Friday Feature, Guest Post & Giveaway: The Butch and the Beautiful by Kris Ripper

On Moving, and Staying, and Stories

By Kris Ripper

I’ve moved a lot in my life. Probably high average. I get the gotta-gos and I take off.

Or at least I did, before I had a kid. Staying in one place for eight years—the longest I’ve ever stayed anywhere—allowed me to see things I hadn’t seen before. The Butch and the Beautiful would have been a much different book if I was still picking up and leaving whenever I felt like it.

One of the fun tensions in this book has to do with the fact that both Jaq and Hannah are from La Vista. Jaq’s never left. She went from grade school to high school to community college to teaching at the high school from which she graduated. She’s a regular at the local queer club, and she knows the folks who work at her favorite coffee shop by name. She and her best friends do the same things they’ve been doing together for years, and Jaq likes the security of her life.

You know. Until she meets Hannah.

Hannah’s the kid who got out of dodge for college and never looked back. She moves back to La Vista after her marriage ends, when the life she’d built elsewhere no longer seems to fit her. Through Hannah’s eyes, La Vista has changed. It is both an artifact of her past and a place where she sees possibilities for her future.

In other words: for Jaq, La Vista is the default; for Hannah, it’s a setting of intention.

I’m all about intention. I’ve lived in a lot of places for a year, maybe two, before moving on. I enjoy figuring out how a place works, getting lost in it, ferreting out the best holes in the wall, discovering the character of the local coffee shops. But eventually I get itchy and want to find a new place to explore.

Staying in one place for years brings different things. For instance, I can tell you the five different restaurants that have gone out of business in that one joint downtown, and I can tell you why the furniture store shut down (the real story—which is a secret, but of course everyone knows it anyway). When I drive through the town where I currently live, it speaks to me in story, not novelty.

Fictional La Vista is a playground where I know all the stories, and each character knows some, but not others. Emerson, in Gays of Our Lives, is a newcomer to town; he has a small sphere of knowledge. Jaq, by contrast, is on first name basis with years of La Vista High graduates, knows their parents and siblings, and is still friends with the people she knew growing up. Cameron, who tells the story later on in One Life to Lose, is even more engaged with local roots: his family owns the local independent theater, and has been entertaining La Vista for generations.

Where do you fall in the local/outsider continuum? Do you prefer to stay in one location for decades, or do you find yourself always reaching for the next new place?

Title: The Butch and the Beautiful by Kris Ripper
Queers of La Vista Universe
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Lesbian, Erotic, Romance
Length: 257 pages/Word Count: 65,700


Jaq Cummings is a high school teacher who really wants a committed relationship—as long as it doesn’t keep her out late on school nights or interrupt Sunday mass with her dad. She is absolutely not about to fall for the hot-mess divorcée she hooks up with even if said hot mess pushes all her buttons. Jaq’s white knight days are over.

But one hookup with Hannah becomes two, then coffee, then more incredibly hot sex. And unlike most of Jaq’s exes, Hannah’s not looking for someone to come on strong. In fact, Hannah comes on plenty strong enough for both of them. But she’s just out of a disastrous marriage, she’s in the process of moving across the state, and Jaq can’t take a chance on yet another relationship where she defaults to being a caregiver instead of a partner.

Just when Jaq decides her relationship with Hannah is far too precarious, a crisis with a student reminds her of her priorities and makes it clear that sometimes, you have to take big risks to get what you really want.

This book can be read on its own, or enjoyed as the second book in the Queers of La Vista series.

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Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing

Author Bio

Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a toddler, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


To celebrate the release of The Butch and the Beautiful, one lucky winner will receive their choice in ebook from Kris’s backlist. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 27, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!


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Tour Stop, Excerpt & Giveaway: Sideshow by Amy Stilgenbauer

Title: Sideshow by Amy Stilgenbauer
Publisher: Interlude Press
Genre: Historical, Lesbian Romance
Length: 224 pages/Word Count: 61,000


Abby Amaro wants to sing at La Scala Opera House, but she’s a good girl, and in 1957 good girls get married. Still, when she receives her first marriage proposal, she freezes, knowing the way her suitor makes her feel bodes trouble. When he won’t take no for an answer, she flees, joining up with a traveling carnival.

Thanks to a burlesque trapeze artist and the world’s saddest clown, Abby bides her time and fits in until she can rejoin the world she knows. She doesn’t expect a sideshow strongwoman named Suprema, who captures her imagination. As the carnival makes its way across the Midwest, Abby learns much more than she had ever imagined—about herself, about her identity, and, most importantly, about love.

