Texting, Autocorrect and a Prius by M.A. Church: Release Day Review, Exclusive Guest Post, and Giveaway

Clay McDonald finds the perfect car on Craigslist and is quick to send the seller a text:

Is your penis still for sale?

AutoCorrect strikes again. Damn—he should’ve proofread. How embarrassing.

Luckily Darrell Anderson, a mechanic and the owner of the Prius, is more amused than offended, and the two men agree to meet. When they do, the attraction is instant, and a date is arranged. But a series of mishaps, misunderstandings, and misplaced assumptions sorely test the new relationship.

In a contemporary romantic comedy about the perils of technology and dating in the modern world, a text that went so wrong might just lead to something so right—but only if Clay can refrain from jumping to conclusions and give love the benefit of the doubt.

Title: Texting, AutoCorrect, and a Prius
Author: M.A. Church
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Humor
Pages: TBD (Novella)

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Some Fun Facts About Cell Phones

  1. First mobile phone was Motorola Dyan TAC 8000X and was invented in 1983 by Martin Copper. It could only store thirty contacts and weighed 1.1kg. You could only talk for thirty minutes and cost close to four thousand dollars. And ya’ll thought cell phone were high dollar now, lol.

 

  1. The first smart phone was made by IBM and was launched August 16, 1994. It was the first commercially available touchtone screen and came pre-installed with functions like a calendar, calculator, address book, and Note Pad. Oh sooo many options! (And I remember this too lol.)

 

  1. Apple sold million iPhones in 2012 in fourteen weeks—or 262 phones per minute. I can’t even wrap my head around that.

 

  1. And speaking of iPhones, there was an iPhone5 fully coated with 26 carat black diamonds. For a measly $15.3 million you can own one too. Who’s with me???

 

  1. The highest mobile phone bill was $201,000. 00. Someone’s gonna be grounded for a looooong time. Well, they would be after I picked myself off the floor after passing smooth out. Then they better run.

 

Cell phones, lol. Gotta love them. And most of us can’t live without them… me included!

He got out, locked his truck, and walked over to the ’Vette. The car was a thing of beauty, there was no doubt about that. Regrettably he didn’t get close enough last night to tell a whole lot about it, but it certainly looked like the one he’d seen before.

“Well, I’ll be damned.”

Clay jerked his head up. Holy shit. There in the garage, standing next to the Prius, was a man. A man who looked like the guy he saw the night before at Milo’s and earlier in the day in town.

“Oh my God,” Clay said again. He seemed to be stuck on repeat. “It’s you.”

The guy smirked. “Funny, I was thinking the exact same thing. You’re the guy who was eye-fucking my car last night.”

Clay’s ears began to burn. He was pretty sure he was turning red in the face. “Hey, it’s a nice-looking car.” So was the owner. “I’m Clay McDonald.”

The guy who owned the Prius walked from the garage, hand held out. “Nice to meet you, Clay. My name is Darrell Anderson. You’re interested in driving a Prius, right?”

Well, if Clay wasn’t red before, he sure was now. That damn message was going to haunt him forever.

I haven’t read this author before Texting, Autocorrect, and a Prius but just the title intrigued me, mostly because autocorrect gets me every time, and it can be a super hilarious mistake. It is also something that comes back to haunt me sometimes, which I expected for poor Clay. It does, but only one time, which I won’t lie, disappointed me slightly, cause, well, penis is a great autocorrect! 🙂

These two had quite a few misunderstandings to deal with, but they seemed to clear all those up fairly efficiently. I was definitely looking for some of those issues to linger, but they didn’t. It was an issue, then once they fixed it, they moved on (which is good for a relationship of course, but not as much for building tension).

I just felt that there were things that could have been expanded upon, or otherwise left out because there wasn’t really a need for it. E.g. Clay’s sister wanting to set him up on a blind date with, as it turned out, Darrell. It was brought up, then later it was revealed, and there was a very quick conversation on it, but it was as if the drama came much more from what caused the initial conversation (Darrell’s friend) than anything else.

In the end, I needed more. More laughs behind the jokes, more tension behind their issues, just a bit more of what I thought was a fantastic story idea. I enjoyed it, but wanted more.

3.5 pieces of eye candy


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M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!

When not writing, she’s on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two grown children.

She is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

 

 

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Slim Chance by Jeff Erno: Exclusive Guest Post, Pre-Release Review and Giveaway


Can a man improve his appearance without losing everything good inside him?

