Hi guys, we have J. Scott Coatsworth stopping by today with the tour for his new release Skythane, we have a fantastic excerpt, a brilliant $25 Amazon GC giveaway and Shorty’s review, so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~
(Liminal Sky: Oberon Cycle 01)
J. Scott Coatsworth
Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnson, a handsome, cocky skythane with a troubled past.
Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.
Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them.
Hi guys! We have Anthony Dobranski stopping by with the tour for his release The Demon In Business Class, we have an excellent character interview, a great excerpt and a brilliant $ Amazon GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~
The Demon In Business Class
She can speak all languages. He can smell evil intent.
They’re enemies. They crave each other.
With secret magic, international settings, a conspiracy plot, and star-crossed lovers, The Demon in Business Class is a stylish modern fantasy spanning continents and genres.
A shady executive hires Zarabeth Battrie to help start the next global war, giving her a demon that speaks all languages. But other people know more about her job than she does…
A resolute investigator recruits Gabriel Archer to use his emerging psychic powers, for a visionary leader who turns others from evil. As his senses develop, his doubts grow…
When the two meet by chance in Scotland, passion becomes fragile love, until the demon’s betrayal drives Gabriel away. Before Zarabeth’s revenge destroys the visionary’s plan, Gabriel must stop her — for both to survive, neither can win.
Warnings: FOR ADULTS! Drugs, fistfights, vigorous sex, murder, an orgy (witnessed), a cult, and a (told not shown) history of child sexual abuse.
Fans of Jeff VanderMeer, David Mitchell and Michel Faber will love this cross-genre novel with crisp literary style. The Demon in Business Class is an international story of fantasy, intrigue, and love, on the uneasy ground where the human meets the divine.
YOUR NEXT READ IS NOW BOARDING
“If William Gibson wrote paranormal …. weaves the dark worlds of the occult and big business into an intoxicating tale.” – D. J. Butler, author of Witchy Eye
“Creative spark? Anthony Dobranski ignites a creative bonfire …A masterwork of invention.” – Mary Kay Zuravleff, author of Man Alive!
“A swank cocktail of international intrigue, steeped in the supernatural, mixed with literary flair …. so sleek it flies off the page.” – Zach Powers, author of First Cosmic Velocity
Hi guys, we have T.A. Moore stopping by today with her up coming release Wolf At The Door, we have short guest post from T.A., a great excerpt and a fantastic $15 Amazon GC giveaway, so check out the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~
Wolf At The Door
(Winter Wolf 03)
For Jack and Gregor, the exiled Wolf Princes of the Scottish pack, it’s someplace they never wanted to leave. For Danny, who fled as soon as he could, it’s someplace he never planned to return. As for Nick, pathologist and carrion bird, he has nowhere else to be.
It offers only one thing—the Old Man’s help in putting down the bloody-handed treachery from the prophets who dogged them all the way from Durham. The twins’ father is many things, not all of them kind, but not even the prophets would cross him.
But when they finally arrive home, they find the Old Man gone and the prophets’ puppet installed in his place. Outnumbered, bereaved, and haunted by old mistakes, the four of them must discover the prophet Rose’s plan before it’s too late. As the stakes rise and the cold settles into their bones, they find that the old fairy tales hide horrors under their pretty words.
In the Highlands, Fenrir has stirred, and he’s hungry.
The prophets have always said that a Wolf Winter is red as blood—but they never said whose.
A monster moves through the darkest night, lit only by the full moon, taking them, one by one, from Seattle’s gay gathering areas.
In an atmosphere of spine-tingling fear, Thad Matthews finds his first true love cooking in an Italian restaurant called The Blue Moon Cafe. Sam Lupino is everything Thad has ever hoped for in a man: virile, sexy as hell, kind, and…he can cook!
As the pair’s love heats up, so do the questions. Who is the killer preying on Seattle’s gay men? What secrets is Sam’s Sicilian family hiding? And, more important, why do Sam’s unexplained disappearances always coincide with the full moon?
When the secrets are finally revealed, is Thad and Sam’s love for one another strong enough to weather the horrific revelations revealed by the light of the full moon?
