with no love for the sport.  Keep reading to get my impressions of this book and make sure to fill out the form for your chance to win 1 of 5 e-copies of this book.  If you want to learn even more about this book visit the other blogs hosting this tour!

All of his life, Spencer Hightower dreamed of playing baseball in the Major Leagues. He survived growing up gay in rural Alabama due to his impressive skill on the baseball diamond. Now living in Rhode Island and playing for the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox, he's only a few steps away from his goal.
Brock Kinkaid, CPA, faced each day with a smile that hid his deepest desire. He wanted to be a father. Unfortunately, the gay men he knew were not into the daddy scene. Resigned to being childless, he lavished his attention on his niece and nephew. When Corey won tickets to see the local baseball team in action, they suckered him into taking them despite the fact he loathed the game. Who would have guessed one home run ball would change everything?


Grabbing his courage by the horns, Brock grasped Spencer’s hips and urged the man to straddle him. Spencer came willingly, settling his weight across Brock’s lap, pressing down against his throbbing engorged shaft.
Brock needed skin, needed to feel the warmth beneath his palms. Frantically, he tugged Spencer’s shirt up. Spencer broke their kiss long enough for the material to slide over his head. Those plundering lips returned to Brock’s mouth before trailing across his jaw and feathering down over his throat. Brock’s head fell back against the sofa to give Spencer more access while under his palms, smooth firmly muscled thighs rippled as Spencer changed the angle of his approach. Brock explored the corded abs, tight pecs and broad shoulders before moving to trail his fingertips down Spencer’s bare back. The waistband of Spencer’s loose Levi’s stopped his exploration.

BUY LINKS:  Amazon | ARe | BN


Grand Slam is a fast-paced read realistically portraying the world of baseball that kept me fully immersed in the action until the final page was turned.  Spencer Hightower has always wanted to enter the Big Leagues but until now has been content making a name for himself in the Minors.  It's all he's concerned with until a chance meeting with serious and staid accountant Brock changes his entire future and has him thinking there's more to life than baseball.  Brock's not a fan of baseball as he was always the kid chosen last but Spencer makes him appreciate the sport and especially the man as their burgeoning relationship progresses at a fast pace.  Spencer's extremely confident and immediately starts flirting with Brock who's a bit clueless when it comes to flirting.  His last boyfriend called him boring and left without a word which has Brock constantly waiting for the same thing to happen again as he doesn't understand what Spencer sees in him.  Throughout the story Spencer goes out of his way to prove himself to Brock through numerous steamy encounters but it's not until a tragic event befalls Brock that they finally admit their true feelings and a HEA can commence.

Spencer and Brock are a great couple even though they're opposites.  They're both drawn to each other from the moment a handshake creates sparks which leads to an extremely fast-paced romance with numerous sexual encounters.  Issues of prejudice rear their ugly head late in the story in a contrived scene forcing Spencer and Brock to communicate after a lie separates them.  This scene is over the top and comes out of left field.  Another equally unnecessary part of the story involves a diabolical agent who threatens Spencer and Brock's relationship with his lies.  This character was a stereotypical villain and his appearance annoyed me greatly.  

Along with a likable main couple comes an equally likable cast of secondary characters.  I normally don't care for children in stories but the two here acted as little matchmakers and were very understanding of their Uncle Brock's sexual preferences.  They spoke like youngsters and yet held much wisdom when it came to romance.  They were smart yet sweet.  Spencer's fellow teammates were supportive of him and didn't shy away from treating him like one of the boys and I would love to see the humorous and sexy Tony again.

On a whole I found this story entertaining and satisfying.  It deals with important issues in a respectable way but also has the tendency to be melodramatic.  With its vividly depicted world of baseball I found myself immersed in the scenes of ball play and look forward to Ms. Cheyanne revisiting this team soon!

My rating for this is a B.

*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.


