Daily Grind By Anna Zabo: Blog Tour and Guest Post

Daily_Grind
synopsisA man discovers that love can show up when you least expect it—and in a much different form—in this piping-hot romance from the author of Due Diligence and Just Business.

Brian Keppler, owner of Ground N’At, the coffee shop beneath SR Anderson Consulting, doesn’t have time for a relationship. His most recent girlfriend broke up with him because he’d become married to his shop, which is falling apart without his favorite barista, Justin.

As he struggles to stay afloat, the arrival of handsome British high-tech whiz Robert Ancroft becomes another complication. Rob quickly becomes a fixture at the shop with his sharp wit and easy charm, and Brian soon finds himself looking forward more and more to Rob’s visits—to the point where his heart skips a beat when he walks in.

But will Brian be able to come to terms with his previously unexplored sexual identity and find happiness now that he has a chance?

Guest Post
While I was writing Just Business back in 2015, two minor characters poked me in the ribs and told me they had books, too. The first was Fazil who pretty much shouted at me that he wasn’t straight, even though Eli was convinced he was (Fazil’s book is Due Diligence).
The other was Brian, the owner of Grounds N’at and Justin White’s boss until Sam hires him away. Brian was a lot quieter about his bisexuality. And I knew his book would be about him exploring that side of his sexuality for the first time—that the book would be, to a certain extent, a coming out book.
I called it my bi-for-you book, and that’s the book that became Daily Grind.
Daily Grind is Brian’s story from start to finish. It’s also Rob’s story, but it’s Brian who must work to get his happy ever after. He has the most to lose—and gain—in the novel.
Brian has known and accepted his attraction to all genders for a long time, but he’s only dated women because that was easier when he was younger. He struggled a lot with bi-phobia in college (being bi was only a stepping stone to gay or that bi was something women did, and only to attract guys) and at that point, pretty much gave up on the idea of being outwardly bi. He’d thought he’d made his peace with that, especially since he was pretty much married to his shop anyway.
Then Rob Ancroft walks in and Brian just can’t help himself.
I really didn’t want the book to be about the angst of being bisexual. That wasn’t really the main thrust of the story. I wanted the story to be about Brian falling for Rob and what has to change in his life for him to have is happy ever after, not about Brian fretting over his sexuality. Brian’s always been bi—that hasn’t changed. At thirty-eight, he doesn’t have much angst about being bi anymore. In fact, at his age now, he feels silly holding on to the worry of his younger self, so he lets it go and jumps right into loving a guy.
The fun bits are all the firsts he gets to experience, even though he’s not at all a virgin.
He’s also utterly relieved to discover that everything feels perfect and normal. Because it is. As Rob says to Brian at one point, there’s nothing wrong with being bisexual.
Now if only Brian can stop being a workaholic…
I do hope you enjoy reading Brian’s book as much as I enjoyed writing it!

DailyGrind_Blog_tour

buy nowAmazon

Kobo Books

meet the author
Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow and believes passionately that happy ever afters are for everyone. Anna lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

giveaway

Be sure to enter our monthly giveaway

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.

Open Case by Mickie B. Ashling: Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

Cover-Open CasesynopsisSeth Wilder and Bryce McFarland deal with the aftermath of Owen Lightfoot’s destructive rampage. Once again, the insurance company denies the life insurance benefit despite the compelling evidence regarding the underlying cause of Mark’s death. However, they acknowledge their former employee’s complicity in the multiple crimes that have blindsided Seth and Bryce. They settle to keep their names out of the news, offering the couple a million dollars apiece, which they accept.

Owen learns of the big payoff and is determined to get his cut. Just when Seth and Bryce think it is all over, Owen reappears, and what follows tests the very limit of their endurance. Through the help of friends and relatives, Seth and Bryce find the strength to keep their relationship intact while seeking out the best way to stop Owen once and for all.

Author: Mickie B. Ashling

Series: Open Trilogy #3

Release Date: February 3, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Length: 200 pages

Cover Artist: Catt Ford

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Guest Post

Hi, all! Thanks for stopping by to help me celebrate the release of Open Case, the final novel in the Open Series. I’m excited to share an exclusive excerpt and give you a chance to win a few giveaways. Those of you who haven’t read the first two books, Open Seating and Open House, will want to catch up before you start this one.

Since the status change from friends to lovers, Seth Wilder and Bryce McFarland, have had more challenges than the average couple. Through it all, they’ve been united, communicating without reservation in their quest for a happy ending. Now that it’s within reach, Bryce’s ex-lover, sociopath Owen Lightfoot, is back, intent on destroying it all.

I’d like to thank Two Chicks Obsessed for hosting and my wonderful publicist J for her excellent help in organizing my blog tour.

buy now

Amazon

DSP eBook

DSP Paperback

Kobo Books

Barnes & Noble

 

tco exclusive

The combination gun supply and shooting range was out in Des Plaines, a thirty-minute drive barring traffic. When they left the condo at six thirty, most of the daily commuters had cleared out and they made good time. The shop normally closed at five on Monday, but Jack knew the owner, and being with the Chicago PD did have some advantages. He explained this to Bryce and Seth when they pulled into the parking lot and saw that it was empty except for Jack’s unmarked vehicle. The owners had allowed him to use the facility after hours to give Seth and Bryce their expedited tutorial. They’d even left a 9mm Glock 34 for Seth’s use, along with several rounds of ammunition. Bryce had his own weapon but did avail himself of the store’s ammo. Jack made them sign the standard waivers before they started.

For Bryce, the three hours they spent with Jack had been a much-needed refresher course. He knew how to clean, load, and handle a gun, but it had been a long time since he’d removed it from the case and aimed it at a target. He was grateful for the time Jack had allotted to get him back up to speed. Seth, on the other hand, was completely in the dark. After going over the safety fundamentals, Jack showed Seth how to load and unload his weapon, the proper stance for aiming when standing or in a crouched position, rapid reloading, and some troubleshooting in case the weapon jammed. Seth was visibly uncomfortable handling the Glock and flinched each time he fired a shot. Eventually, he settled down, and by the end of their session he could fire the gun without squeezing his eyes shut and actually hit the target, albeit far off the bull’s-eye.

When they were getting ready to shut down for the night, Bryce mentioned the possibility of borrowing his sister’s dog to keep Seth company during the day.

“Can’t hurt,” Jack said. “But a dog won’t stop a bullet, and Seth will have to walk him at least twice a day. Once they step out of the apartment, the safety factor is greatly reduced.”

“You said you’ve got eyes on us 24/7,” Seth protested.

“My guys are in place to keep Owen from getting into your building. They can’t be trailing after you while you’re walking the pooch.”

Bryce stared at Jack, trying to decipher if there was a mixed message. “So what’s the bottom line? Should he go and get the dog or not?”

“That’s up to you guys, but if you decide to do it, watch your back when you take him out to do his business.”

“Next question,” Seth interjected. “How would you feel about me driving myself to Indiana and back without Bryce?”

Jack looked at Bryce, who was hoping for a negative response. Whatever signal Jack picked up prompted him to ask, “What does Bryce think?”

“He doesn’t want me to go alone.”

