Insight by Santino Hassell: Blog Tour, Author Interview, Review and Giveaway

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synopsis

Growing up the outcast in an infamous family of psychics, Nate Black never learned how to control his empath abilities. Then after five years without contact, his estranged twin turns up dead in New York City. The claim of suicide doesn’t ring true, especially when a mysterious vision tells Nate it was murder. Now his long-hated gift is his only tool to investigate.

Hitching from his tiny Texas town, Nate is picked up by Trent, a gorgeous engineer who thrives on sarcasm and skepticism. The heat that sparks between them is instant and intense, and Nate ends up trusting Trent with his secrets—something he’s never done before. But once they arrive in the city, the secrets multiply when Nate discovers an underground supernatural community, more missing psychics, and frightening information about his own talent.

Nate is left questioning his connection with Trent. Are their feelings real, or are they being propelled by abilities Nate didn’t realize he had? His fear of his power grows, but Nate must overcome it to find his brother’s killer and trust himself with Trent’s heart.

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tco-author interview

  1. Insight is the beginning of a new series for you, The Community. Where do you see this series going? What is upcoming with it?

The Community is going to be very different from my contemporary romance series, Five Boroughs, in that it’s planned to wrap up as a trilogy. There will still be side characters who get their own points of view and romantic arc in the two sequels, but the over arcing plot and conflicts will resolve in book 3. I like to think of it as a three-act play—the first book is when the main character discovers the existence of this psychic community, the second book is when characters who’ve long since been in it confront the shady elements of it, and the third book is when everyone comes together to do something about it.

  1. One of the main character’s, Nate, is described as an outcast in a psychic family. Where did the idea for his story come from?

I really wanted to write about a clan of psychics who were eerily powerful, and the more I thought about the potential the more I realized how dysfunctional that would be. These people grew up together, afraid of the outside world and anyone who would find out about their gifts, while always being inside each other’s heads? Not to mention the various coping mechanisms they’d use to deal with all the power and dysfunction. In short, I decided to make my powerful psychic clan a mess in a small town where that reputation would attach to Nate. So, he tried to disassociate from them because of their reputation but also because he wanted to be far away from how twisted they all could be.

  1. According to the synopsis, Trent thrives on sarcasm and skepticism. How easy, or difficult, is it to develop a character who is exudes a sarcastic nature? How do you integrate that skepticism into the character’s personality?

Trent is an engineer, so he’s skeptical by nature. You can’t just tell him “psychics exist” or “I think my brother was murdered” without him picking apart your claim and trying to figure out how all the parts come together. He wants proof. He wants to figure out a way to make it real. And once he gets what he needs to believe it, he’ll put together an action plan to deal with it. That’s why he and Nate work so well together. Nate is very emotionally invested in the mystery, the existence of a psychic community, whereas Trent is a step back and can look at it all objectively. His sarcasm is just a part of who he is, and also a way for him to make light of how ludicrous he thinks it is even after he accepts the truth. So, you can expect a lot of X-Men jokes.

  1. What is one ritual you have to perform before, during or after writing that might surprise your readers?

This isn’t very interesting, but I tend to reread my draft a lot while I’m writing it. Sometimes I have to reassure myself that the pacing is good or that it’s compelling because once I’m knee deep in a draft, it all looks like junk to me. I also have an alpha reader who gives me feedback on that type of thing if I just can’t see it clearly.

  1. Always have to have a fun question to finish. 🙂 You and Megan Erickson are on opposite sides of a jail door. Who is behind lock and key, and why?

LOL I’m definitely behind the lock and key, and she’s smuggling me pizza and Nilla Wafers as I serve my time.

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denise review

Having read quite a few of Santino‘s books, I was looking forward to this one, and seeing his writing from a different perspective. This was not going to be his normal snarky contemporary romance with dark tones and a gritty New York scene. Except, it kind of was.

Insight involves paranormal, which got me hooked in right away. Why would someone who had some sort of powers want to hide them, not use them, and even more, be in a dark hole in his life? How does that happen to someone who can see things, have an insight into others’ lives?

We do get some answers in Insight, but not the full picture yet, which I quite liked. I enjoyed knowing that there was more coming, layers that we will be uncovering in the next two books.

Poor Nate had just a crap life, and no prospects of it looking up when his twin brother dies, and after seeing it from his brother’s point of view, decides to go to NYC to investigate. Trent, meanwhile, an engineer at heart that needs to see proof of something before he will believe it, was the perfect snarky foil to down, but not out, Nate.

What made the story so compelling, in addition to all the intrigue and suspense, was the team that Nate and Trent made. Even with Nate’s concerns that he was using his empath abilities to have his feelings mirrored by Trent, they had each other’s backs, and knew that even with all the half-truths, questions and intensity, they could count on the other person to be there. How that was slowly built over the course of their drive across the country is one of Santino’s greatest gifts as a storyteller, his ability to build his characters into living, breathing people with varying interests, flaws, and personalities, yet be the puzzle piece the other character needs to complete the picture.

I’m looking forward to seeing how book 2, Oversight, brings the arc around to Holden, and somehow makes us want an HEA for him. 🙂

4 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author

 

Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twentysomething, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.

Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of LGBT fiction that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Connect with Santino:

giveaway

To celebrate the release of Insight, one lucky winner will receive $20 in Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 18, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

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

GRL 2016 Blog Tour Stop: Kaje Harper

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**TCO is excited to welcome Kaje Harper to the blog today for a GRL 2016 blog post. Take a peek at what Kaje has to say about writing and publishing!**

 

Writing as a Passion, Publishing as a Career

I’ve always been an enthusiastic reader, as well as a writer. I enjoy hanging out in online groups with other readers, where we share a love for M/M romance books. (My own favorite-reads list is over 400 books long. Do not ask me for recommendations, unless you have a lot of time, and a place to take notes.) One thing that often comes up is the question of how to get started as a writer. I adore the way the M/M genre seems to inspire people to want to create their own stories.NameBadgeGRLscaled

The first think I ask is “Do you want to write for fun, and maybe have some people read it? Or do you hope for a writing career?” Because over the last five years I’ve learned that they’re definitely not the same thing.

I started writing… well, probably as soon as I started reading. My mom saved some little stories I wrote in kindergarten, a few pages of misspelled crayon words. My first M/M romance was written when I was fourteen (in 1974 for those keeping track.) Putting stories to paper was a satisfying private passion for 30 years― I typed a story out and then filed it, never letting anyone else read it, and that was great. I’m sure that even if I never sold another book after today, I wouldn’t stop.

There’s a simple joy in creation. For me it’s an escape from the real world— watching the people and events that only existed in my head begin living and breathing on the page. And, because I’m a serious non-planning pantser, the plot surprises as my story unfolds are almost as unexpected as reading someone else’s work. The characters talk to me. It’s pure fun. And that much anyone can do, anytime. Publishing is the next hurdle.

My husband has put up with me spending hours on a keyboard ever since we were married in 1986. In 2011 he suggested maybe, just maybe, I should submit one of my books to an actual publisher. You know, to go somewhere with it. Maybe raise my hourly writing income from zero dollars per hour to at least a few cents.

I agreed, mostly to keep the peace. I submitted my favorite story to a publisher known for their long and constructive rejection letters. Color me surprised when they accepted Life Lessons. I was thrilled, and nervous, and it seemed so unreal I didn’t even tell my husband for a couple of months. The publisher and I began editing. Fact checking things I’d glossed over, when it was just my for own entertainment. We began planning for release. And a cover ― I’d never bothered with a cover before. Do those look like my guys? Do I want to show their faces? Will readers like it? It was a whole new world.

As an isolated, tech-ignorant loner, I had no website. In fact, it wasn’t until the book was out and the publisher told me I’d received a fan letter— (fan letter *squeeee*)— which was sent to them because I couldn’t be found online, that I started the process of having Kaje Harper become more than just a name on a book cover. (This is backwards, BTW, if you’re planning a career. Do the website first.)

Then someone told me I should Google-search for reviews and I ended up at Goodreads. There, in the groups of like-minded readers, I first found community. I claimed my author page. I chatted about favorite authors and books. I even wrote some reviews, good and bad.

I got up the nerve to go to my first GayRomLit conference in 2012. There, I met favorite author Amy Lane, who told me how she treasured my one 2-star review of her work, as validating all my other 5-stars for her. It was a lovely gesture to put me at ease, and so cool that she knew my name and had read one of my books (wow!) and my reviews (ouch), and so embarrassing too. I realized maybe honesty wasn’t the only consideration in how Kaje Harper should present online.

