Length: 66,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
Dead Things Series
Dead Things (Book #1) - books2read.com/DeadThingsMR- (CURRENTLY FREE)
 

 

 
Blurb


Since the events in Chicago, Devin and Noah dare to believe that a future is possible, and there is hope. For them and humanity.


Noah struggles to find his place at Devin’s side. Stricken with survivor’s guilt and a driving need to make a difference, Noah leaves his lover to investigate the only lead he has to stop the undead. Himself.


Devin has fought to stay sane in a world of horror for too long and his one shining light is Noah. When Noah heads off on some misguided venture to search for answers, Devin knows he can’t bear to be the one left behind again.


They are two men who have nothing, and everything, to lose.

 

 
 
 
Excerpt
Chapter One
“Finger off the trigger,” Devin Reid instructed.
 
Noah rested his index finger on the side of the trigger guard, and stared down the makeshift gun range. He lowered his head, frustrated by his failure to hit all the targets set out for him.
 
“You just need to relax a little.”
 
Noah glanced at Devin. “You said to grip it tightly.”
 
With a nod, Devin said, “I know. But not so hard your hand shakes.” He pushed away from the front of the car, and came to stand beside Noah. “Grip. Ease off slightly.” He squeezed his hand around Noah’s, then relaxed it as he gave his instructions.
 
Devin’s hand was warm and clammy but Noah didn’t care. A small smile curled the corner of his mouth at Devin’s touch.
 
Devin’s breath was shaky as he lowered his head.
 
Things had been strange between the two of them over the last seven weeks. Both of them were figuring out where they fit in the world, and in each other’s lives. They had spent more time together, though Devin remained somewhat distant, not that Noah blamed him. Devin had lost the man he’d loved at the start of the monster-filled nightmare they found themselves in. He understood that Devin struggled with the lack of closure he still felt, despite knowing there was no coming back for Connor. The man Devin had known was dead. But it was about more than Connor. It was about Devin not thinking himself strong enough to go through that kind of loss all over again. To leave himself open to such grief and despair if he got close to Noah only to lose him as well. 
 
Noah closed his eyes as he felt the warmth of Devin’s breath on his neck. His heart ached as he longed to have Devin close. He remembered the warmth of Devin’s touch, the lines of his body, and the feel of Devin’s skin on his during the night they’d spent together in Chicago.
Chicago. He wondered what had become of the people they’d left behind. Were they safe? Was Chicago still able to offer them protection?
 
Sometimes he felt guilty that he didn’t care more. It wasn’t as if he knew them, not really. He wasn’t sure he remembered their faces anymore. Them or the people who had died on the journey there.
 
The journey for a cure. Had anything come from the blood sample they’d taken from him, of the vaccine or biological weapon against the undead they hoped to create?
 
His blood had saved Devin, had created a serum that could battle the infection, but it wasn’t a true solution. It could happen again, to Devin, to everybody.
 
Silence fell between them and Noah opened his eyes. Devin was looking at him through his shades, one crooked eyebrow raised above the frames.
 
“It helps if you keep your eyes open.” Devin smirked and reached down, taking Noah’s other hand in his. “Support your grip with your left.”
 
“Like this?” Noah waited as Devin checked his hold. He shifted his footing, steadying himself as he battled the frustration over only being able to hit the target two times out of five. “I don’t get why I’m doing this. I managed perfectly fine without a gun before you showed up.”
Has it really only been seven weeks? It feels like longer. A lot had happened since the day Devin had turned up at the Weber family’s farm. Noah remembered the shouting and gunfire, of coming across Devin and his partner, Kerry, desperately fighting off a small group of the undead monsters created by some twisted virus. He hadn’t hesitated when Devin was attacked. Noah had run headlong into the fray, determined he wasn’t going to see anyone die that day.
 
“Trust me, I know.” Devin frowned as he nudged Noah’s arms higher. “But if you’re going to be out here with me, then I prefer to cover all bases. You should be able to protect yourself in every possible way.” He stopped and peered over the top of his sunglasses. “I want you safe. You may be immune, but you’re not invincible.” He hesitated, then gently turned Noah’s wrist. They both checked the old scars—jagged marks left by the mouths of hungry monsters. “You could easily find yourself in a situation you can’t fight your way out of with just your bare hands.”
 
Tensing his jaw, Noah inspected Devin’s hand on his arm. Devin had scars of his own. With a breath, Noah focused back on the gun. Devin’s words were sobering. He knew he should be taking the training seriously, but all he could think was that they shouldn’t be wasting ammunition for him to practice, not when the bullets could be better spent by giving them to someone who could already hit their mark.
 
“Have you been dry firing like I suggested?” Devin leaned in close and looked along the sight of the gun.
 
Noah nodded. Devin had given him a snap cap to use to practice his aim. Devin was close enough that Noah could feel the beating of his heart when he leaned his chest against Noah’s biceps. Did Devin realize just how distracting it was to have him near?
 
“Good,” Devin said. He stepped back, nudging Noah to raise his arm higher. “You see the front sight? That’s where I want you to focus.”
 
Noah didn’t argue the fact he’d already been trying to do that. “Okay,” he agreed with a sigh.
 
“This is important.” Devin touched Noah’s forearm and waited for Noah to face him. “Please?”
 
Noah closed his eyes and took a breath. “I just don’t like the idea of wasting ammo.”
Devin shook his head. “What good is ammo if no one’s around to use it?”
 
He guessed Devin had a point. Noah’s gaze drifted from the gun sight to his forearm and the bite marks. So many people had died in the last year. 
 
Why am I still alive? What makes me so special?
 
“If you want another reason why we’re doing this, then it’s about protecting others. Not just yourself.” Devin cleared his throat and stepped back. “Things can go to shit in the blink of an eye. There’s not always time for you to run in and play hero.”
 
Noah glanced along the range to where five splintered wooden boards were propped up about twenty yards away. He knew Devin was right. Time was critical if there was an attack. He eyed the boards and the crudely painted words in red on some—Zombies grrr, Feed me brains, and Romero was wrong. He wondered who had painted the words. He didn’t figure it for something Devin would have done. There was very little Devin found funny. He eyed the third board. 
 
Romero was wrong.
 
He’d seen the original movies, groups of shambling undead somehow catching up to and overpowering characters as they stood and stared, and seemed to scream for a full ten minutes before getting their tasty, soft, internal organs devoured. The reality of the dead rising was a little different, or at least it had been in the beginning. The freakish monsters were hungry and fast, and unnaturally strong. It was only now that some of the first to have turned, after severe decay, showed signs of slowing down and immobility. Could they just outlive the monsters? Hide away until they rotted to nothing more than bones?
“Okay,” he said on a sigh, then set his sights on the center target. He steadied his aim and inhaled. Blinking, he readied himself to release his held breath, but Devin brought up his hand and held it over the gun, halting the practice.
 
Noah glanced at Devin, who had set his gaze on the horizon. “What?” He narrowed his eyes and scanned the area. “Did you see something?” 
 
Although the yard the range was set up in was considered clear and secure, there was no guarantee something might not stray into the area and beyond the protective wire mesh of the fence.
 
“I don’t know. I thought I heard…” Devin thumbed the catch of his holster as he surveyed the area.
 
The land surrounding the yard was mostly flat and open, ideal for reducing the chances of being caught unaware.
 
Devin shook his head. “I guess it was nothing.” He didn’t turn away at first, and eyed where the fence met the edge of an abandoned warehouse. “Let’s call it a day, okay?”
 
“Okay,” Noah agreed. He rubbed his stomach as it made a hungry growl. Hopefully, they would make it back to the prison in time for the afternoon meal. They had traveled several miles from the penitentiary to what could have been described as the middle of nowhere, to ensure the sound of gunfire didn’t draw any of the infected monsters to their door.
 
Handing Devin the gun, Noah shifted his attention to the building. “This place was cleared, right?”
 
Devin held the gun at his side. “A few weeks back.” He ran his hand over his unshaven jaw, then removed his shades, hooking them onto the front of his dark T-shirt.
 
Could anything have gotten in since then?
 
“The fence was secure. There was no evidence anything had got in or even tried to.” Devin sounded his thoughts. He scanned the yard. “I guess we should check it out.”
 
“Really?”
 
Devin quirked an eyebrow. “Really.” He set his silver gaze on Noah.
The intensity of Devin’s stare sent a shiver down Noah’s spine. He would never get over how strange, yet fascinating, Devin’s eyes were. He thought he would miss the clear blue Devin had studied him with when they’d first met, but all he could think about was how grateful he was Devin was here to look at him at all. Devin had been bitten. He’d been dying.
 
To Noah they were beautiful.
 
“Okay.” Noah shook away the memories of Chicago, trying to ignore the tightening of his chest. He walked to the car, where he took a red-handled fire ax from the trunk. He balanced the weapon in his hands, accustoming himself to the weight and feel of it. Though he felt uneasy, he knew they couldn’t leave without being sure. Neither he nor Devin would forgive themselves if anybody got hurt because they had dismissed their concerns and walked away.
 
Together they proceeded to the large warehouse. Clouds slowly drifted across the sky, blotting out the sun and casting a hazy gray glow over the yard. They began their investigation at the corner of the premises, where the fence met the steel shell of the warehouse. Wooden pallets leaned against the side of the building. Old blood stained the light colored wood. 
 
Devin edged toward the fence and wrapped his fingers in the wire mesh. Arching his neck, he examined the length of the building.
 
“I don’t see anything,” he stated. “If this place is compromised, it’s not from this side.”
Noah walked across the front of the warehouse. He stopped outside the large metal double doors. Idly, he reached out and pulled on the padlock attached to a chain, which secured the doors. “Should we break it?”
 
Devin shook his head. “There’s a door round the side.” He pointed to the other end of the steel structure. “Check that first.”
 
They made their way to the side entrance. Devin stepped forward and examined the broken handle. He tilted his head and looked grim. “There’s blood.” He took a step back.
“Do you think it’s one of them?” Noah tightened his grip on the ax.
 
“Freaks don’t usually go around smashing locks. But…” He raised his gun and pointed at the dried blood. “If someone was bitten, and sought shelter… They could have turned by now.”
“Okay.” Noah didn’t know what else to say.
 
Devin hesitated, then edged forward, leaning against the door as he listened. “I don’t hear anything—” A crackle of static and Jack Torres’s voice over the radio startled them both. 
“Devin, you there?”
 
“Christ.” Devin pressed his hand to his chest and stepped away from the door. He pulled the radio from his belt. “Great timing there, Jack,” he said in a hushed voice
Noah smirked as Devin shot him a despairing look.
 
“Why are you whispering?” Jack asked.
 
Devin cleared his throat and moved farther away from the building. “No reason. Just checking something out. Everything okay?”
 
“Yeah, just wondered if you guys were heading back soon?” Jack sounded edgy.
 
“Is there a problem?” Devin narrowed his eyes. He glanced at Noah as he talked to Jack.
Quickly, Jack dismissed Devin’s question. “No, no problem. I just need to talk to you about something.”
 
“You sure?”
 
“Yeah, yeah. It can wait. Come find me when you get back.”
 
“Sure. See you in an hour maybe.” Devin secured the radio onto his belt.
 
“What was that about?” Noah asked.
 
Devin shrugged and fixed his attention back on the busted lock. “Let’s get this over with, then we can find out.” He held his gun in front of him. With his free hand, he pushed.
 
“Something’s behind it,” he said when the door didn’t budge. “Stay sharp, okay?”
 
Fear mixed with a rush of adrenaline as Noah flipped the ax over in his hand. He waited as Devin used his weight to shoulder an opening. There was a scraping sound. Whatever had been used to secure the exit was forced across the concrete floor of the warehouse.
 
Eventually, Devin stumbled forward as the barricade fell away with a clatter.
 
Noah peered over Devin’s shoulder, noting more of the wooden pallets. The building was dimly lit. Sunlight shone through overhead skylights, illuminating dust that hung in the air. They held off entering the building for a moment, waiting to see if the noise drew the interest of anything nonhuman. When nothing came of their, less than subtle, entrance, Devin took the lead and headed inside.
 
The temperature in the warehouse was cooler than outside, and Noah shuddered as he examined the interior of the building. The space was high, higher than it seemed from the outside, and was filled with rows and rows of empty pallets. He looked at Devin who had stopped a few feet in. Noah examined the ground, noting what Devin had already spotted. There was more blood. Someone had been hurt, but not gravely, if the small amount of blood was anything to go by. Gravity had caused circular spatters where droplets had hit the floor, marking a path toward the front of the warehouse. Devin didn’t say anything and followed the intermittent stains.
 
The silence was unnerving and Noah checked behind them. Content there was nothing there, he shifted his focus back to Devin and the row of pallets they were following to the front of the warehouse. Devin raised his gun as they neared the end of the aisle, stepping out as he turned the corner. He stopped, seemingly surprised. He glanced at Noah, his expression softening.
 
Curious, Noah took the corner, catching sight of a woman and a young boy huddled together on the opposite side of the building. Though frightened, they appeared okay.
 
Devin lowered his gun, and raised his other hand. “We aren’t going to hurt you. Are you injured?”
 
Noah studied the pair along with Devin. The boy was pale and scared, but there was no obvious sign of injury. 
 
When neither replied, Devin took a step toward them. “Are you alone?”
 
Devin’s question was answered with an angry cry and blur of motion from his left. A man lunged at Devin, wielding a crowbar. Devin barely swerved the attack. The metal edge struck him on the shoulder, and unbalanced, he fell with a grunt to the dusty, hard ground.
“Stop,” Noah yelled, putting himself between Devin and the desperate man. He raised the ax, aware there was a second person standing in the shadows. “Look, we’re not here to hurt you.” He shifted his weight as a teenage girl stepped forward. She held a dented aluminum baseball bat in her hand. “Devin? You okay?” Noah kept his gaze fixed on the two people in front of him.
 
Devin coughed. “Yeah, I’m fine.” He cleared his throat and got to his feet. He rotated his shoulder, then joined Noah in the awkward standoff. He raised his gun and pointed it at the man.
 
“What do you want?” the man asked. His voice was shaky. He edged closer to the teenage girl, favoring his right foot.
 
