Nov 17

Series Cover Reveal: Never Love by Robin Covington

 

Reader Friends –

I am so excited to reveal the covers for my next series. Aren’t they gorgeous?

An edgy romantic suspense set in in Baltimore, MD (one of my favorite cities) this series revolves around a foster family – a thief, a killer, a liar, and a stranger – who are dragged into the fight against a violent threat in their city. This battle will test their family, their futures, and their hard-won personal honor. And in midst of the chaos, they’ll meet the people who will become the reason they fight – for their lives and for the love that makes it all worthwhile.

I can’t even tell you how excited I am to bring this series to you but it gets even better! I’ve partnered with TOGETHER WE RISE, a group dedicated to helping foster kids all over the country. They provide duffle bags to kids in the system (no more carrying around their belongings in garbage bags), bikes for kids who’ve aged out of the system to help them get to jobs and school, and scholarships to help them continue their education. I’m proud to pledge a portion of the net royalties of each book in this series to this amazing group and their support of kids in foster care. You can check them out www.togetherwerise.org.

This series will hit your e-readers in February, May, July, and October 2018 . . . you can add the first book to your Goodreads TBR shelf.

xxRobin

A Thief. A Killer. A Liar. A Stranger
When it comes to love. . . never say never.

Baltimore, Maryland

Billionaire philanthropist and businessman, George Tarras, was not a man who tolerated excuses of any kind. Not from himself. Not from his employees and not his son. When sixteen-year-old Alek indulged in a little youthful hacking of government websites and theft, George decided to let him fully experience the consequences of his actions: two weeks in a juvenile facility and one year of community service.

Always one to lead by example, George volunteered during this time at the local community center and got to know the three youths who befriended his son: a thief, a grifter, and a killer. In spite of their pasts he saw something special in all of them: hope and a future full of promise.

By the end of that fateful year, George had put into motion the opportunity to change their lives if they dared to take it. A gift—freely given—but carrying responsibility and consequences.

But, what he really gave them was the one thing they all needed the most…a family.

Brothers and a sister—they would do anything to protect each other.

But, danger is coming. Secrets and lies will test their bonds, challenge their courage, and test their definition of family and love.

To win, they will have to resurrect their pasts and revisit demons buried long ago.

To survive, they will have to rely on bonds formed not by blood but by loyalty.

To love, they will have to risk everything.

NEVER LOVE A THIEF
Book One
Stealing is easy. Love is dangerous.

Rescued from the streets at sixteen, former thief, Carmen “Mina” Salazar, is a law-abiding citizen who no longer indulges in her favorite pastime: freeing the wealthy from the burden of their belongings. Now Mina spends her days and nights running St. Nick’s, her bar in the Fell’s Point section of Baltimore. Abandoned by her father for reasons she doesn’t understand, trust doesn’t come easily for Mina. But a sexy, dangerous cop in her bar with a reckless proposition tempts her to take a chance.

The son of a former Baltimore police officer, FBI Special Agent Declan McGregor has spent his entire life trying to outrun the scandal of being the son of a drunk, dirty cop. But years of undercover work and living in the bowels of the dirtiest of organized crime networks has left him with a dead partner and relief he can only find at the bottom of a bottle. The man in the mirror looks a lot like his old man and a failed marriage and crumbling career testify to just how close to the bottom he really is.

Declan wants retribution for the death of his partner and Mina is the key. When her long-lost father turns up in the bed of the head of the mob responsible for the murder, Declan offers Mina the one thing she can’t pass up: the chance to find out why her father left her. All she has to do is what she does best . . . break, enter and steal her way into the inner circle of the syndicate. Danger fuels their intense attraction and soon the lines between revenge and lust are blurred by emotion and tested by betrayal. When lives are in the balance, there is only one question . . . is it ever safe to love a thief?

Add it to your Goodreads TBR Shelf

Biography:

A USAToday bestseller, Robin Covington loves to explore the theme of fooling around and falling in love in her books. Her stories burn up the sheets. . .one page at a time. When she’s not writing, she’s collecting tasty man candy, indulging in a little comic book geek love, hoarding red nail polish and stalking Chris Evans.

A 2016 RITA® Award finalist, Robin’s books have won the National Reader’s Choice and Golden Leaf Awards and finaled in the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and the Book Seller’s Best.

She lives in Maryland with her handsome husband, her two brilliant children (they get it from her, of course!), and her beloved furbabies, Dutch and Dixie Joan Wilder (Yes – THE Joan Wilder)

Drop her a line at robin@robincovingtonromance.com – she always writes back.

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Email: robin@robincovingtonromance.com
Website: http://www.robincovingtonromance.com
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Nov 15

Book Blitz: Vampire Claus by Robert Winter (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Vampire Claus

Author: Robert Winter

Publisher:  Robert Winter Books

Release Date: November 15, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 30,000 words

Genre: Romance, Christmas vampire novella

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Synopsis

’Twas the night before Christmas, but what’s stirring is a little more dangerous than a mouse.

Taviano is nearly two hundred years old and never wakes in the same place twice. Weary and jaded, the vampire still indulges in memories of childhood Christmases in Naples. He lingers in shadow, spying on mortals as they enjoy the holiday.

When Taviano spots a handsome young man in Boston loaded down with presents and about to be mugged, he can’t help but intervene. Soon he’s talking to joyous, naïve, strong-willed and funny Paul, a short-order cook who raised funds to buy Christmas presents for LGBTQ children. Before he knows what’s happened, Taviano is wrapped up in Paul’s arms and then in his schemes to get the presents delivered by Christmas morning.

A vampire turned into a Christmas elf… What could go wrong?

Vampire Claus is a 30,000-word standalone gay romance about a lonely vampire and a fearless mortal with no instinct for self-preservation. A heartwarming ending, no cliffhanger, and a young man who discovers he has a thing for fangs. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

Excerpt

Paul’s apartment was indeed small, a studio with exposed brick walls and two white-cased windows. Through them Taviano could see a fire escape and then, across the street, a tiled roof. The latch on the right window had broken. Foolish man, he thought as he watched Paul hop on one foot to take off a boot. Let a monster in the front door. Invite a robber through the window. How are you still alive?

He surveyed the rest of Paul’s home. An open door revealed a small bathroom. The opposite wall contained a two-burner stove, a sink, and a half-sized refrigerator. A wooden café table sat with two mismatched chairs. A futon couch along another wall likely served as Paul’s bed.

Next to it was a milk crate on which sat a tiny Christmas tree, wrapped in blue and yellow lights. A few small ornaments dangled from its boughs, though no presents rested underneath. That struck Taviano as sad, given the work Paul had gone through to gather gifts for the homeless youths.

A distinct combination of smells tickled his nose from the area of the futon. Besides Paul’s unique scent there were echoes of other men. Different colognes or bathing products. Latex, foil, something oily, and then…

Taviano turned away as he identified traces of semen. The turmoil in his chest that the evidence of Paul’s life produced disturbed him. If he could blush, he would.

Paul finished with his boots and socks and tugged off his bloodied T-shirt. Tossing the garments in a heap on the floor, he strode to the sink. Dressed only in low-slung corduroys, he turned on the faucet and began to scrub away dried blood on his shoulder and palm.

Taviano took in the sight of lean muscle, flexing under pale skin as Paul washed. That skin reminded him of cream. A tattoo of a tree adorned Paul’s back. Its delicately drawn branches spread to his shoulders. The twisted and sturdy trunk disappeared into the mistletoe-themed boxers resting low on his hips. One side of the tree showed a splintered stump, as if someone had wrenched off a branch.

Although curious about the imagery, Taviano wondered more how that inked skin would feel under his lips. Then he wondered why he wondered. His demon’s hunger for blood drove him for such long years. He’d all but forgotten what it was like to hunger for touch.

Year after year, he hunted with a singular purpose, among people useful to him only as food. Yet he found himself imagining what it would be like to draw Paul against his body. The warmth would be delicious. Soothing. It reminded Taviano of the difference between appetite and attraction. He found the thought both sobering and exciting.

Twice, many decades ago, and before he began to hunt exclusively among villains, he’d given in to curiosity. He’d caressed a willing man with his sensitive fingertips, and even allowed him to stroke Taviano with lust. Both times, the sensation was too intense to be pleasurable. It had been like dragging woolen cloth over a sunburn.