Maybe my author persona maybe shouldn’t be just me with a new name. For a book in the genre I also write, my bad review might look like hubris, like “I could have done it better.” I began to think about what I chose to do as a member of the M/M writing community, not simply a reader. Since then I only put up my 4-5 star reviews— the 1100 or so books I love and want to encourage people to read. And sometimes, I don’t say the things that pop into my mind, until I vet them a little harder for both kindness and courtesy. I work to present my better self in my author voice.

Over the last 5 years, I’ve released almost 40 stories, ranging from 3,000 to 140,000 words. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve put out unedited freebies, just for fun, and heavily worked over pro-published novels with a decent price tag. My first royalty check made me fly so high! I almost framed it rather than cashing it. (It was only for about $7 so I could have. I did photocopy it…) I’ve had amazing experiences, and gained some of the most generous readers in the world, who go out of their way to support my stories. I’m luckier than I could have imagined, in the way it’s worked out for me.

But I still think publishing is not for everyone. I’ve seen excellent authors founder on the realities of sharing the work of your heart with strangers, and the even tougher realities of trying to live on the proceeds of it. Two of my favorite M/M authors just hung up their pens in the last couple of weeks. Others have vanished from sight.

Many writers (including me) are introverts, socially awkward, and over-sensitive to the opinion of others. (You should see a writing conference social hour – half the group is chatting in the middle of the room, the other half of us are hugging the walls, smiles firmly in place, wondering if we look dumb, wondering if we should be trying to start a conversation, wondering how soon is too soon to head back to our nice, quiet hotel rooms with a good book.) I think that the same things that make us good at sharing our characters’ emotions and minds on the page can make publishing tougher.

Writing itself is the joy. Well, sometimes frustration, and dry spells, and rewriting, and hair-pulling, but mostly joy. Publishing means sharing your creation with others, some of whom are going to hate it. Some of whom are going to insult it, and you. Some of whom will write reviews that make you want to never pen another word.

It’s inevitable. There is no book so good that someone didn’t write a bad review of it on Amazon, or Goodreads, or All Romance eBooks, or a blog. Check out your favorites. People say of Lord of the Rings, “This is among the most tedious books I’ve ever had the misfortune to read. Or of Winnie the Pooh, “Milne talks down to his readers in a patronising way which makes me shudder.”

Bad reviews will happen. There’s also the chance your story may languish, without so much as one review for feedback or affirmation. Or perhaps with a couple of wordless stars, to leave you wondering what that was for.

So why publish? Well, there’s also nothing like sharing the work of your imagination, and finding out it touched someone’s heart. I’ve had reviews and emails that said my story helped a reader understand why marriage equality matters, or got them through a sad time in their life, or distracted them from pain and illness, or reminded them of friends long gone. I’ve seen lovely, thoughtful discussions, where the men who’d only lived in my head are treated as real, live humans, to be appreciated and analyzed and loved and scolded. I’ve seen my stories recommended to others, as a source of light for their dark times.

That’s an amazing thing. It can make me walk with my feet ten feet off the ground.

What about the money? Well, the idea that you can earn a living, or part of a living, from writing books you love, is heady. But do note the words “part of a living.” I’m in awe of the M/M writers who make it a full-time career. That takes hard, hard work and productivity and promotion. It takes pushing past your comfort zone to sell your books, and a willingness to ride out lean times. And a bit of luck. I’ve stuck with my day job and the easier part-time road. But then, I have the luxury of a good job I enjoy, and a working spouse. Earning a living by writing is tough.

There’s a general idea that authors must make a lot of money off their books. “Just look at them selling like hotcakes on Amazon.” And fortunately for those of us who love to read, some authors do live well from writing. The Jessewave M/M blog once did a survey of M/M authors. I’m happy to say one in twenty of the authors made more than ten thousand dollars off their first book. That’s a decent return indeed, and if they can repeat it, book after book, with new books every year, it’s a career. But more than half of surveyed authors earned less than a thousand dollars, total, from their first novel. Given that a novel usually takes months to write, they earned a couple of dollars an hour for their work. If they paid self publishing costs for a cover and editing and formatting, they might not have made back what they spent, and the hourly wage goes into the negatives. Publishing stories, aiming for a full time writing career, is definitely a leap of faith in yourself.

Personally, I’m delighted that my husband pushed me into publishing my stories. (He’s such a good guy. I’m not sure he realized it would mean me spending more time on the keyboard, but he’s very supportive.) Releasing my M/M stories to readers introduced me to people who are now among my closest friends. It opened worlds and possibilities. Including actually meeting new friends in real life, at conferences.

I’d never have imagined, six years ago, that I would be looking forward to my fifth GayRomLit conference. Or how far I could come from that first one, where I went as a reader, sometimes flipped my badge over so no one could read my name, and hid in hallways. This year in Kansas City, I’ll be doing not just a Q&A session, but a talk on “Broken Men: Avoiding the Magic Healing Peen,” collaborating with two fellow writers, Ethan Stone and Carter Quinn, in front of a live audience. And I’m looking forward to it, (if somewhat nervously, because becoming a published author still did not make me an extrovert.)

Back when I wrote in solitude, on my old portable typewriter or my husband’s outgrown laptop, I never thought that I’d one day be holding paper copies of my own books, with my guys looking back at me from the covers. Or selling them for real money, at a table at GRL, alongside authors who’ve been my own favorites, like Jordan Castillo Price and Edmond Manning. Publishing snuck up on me, and it’s been aGRL Featured Authorn amazing ride so far.

Some of you may hope to take that adventure too. I highly recommend it, if what I described turns your crank. If you have the love of words, and the drive to create. And the willingness to ride the downsides and failures, the criticisms and difficult moments, for the incredible highs. (A bit like any other important risk you take in life, really.) And many of you will prefer to simply read. You guys are the valued, vital and fundamental reason for any of us to publish. An author without readers would be a sad thing indeed.

I do recommend GayRomLit as a conference, whether you read M/M, write it, or have a maybe-book simmering. There is nothing as inspiring, and warm, and fun, as sharing space with hundreds of people who love the same books that you do, and who share support for the LGBTQ community.

This is my tribe.

The group is supportive, celebratory, happy to meet others like ourselves. When two men, or two women, among us hold hands or kiss, everyone smiles. Some of us do retreat from the social press, here and there; others dance till all hours of the night, at parties where same-sex couples and het couples mingle in shared enjoyment. We talk about books and writing and stories and life. We affirm for each other the importance of telling these stories, and the joy of watching them go more mainstream with every passing year. And sometimes, we listen and try to bolster the pain of the dark moments, the losses, the times when the world isn’t yet accepting of the rainbow. The hotel is filled with readers, authors, narrators, publishers, and lots of M/M books. My kind of place.

I hope to see some of you  at GRL in Kansas City, MO in October this year, or at other conferences other years. I hope all of you find new favorite reading, and some of you who haven’t put stories to paper before are inspired to write, for yourselves, for the fun of it. I hope some of you do go on to publish, and find success. We all win when this genre grows and steps forward into the consciousness of new readers, helping to teach those who read romance that love is love, and that two men together can be beautiful.

-Kaje Harper, September 2016

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LifeLessons

 

meet the author 

 

 

Abstract color background with wave and feather pen, illustration

Kaje Harper grew up in Montreal, and spent her teen years writing, filling binders with stories. But as life got busy, the stories began to just live in her head. The characters grew, met, endured, and loved, in any quiet moment, but the stories rarely made it to paper. Her time was taken up by work in psychology, teaching, and a biomedical career, and the fun of raising children.

Eventually the kids became more independent and her husband gave her a computer she didn’t have to share. She started putting words down in print again, just for fun. Hours of fun. Lots of hours of fun. The stories began piling up, and her husband suggested if she was going to spend that much time on the keyboard she ought to try to publish one. MLR Press accepted her first submission, the M/M mystery Life Lessons, which came out in May 2011. Kaje now has many novels and short stories published, including Amazon bestseller The Rebuilding Year, and a selection of free short stories and novels in a variety of gay romance genres, available at most ebook retailers. Her most recent release is the Tracefinder thriller-mystery series. She currently lives in Minnesota with a creative teenager, a crazy omnivorous little white dog, and a remarkably patient spouse.

Website: http://kajeharper.wordpress.com/

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

Goodreads Author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4769304.Kaje_Harper

Or you can find me moderating my Young Adult LGBT Books group on Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/49526-ya-lgbt-books

GRL Featured Blogger

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

Empty Net by Avon Gale: Release Day Review, Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

 

Featured Author Avon Gale

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Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain, Isaac Drake, ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and a family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him—no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse. He was constantly treated like a disappointment, on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist. Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the-season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold on to Laurent—or their relationship.

Title: Empty Net
Series: Scoring Chances: Book 4
Author: Avon Gale
Release Date: September 2, 2016
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

tco exclusive

Exclusive Excerpt from Empty Net:

Kissing Laurent was both a good idea and a bad one.

