New Release Blitz ~ The Devil You Know by S.J. Coles (Excerpt & Giveaway)


The Devil You Know by
S.J. Coles

Word Count: 98,131
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 402

Genres:

BILLIONAIRE
CELEBRITIES
CONTEMPORARY
CRIME
CRIME AND MYSTERY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

Add to Goodreads

Book Description


The law is about how you represent the truth. Love is no different.

Hilary Whyte believes that he has left his teenage troubles—and the person who embodied them—in the past. He has spent a decade building his career as a defense solicitor, believing that despite his troubled past, even the worst human beings deserve justice.

Now he has a promotion on the horizon as well as a fairytale wedding to his film star fiancé. On paper, life couldn’t be better.

But now he is being made to represent Dom Gosford, the boy who made his adolescence a living hell, on a double murder charge, and Hilary can’t be sure he is innocent. As the trial approaches, the two men are forced to travel a road of discovery, only to find that the truth of their connection goes much deeper than the question of who killed Lizzie and Dean Wood.

Reader advisory: This book contains a graphic description of murder and references to suicide, pedophilia, blackmail, pre-marital infidelity, and child pornography.

Excerpt

Hilary took a deep breath. His shirt, new on that morning, was sticking to the small of his back. He looked up at the Hart-Gosfords’ Mayfair townhouse and told himself, yet again, that it was just another case.

You can do this.

He straightened his back, let out the breath and pushed the intercom.

“Yes?”

“Hilary Whyte from Gunnerson and Gains to see Mr. Hart-Gosford.”

The gate buzzed and swung open. Hilary transferred his briefcase from one hand to the other so he could wipe his palms on his trousers as he climbed the steps to the front door. Before he could knock, it was opened by a short, stiff-necked man with a smart suit and a grim expression. The scar of an old piercing marred one eyebrow and another, more jagged, bisected the fleshiest part of his neck. The marks, combined with the crew-cut, made him more look like private security than house staff, though it didn’t surprise Hilary that the Hart-Gosfords felt the need for both.

“This way.”

Hilary resisted staring at the minimalist paintings and crystal sculptures as he followed the butler into a well-appointed parlor. It was best not to appear daunted by such things, even though just one of these pieces was probably worth more than he made in a year, even now.

Tall windows flooded the room with weak spring sunshine. Two women with the same shade of platinum hair looked up as he entered. The younger, who sat on the edge of a mauve love seat, wore a carefully schooled expression, the sort executed best by those who spent a lifetime practicing it. But Hilary detected strain in her slate-gray eyes. The older woman managed to look down her nose at Hilary, even though she barely grazed five feet in her thin-heeled patents. Her eyes, a shade paler than her daughter’s, were sharper than cut glass.

“Mr. Hilary Whyte, ma’am…for Master Dominic.”

“Thank you, Merriweather,” the younger woman said, her accent crisp. “Some coffee, I think. Coffee, Mr. Whyte?”

“Yes, thank you,” Hilary said, finally spotting the other figure in the room. Dominic Hart-Gosford stood with his back to them as he poured whiskey into a tumbler on a chrome sideboard. Even at this distance, Hilary could see that his hair had darkened since school, now a brown just this side of black. He’d also added yet more muscle to his six-foot-three frame. Hilary fought to keep his face neutral.

You’re the solicitor Walter recommended?” the older woman said, examining Hilary like he was something she’d just stepped in.

“That’s right.”

“This is simply not acceptable—”

“Mother—”

“No, Amelia,” the older woman cut her off. “This simply will not do. You…Mr. Whyte. How old are you?”

“I’m twenty-nine, Mrs. Hart.”

She lifted an eyebrow. “I was not aware Walter Gunnerson had a sense of humor—or that he would have such poor taste as to use my son-in-law’s murder trial as a chance to exercise it.”

“I can assure you, Mrs. Hart, I am a fully qualified solicitor with years of experience in criminal defense.”

“How can you possibly have years of experience?”

“By dedicating almost every waking hour to my profession since I was eighteen years old,” Hilary replied without inflection. “Mr. Gunnerson supplied you with my trial record, I believe?” Mrs. Hart narrowed her eyes. “If that is not enough to reassure you, you are more than welcome to apply to the senior partners for a change of counsel. But, in the meantime, there is rather a lot to be done. So, if you don’t mind…” Hilary indicated the open door.

“I suggest you don’t get too comfortable,” Mrs. Hart said, then swept from the room.

“I’m sorry for my mother,” Amelia said, standing and clasping her manicured hands together. “This is a trying time.”

“I understand,” Hilary said with a careful smile. “But it will take at least a few hours for your mother to try to have me removed from this case. In the meantime, my time is best served speaking with your husband.”

“Yes, of course.” She glanced back at Dominic. He stood, gazing out of the window, his drink untouched in his hand. Hilary took in the broad shoulders, the trim waist, the controlled stillness in his stance and hurriedly suppressed the memories that threatened to surface before they could show on his face.

Amelia stepped forward, lowering her voice. “My husband is innocent, Mr. Whyte. Whatever you think you know, you must believe that.”

Hilary smiled but did not speak. Amelia left as Merriweather appeared with a silver tray of coffee and china cups and set it down.

“You sure you don’t need me, sir?” he said, his eyes on Hilary.

“I’m fine, Merriweather. Thank you.”

Merriweather withdrew, closing the door behind him, and Hilary fought the impression that the room had shrunk.

Dominic finally turned around. Hilary had told himself many times in the last few weeks that he’d forgotten what this man looked like—that he’d successfully wiped the image from his mind, along with the sound of his voice. But as he took in the eyes, blacker than midnight, the hard, almost cruel set to a jaw that would otherwise be considered handsome, it was like Hilary was again sprawled on the PE changing room floor, that same face hanging over his, bloodied lips twisted and mocking, his fist raised for another blow.

“So, it really is you.” Dominic didn’t speak loudly, but it was like a stone had dropped into the silence of the room. “I could have laid a considerable amount of money on never seeing you again.”

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

S. J. Coles

S. J. Coles is a Romance writer originally from Shropshire, UK. She has been writing stories for as long as she has been able to read them. Her biggest passion is exploring narratives through character relationships.

She finds writing LGBT/paranormal romance provides many unique and fulfilling opportunities to explore many (often neglected or under-represented) aspects of human experience, expectation, emotion and sexuality.

Among her biggest influences are LGBT Romance authors K J Charles and Josh Lanyon and Vampire Chronicles author Anne Rice.

Find S. J. Coles at her website and follow her on Instagram.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Release Blitz ~ Blood Omen by Kegan Tyler (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Blood Omen by Kegan Tyler

Book 1 in the Blood Crusades series

Word Count: 34,844
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 142

GENRES:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
PARANORMAL
WERESHIFTERS

Add to Goodreads

Book Description


In the dark of the night…

Thomas is a lone shapeshifter living in a world where vampires and lycans are known to man. He has the unique gift of shifting into any living being, but he feels lost and alone.

Then he meets André, the alpha of the Bramwell pack of lycans, who offers him a new life—and a home. Gunter, the pack beta, sees something in Thomas. Their attraction is magnetic and undeniable. Their primal desires take hold and Thomas falls for this beautiful man—hard.

But when a coven of vampires arrives, showing great interest in shapeshifters, Gunter must protect the one he’s grown to love.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of smoking, the discussion of past sexual abuse, the accidental turning of someone into a werewolf, violence, character death, and scenes of sex whilst in a werewolf-shifted state.

Excerpt

Thomas Allen Wright ascended the steps to the front entrance of his apartment building, sopping wet from the relentless rain and craving a cocktail. He realized as he entered the passcode into the security pad that he’d be walking into an empty apartment, and he would spend the night alone for the first time in a week.

His ongoing affair with Jonathan Greer, a corporate snooze with money and a raucous lifestyle, had come to a screeching halt as of late. For a long while, Jonathan had stayed with Thomas in his apartment, and was always there after Thomas’ late shift at the café. Thomas reminisced fondly about the countless nights they’d shared in each other’s company, all the hot lovemaking they’d indulged in. Jonathan liked to call it ‘fucking’ as he was still putting up a straight-acting façade for his black-tie boys in the office, which, much to Thomas’ discomfort, translated into Jonathan’s day-to-day life as well. And, somehow, it translated to the bedroom.

But perhaps that was why Thomas had been so drawn to him. Jonathan’s macho disposition coupled with his impossibly sculpted tan body made him irresistible. So much so that Thomas had found himself in the most ridiculous situations to be at Jonathan’s beck and call. He was too devoted, and for what? A good lay?

All this swirled in his head as he progressed down the hallway and to the elevator at the far end of the building. He slapped the Up button and waited for it to descend. He set his briefcase down on the checker-patterned carpet and ran his fingers through his dark brown hair, wringing out the excess water dribbling down his leather jacket.

Thomas knew deep down that he was an attractive man with his cerulean eyes and timid smile. But he didn’t believe it himself. He’d often stare at his feet when good-looking men walked past him, or when girls smiled and winked at him on the street.

Like his mane of brown hair, his loafers were unkempt—scuffed, scratched and faded—and their age clearly showed. He looked about thirty, but he never disclosed his real age to anyone, not even his closest lover.

He was a shapeshifter. The animal he transformed into most commonly was a wolf, though he could take on many forms at any given moment. He’d once been a panther, which was his second-favorite creature to shift into. He so often chose a werewolf for the obvious reason—if anyone in the area were to see him in his animal form, he’d not be blinked at more than twice. Werewolves were accepted as part of society now, no longer a myth. If anyone had come across him as a panther, he’d be on the local news and, more than likely, a hunt would be called. How unusual it would be to see an exotic animal that was most prominent in the jungle in the Great Lakes. Lycans had been ‘out’ to the world for about ten years at this point, so he figured he’d blend in posing as one.

Perhaps the most useful part of his unique gift was the ability to not just shift into an animal but to shift into another person. He had first discovered this when he was twelve, in the bathroom stall of his middle school. A bully, whose name he’d long since forgotten, had maneuvered him into the girls’ room and was taunting him, shouting obscenities at the top of his lungs and banging on the stall door with his meaty fists. Desperate for an escape, little Thomas had shifted into Becca, a classmate he was friends with, and pranced out of the girls’ room, laughing under his breath at the look on his bully’s face when she exited the stall instead of him.

This became a fun little game in his youth, and it had expanded in adulthood. By now he’d adopted the appearances of some ten or eleven figures, a couple of them celebrities, and he had found it amusing to trick and confuse those around him. He quite enjoyed living someone else’s life now and then.

