An accidental meeting and a misunderstanding lead to a life-altering connection.
When chubby gamer Oliver receives a job offer from the best boutique game developer in the country, he leaves his family and his less than spectacular existence in Oklahoma without a second’s hesitation. Determined to change more than his career and his geography, Oliver implements a plan to finally land a boyfriend. Step one is improving his skills in the bedroom.
A life that looks perfect on paper, but feels empty in reality. Attractive, successful, charismatic Jaime Snow has a life other people envy.
An accidental meeting, a misunderstanding, and falling in love. Building the lifetime relationship they both desperately crave will require trust, time, and a little misunderstanding.
Robyn is a curator of historical artifacts. Somewhere along the line she met and married Maxim Vallois. He is a vampire who hunts vampires who are still old-fashioned enough to kill humans. Maxim's job is often dangerous, so he doesn't usually tell Robyn much about it. Centuries ago, the fae, the werewolves and the vampires decided to appear to humans as themselves, and attempt to coexist with them. A huge part of that was that they needed to police their own, so that humans aren't considered "food" anymore. Of course there are humans who still want to hunt and kill paranormals. In fact, Maxim had an affair with a British woman who came from a family of hunters. When she was injured, she chose to die rather than allow him to bring her into eternal life as a vampire. But their child, a dhampire (half-human, half-vampire) named Heath, still lives with Maxim. In fact, he's part of the comedy relief, since he refers to his father as "the old bat."
The plot of this story involves a mummy being delivered to the office where Robyn spends her days cataloging and displaying the artifacts that Maxim has bought over the years. When she finds the mummy in a big box, she's intrigued by the oddities surrounding it. Robyn seeks to have it examined by experts which is of course, a huge mistake, since it's a vampire mummy, who is totally upset that he's been forced to endure the centuries living only in his own mind, thirsting for revenge. He recognizes Robyn as a "shaman," which is never mentioned by anyone else, so I suspect that will be part of the story in future books in the series.
When I was done with this book I was smiling. Then I realized that I've done that each time I've read one of Alexa Piper's books. The word that sprang to my mind was "frothy" but now I realize that her writing style is like that of the old romantic comedy movies that used to star Cary Grant. The hero is undeniably sexy, but he's also urbane and suave. He's smooth as silk, and he adores his chosen female to distraction. The heroines are smart and independent, while head-over-heels in love with their man whatever species he happens to belong to. The stories are fun to read because of the easy relationship between the characters, and how much they enjoy each other. That makes me enjoy reading about them.
A marriage by contract. Two men refusing to fall in love. Fate has different ideas. Can they find a connection when everything is trying to pull them apart?
This was an interesting story. Eric is in trouble. Financial trouble and his only way out is by marriage. Robert is a billionaire turned unexpected husband. These two men are an interesting duo. It’s hard to like one of the main characters (I’m not spoiling by telling which) but it does include cheating. Cheating for me is a deal breaker in a relationship. Still, I read on and found the author writers a great story. The romance is hot and the way the couple work through to the end is entertaining. So, other than the cheating, I thoroughly enjoyed Royally Indebted. I definitely want to read more by MJ Calabrese!
Prince Raven of Dark Sphere has more power than anyone else around him has ever known. But when the traditional fortune-teller attended his birth, she predicted that he would lead his people to the destruction of their world. So he's been shunned his whole life. He's now in his early twenties. He's only got a very few real friends, since his tragic reaction years ago to discovering that his family had been slaughtered in an attempt to get him to return to Dark Sphere, so he could be killed. His emotions and his power combined, and he's been depressed about it ever since. He puts strong metaphysical chains around himself at least twice a day, to try to keep himself sane.
Veracity is the third child of a king and queen whose other two children will not be inheriting rule over their planet, C7. Her brother, Prince True, died in a tragic accident. And her older sister, Whimsical, Whimsy for short, fell in love with Gaedrian and ran off to marry him. He's a prince also, but not the one her parents had chosen for her. So Veracity is determined to make her parents happy. Unfortunately, the man they've chosen to unite her with is boring beyond belief. The only man her heart wants is referred to only as Dark. And he's barely acknowledged her existence. When her sister's twins turn three, there is a huge birthday celebration. Since Gaedrian is one of Dark's only friends, she knows he'll be at the party. She decides to throw herself at him, to try to get his attention. And somehow, she has to get rid of her betrothed.
I was so captured by this story that I had to keep reading long after I should have gone to bed. Dark is sent on a perilous assignment, and Veracity is determined to prove her love for him, so she decides to stow-away on the ship he travels in. Dark has been keeping his strong feelings for her to himself, because of his mistaken belief that no one so pure and beautiful could love a monster like him. He suffers eloquently. But little-by-little, she wins his trust. Since she's a virgin, once again there is the required deflowering scene, where she suffers minimal discomfort after he pleasures her with his tongue. But for all of his talk of how violent his urges are, and how afraid he is that he'll hurt her, he proves to be such a considerate lover that I wanted to join her in yelling at him--"I won't break!"
They have many adventures before they realize their HEA, but when Prince Raven is finally able to undo what he had done so many years before, I was thrilled for the relief he felt. And when you care about the characters that much, you really enjoy reading the book.