Oliver has always been obese and suffered from a negative body image. He’s tried diets before, failing time after time, but he vows this time will be different. As he begins an exercise program, his confidence increases—and so does his interest in his friend and coworker Benjy. Though they bonded long ago over a love of online gaming, it takes a lot of courage for Oliver to share his new body and be intimate with another man.

A passionate romance blooms, but as Oliver nears his goal, it seems he doesn’t need Benjy—with his chronic anxiety and troubled past—now that he’s made attractive new friends at the gym. But not all relationships are equal, and Oliver realizes that Benjy, who loved and supported him when no one else did, is more than a reminder of his old life.

A pleasing appearance means nothing when it hides a lonely, empty heart, and if Oliver cannot decide what’s truly important, he’ll lose what he cherishes most.

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Thanks so much, TCO, for hosting me on your blog. I’m thrilled to be at it again, promoting another new release, and this time I’m especially excited to share something a little different than any of my other stories. As I’ve hopped around the blogosphere launching this release, I’ve tried to offer unique topics on each of my posts (which isn’t exactly easy when you have ten or more different blogs to write, all about the same book).

So I want to talk about something that relates to my new release, Slim Chance, but that can be applied much more holistically to a lot of my books. I want to discuss two things, actually—empathy and perspective.

In a perfect world where there are only perfect stories with perfect characters, there’s no need for empathy. In such an imaginary place, authors wouldn’t have to hope that readers would view their characters sympathetically. Characters wouldn’t think negative thoughts or do selfish things. They wouldn’t say anything offensive. They wouldn’t belittle themselves or lose their temper with their loved ones. They’d be perfect.

My world isn’t perfect, and neither are my characters, so I do rely upon the empathy of the reader. I hope they are capable of putting themselves into the shoes of this less-than-perfect character. I hope they can get beyond disliking him and set aside their judgment long enough to feel what he’s likely feeling.

If I were to ask what the biggest difference between reading a story in a book and seeing that same story in a movie, what would you think it would be? I think the biggest difference is that in a book we not only see outside the character, but also inside his head and heart. Granted, there is some debate about exactly how much a storyteller should “tell” the reader. If the author belabors the thought process of the characters, it sounds like he/she’s doing way too much explaining and not enough showing. Stories are supposed to be shown more than told, so when a particular event or conversation occurs in the story, ideally you want to show the reader by actions and words how that character is likely feeling.

That’s what they do in movies. Very seldom does a movie have a narrator cutting in to explain how devastated, angry, or upset a character is. You can see it, and as a viewer you’re smart enough to understand. But in literature, there is kind of a fine line. Because unlike movies, a written story is told from a specific point of view. That point of view might be first person, third-person limited, or third person alternating, but in all cases it is told from one perspective at a time. So a lot of the visual cues a viewer might see in a movie—things like body language, blushing, scowling, etc.—are not described in a novel. The author sometimes has to do some “telling.”

And believe me, if an author doesn’t do enough telling, he’ll hear about it from his content editor. “Don’t you think this would have hurt the character’s feelings?” “Perhaps you should discuss how this made him feel.” And when I get those kinds of editorial notes, my knee-jerk reaction is to scream back at my computer monitor and say, “Of course, it hurt his feelings! Of course, he was angry and scared! But the reader can already see this! The reader does not need to be told every single feeling, especially if you want me to SHOW this damn story rather than tell it!”

And a lot of times I literally do shout similar things at my computer monitor. But when I calm down, I go back and do exactly what that content editor has suggested to me.

Usually.

In this book, Slim Chance, I rejected a lot of advice offered to me by my content editors (intentionally plural). They didn’t think Oliver was likable enough. They didn’t think he showed enough empathy. I respectfully disagreed with them, and I’ll go on record as saying that from an m/m romance point of view, they’re probably right. Many readers are not going to fall in love with Oliver.

I did not write Oliver to be a sympathetic character. I wrote him to be real. He’s been abused, ridiculed, mocked, and more or less tortured his entire life. Of course he is cynical. Of course he doesn’t trust people who are nice to him. A million times previously he’s had people say very sweet things to his face and then make fun of him for being a blimp behind his back. Of course he looks in the mirror and feels disgusted by his reflection. He’s a gay man living within a culture where beauty is worshiped.

