The Librarian’s Rake by Z. Allora: Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway

Opposites might attract, but is acting on that attraction wise?

Librarian Tristan Cooper can’t steer clear of sexy, motorcycle-riding bad boy Phillip—the man is hot—but Phillip is bound to and quiet, bookish Tristan boring, like all Tristan’s boyfriends. Tristan yearns to explore his wild side, the part of himself he’s only allowed into his fantasies, and maybe rakish Phillip is just what he needs to feel free.

Sexperienced hairdresser Phillip is more of a believer in happy endings than happily ever afters. Experience has taught him not to hope for more— until he meets sweet, vulnerable Tristan, who seems genuinely interested in his heart. But Phillip can’t trust enough to see himself as a man Tristan might want for more than a night.

With the help of a pair of matchmaking grandfathers, Tristan and Phillip might and the courage to step beyond their comfort zones and discover what has been missing from their lives….

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Greetings! Thank you, Two Chicks Obsessed for the opportunity to share information about my new book The Librarian’s Rake with your readers.                  

To celebrate the release of The Librarian’s Rake I’ll be giving away 3 e-books of Secured and Free, (Book #2 of Entwined Dreams) and a $20 gift card to Dreamspinner Press. Details below.

Tristan is a shy librarian, who may have fantasies of swinging from the rafters but he’s never had the guts to be sexually daring. Phillip, who believes more in happy endings that require a swallow than in happily ever after. After they meet it seems to Tristan everyone seems to be having wild sexy times but him and he’s tired of it. This excerpt is right after he parts company from Phillip. Tristan’s home alone as usual and even his television seems to mock his meek nature.

When the quiet got too loud, he flicked on the TV to hear someone talking to him as he devoured his takeout chicken sandwich.

“I’m Todd Jones, reporting on dogging in America.”

Turning toward the TV—where were the puppies?

The partially blocked-out picture showed a couple having car sex while people stood around in a semicircle watching. A voiceover boomed, “It’s called dogging. People watch a couple have sex or go to participate in some way themselves and to be watched.”

What in the world was this?

The handsome interviewer started chatting with a couple who could be Tristan’s next-door neighbors—for all he knew they might be! They calmly discussed the vast number of websites available for people to find out where others are having sex in public places.

“How long have you two been doing this?” Todd asked.

Not why, which would have been Tristan’s first question. Why would you take a risk? Why would you want others to watch you? Why—

Tristan forced himself to swallow the last bites of his sandwich while the middle-aged woman on TV smiled. “For several years. The kids graduated college and moved across the country, and, well, we wanted to add spice back into our relationship.”

The disembodied voice droned on as various censored encounters played out. “The term dogging originally came from someone walking a dog and stumbling across people having sex. But now the practice has turned into what some consider a sport. Usually the meetups happen in parking lots, but with the use of the internet….”

The man smugly stated, “The wife and I have dogged in a junkyard, mall parking lots, the back of an ice cream parlor, near several drive-thru windows, the drive-ins—”

“My favorite was in long-term parking at the airport.” His wife grinned.

The interviewer cleared his throat and asked, “Do others participate when you…?”

The wife giggled. “Only if we want them to.”

The husband added, “And only a little bit. They can lay their hands on her, but—”

“Oh you! You’re so jealous. I love you.” The women blushed.

“I love you too, Mary Jean.” The husband appeared stupidly in love with the woman.

Tristan sighed and turned off the television.

Was that what Frederick wanted? Was everyone in the world into wild sex? Why was it so amiss to want to have sex in a bed?

As he put the last pots and pans away and shut the dishwasher, his mind beelined to Phillip. He pulled out the card in his pocket and stared at it. Phillip probably used hookup sites on a regular basis. Did he order “oral sex to go” on a recurring schedule?

Tristan wanted to deny the appeal of the straightforward ease but couldn’t. It had to be wrong just having sex with strangers. Didn’t it? Maybe he was too straitlaced and hemmed in by societal norms, but he found the whole thing sordid.

Why even think about the sites he’d never use? The idea of Phillip ordering a blowjob like fast food made Tristan’s cock harden… again. The dirtiness, which had never had appeal, now seemed arousing.

Allora believes in happily ever after for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her the opportunity to open hearts and change minds.

To contact Z. Allora:

E-mail: Z.AlloraHappyEndings@gmail.com

FACEBOOK:   Z Allora Allora

Website: www.zallorabooks.com

Twitter: @ZAllora

Blog: http://zallora.blogspot.com

Queer Romance Ink: www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/z-allora

Dreamspinner: www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/z-allora-637-a

 

To enter the giveaway tell us if you’ve ever heard of “dogging” before. Winners will be contacted Nov 8th.

Hugs, Z. Allora

 

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

Off the Ice by Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn: Blog Tour, Double Reviews and Giveaway

Tristan Holt is nothing if not pragmatic. Despite a flourishing career as a defenseman for the Atlanta Venom, Tristan knows he can’t play hockey forever. One day he’ll retire—if an injury doesn’t force him to hang up his skates first. His backup plan? Finishing his business degree. But he doesn’t count on a very inappropriate attraction to his standoffish sociology professor, Sebastian Cruz.

Sebastian is on the bottom rung of the Sociology Department at Georgia State. He has his sights set on tenure, and he can’t afford to be distracted, especially not by a sexy student with a body straight out of Sebastian’s dreams. No matter how much Tristan tempts him, that’s one line Sebastian won’t cross. At least not until summer classes end. After that, everything is fair game.

But Sebastian lives loud and proud, and Tristan is terrified of being the first out player in the NHL. Neither of them can afford to risk their hearts when they can’t imagine a happily ever after. The problem is, unlike hockey, when it comes to love, there are no rules.

Thanks for joining Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn on the OFF THE ICE blog tour. In the Hat Trick series, love and hockey collide—and create enough heat to melt the ice. Join the players as they chase both the Stanley Cup and their own personal happily ever afters.

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I love sports books, but I don’t really know a lot about hockey. Lucky for me, one of the MC’s doesn’t either. The authors took the time to explain the pertinent points of the game while keeping it interesting.

Tristan is a professional hockey player. He’s in the closet with both family and his career. He is going back to school to finish the degree that was interrupted when he was called up to the pros. His sociology professor is a scowly, hard ass that Tristan can’t help but be drawn too.

Sebastian, said scowly professor fights his attraction to Tristan tooth and nail. Its unethical to date a student in your class becomes his mantra. When Sebastian makes an unfair assumption about Tristan he is forced to admit that his feelings for the man aren’t entirely professional and that even a professor in sociology can stand to learn a thing or two.

Once the semester is over Tristan makes his move and Sebastian meets him out for a night of drinks and music. The two begin casually dating until it isn’t casual anymore and they both need to decide what that might mean. Sebastian is out to everyone, even his less than understanding family while Tristan is out to no one

Tristan will need to decide if Sebastian is important enough to turn his whole world upside down and Sebastian will have to decide if he can wait patiently for Tristan to come out on his own terms.

Such a great story. The hockey parts were written to be interesting and understandable even to a novice like myself. I didn’t have Google any mystery hockey terms. It definitely made me relate to Sebastian who isn’t a sports fan at all.

