Book Blitz: Passion and Penance by Lana Cordova (Excerpt & Giveaway)

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Title:  Passion and Penance

Author: Lana Cordova

Publisher:  Torquere Press

Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Release Date:  5-18-16

Heat Level: 4.5

Pairing: M/F

Length: 52,700 words

Genre/Tags: Erotica, Romance, BDSM, Fantasy, Contemporary

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Synopsis

Emily Jordan’s life as an English major is about to take an unexpected erogenous turn. In a critical financial pinch, she takes a year off from the university to work as a domestic for the billionaire Blackwood brothers in their lavish Kenilworth estate. She hopes to earn enough money to finish her master’s degree.

She barely arrives when she meets the twin Blackwood brothers who are both instantly attracted to her. Joel relishes in Emily’s every breath. Jackson is the tortured soul for whom passion and penance are synonymous. Joel is a tantric mystic who wants nothing more than to achieve nirvana. Jackson is the dominant brother who shoulders all responsibility for the family’s international industrial contracting and engineering firm. With Joel and Jackson, Emily explores two very different worlds of sensuality under the watchful eye of the abusive head housekeeper who condemns Emily’s every move.

Both brothers have their charms, and Emily finds them attractive, each in his own way. Will she choose passion or penance?

Previously published by Turquoise Morning Press.

Excerpt

I turned to find an attractive man with collar-length, sandy blond hair leaning out of a doorway down the hall. He buttoned his starched white shirt, slowly covering up a well-chiseled chest, and what must have been the remnant of summer’s tan. He flashed a roguish smile and stepped toward me, closing the door behind him.

“Mrs. Parsons as much as promised I wouldn’t last long here,” I answered.

“Don’t worry about Parsons,” he suggested. “You haven’t been here long enough to make a terminable mistake.” He emphasized the word terminable with a spot-on imitation of Mrs. Parsons’s stern voice.

For the first time since I’d accepted the job, I felt a little tension leaving my shoulders. I brushed away a stray spiral that had fallen from my ponytail and smiled back. “Oh, I don’t know,” I mused. “It seems I forgot to bring my uniform with me.”

“Well, I suspect you’ll be working in the nude, then.” His smile flashed with wicked delight as he laughed. Apparently, the thought of me working while naked aroused him.

The gleam in his teasing eyes held me transfixed. I yanked my attention away once I realized I stared like an awkward schoolgirl gawking at the team quarterback. “You realize you’re laughing at my certain demise.” I was only halfway teasing.

“You’ll be fine,” he assured me as he opened a door in the hallway. “This is the staff supply room. They keep uniforms in here.”

The room was a sizeable walk-in closet stocked with fresh linens, towels, and uniforms. “Thanks,” I offered gratefully as I searched the rack for a housekeeper’s black blouse and skirt in my size. Frowning, I glanced at him as I withdrew the uniform parts. “I don’t even know your name.” I looked around and found a starched white apron and cap on a nearby shelf.

“I’m Joel,” he answered and extended his hand.

His grip was warm and strong, making me realize how cold I still was.

“You’re freezing,” he noted with a scant suggestion of concern in his voice.

“No, I’m Emily,” I quipped.

“Oh, I see you’re a feisty one.” He smirked. “I like that in a woman.” He visually assessed me, slowly scanning me from head to toe.

I fought the flush I felt rising up my neck. Don’t blush, I told myself. I walked past him and out of the closet to make my way back toward my room. “Thank you, Joel,” I said in a more collegial tone. “I have to go now. Mrs. Parsons will be waiting.”

“You break my heart, princess,” he cried dramatically, clutching his chest and backing down the hallway.

“I think you’ll survive.” I shot him a forced I’m not buying it for one minute look.

He walked past the door from which he had come.

“You seem to have missed your room.” I remarked with a laugh.

“That’s not my room.” He gave a flirtatious smile and swaggered off as a woman’s muffled laughter came from behind the door. Another woman’s laugh joined from within the same room.

Back in my quarters, I fumed. Why am I always attracted to the bad boys? I was so annoyed with myself. It was as if I wore the romantic equivalent of a Kick Me sign everywhere I went. It was the main reason I’d sworn off relationships for the last couple of years to focus on my studies. The only drama I wanted in my life came from the pens of writers like Hugo, Dumas, and Yeats. I shoved thoughts of Joel’s perfect chest out of my mind as I quickly found my stockings and comfortable black work shoes in my bag. I put on the blouse and skirt. The stiffly starched fabric crackled like sails in the wind as I adjusted the uniform and tried to make it fit more comfortably. At least the knee-length skirt had kick pleats that would enable me to bend and move around quickly and easily to clean and dust.

Checking my appearance in the bathroom mirror, I couldn’t say I cared much for the overall look of the somber traditional housekeeper black outfit with French maid undertones, but it didn’t clash too wildly with my auburn hair. Using my fingers, I combed my stubborn curls into a bun and secured the puffy white cap over it with hairpins. Surveying myself one last time to prepare for Mrs. Parsons’s inspection, I noticed my eyes confessed my sleepless night and early trip this morning. I’d tossed and turned most of the night, apprehension about the new job interrupting my brief moments of rest. Overall, though, I felt I looked reasonably presentable. Mrs. Parsons already had low expectations for me after all.

I hurried back to the foyer where I found Mrs. Parsons waiting with an impatient expression on her face. She scowled at her watch, and I avoided meeting her face. By some means, it felt safer than encountering her head-on.

Beside Mrs. Parsons stood two other uniformed housekeepers and a man whom I presumed to be a butler, complete with black pants, white shirt, vest, and a towel over his arm. Nothing could have prepared me for the jolt I would feel upon seeing the other man with windswept-looking dark brown hair who stood with them. He wore a button down denim shirt, a professorial tweed jacket with elbow patches, and dark brown khakis.

“This is Mr. Jackson Blackwood, the master of the house,” Mrs. Parsons explained.

