Blog Tour: Adrift by Isabelle Adler (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Adrift

Series: Staying Afloat, Book 1

Author: Isabelle Adler

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: January 30

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 66000

Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, NineStar Press, sci-fi, futuristic, aliens, military, smugglers, pirates, demisexual, pilots, action/adventure, space battle, age-gap, slow-burn

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Synopsis

Some jobs are just too good to be true.

Captain Matt Spears learns this the hard way after a mysterious employer hires his ship to hunt down an ancient alien artifact but insists on providing his own pilot. Ryce Faine is handsome and smart, but Matt has rarely met anyone more obnoxious. With tensions running high, it isn’t until they are attacked by the hostile Alraki that Matt grudgingly begins to respect Ryce’s superior skills, respect that transforms into a tentative attraction.

Little did he know that their biggest challenge would be reaching their destination, an abandoned alien base located on a distant moon amid a dense asteroid field. But when Matt learns that Ryce isn’t completely who he says he is and the artifact is more than he bargained for, he is faced with a difficult choice. One that might change the balance of forces in the known galaxy.

Matt doesn’t take well to moral dilemmas; he prefers the easy way out. But that might not be possible anymore, when his past comes back to haunt him at the worst possible moment. When faced with a notorious pirate carrying a personal grudge, the fragile connection Matt has formed with Ryce might be the only thing that he can count on to save them both.

Excerpt

Adrift
Isabelle Adler © 2017
All Rights Reserved

 

“No way,” Matt said. “No way in hell.”

The low hum of music and the loud voices threatened to swallow his response. The Blue Giant was like any other canteen on any other small-time maintenance space station, offering cheap drinks and free talk, catering to drifters, smugglers, freelance pilots, and the dregs of every known society. The strong smell of synthetic spirits enveloped the crowded room in an almost tangible cloud. It really wasn’t the best location for conducting business, even over interstellar communications channels, but one could stand being cooped up in a spaceship for only so long.

Matt ignored the noise best he could as he squinted at the commlink screen. This wasn’t a regular type of job, but then again, freelancers didn’t exactly have regular jobs. As it was, this one promised to be very well paying. His potential client had introduced himself as Mr. Ari, though Matt suspected it wasn’t his real name. They usually weren’t. At the moment, he was more concerned with Mr. Ari’s terms and conditions than with his identity, fake or otherwise.

“This is nonnegotiable,” Ari said firmly. There was no image on-screen, just his computer-altered voice in the earpiece. “I require that my own pilot navigate your ship to destination. He’s the only one who will know the exact route and the details of the mission. I’m merely hiring your ship to transport my man and provide him with assistance.”

“It’s my ship and I’m the only one flying her,” Matt said indignantly. “No way I’ll just let some stranger take over. Now, a passenger, that’s another matter. I’ve nothing against passengers, so long as they’re nice and quiet.” And good-looking, but he wasn’t about to say that to the client’s face, or to the lack thereof, as the case was. But another pilot? This was ridiculous. If the only thing this guy needed was a ship, there were much simpler alternatives than hiring Matt’s services.

“As I’ve said before, Captain, this job requires subtlety and a very specific set of skills,” Ari said. Even with the distortion, he somehow managed to make “Captain” sound like an insult. “Which, with all due respect, I doubt you possess. This is a salvage mission, and the location must remain a secret until you get there. To put it simply, you sit back, let my man do the job, get back safely, and collect the cash—as long as you keep your mouth firmly shut about any of this. I’ve been told that your ship is fast and well equipped, and that you are discreet. I’d hate to think that I’ve been misinformed.”

Matt took a long sip of his beer to stall for time. The beer had a distinct sour artificial aftertaste, but at least it was cold. “What kind of salvage?”

“An abandoned alien site. I’m afraid I can’t divulge further information at this point, other than it would require a jump to another sector.”

“Huh,” Matt grunted. The guy was definitely too well-spoken to be a scavenger; on the other hand, off-world archaeological salvage (if that was indeed Ari’s intent) was usually done for strictly academic purposes and required government permits. Any other form of salvage, whether human or alien, was considered theft and was absolutely illegal. That and some other guy had to fly his ship? There was no way in hell he’d agree to that. This Mr. Ari could either fuck off or pay him way more than he was offering. “Well, you make it sound very tempting and all, but still. A pilot has his pride, you know. No one takes my seat, twenty thousand Fed-creds or no.”

