Permanent Ink by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

At twenty-three, Poe Montgomery is going nowhere. He still lives in his father’s basement and spends most of his time tagging with his friends. When an arrest lands him in debt, Poe accepts the front desk job at Permanent Ink, the tattoo shop owned by his father’s best friend, Jericho McAslan. Jericho is nearly twice Poe’s age, but with his ink and prematurely graying hair, he quickly takes the starring role in Poe’s hottest fantasies.

Jericho is known for his ability to transform poorly designed tattoos into works of art, but he was once as aimless and misdirected as Poe. Wanting to pay it forward the way someone once did for him, Jericho makes Poe his apprentice and is determined to keep things strictly professional. Easier said than done when Poe makes his interest—and his daddy kink—abundantly clear.

Jericho can’t resist Poe or their intense chemistry for long. But between the age gap, tension with Poe’s father, and Poe’s best friend calling him a sellout, they’ll need to ensure they’re both on the same page before they can rewrite their rocky start into something permanent.

Riptide Publishing

Amazon

Hi! This is Piper Vaughn and Avon Gale and we’re here today to talk about our sexy new contemporary romance, Permanent Ink, in which the worlds of street art and tattooing collide when a silver-fox tattoo artist falls for his much younger apprentice – who also happens to be his best friend’s son.

Co-writing: How to work through the disagreements

I’m very happy to report that writing Permanent Ink was smooth sailing all the way! Piper and I are very good at talking through things, and we spent a lot of time initially just hammering out the details before we started writing the narrative. We came up with a pretty extensive outline for each chapter, making sure we knew what would happen and how each character would react. Then, when we were writing our individual scenes, we could consult the document – or each other. We’d send more than a few messages that would say things like, “Hey, if Jericho did this, what would Poe say?” Or, we’d leave notes in the document with that line highlighted and “Feel free to change if this doesn’t work for you.”

I think the most important thing is that we both had a really good understanding of our characters right at the outset. Also, neither one of us are bothered by constructive criticism, so if Piper said something like, “Hey, I don’t think this works here because x,” I had no problem rethinking the scene – and vice versa. You sort of know going in, I think, that there’s going to be a lot of discourse and tweaking things as you adjust to writing someone else’s character!

Another thing we did that was super helpful was have writing weekends together. This meant that we could hole ourselves up somewhere (in this case, the Country Inn and Suites in Springfield, IL) and write, which allowed us to get through a large chunk of the narrative. It wasn’t always perfect (okay, lies – Piper’s scenes are always perfect, mine are messy af) but it was there, and we could build off each chapter and just keep going. It made finishing up the last few chapters separately a breeze, and by then we were in our characters’ heads enough to start editing and making sure the voices/depictions matched.

I think the thing we had to talk through the most was the title! I remember we went out for sushi after we signed the contract with Riptide to celebrate (Piper was at my house visiting and to start the project), and I’m pretty sure all my suggestions were terrible pun names. We wanted the name of the book to be the name of the tattoo shop, so you can imagine where I went with that. Eventually Piper suggested “Permanent Ink” and it was so perfect, that pun or no, we knew it was the title.

Also she let me name that coffee shop Perkatory, so I was happy 😊

 

I took another pull from my beer, letting my tongue linger on the lip of the bottle.

Jericho’s eyes darkened. He stared for a second before making a noticeable effort to tear his attention away. His gaze slid to the side, and his brows knitted together. I wouldn’t let him ignore me, though. I stepped closer, invading his personal space, and he met my stare again.

“That means a lot coming from you. I know how good you are.” I meant the words, even if my motivation for saying them wasn’t entirely pure. I smiled at him, peering up through the dark fall of my hair, letting my interest show.

His lips quirked.

This close, I could feel his heat through the thin material of his navy T-shirt. This close, I could see the green striations in his hazel irises. This close, I could smell soap and musk and the faint scent of beer on his breath.

I wanted to touch him so bad it was as if my hands had turned to iron and his skin had suddenly been magnetized. It felt like a fucking compulsion.

Without thinking, I kissed him.

Jericho froze at the contact. But I surged forward, crowding him back against the counter and licking at the seam of his lips, inviting his tongue out to play. Jericho gave into me with a quiet sound, a muffled groan that made my cock stiffen.

I got enough of his taste to make me crave more, enough time to think “hell yeah” and start to consider humping his hard thigh—before a loud, shattering noise broke the silence and made us jump apart.

I realized I’d dropped the beer bottle and a puddle of golden liquid was spreading across the linoleum at our feet. “Oh shit.”

Jericho stared at me, his mouth still wet from mine. “Fuck.” His gaze went from me to the broken glass on the floor. “Fuck. That should not have happened.” He snatched the roll of paper towels from the holder on the counter and started spreading a few on the floor to sop up the beer.

I watched him, trying to swallow past the sudden tightness in my throat. He was so focused on the mess it was obvious he didn’t want to look at me.

“I’ll go get the cleaning stuff,” I announced.

Jericho’s jerky nod was my only answer.

I went to the small utility closet across the hall and briefly thudded my forehead against the wood.

“Shit.”

I hoped I hadn’t just fucked up my apprenticeship.

I hoped I hadn’t made things super fucking awkward.

And more than that, in spite of knowing it was probably wrong to want him—he was my boss, my mentor, my dad’s best friend—I wished I hadn’t dropped that stupid bottle.

So this was my first foray into “daddy kink”. And really, it is a good training wheels still on intro to it. And while it was fairly vanilla and pretty well done- I don’t think this particular kink is for me. BUT, I still really enjoyed the book.

Poe is a brat. Straight up early 20’s brat. I have nightmares about my own teen becoming Poe. Oy. But I would say that he is what every Gen X and above refer to as a spoiled Millenial. And he really isn’t spoiled, he just wants to paint graffiti murals with his best friend, work as little as possible and skate. Too bad he keeps getting busted for the graffiti,

Jericho- Poe’s dad’s best friend- has an offer. Poe can work for him and move up to interning as a tattoo artist. A pay it forward deal after someone helped Jericho years ago. And so it begins.

Some of the things I really enjoyed about this book- watching Poe slowly shed his brat shell and become more and more interested in tattooing. Seeing how it is art; how it is unique and personal to every person. Watching him grow that was was my favorite part.

The chemistry between Poe and Jericho was pretty hot. They danced around each other for a bit, which I always like. I’m not a big fan when they immediately jump into bed or there is insta love. Jericho really struggled with his attraction to Poe.

The secondary characters fit in really well with the story. Especially Blue, Poe’s best friend. After finishing the book I cannot wait for his story! I won’t say with whom, because I am not a spoiler.

3 1/2 pieces of eye candy 

About Avon Gale

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal Midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert, and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Connect with Avon:

 

About Piper Vaughn

Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, sci-fi, she loves them all (and has an over-two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She’s an avid tea drinker, a hockey fanatic, a vintage typewriter collector, and loves to travel so much she has “wanderlust” tattooed on her ankle and dozens of countries on her bucket list. Recently, she discovered the world of nail art and realized she’s pretty handy with a paintbrush—as long as it’s a miniature one.

As a bisexual and Latinx person, Piper takes great pride in her heritage. She grew up in an ethnically diverse neighborhood and strives to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. She currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, son, and a cat that has Piper wrapped around her little paw. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life … even if it’s only in a book.

Connect with Piper:

 

To celebrate the release of Permanent Ink, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card and a “Poe” coffee mug! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 12, 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.

Red Fish, Dead Fish by Amy Lane: Exclusive Author Interview, Blog Tour, and Excerpt

Red Fish, Dead Fish Blog Tour Stop 4

The Lovely Ms. Kim Fielding

By Amy Lane

Okay folks—so, I’m here today to promote Red Fish, Dead Fish, my latest story in the Fish Out of Water series.  Now, usually in a blog tour, we talk about ourselves and our newest book until we can’t hardly stand it—but this time out I decided to do something different. I’m going to talk about other people’s books—because I know some amazing romantic suspense authors, and I wanted to celebrate them instead.

So Red Fish, Dead Fish is out on Amazon, it’s the second in the series, and I think you’ll like it very much a lot! That being said, let’s talk about Kim Fielding!  

