The Charlatan’s Conquest by Vivien Dean: Exclusive Guest Post, Review and Giveaway

With love and ghosts, the challenge is figuring out what’s real.

Software engineer Cruz Guthrie needs money for his sister’s cancer treatments. He needs it so badly he’s willing to stand in for a ghost hunter friend and investigate a millionaire’s supposed specters. It should be an easy gig—after all, nobody thinks the haunting is real.

Neurological researcher Brody Weber is furious that Cruz would take advantage of Brody’s father. But his mind changes when spirits manifest—and he realizes Cruz genuinely wants to help. When they learn the paranormal activity centers on Brody, Cruz is willing to fight to free Brody from the entities determined to make his life miserable. With a little help from friends and family—both living and dead—they must figure out why Brody is attracting spirits and how to banish them. Only then can they pursue a future together.

Title: The Charlatan’s Conquest
Series: Phantom Fixers
Author: Vivien Dean
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Category: Paranormal: Ghosts/Spirits, Dreamspun Beyond
Pages: 216

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Dreamspinner Press ebook

Dreamspinner Press paperback: (buy the paperback and get the ebook for FREE!)

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS

By Vivien Dean

Thank you so much for letting me stop by today! My name is Vivien Dean, and I’m excited to have a release in the debut month of Dreamspinner’s new line, Dreamspun Beyond. It’s nerve-wracking, I’ll admit. I’ve wanted to have a solo title with Dreamspinner for over three years now. The reports from my author friends who published with DSP were nothing but glowing, and I itched to be a part of it. Plus, the covers were gorgeous, and who doesn’t love getting graced with pretty art? So when Dreamspun Beyond was announced, I jumped at the chance. I had been lucky enough to collaborate with Rick Reed on the Dreamspun Desires line, but this would be all on my own, without any filters, without Rick to help me along. Now, I’m not exactly a newbie. I’ve been writing and publishing romance for over a decade. But first impressions only happen once, and I always strive to present the best I can, especially in my work.

First impressions also play vital roles in our stories. It doesn’t matter if characters haven’t met before the story starts or if they’ve known each other for years. Those initial thoughts on the other person, as well as the interactions, can shape how the relationship progresses. Two strangers bumping into each other in a coffee shop have a specific dynamic. Two men who’ve been best friends since kindergarten will bring a completely different perspective to a budding romance. Those first moments matter, whether we see them on the page or not.

In “The Charlatan’s Conquest,” my two heroes, Cruz and Brody, don’t even know the other exists when the story starts. Cruz first meets Brody when Brody storms into a meeting Cruz has with Brody’s father about getting rid of the ghosts haunting the family house. Cruz is already on edge because he feels like a bit of a faker since he’s not a real ghost hunter, so his first instinct is to keep everybody calm so he can stay in control of the situation.

But crashing the meeting and finding this gorgeous guy sitting on the couch with his dad isn’t Brody’s first impression of Cruz. Actually, he’s already formed an opinion before he steps foot in the house. He’s convinced Cruz is a scam artist, which is why he raced to intervene, but when he arrived, this was what greeted him:

Another car was in the circular drive in front of the three-story brick house. Brody pulled up behind it with a frown, his gaze fixed on the vehicle as he got out of his own. It was a dark blue Volvo station wagon, at least twenty years old, with a dozen stickers on its rear bumper. A yellow ribbon for children’s cancer with words of support surrounding it. A rainbow-colored peace symbol. A variety of slogans like I’m not speeding. I’m qualifying and My other car is the Batmobile and Sometimes I wrestle with my demons. Sometimes we just snuggle.

Brody snorted at the last one. He could tell this gay-rights supporter/speed freak/comics-loving ghost hunter a thing or two about demons.

I wanted Brody’s first impression to be very distinct. It’s also fairly accurate in a purely superficial way. Cruz decorated his bumper in stickers that meant something to him, and the chaos of all the messages and colors is perfectly on point with the vibrancy and diversity in Cruz’s life. Brody learned a lot in a single glance, even though he didn’t understand the importance of all of it. It subverted his expectations, which ultimately made it easier for Cruz to gain his trust.

If I had bumper stickers on my car—and the fact that I don’t says something about me, too, whether I like it or not, haha—mine would probably be as diverse as Cruz’s. One for my kids being honors students. Some type of pride emblem. One that says, “Hostile 17 owes me kittens.” The list would likely be huge. My Flex would look like a Nascar car covered in ads. Except not, because, well, it’s a Flex.

What first impression would people get from your (real or imaginary) bumper stickers?

Paranormal stories are not usually my books of choice. With just a few exceptions, I have always been more of a contemporary romance, life in the current plane of reality kind of reader. But The Charlatan’s Conquest intrigued me from the second I read the blurb. Not just because it was part of a new line by Dreamspinner Press, but also because the ghost part, that has always been a bit of a fascination for me, and within the gay romance genre, those books are few and far between.

I immediately liked Cruz. He was a responsible guy, with a family that was strange, but helped to create him into the person he was. His connection to his family made him even more likable, especially his younger sister, who even while she was sick couldn’t help but try to find Cruz the right boyfriend.

