On Fire by Alicia Nordwell: Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

onfirefs_v1synopsis

Nothing beats getting out of the concrete jungle and into the quiet of the forest. Website designer Scottie Ness is taking a well-deserved vacation from the grindstone, and he plans to spend it in the solitude of Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest around Mt. Adams. He’s prepared for everything—except the lightning storm that traps him in a wildfire.

The firefighter who rescues him sustains serious injuries and ends up in the hospital. Jax Quintero might be abrasive, but the guy saved his life, and Scottie wants to thank him. As they spend time together during Jax’s recovery and exploring the state’s landmarks when he’s released from the hospital, Scottie discovers there’s more to Jax than a smart-ass adrenaline junkie. Jax reassesses his opinion of Scottie as an arrogant city boy who has no business in the mountains. Though Jax’s wounds prevent them from taking things as far as they’d like for a while, they can’t deny the heat building between them—and this is one fire they don’t want to put out.

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Exclusive Excerpt  

Two days later, Scottie had done all the hikes close to his base camp, and he was ready to go farther afield. He went over his backpack once more, grabbing a few small bottles of water and two tubs of noodle soup. All his emergency supplies were still packed neatly, and he made sure to pack extra batteries for his camera and his GPS.

He tossed his bag and stove in the SUV, but left the rest of his camping gear. He hadn’t seen a soul since he left Trout Lake, so he wasn’t too worried about anyone coming across his camp and stealing his stuff. Right before he left, he remembered to toss the empty water container in the backpack to fill up on his way to the trailhead.

When he stopped to fill up the jug, nothing came out of the spigot in the turnoff. There was a white truck—not really white anymore—parked next to the bathroom. A guy in a pair of shorts and a polo came out. He held up one hand. “Hey.”

“Hi! Camping at the lake?” It was a pretty safe bet with the flip-flops he was wearing.

“Yeah. Not much lake to enjoy this year, though. Still busy enough I had to run the wife down here to this bathroom.”on-fire-pine-tree-ee1

Scottie nodded. “I stopped on my way up, and it looked pretty low. Still saw a fewpeople out on float tubes with trout poles.”

“I caught a six-inch rainbow this morning.”

“Nice.” Scottie kept his amusement to himself. He patted the water pipe. “Hey, do you know when they shut off the water?”

“Yesterday, I think.”

Damn. “Okay, thanks.” Good thing he always kept a filter in his gear. With the bottles he had and his full CamelBak, he should be fine for a few days. Scottie climbed in and started his car, waiting for the guy’s wife to come out and get in their truck before he drove off. No one liked choking on dust.

It took forty minutes to drive around to the base of the trail. There was a van already parked at the turnout. That type of vehicle usually meant berry or mushroom pickers. He’d probably have plenty of solitude once he got a good distance down the track. This hike had a big climb in elevation, so he also dug out his extendable walking stick.

He was right. About ten minutes up the trail, he found a large group of people spread out over the slope. They were yammering to each other, hands busily stripping the bushes of ripe berries. Scottie waved back when they waved at him, but he didn’t stop to chat.

The hike took the rest of the afternoon, but he stopped for several breaks as well as taking pictures. He drained his CamelBak, but luckily he’d found a flowing stream to refill it with his filter. He stopped for a snack on the top of one ridge, turning in a full circle. The path had become nearly nonexistent after it stopped at a meadow, victim to the lack of grooming. He spotted his stopping point and chose some landmarks to help him once he was back in the trees.

When he finally made his way out of the trees and into the meadow he’d chosen, Scottie was eager to get his pack off his back. There were a few different kinds of scat and a good-sized wallow along with scrapings about shoulder height on the saplings. If he was lucky, the elk would come in sometime during the late evening or morning. The scrape was high and fresh, and only elk would be rubbing off their velvet that early.

Scottie’s pack tent was low to the ground, just big enough for him and his backpack. He pulled out his pocketknife and cut several low-hanging pine branches. He rested them against the sides of his tent to help camouflage it.

After pulling up a patch of grass to make a small dirt circle, Scottie got out his pack stove, balancing it carefully as he filled the cup with water. He used a lighter to start the fuel, turning it up full blast to bring it to a boil. The sun was fading and the wind had picked up, so the cup of soup was welcome for warmth as well as filling the hole in his stomach. He made sure to bag his trash and put it all away.

The light left some interesting patterns of shadows, and he walked around the edges of the trees, trying to capture them. He found a stump and sat down, listening and waiting. Finally, he grew too cold sitting there, and it was gettinglate enough he needed to get back to the tent before it was too dark to see since he’d forgotten to grab his headlight.

Yipping coyotes didn’t sound too far off, but he wasn’t afraid of them. He rolled up his flannel for a makeshift pillow and stared out the mesh front of his tent, enjoying the shining stars between the gathering clouds. The moon hadn’t cleared the trees, but it had been full the night before, prompting him to spend the time to get shots of it over the span of several hours.

The combination of the short night’s sleep and the long hike wore him out, even though it was barely past nine. He blinked sleepily, taking a deep breath and letting it out long and slow. Not even the lump of dirt under his hip was enough to keep him awake.

Lightning flashed, and thunder rolled over the landscape. Scottie blinked, squinting when the lightning lit up the thick clouds again. There were only a few seconds between that and the boom and rumble, but it wasn’t raining.

A dry storm. Scottie debated getting up, but he wasn’t really set up to get lightning shots with his camera. Instead, he got out and covered the top of his tent with a tarp hung from the large trees surrounding him just in case it began raining. He hunkered down in his sleeping bag, squirming to get away from the lump, and enjoyed listening to nature’s display of violence.onfire_releasetourbanner

jennifer

Okay, first we have Scottie; businessman, city boy who gets a week vacation from work and decides to do what his family has always done and spend some time out in the wilderness. Hiking and camping and just getting away to the quiet of nature and take some pictures of the mountains, that’s his hobby and he’s quite good at it. He’s responsible about it as well, he leaves daily reports and checks in with park rangers and safety spots so that if he runs into any trouble, the correct people will know where he’s at and where he’s headed. Just in case.

What he wasn’t anticipating is a wild brush fire and it gets out of hand fast and he ends up getting injured. Meanwhile, Jax, firefighter and dude with a bad attitude thinks Scottie is just another amateur out on the mountains and he’s got to risk his life to try to save him…. And come on, dude… it’s your job… I didn’t care much for Jax in the beginning; I didn’t like the attitude he had or the way he treated Scottie, especially because, like I said, it’s his job and he takes great pride in it; so what’s the deal?

Scottie feels bad enough and takes it upon himself to visit Jax often in the hospital after he gets hurt during Scottie’s rescue and brings him gifts and finds ways to entertain him during his timely hospital stay. They get to know each other that way and then more and more as time goes on. I don’t wanna spoil too much of it, but their relationship progresses in a natural friends to lovers kind of way. It doesn’t take long because they’re attracted to each other from the beginning, there’s little to no angst and I liked that, I’m not big on angsty reads so this one was a good, light read with a few steamy encounters thrown in. It ends on a sweet note and it’s just the beginning for these two, I’m curious to see if there’s more in store for these two sometime in the future. This is the first book I’ve read from this author and it was just the kind of story I needed at the moment. Light, sweet and low angst.

4 pieces of eye candy for me

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meet the author

The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she’s a MM romance author: “Why gay fiction? Why write men when you’re a woman?” and her answer is: “Why the hell not!” Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing.

Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course! She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.

Social media:

Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.nordwell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliciaNordwell

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4479520.Alicia_Nordwell

 

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The Outfielders by Robert P. Rowe: Exclusive Guest Post

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Sometimes love can come out of left field.

