The Secret of the Sheikh’s Betrothed by Felicitas Ivey: Exclusive Release Day Guest Post

A billionaire and a Bedouin girl—each with a shocking secret.

Billionaire Fathi al-Murzim is a workaholic businessman, too busy running the family’s companies to even think about marriage. Too bad he never told his grandfather he’s gay, because Grandfather just announced a childhood betrothal—to a Bedouin girl Fathi never heard about before.

Ikraam din Abdel was raised as a woman by his avaricious and abusive older sister, who didn’t want him to be their father’s heir. He’d never thought to be married either, and is surprised when his sister informs him of his betrothal.

When Fathi and Ikraam meet, they are drawn to each other in a manner neither of them expected. As the plans for their wedding progress, they both realize they need to tell the other the truth. But can they, with both cultural taboos and family pressures to deal with?

Title: The Secret of the Sheikh’s Betrothed
Author: Felicitas Ivey
Release Date: November 15, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 212

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Dreamspinner Press

A lot of people, mostly my family and co-workers, ask me how I get my ideas for my novels and short stories. I do refrain from telling them I get a once a month delivery of ideas from super-secret source, and just tell them my ideas come from everywhere around me. I’ve written a couple of novels just to have my characters run around odd sections of Boston. Most of time when I write a novel or a story, it’s because I have one idea I was able to get a short story or a novel from that idea.

I used to be a pantser, and now I’m slowly trying to plot out things, so if I get ‘stuck’ I can go on to something else in the novel down the road and link it back. Aside from plotting, I’m now trying to work on only one novel at a time. The best advice I ever heard was to ‘Not cheat on your novel with another one’. Or only concentrate on one thing at a time and don’t multitask several stories at once, writing-wise. I have edited novels while writing other things, and it was a little disorienting.

With plotting a novel or a short story, I use two methods so not to backslide into my pantser ways. The Marshall Plan by Evan Marshall has a system of X number of sheets per book, depending on the length of the book, is it a romance, how many viewpoint characters and things like that to write out your novel. I’ve figured out one sheet is about 1200-1500 words, depending on what’s happening in the novel or short story then. And most of the sheets have helpful labels about who is the viewpoint character at the time and how many sheets they get. It’s fairly easy if you follow the plot you’ve laid out. I still wander take a left turn at Albuquerque sometimes and wander away from the plot. I eventually get to the end, even with that left turn. And if you get that joke, you know how old I am.

What I don’t like is the character sheets for the Marshall Plan. They’re interesting, but not my cuppa of tea. What I use for character creation is Karen Wiesner’s ‘First Draft in 30 Days’ character sheets. They’re in a format I’m more comfortable with, more like writing a draft then filling out the small boxes the Marshall Plan uses. You can write out several paragraphs of back history, likes and dislikes very easily.

I have a novel I’m working on, one plotted out and I start working on notes for the next several novels when an idea strikes me. I have a lot of scattered notes in odd folders scattered in my study. I’ve found that plotting on paper is easier for me then trying to deal with an excel or numbers spreadsheet. Also, a paper folders can also hold other things like various maps, house plans and pictures of characters. Also, any articles I might be interested in and useful for the novel. Research is the basis of any novel, even if it’s a contemporary romance.

The novel I’m working on now is a gothic romance. I’ve plotted it out, researched mansions and where that mansion could be located. I’ve spent a lot of hours poring over maps, trying to find the perfect location for it. Now I just have to get my characters to fall in love with each other.

My next novel I’m treating it like a roleplaying game, filling out character sheets for the main characters. It should be an interesting experiment. It’s a romantic horror novel, set in rural New England. New England is a great place to set horror. I’m basing it on the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game books. I have a lot their gaming books, as well as their fiction.

I don’t know if it’s going to go anywhere, but plotting is half the fun of writing. I have a friend and we bounce ideas off of each other all the time, in person or over a chat program if we’re at work. Sometimes I get shower or driving ideas and I try to write them down before I forget them. Those notes go into the correct folder after I write them.

I set most of my work in New England, since that’s where I’ve lived all my life. You can tell I’m a Boston girl as soon as I open my mouth, since I have the accent wicked bad. J I’ve spent a lot of vacations in Northern Vermont also, so I’m familiar with the area and like to set some of my work there. Northern Vermont is a perfect place to set either a horror novel or a romance. The trees can be either cheery and romantic or at night, creepy and threatening. The area’s quiet nights cry out for an evil monster or to snuggle down with a lover.

I’m trying to be more productive writer, but there is only so many hours in the day. Plotting and prep work do make the process faster, so I’m trying to lose my pantsers ways.

 

Felicitas is a frazzled help-desk tech at a university in Boston who wishes people wouldn’t argue with her when she’s troubleshooting what’s wrong with their computer. She lives with three cats who wish she would pay more attention to them, and not sit at a computer pounding on the keyboard. They get back at her by hogging most of the bed at night and demanding her attention during the rare times she watches TV or movies. She’s protected by her guardian stuffed Minotaur, Angenor, who was given to her by her husband, Mark. Angenor travels everywhere with her, because Felicitas’s family doesn’t think she should travel by her lonesome. They worry she gets distracted and lost too easily. Felicitas doesn’t think of it a getting lost, more like having an adventure with a frustrated GPS.

Felicitas knits and hoards yarn, firmly believing the one with the most yarn wins. She also is sitting on hordes of books, which still threaten to take over her house, even with e-books. Between writing and knitting, she brews beer, wine, mead, and flavored liqueurs. Felicitas also bakes, making cakes whenever she needs to work out an issue in her novels. Sometimes this leads to a lot of cakes. Her coworkers appreciate them though, with the student workers buzzing about on a sugar high most of the time.

Felicitas writes urban fantasy, steampunk, and horror of a Lovecraftian nature, with monsters beyond space and time that think that humans are the tastiest things in the multiverse. Occasionally there’s a romance or two involved in her writing, with a happily-ever-after.

Website: www.Felicitasivey.com

Facebook: felicitasivey

Twitter: @felicitasivey

Email: felicitas.ivey@gmail.com

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows by Ari McKay: Exclusive Guest Post, Release Day Review with Giveaway

Successful attorneys Dane Coulter and Cal Monroe are rivals in the courtroom and friends behind the scenes. But can they be more?

Cal’s always carried a torch for Dane, but Dane is so deep in the closet, he can’t even admit that he might be gay. His father, a raging homophobe who rules the family with an iron fist, forces Dane into an engagement—to a woman. Dane goes along with it to keep the peace and protect his mother, but for Cal, it’s the last straw.

He can’t let Dane make a mistake that could ruin the rest of his life, and he only knows one surefire way to make Dane admit what’s in his heart. But confessing his feelings to his friend could backfire, driving a wedge between them. And even then, the choice must be Dane’s—to live the life his father wants, or to give up everything he has for a chance at happiness in Cal’s arms.