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Purchase Links: Amazon (eBook) * Amazon (Paperback) * B&N * ARe * Smashwords * Interlude Press


Abby couldn’t remember falling asleep. She only remembered the dark night and how, outside the window of Della’s trailer, the rolling slopes of Eastern Ohio slowly flattened into the farmland of the western side of the state and faded into darkness. She didn’t say much during the trip, but her mind was spinning, unable to process what she had done.

Once, when she had been a little girl, barely older than Annette was now, her mother had taken her and Natale to visit their aunt in Chicago for a week. It had been a nice visit. They had embarked on the train with a great deal of ceremony, and Za Teresa had spoiled the pair rotten, loading them up with peach-shaped marzipan and pizzelle until they were both sick. She hadn’t left Cleveland for any extended period of time since. Oh, sure, she’d talked and dreamt about it. Nonna often wistfully mentioned taking a trip back to her girlhood home one more time now that the war was over and taking Abby along to look after her, and then, if her opera career took off as she had once hoped, she would be visiting all the great cities. In her scrapbook, clippings of Palais Garnier, La Scala, and The Met were decorated with carefully drawn hearts and hopeful stars and the scrawled word: someday. Still, she had never imagined that when she departed the Coventry neighborhood again, it would be in a burlesque dancer’s trailer.

Author Bio

Amy Stilgenbauer is a writer and aspiring archivist currently based in southeast Michigan. She is the author of the novelette series, Season of the Witch, as well as the Young Adult novel, The Legend of League Park. Her short story, The Fire-Eater’s Daughter, was included in Summer Love, an LGBTQ Young Adult collection published by Duet, an imprint of Interlude Press. When she isn’t writing, Amy enjoys all things bergamot and tries to keep her cats away from her knitting.

Author Links: Website * Tumblr * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


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Follow the rest of the tour:

25-Aug: The Novel Approach, Unquietly Me, Velvet Panic, Bayou Book Junkie

26-Aug: Oh My Shelves, Book Lovers 4Ever, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, A.M. Leibowitz

29-Aug: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Love Bytes

30-Aug: Butterfly-O-Meter, Kirsty Loves Books, MM Good Book Reviews

31-Aug: My Fiction Nook, BFD Book Blog

1-Sep: Prism Book Alliance, Open Skye Book Reviews, Happily Ever Chapter

2-Sep: Foxylutely Book Reviews, Bonkers About Books

5-Sep: Divine Magazine, Havan Fellows

6-Sep: Alpha Book Club, Molly Lolly

7-Sep: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Charley Descoteaux

sideshow ban


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Tour Stop & Excerpt: An Indecent Proposal by Katee Robert

When a no strings attached arrangement turns into something more, Cillian O’Malley and Olivia Rashidi must overcome the family ties that bind them. Fans of Jackie Ashenden’s Make You Mine and Kresley Cole’s The Master, will devour the super steamy and fast paced third book, An Indecent Proposal in the wildly popular O’Malley series by NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author Katee Robert.

Title: An Indecent Proposal by Katee Robert
The O’Malley’s Series Book Three
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katee Robert continues her smoking-hot series about the O’Malleys-wealthy, powerful, and full of scandalous family secrets.

Greed. Ambition. Violence. Those are the “values” Olivia Rashidi learned from her Russian mob family-and the values she must leave behind for the sake of her daughter. When she meets Cillian O’Malley, she recognizes the red flag of his family name . . . yet she still can’t stop herself from seeing the smoldering, tortured man. To save her family, Olivia sets out to discover Cillian’s own secrets, but the real revelation is how fast-and how hard-she’s falling for him.

Plagued by a violent past, Cillian is more vulnerable than anyone realizes. Anyone except Olivia, whose beauty, compassion, and pride have him at “hello,” even if she’s more inclined to say good-bye to an O’Malley. While his proposal of sex with no strings seems simple, what he feels for her isn’t, especially after he learns that she belongs to a rival crime family. Cillian knows that there is no escape from the life, but Olivia may be worth trying-and dying-for . . .

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Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N * Google Play * iTunes * Kobo


“Thanks.” There it was again, that look that threatened to curl her toes. He reached out and took the washcloth from her and tossed it onto the nightstand. “I’m going to kiss you now.”

She should object, move away, do something other than rest her hands on the top of his thighs and tilt her head up. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Didn’t the last few years teach you anything? Apparently not, because she wanted Cillian to kiss her again, and she wanted him to kiss her now.

Truth be told, she wanted him to do a whole lot more than that.

Olivia licked her lips. “Okay.”

