Tag: Christine d’Abo

Guest Review: Calling the Shots by Christine D’Abo

Posted December 1, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of Calling the Shots (Long Shots #4) by Christine D’Abo

He’s had a wild ride, and now sex club owner Josh Scott is looking for a change of scene. But first, he’s determined to bring two friends together, and he’s willing to be a third wheel to move things along…

Beth Norris is eager to be set up with hot bartender Oliver Stephenson, but she’s equally attracted to matchmaker Josh. Soon she’s fantasizing about both men at once—and about being the one to call the shots in the encounter…

Ready to move on with his life post-divorce, Oliver is conflicted by the realization that he’s attracted to women and men. Or more specifically, to Beth and Josh. He tries to keep his distance, but it’s not long before the chemistry between the trio combusts in a night of mind-blowing sex.

In the light of day, it’s clear something deeper than desire is growing between Josh, Beth and Oliver. But though Josh has helped others find love in unconventional relationships, is he willing to take a chance on one himself?

Author Christine D’Abo caps off her erotic romance series with this fourth and final book, one that now features the experience of Josh Scott, best friend and catalytic presence in the romances of the siblings who own the coffee shop Pulled Long, and whose presence in the lives of a number of characters has run through the three previous stories.  Now Josh has come to a point in his life where he wants something more for himself than just being the third “add-on” in a temporary threesome, or a stand-in when a partner is needed, or just a contract Dom for members of his his BDSM club.  He has discovered that he is relentlessly drawn and attracted to his assistant manager, Beth, and his new bartender of four months, Oliver, is also posing a challenge to his libido.  Yet they are his employees and his ethics seem to be getting in his way of acting on these powerful attractions.   Add in the fact that Oliver has discovered that he is bi-sexual and submissive, and Beth is discovering her  desires to have control as a Domme, and the story is already beginning to heat up.

Yet this story is not so much about the BDSM context of the club setting as it is about the inner struggles each of these three people  must endure as they try to find their way in life, come to some peace in their own skin, and decide if the other two persons are willing to be in a long-term relationship.  Even one night of powerful involvement doesn’t settle the question and ultimately these three are in for a very rough emotional ride.  There is also a vandal/stalker who is attacking several of the BDSM clubs but seems bent on doing particular harm to Josh’s club.  This story is alive with all kinds of tension, not the least of which is Josh’s own inner turmoil about his future and it must merge with his past.  As one who has come out of a home where his parents’ relationship was lived out in anger and hurt, and his memories of the terrible judgmental diatribe launched against him when he came “out of the closet” as a bi-sexual man, Josh must not only watch the attacks on his dream and his future, but he must also decide if he can overcome the internal noise that the old memories keep causing.

All four of these novellas have been stories that highlight the struggles of what it means to be human, what it means to determine one’s own self and to celebrate one’s own unique nature and the people in one’s own life that help make that journey of discovery a positive or negative one.  That is especially true with these three individuals as not only is Josh terribly conflicted over his past, Oliver must still deal with the wounds from his failed marriage and an ex-wife who not only left him for another man but who also stole his entire inheritance in the bargain.  He doesn’t even know how to move on, yet he wants a life with Beth and Josh.  Big troubles, that’s for sure.

So I would ask all who want an intense and erotic romance read to consider this novella as being right down your alley.  It’s very mild on the BDSM side other than dealing with the nature of dominance and submission and discussion of the aspects of the lifestyle.  Certainly no hardcore action here.  It’s a wonderful read and a sequel to three really good stories.  I hope you don’t miss it.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

DFRAT: Guest Author Christine D’Abo

Posted June 16, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

First I’d like to thank Rowena and The Book Binge for having me here this week as a part of the Digital First Read-a-ton. *does a snoopy dance*

