Showing Him the Ropes by Christa Tomlinson: Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

Christa-tomlinson-jayaheer2016-Finalimagesynopsis

Chance “The Chancellor” Gerhardt is a mainstay for Frontier Professional Wrestling. He’s won multiple championships and has the respect of the locker room. But after ten years at the top, Chance is looking for a new challenge. The one he gets, mentoring FPW’s young rookie, is both unexpected and unwanted.

Devin Jacobs is a hot new talent signed by Frontier Professional Wrestling. He’s always been a fan of The Chancellor, and not just because of the older man’s skill in the ring. He has it bad for the steely eyed veteran wrestler. Unfortunately for Devin, The Chancellor isn’t looking to get involved with anyone. Or is he? During long nights traveling and working together, Devin catches more than one secretly admiring glance from The Chancellor…

Devin is determined to earn victories and championships in the ring. But he’d also love the opportunity to win Chance’s heart. Can the two of them navigate their way through the hyper masculinity and backstage politics of professional wrestling to the most important victory of all? Or will their shot at love be defeated 1-2-3?

Guest Post

Hello everyone! My name is Christa Tomlinson. And my latest release, Showing Him the Ropes is now available. Showing Him the Ropes is the story of two men, Chance and Devin, who find love in the chaotic and hyper masculine world of professional wrestling. Today, I’d like to share with you all an excerpt from their story.

Devin was back on the road with Chance. The start of the loop had gone well tonight, with a successful live TV recording. It had been a long day; flying into Philadelphia, working out, practicing in the ring to get adjusted to FPW’s style, then watching and studying the two-hour show from backstage. But the day was nearly over. He just had to get through this long drive to Harrisburg.

He looked at the clock then at the speedometer. At the rate Chance was driving, they had about another forty-five minutes before they reached the hotel. Chance apparently was happy to listen to music the entire drive. Devin wasn’t. He reached forward and turned the radio down.

“You and Pollux mesh well in the ring. You guys had my favorite match tonight.”

Chance’s eyes flicked to the stereo then to him. He looked back at the road before he answered. “Thanks, he’s a good hand to work with.” He started to reach for the radio to turn it back up, but Devin spoke again.

“Although I have to say, probably my favorite match of all time was you versus Mike Abbot. That feud was amazing, and the final match you had was brutal. I remember at the end, Abbot caught you with an enzinguri kick. He busted you open, and it was obvious your bell was rung from the way you stumbled back and weaved on your feet.”

Devin thought back to that match. It wasn’t hard to do. He’d only watched it about twenty times. Chance had looked legitimately dazed. But he’d forcefully shaken it off and finished the match. With blood streaming down his face, he’d grabbed Abbot and carried out his finisher. Once he’d tapped, Chance had thrown him to the side, grabbed the top rope and roared right into the camera. It was completely unexpected and out of character for The Chancellor, who was usually calm and smug in his acceptance of victory. That roar was usually the moment when Devin… He coughed and cut off that train of thought.

“But you kept going, blood dripping down your face onto your chest, and finished the match. It really put a stamp on the brutality of the feud.”

“Thanks. It took seven staples to close up that gash. I think I had a headache for a week straight.”

“But you didn’t miss any shows.”

“You know better than that,” Chance said in a dry voice.Showing Him The Ropes Square

Devin smiled because he did know. In their business, everyone worked with minor injuries. Sometimes they worked with major ones until there was a good place in the script to write them off. Or in the case of broke indie wrestlers, money to pay for the surgery. It was a fact of wrestlers’ life. “True. What’s the most hurt you’ve ever worked?”

“A partially torn meniscus would probably be the worst. But the most aggravating was breaking two fingers on my right hand. They were taped pretty good, but every time I had to grab somebody it hurt.”

Devin winced. “That was about five years ago. I remember seeing your hand taped up.”

“You sure know a lot about me.”

“You were my favorite when I was watching in high school,” he said with a slightly embarrassed shrug. “I know you were a history teacher wrestling in the indies on the weekends when Mr. Mercer found you. He convinced you to go full time for his new company and within a year you were the top heel for FPW. You’re from Memphis, but over the years you’ve reined in your Southern accent on your promos. You’ve been the tag team champion twice. The last reign ended when you turned on your partner. You’ve held the Heavyweight Championship six times. Your last run with it was two years ago until you lost to Garret, which gave him his first title win.” He paused to look at Chance out of the corner of his eye. “What can I say? I was a proud Chancellor fan boy.”

“Is that right?”

“Yep. I had your t-shirt and everything.”

“You said were. I’m not your favorite anymore?”

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Chance immediately wished he could call them back. It’d be alright if they’d come out casually, like he was joking. But they hadn’t. His voice was low and husky, and in the quiet privacy of the dark car, it sounded like he was flirting. Which he was. And he didn’t know why he kept doing it.

After a moment, Devin responded, his voice as low as Chance’s had been. “Maybe you still are. I like watching you now just as much as I did then.”

That’s my boys! As you can see, Devin isn’t shy about his attraction to Chance. And although Chance doesn’t want to admit it, he feels something for Devin as well. I had fun writing these two guys. Devin was such a cutie with his unashamedly over the top flirting and poor beleaguered Chance really did try to resist him. I hope you’ll check out the rest of their story to see how it all plays out between them.

Thanks for reading!

Christa

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morgan review

I do love Christa’s writing. This was such a fun read. You don’t have to be familiar with wresting to enjoy this book. Christa provides us with a section containing terms and thorough explanations to keep you from getting confused. There is so much emotion in this first book and she tells an amazing story. As I sit reading, I keep catching myself with these huge grins stretching my face and I swear I look like a mental patient. The massive grins just keep coming. The banter between Devin and Chance is hilarious.

Deep down Chance is a nice guy but can be rough around the edges and a real ass sometimes just like his on screen character. He never wanted anything to do with relationships. Seeing him slowly fall in love with Devin made my heart melt. Devin is such a fun, happy and outgoing person. It doesn’t take him long to grow on Chance. The attraction between them from the first moment is intense and when they finally give in to each other it’s damn hot as hell. Be prepared to hose yourself down or catch fire, lol. Christa knows how to write an amazing sex scene.

I also enjoyed getting to know some of the other wrestlers in FPW. They seemed like a big family with all the drama that goes with it. Tre’ really grew on me and I can’t wait to see how his story unfolds.

I did NOT want this to end. What a fantastic start to what I’m sure is going to be an awesome series. I still have unanswered questions and I cannot wait for the next release. Definitely a reread for me.

5 pieces of eye candy.

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meet the author

Book page on author website: http://www.christatomlinson.com/champions-of-desire.html

Website: http://www.christatomlinson.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ChristaTomlinsonAuthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4063407.Christa_Tomlinson?from_search=true

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShockZ314

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GRL 2016 Blog Post: K-Lee Klein “What GRL has taught me”

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Huge welcome to K-Lee Klein! Thanks for joining us on the Official GRL 2016 Blog Tour! We can’t wait to meet K-lee in October!

 

What GRL has taught me…

Hi, I’m K-lee. Welcome to my GRL post and a big thank you to Two Chicks Obsessed for being part of our blog tour and for letting me borrow their readers for a few minutes.

I am what you might call a GRL veteran. This year marks my fifth trip to the retreat, with only one missed due to what I’m going to talk about today—mobility. I was actually at the very first Gay Rom Lit in 2011 in the fabulous city of New Orleans. That was my only time attending as a reader and also the only time I went on my own two feet, so to speak.

In February 2012, I did something unusual to my left knee. I describe it that way because it was never diagnosed properly, at least until early Walker_Stalker2015 after three years spent on crutches (something to do with my patellar tendon.) Without going into too much boring detail, in August 2014 I tore the meniscus in my right knee mainly because there was so much wear and tear on the joint from being my only leg in use for so long. I ended up having to use a walker—I’ve affectionately named him Walker-Stalker—because neither of my legs is stable enough to risk going without.

Now back to the purpose of this post—mobility problems at conventions.