Post divider 2

meet the author

Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multifaceted woman who is a product of her upbringing in multiple cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West. A little bit of this and a lot of that have brought a unique touch to her literary voice she could never learn from textbooks.

By the time Mickie discovered her talent for writing, real life got in the way, and the business of raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing—and the inevitable emptying nest—dreams of becoming a published writer were resurrected and she’s never looked back.

She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.

Mickie currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.

CONNECT WITH MICKIE

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads & Ask the Author | Website | Email

 

giveaway

Win a $20 Dreamspinner Press gift card, an ecopy of Open Seating, or an ecopy of Open House. Three winners! Contest open internationally. Must be 18 or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FOLLOW THE TOUR

Feb. 3 – Sinfully

Feb. 6 – Love Bytes

Feb. 8 – Bayou Book Junkie

Feb. 10 – Diverse Reader

Feb. 13 – Molly Lolly

Feb. 14 – The Novel Approach

Feb. 16 – Prism Book Alliance

Feb. 20 – Two Chicks Obsessed

Feb. 23 – Just Love

Tour Banner-Open Case

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

Poppy’s Secret by Andrew Grey: Author Guest Post, Release Day Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

perf4.250x7.000.inddsynopsisA second chance born of love.

Pat Corrigan and Edgerton “Edge” Winters were ready to start a family—or so Pat thought. At the last minute, Edge got cold feet and fled. Pat didn’t bother telling him the conception had already gone through and little Emma was on her way. He didn’t want a relationship based on obligation. He’d rather raise his daughter on his own.

Nine years later, Emma and her Poppy are doing fine. Edge isn’t. He realizes what he threw away by leaving, and he’s back to turn his life around and reclaim his family. It’ll take a lot to prove to Pat that he’s a new man, and even if Edge succeeds, the secret Pat has hidden for years might shatter their dreams all over again.

Title: Poppy’s Secret
Author: Andrew Grey
Release date: February 15, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 90

buy now

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

Barnes and Noble

 

Guest Post

I am a romance junkie and a member of Romance Writers of America.  So each year I judge one of their contests and last year I judged a secret baby book.  I discovered something new.  To top it off a friend told me that she particularly loves secret baby books, so when she challenged me to come up with one, I rose to the challenge and Poppy’s Secret is the result.  Yes, my demented imagination came up with a scenario for an MM secret baby book.  It was fun to write and I hope it’s as much fun to read!!!!

Heather's Review

Poppy’s Secret by Andrew Grey is one of my first reads from the Dreamspun Desires line from Dreamspinner. Typically, I’m more of a fan of series, especially from authors like Andrew Grey. This is because I love the idea of getting to know a community of characters and see glimpses of previous couples in future books. If I was to say anything against Poppy’s Secret, it would be that I wish I’d get to see them again in the future, because I loved Edge and Pat.

This is a second chance story in every sense of the term. Pat and Edge were in love and planning a future. Then, Edge felt the weight of adult life weighing down on him and ran. Now, he’s back and hoping he can prove to Pat that he knows exactly how badly he screwed up. The problem is, life didn’t stop for Pat when Edge left and Pat moved forward with their plans to start a family even though he was doing it on his own.

As happens often in Andrew Grey’s books, little Miss Emma was as much of a main character as the men. The eight year old is now the center of Pat’s universe, and before he can let Edge in, he needs to know he’s not going to run again, hurting not only Pat, but also Emma. And he’s worried that when his secret is revealed, Edge will run.

I can’t tell you too much more than that, but I will say this story ended with a great case of the happy feels.

Definitely a great book to pick up when you need something with only a touch of angst and a great story.

4 pieces of eye candy

4-pieces-of-eye-candy1

excerpt

“I saw him yesterday,” Edge told his sister, Terry, when she called while he was waiting for his first coffee of the day. “I was at one of the clubs to have a good time. He was on his way out, and he literally ran into me.”

“Let me guess. He welcomed you back with open arms and said that he forgave you for being the biggest jackass of all time, and that now that you were back, the two of you could pick up right where things left off.” Terry could be the biggest smartass on the planet. “I told you then that you were being a jerk.”

“You were sixteen. Everyone was a jerk then.”

“Maybe,” Terry conceded. “But I was still right, and you know it. That job that started this whole thing was just an excuse because you were scared of all the things Pat wanted, and by the way, he has and you don’t. I still see him every now and then.”

“Does he talk to you?” Edge asked.

“Of course he does. I’m not the douche who left him. That was you. I’m just your sister, and that daughter of his is beautiful and wonderfully smart. I used to see them more than I do now that they moved.” She was taunting him—it was another of her skills.

“How come you know all this and I don’t?”

“Maybe because I still live in Harrisburg and you moved to Boston nine years ago and never looked back until everything went to shit and you decided to come home.”

Edge wanted to growl at her, but he couldn’t because she was right, no matter how much attitude she threw his way. “Can you knock it off for a few seconds at least?”

“Fine, but what fun is that? You still have feelings for the guy you ran out on years ago, probably when he needed you the most. Edge, I gotta tell you that if you did that to me, I’d probably tell you to fuck off too. I mean, it has been nine years, as I said. He has a life that doesn’t include you. What did you expect, that he’d spent the entire time you were gone wishing he had you back? Come on. You’re an interesting guy, but nobody waits around for someone that long.”

“Okay,” Edge sighed. “But it was good seeing him again. He looks good, and—”

“So you’re the one still carrying the torch. That’s priceless and pathetic. You were the guy who left, remember?” A cry rose behind her. “Look, I gotta go. Margie needs to be changed and fed, and I think you need to get over yourself and realize that the past is that past and that it’s probably best if it stays there. I know things fell apart, but you have a good job here, and you’re building a life again. You just need to realize that your life isn’t going to include Pat.”

That was harder than Edge thought it would be. He’d had nine years, and even after all the things he’d done and the places he’d been for his art, none of them had ever measured up to what he’d had with Pat. Edge knew he’d screwed up in a major way, though it had taken him months to realize it, and by then he knew it was way too damn late. “I know, but seeing him brought back all that stuff I thought I’d buried.”

“Nothing is ever buried for long. It always surfaces, and when it does you have to deal with it. Buried emotions are like those coffins that floated up in New Orleans during Katrina.”

“Thanks for that image. Now I’m going to see floating coffins.” He paused and closed his eyes as the images floated through his mind. “I’ll let you go.” His sister would need to get the kids ready for daycare.

andrew-grey-picmeet the author

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

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

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

 

giveaway

Don’t forget to enter our monthly giveaway!
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.

TCO Exclusive Guest Post: Victoria Sue – A Five-Minute Valentine

13296267_1809412272611751_2056166799_n

TCO is so excited!!!! Victoria Sue has offered to do a monthly guest column on Two Chicks Obsessed, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. First, because we absolutely adore this woman…and if and when you meet her, we guarantee you will too. Second, because she always brings the fun, sexy and delicious times. And third…because she is British, and you know that at some point, we will be doing some sort of audio interview. 😉

So, without further ado, Victoria Sue is here with her first guest column, which is a fantastic little bite out of her fantastic new series. Book 1 is called Five Minutes Longer, and if you haven’t read it, grab it now, because you will want to read it as soon as you read her Five-Minute Valentine short.

