We're so excited to welcome Renae Kaye, for her first visit to Sinfully all the way from Australia. Read on to find out what it’s like to celebrate Christmas down under… and don’t forget to enter the giveaway as Renae is gifting an ebook copy from her back catalogue to one very lucky reader. And as for Safe in his Arms? I ABSOLUTELY loved it. As you'll find out when you check out my five platinum star review.
Safe in his Arms by Renae Kaye
Title ~ Safe in his Arms
Author ~ Renae Kaye
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Release Date ~ 28th November 2014
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
In the late-night quiet of the caravan park shower room, Lon Taylor washes away the filth of the Western Australian mines. He’s not looking for anyone, but when Casey offers, Lon doesn’t turn him down.
Welcoming the young man in his big, hairy arms, Lon provides a safety to Casey that he has never known, and Casey wants to stay forever. Still reeling from the breakup of his family years ago, Lon’s not sure he’s ready for the responsibility of the comfort and security Casey craves.
But perhaps Lon can risk opening his heart again and hoping for a brighter future. Casey has some pretty big skeletons in his past to deal with. And Lon wonders what Casey will do when he finds out how badly Lon failed at protecting the ones he loved eight years ago.
Whatever you're doing stop now because seriously, you need to read this fantastic story! Filled with some of the most vibrant, likeable...nay... lovable characters ever to find their way the into a book. Some authors have an ability to make their characters come alive on page and inside your head and Renae Kaye has ticked that box, with bells on. Reading this story was like watching a favourite film. I could practically see everything unfolding in my mind; it felt so vivid at times. One scene in particular, when after spilling his sad past, an embarrassed Casey and his two horny friends watch an unsuspecting Lon on the beach change from his general everyday shorts to a pair of skimpy speedo's under a towel. It not only had me grinning at their reactions to his impressive *cough* 'accoutrements' but also totally visualising every delightful minute of their reactions, thoughts and "Fuck Me!" outbursts...and then what followed as it played out continued to tickle me pink! One of those scenes that had it been on film I'd have rewound to watch again just because it gave me such an enjoyable buzz! So in this case I went back and read it through again! But that was only one of many, as that feeling occurred so many times during the book, making the whole reading experience feel fresh and oh so enjoyable.
I loved the whole package, including all the supporting characters who also shone in their own rights, whether they were only on page for a short while or given more airtime depending on what part they played in the two MC's lives. Lon's gay friend Paul, who I really liked was a real character, with his own little story going on in the background and so were slightly slutty, diva-ish Devon and his less overt roommate: Ash, Casey's two mates whose own relationship was a bit of a mystery and then there was Ronnie, who played a Big part in how the background story relating to Lon and his family troubles played out, but majorly it was the interactions between Lon and Casey that generally made the book for me. As well as being sexy as hell together (and I mean sexy with a capitol HOT!!!) they were also really funny, sweet, tender, emotional and, honestly, at times just plain adorable.
Casey is completely besotted with everything about Lon. All six foot four 'bear-like' inches of him. He's completely taken with Lon's large, toned, muscled, hairy body, including his appropriately sized junk, which Casey can't keep his hands off as he's kindly given lots of free access to it, because more often than not; in the privacy of his caravan, Lon quite happily walks around in the nude. Which leads to another absolute favourite occasion in the story that involves a naked Lon, a DVD of Die Hard and a very inquisitive, horny Casey's, who just wants to play with his favourite 'toy' which just happens to be in a more relaxed state and begging to be fiddled with...hahaha...sod Bruce Willis!! That moment between them is SO Casey! But the best thing of all is the feeling of protection he gets when he's with the huge, gorgeous, older man who makes him feel safe and for the first time shielded from the nightmares that for five years have haunted him. His gentle giant who treats him with a tenderness he's never experienced before.
The smell of Lon made it into his nostrils and his subconscious clung to that. Lon was safety. Lon wouldn't let his father in.
Casey's past abuse at the hands of someone who should have treated him as precious but who broke him physically and mentally, has obviously impacted on his life in ways that shape some of his actions, and that leads to some friction between him and Lon, and also his family (mainly his gran) who unfortunately, because of Casey's troubled past, see the older, intimidating looking Lon in totally the wrong light; but the bond between them is strong and Casey is determined to make the man who takes away his bad dreams, want him just as much as he wants and needs the big guy.
But Casey isn't the only one with a sad, harrowing history. There are plaintive things about Lon's past, involving his family that, over the course of their growing relationship, get fed to us in small nuggets of information and it's only as the story nears it conclusion that we finally see all the pieces slot together to give us the whole story, and I loved how Renae did that, as it added to the depth of the story and made me love Lon all the more, even though he did have a slightly un-Lon like moment near the end which had this been written differently might have had me chunnering a bit, but somehow in this I didn't bat an eyelid because it was just a blip brought on understandably by years of uncertainty.
