Category Archives: less than three press

Piper’s Reading Roundup: Top 15 Reads of 2016

Hey, all! It’s been a while since I posted one of these, but since 2017 is rapidly approaching, I figured I might as well save it for a big end-of-the-year post!

Without further ado, and in no particular order, these were my top 15 favorite reads in 2016. (Note: I did cheat a little by choosing series in a couple of places, and these are books I read this year but they weren’t all necessarily released in 2016.)

Being(s) in Love Series by R. Cooper – I’ve recommended plenty of titles by R. Cooper in the past, so seeing her on this list should come as no surprise. Instead of individual titles, though, I’m just going to mention her Being(s) in Love series as a whole. I have my particular faves (Little Wolf and A Dandelion for Tulip), but really, I just love this entire series. R. Cooper has created a world I wish I could live in. I love seeing familiar faces pop up throughout the books, and I love R. Cooper’s skill at writing slow-burn and unresolved sexual tension. It’s such delicious torment waiting for the characters to finally get together. The pining, friends. The pining. I highly recommend this series for fans of urban fantasy romance. There are fairies and elves and werewolves and dragons and all sorts of wonderful creatures and characters that will steal your heart.

 

dandelion

 

Staged by Kim Fielding – I admit to some hesitancy before starting this book. I’m generally not a big fan of books containing dub- or non-con elements, and slave fic can be pretty touchy for me too. The reason I took a chance on this book was the author. If you’ve followed my book rec posts in the past, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Kim Fielding. We have author/reader trust established, which means I know that no matter what she puts her characters through, she’ll get them to a happy (or happier) place by the end. I trusted her to do that here too, and I wasn’t disappointed. Fair warning, though – this is a lot darker than Kim’s usual work, and some parts were difficult to read, at least for me.

Misfits by Garrett Leigh – A couple of months ago I was in the mood to read a good menage story and I asked for recommendations on Twitter. Misfits was mentioned by nearly everyone who answered, and though I’d shied away from reading any of the Garrett Leigh titles I own because friends kept warning me about the high angst content, after several people – including Garrett herself – told me the story wasn’t overly heavy, I decided to take a chance. I’m so, so glad I did, because it was a lovely story and an instant addition to my favorites shelf. There was a bit of angst but nothing overwhelming, and I loved watching these three men come together. Highly recommended!

 

misfits

 

Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley – Man, it took me way too long to read this book! I don’t know why I put it off for so long, even though I’d bought it when it first came out and multiple friends recommended it to me after its release. I loved pretty much every word. The angst, the yearning and attraction between Miller and Danny… I mean, it’s like my crack when it comes to books. I die for great UST (unresolved sexual tension). DIE, I SAY. And when they finally came together, it was scorching and I just wanted it to work out for them SO BAD. The ending was perfect. Highly recommended. (And damn, was I bummed when I realized McKinley didn’t have any other books for me to devour. /sadface)

Damned If You Do by Marie Sexton – This book was a pure pleasure to read. It had humor, mild angst, and SO MANY FEELS. Religion – or rather faith – played a huge role (obv, I mean, this is a book about a soul-acquiring devil falling for a Bible-quoting revivalist). I loved Sexton’s take on Hell. I laughed more than once, had a few heart squishy moments, and even got misty eyed toward the end. Whether you’ve read Sexton before or if she’d be new to you, I definitely recommend checking this out! (Also, heed the product warning from Samhain because if snakes aren’t your bag, a couple of scenes in this book might freak you out. Just a heads up.)

Power Play (Scoring Chances #3) & Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale – Full disclosure, I can’t claim to be totally unbiased here. Over the last year, Avon has become one of my best friends, and at this point I’m lucky enough to get to read her work as it’s being written (and we’re also currently writing a series together that was recently contracted by Riptide!). But I will say that my love of Avon’s work and our friendship both started sort of simultaneously. I was hooked with Breakaway and have loved everything I’ve read since. It’s been a trend so far with the Scoring Chances series that I’ve loved each book more than the last. Each book is infused with Avon’s trademark humor, skillful writing, and snappy dialogue. Watching her characters come together is always incredibly fun and gratifying — and sometimes heart-wrenching. Even if you’re not a hockey fan, I’d suggest giving this series a try. The books are about so much more than hockey, though if you’re a fan like myself, there is plenty here to keep the sports lover happy too.

