Molly Reviews, Guest Post, Extended Excerpt and Giveaway: Balancing Act by K. Vale (Shooting Stars Book 4)

Blurb:
Greg Dwyer and Kyrie Li are living the glorious couple life in New York City. Or are they? When struggling actor Kyrie lands a modeling job, he’s ecstatic to have extra cash to spend on his best-friend-turned-boyfriend.

Of course, Greg is suspicious Anders Berglund, the gorgeous and androgynous Swedish cover model the designers love to pair with Kyrie, is after his man. And maybe Kyrie encourages a growing closeness with the guy?

Greg is probably to blame if Kyrie is drawn to the openly gay and seriously beautiful Andy. With Andy, Kyrie can be himself, as loud and proud as he’s always been. But Greg’s sexuality stays firmly locked in the closest except when he’s with Kyrie’s supportive family or alone with the man he loves.

To make matters worse, Greg’s out-of-touch mom meets with financial ruin and moves in with the couple, forcing him into the closet in his own home.

Can Greg find a way to stand up to Mommy Dearest and win back a love he fought so hard to reach? He discovers the road to pride begins at home and with accepting oneself first. Otherwise, it’s just a dead-end street.

Where To Buy:
Liquid Silver Press || Amazon

Review:
This was a fabulous sequel to Hard Act to Follow. It brought everything together and showed how these two worked hard to be exactly what the other needed. Greg and Kyrie are so in love but they also still have things to overcome and I loved getting to see them worked out in this book.
Kyrie continues to be a character I enjoy. He isn’t afraid to be himself and he works hard to be someone Greg can respect and love. Kyrie doesn’t want to be a kept man and his drive to help brought them both down a path I enjoyed reading. I struggled with his push for Greg to come out. On one hand I get how hurt he was by Greg’s actions and how wrong Greg treated him. But he should have also known that coming out is a tough decision for anyone. I do like how he finally figured that out at the end and made the decision to let Greg take care of it in his own time. It some pretty extreme circumstances though.
Greg broke my heart a little bit in this book. He wanted to do what was right by Kyrie but he was so scared. Then when his mom showed up I knew things were going to get worse before they got bette.r And boy did they get worse! Greg’s mom was the perfect character to hate but she wasn’t really that bad. Well. Ok, she was. But it was more Greg’s expectations of himself that made his mom as bad as she was. But the way Greg fixed things after all that happened, it was so sweet and wonderful to watch Kyrie react.
I want more Anders. He’s definitely got a story and I want to read it. There’s more going on with him and I so want to know what happens. I hope he gets a happy ending because he completely deserves it. He’s sweet and a great friend to Kyrie.
My one issue with the story is that I would have preferred the storyline with the fan to be fleshed out a little more. If there were more hints leading up to it, or the fan was mentioned at least once more. That would have made the ending not feel so rushed.
Stars:
Four

Guest Post:
The wonderful Kyrie stops by today to share a recipe. He’s working on a new cooking show that we will gladly be the test audience for. His recipe for “the best freaking eggplan parm in the world” sounds absolutely delicious so I hope you all get a chance to try it. Read and enjoy!
Hi, everyone! Kyrie Li here on Kyrie’s Crazy Cooking Class. Or maybe it’s Kyrie’s Cracktastic Kitchen? Yeah, maybe not, but I should so have a cooking show. I’m killing it in this apron, and I can twirl a spatula like nobody’s business.

So, for all you wannabe chefs, I’m giving you my secret recipe for the best freaking eggplant parm in the world. Okay, maybe it’s not the best, but it takes so damn long to make, you’ll be absolutely starving by the time it’s done so it’ll taste like the king’s balls.

First things first. Get your ingredients together. Here’s all the crap I have muddling up my counter space at the mo:

Two smallish eggplants (you can go bigger here, but I prefer not to have slices as big as my plate—whatever blows your hair back)

A couple cage-free eggs (for those of you going, “Kyrie, you’re a vegetarian!” I reply, “Yes. Not a saint.” I can’t get down with the lacto/ovo business because, quite frankly, tofu doesn’t get me all that hard, and God, do I love cheese).

Italian breadcrumbs

Croutons (cheesy garlic ones are delish)

Rolling pin to crush your croutons and spank your boyfriend when he’s bad

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Red pepper flakes (if you like it hot—I always like it hot)

Your favorite marinara sauce (Umm…you didn’t think I was going to make my own from scratch, did you? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be in the kitchen all day long. Unless, of course, my super-stud-man-toy Greg is in there with me, in which case we’ll be heating up the room the old-fashioned way, and the only ingredient I’ll need from this list is that there bottle of olive oil. Wink, wink).

