Every month the Sinfully team brings you our Hotpicks. Check out our favourites for May and don’t forget five lucky readers get the chance to win a Kindle eBook from our list of May’s Hotpicks. Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win. Keep up with all our 2016 Hotpicks –> HERE.
On Higher Ground by Melissa Collins
When there’s no peace after war…
When there’s no solace after death…
When there’s only pain and suffering…
Anxiety and loss…
All you can hope to find is something more…
Something that makes you whole and complete
Something that puts you
On Higher Ground
Lisa: On Higher Ground by Melissa Collins is the continuation of Jacob “Dax” Daxton and Beckett Ridge’s (a.k.a. Beck) love story, two beloved characters that we met in On Solid Ground (book one). I have a confession to make. Ready, Mark? I usually HATE when authors decide to continue a story about the same characters in a second book, particularly when the said characters have already gotten their happy ending. So, why in the heck would I decide to dive right into this book you may ask? Well…. It’s really simple, actually. Melissa Collins. That’s it. This author can honestly write the phone book and I would read it. And, I am so glad that I did not say no to reading this one. Catching up with Dax, Beck and Violet was everything! Seeing the two men continue to move forward from their traumatic pasts simply solidified just how much I love these two characters that have etched themselves right onto my heart.
I absolutely loved On Higher Ground from beginning to end. It is an emotional and beautiful tale about fighting for love and family. When I finished the book I had a huge smile on my face. That is the sign of a wonderful romance, a book that leaves me happily sighing. Even though this book left me in romance la la land, it was so much more than a simple romance. It’s about pure, unadulterated love. The kind that you bleed for and cry for. It’s the kind that takes a hold of you and never lets go. It is also the kind that you build a family on.
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Come What May (All Saints #1)
by A.M. Arthur
Jonas needs Tate. He just doesn't know it yet.
Or at least, he doesn't want to admit it. Because there is no way Jonas Ashcroft is gay. He's a straight, carefree frat boy player, just like any good son of a conservative state senator. If only his struggle to convince everyone—especially himself—didn't leave him so miserable. No matter how many girls or bottles he drowns himself in, Jonas can neither escape nor accept who he is.
Enter Tate. He's smart, confident, and instantly sees right through Jonas's surly exterior. Sure, he's done things in life he's not proud of, but he knows who he is and what he wants. And what he wants is Jonas. As their easy friendship intensifies into something more, Tate introduces Jonas to a life he's never known. One filled with acceptance and sex and a love that terrifies and excites them both.
But some inner demons refuse to be shaken off so easily. When Jonas's old life barges in, he faces a shattering choice, one that could destroy everything he and Tate have fought so hard for. Sometimes love just isn't enough—and sometimes it's exactly what you need.
Book One of All Saints, the brand-new series from A.M. Arthur.
Mark: As I did two joint reviews in May with Lisa and Sally who subsequently snatched both books from me for their HP (LOL!) then I had the chance to feature another great read for me in May. Tate is street wise and probably a lot wiser than his years due to his experiences. Jonas needs the gentle love and support Tate provides but above all the patience and understanding needed when dealing with someone in the closet. It’s like playing with a scared rabbit, one sudden move too fast and the rabbit will bolt. Jonas is so skittish at first but once the hormones take over and the flood gates are down, OMG, I could feel the sexual tension in Jonas practically explode in a flood of emotion.
A.M. Arthur’s Come What May for me is a wonderful coming out story, especially from Jonas’ view point. Two wonderful characters that I loved immensely and told with such insight, feeling and emotion that for me is the hallmark of A.M. Arthur’s writing. An uplifting story that left me feeling good and positive about life and the good people in it.
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Risk Aware by Amelia C. Gormley
Tattoo artist Geoff Gilchrest is convinced his life is some sort of cosmic joke. Why else would a hemophiliac also be a masochist? He’s given himself more than one elbow bleed since puberty just doing what guys do when alone and bored, so forget about whips and chains. How many partners would contemplate playing with someone even a mild flogging could kill?
Gallery owner Robin Brady knows he can deliver what Geoff needs: to be taken to the edge of danger but never beyond. But Robin came to Saugatuck to get away from the leather scene and heal from a betrayal by his former sub, so he’s not sure he should get involved with Geoff. His ambivalence isn’t helped by the fact that Geoff’s unwillingness to communicate about his well-being hits Robin in some very raw places.
Geoff’s hemophilia isn’t the obstacle he thinks it is. Instead, a lack of trust—on both their parts—is what could end them before they have a chance to begin.
Debra: May 2016 may go down as one of my best reading months! Out of 13 books reviewed 7 were 4.5 or 5 star reads for me, so this month’s decision was definitely tough, but my pick is Risk Aware by Amelia C. Gormley.
