Oct 16

Blog Tour: Into the Mystic, Volume 2 by Elna Holst, Valentine Wheeler, A. Fae, Sita Bethel, CC Bridges, Laura Bailo, Jacqueline Rohrbach, MK Hardy, Lina Langley, TS Porter (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Into the Mystic, Volume 2

Author: Elna Holst, Valentine Wheeler, A. Fae, Sita Bethel, CC Bridges, Laura Bailo, Jacqueline Rohrbach, MK Hardy, Lina Langley, TS Porter

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: October 16, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 94100

Genre: Paranormal, lesbian, bisexual, romance, short stories, selkies, werewolves, wicthes,

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Ten lesbian/bisexual paranormal short stories…

Green Love – Have you heard about the aspen clone in the heart of Blackwood forest? Some say it’s enchanted, while others…

Dead Letter – Signed, sealed, delivered…or was it?

Seaside Escape – Just because it’s been done for generations doesn’t mean it should be.

Dressed in Wolf Skin – She was never particularly fond of werewolves, but she hated skinwalkers.

Unraveled – Summer can hack their magic, but she can’t hack her own heart.

The Holy Company – On an ancient holy path, they will come face to face with one of the local legends.

Vampire Hours – One’s a vampire. The other is human. One wants forever. The other wants everything to end.

To the Sea – Sometimes you just have to hold your breath and dive in.

Holy Water – She might be the most dangerous being in the world, but Clara is still in love with her.

Lighthouse Five – Is it possible for a mermaid and a human to build a relationship?

Blurbs

Green Love

Elise, a serious-minded environmentalist, hikes into the forbidding forest of Blackwood to find the clonal colony of aspen said to exist at its centre. Her journey is as much a struggle to break free of the overprotectiveness of her older sister and make peace with the loss of their parents as it is a mission to save the woods from the threat of deforestation. Once arrived at the aspen grove, she seems to have stumbled across more than she bargained for. Is someone, or something, out to get her? Will she make it out of Blackwood alive?

Dead Letter

Rosie’s new job as a letter carrier is much harder than she expected. The discovery of a haunted letter box certainly doesn’t make it any easier. For years, Olive has been waiting for the right person to talk to, and it seems Rosie might just be the one.

Seaside Escape

Helping men acquire wives from an ocean of beautiful selkie is a generational thing with Fiona. It’s part of being a witch. Until the day Kinley swims into her world and turns everything she ever knew on its fin. Through Kinley and her selkie sisters, Fiona finds love, a new outlook on her life, and a chance to rectify her past.

Dressed in Wolf Skin

A werewolf with no pack is in danger of becoming the most powerful addition to a skinwalker’s wardrobe. She’s rescued by a witch who lives alone in the desert. Although both are stubborn and independent, they develop feeling for each other while the witch nurses the werewolf back to health. However, the skinwalker still wants his trophy and will do anything to claim it.

Unraveled

Unlike other witches, Summer doesn’t make her own spells. A former foster kid, she learned not to waste anything. She hacks old enchanted items and sells them as good luck charms to poor college students. Her one mistake is in giving a powerful charm to her crush, Imogen, a brilliant biology grad student. That gets Summer noticed by another witch on campus, Imogen’s science professor. Now she must either give in to the professor’s blackmail or risk her wrath. Either way, Imogen’s life hangs in the balance.

The Holy Company

Sophie curses the day she said yes to Anna’s idea of walking Saint James’s Way in Spain. She’s exhausted, and she doesn’t think she can keep her feelings for her a secret for much longer. But a day of rest soon turns into a nightmare when they come face-to-face with one of the local legends, and Sophie’s secret is no longer safe.

Vampire Hours

Janna and Stacy disagree on a lot of things but not on how much they love each other. Realizing that bond isn’t enough, Janna turns Stacy into a vampire, hoping she can be convinced that life is a quirky trip best taken together.

To the Sea

While working with a beach clean-up crew in the aftermath of an oil slick, Kay meets Rose. A reserved and melancholy soul, Kay is utterly enchanted by Rose’s energy and optimism. But everybody has their secrets, even Rose. As the two grow closer, will Kay accept and understand Rose for who she is?

Holy Water

On her eighteen birthday, Clara comes face to face with the spirit that has been calling to her, the one that everyone in her pueblo is afraid of. Despite warnings to stay away from her, the spirit is all that Clara can think about. Soon, she finds herself in an impossible position: stay away from the woman she loves for her own well-being or help her despite the immeasurable risk to her own life.

Lighthouse Five

Chris is happy living a solitary life on her tiny lighthouse island. When she discovers a stranded mermaid named Jewels, and carries her get back to the water, it marks the beginning of a strange new friendship. As they bond over sharing bits of their cultures and finding out their similarities and differences, Chris begins ask herself—how close can a human and a merperson get?

Green Love by Elna Holst 

 

Elise, a serious-minded environmentalist, hikes into the forbidding forest of Blackwood to find the clonal colony of aspen said to exist at its centre. Her journey is as much a struggle to break free of the overprotectiveness of her older sister and make peace with the loss of their parents as it is a mission to save the woods from the threat of deforestation. Once arrived at the aspen grove, she seems to have stumbled across more than she bargained for. Is someone, or something, out to get her? Will she make it out of Blackwood alive?

Excerpt

The moss underfoot was soft enough for sleeping on, but also too squishy for the pegs to be securely fastened. Elise’s tent keeled considerably, the roof dipping as the back of a worn-out horse. And, of course, there was the damp. She unfolded the second flooring sheet, the one the sales clerk at the outdoors supply store had sworn by all that was holy would keep her as dry as tinder. The man was obviously a blasphemer. But then, in all fairness, the tinder in the outside pocket of her knapsack was anything but dry.

It would work. It would have to work. It couldn’t keep raining forever.

Undoing the slippery-wet knots on her boots with some difficulty, Elise left them to fend for themselves under the flysheet and pulled her knapsack after her into the inner tent. It was cottony and a yellowish orange, like the one favoured by Buddhist monks. She had thought this would bring her peace. Heat. Resilience.

And it would, Elise decided. Just not tonight. She rolled out her mat and unfurled her sleeping bag from its compressible sack. This ritual had always left her flabbergasted as a child—she couldn’t figure out how all that abundant fluffy goodness, which held the promise of a toasty night to come, could be contained in such a diminutive carrier. Her father, the magician, had flaunted his tricks to the appreciative audience of his two giggling daughters. Or she had been giggling. Betsy, it occurred to her, in hindsight, had mostly looked grim. She hated camping. She hated the discomfort of it, the challenge. She abhorred the midges, the prickliness and sliminess—all the threatening aspects of the natural world. And the damp, certainly.

In her current state of wretchedness, Elise couldn’t fault her sister there. The damp was enough to make anyone miserable. Even so, as she peeled off her jacket and windbreakers, and pulled down the zip of her alluring bag, Elise felt a childish rush of unbridled joy at the prospect before her. “Creature comforts,” their father’s voice echoed back from the past. “You need to be out here to appreciate them fully.”

Didn’t you just. She slipped her aching body between the folds, zipping her sleeping bag all the way up again. Rain pattered against the flysheet. The wind soughed through the trees outside.

“Listen,” her father teased. “They’re whispering their secrets to you.”

“What’s that?” little Elise asked breathlessly. Little Betsy groaned and turned on her mat.

“Now, if I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret, would it?”

Elise frowned. Two years older, Betsy had, of course, heard it all before.

Fifteen odd years later, in her one-woman tent in the woods, shielded from the civilized world by sheets upon sheets of rain, a tear escaped down Elise’s mud-streaked cheek. She could do with a wash. Tomorrow.

“This one’s for you, Dad,” she murmured into the dark and flipped the switch of her torch. “Wherever you are.”

Purchase

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

Tour Schedule

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Oct 16

Release Blitz: NineStar Press Halloween Series (Giveaway)

Get in the holiday spirit with the Halloween collection of stories from NineStar Press

Releasing between October 9th and October 23rd, don’t miss a single one!

Available October 16th 

Synopsis

Danton is a 1200-year old vampire, blinded by the Medieval Church, who makes his life as a paranormal romance novelist. He writes about a vampire detective and “pretends” to his fans to be a vampire himself. But book sales are down because he has been without love for over 30 years and just doesn’t have that spark of romance left in him. Until he meets Kevin, a disbelieving young man, desperate for a job, who is brought in by Danton’s agent to try to lighten up his life and heat up his prose.

Purchase

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

Available October 16th 

Synopsis

Drew hates labels, but loves Halloween and he wants a trick-or-treat of his own. At his mother’s​ to deliver emergency candy, she has him get the door in his gender-bending costume. The handsome man with the little trick-or-treater would be Drew’s perfect treat.

David’s attraction to Drew is no trick. He wants the whole Drew, in all his unlabeled glory, making Drew think this could be a treat that lasts long past the holiday.

Purchase

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

 

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Oct 16

Book Blitz: In Over Our Heads by CJane Elliott (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  In Over Our Heads

Series: Stories from the Shore

Author: CJane Elliott

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: October 16, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 67,000

Genre: Romance, Second Chances, Vacation

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

Excerpt

The door burst open, and Sophia sailed in with my morning cappuccino. She was humming under her breath and had that telltale postsex glow about her. I tried not to hate her too much.

