Thursday, January 22, 2015

Doves by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae: #Review #Excerpt #Giveaway @erincmcrae @racheline_m @torquere

(Love in Los Angeles, Book 2)
by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae

Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ, Romance
The ties that bind…

Two years after the events of Starling, Cinderella story and star of The Fourth Estate J. Alex Cook is living happily ever after with his boyfriend, television writer Paul Marion Keane. But when Paul’s pilot, Winsome, AZ, gets picked up, the competing demands of their high-profile careers make them question their future together.

…can sometimes tear you apart.

As Paul becomes increasingly absent from their relationship, Alex tries to regain control of his private life and establish a career path independent of Fourth's enigmatic, and at times malevolent, showrunner Victor. But the delicate web of relationships that connects Alex, Paul, and their friends — including Alex's excitable ex-lover Liam and his no-nonsense fiancée Carly — threatens to unravel.

With the business of Hollywood making it hard to remember who he is when the whole world isn’t watching, Alex is forced to confront major changes in the fairytale life he never wanted as he discovers that love in Los Angeles often looks nothing like the movies.
Alex and Paul stay closer to each other than they normally do. Usually it's Alex who curls into Paul's side whenever he can, at least when they’re not in public, but tonight it's Paul who keeps their legs pressed together under the table. More than once Alex sees Paul's mother watching them as they bend their heads together to talk quietly, but Alex has no impulse to pull away or remove his arm from low on Paul's back.

They're sitting out on the verandah together with Paul's family, watching sunset creep across the fields, when Alex's phone rings again. This time, it's Margaret.

The whole conversation is ridiculous on any number of levels, but at least she's not shouting. Her calm, competent crisis-management mode is somehow even more frightening than Victor's wrath, and now Alex's reception of it isn't numbed by terrible stories. The liberals are furious that their sweet Indiana farmboy has the temerity to know his way around a gun. The right suddenly has to deal with the fact that their new if inadvertent poster boy is Hollywood's pet twink. No one is happy. Even beyond the fans who feel betrayed that J. Alex Cook would do something so terrible as shoot beer bottles (he'd made Paul show him some of the choice replies on Twitter), many, many people are angry.

"The NRA called," Margaret tells him.

"I'm on vacation," Alex moans.

"Have you talked to Paul's family about what happens when things like this happen?"

"Do things like this actually happen that much?"

"Are you planning on maintaining dangerous and politically-sensitive hobbies?"

"I'm not going to defend a sport I like and I'm good at because it makes people who say flyover nervous. I shoot targets, not animals, and I'm also not interested in being a spokesperson for a bunch of freaks who think the government is coming for their Jesus. Can't I just be a person who does stuff?"

"I'm taking that as a yes."

Alex swears. And then reluctantly explains that yes, he and Paul have had conversations with Paul's mother, sister, and brother-in-law about some of the realities of a relationship as public as theirs. Everyone has been gracious, but as welcoming as this family has been, Alex knows he's making everyone's lives harder than they have to be just by existing in a relationship with Paul.

Eventually Margaret talks him down from his pitch of righteous anger -- he retreats around the corner of the verandah to keep Paul's family out of earshot as much as possible, because dumping all of this on them just seems rude -- and lays out a reasonable strategy for dealing with it which amounts to much the same as Victor's: Do nothing, and do not do a whole lot of somethings.

"Hey, can't you just say you're trying to get me an action movie deal or something?" he jokes as the call winds down.

"I could," Margaret points out, "if we knew what the hell was going on with your show."

And with that, Alex finally gets why Victor was pissed. Because on top of everything else, they all live in some sort of crazy world where a tweet can be strategy and betrayal.

After he hangs up with Margaret, before Alex can even walk back round to the front of the house, Victor calls again. There's less yelling, and the timing is less awful, but by the time that call is over and Alex has finally slumped back into the chair next to Paul's, Alex is ready to never answer his phone ever again.