Tony was waiting until he went away to college to come out to his parents and start his new gay life. Unfortunately, at twenty-four, it doesn’t look like college is going to happen after all. Stuck in a dead-end job in a small town and still living at home, with all the arrested development that entails, he finds escape in playing for the company baseball team and lusting after his straight outfielder crush, Alex. But Tony’s best friend, Jennifer, thinks she’s found a plan in the pages of gay romance novels. All Tony has to do is convince Alex he’s gay for you… or for Tony. It’s easy—just find some excuse to be alone in bed together and let nature take its course. What could possibly go wrong?

You can’t get to first base if you don’t take a chance and step up to the plate.

Title: The Outfielders
Author: Robert P. Rowe
Release Date: October 31, 2016
Category: Contemporary, New Adult
Pages: 240

Guest Post

Happy Halloween. I’m Robert P. Rowe and I’ve just finished my latest novel for Dreamspinner Press entitled: The Outfielders. Unlike my first novel, Second-Story Man, this book is intentionally light.

People often ask me where I get the ideas for my stories. In this case I was looking for characters that would be average all-American guys. Well, what’s more all-American than baseball? And it doesn’t hurt that baseball players happen to be hot.

Speaking of average, I also like characters that lead average lives and face the same struggles as the rest of us. One of the major struggles in a bad economy is the fact that too many adult children can’t afford to move out on their own, or go away to college. This generation finds themselves still living with parents and too often still acting like children. The struggle becomes one of truly growing up and facing the challenges of the world. But as I mentioned, this story is light. The struggles remain a backdrop to the real challenges of romance.

After I wrote The Outfielders I knew that someone would catch me if I messed up on any of the baseball rules or jargon. It’s not like I’ve never played the game, but there are all sorts of nuances that can’t be overlooked when you’re writing a book—and one can’t expect the editors to find sports related errors. I needed another kind of editor to help me out. I sent excerpts from the book off to a young sports writer. I was pleased to learn that most the ball field scenes I’d written were accurate but he added words and phrases that gave the story the right kind of color. “Down the middle,” “popup,” and “tricky offspeed pitching” are not terms that come up in my everyday vocabulary. My favorite added word was “bobbled.”

I’m considering writing a few more stories centered in the fictional town of Groverville. In The Outfielders readers are introduced to an interesting cast of characters. It would be a shame if we never had a chance to learn more about them.

My various story interests are more endless than my time. I’ve just started a new job that has me pretty busy art directing theme park attractions. Still, I’m determined to find some time to tell a few more tales.

In The Outfielders my main character, Tony, is not the brightest. He’s been hiding his secret crush, and the fact that he’s gay, for years. He hides another secret too. He really likes to bake cookies. With that in mind I’ve included one of Tony’s favorite recipes here. Tony has a rocky road ahead of him and for readers there’s no better way to curl up with a good book than to have a batch of fresh baked cookies nearby. Enjoy.

 

Tony’s Rocky Road Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup softened butter or margarine

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup coconut

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter chips

1/2 cup mini marshmallows

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

 

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

  1. Cream butter and sugars together.
  2. Add egg and vanilla, mix well.
  3. Add flour, salt, soda and coconut. Mix well.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients in the order given. Mix well between each.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.

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meet the author

Robert P. Rowe has spent his entire career as a storyteller making an incredible leap from Disneyland ride operator to show-designer and art director at Walt Disney Imagineering. Immersive storytelling presents a distinctive challenge unlike that of live theater, film, radio, or print media. Although he currently freelances, his work can be found around the world, primarily in Disney and Universal Studios parks. The theme park industry is a very cyclical business where it’s either feast or famine. For Rowe his active imagination can’t seem to take any time off. When he’s not designing fantastic worlds he’s writing about the characters who live there. Additionally his outside interests include all aspects of architecture with a specific fascination for the theatrical design of homes from mid-century movies and television. He has a keen enthusiasm for mid-century science fiction.

Author Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/

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In a Gilded Cage by Mia Kerick: Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt

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Title: In a Gilded Cage

Author: Mia Kerick

Release Date: October 21, 2016

Length: 56,000 words

in-a-guilded-cage-evernightpublishing-2016-ver2synopsis

Lucci Grimley is indeed alluring—crowned with a mane of long blond hair, and blessed with an enchanting musical talent that draws a brave rescuer to a high tower hidden in the forest.

However, this modern-day Rapunzel is a young man, sold as a child to the wealthy and childless Damien Gotham for the price of a fast car and a pile of cash. And Lucci’s heroic prince is William “Prin” Prinzing, a handsome college student and star soccer player, hired to care for the grounds of the lavish Tower Estate. Prin climbs an extension ladder rather than a long golden braid to gain access to Lucci’s second floor bedroom window, ultimately penetrating the secrecy surrounding the cloistered young man.

Friendship, and soon romance, blooms. The tower captive eagerly gives his loving innocence to his brave rescuer, which sends the strict and reclusive Gotham into a frenzy of jealous rage. With Prin, Lucci gets a taste of real life, and he wants more. Together, the young men must face Gotham’s ruthlessness and pay the price of liberating Lucci.

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Hello! Thank you so much for welcoming me to your blog today to mark the release of my most current novel, In A Gilded Cage by Mia Kerick, published by Evernight Publishing on October 21, 2016. In A Gilded Cage is my first FAIRY TALE RETELLING. It’s a dark and sexy M/M retelling of the story Rapunzel, as told by The Brothers Grimm.

Here’s an EXCLUSIVE Excerpt of In A Gilded Cage by Mia Kerick! Enjoy!
Lucci
“Well, I wish to inform you of your infraction so that you do not repeat it.”
I place the fork on my plate and bestow my full attention upon him. “Of course, Father.” An unfamiliar horizontal divot mars the place between his bushy eyebrows, and I notice a tightening on the very corners of his lips. I have grown quite adept at reading the smallest of signs, as doing so prevents me from suffering a level of punitive discomfort that I cannot bear. And since Father is normally made of cool smooth marble in terms of emotional reaction, I am unnerved by his expression of human discomfort.
Father pushes forward his untouched plate of eggs, toast, and sliced melon. It is rare that he does not break his fast with enthusiasm, and I am further perplexed. “Last night, when I held you, I did not miss the stiffening of your back. You did not relax against me … your hands did not curl into mine.”
He is correct.
“Your behavior … insulted me.” His glare burns the skin of my face. I keep my eyes averted, as is expected.
Again, I am unsure how to reply so I do not.
“Your diet will be severely restricted until I feel that you have changed your attitude.”
Guilt floods my mouth with illicit strawberry sweetness. I swallow deeply. “My attitude, Father?”
“Yes. You will improve your response to … to me … in the same manner you improved your attitude toward your music.” He looks distinctly uncomfortable. “I will provide proper motivation to help you accomplish this.”
We are moving onto disturbing new ground in our relationship. Where controlling my behavior has satisfied Father to this point, he is now making an attempt to manage my emotions. I am shaken by a cruel premonition of what I will be forced to endure in his effort to correct my apathy.
“Can you think of several words of affection to start us on our path toward increased emotional intimacy, son?”
I am literally unable to speak. My throat is dry and parched, and I reach for my glass of water.
“No water. I will tell you when it is time to drink.”
“Yes, sir,” I croak.
“I believe I requested a verbal expression to prove that you are open to making this necessary change in our future interaction.”
I swallow deeply and scramble for words to express that I am eager to be emotionally extorted.
Shall I tell him I missed him when he was away? I did not.
I could assure Father that I enjoy our physical closeness while we sleep. A blatant lie that would likely encourage more of the same.
I search the dark corners of my mind, but come up with nothing that will not further my suffering. My hands tremble on my lap.
“You are finished with breakfast, Lucas.” This is no loss. My plate is nearly full, but I have no appetite for eggs. “Return to your suite and consider what we have discussed.”
A tiny voice in my mind suggests that we had no discussion at all. It tells me that once again, Father has attempted to impose his will upon me, and I have failed to respond appropriately, for which I will pay a high price.
“Yes, Father. Am I excused?”
He nods, but refuses to look at me. I have disappointed him.
*****

meet the author

mia-kerick-2016-10-04-at-3-17-04-pmMia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one in law school, another in dance school, a third at school at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-three years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero. There is, at a minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Evernight Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, and CoolDudes Publishing for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