Going to GRL and other conventions on crutches was tough, especially being a Canadian and travelling to some of those hot and humid places—I swear Atlanta almost killed me, or in the least, melted me into the concrete. Crutches are a lot of work and they taxed my body in ways you don’t expect—arms, legs, back, neck, hands, feet. They made it difficult to fit in with the crowd because of the limitations of walking too far especially if pain is involved, and it definitely is with me. Crutches and chronic pain slowed me down when all I wanted was to keep up. They made me stand out when all I wanted to fade into the crowd.

But conventions like GRL have taught me that people can be very kind. Whether carrying books, coffee or lunch, standing to give up a chair or just offering small gestures or words of encouragement, humans can be supportive and empathetic—if you let them.

I should mention that leaving home at fifteen served to make me very independent and I’m extremely willful when it comes to asking for help.

Fast-forward to last year in San Diego after my crutches had been switched out for Walker-Stalker. I have to admit I was more nervous and self-conscious about showing up with my wheels and the urge to stay in my room was strong because of the insecurities running ’round my head. (Note, unfortunately because of the aforementioned anxiety, I’ve actually spent a large amount of time in my room at previous GRLs.) But thanks to some lovely ladies in San Diego, I didn’t give-in to those particular feelings. They know who they are and to this day I’m appreciative of their encouragement, kindness, and patience with me.

Now that’s not to say I’m cured of the stigma that Walker-Stalker creates in my head but it was definitely a start. And if I may name names for a minute—Carol Lynne was the one who got the kindness train moving for me when she offered a room close to the events at San Diego GRL. Thank God she did since the resort was so spread out, it would have been painful for me to hike back and forth. Her thoughtfulness saved me from a lot of that so thank you very much Carol.

Don’t get me wrong, GRL and other conventions still have the same physical limitations that regular life hands the mobility-challenged, but they can also offer softer alternatives and important lessons. I’ve learned that that the person most bothered when I ask for help is me. And just because I still feel weird dragging Walker-Stalker around with me, doesn’t mean everyone is looking at me in the same way. I even put this theory to the ultimate test by going to my first official costume ball dressed as the best damn Winter Soldier I could be, complete with my walker sidekick.

So what is the moral to my long-winded tale? Maybe it’s a call to arms for those of us who feel out of place bLucky in Loveland meduiumecause of whatever challenges we either have or even think we have. Maybe it’s a note to self that most times people don’t mind moving their chair so I can squeeze by, don’t find it a complete imposition to help carry something, reach for something, lift something. Maybe it’s simply a love letter to all the fabulous friends and even strangers who’ve helped me through the years or maybe it’s a personal note from me to you—letting you know it’ s okay to feel a little out of place orLost in Loveland_small copy different than anyone else because do you know what? I think most of us do.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you all at the next GRL or even just online. But before I go let me tell you about what I have coming up in my writing world.


Lost in Loveland
(the sequel to Lucky in Loveland) will be available for pre-order on August 15 with a release date of August 25. I will also have a new release in September—Gimme Shelter, a hurt/comfort story about a rock cellist and a Celtic fiddler, will be out on September 10th.

And if I may be so bold, I have a rerelease about a man who learns the ultimate lesson about asking for a little help coming out this week. Unbreak My Heart stars my favorite cowboy, Brett Taylor, and will be released on August 5, 2016 from Dreamspinner Press. Here’s what it’s all about.

 

UnbreakMyHeart_smallsynopsis

Brett Taylor’s world collapsed three years ago when he lost the love of his life. Almost as bad as the grief is the advice he’s starting to get from everyone and their brother, telling him it’s time to move on. They’re flat-out wrong. He left his career as a musician and escaped to his ranch because he needs the peace and quiet, and he’s doing just fine. He doesn’t want anyone invading his memory-filled, booze-fueled solitude.

JT Campbell’s world has been defined by his parents’ money, status, and his own empty relationships, until he’s desperately sick of it. A quest to find something meaningful leads him to Brett’s failing ranch. It’s supposed to be a brief stay. JT never wanted to be anyone’s savior or compete with the ghosts of lovers past. Still, he can’t help wanting this gruff and grieving man.

JT’s mind knows it’s a bad idea, but his heart keeps pushing him to find out what lies beneath Brett’s rough and broken exterior. Brett’s not going to make it easy. JT can only be patient, keep his sense of humor, and hope for the day he may be allowed far enough into Brett’s world to unbreak his heart.

 

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meet the author

13423985_10153550038972793_381138425107203478_nK-lee Klein loves guys with long hair and tattoos, and you’ll often find her front and center at her favorite rock concerts. She has bounced around Western Canada all her life, but will always consider the solitude and beauty of the British Columbian mountains home. Her life is blessed as the proud mother of three now-grown but still spoiled kids, the servant of two bossy felines, and the wife of a truly patient husband.GRL Featured Author

Her writing muse is terribly temperamental, so to keep him close by and in check, she had him inked on her left calf. The gorgeous, long-haired, mostly naked, kneeling angel that resulted is truly a work of art, although he’s still a handful and hopelessly uncontrollable. She writes on his schedule and inspiration.

K-lee tends to fall easily into obsessions. When something grabs her attention, she jumps into it headfirst with complete abandon. Actors, musicians, superheroes, fictional characters, and brainwashed assassins all hold spots on her cannot-get-enough list. She once followed Thirty Seconds to Mars around the United States and Canada and saw them perform fourteen times that year. Obsession sometimes leads to ideas for her kneeling angel to turn into stories.

Although an introvert in person, she’s extroverted online and has met many wonderful friends there, sometimes with the added fun of meeting them in person at gay romance conferences. She’s grateful for all the people in her life who accept her as she is and support her through her ups and downs as mom, wife, and joyfully obsessed writer.

Places to find K-lee.

Website – kleeklein.com

Blog – http://chaosinthemoonlight.blogspot.ca

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Klee_Klein

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kleemoon

Facebook author/reader group https://www.facebook.com/groups/812548795471921/

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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.

Checkmate by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna: Release Day Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

CheckmateFS_v2synopsis

When sword for hire Teodoro Ciéza de Vivar accepts a commission to “rescue” Lord Christian Blackwood from unsuitable influences, he has no idea he’s landed himself in the middle of a plot to assassinate King Philip IV of Spain and blame the English ambassador for the deed. Nor does he expect the spoiled child he’s sent to retrieve to be a handsome, engaging young man.

As Teodoro and Christian face down enemies at every turn, they fall more and more in love, an emotion they can’t safely indulge with the threat of the Inquisition looming over them. It will take all their combined guile and influence to outmaneuver the powerful men who would see them separated… or even killed.

Title: Checkmate
Series: All for Love: Book One
Authors: Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna
Release Date: July 25, 2016
Category: Historical: European
Pages: 294

denise review

Way back when I started reading romance novels, I read historicals. Any that I could get my hands on. And I still to this day love historical romance novels. There aren’t a lot of them in the m/m romance world, so when I see one I grab it like I’m dying of thirst, and I just came upon an oasis. This one didn’t disappoint.

The book is set in the year 1624, during the height of the Spanish Inquisition, when sodomy was a crime punishable by death, and the right words placed in an ear could cause a man to be arrested, tried, convicted, then paid with his life, all in the period of days.

Teodoro fought his attraction to Christian for quite a while, not because he had issues being with a man, but because he knew that it would prove a distraction for him as protector. Christian, however, was not deterred and when they finally were able to give in to their passion, it was that much sweeter, because by that point the love had grown so strong between them.

There were swordfights to the death, as well as treason which began the journey for these men. And the vocabulary was amazing. To have that much written word be so timely and accurate, for someone who has always enjoyed historical novels, was amazing to read. It never took me out of the story, in fact it kept me fully engaged. Even when I looked up a word because I wanted to know what it was, or what the origin was, it kept me involved in the story. (In fact, one of my favorites was seeing a word that became an origin for pedophile-weird I know, but I love vocabulary.) These authors mastered the vocabulary so well that it flowed seamlessly through the book, which is not always the case.