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Greetings, everyone! Ari here, the red-haired half of Ari McKay. I’d like to thank Two Chicks Obsessed for having me here on the blog today to promote our re-release of Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows, book two in the Lawyers in Love trilogy!

Even though this is a re-release, we wanted to bring attention to the story because we have rewritten it almost completely from its original form. We were never completely satisfied with the original story, but it took some time and distance — as well as some growth as writers — for us to be able to put our fingers on exactly what it was that didn’t sit right with us. It’s always interesting as a writer to look back at early works and see how we’ve changed and evolved over time. When Dreamspinner offered us the chance to revisit our Lawyers in Love stories, it seemed like fate was stepping in to tell us that we needed to give Cal and Dane’s story new life, to fix what we’d sensed was wrong but had never been able to fully identify. We tossed around several ideas, but it was McKay who was able to finally pinpoint the moment in the story where things started to go wrong. It turns out that when we shifted one of the first scenes from Cal’s POV to Dane’s, everything just sort of fell into place the way it should have from the first.

At it’s heart, this is a story about lawyer Dane Coulter finding the strength to break free of the mold his father has forced him into and begin to live life on his own terms. But it’s also about Cal Monroe, who is in love with Dane, and the strength Cal has to find within himself to take a step back and give Dane room grow at his own pace. Cal recognizes that in his own way he’s just as strong willed as Dane’s father, and he’s aware that Dane might feel that he’s stepping out of his father’s shadow and into Cal’s. When you love someone, doing the thing that is right and best for them is easy when it’s also what you want to do; it says a lot about a person, I think, if they can do what’s right for the person they love, even if they know they might end up with a broken heart in the end.

I don’t want to give away too much, especially since the story is a novella rather than a novel, but both McKay and I hope that if you like stories about someone breaking free of the bonds of obligation and making their own path, you’ll find Dane and Cal’s journey to be worth your time.

The premise for Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows roped me in. Dane’s the rich kid whose daddy controls his life. Cal’s the man who’s in love with him, determined to help keep Dane from making a huge mistake.

Now, before I get into everything, let me say this was an enjoyable book. There was nothing that made me think about putting it down. Unfortunately, I did wind up eye rolling a fair bit. The scenario felt forced. The dialogue, at times, too over the top to be believed.

But, Cal did what he set out to do. Not because he waged war against Dane’s dad (which he did), but because Dane realized he couldn’t go through with a marriage out of obligation.

At this point, I still would’ve given the book 3.5 pieces of candy. But then…

The whole book felt like this huge build up, like there should’ve been a massive conflict with dear old dad. But it never happened. Once Dane goes after what he wants, we jump forward in time and they all live happily ever after.

I suppose, that’s the whole point of reading a romance, but in the end, I had  more questions than answers. I was left wanting more, not because I was so in love with Dane and Cal, but because the story felt unfinished.

3 pieces of candy

 

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

Website: http://arimckay.wordpress.com

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ari-Mckay/266185570179748

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ari.mckay.7

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AriMcKay1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6153630.Ari_McKay


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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Tender Mercies by Eli Easton: Exclusive Guest Post incl Recipes, Review and Giveaway

A Men of Lancaster County Novel

Eddie Graber’s dream of a sanctuary for rescued farm animals was about to come true when his partner backed out at the last minute. Now Eddie risks losing the twenty-five acre property in Lancaster County—and all the hopes he held for it—before the project even gets off the ground. He needs help, he needs money, but most importantly, he needs to rediscover the belief in a higher purpose that brought him here in the first place.

Samuel Miller worked hard to fit into his Amish community despite his clubfoot. But when his father learns Samuel is gay, he is whipped and shunned. With just a few hundred dollars to his name, Samuel responds to an ad for a farmhand and finds himself employed by a city guy who has strange ideas about animals, no clue how to run his small farm, and a gentle heart.

Samuel isn’t the only lost soul to serendipitously find his way to Meadow Lake Farm. There’s Fred and Ginger, two cows who’d been living in a garage, a gang of sheep, and a little black pig named Benny who might be the key to life, love, money—and even a happily ever after for two castoffs.

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Exploring Eddie’s Veganism (with recipes!)

By Eli Easton

I’m celebrating the release of TENDER MERCIES, the second book in the “Men of Lancaster County” series.  It features a new couple and can be read as a stand-alone. What the books in this series have in common is being set in Lancaster County, a rural area of Pennsylvania where there are a lot of Amish and Mennonite. It also happens to be where my husband and I have a farm.

In TENDER MERCIES, the protagonists are a tender-hearted city vegan who bought a farm in the country to start a farm sanctuary, and a young Amish man kicked out of his community for being gay.  My husband and I have dreamed about having a farm sanctuary. It’s fun as an author to be able to live your dreams vicariously as I did in TENDER MERCIES.

Part of our personal journey has been going vegetarian and then vegan. When we bought our farm seven years ago, we were both lifelong carnivores. But having our own chickens, cows, and even a pig taught us that these animals are just as personable and “aware” as our beloved dogs. Eventually we got to the place where it felt too hypocritical to dote on our own cows, pig, and chickens, and still buy meat at the market. We also went vegan for health reasons after watching documentaries like “Forks Over Knives” and “What the Health”.

I don’t talk about this a lot in my books because I don’t want to come off as preachy or offensive with my personal beliefs. I myself couldn’t imagine going vegan most of my life, so I get it. However, in the case of TENDER MERCIES it was critical to the farm sanctuary theme of the book that Eddie be a vegan. Samuel, the other main character, is Amish and grew up with, of course, lots of meat at every meal. He learns to eat vegan living with Eddie, but he does miss meat. 😊

Since going vegan I’ve found a lot of terrific recipes and meals that we love. We eat a lot of whole grains, beans, starches like potatoes and squash, veggies and fruit. I love carbs, so I’ve enjoyed eating this way and I lost 90 pounds as well!

I thought I’d share a recipe as part of this blog tour. Here’s a simple vegan soup (the beans add lots of protein) and cornbread recipe—perfect for fall!

WHITE CHILI RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (16-oz) vegetable broth
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 4-oz can of diced green chiles
  • 30-oz can white beans (undrained)
  • 3 cups (16-oz) corn, fresh or frozen
  • green onions or cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • hot sauce (optional)

Directions:

  1. Sauté onions and garlic in ¼ cup water or broth (or olive oil if you prefer) until translucent.
  2. Add carrots and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in tomato paste and spices, stirring to coat well.
  4. Continue to cook until carrots are almost tender, adding broth as necessary.
  5. Add green chiles and beans (plus bean liquid).
  6. Using a potato masher or immersion blender, smash some of the beans to

create a thick and creamy chili.

  1. Add remaining broth or water to thin as desired.
  2. Add corn plus salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Garnish with green onions and/or a drizzle of hot sauce.

