Every month the Sinfully team brings you our Hotpicks. Check out our favourites for December and don’t forget five lucky readers get the chance to win a Kindle eBook from our list of December’s Hotpicks. Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win. Keep up with all our 2016 Hotpicks –> HERE.
Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert
In the bustling restaurants, shops, and cafés of Portland, Oregon, things really heat up for the hard-working men behind the scenes when the holidays come into town . . .
For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected . . .
Lisa: Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert is the fifth book in her Portland Heat series. I am a huge fan of this author with her fun and heart-warming books that leave you clenching your heart and happily sighing. This book was no exception. From the first page I was hooked and wanted to see just how things would play out between the surly stationary store owner and the sexy and boisterous gift shop owner with a personality that was hard to ignore. I loved the fact that this was a holiday tale because….. Christmas! There’s always a little magic in the air when it comes to the Christmas season; and, sometimes it’s that winter magic that can help two individuals find love with the last person they expected.
This was a wonderful addition to this series. I love how real the characters this author creates seem to be. Hollis and Sawyer were no exception. This book is another heart-warming gem about learning to open up and letting that someone special in, becoming vulnerable and learning to trust in love even when it happens with the last person you expect. This is a wonderfully executed holiday romance by Ms. Albert. It’s is not bogged down with unnecessary over-the-top angst and drama. What you get is a sweet, fun and light-hearted love story that will leave you happily sighing and clutching your heart. This is definitely a series to check out for lovers of the M/M genre. Highly recommended.
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Mark’s & Sally’s Hotpick
Seven Summer Nights by Harper Fox
It’s 1946, and the dust of World War Two has just begun to settle. When famous archaeologist Rufus Denby returns to London, his life and reputation are as devastated as the city around him.
He’s used to the most glamorous of excavations, but can’t turn down the offer of a job in rural Sussex. It’s a refuge, and the only means left to him of scraping a living. With nothing but his satchel and a mongrel dog he’s rescued from a bomb site, he sets out to investigate an ancient church in the sleepy village of Droyton Parva.
It’s an ordinary task, but Droyton is in the hands of a most extraordinary vicar. The Reverend Archie Thorne has tasted action too, as a motorcycle-riding army chaplain, and is struggling to readjust to the little world around him. He’s a lonely man, and Rufus’s arrival soon sparks off in him a lifetime of repressed desires.
Rufus is a combat case, amnesiac and shellshocked. As he and Archie begin to unfold the archaeological mystery of Droyton, their growing friendship makes Rufus believe he might one day recapture his lost memories of the war, and find his way back from the edge of insanity to love.
It’s summer on the South Downs, the air full of sunshine and enchantment. And Rufus and Archie’s seven summer nights have just begun...
Mark: Sally and I absolutely adored this book so we did a joint review. The intricacy of the plot is incredible. We have the mystical but not overdone, ethereal in its presence, you know there is something bubbling under the surface until everything comes to light at the end. An ancient mystery waiting to be solved, we have the historical aspect with the time period, archaeology and the abhorrent attitudes in this time towards homosexuality, mental illness, PTSD, faith in religion or lack of and small minded rural life. A lot of issues in one book. All this wrapped up in a wonderful, delicious plot that had me breaking my bedtime curfew just to read further. My favourite quote from the book sopke to me profoundly…..
“If we have to wait until we have peace in our hearts before we start working for it in the world, we’ll never get anywhere. We just have to start with what we have.”
Yes, so much truth in that.
Sally: Seven Summer Nights is a historical romance, but so much more! There’s the immediate post war period of the late 1940s where traumatised young people tried to fit back into civilian life, there’s the bleak prospects faced by those who suffered from PTSD, which had not yet been recognised as a legitimate concern, there’s the boom in archaeology, and above all there is love, all displayed for our delectation in Harper’s beautiful prose.
I’d just like to add a quotation too – I highlighted so much of this book!….
“Come on, Rufus. Join us. I have a kid, a dog, a warrior housekeeper and a part-time madwoman. I just need an archaeologist to complete my collection.”
A surge of pleasure went through Rufus. It felt like champagne: hard to bottle up, intoxicating, dangerous. “
Here is Harper Fox in essence – humour, fun, joy and so much love with just a hint of peril. I love this book so much I’ve moved it to my comfort read folder.
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A Bond of Truth (Sensual Bonds #2) by K.C. Wells
Sequel to A Bond of Three
It is twenty years since the Bond of Three returned to Teruna. The kingdom of Kandor, once Teruna’s enemy, seeks help and sends its finest warrior, Dainon, on a diplomatic mission. A solitary man since his wife and child died, Dainon is unable to explain why an encounter with a young man on a beach rocks his world to its core.
Prince Arrio of Teruna has always been attracted to men but has never acted on it—until he meets Dainon. Headstrong Arrio goes after what he wants, despite his fathers’ advice. But when Prince Kei arrives unexpectedly, Arrio finds himself drawn to both men. Is history repeating itself?
Prince Kei has his first taste of freedom and is shocked when the visions that have plagued him since childhood become reality. The three men embark on a voyage of discovery. No one has foreseen the day, however, when the arrival of a stranger threatens to destroy their bond.
Debra: This follow-up to A Bond of Three is a light fantasy ménage that was just as sexy and fun as the first book. It works as a standalone, but the original three from the first book play a big part in the story as well.
Here two young royals, Arrio and Kei, each with some special powers, find their destinies tied to each other and the older warrior, Dainon. While Dainon was once married to a woman he considered his one and only soul mate, he can’t deny the connection to the two young princes, although it doesn’t stop him from trying. As the three struggle to work out what their bond means and explore their feelings for each other, trouble comes to the kingdom in the guise of long-lost family and may put a quick end to everything the three men were building.
