Book Series Review – “Free Men” by Kate Aaron

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When you finish a series and you can’t stop thinking about the characters and their world, you know the author has done a great job of bringing you into his/her story. Kate Aaron does just that with her Free Men series.

I wasn’t sure quite what to expect when I started reading The Slave, the first book in the series, but I fell in love with Tamelik immediately. Collared slave to an emotionally reserved Master whom he loves without reserve, Tamelik’s first action is to purchase a rebellious slave in his Master’s name in order to save Kai from a much worse fate. The introduction of the distrustful and fearful Kai into the Master’s household, and his eventual seduction by Tamelik and his Master, are some of the most touching and beautiful scenes I have ever read. They are also incredibly hot! Tamelik and Kai’s Master, who remains unnamed at this point in the series, is, despite his position, a gentle and loving Underlord, although he tries to maintain a cold and professional demeanour when not alone with his two slaves.

The first book ends with a cliffhanger and I had to find out what happened to these three men!

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In The Soldier, the second instalment in the Free Men series, Kai takes over as narrator/POV and we follow as he and Tamelik and their Master are captured by a violent militia. Throughout this story, Kai faces despair, torture and harsh conditions in order to do everything he can to save Tamelik and his Master. The love he has developed for the two men becomes apparent as he journeys across the desert to get help. So many times his effort is rewarded with so much less than he deserves, yet he keeps fighting for the three of them to be together again.

By the time I finished The Soldier I was fully invested and needed to find out more about the enigmatic Underlord who is the recipient of Tamelik and Kai’s devotion.

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I think The Master is my favourite of the three books, if only because we get to explore the now named Master, Lysander’s, world more deeply in his relationship to his wife, The Mistress, and her lover Cal. We discover many secrets as to why Lysander is the way he is, why he denies his strong feelings for Tam and Kai, and the guilt he faces every day about his people’s treatment at the hands of the militia.

Kate Aaron has crafted an entire universe with such realism and emotion that you can’t help but be caught up in it. Her characters are very real and they all struggle with different things as they try to find a place for themselves in the Kingdom.

5/5 stars from me for the entire series.

Although there wasn’t any BDSM in this series, I loved the power dynamic between The Master and his slaves, even though he never took advantage of his ownership and always made sure they were willing participants in any sexual encounters.

I have all three ebooks on my Kindle but I will be asking for the hardcopies for Christmas. This series is worth putting on my actual bookshelf.

Hot Off The Press!

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WOOT! I’ve finally figured out how to add an email sign-up form to my website and Facebook Page!

Which means I can now send out a monthly newsletter featuring exclusive excerpts, hot photos, and information about upcoming books, contests and giveaways!

I’ve been wanting to do this for some time but didn’t think my free WordPress site had the capability, or that I’d have to pay a hefty fee to give it a try.

Turns out it is possible and I’m so excited to begin designing an, ahem, very attractive newsletter each month to send out to anyone interested in keeping up with my activities in the book realm.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of Hot Off The Press! each month, please click here or on the link below that says Newsletter Signup.

And thank you so much for your continued interest in my writing. Your positive feedback is what keeps me motivated to continue to create exciting stories featuring memorable characters and true-to-life situations.

~ Liz

 

 

Release Day!!!

Finally, The Loft – Book Two is out!

The Loft by MP

MLR Press, Amazon.com

But not before it received a fantastic 5/5 Heart early review at Kimmer’s Erotic Book Banter Blog!

Stellar 5 Heart Review!

So excited to share the continuation of James’, Tate’s and Sebastian’s story with you all!

The Loft-Book Three is already in editing and will be out before Christmas!

Happy reading :)))))

Liz

RTC Readings/Excerpts

If you weren’t able to attend my reading last night at Romancing the Capital (there were many events going on) I’ve got them here!

Reading/excerpt #1, from Beyond the Edge (Book 1 in The James Lucas Trilogy):