Assorted cheeses of the Italian variety—mozzarella for sure, a little parmesan (the real deal is better, but in a pinch shaky cheese will suffice), asiago is delicious and super fancy. So fancy, I always pronounce it wrong. That’s how you know it’s good.  Just get some white cheeses. The pre-grated stuff is the way to go.

Okay. I think I’ve got it all. If not, I’ll probably figure it out at some point. Usually while my hands are coated in raw egg and breadcrumbs.

Wash your eggplant and slice it up. I go about ¼ to ½ inch thick and leave the skin on. It’s probably the healthiest part and I need my vitamins and stuff. Actually, it’s a PITA to peel. Spread out some clean kitchen towels and cover them with the sliced eggplant. Sprinkle each with salt to sweat out the moisture. I’ve also tried sticking them in the oven at a low temp for a while to sorta steam it out. Either works. If you have high blood pressure, take the oven route. Once you see water beading on top of those sweaty little slices, grab more towels and squish like hell to get them as dry and thin as possible.

Next, crack a few eggs and whip ‘em up. Add some salt and pepper. Smash the crap out of your croutons and add them to another bowl with the bread crumbs. Even parts or something—this isn’t rocket surgery. Do whatever feels right.

Get your pan heating with the olive oil—not too high. Dip an eggplant slice in the egg, and then the bread crumbs. Really coat both sides, and then start frying. Do all of your slices, nice and medium brown, and put them aside in a baking dish. Once you have a full layer, pour marinara over them. Add another layer of eggplant (if you have enough—do as many layers as you want). Sprinkle cheese on top. Heck, you can put cheese between your eggplant layers if you want. That’s cool.

Bake at, like, 350 degrees or something. Probably about 30 minutes, or until the sauce starts bubbling around the edges. I like to cover with foil so my cheese doesn’t burn. Just uncover for the last 10 minutes or so.

Phew. Are we done yet? I’m starving. I’ll just shake some red pepper on top and go to town.

Buon appetito!

Best part? Greg’s totally washing these dishes since I did the cooking. 😉

Tune in next time when I make japchae, Korean sweet potato noodles that will have you drooling all over yourself like a Saint Bernard.

Extended Excerpt:
Kyrie’s amazing day was about to get a cherry on top. He opened the apartment door to the rattle of keys on the other side.

Greg’s mouth dropped open, eyes widening comically, but he spared a nervous glance for the empty hallway behind him before stepping swiftly over the threshold.

He shut the door and locked it with a snap of the deadbolt.

“Is it my birthday already?” Easing his work computer to the floor, Greg allowed the suit jacket draped over one arm to follow unceremoniously. As he loosened his tie, yanking the knot from side to side, his mahogany gaze did a similar zigzag down Kyrie’s exposed body.

“This, my love, is just one of the outfits I was given today when I went for my Spectrum Spectacular callback.”

Greg took in the full extent of Kyrie’s ensemble, what little there was of it, and his auburn brows lowered. Kyrie spun around to give him the complete picture, peeking back over his shoulder with a salacious lick of the lips. The white micro trunks and matching fishnet tank were his favorite parts of the ample cache he’d received. He’d been beyond excited for Greg to get home and see them.

“Why would they…? You got the job?” A grin broke across Greg’s face, but the disapproval was still evident as he continued to eye Kyrie’s appearance.

“I got the job! I got the job!” He grabbed Greg’s hands and pumped them up and down. “I’m modeling with Anders Berglund! Anders. Berglund! The Swedish supermodel! We’re partners for the No Black, No White shoot!”

He clasped his hands together while the rest of his body vibrated with pent-up energy. Anders Berglund was gargantuan, his gorgeous face on nearly every magazine cover in the grocery store checkout aisle. Kyrie’s fairy godmother had waved a magic wand over him, and Greg just stood there with his forehead puckered.

“Well?”

Greg slid his arms around Kyrie, rubbing his back as if he were cold. “So…this is what you’re gonna be wearing?”

“Maybe. Who knows? They gave us a few outfits to try on for size.”

“This is not an outfit.” Greg rubbed the holey fabric between his fingers.

Kyrie canted his head, eyebrows lifting as he delivered his best You’re kidding, right? stare. “This is only a sample. There will be all kinds of clothes at the shoot. I’m sure they’ll pick the best of the best after we’re done.”

“Won’t posing half-naked hurt your acting career?”

Kyrie scoffed, rolling his eyes. “No! Watch how many doors this opens. Just you wait.”

“And this is for what? Gay rights or…something?”

Kyrie ramped up the baleful expression. “Have you been listening to anything I’ve said for the past month? It’s not just gay. It’s everything. A campaign to call attention to all shades of the sexual identity spectrum. We gays are pretty widely accepted these days, you might be surprised to know.”