A social liberal, Mia cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

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Blog Calendar

Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy Oct 24
Three Hearts Promotions Oct 25
BFD Book Blog Oct 26
Jessie G Books Oct 27
The Novel Approach Oct 28
Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents Oct 31
Cryselle’s Bookshelf Nov 1
Charley Descoteaux Nov 4
Making It Happen Nov 9
Velvetpanic Nov 10
Bayou Book Junkie Nov 10
Book Lovers 4Ever Nov 11
All In One Place Nov 11

 

 

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Interborough by Santino Hassell: Release Day Review and Giveaway

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synopsis

The Raymond Rodriguez from a few years ago wouldn’t recognize the guy he is today. He’s left his slacker ways far behind him and is now juggling two jobs and school. But the balancing act doesn’t allow much time for the man he loves.

David is doing his best to be supportive, but problems at work and his own insecurity leave him frustrated—in more ways than the obvious—whenever he goes to bed before Raymond gets home. The heat and affection between them is still there, but they barely have the time or energy to enjoy it. And it doesn’t help that Raymond is still hiding David from his colleagues.

The stress mounts so high that a vacation in paradise is filled with turmoil instead of harmony, and culminates on their return to the five boroughs with broken promises and heartache. They have to figure out how to stop allowing their differences to overshadow their love. It’s the only way they’ll make it to forever.

 

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paula review
This was such a complex story. I really like it when we get sequels that feel real. Ray and David had so much going on with each other and also out in the real world. Ray has so much going on with himself and everything he is doing to try and make a better life. He is so focused on working to get to a better place financially and doing everything himself, he kind of loses sight of his relationship. He believes that if he can get where he wants to be then everything will just work out. I completely understand him. I understand his need to not burden or put anyone out by asking for help. Because of this he doesn’t really have the time to pay attention to his relationsip with David. David on the other hand is dealing with so much personally, trying to deal with his own insecurities and demons. Not to mention problems at his work. This is a story that really shows what happens when you stop hearing the other person, and stop really investing time into a relationship. I was so satisfied with this story, in all its raw and true feelings.

5 pieces of eye candy

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To celebrate the release of Interborough, one lucky winner will receive $25 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 29, 2016. 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

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

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

Connect with Santino:

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Montly Author Column: Nicola Haken with Exclusive Excerpt

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Hey, fantabulous people! If you’re reading this then I guess that means Denise hasn’t friend-divorced me for being so behind with this month’s post. I’d like to suggest we switch it to a random ramblings post rather than a monthly post because, well, I’m clearly shit and unreliable. I’d like to say the delay is because I’ve been busy leading the life of a high flying celebrity author, jet-setting around the globe, getting accosted by my adoring fans and being pampered by half naked men wearing little more than oiled-up muscles and bowties. But the truth is, my kids have been driving me crazy, we’ve been having house renovations done, and, well, I’ve been trying to think of something to talk about that wouldn’t send you to sleep.

That’s where the helpful guys who attended Teodora Kostova’s release day party for A Sip of Rio came in! I got them, okay, okay, I begged them, to ask me some questions that I could answer in this post so that Denise wouldn’t kick my arse and tell me I was no longer welcome on her blog. I can’t afford to lose Denise as my friend. She sends me nice cakes in the mail.

So, here they are!

Erin: What made you switch from writing the Souls of the Knight series- rock and porn stars, low angst, etc to something like Counting Daisies which was full of angst, dark with lots of triggers?

Honestly? Confidence. I was so nervous entering the MM genre and there was definitely an element of ‘playing it safe’, even if I didn’t realise it at the time. I didn’t know if anyone would take a chance on me, or if I’d be any good, or if I’d match up to this genre of amazing authors who I already read and admired every single day. I’ll always love my Souls boys, but I was still very much a newbie writer then, despite having written several MF books beforehand. It was the MM genre that really welcomed me as an author. It’s the place I met most of the greatest friends I’ve made in this business, where I discovered the most valuable professional relationships I’ve formed, all the advice and encouragement I needed to help me grow as a writer. And I have. I grow and learn with every book I write. I feel myself getting better with each story, and that’s why I now have the courage to write whatever ideas start burning away in the back of my head. And I’m also lucky enough to know I have so many amazing readers that continue to support me every time I release something new. I can’t even begin to describe how that feels. It blows my mind!

Jennifer: Was it as hard for you writing Counting Daisies and Broken as it was for us readers to read? Well ok for me to read.

I hope I don’t sound like a heartless cow when I say no! I have no idea why, but angst just seems to pour from my brain like water from a tap. I totally lose myself in really gritty, heart wrenching scenes. When I’m writing I act the story out in my head. I see my characters like they’re in a movie, and I’m playing whoever’s perspective I’m writing at the time. I’m with them. I am them. I’m right there with them and I feel everything they’re going through and let it all out into words. Which doesn’t sound fun, but I really enjoy it! Maybe I’m a little twisted! When I’m reading an angsty book written by another author though, holy hell THEY are hard for me to read. I’m a total ugly crier. But again, I love those kind of books!

Evie: What inspired you the most when writing Counting Daisies seeing as it was such a change from your other stories?

Counting Daisies came to me in a true light bulb moment while listening to Let Her Go by Passenger. It wasn’t so much the lyrics, although song lyrics often inspire whole stories in my mind, it was little more than a vision of a broken guy sat playing a guitar and an entire story spiralled from there. I was nervous about this one, though. People might not understand Dylan and his choices. He made lots of mistakes, bad ones, and I knew I couldn’t expect everyone to understand or forgive him for those. If I’m honest, I might’ve been one of those people once upon a time. But there was so much more to this one than simply writing out the thoughts that came into my head. Dylan’s story is fictional, but addiction is a reality for many, so research and representation was extremely important to me. I read true-life stories, and even spoke to a young woman who has been through Dylan’s struggles, and those are the people who truly inspired me. I’m glad I told his story. I’m grateful to everyone who took a chance on Dylan and Cameron, and I’m thrilled, once again, by the positive reaction I’ve had to it.

Racheal: Broken meant a lot to me cause it touched on a topic that many authors never wrote about but now I see a lot more opening up on the topic? Broken by far was my favorite of your books!

Thank you so much! I’m seeing a lot more books being written about mental health too and I think it’s a great thing. Maybe they’ve always been there and I simply didn’t notice them before, but either way, I think it’s important that they’re out there, that people are talking about them, that people have something to read that they can relate to. I don’t think I will ever be prouder of any book I ever write than I am of Broken. The response I had to James and Theo’s story continues to amaze me every single day. Mental illness feels like you’re trapped in such a lonely place that nobody understands. But from the amount of messages, emails, reviews, and support I’ve received/seen since releasing that book, I can see it’s not such a lonely place after all. I’ll always be grateful to Broken, and to every single person who’s read and supported my guys.

Oor Janie: Do the Souls of the Knight guys get a Christmas book one year!??

I know how much you love your Christmas stories! But confession time, I’ve still never even read a Christmas book! So I’m not sure how to write one! But…never say never!

Racheal: Will you be doing any sequels to Counting Daisies or Broken?

I keep getting asked both of these questions and the answer is – Broken, I have no immediate plans to, but as I said to Janie above, never say never! Counting Daisies – YES! I don’t have a date yet because I’m currently working on a brand new story about brand new characters, but Paul and Derek WILL be getting their own story some time next year, and I can promise that it will be a lot more light-hearted than Counting Daisies. Because really, could Paul and Derek be anything less than fun, awkward, and a whole lot sarcastic?!