Neither encounter had smelled like Paul, though. Would the taste of his skin be as unique as his scent? Would his body be warm and welcoming? Why should just one man out of the multitudes he’d encountered draw him so profoundly and calm his demon? If he touched Paul once, Taviano wasn’t sure he’d want to stop.

Paul turned from the sink to grab a hand towel and caught Taviano staring at him. Another tattoo, of a sun rising above a mountain range, sprawled down his left pectoral. He stilled but made no effort to cover his hair-dusted and spare torso.

Instead he stood silently as Taviano studied him. His eyes caressed the alabaster planes of Paul’s chest, the sinewy shoulders and elegantly tapered arms. He admired the tight skin at Paul’s stomach, the tracing of fine hair that disappeared down into his boxers. Paul began to breathe more heavily under the scrutiny and his pants tented outward. Taviano smelled arousal and it echoed in his own belly.

Finally Paul swiped the cloth against his shoulder and dried his hands while holding Taviano’s eyes. He licked his lips and flushed. In a slightly hoarse voice, he asked, “Did I get it all?”

As if drawn by a magnet, Taviano stepped closer, hearing Paul’s heart beat faster at his approach. His body glistened in the dim light of the room. Taviano sensed no fear as he took another step and peered at Paul’s shoulder. He brushed trembling fingertips over clean white skin and murmured, “It looks perfect.”

Thankfully his face couldn’t blush and his heart couldn’t pound; he was sure he’d be a sight to behold otherwise. The desire to touch, to stroke, was difficult to hide, from Paul and from himself. Paul stood mere inches away. His coursing, rich blood generated warmth that called to Taviano. For once, it had nothing to do with his demon’s clamor for food.

Purchase

Robert Winter Books | Amazon Universal | Amazon AU 

Meet the Author

Robert Winter lives and writes in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He is a recovering lawyer who prefers writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

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Nov 13

Blog Tour: Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden by Cheryl Headford (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden

Author: Cheryl Headford

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: November 13, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 84700

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, gay, fairy, British humour, fantasy, abuse

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Synopsis

All Keiron wants is a quiet life. Fat chance with a boyfriend like Bren. But if he thought Bren complicated his life, that was nothing compared to the complications that begin when he opens the door to what he thinks is a naked boy claiming to be his slave.

Draven is a fairy with his sights set on the handsome human who keeps a wild place in the garden for fairies. When Draven slips through a fairy gate into the city, he sets in motion a series of events that binds him to Keiron forever, and just might be the end of him.

While Draven explores Keiron’s world with wide-eyed wonder, Keiron does everything he can to keep Draven’s at bay, until the only way to save Draven and bring him home is to step into a world that should exist only in children stories.

Excerpt

Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden
Cheryl Headford © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

Keiron hurried home at the end of a very long day, anticipating some peace and quiet. He liked a quiet life, so what had possessed him to take on a boyfriend like Bren Donovan was anyone’s guess. Whatever else it might be, life with Bren was certainly not quiet, and it was slowly wearing Keiron out.

It was almost a relief Bren wouldn’t be staying at the flat that night. Although they were practically living together, Bren had his own place and sometimes felt the need to stay there. This was usually because a member of his family—or particularly flighty friend—was coming to stay. It wasn’t as if his family wasn’t aware of their relationship, but Bren was shy about “rubbing it in their faces”. Keiron didn’t understand because Bren’s mother seemed to like him a great deal and considered him to be a stabilising influence on her son.

Keiron was a conservative person and so different to Bren, they might as well live in different worlds. As for Bren’s friends, they were usually very like him—loud, messy, and irresponsible. Keiron couldn’t stand them. He was lucky if nothing got broken, and they always left the flat in a complete mess. If Bren wanted to live in a pigsty, so be it. He could do it in his own home.

This weekend, with the bank holiday, Bren was getting both. His friends were congregating on Saturday. Then his parents and sister were coming on Sunday, and staying through until Tuesday morning. Keiron had a Bren-free weekend and was looking forward to it.

If it hadn’t been for their differences on this point, they’d have moved in together a long time ago. Bren chafed for it, but Keiron couldn’t handle his flat descending into chaos, and it wasn’t even as if Bren helped tidy up afterwards. Keiron cringed at the thought of having that chaos and therefore stress every day.

Not only that, but Bren was the most jealous person Keiron had ever come across. Keiron was constantly accused of looking at other men, and God forbid he spoke to one. Bren was a firebrand, completely living up to his fiery red-headed Irish-descended promise. Sometimes it was exciting, even invigorating, yet at other times Keiron longed for the peace and stability he used to have before Bren burst in on him. Maybe at twenty-two, he was just getting old.

Keiron ordered takeaway and, while he waited for it to arrive, wandered down to the bottom of the garden, a beer in his hand, his hair damp from the bath. The sun was still high and warm enough for him to be wearing a thin T-shirt and shorts. The smell of a barbecue drifted over from a neighbouring garden and his mouth watered.

Savouring his drink, he sank onto the stone bench under the rose arbour. It afforded a good view of the whole garden. It was a big one. A long lawn stretched ahead of him to the decking immediately outside the house, where a large wooden table, a number of items of garden furniture, and a shiny silver gas barbecue sat.

Sometimes, he had Bren’s friends around for a barbecue. They weren’t so bad out here in the garden, although they made such a mess of the barbecue itself that it took him days to get it properly clean. He smiled to himself. Sometimes, living with Bren was like having a teenage son. Fortunately, Bren was very good at things he’d hate to think any son of his could do.

The lawn was bordered on either side by flower beds and bushes, which hid the wooden fences separating his garden from the ones on either side. To his left, screened from the arbour by a yew hedge, was a garden pool with a rock fountain and fat koi swimming under lily pads. There used to be more fish—before Bren’s friends found the pond. He pursed his lips at the thought.

To the right was a shrubbery. A large variety of plants made up a wild area of about thirty square feet. Bren loved it, of course. He’d burrowed into it and, within a week, had made a green cave right in the middle. He’d floored it with an old piece of carpet he’d found on a skip. It had taken a long time and a lot of carpet-cleaner to persuade Keiron to enter it, but he had to admit, making love outside under the bushes in the darkness was something he’d come to enjoy very much.

Bren had been surprised he had such a wild place in his neat garden, in his neat life. Perhaps it was the thing that sealed the deal with Bren, who’d been reluctant to get involved with someone so unlike himself, and likely to “cramp his style”.

“But why?” he’d asked. “It doesn’t seem like you to have a wild place like this. It’s so out of place—with the garden and with you. Why haven’t you ‘tamed’ it? Everything else in your life is tame. You’re the most vanilla person I know—except for this.”

They were in the “cave” at the time. It was dark but warm, and they were holding each other in the afterglow of amazing sex. Keiron had smiled lazily and sighed.

“My mother used to live out in the country somewhere when she was a child. My grandmother never took to city life. She told me once there was no room in a city for life, real life. Nowhere for roots to reach the earth. No place for the fairies.”

“Fairies?”

“Oh yes, she was very superstitious about fairies. Never had anything made of iron in the garden. Put out saucers of warm milk if there was a deep frost or snow. And always had a wild place in the garden—for the fairies.”

Bren had smiled at him. “I never thought you had any of that in you, Keiron. I guess there’s hope for you yet.”

Keiron had grinned and held Bren tightly in his arms.

Keiron smiled at the memory and took a drink of his beer. Something caught his eye, and he turned towards the shrubbery. He was sure he’d seen something move, shooting across his vision, behind the trees. He stared hard, but there was nothing there. It must have been a squirrel. He saw them now and again, scrabbling for nuts under the hazel tree or acorns from the enormous oak that overhung the garden from next door.

With a sigh, he settled back and took another drink. His stomach rumbled, and he glanced at his watch, wondering when his pizza would get there. The deliveryman was a regular, and if there was no answer at the door, he’d text to say he’d arrived. So Keiron could relax and not worry about—

There was definitely something there. It moved again. He’d seen it—a flash of white. A cat? Most of the neighbours had cats, and they liked to hang about in the shrubbery, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting birds. It had taken a lot of work to get rid of the smell of cat pee from the carpet.

Ah well. Although…something nagged at the back of his mind. It wasn’t a cat. It couldn’t have been a cat because it hadn’t looked like a cat. It had looked like a person. A small person with a pale pointed face. But it had only been a fraction of a second, a flash, an impression. It was nonsense, of course.