Brody, well, he took a little getting used to. The reader could see that his concern was that his father was being swindled, and having spent so much of his life on the other side of things with his father, he wanted to make sure there was not one more thing that would go bad. Brody for years didn’t realize that all the hauntings that he refused to acknowledge were actually brought through him.

Once these two connected and worked through how the hauntings were happening, and what was the root cause, it was easy to see how these two men could work together to try to find the right way to get rid of them, and allow Brody to find a happy place for the first time in his life. Seeing a man who spent his years from the time his mother died until he was able to rid himself of these demons in a terribly unhappy place was tragic, and explained so much about his life, and even his skepticism.

Brody and Cruz fit well together, but even more, they were able to be strengths for each other, as both had their own demons (literally and figuratively) to work through, but needed each other to balance everything out. They were definitely ying to yang for one another. Giving and taking as needed to deal with the enormous and frightening tasks that they had to deal with.

What a satisfying ending, not just to the story, but to how it was dealt with. With ghost and paranormal stories, whatever the author dreams up could be somewhat realistic, or it could be so off the charts out there that the reader has a hard time believing that it “could” happen in a parallel universe. In this case, it felt like something that really could happen in that alternate world.

I really enjoyed this one, and highly recommend! 4.5 pieces of eye candy

 

VIVIEN DEAN is a firm believer that love doesn’t care about gender. That’s why her titles encompass both GLBT and het, erotic and sweet, as well as a wide variety of genres. After growing up in the snowy and isolated Midwest, she went off in search of her creative muse. She performed on stage, wrote and directed indie films in Orlando, then met her British soulmate online. One wedding, two children, and ten addresses later, she resides in the Bay Area where it’s easy to indulge in her favorite pastimes—good theater, great movies, and amazing food.

Vivien is a four-time EPIC eBook Award winner and collaborated with Pepper Espinoza to write as Jamie Craig for five years.

CONTACT VIVIEN

Website: www.viviendean.com

E-mail: vivien_dean@yahoo.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/vivien.dean.3

Twitter: @VivienDean

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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.

Chasing Destiny by Megan Erickson: New Release Review and AWESOME Guest Post

Some live on memories…

Almost dying during a pack uprising has a way of shaking things up. I’m no longer Mr. Laid Back now that there’s an itch under my skin I can’t scratch.

On a volunteer mission that goes beyond the walls of our compound, we enter the territory of a pack long thought dead, and find ourselves on the business end of their spears.

What I’m not prepared for is what I find within their walls—The one shifter I never thought I’d see alive, the one I’d mourned twice, the one I’d always loved. He is alive, and if I have anything to do with it, he’ll stay that way. But he’s got secrets, and exposing them could lead us to an enemy worse than the bloodthirsty undead shifters wanting to kill us all…

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Oddest things I found while researching for the Silver Tip Pack series:

  1. Don’t search Etsy for werewolf. Don’t do it! I thought I’d mosey on over there to see if they had any cool things for giveaways and instead I came away with the knowledge that someone, somewhere, makes werewolf dildos. I never needed to know that, and I don’t think I’m a better human for it.
  2. There are a million YouTube videos about werewolf shifting. This one is a great compilation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfUrSodTwDw There is even one entitled “Man shifts into werewolf live on camera.” Okay. Sure, Jan.
  3. I need to thank the Underworld movie franchise for their lychan special effects because they have provided me with endless gifs to promote these books. Thanks Underworld producers! http://gph.is/28VF6yy
  4. Plumbing! My characters might be shifters, but the have working toilets and showers.
  5. Building supplies! My packs live in fortified compounds. I had to figure out how they’d build these compounds, and what they would use. Also farming. Dystopian writing is hard, but fun. 🙂

Okay, I seriously don’t read paranormal wolf/shifter, etc books, and I REALLY don’t read dystopian, cause well…I don’t know, I just don’t. However, with it being Megan Erickson, and with the above guest post, how could you not? I mean really…I had to!

And I loved it. I need to just stop judging a book by…well what I think it will be like. 🙂

Chasing Destiny, being book 2 in the Silver Tip Pack series, can be read as a stand alone (and since I didn’t read book 1, I can vouch for that). The author does a great job explaining the things you (likely) would have learned in book 1 that you need to know. And I was able to follow along, and get to meet, and fall in love with all the characters.

This is a second chance love (if being young teenagers when you lose your first love counts) between Bay, the brother to the Silver Tip Pack leader and Nash, the man who everyone thought was dead.

What an emotional punch when these two see each other again. Bay never stopped thinking that Nash was out there, and never stopped wanting him back. Meanwhile Nash did everything he could to keep himself away, knowing it would likely kill him to stay away and everyone he loved if he considered returning. His mind told him to stay away, but his heart and his mate would not let him go, and that was the emotional punch the reader takes as they read this. There is so much love between these two, no matter how hard Nash tries to deny it, and push it away, for the betterment of everyone, it can’t be denied, and we are fortunate enough to come along as Bay fights for Nash, until Nash is strong enough to fight for himself. *Spoiler* Nash gets there, but it takes a HUGE revelation for him to do it, and the reader will love every second of it.

So, here’s what I learned…that there better be a book 3, because I want to know what happens to Bay and Nash as they continue on their path, and there might be a couple others in the pack that I definitely want to follow into their HEA’s.