I have to admit, I’m biased about Kim Fielding. We’ve been on road trips together to Las Vegas, where we saw where the lazy mobsters hid the bodies, and to San Diego, where we got butt lost somewhere in LA. We even threw our combined children in the back of the minivan and left them to Mate’s devices while we gossiped in her amazing Mini, and the whole lot of us went hunting for ghosts in the Sierra Foothills.

And after all this time together, I’ve got to tell you—there’s something terrifically and deliciously not right with Kim Fielding.

She’s a criminal justice professor in her other life, and she’s got a pixilated sense of humor to go with her knowledge of where the bodies would be buried and which law enforcement agency would dig them up when they were. When I first wrote Fish Out of Water, I sent it to her, so she could spot any inaccuracies—she was my resident expert, and I flat out revered her opinion.

That, and she laughs at my jokes and isn’t afraid to be lost in the middle of Southern California with me.

And she writes terrific books.  For a touch of paranormal, I’d recommend Motel Pool, but if you want some romantic suspense—even if it’s just the suspense of a lover’s past coming back to bite him in the ass, go with the Love Can’t series, which seriously made me cry. But really, you can’t go wrong with Kim Fielding no matter which book you pick up—so kick back and enjoy her interview, and hope that maybe one day, you’ll get to join her on a ghost hunt too. Even if you don’t find any ghosts, I promise, you’ll enjoy the trip! 

Kim Fielding

What do you think is the most delicious part of a suspense novel or a mystery?

Fielding: The human beings involved. Obviously, plot is important in these genres. Everything needs to be tighter and needs to serve several purposes. But I won’t care at all about the world’s most beautifully crafted plot if I don’t care about the characters. I want heroes who are flawed. I want villains who are sympathetic. I want minor characters who feel like real people and not just Plot Enablers. I want the characters to be smart. This is important. I once read a novel in which the protagonist was such an idiot she couldn’t have qualified as a hall monitor, yet she was supposed to be an FBI agent. Right. On the other hand, I want these smart people to have weaknesses and do stupid things now and then, because don’t we all?

Tell me about body counts–seriously. How many corpses make a good suspense novel, and why?

Fielding: Depends on the corpses.

For me it’s not about how many die, but how and why. Are their deaths truly furthering a plot point? Were they predictable? Were they realistic? Are they all just rehashes of the same crime? And who are they?

“Who are they?” is an especially important question. A murder is often more effective if the reader has some emotional connection to the victim. It can be a negative connection. For example SPOILER HERE SPOILER SPOILER weren’t you deeply satisfied in Game of Thrones when Ramsay Bolton got eaten by his own dogs? I know I was. But of course the connection can be positive

too. Stephen King is wonderful at making his characters come alive, making us love them, and then killing then off. This connection can even happen with minor characters. In my book Love Is Heartless, a bad guy murders two people who we’ve met only briefly, yet I think their deaths resonate because readers liked those poor men.

The other most important question for me is how realistic the murders are. My day job is criminal justice professor, so I’m critical of authors who do a sloppy job on research. That kind of stuff throws me right out of the story. In my opinion, an author who’s going to write a suspense novel should take the time to ensure the details are right. He or she should to cops, lawyers, or criminologists, or read guides like Geoff Symon’s books on Forensics for Fiction.  Because if there are mistakes—especially big ones—I’ll judge that author. A lot.

What’s your most creative way to kill someone?  

Fielding: I don’t know that I’ve ever caused the a death in an especially creative way, but I’ve done some interesting things with people after they were dead.

I can’t be specific about this because it’s spoilery, but I have a novel in which I killed off one of the protagonists TWICE—and still managed a happy ending. I’m pretty pleased with that one.

I have a recently finished novel (currently under submission) in which an unpleasant fellow dies by getting his throat sliced. But my hero needs the information this guy had, so he lops of the dead guy’s head and drags it to a necromancer. Unfortunately, the deceased isn’t any more loveable than he was when he was alive.

I also have to mention a death in Love Is Heartless. A man has disappeared, and some time later a homeowner finds the missing man’s jawbone in his front yard. Police focus on the homeowner’s neighbor, who’s kind of a lowlife—but security camera footage reveals that the jawbone literally fell from the sky! How? Well, you’ll have to read the book to solve that mystery. But what I wanted to share was that this really happened not far from me; I got the story from a local deputy coroner and was thrilled to include it in a book.

Dish about TV shows–which ones do you love and which ones do you hate from a suspense POV? Which TV show/movie do you most want your books to resemble?

Feilding: I watch almost no TV. It’s not that I have anything against it, but between writing, the day job, and the family, I just don’t have time. I do, however, tend to have a single show I follow. For the past several years that’s been Game of Thrones. GoT’s season is really short, though, and this year I’ve added a second series, American Gods. That’s it for now. Part of the fun of GoT is you never know who’s going to die. And with both GoT and American Gods, you’re never sure they’ll remain dead.

I generally avoid cop and lawyer shows because they get too many things wrong. I sit there shouting, “That’s not right! That’s not how they do that!” until my husband gets annoyed with me and turns of the TV. One exception was Dexter. No, it wasn’t realistic either, but I was able to overlook that because the rest of it was really fun.

When you read outside your genre, what’s your candy? (I ask everybody this–I think it’s fascinating!)  

Fielding: I read a lot of stuff. On more than one occasion, a bookstore clerk has commented on my eclectic choices, and this pleased me. My most common go-to, however, is speculative fiction. Under that wide umbrella, I especially love urban fantasy and magical realism. For instance, I’ll snap up just about everything by Neil Gaiman and Isabel Allende.

More generally, though, I adore books in which the author surprises me with something fresh. Some recent ones I’ve enjoyed? The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, about a pair of gold rush-era hitmen. It’s violent but also funny and delightfully weird. Helen Wecker’s The Golem and The Jinni is also delightful. It mashes together golem and jinni mythology, it’s set in New York around 1900, and it’s sweet and sad and amazing. It’s the kind of story that swallows you up. Another recent favorite was Frederick Busch’s The Night Inspector, which also takes place in New York, but a few decades earlier than Wecker’s book. There’s a lot of brutality in it, but that was a brutal time, and the protagonist is beautifully flawed.

You can see in the last paragraph that I’m a fan too of historical fiction. I prefer stories that focus on common people rather than the rich, titled, and famous. And while I’ll read any timeframe, I have a special weakness for the California gold rush, probably because I live very close to where it happened.

 

For more interviews and author close ups for Romantic Suspense, check out the rest of the blog tour—

July 28 – MM Good Book Reviews Amy Lane

July 28 – Alpha Book Reviews (Just a little about Jackson in Fish Out of Water)

July 31 – Open Skye Book Reviews Andrew Grey

August 1 – Two Chicks Obsessed Kim Fielding

August 2 – My Fiction Nook Rayna Vause

August 3 – Tammy’s Two Cents Ava Drake

August 4 – Happily Ever Chapter Melinda Leigh

August 7 – Long and Short Reviews Karen Rose

August 8 – Love Bytes Charlie Cochet

August 10 – The Novel Approach Tere Michaels

 

Red Fish, Dead Fish

Blog Tour:

July 28 – MM Good Book Reviews (Amy Lane answers her own interview questions!)

July 28 – Alpha Book Reviews

July 31 – Open Skye Book Reviews

August 1 – Two Chicks Obsessed

August 2 – My Fiction Nook

August 3 – Tammy’s Two Cents

August 4 – Happily Ever Chapter

August 7 – Long and Short Reviews

August 8 – Love Bytes

August 10 – The Novel Approach

  

 

They must work together to stop a psychopath—and save each other.

Two months ago Jackson Rivers got shot while trying to save Ellery Cramer’s life. Not only is Jackson still suffering from his wounds, the triggerman remains at large—and the body count is mounting.

Jackson and Ellery have been trying to track down Tim Owens since Jackson got out of the hospital, but Owens’s time as a member of the department makes the DA reluctant to turn over any stones. When Owens starts going after people Jackson knows, Ellery’s instincts hit red alert. Hurt in a scuffle with drug-dealing squatters and trying damned hard not to grieve for a childhood spent in hell, Jackson is weak and vulnerable when Owens strikes.

Jackson gets away, but the fallout from the encounter might kill him. It’s not doing Ellery any favors either. When a police detective is abducted—and Jackson and Ellery hold the key to finding her—Ellery finds out exactly what he’s made of. He’s not the corporate shark who believes in winning at all costs; he’s the frightened lover trying to keep the man he cares for from self-destructing in his own valor.