His lips quirked up at the edges. “I can see I’m blowing your socks off. Let’s see if I can do better.” He cupped her face with one hand and then his mouth was on hers, soft and teasing, testing—nothing like the forceful kiss that started everything last night. She opened for him immediately, driven by the lightning dancing just beneath her skin. She wished she could blame it on being skin-starved, but the truth was that this man was doing more with a near-innocent kiss than Sergei had ever done with his entire body and hours at his disposal. I am in so much trouble.

Then Cillian’s tongue stroked hers and she was lost. She gripped his thighs as he explored her mouth, giving herself permission to do some exploring of her own. He was all lean muscle, as if he’d been melted down and stuck in a forge, only to come out new. She ran her hands up his legs, stopping just short of his hips.

He took it from there. He ran his fingers through her hair and down her back, inching her closer until there was nothing more than a breath of distance between them. It would have been so damn easy to lean forward and touch him, pressing her body against his, but the separation was almost unbearably erotic. She shivered again, tilting her head back to give him better access.

She’d never been kissed like this, like she was something to be savored…valued. Like he had all the time in the world and he’d still never get enough.

Common sense tried to rear up and remind her that it was a goddamn kiss, not a lifetime commitment, but then his thumb feathered across the underside of her breast, and all rational reasoning flew right out the window.

He rested his forehead against hers, and groaned. “You’re making it hard to be good, sweetheart.”

Author Bio

katee rNew York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. She found romance novels at age twelve and it changed her life. When not writing sexy contemporary and speculative fiction romance novels, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her wee ones, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads *Google+ * Instagram * Tumblr * YouTube

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Excerpt: Homecoming by Shannon Stacey

Title: Homecoming by Shannon Stacey
Boys of Fall Series Book Three
Publisher: Jove
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 303 pages


The New York Times bestselling author of Defending Hearts returns to small-town New Hampshire where a substitute football coach and a guidance counselor tackle love.

They were the golden boys of fall: Stewart Mills High School’s legendary championship football team. Fourteen years later, they’re back to relive their glory, save the team—and find themselves again . . .

Sam Leavitt has returned home to Stewart Mills with one goal: to fill in for Coach McDonnell and lead the high school football team to the championship. He doesn’t have time for distractions or commitments—but he’s unable to resist falling for the sexy guidance counselor he shared a hot night with months ago.

Jen Cooper knows what she’s looking for long-term, and it’s not Sam—even though the night they shared was explosive. Now, with Sam back in town and working by her side, picking up where they left off is too great a temptation to resist. But before long their fun fling is looking like a future together. And as the championship approaches, Sam is faced with a big decision that will either break them apart—or help them find their way home.

Read my review HERE.


When he looped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close, she didn’t resist. Closing her eyes, she wrapped her arms around his waist and pressed her hands against his back.

“Feel better?” she asked.

“You feel amazing.” His hand slid up to the back of her neck.

“That’s not what I meant.”

When he used his other hand to tip her chin up, she opened her eyes. His expression was soft, but there was no missing the underlying heat. “I keep thinking that someday I’m going to crawl into bed and close my eyes and not think about that night.”

“Sometimes I hope that day comes, but I like thinking about that night,” she confessed.

He ran his thumb over her bottom lip. “I didn’t kiss you that night.”

“We kind of fast-forwarded to the getting naked part.” Every nerve in her body seemed zeroed in on the sensation of his thumb stroking her mouth.

“Let’s rewind a little bit.”

He lowered his mouth to hers, lowering his thumb so his lips could take its place. She leaned into him and her fingers curled, gathering the fabric of his shirt into her fists as he kissed her.

When his tongue dipped between her lips, she opened to him. His hand slid up the back of her neck, into her hair, and she sighed. Nothing existed in her world anymore except Sam’s mouth and his hands.

He kissed her—one hand fisted in her hair and the other cupping her ass—until they were both breathless and their bodies were pressed together. Then he broke it off, exhaling a shaky breath.

“God, woman. You make me forget everything.”

The words washed over her like a glass of ice water, leaving her confused and uncertain of what was happening. The first time they’d been together, he’d been upset by seeing his mother. Tonight, besieged by doubts and memories of the past, he’d reached for her again. You make me forget everything.

“I’m not some kind of comfort object you can reach for when you’re feeling crappy.”

“What? I didn’t mean . . .” He scowled, taking a small step back. “Is that what you think is going on?”

“I don’t know. I know it seems like when you’re feeling low emotionally, we end up with our hands on each other.”

“Or,” he said, arching his eyebrow, “maybe when I’m feeling emotionally low is the only time you soften up enough to forget I’m not your type.”

