Rake I’d Like to F*** by Sierra Simone, Eva Leigh, Nicola Davidson, Adriana Herrera, and Joanna Shupe

Book Description

The Last Crimes of Peregrine Hind – Sierra Simone

Peregrine Hind, known to all as the bloodiest highwayman ever to bedevil the road, seeks only one thing—revenge against the Dartham family. And so when a robbery sends the second Dartham son and notorious rakehell Alexander Dartham tumbling to Peregrine’s feet, it seems like fate has given Peregrine his vengeance at last. Except then Alexander offers him a desperate bargain: to kidnap him instead, so Peregrine can harvest a generous ransom from Alexander’s family first. Peregrine agrees, but he’s in no way prepared for a captive like Alexander, who insists only on the softest beds and the finest wines…and who enjoys being tied up a little too much…

Two Rakes for Mrs. Sparkwell – Eva Leigh

The last thing Mrs. Vivian Sparkwell wants is to tie her life to another stifling husband. But thanks to the surprise terms of her last marriage contract, if she refuses any reasonable offer to wed again, she loses her widow’s portion. What she needs is a thorough and public ruining to make her would-be suitors cry off. Who better to provide the necessary scandal than notorious rake Rushton Cantley? Yet when Rush proposes that his friend, gaming hell bruiser Jack Morgan, join in on the ruination, Vivian can’t decide if she’s shocked—or aroused. How far is too far when infamy is on the line?

A Rake, His Patron, & Their Muse – Nicola Davidson

London playwright and notorious rake Lennox Townsend is renowned for bold melodrama and bolder pleasures. When he loses interest in both, his shy yet devoted patron Lord Jonathan Grant escorts him to a country boarding house managed by repressed widow, Mrs. Viola Prescott. The trio soon surrender to sizzling—and forbidden—passion, made sweeter as each share their deepest secrets and find acceptance of their true self. Yet cold reality is ever ready to intrude, and they know happiness is fleeting. Or is it?

Monsieur X – Adriana Herrera

Joseph Cantor Marshall never imagined reaching the pinnacle of artistic success would be so… uninspiring. Desperate for a spark of excitement he attends the notorious masked soirée at the most exclusive sex club in Paris. The moment he walks in he’s entranced by the mysterious X, the embodiment of the painter’s darkest fantasies. But X is as slippery as he is tempting, and soon Marshall’s days and nights are consumed by growing desire for his elusive lover. Will falling for X prove to be Marshall’s undoing or his greatest masterpiece?

Sold to the Duke – Joanna Shupe

Though she once lived a life of privilege, Lady Eliza is now destitute and desperate to care for her ill sister. She decides to sell the one thing of value she has left: her virginity. At the auction, a shocked Duke of Blackwood recognizes Eliza and refuses to allow her to fall into the clutches of a depraved bidder. But his role of noble rescuer is upended when the proud beauty insists on giving him his money’s worth…

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The Life Revamp by Kris Ripper: Review and Exclusive Excerpt

About the Book

The Life Revamp by Kris Ripper is available in trade paperback and eBook on November 30th!

All Mason wants to do is fall in love, get married and live happily ever after.

The hunt is beginning to wear him down…until he meets (slightly) famous fashion designer Diego. Everything sparks between them—the banter, the sex, the fiery eye contact across a crowded room.

There’s just one thing: Diego is already married and living his happily-ever-after, which luckily (or not) for Mason includes outside courtships.

But not quite in the way he’d always imagined.

Mason thought he knew what would make him happy, but it turns out the traditional life he’d expected has some surprises in store.

The Love Study

Book 1: The Love Study

Book 2: The Hate ProjectBook 3: The Life Revamp

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Unwritten Rules by KD Casey

Book Description

What does it mean to get a second chance in a game that offers few?

Zach Glasser has put up with a lot for the sport he loves. Endless days on the road, playing half-decent baseball in front of half-full stadiums and endless nights alone, pretending this is the life he’s always wanted.

The thing is, it could have been everything he ever wanted—if only he’d had the guts to tell his family, tell the club, that he was in love with his teammate Eugenio Morales. Well, ex-teammate now. When Zach wouldn’t—couldn’t—come out, Eugenio made the devastating choice to move on, demanding a trade away from Oakland. Away from Zach.