Music from his clock radio woke Thad Matthews at 6:00 a.m. The song, “Smokestack Lightning,” yanked him from a heavy, dream-laden sleep. Its energy forced his eyes open wider, caused synapses, eight hours dormant, to tingle, and made him want to move. Nonetheless, he slapped at the snooze button, silencing the bluesy wail, rolled over, and then pulled the comforter over his head. He was glad he had tuned his clock radio to KPLU, Seattle’s only all-blues all-the-time station, but he desperately wanted to recapture just a few more minutes of his dream, in which he’d found himself on the moors of England. All he could recall was that the moors themselves were appropriately fog shrouded and lit with a silvery luminance from above. Someone waited for him in the shadows and fog. And he couldn’t, for the life of him, know for certain if that someone meant to do him harm or meant to just do him.
He’d been having a lot of sexual dreams lately.
As much as he wanted to unravel the mystery of the dream—and to perhaps savor the vague sexual vibrations he was getting from it—sleep eluded him. He found thoughts of the day crowding in, preventing even the most remote possibility of a recurrence of slumber.
Thad sat up in the four-poster, rubbing his eyes like a little boy, and wondered why he bothered setting an alarm. He had no job to go to, no pressing engagements, no muse to answer to—hell, he didn’t even have an appointment for an oil change.
This day, like all his others, stretched out before him completely unmarred with obligations other than the requirements life imposed upon him, such as eating and going to the bathroom, which the erection poking up under his sheets compelled him to take care of. He called this morning wood a pee-on, because once he had put that particular need to rest, it most often subsided.
After stumbling to the adjoining bathroom and letting go with a flow that caused a mighty sigh of relief to issue forth from him, he thought once again that maybe today should be the day he looked harder into getting himself some employment—anything to put him into contact with other people and to fill his waking hours. Lord knew he filled out enough applications and answered enough Help Wanted ads on Craigslist to keep the officials down at unemployment sending him checks. But all his efforts, dishearteningly, were ignored.
It had been nearly four months since he had been laid off at Perk, the national chain of coffee shops headquartered in suburban Shoreline. Thad had been there for six years, in the marketing department, spending his days writing clever sayings for paper coffee cups and point-of-purchase signs for the stores. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. And writing phrases like “Plan on Being Spontaneous” paid the bills, even if it didn’t provide much creative or intellectual challenge. It helped sell coffee, and Thad never kidded himself: that’s why he was employed there.
Except now they didn’t need him anymore. Who would write the signs for their special Iced Coffee blend?
He gazed down at the bubbling golden froth in the toilet and flushed it away, along with his thoughts about his former job. He turned and rinsed his hands under the sink, then splashed cold water on his face. Standing up straight, he stared at his reflection in the medicine cabinet mirror.
“You’re too young for a life of leisure,” he said to his reflection, rubbing his hands through his short, coarse red hair, which stuck up in a multitude of directions. People paid good money for products that would make their hair look as fetchingly disheveled as Thad’s did right now. He peered closer at himself, taking inventory of his pale skin, his gray eyes, and the constellation of freckles that spanned his nose and the tops of his cheeks. He flexed, thinking he was looking a little flabby around the middle.
“Workout day. I’ll head over to the gym today. I need it.” He sucked in his gut and let it out again, thinking it was empty and needed refilling. A Pagliacci delivery pizza only went so far. His slumber and active dream life, he supposed, had all but digested the pie.
Thad moved to the bedroom and began tossing pillows on the floor to make up his bed. He wasn’t sure why he bothered with this either, since it was unlikely anyone would see the military-neat bed except for him, when he would approach it once more this evening just to mess it all up again. But it was important to Thad to have a routine. Otherwise his days would blend into one meaningless chunk of time, formless, without definition or purpose.
It was becoming increasingly hard enough to distinguish Tuesday from Thursday—or Sunday, for that matter.
Back when he was putting in forty-plus hours a week, he envied the increasing number of friends and acquaintances who had gotten laid off during the economic downturn. The money they made on unemployment seemed like enough—at least for him and his modest lifestyle in his Green Lake studio apartment—and the freedom they had seemed worth the cut in pay.