After a lifetime of reading and at the suggestion of friends, J.T. finally put fingers to keys and started writing her own stories. It's been a wildly amazing ride full of tears, exhilaration and plain old hard work. Thankfully, her three beautiful children support her craziness and encourage her to continue something she loves. While they both have solo work, J.T. also writes with V.L. Moon and she thrives on the work they do together. What a small world it is indeed Mr. Disney when a small town girl from Alabama can find and write with a big city girl from England. What a ride it has been and continues to be!

Website | Facebook | Twitter


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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Book Tour for Sagebrush Bride by Tanya Anne Crosby (Review)

Today I have the privilege of bringing to you Tanya Anne Crosby and her newest historical book, Sagebrush Bride.  Keep reading to get a glimpse of this entertainingly romantic read through an enticing excerpt along with my review.  To learn even more about this book make sure to visit the other blogs hosting this tour.

Fiercely independent, Elizabeth Bowcock – “Doc Liz” as she’s known by all -- vows to raise her orphaned niece as her own. Unfortunately, the child’s grandfather has declared the unwed doctor to be an unfit guardian and refuses to deliver her to Liz's care until she finds herself a man...
Enter dark-haired, devil-eyed Cutter McKenzie. Outcast for his Cheyenne blood, the handsome halfbreed volunteers to pose as Elizabeth’s husband. But though his wicked sex appeal threatens to undermine Liz's independence, the road to St. Louis promises even greater perils…