“Name your price,” Ari said tersely.

“One hundred thousand,” Matt said, testing the waters.

“Done,” Ari said with a finality that left Matt a little dizzy. He was sure Ari would balk at the asking price. He wondered belatedly whether he could have gotten away with being even bolder. “My pilot will meet you at Dock G5 in two hours. You’ll get twenty percent of your fee now, and the rest when the job is done.”

“Agreed,” Matt said. How did this guy know exactly where his ship was? Shit, he could hardly back down on the offer now. “I’ll send you the account number.”

“Now, Mr. Spears, I must stress again how delicate this assignment is.”

“Of course,” Matt said. Really, this was tedious. Every client thought they were the only one in the galaxy who had dirty secrets. He wouldn’t have been in this line of work for as long as he had if he couldn’t keep his mouth shut and his eyes averted.

“You might encounter…competition,” Ari said. “While this is unlikely to happen, there is a chance that other parties might try to intercept you.”

“What do you mean, ‘intercept’?” Matt asked suspiciously. “Just to make it clear—I’m a runner, not a mercenary. If it’s something dangerous—”

“The reason I’m not willing to be more specific is precisely because I don’t want any information to leak out and pose a threat to your mission,” Ari said, sounding a bit too vague for Matt’s comfort. “However, you should be on alert, and report any incidents to my agent.”

Now he wanted him to report to the guy? Matt was utterly and completely done with reporting to anybody for the rest of his life. He was more than capable of handling any situation, and he wasn’t about to play the chain-of-command game with his client’s representative. However, he kept it prudently to himself. You didn’t sass somebody who was willing to shell out all those credits.

“Got it,” he said dryly. “I’ll be on alert. Anything else?”

“You may discuss further details with my man, and he’ll be handling all future communications. Good luck, Captain.”

“My pleasure,” Matt said. He disconnected the call and sagged back into his chair, pushing away the beer. He had a very, very bad feeling.

Purchase

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Meet the Author

A voracious reader from the age of five, Isabelle Adler has always dreamed of one day putting her own stories into writing. She loves traveling, art, and science, and finds inspiration in all of these. Her favorite genres include sci-fi, fantasy, and historical adventure. She also firmly believes in the unlimited powers of imagination and caffeine.

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Tour Schedule

1/30 Love Bytes

1/30 Stories That Make You Smile

1/31 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

2/1 Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

2/1 Prism Book Alliance

2/2 Happily Ever Chapter

2/2 Reviews by Tammy and Kim

2/3 We Three Queens

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Book Blitz: The Visionary by Charli Coty (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  The Visionary

Author: Charli Coty

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 30

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 78600

Genre: Romance, NineStar Press, paranormal, age gap, gay, LGBT, ESP, erotic romance, private detective

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Synopsis

Colin Page, eighteen-year-old community college student, apple polisher and all-around goody-goody, has a secret. He sees things that aren’t there. Unfortunately, the Doc Martens on the floor of the mail vestibule in his apartment building really are there and attached to a dead body. Hunkered over the body is someone Colin had barely noticed before, Private Investigator Al Green. Most people scare Colin, but for some reason, Al doesn’t, even after he reveals that he knows about the hidden reality of their world.

Alonzo Green, despite his low-power mind, is determined to help right the wrongs he unknowingly contributed to. He’s also hopelessly smitten. He knows it’s wrong—probably even dangerous—to enlist Colin’s help with the investigation. And that’s before considering all Al has to fear from Colin’s fiercely protective and powerful mother.

Colin and Al put some of the pieces together, but as soon as one thing becomes clear, the picture changes. The search for the Big Bad takes them from Portland to Tacoma and Seattle, and eventually to San Francisco, but their journey into each other’s arms is much shorter.

Excerpt

The Visionary

Charli Coty © 2017

All Rights Reserved

Colin always hesitated before getting into the rickety old elevator. It didn’t seem safe to ride in something, even four floors, if you could see the individual boards―which looked suspiciously similar to two-by-fours―vibrating. Or maybe it had more to do with the dust, grime, and cobwebs coating every visible surface, or maybe the preconceived notion he’d had that college would be different from high school. He held his breath and stepped in as the door closed.