I loved the connection between Seb and Tristan. It never felt forced, the genuine affection hopped off the page at you. I love that Tristan’s family was so supportive and that the MC’s were able to figure it all out with out the big dramatic blow up.

4 pieces of eye candy

 

The story centers around Tristan, a 23-year-old pro hockey player and his 30-something sociology professor Sebastian. The two are immediately attracted to each other but because of the student-teacher thing they don’t pursue it. Oh yea, also? Sebastian makes a huge error in judgement about Tristan based on his looks: blonde jock type with a great ass — how could he possibly have a brain in his head? Yea, yea, Tristan’s heard it all before and after Sebastian puts his foot in his mouth, Tristan tells off the hot professor and wants nothing more to do with him. And yet. They can’t keep their minds and eyes off each other and once they’re clear of the prof/student relationship, they are full steam ahead. While their relationship is great, the two can’t see eye-to-eye on how public they want to be about it. Tristan isn’t out yet to anyone — not his family, not his teammates and not the public and doesn’t want to become the “NHL’s gay ambassador.” Meanwhile, Sebastian’s hard-won openly gay status has him refusing to get back in the closet, even for Tristan, whom he adores.

I like Tristan, he’s a laid back guy with brains to boot. He’s a jock but not a jerk, and wants to pursue his education in case hockey doesn’t work out for some reason. He’s close with his family and is looking for “the one.” Sebastian is a bit of a cranky control freak and he likes for that control to spill over into the bedroom, where Tristan can enjoy the freedom to submit and be bossed around. I’m not going to say Sebastian is my favorite character, but the “scowly, gay Puerto Rican” makes Tristan happy, so I can accept him as he is.  The character’s personalities don’t evolve much from beginning to end, but I liked that because they already are who they are and will figure out how to be together without changing who they are fundamentally. Besides, the real issue here is if they can — or should — compromise about Tristan coming out.

I’m not a big sports fan, but this was still an enjoyable read so don’t let that put you off. There’s quite a bit of sex, which is never a complaint coming from me. The writing is good and since I’m no true hockey fan, I’m sure I even learned a couple things; in fact, I even have a hankering to go to a game now. A cute, sweet, hot quick read; I liked it.

3.5 pieces of eye candy

About Avon Gale

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal Midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert, and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Connect with Avon:

 

About Piper Vaughn

Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, sci-fi, she loves them all (and has an over-two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She’s an avid tea drinker, a hockey fanatic, a vintage typewriter collector, and loves to travel so much she has “wanderlust” tattooed on her ankle and dozens of countries on her bucket list. Recently, she discovered the world of nail art and realized she’s pretty handy with a paintbrush—as long as it’s a miniature one.

As a bisexual and Latinx person, Piper takes great pride in her heritage. She grew up in an ethnically diverse neighborhood and strives to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. She currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, son, and a cat that has Piper wrapped around her little paw. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life … even if it’s only in a book.

Connect with Piper:

 

To celebrate the release of Off the Ice, one lucky winner will receive a Venom t-shirt in their size and Venom notebook! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 4, 2017. 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.

Psycho Romeo by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott: Release Day Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway

TitlePsycho Romeo

Series: Ward Security Series #1

Author: Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Publisher:  Drake and Elliott Publishing, LLC

Release Date: October 27, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 81K

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Romantic Suspense, Gay Literature, Gay fiction, bodyguards

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Geoffrey Ralse is known for being the life of the party. He loves the club scene, hanging with his friends, and flirting with whomever catches his eye. He certainly isn’t going to stop living his life just because some would-be stalker starts sending him threats.

But it all changes when Geoffrey is drugged and wakes up half naked in his own home with a new message from his stalker.
He needs help and there’s only one person he trusts…

Protective Agent Sven Larsen has been fighting Geoffrey’s flirtatious advances for months, even though he’s impossibly drawn to the man. There’s no way he can be around him twenty-four/seven and not finally crack. But one look at Geoffrey’s haunted eyes, and he knows there’s no way he’s letting Geoffrey walk out of Ward Security without him.

Even if it means breaking his own rules, he will keep Geoffrey

Once again, Geoffrey had surprised him. That jump to his defense had been swift and hard. Sven watched anyone who came near them, but he also watched Geoffrey fume as he walked the wrong direction on Freedom Way. People strolled the sidewalks all around them. In the back of his mind, he stayed aware of the fact that they didn’t know for sure his stalker was a part of his group. It could be anyone.

Over a million followers on one site alone.

He shook his head and stayed close as he took in everything about their surroundings. Skyscrapers of downtown Cincinnati rose up behind them while the Great American Ballpark was on their left. There was the rush of traffic on nearly all sides, but Geoffrey appeared to be heading away from the biggest crowds of people and toward Ohio River rippling in the distance, winding between Ohio and Kentucky.

Sweat gathered on his back, under his arms, and at the back of his neck. Maybe it was time to cut the hair. He’d grown it in a challenge with his brothers—who could stand it the longest. His oldest brother still held out. But Sven could out-stubborn them all.

Mostly because he actually liked it. Low-maintenance hair—just needed a brush or something to keep it off his neck. Digging into his pocket, he found one of the thick hair ties he used and looped his hair into a messy knot at the back of his head. He glanced down to find Geoffrey watching his movements with fascination.

“I don’t know how you stand it. Mine drives me crazy when it gets past my ears.”

He eyed the light blond gelled hair brushed back off Geoffrey’s forehead. “It suits you.”

“Thanks.” Anger returned to his expression, tightening his lips and he stomped off again. He had his hands shoved deep into the pockets of his jeans—probably to keep from throwing them about as he did when his emotions were high. And they were. It was obvious in his quick, hard steps, his tight expression, and the energy radiating from his body. Sven had never met someone with so much liveliness. So much fire. He’d often marveled over it during the classes at Ward, fascinated and drawn to all that brightness and vitality like Geoffrey had hooked him on a short fishing line.

He could hardly ever take his eyes off him.

And now that he’d seen the sexy, trim body under all those clothes, he was having trouble not watching for the flex of muscle underneath the slouchy blue T-shirt Geoffrey wore today. When he shrugged, it slipped off his shoulder and Sven wanted to lift him high, press his back into the nearest wall, and put his mouth on that tantalizing collarbone. Learn the taste and scent of his skin. And he wanted the laughter back. Amusement transformed him, making him all golden sunlight and joy. He’d throw his head back, revealing white teeth and when he let himself go like that, the trace of sadness he seemed to carry at all times disappeared.

Sven had the feeling Geoffrey’s loneliness ran deeper than his own, and he’d felt the ache of it for some time now. He didn’t enjoy bars or nightclubs and although he’d downloaded a hookup app onto his phone, he’d never seen anyone on it worth contacting. But he wasn’t one for anonymous sex, so he mostly went without. Hoping he’d eventually meet someone worth the effort it would take to build a real relationship.

His fierce attraction to Geoffrey made little sense. They couldn’t have been more opposite in personality, size, income bracket…pretty much everything.

Except for the loneliness.

