Jan 16

Blog Tour: Club Raven Series by BA Tortuga, Julia Talbot, and Kiernan Kelly

Title: Calling His Bluff, Happy Medium, and Wishful Thinking

Author: BA Tortuga, Julia Talbot, and Kiernan Kelly

Series Title and Number: Club Raven, Books 1-3

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: January 17, 2016

Pairing: M/M

Genre/Tags: Romance, Paranormal, Historical, Alternate Universe, Spanking, Mediums, Mind Readers

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Synopsis

Calling His Bluff by BA Tortuga

After his twin dies in battle, it’s Patrick Daniels’ duty to marry his brother’s fiancée. Too bad he can’t make himself do it, and in his distress, he manifests a psychic talent that’s stronger than the tornadoes in his native East Texas. Then a mysterious man from a place called Club Raven steps in and sweeps Patrick off to the booming East Coast city of Baltimore.

Club Raven veteran Remy Blanchard sees Patrick and knows, even though Patrick is very ill, that this is the challenge he’s been waiting for. He nurses Patrick back to health, and begins to teach Patrick to control his talent. His methods might be unconventional, and Patrick might be new to the kinds of sexual games Remy knows best, but the two of them find something in each other that might be just as magical as the gentleman’s club where they meet.

Happy Medium by Julia Talbot

Andrew is out to debunk Max as a medium, not make love to him…

Max Bellame is working his way through 1870s Baltimore as a medium, even if he knows nothing about spirits. He uses the power of his mind to move objects, convincing his clients he’s the real thing.

Andrew Meechum works for Club Raven, a gentleman’s club that doubles as a paranormal research facility. He sets out to debunk Max, only to be fascinated by the man. Can Andrew convince Max to take a chance on love, and to find his true calling as a medium, or will their personal demons force them apart?

Wishful Thinking by Kiernan Kelly

Tony Brazzio, co-owner of Club Raven, Baltimore’s premiere men’s club in 1875, has a pocketful of cash and a chip on his shoulder. He’s out to prove to his co-owners — and himself — that he’s not a fluke, that anyone can be successful give the opportunity, no matter how poor his beginnings.

Bull O’Brian and Dandy Gilroy are two hoodlums from the rough streets of New York’s Five Points. They’re pickpockets by trade, and both possess psychic talents that make them two of the best. When Tony offers to bring them to Baltimore and give them the chance at a life of riches in polite society, they jump at the chance, if only to steal the members of Club Raven blind.

The best of plans rarely work the way they’re intended, and things swiftly go from bad to worse for Dandy and Bull. There’s murder afoot and a detective on their trail, and not even copious amounts of hot, sweaty sex can ease their fear or guilt.

As for Tony, he’s faced with admitting his experiment is a failure, something he’s loathe to do. It’ll take a great deal of persuasion, a little luck, and a lot of lube to make sure his plans for Dandy and Bull become more than just wishful thinking.

Purchase

Purchase all three Club Raven novels below!

Calling His Bluff: Evil Plot Bunny

Happy Medium: Evil Plot Bunny | Amazon

Wishful Thinking: Evil Plot Bunny | Amazon

Meet the Authors

BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting, and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

You can find out more about her by following her online.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Julia Talbot

Julia Talbot lives in the great Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Samhain Publishing, Dreamspinner Press and Changeling Press. She believes in stories that leave a mark, and that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved.

You can find out more about her by following her online.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Kiernan Kelly

Kiernan’s award-winning stories of gay romance envelop diverse themes, varying from paranormal, to fantasy, and science fiction to contemporary romance. She has over eighty titles in ebook and print, published through a variety of houses. Her horror short story release, “Cletus,” appears in the Coscom Publishing’s book “Bits of the Dead.”

Kiernan also writes young adult GLBT fiction under her Dakota Chase pen name. As Dakota, she currently has three novels and several shorter works available in print and ebook. Mad About the Hatter, her YA gay romance, is a finalist for the American Library Association book list for 2017.

You can find out more about her by following her online.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Jan 16

Blog Tour: Pieces of Me by Melanie Hansen (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Pieces of Me

Series: Spectrum Nights, Book 1

Author: Melanie Hansen

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: January 16th

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 89800

Genre: Romance, Photographer/photojournalist, hurt/comfort, step brothers, friends to lovers, model (ish), reunited, family drama, angst

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Synopsis

 

Deep in the heart of the Florida Panhandle, Scott Ashworth’s bleak life stretches out before him with not much hope for the future. His hardscrabble days are brightened by the arrival of a new stepbrother, Rylan Mahoney, who quickly becomes the friend Scott so desperately needs. Their relationship has just started to deepen into more, when during the course of one terrible night, what Scott overhears sends him fleeing from his home, never to return.

Flash forward six years, and Scott is now the hottest club host on the Phoenix gay scene. He takes what he wants, does what he wants, and does whom he wants. It’s a good life, but the journey to local popularity and fame wasn’t an easy one. For all that Scott’s looks are a blessing, at the same time they’re a curse—the source of his alcoholic mother’s inexplicable hatred.

Rylan dreams of photojournalistic glory. He’s in Phoenix looking for the story of a lifetime, but the project isn’t coming to fruition. Needing rent money, he accepts a gig at Phoenix Pride hawking lewd lollipops and edible condoms…all while wearing gold lamé hot pants and a matching bow tie. When Rylan’s house keys and street clothes go missing after his shift, he’s desperate, until a stranger in a convertible stops to help.

The man is absolute sex on legs, and Rylan is jolted when he recognizes him—his stepbrother Scott Ashworth, long missing but suddenly larger than life. Reunited after six years apart, Scott and Rylan are determined to put their past behind them, but fate intervenes and leaves their future in jeopardy once again.

Excerpt

“I hate you, Ashworth!”

Rylan was gasping for breath, feeling like knives were stabbing into his side. His legs were rubbery from exertion, and sweat was pouring from him.

Scott was dripping wet too, his body glistening with an all-over sheen, but he wasn’t even breathing hard…damn him. He’d run—run—up to the summit and back down…twice…while Rylan was still struggling to reach the halfway point.

