Just Like This by Cole McCade

Book Details

About the Book:

Title: Just Like This

Author: Cole McCade

Series: Albin Academy, #2

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Imprint: Carina Press (Carina Adores)

On Sale: November 24, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback 

Price: $14.99 U.S.

ISBN: 9781335200907

Book Description: Rian Falwell has a problem.

And his name is Damon Louis.

Rian’s life as the art teacher to a gaggle of displaced boys at Albin Academy should be smooth sailing—until the stubborn, grouchy football coach comes into his world like a lightning strike and ignites a heated conflict that would leave them sworn enemies if not for a common goal.

A student in peril. A troubling secret. And two men who are polar opposites but must work together to protect their charges.

They shouldn’t want each other. They shouldn’t even like each other.

Yet as they fight to save a young man from the edge, they discover more than they thought possible about each other—and about themselves.

In the space between hatred, they find love.

And the lives they have always wanted…

Just like this.

“The romantic longing, themes of bravery and confidence, and moments of cozy domesticity shine.” —Publishers Weekly on Just Like That

My review

Just Like This by Cole McCade

This is a delightful “opposites attract” romance. Damon and Rian haven’t spoken much to each other, because they don’t think they share anything in common. But when a student who plays football and takes art class gets into trouble, they have to work together.

Their mutual frustration with each other turns into mutual attraction, but the more pressing concern is that they’re still trying to figure out what’s going in with their student, whose evasive answers are not yielding very much in the way of clues.

Their personalities are similar, despite their differences in vocation and outward appearance. Damon is buff and Rian is more ethereal, but they both pretend to keep to themselves and aren’t overly sociable, which is probably why neither tried to befriend the other before.

The attraction comes first, but as they get to know each other, both men lean on each other as “found family”, which strengthens their bond and allows them to rely on each other instead of keeping their feelings to themselves.

I would recommend Just Like This. While it’s the second book in the series, it functions well as a standalone. Rian does have a conversation with Summer, one of the protagonists from Just Like That, but readers won’t be lost if they start with this book. This is the fourth book I’ve read from McCade, and I’m looking forward to reading more in the future.

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

exclusive excerpt

Rian Falwell had a problem.

And that problem was currently staring at him through a messy tangle of black hair, from beneath a brow dotted with gleaming beads of sweat that—beneath the glassy afternoon light streaming through the windows—turned to glistening motes of amber against dusky brown skin.

Honestly, if Damon Louis was going to come barging into Rian’s studio like this…

He could at least have the decency to wear a shirt.

The P.E. teacher took up far too much space inside the tiny cubicle of a studio, his shoulders so broad they had almost touched both sides of the door frame as he’d stalked inside. He looked as if he’d just stepped out of the gym, with his wide, sculpted, scar-rippled chest glazed in a sheen of sweat and a pair of loose black track pants hanging off his 

hips, the elastic waistband barely clinging to the narrow line cut below his iliac crest. His shoulder-length tumbles of dark hair clumped together, completely drenched, droplets dangling from the tips.

But as overheated as Damon looked?

His dark brown eyes were completely cold—glossed to reflective ice as he folded thick, brawny arms over his chest and took a slow look around the cluttered space of Rian’s studio.

Rian could track the line of his gaze—starting with the gloppy pile of clay on his pottery wheel; a pile that would eventually become a vase, but right now was just misshapen lumps of gray.

Then to the thin sheets of handmade papyrus parchment drying on a clothesline strung across the room, pulped and pressed from the fallen early autumn leaves of the trees around Albin Academy, an experiment Rian had been quite pleased with when it resulted in fine paper with a green-gold translucent fragility, flecked with bits of brown from the leaves’ veins and stems.

Next, the many half-finished canvases propped about on their easels, slashed with angry, bold strokes of paint in abstract designs.

The anatomical diagrams pinned to the walls.

