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

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

 

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

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

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

Love,

Christa

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

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

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

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

Release Date

November 7, 2017

Cover

Melody Simmons of Ebook Indie Covers. EBOOK INDIE COVERS

Price

$3.99

Goodreads

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

A Sniper’s Devotion Page on Author Website

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

Tags

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

Warnings

Mentions of Domestic Violence

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Apple iBooks

Kobo

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time for the cover reveal…

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

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Here you go!!!

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

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

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

Author Contact Info

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

Website: www.ChristaTomlinson.com

Email: contactchrista@christatomlinson.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reservations by Kindle Alexander: Cover Reveal, Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Reservations
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: Coming Soon
 

Wildly successful entrepreneur, Thane Walker is stubbornly set in his ways. Adamantly resistant to the shackles of commitment, he’s seen enough unhappy endings to learn the best way to play is by keeping his men on the payroll.

Levi Silva’s dream of graduating from one of the country’s top medical schools is in his grasp, until news from home changes everything. Now, he’s raising his two teenage brothers and trying to keep everyone’s head above water, emotionally and financially.

When Levi’s new job puts him in Thane’s path, their chemistry explodes, but their fear of being involved in relationships keeps them apart. Unfortunately, despite the intense desire drawing them together, neither man can move forward until they get past their own…Reservations.



His mouth watered thinking about that vinegar coleslaw, and his stomach growled a little louder. Damn, he was starving. He should go out there and fix himself a plate, but he wouldn’t. That would only open a line of personal communication, and this restaurant had too much of that going on. Everyone but the customers were friends.
Instead of doing that, Thane buckled down and opened an email from Arik Layne. The email was to both him and Chef Ferico. The subject line read, “Whole Foods and HSN, Bitches!!!!” That instantly had Thane smiling. Arik had become a force in his life. The guy didn’t seem to understand the value of hesitancy. Arik was a mover and shaker. Their joint venture of infused olive oils had taken off like lightning. Arik had secured sales on thousands of bottles before manufacturing had started. Now that they had production underway, they were blowing and going like wildfire. All Arik had to do was pick up the phone, and he secured another sale.

Thane scanned the message, reading how Whole Foods planned to add them in a test market now, with mass distribution the beginning of October. That was all great news. Arik had also secured a spot on HSN in November, about two weeks before Thanksgiving. Somehow he’d managed to squeeze them into an already set schedule on foods for the holidays. They’d also be given time on the sales floor. The anticipated sales were around twenty-five thousand bottles.

Wow. Okay.

The last lines on the email made Thane squelch the urge to laugh out loud, not wanting to undermine the stern tone he’d taken with his staff, but, man, Arik was hilarious. He listed ten reasons why he’d be a better choice than Thane to go on the HSN broadcast with Chef Ferico. Every single bullet point ended with “because I really want to sample all the foods made that day.”
Literally, a man after his own heart.
Out of nothing more than the need to make Arik squirm, he decided to tease him. Thane quickly typed how glad he was for Arik’s effort, along with a note that they should at least flip a coin for the TV slot. He chose tails. Grinning, he pushed send as his cell phone began to vibrate in his pocket. With a glance at the screen, he saw Julian’s name and swiped to accept the call.
“Hey,” he said, putting the call on speaker before fishing his Bluetooth out of the computer bag and hooking it around his ear. 
“Hey, yourself. You still coming here?”
“I am. It’ll be a few weeks though. Everything okay?”

“Of course, you know I run a tight ship, but I might have to break protocol.”
Thane began shaking his head no as if Julian could see him.

“I can almost hear you shaking your head no.”

“That’s because that’s what I’m doing. Absolutely no rule breakage, Julian. You do it one time and that opens the door…”

“Hang tight, Papi Chulo. Don’t get all bent. I’m telling you before I do it. That should count.”

The happy place he’d found after reading Arik’s hilarious message was on the fast track to crashing and burning as Thane sat back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Why?” he asked, instead of giving Julian the same dressing-down he’d just given this management team on the failures of flouting established protocol.

“Remember that kid I told you about months ago. My PT assistant, the one who got me into free counseling?”

Thane had to really think which was kind of funny. Julian’s care had been grossly expensive. He’d have thought he’d remember someone who’d saved him so much money in free counseling. He shrugged, lifting his brows, giving himself a break. He could vaguely recall the key components. “Maybe…”

“He needs a job.”
“We don’t hire our staff like that, Julian. Remember your training. Your guys…”

“Boss, slow your roll. He’s a med student taking care of his family, and he’s hot as hell. His body alone’ll make the customers very happy. Happy customers equal more money.”
“Is he in your previous line of work?” Thane asked, completely confused and trying to catch up.

“No. I want him for waitstaff at the club. I saw him last night, and he’s losing his job. He’s coming to the club tonight to take a look around. I’ll send his info off for a background check, but I’ll probably put him on the floor as early as tomorrow,” Julian stated matter-of-factly.

That was another huge issue he was having with Julian. The guy was a beast at work. He kept sticking his nose in every other manager’s responsibilities, causing all sorts of ill will. Julian was a man on a mission. He governed that club with an iron fist, all to try and repay Thane for the expensive care. “Have you talked with Dave about whether he needs more waitstaff?”

“Dave-the-douchebag quit today. You didn’t hear?” Julian said casually.
“What?” Thane pushed his fingers through his hair. Why was he just now hearing about this?

“Don’t worry. I got this. I’ll fill in until you figure out what to do. I, of course, think you just need to let me handle all personnel…”

“Stop, Julian. First, no one’s hired without passing a background check. I’m not watching anyone go through what you did again. And second, you better stop pissing off all my people. Until I talk to Dave and see if I can get him back, you can handle the waitstaff scheduling, but you aren’t…”
“Equipped to handle personnel issues,” Julian said, finishing his sentence. “Are you getting laid regularly? Because I’m pretty sure you’re not. You need to come on over here and bend me over this desk—”

“We have rules. I’m not having sex on that property, and I better not catch you having sex on that property!” Thane shot out, cutting Julian off.