Back when I started writing the concept of e-books was still relatively new and certainly not what they are today. At the time my goal was to get published with Harlequin. I’m Canadian, so the chance to write for the iconic Canadian company was a huge pull. The problem was, the stories I wanted to tell didn’t quite fall within the parameters of the Harlequin guidelines. 
Raunchy, smutty aliens (surprisingly) weren’t a line with them. 
So I tried my hand at writing a historical (sucked), romantic suspense (boring), Blaze (too smutty) and then gave up. My voice didn’t suite their house needs. Okay, cool. I’m a big girl and there are other publishers out there. 
But I was getting frustrated at this point. I really just wanted to tell a crazy little tale about a woman who showed up on a space station and had an alien fall madly in lust with her. Hell, if no one but me read the damn thing, I figured at the very least I’d get the story out of my head and could then try to write something “marketable”. 
I sat down at my brand new laptop (hubby bought it for my 30th birthday and told me to write a book I could sell). I instead wrote The Bond That Ties Us. It was space smut, and I loved every word. 
The problem was, I loved it so much that I really did want to see it published. Thankfully, I went to my local RWA chapter meeting (Toronto Romance Writers ROCK!!) and that’s where I heard the name Ellora’s Cave for the first time. 
*insert choir of angels*
When I went to their website for the first time it was like my eyes had finally been opened. I could buy any type of book I wanted. There was no limitation on story length or topic. As an author I could do whatever the hell I wanted. I haven’t looked back since. 
I’ve often been asked where I get my story ideas. It’s funny because I don’t normally have an answer for people. Anything and everything that pops into my head is fair game. My friends who are published with NY houses have specific limitations on them (for obvious reasons). These larger houses, while having the potential to have huge payouts for authors, come with a giant business behind it. I’d be lying to say I’d never want to have the “problem” of working with a NY house. But I’ve grown addicted to the freedom I have as a digital first author. 

Whatever crazy idea that pops into my head, I can write. I don’t have to worry about how a house can market Dom space vampires to Walmart. My editors at Ellora’s Cave/Carina Press can probably find a home for it (as long as it doesn’t suck donkey balls). I can let my imagination go wild. 

Digital first authors and publishers are the ones who push the envelope. We are the ones on the forefront saying, “Hey, readers want these types of stories”. It shouldn’t be a surprise that books like Fifty Shades of Gray got its start as e-first. Whatever your opinion on the book is, no one can deny it’s impact on readers and the publishing community. 
Would I ever switch and write for a NY house only? No. I couldn’t give up the addition I have to my e-books. I love how quick they get released. I love the community of readers, authors and reviewers who are connected through their love of e-reading. I love watching people’s perceptions change from saying, “When are you going to write a real book?” to “When the hell is your next book coming out??”
And that, as they say, is that. 
*ramble over*
****
Multipublished author Christine d’Abo loves exploring the human condition through a romantic lens. She takes her characters on fantastical journeys that change their hearts and expand their minds. A self-professed sci-fi junkie, Christine can often be found chatting about her favorite shows and movies. When she’s not writing, she can be found chasing after her children, dogs or husband.
Christine is published with Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press and Berkley Heat. Please visit her at www.christinedabo.com and come chat with her at Twitter Christine_dAbo.

Guest Review: Pulled Long by Christine d’Abo.

Posted January 14, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of Pulled Long (Long Shot series #3) by Christine d’Abo

For months, coffee shop owner Ian Long has fantasized about a customer he knows only as “Blue Eyes.” Until he learns Blue Eyes is in the midst of a divorce—the last thing Ian wants is to be the rebound experiment of a straight guy. Giving in to lust, he invites the man into the cafe after hours and they indulge in a little exhibitionist play, but Ian is unwilling to get involved.

But when he’s forced to see Jeff again to return his briefcase, Ian finally agrees to go out on a date. Dinner quickly becomes an erotic encounter in a special room at the sex club Mavericks, and Ian realizes Jeff satisfies desires he didn’t even know he had. The more he gets to know Jeff as a person, the harder it is to resist falling for him.

Jeff makes it clear he’s interested in more than just sex. He wants to go public with their relationship in more ways than one. But can Ian open his heart, when he fears it will be broken?