There was one piece that did pull me from the story, at least in the first 30% or so, until I became used to it. The entire book has changing point of view, quite often paragraph to paragraph. This was challenging as a reader, as I hadn’t experienced that type of POV change before. It did point out to me that sometimes I do skip over the names of who the narrator is, as I quite often had to read back to the beginning sentence in the paragraph to make sure I understood who’s POV I was reading.

All in all, a very engaging read, with dynamic characters, that evolved through the book. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more in this series world.

4 pieces of eye candy

 

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Guest Post

Checking on Checkmate

When writing a historical novel, unless it’s alternative history, it’s expected that you’ll get the facts right and the dates accurate. Only in steampunk can you get away with having your Civil War general use a GPS device to track enemy troop movements. In plotting the All for Love series, we reviewed European history and drafted a timeline of key events that would play into our storylines for each novel. While some elements may seem unlikely—one of our editors questioned whether the king of France and the queens of Spain and England at the time were all children of Marie de Medici (they were)—we were confident the stories would hold up through the mandatory historical content reviews that are part of Dreamspinner’s editorial process.

We hadn’t considered the etymological checking.

Etymology is the history of words or phrases from their earliest recorded usage in the language in which they occur. Failing to check etymology can result in a historical character spouting modern slang, which is guaranteed to pull a reader out of the story even if they’re not quite sure why. So while we hadn’t necessarily considered etymology when writing the stories, the review resulted in some interesting findings.

Checkmate begins in 1624. So while there’s no issue with having our characters refer to “the end justifying the means” (from Machiavelli’s The Prince, written in 1532), or “tilting at windmills” (from Cervantes’ Don Quixote, published in 1605), we were surprised to discover that Christian couldn’t be traveling in Spain as part of his Grand Tour—the phrase wasn’t in use until 1670. That was an easy fix—we just took the reference out. We also made a number of word changes because the terms weren’t in use during the early seventeenth century. A few examples:

  • outfit (1769 or 1852, depending on the source) became garments
  • hypnotized (1843) became stunned
  • sizing up (meaning “estimate” from 1847) became assessing
  • risqué (1867) became bawdy
  • foodstuffs (1872) became victuals
  • needling (1881 in the sense of “to goad”) became baiting

There were a few words we decided to keep, even though the first date of use was slightly later than our timeframe, because they were relatively close (under a hundred years) and we couldn’t find an alternative word that fit as well. These included sardonic (1630s), eclectic (1680s), and rakish (1706).

Even things as simple as everyday household items weren’t always kosher (a term we couldn’t have used, since it dates from 1850). Bedsheet was first used in the fifteenth century and towel in the thirteenth century, so we had no issues there, but washcloth (1863) or washrag (1856) were out. In fact, the whole concept of bathing was questioned as being quite uncommon at the time—and in fact arranging a bath for Christian took quite an effort and was seen, by Esteban at least, as proof that he was nothing but a spoiled, pampered nobleman.

There were several phrases the editor flagged as “too modern sounding” that after consideration we decided to keep. House of cards dated from 1645, but we thought people had been playing cards long enough before then that the concept didn’t feel out of place. The first recorded use of turned on his heels was 1751, but we reasoned that people wore heels and turned on them before then. And take a page from his book couldn’t be dated, but since books and pages had been around since the invention of the printing press in 1440 and as handwritten manuscripts before that, we didn’t think it felt too modern.

The most significant sections where we ran into challenges were, maybe not surprisingly, in our love scenes. While the editor nixed our using working girl to refer to a prostitute, we had quite a few options to choose from—strumpet (early fourteenth century), harlot (fifteenth century), courtesan (1533), temptress (1594), bawd (1700). Engaging in frottage was out—the term wasn’t in use until 1935—so we substituted erotic friction instead.

The biggest issue, though, was that the edit flagged our uses of lover, making love, and lovemaking. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, while lover meaning “one who has a predilection for” (a thing, concept, pursuit, etc.) is mid-fourteenth century, as a form of address to a lover, it dates from 1911. Lovemaking meaning “courtship” is from the mid-fifteenth century; make love from 1570s in the sense “pay amorous attention to;” as a euphemism for “have sex,” it is attested from about 1950.

We responded that we would consider period-accurate alternatives if someone could provide us with any. Unfortunately the only suggestions the editors could make were companion in place of lover or joining in place of making love. And to us, those just don’t have the same connotations. We were willing to take a stand here since we felt it would be more distracting to our readers to not use words like lover or lovemaking in a romance novel, even if they are “too modern” for the historical period.

What do you think? Are you bothered by words like lover or lovemaking in a historical romance, and if so, what terms would you use in their place? We’ll pick one comment to give away an eBook from either of our backlists.

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meet the author

Growing up in Chicago, Nicki Bennett spent every Saturday at the central library, losing herself in the world of books. A voracious reader, she eventually found it difficult to find enough of the kind of stories she liked to read and decided to start writing them herself.

Visit Nicki:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011754789784

E-Mail: nickibennett1@gmail.com

 

When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.

She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands).

Visit Ariel:

Website: www.arieltachna.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ArielTachna

E-mail: arieltachna@gmail.com

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The authors are offering a free eBook of any title from either of their backlists to one reader who leaves a comment on the post. Tell us, what words would you have used to describe lover or lovemaking?

 

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Endings and Beginnings by K.C. Wells & Parker Williams : Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

EndingsandBeginningsFSsynopsis

In all his relationships, Darren Fielding never found the level of intimacy he witnessed between Thomas Williams and his sub, Peter, the day of Peter’s “rebirth.” Not only that, he never realized such intimacy was possible. For two years, Thomas’s business card has been burning a hole in his wallet. When Darren’s lover moves on, maybe it’s finally time to see where that card takes him.

Collars & Cuffs’s new barman, JJ Taylor, is really conflicted right now. He went to the club with a very specific purpose, already convinced of what he’d find there. Except it’s not what he expected at all. He certainly didn’t anticipate finding himself drawn to the new wannabe Dom. Nor could he have guessed the direction that attraction would lead him.

Old love, new love, vows, pain, rage, moving in, moving on…. The members of Collars & Cuffs face an event that touches some of them deeply, but it will only reinforce what they already know: together they are stronger, and some bonds cannot be broken.

Author Names: K.C. Wells & Parker Williams

Book Name: Endings and Beginnings

Series: Collars & Cuffs

Book: Eight

This is the final book in the series, which should be read from Beginning to End. 😉 (See what we did there?)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Release Date: July 18, 2016

Pages or Words: 121,429

Categories: Contemporary, BDSM, Fiction, M/M Romance

Goodreads Link

excerpt

“Honey, I’m home.”

Alex laughed and came out of the kitchen to greet his husband. “We’ve talked about this, right? You do not walk into this apartment and talk to me like I’m the little wife.”960x350

Leo kissed him soundly on the cheek. “Aw, but you’d look great in an apron, holding a glass of beer out for your weary, hard-working hubby.” He smirked. “And besides, no one in their right mind would call you little.”

Alex quirked his eyebrows. “One, you don’t drink beer, which is why there’s a glass of chilled chardonnay on the living room table, waiting for you. Two, excuse me—weary? Hard-working? You’ve been standing around in leather chaps and a harness, watching while guys do all manner of things to each other, which probably included a lot of fucking, because, hey, it’s Saturday night, right?”

Leo sighed happily. “What can I say? I love my job.”

 Guest Post

Make sure to read part one of the ‘Secrets’ at Full Moon Dreaming!

 

Jeff: Oh, sure. Why not? I’ve already embarrassed myself enough times that by now it’s second nature. You know that I had been taking drugs, right? I needed them to get through the problems in my life. I tried really hard not to take them, but they seemed to make things easier. Well, my secret is that sometimes when I’ve disappointed Damien, I wish I had a pill hidden somewhere. Something that will take that expression from his face so I don’t have to see it. Dr. Herne tells me that’s normal. She says my mind remembers the numbness and how good it felt, but my body remembers what happened to it while I was under the influence. I don’t want to take another pill, because I know that no matter what I do from then on, Damian will always look at me with disappointment.