Geoffrey had tons of people around him, yet none of them were true friends. Not any that he’d met today anyway. And every time his gaze had locked with Geoffrey’s, he’d seen something that had ripped the world right from under his feet.

Geoffrey knew. He was completely aware that they used him. For money, for notoriety, for another selfie on their social media accounts.

The absolute…fakeness of it all tightened his chest to the point of pain. Because he could see, in those blue eyes, that Geoffrey Ralse needed so much more.

Drake and Elliott Publishing, LLC

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Rinda Elliott
Rinda loves unusual stories and credits growing up in a family of curious life-lovers who moved all over the country. Books and movies full of fantasy, science fiction and romance kept them amused, especially in some of the stranger places.
For years, she tried to separate her darker side with her humorous and romantic one. She published short fiction, but things really started happening when she gave in and mixed it up. When not lost in fiction, she loves making wine, collecting music, gaming and spending time with her husband and two children.
She is the author of the Beri O’Dell urban fantasy series, the YA Sister of Fate Trilogy with Harlequin Teen, and the paranormal romance Brothers Bernaux Trilogy. She also writes erotic fiction as Dani Worth.
She can be found at RindaElliott.com and her Dani Worth blog . She’s represented by Miriam Kriss at the Irene Goodman Agency.

Jocelynn Drake
Love comes in many varied forms. There is the love of family, love of country, and love of chocolate. But for Jocelynn Drake, one truly treasured love is the love of a good story. This former Kentucky girl spends the majority of her time lost in the strong embrace of a good book.
When she’s not hammering away at her keyboard, frowning at her monitor, or curled up with a book, she can usually be found cuddling with her cat Demona, walking her dog Max, or flinging curses at the TV while playing a video game. Outside of books, cats, and video games, she is completely enamored of Bruce Wayne, Ezio Auditore, travel, tattoos, explosions, fast cars, and Anthony Bourdain (but only when he’s feeling really cranky).
She is the author of the urban fantasy series: The Dark Days series and the Asylum Tales. She also occasionally writes as Joy Douglass when she’s in the mood for a little historical romance. She can be found at JocelynnDrake.com.

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

Kill Game by Cordelia Kingsbridge: Blog Tour with Giveaway

Thanks for checking out the blog tour for Kill Game, the first book in the Seven of Spades series!

In poker, a “kill game” is a fixed-limit game in which the stakes are suddenly doubled when a player triggers certain conditions. As our heroes Levi and Dominic hunt for the vigilante serial killer Seven of Spades, the stakes have never been higher.

Homicide detective Levi Abrams is barely holding his life together. He’s reeling from the fallout of a fatal shooting, and his relationship with his boyfriend is crumbling. The last thing he’s prepared for is a serial killer stalking the streets of Las Vegas. Or how he keeps getting thrown into the path of annoyingly charming bounty hunter Dominic Russo.

Dominic likes his life free of complications. That means no tangling with cops—especially prickly, uptight detectives. But when he stumbles across one of the Seven of Spades’s horrifying crime scenes, he can’t let go, despite Levi’s warnings to stay away.

The Seven of Spades is ruthless and always two moves ahead. Worst of all, they’ve taken a dangerously personal interest in Levi and Dominic. Forced to trust each other, the two men race to discover the killer’s identity, revealing hidden truths along the way and sparking a bond neither man expected. But that may not be enough to protect them.

This killer likes to play games, and the deck is not stacked in Levi and Dominic’s favor.

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About the Seven of Spades Series

Las Vegas has never seen a serial killer like the Seven of Spades.

The self-styled vigilante is on a mission to cut down the wicked and treacherous, and Sin City has no shortage of targets for their bloody wrath. What happens in Vegas . . . ends with the Seven of Spades’s calling card on a grisly corpse.

Standing against the killer are Levi Abrams, a dedicated homicide detective locked in a constant struggle to restrain his own dark side, and bounty hunter Dominic Russo, a charming rogue with a heavy secret weighing on his shoulders.

The hunt for the Seven of Spades sends Levi and Dominic on a collision course, igniting a passionate relationship forged in conflict and sealed with blood. Together they’re stronger than the sum of their parts, but a wily, elusive serial killer isn’t the only threat that will strain their bond to the breaking point.

Ante up, because the Seven of Spades is all in. Are you?

Check out the Seven of Spades series! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/series/seven-spades

 

Cordelia Kingsbridge has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh, but quickly discovered that direct practice in the field was not for her. Having written novels as a hobby throughout graduate school, she decided to turn her focus to writing as a full-time career. Now she explores her fascination with human behavior, motivation, and psychopathology through fiction. Her weaknesses include opposites-attract pairings and snarky banter.

Away from her desk, Cordelia is a fitness fanatic, and can be found strength training, cycling, and practicing Krav Maga. She lives in South Florida but spends most of her time indoors with the air conditioning on full blast!

Connect with Cordelia:

 

To celebrate the release of Kill Game, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 28, 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.

The Mystery of the Curiosities by C.S. Poe: Exclusive Story, Audiobook Tour with Giveaway

Life has been pretty great for Sebastian Snow. The Emporium is thriving and his relationship with NYPD homicide detective Calvin Winter is everything he’s ever wanted. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Sebastian’s only cause for concern is whether Calvin should be taken on a romantic date. It’s only when an unknown assailant smashes the Emporium’s window and leaves a peculiar note behind that all plans get pushed aside in favor of another mystery.

Sebastian is quickly swept up in a series of grisly yet seemingly unrelated murders. The only connection tying the deaths together are curiosities from the lost museum of P.T. Barnum. Despite Calvin’s attempts to keep Sebastian out of the investigation, someone is forcing his hand, and it becomes apparent that the entire charade exists for Sebastian to solve. With each clue that brings him closer to the killer, he’s led deeper into Calvin’s official cases.

It’s more than just Sebastian’s livelihood and relationship on the line – it’s his very life.

Title: The Mystery of the Curiosities (audiobook)

Series: Snow & Winter

Publisher: DSP Publications

Author: C.S. Poe

Narrator: Derrick McClain

Length: 7 hours, 15 minutes

Release: July 31, 2017

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Post: Hey there, everyone! I’m C.S. Poe, author of the mystery-romance series, Snow & Winter. Today is the third stop of the blog tour for The Mystery of the Curiosities on audio, narrated by the wonderfully talented Derrick McClain. If you’ve missed the previous posts— this is a short story about Sebastian and Calvin taking a vacation to Colorado, inspired by my Highway to Heck road trip and attendance at GRL. Be sure to check the schedule below and catch up on Part 1 and 2!

 

The complete story is at the following blogs:

October 23 – The Novel Approach

October 24 – Boy Meets Boy

October 26 – Two Chicks Obsessed

October 27 – Love Bytes

“Wow!” I exclaimed.

Our room was beautiful— shimmery wallpaper, non-matching pieces of antique furniture, and a bed with a magnificent mahogany headboard. I walked to the left side and opened one of the windows overlooking the street in time for the nearby train to blow its whistle loudly. I fished my phone from my back pocket and snapped a mediocre picture of the town view.

“It’s like stepping back in time,” I said, looking over my shoulder.

“With the exception of modern plumbing,” Calvin answered. He pushed the suitcase up against the far wall.