I looked up to greet Mr. Blackwood, and my breath caught in my throat as the air around us crackled. The attraction I felt for him was instant and undeniable. I noticed familiarity in the piercing green eyes behind his Wayfarer glasses. A flicker of sternness gave way to a softer gaze as he smiled and politely reached for my hand. Our fingertips touched, and I felt my pulse quicken, throbbing loud in my ear. It wasn’t only his strikingly sculpted features that made my throat go suddenly dry and my ears become deaf to anything but the sound of his voice. There was a tangible air of hypnotic virility about him I found irresistible. Something connected deep inside my chest, and I felt as though I finally belonged.

“Welcome, Miss Jordan,” he said. A palpable almost magnetic sensation drew me toward him and at the same time made me feel oddly exposed, as if he knew my thoughts. Our eyes met, and for a fleeting moment, I thought I saw a hint of awareness, a silent communication between us that said he had felt it too. His dark complexion and well-groomed stubble gave him the air of someone who spent much of his downtime outdoors. Though I wasn’t sure why, I somehow felt safer in his presence.

Suddenly, an arm reached around my shoulders from behind and startled me to attention. I turned to see that Joel had quietly sneaked up from the corridor.

“Sorry, Jackson old boy,” Joel addressed Mr. Blackwood, as he squeezed my shoulders. “I saw this one first.” His hand slid down my back and groped my bottom.

Angry and embarrassed beyond words, I almost slapped him. It took all of my resolve to keep from smacking him, but I was determined not to give him the satisfaction of a reaction. I could only imagine what his actions made them think about me. My imagination taunted me. Almost certainly, they would be thinking I was a prick tease, a fool, or both. I struggled to contain my frustration with Joel’s behavior. I dared to glance at the other staff. The butler looked away, tactfully avoiding the scene. The two housekeepers, however, looked at Joel with disapproving stares that seemed to also show a trace of something else. Was it jealousy?

“Mr. Blackwood!” Mrs. Parsons barked with an angry huff. “Do control yourself, sir.”

Confused, I looked from Joel to Jackson. Did she just call Joel Mr. Blackwood?

“I see you’ve met my baby brother Joel,” Jackson Blackwood groaned in an apologetic tone.

“Baby my ass!” Joel snickered. “I can take you any day, and I’m only an hour younger than you.”

I looked questioningly at Jackson.

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Meet the Author

Lana Cordova is a devotee or all things erotic, and she enjoys putting her lovers through their paces conducting research for her books. She enjoys nothing more than bringing sensual escapes to her readers or perhaps raising her neighbors’ eyebrows.

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Book Blitz: Theory of Love (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Theory of Love BannerTitle:  Theory of Love

Authors: Kayla Bashe, Alain Bell, M.D. Grimm, Asta Idonea, D. C. Juris, Dale Cameron Lowry, Lila Mathews, Charles Payseur, Jessica Payseur, Maia Strong, Lynn Townsend, K.S. Trenten.

Edited by Deelylah Mullin

Publisher:  Torquere Press

Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Release Date:  May 18, 2016

Heat Level: 5

Pairing: both M/M and F/F stories

Length: 80,000 words

Genre/Tags

Romance – Contemporary, Erotic Romance, F/F Romance, M/M Romance

Science Fiction – Hard Science, Romantic, Futuristic

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Synopsis

In Theory of Love, we wave our geek flag high! Tales from deep space, sci-fi realities, technology, academia, and cosplay are brought together in this collection. In Dale Cameron Lowry’s Far From Home, long-distance spouses fan the flames of passion while fighting to save humanity. Meat Space by Lynn Townsend, brings virtual space and the real world crashing into a new reality. Asta Idonea’s Captive shows us that love can form in any manner of situations. Beta Tester by Charles Payseur immerses the reader—and the characters—in a virtual reality that brings a friendship to a whole new level. K.S. Trenten’s A Symposium in Space, love is a different meal to every guest. Unexpected Dilemmas by Jessica Payseur long-distance lovers face hijacking and natural disaster to be together. Kayla Bashe’s Medic to the Hivemind a stranded student is saved by a mysterious voice with secrets. Being Jake by Lila Mathews shows readers that smart is sexy. In D.C. Juris’ Torn Apart, love provides the will to survive. Shattered Space by Alain Bell shows how love can grow from destruction. Maia Strong’s All ‘Ships May Sail connects cosplay, fandoms, and something more. Trash and Treasures by M.D. Grimm gives us a deal made in interstellar space that could be more than either party bargained for.

In theory, love is easy.

Excerpt

From Trash and Treasure by M.D. Grimm

Some of the coldness left Ronan’s eyes. He seemed confused again. Why did Tucker seem to confuse Ronan so much?

Then it happened. Ronan nodded. “Deal.”

Tucker barely stopped himself from gaping again. It worked? He was going to have sex? He was going to have sex! He didn’t let himself think about how long it had been since his last partner. It would only depress him. He knew what to do… mostly.

Tucker tossed the ball underhand to Ronan, who caught it with a startled expression.

“What?” Tucker said. “It’s not like you can go anywhere. Your ship’s caput and even if you tried to hack into my navigation system, you wouldn’t get far. My ma designed it and she was the best there was. Just letting you know in case you had a thought of bashing me over the head and commandeering my ride.”

Ronan looked insulted. “I would never do such a thing. I am not a thief or vagabond.”

“Then what are you?”

Ronan’s mouth pulled into a thin line. Tucker shrugged. “Fine. Keep your secrets. Come on, follow me. Let’s both take a well-needed shower.” A blush suddenly crept up his face. “I mean, a shower separately. Let’s take a shower—oh, never mind. Just come on.”

He turned his back on Ronan and called himself an idiot. He dearly hoped he wasn’t making a huge mistake. But he wouldn’t go back on it now. He really, really wanted to have sex.

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Guest Post & Giveaway: Strong Medicine by J.K. Hogan

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Title:  Strong Medicine

Author:  J.K. Hogan

Publisher:  Wilde City Press

Cover Artist: J.K. Hogan (KHD Graphics)

Release Date:  5/11/16

Heat Level: 3

Pairing: m/m

Length: 97k words

Genre/Tags: Psychological, Dark, M/M Romance

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Synopsis

Two men who meet in a psychiatric institution couldn’t possibly find happiness together—could they?