 

 Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

 

Prologue—Belly Up

“Ellery, hand me my phone,” Jackson mumbled. “It’s ringing.”

“You’re not back at work yet,” Ellery slurred. “You have two more weeks.”

Jackson rolled over on top of him and as he reached unwisely for the phone Ellery had strategically put on his own end table. For a moment, Ellery was covered with tense, warm man, and then he shoved Jackson off.

“I’ll get it!” he snapped, officially awake. “Jesus, what in the—”

“It’s Mack’s ringtone,” Jackson defended. “I told him what we were looking for.”

Ellery tried not to roll his eyes. Mack. This was the same Mack who had helped Jackson out when Jackson had wrecked the car unofficially helping Ellery with an investigation.

At the time, Ellery had been so happy to get Jackson back in one bruised piece—and on a plane to somewhere he could rest without incident—that he hadn’t questioned this Mack’s existence. Once he found out that Mack Flanders had been Jackson’s bedmate a few years ago, he’d been irritated but unsurprised.

Now that Mack was calling them in the whore of dawn’s sweaty crack, Ellery wanted to kick him in the balls.

Except….

“Cottage Park, near the outbuilding. Yeah, I got it. There’s a way to get in there, right? I’m not climbing the fucking fence. Of course there’s cops and crime scene tape. That’s not what I’m asking.” The voice on the other end spoke patiently, and some of Jackson’s defensiveness seeped away. “Okay. Thanks, Mack. Owe you another one. No, sorry—told you. Not paying favors that way anymore, but it’s nice of you to ask.”

“God in heaven,” Ellery muttered.

“Yeah, okay. I’ll be there in half an hour.”

“We’ll be there.” Ellery rolled out of bed and headed for the shower. Thirty seconds to run some soap under his pits and pack a suit for court later that day. He could do it.

“Crap,” he could hear Jackson say as he closed the shower door. “We’ll be there. Thanks.”

Five seconds later, Jackson stepped into the shower with him and grabbed his own shower gel from the corner of the tub. They’d had some nice times in there together—particularly when Jackson was still healing from his gunshot wound and his shattered scapula and needed Ellery’s help.

They’d had a few after that too, but not today.

“Body?” Ellery asked, not really needing confirmation.

“Yeah.” Jackson scrubbed his pits with care but not vigor—moving was still painful and probably would be for a little while. He’d gotten out of the hospital less than six weeks earlier. By all rights he should still be chilling in the fall sunshine, maybe swimming in the pool at the gym—but not Jackson.

Ellery had needed to haul him to San Diego to give himself time to recover.

It was even more infuriating that he was right today. There really was no time to rest.

“Our kind?”

Jackson shook the water from his dark blond hair and squinted at Ellery through eyes as green as bottle glass. “We have a kind of dead body? Most couples just go with favorite song.”

Ellery soaped his hair efficiently. “You know what I mean.”

Jackson grabbed the shampoo. “Yeah.”

Jackson, the private investigator at Ellery’s defense firm, had gotten shot helping Ellery bring down a ring of corrupt cops. They’d put the ringleaders in prison—but one of the underlings had gotten away.

Turned out he was the one the police should have been chasing all along.

“Young,” Jackson said, ticking off items on the list. “This one’s Hispanic. Male, but slender. Recent involvement with drugs. Maybe a week of turning tricks.”

“Dirty pretty,” Ellery confirmed grimly. They had been Scott Bridger’s words, actually, one of the men they’d brought down, to describe the kind of person who had disappeared on his partner’s watch. Gender hadn’t mattered, nor race. Just a little bit of street dirt and some physical beauty.

Tim Owens liked to take the “dirty pretty” ones and make them not so pretty anymore.

“Mack says there’s something new about this one,” Jackson said, stepping in front of him to rinse his hair.

Ellery wasn’t sure why he did it, except it was not yet four in the morning and he and Jackson were naked together, and that wasn’t something he’d learned to take for granted yet.

He wrapped his arms around Jackson’s shoulders and kissed his neck, softly, gently, with just enough tongue and teeth to make Jackson regret they weren’t making love this morning but going to work instead.

Jackson tensed for a moment, probably caught off guard, but then he relaxed into Ellery’s arms and leaned his head back.

“What?” he asked suspiciously.

Well, Ellery had been known to be an autocratic bastard—that was probably warranted.

“Just….” Ellery couldn’t find words. Or he could find words, but neither of them had said the words yet, and you just didn’t spring those words on a guy whose entire life had been an act of insufficient self-protection.

With a sinuous movement, Jackson turned his head and caught Ellery’s mouth, something he couldn’t have done a month ago, something that felt huge and necessary now.

“Don’t worry about me, Counselor,” Jackson said cheekily, pulling away. “But the cuddle was downright friendly.”

Well, sure. Friendly. Just two friendly lovers getting out of bed extra early to go catch a serial killer. Nothing strange about that at all.

“Just be careful,” Ellery said, trying not to sound bitchy or officious and failing. “He’s got your cell phone. You know that, right?”

“Well, he had it for a couple of hours before it got deactivated,” Jackson said. “And yeah—fuck me for owning an Android with the shitty security. Thank you so much for the iPhone, Ellery. Now I am safe from serial killers everywhere.”

The snark in his voice was the only thing that kept Ellery from conking him over the head and tying him to the bed in a completely non-kinky way.

 

PI Jackson Rivers grew up on the mean streets of Del Paso Heights—and he doesn’t trust cops, even though he was one. When the man he thinks of as his brother is accused of killing a police officer in an obviously doctored crime, Jackson will move heaven and earth to keep Kaden and his family safe.

Defense attorney Ellery Cramer grew up with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but that hasn’t stopped him from crushing on street-smart, swaggering Jackson Rivers for the past six years. But when Jackson asks for his help defending Kaden Cameron, Ellery is out of his depth—and not just with guarded, prickly Jackson. Kaden wasn’t just framed, he was framed by crooked cops, and the conspiracy goes higher than Ellery dares reach—and deep into Jackson’s troubled past.

Both men are soon enmeshed in the mystery of who killed the cop in the minimart, and engaged in a race against time to clear Kaden’s name. But when the mystery is solved and the bullets stop flying, they’ll have to deal with their personal complications… and an attraction that’s spiraled out of control.

 

Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two 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 m/m 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.

 

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

Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Clare London: Exclusive Cover Reveal, Excerpt and Giveaway

TCO is very excited to bring you the Exclusive Cover Reveal for Clare London’s next installment in the London Lads series, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Check out the amazing cover-such detail!-along with a sassy excerpt and a giveaway!!! Welcome to Clare!!!!

 

Garry’s at the end of his tether. He’s waiting at Glasgow Airport to meet his friend Will, on their way to a holiday in a Scottish Highlands hotel. Now there’s a ten-hour delay to incoming flights, the seat in the lounge is more like an instrument of torture, and he’s beyond tired of airport food.

He’s also dreading having to apologise for the pass he recently made at Will, his colleague at a London bank, under the influence of too many beers and a long-held crush. Now Will’s been offered a new job offer on a continent thousands of miles away, Garry realises it may be the end of their close friendship—let alone anything more.

To add to Garry’s stress, he’s treated to the company of Emily and Max, two young people who think he needs educating in the ways of the world. Struggling with their well-meaning help and the startling mess from spilled ketchup and noxious-smelling sweets, he’s encouraged to re-examine how he feels about Will and to decide what kind of journey he’d really like them to take together.

Note: this book was previously published at Amber Quill Press, and has been re-edited for this version.

Release Date: August 30, 2017

Artist: Valerie Tibbs

Dreamspinner Press

 

Valerie Tibbs’ romantic theme for this series of London stories continues to delight me! Here are our two best friends Garry and Will, separated by the very thing that’s meant to bring them together – an airport visit on their way to a holiday with their friends. Will’s delayed on his flight in from New York, and so Garry’s stuck on his own at Glasgow Airport.

And then Garry meets two precocious kids, Max and Emily, to contend with. Mess, mixed-up words, and a lot of unwanted advice from kids under half his age. Just what he needs! Through it all, half of him is desperate to see Will again, but the other half is mortified that he made a clumsy pass at Will and must apologise. Or… must he? Dear readers, you can probably guess how that might turn out 😊.

