Mexican Heat by Laura Baumbach and Josh Lanyon

998SFPD detective Gabriel Sandalini might as well have put a gun to his own head. One red-hot sexual encounter in a bar’s back room has put two years of deep undercover work in jeopardy-two years of danger and deception as he worked his way into crime boss Ricco Botelli’s inner circle. Gabriel can’t afford emotional entanglements. Hell, he can’t afford emotions. But that was before he had a name to pin on that anonymous one-off-Miguel Ortega.

Miguel Ortega doesn’t trust anyone, but tough, street-smart Gabriel brings out the conquistador in his Spanish blood. But distractions are nothing short of deadly right now, not with his boss’s impending marriage to Botelli’s sister, which will ensure peace-and massive drug profits-for both families.

On a trip to Mexico to set up drug supply lines, a violent confrontation proves they’ve got each other’s backs-to a degree.

Then one savage act changes everything, testing not only their fragile bond, but Gabriel’s will to live.
From Samhain Publishing.

A total shoot em up action adventure novel complete with buff heroes, bad guys and tequila shots off butts. I was so just waiting for someone to chime in with, ‘say hello to my little friend.’ It certainly did require a certain suspension of disbelief, but for all that I did enjoy it a great deal. And, it was such a long book! 

The novel is in two parts. While the 1st hooked into my undercover cop fiend and fascination with men and big guns, it was the 2nd part that appealed more. The wounded soldier with life changing injuries shtick just floats my boat.

What drew me in was how well the characters fit together. Gabriel was feisty and fiery with Miguel being a perfect conterpoint with his smooth and charming nature. It also made me laugh several times when Miguel is trying to be somewhat romantic and admittedly getting just a little dribbly and Gabriel just scoffs at him. Towards the end Gabriel has the most classic line, “Jesus, the shit you talk, Antonio. Go on.” It was so perfect and had me sniggering. Such a heavy moment and yet it was this ability to poke fun that made me feel that the novel had a lighter side and did not take itself too seriously. I think, that had it lacked these moments of levity the characters would not have been as diverting as they were and I would have been a little more dubious about the premise. 

As the book ended in such an interesting place with the characters still in the early stages of a relationship, I’ll be very keen to see what the authors do next. I think Gabriel has a lot more developing to do as a character and I am eager to see  the next installment. 

Check out the book here via MLRP, or you can get it in ebook from Samhain.

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Interview – LB Gregg

yukon_man1It is my pleasure to share an interview with you from author LB Gregg.
Clever, funny and a smarty after my own heart, this talented new author has the first Men of Smithfield book coming soon in ebook from Aspen Mountain Press and in March the paperback version with MLRP.
The MLRP series is called Smart Ass, the first is Close Quarters. The Men of Smithfield stories will be paired with Amber Green’s new series Turner & Turner.

I know you think this is an ass question, but would you care to share a few things about yourself? Favorite shoes, neck tie, body piercing… cake?

Favorite shoes? Black leather driving mocs. Worn to perfection (meaning I need to toss them) and comfortable in any weather. Also my black and orange ski boots.

Neckties? Surely you jest.

My favorite body piercing on someone else is a small gauge. Emphasis on small. I admit to an unnatural interest in the Prince Albert, but this is purely academic.

Cake? That’s one of my favorite bands!

beagle-trainingBeagles. Possibly the best dog IN the world? Your thoughts on this noble beast?

My dog ate a grease stick. MMmmmm….grease stick. It never ceases to amaze me what a beagle is willing to ingest. Chapstick, fruit snacks, a jar of peanut butter, a roll of paper towels, a bag of grapes, heck, they’ll lick chicken feed off the ground. I mean the list is as endless as it is impressive.

There is no sweeter dog, though.

What made you start writing?

I was strong armed into this, no question. I always wanted to write but I lacked the discipline. It was through the encouragement, and the daily, er, support of my blogging friends, and my writer pal, that I was able to get these novellas written. Those folks really kicked me (read: my ass) into gear. Also, M/M is the genre where I found both my voice and the stories I wanted to tell.

lb_gobsmacked_500x75021I think your books are fresh, funny and totally sexy, but what do you think sets them apart?

Thanks, Sarah. That’s so nice to hear. My stories are pretty short and the pace is fast, but it’s the setting that I think is atypical. New England. People say, write what you know. So I did. The folks here are practical, no-nonsense, and bit tricky to get to know. Each season brings a brand new set of expectations for our lives, from the kinds of weather we experience, to the clothes we wear, to our leisure activities, to the coffee we drink (iced or hot?). I’m sure that’s true elsewhere, but my experience has been predominantly here. I’m keen on it.