“Are you hurt?” Noah said, drawing everyone’s attention to the poorly wrapped bandage above his left knee.
 
“It’s nothing.”
 
“Were you bitten?” Devin nodded toward the man’s leg.
 
“He wasn’t.” The teenage girl jumped to the man’s defense. Her dark hair had been cropped into a short uneven bob, which formed a rough line along her jaw.
 
Devin pursed his lips. “He your dad?”
 
The girl nodded.
 
“How about we all lower our weapons and figure this out, okay?” Devin glanced at Noah, indicating for him to go first.
 
Though wary, Noah did as Devin instructed. “Fine.” He loosened his hold, lowering the ax to his side, and stepped back to put space between him and the still-armed father and daughter team.
 
“Okay?” Devin returned his handgun to its holster. “We didn’t mean to scare you.”
The man glanced at his daughter. “It’s okay, T.” He dropped his weapon, and encouraged his daughter to do the same.
 
“I’m Devin, and this is Noah. We’re sorry if we scared you.”
 
Hugging his daughter close, the man said, “Kirk. This is my daughter, Tatum.” He pointed in the direction of the woman and boy, who were still sitting together. “My wife, Marie, and our son, Samuel.”
 
Devin seemed to relax when the man shared his and his family’s names. He kept his hand at his side. “Have you been here long?”
 
Kirk blinked rapidly. “A couple of days. My son is sick. We needed somewhere safe.”
 
“Sick?” Noah eyed the boy. “Sick, how?”
 
“I don’t know.” Kirk’s shoulders dropped as he gazed at his boy. “He hasn’t eaten properly in days, and when he has, he’s thrown up soon after.”
 
“I’m sorry,” Devin offered. He settled his sight on Noah. It was clear that he was considering what to do. Since the incident with Corden, they no longer had the luxury of taking people at their word. They had to be sure of who they were letting into the prison, no matter how adamant people were in claiming they were okay, or arguing that their injuries were from anything other than a bite.
 
The father gave a strained smile at Devin’s voiced sympathy. “It’s been hard. No food, no shelter. Always moving. It’s hit him the worst.”
 
Each member of the family appeared unkempt, dirty, and tired. Noah sucked on his teeth. These people needed help, help they could offer them. “Devin.”
 
Devin raised his head. There was doubt in his eyes.
“Please.” They were just people. Scared and exhausted people.
 
Devin stared at the ground. “How did you hurt your leg?” he asked. “I can help your son, but you have to tell me the truth.”
 
“On the fence.” Kirk looked from Devin to Noah. “I swear.” He wrapped his hand around his daughter’s. His face seemed brighter almost, as if he had been gifted with something amazing—the fact that maybe there was some hope and goodness left in the world after all.
“And the kid? He’s just sick?”
 
“Yes.” He nodded emphatically. “You’re part of a group? You have somewhere safe?”
There was a beat before Devin confirmed they did have somewhere. “We can help. We can look at your leg too, stop it from getting infected. But we’ll have to check you over. All of you. Properly. We can’t risk letting anyone who’s been bitten in. You understand, right?”
“We understand. Do what you have to do, but please, help us.”
 
Kirk’s desperation cut at Noah’s heart. If only it was just the undead monsters they had to deal with, but even now, despite all the horror and bloodshed, they were faced with the uncertainty of one another, of the danger other human beings still posed to them. Who should they trust? And who should they keep at arm’s length? He had fallen foul of people he thought were his friends, his neighbors. Distrust for others was why he had been alone when Devin had found him and why he had wanted to return to the farm, his farm, and be in a place he knew, not with Devin and the others at the prison. It was the reason he had survived for so long. But now, he couldn’t imagine anything else. He was glad Devin had shown up at the farm that day, even though his arrival had flipped everything he’d known on its head.
 
He had put his trust in Devin.
 
Noah looked from one family member to the next, then at Devin. They both knew this was the right thing to do. This was the human thing to do.
 
 
 
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Meet The Author

 
 

Meredith Russell lives in the heart of England. An avid fan of many story genres, she enjoys nothing less than a happy ending. She believes in heroes and romance and strives to reflect this in her writing. Sharing her imagination and passion for stories and characters is a dream Meredith is excited to turn into reality.

Website/blog: http://www.meredithrussell.co.uk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/meredithrussellauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MeredithRAuthor
Instagram: http://instagram.com/miss_meredith_r
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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Book Title: Why I Need You

Author: Colette Davison

Publisher: Smudged Ink Press

Cover Artist: Charlotte L R Kane

Genre/s: LGBT contemporary romance

Length: Words: 83,000 No. of Pages: 312

 

 

Review

 

*****

 

Why I need you is such a heart warming story of two guys with huge baggage they are carrying.  We were introduced to Fin in book one (Why I left you).  Fin’s parents were killed in a car accident and he left to go home.

 

We pick up Fin’s story where he has settled into a routine of bringing up his 8-year-old sister Olivia, Working and studying.  He has no time for fun or meeting anyone else and has convinced himself that all he wants out of life is to Bring up Olivia the best way he can.  That is until he is called into work at the restaurant on his night off.

 

On the same night Noah is at the restaurant celebrating his ultra conservative fathers Birthday.  Noah has done a good job of hiding his sexuality, until this fateful night he set eyes on the waiter named Fin.  And is called out for looking at the hot waiter by his sister’s faience and all hell breaks loose.

 

What follows is a heart breaking yet heart warming story of both young men, trying to build a relationship and dealing with their personal baggage.  Both reluctant to be fully open to the other. 

 

Noah slowly comes out of his shell from being oppressed by his parents.  Fin realises it is ok to take time out for his own happiness.   Each of them do not believe their relationship will have a happy ending.   Noah thinks Fin will lose patients with him slowly coming out of his shell.  And Fin holds back on telling Noah that he is his sisters guardian, believing Noah will run a mile, not wanting to be tied down to a readymade family.

 

I really like the way Colette shows us the internal battles each character is going through.  Both Characters are sweet and sexy, and made for each other.  Neither one of them is more broken or stronger than the other, like is so many stories.   I love the humour Olivia and Martin bring to the story.   It is a heart warming story without being too soft and sloppy.

 

This is only Colette’s second novel and I am so excited to see how her writing journey develops.

 

 

Goodreads   Amazion Com   Amazon UK

 

Author Jay Hogan

 

Publisher Blackout Books

 

Pages 320 

 

 

Links 

 

 Amazon Com

Amazon Uk

Good Reads 

 

 

Blurb

 

Michael:

Two years ago I made a mistake, a big one, and then I threw in another couple just for good measure. I screwed up my life big time but I made it through. I was lucky.  

Then I was given the opportunity for a fresh start. Two years in Auckland, NZ, ‘The City of Sails’. Away from the LA gossip, a chance to breathe, to get my life back together.

I grabbed it and packed my new set of golden rules with me.

I don’t do relationships.

I don’t do commitment.

I don’t do white picket fences.

And I especially don’t do arrogant, holier-than-thou, smoking hot K9 officers who walk into my ER and rock my world.

 

 

Josh:

The only thing I know for certain about Dr. Michael Oliver is the guy is an arrogant, untrustworthy player, and I’d barely survived the last one of those in my life.  Once was more than enough.

The man might be gorgeous but my eleven-year-old daughter takes number one priority and I won’t risk her being hurt, again. I’m a solo dad, a K9 cop and a son to pain in the ass, bigoted parents.

I don’t have time for games.

I don’t have time for taking chances.

I don’t have time for more complications in my life.

And I sure as hell don’t have time for the infuriating Dr. Michael Oliver, however damn sexy he is.

 

 

Excerpt

 

Josh was forced to take the only seat left, directly opposite Oliver. Of course, it was. His gaze slid over the man, an irritating reminder of just how fit the doctor was. In a pair of tight washed jeans and a black, button-down shirt he was hard to take your eyes off.

 

Josh watched as Mark made it his mission to educate the doctor on the finer points of rugby. The two were huddled over beer coasters and scraps of paper, laughing and heads bumping. He found the whole thing increasingly irritating for reasons he wasn’t prepared to analyze. God, he really did need to get laid.

On one occasion, when he lifted his beer and glanced across, he found Michael’s gaze locked on his mouth and there was heat in his eyes, lots and lots of heat. Caught staring, the doctor never even flinched, just raised his water in salute and Josh’s cock had twitched to life. For crap’s sake. It didn’t seem to matter how much he tried to ignore the man, Oliver simply turned him on like a fucking switch. The guy was a menace to Josh’s self-control.

 

So, he swallowed hard and got to his feet to head home. It was either that or drag the good doctor out back and nail his ass against the wall. But of course, it was never going to be that easy. Barely out of his chair and his best friend suddenly decided he needed to visit his sister and could Josh drop Michael back at his apartment, seeing as it was on his way. All said with a shit-eating grin, the fucker.

 

So, here they were, again. Oliver cracked the passenger door and got in smelling of musky body wash and some kind of citrus cologne that made Josh’s mouth water. His jeans rode tight on his thighs, stretching sinfully as he settled into the leather and ran his fingers through his damp hair.

 

“So, here we are again, officer.”

 

Michael reached between them to fasten his seatbelt, brushing hands with Josh who was busy doing the same. The contact sent every one of Josh’s nerve endings on high alert and it was all he could do not to shut the man’s irritating mouth with his own. He sighed and started the car, pulling out into traffic. This stupidity had to stop.

 

“Look…”

Oliver turned to face him with a curious look. 

Josh continued. “You’re a good ball player and I get they want you on the team. So, seeing as we’re gonna be spending time together, as teammates, can we just cut out this crap between us and start again?”

 

Oliver went quiet then turned away to stare out the front windscreen. “Okay, done.”

Josh rolled his eyes. “Just like that?”

 

Michael snorted but kept his eyes front. “This may come as a shock to you, Rawlins, but you’re not as irresistible as you seem to think.”

 

Well, okay then. Josh kept his eyes on the road and they rode in silence for the remainder of the journey. He pulled in at the same spot he had two nights before. “So, um, if you need a lift next weekend, you can call. My number’s on the team list.”  

 

Michael regarded him flatly. “I’m sure I’ll have my car back by then but thanks. See you around.”

“Sure.” Josh watched the doctor disappear up his drive. You got what you wanted, he told himself. So that’s good, right?

 

Pain Play

 

Author Morticia Knight

 

Pages 102

 

 

Blurb

 

Terry is ready for some pain that brings him pleasure

 

The deeper Terry becomes immersed in a 24/7 dynamic with Phil, the more he realizes that he’s ready for them to be fulltime. There might still be plenty to learn in his D/s journey with his Master, but he’s discovered a sense of peace and fulfilment he hadn’t known was possible.

 

Phil can’t wait to show his boy how exquisite erotic pain can be.

 

Phil couldn’t be more thrilled when Terry confesses his desire for them to take the next step in their Master/sub relationship, and he decides to explore some of Terry’s soft limits regarding pain. Adding to his joy are the approaching holidays that include celebrating with their friends. If only he could receive an offer for a film project, Phil would get all his Christmas wishes.

 

Surprises are revealed, forbidden desires are shared, and their New Year begins with a bang—which not only brings them closer to each other—but to their friends, Master Gerard and his boy Marco.

 

 

 

Excerpt

 

Terry stirred, soaking up Phil’s warmth as he snuggled into him. He let out an unbidden groan.

 

Fuck.

 

His first thought was that he was going to regret the throbbing sting in his nipples or the deep ache in ass cheeks, but as he bent one knee to drape a leg over his Master, his next thought was how delicious the lingering pain felt, how it was like having Phil’s continuous touch all over him. A low moan rumbled in Phil’s chest and he rolled on his side, wrapping an arm around Terry then tugging him closer. Terry used his leg to embrace Phil’s limbs even more as he rubbed his face against Phil’s neck.

“Morning.” Phil’s sleep-roughened voice was more growly than usual.

 

It had been quite a night.

 

Despite the occasional off-hand remarks Phil made about his age and diminished prowess, it hadn’t stopped him from fucking Terry twice after they’d had a chance to rest up from Phil’s enthusiastic flogging. The multiple coming in the same night for them both wasn’t something that had happened since they’d been reunited. Terry grinned. Ass is sore on the inside too. They’d both gotten a thorough workout.

 

“Good morning, Master.” He yawned a bit too loudly.

Phil chuckled, the deep timbre of his voice a cock-awakening sound. “I’d ask if you need more sleep, but that nice, hard rod pushing against my stomach says otherwise.”

 

“What can I say? I’m hot for you all the time.”

Phil traced circles with his fingertips on Terry’s back. “Flatterer.” He placed a firm kiss on the top of Terry’s head. “But I’ll take it.”

I’m the one who took it last night.”

 

Phil barked out a laugh. “That you did. And quite well, I might add.” Phil hugged him. “What time does your session begin?”

Terry’s eyes went wide and he jolted out of Phil’s arms, smashing their chests together as he surged over Phil’s torso to check the digital clock on the nightstand. Phew. But what a boner-killer. He collapsed into Phil’s embrace again. Even though he didn’t typically sleep much past dawn, their enthusiastic play the evening before had exhausted him.

 

Phil snorted. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah. Sorry about that. They won’t be here ‘til ten. I’ve got almost two hours still.”

“Then may I hold my beautiful sub for a few more minutes before we start our day?”

Terry smiled. “Of course.”

 

He wriggled against Phil to work himself back into a comfortable position. His bladder wasn’t screaming at him yet, but he didn’t figure he’d last much longer than the few minutes Phil had requested. Terry chewed at his lip, the pleasant dreamy zone he’d been in when he’d first awoken had been ripped from him, which meant that instead, his mind was whirring the way it always did. Phil jostled him.

 

“Baby? You’re tense.”

Terry let out a frustrated sigh. “Yeah, sorry. My brain is up and at ‘em. You know how I get.”

“That’s okay, I understand. Then let’s go over our day for a moment before I feed you your breakfast.”

Terry snapped his head up, furrowing his brow as he stared down at Phil. “Wait, what? Again?”

Phil’s expression radiated amusement. “You’re like a prairie dog this morning.”

Terry gave Phil a smirk. “Ha ha. Now what about the breakfast thing?”