“Channel that hate, Mahoney,” Scott called out to him, laughter in his voice, “and use it to climb! Deep breaths in, blow it out. Keep that oxygen flowing!”

Rylan wanted to snarl at him, tell him to shut the fuck up, but he couldn’t spare the breath. The heat was making black spots dance in front of his eyes, and he stopped to drink some of the water Scott gave him at the trailhead. His camera felt like a deadweight hanging around his neck, and more than once Rylan was tempted to fling the fucking thing over the side of the mountain. Why had he agreed to this?

“It’ll be worth it at the top, Ry,” Scott coaxed, jogging lightly in place while he waited for Rylan to finish drinking. “Stunning panoramic views of the Valley. It’s gorgeous.”

Rylan capped his water and put it on the ground, bending over at the waist to prop his hands on his knees, letting his head hang while he caught his breath. “It better be worth it, or I’ll push you off,” he threatened, biting his lip to hide a smile when Scott laughed. He looked up just in time to see Scott snap a picture of him with his phone, and Rylan straightened indignantly.

“What the hell? Delete that!” he demanded, only imagining how wrecked and disgusting he was right now. In contrast, Scott was absolutely mouthwatering, all golden brown skin and ridged muscle, his tank top long since shed and tucked into the waistband of his shorts, which rode low on lean hips. All Rylan could think about was kneeling at his feet to lick up every drop of sweat coursing over his incredible body.

Shit. Hiking with a boner would make things even more difficult.

“I’ll delete it if you keep walking,” Scott taunted. “Otherwise, it goes straight to my Instagram for everyone to see. And what a sight you are,” he teased. “Red-faced and drenched, like a little drowned rat.”

“I’ll get you for this—” Rylan growled, lunging at Scott, who danced easily out of reach.

“So many awesome filters I can use,” Scott called back over his shoulder as he moved on ahead. “So many captions begging to be written. Come get me, Ry!”

Rylan lurched after him, focusing on Scott’s voice, on his mock threats, his gentle encouragement, until at last…at last…they emerged from the shadow of the trail onto the summit. Rylan didn’t even bother to look at the views, just staggered to a small outcropping of rock and collapsed down onto it, his legs shaking.

Several people milled around at the top, taking pictures, drinking water, laughing, and high-fiving. Scott headed toward a small group to fist-bump a guy whom Rylan recognized as one of the go-go boys at the club, a skilled pole dancer whose flexibility while wearing a miniscule Speedo had drawn quite a crowd.

After a few minutes, though, Scott left them and flopped down on the ground next to Rylan’s feet, reclining back on his elbow in the dirt, one knee drawn up. “You made it. I’m proud of you,” he said sincerely. “It’s not an easy climb for a beginner.”

Rylan pouted. “Tell me about it,” he groused. “My legs feel like spaghetti, and I’ll probably have to slide back down on my ass.”

“Now that would be a waste of a mighty fine ass,” Scott drawled, craning his neck back as if he was trying to get a glimpse of it.

Rylan was enjoying the harmless flirting, and he playfully flicked some of his water in Scott’s face. They shared a smile, and Rylan reached down to put his hand on Scott’s shoulder, giving it a squeeze.

“Thanks for helping me,” he said softly. “I would have quit long ago, but you challenged me to make it.”

“I’ll have to remember that threats to your vanity work on you,” Scott said, grinning. “Makes you putty in my hands. But you’re welcome.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords

Meet the Author

Melanie Hansen has spent time in Texas and Florida prisons…for work. She’s been in a room with a 17-year-old mass murderer who was also one of the most soft-spoken and polite teenagers she’s ever met. After a 13-year career as a court reporter, she can tell many stories both hilarious and heartbreaking.

She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man. After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.

Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

Tour Schedule

1/16     Boy Meets Boy Reviews

1/16     Gay Book Reviews

1/17     My Fiction Nook

1/17     Outrageous Heroes

1/18     MM Book Escape

1/18     Happily Ever Chapter

1/18     Dog-Eared Daydreams

1/19     Stories That Make You Smile

1/19     MANTASY: ManLove for the Grown and Sexy

1/19     Bayou Book Junkie

1/20     Urban Smoothie Read

1/20     Alpha Book Club

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One lucky winner will receive a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card!

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Jan 16

Book Blitz: Delayed Gratification by Tamryn Eradani (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Delayed Gratification

Series: Daniel & Ryan, Book 1

Author: Tamryn Eradani

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 16th

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 11300

Genre: Erotica, BDSM; Businessmen; Friends to Lovers

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Synopsis

Daniel Brown is a man of routine. You might even call him a control freak. So when the new Director of Marketing, Ryan Cole, starts shaking up Daniel’s routine, Daniel doesn’t know how to react. He finds Ryan intriguing, infuriating and oh so attractive, but he doesn’t mix business with pleasure. As their games start to grow kinkier, dare Daniel give in to his desire to let Ryan top him?

Excerpt

Tamryn Eradani © 2017
All Rights Reserved

There’s another donut on his desk the next morning.

There isn’t even the slightest bit of temptation this time as Daniel picks it up and deposits it on Tracy’s desk. She ate yesterday’s donut, and he doesn’t doubt she’ll eat this one too. Personally, he would never eat something a stranger left on his desk, but he explained the mysteriously appearing donut and she chose to eat it anyway.

He sets the donut down on Tracy’s desk and notices a light on, on the other side of the room, across three rows of cubicles. One of the driving forces behind Daniel’s desire to get promoted was the thought of having an office of his own, of not being hemmed in by cubicle walls or surrounded by people who don’t know how to focus even though that’s what they’re paid to do.

Daniel’s usually the first person in every day and one of the last to leave, and he’s curious who else is here this morning.

He winds through cubicles until he can get a good look at the occupied office.

Ah, Ryan Cole.

He’s the new Director of Marketing, hired a month or maybe two months ago. Daniel had stopped by the welcoming party in between calls. His first call had been an average sale. The second ended in one of Daniel’s best sales this quarter. He’s hoping to get a mention at the next all-company meeting.

Daniel doesn’t remember anything about the welcoming party except a vague sense of distrust, because the man has two first names. One of them, ostensibly, is a last name, and Daniel knows you don’t have control over your last name, but it’s something that bothers him. He likes neat rows of boxes and everything to fit in its box.

