Category Archives: LA Witt

Review: Hostile Ground by L.A. Witt & Aleksandr Voinov

hostileTitle: Hostile Ground by L.A. Witt & Aleksandr Voinov
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Erotic, Romance, Mystery/Suspense
Length: 362 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher


Enemy territory is a dangerous place to fall in love.

After the deaths of three undercover cops investigating a drug ring in a seedy strip club in Seattle, Detective Mahir Hussain has been sent to finish the job. He joins the club’s security team in the hopes of finding enough evidence to bust the operation before the men in charge find a reason to put him in a shallow grave.

To protect the strippers, only gay men can work the club. Ridley, the cold and intimidating head of security, knows exactly how to test potential new hires—including Mahir. From the minute they meet, Mahir and Ridley engage in a dangerous dance of sex and mind games. Mahir needs to find his evidence before Ridley figures out he’s a cop—and before they both grow too close to betray one another.

As the game goes on, Mahir burrows deeper into the operation, where he learns there’s much more happening than meets the eye . . . and why every cop who made it this far has been silenced with a bullet.

The Review:

L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov’s latest collaboration, Hostile Ground is an extremely fast-paced and engaging mystery. There is also an incredibly sexy but understated romantic element as lead protagonists Mahir Hussain and Ridley give in to their smokin’ hot desire.

With the deaths of three cops weighing heavily, Mahir knows there is no room for error when he accepts his first undercover assignment working security in a local strip club. But first, he has to convince Ridley, the unflappable, daunting head of security, that he is not a cop and that he has no interest in the female strippers. Proving he is gay is easy since the air between them is positively sizzling due to their mutual attraction. But convincing Ridley that he has no connection to law enforcement is fraught with danger and Mahir is forced to take drastic measures to dispel Ridley’s suspicions.

Hostile Ground is written from Mahir’s perspective and he is a wonderfully complex protagonist. He is an ethnically diverse character with strong faith, close family ties and an impeccable work ethic. Due to his Arab heritage and Muslim faith, Mahir faces bigotry, slurs and epitaphs in both his personal and professional lives but he can usually diffuse racially charged situations before they can escalate. Mahir is conflicted by his attraction to Ridley and he is also confused by some of the inconsistencies in his behavior. Although Mahir tries to keep his undercover and real life identities separate, the two areas overlap when his nephew, Kinza, seeks him out following a major disagreement with his father.

Ridley is another great character but it is difficult to get inside his head since everything we learn about him is filtered through Mahir’s point of view. There is never any doubt that Ridley is tough, dangerous and extremely focused on his job. But the fleeting glimpses of tenderness and something that resembles jealousy are at odds with his ruthlessness. These contrasting facets of his personality leave Mahir wondering if Ridley the cold-blooded psychopath he appears to be.

While there are quite a few secondary characters, the two that figure most prominently in the storyline are Mahir’s nephew Kinza and crime lord Gene Lombardi. Lombardi is oddly charismatic and he is an astute businessman. But he is a thoroughly despicable and utterly merciless criminal and Mahir is horrified once he uncovers the full truth about his criminal activities.

Kinza is a great addition to the novel and his storyline is heartbreaking. A typical teenager in most ways, he turns to Mahir for support and while on one level, he understands the reasons why his uncle is gone much of the time his immaturity leads him to resent Mahir’s continued absence. All of this spills over into an act of rebellion that could have deadly consequences.

The mystery aspect of the plot is engrossing and well-executed. Myriad twists and turns take the story in very unexpected directions. Mahir sometimes makes rookie mistakes that serve to remind readers this is first undercover operation and his zeal to uncover the truth leads to reckless decisions. Not knowing exactly what Ridley is thinking or feeling adds to the mystery surrounding his character. This also makes it easy to understand how difficult it for Mahir as he struggles to sort out his confusion over his attraction to a man that, to all appearances, is a brutal killer and hardened criminal.

The sex scenes between Mahir and Ridley are incredibly intense and highly erotic. They are locked in a powerful battle for control and their encounters are raw and gritty with a hint of savagery. There is plenty of hot man on man action that not only advances the storyline but reveals helpful insight into their personalities.

L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov’s Hostile Ground is an intriguing and suspenseful mystery. The overall plot is realistic and well-executed. The characters are superbly developed and with a few notable exceptions, they are sympathetic and likable. While it is not traditional romance, there is no mistaking Mahir and Ridley’s emotions run deep. All in all, a splendid novel that I highly recommend to old and new fans of the genre.