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“So dance with me…”
He started moving and, by God if, once he forgot about everyone else, he wasn’t a natural. I knew the boy could move, he’d fucked me crazy. He just needed a way to let go and apparently my command did the trick.
We moved together to the beat of the music, rocking our hips and flirting with each other, sweating and smiling and having fun.
Then the band started to play a slow, sultry number so I took Sebastian’s wrist, spinning him around, and took his other wrist so that his arms crossed in front of him. Then I pulled him back against me, making him move with me. I swayed my hips, pressing my hard-on against his leather-clad ass and holding his hands to his sides. His head lolled back against my shoulder, his eyes closed, and he swayed with me, pushing back against my erection. Heaven. The scent of him, the feel of his body against mine, everything swirled together into a hazy fog of happiness. I felt euphoric, aroused, and so excited by this beautiful boy and the possibilities ahead of us.
“Let’s get out of here,” I said in his ear, flicking my tongue against the lobe.
He turned his head, nodding. I let go of his wrists and in a moment we were kissing, sharing our passion with each other and the entire dance floor. My fingers wove into his hair, holding him still as I kissed those perfect lips, hungrily feasting on him until I couldn’t take anymore. His hands clutched my shirt and I could feel his need, not to mention my own. We had to go… I wrenched myself away from him. Some guys smiled at the two of us knowingly but I didn’t even care as I twined my fingers with his, holding his gaze and said, breathlessly, “My place?” As soon as we stepped out of the bar and headed down the steps, Sebastian said, “We could go to my place, if you want? It’s closer.”
“Sold,” I said, grabbing his hand and lacing my fingers with his.
He squeezed my hand, hard, as we stepped onto the sidewalk. “How fast can you walk?” He sounded breathless already.
“Watch me,” I said, pulling him along. We kept stopping to grope each other as we climbed the stairs to Sebastian’s apartment. By the time we actually got the door open and moved inside, I’d gotten his jacket off and was unbuttoning his white shirt.
“Tate…” he moaned, kissing me frantically and helping me with his shirt. “Oh…fuck!…I wanna…I wanna…fuck…you…” He breathed out between kisses.
I groaned, ripping the last button from his shirt as I wrenched it off him, pushing him backward into his room. I was desperate, so horny and wild for him. I shoved him roughly down onto his bed and started to strip. He nodded, his eyes like two blue coals, staring at me from under hooded lids. He lay back, taking his pants down and off and his cock rose, thick and red, before me.
“Well, goddammit…” I murmured, tossing my shirt on the floor and pulling my own pants off. “…If you think you can do the job,” I teased him, grinning.
He laughed. “Get over here…”
And I was on him. We struggled together, naked and both achingly hard and eager. He pressed me down on the bed beneath him, covering me with his muscular body, rubbing his erection against my own.
“Oh my God…” He looked down at me, blond hair falling in front of his eyes. He shook it out of them. “I want to fuck you so hard, Tate, so fucking long and so fucking hard…”
I arched my back, pushing myself up to him. “Then do it…do it now…”