Once again, Megan draws me in, as she always does, and I don’t want to leave…except now I have to go read one of her series I haven’t yet… 🙂

4 pieces of eye candy

 

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

Get a Grip by L.A. Witt: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post and Giveaway

Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt blog tour for Get a Grip, the latest Bluewater Bay story!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding Get a Grip) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 29th, and winners will be announced on July 30th.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

 

If a tree falls in Bluewater Bay . . . could it be fate?

A year after his divorce, Shane Andrews isn’t interested in dating—not that he has time, between three kids and a demanding job as a grip. When a windstorm knocks a tree onto one of the Wolf’s Landing soundstages, Shane’s there to help with the mess . . . and so is firefighter Aaron Tucker.

A former smoke jumper, Aaron’s an adrenaline junkie and way too restless and reckless to be relationship material. As far as he’s concerned, monogamy is for penguins, and he’d rather be alone than tied down. Signing up to be a stepparent? No, thank you.

But after a scorching-hot night together, they’re hooked. Aaron is a taste of the excitement Shane’s been lacking, and Shane’s pushing buttons Aaron didn’t know he had. The more they’re together, the less Aaron craves wild nights with other men . . . but the more Shane wants to play the field like he never got to in his twenties.

This could be the love neither man knew he needed, but only if Shane gets his feet back on the ground before Aaron walks away.

Amazon

Riptide Publishing

Writing in an Established Series

Writing in an established universe definitely has some challenges. When that universe is shared, there are even more. But it’s a ton of fun, too, which is why I’ve done it twice (first with Tucker Springs, now with Bluewater Bay), and will probably do it again in the future.

An equal parts pro and con is that you don’t have complete control over your universe. If it’s a shared world, you have other people working on it, which means keeping track of the town’s layout, if that restaurant on First Street is still in business or if one of the other authors burned it down two books ago, etc.  With so many people involved in Bluewater Bay, we kept a couple of detailed “bibles” on Google Docs, which we could all access to make sure we had our stories straight.

That can make things challenging, of course, but it can also make things easier. When I want my characters to go on a romantic date, it’s entirely possible another author has already created a restaurant that fits the bill. So I just send my characters to that place and don’t have to worry about naming it, establishing the atmosphere, etc. So it’s a bit of a shortcut!

Similarly, you can have characters introduced by other authors. In Get a Grip, Shane meets a couple of swingers, Simon and Lydia. They’ll be front and center in Anna Zabo’s book, Outside the Lines. And in turn, Anna introduces Jesse, the assistant manager at the Simon and Lydia’s comic book shop, and Jesse will be one of the main characters of my next book in the series, New Hand.

Basically what it boils down to is that you have to make sure you’re consistent with other authors, and you have to keep track of details from one book to the next, but you’ve also got people establishing cast and setting along the way, which can make things really fun. So yes, shared and established universes certainly have their challenges, but they’re really a lot of fun. I don’t know when or where my next shared universe will pop up, but there will definitely be more of them.

About Bluewater Bay

Welcome to Bluewater Bay! This quiet little logging town on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula has been stagnating for decades, on the verge of ghost town status. Until a television crew moves in to film Wolf’s Landing, a soon-to-be cult hit based on the wildly successful shifter novels penned by local author Hunter Easton.

Wolf’s Landing’s success spawns everything from merchandise to movie talks, and Bluewater Bay explodes into a mecca for fans and tourists alike. The locals still aren’t quite sure what to make of all this—the town is rejuvenated, but at what cost? And the Hollywood-based production crew is out of their element in this small, mossy seaside locale. Needless to say, sparks fly.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by eleven award-winning, best-selling LGBTQ romance authors: L.A. Witt, L.B. Gregg, Z.A. Maxfield,  Heidi Belleau, Rachel Haimowitz, Anne Tenino, Amy Lane, SE Jakes, G.B. Gordon, Jaime Samms and Ally Blue. Each contemporary novel stands alone, but all are built around the town and the people of Bluewater Bay and the Wolf’s Landing media empire.

Check out Bluewater Bay! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/bluewater-bay

 

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

L.A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).  

To celebrate the release of Get a Grip, one lucky winner will receive their choice of two ebooks off L.A.’s backlist and a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 29, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

WITH BOTH HANDS

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

LOVE IS A GAMBLE

 

 

 

The Men of London series

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

Susan Mac Nicol

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

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

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

Who We Truly Are by Victoria Sue: EXCLUSIVE Deleted Scene, Excerpt (NSFW) and Giveway

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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Talon sighed and pushed himself up, secretly loving the small, needy sound Finn made as his cock slipped out. He automatically went for the cloth and carefully cleaned Finn up. He glanced up because Finn was quiet and met Finn’s deep green eyes. The most beautiful fucking eyes he’d ever seen, not that he’d ever say. Talon swallowed down the words before they escaped his lips. Finn was watching him carefully, waiting for him to speak, and Talon quickly glanced back down as if they had an insurmountable wall between them. Talon knew Finn loved him. The phrase wearing his heart on his sleeve was made with Finn in mind. They were never demonstrative in public usually, even off duty, and he knew Finn was okay with that. Gregory and the rest of the team were okay with them. Gregory wanted Finn to stay any way he could have him and ignored their relationship.

No, Finn wasn’t the problem. Their boss wasn’t the problem, not even the rest of the team.