Three years and countless regrets later, Zach still can’t get Eugenio out of his head. Or his heart. And when they both get selected to play in the league’s All-Star Classic, those feelings and that chemistry come roaring back.

Zach wants a second chance. Eugenio wants a relationship he doesn’t have to hide. Maybe it’s finally time they both get what they want.

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Murder Most Actual by Alexis Hall

Book Description

From the author of Boyfriend Material and Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake comes a cozy mystery that revisits the Golden Age of detective fiction, starring a heroine who’s more podcaster than private eye and topped with a lethal dose of parody — perfect for fans of Clue, Knives Out, and Only Murders in the Building!

When up-and-coming true crime podcaster Liza and her corporate financier wife Hanna head to a luxurious hotel in the Scottish Highlands, they’re hoping for a chance to rekindle their marriage – not to find themselves trapped in the middle of an Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery with no way home. But who better to take on the case than someone whose entire profession relies on an obsession with all things mysterious and macabre? Though some of her fellow guests may consider her an interfering new media hack, Liza knows a thing or two about crime and – despite Hanna’s preference for waiting out the chaos behind a locked door – might be the only one capable of discovering the killer. As the bodies rack up and the stakes rise, can they save their marriage — and their lives?

My Review

A common refrain when examining classic entertainment is, “This would never happen in the modern age because we have smartphones and the internet!”

WELL, Alexis Hall proves that phones and the internet won’t always help you if you happen to be dropped into the plot of a Golden Age mystery. As protagonists Liza and Hanna prove, sleuthing and wits are paramount to survival when trapped with a killer on the loose.

The core of every good mystery is a well-rounded cast of victims—er, characters. Hall delivers here: in addition to our main duo, there’s a vicar, a retired colonel, a professor, a dowager, a femme fatale, and several others. There isn’t a lot of character development with the secondaries, but that’s kind of the point: these characters need to stick to their assigned roles as a part of the bigger picture.

Liza and Hanna, however, do experience growth over the course of the mystery. They were supposed to have a relaxing getaway, and being thrust into the middle of a MURDER is the opposite of relaxing. So, on top of trying to work through their personal issues, they also have to avoid being murdered whilst snowed in, with no way to escape.

The narrative unfolds from Liza’s perspective, which makes sense because she’s the true crime podcaster. I loved Liza’s determination to solve the case, as well as her refusal to be dismissed by others for being an amateur. There’s a bit early in the book about Liza feeling a bit adrift with her degree in art history—compared to Hanna’s maths degree—until finding her niche with the podcast. That resonated with me personally as an English major married to a computer science major, so it was great to see Liza take on the challenge of solving the mystery.

The murder mystery is at the forefront of the plot, but the simmering tension of Liza and Hanna’s failing marriage is a constant presence in the background. This added an additional layer of depth to the narrative, and I found myself just as concerned about whether their marriage would survive the weekend as I was with both of them avoiding being murdered.

I would absolutely recommend Murder Most Actual. This book is a delightful mashup of Agatha Christie and board Cluedo/Clue. Some of the references are subtle, and some are more overt, but they both had me laughing out loud as I nodded in recognition.

Please note, this is a Kobo Original title, and there are multiple ways to access Kobo books via desktops, smartphones, and tablets.

I received a digital ARC of this book from Kobo Original/NetGalley.

About the Author

Alexis Hall is an English author of urban fantasy, science fiction, and m/m romance. His novels include Murder Most Actual, Boyfriend Material, Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake, For Real, Glitterland, Iron & Velvet, Looking for Group, and Pansies.

His work has been nominated for to the 26th Lambda Literary Awards, 28th Lambda Literary Awards, and 29th Lambda Literary Awards in the category of Gay Romance.

Connect with Alexis Hall online at https://quicunquevult.com/ 

Meet Me in Madrid by Verity Lowell: Carina Press Blog Tour Review and Excerpt

Book Information

Meet Me in Madrid by Verity Lowell is available in trade paperback and eBook on October 26th!

In this sexy, sophisticated romantic comedy, two women juggle romance and career across continents.

Charlotte Hilaire has a love-hate relationship with her work as a museum courier. On the one hand, it takes her around the world. On the other, her plan to become a professor is veering dangerously off track.