Filed under Aleksandr Voinov, Contemporary, Erotic, Hostile Ground, LA Witt, M/M, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Riptide Publishing, Romance

Review: It’s Complicated by L.A. Witt

complicatedTitle: It’s Complicated by L.A. Witt
Tucker Springs Book Seven
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, M/M, Romance
Length: 205 pages/Word Count: 52,000
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher


After their umpteenth breakup, Brad Sweeney and Jeff Hayden are living apart and starting over from scratch. The morning after a promising first date, they’re more optimistic than ever that they can make it work this time . . . until Jeff’s ex-wife and business partner calls to announce she’s pregnant with Jeff’s baby. Brad’s already competing with a demanding business for Jeff’s time. Now there’s a baby on the way, and worse, he’s afraid Jeff is still carrying a torch for the woman who’s carrying his child.

Jeff is desperately trying to keep his life together, but before he can even get his head around the news that he’s going to be a father, his ex announces that she wants to leave Tucker Springs. Now he either has to take over her role at the shop while ferrying the baby back and forth from Denver, or move the business—and himself—with her.

Brad and Jeff knew reconciliation wouldn’t be easy, but they’re rapidly running out of room for compromise. And sooner or later, something has to give.

The Review:

I absolutely adore the Tucker Springs series, and L.A. Witt’s newest contribution, It’s Complicated, is a rollercoaster ride of emotion as Brad Sweeney and Jeff Hayden try to make their on again/off again relationship work. But a surprise pregnancy, Jeff’s grueling work schedule and Brad’s (well-founded) insecurities threaten to derail their fragile new beginning.

Brad and Jeff’s tentative reconciliation is off to great beginning. Their “first” date is a resounding success and the sex is hotter than ever, but with one phone call, they are quickly back on shaky ground. During their last break, Jeff and his ex-wife Christine, who is also his business partner, indulged in a one night stand and now Christine is pregnant. Even more surprising is Christine’s decision to leave Tucker Springs and their very successful company. While Jeff is thrilled about becoming a dad, he is conflicted about Christine’s plans and coming up with a solution that works for everyone is virtually impossible.

Written in first person from both Brad and Jeff’s perspectives, there is never any doubt what each character is thinking. Both agree that Jeff’s long hours are a major source of conflict and that numerous minor irritations are the catalyst for major blow ups. They never seem to address the underlying issues which, in part, stem from Jeff’s continued relationship with Christine and his inability to fully commit to Brad. And all of this a problem before Christine’s pregnancy, so it is not any wonder that Brad’s concerns that Jeff and Christine will reconcile become a big issue for him. There is never any doubt that Brad and Jeff love each other, but their obstacles do seem insurmountable. Of course, the solution to their problems is staring them in the face for the whole novel, but getting them to see it takes forever!

It’s Complicated is an engaging and fast-paced addition to the Tucker Springs series. The story is well-written, the problems between Brad and Jeff are realistic and since this is an L.A. Witt novel, the sex is hot. While there is a lot of emotional turmoil, the novel does not really feel overly angsty. There really aren’t any communication issues between Brad and Jeff and they do a fabulous job discussing their issues. However they are often unable to come up with viable answers for their unresolved problems and I love that neither is willing to give up on their relationship without a fight.


Filed under Contemporary, Erotic, It's Complicated, LA Witt, M/M, Rated B+, Review, Riptide Publishing, Romance, Tucker Springs

Review: Guarded by Cat Grant & L.A. Witt

guardedTitle: Guarded by Cat Grant & L.A. Witt
Publisher: Cat Grant Books
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, M/M, Romance, BDSM
Length: 344 pages/Word Count: 105,000
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Author


On the surface, rock star Jordan Kane has it all. His band No Rules is burning up the charts and headlining a world tour. His bodyguard doubles as a hot, kinky boyfriend who knows just how to push all his buttons. But behind the scenes, he’s suffocating.

Jase Hewitt never imagined he’d have a shot at bedding the larger than life rock star – never mind dominating him – but now he’s worried he’s in over his head. Jordan’s kinks run deep, dark, and sometimes dangerous, putting Jase’s desires to both pleasure and protect him at odds.

They might have a fighting chance at finding the safe, happy medium between what Jordan needs and what Jase is willing to give, but there’s one problem: Daniel, Jordan’s childhood best friend, the band’s talented guitarist — and a volatile, hard-partying drug addict. Jordan is determined to save Daniel from himself, but Jase has been there, done that, and desperately wants to protect Jordan from the inevitable heartache of watching an addict self-destruct.

When Daniel goes off the rails again, Jordan calls off the tour to get him help. Tension within the band skyrockets and pressure from the record label sends Jordan into a dark spiral. Now his band — and his life — are balanced on a knife’s edge, and Jase is the only one who can pull him back… but only if the echoes of his own tragic past don’t push him over first.

