Tue
Mar 31 2015 6:30pm

What Happens Next?!: Male/Male Best Bets for March 2015

March is the month for m/m lovers to get lots of new books in their favorite series, and for me to realize how terribly behind in my series reading I am. Fortunately, there are also some new series to start — ah, the lure of the fresh and shiny — and plenty of standalones, too.

Continuing Couple Series
Crash & Burn (Cut and Run #9) by Abigail Roux

It’s been five years since Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett first worked together to solve the Tri-State murders, and time has been both harsh and kind. Engaged now, they face the challenge of planning a deeply uncertain future together. Zane is at the pinnacle of his career with one last mystery to solve, while Ty is at sea in a world where he’s no longer the tip of a spear.

There’s just one more hurdle in the way of their happy ever after: a traitor from their inner circle who threatens to burn their world to the ground.

Squeezed between the Vega cartel, an unknown mole, and too many alphabet agencies to count, Ty and Zane must gather all their strength and resources to beat the longest odds they’ve ever faced. To make it out alive, they’ll need help from every friend they’ve got. Even the friends who might betray their trust.

Five years for the characters, seven years for readers, nine books total, and the end of the series! The publishers did a real tease for this final book, by withholding the title and blurb until release day — and it certainly seems to have worked, because this is the number one anticipated m/m book on GoodReads for both March and for 2015. But it's quite probable it would have been anyway, because readers simply love this couple. The title is a little unnerving for the last book of a roller coaster ride of a series, but I'm pretty sure a happy ending is finally in store for Special Agents Ty and Zane.

Heat Trap (The Plumber's Mate #3) by J.L. Merrow

The wrong secret could flush their love down the drain.

It’s been six months since plumber Tom Paretski was hit with a shocking revelation about his family. His lover, P.I. Phil Morrison, is pushing this as an ideal opportunity for Tom to try to develop his psychic talent for finding things. Tom would prefer to avoid the subject altogether, but just as he decides to bite the bullet, worse problems come crawling out of the woodwork.

Marianne, a young barmaid at the Devil’s Dyke pub, has an ex who won’t accept things are over between them. Grant Carey is ruthless in dealing with anyone who gets between him and Marianne, including an old friend of Tom and Phil. Their eagerness to step in and help only makes them targets of Grant’s wrath themselves.

With Tom’s uncertainty about Phil’s motives, Tom’s family doing their best to drive a wedge between them, and the revelation of an ugly incident in Phil’s past, suddenly Tom’s not sure whom he can trust.

The body in the Dyke’s cellar isn’t the only thing that stinks.

Third in this mystery/paranormal series; as you'd expect from Merrow, it's popular for its cheeky, funny narrator, although his lover is a bit of an enigma. Reviewers praise the relationship progression, so hopefully we'll be getting more insight into Phil.

Tempest (Playing the Fool #3) by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock

Something wicked this way comes.

FBI Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness and con man Henry Page are on the run again. This time they’re headed back to where it all began: Altona, Indiana. Population: some goats. Henry’s not happy about lying low at the McGuinness family farm, but they’ve got nowhere else to go.

While Mac fights to clear his name and Henry struggles with whose side he’s really on, a ghost from the past threatens to destroy everything. And those aren’t the only storms on the radar. Cut off from both sides of the law, Mac and Henry must rely on their tenuous partnership to survive.

If Henry can convince himself to let Mac see the man behind the disguises, they’ll stand a chance of beating the forces that conspire against them. The course of true love never did run smooth, but for the two of them, it might be their only hope.

The final book of the series is also described as the darkest and most intense. Reviewers recommend reading them in order.