Yet once in a while, maybe every third trip or so, the job goes delightfully sideways…

When a blizzard strands Charlotte in Spain for a few extra days and she’s left with glorious free time on her hands, the only question is: Dare she invite her grad school crush for an after-dinner drink on a snowy night?

Accomplished, take-no-prisoners art historian Adrianna Coates has built an enviable career since Charlotte saw her last. She’s brilliant. Sophisticated. Impressive as hell and strikingly beautiful.

Hospitable, too, as she absolutely insists Charlotte spend the night on her pullout sofa as the storm rages on.

One night becomes three and three nights become a hot and adventurous long-distance relationship when Charlotte returns to the States. But when Adrianna plots her next career move just as Charlotte finally opens a door in academia, distance may not be the only thing that keeps them apart.

My Review

I will admit to raising my eyebrows—sardonically, of course—at the way Charlotte and Adrianna fell in love as soon as they fell into bed, but shortly thereafter, I was totally rooting for them to overcome their obstacles and get their HEA.

To be fair, they do have a pre-existing relationship, so this is not the story of two strangers falling in love, but they do go from acquaintances to… not…very quickly. But when something feels right, you go with it.

Although the title refers to where Charlotte and Adrianna initially meet, most of the book doesn’t take place in Madrid *and* the protagonists spend most of the book apart. BUT, thanks to modern technology, they can still be together even when they’re in two different places.

And on that note, the chemistry is 100% scorching hot, and one can only surmise that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is the reason why they can’t keep their hands off each other when they’re in the same place. And why they have erotically-charged video chats.   

There’s a ton to like about this book: the protagonists are both Black women who work in academia. They’re also a bit older than the average age of romance protagonists, which is wonderful—I don’t mind reading about people barely out of college, but it’s always a nice change of pace to read about people (whispers) my own age. But I am here for the academic drama and I am here for shutting down critics—no, it is not just a cartoon rabbit. I know that probably doesn’t make much sense, but read the book to find out what I’m talking about.

Because Charlotte and Adrianna spend most of their time apart, they are bolstered by secondary characters like James and Esther, who both deserve books of their own, although not together, of course.

I would absolutely recommend Meet Me in Madrid. It took me a few chapters to get into the story, but once I got hooked, I couldn’t put the book down. This is a tender and sweet love story and I couldn’t get enough of the descriptions of food—yum! I am looking forward to reading more from Lowell in the future.

I received an ARC of this book from Carina Press/NetGalley

Exclusive Excerpt

The car arrived with the luggage while they were still flirting and deliberating in the kitchen, the cava as yet unpoured. Hearing the buzzer, Adrianna had reluctantly thrown on a robe and slippers and run down the three flights, leaving Charlotte still leaning on the counter to contemplate what came next.

“I’m putting your very nice suitcase in my room,” a breathless Adrianna said as soon as she closed the apartment door behind her. “It won’t fit in the study.”

It would have fit in the study. But it fit a lot better in the bedroom.

“I’m out here,” Charlotte informed her. She had taken the bottle and glasses and resituated herself on the living room sofa. If it had been in the States, the long, upholstered couch with its plethora of throw pillows would have sat smack-dab in front of a flat-screen TV. This one, by refreshing contrast, faced a wall of tall, arched casement windows looking onto mostly sky and a distant cityscape punctuated by the city’s numerous church towers. Today the potted trees and summer furniture on the neighboring balconies were coated with an inch or two of velvety snow.

What sun there had been was already dimming.

Adrianna was surprised, but certainly not disappointed, to find Charlotte curled up at one end of said sofa, glass in hand, taking it all in just as she herself liked to do at sunset.

“It’s beautiful,” Charlotte said. “Doesn’t look like any place else I’ve been.”

“Sure doesn’t.” Adrianna sat down close beside Charlotte. Encouragingly close, she hoped.

Charlotte filled Adrianna’s flute with pale bubbly and raised hers in a wordless toast. Their glasses clinked.

“What are we drinking to?” Adrianna asked.

“Bank closures and oversold hotels?” Charlotte replied with a laugh and a gulp. Her legs were folded under her and as she went to set down her glass, she slipped into Adrianna’s shoulder, not seeming to mind at all when Adrianna leaned into her and caught her eye.