The result of this special ability was that he had an alter ego. Evan Winston was his name, and he was a British scholar from Edinburgh on visa in the United States to study biology at the University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh. Or so he told people. A completely fictional character with an appearance Thomas had appropriated from a fashion model in the UK, Evan was blond-haired, blue-eyed, and had a nice large cock which was useful in bed. Thomas’ own was a bit smaller with a modest girth, and this, paired with his prominent ass, meant that he bottomed all the time…in his true form. As Evan, he enjoyed the pleasure of being on top and having a sizable eight-inch cock. What a dream it was to be Mr. Evan Winston.

Jonathan did not know Evan, and Thomas intended to keep it that way. As a personal rule, he never used his trickery on those closest to him. Presently, the two people that met that criterion were Jonathan and his best friend Shalese.

One other secret that Thomas carried with himself was that he could never visibly age past where he was. His real age was sixty-two, though every time he shifted back to himself, he looked about thirty. He had the most coveted ability in all human existence—immortality, or at least that’s what he considered it. He had the pleasure of watching the world evolve around him, passing through multiple generations while maintaining an appearance much younger than all he interacted with. He’d see friends age and once they noticed that he looked the same as he did when they first met him, it was time to pack up his life and relocate. He’d traveled from New York City, where he was born, to Sacramento and all places in between. For a brief time, he’d lived on the Mediterranean coast, but had decided that the community was too closely knit. Others looked at him with suspicion, and he suspected that several of the city residents knew what he was. He had lasted five months there.

When Thomas touched a living being, the DNA of that life form would transfer to him, and his body would keep a record of that form at that point in time—the age, the shape… Everything about that being as it was when he touched it, he would transform into. He could shift into a variety of life forms, such as a snake, a dove and a Northern cardinal.

He’d never forget the time he met his childhood crush, Ava Charlotte, in person. A superstar pop icon, she had been much more reserved and humble than he’d imagined. He’d shaken her hand, and she’d given him the warmest smile in passing. She was thirty-four at the time, so whenever he shifted, she looked the same as she was that day. He carried the memory with him fondly and would shift into her physique every now and then to remember it.

He’d seen all kinds of men from all parts of the United States, and he’d gotten pretty good at guessing what their cocks looked like. He estimated he’d slept with close to seven hundred men throughout the country. His favorite were the solid boys with a southern drawl and an appetite for ass. They always had the nicest cocks. It was the Jersey boys and the surfers that had the most obnoxious personalities, and the smallest penises.

Thomas reached his apartment door and dug into his pocket for his keys, brushing against the head of his half-hard cock. He fumbled for the right key and, as he slid it in, it reminded him of the times he’d don Evan Winston and slide into those beautiful country boys. He overheard a conversation between a police officer, Thomas’ landlord and the tenant of apartment five. The man was irate, shouting something about an intruder shattering his balcony door. The officer asked if anything was stolen, to which the man said no, not that he could see. The landlord muttered a comment about not paying for the damages. When the man’s voice raised an octave, Thomas took that as his cue to hide.

He flung the door open and closed it behind him, then shed his clothes, tossing them to the floor. He slumped down onto the black sofa and played with himself, fantasizing about Jonathan and the way he so expertly made Thomas come while giving him oral.

Thomas was aware of the fact that he lived in Jonathan’s shadow, and no amount of pity or self-reliance could change that. His mind was always glued to Jonathan’s body, to his full, pink lips, to his sizable prospect too often concealed behind slim jeans. When he came on himself, he ran his fingers through the fresh hot cum and imagined Jonathan’s sensual hands sliding along his torso. Then he envisioned Jonathan spreading his ass and nuzzling his crevice into Thomas’ face. As he fantasized about licking Jonathan’s tight hole, his eager hand traced his abdomen and reached for his cock again, working it until he came a second time.

In a daze, he rolled off the couch and grabbed his nearby shirt, using it to clean himself off. Then he grabbed his other forgotten clothes and stashed them in his laundry basket just inside the bedroom. He dipped into the bathroom and indulged in a hot shower, all the while letting Jonathan’s hypnotic trance take over him.

After he’d stepped out of the shower and dried off, he wrapped the damp towel around his waist then reached into the pocket of his jeans in the basket for his phone. He looked up Jonathan’s contact and dialed.

Four rings later, he was greeted with a melancholy woman. “Your call has been forwarded to an automated voice message system…” He pressed the End button and tossed the phone onto his bed in a mild fit of annoyance. Of course, whenever he wanted to get ahold of Jonathan, he was never available. But the second Jonathan wanted to get ahold of him, Thomas answered at the first ring.

He knew he was too tied up in this delusion that he and Jonathan were meant to be, or rather that they were good together, which in itself was a fallacy. He knew for a fact that Jonathan couldn’t give a damn about him and what he spent his time doing. He guessed that if Jonathan knew that he thought of him so often, he’d probably either shrug it off or ditch him altogether. This thought ravaged Thomas’ mind as he made himself a vegetable stir-fry.

As he was about to dish up the food, his cell phone rang. Eagerly, he bolted into the bedroom and answered. The rough, sexy voice on the other end was unmistakable.

“What’s up?”

“Hey, Jonathan,” Thomas said with a sigh. “What are you doing tonight?”

“I just got back from a twelve-hour day,” Jonathan grumbled. He sounded worn. “Mounds of paperwork and bitchy clients. My head fuckin’ hurts.”

“I bet it does,” Thomas sympathized. Then, feeling ballsy, he said, “Would a blow job help?”

Jonathan sighed, and there was a brief pause. Then he said, “Yeah, it would. I’ve been thinking about your ass all day. I want it.”

“Come over. I’m making stir-fry.”

Another sigh. “I can’t drive.”

“Why is that?”

“I’m a little drunk,” Jonathan confessed.

“Already? When did you get home?”

“Yeah, already. About an hour ago. Downed five shots and I’m on my second beer.”

“How about I bring the food over to you?”

“Mmmmh,” Jonathan moaned. Thomas imagined he was biting his lip. “Sex and free food. Sign me up.”

“I can be there in twenty.”

“Make it fifteen.” Click.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Kegan Tyler

Kegan Tyler was born in Pennsylvania in 1993. He has always been a creative—at the age of eight, he created a comic book series, and he wrote his first novel at age fourteen. His love of vampires and werewolves paired with his love of gay erotica resulted in his passion project, The Blood Crusades.

He enjoys pop music, horror flicks, Halloween, science fiction, the works of Stephen King, and video games. In his writing, he strives to represent LGBTQIA+ individuals. You’ll find his works full of LGBTQIA+ characters living their lives passionately and with conviction.

He lives in Wisconsin.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Release Blitz: Cursed by J.P. Jackson (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Cursed

Series: Magus Malefica—The Coven Series, Book Two

Author: J.P. Jackson

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 05/24/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 96600

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, fantasy, gay, magic, fae, werewolf, shifter, witches, coven, gods, polyamory

Add to Goodreads

Description

Cam Habersham is having a hell of a time keeping up with his fae studies in the Ancestral Lands because a certain werewolf constantly interrupts his thoughts. Everton Lilch is the wolfen beast who follows Cam around, but he pushes Cam away every time things get steamy.

The queen of the fae has had enough and tasks Cam with an impossible feat, an undertaking only Everton can help him accomplish.

Without his coven, Sparks Gemmell is a lost witch. In desperation, he casts a spell, hoping to reunite his brothers. But he doesn’t count on the wayward route magic often takes. He finds himself wrapped up in a mandate of the horned god and inserted into his Shadow Brothers’ relationship in order to protect his city from the darkest elements of the Shadow Realm.

As the darkness of the Shadow Realm descends, Cam and his werewolf, along with Sparks and his coven brothers, confront wraiths, mutant werewolves, and witch law enforcement. Chaos erupts in an effort to please queens and gods.

After all, it comes down to the ley of the land.

Excerpt

Cursed
J.P. Jackson © 2022
All Rights Reserved

“I am not wearing this.”

Cam tossed the skimpy garment onto his sun-dappled bed while Sen, his man-in-waiting, a Kijimuna tree sprite, wrung his long-boned but tiny hands. Sen glared at Cam, but his nervous hand wringing never stopped. Cam returned the stare, hoping his stubbornness would win.

Eventually, Cam broke the connection and focused his sights on the far wall of his room. A new tendril wove its way up the wall.

Everything the fae used or constructed was in harmony with the environment. The bed had been crafted from woven tree roots. The mattress pillowed from being stuffed with a combination of dried grasses, tufts from animal pelts, and down. All the textiles were handwoven, and when the summer night air had a chill to it, more skins were brought in for comfort. Extra blankets hadn’t been necessary this summer. Despite the bed’s lumpy appearance, Cam had never slept so well. Although he still wasn’t used to the massive horns on his head or the protruding wings from his back.

The walls and the furniture were constantly changing, but when one lived inside a massive tree, one had to expect the unexpected. As the tree continued to grow, so did the interior of his assigned bedchamber.

“Your Grace, the loincloth is traditional clothing. You were scheduled to meet with the queen, and certain conventions must be upheld. You need to get down to the court room.” Sen tried his best, but Cam’s tenacity would eventually wear out the tree sprite.

“It’s nothing more than a jockstrap and I am not parading around in front of the entire Royal party in nothing but a G-string!” He pointed to the discarded underwear while scrunching his mouth to one side and crossing his arms.

“But Your Grace—” Sen licked his lips while he continued to rub his hands together.

Poor thing. Cam hadn’t made his summer an easy experience. The tree sprite had been assigned as Cam’s manservant as part of an international exchange program meant to expand the knowledge of cultural traditions and court customs from various fae clans around the world. Cam had seen and met Chaneques from southern Mexico, and Menehune from Oceania. Sen’s vibrant red hair, a characteristic of his tribe, contrasted starkly with his paper-birch complexion. Sen’s frame imitated the slender branches of a sinewy willow, so slight Cam mistakenly judged him to be frail, but he discovered otherwise. Fae could be inhumanly strong and there had been more than one occasion when Sen had managed to wrestle and hold Cam still during his magic training.

Sen’s Japanese ancestry meant his tolerance did not allow for the wild range of temperatures inherent in a Canadian prairie summer. Cam had witnessed the creature either shivering to death on the rare cool summer evening or wilting in the August heat which regularly coalesced beneath the dense forest canopy. Sen’s homelands were far more temperate and kinder on a body. Despite Sen’s constant battle with the elements, his elongated limbs and fine features meant he was nimble and quick, which made him an excellent tutor for Cam’s induction in the ways of the fae. Escaping wild and out of control fae magic spells gone awry required additional agility. The fae were supposed to be nimble, graceful, and eloquently able to slip in and out of the shadows when required, a magical talent Cam had not mastered, along with several others. Sen’s intelligence, however, proved the Eldritch clan fae outwitted and outsmarted Cam’s constant manipulations.

Cam struggled with his fae classification and history. The amount of concentration required to take in the volumes of documentation given to him bested his attention span. The antiquity of the clans spanned the course of human existence, and beyond.