Maybe it was one of the fairies. He smiled.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Cheryl was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play. Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere. In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son, dog, bearded dragon and three cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. She’s never been happier since she was made redundant and is able to devote herself entirely to her twin loves of writing and art, with a healthy smattering of magic and mayhem.

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11/13 Happily Ever Chapter

11/13 Stories That Make You Smile

11/14 MM Good Book Reviews

11/14 Bayou Book Junkie

11/15 Divine Magazine

11/15 Erotica For All

11/15 The Blogger Girls

11/16 The Novel Approach

11/16 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

11/17 A Book Lover’s Dream Book Blog

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Nov 13

Blog Tour: Walking on Water by Matthew J. Metzger (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Walking on Water

Author: Matthew J. Metzger

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: November 13, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 88300

Genre: Fantasy, fantasy, mermaids, trans, magic, fairy tales, bisexual

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Synopsis

When a cloud falls to earth, Calla sets out to find what lies beyond the sky. Father says there’s nothing, but Calla knows better. Something killed that cloud; someone brought it down.

Raised on legends of fabled skymen, Calla never expected them to be real, much less save one from drowning—and lose her heart to him. Who are the men who walk on water? And how can such strange creatures be so beautiful?

Infatuated and intrigued, Calla rises out of her world in pursuit of a skyman who doesn’t even speak her language. Above the waves lies more than princes and politics. Above the sky awaits the discovery of who Calla was always meant to be. But what if it also means never going home again?

Excerpt

Walking on Water
Matthew J. Metzger © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

When the sand settled, only silence remained.

The explosion had gone on for what felt like forever—a great boom that shuddered through the water, a shadow that had borne down on the nest like the end of the world had come, and then nothing but panicked escape from the crushing water, the darkness, and the suffocating whirlwind of sand and stones. In the terror, it had seemed like it would never end.

But it did end, eventually. When it did, Calla lay hidden in the gardens, deafened and dazed. She was shivering, though it wasn’t cold. An attack. They had been attacked. By what? Orcas and rival clans could hardly end the world. And what would wish to attack them so?

She took a breath. And another. Her attempts to calm herself felt pathetic and weak, like the desperate attempts of a mewling child. Where was Father? Her sisters? Where even the crabs that chattered and scuttled amongst the bushes? She was alone in the silent gardens, and Calla had never been alone before.

Slowly, she reached out. Slipped through the towering trunks, to the very edge of the gardens, to where the noise had come from. Drew aside a fern and—

Ducked down, clapping a hand over her mouth to prevent the gasp.

A giant beast lay in the courtyard.

Still. Oh, great seas, be still. She held her breath and closed her eyes. It had to be an orca, a beast so huge, and it would see her if she moved.

Yet even in her fear, Calla knew that wasn’t quite right.

Orcas didn’t come this far south—did they? Father had said they would be undisturbed here. Father had said.

She peeked again. Daring. The beast didn’t move.

Nor was it an orca. It was impossible, too huge even for that. Oh, she’d not seen an orca since she’d been a merling, but they’d never been that big. It had squashed the courtyard flat under its great belly, its tail and head—though she couldn’t tell one from the other—spilling out over the rocks and nests that had been homes, once. It would have crushed their occupants, surely. What beast killed by crushing?

Hesitantly, she drifted out of the garden. Her tail brushed the ferns, and she wrapped her fins around them, childishly seeking comfort.

The beast didn’t move.

In fact, it didn’t breathe. Its enormous ribcage, dark and broken, was punctured by a great hole, a huge gaping blackness longer than Calla’s entire body, and wider by far.

It had been slain.

Bloodless. It was quite dead. How could it be dead, how could its heart have been torn out so, without spilling blood into the water? Where was the column of red that marked its descent? Where was—

Oh.

“A cloud!”

It was no beast.

Calla fled the safety of the gardens in a flurry of excitement. No, that great oval shape was familiar. How many had scudded gently across the sky in her lifetime? How many times had she watched their passage from her window? Beautiful, dark, silent wonders. Oh, a cloud!

She rushed closer to look. How could a cloud have fallen to earth? Father had said they were simply things that happened in the sky, and no concern of theirs. But this one had fallen, lay here and near and so very touchable—and now Calla wanted to touch the sky.

It was—

She held her breath—and touched it.

Oh.

Rough. Sharp. Its body was dark against her pale hand. And hard, so very hard. She had imagined clouds to be soft and fluid, to walk on water as they did, but it wasn’t. Huge and heavy, it was a miracle that it walked at all.

And a home: tiny molluscs clung to it. As she walked her webbed fingers up the roughness and came over the crest of its enormous belly, she mourned its death. This must have killed it. Such a deep, round belly—clouds were obviously like rocks and stone, but this one had been cut in half. Exposed to the sea was a sheer, flat expanse of paleness, with great cracks in the surface. A column stuck out from the middle, and two smaller ones at head and tail. It had been impaled by something, the poor thing.

“Calla!”

The hiss reached her from far away, but Calla ignored it. The poor cloud was dead. It had been slain, and whatever had dragged it from the sky must have been immense, to wield spears like those jutting from its body. And it wasn’t here.

Clouds were harmless. Dead clouds, even more so.

“Calla, what are you doing?”

“Meri, come and see!” she called back to her sister and ducked to swim along its flattened insides. Great ropes of seaweed, twisted into impossible coils, trailed from its bones. Vast stains, dark and pink, smeared its ragged edges. When Calla peered up into the sky, at the stream of bubbles still softly rising from its innards, she could see the gentle descent of debris. It had been torn apart.

Orcas? But an orca pack would have followed it down. Sharks? Calla had never seen a shark, but Father had, long ago when he was a merling, and he’d said they were great and terrible hunters. Were sharks big enough to do it?

“Calla!”

That was not Meri’s voice. Deep and commanding, it vibrated through the water like a blow. Calla found herself swimming up the side to answer automatically, and came clear of the cloud’s gut barely in time to prevent the second shout.

Father did not like to call a second time.

“Here. Now.”

She went. At once. The immense joy at her discovery was diminished in a moment by his stern face and sterner voice, and Calla loathed it. She felt like a merling under Father’s frown and struggled to keep her face blank instead of echoing his displeased expression.

“You should stay away from such things. The guards will deal with it.”

“But Father—”

He gave her a look. She ducked her chin and drifted across to join her sisters at the window. The window. Pah. What good was the window, was seeing, when she had touched it?

“What is it?” Balta whispered, twirling her hair around her fingers.

“A cloud,” Calla said in her most impressive voice and then pushed between Meri and Balta to peer out. The guard were swarming over the cloud’s belly, poking more holes in the poor thing’s body. “Something killed it.”

Meri snorted. “Talk sense, Calla.”

“Something did!”

“You sound like a seal, grunting nonsense.”

“I do not!”

“Girls!”

They subsided under Father’s booming reprimand—although Calla snuck in a quick pinch before stopping—and returned to watching.

“Clouds don’t fall out of the sky,” Meri whispered. “It must be a shark. There’s nothing so big as a shark. Father said so.”

“Father also said sharks don’t come this far north,” Balta chirped uncertainly, still twirling her hair.

“That’s a cloud,” Calla said and peered upwards to the sky, her eyes following the great trail of bubbles, “and I bet something even bigger killed it.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Matthew J. Metzger is an ace, trans author posing as a functional human being in the wilds of Yorkshire, England. Although mainly a writer of contemporary, working-class romance, he also strays into fantasy when the mood strikes. Whatever the genre, the focus is inevitably on queer characters and their relationships, be they familial, platonic, sexual, or romantic.

When not crunching numbers at his day job, or writing books by night, Matthew can be found tweeting from the gym, being used as a pillow by his cat, or trying to keep his website in some semblance of order.

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Tour Schedule

11/13 Love Bytes

11/13 The Blogger Girls

11/13 Erotica For All

11/13 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

11/14 Happily Ever Chapter

11/14 MM Good Book Reviews

11/14 Bayou Book Junkie

11/15 Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

11/15 A Book Lover’s Dream Book Blog

11/16 Stories That Make You Smile

11/16 Divine Magazine

11/17 Shari Sakurai

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Nov 10

Book Blitz: A Bolt of Blue by Nicky Spencer (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  A Bolt of Blue

Series: Angel’s, Book 1

Author: Nicky Spencer

Publisher:  Self-published

Release Date: November 10

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male Menage

Length: 90,000 words

Genre: Romance

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Synopsis

Ian Golinski has been in love with his best friend since he was fourteen years old. When he finally decides to confess his feelings, he finds that his perpetually single friend isn’t so single anymore. What’s a boy to do when he has to share the love of his life with someone else? Especially someone so damn hot?