Where would you like to see the m/m medium go in the next few years?

I’d like to see m/m lose it’s ‘kink’ appeal and get into the broader market, for the genre to gain credibility and garner respect. Imagine a harlequin line of category glbt novels!

What do you think has been your most important piece of work to date and why?

Ha. Well I only have the one book out so I’ll say…that one! Gobsmacked. It’s important to me on many of levels. It’s my first book, my first time writing, and the fact that my friends and family supported my writing endears it to me. Please buy my book. heh.

The next book in the Men of Smithfield series, Happy Ending, is close to my heart.

I wanted to write a story that presented a positive family dynamic with a gay parent, but that’s not the focus of the book. Happy Ending is a love story. Seth and David are one lively pairing, phewie. I never knew what that David was going to do next or how Seth was going to react.

60382763What sort of characters are you drawn to writing about?

I ‘m drawn to everyday men who find themselves out of their comfort zones, who have to make decisions on the fly, and who wind up having the rug pulled out from under them by some inappropriate guy. In Gobsmacked, Marks entire life unravels in a series of fast, unexpected events and he’s scrambling to make sense of things…so Tony makes his move. I do like that Tony. Tony likes to take charge, and Mark is out of control. Gob is an old friends, alpha/beta, cop story. Tres. Hot.

In Happy Ending, the next in my Men of Smithfield series, the no-nonsense and stern Seth Weston meets his unlikely match in the funny, daring, and laid back David Cooke. It’s a fun story and, I have to admit, it’s a bit spicy.

How hard is it to write scenes with the smex? Making it hot and sexy without it coming off as cheesetastic?

It’s tough. I rewrite love scenes constantly trying to get them just so and …. I’m never satisfied. I’m working on the edits for the print version of Gobsmacked and I’m still tweaking. The Aspen e-book will be slightly different than the print. It’ll be interesting to see what readers think.

starving-writerAny suggestions for wannabe authors hoping to get published?

Well, this ain’t no War and Peace (thank god) but to get published in this genre, you have to write write write. Set daily goals and meet them, and when you don’t, cut yourself slack because tomorrow is a brand new day with no mistakes in it. Find someone you trust to read for you and ask for specific feed back. Never ever be afraid to toss stuff and rework it. That’s not failure; that’s the process. That sounds bossy, but the truth is, the books we read aren’t written on the first go, or the tenth, they are the culmination of a lot of work, rereads, and rewrites. And as a pal said to me last night, Books are built one word at a time.”

You’re a bit of a reader geek when you’re not writing. Are there any romance authors you’re particularly addicted to?

Well, Josh Lanyon, of course. He’s the king. I enjoy JL Langley very much. Victor Banis. Outside of m/m, I have some old favorites in the romance world, Lisa Kleypas, Suzanne Brockmann, Christina Dodd, Teresa Medeiros, and Joanna Lindsay and, well she’s not really romance, but I adore Charlaine Harris. My new favorite? The ever clever Meljean Brook. She’s fantastic. Oh and Kresley Cole. I’ll stop here because I could go on all day.

stevemcqueenAre there any story lines that suck you in as a reader more than others? Cops, desert island or perhaps intrepid book sellers?

I’m partial to intrepid book sellers, this is true. I also love tough navy seals, hard-nosed and closeted cops, and certain stern starship commanders…I like those big alphas…and I like them best when they are paired with a smart ass beta who keeps them on their toes. That contrast is delicious.

What are you working on currently?

I’m working on a story called Shelter, at least that’s what it’s called today. It’s not a Men of Smithfield story, but it is m/m and it’s one of my favorite romantic contrasts… May/December. Yum.

I have the rough of Men of Smithfield III waiting on my hard drive. It’s being…persnickety. I should finish that by the end of February.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all my questions. ALL of them! heh. I really do appreciate it and it’s been super cool. Mwah!!

Thanks Sarah! Mwah back atcha!

picture-2As a special treat I am going to offer a free ebook copy of Gobsmacked to a lucky poster, just leave a comment saying hi and I’ll make a draw later next week.

postcard_myspace_jpegIn the meantime check out LB Gregg’s website here and the link to MLRP. The Smithfield Gazette is also a very worthy publication to sign up for and you can check it out here.

Artwork at the top of page is from Mikemen.

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