Monday, 28 May 2018

COMING SOON Upstaged 2 Waiting in the Wings

Dreams can come true, but sometimes they’re nightmares.

The Von are on their way.  With a recording contract under their belt and a tour opening for a popular band, they have the world at their feet.  For those left behind, prospects are not so bright, especially with someone trying so hard to break them apart.

With the spotlight on The Von, no one sees the evil waiting in the wings until it’s too late.


For more information on the band, reviews, excerpts and much more visit their very own group and receive a Backstage Pass

Friday, 4 May 2018


One guy intent on caution. One an adrenaline junkie. Love could be one risk too many. 

March is determined to lose the numbness that accompanies a history of loss and blame. Desperate to feel something—anything—the adrenaline junkie base jumps off cliffs, soars on hang gliders, and embarks on dangerous sea-borne rescue missions. But any release he feels is fleeting, and when you play Russian roulette with fate, eventually you come crashing down.

​No matter how hard Caleb tries to forget his past, a dark shadow is always behind him. When a bizarre turn of events results in him being trapped in a sea cave, Caleb wonders how his mantra—safety at all costs—could have failed him. On the point of drowning, he’s stunned when March surfaces in the cave.

​March’s disregard for the rules saves Caleb’s life but gets March into a heap of trouble. Not least of which is the guy shivering in the boat next to him. March tries to ignore Caleb but it’s already too late. Together, they take small, awkward steps toward love. But Caleb’s past is waiting to sink in its claws…and this time, it could drag him to his death.

Warning: This book contains difficult flashbacks of child abduction and sexual violence, but also the incredible perseverance of two men who never give up on love—or each other. Bring your tissues and a heart that believes in the resilience of the human spirit.


I read this book some time ago, before I started writing reviews on a regular basis. I think there’s a difference between reading a book just for the sake of it and reading to review. Or maybe it’s just that reading for a second time releases you a little from the tension and allows you to see things you might previously have skimmed over. I know, for sure, that with my favourite books I can read and re read and always find something different.

This isn’t one of my favourite books, but it’s competing with the likes of Sir Terry Pratchett so it was never going to come out on top. Having said that, I certainly won’t be stuffing it in the back of the bookcase either. (or the bottom of the kindle, or whatever)

Caleb and March are not your usual characters, and both have big issues that come out in different ways. While March is a danger junkie, Caleb is so cautious he double thinks himself crossing the road and refuses to try to keep up with March when following him in the car. March’s lust for taking risks, however, comes in handy when he goes against direct orders from his superior on the lifeboat and jumps into the water to save Caleb from a cave.

At first, both March and Caleb are reluctant to start a relationship, for very different reasons. At first, it appears that March is stuck in the closet and reluctant to admit he’s gay. While that is generally true, he is not denying it to himself, far from it. Much of his problem comes from a deep sense of loyalty to a lover he believes is dead. Caleb, on the other hand, has no problem being out and proud, but is also mourning two deceased and one almost deceased lover.

The real problem, however, arises when Caleb begins to wonder whether his past losses may have been linked and March might be next in the chain.

Despite the darkness in Caleb’s past, he’s an utterly engaging character. He’s sweet, funny and full of life. Given his love for all things wild and dangerous, March is much more cautious on a day-to-day basis. They are so, so lovely together that despite the dangerous goings on my main edge-of-the-seat moments came from their misconceptions and misunderstandings. Being privy to their thoughts makes things both better and worse.

There were some idiosyncrasies of writing that I found difficult at times. We switch back and forth between Caleb and March’s pov’s with no space or any indication of the switch. Sometimes, it led to me being slightly lost as to whose head I was in. I honesty can’t see that as a problem, though. If a moment’s confusion pulls you out of a story, then you probably weren’t that invested in it in the first place.

There is plenty of story to be invested in, for sure. Not only is there tension between March and Caleb and a huge question mark over whether their relationship is every going to get off the ground, but Caleb’s past is breathing down his neck and it’s a deadly one.

At the same time as the present-day story progresses, we have peeps back into the nightmare world Caleb inhabited from the time he was 12 years old until a few years back, and that story was running right through the middle of everything. It was a brave move and I think it paid off. It was a continual reminder of why Caleb acted in certain ways and, in some sense, how he became who he was.

I have to admit that some ways this didn’t work for me. For one thing, given not just what happened but how Caleb thought and felt at the time, I think Caleb got over it too fast and too completely. 
Apart from the odd panic attack, which he deals with remarkably well, he pretty well-adjusted given his background. March has had a far harder time dealing with his relatively less traumatic experiences, although I survivor guilt is nothing to be taken lightly.

There are some big surprises at the end of the book. Some I saw coming a mile away, some I didn’t. The reader is being asked to suspend disbelief on one or two things and I was more than happy to do so, given the reward. Others might be sniffier and purist about it and for them it might go beyond the realms of the believable. That would be a shame because they’d miss seeing the sun by focussing too hard on the cloud.

I was utterly charmed by this book and its characters. Caleb and March are the most adorable couple I’ve read in a long while, partly because they are so real with all their flaws and uncertainties, but also so bright and alive in their approach to life, the universe and everything. Caleb, in particular has such a sharp, witty, even sarcastic personality that absolutely blows me away. He’s that slightly weird friend that everyone wants to sit next to at the party because he makes them laugh and always has something funny and intelligent to say. March, on the other hand, is the one holding back slightly with a proud and loving expression on his face making sure no one who might spoil his vibe gets within shouting distance.