Dusty Smith has finally found The One. The only problem is The One clearly has feelings for someone else, even if he doesn’t realize it. Dusty has to convince his lover that they’re meant to be. But how does he do that when the other man turns out to be perfect for them both?

Mitch Becker likes things nice and simple. But as his relationship with his boyfriend heats up, he starts developing feelings for his best friend. Suddenly his life is one big complication. How can he choose between two soul mates?

Find out what happens when three men ask the question: What if we don’t have to choose?

A Bolt of Blue is an m/m/m contemporary romance with a happy ending and no cliff-hanger. It is approximately 90,000 words and is a stand-alone.

Excerpt

I’m not sure I heard him right. Even if I did, I need to make sure I’m really clear on what he’s saying. “What do you mean?” I ask.

Ian sighs into my ear. “I mean, what if it was the three of us? Together?”

“All three of us?” I’m like a parrot.

“Yeah.”

“And how would that work?” I know how it would work sexually. I’ve seen plenty of porn, and there are a lot of really creative possibilities when you get three guys together. Just thinking about it is getting me hard.

But I don’t think that’s what Ian means. At least, that’s not all he means.

“Well, I don’t know exactly. It’s not like I’ve ever done it before. But I think…I mean, you have feelings for me, right?”

He sounds so timid asking, and I wish he was here so I could show him how much he doesn’t need to worry about that.

“You know I do.”

“And I think Mitch does too. I hope he does. And I know how you guys feel about each other. So if we all feel that way, then why can’t we be together? There wouldn’t be anything to be jealous of. We would all be in it together.”

I have to admit, it sounds appealing. Like really, really appealing.

But it won’t work.

“Mitch would never go for it. He’s way too traditional. He wants the white picket fence, the kids, the dog. The whole domestic bliss thing. He wants to get married. You can’t be married to two people.”

“Not legally, no. I know it’s crazy. I’m just thinking out loud, mostly. But I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s the only way we all get what we want. Why can’t we all have what we want?”
“Because that’s not how life works.”

“Well, it should.”

Yeah, it should.

“It would be nice,” I say.

“Can you picture it?” Ian asks. “Will you think about it with me for a minute?”

“Okay.”

“So imagine you and me. It’s a Sunday morning, and we sleep in late and then get up and make breakfast. Are you imagining it?”
I nod, and then remember he can’t see me. “Yeah,” I say.

“Imagine we spend the whole day just hanging out. Like we did that one day, remember? Only we don’t have to keep our distance. We can touch each other. I can brush your arm with my hand when I walk by you in the kitchen. You can kiss me in the bathroom when we’re brushing our teeth.” The picture makes me smile.

“And then imagine that Mitch comes home. He was on a road trip, and he’s tired. And you’ve made dinner for him, and we all eat together. And then we sit on the couch, and I rub Mitch’s feet and you play with his hair. We’re watching some dumb movie on Netflix. Can you see it?”

“Yes, I can see it.” I can, too. And it’s so sweet it makes my chest ache. I can practically smell Mitch’s hair, and hear him purr at Ian’s touch. He loves to have his feet rubbed.
“And then the movie ends, and we all go to bed. Together.”

I smile at that. “Who’s in the middle?” I ask.

“Me,” Ian says without hesitation.

I imagine myself spooned around him, my hands brushing along his stomach while he pushes his ass into my groin. And all the while I’m looking into Mitch’s eyes. He’s on his side facing us, reaching out to touch Ian’s face, but he’s looking at me. He’s so content and happy. He’s in love.

I see him kissing Ian. Softly at first, but then with more intensity. I see my own hand running up and down Mitch’s arm while he presses his body against Ian’s. I hear the soft, wet sounds of their mouths moving together, and I reach out with my own tongue to trace the shell of Ian’s ear.

“Dusty? Can you see it?” Ian asks, breaking into my reverie.

“Yes,” I breathe.

“Is it beautiful?”

“It’s perfect.”

“Tell me again why we can’t have that?” Ian asks.

I think about what Erik said to me the other night, about how I always play it safe. And where has it gotten me? He wasn’t just talking about my career. Maybe it’s time I took a risk for love. Honestly, at this point, I have nothing to lose.

“Maybe we can,” I say.

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Meet the Author

Nicky Spencer is a romance writer of all pairings. Nicky is a firm believer that love conquers all–that’s why her favorite theme is forbidden love. If two (or three!) people shouldn’t be together, Nicky will find a way to get them there. When you love someone, nothing else matters.

Nicky live in Salt Lake City, Utah with no husband, no kids and a part-time dog. She loves to read, write, listen to podcasts, watch baseball and waste time on the internet. She is firmly anti-oxford comma.

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Nov 07

Book Blitz: A Sniper’s Devotion by Christa Tomlinson (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  A Sniper’s Devotion

Series: Cuffs, Collars and Love #5

Author: Christa Tomlinson

Publisher: Self published

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 77,500

Genre: Romance, Friends to Lovers, Multicultural Romance, Hispanic Main Characters, Spanking, Stand Alone

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Synopsis

Officer Hector Castillo, a sniper on Houston’s elite SWAT team, is content living alone as a perpetual bachelor. But when he opens up his small apartment to a friend in need, their close quarters awaken long suppressed desires Hector can’t help but acknowledge.

Miguel Delgado’s unfortunate detour down a road he never intended to travel ends in a big wake up call, but he vows to get himself back on track. Though he’s always looked up to Hector, Miguel isn’t a kid with hero-worship anymore, and his schoolyard protector has matured into a strong and caring man – who happens to look damn sexy in his SWAT uniform.

Though their physical attraction to each other is undeniable, Hector and Miguel try hard to resist and protect their friendship. Until one night changes everything…

A Sniper’s Devotion is a loving and sexy, friends to lovers erotic romance. Hector and Miguel’s story is part of the Cuffs, Collars and Love series, but it is a stand-alone novel.

Excerpt

“Aaaagh!” Miguel squeaked again, ducking his head into Hector’s shoulder as a mass of zombies burst into the shop where the hero and his family were hiding. “How are you not dying at this?” he asked in an agonized voice.

Hector held back a grin at Miguel’s over-the-top reaction. After the things he’d seen on the police force, it would take more than a jump scare to freak him out. “I’m trembling on the inside,” he said.

“You are not,” Miguel answered with a dry laugh. He started to pull away. “Sorry about that.”

Hector stopped him. “You’re just going to jump back on me anyway. Might as well stay here where I can protect you from the zombies.”

Miguel snorted another laugh, but after a moment’s hesitation, he settled back against him. He rested against Hector’s chest, with his bent legs laying half over one of Hector’s. As the movie played on, the hero and his crew making a perilous escape from the zombie horde, Hector brought his hand up from the back of the couch, absently running it through Miguel’s hair. The curls were soft, sliding through his fingers.

Eventually the action on screen slowed, giving both the hero and the viewers a moment to breathe. Hector’s attention wandered from the screen, and he realized it was strange to have his hand in another man’s hair. He and Miguel were so close, and it was such a habit from watching movies with dates that he’d done it without even thinking. He abruptly stopped. Sitting there stiffly, his hand frozen in Miguel’s hair, he wondered if he should apologize. Before he could decide, Miguel turned his head slightly, his lips brushing Hector’s neck as he spoke.

“That felt nice,” he said in a soft whisper. “Keep going.”

His chest suddenly tight, Hector relaxed his fingers and slowly started playing them through Miguel’s hair again. His eyes were on the TV, but he wasn’t really watching the movie. Neither was Miguel. His face stayed turned into Hector’s neck, warm breath softly blowing over his skin. It was a surprise and yet not when Miguel pressed a kiss to his throat.

At that moment, Hector should have moved away from Miguel. Hell, he should have gotten off the couch altogether. But he didn’t. He sat there, letting Miguel brush more kisses up and down the side of his neck. A hand landed on his thigh. Hector swallowed hard, then turned to look down at his friend.

Purchase

Self published | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

Christa Tomlinson is an exciting up and coming author in erotic romance. Her first self-published novel, The Sergeant, was an Amazon Best Seller for Gay and Lesbian Erotica for seven weeks straight.