The world seemed to be telling disgraced former child star and singer Cameron Fox that he would never be happy again. A drunken car accident gets him sentenced to a work-release at Riverbend Behavioral Health Facility.

Reclusive, traumatized writer Jonah Radley has an entire graveyard of skeletons in his closet. Jonah regularly hospitalizes himself for psychotic episodes caused by a horrific childhood trauma, his biggest secret—one he refuses to speak about in therapy.

Jonah and Cameron form a bond inside the hospital, forged in mutual pain and hope for a better life. Once they leave the hospital, they must decide if they are brave enough to explore the intricacies of living with mental illness—and find a new normal together.

 Excerpt

Jonah was feeling particularly lucid that day. He hadn’t seen any dead relatives, nothing had burned, and he actually felt like he was inside his own body, for once. He knew it wouldn’t last. It was a constant feeling of dancing on the edge of the cliff, just waiting for the one misstep that would send him plummeting into the void again.

He sat in the rocking chair, the one that had become known as ‘Jonah’s chair,’ and watched Harry the groundskeeper shovel snow off the patio next to the picture window. The scoliotic old man bent to sprinkle handfuls of rock salt over the pavers before moving on farther into the courtyard.

As usual, Jonah lost himself in the warmth of the blanket of sunlight, so much so that he was startled when he sensed a presence behind him. It was just a change in the air, a shift of the molecules, and then a new scent—sharp and heady, a mixture of cedar smoke and Old Spice. Jonah had smelled it before, yesterday. He didn’t need to see to know that the sparkly new probie was standing behind him.

And just like that, just picturing the man in his mind with his weird, shaggy blond hair, dark blue eyes, and boyish features, Jonah remembered. He’d been much younger then, the boy on the TV that his mother had sat him in front of when she couldn’t deal with his damning silence anymore. That boy, his sweet face, and even sweeter voice, had saved Jonah more times than he could count, just kept him hanging on for one more day.

Staring unblinking out the window, Jonah breathed deep of that fragrance and addressed the spectral memory of Kyle Chase. “I know you,” he whispered.

The air stilled as the movement behind him ceased, as if the other man had turned to stone.

“I loved you once.”

Footsteps. Soft, padding, staccato beats of leather against linoleum, until Jonah was face to face with his boyhood crush. Well, more like face to chest, since Jonah was seated and Kyle was looming over him. He wasn’t Kyle, of course, not really. Though Jonah strained, digging through layers of memory, he couldn’t extract the boy—man’s real name.

“Excuse me?” Not-Kyle asked, bushy eyebrows raised toward his hairline.

Jonah tried for a rueful smile, and he could practically hear his skin cracking with the effort. “Sorry, probie. It’s well known around here that I don’t make any sense. What I meant was ‘I used to watch your show.’”

“Oh. I, uh… really?”

Jonah half coughed, half grunted, because it was as close as he ever got to a laugh. “That surprises you?”

“Yes—No! I just sometimes forget that the people who used to watch my show are all grown-up now. Most of the time, I still feel like a kid, so it kind of catches me off guard.” He ran a hand through that mop of messy hair—bleached blond like he was still playing a Cali surfer boy on TV—then squatted down so that he was on Jonah’s level.

“I think you’d be the first one to call me a grown-up. I’ve been called a lot of things, but never that. Besides, I’m not as old as I look.”

“Yeah? How old?”

“Twenty-three.”

“Oh. Wow.”

“Yeah, I know. That’s what hard living and insanity will do to you,” Jonah explained without a hint of malice.

“Oh, no. I’m sorry, that came out wrong… You don’t look bad. It’s the opposite, really. You look… yeah, anyway, you’re right, you do just look older than twenty-three. Not in a bad way.”

“Easy there. It’s really okay. I’m pretty hard to insult. Most of the things you could think of to say about me would be true anyway.” Jonah wiped his sweaty palms on his sweatpants and reached on out to him. “Jonah Radley.”

“Cameron Fox.” Cameron took his hand, shook it, lingered just a second longer than was proper.

“I have to admit, I was wrangling for an introduction because I couldn’t remember your real name. I figure you probably wouldn’t want me calling you Kyle.”

Cameron’s laugh was soft, cozy, like a splash of honey in some warm Earl Grey. “No, I guess not. It’s nice to meet you, Jonah Radley. Radley, that’s an unusual name.”

“Indeed it is. Not as unusual as you’d think, but yes… I did have to deal with the well-read students in school calling me ‘Boo’ all the time. But this is rural Appalachia, so it wasn’t always a problem if you get my drift.”

Jonah could see it took Cameron a moment to get the reference, but when he did, he chuckled again. “So what made you decide to join the wonderful world of psychiatric care?” Jonah asked.

Something flashed in Cameron’s eyes, a cloud, a moment of indecision, before he answered. “I got arrested.”

“Ah, you’re one of Rohan’s boys.” Jonah kept his voice neutral, careful not to seem like he was judging, because people in glass houses and all that… “A probie in every sense of the word.”

Cameron lowered his head, studied the ugly, weathered linoleum. “Unfortunately.”

“Hey, we all have pasts. At least you have a future.”

That blond head snapped up, and Cameron gaped at him. “So do you, Jonah.”

Jonah shook his head sadly, then caught sight of a pair of dark, yawning eye sockets peering through the window. One of the dead girls, of course, just when he was starting to feel human again.

He didn’t make eye contact when he spoke to Cameron. “You should go now,” he whispered.

“Jonah…”

“Go!” Jonah shouted it, his voice tinged with desperation. He never cared before, but he didn’t want this man to see him disappear, to see him float. His eyes welled up, something that hadn’t ever happened at Riverbend before, and he felt ashamed. “Please.”