Enjoy!

 

tco exclusive

A Five-Minute Valentine

 

“So, are you going with the traditional flowers and chocolates, or are you being a bit more creative?”

Talon blinked at Gael, having no earthly idea what he was talking about. “Please don’t tell me you forgot,” Gael said flatly.

Talon paused, his mind going a mile a minute. It wasn’t Finn’s birthday. “Fuck,” he swore succinctly. Fucking Valentine’s day was tomorrow. Gael slapped him on the back, grinning.

“He’s a guy,” Talon said defensively after a few seconds.

“Who’s a guy?” They both glanced up as Vance came down the corridor toward where they were standing outside the medical bay.

“Finn, apparently,” Gael drawled.

“Huh?” Vance looked from one of them to the other in confusion.

“I mean he’s not going to be into all that stuff, flowers and shit,” but even as Talon spoke the words, he knew it was a lie. Gael just raised an eyebrow. Vance barked out a laugh.

“You forgot Valentine’s day.”

“You could just take him out for dinner,” Gael suggested.

“When?” Talon nearly wailed not even attempting to disguise his I know and freely admit I’ve fucked up voice. It was nearly ten p.m. They had just finished up a really long day and they’d all eaten take-out earlier. “He’s going on that crime scene forensics course tomorrow, and I have no idea what time he’s gonna be done.”

“There are one or two places that will be open late in Ybor,” Gael mused. “Although, Friday and Valentine’s Day? It’ll be a zoo.”

Talon nearly growled in frustration. He hated eating out. Hated the stares, the whispers when they saw the mark on his face. The fear and mistrust many didn’t bother to hide. “Gianelli’s,” Vance pronounced naming their favorite Italian restaurant. Gianelli’s had a private back room, and they had originally gone to celebrate Doctor Natalie’s engagement. The doc had gotten Gael the private help he had needed when he was diagnosed with skin cancer and had kept it away from the bureau. When she’d asked them to come, they couldn’t say no. They’d all been eating and suddenly heard the sound of raised voices in the main dining room. It had turned out there was a birthday party going on, except the boyfriend of the birthday girl had objected to her ex thinking he could turn up and it had quickly become a fight. Talon and Vance had just grabbed a man each by the collar and hauled them outside. It had been over and done with in a few seconds, and the owner was so grateful his restaurant hadn’t got wrecked, they’d all drunk complimentary champagne. It was the only place the team ever went to eat out, not including Betty’s Diner.

Talon pulled his phone from his pocket and started dialing the number. Three restaurants later he gave up in disgust. Everywhere was slammed. The others didn’t take bookings but were expecting wait periods of at least an hour and the thought that he had no idea what time Finn was going to be back made the two early slots he was offered impossible to accept.

“Can’t you stop and get him something on the way home?” Vance asked.

“The truck’s in for service. We’re both in Finn’s.” In fact, any second his boyfriend was going to come out of the locker rooms looking for him. As if Finn had heard him, the door opened at the end of the corridor and Finn came out with Sawyer. Finn was laughing, and Sawyer was shaking his head in amusement. Finn looked up, and Talon met his green eyes. Everything in him soothed instantly. He wanted to do something special. He didn’t want to do chocolates and flowers, and yeah, he’d stuffed up the chance of both because he’d forgotten. Forgot Finn was normal, and he was anything but. Forgot his boyfriend was and would always be the very best thing that had ever happened to him. Forgot he wasn’t supposed to take him for granted. His lips curled upwards in the answering smile to Finn’s soft one.

“You done?” Finn said softly and gasped as Talon drew him in close to his body. Finn looked around, alarmed.

“Everyone’s gone home,” Talon murmured desperately wanting a kiss.

“Well, we haven’t,” Sawyer groaned, turning and following a chuckling Vance. Gael threw him a pointed look and then ruffled Finn’s hair.

“Knock ‘em dead, tomorrow, kid.”

Finn’s eyes sparkled, all eager. “I can’t wait.”.

Talon smiled indulgently. He couldn’t imagine anything more boring than discussing the nuances of directional blood-spatter, but he knew Finn had just bought a book by a famous forensics scientist in preparation for the course and Talon had already been lectured by his boyfriend on the value of it. Apparently, the book – Forensics for Fiction – had been written for authors, but Finn had raved about it and had even gotten their boss Gregory interested. Their team didn’t have the experience to handle murders in any way, and to be honest, they were having enough problems with the living, but Gregory was trying as hard as he could to plug all the numerous gaps in their training.

And Finn was an asset Gregory had recognized when he had been too stupid to. No, he had to get Finn something special…

 

 

Talon was fairly pleased with how things were going so far. He’d deliberately turned off Finn’s alarm and woken him up with breakfast in bed. Just a little too late to have Finn worrying about anything other than ramming down his chocolate chip muffin and racing in and out of the shower. He’d arranged for Gael to pick him up as he was still without the truck and after Finn had disappeared in an eager blur, he was showered and ready for Gael when he showed. Gael quizzed him immediately when he’d arrived, but Talon had just said everything was in hand. Gael had grinned and called him a lucky bastard. Which he knew. He had a dozen stops to make when he got his truck back but was waiting outside the training area next to the Tampa PD building when Finn came out of the door. Finn looked in surprise when Gael took his keys from him and promised Finn his “baby” would be safe and sound in their parking garage when he needed it tomorrow. Talon steered a bemused Finn to his truck and got him settled in there.

He started the truck and turned around. “You thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you?”

Finn opened his mouth, then closed it, and Talon smiled at the pink flush that started in his neck. He leaned over and pressed his lips to Finn’s, satisfied when he felt Finn’s hands creep around his back. He pulled back and then nearly—for a split second—thought to hell with the plan and wanted just to drive Finn home and carry him to bed, but he didn’t.

“I hope you’re hungry.”

Fifteen minutes later they pulled up outside Betty’s Diner. “What are we doing here?” Finn asked in astonishment. Talon grinned and jumped down from the truck and was at Finn’s door before he’d recovered from his shock enough to open it. Betty served breakfast and lunch six days a week, closed at 3 p.m., and it was the first place Talon had ever taken Finn to. To be honest, the diner looked closed. All the shutters were down, and it looked like the usual emergency lighting was on when you glanced at the door.

Talon just smiled and clasped Finn’s hand which he almost never did. He led Finn solemnly to the door and opened it. “I screwed up and forgot to book anywhere early enough.”

But Finn didn’t answer. He was too busy staring at the setting inside. Betty stood beaming, but even Talon was impressed at the table. All the smaller tables usually in the middle had been pushed to the side against the booths. The only table left was set up in the middle of the now empty floor. Talon blinked at the snowy white tablecloth and napkins, and the two candles flickering gently. The bottle of champagne he had dropped off earlier was chilling in the ice bucket. There were rose petals sprinkled over the table, and a single rose in a vase next to the candles.

Finn’s hand tightened in his, and he glanced at him quickly. The green eyes he loved shimmered as he stared, and then Finn gazed back at Talon and swallowed.

“It’s beautiful, Betty. Thank you,” Talon said, quietly.