Each fae belonged within one of four houses, although there were multiple species within each camp. Earth fae belonged to the clan of the Eldritch, like Sen and Cam. Air fae were the Aethers and Corvins. Their feathered wings and skin made for unusual flying creatures who lived above the clouds. Cam latched on to the name for water fae because he found out Atlanteans were real. But he couldn’t recall what fire fae were called, and at this point he simply didn’t care.

Cam had made the first few weeks frustrating for them both. He refused to study, and his wayward use of fae abilities had resulted in wanton destruction within the village, which landed him in hot water with the Ancestral Lands queen, Lady Aine.

In his defence, Cam had demonstrated his ability to become invisible, and he regularly used probability spells to favour his penchant for doing nothing in the hot August afternoons.

Cam stood beside his bed, naked, staring at the wall and contemplating how he had managed to get here. He had his best friend in the whole wide world to thank for all of this. Devid Khandelwal and his cockamamie summoning board had been the catalyst in forever altering Cam’s humanity, and subsequent captivity within the Ancestral Lands of the forest fae. Granted, his home in Edmonton wasn’t far away, but until Cam had, at a bare minimum, mastered the art of a human disguise, Lady Aine would never let him leave.

Grasping the concept and maintaining the illusion proved inordinately difficult. He had to completely change his new horned and winged form into the way he used to be. That meant being able to maintain the image he wanted to project in his mind’s eye, all while holding conversations, or carrying out mundane tasks like household chores or visiting the local market. Illusions proved to be impossible for Cam, but public appearances with massive, curved horns and a slender furry tail would expose the Shadow Realm and its inhabitants to the mundane world. Exposure was something the entire magical community, fae, witches, beasts, and spirits alike, avoided at all costs.

Cam’s membranous wings sputtered. The appendages had a life of their own, and often reflected his emotional state.

“May I point out you’re not wearing anything right now, and yet I’m here. What’s so different between your nudity right now and satisfying the queen with your presence in clothing which is customarily worn by males?”

“Sen, you’ve seen me naked every day, several times a day. You bathe me, not my choice. You dress me, not my choice. You wake me in the morning, also not my choice. And speaking of morning, where is my required cup of coffee?” Cam’s tail flicked from side to side as he glanced around his room, his wings flapping in annoyance. Camila, Cam’s alter ego and super bitch, showed up when the caffeine levels were bottoming out. The fae folk didn’t consume coffee, and Cam hadn’t had a good cup of velvety deliciousness in weeks. His irritability lately had known no bounds, but the community had made exceptions considering his most unusual initiation into the Ancestral Lands—coffee being one of them. The elders of the Ancestral Lands had commented on Cam’s oddness. His fae body held on to the addiction of caffeine when his stomach no longer tolerated anything more than meat. Protein, and lots of it, was a daily requirement.

In short, Cam moped and perpetuated his miserable mood to everyone around him. His normal routine had been turned upside down, his dating life had been non-existent, and as much as he had relied on Dev for so much of his past life, he had to cut the guy some slack. Dev was going through his own adjustments, what with becoming a witch and getting a boyfriend in the deal.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

J.P. Jackson is an award-winning author of dark urban fantasy, paranormal, and even paranormal romance stories, but regardless of the genre, they always feature LGBTQ main characters.

J.P. works as an IT analyst in health care during the day, where if cornered he’d confess to casting spells to ensure clinicians actually use the electronic medical charting system he configures and implements.

At night, the writing happens, where demons, witches and shapeshifters congregate around the kitchen table and general chaos ensues. His husband of 22 years has very firmly put his foot down on any further wraith summonings and regularly lines the doorway with iron shavings and salt crystals. Imps are most definitely not house-trainable. Ghosts appear at the most inopportune times, and the Fae are known for regular visits where a glass of wine is exchanged for a good ole story or two. Although the husband doesn’t know it, Canela and Jalisco, the two Chihuahuas, are in cahoots with the spell casting.

J.P.’s other hobbies include hybridizing African Violets (thanks to grandma), extensive traveling and believe it or not, knitting.

Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

New Release Blitz ~ The Baron’s Saving Grace by Raven McAllan & Cassie O’Brien (Excerpt & Giveaway)

The Baron’s Saving Grace by
Raven McAllan & Cassie O’Brien

Book 2 in the The Scots and the Sassenachs series

Word Count:  40,362
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 151

Genres:

HISTORICAL
ROMANCE

Add to Goodreads

Book Description


A daring rescue plan leads to unexpected consequences. Could it also lead to love?

Grace Foston concocts an audacious ruse that will enable her sister to marry her one true love. However, it goes awry when she finds herself misguidedly rescued by the chivalrous intervention of George Armstrong, Baron Renfrew. Grace is not impressed and tells him so. She needs neither rescuing nor saving and doesn’t appreciate his interference.

George is intrigued by this feisty lady and determined she won’t fall into the clutches of scoundrel Adrian Corbett. When Grace informs him just why she is with Corbett, George realizes they need to work together to foil the man. Love and life work in mysterious ways, and they manage to achieve what they set out to do.

Falling in love wasn’t on their agenda. How could it be? When Grace is already married…

Excerpt

The inn was well presented, had a good menu and served excellent ale. To say nothing of providing a supply of whisky he was certain had never been within scent of an exciseman.

George Armstrong, who following the death of his father now bore the title Baron Hexham, winced at the squawk the feet of his chair made as he pushed it back a few inches to allow him to cross one knee over the other and not upturn the nearby table. He sniffed the spirit in his glass, savoured the peaty aroma with appreciation and took a sip.

“Douglas, ‘tis as good as ever,” he said to the anxiously awaiting landlord. “You are a genius in securing something so special. What I wouldn’t do for a cask of this at home.” He laughed at the landlord’s agonised expression. “No, I will not ask you to facilitate that. I imagine it is fraught enough getting sufficient for your needs.”

“That it is, indeed, my lord. But if you wish I…”

George took pity on the man. He had been only half-serious when he’d said he wished he had some at home. It would have put the noses out of joint of the people who worked on his estate and had their own stills secreted away. They may lie south of the border, but their appreciation—and copying—of the water of life was alive and kicking. He had no idea where they secreted the still whose results he regularly acquired, but he hoped it was never discovered by the powers that be. The resultant whisky was as good as the one he now savoured. “Do not worry yourself. It’s another good reason to visit you. Along with your wife’s cooking and a comfortable bed on my journey.”

“That’s grand. May I ask how t’house is comin’ on?”

George sighed. His Corbridge home had been razed to the ground by his laudanum-addicted father, and his addlepated sire had perished in the blaze. “Slowly, Douglas, very slowly. The one redemption from the whole sorry state is no one but the late baron was hurt when he ventured too near the flames.” He chose not to mention the man had been as naked as a jay and waving a bottle of port, or that he could never forgive himself for not remembering that whilst under the influence Gordon, his late father, had been irrational and likely to fall into a rage. The conflagration had been because George had foiled his parent’s plans to ruin a man whose long-dead ancestor, his father had believed, had caused a curse to be laid upon the Armstrong family. In his drug-clouded mind, Gordon had invented a ruinous theory of the curse being broken by way of a marriage between the two families, and had stooped to the lowest form of blackmail to bring this about. That was the manner of man he had been. George hoped and prayed he had none of the man’s unpleasant traits in him. “He thought he saw someone or something inside.” A lie, but who was to confront him over it?

“Ah, good man, sorry ending.” The landlord shook his head in sorrow. “Life must go on though, eh? You off north?” Douglas’ voice penetrated George’s mind, and he brought himself back to the present.

George nodded. “To the Trossachs, to see a good friend who lives there. Then I’m away to the Tay for the fishing before the season ends.”

“Then I’ll wish ye well,” Douglas replied. “I’d not be wantin’ to go so far m’sen but I know you gentry folk are happy wi’ all t’travel. Will you be using the private parlour later this evening?”

Amused at the idea that only those higher up the social ladder travelled, George blinked at the change of topic and considered the question, while pondering the types of people who also travelled. What about salesmen? Servants changing jobs? Drovers, herders and itinerants? The list could be endless. He mentally laughed at himself and let the thoughts go.

As to his present abode, he was comfortable where he was. The room was aptly named the snug. Three tables, two benches and four high-backed armchairs with padded seats. Set in front of a crackling fire with a bell pull for service. What more could he want? Except for a warm and willing body and that was as unlikely as a Stuart returning to the throne. “Not if you need it for someone else. I’ll be as happy here.”

“Then I’ll tell the gentleman who wishes to use it with his ward that he may.” The landlord sounded relieved. “The lass has had a touch of nausea after travelling, so they’re biding the night. Last two rooms, they got. We’re mighty busy this day. The sheep sales, you know.”

George nodded. Not that he did know a lot, but he’d intended to take a look at the sales and see if anything there interested him. His estate in the Cheviots would stand a few additions to the flock and Callum, his shepherd, was due the following day to look the animals over. They’d been told some of a flock with  outstanding pedigrees would be up for auction. A couple of rams and an ewe or two wouldn’t go amiss.

George would leave everything to Callum, hand him the cash they had decided on and keep well away. Callum was an unknown in the area—George himself was not. He wouldn’t put it past some farmers to collaborate to push the prices up if it were known he was bidding. His father hadn’t shown their family in a good light in the area. George accepted he would have an uphill struggle to rectify it.

He settled down in front of the fire, legs crossed at the ankle, and steepled his hands on his chin. Deep in thought, he studied the flames for a while and pondered on how fire could be both good—here at that moment—and bad—the way his home had ended up as ashes.

With another dram and several of the landlady’s famed-throughout-the-area singing hinnies, he contemplated all he needed to do in the next few weeks. Singing hinnies, sweet griddle cakes, which George, along with a large percentage of the local population, were partial to, were a local favourite, and everyone guarded their own specific recipe jealously.

George’s mind moved from the future to the past as he mused over the previous twelve months. They had been frenetic, worrying and, thankfully at times, uplifting. With the exception of the fire and the tragedy of his father’s death, there had been more positives than negatives, and at last George felt his life was on an even keel.

Apart, of course, from his still being unwed. Not something that had overly bothered him in the past, but now seeing new—but good—friends happily settled, he was aware he thought he would like a wife. Children. A family. An heir.

How he was to achieve that he had no idea. A season paying court to the well-brought-up young ladies on the marriage mart held little appeal—even if he’d been so inclined. His father’s antics, plus his own once well-deserved but no longer relevant reputation as a rake, would ensure no parent worth their salt would consider him a good bet as a husband for their daughter.

He sighed and stared into his tankard of ale as if it had all the answers.

It didn’t. He took one mouthful, twisted the tankard around and watched the contents froth. How long before it fell flat? A bit like he felt at that moment.

George was not the sort of person to think every solution was found in the bottom of a jug of ale or a flagon of whisky, and had no idea how long it was before he became aware of voices from the adjoining room. Seconds probably. He put his drink down and debated whether to scrape his chair over the floor to show the occupants the private parlour, it seemed, wasn’t exactly private.