The Bruise-Black Sky (More Heat Than the Sun #5) by John Wiltshire

Ben usually overlooks Nikolas's occasionally jarring dissonance. Not this time. A deep rift, a terrible lie, separates them. Eleven thousand miles from Nikolas, in New Zealand, it's bitter winter as Ben films the tragic story of a post-apocalyptic gladiator, a victim of his own personal darkness. But on receiving a death threat, Ben suspects the truth of actor Oliver Whitestone's suicide. Someone doesn't want this movie made. It's fortunate for Ben, therefore, that dissonance is a state of unrest, a longing for completion. As if Nikolas would stay at home in disgrace while Ben Rider-Mikkelsen becomes the target of a crazed stalker...

This author and series are completely new to me, but it sounds very intriguing. Reviewers note a lot of violence and amoral heroes.

The Other Side of Winter (Santuario #2) by G.B. Gordon

Not all wounds are visible.
Skanian investigator Bengt fell in love with fellow policeman Alex Rukow in a week. But that was a year ago, and they’ve been apart ever since. Then Alex escapes the corrupt and destitute island nation of Santuario and comes to live with Bengt. Happy ever after . . .?

Alex’s lifelong dream of leaving Santuario has come true at last. But he finds himself adrift in a society he doesn’t understand. Worse, past nightmares come back to haunt him, and after so many years of suspicion and self-reliance, it’s harder than he imagined to trust someone else.

Bengt just wants Alex to share his comfortable life. But the more he tries to give, the more Alex pulls away. Their physical connection couldn’t be better, but Bengt can’t seem to get through to his difficult, taciturn lover outside the bedroom. Meanwhile, he has his own demons to confront—not to mention a serial killer on the loose.

Bengt and Alex must dig deep for the courage to face their pasts, but it may be too late to save their relationship or their lives.

The first book in this fantasy/mystery series is described as having a very slow-building romance, so m/m lovers are eager for the second installment, which really focuses on the relationship. Four books are planned in all. The publisher's content warning includes “angry sex/hate sex”... sold!

Continuing Series With New Couples
Scrap (The Bristol Collection #3) by Josephine Myles

When things come to a head, there’s nowhere to go but down…

On the surface, Derek “Call Me Dare” Nelson’s life is simple, doing up custom campervans while living in a slightly illegal caravan in his riverfront yard. When a handsome, smooth-talking developer offers to buy the land out from under his feet, Dare realizes it’s the same man he had to escort home from a party months ago for causing a drunken scene.

Grant Matravers lives a double life, attempting to adjust to weekends as a single, divorced gay man while staying closeted at work. The strain of keeping up the part-time pretense, missing his kids, and now a problematic attraction to the shave-headed, tattooed Dare, has worn his emotional barriers dangerously thin.

Dare blasts through those barriers in a way Grant isn’t prepared for, challenging everything he thought he knew about himself as a gay man. But as their chemistry heats up and the intimacy between them grows, Grant edges toward a decision that could blow up in his face. Exposing a hornet’s nest of complications that could destroy any chance for happily ever after.

After finding love for a hoarder in book one and a slightly amoral sugar baby in book two, can Myles convince us that a cheating jerk can be a hero? Grant was a right bastard in Stuff, but there were some signs of genuine feeling underneath, so he's ripe for a good redemption. 

Nothing Like Paris (Bend or Break #2) by Amy Jo Cousins

Humble pie wasn’t supposed to taste this sweet.

Jack Tarkington’s life is in the toilet. He was supposed to be spending his junior year studying someplace cool like Paris or Rome. Instead, after taking out his anger on the campus “golden boy”, whose dad ripped off his parents, Jack is facing possible expulsion.

Sure, it’s all his own fault, but coming back to the small Iowa town he thought he’d escaped, after crowing about his admission to a prestigious school, has been a humbling experience.

When he runs into Miguel, Jack braces for backlash over the way he lorded it over his old friend and flame. Instead, Miguel offers him friendship—and a job at his growing farm-to-table store and café.

Against the odds, both guys bond over broken dreams and find common ground in music. But when Jack’s college gives him a second chance, he’s torn between achieving a dream that will take him far from home, and a love that strikes a chord he’ll never find anywhere else.