“What’re you doing in here with me, doll? Don’t you have a sexy dive instructor to entertain?”

“She had to leave early.” Sophia handed me the mug. “She’s taking her group out on the ocean dive too, and she had to go to Back Bay to get the boat ready.”

I took a restorative sip of cappuccino. “Ahh. Well, I hope you didn’t tire her out too much last night. Or vice versa.” I winked at her, even though I didn’t feel very winky.

“Guilty on both our parts, I’m afraid.” Sophia smirked, then perched on the side of my bed. “Can we talk more about what’s going on with you and Walter?”

“Going on?” I blinked and buried my nose in the cup. “I mean, I told you guys last night. What more do you need to know?”

“Whatever it’ll take to help you and him figure yourselves out, because second chances like this don’t come around often.”

“God, not you too. You and Jonny need to start a group for incurable romantics.”

She straightened, her dark eyes snapping with intensity. “Caro! You’re the one who talks about destiny. This is your destiny!”

I sighed. She was so over the top sometimes. Must be her Italian blood. “Maybe my destiny is to be reminded to never let a guy walk over me the way Walter did.”

“I…. Look, Marco has a good point, and I agree with him that Walter needs to apologize. It was awful of him to drop out of sight. You so don’t deserve to be treated that way.”

“Right.” I put down my cup, having lost my taste for the cappuccino.

“But you two were barely out of high school. So young! People change. It certainly doesn’t seem in character with how he is now.”

“Doesn’t it?”

“Well, I mean, Walter seems so conscientious and thoughtful. Yes, a little gruff, but not someone who would knowingly hurt you. But maybe… safety seems to be a huge concern to him. And maybe he couldn’t stand that you almost drowned, and he couldn’t face you after that? Did he ever explain it to you?”

“No. I begged him to tell me why, and all he would say is ‘I’m not good for you. I don’t want to hurt you anymore.’ I guess the safety thing is the most plausible explanation. Because other than that, it’s bizarre that he would walk away and throw away a great thing. We were….” I paused, hit by an unexpected wave of grief. “Damn it, Soph, we were really good together. Yes, we were young, but we complemented each other so well. Like, I brought him out of his shell, and he calmed me down. And he took me seriously. He listened to me in a way no one but Jonny ever had before.” My eyes betrayed me by welling up.

“Oh, Anthony. That’s lovely. I can tell he still does. Take you seriously, I mean. He hasn’t been able to stop staring at you the whole time we’ve been around him. It’s obvious he still cares.”

Sophia’s words threw little daggers at my silly heart. Jonathan had said essentially the same thing. If they both thought Walter still cared for me, maybe it was true. And God, if it was true, I was in deep waters. I knew I should stiffen my backbone and armor myself with outrage. But I couldn’t. Still hung up on Walter Elkins? Guilty as charged. Convicted. Lock me up and throw away the key, because I had no hope of rehabilitation. I put my face in my hands for a moment. What a hopeless sentimental fool!

Luckily for my humiliation factor, Marco came barging in with a brilliant grin. “All right, darlings! Today’s the day! Scuba diving or bust! Get ready for the adventure of your lives.” He stopped short and peered at me. “You okay?”

Pulling myself together, I returned his smile. “Fabulous, doll! Off to the reefs we go to swim with the fishies!”

 

Purchase

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Celebrate the release of In Over Our Heads with a special sale: All the Way to Shore is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon through October 24 with that price matched at the Dreamspinner Press store October 16-24

Meet the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | eMail | Dreamspinner | Amazon

 

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Oct 16

Release Blitz: Angels and Man-Beasts by T.L. West (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Angels and Man-Beasts

Series:Author: T.L. West

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: October 16, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 22000

Genre: Paranormal, angels, were-creatures, banshees, fantasy, paranormal, explicit, gay, mythical creatures, gods, shifters

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Zachary is an ordinary young gay man. He works for his father, has a crush on his straight roommate, and likes to procrastinate.

While visiting his aunt’s old cabin, he finds a wounded man, and the door to safety is forever closed. At first, Zachary doesn’t know what to make of the handsome stranger dressed as a knight, but he feels a connection with him.

Zachary’s life is turned upside down as his eyes are opened to the supernatural world. Not only must he survive dangerous man-beasts, but he is also forced to make sense of what it means to fall for an angel, and involve himself in a war between the Gods.

Excerpt

Angels and Man-Beasts
T.L. West © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

“Are we safe?” asked Grant. He looked at his twin brother, Brent. They were in a forest, hiding behind one of the numerous wide trees. They had been on the run for hours now, and Grant wasn’t sure if he could keep going any longer. He couldn’t understand why this was happening to them. They had done nothing wrong. He looked at the full moon shining in the dark sky above him. He could feel its power inside him, but it wouldn’t be enough to defeat the creature that was after them.

“Shhh!” Brent instructed him, not taking his eyes off the path the creature would come through. Grant saw Brent’s elongated fingernails digging into the tree trunk. Grant could sense his brother’s emotions, and it worried him. He knew Brent was thinking of fighting their pursuer.

“Don’t,” whispered Grant as he placed his hand on Brent’s arm, trying to calm him down.

“What choice do we have?” Brent answered through gritted teeth. “We’re dead either way. Might as well put up a fight against that thing!”

“But we’re nearly there, aren’t we?” asked Grant. “We’re near to—”

“Those humans don’t care about the likes of us!” Brent cut through. “If the Rockfort Paranormal Department really did care for us we wouldn’t be running for our lives right now.”

Grant stayed quiet. A part of him wanted to believe his brother, but he also didn’t want to give up hope. He had seen his pack and some officials from the Rockfort Paranormal Department, or RPD, interacting quite respectfully with each other. Both Grant and Brent belonged to a registered werewolf pack in the area. They were under the protection of the department as long as they followed RPD’s rules.

But where were they when your whole pack was massacred? The question shot into Grant’s mind. He and his brother were out scavenging for food when they’d felt something occurring. They immediately knew their pack was in danger. They had hurried back but weren’t able to reach them in time. Their alpha, their friends, everyone lay dead in front of them. It was Brent who saw the attacker first, hiding in the shadows of the forest, and he pointed it out to Grant.

Grant had never seen such a creature in his life. In the few seconds he was able to look at it before the two ran away, Grant could only make out a silhouette of a humanoid form with large wings, and a flash of silver that could’ve been a sword.

But what supernatural being had such large wings and carried a sword? thought Grant. He couldn’t make sense of what was happening right now. He just wanted everything to end. It all felt like a nightmare he wasn’t able to wake from.

“It’s here,” said Brent, and he walked away from the tree.

Not wanting his brother to fight alone, Grant also came out of hiding. The humanoid form in front of them slowly walked near. Grant couldn’t see any wings as the creature shone under the moonlight. He was sure it had wings when he had seen it before. The humanoid creature wore a silver cloak, its face covered with a hood, but Grant could still make out long strands of silver hair from underneath. What is this creature? The only thing Grant was sure about was that it wasn’t human. It smelled different than anything he had encountered before.

“What do you want from us?” Brent growled. He bared his fangs at the enemy, and his eyes flashed orange.

The being stopped a few feet away from the twins.

“Answer me!” Brent growled again. “Why did you attack our pack?”

The being didn’t answer. It reached around its back and took out a long sword. It held up the sword and pointed it at Brent.

“Take that thing away from my face!” yelled Brent, and he dashed headfirst to attack the enemy. Grant hesitated for a moment but followed his brother. Brent raised his claw to strike at his opponent. There was a sharp sound of a sword slashing through the air.

“Ahhhhhh!” cried Brent as he dropped to his knees. Grant couldn’t make himself say anything to his brother. Brent’s cries of pain spread throughout the forest. The being had cut his hand clean off with a single swipe. Finally forcing his body to move, Grant came between his brother and the sword-wielding creature.

“No! Grant! You need to run!” Brent growled through the pain.

“I’m not leaving you,” said Grant, not taking his eyes off the attacker.

The creature raised the sword again. It came down at him, but through sheer luck Grant was able to dodge it. Making the most of the opportunity, Grant body-slammed the attacker.

“What the heck?” Grant’s eyes opened wide in surprise. He had used all his might against the enemy, but it hadn’t moved an inch.

“Grant!” Brent called out before pulling his brother away from the attacker.

Grant immediately got up on his feet from the place his brother had thrown him. “No! No! No!” Grant shook his head at the image in front of him. His brother had been cut in two. He died saving him.

The being looked at the sliced-up body of the werewolf on the ground and then slowly turned its head to stare at Grant. It’s over, thought Grant as the being walked toward him. It’s all over. He saw the sword in the air and closed his eyes to embrace death. Will it hurt?

The sound of metal striking metal made Grant open his eyes. Another humanoid being stood in front of him. It too was wearing a silver cloak that hid its face, and it also carried a sword. Grant quickly crawled away from the two strange beings as they continued their sword fight. Neither spoke a word as the sound of their sword strikes filled the forest around them.