Whether it was due to the way the chimneys met and merged or doors ajar he had no idea, but two voices could be clearly heard.

“I told you I’ll come with you and marry you, so why all this farridaddle?” a female voice asked. “If you don’t think I’ll be true to my word, lock me in my room. Try to make me share yours, and I’ll bring the roof down and cause such a scandal you won’t have a hope of your plot succeeding. Your choice.”

“You better be on the level.”

George decided not to announce his presence and narrowed his eyes, as if by doing so he could see though walls or even identify the speaker. Did he know him? He certainly had never heard the female voice before, but the deeper baritone sounded familiar.

“I am as on the level as you are,” the lady—he was certain she was a lady, a gently reared female—continued. “I would do nothing to harm my family, even if you are not so scrupulous. I will not let any scandal stick to Papa or the memory of my late mama, and you know that fine well. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have thought up this insidious plan. One, I might add, only a scoundrel would choose to carry out. Now, kindly go and locate the landlord and discover which room I have been allocated so I may retire for the evening. Alone.”

For a few seconds there was silence, then the male answered.

“Very well. Wait here. But remember…” The tone George supposed was meant to be menacing had more than a hint of a whine in it. And now he recognised it.

Adrian Corbett, by God. The blaggard! What is he up to?

“Oh, I remember it all. You can be sure I will go to my room, but do not think to accompany me to it, because if you do, I will…” There was a pregnant pause. “Create. A. Scene.”

George mentally applauded the lady. Not many well-bred females of his admittedly limited acquaintance would have the sense—or temerity—to act in such an assertive way.

A door creaked open and footsteps sounded on the wooden boards of the hallway outside the snug. George considered not just the words he’d overheard but also the disdain and loathing in the female’s voice. Whoever the lady may be, she was obviously being coerced into a marriage against her natural inclination. She had sounded feistily determined to stand her ground, but would her words be enough to hold a man like Adrian Corbett at bay should he decide to enter her room after imbibing a couple of brandies?

The thought turned George’s stomach. The man was certainly foul enough to physically force his presence on a slighter-built female. He would probably excuse himself doing so without a second thought if she was destined to be his wife. It was not to be borne. No female should be forced into marriage. With anyone. George set his glass on the table, walked quickly to the door and left the room.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Authors

Raven McAllan

After 30 plus years in Scotland, Raven now lives near the east Yorkshire coast, with her long-suffering husband, who is used to rescuing the dinner, when she gets immersed in her writing, keeping her coffee pot warm and making sure the wine is chilled.

With a new home to decorate and a garden to plan, she’s never short of things to do, but writing is always at the top of her list.

Her other hobbies include walking along the coast and spotting the wildlife, reading, researching, cros stitch and trying not to drop stitches as she endeavours to knit.

Being left-handed, and knitting right-handed, that’s not always easy.

She loves hearing from her readers, either via her website, by email or social media.

Cassie O’Brien

I love:

Being with family and friends.

Writing and having the freedom to do so now child four of four has passed her driving test and is off to uni later this year.

I Like:

Any excuse to throw a party.

Any excuse to open a bottle of fizz.

Shoes in vast quantities – the higher the heel the better.

Ambitions:

To write many more books.

To own a pair of Louboutin’s.

To never go near an iron or a hoover again.

You can find Cassie on Facebook and follow her on Twitter: @cassieo_author

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz: Thirst by J Hali Steele (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Thirst

Author: J Hali Steele

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: May 20, 2022

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Female

Length: 67 pages

Genre: Erotica, Urban Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Dark Desire, Vampires, Voyeurism & Exhibitionism

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Feeling thirsty?

Thirsty: Monique has finally found a place where she can live out her fantasies. Little does she know the den of iniquity she’s walked into is more than just a theme club. Omen’s is the playground for every type of monster in the world.

A Thirst to Die For: When Nolan gives life to Amanda’s carnal fantasies, his own life changes. Hell is coming to pay him a visit, and he’s about to lose control.

Bane of Existence: One night spent in a human woman’s arms brought Bane, a son of Satan, as close to heaven as he’ll ever get. Now the only way he can have Iris is to convince her she wants him as much as he needs her.

A Vampire’s Thirst: Once Nolan gave all souls moderation in everything. He was good at his job, and he called heaven home — until he fucked the wrong seraphim! Now he’s a vampire slayer serving the devil, keeping an eye on Omen’s, and babysitting Lucifer’s son. Not a job he expected to hold for damn near eight hundred years…

Publisher’s Note: Thirst (Razor’s Edge Box Set) contains the previously published novellas Thirsty, A Thirst to Die For, Bane of Existence, and A Vampire’s Thirst.

Excerpt

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 J. Hali Steele
Excerpt from Thirsty

“Must be a cold day in hell. You haven’t come here alone in ages. Losing your touch or what?”

Since Nolan had been asked to keep an eye on the club, and on the devilishly handsome man behind the bar, he almost never visited without someone to make his evening more exciting. Giving Omen’s owner, Peris, a long, appraising look, Nolan’s cock twitched in regret. He’d been too busy lately.

“You asking to be touched? ‘Cause I can do that, and make you like it.” Nolan sat on his normal stool at the end of the long, shiny wooden bar, and eyed too many empty tables. “Where is everyone?”

“Resting up from their wicked weekend. And you wouldn’t know what to do with that cold dick up this hot ass.”

The sound of the swinging door distracted them both.

God damn, the woman was striking. Tall, curvaceous, with dark brown hair to her ass. An ass that cried out to be fucked. Christ. Nolan’s cock came alive. So did every other part of his body, which took a lot of doing, considering he’d been dead too many years to count.

Peris chuckled from the other side of the counter, giving his balls a noticeable squeeze. “Looks like a live one to me. I might make a play for her myself.”

“Not unless you’re looking forward to visiting relatives.” Peris had connections to the hierarchy below, but with the dark one’s permission, Nolan would send the young man to Hell in a heartbeat.

Nolan had been called lots of things — dead, undead, bloodsucker, motherfucker — and he lived up to every one of them. He was a Slayer, and he was the best. “Get the lady a beer. Let’s see what she does with it.”

Watching the woman make her way to the bar, he took a deep breath. Human. Omen’s wasn’t a place humans popped into often, and for good reason. The cloying feeling of imminent danger was prevalent, a vibe even the shallowest human sensed the minute they entered the establishment.

This one ignored it, so she must be looking for something. Or someone. The blood pulsing through her gorgeous body would soon be running through his veins. Wouldn’t kill her. Vamps didn’t do that anymore. Okay, some did, but they were the ones he took out of play, and he enjoyed every minute of it.

She slid onto a stool at the opposite end of the bar, and it felt like she’d plopped into his lap. Cum slipped from the slit on his dick, which jerked violently inside his designer slacks. He reached up to loosen a button or two at the collar of the stark white silk shirt he wore. Getting into her panties, if she wore any, was going to be pure joy. After fucking her senseless, he’d taste her — just a little bit if she was worth another ride. If not, he’d have a full meal before sending her home.

Peris delivered a cold brew and a glass and turned away, pretending to straighten the bottles of liquor on display. Nolan, adjusting his heightened vision, gazed right into her eyes when she looked his way. One hazel, one brown — not something he saw often. Tipping the bottle toward him, she smiled and nodded before putting it to her lips. No glass! Excellent. A cock sucker, and he’d bet every year he had lived she was a good one. When her pink tongue darted through painted red lips, wrapped around the top of the bottle and licked it clean, he made his move.

Easing into her mind, he sifted through all the day’s clutter. Such tiny panties. With a groan that lodged in his throat, he backed out, sniffing at the air. Sweet. What he’d unearthed in her mind made his dead heart beat like a drum. Fantasies should be played out, and he intended to help with hers.

Purchase

Changeling Press LLC | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

J. Hali Steele wishes she could grow fur, wings, or fangs, so she can stay warm, fly, or just plain bite the crap out of… Well, she can’t do those things but she wishes she could!

Multi-published and Amazon bestselling author of Romance in Paranormal, Fantasy, and Contemporary worlds which include ReligErotica and LGBTQ stories where humans, vampyres, shapeshifters and angels collide-they collide a lot! When J. Hali’s not writing or reading, she can be found snuggled in front of the TV with a cat in her lap, and a cup of coffee.

Growl and roar — it’s okay to let the beast out. — J. Hali Steele

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

New Release Blitz ~ In His Hands By Hannah Murray (Excerpt & Giveaway)

In His Hands By Hannah Murray

Book 3 in the Perfect Taboo series

Word Count: 71,221
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 277

GENRES:

BONDAGE AND BDSM
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

Consent is everything…and with consent, everything is possible.

Olivia has one wish—to find a partner who will do consensual non-consent scenes with her. She thought she’d found the perfect man, but he turned out to be more dud than Dom. When their relationship implodes, she moves out, and moves in with her friend Cade. He’s happy to have her, but living with him won’t be easy. It was easier to ignore her feelings for him, and the fact that he’d always been her ideal Dom, when she’d had a boyfriend. But he’d stopped doing CNC after a scene had gone wrong, so she’d set her sights elsewhere.

Cade has his own problems. He’s been in love with Olivia since they met, but when she started dating someone else, he put his feelings aside and focused on being her friend. But now that she’s single again, he’s not going to let opportunity pass him by. He’s happy to set her straight about his feelings on CNC play—totally still into it, but won’t do casual scenes—and more than eager to make all her kinky dreams come true.

Olivia finally has the kind of kinky relationship she’s always wanted, and her feelings for Cade only grow stronger as time goes on. But when her ex reappears to explain why he ended their relationship, she wonders if she’s mistaking her happiness with their CNC play for love—and worries that Cade might be doing the same…

Reader advisory: This book includes scenes of consensual non-consent, as well as RACK, role-play, sexual fantasy, blood play and rape fantasy.

Publisher’s Note: The story told in this book begins on the same day that Sharing His Submissive ends, and before the events of Show Me Something Good.

Excerpt

Olivia stared at her boyfriend in disbelief. “Are you serious?”

Kyle raised one blond eyebrow, which unfortunately added a layer of smug condescension to his Generically Handsome White Guy face. “Do I look serious?”

“Yes.” His usual affable smile was missing, his mouth pinched tight. “You look very serious.”

“Well, then.” Kyle took out a pen and tapped the thick sheaf of papers on the table between them.

“You’re telling me if I don’t sign that, we’re done.”

“That’s what I’m telling you.”

This didn’t make any sense. “I don’t want a Master/slave relationship, Kyle. You know that.”

He laid the pen on the table. It was the fountain pen she’d given him for his birthday last month, she noted. It was made in Germany, by some company that was apparently the world leader in fancy fountain pens, and had cost almost as much as her share of the monthly rent. It had a black lacquer finish, gold trim, and a gold nib that squirted ink all over her fingers every time she used it.