And the extra large sketchbook left open on his worktable, displaying loose, light sketches of male bodies in motion, focused on capturing the flow of sinew in the turn of the waist, the tightening of an arm as it drew back, the extension of the body and curve of the spine during a long, lazy reach.

Damon’s eyes lingered longest on that one, his dark, expressive brows rising fractionally, almost mockingly—and Rian’s face burned.

All of these were his personal projects, all unfinished, but still things he put everything he had into. 

So why was this stone-faced, unsmiling jerk standing here looking over them like he was about to assign Rian a failing score?

What was he even doing here at all?

Those dark brown eyes snapped back to him as if Damon had somehow heard the question snarling in the back of Rian’s mind.

“So,” Damon drawled, and Rian realized this was the first time he’d actually heard Damon speak in his three years at Albin Academy, rather than noncommittal affirmative mutters during staff meetings. His voice was deep, raw, gritty, with a subtle pull to it that didn’t quite seem to echo typical New England accents around Massachusetts. “I thought this was some kinda broom closet. Chambers and Walden know you’re using it for…” He tilted his head. A damp ripple of hair fell across the refined sharpness of his cheekbone, the tip practically licking at the corner of his wide, full, stern-set mouth. “…this?

Rian tensed.

More at the implied scorn dripping from this than at the fact he’d been…uh…

Caught using school grounds for unauthorized purposes.

He doubted Principal Chambers and Assistant Principal Walden would particularly care. Especially when Rian had been using the storeroom as a studio since he’d been hired, and no one had really noticed—though considering Lachlan Walden had only been hired last semester, the assistant principal had more things to worry about than one rogue art teacher moving a few brooms.

So Rian drew himself up, lifting his chin as he reached for the wet rag hanging from the edge of his wheel and began wiping the thick patina of clay from his hands, peeling off the cold, clinging layer. 

My broom closet,” he said firmly. “Attached to my classroom. I’m allowed to use it as I deem necessary as long as it’s for educational purposes.”

This…counted…technically.

He was the art teacher.

Copyright © 2020 by Cole McCade

Book Buying links

Buy Just Like This by Cole McCade

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335200907

Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335200907_just-like-this.html 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Like-This-Albin-Academy/dp/1335200908

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/just-like-this-cole-mccade/1136892693

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/just-like-this/id1506928629

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Cole_McCade_Just_Like_This?id=_vTbDwAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/just-like-this-3 

About the author

Cole McCade is a New Orleans-born Southern boy without the Southern accent, currently residing somewhere in Seattle. He spends his days as a suit-and-tie corporate consultant and business writer, and his nights writing contemporary romance and erotica that flirts with the edge of taboo—when he’s not being tackled by two hyperactive cats. 

He also writes genre-bending science fiction and fantasy tinged with a touch of horror and flavored by the influences of his multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual background as Xen. He wavers between calling himself bisexual, calling himself queer, and trying to figure out where “demi” fits into the whole mess—but no matter what word he uses he’s a staunch advocate of LGBTQIA and POC representation and visibility in genre fiction. And while he spends more time than is healthy hiding in his writing cave instead of hanging around social media, you can generally find him in these usual haunts: 

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

A new Carina Adores title is available each month in trade paperback, ebook and audiobook formats.

  • Just Like That by Cole McCade (available now!)
  • Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters (available now!)
  • Better Than People by Roan Parrish (available now!)
  • The Secret Ingredient by KD Fisher (available now!)
  • Teddy Spenser Isn’t Looking for Love by Kim Fielding (coming December 29, 2020)
  • The Beautiful Things Shoppe by Philip William Stover (coming January 26, 2021)
  • Our Level Best by Roan Parrish (coming February 23, 2021)
  • Learn to Knit in Nine Months or Less by Hettie Bell (coming March 30, 2021)

Cheater Code by S.A. Foxe and Daz

I want to begin this review by saying that despite the cute cartoony image on the cover, this graphic novel contains explicit sex scenes, and it is not suitable for children of any age.