Grant looked at his brother’s dead body. He couldn’t make himself leave without him. He had to give his brother a proper burial. “Run away!” cried the being that had saved his life.

“Huh!” Grant snapped out of the trance he was in.

“I said, run away!” yelled the being again. It was a man’s voice. It sounded human, but Grant knew better. Whatever those two were, they were definitely not human.

“The followers of Fenrir cannot escape my blade,” said the being that had murdered Grant’s pack. His voice seemed to hit Grant’s soul, sending a chill down his spine.

“Not all shape-shifters follow him,” answered the other being.

“I will not risk it,” said the enemy.

Making a promise to come back for his brother’s body, Grant got to his feet. He was about to run away when something sharp pierced his body. His rescuer yelled in anger, and then Grant fell to the ground, moving no more.

“I will make you pay for that, Adriel,” yelled the being. He wanted to keep yelling in anger, knowing that the young werewolf he had just tried to save was now dead.

“When will you learn, Barachiel?” Adriel smiled at his opponent as they blocked each other’s attacks. “They are all lost souls. They are beyond your help or anyone else’s.”

“No!” Barachiel swung his sword at Adriel, who easily dodged it.

“You are wasting my time.” Adriel didn’t care to hide the boredom in his voice. “If you feel love for these wretched beings, then you shall join them.”

There was a quick flash of silver, and pain surged throughout Barachiel’s body. His sword fell from his hand. “I will stop you,” he managed to say through the blood in his mouth.

“And I’ll be glad to see you try.” Adriel smiled at him. He walked toward Grant’s body and pulled the dagger he had thrown to kill the young werewolf from where it protruded from his back. “You are too young to understand the grand plan, my dear Barachiel.”

“What grand plan involves murdering the innocent?” asked Barachiel. He was on his knees. He couldn’t understand what kind of power Adriel had used on him. He wasn’t healing properly. The large wound on his chest wasn’t closing up the way it was supposed to. Barachiel looked at his sword. If only he could reach out and grab it.

“Unless you side with us, you are a disgrace to us all,” said Adriel. He looked at Barachiel’s sword on the ground. “You do not deserve this weapon.”

“I deserve it more than you,” Barachiel answered before spitting out more blood.

Adriel let out a laugh. “Fool,” he said looking at the sword in disgust. “Until next time, sweet Barachiel,” he added and walked away into the darkness of the forest.

Barachiel wanted to yell at him. He wanted to make him stop what he was doing, but he felt too weak. His eyes began to lose focus. I… I have to get up, he thought. He looked at the two dead werewolves near him. His heart ached at the sight of them. He could never forgive himself for not being able to save them and the rest of the beings Adriel had killed in cold blood. Mustering all of his energy, Barachiel forced himself to stand. He picked up his sword and started to walk slowly through the forest. I should’ve healed by now, he thought. What did Adriel use on me?

Barachiel remembered a cabin he’d seen while on his way to rescue the werewolves. He decided to go there to rest and heal himself. He tried not to think about the other innocent beings that Adriel was on the hunt for. He couldn’t understand how the fear of Fenrir, the wolf god of blood and chaos, was enough for Adriel to go to such lengths. He too feared the revival of God Fenrir, but that didn’t mean his kind should go and kill every werewolf and shape-shifter in sight. That was not the purpose of their kind.

Barachiel remembered his birth as he made his way toward the cabin. He was made out of pure light along with numerous others. Angelic beings like him were born as either young males or females. But they could also choose the gender they preferred. They stayed young and served their Gods as immortals. They were only able to be killed by a God or a supernatural creature.

He was only a few days old when the war among the Gods occurred, and he didn’t want to experience it again. Darkness filled the realms and all of existence was at the brink of destruction. He didn’t fight during the war. He was deemed too young by his creator, Perun, one of the many Gods of thunder and lightning. But he still remembered the countless lives that were lost. But now, being 2030 years old, and after years of study and combat training, he knew he had what it took to stop such a war from occurring again. He couldn’t let a wound keep him down.

Barachiel opened the wooden door of the cabin. He walked in. He could see cobwebs on the ceiling and even on some of the old pieces of furniture. The single window was covered in…fungus? Grease? Moss? Barachiel didn’t have time to make sure. There was also a fireplace and a small kitchen. It wasn’t large, but it would have to do for now.

He smiled when he saw the bed a few feet away. He took off his cloak and placed it on an old chair near the door. He walked the short distance across the room and placed his sword next to the one-person bed. It disappeared, waiting to be summoned again. Without wasting time, he sat on the bed and then lay down to rested his head on the pillow. Things like dusty sheets didn’t bother a being like him.

A few strands of his blond hair fell on his forehead, but he felt too weak to brush them away. He closed his eyes to rest and give his body time to recuperate, knowing that as soon as he regained his health he would go after Adriel and do his best to stop another war from occurring.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

T.L. West is an author of paranormal romance, mystery and fantasy. He enjoys writing characters that grow during the story and feel relatable to readers. His stories are a mix of romance, action, and danger. He’s been writing since high school. He has a degree is Human Genetics. Along with writing stories he also loves staying healthy, drawing, reading and taking the time out to relax. He likes maintaining his privacy. You can find T.L. on Twitter.

 

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Save

Save

Oct 15

Blog Tour: For the Love of Samuel by RP Andrews (Excerpt & Giveaway)

[INSERT BANNER HERE]

Title:  For the Love of Samuel

 

Author: RP Andrews

Publisher:  self-publish

Release Date: 11/20/2017

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 50,500

Genre: Romance, Erotica, Fantasy, eroic gay romance, erotic gay fiction

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

New Yorker and aging gay man Billy Veleber who abhors growing old has lost Jim, his former meth head lover, to his habit, and Gus, the older man in his life and mentor, to despair, when he is confronted with the chance to become 21 all over again, through the magical prowess of the dog tag of a long dead Civil War soldier, Samuel Evans. Young again, Billy abandons Manhattan for Fort Lauderdale where he meets Dare, the love of his life, whose clever quick rich venture first bonds them, then threatens to end their idyllic lives together forever. Billy also faces the reality of having to tell Dare the truth about himself.

Excerpt

Billy Veleber, a 51 year old aging gay mam living in Manhattan, after a number of heartbreaks, decides to put on the dog tag of a Civil soldier given to him by Travis, a clerk in a thrift shop in Boystown, Chicago, who tells him it will give him eternal youth if he has had or has love in his life.  The dog tag had been handed down for generations since it was given to Walt Whitman by a dying soldier he nursed in the Washington, D.C., Armory Hospital in 1862. Over the intervening weekend, Billy begins his transformation to 21, the same age as the soldier, Samuel Evans, whose dog tag he wears, died …

I leave the baths around five, and after a coma nap, a quick Smart Choice Fettuccini Alfredo 400 calorie dinner and a good hot shower – I notice with cocky satisfaction in the bedroom’s full length mirror that my love handles are history, my stomach is flatter, my receding hairline is unreceding, and most of the gray on my head and in my beard and and on  – yes! – my chest is going or gone, I head over in my leather vest, no shirt, and levis and boots for The New Eagle off Tenth Avenue. It’s almost one – a.m. – but as one of my fuck buddies before Gus and even Jim, said, “That’s when they stop window shopping.”

Now it’s called The New Eagle because the old Eagle, along with the Spike and the Lure, the leather triumvirate of my youth and my years with Gus, were gone. They had become the victims of the real estate boom at the turn of the millennium, and had been brutally and sacrilegiously torn down for shiny, gleaming condos and spankingly clean baby carriages.

In the crappy bathroom at the Spike they had stenciled on the black wall in cheap white paint, “Don’t flush for piss.” That said it all. I only hoped some gay historians had saved that piece of the wall before it too became history. Now all we have left is the hole on Tenth Avenue, what us hardcore leathermen sarcastically brand as Genuine “Vi-nel.”

I strut in, my goose-step no longer adopted but my own, and find the same Chatty Cathy cliques – different faces, same old shit – going on like the last time I was here with Gus just after we’d  gotten back from our first class holiday excursion to Athens and Rome and a few weeks before his stroke.

In between the groupies are some of the oldest members of our clan, The Old Guard, usually alone because most of their cronies are already dead, and usually with enough keys hanging from their belts to rival a night watchman at the Chrysler Building, the fucken handkerchiefs hanging from their pockets, so Twentieth Century, or the best of them in faded, stretched out jock straps that should be on Antiques Road Show along with their owners. Yea it’s true, the older some of these guys got, the less they wore. For attention I guess.

Admired or ridiculed, it doesn’t matter; the greatest sin is to be ignored.

I order my nine dollar screwdriver with fifteen cents of vodka in it, and head up the stairs to the second level where just a year before Gus and I had had our leather marriage ceremony.

As I’m going up the stairs some twink in a super short Tux jacket, Bermuda shorts and floppies and one of those Abe Lincoln top hats – I guess he thinks he’s in the Garment District because anywhere else he’d be tire-ironed – and his angelic girl friend, a vision in pink, dressed in a fluffy chiffon skirt, low cut blouse and sneakers, are waltzing down the stairs. They give a funny stare but I stare them right back.