“How?” Finn swallowed, and Talon guided him to the table. Talon didn’t answer because Betty was busy serving the soup. Finn inhaled. “My favorite.”

Betty beamed. “Of course,” and then she sniffed in that what did you expect kind of way. Talon’s belly growled as he smelled Betty’s homemade tomato soup. He’d spent all day worrying about making tonight perfect and hadn’t even thought about eating anything.

“How was your day?” Talon said.

Finn’s face lit up, and Talon listened as Finn eagerly told him what he had learned. They finished their steak and Betty pulled over a cart with some tiny deserts for them to share, and pressed a set of keys into Talon’s hand. “You just lock up when you’re done.” Finn stood up and threw his arms around her, and she chuckled and left them alone.

It was immediately quiet, and Talon swallowed down his suddenly dry throat. “You would be right thinking I forgot about Valentine’s day…I did.” Talon watched the green eyes he loved widen a little at his pronouncement, but then Finn’s face softened, and his smile was back. Gentle, forgiving and sexy as all hell. He was crap at sharing, but Finn deserved the truth and so much more.

“Normal life stopped for me the day I woke up with this.” Talon gestured to his face, then took Finn’s slim hands in his because he needed the touch. “Grandma and Grandad tried, but after Grandad died I stopped bothering.” He shrugged. “I never saw anything worth celebrating.” Finn’s hand tightened in his. “No, that’s not even strictly true. It…” Talon swallowed again, searching for the right words. “It was as if normal life didn’t involve me. Other people had lives. Went to ball games, hell – even dated. So, I didn’t forget exactly. I knew it was Valentine’s day. I just stopped thinking anything like that applied to me.”

Finn’s eyes glittered, and Talon brought Finn’s hand up to his mouth and kissed Finn’s palm. He needed a few seconds to cover his own eyes becoming suspiciously bright. Talon slid a hand into his back pocket and brought out an envelope. He squeezed Finn’s hand before he let go and straightened the envelope a little before handing it over. Finn’s lips parted soundlessly. “Yours is at home.”

Talon understood immediately. “And I bet you would never have said a word about it if I hadn’t.” Finn would never try and make him feel bad. Finn’s lips curled up into the shy smile he loved. “Open it.”

Finn tore the envelope and grinned when he saw the card. He arched an eyebrow. “This is a valentine card?”

Talon chuckled. “I think it’s a birthday card, but I managed to find one with nothing written on it. He watched as Finn read the words Talon had written and saw the lump travel down Finn’s throat.

super hero with heart

“I think this is you, not me,” Finn said quietly. “You’re the one with the super abilities.”

“Come here,” Talon ordered quietly, and Finn got up, and Talon drew him close until he was sitting on his lap. Talon gently raised Finn’s chin with his finger until their eyes met and held. “Every day. Every day you make me a better person. Every day when I can’t love myself, you do it for me. You have the biggest heart of anyone I know, and I don’t know how the hell I ever got so lucky that you make room in it for me.” Talon thumbed the moisture from under Finn’s eyes and captured his lips with his own.

He had gone to five stores before he had found the card he wanted. It had a picture of Superman on it, and Talon could hear the words as he had written them.

“You are my hero. Love is your superpower, and you save me with it every day.”

 

giveaway

Don’t forget to enter our monthly giveaway!

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.

Working It by Christine D’Abo: Blog Tour, Guest Post, and Giveway

working-itsynopsis

Nolan Carmichael is getting a fresh start—new career, new company, new life. The only problem is, he liked his old life just fine . . . until an accident robbed him of his health, his job, his self-confidence, and his ability to go out in public without having anxiety attacks.

Zack Anderson has scared away his last four executive assistants. So when he hires Nolan on a whim, he’s not too worried, since Nolan will be gone within the week anyway. Two weeks later, Nolan has made himself indispensable, completely reforming Zack’s schedule, life . . . and libido.

But in a company already torn by internal politics, one wrong step could ruin both their careers. And not only are they working to reopen Ringside Gym, Zack’s retreat when he was a troubled teen, but they also can’t help themselves falling for each other. If only the rest of their lives could go as smoothly as things do when they’re alone together.

Guest Post

Thank you for having me here today. I’m so happy to be able to talk to you about my new book, WORKING IT, which is book one in my new Ringside Romance series. Don’t let the series title fool you, this is low on the boxing and high on sexual tension.

As an avid reader of all things romance, I personally love it when authors take chances and play around with what we consider typical romance tropes. Those situations that for whatever reason, really work for us as lovers of romance. One of my personal favorite tropes is the whole boss-assistant dynamic. There’s something wonderful about the tension that can be created when two people are working together, under pressure and in close quarters, that appeals to me.

I wanted to take this trope and do something a little fun with it. What would happen if both the characters were gay? What if they were so vastly different that under any other circumstance they probably never meet, let alone fall in love? What if they worked day in and day out in an office together?

In WORKING IT, Nolan Carmichael is working through the trauma of a serious car accident. He gets a job as Zack Anderson’s executive assistant, a position that no one at the company wants. Somehow the two of them work through their differences and fall in love.

I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

You can visit Christine at her website www.christinedabo.com, and chat with her on Facebook and Twitter. Want to keep up with Christine’s new releases? Sign up for her newsletter and receive a free book!

buy now

Amazon

Riptide Publishing

giveaway

To celebrate the release of Working It, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 11, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

meet the author

A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over thirty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.

Connect with Christine:

WorkingIt_TourBanner

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

The Seventh Flower by Ingela Bohm: Guest Post, Release Day Review, includes Giveaway

The Seventh Flower_HIGHRESsynopsisChrister is too old to believe in fairy tales. He’s not the kind of guy to pick the proverbial seven flowers on Midsummer’s Eve so he can dream of who he will marry, and he certainly isn’t the type to fall for someone he’s just met. Especially not a womanizing blogger named Henrik.

Besides, Christer’s previous marriage didn’t end with a happily ever after. Therefore, he has no interest in gifting his heart to someone who lives five hundred miles away and probably isn’t even gay. His family is right: it’s time he grew up and stopped dreaming.

But Midsummer’s Eve in Sweden is a magical night, and Henrik won’t stop flirting. As the midnight sun shines down on the misty woods, maybe there’s room for one last dream.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

Title: The Seventh Flower
Author: Ingela Bohm
Release Date: February 8, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Holiday
Pages: 76

Guest Post

Seven flowers

My new novella, The Seventh Flower, takes as its premise a local legend which says that if you pick seven flowers on Midsummer’s Eve and put them under your pillow, you’ll dream of the person you will marry. Cute, sure, but where I come from it can be a challenge to actually find seven flowers in June, because it’s so far north. That sounds like I live on the tundra or something, but it’s just that the winter is very long and the seeds don’t have that much time to grow.

That said, there are some beautiful specimens to be found if you know where to look. In The Seventh Flower, Christer and Henrik first stumble on the arctic starflower. It’s a little gem, its perfect petals looking like they’re cut out from white paper. You can walk right past them and never notice, but once you do, they’re everywhere. Like tiny stars, they dot the shadowy forest floor, and they never fail to make me smile.