“That’s not . . . soften up? What the hell does that mean?”

“I . . . hell, I don’t know.” He scrubbed a hand over his jaw. “I don’t know what’s happening. What I do know is that we could win the football championship and I could have the trophy in one hand and the keys to a new Corvette they want to give me for being Coach of the Year in the other, and then they could interrupt me to tell me I won the lottery, and if I saw you in the crowd, I would still want my hands on you.”

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Review: Homecoming by Shannon Stacey

Title: Homecoming by Shannon Stacey
Boys of Fall Series Book Three
Publisher: Jove
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 303 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


The New York Times bestselling author of Defending Hearts returns to small-town New Hampshire where a substitute football coach and a guidance counselor tackle love.

They were the golden boys of fall: Stewart Mills High School’s legendary championship football team. Fourteen years later, they’re back to relive their glory, save the team—and find themselves again . . .

Sam Leavitt has returned home to Stewart Mills with one goal: to fill in for Coach McDonnell and lead the high school football team to the championship. He doesn’t have time for distractions or commitments—but he’s unable to resist falling for the sexy guidance counselor he shared a hot night with months ago.

Jen Cooper knows what she’s looking for long-term, and it’s not Sam—even though the night they shared was explosive. Now, with Sam back in town and working by her side, picking up where they left off is too great a temptation to resist. But before long their fun fling is looking like a future together. And as the championship approaches, Sam is faced with a big decision that will either break them apart—or help them find their way home.


Homecoming by Shannon Stacey is a heartwarming novel of redemption, forgiveness and love.  Although this latest release is the third installment in the Boys of Fall series, it can be read as a standalone but I highly recommend the previous two books as well.

After beloved high school football Coach McDonnell suffers a heart attack, Sam Leavitt returns to Stewart Falls take over coaching duties until Coach gets the green light from his doctor to return to work.  With a host of bad memories and unresolved issues stemming from his dysfunctional childhood, Sam does not mind helping out temporarily but he has no intention of moving back to town permanently. So he knows he has to maintain a healthy distance from the woman he had a very hot and unforgettable one night stand with the previous summer, guidance counselor Jen Cooper. His good intentions quickly fall by the wayside as their lives become entangled through their jobs and friends but their simmering attraction becomes too powerful to resist. Deciding there is no harm in indulging in a casual affair, Jen and Sam are both somewhat surprised when their no strings fling begins to look an awful lot like a real relationship. Will their deepening emotions have any effect on Sam’s plan to Stewart Falls when Coach returns to work?

Sam is a caring, compassionate man whose abusive childhood left an indelible mark on him.  While he may have put his horrible memories out of his mind, he has never really dealt with his painful past. His strained relationship with his mom is a work in progress and he is trying very hard to forgive her for not doing more to protect him while he was growing up.  Sam has mixed emotions about being back in Stewart Falls and while he really comes to enjoy coaching the football team and mentoring the players, he still has a difficult time letting go of the hurt and anger he still carries with him. After receiving an unexpected job opportunity, he begins rethinking his plans to return to Texas but he cannot see himself moving back to Stewart Falls. Sam comes up with a viable solution to this problem, but will Jen agree to his plan?

Jen cares deeply for the students she works with and she works tirelessly on their behalf to give them the opportunity to make a better life for themselves. Although her family no longer lives in Stewart Falls, she has strong ties to the community.  Still nursing a little hurt and anger over the way Sam left town the previous summer, Jen resolves to stay away from him. When this plan quickly falls through, she refuses to entertain the possibility of giving in to her desire for him. Slowly but surely, she convinces herself she can handle a no strings fling and they soon embroiled in a heated affair. Although she readily admits she is in love with Sam, is Jen ready to do whatever it takes for them to be together?

With a sweet and steamy romance, a wonderful small town atmosphere and laugh out loud humor (the pumpkin babies and Gretchen’s emojis are hilarious), Homecoming is an endearing and heartfelt addition the Boys of Fall series. Jen and Sam are wonderful protagonists whose romance is believable but with some very real obstacles to overcome, their future is far from certain.  This finely crafted novel of love and healing is sure to be a hit with old and new fans of Shannon Stacey.

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Filed under Boys of Fall Series, Contemporary, Homecoming, Jove, Rated B, Review, Romance, Shannon Stacey

eBook Contest August 24

Here are the eBooks for this week’s Winning Wednesday contest:

Title: Body Shot by Kelly Jamieson
Last Shot Series Book One
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 275 pages


The bestselling author of the Heller Brothers series stirs up a tempting cocktail of fun and seduction as a sexy SEAL-turned-bartender treats a buttoned-up scientist to a wild weekend . . . and a change of heart.