“It’s not about what you want, but rather, what you need,” Kyle said, and Olivia narrowed her eyes. He only used words like ‘rather’ when he was trying extra hard to be taken seriously.

“I don’t need a slave contract—which, by the way, is not in any way legally enforceable.” She paused to take a calming breath. If she started yelling, he’d just shut down, and they’d never get anywhere. “I need you to talk to me. I don’t understand where this is coming from.”

“There’s nothing to talk about.” He leaned back in his chair and folded his arms, his expression shuttered. He looked the way he did when he was trying to bluff his way through a crappy hand at the poker table, or when someone disagreed with some political talking point he was repeating. Like he knew he was fucked and wanted to walk away, but his pride wouldn’t allow it.

She knew that pride. It was stubborn and immovable and her biggest obstacle to figuring out just what was behind this ridiculousness.

She switched tactics. “Kyle, this is something we have to talk about. You can’t just spring a contract on me like this.”

“Actually, I can.” He arched an eyebrow again. “I’m the Dom, and I make the rules.”

That was such pile of verbal crap that she momentarily lost the power of speech, and while she was gaping at him, trying to figure out what the hell he was thinking, he stood up.

“I have to pick up Andy for the game.” He crossed the room and scooped his keys out of the bowl on the table next to the door. Her bowl, her table. “I expect that contract to be signed when I get back.”

The bafflement and shock that had held her frozen since he’d first tossed that contract on the table was fading, replaced by an incredulous fury that made her feel like she was breathing sulfur. “Or?”

“Or you can pack your things,” he replied calmly. “It’s your choice.”

He twirled his keys around his finger—another nervous tell—opened the door and walked out.

Olivia stared at the closed door for a moment, then looked down at the contract. It was at least twenty pages, held together with one of the bright pink binder clips she kept in the kitchen junk drawer to use on bags of chips or frozen vegetables. Kyle’s name was in bold type at the top, right in front of the words, “hereafter referred to as Master”, and her name, bolded but not capitalized, right before “hereafter referred to as slave”, and the remainder of her disbelief disintegrated in a flood of pure rage.

She stood up, shoving back from the table hard enough to make it wobble, and stalked to the bedroom. She pulled her suitcases from the back of the closet, laid them on the bed, and began to pack.

She worked methodically, rolling her clothes to minimize wrinkling and maximize space. When the dresser, the closet, and the nightstand on her side of the bed were empty, she walked across the hall to the guest room-office to gather the clothes she had stored there.

There wasn’t a lot—the cocktail dresses she rarely had occasion to wear, a formal gown she’d bought on a whim when a local dress shop had gone out of business, and the plastic storage bin with her corsets. When she pulled the bin down from the top shelf, the dust coating the lid made her sneeze. It had been months since she’d worn one, though she and Kyle went to a kink event nearly every week. It had just seemed like too much trouble, and Kyle hadn’t cared one way or the other.

“That should’ve been a fucking clue,” she muttered, and sneezed again.

Back in the bedroom, she crammed the dresses into the already full suitcases, then zipped them closed and wrestled them to the floor. She pulled the duvet off the bed, then the sheets, and added the pillow she’d broken in how she liked it to the pile before heading into the bathroom for her toiletries.

She needed a box for the kitchen, and found one in the office, full of Kyle’s tax files. She dumped them without remorse onto his desk chair and packed it tight with utensils, measuring cups, and the egg timer in the shape of a cow—and she took the pink binder clip off the damn contract, too. She pulled a garbage bag from under the sink for the potholders and dishtowels, then added her bedding, towels, and every spare sheet from the hall linen closet.

The sonofabitch had been sleeping on a bare mattress when she’d moved in, and he could damn well do it again.

She gathered her laptop and tablet from the living room, her extra phone charger and the blanket her aunt had crocheted for her in college. The electronics went into the tote she used as a purse, the blanket into the garbage bag. Then she dragged everything to the front door and took a last tour of the apartment.

She made a list of all the things she’d need to come back for. The prints and photos on the walls, the table by the front door. Her stand mixer still sat on the kitchen counter, her dishes in the cabinets. There were pieces of sculpture and statuary she’d collected over the years scattered throughout the apartment that would need to be carefully wrapped and packed, as would her reproduction Tiffany lamp. Her grandmother’s mirror hung above the entry table, and the chair and dresser that were the only pieces of furniture she’d kept when she’d moved in with Kyle.

She quelled the twinge of anxiety at the thought of leaving so many of her things behind and grabbed her keys. It took three trips and some creative arranging, but she managed to get everything into her ancient Camry. By the time she climbed the stairs for the last time, she was sweating, her tank top sticking to her back. She’d retrieved one of the hair ties she kept on the stick shift of her car, so her hair was off her neck. But sweat trickled between her breasts and down the backs of her legs, and the only thing keeping her moving was righteous rage.

Back in the apartment, she hefted her tote with a grunt, and started to take the front door key off her key ring. She wanted to leave it right in the middle of his damned contract where he couldn’t possibly miss it, but she hesitated. She had to retrieve the rest of her things, and if she left her key behind now, she’d have to go through Kyle to do it.

“The hell I will,” she muttered, and palming her keys, turned to go. Then she caught her reflection in the mirror over the entry table and winced. She was a mess. Half her honey-blonde hair had fallen out of its hastily constructed topknot to hang, limp and damp with sweat, to her shoulders. She’d sweated off her makeup except for a solid smudge of mascara under each eye—which, except for the faint flush of exertion on her cheeks, was the only color on her already pale face. Even her eyes looked dull.

Dull and beige. It was a good way to describe her relationship with Kyle. And now, over.

She hitched her bag higher on her shoulder, and her gaze landed on the chain encircling her neck. The everyday collar was only slightly longer than a choker, with a tiny key charm that nestled in the hollow of her throat. The necklace’s standard clasp had been removed and replaced with silver rings that attached to the charm, turning a standard removeable chain into a permanent one. The only way to get it off was to break it.

She stared at it, remembering how she’d felt when Kyle had fastened it around her neck. She’d been so happy, so full of hope. Now, staring at the tiny key that had meant so much, all she felt was anger and sadness.

She dropped her bag to the floor and grabbed the necklace in both sweaty fists. The little silver rings gave way easily, pulling free with barely a twist, and the key fell with a musical clink to the floor at her feet.

She picked it and stared at it, small and insignificant in her palm, the broken chain dangling from her fingers. A year of her life in two broken pieces of silver, she thought, her throat tight, and wanted to rage and scream at the waste of it all.

Instead she walked to the table, dropped the charm and the necklace on the contract, then walked back to the mirror and pulled it off the wall. With the heavy tote on one arm and the mirror tucked under the other, she walked out.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Hannah Murray

Hannah has been reading romance novels since she was young enough to have to hide them from her mother. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband—former Special Forces and an OR nurse who writes sci-fi fantasy and acts as In-House Expert on matters pertaining to weapons, tactics, the military, medical conditions and How Dudes Think—and their daughter, who takes after her father.

Find out more about Hannah at her website and blog.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Release Blitz: Spark by Elizabeth Tybush (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Spark

Series: The Fire of Felwing, Book Two

Author: Elizabeth Tybush

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 05/17/2022

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 107300

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, bisexual, pansexual, magic, dragons, slow burn, magic users, friends to lovers, mythical creatures, royalty, redemption, past mistakes, portals

Add to Goodreads

Description

Immediately following the stunning Halloween reveal in Flicker…

Prince Solin Felwing’s exile on Earth went from tranquil to dangerous with a spark of magick. Now, severed from his redemption and his friends at the soup kitchen, Solin is left to sort out his unstable powers, his guilty conscience, and the realities of pursuing a relationship with a certain charming barista. At least his human friend Sam stuck around, although he’s getting tailed by his ex and his tech is going haywire, so things aren’t going great for him either.

As the holidays draw near, Solin discovers his name on someone’s Naughty List. With a protection detail of ghosts from his past, and a growing threat from the rogue humans of the Shadowfall Alliance, Solin must keep his worlds from colliding without losing what few friends he has left. Because those hunting him no longer care about collateral damage; they’ll torch everything he’s built, and anyone who gets in the their way will be consumed by the flames.

Excerpt

Spark
Elizabeth Tybush © 2022
All Rights Reserved

2017

Polaris, New York

The new ringtone I’d applied to Sam’s number echoed in the kitchen. I paused the television and glowered at the phone from the sofa. What now? Another blip notifying him of a portal from Cydrithenna? A warning that agents from the Shadowfall Alliance were on their way to kill me? Or had he merely hacked into my phone and heard what had happened with Brida on Halloween?

I’d already scolded myself enough for that. I didn’t deserve to have any semblance of my powers back, nor anyone’s kindness. Not after the terror I instilled in someone I cared about, someone who never did anything wrong and who did not betray me. I had betrayed her. I had become my worst nightmare. I hadn’t changed at all.

The phone ceased ringing. A minor pause. It blared again.

“Fine.” If this curse was going to fade on me, then I might as well make use of my powers. I continued lying on the sofa and willed the phone toward me with telekinesis. It floated unsteadily. With illusory magick, I transformed it into a tablet, then a chair, then a dog. Easy enough. I returned it to its original state and answered.

“What.”

“Did I wake you? You sound pissed.”

“What do you want, Sam?”

“I want you to get out of there and come hang out with me.”

“Goodbye, Sam.”

The phone rang again the moment I hung up.

“Sam. I mean it. I’m not interested. And since when do you call me again? I thought those friends of yours had gotten access to your phone.”

“Line’s safe again. Trust me,” he said over the sound of clanking glasses and laughter. “And hey, whatever’s bothering you, I promise, it’s not going to—yeah, two more of those, and a round for that table over there, yeah, thanks—sorry. It’s not going to bother you anymore, I promise.”

I rubbed my forehead. Although my powers had returned, the ability to erase tension headaches eluded me. “Are you at a bar?”

“Yes, and you should be here too. I’ll text you the address.”

The thought of drinking made my stomach churn. “I’ll pass.”

“Don’t hang up again. Look, what do I have to do to get you to come out tonight?”

“Perhaps tell me why it’s so urgent.” I’d abstained from drowning my guilt in liquor last night, despite my slightly improved constitution. I’d woken up on the floor of my bathroom too many times early in my exile, and I didn’t care for it. With Sam, I’d be putting myself in that compromising situation again, and risked deepening the hole I had dug myself into.

“There’s someone here you need to meet. Oh—what? Oh, okay. Gotta go, Solin. Bye.”

I sneered at the phone in my palm and let it rest on my chest. Sam’s message lit up the screen. I barely lifted the phone and stared at the address until the screen decided I’d been idle too long. Its light faded.

As did my judgment.