This is the fifth title in the series of novellas I’m publishing with Dreamspinner Press throughout 2017, all under the banner “London Lads”. A set of individual contemporary romances set in and about London, involving confusion, tension, passion, miscommunication, heart searching, and some humour – but always love. I’ve been so excited to see the whole line of covers unfold over these last months, and share them with you!

Today Between a Rock and a Hard Place goes on pre-order. It’s a short romantic contemporary story, with humour and an HEA, and themes of friends to lovers, unrelieved sexual tension, and the things kids say! I hope you enjoy this post, the cover reveal, and my celebratory Giveaway today.

Garry must have dozed off. He woke with numbness in his left arm that made it feel the size of a Halloween pumpkin, and pain in his scalp that meant his hair had got caught awkwardly on the wrong side of his parting. His head had drooped over the back of the chair, and his legs were folded underneath it in a manner that would defy a professional acrobat. Trying to move his limbs just made him groan aloud. It took him a depressingly long time to get himself upright again and, wincing, he made a mental note to renew his gym membership when he got back home after the trip.

He tried to smooth his hair back down in place. He’d snagged the shoulder-length ends into a short ponytail for travelling, but the tie had twisted at the back of his neck. When he tugged the hair back, his fingers caught up in the tangles. It also seemed to have collected an interesting selection of dust particles and the remains of a catering-sized butter wrapper. Maybe a couple of those blueberry droppings. He squinted at the lounge clock and saw that a couple of the ten hours had passed.

The good thing was that the Sleeping Not-Beauty had left the seat beside him.

The not-so-good thing was that he had another neighbour, and this one was a lot smaller. Probably only about seven. A plump-cheeked girl stared at him, her eyes sky-blue, her hair pale blonde. She was delicately pretty and would have looked like some kind of picture book princess, except that she had a huge, suspiciously red stain on the front of her Hello Kitty T-shirt. Her legs were tightly pressed together to contain a pile of sweets in her lap and there was sugar frosting stuck all over her skirt. Some of the sweets had obviously already been consumed—the frosting was on the end of her nose, and around her mouth too—and she chewed thoughtfully as she stared at him.

Garry wrinkled his nose. The sweets had a particularly violent and disturbing smell, like a medicine he’d once been forced to take as a kid. A fair proportion of the sugar fallout seemed to have made its way onto his jeans too. He examined his mood and doubted it was one to tolerate children just at the moment. Sensation was creeping back into his arm and it was bloody painful. He wanted to swear—he had a good vocabulary, he’d been complimented on it more than once—but, of course, that was now out of the question. He knew that much about children.

“Hi,” the girl said. “You’re awake now.”

He glared at her, groggy from his nap and with his limbs still aching. His stuffy brain wanted him to say “buzz off, squirt,” but his mouth opened, and he said, “Hi.” He didn’t know what else to say to such a small person. He hadn’t had a lot of practice with them. Allen used to talk about his large family and the new generation of nieces and nephews, but Garry admitted in his deepest, most honest heart, that he usually tuned out all that information.

He and Will had talked about kids, once. That is—other people’s. Or, that was how it started.

“I’ve never wanted them,” Garry said. It was after a long, four-way Skype conversation with Allen and Leonard, peppered with anecdotes both amazing and infuriating about Allen’s extended family.

“Me, neither.” Will was squashed up close to Garry, both of them perched on bar stools because it was quiz night at the Grove, and all the tables were packed full.

“That story about dropping all the eggs on the kitchen floor.” Garry rolled his eyes. “I’d have been bloody furious, not laughing.”

“And pulling down their pants in the supermarket? Wow.” Will chuckled.

“The story about adopting the abandoned puppies was sort of cute….”

“But not putting them in the baby’s cot! Not when they found out about the fleas, anyway.”

Garry smiled ruefully. “Nothing but trouble, eh? Pooping and pissing babies, yelling and crying. Scrawny, slippery little toddlers, running amok, never sleeping through the night, smashing windows with footballs, drawing zoo animals on the bottom of the bath with permanent marker. Teenagers, just as bad, climbing trees, ripping clothes, smoking a whole pack of cigs then vomiting over the sofa….”

Will was peering at him, an amused look on his face. “Um. So who did all that?”

“I have three brothers, man.”

“Yeah?”

Garry scowled. “Okay, so mainly me.”

Will chuckled again. “But I guess it’s different when they’re your own.” He didn’t look as disgusted as he had before.

“How so? Just think—” Garry clamped his mouth shut.

“Think what?”

What kind of kid we’d create if it were possible. Garry couldn’t finish that sentence. He’d started it as a joke, but suddenly it felt like something different. Something that prompted a painful, emotional tweak in his chest.

“Mini-mes,” Will continued, his eyes still on Garry, his thigh all but nudging Garry’s. “Mini-yous. Would that be so bad?”

Garry changed the subject, pretty smartish.

Back in the here and now…

“You want one?” The little girl in the airport held out something to Garry that looked sticky and totally unappealing, vibrantly pink and green and in the shape of a heart. New sprinkles of sugar whispered off it onto their knees.

Garry pursed his lips. He had a barely irresistible urge to brush off the white crystals as if they’d rot like poison through his jeans. “No thanks. I already ate.”

“When?”

He stared at her. Who did she think she was, his mother? “When I got here.”

“You’ll need more than that,” she said bluntly. “The Delay is twelve hours now.” Her tone dignified it with capital letters, like it was some kind of alien monster, a Harbinger of Armageddon, a Premonition of Global Doom.

Now she had him doing it, even in private. For a second he thought he might still be asleep and dreaming he was in a late-night version of The Twilight Zone. But his back and his toes were still hurting, so it looked like he was awake. Damn shame.

“You should be with your parents,” he said, just as bluntly.

But she didn’t seem disturbed. She put a red and yellow heart into her mouth and wiped her sticky fingers down her T-shirt. It proved that at least the red stain wasn’t blood. Garry wondered at what point he’d even considered that might be the case.

“You’re grumpy,” she said. “Just like Mum.”

“Huh?” One thing Garry did know about kids was that, if you encouraged them, they stuck like glue. Or like particularly revolting sweets. All he had to do was stifle any conversation and then, in a minute, she’d get bored of him and wander off again.

“I’ll stay here for a while.” She patted her lap with determination. A sparkling cloud of sugar floated a few inches off the fabric, then settled back down again. Garry thought some of it might have got stuck up his nose—every time he moved he could smell the cloying sweetness anew. “Mum and Dad aren’t smiling. My uncle sent me to get some sweets.”

Garry looked around, a little warily. Surely there’d be a couple seated somewhere close, watching their child fondly? Or they’d be walking over to her, calling her back to join them. Or they’d be running back and forth through the airport lounge, weeping and screaming for their kidnapped child, followed by armed police.

He couldn’t see anyone taking any notice of them at all.

“So where are they, your parents? They’ll be worrying about you. Won’t they?”

She shrugged. A small bubble of orange popped at the side of her petite little mouth, and she giggled softly. “Unc said I should get sweets and Dad didn’t say no because he was all red in the face. Mum said I was to go off and skip.”

Garry stared at the blonde head and re-examined the carefully pronounced words. Go off and skip? None of it made sense. Was it some new street-speak? Was it meant to make sense?

Then another small but equally clear voice broke in. “What she means is, Mum told her to take a running jump. They were arguing about the Delay. Dad gets very tense with Delays.”

Garry spun around to examine the speaker. When did someone arrive on his other side too? He stared into clear air, then dropped his gaze down several inches. It was another small person; a boy this time.

“Best we keep out of the way for a while,” the boy said, very solemnly. He was just like the girl, though he looked older. Same blond hair, same blue eyes. A lot less mess on his face but, in place of it, his mouth was twisted into a very sour look. He sat rather primly on the seat, dressed in smart jeans and a denim shirt, his feet swinging slightly above the floor. A Game Boy was on his lap, his fingers still hovering over it as if he’d only just paused play.

“So?” asked Garry. Your point is? His head was starting to hurt.

The boy frowned at him. “Well, obviously we’ll stay here for a while until they calm down. They’re always like this when we fly.” He glared over Garry’s lap at the girl. “She should know that.”

