How happy are we to have Sam McAuley pop in for a visit as part of the Semper Fidelis Blog tour… She’s here to chat about those books that make us smile. You can also check out our review, that would be Monique, Macky and Liza because an anthology with HOT military men! Haha… our Marky didn’t get a look in!
There is also a giveaway, so don’t miss out!
Semper Fidelis Anthology
Publisher ~ Totally Bound Publishing
Published ~ 20th February 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance, Military.
‘Anomaly’ by S.A. McAuley
Staff Sergeant Galen Welc is known for his uncanny ability to spot improvised explosive devices and so he’s pitted against the latest in defense technology. He trusts his instincts and his training, but they may just be leading him somewhere—and to an explosive reaction with someone—he could never see coming.
‘Always Ready’ by T.A. Chase
Making a living on the Bering Sea is hard enough, but throw love into the equation, and things can blow into a hurricane. Dean and Phil must always be ready to love each other because life can be taken so easily when one works on the sea.
‘A Ring and a Vow’ by Devon Rhodes
Every promise must someday be fulfilled, and the best way Owen knows how to reward Cary’s faith is with a vow. It’s been nearly five years since Owen went down on one knee with his Academy ring and promised Cary he’d someday do it for real. With Cary being a Naval aviator and Owen a Marine officer serving in Iraq, they’re rarely on the same continent, let alone together. Cary has been waiting for Owen for years—there was no chance he’d ever say anything but yes. Owen is coming home at last, and wants to make a home with him.
‘My Marine’ by LE Franks and Sara York
Marine Captain Sean Kelley loves his country and the men he serves with, but when he meets Akim, he’s tempted to throw it all away for the mysterious man. Akim Bijan has a secret of his own—one large enough to get more than just himself killed if it’s revealed. But from the moment he first lays eyes on the handsome Marine, he’s tempted to do just that. When tragedy strikes, Akim is afraid he’s lost Sean for good and he’s forced to make a decision that will change both their lives.
‘Soul Sick’ by Kendall McKenna
Jamie thought he made it home to Tucker, leaving war behind. Now, each day he battles to fit into his own life, and save the love that saved his life. Jamie is a captain in the US Marine Corps who carried a photo of Tucker with him throughout his deployment. Tucker is a reformed bad boy who has an advanced degree and an important job but still sports long hair and tattoos. Now, they’re struggling to learn to live with each other again, and things are going downhill fast.
‘Safe Shores’ by Morticia Knight
Kirk’s Coast Guard lover, Shane, is the only person who can save his son from a vicious storm—if he’s not too late. Shane and Kirk’s joyful reunion is interrupted when an unusually vicious gale storm threatens the coast. Kirk has to stand by helplessly and wait while his lover battles the raging seas to save his son. In an instant, Kirk could lose everyone he holds dear.
A Ring and A Vow by Devon Rhodes
Cary and Owen, kept apart for years by their individual service to their country, but held together by a promise of forever. When Owen learns that the two men have a better chance of being posted close together if they were married, he proposes for the second time just before both men sign their new five year papers.
The story is sweet, the nightmares not mentioned overly much and most of the story focused on plans for the wedding. I loved that there was no angst in this story - just two men, with loving and accepting families who finally made true the vow they had given each other so many years before.
Safe Shores by Morticia Knight
Kirk and Shane had been lovers for three years, but they had never talked about their feelings or a future together. But they had both thought about it long and hard. A chance revelation followed by a horrible tragedy that could have cost Kirk both his son and his lover, reminded both men of what being in love truly means.
There was so much detail packed into this short story. The descriptions of what it was like to be out on the water in icy weather, the problems Shane had when he was trying to rescue Joel, Ms. Knight draws you into a world not many of us get to experience and it was beautifully done. The love story matched the men who shared it and I read this one twice so that I could take in all that this story offered.
Always Ready by TA Chase
Chief Dean Jacobson has been in a fairly committed relationship with his younger lover Phil Rhodes, a third generation crab fisherman for two years. Both of them put their lives on the line daily with their careers; Phil because he takes his boat into the dangerously, rough and stormy Bering Sea and Dean, because it's his job as a rescue swimmer with the coastguard to literally jump in the ocean to pull anyone drowning to safety. Phil stays under the radar when it comes to his sexuality but has fallen hard for Dean, and vice versa. When a terrible storm threatens to put their relationship in danger, it forces them both to look deeply at their future together as a couple.
I did like this story. It was sexy, had a touch of excitement towards the end and I definitely felt a connection between the two MC's. But considering the drama, I did think it could have perhaps done with a bit more of an emotional kick. Generally speaking for an anthology short it was an easy read.
Soul Sick by Kendall McKenna
Another established couple story, this emotionally charged one started with Jamie, a Captain in the Marines, returning from a particularly bad deployment that had left him injured and suffering from some form of PTSD. The only thing keeping him going through his tour, was the thought that reformed bad boy Tucker, his tattooed partner and lover, would be waiting for him at home. But after so long apart and because of his trauma, their reunion isn't as smooth as it should be and the two of them struggle to settle back into the life they'd had together before he'd left.