It was him.

Sometimes Talon wished he’d never met Finn. Sometimes he just wanted to run away and hide him to keep him safe. Somewhere remote…. Greenland had possibilities. Talon stared into Finn’s gorgeous eyes as his breathing slowed. Deep green, almost black when he was aroused, lighter when he was angry. Talon could watch them change color all day, but watching them darken just before Talon kissed him, or if they touched unobtrusively, was his favorite. Sometimes their hands touched under the desks at work. Sometimes while Talon was correcting Finn’s grip on his gun. Especially while Finn was being fucked into oblivion, or like now, when he was sated. Finn looked at him like he hung the stars. It was so easy to forget he was a killer when that green-eyed stare rested on his. When the most beautiful smile he’d ever seen lit Finn’s face, directed at him. But he could kill with a thought, and the nightmare that he might do that to Finn didn’t just come during the night; it was around him all the time. Every second of every day, and he simply didn’t know if he could live with it any longer.

Because the emptiness of living without Finn was better than the soul-destroying thought of Finn not living at all.

Deleted scene : Who We Truly Are

Finn pulled up at the local deli on his way home, a few minutes before it closed. He was enjoying learning to cook, and while he’d mostly been responsible for it when he’d lived with his entitled mom and his lazy slob of a brother, they’d been firmly in the burgers and fries department, and Finn loved experimenting.

Last night they’d had vegetable curry, and tonight he was going to do chicken milanese. Vance’s mom, who fed them all even more than they ate at Betty’s, had been giving him recipes and instructions. Finn loved food, and Talon was happy to eat anything Finn put in front of him. He would always clean up afterward, though, sending Finn for a shower or to put his feet up for a few minutes. It was all Suzy Homemaker, and Finn loved every second of it. In fact, as far as compatibility went, the only time they clashed so far was at work… or specifically if Talon thought Finn was at risk. Which, unfortunately, because of the job they did, meant pretty much all the time.

The bell didn’t ring above the door as Finn walked in, which he didn’t think about until he saw the terrified look on Mr. Adeila’s face as he walked toward the deli counter. Finn had a split second to register something was wrong, and for the second time that day, he felt the barrel of a gun in his back. Shit. And surprisingly, it wasn’t the thought of whoever was holding the gun that terrified him; it was the reaction Talon would have, knowing Finn had managed to get himself in a situation again.

“Hands where I can see them,” the low growl said.

Finn immediately put his hands up, and the robber came around from behind him. Finn took in the skinny body, the ripped jeans, filthy T-shirt, and the black mask. He also recognized the Sig SP2022 the guy was clutching as if his life depended on it.

“I have a gun,” Finn said evenly. Being shot, especially accidentally, wasn’t on his to do list today.

The man stiffened, and Finn lifted his arms higher, showing the holster clipped to his belt that had been hidden by his shirt. The robber lunged and fumbled to get Finn’s Glock. Finn didn’t move. He was nervous, but the gunman seemed completely terrified. The guy needed to calm the fuck down before the gun went off.

“You a cop?”

Finn shook his head. “No. I just want us all to walk out of here safely. I didn’t want to surprise you.”

The guy grunted and waved his gun with a shaky hand to indicate Finn should move. “Get over there.”

Finn walked around the counter to stand with Mr. Adeila. The old shopkeeper looked terrified. Finn was glad neither his wife or daughter, who helped in the shop, were here.

The gunman took two steps back and locked the door. “Empty the register.” He fished a small canvas bag out of his pocket and threw it at Finn.

Finn pressed the cash button, and the register drawer shot open. Bar some loose change, it was completely empty. Finn hesitated a brief second, and then he understood the abject terror on Mr. Adeila’s face. His wife and daughter would be upstairs in their apartment, and the last thing he wanted was the gunman thinking the money was up there.

Finn glanced at the gunman. “It’s empty.” He stepped back as the gunman stiffened. He knew if he could see his face, it would be incredulous.

The man leaned over. “Where’s the fucking money?” he shouted.

“My wife already went to drop it in the bank,” Mr. Adeila stammered. “We never keep any on the premises overnight.”

Finn started talking. “Look, I have my debit card on me. I can withdraw five hundred in cash, now. There’s an ATM just outside on the wall next to the dry cleaners. Let me put my hand in my back pocket and get my card out?” Finn sounded reasonable, which quite frankly shocked the fuck out of him.

The gun waved precariously between them.

“Let Mr. Adeila go,” Finn urged. “It will take us seconds to just step outside, and then you can go.”

The man leaned over the counter to the old man. “Where’s your phone?” Mr. Adeila gestured to a small cell phone on the counter. The guy grabbed it and threw it to the floor, stamping on it. Finn took a breath. That was good. If he intended on shooting them, he wouldn’t care about the phone. “Sit down, hands on your head,” he shouted to Mr. Adeila. “If I see you move, I’ll put a bullet in you, and then I’ll go looking for your wife.”

Mr. Adeila whimpered but sank to the floor, cowering. Finn didn’t dare take his eyes off the gunman.

“Outside… now.” The man gave Finn a push and then stopped. Finn realized instantly the second his plan wasn’t gonna work as a black-and-white pulled up to the dry cleaners. “Fuck,” the man spat out, and then suddenly the gun wasn’t in Finn’s back—it was pointed at his face.