Here's another jerk in need of a good redemption story. Jack used Tom's relationship as a weapon against him in Off Campus; I'm curious to see whether he'll address his internalized homophobia here.

New Series
Trust The Focus (In Focus #1) by Megan Erickson

With his college graduation gown expertly pitched into the trash, Justin Akron is ready for the road trip he planned with his best friend Landry— and ready for one last summer of escape from his mother’s controlling grip. Climbing into the Winnebago his father left him, they set out across America in search of the sites his father had captured through the lens of his Nikon.

As an aspiring photographer, Justin can think of no better way to honor his father’s memory than to scatter his ashes at the sites he held sacred. And there’s no one Justin would rather share the experience with more than Landry.

But Justin knows he can’t escape forever. Eventually he’ll have to return home and join his mother’s Senate campaign. Nor can he escape the truth of who he is, and the fact that he’s in love with his out-and-proud travel companion.

Admitting what he wants could hurt his mother’s conservative political career. But with every click of his shutter and every sprinkle of ash, Justin can’t resist Landry’s pull. And when the truth comes into focus, neither is prepared for the secrets the other is hiding.

This is Erickson's first m/m new adult book, but the start of an LGBTQ series featuring different couples.

SEE ALSO: Trust the Focus Alternative POV scene!

Falling by Barbara ElsborgFalling (Fall or Break #1) by Barbara Elsborg

Falling is easy. Landing without breaking your heart? Impossible.

Harper is no longer behind bars, but it doesn’t feel like it. Ten years serving time for a crime he didn’t commit have left him shut down, numb, and a frozen wreck over the simplest of choices.

He’s acutely aware of the dark-haired young man checking him out in the supermarket, but he’s too deep in panic mode to even meet the guy’s gaze. Afraid the slightest move will trigger a fall that will never stop.

Fresh off a long-term relationship with a controlling man, Malachi is stuck living with relatives who think he’s a waste of oxygen. The tall guy in the long, gray coat is the first bright spot he’s glimpsed in a long time…though the man’s unblinking stare at a bottle of shower gel is a touch alarming.

Hard experience tells both of them to turn away before lust turns to hopeless attraction, and inevitably to disaster. But once their sparks connect, the arc of electricity is too strong to deny. Even if the cost is too much to bear.

Elsborg is known for very dark stories full of graphic sex, and this looks like no exception. It's described as a complete story with no cliffhanger.

Chaos Station (Chaos Station #1) by Kelly Jensen and Jenn Burke

“You're not real. Felix Ingesson is dead.”

The war with the alien stin is over, but Felix Ingesson has given up on seeing his lover, Zander Anatolius, ever again. Zander's military file is sealed tighter than an airlock. A former prisoner of war, Felix is attempting a much quieter life keeping his ship, the Chaos, aloft. He almost succeeds, until Zander walks on board and insists that Felix isn't real.

A retired, broken super soldier, Zander is reeling from the aftereffects of his experimental training and wants nothing more than to disappear and wait for insanity to claim him. Then he sees footage of a friend and ally—a super soldier like him—murdering an entire security squad with her bare hands and a cold, dead look in her eyes. He never expected to find Felix, the man he'd thought dead for years, on the ship he hired to track her down.

Working with Felix to rescue his teammate is a dream come true…and a nightmare. Zander has no exit strategy that will leave Felix unscathed—or his own heart unbroken.

These co-authors are fairly new to publishing, but there are four more books to look forward to in this science fiction series.

Getting It Right (Restoration #1) by A.M. Arthur

Detective Nathan Wolf might just be a junior detective, but he tackles every case with the passion that he lacks in his personal life. A series of failed relationships with women has left him still single at thirty-four—because he's too scared to admit to his longtime crush on his best friend James.

Dr. James Taggert likes to keep his profession as a psychiatrist separate from his party-animal persona. Known around the gay clubs as Tag, he's the guy who screws them, leaves them, and never looks back. But James's drinking is getting heavier, and when bad memories from the past resurface, he's close to becoming the worst version of himself.