“You’re a very difficult man, Thane Walker,” Julian replied, not missing a beat. “I’d say hard, but I have no way of truly knowing that.”

Best Selling Author Kindle Alexander is an innovative writer, and a genre-crosser who writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and erotica in both the male/male and male/female genres. It’s always a surprise to see what’s coming next!

I live in the suburbs of Dallas where it’s true, the only thing bigger than an over active imagination, may be women’s hair!

Usually, I try for funny. Humor is a major part of my life – I love to laugh, and it seems to be the thing I do in most situations – regardless of the situation, but jokes are a tricky deal… I don’t want to offend anyone and jokes tend to offend. So instead I’m going to tell you about Kindle.

I tragically lost my sixteen year old daughter to a drunk driver. She had just been at home, it was early in the night and I heard the accident happen. I’ll never forget that moment. The sirens were immediate and something inside me just knew. I left my house, drove straight to the accident on nothing more than instinct. I got to be there when my little girl died – weirdly, I consider that a true gift from above. She didn’t have to be alone.

That time in my life was terrible. It’s everything you think it would be times about a billion. I love that kid. I loved being her mother and I loved watching her grow into this incredibly beautiful person, both inside and out. She was such a gift to me. To have it all ripped away so suddenly broke me.

Her name was Kindle. Honest to goodness – it was her name and she died a few weeks before Amazon released their brand new Kindle ereader. She had no idea it was coming out and she would have finally gotten her name on something! Try finding a ruler with the name Kindle on it.. It never happened.

Through the course of that crippling event I was lucky enough to begin to write with a dear friend in the fan fiction world of Facebook. She got me through those dark days with her unwavering support and friendship. There wasn’t a time she wasn’t there for me. Sometimes together and sometimes by myself, we built a world where Kindle lives and stands for peace, love and harmony. It’s its own kind of support group. I know without question I wouldn’t be here today without her.

Find out more by visiting www.kindlealexander.com or email me at kindle@kindlealexander.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.

I Heart Boston Terriers by Rick R. Reed: Cover Reveal and Excerpt

Cover Reveal: I Heart Boston Terriers by Rick R. Reed

I Heart Boston Terriers by Rick R. Reed, published by Dreamspinner Press

Publication date: September 20, 2107 Available for pre-order: August 21, 2017

Cover art design: Reese Dante https://www.reesedante.com/

Cover Model: Lily, the Boston terrier (owned by Rick R. Reed and Bruce Moynagh)

 

When Aaron finds Mavis, an emaciated and shy Boston terrier, at a pet adoption fair, his heart goes out to her—completely.

When Christian, manning the adoption fair for the Humane Society that autumn Saturday, finds Aaron, his heart goes out to him—completely.

This is a story about embracing love, whether it’s for someone who walks on four legs or on two. Mavis’s journey back to wholeness and finding her forever home parallels the story of two men discovering each other at the perfect moment—a moment that defies logic, propriety, and common sense. But when did love ever follow a rational course?

 

Dreamspinner Press

 

 

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE STORY AND AN EXCERPT

With lots of panting and tail wagging, I give you the re-release of my dog-uniting-two-men-in-love story, “I Heart Boston Terriers.” This story is nearer and dearer to my heart than most others because, if you know me, you know I have a Boston terrier (Lily) and she’s our little princess.

It’s only fitting that Lily’s the cover model for the story. I am a proud papa! I took the picture of Lily featured on the cover last fall, just as we were waking up in our cabin at Washington state’s Orcas Island, where we were staying for a long weekend. I’m so glad the phone was nearby that morning!

Thanks to amazing cover artist, Reese Dante, who was able to incorporate Lily into the beautiful face for the story. I’m very blessed to be able to work with her on almost all of my books.

As a point of interest, my husband Bruce and I got Lily from a breeder when was eight weeks old. She’s now fourteen years old and has slowed down some, but is still the same sweet-tempered girl we brought home from the airport that September day lo these many years ago. She’s been part and parcel of our marriage, so it’s kind of appropriate that I would write a love story revolving around a Boston terrier.

I hope you’ll read “I Heart Boston Terriers” even if you read it in its original Amber Quill Press edition (there are significant changes to the story which, I think, improves it a lot). If you like the story, please drop a line to Lily in care of rickrreedbooks@gmail.com

 

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NEG UB2. For those of you not familiar, this shorthand, meaning ‘negative; you be too’ has shown up in online personals for years…and it can be kind of hurtful. In the excerpt below, our underdog romantic hero, Ethan Schwartz, comes across the phrase for the first time.

Christian returned to Mavis. “I want to see you make this your forever home, Mavis. It’s a place where you can feel safer and safer with every passing day.”

Aaron loved what he was telling the dog, whether she understood or not. Aaron believed any creature could pick up on the caring in Christian’s voice; he certainly could. But he worried about Becca. He wasn’t sure she had really left the door open for second chances or a “forever home,” and Aaron was doubtful this one visit from Christian could change things so much that she would allow Mavis to stay after all, especially if she became a dreaded “repeat offender.”

One of the last things she had said, before leaving for her internet date, was, “I was going to wear those Jimmy Choos today too. Damn it. Those shoes were mantraps, I tell you.” She had laughed, but Aaron could hear the regret and longing in her voice. He would never understand how someone—his sister, especially—could allow a pair of shoes to take precedence over a living thing.

Christian held Mavis up and out to Aaron. “Here. You try.”

Awkwardly, as if he were taking a newborn from Christian, he took Mavis into his arms, cradling her and letting one arm support her along her soft and warm belly.

“Just talk to her,” Christian said. “Just like I did—let her know you care, but make sure she understands you’re in charge.”