 

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Farm Fresh (Naked Organics #1) by Posy Roberts – I loved how different this book was. It portrayed a “free love” commune in Oregon, which one of the main characters joins after encountering the intriguing Hudson, a man who lives/works in the Kaleidoscope Gardens and sells their produce and various other things during the farmers’ market on Jude’s college campus every week. Hudson and Jude come from similar backgrounds, but Jude is nursing some serious hangups when it comes to sex – guilt, shame, and memories of abuse at the hands of his parents, who think sex is for one purpose only: procreation. I was fascinated by the commune and Jude’s changes as he acclimated to life there. I’ve actually discussed the idea of a commune, although not quite this type, with friends in the past, and I think I’d love to live in such an environment. I’m looking forward to reading the next book, which features Hudson and Jude once again. They’re together at the end of this book, but their relationship is really just beginning. And as you can guess by this description and the blurb, this book is about poly/open relationships. If you’re not a fan of seeing sex happen with anyone outside of the main couple, then it’s probably best to avoid.

The Dead Past by Kate Aaron – Earlier this year I asked if there was such a thing as cozy mysteries in M/M. You know the sort – bookish librarian of bakery owner from a small town suddenly stumbles over a corpse and amateur sleuthing ensues. Someone mentioned the Puddledown Mysteries and I was intrigued enough by the blurb of the first book to try the sample. And when I came to the end of the sample I immediately purchased the book and kept reading right until I finished it. The story is set in a small British town in the wake of WWII. Hugo finds an elderly widow brutally murdered in the woods, only to have Tommy, the new groundskeeper on the property, appear on the scene mere minutes later. At first Hugo is suspicious, but then he starts to develop feelings for the mysterious Tommy as they bond in the aftermath of their mutual discovery. It’s a quiet, understated story in the manner of Agatha Christie or Louise Penny with no sex and very little physical contact. If you’re a fan of cozies, you’re almost certain to enjoy it. (I also read the next two books in the series and loved them too!)

The Benched Series by Misha Horne – This contemporary series starts with Rookie Mistake, and man, is it fun! Juno and Kyle are vivid, wonderful characters – especially Juno – and if you’re a fan of spanking and D/s elements, you need to be reading these shorts. The most recent one came out in October, and I’m eagerly awaiting more!

The Galactic Alliance Series by KC Burn – When this series was first recommended to me, I’d had the first book, Spice ‘n’ Solace, on my TBR list quite some time. I finally dove in, and I’m so glad I did! These sexy stories include fabulous characters and are perfect for anyone who’s a fan of sci-fi without an over-abundance of world-building and technical jargon to weigh the story down. I even asked KC Burn if there’d be more right after I finished the third book, which should tell you something. (She said yes, BTW. :D)

Tournament of Losers by Megan Derr – Friggin’ fabulous! If you like reading stories in which the hero has to compete in a tournament for their lover’s heart and hand, well, you will not find a better one in M/M! And it was written for me, after my shameless begging for this type of story on Twitter, so, you know, that made it extra special!

 

tournament

 

Interborough (Five Boroughs #4) by Santino Hassell – I’m a big fan of this series, and this couple in particular. I’m really glad that Santino decided to revisit them and really cement their HEA. David and Raymond are by far my favorite couple in the Five Boroughs universe. Their chemistry is like whoa, and here we got to see them develop and strengthen as a couple in spite of some stressful life circumstances, which I think was necessary for the reader to believe their relationship can really withstand the test of time. They’ll be together forever. I know it! And it was good seeing glimpses of all the familiar 5B characters. That epilogue! I still haven’t recovered!