He looked around, and thought he was alone in the lobby until he’d made it halfway to the front door. Someone cursed, and Colin turned to see a pair of black Doc Martens lying on the floor, partially sticking out from the mailbox alcove. He recognized the white symbols hand drawn on the backs of the heels. The guy who owned those boots―Tattoo Guy―lived in the building, but he and Colin hadn’t done more than nod hello. Colin’s mom had warned him time and again not to talk to anyone in the building because he’d be dragged into some drama or other, and he needed to focus on school. Maybe Tattoo Guy was hurt and needed help. He couldn’t just leave.

He reached the juncture of the hallway and the alcove housing the tarnished little brass doors to everyone’s mailboxes and saw another familiar someone. The large man was hunkered down beside Tattoo Guy. He wore battered jeans and steel-toed boots with a hole in the leather of one toe. The neck of his dark-green T-shirt was stretched out of shape, and his black leather jacket looked a half size too small. Colin struggled to come up with a word to describe him but couldn’t think of an antonym to doppelganger. That man was everything Colin was not, especially tall and dark.

“What’s that purple mist?” Colin asked, startling himself. He never spoke to strangers, especially not about―

“It’s more a fog.”

Odd. The man didn’t seem surprised. It did remind Colin of pictures of fog rolling in around the Golden Gate Bridge. Only these misty tendrils were purple and gradually disappeared as they moved farther away from Tattoo Guy.

“Why won’t you answer me?”

“What else do you see?” He turned slightly toward Colin but remained hunkered down, studying Tattoo Guy but not touching him.

“Nothing.” Colin blinked, and that fast, it wasn’t true anymore. “Crap, his tattoo just moved.”

“The raven?”

“No. The flower.” The purple tendrils had decayed so much they’d stopped diverting Colin’s attention from the blood on Tattoo Guy’s arm and the back of his shirt. He was obviously more than hurt.

“The violet moved?”

“It slapped the cymbal. I heard it.” Colin thought about running, but his feet refused to move.

“Anything else?”

“Like what?”

“It’d help if one of them named the killer.” The large man stood slowly and brushed off his hands. A little over six feet tall and slightly bulky, his long shaggy hair and full beard shot through with gray made him look like a street person. “Some of these tats have mouths. Are they saying anything?”

“What?” Colin took a step back. “Aren’t you going to call the police?”

“Already have. But I plan on starting an investigation of my own. The police are busy. If he doesn’t have any family to make noise―and I know he doesn’t―they won’t put much effort into finding out who killed him.”

“Why do you think someone killed him?”

“Murder is purple.” He slowly reached into his jacket and smiled as he brought out a pastel-green business card. “I’m a private investigator. Al Green.”

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Meet the Author

Charli misspent a large chunk of her youth on the back of a Harley, meeting people and having adventures that sometimes pop up in her fiction. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. Charli has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.

Charli Coty is a pseudonym of the author known as Charley Descoteaux.

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Blog Tour: PeopleFish by Medella Kingston (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  PeopleFish

Author: Medella Kingston

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: January 23rd

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 118000

Genre: Romance, lesbian, bisexual, paranormal, Addiction, psychic ability, romance

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Synopsis

Her Cree grandmother called it the gift of seeing, but for Petra “Pete” Orvatch, knowing things in ways that defy explanation has made reality and fantasy blur in a world where the clocks literally go backward. Her fascinating and clairvoyant mind is a riddle that many doctors have tried to solve with medication. Love comes her way unexpectedly when she meets Fiona Angeli, a stunningly beautiful single mother. A risk-taker by nature, Fiona is not scared off by her new lover’s psychic abilities and eccentricities.

The two of them share passion and secrets on a magical and surprising journey, and their torrid love affair takes them to thrilling new places until betrayal divides them. Both these women fight battles within themselves; Fiona must gain control of her dangerous compulsions, and Pete’s onerous gift ultimately puts her at risk of losing herself in the gap between delusions and the real world.