“Mmmm, mmm,” Cutter murmured, embracing her as though she were his long-lost kissin’ cuz. “You’re looking better than ever, gal.”
Elizabeth’s heart jolted violently at the deep, unfamiliar voice. Warm lips kissed her cheek in a familiar way, taking just a fraction too long to leave her flushed skin, lingering at her lobe.
She swallowed convulsively.
He whispered in her ear. “Gotta loosen up, Doc, if you want this to look good... Come on now,” he coaxed, forcing her weight against him.
His husky voice set Elizabeth’s pulse to pounding, and her body into sudden paralysis. Powerless to fight him, she let him adjust her at will. Her legs felt wobbly, her body no more than mush in his hands.
“That’s it, bright eyes; now turn real slow,” he whispered, his lips scalding against her face, “act like you’re damned glad to see me.”
Elizabeth suppressed a helpless shudder as she worked up the courage to turn, fully intending to slap the britches off the fool who’d dared to be so intimate with her. But the man who faced her left her momentarily dazed, her throat too thick to speak.
Good night, but he was tall!
Her eyes refused to lower, but neither would they move up to his face. She forced them, and found dark hair flowing from beneath a dun-colored hat.
He cocked a brow at her, amusement flickering in his black eyes. He winked and she felt her knees go instantly weak... yet she couldn’t tear her gaze away even as they buckled.
He reached out to steady her, but Elizabeth continued to gape, helpless to do anything else. The longer she looked, the more she swore he didn’t have pupils, his eyes were so blessed dark... his face too tawny... his cheekbones too high. But it was those lips of his that unnerved her so: insolent, smug, kicked up only slightly at the corners, as though he couldn’t quite stifle his humor at her expense. His gaze roved, lazily assessing her, sliding down over her body slowly, seductively, then returning to her face to bore into her with silent expectation.
He anticipated some reaction from her, Elizabeth thought dimly, but couldn’t think what—couldn’t think, period. Staring as though transfixed, she tried to decipher his stony features but found her brain as useless as her limbs. But it occurred to her in that muddled moment that maybe he had appraised her with more than a mild interest, and her pulse quickened at that prospect. No one had ever looked at her in quite that way.
Not anyone.
Those dark eyes still piercing her, he raised two fingers to his brim, tipping his hat in greeting as the remnants of a smile turned the corners of his mouth. “Howdy, Liz,” he said huskily. “It’s been a mighty long time, gal.”
Long time?
Elizabeth shook her head, denying it, for if she’d ever set eyes on the man before now, she would have remembered. He wasn’t the type to be forgotten. Unconsciously she lifted a finger to her cheek, to the spot where he’d kissed her. Her throat constricted, seeming suddenly parched, and she licked her lips desperately as they parted to speak.
To her mortification, no words came.
For the first time in her life, Elizabeth Bowcock found herself dumbstruck. In spite of the man’s amused expression, he wore an air of menace about him like a second skin, and a tremor shook her as she averted her gaze to his boots. Dangerous, she thought.
The man was dangerous.
She hadn’t missed the fact that he had the most vicious-looking revolver she’d ever spied jammed into his gun belt, but she’d only just spotted the ink black knife hilt peeking over his faded leather boots. And those boots of his told a tale in themselves, for they were unmistakably U.S. Cavalry, and ominously inconsistent with his buckskin dress. There was little comfort in that he didn’t wear his weapons as Dick Brady did, like cheap jewelry. The fact that he kept his blade concealed and wore his gun casually, as though it were not there at all, told her all she needed to know. He was no gun-strutting cowpuncher. He was the real thing. As for the boots, she could think of a dozen reasons he should be outfitted so, not one of them reassuring.
A quick, wide-eyed glance to Jo told her that she was in no immediate danger, however. Jo’s lips lifted at the corners, and she, too, was on the verge of a smile, her kindly cinnamon eyes warm with humor.
Not really understanding why she felt compelled to, Elizabeth decided to play along. “Uh... um...”
Mercy’s sake, she didn’t even know his name! How was she going to pretend to know him if she didn’t know his blessed name? In panic, her gaze skidded to Jo.
“Cutter,” Jo supplied with a laugh, seeming to read Elizabeth’s thoughts. Her eyes gleamed with mischief. “I believe you have her tongue-tied, brother dear. Reckon she thought she’d never see you again.” Seeing Elizabeth’s confused expression, she laughed softly. “Isn’t that right, Liz?”
“Right?” Elizabeth nodded woodenly. Jo’s brother? “Oh—yes! I did think I’d never see you again!” She nodded dutifully for the benefit of their audience.
All eyes reverted suspiciously to Cutter, leaving her somewhat doubtful of her performance. Her brow furrowed.
Warmth invaded his eyes as he gently chucked her under the chin, much as a brother would a cherished younger sister.
Elizabeth felt suddenly too warm, almost as though she were being roasted over a slow fire. And the heat of his fingers... lingered upon her chin long after he’d withdrawn his hand. Mortified that he could affect her so, she averted her gaze to Brady. He was watching her with unflinching eyes.
His eyes narrowing to shadowy slits, Cutter turned to Brady and his men, sending them each an unspoken challenge. Brady fidgeted, flinging Elizabeth a doubtful look before turning away. The rest of his outfit followed immediately, slapping one another consolingly on the shoulder.
Elizabeth’s brows rose as she watched the exchange, astounded at the ease with which Cutter had handled Brady and his men. She opened her mouth to speak, but the words stuck in her throat like a spoonful of dry sugar. The man was just too smug for his own good. He’d had no right to be so familiar with her, but she did owe him her gratitude, no matter how reluctant it came. “I suppose I should thank you,” she said.
Cutter grinned. “Anytime, Doc.”

BUY LINKS:  Amazon | BN | Kobo | iTunes


From the moment Elizabeth walks into the saloon and states she needs a man her life will never be the same.  Growing up learning all she can about medicine by her father's side has left little time for the softer things in life.  Her mother and sister left when she was young because they couldn't handle the harshness of living away from city life so she immediately took on an adult role.  She was the one to take care of her father as well as their patients.  She's not used to letting others care for her and has become an independent woman because of it.  It's also made her less trusting of others.  She loved her mother and she left without a word so love too isn't something she believes in.  Being closed off and prim and proper is her defense against being hurt.  Dressing in baggy clothes and thick glasses also keeps her heart safe as no one thinks of her as a woman.