“Mum has men strudel,” the girl said, oblivious to the boy’s interruption. Another sweet vanished into her surprisingly capacious mouth.

Garry’s imagination toyed with visions of a rather exotic cannibalistic dish.

“She means menstrual. Mum gets like this every month. My sister doesn’t understand.” The boy rolled his eyes and spoke very gravely. “She’s only seven. She gets her words wrong all the time.”

Garry looked from one to the other and felt his own eyes roll. Fuck, he thought, though he didn’t dare say it aloud. They were like a pair of matching bookends. Where was the sign on these empty seats that said Weirdos, sit here?

Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.

She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.

Clare loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her here:

Website: http://www.clarelondon.com
E-mail: clarelondon11@yahoo.co.uk
Blog: www.clarelondon.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clarelondon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/clare_london
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/clarelondon
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/clarelondon/
Google+ : https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ClareLondon/posts

Between a Rock and a Hard Place is based on the grim humour of being stuck in an airport with nowhere else to go! How would you pass the time if, like Garry, you were stuck in an airport for ten hours, with only the food and facilities the airport had on offer?

I’m offering a $10 Amazon giftcard for one lucky commenter who shares with us what they’d plan for entertainment – though please keep it for fun and be respectful!

 

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

Chasing Destiny by Megan Erickson: New Release Review and AWESOME Guest Post

Some live on memories…

Almost dying during a pack uprising has a way of shaking things up. I’m no longer Mr. Laid Back now that there’s an itch under my skin I can’t scratch.

On a volunteer mission that goes beyond the walls of our compound, we enter the territory of a pack long thought dead, and find ourselves on the business end of their spears.

What I’m not prepared for is what I find within their walls—The one shifter I never thought I’d see alive, the one I’d mourned twice, the one I’d always loved. He is alive, and if I have anything to do with it, he’ll stay that way. But he’s got secrets, and exposing them could lead us to an enemy worse than the bloodthirsty undead shifters wanting to kill us all…

Amazon

Kobo Books

Barnes and Noble

Oddest things I found while researching for the Silver Tip Pack series:

  1. Don’t search Etsy for werewolf. Don’t do it! I thought I’d mosey on over there to see if they had any cool things for giveaways and instead I came away with the knowledge that someone, somewhere, makes werewolf dildos. I never needed to know that, and I don’t think I’m a better human for it.
  2. There are a million YouTube videos about werewolf shifting. This one is a great compilation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfUrSodTwDw There is even one entitled “Man shifts into werewolf live on camera.” Okay. Sure, Jan.
  3. I need to thank the Underworld movie franchise for their lychan special effects because they have provided me with endless gifs to promote these books. Thanks Underworld producers! http://gph.is/28VF6yy
  4. Plumbing! My characters might be shifters, but the have working toilets and showers.
  5. Building supplies! My packs live in fortified compounds. I had to figure out how they’d build these compounds, and what they would use. Also farming. Dystopian writing is hard, but fun. 🙂

Okay, I seriously don’t read paranormal wolf/shifter, etc books, and I REALLY don’t read dystopian, cause well…I don’t know, I just don’t. However, with it being Megan Erickson, and with the above guest post, how could you not? I mean really…I had to!

And I loved it. I need to just stop judging a book by…well what I think it will be like. 🙂

Chasing Destiny, being book 2 in the Silver Tip Pack series, can be read as a stand alone (and since I didn’t read book 1, I can vouch for that). The author does a great job explaining the things you (likely) would have learned in book 1 that you need to know. And I was able to follow along, and get to meet, and fall in love with all the characters.

This is a second chance love (if being young teenagers when you lose your first love counts) between Bay, the brother to the Silver Tip Pack leader and Nash, the man who everyone thought was dead.

What an emotional punch when these two see each other again. Bay never stopped thinking that Nash was out there, and never stopped wanting him back. Meanwhile Nash did everything he could to keep himself away, knowing it would likely kill him to stay away and everyone he loved if he considered returning. His mind told him to stay away, but his heart and his mate would not let him go, and that was the emotional punch the reader takes as they read this. There is so much love between these two, no matter how hard Nash tries to deny it, and push it away, for the betterment of everyone, it can’t be denied, and we are fortunate enough to come along as Bay fights for Nash, until Nash is strong enough to fight for himself. *Spoiler* Nash gets there, but it takes a HUGE revelation for him to do it, and the reader will love every second of it.

So, here’s what I learned…that there better be a book 3, because I want to know what happens to Bay and Nash as they continue on their path, and there might be a couple others in the pack that I definitely want to follow into their HEA’s.

Once again, Megan draws me in, as she always does, and I don’t want to leave…except now I have to go read one of her series I haven’t yet… 🙂

4 pieces of eye candy

 

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

Get a Grip by L.A. Witt: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post and Giveaway

Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt blog tour for Get a Grip, the latest Bluewater Bay story!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding Get a Grip) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 29th, and winners will be announced on July 30th.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

 

If a tree falls in Bluewater Bay . . . could it be fate?

A year after his divorce, Shane Andrews isn’t interested in dating—not that he has time, between three kids and a demanding job as a grip. When a windstorm knocks a tree onto one of the Wolf’s Landing soundstages, Shane’s there to help with the mess . . . and so is firefighter Aaron Tucker.

A former smoke jumper, Aaron’s an adrenaline junkie and way too restless and reckless to be relationship material. As far as he’s concerned, monogamy is for penguins, and he’d rather be alone than tied down. Signing up to be a stepparent? No, thank you.

But after a scorching-hot night together, they’re hooked. Aaron is a taste of the excitement Shane’s been lacking, and Shane’s pushing buttons Aaron didn’t know he had. The more they’re together, the less Aaron craves wild nights with other men . . . but the more Shane wants to play the field like he never got to in his twenties.

This could be the love neither man knew he needed, but only if Shane gets his feet back on the ground before Aaron walks away.

Amazon

Riptide Publishing

Writing in an Established Series

Writing in an established universe definitely has some challenges. When that universe is shared, there are even more. But it’s a ton of fun, too, which is why I’ve done it twice (first with Tucker Springs, now with Bluewater Bay), and will probably do it again in the future.

An equal parts pro and con is that you don’t have complete control over your universe. If it’s a shared world, you have other people working on it, which means keeping track of the town’s layout, if that restaurant on First Street is still in business or if one of the other authors burned it down two books ago, etc.  With so many people involved in Bluewater Bay, we kept a couple of detailed “bibles” on Google Docs, which we could all access to make sure we had our stories straight.

That can make things challenging, of course, but it can also make things easier. When I want my characters to go on a romantic date, it’s entirely possible another author has already created a restaurant that fits the bill. So I just send my characters to that place and don’t have to worry about naming it, establishing the atmosphere, etc. So it’s a bit of a shortcut!

Similarly, you can have characters introduced by other authors. In Get a Grip, Shane meets a couple of swingers, Simon and Lydia. They’ll be front and center in Anna Zabo’s book, Outside the Lines. And in turn, Anna introduces Jesse, the assistant manager at the Simon and Lydia’s comic book shop, and Jesse will be one of the main characters of my next book in the series, New Hand.

Basically what it boils down to is that you have to make sure you’re consistent with other authors, and you have to keep track of details from one book to the next, but you’ve also got people establishing cast and setting along the way, which can make things really fun. So yes, shared and established universes certainly have their challenges, but they’re really a lot of fun. I don’t know when or where my next shared universe will pop up, but there will definitely be more of them.

About Bluewater Bay

Welcome to Bluewater Bay! This quiet little logging town on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula has been stagnating for decades, on the verge of ghost town status. Until a television crew moves in to film Wolf’s Landing, a soon-to-be cult hit based on the wildly successful shifter novels penned by local author Hunter Easton.

Wolf’s Landing’s success spawns everything from merchandise to movie talks, and Bluewater Bay explodes into a mecca for fans and tourists alike. The locals still aren’t quite sure what to make of all this—the town is rejuvenated, but at what cost? And the Hollywood-based production crew is out of their element in this small, mossy seaside locale. Needless to say, sparks fly.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by eleven award-winning, best-selling LGBTQ romance authors: L.A. Witt, L.B. Gregg, Z.A. Maxfield,  Heidi Belleau, Rachel Haimowitz, Anne Tenino, Amy Lane, SE Jakes, G.B. Gordon, Jaime Samms and Ally Blue. Each contemporary novel stands alone, but all are built around the town and the people of Bluewater Bay and the Wolf’s Landing media empire.