“You,” say I, pointing to the bitch, “don’t belong here.”

“You can’t discriminate against us, fucker,” replies her boyfriend who sounds like he shoots up with estrogen in the morning.

I give him a frumpy look back. Yea, buddy you’re right. The days when a leather bar could stop you from coming in if you weren’t dressed “in code” are over. With the leather scene fading faster than an Atlantic City “Wish You Were Here” postcard, it’s all about selling the liquor.

Period.

There’s less people upstairs, the same Chatty Cathy shit going on or guys on their fucken phones GPSing you but never making a move beyond that, when I see HIM.

He’s tall but not too tall, hairy but not a gorilla like me, older but not old, with an open leather camouflage vest showing a tight, lightly furry chest and six pack out of one of Men’s Fitness cover stories, “Dynamite Abs in Just Six Weeks!”, a scrawny beard and face of a felon who did hard labor, and leather gloves and biker’s cap to complete the whole Neo-Nazi look.

Plus a pair of furry, honey melon buns deliciously hanging from his chaps begging to be tongued.

Fuck!

He’s standing at the other end of the bar, surrounded by clones though he is far and away the pick of the litter. I lock my eyes on him like a laser for a good ten minutes but I get hardly a glance.

Now in the old days before Jim and Gus when I was free as a bird but as timid as a spinster, I would have just moved on. Oh, but this was the new Billy, the ballsy Billy. I walk over and stand two feet away from Mr. Hot Shit and his court jesters and just keep staring.

Finally I get his attention.

“You got a problem, bud?” he says returning the stare of a killer. His cronies do the same.

“Well, I’ve been cruising you for at least ten minutes now and I didn’t even get a fart back.”

“And…”

“So what are you looking for, some fem, or fat boy, or maybe some tough guy with whips, chains and razors hanging from his belt?”

His buddies begin to little girl giggle, but not a muscle moves in Hotshit’s Stone Mountain face.

“I’m not into watching your pubic hairs grow in, buddy.”

“How old do you think I am?”

“Thirty, thirty two maybe.”

Fuck, dude, I’d suck your dick all night just for that. But I continue to play it cool.

“So you get your kicks changing some old man’s Depends, I guess.”

Now Hotshit is the only one that’s laughing.

“Okay, smart ass, buy me a beer.”

He follows me to the bar and after collecting our beers, we move to the other side and sit down on the wood bleachers.

“I gotta tell you buddy -”

“Billy, name’s Billy.”

“Hank, in from LA. Hell, Billy, you’re the first guy I’ve met in a long time that’s got balls for real.”

“Hey, I know what I want, so why waste one another’s time?”

“And you want me?”

“If you can deal with all this.” I glide my hand over the fur on my chest and abs when Hank puts his hand over mine and pushes it further down to my crotch.

And squeezes.

“I dig the fur big time. And most younger guys are so used to deleting and blocking everybody, they don’t know how to talk, Christ, they don’t know how to fart in public. But you – you sound pretty mature for a kid old enough to be my son.”

“You don’t have to be old to have your shit together.”

Hank raises his razor chin. “So how old do you think I am, stud?”

Now with that hard core felon face, I took him for fifty but PR taught me to tell people what they wanna hear.

“Forty.”

“Good answer,” he replies. “I’m 46.”

“l just threw a guy out younger than you,” I say smugly.

“Oh?”

“High maintenance. Wanted it all the time. Hey, what do I look like, some fucking machine?”

“You must be pretty tough.” He smiles for the first time since we connected, a tough guy’s, controlled, but a smile nonetheless.

“Yea, I’m a trust fund baby, do what I wanna do, when I wanna do it, with whoever I wanna do it with.”

It’s refreshing to create whatever past the moment calls for when you know, chances are, you’ll never see the guy again.

“And you?” I ask. “You’re not one of these aging hotties who live off those of us with money are you?” This time I place my hand on his chest, rubbing it slowly back and forth from nipple to nipple. He’s got a nice succulent set.

“You know something,” with his own smart ass grin. “I’m going to really enjoy hearing you howl while I fuck you.”

I get up, pat my ass for his benefit, then sit down again.

“This ain’t yours yet.”

“Okay, fair enough.” He takes my hand, places it on his crotch, a respectable bulge at that. “I’m a set designer in Hollyweird, between gigs which is why I decided go visit New York and see some old buddies …”

“…who you’re free loading off of.”

“If you mean, I’m staying with one of them the answer is yes.”

“Current trans-coastal lover, present or former fuck buddy, auditioning sugar daddy, which is it?”

“None of the above. Just a buddy’s couch and a lumpy one at that.”

“Well then, that makes it easy.” I get down off the bleachers and wait for him to follow. He does.

“Remember.” He taps on the chrome and leather armband on his bulging left bicep.

“So two tops can have fun,” I say matter of factly, taping on my neoprene version, also on my not quite as bulging as his left bicep. “Who ends up on the bottom bunk is a matter of luck and timing.”

 

“Everything off ‘xcept the vests,” I order after locking my apartment door. I wanted no disruptions in case “In Transition” Robin or Casanova Carpenter are sighted.

“Hot foreplay?” asks Hank, leaving on his vest.

“No, nostalgia,” I reply.

Just before Hank strips, he pulls from his underwear bulge a sock with a Glade sandwich bag filled with what looks like Lady T, and a small straw.

“Now if I was a size queen,” looking at his unimpressive penis,” I’d tell you to get the fuck out right about now.”

I’m a grower. not a shower,” Hank replies pompously, as his dick comes alive staring at my boner that is as hard and long as my morning woodie. I grab his nips hanging like pearls off the earlobes of a whore, and twist them.

He gingerly spills some of his white magic powder onto the flat surface of the bed stand. “Want to indulge?”

“No, I’m a fucker, not a drugger.”

Who needs T? I’m high on him and high on my new found youth.

“Got anything to cut it with? Wait, let me get one of my credit cards…”

“Hold on,” I say, and pull out one of those plastic memorial cards funeral homes make up when someone dies.  “Use this.”

“Who’s Anna Veleber?”

“My mother. Don’t worry, she was a bitch when she was alive, but she won’t bite you now.”

He looks at me strangely, thinks nothing of my having him use this petty plastic memorial to the woman who birthed me so he can get high, shrugs those broad fucken shoulders, makes a line, and snorts away. He holds up his little straw in my direction.

“No, I’m just fine, really.”

Then my curiosity finally gets to me and I ask, “So what is that stuff? Tina? You buy it here?”

“Mostly T with a snatch of coke mixed in as a kicker. Hell, no, bought it back home where an eight ball is eighty bucks.”

“It’s five times that here,” I explain. “No wonder everybody’s nuts in California. They’re flying high. But how the fuck did you pass airport security?”

“Ah,” he says with a smirk. “Some guys smuggle it in shampoo bottles, others up their ass like some fucken mule. Me? I just walk through the scanners with the shit in my pocket. Nobody ever bats an eyelash, though one time the security guy patted me down so much I was getting an erection, thought maybe he’d want my number.”

He prepares another line. “So you sure you don’t want any?”

I nod negative and he leans over and snorts two more lines. What he thinks I don’t know is that Tina dick is already setting in and his thumb size dick has gotten beer can thick but is like a jelly roll at Christmas without the whipped cream, going absolutely nowhere, while mine is one happy fuck fella, twitching away in anticipation of that beautiful fucken manly butt.

Welcome to the bottom bunk, buddy.

“Slide over to the edge of the bed,” I order. “My tongue is hungry for that furry hole of yours.”

I can see he‘s beaming just like Jim when I made the same request.  But nowhere did Jim have as furry a butt or manhole – Hank’s is almost as furry as Gus’s was.

I kneel at the edge of the bed, position his ass right in front of my baby blues, and sink my tongue into his hole like a kamikaze pilot aimed for a navy destroyer.

“Hey buddy,” he murmurs. “That feels r-e-a-l good.”

“Wait,” I say, and I lick the tip of my pinkie and dip it into his super concoction, lick some off with the tip of my tongue, then smear what’s left on my finger around the lips of his hole before l use my tongue to shove the stuff as deep inside as I can.

“Holy shit!”

“What?” I say like an innocent convent novice, who’s been caught using one of her crucifixes as a dildo.

“I’ve had booty bumps, but nothing like this.”

“That’s because your men are unadventurous and uncreative.”

Then I lick my two middle fingers, do a shake and bake in the stuff and, giving his hole one good spit, plunge them in, massaging his prostate that becomes as hard as the Rock of Gibraltar.

“What the fuck!”

“And you thought you Left Coast boys knew everything.”

Experimenting with Jim all those years taught me there’s a lot more to meth than just smoking and darting.

But my dick, throbbing and drooling, is saying enough of this shit, now it’s my turn. So for my piece de resistance, I finger one last shred of the good stuff and swab my wet head with it, feeling, I have to say, a little good myself by now and, without wasting another micro-second of pleasure, slowly shove my tool up his ass.

And fuck him.

And keep fucking him.

“Holy fucken shit,” yells Hank, in a world unto himself, “where the hell did you learn to fuck like that?”

“The Juilliard,” I say quietly.