I left the open window and breeze fluttering the curtains. At the bedside table was what appeared to be a small journal. I set my phone down and retrieved the book. “Someone leave this?” I opened to a page at random and held it close. But with sunglasses on and sans magnifying glass? No dice on the reading.

I walked across the room and held it out to Calvin.

He took it, without question as to what I needed help with, and sifted through a few pages. “A diary? Oh— this is the ghost diary.”

“Of course,” I answered dryly, as if that response answered all my questions.

“I was told they keep one in all the rooms,” Calvin continued. He closed the book. “Guests can include their own observations.”

I raised my eyebrows and began patting my pockets. “Where’d I put my magnifying glass?”

“Not now,” he said with a touch of amusement. “Let’s get a drink downstairs. The saloon has bartenders in costume.”

“Nothing against the ladies who manage to somehow both breathe and serve drinks while wearing corsets, but I hope there’s a cowboy or two for me to stare at.”

“Hey now.”

I grinned widely at Calvin. “Giddy-up.”

He put an arm around my shoulders and walked to the door. “Don’t make me punish you later.”

“With a warning like that, why would I stop now?” I opened the door and stepped into the hall first. I slipped from Calvin’s arm and walked backward. “If I flirt with an outlaw, will you use your handcuffs on me?”

“Seb,” he said with a tone that sort of indicated he was liking the fact I was digging a grave for myself.

“Will you pull out your gun so I can determine whose is bigger?” I continued.

Calvin let the door fall shut behind him as he followed me into the hall. “One more,” he warned.

“How’s that song go— save a horse, ride a cowboy?”

Calvin lunged forward, grabbed my wrist, and pulled me tight against him.

I laughed and twisted in his hold. “Did I do bad, sheriff?”

“Bringing you here was a huge mistake.”

“Nah, you like it.”

Calvin smiled and kissed my mouth. “Let’s get you drunk on trade whiskey.”

“Sounds fun.” We started down the stairs before I patted my pocket. “Shit. I forgot my phone.”

Calvin handed me the room card.

“Hold onto those drunk thoughts.” I jogged back up the stairs and to our room, letting myself inside. I went to the bedside table where I’d set my— where was the phone?

I put my hand on the tabletop. I was certain I’d set it here when I picked up the ghost diary….

I turned my head and saw it laying at the foot of the bed.

Weird.

I grabbed it and left the room once more.

 

 

I was drunk.

More drunk than I usually got.

I blamed the altitude.

Calvin was paying our bar bill downstairs and I had gone back into the hotel with the intention of taking a piss. But I stopped on the stairs leading to the third floor when I heard a door close above me. Up and to the right.

Pretty sure that had to be our room. Shitfaced or not— I’ve got excellent hearing. Comes with the poor eyesight.

I waited halfway up the stairs to see who was leaving.

But it was silent.

Maybe it had been housekeeping?

Although that didn’t make sense. It was nearly ten at night.

I gripped the banister, more to steady my inebriated steps than anything, and crept up the last few stairs. I peered around the corner.

Nothing.

Nothing but an empty hallway.

Huh.

I must have been mistaken.

I pulled the room key from my pocket as I reached the door and let myself in. I stood in the doorway, leaned to the left, and turned the lamp on. The room had a comfortable glow about it, just enough to illuminate our suitcase against the wall— unzipped with clothes hanging out.

“Well shit,” I stated.

End of Part 3

First of all, the covers to these books are just awesome! They tell a little bit about the story, and Seb in particular, simply by the monochromatic tones. Better choices could not have been made for the first two books in this series.

Now, on to the rest. I rarely read mystery novels…well, pretty much…yeah, okay, never. I read romances. I love romances. I’ve loved them all my life. But when I saw that Derrick McClain narrated both of these, I thought it might be a good choice as a starting point. Oh my gosh, I am so happy that I took the plunge!

The creation of a main character that is well rounded, interesting but also with a healthy backstory doesn’t always happen in books. Ms. Poe did a fantastic job of creating a main character with, to say the least, some quirky personality traits, as well as a disability that you just don’t read about in any romance novel. Then she weaves all of these quirks throughout both books, and even uses them to help Seb solve his mysteries. His disability is not a deterrent to him, but can be an assistive device as he follows the clues and “sleuths” his way into Calvin’s life. These quirks, characteristics, in addition to his disability, are not left by the wayside and forgotten, but become such an integral part of Seb’s story, that the reader really wants to sit down with Seb and ask him a million questions, just so you can hear what he has to say. (Speaking of which, that gives me a very good idea!) 😉

What I enjoyed most, though, was this was a mystery with more than a touch of romance. It allowed Seb and Calvin, also known as Snow and Winter (which just makes me giggle), to solve the over arcing mystery, while still falling in love. Even as you see the hard, former military, homicide detective falling for snarky, sarcastic and sweet Seb, they work (somewhat) in tandem to find out who has committed the crimes, and take them down. It isn’t insta-love (although insta-lust on Seb’s side is quite obvious), but one that grows as Seb continues to get himself into situations he should not be in, but can’t help himself, while Calvin finds himself becoming more and more concerned with Seb’s safety. One of the most creative moments that I have seen, amongst any book I’ve read, is the one where Calvin gives away to Seb not only that he might not be as straight as Seb thinks he is, but also that he has feelings for him. It is a short, sweet and quiet moment, but it was a scene that will stick with me as a reader, and makes me want to re-read/re-listen to these books again, just to capture all the subtle nuances I loved, and those I might have missed.

I don’t listen to a ton of audio books, but I have heard Derrick’s narration on a few. With an audiobook, narration must ADD to the book for me to want to listen to it, especially when it is a series. A bad narration can pull you out of the story, or maybe even make you DNF the book. Knowing Derrick was narrating I wasn’t worried about either of those happening, before I started to listen. However, he made the story so much better for me with his vocal changes between characters, the emotions he added into each scene, and the emphasis he was able to add to Seb’s snarky humor. I absolutely loved his narration!

I rarely give 5 stars as a reviewer, primarily because one of the biggest qualifiers for me for a 5 star is that it must be something I want to re-read. In this case, not only do I want to re-read, but I want to re-listen, and I want to do it very soon. And now I have to decide do I want to read book 3 (I was told there will be 4 in the series!) or do I want to wait to hear Derrick do the narration. Another mystery to behold. J

 

Books 1 and 2: Story: 5 pieces of eye candy

Books 1 and 2: Narration: 5 pieces of eye candy

Author Bio: C.S. Poe is an author of gay mystery, romance, and paranormal books.

She is a reluctant mover and has called many places home in her lifetime. C.S. has lived in New York City, Key West, and Ibaraki, Japan, to name a few. She misses the cleanliness, convenience, and limited edition gachapon of Japan, but she was never very good at riding bikes to get around.

She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful, and a major weakness for toys. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats. She’s rescued three cats, including one found in a drain pipe in Japan who flew back to the States with her. Zak, Milo, and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to sidetrack her from work.