Phil smiled, caressing Terry’s cheek, his thumb scraping the stubble there. “Let me do this for you. Then, after your session we’ll discuss everything in depth when we go over our permanent contract.”

Permanent. Holy shit and fuck yeah.

 

“Okay. I can do that.”

Phil searched his face, and whatever aspect of their relationship—or perhaps Terry himself—he was musing on, seemed to fill his Master with contentment. He ran his hand along Terry’s cheek before threading his fingers through his hair. “Thank you. Taking care of you that way made me very, very happy.”

 

Terry smiled, Phil’s statement reminding him of how much he’d been touched by it as well. “I’m glad. I was thinking it might be one of those things you only liked to do on occasion, or was only for my benefit, and you didn’t get all that much out of the act.”

 

“Mmm. I get a lot out of feeding you and I’m continuing it for our benefit.” He kept playing with Terry’s hair. Phil cupped the back of his head then drew him in for a chaste kiss. “Nice to be coddled a bit, isn’t it?”

 

 Terry swallowed hard. He constantly struggled to let go, to allow himself the true vulnerability that Phil wanted from him. “It was, I mean it. I suppose I assumed it was merely part of a scene.”

Phil gave him a soft smile. “But you said you were sorry the scene ended, that you wanted us to be 24/7 from now on.”

 

Terry chuckled shakily. “Yeah. I remember saying something to that effect.”

Phil’s brow furrowed. “We don’t have to be 24/7 yet if you’re still unsure. Just hearing you say you wanted to at all let me know we’re making real progress.”

 

Terry grabbed the hand Phil had cupped around his nape, prying his fingers loose so he could clutch their joined hands to his chest. “No. I’m not unsure, just nervous. I’ll fight you. Even if I don’t want to, won’t mean to—I will. You’ve been a lot softer with me since what happened with Anson and those assholes. And I love that gentle side, it’s so different from what I’m used to with us, but I need your rougher side too. Don’t be afraid to push me. You never were before.”

 

 

Buy Links

 

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Amazon DE

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Amazon AU

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Amazon IT

 

Series Good reads Page

 

Play Series

 

 

Author’s note:

 

Pain Play is part of a continuing series that chronicles Phil and Terry’s loving D/s journey and should be read in order. Phil and Terry are a committed, monogamous couple, but there is a scene of group play. This story ends with an HEA, no cliffhanger and doesn’t include any additional content. Pain Play is approximately 37,500 words and 102 pages. Watch for more in the Play Series coming soon!

 

 

Author

 

Born in Los Angeles, The United States 
 
M/M Erotic Romance author Morticia Knight enjoys hot stories of men loving men forever after. They can be men in uniform, Doms and subs, rock stars or bikers - but they're all searching for the one (or two!) who was meant only for them.
 

When not indulging in her passion for books, she loves the outdoors, film and music. Once upon a time she was the singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She is currently working on more installments of Sin City Uniforms and The Hampton Road Club, as well as the follow-up to Bryan and Aubrey's story from Rockin' the Alternative.

 

 

Book Title: Why I Need You

Author: Colette Davison

Publisher: Smudged Ink Press

Cover Artist: Charlotte L R Kane

Genre/s: LGBT contemporary romance

Length: Words: 83,000 No. of Pages: 312

 

 

Fin is a recurring character from Why I Left You, but it is a standalone story.

 

  Blurb Following the death of their parents, Fin put his life on hold to raise his little sister. He’s convinced her well-being is all that matters, even if it’s at the expense of his own. A chance meeting with Noah opens his eyes to the possibility of happiness. A happiness that could shatter the moment Noah discovers Fin has an eight-year-old in tow. Noah has been living a lie for years. When he gets publicly outed, he gets kicked out of his parents’ home and business. Although he’s angry at being disowned, Noah knows it means he’s finally free to love whomever he wants. But in order to have a fulfilling and lasting relationship, Noah has to get past his repressed upbringing and inhibitions, before Fin walks out of his life. In order to stay together, Fin and Noah have to be brave enough to be honest with themselves and each other. **Contains adult language and scenes**

 

 

 

 

 

Buy Links - Available on KU

 

Amazon US

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Goodreads Link

 

Excerpt Noah glanced up as their waiter wandered over to the table. Without meaning to, Noah found himself staring. The waiter looked hot in his uniform. He was wearing a crisp white shirt and a jet-black waistcoat, which intensified the grey of his eyes. A black bowtie was an especially cute addition, which added to his boyish charm. But it was the waiter’s smile which really grabbed Noah’s attention. It was a wide, easy smile that literally lit up the restaurant.

 

“Are you ready to order?” the waiter asked, his voice smooth.

 

Noah forced himself to zoom out from the smile and the perfect teeth to take in the waiter’s whole face, grey eyes and dark, swept-back hair. He dropped his gaze to the waiter’s name badge, which read ‘Fin’, then he looked away, planting his gaze onto his menu. God forbid anyone in his family caught him staring at a guy. He didn’t register what anyone else ordered. It wasn’t until Ruth kicked him in the ankle that he even realised the waiter, Fin, was talking to him.

 

“What can I get for you?” Fin asked, probably repeating the question for the second time, or maybe the third.

 

Noah hoped it wasn’t the third. “Uh, the Hawaiian pizza,” he said, cursing himself for mumbling over the words.

 

Fin nodded thoughtfully as he noted down Noah’s order. “You’re one of those guys.”

 

Noah’s eyes widened involuntarily. What did the waiter mean, ‘one of those guys’? How could his choice of pizza tell Fin anything about him?

 

“Who likes pineapple on pizza,” Fin clarified, his smile becoming wider still, revealing adorable dimples that made Noah’s legs turn to jelly. “You’d be surprised how divisive a choice that can be.” Fin’s gaze lingered on Noah for a couple of seconds before he glanced round the whole table. “Can I get anyone any more drinks?”

 

“I’d like a martini,” Liam said. He grinned at Ruth before saying, “Shaken, not stirred,” in an appalling attempt at a Scottish accent.

 

“A pint of Stones, please,” Noah said, finding his voice again.

 

Sure. I’ll be right back.” Noah exhaled as Fin wandered away. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d gotten so flustered just because he liked the look of a guy. Then again, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d been around a truly attractive guy whilst sitting at a table with his ridiculously conservative parents. He grabbed the thick white linen napkin and flicked it out, laying it over his lap just in case. He couldn’t trust his dick not to revolt against his head, which was screaming at him not to go gooey over some random guy.

 

 

Exclusive Excerpt

 

 “The way I see it, we’re both bringing something to the table that’s making things hard for us,” Noah continued. “Something’s keeping you busy that you’re not willing to tell me about, and I’m not asking…” Fin tensed at the unspoken ‘yet’ that was even more evident when Noah paused. “And I can’t deal with any kind of physical contact when there’s even one extra person in the room.” Noah sighed. “But I’m going to work on it,” he promised. “Because I want to see where this thing we’ve started could lead. I don’t want to give up on the possibility that there might be an ‘us’ in the future.” He lifted his head a fraction and then gently pressed his lips to Fin’s in a slow, sensuous kiss.

 

It was a million miles away from the way Noah had kissed him the morning before. Fin leaned in to it, an equal partner this time rather than an object of desire. His stomach fluttered and his groin ached as the kiss continued. He twisted his hands so he could tangle his fingers through Noah’s. When Noah finally broke away, Fin remained motionless for a moment, his eyes still closed as he did nothing but breathe in the tangy scent of Noah’s aftershave. How was he falling so hard for someone he’d only known for a couple of weeks and had seen only a handful of times?

 

“So…” Noah said, his voice seemingly a million miles away.

 

Fin forced his eyes to flicker open. Noah was staring at him, his blue eyes wide and searching.

 

“Can we cut each other some slack?” Noah asked.

 

“Are we going to keep seeing each other?”

 

Fin nodded. “Yeah,” he whispered. “I really like the concept that there might be an ‘us’.” Fin ran his hands over Noah’s shoulders and down his chest, his gaze never leaving Noah’s. “Tell me if you’re not comfortable.”

 

Noah was more than comfortable. He couldn’t imagine not feeling anything other than turned on by Fin’s touch. “What should I do?” he heard himself ask. If he’d been able to engage his brain, he probably wouldn’t have let such a dumb question cross his lips.

 

“Anything you want to,” Fin breathed as he leaned forward to kiss Noah in the centre of his chest where his breast bone dipped. “Or you could just sit there and enjoy.” Fin continued to kiss his way down Noah’s chest, over his stomach, to the top of his jeans. Then Fin looked up at Noah with that damned cute lazy grin plastered on his face. He raised his hand and applied the slightest pressure to Noah’s shoulder. That was all it took to encourage Noah to flop onto his back. Noah’s heart was hammering hard against his ribs with anticipation. He felt stupid for admitting it to himself, but he really had no clue what Fin was going to do next, or if there was anything he was supposed to be doing in return. He felt a tug at his belt and then the release of pressure against his waist as the button on his jeans was popped open.

 

“This okay?” Fin asked as he tugged on Noah’s jeans.

 

Noah nodded, sighing contentedly as Fin slowly relieved him of his jeans and boxers. He stared up at the ceiling, savouring the anticipation. Then he felt Fin’s lips press against his stomach again, hot against his trembling flesh. The slow, lazy kisses slowly moved down towards Noah’s groin, making him gasp. His eyes widened as Fin leaned over him and flashed him a grin before kissing him softly on the lips again.  

 

 

About the Author

 

Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding. She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.

 

 

 

Review

 

Our review will follow later this week.

 

 

Social Media Links

 

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Giveaway

 

 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card or one of 5 ebook copies of Why I Left You.

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RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

 

 

January 23

 

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author REVIEW

Noteworthy Book Reviews REVIEW

Tangents and Tissues

Blazing Zane Book Blog REVIEW

Hearts on Fire Reviews REVIEW

MM Midnight Cafe REVIEW

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Lily G Blunt

 

January 24

 

Love Unchained Book Reviews REVIEW

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January 25

 

Mainely Stories REVIEW

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36552572.jpg
 
 
Title: Bleeding Like Me
Author: Riley Parks
Genre: M/M Romance

Length: 324 pages 
Released: November 21, 2017
 
Synopsis:
 
Being gay in their neighborhood is perilous. Being gay in a street gang is unheard of. Being gay and in love with a man in a rival gang is a death wish. Through drug addiction, brutality, and seemingly endless peril, they remain; finding stability within each other that shouldn’t exist in their volatile world.
 
 
Excerpt: 
 
He didn't paint people; the curves of their bodies and angles of their faces never interested him as much as cityscapes. The circumstances of his life had compelled him to create new worlds that he could get lost in rather than reflect the features of the people he ran from. He constructed buildings from their foundations, making them taller and stronger than he was. He adorned the edifices with countless windows, always left open or cracked so hope could pour in and fears could seep out. Tree lined streets reminded him how to breathe, pumping oxygen through the atmosphere, off the canvas, and into his lungs. He didn't paint people until the day he no longer desired the anonymity of his cities. The streets didn't feel like his escape anymore, not like him. Cerulean skies gave way to pale blue eyes and bus routes to pink pouts. Evan didn't paint people until he painted Jackson.
Review
 
****
 

In this story we delve in to the world of street gangs in Chicago.  We are introduced to Evan a new gang member, who has been alone and sleeping on park benches etc until he joins a gang.  Even has to keep his sexuality a secret from his gang mates, as being gay in a gang is unheard off.

 

Then we meet Jackson A gang member from a rival street gang, who shares the same secret as Evan.

What are they to do when they meet up at a cruising ground for anonymous sex?  Well to begin with, nothing as neither of them have brought condoms.   But there is a instant spark between them, a spark that neither of them can deny or resist.

 

They soon become regular hook ups, with neither of them knowing about their rival gangs.  We follow the guys as they try and navigate their relationship around their commitments to their rival gangs.  Some how they pretty much manage to keep their relationship on the downlow.  

 

The author gives us a real and authentic glimpse into the gritty world of street life.  She brings the broken characters to life and you are so engaged with them, wanting their relationship to work, wanting them to find a way out of the life they must live. 

 

This novel is right up my street,  I love the gritty world and the dangerous but tender and loyal characters, which makes such a contradiction of personality traits.

 
 
Buy Link:
 
 
 
Author Links: 
 
 
Author Bio: 
 

Riley has always loved to write, believing that life has the possibility to be its most beautiful when it's portrayed on the pages of a book. Feeling the need to create and liberate in the midst of the political landscape, she began to write novels that focus on LGBTQ+ protagonists, wanting to honor a community that deserves better representation.

 

 

 

 

Title: Love Times Five

Author: Lily G. Blunt

Cover Art: Jay Aheer at Simply Defined Art

Release Date: January 19, 2018

Genre/s: paranormal, gay romance, contemporary, polyamory

Length: 77, 000 words

 

Add on Goodreads

 

 

Blurb

 

There’s safety in numbers and plenty of love to go around. When Colin searches for his missing colleague and buddy in the hills of northern England, his life is changed forever. Not only does he find Shaun living in a cabin with the mysterious and undeniably gorgeous Zach, but he also discovers the reason Shaun went AWOL in the first place. Colin wants to draw his friend away to safety, but Zach soon mesmerises him, and he’s happy to stay in his company, for now. Passing hikers, Wes and Dane, need some assistance, and the three men are willing to oblige. Thus begins a friendship that develops into much more. The five men each have their own secrets. Some are shared, others are kept hidden. It’s only a matter of time before they are exposed and the consequences

could change everything for them all.  

 

 

 

Buy Links

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Smashwords

 

PayHip

 

 

 

 

Read Excerpt #1 HERE

 

 

Excerpt #2 from Chapter 1

 

Colin yelped and stumbled back. The penknife fell from his grip as he connected with the solid ground and landed on his arse.

 

“What the fuck?” Colin gaped at the wild beast in front of him, not five feet away, and apparently protecting Zach, who stroked the wolf’s back as if he were petting a huge dog.

 

Colin blinked, hoping to clear his vision. Had he knocked his head? Was he dreaming? Had he been drugged too?