Sam might’ve actually heard my desire to help humanity more than one meal at a time and brought in someone new for me to work with. I had no intention on slogging my way back to the kitchen again. I’d already lied to Victoria about being ill for today’s shift, and she blamed a hangover that I wish I’d had as punishment for lying to her. But what of tomorrow, when Brida and I would be there together?

Would Brida even show?

Would I?

I could not let Brida leave a place she loved. This was her workplace first, not mine.

I changed out of what I’d fallen asleep in last night, choosing gray pants and a plain casual sweater with sleeves that had trouble staying rolled up. I threw on a light coat and headed to the address. I didn’t mask, but being so vulnerable, and apparently recognizable, to at least one person in Polaris made me paranoid. How long until Gaian technology, as primitive as it was, encapsulated my digital image and fed it through a mystical algorithm to determine my identity? In my prime, I’d been able to fool cameras, but I doubted that ability had returned yet. I glanced at the storefront windows as I walked. At least I could manipulate reflections again.

I arrived at the bar, passing through the outer gate of smokers and their toxic cloud into an upscale dive of wood, warm light, and rock music. Athletes graced the screens, and few patrons paid any attention to the newcomer. Sam knew what he was doing.

I found Sam at a high top table flirting with a woman I didn’t recognize. He whispered something to her that had the effect of politely shooing her. I was relieved he hadn’t called his non-friend out to hook up with a stranger.

“Aren’t you in a monogamous relationship, Sam?” I said, taking a seat on the stool across from him. I hung my coat on a hook beneath the tall table.

“We’re kind of experimenting with this whole ‘she isn’t monogamous right now, and it’s all my fault’ thing.”

“I’m…sorry?”

“It’s been an ongoing experiment. Actually we broke up before you arrived. Not here. Tonight. But here. You know. Here. Earth.”

“I understa—”

“And then we got back together again. And broke up. Last week. I think.” He shook his head. “Anyway, feels good to get your ass out of bed, doesn’t it?”

“I wasn’t in bed.” Never mind that I’d been lying on the sofa.

“You sounded pretty perturbed.”

“I was watching something.”

“What?”

“Star Trek.”

He blinked at me. “You were watching…” He leaned over the table, eyed me like I were a specimen, then leaned back. “Okay, hold on. You were watching Star Trek. Which one? Go.”

“The episode with—”

“Sorry, not episode, I mean series.”

I blinked at him. “I don’t understand.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Liz plays way too much Minecraft and dreams about producing a television series. She loves an old-fashioned film noir and, unlike her character Solin, takes her coffee with a healthy dose of milk. Recent accomplishments include a 2019 fellowship at the Storytellers’ Institute and the book you’re about to read.

Flicker is her debut novel with NineStar Press. To learn more about The Fire of Felwing series and other upcoming stories, visit Liz at elizabethtybush.com.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

New Release Blitz ~ Winning Over Harmon by Megan Slayer (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Winning Over Harmon by Megan Slayer

Book 3 in the Love Me Do series

Word Count:  42,193
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 169

GENRES:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI

Add to Goodreads

Book Description


Second chances are possible if you’re willing to give love a chance.

Harmon Keyes wasn’t looking for romance when he visited Roy Mars’ gallery show, but the moment he sees Winston Saint, he’s smitten. He has no idea who Winston is, but the attraction is off the charts. He also isn’t sure if he’ll ever see the man again. Can a trip to Dye Hard Style help get him together with Winston?

Michael Winston Saint knew the second he spotted Harmon that he’d fallen head over heels. He’d never forget the geeky guy who talked too much or that kiss full of electricity and passion. Unfortunately, he has to leave the gallery show before he can give Harmon his number. He returns to Norville for a rest and the chance to connect with his dream man. Winston’s determined to win over Harmon at all costs.

Will the teacher and the rock star be able to make a go of their relationship? Or will the gossip and complication of small-town life be more than they can handle?

Reader advisory: This book contains references to addiction and inadequate parenting.

Excerpt

“You’re sure this is the place to find someone?” Winston asked. “I mean, it’s an art gallery. How many hot guys are going to be here?” He elbowed his band member and best friend, Duke.

“Why would I tell you to come to this if there weren’t hot guys?” Duke shrugged. “I mean I don’t know if there are available men here. There are people here and that’s what you need. Look, I don’t care if you find someone or not, but I want you to get on with your life. This is a good place to meet people―even if they aren’t hot men. You just need to talk to someone who isn’t famous and we won’t be recognized here. Promise. The focus is on Roy.”

“It should be.” He spied one of the paintings. The art might have been created by Roy, but the pieces focused on Duke. The romance between the men blossomed and shimmered on every painting and in each photograph.

Winston sighed. He wanted a love like this. Wanted to be desired and craved. He’d thought he had this with his previous girlfriends, but no one had really loved him. They loved the image and the money connected with him. He resumed looking at the art and drinking in the images. People milled around and some chatted, but they did leave him alone, like Duke had said they would. He delighted in being able to walk around without being accosted. No one cared he was famous. The art mattered.

He stopped in front of a gold-framed painting of Duke on a stool. He’d never looked at his friend in the nude—not intentionally. They’d shared moments in the shower when the entire band had had to use one hotel room, but he’d never looked at Duke like a lover. But this way made him seem sexy and approachable, but sad and lonely, too.

“Have you ever seen anything so sensual?” a woman beside him asked. “It’s like the artist captured him at his most vulnerable.” She clicked her tongue. “I love it.”

“It’s nice.” He wasn’t sure he wanted to keep looking at Duke this way. He wandered over to another piece, an abstract one. He liked these better because he could interpret them as he pleased. He liked the play of color blocks.

“Do you like that one?” The curator gestured to the work. “Only three thousand dollars. Might be wonderful above the sofa.”

He snorted. He didn’t have a couch, much less a home to put either in. “Oh, I don’t know.”

“About its worth? Or the placing?” the curator asked. “I’m sure you could come up with a better placement. Just a suggestion.”

“This seems more like a statement piece than a placeholder in a room.” He nodded. “But I’m considering buying it.”

“You are?” The curator grinned. “I’ll let the others know it’s under consideration.”

“Sure.” He glanced over to his right and paused. A man he’d never seen stood before one of the photograph series. Winston’s breath lodged in his throat. The moment he looked at the guy, he wanted to get to know him.

He strode across the room, dodging and weaving around the people in the crowd until he reached the mystery man. He’d never forget him if he tried. He liked the way this person’s sport coat seemed tailored for his body, the way he carried himself with confidence and the slight graying at his temples. He wanted to touch him and memorize every detail of his face. To dance with him and kiss… Oh God, he wanted to kiss him.

“What are you doing?” Duke asked. He nudged Winston. “You’re drooling.”

“Would you believe I’m in love?” He faced Duke. “The moment I saw him across the room, I fell in love.”

“You fall for someone after every concert, too.” Duke rolled his eyes. “Who is it?”

“The guy over there.” He gestured to the man, trying not to be obvious. “Dark hair, dark eyes, tall…handsome. I want him.”

“He’s not a possession.” Duke swatted Winston’s arm. “He’s a person.”

“I know that.” He glared at his bandmate. “Jesus. I’m not heartless.” He didn’t want to own this guy. Just experience him and find out if they could be together forever. “It’s like that old song. I’ve seen his face and I can’t forget it. I can’t forget that I want to be with this person, and I want everyone to know I’m in love.”

Duke snorted. “In love. You have no idea what love is.”

“Maybe it’s time I found out.” He swatted Duke’s arm again. “Excuse me. I need to meet my destiny.”

“Right.” Duke didn’t chase him.

Good. He didn’t want to be chased. The attraction was instant. He needed to know this handsome man in the suit coat. He stopped beside the guy. “Do you like this painting?”

The man rocked on his feet and chuckled. “I like a lot of art.” He met Winston’s gaze. “Do you?”

“Like this work? Sure.” Winston swept his gaze over him. Dark hair, deep hazel eyes with chips of green among the brown, thick lashes and the guy reminded him of a professor. The studious nature spoke to Winston. He’d bet this guy wasn’t trouble. Wouldn’t get him into trouble or con him into going back to his drug habit.

“Is this your first show?” the man asked.

“Of this sort, yeah.” He stuffed his hands into his pockets. “Is it yours?”

“No, I like to visit the various shows here at the gallery. I appreciate art. I’m not artistic at all, but I like to look at it.” He smiled and the warmth in his smile lit in his eyes. “My name is Harmon.”

He offered his hand to Harmon. He liked the sound of his name and the way his skin tingled when they touched. “I’m…Michael.” He didn’t want to admit his stage name just yet. If Harmon could like him without the airs of his fame, then they had a chance of making it. Too many people couldn’t see beyond the glitter of celebrity.

“Hi, Michael.” Harmon gestured to the painting. “What do you think of this one? I like the play of light, but the sadness in the subject really gets to me. It’s like I’m looking into the soul of the man, while being closed off from what’s wrong.”

Damn. He simply saw yet another painting of a naked Duke. He pieced through what Harmon had said. He hated having to hide his true emotions behind the mask of the character he’d created for the rock music stage. Few saw the pain he hid because he’d closed himself off from so many people.

“Is that what you see, too?” Harmon asked. “I’m famous for getting these things wrong.” He chuckled. “My friend Suzanne would tell you I see things that aren’t there.”

“Suzanne?” Shit. He hadn’t considered this guy might not be gay. “Girlfriend?”

“God, no. She wants to be more, but she’s just a fellow teacher. She thinks we’ll make beautiful babies. I hate to tell her I’m not interested in being a dad. Ever.” Harmon blushed. “Shit. I’ve talked too much.”

“Not at all.” Winston snagged two glasses of sparkling cider from the tray. “Have one?”

“Thank you.” Harmon sipped the drink. “I’m told the artist and his husband are recovering addicts, so no booze. I don’t mind when someone drinks, but I’m not much of a drinker. I can’t hold my liquor.” He blushed again. “And I’m talking too much again.”

“You’re fine.” Winston liked learning about him. “How long have you been teaching?”

“Twelve years.” Harmon grinned and held up his glass. “I got hired right out of college here in Norville. I love teaching in a small town. The moment I took the job, I felt like I’d been welcomed into the town. I became part of the family.”

“It does seem like this place is one big family.” Everyone seemed to know everyone else’s business—except Duke hadn’t known Harmon. According to Duke, Norville was the place to disappear into and find his footing.

“Anyway, they don’t mind that I’m gay, don’t mind that I like being a history nerd and that I’m not interested in being a parent.” Harmon sipped his cider. “What about you? What brings you to the show tonight?”

“My friend encouraged me to come along.” More like conned him, then begged and pushed. “I’m glad I did.” His phone buzzed in his back pocket. Shit. He’d answer it later. “I’m glad I got to meet you.”

“Likewise.” Harmon toyed with the stem of his glass. “So do you live in Norville?”

