His Needs by Kris T. Bethke: Guest Post, Excerpt and Review

hisneedsfs_v1synopsisWhen State Trooper Travis Kinslow is injured right before Thanksgiving, the only positive is that for once he won’t be working during the holidays. Since he has no family, Travis was absorbed into his best friend, Joe’s, and he considers them as good as his own. Everyone except Joe’s brother Noah. Travis has been in love with the younger man for much of his life, but he’s always kept his distance.

As an ER nurse, Noah is a caretaker by nature. When his brother’s best friend is hurt, he’s happy to help Travis while he heals. He’s only ever allowed himself to think of Travis as the next best thing to an older brother, but by the light of the Christmas tree, Noah finally sees Travis’s true feelings. And in that moment, everything changes.

When faced with opposition and a Christmas nothing like they imagined, will their hopes for the future be enough to carry them through?

Title: His Needs
Author: Kris T. Bethke
Release Date: December 14, 2016
Category: Contemporary, Holiday
Pages: 113

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Dreamspinner Press

 

Guest Post

Hi everyone! Kris Bethke here to talk about my latest release, my holiday novella His Needs. First let me say thanks to gang here at Two Chicks Obsessed for letting me have a spot and to (hopefully) entertain!

I’m honestly a little obsessed with Christmas. Not for any religious reasons, though if that’s your thing, good for you. No, for me, I love all the trappings. The decorations. The lights. The snow and the candy canes and pine trees and cookies. I love sappy holiday movies and going all out to make my space as festive and cheery as possible.

So when I got it into my head to write another holiday story, I knew the decorating was going to be a pivotal part of it. Early on in the planning stages (though I can’t say I actually plan too in depth) I knew exactly what the scene was going to look like. What was going to kick it off, and exactly at what moment things were going to go from “everything’s normal” to “oh damn, this is something else.”

And it all centers on decorating the Christmas tree.

Travis has been injured. He can’t do it on his own. And Noah, the sweet man, is right there to help with anything Travis needs. But Travis has wanted Noah for a long time, and this simple act of domesticity is something he’s been aching for. To share this moment with Noah. And Noah, in that moment, finally sees Travis as something more.

It’s one of my favorite scenes in the book. Both to write at the time, and still to read. Oh, there’s plenty of other things going on. Hot, sexy times, and some family drama. And falling in love so hard there’s no going back. But that moment, when Noah turns and sees Travis’s face with the Christmas tree and carols playing in the background? That moment is everything.

If you enjoy the holidays, I hope you’ll like that scene just as much as I do.

Happy Holidays!

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excerpt

Noah was still chuckling as he directed me to sit. “You have to chill and relax now, Travis. I’ll do all the work. You tell me where things go and I’ll take care of it. All right?”

I was going to protest. I was, in all honesty, perfectly capable of helping. But there was no denying I was tired. And there was a certain appeal about giving him orders and watching him follow them. We worked that way for a good twenty minutes as I pointed to all the places where I liked the hanging decorations to go. He set the elves on the shelves, end tables, and coffee table. He hung the garland over the door and the string of colored lights around the window. Then he took a break to make us sandwiches for lunch.

I did my best not to watch him eat, because when Noah was hungry, he ate like what he was putting in his mouth was the best thing he ever tasted. There had been times, when we were younger, that just watching him eat had given me wood. So I focused on my own sandwich, steadfastly ignored his moans, and before long we were done. I insisted he leave the plates in the sink, that I would wash them later. I could tell he wanted to protest, but I wasn’t a complete invalid, so I simply said, “Please.”

Noah left the plates without another word and set to work on the tree.

He plugged his iPhone into the dock on my stereo, and seconds later classic carols were playing. Noah let me get up to help with wrapping the tree with lights, but then he insisted I sit back down so I didn’t wear myself out. He put the tote on the coffee table and then pushed it closer to me so I didn’t have to bend or reach too much.

“You hand me the ornaments and I’ll put them on the tree. How’s that?”

I couldn’t speak, so I nodded, reached in and pulled out a classic red ball ornament, and handed it over. The smile he gave me, so full of gratitude and so pleased, was a reward in and of itself. We didn’t say anything as we worked. I handed him an ornament, and he walked the two feet to the tree, humming along with the music. He’d study it for a moment before finding the perfect spot and carefully hanging the ornament.

This was what I wanted with him. Every year. I’d been wanting it for nearly two decades, and I wanted it for all the Christmases to come. I loved him, and I wanted nothing more than to spend quiet days with him, eating together and enjoying each other. To spend Christmas together, and all the other holidays. To do things as partners, both of us being a part of it.

Noah turned, hand outstretched for another ornament, but he froze, his eyes widening and his breath catching. His gaze was glued to my face and he was barely even breathing.

“Noah?” I asked, concerned.

His voice was low. “How long?”

I blinked. “What?”

“How long have you been in love with me?”

denise review

The excerpt above is the pinnacle moment of this short story, the momentof change between Travis and Noah. The moment that Noah discovers that Travis has been in love with him for 20 years. It’s such a touching moment. It creates such a dynamic between them. Noah discovers Travis’s love, and then discovers his own.

Their relationship is sweet, and super sexy. Noah has a dirty mouth that both Travis and the reader don’t expect 😉 However, Noah also cares about Travis and his recovery, assisting him through his recovery.

Travis is sweet, and loves Noah’s family as his own, even more than his own. The family has never been anything but supportive of Travis through the years. Which makes the conflict in the book that much more challenging to accept, as a reader. And although it partially resolves itself at the end of the novella, it wasn’t satisfying as the reader. It felt as if there needed to be more resolution between  the family and Travis.

3.75 pieces of eye candy

3.75-pieces of eye candy

 

meet the author

Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long.  An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head.  She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting/crocheting her latest project.  Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time.  A classic muscle car will always turn her head, and naps on the weekend are one of her greatest guilty pleasures.  She lives in a converted attic with a way too fluffy cat and the voices in her head.  She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal. Kris believes that love is love, no matter the gender of people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated.

Find her on her site https://kristbethke.com or on Twitter twitter.com/kristbethke

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

Plaid versus Paisley by KC Burn: Guest Post and Excerpt

plaidversuspaisleyfs_200synopsisTwo years after his life fell apart, Will Dawson moved to Florida to start over. His job in the tech department of Idyll Fling, a gay porn studio, is ideal for him. When his boss forces him to take on a new hire, the last person he expects is Dallas Greene—the man who cost him his job and his boyfriend back in Connecticut. He doesn’t know what’s on Dallas’s agenda, but he won’t be blindsided by a wolf masquerading as a runway model. Not again.

Dallas might have thrown himself on his brother’s mercy, but his skills are needed at Idyll Fling. Working with Will is a bonus, since Dallas has never forgotten the man. A good working relationship is only the beginning of what Dallas wants with Will.

But Dallas doesn’t realize how deep Will’s distrust runs, and Will doesn’t know that the man he’s torn between loving and hating is the boss’s brother. When all truths are revealed, how can a relationship built on lies still stand?

Title: Plaid versus Paisley
Series: Fabric Hearts
Author: KC Burn
Release Date: December 12, 2016
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 216

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Dreamspinner Press

 

Guest Post

Hello! I’m KC Burn and I’m so excited to be here, chatting about Plaid versus Paisley. This is the second book in my Fabric Hearts series. The first book, Tartan Candy, features an ex porn star who worked at a gay porn studio called Idyll Fling. It’s there that we first meet Will, the IT guy who runs the Idyll Fling web site. In Plaid versus Paisley, we get to know Will a little better, and why he fled to Florida, taking a job that was a significant step down from his prior position. We also meet Dallas, who I just adore. He’s made some unwise choices but he refuses to let them keep him down. They’re two regular guys with geeky aspects, battling it out over the fiefdom of the tech department at a gay porn studio. I hope you enjoy a taste of one of their skirmishes.

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excerpt

“Why are you wearing a suit?” Will’s voice cracked the silence, making Dallas jump.

“Uh, well, dress for the job you want, right?”

Will lifted an eyebrow. Based on that “logic,” Dallas must want a job at a different company because not even Stefan, the CEO, wore suits. The only suits Will had seen around Idyll Fling showed up when the guys were filming some sort of office or professor porn.

Judging by the sudden—attractive, damn it— flush on Dallas’s too-thin cheeks, he was well aware that his answer was silly.

“You do realize this is Florida, right?” And Will couldn’t stop himself from sounding like a petulant teenager.

“People in Florida wear suits.” Dallas’s chin firmed mutinously.