Must Like Spinach by Con Riley – I confess, it was the title of this book that first caught my attention. It was different – and I usually like different – and I’m so happy I decided to give it a go. It was my first book by Con Riley, but it certainly won’t be my last. I mean, what a gorgeous, character-driven, slow-burn romance! I loved the pacing. There was enough angst to keep it from being fluffy, and yet it was still a sweet story, and it perfectly fit my mood at the time. I know I’ll reread it again in the future, and I recommended it all over the place after I finished it.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – What can I even say about this book? It was my favorite read of the year, and I seriously doubt anything else I read in the next couple of weeks will even come close to knocking it from that pedestal. This is the sort of LGBTQ+ YA I aspire to write. I thought it was absolutely perfect, and if someday I produce a book that makes people feel the way Simon made me feel, I’ll consider my ultimate goal as an author accomplished. I loved it that much. All of the stars to this fabulous read. It’s one of the few books I own in 3 formats – audio, paperback, and ebook.

 

simon

Backlist Spotlight: The Party Boy’s Guide to Dating a Geek

Hey, all. Have you ever wondered what would happen if a party boy needed a guide to win the affections of a geeky heartthrob? Well, Xara X. Xanakas and I explored that exact concept in our book, The Party Boy’s Guide to Dating a Geek.

Those who’ve read it know that each chapter includes of brief excerpt from the “guide” Ash buys in the story to try to win over his man (to be). Full credit goes to Xara for writing those excerpts. They were tailored to the events in each chapter, and I think she did a fantastic job. The excerpts are funny and fitting, and I really hope people got a kick out of them while reading this story.

If you like opposites attract and the combination of a nerdy guy with a club-hopping wild child, then Party Boy might be right up your alley! It’s been translated into French, and for the audiobook lovers, it’s also available as an audiobook narrated by Paul Morey.

PartyBoysGuide

Ashley Byrne only wants one thing in life: to finish his tattoo apprenticeship and fulfill his dream of owning his own shop. In the meantime, he spends his nights partying, flirting, and having sex. After all, what else is there for him to worry about? Aside from his hair and his clothes, not much. He’s hot, and rest assured no one knows it better than him. He’s also used to getting what he wants—until he meets Felipe Navarro.

Fee Navarro has everything he needs: a great IT job, a nice apartment, and all the high-tech toys his geeky heart could ever want. He doesn’t do casual, and he knows guys like Ash are nothing but. Ash may burn hot for Fee, but Fee isn’t willing to take a chance on a vain, little party boy with too many tats and an oversized ego. He wants someone to share his life with, and he won’t settle for anything less. Too bad Ash has never been the type to give up easily. He has a plan, and he’s not stopping until he proves he’s more than just a pretty face—he’s someone worthy of winning Fee’s heart.

~*~

Buy it now!

Less Than Three Press
Amazon (ebook) ~*~ Amazon (paperback)
Barnes & Noble
BookStrand
ARe
Kobo

French – Comment séduire un geek, manuel du fêtard

Less Than Three PressAmazonBarnes & Noble – Kobo (ebook)
AmazonBarnes & Noble (paperback)

Audiobook:

Amazon
Audible

Pre-Order Available Now: The Working Elf Blues

TWEB Teaser

Pre-order available now! How can you resist a cute, freckled, ginger elf? ;D

LT3 Press (15% off)

ARe

Amazon

Blurb:

Garnet Evergreen has never heard of an elf abandoning the North Pole for a human, but he yearns to be the first. Ever since he saw Wes, the boy with sorrowful eyes, Garnet felt an undeniable kinship. Over the years, he’s watched that boy grow into a man, and now he’s determined to give Wes a Christmas he’ll never forget. If only Garnet had thought to test his father’s sleigh before leaving… 

Orphaned as a child, Wes spends every Christmas alone at his cabin. When he’s woken by a suspicious boom and finds a wrecked sleigh and an unconscious elf, he doesn’t know how to react. Wes isn’t fanciful. He doesn’t give much credence to the stories about Santa Claus and flying reindeer. But a part of him wants desperately to believe when Garnet promises forever, even if life has taught him that no one ever stays…

Sales, Pre-orders, & Works in Progress

Hi, all! 😀 Just a quick note about my pre-orders and sales and what I have going right now.

dsp sale

Hook, Line, & Sinker is officially up for pre-order on Dreamspinner’s site, and right now it — and all of my other titles — are available for 25% off. Be sure to take advantage of the sale if you want a copy! 

