Review, Guest Post and Giveaway: Aim High Anthology

Blurb:
Possibilities by T.A. Chase

When Dixon and Carson meet during a hurricane, neither imagined that moment would be the beginning of a new relationship.

After the hurricane blows through, both men meet again and the sparks fly. Possibilities open up for them to have a chance at finding love. They just have to be willing to try.

Lonely Hearts and Yellow Ribbons by Stephani Hecht

Being apart from the one you love is the hardest thing to do, until you get them back to find they’ve changed…

Aden is excited to see Ross. But he can’t help but notice that his partner is having trouble adjusting back into the civilian world. Plus, there is the looming danger that Ross could be deployed again at any time. Will Ross have to leave to serve his county once more? And if so, can the pair survive the separation yet again?

Venetian Skies by Morticia Knight

No one wants to lose a love that’s meant to be. Air Force test pilot, Chris Pierce, returns to Italy to discover that second chances are the sweetest.

Second chances are the sweetest and love that’s meant to be doesn’t die. But when a MiG fighter jet gone rogue shoots Chris down, will their second chance be taken away forever?

Search and Rescue by Jenna Byrnes

Two parajumpers freefall into a stealthy relationship before considering how quickly it might come crashing to an end.

Airman First Class Matthew Billings has almost completed a grueling two year training program on his way to becoming a Pararescueman in the Air Force Special Operations Unit. On a mission to rescue a child lost in the Pecos Wilderness of New Mexico, he meets Master Sergeant Drake Bogart, a man who is as infuriating as he is handsome.

Live for the Day by Sarah Masters

Loving your best friend is easy. Telling him you do…well, that’s the hard part.

When the two men reunite, revelations are the name of the game. There is no question they’ve always loved each other, but now that they have the chance to express that love, will they?

Lifetime Hitch by Megan Slayer

Sometimes the best laid plans are meant to be thrown way off course.

Hunter planned his life very well. He’s got his position in the Air National Guard, the family he’s always wanted and a life most people would love to have. Except he’s not happy. His friends all know his truths, but them knowing about his sexuality and him admitting it are two different things. Thankfully Ryder—his best friend—has always got his back.

Review:
I love me some military romances. Though I am a bit tougher on them because details are so important in them and easy to get wrong. But I really enjoyed this anthology.
Overall Stars:
Four
Possibilities by T.A. Chase
This is a sweet story. I really like Dixon and how he takes care of everyone in one of the most basic and simple of ways, yet does it so well that he wouldn’t be him if he did anything else. Carson is a strong presence and cares about people as well but in a completely different way. There’s so much hope for these two at the end of the story. I would read the heck out of a sequel because these two are so good together and they just got started.
Stars:
Four
Lonely Hearts and Yellow Ribbons by Stephani Hecht
This was a good story. I liked how Ross and Aden were already together at the start of the story. It created a different dynamic than trying to start a relationship. These two worked so well together. I was hoping Ross’ nightmares would have been addressed but I got him not wanting to worry Aden. I so want a sequel to this story. I want to see Wrangler get a happy ending and Ross coming home from deployment and he and Aden being happy. All of it. Please?
Stars:
Four
Venetian Skies by Morticia Knight
I so enjoyed this story. It was packed with emotion and a love story that broke my heart and gave me hope at the same time. Oh my gosh that scene where Chris comes back to Brandon after Brandon’s shift at the bar. I was shaking with him! Chris and Brandon are so wonderful together once they got through their issues. The scene where Chris is flying the test plane is heart pounding. I was on the edge of my seat while reading it. Not many can write an aerial fight scene that’s short but still accurate and makes you feel like you’re there.
Stars:
Four and a half
Search and Rescue by Jenna Byrnes
I wasn’t a fan of Drake in this story. He comes off rude most of the time and doesn’t treat Matt the way he claims he feels about Matt. The rescues were a bit quick but I enjoyed them. Matt was sweet if a little clingy. But he wore his heart on his sleeve so you always knew how he felt. They have a solid happy for now with plans to continue to build their relationship in the future.
Stars:
Three and a half
Live for the Day by Sarah Masters
This story was interesting. I really liked how Steven and Michael were finally able to admit their feelings for each other. It’s a shame it took Steven getting shot down to get them there. But I understand them both being scared of the other not returning the feelings. I wasn’t of how simply Steven’s nightmares and PTSD-type symptoms were laid out. They both treated it like it wasn’t a big deal when it really kind of is. I liked how Steven had a plan on what he wanted after his time served and how supportive Michael was of helping Steven succeed no matter what he does and how he will spend the rest of his time served.
Stars:
Three and a half
Lifetime Hitch by Megan Slayer
Wow! What a way to start the story! It was definitely a hugely douchey thing to do when Hunter just got home. At the same time I get it. Hunter’s rundown of his deployment in ten sentences was hysterical, sad, and pretty spot on at the same time. I enjoyed this story. I liked how Hunter worked out his feelings and made sure he was ready for a relationship before jumping headlong into it. Ryder was sweet but a little quick to look at the negative in things. But he’s so good for Hunter. These two together are so great. Plus they have a fabulous happy ending. I like how Shelly is their supporter and wants to see them succeed as much as they do. I really like how they’re a happy family, the six of them, at the end. The girls are adorable and make for some lighthearted scenes.
Stars:
Four

Guest Post:
Sarah Masters stops by to tell us more about her story in this anthology along with some behind the scenes as well. Definitely worth checking out this exclusive look at Sarah’s story. Read and enjoy!
Writing about the USAF was a new experience for me. I don’t usually go for military stories, but the opportunity came up to write for the Aim High anthology and I thought, “Why not give it a go?” I’m glad I did, because I enjoyed it a lot. Plus, I’m now happily settled in the pages with some brilliant authors—good company there!