Christa graduated from The University of Missouri-St. Louis with a degree in History. She loves to create stories that are emotional and lovely with sex that is integral to the characters’ romantic arc. Her books include straight couples, curvy couples, gay, and multicultural couples. Love is love and everyone should have their story told.

Christa lives in Houston, Texas with her two dogs, and is a retired roller derby player

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Nov 06

Release Blitz: Tiki Torches and Treasure by J.C Long (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Tiki Torches and Treasure

Series: Gabe Maxfield Mysteries, Book 2

Author: J.C Long

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: November 6, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 60000

Genre: Contemporary, contemporary, gay, romance, private detective, cozy mystery, law enforcement, Hawaii, humor

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Synopsis

Gabe Maxfield has reached a comfortable point in his life. His past troubles in Seattle are all but forgotten, he co-owns his own business, Paradise Investigations, with his best friend Grace Park, and he’s happy in his relationship with sexy cop—his neighbor—Maka Kekoa. Maybe the best part is, no one’s pointed a gun at him in weeks.

Knowing his luck, that is bound to change. Lack of clients and money forces Paradise Investigations to take a job helping Edwin Biers search for a treasure he promises will be worth their while. Gabe has a knack for finding trouble, though, and find it, he does.

Excerpt

Tiki Torches and Treasure
J.C. Long © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

I was drowning.

Salt water burned my nose as I flailed my arms and legs in the ocean, trying desperately to reorient myself. Every time I started to surface, the ocean waves broke over me again and again. I was done for.

When I finally surfaced and the water drained from my ears, I could hear my companions laughing at my expense—my best friend, Grace Park, sounded like she was going to asphyxiate herself from laughing too hard. My boyfriend, Maka Kekoa, at least had the decency to attempt to hide his laughter from me.

“I’m glad my near-death causes you such amusement,” I growled, glaring at them as best I could with salt water from the Pacific Ocean stinging my eyes. “I knew surfing lessons from you two was a bad idea.”

The three of us were floating in the ocean a ways off from the shore of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, the city I now called home. Well, I was floating in the ocean, which was where I seemed to spend all my time in these lessons. Maka and Grace effortlessly straddled surfboards, Maka also keeping a tight grip on mine so it didn’t get swept away by the waves.

“Don’t get frustrated,” Maka told me supportively once he’d schooled his face to mask his laughter. “No one does it well on their first try. It’s kind of like sex.”

I didn’t take much comfort from his words.

“How about the four-hundredth time?” I grumbled, swimming to the surfboard. I managed to heave my body onto it, feeling the sun warm my skin. I’d gotten tan in my month of being out and about in the constant sunshine of Hawaii, and my hair had gotten longer, almost enough to give me the surfer image. Now if I could just stay on the damn board.

“Don’t be grouchy, Gabe,” Grace chided, splashing water my way. She looked beautiful in the morning sunlight, her dark skin glistening. She wore a teal bikini that showed off her trim, fit form, toned from a lifetime of exercise and the surfing she’d taken up in Hawaii. She was half Hawaiian and half Korean, which is what drew her to Hawaii after we both graduated college in Washington.

“We’ve been at this for two weeks, and I have improved exactly zero percent.” I probably sounded like a whiny kid complaining to them, but I couldn’t help it. I hated not being good at something. “I think I’m just not meant to be a surfer.”

“Everybody’s meant to be a surfer,” Maka said, as if I’d made the most ridiculous remark ever. Grace nodded her head in emphatic agreement.

“Easy for you to say,” I scoffed, flailing my arms wildly as a wave nearly displaced me from my board again. “You were a professional surfer, remember? And you,” I rounded on Grace, “were basically born incapable of being bad at something. Me… I’m just me.”

It felt strange having a pity party in the ocean on a beautiful mid-October morning. Hawaii was paradise in a lot of ways—the sunshine seemed constant, and at a time when Seattle would already be plunging into a chill that heralded winter, it was warm and pleasant in Hawaii. I wasn’t a morning person, though, and Maka and Grace insisted we have these lessons before work. That meant we were usually in the ocean by a quarter to seven.

“You’re more than ‘just you’ to me, babe,” Maka assured me with a wink, making me blush.

Maka was full-blooded native Hawaiian, and he had the complexion to prove it, bronzed by a life spent frolicking in the sun and waves. He had broad shoulders and narrow hips and was taller than my five foot eight, with perfect black hair and lush, full lips that were utterly kissable. His deep brown eyes always seemed to twinkle, as if a powerful light danced behind them.

“Ugh.” Grace rolled her eyes and pretended to gag.

“You’re jealous,” I teased, sticking my tongue out at her.

“Jealous of you having to eat the same meal every night, so to speak? I don’t think so.”

“Hey, if I could eat prime rib every night, I would,” I said.

“Did you really just compare me to ribs?” Maka asked flatly.

“Huh? What? No—I was referring to eating the same meal every night…” I trailed off, realizing how it must have sounded to Maka, even though I didn’t mean it that way.

“If I’m anything,” Maka went on firmly, “I’m loco moco.”

I gaped at him for a moment. He had a problem with being called prime rib, but wanted to be a rice bowl topped with a hamburger, a fried egg, and gravy.

“Actually,” I said after a moment, “I can see that.” And I could. Loco moco was something you wanted to splurge on, something that was decadent, almost sinful. That description fit Maka to the letter.

I tried to give him a smoldering look, but a rogue wave rocked under me, catching me off guard and dumping me once more into the sea.

“Can we please call it a day now?” I pleaded once I was back on my board.

Grace looked like she was in no hurry to bring my suffering to an end, but Maka took pity and checked his watch.

“Actually, we should call it a day. I still need to shower and get to work. It’s going on nine, now; I can only justify going in so late a few times a week, or the chief gets pissy.”

“We also have office hours,” I reminded Grace for what felt like the tenth time that week. She was really good at what she did—we were private investigators—but she didn’t have the mindset necessary to run a business. That had been handled by her partner before me, and Grace was still getting the hang of being in charge of both sides of the business. Well, partially, since we equally shared ownership and those responsibilities.

“This is what we have a secretary for,” Grace pointed out, though she reluctantly began paddling to shore, Maka and I following suit.

“Poor Hayley’s only been with us for a week,” I panted, tired from the lesson and making it back to shore. “Give her a break.”

“Best way for her to learn is to just throw her into the pool,” Grace said once we were back ashore.

I didn’t respond immediately; I was too busy sucking in sweet, sweet oxygen and hoping my wobbly legs didn’t give out as I trudged through the hot, sun-baked sand to the place we’d left our towels.

“I guess it doesn’t matter so much,” I said when I could. “Business has been pretty slow since we hired her. Not good, considering the office we’ve got now. Rent’s a bitch.”

When I’d agreed to be Grace’s partner at the private investigation firm she’d been co-partner in, Paradise Investigations, I helped finance a move to a new building, worlds nicer than the one she’d been in before.

We’d had a keen interest in us the first week or so after the move, considering how we were constantly in the news regarding the murder mystery I’d solved to get Grace off a murder charge. The interest had died down in the following weeks; as it stood now, we hadn’t taken on a new client in five days, and we’d finished the current projects three days before, which meant three days of no billable hours, and thus no money coming in.

“We could always fire her,” Grace suggested, tossing me my towel. “It’d be one less salary we needed to pay.”

“That doesn’t seem right,” I said, though I’d probably consider it after another week of no income being earned. “I’m sure we’ll get by.”

“We could always take an ad out on TV,” Grace suggested suddenly.

“Isn’t that tacky?” Maka wrinkled his nose a bit.

Grace shielded her eyes from the sun, squinting at Maka. “It’s not like we’re lawyers.”

“Even if it isn’t tacky, we can’t afford it,” I reminded her as I wrapped my towel around my waist and gathered my board under my arm for the trek back to our cars. “We’re going to have to pray someone comes in and offers us a job that isn’t finding a lost cat or staking out seedy motels—something we can get some money out of.”

Grace grunted, her spirits somewhat dampened by my pragmatism, but I knew she would get over it. This was our relationship, often consisting of her being flighty and dreamy and me being the cord that pulled her—sometimes forcefully—back down to earth.

“Okay, I’ve got to go,” Maka said when we reached his car. “Already running late.”

“See,” I said, pausing long enough to take a quick kiss on the lips—though I wanted much, much more than a quick kiss—before continuing. “This is yet another good reason we should just stop these morning surfing lessons.”

“Not gonna happen. Seeing you dripping wet is worth being late to work.”