A person should have a clear first name and a clear last name.

Ryan’s at his desk, dark head of hair the only thing visible as he fiddles with something at his desk.

With a Krispy Kreme bag.

Coincidence, Daniel tells himself, even though there was a donut on his desk this morning, and there’s only one other person in the office here right now, and that person happens to have a bag from a donut shop.

Bribe, maybe, he thinks next. Sales and marketing have always had a tumultuous relationship at best, and maybe the new guy is trying to fix that. Daniel should tell him bribery isn’t the way to go.

Ryan looks up from what he’s doing, and he catches Daniel staring.

Ryan smirks and holds Daniel’s gaze as he pulls a glazed donut out of the bag. Daniel doesn’t know where to look. The donut is dangerous, because his self-control is stretched thin after two days of denying himself something he wants. The man is even more dangerous.

There’s a knowing look in Ryan’s brown eyes, something that suggests this isn’t a bribe either. It’s something else, something deeper, and Daniel shuts that train of thought down right away. It’s not that. He wouldn’t suggest—he couldn’t know—he…

No, Daniel tells himself firmly.

“Good morning,” he tells Ryan, as if that had been the purpose of his cross-office trip, and then he promptly returns to his own office.

He pulls the blinds to the interoffice windows and sits down in front of his laptop.

It takes him 2.4 minutes to put Ryan out of his mind.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Meet the Author

Tamryn studied English and Creative Writing in school but has been writing since she could first hold a pencil. Recently, she’s turned her focus towards writing erotica. She enjoys writing stories where sex comes first, then feelings, because doing things out of order can be fun.

Tamryn has spent the past few months writing the Daniel and Ryan series with a lovely view of mountains out her window, and she’s now searching for a new mountain range to serve as her backdrop as she begins her next project.

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Jan 13

The Closing of Wilde City Press

Those of us at IndiGo Marketing would like to offer our support to all authors affected by the coming closure of Wilde City Press. We’ve worked in the past with many Wilde City authors and are saddened by this sudden turn of events. 

To those authors who are affected by this shut down, our thoughts are with you. We wish you all the best of luck in republishing your books! We know how troubling it is to have a publisher close down abruptly and how difficult it can be to figure out where to go next.

Just as we did when Torquere Press closed not long ago, IndiGo Marketing would like to extend its services to any authors looking to republish their books at a discounted rate. Authors who are looking to republish their Wilde City books can contact us to receive a 50% discount on our marketing and editing services for these books. We will also be offering a 25% discount on our formatting services for former Wilde City Press books

Fill out the contact form on our site and mention your book is a former Wilde City book to receive the discount.

Whether you opt to self-publish or bring your books to new publishers, we wish you the utmost success! Please don’t hesitate to contact us if there’s anything we can do to help!

— Lori, William, and Nathan

Jan 11

Blog Tour: Off Base by Annabeth Albert

Title:  Off Base

Series: Out of Uniform #1

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Carina Press

Release Date: January 9th 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73,000

Genre: Romance, Military, SEALs, Contemporary, Roommates-to-lovers

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Synopsis

After trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike’s flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike’s arrival would spark from Zack’s teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can’t refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won’t be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He’s an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he’s had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can’t risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack’s restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn’t know how to be the man Pike deserves.

Book One of the Out of Uniform series

This book is approximately 73,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

Excerpt

“What do you mean they’re not coming?” Zack tried hard to sound like the badass navy SEAL he was now. He’d passed all sorts of interrogation training—there was no reason he couldn’t hide that he didn’t particularly like this guy. Or this fancy bar where he and his nontrendy clothes and military haircut were out of place. He’d agreed to go out for drinks with a group. His friend Ryan had promised him a drink for finishing his SEAL qualification training and getting his trident, and Zack had figured dealing with the rest of Ryan’s crowd wouldn’t be horrible. But tolerable was a far cry from being stranded alone with Pike freaking Reynolds without Ryan as a buffer.

“They blew two tires getting out of Santa Monica and are waiting on a repair truck now. Ryan said to have fun without them.” Pike looked harmless enough—shorter than Zack with a lean build and bright red hair and freckles that made him look too young to drink—but Zack knew from experience he was anything but benign. Pike was the type of guy who would flirt with wallpaper, but he seemed to have singled Zack out for special attention ever since their first meeting at a LAN party.

Which was all well and good, but unlike a lot of Ryan’s crowd, Zack wasn’t openly gay. And what Zack hated was that Pike seemed to see through all his “no, really I’m straight” protests and see things Zack refused to even think about. And a whole night with Pike? Torture. And that was coming from someone who’d been tossed into frigid water with his arms and legs bound. Repeatedly.

But he’d happily endure another round of drownproof training if it meant an easy out of this situation.

“Is Landon coming?” Please say it’s not just us. Surely, Pike’s omnipresent sidekick would be there to bail Zack out.

“Nope. He’s doing research at the Hadron Collider for the next few months. Just us, I think.” Pike grinned at him. “Alone at last, right?”

Zack guessed that the Hadron was one of those supersmart things Pike’s crowd just assumed everyone else knew about. He certainly wasn’t about to appear dumb and ask. “You don’t have to stick around on my account,” he said instead.

“Dude.” Pike smacked him on the shoulder. “I’ve had a shit week. Another three interviews for jobs for the fall, another three fuckups on my part. Don’t make me drink alone.”

“I guess I could do a beer.”

“On me, right? We’re all super stoked that you passed SQT.” Pike gave him another of those disarming smiles.

Ba-deep-deep. Zack’s phone chimed. Sure enough, there was a message from Ryan apologizing for bailing. Have fun with Pike, Ryan ended. But whatever you do, don’t let him talk you into shots. He looks scrawny, but he can drink you under the table. Trust me.

Zack shoved his phone away. Nope, no way was he doing shots with Pike. Last thing he needed was to get drunk and forget himself around the guy.

“So what’ll it be? They have a whole selection of craft beers here.” Pike offered him one of the little bar menus artfully strewn around on the huge antique wood bar.