“If you’d have looked at me like that in school, I’m not sure what I would have done,” Charlotte said.

“I can’t promise I never did,” Adrianna admitted. “Especially there at the end.”

“You were definitely shopping around at one point, as I recall. Like a freshman for new classes,” Charlotte said. “Least that’s what it looked like from where I stood.”

“I was a train wreck,” Adrianna said solemnly. “My ex cheated on me with someone I cared about and I was worried to death I wouldn’t get a job—and interviewing cross-country practically every week while I finished the last chapter of my diss. Those days seem incomparably easy, yet completely impossible when I look back. But I fucked things up with a lot of people and I hate thinking about it.”

“Your heart was broken,” Charlotte said, reaching for the cava. She’d stopped looking at Adrianna but her voice conveyed empathy.

Had someone broken Charlotte’s heart? Adrianna wanted badly to know.

“And I did that to others in return,” she said.

“You are indeed a heartbreaker,” Charlotte laughed.

“You’re one to talk,” Adrianna replied. “I can’t believe you weren’t dating your pretty little ass off—or seeing faculty on the sly at least. I don’t think I do believe it.”

“Well, you can believe it or not. I’m not saying I didn’t sleep around some. But grads and faculty were off-limits. Not out of moral approbation. I just knew it would throw me off my game. I don’t mind telling you I had tempting offers from both parties.”

Good thing Adrianna wasn’t one of those former suitors. It was so much better finding her again like this, now that they were both past the stage of perpetual heightened insecurity. Now that there was no history with Charlotte, only possibility.

Neither of them were drunk, just usefully relaxed, their inhibitions disarmed by the alcohol, their focus sharpened by the caffeine.

Adrianna set down her own near-empty glass and turned toward Charlotte.

“Let’s toast to layovers instead.”

“With what?”

“Come here,” Adrianna said, just to see how Charlotte reacted to being told what to do.

“Make me,” she replied, finishing what was left in her flute and starting to rise.

“Where are you going now?”

“I’m thirsty. Think I’ll get a glass of water…”

“Fuck the water,” Adrianna said. She pulled Charlotte back down to her for a deep, wet kiss that burned deliciously from the sparkling wine in her mouth and on their lips. Charlotte responded with a kind of unrestraint, immediately taking the lead. God did she. Adrianna suddenly seemed to feel her touch everywhere.

It was one of those moments when you don’t realize how much you want something—someone—until she’s within reach. She wasn’t going to lose her second chance.

About the Author

Verity Lowell is a professor and occasional curator who writes queer of color romance. She likes imagining and describing a world where art, ambition, and history provide the background for diverse and steamy love stories, mostly about women falling hard for women. She and her partner and their cats live in New England and sometimes elsewhere.

Find Verity Lowell Online

Website: https://www.veritylowell.com/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21135117.Verity_Lowell 

Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters. 

Discover a new Carina Adores book every month!

  • The Life Revamp by Kris Ripper (coming November 30)
  • If You Love Something by Jayce Ellis (coming December 28)
  • D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins (coming January 25)
  • Sink or Swim by Annabeth Albert (coming February 22)
  • Going Public by Hudson Lin (coming March 29)

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Book Description

In Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, two boys in a border town fell in love. Now, they must discover what it means to stay in love and build a relationship in a world that seems to challenge their very existence.

Ari has spent all of high school burying who he really is, staying silent and invisible. He expected his senior year to be the same. But something in him cracked open when he fell in love with Dante, and he can’t go back. Suddenly he finds himself reaching out to new friends, standing up to bullies of all kinds, and making his voice heard. And, always, there is Dante, dreamy, witty Dante, who can get on Ari’s nerves and fill him with desire all at once.

The boys are determined to forge a path for themselves in a world that doesn’t understand them. But when Ari is faced with a shocking loss, he’ll have to fight like never before to create a life that is truthfully, joyfully his own.

My Review

Readers need to begin with the first book; they need to understand where the protagonists have been in order to fully appreciate the journey they undertake over the course of this sequel.

Ari and Dante fell in love over the course of the first book, and they spend this one exploring their relationship: both the intense feelings of attractions and the emotional aspect of loving someone else so much.