The wonderfully written story of a sub who is a hemophiliac seeking pain, offered a nice twist I hadn’t seen before, allowing for some very creative play. There are some incredibly hot scenes involving sensory play and mind games, all designed by Robin to give Geoff what he craves and never believed he would find. Trust is a big issue for Robin, not just because of the serious risk involved in their play, but because of the way things ended with his former lover. Meanwhile Geoff resents his condition so much, he tries to hide it from Robin in any way possible, raising the danger level.
Geoff and Robin had quite a bit to overcome in addition to learning how to work with Geoff’s condition, but the book balanced the drama with some great kink and a very believable love story. I highly recommend this for those who enjoy creative kink and a relationship that doesn’t take the easy road.
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A Time To Rise by Tal Bauer
History says the Knights Templar were destroyed in 1307.
History is wrong.
Vampires haunt the sewers beneath Rome, revenants desecrate graveyards, ghouls devour helpless passersby, and incubi stalk dark alleys and seedy nightclubs in Italy’s capital. Deep in the Vatican, a brotherhood exists, sworn protectors of the earth, and they stand firm against monsters from the dark depths. Operating in secret and silence, they protect our world from the sinister, the etheric, and the evils that exist beyond the Veil.
But it’s a lonely life, and Alain Autenberg knows that more than most. His lover was ripped from him years ago, and he vowed never to get close to another soul again. Even when the loneliness presses down on him, and his empty heart cries out for something more.
Something more comes in Cristoph Hasse, a new soldier arriving in Rome to serve in the Pontifical Swiss Guard. Young, brash, and fitting in at right angles everywhere he goes, Cris struggles in the murky, deceptive labyrinth of the Vatican. Propelled forward by a past he can’t understand, Cris collides with Alain, and both men crash headfirst into the darkest secret of the Vatican…and of the world.
Freya: I loved absolutely everything about this book. I read all of this while on holiday in Poland, and a good portion, visiting a castle, surrounded by men of the church. So, I felt as though I was as close to Vatican City as I could be without being actually there. Even when in my hotel room, the scene setting was intoxicating.
A Time To Rise has everything in it. Action, drama, murder, love, loss, secrets, intrigue and some steaming sex scenes to boot. From the first paragraph, it hooked me. There’s the Vodka-throwing, gun-toting priest, Father Lotario and, Alain, the man who had to give up everything to serve in the way God intended. Hell, even The Pope gets involved. The dialogue, too, is a perfect combination of serious to humour. The editing, too, is spot on, with no story holes or gaffs.
I do, A Time To Rise, a disservice by suggesting it is, Angels and Demons meets Buffy, where the Buffster is a buff man who knows that every time he goes out of the door, it could be his last day on earth. And then he finds love (again) – what a ball breaker. Nope, this book is soooo much better. Not once could I predict what the outcome of a scene would be. Yes, I had a suspicion or two, but nothing was ever set in concrete, and more than once a scene didn’t go as I thought it would – blooming fantastic.
This story had me totally engrossed, laughing one minute, and my heart in my mouth the next. And Tal Bauer is an expert at the jaw-dropping finales.
Before I go completely off my rocker about this story, go read my review.
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Across Your Dreams by Jay Lewis Taylor
“I hope we’ll meet again on the other side of fear, but should this damn war choose otherwise then all we can do is bear it …“
Lew and Russ, Grant and Alan have been caught up in the Great War, which governs their coming together and their moving apart; which has sucked them into the machine and seems reluctant to spit them out. When at last the Armistice comes, three out of the four survive; but how many will survive the peace?
Sally: Across Your Dreams by Jay Lewis Taylor had everything I demand from a story - engaging characters, excellent and precise writing, a plausible and well researched plot - but it addition it had a great deal of heart.
The Great War setting is very much in the news at the moment and I loved that the book examined facets of the conflict that aren’t normally addressed - from the opening scenes in the naval action in Mesopotamia to the aftermath for servicemen whose lives have been irrevocably changed. I loved the attention to detail that nevertheless didn’t feel forced and how those details were used to increase the tension of the various character arcs. Those characters were such a perfect variety of walks of life too, and although I adored the lovers I think I’ve spent more time since finishing the book thinking about a secondary character and hoping that he found happiness, or at least peace. If the author needs encouragement to write a follow up concerning Jack I’ll give him every encouragement.
But follow up or no, this book is one the rare titles that I’m going to buy in paperback, it’s just that good.
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Iro’s Hot Pick
Kestrel’s Talon by Bey Deckard
Following the Prentish/Nemarri war, Kes is rejected by his homeland under the guise of religious purity laws. Though he's spared execution, the proud Nemarri's fate is only marginally more merciful than death when he is sold into sexual slavery at a prosperous pleasure house.
Despite his stoic endurance, Kes knows he’s reaching his breaking point, but there is nothing he can do—there is no path to freedom in the Holy Prentish Empire, only a lifetime of humiliating servitude.
That is, until a beautiful young slave and his formidable master approach Kes in the marketplace and make an astonishing offer to take him home with them. The only problem: “home” is the accursed Horthmont Castle from the scare-stories of Kes’s childhood.
