Sunday 8 March 2015

Sunday Surprise - Man Love @MLR Press @RJScott_Author @VVeeB @Nicole_Dennis @JackieNacht @NJNielsen1 @Lynch_Mark

The surprise for me this Sunday is the realization that I haven't spotlighted a gay focused press. That changes right now! Let me introduce MLR Press, manlove at its best. Their acronym? Mayhem, Lust and Romance. Who could say no to that? They have a pile of releases from February, so I'm going to go right into them.

Note: I am sorry to say the MLR Press is not allowing me to post their covers. I have removed them.

The first four are books in the Storming Love Series 2, books #3-6. This series comes from a variety of authors, each featuring a couple stranded by the weather and needing to stay warm. Cuddle up with one of these on a grey day. 
Seth & Casey comes from R.J. Scott. The blizzard of the century has stranded teacher Casey McGuire and pupils at a country retreat. As a last resort and fearing for their lives he calls his ex, fireman Seth Wild. The same man who promised that he would always be there for Casey.
Layne, River & Damon is by Vicktor Alexander. It has taken Damion Martin six months to finally start to get over the startling break-up from his partner Layne Haylse. They'd been high school sweethearts and blissfully in love. Then the man suddenly wanted nothing to do with him. Having to work with him at Yale University almost every day made the separation that much harder. Meeting the young marketing major, River Cunningham, may just be the ticket to helping Damion heal.
Nicole Dennis gives us Gavin & Morgan. Drained from forecasting both hurricanes and twisters, Gavin Larson, a meteorologist, accepts a request to become the head forecaster for a Philadelphia television station. He goes for a trial time during winter. A calm, quiet winter where he can recharge. Until he discovers a series of potential events ready to clash.
And in the most recent release, Jackie Nacht introduces us to Strokes & Ford. Stokes has been rooming with Ford ever since the first day of college. Although his feelings had started out as friendly, over time, they have grown deeper. He's fallen for Ford, hard, but how the hell is Stokes going to tell Ford? When college winter break approaches, Stokes decides to take Ford up to his parent's rental to have a fun weekend with Ford and finally let his best friend know what he feels. However, with a blizzard coming in, they will have to weather the storm outside and in their hearts.

Hope is the sequel to Mark Zubro's Safe. Roger Cook and Steve Koemer have been dating. Their world is turned upside down when Steve's father and mother find out he's gay and throw him out of the house. Then the ugliness and fear begin to build. Steve's father is murdered. The Church he was pastor of was in financial trouble, but the man was also involved in a plot against the two boys. A plot which was designed to destroy their relationship and which continues even after his death. The boys must race to find out who the killer is and who is plotting against them. When the whole world seems against them, they have the hope of their love to sustain them.

N.J. Nielsen has released a second volume in the Experimentals Series, Running to Zero Tolerance. While searching for his missing brother, Linc O'Hare stumbles across his mate and willingly gets kidnapped to save a man whose name he doesn't even know. Having his mate live in slavery is not on Linc's to-do list, and he plans to rectify the situation.
Gideon Church was resigned to the hell he's been living. Escaping with Linc is the best day of his life--until he realises his whole existence has been a lie. With the help of Linc and the inhabitants of Zero Tolerance will Gideon be able to separate the lies from the truth and figure out just who he really is?

Hawaiian Trunks comes from Caraway Carter. In Hawaii for the wedding of his lovers, Toby Lee wonders if he'll ever find a love like Clay & Colin. When he meets Wolff, a hot bartender, over the course of a weekend he thinks it could just be possible. Toby Lee puts his foot down and decides that his love life is far more important than the so-called friends who take advantage of him. A broken law, handcuffs and a kiss might just seal the deal on his future.

And on the lighter side, there's Straight is the New Gay by Mark Lynch. If it's funny about the LGBT community, you'll find it in this fabulous collection of quotes and cartoons from celebrated, award-winning Australian cartoonist Mark Lynch. 

Falling Apart by Riley Long introduces us to Ryder and Billy. Playboy and up-and-coming rockstar Ryder Sullivan has it all--a band he loves, a career on the rise, and groupies in his bed whenever he wants. Cowboy Billy Cunningham enjoys his quiet life, but something's missing. Soon he discovers that what's missing is Ryder. Ryder feels the same way, and is ready to cast off his playboy ways and jump into the deep end with Billy. Can Billy face down his fears, put aside the complications of an eager would-be girlfriend and his pushy mother, and accept that he's finally falling in love--with a man?