The Review:

Guarded by Cat Grant and L.A. Witt is a hot, sexy and kinky romance that is full of deep emotions. This poignant novel is also a bit heartbreaking as Jordan Kane watches his longtime friend and band mate Daniel Barrett hit rock bottom then re-enter rehab. With his life slowly slipping out of control, Jordan eagerly submits to his dominant bodyguard and new lover Jase Hewitt. Will their newfound relationship withstand the stress of Daniel’s recovery and return to Jordan’s life?

Jordan loves performing and touring with his band No Rules, but he has become a bit jaded by his stardom. With little free time to cultivate a relationship, he has a reputation for sleeping with his road crew but these hookups are fairly short lived. His longest enduring relationship is with Daniel and their history is complicated by their own failed romance and Daniel’s longstanding battles with addictions.

In the beginning, Jase is charmingly unsure of himself when it comes to Jordan. He knows about Jordan’s secret kink and although he is hesitant to give Jordan what he needs, their first sexual encounter is explosive. Jase is quick to realize that Jordan is truly a submissive who thrives on pain. When Jordan begins to flounder while on break from touring, he and Jase fully engage in a BDSM relationship.

There is also a strong emotional connection between Jase and Jordan but Jordan’s loyalty to Daniel is a source of friction between them. Jase’s past experiences with an addict provide incredible insight into Daniel and Jordan’s troubled relationship but Jordan is too close to situation to recognize the truth to Jase’s astute observations. Jordan remains hopeful about Daniel’s future, but are his expectations realistic?

An excellent collaboration between Cat Grant and L.A. Witt, Guarded is gritty, compelling and intense but overall, there is very little angst. The plot is believable and beautifully executed. Jase and Jordan are superbly developed characters with well-detailed backstories that add depth the unfolding storyline. Their emotions and struggles feel real and their honesty with themselves and each other is refreshing. The sex scenes are exquisitely detailed and sizzling hot. Although the ending is little predictable, it is absolutely perfect.


Filed under BDSM, Cat Grant, Cat Grant Books, Contemporary, Erotic, Guarded, LA Witt, Rated B+, Review, Romance

Review: L.A. Witt’s Covet Thy Neighbor

Title: Covet Thy Neighbor by L.A. Witt
Tucker Springs Book Four
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Erotic, Romance
Length: 170 pages/Word count: 46,100
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Opposites attract, but heaven help these two.

Tattoo artist Seth Wheeler thinks he’s struck gold when Darren Romero rents the apartment across the hall. The new guy is gorgeous, witty, and single, plus he’s just the right blend of bold and flirtatious. Perfect.

Except then Darren reveals that he moved to Tucker Springs to take a job as the youth pastor at the New Light Church. Seth is not only an atheist, but was thrown out by his ultra-religious family when he came out. He tends to avoid believers, not out of judgment but out of self-preservation.

But Darren doesn’t give up easily, and he steadily chips away at Seth’s defenses. Darren is everything Seth wants in a man . . . except for that one massive detail he just can’t overlook. Is Darren’s religion the real problem, or is it just a convenient smoke screen to keep him from facing deeper fears? It’s either see the light, or risk pushing Darren away forever.

The Review:

I am a huge fan of both L.A. Witt and the Tucker Springs series, so I knew that I HAD to read Covet Thy Neighbor and WOW, what an absolutely marvelous novel it turned out to be. This compelling romance is fast-paced, smokin’ hot and quite thought-provoking. The only thing I didn’t like? That this spectacular story had to end!

Seth Wheeler and Darren Romero are delightfully engaging protagonists. They are incredibly well developed and quite appealing. Both men are refreshingly open-minded and they are always completely honest with each other about their faith or in Seth’s case, the lack thereof. What I found most striking about Seth and Darren is despite the fact they are on opposite ends of the religious spectrum, they have a great deal of respect for one another’s beliefs. Their discussions are insightful and informative but never preachy.

I admit it. I had my doubts that a story with religious overtones could successfully balance the serious topic of faith with super steamy sex. I tend to think of ministers as being a little bland and well, asexual. But, Holy sexual tension, Batman, the chemistry between Seth and Darren is sizzling hot. These two are absolutely combustible in the bedroom and their encounters are positively incendiary. I doubt I will ever view a minister as passionless ever again!

L.A. Witt’s Covet Thy Neighbor is an outstanding addition to the captivating Tucker Springs series. I love that the past two installments have ventured into more serious territory. Life is messy and imperfect and the storylines accurately portray relevant issues that will resonate with many readers.

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Filed under Contemporary, Covet Thy Neighbor, Erotic, LA Witt, M/M, Rated B+, Review, Riptide Publishing, Romance, Tucker Springs