If you the reader were to immediately fall head over heels in love with Oliver Paxton, I’d say I pretty much failed at portraying an accurate story. Oliver made me uncomfortable, and I wrote him. I wanted to feel that way, though. I wanted to walk a mile in the man’s shoes. But Oliver arcs, and I hope by the end of the story, the reader walks away really liking him, if not loving him like I do.

And that’s why I mentioned perspective. I hope readers will try to understand my perspective…and Oliver’s. And with Oliver, I think I did spend a lot of time in his head. In fact, I actually had to cut out some of the exposition pieces of the story. But what you won’t get is anything from Benjy’s point of view. Benjy is Oliver’s boyfriend. I do plan to talk a little more in my blog posts about Benjy and who he is—why he put up with Oliver as long as he did. I’d have loved to have talked about it more in the book, but this was Oliver’s story and told 100% from Oliver’s point of view.

Of all the stories I’ve written, this has been one of the most meaningful to me personally. I’m thrilled with Dreamspinner Press for giving me the chance to share it, and I’m incredibly thankful to the readers who take a chance on reading it.

Hopefully, you read Jeff’s blog post carefully, because then you will understand what I am about to say about this book.

I did NOT like Oliver…not for a very long time. (I am guessing Jeff will be happy about that!) Let’s face it, he was a jerk. He was a jerk when he was fat, he was a jerk as he was losing weight, and he was a jerk when he got skinny. Although, I will give him a pass on the part where he got skinny, because the man had a complete overhaul in his world and anybody in that situation would not have any clue what is right or wrong in lots of those situations.

But he was just a jerk to Benjy, a man who was faithful, supportive, loving and a fantastic friend, despite all the reasons why he could have told Ollie to take a flying leap. He was positive, helpful and so supportive of what Ollie wanted to do, not necessarily what Benjy wanted. It gave a bit of an impression that Benjy was a pushover, and would let Ollie do whatever he wanted, and hurt Benjy without consequences. Ollie finds out that Benjy isn’t a pushover, but someone who truly just wants to do what he can to be there.

These two men both had huge issues to overcome, and Ollie’s weight was just one of them. His self-esteem was awful (this cover is freaking perfect for what this book touches on), and even as he lost weight, he couldn’t see how he would ever be lovable. Meanwhile, Benjy had such horrible anxiety it was a wonder that he was able to go to work on a daily basis. Neither of these things can be overcome with an HEA, and I love that Jeff did not make that their salvation. Their road to their success was lead by themselves.

This was a very personal book to me. I actually had a hard time reading some of it. I have been overweight most of my life (like Ollie, although not nearly that size), and being female the criticism tends to be much more harsh than it is for me (which Jeff even touches on in the book). Knowing the pain that comes with living in a society that values the size of your waist more than the size of your love, it was hard to see how he would react to hateful things that happened to him. However, it was heartening to read that it doesn’t have to be that way, and it isn’t necessarily because you lose the weight, but that you learn to love yourself.

Thank you Jeff for stepping outside so many comfort zones and creating characters that are flawed inside, because they are seen as flawed outside.

I have to give this book two ratings.

As a reader: 4 pieces of eye candy

As a human being: 5+ pieces of eye candy

Social Media:
website: http://www.jefferno.com
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jefferno
twitter: https://twitter.com/JeffErno
Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2946208.Jeff_Erno


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Patron by C.B. Lewis: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Theodore Wentworth, who possesses little more than a sharp and well-educated mind, is trying to solicit a sponsor for his studies of Greek antiquity by performing recitations at gatherings of collectors. Desperate for luck and better skills in oratory, in jest, he places a coin at the feet of a statue of Hermes. It seems like coincidence when his fortune turns and a gentleman calling himself Alexander becomes his benefactor. Despite his friend John teasing him about it, Theodore continues to offer tokens to Hermes and sinks himself into his study of the classics.

Alexander encourages Theodore’s interest, prompting Theodore to face desires he tried to put aside years before. As Theodore embraces the knowledge, he must also resist his attraction to Alexander—knowing his feelings are a serious crime in Victorian England.

But the secret Alexander keeps will change everything in a love story for the ages, steeped in taboo, temptation, history, and myth.

Title: Patron
Author: C.B. Lewis
Release Date: June 21, 2017
Category: Historical: World, Fantasy: Mythology
Pages: TBD (Novella)

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The second I saw this cover (TCO was fortunate enough to do the cover reveal of this amazing cover) and the blurb, I knew I had to read it. It combined a few of my favorite things. I love Greek and Roman mythology and I also love books based in Victorian England. And it is so clear that C.B. Lewis loves, and researched these things very well, in order to write this novella.