“A Bud’s fine,” Zack said. He’d never developed a taste for the fancy stuff. This whole place was fancier than he was used to, what with the exposed hardwoods everywhere, the prettified bar food emerging from the kitchen, and the painted inspirational quotes behind the bar. Even the name, Mellow, was a far cry from the hole-in-the-wall places he’d drunk at in college or even Big Ted’s, the little sports bar right off base that his fellow SEALs favored.

Pike signaled the burly bartender, who frowned at them after Pike gave their order for a Bud and some fancy-ass beer Zack had never heard of. “Hand stamps, please. Both of you.”

Zack stuck his hand out, showing that the bouncer had indeed checked his ID. Pike put his arm right next to Zack’s—way too close for comfort. “See, look at us, finding things in common.”

“Getting carded is hardly something to be proud of,” Zack mumbled as he pulled his arm away. Back in San Diego, when he went to the bars with his friends, they never got carded anymore. And he liked that—he was twenty-three now, for crying out loud.

“Of course it’s not for you, Muscles.” Pike did that whole standing-too-close thing again, moving over so others could get to the bar.

Zack really shouldn’t like that Pike noticed what the past few months of training had done for his physique. He’d always been lean, but days of log- and boat-carry drills had carved out muscles he hadn’t even been aware he had. Zack accepted his beer from the bartender, then followed Pike to one of the little high-top tables ringing the bar area.

“Seriously, you are jacked now.” Pike winked at him, giving him the sort of once-over Zack’s buddies gave girls in bikinis. “Look at those shoulders. It even makes you look taller.”

Flattery was not going to work on Zack. Not even a bit. Besides, Pike was the short one, probably five seven or so. But Zack was a perfectly respectable five ten. In your boots.

“Truth, man. I just call it like I see it.” Pike shrugged. And that right there was the whole problem with Pike—he had absolutely no filter and a way too keen sense of observation.

Purchase

Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

annabeth-avatar

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Annabeth’s Angels | Sign Up for Annabeth’s Newsletter!

 

 

Tour Schedule

1/11: Joyfully Jay  

1/12: Prism Book Alliance  

1/13: Love Bytes Reviews  

1/14: Alpha Book Club  

1/15: Foxylutely Books

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Jan 09

Book Blitz: Love Plus One by P.A. Friday (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Love Plus One

Series: Maths, Book 1

Author: P.A. Friday

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 9th

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male Menage

Length: 60800

Genre: Romance, ménage, promiscuous, bisexual, friends to lovers, age gap, hurt-comfort, mild BDSM and D/s

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Synopsis

Laurie and James are a monogamous couple with an occasional lover in James’s best friend, Al. It is a casual, friend-with-benefits situation which suits them all, especially given Al’s promiscuous lifestyle.

When Al is assaulted, however, Laurie and James are forced to confront the fact that their feelings for Al might be stronger than mere liking. But would free spirit Al ever want more than what they already have?

Excerpt

P.A. Friday © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Anyhow, Laurie hung around outside, a little distance from the shop. He was grateful that it was a decent evening, even despite the cold. Finally, he heard the door begin to open and walked towards it.

“Don’t stay, Al. I can manage from here,” Fen called.

“Yeah, okay.” Al’s voice sounded a little strained, and Laurie moved more swiftly towards him, unwilling to let him hang around alone on the doorstep.

“Hey,” he said, tapping Al gently on the shoulder as he came up to him.

“Laurie!” Al let go of the shop door and clutched his chest in an age-old gesture of shock. “God, you scared the bejesus out of me.”

“Hell. Sorry,” Laurie apologised. Appearing out of the darkness at someone who got attacked a couple of days earlier by a group of people appearing out of the darkness. Nice one, Laurie, he castigated himself mentally. “I didn’t want to hang around in the shop looking like some sinister spectre at the feast in case your boss didn’t appreciate it,” he explained guiltily. “But I should’ve thought. Sorry.”

Al gave a weak grin. “No, you’re right. Fen would probably not have wanted you standing about watching her cash up. I’m just a bit twitchy. Sorry, yourself.”

“I feel like an idiot,” Laurie apologised.

“Nothing new there, then,” Al said, his grin widening. Then he sobered up, touching Laurie’s arm. “Seriously, though, thanks for this. Meeting me, I mean. Didn’t realise how much of a fucking wuss I was until it came to going out, and it was dark, and…”

Laurie bit his lip. Bastards. He felt the now-familiar wave of anger wash over him. So much for being a peaceable sort of chap. Laurie would quite happily have committed murder at the moment, given the right targets. He pulled Al into a one-armed hug.

“Not a problem. You’d do the same for me.”

Al looked at him, his strange green eyes lit by the street light above them. “Yes, I would,” he said quietly. “I’m glad you know that.”

Laurie felt his cheeks flush, despite the cold. He hadn’t known, not really. If he’d thought about it, he’d have presumed that Al liked him well enough—but probably more as James’s boyfriend, not for himself particularly. His own feelings for Al were one thing (and he was slightly embarrassed about his level of protectiveness, not to mention love, towards the younger man), but he had no thought that they were reciprocated, and he hadn’t been unduly bothered by that. They didn’t have that sort of relationship. But there was something simple and genuine in Al’s response that was touching. It wasn’t the normal, teasing young man who Laurie usually knew. Laurie mumbled something incoherent and left his arm around Al’s shoulders as they walked towards home. James was too tall to hold like this; Laurie’s hand always fell across his back and rounded his waist on the far side. But Al was five or six inches shorter than Laurie, and Laurie’s arm slipped around his shoulders quite comfortably.

“What did Fen say—about your face?” Laurie asked.

Al shrugged. “Told her I got in a fight.”

Laurie raised an eyebrow. Of all the people to get in a fight, Al was one of the least likely. Al stared at his and Laurie’s feet.

“Told her she should’ve seen the other guy,” he mumbled. “Wasn’t true. They were fine.”

“They were a ‘they’,” Laurie said, trying not to sound as angry as he felt. “With a knife.”

Al shrugged. It was such a familiar gesture, but this time Laurie’s arm was around Al, so he could feel it go through him. It seemed as if he could also feel the self-hatred Al was experiencing, too. It burnt, and Laurie felt helpless to do anything about it.