He wasn’t wrong, but shit, why would anyone bother if they didn’t have to? Some days, Will could barely even stand the T-shirts and cargo shorts. The apartment back in Connecticut he’d shared with Jesse had only had two window A/C units; he’d thought central air in his apartment in Florida was overkill. Until he realized Florida only had one cool month—January. The continuously high daily temperatures and humidity had him rapidly revising his opinion. Central air was clearly the most important feature of any lodging in Florida.

Nevertheless, Will ought to stop acting like someone cruising for a Human Resources violation. Even if those suits made Dallas look delicious, he hated the purple paisley tie. In fact, he seemed to recall a number of paisley ties Dallas had worn in the past. He’d thought them cute back then. Now he just wanted to rip the damn thing off.

His traitorous mind didn’t stop there, and showed him a tousled Dallas, tie gone, jacket gone, shirt gaping open, lips puffy and moist like he’d either been engaged in a marathon make-out session or had been giving someone—Will—a thorough blow job. A throb from his groin reminded him how utterly inappropriate such thoughts were, and he turned back to his work. “Wear what you want,” he muttered, unable to control the schoolyard impulse to get in the last word.

meet the author

KC Burn has been writing for as long as she can remember and is a sucker for happy endings (of all kinds).  After moving from Toronto to Florida for her husband to take a dream job, she discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled a dream of her own — getting published.  After a few years of editing web content by day, and neglecting her supportive, understanding hubby and needy cat at night to write stories about men loving men, she was uprooted yet again and now resides in California. Writing is always fun and rewarding, but writing about her guys is the most fun she’s had in a long time, and she hopes you’ll enjoy them as much as she does.

Visit KC at her website, on Twitter, on Facebook, or find out about new releases by signing up for her newsletter.

giveaway

KC would like to give away a $10 ARe gift certificate. Comment on this blog post, and send KC congrats on her new release to be entered.

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

12 Days of Kissmas: Cardeno C : Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaways

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TCO is so excited to bring you 12 Days of Kissmas. We have 12 of your favorite authors ahead over the coming days, bringing you beautiful pictures of men kissing that the authors have chosen themselves, along with exclusive posts, excerpts, and giveaways. The idea sprang from a conversation with an author that just turned into a “what if…”, and when I started asking a few authors, they immediately said they were in. Make sure you enter the giveaways, as there are lots of them! Thanks for stopping by, and a HUGE thank you to all the authors for their generosity, and loving spirit. Happy Holidays to everyone!

Guest Post

Favorite Kisses

I’m thrilled to participate in Two Chicks’ Twelve Days of Kissmas. I’m by far more a reader than I am a movie/TV watcher but I thought it’d be fun to touch on both types of kisses today so I’ll share a kissing excerpt from my book In Your Eyes and some movie/TV kissing scenes suggested by readers in my Facebook Group. What’s your favorite book, movie, or TV kiss?

  1. Just a Question of Love (Juste une question d’amour) – Laurent and Cédric. Watch on YouTube.
  2. Shelter – Zach and Shaun. Watch on YouTube.
  3. Glee – Kurt and Blaine. Watch on YouTube.
  4. Shadow Hunters – Magnus and Alex. Watch on YouTube.
  5. Days of Our Lives – Will and Neil. Watch on YouTube.
  6. Torchwood – Jack and Ianto. Watch on YouTube.
  7. Spartacus – Agron and Nasir. Watch on YouTube.
  8. Maurice – Maurice & Alec. Watch on YouTube

 

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excerpt

Excerpt from In Your Eyes by Cardeno C.

“I don’t understand what’s happening,” I confessed.

“Yes, you do. Stop thinking. Just feel.”

Before I could deny his assertion or ask what he meant or explain that using my brain was important, he closed the gap between us and pressed his lips against mine.

The feelings were already there—locked away, hidden, but there. His kiss led them out from the darkness where they were buried and showed them the light of day. He felt so good, so right, touching my face, smoothing his soft lips over mine, teasing my tongue into his mouth and letting me taste him. Before I knew it, I was reaching for him, tangling my fingers in the sides of his hair, and holding on to him, keeping him close, keeping us connected.

Without separating our mouths, he rolled on top of me and wedged himself between my thighs. I whimpered and felt him smile in response. All the while, he kept kissing my lips and petting my face. It was amazing—the warm caress of his skin, his scent surrounding me, the sound of him breathing. For the first time in my life, I was where I was meant to be, who I was meant to be. I was whole.

Gasping, I jerked back and stared at Korban. It wasn’t supposed to be possible. It shouldn’t have made any sense. And yet, suddenly, everything made sense and anything seemed possible.

“You’re my mate,” I rasped. “My true mate.”

“Yes.” He beamed, the sides of his eyes crinkling. He moved his fingertips over my eyebrows, my cheekbones, my nose, my lips, and my jaw while he gazed at me reverently. “And I am so very lucky.”

meet the author

Find More Information About Cardeno C. Here:

Website

Blog (shared)

Twitter

Facebook Profile

Facebook Group

Instagram

Pinterest

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Short Bio: Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

Heartwarming Stories. Strong Relationships. Forever Love.

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giveaway

For a chance to win a copy of In Your Eyes by Cardeno C, leave a comment about her blog post. What is your favorite kiss?

 

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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.

12 Days of Kissmas: Nicola Haken: Exclusive Guest Post and Excerpt, Giveaways

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TCO is so excited to bring you 12 Days of Kissmas. We have 12 of your favorite authors ahead over the coming days, bringing you beautiful pictures of men kissing that the authors have chosen themselves, along with exclusive posts, excerpts, and giveaways. The idea sprang from a conversation with an author that just turned into a “what if…”, and when I started asking a few authors, they immediately said they were in. Make sure you enter the giveaways, as there are lots of them! Thanks for stopping by, and a HUGE thank you to all the authors for their generosity, and loving spirit. Happy Holidays to everyone!

 

Guest Post

IAffectionate young gay couple kissing together while sitting at their kitchen table in the morning’ve looked at so many pictures for my 12 Days of Kissmas post (which was fun!) and I kept getting drawn back to this one. I could’ve gone for something raunchy and steamy, for something naked and hot that got me all of a fluster…but…this picture is what Christmas, what life is about for me. It’s about waking up in the morning, kicking out under the covers and feeling that other person who means the world to you on the other side of the bed. It’s about those little stolen kisses in the kitchen, just like in this image, that you do automatically without caring whether they’ve got jam or toast crumbs stuck to their lips. It’s about having someone to share the everyday with – the ups and downs, the smiles and tears – and I think that’s what this picture shows.

I see so much in this photo. My mind is set to Christmas because of the time of year and the theme of this post, and so I see them having their first coffee on Christmas morning, just before they head into the living room to open their presents. Then, I see them heading upstairs to get ready for the day, to shower and change into their smart Christmas clothes – or maybe their funny Christmas jumpers, stealing a couple more kisses…maybe more, before heading out to spend the day with family and friends. I see love, tenderness, happiness, and so much beauty all from that one little kiss.

Another reason why this image jumped out at me is because it reminds me of a scene in the book I’m writing right now. It’s the morning after the first full night Oliver and Sebastian have spent together, and Seb begins to realise how special the little things in life can be when shared with someone important. It’s the magical turning point for my new guys, the moment things really start to heat up for them, and I’m sharing that whole scene with you here!

Who We Are is releasing early 2017 (I don’t have an exact date yet, but all will be revealed soon) and I’m so excited for you to meet Seb and Olli…and also, as usual, nervous as hell. I hope you enjoy the excerpt!