Vegan Cornbread

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
  • 1 cup plant-based milk (almond, soy, etc)
  • 1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 400°F. Use a nonstick 9 inch bread pan, 8 inch square baking pan or shallow glass pie dish and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt together until well combined.
  3. Add sage, plant-based milk, pumpkin puree, liquid sweetener, plus optional sugar if using and anise if using, and stir until combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and the bread is firm to the touch.

I use these two recipes regularly and our non-vegan friends who have visited have also enjoyed them. The recipes are from Meal Mentor (https://www.getmealplans.com/) which is a great source of vegan recipes that I highly recommend.

I hope you enjoy fall and spending time on the farm with Eddie in Samuel in TENDER MERCIES.

Eli

I was a huge fan of Second Harvest by Eli Easton. I love stories that explore men who are fighting their sexuality based on religion. It’s a storyline that is, and will continue to be, realistic for years to come. So, when I saw Tender Mercies, I knew I had to get it, push back everything else in my life, and read it. And I might have kept on reading it in the car (NOT while driving), at a party with the hubster’s friends, at a chili cookoff, and through pizza night with the fam. Yeah, I’m a horrible person when it comes to a good book.

I wasn’t sure what to think at the start of the book. Eddie is a city boy moving to the country. It felt too similar to the start of Second Harvest. But his reasons were different, so I moved along. I still didn’t understand how a city slicker thought it was a good idea to move to the country without prior planning and research to start an animal sanctuary, but whatever… this is Eli Easton and she won’t let me down.

Samuel’s storyline broke my heart. An Amish man, caught giving in to his nature as a gay man. Beaten. Shunned. Broken. Yeah, he stole my heart and had me ignoring the clock across the room.

I will fully admit there were times I caught myself thinking too hard about the story, trying to figure out if what was happening was realistic, but it didn’t matter. This isn’t real life, it’s a grown-up fairy tale about two men falling in love. And I don’t care where Benedict came from, I just know I want a Benny (and maybe a Carrot) of my own.

In the end, I’d give Tender Mercies 4.5 stars.

 

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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

The Librarian’s Rake by Z. Allora: Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway

Opposites might attract, but is acting on that attraction wise?

Librarian Tristan Cooper can’t steer clear of sexy, motorcycle-riding bad boy Phillip—the man is hot—but Phillip is bound to and quiet, bookish Tristan boring, like all Tristan’s boyfriends. Tristan yearns to explore his wild side, the part of himself he’s only allowed into his fantasies, and maybe rakish Phillip is just what he needs to feel free.

Sexperienced hairdresser Phillip is more of a believer in happy endings than happily ever afters. Experience has taught him not to hope for more— until he meets sweet, vulnerable Tristan, who seems genuinely interested in his heart. But Phillip can’t trust enough to see himself as a man Tristan might want for more than a night.

With the help of a pair of matchmaking grandfathers, Tristan and Phillip might and the courage to step beyond their comfort zones and discover what has been missing from their lives….

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Greetings! Thank you, Two Chicks Obsessed for the opportunity to share information about my new book The Librarian’s Rake with your readers.                  

To celebrate the release of The Librarian’s Rake I’ll be giving away 3 e-books of Secured and Free, (Book #2 of Entwined Dreams) and a $20 gift card to Dreamspinner Press. Details below.

Tristan is a shy librarian, who may have fantasies of swinging from the rafters but he’s never had the guts to be sexually daring. Phillip, who believes more in happy endings that require a swallow than in happily ever after. After they meet it seems to Tristan everyone seems to be having wild sexy times but him and he’s tired of it. This excerpt is right after he parts company from Phillip. Tristan’s home alone as usual and even his television seems to mock his meek nature.

When the quiet got too loud, he flicked on the TV to hear someone talking to him as he devoured his takeout chicken sandwich.

“I’m Todd Jones, reporting on dogging in America.”

Turning toward the TV—where were the puppies?

The partially blocked-out picture showed a couple having car sex while people stood around in a semicircle watching. A voiceover boomed, “It’s called dogging. People watch a couple have sex or go to participate in some way themselves and to be watched.”

What in the world was this?

The handsome interviewer started chatting with a couple who could be Tristan’s next-door neighbors—for all he knew they might be! They calmly discussed the vast number of websites available for people to find out where others are having sex in public places.

“How long have you two been doing this?” Todd asked.

Not why, which would have been Tristan’s first question. Why would you take a risk? Why would you want others to watch you? Why—

Tristan forced himself to swallow the last bites of his sandwich while the middle-aged woman on TV smiled. “For several years. The kids graduated college and moved across the country, and, well, we wanted to add spice back into our relationship.”

The disembodied voice droned on as various censored encounters played out. “The term dogging originally came from someone walking a dog and stumbling across people having sex. But now the practice has turned into what some consider a sport. Usually the meetups happen in parking lots, but with the use of the internet….”

The man smugly stated, “The wife and I have dogged in a junkyard, mall parking lots, the back of an ice cream parlor, near several drive-thru windows, the drive-ins—”

“My favorite was in long-term parking at the airport.” His wife grinned.

The interviewer cleared his throat and asked, “Do others participate when you…?”

The wife giggled. “Only if we want them to.”

The husband added, “And only a little bit. They can lay their hands on her, but—”

“Oh you! You’re so jealous. I love you.” The women blushed.

“I love you too, Mary Jean.” The husband appeared stupidly in love with the woman.

Tristan sighed and turned off the television.

Was that what Frederick wanted? Was everyone in the world into wild sex? Why was it so amiss to want to have sex in a bed?

As he put the last pots and pans away and shut the dishwasher, his mind beelined to Phillip. He pulled out the card in his pocket and stared at it. Phillip probably used hookup sites on a regular basis. Did he order “oral sex to go” on a recurring schedule?

Tristan wanted to deny the appeal of the straightforward ease but couldn’t. It had to be wrong just having sex with strangers. Didn’t it? Maybe he was too straitlaced and hemmed in by societal norms, but he found the whole thing sordid.

Why even think about the sites he’d never use? The idea of Phillip ordering a blowjob like fast food made Tristan’s cock harden… again. The dirtiness, which had never had appeal, now seemed arousing.

Allora believes in happily ever after for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her the opportunity to open hearts and change minds.

To contact Z. Allora:

E-mail: Z.AlloraHappyEndings@gmail.com

FACEBOOK:   Z Allora Allora

Website: www.zallorabooks.com

Twitter: @ZAllora

Blog: http://zallora.blogspot.com

Queer Romance Ink: www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/z-allora

Dreamspinner: www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/z-allora-637-a

 

To enter the giveaway tell us if you’ve ever heard of “dogging” before. Winners will be contacted Nov 8th.

Hugs, Z. Allora

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Kill Game by Cordelia Kingsbridge: Blog Tour with Giveaway

Thanks for checking out the blog tour for Kill Game, the first book in the Seven of Spades series!