“Yeah,” Al said, at last. There was a silence. Then, “Laurie,” he said.

“Uh-huh?”

“I think I’m ready to tell the police now.”

Laurie could feel Al tense as he said the words; it was not going to be an easy experience for him, Laurie knew.

“You’re bloody brave.”

Al huffed, a little puff of cold air escaping from his lips. “Hardly,” he said. “Think I’m being anything but.” He stopped walking, shivering a little. “Thought how I’d feel if they did it to Fen. To someone else.” He leaned his head against Laurie’s arm. “I have to, don’t I?”

“No,” Laurie said quietly. “You don’t. But you will, because you’re brave. Because you’re you. Because you’re thinking about someone else two days after you—”

“Yeah,” said Al, cutting him off quickly. He hadn’t let them say the word—not Laurie, not James, definitely not himself. “I was shit. But—”

It was Laurie’s turn to cut Al off. “No, you weren’t. And no, you aren’t.” There were moments when one-armed hugs didn’t cut it. Laurie pulled Al close in against him, holding him as tightly as possible without pressing against him too painfully. No need to remind Al of all the bits of him that hurt in quite so physical a fashion. “You’re being incredible, all right?” Laurie whispered in Al’s ear. “Don’t think otherwise.”

“Going to carry on hugging me like this?” Al asked, sounding a bit happier. “Because you’re having a decent effect on my ego.” He gave a little wriggle, pushing himself up against Laurie. “More than my ego,” he added thoughtfully.

A warm Al pushed up against him was rather too good for a public street, Laurie thought. He said as much to Al, who laughed.

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NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords

Meet the Author

P.A. Friday fails dismally to write one sort of thing and, when not writing erotica and erotic romance of all sexualities, may be found writing articles on the Regency period, pagan poetry, or science fiction. She loves wine and red peppers, and loathes coffee and mushrooms.

Pronouns: she/her

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Jan 09

Book Blitz: Off Base by Annabeth Albert (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Off Base

Series: Out of Uniform #1

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Carina Press

Release Date: January 9th 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73,000

Genre: Romance, Military, SEALs, Contemporary, Roommates-to-lovers

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Synopsis

After trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike’s flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike’s arrival would spark from Zack’s teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can’t refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won’t be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He’s an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he’s had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can’t risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack’s restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn’t know how to be the man Pike deserves.

Book One of the Out of Uniform series

This book is approximately 73,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

Excerpt

“What do you mean they’re not coming?” Zack tried hard to sound like the badass navy SEAL he was now. He’d passed all sorts of interrogation training—there was no reason he couldn’t hide that he didn’t particularly like this guy. Or this fancy bar where he and his nontrendy clothes and military haircut were out of place. He’d agreed to go out for drinks with a group. His friend Ryan had promised him a drink for finishing his SEAL qualification training and getting his trident, and Zack had figured dealing with the rest of Ryan’s crowd wouldn’t be horrible. But tolerable was a far cry from being stranded alone with Pike freaking Reynolds without Ryan as a buffer.

“They blew two tires getting out of Santa Monica and are waiting on a repair truck now. Ryan said to have fun without them.” Pike looked harmless enough—shorter than Zack with a lean build and bright red hair and freckles that made him look too young to drink—but Zack knew from experience he was anything but benign. Pike was the type of guy who would flirt with wallpaper, but he seemed to have singled Zack out for special attention ever since their first meeting at a LAN party.

Which was all well and good, but unlike a lot of Ryan’s crowd, Zack wasn’t openly gay. And what Zack hated was that Pike seemed to see through all his “no, really I’m straight” protests and see things Zack refused to even think about. And a whole night with Pike? Torture. And that was coming from someone who’d been tossed into frigid water with his arms and legs bound. Repeatedly.

But he’d happily endure another round of drownproof training if it meant an easy out of this situation.

“Is Landon coming?” Please say it’s not just us. Surely, Pike’s omnipresent sidekick would be there to bail Zack out.

“Nope. He’s doing research at the Hadron Collider for the next few months. Just us, I think.” Pike grinned at him. “Alone at last, right?”

Zack guessed that the Hadron was one of those supersmart things Pike’s crowd just assumed everyone else knew about. He certainly wasn’t about to appear dumb and ask. “You don’t have to stick around on my account,” he said instead.

“Dude.” Pike smacked him on the shoulder. “I’ve had a shit week. Another three interviews for jobs for the fall, another three fuckups on my part. Don’t make me drink alone.”

“I guess I could do a beer.”

“On me, right? We’re all super stoked that you passed SQT.” Pike gave him another of those disarming smiles.

Ba-deep-deep. Zack’s phone chimed. Sure enough, there was a message from Ryan apologizing for bailing. Have fun with Pike, Ryan ended. But whatever you do, don’t let him talk you into shots. He looks scrawny, but he can drink you under the table. Trust me.

Zack shoved his phone away. Nope, no way was he doing shots with Pike. Last thing he needed was to get drunk and forget himself around the guy.

“So what’ll it be? They have a whole selection of craft beers here.” Pike offered him one of the little bar menus artfully strewn around on the huge antique wood bar.

“A Bud’s fine,” Zack said. He’d never developed a taste for the fancy stuff. This whole place was fancier than he was used to, what with the exposed hardwoods everywhere, the prettified bar food emerging from the kitchen, and the painted inspirational quotes behind the bar. Even the name, Mellow, was a far cry from the hole-in-the-wall places he’d drunk at in college or even Big Ted’s, the little sports bar right off base that his fellow SEALs favored.

Pike signaled the burly bartender, who frowned at them after Pike gave their order for a Bud and some fancy-ass beer Zack had never heard of. “Hand stamps, please. Both of you.”

Zack stuck his hand out, showing that the bouncer had indeed checked his ID. Pike put his arm right next to Zack’s—way too close for comfort. “See, look at us, finding things in common.”

“Getting carded is hardly something to be proud of,” Zack mumbled as he pulled his arm away. Back in San Diego, when he went to the bars with his friends, they never got carded anymore. And he liked that—he was twenty-three now, for crying out loud.