At least no one did until Cutter volunteers to play her make-believe husband when she goes to claim her niece upon the death of her sister.  Growing up wasn't easy for Cutter as a half-breed.  He refused to hide his Indian heritage like his sister Jo, Elizabeth's only friend, has done and he's paid the price and has the scars to remind him of people's prejudices.  I absolutely adored Cutter!  He's sexy, charming, and is a man you can count on to keep you safe.  He's immediately drawn to Elizabeth and sees the woman behind the baggy clothes and wants nothing more than to protect her from harm.  As he gets to know more about her he comes to admire her more every step they take towards her niece.  Soon their fake marriage becomes a reality but their road to a HEA veers off course when soldiers from his past come back to take the woman he's come to call wife away from him.  It's a dangerous plan he enacts that puts his and Elizabeth's life in danger but the outcome might just be worth it.

Elizabeth started off very staid and serious.  She's a bit unappreciative towards Cutter at the start and naive about many things.  Cutter's charming ways, his honesty, and belief in her inner-strength slowly win her over.  Elizabeth's growth is like seeing a butterfly emerge from its cocoon and she became a more likable character through her time with Cutter.  Seeing the two of them together with all their witty banter brought a smile to my face.  The sexual tension between them was palpable and leads to some very steamy sexual encounters.  Both had been hurt by their pasts and it seemed fitting that their healing only came through their togetherness.  The secondary characters were a nice addition and I hope to see more of Jo as there's an interesting past just hinted at.  The relationship between Cutter and Elizabeth progresses at a nice pace but their journey goes on a bit too long as does Cutter's showdown with his military past.  Minus those small criticisms I found this a thoroughly entertaining and immensely satisfying story.

My rating for this is a B+

*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.


Tanya has written seventeen novels, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including the New York Times and USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor, and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, two dogs and two cats in northern Michigan.

Book Tour for Blood Bride by Imogene Nix (GIVEAWAY)

Today I'm bringing a bit of steam to your day courtesy of Imogene Nix and her newest paranormal release, Blood Bride.  Keep reading to get a glimpse of this book and make sure to visit the other blogs hosting this tour to learn even more about this book.  Before you leave fill out the form below for your chance to win a great prize!

Hope just wants to be an ordinary nestling. She went to college and escaped, but now she’s back and there’s a secret everyone is keeping from her.
Xavier is the new master of the nest, ready to welcome home the daughter of the house who he has never met. He’s unprepared for the woman who steals his breath and enchants him.
Now Hope and Xavier must fight for lives and those of the innocents. After all, it is only by overcoming the rogues that they will have a chance of a timeless future together. But will it be in time?


Hope hauled the last heavy box up the stairs of the manor house, occasionally catching glimpses of the way her midnight black hair shone in the sunlight, when she passed the window in the living room of her apartment. "Thank heavens this is the last one," she muttered to herself, sliding the box down to rest on the floor, before straightening and rubbing the nagging ache in her back. She could have had help, all she needed to do was ask, but now that she was an adult she needed to stand on her own two feet, she reminded herself.
Straightening up, she looked around at the mass of boxes waiting for her to delve into. "Well, gone away and back again. Where do I start first?"
The phone trilled and she started for an instant, before extending her hand to the receiver on the shelf beside her. "Hope."
"Miss Hope, do you require any help? Lisi is wondering if you require her assistance." The muffled voice of one of her guardians flowed out of the earpiece. She had forgotten that living at the manor meant the goldfish bowl lifestyle she had tried her best to escape at college. Not that she’d had much opportunity to live a free lifestyle. She’d been lodged with a guardian family within the college grounds. Even then, her personal team of five guards had shadowed her every move—to classes, shopping and even to the hairdresser’s.
They hadn’t escaped her notice, the looks some of her classmates had thrown her way. Longing for the lifestyle they’d thought she enjoyed. Little did they know, Hope would happily have swapped, a lot of the time. Downtime had existed within a carefully vetted group of companions, each from houses of similar status. The cloying atmosphere she hated, but, nonetheless, she had submitted to her parents’ will. Only a few times had she sought to do activities that they would have deemed inappropriate, but her conscience had always kicked in, and she had derived no enjoyment from the guilty feelings that had overcome her.
"No thanks, Jeffrey. I have all the boxes up here and I am going to take my time going through everything." How could she explain that she needed a freedom that had been denied? That this small and almost insignificant rebellion was one she embraced? But she couldn’t. It wasn’t fair to Jeffrey to share that.
"Fine, Miss Hope. Oh, and I am supposed to remind you, the new Master has requested your presence in his library after sundown."
She nodded, knowing it was expected that she would take her oath of fealty. "Oh. Right. I’ll be down for sunset." She laid down the receiver. It’s one thing to owe your continued safety to a vampire nest Master, but quite another to be at his beck and call all the time, just as her parents had been. Her temper spiked momentarily. The emotion coiled through her then she shuddered, pushing away the negative thought, while absently reaching for the boxes she needed to stack, store or unpack. The rough exterior of some of them brushed against her hands. For now, she had time. Lots of time.
Ripping the tape off the first box, she then started to root through it, unwrapping reminders of her slightly more free college life, formulating arguments to put to her parents, knowing that the dice were stacked against her. Her life had been mapped out since her birth, but perhaps she could find a way around some of the roadblocks. At least she hoped so. With that thought, she set to work.