Finn had a second to see the right side of the pistol before he dropped and did the move Vance had been teaching him for weeks. He punched the guy right in the balls just as he heard the small click from the useless weapon before it was dropped. The guy screamed, turned, and staggered to the door. Finn followed, and in another second, the guy was sprawled on the ground in the shop doorway with Finn kneeling in his back.

Unfortunately Finn was likewise sprawled out by the cops in the mad rush when they saw what was happening. It took some hurried explaining, and Finn showing his ID before he was allowed to his feet.

“Ballsy but dumb,” the officer from district three pronounced as Finn and Mr. Adeila were checked out by the paramedics. “You feds think you can pull some superhero stunts. Other people might get hurt.”

Finn appreciated the irony, especially when it didn’t say anywhere on Finn’s ID which unit he belonged to. “The safety was on.”

The officer paused as he was writing. “What?”

“It was a Sig Sauer SP2022. Some of them have manual safeties, but they’re not common. I’m pretty sure he knew nothing about guns, and I only noticed when he shoved it near my face,” Finn said matter-of-factly. The cop regarded Finn carefully, and Finn shrugged. He wasn’t going to explain the years he’d spent with his dad, pouring over the old gun magazines when Finn had told him he wanted to join the FBI. That was private.

Mr. Adeila had been incredibly grateful, and Mrs. Adeila came running down stairs. “Finn,” she had exclaimed when her husband had explained what had happened, and she had cried all over Finn’s shirt and then tried to give Finn his weight in food. Finn grinned. Maybe Vance’s weight in food would be a more accurate description. “Policemen need to eat,” she insisted, patting Finn’s arm.

“I do,” he protested, not correcting her, as the plastic sack was pressed into his arms, but it was nice. The gratitude, the appreciation. When he got an invitation to Mr. Adeila’s daughter’s wedding next month, Finn knew it was time to leave.

 

Victoria Sue:

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

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

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

www.victoriasue.com

@vickysuewrites

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


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Runner by Parker Williams: Exclusive Guest Post, Release Day Review and Giveaway

Matt Bowers’s life ended at sixteen, when a vicious betrayal by someone who he should have been able to trust left him a shell of himself, fighting OCD and PTSD, living in constant fear and always running. When he buys a remote tract of land, he thinks he’s found the perfect place to hide from the world and attempt to establish some peace. For ten years he believes he’s found a measure of comfort, until the day a stranger begins to run on Matt’s road.

He returns every day, an unwelcome intrusion into Matt’s carefully structured life. Matt appeals to the local sheriff, who cannot help him since the jogger is doing nothing wrong. Gradually, after tentatively breaking the ice, Matt begins to accept the man’s presence—

But when the runner doesn’t show up one day, it throws Matt’s world into chaos and he must make the hardest decision of his life.

Title: Runner
Author: Parker Williams
Release Date: July 28, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

Building New Worlds: How to do it authentically

I’m going to admit, building new worlds in a single book isn’t all that hard. Look at your setting. What motivates you to put your character in that locale?

Example: Runner takes place in a remote town. The main character, Matt, lives far out of town, where he feels safe. Why? He can build a life here. He has his garden, his greenhouse, a stream to fish from, animals that he can hunt. He wants for nothing. Or so he thinks.

Your character: What affects him? What motivates and drives him? How does this affect the people around him?

Example: Matt cuts himself off from his family for the most part. He talks to his brother on the phone occasionally, but he can’t be a part of his family’s life. It just won’t work for him with his issues. So how does this affect others? What impact does it have on his family? The people who know him? Does it have a ripple effect on others? How does your character—and those around him—deal with the situation?

The problems: And here is what’s swirling around, affecting everyone. In a single book, the problem—and resolution—are handled pretty easily.

Example: Matt’s abuse at sixteen by someone he should have been able to trust. Matt assumes that this affects only him, but as time goes by, he realizes how it impacts those around him as well.

But… And here’s where we get into the fun of world building… what happens when your book is actually a series?

When K.C. Wells and I did Collars & Cuffs—and Secrets—all the rules above are in full force, but now the problem comes in that you have to determine if there is an overall story arc and how one event will flow into another book.

Example: Peter from Collars & Cuffs (Trusting Thomas). His abuse at the hands of his tormentor ripples throughout the series. In Someone to Keep Me, it shakes Scott to his core, but it also gives him a friend. Peter’s issues continue to resonate, and touch many lives such as

Jarod in Dom of Ages and JJ in Endings and Beginnings. Peter’s problem becomes a focal point that affects everyone in this world. And this is a good thing. It’s part of your world and it needs to be addressed from time to time so people don’t think you’ve forgotten about it.

In fact, Peter’s mentioned in An Unlocked Mind (book two of the Secrets series), because he does have such an impact on this world.

So when you build a world, you have to look at all of the pieces and see how they slot together. Some may be like an IKEA set, where you’ve got little things that don’t really need to be checked up on each book, but if it’s the main thrust of your story, you need to keep it in the reader’s eye from book to book, especially if there is a long gap between each issue.

Example: In Before You Break, Ellis is injured on the job. Will his injury have an impact on the series as a whole? Maybe not, but it’s still going to ripple from time to time. He’s going to appear in book two when he gets to deal with Rob (poor Ellis).