C.S. is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization.

| Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads | Newsletter |

 

Narrator Bio: Ever since my voice dropped, people have been telling me I “should go into radio”…
What people don’t realize is that you don’t go into radio just because people like the sound of your voice. You go into radio because you have a passion for what’s on the radio – for music, or for news, or sports. While I can appreciate these things, I don’t have a passion for them.

Now, books on the other hand…books I can get behind.

After eight years of professional and competitive public speaking and (live) oral interpretation of literature, Derrick has turned his powerful voice to the world of audiobooks.

While he enjoys reading, listening to, and narrating a wide variety of genres, he has a particular affinity and passion for romance novels of all types.

Derrick records in a professional quality studio at his home in Tallahassee, FL, where he enjoys the quiet North Florida lifestyle along with his fiance and insanely hyper dog. He has previously lived in rural Pennsylvania as well as Orange County California, and has extensively traveled the United States, becoming familiar with a wide range of American accents and sub-cultures.

To connect with Derrick, email: voiceofderrick@gmail.com or find him on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Goodreads.


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Our Reason (Sizzling Miami 8) by Jessie G: Release Day Review and Excerpt

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Title: Our Reason

Series: Sizzling Miami #8, Red & Bull #3

Author: Jessie G

M/M Romance

COVER MODEL: Alfie Gordillo
PHOTOGRAPHER: Randy Rls Sewell
COVER ARTIST: Andrew Reyna

Our Reason Cover

Married life is everything Bull and Red could have hoped for. It’s not something they’d ever take for granted and the need to pay it forward is a trait the husbands happily share. When the new director of the Bennett House asks Red to teach an art class, he isn’t entirely sure how it will help, but he’s more than willing to try. Before Bull, he used his art to purge his demons and sharing that with those in need of an outlet for their own pain was a gift he never considered giving. Each week he is rocked by the artful outpouring of emotion and the gratitude of his students. One by one, they burrow into his heart…but none more so than Dillon Young.

Always holding himself apart from the others, the wisp of a boy keeps his head down and hides behind a mangy, overgrown length of dark hair like a shield. Despite his best attempts not to see himself in all the young men that come through the center, everything about Dillon calls out to Red. Needing to share their encounters, and maybe hoping for a little perspective, he turns to the one man he knows he can always count on. Expecting Bull to be the voice of reason had been a fool’s mission from the start and soon they’re both invested in helping Dillon.

There’s no doubt they have an abundance of love to share and if ever there was someone who needed it, Dillon was the one. Between Bull’s strength and Red’s patience, they’ll help Dillon learn to trust again and in the process, create a family that none of them intended. Though they never envisioned themselves as parents, Bull and Red will find room in their happily ever after to save the child they didn’t know lived in their hearts.

AMAZON
GOODREADS

 

Our Reason by Jessie G - Teaser #1

Dillon was at school when the center called about a job interview and his grandmother made the appointment before he knew it was happening. When he walked through the door, she was waiting with the news like they’d won the fucking lottery. He tried not to dampen her relief, but it only added weight to already high expectations—especially because Dillon knew it would probably blow up in his face. One lesson he learned in this fucked up life was that the more he wanted or needed something, the harder it was to get.

And they needed this. Desperately.

His grandmother tried her hardest, but they were barely getting by and all it would take was for the wrong person to notice. Dillon knew all about services that were supposed to protect children and wanted no part of being sent to some group home where he’d have to grovel or worse just to earn a blanket and a meal. More than that, he definitely didn’t want to be sent back to his mother.

Alabama had done both to him. First, taking him out of a situation they called dangerous only to put him someplace worse, then returning him because his mama proved herself reformed. The joke was on him for believing that things would be different. That she’d actually be the mother he’d always wished for. Now he knew better and having that threat hanging over their heads made him willing to do anything. Including allowing himself a moment of hope that maybe—just maybe—if the center vouched for him, then it might be doable.

Turns out, hope had a seriously screwed up sense of humor and Dillon really hated the thing that happened in his stomach when he heard the name of the business. The same one he’d seen it on the side of the tow truck that Mr. Connor’s husband drove. That massive beast gleamed in the sunlight and was impossible to miss, just like the man who drove it.

Dillon would never admit that he was both intimidated and fascinated by that big, bald, hulk of a man, but he was. How could he not be after seeing how that massive mountain treated his husband? Or that he had a husband to begin with? Men like that weren’t gay, they weren’t nice or gentle…or so he believed. That was his experience and he hated that someone was making him question it.

Red and Bull have settled in to married life and it’s everything they were hoping for. Red is still working in the garage but at Davin’s request he has started teaching art classes at The Bennett House. There Red meets Dillon, and Red can’t help but drawn comparisons to himself at that age.

Dillon is standoffish and shy, hiding behind his overgrown hair. Red is drawn to Dillon and in turn so is Bull. Bull offers Dillon a job in the garage and just as they get to know one another something from Dillon’s past spooks him and he runs. Red and Bull call in all their reinforcements to help find Dillon and together they prove to him that family is not only made from blood.

I absolutely love Red and Bull so I was really excited to get my hands on this one. If you’ve read some of the previous books in the series then you know Jessie has a way with words like no other and the is book is no exception. While this book has no on page love scenes which is a little different than her other works, you can still feel the smoldering heat between Red and Bull. The story is well developed and intriguing, I can’t wait to see where the “fishing lawyer” takes us. It’s sure to be entertaining and heartbreaking.

In “For a Reason” I met Red and Bull, watched them fall in love and fell right along with them. In “Their Reason” I saw their love grow and deepen, culminating in an adventurous wedding and honeymoon. In “Our Reason” I see how strong the foundation of their love really is and how they use that support to expand their family. I never thought I could love Red and Bull more than I did after the first book, but seeing how much Red’s confidence has grown and Bull’s unwavering support of anything Red wants or needs had me falling even harder for these two.

5 pieces of eye candy

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.

  WHERE TO FIND JESSIE G:

Contact Links:

Website: http://www.jessiegbooks.com

Email: jessie@jessiegbooks.com

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Social Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessieGBooks

Google +: google.com/+Jessiegbooksmm
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Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/jessiegbooks

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jessiegbooks/

Tumblr (NSFW 18+): http://jessiegbooks.tumblr.com/

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Author Pages:

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My Choice, My Chance (Men of Crooked Bend Bk 2) by Taylor Rylan: Quick Review including Excerpt

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My Choice My Chance Cover

After a disastrous relationship in college, Jasper Welsh swore he’d never let anyone that close to him again. But after watching his twin fall in love with the man of his dreams, Jasper starts to realize that maybe there’s more to life than meaningless hook ups. After all, it’s been almost a decade since he’s taken a chance on someone again.

When a brutal ex almost kills Liam Campbell, he runs away with his best friend to Wyoming for Christmas with Rhett’s family. Little does he know, that even though he’s still broken and bruised, Liam’s life is about to be completely turned upside down when he meets Rhett’s brother, Jasper. But there’s no way Jasper could be interested in someone like him, right?

When Liam’s ex finds him in Wyoming and one of their family members almost pays the ultimate price, will the Welsh family forgive him for bringing danger to their family? Or will they fight for the battered young man and accept him with open arms?