But now he wasn’t so sure. The uncertainty of what would happen if he still wasn’t working when the unemployment checks dwindled down to zero hung over him like a vague threat. And the freedom wasn’t really so great, when that same threat prevented him from spending much money, lest he should need it down the road for luxuries like food and a roof over his head.
Worst of all was what the job loss had done to his self-esteem. Thad needed some meaning in his life, a purpose. That much had been instilled in him since he was a little boy, back in Chicago growing up in the working class neighborhood of Bridgeport, where his father was a cop and his mother waited tables at a Lithuanian restaurant.
He pulled on a T-shirt and a pair of sweatpants, padded out to the office area of his apartment, and plopped down in front of his laptop. He planned to check out the classifieds on Craigslist, then Monster, then CareerBuilder. When he was first laid off, he looked only at writing and editing jobs but had lately broadened his search to include, well, just about everything. Thad realized he would work retail, man a customer service phone line, groom dogs, or wait tables, as long as he had a job.
Yet the rest of the world hadn’t gotten wind of his eagerness to accept any kind of employment. Or if they had, they weren’t saying.
Before he went through the often-depressing ritual of cyber pavement pounding, he would check out what had happened in the world since he had stumbled in last night from an evening of self-consolation and vodka on Capitol Hill. He hit the little orange-and-blue Firefox icon on the dock at the bottom of his screen to bring up the day’s online news…
And was jolted right out of whatever sluggishness he was feeling. He stared at the lead article for that day’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer. A chill coursed through him, and he slowly shook his head as he read the details of that morning’s top story, titled “Brutal Slaying in Capitol Hill.” The article described how an as-yet-unidentified young man had been killed in an alley in the Seattle neighborhood known for its heavy concentration of gay bars and clubs. Thad had to stop reading for a moment to close his eyes because the gruesome details were simply too much to bear. His stomach churned. The man had not just been killed but had been literally ripped apart. Very little blood was found at the scene. And forensics had already determined that there was no trace of metal found on the victim’s flesh, which meant that the deed had to have been done with something other than a knife. The worst detail of all was the fact that the remains bore definite signs that much of the man’s flesh had been eaten. Authorities are keeping details to themselves regarding who—or what—the perpetrator could have been. The story closed with the usual cautions about what to do—don’t travel alone, avoid strangers and unlit places—when something so unsettling and violent occurs.
Thad exited Firefox sooner than he had planned and stared out the window. His heart thumped in his chest. Bile splashed at the back of his throat and a cold sweat broke out on his forehead. He had been in Capitol Hill the night before, having a dirty martini or three at Neighbours, one of the gay ghetto’s most popular hangouts. He wondered if, as he had made his way back to the bus stop, he had passed the killer or killers. If perhaps the killer or killers had eyed him, wondering if he would suffice for their demented purposes. He could see himself through their eyes, being watched from the shadows of a vestibule or an alley as he made his way back to the bus stop on Broadway. He wondered if he looked appetizing. He had been told on more than one occasion that he was “tasty” and “delicious,” but those doing the describing were not thinking of him as dinner—at least not in the conventional sense. He wondered if perhaps the only thing that had saved him was the coincidental passing of a boisterous group from the University of Washington, coming up alongside him just as the fiend in the dark was ready to pounce. He shivered. For once, rejection was a comforting thought.
Rejection, under these circumstances, was the new “getting lucky.”
Still, some poor soul had not been as lucky as he had, and today forensics was probably busy trying to figure out just who this unfortunate soul was. From what Thad had read, it didn’t sound like they had much to go on. Dental records, maybe? What kind of animal would not only kill a fellow human being but also eat his flesh and drink his blood? Was this a human being at all? Thad had heard of bears occasionally making their misguided ways down from the mountains and into Seattle, but they usually got no farther than suburban parks and backyards. And the “bears” that routinely cruised the Capitol Hill neighborhood were of a much more cuddly variety.