No response. And here I thought he was the artsy type.

After about a half hour, I climb up on the bed, a drop of precum falling from the tip of my swollen head to his delicious lips, stand up, and straddle him like the Colossus of Rhodes.

“Okay, handsome, now it’s time for YOUR workout.”

And with that I slowly lower my butt on his face, spread my furry cheeks, and shove my hairy man hole right on his bearded lips till he starts gasping for air.

 

I wake up and it’s three in the afternoon. It’s just me in bed, Mr. Hot Shit is gone, and propped up by the alarm clock is a note with a phone number scrawled over it and:

“If you’re ever in LA, I’d skip my mother’s funeral for you. You’re right, two tops can have fun as long as one yells uncle…”

Another satisfied customer. Maybe I should start getting references.

I got a woodie and get up to take a piss when I catch a glimpse of myself in the bedroom mirror.

I do a double take, stop, walk up close and take another look.

“FUCK YEA!” I yell out at the top of my lungs and I don’t give a shit who hears me.

I’m fucken young again, yes, fucken young again!

I run over to the closet, and pull out a shoebox loaded with old pics. I find it, a picture taken about twenty five, no, Christ, almost thirty years ago, by one of the female photographers at J. Walter Thompson, my first job out of college, who had a thing for me. I’m at my desk and my hair is longer and I have only a droopy Paul McCarthy mustache. But the face is the same as the one staring back at me from the mirror now. Young and hot and boyishly handsome – and 21!

Fuck, fuck, FUCK!

The same age as Samuel, the soldier whose dog tag I wear – died.

For a second the solemnity of that thought hits me, but a glance back at the mirror and I’m once more overwhelmed by the orgasmic impact of my new reality.

I’m fucken young. All over again.

Thank you Travis, thank you Samuel, and most of all, thank you Walt. I hope you’re in Homoheaven having every young guy you ever lusted after in your life – twice!

 

Purchase

self-publish | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Smashwords

[SQUARE BANNER HERE]

Meet the Author

RP Andrews spent most of his life in New York City as a public relations executive before relocating to Fort Lauderdale in 2002, where he enjoyed a brief second career teaching writing at a local university.

All his works of erotic gay fiction and non-fiction are available at amazon.com.

His first work of erotic gay fiction, a collection of edgy short stories called “Basic Butch,” was originally published by San Francisco-based GLBT Publishers in 2008. Basic Butch features characters who go down life paths that, in the end, they wish they had never explored.

His latest works of serious gay fiction include:

“The Czar of Wilton Drive,” the story of Jonathan Antonucci, a twenty-one-year- old, barely-out-the-closet gay man from suburban New York who overnight finds himself a multimillionaire, thanks to a bequest by his late gay uncle. Uncle Charlie has unexpectedly died of a heart attack, leaving him the sole owner of several of the most successful bars in Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale’s gay ghetto, making Jonathan the Czar of Wilton Drive.

Flying down to Lauderdale to claim his bequest, Jon encounters Uncle Charlie’s dubious friends and business associates, and is immediately submerged in Lauderdale’s scene of unbridled sex and heavy drugs. He also discovers his great uncle’s memoirs which reveal truths not only about Jon’s own past but also what may have really happened to his uncle. In the end, Jon is torn between avenging Uncle Charlie’s death or loving the man responsible for it.

“Not In It For The Love,” set at the turn of the new millennium. Josh, a young street-smart Florida drifter is snatched from his dead-end existence as a male hustler in a cheap Key Largo motel by Bishop, a Wall Street power broker who sets him up as his trophy boy in Manhattan society.

There, Josh, after leading a promiscuous lifestyle within New York City’s gay sub-culture, meets Hylan, a young, bi-racial, down-on-his luck, wheelchair-bound musician who awakens in Josh what love can be between two men. But their chance at happiness and the lives of those around them are forever changed by 9/11.

“Buy Guys,” published in 2015, is the story of Blaze and Pete, two handsome young drifters with nothing and nothing to lose. Blaze convinces Pete, who is falling in love with him, to leave dreary New Jersey and lead free and easy lives as male prostitutes in sunny Fort Lauderdale. Blaze, however, soon pulls Pete into a much larger, more dangerous scheme, a scheme that eventually threatens to destroy them both.

RP Andrews’ daily social commentary blog on gay life in America has been running since 2010 at str8gayconfessions.com, and a second edition collection of these commentaries is available as an e-book on amazon.com. Confessions of a Str8Gay Man is RP Andrews’ unvarnished, unorthodox views of Modern Gay America which are often counter to today’s political correct gay media.

In addition, there is “Furry Man’s Journal,” his erotic memoirs as a hirsute gay man as told through his experiences with the dozen iconic men in his life.

For more info, visit eroticgayromancebyrpandrews.com.

Website | Facebook | Twitter |
Goodreads
| Google+ | eMail | Instagram | Other | Other

Tour Schedule

[INSERT SCHEDULE HERE]

Giveaway

[INSERT GIVEAWAY INFO HERE]

Blog Button 2

Save

Oct 12

Book Blitz: Love By Number by DJ Jamison (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Love By Number

Author: DJ Jamison

Publisher: DJ Jamison

Release Date: October 12, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 31,000 words

Genre: Romance, LGBT, m/m contemporary romance

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Aidan doesn’t have the best record with relationships, but he’s had a lifelong love affair with baseball. Player stats and computer simulations make sense. People don’t. But when he needs a ride to the World Series, he must rely on another person: a sexy artist who is as spontaneous as Aidan is predictable.

Jesse doesn’t care about baseball. As an artist, he’d rather paint a player than watch him at bat. But his grandpa loves the Kansas City Royals, so he takes him to every home game. He has no idea a fender bender in the parking lot is about to deliver new inspiration in the shape of a man with a whole bag of quirks.

Despite their differences, Jesse and Aidan hit it off, and their sexual chemistry is fantastic. But when Aidan’s numbers betray him, Jesse isn’t prepared for the fall-out. If Aidan continues to put his passion for baseball stats above everything else, he could miss out on the most important numbers in life: the number of smiles, kisses and laughs they could share in a lifelong journey together.

Excerpt

Aidan clutched at his hair, heart hammering in his chest. The front driver’s side of his black Saab was crumpled. The wheel well took a direct hit, the force of the collision pressing it into the tire. He could tell from just looking that the axle must be bent, if not broken, by the way the tire tilted at the wrong angle.

It’s not drivable, he thought, and his heart hammered harder. He felt his hands trembling, and not as an aftershock of the accident. Well, not from experiencing the accident, at least. He was shaking because his plans had just been thrown in the blender.

“Hey, you okay?”

He looked up, gazing blankly at the figure approaching him. A man, but his features were lost in the shadows. Not that Aidan could focus on something like facial features right now. That wasn’t easy on a good day, much less in a moment like this.

“It’s not that big a deal,” he muttered to himself, as he’d learned from his therapist years ago. “It’s not. It’s not. But …” He groaned and clutched at his hair some more. “How am I going to get to the World Series now? I have to get there!”

He’d wrapped up so many hopes in getting to that series, in watching the Royals perform in high-stakes games. It was the perfect time to prove out his math. It might not be rocket science, but Aidan still wanted to watch his math come to life on the baseball field, in the most important series of the season. In person.

A hand touched his shoulder, and he flinched away.

“I’m sorry. Are you hurt?” a voice asked. A nice, mellow voice. He liked the raspy quality of it and the cadence of the man’s words. His tone calmed Aidan.

He managed to drag his gaze from the damage to the man’s face. “I’m …”

Sexy Artist Guy.

He faltered when he recognized the dark hair tinted with maroon highlights, dark eyes and sculpted lips — all coming together in a perfect symmetry. A perfect representation of geometry in nature, really. And the freckles splashed over his nose, highlighted now by the security lights overhead? They somehow added to his sex appeal instead of detracting from it.

Aidan had seen an open sketchbook on this man’s lap more than once when passing by on a bathroom break. He mostly drew portraits, from the look of it, but Aidan had only caught a glimpse. It made sense he was an artist since his entire appearance was like a work of art to Aidan’s eyes. He couldn’t imagine being so creative with his hair or his wardrobe or his skin, where Sexy Artist Guy had embraced both tattooing (his right bicep) and piercing (both ears and right eyebrow).

“I’m so sorry,” Sexy Artist Guy said again. “I saw an opening and went for it. I didn’t see you coming, but my grandfather was distracting me—”

“Blame it on the old man, why don’t ya?” a hoarse voice boomed loudly enough to make Aidan jump.

“Gramps, not now, huh? The guy is freaking out.”

“I’m not freaking out,” Aidan said sharply. The fascination with the stranger’s face faded as he remembered why he was in this situation. He gestured to the damage. “There’s no way I can drive that.”

“We can give you a lift,” the old man said, at the same time the handsome stranger said, “We’ll call you a tow truck.”

“But look at my car!” he said, not sure they understood the direness of the situation.

Artist Guy frowned, then glanced behind Aidan. Following his look, he realized they were blocking traffic. A line of cars snaked through the parking lot, headlights shining on Aidan’s personal disaster.