Kristian: When did you know writing was what you truly wanted to pursue?

I hear most writers say when they get asked this question that they’ve always loved writing, and that they’ve been readers for as long as they can remember. I’m not one of those writers! I can honestly say my favourite subject at school was English, and that I was pretty awesome at it. It was the only subject that I graduated with A*’s in even though I skipped school as often as I could because I hated it. English just came naturally to me, and when I’m interested in something I have a photographic memory that retains information after only seeing/being told something once. (Excuse me while I go and deflate my ego. Okay, I’m back.)

But once I left school, I had no desire to pursue anything that resembled school-type learning any further, so I didn’t actually read another book all the way to the end until I was in my late twenties…and that was only because my sister-in-law pestered me until the point reading it was easier than having to listen to her any longer! That book was Twilight (don’t judge me, okay?) and Oh. My. God. I became unconditionally and irrevocably in love with reading, from that day on (A fellow TwiHard will know what I did there 😉 )

Naturally, as a brand new reading addict, I polished off the whole Twilight Saga in a few days before moving onto, cough*Fifty Shades*cough, (we agreed no judging, remember?) Then I bought a Kindle, let my family forage for food scraps in the bins while I spent my days with a Paperwhite stuck to my face. Then one day I thought, I fancy a go at this writing malarkey myself! And so I did. I took myself back to my childhood when I’d spend hours acting out made-up movie scenes with my Barbie dolls, and let my imagination run wild.

I’m sure my mum thought I was stupid, and I can’t really blame her. I’ve had a lot of whimsical ideas in the past! But I did it anyway, and I kept on doing it, and honestly, looking back I was seriously crap at it. But the difference between writing and all the other jobs and dreams I’ve had in the past is that I really, really loved doing it. As soon as I wrote my very first sentence I knew I wanted to do it forever. I didn’t know, then, that I’d ever be able to make a career out of it – that’s just a bonus that I doubt I’ll ever quite understand how it happened and one that I’ll be eternally grateful for – but I knew I had to pursue it. It was the best decision I ever made, and it’s all thanks to Keeley, my sister-in-law, her love for Twilight and her persistent nagging!

Amy: I love Souls of the Knight series, anymore from them? And would you ever write maybe a younger/older book? Possibly?

Firstly, thank you! This is a popular question! I’ve never considered returning to my Souls guys, but so many of you are asking and it’s starting to make little ideas tickle around in my brain. Sooo….I don’t know. Maybe?! Do you mean a younger guy/older guy couple? I’d maybe write that if those voices came into my head. I never know what stories will appear in this overloaded brain of mine! Sometimes all it takes is a certain song, an advert on TV, a movie, seeing someone in the street, a dream… or I can be lying in bed thinking about what I’m going to make for dinner the next day and BOOM – new idea! But I’d give anything a whirl if it came into my mind- except YA. I think I swear way too fucking much for that.

Jennie: Looking forward to more from the Souls of the Night series. Are you working on one now??

Again, SO MUCH LOVE FOR MY SOULS GUYS! Thank you! I’m not right now…but maybe one day!

Thank you to every single one of you who came to Teodora’s party and saved my arse by asking me these questions! I love you guys! While I’m here, I want to take the opportunity to address something I’ve been asked several times over on Goodreads and via email too. That question is, will Tess from Broken be getting her own book?

This is a tough one for me and I’ve um’d and ah’d about it for a long time. Truthfully, I’d love to give Tess her own book, and I do have plans to release a couple of FF books in the future. However, I know FF is a whole new genre and that many of my readers don’t read it. Girly parts in books are a big no-no for a lot of MM readers, which is okay, we all have our preferences and that’s what makes life, and reading, interesting! But I wouldn’t want to give off any excitement over a Broken sequel only to leave some people disappointed when they discovered it was a FF story. So my answer is…possibly. I’m just not sure how to market it. I need time to think about it, as I do with the other FF story ideas floating around in my head right now. Let’s see what the future brings!

But for now, Oliver and Sebastian will be up next in Who We Are, coming early 2017. You can add it to your Goodreads TBR (if you want to, that is!) here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32493413-who-we-are

 

tco exclusive

In the meantime, here’s an exclusive excerpt to be getting on with!

~Sebastian~

I wanted to skip into work the next day singing, dancing, and maybe even twirl June around a few times, too. But seeing as I overslept and arrived an hour late I figured I’d best walk in with my head down and force a croak into my voice instead.

If I was going to lie, I needed to sound believable. “Up all night I was, June,” I said, rubbing my stomach. It wasn’t a total lie. I didn’t get much sleep…just not because of a dodgy stomach. After devouring Oliver, or rather, letting him devour me in more positions than I even knew existed, we just…talked. For hours we lay awake and discussed anything and everything. He told me about his first boyfriend, how he got into hairdressing, shared his coming out story – which wasn’t actually news to his mother, apparently.

He told me about the months when he mum was sick, and how life changed when she passed away. I found out about Tyler, about the problems Oliver had been having with him lately, and he told me how difficult he found parenting but that he wouldn’t swap a single second of it – something I understood completely.

By the time I eventually drifted to sleep, that strange pull in my chest had grown even stronger, dragging me impossibly closer to the man whose head rested soundly over my heart.

“Think it’s food poisoning,” I added. “But here I am, soldiering on.”

“Oh you poor thing.”

Frowning, I nodded slowly. I deserved a frigging award.

“Hmm. You do look a little green.” Clearly, she needed a new glasses prescription, but I kept my gob shut. “Well you can’t go out on the road. You should be in bed.”

“Nah, I’m fine. I’m a trooper. I’ll power through.”

She gave me a stern mother look, ticking her finger from side to side. “You will not, young man. You might be willin’ to put your own life at risk but you’re not the only driver on those roads. Either go home, or I’ll get Steve to put you on warehouse duty for the day.”

Shit. I hadn’t thought this master plan through. I hated the warehouse, and most of the morons who worked in it. “Okay, here’s the deal, June,” I said, leaning against the Perspex partition above her station after scanning the office for eavesdroppers. “I’m not sick. I’m seeing someone, and we didn’t hear the alarm. You know how it is when it’s all new and exciting, right? But shhh, I don’t want the guys to know yet.”

She pushed her thick glasses up her nose, her weathered lips forming an ‘O’. “Ooo, it’s not that Penny off nights is it? I was only sayin’ to Zoe t’other day I think she’s got ‘er eye on you.”

You had to love June, almost as much as she loved to gossip. I’d miss the old bird when she retired next year.

“No, not Penny.” We are who we are, and that’s okay. Oliver’s words fresh in my mind, I dragged in a deep breath and spoke before I chickened out. “His name’s Oliver.”

If her jaw had fallen open any wider her teeth would’ve dropped out. It was no secret that June had false gnashers. She popped them out every lunchtime and set them on a napkin next to her keyboard while she ate her dinner.

“D’you know my friend Marjory’s first husband was one o’ them whatdyamacallits…a transvestite.”

Um…okaaaaay.

“She comes home from bingo one night and there he is in her best knickers and the underskirt she bought specially for her Karen’s weddin’. Took the shine right off winning sixty smackers at the bingo, I can tell ya. His name was Frank. Do you know him?”

I bit down on my tongue to stop myself from laughing. “Um, nope. Don’t think I know a Frank.”

“Hmm. Thought you might now you’re mixin’ in the same circles.”

Yep, because every bisexual knows every cross-dresser. Oh, June. I did love her.

“Well, good luck to you. Live and let live, that’s what I say,” she said, squinting at the computer screen as she tapped the keyboard.

I smiled even though she wasn’t looking at me. It was grateful smile, a relieved smile…a proud smile, and in that moment, life felt pretty damn perfect.