“Probie!” Rohan’s rich tenor rang out across the buzzing air, slicing the tension between them. Cameron tensed, and his feet seemed to obey Rohan before the rest of him caught up. He cast one more sad, sidelong look at Jonah before he was led away.

Once he was alone, Jonah began to shake. Shivering violently though he was burning up inside, Jonah felt tears sear flaming rivulets down his cheeks. He dug the heels of his hands into his eye sockets until they ached, and eventually the tears stopped. Then there was nothing left but smoke.

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Meet the Author

6427555J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next?

J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and two sons, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! For more information, please visit www.jkhogan.com.

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Guest Post & Giveaway – Freeing Pain: Annex by Lor Rose

Annex BannerTitle:  Freeing Pain: Annex

Author:  Lor Rose

Series Title and Number: Freeing Book One

Publisher:  Thirteen Below Press

Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

Release Date:  4/7/16

Heat Level: 4

Pairing: MM

Length: 66 pages/38,580 words

Genre/Tags: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Shifter, Fairy, Fai

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Jude Kash’s life was filled with abused animals and too little sleep. His work at the We Are One Foundation brought him his new devil-dog Teddy Bear and his new obsession: an abused liger named Sampson.

Sampson suffered from poor living conditions and threats with a gun. Jude, or Kash to his friends, witnessed it first hand when he snuck onto Whitman’s, Sampson’s owner’s, property. When Kash and others from the We Are One Foundation finally make a plan to rescue poor Sampson things go terribly wrong.

When Kash finally regains consciousness he awoke to a very handsome and naked man taking care of him. Kash felt a connection with the man he couldn’t explain. The man introduced himself as Maj and explained everything except for one small detail of his life: he was Sampson, a liger shifter.

Kash took the news considerably well except for one problem… that detail wasn’t so small, in fact, it could cost Kash his life.

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Meet the Author

Lor is a snarky, over the top genderfluid polyamorous demipansexual with dark hair and pink highlights. Although, sometimes the color varies. She is almost constantly fighting with her muse, Animus, or referring the fights between Animus and Epicene, her other muse. Lor started reading very questionable M/M fanfiction at a very young age in the closet. Literally. Though that didn’t stop her from getting caught once or twice. This early love of things M/M sparked her writing career. Without a doubt, her Christian high school English teacher Mrs. B didn’t expect Lor to fall into the M/M genre. Mrs. B did know Lor would be a writer someday because when the class had a minimum, Lor had a maximum. It truly was unfair.

Besides writing, Lor may also be found with one of her two horses, the Chihuahua or her cat. Any un-caught typos are courtesy of the cat, who shoves Lor’s things out of the way when it’s her time for cuddles or playtime… Which is about every ten minutes.

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Book Blitz: Fairest by K.S. Trenten (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Fairest Banner v1Author: K.S. Trenten

Title:  Fairest

Publisher:  Prizm Books (A Torquere Imprint)

Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Release Date:  May 11, 2016

Heat Level: 2

Pairing: F/F, with bits of M/F and M/M in the background

Length: 27,425 words

Genre/Tags: Lesbian Romance, Fantasy, New Adult

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Synopsis

On the eve of my sixteenth year, I’m cursed to prick my finger on spindle and fall into a hundred year sleep. This is what the witch with the snow white skin and haunting dark eyes promised me, as I lay in my cradle. I haven’t been able to get her out of my mind, since. She haunts my dreams, steals into my quiet moments, when I think I’m alone. Everyone thinks she’s my enemy. Everyone thinks I need to be protected from her. I can’t think of her as an enemy, no matter what anyone else thinks. Who is she, truly? The only name she’s ever been given are a few, enigmatic words. The fairest of them all.

Excerpt

My first memory was of her dark eyes. They seemed to capture all the colors of my infant universe, even as they threatened to swallow me. Her eyes should have been terrifying, but they weren’t.

Her blood red lips moved, shaping words I could only dimly recall. My parents remembered them only too well, as did everyone else who’d gathered at the castle for my christening.

“I, too, have a gift for this child. She shall grow up, with all the beauty and promise of the dawn, but her sun will never rise.”

My mother told me she nearly swooned with terror at the look of sheer malevolence the witch gave to the sunbeams, playing about my cradle. She wanted to stop the witch from speaking, as did my father. No one could move, no matter how much they wished to. Everyone stood, still and motionless, spellbound by the witch’s gaze.

“Before the sun sets on the eve of her sixteenth year, the princess shall  prick her finger on a spindle. With the first drop of her blood, a sleep will fall upon her, claiming her for a hundred years.”

My mother tried to call in another witch to remove the curse. My father burned every spindle he could find. However, nothing could lift the curse, for all their efforts. The witch had disappeared into a cloud of green smoke. No one could find her after my christening, despite many attempts to locate her. The only thing she left behind, besides her curse, was the memory of her dark eyes.

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Meet the Author

Writing isn’t just a job for me. It’s a calling.

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Book Blitz: Growing Strong by BL Dayhoff (Excerpt & Giveaway)

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Author: BL Dayhoff

Title:  Growing Strong

Publisher:  Torquere Press

Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Release Date:  5/11/16

Heat Level: 2

Pairing: male/male

Length: 47K

Book/Buy Links: (Publisher site, Goodreads, Amazon, etc…):

Genre/Tags: Contemporary, M/M Romance, New Adult

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Synopsis

A chance—and embarrassing—encounter brings Hunter and Chase together, but it’s patience and kindness that keep them there. Through a slow-blossoming friendship and a series of misunderstandings, Hunter finds himself fighting an attraction he thinks isn’t returned. But with the help of his roommate, Tony, he may just be able to make the leap and confess his feelings.

 

But love isn’t Hunter’s only concern. With his sister’s upcoming nuptials, he also must learn to face a family that hasn’t quite disowned him for his sexuality. With Chase by his side, it’s going to take strength for Hunter to stand up for himself and to hold on to what really matters.