~ Sebastian ~

“Ah, I’m glad you’re awake before I plate up,” Olli said when he saw me. Dressed in only a loose fitting vest top that skimmed his thighs, he held up two bottles of sauce. “Red or brown?”
“For sausage, gotta be red.”
“There’s bacon too. It’s under the grill.”
Damn, it was way too early for such big decisions. “In that case I’m gonna need brown too.”
His nose scrunched up into a cute little ball, but he didn’t question my odd flavour combination as he put both bottles of sauce on the round bistro table that separated the kitchen from the living room. Taking a seat on one of the metal chairs, I watched him move around the kitchen, humming along to Ex’s and Oh’s by Elle King on the radio as he danced between the stove and the toaster.
The scene I found myself living in felt awfully domesticated, and I liked it. A lot. The problem was we still didn’t really know each other, and if I wanted this to continue that needed to change. If I wanted more mornings like this he had to know who the real me was. He needed to know that yesterday wasn’t my typical Saturday, that usually I had my fifteen year old son to take care of.
He needed to know that I was bisexual, and that being with him wouldn’t magically ‘cure’ my attraction to women. I’d fallen into the pretending to be gay trap, straight too, before. If I was truthful, I’d been doing the latter for the last four years, and I was tired. Lying was exhausting, disheartening, and honestly I didn’t even know why I did it. I told myself I wasn’t ashamed, but on some level I must have been.
Then I remembered Oliver on that stage last night, so fierce and proud, rocking the shit out of those long leather boots, his voice so damn powerful I wanted to turn it into a blanket and keep it wrapped around me for the rest of my life…and I really did feel ashamed.
If Olli had the courage to reveal who he was to the world then I could do the same to one man. He deserved that. I deserved that. Even after the relatively short time we’d known each other I respected him too much to lie to him, to pretend for him. I knew who I was, and I wanted Oliver to know too.
I could only hope he would accept it.
Just not today. Last night, and this morning, had been perfect, and I wanted to remember them that way.
“Wow,” I breathed rubbing my hands together when Oliver placed a plate, stacked high with sausages, bacon, beans, toast, and two fried egg yolks in front of me. “You remembered?” I said, pointing towards the eggs.
Taking a seat opposite, he smiled and pointed to the fried egg whites on his own plate. “Of course. We’re destiny, right?” he said, pushing my knife and fork towards me.
And just like that, he took another tiny piece of me that I didn’t think I’d ever get back.
“I hope your friend won’t mind that you’ve emptied his fridge.”
Olli shrugged, cutting into his bacon. “I’m doing him a favour. He needs to watch his cholesterol in his old age.”
Laughing, I dipped a piece of sausage in my beans and popped it in my mouth. Mmm. Heaven.
As the minutes ticked by I found myself paying more attention to Oliver than I did my breakfast. He didn’t mix his food, eating one component entirely before moving on to the next. Not a big deal, but it fascinated me, just like everything else about him. He caught me staring several times and at first he stared right back, but eventually he became adorably embarrassed and tried to focus on his food.
“I really like you, Oliver,” I said, reaching out and brushing over his forearm, the skin still mottled with yellowy-green bruises. I didn’t care how cheesy it sounded. I liked him, really liked him, and I wanted him to hear it.
A small smile played on the corners of his lips, his head tilting to one side. “I like you, too.”
“I guess what I’m trying to say is, are we, I mean I don’t know if this is the kinda thing we need to talk about. Like I’ve said before I’m not all that good at this shit. I just…” Jesus, stop rambling, I inwardly cursed myself. “I want to do this again. With you. Only you. I’m not after a bit on the side. I want us to get to know each other. So I suppose what I’m-”
“Are you asking me to go steady with you, Sebastian?” he interrupted, followed by an amused chuckle.
“Well when you say it like that it makes me feel like we’ve slipped into an American high school movie, but yeah. I guess I am.”
“Sorry,” he muttered, grinning. “One too many episodes of Teen Wolf.” Taking my hand off his arm, he laced his fingers through mine. “I want that, too.”
Damn those eyes of his. Those pools of blue did insane things to my body.
“We should-” I was about to suggest we celebrate our official relationship status in the shower when the sound of the flat door opening disrupted me.
We both turned towards the noise to find Oliver’s friend, Rhys, walking through it, looking decidedly less graceful than I remembered him.
“Sorry to interrupt the love fest,” he said. “I had to escape.” Skulking gingerly over to the window, he drew the blinds closed and plopped himself down on the sofa, hiding his face behind a cushion.
“What happened?” Oliver asked. “You had a row with Davey?”
“Stop yelling,” Rhys muttered, peeling the cushion off his face. “And get me some painkillers.”
“I’m not your slave,” Oliver replied in the same quiet voice he’d been using all along, yet he slid his chair out from beneath the table anyway and walked over to the cupboard above the sink, where I presumed Rhys kept the medicines. “So what happened with Davey?” he added, taking Rhys a box of ibuprofen and a glass of water.
“I didn’t go to Davey’s. I went home with that guy. The one with the nose ring.”
“That’s not like you.”
“It wasn’t like me, until a few months ago. I think I’m havin’ a mid life crisis. Anyway, I wake up this mornin’ to the sound of retchin’ comin’ from the bathroom and the most intense feelin’ of gay ja vu washes over me. Then I remember. I’ve been here before. In this same bed. Listenin’ to this same guy. A guy who can tickle his lungs with the tip of my dick without blinkin’ but can’t stand the feelin’ of a toothbrush in his mouth.”
“Oh my God.” Oliver’s hand flew to his mouth. “I, um, I’m not really sure what to say to that.”
“I think I’m gonna give up on relationships and get a cat,” Rhys said before tossing two painkillers in his mouth and washing them down with a glug of water.
“Nah. Cats are evil and they stink,” Oliver said.
“I have a cat,” I cut in.
Oliver’s neck jerked around, his expression sceptical like he didn’t know whether to believe me. Seriously, if I was going to lie to make myself sound interesting I’d have thought of something more impressive than owning a moggy.
“His name’s Marvin.”
“Oh.” Oliver’s lips melted into a guilty line. “Well I’m sure they’re not all evil. Sorry.”
“Don’t be. He’s kind of an arsehole.”
He started to laugh but stopped himself. “Wait…Marvin. So that would make him Marvin Day?”
Finally! Someone who appreciated his name. His vet simply snickered and Lisa looked at me like I was a spanner short of a toolbox.
“I don’t get it,” Rhys said.
“Day. Gaye,” Oliver explained, which really ruined the whole thing. Poor Marv. I thought his name was awesome, which is why I chose it.
“Ah. Cool.” Rhys nodded, but couldn’t have sounded less amused if he’d tried. “I think I’m still drunk. I’m goin’ to bed to think about everythin’ that’s wrong with my life. Later, girls.”
Hauling his weary body off the sofa, Rhys paused by the table where I sat as he made his way to the bedrooms, his gaze raking down my bare chest. “Nice sausage,” he said, winking.
Instinctively, I looked down to my zipper in a slight panic before I noticed his hand reaching out to pinch an actual leftover sausage from my plate. Then he walked away, leaving me annoyed with myself for not thinking of a fun comeback in time.
“Sorry,” Oliver muttered with an apologetic smile as he wandered over to the table and started clearing our empty plates.
“Don’t be,” I said, following him through to the sink, ready to help him clean the epic mess he’d created. “I’m highly experienced in the dickhead best friend department.” My voice was teasing as I bumped his shoulder with my own. Truthfully, I liked his friend. He was funny, flirty, camper than the fairy godmother on an acid trip, and from the way he looked me up and down through narrowed eyes when we first met last night, I imagined he was also fiercely protective of Oliver.
The morning still played out perfectly despite the unexpected interruption. Working together in the kitchen, washing dishes, wiping counters, smacking his arse – which I was pleasantly surprised to discover was naked beneath that long vest…it all felt so normal. So everyday. Like we’d been doing this for years. Like I’d known him all my life. Like we were supposed to do this forever. It made no sense, yet it made perfect sense. We were so different, yet the same. When I looked into his eyes I saw a loneliness there that I’d so often seen in my own. It felt like he understood what it felt like to feel lost, to feel like a diamond in a sea of pebbles.
The difference is Oliver let his diamond shine. He polished it, made it sparkle, let the world see how special it was. His diamond was fucking stunning. Me? I rolled mine around in the dirt and disguised it as a pebble.
“You’re staring,” Oliver said, his back against the open door as I was about to leave.
Pressing my chest to his, I combed his hair behind his ear with my fingers. “You’re hard to look away from, and I don’t know when I’ll see you again.”
“Maybe you could stop by the salon again in your big truck,” he suggested, his voice flirtatious as he ran the tip of his finger down the buttons on my shirt.
I didn’t find out which trips I was on until the night before, but I was sure if I flashed June a nice smile she’d work me in a few Manchester runs.
“You wanna check out my gearstick, eh?”
Tipping his head back and laughing, he pushed me away from his chest. “Okay, you just totally ruined the moment.”
“What! I almost went for ‘do you want to slip your tacho into my card reader?’ but I didn’t think you’d know what that meant.”
“Enough with the driver puns! I won’t be slipping anything anywhere in your truck. Trucks are filthy,” he said with an exaggerated shudder.
“I keep my cab immaculate, thank you very much. I’ve won driver of the month seven times for it,” I told him with a smug nod.
Again, he chuckled. I don’t know why he found it so amusing. I was rather proud of my awards. I had all seven of the little plastic trophies standing in a row on the windowsill in my downstairs toilet.
“I’ll call you,” I said, and then I grazed his lips with mine, letting them linger, not moving, just…feeling. My heart ached from missing him already and the feeling was almost surprising. I’d never considered myself unhappy, or realised just how lonely I actually was until I started spending time with Oliver. I’d been content with my life, happy with the simple routine of work, weekends with Scott, and hanging out with Benny occasionally.
But Oliver brought spontaneity, stirred emotions deep in my chest that I hadn’t felt in years, if ever. He made the world seem more interesting, waking up each day more exciting. He taught me how magical stolen kisses over a sink full of greasy water was, how funny a pointless three AM conversation about kangaroos could be, and how much I’d missed falling to sleep next to the warmth of another person.
He’d shown me that there was more to life than being content, that life could be fucking amazing when you got to share it with another person, and he’d done it so quickly too. A little voice in the back of my head, a rational voice, the one that thought back to my previous relationships, warned me to slow down before I got hurt, before I fell so hard it would take me months to get back up.
But it was too late. I’d already jumped.