“Thanks, June. That means a lot to me.”

“Don’t thank me yet, darlin’. I gave your run to Rod because you weren’t here, which was goin’ to leave us in the crapper for Glasgow but…” she trailed off, rose from her chair and grabbed a set of keys from the cabinet on the wall. “But now you’re on that, and there’s been an accident on the M6.”

“Great,” I said, saturating the word in sarcasm. It seemed I had a longarse day ahead, one that could possibly turn into an overnighter, and all because I’d missed my stupid alarm. Still it was worth every second of the extra minutes I got to spend in bed with Oliver, and absolutely nothing could dampen my day when my phone pinged with a Facebook notification as I made my way through the warehouse to my wagon.

Facebook: Oliver Clayton accepted your friend request.

Yep, today was a perfect day.

Copyright © Nicola Haken 2016

As always, thank you for reading, thank you to Two Chicks Obsessed for having me, and you can keep up with me and my ramblings by following my social media or signing up to my newsletter!

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Will You Be My Escort by Meg Harding: Release Day Review, Guest Post, Excl Excerpt, and Giveaway

willyoubemyescort_postcard_front_dspsynopsisJackson Carlisle has rotten luck with men and women, and after an especially bad situation, he takes a step back from romance. But with a two-week family reunion in Hawaii looming, his mom is determined to set him up with one of the sweet singles she knows would be perfect for him. A normal person would tell her no and be done with it. Instead, Jackson tells her he has a boyfriend. The only problem? He doesn’t.

Aaron Wilkes is an escort. He’s a little surprised when a friend’s girlfriend hires him to date her brother, but he’s had stranger jobs. Jackson is cute, and he thinks a fling with Aaron might be just the kind of no-strings-attached fun he needs to get over his dry spell. As they explore the islands together, their carefully laid plans begin to get away from them. Feelings aren’t supposed to come into play, but that shouldn’t be a problem. After all, you can’t fall in love in two weeks….

Title: Will You Be My Escort
Series: The Carlisles: Book Two
Author: Meg Harding
Release Date: October 14, 2016
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

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Dreamspinner Press

 

Guest Post

Thanks for having me today! Will You Be My Escort is the second novel in a series of four. It’s the sequel to Dinner for One, and focuses on James’s younger brother Jackson—a bisexual makeup artist—and Aaron, an escort.

Without fail I’m awkward at doing these posts (for which I’m deeply sorry, readers) so I’m going to try something new for this one in an effort to make things less boring. Normally I don’t create playlists for my characters—I don’t even listen to music when writing (I will start typing the lyrics to the song my attention is so bad.) But Jackson and Aaron are definitely the kind of guys that have a soundtrack for their relationship.

Different ones, because they’re not the type to agree on everything.

Jackson thinks their relationship sounds like:

  • Wheel of Fortune – Pirates of the Caribbean Soundtrack
  • Jinx – DNCE
  • The Anchor – Bastille
  • Geronimo – Sheppard
  • You Light My Fire – Nate Ruess

Aaron thinks it sounds like this:

  • Science & Faith – The Script
  • Black and White Movies – Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
  • Riptide – Vance Joy
  • T-Shirt – Thomas Rhett
  • Adrenaline – Matt Nathanson

 

excerpt

Part of being in a large family means everyone knows everything. And it’s never forgotten, because inevitably someone remembers it. So Jackson doesn’t know how he hasn’t heard about the family reunion until he’s staring at the ridiculous card on his dark-cream tiled counter. Someone has taken the time to make a collage of the entire family’s faces and merge them into lettering that reads “You’re invited to the Carlisle Family Reunion.” He’s not sure whether to be impressed or appalled.

His phone starts to trill. He picks it up without looking. “Are you seeing this?” asks James. “I think I’m hallucinating it.”

“No,” says Jackson. “I’ve got it in front of me. It’s painfully real.”

The last thing in the world he wants to do is attend a family reunion. It’s a two-week-long affair at a resort in Hawaii (which would be lovely if the family reunion aspect was removed), occurring in three weeks’ time, during which they’re going to be surrounded by obnoxious extended family. It’s like something from a horror film.

“I don’t know why you’re complaining,” he says to James. “You’ve got a boyfriend.” He thinks about it. “Can Bastien not come?” He runs two businesses and works a lot, but he’s got a partner who can probably take things over.

“Bastien can come,” grumbles James. “He’s annoyingly excited for it.”will-you-be-my-escort-_postcard_back_dsp

“He’s in for a rude awakening,” mutters Jackson. Bastien hasn’t met anyone outside of their immediate close-knit group yet—he wasn’t around for the last reunion. He’s probably expecting everyone to be like their particular branch of Carlisles. The extended family isn’t like them. Well, in some ways they are, but in others… no. They’re an eclectic group of people who mostly only bother to get together and converse for a period longer than a two-word holiday or birthday card every five years.

There’s a reason for that.

His call waiting goes off. He pulls the phone from his ear. “Mom’s calling,” he says on a sigh. “I’ll call you back.”

“Don’t bother,” says James. “I’m coming over, and we’re going to drink till we forget we’ve been invited.”

Jackson rolls his eyes. “You’re a drama queen.” He drops the call in the middle of James’s indignant squawks. “Hello,” he says to his mom.

“Hello, sweetie,” she says. “Did you get the invitation?”

He glares at their obnoxious collaged faces. “I did.” He looks closer. Someone has photoshopped a curled mustache onto James’s face. He holds the phone away from him as he snickers. Their cousin Bobby must have made the card. He hates James. “James has a mustache in the picture,” he tells his mom. “Did you see that?”

Her sigh is long and pained. “I did. I’m calling to let you know you have to go. You can’t get out of this.” She goes silent, but there’s something about it that makes Jackson feel like there’s more coming. He has a feeling he’s not going to like it. “I know things have been rough, since you had to move and all….”

And he called that.

“But I have a friend, she has a delightful daughter, and I think you two would really get along. She might take some of the pressure off the reunion? And I think it’ll be good for you. I don’t mean to worry, but you haven’t dated anyone since Angel.” He winces at the name. “It’s time to try again, don’t you think? Move on? We’re all worried about you, dear. I have a friend with a son too, he’s a bit older than you, but he’s got a nice job.”

The last thing he wants is to be set up by his mother. A sane person would tell her to butt out and hang up. Politely of course; this is his mom after all. Jackson has a short supply of sanity, though, and he’s been running on very little sleep for the last month. What comes out of his mouth, instead of “no, thank you” or “I don’t need someone else to be happy,” is “I’m already seeing someone.”

denise review

Will You Be My Escort is all the things you enjoy about a book where one of the main characters is an escort, without the required sex. And to top it off, it’s a fun book, with a family that might just be the definition of insane. Yet they are all supportive and loving of each other. The best of both worlds.

Poor Jackson’s self esteem is shot, so his finding love has been an ongoing issue with him. Meanwhile Aaron is a truly sweet man who is only an escort in order to help people out of binds, not to sleep with people for money. Instantly Aaron realizes that although he wants to help Jackson, he may be headed down a road of pain for himself.

With a two week family reunion in Hawaii, a plastic trophy up for grabs, and potential injuries around ever corner, these two find a way to sweetly discover each other, and then begin a fling that, of course, turns to more.

While the reader had to suspend disbelief in a few areas, and still wondered about a few other things,  this was a sweet love story, with a realistic ending. They didn’t leave Hawaii in love, and wanting to live the rest of their lives together…at least not out loud. They went back to their separate homes, learned to be themselves without the other, before Jackson found the nerve to ago after what he wanted all along.

I was slightly confused with how their chosen professions would continue to factor into their relationship, but all in all I enjoyed this book, and had a good time catching up with James and Bastien as well.

Not at all a heavy ready, so pick it up when you are ready for some fun loving romance.