Excerpt

PeopleFish
Medella Kingston © 2017
All Rights Reserved

 

Pete looked up from the mystery she was reading and scanned the faces in the waiting room. There was Tired Pinched Mom, with faded blond ponytail and dark roots coming in. She had one kid under control and was now quietly negotiating with the other. Next to this trio sat Man Too Large for His Seat, who seemed to be staring at his shoes or sleeping with his eyes open. In the corner was someone so nondescript she couldn’t instantly name her—then it came to her: Any Woman. This woman was neither thin nor large, short nor tall, and had a slightly exotic yet familiar face. She looked as if she could be from many different places, like Greece, Morocco, Central America, or New Jersey. She was text-messaging so quickly, Pete half expected her thumbs to spark and set fire to her phone.

Doesn’t anyone people-watch anymore? Was she the only person left who liked to read faces and create narratives? Maybe so. She’d never stop doing it. She’d been spinning this stuff since she was little—much to the annoyance of her mother. Instead of acknowledging the creative gifts of her child, or at the very least being entertained by them, she’d say, “God will punish you, Petra Marie, for thinking bad thoughts about people and making up lies.”

Some traits must skip generations, because Grandma Sweets had the right attitude. She’d join right in and embellish her granddaughter’s rough outlines of strangers’ lives with additions that could only come from a seasoned mind. If Pete said a passenger on the bus looked guilty, Gram Sweets would say, “Of course he looks guilty, he ought to! Instead of cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving, he cooked his wife!”

Her reminiscing was perforated by the staccato ring of a telephone.

“Cambridge Holistic Health and Wellness Center, please hold.”

Please hold? No one else is on the line; is this receptionista just fucking with the caller? Pete dog-eared the page in her paperback, closed it, slipped it into her bag, and decided to devote all of her energy to observing. She was just about to make up a story about the receptionist when her eyes landed on something strange. She hadn’t noticed the cheap plastic clock on the wallpapered wall before, but now she couldn’t take her eyes off it because the second hand was moving backward.

At first she thought she was seeing things, since her imagination was such a well-developed muscle. So she did something that made her feel seven instead of thirty-seven. She closed her eyes to reset, inhaled a long, slow breath, and then opened them, hoping this simple act could alter what she saw, or make things feel right again. She didn’t return her gaze to the clock right away, but rather avoided its face like you would dodge direct eye contact in a volley of flirt-and-stare with a stranger who’d caught you looking.

She panned her eyes evenly over all she had just taken in. Now the previously obedient child of the two was acting petulant, Man Too Large for His Seat actually was asleep, and Any Woman had stopped texting and was staring back at Pete. This startled her a bit. She looked away and then forced herself to look at the clock again. The red second hand was still moving backward and now instead of 2:27, it was 2:26, and the room seemed brighter to her than it had been just a minute ago.

“Petra Orvatch?”

She heard the automaton call her but she couldn’t move—she felt obligated to monitor the clock and confirm that it was in fact going backward, but knew she shouldn’t say anything about it. It was one of those times when she couldn’t expect people to understand her. These occurrences had happened ever since she could remember and could be confusing, amusing, or even downright dangerous.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Medella Kingston fell in love with writing at an early age and published articles, poems, and stories when she was growing up. She wrote, performed, and sold songs for movie soundtracks, and continued writing short stories for her own pleasure. She currently sings in the band Omnesia, which has aired locally on UC Berkeley’s radio station and been heard as far east as Goa and the Mumbai University. She lives with her partner and their two dogs in the East Bay. PeopleFish is Medella’s first novel, and she is currently working on a new book.

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Tour Schedule

1/23 – On Top Down Under

1/23 – Scatteredt Thoughts And Rogue Words

1/24 – Molly Lolly; Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

1/24 – Stories That Make You Smile

1/25 – Erotica For All 

1/25 – Divine Magazine

1/26 – MM Good Book Reviews

1/26 – Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

1/26 – Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

1/26 – Boy Meets Boy Reviews

1/27 – Happily Ever Chapter

1/27 – Sharing Links and Wisdom

1/27 – Love Bytes

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Book Blitz: Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out by Joe Cosentino (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out

Series: Cozzi Cove book 3

Author: Joe Cosentino

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 23rd

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 62600

Genre: Romance, contemporary, vacation resort, New Jersey, beach/shore, transgender, religion, Bhuddist, bartenders, doctors, college, humorous, weddings, off-page non-con

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Synopsis

It’s time for another summer of sun, sand, suntan lotion, sandals, and Speedos on Cozzi Cove at the New Jersey Shore. Cal Cozzi’s seven bungalows are once again open for love.