A more visible flower is the beaked parsley that you can gather in masses if you want. It lines every country road, and I think it would take over the entire world if given half a chance. It’s not very luxurious as flowers go, but in the soft light of the midnight sun, shrouded in mist, it’s not bad at all.

dsc_0116

Then of course there’s the buttercup, which is such a pretty name when you think about it. I used to think they contained actual butter – probably one of my older siblings fooled me, because they always found that an exceptionally rewarding hobby. But when you look at the petals of a buttercup, they glisten in the sun and look almost oily, so it’s not that much of a stretch.

Cranesbill is another classic around here, and together with beaked parsley and buttercups it gives the Swedish summer its typical colors: white, yellow, and purple. Everywhere you look, in ditches and fields and hedgerows, you’ll see the same three colors: white, yellow, and purple. I sometimes think our flag should be those colors instead of yellow and blue.

dsc_0331

In fact the county flower of my region is the heartsease, or wild pansy, which is made up of those exact colors, so that’s really fitting.

The marsh marigold was another favorite of mine when I was little. It was such an unexpected flower where it bloomed at the very edge of the riverbanks, shining golden against the dark water. Compared to the other small and unassuming flowers that we got early in the summer, it had the allure of a rare treasure.

123

So that makes six flowers that you can find in the north of Sweden in June, and perhaps Christer and Henrik will never find more than that. Maybe the woods where they celebrate Midsummer’s Eve are just too barren, just too cold to yield that seventh flower. After all, what can you hope for in a man you meet once, as a fluke? Not marriage, surely.

buy now

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

 

denise review

 

meet the author

Goodreads photoIngela Bohm lives in an old cinema, tucked away in a northern Swedish forest where she can wander around all day long and dictate her books. She used to dream of being an actor until an actual actor asked, “Do you really need to do it?” That’s when she realized that the only thing she really needed to do was to write. She has since pretended to be a dietician, a teacher, a receptionist and a cook, but only to conceal her real identity.

Her first imaginary friend was called Grabolina and lived in her closet. Nowadays she has too many imaginary friends to count, but at least some of them are out of the closet. Her men may not be conventionally handsome, but they can charm your pants off, and that’s all that matters.

Ingela’s more useless talents include reading tarot cards, killing pot plants and drawing scandalous pictures that no one gets to see. She can’t walk in heels and she’s stopped trying, but she has cycled 12 000 miles in the UK and knows which campsites to avoid if you don’t like spiders. If you see her on the train you will wonder what age she is.

To get updates on Ingela Bohm’s work, please sign up for her newsletter or connect at her

Blog

Amazon author page

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Instagram
Tumblr

 

Books by Ingela Bohm

The Pax Cymrica series:

Just Playing

The Road Taken

Release

Cutting Edge

 

Standalone novels:

Rival Poet

Not Safe For Work

Last Communion

All You Can Eat

 

Short stories:

Seven Thousand Minutes

Strings Attached

The Subjunctive Mood

Beneath The Mask

giveaway

Enter our monthly giveaway for a gift card.
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.

Thick & Thin by Charlie Cochet: Blog Tour, Playlist, Review and Giveaway

Hello, all! Thank you so much for joining me here today as we celebrate the release of Thick & Thin, the 8th book in the THIRDS series! Dex and Sloane are back, and this time they face one of their toughest challenges: revealing the truth to their friends and family. With Destructive Delta, nothing is ever easy, but Dex and Sloane are determined to see things through. Action, adventure, humor, sexy-times, drama, grumpy lion Therians, and more. Welcome to the THIRDS.

Like the rest of the THIRDS series, Thick & Thin has a music playlist. You can find the rest of the series playlists on THIRDS HQ. I also have a music video playlist on my YouTube channel. Music not only plays a big role while I’m writing, it most often than not shows up in my books. I love incorporating music into my stories because music has always been a big part of my life. What I’m listening to while I write varies, and often corresponds with what’s going on in the story. Sometimes I prefer listening to instrumental, and then put together a playlist of songs I enjoy that I feel go well with certain events or chapters in the books. For Thick & Thin I listened to a lot of instrumental, so when I was finished, I went through my music library and put together a selection I hope you’ll enjoy.

Thick & Thin Playlist

1. Nightcall – Kavinsky
2. Sweet Dreams – Beyonce
3. Wake Me Up – Avicii
4. Count On Me – Bruno Mars
5. Parachute – Cheryl Cole
6. How We Do It – Royal Deluxe
7. Sun Goes Down – David Jordan
8. Hey Brother – Avicci
9. With a Little Help From My Friends – Joe Cocker
10. The Other Side – Pendulum

synopsis

Genre: Paranormal Gay Romance, Shifters
Series: THIRDS
Length: Novella
Published: Feb 1st, 2017
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Ebook ISBN-13: 9781635333893

In a matter of days, Dex has been kidnapped, tortured, killed, revived, become half-Therian, offered the chance to become a spy, and accepted a proposal to marry his jaguar Therian boyfriend, Sloane Brodie. It’s been a lot to take in, and although Dex is still trying to wrap his head around everything that’s happened, he knows he has to move forward. After the events of Smoke & Mirrors, Dex and Sloane find themselves in one of the most frightening situations of all: revealing the truth to their Destructive Delta family. When the dust settles, nothing will ever be the same, and it’s up to Dex to prove that in the face of change, the one thing that will always remain the same is family.

ADD TO GOODREADS

buy now

DREAMSPINNER PRESS | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo Books

michelle review

The THIRDS are back and I could not be happier *****SQUEAL*****. Saying that I adore this series is an absolute understatement. Cochet has sucked me into the wonderful world of paranormal and the best badass team you can imagine. Thick & Thin (book 8) is a novella in which we get to see the THIRDS back in action – especially Dex and it picks up were Smoke and Mirrors left off.

Tony is in the hospital, Dex is having issues with his…um…new way of life and Sloane is worried about Dex – add in the team’s worries and that sneaky Sparks and Cochet has once again given us a fantastic read. In true THIRDS fashion, Cochet has left us with a lot of unanswered questions but I love that she leaves us hanging on waiting for the next book. She always throws that surprise at the end and man I am excited for Seb & Hudson’s book.

Dex and Sloane are a force to be reckoned with.

Tony just melts my heart the way he cares for his sons (and the team)

Cael is a more of spit fire than before

Ash had me teary eyed several times

Sparks makes the hairs on the back of my neck up

Hobbs has made me fall in love him all over again

As I have stated in prior reviews for this series….. If you’re already a THIRDS NERD than you already know what kind of roller-coaster ride you are in for. If you haven’t started the series…..YOU BETTER GET TO BUYING! You will need to start at book 1 but it is soooooo worth.

5 pieces of eye candy

5-pieces-eye-candy1

giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

meet the author

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

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

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

THIRDS-Series-Banner

TOUR INFO

Feb 1st – TTC Books and More
Feb 2nd – The Novel Approach
Feb 3rd – Two Chicks Obsessed
Feb 4th – Love Bytes
Feb 5th – We Three Queens
Feb 6th – Joyfully Jay

 

 

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

Alpha King by Victoria Sue: Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt (NSFW), and Giveaway

The Alpha King Book Coversynopsis

The Kingdom of Askara has been torn apart by conflict for centuries, where humans exist as subservient beings to their werewolf masters. Legend says it will only be able to heal itself when an Alpha King and a pure omega are mated and crowned together, but a pure omega hasn’t been born in over a thousand years.