4 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author

Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF and Anglia Ruskin University. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes.  In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.

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Blueprint by RJ Jones: Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

blueprint-600synopsisIf only building the foundation for a lasting relationship was as easy as drafting the blueprint.

Jet Black doesn’t date. Even if he wanted a man beyond sex, his ever-watchful identical twin scares potential suitors away. Jet lives with his brother, but since Gray fell in love with Kris, Jet feels like a third wheel. Despite their bond, Jet knows he needs to move out and experience life for himself, whether Gray likes it or not.

After his father dies in a boating accident, Ethan Nichols is devastated. As the last survivor of his family, he realizes the need to put down roots. He leaves Australia and returns home to San Francisco and his old architectural firm. But there’s more to building a new life than simply moving house.

Jet and Ethan’s first encounter is brash and anonymous, but when Ethan moves across the hall, their lives become irrevocably linked. Jet is quirky and fun loving, while Ethan is rock steady and dependable. There’s no denying the passionate spark between them.

But Ethan is looking for a more solid foundation than Jet is ready to offer. Until Jet learns to spread his wings and trust Ethan with his darkest secrets, building a life together will be impossible.

**This can be read as a standalone, however it is best enjoyed reading the series in order as side characters play a major role.**

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All Romance

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excerpt

I woke a little while later with dried come on my balls and Ethan kissing me softly. It was sensational, and I hoped this time he would finally fuck me. Instead I got a deep kiss, a slap on the ass, and an order to shower.
“Are you joining me?” I had hoped to draw out the pleasure and delay any awkwardness I could feel rising within.
Ethan pressed his lips to mine. “No. I’ve already had one. I’ll start breakfast while you wash up. Eggs good for you?”
How domestic. “Sure.” I remembered stating last night that I would cook breakfast, but the way I was feeling at that moment, I’d probably burn it.
Ethan appeared relaxed and happy while my insides burned with a need to flee. Some people have a fight-or-flight response; it seemed I either fucked or fled. I hoped a shower would calm me down some. It didn’t and when I appeared in the kitchen fully dressed in last night’s clothes, Ethan’s frown deepened as he dished up scrambled eggs on toast. He was wearing only his boxer briefs.
“Uh.” I plucked at a loose thread on my jacket. “Thanks for last night. I had a really nice time.”
Ethan didn’t look at me when he spoke. “You’re leaving, aren’t you?” The spoon he’d been using clattered loudly in the sink. He turned and glared at me.
“No! No. I… I’m sorry.” I looked at my shoes as I swallowed past the lump in my throat. “I don’t want to. This is all new to me and… I have no idea what to do, but I would love to have breakfast with you.”
Judging by Ethan’s tone, I hadn’t been very convincing. “Does that mean you’ll be leaving as soon as you’ve finished eating?”
“I do need to get changed.”
“Are you coming back?”
Swallowing down my anxiety, I answered, “I’d like to. If that’s okay with you.”
“Okay.”
“Okay.”

paula review

I have been waiting for Jet’s story since book one. This was so well done. Jet is a relationship virgin and it shows. He has no idea how to interact with a guy after he’s slept with him. His uncertainty is so endearing. I really like how he tried to figure out how to “date.” Ethan was a very good match for him. Once he know where Jet is coming from and how inexperienced he is with relationship he is amazing with him. Ethan was so caring and understanding it was beautiful to read. Jet’s growth in this book is heartfelt. These characters made me want to invest my feelings in them. I thought the story RJ Jones wrote for Jet was perfect. The interactions between the MC’s felt real and authentic.

5 pieces of eye candy

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rjones-avatar_hiresmeet the authorRJ started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men popped into her thoughts, insisting on telling her their story that she started to write. It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower.
RJ’s initial thought was if she could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow her to concentrate on other aspects of the day. That shower scene was 3000 words long and three hours of work. But they didn’t shut up. They told her their entire story and she didn’t sleep for days. Sometimes she couldn’t keep up with what they were telling her and she had to keep a notebook by the bed.
Whilst RJ was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.
You see the problem? If RJ ever wants to sleep again then she needs to write.
RJ is a wife and a mother to two boys. Even her dog is a boy.
She is surrounded by males.

RJ writes emotionally charged, character driven romances. Her guys will always get their HEA, but it will never be easy.

Where to find me

Facebook 

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Email – rjjonesauthor@gmail.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.

Settling the Score by Eden Winters: Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

Settling the Score Tour BannerTitle: Settling the Score

Author: Eden Winters

Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books

Release Date: 10/6/2016

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 86,000 words

Genre: Romance, Humor, Age Difference, Movie Star, Author, Small Town, Mechanic, Getting Even

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synopsis

Outed and dumped on national television by his rising star boyfriend, Joey Nichols must face the bigotry of the locals in his small Southern town alone. His dreams of a happy ever after lie crushed at his feet.

Novelist Troy Steele has an axe to grind against Hollywood heartbreaker types. Transforming Joey into a gorgeous, unobtainable hunk would be payback worthy of Troy’s poison pen. It’s a brilliant way to get back at Joey’s image-obsessed ex-boyfriend and the movie producer who’s mutilating Troy’s novels.

What begins as simple revenge may tangle them together in something far more complicated. Living well may be the best revenge, but Troy and Joey could rewrite that to loving well.

excerpt

Although Joey’s favorite club lay right outside of Atlanta, he’d never ventured this far into the city itself. He craned his neck, watching the tall buildings out of the car window.

With a sudden jerk of the steering wheel, Erica propelled the Toyota into a parking garage, winding up and up to the sixth level. Joey’s stomach churned.

He wanted to grab her hand, or Troy’s, like a small child when they crossed the busy intersection leading from the garage to an imposing gray stone building. Erica breezed by a sign listing businesses and their locations, then trotted down a long corridor. The kind of music Troy played at home drifted from hidden speakers.

“Ready?” Erica opened the door at the end. Modern rock tunes like Stacey loved flooded from the salon, drowning out Mozart or Bach or whoever.

The strangest creature Joey had ever seen charged the door, with bright blue plumage and jeans riding so low that a step on the hem and whoot! No more secrets.

“Cher!” it screamed, launching itself at Erica, who squealed and launched back.

Troy backed up a step or two, yanking Joey out of harm’s way.

After a rushed conversation involving a lot of hand gestures and punctuated by loud shrieks, Erica and the creature quieted. Erica grabbed Joey’s arm and dragged him closer. “Joey, this is Cher.”

Ah, maybe “Cher” was also its name, not just its mating call.

“Cher? Like the actress?” Joey found himself pressed against a cabinet filled with shampoos and lotions.

“No, silly. I’m from the bayous of Louisiana,” Cher drawled in an accent so thick Joey barely understood. For a boy from South Georgia, where accents could be cut with a knife, that was saying something. “Down there, cher is an endearment. The actress is called Cher because her given name was Cherilyn La Pierre.”

“Huh?”

The colorful little man batted his eyes. “Darling, whatever are they teaching in Gay 101 these days? Everyone knows that!” He put hands, decorated with more rings than even Erica’s, on his skinny hips and turned puppy-dog eyes on the woman who’d lost the ring competition.

Another conversation followed, also in their own language. Joey inched closer to his boss—his best chance for sympathy.

The edges of Troy’s thin lips lifted. “Don’t worry. He had that effect on me, too, at first. Rest assured, if he’s a friend of Erica’s, he’s harmless.” Did Troy have to add, “Relatively speaking”?

The conversation, if that’s what you called two people talking at once, ended suddenly.

Cher scrutinized Joey’s body, narrowed gaze coming to rest on the tangled mass of blond curls. “Yes, girl, you were right. It is an emergency. We have got to do something with that hair, boo.” Joey wondered what caused others to circle, stare holes through his body, and mutter, “Hmmm…” as Cher did now, and Troy and Erica had a few weeks ago.