Excerpt

Hunter tripped over Tony’s briefcase in his rush to get to the door, cursed, and somehow remained upright. He stumbled a few more steps, caught himself on the kitchen counter, and stopped. Huffing once, he continued, with slightly more competence, the final few feet to the front door. When he opened it, Chase was there with a stack of DVDs in hand. “Hey.”

“Hey, c’mon in. You find the place okay?”

“Yeah, it was really easy and—oh, hi.”

“Yo.”

“Chase this is—Tony! Put some pants on!”

Tony grinned from his boxer-clad position on the couch. “You didn’t tell me you were having a guest.”

He most certainly had. “Well I do, so, pants!”

“Careful, I might take that as an order.” Tony winked, then wagged his butt all the way back to his room.

“Sorry about him. I think his mother dropped him a few times as a child.”

Chase chuckled. “Don’t worry about it. We all have a few in our lives.”

“Tell me about it. So what movies did you bring?” He sat on the couch, tucking himself against one armrest, and was pointedly not disappointed when Chase sat on the opposite side—making himself as far away as possible.

“Um, well, La Belle et la Bête, because it’s so standard, The Bitter Sweet Tears of Petra von Kant, The Four Hundred Blows, Run Lola Run, Rashomon—which is dry but classic—and A Love to Hide.”

“Well,” Hunter chuckled. “I think I’ve heard of one or two of them. How about Lola? Unless there’s one you wanted to watch?”

“No, I just brought a variety so if you get bored, we can switch.” He opened the case, popped the DVD out, and handed it to Hunter, who got up and slid it in the DVD player.

He tracked down the remote, and when he turned around he found Tony sitting in his spot.

Glaring at Tony was equivalent to yelling at the rain, so he dimmed the lights, took the spot between them, and hit play. Lacking an armrest, he folded his arms across his chest and glanced at Tony. What did he think he was doing? Why was he crashing in when Tony had been egging him all week about how Hunter had a second date? Was he trying to make sure nothing happened? Or was he forcing Hunter to sit closer?

He shifted his gaze to Chase, who was watching the previews. With a sigh, Hunter sagged into the couch and skipped the disc ahead so he could stare at the opening credits.

But he couldn’t focus. He wished life was full of do-overs like movies. He had the running down. Or maybe just the running without ever getting anywhere. He woke up in the same bed every morning. Went to the same job. Knew the same people.

Leaning forward, he picked up the remote and paused it.

“Everything okay?” Chase asked.

Tony elbowed him in the side and said, “Dude?”

“I just realized we don’t have popcorn. Do you want popcorn? I want popcorn.” He stood and shuffled into the kitchen.

“Sure, I could eat some popcorn.” Chase followed behind. “Plain?”

“Um.” He pulled the box off the shelf. “Movie theater. So extra buttery, I guess. That good?”

“Yeah.” Chase smiled.

Hunter opened a bag, shoved it in the microwave, entered the time, and started it.

“I was worried that you hated the movie already.”

“No! I mean, it’s fine; it just started. I don’t like to judge things immediately.”

“Good. I know it’s a weird one, but sometimes I swear we only get the weird ones.”

“Ah, well,” Hunter said in his worst European accent, “you crazy Americans love that shit.”

Chase chuckled and leaned back on the counter as the smell of hot butter filled the air, joined by the pop-pop-popping of their snack. “It’s true. America sometimes feels like the redheaded stepchild of the world.”

“Well, least we’re not Canada.”

“Hey, my grandparents were Canadian!”

“Oh, uh… I…”

Chase laughed. “I’m kidding. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.” He tilted his head to the side and flashed a grin. Cute.

Hunter diverted himself by pulling a bowl down and removing the hot popcorn. The comforting aroma rushed out when he opened the bag and poured the popcorn into the bowl.

Chase snuck around him to steal a piece, popping it into his mouth with a satisfied crunch. “First piece is always the best.”

“Right…” He was distracted by the smudge of oil on Chase’s lip and the pink tongue that darted out to clean it up. Averting his eyes to the bowl in his hands, he headed back toward the living room. “So, shall we?”

“Yep!” Chase followed him, plopping down in his previous spot on the now-empty couch.

Hunter hesitated, then sat beside him with just enough room to nestle the bowl between them. He hit play.

Chase glanced down the hall toward the bedrooms. “Should we wait for Tony?”

“No, I don’t think he likes foreign flicks. It’s fine.”

“Okay.”

They settled into the movie, taking turns gobbling up popcorn as the scene unfolded again and again. Hunter couldn’t concentrate. Their hands kept bumping, knuckles grazing and skin brushing, each awkwardly pulling away. Was Chase doing it on purpose? Was it subtle flirting? Hunter couldn’t tell. He knew he wasn’t doing it on purpose—not that he minded—but what if Chase was?

Eventually he just grabbed a large handful and ate from that, leaving Chase what was left. It didn’t matter. Things could just progress naturally. If Chase was interested, he’d say something. He’d have to have seen how incompetent Hunter was. God, he was incompetent. Not that he necessarily wanted to date Chase. Friends first, that was a good idea. So that way they’d have something to base a relationship on. Not that he thought Chase was interested in a relationship. If he was gay—and Hunter was pretty sure he was—it didn’t mean he’d automatically be interested in Hunter.

Hunter was a dork, socially screwy, and God, they’d met when he’d been fucked in an alley, drugged, and was throwing up. Yeah, there was no way in hell Chase was interested in him. He wiped his hand on the leg of his jeans and stared pointedly at the screen. Friends was good. He needed more friends. Tony would argue he needed friends period, but that wasn’t true.

He winced at a loud noise in the movie and sank down into the couch, shifting away inch by inch until he was leaning against the opposite armrest. To distract himself from the man on the other end of the couch, he tried to focus on the movie. When that didn’t work, he pondered if his character Erik would like this kind of movie. He didn’t seem like the type. Too busy with work and school to waste time watching movies when he could be studying or hanging with friends. Half closing his eyes, Hunter composed in his head.