And here is an excerpt from Falling Apart!

Ryder Sullivan pushed his way to the packed bar with feigned confidence. He forced a casual look, and managed to maneuver his lean frame, tight jeans and all, onto a high chrome and leather barstool. As he settled in, Ryder glanced around self-consciously, trying to get his bearings. Well, he thought, at least I'll have an audience. Which Way was packed full of bodies, each one moving and bobbing to the pounding rock music blasting through the speakers to his right.
An adorable bartender, probably a few years older than him, tall, with a soft curve to his face, chuckled. He was as far away from Ryder as possible, making it difficult to get a drink. Every grinning, half-drunk patron seemed to know the guy and laughed along with his antics. Ryder's breath hitched a little, but he wouldn't allow himself to think too much about this man right before a show.
The bartender turned and fixed Ryder with sparkling green eyes. Ryder nodded and lifted his slender fingers in a small wave, indicating his growing need for a drink.
"What can I get for ya?" the bartender drawled as he leaned down and eyed Ryder as if he were the only person in the room.
Ryder's stomach fluttered, and he reminded himself that just because he slept with men did not mean this bartender did. With soft brown curls, muscles bared beneath his honest-to-God plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and perfect ass clad in actual Wrangler jeans, the bartender seemed to be flirting with everyone who crossed his path. None of that meant the bartender would be interested in him. Ryder offered a smile, the guarded one he put on for the endless publicity shoots, and swallowed hard.
"Patron. And a glass of water, too, I guess. Can't get too drunk if I'm going to get up there and play, can I?" Ryder's awkward chuckle escaped before he gestured vaguely towards the stage. He grinned, showing off his straight white teeth, and rubbed a hand over the stubble along his jaw.
"No shit, buddy? You're our entertainment for the night?" The bartender's grin took over his face as he turned to grab a bottle. He swiftly poured Ryder a large draft of the clear top-shelf liquor in a highball glass. "On the house." He pushed the drink towards Ryder. "You all right? You look a little outta your element."
Ryder stared into the glass and fought to keep his defenses at bay. He leaned in a bit, letting a cocky smirk slowly cover his face as he locked eyes with the bartender. If he was just a bit closer, Ryder could have kissed the southern-grown man. The palpable heat between them sent chills down Ryder's arms, even with the shiny black bar between them. "I could say the same about you, country boy bartending in a rock and roll bar." He took a sip of the drink before adding, "I'm Ryder." He took another swallow of the liquor, letting its burn slide down his throat. "Sullivan."
"Pleased t' meetcha, Ryder Sullivan. I'm Billy." Billy placed a glass of water in front of Ryder. "Now I suppose I gotta go do my job before one of these good people jumps the bar, but you just holler if you need anything at all, okay? Good luck up there." He winked at Ryder before turning away.
Ryder continued to sip his drink, enjoying the warmth as it worked its magic on his nerves, and watched the other patrons collected in clusters around the bar. This was one of his favorite ways to prepare for a show; he spun on his stool and surveyed the crowd to get a read on them firsthand. He felt someone's gaze on him, and he turned to discover a pretty blonde girl standing a few feet behind him, eying him intently. She tossed her hair over her shoulder and came to rest a hand on Ryder's arm.
"That bartender's pretty hot, isn't he?"
He shrugged noncommittally. "Sure, I guess so."
"Ah, don't lie to me, boy. I could see you eye-fucking him from across the room."
Ryder's cheeks flushed; he had never been able to keep that heat from creeping across his high cheekbones when he'd been caught, and he ducked his head a little before he glanced up at her. "I'm just here for the show."
The girl threw her head back and laughed, squeezing hard on Ryder's arm. She had a head full of curls, cute, petite features, and eyes that showed an undercurrent of fierceness. "I'm Allison. The bartender, that's Billy. He flirts with everything that moves, so don't be too flattered. I'm the one he'll be going home with though." She flashed a smile that seemed more dangerous than friendly. She took a sip of her beer before she walked away.
Ryder was stunned, and wondered if he should regret his decision to haunt the bar before the show. Maybe he should have just had a drink in that supply closet-turned-dressing room and kept out of sight. As he finished the tequila, the familiar warmth coursed through his blood as if he had fire in his veins, leaving his head just a bit light. He downed his glass of water too, and caught Billy's eye again to thank him for the drink.