Isaac had no idea what he was doing with Laurent on a personal level, but professionally they were in competition. Laurent’s goaltending was getting better and better, because he’d apparently decided to show up and play, after all. Which was great, but Isaac was having to step up his game.

And he liked it, he realized. The competition wasn’t vicious—since Laurent was being way less of a dickhead—but it was intense.

The more intense it got, the more intense the kissing got too. Isaac continued to wonder if he was getting in over his head.

“So you’re spending a lot of time with Saint,” Hux said, when they were playing video games at his and Murph’s place.

“And isn’t it better for everyone?” Isaac made his on-screen character shoot the puck. He liked playing forward on video games, even though everyone expected him to be the goalie.

“Not talking about the team, bro,” said Hux. He, on the other hand, played a defenseman, just like he did on the ice. He also liked to try and get in fights. Hux was a man secure and happy with his role in their shared sport, that was for sure.

“You fucking him?” Murph asked, wandering in with a beer.

“Murph thinks he’s gay,” Hux said, as if that needed explaining.

Isaac stared at the screen and tried to make Mike Fisher do some kind of Spinarama move. Instead Hux’s team stole the puck and scored off the turnover. Being a Predators fan was hard in any reality—real or pixelated. “I’m not fucking him.”

His friends stared at him, but Isaac tried not to let anything show on his face. Things were too complicated to talk about.

“Holy shit. Ha. I was right. My gaydar is better than yours, dude,” Murph crowed, smacking Isaac on the back of the head.

“Ow. Would you stop? I told you I wasn’t fucking him.”

“Yeah. But you’re getting some,” Murph prodded. “Don’t lie.”

“I’m not,” Isaac said. Firmly. “Believe me. Can we not talk about this?”

“Nope.” Hux paused the game. “Spill it. Are you guys dating?”

Isaac was two seconds away from snapping “I’m going home” and throwing the controller like he was a sulky twelve-year-old. Instead he took a deep breath and said, “Guys, can we not talk about Saint and just play the game?”

Murph and Hux exchanged a look, but they didn’t say anything else about it. Isaac didn’t trust that look at all, but he kept it to himself. He couldn’t say he didn’t want to talk about it and then start talking about it.

Making out with Laurent and trying to be friends with him didn’t necessarily make it easier to like him. He still rubbed a lot of the guys the wrong way, and though Isaac understood that dickhead Laurent was a result of him feeling insecure or defensive, no one else did. Yet there was a guy worth knowing under the mask. Isaac was sure of it.

Which was why, when Coach Samarin told them about an outreach opportunity at a local school, Isaac signed them both up without asking Laurent.

“You want me to talk to kids?” Laurent stared at him incredulously. “I can barely handle talking to people my own age, and you think this is a good idea?”

Isaac shrugged and then flashed a grin. “Probably not, but you gotta learn sometime. Right?”

Laurent didn’t look convinced. “I’m not ever having children,” he said in a flat voice.

“Stop making everything so dramatic,” Isaac responded. “You’re going.”

The outreach was about getting kids interested in hockey without the use of one of Belsey’s 80’s-music-themed ad campaigns. He and Laurent wore a few pieces of their gear—mostly to emphasize the importance of safety, and because kids thought their masks were cool—and stood in front of some nets while the kids were organized into two groups, and then tried to score with a giant nerf ball and what looked to be an over-sized golf club.

Isaac wasn’t used to kids, but he had fun flailing around and pretending to stop goals. Each kid took shots until they scored a goal, which was basically just Isaac letting one in when the kid looked frustrated or stopped giggling.

One of the teachers paused the shootout and came up to Isaac. “Umm. Could you maybe tell your teammate that this is supposed to be fun?”

Laurent was apparently taking his position too seriously, as usual. Isaac reassured the harried-looking teacher and went over to Laurent. “It’s not the Stanley Cup playoffs,” he said. “You’re not supposed to make other guys cry.”

Laurent’s dark gaze was cool and unreadable. Isaac had been told more than once that he had the crazy, “come and try it, asshole” goalie stare beneath his mask when he was in net. Not for the first time, Isaac noticed that Laurent’s stare looked like nobody was home—like he was just an extension of the net instead of a person.

No wonder he didn’t like hockey or playing goalie. Shutting down hotshot shooters was supposed to give you a feeling of glee. Just not when they were seven.

“My father never—”

“I swear to—uh, gosh. If you mention your dad, I will deck you with one of those Nerf things.” Isaac looked around and made sure he was smiling wildly in case a small child overheard him. “Now stop being a prick and make these kids have fun.”

Isaac yanked his mask back down, went to his side of the makeshift court, and took his spot back in goal.

A few minutes later he heard some cheers and giggling, so Isaac figured Laurent had gotten with the program.

After the kids were finished shooting at the goalies, they were allowed to take turns in net. Isaac was momentarily horrified at how that would play out with Laurent. He worried that he’d just consigned about ten kids to therapy. But Laurent was surprisingly good at that part. At one point Isaac looked over to check on him and saw Laurent bestow an honest-to-God smile on a kid and ruffle his hair.

That’s when Isaac decided they needed to go on a date—a real one that maybe ended in more than kissing. Because there was something about that gesture, about seeing Laurent St. Savoy drop all his attitude and be a regular guy having a good time and showing the affection he’d probably never had as a child. And Isaac needed to know if the thing between them was leading somewhere or if they were just going to be friends who sometimes petted each other’s hair, but no more than that.

“See. Wasn’t that fun?” Isaac asked on the way back. Laurent looked as relaxed as Isaac had ever seen him.

“It wasn’t bad,” Laurent said.

“You want to go get some dinner?” Isaac tried not to sound too eager.

“It’s four thirty,” Laurent said. “Are we going for a senior citizen’s discount?”

“Well, I meant later. But you know we don’t get paid all that much.” Isaac grinned. “Don’t expect me to take you anywhere fancy. I meant like, Olive Garden or something.”

“I don’t like Olive Garden.”

Isaac sighed and took the turn toward Laurent’s apartment. One step at a time. “We can go somewhere else. The important part was the one where I asked you out. On a date.”

“Okay.”

That was all he got, but Isaac said, “I’ll pick you up at seven thirty” and watched as Laurent climbed out of the Jeep without a backward glance.

 

 

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paula review
This book about broke my heart. Laurent was such an emotional character to read. His life was hell. His outward personality was very much a result of how his father raised him, he was an asshole. In the beginning he really doesn’t know how to act any different. Thank god for Isaac. These two get off to a horrible start due to some pretty shitty things Laurent said to Isaac at the end of the last season and also when the meet again after Laurent’s transfer. Thankfully Isaac is more than just a surface guy and realizes there is more to Laurent then his mouth. Isaac is able to get past Laurent’s guard, and they become friends. I really liked how supportive Isaac was and how he always called Laurent on his bullshit, in regards to his attitude and how he talked to people. Isaac was able to recognize Laurent’s defense mechanisms for what they were and help Laurent find other ways to deal with things. These two characters were brilliantly written and the story was beautiful. I couldn’t put this one down.

5 pieces of eye candy

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Win an e-book copy of Empty Net!

 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/49e561f521/?

 

meet the author

Avon Gale was once the mayor on Foursquare of Jazzercise and Lollicup, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal midwestern college town, and she never gets tired of people and their stories — either real or the ones she makes up in her head.

Find Avon

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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.

What Remains by Garrett Leigh: Book Blast and Giveaway

WhatRemains_600x900synopsis

Web designer Jodi Peters is a solitary creature. Lunch twice a week with his ex-girlfriend-turned-BFF and the occasional messy venture to a dodgy gay bar is all the company he needs, right?

Then one night he stumbles across newly divorced firefighter Rupert O’Neil. Rupert is lost and lonely, but just about the sweetest bloke Jodi has ever known. Add in the heady current between them, and Jodi can’t help falling hard in love. He offers Rupert a home within the walls of his cosy Tottenham flat—a sanctuary to nurture their own brand of family—and for four blissful years, life is never sweeter.

Until a cruel twist of fate snatches it all away. A moment of distraction leaves Jodi fighting for a life he can’t remember and shatters Rupert’s heart. Jodi doesn’t know him—or want to. With little left of the man he adores, Rupert must cling to what remains of his shaky faith and pray that Jodi can learn to love him again.

 

 

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Amazon

Riptide Publishing

 

meet the author

Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.

Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors under the pseudonym G.D. Leigh. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzpress.com.

Social media:
Website: http://garrettleigh.com
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighbooks
Cover art enquiries: blackjazzdesign@gmail.com

giveaway

To celebrate the release of What Remains, Garrett is giving away $25 in Riptide Publishing credit. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 9, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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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.