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Meet the Author

Author PicBL Dayhoff is working on coming out of her shell. She’s always had an interest in writing, but only recently has done it for more than just her own personal amusement. She loves to fill her time with too many things, and her initials really are “BL” but unfortunately do not stand for Boys Love. Although maybe her parents knew something about the future…

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Cover Reveal: Snakes Among Sweet Flowers by Jason Huffman-Black

Snakes RevealTitle:  Snakes Among Sweet Flowers

Author: Jason Huffman-Black

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: AngstyG

Release Date:  June 20

Heat Level: 3

Pairing: M/M

Length: 79k

Genre/Tags: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Suspense, Thriller

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Synopsis

Two-time ex-con Camden Sanders has decided that Hog Mountain—an isolated community on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia—is the perfect place to continue running small scams without the threat of more prison time. But there are a few problems with this plan. One is the neighborly citizens of Hog Mountain thwarting his dirty dealings at every turn with their kindness. Another is Jackson Rhodes, a closeted Hog Mountain police officer who can see right through Cam’s good ol’ boy act and plans to catch him red-handed despite the attraction they both can feel. But the biggest problem of all is that Cam’s past is threatening to catch up with him, and it could mean trouble for more than just himself.

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Excerpt

When Cam parked his pickup in front of the pumps at his station, he was surprised to find a local police cruiser waiting by the closed garage door. A tall blond cop leaned leisurely against the front bumper, staring directly at him as he took his time getting out. The frown on the policeman’s face was at odds with his stance, and although Cam didn’t think he had much to worry about, he couldn’t help the hammering in his heart, the constricting of his chest.

He’d dealt with cops and guards enough to know there wasn’t a one of them that wasn’t a sadistic asshole. They thrived on making people like Cam suffer. Cam had yet to deal with the local law and had hoped his lucky streak would continue. He had to admit the officer knew how to wear a uniform, though, with broad shoulders and slim waist accentuated nicely. Too bad he couldn’t sit in the truck all day and ogle the man instead of having to deal with whatever he wanted. With a sigh, Cam gathered his wits and opened the truck’s door, stepping out, then turning back to grab his breakfast. Well, shit. Wasn’t this morning starting off with a bang.

Instead of walking toward the officer, he aimed for the front door of the gas station. He’d turned the area attached to the garage into a waiting area with mismatched office chairs and an old coffee table from the Goodwill. Cam had to jiggle the key in the lock a few times before the cylinder turned, and as he opened the door, he heard footsteps approaching.

“What can I do you for this morning, Officer?” Cam asked as casually as possible. “Your cruiser giving you trouble?”

Cam sat his breakfast on the counter that ran along the back wall, then stepped over to the window-unit AC and pushed the button to get it going. It wasn’t that hot yet, but it wouldn’t take long to get there. When he still hadn’t gotten an answer from the cop, he turned to find him doing a thorough visual inspection of the area, then stepping over to the glass door leading to the garage and doing the same, canting his head to get as much of a view as possible without entering. Cam frowned.

“Is there a problem, Officer?” Now he had a reason for concern. What was the cop looking for? Cam had a sudden itch to run for it, although he had no idea what he was running from.

The officer turned, and Cam squinted to read the name Jackson Rhodes above the pocket of his uniform. When Officer Rhodes’s hand came to rest on the butt of his gun, it was all Cam could do not to flinch. “Who is the second coffee for, Mr. Sanders?”

Cam glanced over to his breakfast and back to Rhodes, his nervousness kicking up a notch. “I… uh….”

“Is anyone else here, Mr. Sanders?” Officer Rhodes took a step forward.

Shit! Cam was going into a full-out panic. His gaze darted around the room, looking for some way out of the situation, but then just as suddenly, his subconscious gave him a metaphoric kick in the ass. What the hell? Was he going to let this asshole come into his place of business and fuck with him? He had nothing to hide. Well, okay, that wasn’t exactly true, but he wasn’t going to simply crumple over one question.

Cam slipped into his I-give-not-one-fuck persona and looked Officer Rhodes in the eye. “I don’t see where that’s even a little bit of your business, Officer. Want to tell me what this is about?”

Officer Rhodes took a few more steps closer, until he was crowding Cam against the counter in front of his food. “I’ve been hearing tales on your methods of auto repair. From changing the winter air out of tires to replacing dissolved halogen crystals in headlights or the deoxygenized water in a radiator. A quick background check shows you’ve served time in the past.”

Fuck it! Cam thought. He took a step forward too, coming chest to chest and nose to nose with the officer. “Yeah, I done time, and I paid my debt. I’m here making a fresh start and I won’t have you bad talking my business. I have a logbook of work done, signed off by the customers. It shows I did legitimate work, no matter what you hear.”

“I’d like to see this log, if you will,” Officer Rhodes responded. Damn, the man was fine. Light brown eyes sparking with challenge, blond hair cut short in a crew cut. He looks so clean-cut, you’d think he would squeak when he walks.

Instead of pulling out the log, Cam turned toward his breakfast. “Coffee, Officer? I do have two. Might as well share. It was like I knew I was going to have company this morning.” He busied himself by pulling out the creamer and sugar packets from the bag and placing them where Rhodes could get to them, then pulling out the rest of his purchase and divvying up the food as if he’d meant to buy the cop breakfast.

When Cam glanced over, Rhodes was looking around again as if making sure no one else was in the shop. Then he shrugged and started doctoring his coffee to his satisfaction. Cam did the same and took a sip before opening one of the cabinet doors below the countertop. He pulled out a receipt book and pushed it over to the officer, then scooped up his breakfast and coffee and settled into one of the chairs to eat.

While Officer Rhodes leaned over the counter and flipped through the receipt book, Cam took the opportunity to admire the fine backside on display. The cop was built like a brick shithouse and would make a great addition to his spank bank. No doubt Rhodes had a gaggle of cheerleader-esque girls in town who giggled when he walked by. And that was too bad. Cam wouldn’t mind giving the fine officer a strip search.

The sound of a throat clearing brought Cam back from his thoughts. He glanced up to find Officer Rhodes staring at him with a frown on his face. Oops.