Considering its poignancy and sad background stories, this lovely novel never lost its charm or quirkiness, and it just shone for me. I never felt bogged down by the anguish or melancholy because despite what each of them was carrying around with them, these endearing characters still managed to exude a joy and wry humour that truly captivated me and made me fall head over heels for each person who graced it's pages; especially the two main guys who stole my heart from the moment they met in the showers of the caravan park..."Either you get on your knees and take care of this for me or you quit staring"... Now that's the way to grab a readers attention and start a story! Casey is young and in a way typical of his age...impulsive, with a bit of runaway mouth and a way of turning situations to suit his own thought processes; that he talks himself into, to suit his own purposes. But he also has a wisdom that at times belies his youth and shows a maturity that stops him from being the usual tortured soul we sometimes see in these types of stories.
"I was raped Lon. It wasn't my choice or my decision. I was forcibly held down and had things done to me against my will. Having gay sex with a man has nothing to do with what that man did to me. They're two separate things. I refuse to give that power of choice away. I choose who I'm with and I choose what I do. I'm gay and I know that in my soul. He didn't change me. He didn't make me someone different. He just used my body in a way he thought would hurt me so that I'd do what he wanted. Well guess what? I'm not giving any more power to him. If I want to suck dick, then I do. If I want to spread my legs, then I do. It's all about me and I do it without thinking about some fucking arsehole who I hope is moldering in some slimy jail."
Life served Casey a truck load of lemons but through therapy and a natural, inner survivors instinct that stops him from descending into moodiness and misery, he generally manages to make the proverbial lemonade... and meeting Lon just makes that lemonade even sweeter! As it turns out, that analogy works perfectly well for Lon too, only of course his sweetener is his Casey-love.
So I suppose you've gathered by now that I loved, loved, loved this tale and if I could I'd be double starring this, but as the most I can give it in reviewing terms is five, then let's make those five stars platinum ones because plain old colourless ones don't give this the credit I personally think it deserves. Renae Kaye rocks this one out of the park! Absolute Aussie awesomeness...this one's bonzer; a real beaut!
Buy it Here
Aussie Christmas in the sand
With Thanksgiving over in the US, people start looking towards Christmas. Not that I’m a US citizen, but I can imagine them in their coats and woolly scarves, battling the snow and ice to get ready for Christmas Day and the fun it entails. They bring out their skates for the frozen ponds, the sleds and the toboggans for rides. They hope for a white Christmas and…
Yeah – whatever. Snow? Ha! I saw snow once. I was 15 and on a trip to Canberra. We travelled on a bus non-stop for three days straight to reach the capital city of our country. Then one day while we were there, we took a trip to a place called Blue Cow Mountain, and there was some white stuff around. It was wet. It was cold. My pants got soaked and I spent ages in the toilets with them under the hand dryer. We stayed for an hour.
Australia is in the southern hemisphere and we get Christmas in the summer.
This year, my prayer is for a mild Christmas. Around 32-34 degrees Celsius would be nice (90-94F) but not too unreasonable to ask for this time of year. I’ve had Christmases in 42 degree heat (108F) and as low as 27C (80F).
I remember the Christmas we were caught with huge summer thunderstorms and I spent an hour out the back of mum’s house bucketing water off the back patio where it was threatening to come in the back door. I also remember the Christmas Eve we had a bushfire come so close to us it burnt the back paddock’s fence down.
I grew up in a semi-rural area, and Christmas was always very special. The excitement of Father Christmas bringing presents meant you couldn’t sleep that night – and it would be so hot you’d sleep with the windows open anyway, listening for him to come. Christmas morning would be a round of hugs and kisses, before Dad would clap his hands together and say, “Ok, let’s get the animals fed so we can open presents.”
Yes. The animals came first. We’d all dart off to do our jobs, and Mum would get breakfast out – cornflakes, yogurt, and eggs-on-toast.
But THE BEST thing would be waiting to hear the sirens. Yes. One of the most important people in our community were the men and women who volunteered on our local Volunteer Fire Brigade. In the semi-rural areas, we don’t have fireys, so we rely on fundraising and volunteers to be our front line defence. And each Christmas morning, they’d dress someone up in a Santa costume and drive the roads sounding the siren. The kids would run out to the road (sometimes still dressed in jarmies) and receive a bag of lollies.
It was the HIGHLIGHT of Christmas morning.
We’d stand out the front and wave to our neighbours, shout down the road and hope that they’d hear us. Then the Volunteer Fire Brigade would drive past with Santa clinging to the back, and stop at each house. While we were getting our lollies at the back of the truck, Dad would be delivering the all-important beer to the front of the truck. It was our way of saying thank you.
