Book Review: Tomorrow’s Hero by Thom Collins

Fernando Inglesias is the typical Premier League League footballer, with a flash lifestyle and a girlfriend who’s famous for starring in a reality TV show. But Fernando has a huge secret – he’s gay, and he knows that coming out would change everything for him. So he keeps his man-on-man encounters swift and anonymous, until he meets Joshua on a trip to a gay club on the island of Ibiza. The two make an instant connection and the sex is unforgettable, but Joshua has reasons for distrusting closeted men, and finding out Fernando’s real identity changes everything…

Tomorrow’s Hero is Book 2 in the Success series, about the complicated lives of men in the celebrity spotlight, and while there’s a loose connection to the first book in the series, Never Too Famous, you really don’t need to have read that book to enjoy this one. You also don’t need to know anything about football as the storyline barely touches on the sport, which would be a disappointment for a huge fan of the game like myself if Tomorrow’s Hero hadn’t been such an engaging read. Thom Collins’ real strength lies in picking apart the celebrity culture that’s sprung up around the stars of reality TV shows, and how someone can have a hugely glamorous life that’s built on little more than Botox and fillers. In this book, he also has a dig at the kind of ultra-buff male action hero who’s stringing out those roles rather longer than he should, in the shape of Joshua’s father, Jason Drake.

There are reasons why there’s currently no openly gay player in English professional football, and Collins explores some of them, giving plausible reasons why Fernando has created an alter ego, Juan Carlos, for his same-sex adventures. It helps to create believable conflict between Fernando and Joshua and leaves you hoping that Joshua can overcome being lied to by Fernando and they get the happy ending they deserve.

By turns funny and tender, and with sex scenes hotter than the Balearic sunshine, Tomorrow’s Hero will have you eagerly looking forward to more books in this deliciously bitchy series.

Tomorrow’s Hero is available from First For Romance, Amazon US and Amazon UK. I was given a copy of the book by Lucy Felthouse at Writer Marketing Services in return for an honest review.

The Lions Will Live On!

When I visit Amsterdam, one of my favourite places to spend time is Artis, the city zoo which is one of the oldest in Europe. It’s been extensively redeveloped in recent years to give many of its animals more room to live and roam, so I was sad to read that the zoo is having to send its lions to a new home in the south of France as they can no longer afford to update their habitat.

The Kerbert Terras, home of the Artis lions – picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Though the lions may be leaving Artis, their shifter relatives will still roam the streets of this amazing city. If you don’t know what I mean, then you need to pick up a copy of The Pride of Amsterdam, the first book in my Lionhearts series, available from the First For Romance e-bookstore, Amazon UK or Amazon US, because we all need some big cats – and the men who love them – in our lives…

Have A Haunted Halloween

It’s the spookiest time of year, and that means lots of delicious ghost stories to enjoy. Two of the themes I love writing about most are the paranormal and rock bands, and in The Ghost of You, I had the chance to do both (and borrow a title from My Chemical Romance, because they kind of deserve it…)

Good evening, horror lovers…

The Ghost of You follows what happens to Casey when his lover, rock star and recovering alcoholic Fisher Kelty dies from an overdose of booze and pills. The press think it was suicide, the coroner rules it an accidental death, and Casey tries to pick up the remnants of his life. But when strange things start happening to him, is Fisher trying to get back in touch with him, and if so, why?

Here’s an extract from the story that will hopefully give you chills of the nicest kind

Stepping under the steamy spray, I couldn’t help but let out a deep sigh of contentment. I reached for the bottle of shower gel, poured a generous amount into my palm and rubbed the creamy lather over my skin. The heady scent of lavender and chamomile, designed to relax and soothe, filled the little shower stall, and the steady pulse of the water beat down on me, like dozens of fingers gently massaging my scalp and back.

I relaxed into the sensation as it grew more intense, resting my palms against the tiled wall. It really felt as if someone were kneading the muscles in my shoulders, using their thumbs to ease out the knots of tension that had built while I’d hunched over the racks in Boardwalk Sounds, sorting the recently acquired albums.

“Mmm, that feels so good,” I murmured to no one in particular, overcome with the temptation to reach down and grab hold of my cock. Go on, a seductive voice in my head whispered, do it. You need this. How long is it since you jerked yourself off?

I let my hand drop to the base of my shaft and skim lightly along its length. Pleasure rippled through my belly and my knees went weak as I gave myself over to stroking and caressing myself. I closed my eyes and lifted my head, letting the hot spray trickle down my face and neck.

