February Recent Reads

Hello Everyone! Welcome to this month’s edition of “Recent Reads” which, I hope, will feature at least one recommendation to keep you amused.

The new year seems to have brought a mixed bag my way. Being in Australia, it’s the height of Summer. So I’ve been inundated with endless days of extreme heat, stifling humidity and an unprecedented bushfire crisis leaving much of my local community blanketed in smoke and ash. As a result, it’s not been conducive for getting much done, work-wise; but has involved me spending a lot of time parked under the air conditioner, catching up on my reading.

I’ve spent most of my non-Reading time catching up with my day job, something I’ve been neglecting a little over the last few months. As a result, writing hasn’t been my biggest priority. But, now that we are approaching the end of Summer and, hopefully, cooler days ahead, I hope to get back to work on MoM #3.

In the meantime, here are some books I’ve been reading over the Summer break. If you have any reading recommendations, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I’m always looking for something new to read!

“Cold Hard Cash” by K.L. Hiers

Jimmy has been studying to become a lawyer. He’s spent years trying to get his father, wrongfully convicted of his own wife’s murder, out of prison, but a combination of bad luck and poor choices has left him in an extraordinary amount of debt with a loan shark. Luckily, this loan shark is practically a second father to Jimmy.

But when his debt is forcibly bought out by a local mafia leader, Boss Cold, Jimmy finds himself in serious trouble. How can he be expected to find nearly a quarter of a million dollars at a moments notice? Out of options, and facing the very real threat of death, Jimmy’s loan shark suggests that Boss Cold might let Jimmy “work off” his debt, if Jimmy were willing to offer himself to the handsome mafia boss.

Jimmy, desperate and out of options, agrees to the plan, and offers his body to Boss Cold. They strike a deal of sorts, with neither man expecting anything beyond the terms of their arrangement. But soon, Jimmy starts seeing a different side to the otherwise ice cold mafia boss, and Cold seeing the possibility of something more than a “business arrangement” with Jimmy. But will secrets, both past and present, tear apart their new relationship before it truly begins?

This book is an ethical and moral quagmire, featuring characters engaging in overtly criminal behaviour. So, it’s often difficult to know if you should be rooting for certain characters considering they are technically “the bad guy.” There are also occasional scenes of graphic violence, some Dom/sub interactions and some issues with clear and informed content. But overall, Cold Hard Cash is a diverting mystery/romance/thriller/erotica title that was fun to read. If you like bad guys as anti-heroes and slow burning mysteries, this one is for you.

“The Mermaid Murders” by Josh Lanyon

In Book One of “The Art of Murder” series, Josh Lanyon introduces us to two very different FBI agents who are forced to work together after a supposedly solved serial killer case is reopened when a fresh victim is found.

Special Agent Jason West of the FBI’s Art Crime division is temporarily reassigned to work with BAU legend Sam Kennedy (whose recent public meltdown on Live TV has won him no friends amongst the FBI top brass) when Kennedy’s biggest case is suddenly reopened.

Despite having successfully captured and convicted the serial killer known as The Huntsman years earlier, Kennedy is called back to the case after a new victim is found. Convinced this must be the work of a copycat and resenting being bogged down with an inexperienced partner, Kennedy reluctantly agrees to look into the case.

But as the two agents begin working together, they discover two disturbing things. The case may not in fact be a copycat, bringing into question everything Kennedy learned previously; and that the two agents, without intending it, may have unexpectedly found something in each other that neither man was looking for.

Can they keep their feelings professional for the sake of the case? Or are they just using the case as an excuse to deny the feelings they have developed for each other?

Josh Lanyon is the undisputed master of the M/M Mystery genre, and the Art of Crime series is up there among Lanyon’s best. More procedural than the usual amateur sleuth fair, this first volume features a delightful combination of hard mystery and gritty, realistic characters forced to confront their feelings – making this a book you won’t want to put down. Highly recommended.

“His Reluctant Cowboy” by A.D. Ellis

I’ll round off this month’s recommendations with something a bit more lighthearted, and a fish-out-of-water cowboy story is always a good way to do that!

When out and proud Californian dancer Reid unexpectedly inherits a horse ranch from the Grandfather he never knew, it represents the opportunity of a lifetime. He can sell the ranch and finally be free of his controlling and homophobic father once and for all. However, his Grandfather’s will stipulates that Reid must LIVE on the ranch for at least three months before he’s can decide to either sell it, take it over or transfer ownership to someone else.

Arriving at the Pine Ridge Ranch, Reid is certain that nothing will dissuade him from selling the ranch, until he meets the handsome ranch foreman. Walker has lived on the ranch for years, and can’t imagine living anywhere else. So when this crazy city boy with no ranch experience and a fear of horses blows in with a plan to sell Pine Ridge, he is forced to do everything he can to persuade the new owner to either keep the ranch or transfer ownership to him.

Over the next three months, Reid and Walker slowly bond, and Reid discovers, to his surprise, that ranch life isn’t nearly as hateful as he had expected. But when a mining company, funded by Reid’s father, starts using dirty tactics to force a sale, Reid has to make some serious decisions. Will he stay or go? Should he succumb to the threats and sell, risking the livelihoods of the entire ranch crew, or keep the ranch and fight his father and a powerful mining company? And will these decisions affect his burgeoning relationship with Walker?

Well, that’s all for February! I hope you have a lovely month filled with reading and romance.

Lots of Love

Alex Leslie

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