My story is about two childhood friends, Michael and Steven, who have loved each other as far back as they can remember. I’ve written this theme before and, with much relish and a little bit of angst, I got them both to admit their feelings. It was time for them to reveal their emotions—life is far too short and all this dilly-dallying around wasn’t good for them. Especially when Steven comes back on leave injured, suffering terrible nightmares, and realising that he really must sort out his private life. (And other private things…ahem.)

Of course, the nightmares are there for a reason. Not only to show the trauma that those who serve go through, but to create a stumbling block. I couldn’t let them just fall into one another’s arms without some kind of obstacle to climb over, now could I? Yes, I suppose I could have, but I didn’t want to. Mwhahaha ß Dr Evil laugh.

Visiting America in my books also isn’t something I do very often. Most of my titles are London UK based, but to have a switch of scenery was something I embraced. A change is as good as a rest, so they say. The small town came from my imagination, and I can still see the bus slouching into the main street, carrying Steven, as well as with kicking up dust from the tyres. This tale was one that played in my head, cinematic and very much already there with little for me to do but describe it all. Those times are the best, and I hope the images you get while reading are as vibrant as they were for me when writing.

The title was something I’d been playing with in my head for a while. Live for the Day. We all tend to imagine the future, to dream and hope for better things and brighter days, and all too often that stops us from living in the present. Before we know it, we’ve lost countless weeks and months wishing for something that is too far ahead instead of rejoicing in what we have now. That was my main aim, to express how living for the moment can be much more soul-cleansing than living for what’s up ahead. A kind of “stop and smell the roses” thing. I possibly, at the time of writing, was subconsciously telling myself this very thing and it came out in my story.

It’s been said that fiction is completely made up, but I don’t believe that is so. There are parts of me in every single book I’ve written, parts of my life experience, my hopes and dreams. So, please join Michael and Steven—and that little bit of me—in living for the day. I’ll see you there!

Excerpt:
Live for the Day by Sarah Master

Michael stared through the large window of the café, his coffee steaming on the table in front of him. The place was almost empty except for him, another guy at the back and the waitress scrubbing the countertop. His week off was proving a bind—he wasn’t used to being idle—and with nothing much to do he’d found himself at loose ends. The café had seemed as good a place as any to visit, and he could watch the world go by—or the residents of Valley Springs at any rate.

Outside, people dressed in a variety of summer wear walked in and out of the shops opposite, a row of three consisting of a mini mart, a hair salon and a dry cleaners. Everyone seemed so normal, so I’ve-got-something-to-do—on a mission, the lot of them.

Mission. That word brought terror to Michael’s heart. Usually gave him panic attacks if he thought about them in depth. His friend, Steven, was on a mission right now—the Air Force owed Michael a bunch of stomach settling meds, that was for sure.

He sighed, wondering whether he’d get a letter from Steven sometime soon. They’d been sporadic of late—emails weren’t coming too often either—and the loss of regular contact always gave Michael more reason to crap his damn pants. He let his mind wander to places it shouldn’t go, and he saw things he shouldn’t torment himself with, like Steven’s plane being shot down or—

Don’t think about it. He’ll be fine.

Yeah, Steven would be fine. Always had been and always would be, Michael reckoned, seeing as Steven was one hell of a lucky son of a bitch. He’d been through hell and back in the past when on duty, and had come out smiling. Walking. Talking. In one piece.

Michael sipped his coffee and recalled the last time he’d seen Steven. Man, that had been a good reunion, the pair of them holed up in The Dusty Shack with beers followed by whiskey chasers, their legs getting more unsteady with every mouthful. Michael had nearly blurted out his feelings that night, alcohol giving his tongue a good loosening, making him want to throw caution not only to the wind but to any other kind of weather too. He’d stopped himself, though. He didn’t need the sour strike of lightning, the roar of thunder. What he needed was to keep his emotions secret so that there was only sunshine and brightness on Steven’s leave.

I love him so much it hurts.

About Sarah:
Sarah Masters is a multi-published author in three pen names writing several genres. She lives with her husband, youngest daughter, and a cat in England. She writes at weekends and is a cover artist/head of art in her day job. In another life she was an editor. Her other pen names are Natalie Dae and Geraldine O’Hara.

Sarah also co-authors with Jaime Samms, and as Natalie Dae she co-authors with Lily Harlem under the name Harlem Dae.

Where To Buy:
Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/aim-high
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Aim-High-T-Chase-ebook/dp/B014WJYEYW/

Tour Stops:

Giveaway:
Enter Pride Publishing’s September blog tour competition for the chance to win an eBook of your choice, not including boxsets or anthologies.
N.B. This competition has been extended to the 4th of October to allow for entrants for this blog tour.
https://www.pride-publishing.com/pride-september-competition

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