This summer, sexy Cal welcomes back his brother and sister, who are confronted with people from their pasts. Connor, the maid packed with muscle and mayhem, becomes the subject of a handsome young psychologist’s study on human sexuality. Tommy, the strapping, bald and tattooed local bartender, is captivated with guest Cory Magnum, a police officer with a secret. Another guest, Bill, a disbelieving pastor, is inspired by a vision of two sexy male angels on the cove. And Cal and Michael reach a plateau in their relationship.

What secrets, humor, tragedies, mysteries, and passions lie waiting to unfold in this magical place called Cozzi Cove?

Excerpt

Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out
Joe Cosentino © 2017
All Rights Reserved

A soaring golden orb turned the violet, pink, and tangerine sky into a canvas of blue. Early morning was Cal Cozzi’s favorite time. Treading water in the cove that had boasted his family name for generations, Cal felt as if his blood was the bay water, his flesh was the sand, and his soul was the sun. And Michael Rodgers was his heart. Michael swam over to him and wrapped his stocky arms around Cal’s neck. Cal cupped Michael’s firm bottom and squeezed him in closer. As Michael caressed Cal’s muscled back, they shared a salty wet kiss. Cal looked up at a seagull gliding to the lighthouse in the distance. He pondered having the freedom to fly away from Cozzi Cove, but there was no place he’d rather be than in the confines of his legacy with the man he loved.

Cal’s great-grandfather, Calvin Cozzi I, had built everything in the sleepy town on the New Jersey shore, including the eight bungalows on the cove. This beautiful spot was the result of sun and salt water wearing away softer rocks more quickly than the harder rocks surrounding them.

Cal’s legacy was passed down to him from his great-grandfather through his grandfather, Calvin Cozzi II, and finally by his father, Calvin Cozzi III. Cal’s father, sensing his son’s sexual orientation as a boy, had opened Cozzi Cove as a gay resort.

Though Cal had dabbled briefly as a professional football player, and then as a restaurant owner, neither was a good fit. It wasn’t until after the unfortunate death of his parents in an automobile accident that he found his true calling: managing Cozzi Cove. The previous summer, Cal had been united with his half-brother, George, an architect, and the two of them had recently completed renovations on the bungalows, expanding them to add modern amenities while maintaining their grandfather’s nautical theme.

The tip of his head only reached Cal’s chin, so Michael had to stretch up to kiss his nose. Cal’s Italian and Scottish heritage had given him height, auburn hair, emerald-green eyes, an olive complexion, a strapping build, and a wide nose, which, as noted, Michael liked to kiss. “Should we be skinny-dipping at the start of a new summer season?”

“Probably not.” Cal ran a strong hand through Michael’s chestnut hair and gazed into his exotic eyes.

“What if a guest comes early?”

“He can get his own boyfriend.” Cal pressed his tongue inside Michael’s welcoming mouth. It felt warm, and Cal wanted more. As Michael stroked Cal’s broad shoulders and round pectoral muscles, prominent from working out at Cozzi’s gym, Cal pressed his nose against Michael’s thick neck and enjoyed the scent of vanilla. Michael’s African-American and Swedish heritage awarded him smooth golden skin that Cal loved to caress. Cal thought about the eleven-year difference in their ages, how they had met when Michael, still in the closet, tried to gay bash him in an alley, and the year Michael still had left to finish college. It was illogical and improbable for Cal and Michael to be together, yet it felt incredibly right. At that moment, he couldn’t be more in love with Michael.

George Valis, wearing a violet polo shirt and white shorts that accentuated his muscular legs, stepped out of Bungalow Seven and met them at the cove. “Hey, my ex back in Maine dumped me, remember? Stop rubbing in your happiness, you two.”

“Have breakfast with us.” Michael’s dimples appeared. “Cal is making a feast.”

“And Michael is cleaning up after me.”

“As usual.” George winked at Michael.

They got out of the water and put on the terrycloth robes they’d left on a rock at the water’s edge. Cal smiled at the sight of his brother’s height and eye color, which was exactly the same as his own. Cal and George shared the same father, with George being the result of Cal Cozzi II’s infidelity. They had met for the first time last summer when George looked Cal up, and Cal couldn’t have been happier to have a brother like George. He mussed George’s dark hair affectionately. “After breakfast, I’ll pack a lunch for your ride back to Maine.”