* * * *

He stretched in the bed, feeling the cool sheets around his body, savouring the experience of knowing he could rise when he wanted to. Luxuriating as he came to full awareness of his surroundings. His bed. His home. His nest. A feeling of exultation swept through him. One he had experienced several times in the last six months since he had become Master.
Xavier had only recently been transferred to this nest, after Cyrus had been called to ascend to a seat on the Council with his predecessor Cressida, the most senior of the vampires on the Council.
A new Master had been required for the nest, a situation arising from the ascension of Cressida who had saved the child Hope from the rogues. The death of another of the Council meant that Cyrus had answered a call to accept a seat. It was an almost unheard of event for a nest to have two new Masters in under a hundred years, but Xavier had accepted his unexpected promotion. Not that he would take it for granted—no, he worked beside his vampires as required, so they knew he would ensure their safety while they ensured his.
The household he had taken over was well run, and he had no fears for the financial status, even though they had lost the manor and many assets during the dark days of clearing the rogues who had attacked the house. Indeed, he had been with Cyrus the night he had ascended and had seen the great strides Cyrus had made during his Mastership.
He swiped a hand over his stubbled face and a voice to his left said quietly, "Master, refreshments for you." A crystal goblet appeared in a white hand at the edge of his vision. He accepted it with a grunt, the ruby red liquid inside calling to him on a primal level. Blood wine. Sustenance that would ease the clawing hunger he always felt on awakening.
His teeth extended and his mouth opened. The first drop touched his tongue and a frisson moved through him, the ecstasy of drinking flowing into his body. He took his time, savouring the flavours.
Full bodied.
Tart aftertaste. The wine, the only human sustenance he could now enjoy. Food was relegated to a memory of things long past.
He closed his eyes as the last drop flowed, and breathed deep. Yes, a Master could very quickly become accustomed to this lifestyle, but not now and not today. He needed to meet this Hope, the one who had turned their entire world upside down. James had told him little about his daughter, save that she would need to remain within the house, protected from the world. That someday she would assume the mantle of leading the house from within, while her brother oversaw the legal and financial affairs of the nest.
He pushed the bed covers away, unconcerned about nudity as he padded to the bathroom. He might be a vampire, but he still bathed and shaved, a thought that made him chuckle. Even after all these years, when vampires had made their entry into the human world, humans outside nests thought vampires had no need for those daily rituals.
He moved through his ablutions. She would be waiting for him, but he would present himself to her in his most urbane incarnation. She would take her oath of fealty, then he would meet with his advisers, James and David leading the human contingent.