Check out Bluewater Bay! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/bluewater-bay

 

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

L.A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).  

To celebrate the release of Get a Grip, one lucky winner will receive their choice of two ebooks off L.A.’s backlist and a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 29, 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.

Who We Truly Are by Victoria Sue: EXCLUSIVE Deleted Scene, Excerpt (NSFW) and Giveway

Talon’s deadly abilities are spiraling out of control. Desperate to keep Finn safe, Talon struggles to protect the man he loves with all his heart, and not become the greatest risk to Finn’s life.

Finn has no choice but to offer himself as bait for the evil forces kidnapping enhanced children, facing danger he is untrained and unprepared for, and he is having to do it alone.

Does Talon have one last fight in him? Will he slay everyone who wants to destroy Finn and the team, or will he finally discover that to defeat their enemy and the ultimate threat, the biggest battle he has to face is one with himself?

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Barnes and Noble

Talon sighed and pushed himself up, secretly loving the small, needy sound Finn made as his cock slipped out. He automatically went for the cloth and carefully cleaned Finn up. He glanced up because Finn was quiet and met Finn’s deep green eyes. The most beautiful fucking eyes he’d ever seen, not that he’d ever say. Talon swallowed down the words before they escaped his lips. Finn was watching him carefully, waiting for him to speak, and Talon quickly glanced back down as if they had an insurmountable wall between them. Talon knew Finn loved him. The phrase wearing his heart on his sleeve was made with Finn in mind. They were never demonstrative in public usually, even off duty, and he knew Finn was okay with that. Gregory and the rest of the team were okay with them. Gregory wanted Finn to stay any way he could have him and ignored their relationship.

No, Finn wasn’t the problem. Their boss wasn’t the problem, not even the rest of the team.

It was him.

Sometimes Talon wished he’d never met Finn. Sometimes he just wanted to run away and hide him to keep him safe. Somewhere remote…. Greenland had possibilities. Talon stared into Finn’s gorgeous eyes as his breathing slowed. Deep green, almost black when he was aroused, lighter when he was angry. Talon could watch them change color all day, but watching them darken just before Talon kissed him, or if they touched unobtrusively, was his favorite. Sometimes their hands touched under the desks at work. Sometimes while Talon was correcting Finn’s grip on his gun. Especially while Finn was being fucked into oblivion, or like now, when he was sated. Finn looked at him like he hung the stars. It was so easy to forget he was a killer when that green-eyed stare rested on his. When the most beautiful smile he’d ever seen lit Finn’s face, directed at him. But he could kill with a thought, and the nightmare that he might do that to Finn didn’t just come during the night; it was around him all the time. Every second of every day, and he simply didn’t know if he could live with it any longer.

Because the emptiness of living without Finn was better than the soul-destroying thought of Finn not living at all.

Deleted scene : Who We Truly Are

Finn pulled up at the local deli on his way home, a few minutes before it closed. He was enjoying learning to cook, and while he’d mostly been responsible for it when he’d lived with his entitled mom and his lazy slob of a brother, they’d been firmly in the burgers and fries department, and Finn loved experimenting.

Last night they’d had vegetable curry, and tonight he was going to do chicken milanese. Vance’s mom, who fed them all even more than they ate at Betty’s, had been giving him recipes and instructions. Finn loved food, and Talon was happy to eat anything Finn put in front of him. He would always clean up afterward, though, sending Finn for a shower or to put his feet up for a few minutes. It was all Suzy Homemaker, and Finn loved every second of it. In fact, as far as compatibility went, the only time they clashed so far was at work… or specifically if Talon thought Finn was at risk. Which, unfortunately, because of the job they did, meant pretty much all the time.

The bell didn’t ring above the door as Finn walked in, which he didn’t think about until he saw the terrified look on Mr. Adeila’s face as he walked toward the deli counter. Finn had a split second to register something was wrong, and for the second time that day, he felt the barrel of a gun in his back. Shit. And surprisingly, it wasn’t the thought of whoever was holding the gun that terrified him; it was the reaction Talon would have, knowing Finn had managed to get himself in a situation again.

“Hands where I can see them,” the low growl said.

Finn immediately put his hands up, and the robber came around from behind him. Finn took in the skinny body, the ripped jeans, filthy T-shirt, and the black mask. He also recognized the Sig SP2022 the guy was clutching as if his life depended on it.

“I have a gun,” Finn said evenly. Being shot, especially accidentally, wasn’t on his to do list today.

The man stiffened, and Finn lifted his arms higher, showing the holster clipped to his belt that had been hidden by his shirt. The robber lunged and fumbled to get Finn’s Glock. Finn didn’t move. He was nervous, but the gunman seemed completely terrified. The guy needed to calm the fuck down before the gun went off.

“You a cop?”

Finn shook his head. “No. I just want us all to walk out of here safely. I didn’t want to surprise you.”

The guy grunted and waved his gun with a shaky hand to indicate Finn should move. “Get over there.”

Finn walked around the counter to stand with Mr. Adeila. The old shopkeeper looked terrified. Finn was glad neither his wife or daughter, who helped in the shop, were here.

The gunman took two steps back and locked the door. “Empty the register.” He fished a small canvas bag out of his pocket and threw it at Finn.

Finn pressed the cash button, and the register drawer shot open. Bar some loose change, it was completely empty. Finn hesitated a brief second, and then he understood the abject terror on Mr. Adeila’s face. His wife and daughter would be upstairs in their apartment, and the last thing he wanted was the gunman thinking the money was up there.

Finn glanced at the gunman. “It’s empty.” He stepped back as the gunman stiffened. He knew if he could see his face, it would be incredulous.

The man leaned over. “Where’s the fucking money?” he shouted.

“My wife already went to drop it in the bank,” Mr. Adeila stammered. “We never keep any on the premises overnight.”

Finn started talking. “Look, I have my debit card on me. I can withdraw five hundred in cash, now. There’s an ATM just outside on the wall next to the dry cleaners. Let me put my hand in my back pocket and get my card out?” Finn sounded reasonable, which quite frankly shocked the fuck out of him.

The gun waved precariously between them.

“Let Mr. Adeila go,” Finn urged. “It will take us seconds to just step outside, and then you can go.”

The man leaned over the counter to the old man. “Where’s your phone?” Mr. Adeila gestured to a small cell phone on the counter. The guy grabbed it and threw it to the floor, stamping on it. Finn took a breath. That was good. If he intended on shooting them, he wouldn’t care about the phone. “Sit down, hands on your head,” he shouted to Mr. Adeila. “If I see you move, I’ll put a bullet in you, and then I’ll go looking for your wife.”

Mr. Adeila whimpered but sank to the floor, cowering. Finn didn’t dare take his eyes off the gunman.

“Outside… now.” The man gave Finn a push and then stopped. Finn realized instantly the second his plan wasn’t gonna work as a black-and-white pulled up to the dry cleaners. “Fuck,” the man spat out, and then suddenly the gun wasn’t in Finn’s back—it was pointed at his face.

Finn had a second to see the right side of the pistol before he dropped and did the move Vance had been teaching him for weeks. He punched the guy right in the balls just as he heard the small click from the useless weapon before it was dropped. The guy screamed, turned, and staggered to the door. Finn followed, and in another second, the guy was sprawled on the ground in the shop doorway with Finn kneeling in his back.

Unfortunately Finn was likewise sprawled out by the cops in the mad rush when they saw what was happening. It took some hurried explaining, and Finn showing his ID before he was allowed to his feet.

“Ballsy but dumb,” the officer from district three pronounced as Finn and Mr. Adeila were checked out by the paramedics. “You feds think you can pull some superhero stunts. Other people might get hurt.”

Finn appreciated the irony, especially when it didn’t say anywhere on Finn’s ID which unit he belonged to. “The safety was on.”

The officer paused as he was writing. “What?”

“It was a Sig Sauer SP2022. Some of them have manual safeties, but they’re not common. I’m pretty sure he knew nothing about guns, and I only noticed when he shoved it near my face,” Finn said matter-of-factly. The cop regarded Finn carefully, and Finn shrugged. He wasn’t going to explain the years he’d spent with his dad, pouring over the old gun magazines when Finn had told him he wanted to join the FBI. That was private.