 

The wolf sniffed the air and pawed the grass, its tongue now lolling to the side of its mouth. Teeth, sharp and white and scary, distracted Colin from the animal’s other features. The scent of damp fur and woodland soil filled his nostrils, and warm panting breath ghosted over his face.

 

The wolf was real enough. No vision. No dream.

 

“What the fuck?” Colin said, keeping his eyes fixed on the animal as it slunk away to the trees. His heart pounded and his mind was a whirl of confused thoughts. He tried to swallow around a thick lump in his parched throat. “What the fuck just happened?”

 

Zach said nothing but offered a hand to Colin, which after a few seconds pause, Colin grasped. Between the two of them, they easily hauled his bulky frame to standing. He scanned the grass for his knife, relief racing in his veins when he spotted it nestled among two nearby clumps of greenery.

 

Colin glanced away from the knife in the direction the wolf had headed. Could it really be Shaun? “I don’t understand.”

 

“Of course, you don’t.” Zach’s mouth curved into a warm, genuine smile. His eyes glimmered, and some of the tension lifted from Colin’s shoulders. “You must be Colin. Shaun’s sexy boss. He’s told me all about you.”

 

“What?” Colin’s pulse still pounded, and confusion turned his thoughts to sludge, but his heart fluttered at the hope those words kindled. What the hell was happening? What was this arsehole saying? Shaun had never tried anything on with Colin, not even when they’d been drunk. And had Shaun really… turned into a… what the actual fuck?

 

“You didn’t think he was interested in you?” Zach arched an eyebrow, and his eyes sparkled. Again.

Before Colin could commit himself to an answer or ask any questions about the precarious state of his sanity, there was movement to his side.

 

Shaun stood naked, his hands cupped over his groin, a little unsteady on his feet. “Chuck us your T-shirt, Zach,” he rasped, not making eye contact with Colin, his cheeks scarlet.

 

Without hesitation, Zach shed his top and threw it at Shaun, leaving his own fine torso on display. Smooth, defined, firm—perfect. No wonder Shaun had hooked up with him. Colin wouldn’t stand a chance with this guy in the picture, even if Shaun had liked him once upon a time.

 

Why was he even thinking about such things right now? He’d just seen Shaun turn into a wolf, and now he was back again as himself. And shortly before that, this ridiculously handsome man had been sucking on his neck and was now acting as if he knew things about Shaun that Colin didn’t even know. Was he losing his mind?

 

Colin dragged his gaze back to Shaun, his chest and nakedness now hidden from view by the oversized T-shirt. He staggered closer to Colin, his legs unsteady as if he were drunk. Shaun collapsed into Colin’s arms, maybe a deliberate move rather than an uncontrolled stumble. As much as Colin wanted to hug him to his chest, he needed answers. Anger bubbled to the surface and exploded. Colin gripped Shaun by his biceps and held him back at arm’s-length.

 

“What the fuck is going on? What did I just see?” It took all of Colin’s willpower not to shake the answer out of Shaun. “And what’s this fucking guy been doing to you?”

 

Shaun trembled beneath his touch, and his voice was hoarse and uneven, not its usual sweet timbre. “It’s okay, Col. I promise you, I’m okay now.” He placed his palm on Colin’s shoulder. “I know it’s a lot for you to take in all at once. I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to explain before.”

 

His words didn’t tell Colin anything. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me you were leaving and where you were going? I’d have listened… and helped you.” What the fuck could Colin have done to help if Shaun was a—?

 

Zach cleared his throat, distracting them both. He moved closer, running his long fingers down those taut abs of his until they came to rest on the waistband of his perfectly clinging jeans.

 

Shaun gazed at Zach, over his body, the renewed flush of arousal evident in his eyes. Colin’s heart sank but gave a hopeful flip when Shaun looked back at him with that same darkened expression. “Hey, how about we go inside? I can get dressed, and then explain what’s been going on with me.”

For a moment, Colin feared he might be overpowered or drugged or something like that once they got him inside the cabin, perhaps in the same way Shaun might have been. He eyed his knife lying on the ground, tempted to bend down and scoop it up for some protection.

 

Zach chuckled, and in a smooth yet swift motion slid past Colin. “I think you dropped this.” His mouth nestled close to Colin’s ear, his voice deep, his breath cool. A curl of interest coiled its way around Colin’s groin at the closeness of the man. Zach gripped Colin’s hand, turning his palm face-up, and placed the missing knife softly against his skin.

 

Colin couldn’t help but let out a gasp. He hadn’t witnessed the knife being retrieved from the ground. Whoever this man was, he was fast. He would probably dodge any knife or fist that Colin hurled his way. No way was Colin walking from this meadow without finding out who this man was. He pocketed the knife, despite his doubts about its usefulness now.

 

Zach glided away, entwined his fingers around Shaun’s hand, and pulled him towards the cabin. With an encouraging look over his shoulder, Shaun waved his free hand behind him. “Come on. We need to talk.”

 

Colin really had no choice, so he followed them. He needed to find out what had happened to Shaun and what the hell was going on between him and Zach.

 

 

 

 

About the Author

 

Lily G. Blunt enjoys writing contemporary gay romance and paranormal stories. She loves to explore the relationship between two or more men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of feelings between them. Lily is often inspired by the lyrics to songs and is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head. Only a few of these ever make their way to the page. Lily reviews for several blogs and has recently launched Gay Book Promotions, an online book promotion service for authors of LGBT+ romance and fiction. She loves to hear from readers and other authors.

 

 

Contact and Social Media Information

Amazon | Amazon UK | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Gay Book Promotions

 

RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

 

 

January 19

Tangents and Tissues,

Blazing Zane Book Blog REVIEW

Noteworthy Book Reviews REVIEW

Millsy Loves Books

Gay Media Reviews

Sur l'étagère, derrière la sirène en plastique REVIEW

Book Reviews Virginia Lee REVIEW

Stories That Make You Smile

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January 20

MM Midnight Cafe

LM Somerton

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author

T.N. Nova - Author REVIEW

Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read REVIEW

January 21

Love Unchained Book Reviews REVIEW

Nerdy Dirty & Flirty

MJ's Book Blog and Reviews

The Blogger Girls

Abibliophobia Anonymous Book Reviews

January 22

Books Laid Bare Boys REVIEW

Louise Lyons

Mary Winter's Blog

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Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews REVIEW

January 25

Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings REVIEW

January 26

Land of the Book Fairies REVIEW

The Way She Reads REVIEW

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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January 27

Bayou Book Junkie

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Take It

The Keswick Chronicles Book 2

By Victoria Kinnard

Publisher: Encompass Teen

Pages 222

 

 

Buy Links

 

Amazon Com 

 

 

 Amazon Uk

 

 

 

Blurb

 

Fame comes at a price.

Not everyone can pay it.

Are you ready for everything to change?

This is your chance.

Take it.

 

* * *

Your favorite band is back.

 

Jack, JJ and Forever Fading Echoes return in "Take It: The Keswick Chronicles Book 2". Getting the band together was the easy part. Keeping the band together when fame and success come calling? That's a whole other story...

 

 

 

 

Excerpt

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

Jude was lying with his back to the bedroom door, sheets shoved down angrily by his hips, the strong curve of his spine still visible in the patchwork of light filtering in from the open window.

 

I hesitated in the doorway. I wanted to lie down with him, close my eyes and forget the whole night had ever happened. It was our last night in LA for a while, it was supposed to be fun, the sort of night you reminisced about years later. Officially it was the first night of our tour and we had wanted to start off as we meant to go on – I didn’t want to fight with Jude.

 

“I’m really scared,” I admitted, stepping carefully into the room to sit on the edge of our bed. He made no indication that he’d heard me. I reached out for him, trailing my calloused fingers down his arm. His skin was warm, flawless.

 

“I just keep thinking about what we’d do if the band didn’t work out, you know? Jess gave up a shot at medical school to be here. Dylan passed up on MIT. You turned your back on your dad, Jude. If we don’t make it…it’ll all have been for nothing,” I explained, voice low and unsteady. He shivered at my touch.

“I love you, Jack,” he replied, turning to face me. His eyes were bleached silver by the moonlight, wide and agonized when they met mine. “I love you so much that it’s part of who I am now. I’m not gonna hold back, I’m not gonna change. Fuck the record label and fuck anyone who thinks the fact that I love you changes a thing about how good our band is .”

 

“Fuck ‘em all, huh?” I smiled, overwhelmed by affection for him. He sat up, hair falling around his face. I tucked it behind his ears, pulling him in for a kiss.

 

I tipped his head back to deepen the kiss, catching his bottom lip between my own. He sighed against my mouth, wrapping his arms around my neck and swinging a leg over my lap. His skin burned under the sweep of my hands and I kissed him with everything I had. He was all I wanted, all I ever wanted – I couldn’t lose sight of that, no matter what happened with the band.

 

I flipped him onto his back, pressing him into the squeaking mattress so I could cover his body with my own. I sat up for a split second to pull my shirt over my head, earning a fond smile from Jude when my dark hair crackled with static electricity. I bent over him, catching his swollen lips in another searing kiss and grinning into his mouth when he arched up against me, his knees grazing my hips.

 

“I love you too,” I whispered, pressing open mouthed kisses along his jaw, down his throat, across the elegant sweep of his collarbone. I could taste the heat under the skin, I savored it. I tried and failed to imagine a life where I didn’t get to have those moments with Jude.

 

He tangled his fingers with mine, holding tight. I dropped a kiss to his knuckles, gaze caught in his tear studded eyelashes, the darkening bruise I’d bitten into his neck. He huffed impatiently, pulling me into another fiery kiss and I forgot everything, just for a little while.

 

 

Review

 

*****

 

 

I found this novel to be a real surprise.  I have not read book one yet, and thought I may struggle to get into this one.   

 

I found the author has created a book that could be a standalone, but obviously reading book one, fills in the gaps and gives you a greater understanding of the characters.

 

Book Two starts just before the band hit the big time and are about to go on the road again. 

 

Success is in their grasp and everything seems to be going well.  JJ is lapping up being the front man of the band.  

 

But Jack who is the brains and structure of the band is hiding a secret from his friends.  He is struggling to cope with the fame and lifestyle of being in a band on the cliff of fame, his aunt Rose is diagnosed with Cancer, which brings back memories of his mother suffering and dying of the same desiese   He  turns to the bottle to help him cope with his increasing anxiety.  The rest of the band notice but do not know how to help Jack.

 

Then everything comes to a stop when Jack collapses and the band talk him into going to a rehab clinic.

We see how Jack must work his way back from the darkness and learn how to cope in the future.  He struggles with his self-worth, believing the band no longer needs him.

 

Meanwhile JJ is working his socks off as the front man, and trying to fill jack’s shoes, keeping everything moving forward.

 

I really love these two boys.  Their love for one another is never in doubt, even at the darkest moments.  JJ would do anything for Jack, but jack struggles to understand how someone as handsome and confident as JJ would stick with him.

 

The story is of dreams, love, struggle self honesty and most of all strength.  It is another five star book from Victoria, the author of the amazing young adult paranormal  series The Red Sun Rises.

 

 

 

Fake It

The Keswick Chronicles Book 1

By Victoria Kinnard

Publisher: Encompass Teen

Pages 183

 

 

Buy Links

 

Amazon Com

 

Amazon Uk

 

 

Author Bio:

 

 

Victoria lives in Glasgow, Scotland with her French Bulldog, Charlie and her pug, Mr T. She graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 2009 with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Journalism, Creative Writing and English Lit. Victoria has been writing since she was 15 years old. She loves rock music, and most of her tattoos are related to bands that she loves!

Victoria's debut novel, "The Red Sun Rises" was published by CHBB Publishing in 2013. "The Red Sun Rises" was the first novel in Victoria's LGBT YA parano

rmal romance series of the same name and was followed by "The Red Sun Rises: Fire and Ash", "(Birth)Day of the Dead" and "The Red Sun Rises: Seven Letters".

 

In 2016, Victoria moved away from paranormal romance to release "Fake It: The Keswick Chronicles Book 1", the first novel in her YA contemporary romance series. The sequel, “Take It: The Keswick Chronicles Book 2” was released on January 18th, 2018.

 

 

 

 

AWARDS and REVIEWS

 

The Kindle Hub Best LGBT YA Novel 2014 - awarded to "The Red Sun Rises: Fire and Ash"

S&T Awards Best LGBT Book 2nd Place - awarded to "Fake It"

Nerd Girl 5 Star Review - awarded to "The Red Sun Rises", "The Red Sun Rises: Fire and Ash" and "Fake It"

Black Words White Pages 5 star review - awarded to "Fake It"

Reader's Favorite 5 Star review - awarded to "Fake It"

Rainbow Awards 2016 Finalist/Honourable Mention - awarded to "Fake It"

Chapter.Con Most Loveable Couple Award 2017 (fan voted) - awarded to Eren Anderson and Corbijn Cohen from The Red Sun Rises Series

 

Title: Love Times Five

Author: Lily G. Blunt

 

Cover Art: Jay Aheer at Simply Defined Art

 

Release Date: January 19, 2018

 

Genre/s: paranormal, gay romance, contemporary, polyamory

 

Length: 77, 000 words

 

Add on Goodreads

 

 

Blurb

 

There’s safety in numbers and plenty of love to go around. When Colin searches for his missing colleague and buddy in the hills of northern England, his life is changed forever. Not only does he find Shaun living in a cabin with the mysterious and undeniably gorgeous Zach, but he also discovers the reason Shaun went AWOL in the first place. Colin wants to draw his friend away to safety, but Zach soon mesmerises him, and he’s happy to stay in his company, for now. Passing hikers, Wes and Dane, need some assistance, and the three men are willing to oblige. Thus begins a friendship that develops into much more. The five men each have their own secrets. Some are shared, others are kept hidden. It’s only a matter of time before they are exposed and the consequences could change everything for them all.

 

Available to purchase now from

 

PayHip

 

Pre-Order Links

 

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Smashwords

 

 

 

Excerpt - From Chapter One

 

The wooden cabin situated across the sloping meadow was a decent-sized dwelling, with two curtained windows on either side of the door. A covered porch stretched across the front with two old-fashioned rocking chairs and a new SUV was parked to the side.