It had to be my imagination, but I swore I felt the press of a body against mine. The phantom touch moved lower, gliding down the planes of my lower back and coming to rest on my ass cheeks before digging in hard. I gasped in shock and stopped playing with myself. No imagining things now. The hard length of a cock nestled between my butt cheeks and something—or someone—had squeezed my ass.

When I glanced behind me, for the briefest moment I caught a glimpse of Fisher, hair wet, broad chest bare and so insubstantial I saw all the way through it to the clear glass door of the shower stall. Then he disappeared, and so did his grip on my ass.

Shocked, I shut off the water and leaped out of the shower. As I grabbed a towel and wrapped it around me, my cock stood up hard, proof of how turned-on I’d been—still was, if I were honest.

There’s no such thing as ghosts, I told myself as my hard-on wilted and my heart rate slowed to something approaching normal. And if even if they did exist, they’d roam the halls of ruined castles, or spooky old Gothic mansions, not this modern, glass-fronted home overlooking the beach. But try as I might to make myself believe otherwise, in my heart I knew I’d been up close and personal with a specter bearing Fisher’s face.

You can find The Ghost of You at First For Romance, Amazon US and Amazon UK. Have a happy Halloween!

Happy World Lion Day!

It seems every day of the year is dedicated to commemorating some unique, quirky or bizarre event – whether that’s officially going caroling, talking like a pirate or being Ed Balls – and today just happens to be World Lion Day. Founded by the Big Cat Rescue organisation, it aims to pay tribute to the beautiful and majestic lion while raising awareness of the threats posed by poachers, disease and everything else that has led to them being placed on the endangered species list.

As you might know from reading my books, the Lionhearts MM shifter romance series in particular, I adore lions (and pretty much all big cats), so to mark World Lion Day, here’s a couple of gorgeous shots of the animals for you:

Photo by Iva Villi from FreeImages

Photo by Marcos Roberto Silva from FreeImages

The Lionhearts series is available as two box sets from the First For Romance bookstore – find out more about Part One and Part Two here. And keep loving those lions!

Book Review: Never Too Famous By Thom Collins

Harry Alexander and Grant Hunter have both made their names on reality shows, but while Grant is happy to milk his fame for all it’s worth, Harry is tiring of being famous for nothing more than having been on TV. When they bump into each other at a nightclub where Harry’s making a personal appearance, it’s obvious there’s a connection between them, but Harry really doesn’t like Grant’s co-stars on the show Sexy Northerners, and unfortunately where Grant goes the rest of his crew are never too far behind. Can the two men ever get together for long enough to act on their desires for each other, or are they destined to be celebrity ships that pass in the night?

Never Too Famous is a fun, hot novella that taps into our current obsession for reality TV and the outrageous micro-celebs these shows create. Harry is an ‘old school’ star, in that he became famous for actually doing a job – in this case, an engineer on a cruise ship – while Grant is from a show that, like Geordie Shore, Made In Chelsea and their ilk, simply features a cast of pretty young things fighting, shagging, and agonising about every last detail of their hook-ups. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Thom Collins has spent some time working in TV, because he really captures the vibe of the low-rent TV chat shows where characters like Grant and Harry would wring out the last drops of their fame, and he has plenty to say about the people who are willing to distort their looks with cosmetic surgery, release sex tapes, and generally do whatever desperate things it takes to stay in the public eye.

Harry and Grant are nicely contrasted as characters, with the older Harry initially appearing the more grounded one in relation to the brash, cocky Grant, but as the story progresses and Grant finds himself trying to help a friend who is getting sucked deeper into the seedy side of fame, it becomes obvious they’re really not too different after all. The attraction between them is a slow burn, but when they finally get together, the sex is steamy and the affection between them palpable.

My only quibble with the book is that for something produced by Pride Publishing, who have very high standards in everything from editing to cover design, there’s a noticeable number of mistakes in this copy of the text, though hopefully those have now been fixed.

If you’ve ever thought being a reality TV star might be fun, Never Too Famous might make you think again, and as this is the first book in a series – Success – all about men in the public eye, I can’t wait to see what comes

Never Too Famous is published by Pride Publishing and is available from First For Romance, Amazon US and Amazon UK. I was given a copy of the book by Lucy Felthouse at Writer Marketing Services in return for an honest review.

Win A Kindle E-Reader With Totally Entwined

If you love reading hot romance ebooks (and you must, because you’re here), then you won’t want to miss the new competition from Totally Entwined, the people behind the Totally Bound and Pride Publishing imprints. They’re offering the chance to win a Kindle E-reader to everyone who enters between now and October 31st, and if you share details of the competition, you’ll also be on your way to claiming a free e-book. Just click here to enter – good luck!