I know a damn good story when I read one, and this was a damn good story and a half.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Wednesday Briefs The Faery of Beacon Lake Part 12

“Damn, you’re freezing. You’ll be ill. Here.”
He shucked out of his coat and wrapped it around Bran’s shoulders. Bran snuggled into its warmth with a little sigh and Owen couldn’t mourn its warmth even though the cold cut into him like knives slicing his skin.
“I don’t like being cold,” Bran announced as they picked their way along the sheep track. It was slow going as Bran had no shoes and kept complaining that his feet hurt.
“Isn’t it cold in the water? You didn’t seem cold when you were sitting naked on a rock.”
“It’s never cold in the water, hot either. It’s always the same. And when I was on the rock, I was wrapped in a spell. Until today, I have never set foot outside the barrier as a human. I have never been cold before.”
“Then lets hurry. The sooner we get home, the sooner you can sit by the fire and have some hot chocolate to warm up.”
“What is hot chocolate?”
“Have you never had it?”
Bran shook his head.
“It’s the best, and my grandmother makes the best of the best. You’ll see.”
“Is it far? My feet hurt.”
“Almost as far as the last time you asked about five minutes ago. I’m hurrying as much as I can, but it’s still a way off.”
“I can’t walk much further.” As if to prove a point, he stumbled over the tussock and had to cling to Owen for support.
“You should have worn shoes.”
“I cannot. I can bring nothing with me from the other shore.”
“Oh damn. Well, hurry up then.”
Owen practically dragged Bran along the path, his mind whirling. More and more consequences forced themselves into his racing mind. What the hell was he going to tell people? How would he explain Bran? Where would Bran live? What would he do? It wasn’t as if Owen was in any position to take care of him. He was barely able to take care of himself.
Owen stopped at the plaintive cry. He realized he’d been so caught up in his head he’d fallen into his usual pattern and pace and had left Bran behind. Frustrated, he hurried back to the struggling faery.
“I thought the fey were supposed to be at home out of doors, flitting around the mountains and luring unwary travellers into fairy rings.”
“I-I’ve never been out of the water, not on land. I don’t know what other fey do.” He ducked his head and bit his lip. “I’m not going to deny the luring part though. The water needs life force sometimes.”
Owen froze and stared at Bran, who squirmed under the scrutiny. “What do you mean?”
Bran shrugged, glancing at him nervously. He looked away and shuffled his feet, wincing as sharp stones and grass stems dug into the tender flesh of his feet.
“Tell me.”
Owen’s voice came out harsher than he’d intended, and Bran took a step back. He looked frightened.
“Tell me.” Owen repeated, advancing.
“I don’t know what you want me to say.”
“You’ve lured people into the water, haven’t you? To their deaths. You’ve drowned people.”
Bran licked his lips and flicked his eyes up. “Not me.”
“But your people, your family?”
Bran nodded, his eyes wide and filled with uncertainty.
“You’re murderers.”
“The water requires life force sometimes; sacrifice.” Bran swallowed and rallied drawing himself straighter. “It didn’t used to – until humans came and stole its purity.”
“Stole its purity?” Owen sneered. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means, human, that you make the water dirty, you poison everything in it. You even poison yourselves. The water is as much alive as the land, and you poison that too. There has to be balance. You take the life force from the water and the water has to take it back or we all die.”
“You stand there talking to me about murder as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.”
“It is not murder. Murder is wasteful. It’s sacrifice.”
“Semantics. You and your family are murderers. Shit. I should have listened to Aggie.”
“Who’s Aggie?”
Owen ignored Bran and turned for home. Squaring his shoulders against the cold wind and the pleading cries from behind, he walked as fast as he could and didn’t stop until he’d slammed the cottage door behind him.
Aggie looked up from her seat by the fireside.
“Didn’t go well then. Well, I tried to warn you but you didn't listen. How did you get out of it?”
“I didn’t.”
Aggie raised an eyebrow.
“He’s a monster,” Owen burst out. “He admitted to murdering people. Well…not him, but his family. Sacrifice, he calls it but the end result is the same. He’s been watching me since I was a child - every time I went to the lake. I suppose I’m lucky he didn’t see me as a sacrifice. He tricked me. It was all a trap. Probably so he could leave the water and spy on us on land. They don’t like humans, at least his father doesn’t. None of them trust us.”
“Do you blame them?”
Owen glared at Aggie, but couldn’t keep still long enough to keep the focus. He started to pace.
“What am I going to do? What have I done?”
“I don’t know. Why don’t you start by telling me what you’ve done?”
Owen quickly recounted what had happened at the lake, with Aggie growing more and more alarmed.
“Where is he?” she interrupted while Owen was in full flow complaining about Bran’s constant whining.
Owen blinked, annoyed. “I don’t know. Still fumbling about on the mountain I guess. He’s the bloody faery, he can find his own way.”
“Are you insane?” Aggie surged from her seat and loomed over him. “I have often thought you to be a foolish boy, but I have never imagined you could be such a cruel one. Go to your room and wait for me there.”
“What? Am I five?”
“Go to your room.”
Owen opened his mouth, but no words came. Aggie was furious. Owen had never seen her quite so angry, at least not when the anger was directed at him. The old woman seemed to increase in size, looming over him. He swallowed hard and backed away.

“O-okay.” He turned and fled.

The other flashers who are going all out to entertain you today, are