Copyright © Nicola Haken 2016

Thank you, as always, to Two Chicks Obsessed for having me, and thank you to you for reading this post! I hope you enjoy what’s left of 2016. Stay safe, stay happy, and I’ll see you next year! Big hugs and smooches!

Oh, one last thing, and then I’m done I swear…here’s all my social media links and all that jazz in case you think I’m worth hanging around 😉 Love you!

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Only Forever by Scotty Cade: Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

51dlko36dolsynopsisMaster Captain Theodore Gourdin has always loved the ocean. But his devotion to maritime life left little possibility for a long-term relationship. After two failed marriages and numerous unsuccessful relationships, Theo gave up on finding the person who completed him and decided the sea was his soul mate. When offered the opportunity to captain the newly launched megayacht Eternity, Theo jumped at the chance. With Eternity’s maiden voyage looming, Theo focused all his energies on hiring his crew and readying his ship. The last thing he expected was to finally lose his heart in the process.

After twelve years at sea, First Officer Heath Rawlins was restless and in need of a change. A gay seaman’s life could be a lonely one, but to Heath the positives far outweighed the negatives. With excellent recommendations and an impressive résumé, he was quickly offered a position on the private megayacht Eternity. Heath’s heart skipped several beats when he finally met the ship’s captain. He was handsome and charming. And… familiar? Had they met somewhere before? Highly unlikely. But as smitten as Heath was with the gorgeous captain, everything inside him screamed, Abandon ship! Rough seas ahead!

Guest Post

scotty-cade-tuxedoHi Kids,

Scotty Cade here. First off I’d like to thank Denise and everyone over at Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy for giving me the opportunity chat with you readers today. You guys have been a great support and that means the world to me. Thank You!

Today I’m here to tell you a little about my latest novel Only Forever, which released from Dreamspinner Press on November 30th and how it came to be.

The inspiration for the book came from a very old song of the same name. I first heard the song last winter while curled up on the couch watching an old black-and-white movie and after the first line, I sat up and listened intently. For some reason the song tugged at my heartstrings and I when it was over I immediately Googled every version and listened to each one. It has been covered by many people, such as Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and Dean Martin, to name a few. But my favorite version is by Kay Starr. While listening to her version I could hear the nostalgia. To me, it sounded like something that might be playing as a soldier was going off to war and saying goodbye to a lover. Here’s a link if you care to take a listen.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOzokJG0jNA. The song appealed so deeply to the romantic in me, I just had to write about it. The lyrics are very simple but very powerful if you allow yourself to really listen to them.

I know most of you have never heard “Only Forever,” but it’s about a love so strong, it will span many lifetimes. I wish I could use the actual lyrics, but because of copyright laws, I cannot. And trust me when I say I contacted the owner many times to license at least one line of the song, but no one ever responded. So in the end, I rewrote just the last line, which is used in the book, and I hope I did it justice.

So now you know the inspiration. But I must warn you, the book happens over a two-week span of time. A lot can happen in two weeks, and in these particular two weeks, two lives are changed forever. I hope the romantics will love the premise, but I’m not naive enough to think everyone will feel the same way. I know I’m gonna get my share of readers calling “instalove” and how absolutely absurd and unrealistic the premise is. And I’m being proven right. As of now, the book is getting mostly four and five star reviews. A couple of three star and one two star review is there as well as I predicted. Damn that “Instalove.” But is it really “instalove” when two souls have reconnected in another lifetime? Two souls who have been unknowingly searching for the other all of their lives? Please, just read it with an open mind and allow yourself to imagine the “what ifs.”

Before I give you the excerpt, let me ask you one question. Have you ever met someone for the first time, had a feeling that maybe you’ve met them before, or even felt like you’ve known them forever? That’s what this story is about. Maybe you have met them before—in another place or time.

If you’ve had an experience like I’ve mentioned above, tell me about in the form of a comment. If you do, you will be entered into a drawing to win any book from my backlist.

Enjoy!

Scotty

 

excerpt

First Officer G. Heath Rawlins sat at his desk and stared at the screen of his laptop. For the third time, he read the e-mail he’d crafted. Comfortable everything was in order, he clicked the Send button, sighed, and closed his laptop. Heath folded his arms over his chest, looked around his dimly lit officer’s cabin, and leaned back in his chair. Now all there is to do is wait.

He’d spent the last couple of hours tailoring a handful of e-mails for specific jobs and attaching his résumé and recommendation letters to the megayacht captains who were actively searching for an experienced first officer—or chief mate, as they were often called. Now it was up to the universe to decide what happened next.

The merchant ship Urania Dee had been Heath’s home for the last six years. But the last year had been a restless one. Although he’d struggled with the decision, Heath had resigned his position as first officer thirty days prior, much to the chagrin of the captain. By first light tomorrow morning, the Urania Dee would be docked at the Port of Savannah, Georgia, and Heath’s life aboard a merchant ship would be over. And to say he had mixed emotions about it was certainly an understatement.

Heath kept telling himself he just needed a change. But the problem was he didn’t know what that change should be. In the end he’d decided that maybe the private sector would be a good place to start. Traveling to tropical islands and pleasure ports aboard a megayacht instead of commercial seaports on a merchant ship might do the trick. Experiencing sea life from another perspective—that was always good. Right?

Checking out the suitcases and the cardboard boxes neatly lining the walls of his cabin, Heath realized that pretty much everything he owned was staring back at him. He’d lost his mother, father, and younger sister to carbon monoxide poisoning in his family home two months after he’d left for Texas A&M Maritime Academy in Galveston, and he’d been on his own ever since.

Over the years the captain and crew of the Urania Dee had become his family of sorts, and it was going to be extremely hard to say good-bye. But if he were being totally honest, he was also looking forward to the change. A new adventure. Something to reignite his passion for the sea.

Heath turned his gaze to a small porthole above his desk and stared out into the dark skies over the Atlantic Ocean. Tomorrow morning you start a new life.

Through the round glass, Heath saw the reflection of a frame hanging on the opposite wall. He stood, walked across the cabin, and gazed at his diploma from the maritime academy. He thought back to the sunny day of his graduation ceremony. A lump formed in his throat, and he quickly swallowed it down. How bittersweet it had been without his family there to share in his joy.

In an attempt to escape the loneliness that had followed his family’s demise, the day after graduation, Heath joined the crew of a commercial freighter for a three-year contract, and then another when that ended, before finally joining the Urania. He’d been at sea for twelve years straight, which had given him plenty of time to climb up in the ranks and advance his career, but hadn’t afforded him the luxury of putting down roots anywhere.

At the time of his parents’ death, Heath had inherited everything, but he’d never spent a single dime of their hard-earned money. After working twelve years with no real expenses, he had his own money. And quite a lot of it. In fact, his savings were quite impressive.

At one time he’d thought about buying a home, but there was just never the need. The sea had always been his home. But now with no job and no place to live, the need might finally be presenting itself.

Even if I want to put down roots—where? He was never in one place longer than the time required to unload and reload his ship. But at thirty-three years old, he was starting to feel a little differently. He couldn’t imagine not being at sea. Some unknown force had drawn him to it even as a child, and the sea had been his solace. It was where he was most comfortable, where he turned as he grieved the loss of his family. But at the same time, the sea had represented a longing of sorts. It was always as if he were searching for something there. Something just beyond his reach.

Lately he was struggling with a new and unfamiliar restlessness. It had started slowly, as impatience, but over the last year, it had turned into a desperation of sorts. An odd feeling like something else was out there for him, just beyond the horizon. Searching for him. Waiting for him. A yearning for something. But for what? Roots? A relationship? Or maybe even a family?

For some reason he’d never allowed himself to get too close to any one person, so he’d been sort of a loner all his adult life. It could have been the experience of losing his family and the fear of history repeating itself that kept him from ever allowing himself to love. Or it could have been something else. Heath had never been sure. Either way, he’d never had any real interest. A one-night stand here and there was all he ever allowed himself. So these feelings, these emotions, were perplexing at the very least.