Damian: So everyone has to do this? Okay, I guess. My secret is that sometimes I miss being a Dom. Going to the club, using a sub for the night, then coming home all relaxed and boneless, having a glass of wine, then sleeping until late the next day. It’s taken a lot of hard work and energy to get to where I am with Jeff.

And in the early days, I found myself wondering if it was worth the effort. But as we grew into our roles, corrected the mistakes each of us made, and actually started communicating, I berated myself. One of the things about being a Dom is helping your submissive in reaching his potential. Though Jeff’s not my sub, I still get the glow of helping to guide him as he strives to become more than what he ever thought possible.

Dorian: Sure, why not? After what I did, it’s not like I have much left in the way of dignity. You’ve seen the tattoo on my back. The one that says ‘Alan’s’ along with the brand that says ‘Loch’? Sometimes in the quiet of the night, I think back to that night in Germany, and I can’t help wonder if I deserved what they did to me. I’d done some downright awful things at Collars & Cuffs, including almost breaking up Master Leo and Alex. I figure that what happened might have been penance of a sort. I admit to being an awful person back then, and if what happened to me was retribution, then I gladly accept that. But not for the reason you might think. I was on a destructive downward spiral. I was so desperate to find what I thought I was missing, that I would have done even worse. But then Alan came to me, and showed me I wasn’t really missing anything. I was just looking in the wrong place for it.

Alan: Are you sure you want to hear this? It won’t paint me in a very good light, I’m afraid. Everyone says, “Oh, I want to kill them’ at some point in their lives. Usually they don’t really mean it. But if I could get my hands on the men who hurt Dorian. Who fucking branded him, and made him feel worthless? I would kill them. And it wouldn’t be fast. I would make sure they suffered like he did. I would ensure that their last minutes would be agonizing, and they’d actually beg me to kill them. But I have a more pressing responsibility now. Dorian’s become my life, and if I were to go out and act in vengeance, I would lose that. So while I may harbor thoughts of revenge, I’m afraid they’ll have to remain locked away. Or maybe I could write a book, and put those men into it. Never anger a writer, gentlemen.

Jarod: Well, by now everyone has seen me at my worst, so why not? The first time I realized I thought of Eli as my master, and not Phillip, I felt a disconnect. Like how could I forget the man who’d given me everything? Who was everything? But then I remember who Phillip was. The kind, caring man who loved with his whole heart. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he wouldn’t want me to mourn him forever. He’d be so angry with me if I hadn’t gone out and found love. But there are still times I miss him with an ache that I can’t imagine ever being bridged. When Eli first found out, I thought he’d be angry or, at the very least, hurt. What did he do? He wrapped me in his arms and held me. He told me there was nothing wrong with missing Phillip. That he’d always be a part of me, and Eli was grateful that I had him in my life, because he helped me become the person Eli had fallen in love with. So when I think of Phillip now, I do it with a sense of pride, because I’m happy once more, and I’m thankful for what he did for a scared young man, who he helped become the person he was meant to be.

Eli: My secret isn’t really much of one. I know that Jarod loves me, and I love him. But there are times that I find myself with just a hint of jealousy over the life he shared with Phillip. Not the love they had. That I’m grateful for, because Jarod deserves to be loved. No, what I’m jealous of is that Phillip could give Jarod the kind of life I never could. I think of it as a grand gesture when I’m able to take him to dinner once every few months, because our household budget doesn’t have the money to spend on extravagances. Then I think that Phillip could call up a jet to take Jarod out for dinner in France because he had a craving for escargot or something. How can I compete with that? But then I see him in the kitchen, singing along to something on the radio, putting together our lunch of beans and toast, and he’s…happy. Then I feel slightly ashamed that I though Jarod could ever be interested in that kind of life over the one we share now.

Darren: I’m going to admit it, but I’ve never really said it out loud. I was so glad when Michael told me that we were through, and that he was moving out of our place. We never really clicked in the way I thought we would. Hell, I never clicked with anyone the way I hoped. Ever since seeing Peter and Thomas together, I don’t know that I could ever find that in any of the relationships I had. But when Michael moved out, I recalled I had a card in my wallet that invited me to check out a club. And you know what? I’m going to do it.

JJ: Secrets? Oh, I have one. But if you want to know what it is, you’re going to have to read ‘Endings and Beginnings’ by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams. When you find out what I’ve been hiding from everyone, you’ll probably be shocked. But what’s more, when you find out where it leads me, you may be angry.

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 meet the author

K.C. Wells:

Born and raised in the north-west of England, K.C. WELLS always loved writing. Words were important. Full stop. However, when childhood gave way to adulthood, the writing ceased, as life got in the way. K.C. discovered erotic fiction in 2009, when the purchase of a ménage storyline led to the startling discovery that reading about men in love was damn hot. In 2012, arriving at a really low point in life led to the desperate need to do something creative. An even bigger discovery waited in the wings—writing about men in love was even hotter….

K.C. now writes full-time and is loving every minute of her new career. The laptop still has no idea of what hit it… it only knows that it wants a rest, please. And it now has to get used to the idea that where K.C goes, it goes.

And as for those men in love that she writes about? The list of stories just waiting to be written is getting longer… and longer….

Where to find K.C. Wells:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KCWellsWorld

Facebook Author Page:   https://www.facebook.com/pages/KCWells/223608907761521

Twitter: @K_C_Wells

Parker Williams (or at least his voices):

 Good day! We are the voices that live inside Will’s head. The ones who whisper to him constantly, beckoning him to speak of our adventures, to tell of our love, and perhaps, if we’re in a mood, kill a person or two.

We guide his hand as he tells our tales where love is the most powerful force, but must be worked for, molded, and finally, embraced. There can be no shortcuts or substitutions on the path to a happily ever after.

We hope you will join with us as Will fulfills his obligation to ensure our stories are told and, we hope, enjoyed.

Where to find Parker Williams:

Connect with Parker on: Twitter: @ParkerWAuthor

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/parker.williams.75641

Or you can visit his website: www.ParkerWilliamsAuthor.com

Tour Dates & Stops:

18-Jul

Multitasking Mommas, Boy Meets Boy Reviews, Book Lovers 4Ever, Gay Book Reviews, Hearts on Fire, Gay Media Reviews, The Novel Approach, Prism Book Alliance, MM Good Book Reviews

19-Jul

A.M. Leibowitz, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Three Books Over The Rainbow, The Dark Arts, Unquietly Me

20-Jul

Alpha Book Club, V’s Reads, Up All Night, Read All Day, My Fiction Nook, Havan Fellows

21-Jul

Kiki’s Kinky Picks, Full Moon Dreaming, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Molly Lolly, Man 2 Mantastic

22-Jul

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Cate Ashwood, Love Bytes, Dawn’s Reading Nook

25-Jul

BFD Book Blog, Open Skye Book Reviews, 3 Chicks After Dark, Jessie G. Books, MM Book Escape

26-Jul

Rednecks and Romance, Caraway Carter, Cathy Brockman Romances, Iyana Jenna, Emotion in Motion

27-Jul

Chris McHart, Velvet Panic, All I Want and More Books, Bonkers About Books, Joyfully Jay

28-Jul

Divine Magazine, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Inked Rainbow Reads, Bayou Book Junkie

29-Jul

Making It Happen, Happily Ever Chapter, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

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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 Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom by Kate McMurray: New Release Blast and Guest post

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synopsis

Marriage gets less convenient when love is involved.

It started simple: Ondrej Kovac marries Archie Katsaros so Ondrej can stay in the US, away from his judgmental family in eastern Europe. Archie marries Ondrej in exchange for the money to bail out his failing company. It’s a fraud neither man is convinced he can pull off.

But as Archie introduces Ondrej to New York society and Ondrej proves his skill in the office, they start to discover a connection between them. Can they overcome the rocky foundation their relationship was built on, meddling immigration agents, gossip columnists determined to out their deception, and an aggressive executive set on selling Archie’s company out from under him? Only if they can prove to each other their love is worth fighting for.