Luca is an Alpha-heir eagerly awaiting the choosing ceremony on his twenty-fifth birthday and the gifts granted by whichever omega he mates. His small pack is destitute due to the decisions of its ruling council, but being only an Alpha-heir, he has no authority to challenge them. Not until now—this moment he has waited a long time for.

Kit grew up as a street-rat, an unlicensed human who would never be more than a slave for whichever master owns him. Then one day he came across a young Alpha-heir, attacked and dying of poison, and found out their fates were suddenly entwined.

Luca needs to take over his pack and save his people. He cannot afford to be distracted. But when he meets Kit, he develops abilities indicating he is not just a pack Alpha, but the King his world has needed for a thousand years.

Is Kit really the cause of Luca’s newfound power, the true mate he needs? How is it possible when the young man isn’t even a werewolf, and as merely a human, a mating is not only forbidden, but for Kit, a sentence of death?

buy now

Amazon

Smashwords

 

excerpt

NSFW

“You have magic fingers,” Luca drawled, not opening his eyes. Kit moaned. Luca’s eyes shot open at the noise.

“Turn over.” Kit managed to gasp out, gratification washing over him at the speed at which Luca moved, all eager. Luca sighed slowly and relaxed. Kit threaded his fingers through Luca’s hair and gently massaged his scalp. He had to get himself under control. He was fast losing the ability to reason.

“How’s your headache?”

“What headache?” Luca said dreamily and he rolled lazily onto his back.

Kit’s fingers grazed Luca’s arms and he took each hand in his own to press his thumbs into Luca’s palms. Luca groaned again. The sound vibrated through Kit, fluttering where it settled in his belly. Kit closed his eyes and trailed his hands up and over Luca’s chest, letting his fingers tangle through the dark hairs and reaching his nipples—

A strong hand clamped into his and Kit’s eyes flew open. Luca’s deep gray eyes were wide open and fixed on him. His full lips lifted teasingly in an enquiring smile. Suddenly Kit’s mouth was too dry to even swallow. “You are, I think, overdressed my little omega.”

The words trickled down Kit’s spine and his cock twitched and hardened. Without waiting for a response, Luca sat up, immediately towering over Kit. Kit’s hands rose to his shirt but Luca batted them away impatiently and grabbed the hem. Kit lifted his arms quickly, or else it would tear as Luca pulled it up and threw it on the floor. He pressed a hand into Kit’s chest and Kit lay down obediently. It took Luca barely seconds before Kit was completely naked and he flushed as Luca looked admiringly at him. Luca lay down on his elbow next to him, and gently cupped Kit’s throat with his big hand. No pressure, no threat, but it was clear Kit was completely at Luca’s mercy. His breath caught and Kit could feel the desperate need to be touched flow through his body.

“Sire,” Kit breathed and watched as the gray in Luca’s eyed deepened nearly to black and his pupils distend.

Luca licked his lips. “You trust me.” It wasn’t a question, even as Kit caught the faint hint of wonder. More of an acknowledgement.

“I-I belong to you,” Kit whispered. A tremor seemed to skitter down the length of Kit’s body. Need beat in his heart. Desperation to be…loved? Was that what it was? He had always known his purpose but he hadn’t expected the effect Luca was having on him. In his innocence, he had imagined more a partnership. Friends, hopefully. He had never dreamed they would be lovers beyond the first mating, but having experienced Luca’s touch once it was all he craved.

Werewolf mating didn’t mean exclusivity. True mates were so rare they were merely whispered about. If the years he had spent crouched in the cupboard listening to his mother and the men and wolves that visited her had taught him anything, it was the higher up on the ladder the individual was, the more morals that were abandoned on the climb. It was neither his place nor his expectation to expect fidelity from Luca.

“What is it?” Kit opened his eyes at the question, not having realized he had closed them. He squirmed restlessly. “What do you need, my little omega?” Luca asked solemnly, his hand leaving Kit’s throat and trailing lower. Kit could barely retain the gasp as Luca’s fingers brushed his nipple. “I think you want my touch?” Luca continued, the slow, deliberate stroke of his hand threatening to drive Kit insane. “I think you need to feel and you need taking out of that pretty head for a while. Just imagine what you want me to do,” he added as his lips descended on Kit’s.

Kit cried out, a small, sharp, needy sound in the back of his throat. His arms lifted and slid over Luca’s back as he bent down over him. His lips were heaven. Firm, warm. Insistent until Kit obediently opened his and then softened as Luca’s tongue snaked in and touched his own. His pulse beat in his ears, ricocheted down to his groin and his cock pulsed to the same rhythm.

Kit arched as much as he was able to and moved as Luca’s hand stroked lower. The first touch on his balls was so perfect Kit nearly came then and there. “Hush,” Luca soothed. He had known, but then Kit was so hard. So needy. He ached to have Luca take him. Kit stopped breathing altogether when Luca’s fingers moved underneath him.

“Luca,” Kit begged, his voice breaking in the desperate, overwhelming need swamping his body.

“Turn over,” Luca broke off and ordered. Kit hurried to comply, not wanting to waste a second. He lay with his head on his arms, ass up, and was gratified to hear the pleased sound that rumbled out of Luca’s chest. He had three growls that Kit now knew. The angry one where people had better run, the teasing one that seemed to be reserved for him so far, and this one. The desperate, possessive one that he also hoped would be just for him. Luca stretched his arms and smoothed the skin on the back of Kit’s neck, making his hands glide down Kit’s spine and over his ass. Kit gasped as he felt Luca’s thumbs part his cheeks and his fingers slide down his crack to his hole. Kit knew he was wet.

“You have no idea how this makes me feel.” Luca’s voice was low. Vibrating. Full of heat and longing. “How did I ever get to be this lucky?”

Kit was sure it was rhetorical, but as Luca’s finger slipped inside, he was incapable of any words anyway. Kit pushed back, silently begging. “Please.”

“We need to go slow.” Luca’s voice cracked and exultation bloomed in Kit that he had the power to affect Luca so. It made him feel powerful by association, and, as Luca slipped another finger inside and his cock jerked, invincible also.

“I’m ready,” Kit begged. He would combust if Luca didn’t touch him, didn’t fill him. “Made—”

“For me. Yes, yes I know.” Luca withdrew his fingers and let out a shallow breath. Kit mourned the loss until he felt something infinitely larger and wider than Luca’s fingers at his entrance. Luca pushed and as Kit gasped, Luca felt underneath and smoothed Kit’s aching cock from tip to balls. Pre-cum jerked from the end, slicking Luca’s fingers. Luca groaned and smothered kisses onto Kit’s back. In one long glide, Kit was filled. The heat, the pressure, the fullness was incredible. Luca withdrew partially and slid back. Kit gave a low, needy cry.

“Luca,” he moaned. “Please. Please.