THIRDS Beyond the Books: Volume 1 by Charlie Cochet: Blog Tour, How to be Dexter J. Daley & Giveaway

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Hello all! Thank you so much for joining me here today for another stop on the THIRDS Beyond the Books: Volume 1 blog tour! A huge thank you to Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy for having me here today. We’ve talked a little about how THIRDS Beyond the Books came about, as well as Big Cat Rescue where the royalties of this book are being donated to. We have plenty of fun posts heading this way to celebrate the release of this book. So let’s talk a bit about Dex.

Let’s face it, without Dex there would be no THIRDS. He is the heart and soul of the series. I always have fun writing my characters, but I have to admit that I’ve never had as much fun with a character as I’ve had with Dex. It’s hard not to have fun with Dex. Even when he’s being angsty, angry, or dark, he’s still so much fun to write. But what does it take be Dex? Well, here’s a little graphic guide on how to be Dexter. J. Daley.

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Click to view full size image.

Do you share any traits with Dex? It’s okay, you can tell us. We won’t judge. What do you love most about our gummy bear munching menace?

***

ABOUT THE BOOK

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Genre: Gay Paranormal Romance, Shifters
Length: Novella
Published: June 8th, 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Ebook ISBN-13: 9781634773072

Join us as we celebrate the THIRDS universe with this collection of flash fiction stories written to prompts submitted by fans. Sometimes we want to know more about our favorite characters. Where they came from, how they became who they are, their families, friendships, and past heartaches. These snippets of moments in time offer an inside look at the lives of our favorite THIRDS characters. Whether it’s first shifts, the forging of unbreakable bonds, or a night full of shenanigans, these stories are sure to enrich your THIRDS reading experience.

** All royalties earned from THIRDS Beyond the Books are being donated to Big Cat Rescue.

 

ADD TO GOODREADS

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Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble

paula review

This was the funniest thing I have read in a long time! Charlie came up with some great stories to go with her readers’ prompt. Each story was both entertaining and gives us more insight into each character. I liked that she gave us a glimpse at characters who don’t even have books yet. Each and every response to a prompt was entertaining and enlightening. We get to see more of all the characters and discover new things. I really enjoyed this and can’t wait to get more of this cast.

5 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author

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Charlie 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.

Website | THIRDS HQ | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram | Newsletter | DSP |Amazon |Goodreads

giveaway

Big Cat Rescue Tote bag with Big Cat goodies inside!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR SCHEDULE

June 1 – MM Good Book Reviews

June 6 – Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy
June 7 – Oh My Shelves
June 8 – The Novel Approach
June 8 – Dreamspinner Blog

****

Release Day Event: June 8th – Love Bytes Reviews

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Check out the THIRDS on Pinterest.

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

Speechless by Nicole Edwards : Preorder Blitz and Excerpt

Title: Speechless
Series: Pier 70 #3
Author: Nicole Edwards
Genre: Adult, M/M Romance
Coming: June 7, 2016
synopsis
He’s suffering in silence…

Teague Carter, one of the four owners of Pier 70 Marina, has spent his life feeling rejected. To the point that he has never allowed himself to get close to anyone. He prefers it that way, in fact. But he refuses to believe that his destructive behavior might be something more than rebellion.

He’s unable to speak…

Hudson Ballard, Pier 70’s mechanic, has been fighting his attraction to Teague for years. He has stood by and watched the kid get more and more out of control, but this time is the last. If Teague wants to use sex to escape his problems, Hudson is certainly willing to be the one to show him that he’s good with more than just his hands.

Sometimes words aren’t necessary.

There are fireworks when this out-of-control bad boy agrees to no strings with this tatted up, dominating mechanic.

Can Teague and Hudson keep their emotions from getting involved in their arrangement? Or — thanks to the demons from their pasts — will the darkness steal from them before they have a chance?

Support the Speechless Thunderclap and HeadTalker Campaigns today!
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excerpt


Excerpt from Speechless © Nicole Edwards 2016
Thursday, June 2nd
TEAGUE CARTER TRIED to ignore Hudson Ballard. Hell, he’d tried to ignore the bastard for the past … what? Two years now? Maybe three? Who freaking knows and who really cares. Regardless, it was getting more and more difficult as each day passed, but he wanted to think he’d done a pretty decent job all this time.
Until now.
Until today.
Until this fucking cruise, where he’d seen more of Hudson than he cared to.
Yup, Teague had mastered the art of avoidance or so he’d thought. But here on this stupid cruise ship, with the way Hudson was watching him, avoiding the man was damn near impossible. To the point that Teague simply wanted to punch him. In the mouth.
But he hadn’t.
No, he had settled for drinking himself into oblivion and it’d worked. He could no longer feel his fingers or toes, and his tongue had long ago gone numb thanks to the whiskey he’d been drinking like water. Chasing it with beer helped, too. It’d been the only way he could handle watching Hudson talk to the guy he’d brought on the ship with him. Stupid asshole.
He peered over his shoulder at Hudson, noticing the big guy was watching him intently. Teague had the sudden urge to stick out his tongue, but he knew that was petty and childish, and he was doing his best not to give in to those impulses. Shit, he was twenty-five years old, for fuck’s sake. He could act like a grown-up when need be.
Still didn’t mean he liked the fact that Hudson had brought along a plus one on this trip. Teague was pretty sure someone had said the guy’s name was AJ, but he wasn’t positive. Nor did he give a fuck. What the hell kind of name was that, anyway?
“A. J.” Teague smiled to himself as he began saying the letters faster. “A. J. A. J. A. J. Age. Age. Age. Age. Age.” He laughed because they now sounded funny and made his tongue tingle.
He rolled his eyes and lifted his empty glass. Too bad the bar was closed already. Then again, the reception was over, which meant the private room would probably be closing soon, too. The alcohol was definitely helping to keep him from thinking about Hudson. In fact, he’d done everything in his power not to pay attention to Hudson and his new boy toy. The boy toy who had been signing to Hudson earlier and was now talking to Milly.
Did anyone else find that strange?
Gay guy. Straight girl. No matter how you calculated it, the math didn’t add up.
Damn. He’d obviously had far too much to drink, because it sure as shit looked like Milly and the guy were flirting it up. But that couldn’t be the case. The asshole was here with Hudson.
Hudson the Prick.
Mmm-hmm, that was what Teague had started calling him. It was a good name for him, too.
When his head started spinning again, Teague knew it was time to get to his cabin. He wasn’t sure how he was going to make that happen, but he figured he’d get there eventually. If not, he could always lie down on the floor and take a nap. It wasn’t like anyone would be worried about where he was or who he was with. Unlike everyone else on this stupid cruise, he didn’t have a plus one. He was rolling solo, like always.
Oh, wait. Roan was, too.
Whatever.
Roan wasn’t important right now.
“Son of a fucking bitch,” he muttered, holding his empty glass. No more whiskey and no more bartender meant heading back to his room was a definite must.
He managed to twist in his chair and get his feet firmly on the floor, but when he went to stand, the room started spinning again. He had to sit back down. Luckily, no one had moved the chair or he would’ve been on his ass on the floor, and he was seriously questioning whether or not he could’ve gotten up from that point.
Okay, one more try.
Again, Teague pushed to his feet, this time remaining upright long enough to get away from the table. He started in the direction of the door, hoping he would make it. Right foot. Left foot. Right foot.
Wait, which foot was he on?
He looked up at the door. That was a long-ass way from where he was, but…
Shit.
He stumbled again and grabbed the nearest chair. “If the ship would stop rocking, I’d be fine.” He wasn’t sure who he was talking to, but the words helped his tongue not feel so numb, so he continued to ramble as he pushed away from the chair and made another go at getting to the door.
Unfortunately, the door disappeared from view when a giant body stepped in front of him.
Fucking great.
Now he had to deal with Hudson the Prick.
Teague instantly looked at Hudson’s hands as he signed. He had absolutely no fucking idea what Hudson said, but if he knew Hudson, it was going to be something that involved telling Teague what to do. So he replied in kind. “Thanks for the bit of advice, Dad.”
The next thing Teague knew, he tripped on his own foot, and the world tilted sideways. Just as he was gearing up to kiss the floor, Hudson’s enormous arms wrapped around him, keeping him from face-planting. Because he was too drunk to do otherwise, he allowed Hudson to get him to his feet by putting his arm around his back.
Hmm. The guy smelled good.
Then again, he always smelled good.
Something dark and woodsy…
Had to be cologne. The expensive shit, at that.
While Hudson guided him toward the door, Teague tried to ignore the heat that seared him from Hudson’s touch. He hated how fucking good it felt for someone to be touching him like this. He wasn’t sure anyone had ever attempted to take care of him or given a flying fuck whether or not he made it where he needed to go, but it seemed Hudson was doing just that. Sure, Teague had friends, kind of, but most of them would’ve laughed their ass off once Teague hit the ground. They wouldn’t have helped him by any means. And since he had no family…
Teague was distracted by Hudson’s scent.
“Why the fuck do you have to smell so good?” He tried to peer up at Hudson, wanting to look into those emerald-green eyes. “And why the hell aren’t you with your boyfriend?”
He knew better than to expect an answer from Hudson. The guy was mute; he couldn’t speak. If he signed a response, Teague wouldn’t understand, anyway. And truthfully, he didn’t want an answer to that. He’d done his best not to think about Hudson and that guy sharing a room, sharing a bed…
He shook his head, trying to dislodge the stupidity that was bouncing around inside his brain.
Hudson helped him onto the elevator, then pointed to the panel by the door.
Teague reached out and hit a button. Seven was a good number. It was random, sure, but that was because he couldn’t remember what floor he was on.
When they got to the floor, Hudson helped him out, still holding him upright as he led him down the hall. For some reason, this didn’t look like the right one, but Teague really didn’t know. His vision was blurry, so he couldn’t tell for sure. The carpet was different, maybe?
“Not my floor,” he mumbled, trying to remember what floor he actually was on. “Room number doesn’t have a seven.”
Or did it?
He felt Hudson’s arm tighten around him, and he got the sense Hudson wasn’t pleased with him, but he didn’t give much of a fuck. No, he didn’t give a fuck at all. The thought made him chuckle.
No fuck at all.
It seemed like forever before they finally made it to the right floor. It had only taken another detour on the wrong one before he got lucky. This one looked like the right place. And this—he reached out his arm and pointed—was the right door. Maybe. When they stopped, he noticed Hudson’s hands moving, but he didn’t know what Hudson was saying, so he frowned back at him.
Not wanting to touch Hudson any more than he had to, Teague attempted to stand up on his own. “Fuck. Why’s the room spinning so damn much?” And who stretched it? The last part he kept to himself because his lips felt funny.
He peered up at Hudson at the same time those penetrating green eyes glared back at him. He was tempted to ask him what his problem was, but then…
Son of a bitch.
Hudson’s hand dove into Teague’s pocket, dangerously close to… Oh, fuck. Just a little to the left…
No, wait. Not to the left. He wasn’t supposed to want Hudson touching him.