In closing, remember that in the worlds you create, you’re the god. What you say goes. But you’ve got to make it believable. Or not. That’s the fun thing about creating them. Oh, and because you get to tear them apart, too. That’s always fun.

After suffering an attack at 16, Matt suffers from extreme OCD and PTSD. He has locked himself away from the world in a cabin miles from town. He has turned his land into a self-sustaining oasis. He grows his own food, he fishes and hunts on his land and has almost no contact with the outside world. Then one day his world is turned upside down when someone starts jogging past his house everyday. The first sighting sent Matt into a panic attack to rival all panic attacks. Matt tried calling the sheriff to see if he could stop him, but the runner isn’t breaking any laws. Slowly, Matt comes to expect the runner at the same time everyday. One day when he doesn’t show up Matt’s world tips again. Can he leave his carefully constructed world to find out what happened to his runner?

This was a great read. My heart broke for Matt so many times throughout this story. His reaction to the attack was extreme, but how could it not be? He was 16, with very little if any coping skills. His mom did his a great disservice, she wan’t strong enough to get him the help he needed and so he retreated into himself where he knew he was safe and then eventually to his compound.

The runner, Charlie was an intriguing character. I love that he pushed Matt’s boundaries without being pushy or mean. He knew when to push and when to back off. He was so caring and understanding.

I loved the amount of detail in Matt’s compound. When Parker Williams described it I could actually visualize it, and I really have no imagination. From the greenhouse to the lake and all the gardens.

The thing that made me love this story was that Matt fell in love with Charlie and that made him want to get help to fix his issues, but Charlie made his see that he loved him issues and all and if he was getting help it was for himself. That he was loved either way, warts and all.

The story line was not at all predictable, as soon as I thought I knew what was going to happen something else would. I love that. The characters and the setting were well developed and rich with detail. This is the first time I have read anything from Parker Williams but it won’t be the last.

5 pieces of eye candy

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GRL 2017 Featured Blogger Post: J. Scott Coatsworth

**TCO is so excited to be back as a Featured Blogger with the 2017 GayRomLit Conference, to be held in Denver, CO in October. We will be hosting quite a few GRL authors here over the next few months with what they have to say on GRL. Also, we’ve set up a giveaway for all the GRL Featured Posts, so make sure you enter, there are some fantastic prizes ahead!!!**

Welcome to J. Scott Coatsworth!!!!

 

Surviving Your First GRL

by J. Scott Coatsworth

I am a GRL survivor.

I attended GRL last year, and I learned a few things, a few bits of knowledge I hope to impart to you, my future GRL virgin friend. So here it goes:

 

  • Whore Yourself Out Early: If you are a sponsored or featured author, find out who wants to buy your books at the con before you go. Contact your mailing list, and use the GRL Denver Facebook page. This will create some presales, get your fans excited about meeting you, and give you an idea what and how many to bring.
  • Save Your Babies: There’s nothing worse than having to make those end-of-con choices – which of your new books to leave behind when you fly home. So save some room in your bag or take a spare, or plan to ship those books back via UPS. You can probably steal an empty box from one of the publisher tables. 😉
  • Plan Your Costume: Think about your costume for the big party ahead of time – watch for the theme announcement. Seriously. I didn’t pay much attention to the fact that there was a Wizard of Oz-themed party at GRL, and ended up having a great costume idea – Flying Monkey Repairman – come to me on the night of the con. So instead of having an awesome costume to wear, like Angel’s head-to-toe-green wicked witch, I went with a badge sign that said “Flying Monkey Repairman”. Less than inspiring.
  • Be a Local Foodie: It’s easy to spend a lot of money on food at these cons – hotel restaurants aren’t cheap. So when you first get to the Marriott, chat up the concierge about local places to eat, and check out the menus of the on-site eateries early to figure out where you can shave off a few bucks. You’ll seem like a restaurant whiz to your new GRL friends.
  • Network Network Network: Make plans early for lunches, coffees and dinners with the folks you want to spend time with. Most of them will want to spend time with you too – that’s what the weekend is all about. Don’t know anyone? Not a problem. Hang out in the lobby at dinner time and pounce on author groups as they head to dinner. A sad, hungry face works really well for this – practice it at home until your kids/spouse/live-in parents can’t see it without bringing you food. 😛
  • Closet Therapy: Most of us writer folk are introverts by nature who force ourselves to be extroverts at cons. This is sustainable for a few days, but if you find yourself wearing a bit thin, take your desk chair, your laptop or tablet, and one of those little hotel bottles of rum or vodka and make yourself a dark little writer cave in your hotel room closet. Write your brains out for an hour (or until you run out of rum). Then return to the con a little saner and more centered. Rinse and repeat as needed.
  • Be Warped and Wonderful! You spent a lot of money and time to be at GRL. For many of us, this is one of our two or three chances during the year to spend time with others who are as warped and wonderful as we are. Go to the Cock Walk (if there is one this year) and bid on some wonderful penis art. Engage in as many conversations as you can with other writers and readers. And soak it all up like sunshine to last you until your next hit.

If anything goes wrong, don’t sweat it. Just remember—next year you’ll be a GRL pro.