After a drunken blackout ends in a hot and heavy make-out session with his very straight best friend, James has no memory of the steamy affair. But Nathan isn't sorry for the kisses that James can't remember. Nathan finally musters the courage to tell James how he really feels, but a life-altering event might force them apart before they can ever be together.

This spins off from Arthur's “Belonging” series. There's some overlap between stories, so it's probably best to read the previous series first.

Stand Alones
The Bohemian and the Banker by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon

“A night lost in Paris finds two hearts changed forever.”

Sent to Paris on business, Nigel Warren doesn’t quite understand why his colleagues’ eyes twinkle as they tell him to meet them at a local night spot.

When he discovers it’s a drag cabaret and his acquaintances aren’t there, he realizes he’s the butt of a joke. Yet he finds himself quite undone by a singer dressed in an elegant gown, crooning a spellbinding ballad.

It’s not unusual for Jay, a former Londoner, to bring a new “friend” home from the cabaret, but he’s never had a guest quite like Nigel, whose straitlaced manner hides an unexpected passionate streak.

One romantic night on a rooftop under starry skies, followed by an afternoon enjoying the excitement of the 1901 Paris Exposition, bonds these opposites in a way neither can forget—even after they part.

Their spark reignites when Jay comes to London, but he’s not sure he can go back to hiding his true self, not even for the sake of love…unless Nigel is willing to shed his cloak of staid respectability and take a leap of faith.

You never know quite what you're going to get when this writing pair gets together; in this case, it's a historical that should intrigue anyone looking for a fresh setting. Not to mention, starchy hero meets drag queen hero!  

After School Activities by Dirk Hunter

Two guys insist on complicating Dylan O’Connor’s life: one, his bully, and the other, his best friend.

It started out simple enough. Step one, outsmart Adam with wit and flair, goad him into doing something stupid, and land him in detention. Step two, play video games with Kai all night and laugh about it. Go to bed. Repeat tomorrow. Only, Adam and Kai are about to change the rules on him.

First, Adam's bullying turns suddenly violent, leaving Dylan to wonder if his bully really needs a friend. Then, Kai makes an unexpected move Dylan has only imagined in his most secret fantasies. Only he'd never dreamed it might come at a price.

While Adam opens up, coming closer to revealing a secret he’s kept his entire life, Kai pulls away even as they get closer than ever.

With everything he thought he understood turned upside down, Dylan must decide what he really wants from the men in his life—before inaction loses him the very relationships he's always relied on.

No pressure, Dylan. You got this. It's just love. How hard could it be?

I haven't been able to dig up any information on this New Adult book or its author, but the plot certainly caught my eye. As a fan of best frenemies Buford and Baljeet from “Phineas and Ferb,” I'm kind of rooting for the bully here.

Winter Kill by Josh Lanyon

Clever and ambitious, Special Agent Adam Darling (yeah, he's heard all the jokes before) was on the fast track to promotion and success until his mishandling of a high profile operation left one person dead and Adam “On the Beach.” Now he's got a new partner, a new case, and a new chance to resurrect his career, hunting a legendary serial killer known as The Crow in a remote mountain resort in Oregon.

Deputy Sheriff Robert Haskell may seem laid-back, but he's a tough and efficient cop — and he's none too thrilled to see feebs on his turf — even when one of the agents is smart, handsome, and probably gay. But a butchered body in a Native American museum is out of his small town department's league. For that matter, icy, uptight Adam Darling is out of Rob's league, but that doesn't mean Rob won't take his best shot.

Lanyon lists this as a mystery and thriller, but you can count on him to bring the romance as well.

Cronin's Key by N.R. Walker

NYPD Detective Alec MacAidan has always been good with weird. After all, his life has been a string of the unexplainable. But when an injured man gives him cryptic clues, then turns to dust in front of him, Alec's view on weird is changed forever.