Thrown into a world of living myth, powerful magic, and ancient gods, Kes learns the secrets kept hidden by Horthmont’s thick blackstone walls. There he discovers something he thought he’d never know again: hope for the future.
Iro: I had an amazing time reading this book. With Kestrel being a slave I went into the story with trepidation, sharing his desperation for his situation and the fear for what was in store for him at his new home. The other two main characters were really enigmatic, adding another layer of mystery to the story. From there, it was a whirlwind of unexpected plot twists and revelations. Great world-building, main characters that were flawed but lovable and a triad that was far from stereotypical. Combined with a host of interesting and unconventional secondary characters, magic, intrigue and danger looming over them all, threatening to destroy what they've build and protected at any cost, it made for a truly captivating read. It's the kind of story that combines everything; great plot, suspense, steamy sex scenes, and hard earned love. If I had to pick my favorite thing in the book it would be this amazing character that took me completely by surprise – a man who has learned the hard way that nothing comes without a price, has suffered immense loss and pain, and still has a huge heart and endless compassion. I dare say he is the heart of the story and I love him to pieces!
I love fantasy, so I had high expectations when I started reading Kestrel's Talon, and they were thankfully fulfilled! I was left wanting more – of the characters and of this world, so it's a good thing that this is the first book in a series. The next book can't come soon enough!
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Hexbreaker (Hexworld #1) by Jordan L. Hawk
Buy on Amazon
Will a dark history doom their future together?
New York copper Tom Halloran is a man with a past. If anyone finds out he once ran with the notorious O’Connell tunnel gang, he’ll spend the rest of his life doing hard time behind bars. But Tom’s secret is threatened when a horrible murder on his beat seems to have been caused by the same ancient magic that killed his gang.
Cat shifter Cicero is determined to investigate the disappearance of one friend and the death of another, even though no one else believes the cases are connected. When the trail of his investigation crosses Tom’s, the very bohemian Cicero instinctively recognizes the uncultured Irish patrolman as his witch. Though they’re completely unsuited to one another, Cicero has no choice but to work alongside Tom…all the while fighting against the passion growing within.
Tom knows that taking Cicero as his familiar would only lead to discovery and disaster. Yet as the heat between them builds, Tom’s need for the other man threatens to overcome every rational argument against becoming involved.
But when their investigation uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all of New York, Tom must make the hardest decision of his life: to live a lie and gain his heart’s desire, or to confess the truth and sacrifice it all.
Alan: It’s a cause for celebration! Jordan Hawk has now officially launched a brand new series, “Hexworld”, and it looks like it’s going to be another foray into the strange, creative mind of one of the best authors of gay paranormal literature writing today.
Despite the over-the-top and anachronistic setting, a huge amount of shifting, hexing and un-hexing going on all around them, Ms. Hawk manages to keep the affection, the growing love between the two at a human level, even though at least one of them is not entirely human. And that is the secret of Ms. Hawk’s genius – she manages to make the unbelievable and improbable authentic by imbuing her characters with the most human and familiar emotions, dreams, strengths and weaknesses. She makes you care about the most unlikely people in the most extraordinary circumstances - she makes you root for them, she makes your heart skip a beat with both their fear and their passion, and she makes you want to desperately come back for the next installment. She spins a world you never want to leave. I do recommend “Hexbreaker” to one and all, Jordan Hawk fan or not. But be warned, her books can be terribly addictive.
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Monique’s Hot Pick
Loud and Clear by Aiden Wayne
Jaxon is getting by fine, severe dyslexia or not. Being a cab driver means he doesn’t need to read much, and the job has its perks. The pay isn’t bad, the people can be interesting, and having memorized the city streets keeps him from feeling too stupid.
When he picks up Caleb, a quiet fare in a nice suit, Jaxon doesn't think anything of it. Then he ends up driving Caleb home the next week too, and the next, and the next. Eventually Caleb tries to communicate—by writing things down. Turns out that Caleb has such a bad stutter he spends most of his time mute.
If only Jaxon had an easier time reading what Caleb had to say. But he’s interested in trying, and Caleb seems interested back. They discover that, with a little bit of effort, it isn’t so hard to make themselves understood. Especially when what’s growing between them is definitely worth talking about.
Monique: I absolutely loved this little gem of a read! Fabulous writing, terrific concept and the most adorable characters. What a great combination these two men are together. A dyslexic cabbie a bit rough around the edges and a successful marketing strategist all polish and shine with a severe stutter. There is so much to savour in Loud and Clear, it’s impossible not to enjoy. Both Caleb and Jaxon have and still do suffer from peoples’ cruel, misconstrued perceptions, making everyday a battle for Caleb living in the limelight, and with Jaxon suffering from low self esteem, he just tries to make himself invisible.
But their story together, their attraction, getting to know each other and learning to communicate with kindness and consideration and the simple understanding of each other’s needs was just beautiful to see. Aidan Wayne delivered a funny and poignant little gem you do not want to miss, Loud and Clear is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and I will most definitely be checking out future releases!
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