These days I’ve moved to the suburbs, have small children of my own and we have to incorporate my husband’s traditions with mine. My father has passed away now, and so my side of the family meet at my sister’s house for lunch since she has the three most important features we need for Christmas: a pool, air-con and a BBQ.
My (extremely large) immediate family and their kids are all invited, which would put the head count at around 50 people if they all turned up. But usually we have around 20-25. Each branch of the family is responsible for bringing a section of the meal. The meat is cooked the day before – roasted lamb, beef and several whole chickens – and cut up as cold slices. Boiled eggs, coleslaw, potato salad, Caesar salad, bread rolls and lettuce are all set out for people. Prawns and sausages (for the kids) are cooked on the BBQ and are the only item served hot. And we finish up the meal with pavlova (a type of meringue), fruit salad, cheesecake and ice cream.
We’re all waddling by the end of the day.
My husband’s family, in contrast, celebrate Christmas breakfast. We have a BBQ breakfast of sausages, bacon, tomatoes, mushroom and eggs, along with croissants, a fruit platter and champagne. The entire street is invited.
My Christmas Day starts at 5am when I wake the kids (yes! Ugh – I have to get them moving) so we can unwrap our presents and skedaddle over to the in-laws for breakfast before rushing off to lunch at my sister’s. Usually with a car full of presents and several eskies of ice to keep the food and drinks cool.
My newest book Safe In His Arms released on Friday 28th November and is set in Fremantle, Western Australia. Lon and Casey celebrate Christmas during the course of the story, and I’ve tried to give readers a taste of what it is like on Christmas Day in Australia and the days surrounding Christmas.
There is usually time spent at the beach and Christmas is often celebrated with sunburns in various stages – from bright red (oh, you went to the beach yesterday?) to peeling badly (oh, you got burnt four days ago?) to brown (check out that tan line – I see you were wearing a bikini?).
Our Christmas trees are fake plastic, or small potted shrubs. If you try to bring in a branch off a gum tree, it will just mean a whole lot of brown leaves to clean up.
Candles are a bad idea for our aussie celebrations (fires are catastrophic in Perth), as is anything like chocolate which will melt in the heat. LED lights and painted pinecones are good.
And do you know those zany Christmas jumpers they get to wear in the US?
I prefer our Aussie Christmas dress, don’t you?
I hope that you enjoy Safe In His Arms. This book is darker than anything I’ve written before, but is still humorous. There are a number of hard subjects I’ve touch upon in this story – child abuse, mental health issues, effects of alcoholism – and I hope I’ve done them justice.
What I love most about this book is that the characters are not perfect. They make mistakes. They struggle on a daily basis with issues they have. They act and react. But they roll out of bed each morning and face the day. That’s the hardest thing to do sometimes. When you’ve lived through abuse or a tragedy, or you’ve suffered grief or depression, the getting out of bed is sometimes the most courageous thing you can do.
I’ve done this. Those days where you don’t think you can go on? But you do, because there is someone else in your life needing you, or sometimes just because you want to say “fuck you – you’re not getting to me” to the world.
Both Casey and Lon have a core running through them that is weathered and bent, but not yet broken. But what they find in the arms of the other, is that sometimes love helps this core to strengthen and lengthen. They are bruised and battered by things that were not really their fault. Perhaps it is the thing they can understand about each other. Perhaps it is the you-won’t-get-to-me mentality.
All I know is these guys are perfect for each other – if they can just see it.
You can purchase this book from Dreamspinner, Amazon or ARe. While you’re there, why not check out my other books too?
I’m offering one Sinfully Sexy Book Review reader a free eBook of their choice above.
To enter, leave me a comment and briefly tell me what your favourite Christmas tradition is.
Meet Renae Kaye
Renae Kaye is a lover and hoarder of books who thinks libraries are devilish places because they make you give the books back. She consumed her first adult romance book at the tender age of thirteen and hasn’t stopped since. After years – and thousands of stories! – of not having book characters do what she wants, she decided she would write her own novel and found the characters still didn’t do what she wanted. It hasn’t stopped her though. She believes that maybe one day the world will create a perfect couple – and it will be the most boring story ever. So until then she is stuck with quirky, snarky and imperfect characters who just want their story told.
Renae lives in Perth, Western Australia and writes in five minute snatches between the demands of two kids, a forbearing husband, too many pets, too much housework and her beloved veggie garden. She is a survivor of being the youngest in a large family and believes that laughter (and a good book) can cure anything.
I’m offering one Sinfully Sexy Book Review reader a free eBook of their choice above.
Enter the Rafflecopter below, leave me a comment and briefly tell me what your favourite Christmas tradition is.