Beyond the Edge, MLR Press

I will have hard copies of this book and the other two books in The James Lucas Trilogy at the book signing on Saturday (2-4).

~~~

Reading/Excerpt #2, from The Loft – Book One:

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As soon as we arrived home James took us upstairs. It had been ages since we’d been in the loft. We’d been enjoying the more informal aspect of being intimate in other spaces without the formality of the dedicated play space. But I think all three of us were glad to be here again.

“Sebastian, leave your clothes on. Tate, strip.”

Oh. So that’s how it’s gonna be.

I slowly removed my clothes while James and Sebastian watched. If we’d been in the bedroom I’d have asked them if they wanted to put on some music since I was obviously performing for their benefit, but not here. There was a certain protocol to be followed in this space where James had absolute control and a very low tolerance for flippant remarks. I’d best keep quiet and do as told.

“Sebastian, stand in the middle of the room, please, facing the cross.”

“Yes, Sir.” Sebastian, still in his church clothes—white cotton dress shirt, black pants and leather loafers—obeyed.

James approached me. “You, my friend, are going up there,” he said, nodding at the wooden beams of the St. Andrew’s Cross on the wall.

“Yes, Sir. Whatever you wish …” I said, determined to be the perfect little sub today. I’d beat Oliver at his own game.

James smiled. “Good boy.”

He positioned me facing outward, my wrists and ankles in the cuffs so that I stood spread-eagled and vulnerable. Walking over to the cabinet he said, “You know I haven’t forgotten your little outburst at the library.”

Oh shit.

He returned carrying a ball gag and a cock ring. He snapped the ring into place and stroked me quickly to an erection. “That will help keep you ready. Open your mouth.”

He placed the ball between my teeth and fastened the strap behind my head. Then he took my chin very roughly and made me look at him.

“That was quite the display of unwarranted jealousy. So today I’m gagging you and you’re going to watch me play with another man.”

Since the other man in this case was Sebastian I only felt jealous in the sense of wanting to be included in the fun. Being bound naked and helpless while they enjoyed each other would be very frustrating but I suppose I deserved it.

I murmured “Uh huh,” behind the gag as James kissed the corner of my mouth.

“Good boy.”

He backed up, admiring his handiwork, then turned to Sebastian. “Don’t move,” he said as he walked around behind him.

Sebastian stared at me with his lips open slightly but remained motionless.

James pressed himself close against Sebastian from behind and began to unbutton the blond man’s shirt, occasionally sliding a hand underneath the crisp cotton to fondle Sebastian’s bare skin. He took his damn time, every now and then glancing my way and slowly working at another button. Very, very gradually Sebastian’s shirt came undone. As James leisurely undid the second to last button I noticed smudges of red on the pale skin of Sebastian’s abdomen. My first alarmed thought was that it was blood, but it wasn’t the right color. Soon I could see that the red smudge was a letter.

What the hell had James done? Flashbacks to a particular personal debasement with a tube of red lipstick came to mind.

Oh hell.

James popped the final button and the sides of Sebastian’s white shirt fell away. They both stared at me as I read what James had written on Sebastian’s belly, just above his happy trail and the low-hanging band of his dress pants.

Property of James L. and Tate M.

I felt a jolt in my groin. I think I moaned.

James must have applied this mark of ownership in his distinctive cursive scrawl before Sebastian dressed for church this morning and while Sebastian sang in his fancy clothes and choir robes, his angelic voice reaching spiritual heights, only he and James knew of this private debasement.

My heart beat loud in my chest.

Sebastian stared at me with fire in his blue eyes and slowly smiled.

The Loft – Book One, MLR Press.

The Loft – Book Two will be out on Friday, August 11th from MLR Press!

The Loft by MP

 

Shower

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“In the shower, please. I want you to clean each other and I want it to be thorough. That means behind the ears and in the crack. Got it?”
“Yes, Sir,” we said. We stepped into the shower. It was only after I’d turned on my showerhead and turned around that I got a good look at Sebastian. If we were in a cartoon there’d be bombs going off in the balloon over my head. Jesus fucking Christ. If he wasn’t the hottest thing I’d ever seen. I mean, ever.
He was facing the other way and had tilted his head forward under the water to let it soak his hair. The warm rivulets ran over his defined muscles and smooth skin, down his long legs and into the drain at his beautiful naked feet.
I glanced at James. He sat there, watching us intently with a little hint of a smile on his face. I turned back to Sebastian, picking up the body wash.
“You can talk to each other,” James said, “but only about the task at hand, please.”
“Turn around,” I said to Sebastian.
Sebastian turned his head and smiled, twisting under the hot water until he stood before me in all his glory. He shook the water out of his eyes. We stared at each other for a long moment, during which we seemed to communicate our mutual pleasure at what was occurring.
“Get on with it,” James said sternly.
I broke from that blue-eyed gaze and poured some body wash into my hand. For the next fifteen minutes I soaped and lathered that beautiful boy from top to bottom, not missing a spot, delighting in his soft smiles and grunts of pleasure from my gentle ministrations. Afterwards, he did the same to me. This reciprocal bathing resulted in some pretty obvious signs of arousal by the time we’d finished. Our dicks looked like a matching set, although I noticed that Sebastian’s stood somewhat thicker and longer than my own.

We glanced at James. He had crossed one of his long legs over the other and watched us with a lackadaisical air that belied the bulge we could both see.

~ Beyond the Edge, Chapter Three.

 

 

Book Review – Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins

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Again, I have to say the cover is what grabbed me. University boy, sunglasses, attitude.

I’m not particularly a fan of the “gay-for-you” trope unless it’s done properly, but the premise intrigued me and, as the quintessential voyeur, I really liked the idea of one guy watching the sexual antics of his roommate.

*Off Campus blurb

Everyone’s got secrets. Some are just harder to hide.

With his father’s ponzi scheme assets frozen, Tom Worthington believes finishing college is impossible unless he can pay his own way. After months sleeping in his car and gypsy-cabbing for cash, he’s ready to do just that.