Heath lifted the diploma from the wall, carefully wrapped it in Bubble Wrap, and placed it in the only remaining open box. He’d have time to decide what do to or where to go while he waited out the job search. In the meantime, the extended-stay hotel in downtown Savannah would be his new home. If no position presented itself within a couple of weeks, he would decide how to proceed with the rest of his life.

Taping the box shut, Heath added it to the stack, stepped back, and glanced around. That’s the last of it, I guess!

The ding of his computer signaled a new e-mail. He walked over to his desk and opened his laptop. The e-mail was from Master Captain Theodore Gourdin. Could it be? He pulled up his chair, took a seat, and opened the e-mail.

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scotty cademeet 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, all 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.

 

Here’s where you can find me:

 

www.scottycade.com

www.facebook.com/scotty.cade

www.twitter.com/ScottyCade

scottycade@gmail.com

scotty@scottycade.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.

The Rodeo Knight by Ashavan Doyon: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post and Review

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The Rodeo Knight

Sam’s Café Romances: Book Three

Struck by amnesia after a car crash, Brian Stouten has been living a life laid out by his family, a heterosexual life that just doesn’t fit. When he learns it was all a lie, he returns to the small college town that’s his only clue to his past. But the town is still unfamiliar, and the man he’d hoped would make all his memories return is on a honeymoon with another man. To add insult to injury, everyone thinks Brian died in the crash. It’s only when an out-of-place cowboy asks to bum a smoke that Brian realizes this trip was meant to be.

Sylvester Thomas has always fought a secret desire, and done it successfully. But when geeky Brian offers him a smoke and a light, a simple brush of hands has Sylvester’s hidden passions burning deep. Did he make a mistake letting Brian walk away?

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The Chess Master Chronicles (Dreamspinner)

Sam’s Cafe Romances books 1-3, print only:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-chess-master-chronicles-by-ashavan-doyon-7830-b

 

Guest Post

*Runs in* Am I on time? Did I make it? *wipes brow* Thank goodness.

 

I’m Ashavan Doyon and I’m so pleased to be here at Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy. Two great things to be obsessed by! I’m here today to talk about The Rodeo Knight, my newest release with Dreamspinner Press. It doesn’t come by itself though! As book three of a series, it comes with a rerelease of The King’s Mate (a true second edition that is almost twice the length of the original novella) and the release of a print only edition of an anthology that collects all three of the Sam’s Café Romances into a single volume — The Chess Master Chronicles. I received my copies yesterday and they are gorgeous!

Well yes, I’m biased. Of course I am. But then, Bree Archer does beautiful work. The covers are stunning and I was so very pleased that they were able to get Bree, who did the original artwork for A Wounded Promise, to come back and do new designs for The King’s Mate (as a short story in a novella, it never had unique cover art) and The Rodeo Knight. That process was really fun and interesting and I got to see a lot of options. For The King’s Mate we were a bit more limited, since we didn’t want to show the love interest on that cover, and the model was established, I really only had two poses to choose from. For The Rodeo Knight we went back and forth a lot more. It was important to me that the model look like a geek and not a GQ model trying to look like a geek. I think the cover achieves that for Brian nicely.

For the record, I too am obsessed with books and eye candy. I’m so far behind on my reading I don’t even want to think about it most days. Like a lot of people I read to relax (and look at eye candy to relax, go figure). But as a US resident we’ve been dealing with an election, and the vitriol on both sides has been at a ridiculous high. I’d had hopes it would normalize after the election but I think we all know how that went. So, I’m reading before everything gets censored I hope, and I’m looking at eye candy … likewise. Yes, I have a favorite porn studio. No, I don’t model my characters after the porn models, though I know authors who do that. For me it’s the face more than the body that makes the porn star, and you can see that in my choices for covers. A Wounded Promise, Justin in his hoodie staring right at you. The stare from the cover of I Almost Let You is similar.rodeoknightthe_fbbanner_dsp

When talking about The Rodeo Knight, it’s natural to talk about our chess master, Brian. He is, after all, the return character. Russ’s partner and (almost) husband back from the dead. Makes for some great interesting drama, and it overshadows our other primary character a little.

This was a hard story to write because there’s folks who want the true love between Brian and Russ to win out. But Russ has his happy ending from the first two stories. And it was important to me not to destroy that, though the revelation that Brian is alive certainly brings some drama to Russ’s life for a while. How and why Brian can set that aside is something the story explains. But that same why also leaves Brian open to a new romance, and that romance has a name: Sylvester.

Even though Sylvester is only in his mid-twenties, he understands some of what our amnesiac hero is going through. Sylvester has also lost his entire life because of an accident. A competitive bull rider who poured his life into his work, a freak accident has cost him everything, including the shield that he used to stay alone.

What we know about Sylvester is that he was good. He spent his winnings on his parents and his family. He had some saved, but because of the medical bills from his accident, they’re barely covering his school. This is partly his own fault. He didn’t go to school nearby. He didn’t try for a community college. He ran away, someplace far. Someplace liberal. Someplace no one would take him to a rodeo (though Brian tries!) and he might, if he was brave, be able to finally be himself. He gets to the University and finds himself too broke and too embarrassed by that to pursue anyone. Until he meets Brian.

I liked the idea of a young man in a sporting career who has to start over because it resonated so well with Brian’s own loss of memory. Why a cowboy (well, bull rider)? Because I’m Texan, and I always thought they were sexy. Don’t you? I think if you’re interested in the story you probably do. Cowboys were some of my first sexy images of men as a boy. In the city, the rodeo meant country music and going to the Astrodome to see this epitome of masculinity. It was a touch of country to a city boy even though I was from the suburbs. To this day, I love a man in a cowboy hat who needs just a touch of a shave.

Worse, I’m a product of my generation. I couldn’t make the image work, for me, without putting a cigarette in his mouth. Marlboro man did his job well. But that also gave me a way to have my cowboy and my chess master meet. One of the few things we knew about Brian going into the story (from A Wounded Promise) is that he was a chain smoker.

I hope you enjoy how I portray Sylvester in The Rodeo Knight. If you haven’t already checked it out, there’s a post today at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words with an interview – I talk about my experience with books as a kid and when I first started writing. And I’ll talk more about the second edition of The King’s Mate tomorrow at Tammy’s Two Cents. Until then, you can always contact me through my website www.ashavandoyon.com

denise review

This was the first book I’ve read by Ashavan Doyon. Unfortunately, I didn’t read books 1 and 2, in this series. I might have connected more with the secondary characters, if I had. Although the book seemed a little disjointed in places to me, I know that was likely because I was jumping into the middle of a series. I think I’d like to go back and read books 1 and 2, to get more of a feel for the entire series.

I can see why this might have been difficult to write for the author, with the character having been declared deceased previously, and the surviving husband having moved on. Readers of the first two books would be rooting for Russ to stay with Justin, and still rooting for the MC Brian to still get his HEA, which they both do. However, walking on that tightrope must have been a challenge for the author, and I applaud his efforts. That fine line between wanting a grief stricken former spouse to find a way out of what would be a new type of grief, and yet having read his recovery story might be troubling to some readers.

I think the author did a fantastic job of that. Brian didn’t have any feelings for his former spouse. Period. He thought he should, and yet didn’t. He had instant feelings for Sylvester, and moved forward with those feelings right away. He didn’t hesitate and worry about how other people in the town would see it, he had his life back and wanted to get to living it right away. He’d been forced to live through one hell, then forced to live another hell his parents thrust upon him.

Sylvester was sweet and so proud. Not willing to show a weakness if he could avoid it. He needed someone who was willing to jump all in with him, because he would never have taken that step forward on his own.

There are things I would have liked to see more resolution with. I was left wondering how Russ and Justin were able to move forward and deal with it. I was left wondering how they integrated into the fabric of the community. And I was left wondering if there was resolution with Brian’s parents.

I enjoyed the writing style of the author, and appreciated how very different all of the characters personality quirks were written. They were integral parts of the characters, and the author made sure to keep them incorporated throughout the book.

3.5 pieces of eye candy.

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tco-also in series

kingsmatemedcoverThe King’s Mate

2nd Edition

Sam’s Café Romances: Book One

Russell Pine comes to Sam’s Café every morning to enjoy the best coffee in town and to chat with Sam Tesh, the owner, a loyal friend for the past twenty years. When Sam offers him a challenge, Russ reluctantly takes it on, acting as the master opponent in a chess tournament. As the days pass and the hopefuls fall to the chess mastermind one by one, Russ discovers that the contest isn’t the only game being played.

Russ finds himself the focus of a secret courtship through words and pictures left for him to discover each morning. Will a hint of cologne on the paper lead him to his admirer? In a café full of young and beautiful minds, who is looking at the graying chess master?