Michael’s shoulders slumped. “Do you have to go?”

Cal put his arm around Michael, recalling the brother Michael had lost two summers ago to suicide. “Bungalow Seven is always here for George.”

“Good.” George grinned like a kid with a secret. “It looks like I’ll be staying for a while longer.”

“Yeah!” Michael gave George a hug. “Cal will make a special celebration dinner tonight.” He kissed Cal’s cheek. “My favorite is surf and turf.”

“How about I leave my turf and throw you in the surf at the main beach instead?” Cal kissed Michael’s neck and then turned to his younger brother. “What’s up, bro?”

George looked at them and giggled. “Clearly you two, just before I arrived.”

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Meet the Author

Joe Cosentino was voted 2nd Place Favorite MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards. He is the author of the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention/TBR Pile Favorite Book of the Month), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen (Divine Magazine Readers’ Favorite LGBT Mystery Novel, Humorous Novel, and Contemporary Novel), Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective (Lethe Press); the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Open Skye Book Reviews Favorite Audiobook of the Month), A Home for the Holidays; and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married.

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

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

Author: BA Tortuga, Julia Talbot, and Kiernan Kelly

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

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: January 17, 2016

Pairing: M/M

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

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Synopsis

Calling His Bluff by BA Tortuga

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

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

Happy Medium by Julia Talbot

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

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

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

Wishful Thinking by Kiernan Kelly

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

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

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

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

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Purchase all three Club Raven novels below!

Calling His Bluff: Evil Plot Bunny

Happy Medium: Evil Plot Bunny | Amazon

Wishful Thinking: Evil Plot Bunny | Amazon

Meet the Authors

BA Tortuga

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

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

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

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Julia Talbot

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

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

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Kiernan Kelly

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

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

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

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

Title:  Pieces of Me

Series: Spectrum Nights, Book 1

Author: Melanie Hansen

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: January 16th

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 89800

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

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Synopsis

 

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

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

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

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

Excerpt

“I hate you, Ashworth!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords

Meet the Author

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

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

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

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

Tour Schedule

1/16     Boy Meets Boy Reviews

1/16     Gay Book Reviews

1/17     My Fiction Nook

1/17     Outrageous Heroes

1/18     MM Book Escape

1/18     Happily Ever Chapter

1/18     Dog-Eared Daydreams

1/19     Stories That Make You Smile

1/19     MANTASY: ManLove for the Grown and Sexy

1/19     Bayou Book Junkie

1/20     Urban Smoothie Read

1/20     Alpha Book Club

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

Title:  Delayed Gratification

Series: Daniel & Ryan, Book 1

Author: Tamryn Eradani

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 16th

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 11300

Genre: Erotica, BDSM; Businessmen; Friends to Lovers

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Synopsis

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

Excerpt

Tamryn Eradani © 2017
All Rights Reserved

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

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

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

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

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

Ah, Ryan Cole.

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

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

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

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

With a Krispy Kreme bag.

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

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

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

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

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

No, Daniel tells himself firmly.

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

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

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

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Meet the Author

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

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

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The Closing of Wilde City Press

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

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

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

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

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

— Lori, William, and Nathan

Blog Tour: Off Base by Annabeth Albert

Title:  Off Base

Series: Out of Uniform #1

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Carina Press

Release Date: January 9th 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73,000

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

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Synopsis

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

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

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

Book One of the Out of Uniform series

This book is approximately 73,000 words

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

Excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I guess I could do a beer.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

annabeth-avatar

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

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

 

 

Tour Schedule

1/11: Joyfully Jay  

1/12: Prism Book Alliance  

1/13: Love Bytes Reviews  

1/14: Alpha Book Club  

1/15: Foxylutely Books

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

Title:  Love Plus One

Series: Maths, Book 1

Author: P.A. Friday

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 9th

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male Menage

Length: 60800

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

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Synopsis

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

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

Excerpt

P.A. Friday © 2017
All Rights Reserved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I feel like an idiot,” Laurie apologised.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Uh-huh?”

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

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

“You’re bloody brave.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords

Meet the Author

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

Pronouns: she/her

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