But his new, older-student housing comes with an unapologetically gay roommate. Tom doesn’t ask why Reese Anders has been separated from the rest of the student population. He’s just happy to be sleeping in a bed.

Reese isn’t about to share his brutal story with his gruff new roommate. You’ve seen one homophobic jock, you’ve seen ’em all. He plans to drag every twink on campus into his bed until Tom moves out. But soon it becomes clear Tom isn’t budging.

Tom isn’t going to let some late-night sex noise scare him off, especially when it’s turning him on. But he doesn’t want any drama either. He’ll keep his hands, if not his eyes, to himself. Boundaries have a way of blurring when you start sharing truths, though. And if Tom and Reese cross too many lines, they may need to find out just how far they can bend…before they break.

Warning: This book contains cranky roommates who vacillate between lashing out and licking, some male/male voyeurism, emotional baggage that neither guy wants to unpack, and the definitive proof that sound carries in college housing.

Buy link

This book did not disappoint. In fact, I’m re-reading it at the moment and am even more impressed at the quality of the writing.

Amy Jo Cousins has such an amazing grasp of body language and human behaviour and the writing ability to create a vivid picture in the mind of her readers, which is equally impressive when she’s writing a hot voyeuristic scene or one in which her compelling characters reveal their emotional vulnerabilities and hints of their equally traumatic pasts.

Ms. Cousins makes it pretty clear from the beginning that Tom’s interest in his roommate Reese’s sexual antics comes as not so much a surprise to the “supposedly” straight former athlete but a reminder that he’s always had a level of sexual fluidity. She makes his reaction to his feelings intelligent and self-perceptive. He is mature and self-aware enough to realize he has always been, as he puts it, equal opportunity, when it comes to his sexual attractions. In my opinion, this is the only way the “gay-for-you” trope can work in a way that is respectful to the real Queer community. Because a straight guy doesn’t just “turn gay” for the one person that he finds himself falling in love with. That straight guy has to at least have a closeted past and/or a knowledge of his own bisexuality that simply flew under the radar until he is forced to acknowledge it.

Both protagonists in Off Campus are extremely compelling and about equally matched in the trauma that has shaped them. They are each trying to manage as best they can by dealing with former situations of deep betrayal and victimization. Tom has been metaphorically fucked over by his Dad’s criminal financial past and Reese, well, you’ll have to read the book to find out. But both characters’ situations are utterly believable and their strength in response to all that has occurred is one of the things that binds them. They both refuse to let their betrayers triumph. They both are committed to moving forward in whatever capacity that entails and, eventually, their tentative relationship helps them to heal themselves.

Ms. Cousins also gives the secondary characters vivid personalities. Tom’s friend Cash and Reese’s friend Steph are drawn just as realistically as her protagonists and add a great and real level of comedy in their interactions with Tom, Reese and, eventually, each other.

This is a wonderful story about survival, redemption, and refusing to be a victim.

And let me just say that the many voyeuristic scenes at the beginning of this full-length novel were some of the best I’ve read.

This is a dense book packed with real knowledge of human behaviour and psychology. I absolutely loved it.

Definite 5/5 stars.

*Off Campus is Book 1 in Amy Jo Cousins Bend or Break series.

 

New Book Review Feature

Book-Review

I’ve decided to add the occasional book review to my website/blog.

Now I have, over the years, come to the conclusion that these sorts of books, by which I mean romance and erotic romance, are an intensely personal experience. As such, there is a wide variation of what appeals to certain people and what doesn’t. A book that I might love and think is the epitome of distinction might cause someone else to go “meh” and vice versa.

That being said, I am very picky about which sorts of books I enjoy reading. I write in this genre in order to write stories I enjoy and think are worthwhile. There is a certain level of competence and style that I must find in any book that is going to resonate with me. Because of this, I wouldn’t be able to have a book review site where I invited anyone and everyone to submit books for an honest review because I’d end up skewering at least half of them.

Recently, I became a member of a Facebook Group that provides links to books that are currently free to purchase on Amazon. As I understand, some authors are able to offer certain of their titles for free for a limited number of days which enables them to, a)climb to the top of the bestseller list for a certain amount of time, thus making them more visible in the retail giant’s algorithms and, b)expose their work to new readers who might not be able to/want to purchase their book at the regular price.

I used to avoid reading other titles in my genre because I couldn’t count on the quality of the work when I made a purchase. As the mother of two kids living on an almost single family income, I don’t have money to throw away on books I don’t end up liking/reading, even if it is only $3-$6.

So I have been downloading a lot of these free ebooks to my Kindle app and I would say that maybe one out of five are books that I end up reading past chapter one. Sometimes I don’t even get that far. Very often, the premise sounds intriguing but when I begin reading, either there are major problems with the story or great difficulties with execution. On occasion I will persevere with a story that doesn’t completely enthral me because the writing itself is good enough but still end up feeling less that satisfied at its conclusion. Occasionally, the writing is so bad I wonder how this person got published in the first place. Although a good proofreader can ensure that a written work is free of errors and typos, they cannot cover for a writer who is not skilled at creating realistic, or at least believable, fiction.

What I would like to do is to take the books that I do enjoy and review them here on my blog/website, because this way I can help you all discover some really outstanding writers and some kick-ass stories.

The first four books I will review are:

Playing to Win by Avery Cockburn

Feral by Kate Sherwood

Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins

and;

The Troll Whisperer by Sara Trevor

Stay tuned!