tco-also in series
meet the author
New York Times bestselling author Nicole Edwards launched her professional writing career in July of 2012. Having been an avid reader all of her life and a huge fan of creative writing, it seemed the likely path for her to take. Since then, she has released fifteen books and has no plans to stop. As her full-time career/hobby, Nicole writes steamy contemporary and erotic romances.

Nicole is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who was born and raised in Texas. Married with three kids and four dogs, she has plenty of interaction to keep her imagination brewing. Her books have been featured in USA Today’s Happy Ever After segment as well as Indie Reader’s best seller list. She has forged her way as an independent author.

Although she has a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, she prefers to be hiding out in her writing cave, talking to the fictional characters that have built up in her head over the years.

When she isn’t writing or plotting her next book (sometimes translated to “playing on Facebook”), Nicole loves to read and spend time with her family and her dogs.

We invite you join the Nicole & Colt Edwards Group on Facebook. Don’t miss out on the fun and prizes at the Speechless Release Party happening Monday, June 7th starting at 8 AM CST till Tuesday, June 8th at 10 PM CST.
Hosted By: 
 
This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Rockin’ the Alternative by Morticia Knight : Sale Blitz and Giveaway

 

synopsis

The chance of a lifetime and the touch of a rock god are offered to music journalist Bryan Gallagher on the same day. Embracing one is easy, but resisting the other is harder than he’d anticipated—especially since Bryan has never been with a man. 


It could be his dream assignment. Aubrey King, the legendary god of alternative rock music, has requested to meet with journalist and writer Bryan about penning the star’s memoir. Aubrey and his dark, angsty songs are the reason Bryan was inspired to become a leading rock journalist. His obsession for his career has alienated the women in his life, but Bryan doesn’t care. What really matters to him is the music. 

Aubrey King has been out of the music scene for almost ten years—ever since his alternative rock band, Falling in Stereo, broke up. Questions about his sexual preferences have always surrounded him, and now that he’s ready to make a solo comeback, he wants to tell his story, his way. He’s followed journalist Bryan Gallagher’s career for a while and believes that Bryan’s obvious passion for music mirrors his own. He loves his writing style, but is also enraptured by the boyishly handsome writer. 

Brian finds pushing his fanboy nervousness aside is difficult when Aubrey finally stands before him. He’s amazed at how little Aubrey has changed—his intense gaze, his unique style and his still youthful looks epitomise the star he’s always been. But Aubrey’s vulnerability when he sings and shares the deeply personal lyrics of a new song triggers something in Bryan that he never knew was there. The need to give himself to Aubrey, to let the rock god do to him what he’s never before desired a man to do.

 
buy now

 

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

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

 

Can the touch of a rock god last forever?
Music journalist Bryan Gallagher’s life has completely changed in an unexpected way. Not only has he snagged a dream assignment as the memoirist to alternative music’s rock superstar Aubrey King, but he’s also promised to give the beautiful and enigmatic musician a chance for them to forge a relationship. It’s all very overwhelming for Bryan since, up until he spent a sexually charged day and night with Aubrey, Bryan has never even dreamed of being with a man.
Aubrey is completely smitten with the boyishly handsome, young rock writer, Bryan. After their instant spark grows into something more, Aubrey is desperate to keep Bryan by his side for always. He’s promised Bryan that their love is for real, that Bryan isn’t simply one of his rock star conquests.
Their road isn’t an easy one, though. Despite their deepening bond and growing need for each other, other factors intrude. Neither Aubrey nor Bryan is ready to come out, and their relationship needs to remain a carefully guarded secret. In addition, Aubrey has to answer to the demands of his profession and Bryan has to traverse the shifting waters between his personal and business relationship with his famous lover.
Then a secret is revealed and everything in their joint world implodes. When a love is so strong that two men can barely take a breath without thinking of the other, will that be enough to bridge the loss of trust? The only way they can rock their love forever is if Aubrey can reach Bryan before it’s too late.
buy now

 Amazon

giveaway

This is a tour wide giveaway beginning with the Sale Blitz, running until the end of the Rockin’ It Forever Release/Review tour. 
 
A little something different for this one, Knight will be doing 2 giveaways per week starting with the Sale Blitz, ending the week before the RR tour. That is 6 small giveaways, 2 per week over 3 weeks, and then there is the Grand Prize Rock & Roll gift basket that will be given out at the end of both tours.
 
Up first for the first week of giveaways for 2 lucky peeps is an exclusive coffee mug with Morticia’s official Author logo on it! Who wouldn’t want to drink their morning java with these two sexy studs?!
 
Also, the Twitter message will change weekly. The Rafflecopter is set up where you can share daily via Twitter, so that gets you 5 entry points daily, if you chose to share daily. And let’s not forget the change your facebook image option. Again, it will change from the Rockin’ the Alternative image to Rockin’ it Forever as the tours change out. 
 
{To see the weekly giveaways – 2 giveaways each week for this week, next week and the week after for a total of 6 small giveaways – visit Morticia Knight’s site. There is a list of all the blogs participating in the blitz where you can visit and comment for additional entries into these giveaways, as well as a new post each week with that weeks giveaway items. You can also see the weekly giveaway images here at TTC Books and more. The winners will be chosen via rafflecopter}
 
Good luck everyone! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Double Alchemy by Susan Mac Nicol: Anniversary Blog Tour with Exclusive Guest Post

Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy wanted to congratulate Susan Mac Nicol on the second anniversary of the publishing of this awesome series!!! Sue did an amazing job creating this paranormal world (see Guest Post below) and we are happy to see how well it has done. Congrats Sue! If you would like to read the review of Double Alchemy from two years ago, check it out here.

 

Double AlchemysynopsisPowerful yet tormented modern warlock Quinn Fairmont must initiate the silver-eyed Cade Mairston into the world of witchfinders, Withinners, and what can happen when two men fall truly, madly, deeply in love.

THE WORLD IN SHADOW

In modern London there lurks a warlock, Quinn Fairmont. Dangerous, powerful, tortured, sharing his body with the soul of an ancient Welsh sorcerer, Quinn is never alone—and never wholly himself. He fights against all those who would exploit his kind. He takes pleasure where he can find it.

In the forest of Hampstead Heath, Quinn’s hometown, Cade Mairston appears to him like a waking dream. Lithe, lean and silver-eyed, he evokes feelings in Quinn unlike any other: lust with true affection, immediate and shocking. Cade is clearly more than he seems. And yet, if a man of the world, Cade is innocent. He knows nothing of warlocks, witchfinders or Withinners. He knows nothing of what he is, what he might be, or what he might feel. For him, the story is just beginning. Magyck, peril and passion await.