 

Movement on the grass in front of the cabin confirmed the place was indeed inhabited. Colin halted in his tracks at the edge of the tree line, his breath on hold, wary of making his presence known. He squinted to get a better view of the two men walking close together. One was sleek and elegant, dressed in dark clothing. He towered over the other smaller, more familiar, figure in a sky-blue T-shirt.

 

Shaun?

 

 

Even from that distance, there was something recognisable about the upward lift of the chin of the shorter man; the way he held his body and the way the breeze ruffled his dark hair.

 

Yes, thank God. That’s got to be Shaun.

 

Colin snuck behind the nearest tree and peered from around the trunk, not wanting to be seen nor to interrupt them. Not yet anyway. Perhaps he wouldn’t need to make himself known. If he was mistaken and it wasn’t Shaun after all, he could slink away and return home without disturbing them. If it was him, Colin wanted answers. He wouldn’t be able to leave without finding out what the hell Shaun was doing here. With this stranger.

 

The stranger placed his hands on Shaun’s biceps and leaned in closer. He raised an arm, gripped Shaun’s jaw and pushed him backward.

 

Colin’s stomach clenched.

 

If he hurts Shaun… Colin patted his penknife, a comforting weight where it nestled in his trouser pocket. He’d lost count of the number of times just carrying the knife had given him the confidence to stand up to thugs who thought it was okay to call him out on his sexuality. Colin was proud he could hit most targets with it and had his father to thank for his accurate throwing skills. He was proficient enough to frighten this guy.

 

The cabin stood on the far side of a wild grassy expanse leading down to a small lake beyond. It was a picturesque setting with early spring flowers peeking through here and there. The sun glinted off the dark surface of the lake, and a rowing boat lay overturned at the water’s edge. Normally, Colin would have taken shot after shot with his phone to capture the charming view. But not today. This was not a sightseeing trip. It might even be a matter of life or death. For Shaun, for himself, maybe for them both considering how the taller guy unsettled Colin. If Shaun was being held captive, it would be up to Colin to rescue him.

 

A pained groan filled the quiet of the meadow; louder than the songbirds and the insects humming in the air.

 

Colin shuddered all over. His skin prickled with the fear rippling through him.

He slowly eased the penknife from his trouser pocket. The handle felt cool in his sweaty palm. Running his thumb over the edge of its sheathed blade, he itched to flick it open. It would take a second to expose the knife and throw it. If only he were a little closer, he’d be sure of hitting his target spot on. He’d need to be accurate if he wanted to rescue his buddy from his captor.

 

Colin held back a growl. He’d do everything in his power to help Shaun. His body was strong and muscled—too big, Colin worried sometimes. Shaun was slender and wouldn’t stand a chance against this imposing man.

 

The man steered Shaun towards the large stump of a felled tree, and pinned him onto his back. Shaun didn't struggle or fight, only crying out when the man lunged towards him.

 

What the… are they kissing and making out?

 

The powerful man nuzzled on top of Shaun: licking, nipping, and sucking on his neck. Submitting and not resisting, Shaun allowed the man to take what he needed. A sludge of sickness rolled through Colin’s gut, making him want to puke, like it often did whenever Shaun hooked up with another guy.

 

Swallowing the bitter-tasting bile, Colin crept over the ground to the adjacent tree, placing his feet gently, trying to make himself light, so as not to disturb the entwined couple. A twig snapped beneath his cumbersome weight and he froze.

 

The two men remained engrossed in each other. Neither of them glanced his way. Sweat trickled down Colin’s back. His skin burned. He wiped the moisture from his brow and stepped closer, gripping the knife so hard his knuckles cracked.

 

What the hell is he doing to Shaun’s neck?

 

A chill ran over Colin’s damp skin. Shaun had mentioned a possessive date who’d bitten him at a nightclub a week or so before he’d disappeared. In fact, it was after that encounter Shaun had started acting out of character. Colin had been worried enough to persuade him to get the bite checked out by his doctor, in case it got infected. Could this be the same sick fuck who was currently grinding his hips against Shaun, trying to get himself off as he latched onto his neck?

 

Colin’s heart thudded, his blood heating with a mix of anger and jealousy. He mustered all his strength, and his nostrils flared when his next breath filled his lungs.

 

He strode towards the rutting couple, but Shaun’s groans of arousal slowed Colin’s pace.

“Yes, Zach, that feels good.” Shaun’s passion-filled voice drifted across the meadow.

Was his friend in any real danger? Had he been drugged and was being held against his will? It didn’t seem like it. Fuck, what should he do? Goddamn Shaun, he’d worried the hell out of Colin, and here he was having some sort of debauched make-out session with this creep while Colin had been traipsing the hillsides looking for him.

 

Colin gritted his teeth. Whatever had happened to Shaun, he needed to find out what the hell was going on. He continued his steady approach.

 

Surely these guys must know he was standing not ten feet away from them by now, but Shaun’s eyes remained closed, his lips parted, a look of ecstasy on his face. The guy on top sucked on his neck like there was no tomorrow. He’d have a massive hickey later, and Shaun didn’t seem bothered by it.

Colin’s dick twitched, and he huffed at its traitorous response. How many times had he witnessed other lithe young men rubbing against Shaun like this in clubs and he’d wanted to take their place? And he would have too, if he’d thought for a second he was the kind of guy Shaun wanted.

 

Right now, Colin should haul this leech off Shaun and drag his friend back home, back to work, back to where he belonged.

 

And still the guy feasted on his neck, sucking and lapping as if his life depended on it. And Shaun was getting off from that. His erotic purrs and moans captivated Colin. Damn it, his dick hadn’t been this hard in weeks. Why couldn’t someone… Shaun… suck on him like that?

 

Shaun’s eyes fluttered open, and on catching sight of Colin, widened.

 

“Stop, Zach,” he said, pushing him away.

 

Had they not heard his approach?

 

His neck-sucking friend—Zach—turned leisurely.  He raised an eyebrow in challenge, wiped a trickle of blood from his mouth with the back of his hand, and stared with a self-satisfied smirk at Colin. Had he known Colin was standing there all this time?

 

Cocky bugger. Granted, he was a good-looking cocky bugger. Lean torso and long legs, with smooth, pale skin, yet his eyes were dark and mesmerising. His features appeared almost sculpted, his nose was perfect, and his clean-shaven square jaw made him so very handsome.

 

Don’t get distracted. He’s dangerous.

 

Shaun rose to a sitting position on the tree stump. Blood trickled from two round marks on his neck. He raised a hand and covered the injury.

 

Colin blinked. Zach had bitten into Shaun’s neck and hurt him. The reality slammed into Colin. He shook his head, trying to clear away a fuzzy feeling, and flicked open his knife.  He held it poised, ready to throw. He still wasn’t sure if this was consensual or if Zach was a nutter who’d done something to overpower Shaun.

 

“Step away from him,” Colin ordered, making his voice deep and commanding, his arm steady with the knife. “I’m taking Shaun home with me.”

 

Zach shook his head slowly, but he stayed put. Shaun rose to his feet, his eyes fixed on Colin. He held his hands out in a calm down and take it easy posture.

 

“I mean it, sunshine. One sudden move and I’ll throw this blade at you. I’ll make you bleed.” And Colin meant every word. He was prepared to take this guy out to rescue his friend.

“Hey, Col. You’ve got it all wrong. He wasn’t hurting me.” Shaun took a step closer to Zach instead of Colin.

 

And that action hurt Colin more than a solid punch in the gut.

 

“Yeah, Col. Listen to him.” God, Zach was smooth, with a sexy drawl of a voice. His dark, imposing gaze shifted between the knife and Colin’s eyes. And still his body language screamed be wary of me. He couldn’t be trusted. He was going to pounce any second, Colin just knew it.

 

With a flick of his wrist, Colin tilted the knife, and before he could sound off another warning, it was Shaun who leaped forward, snarling. His clothing shredded and scattered into the air and, out of the blur of movement, before him stood a pale grey wolf baring its teeth.

 

 

 

 

Lily G. Blunt enjoys writing contemporary gay romance and paranormal stories. She loves to explore the relationship between two or more men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of feelings between them. Lily is often inspired by the lyrics to songs and is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head. Only a few of these ever make their way to the page. Lily reviews for several blogs and has recently launched Gay Book Promotions, an online book promotion service for authors of LGBT+ romance and fiction. She loves to hear from readers and other authors.

 

Contact and Social Media Information

 

Amazon | Amazon UK | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Gay Book Promotions

   

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

 

 
 
 

 

 
Buy Links:
 
Length: 45,613 words
Cover Design: Brooke Albrecht
 
Blurb

Neither of them wants to fall in love, but getting exactly what they don’t want might be the best thing to ever happen to them.

Mark hopes his boredom with his current job will be alleviated by a short stint in Basel, Switzerland. When he meets Steffen, who struck out on his own from an old-money family to establish an IT firm, Mark expects some fun, great sex, and a clean break when his job is done. The arrangement is perfect for Steffen, who has been content with casual after a betrayal—and has a taste for British men after attending university in the UK. But as they explore the city’s rich history and traditions, Mark begins to see Steffen as much more than a tour guide with benefits. If he isn’t careful, the trip meant to break the lull in his career might end up breaking his heart instead….


 


January 12 - The Novel Approach - Blog Post

January 15 - Cupcakes & Bookshelves
January 18 - Love Bytes - Blog Post
January 19 - Diverse Reader (Blog Post), BFD Book Blog, Sarandipity Reviews, Making It Happen
January 20 - Gay Book Reviews - Blog Post
January 22 - Drops of Ink, Valerie Ullmer, Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, Book Lovers 4Ever
January 23 - MM Good Book Reviews - Blog Post


 
Excerpt

Mark had two and a half months left in Basel, and the idea of several weeks of no strings attached sex was as exhilarating as it was nerve-racking. It was the kind of offer his younger self would’ve jumped at—but he wasn’t that man anymore, and he wasn’t sure he could be again. “I wouldn’t say reticence.”

“No? Then perhaps my English is rusty, as I do not have a better word for it.”

“Okay, you’ve a point. But you have to understand that it’s not every day that an attractive man states so bluntly that he wants to fuck me.”

“Then the men in the UK are stupid. Or you are not mixing with the right type of men.”

Steffen wasn’t completely wrong. The truth was he had spent his university days shagging about, enjoying the writhing mass of bodies in the clubs and gay bars. At the time he’d loved the anonymous and varied encounters, but then he’d decided he needed to grow up and join the adult world. Suit, tie, steady job, and long-term boyfriend, with cozy Friday nights in and dinners for two, not body shots and glory holes. “I gave up clubbing after university. These days I don’t go to the type of places where men go to keep things casual.”

Steffen seemed to consider his response before replying. “So it would be the fleeting nature of our encounters that would bother you?”

“Possibly. I suppose my needs changed, and I wanted more than the emptiness of another hollow shag.” It felt like an important admission, something he’d never talked about before, but it needed to be said to explain why he wasn’t dragging Steffen out of the restaurant and back to his lodgings. “The only one-night stand I’ve had in the last ten years turned into a yearlong relationship. I hadn’t planned it. It just sort of happened.”

Steffen waved a piece of veal in his direction. “I cannot give you permanence.”

“I’m not asking for it,” Mark added quickly, and he meant it.

“What I am hearing is you are not against the theory of enjoying a few weeks of fun before you return home. But equally, I am not convinced you are fully in favor either. If you do not wish this, we will finish our dinner, shake hands, and depart as friends. You are not beholden, either way.”

Steffen wasn’t offering an anonymous shag. It wasn’t thanks for the fuck, now fuck off, but instead something in the middle. Mark’s love life had been in the doldrums since John left, ostensibly because Mark’s job had eaten away any free time and John had decided enough was enough. He didn’t have any more free time now, and that wasn’t going to change, which would no doubt annoy any new boyfriend, so why not take Steffen up on his offer? He picked up his wine and took a sip of liquid courage. “Throw in being my personal tour guide of the city and I’m in.”

Steffen offered up his wineglass in a toast. “I plan to give Basel Tourism Office a run for their money.”

Mark copied and took a sip of his wine. Never had agreeing to sleep with someone felt so formal, borderline making a business deal. But somehow it didn’t feel wrong; instead it was as though he was entering something that didn’t require constant renegotiation. He would know where he stood with Steffen. Sex, hopefully very good sex, if he was lucky, and he suspected Steffen’s experience might make up for his own rusty skills and help polish them up nicely. “Let’s hope I don’t find you lacking—I’d hate to leave a terrible review on TripAdvisor.”

“Oh, there are plenty of people who can attest to my abilities.” Steffen waggled his eyebrows. “I will give you my personal guarantee that you will not find me wanting—in any capacity.”

Mark skewered the last piece of meat. “You’re certainly not lacking in confidence.”

“Have you only just noticed?”
 
Author Bio

Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and young son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.

Blog: http://rebeccacohenwrites.wordpress.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.cohen.710
Twitter: http://twitter.com/R_Cohen_writes

 
 
Giveaway
 

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By Pierce Smith

Pages 300

Release Date: 1, January  2018

 

Blurb

 

Cody has had enough of living with his wealthy, controlling, and disapproving parents, so when the time comes to choose a university, he picks one as far away as possible from his hometown and arrives in New York. The naïve boy soon finds himself embroiled in a whirlwind affair with his tutors. Secrets abound. Will they be discovered? Will Cody ever find the happiness he is looking for or will it all end in tears?
This is a MM story which has some dark scenes.

 

 

Buy Links

 

Amazon Com

Amazon Uk

Good Reads

 

Excerpt

 

 

Hun, I need you. I want you here now.” The soft seductive voice moaned in Cody’s ears through the earbuds and he shuddered with yearning. The moans and grunts he could hear were making Cody tremble. “This night is eternally long. I cannot deny my hunger for you. I want you here. Now... Beneath me.” The grunting soon became agitated, and Cody felt his dick throbbing.

Cody giggled. “Don’t you want to see me?”

“Do you want to see me, too?”

“I do.