And again, in the space of ten minutes, I blushed.

“You two are disgusting,” Grace muttered.

“Shut up, Grace.”

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Meet the Author

J.C. Long is an American expat living in Japan, though he’s also lived stints in Seoul, South Korea—no, he’s not an army brat; he’s an English teacher. He is also quite passionate about Welsh corgis and is convinced that anyone who does not like them is evil incarnate. His dramatic streak comes from his life-long involvement in theater. After living in several countries aside from the United States J. C. is convinced that love is love, no matter where you are, and is determined to write stories that demonstrate exactly that. J. C. Long’s favorite things in the world are pictures of corgis, writing and Korean food (not in that order…okay, in that order). J. C. spends his time not writing thinking about writing, coming up with new characters, attending Big Bang concerts and wishing he was writing. The best way to get him to write faster is to motivate him with corgi pictures. Yes, that is a veiled hint.

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Nov 06

Blog Tour: One by Brenda Murphy (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  One

Author: Brenda Murphy

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: November 6, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 61600

Genre: Contemporary, romance, contemporary, BDSM, PTSD, ex-military, sports, vacation, Italy

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Synopsis

Fast cars, motorcycles, and one-night stands have been Mac’s life since she left the military. Bitter over a lost love and never one to gamble, she ends potential relationships with surgical precision to avoid another heartache. After her flight to Italy is delayed by a wicked storm, she intervenes when a drunk passenger threatens the desk agent.

Impressed with her courage, fellow passenger Lana Baroni offers to buy her a drink. One coffee and an upgrade later, they spend the fight to Italy talking cars and racing. When a sightseeing date with Lana turns into an afternoon tryst, Mac has to choose: hit the brakes or roll the throttle and risk everything to win Lana’s love.

Excerpt

One
Brenda Murphy © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

“Come on, Mac. The pool is going to be shut down. When would be a better time to go?”

Mac sat back in her chair and peeled the label off her beer bottle. “It’d be crazy expensive. Easy for you to talk but I’m on my own.”

Nicole sipped her wine. Mr. Nips meowed loudly and jumped into Nicole’s lap. He rubbed his head on Nicole’s chin, making her spill her wine.

Mac laughed and handed Nicole a napkin. “So, how’s it going with Virginia? You guys good?”

“Thanks.” Nicole wiped her chin and pushed the cat to the floor. “Better than good. She’s everything. It’s incredible.” Nicole’s cheeks were bright red. “I’m picking her up from the airport tonight.” She took a sip of her wine. “I wish you’d find someone, Mac. You deserve to be happy.”

Mac snorted. Happy. What does that even mean? “I’m happy. Enough.” She shifted in her seat, causing her ring of keys to jingle. Liar. A disgruntled Mr. Nips batted at her keys, making them jingle again.

“You have to do this.” Nicole reached out and touched Mac’s hand. “I wouldn’t be picking up Virginia if you hadn’t pushed me to talk to her. This time it’s me to you. Fuck you if you don’t take this trip.”

Mac set her beer down. “I’ll think about it.” She stood up and finished her beer in two long swallows before she tossed the bottle into the recycle bin. She bent down and rubbed Mr. Nips between his ears. “See you tomorrow. Don’t let your girlfriend make you late again.”

Nicole blushed and rolled her eyes. “Yes, Mac.”

Mac let herself out. She took the stairs down two at a time. She stepped over her bike, turned the key, and kicked the engine over. The low rumble between her legs was satisfying and comforting. She checked the time on her phone. Home? The bar? She took the long way home, tearing through the dark night trying to go fast enough to outrun the relentless sadness chasing her.

Chapter Two

The airport was hot and sticky. Mac wiped at the back of her neck with her kerchief before stuffing it back in her pocket. She checked the information board. “DELAYED” flashed by her flight number and she stifled a groan. After loitering in the airport bookshop, she settled on a copy of Motor Sport magazine and a pack of mints. She walked back to her gate. A group of disgruntled travelers in suits was packed around the desk haranguing the gate agent. Mac pressed her lips together. Her tolerance for self-important businessmen was low on a good day. And with the possibility of a long weather delay, she looked for a seat as far from the desk as she could find. She found an empty row of seats and sat down. Mac tucked her daypack between her feet before she pulled out her phone to check the weather. The line of thunderstorms delaying her flight shone bright red with bands of yellow and dark green on the weather app radar.

“Excuse me. Would you watch my bag? I need to visit the ladies’. I don’t want to drag it with me.”

Mac looked up from her phone. A tall woman in a black cotton knit dress stood in front of her. Her eyebrows were delicately arched and she spoke with the barest hint of an accent. Pale blue eyes and a quiet smile graced her face.

“Um sure.”

The woman placed her monogrammed black leather bag next to Mac’s boot and held Mac’s gaze.

Exquisite. The bag and the woman. “I’d be happy to.” Mac stuffed her phone in her pocket. Her beat-up day bag looked even worse resting on the floor next to the woman’s bespoke luggage. She watched the woman as she wove through the crowd. Her sandy brown hair brushed her shoulders as she strode to the bathroom, graceful in a pair of black pumps. Who wears pumps on a plane? Mac looked at the rows of travelers seated behind and in front of her and the empty seats around her. She peeked at the luggage tag attached to the woman’s carry-on bag and read it. Lana Baroni. Name’s as fancy as her bag. Why me?

Her black T-shirt, biker boots, and jeans were unique among the crowd. Most of the other travelers were dressed in baggy shorts and running shoes, track suits or yoga pants and T-shirts, except for the cool kids in skinny jeans and Chucks. Don’t make a big deal out of it. The woman walked back through the crowd, full-figured and elegant. Mac was mesmerized watching her as she approached. Her long black dress flowed around her legs, the knee-length slit in the skirt showing off an occasional glimpse of her long legs. Damn. As good coming as going. Mac sat up straighter in her seat.

“Thank you.” The woman sat down, choosing the seat next to Mac over the numerous empty seats on either side of her. Mac inhaled her perfume, appreciating the subtle spicy scent of ginger and cedarwood the woman wore.

“You’re welcome. Are you on this flight?” Mac turned to look into her eyes. Cornflower. That’s the color of her eyes. Cornflower blue.

“Yes. Trying to get home.” She shifted to face Mac, her knee brushing against Mac’s thigh before she straightened out her legs and sat back in her seat.

“Where’s home?”

“Moltrasio, but I have some business in Milan beforehand. And you?”

“I live here but I’m trying to get to Monza.”

“For the Grand Prix, yes?”

“Yes. How’d ya know? You psychic?”

“This.” She tapped the magazine in Mac’s lap.

Mac smiled and searched for something else to say. I could listen to her talk all day. “You follow Formula One?”

“You could say that.” Her mouth quirked up on one side. “Did they say how long before we board?”

“Nah, our plane had to land in Norfolk. The storms have grounded everyone.”

The woman frowned and pulled an e-reader from her bag. Mac took the clue and slid back in her seat and opened her magazine. The images of the drivers and cars sent a thrill through her. She flipped through it, trying to envision how it would be watching the race in person. She remembered the first time her dad took her to a race. They were standing on the concrete apron of the grandstands at the half-mile track in Richmond when the drivers started their engines. Mac’s dad had boosted her up on his shoulders to see over the crowd. The scent of his drugstore aftershave and cigarette smoke blended with the smell of fuel and sweat and adrenaline that was NASCAR. She shivered remembering the way her body vibrated with the roar of the engines. She traced her fingers over the images of the cars on the page. This is for you, Dad. And me.

The storm raged outside. Rain and small hailstones hit and splattered against the glass wall behind them as dark clouds shadowed the waiting area. Mac tried to focus on her magazine but the hint of cedarwood and ginger perfume from the woman next to her wove its way into her thoughts. She shifted in her seat, careful to not bump the woman sitting next to her. Once she’d pushed her earbuds in she swiped to her favorite playlist and turned it up to drown out the sounds of the rain and hail.

She kept her head down and watched the woman from under her lashes. Late thirties early forties. Money. Class. The woman was solidly built and broad shouldered. Her dress was short-sleeved and displayed her well-muscled arms. Swimmer? Tennis player? Mac was a woman of few words but in this moment with this woman she had so many she wanted to say.

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Meet the Author

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows, and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not swilling gallons of hot tea and writing, she wrangles two kids, two dogs, and one unrepentant parrot. She writes about life, books, and writing on her blog Writing While Distracted.