BUY LINKS:   Amazon | Total-e-Bound


A mother of two, compulsive reader and bookstore owner. She lives in regional QueenslandAustraliawith her husband, 2 daughters, dog, cats and prize winning chooks. She has a particular fondness for Vampires, Star Ship Captains and things that go bump in the night.
She is also a firm believer in writing what you enjoy… something she strictly adheres to!


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Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Tour for Damned If You Do by JL Merrow (Interview & GIVEAWAY)

Welcome back to the virtual book tour for Damned If You DoI’m JL Merrow, and our lovely hostess the Scarf Princess has been kind enough to interview me todaymade sure to bring along a giveaway—leave a comment below by 11:59 pm on 6/28 and you’ll be entered in a week-long contest to win a $10 gift certificate to Riptide! Follow the tour all week for more Damned If You Do celebrations, including more interviews, thoughts from editor Sarah Frantz, and, of course, more chances to win.

Hi and welcome!  Thanks for stopping by to visit today on your first Riptide Publishing book tour!  For fans new and old, I thought of a few questions that might tell us some more about you.

TSP:  Let’s start with this one: what inspires you?
JLM:  So many things inspire me. A trip to somewhere new; scenes from a window; talking to people with lives different to mine. And books, and TV shows, and music.Life’s one big inspiration, really.
TSP:  What do you see when you look out your window?Where are you from?
JLM:  I am actually from an island, although not the Robinson Crusoe/Cast Away sort. No, I’m a proud Caulkhead from the Isle of Wight. It’s easy to find: from London, go southwest around eighty miles, and back about fifty years!
TSP:  It sounds like a fascinating place! Do you tend to base your characters on real people (maybe your neighbors?)or are they totally from your imagination?
JLM:  It varies greatly from one end of the spectrum to the other. Lars and Rael in Damned if You Do pretty much sprang, fully-formed, from my imagination, but one of the supporting characters is definitely based on a real person. And no, I’m not saying which one! ;)
Often, I’ll take one aspect of a real person that intrigues me or captures my imagination, and I’ll build a whole new character from there. Or several people may be amalgamated into a character.
TSP:  Where else can we find you? Are you attending any conventions in the next year?
JLM:  UK Meet 2013, to be held in the Macdonald Manchester Hotel & Spa on 12th-14th July. It’s going to be the biggest UK Meet yet, and I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone!
TSP:  Thanks to author JL Merrow for stopping by the blog!

Sexy male succubus Rael has an insatiable appetite for men that gets him into all kinds of trouble. And he’s just found his favorite flavor: hunky blond detective Lars Thornsson. When those cool Nordic looks combine with Rael’s smoldering dark charms, all Hell could break loose.
Lars’s job at the Paranormal Enforcement Agency means he’s supposed to be policing demons, not falling in lust—or love—with them. But there’s something about this feisty little sex demon that hits all his buttons.
With no shortage of deadly sinners in his city, from serial-killing succubi to drug-dealing demons, all Lars can do is try to keep his private life from interfering with his work. But Rael has a knack for getting mixed up in cases that threaten both their domestic harmony and their lives.

Damned If You Do can be purchased from Riptide.


JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.
She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through is a 2013 EPIC ebook Award finalist. She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
Find JL Merrow online at:, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at


Win a $10 GC to Riptide Publishing!

-To be entered, leave a comment, ALONG WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDY.
-A winner will be chosen randomly from all comments made throughout the tour, so the more you comment the greater your chances of winning.  A list of all participating blogs can be found here.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 6/28.

Book Tour for Being Amber by Sylvia Ryan (Review & GIVEAWAY)

Today I bring to you an exciting and unique story with lots of steam from Sylvia Ryan, Being Amber.  This is a story that pulls you in and today to you get a glimpse into the pages along with my impressions.  Visit the other blogs hosting this tour to get an even more in-depth look and make sure to fill out the form for your chance to win this book to see why it's rave-worthy.....