Meet the Author

893476Jason Huffman-Black could be described as the porn star alter ego of the mild-mannered editor for several LGBT publishers. By day, Jason edits and writes in a cozy chair, while Mr. Huffman-Black travels the globe on such adventurous excursions as wrestling the one-eyed spitting serpent of Tangiers, ass-spelunking into the hidden tomb of King CockTut, and most recently, sharing a prison cell in a small third-world nation with a rather sweaty fur-covered hulk of a man named Javier.

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Guest Post & Giveaway: Mocha Kisses and Coffee by Rawiya

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Title:  Mocha Kisses and Coffee

Author: Rawiya

Publisher:  Thirteen Below Press

Release Date:  April 1, 2016

Heat Level: 3

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 165 pages

Genre/Tags: Interracial, contemporary, multicultural, mm, gay romance

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Synopsis

Simple delicacies like donuts and coffee can bring two people together no matter what their differences; it can make for a very satisfying experience. But deceit can turn those experiences sour.

In these two stories, Cupid shoots his arrows at four men, drawing them to one another through chance encounters that instantly grow into something more.

Time To Make The Donuts

Christopher Wettlon has inherited his grandfather’s Donuts to Go shop. He’s young, educated, and pretty well off, but still something is missing from his life.

Enter Andre Bentley, who seems to have everything going for him. Little does Christopher know Andre is out for more than his fresh, strawberry creams.

The two men are getting along well until Chris confronts Andre about his job. Can Andre ‘work’ himself back into Chris’s good graces?

Smooth Like Latte

Brendan Walsh is committed to working for his irrational, homophobic dad who has threatened to disown him if he comes out gay to the world. Pretending to be someone he isn’t weighs him down. This puts Brendan on edge and alert at all times, leaving little to no time for him to build a steady relationship with anyone.

Davori “Latte” Jenkins is a happy go lucky barista working in the Walsh building. Born and raised in North Carolina, Latte possesses extremely good looks and charms the pants off anyone in his path using his Southern boy attitude.

When Brendan visits the shop Latte works in, they’re immediately drawn to one another. Latte makes him a caramel latte with something extra.

Because Brendan isn’t out of the closet, they keep their thoughts and flirtations private. Once they start dating, Brendan gets the courage to come out publicly and the relationship goes into overdrive. Still, Latte desires something more to define their relationship.

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Meet the Author

RAWIYA is the more sensual erotica writer in the BLRawiya duo. She loves multiracial characters who overcome obstacles other than race. Sweet, sassy, and spicy would be the best way to describe her work. Happily married mother of two, loves music, computers, and travel.

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Book Blitz: Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Will & Patrick's Happy Ending

Author: Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths

Title:  Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending

Series Title and Number: Wake Up Married, Episode 6

Publisher:  Leta Blake Books

Release Date:  4/15/16

Genre:  Romantic Comedy, M/M Romance

Tags:  gay, woke up married, rom-com, happy ending

Heat Level: 5

Pairing: M/M

Length: 127 pages

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Synopsis

Follow Will & Patrick in this final installment of the romantic-comedy serial, Wake Up Married, by best-selling author Leta Blake and newcomer Alice Griffiths!

Sure, Will and Patrick are in love now, but they weren’t when they got married in Vegas. For Patrick, that’s no problem, but Will can’t shake his doubts that a relationship started through coercion can ever become the real deal.

Since the Molinaro crime family has reversed their position on divorce, Will and Patrick have a chance to rectify their drunken mistake. But is divorce the solution? Find out in this final instalment of the much-beloved Wake up Married serial.

Episode 6 of 6 in the Wake Up Married serial.

Excerpt

Will leans back heavily in his desk chair and sweat pricks the back of his neck. A tight band squeezes his chest, but he manages to ask, “What do you mean we can get divorced? Did Frankie and his new bride call it quits?”

Eleanora’s throaty chuckle comes through the phone. “No, darling. They’re still madly in love for now. It’s Romeo Molinaro we have to thank for this piece of good fortune.”

Will frowns, mind scrambling through dozens of half-forgotten or never-known relatives.

“Zeno’s favorite nephew,” Eleanora prompts.

“Oh. Right.”

Zeno is the current boss of the Molinaro family, his father’s uncle, and a terrifying man.

“Unfortunate marriages are going around like the flu in this family. It seems Romeo got hitched to a fetching ragazza. Charming, beautiful, young—the usual. But, as it turns out, also a spy from the Korotayev crime family in New York.” Nonna clucks over the line. “Oh, men. Following the dictates of their little heads always leads to their downfall.”

Bright sunshine screams through the window of the room, ricocheting around and giving Will an instant headache. “If she’s a spy, why arrange a divorce? Why doesn’t Zeno just—” Will drags his finger over his throat even though Nonna can’t see him. “Off her?”

“How like your father!” Eleanora puffs her disapproval. “No, no, darling. That’s no solution. Besides, Romeo begged his father not to kill her. Apparently he’s still smitten. But don’t worry. There will be some other kind of recompense paid, I’m sure. William, the less we know about it all, the better.”

Will exhales slowly. He stands up, turns to the windows behind his desk, and adjusts the blinds, dimming the light. “Romeo’s still in love with her? But he’s going to divorce her anyway?”

“Presumably. Regardless, Zeno’s quote-unquote discovered a loophole in the Trust that smashes through the edict regarding love matches and divorces.”

“Dad knew about this the whole time he was in town, didn’t he? He was just messing with us.”

“We’ll never know for sure, darling. All I know is he told me about Romeo’s situation and Zeno’s solution this morning before his flight out. Regardless, the issue is resolved. You and your doctor are free to handle your marriage as you see fit and Good Works is safe.”

Will stomach knots hard, and he stares at the lines of light the closed blinds leave on his desk. “We could file for divorce immediately? Today?”

“You could. That is, if it’s still what you want to do.”