Cronin, a vampire Elder, has spent the last thousand years waiting for Alec. He'd been told his fated one would be a man wielding a shield, but he didn't expect him to be human, and he certainly didn't expect that shield to be a police badge.

Both men, strong-willed and stubborn, are still learning how to cope with the push and pull of being fated, when fate throws them another curveball.

Rumors have spread quickly of turmoil in Egypt. Covens are fleeing with news of a vampire who has a talent like no other, hell-bent on unleashing the wrath of Death.

Alec and Cronin are thrown into a world of weird Alec cannot imagine. What he learned in school of ancient pharaohs and Egyptian gods was far from the truth. Instead, he finds out firsthand that history isn't always what it seems.

Vampires are a change of pace for an author currently known for contemporary romance, but I don't see how anyone can complain, because just look at that gorgeous cover! The author describes at this as being less about vampire nature and “more to do with human histories and where vampires fit in that picture.”

A Taste of You by Irene Preston

Hell’s Kitchen has nothing on the flames Giancarlo and Garrett ignite at Restaurant Ransom...

Garrett Ransom is America’s hot chef du jour. He has a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City, a hit reality TV show, and a new man in his bed every week. Yes, he secretly thinks his business partner, Giancarlo “Carlo” Rotolo, is hotter than a ghost pepper, but he would never jeopardize their friendship with a fling. Then Garrett overhears some juicy gossip among the crew and realizes he’ll have to break Giancarlo’s cardinal rule, no banging the staff - for Carlo’s own good, of course. Just a taste of Carlo should be plenty. Long-term relationships aren’t on Garrett’s menu.

Giancarlo’s been in love with Garrett forever. He’s sure Garrett will eventually realize they are destined to be more than business partners. But when Garrett installs his latest boyfriend as their new chef d’cuisine and announces plans to leave Carlo in New York while he opens a second restaurant on the west coast, Carlo is forced to re-evaluate his life.

Can a high-strung British chef and a nice Italian boy from Brooklyn find the perfect fusion of fine-dining and family-style?

One for fans of foodie romance. This is the author's second book and her first m/m romance.

What's your first choice for March: the next installment in a favorite series or the brand spankin' new?

 

Learn more about or order a copy of the books mentioned in this post:

Crash & Burn by Abigail Roux  
Heat Trap by J.L. Merrow  
Tempest by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock  
The Bruise-Black Sky by John Wiltshire  
The Other Side of Winter by G.B. Gordon  
Scrap by Josephine Myles  
Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins  
Trust The Focus by Megan Erickson  
Falling by Barbara Elsborg  
Chaos Station by Kelly Jensen and Jenn Burke  
Getting It Right by A.M. Arthur  
The Bohemian and the Banker by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon  
After School Activities by Dirk Hunter  
Winter Kill by Josh Lanyon  
Cronin's Key by N.R. Walker  
A Taste of You by Irene Preston  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Willaful has been diligently reading and reviewing romance for the past seven years, but for some reason just can't seem to catch up. She blogs at A Willful Woman and Karen Knows Best.

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3 comments
Lege Artis
1. LegeArtis
March is crazy month for book lovers.

Trust the Focus is really great read. 'Makes you feel good and puts a smile on your face' good.
I actually read Santuario this year and liked it a lot- it's definitely more mystery oriented, but blurb for book #2 suggests that focus is on romance, so I am really looking forward reading what's next for Bengt and Alex + I can't wait to see Bengt's world. That's my next read.
I just finished new book by Adrienne Wilder called In the Absence of Light ( March release) . It features an ASD character and I really liked how Wilder wrote him.
Little note: Lanyon's Winter Kill is pushed back. :( New release date is May 31st.

Great post, willaful!
Jasmine Ray
3. JassyBaby
So many great m/m March recs! How will I ever find the time to read it all?
I'm really intrigued by Barbara Elsborg's book. I've never heard of her, but I definitely want to check the book out.
Sad to see this is the last of Zane and Ty, too! I need to catch up on the series, but I don't want it to end!
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