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Blurb:

When they were teens, Castor McCormick was the bane of Blake Kowalski’s existence. Their mutual animosity led to summers filled with rivalry. Now, nearly two decades later, Cas is moving back into the neighborhood to live in his grandmother’s old house. Blake tells himself he isn’t interested in seeing how snarky little Cas grew up, but when his mother dupes him into visiting his former nemesis, he finds out “pretty” can evolve into “sexy as hell” on the right man.

Cas didn’t think he wanted to see Blake again. No one has ever pushed his buttons like the arrogant boy he remembers from their youth. Turns out, the adult version of Blake still gets him hot under the collar—and everywhere else. With Blake on leave from work to nurse an injured leg and Cas taking time to move and unpack, they form a tentative friendship that turns into a sexual affair neither man can deny. But when Cas’s job sends him out of state to deal with a difficult client, their new relationship will be tested, and if they fail, Blake’s broken leg might not be the only thing to end up scarred. 

Release date: November 19

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Also available for pre-order (and on sale!) is The Working Elf Blues. Right now, LT3 Press has it for 15% off, but if you wait until the weekend I’m at Bent-Con (Nov 7-9), you can actually get it for 25% off. 🙂

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Blurb:

Garnet Evergreen has never heard of an elf abandoning the North Pole for a human, but he yearns to be the first. Ever since he saw Wes, the boy with sorrowful eyes, Garnet felt an undeniable kinship. Over the years, he’s watched that boy grow into a man, and now he’s determined to give Wes a Christmas he’ll never forget. If only Garnet had thought to test his father’s sleigh before leaving…

Orphaned as a child, Wes spends every Christmas alone at his cabin. When he’s woken by a suspicious boom and finds a wrecked sleigh and an unconscious elf, he doesn’t know how to react. Wes isn’t fanciful. He doesn’t give much credence to the stories about Santa Claus and flying reindeer. But a part of him wants desperately to believe when Garnet promises forever, even if life has taught him that no one ever stays…

Release date: December 17

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Writing Update

Currently I’m working on the outline for my hedgehog shifter book. Those who’ve been following me for a while know this one has been a long time coming. I’m working on it with a coauthor who shall, for now, remain nameless, but we’re having a lot of fun plotting and look forward to starting very soon. Our hope at the moment is to have the book done by the end of the year or early next.

Also, MJ O’Shea and I are in the middle of revising Moonstruck for its eventual rerelease next year. It’ll be getting around 12K words, including both new scenes and extended ones and whatever other revisions we make to the original.

There are a couple of other projects I’m researching right now too. Exciting things are coming! Keep an eye on my blog or follow my newsletter to stay up to date on all my news.

Catch you later. ❤

Cover Reveal: The Working Elf Blues

Hey, guys!

I’m excited to share this cover! This was drawn by Kohaku for my Christmas novella, The Working Elf Blues, coming from Less Than Three Press on December 17th. Isn’t it great? I’m so thrilled with how it came out!

What do you guys think?

Blurb and pre-order information coming soon!

 

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Sample: “The Party Boy’s Guide to Dating a Geek” Audiobook

For the audiobook lovers out there, The Party Boy’s Guide to Dating a Geek will be out in that format in the very near future. Listen to a sample from chapter three below! 😀

 

Sale Announcement & Guest Post: “Power Exchange” by Tami Veldura

Hello there, ladies and gents! 😀 So as part of their Advent Sale this month Less Than Three Press has my and Tami Veldura’s books on sale for 25% off. The sale on our stuff is for one day only – today – so be sure you take advantage if you want to save a little cash. 

  note in a bottle   closerthantouch100   Harris hawk bird of prey during falconry display

To celebrate, Tami and I decided we’d host each other on our respective blogs. To check out my interview on her blog, go here.  And, now, without further ado, here’s Tami…

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Power Exchange by Tami Veldura

Lance surged forward, suddenly vertical. Alex wasn’t sure how he got there and didn’t move out of the way fast enough. Lance leaned over him. “Don’t think I’ll go easy on you for this.”