In poker, a “kill game” is a fixed-limit game in which the stakes are suddenly doubled when a player triggers certain conditions. As our heroes Levi and Dominic hunt for the vigilante serial killer Seven of Spades, the stakes have never been higher.

Homicide detective Levi Abrams is barely holding his life together. He’s reeling from the fallout of a fatal shooting, and his relationship with his boyfriend is crumbling. The last thing he’s prepared for is a serial killer stalking the streets of Las Vegas. Or how he keeps getting thrown into the path of annoyingly charming bounty hunter Dominic Russo.

Dominic likes his life free of complications. That means no tangling with cops—especially prickly, uptight detectives. But when he stumbles across one of the Seven of Spades’s horrifying crime scenes, he can’t let go, despite Levi’s warnings to stay away.

The Seven of Spades is ruthless and always two moves ahead. Worst of all, they’ve taken a dangerously personal interest in Levi and Dominic. Forced to trust each other, the two men race to discover the killer’s identity, revealing hidden truths along the way and sparking a bond neither man expected. But that may not be enough to protect them.

This killer likes to play games, and the deck is not stacked in Levi and Dominic’s favor.

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About the Seven of Spades Series

Las Vegas has never seen a serial killer like the Seven of Spades.

The self-styled vigilante is on a mission to cut down the wicked and treacherous, and Sin City has no shortage of targets for their bloody wrath. What happens in Vegas . . . ends with the Seven of Spades’s calling card on a grisly corpse.

Standing against the killer are Levi Abrams, a dedicated homicide detective locked in a constant struggle to restrain his own dark side, and bounty hunter Dominic Russo, a charming rogue with a heavy secret weighing on his shoulders.

The hunt for the Seven of Spades sends Levi and Dominic on a collision course, igniting a passionate relationship forged in conflict and sealed with blood. Together they’re stronger than the sum of their parts, but a wily, elusive serial killer isn’t the only threat that will strain their bond to the breaking point.

Ante up, because the Seven of Spades is all in. Are you?

Check out the Seven of Spades series! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/series/seven-spades

 

Cordelia Kingsbridge has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh, but quickly discovered that direct practice in the field was not for her. Having written novels as a hobby throughout graduate school, she decided to turn her focus to writing as a full-time career. Now she explores her fascination with human behavior, motivation, and psychopathology through fiction. Her weaknesses include opposites-attract pairings and snarky banter.

Away from her desk, Cordelia is a fitness fanatic, and can be found strength training, cycling, and practicing Krav Maga. She lives in South Florida but spends most of her time indoors with the air conditioning on full blast!

Connect with Cordelia:

 

To celebrate the release of Kill Game, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 28, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

The Mystery of the Curiosities by C.S. Poe: Exclusive Story, Audiobook Tour with Giveaway

Life has been pretty great for Sebastian Snow. The Emporium is thriving and his relationship with NYPD homicide detective Calvin Winter is everything he’s ever wanted. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Sebastian’s only cause for concern is whether Calvin should be taken on a romantic date. It’s only when an unknown assailant smashes the Emporium’s window and leaves a peculiar note behind that all plans get pushed aside in favor of another mystery.

Sebastian is quickly swept up in a series of grisly yet seemingly unrelated murders. The only connection tying the deaths together are curiosities from the lost museum of P.T. Barnum. Despite Calvin’s attempts to keep Sebastian out of the investigation, someone is forcing his hand, and it becomes apparent that the entire charade exists for Sebastian to solve. With each clue that brings him closer to the killer, he’s led deeper into Calvin’s official cases.

It’s more than just Sebastian’s livelihood and relationship on the line – it’s his very life.

Title: The Mystery of the Curiosities (audiobook)

Series: Snow & Winter

Publisher: DSP Publications

Author: C.S. Poe

Narrator: Derrick McClain

Length: 7 hours, 15 minutes

Release: July 31, 2017

Audible

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Post: Hey there, everyone! I’m C.S. Poe, author of the mystery-romance series, Snow & Winter. Today is the third stop of the blog tour for The Mystery of the Curiosities on audio, narrated by the wonderfully talented Derrick McClain. If you’ve missed the previous posts— this is a short story about Sebastian and Calvin taking a vacation to Colorado, inspired by my Highway to Heck road trip and attendance at GRL. Be sure to check the schedule below and catch up on Part 1 and 2!

 

The complete story is at the following blogs:

October 23 – The Novel Approach

October 24 – Boy Meets Boy

October 26 – Two Chicks Obsessed

October 27 – Love Bytes

“Wow!” I exclaimed.

Our room was beautiful— shimmery wallpaper, non-matching pieces of antique furniture, and a bed with a magnificent mahogany headboard. I walked to the left side and opened one of the windows overlooking the street in time for the nearby train to blow its whistle loudly. I fished my phone from my back pocket and snapped a mediocre picture of the town view.

“It’s like stepping back in time,” I said, looking over my shoulder.

“With the exception of modern plumbing,” Calvin answered. He pushed the suitcase up against the far wall.

I left the open window and breeze fluttering the curtains. At the bedside table was what appeared to be a small journal. I set my phone down and retrieved the book. “Someone leave this?” I opened to a page at random and held it close. But with sunglasses on and sans magnifying glass? No dice on the reading.

I walked across the room and held it out to Calvin.

He took it, without question as to what I needed help with, and sifted through a few pages. “A diary? Oh— this is the ghost diary.”

“Of course,” I answered dryly, as if that response answered all my questions.

“I was told they keep one in all the rooms,” Calvin continued. He closed the book. “Guests can include their own observations.”

I raised my eyebrows and began patting my pockets. “Where’d I put my magnifying glass?”

“Not now,” he said with a touch of amusement. “Let’s get a drink downstairs. The saloon has bartenders in costume.”

“Nothing against the ladies who manage to somehow both breathe and serve drinks while wearing corsets, but I hope there’s a cowboy or two for me to stare at.”

“Hey now.”

I grinned widely at Calvin. “Giddy-up.”

He put an arm around my shoulders and walked to the door. “Don’t make me punish you later.”

“With a warning like that, why would I stop now?” I opened the door and stepped into the hall first. I slipped from Calvin’s arm and walked backward. “If I flirt with an outlaw, will you use your handcuffs on me?”

“Seb,” he said with a tone that sort of indicated he was liking the fact I was digging a grave for myself.

“Will you pull out your gun so I can determine whose is bigger?” I continued.

Calvin let the door fall shut behind him as he followed me into the hall. “One more,” he warned.

“How’s that song go— save a horse, ride a cowboy?”

Calvin lunged forward, grabbed my wrist, and pulled me tight against him.

I laughed and twisted in his hold. “Did I do bad, sheriff?”

“Bringing you here was a huge mistake.”

“Nah, you like it.”

Calvin smiled and kissed my mouth. “Let’s get you drunk on trade whiskey.”

“Sounds fun.” We started down the stairs before I patted my pocket. “Shit. I forgot my phone.”

Calvin handed me the room card.