Another Box Of Lions

You may remember I promised you the second box set containing books from my Lionhearts MM shifter series was on the way. Well, the good news it will be available from Pride Publishing and other online retailers from February 12th.

The three books in this collection are Into The Arena, Pride Under Fire (nominated for best paranormal/urban fantasy book in the 2017 Love Romances Cafe awards) and Animal Passions. If the excitement of the first three books wasn’t enough, this time round the stories feature obsessed stalkers, movie stars, arson, murder, hot firemen, heart-stopping peril and the most exciting thing to happen in the Roman Colosseum since Fall Out Boy’s Centuries video – oh, and plenty of romance, too. What more could big cat lovers want?

You can find out more at Pride Publishing.

A Box Of Lions

Box sets are great, aren’t they? They let you binge all your favourite things in one go. or they let you catch up on something you missed the first time round without that impatient wait for the next part of the series. Well, some of the books I had the most fun writing – the Lionhearts series for Pride Publishing – are being released in two box sets, and the first is out now. The series, set in a world where lion shifters live alongside humans, not always without problems, was originally inspired by a plaque commemorating a brewery that once stood on the Brouwersgracht in Amsterdam. It expanded into six books, tracing the fortunes of interconnected lion shifter families, and the human lovers they are fated to meet, and focusing on shifter prides in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, England and America. If you like tales of murder, obsessive stalkers, weird cults, secret treasures, paranormal investigators and lost loves, they’re all here.

Book One contains the first three books in the series – The Pride of Amsterdam, Taming The Lion and Vintage Pride, and is available from the Pride Publishing bookstore, Amazon US and Amazon UK. Part Two is coming soon. So that’s your next binge sorted…

Totally Bound Is Ten!

Yep, in what feels like the blink of an eye, the Totally Entwined group has reached the grand old age of ten, and to mark the anniversary, there’s a whopping 25 per cent off just about everything in the Totally Bound and Pride Publishing bookstores. Take a moment to recall all the fun and exciting things you’ve done in the past decade, and if one of those isn’t reading as many ebooks as you’d like, you can rectify that and stock up with titles from some of the best writers in the business. But you’ll need to hurry, as the sale ends tonight.

Click on the top book cover (possibly my favourite of my Totally Bound covers) to go to the TB bookstore and the bottom (ditto for my Pride Publishing books) to go to the Pride bookstore. Oh, I love a good anniversary…

Superhero Corner

Behind the Mask, my story from the Pride Publishing MM superhero anthology I Need A Hero, is now available as an early download, with a full release on July 18th. So I thought I’d spotlight some of the stories about characters with superpowers that inspired me as I wrote.

The Incredibles

Ask me what’s my favourite of the Pixar films, and I’ll reply The Incredibles without hesitation. Mr Incredible, aka Bob Parr, and his family have been forced to give up their crimefighting ways because the damage they cause while repeatedly saving the city has got too expensive. They hate having to hide their real identities, but when a crisis forces them to put on their costumes once more (minus capes, because those things are dangerous…), they unite to save the world as they were always meant to. It has a great story that mixes superhero lore with the thrills of a James Bond story, is stunning to look at and, in supersuit designer Edna Mode, has one of the greatest animated characters ever.

Ben Macallan

Ben Macallan from Chaz Brenchley’s Dead of Light may not technically be a superhero, but to my mind he fits the definition. (And I really enjoy the book, so who’s counting?) He’s part of a family that hold sway over a Northern English city which bears more than a passing resemblance to Newcastle. They take their powers from moonlight, and use them to threaten, intimidate and punish, like a supernatural version of the Krays. Ben’s the odd one out, because he apparently has no powers at all, which makes him an easy target for his family’s wrath. But once he discovers his own source of power, he sees a chance to turn the tables and start fighting back…

Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl

Appearing in Desperately Seeking Xena, one of the Treehouse of Horror segments on The Simpsons, Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl are the superhero alter egos of Bart and Lisa Simpson. They acquire their powers when they’re zapped by a portable X-ray machine, and while Lisa, of course, wants to do good, Bart uses his newfound elasticity to play pranks. Eventually, they’re forced to face off against The Collector, better known as Comic Book Guy, who wants to add Xena the Warrior Princess to his collection of living action figures. Best line goes to Lucy Lawless, playing herself, whose response to the nerds who pick holes in Xena’s plot lines is to tell them ‘a wizard did it’. So if you’ve spotted any mistakes in this little round-up, a wizard did it…

So, what are your favourite superheroes, or characters with unusual powers? Leave me a comment as I’d love to know.