Alex shook his head.

“Have you been thinking about me?” Lance asked, deadly.

Alex bit his lip and didn’t respond. He didn’t like that he got off on the pain of Lace’s bite. He didn’t like that he was hard now, thinking about Lance forcing him down on his knees to…to… he to a deep breath through his nose.

D’Angelo smiled cruelly. “You have, haven’t you?”

Inception, Part 14 by Tami Veldura

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Consent is not the simple black and white decision most people believe. This is never more true than when dealing with alternative lifestyles that play with power exchange relationships. BDSM is a catch-all acronym for several types of power exchange that are practiced in the world and it has become a thriving genre for writers and readers alike with the advent of e-readers.

Generally, the acronym can be broken into three categories: B/D for Bondage and Discipline, D/s for Domination and submission, and S&M for sadism and masochism. B/D play includes things like erotic restraint, cuffs, floggers, spankings, and similar. D/s encompases a relationship between a dominant or alpha partner and a sub or slave partner. S&M is pretty straightforward. Sadism = enjoying inflicting pain (emotional, physical, etc) and masochism = enjoying receiving pain (fun fact: this may be a physical difference in the brain for some people).

Consent Isn’t Optional

The BDSM community has a slogan you’ll find everywhere as soon as you start looking into these types of lifestyles. It is: Safe, Sane, Consensual. At the highest level of interaction, a BDSM relationship is no different than any other. It requires willing participants, trust and respect. Without these, dysfunctions can easily tear the relationship apart. But when dysfunction destroys a BDSM relationship, there may be physical or emotional repercussions far greater than a traditional (or vanilla) relationship.

No one should ever engage in sexual play without mutual trust and respect, but people will always be people. They make bad decisions, emotional or drunk decisions, they succumb to fear, greed, pride, or the desire for revenge. When something goes wrong, it can go wrong badly. Unfortunately, it’s these situations that often make it to the press, giving the BDSM lifestyle as a whole an appearance of danger or rampant abuse.

A spanking gone wrong may result in bruising, but a whipping gone wrong can draw blood and tear muscle. Blindfold a partner and they might kick the wall or roll off the bed, but gag them without doing some research and they might not be able to tell you when something hurts that shouldn’t.

Knowing that the BDSM lifestyle can be dangerous, the issue of safety and consent has been brought to the forefront by the community at large. Contracts that define hard limits (never going there) and soft limits (not comfortable, but willing to be pushed/experiment) are common, especially in D/s or long-term relationships. Classes on safety, aftercare, and how to properly use and stow equipment can easily be found. Information is the key to a fun and healthy BDSM experience.

Dubious Consent and Consensual Non-Consent

The grey area of consent is a very slippery slope. Things can quickly go from questionably uncomfortable to rape and combining the situation with a gag or fear/psychological influences only makes things worse. Safewords are one solution to the question of consent. All participating members agree on a word that won’t be said accidently in the middle of play (like a cooking ingredient, car type, or simply ‘red’) that signals everything needs to stop immediately. A safeword can be used for any reason and must always be honored; that’s the only way to ensure the situation won’t get out of hand. Some people choose two words, a ‘warning’ word that indicates things are tough, not-quite-fun, or generally uncomfortable but doesn’t require play to stop entirely, and the safeword that stops everything.

Some people enjoy being forced. Some people enjoy being humiliated or made to endure pain. Some want to be forced into enjoying an experience. Many times they want to be able to struggle, fight, say no, or scream while in the middle of play and they want all of these traditional signals of non-consent to be ignored.