The prose is gorgeous. It’s so lyrical—the words just flow across the page, and when combined with an intriguing storyline, it makes it difficult to put down. The narrative unfolds solely from Ari’s perspective, and being with Dante helps him gather a new outlook on aspects of his life he took for granted, such as his friendship with Susie and Gina from the first book. It also helps him draw perspective on other aspects of his life that he’s been avoiding for years. In both cases, it appears that acknowledging his true self serves as the source of these changes.

With a setting in the late 1980s, the AIDS pandemic is an unavoidable topic for our two protagonists. While neither is directly affected by it in terms of a diagnosis, the public’s reaction to the crisis—ranging from disinterest to outright disgust—does have an impact on the boys. Despite this negativity, Ari and Dante have each other, as well as the support of both sets of parents and their friend group. And that’s all they need.

I would absolutely recommend Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World. On the surface, we have the story of two Mexican-American boys coming of age in the late 1980s, but this is a story with such profound depth. There are so many beautiful quotes about our place in the universe, and solitude, and letting other people in—that are going to stay with me for a long time. My 14 year old read the first book while at summer camp, and was thrilled to pieces to learn that I had an ARC. She devoured it in less than a day, declared it wonderful, and couldn’t wait to tell the friend who loaned her the book about how cool I am. So, long story short, this book has the seal of approval from a member of the target demographic.   

I received an ARC of this book from Simon & Schuster/NetGalley.

The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian

Book Description

Kit Webb has left his stand-and-deliver days behind him. But dreary days at his coffee shop have begun to make him pine for the heady rush of thievery. When a handsome yet arrogant aristocrat storms into his shop, Kit quickly realizes he may be unable to deny whatever this highborn man desires.

In order to save himself and a beloved friend, Percy, Lord Holland must go against every gentlemanly behavior he holds dear to gain what he needs most: a book that once belonged to his mother, a book his father never lets out of his sight and could be Percy’s savior. More comfortable in silk-filled ballrooms than coffee shops frequented by criminals, his attempts to hire the roughly hewn highwayman, formerly known as Gladhand Jack, proves equal parts frustrating and electrifying.

Kit refuses to participate in the robbery but agrees to teach Percy how to do the deed. Percy knows he has little choice but to submit and as the lessons in thievery begin, he discovers thievery isn’t the only crime he’s desperate to commit with Kit. 

But when their careful plan goes dangerously wrong and shocking revelations threaten to tear them apart, can these stolen hearts overcome the impediments in their path?

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Sailor Proof By Annabeth Albert Blog Tour: Review and Exclusive Excerpt

About the book

Sailor Proof by Annabeth Albert is available in trade paperback, eBook and audiobook on September 28th!

The sexy Navy chief and his best friend’s adorkable little brother…

It’s petty, but Naval Chief Derrick Fox wishes he could exact a little revenge on his ex by showing off a rebound fling. His submarine is due to return to its Bremerton, Washington, home base soon and Derrick knows all too well there won’t be anyone waiting with a big, showy welcome.

Enter one ill-advised plan…

Arthur Euler is the guy you go to in a pinch—he’s excellent at out-of-the-box solutions. It’s what the genius music-slash-computer nerd is known for. So when he finds out Derrick needs a favor, he’s happy to help. He can muster the sort of welcome a Naval Chief deserves, no problem at all.

Except it is a problem. A very big problem.

When Arthur’s homecoming welcome is a little too convincing, when a video of their gangplank smooch goes enormously viral, they’re caught between a dock and a hard place. Neither of them ever expected a temporary fake relationship to look—or feel—so real. And Arthur certainly never considered he’d be fighting for a very much not-fake forever with a military man.

My review

This super sweet low angst book is exactly what I needed 18 months into a pandemic. It’s evident that Derrick and Arthur are perfect from each other as soon as their staged kiss goes viral. Maybe it’s all that genuine chemistry, guys!

These two (loveable) dorks couldn’t even do fake dating right. “Oh, we should do stuff to act like a real couple to make the fake dating more believable.” (Not a verbatim quote).

The stuff: Physical activity in the privacy of their room that no one actually sees. More believable for whom, guys?