First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, June 2013.

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The Chess Master Chronicles (Dreamspinner)

Sam’s Cafe Romances books 1-3, print only:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-chess-master-chronicles-by-ashavan-doyon-7830-b

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meet the author

For fifteen years, Ashavan Doyon worked with students in the student affairs office of a liberal arts college. He recently decided to shake things up a little, and is now working in the publications and communications office at the college. During lunch, evenings, and when he can escape the grasp of his husband on weekends, he writes, pounding out words day after day in hopes that his ancient typewriter-trained fingers won’t break the glass on his tablet computer. Ashavan is an avid science fiction and fantasy fan and prefers to write while listening to music that fits the mood of his current story. He has no children, but lavishes attention on his sole remaining fur child, a very elderly pug. A Texan by birth, he currently lives in New England, and frequently complains of the weather.

Ashavan went to school at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, getting his degree in Russian and East European Studies, with a focus in language and literature. He has two incomplete manuscripts from college that he goes back compulsively to fiddle with every so often, but is still not happy with either of them. He still loves fantasy and science fiction and reads constantly in the moments between writing stories.

You can find me online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashavandoyon.writer

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ashavandoyon

Web: www.ashavandoyon.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 Minutes Longer by Victoria Sue: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post and Excerpt

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synopsis

Talon Valdez knew when he transformed into an enhanced human, his life and his dreams were finished. Reviled, mistrusted, and often locked away, the enhanced were viewed as monsters, despised by the public, and never trusted to serve in the military or any law enforcement agency.

Years later he gets a chance to set up a task force of enhanced to serve in the FBI, but with one proviso: each enhanced must partner with a regular human.

Finn Mayer dreamed of joining the FBI from the time he was fourteen and made every possible sacrifice to make it happen, including living with his selfish mother and bullying, homophobic brother and never having a boyfriend. But his undiagnosed dyslexia stopped his aspirations dead in their tracks. His last chance is to partner with Talon, an enhanced with deadly abilities who doesn’t trust regular humans with their secrets and wants Finn to fail.

Four weeks to prove himself to the team. Four weeks for the team to prove itself to the public. And when another group threatens their success—and their lives are at stake—four weeks for them to survive.

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Guest Post

Holding Out For A Hero!

No, I wasn’t gonna go all Bonnie Tyler on you. This is far more my style.

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Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re just braver five minutes longer.”

And yummier…

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But I digress…We’re talking about Finn, Talon, And Superman.

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So how did Superman get into my book? He snuck in… He actually appears the first time on the front of Finn’s boxer shorts.

When Talon undresses him.

And takes him to bed.

Okay… so Finn is actually asleep at the time, but still.

Talon did his best not to stare at the lithe little body that followed Drew out, remembering how it felt in his arms the night before. Talon had tried to shake him awake at first when he came back from the bathroom, completely stunned he was still there. He looked like shit. Talon could see the dark shadows under his eyes and his own blood that stained Finn’s pants and his shirt. The jacket had been discarded.

In the end, Talon just picked him up. Then what did the kid do? Instead of lying there while Talon took him to his spare room, he moaned softly and curled up in Talon’s arms, burrowing his head in the crook of his neck. Talon had nearly groaned right back, and had hurriedly laid him down on the bed. Finn had let out a deep sigh, and Talon just stood and stared and thought about how uncomfortable he looked. With resignation he’d undone Finn’s pants and slid them off his hips. He’d chuckled softly when he saw the Superman shorts. He would bet any money Finn had never wanted another living soul to see those.

My Superheroes:

Talon – 29 years. Developed his ability at adolescence as is common with enhanced humans. Comes from a politically motivated family who decided that instead of acknowledging they had an enhanced son decided to lock him away in an insane asylum as a child and then pretend he didn’t exist as an adult.

Finn – 24 years. Has dreamed of joining the FBI since he was fourteen, survived but his poor test grades due to undiagnosed dyslexia stopped it happening until one day he gets a call from the FBI about a new secret unit being set up.

All Talon wants to do is change public perception. He wants to stop any other enhanced child going through the same as he did. He wants to stop the bigotry and mistrust and hopefully turn the monsters that the public see into heroes.

He has two problems with that. He’s given a regular human partner that is well, too breakable. Talon’s ability is deadly, and Finn is at risk.

He also has to keep a huge secret from Finn. Their abilities are evolving, changing. If the public found out, being locked up would be the least of their problems. Talon and the rest of the team aren’t just fighting for their freedom anymore; they’re fighting for their lives.

Drew took another swig of his bottle.

“I know I’m being set up to fail,” Finn said. “I know full well the only reason I’m here is because the agency wouldn’t take me normally. I’m dispensable.” He grinned to soften the words. He didn’t want Drew feeling guilty by shooting down his dreams.

Drew sighed. “Caught that, did you?”

Finn smiled, but he couldn’t help the twist he felt in his gut at having it confirmed. Seemed like everyone knew. “But you’re already a trained agent. The failure of this team isn’t going to impact on your career, surely?” He was convinced there was something Drew wasn’t saying. “Tell me about the others who didn’t make it.”

Drew looked up, startled, and Finn’s stomach took a quick dive. That was it. His innocent question to keep Drew talking had hit on something. He waited patiently.

Drew started. “You’re the fourth that I know of.”fiveminuteslonger_fbbanner_dsp

“All already agents?”

“Yeah. One of them—Hillier—was a close-combat specialist, and even he couldn’t put Vance down. That’s his ability, Vance.”

“Close combat?” Finn queried.

“No, incredible strength. Think Superman-type shit.”

Finn blinked. Wow. “To be honest I kind of thought most of the abilities were exaggerated on TV. I mean, how come they’re not set on world domination or some such shit?” He was joking, but he shut up when Drew didn’t laugh. Okay, so he was officially getting a little more freaked out.

“Because there’s not enough of them, and so far the incidence seems to be confined to the US.” Drew played with the label on the bottle. “What do you know?”

“The first kids were born in the seventies. There’s been no cause identified. Suspicions vary from everything from genetics to pesticides,” Finn replied promptly. “There have been some major crimes reported. There was one guy who raided banks…. Something to do with being able to crack computer codes. Another who seemed to be able to do something with explosives. But there hasn’t been anything major since the task forces were implemented.”

“All that is true, and because the circumstances were very isolated, no major panic has happened. The government has never tried to initiate any sort of testing without consent, despite the law affecting the deceased.”

Finn nodded. They passed a law ten years ago stating any enhanced would be subject to special postmortems. There were a few religious groups that made a fuss, but Finn was surprised at how little people seemed to be disturbed.

“I don’t think I would get into trouble telling you this, but we’ve had at least fifteen years with the rate of transformation being very low. You know transformation….”

“Yeah, yeah,” Finn quickly agreed. That was when the enhanced first developed their abilities and the mark on their face, usually around adolescence.

“And you know the enhanced are sterile?”

Finn swallowed. He heard that on the news. Actually he heard some religious nut saying it was God’s wrath, punishing the abominations so no one else had to suffer.

“Thing is, when they found that out, it was as if people weren’t worried anymore. Aliens or super beings weren’t going to take over the world.” Drew chuckled. “I think that’s why we never had a mass panic on our hands or anything.”

“But you’ve got some super beings,” Finn argued.

“Yeah, and no other law enforcement agency will touch them. Gregory thinks that’s very shortsighted.”

He has a point, thought Finn. “I guess a lot of the abilities are being kept out of the news. What you said about Vance, for instance. First I’ve heard about anything like that.” And the thing Talon did in Gregory’s office, which was downright scary.

“Yes, the government has been downplaying things for years.”

“So why did none of the trainees work out?” Finn finished his beer and waited to see if he was going to get an answer.

“Two failed the standard questions on the first day.” Drew grinned. “At least I know you passed those.”

Finn hesitated. “You do?” He cleared his throat.

“Yeah. You wouldn’t still be here. Seriously, they didn’t tell you? That sucks.” Drew finished his beer also and stood. “The third one had a massive argument with Talon and quit. Said he wasn’t working with murdering freaks.”

“Wow,” Finn said. “And the fourth one? You said there were four.”

“I didn’t tell you.” Drew almost glared at Finn.

“Okay.” Finn’s heart sped up a little.

“I’m not sure exactly, but I think Eli lost control.”

“What happened?”

Drew shrugged. “Look, it’s not for me to say. I wasn’t there. All I know is that Michaelson was carried out of the gym on a stretcher with severe burns and never came back to work.” He grabbed his car keys off the table. “Six weeks ago.”

 morgan review

This new world Victoria Sue has created is pretty damn epic in my opinion. It has an X-MEN feel to me which makes me love the story even more.