“Tell me,” Luca commanded, and words spilled from Kit’s lips. Nonsense words. Loving words. Begging, writhing. How perfect Luca made him feel. How beautiful he was. How Kit’s body would always belong to Luca, and how his heart was already there. Kit didn’t stop to think what he was saying. His King had opened the dam and Kit couldn’t close it. He panted, whined. The pleasure in his body, in his mind, unstoppable. Never ending until the pleasure made him delirious and finally at Luca’s shout and the arching of his body everything seemed to explode and shatter. His balls pumped until they were empty and even Luca’s firm fingers couldn’t coax another drop.

Kit was floating, not even sure his mind was still tethered to his body. It was only the large arms surrounding him and the warm solid chest he was pulled against that anchored him. He felt a kiss on the top of his head where he was tucked under Luca’s chin. Luca’s hands roamed gently. Stroking, petting, alternating gentleness and possession. Like he had the right to Kit’s body.

Which was true.

He did.

But not just that. Luca didn’t just hold Kit’s body in those big hands. He cradled Kit’s very soul.

alpha king

meet the author

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

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

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

www.victoriasue.com

@vickysuewrites

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

giveaway

Victoria Sue is giving away a back copy of any of her previous releases. What is it about this story that intrigues you? Leave a comment and you can win.

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

Who We Are by Nicola Haken: Exclusive Cover Reveal, Excerpt and Giveaway

Nicola Haken is stopping by today to bring us the amazing cover by Jay Aheer, along with an exclusive excerpt and giveaway. Who We Are is scheduled to release on March 13th.

 

synopsisSince putting his life on hold ten years ago, Oliver Clayton doesn’t know who he is anymore. To his clients at the hair salon, he’s the sassy and confident stylist. To the crowds who come to watch his drag act at the club, he’s the fierce and fabulous Miss Tique. He’s popular. Talented. Out, proud, and self-assured.

He’s also a good actor.

Sebastian Day is content with life’s easy, if not a little monotonous, routine. After several failed relationships, he likes the simplicity of being alone in his truck at his job as a heavy goods driver, spending the weekends with his teenage son, and putting the world to rights with his cat, Marv. He’s not lonely. He isn’t hiding.

At least…he doesn’t think he is until he meets the mesmerising stranger with the red hair and purple lips.

Can Oliver and Sebastian help each other embrace who they are? Or will a cruel twist of fate end their journey before it’s even begun?

teaser

Who We Are Fish Teaser

Who We Are Future Teaser

 

excerpt

Excerpt from Who We Are.
Copyright Nicola Haken 2017

~Sebastian~

“Oh! Drinks,” I remembered, pushing out from under the table.
“I’ll get them,” Mum said. “You’ve done enough making this.”
“Have you got any wine?” Auntie Gemma asked. “Red, preferably.”
“No, sorry.” I forced an apologetic frown as I lied to her. She was gobby enough without alcohol in her system.
My mum returned moments later with eight glass tumblers, four stacked in each hand, and a bottle of lemonade tucked sideways under her chin, which Oliver grabbed before it fell.
“Thanks, sweetie,” she said, setting the glasses out on the table.
As she started pouring drinks, Scott reached out to grab a piece of garlic bread, using his thumb and little finger – the only digits he had on his right hand.
I caught Tyler staring at his hand, a line of curiosity forming between his eyebrows. “What happened to your fingers?”
“Ty,” Oliver interrupted, his voice low yet slightly scalding.
“Nah, it’s okay,” Scott said, turning back to Tyler. “I’d rather people ask me than stare like I’m a freak. I had meningitis when I was a kid. I’ve got missin’ toes too. Wanna see?”
“Not at the dinner table,” I cut in, baffled and slightly amused by the pride he took in his missing body parts.
“Sick.” Tyler rolled up the sleeve on his hoody. “I’ve got this scar here from when I fell off my bike when I was six. Broke it so bad they had to operate and put a pin in it.”
Scott nodded, impressed. “Cool.”
I glanced at Oliver to see if he found their fascination with scars and missing fingers as bizarre as I did. I guessed he did by the shrug and somewhat bewildered look he gave me. But, hey, at least the boys were getting along and that was great to see.
“This tastes mint, Dad,” Scott said, shovelling another forkful of lasagne into his mouth. “How’s yours, Uncle Rob?”
I wanted to drown the cocky little shit in the bath.
Uncle Rob nodded, still chewing. “Good, thank you.”
“So, Oliver,” Auntie Gemma began. “How do you get that shine on your cheeks? Your face looks…” she trailed off, wiggling her fork in the air while she thought of the right word.
“Like a woman’s,” Uncle Rob mumbled under his breath.
“That’s outta line, Rob,” My dad chimed in.
Rob looked up from his plate, sitting back defiantly in his chair as he glanced between Oliver and my dad. “I’ve nothing against gays…”
Here we go…
“…You know that, but he’s a man, wearing you know, women’s things. Does he want to be a woman? I know that’s all the rage these days too.”
I opened my mouth to put the ignorant fool in his place, something I’d never done before – but he’d never insulted someone I cared about before either, only Oliver beat me to it. “They’re not women’s things, they’re my things, and you’d probably be better asking me,” Oliver began. “No offense to Mr Day, but he’s only just met me. I doubt he’ll be able to answer any questions you have regarding my gender as adequately as I can.” And then, with a swift roll of one shoulder, Oliver carried on eating as if they’d simply been discussing last night’s episode of Coronation Street.
Straightening my back, I dropped my fork onto my plate, staring at Oliver, this incredible man, in utter awe. I’d known Uncle Rob my entire life, put up with his bullshit comments and homophobic slurs for as long as I could remember, and I’d just rolled over and ignored them or changed the subject because he was family and it wasn’t worth the hassle.
But not Oliver. He’d known him less than an hour and here he was, prepared to challenge him and, if I knew Oliver like I thought I did, educate him. Not that I held much hope of Rob actually listening.
“Well? Do you?” Rob asked.
The room fell deathly silent. Auntie Gemma chose to chew her lip and pretend to admire Scott’s school photos on the wall, my parents stared awkwardly at their plates, and Scott and Tyler gawped between Uncle Rob and Oliver with their mouths hung open.
“Do I want to be a woman? No. I’m very happy with my gender.”
“Then…why?” Uncle Rob’s nose scrunched up in what looked like disgust.
“Because I believe everyone deserves to feel good about themselves. I wear what makes me feel good. I don’t particularly like your jumper,” he said, pointing towards the argyle knit my uncle wore. “So I wouldn’t wear that, but under normal circumstances I’d never have told you that because you clearly feel comfortable in it and that’s all that matters.”
Uncle Rob looked down at his grey jumper, the disgust on his face melting into confusion.
“Plus, I’d be interested to meet the person who decided makeup is exclusively for women, given that it hasn’t always been the case. Men have been wearing it since the times of ancient Egypt. Maybe before.” Oliver shrugged. “I’m no historian. My point is, somewhere along the way someone, I don’t know who, decided we shouldn’t do that anymore. Well, unless we’re rock stars, actors, or new romantics, because that’s acceptable, right? Well, seeing as I don’t even know who decided I shouldn’t wear makeup simply because I have a penis, I don’t see why I need to listen to them.”
Oh shit. My mum started coughing and spluttering, choking on the lemonade she’d taken a sip of at, clearly, the worst moment possible. “You okay?” I asked her.
Still coughing, she raised her hand and attempted to nod as my dad patted her back. Oliver’s lips tightened into a firm, worried line, like he was afraid he might’ve been about to ruin what should’ve been a relaxed family dinner by killing my mother. But then she stopped coughing and managed to swig a few sips of the water Auntie Gemma had got from the kitchen without choking to death.
“If anyone’s still interested in what I was saying,” Auntie Gemma began, taking her seat back at the table. “I was trying to say your face looks like something out of a magazine. Photoshopped, almost. How do you get it to look so…so perfect?”
“Practice and good products,” Oliver answered with a proud smile.
“Do you do other people, or just yourself?”
Oh, Christ. Where’s she going with this?
“It’s just, Rob and I have a wedding coming up. My friend’s daughter is getting married in a few months. Could you make my face look as good as that?”
If you sprinkled glitter on a turd would it look like a diamond? I deserved a frigging award for not saying that out loud.
“Sure. I could do your makeup. I’ll give you the number for the salon I work in. Ring up and ask for an appointment with me.”
Thank fuck. At least that way we wouldn’t have to go around to their house for another hour of jaw-aching fake smiles and soul destroying awkwardness.
“Whoop! I’m all excited now!” she said on a squeal, clapping her hands.
Whoop? Who actually says whoop aloud? The same woman who often said LOL as an actual word, that’s who.
“Hey, Dad?” Scott piped up. “Can Ty and I go up to my room to play on the Xbox?”
“Don’t you want pudding? It’s spotted dick,” I said, raising my voice a notch higher. No one could resist spotted dick. “Custard too.”
Scott flashed the side-eye towards my auntie and uncle and said, “We’re full.”
“Sure,” I agreed. “I’ll save you some to reheat later.” Honestly, I wished I could hide out upstairs with them too.