“Yes.” Max’s heavy panting voice escalated as time passed. “I want to devour you with my eyes. You make my body burn with lust…”

Quivering on Max’s soothing voice, Cody switched on his laptop’s webcam. With a press of a button, Max could see Cody in the flesh, who blew a kiss back to him. Max acted coy and blushed, then looking at the screen, pursed his lips, and sent a kiss back. Cody was lying on his back on his bed with the lamps switched on. Covered in a blanket, hiding most of his body, his eyes were glued to the screen trying to make out what was on the other side.

“I can guess where your hand is,” Max giggled and moaned. “I wish it could be holding mine.” He pointed at Cody who had one hand beneath the blanket, on his body, perhaps playing with his cock.

“You’re wrong, darling. I am just covering myself with the blanket, to warm myself. Life is cold… and ruthless.” Cody gave a deep sigh.

“It wouldn’t be if you were here with me.” Max grunted in yearning, “Don’t you think life would be different if you were here on my bed, enjoying this useless timewasting?” His voice had suddenly become wistful.

“You shouldn’t play at midnight with your sinful voice,” Cody mocked and blew another kiss. “I know time is playing at being a bitch, but I cannot be with you…”

Max sighed. “I want you to trust me.” He kissed at the screen again with his soft, pink, tapered lips, and remained still for some time, as if he was pressing them over Cody’s. “Feel me,” he sighed and his breath clouded the screen. For a while, Cody could not see anything.

“Would you mind clearing your cam?” Cody moaned, “I can feel you. Don’t melt me this way. I am all alone, and outside it’s raining hard.” Sighing smoothly, Cody rested his face on his pillow.

“I want to see more of you.” Max’s eyes glinted in his dark room.

“More?” Cody shivered in excitement, “My body is arranged here all for you. And I can feel your penetrating eyes all over me,”

“All of you… whatever you are hiding beneath your sheets… that fucking blanket.” Max sighed. His voice was changing, gravelly, rough. Panting breaths became edgy with lust, “I want to see what draws me towards you… the lust of yours, and what it is which keeps you burning through me both day and night.”

“But first I want to see you too.” Cody adjusted his view of the laptop screen while trying to figure out what Max was doing on his side. Max was lying naked on his bed in a darkened room, his face was shining in the laptop’s glow, eyes glinting, but Cody could not savor his manliness. “Switch on your lights, please,”

“You are too demanding and disobedient.” Max grinned.

“This is me. I also want to see what tempts me, makes my throat dry, and butterflies flutter over my skin… sending shivers up and down my spine. Today, I want to see you completely.”

“Sure Hun, anything for you,” Max got up, directly in front of the camera. Hiding nothing, and showing everything so boldly, Cody could not think Max was showing his valuable assets with anything but wolfish intentions. He stood exactly before the camera, his hairy torso appeared more appealing to Cody. His dick, risen to fully erect, flashed over the laptop’s multi-colored hues. A moan slipped out from Cody’s now dry, closed throat. He yearned for it. Standing up from the bed, Max walked across the room to the light-switch, showing off to Cody his sturdy physique and the taut globes of his ass.

Max flipped the switch and his room became bathed in soft light. His back towards the camera left Cody awestruck. Cody swallowed thick, lusty gulps of saliva. “Fuck me,” he muttered, but Max didn’t hear him, he had left his headphones lying on the bed. Cody could only hold his breath and wait until Max turned around to face the camera. And then he did. His well-built body, hair covering his torso, his chest, sprinkled high up to his neck, sturdy pecs with just the right amount of dense hair and, of course, his loins. ‘Oh God, I could die tonight.’ Cody yearned badly for Max. Raven-black, curly hair coated his genitalia, big heavy balls loaded with sperm, and a big, thick, erect dick. Cody’s eyes stared fixated at Max’s cock and groin. He knew this was the most beautiful creation of God’s art, he had seen in his entire life.

Cody smiled, and his mouth went dry as Max neared the bed. Max was so close to the camera that first his groin, and then his dick, filled Cody’s screen. So tempting, so near, all right in front of his eyes, but he could not taste or touch. Cody could only moan at the sight. Max sat down on his bed so only his torso remained visible. Cody was silent, holding his breath, enjoying the beauty oozing from Max’s body. Then Max lay back and put his headphones on again. He moaned out loud, making Cody shudder in response.

“I never knew you were so damn…” Cody sighed into the microphone.

“Not before your licentious call.” Max grunted. “Won’t you give me a chance to devour you… at least with my eyes?” Max gazed at the screen with lustful, taunting eyes.

Cody giggled and removed his blanket. He was now lying face down on his stomach, and the screen exposed the view of his swimmer’s physique. His cheeky pose showed all his back, and parts of a round, full butt. Sparse hair, but a clean ass. Max salivated, which Cody didn’t miss. “You want me, Sir?”

“As usual… always.”

Cody turned to his side on the bed, secretly exposing his smooth skin. He was not soft, but not rough either.

Max and Cody had been chatting online for the last two months, and it was the first time they had indulged in camera talk, exposing their bare, nude forms to each other. Cody was awestruck and dying to be owned by Max, who was here and there, turning all sides on the bed, and displaying his full, furry, physique to Cody. He did not show everything because he was enjoying taunting Cody with his thick dick and attractive, hairy body, which were weak points for Cody.

 

Title: Forever with You

Author: Londra Laine

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Art: Aria Tan

Length: 230 pages/77,000 words

Release Date: January 9, 2018

Rating: 18+

 

Themes: New York City, office romance, contemporary, single-parent, multiracial, sexual trauma

 

TRIGGER WARNING:

 

 

Please be aware that this book contains a flashback of and several references to sexual assault.

 

Blurb

 

Kelly Brooks Montes is only nineteen years old and just starting college in New York City when tragedy strikes, and he becomes a single dad to his toddler brother. Four years later, Kelly and his baby brother, Jaylen, are doing well, though Kelly leads a double life to make ends meet. He’s a high-level administrative assistant by day and a racy go-go boy by night. Between raising his brother, dancing, and trying not to run afoul of his new boss, Kelly doesn't have time for a boyfriend. Even if he did want a man in his life, a past trauma makes him question whether he can ever trust a man with his body or his heart. But then Kelly receives an unexpected but steamy birthday kiss from his boss, a man he was sure hated him, and he begins to wish for things he knows he shouldn't. Andrew Whitman knew from the moment he held Kelly's hand that the man was special, and it both annoyed and terrified him. Kelly makes him feel a little out of control and Drew is a highly controlled man. He has to be to keep his sexuality a secret from his father, a conservative politician. And he is OK with that. He has a perfectly good, mutually beneficial, life plan with his best friend, Lex. A long time ago, he'd made his peace with the fact that he'd never find a man worth turning his life upside down for. Then he ends up with his capable and gorgeous assistant under him on top of his desk, and his life plans change. Drew can't seem to get out of his own way when it comes to the quiet, sexy, and surprising single dad, but he can't stop himself from falling for Kelly and his sweet baby brother. And just when it seems that Kelly has worked through his past hurts enough to let Drew into his body and his heart, manipulative family and words unspoken threaten to tear them apart. But after getting a taste of a life he never thought he could have, Drew won't let anything tear his fledgling family apart.

 

 

Buy Links

 

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Amazon UK

Goodreads

 

 

Review

 

****

 

This story is so well written, I really loved every word on every page.  We are introduced to Kelly, who single handily is bringing up his kid brother Jaylen and juggling two jobs to survive.  He has convinced himself that he has no time for love and romance.  

Drew is Kelly’s new boss after a merger and they work perfectly but Drew can not bear to be around Kelly, as his attraction is just too strong.  So, Drew keeps his distance and is often sharp or rude in doing so.  But Drew has come to terms with not having a proper relationship, part of being in his influential family.  It is not that he would not stand up to his father, just that he has not found any man worthy of the backlash it would cause.

The story is about struggles and strength, it is a warm-hearted story with love, and humour which comes mostly in the form of Jaylen, saying things to Drew, that Kelly dies of embarrassment with.

After a rocky start the two men start to kind of date, which moves onto “trying each other for size” as Kelly tries to explain their non-boyfriend’s relationship to Jaylen.

Drew takes to a family lifestyle like a duck to water and the three of them fit perfectly, but then Drew’s father comes along and is determined to split Drew and Kelly up.  But the one thing that threatens everything is Drew has not been 100% honest about his relationship with his best friend. They had agreed to be each other’s cover for their sexuality.

I wanted to personally slap Drew across the face for his lack of strength to be honest with Kelly, especially after Kelly has opened up to Drew About Sexual assault he had suffered in the past.

Luckily Jaylen is there to save the day!

The book is a warm and tender love story with a little humour and a lot of strength.  I loved the characters, especially the relationships between the two main characters and young Jaylen.

 

 

 

 

Excerpt #1

 

Hot, wet, messy, they fed off each other. Kelly tightened his grip around Drew’s neck, hoisting himself up and bringing his legs around Drew’s waist. Drew slid his hands to Kelly’s ass, kneading and clutching him while Kelly started to slowly rock his hips. “There you go, baby. Fuck, you feel so good. Take what you need.” Kelly started grinding against Drew aggressively, his low, sexy moans making Drew’s cock ache with the need to be even closer. Skin to skin. Drew spun them around, and with one hand, shoved a bunch of crap off his desk and onto his chair, laying Kelly out on his desk. Drew grasped and spread Kelly’s thighs as he settled between the smaller man’s legs, pressing them chest to chest. Drew pulled Kelly’s glasses off his face and gently tossed them in the general direction of his desk chair, hoping they landed safely. Drew wanted to fully possess Kelly. Absorb him, sink into him, claim him, soak him in. Drew lifted Kelly’s wrists above his head with one of his hands, restraining him while he fondled Kelly’s dick through his pants with the other. He needed unfettered access to him.

 

About the Author

 

Londra has loved reading since she discovered The Baby-Sitters Club, which remains her favorite book series. As a child, her parents would ground her by taking all the books out of her room for several days. Little did they know that when she couldn't read other peoples' stories, she'd make up her own. Londra began reading romance in 2008. She fell in love with the M/M romance genre after purchasing a book by accident several years later. After decades of daydreaming, and jotting down storylines in various notebooks, Londra decided to give life to the characters in her head. She writes to give her guys the happy ending she wishes everyone––no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation––could experience in real life. To pay the bills, Londra helps IT engineers communicate with the people using their products. She is a recovering journalist and a former political staffer. Londra loves to watch American football, baseball, Seinfeld, The Golden Girls, and almost any show on HGTV. In 2010, she moved from her native California to New York City where she lives with her partner in Harlem. Forever With You is her first book.

 

 

EXCERPT #2

 

“Kelly?”

                                                           No. Fucking. Way.

                                                           

It felt like the breath had been knocked out of him. He looked up.

                                                           

“Andrew? What are you doing here?”

                                                           

In black-on-black, eyes blazing and narrowed, Andrew was even more imposing than he was in the office. It didn’t help that Kelly was practically naked.

                                                           

“I should be asking you what you’re doing here. I assume HR doesn’t know about this?”

                                                           

Kelly was screwed.

“Captain Douchebag, might I presume?” Taylor piped up.

                                               

Worst timing ever.

                                               

“Excuse me?” Andrew looked over at Taylor.

                                                           

By that point, they were drawing attention from one of the bouncers who roamed the floor. Kelly had to defuse the situation.

                                                           

“Not now, Taylor!” The blond put his hands up in a sign of surrender and headed to the dressing room.

                                                           

Andrew maneuvered Kelly into the low-lit deserted hallway that led to the dressing room, showers, and staff offices, pinning him against the wall with his body. Kelly could smell Andrew’s spicy scent, feel the contours of his body through his thin shirt. Despite his wariness, Kelly's body reflexively leaned into Andrew who placed one hand on Kelly’s hip and the other under his chin, tipping Kelly's face up.

                                                           

“Look, Andrew. I can explain.”

                                                           

“Oh, I just bet you can.” Kelly's belly warmed with arousal at their close proximity and he had to ball his fists to keep from placing his hands on his boss’ chest. He had to end this.

                                                           

“Let’s talk. Monday.”

“No, tonight. What time are you done here?”

The look on Andrew’s face told Kelly there was no getting out of this. “Two.”

                                                           

The two just stared at each other before Andrew took Kelly's face in his big hands. Kelly sighed and closed his eyes, letting his head rest against the wall and Andrew pressed even closer, wrapping a forearm around Kelly’s waist while his other hand rubbed the back of Kelly’s neck. God, Kelly hadn’t realized how much he needed the touch of a man. This man. And he wanted more.

                                                           

“No glasses.”

                                                           

What?

                                                           

“You aren’t wearing your glasses,” Andrew answered as though he’d heard Kelly's thought.

                                                           

Kelly opened his eyes taking in Andrew’s strong jaw, the curl of his hair against his thick neck, the way his body surrounded Kelly’s.

                                               

                                   

“I wear contacts when I dance.”

                                               

                                   

Andrew’s thumb traced Kelly’s lips and Kelly fought not to stick out his tongue and lick the man.

                                                           

“Is that what you call what you were doing up there? Dancing? I’ll wait for you at the bar, and we can talk after.”

                                                           

“No. Meet me at the Greek diner, one avenue east, two blocks down. It’s open twenty-four seven.” His boss didn’t like when the dancers left with customers directly from the club.

                                                           

Andrew searched Kelly's face, that thumb now grazing Kelly’s chin. Kelly held his breath.

                                                           

“Fine. I’ll see you there at two fifteen.”

                                                           

Taylor returned to the hallway as Andrew walked out, yanking Kelly into the dressing room.

                                                           

“Jesus, you two are hot together! I thought the hallway was going to combust!” Kelly could barely process his friend’s words as he slumped into a chair, dazed. Good Lord. Now, what am I going to do?

“So, have you fucked him yet?”

                                                           

Taylor was salivating, eyes glowing, bursting with the need for details.

                                                           

“No! Jesus, Taylor! He’s my boss!”

                                                           

“So?” Typical Taylor. Trample all over social rules.

                                                           

“He sure as hell didn’t touch you like he was your boss. He touched you like he was your man.”

                                                           

Kelly dipped his head to hide the tilt of his lips.

                                                           

“Holy shit, you loved it! Loved him manhandling you in the hallway!” Taylor was gleeful.