Speaking of unbelievable, I’m astounded by Albert’s ability to squeeze so many tropes into one book: best friend’s brother, fake dating, and virgin hero. Okay, so it’s only three, but these are some of my most favorite tropes, so I was thrilled to get them all at the same time.

Derrick and Arthur get along really well from the beginning, which is a bit surprising considering that Derrick is a Navy guy who deploys on submarines and Arthur is a musician and a bit of a geek. But they both make a genuine effort to spend time doing what their partner wants to do.

As I mentioned, this book is low angst. There are some deep feelings about “I like you a lot, but deployments are tough, and it’s okay if things don’t work out.” Again, that’s not a verbatim quote, but more of a mindset—and it’s not in a dismissive way, but more like, “I don’t want to hold you back from your career, which is very different than mine.” Despite any trepidation on the part of the two protagonists, this is an effortless HEA. And you know what? It was just as satisfying as a high angst full grovel HEA.

I would absolutely recommend Sailor Proof. This is the first book in a new series, so it’s an excellent place to start. I thoroughly enjoy all of Albert’s books, and this was no exception. I am already eagerly awaiting the next book in the series, which features one of the secondary characters from this book.

I received a copy of this book from Carina Press/NetGalley.

Exclusive Excerpt

Derrick

Arthur turned out hot. That was my first thought when I spotted him after I heard my name called. Derrick. My actual name, not Fox, not Chief, and outside of Calder a couple of times, I hadn’t heard that name in months. And definitely not like that, all eager and excited and happy. On the sub, hearing my name inevitably meant that someone needed something right that minute, but the way Arthur said it didn’t inspire dread at all.

I’d already been caught up in the energy of the day. Homecoming day was always exciting, even if I didn’t usually have someone waiting. The whole crew was jostling about, getting into our dress whites, making sure everything from our cover to the chest candy of ribbons and medals to the gig line was perfectly straight. Getting chosen to be on deck as we came into port was an honor, one that I usually let others, especially those with kids, fight over, since there was still plenty to do belowdecks in preparation and support. As the chief sonar tech, I was responsible for working with the A-gangers from engineering and the operations department to help navigate us in. Adrenaline was contagious, and by the time my department was cleared to disembark, I had enough energy to rival the reactor that powered the sub.

And then I heard my name.

I recognized Arthur’s red hair right away. But the rest…

Wow. Arthur had grown hot. Still shorter than me and skinnier, but wiry now, each lean muscle defined under a thin white shirt and tight jeans. No signs of his ever-present too-big nerd-humor tees. Same startling green eyes as before, though, and a new, more chiseled jaw sporting the perfect amount of fuzz. He’d grown into his long regal nose, and the hair that had seemed to have a life of its own when he’d been a teen was sculpted now, this perfectly styled wave that made me want to mess it up. His hands, which had always seemed too big for the rest of him, were clutching a giant sign.

For me.

And for a second—a literal instant when our eyes met and time stopped—I forgot it wasn’t real. And in that moment, I wanted it to be. Someone smiling that broadly for me. Had Steve ever been so happy to see me? Hell, I wasn’t even sure the poodle my grandmother had let me keep had been that happy. Arthur just radiated pure joy. The kid was one hell of an actor.

“Welcome home.” Even his voice was different. Deeper. Sexier.

“Hey,” I said because I was simply that brilliant at conversation. I reached an arm out, instinctively going for a handshake, but Arthur shifted his sign and met me partway, coming in for a hug.

A really tight hug.

Damn, he felt good. Amazing really. Solid muscle against me, hair tickling my nose, exactly as silky as it looked, strong arms able to haul me in and hold me tight. He smelled like mint and green tea, two things in short supply on a boat that tended to smell like old socks on a good day. Sweet. I inhaled deeply as his lips brushed my ear.

“Calder said to kiss you,” he whispered. “And I want to. But you gotta tell me you’re good with that first.”

Was I good with that? Hot guy who smelled like a concoction I wanted to drink every day for a month wanted to kiss me. And ordinarily, the friendship code would put Arthur far, far off-limits, but here was Calder telling us to kiss. It was a free pass, the sort I’d be a fool to turn down.

I wasn’t a fool.

And what harm could a peck do?