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Meet the Authors

Leta Blake

imageAuthor of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

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

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Alice Griffiths

A long-time reader of romance novels, Alice Griffiths finally took the plunge into writing, teaming up with best-selling author Leta Blake for the ‘Woke up Married’ serialized comedy. A lover of tropes, Alice enjoys mining old ideas and putting a fresh, funny spin on them. Formerly working in the newspaper industry, Alice is now an art curator. She lives in Sydney, Australia.

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

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Book Blitz: The Spider’s Web by Sophia Beaumont (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Spiders Web Banner v1Author: Sophia Beaumont

Title:  The Spider’s Web

Publisher:  Torquere Press

Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Release Date:  May 4, 2016

Heat Level: 1

Pairing: m/f

Length: 59,000 words

Genres/Tags: Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

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Synopsis

After being released from a Toronto psych ward, Evie decides that her life needs a drastic change. Moving 500 miles east to stay with her aunt in Montreal, however, is not turning out as expected. Though she loves the city, she can’t outrun the problems that drove her to the edge in the first place.

Recovery might be a little easier if not for Micha. Handsome, kind, always willing to help Evie or cheer her on–and completely invisible to everyone else. He seems to think he’s some kind of guardian angel, and she might need one now that things have gone from bad to just plain weird.

It started with the spiders–ghostly spiders that showed up out of nowhere, swarming over Evie while she was home alone. Then the owls started following her.

Her search of answers dredges up past lives, secret societies, and one very angry goddess. She’s going to need help from some very powerful friends if she wants to make it to her next birthday, but when one of those friends is the goddess of the underworld, she might need more help than a guardian angel can provide.

Excerpt

The shawl was nearby. Practically laying on the ground, I reached out a hand for it. The girls were too busy kneeling in rapture. The gathering had taken on a feeling of a tent revival, except instead of healing the sick they were planning on turning me into bar-b-que. Kelly’s eyes had taken on the same ethereal glow as those of the owls; she was beyond the cares of the mortal world. Whatever she was doing, it seemed to be having an effect.

I threw the shawl. It hit Kelly full in the face. She stumbled, her words becoming incoherent as she tried to pull it off, but it clung there like a wet towel and wouldn’t let go, tangling into her short hair and catching on the sequined collar of her dress.

In the split second distraction, I rolled away from the initiates and barreled through the women behind us, knocking them down by crashing my shoulder into their knees and hips. They were packed so closely that where one went down, another two would follow.

I came up sprinting, diving for the elevator with them hot on my heels. I slammed my hand against the button, but the door didn’t open. There was no way that I’d be able to wait for it come up from the lobby, but there were no stairs that I could see from this side of the cafe.

Miraculously, Kelly was still trapped in the shawl, the knitting forming a net that covered her from head to toe.

I thought of my torn poncho, and the things that Kelly had said about my former incarnations powers.

I don’t know how I did it, but the next thing that I knew the green and white awning had collapsed, trapping half of them in a makeshift net. I was so close to the wall that I was barely spared injury.

The elevator door dinged open behind me. I dove inside. As soon as the door shut, I ripped off my heels. When it reached the first floor, I bolted out the door barefoot, ignoring the stares of the people around me, pushing past shocked tourists and horrified locals.

I ran straight into traffic as I shot down the street, narrowly missing being run over by a bus. I was certain that the owls were overhead, tracking my every move. I had to get off of the street.

Places d’Armes Metro station. I was through the doors and taking the escalator two steps at a time down to the platforms.

They knew where I lived. They’d found me there before, and their creepy spiders–their legion–had been in the house.

The train pulled up as I careened onto the platform. I skidded to a halt, catching myself on one of the poles inside. I collapsed into one of the hard plastic orange seats. I had the car to myself. I covered my face, trying to catch my breath and figure out what my next move would be.

“Micha.”

The air beside me cooled noticeably, drawing goosebumps on my skin. He knelt in front of me and took my hand.

“What do I do?” I asked. I was tapped out. My mind had stopped working, drawing a blank.

“I need a safe place. But where can I go?”

The only other person that I knew, that I trusted in the city, was Adam. I didn’t want to put him in danger, but I didn’t know what else to do.

I got off at my usual stop, but walked down to his building, just two streets over. One of the lights in the upstairs windows was still lit and from the backyard I could hear what sounded like another party. I knocked on the front door. No one answered.

Peering around back, I saw that I was right. Probably twenty people were gathered in what appeared to be an impromptu end-of-the-year bash. Strings of lights were hanging from the trees. Beer bottles were all over, coolers open to the night air. I hid in shadow for several moments, watching, until I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. It was only a beetle, but for a second I thought it was a spider and nearly panicked.

Adam appeared on the back deck, beer in hand, peering at me over the railing. I saw him and nearly broke down. “Evie! Are you alright? I thought-”

“I tried to come here, first, but he didn’t understand me,” Micha said.

“It’s okay.” I squeezed his hand.

Adam came down the steps and lead me towards the back door. “Inside. Come on.” He ushered me in without so much as a word to the party goers.

“Come on. Up here.” He pulled me into what I assumed was his bedroom. Closet sized, with posters from comic book movies on the walls and an old Mac desktop in the corner, and a tv propped up on milk crates housing DVDs and video game cases.

He sat me down on his bed. As soon as the door was closed I started to cry. I bawled. I don’t know for how long. Adam knelt beside me and put his arms around me. I was shaking. When I could breath enough to speak coherently again, I spilled out the story of the evening and how it had all gone terribly wrong. Adam stared at me, wide-eyed in complete disbelief. I don’t think he would have taken me seriously at all if not for his power.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “Just…don’t worry for right now.”

He laid me down, stroking my hair. “Just relax. It’ll be fine. They won’t find you here,” he said.

I felt my muscles relax. My mind was still worried, but it was distant.

My eyes drooped. He covered me with his blanket. “We’ll talk in the morning. We’ll get this figured out.”

That was the last thing that I remember.

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Meet the Author

Author and designer Sophia Beaumont has long dreamed of faraway places, both real and imagined. She writes from her home in Ohio and hopes to one day live somewhere with a palm tree in the front yard.

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