Release Date: March 24th 2014

Goodreads Link

buy nowAmazon

Amazon UK

Boroughs Publishing

ARe

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

 

Book Trailer

 

excerpt

Cade Mairston was no ordinary man. Quinn had known it from the minute he’d touched Cade’s hand, smelt his scent and heard the rushing of his blood through his veins. Cade was Fey.

Not overtly Fey, but something resided there, buried deep down within him. Quinn didn’t think Cade Mairston had any idea who or what he was.

Quinn shivered. The way Cade had crouched in a fighter’s stance, fierce glare and strong body ready to do battle— he’d been inspiring. It was only due to Quinn’s Warlock skills that he’d the ability to anticipate and deflect the other man’s moves and not be grievously injured. Cade Mairston was a strong, agile presence and Quinn wouldn’t have liked his privates to be on the receiving end of the other man’s foot, which was attached to a muscled leg which he wished would wrap itself around his legs as he pounded the man’s arse….

Quinn checked himself mentally.12834939_10153685756448445_566151439_n

Christ, Quinn. Get a grip! Hell, my hormones are running riot.

Thank God the man was gay. Quinn’s gaydar worked very well, thank you, despite noticing the evidence of the large erection the man had sported in his trendy cream chinos for him.

What were the odds of meeting another gay Fey? Quinn chuckled softly. If things had turned out the other way, Quinn would have been in danger of deflowering a straight man and that one never worked out for the best.

Cade had looked a little rattled himself. For a moment, from the look in Cade’s smouldering grey eyes, Quinn had thought he might be about to get savagely violated. While Quinn topped most of the time he was definitely not averse to being taken by a man like Cade. There’d been anticipation so strong for Cade to touch him, kiss him right there, that he’d lost his breath for a moment. Quinn had a really tight feeling in his boxers right now as his cock threatened to burst into song and dance a jig out of his pants.

He sighed. Best get home, have a cold shower and do whatever else was necessary to relieve the turmoil snaking through his nether regions. Cade’s sexy stubble on his jawline and light silver eyes were playing havoc with Quinn’s sexual urges. Next time they met— and he was sure there’d be a next time— he’d have to search his apothecary for something that would deaden the sexual attraction. If not he’d never make it through a next meeting without ripping off Cade’s clothes until his need was fully satisfied for the first time. After the first time, it became more controllable. Experience had taught both he and Taliesin that.

 Guest Post

A world that doesn’t exist….

In Double Alchemy, I needed to create an imaginary magical world that doesn’t exist- as far we know. Of course, I’d like to believe anything is possible. I’m sure we all do.Valerie DA

So, if this world doesn’t exist, you can’t really do any research. You have to rely on your imagination, forgotten fairy tales, stories of witches and legends, films that invoke mystical and wondrous lands and somehow find something in all of that that allows you to create your own, unique setting.

Quinn and Cade live in the modern world, in the centre of London. They both have normal jobs, live with normal people and have to face the same day to day pressures that any of us would in real life. They also have to face an alternate world where magic and sorcery exists. They face daily struggles in overcoming evil of a monstrous nature, of making life or death decisions, of finding love, acceptance and happiness. Of dealing with the loss of people we love.

Oh hang on. Actually, that truly does mirror the real world. One only has to look at Hitler, at what doctors and nurses do every day, at the love stories unfolding around us and the pressures of tackling being gay, transgender, black, disabled, or of a different faith. And of course we all live with the loss of loved ones.

All I’ve done in creating my world is overlay a sense of magic and mystery over what we all live with each day. Allow the reader to be transporteWater sprite 2d to a time when fingers blazed blue fire, spells abounded and time travel of a sort was a reality. When witches hefting out severed hands from their handbags in board meetings was a surprise, but not particularly frowned upon. When laying the man you love down in a lake to be taken by water sprites to hopefully be healed from his wounds is something that has to be done.

I loved letting my imagination run riot for these two books, to create a magical world I’d personally love to live in. There’s something freeing about being able to write what you want and bring a little magic into the real world which can sometimes be scary and depressing.

I’m pleased other people thought so too. Double Alchemy won a Bronze award in the AUTHORSdb cover contest and also took first place in the ParanAward winnerormal Romance Guild Awards in 2014.

It’s humbling to have someone recognise the love and passion you spent nurturing into a story.

Thanks so much for popping down to the blog and reading this post.

 

tco-also in series

Double Alchemy Climax

synopsis

Powerful modern warlock Quinn Fairmont found ecstasy with the silver-eyed and not-quite-human Cade Mairston, but to know true happiness the pair must best both the shadow of a long-ago lover and an ancient enemy who seeks to destroy love, light and all they hold dear.
A BLINDING LIGHT
It begins with a Book of Shadows discovered by a London coven. The grimoire is as dangerous as it is rare, which is why it evokes modern-day warlock Quinn Fairmont’s desire. He collects objects of great power and beauty—like his lover, Cade Mairston.

Against all odds he and Cade found each other, but their perils have just begun. First is the ex-lover who once held Quinn in thrall. And, someone has been killing warlocks. Could it be one of his own kind? There are those too who would challenge Quinn’s power in their quest to overthrow him as Grand Master. Or is the danger something darker, something invoked inadvertently, rising from the shadows, building from the very inside of a man until it brings an end with a quick flash of light? Of the truth, the surface has only been scratched. Now Quinn and Cade must go deeper and find both answers and an end. They must learn what lurks in the hearts of men…and whether it seeks to love or destroy.

Release Date: May 22nd 2014

Goodreads Link

buy nowAmazon

Amazon UK

Boroughs Publishing

ARe

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

 

meet the authorSusan Mac Nicol

Susan Mac Nicol is a self- confessed bookaholic, an avid watcher of videos of sexy pole dancing men, geek, nerd and in love with her Smartphone. This little treasure is called ‘the boyfriend’ by her long suffering husband, who says if it vibrated, there’d be no need for him. Susan hasn’t had the heart to tell him there’s an app for that…

She is never happier than when sitting in the confines of her living room/study/on a cold station platform scribbling down words and making two men fall in love. She is a romantic at heart and believes that everything happens (for the most part) for a reason. She likes to think of herself as a ‘half full’ kinda gal, although sometimes that philosophy is sorely tested.

Lover of walks in the forest, theatre productions, dabbling her toes in the cold North Sea and the vibrant city of London where you can experience all four seasons in a day , she is a hater of pantomime (so please don’t tar and feather her), duplicitous people, bigotry and self-righteous idiots.

In an ideal world, Susan Mac Nicol would be Queen of England and banish all the bad people to the Never Never Lands of Wherever -Who Cares. As that’s never going to happen, she contents herself with writing her HEA stories and pretending, that just for a little while, good things happen to good people.

Sue is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association in the UK.

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The Detective’s Pleasure by Christa Tomlinson : Release Day Exclusive Interview and Giveaway

TDP SMALL PREVIEW(1)synopsis

Officer Ryan Bennett: He’s pursuing his dream of being promoted to Houston’s elite SWAT team with a single mindedness that won’t accept any outcome but success. But that’s not all he dreams of. Ryan wants more than a coveted position on SWAT. He wants to be owned by a strong Dominant. To give himself up to a Dom who will make him shudder with pleasure beneath a firm yet loving hand. Unfortunately, Ryan has had nothing but failure in that part of his life. Now, he’s hidden that dream away from everyone, including himself. And he refuses to let anyone close enough to see what he truly wants, and who he truly is.

Detective Sam Roberts: Cool and calm, Detective Sam Roberts is good at reading people. That’s why he sees past the hard layer of arrogance surrounding Ryan Bennett to the hurt submissive hiding beneath. He wants to help Ryan, even though the stubborn young man resists him. But Sam isn’t one to back down from a challenge. He’s determined to help Ryan embrace the soft, giving nature of his submissive side. Sam knows he can do it. What he doesn’t know is just how far they’ll both have to go in order to make that happen.

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Five-ish good questions with Christa Tomlinson (I know…its’ not Friday, but I like to pretend every day is Friday!)

(A sometimes feature on Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy)

  1. Let’s start with serious: The Sergeant was a HUGE book, it really hit so many people’s must read list, and I know people who have re-read it multiple times (not just me!). How difficult is it to try to follow up book 1 with another book that must be read.

Very difficult! I actually had a bit of a crisis because I was so concerned about trying to follow The Sergeant. I didn’t realize for a long time just how loved Logan and Clay were. But when I did, it hit me that I had a lot to live up to for Ryan and Sam. As I was writing their story I tried to force them to be like Logan and Clay. Ha! That didn’t work. When I finally let Ryan and Sam be themselves, their story unfolded and I fell in love with them.