Aaron met Christian’s expectant gaze.

“Go on,” Christian encouraged.

Aaron didn’t know if he was doing the right thing, continuing to build a bond with a dog his sister had first insisted go back to the pound. But Mavis was appealing to his kindness with huge brown eyes, as if she too were waiting for him to make his move. Aaron doubted anyone could resist those eyes; they were perfectly round, a rich deep brown, and stared out of a face that was all at once wise, soulful, and a little melancholy.

He kind of let himself drift into the dog’s deep gaze and almost forgot Christian was there. He certainly forgot about Becca’s wishes as he began to speak, gently stroking Mavis’s head all the while.

“You and me, kid. We’re two of a kind. Alone. A bit unwanted, yes.” He massaged her neck. “But the two of us, we have a lot to offer, don’t we? So we’re not gonna feel sorry for ourselves, are we? We’re both survivors too, and we’re not gonna let this temporary setback get us down permanently. We’re going to remember that life is a series of sunshine and rainy days—and no one escapes either. That’s the thing we have to bear in mind—that the rain does stop falling, the sun does come out again. It happens for all of us.

“It’s happening for you, little stinker. Right now. You’ve found someone who’s decided to give you a home, someone who’s made the most important decision a person can make—to love.” He let himself feel the solidity of Mavis’s compact body against his own and knew, right then, that come hell or high water, sisters or high heels, nothing was going to come between this man and his dog.

“And while you may not love me yet, I think you will. If you get no other sense from my words than this, remember—I am not going to let anything bad happen to you, ever. Not if I can help it.”

He released Mavis, setting her gently down at his feet, where she promptly curled up, calmer than he had ever seen her.

Gradually he came back to reality and realized he’d probably just made an ass of himself in front of Christian. What he had said to the dog was heartfelt, but what if Christian had seen his words as nothing more than Hallmark platitudes? He was lifting his head to give Christian one of his patented sheepish grins, when he noticed Christian already looking at him.

If Aaron didn’t know better, he would say Christian was touched. And not “touched in the head,” either, although he might be that as well, but touched as in something really got through to him.

Christian slowly shook his head. He didn’t say anything for a long while, and then what he said next wasn’t at all what Aaron expected.

“Can I kiss you?”

 

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” You can find him at www.rickrreed.com or www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their Boston terrier.

FIND RICK ONLINE

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks

Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed

Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/

Website: www.rickrreed.com

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rick-r-reed

Email: rickrreedbooks@gmail.com

 

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

Tufted & Tatted by Jacques N. Hoff (SJD Peterson, author): Exclusive Cover Reveal, Guest Post

Tufted & Tatted, is the 4th book in the Peckers series and the first that was solely written by SJD Peterson. For those who may be confused about why I wrote these under Jacques N. Hoff, he is actually the main character in the pecker world. These are his stories, about his friends and will be the star in the final book. What some may have missed from previous books, is book is always dedicated to Jacques long lost love. 🙂
Freed from the Australian zoo where he was the subject of forced breeding experiments, Atticus makes his way to the tufted puffin grounds in California, only to find he may not be free after all. Atty is a loner, but he doesn’t want to fight the pull to a flighty surfer who gives his inked skin a pleasant, uncontrollable itch.

Scott has the sun on his face, the waves beneath him, and gratitude for every second of life he gets to embrace. Then Atty steps into his life, and it’s like the universe has tuned his meditation bell to the perfect frequency.

The Tiki Pro surfing competition in Florida is calling to Scott, and Atty agrees to make sure Scott gets there safely. A cross-country road trip in the Hunny Wagon seems like a perfect way to live in the present and get tantric all at the same time.

But they aren’t making this trek alone.

Title: Tufted & Tatted
Series: Peckers: Book Four
Author: Jacques N. Hoff
Release Date: September 13, 2017
Category: Paranormal: Werewolves/Shifters, Humor
Pages: 82

Dreamspinner Press Preorder Link

 

About Jacques N. Hoff:

My father told me all about the birds and the bees. The liar. I went steady with a woodpecker until I was twenty-one. I now travel the world in search of the hottest peckers—in tandem with my best friend Simon Spoonwell and his blue jay partner Jay Azure.
What you read here is all true. Well, at least in the world of UCPeckers it is. Wherever you see peckers, you may just find me there.

About the Authors:
Jacques N. Hoff is the brainchild of SJD Peterson and S.A. McAuley–two authors who shouldn’t be allowed to interact with each other (at least in public). It was either co-write hot pecker porn or plot world domination. It’s not clear which outcome will take the forefront on any given day.
Sam helped co-write the first three books in the series and is the driving force that started UC Peckers. For now Jo is taking over the series but who knows, you may see Sam pop in from time to time or maybe other guest co-writers.

The UC Peckers World:
Jacques N. Hoff welcomes you to the world of Undercover Peckers. Where love is instant the moment you find your mate. Where there’s only one true pecker for every man. Where the sex is so hot it will singe your tailfeathers. Where bird watching is both a recreation and a preoccupation—that usually leads to feathers flying. Let Jacques N. Hoff, Simon, and his avian shifter mate Jay lead you through this world of sinful and ridiculous exploration.

Jay Walking (Peckers Book 1)

Cockstrut (Peckers Book 2)

Masked Booby (Peckers Book 3)

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Release Date: August 30, 2017

Artist: Valerie Tibbs

Dreamspinner Press

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I have three brothers, man.”

“Yeah?”

Garry scowled. “Okay, so mainly me.”

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

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

“Think what?”

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

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

Garry changed the subject, pretty smartish.

Back in the here and now…

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

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

“When?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Survival Game by Susan Mac Nicol: EXCLUSIVE Cover Reveal and Giveaway

TCO is excited to welcome Susan Mac Nicol for an exclusive cover reveal for the next book in her Men of London series, Survival Game…check out all the books in the series, and scroll down to see the new cover!!!