“Told ya!” Erica flashed a grin at Troy, patting Joey’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, hon, you’re in good hands. Cher’ll release your inner swan in no time.”

Inner swan? Did he have one of those? Joey eyed the wall posters, models with hairstyles that would get them beaten up back home. He gaped at the image of a man, hair molded into sharp spikes—pink spikes. Until now he’d never really appreciated a certain barber back home with a “one haircut fits all” approach to male grooming. At least his mom’s efforts left his hair more stylish.

But not pink.

After completing several passes around Joey, filled with much “hmmmm”ing and “oh my”ing, Cher clapped his hands. “Yes, I can do much with this one.” One heavily be-ringed hand, each nail buffed and shiny, landed on Joey’s shoulder, and the stylist hauled him toward the back of the room and through a door.

“The master needs privacy!” Cher exclaimed, with the same amount of drama Stacey used to explain how once more her life was over due to some embarrassment caused by a family member in front of her friends.

Joey caught a final glimpse of Erica waving before the door closed, cutting off his silently mouthed, “Don’t leave me!” Cher scared the living daylights out of him, especially while ranting about the things to be done with a straight razor.

The door snicked shut and Cher’s voice dropped a full octave, shooting from the Deep South to the Far North. “Hi, I’m Steve,” Cher said in a deep voice holding a touch of Yankee twang. He pushed Joey down into a beautician’s chair, one of two in the room.

“Huh?” Joey looked in the mirror at the man behind him, a man becoming more masculine by the second.

“Steve Cromer,” the man said, eyes twinkling. “You look like you can keep a secret.”

Joey parroted, “A secret?”

Steve leaned in close, breath washing over Joey’s ear. “I’m not really gay.”

“Say what?” The hate mail, the slurs, the bashed eggs. Why would someone voluntarily sign on for homophobia?

“I guess you could say that I’m gay for pay minus the porn.” Cher, make that “Steve”, snickered at his own joke.

The chair flipped back. Joey sat upright one second and laid with his head draped over a sink the next. Steve turned on the water and tested the temperature with one hand. “Ever since that Queer Eye show a few years back, a straight hairdresser has a much harder time in this business. It’s in to have a gay man do your hair.”

“Do Troy and Erica know?” At times, Troy could be oblivious to anything besides his laptop. Erica, on the other hand, struck Joey as someone who’d see past what might fool others.

Strong fingers massaged Joey’s scalp, and he relaxed into the unexpected pleasure, missing his mom and their many heart-to-hearts over a shampoo bowl. “Troy, no. He’s too much fun to mess with. Erica and I go way back.”

Steve stopped talking long enough to rinse the shampoo from Joey’s hair and wrap a towel around his head. “Back in the day, she had a role on a soap, I was an assistant, and we became friends. Erica helped me create Cher.” Despite his newly announced heterosexuality, Steve giggled like Stacey and her gaggle of friends. “She’s my fag-hag, going to parties with me and helping perpetuate the myth.”

He beamed into the mirror while dragging a comb through Joey’s hair. “A few months after getting the soap job, I began dating my wife, Lisa. Erica used to sneak her onto the set to see me.” He placed the comb on the counter, shifting his wary gaze back and forth as if he expected to find someone hidden in a corner. He whispered, “Wanna see something?”

Had the man been in full “Cher” mode, Joey would have been nervous. “Sure.”

Steve produced a picture of a lovely blonde woman and three little carbon copies. “That’s her and the girls. Aren’t they beautiful?” He gushed like a smitten schoolboy.

There’d never been a time when Joey got bent all out of shape because of a woman, but Big Joe did it often enough about Joey’s mom. “How do they handle you acting gay?”

In the blink of an eye Cher returned, fluttering his lashes at Joey in the mirror. “Everyone acts, darling, all the time, anywhere. Lisa knows, and the girls never see my alter ego. All they know is that Daddy has pretty nails. Even my mom has seen me in action. They also know why. I’m an actor playing a role.” He pressed one hand against his heart. “I play it brilliantly too.” Right before Joey’s eyes, Steve changed, the differences subtle at first, a little less widening of the eyes, a bit less pouting of the lips, less jutting of the hip. Very seriously, Steve said, “The world sees what you want them to. You’d do well to remember that.”

“What you talking about?” Had the subject changed?

Steve tucked the photo away and picked up the comb and a pair of scissors. He snipped, offering advice along with the shearing. “I know who you are, and I think your ex-boyfriend is an ass. I also saw you walking in the door, all shy and unsure. Don’t let anybody do that to you.”

Not knowing what to say, Joey listened.

“Although I’m straight, I’ve been in the business of enhancing Mother Nature’s gifts for a long time.” Steve locked stares with Joey in the mirror. “Long enough to recognize that you are a very attractive man, a lot finer than Riker Sanderson, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

“I am?” If anyone else said those words, Joey would be hurt, because they’d have to be mocking him. Steve? So far he didn’t seem to have a mean bone in his body, or a reason to lie—other than about the gay thing.

“Yes, you are. You’re honest and unspoiled. Erica wouldn’t be wasting her time on you if you weren’t. Beauty starts from within. Haven’t you ever heard that? With the right clothes, the right style”—Cher dropped the lid over one eye in a playful wink—“and the right attitude, you’ll take the world by storm.”

After much cutting and more talk, Steve wrapped pieces of Joey’s hair in foil and placed him beneath a dryer. A nervous young woman who giggled a lot buffed Joey’s nails. She chattered nonstop. Thanks to the dryer, Joey didn’t hear a word.

“Close your eyes,” Steve instructed, after settling Joey back into the reclining chair. Warmth touched the spot over Joey’s nose.

The warmth jerked free with no warning. “Ow!” Joey yelled, glaring at the man who’d ripped off half his face.

Steve’s glower offered no apology. “It needed killing.” He waved Joey’s former uni-brow connector, now attached to a piece of fabric. “Lie back. I’m not finished.”

After the agony ended, Joey sipped lemon water with his face slathered in some minty-smelling goop. It almost made up for the torture. Steve scraped the mint stuff off and peeled the foil from Joey’s hair.

What a relief, knowing his curls no longer risked attracting lightning. Next came a rinse, blow-dry, brush, and some sweet-scented gel. Before Joey managed one glance in the mirror, Steve turned the lights off and hissed, “Don’t you dare peek!”

The door opened and Cher called out, “You can come in now.”

Three things happened at once: the lights came on, Erica shrieked, “Oh, my God!” and Troy demanded, “What the hell did you do to Joey?”

Okay, he’d wrestle Cher to the floor if he had to, but Joey had to see in a mirror. Heart pounding, he stared straight ahead. Who the hell was that? Sitting where he should be was a handsome man with dark-blonde hair, highlighted in gold that made his eyes appear larger. The tousled cut, or maybe the diet and exercise, resulted in slimmer-looking cheeks. Now Joey’s face matched the slightly angular features of his much thinner twin.

The whole morning had to be trick or a dream he’d soon wake up from. That didn’t stop him from admiring his reflection, basking in Steve’s words, “You are an attractive man, a lot finer than Riker Sanderson…

For a moment, Joey let himself believe.

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meet the author

Author AvatarYou will know Eden Winters by her distinctive white plumage and exuberant cry of “Hey, y’all!” in a Southern US drawl so thick it renders even the simplest of words unrecognizable. Watch out, she hugs!

Driven by insatiable curiosity, she possibly holds the world’s record for curriculum changes to the point that she’s never quite earned a degree but is a force to be reckoned with at Trivial Pursuit.