 


J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott was first indoctrinated into the worlds of science fiction and fantasy by his mother at the young age of nine. He devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the stories he was reading.

He decided that if there weren’t enough gay characters in his favorite genres, he would write them himself.

He runs two community websites—Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink—with his husband Mark. Both sites celebrate authors and fiction that reflect queer reality.

Check out all of Scott’s works here:

Amazon US

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK


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Promises Part 3 by A.E. Via: Blog Tour, Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

A bounty hunter’s partners to lovers’ story.
The hunt is on… and he’s the prey.

Bradford (Ford) King was sure he had the rest of his life mapped out. Though he was no longer a SEAL Lieutenant, his brother was home safe and he had a job that still allowed him to satisfy his hunger for hunting bad guys. Life was simple, no distractions or complications – at age forty-six – that’s all Ford wanted. What he didn’t want was his work partner, sniper/watchman, Dana, giving him s**t all the time.

Dana Cadby had grown up labeled a roughneck from the wrong side of the tracks. He’d fought, scrounged, and survived despite a father that constantly told him he couldn’t. Dana pulled himself up by his own boot straps and made a name for himself in the marksman community. He’d been Duke’s bounty watchman for five years. It was his job to ensure their safety, watch their backs. At thirty-three, he was trusted, well respected by his peers, his bosses, his friends… so why couldn’t he earn the same respect from his partner?

Dana knew he was bisexual before he graduated high school. He also knew he was attracted to the huge, 6’3”, SEAL from the moment he and his brother came to join their team. It wasn’t easy for him to tamp down his immediate reaction to Ford’s thick muscles, full beard, and dark eyes. Still, Dana exhibited nothing but professionalism towards him, not wanting to make his ‘straight’ partner uncomfortable. So why did Ford constantly give him hell?

After Dana took back his ex-girlfriend, he’d noticed an intensification in Ford’s bad attitude. One that turned aggressive and downright antagonistic, and Dana was damned if he’d just lay down and take it. He was gonna make that man respect him if it was the last thing he did.

When Duke sends Dana and Ford out to track down their most dangerous bounty yet, they both embrace the fact that they make one hell of a team… but they fight tooth and nail against the powerful intimacy brewing between them.
Beware: If Ford and Dana connect completely, god help the fugitive who’s in the sights of the hunter and his watchman.

This story is a part of a series but can stand alone. It does not end on a cliffhanger and has a HEA.

Author A.E. Via

Title:  Promises Part 3

M/M GAY CONTEMPORARY/ACTION

Edited by: Tina Adamski

Cover Artist – Jay Aheer

PAGE COUNT – 222

Release Date: June 30, 2017

Goodreads Link: https://goo.gl/AbfTzJ

Amazon

Ford

Ford was in the office earlier than scheduled. He’d woken up with another hard-on after one of the most erotic dreams he’d ever had. And it was about a person whose name he didn’t want to voice out loud or even in his head. This was doing a number on him. It’d irritated him when Dan

a used to complain about how his girlfriend didn’t understand him and no matter what he did he couldn’t please her selfish ass, but they’d broken up and everyone – not just him – was relieved to have the old, light-hearted Dana back. Then, like all good things, it came to an end when she popped back up with tears and a sob story. That she’d made a big mistake.

Ford stirred his coffee so hard, part of it sloshed over the edge of the cup. He felt pissed when spineless Dana had reared his ugly head again and taken her back. Too decent to turn her down. Gritting his teeth, Ford demanded Dana act like the man he truly was. Strong, determined, spirited, and a ton of other great qualities Ford had taken for granted until someone else started stealing them.

He just wished he was sure that he could go the relationship route with a man. Ford wasn’t scared of dating the opposite sex, he was too old, too damn grown to worry about what anyone would think. He’d had experiences with men and women in the past. Had had his fun. He’d eyed a few guys when he was in the service, even patted a few bottoms, but nothing had stirred him this hard in years. He thought he was content in his life. He had his brother, his work, he was good now. He’d lived complications before, wasn’t interested in them again. Relationships, lust, pining, dates, romantic expectations, sex, all equaled the same thing to him… complications.

I have to say I was intrigued with the King brothers since book 1 in this series. The quiet, dark, brooding ex military brothers, I couldn’t wait for their stories. And after reading Ford’s story I *really* can’t wait for Brian’s story! Anyway….

Yes, this is book 3. Yes, you really need to read the first two. Technically you don’t have to, but honestly- if you are interested in this one you will be interested in the others. And I’ve never met an AE Via book that I didn’t like.

Her men are strong without being jerks, fragile without being too vulnerable and unapologetic in what they want. And I love them.

I loved seeing the background of Ford and Dana in previous books, so to watch it continue-the sexual tension between them almost lit my kindle on fire.Dancing around each other and forced to work together (I did mention they were work partners, right?) until one of them finally makes the leap.

Ford’s brother Brian plays a big role in the storyline and I will admit that I really REALLY want his story. Especially since we find out who his love interest is. That was a bit of a distraction for me. Not necessarily in a bad way but in a “omg I want more NOW” way.

There is a good storyline throughout and the author doesn’t rely on sex as a filler in her books. Big big plus for me. Yes I want a hot book, but I also want story or I get bored. Trust me, there is no way this book is boring.