Whether you believe in mythology or not, there is no denying that both of those times still have an impact even in today’s society. Just the other day, I used the word “herculean” to describe something. The world is full of words and phrases from that time period. Especially in the medical field. Achilles tendon anyone? 🙂

This was a very well done blend of old (the mythology) and “new” (the MC’s meet in Victorian England) with some mystery tacked on for additional interest. The stress that Theodore endures personally from realizing he is gay in a period of time that could have resulted in his death was very real. He moves through many stages, until he reaches the stage where he accepts it, and accepts that Alexander wants to be with him. All of this while trying to find a way to continue his education in Greek mythology.

I won’t give away the ending, although you can definitely see it coming. I don’t think it was meant to be a surprise ending, merely one that everyone could be happy with. I liked how it wrapped around Theodore, and his love of antiquities. It made it that much stronger a story.

This one has a good mix of all the things that I love: mythology, Victorian England, romance, and an HEA.

4 pieces of eye candy

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Love Wanted by John Inman: Release Day Review with Giveaway

When it rains, it pours. Not only has Larry Walls been evicted from his apartment, but his hours have also been cut at the department store where he works, leaving him facing homelessness.

Meanwhile, Bo Lansing, a total stranger to Larry, toils at a dead-end job as a fry cook while attending night classes to become a certified chef. When the school closes its doors without warning, leaving Bo in the lurch for thousands of dollars in tuition, his dream of becoming a chef is shattered and his financial troubles spiral.

Desperate for a new beginning, each man answers an ad for live-in help posted by a wealthy recluse, and wonder of wonders, they are both hired! Just as their lives begin to improve, a young Kumeyaay Indian named Jimmy Blackstone joins the workforce at the Stanhope mansion.

When Mr. Stanhope’s true reason for hiring the young men is discovered by one of the three, a fourth entity makes its presence known.

Greed.

With all these players vying for position in a game of intrigue orchestrated by one lonely old man and a mischievous ghost, can a simple thing like love ever hope to survive the fray?

Title: Love Wanted
Author: John Inman
Release Date: June 19, 2017
Category: Paranormal: Ghosts/Spirits
Pages: 270

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My goodness…there is so much I want to say about this book, and I can’t, because…SPOILERS!!!!

First things first, I have always loved John Inman’s work (well except for horror, I just can’t read those stories, I’d scare myself 🙂 ), and this one is no exception. No matter the subject matter, he manages to infuse humor into his books. Some are so hilarious I have laughed until I cried. This one had quiet humor, the little things, which went along so well with the theme of this book. A lonely old man who wanted to find a couple who he could have fall in love under his roof, and then…well spoilers, so nope.

The theme also matched one of the MC’s, Larry, so very well. He was a quiet, shy man, prone to blushing and falling for the wrong guy. And he adored the senior occupants of the house, both Roger Stanhope, the owner and (for lack of a better term) puppetmaster and Mrs. Price, Roger and Jeremy’s cook, et. al. His respect for both of them, and the situation that he had been granted was so strong, and carried through in everything he did.

There are secrets in the house, and just when you think you know all the secrets, Mr. Inman decides to flip the script and give you a completely different secret for the house to deal with. Nobody does that better than John Inman. His writing brings out all the joy of life, and the insecurities and challenges that come with being in a house with people who you hadn’t met before. He manages to make you wonder how this will turn out right for everyone, and have the happy ending that he never fails to provide.

One thing I have always enjoyed about Mr. Inman’s books is the diversity of the characters. In this book, you have a redhead, a man with black hair, a Native American, Roger, a 93 year old man, Jeremy, Roger’s lover of 70 years, (you’ll understand when you read it), and a senior woman of retired age. Not your typical cast of characters, and yet, they have the qualities you would expect from the such people.

Lastly, I must say, Mr. Inman may have ruined me. I will never think of Wesson Oil and Rice Krispies the same again. (Again, you have to read it to understand, so no excuses!). The visuals you will get are worth every single penny.

4.5 pieces of eye candy for me


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

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

 

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

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

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

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Release Date: July 14, 2017

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

An extended excerpt from Who We Truly Are:

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

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

“Talon—” Gregory started.

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

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

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

Fucking enhanced. They thought they were so damned perfect.