Greg’s arms stiffened around him, and Kyrie bit down on a sigh. Yes, we gays. Including you. Or maybe bi sits better, but you’ve been sticking it to a dude for almost a year and a half now. Time to officially join the not-so-straight club.

Kyrie expelled a frustrated breath after all. “It’s a phenomenal thing to be part of, never mind the sweet paycheck I’ll be pullin’ in. Never mind that I’ll be working with Anders Fucking Berglund and how much visibility I’ll get out of it.” He squeaked, elation bubbling from him despite Greg’s muted response.

“And I thought his first name was bad,” Greg groused, even as his fingers tested the thin mesh over Kyrie’s back and traveled lower.

Kyrie freely admitted he was damned stunning in the getup. All the white clothing they’d given him popped against the brown skin he’d inherited from his mother. Conversely, Anders was the fairest lad in all the land. He had pale blond hair and porcelain skin, fractured only by startlingly dark eyebrows and a couple of highly fortuitous moles rumored to have launched his career. He’d be dressed in black and guaranteed to look amazing. Together…this was going to be fucking epic.

“I thought you’d be proud of me.” Kyrie pouted, simultaneously arching his ass into Greg’s touch like a cat begging for attention.

“Of course I’m proud of you. I just worry about…well—”

“Everything?” Kyrie reached up to stroke Greg’s cheek, loving the feel of his trimmed beard and mustache combo. It could be soft, skimming over Kyrie’s nipples while Greg flicked a tongue and lit them on fire, or it could be coarse, bordering on harsh, as Greg went savage licking Kyrie’s ass and balls. Sure, that sort of thing was usually reserved for the times Greg had a few drinks on board and abandoned his inhibitions fully. But, oh God, when it happened…

Kyrie’s dick swelled thinking about Greg’s tongue swirling over his asshole. “Want me to pour you a little whiskey to help you wind down after your hard—” he squeezed Greg’s cock through his suit pants, “—day, sexy?”

Greg grunted and rocked his hips into Kyrie’s hand. “I can always use a little tension release.” His eyes, hooded, stared at Kyrie’s lips.

He parted them slowly and dragged his tongue tip across his top teeth. “I think I have one of those stress balls around here somewhere.”

Firm and fast, Greg hauled him flush against his chest and stole Kyrie’s breath. His fingers explored Kyrie’s ass crack—crude, demanding, bunching the satiny material between his cheeks before dragging lower to feather behind his nuts.

“Think I found my two favorite stress balls right here.” Greg wore a wicked grin. “Trying to hide ’em on me?”

He gathered the back of Kyrie’s tiny tight boxers, taking the wedgie to another level. He gasped and lifted on his toes. His sac was trapped, kinked up on one side of the seam almost painfully tight. Greg cupped Kyrie’s slung nuts, the touch so gentle it reminded him of ice over fire. Cool, crisp sheets after a day from hell.

Kyrie loved being the seductive bottom, igniting Greg with his teasing and flirting, backing off while he simmered. Then Kyrie would stoke him higher, feeding the inferno until Greg eventually crumbled and became the domineering top. Usually they made the game last, pushing each other’s buttons in their own drawn-out version of foreplay.

The sliver of pain slicing down Kyrie’s crack paired succulently with the throbbing wood pressed against his lower belly. All signs told him they were going straight to sudden death—no warm-up, no scrimmage, just hot, fast action. Game on.

About K.:
Kimber Vale is an avid reader, writer, and gardener.  She worked as an RN once upon a time, but is currently a stay-at-home mom to three busy hobbits.  She is fortunate to have an understanding husband who never refuses to help with her “writing research.”  He answers questions like, “What do you think eyeballs taste like?” and “Does the term ‘Cock-Rockets’ sound more like a joke or an explosively good time?” with equal consideration and without batting an eye.

Kimber enjoys crafting in a number of genres, including both gay (under K. Vale) and straight erotic romance, horror, bizarro, and sci/fi.  Dark themes frequently creep their way into her stories, but she loves a good romance and is sure to give her MCs their much-deserved happily-ever-after once she is done abusing them.

Author Contact:
Website: http://www.authorkimbervale.com
Twitter: KimberVale
Facebook: Facebook profile
Blog: http://www.kimbervale.me

Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Giveaway:
For the entire month of June, all comments will be one entry into a paperback giveaway. One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of both Unstable Stud by Ariel Tachna and Forgive and Forget by Charlie Cochet. Contest is open to everyone, each comment is one entry, contest ends June 30 11:59PM. Winner must provide their mailing address within one week of contest close or a new winner will be selected.

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