Romance and sexual tension, that flares hot, sweet and dirty when the men are together, uncertainty and danger, a little bit of action and magic, and three different yet lovable main characters all combine to make this a very worthwhile read for ménage fans.
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Interlude, First Noel by Tal Bauer
Before Ethan returns to DC…
Before he becomes Jack’s first gentleman…
Jack and Ethan share their first Christmas together.
Step back to Jack and Ethan’s first Christmas season and the tentative early months of their relationship under the world’s spotlight.
Three months into Ethan’s transfer-in-exile in Des Moines, Iowa, the pressures of dating Jack, the president of the United States, start to wear Ethan down. His weeks are measured by the days he works in Iowa, chasing counterfeiters and financial crimes, and the weekends he manages to steal with Jack back in DC. The media stalks his every move, he’s isolated by his coworkers, and loneliness hammers at his heart.
In DC, Jack tries to piece together a global alliance to take down the Caliphate, while the world seems focused on tearing apart his personal life. Hostility surrounds him from all corners of the globe, but a surprise offer from President Sergey Puchkov may pave the way for a tentative alliance…and perhaps the beginning of a friendship.
As Ethan finds himself in the middle of an investigation that rubs too deeply against his soul and Jack tries to balance leading the free world and keeping his and Ethan’s relationship going, the two men must face what their love has become…and where they are heading together.
Freya: Considering how much I gushed about this story, it will come as no surprise that it is my December Hot Pick.
This year, so many wonderful stories have enriched my life. But this one was a Christmas treat that put the others in the series into perspective. I am a fangirl of the highest order for the world of President Jack Spiers and his Secret Service Lover, Ethan Reichenbach. Just check out the review, and it will send home the point.
The only way I can convey my feelings about any of Tal Bauer’s writing, but especially this series is; if this book was in a shop, I’d have my nose pressed against the door. At opening time, I’d be ready with rocket boosters attached to my shoes ready to beat the hoards to get the first copy.
Interlude was a Christmas special that linked the series in a way that made them top of my all time reading list. It contains the fast-fire life of the White House. The heartache of separation. Politics. Gossip. Conjecture. Nightmares of memories. Hot loving and a Russian who completely slayed me.
I stand and applaud the imagination and writing of Tal Bauer – Merry Christmas to you, cos you sure as hell made mine.
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Jane’s Hot Pick
Wolfsong by TJ Klune (audiobook)
Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.
Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.
Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.
Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.
It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.
Jane: This is one of my favourite reads and favourite audiobooks from 2016. It is a paranormal/shifter story that is beautifully written, with some of the most evocative imagery I’ve ever encountered. It is a tale of family, friendship, pack and bonds and the epic love story of Ox and Joe.
For a debut narrator, Kirt Graves did a truly magnificent job narrating this magical tale. His timing and pacing are spot on as are his accents and his voices of the young Ox and Joe. A special mention must be given to the soothing, lyrical quality of his voice, I could listen to him forever. I loved it and cannot wait for more from this series and this narrator this year.
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Sue’s Hot Pick
A Matchless Man by Ariel Tachna
None of the matches caught his eye as much as the matchmaker himself.
Growing up poorer than poor didn't leave Navashen Bhattathiri many options for life outside of school. All of his concentration was on keeping his scholarships. Sixteen years later, he's fulfilled his dream and become a doctor. Now he's returning home to Lexington and is ready to prove himself to the world. In doing so, he reconnects with Brent Carpenter - high school classmate, real estate agent, all-around great guy, and closet matchmaker.
Brent makes it his mission to help Navashen develop a social life and meet available, interesting men. Unfortunately Navashen's schedule is unpredictable, and few of those available, interesting men value his dedication like Brent does. Brent's unfailing friendship and support convince Navashen he's the one, but can he capture Brent's heart when the matchmaker is focused on finding Navashen another man?
Sue: This is a slow-build romance between two guys who used to be classmates in high school. Nav and Brent re-connect when Nav accepts a new position at the local hospital and Brent helps to locate a family home for Nav and Akshat, his less able brother. What I liked about this story was the care both Nav and Brent show towards Akshat and how they help him achieve greater independence. Brent also tries to improve Nav’s rather lonely social life and in the process the two men fall in love—with a little help from Akshat. This is a sweet and old-fashioned, almost innocent romance, with three wonderful and selfless main characters.
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Soul Bonds (Common Powers #1) by Lynn Lorenz
It’s not how big the power, it’s how you use it.
Mitchell’s tired of one night stands and casual encounters.
Sammi is a runaway sex slave who’ll do anything to stay free.
When they meet in a bar, Mitchell can’t believe his luck. Sammi is sex on two legs and seems to know just what Mitchell wants from a lover. But Sammi’s owner Donovan isn’t going to let him go so easily. He’s prepared to destroy anyone who stands in his way to get back his prized slave.
Is the bond between Mitchell and Sammi strong enough to stand up against the damage Donovan inflicts on their lives, or will it shatter?
Reader Advisory: This book deals with the sex slave industry and people who are held against their will.
Publisher's Note: This book has previously been released elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.
Cheryl: This book stormed into the top echelons of my favourite books list. Sammi is definitely a wounded character, but he’s also extremely strong and drives both the relationship and the story. He’s running from slavery and the master who uses him shamefully. Constantly terrified of re-capture Sammi does everything in his power to keep himself, and Mitchell safe.
There was an element of paranormal in the soul bond and all that it conveys, but it was so natural that it didn’t feel paranormal at all.
The book touched me in many ways. It made me laugh, cry, get angry and frustrated. It made me think; it made me feel, and I don’t think I can give any better praise than that.
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