 

 

Social Media Links

 

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Giveaway

 

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RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

 

 

 

January 9

Noteworthy Book Reviews REVIEW x2

Blazing Zane Book Blog Review

Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings REVIEW

MainelyStories REVIEW

MJ's Book Blog and Reviews

Lily G Blunt

Gay Book Reviews

January 10

Kimmers' Erotic Book Banter

MM Midnight Cafe REVIEW

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author REVIEW

Megan's Media Melange REVIEW

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Lelyana's Book Blog REVIEW

Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews REVIEW

My Fiction Nook REVIEW

January 11

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

Diverse Reader REVIEW

Sur l'étagère, derrière la sirène en plastique REVIEW

Bayou Book Junkie REVIEW

Tangents and Tissues

Smokin' Hot Reads Book Blog REVIEW

Stories That Make You Smile

January 22

Drops of Ink

~

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

 

 

New Release 

 

 

 

Silent Strength

Book One In Strength Series

By M.A.Innes

Self Published

200+ pages

66,000 Wor

 

Blurb

 

Eric’s grown more confident. He has to admit that. 

With Marcus’s love and support, he’s stronger than ever, but it’s not enough. His daddy’s given him the ability to go after what he wants, but there’s so much more that feels just out of reach. Eric doesn’t want part of the lifestyle or some of the submission…he wants everything. 

 

For Marcus, there’s nothing more beautiful than watching his boy’s confidence grow.

Marcus loves every step that Eric has taken on his journey, but he doesn’t want to push his boy too far, too fast. And when the only part of Marcus’s future that’s clear is Eric by his side, it’s not fair to his boy to rush things. A daddy should be able to provide for his boy. A looming retirement and a questionable future aren’t enough. Not when he wants to give his boy everything. 

When it comes to their relationship, Eric is ready to jump in headfirst. But how does Eric show his daddy that everything doesn’t have to be planned out to be perfect?

 

Buy Links

 

Amazon Com   Amazon Uk   Goodreads

 

 

 

Silent Strength

Book One In Strength Series

By M.A.Innes

Self Published

 

201 pages

67,000 Words

 

 

 

Book Links

Amazon Com   Amazon Uk   Goodreads

 

 

Blurb

 

Eric knows what he needs…he just doesn’t think anyone else will want it too.

He’s finally reached his breaking point. There’s only so many times he can put himself out there and get shot down. After a disastrous first date at a BDSM club, Eric is ready to walk away and push his desires to the furthest reaches of his mind—but then up walks Marcus. But just because the sexy older man is looking for a submissive doesn’t mean he’s looking to be someone’s daddy. 


Marcus knows what he wants, and he’s spent months getting everything perfect for his boy…now he just needs to find him.

When Marcus sees Eric at Bound & Controlled, he’s immediately drawn to the sweet submissive who’s desperately trying to hide his devastation. Marcus steps in when he sees the sub’s evening going wrong, but he’s not sure what the shy submissive is looking for. Just because he wants the boy to need a daddy doesn’t mean he’s going to get what he hopes for.

As they discover their mutual desires, Marcus is sure that Eric has the strength to go after what he yearns for; he just needs his daddy’s help and love to see it.

 

Excerpt

 

Excerpt

Following the sexy Dom across the room was instinctive. That was my only excuse. Well, that and I liked how it felt. His sure touch. His confidence. The natural orders that he gave. He was someone used to being in charge and knowing what to do. It was magnetic.

Walking over to the couch where the other Dom waited, I debated back and forth about how stupid it was, but I kept going. The fact that his warm, strong hand was still on my shoulder might have had something to do with it. It had been so long since I’d been touched like that. There was no hesitation and nothing passive about it.

It was a Dom instinctively reacting to a sub.

Not that he was looking at me that way. It seemed to be an unconscious gesture. As strong and masculine as he was, he wouldn’t give me the time of day if he knew what was going on in my head. He was perfectly sculpted with almost military-short hair and broad shoulders. He was old enough to seem like he would know what he was doing in the bedroom…and the kitchen…and the living room…and anywhere else he wanted his sub.

I was an idiot.

Why did I expect things to change? No matter what articles and profiles online said, no one in real life wanted the same thing I did. But the sureness in his voice when he said someone would was soothing and addicting.

Was he right?

No. I’d thought meeting that dick would change things, and that clearly wasn’t the case. I thanked God that I hadn’t shared too much. The tiny amount of myself I’d let slip told me he would have never been daddy material.

There was probably no such thing, anyway.

Lizzie always said romance was manufactured by Hallmark and the book industry. I always told her she was crazy; however, I was starting to think she might have the right idea. But in this case, it was the porn industry promoting the unattainable fantasy of a Daddy Dom. It seemed to be like some kind of gay unicorn.

Everyone online said they knew someone who was into it—but it was all a load of shit in real life.

Excerpt:

Shaking his head, he gave me a look that clearly meant he thought I was crazy. “That was hard for you, wasn’t it?”

“You have no idea.”

Setting the black case down, his card now tucked inside for the waiter to pick up, he seemed to appreciate my restraint. “Thank you, then.”

“I can negotiate points occasionally.”

“Negotiate, huh? Why does it sound like I’m going to owe you something for you letting me pay?”

“Because you’re a very smart young man.”

Color rose on his face. “I’m not sure I agreed to that.”

“You need to read the fine print, then. Not my fault.”

“Fine print, huh? I’ll keep that in mind.” Then his mind seemed to change tracks completely. “Do you mind?”

“Mind what?” I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. Whatever it was had him concerned, though, because his brows were drawn together and he was watching me seriously.

“The fact that I’m younger.” It was clear he was hesitant to broach the topic, but he charged in anyway.

“Oh, the young man comment. No, not really. I’m not going to forget that I’m older than you, but letting it prevent me from getting to know you would be ridiculous. Does it bother you?” And maybe it made me a dirty old man, but I liked his young looks and the innocence that clung to him.

Yeah, dirty old man.

He fiddled with the silverware for a moment before he answered, “No.” Then, to my surprise, he kept going. “I like the idea that you’re older. A more mature…figure is what I’m attracted to.”

It was close enough to “father figure” that I got the message. “Thank you for sharing that with me.”

He mumbled a quiet, “Thanks” before sighing in relief as the waiter brought his card back.

“You were saved.”

My teasing broke the tension, and he laughed. “Yes, and I’m very grateful for it.”

Both smiling, we stood and walked toward the entrance of the restaurant. “What else do you want to see?”

He gave me a tender look, his eyes filled with an emotion I couldn’t quite decipher. “It doesn’t matter. I just like spending time with you.”

He was my sweet boy. He just didn’t know it yet.

 

 

Author Links:

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorshawmontgomery

Readers Group: www.facebook.com/groups/shawsplayroom/

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/15179896.M_A_Innes

Newsletter Sign Up:  https://my.publishingspark.com/join/?show=239

 Website: www.authorshawmontgomery.com

 

 

 

Meet The Author

M.A. Innes is the pseudonym for best-selling author Shaw Montgomery. While Shaw writes femdom and M/m erotic romance, M.A. Innes is the side of Shaw that wants to write about topics that are more taboo.

Shaw loves reading, traveling, and family. While not necessarily in that order, they all rank pretty close. Shaw has lived all over the United States and even Germany. After living all over, Shaw has finally settled in North Carolina and has promised not to move again. Current wish list places to travel to are Australia, Ireland, and Scotland, although the list keeps growing almost daily.

Shaw reads an eclectic mix of genres; everything from Mystery and Sci-Fi Space Westerns, to traditional Romance and all kinds of Erotica. Currently the stories in Shaw’s head are femdom and M/m romance but there are some Sci-Fi/Fantasy that can’t wait to come out as well.

 

Author Name:  Pat Henshaw

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Release Date:  Dec 29, 2017

Format:  Paperback

Is This a Romance? Yes

Story Type:  novel

Word Count:  111,976

Cover Artist:  AngstyG

Genres:  Contemporary, Gay Romance

Pairings:  MM

Tropes: 

Opposites Attract, Shy Man Falls For Outgoing Man, Country Mouse / City Mouse, Overcoming Abuse, Overcoming The Past

The second half of Pat Henshaw's Foothills Pride series

is finally coming out in print - four of her stories in one volume:

During the recession at the beginning of the 21st century, many gays and lesbians moved from the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento to the Sierra Foothills. FLAG (Foothills Lesbians and Gays) was formed. This series was written for them.

The influx of San Francisco Bay Area gays is now commonplace in Stone Acres, California. But that means big city problems—much to the dismay of long-time residents of the small community.

In Relative Best, Zeke Bandy’s hotel becomes a haven for a battered youth. Native American Vic Longbow, who escaped a similarly brutal upbringing, comes face-to-face with it at Zeke’s place. With trouble surrounding them, can Zeke and Vic find their own peace and love?

On the outside, hardware store owner Frank McCord is the town’s bachelor handyman in Frank at Heart. Inside, he’s pining for true love, particularly the regard of software designer Christopher Darling. But recently divorced Christopher isn’t looking for another husband.

Country contractor Ben in Waking the Behr has always believed he’s heterosexual…until he meets city entrepreneur Mitch O’Shea. Mitch never thought he’d settle down with a guy from the country. Can a gay city mouse and a sexually confused country mouse find love?

When UC Davis horticulture grad Fen Miller agrees to help out in his cousin’s nursery over Christmas, he rents a room in sous chef John Barton’s Victorian house. John, another shorter than average man, catches Fen’s interest. But John’s past comes back to threaten them both in Short Order.

 

Buy Links

 

 

Publisher | Amazon  | Amazon UK Barnes & Noble

 

 

foothills-meme-3

 

 

 


 

3 Excerpts

 

From: Waking the Behr:

 

Driving Mitch’s Rhino GX up to the Bottom was every good old boy’s wet dream. The thing greedily gobbled up the road. A couple of times I felt like I was holding it back with a thin piece of rope that was on the verge of breaking.

Mitch, the bastard, laughed at me the whole way.

“Let her have some head.”

“Can’t. We’re coming up on a couple of tight switchbacks. Don’t want us to go off the road before we’ve had lunch.”

“Pussy,” he whispered.

Easy enough for him to say. I was sure glad I hadn’t let him drive. We’d have been careening all over the place and probably would’ve had a lot more near misses.

I could just imagine my cell lighting up with calls as we passed some of my friends in their trucks. I felt them all staring at Rita as we flew by.

“You could have let her go,” he grumbled after we parked at the Bottom.

My hands were shaking from exhilaration. My zillion-dollar smile had to be glowing. Fuck. A guy could come just from driving this baby.

“Whatever,” I mumbled, because I really didn’t have any words at all. I had no native language at that point. I was cruising on the blissful release of having danced with Rita.

As we rounded the corner of the parking lot and headed for the front door, my brother Connor nearly bumped into me.

“What the fuck is that thing, Ben?” He was practically panting as he took in Rita.

“Well, damn me. There are two of you beauties,” Mitch whispered close to my ear.

“Yeah, well. Mitch O’Shea, this is my younger brother, Connor. Connor, Mitch.”

They stared for a split second before Mitch thrust out his hand and Con grabbed it.

“Hey, nice to meet you. What kind of car is it?”

They stood much too close, in my opinion, as Mitch listed Rita’s specs.

Not that I was jealous or protective or anything. I mean, Mitch had said he was gay, and Con definitely was. So they were a perfect match, right?

Are you kidding? my dick sneered.

My gut screamed that Con was encroaching, which was really weird. It wasn’t like I had any real designs on Mitch. I mean, I’m straight, even though I was between women and didn’t really feel like hunting down another one at the moment.

So what if I was attracted to Mitch? He was a good-looking guy. I had a lot of good-looking friends.

True, none of them made me want to run my hands all over them, though. Which was beside the point, right?

“So you’re here for lunch?” Con asked Mitch.

I nodded, but Con didn’t acknowledge me.

“Mind if I join you?” he asked, staring at Mitch.

Couldn’t he tell he was the third wheel at this party?

I shrugged, and Mitch nodded. I had no clue what the nod meant.

Lorraine, the Bottom’s co-owner, latched on to us near the hostess stand, scooped up three menus, and said over her shoulder, “Right this way.”

Connor was having lunch with us, then.

“Let me give you a quick overview about the roadhouse, Mitch. Then you’ll have some basic info to think about. Okay?” This was a working lunch, right? So I’d best be acting businesslike.

Mitch nodded, and Con, fortunately, figured out what was going on and shut the fuck up.

 

 

From Relative Best:

“I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight. You’ve been a great audience.” The couple at the center table looked up at me with almost identical grins. Despite this being an extra gig in a very busy week, I’d enjoyed playing for their bachelor party—even if it made me feel my loneliness more sharply.

“I’ll leave the happy couple with these words from an old Native American chief who, if he was smart, said them to his other half: ‘I will fight no more forever.’” I raised my glass of water and shouted over the noisy crowd, “To Sammy and Ned—may they have a long, happy, peaceful life together!”

The raucous audience at Stonewall Saloon whooped and hollered through my words and got even louder after my last sentence. Rising from their seats, Sammy and Ned raised their clasped hands like boxers who’d won a particularly hard bout but now were on their way to a great wedding.

As they gushed about how happy they were that everybody could make it to their wedding, I started to pack up my banjo and guitars. Tonight I’d left the fiddle backstage because I was so tired. I’d been burning too many candles from both ends. After locking away the instruments in the storeroom and breaking down the mic and the amps, I caught the end of Sammy’s speech.

“If you enjoyed Zeke Bandy’s guitar and banjo playing, remember he’s here at Stonewall Thursday and Friday nights. We’re honored to have him play at our wedding.”

When the crowd cheered, I stood, turned, and waved to the fifty or sixty bobbing heads on the other side of the stage. Whistles and catcalls joined the shouts and cheers. I had my fans and a lot of regulars in the audience.

“See ya tomorrow, Red! I love you!” some drunk yelled, and the crowd cheered louder.

“Oh, cut it out, guys! You’re making me blush.” And they were, with all their yells and waves and hoots and hollers.

A cry went up about more beer from one side of the room, and the night proceeded like all the others when I played. Attention spans flew out the window as the beer and hard drinks flowed.