 

 

**Book 1: Love you Senseless
One of London’s up-and-coming chefs, Eddie Tripp has just the right recipe to drive tragedy from the mind of Gideon Kent—and leave him senseless with desire.
A TASTE OF FOREVER

 

 

 

 

 

**Book 2: Sight and Sinners
The murder of a shared friend leads a high-profile investigator and a psychic into a mystery involving lies, blackmail, BDSM—and into each other’s arms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Book 3: Suit Yourself
Scarred both physically and emotionally after a motorcycle accident, twenty-five year old ex fashion model and porn star Oliver Brown is about to be stripped bare by flamboyant twink Leslie Scott—and they’ll rebuild love from the bottom up.
BARING THE BEAST

 

 

 

 

 

**Book 4: Feat of Clay
Imprisoned and tortured, undercover cop Tate Williams will find redemption in the arms of his boyhood friend, now lover, former SAS soldier Clay Mortimer.
TWO MEN. TORN. TORTURED. LOVED.

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Book 5: Cross to Bare
Tough in business but romantic at heart, fashion designer Lenny James isn’t hiding his masculinity behind his super successful female alter ego, but a vulnerability that only handsome financier Brook Hunter will be man enough to reveal…and worship.
TWO OF A KIND

 

 

 

 

**Book 6: Flying Solo
Flight attendant Maxwell Lewis has spent years cultivating a bon vivant image only to find he finally wants something more—and that something more includes the never-does-repeats game designer Gibson Henry.
ABOVE AND BEYOND

 

 

 

 

 

**Book 7: Damaged Goods
Touched by tragedy, love is an elusive dream never to be realised by eighteen-year-old Jax Grady–until he discovers his secret admirer and receives the sweetest gift he could ever desire.
THE SWEETEST GIFT

 

 

 

 

 

**Book 8: Hard Climate
Eco-warrior Mango Manning must shake the demons of his past to win back London nightclub owner Ryan Bishop, who is suddenly facing issues of his own.

WITH BOTH HANDS

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Book 9: Survival Game (Release Date Sept 7th)

Nightclub Manager Kyle Tripper is trying to put the memories of a past abusive relationship behind him. When he meets tough paramedic Eric Kirby, he believes he might be able to see a future for himself. But Eric has his own demons to face. Is he truly the right man for Kyle to put his faith in?

LOVE IS A GAMBLE

 

 

 

The Men of London series

Boroughs Publishing:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2djWe3R
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2anpy3p
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2cHOAye

Susan Mac Nicol

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2aHt5zu
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/29YISaB
FB Page: http://bit.ly/29TuAVY
Webpage: http://bit.ly/2aFvcSo

Leave a comment for Sue about her new cover, and TCO will enter you for a chance to win any of the backlist of Susan Mac Nicol’s Men of London series.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet Taylor and Frank!

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

 

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

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

And now the cover…

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WOW!

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.

Losing My Religion by A.S. Tucker: Cover Reveal, Excerpt and Giveaway


Author: A.S. Tucker
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: July 27, 2017

Jaden Barker is a good boy.

For as long as he can remember, he’s been preparing for the day he’ll be called as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He’s ready. He’s more than willing. And he can’t wait to spend the next two years serving the Lord and his church. But when a new proclamation from the church is announced, it leaves him questioning everything.

Quinn Owens is trouble with a capital T.

An aspiring actor living in the bowels of Los Angeles, he’s fought long and hard to get where he is, and he’s not willing to give it up for anything. Working for a homophobic boss presents quite a challenge when you’re a gay man, but Quinn knows losing this job means losing his dream. 

Jaden is lost and confused.

Quinn won’t let anything stand in his way.

But when Jaden finds himself living downstairs from the enticing Quinn, neither are prepared for what happens next.

Will Jaden be able to resist Quinn’s charms and remain a devoted Mormon missionary? Or will he fall, finding himself face to face with losing his religion?
 
Prologue
Our living room smells like a high school locker room. You know the smell I’m talking about. That oniony stink teen boys get when it’s been too long since they’ve showered, and they still haven’t quite discovered the magic of deodorant. 

It’s a smell I’m all-too familiar with, my high school career having only come to an end this past year. It’s going to take a lot longer than ten months to wipe the horrors I saw and smelled in the boys’ locker room out of my brain. 

Even as I sit on the barstool in the center of the room, visions of Roosevelt High come flashing to my mind, and I half-expect to see Jeff come strolling through the door, twisted wet towel in hand, just waiting for the perfect moment to snap it against an unsuspecting victim’s bare ass.

Butt. I mean, butt. 

Cussing was never allowed when I was growing up. But, now that this has arrived, I need to be more diligent about watching my language. 

Because cussing will not be tolerated where I’m going. 

I look down at the white envelope in my hands, my fingers trembling ever-so slightly, as I read over my name and address printed on the front.

Elder Jaden Barker.

Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? Perfect missionary name. Exactly like my parents envisioned.

Flipping the envelope over, I gently finger the flap, watching the pristine paper slide against my skin. How ironic would it be if the one thing that’s supposed to be the biggest blessing in my life thus far sliced through my flesh, red drops of blood seeping through my pores and marring the lily-white paper beneath?

Wouldn’t be the first time the church cut you, a familiar voice in the back of my mind utters.

Yes, but they’ve always been there to stitch you back up. You just need to have faith, his ever-present counterpart retorts. 

I know what you’re thinking. This dude is crazy. I’m not. I don’t actually hear voices. They’re only little versions of my subconscious—punks who like to rear up and cause problems in my life at the most inopportune times. Ever since I turned in my mission papers, they seem to have taken permanent residence in my head—like those old cartoons I used to watch, the ones with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. The church would refer to them as the Holy Ghost and Satan.