There are people who seem to just waft through life, taking their pleasure wherever they can find it, taking no responsibility for the wreckage they leave in their wake. And then there are people who go to the other extreme, taking responsibility for everything negative that happens to their loved ones, to people who are significant in their lives, or for happenings in their business or personal life. Ian Long was one of the latter variety. He is a gay man who has been “out” ever since he was seventeen and whose sexual orientation has been the cause of the rift between him and his dad. He has also been terribly hurt by a partner who wanted a relationship with Ian but who couldn’t get past his struggle with his own sexual preference. Ian is a man who loves his family, especially his sisters with whom he is in business in the coffee shop. Yet he even takes more than his share of the responsibility in that context. Ian is his own biggest enemy. At Long Shots, their specialty coffee business, Ian is the master of the expresso machine–he is the one who knows best when the brew is “pulled long” In that business’s terminology, it means that he knows how to get the maximum amount of “zing”–caffeine content–out of the coffee grounds. It is a metaphor for Ian’s hope that someday he can have a relationship that will provide the maximum of everything he is seeking–love, commitment, excitement, security.

For over eight months the mysterious “Blue Eyes” has been coming into the shop, flirting with Ian, teasing him with his interest, all without ever revealing his name. The tantalizing nature of this budding relationship is first chronicled in the first book in this series. Now Ian is given his first negative jolt when he finds out that Jeff–that’s his name–has been married, and Ian’s fears really kick in and he essentially tells Jeff to “take a hike.” This is really the beginning of their on-again-off-again relationship, marred by Ian’s fears and some secrets from his past that he is reluctant to reveal to his lover.

I don’t read a lot of M/M stories, but I was anxious to find out how Ian and “Blue Eyes” had moved forward, having been teased about their budding attraction in two previous books. I have become a fan of this author’s style and her evident talent in telling a good story, so was delighted to delve more deeply into Ian’s issues as to read about the bumpy progress these two men experienced as they tried to find their way toward each other. There are positives as Ian grows in his respect for his two sisters and their new wisdom in dealing with romantic relationships; there are occasions when Ian must deal with his sense of taking responsibility for nearly everything bad that has happened in his family; there are some people who seem bent on keeping these two apart or making them ashamed of themselves as gay men. Yet with all the detractors, Jeff and Ian’s attraction for one another seems more substantive and it is that sense that draws the reader forward. Is a relationship between a newly divorced bi-sexual man and a very conflicted gay man possible? It is the question that drives this story.

Built on a foundation of family dynamics, this series of stories has been so well written. All the siblings have figured prominently in each story without taking over. This third in the series is no different. It is a short novel so it is not a major time commitment to read. But it is so well written that no issue is given short shrift nor does the reader have the sense that something important has been left out. It is a very good read and one that fans of M/M romance will enjoy. It is also a fitting sequel to the two preceding stories.

I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Guest Review: A Shot in the Dark by Christine d’Abo

Posted January 7, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of A Shot in the Dark (Long Shot series #2) by Christine d’Abo

Carter is one of the hottest men ever to walk into Paige Long’s coffee shop. The attraction is mutual, and when Carter reveals himself to be a Dom, the submissive in Paige is aroused. Yet she brushes him off—her last relationship was abusive and she’s unwilling to get involved with another Dom.


But when Carter returns the next day—in his firefighter uniform—Paige’s fantasies really heat up. She can’t resist his offer to get to know him over a drink at Mavericks, a local sex club. Their conversation quickly escalates to a session in one of the private rooms, and Paige is both thoroughly satisfied by Carter’s skills in domination, and impressed with his selflessness as a lover. Paige is ready to move on with her life. But can she trust in herself and submit to happiness?