Title: The Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom
Author: Kate McMurray
Release Date: July 15, 2016
Category: Dreamspun Desires, Contemporary
Pages: 218

Guest Post

 

My high school best friend lived overseas for three years between undergrad and law school. He’d done a summer program in Europe between junior and senior year and fell in love with the city he’d lived in. When he went back for his three-year stint as an ex-pat, he fell in love with a man.

Shortly after he moved to New York for law school, we had coffee and he explained that his boyfriend was having trouble getting a visa to stay in the U.S., so they were rendezvousing in England, somewhere they could both meet without risk of deportation, every other month. My friend had gotten a job against the rules of his program, which forbid first-year law students from working because it distracted from studying, so that he could afford to fly to England a few times a semester.

That was unsustainable; my friend wound up finishing law school in London. He and his now husband set up a life there. It sounds grand and romantic, but it’s complicated by the fact that my friend had been accepted at one of the best law schools in the country, located close to his family and friends, but the love of his life was on the other side of the ocean. If the Defense of Marriage Act had not still been the law of the land, the story might have played out differently. When the U.S. Supreme Court finally did make marriage equality a reality for every American, my friend already had a life and a home in Europe.

But he was very much on my mind when the law changed. And he was on my mind when I started writing a book about a gay green card marriage.

Because that’s a thing you can have now.

It’s one of those tropes you see on TV or in books that plays out in predictable ways: two people enter into a marriage of convenience so that one of them can stay in the U.S., despite risking getting caught by Immigration. And there’s always a scene where Immigration does a home visit and nearly catches the lie.

I researched it, and it turns out that there are too many green card marriages for Immigration to actually check up on all of them, so the reality is that, although marriage fraud is illegal, a lot of people who enter into such arrangements are probably not caught. But large sums of money being exchanged do tend to catch the attention of Immigration.

Anyway, there’s some reality in those old silly tropes, and I tried to be conscious of it as I wrote. Hopefully the book is mostly just fun, though.

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Dreamspinner Press

 

meet the author

Kate McMurray is an award-winning romance author and an unabashed romance fan. When she’s not writing, she works as a nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with base­ball. She has served as President of Rainbow Romance Writers and is currently the president of the New York City chapter of RWA. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Website: http://www.katemcmurray.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/katemcmwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katemcmurraywriter

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

All the Wrong Places by Ann Gallagher : Guest Post, Book Blast and Giveaway

AllTheWrongPlaces_600x900 synopsis

Three cheating girlfriends in a row have given skateboarder Brennan Cross the same excuse: he wasn’t meeting their needs. Desperate and humiliated, he goes to the professionals at the local sex shop for advice.

Zafir Hamady, a sales clerk at Red Hot Bluewater, has an unusual theory: he doesn’t think Brennan is a bad lover. In fact, he doesn’t think Brennan is heterosexual. Or sexual at all, for that matter. He also can’t stop thinking about Brennan. But even if he’s right and Brennan really is asexual, that doesn’t mean Zafir has a chance. Brennan’s never dated a man, and Zafir’s never met anyone who’s game for a Muslim single father with a smart mouth and a GED.

Brennan’s always thought of himself as straight. But when sex is explicitly out of the mix, he finds himself drawn to Zafir for the qualities and interests they share. And Zafir can’t help enjoying Brennan’s company and the growing bond between Brennan and his son. They work well together, but with so many issues between them, doubts creep in, and Brennan’s struggle with his identity could push away the one person he didn’t know he could love.

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Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/Ann Gallagher blog tour for All The Wrong Places!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding All The Wrong Places, but including books written as L.A. Witt or Lauren Gallagher) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 20th, and winners will be announced on June 21st. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

Guest Post

Learning About & Writing About Asexuality

All The Wrong Places was very much my first foray into writing asexual characters. Well, as the main characters anyway – Richie in Running With Scissors is asexual, but has only been a secondary character so far (his book is coming!). I really wanted to do it right, so I spent a lot of time reading about asexuality. In particular, I looked for as many stories as I could get my hands on about people realizing they were asexual and how it affected their lives.

Once I had a handle on that, I approached the book the same way I approached my very first M/M book, Rules of Engagement. The main character in that book was, like in All The Wrong Places, figuring out that maybe he wasn’t so sure about his sexuality after all. Dustin in Rules of Engagement is realizing he’s bisexual. Brennan in All The Wrong Places is realizing he’s asexual. I’ve been in Dustin’s shoes before, realizing I was bi in my early twenties, so it didn’t take much to empathize with his thought processes, his internal struggles, etc.

When it came time to write All The Wrong Places, I applied that same empathy to Brennan. How does it feel to rethink your sexuality? How much pressure does it add or remove to suddenly have this newfound understanding of yourself? What if people find out? What if you need to come out to people who might not understand, or have always thought you were straight? What if they react negatively?

I also think, in a way, I wrote both Dustin and Brennan out of a smidgen of envy. They both had something I would have sold my soul for – someone who shared their sexuality, had already been through the process, and could help them work through things until they figured out which way was up. In my case I didn’t need/want a partner like that – I was and still am perfectly happily married – but having someone to ask questions, commiserate, etc., while figuring things out would have been a lifesaver. So, I gave someone like that to Dustin and to Brennan. And then stomped on their hearts because I’m an author and I’m mean.

meet the author

Ann Gallagher is the slightly more civilized alter ego of L.A. Witt, Lauren Gallagher, and Lori A. Witt. So she tells herself, anyway. When she isn’t wreaking havoc on Spain with her husband and trusty two-headed Brahma bull, she writes romances just like her wilder counterparts, but without all the heat. She is also far too mature to get involved in the petty battle between L.A. and Lauren, but she’s seriously going to get even with Lori for a certain incident that shall not be discussed publicly.

 

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Riptide Publishing

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

GRL 2016 Featured Blog Post: Nicole Dennis Featured Author

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TCO is very excited to have our first Featured Author on the Official GRL Blog Tour. Thank you so much to Nicole Dennis for joining us today! Can’t wait to see you in October. 🙂

 

Balancing Reality with Fantasy

On the Road to GRL 2016

Nicole Dennis

Hello, I’m Nicole Dennis and thank you to Two Chicks Obsessed for being one of the wonderful Feature Bloggers for GRL 2016. This is my 4th GRL and for the first time, I’m a Featured Author. I get to enjoy a few more responsibilities in between the fun parts of the conference. It kind of reminds me of being stuck at the day job when all I wish to do is stay in the fantasy world of writing.

Like many authors, I have to figure out how to balance working a full-time job at a small CPA firm and going home to another full-time job as a writer. Unlike most corporate America, the firm is very low-key, on the quiet side when we’re not in the crazy main tax season from January to April, and quiet. My little corner is in the far back of the office, stuck amongst boxes of files, processing area and the kitchen. I’m able to keep my netbook on one side of the desk, iTunes playing on the latest mix I selected, and a Scrivener window up with the latest WIP.

Throughout the crazier parts of tax season, it’s very rare for me to do anything but process tax returns. I’m so tired and brain-dead by the e13336139_1336128883083166_45336646100486498_nnd of the day, I go home and veg. Sometimes I’m able to get some writing done, but most of the times my creative side is hidden under exhaustion and stress. The balancing act is tipped strong on the reality side.

After tax season, the balancing act shifts back to fantasy. With the work finished, often spread out throughout the work day, I’m able to concentrate on whatever WIP is calling my attention. My bosses don’t mind as long as I pay attention to whatever work they drop in front of me. Most of them are truly intrigued at my writing since they’re all entrenched deep in the linear, analytical side of their left brains. While I prefer to stay on the creative right side – yeah, did I mention I have a tendency to flip numbers around in columns and never see the mistake? A tad issue when you work for CPAs.