“I should move my car.” He glanced back at the bent wheel well, frowning. He hoped he could move the car.

“Jesse,” the old man spoke, “you help him push. I’ll get in and put it in neutral.”

They all took their positions, and with some work managed to push the car into an empty space next to the Lincoln Towncar that had so cruelly crunched the Saab. Aidan cringed at the scraping metal sound as his car rolled out of the lane of traffic.

Once off to the side, Jesse pulled out his wallet. He handed his license to Aidan, who stared at it. He took in all the details: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes, born one year after Aidan, making him twenty-six.

Jesse cleared his throat, and Aidan glanced up.

“Aren’t you going to take a picture?”

Damn. He’d been staring. The old saying popped into his mind: Take a picture, it’ll last longer.

He flushed. “Sorry.”

He started to hand the license back, but Jesse looked at him as if he had a screw loose. Then it clicked. Take a picture. For insurance. Right.

He dug out his phone and clicked the pic of the license, and then of the insurance card that Jesse handed over. He was still rattled by the accident, thrumming with bottled-up anxiety.

“You okay? You’re pretty twitchy,” Jesse said. “I’m sure the insurance will cover the damage.”

“Yeah, but it’s my car.”

“Yeah?”

Aidan waved to his car, unsure how to make Jesse understand.

“It was reliable.”

“Um, won’t it still be reliable when it’s fixed?”

“The World Series is in two days.”

“So …”

“Jesse, stop being thick,” the old man interrupted. “Obviously, he was going to drive up to St. Louis, and a Saab is a foreign car. He won’t be able to get the parts locally. Maybe not even the mechanic. They don’t make those cars anymore. He can’t get it fixed in time.”

“Oh.”

“I have to go to that game. I go to all the away games within driving distance. I always do. And this is the World Series. I’m going to have to take a bus, and, oh God, I can’t stand to ride the bus—”

“Jesse will drive you.”

Aidan looked at the older man. He had a bushy head of white hair and enough wrinkles to give a Shar-Pei a run for its money, but his tone was confident, the kind of confident that brooked no nonsense. He’d heard that tone from his own mother too many times to count.

“He will?”

“I will?” Jesse echoed. “Gramps, I’m sure Aidan doesn’t want—”

“That would be great!”

Normally, Aidan wouldn’t want to ride long distance with a stranger, but when contrasted with a bus full of strangers, he jumped at the opportunity. Besides, Jesse and his grandfather had been at every home game. If Jesse were some kind of predator or bully, he’d have shown it by now. Right?

He’d only had one other interaction with Jesse. He’d walked up to Aidan once, when he was trying to quickly record the stats from the latest play and compare them against what he’d predicted for that player’s performance. Aidan had been too distracted to make conversation, especially small talk with a stranger. But he couldn’t help noticing his great smile. Jesse was one of those people who smiled with his whole being, not just his mouth. His eyes brightened, his cheeks dimpled and his body even seemed to vibrate with happy energy.

Aidan liked that because it was easy to see Jesse’s happiness. It wasn’t subtle, which would be lost on him, or confusing — like when people’s mouths smiled but their eyes stayed cold. He didn’t understand that. Was he supposed to respond to their mouth or their eyes? And then there were some people who just smiled all the time, even when they said mean things. What did that mean? Smiles could be confusing, but Jesse’s wasn’t.

“I have tickets to the games,” Gramps was saying now. “I was going to ask you to go, as a favor to me.”

“What? But you said in the car—”

“Hush,” Gramps said, a gleam in his eye. “I’m not up for that kind of travel. I want you to go in my place, so you can tell me all about it. You take this nice young man. It’s the least we can do. Watch the games for me, and tell me all about it when you come home.”

Aidan pulled out his phone to call the tow truck, watching the two men in a staring stand-off. He made arrangements for the tow and disconnected in time to see Jesse sigh and nod.

“Okay, Gramps. For you.”

“Good boy,” Gramps said, clapping him on the shoulder.

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

 

DJ Jamison grew up in the Midwest and worked in newsrooms for more than 10 years, which came in handy when she began writing stories centered on a series of love connections between small-town Kansas newspaper staffers, their sources and their readers. It was the perfect entrance into the world of fiction, and she has since branched out into ERs, health clinics and other settings to tell the stories of characters who are flawed but loveable. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ is married with two sons and two glow-in-the-dark fish that are miraculously still alive.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | DJ and Company | DJ’s Newsletter

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Save

Save

Save

Save

Oct 10

Book Tour: His Convenient Husband by Robin Covington (Excerpt & Giveway)

Title:  His Convenient Husband

Series: Love and Sports, Book One

Author: Robin Covington

Publisher:  Entangled Publishing

Release Date: October 9, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 50,000

Genre: Romance, marriage of convenience, interracial romance, sports romance, LGBTQ

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

NFL football player Isaiah Blackwell lost his husband three years ago and is raising their teen son alone. He lives his life as quietly as his job allows, playing ball to support his family but trying not to draw unwanted attention. His quiet life is shaken up when a mutual friend introduces him to Victor, a visiting principal ballet dancer who is everything Isaiah is not.

Brash and loud, Victor Aleksandrov has applied for political asylum to avoid returning to Russia, where gay men are targeted and persecuted. He’s been outspoken about gay rights in his home country, and if he doesn’t get asylum, going back to Russia is a death sentence.

Their one-night stand turns into a tentative friendship, a relationship they both agree is temporary…until Victor’s denied asylum. Isaiah can’t offer Victor a happily ever after, but he can propose something that’ll keep Victor in the US and safe. . .marriage He just doesn’t expect his new husband to dance away with his heart.

Excerpt

Victor didn’t even think. If he had thought about it, he would have talked himself out of it, but his body took over, and before he knew it he’d pulled Isaiah into his arms. Nothing sexual, nothing calculated, just an embrace for a man who’d lost something precious and who’d carried the weight of his grief, and the grief of his son, on his shoulders.

Isaiah didn’t fight him, just melted against him, his large arms wrapping around Victor’s body as he allowed the moment to spool out naturally. Victor slowly released the breath he was holding, afraid that any sudden movement would spook Isaiah back into his previous arm’s length regimentation.

The house was quiet, soft music drifting out from the docking station, Evan’s muffled footfalls overhead as he undoubtedly chattered away with his best friend. He curbed his desire to make this more than it was, ignoring the voice in his head that whispered that this was what he always thought having a family would be like. A warm, safe home, children, and a man who loved him, and building a life together.

This wasn’t it, but it was as close to perfect as he was likely to get, so he’d take it. For as long as he could have it. They’d never discussed an end, but the natural end date was when he gained his citizenship. So, three years. Not long, but he’d take it, because Isaiah was quickly getting to him, taking up residence in the part of his heart he’d never thought would be filled.

Pathetic? He didn’t care. Victor was a romantic, something he had in common with Stephen. And look how Stephen had fallen. Victor didn’t have a chance.

The music switched, shifting down into a slower rhythm, not a Latin beat by any measure, but sultry. They began to move together. Victor didn’t make a conscious decision to dance, but it was the language that came most easily to him, and he responded to the natural sway of the embrace.

Isaiah followed his lead, the shuffle of their feet falling easily into a modified variation of the bachata. Limbs pressed against each other, muscles flexing as they moved slowly, finding their own pace. Victor sucked in a breath when Isaiah’s hands ran across the bare skin of his back, callouses dragging and igniting sparks of arousal in their wake. He made a sound, low but audible, and somewhere between a gasp and a moan, prompting his husband to pull back, eyes locked on his own.

Victor was relieved when he didn’t end the exquisite torture, but instead continued to maintain eye contact as they swayed together in the honey-glazed light of the kitchen. He was hard, sure that Isaiah could feel it through the thin material of his sweatpants, because he felt Isaiah’s erection through his dress pants. They shifted against each other, cocks aligning in a way that made the most of the lazy friction, sending ripples of pleasure over his skin and up his spine.

And then Isaiah pulled him closer, and Victor buried his face in the sweet dip of his shoulder, inhaling the scent of laundry detergent, cologne, and the intoxicating smell of his man. Isaiah’s hands dipped lower on his back, fingertips skimming the waistband, the occasional slip below the edge ratcheting his heartbeat up to the point where he knew it could be felt by the man holding him.

“So beautiful.” The words coasted across Victor’s skin, barely above a whisper. “Such a temptation.”

“I’m here for the taking,” Victor replied, his fingers coasting over the nape of Isaiah’s neck just to satisfy the urge to feel skin.

The moment was cloaked in madness, which was the only explanation for his mistake, and he knew it was the last thing he should have said when Isaiah went still, his fingers unconsciously digging into Victor’s hips.

They both pulled back, slowly, stubbled cheek against stubbled cheek, until their mouths were touching. Victor licked against his husband’s soft lips, begging for entrance and diving in when he was granted admission. Spice and sweet lemon and heat were everything in this kiss, more exploration than demand as they held on to each other and gave in.

The remains of dinner were around them, but this was another kind of hunger, and he’d waited too long to have it satisfied. Victor knew how good they could be together, and while he knew they would walk the razor’s edge between emotion and pure physical indulgence, he was willing to risk it. If he fell, then he’d embrace it.