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

Seventeen? What had he missed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh good, Finn thought. Only one?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Not a damn thing,” Talon snapped.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What about Drew?” Talon asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Did we know him?” Talon asked.

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

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

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

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

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

Everyone was silent.

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

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

“Very clever,” Gael said sardonically.

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

The room was silent again.

“Where from?” Talon ground out.

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

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

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

 

And now for the Cover Reveal….

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Leave a comment; congratulate Victoria Sue on her cover reveal, let her know what you think about the excerpt, or just say hi and you could win a copy of any of Victoria’s backlist. 🙂

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P.S. I Spook You by S.E. Harmon: Release Day Review with Giveaway

SSA Rain Christiansen used to be the agency’s golden boy. It just takes one moment of weakness, one slight, tiny, itty-bitty paranormal sighting, and all of a sudden he’s the agency’s embarrassment. His boss gives him one last chance to redeem himself—go down to Brickell Bay, play nice with the local police, and leave the ghost sightings behind. Rain is determined to do exactly that, even if it kills him.

Cold-case detective Daniel McKenna’s latest investigation is going nowhere fast. Five years earlier, high school student Amy Greene went missing after leaving her part-time job and was never seen again. Daniel is glad to finally have the FBI help that his department requested, even if it does come in the form of his ex.

It doesn’t help that Rain is pretty sure he’s falling in love with Danny all over again—if he ever stopped. Add to that the frustration of seeing ghosts at every turn while he works a case that’s stalled in its tracks, and Rain is starting to wonder if second chances and happy endings are just for fairy tales.

Title: P.S. I Spook You
Author: S.E. Harmon
Release Date: June 12, 2017
Category: Mystery/Suspense, Paranormal: Ghosts/Spirit
Pages: 256

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I seriously LOVE, LOVE, LOVE S.E. Harmon’s writing. I read Stay With Me the day it published, and just loved Mac’s snarky sense of humor (probably because I “might” have a very similar sense of humor). So, when I saw P.S. I Spook You was coming out, I jumped all over it, and had to force myself to wait a couple weeks to read it. And yes, I loved it.

Poor Rain (his “real” first name is awesome, btw!) is having a tough time, with his seeing ghosts and all, and being sent back home to work on a cold case with his ex-boyfriend. Meanwhile Danny doesn’t exactly welcome Rain back into his bed with open arms, seeing as Rain walked away without a backward glance.

These two men have some serious communication issues. When they don’t want to talk about something, they just use a safeword, and move on. And whatever they were about to talk about ends up in no-mans land, possibly never to be spoken of again. Finding a real trust between them takes a lot of hard work, and some proof that they both wanted to make themselves vulnerable for the other again.

The mystery is well done, and weaves its way through the book, ending in a climax that you didn’t quite see coming, but was likely how many of those types of situations end. Through it all, into the aftermath, Rain keeps his snarky sense of humor (even if it has to be kept inside sometimes).

There were a few pieces that weren’t resolved-including one involving Danny that I would have liked to see how it was dealt with. It didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story, but I would have liked to see the secondary storyline firmed up.

There were also a couple scenes I would have enjoyed seeing expanded, or even addressed a little further. Rain’s mother making another appearance would have been fantastic. She was amazing.

But the best part is that this book ends with the possibility of either more of Rain and Danny, as a series, or possibly as secondary characters to future stories. I’d love to see that, and seeing more of these two men, and how their relationship develops would be fantastic!

I highlighted so many snarky little comments, that picking just one was nearly impossible. However, when I looked many were in context to the story, and therefore small spoilers. So, here are two of my highlights…they are not related.

“That’s what God made heated seats for, after all. That and keeping takeout warm on the way home.”

“Anything from my mother’s wellness store was guaranteed to be suspicious, and thus, subject to search and seizure.”

4.5 pieces of eye candy


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An Island in the Stars by Susan Laine: Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Thank you kindly, Denise, for having me here today. Hello, readers. I’m Susan Laine, an author with Dreamspinner Press. I’m here to talk about my novel, An Island in the Stars, that comes out today.

Here’s the blurb:

“Sam, a geeky college freshman, has bigger problems than lusting after Marcus, sexy jock, college junior, and his big brother’s best friend. Chasing after a beanie caught in the winter wind turns into a tumble down the rabbit hole for them both—science fiction style.