“I’m looking for a place, but I’m living with a friend.” He needed to get out of Duke’s basement and fast. “Do you know of any good apartments? Or houses?”

“I live in the Cordell building. It’s three blocks from the high school. It’s a small apartment building and I doubt there’s any openings, but I found it through the apartment finder paper. It’s online now. Search Norville apartments and you’ll find it.” Harmon shook his head. “I talk too much. Suzanne would’ve chewed me out by now. She’d tell me I disclosed too much.”

“Oh, I don’t know.” He liked how he’d managed to get Harmon to open up. A woman elbowed him and he gestured to Harmon. “Why don’t we go over here? I think we’re monopolizing the painting.”

“Sure.” Harmon followed him to the edge of the room away from the works. “I tend to get wrapped up in the art and it’s nice to talk to someone who isn’t a fellow teacher.”

“Then it’s a good thing we met. I’m not a teacher and could never impart information to students.” He chuckled and toyed with his glass. “I play music.”

“Are you in a band?” Harmon asked.

“I was.” He still had the band, but the Saints were on hiatus. One day he’d get them back together—after he did his stint with the supergroup he’d joined, Big Philo. He hated being without music. “I just like singing.”

“What kind of music?”

“Rock. I like emoting through my songs.” He hesitated a beat. Most people knew who he was, but this man seemed oblivious. “Have you heard of the Saints?”

“No.” Harmon downed more of his cider. “I gravitate more toward oldies and classical music.” He rolled his eyes. “I guess that’s fitting. I like history and would rather listen to old tunes.”

“It’s nice. I like the classics, too. It’s nice to get back to the roots when you sing. I practice on the old songs to get limbered up to perform.” He nodded. “Plus, those songs are so great. Complex, but simple and so full of emotion. I hear them and I know exactly what the singer is going through. Are they in love, breaking up, sadly single…crushing?”

“Yeah.” Harmon’s smile built slowly and his eyes sparkled. “Like how I saw the art.”

“It is.” He held out his hand and the second he touched Harmon’s fingers, sparks shot through his body, just like before. “I have to ask. Are you seeing anyone?” He needed to know if he had competition for Harmon’s attention.

“No.” Harmon inched closer to him. “I’m very single.”

“Would…would you like to have coffee sometime?” Winston asked. “And talk some more?”

“I’d love that.” Harmon placed his nearly empty glass on a close table and opened his mouth to speak, but someone pushed and he collided with Winston. The move managed to knock the rest of the cider from Winston’s glass onto his shirt. “I’m so sorry,” Harmon apologized. “Let me get you some napkins.”

“I’m not going to melt.” He put his glass with Harmon’s and allowed Harmon to blot his shirt. “The last time I had someone clean me up was when I caught the flu.” He’d been so sick and hungover that the roadies had had to carry him off stage. “Thanks.”

“It’s all part of being a teacher. I want to fix things for people.” Harmon continued to sop up the drink. He slowed his touches, seeming to caress Winston’s chest. “You’re like steel under there.”

“I work out.” Instead of drink or get high. “Do you?”

“I run laps at the school. It’s one big square, so it’s easy to do laps indoors or head to the track when it’s nice.” Harmon flattened his hand on Winston’s chest. “Is it just me, or did the temperature spike?”

“It’s warm.” He inched closer to Harmon. “But I like it.” He liked Harmon. He memorized the crinkles at the corners of Harmon’s eyes, the sprinkling of hairs on his cheeks and chin and the way his cologne wrapped around Winston. “May I kiss you?”

Harmon nodded. Instead of answering in words, he bridged the gap between them and kissed Winston.

Winston bit back his initial shock at being touched and kissed, then melted into the connection. He liked being kissed. Liked being held. He grasped Harmon’s hands and kept him close. The softness of Harmon’s lips competed with the slight scratch of his short whiskers. When Harmon opened to him, Winston sucked on Harmon’s tongue. He liked the way this man tasted and the way he felt against him. They were tailored for each other.

Harmon whimpered and deepened the kiss. He bumped noses with Winston and let go of his hands, then slid his arms around Winston.

God, yes. Winston swayed with Harmon, never wanting this moment to end. His synapses misfired and the rest of the world seemed to melt away. Nothing mattered except this kiss.

“There you are.” Someone Winston didn’t know swatted his arm. “Hey.”

Winston rested his forehead on Harmon’s, then sighed. “I think we’re being interrupted.”

“We are.” Harmon blushed and put some space between them. “And they’re staring at you.”

He’d thought so. He could’ve sworn he felt the stare boring into his side. Why did this person have to interrupt him right now? He hooked his fingers in Harmon’s front pants pockets, then stared at the person touching him. “Yes?”

“You’re not responding to your phone.” The man folded his arms. “I’ve been sent to talk to you.”

“Are you being investigated by the IRS?” Harmon asked. “Or the CIA?”

“Neither.” He kissed Harmon on the cheek. “Give me a moment. I’d like to spend more time with you, but I need to address this first. Okay?”

“Sure.” Harmon let go and nodded to the gentleman, then disappeared into the crowd.

Winston gritted his teeth. “What do you want?”

“You need to answer your phone,” the man said. “Dazzle, Ronny, Vik and Rummy are expecting you at the next five gigs. You did remember you signed on to front Big Philo for five shows, right?”

“I remember.” He did, but he’d sort of hoped they’d forgotten about him. “They start next week, right?”

“Tomorrow.”

Fuck. “I need to tell Harmon I’m leaving.” Where was Harmon? “Just a moment.” He surged into the crowd, locating Duke and Roy, but not Harmon. He grasped Duke’s sleeve. “Hey. I need to go.”

“Gonna leave with the guy you were over there kissing?” Duke winked. “He’s cute. Not as cute as Roy, but hey. I got the best guy around.”

“Yeah. The thing is, I’m not leaving with Harmon.” He needed to find him. “Have you seen him?”

“I haven’t.” Duke frowned. “What’s up?”

“I said I’d play with Big Philo and they want me tomorrow. It’s my own fault. I over-scheduled myself.” And he’d have to get going if he planned on making it to the plane to head to the gig on time. “Help me find him.”

“I thought you were done with music for a while. Why pick a supergroup? Jesus. Dazzle alone will get you back on the sauce. You’ve made so much progress.” Duke grabbed Winston’s arm. “Don’t do it.”

“I have to go. I’m contractually bound.” He still didn’t see Harmon. Shit. “I want to tell him goodbye and that I’ll be back.”

“I’ll tell him.” Duke snorted. “I see Lee coming. He looks pissed. Go, but keep your fucking head on. Don’t you dare start taking again. I will kick your ass.”

“I’ll kick my ass.” He growled. “Okay. If I see him before I leave, I’ll tell him I’m going, but please tell him, too. Oh and there’s a painting the curator thinks I’m buying. Tell him I am and let me know what I owe. He said he’d put a hold on it.”

“I’ll handle it.” Duke nodded. “Count on me.”

“Thanks.” He left Duke by the painting of a vase, then hurried to the door with Lee. He’d rather be staying, but he’d signed contracts to say he’d front the supergroup and he had to live up to the contracts. He stopped at the door to look for Harmon one more time without luck. The guy was starting to feel like a figment of his imagination.

“Are you ready?” Lee snapped his fingers. “We need to go.”

“Yeah.” He’d have to explain the situation to Harmon when he returned because, damn it, he was coming back to Norville. He wasn’t done with Harmon. Not by a long shot.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Megan Slayer

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and BDSM themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been the runner up in the Kink Category at Love Romances Café as well as nominated at the LRC for best author, best contemporary, best ménage and best anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice.

Find out more about Megan on her website, and sign up for the newsletter here. You can also check out her Blog, Amazon Author Page, Bookbub and Instagram.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Release Blitz ~ Wreck My Mind by Brooke Taylor (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Wreck My Mind by Brooke Taylor

Book 2 in the Wicked Games series

Word Count: 79,989
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 326

Genres:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

 

Treasure abounds for those who dare, but only truth can set you free in this island paradise.

Truth…

Because honesty is always the best policy.

Mysteries abound on Marakata Cay—an exotic, Eden-esque island owned by a multi-billionaire known as OZ. Perhaps the biggest secret of all is the one haunting capable and passionate Aziza. Dutifully, Zee has served the eccentric and reclusive OZ as his right hand, even to the detriment of her own freedoms. In fact, she’s never so much as stepped foot off the island since washing up on its shores. But when the man she’s falling in love with disappears amidst lies and betrayal, Zee begins to wonder. Has the paradise sanctuary protecting her from her past actually been a trap?

Or dare?

Because with great risks come even better rewards.

Former Navy SEAL Michael Cooper has spent his life thwarting death. Playing scarecrow for Beryl Enterprises as OZ’s Director of Defense and Specialized Operations is no exception. But for the first time in his life, Coop finds himself truly facing reality—he’s not invincible. Not at all. When OZ offers Coop an insanely lucrative mission, he’s in no position to turn it down. The deep-sea treasure recovery should be easy for a man with Coop’s diving and demolition skills, but the job comes with more than its fair share of danger. Sharks, modern-day pirates, and the possibility of losing the love of his life, the beautiful and tenacious Aziza.

Even Eden had a snake, and for the first time in the island paradise’s illusive history, money and power can’t mend what’s been wrecked upon its shores, daring Aziza to pull the curtain back and reveal the truth, no matter the cost.

Reader advisory: This book includes scenes of violence and murder (sometimes graphic), and mentions of the mistreatment of neurodivergent characters, kidnapping, child abuse, and human trafficking.

Excerpt

Coop

Aziza and I were not friends, we weren’t enemies, and we certainly weren’t lovers…we were liars. The biggest lie of all, the one I’d been telling myself for years, had become damn impossible to keep up. But the constraints of reality had never stopped me before, no sense starting on a boat speeding into the shadowed heart of the Amazon river basin at zero dark thirty.

Aziza

“You’re not happy to see him!” I scolded myself. “You’re just glad the stubborn, prideful, stupid…man isn’t dead.” Because if anyone or anything was going to kill Michael Cooper, it was going to be me!

I growled over the sounds of the tropical storm battering Marakata Cay.

Pulse punching, I scrolled back through the video capture dated nearly twenty-four hours ago. The heavily bearded profile blending into a small crowd of people before disappearing into the thin blue air of Rio de Janeiro most definitely belonged to an alive and well Michael Cooper.

What the hell are you doing in Brazil?

If he was even still there.

Twenty-four hours may as well have been a month. He could be anywhere now, even in a morgue. It wasn’t like he hadn’t made serious enemies working for Beryl Enterprises. As our Director of Defense and Specialized Operations, he contracted with major private sector corporations as well as notable governments for high-level security solutions. His teams were often called in to deliver asset reconnaissance and recovery, be it intel or high-value targets. And occasionally those clients required more direct and unconventional warfare resolutions. It was these uniquely focused, clandestine operations that often put Beryl Enterprises in the crosshairs.