But he knew he’d be falling alone.

Purchase

Entangled Publishing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

 

Meet the Author

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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail | Instagram

 

Tour Schedule

 

10/10 The Novel Approach

10/10 Writing Bookish Notes

10/11 Joyfully Jay

10/11 Divine Magazine

10/12 Love Bytes

10/12 Abbeys 1-Click Book Blog

10/13 Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

10/13 Bayou Book Junkie

10/14 Two Chicks Obsessed

10/14 Boy Meets Boy Reviews

 

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Oct 09

Release Day Blitz: His Convenient Husband by Robin Covington (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  His Convenient Husband

Series: Love and Sports, Book One

Author: Robin Covington

Publisher:  Entangled Publishing

Release Date: October 9, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 50,000

Genre: Romance, marriage of convenience, interracial romance, sports romance, LGBTQ

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

NFL football player Isaiah Blackwell lost his husband three years ago and is raising their teen son alone. He lives his life as quietly as his job allows, playing ball to support his family but trying not to draw unwanted attention. His quiet life is shaken up when a mutual friend introduces him to Victor, a visiting principal ballet dancer who is everything Isaiah is not.

Brash and loud, Victor Aleksandrov has applied for political asylum to avoid returning to Russia, where gay men are targeted and persecuted. He’s been outspoken about gay rights in his home country, and if he doesn’t get asylum, going back to Russia is a death sentence.

Their one-night stand turns into a tentative friendship, a relationship they both agree is temporary…until Victor’s denied asylum. Isaiah can’t offer Victor a happily ever after, but he can propose something that’ll keep Victor in the US and safe. . .marriage He just doesn’t expect his new husband to dance away with his heart.

Excerpt

Victor didn’t even think. If he had thought about it, he would have talked himself out of it, but his body took over, and before he knew it he’d pulled Isaiah into his arms. Nothing sexual, nothing calculated, just an embrace for a man who’d lost something precious and who’d carried the weight of his grief, and the grief of his son, on his shoulders.

Isaiah didn’t fight him, just melted against him, his large arms wrapping around Victor’s body as he allowed the moment to spool out naturally. Victor slowly released the breath he was holding, afraid that any sudden movement would spook Isaiah back into his previous arm’s length regimentation.

The house was quiet, soft music drifting out from the docking station, Evan’s muffled footfalls overhead as he undoubtedly chattered away with his best friend. He curbed his desire to make this more than it was, ignoring the voice in his head that whispered that this was what he always thought having a family would be like. A warm, safe home, children, and a man who loved him, and building a life together.

This wasn’t it, but it was as close to perfect as he was likely to get, so he’d take it. For as long as he could have it. They’d never discussed an end, but the natural end date was when he gained his citizenship. So, three years. Not long, but he’d take it, because Isaiah was quickly getting to him, taking up residence in the part of his heart he’d never thought would be filled.

Pathetic? He didn’t care. Victor was a romantic, something he had in common with Stephen. And look how Stephen had fallen. Victor didn’t have a chance.

The music switched, shifting down into a slower rhythm, not a Latin beat by any measure, but sultry. They began to move together. Victor didn’t make a conscious decision to dance, but it was the language that came most easily to him, and he responded to the natural sway of the embrace.

Isaiah followed his lead, the shuffle of their feet falling easily into a modified variation of the bachata. Limbs pressed against each other, muscles flexing as they moved slowly, finding their own pace. Victor sucked in a breath when Isaiah’s hands ran across the bare skin of his back, callouses dragging and igniting sparks of arousal in their wake. He made a sound, low but audible, and somewhere between a gasp and a moan, prompting his husband to pull back, eyes locked on his own.

Victor was relieved when he didn’t end the exquisite torture, but instead continued to maintain eye contact as they swayed together in the honey-glazed light of the kitchen. He was hard, sure that Isaiah could feel it through the thin material of his sweatpants, because he felt Isaiah’s erection through his dress pants. They shifted against each other, cocks aligning in a way that made the most of the lazy friction, sending ripples of pleasure over his skin and up his spine.

And then Isaiah pulled him closer, and Victor buried his face in the sweet dip of his shoulder, inhaling the scent of laundry detergent, cologne, and the intoxicating smell of his man. Isaiah’s hands dipped lower on his back, fingertips skimming the waistband, the occasional slip below the edge ratcheting his heartbeat up to the point where he knew it could be felt by the man holding him.

“So beautiful.” The words coasted across Victor’s skin, barely above a whisper. “Such a temptation.”

“I’m here for the taking,” Victor replied, his fingers coasting over the nape of Isaiah’s neck just to satisfy the urge to feel skin.

The moment was cloaked in madness, which was the only explanation for his mistake, and he knew it was the last thing he should have said when Isaiah went still, his fingers unconsciously digging into Victor’s hips.

They both pulled back, slowly, stubbled cheek against stubbled cheek, until their mouths were touching. Victor licked against his husband’s soft lips, begging for entrance and diving in when he was granted admission. Spice and sweet lemon and heat were everything in this kiss, more exploration than demand as they held on to each other and gave in.

The remains of dinner were around them, but this was another kind of hunger, and he’d waited too long to have it satisfied. Victor knew how good they could be together, and while he knew they would walk the razor’s edge between emotion and pure physical indulgence, he was willing to risk it. If he fell, then he’d embrace it.

But he knew he’d be falling alone.

Purchase

Entangled Publishing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

 

Meet the Author

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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail | Instagram

 

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Save

Save

Save

Oct 09

Release Blitz: NineStar Press Halloween Series (Giveaway)

Get in the holiday spirit with the Halloween collection of stories from NineStar Press

Releasing between October 9th and October 23rd, don’t miss a single one!

Available October 9th 

Synopsis

Clarence and Bryant thought an all expense trip to visit family in Wisconsin would offer a pleasant break from the doldrums of Arizona life. There was, however, a catch: Bryant’s sister bought a room where you could supposedly see and speak to the dead. Assuming the entire thing is a hoax—sea monkeys for rich people—Bryant and Clarence travel east on their family’s dime.

A surprise awaits them. The room works as advertised, allowing the human eye access to the spirit world, and the ghost inside has a thing or two to teach them about the afterlife.

Purchase

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

Available October 9th 

Synopsis

Will and Pete loved each other in a time when doing so could get you killed. Flash forward seventy-five years and you can still find people who wouldn’t think twice about doing just that to a couple of men in love with each other. What happens every Halloween night at the abandoned and reputedly haunted house at the end of Loon Lane might not change any bigoted opinions, but it will make you think twice about what’s behind the next glory hole.

Purchase

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

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Oct 09

Release Blitz: Ardulum: Second Don by J.S. Fields (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Ardulum: Second Don

Series: Ardulum, Book Two

Author: J.S. Fields

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: October 9, 2017

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 92000

Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, action, aliens, bonded, captivity, coming of age, criminals, futuristic, pilot, religion, science, slow burn, smugglers, space, space opera, spaceships, telekinesis, telepathy

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

The Charted Systems are in pieces. Mercy’s Pledge is destroyed, and her captain dead. With no homes to return to, the remaining crew sets off on a journey to find the mythical planet of Ardulum—a planet where Emn might find her people, and Neek the answers she’s long sought. Finding the planet, however, brings a host of uncomfortable truths about Ardulum’s vision for the galaxy and Neek’s role in a religion that refuses to release her. Neek must balance her planet’s past and the unchecked power of the Ardulans with a budding relationship and a surprising revelation about her own genealogy.

Ardulum: Second Don blends space opera elements and hard science into a story about two women persistently bound to their past and a sentient planet determined to shape their future.

Excerpt

Ardulum: Second Don
J.S. Fields © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter 1: Eld Palace, Ardulum

This is a Galactic News Network special report. Aid agency reports coming in outline a new species found on Risalian ships in the aftermath of the Crippling War. Our Risalian sources confirm the species as ‘Ardulan,’ a non-sentient beast of burden. The bipeds resemble Terrans and Neek in appearance but have unique subdermal bruising. All specimens thus far recovered have been dead; however, the newly appointed Markin request that should a live one be found, it should be turned over to the Council immediately.

—Excerpt from wideband news broadcast in the Charted Systems, December 2nd, 2060 CE

It was his Talent Day. His day to be here, in the old palace. His day to meet the Eld and complete his metamorphosis.

Arik pushed a sheet of black hair from his face—streaked with red from a summer tending andal trees—and began a slow, deliberate procession towards the Talent Chamber. He passed under a high andal archway built in the traditional encased knot style, reliefs carved into each aborted branch. Reaching out as he passed, Arik ran a finger over one of the knots, noting the texture created by chisels and pyrography. He picked his way over andal floorboards, worn to unevenness from generations of youth making this same journey. The lustrous, black heartwood reflected the sunlight falling from the glass ceiling, but Arik didn’t turn his eyes from the glare.

Four more steps and a turn brought Arik around the final corner. He faced the door to the Talent Chamber and paused. His heart rate increased, so Arik rested his back against the andal wall paneling, digging his nails into the soft, white sapwood. It was comforting to be so close to Ardulum’s native tree, reassuring to embed himself in it, if only slightly. His pulse calmed. His breathing slowed. Arik took another two calming breaths and pushed off the wall. He nudged the door ahead with his foot, and it slid silently open, revealing the room inside.