“Hold onto those drunk thoughts.” I jogged back up the stairs and to our room, letting myself inside. I went to the bedside table where I’d set my— where was the phone?

I put my hand on the tabletop. I was certain I’d set it here when I picked up the ghost diary….

I turned my head and saw it laying at the foot of the bed.

Weird.

I grabbed it and left the room once more.

 

 

I was drunk.

More drunk than I usually got.

I blamed the altitude.

Calvin was paying our bar bill downstairs and I had gone back into the hotel with the intention of taking a piss. But I stopped on the stairs leading to the third floor when I heard a door close above me. Up and to the right.

Pretty sure that had to be our room. Shitfaced or not— I’ve got excellent hearing. Comes with the poor eyesight.

I waited halfway up the stairs to see who was leaving.

But it was silent.

Maybe it had been housekeeping?

Although that didn’t make sense. It was nearly ten at night.

I gripped the banister, more to steady my inebriated steps than anything, and crept up the last few stairs. I peered around the corner.

Nothing.

Nothing but an empty hallway.

Huh.

I must have been mistaken.

I pulled the room key from my pocket as I reached the door and let myself in. I stood in the doorway, leaned to the left, and turned the lamp on. The room had a comfortable glow about it, just enough to illuminate our suitcase against the wall— unzipped with clothes hanging out.

“Well shit,” I stated.

End of Part 3

First of all, the covers to these books are just awesome! They tell a little bit about the story, and Seb in particular, simply by the monochromatic tones. Better choices could not have been made for the first two books in this series.

Now, on to the rest. I rarely read mystery novels…well, pretty much…yeah, okay, never. I read romances. I love romances. I’ve loved them all my life. But when I saw that Derrick McClain narrated both of these, I thought it might be a good choice as a starting point. Oh my gosh, I am so happy that I took the plunge!

The creation of a main character that is well rounded, interesting but also with a healthy backstory doesn’t always happen in books. Ms. Poe did a fantastic job of creating a main character with, to say the least, some quirky personality traits, as well as a disability that you just don’t read about in any romance novel. Then she weaves all of these quirks throughout both books, and even uses them to help Seb solve his mysteries. His disability is not a deterrent to him, but can be an assistive device as he follows the clues and “sleuths” his way into Calvin’s life. These quirks, characteristics, in addition to his disability, are not left by the wayside and forgotten, but become such an integral part of Seb’s story, that the reader really wants to sit down with Seb and ask him a million questions, just so you can hear what he has to say. (Speaking of which, that gives me a very good idea!) 😉

What I enjoyed most, though, was this was a mystery with more than a touch of romance. It allowed Seb and Calvin, also known as Snow and Winter (which just makes me giggle), to solve the over arcing mystery, while still falling in love. Even as you see the hard, former military, homicide detective falling for snarky, sarcastic and sweet Seb, they work (somewhat) in tandem to find out who has committed the crimes, and take them down. It isn’t insta-love (although insta-lust on Seb’s side is quite obvious), but one that grows as Seb continues to get himself into situations he should not be in, but can’t help himself, while Calvin finds himself becoming more and more concerned with Seb’s safety. One of the most creative moments that I have seen, amongst any book I’ve read, is the one where Calvin gives away to Seb not only that he might not be as straight as Seb thinks he is, but also that he has feelings for him. It is a short, sweet and quiet moment, but it was a scene that will stick with me as a reader, and makes me want to re-read/re-listen to these books again, just to capture all the subtle nuances I loved, and those I might have missed.

I don’t listen to a ton of audio books, but I have heard Derrick’s narration on a few. With an audiobook, narration must ADD to the book for me to want to listen to it, especially when it is a series. A bad narration can pull you out of the story, or maybe even make you DNF the book. Knowing Derrick was narrating I wasn’t worried about either of those happening, before I started to listen. However, he made the story so much better for me with his vocal changes between characters, the emotions he added into each scene, and the emphasis he was able to add to Seb’s snarky humor. I absolutely loved his narration!

I rarely give 5 stars as a reviewer, primarily because one of the biggest qualifiers for me for a 5 star is that it must be something I want to re-read. In this case, not only do I want to re-read, but I want to re-listen, and I want to do it very soon. And now I have to decide do I want to read book 3 (I was told there will be 4 in the series!) or do I want to wait to hear Derrick do the narration. Another mystery to behold. J

 

Books 1 and 2: Story: 5 pieces of eye candy

Books 1 and 2: Narration: 5 pieces of eye candy

Author Bio: C.S. Poe is an author of gay mystery, romance, and paranormal books.

She is a reluctant mover and has called many places home in her lifetime. C.S. has lived in New York City, Key West, and Ibaraki, Japan, to name a few. She misses the cleanliness, convenience, and limited edition gachapon of Japan, but she was never very good at riding bikes to get around.

She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful, and a major weakness for toys. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats. She’s rescued three cats, including one found in a drain pipe in Japan who flew back to the States with her. Zak, Milo, and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to sidetrack her from work.

C.S. is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization.

| Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads | Newsletter |

 

Narrator Bio: Ever since my voice dropped, people have been telling me I “should go into radio”…
What people don’t realize is that you don’t go into radio just because people like the sound of your voice. You go into radio because you have a passion for what’s on the radio – for music, or for news, or sports. While I can appreciate these things, I don’t have a passion for them.

Now, books on the other hand…books I can get behind.

After eight years of professional and competitive public speaking and (live) oral interpretation of literature, Derrick has turned his powerful voice to the world of audiobooks.

While he enjoys reading, listening to, and narrating a wide variety of genres, he has a particular affinity and passion for romance novels of all types.

Derrick records in a professional quality studio at his home in Tallahassee, FL, where he enjoys the quiet North Florida lifestyle along with his fiance and insanely hyper dog. He has previously lived in rural Pennsylvania as well as Orange County California, and has extensively traveled the United States, becoming familiar with a wide range of American accents and sub-cultures.

To connect with Derrick, email: voiceofderrick@gmail.com or find him on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Goodreads.


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A Dom and His Writer by Xenia Melzer: Exclusive Guest Post and Giveaway

Life is perfect for Richard and Dean. Richard is a wealthy and successful businessman who also owns a BDSM club, and Dean is a bestselling author and sub to Richard. They’re young, happy, and in love. The future is bright….

Until tragedy strikes and an accident claims Dean’s beloved sister. Dean also finds himself the guardian of a three-month-old infant, and soon he’s trading in his leather fetish gear for diapers and drool bibs. But little Emily is all that remains of his family, so how can he abandon her?

It’s not what Richard signed up for. As much as he tries to be supportive, he never wanted kids and misses having his partner to himself. Suddenly the life he imagined for them is gone, and he’s not sure their relationship can survive the upheaval. But fate isn’t through with Dean, and when misfortune strikes again, will he be able to turn to the man he loves? A final crisis will determine if they can pull together as a family or they must face facts and part ways.