“Of course it’s not for you, Muscles.” Pike did that whole standing-too-close thing again, moving over so others could get to the bar.

Zack really shouldn’t like that Pike noticed what the past few months of training had done for his physique. He’d always been lean, but days of log- and boat-carry drills had carved out muscles he hadn’t even been aware he had. Zack accepted his beer from the bartender, then followed Pike to one of the little high-top tables ringing the bar area.

“Seriously, you are jacked now.” Pike winked at him, giving him the sort of once-over Zack’s buddies gave girls in bikinis. “Look at those shoulders. It even makes you look taller.”

Flattery was not going to work on Zack. Not even a bit. Besides, Pike was the short one, probably five seven or so. But Zack was a perfectly respectable five ten. In your boots.

“Truth, man. I just call it like I see it.” Pike shrugged. And that right there was the whole problem with Pike—he had absolutely no filter and a way too keen sense of observation.

Purchase

Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

annabeth-avatar

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Annabeth’s Angels | Sign Up for Annabeth’s Newsletter!

 

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Jan 06

Blog Tour: The Spires of Turris by Christine Danse (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  The Spires of Turris

Series: London Wells, Book 1

Author: Christine Danse

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: January 2nd

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 116000

Genre: Romance, Action, sci-fi, futuristic, suspense, age gap, aliens, drug/alcohol use, prison, military, PTSD, scientist, secret agents, slow burn, UST, cyberpunk

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Synopsis

Dr. London Wells, linguist and adventurer, has the unique ability to understand any language in the universe, including the languages left behind by the ancient dead races of the Lost Planets – making him an intergalactic celebrity. But London likes his privacy—and he always works alone. No assistants, no entourage. When he goes on expedition to a Lost Planet, it’s just him, the memory of dead aliens, and the resident man-eating fauna. He’s a self-sufficient sharp shooter whose insatiable curiosity can stand up to any danger.

Until he breaks his head falling from a cliff. That changes everything.

Now, after a long recovery, London is onto the greatest discovery of his life: a language to prove a connection between the Lost Planets. In order to investigate further, he’ll need to travel to an unforgiving alien planet. But he can’t go alone. That’s his dean’s last condition: either he travels with a research assistant, or not at all.

Unfortunately for London, graduate student Chas Chambers is not the only unexpected element on this trip…

Excerpt

I appeared at the Humanities ballroom at 1800 sharp with everything but literal bells on. The suit fit snugly. A folded piece of vellum was tucked into my vest pocket.

Small knots of people stood scattered around the bright antechamber. The yellow and blue crystals of the chandelier threw geometric patterns of light around the room. A student waved from one of the corners.

I waved back and strolled to the double doors of the ballroom. The sound of chamber music drifted out with the din of voices and a sweet smell, like champagne.

I scanned the drifting mass of bodies but didn’t see Sita. There seemed to be a pretty clear path around the wall; I could make a quick circuit around the room to find her before I collected a glass of bubbly and started the tribal ritual of bumping elbows with students and fellow faculty.

The student waved again, vigorously, from the corner of my vision. I realized she stood next to a research poster. Damn, and she’d already caught my eye. I smiled and approached.

It was Aelia who saved me, three student posters and twenty minutes later.

“London!”

I glanced back to spot her approaching in a slim red dress, waving at me with a champagne flute already half-emptied.

“Please excuse me,” I said to the undergrad who had been telling me about Tuvan time orientation. I turned and bowed. “Doctora Capra.”

She flushed. “Dr. Wells, you’re looking…dashing.” Her dark eyes traveled up and down the length of me. “Look at your shoulders in that suit.”

“And you look extraordinarily stunning, my lady.” An Italian beauty, with olive skin and a cascade of mahogany curls. I’d’ve been head over heels. If. Her red lips quirked, like she knew it too. I offered her my elbow. She took it, and we walked arm in arm toward the ballroom.

“A top hat and everything,” she said. Her eyes danced at me.

“Do you like it?”

“It is very you. Very…Victorian gentleman.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” I said, and touched the brim.

We grinned. Then we pressed into the sea of sound and bodies through the ballroom doors. I bent my head to her ear. “Have you seen the dean?”

“Somewhere around here,” she half shouted. “Don’t worry. I’ll vouch that you were here.”

“Very kind of you.” I patted her hand. “Hey, I think that’s her. I hope you will excuse me, my lady.” I raised her fingers, kissed them, exchanged a wink with her.

Sita, if that had been her, had already disappeared into the crowd when I turned. I wove through, hoping to catch sight of where she’d turned. I froze.

I thought perhaps I was just seeing things, the Ghost of Faculty Mixers Past, but then he turned his white smile to someone next to him and I caught an unmistakable look at his profile. The Roman nose and the square chin that, on another person, might have looked like a caricature artist’s joke. He made it imperious.

Felix Mata.

He began to look up, and I pushed back through the crowd. My heart banged—but not in anger, as it should. Ridiculous. He should have been the one running, not me.

This wasn’t “running,” though. This was tact. If I collided with Mata tonight, I wasn’t sure I could control my expression or my mouth. I was here for Sita.

“Dr. Wells? Would you like a glass?”

I realized I stood next to the champagne bar. An ex-student watched me hopefully and expectantly, waiting to place her own order. Half a dozen other people watched me, too. They probably thought I’d skipped the line. I touched my hat in silent apology and said, “The asti, please.” I could use it.

The student dazzled me a smile and repeated the order to the bartender. A minute later, drink in hand, I was safely ensconced in a group of students with my back to the wall and no Felix in sight. Also, no dean, but I could be patient, especially now that Mata had already shaved the edge of immediacy from my excitement. None of the students asked me about research assistantship, certainly a plus.

I drank, nodded to the conversation, and kept an eye on the crowd. Felix Mata. What would he be doing at a faculty mixer? The first and obvious answer was too distressing to consider. Of course, I might have been mistaken, as I’d only caught a flash of him. But a flash was all I needed to recognize that aristocratic profile and black mane of hair. He still wore it down and unbound. He must be near fifty now. What self-respecting man of fifty wore his hair down like some twenty-year-old Don Juan? There was a shot of gray in it. I wanted to feel smug about that, but the fact was, the color suited him. Everything suited him.