Mr. Adeila had been incredibly grateful, and Mrs. Adeila came running down stairs. “Finn,” she had exclaimed when her husband had explained what had happened, and she had cried all over Finn’s shirt and then tried to give Finn his weight in food. Finn grinned. Maybe Vance’s weight in food would be a more accurate description. “Policemen need to eat,” she insisted, patting Finn’s arm.

“I do,” he protested, not correcting her, as the plastic sack was pressed into his arms, but it was nice. The gratitude, the appreciation. When he got an invitation to Mr. Adeila’s daughter’s wedding next month, Finn knew it was time to leave.

 

Victoria Sue:

Wrote her first book on a dare from her hubby two years ago and he says he has regretted it every day since. Loves writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best, and especially with either a paranormal or a historical twist. Had a try at writing contemporary but failed spectacularly when it grew four legs and a tail.

Is an English northern lass but is currently serving twenty to life in Florida – unfortunately, she spends more time chained at her computer than on a beach.

Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on facebook.

www.victoriasue.com

@vickysuewrites

https://www.facebook.com/victoriasueauthor/– sign up for my newsletter and download a free story The Wrong Alpha


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Runner by Parker Williams: Exclusive Guest Post, Release Day Review and Giveaway

Matt Bowers’s life ended at sixteen, when a vicious betrayal by someone who he should have been able to trust left him a shell of himself, fighting OCD and PTSD, living in constant fear and always running. When he buys a remote tract of land, he thinks he’s found the perfect place to hide from the world and attempt to establish some peace. For ten years he believes he’s found a measure of comfort, until the day a stranger begins to run on Matt’s road.

He returns every day, an unwelcome intrusion into Matt’s carefully structured life. Matt appeals to the local sheriff, who cannot help him since the jogger is doing nothing wrong. Gradually, after tentatively breaking the ice, Matt begins to accept the man’s presence—

But when the runner doesn’t show up one day, it throws Matt’s world into chaos and he must make the hardest decision of his life.

Title: Runner
Author: Parker Williams
Release Date: July 28, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

Building New Worlds: How to do it authentically

I’m going to admit, building new worlds in a single book isn’t all that hard. Look at your setting. What motivates you to put your character in that locale?

Example: Runner takes place in a remote town. The main character, Matt, lives far out of town, where he feels safe. Why? He can build a life here. He has his garden, his greenhouse, a stream to fish from, animals that he can hunt. He wants for nothing. Or so he thinks.

Your character: What affects him? What motivates and drives him? How does this affect the people around him?

Example: Matt cuts himself off from his family for the most part. He talks to his brother on the phone occasionally, but he can’t be a part of his family’s life. It just won’t work for him with his issues. So how does this affect others? What impact does it have on his family? The people who know him? Does it have a ripple effect on others? How does your character—and those around him—deal with the situation?

The problems: And here is what’s swirling around, affecting everyone. In a single book, the problem—and resolution—are handled pretty easily.

Example: Matt’s abuse at sixteen by someone he should have been able to trust. Matt assumes that this affects only him, but as time goes by, he realizes how it impacts those around him as well.

But… And here’s where we get into the fun of world building… what happens when your book is actually a series?

When K.C. Wells and I did Collars & Cuffs—and Secrets—all the rules above are in full force, but now the problem comes in that you have to determine if there is an overall story arc and how one event will flow into another book.

Example: Peter from Collars & Cuffs (Trusting Thomas). His abuse at the hands of his tormentor ripples throughout the series. In Someone to Keep Me, it shakes Scott to his core, but it also gives him a friend. Peter’s issues continue to resonate, and touch many lives such as

Jarod in Dom of Ages and JJ in Endings and Beginnings. Peter’s problem becomes a focal point that affects everyone in this world. And this is a good thing. It’s part of your world and it needs to be addressed from time to time so people don’t think you’ve forgotten about it.

In fact, Peter’s mentioned in An Unlocked Mind (book two of the Secrets series), because he does have such an impact on this world.

So when you build a world, you have to look at all of the pieces and see how they slot together. Some may be like an IKEA set, where you’ve got little things that don’t really need to be checked up on each book, but if it’s the main thrust of your story, you need to keep it in the reader’s eye from book to book, especially if there is a long gap between each issue.

Example: In Before You Break, Ellis is injured on the job. Will his injury have an impact on the series as a whole? Maybe not, but it’s still going to ripple from time to time. He’s going to appear in book two when he gets to deal with Rob (poor Ellis).

In closing, remember that in the worlds you create, you’re the god. What you say goes. But you’ve got to make it believable. Or not. That’s the fun thing about creating them. Oh, and because you get to tear them apart, too. That’s always fun.

After suffering an attack at 16, Matt suffers from extreme OCD and PTSD. He has locked himself away from the world in a cabin miles from town. He has turned his land into a self-sustaining oasis. He grows his own food, he fishes and hunts on his land and has almost no contact with the outside world. Then one day his world is turned upside down when someone starts jogging past his house everyday. The first sighting sent Matt into a panic attack to rival all panic attacks. Matt tried calling the sheriff to see if he could stop him, but the runner isn’t breaking any laws. Slowly, Matt comes to expect the runner at the same time everyday. One day when he doesn’t show up Matt’s world tips again. Can he leave his carefully constructed world to find out what happened to his runner?

This was a great read. My heart broke for Matt so many times throughout this story. His reaction to the attack was extreme, but how could it not be? He was 16, with very little if any coping skills. His mom did his a great disservice, she wan’t strong enough to get him the help he needed and so he retreated into himself where he knew he was safe and then eventually to his compound.

The runner, Charlie was an intriguing character. I love that he pushed Matt’s boundaries without being pushy or mean. He knew when to push and when to back off. He was so caring and understanding.

I loved the amount of detail in Matt’s compound. When Parker Williams described it I could actually visualize it, and I really have no imagination. From the greenhouse to the lake and all the gardens.

The thing that made me love this story was that Matt fell in love with Charlie and that made him want to get help to fix his issues, but Charlie made his see that he loved him issues and all and if he was getting help it was for himself. That he was loved either way, warts and all.

The story line was not at all predictable, as soon as I thought I knew what was going to happen something else would. I love that. The characters and the setting were well developed and rich with detail. This is the first time I have read anything from Parker Williams but it won’t be the last.

5 pieces of eye candy

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GRL 2017 Featured Blogger Post: J. Scott Coatsworth

**TCO is so excited to be back as a Featured Blogger with the 2017 GayRomLit Conference, to be held in Denver, CO in October. We will be hosting quite a few GRL authors here over the next few months with what they have to say on GRL. Also, we’ve set up a giveaway for all the GRL Featured Posts, so make sure you enter, there are some fantastic prizes ahead!!!**

Welcome to J. Scott Coatsworth!!!!

 

Surviving Your First GRL

by J. Scott Coatsworth

I am a GRL survivor.

I attended GRL last year, and I learned a few things, a few bits of knowledge I hope to impart to you, my future GRL virgin friend. So here it goes:

 

  • Whore Yourself Out Early: If you are a sponsored or featured author, find out who wants to buy your books at the con before you go. Contact your mailing list, and use the GRL Denver Facebook page. This will create some presales, get your fans excited about meeting you, and give you an idea what and how many to bring.
  • Save Your Babies: There’s nothing worse than having to make those end-of-con choices – which of your new books to leave behind when you fly home. So save some room in your bag or take a spare, or plan to ship those books back via UPS. You can probably steal an empty box from one of the publisher tables. 😉
  • Plan Your Costume: Think about your costume for the big party ahead of time – watch for the theme announcement. Seriously. I didn’t pay much attention to the fact that there was a Wizard of Oz-themed party at GRL, and ended up having a great costume idea – Flying Monkey Repairman – come to me on the night of the con. So instead of having an awesome costume to wear, like Angel’s head-to-toe-green wicked witch, I went with a badge sign that said “Flying Monkey Repairman”. Less than inspiring.
  • Be a Local Foodie: It’s easy to spend a lot of money on food at these cons – hotel restaurants aren’t cheap. So when you first get to the Marriott, chat up the concierge about local places to eat, and check out the menus of the on-site eateries early to figure out where you can shave off a few bucks. You’ll seem like a restaurant whiz to your new GRL friends.
  • Network Network Network: Make plans early for lunches, coffees and dinners with the folks you want to spend time with. Most of them will want to spend time with you too – that’s what the weekend is all about. Don’t know anyone? Not a problem. Hang out in the lobby at dinner time and pounce on author groups as they head to dinner. A sad, hungry face works really well for this – practice it at home until your kids/spouse/live-in parents can’t see it without bringing you food. 😛
  • Closet Therapy: Most of us writer folk are introverts by nature who force ourselves to be extroverts at cons. This is sustainable for a few days, but if you find yourself wearing a bit thin, take your desk chair, your laptop or tablet, and one of those little hotel bottles of rum or vodka and make yourself a dark little writer cave in your hotel room closet. Write your brains out for an hour (or until you run out of rum). Then return to the con a little saner and more centered. Rinse and repeat as needed.
  • Be Warped and Wonderful! You spent a lot of money and time to be at GRL. For many of us, this is one of our two or three chances during the year to spend time with others who are as warped and wonderful as we are. Go to the Cock Walk (if there is one this year) and bid on some wonderful penis art. Engage in as many conversations as you can with other writers and readers. And soak it all up like sunshine to last you until your next hit.