The raw emotion Kendall McKenna managed to portray in this short tale was excellent. The sex was hot and passionate and their chemistry spot on. Tucker and Jamie really got under my skin and I was totally engrossed in their drama. BUT... this was one of those reads that was screaming to be fleshed out into a full length story...the first half was gripping but being so short the transition from high crisis to suddenly happy again, felt rushed. It was like getting the beginning and end of a really good novel with the middle bit missing. I would have loved to have seen more of these two engaging guys and with a bit more length and deeper insight into their relationship this could have been 5 stars.
My Marine by LE Franks & Sara York
This short story is a condensed… meet, lust, love, lost, injured, angst, declarations of undying love and a HEA. All amongst and between a war torn Afghanistan and a recovery unit in San Diego.
Kelley and Akim glance each other in passing and before you know it, there is immediate attraction. Insta love at it’s finest!?! (Unfortunately not for me.) Then with barely a conversation between them, they are fucking, with Kelley determined to make it his life’s mission to keep Akim forever. But Akim is not all he seems, and there is a reason for their lack of conversation.
Weeks apart with a hidden secret between them and Kelley is injured by an IED… but don’t worry, Akim turns up to save his lover, only to be spurned by Kelley over a melodrama of mistrust.
Personally I think it was a bit ambitious to try and pack so much into such a short story. It’s sweet but lacks depth and there is no time at all to connect to the characters and unfortunately it’s all a little too saccharine for me.
Anomaly by S.A. McAuley
Don’t you just love it when you read something that just makes you sit there with a permanent grin, well Sam McAuly did that for me with Anomaly. I immediately took to Galen and totally caught onto his personality with the fun he had with a traffic app called Waze, getting slightly distracted in crawling traffic playing match the avatar to his fellow commuters… but it’s Captain America that evades him!
I really liked the idea of a hot rocket scientist and a marine together, and strangely enough, in the situation she places them it works. There is undeniable attraction between Galen and Zach even before they meet.
I like insta love, hell it happens in real life… but an author needs to make me believe it, I have to want those two men together and get the sexual chemistry connecting them, making me want to draw hearts around it to make it so.
For a short story this is good, because it concentrates on the start of the relationship with the promise of more to come, it’s funny, cute, quirky and sexy!!! The first chapter in their life together… I just need the rest now!?!
Like the sound of the Semper Fidelis anthology?
Open For Instant Happiness
I have this category on my Kindle titled “Open for Instant Happiness.” As titles go, this one is entirely self-explanatory. When I’m in a blue mood or bone-weary, those gems are my go-to. As of today, there are 71 books snuggled into my virtual happy place.
Some are included there because they have a touch of angst with a gratifying HEA. Some because the caliber of writing is transformative. There are overarching themes to a smattering of the selections (athletes, of course—which will be of no surprise to anyone who follows me on the regular). Some make it to the “Happiness” shelf due to their highly graphic (and super sexy) content. All of them make me smile.
Because sometimes you just need a little joy in your life.
There’s no way I could pick a favorite out of those 71—they all serve such different purposes. Steampunk to feed creativity. Mystery to get my neurons firing. Fluff to easy my soul. Fanfic for when I want to indulge.
Choosing a book to fit, or transform, my mood is like picking through a toolbox. When I find just the right wrench for just the right pipe, it’s like magic.
That sweet spot is one of the best parts of the reading experience. When you connect with the words in front of you on a level that takes you away from ordinary life. And yet, an engaging story can anchor you to the present just as efficiently. Helping you make sense of your emotions or perspective. Rooting you in gratitude for the good you do have in your life. Or sending you into upheaval to change something that is no longer sitting quite right.
Reading is a skill and for knowledge building. It’s for escapism, yes, and it’s also to give us windows into worlds and experiences we know nothing of. Picking up a book, adoring it (or hating it) and sharing, debating that journey is the original social media.
So tell me, what are the books you would have on your “Open for Instant Happiness” shelf?
(I also have a “Rip My Heart Open” category that serves the complementary need for the occasional sob fest. More on that another time!)
And here’s an excerpt from my short story Anomaly, appearing in the Semper Fidelis anthology. I hope it leaves you with warm fuzzies!!
Whatever. He was doing this. Casey had talked him into doing a basic grid pattern search on the streets around the 210 while Waze operated, with the assumption—aka blind and baseless hope—that the mystery guy worked around the area. If Galen ran across him, then he could click on his avatar and send him a message. If the guy answered, then Galen would be able to message him without them being near each other anymore. His location had been added to the map, other users were popping up and it was just a matter of—
“Dude. I am not that fucking lucky.” Galen stared dumbfounded at the screen of his cell as the Captain America shield avatar hovered only feet away from his car. His heart started to pound. “Has to be a different guy. Has to be.”
He hit the avatar and the name ZJR came up just as the icon was getting closer and closer to him. Galen watched out his rearview mirror and saw the black car pass by with the mysterious hottie at the wheel. “Holy shit.” He threw his cell into the passenger seat in lieu of taking the time to put it into the dashboard cradle and shifted the car into reverse to follow ZJR so he didn’t lose him before getting to send him a message.
He punched the accelerator so hard he slammed into the car in the lot behind him. Just as ZJR pulled onto the main road and disappeared.
Meet SA McAuley
I sleep little, read a lot. Happiest in a foreign country. Twitchy when not mentally in motion. My name is Sam, not Sammy, definitely not Samantha. I’m a pretty dark/cynical/jaded person, but I hide that darkness well behind my obsession(s) for shiny objects. I’m the macabre wrapped in irresistible bubble wrap and a glittery pink bow, I suppose.
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