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Peyton on Richard’s and Dean’s relationship

Hello, I’m Peyton, interior designer for the rich and filthy rich, and friend of Dean. Don’t get me wrong, I like Richard as well, but he’s a bit too – dominant for my taste, if you get what I mean. Anyway, I was asked to say a few words about Dean’s and Richard’s relationship, so here we are.

I met the two about four years ago, when they moved into that gorgeous apartment downtown. It wasn’t gorgeous then, of course. You should have seen what the former owner did to the poor place. I mean, seriously, all that space and she had to put walls in instead of using it to her advantage? Sometimes I wonder where some people get their ideas. I guess common sense and general aesthetics aren’t just for everybody. Luckily, I belong to the few select who possess both in abundance and thankfully, Richard is smart enough to rely on me when it comes to his home. Good man.

So, he asked me to take a look at the place and I agreed, because who in their right mind says no to Richard Miller? I met him and Dean for the first time in person in the apartment and Dean and I immediately hit it off. I love how gentle he is, how focused. Plus, he’s an amazing artist, slightly loopy, if you ask me, but in a way that is still charming. If you met him on the street, you wouldn’t know he’s a millionaire. Richard, on the other hand… he oozes money and power. You take one look at him and it’s obvious how much he’s used to getting what he wants. What he wanted in the apartment was a dungeon, though that didn’t surprise me. I already knew he owns Whisper and an interestingly large percentage of my customers recommend me not because of my ability to hunt down the perfect couch to go into their living rooms, but for the ingenious rooms for pain I come up with. I’m a genius in many respects, if I do say so myself.

When you look at Richard and Dean, it’s kind of obvious – their sexual tastes, I mean. The way Dean leaves all the decisions to Richard or how Richard practically devours Dean with his eyes when he’s not gauging what his boy wants. Because, let me tell you, everything you think you know about BDSM kind of flies out the window when you watch these two. Sometimes I get toothache, that’s how sweet they are.

Well, so I designed their apartment and the dungeon within and somehow, Dean and I stayed in touch. I like to think I’m his lifeline to normalcy in his life of kink and unimaginable riches, but I’m honest enough with myself to know that we get along as well as we do because I’m just as crazy as him. Birds of a feather, so to speak. It kind of reassures me to be friends with him, to see I’m not the only one who doesn’t exactly fit – but let’s stop talking about me. Dean and Richard are sweet together, the perfect couple. I would love to have a boyfriend just like Richard… well, not exactly like Richard. Not as dominant. Less bulky. With more hair… Fine, I want the essence of what they have with Viggo Mortensen. Though I do like Vin Diesel, too. Decisions, decisions…

 

Xenia Melzer is a mother of two who enjoys riding and running when she’s not writing stories. She doesn’t like beer but is easily tempted by a Virgin Mojito. Or chocolate. Truffles are especially cherished, even though she doesn’t discriminate. As a true chocoholic, she welcomes any kind of cocoa-based delight.

You can contact her through her website: http//www.xeniamelzer.com

Or befriend and follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/xeniamelzer/


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Familiar Angel by Amy Lane: Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.

Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven him to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.

In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and he didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?

Title: Familiar Angel
Author: Amy Lane
Release Date: October 20, 2017
Category: Paranormal
Pages: 200

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Cats on a Mission

By Amy Lane

So, shapeshifting cats are a particular fantasy of mine. I featured them in The Little Goddess series, in which the humans shifted into cats of human size—and I loved them. The gag of the cat licking his privates who suddenly turns into a human will never get old.

But the cats in Familiar Angel are, well, familiars. There is no mass-conversion in familiar shapeshifters. They’re just cat-sized cats.

And believe me, I played with this concept as much as I possibly could.

One of my favorite moments in the story is when Harry wakes up and his brother is beside him reading from a kindle. “His paw moved and the light flashed, and he turned the page.”

Because if you’re a cat who can read, wouldn’t reading from a kindle be the best thing in the world? No opposable thumbs needed!

Harry and his brothers hunt mice for themselves and rabbits for people, kill spiders, spy on bad guys, and occasionally fish. When they don’t feel like being human, they cat. When they find they have to communicate with other people, they human—but they don’t have to be happy about it. And when they fall in love…

They struggle.

Because they found their cats 140 years ago. They’ve gotten comfortable hiding from hurt, hiding from anger, hiding from fear.  When they cat, they don’t have to deal with the terrible complexities of human emotions. They just have to hunt mice and lick their privates—but that doesn’t necessarily prepare them for the real world.

So as much fun as writing the cat parts were—Edward fighting the guy with the semi-automatic weapon and winning, Francis becoming the ultimate killing machine in the body of a fuzzy Siamese space-cadet, Harry pouting in the stream shallows before learning to fish—it was writing the human parts that were the most fascinating.

I mean, I’m pretty sure my own cats love me—as long as I feed them. They come to me for companionship, the bitch at me when I’m lacking in sensitivity to their superior selves, and I really am their best bet in the winter when they need full-sized body heaters during the cold, dark night.

But I don’t think they’ll ever be in love with me.

And writing that transition, between the self-protective cat and the vulnerable human, was maybe the most fascinating part of writing the book.

I have to say, although it’s an unusual genre, I hope people check in to see Harry, my brave warrior cat, fall in love—and Edward and Francis after him.

Good kitties!

“Hide!” Harry had just enough presence of mind to grab Francis’s other side to help Edward pull him through the thicket of brambles that lined the river. Bleeding, dirty, breathless, they slid to a halt in a hollow between the blackberry bushes and the hill, lying on their stomachs, Francis sandwiched between them. Francis, who had received a terrible scratch from the corner of his mouth to the corner of his eye, moaned in pain. Harry shushed him, and Edward placed a gentle hand over his mouth.

A woman, clothed in blinding, glowing white, burst into the clearing with a man—man?—draped over her shoulder. His clothes were red velvet, and thick curly hair grew all over his face and large skull, like a goat’s.

His back feet were cloven.

“Leonard,” she begged. “Leonard… darling. Wake up. Wake up. I need your help.”

Leonard—the thing… man—rolled his head, much like Francis had done, and moaned. “Emma, leave me. If they find me with you… if they find Mullins here….”

“Mullins!” the woman whispered. “Mullins—I’m losing him. Oh please—Mullins, he’s losing himself again.”

“I’m losing myself again!” came a terrible growl, and another Leonard-like thing stepped into the clearing—this one very obviously glowing red. “Emma, we need to do the ritual. I can’t….” The monster thing, Mullins, let out a horrifying series of snuffling grunts and growls. “I’ll turn,” he said, sounding tearful—if a beast could be in tears. “I’ll turn and gut you both.”

“I understand,” she whispered. “You’ve been very brave. Here.” She set Leonard on the ground then and started to pull items from a leather satchel across her shoulder. “We’ll do it right now.”