Sam and Marcus find themselves trapped on a tropical island in the middle of a strange ocean on an alien moon. The sole structure is a ruined temple devoted to the art of love. Flustered, confused, and unable to return home, they need to figure out a means of escape from a hostile jungle teeming with dangerous life-forms.

In this tale where opposites attract and secret crushes are revealed, two very dissimilar young men discover they actually have a lot in common after all, but it will take their differences as much as their points of connection to survive on an island in the stars.”

The topic today is themes. The main theme depends on the perspective. From Sam’s POV, this is a frenemies-to-lovers story; from Marcus’s POV, this is friends-to-lovers. They view their relationship in a different light. Sam sees Marcus as his big brother’s best friend, the jock he’s crushing on, but also a bit afraid of. Hence… frenemies. Or perhaps acquaintances-to-lovers. Yes, Sam has issues. Marcus sees them more as friends, viewing Sam as someone he could be very close to. Marcus hangs around Sam a lot in an effort to gain Sam’s attention, respect, and attraction. He’s friends with Simon, Sam’s big brother, so it’s natural for Marcus to see Sam as an extension of that friendship—all the while hoping for more.

The other major theme is a typical one for teenagers: Growing up. Making tough decisions, learning to work with others, even people you might dislike, adapting to new identities and sexualities, planning for the future, understanding the consequences of one’s actions and taking responsibility, developing a sense of self, learning one’s own strengths and weaknesses, analyzing one’s own feelings and empathizing with others, finding solutions to problems. All that and more are present in the story, as Sam and Marcus struggle to make sense of the new world around them—and each other. I hope the problems and issues they face feel realistic and relatable.

Here’s an exclusive teaser excerpt showing the theme of having to make a choice:

Marcus chuckled, but his eyes were round and his skin pale, so he clearly was more shocked by what had happened than he liked to admit. “Listen. If and when that thing wakes up, it’s just going to rain on our parade again. I think…. We have only two choices: Trap it somehow or… or kill it.”

Sam gulped. Could he murder an alien life-form to save his own life?

“No. I don’t want to kill it,” Sam replied emphatically. “I just don’t want it to kill us either.”

Marcus nodded. “That’s why my other option was to make a trap, not that we’d trap it only to kill and eat it. Though the meat—”

“Don’t even think it. We’re not eating an alien animal. No freaking way in hell.”

Marcus grinned, seemingly back to his old self. “That’s a no, then, is it?”

Thanks again to Two Chicks Obsessed and Denise for arranging this guest post.

If you liked that little scene, here’s the buy link:

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You can find me:

 


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Sunset at Pencarrow by Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell: Release Day Review and Giveaway

Kiwi Nathaniel Dunn is in a fighting mood, but how does a man fight Wellington’s famous fog? In the last year, Nate’s lost his longtime lover to boredom and his ten-year job to the economy. Now he’s found a golden opportunity for employment where he can even use his artistic talent, but to get the job, he has to get to Christchurch today. Heavy fog means no flight, and the ticket agent is ignoring him to fawn over a beautiful but annoying, overly polite American man.

Rusty Beaumont can deal with a canceled flight, but the pushy Kiwi at the ticket counter is making it difficult for him to stay cool. The guy rubs him all the wrong ways despite his sexy working-man look, which Rusty notices even though he’s not looking for a man to replace the fiancé who died two years ago. Yet when they’re forced to share a table at the crowded airport café, Nate reveals the kind heart behind his grumpy façade. An earthquake, sex in the bush, and visits from Nate’s belligerent ex turn a day of sightseeing into a slippery slope that just might land them in love.

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

Title: Sunset at Pencarrow
Authors: Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell
Release Date: June 7, 2017
Category: Contemporary, World of Love
Pages: TBC (Novella)

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I couldn’t wait to read this one. I love New Zealand. Having been there, and enjoyed the beauty of the country, and the lovely, diverse people, I was excited to get another glimpse of it. And I really did enjoy all the little pieces of the culture, the landscape, and the beautiful landmarks of the country. It was a spectacular reminder that I can’t wait to get back for a second visit.

Now, I will say that Nate…I didn’t like him a whole lot most of the time. He was grumpy, moody, and mercurial. He certainly had reasons with an ex who was fairly abusive, at least verbally. However, it is hard to like a character when he is trying to be kind, and maybe start a relationship, yet can’t get out of his own issues.

Rusty, on the other hand, was a sweetheart that you had to love the second the reader met him. He was sweet, and easy-going, willing to find adventure in a land he didn’t think he would be coming back to. He was kind and strong, and willing to stick up for those who couldn’t do it themselves, but only if they actually needed him.