Or, as I like to call them, Jiminy and Jafar. Growing up, I had a thing for Disney.

Shrugging off their unwelcome intrusion, I turn my attention back to the task at hand, the all-too-familiar pang of nervousness welling deep within my gut. My stomach has been in knots all afternoon. 

My family has been expecting this any day now. As soon as I pulled it out of the mailbox and saw the distinct logo in the top-left corner, I was tempted to rip into it right there, near the gutter, needing the torment of where I’d be spending the next two years of my life to end. 

My mother, of course, had different plans. The moment she realized I’d received it, she plucked it from my fingers, whisking it away into the kitchen and telling me we had to wait for my father to get home from work. Then, like the good little housewife she is, she set about making a scrumptious chicken noodle soup. My grandmother’s recipe and her mother’s before that. Also, my favorite meal on the planet. 

That brings us to the reason I’m now sitting on a kitchen stool in the middle of the living room with three smiling faces shining back at me from the sofa, the normally delicious smell of the soup now making me nauseous and forcing me to think of sweaty teenagers. 

I’ve been preparing for this day for as long as I can remember. Since I was just a kid, I knew my life was leading to this very moment. And, after years of singing songs in primary and learning lesson after lesson in priesthood meetings, it’s finally here. 

I’m going to be a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I’m ready for this. 

I’ve been groomed for this. 

I’m going to share the truth with the people of wherever this letter sends me. 

My fingers tremble as I tear into the envelope, my family sitting across from me on the edge of the couch. My mother’s hand flies to her mouth as she watches the stark white paper slide from its temporary shelter. I know, within a week, it will be framed and hanging proudly in the hallway, right next to my brother, Taylor’s, mission call. 

“Dear Brother Barker,” I read aloud, my voice shaky as my heart hammers against my chest. 

My dad leans forward, wringing his hands in anticipation, while my mother leans her face into his shoulder as she stifles a sob. To an outsider, it might appear my parents are nervous, as if the thought of sending their nineteen-year-old son out into the world with minimal contact for two years were a terrifying idea they weren’t entirely on board with. 

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case at all. My parents are waiting with bated breath, their anticipation for me to leave eclipsed only by the joy they feel about me going in the first place. Not because they don’t love me, but because doing the Lord’s work is far more important. 

“You are hereby called to serve as a missionary at…” My words trail off, my eyes scanning the page until the bold words leap out at me. “California Los Angeles Mission.”

I must have said the words aloud because, within seconds I’m enveloped in my mother’s arms. My dad moves to join her, his broad arms circling the two of us as he whispers how happy he is for me. My little sister, Jenny, clears her throat behind me, and my mother swings her arm wide to pull her into the hug with us. 

“I’m so, so proud of you, Jaden. You’re going to receive so many blessings because of this. And you’ll bless so many people in return,” my mother says as she squeezes me tight. 

Her arms drop suddenly, and she pulls away from me, her eyes shining, as she says, “I need to go call Taylor. He was so sad he couldn’t be here today. Poor little Maddy has another ear infection, and they didn’t want to ruin your special day with a crying infant. But he made me promise to call as soon as we knew where you were going. So, if you’ll excuse me, I have a few phone calls to make.”

She practically dances out of the room, my dad close on her heels as he reminds her of a few other people who need to hear the good news. 

Left alone with only my little sister, I glance down at Jenny, her ten-year-old face beaming up at me. 

“I can’t wait until I’m old enough to go on a mission! Are you excited?” Her squeaky voice breaks on the last word. 

I smile at her, nodding my head in the most self-assured way I can manage. 

This should be the most exciting day of my life. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for, and every detail of this day has gone exactly according to plan. My mom’s happy tears, my dad’s joyous words. Heck, I don’t even have to learn another language at the training center. It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of.

So, why does it feel like I’m living a lie?
A military brat growing up, A.S. Tucker now resides in Utah with her loving husband. When not writing, you’ll find her reading, binge watching Netflix, or drinking wine. Her three favorite things are animals, coffee, and Harry Potter, not necessarily in that order. She is the author of three other novels, published under a different pen name. She loves hearing from her readers, so please drop her a line! 

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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.

Lying Eyes by Robert Winter: Cover Reveal and Excerpt

 

Title:  Lying Eyes

Author: Robert Winter

Publisher:  Robert Winter Books (self-published)

Release Date: July 7, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 84300

Genre: Romance, Mystery, BDSM

Add to Goodreads

Amazon

This bartender’s art lies in more than mixing drinks …

Randy Vaughan is a six-foot-three mass of mysteries to his customers and his friends. Why does a former Secret Service agent now own Mata Hari, a successful piano bar? Where did a muscle daddy get his passion for collecting fine art? If he’s as much a loner as his friends believe, why does he crave weekly sessions at an exclusive leather club?

Randy’s carefully private life unravels when Jack Fraser, a handsome art historian from England, walks into his bar, anxious to get his hands on a painting Randy owns. The desperation Randy glimpses in whiskey-colored eyes draws him in, as does the desire to submit that he senses beneath Jack’s elegant, driven exterior.

While wrestling with his attraction to Jack, Randy has to deal with a homeless teenager, a break-in at Mata Hari, and Jack’s relentless pursuit of the painting called Sunrise. It becomes clear someone’s lying to Randy. Unless he can figure out who and why, he may miss his chance at the love he’s dreamed about in the hidden places of his heart.

Note: Lying Eyes is a standalone gay romance novel with consensual bondage and a strong happy ending. It contains potential spoilers for Robert Winter’s prior novel, Every Breath You Take.

 

Saturday rolled around, and Randy headed to town early to make sure everything was ready for Mata Hari’s busiest evening of the week. Although the bar officially opened at five-thirty, it was rare for anyone to wander in much before seven o’clock. Randy was surprised when the front door opened at six to admit a good-looking man.

