“Out of the Shade” by S.A. McAuley

about

The hardest battle is the fight to be yourself….

Jesse Solomona has always tried to be the perfect straight guy–a cocky sports fan capable of drinking more than he did in his fraternity days and an expert at one-night-stands. That he hooks up with just as many men as he does women is a secret Jesse’s been hiding for years, fearful of losing his family and tight group of friends. He’s a Kensington boy–a group of guys that grew up in the same neighborhood and somehow all ended up back in their hometown. They, and his family, are the only things that still matter in his otherwise soul-sucking life.

Chuck Dunn, a tattooed and pierced sports photographer, has refused to step back into the closet since he was disowned by his family, but he keeps choosing men who can’t fully be with him. Finally free from a long-term relationship he should’ve ended years ago, he quits his high-profile gig in favor of getting back to the art of sports photography–documenting a local boxing club that works with at-risk teenagers. He may not have the same swagger anymore, but he’s working to be happy with who he is.

When Chuck joins one of the Kensington boys’ community center sports leagues, Jesse’s self-imposed rules are systematically demolished. But there’s one barrier Jesse can’t find the strength to break through–coming out to the other Kensington boys. Chuck knows hooking up with Jesse is a bad idea. Falling for him even worse. But he can’t stay away.

Chuck is damaged by his past. Jesse is frightened about his future. But, together, they may just be able to come out of the shade.

Reader Advisory: Out of the Shade is a standalone novel with an HEA that carries the following warnings–alcoholism, mentions of sexual and physical abuse, mentions of drug addiction, mentions of rape, attempted suicide by a minor character, violence, homophobia, closeting.

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2016 Favorite Reads – Susan

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I didn’t get through as many books this year as I typically have in the past, but looking back, there really were some gems. And for that I’m so thankful. If ever a year needed some escaping, 2016 was a doozy.

I also ventured back into the worlds of “Chick Lit” (ok, ok…”women’s fiction”), YA (man, there are some REALLY amazing YA authors out there!), and dipped my toe in a bit of fantasy. But, my number one love is still the classic Contemporary. 🙂

So here they are, my favorite books (erm…snuck in a couple series onto the list) of the year:

Bittersweet

“Bittersweet” by Sarina Bowen – dirty-talkin’ farmer who makes his own cider? Yes please! Sarina Bowen’s heroes are always so swoon-worthy and Griff is my favorite of the bunch. This was pretty much the most satisfying contemporary romance I read this year. AMAZON

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“The Rifter” Series by Ginn Hale – An impossible series to describe. But…MIND. BLOWN. Possibly one of the best worlds I’ve ever read. I can’t scream “YOU MUST READ THIS!” loud enough! AMAZON

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“The Borders War” Series by SA McAuley – a military dytopian-esque series w/ two sworn enemies who have the sexiest relationship EVER. Each book in the series gets better and better. This one HURT…but it was so worth it. AMAZON

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“Foxes” by Suki Fleet – If you aren’t reading Suki Fleet, you are missing out on something beautiful. She writes characters and stories that haunt me long after I’m done with the book. God…Danny and Micky…still can’t shake them. AMAZON

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“Bounty” by Kristen Ashley – Because this year was so tough all around, having comfort reads saved me this year. And when KA comes out w/ a new Colorado Mtn book w/ all my favorite characters? It was like a balm to my soul. AMAZON

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“The Mermaid Murders” by Josh Lanyon – I don’t think I’ve gone a year without a Lanyon book on my favorites list. 2016 was no exception. The Mermaid Murders was the best of what Lanyon does…mystery, moments of scariness that had me hold me breath, imperfect men who struggle to allow themselves to love…and just really great writing. So good. AMAZON 

“The Borders War” Series by SA McAuley

about

The world has only recently emerged from a three hundred year war which saw half of the world’s population wiped out and the rise of five superpowers. Despite the hundreds of millions who died, the Borders War was nearly bloodless because of the sonicrifle—weaponized sound waves, tuned to their highest frequency, and harnessed to kill.

Merq Grayson has known only war. He is a skilled Peacemaker, soldier, and sniper. And it is his destiny to right the wrong created by his grandfather six generations removed—the man who invented the sonicbullet.

Armise Darcan is his enemy. A sniper and Dark Ops officer who fought for the People’s Republic of Singapore in the Borders War, Armise may be the only person on the planet strong enough to keep Merq from completing his mission.

Their loyalties are to conflicting countries and diverging agendas, and despite the very real threat to their lives if they’re discovered, Merq and Armise keep finding their way into each other’s beds. It is a drive which Merq is sure will kill him one day.

But how much time either of them has is questionable. As Opposition is pitted against Revolution, the Borders War reignites, and Merq and Armise have to decide where, and with whom, their real loyalties lie.

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