As with the receiving hall and throne room, natural light filtered in from the glass ceiling. Here, however, it was muted. Outside, the canopy of several large andal trees swayed in the breeze, casting patchwork shadows on the floor. Arik stepped forward, trying to keep to only the darker, shadowed areas, and approached the rulers of Ardulum.

In the center of the room, the three elds sat on ornate, wooden thrones, each watching him with reserved amusement. Arik supposed humor was a good sign. Perhaps the Eld had a soft spot for young second dons on their Talent Day. Perhaps being the only one present meant the Eld were not tired from numerous ceremonies, and Arik would get their full attention.

Arik stopped when he was within an arm’s length of the Eld and then let his gaze flicker around the hall. Towering sculptures of past elds, carved in great detail in the black andal heartwood, loomed over the thrones and stared ominously at Arik—their freshly polished faces glistened in the baronial light.

A deep male voice broke the silence. “You come before us, Arik of the second don, fresh from metamorphosis. What do you bring?” The male eld, who looked to be the oldest of the group, stared unblinkingly at Arik as he stroked the worn wood grain of his throne seat. His two Talents were carved into the throne base, easy for Arik to see: Hearth and Mind. It wasn’t a bad pairing to have. The Eld were the only ones on Ardulum to have more than one Talent, of course, but Arik liked the balance created when the Talents encompassing protection and construction intertwined with the Talents surrounding critical thinking and mathematics. The male eld was likely an excellent architect, which, if the palace suffered any ill effects after the next move, would be a key skill to have.

Arik’s stomach growled loudly, and the youth sheepishly placed a hand over it, hoping that somehow the Eld hadn’t heard.

“Arik?” the male eld prompted again, his tone gentler than before. “What do you bring to offer to us, your Eld?”

Arik closed his eyes tightly for just a moment and brought his mind back to the present. Andal help him, he could smell wood cooking, the sweet odor wafting from the kitchens. Arik’s stomach growled again, and his mouth started to water.

Focus! he scolded himself as he fumbled momentarily through his tunic pockets. This is the biggest day of your life. Stop thinking about lunch! Finally, his fingers came across his offering—the form of a small child whittled from andal from his parents’ plantation. The carving was crude and made only from sapwood—Arik had never had great fine motor skills, but the figure had visible appendages and a reasonably detailed face. Arik hoped it was enough.

“I bring you this gift,” Arik said slowly, his voice wavering and squeaking to a higher pitch on the last word. “May it show my devotion to my spiritual journey, so I can leave my childhood and discover my Talent. Please accept this offering and guide me onto my new path.” With shaking hands, Arik knelt on the mat and held the carving up over his head. The coarse weave of the andal fibers dug into his knees, and Arik had to stop himself from reaching down to scratch.

A cool hand touched Arik’s wrist briefly before removing the carving. “We accept your offering, Arik of the second don.” The female eld reached down and put a small finger under Arik’s chin, lifting his face up. “Rise and receive your Talent.”

Arik got to his feet, suddenly hyperaware of these mystical individuals. He’d never been this close to the Eld before and likely never would again, so Arik took a moment to study their faces. They were old, older than the oldest third don Arik had ever seen—and yet, their fingers were elegant, their bodies strong and well-muscled. The male eld looked to be from one of the southern provinces. His hair still had dark streaks shooting through a mass of silver, and his skin was closer to olive in its translucency. The female, blessed with Talents of Mind and Aggression, was tall, her sharp chin well above the other elds’ heads. Her hair was uniformly cinnamon save for at her temples. She, too, looked to be from the south. However, the gatoi, of Science and Hearth, was much paler, zir skin containing next to no melanin. Zie was from the farthest northern province, then, where sunlight rarely penetrated the thick andal forests. The birth rate was skewed in favor of the third-gender gatois in that region, although Arik wasn’t certain whether that was a natural phenomenon or whether it came from parental selection.

The male eld cleared his throat, and Arik again snapped back to the present. The Eld were still staring at him, unmoving. Was his offering not enough? Was there another component he had forgotten? His mother and talther, his gatoi parent, had helped him carve it, staying up late each night since Arik’s emergence and guiding the young man’s wavering chisel with steady hands. A week wasn’t much time to construct an offering. Did others bring more elaborate gifts? Should he have done something in line with what he hoped his Talent might be? Dizziness threatened to topple him, the smells from the kitchen confused him, and he had to work to control his breathing. His mind wandered. The increasingly saturated smell of cooked andal spun through his head. Was he in the kitchens? It certainly seemed that way now. How had he ignored the intensity of the smell before? It was almost like standing in the rotisserie himself, the scent of sweet spice invading his nostrils.

The female eld smiled slightly at the male, who gave a knowing wink. Arik teetered in a near panic, vision straying between reality and his wandering delusions.

“Peace, young one,” the gatoi eld said as zie stepped forward. In zir hands, zie carried a small wooden bowl filled with a pale mucus. Zie dipped two fingers into the bowl, coating them, and then held zir hand out towards Arik. “Step forward to begin your journey.”

Arik’s empty stomach rolled. He knew the mucus was synthetic, but what it represented brought the taste of bile to the back of his throat. Determined to not embarrass himself further, Arik took a confident step towards the gatoi eld and closed his eyes. For the past year, he’d been instructed in the ritual that was about to take place. He would not mess things up now—not on his Talent Day, no matter how strange and ostentatious the performers or how heavily the air hung with the smell of food.

“I am Eld,” the gatoi eld said steadily as zie outlined Arik’s face with the mucus. “I am the vessels that transport power.”

“I am Eld,” said the female, taking the bowl from the gatoi. She swirled her smallest finger in the mixture and then coated Arik’s nose. “I am the fibers of strength.” She handed the bowl to the male, who had stepped forward as well.

“I am Eld,” the male said, pinching Arik’s chin between two mucus-coated fingers. “I am the rays that store our knowledge.”

Arik counted silently to fifteen in his head as he’d been instructed. The tingling at the mucosal contact points radiated from his face down to his neck, absorbed into his skin, and congealed into a tight, painful lump just above his heart.

“I am Arik of the second don,” he said when he finished the count. Gently, slowly, Arik moved his consciousness into himself to where the lump lay just under his skin, pulsing in rhythm with his heartbeat. He watched it for a moment, external stimuli forgotten. He was both slightly revolted and slightly in awe of this thing, this synthetic chemical compound that would, in just a few seconds, stimulate his adrenal gland and cause the production of a massive number of hormones—hormones that would determine how he would spend the rest of his life.

Arik let his mind touch the lump. The mass dissolved, its components seeping into his bloodstream and heading directly for their target. Arik’s body became warm—and then hot. He broke out in a sweat, the salty liquid beading on his yellow skin and reflecting in the bright overhead lighting. He shut his eyes and was forced to his hands and knees when the chemicals hit his adrenal gland and the hormones began to affect his other cells.

Cells changed. Cells morphed. His blood circulated in the normal direction, paused for a fraction of a second, and then reversed. His metabolism increased, and his internal body temperature shot up even more. Veins bulged in his wrists and began to burst, blood seeping under the skin and forming bright violet bruises. Arik felt like he couldn’t breathe anymore. The heat was too intense. He began to pant and fell onto his right side, curling into a fetal position.

As abruptly as it began, the heat began to back off. Arik could feel his cells calming, the veins in his wrists closing. Sweat stung his eyes, seeping past his eyelids, and Arik brought his left hand up to wipe them clean. When his vision cleared and he brought his hand away, Arik saw his new markings for the first time—three linked, black circles on the inside of both of his wrists surrounded by a bruised haze of extra subdermal blood. His smile grew slowly as he moved into a sitting position and looked up at the Eld.

“I am Arik of the second don,” he said clearly, his voice resonating, crisp and strong, throughout the chamber. No wavering. He could be proud of that. “I am of Science.”

“And there your Talent shall lie,” the female responded. “Stand, Arik, and leave this palace. Return to your home and begin your apprenticeship.”

Arik’s face broke into a broad grin. He clasped his hands behind his back and stood, his previous discomforts forgotten. Arik took a moment to straighten his tunic before bowing to each eld. “I thank you, Eld, for showing me my way.”

The Eld smiled back but remained silent. Remembering that he was to leave promptly, Arik turned and took several confident steps towards the door. Pride filled his chest—pride at his Talent, pride at the way he’d conducted himself, and pride that he could go home and apprentice to a Talent that would not take him away from his family or his andal saplings. With the Talent of Science, he could stay and work his ancestors’ andal plantations—could tend the young trees he’d grown up with. His entire family was of Science. They would be proud of him.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

J.S. Fields is a scientist who has perhaps spent too much time around organic solvents. She enjoys roller derby, woodturning, making chain mail by hand, and cultivating fungi in the backs of minivans. Nonbinary, but prefers female pronouns. Always up for a Twitter chat.

Website | Twitter | eMail

 

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Save

Save

Save

Save

Older posts «

Fetch more items