Consent in advance (or consensual non-consent) is a way for these people to establish the boundaries (or lack of them) in a scene and trust that all parties are aware of their desire for the situation. It allows people to interact with each other in a different way they want to explore without damaging the relationship they’ve built otherwise. Scenes like this can be time-based (for the next half hour, two hours, etc) or action based (until X happens). They’re usually negotiated in advance.

Even stronger D/s relationships such as 24/7 or Total Power Exchange (TPE) relationships do not have a time or action limit. Contracts are common and each relationship is vastly different, but when practiced, common consent signals are often irrelevant to the situation. When observed from the outside and without context, these relationships can appear to be abuse. When participants do not trust and respect each other, the relationship can easily become abuse.

‘It’s complicated’ doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Aftercare in these sorts of relationships and scenes is vastly important and can cover a wide range of responses. From hugging and backrubs through relief crying all the way up to medical care for hard canings and knife play, aftercare is a way for both parties to reconnect and calm down. This extends to protecting a submissive or slave from themselves if necessary. When a submissive has had a powerful experience it can echo for days psychologically. Like someone heavily drugged, they may be unable to say no and the need to determine consent, physical ability, and mental health falls upon the more dominant partner. Everyone is different and it takes time for submissives and dominants to process a scene and return to a sense of equilibrium.

BDSM In Fiction

Fiction stories offer a safe place for writers and readers to explore and experience shades of consent. It’s often the first place some people realize they might want to play with lighter BDSM elements like fuzzy handcuffs or a blindfold and feathers. It’s a place to dip a toe into heavier aspects like blood play, dubious consent, and breath play (erotic asphyxiation) that are not for the feint of heart.

Like any subject, there are writers who understand the topic and writers who don’t. Those who don’t may be writing abusive relationships into their fiction. Flat characters with no goals or motivation are no better, all a reader sees is someone begging to be hurt; an abusive situation by any definition.

Below are a list of books and short stories I’ve read and enjoyed in the BDSM genre that I believe are written with a solid understanding of the subject and as such, a respect for it. These stories are not all rainbows and bunnies. Indeed, BDSM fiction is often willing to tackle heavy subjects like rape, torture, abuse, and the after-effects thereof. Content and trigger warnings are common in this genre, I’ve included them. Stories are listed in order from lighthearted (top) to darker (bottom). All links are SFW, they go to goodreads.com.

Duck! (series)

M/M, D/s, shifters, Ugly Duckling retelling. HEA

Yakuza Pride

M/M, D/s elements, torture, HEA

Mind Fuck (series)

M/M, D/s, HFN

Don’t…

M/M, BDSM, thriller, HEA

Strain

M/M, B/D, D/s, Dubious Consent, HEA

Power Play (series)

M/M, BDSM, torture, consent triggers, HEA

This story is all about exploring the nature of consent.

The Flesh Cartel (serial)

M/M, BDSM, rape, physical torture, psychological torture, stockholm syndrome, non-consensual incest, HEA

This is a brutal series that pulls no punches. Trigger warnings for everything.

It is powerful, heartbreaking, and the most compelling story I’ve ever read.

Note: this is an ongoing serial. The end has NOT been published yet.

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Tami Veldura is a writer, reader, artist and dreamer. She resides in sunny California and aspires to quit her day job and write full-time. She recently published Fanged: An M/M Erotic Anthology, available in all major formats. (Use the coupon code ADVENT to get it for 50% off!) This anthology contains 5 erotic vampire short stories, some with BDSM themes.

DCF 1.0

Vampires enthrall us. From horror to lover, vampires take our lives, our bodies, and our blood. The M/M erotic stories in this collection run the gamut. From historical past, present, and far into the future; science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary: it’s all about the fangs.

So whether you like your vampire vicious or kind, dominant or submissive, hidden or out in the open, this collection has an erotic story for you. Short enough to read on the bus, hot enough to make you sweat, and every one a new surprise. Five M/M erotic stories are waiting.

Check out Tami’s:

Website/Blog

Twitter

Goodreads

Support her:

Patreon (paid, exclusive goodies)

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