Surely, though, an animal couldn’t have been roaming around busy Capitol Hill on Friday night. The neighborhood, on weekend nights, was a blur of barhoppers and partiers, its hilly streets filled with people and cars jockeying for position. Loud and well lit, it was the kind of neighborhood that would scare the shit out of an animal, at least an animal with normal fears and inclinations. This had to be the work of a person, or people, right? And whoever was behind such a thing had to be majorly warped. Thad had a quick vision of pale-gray eyes and enormous canine teeth until he banished the imagery to the back of his brain, grateful for another kind of canine distraction.
That distraction had just sidled up beside Thad, her arrival signaled by a clicking of toenails on hardwood. Thad glanced down at his gray-and-white Chihuahua, Edith, staring up at him with her dark eyes. Her tongue stuck out one side of her mouth, giving her a both comical and wizened appearance. The dog was about a hundred years old, and Thad thought, for better or worse, she was his very best friend in the world. Edith got up on her hind legs to paw at Thad’s lap, indicating to him that he was not the only creature in the house that had to pee first thing in the morning.
Thad got up and, with Edith following impatiently behind, slid into flip-flops and grabbed her leash. “C’mon, sweetheart, let’s take a little walk down to the lake, and then we’ll see about getting us both some breakfast.”
Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.
Former pro-rodeo champion Smith Rose and his cousins Cooper and Christa Boone live a quiet life together in the town of Cody, Wyoming—until the summer of 2015 shakes them to their foundations.
Stuck in an unhappy rut since his retirement from the rodeo five years prior, Smith is forced to reckon with his past, present, and future when his former friend and lover John Henry Walker shows up at Smith’s bar. Meanwhile, the Boone sisters face a threat they never would’ve predicted when an out-of-town stranger begins to stalk Christa after meeting her at a party. While trying to support her sister and their cousin, Cooper secretly agonizes over her fears of their little family splitting apart and where that would leave her.
When Smith, Cooper, and Christa’s problems converge in a dangerous confrontation, will the three of them survive?
The three of them sit sprawled in a booth: Smith, Cooper, and Christa. Their table’s littered with beer bottles and the shucked off metal caps. Smith’s got a cooler on the floor alongside his seat because this is his bar and he can do whatever the hell he wants. He opens each beer with the bottle opener on his key ring. His cousins got a pretty good buzz going on, the two of them pink-faced and smiling, leaning into each other. Smith is mellowed out, not drunk. He doesn’t watch the saloon or Georgeanne filling in for him at the bar, just nurses his drink and considers his cousins.
“There is no way in hell I’m riding fifteen hundred miles on the back of a motorcycle,” says Christa.
“Why not?” Cooper whines. “Labor Day weekend, it’ll be beautiful. We won’t see weather that good in between here and Austin until next spring, which is almost a year from now.”
“I wouldn’t go in the spring either. I’m not traveling that far on a bike. Period.”
“You don’t even have to worry about the bike. I’m the one handling it. All you have to do is hold on and enjoy the scenery.”
“I wouldn’t be enjoying anything, Cooper! I’d be terrified the whole way. What’s fun about that?”
“I wouldn’t even go fast!” Cooper says. “I’ll cap it at five above the speed limit; I promise.”
“Eighty miles an hour on a motorcycle is still enough to kill you!”
“Okay, first of all, it would be seventy half the time, and second of all, why don’t you trust me? I’m not some reckless yahoo looking to cheat death taking a corner too fast, and even if I was, I would never gamble with your life.”
Christa gives her sister an indulgent smile. “It’s not about you. It’s about all the things you can’t control. My fear included.”
Cooper sighs in defeat and blinks at Smith sitting across from her. “Will you go with me?”
Smith pauses. “Might follow in the truck.”
Cooper rolls her eyes. “Forget it. I’ll go on my own.”
“You’re not making that trip alone, Cooper,” says Christa, sipping on her beer.
“Well, I wouldn’t have to if you’d come with me.”
Cooper’s been restoring a 1966 Triumph Bonneville T120TT all year, tinkering with it in her spare time at the garage where she’s an auto mechanic. She reckons she’ll be finished with it by the time September rolls around, and she’s been pestering her sister about a long road trip to Texas.