"Anytime," Billy offered, leaning in again and grinning in a way that made Ryder's mouth go dry. "That's what I'm here for, to take care of whatever you might need."
A beat passed, heavy with meaning, and a blush flooded Ryder's cheeks again. Billy chuckled and clapped Ryder on the bicep.
"Aw, I'm just fuckin' with you, buddy. Shaking up the talent is one of the many things I'm good at."
Ryder was speechless, not used to being tongue-tied. He nodded, feeling like a total idiot. He slipped off of the stool and wound his way through the mass of people. In the backstage hallway, Ryder rounded a corner and nearly crashed into Tyler, the bar's owner, and the woman who was responsible for having him here tonight. They'd met weeks ago when she waited him out after a gig, and they'd become easy friends, though he'd never been here before tonight.
"Sorry about that, honey," she said, pushing her long, dark hair behind her shoulders and embracing him. "I'm excited you're here! I think they're going to really love you tonight. I'm glad your manager could fit us in your schedule before the tour started. Nervous?"
Ryder realized he was fidgeting with the hem of his shirt and stilled his hands. "About tonight?"
"Well, new bar...You worried about the crowd?"
He shrugged. "Nah, not really." He wondered if she could tell he was...not lying exactly, but definitely overstating his calm.
"You've got talent, good music, you're a good-lookin' guy... they're going to eat you up. And knowing you, I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding someone to spend the night with once you leave the stage."
"Hey now, you just happened to catch me on a really good night that night," Ryder protested.
"Oh what, you don't usually have a half dozen girls and a couple of guys waiting to ask you back to their place? Don't even try to tell me a story, you and I both know that you don't have any problems in that department."
Billy stuck his head around the corner. "Hey, Ty, I need you up front. Jack isn't here yet and it's getting busy." And then, in Ryder's direction, "Good luck up there," he said and winked.
Ryder felt his pulse quicken. This guy was not helping.
"Well, gotta get going, I guess," Tyler said, cutting through his fog. "Seems like the help can't function without me."
* * * *
The rest of the night passed in something of a blur. Helping the crew with a final quick sound check; dancing and gyrating on the small stage while belting his heart out, the audience falling under his spell; and finally collapsing backstage in a sweaty mess on the dressing room's couch, his long legs draped over the arm.
Okay, maybe dressing room was a bit much--there was furniture and a fridge, sure, but it was barely big enough to hold those things, and every spare inch of space was crammed with supplies. Stacks of paper towels and rolls of toilet paper filled one corner, kegs waiting to be tapped another.
He considered taking off his shirt to cool down, but since the sofa was probably pretty questionable and he didn't have any clean clothes in his backpack, he just kicked off his shoes and closed his eyes. The electricity from the crowd still coursed through his veins, and he was blissful.
The band had left shortly after Ryder had packed the last amp into the van, which is how he preferred it. He lay there for what felt like an eternity before he felt steady enough to get his things together and get out of the building. As he started to get up, a knock at the door made him jump.
"Y-yeah?" he called out. Who could have any use for me at this time of night...morning...whatever?
"It's me, Billy. The bartender, remember? Can I come in?"
"Oh, uh...yeah...sure, just give me a sec." Ryder stood up, fumbling for his black sneakers.
"Listen, if you've got a girl in there or somethin', I can just come back," Billy said, his smile nearly audible.
Ryder snorted. Bringing girls backstage with him after a show wasn't really his style. He preferred to decompress in peace. Shoes in hand, he flung open the door, pushing a sweaty strand of black hair off of his forehead.
"No, no girls here. Just resting. What can I do for you? Evicting me already?" It hit Ryder all at once just how tall the bartender was as the country boy rested heavily against the frame. He studied Ryder with his green eyes. Ryder could sense heat radiating between the two of them again, the same tingling warmth he'd felt when they had leaned across the bar towards each other. He shifted his weight from one bare foot to the other, trying to contain the nervous energy bubbling up. The pull was so intense that he forced himself to place a hand firmly on the open door to stay in place.
"I just wanted to let you know that was a damn good show you put on up there. I really liked your set, even though it's not the kind of music I listen to very much. We'd be happy to have you back sometime soon."
The bartender liked him. Ryder grinned like a fool for a moment before recovering his cool. "I'll let my manager know. I'm sure she can work something out. And thanks."