“This isn’t the ceremonial place!” Mullins said, sounding despondent. “It’s not cleansed, it’s not prepared—”

To Harry’s surprise, Emma put a tender hand on the beast’s cheek. “My sweet boy, you’ve been too long in hell. We don’t need the trappings of the spell—although the things in those hex bags should help us focus. We just need ourselves, and our good intentions, and our desire.”

Mullins’s grunt was self-deprecating. “The road to hell is the one paved with good intentions,” he said gruffly.

“That’s only because the demons trying to get to earth walked that path first,” she said, sounding cheeky. In their quiet interaction, Harry got a better look at her. Not young—over twenty—but not old either, she was beautiful in every sense of the word. Straight nose, even teeth, perfectly oval face, and blonde hair that streamed, thick and healthy, to her waist, she was what every boy should dream about when he went to sleep hoping for a wife.

Harry didn’t dream about girls, but he could look at this one and know the appeal.

But it was more than the physical beauty—and she had it all, soft hips, small waist, large breasts—there was the kindness to the beasties. The gentleness and calm she radiated when Mullins had threatened her.

Suddenly Harry had a powerful yearning for his mum, when she’d been dead for nearly five years.

“Here,” Emma said, breaking the sweetness of the moment. “Take the hex bags—there’s ten. Make a pentagram with me and Leonard in the center. I’m summoning an angel, love. You may want to leave when you’re done. I’ve no guarantees he’ll be friendly to you.”

“That’s not news,” Mullins said dryly and began his task. “Do you…. Emma, I know you’re powerful. You summoned my master for knowledge on power alone. But all else you have done, you have done out of love.”

“Including persuade you to our side,” she said. While he set the hex bags, she was stretching Leonard out before her, stripping his shirt with deft, practiced movements. The skin underneath the clothes was smooth and human, and Harry felt nauseated at the abomination of beast and man.

But Emma seemed to care for him.

“It would be worth any torture,” Mullins said softly, pausing in his duties, “to know Leonard will live.”

“Come with us!” Emma begged. “I may not love you like I love Leonard, but you’ve been a good friend to us. Please—”

Mullins shook his head. “It’s not enough to break me free,” he said, and his bestial smile would haunt Harry and Edward for years. “Someone would have to love me enough to sacrifice for me, and make no mistake, Emma. This will come down to your sacrifice. You will be stripped of your power, your youth—are you sure you want to do this?”

Emma let out a sigh. “I would live a mortal lifetime without worry,” she said softly. “But I do not want him all alone without me. ’Twould be cruel.” She closed her eyes for a moment, and then—

Harry gasped and heard Edward do the same.

She was looking right at them.

“I’m about to do something very wrong,” she said, great conviction carrying in her serenity. “But I think something very right too. Carry on, Mullins, but run as soon as you are done.” Her voice dropped. “Please, my friend—I’ll have enough weighing on my soul for tonight’s doings as it is.”

Mullins continued to bustle, and as he set the last hex bag down, Emma began to chant. Mullins traced a circle in the dirt around the outside bags, and then, when the circle ends touched, he pulled out a knife.

Emma nodded unhappily at him and then bit her lip as he cut a line on his palm and let the blood drip on the sealed ends of the dirt line. He and Emma looked at each other again, a strong friendship locking their gaze, before he turned and lurched away, his gait awkward and crippled on his cloven hooves. Harry felt some compassion for him then, poor beast, good friend—but his gaze didn’t linger.

He was too busy watching the white light around Emma grow larger, filling the space inside the pentagram like a bowl.

The light exploded outward, filling the clearing itself, and then one more time, just a few feet more.

Harry and Edward stared at each other, terrified.

They were in the light circle as well.

“Glory!” Edward whispered, and Harry was too shaken to quiet him.

Francis stirred between them and opened his eyes slowly. For a moment Harry feared that he’d startle and scream—Harry certainly would have raised a bloody great hue and cry—but then, Francis wasn’t Harry.

He parted his bruised lips and smiled.

“An angel,” he breathed, and Harry turned his attention back to the center of the clearing.

Where an angel appeared.

Harry’s heart stopped in his throat. Tall—because of course, right? An angel would be tall. Clothed in robes that glittered like diamonds, whiter than pearls he was. His hair was a marvelous flame-gold color, red like a sunrise or an ember. His face was more handsome than sin—bold, straight nose, full lips, a square jaw, eyes of warm, solid brown.

Harry’s groin gave a painful throb, and he almost wept. Those things—those dirty, filthy things that were done to him by rough miners and haughty bankers with gold in their grubby fists—those things were not right here.

Not with an angel.

Not with this angel.

Harry’s eyes burned with the perfection of this angel.

“Suriel,” Emma breathed.

 

Amy Lane has two kids who are mostly grown, two kids who aren’t, three cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.


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Count the Shells by Charlie Cochrane: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, and Giveaway

Michael Gray returned from World War One injured, but at least he returned. Others were not so fortunate, including his first and greatest love, Thomas Carter-Clemence, with whom Michael had parted bitterly before the conflict began.

Broch, the Carter-Clemence home in Porthkennack, was an integral part of pre-war holidays for the Grays, the two families drawn together in the wake of their sons’ friendship. Returning to the once-beloved Cornish coast for a break with his sister and her family, Michael has to find the courage to face old memories . . . and dare new relationships.

When Thomas’s brother Harry makes an unexpected appearance, Michael is surprised to find himself deeply attracted to Harry for his own sake. But as their relationship heats up, it unearths startling revelations and bitter truths. Michael must decide whether Harry is the answer to his prayers or the last straw to break an old soldier’s back.​

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Count the Shells is the story which completely astounded its author in the telling. I had no idea when I sat down to write it that the straightforward historical romance I’d envisaged would turn out to have a plot twist which transformed the story into possibly the best tale I’ve ever crafted.

 

The Great War – where do I start to research it?

If you were to say to me, “Charlie, old thing, I’m interested in finding out more about World War One. Where should I begin?” I’d respond, “Whatever you do, don’t start with a history text book!” Not unless you’re really interested in what battle took place where and which regiments were involved or which governments did what and when. That may be precisely your cup of tea, but I can’t say it’s mine. For me, the bigger picture is just the setting for the characters, and those details are only relevant when they impact on part of an individual’s life story. It’s the people who interest me: what they did, the experiences they lived through, and the effect these things had on them.

When it comes to finding those things out, there are a wealth of resources and some of the very best get as close to the source material as possible. All history is clearly seen at one or more removes, and as it reaches us it’ll have gone through one or more filters, as people relate the things they want us to hear and which support whichever view they’re taking. You have to remember this with whatever material you look at or listen to, but the fewer steps between you and the “eye witness”, the better.