Choices are made, and chances are taken when Jasper and Liam realize that their attraction for one another can’t be denied and must be explored. But with a wedding in the planning stages and an unforgettable bachelor party in Vegas, does the new couple really want to steal the grooms’ thunder?

My Choice, My Chance is the second book in the Men of Crooked Bend series. Each book in the series will focus on a different couple but will be better enjoyed as a series as the couples all make appearances in each book. Each book contains sexually explicit material between two men and is intended for adults over 18.

MY CHOICE, MY CHANCE

MEN OF CROOKED BEND SERIES, BOOK 2

TAYLOR RYLAN

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 08.19.17

COVER DESIGN: Jay Aheer/Simply Defined Art

Amazon – Kindle Unlimited

My Choice My Chance Teaser 1


Ok first, this cover is hot….

Second…. I was unsure about Jasper, as he wasn’t a favorite from the first book. I had a bit of trouble getting through the first one, if I’m honest, the writing style and the overuse of ones name… I wasn’t a fan. I was curious about Jasper though, hence, here I am.

Now, in saying all that, let’s discuss… I was intrigued by this one because I’m such a sucker for the wounded twink trope and Liam, who was brother Rhett’s best friend from Seattle, I believe it was, had come home for the holiday’s after being beaten and raped by his boyfriend who happened to be a police officer and now on the run. Even after being beaten and raped, Liam was still attracted to Jasper and Jasper was attracted to Liam, even though, through a flashback of a memory…Jasper used to be a Sub.. now, a Dom, or Dom like I guess… how can one just flip flop like that? I don’t understand.

Anyway…I don’t know how things started with Jasper and Liam, their first conversation wasn’t detailed… just, “I finally got Liam to open up in a friendly natural way”.. like, what do you mean, finally? You met him yesterday and hadn’t said a word to him at all…. Not that I read anyway. I’m also bummed that Simon’s proposal got overlooked…. Everything seemed to be at warp speed, no detail in the things that mattered and too much detail in things that didn’t. I found myself skimming a lot.

There’s a lot of raping going on in this book too. I know there’s a trigger warning, but this Mike guy, he just goes around raping people apparently… first Liam and then Rhett, after he kidnaps him. Again, I found this glossed over and it was really an unnecessary plot twists…

After Mike is “neutralized”, Liam becomes a new person and he and Jasper live happily ever after! I’d say this one was much better than the last one, but I think I’ll stop the series here. Glad everyone got their happy endings!

3 pieces of eye candy from me.

My Choice My Chance Teaser 2

I finally made it to our new house with everything. I wanted to cry when I pulled into the driveway and saw Jasper’s truck there. How in the hell was I going to set everything up for my romantic picnic surprise if he was already there?

Admitting defeat and coming to the conclusion that tonight was not going to be the night to tell Jasper that I loved him, I got out of Baloo and walked up to the house to search for Jasper.

I was floored when I walked into the house. Jasper made a trail of lit candles. They started at the front door inviting me to continue inward. I followed the small flames, making my way to the living room. The sight before me made me gasp and start to cry. There, in the middle of the living room, surrounded by candles, and with a blanket and several pillows laid out on the floor was Jasper. It seems my man had the exact same idea as me! He obviously came straight here from the Realtor’s office instead of going to his office in Jackson like he’d told me.

I didn’t move at first. I noticed Jasper started to look uncomfortable so I slowly made my way toward him and the little picnic he had put together for us.

“Jasper, what…”

“Liam, just give me a minute here, alright?”

I had no idea what Jasper planned but I knew that there was absolutely no way I was going to let him go another night without telling him exactly how I felt. With as wonderful and sweet as this all was, this was my plan. Did I talk in my sleep? Nobody ever mentioned me talking in my sleep before so probably not. How was it that Jasper came up with the exact same idea as me? I took a big breath and did my best to calm myself and stepped into the room. I didn’t stop there. Nope! In true Liam fashion I walked right up to Jasper and hauled off and whacked him on the shoulder. Not the most romantic move ever.

“Liam! What the hell?”

“How dare you, Jasper!”

“How dare I what? You’re mad I try to be romantic for you? What? You want me to be an asshole or something?”

“No! I love it when you’re romantic. I love it when you plan trips and dinners and send me flowers and candy and stuff. It’s an amazing feeling knowing that you care enough about me to do all of those things for me.”

“Then why in the hell did you just hit me?”

“Because! You ruined my surprise!”

“How did I ruin your surprise? I haven’t even told you your surprise yet!”

We were both upset and started raising our voices, shouting at each other by that point. Not one of our best moments.

“What do you mean you haven’t given me my surprise yet? I had everything all planned and you beat me to it! I was going to come in and set up a romantic dinner for you, but you beat me to it, Jasper!” I was openly bawling by then. It was not a pretty sight. I know, I’ve seen me when I cried in the past. My face gets red and splotchy when I cry.

“Liam, I haven’t given you your surprise yet because the dinner isn’t your surprise. I wanted to give you a perfect romantic dinner so I could tell you just how much you mean to me.

After several years of daydreaming about sexy men in her head, Taylor decided to finally start writing about them! That’s where the Men of Crooked Bend came from, although at the time, she had no idea as to what she would name the town, nor what state it would be even be in. She quickly learned that even though she had ideas in her head, it was her characters that ultimately decided what would happen in each story. She goes into each adventure with a set plan but already knows that in the end, things will change and that her characters are going to get their way.

When she’s not writing about sexy men, she loves to read about them. Even if, her reading time has become less frequent since she started writing, she still tries to find time to read at least once a week.

She is a busy mom of three and one kitten named Lucky. If she’s not writing or reading about sexy men, she’s either running to some band function or another or is busy cheering from the stands at basketball games or marital arts functions.

Her Men of Crooked Bend Series is her first series but she already has two spin-off series planned!

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100016810573958

Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/TaylorRylanOfficial/?pnref=lhc

Amazon Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Taylor-Rylan/e/B072NG73VR/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/TaylorRylan1

Instagram:

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Email:

AuthorTaylorRylan@gmail.com

Newsletter:

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A Dom and His Writer by Xenia Melzer: Exclusive Guest Post and Giveaway

Life is perfect for Richard and Dean. Richard is a wealthy and successful businessman who also owns a BDSM club, and Dean is a bestselling author and sub to Richard. They’re young, happy, and in love. The future is bright….

Until tragedy strikes and an accident claims Dean’s beloved sister. Dean also finds himself the guardian of a three-month-old infant, and soon he’s trading in his leather fetish gear for diapers and drool bibs. But little Emily is all that remains of his family, so how can he abandon her?

It’s not what Richard signed up for. As much as he tries to be supportive, he never wanted kids and misses having his partner to himself. Suddenly the life he imagined for them is gone, and he’s not sure their relationship can survive the upheaval. But fate isn’t through with Dean, and when misfortune strikes again, will he be able to turn to the man he loves? A final crisis will determine if they can pull together as a family or they must face facts and part ways.

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Peyton on Richard’s and Dean’s relationship

Hello, I’m Peyton, interior designer for the rich and filthy rich, and friend of Dean. Don’t get me wrong, I like Richard as well, but he’s a bit too – dominant for my taste, if you get what I mean. Anyway, I was asked to say a few words about Dean’s and Richard’s relationship, so here we are.