Kennedy’s world turns upside down when he walks in on Seth, his boyfriend of six years, having sex with another man on their kitchen counter. Despite this monumental betrayal of trust, Kennedy is willing to work on their relationship, but Seth tells him the relationship has been over for a long time and he’s done forever.

A dejected Kennedy retreats into his beloved video games, and then the combination of a power surge and um—bodily fluids—zaps Kennedy into the world of video games.

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Learned Behaviors by Jayce Ellis

When Jaq and Matt meet at work, it’s not very cute, but there’s no time for drama because if they don’t collaborate, they aren’t going to get everything together before the big product launch—with only three months away, the deadline is looming. But even though they don’t seem to have anything in common, there’s an ever-present undercurrent of desire.   

Jaq was a single teenage father, who raised his daughter with the help of his mother. At the beginning of the book, he drops her off at Howard University, a huge accomplishment considering that he never had the opportunity to go to college himself. Now that his baby girl is settled, he plans to finally focus on his own career, as well as relax for the first time in 18 years—Jaq hasn’t had time for relationships because he always prioritized his daughter.

Matt, on the other hand, was married for 20+ years until his wife cheated on him with a much-younger man. He’s devoted himself to his career as a consultant and hasn’t prioritized relationships either.

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Cobble Hill by Cecily Von Siegesar

I enjoyed the Gossip Girl novels in my youth—although I never got into the TV show—so I was intrigued by the prospect of a new novel by Cecily Von Siegesar.

Cobble Hill features an eclectic cast of neighbors, who meet and mingle in the titular Brooklyn neighborhood. Their shared narrative unfolds via a multitude of perspectives; quite frankly, I lost count of the number of POV characters, but there are four married couples and three children, most of whom have at least one POV scene.

One might think that it would be difficult to keep track of all these characters, but fortunately, they all have well-developed personalities and motivations, so they all stand out in their own ways. The author has infused these characters with quirky little details to help make them memorable.  

As for the plot, not much happens. But also, a lot of things happen. Much like Seinfeld, the focus is on these amazing characters and how they interact with their environment and with each other. On the other hand, much like Gossip Girl, there are *some* juicy secrets, like the fact that one of the characters pretends to have MS in order to gain attention and sympathy from her husband, which left me anxiously waiting for the fallout from this duplicity. Yes, some of the events do beggar belief, but then again, truth is stranger than fiction.

I would absolutely recommend Cobble Hill. This book is engaging and fun, and held my interest amidst all the chaos going on in the real world. Von Siegesar has once again given us a glimpse into the world of a select group of New Yorkers. This time, we’re dealing with Gen-X Brooklynites rather than UES Millennials, but the commonalities are astounding. I would love to see Cobble Hill turned into a limited series on Netflix.   

I received an ARC of this book from Atria Books/Netgalley.

American Christmas by Adriana Herrera

Yin and Ari have been background characters in most of the books in the Dreamers series, and now they finally get a HEA after their own in this novella.


It’s Yin and Ari’s first Christmas together in their very own apartment, and each of them wants to make sure the holiday is special for the other. But of course, best laid plans often go awry.

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The Secret Ingredient by KD Fisher: Review and Excerpt

Book Details

About the Book

Title: The Secret Ingredient

Author: KD Fisher

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Imprint: Carina Press (Carina Adores)

On Sale: October 27, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback (ebook and audio also available)

Price: $14.99 U.S.

ISBN: 9781335957146

Book Description: Two amazing chefs. Two very different restaurants. One undeniable love.

For single mom Adah Campbell, the executive chef job at a posh restaurant in tiny North Port, Maine is a dream come true—and the perfect opportunity to start over, far away from a home that’s never felt entirely hers. But fitting in has never been easy, and between a new town, a new boss, and the unexpectedly attractive owner of a rival café, things get off to a rocky start.