Once these two men began to show each other their feelings, I felt better about Nate, and saw his growth as a person. However, I was glad that the authors kept them apart for some time, so that Nate could continue to grow away from Rusty, and become a person who he could be on his own.

3.5 pieces of eye candy

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It Could Happen by Mia Kerick: Release Blitz, with Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

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Title: It Could Happen
Author: Mia Kerick
Release Date: June 5th 2017
Genre: New Adult, MMM Romance

It Could Happen

Three misfits, mismatched in every way—Henry Perkins, Brody Decker, and Danny Denisco—have been friends throughout high school. Now in their senior year, the boys realize their relationship is changing, that they’re falling in love. But they face opposition at every turn—from outside and from within themselves. Moving to the next level will take all the courage, understanding, and commitment they can muster. But it could happen.

Henry is a star athlete and the son of religious parents who have little concern for the future he wants. Brody is a quirky dreamer and adrenaline junkie, and Danny is an emo artist and the target of bullies. Despite their differences they’ve always had each other’s backs, and with each of them facing a new and unique set of challenges, that support is more important than ever. Is it worth risking the friendship they all depend on for the physical and romantic relationship they all desire?

In this unconventional new adult romance, three gay teens brave societal backlash—as well as the chance that they might lose their treasured friendship—to embark on a committed polyamorous relationship.

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | DSP (ebook) | DSP (paperback)

Find It Could Happen on Goodreads

Here is a free verse poem about Christmas that Danny wrote for his two boyfriends, Henry and Brody.

Free Verse Poetry by Danny D

“Handmade”
String lights sparkle,
Tree stars glitter.
All that shines was made from litter. Caps and corks from kitchen trash, Last year’s candy—prices slashed.
Our tree I dug, our nest secondhand, But nothing that they see is bland. Gray eyes see hope,
The dark fear God.
My light ones only see the flaws.
But in the gentle Christmas glow,
All things wicked we forego.
We face ourselves.
We face each other:
A family without a father or mother, Thrown away, cast off in the storm. Still there’s beauty in things well-worn, And what is dull, that which is frayed, I’ll paint, I’ll sew,
Rebirth handmade.


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Mia

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying 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-four 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 emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at 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 Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.

Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory 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.

Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com. Visit her website for updates on what is going on in Mia’s world, rants, music, parties, and pictures, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration.

Links: Facebook | Twitter

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Breaking Bonds by Ari McKay: Release Day Review and Giveaway

From the frying pan into the fire.

After a critic’s review attacks both Chef Liam Walker’s culinary skills and his personal life, Liam can no longer take the heat of the cutthroat New York City restaurant scene. He needs to get out of the kitchen—at least long enough to cool down and regroup.

At the Overlook Resort in North Carolina, Liam meets owner Carter Galloway. Carter has a passion for the hospitality business to rival Liam’s own, and it’s not hard to see where their shared interests—and attraction—could lead. But Carter has no interest in a fling, and Liam has no intention of walking away from the career he fought so hard for. If they want a taste of happiness together, they’ll have to find the courage to break the bonds threatening to pull them apart.

Title: Breaking Bonds
Series: The Walker Boys: Book Two
Author: Ari McKay
Release Date: June 1, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 190

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Every time I read one of the Dreamspun Desires books, I just end up happy. They just bring me back to a happy place where I began reading for what I wanted to read, and now continue to do.

I really enjoyed this one in the series. Carter was a sweetheart that had awful parents, and yet stuck to his guns, and his priorities. He wanted to make his resort a success, and he wasn’t willing to sacrifice his goals for a simple fling, despite how much he wanted Liam.

Liam, meanwhile, had his own goals, and knew he needed to pay back the mentor who had been there for him, when he was nothing. What Liam needed to realize is that sometimes goals change, as our life, and our “Outlook” changes. As he became more involved in the resort, in Carter’s life, and even becoming a mentor to his own junior chef, he found that he had competing goals, and it pulled at him. For his part, he never pushed Carter farther than he wanted. He was respectful, even as they fell in love.

The ending was satisfying, especially as the reader finds out how much Liam’s goals change based on his return to New York. The perpetual HEA that is inevitable in this series will make the reader smile. And I loved catching up with the men later, as their lives were on track, moving forward, and making their own goal’s successes happen.

4 pieces of eye candy


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