Former Navy SEAL Beck Whitcomb left a world of privilege to prove he could make his own way. Money, mansions, expensive cars—none of it could heal the loss of his older brother, or buy his parents’ love. Now, after using his trust fund to open the Conquistadors tequila bar with his brothers-in-arms, Beck has it all: good friends, fine liquor, and hot hookups. When it comes to women, commitment’s not his thing—until he gets a taste of the pretty professor who walks into his bar . . . and winds up in his bed.

Hayden Miles knows all too well that emotional decisions can lead to heartbreak, and nothing screams “bad decision” like a playboy bartender with inked biceps and a wicked smile. Still, their chemistry is off-the-charts explosive—and Hayden knows her chemistry. For once, this good girl longs to let loose. But is she willing to risk the pain to quench her thirst? With the promise of more on the table, Hayden’s eager to believe . . . before she misses her shot.

rebels returnTitle: The Rebel’s Return by Victoria James
Red River Series Book Four
Publisher: Entangled
Imprint: Bliss
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 189 pages


She’s the only woman who can reform this rebel…

Natalia Puccini has spent her entire life playing by her overbearing but well-intentioned Italian family’s rules…except the one time she took a chance on a bad boy and fell hard. She’s worked to get her life back on track so when Aiden McCann comes sauntering back into town with his heart-stopping smile, Natalia vows not to fall for him again. There’s no way she’ll let him mess with her perfectly planned life…and there’s no way she’ll let him near her heart again…

Now reformed and a self-made success, Aiden is tormented by regrets and secrets. He left Red River years ago filled with anger and resentment and a promise to never come back. But when his ill father needs help, Aiden knows it’s time to face the mess he left behind, and face the one woman he never got over. It doesn’t matter how beautiful or intriguing she is, though, because he’ll never be able to give her what she needs. As soon as his father is healthy, Aiden is leaving Red River…for good.

Each book in the Red River series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.

Series Order:
Book #1: A Risk Worth Taking
Book #2: The Best Man’s Baby
Book #3: The Doctor’s Fake Fiancee
Book #4: The Rebel’s Return

dont twunkTitle: Don’t Twunk with my Heart by Renae Kaye
Loving You Series Book Two
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
Length: 200 pages/Word Count: 63,767


Loving You: Book Two

Kee Smith isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows who he used to be—the ignored gay son who chose a blue-collar job just because no one expected it, the submissive bottom who enjoyed large, masculine jocks who put him in his place, the sleek, fashionable twink who partied all night. But after his ex-boyfriend hit Kee and called him names, Kee retired from the social scene.

Back after a year’s hiatus, Kee still doesn’t know where he fits. His friends say he’s a twunk—a twink who put on muscle and turned into a hunk—but Kee is searching for somewhere to belong. Instead of going back to his usual type, Kee hooks up with twink Tate Stevens—a fashion-industry professional who works the image hard. It proves to be the best decision he’s ever made, and not just because he’s starting to regain his sexual confidence.

With Tate, Kee can open up about his fears and confusion without ridicule. Tate has his own fears about putting on weight and getting old. It will take work to make a relationship of opposites succeed, but they begin to realize the compromises will be worth it if they can be together.

Wednesday is contest day on Book Reviews and More by Kathy. Three lucky winners will win the eBook of their choice! Here’s how to enter:

You must Do TWO of the Following:

1. Sign up for e-mail updates (upper left corner). One email daily with the day’s posts.


2. Be or become a fan of Book Reviews & More by Kathy Facebook page


3. Follow me on Twitter (@BookReviewsMore)

Make sure you have filled out the contest entry form:

4. To be eligible to enter contests on Book Reviews and More by Kathy you MUST fill out the contest entry form (found HERE). This form only needs to be filled out ONCE. Your privacy is important to me, and I will not share your information.

And don’t forget to:

5. Fill out the form below by 5 PM Mountain Time Friday afternoon:


*I am the only person who will have access to info that is submitted to me UNLESS a publisher or author has donated an eBook for the giveaway. For a prize donated by an author or publisher, I will forward your e-mail and format selection to the person responsible for distributing the eBook. In the event the contest form is not working, please leave your book selection in the comments below.*

It’s that easy! The winners will be selected using I will e-mail the winners the eBook of their choice in their preferred format. The winners will be posted HERE on Saturday.

***The eBooks in this giveaway have been purchased by Book Reviews & More by Kathy.***

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