There is a part of the human population that begins to show traits of being ‘enhanced’, which means they develop certain abilities, and it can show up at any age. First they develop a mark on their cheek that distinguishes them from the normal every day human and then they start to show unique powers, so to speak. Some even develop multiple abilities.  These enhanced humans are feared because they are so different and in a world filled with hate and prejudice they are shunned and mistreated. Having that mark on their cheek also keeps them from being able to blend in with the normal every day human so they are not able to hide who they are.  Most people believe the enhanced to be a threat so they struggle to live and be granted even the most basic of human rights.

Finn and Talon are brought together when a new task force is created combining humans and enhanced to show the world they are capable of working together. Finn has had a rough life and despite his dyslexia he has strived his whole life to become an FBI agent. Talon is distrustful of everyone except for his fellow enhanced team members and has had a pretty crazy life himself. He disliked Finn on sight and I enjoyed seeing Finn break down his walls throughout the story.

The emotions with this are crazy so be ready. Victoria Sue had a fantastic idea when she created this world. She has a cast of amazing characters with different traits and personalities. Each of them has a story to tell and I can’t wait to see where this series goes. I definitely enjoyed this story and it gets 5 pieces of eye candy from me.

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meet the author

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. Loves her wolves!

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

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Catching Heir by Julia Talbot: Guest Post & Release Day Review

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Is he in love with an old hotel—or its new owner?

Professional snowboarder Cullen Patrick is successful and kinda famous. So when he inherits an old Colorado hotel from an unknown relative, he really should leave well enough alone.

Matt Nathanson has been managing the Treeline Estates since college. He loved the elderly former owner, and he stands to inherit the place if no one claims it in the next week. Of course, Cullen shows up, and Matt thinks it’s time to move on. He doesn’t want to like Cullen, no matter how engaging the guy is, or how hunky.

Cullen has grand ideas for the Treeline, but he doesn’t want to implement them without Matt, and he’s not sure he’s ready to give up snowboarding. Can Matt convince Cullen that putting down roots is worth it… and maybe catch his heir at the same time?

Title: Catching Heir
Author: Julia Talbot
Release Date: December 1, 2016
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 220

Guest Post

The Snowboarder in My Past

Hey, y’all! I’m Julia Talbot, and I here to talk about my newest release with Dreamspinner Press, Catching Heir.

The novel is about a professional snowboarder who inherits an old hotel in Colorado. When Cullen gets there, the manager, a hot, if stodgy, man from Texas, thinks he’s about to inherit the hotel, instead. Matt is surprised and angry when he realizes Cullen intends to stay, but we all know hope isn’t lost! This is romance, darn it!

So, when I decided to write a snowboarder, I knew I would have to do some research to see what and who was current in the world of extreme sports, but I also knew some things never change, so I could call upon personal experience.

I lived in Colorado for ten years, and in most of that time, I was a circulation manager at a college library, a small university on the Western Slope, which is what they call the area west of the continental divide. In Grand Junction, you have very few entertainment choices unless you’re “outdoorsy”. Hiking, mountain biking, skiing, rafting, snowboardng… These kinds of activities are super available, and to a man or a woman, most of the eighteen to twenty-one year old kids who worked for me were totally into them.

I had one student in particular, let’s call him Braden, who was a snowboarder. A damned good one from what I could tell, mainly from what the girls said about him. He was obsessed with snowboarding, and when he wasn’t shredding out there in the snow, he was thinking about it, or talking about it, or practicing for it on his skateboard. Braden was the laziest worker I had, and he was never embarrassed to call in sick if there was fresh powder.

If I let Braden work nights, as we were open until eleven pm, I would come in the next morning to security footage of him sliding down the handrail of the atrium stairs standing up or flying past the camera at the front desk on a rolling office chair, feet together, knees bent, hands out for balance.

He made me laugh all the time. The neat thing about Braden was how he knew everything there was about snow and ice. He knew that the closer you were to the coast, the better the snow, so ski areas in Idaho and Nevada, then Utah, then Colorado were preferable. He knew what local slopes, which in Grand Junction could be everything from Vail to Telluride, including the tiny Powderhorn just up the road on Grand Mesa, would be like in any given conditions: wet snow, dry snow, sheet ice. All of it. He was quick to tell me that it was the lift ticket that cost so darned much, and when I gave him one I won to Telluride from a vending machine, attached to a bottle of diet Coke, he was ecstatic, and he brought me back a t-shirt that read: If you can read this, flip my Jeep back over.

When I needed to write Cullen, my snowboarder, I put a lot of Braden in him. The humor and the snow knowledge, the slang like “asspass” and “Shred”. (Asspass is when you fall on your butt and slide.) I also played the what if game. What if Braden had been a child prodigy at his sport. What would he be like if that was all he’d ever done.

I hope I did him justice in the little parts of Braden that I used to build Cullen. And wherever Braden is right now, I hope he’s well on his way to a righteous snow dump so he can bust it down the hill.

Find Cullen and Matt in Catching Heir, my new Dreamspun Desire from Dreamspinner Press.

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deanna review

What a great read. Julia Talbot is a new author to me and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Matt is just days away from claiming ownership of The Treeline, a hotel he has worked hard to maintain for years when Cullen, the deceased owners grandson is found and ownership reverts to him. Cullen is a professional snowboarder and never wanted to own a hotel.

Ben, the previous owner wrote a clause in the hotel trust that Matt could never be fired for any reason. His job was and always would be secure at The Treeline. Cullen and Matt will have to work together to ensure the success of The Treeline while Cullen still has his snowboarder’s life to contend with. Along the way feelings are developed and both want to make their arrangement a little more permanent.

I loved his! It was a sweet, low angst read. I loved the progression of the relationship between Cullen and Matt. It felt real, with everyday obstacles and little to no drama.

4 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author

Julia Talbot lives in the great Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Samhain Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, and Changeling Press. She believes that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved. Find Julia at @juliatalbot on Twitter, or at www.juliatalbot.com

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@juliatalbot on Twitter
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The Soldati Prince by Charlie Cochet: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, Review and Giveaway

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Character Interview

Hello, all! Thank you so much for joining me for the last stop of The Soldati Prince blog tour. Today we have a special treat. We have Riley Murrough, our Soldati prince, and instead of me asking him a few questions, I decided I’d let Khalon’s best friend and second in command, Rayner, do the honors. Take it away fellas.

Rayner: *waves at Riley* Your highness, I’ll do my best to make this as painless as possible.

Riley: *narrows eyes* I don’t believe you for a second.

Rayner: *laughs* Why don’t we start off with an easy question? Who do you think is more handsome, me or Khalon?

Riley: Who do I think is more of a pain in the ass? The answer would be both. You are definitely both a pain in the ass.

Rayner: *looks amused* That’s not what I asked.

Riley: *arches an eyebrow* Really? Because that’s what I heard.

Rayner: I’ll admit, I can be a challenge, but as far as a pain in your backside, from what I heard coming from your bedchamber the other evening, I would say that Khalon—

Riley: Oh my God, shut up! *goes red in the face*

Rayner: *laughs* Very well. What was the first thought that crossed your mind when you saw Khalon?

Riley: I’m hallucinating.

Rayner: The second?

Riley: That’s a lot of leather.

Rayner: *chuckles* And when you were told who you were?

Riley: What did I think when I was told I was the intended mate and prince of some magical dude who changes into a tiger that lives in another world? Hm, let me think about that. *pretends to think* That someone is out of their damn minds, and it’s probably me. As you will recall, I was a little freaked out.

Rayner: *smiles* Perhaps a tad.

Riley: Sure. If a tad means flipping one’s mind. Then yes, a tad.

Rayner: And at precisely what point did you decide Khalon was not, in fact, a bastard?

Riley: I believe the word you’re looking for is “asshole”, and that took some time. *blushes* I don’t know exactly at what point. There was so much going on, what with the demons out to tear at my mortal flesh and harvest my soul, but at some point I realized that maybe he wasn’t such a jerk. That he was actually a good guy underneath all the growling and scowling.

Rayner: Are all humans that grumpy and inarticulate before coffee?

Riley: Yes. You have your magic, we have ours.

Rayner: *blinks* Coffee is magic?

Riley: Are you kidding? You yourself have witnessed its power to transform a zombie into a functioning human being. *points at himself*

Rayner: *laughs* Of course. And how do you feel about our illustrious king now?

Riley: *blushes* Um, he’s hot. Like, really hot. And his smile is pretty amazing. He’s pretty amazing. *shifts uncomfortably* He’s caring, and gentle, and sexy. Why am I telling you all this? Things are good between us. We’ve been through a lot together, and I’m looking forward to what happens next.