I am going to add that there is a M/F sex scene only because many who read this genre don’t want that. To me it just showed how not into the woman he was and cemented that he really did want to break up with her.

And I am left salivating for the next book…..

4 pieces of eye candy

Promises Part 1

Promises Part 2

A.E. Via is an author in the beautiful gay romance genre and also founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books. Her writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.

When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, she devotes herself to her family—a husband and four children.

Adrienne has tons of more stories to tell, so be sure to visit her site to learn more! Go to A.E. Via’s official website http://authoraevia.com  for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak on upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next.

Links

Amazon Link:  https://goo.gl/KQ32Uz

Kobo:https://goo.gl/qXPIzK

Smashwords:https://goo.gl/tSpzyz

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/AbfTzJ

Author Official Website:http://authoraevia.com

A.E. Amazon Author Pagehttps://goo.gl/AVpOeJ

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/aeviaauthor

Twitter:https://twitter.com/AuthorAEVia

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Treading Water by Jessie G: Release Day Blitz, Fundraising Campaign and Giveaway

Series: Forgotten Soldier #2
Author: Jessie G
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: July 18, 2017

After devoting eighteen years of his life to the US Navy, Petty Officer First Class Shane Parker is struggling with the very real possibility of becoming unnecessary. If he doesn’t make Chief Petty Officer before his twenty—and it doesn’t seem likely that he will—he’ll be retired from active service and placed on the Fleet Reserve list until his mooring lines are officially cut forever. While it would all be very honorable and ceremonial, he simply wasn’t civilian material.

Before even swearing-in, Julian Brand knew he wasn’t cut out to be a soldier, but refusing wasn’t an option. Generations of Brand man made careers in the military and the expectation of every Brand son was to follow in those prestigious footsteps. Though the prospect of being rolled back dodged his every step, somehow he made it through boot camp and did his time. Six years after not reenlisting, Julian still struggles to find familial acceptance as he fights to live life on his terms.

On the surface, they couldn’t be more different, but when Jared Ramos calls, neither are capable of refusing. If they can find a way to work together, they might be able to save a wounded warrior and each other in the process.

NOTE: The first story in this series is a 6K word short story originally written for an anthology. While it’s a different couple, I’m happy to provide that to reviewers as they have a brief appearance in the new book and are central characters to this benefit series.

 

10% of royalties earned from this and future books in the Forgotten Soldier series will benefit the Gary Sinise Foundation, but I’m not content to stop there. I’ve set up a fundraising page directly on the Foundation’s website and I’m asking for your help in reaching (and maybe surpassing) my goal. Every donation of $10 equals 1 entry to win signed books. If you donate more than that, every multiple of 10 will be an additional entry (so $20 = 2 entries and so forth).

1 Grand Prize Winner will receive all my paperbacks signed (8 books) 
4 Runner Up Winners will win a signed copy of Treading Water

Two Chicks Obsessed believes whole-heartedly in the mission of the Gary Sinise Foundation, and thanks Jessie for her continued support of the organization.

In addition, to sending a donation directly from TCO to Jessie’s fundraising campaign, all affiliate income associated from sales of Treading Water will be donated to the Gary Sinise Foundation as well.


 

Like many readers, the dream of being a writer has been with me a long time. After three decades of trying, I’d begun to doubt. Thanks to social media, I followed my favorite authors hoping to glean some words of wisdom as I pounded out half-formed ideas with alarming regularity. Two repetitive themes emerged: to be a great writer you must read a lot and your butt must be in the chair every day like it’s a job. The more you write, the easier it will be to write and the better you will be at writing. I took that advice to heart and write every day. With three series in the works and a full schedule of releases planned for the next two years, it’s been amazing to have made this dream my reality.

I am a firm believer in marriage equality, love at first sight, power dynamics, and happily ever after. I’m a lover of strong secondary characters, and series filled with families—biological or chosen. All are themes you’ll find throughout my books.


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New Monthly Feature: Exclusive Dreamspinner Press Guest Post

**TCO is so excited to have publisher Dreamspinner Press stopping by an Exclusive Guest Blog Post. They are starting to do this with a few blogs, so make sure you check it out! This month’s post is all about their EPIC eBooks.**

 

The Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition honors excellence in electronic publishing with their yearly EPIC eBook Awards. Dreamspinner Press is proud to celebrate all the winners, especially authors and cover artists we publish.

You can join the fun by using coupon code EPIC at the Dreamspinner Press store to buy any EPIC eBook Award winner or finalist 30% off through July 31, 2017.

 

Congratulations to the Dreamspinner finalists and winners of the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards! 

Contempory Fiction

Winner: Sex, Love, and Videogames by CJane Elliott

 

 

Contemporary Romance
Finalist: First and First by Santino Hassell

 

 

 

Romantic Suspense

 

Finalist: Sunset Lake by John Inman

 

 

 

Congratulations to the Dreamspinner finalists and winners of the 2017 EPIC Ariana Awards!

Erotica
Finalist: Simmer, cover art by L.C Chase

 

 

Fantasy/Paranormal
Finalist: Loving and Loathing Vegas, cover art by L.C Chase

 

 

Romance
Finalist: Pawsitively in Love, cover art by L.C Chase

 

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