Completely sober, I put away the rest of the equipment and shut off the power on the platform that bar owner Guy Stone had designated as a stage.

Jimmy Patterson, Stone’s significant other and owner of Penny’s coffee shops here in Stone Acres, California, waved at me as I returned to the barroom from the storage area in the back.

“I got a table!” He was trying to shout over the noise.

As I limped toward him, men slapped me on the back and told me how much they enjoyed my playing. I kept moving, even though guys tried to stop me and give me requests for Thursday night. One guy even grabbed my face and kissed me, which would have been really flattering, even hot, if he hadn’t stopped, stared at me, and said, “You’re not Tom.”

I turned to walk away, only to hear him shout, “Red, you’re cuter than Tom.” I didn’t turn back but heard him yelp like he’d been hit.

I ended up sitting at a big table in the corner of the drinking area with a decent view of the tiny new dance floor. At the table with Jimmy sat four guys—flamboyant designer Fredi Zimmer and his husband, staid, reliable Max Greene, both of whom I knew fairly well, and two guys I didn’t know.

My eyes were drawn to the one who had strong cheekbones, long blue-black hair, and vibrant adobe-colored skin. He could easily have been a poster boy for the California Native American Heritage Commission. If I could pick a guy to kiss me unexpectedly, he’d be my choice. The libido I thought dead from overwork rose from its grave.

While the guys wrangled over who was paying for the next round, I took in the other man to the left of my preferred eye candy. This guy flaunted nearly white-blond hair, startling blue eyes, and a California tan, like the ultimate surfer dude. He did nothing for me, but I appreciated the effect he’d probably have on a lot of other guys here tonight.

I could easily see the humor in the three of us sitting at the same table, though. Considering I’ve got bright red hair, porcelain white skin with a thick spattering of freckles, and cornflower blue eyes, this table covered a large portion of the rainbow.

Jimmy introduced us while he partially stood to get Stone’s attention. “Zeke, these are two of the groomsmen, Vic Longbow and Hayden Weller. Zeke Bandy.”

 

Both of them nodded, a nod I returned.

“Hey, man. Nice pickin’ up there.” Hayden, the beach god, waved his nearly empty glass of beer at me.

“Thanks.” I never knew what to say when someone complimented me after a performance. While part of me was floating on the post-performance high, the rest of me was critiquing what I’d done and what I’d like to do over.

“Are you recorded?” Vic’s voice was low and soothing, the kind of sound that oddly created a center of calm in the middle of the barroom noise. I gladly stepped into the peace and took a deep breath.

I looked down, fleetingly taking in the scarred tabletop, and balanced momentarily on the pinpoint of serenity Vic had presented me.

“No, no recordings. I haven’t ever had the time or energy.” I shrugged. I owned and ran the historical hotel in downtown Stone Acres. When was there time to record?

“Where do you get the songs? Are they yours?” Vic was focused on me so much that the rest of the table dimmed.

“No. God, no. They’re all old tunes that have been knocking around forever, mostly by bluegrass and folk groups. I take it you don’t listen to this kind of sound?”

He smiled. “You’ve opened up a whole new door for me, and I can’t wait to explore what’s inside this new music room.”

His look caressed me enough that my dick perked, and suddenly I dared to believe my dream of finding a boyfriend and possibly a husband wasn’t as nebulous as I’d always thought. If someone this fine could look at my skinny ginger self and respond even half as much as he was, I was on the right path. I grinned at him and he at me.

Yeah, he was too hot for me with his high cheekbones and exotic hair, but I could practice on him and dream, right?

 

From Frank at Heart:

 

Today when the stranger came into the store, instead of wandering and giving me a moment to fully admire him, he stepped confidently up to the counter.

“Hi there. I’m Christopher (mumble, mumble).” He stuck out a hand.

“Frank McCord. Sorry, I didn’t catch the last name.” I gripped his hand firmly, happy to get a chance to touch him. He shone. Handsome as they come, a poster model with a clear, warm smile and a twinkle in his eyes. I wasn’t ever going to win a beauty contest, but I stood up straight as I looked him at him.

Then I noticed his cheeks had reddened in what looked suspiciously like a blush and wondered what that was about. I was still waiting to hear his full name.

“Uh, yeah. Uh. Don’t laugh.” He cleared his throat and pulled out of our too-long handshake. “I’m, uh, Christopher Darling.”

It took me a minute because he hesitated between his first and last names. Had he called me…? Naw. But for a second I let myself believe. No, no. Darling was his last name. I almost chuckled before I remembered he’d asked me not to.

Instead, I put on my helpful store smile.

“Nice to meet you, Christopher. What can I do for you?”

His grin grew in confidence, probably because not only hadn’t I laughed at his name but I also looked as benign as they came.

“I saw you had a Help Wanted sign in the window.” He turned a little and pointed behind him.

“Well, now, I’m not saying you’re old, but I’m looking for a couple of teenagers to work either full- or part-time for the summer. Are you in high school?” I thought I’d asked it teasingly, but he reddened again.

“It’s not for me, but my son. He’s fifteen. Is he too young?” Before I could answer, Christopher scurried on. “He’s a junior, going into senior year. We think he’ll be going to MIT or Stanford after he graduates.”

“Oh my. He’s a child prodigy. You must be proud of him.” I was impressed.

Christopher flushed. “Yes, I’m terribly proud of him. We’re hoping he won’t have as many problems here as he did in Mountain View.”

Who were we? Him and the boy’s mother? I hesitated to ask. After all, it wasn’t really my business. But now that we’d broken the ice, I hoped to learn more about him.

“He had problems?” I couldn’t imagine any kid having problems with a father who seemed as supportive as the god standing in front of me.

“My son’s gay like I am. A group of kids his age thought it unacceptable there.”

Now wasn’t that good news? Focus, I reminded myself. Answer the man’s concerns.

“Well, you’ve come to the right place. Stone Acres Regional High, and the town as well, are gay-friendly and no-hate. The new principal and the gay sheriff go out of their way to keep it that way.” I gave a dry laugh. “Besides, as far as the school is concerned, only a half-dozen kids went out for football and even fewer for basketball last year. That cut down on the number of jocks. Mostly, Stone Acres is a live-and-let-live place with only a few squalls now and again.”

The bell tinkled as someone walked into the store. I shifted from one foot to the other and looked over Christopher’s shoulder. Speaking of teenagers, the half day of school must be out, and here was a potential applicant who was the right age, if I wasn’t mistaken.

The boy moving up behind Christopher stood almost as tall as me. I thought I was skinny, but this kid gave a whole new meaning to the word. His T-shirt caved in toward his chest as he walked, and I swear I could see his hip bones outlined at the top of his slacks.

Going by looks alone, he could have easily been my son. The boy and I shared prominent Adam’s apples under long, thin faces and unruly, cowlick-prone brown hair. Only our eyes were different, his a striking light tawny brown flecked with gold, like Christopher’s, to my plain old brown.

“Dad.” The way the kid groaned it, the word had four or five syllables. “I told you’d I’d come talk to him myself.”

Yup, fifteen years old all right.

It’d been on the tip of my tongue to ask Christopher why in the world his son would want to work here, in what some considered the dullest store in town. Now I’d be able to ask the kid himself.

“May I help you?” I mainly asked the question so the two of them wouldn’t start discussing—or even worse, fighting over—why the dad hadn’t waited for the kid to come in on his own. I didn’t want to give Christopher a chance to say something that would deflate his son, like the dad didn’t think the kid had enough nerve or could handle the conversation with me.

The kid gave me a blinding smile.

“Hi. I’m Henry Darling, and I’d like to apply for the summer position.” He hadn’t stumbled over his last name, so there was no question whether he was addressing me by a pet name.

Henry held out his skinny hand, and I shook it. The kid was stronger than he looked. “Well, Henry, I’m Franklin McCord. Everybody around here calls me Frank. Let me get my calendar.” I squatted and pulled out my paper day planner and plunked it down on the counter.

Father and son shared a smile. Oh, I knew why. They’d come from Silicon Valley and probably had their calendars on their iPhones or androids or somewhere else in a cloud or in the ether. Just because I kept the paper tradition started by my grandfather didn’t mean I was a complete Luddite.

I flipped through the pages, then took out a piece of paper from the back of the book.

“I’m having applicants take a little test after they fill out this form. So if you can complete it right now, we’ll set up a time for you to come in.”

“Okay. May I ask what kind of test, sir?”

Wow. “May” not “can.” What an interesting kid. But I had to break him of the “sir” habit. Made me sound way too old. At least too old for his father.

“Like I said, everyone calls me Frank, even the kids.” I pointed to the former soup can overflowing with pens and pencils. “The test’s pretty simple, really. I’ll have you name some hardware items and build a little something. I’ll provide directions. You just have to follow them.”

The test was the only way to separate the potential baristas and movie ushers from the hardware enthusiasts. Not only did everyone in town call me Frank, but they also knew I paid more than minimum wage to my high school help. So kids who didn’t give a damn about the difference between a nail and a screw—except when they were talking about sex—applied for any jobs I offered.

I watched as Henry filled out the application quickly and neatly. Christopher was eyeing him with a proud, besotted look on his face. His gaze turned to me, and he smiled over his son’s head. He nodded like we were sharing a moment here.

A pang of longing shot through me. I’ve always wanted kids—the more the merrier. As a modern gay man, I knew it was possible. Proof stood in front of me. As the geeky town tinkerer without any hope of finding a man I could love and want as my husband, however, I knew the prospect wasn’t plausible. Sometimes, like now, that realization cut deep.

After Henry studied the page a moment, he returned the pen to the can, picked up the application, and handed it to me.

“The school year ends next Thursday.” Henry, unlike many high school kids, was looking me straight in the eye and wasn’t relying on his father to fill in any blanks or prompt him. I was impressed. “I can take the test today, tomorrow, or after school next week.”

I read down his application. I don’t use a standard form, because the ones I’d found online didn’t tell me anything I wanted to know about my applicants. My form has the usual name, address, and contact information, but it also asks about extracurricular activities, interests, and passions. A lot of kids stopped at the word “passions,” and some even asked what I meant.

Henry had had no problem answering the questions. He wrote that he was a game player, both electronic and nonelectronic. He was a serious reader, listing The Silmarillion as the last book he’d truly enjoyed. Some boys can’t remember a book they’ve read, much less the last one they really got into. Also unlike most of the boys who applied, Henry hadn’t listed any sports, either as a participant or a fan.

“You don’t like sports?” I tried not to ask it too gruffly, but both Darlings’ faces scrunched up.

“Is that a problem?” Christopher evidently wasn’t worried about being too gruff.

“No. I follow a few teams. So I try to make sure rivalries and loyalties won’t become a point of contention here in the store.” Some people have remarked that mildness could be my middle name. I’ve worked hard at keeping my cool, so I don’t usually flare up. I try to surround myself with people who don’t either. The world around me got really ugly when I was angry.


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Meet The Author Exclusive Q/A

 

  1. Have you traveled to other countries? If so, where?

When I was a child, I made a list of all the places outside the United States I wanted to visit in my life. These included England, France, Egypt, China, and New Zealand. After I graduated from college, my great aunt offered me either a car or an overseas tour. I took the tour and visited England, France, German, Switzerland, Luxemburg, and Italy. Later in life, my daughter Becca, my sister, my mother, and I took a cruise down the Danube where I revisited some of the countries. My mother and I also went to Thailand where we road eleplants on our tour. My husband and I have gone to Spain, Nicaragua, and Egypt during our years together. Even though there are places left on my bucket list, I’ve been fortunate to have visited so many different places and experienced so many different cultures. If there is one piece of advice I could give all beginning writers, it would be to travel. The benefits are priceless.

  1. Is there an underlying theme to your series? What is it?

All the Foothills Pride stories and my holiday short stories touch in some way on families. Far too many gay men have parents and/or siblings who don’t accept them and reject them when they come out. My books not only say that gay men deserve happily ever afters but they also need family ties, whether these be blood relations or close mentors and friends. Finding a family when one is ripped away from them is a central theme to all the Foothills stories.

 

  1. Are you friends with other writers in your genre? Do you get together with them?

One day at lunch, J. Scott Coatsworth, Christopher Koehler, and I decided that there were enough writers of gay fiction in the Sacramento area that we should form a group that meets once a month to talk about writing, publishing, promotion, and anything else that catches our fancy. Scott took the imitative and formed QSac, a group that now has over a couple dozen members and is growing. Getting together once a month is an energizing occasion for us because unlike many other writers groups, we spend the time supporting one another and planning events and venues where we can spread the word that our books exist. We’ve held readings at the LGBTQ Lavender Library in Sacramento and manned tables at various Pride functions. I count as my friends everyone in the group and love getting together with them.

  1. Do you think talking about your current project is helpful or detrimental?

Both. It’s helpful in that I have to solidify what the book is about in a sentence or two, which at the beginning of a project might be difficult to do. Usually, I haven’t written enough to know where I’m going or what the book’s focus might be, other than two men getting together in the end for their HEA. So talking about the project is helpful in that way. On the other hand, when I talk about a project too much, I start to lose interest in it. It’s as if I think I’ve already told the story, so why write it down? I guess writing for me is a journey of discovery, which means when I’ve discovered everything there is to know, I’m finished with the project. I’m trying to get over that mindset.

 

  1. People think that being a published author is glamourous. Do you agree?

Absolutely not. Being a published author—whether traditionally published or self-published—is the product of a lot of hard work. J. K. Rowling may be ridiculously wealthy, but she still has to sit down like every other author and plot out a book and write out the words. In her case, given the number of words in her books, that’s a big commitment to sitting still, typing, and concentrating. Is taking what’s in your head and keyboarding it meticulously glamourous? Not really. A lot of people don’t have the patience or the imagination to do it.

 

 

Author Bio

Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride Stories, has spent her life surrounded by words: Teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs.

Pat was born and raised in Nebraska where she promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California. Pat enjoys travel, having visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and Europe, including a cruise down the Danube.

Her triumphs are raising two incredible daughters who daily amaze her with their power and compassion. Fortunately, her incredibly supportive husband keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away while writing fiction.

 

 

Author Links

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