So, here are some of my top resources:

  • War poetry. All of it from the jingoistic to the deeply cynical, and other poems written by notable poets of the era. (When we studied Wilfred Owen at school, nobody mentioned his homoerotic works, some of which are stunning and which put a new context on his more famous war poetry.)
  • The “Voices from…” series of books which uses testimonies from men and woman who lived/fought/sailed/flew in the era. The detais this provides is staggering.
  • Biographies, but not just of the big political or military names of the era. There are some great books about army chaplains, ordinary soldiers, even real war horses!
  • Diaries, letters, artwork from the era. One of the most moving books I’ve read is “Scrimgeour’s Scribbling Diary” which are the wartime writings (made strictly against protocol) of a midshipman. The abrupt end of entries is the most poignant reminder of the terrible loss of young lives.

 

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack

 

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

To celebrate the release of Count the Shells, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag from Charlie Cochrane, including postcards (new and vintage), a recipe book, bookmark, pencils, a fridge magnet and various other doodahs! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 21, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

EXCLUSIVE Cover Reveal: A Sniper’s Devotion by Christa Tomlinson, with Excerpt and Giveaway

**TCO is so excited to have one of my favorite people in the world…seriously, I love Christa Tomlinson so much, and having her stop by to do her cover reveal, show you the delicious Hector (and I have been privileged enough to read this book already, Hector is yummy!), is just so awesome! I hope you love it as much as I do! Be sure to let Christa know! And don’t forget the giveaway at the bottom…

 

Hello Two Chicks Readers! I’m so happy to present to you the final cover in the Cuffs, Collars and Love series. Of course I have to give a shout out to everyone on my Facebook page and Twitter timeline who helped me choose which model to put on the cover. I was torn between three beautiful men. Since I couldn’t decide, I figured, why not let the readers decide who they wanted to see?

I had a good laugh at some of the reasons given and drooling that went on for each of the model choices. Mostly because I was doing the same! I let the majority rule and this gorgeous man is your Hector Castillo. According to multiple comments, it was the lips that won the voters over. We may have dubbed him Mr. Smoochy. He fits in perfectly and it’s so nice to see him lined up with the rest of the CC&L boys.

You’ll get to read all about Mr. Smoochy – I mean errr… Hector and his friend Miguel in A Sniper’s Devotion in just a few weeks. I hope you’ll like the way the cover looks on your e-reader screen, and I especially hope you like the story. Be sure to drop me a line and let me know!

Love,

Christa

Officer Hector Castillo, a sniper on Houston’s elite SWAT team, is content living alone as a perpetual bachelor. But when he opens up his small apartment to a friend in need, their close quarters awaken long suppressed desires Hector can’t help but acknowledge.

Miguel Delgado’s unfortunate detour down a road he never intended to travel ends in a big wake up call, but he vows to get himself back on track. Though he’s always looked up to Hector, Miguel isn’t a kid with hero-worship anymore, and his schoolyard protector has matured into a strong and caring man – who happens to look damn sexy in his SWAT uniform.

Though their physical attraction to each other is undeniable, Hector and Miguel try hard to resist and protect their friendship. Until one night changes everything…

A Sniper’s Devotion is a loving and sexy, friends to lovers erotic romance. Hector and Miguel’s story is part of the Cuffs, Collars and Love series, but it is a stand-alone novel.

Release Date

November 7, 2017

Cover

Melody Simmons of Ebook Indie Covers. EBOOK INDIE COVERS

Price

$3.99

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36392614-a-sniper-s-devotion

A Sniper’s Devotion Page on Author Website

http://www.christatomlinson.com/a-snipers-devotion.html

Tags

Friends to Lovers, Multicultural Romance, Hispanic Main Characters, Spanking, Stand Alone

Warnings

Mentions of Domestic Violence

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Apple iBooks

Kobo

 

 

“Aaaagh!” Miguel squeaked again, ducking his head into Hector’s shoulder as a mass of zombies burst into the shop where the hero and his family were hiding. “How are you not dying at this?” he asked in an agonized voice.

Hector held back a grin at Miguel’s over-the-top reaction. After the things he’d seen on the police force, it would take more than a jump scare to freak him out. “I’m trembling on the inside,” he said.

“You are not,” Miguel answered with a dry laugh. He started to pull away. “Sorry about that.”

Hector stopped him. “You’re just going to jump back on me anyway. Might as well stay here where I can protect you from the zombies.”

Miguel snorted another laugh, but after a moment’s hesitation, he settled back against him. He rested against Hector’s chest, with his bent legs laying half over one of Hector’s. As the movie played on, the hero and his crew making a perilous escape from the zombie horde, Hector brought his hand up from the back of the couch, absently running it through Miguel’s hair. The curls were soft, sliding through his fingers.

Eventually the action on screen slowed, giving both the hero and the viewers a moment to breathe. Hector’s attention wandered from the screen, and he realized it was strange to have his hand in another man’s hair. He and Miguel were so close, and it was such a habit from watching movies with dates that he’d done it without even thinking. He abruptly stopped. Sitting there stiffly, his hand frozen in Miguel’s hair, he wondered if he should apologize. Before he could decide, Miguel turned his head slightly, his lips brushing Hector’s neck as he spoke.

“That felt nice,” he said in a soft whisper. “Keep going.”

His chest suddenly tight, Hector relaxed his fingers and slowly started playing them through Miguel’s hair again. His eyes were on the TV, but he wasn’t really watching the movie. Neither was Miguel. His face stayed turned into Hector’s neck, warm breath softly blowing over his skin. It was a surprise and yet not when Miguel pressed a kiss to his throat.

At that moment, Hector should have moved away from Miguel. Hell, he should have gotten off the couch altogether. But he didn’t. He sat there, letting Miguel brush more kisses up and down the side of his neck. A hand landed on his thigh. Hector swallowed hard, then turned to look down at his friend.

Time for the cover reveal…

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Ready????

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Don’t forget to sign up for the giveaway below!!!

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Here you go!!!

Christa Tomlinson is an exciting up and coming author in erotic romance. Her first self-published novel, The Sergeant, was an Amazon Best Seller for Gay and Lesbian Erotica for seven weeks straight.

Christa graduated from The University of Missouri-St. Louis with a degree in History. She loves to create stories that are emotional and lovely with sex that is integral to the characters’ romantic arc. Her books include straight couples, curvy couples, gay, and multicultural couples. Love is love and everyone should have their story told.

Christa lives in Houston, Texas with her two dogs, and is a retired roller derby player.

Author Contact Info

Newsletter: http://www.christatomlinson.com/newsletter-sign-up.html

Website: www.ChristaTomlinson.com

Email: contactchrista@christatomlinson.com

Facebook: Christa Tomlinson, Author – https://www.facebook.com/ChristaTomlinsonAuthor/

Twitter: @ShockZ314 – https://twitter.com/ShockZ314

Amazon: Christa Tomlinson – https://www.amazon.com/Christa-Tomlinson/e/B00JEL9M82/

Goodreads: Christa Tomlinson – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4063407.Christa_Tomlinson

Prizes to be delivered on November 1st, a week before release day!!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.