The stranger was probably about five foot nine or ten, and wore a three-piece suit that seemed tailored to accentuate a lean build. His dark hair was cut stylishly short on the sides but thick and swept back on the top, and his mustache and full beard were closely trimmed. A brightly colored necktie contrasted with the somber gray of his suit. Randy had trouble assessing the man’s age, but he would go with thirty. European, though—Randy would stake the bar on that guess.

The newcomer contemplated the walls of Mata Hari, passing almost dismissively over the art on display. He studied each piece for no more than a second before moving to the next, but Randy had a distinct impression the man sought something in particular. As he completed his survey, he kept turning and eventually met Randy’s eyes across the bar.

Immediately desire flared in the man’s face as his hungry gaze drifted over Randy’s tight white shirt and up to his face, lingering on his mouth. Shoulders tightened almost imperceptibly as he drew himself to his full height, yet Randy recognized a softening of hard edges. He lazily ran his own eyes to the stranger’s luxurious beard, and he imagined stroking the softness there. He sensed something accommodating. Something potentially submissive, yet more subtle than the wanton displays of obedience and posing he was used to on Mondays at his private club.

Something he would enjoy channeling and rewarding, in the right circumstance.

The man started toward the bar. As he moved, Randy had the odd sense that the suit he wore was ill-fitting, even though it seemed perfectly tailored. A step away from the bar, his face just—closed. That was the only word for it. One instant he was cruising Randy; the next he was stone.

Randy sighed to himself. The guy was probably a closet case on his first night at a gay bar. That usually meant an unsatisfying encounter, even if the newbie didn’t rabbit. In any case, it wasn’t Randy’s thing. He’d had plenty of virgin ass over the years, and preferred his men experienced.

Fine. Nothing for me here. He waited at the bar, vaguely disappointed.

“Sir, good evening.” The man’s accent was English, his words precise and elegant like his hair and his clothes and his beard. Probably from London. Up close, Randy could see his eyes were a deep shade of brown graced with streaks of gold around the pupils that caught the lights over the bar. “I’m looking for a Mr. Randall Vaughan.”

Despite forswearing his immediate attraction to the stranger, that honeyed voice caused Randy to smile slowly and show his teeth. He registered the slight widening of the eyes behind the stranger’s mask as he focused on Randy’s mouth.

“I’m Randy Vaughan. And you are…?”

The man blinked in surprise. “Oh. The Mr. Vaughan I was seeking is an art collector.”

Shit. Just another jerkwad, making assumptions right away. Randy was a big man so he couldn’t possibly be knowledgeable about art, could he? Well, fuck that noise. One more chance.

“I wouldn’t use the term collector, but…” Randy gestured at the walls.

“Quite so,” the man said distantly, and turned to sweep his gaze over the works on the nearest wall. “Neither would I.”

Randy’s back stiffened immediately. The stranger—no, the asshole—turned his attention back to Randy and held out a hand. He seemed oblivious to the fact that he’d just royally pissed Randy off. “My name is Jack Fraser. I’m from the Kensington Museum in London.” Fraser paused as if waiting for Randy to be impressed. “I sent you a letter recently.”

Randy willed himself not to think further about Fraser’s whiskey-colored eyes or the luxuriousness of his beard, and he didn’t take the offered hand. Instead, he wiped a small spill on the counter before him. “You did,” he agreed in a bored tone.

Fraser dropped his hand. “Ah, yes.” A pause. “My secretary didn’t hear from you to set up an appointment.”

“Which was my answer to your request,” Randy said, letting some snarl appear as he met Fraser’s eyes. They were still guarded and closed off, but Randy could see embers burning deep inside. In the right setting, and with proper motivation, he could imagine making those embers flare and ignite in the slender man before him. For the moment, though, the eyes just narrowed in calculation.

Before Fraser could say anything, Randy turned away. “If you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.”

“May I buy a pint?” Fraser asked, desperation shading his smooth accent.

Randy considered calling Malcolm over to deal with it, but stopped in front of the beer taps. He was annoyed at his lingering attraction, and he decided to push back on this prick a bit. “Fine. What’s your pleasure?”

“Guinness. If you have it.”

“Of course you’d drink Guinness.” A little scorn curled Randy’s lip. “Well, the closest beer I have is a stout from Flying Dog.” He let his sneer turn feral. “It’s called Pearl Necklace.” He dropped his eyes to Fraser’s necktie, as if he could picture that very thing replacing the colorful silk.

Fraser blinked nervously. Probably he could picture it too. Maybe he even imagined Randy’s hot jizz splattering his chest and neck as his reward. Well, he shouldn’t have been a condescending shit out of the gate then. Randy waited, one hand on the tap, the other idly scratching his ear to make his bicep flex under his white shirt. Fraser focused on his arm and swallowed audibly.

“That’ll be fine,” he said. “A, uh, Flying Dog then.” Randy drew the pint to set before Fraser on a coaster. He didn’t wait for the man to take a sip or comment, but headed to the other end of the bar to check inventory.

He stayed busy but somehow noticed that Fraser lingered at the bar for several minutes, apparently hoping Randy would come back and let him ask again about the piece Randy had purchased from the Gates Gallery. When Randy deliberately kept his distance, Fraser took his beer (which, Randy was pleased to note, was more than half gone) and wandered around the room to examine more carefully each painting displayed. Sometimes he moved on quickly to the next piece of art. Other times, he gave a slight shake of his head.

Randy’s ears burned, and he considered throwing the guy out. Since he’d opened Mata Hari no one had given him grief about his collection. To be honest, no one had studied it the way Fraser did, but still. Each piece had been acquired because Randy connected to something in it. To have this handsome English stuffed shirt look down his nose offended Randy in a way he couldn’t even articulate. He seethed inside the longer Fraser spent on his dismissive tour of the room.