Which is when Paul's phone rings.

Paul looks scared. His mother looks like none of this is terribly out of the ordinary. Alex wonders if that's just because she's used to Paul's job or if her life transcended strange and scary a long time ago.

"Answer it," Alex hisses, because he knows this is one of the two calls they've been waiting for and the one that will go a long way towards telling them the shape of the next year.

Paul answers it, and Alex watches him closely as he nods and says yes and thank you a number of times, but he's so damn even Alex can't tell if the news is good or bad.

When he clicks off, he just stares straight ahead breathing for a moment, and what Alex would have once taken as shock or admired as an even disposition now just seems learned in the most unsettling of ways.

"Well?" he finally asks.

Everyone is leaned forward in their chairs on the verandah staring at him in the bug-filled twilight.

"Thirteen episodes," he says softly. "Option for another eight. And then we pray for season two."

The reaction is loud from Paul's family, but Alex just sits there, still bent towards Paul and holding his hand, waiting for the moment to actually connect. When it does, Paul is out of his chair in a flash, hauling Alex up with him into a crushing hug.

"Oh my god, this day," Alex says in his ear.

Paul laughs in utter delight. "So will you marry me now?"
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Note: It is absolutely imperative that you read this series in order. This book will not make any sense if you don't, because the story-line and characters carry over without reviewing the back-story.

I absolutely adored Starling (Read my 5 star review) and eagerly awaited the release of DOVES. To say that I was shocked by the differences between the two stories would be an understatement.

Picking up two years after where STARLING left off, the first third is told in a primarily narrative writing style that I found extremely difficult to identify with. I stopped and started reading several times because I couldn't reconcile the characters I was so in love with the emotional distance that was portrayed.

Paul and Alex are an on the verge of achieving everything they hoped and dreamed for professionally, and rather than bringing them closer together, their grueling work schedules are driving them apart. This was heartbreaking for me to read, especially since there was little to no insight given into the two years of happiness that preceded this slow deterioration. Add in the fact that Victor, Liam and Carly's relationship has grown even more bizarre over time, and I felt lost and let down by my own expectations.

However, once I got past the first third of the story everything changed. Suddenly I was back on track and completely engaged as Paul, Alex, Victor, Liam and Carly began to open up. The writing changed to the complex storytelling and multiple character views that I experienced in Starling. This is where the brilliance of the beginning hit me... the distance found in the writing style mirrored the emotional state of the characters. What seemed to be a mistake suddenly made complete sense. Reader: please do not set this book aside due to the unexpected introduction!

As the characters work through their relationships, insecurities, strengths, weakness, successes, failures and flaws DOVES tells a story of human nature in its rawest form. The unique presentation and complex story-line is the hook that drew me into the drama that is Love in Los Angeles. Once again, I was captivated by the tangled web that makes this crazy family of characters work in spite of the overwhelming odds against them. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to reach into my eReader and strangle Victor, and I can't wait until Phoenix comes out in June.
Starling (Love in Los Angeles, Book 1)
Coming Soon!
Phoenix (Love in Los Angeles, Book 3)
Anticipated Publication: June 10, 2015
Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese are authors of the gay romance series Love in Los Angeles is set in the film and television industry and published by Torquere Press. Their gay romance novella Midsummer, Book One of the Love’s Labour series, about a summerstock Shakespeare company, will be available from Dreamspinner Press in the Summer of 2015. Racheline is a NYC-based performer and storyteller; Erin is a writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. They write stories and scripts about the intersection of private lives, fame, and desire.


  1. congrats Racheline and Erin on your new release!

  2. Congratulations on your new release Racheline and Erin! Great excerpt and love the review. Thank you for the chance at the giveaway.


  3. congrats on your latest release Racheline and Erin! :)

  4. Congrats on your new book! Thank you for the giveaway!

  5. Congrats on the release of book 2. Thanks for the giveaway