  1. What is your vision of what Ryan and Sam look like? Do you have celebrity inspirations/crushes for these two characters?

ryan1 Ryan is young and average height but in really good shape. He has pale blonde hair and gray eyes. My celebrity ryan2crushes for him were Ryan Harrison from Queer as Folk and Chord Overstreet from Glee. Sam is my big, tall Texan. He’s a brunette with denim blue eyes and a low beard. Sam is relaxed and easy going with a naturally lean body and a slow Texas drawl. So of course Matthew McConaughey was my inspiration for him.

sam

  1. The cover of The Detective’s Pleasure is clearly Ryan. Tell us the significance of the cover for you, and how it relates to the story.

I love the cover for TDP. It was done by Jay Aheer and out of all the covers she’s done for me so far, it’s my favorite. Capturing the tone of a book is very important in the cover. I’m not ashamed to admit that I write some moody, angsty shit. The darkness and shadows of this cover really convey that tone. I also love the pose of the model. He looks so vulnerable with his lashes lowered and the slight pout on his mouth. It makes me want to cry for Ryan. Excuse me while I get emotional…

  1. Sex scenes are not easy to write. And if writing is your full time gig, life sometimes gets in the way. What is your “method” to “get in the mood” to write a sex scene? How do you deal with it all?

Oh, sex scenes. I think it’s hilarious that I’m good at writing them when I’m such an introverted and modest geek. To get ready to write them I have to have music. No way I could write anything sexy while listening to my dogs wrestling or the garbage truck racing over the speed bumps behind my christahouse as LOUD AS POSSIBLE. Listening to music helps block all that out and I always choose a song that helps set the tone for the scene I’m writing. If I want a soft, sweet scene, I go with Ed Sheeran Kiss Me. For passionate sexy times I like Sail by AWOLNATION. And for anything emotionally rough and turbulent, Marilyn Manson Tainted Love is my go to. Of course, going back and polishing a sex scene is another matter altogether. I normally end up doing it like this because I’m so embarrassed reading what I wrote:

  1. Now, for the fun one. You call me to bail you out of jail. Oh, who are we kidding, you would be my call to bail ME out of jail…so what three things would you bring me? 🙂

Haha! Well, number one is pants. Because I don’t know what went down, but I’m sure you somehow lost your pants. A bottle of wine in case you need a little Hair of the Dog and of course the cash to bail you out. So keep it to a misdemeanor. I hate going into the bank and the ATMs only allow you to take so much out.

Thank you, Denise! This was fun.

Christa

**You can find more on The Detective’s Pleasure here.**

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We are giving away three arcs for The Detective’s Pleasure. Comment on this blog post with your favorite sexy song, what you would write to, if you could. 🙂

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The Innocent Auction by Victoria Sue: Guest Post, Release Day Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

innocent auction

synopsisTheir love was a death sentence. 

Deacon, Viscount Carlisle, was aware of the slums and gin-lanes of London. Just as he was aware of the underground traffic that furnished the brothels and bath houses with human innocents. He was also aware that the so-called justice system would hang the accused without much of an attempt at a defense, unless the unfortunate had deep pockets to pay for it. 

He just hadn’t expected to be directly involved in any of it. 

It started with a plea for help and ended with forbidden love, the love between a Viscount and a stable-boy. An impossible love and a guarantee of the hangman’s noose. 

Will Deacon fight for Tom? Will he risk the death sentence and take that fight from the stately halls of his English mansion to the horrors of Newgate Prison and the slums of London? 

Or will he realize that if he doesn’t, death will be a welcome end to the loneliness of the sentence he is already living?

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Author Guest Post:

I joked with Denise that this book was so incredibly hard to write because nearly every paragraph took research. I guess we both thought it would be a good idea to prove it!

The Innocent Auction is set in London, 1810. It’s the era of Regency Romance – that some very well-known romance writers excel at – all the way back to Jane Austen and her famous Pride and Prejudice.

I wanted to be a little different.

Homosexuality in 1810 was a hanging offence. To be honest though, most offences in 1810 were hanging offences. In the main there were three types of punishment – death, deportation, or fines. Prison was not the long-term affair that it is today. Prison was merely a holding area. One of the worst types of imprisonment was the “prison hulks.” Old rotting ships in the Thames harbor. Prisoners would be held here until the next ship deporting them to the Americas or the Indies would sail. At night there were no guards. They simply locked the doors. The survival rate wasn’t high.

To give you an idea of the justice system then – there wasn’t much. Liberty was often bought. There was nothing resembling a modern police force. Prosecutions were usually done by the victim. In my book the charge of sodomy is brought by the supposed victim’s father, who has other reasons for his accusation.

Crime and punishment were high drama in 1810. Public executions were one of the most popular forms of entertainment, and were still carried out until 1868. England’s severe punishment system for major and minor crimes was known then as “The Bloody code.” Crowds to watch a hanging could be up to seven thousand people.

Most people buy calendars at Christmas. Animals, famous people, football teams even. One of the most infamous prisons at that time was Newgate. Newgate calendars were popular sellers – filled with engraved pictures of prisoners, executions, and trial scenes.

An alternative punishment was “Standing at Pillory.” The pillory was a devise made of wood or metal with holes securing the head and hands of the prisoner. The punishment was humiliation. Crowds would pelt the prisoner with everything you could think of. Rotten food was probably one of the most pleasant things. Sometimes the crowd would get too violent and the prisoner would end up maimed, or dead.

And often the ride in an open cart to the pillory was even worse than when the prisoner got there. In the 18th and 19th century, the population of England was so extremely hostile to anyone engaging in homosexual relations, the prisoners were lucky to survive the journey, and many didn’t.

To give you another example of the justice system – or lack of it – in 1810 a male brothel was raided by the Bow Street Runners, the pre-cursor of the police service. Around twenty-seven men were imprisoned, and the resulting sentence of pillory caused all the shops to close that were on the route as the crowds were so large.

The saddest footnote to this, and incomprehensible to our modern-day justice system, was that a sixteen year old boy was arrested two weeks later as a result of the publicity from the raid. He was not present when the brothel was raided, but he was still hung on hearsay and supposed confession for his involvement.

There were many other things that needed research. For example – how long would it take to drive a horse and carriage thirty miles? Did you know that tin baths were lined with soft linen as tin wasn’t pleasant to lie against? Servants hauled buckets of water to and fro, as there was no running water or indoor plumbing.

I’ll be totally honest and admit to cheating a little with the language, and not just the fact that I dialed the accents back a little. In regency England boys didn’t refer to each other by their first names. Their own mothers wouldn’t even call the eldest son and heir by their first names!

I also refer to the pox. Syphilis at that time was rife. Prostitutes were even named on lists that gentleman referred to. “Harris’s list of Covent Garden Ladies.” And “Man of Pleasure’s Kalendar.” (actual spelling)

There were no condoms, and definitely no handy tubes of lube. I had to be careful with my cursing, and learn how people spoke to each other, ate and dressed.

To end my research…the word “fuck” dates back to the fifteenth century. It used to mean “an attack or strike,” and not necessarily a pleasurable one. Funnily enough one of the first authors to use it in the fifteenth century was a man named Richard Head. I wonder if his nickname was Dick?

denise reviewI started reading Regency Romance when I was a teenager. I would get in trouble for staying up too late reading, or for taking two hours to wash the dishes because I would read my book (with rubber bands on each page) while I was doing said dishes. My grandmother had boxes of them, and I would just read them all. So, to say I love reading that period would be an understatement. I also hold it dearly to my heart, because it founded my love for reading romance novels, and the ever present HEA.

What a ride this book was! Deacon, such a man of honor, could not leave a young boy behind when he could see the suffering. Then having him sent to one of his properties, only to find him later and immediately feel a connection to him. That young boy, Tom, grew to be a man who had eyes only for Deacon, from the time he saw him. It was sweet and loving.

These two didn’t have an easy road, during a time when “buggering” was an offense punishable by hanging. But at the same time, they could not leave each other, despite thinking it was a better option for the other. Beau, meanwhile, broke my heart. What a sad story he brought on himself, and Deacon never felt anything but love and devotion for his blood brother, and would have done anything to be there for him, and truly did. I cannot imagine how challenging it must have been for gay men at that time in the world. At this point and time, it isn’t easy, but 200 years ago, it was such a heinous crime, you could be drawn through town, have rocks and garbage thrown at you, and it would be considered entertainment.

I will say, I could not figure out how these two men would be able to find their way into a life where they could be together, live together and love one another. And not only did Ms. Sue do that, she surprised me in how she got that to happen, without it seeming completely out of the blue. One hallmark of Regency Romance has always been, you must marry for money or convenience, and in the end, that came in to play, although from a different angle than I was expecting.