When Fraser reached a landscape that was hung over a small settee, he gave a distinct snort. He set his empty beer glass on a nearby table and Randy swooped over to pick it up, ostentatiously swiping the wood as if it had left a ring. “Another Pearl Necklace?” he snarled.

“Ah, no. Thank you.” Fraser seemed surprised to find Randy standing so close, though his eyes remained closed off and stony. “But it was a quite nice stout after all. Thank you for the recommendation.”

Randy gestured at the landscape with his chin. “Is that painting offensive to you for some reason? You’re practically laughing at it.”

“What? Oh no, it’s…fine. Competent. It’s the presentation, the arrangement of the art, that I find amusing.”

Randy ran his gaze over the pieces arranged on that wall of the bar. He’d decided where to hang each and every work over a long stretch of time as he’d readied Mata Hari for opening. He revisited the collection frequently and rotated different pieces in and out of prominent positions. Most of his customers were oblivious but Randy took great satisfaction in presenting something unique in the atmosphere of his bar.

“What’s amusing about it?”

“Well, there’s no story, is there?” Fraser answered him.

“What do you mean?”

“Individually each piece is presentable. A few are even intriguing. But see here,” he gestured at the landscape, “this is a nicely executed pastoral, yet it’s positioned between a Japanese scroll and a watercolor of a monarch butterfly. The pieces say nothing about each other, and have no intrinsic relationship.

“But over there,” he indicated the wall opposite, “is a modern landscape. Change the frames to something complementary, place them side by side, and the two landscapes together suggest a conversation in, oh, quite a lot actually. Painting techniques, the subject and tonal changes in works separated by two artistic traditions. You see?”

Randy did see, but he’d be damned if he’d admit it. “Two landscapes here wouldn’t fit,” he said stubbornly.

“Ah. Art as furniture. Of course,” Fraser said with a smirk, and that did it.

“No charge for the Pearl Necklace,” Randy barked. “Since you made the trip for nothing.”

 

Robert Winter lives and writes in Provincetown. He is a recovering lawyer who prefers writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other.

When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

 

 

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Who We Truly Are by Victoria Sue: EXCLUSIVE Cover Reveal, Excerpt and 2 Giveaways

**We are so excited to bring you the Exclusive Cover Reveal of Who We Truly Are by the amazing Victoria Sue!!!! When you get to read the book next month (release date is 7/14), you will see how much this cover reflects the story. Check out the extended excerpt, and TWO giveaways. Thank you to Victoria Sue for stopping by for some fun with us!

 

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

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

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

Dreamspinner Press

 

Release Date: July 14, 2017

And until Who We Truly Are comes out, Five Minutes Longer is only $2.99 (begins 6/13)!!!!! So grab it here, now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

An extended excerpt from Who We Truly Are:

“Absolutely no fucking way.” Talon nearly overturned the desk he sat behind in his hurry to get to his feet.

Here we go…. Finn ignored Gael’s and Vance’s smirks at Talon’s reaction to the news Gregory had just delivered, and tried to concentrate, since he’d been too distracted by the real possibility he would starve to death.

“Talon—” Gregory started.

“He’s been here two fucking months—and half of that time, in the damn hospital. He’s just successfully demonstrated the perp would have to be fucking standing still for him to get a shot off—”

Finn closed his eyes and slid down his chair, desperately willing the heat he could feel climbing up his neck not to reach his cheeks. The hospital had been a complete exaggeration. Two weeks in total, tops. Well, okay, twice he’d been in for concussions. And there had been the black eye when Vance got a little enthusiastic on the mats, and then there was the broken nose last week when the perp had swung at him and Finn hadn’t gotten out of the way in time, but he hadn’t been admitted for either of those.

This morning was the first time he’d had to try for a moving target. He practiced at the outside shooting facility they called “the Farm” most days, and he thought he was getting quite good. Then they’d set the fake hostage situation up, expecting Finn to do better, and it had gone worse than the target practice.

Fucking enhanced. They thought they were so damned perfect.

“He’s perfect,” Gregory yelled back at Talon, and Finn started, shocked his boss agreed with him. He wasn’t about to miss any compliments. “He can absolutely pass for seventeen,” Gregory added, and Finn gaped in horror.

Seventeen? What had he missed?

“I-I’m twenty-four,” he stuttered out, wondering how he’d managed to lose the entire thread of the conversation.

“And you’re still the only one on the team who can go undercover in one of the new group homes.”

Finn’s jaw dropped as he stared at his boss. He was going undercover? Like real, honest to God… undercover? Finn’s gaze dropped to the floor, and he breathed out slowly. He didn’t think he would earn any respect by jumping to his feet, fist pumping and shouting his excitement, which he desperately wanted to do. This was his chance to be an active member of the team and earn some respect. He glanced cautiously at Talon, who was still arguing with Gregory.

“You obviously won’t be going to Glynco tomorrow, but I will rearrange that when this op is done,” Gregory continued, ignoring the outburst from Talon.

His team leader—his boyfriend—wasn’t exactly showing a lot of faith in his abilities, and as the only regular human on the team, he had a lot to prove. Finn half smiled at his own words. Regular. An ordinary human being, unlike the rest of his teammates, who were all enhanced. Humans who had changed suddenly around adolescence and got kickass abilities, such as speaking every known language without ever having to learn them like Gael, or setting things on fire just because he thought about it like Eli.

“And there is one obvious problem,” Sawyer piped up.

Oh good, Finn thought. Only one?

“He doesn’t have a mark?” Gregory guessed correctly, and Sawyer shrugged.

Finn stared at Gregory and gave Sawyer grudging points for stating the obvious. The US had originally panicked when the first kids were born with superabilities because, while some of the abilities were quite cool, like the Superman strength Vance had, a lot of them were downright deadly, like Talon’s. The public had calmed down mainly because the enhanced were so easily identifiable. They all had the mark Gregory mentioned, and despite various attempts, none of them could get rid of it.