When I get home during after tax season, my stress-level is less, never gone completely, but the desire to create rides higher. With only Fat Cat keeping me company, I’m able to indulge and spend many hours on my laptop, lost in a story. Yeah, I admit to letting the dishes and laundry pile up while I tap away on the keyboard. Fat Cat don’t mind as long as her precious kibble drops from her feeder, her water tower remains full, and her automatic CatGenie litter box remains clean for her next visit. Simple kitteh needs. It is here that I’m the happiest.

I’ve known for a while I don’t belong in corporate America. I have a strong introvert nature with additions of a hyper-sensitive nature, depression and social anxiety. Yeah, it’s an insane mix of problems I’m constantly juggling to keep getting up and going every single day. Ideally, I would love to become a full-time author and be able to hide in my writing cave with Fat Cat to keep me company. Until my writing consistently covers the price of everyday living, I know the dream will have to remain just that.

So, the balancing act continues.

My latest release is Whatever It Takes with MLR Press.

 

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synopsis

At a crossroads in lifWHATEV-2e, one man will do whatever he must to rekindle the spark.

It takes an eye-opening talk for Riley Gordan to realize there’s something wrong in his twelve-year relationship with Conor Flemming. He creates extravagant events for same-sex proposals and weddings to over-the-top holiday parties, but he never considered one for Conor and him. Busier than ever, he realized his time with Conor had shrunk. He decides to use his event planning skills and put them to work to rekindle the spark.

Conor Flemming creates extraordinary cakes for anything from a cancer survivor’s celebration of life to a same-sex wedding, but never one for himself. When it comes to his life with Riley, he knows it’s failing, but not sure where it all went wrong. The silence hurts and worries him. Until a flurry of text messages changes the situation.

meet the author

A quiet one, Nicole Dennis curled up with the latest book of a favorite author. Since the beginning, there were these characters in her head, worlds wanting to be built on paper, and stories wanting to be told. She began writing during class and continues to this day. Now she can let others into her imagination and worlds that always celebrate the love between two or more people within LGBT, paranormal, and fantasy.

During the day, she works in a quiet office in Central Florida, where she also makes her home, and enjoys the down time to slip into her imagination. She is owned by a semi-demonic tortie calico, affectionately known as Fat Cat.

Contact & Media Info:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/NicoleDennis.Author

Blog: http://nicoledennisauthor.blogspot.com

Website: http://nicoledennisauthor.com

Email: nicoledennis.author@gmail.com

GoodreadsQ&A with Nicole Dennis: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/50397-q-a-with-nicole-dennis

Goodreads Profile: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2791975.Nicole_Dennis

 

GRL Blog Tour

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

Losing Faith by Scotty Cade: Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway and Pre-Release Review

losing faithsynopsis

Father Cullen Kiley, a gay Episcopal priest on hiatus from the church, decides to take his boat, T-Time, from Provincetown, Massachusetts, to Southport, North Carolina, a place that holds an abundance of bittersweet memories for him. While on a run his first day in Southport, Cullen comes upon a man sitting on a park bench staring out over the Cape Fear River with his Bible in hand. The man’s body language reeks of defeat and desperation, and unable to ignore his compassion for his fellow man, Cullen stops to offer a helping hand.

Southport Baptist Church’s Associate Pastor, Abel Weston, has a hard time managing his demons. When they get too overwhelming, he retreats to Southport’s Historic Riverwalk with his Bible in hand and stares out over the water, praying for help and guidance that never seem to come. But Abel soon discovers that help and guidance come in many forms.

An unexpected friendship develops between the two men, and as Cullen helps Abel begin to confront his doubts and fears, he comes face-to-face with his own reality, threatening both their futures.

Title: Losing Faith
Author: Scotty Cade
Release Date: June 10, 2016
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

Guest Post

Hello There,

Right out of the gate, please let me thank Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy for allowing me to tell you about my latest release, “Losing Faith,” coming on June 10th.

Before you get to the excerpt and giveaway, I wanted to tell you a little about the inspiration for this story and…then you can dive in.

So let me see. I guess I’ll start at the beginning.

Have you ever been in a situation where you did the wrong thing? And maybe it was for the right reasons, at the time, but it was still the wrong thing. I so wanted a do-over for this one, but unfortunately, I never got the opportunity so I had no choice but to write this book so my character had a chance to get it right where I never did.

Now, I’m a little nervous about this book. It deals with religion and faith and we all know how personal those two topics can be. So I tried to read lightly and give an accurate portrayal of the two religions with which I deal. And please know that since I was raised Catholic and then converted to Methodist, neither of these two religions were familiar to me so all of my research came from the internet and is readily available for anyone to peruse.

However, as you read this post and hopefully the book, I hope you’ll keep in mind that I fault no religions as everyone has their beliefs, which may not match mine, but everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

So on with the inspiration. This story was inspired by a single moment in time. One instant when two virtual strangers made decisions that altered their lives. A personal encounter that stayed with me for weeks until I had no choice but to start writing this book.

The only difference in my encounter versus the one in the book is that the fictional character did the right thing where I lacked the courage—a decision I will regret for the rest of my life.

So here’s how it went.

Kell and I were on our boat heading south for our yearly trek to escape the harsh new England winters. The previous year we’d made reservation at a marina in a little town called Southport, North Carolina. To be honest, we were a little nervous about being in North Carolina, especially after all the bad press regarding House Bill Number Two (HB2), but our reservations were already made so thought we’d give it a try.

We left our home on Martha’s Vineyard on a sunny day, had wonderful weather and made it to Southport in eight days. Southport is really a charming town, and we planned on staying there for about a month and a half, before we moved farther south to Charleston, South Carolina, where we would spend the rest of the winter.

And believe it or not, during our time in Southport, we saw no signs of discrimination and were treated with respect andscott_pic2 dignity. So hats off to the people of NC for rising above the politics and the opinions of a handful of people.

Sorry, I digress. Anyway after eight days on the water, we were very excited to finally be in our temporary home in Southport. On our first morning at the marina, I went for my usual five-mile run and chose a route that took me along the Historic Southport Riverwalk, which is pictured above. It was a beautiful morning, and the sun was just above the horizon, causing the dew on the grass to sparkle like little diamonds. I remember it so vividly.

So, I was running along at my usual pace, enjoying my solitude with no one else in sight, when I saw a man sitting on a park bench quite a distance ahead of me. Even from my vantage point, his body language seemed ominous and overwhelmed. His elbows were resting on his knees, and he was staring blankly out over the Cape Fear River. As I got closer, I saw the man was extremely handsome, well-groomed, clean-cut, and very nicely dressed in a crisp white shirt, dark slacks, and a tie. The type of guy one might describe as metrosexual. And he was holding a book and rubbing his thumb gently over its cover.

Then the man moved his book a certain way and the sun reflected off of something gold. I knew in my heart instantly; he was holding the Holy Bible. The man really looked like he needed a friend. All sorts of possibilities ran through my head. Death. Depression. Illness. He was clearly struggling with something. And here’s where it all went wrong. I continued running toward him, trying to decide if I should stop, but I looked around, and there was no one except the two of us in the park. There were plenty of open park benches and swings overlooking the river, so I could think of no good reason to stop at his particular bench. In my logical mind, I was fearful if I stopped, he might think I was trying to rob him—or even worse trying to pick him up, especially if he was religious man and I was running in a teal shirt, black shorts and matching teal running shoes. OMG, looking back now, what was I thinking? 🙂

So therein lay my dilemma. Take a chance on being considered a thief or quite possibly a pervert or…offer assistance to help someone who might be in need.

I think you know where this is going. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the courage to stop, and I ran right past the guy. Truly, I don’t even think he even saw me as he was so deep in thought. I did greet him as I passed, but if I got a response, I didn’t hear it.

When I arrived back at the boat, I told Kell and the friends who were on board with us about my experience, and they seemed unaffected, but the encounter stayed with me all day and night.scott_pic1

The next morning, I ran again. The same time and the same route. And I did that every day while we were there—over a month, but I never saw the stranger again. Of course, this sent my mind into a tizzy of guilt. Was the guy sick? Or, even worse, was he so distraught he took his own life? All these ideas plagued me and stayed with me. Even after I started this book. Early on I struggled with where to take his desperation. Do I go the sick or suicidal route or do I take the story somewhere else?