Add to Goodreads TBR:

tco exclusive

Are you ready for the cover?

.

.

.

.

.

.

Are you sure? 🙂

.

.

.

.

.

wh0-are-we-customdesign-JayAheer2016-EBOOK-COVER Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00007]

meet the author

Nicola Haken lives in Rochdale, England, with her five kids – one of whom is a grown man who many refer to as her husband. She spends her days writing about life, love, and all the beauty and angst that comes with it, and her nights binge watching Netflix or being the household slave. She’s also not very good at referring to herself in the third person, so if you’d like to get to know her your best bet would be to follow her on social media!

Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…

Facebook
Twitter
Website: www.nicolahaken.net
Newsletter Sign up: http://eepurl.com/b5juVj
Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

giveaway
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.

Cross My Heart by Catt Ford: Exclusive Cover Reveal and Excerpt

Guest PostBecause this is a story about a man who likes to dress and live as a woman, creating a cover presented a challenge. As an artist, I can certainly take a photograph of a man and apply believable makeup in Photoshop, but at the postage-stamp size, the cover would just look like a story about a woman.

By cropping the model to leave most of his/her appearance to the imagination of the reader, but providing feminine clues, such as the dress, shoes and even the room, I hope to intrigue people enough to investigate further.

I realize that the subject matter will not appeal to everyone, but the essential theme of the book, as in all romances, is acceptance. Being loved for who you are, something I think we all yearn for.

I always find it difficult to decide what to include as an excerpt, but I hope you will like this one:

excerpt

When Dom finally pried himself away, Lana bolted the door after him in relief.

She really hadn’t needed that added little bit of drama Dom always seemed to stir up. She went back to the window. The man had apparently given up. He was walking west to the end of the block. Then he turned right. Lana waited. After a minute she spied Dom following the man in a suitably surreptitious manner, skulking as he’d promised. Lana rolled her eyes when she saw Dom flatten himself against a building and then sneak around the corner. She drew the curtains, hoping Dom would not call her tonight with the results of his playing detective. If the phone did ring, she would feel obligated to answer to prevent Dom rushing back over here to make sure she was alive.

Lana picked up her shoes and carried them to the bedroom. It was tucked behind a partial wall and furnished with furniture she’d found at the flea market.

The headboard was upholstered in velvet, and a silk duvet covered the bed, lending a bit of luxury to the secondhand pieces. Lana stored her shoes neatly away in the mirrored wardrobe. Early on she’d discovered living in such limited space required organization and constant policing, difficult when paired with an addiction to clothes. She took off her suit and hung it on a padded hanger. Lingerie went into the hamper.

She went down the narrow hall leading to the bathroom. A pedestal sink shared the microscopic space with the toilet and shower, but a bathtub had been sacrificed for the practicality of a washer. The frosted glass window let in light while still guarding her privacy.

Although small, the flat was the first place she’d ever had all to herself. Lana loved the beauty and tranquility she’d created. The only thing that would have made it better was someone to share it with, but that dream was impossible.

Quickly, Lana removed her makeup and bent over the sink to wash. She buried her face in the towel for a moment and then looked up at the mirror to see herself stripped bare.

“Hello, Roland.” His voice was soft and husky. “Nice to see you again.”

Roland reached for a jar of moisturizer. As he started to smooth the cream onto his skin, he closed his eyes and pretended it was another man’s hands roaming over his body. Not just any man, he realized. The hands Roland wanted to feel on his skin were those of the handsome man who’d followed him. The man might prove to be dangerous, but he was sexy as hell. Roland kept thinking about the man even though there was no point. Roland tried to forget him and concentrate on the usual faceless, nameless hero of his imagination. He wrapped his arms around himself in a tender embrace, but tonight the fantasy of happily ever after wasn’t working. That castle in the air dissolved into his lonely reality. After one last try, Roland opened his eyes to be confronted with the reality of him groping himself. He sneered at himself in the mirror.

“L’amour. Le bullshit. Pathetic.”

He returned to the bedroom, put on a negligée, and went to bed.

buy now

Dreamspinner Press ebook

Dreamspinner Press Paperback

 

synopsis

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Roland Reynolds—or Lana Renault, as she’s now known—knows that life is no fairy tale. Fortunately she has her trusted friends, nicknamed the dwarfs, to keep her company. She lives her life to the fullest while keeping what’s beneath her skirt to herself.

American painter Daniel Hunter is no stranger to adversity either, and it’s left him with not only strength but secrets. Unlike Lana, he remains aloof, content to observe life and beauty from the sidelines… until the first time their eyes meet on a crowded Paris street.

Cupid’s arrow finds its mark in Daniel, but while Lana longs for romance, she knows there’s no prince in her happy ever after. If their story is to have a fairy-tale ending, Daniel will have to convince Lana to let down her walls—and, in the process, reveal what he fears sharing the most.

.

.

.

.

.

Are you ready to see the gorgeous new cover created by Catt Ford?

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

CrossMyHeartFS_v1

meet the author

Catt Ford lives behind the orange curtain in southern California with a partner and two familiars in the form of cats whose fur is as black as their evil little hearts. She is a graphic artist by day and a storyteller by inclination. Catt enjoys the research required for writing a believable story. She is a rabid card-carrying fan of bull riding and also enjoys swing dancing. She gets drunk on words and sometimes over imbibes, but loves to write about love and happy endings.

Blog: catt-ford.livejournal.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.