She’s trudged down hallways with police detectives, learned to disarm knife-wielding bad guys, and witnessed the correct way to blow doors off buildings. Her e-mail contains various snippets of forensic wisdom, such as “What would a dead body left in a Mexican drug tunnel look like after six months?” In the process of her adventures she has written sixteen m/m romance novels, has won several Rainbow Awards, was a Lambda Awards Finalist, and lives in terror of authorities showing up at her door to question her Internet searches.

When not putting characters in dangerous situations she’s a mild-mannered business executive, mother, grandmother, vegetarian, and PFLAG activist.

Her natural habitats are airports, coffee shops, and on the backs of motorcycles.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

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One lucky winner will win an ebook copy of Settling the Score and an ebook copy of Diversion.

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GRL 2016 Blog Tour: Guest Post: Jordan L. Hawk

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**TCO is happy to welcome Jordan L. Hawk to the blog today, as we lead up to the final weeks before GRL. Check it out, and make sure to drop by and say Hi to Jordan!**

Guest Post

Thanks to Two Chicks Obsessed for hosting me for the GRL blog tour!

This will be my fifth GRL and my fourth as a Featured Author. It will also be the fourth for my spouse (and beta reader) David, who I think has his own fan club at this point. 😉

While there are a lot of things to love about GRL, the best part is just hanging out with readers. My favorite memories of previous GRLs aren’t the parties or the games, though those are fun too. But when I think back, the first moments that come to mind are sitting at the bar talking to someone, or hanging out in a group. Interacting with readers at signings or author lounges are also among those most special moments.hexmaker_final_200x300

The funny thing is, during my first GRL, I really had to psyche myself up to leave the room. My first book had just come out the month before; no one knew who I was, and I’d never met anyone else at the conference. How was I possibly going to talk to other readers, let alone the authors whose work I loved?

It was a challenge to force myself to leave the room and start conversations with people I didn’t know. But it was worth every moment. So if you’re at GRL and feeling nervous about approaching people, consider this an open invitation to talk to me at any time. I know just how you feel.

My latest book, Hexmaker, will be released October 14th—just in time for the retreat!

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Website: http://www.jordanlhawk.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.

Gideon by Ashe Barker : Guest Post, Excerpt and Blog Tour

gideonfs_v2synopsis

Gideon Maybury enjoys a life of wealth and privilege, not to mention the advantages his position offers him in his career as a merchant banker and his less public life as a high-class, skilled, and very well-paid assassin for Her Majesty’s government. When his brother dies unexpectedly, he becomes the Duke of Westmoreland.

Michael Mathison has hated Gideon since they were at university together. He’s convinced Gideon had a hand in the death of Michael’s college lover, Christopher, and that he had something to do with the death of his own brother. So he gets a job as Gideon’s driver, enabling him to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of the elder Maybury sibling. At first his suspicions seem to be confirmed, but clues emerge that suggest all is not as it appears at Maybury Hall.

As the mystery deepens, so does the attraction between the two implacable enemies, as does the feeling that they have met before—under dark and terrible circumstances. Each has reasons not to trust the other, but neither is averse to a bit of kinky play. Gideon and Michael end up owing each other their lives, and it results in consequences neither could have imagined.

Title: Gideon
Series: Order of the Black Knights
Author: Ashe Barker
Release Date: October 5, 2016
Category: Mystery/Suspense, Erotic Romance
Pages: 200

Guest Post

 Gideon went on general release on 5 October and marks the start of The Order of the Black Knights series from Dreamspinner Press. Readers can expect to see a new full length story every month, each featuring a different Knight as he grapples his demons, past and present.

Although Gideon is very much a contemporary novel, all the Black Knights have their roots in the past. We first encounter Gideon as a military commander in the trenches of World War One, where he demonstrates his ruthless nature with brutal efficiency. That scene is built around a piece of historical folklore – the Christmas Eve truce of 1914. I chose this as it was such a well-known event, and whenever I write about a historical setting I like to underpin the story with some real facts which readers will recognize.

Gideon shows his true colors on that battlefield, so when we meet him again a hundred years later it’s no surprise to discover that the most recent incarnation of the man might be sexy as hell but he’s every bit as dangerous as he ever was. Gideon is a cold-hearted killer, but murdering his own brother? Would even Gideon Maybury go to such lengths to remove an obstacle? At least one man believes he would and Gideon’s nemesis makes it his business to prove it.

The attraction which flares between the two from the moment they meet complicates matters, but the outcome will be the same. Or will it?

And a bit more about The Order of the Black Knights series:

Every century has seen its knights, but they are not always seen. Some of them do what must be done—getting their hands dirty when no one else is willing. Assassins and antiheroes who work from the shadows, they are called the Black Knights. From the time of the society’s creation in the 1100s, these men are cursed to repeat their lives of bloodshed. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man that waits inside and break the cycle. The question is whether or not the knight will kill his true love before he figures it out.

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excerpt

The door to suite seven zero one was ajar as Michael reached it. He entered without knocking.

Gideon had also taken off his jacket, and it dangled over the back of a chair. He removed his starched cuffs and dropped the gold cuff links onto the dressing table as Michael walked into the bedroom. Gideon smiled and crossed the room to greet him, which he did with a kiss.

The kiss was wet, warm, and open-mouthed. Gideon plunged his tongue between Michael’s lips to play and tease. Michael responded in kind, tangled his tongue around Gideon’s, and used it to explore the moist cavern of his mouth. It was Gideon who broke the kiss.

“That shirt’s worth a fucking fortune. Take it off before I rip it.”

“You too.” Michael was already pulling the soft cotton from his shoulders. He folded the shirt loosely and dropped it onto a chair. Then he remembered to extract the cuff links, which soon joined Gideon’s on the dressing table. He sat on the bed to remove his shiny patent shoes—also supplied by the formal wear hire company—along with his socks. As he stood to unbutton his trousers, Gideon’s leer was wicked. Naked already, Gideon had his fist wrapped around his cock and was already pumping the shaft into swollen, granite-hard readiness.

Michael dropped his trousers but didn’t just kick them aside. He picked them up and folded those too, and then laid them on top of his shirt. He sat on the bed and propped himself against the pillows to watch Gideon’s solo performance.

The duke was well hung—bloody magnificent, in fact. Michael licked his lips and remembered the taste of that slick, wide head in his mouth. Gideon’s juices were salty, and the tang was still memorable. He wanted more.

“Come here,” he ordered.

Gideon shook his head. “My turn this time. You got to swallow my jizz yesterday. Tonight I get yours.”

Michael wasn’t about to argue. He lay back and gestured with the fingertips of both his hands—a come-hither signal. At last Gideon obeyed.

Gideon crawled up the length of the bed until his shoulders were between Michael’s thighs. He grasped Michael’s cock, dipped his head to flick the shiny head with the tip of his tongue, and then lapped at the juices that wept from the slit. Michael groaned and raised himself on his elbows. His head dropped back between his shoulder blades.

“Christ,” he moaned. “This is going to be quick.”

“Maybe,” agreed Gideon. “Maybe not.” He trailed his tongue around the ridge and then along the delicate underside of Michael’s rock-solid erection. As Michael groaned and writhed, Gideon tightened his grip and took the entire head into his mouth. He sucked on it, and scraped lightly with his teeth as Michael arched his back and thrust his hips upward in a vigorous, desperate rhythm.

“Keep still,” Gideon growled. “My show now.”

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meet the author

Ashe whiles away her time in the wilds of West Yorkshire, in the north of England, writing smutty books and drinking Earl Grey tea. At the last count she had over thirty titles on general release, many featuring BDSM, always hot, with complex characters and compelling plots. Ashe writes MM and Mf, contemporary and historical, with the occasional threesome thrown in.

When not writing Ashe enjoys messing around with digital photography, reading erotic stories, pole dancing (though not especially well), walking her dogs, and listening to Bon Jovi. Loud.

www.ashebarker.com

I love to hear from readers. Here’s where to find me:

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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.