Rayner: As am I. *winks at Riley*

Riley: *rolls his eyes* I should get going.

Rayner: Left Khalon alone in bed, did you?

Riley: *stands up and narrows his eyes at Rayner* You know what, Rayner?

Rayner: Shut up?

Riley: *grumbles under his breath as he stalks away*

Rayner: *laughs* He is almost as easy to wind up as Khalon. *smiles wickedly* Almost.

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synopsis

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Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Gay Romance, Shifters, Demons
Series: Soldati Hearts
Length: Novella, 97 pages
Published: Nov 23rd, 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781634775809

One moment, Riley Murrough is living a normal life working in a coffee shop, and the next, he’s running for his life from demons, learns he bears the mark of a shape-shifter king from a magical realm, and—worst of all—he’s destined to become the mated prince to the arrogant tiger-shifter he would rather strangle.

Khalon, the shifter king, is equally distraught at the idea of being bound to a human prince, and along with his Soldati warriors, he sets out to return Riley to his own world, where he belongs. On their journey, they might discover why the goddess brought them together—if they can escape the demons and make it to her alive.

First Edition short story published as The Soldati Prince in Charmed & Dangerous by JCP Books LLC, 2015. Second Edition has been re-edited and extended to novella length with new content.

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READ CHAPTER ONE

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denise review

I’ve always said that it is harder to write a novella than a full length novel. With a novella, the author has to make you care about the characters almost immediately, get to know them, and do all that in a limited amount of works. Charlie Cochet is a master at that, and The Soldati Prince is a perfect example of that.

I really enjoyed the storyline for this novella, even though as I’ve said many times before, I rarely read shifter books. But of course, when it is Charlie, I don’t hesitate. She has made me love shifters so much more than I ever expected (I’ll probably still never be a vampire or werewolf girl, but hey, its a start!), and she did that by creating characters with heart, and soul, and men that may be slightly broken in some way, but are made whole by the finding of their other half.

This novella does all that, and then adds in a ton of humor, which I was not expecting at all! Riley made me laugh out loud more than once. He did not take any crap from Khalon, no matter that he was King or not. The scene at the breakfast table, with the coffee (read it and you will get it) had me laughing and highlighting, and even going right back at the end of the scene and re-reading it. So funny!

These two circle each other, trying to figure out what being a mate with someone they didn’t expect (or even want) actually will mean for them, and its fun to see that Riley is Khalon’s equal in every way, despite Khalon’s best efforts to keep it from being so.

Another winner by Charlie, and of course, leaves me wanting more for a certain second in command. 😉

4.5 pieces of eye candy, for humor alone, not to mention the rest of the story!

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meet the author

Charlie_Cochet_by_madison_parker150Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Nov 21st – The Novel Approach
Nov 22nd – Joyfully Jay
Nov 23rd – Man2Mantastic
Nov 24th – Dreamspinner Press Blog
Nov 25th – Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy

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Dirk Tales, The Book by Dan Skinner: Author Guest Post, Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

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synopsis

Dirk Tales, The Book includes previously released Misadventures of Doc & Dirk volumes, available now for the first time in paperback, an additional episode, and more!

He’s a middle-aged, newly single, gay photographer starting life over. Along comes a freshly out nineteen-year-old, irreverent free spirit who wants to be his apprentice. Mismatched by more than a generation, what could possibly go wrong? Everything! And it’s AWESOME!

Dirk’s First Time: Every gay boy has his first experience. Usually it’s a memorable, exciting personal time of discovery and intimacy between two young people. But two comic book characters? Is it horseplay or Cosplay?

The Boy At The Gym: First impressions can be deceiving. Sometimes that boy in the baggy clothes, talking to himself in the gym isn’t as shy as he appears. Sometimes there’s a deviant imp lurking beneath that freckled mask of innocence. Beware the Trojan Nerd!

A “Muse” ing: Most authors struggle with the voices or “muses” in their head when writing. Tuning that voice out becomes a little more challenging when your muse is a real-life nineteen-year-old who inhales espresso and turns out ideas at light speed. Danger Will Robinson!

Daddy and The Rent Boy: In sales, advertising is half the battle. That can become hazardous when you’re in the company of an irreverent walking billboard.

Sex Dolls and Bad Dates: We’ve all had one of those dates where we think we’ve bitten off more than we can chew. The trick to know is Bite or Flight?

Dirk’s Quirks: Everyone has idiosyncrasies; that’s what makes us interesting. If you’re lucky, you get a heaping helping and can share them with everyone.

Make it Naked: Teaching a nineteen-year-old walking hormone photography apprentice to shoot nudes is more than an adventure… It’s a human obstacle course.

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Guest Post

Don’t Fight Magic – Dirk Tales Blog Tour Post

I’m not a superstitious person. I’m not even a religious person. I’ve always been a realist, a pragmatist. I sincerely subscribe to the assertion that hard work equals success, to never half-ass anything you do and you can attain your goals.

I’m also a person who sets goals… firmly and works toward them fiercely because, like everyone else, I would like to attain a modicum of success. Not fame… but fortune wouldn’t hurt. I hate bills as much as the next guy and struggling to pay them is a bitch.

A few years ago, I felt like I was almost there. And then events beyond my control ripped the rug out from under me. I had to start all over again, but what made it more difficult was that I was no longer a youngster with grand ideals. I was older and the idea of having been pushed from nearly the top floor back to the basement was a bit… well… traumatic.

I had to re-evaluate, and what I saw in myself actually surprised me. As close as I’d been to being a success before the fall, I had become someone I didn’t recognize or much like. I’d grown tired and lazy and out of shape. I was going through the motions with my job as a photographer and putting off the things I’d always wanted to write as an author. The close proximity of financial success had made me into someone less than who I wanted to be. And strangely, I didn’t see that until the fall to the bottom.

Oddly, at this desperate point, when I hated looking in the mirror the most, I’d been hired to photograph a personal trainer and his boyfriend. He was a Buddhist and had a calming influence on me, but also an inspirational one and we became friends in that dire period of my life. Without my asking, he took me under his wing and said, “Let’s get you back in shape! Let’s get you fired up again. Let’s see what’s really left burning inside you.”

He started me out walking and then running and I became addicted to it. As we ran, we talked about the stories I’d always wanted to write and he encouraged me, and before I knew it my first full-length novel, Memorizing You was written and lo and behold, I was in shape again. I could look in the mirror without feeling that angst of self-loathing. Something… well… magical had happened. From the midst of pain and trauma… I had self-recreated.

As I moved on with my life the next two years, more books came spilling out of me. The Bible Boys, the book I’d always wanted to write about my painful childhood being raised in a repressed Evangelical household and discovering I was one of their “abominable” gays. The Art of the Heart, a gay fairy tale paying tribute to period films like The Last Picture Show. The Price of Dick, a cautionary tale to help all of us avoid making poor romantic choices. I had become wildly productive again.

So I tackled the biggest project I’d ever wanted to do. A dystopian science fiction novel, Xperiment. A projection of our future if crazy people took over the country and how a scientist, using evolution, could produce a new species, which would save the planet. The undertaking was daunting and the book would end up being over 700 pages of an intense rollercoaster thrill ride. It consumed me, and almost all my time. I didn’t think I had room for much more of anything.

In the middle of this, I ran into a teenager named Dirk who wanted to apprentice photography with me. I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t have time to deal with the quirks and annoyances of a young person when I had so many things I wanted to accomplish… I didn’t think it was worth the bother.

I look at those thoughts I had when I first met him and smile, because by fluke of nature – or magic – this “annoying” young man… this apprentice who became a friend and then a muse, did something remarkable. He “magically” changed my life again. He touched me, and my friends who said, “Dan, write about yourselves… we’d love to read it.” And again, I said, “No… No… No,” until my arm was bent by my editor, Dirk’s mother, Dirk himself, and all of you… and here we are.

The first book of our “Misadventures” hit the number one bestseller list in a matter of hours and I sat there… stunned… because this realist had just learned to believe in….

Magic! You are all a part of this. That’s what makes it so wonderful!

deanna reviewI really enjoyed this installment in the series. This one digs a little deeper, there are fewer laugh out loud moments but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.

In this installment Dan and Dirk each regale us with a story of someone they met that was super hot and really weird at the same time. The stories are witty and entertaining.

This is a super short read, but well worth the price of admission.

4 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author

I’m a single gay man living in the Midwest. I write because I consider myself to be an old-fashioned storyteller. I’ve been a photographer for half my life, specializing in male romance cover art. My dream is to one day live on the beach with my dog and continue to tell tales that inspire and entertain.

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