Both danger and sex are inescapable in the Amber Zone.
Jaci Harmon was born a Sapphire, but after she’s summoned to receive her final designation, the testing reveals she carries a gene slated for eradication. Within a day, she’s sterilized and dumped in the Amber Zone, where the damaged are corralled away from the rest of New Atlanta. Scared and alone, Jaci would rather die than face her future as an Amber.
Born in the Amber Zone, Xander Dimos is a product of a lifetime spent under the oppression of the Repopulation Laws. Decades of suffering have taught the Ambers to make the zone a place where touch, sex, and unconditional acceptance ease the pain of their fate. Jaci has a lot to learn about her new home, and it’s Xander’s responsibility to guide her through the differences and the dangers safely.
With the simmering undercurrents of sexual chemistry growing between them, and in the midst of discovering the Gov’s true motives, Jaci and Xander must overcome his secret and accept their love as undeniable…even if the time allotted to share it is short.


She was a mess. After filling a bowl with warm water and grabbing a washrag, he began cleaning her. With a tentative hand, he tenderly wiped her face with the warm water, washing away the blood under her nose and the grime from her cheeks. His hands trembled with unreleased rage that he forced himself to push away as he continued his task. But that emotion was quickly replaced by another. His throat tightened, the muscles squeezed away his ability to swallow. He cut her shirt off so as not to disturb the IV in her arm. Earlier, he saw the ripped shirt, but his mind, at the time, rejected the direction of that train of thought. But now, he let himself go there. If they’d raped her…
Tears rolled silently down his face while he methodically cleaned her arms and torso. Her wrists were marred by deep bruises and worn away skin from being cuffed too tightly and for too long. When he cleaned the dried blood on the inside of her arm and found the needle mark underneath, the sudden surge of rage that he felt made him want to kill. They drugged her.
This had not been ‘questioning’, this had been plain, old school torture. His hands were shaking as he finished her arms and upper body. He dumped the dirty water in the kitchen sink and refilled the bowl before returning to her.
He braced himself for what he might find when he took off her pants, but he found that the bottom half of her body was in much better condition than the top. As he cleaned her, relief dulled his anger. They’d not let her go to the bathroom. Her pants were stiff with dried urine. But otherwise, she seemed untouched everywhere below the waist.
He dumped the dirty water and pulled off his own clothes. Gingerly, he lay down next to her and pulled her to him. He curled the full length of his body around her to give her the comfort and healing of his touch. He covered as much of her skin as possible with his and held her without moving underneath the soft blanket of their bed.
For hours, he relished the feeling of his skin on hers as well  the even in-and-out of her breaths. What a dumbass he’d been trying to keep her at arms length. It took almost losing her to truly understand the huge part of his heart she owned, and to realize how much of his life was her now.
She was his. He would not leave her vulnerable again.
It was then, in those quiet hours of holding her in his arms, that Xander was finally able to think past getting Jaci back and start considering the larger implications of the events that had taken place. The Gov would expect that Amber authorities had been mollified by Jaci’s return.
He wasn’t. This time was different from every other injustice the Gov had done to Amber. This time they had concrete proof of the Gov’s outright murder of Ambers.
They were growing dangerously brazen after more than two decades of the population’s utter submission to their authority.
The Gov’s absolute authority needed to happen during the dire circumstances immediately following the pandemic. They needed control and cooperation to do the things necessary to create order, provide for basic needs, and protect the survivors flocking to the city.
But their society wasn’t struggling like it had been twenty-five years ago. The genetic qualities that were near extinction back then, were thriving now.
Many of these restrictions, these measures to safeguard humanity, were no longer necessary. If the Gov went unchecked by its citizens much longer, the United States would no longer be a democracy. The country wouldn’t grow as it did the first time when settlers in covered wagons set out to populate the land beyond the borders of their cities. It would be a military dictatorship that never loosened its control over the population.
The more he thought about it, the more he was willing to bet that the Gov controlled the lives of all its citizens, from Ambers to Diamonds, in more ways than anybody realized. The fury faded and determination gathered within him. Changes needed to be made. Now was the time to start.
He looked down at his woman, caressed the hair away from her cheek. Xander was overcome by the intense love he felt for her. He understood why Amber women gave up control, gave up authority to the men around them. Without that small submission, every man in Amber would be impudent with no control on any aspect of their lives. It was a true gift and it was time that the men took that gift and did something with it, did something to truly protect their females, themselves, and their country.