“We know that marks cannot be covered successfully for more than a matter of minutes, but we can very easily add one.”

“Add one?” Finn blurted out. “I didn’t know that.” He ignored the dark look Talon sent him.

“It’s only something that’s just occurred to us that might be useful,” Gregory admitted.

“Yeah,” drawled Eli, “because who the fuck would want one of these?”

Finn didn’t know what to be more shocked at: that he was getting the chance to contribute, or that the normally silent Eli had spoken.

“We have a makeup artist who has been working with us,” Gregory said, “and Finn is the only one on the team who can do this.”

Finn nodded eagerly. He was desperate for the chance to actually do some work. “What would I be doing?”

“Not a damn thing,” Talon snapped.

“Sit down, Talon, and let me explain,” Gregory huffed out. Talon glowered at Finn as if daring him to reply, and Finn pointedly focused on Agent Gregory. “Let me go back a little. There are still no genetic markers that tell us if kids are likely to transform.”

Finn knew this. If ever an older sibling transformed and the families agreed, the younger ones would be subject to a barrage of tests until after adolescence. There had been a few cases where a younger brother had transformed, but so far there was still no scientific reason for it.

“We actually know very few definites,” Gregory said. “All enhanced children ever born are male, and the incidents are restricted to the US.”

“And there’s never going to be any baby Gaels running around,” Gael interrupted, his scarred face twisting as the skin pulled awkwardly in humor.

“So there are benefits, then.” Vance chuckled as Gael flipped him off, though he smiled at the teasing.

All enhanced were sterile, something the papers had made a meal of about fifteen years ago when the news headlined. Many people thought the knowledge that the enhanced couldn’t reproduce made the rest of the population breathe a little easier because they weren’t suddenly going to be outnumbered.

Gregory had made them go talk at a couple of high schools since they’d become celebrities after Gael saved a judge from being shot. Of all of them, Gael had been the most enthusiastic about going to the schools. It had to hurt that he would never have kids of his own.

Gael had been all over the news because he’d put his life on the line to protect a guy who was vocal in his dislike of the enhanced and thought they were a threat. The papers had loved it and eaten it up. Finn hadn’t been to either school visits, since the first time he had been in the emergency room when Vance nearly flattened him, and the second had been because of his nose.

He winced. Maybe Talon had a point. His timing sucked anyway.

“What about Drew?” Talon asked.

Finn gaped. Drew? Talon thought Drew would do a better job than him? The knowledge settled heavily in his gut.

“Drew would never pass for seventeen,” Gregory argued.

“That’s true, boss,” Vance agreed. Talon glowered. “How many other recruits get sent undercover after being given eight weeks training?”

Gregory sighed. “Do you remember one of the foster kids who disappeared last year—Dale Smith?”

Sawyer frowned. “Yes. We’ve never been able to find any trace. He has an older brother who turned eighteen in December and aged out of the system, but he hasn’t had any contact either.”

Gregory opened a file on his desk and passed around some photographs. Finn paled when he saw what they were. Tattered clothes lay in shreds on top of a skeleton. “The remains of what has been identified as Dale Smith’s body were found last month buried in a shallow grave on the Westside Trail on the Atlanta BeltLine when they were clearing old tracks. We have been unable to identify a cause of death as of yet. This has been brought to our attention finally because yesterday police were called to a boarded-up house in old Port Tampa. The house was empty and showed no sign of being lived in, with the exception of the storeroom. That’s where they found the body of another enhanced.”

“Did we know him?” Talon asked.

Gregory shook his head. “We haven’t been able to identify him. ME says a young adult and showed signs of physical abuse. He was emaciated, and the ME says he was basically starved to death. None of the previously registered occupants of the house are alive.” He paused. “The cops have found signs of access, but the whole place is derelict. This is where we come in and how it may be related to Dale Smith.” Gregory passed another photograph around.

Finn stared at the picture. It was Dale Smith, taken before he developed the mark, likely a school photograph.

“If you remember, Dale Smith was being attacked and beaten by his stepfather when the cops were called. His mom was a crack addict, and the so-called stepfather her pimp. Dale was removed for his own safety, but the car the cops were driving crashed. Both cops were knocked unconscious and Dale ran off. The cops had no memory of anything after leaving the house. No one has been able to locate Dale Smith.”

“And apart from their enhanced status, how are they related?” Gael asked.

“Because the photograph of Dale was found in the storeroom with the other dead male.”

Everyone was silent.

“Our focus right now is on the foster home and the missing kids. The past murders are being investigated separately. I want you to make sure no other kids vanish. You have complete access to any and all information on both victims, and you will be kept up-to-date with any new information.” Finn risked a look at Talon, who had stopped objecting when Gregory passed the photographs around.

“You should know that the powers that be, who wanted the enhanced children taken away from their parents for the parents’ safety, are now talking about removing the kids for their own safety.”

“Very clever,” Gael said sardonically.

“And as of this morning, we have another problem,” Gregory said. “Two more kids have disappeared.”

The room was silent again.

“Where from?” Talon ground out.

Gregory looked pointedly at Finn, and suddenly Finn didn’t need telling. The home. They had disappeared from the foster home. Finn swallowed. It was shit, complete shit. One of the things they were all hoping for was that kids with the mark didn’t get treated like baggage. They were only removed from the parents if the parents couldn’t cope. And that was why they were all here. It wasn’t as simple as just a specialized crime-fighting team. It was all about perception. The school visits were all about hope. Hope that the enhanced kids would be accepted and that they had a future.

Finn remembered Vance telling him about the day he’d woken up with the mark. “And just like that, my life was over.”

Except it wasn’t, and for all the kids, it was up to their team to make sure of that.

 

And now for the Cover Reveal….

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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.