I am positive that most thinking adults are aware that fear of any kind can grow to paralyzing proportions. That is especially true of victims of abuse of any kind. Finding a way to move on and “unfreeze” is sometimes the most daunting issue. The hurts and bruises of the body can heal. But the wounds to the spirit, the ability to make decisions that are self-protecting, the faith that one can trust one’s own responses to another person are often the most difficult to bring back into place. Thus, when Paige is given a chance for a new relationship with Carter, there is a part of her that recognizes that Carter is very different from her ex. Yet Paige’s distrust of herself will be the critical issue in whether or not she can move forward with a strong and dominating man.

This is a very good sequel to the first story in this series and one that highlights some issues that are common in victims of abuse. That the abuse happened in the BDSM context is irrelevant on some levels, yet it is difficult for Paige to recognize that there are some of the BDSM activities that really do meet some basic needs in her psyche. So those readers who dislike this lifestyle or any of its attendant issues need to be aware that they are present in this story. I found this story to be compelling because of Paige’s struggle to acknowledge her own personhood, her willingness to move forward while still clinging to her distrust of herself. I was fascinated with Carter’s strength, a kind of strength that was willing to put his own needs and urges on hold in order to give Paige what she needed and to build the trust between them that was critical if any future relationship between them ever became possible. Yet he was willing to walk away if Paige couldn’t get beyond herself.

This is a short novel and as such will not require a major time investment. I think, however, that it is worth reading, and if readers liked the introduction to these three siblings in the first story, they will enjoy reading not only Paige’s story but continuing to keep abreast of Sadie’s on-going relationship and their brother’s struggle to find a “significant other” for himself. This book is well written and the story does not lag ever. The intensity continues and while the reader may want the easy solutions, there are none when a person with Paige’s history must work through the old baggage. Thus, there are complications that will keep the reader moving forward through the tale. All in all, I think is is a terrific read.

I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Guest Review: Double Shot by Christine d’Abo

Posted December 6, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Judith’s review of Double Shot by Christine d’Abo.

Coffee shop owner Sadie Long has been lusting after her good friend Paul Williams for years. So she’s more than a little intrigued when he invites her to a business meeting at Mavericks, the sex club where he works. While catering an event at the club is not quite the proposition she was hoping for, her business could use the boost. And she can’t resist the chance to work closely with Paul in such a sexually charged atmosphere. Enter the club’s hot owner, Josh, and suddenly Sadie’s fantasizing about being part of a threesome.

Paul has always wanted Sadie, but never thought she’d see him as anything more than a friend. On the night of the party, he and Josh tempt Sadie to reveal her deepest desire—a desire both men are eager to help fulfill.
Giving in to her sensual side, Sadie enjoys a night of mind-blowing sex. But in the light of day, will she lose Paul as a friend, or gain him as a lover?
This work could be called a novella that has overeaten, or a short novel on a diet.  It is sort of in between those two literary formats.  It is the first in a series of short novels about siblings connected with a Coffee Shop, the people who work with them, and those who catch their love interest.  It is an easy read in that it can be consumed in one sitting, but it is a very erotic work and one that will certainly steam up the reader’s reading glasses.
As is often the case, sexual interest grows out of long contact as friends.  While that is a wonderful basis for any relationship, the parties in question often worry that any kind of sexual involvement will make a continuing friendship impossible or uncomfortable if things don’t work out.  So it is with Sadie and Paul.  Sadie is delighted to receive an invitation to stop by the BDSM club where Paul works.  She is understandably disappointed when it turns out to be a professional meeting, seeking her services as a caterer.  Yet it gives her a chance to be with Paul and that’s just fine–that is, until her eye settles on the owner of the club.  Did someone say something about a threesome?
This is a very erotic, hot and kinky story but under all the obvious sexiness is the real story of Sadie and Paul and what their future may end up being.  It is a very well-written story that certainly holds the reader’s interest, pulling one onward from page to page as the reader’s curiosity must be satisfied as to how this all turns out for Paul and Sadie and Josh.  The reader is also introduced to Sadie’s siblings who will ostensibly be featured in future stories.  This is a fun read and one that will satisfy the heart and massage the libido.  After all, what more can we desire from our erotic romance?  
I give it a 3.75 out of 5
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.