I drained the last of my champagne. I realized the small circle of students had gone silent and stared at me. Someone had asked a question.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“Will you be offering another section of Advanced Lost Languages next semester?”

“You’ll have to ask the dean. And tell your friends to ask, too. Courses are offered if enough people show interest in them. If you’ll excuse me.”

I ducked out and skulked for the doors to catch a breath of fresh air and regroup. I was sweating under the suit, and the edges of a headache threatened.

Out in the antechamber, the din of voices dropped back like a curtain. Once there, I knew I’d be calling it a night. I’d made my appearance, and I could show Sita my discovery tomorrow.

“London, there you are.”

And there was the dean now, parting the crowd with her slight form. She looked handsome in a classic black dress, hair twisted into a slick bun. I thought she’d scold me for leaving early, but she smiled with glossy maroon lips.

I’d tucked my top hat under my arm to make myself less of a target in the crowd, an attempt not to be noticed by Felix. As I turned to meet her, I placed it back on with a twirl of my wrist.

She held out her hand. “I’ve been looking for you, London.”

I squeezed her fingers. “Dean Tiwari. Afraid I would bow out?”

“Never, if you know what’s good for you. Look at you. You look like you stepped right out of a Victorian sim.”

I bowed low at the waist and kissed her knuckles. She smelled of sandalwood and cardamom. The piece of vellum in my breast pocket burned a hole there. I straightened, lips parting to ask if we could move somewhere quiet to speak. My gaze rose to the man standing at her elbow and the words died.

Sita’s smile widened. “London, I’d like you to meet someone. Chas Chambers. He’s a master’s student in Language Studies. Chas, this is Dr. Wells.”

Suddenly I felt a fool in my costume, a big kid playing dress up. My hand went to my hat. I removed it.

“Chas,” I said, taking the big hand he proffered me. This time, it was dry and warm. My all-too-helpful gentleman caller from yesterday cleaned up well in a charcoal suit. Its sharp angles accentuated his high cheekbones and trim waist. Almost alarmingly trim, under the broad chest and arms. The suit contained him neatly, but just. He looked powerful but sophisticated. In short: classy. He smiled at me, and a trace of the self-consciousness remained, but there was confidence in his demeanor this time. His other hand was tucked into his pants pocket.

“We had the pleasure of meeting just the other day,” I said with a nod to Sita, as if he hadn’t walked in on me nearly toppling from a ladder. “Language Studies, huh? You’re a new student, then.”

“This is my third semester,” he said.

That would put him nearly halfway through the program. I did the math. He must have begun the program the same semester I set out for Anemoi and had completed nearly half of it since then. It hit me then just how much time had passed. It also hit me, in a strange way, how expendable I was. I was director of Language Studies; in my absence Sita must have admitted him herself. Life went on without me. The wheels continued to turn.

Into my own dumb silence, I said, “Well. And what’s your focus?”

“The Lost languages.” Then, in carefully clipped Oblitian, he said, “This is my favorite of the languages. I fell in love with it while reading Words in the Wilderness.”

It was the first time I’d ever heard anyone else speak a full statement in the language. Sita smiled, not because she understood Chas’ words, but because she understood the expression on my face.

“You know it well,” I responded in the same language.

He nodded. “I admire your work.”

Right. Well. “Thank you.”

Sita looked between the two of us, her smile quizzical.

In Basic, I said, “Good luck with your continuing studies.”

“Thank you. It’s really good to meet you. Properly, this time.”

Now why did I feel like such a chump for turning him down for a research assistantship that had never existed?

“London,” said Sita. “Would you meet me in my office in an hour? There was something I wanted to talk to you about.”

My hand went to my vest pocket. “I wanted to talk to you, too.”

“It’s a date, then.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Meet the Author

Christine lives with her writing partner in the wilds of urban Oregon, where they raise weeds, worms, and eyebrows.

Website | Twitter | eMail

Tour Schedule

1/2      Books, Dreams, Life

1/3      Love Bytes Reviews

1/4      Prism Book Alliance

1/5      Bayou Book Junkie

1/6      IndGo Marketing & Design

1/19    Special Appearance on Queer Sci Fi 

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Jan 02

Book Blitz: A Collision with Reality by Storm Duffy (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  A Collision with Reality

Series: In Like Flynn

Author: Storm Duffy

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 2nd

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 7100

Genre: Erotica, contemporary, UK, D/s, kink, businessmen, online chat, workplace relationship, erotica

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Synopsis

Flynn’s new boss is so hot he can’t wait to get home to tell the chatroom how much he wants Dom’s cock down his throat. By Friday, he’s shared quite a few thoughts on what he’d like his boss to do to him. But he’s not as anonymous as he thinks, and Dom’s intent on disciplining him for breaching company policy on social networking. Dom gives him a choice of put up or shut up: he can play out the fantasy in real life, or he can walk out of the office without a word to HR as long as he never talks that way about Dom again. Flynn chooses “put up”—but he’s forgotten about one of the things he said he wouldn’t mind doing.

Excerpt

The new manager was really something: tall, dark, and handsome, with a superb arse that looked great in a suit. Flynn wouldn’t mind seeing what it looked like out of the suit. Unfortunately the suit was respectably cut at the front, making it impossible to tell without staring whether the guy dressed to the left or the right, let alone how big his cock was.

Not the sort of thing one ought to be thinking about while listening to the big boss introduce the new manager. He barely caught the guy’s name—Dominic.

“Pleasure to meet you all,” Dominic said. “I look forward to getting to know you better over the next few weeks.”

Flynn looked forward to it as well. He particularly looked forward to getting to know him better in the gents, at least well enough to idly glance down and check out the cock. A pity he wasn’t likely to get to know Dominic in the gents any better than that, not in real life; but it was his own business what he did in the privacy of his own head.

And in the privacy of his favourite board online that evening. No wallet names, no ID. Not even your location listed unless you wanted it out there in the hope of hooking up with someone for a night’s fuck. A safe place to talk about just how much he fancied the new boss.

[New boss arrived today. Absolutely bloody gorgeous, if you like older men. Wouldn’t mind having him discipline me for poor performance.]