Concerned for his safety, I’d boldly asked Coop to relocate his home office from Dubai to Marakata Cay—the crown jewel of Beryl Enterprises. I’d proposed it would help shield both him and Omar Zaki’s private island. But it certainly hadn’t been my main motivation.

I’d truly believed he’d felt the same attraction, connection, to me that I did for him. Sure, our relationship was primarily professional. But for the past year or more our virtual meetings had lingered long after all work talk had been settled. We’d joke and laugh, talk about life. What had started as fun flirtation had quickly turned into something special.

Oh fuck it, I thought we were in love.

How could I’ve been so wrong?

So foolish!

I’d risked much more than my heart and pride when I’d dared ask him to make good on the flirtatious dance we’d been doing for years. And what had been his response? To send Brecken Wolfe, his top operator, here in his stead. To take off on an indefinite vacation while avoiding all forms of contact. To go completely off grid while simultaneously evading all SIGINT—every CCTV camera and satellite surveillance mechanism known to man. To freaking ghost me!

Hint. Taken.

But why go to such great lengths to stay undetected? Was it to dodge me, or was something else going on?

Coop had been acting off for months now, and if it wasn’t because he’d been fighting his feelings for me, then why? Someone else? Something even worse? Just because I hated him didn’t mean I’d stopped caring. Hoping.

My nerves knotted tight enough to fray as I fretted over what I might discover. But I couldn’t hide from the truth any longer.

Ignoring my heart overfilling like a balloon and bursting on every beat, I replayed the loop in slow motion. I should’ve been scanning the background for clues as to what exactly Coop was doing in Rio, and more importantly why he’d slipped up and gotten caught when he’d expended great effort the past month to stay off grid. Instead, my questions and frustration evaporated as I paused on the singular image of him. He looked just like when I’d first met him over ten years ago—a little angry and a lot tired. Hardened from too many tours in the sandbox. Handsome as sin. Hot AF.

Despite the shitty resolution, those deep, ocean eyes of his managed to steal my air and throttle my heart.

“I’ve missed you, My-sharky,” I whispered on a sigh.

The pet name was his butchered reiteration of mushaeghib—the Arabic word I often called him in frustration. It meant troublemaker and it fit him as well as calling him my shark did.

He was my protector. My warrior. My worst freaking headache. I wasn’t about to lose him forever and have him become my greatest heartache, too.

My gaze traced along his jawline. The carved edges were now covered by a thick, rough beard. He hadn’t shaved in a month, but the dark mass cloaking those panty-melting dimples of his looked more like a year’s worth of growth. Same with the wild, black licks of hair.

Licks…

My eyes drifted to the slight protrusion of his tongue. Suddenly it was if his lips weren’t on my computer screen or thousands of miles away in Brazil anymore. They were here on Marakata Cay right where I wanted—needed—them. My conjured vision of him had blown through my bedroom door with the same force as the tropical storm pelting my windows.

Dear Lord! My head needed to be examined. I’d spent weeks terrified I’d never see Coop again. I was furious at him for inexplicably leaving. Frightened, confused, hurt…and though it was tough to admit considering we’d never even touched, my heart had been wrecked when he’d vanished without a trace. Yet a stupid screenshot of him could still completely derail me with delusions and desire.

How could one gorgeous, but frustrating—infuriating—man have such a massive effect on me? I was a capable, intelligent, task-driven professional. As Omar Zaki’s right hand, I had authority over the Beryl Enterprises empire, which included multiple specialized operations teams full of cocksure alpha men.

So why couldn’t I control my own thoughts when it came to one, very annoying, smoking hot, Michael freaking Cooper?

The man had a way of slipping up on me and taking over my mind the same way scents of plumeria and rain had slid beneath my balcony’s French doors to saturate my room. Being unable to stop myself from jumping his bones was half the reason I’d kept him in the Dubai offices and far away from the island for so long. I had too much to lose to be getting sexually involved with anyone I had true feelings for.

Asking him to relocate had been reckless and impetuous.

Foolhardy.

The mere sight of him, even on a computer screen, melted my resolve and my body like butter on a beach. Now was no different.

I wanted him here—not just here…here with me—more than I’d ever wanted anything.

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Brooke Taylor

Brooke Taylor lives and writes from her country home in Oklahoma where her pets are a constant, but happy, distraction. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys horseback riding, going to the lake, and traveling.

Brooke has worked extensively in the travel industry, from dude ranches to ski resorts to cruise lines. Her many overseas adventures include sky diving in New Zealand, scuba diving with sharks, sailing through hurricanes, and having her tent attacked by wild animals in the Mara game reserve in Kenya. Due to current health insurance rates, Brooke is letting her characters do most of the risk-taking from now on.

Find out more about Brooke at her website.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz: Possibilities by Kira Stone (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Possibilities

Author: Kira Stone

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: May 13, 2022

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 19 pages

Genre: Erotica, BDSM, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal, SciFi, Dark Desire, Age Gap, Gay

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Choices…

Neal dives into a secluded pool hoping to find release for his aching body and his troubled mind. Instead, he finds Saul. The scribe is everything Neal could dream of — and yet he knows he dares not pursue his desires, for Saul is a Scribe.

Saul wants Neal, but not in servitude. Even a slave can make choices, and Neal chooses to make love to the man who opens his mind — and his heart.

Excerpt

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2010 Kira Stone

Moonlight strokes the rocks and vegetation bracketing the waterfall with its ghostly fingers. Crystal clear water tumbles from one shallow pool to another, tugged down by gravity’s inexorable grip. Flowers bend in the gentle breeze, and nocturnal creatures add to nature’s nightly chorus as they go about their lives. It is perfect. It is peaceful.

It is a place where possibilities are born… although it would take me some time to realize it.

Although I’ve travelled past this location many times before, this particular spot is unfamiliar to me. It is, however, a welcome sight. I am weary and need a place to rest for the night. The pool looks so inviting. Perhaps a swim before bedding down would help erase the strains of the day.

Rushing water stifles my tired groan as I remove my silks. Little more than scraps of black fabric to cover the most male part of me, held together by a single braided strand of rope. Even so, I treat them with care for they are all I have to shield me against the elements so I set them on a rock beside the water.

The journey to this place, this moment in time, has not been an easy one. My body bears the scars of battles fought, some still fresh. See there, across my wrist, the lines of red? A demon who nearly bereft me of my life left those marks with his razor sharp claws. I can’t decide whether to praise the gods or curse them for sending the district’s healer along to save me when they did.

My spirit is equally marred. Hope has crawled into some dark corner of my soul. I dine on regrets and guilt, a meal that doesn’t sustain a man of thirty-eight for very long. And yet, here I am, still living and breathing. I don’t know why.

I ponder this as I move toward the edge of the lowest pool. The water is warmer than I expect given the lack of the sun’s warming rays, and I find myself drawn into its embrace. At its deepest, it rises no higher than my waist. I swim the breadth of it several times before finding a rock near the middle to sprawl on.

My limbs dangle loosely, toying with the surface, and I stare up at the heavens with the three moons of Trinity hanging low in the sky, searching for answers.

This is how he must have first seen me, looking like some debauched sprite fallen to ground.

I take no notice of the stranger in my midst at first. Slowly, he colors my world. Sound grows clearer, flowers perfume the night air, and everything around me begins to hum with a vibrancy as though it’s newly awakened to life.

I sit up and spy a ripple of midnight blue, just a shade paler than the sky, along the edge of the pool. He stops moving, and his cloak settles around him. Just as my surroundings burst into full life, so does he. Dark blue cloth wraps his rugged frame from neck to knee. His mahogany hair curls back from his face. Black boots and gloves cover his feet and hands. Though a handsome man by any rational person’s account, I remain unfazed.

Until I reach his eyes.

How is it possible to see one’s soul through their eyes? It’s a myth I never believed until I met this stranger. Although I’ve always been partial to blue, it’s not the rich color that holds me captive.

It has little to do with the expression on his face, which seems faintly amused at coming upon me bathing in the moonlight as he had. Nor is it the air of danger and sexual prowess that he exudes. No, it is the reflection of a lifetime of experiences, good and bad, hovering in those blue, blue eyes that I cannot look away from.

Oddly, I’m slightly ashamed of my nakedness for the first time in my humble life. He is the only Master in sight; I am merely a servant boy. I have nothing that he does not give me, including my life. Appearing naked before him should be as natural as breathing and yet I long for some form of cover, as if his eyes might delve into me too deeply otherwise.

Slowly I recall my duty and slip from the stone, back into the water. I swim across to him, kneeling in the shallows when I reach the water’s edge. Still I cannot look away from his face and those startling eyes. “Master, may this boy be of service to you?”

He breathes deep, his broad chest expanding, before answering in a commanding yet gentle tenor. “Tell me your name, boy.”

“This one is called Neal, Master.”

“And you may call me Saul.”

I admit I’m not often at a loss for words, but that request stopped all thought from forming in my brain. A Master wants me, a slave, to refer to him by name? Unheard of! “Master, are you sure?”

He laughs and the sound is more cleansing to me than the crystal clear water. “When we are alone, yes. I want to hear my name from your lips.”

He is Master. I am slave. I shouldn’t question his requests. And yet… “But Master, I am only a boy. I have no right to speak your name.”

“You have whatever rights I give you, and I grant you permission to use my name.” He cocks his head to the side in consideration, then adds, “For tonight.”

His expression hasn’t changed, but there’s something in his manner that convinces me he is serious. I didn’t wish to cross him, for even one of the scribe caste could be dangerous if provoked. “Yes, Mas — Yes, Saul. May this boy be of service to you?”

“Perhaps it is I who am here to serve you,” he suggests with a smile.

A great and mighty Master would lower himself to serve a humble boy? It had never been done before in my knowledge and I can only think of one reason for him to suggest it. “Is this a test for me, to see if I will behave properly?”

“No, Neal. It is merely a suggestion.”

It’s the first of many possibilities he shows me this night. Even now my body trembles with the memories of that first spectacular glimpse of what could be.

“How would you… Boy can… This is not…” No thought would complete itself in my brain before a new one birthed.

Saul laughs again as he presses his finger to my lips. “Easy, Neal. Do not hurt yourself.”

I search the depth of his eyes for some explanation for what is happening. All I find are more questions. “Saul…”

With a smile on his face, he commands, “Come with me.”

Purchase

Changeling Press LLC | Amazon

Meet the Author

Kira Stone lives in a warm cave tucked away in the remote Scottish Highlands, where a small band of ever-changing heroes serves as company. As they relax in front of a roaring fire, demons dance in leather pants and angels stroke tunes from the harp strings, while the Fae stop in to share tales from other worlds. Bound by pen and imagination, these are the folk who wait to greet you from the pages of Kira’s stories. Find out more on their website.

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Load more