Christa ignores Cooper’s pouting and gives Smith a pointed look. “You coming to the rodeo with us?”
“No, ma’am,” he replies and draws on his beer. He’s sitting in the interior corner on his side of the booth, and he’s got his left arm stretched out along the top of the seatback behind him. He might be hiding a little, from the rest of the room.
“Smith. Come on.”
“Every year, you two go out there, and every year, I don’t. I figure that’ll never change.”
“Why can’t you just suspend your boycott for one night and spend some time with us?”
“I’m spending time with you right now. I’ll follow you anywhere, except the damn rodeo. Why don’t you skip the rodeo and do something else with me? We could take the motorcycle course at the DMV and get licensed.”
Christa makes a face at him. “Very funny.”
“Well, we’re going tomorrow night, with or without you,” Cooper says to Smith. “And I’m betting whoever places first in bronc and bull riding won’t come anywhere near your records, like I always do. Then I’ll be proven right like I always am. At least half a dozen people will recognize me and Chris as your family, ask us how you’re doing, and then recount some memory of your glory days we’ve both heard about a thousand times. We’ll smile and nod and agree you were the best in the West, shake hands, and go home.”
“Clearly, I’m not missing anything,” says Smith, his face shaded under the brim of his cowboy hat.
“If you hate the rodeo so much, why did you decide to live in Cody?” Christa asks. “You could’ve gone back to Rawlins or Cheyenne. Left Wyoming altogether.”
“Cody ain’t a bad place to live.” Smith flicks his eyes past his cousin and gives the saloon a once-over. “You two are here.”
“We’re here because of you,” says Cooper.
Smith glances at her but doesn’t respond, draining his beer bottle instead.
Marie S. Crosswell writes long fiction, short fiction, and poetry. Her novellas Texas, Hold Your Queens; Lone Star on a Cowboy Heart; Alchemy; and Cold, Cold Water are available online wherever digital books are sold. Her short fiction has appeared in Thuglit, Betty Fedora, Plots with Guns, Tough, and other indie crime fiction publications. She’s a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College where she studied creative writing. She lives in the American West. Find out more about Marie on herWebsite.
Ian Start is an art professor and poet, living and teaching in Providence, Rhode Island. After suffering an infection in his leg that left him disfigured and traumatized, he’s been struggling to regain his emotional balance and find his voice again in his poetry.
It doesn’t help when one of his students is murdered, and he’s implicated. The chemistry is still there between Ian and Jake, who is his ex and the investigator, but being a suspect presents a barrier to their reunion.
Furthermore, Ian’s injury left a massive scar, both physically and emotionally. He is not convinced anyone else should have to live with his disfigurement and his nightmares.
As I hobbled to the door, I could see, through the leaded glass, a stout Black man in a dated tweed blazer. He was staring intently at my approach, which made me wish that I was dressed in more than a robe and flannel pajama bottoms. Opening the door, I saw that there was a second man, a few steps down, looking out toward the street. “Professor Ian Start?” said the man in front of me.
“Yes?” I said, tearing my gaze away from the familiar pale ginger head.
“I’m Detective Henry Ransom from the Providence Police Department. May we have a few minutes of your time?” At that point, the tawny head turned, and it was, as I knew it would be, Jake. Right on cue, Ransom said, “This is Detective Jake Quinn.” Our eyes met and held. In the moment, I was delighted to see him. But in my moment of pleasure, I could see wariness and warning in his eyes, a slight shake of his head that clearly said don’t acknowledge. I immediately assumed there were some gay identity issues at play and kept my trap shut. Everyone knew I was gay, but I was well aware of guilt by association.
“Yes, of course, come in. We were just having coffee. Can I get you a cup?” Ever the perfect host, eh? With no small amount of trepidation, I led them to the kitchen where Rita was sitting at my little table. It looks out over a small terracotta-tiled patio with a wildflower garden beyond, looking bleak and dead in the frigid morning with black stems and flower heads that hadn’t been tended to before the winter frosts.