If anything goes wrong, don’t sweat it. Just remember—next year you’ll be a GRL pro.

 


J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott was first indoctrinated into the worlds of science fiction and fantasy by his mother at the young age of nine. He devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the stories he was reading.

He decided that if there weren’t enough gay characters in his favorite genres, he would write them himself.

He runs two community websites—Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink—with his husband Mark. Both sites celebrate authors and fiction that reflect queer reality.

Check out all of Scott’s works here:

Amazon US

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK


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Fire and Fog by Andrew Grey: Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Carlisle police officer Dwayne knows what Robin is doing the moment he lays eyes on the young man at Bronco’s club. But he doesn’t know that, like him, Robin also comes from a family who cast him out for being gay, or that he’s still lugging around the pain of that rejection. Robin leaves the club, and soon after Dwayne decides to as well—and is close by when things between Robin and his client turn violent.

When Dwayne finds out Robin is the victim of a scam that lost him his apartment, he can’t leave Robin to fend for himself on the streets. Despite Dwayne’s offer of help and even opening up his home, it’s hard for Robin to trust anything good. The friendship between them grows, and just as the two men start warming up to each other, Robin’s sister passes away, naming Robin to care for her son. Worse yet, their pasts creep back in to tear down the family and sense of belonging both of them long for.

Will their fledgling romance dissipate like fog in the sun before it has a chance to burn bright?

Title: Fire and Fog

Author: Andrew Grey

Series: Carlisle Cops #6

Genre:  M/M Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: July 7 2017

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

I write a lot of guest posts for a lot of blogs.  But I love this one. mainly because the name is so cool.  See it speaks to me.  I may not be a chick, but I am obsessed with books.  I have hundreds of them on my Kindle and more on the bookshelves in my house.  I have been a reader for most of my life.  As a kid I used to go to bed and read The Hardy Boys mysteries.  Later I read classics and adventure stories.  Finally I found gay romance and I was hooked.  Completely and totally.  Obsession confirmed.   I also love eye candy.  After all I am a gay man and there are few things more beautiful than a handsome man…well maybe a handsome man, naked, lying on his back with I want you eyes and….Well you get the picture.  Thankfully Dominic is the best eye candy ever.

Robin lay still for a long time. His life had gone to hell, and he kept descending further and further by the day. Now he was homeless, in essence, lying on a surprisingly comfortable sofa in a stranger’s living room, and wondering just when the next shoe was going to drop. He could see all the way into the dining area and kitchen from where he lay and it seemed rather homey and brought his predicament into focus.

He jumped when water ran, wondered if Dwayne was up, but it was somewhere else in the building.

If he was honest with himself, he wouldn’t have minded so much if Dwayne had been interested. Robin had to admit Dwayne was hot, and when Robin closed his eyes, his mind did an efficient job of pulling away Dwayne’s club clothes and filling in all the blanks.

Eventually Robin slept, then woke with a start at the clink of dishes. The night had been warm and he’d pushed the blankets off. He rolled over and wished he hadn’t, because after a night with images of Dwayne running through his head, jumbled up with the other things that had happened to him, he was as hard as a rock and completely confused. Still he didn’t want to be flashing Dwayne.

“Did you sleep okay?” Dwayne asked as the scent of coffee filled the apartment, calling to Robin like a siren of the morning.

“Yes. Thanks.” His arousal went down as his reality sank in hard. There was nothing for him to get excited about.

“I’ll have breakfast ready in ten minutes or so. Go on and get cleaned up if you want.” Dwayne seemed to watch him for longer than necessary before turning away to get out some pans. Robin took the opportunity to escape, hurried to the bathroom, closed the door, and paused to breathe once he was safely inside.

He gasped and leaned against the door as everything from the past few months pressed down on him like a lead weight. What the hell was going to happen to him now? He’d failed at everything. Hell, he couldn’t even hustle properly and got picked up by a cop his first time out. He had no home, a few bills in his pocket, and didn’t know where his next meal was coming from.

Robin slid down the door and ended up scrunched at the base of it in a heap, unwilling and unable to move. He knew he had to get up and somehow do what he needed to leave this room before Dwayne thought something was wrong and came looking for him. Falling to pieces was one thing, but someone seeing him do it was completely different. He needed to be strong so no one thought they could take advantage of him.

Using the door handle, he pulled himself to his feet, then ran water and splashed it on his face. He’d forgotten to get his toothbrush and stuff before he’d made his escape, so he screwed up his courage, left the bathroom, and returned to the living room, where he opened the top box and found what he needed in a CVS bag. He also grabbed some cleanish clothes and then raced back to the bathroom as everything boiled to the surface. He tamped it down and managed to get behind a closed door one more time, stared at himself in the mirror, and tried to see the part of him that had fucked everything up so badly. Maybe he did have loser written on his forehead. Robin actually checked. He couldn’t see anything, but there had to be something, because he’d sure drawn the loser stick in life.

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

Fire and Water (1)

Fire and Ice (2)

Fire and Rain (3)

Fire and Snow (4)

Fire and Hail (5)

Fire and Fog (6)


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Survivor by TM Smith: Cover Reveal, Guest Post, and Giveaway

Taylor Langford was only thirteen years old when his world was torn apart, his parents killed during a supposed robbery gone bad. With no other living relatives, the young boy certainly would have wound up another statistic of foster care were it not for the intervention of the policeman that found Taylor hiding in the crawl space his mother hid him in that fateful night.

Frank Moore went to work for the Dallas Police Department not long after he graduated from the academy. He was still a rookie when he and his partner answered a call in one of the cities more affluent neighborhoods, Devonshire. At first they thought the young boy in the various pictures in the home had been kidnapped until they found him, shaken but alive, in a crawl space in the attic.

Officer Moore recognizes the pain in the kid’s eyes, having lost his own mother when he was just a boy to cancer. He intervenes. Making sure Taylor is placed with a loving foster family and over the years, becomes a permanent fixture in Taylor’s life.

A decade later the case still remains unsolved and the once gangly, uncertain teenager is now a college graduate coming home to the man that helped mold and shape his life, the man he’s loved for as long as he can remember, Frank Moore. But Taylor isn’t the only person returning to Dallas and while Frank is distracted, trying to convince Taylor that infatuation and love are two entirely different things, the past creeps up on them, determined to finish what was started ten years ago.

Meet Taylor and Frank!

I’ve been a fan of actor Matthew Daddario for a while and always wanted to write his likeness into a character. I’m especially fond of Matthew in the role of Shadowhunter Alec Lightwood on the Shadowhunters. When I first started laying out the character Taylor, Matthew continued to pop into my head as Taylor. He’s tall, dark and handsome and the perfect fit for the story and the character.

 

I was a huge Sonny and Will fan until Days lost their mind and completely destroyed the couple. That was where I first saw Brant Daugherty as one of Sonny’s boyfriends. Frank is ten years older than Taylor in the story and I think that Brant and his appearance when considered age wise along side Matthew is the perfect fit.

The tentative release date for Survivor is August 1st at this time. Depending on writing, editing and scheduling I’m hoping a little sooner but that will all depend on circumstances.

And now the cover…

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WOW!

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