Never did free-spirited Beth Summers think she’d still be in North Port. Travel the world gathering delicious recipes and finding friends and lovers? Absolutely. Step in to run her family’s small-town café? Not so much. However, once Beth commits to something, that’s it. Soon, The Yellow House is the hottest spot in town, but Beth’s out of energy—and out of ideas for moving forward. 

Until Adah Campbell walks into her life, and moving forward suddenly includes making room for a whole new family.

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Feel the Fire by Annabeth Albert: Review and Excerpt

Book Details

About the Book:

Title: Feel the Fire

Author: Annabeth Albert

Series: Hotshots, #3

Length: 336 pages

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Imprint: Carina Press 

eBook On-Sale: October 26, 2020

eBook ISBN & Price: 9781488076855, $4.99 U.S.

MMP On-Sale: October 27, 2020

MMP ISBN & Price: 9781335459527, $8.99 U.S. 

Book Description: The third installment of Annabeth Albert’s Hotshots series—the emotions and intensity of Chicago Fire with the raw, natural elements of Man vs. Wild.

When their career paths bring two high school sweethearts together again, the forest isn’t the only thing ablaze…

Fire behavior specialist Luis Riviera goes where his job takes him. But when he’s assigned to an arson investigation in Central Oregon—the place he left his broken heart twenty years ago—he’s afraid of being burned all over again.

Tucker Ryland had planned to join his first love, Luis, in LA after high school graduation, but life got in the way. Now a fire management expert and a divorced father of teen twins, Tucker’s thrown for a loop when he finds himself working side by side with his Luis, now all grown up and more intriguing than ever.

Though consumed by a grueling fire season and family responsibilities, the two men discover their bond has never truly broken. Tentative kisses turn to passionate nights. But smoking sheets aside, old hurts and new truths stand in the way of this time being the start of forever.

Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts. Don’t miss the Hotshots series from Annabeth Albert: Burn Zone, High Heat and Feel the Fire.

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April is a talented geologist, but her true passion is writing fanfiction for Gods of the Gates, a series of books based on the Aeneid, which turned into a popular fantasy series on television. April’s favorite ship is Lavinia/Aeneas.

Little does she know that her best online fanfic buddy is secretly Marcus, one of the stars of the show.

Meanwhile, when Marcus sees April’s Lavinia cosplay photo on Twitter, he feels compelled to ask her out. She tells him about her fanfic, but he can’t bring himself to confess *his* fanfic identity.

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The Love Study by Kris Ripper: Review and excerpt

Book Details:

About the Book:

Title: The Love Study

Author: Kris Ripper

Length: 336 pages

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Imprint: Carina Press (Carina Adores)

On-Sale: September 29, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback (also available in eBook and audiobook formats)

Price: $14.99

ISBN: 9781335943194

Book Description: What happens when the search for the perfect date goes perfectly wrong? Don’t miss this charming romantic comedy from critically acclaimed author Kris Ripper.

Declan has commitment issues. He’s been an office temp for literally years now, and his friends delight in telling people that he left his last boyfriend at the altar.

And that’s all true. But he’s starting to think it’s time to start working on his issues. Maybe.

When Declan meets Sidney—a popular nonbinary YouTuber with an advice show—an opportunity presents itself: as part of The Love Study, Declan will go on a series of dates arranged by Sidney and report back on how the date went in the next episode.

The dates are…sort of blah. It’s not Sidney’s fault; the folks participating are (mostly) great people, but there’s no chemistry there. Maybe Declan’s just broken.

Or maybe the problem is that the only person he’s feeling chemistry with is Sidney.

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Eric has been the goalie for the New York Admirals for his entire professional hockey career. Now that he’s turning 41, he knows that this is his last season, but he’s not ready to tell his teammates. He’s also finally acknowledging his bisexuality, and now that he’s been divorced for a year, he’s ready to explore this new facet of himself.

Enter Kyle, a grad student who he knows through mutual friends. Kyle offers to help Eric learn how to date guys, which includes low-pressure introduction to the physical aspect of dating.

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