Trent is an out-and-proud gay man who has had a few one-night stands, where he's always been the top, but he's never met anyone he wanted more from--nor has he ever felt he needed to. He's got a best friend from grade school named Candace, who is a lesbian. They've always supported each other through whatever life throws at them. Trent likes his job, owns a small, rundown house in a town so tiny that no one locks their doors. And he keeps three chickens in his backyard--he calls them his ladies.
One night when Trent's walking home from his job in a blinding rainstorm, a flashy Corvette almost slams into him, managing to splash him from the deep standing water it must have been swerving to avoid. He watches in shock while it smashes into a parked car. He runs to the wreckage, and pulls out a strikingly attractive man who is everything Trent has ever wanted. And since his car needs to be towed then fixed, and there's no hotel/motel or Uber in town, he needs a place to spend the weekend. Trent offers his house, then starts to stress, wondering if he'll be able to keep his hands off his houseguest.
Ian is a man so deeply in the closet that even his best friends don't suspect he's got anything to hide. But he joins Trent in the tiny shower, and over the weekend, they make spectacular use of Trent's bed, his sofa, his shower, etc. After so many days of continuing passion, Trent finds himself falling for Ian, even though Trent lives in Canada, and Ian in the USA--Miami, to be exact. But Ian is also keeping a secret from Trent--which leads to a fight due to a misunderstanding, and Ian leaves on bad terms.
This is a very realistic and graphic story about two men who don't want or expect to, falling in love so deeply that they can't help hurting each other, because of the stress of Ian's job--and a few instances on both Trent's and Ian's part, of jumping to erroneous conclusions. We know they'll end up together, but in-between the falling in love and the HEA, there is angst and suffering, along with some humor--mostly from Trent's relationship with Candace--and with his totally accepting, but over-bearing mother. There are also many steamy moments that are described in such detail, I was sure the author was a man--until I read the bio at the end. You'll laugh at the funny parts, feel Trent (and Ian's, and Candace's) pain while they suffer. And you'll get turned on by the frequent sex scenes. But you'll also enjoy this book a lot--I did.
assassin for him, designating the woman who coordinated the attack as his first target. While he prepares to exact his revenge, he is assigned to the care of another agent in the Scorpions’ base. Ro is brash and outspoken, yet aspects of her character remain enigmatic. Despite declaring personal relationships useless in the cold, cruel world in which they live, she invites herself into Callum’s bedroom more nights than not. In her coaching, she pushes him physically, emotionally, and sexually to mold him into the killer the organization desires.
During his quest to hunt down his nemesis, more and more of Callum’s biological body parts fail and must be replaced. In addition to dealing with his grief, he struggles to come to terms with his new appearance, functions, and responsibilities. Will he be able to transform himself into what Ro and the Midnight Scorpions need, yet still retain his humanity?
- Plotting vs. Pantsing -
Or, One Book, Three Subplots
Spend enough time around authors and this debate is bound to come up: when you’re writing a piece of fiction, do you have a detailed outline and a strong idea of where the story is going to go (“plotting”), or do you just let the words flow onto the page and wind up wherever they take you (“pantsing”)? There’s no one right answer, and every author has their habits and processes that work best for them.
Me, I’m probably somewhere in the middle, though leaning toward the pantsing side. Sometimes I make a basic chapter outline and maybe jot down some notes at the bottom of it for upcoming scenes since I always write in order. However, I’ve written entire novels without doing any sort of concrete plotting for it. Don’t get me wrong, I usually have a general idea of where I’m going, and planning out my ideas definitely keeps me awake when I’m trying to fall asleep at night. There have been times, though, when my primary focus was getting the words on the page as quickly as possible, and then I figured I’d worry about the rest later on.
That said, Disintegration was one of those books where I needed an outline. A very brief outline, sure, but an outline nonetheless. As it’s a full-length novel, there’s a lot going on within its pages, and there are three distinct plot threads that needed to be woven together in a way that would make sense and provoke the desired response.
One of the main themes of the book is Callum’s transformation into a cyborg and his reactions as more and more of his own body needs to be replaced with artificial parts. It’s a gradual progression, and I had to get the timing right, especially toward the end where little of the original Callum remains except for his mind. This part is also heavy on the sci-fi, and I wanted to avoid any long, drawn-out explanations or info dumps in order to keep everything moving along.
Next, the aspect of the plot that really drives the story forward is Callum’s quest for revenge against the woman who orchestrated the attack which left him so badly injured. It would be a short and boring book if he just walked up to her and killed her, so I mapped out everything from his new colleagues first planting the idea in his head to his various plans to accomplish his goal.
Last, but certainly not least, the romance plot! The relationship between Callum and Ro deviated from my usual storylines, in that they start off as casual “friends with benefits” (or so Ro likes to convince herself), and then their connection deepens into something more. I won’t give away too much about the ending, but the impact of the book’s climactic scenes relies on the love between them, and I wanted to elicit a similarly strong reaction from the reader.
While each separate plot line has its own trajectory, there are instances, of course, when they influence and affect each other. Plotting all of it was a challenge at times, but I know I couldn’t have done my story justice if I didn’t have a solid plan for the way I wanted key events to play out. If this combination of sci-fi, action and adventure, and sizzling romance sounds intriguing to you, check out Disintegration today!
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