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Tour Schedule

11/6 The Novel Approach

11/6 A Book Lover’s Dream Book Blog

11/7 Love Bytes

11/8 Stories That Make You Smile

11/8 Divine Magazine

11/8 Happily Ever Chapter

11/9 Erotica For All

11/10 Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

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Nov 06

Blog Tour: Through My Own Lens by Mickie B. Ashling (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Through My Own Lens

Series: Horizons, Book Five

Author: Mickie B. Ashling

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: November 6, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 54700

Genre: Contemporary, intersex, gay, family drama, romance, contemporary, addiction, coming of age, mental illness

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Synopsis

Luca Dilorio begins his freshman year at Cornell, while his boyfriend, Chyna Davidson, embarks on a modeling career based out of Manhattan, New York. Although Luca is only a five-hour drive away, he may as well be on another planet. Having watched Chyna’s back for years, Luca struggles with the separation. His new roommate, Zeb Araneda, lends an ear, and a solid friendship is born, but it doesn’t keep Luca from worrying.

Chyna learns to navigate the ups and downs of the modeling industry on his own. However, this proves difficult with Luca micromanaging everything, from Chyna’s diet to his choice in a roommate. After rejecting several candidates, Chyna and Luca decide on fellow model, Alex Boulet, who turns out to be perfect in more ways than one.

An unexpected appearance raises a multitude of concerns, and the entire family—Lil, Grier, Clark, Jody, and Chip—descend upon the young couple to offer their help. Will Luca and Chyna weather the storm or succumb to pressure from multiple fronts?

Excerpt

Through My Own Lens
Mickie B. Ashling © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

Lowering his camera, Ian Carmichael squinted across the divide of harsh lights and eviscerated me with one question. “Do you always look like this, or did someone come in your mouth without your permission?”

Stunned by the unexpected attack, I struggled to catch my breath while deliberating my next move. I could throat punch the asshole—and get on the blacklist—or choose the high road and keep my dignity intact.

“Don’t just stand there, Red. Answer me when I ask you something.”

My pulse sped up, and I was tempted to walk out the door, but that would only prove I was an incompetent newbie. I decided to tough it out, but not until I had my say.

“First off, my name is Chyna Davidson, not Red, and you might consider rephrasing your question.”

Instead of backing down, Ian challenged. “What the hell kind of name is Chyna anyway?”

“Not that it’s any of your business, but my mother was a fan of Wilson Phillips.”

“Who?”

“Forget it.” Clueless motherfucker.

“Listen up, kiddo. Once you’ve attained supermodel status, you can patent that insouciance, but at the moment, you’re nothing but a wannabe. Start making love to my camera or find another career.”

“Sorry?”

“Jesus fucking Christ!” Ian roared. “Pretend I’m your boyfriend and you’re craving some attention.”

Ooh, that did it. Yelling had never worked with me, and unfiltered words projected out of my mouth like vomit. “Dude, I have a boyfriend, and he gives me plenty of attention. And just so we’re clear, I’m not your bitch, so get over yourself. Fame doesn’t give you the right to be a first-class prick. You. Chose. Me. Stop acting like a bully and tell me what to do without insulting me.”

“Give me a goddamn break.” Ian turned his back and reached for one of several bottles of water he kept on the table piled high with camera lenses and filters. He drained the liquid in a few gulps while I stared at his backside, which, I had to admit, filled his faded jeans rather nicely. The world-renowned photographer, who’d begged for a fresh face to represent Armani’s next spring collection, knew damn well what he was getting when he requested my presence. I never said I was experienced, and instead of treating me with compassion, he was being an utter jerk.

Ian hollered for Melinda, my agent, who appeared at his side within seconds. She and her husband, Dan, owned Elite Plus, the Chicago-based agency who’d first discovered me.

“What’s the matter?” she asked, rubbing Ian’s back gently.

“Do something with your boy or get me a replacement.”

Hell no. I gnawed at my lower lip, terrified by the prospect of being fired on my first day of work. Ian was the most famous photog in Manhattan, the best of the best, or so I’d been told, and he wasn’t too hard on the eyes if one was into silver foxes, which I wasn’t, but that was beside the point. Making a good impression was the right move if I hoped to conquer the fashion world, but so far, this meeting had been a disaster. Ian tossed the empty bottle into a recycling bin and continued to glare at Melinda.

“I’m aware you have a deadline,” she conceded softly, “but honestly, Ian, a little sugar would go a long way to make this easier on our collective nerves. You wouldn’t have asked for Chyna if you didn’t believe he had potential.”

“I don’t have time to babysit,” he snapped.

“No one’s asking you to feed and burp the guy,” Melinda argued. “Chyna’s a natural, but he doesn’t know you or what you’re hoping to achieve. You’d get a lot more cooperation if you encouraged rather than criticized.”

“My God, woman! Do you have any idea how long it’s been since anyone asked me to adjust my attitude? I’m not the one with a problem. It’s your brat who needs a swift kick in the ass.”

I could feel my anger—and humiliation—rising again. My hands curled into fists as I got ready to punch Ian’s lights out.

“You’re the one acting like a diva,” Melinda shot back. “Chyna’s a hard worker with a lot of potential star power. It’s up to you to unleash the magic, not snuff it out with your craptastic posturing.”

Ian’s mouth gaped. I wondered how long it would take security to escort us out of the studio, and I was surprised—honestly flabbergasted—when it didn’t happen.

“Okay,” Ian agreed, backing down. “I’m willing to give this another chance, but I want to see more sass and less pouting.”

Nodding, Melinda acknowledged his request with a curt “Got it.”

She covered the short distance between us in a few determined strides, and I braced for whatever was coming next. Mel was fired up, willing to go the extra mile to ensure my success, but the responsibility now rested squarely on my shoulders. If I didn’t live up to her hype, I might as well pack it up.

My family would probably be relieved if I walked away, but Mel’s reputation was on the line, and I owed her big-time. When I walked into Elite Plus four years ago, I’d been passing for female, due in part to being born intersex, but mainly because of my mother’s irrational desire to have a daughter. Against all medical advice, and despite my fully formed male genitalia, she’d been raising me as a girl. Mel had seen through the charade and gently coaxed me into becoming my authentic self. She was more than my agent—she was my mentor and best friend. I couldn’t let her down after she’d put her reputation on the line for me.

“What an asshole,” I muttered. “He’s obviously too full of himself to mentor anyone.”

“I won’t deny it,” Mel whispered, “but Ian’s very much in demand. You’re lucky to be here.”

“Seriously?”

“Hon, you’ll have to trust me on this.”

“Any suggestions?”

“Put some enthusiasm into your smiles,” she began, “and own your beauty.”

“Sorry, but it’s difficult when he acts like I’m a waste of time.”

Mel gave me the look she usually reserved for gossipy tidbits. “He’ll never admit it, but I know Ian finds you attractive, and that’s a big plus right there.”

“How can you tell?”

“His nostrils flared when we walked in.”

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Meet the Author

Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multifaceted woman who is a product of her upbringing in multiple cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West. A little bit of this and a lot of that have brought a unique touch to her literary voice she could never learn from textbooks.

By the time Mickie discovered her talent for writing, real life got in the way, and the business of raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing—and the inevitable emptying nest—dreams of becoming a published writer were resurrected and she’s never looked back.

She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.

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Oct 30

Blog Tour: The Valet by S.J. Foxx (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  The Valet

Author: S.J. Foxx

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: October 30, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 50300

Genre: Historical, 1920s, historical, jazz age, class difference, high society, england, aristocracy

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Synopsis

After scandalising his family name, wealthy brat Hugo is kicked out of his parent’s home in NYC, and tossed into the English countryside. There, he must live with his extended family and learn what it means to be a “gentleman,” or be cut off and left without his inheritance.

Brattish, reckless, and out of control, it seems that Hugo may never learn his manners. That is, until he meets his match: a stoic, no-nonsense valet, Sebastian.

Hugo and Sebastian are swept up in a forbidden fling, and they play a game of power.

Can Sebastian get a handle on his master? Or will Hugo’s foolishness leave him penniless?

Excerpt

The Valet
S.J. Foxx © 2017
All Rights Reserved

One: Mahogany & Silk

The day was like smudged charcoal, and the sky poured with rain that hammered against a bottle green car roaring over the hills. In the back of the automobile, Hugo Bentley slumped lower in his seat, vastly unimpressed by his welcome to England. He pulled his fedora down over his face and closed his eyes against the waterlogged scenery.