I already told you the book deals with religion, but it also delves into the power of our dreams. Some people believe dreams are an open doorway to our souls or even another place and time and among other things, a way for our lost loved ones to communicate with us. And… I just happen to be one of those people.

But many believe dreams are just our subconscious validating things we want to believe. Things like getting one last look at a lost loved one or simply knowing they are okay and have moved on. Things along those lines. In addition, when some people dream of a tragedy, they take it as a sign and try to avoid a certain situation, while others simply dismiss it as a nightmare triggered by something they saw on television or something someone said. In this book, one character’s dreams are portals, for lack of a better word, for a lost loved one to come back and try to help the one left behind to move on with his life.

I hope you take all of this as it is meant. The story is one of loss, identity, hypocrisy, need, and love. Writing it has helped me gain a little closure by giving my characters the happy ending I so hope my stranger enjoyed and easing my guilt a little for not stopping to help a fellow man in need.

I really hope you enjoy the excerpt!

Now. If you read this blog post and feel comfortable posting a response, I’d love to hear about any experiences you’ve had with missing an opportunity to do the right thing like me. And how you resolved it and if it changed you in some way.

So I’d love to hear from you. Everyone who posts will be entered into a drawing to win a book of their choice from my backlist, so please take a minute and share your story. Maybe it will help someone else who might be struggling with something similar. Before you start reading, here’s a little something about me and where you can find more about me and “Losing Faith”, as well as my other stories.

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excerpt

Shaking off the memories, Cullen rounded the bend where the Cape Fear River ended and the Intracoastal Waterway resumed. To his portside was Bald Head Island and the inlet from the Atlantic Ocean, and directly ahead to starboard was the Southport Marina. The little town of Southport was finally in sight. He slowed to idle speed and radioed the marina for docking information.

The marina gave him his instructions, and he in turn informed them he was onboard alone and would need assistance at the dock. He put T-Time in neutral and once again left the helm to ready his lines. He wasn’t sure if he was pleased or not when they directed him to the main dock and a slip directly across from the slip he and Cole had occupied on their previous trip.

It was nearing three thirty by the time Cullen connected the boat to the shore power supply, water, and cable television, and made sure his boat was secure.

Cullen then ventured down below to clean up the mess left behind by the captain of Knot Nice. He grumbled under his breath as he put all the waterway guides, magazines, books, candles, and the pictures of him and Cole back in their proper places. Then he looked in the direction of the galley. In his shaking hand, he still held one of his favorite pictures of Cole, who was arranging tulips in a small crystal vase and smiling up at the camera. The remains of that vase now covered the galley floor, along with the half-dozen red and yellow tulips that always filled the vase when Cullen was onboard.

Distraught, Cullen dropped to his knees to gather the flowers. He mentally cursed himself for not doing a better job of securing the vase that morning when he’d left Beaufort. But in a moment of anger, he shifted the blame. “No! I wedged it tightly behind the sink where it’s made each leg of this trip unharmed.” He once again looked up. “God! I’m getting really tired of these constant tests. You’ve already turned your back on me, so why can’t you just leave me alone. When is all of this going to end?”

As he sifted through the broken glass, a shard tore at Cullen’s index finger. “Damn!” Blood was now dripping onto the galley floor. “Are you seriously trying to push me over the edge?”

When he reached for a paper towel, Cullen knelt on another shard of glass. “Damn it!” he screamed. “Please! Just give me a break!”

Cullen fought the tears welling up in his eyes. In the last year and a half, he’d been so angry—at God and everyone else—he hadn’t been able to cry. But no matter how determined he was to keep his emotions in check, on this day of all days, he lost the battle in a big way.

Today was the first of his planned attempt at leaving the past behind and finally moving on. But Cullen’s tears had a mind of their own. They freely escaped the prison that had held them at bay for so long. Tear after tear ran down his cheeks, dripping like melting ice and mixing with the blood on the floor.

denise reviewHow I haven’t read a Scotty Cade book yet, I don’t know. Knobs is still up there on my TBR list, and is in my kindle waiting for me (and might just be my weekend read-I mean check out the cover!!!). Anyway, I figured this would be a great place to begin reading his work. And I am mad at myself for waiting so long.

This book intrigued me right from the start, and after reading his guest post about how this book came to be, I knew I needed to read it. A chance at redemption for an author who still feels the sting of wondering “what if”, what a great way to bring it together and find some closure.

These two men, on different paths, both religiously and romantically, took a chance on becoming friends when their worlds could not have been further apart. The grief still pulling Cullen deeply under, and away from the God he had loved for so long was ever present in everything he did. He felt guilty for not having his connection with God any longer, but didn’t know how to reset himself.

And Abel, a sweet man who felt at odds with his faith’s beliefs, in a church that had been there for him during so many challenging times in his youth, trying to find his way to become the man he knew he was. Facing that truth, and finding love were never in his plans until he met Cullen.

Although not angst filled, it was definitely emotion filled. These men found a connection with each other, and were able to draw the best of each other out, despite not wanting it to happen. They were touched emotionally by the other man, and used that to further their own lives, to help find their way.

I cried several times in this book, because the grief that Cullen felt was so prevalent on the page, and the struggle for Abel was so real. I was not only rooting for these men, but hoping that there would be a point where grief could take a backseat to learning to love God again for Cullen. It took time, and I really loved how the author brought that to the forefront in the epilogue. It was an important part of Cullen’s healing.

A beautiful story, that I would love to read again, looking for the nuances that I might have missed in the first reading.

4.5 pieces of eye candy

 

4.5-pieces-of-eye-candy2

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Dreamspinner Press

 

meet the author

Scotty Cade left Corporate America and twenty-five years of Marketing and Public Relations behind to buy an Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with his partner of over twenty years.   He started writing stories as soon as he could read, but just five years ago for publication.  When not at the Inn, you can find him on the bow of his boat writing gay romance novels with his Shetland sheepdog Mavis at his side.  Being from the south and a lover of commitment and fidelity, most of his characters find their way to long healthy relationships, however long it takes them to get there.  He believes that in the end, the boy should always get the boy.

 

www.scottycade.com

https://www.facebook.com/scotty.cade

https://twitter.com/ScottyCade

 

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

A Dangerous Game by Rick R. Reed: Guest Post and Exclusive Excerpt

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synopsis

Sex can be a dangerous business. So can love.

On the worst day of his life, Wren Gallagher wants oblivion when he steps into Tricks for a drink. When a mysterious stranger steps up to pay his tab, he offers Wren the key to fulfilling his dreams of prosperity and true love.

But appearances are not always what they seem.

His savior owns the escort agency À Louer, and he wants the young and handsome Wren as part of his stable of men-for-hire. Down on his luck, Wren figures, why not? He needs the money. When he joins, though, he doesn’t count on meeting Rufus, another escort with whom he falls hopelessly in love.

But their love story will have to overcome the obstacles of not only trading love for money, but À Louer’s dark—and deadly—secrets.