The research done on this book was incredible. Just as Ms. Sue indicates in her post above, every sentence needed research. I was in awe, having read so many, for so many years, of all the little things that came into play. Everything from a climbing kid, to the information on who was playing at the Theatre Royal was part of just every day conversation with these characters, and yet it lent realism to the story.

I truly enjoyed this story so much, angst and all, and would love to see Ms. Sue write another one. And the epilogue, well worth waiting for.

4.5 pieces of eye candy for me.

1-4.5 pieces of eye candy

excerpt

Deacon opened the door to his room and gaped in astonishment. A tin bath was set in the middle of the room. Steam rose from the water within and the sides were lined with fresh linen. There was a tray with all manner of breads, cheeses and meat laid out, as well as a bottle of Deacon’s brandy and a glass. Tom was just emptying another pitcher of hot water into the bath.

“Tom,” Deacon said delightedly.

“M’lord. I thought as you had no valet.”

Deacon smiled, a huge wide grin that lifted the darkness that had seemed to settle in his insides since they had come from Newgate. Then he paused. The guilt which had assailed him all day came back with vengeance, and he pictured Beau on that thin mattress.

“Don’t, sir.” Tom took a step towards him. “There is nothing you can do for Master Beau tonight, and you have done far more than most. I’m not naysaying its importance, just perhaps asking you let it go for a few hours?”

Deacon gazed at Tom steadily, then turned, took a pace back to the door, and turned the key very deliberately. He turned back and started unbuttoning his waistcoat. “On one condition.”

Tom’s eyebrows raised.

“You don’t call me sir…or m’lord…or your lordship. Not tonight.”

Tom took two steps until he was stood flush with Deacon’s body. “Let me.” Deacon’s hands fell from his buttons and he inhaled slowly, letting his head fall forward onto Tom’s chest. Tonight, Tom could do anything he wanted.

Tom slid Deacon’s jacket from his arms and tossed it onto the chair. He finished unbuttoning the waistcoat, which then joined the jacket. Tom unraveled his cravat slowly, Deacon unable to contain a moan as his fingers touched his neck.

Tom gave the low order. “Lift.”

Deacon obeyed immediately, the repeated memory tugging at both their smiles.

Once Deacon was shirtless, he thought Tom would unfasten his trousers, but he hissed in shock when Tom bent his head and fastened his lips around one of his nipples.

“Oh, God.” Deacon breathed, his eyes slamming shut as the glorious sensation of Tom’s teeth on his skin razed a fire in him that sped unchecked to his groin. Deacon sucked in air as Tom’s lips continued south, but Deacon’s hands caught him. “Get in the bath with me.”

Tom’s eyes caught the same flames that were burning in Deacon, and they both rushed to undress. Deacon stepped in the bath and sighed contentedly. The water was good and hot, and he settled with his back firmly to the edge. Tom hesitated “Come here,” Deacon instructed. “Sit in front of me.” Deacon caught Tom by the hips as he stepped in, then twisted him so he settled down in between his legs. Tom stiffened a little, but Deacon wrapped his arms around him and brought him snugly against his chest. Deacon groaned as Tom moved and settled against him, aware that Tom must have been able to feel the evidence of his arousal.

“Sir—”

Deacon grabbed Tom’s cock, and his voice cut off on a squeak.

“I’m sorry,” Tom gasped out as Deacon’s hand gentled. “I don’t know what to call you.”

“And you cannot call me Deacon?”

Tom groaned as Deacon rubbed his length firmly and circled his thumb around the tip. “I am frightened I will forget.”

Deacon licked the skin on Tom’s neck, a very sensitive patch from the way he moaned once more.

“I don’t think there’s any danger of that, but do whatever makes you feel comfortable. Sir if you like, just not m’lord for pity’s sake.”

Tom turned to lick the edge of Deacon’s jaw line. “Yes…sir.”

This time, Deacon groaned. “Every time you say that, I will be imagining you in this bath.”

“And every time I say it, I will be imagining your lips on my cock.”

Deacon’s cock throbbed at the visual, unable to respond further when Tom lifted his arm and settled his hand on Deacon’s face to pull him around for a kiss that silenced them both. His cock was rubbing hard in Tom’s crease and Deacon still had his hand in Tom’s groin, feeling the weight of Tom’s ballocks nestle in his fingers. Deacon stretched his head a little further and met Tom’s mouth. Tom made a little noise in the back of his throat at the contact, and Deacon felt himself grow even harder. He wanted nothing more than to thrust himself into that hot, tight hole. Deacon broke off a little, realizing he needed slicking up to do that. He wouldn’t hurt either of them.

Leaning Tom back, he sluiced water over his chest. He reached for the soap and the cloth, rubbing it up and over Tom’s nipples and making him quiver in delight; his nipples peaking, red, delicious. Deacon lowered the cloth onto Tom’s groin, and the lad thrust himself helplessly into Deacon’s hands. “S-sir,” he begged.

Deacon was as hard as Tom, and it nearly killed him to withdraw his hand. But not now. Tonight was going to be about lazy loving. About clean sheets and lots of time. His stomach rumbled; he was suddenly hungry. “Stand up,” he said gently, steadying Tom as he tried to rise.

“You’re bad for my balance, sir.” Deacon’s arse clenched at the word sir. Tom had been bad for his balance since the minute he had come home to Rawdenscliffe.

Tom stepped out and wiped a towel over his arms and chest, casually scrubbing his legs.

“No,” ordered Deacon, as the lad’s hand strayed to his groin. “I’ll dry that.”

Tom’s pupils distended and his face flushed. He picked up the other towel, letting his own drop heedlessly to the floor. “Sir?” He opened the towel wide for Deacon to step into as he got out of the bath. “Let me,” Tom whispered, then dried Deacon so thoroughly that every inch of his skin was thrumming in anticipation by the time he was done.

“Are you hungry?” Tom asked, going to toss the towel before Deacon took it off him.

“Not for food,” growled Deacon. He proceeded to gently dry Tom’s cock and ballocks until the lad was swaying where he stood.

Deacon raised Tom’s chin with his finger and stared into the heavy-lidded eyes. “You’re beautiful.” And he swallowed the moan as he kissed Tom’s swollen lips. He bent, swinging Tom into his arms.

Two steps barely and he was at the bed, gently laying Tom down. “Move up,” Deacon said. Tom shuffled a little so Deacon could lie beside him. “Tom, I have to ask…”

“Not with a man, sir,” Tom answered hurriedly, and Deacon nodded.

“Then we will go slow.” Deacon bent and nuzzled his neck, and he arched his head back to make more room.

“I- I’m not sure I can last for ‘slow,’ sir,” Tom stammered while Deacon sucked at his collarbone, working up a mark that would be hidden by his collar, whilst his fingers found Tom’s leaking cock fully pushed out from his foreskin.

“Then let me do this.” Deacon bent his head and quickly sucked Tom’s cock into his mouth.

“Oh, oh, my God, sir. I cannot—” Tom writhed and Deacon felt the man’s cock pulse in his mouth. His fingers strayed to the skin under it, then further until they touched Tom’s puckered hole. Deacon dragged his nail along the skin and Tom arched into Deacon’s mouth, filling it with the bitter taste of Tom’s seed. Deacon was a little stunned for a few seconds, then a pleasing sense of satisfaction when Tom’s inarticulate noises chased the bitterness away. He eagerly cleaned his cock with his tongue until Tom finally hissed, and he let go.

Tom groaned and Deacon moved higher to watch him as he lay, sated. Deacon traced Tom’s kiss-swollen lips with his finger, and his heavy lidded eyes fluttered open, a barely there smile lifted the corner of his mouth. “Sir…”

Deacon smiled. The satisfaction and pleasure imbued into three letters spoke volumes.

Deacon sat up a little, and Tom was immediately contrite. “Sir, I…you haven’t.”

“We have all night.” Deacon leaned over, pressing another kiss on Tom’s lips. He responded eagerly, and Deacon hummed in pleasure. Tom was good for his ego. He reached over for the brandy putting it between them on the bed as Tom sat up. “You only brought one glass.”

Tom blushed. Of course, thought Deacon, he would have. Tom would not have wished to assume. “It matters not, we can share.”

Tom smiled, pouring some of the brandy into a glass and passing it to Deacon. Deacon took a sip and swallowed, but made no attempt to take the glass. Tom took a sip and coughed a little. “Wow, sir.”

Deacon smirked. “There are still some Parisien jewels accepted in London.”

giveawayComment on this blog post and you could win a copy of a Victoria Sue backlist ebook. Tell us whether you’ve read any Regency Romance before, and what you like about it.

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