I met the two about four years ago, when they moved into that gorgeous apartment downtown. It wasn’t gorgeous then, of course. You should have seen what the former owner did to the poor place. I mean, seriously, all that space and she had to put walls in instead of using it to her advantage? Sometimes I wonder where some people get their ideas. I guess common sense and general aesthetics aren’t just for everybody. Luckily, I belong to the few select who possess both in abundance and thankfully, Richard is smart enough to rely on me when it comes to his home. Good man.

So, he asked me to take a look at the place and I agreed, because who in their right mind says no to Richard Miller? I met him and Dean for the first time in person in the apartment and Dean and I immediately hit it off. I love how gentle he is, how focused. Plus, he’s an amazing artist, slightly loopy, if you ask me, but in a way that is still charming. If you met him on the street, you wouldn’t know he’s a millionaire. Richard, on the other hand… he oozes money and power. You take one look at him and it’s obvious how much he’s used to getting what he wants. What he wanted in the apartment was a dungeon, though that didn’t surprise me. I already knew he owns Whisper and an interestingly large percentage of my customers recommend me not because of my ability to hunt down the perfect couch to go into their living rooms, but for the ingenious rooms for pain I come up with. I’m a genius in many respects, if I do say so myself.

When you look at Richard and Dean, it’s kind of obvious – their sexual tastes, I mean. The way Dean leaves all the decisions to Richard or how Richard practically devours Dean with his eyes when he’s not gauging what his boy wants. Because, let me tell you, everything you think you know about BDSM kind of flies out the window when you watch these two. Sometimes I get toothache, that’s how sweet they are.

Well, so I designed their apartment and the dungeon within and somehow, Dean and I stayed in touch. I like to think I’m his lifeline to normalcy in his life of kink and unimaginable riches, but I’m honest enough with myself to know that we get along as well as we do because I’m just as crazy as him. Birds of a feather, so to speak. It kind of reassures me to be friends with him, to see I’m not the only one who doesn’t exactly fit – but let’s stop talking about me. Dean and Richard are sweet together, the perfect couple. I would love to have a boyfriend just like Richard… well, not exactly like Richard. Not as dominant. Less bulky. With more hair… Fine, I want the essence of what they have with Viggo Mortensen. Though I do like Vin Diesel, too. Decisions, decisions…

 

Xenia Melzer is a mother of two who enjoys riding and running when she’s not writing stories. She doesn’t like beer but is easily tempted by a Virgin Mojito. Or chocolate. Truffles are especially cherished, even though she doesn’t discriminate. As a true chocoholic, she welcomes any kind of cocoa-based delight.

You can contact her through her website: http//www.xeniamelzer.com

Or befriend and follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/xeniamelzer/


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Familiar Angel by Amy Lane: Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.

Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven him to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.

In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and he didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?

Title: Familiar Angel
Author: Amy Lane
Release Date: October 20, 2017
Category: Paranormal
Pages: 200

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Cats on a Mission

By Amy Lane

So, shapeshifting cats are a particular fantasy of mine. I featured them in The Little Goddess series, in which the humans shifted into cats of human size—and I loved them. The gag of the cat licking his privates who suddenly turns into a human will never get old.

But the cats in Familiar Angel are, well, familiars. There is no mass-conversion in familiar shapeshifters. They’re just cat-sized cats.

And believe me, I played with this concept as much as I possibly could.

One of my favorite moments in the story is when Harry wakes up and his brother is beside him reading from a kindle. “His paw moved and the light flashed, and he turned the page.”

Because if you’re a cat who can read, wouldn’t reading from a kindle be the best thing in the world? No opposable thumbs needed!

Harry and his brothers hunt mice for themselves and rabbits for people, kill spiders, spy on bad guys, and occasionally fish. When they don’t feel like being human, they cat. When they find they have to communicate with other people, they human—but they don’t have to be happy about it. And when they fall in love…

They struggle.

Because they found their cats 140 years ago. They’ve gotten comfortable hiding from hurt, hiding from anger, hiding from fear.  When they cat, they don’t have to deal with the terrible complexities of human emotions. They just have to hunt mice and lick their privates—but that doesn’t necessarily prepare them for the real world.

So as much fun as writing the cat parts were—Edward fighting the guy with the semi-automatic weapon and winning, Francis becoming the ultimate killing machine in the body of a fuzzy Siamese space-cadet, Harry pouting in the stream shallows before learning to fish—it was writing the human parts that were the most fascinating.

I mean, I’m pretty sure my own cats love me—as long as I feed them. They come to me for companionship, the bitch at me when I’m lacking in sensitivity to their superior selves, and I really am their best bet in the winter when they need full-sized body heaters during the cold, dark night.

But I don’t think they’ll ever be in love with me.

And writing that transition, between the self-protective cat and the vulnerable human, was maybe the most fascinating part of writing the book.

I have to say, although it’s an unusual genre, I hope people check in to see Harry, my brave warrior cat, fall in love—and Edward and Francis after him.

Good kitties!

“Hide!” Harry had just enough presence of mind to grab Francis’s other side to help Edward pull him through the thicket of brambles that lined the river. Bleeding, dirty, breathless, they slid to a halt in a hollow between the blackberry bushes and the hill, lying on their stomachs, Francis sandwiched between them. Francis, who had received a terrible scratch from the corner of his mouth to the corner of his eye, moaned in pain. Harry shushed him, and Edward placed a gentle hand over his mouth.

A woman, clothed in blinding, glowing white, burst into the clearing with a man—man?—draped over her shoulder. His clothes were red velvet, and thick curly hair grew all over his face and large skull, like a goat’s.

His back feet were cloven.

“Leonard,” she begged. “Leonard… darling. Wake up. Wake up. I need your help.”

Leonard—the thing… man—rolled his head, much like Francis had done, and moaned. “Emma, leave me. If they find me with you… if they find Mullins here….”

“Mullins!” the woman whispered. “Mullins—I’m losing him. Oh please—Mullins, he’s losing himself again.”

“I’m losing myself again!” came a terrible growl, and another Leonard-like thing stepped into the clearing—this one very obviously glowing red. “Emma, we need to do the ritual. I can’t….” The monster thing, Mullins, let out a horrifying series of snuffling grunts and growls. “I’ll turn,” he said, sounding tearful—if a beast could be in tears. “I’ll turn and gut you both.”

“I understand,” she whispered. “You’ve been very brave. Here.” She set Leonard on the ground then and started to pull items from a leather satchel across her shoulder. “We’ll do it right now.”

“This isn’t the ceremonial place!” Mullins said, sounding despondent. “It’s not cleansed, it’s not prepared—”

To Harry’s surprise, Emma put a tender hand on the beast’s cheek. “My sweet boy, you’ve been too long in hell. We don’t need the trappings of the spell—although the things in those hex bags should help us focus. We just need ourselves, and our good intentions, and our desire.”

Mullins’s grunt was self-deprecating. “The road to hell is the one paved with good intentions,” he said gruffly.