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excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: Wren Picks Up an Abandoned Paper on the Bus and Discovers a Murder in A DANGEROUS GAME
A Guest Post by Rick R. Reed 

A Dangerous Game has its thriller aspect as well as its love aspect. Here’s where one of our boys first finds out that escorting can not only be risky—it can also be lethal.
Snatch that paper up. See what’s going on outside your own little dramafest. Maybe there’s something in there that will take your mind off Rufus for the next ten minutes. Hell, maybe the classifieds is just twitching with dream jobs, just for you.
Right.
Wren did lean over and pluck the newspaper from the seat. He scooted back up against the window and opened it.
And his heart nearly stopped.
The front-page headline practically screamed at him, making his blood run cold and the world around him dissolve.
Second Murder on City’s North Side Believed to be Linked to Escort Service
Wren fought his way through the spare, journalistic prose to learn that a second young man had been “stabbed to death along Chicago’s lakefront.” The victim, whose name and details were being withheld pending notification of next of kin, was believed to have been associated with the same escort service, À Louer, that Evan Maple, who was murdered in a similar fashion two weeks ago, worked for.
Wren scanned the article for more, but there was nothing to identify who the victim had been. But Wren was suddenly certain it had to have been Rufus who’d been killed.
That was the reason he hadn’t called.
He was dead. And before that he was being stalked by some serial killer out to put an end to male escorts by picking them off one by one, stopping their hearts and their commerce with something like a sharp hunting knife.
Wren felt like he was going to be sick. Although he still had several blocks to go, he reached up and pulled the cord to alert the bus driver he needed to get off. When the bus had barely stopped at a corner, Wren dropped the paper to the floor and hurried out the back door of the bus.
Outside the air was thick with humidity and exhaust fumes, even this early in the morning. The sun, beating down harshly out of a dirty white sky, didn’t serve to make him feel any better. Wren sat down on the curb and then put his head between his legs, trying to slow his breathing and force back the bile burning the back of his throat.
He sat there for several long minutes, waiting for his heart rate and respiration to slow, telling himself over and over again that he needed to get ahold of himself and that À Louer employed several young men, any one of which could have been the killer’s victim.

 

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Dreamspinner Press ebook
Dreamspinner Press paperback

 

meet the author
madison_parker_MG_4203-WEB CROPPEDRick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.

He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.”

Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

STALK RICK
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RickReedWRITER
Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Website: www.rickrreed.com
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rick-r-reed
Email: rickrreedbooks@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.

Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me by Anna Martin: Release Day Review, Guest Post with Excerpt and Giveaway GP DSP TBR Paula, Deanna, Denise

Cover art 2synopsisWhen you realize you want to marry your best friend at age six, life should follow a pretty predictable path, right? Maybe not.

As a kid, Evan King thought Scott Sparrow was the most amazing person he’d ever met. At seventeen, his crush runs a little deeper, and nothing seems simple anymore. Scott is more interested in football and girls than playing superheroes, and Evan’s attention is focused on getting into art school. A late-night drunken kiss is something to be forgotten, not obsessed over for the next ten years.

When life suddenly brings them back together, it doesn’t take much for the flame Evan carried for Scott nearly all his life to come roaring back, and Evan discovers that life sometimes has a strange way of coming full circle.

Title: Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me
Author: Anna Martin
Release Date: May 20, 2016
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

Guest Post

Hello! Thank you for joining me at Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy so I can talk about my new book, ‘Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me, and One Time I Kissed Him First’.

I thought today I’d tell you a little bit about how the cover art for the novel came to be, since this is always something that fascinates me about other authors’ work!

If you didn’t already know, the amazing Garrett Leigh did the design work for me. We connected to talk about cover art at the UK Meet last year, when she gave me some advice for the artwork for ‘My Prince’. Kellie Dennis (at Book Cover By Design) did that cover in the end, but the conversation with Garrett stuck in my head.

When it came to doing the art for ‘Five Times’ I knew I had to get back in touch with Garrett and Kellie—the working title for ‘My Prince’ was originally much longer, and I made the decision to change it shortly before publication partly on their advice. Now I have possibly one of the longest book titles Dreamspinner Press have ever published! I had a handful of ideas for a cover image and Garrett picked up on the one of the boys in the ocean immediately. It turned out she’d already bought, but never used, that particular stock photo.

Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me’ covers about twenty-five years of the two characters lives, though for some reason I’ve always thought of it in terms of a ‘summer’ book. The image of the two boys horsing around in the ocean isn’t from any particular scene in the book, but it’s exactly the sort of thing I can imagine Scott and Evan doing. Something that was really important to me as I wrote the book was ensuring that the boys’ friendship was always the focus of their relationship, that they had that strong foundation on which to build everything that comes later. I think I’ve been incredibly lucky in finding an image that encapsulates all of that—friendship, love, summer, a carefree kind of joy—and then throwing some Garrett talent at it to bring it all together into the cover art.

So, there you go! I’ve had a bit of a tumultuous history with cover art in the past, so it feels great to be able to tell such a positive story. Here’s a little excerpt from the book – I hope you enjoy it!

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The fire crackled invitingly, even after all the hours it had been lit. Orange sparks spat up into the night, occasionally spilling out of the hexagon of driftwood onto the sand, and long sticks thrust out of the blaze—earlier in the night, they had held fat sausage links, then s’mores. Evan and his friends had opted to chance being caught with the contraband fire on the beach after deciding the reward outweighed the risk.

Evan inhaled deeply and closed his eyes, tipping his head back to the heady, full night sky. This was summer. This. The feeling of being warm and full, fire heat on his face, vodka in his belly burning warmth there too. The sea air, no breeze, not in Virginia in August. Sand between his toes.

Soft lips on his own.
 Evan startled, and the group around him laughed.
“Thought you were sleeping,” Cassie Williams told him, pushing at his shoulder so Evan lost his balance and fell back on his elbows. He joined in the laughter, even though he didn’t share their amusement.

Cassie was nice, of course. He’d known her since preschool, maybe earlier. Who knew around here. It wasn’t the first time she’d kissed him. Once, in second grade, it had been after he’d fallen and scraped his knee. For the past few weeks, Cassie had been hitting on him again, and every time he’d neatly deflected, trying to turn her attention to someone who’d maybe return it. Evan wasn’t going to.

“Not sleeping,” Evan said. His voice came out a deep rumble. Since his voice had broken, it had been like that, deeper than the other guys’, something else that made him stand out. He’d hit his growth spurt twice now, once at fourteen and again the previous year, just after his seventeenth birthday. He’d be eighteen in a few weeks, right after the start of the new school year. Evan would be the first one in this group to have his eighteenth birthday.

Two of his friends stumbled out from behind one of the high sand dunes, their hair in disarray, clothes more than a little disheveled. Evan joined in the hoots and catcalls, grateful for the distraction.

“Evan!”

That voice was familiar, and Evan dropped his head back, knowing he couldn’t ignore it.

“Evan, you fuck!”

Evan laughed and let his head roll to the side. Grinning, Scott stood in his board shorts and a long-sleeved T-shirt, hands balled on his hips.

“What?”

“We’re playing football.”

“Scott, it’s almost midnight. How the fuck do you plan on playing football?”

Scott pointed straight up at the moon. Which, admittedly, was giving off a lot of light in the clear night sky. Scott’s skin glowed, pearlescent in the moonlight. It reflected off his Irish pale skin and lit up his blue eyes like he was magical.

Evan pulled himself to his feet with a heaving sigh. He hadn’t been able to say no to Scott for a long time now.

deanna reviewMy favorite stories are ones that span over decades. Don’t get me wrong, insta-love has its place but their is just something special about a love story that can stand the test of time.

Scott Sparrow, the terminally straight football captain and Evan King, the artistic sensitive soul have been best friends since they were seven. Evan is pretty sure he has loved Scott since the beginning, but Scott is straight. Or so he thinks. From a stolen drunken kiss at a high school party to mis-steps and miscommunications along the way Scott and Evan have to decide if taking a chance on a romantic relationship is worth the possible loss of their friendship.

A twist of fate has the two reevaluating everything they think they know, because life is too short to be wasted on what ifs and should haves.

I LOVED this story! Watching this epic love develop over time was truly beautiful. The relationship seemed so easy, even the sex scenes were fun. Full of laughter and witty banter, the true mark of friends become lovers.

Even when Evan rushed to Chicago the angst and sadness never overpowered the lighthearted feel I got from the book. It was a perfect, delicate balance.

5 pieces of eye candy

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Dreamspinner Press eBook
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meet the author

profile

Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south- west of England and now lives in the slightly arty, slightly quirky city of Bristol. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.

Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, baking weird and wonderful sweets, learning to play the ukulele, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.

Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, pre-reading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.

Social Media links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annamartinfiction
Twitter:@missannamartin or https://twitter.com/missannamartin
Website: http://www.annamartin-fiction.com/

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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.