Everything in this country, so he had heard, was miserable. From the stiff upper lip and cold shoulder the British were renowned for, right down to their lifeless taste in fashion.

The young man had left behind the buzz of New York City, where jazz filled the streets and pretty girls in cocktail bars wore feathers in their hair. He’d spent his nights in smoky halls with a cigar between his lips and a deck of cards in his hands. There he’d thrived amongst glitzy lights of Times Square, with wind in his hair as he hummed down the streets in the back of a Revere.

Life had been late nights and side-splitting laughter, with the occasional bottle of moonshine to pass around his circle of young educated men.

Unfortunately, Hugo’s hedonistic existence had been discovered by his enraged parents but only after it had been discovered by the press. The twenty-year-old heir to a steel business had been found in bed with the wife of his father’s business partner. A simple tip off to the papers had led to the devastation of the Bentley family’s hard-earned good name.

Sickened by the very sight of him, his parents had sent Hugo packing. They’d shooed him to the English countryside, where he could redeem himself under the watchful gaze of his aunt and uncle, Ethel and Henry Harrington. With their help, Hugo could learn a thing or two about being a gentleman.

With the bleak green backdrop of the moors replacing the distractions of a big city, his parents had decided it was the perfect location to stop Hugo from getting himself into trouble. This was his opportunity to fix things. He either straightened up his act, or he’d be cut off. He just prayed the Harringtons weren’t too awful.

Exhausted from his week-long trip, the lull of the motor and the drifting of his thoughts sent Hugo to sleep.

When he next woke, the sky had darkened into an indigo blue and the rain had subsided into a haze that made the air thick with a sticky moisture. He pushed his fedora back onto his head and turned his heavy-lidded gaze outside. The stark silhouette of Finchley Hall loomed in the distance, behind wrought-iron gates.

It was surrounded by endless green lands and a patch of woods that stretched out as far as the next village. It was a foreboding home with ivy garlands creeping up the pristine white walls. A great marble balcony overlooked the driveway with cascading steps that led to the front door, polished and black with a silver knocker in the shape of a lion’s head.

Potted trees, groomed to precision, were lined up like guardsmen alongside the gravel path. Hugo groaned and turned away. These were the types of homes that the prissiest, insanely wealthy people owned. Aunt Ethel had married well. He was certain her husband was going to be insufferable.

The car weaved around the stunning marble fountain, the soft sigh of the falling water a sweet song that resonated in the surrounding silence. They followed the gravel path and the car began to slow, tyres crunched over the stones until they stopped outside what was to be Hugo’s home for the next year.

On the flagstone threshold, a welcoming party waited to greet him.

“Welcome to Finchley Hall, sir,” a plump silver-haired man with a jolly face said as he opened the car door. Behind him stood servants. There were valets, footmen, and maids alike, lined up shoulder to shoulder like an army platoon, straight-faced and pristine. Hugo could only assume this man was their butler. Their commander in chief.

“Thanks,” Hugo replied flatly. Removing his hat, he ruffled up his sandy-blond curls and clambered out of the car with the help of a gloved hand, then turned his chin to observe the band of servants with interest.

Their uniforms were extravagant. The men wore white bow ties and beautifully tailored black tailcoats, with gleaming brass buttons. The valets wore forest green waistcoats, and the taller footmen wore grey. The maids were attired in simple black dresses and white aprons with ruffled edges, their hair pinned back into neat, simple buns.

The Harrington family appeared at the door then. First was Aunt Ethel, a mirror image of his mother, with copper curls all swept up into an elegant bun. She was a little thing with ivory skin and soft green eyes like his own. Her thin mouth pulled taut when she looked at her nephew.

“Hugo,” she said stiffly, as if the word tasted sour. She folded her arms across her chest and wrinkled her nose.

Hugo turned to look at her and glowered. Turning the rim of his hat around in his hands, he gingerly approached the grand prison. “Ethel,” he grumbled, equally unimpressed.

“Show some courtesy, boy.” Ah, and there was Uncle Henry, barrelling through the door shortly after his wife—a robust man who enjoyed one too many sweets. He had a hardened, weather-beaten face like tanned leather. The trenches had been hard on him.

“You’ve disgraced your family and gotten yourself into a damn mess, Hugo. We’ve been kind enough to take you into our home and this is how you greet my wife?” he scoffed.

“Henry, not out here on the balcony,” Ethel snapped. “The servants are listening. What is the matter with you?”

Hugo’s fingers tightened around the rim of the hat, and he straightened his back, drawing his shoulders in against his neck. This was the man who was supposed to help him become a gentleman? Goodness.

“Apologies, Uncle, Aunt Ethel. It’s been a long trip. Tiredness has gotten the better of me,” he said and pinched the bridge of his nose. He felt rather like a chastised infant.

“I won’t hear any excuses, Hugo. If we are to do this for you, you will show us the respect we deserve, or we’ll send you straight back home and you can forget about your damn future.” Uncle Henry’s big hands were turning white as they tightened around the balcony frame.

“Henry,” Ethel hissed.

“I understand. I meant no offence, honestly,” Hugo said. It was hard to try to keep his tone even, to keep the venom out of it. What a ridiculous overreaction.

His uncle looked back at him blankly, his gaze roaming across his clothes until his face wrinkled into a frown. “Funny choice of attire, no?” he grumbled, raising a brow, trying to change the subject, no doubt. Perhaps he could feel the beady eyes of his wife burning into his temple.

Hugo tugged at the sleeve of his mustard tweed travelling coat, grateful for the new direction of conversation. “Fashion is very different in New York, Uncle.”

“I’ll say!” Henry said, looking down at the hat he clutched to his chest too.

From the corner of his eye, Hugo caught the flickering expression of a servant, whose forehead creased and brows knit together, puckering up his face as though he’d bitten into a lemon. He was eyeing up his mustard tweed too.

Hugo met his gaze and the slightest hint of a smile lifted the footman’s mouth before he looked away.

“Hugo!”

His curly-haired cousin came bounding out of the door and hurried down the steps to greet him in the courtyard. She opened up her arms and wrapped them tightly around his shoulders, squeezing. Scrambling to try to reach, she pushed herself onto her tiptoes and planted a quick kiss on both of his cheeks.

“Dear Arabella.” Hugo gave her his best smile, rather cheered by the contrast in greeting. He took her by the shoulders and leaned back to get a good look at her. The only Harrington he’d previously met, she’d visited America with her maid a couple of times in the past. “Goodness, you shot up! You were the size of a bunny when we last met.”

“I’m a woman now.” She preened, giving a little twirl. Her coral dress fanned out, circling around her.

“You are not a woman until you find a suitable man willing to marry you,” huffed Aunt Ethel, shaking her head.

“I’m only sixteen, Mama! I don’t need to find a husband yet.”

Ethel only sighed. “Now, let us not dilly-dally outside, talking nonsense. Hugo has had a long trip. Edward will carry up your things, Hugo, and once you feel rested, we will introduce you formally to everybody else. For now, you only need to know Edward. He’ll be your valet for the duration of your stay, and Thompson, he’s in charge of the household staff.” Ethel gestured to the jolly-faced man who had greeted him.

Hugo’s gaze flickered back to that tall man with the mischievous smile, but it was the shorter man beside him who nodded his greeting.

Inside Finchley Hall, it smelled of polished wood and the greasy duck that was cooking away in the oven downstairs.

Chandeliers drenched in crystals hung from the wooden buttresses, and beneath them, a beautiful Persian rug filled the hallway floor space.

The grand staircase was carpeted in plush red, complemented by the wrought-iron banister, fashioned into curling roses that spiralled alongside the stairs.

Edward scurried up the stairs. He had a shock of blond hair, a button nose, and the mannerisms of a mouse. Edward showed him to his room without speaking a single word other than goodbye.

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Meet the Author

SJ hails from a quaint, modest town in the north of England. However, for the past three years, she has been swept up in the whirlwind of London life, where people don’t make eye contact. Admittedly, she only moved here for the theatre.

A self-confessed geek; lover of the history, travelling and musicals. SJ loves to spend her weekends in museums, wandering around antique bookshops, or finding new, quirky places to explore. She feels blessed to be from a multi-cultural background, with an Irish mother and an African father.

Soppy as she is, you can be sure to find light-hearted, fluffy books from this author, with just a light sprinkle of feels.

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