“Yeah, coffee would be good,” said Detective Ransom. I raised my eyebrows at Jake, who merely nodded. I knew he took it black but inquired of both anyway. Rita introduced herself, and they all shook hands. I didn’t get a handshake. I began to feel very nervous. My knuckles started to prickle.
Rita rents my street-level apartment. Short and trim, with crazy hair from an indeterminate ethnic background, she’s my closest friend even if she is a social worker. I had an overload of social workers during the time I was in the hospital, all telling me how fucked up I was going to be when I got out. After that, I swore off them permanently, but Rita was the exception. Despite our connection, Rita was a little bit of an enigma; quiet as a whisper, I never heard music or a loud voice from her apartment, so it was hard to tell if she was home or not, and I never knew if she had company because she apparently didn’t keep regular hours. But every Sunday morning without fail she’d be at my back door with croissants and hot chocolate and dressed in tight stretchy sportswear, perfectly comfortable with me in pajama bottoms and my faded silk robe. And that’s how a Sunday morning found us, the second of January, a sunny, cold winter day, when we heard the knock at the front door.
“I’m going to head back downstairs, Ian. If you need anything, just call.” And then she was gone. Cops can do that: clear a room instantly.
I poured two cups from the carafe and retrieved a carton of milk from the refrigerator for Ransom, letting him pour. “What’s going on?” I asked.
Ransom spoke. Jake didn’t say a word. “You are acquainted with a Thomas Wilson.” Statement, not a question.
“He was a student of mine, yes.” The answer to the nonquestion.
“Was?” Ransom asked, a hint of a challenge in the tone.
“Yes,” I said warily. “He’s taken his last drawing class. I teach drawing.”
“When was the last time you saw him?” Again Ransom. Christ. This was bad. I was going to hear that Thomas was missing. Missing or hurt, or…no, not going there. My stomach roiled a little.
“What’s going on?” I asked again. And in nearly a whisper. “What kind of detectives are you? Missing persons?” Yeah, like there are missing persons detectives. I was hoping for the best out of the only other option.
“Homicide,” said Ransom. I sat down hard on the nearest chair. Ransom then asked again, “When was the last time you saw Thomas Wilson?”
No, I do not want to hear what’s coming. “The last day of class. Um, the twelfth, I guess. He helped me load portfolios into my car. Are you telling me Thomas is dead?” Jake nodded but said nothing. “Are you sure? Sure it was Thomas? What happened? When?” They were wrong, had the wrong kid, were talking to the wrong instructor. I stared uncomprehendingly at Ransom. I couldn’t meet Jake’s eyes at all. I felt helpless. My knuckles began to itch, and I distractedly scratched at them.
Pamela A. Williams is a Clinical Social Worker living and working on the Southcoast of Massachusetts. She is the daughter John E. Williams, winner of the 1973 National Book Award for Augustus. She has always had writing in her blood but has only lately found the serenity and confidence to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, if you will).
Ms. Williams comes from a widely varied background. She’s worked in manufacturing, retail, graphic arts and the mental health field. She tries to bring these experiences to her writing to create well rounded, believable characters. And she remains forever honored and grateful to her clients who have shared their personal stories and broadened her view of humanity. She is awed by their resilience and trust.
Hi guys! We have Hurri Cosmo popping in today with the tour for her newest release Graham’s Rescue, we have a great exclusive excerpt, a fantastic $20 Amazon GC giveaway and Shorty’s review, so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~
(The Oletti Shifters 02)
“You’re pregnant, Graham.”
Wow. Life has tossed Graham a lot of curveballs, but he never expected to hear those words. Then, just as Graham and his fated mate, Hyden, are getting used to that amazing news, someone from Graham’s past returns and kidnaps him, threatening the very future they want to build. Talk about curveballs! Graham is an Oletti, a bloodline of wolf shifters that seems to be part of an ancient prophecy, one that speaks of a hidden magical spring of water that can restore the earth and all that is in it. A power some would kill to possess. Except, in the wrong hands, it can also turn humans and shifters totally away from what, and who, they truly love, tearing families and even fated mates apart.