[Better if he disciplines you for good performance] an anon said.

[Oh, I think I could perform well for him.]

Flynn could think of a number of ways he could perform, starting with:

[Down on my knees with my mouth open.]

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords

Meet the Author

Storm Duffy has a number of erotica shorts published under that and other names in a variety of venues, including “The Mammoth Book of Quick and Dirty Erotica”. As Jules Jones, she has written several erotic romance novellas and novels, including the first M/M romance published by Loose Id.

Amongst the 2500 or so books on shelves in her house, there is room for rather a lot of cross-stitch thread and entirely too many balls of wool. There are also more bits of computer kit than is quite reasonable for someone who doesn’t do that for a living. The two microscopes, on the other hand, are entirely in keeping with a career in science.

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Jan 02

Book Blitz: Oops, Caught by Alli Reshi (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Oops, Caught

Series: Expanding Horizon

Author: Alli Reshi

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 2nd

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 16500

Genre: Romance, sci-fi, aliens, captivity, action/adventure, shoot-out/gunfire, PTSD/post-traumatic stress, hurt/comfort

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Synopsis

Mark Noland can’t figure out how he got into such a fix. How does an ex-mercenary (okay, an almost-reformed mercenary) get himself caught, stuck in a holding cell, on a hostile alien planet? Held captive by strange bug-like creatures who’d just as soon eat him as look at him. How can a simple mission go so awry? To make matters worse, Noland’s not alone. His fellow prisoner, a certain high-ranking, elite Stella officer holds him responsible for their failed plan. Yeah, it was supposed to be a quick in and quick out sort of mission. But no… Officer Gavnson just can’t let it go.

It’s not so easy trying to plan an escape when Noland keeps getting distracted by how his mission partner so very nicely fills out his uniform. And he suspects Gavnson is hiding something, too. As tensions run high, secrets are revealed that will change the both of them. There’s nothing like gunfights and running for your life to make that special bond.

Excerpt

I sat against a wall, watching as my companion paced the length of the cell. Groaning, I leaned my head against the concrete, bored now that we had been caught and taken out of the main action.

At least I had an excellent view to keep me occupied. I could finally appreciate what everyone liked about a man in uniform. My cellmate’s pants were very complimentary to certain areas of his anatomy. With his hands clasped at his lower back as he paced the room, I had the pleasure of an alternating view of his broad back and the strong frame of his chest.

The stern look almost marred his handsome face as he stared at the locked door, set into a row of bars. But his strong jaw, highlighted by a twitching muscle, somehow added to his appeal. Men usually didn’t interest me as much, but having a galaxy of choice opened one’s view of preferences, and to be honest, I had admired worse.

I wondered what his thoughts on a tall, broad-chested, human man were. Would there be any interest on his part, or did he only prefer his own kind? Maybe he had someone back home. A slim-waisted Resconian woman who cooked him warm dinners. Would that be more to his taste? Then again, maybe being an elite Everian-ranked officer in the Stella Corps galactic military didn’t leave much time for romance. I pushed the thoughts away before I could get too involved in them.

“So, Gavnson. Found our way out of here yet?” I asked, watching him make another pass in front of me as he headed for the left side of the jail cell. He ignored that question, like he’d ignored all the others I’d asked.

Our part of the mission had been a distraction tactic that hadn’t worked as well as I had hoped. In any case, it should have given enough time for the rest of our team to break into the other side of the compound where the data center was located so we could take back the information the Awoknains had stolen. Lists of undercover agents and stealth plans weren’t something you wanted up for grabs among enemies. I knew it would be a matter of time until Ken, my master mechanic and sometimes arsonist, broke us out. Though it seemed Gavnson wasn’t content to be patient.

He reached for one of the hinges at the top of the door. Bolting forward, I wrapped my arms around his waist and pulled Gavnson back before he could touch the knot of metal. We slipped off balance, and I tried to take a step back to regain my footing, but it was useless; we tumbled to the floor in a heap. The wind was knocked out of me, and I gasped for air. Gavnson was heavier than he looked.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing, Noland?” Gavnson yelled. He rolled off me effortlessly and sat up, directing a harsh look at me.

“Saving your ass. Don’t touch those; they’re electrified. Not enough to kill you, but it’s a hell of a shock that’ll give you nasty burns,” I said, wheezing as I sat up. I didn’t miss his flinch, though he tried to hide it. I was instantly curious, but ignored the itch to question. Starting a fight with Gavnson wouldn’t help us break out.

He was silent after his near miss with the electrified hinge. I was glad he was finally sitting still. The constant nervous motion wore on my nerves. No matter how fine an ass he had.

The silence that followed made my skin crawl; it was the quiet before the storm hit. I was tempted to ask Gavnson any random question, but if the tension in his body was anything to go by, he obviously wasn’t much in the mood for conversation.

I stared at the far wall through the bars on the door, hoping Ken would hurry his blue ass up and break us out so we could be done with the job. He had been part of the retrieval team. Footsteps echoed down the hall, headed in our direction, but I didn’t recognize them. There were more corpsmen as part of Gavnson’s team; hopefully, that would be some of them. Luck was not on our side, though. Our insect-like captors now stood in front of our cell, their green skin and horns gleaming.

“You. Up now. Come.” The raspy demands issued from mouths that didn’t move. That would never not be creepy. I didn’t have time to think on that, though; the guards motioned at Gavnson to get up.

“No, you can’t,” I said. I grabbed Gavnson’s shoulder to stop him from moving.

“Why?” The attention of the two guards flicked to me. A simple question with complex implications. Think fast, Noland.

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NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords

Meet the Author

Alli has always had a love for just about any story she can get her hands on. Be it from books, TV, or even video games—if there’s a good story, she will love it. Given that, it’s easy to see how Alli moved on to making stories of her own.

Raised in a small Colorado town, Alli also has a love of the outdoors and enjoys hiking. Nowadays she lives in a bigger city and fits in fine there too, liking how close and comfy everything is. Often at home with her two cats, Alli is never far from her computer, whether for work or for play. She believes the truth is a multifaceted thing and always works to write the world, and subsequently the truth of the world, as she sees it.

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