“That’s only because the demons trying to get to earth walked that path first,” she said, sounding cheeky. In their quiet interaction, Harry got a better look at her. Not young—over twenty—but not old either, she was beautiful in every sense of the word. Straight nose, even teeth, perfectly oval face, and blonde hair that streamed, thick and healthy, to her waist, she was what every boy should dream about when he went to sleep hoping for a wife.

Harry didn’t dream about girls, but he could look at this one and know the appeal.

But it was more than the physical beauty—and she had it all, soft hips, small waist, large breasts—there was the kindness to the beasties. The gentleness and calm she radiated when Mullins had threatened her.

Suddenly Harry had a powerful yearning for his mum, when she’d been dead for nearly five years.

“Here,” Emma said, breaking the sweetness of the moment. “Take the hex bags—there’s ten. Make a pentagram with me and Leonard in the center. I’m summoning an angel, love. You may want to leave when you’re done. I’ve no guarantees he’ll be friendly to you.”

“That’s not news,” Mullins said dryly and began his task. “Do you…. Emma, I know you’re powerful. You summoned my master for knowledge on power alone. But all else you have done, you have done out of love.”

“Including persuade you to our side,” she said. While he set the hex bags, she was stretching Leonard out before her, stripping his shirt with deft, practiced movements. The skin underneath the clothes was smooth and human, and Harry felt nauseated at the abomination of beast and man.

But Emma seemed to care for him.

“It would be worth any torture,” Mullins said softly, pausing in his duties, “to know Leonard will live.”

“Come with us!” Emma begged. “I may not love you like I love Leonard, but you’ve been a good friend to us. Please—”

Mullins shook his head. “It’s not enough to break me free,” he said, and his bestial smile would haunt Harry and Edward for years. “Someone would have to love me enough to sacrifice for me, and make no mistake, Emma. This will come down to your sacrifice. You will be stripped of your power, your youth—are you sure you want to do this?”

Emma let out a sigh. “I would live a mortal lifetime without worry,” she said softly. “But I do not want him all alone without me. ’Twould be cruel.” She closed her eyes for a moment, and then—

Harry gasped and heard Edward do the same.

She was looking right at them.

“I’m about to do something very wrong,” she said, great conviction carrying in her serenity. “But I think something very right too. Carry on, Mullins, but run as soon as you are done.” Her voice dropped. “Please, my friend—I’ll have enough weighing on my soul for tonight’s doings as it is.”

Mullins continued to bustle, and as he set the last hex bag down, Emma began to chant. Mullins traced a circle in the dirt around the outside bags, and then, when the circle ends touched, he pulled out a knife.

Emma nodded unhappily at him and then bit her lip as he cut a line on his palm and let the blood drip on the sealed ends of the dirt line. He and Emma looked at each other again, a strong friendship locking their gaze, before he turned and lurched away, his gait awkward and crippled on his cloven hooves. Harry felt some compassion for him then, poor beast, good friend—but his gaze didn’t linger.

He was too busy watching the white light around Emma grow larger, filling the space inside the pentagram like a bowl.

The light exploded outward, filling the clearing itself, and then one more time, just a few feet more.

Harry and Edward stared at each other, terrified.

They were in the light circle as well.

“Glory!” Edward whispered, and Harry was too shaken to quiet him.

Francis stirred between them and opened his eyes slowly. For a moment Harry feared that he’d startle and scream—Harry certainly would have raised a bloody great hue and cry—but then, Francis wasn’t Harry.

He parted his bruised lips and smiled.

“An angel,” he breathed, and Harry turned his attention back to the center of the clearing.

Where an angel appeared.

Harry’s heart stopped in his throat. Tall—because of course, right? An angel would be tall. Clothed in robes that glittered like diamonds, whiter than pearls he was. His hair was a marvelous flame-gold color, red like a sunrise or an ember. His face was more handsome than sin—bold, straight nose, full lips, a square jaw, eyes of warm, solid brown.

Harry’s groin gave a painful throb, and he almost wept. Those things—those dirty, filthy things that were done to him by rough miners and haughty bankers with gold in their grubby fists—those things were not right here.

Not with an angel.

Not with this angel.

Harry’s eyes burned with the perfection of this angel.

“Suriel,” Emma breathed.

 

Amy Lane has two kids who are mostly grown, two kids who aren’t, three cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.


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Count the Shells by Charlie Cochrane: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, and Giveaway

Michael Gray returned from World War One injured, but at least he returned. Others were not so fortunate, including his first and greatest love, Thomas Carter-Clemence, with whom Michael had parted bitterly before the conflict began.

Broch, the Carter-Clemence home in Porthkennack, was an integral part of pre-war holidays for the Grays, the two families drawn together in the wake of their sons’ friendship. Returning to the once-beloved Cornish coast for a break with his sister and her family, Michael has to find the courage to face old memories . . . and dare new relationships.

When Thomas’s brother Harry makes an unexpected appearance, Michael is surprised to find himself deeply attracted to Harry for his own sake. But as their relationship heats up, it unearths startling revelations and bitter truths. Michael must decide whether Harry is the answer to his prayers or the last straw to break an old soldier’s back.​

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Count the Shells is the story which completely astounded its author in the telling. I had no idea when I sat down to write it that the straightforward historical romance I’d envisaged would turn out to have a plot twist which transformed the story into possibly the best tale I’ve ever crafted.

 

The Great War – where do I start to research it?

If you were to say to me, “Charlie, old thing, I’m interested in finding out more about World War One. Where should I begin?” I’d respond, “Whatever you do, don’t start with a history text book!” Not unless you’re really interested in what battle took place where and which regiments were involved or which governments did what and when. That may be precisely your cup of tea, but I can’t say it’s mine. For me, the bigger picture is just the setting for the characters, and those details are only relevant when they impact on part of an individual’s life story. It’s the people who interest me: what they did, the experiences they lived through, and the effect these things had on them.

When it comes to finding those things out, there are a wealth of resources and some of the very best get as close to the source material as possible. All history is clearly seen at one or more removes, and as it reaches us it’ll have gone through one or more filters, as people relate the things they want us to hear and which support whichever view they’re taking. You have to remember this with whatever material you look at or listen to, but the fewer steps between you and the “eye witness”, the better.

So, here are some of my top resources:

  • War poetry. All of it from the jingoistic to the deeply cynical, and other poems written by notable poets of the era. (When we studied Wilfred Owen at school, nobody mentioned his homoerotic works, some of which are stunning and which put a new context on his more famous war poetry.)
  • The “Voices from…” series of books which uses testimonies from men and woman who lived/fought/sailed/flew in the era. The detais this provides is staggering.
  • Biographies, but not just of the big political or military names of the era. There are some great books about army chaplains, ordinary soldiers, even real war horses!
  • Diaries, letters, artwork from the era. One of the most moving books I’ve read is “Scrimgeour’s Scribbling Diary” which are the wartime writings (made strictly against protocol) of a midshipman. The abrupt end of entries is the most poignant reminder of the terrible loss of young lives.

 

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack

 

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

To celebrate the release of Count the Shells, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag from Charlie Cochrane, including postcards (new and vintage), a recipe book, bookmark, pencils, a fridge magnet and various other doodahs! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 21, 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.