Sylvia Ryan has created an intriguing blend of futuristic, post-apocalyptic, erotic, and ménage themes in the first book in her New Atlanta series entitled Being Amber that sucked me in from the very beginning and has me clamoring for the next installment!  Through vivid worldbuilding and immensely appealing characters I was left in awe of what Ms. Ryan created and applaud this unique story.  America has gone through many catastrophes and to keep things running they've created different communities whose members are chosen based on genetic markers and IQs.  Each community is named after a jewel with the most desirable individuals living as Diamonds while one of the lower classes is Amber.  Amber society doesn't deal in currency just credits.  They all work for the same amount of credits so there's virtually no crimes since there's no way to better yourself.  Unlike the other societies who frown upon physical contact Ambers are highly sexualized from an early age and you often see groups participating in menages wherever you look.  There's lots of touching for reasons of just comfort and creating closeness.  Unmarried women live with men in their designated apartments who act as brothers and protectors.  Women newly brought into the community are automatically sterilized and referred to as "fallow" and revered for their great sacrifice.

Into this harsh community comes Jaci Harmon who was born into a more desirable community, the Sapphire Zone.  Her classification means that for the most part she'll have to cut ties with her family.  Her future has been determined by the Gov and such drastic changes weigh heavily on her at first.  It was heartbreaking seeing such a smart woman deemed undesirable because of the small chance she might exhibit signs of disease.  The emotional low she starts at is understandable but as she learns the truths about being an Amber she discovers some positives.  Coming from a society where touching/sex is considered slutty, the openness she sees here excites and her, particularly once she meets her roommate, Xander.

Xander Dimos was born into a family of Ambers and still has his mother to count on as family.  He's normally a badass in full control of everything around him except when it comes to his mother who brings out his boyish side.  He prides himself on knowing how to please a woman but never wants a relationship because of his own genetic secrets.  He's immediately drawn to Jaci but is keeping many other secrets from her too.  He wants to protect her and for the first time sees her as someone he'd marry if only he'd let himself enjoy happiness.  His mission is more important than his heart though, and as a police officer hunting the person killing fallows, his first duty is acting as Jaci's bodyguard.  Guarding her body and watching her interact with other men has jealousy rear its head but once she learns the truth about his attentions she pulls even further away from him and puts herself further in jeopardy.

The identity of the killer is kept well-hidden and in fact seems to come out of left field.  Their reasons for committing these killings are never explained either which leaves a bit of a cliffhanger.  What IS here is a thoughtprovoking story reflecting issues of today involving government interference and class warfare.  Along with these heavy issues comes lots of steamy sexual interludes that are nicely spaced throughout the story to enhance the overall storyline.  The cast of secondary characters adds even more excitement and heartbreak to the story and I look forward to seeing more of them as each is distinctly appealing.  Jaci and Xander are a remarkable couple drawn together through their perceived defects and the chemistry and sexual tension between them was palpable from the very start.  These two became stronger through their commitment to each other and it sets up a storyline for future installments where the citizens will no longer be manipulated by the government.  A rebellion has started and I can't wait to see it flourish!

My rating for this is an A!

*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Sylvia lives the life of a run-of-the-mill wife, mother, and professional in Midwest Suburbia, USA. She reads voraciously and loves to lose herself and fall head over heels for the alpha males in her favorite novels.
When she gets the chance to shed the prim and proper persona of average wife and mother, her secret identity, Sylvia Ryan, emerges. This alter ego strives to write original ideas in extraordinary settings for her readers to remember long after the book has been read. Her dream is to transform her racy thoughts and naughty nature into tangible works of erotic fantasy for others’ secret identities to enjoy.


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