“Yeah.” My voice was a rough whisper, and I didn’t have a chance to brace myself before Arthur was sliding his mouth over from my ear to mouth. A double shot of tequila would have had less punch than the first brush of contact.

And okay, not a peck.

We were kissing. Arthur and I, which should have been weird but somehow wasn’t. At all. Someone whooped behind us, but almost all of my attention was riveted on Arthur, like I was on watch and every sense was heightened lest I miss something vital.

Like how soft his lips were. Full too. Or the bristle of his scruff against my cheek. I’d done a submarine shave that morning, not my best job, but close enough that the rasp of beard felt electric. Our chests were pressed so tightly that I could feel his heart pounding. Or maybe that was mine, blood zooming to places that had been in deep freeze for months.

“Wow.” Arthur pulled back, leaving me dazed and still clinging to him.

“Damn.” The statuesque purple-haired woman he’d been standing with laughed loudly and thumped Arthur’s shoulder. “Is that the best you can do? Your man has been at sea how many months?”

Your man. If only. If he were actually mine, we’d be racing across base, a mad dash to find a room with a door. But he wasn’t and all we’d ever have was this moment. A potent mix of want and resolve raced through me as suddenly I was determined to make this count.

I pulled him back to me, and this time when our mouths collided, I was ready. Ready to taste. Ready to absorb every single detail. Ready to seize control and kiss like the world might be ending.

And it could have. Not sure I would have noticed. Everything faded away. The crowd. The docks. The balloons Arthur had been clutching and his sign both as his strong hands clung to my shoulders as we kissed in earnest. He tasted like he smelled, sweet and minty, and his tongue against mine was like floodlights coming on.

“Welcome home,” Arthur breathed against my mouth as the sound of applause gradually pulled me back into awareness of our surroundings. Applause. Whoops of laughter. Clicking cameras. But still I couldn’t seem to look away from him.

About the Author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a Pacific Northwest romance writer of many critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series.  To find out more, check out: http://www.annabethalbert.com. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content.

Connect with Annabeth Albert

Website: https://www.annabethalbert.com/ 

Facebook Fan Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/annabethsangels 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnabethAlbert 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annabeth_albert/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477494.Annabeth_Albert 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Annabeth-Albert/e/B00LYFFAZK 

Carina Adores

Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters. 

Discover a new Carina Adores book every month!

  • Meet Me in Madrid by Verity Lowell (coming October 26)
  • The Life Revamp by Kris Ripper (coming November 30)
  • If You Love Something by Jayce Ellis (coming December 28)
  • D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins (coming January 25)
  • Sink or Swim by Annabeth Albert (coming February 22)

Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa

Book Description

Julián Luna has a plan for his life: Graduate. Get into UCLA. And have the chance to move away from Corpus Christi, Texas, and the suffocating expectations of others that have forced Jules into an inauthentic life.

Then in one reckless moment, with one impulsive tweet, his plans for a low-key nine months are thrown—literally—out the closet. The downside: the whole world knows, and Jules has to prepare for rejection. The upside: Jules now has the opportunity to be his real self.

Then Mat, a cute, empathetic Twitter crush from Los Angeles, slides into Jules’s DMs. Jules can tell him anything. Mat makes the world seem conquerable. But when Jules’s fears about coming out come true, the person he needs most is fifteen hundred miles away. Jules has to face them alone.

Jules accidentally propelled himself into the life he’s always dreamed of. And now that he’s in control of it, what he does next is up to him.

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The (Un)Popular Vote by Jasper Sanchez

Book Description

Optics can make or break an election. Everything Mark knows about politics, he learned from his father, the Congressman who still pretends he has a daughter and not a son.

Mark has promised to keep his past hidden and pretend to be the cis guy everyone assumes he is. But when he sees a manipulatively charming candidate for student body president inflame dangerous rhetoric, Mark risks his low profile to become a political challenger.

The problem? No one really knows Mark. He didn’t grow up in this town, and his few friends are all nerds. Still, thanks to Scandal and The West Wing, they know where to start: from campaign stops to voter polling to a fashion makeover.

Soon Mark feels emboldened to engage with voters—and even start a new romance. But with an investigative journalist digging into his past, a father trying to silence him, and the bully frontrunner standing in his way, Mark will have to decide which matters most: perception or truth, when both are just as dangerous.

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