Unfortunately, Hyden has been forced to drink this water so no one is coming to rescue Graham. It’s now up to him to not only save himself, his unborn child and his fated mate, but very possibly the world. Except superhero capes are hard to come by and he never liked himself much in tights. Still, with the help of his Oletti powers, this should be something he could do, right? Oh, Great Wolf, let this be something I can do…
Warnings: mention of great death in the past, rape attempt, violence off book
Bad things happen when supos go unchecked. That’s why Abarra needs The Ministry: to keep tabs on royals with powers run amok. Queen Maialen has entrusted the safety of her subjects to her nephew, Prince Xabier, placing the agency in his capable hands.
Only, the Prince would rather spend his days putting his own power to good use in the vineyards than to wither away on the bureaucratic vine. Tired of policing perpetrators and babysitting bean-counters, he schemes to groom his first lieutenant (and second cousin) the Duke of Shrubs. After months spent moving chess pieces, he is poised to convince the Queen to assign his cousin to his post.
But an unlikely pawn still stands in his way: the sexy Zain Otxoa is the pushiest pencil-pusher in all of The Ministry and head of internal affairs. Prince Xabier has plotted to have him fired at least thrice. Zain’s influence over the Queen—his only saving grace—is baffling.
When a master maneuver to have Zain reassigned exposes a shocking imbroglio, Prince Xabier learns The Ministry isn’t what it seems. And Zain isn’t a pawn at all.
Q: What show from your childhood would you love to bring back?
A: Not my childhood, but canceling Firefly was a big mistake. It’s great that they had a movie (Serenity) designed to cap the series, but…yeah, that wasn’t sufficient. Mal and Inara still need to get together. I’m waiting… (::taps foot on ground::)
Q: What’s the best vacation you ever had?
A: I spent a month in Tanzania. The first two weeks were spent acclimatizing to altitude, then climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. The last two weeks were spent on safari in the mainland, then in Zanzibar relaxing at the nicest private resort I’ve ever stayed in.
Q: If someone gave you a free plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Probably Antarctica or the Seychelles or somewhere that is prohibitively expensive for me to go to myself. Antarctica doesn’t even have any public airports. If someone could organize a string of air travel that would get me there, yes, I would absolutely take it. I travel a lot for work and I afford most of my leisure travel using miles. I’m also one of those people who is nuts about having a credit card that gets you frequent traveler points. That’s how I take most of my far-flung vacations.
Q: What’s your favorite rainy day movie?
A: I never get sick of The Princess Bride, or the 1980 version of Fame. I can generally watch AMC or TCM for hours. Now that we have streaming services, I rarely have to go back to old favorites. I’m always addicted to something new. Right now, that’s K-dramas.
Q: What fictional character would you most like to be stuck in an elevator with?
A: Someone super-sexy who’s game for stuck-in-an-elevator stranger sex. I mean, who wants to be stuck in an elevator with someone and just talk?
Not so fast.
My heels clicked in rapid succession as I walked down the centerline of the grand executive hall. It was far afield of the offices on lower floors. It took minutes to get all the way up there, which was why I’d needed to make haste. Left unattended on nights when he would rather have been any place but at his post, the Prince had a tendency to disappear.
The floors were made of marble and their design was quite ornate—a wide white border off to each side, with an elaborate design forming a runway down the middle. It wasn’t a pattern, but a work of art, its geometric pieces reminiscent of stained glass. It gave the sense of walking on a rug made of stone.
Hues from garnet, to ruby, to tawny, to rose made up elements of a palette that swirled and faded to ambers and golds. They complemented magnificent oil paintings of Abarran countryside that lined the grand corridor’s high walls. Spaced-out sitting benches rendered the space worthy of entertaining. Yet, he kept it to himself, and spent most of his time alone.
The downstairs offices were another story. They were filled with six-by-six-foot cubicles configured en masse for the Ministry’s rank and file. Enclosed offices here and there were reserved for mid-level managers: MLMs, as we liked to call them. I inhabited one of the better of these offices—a space in the corner on a higher floor with a not-bad view—though an MLM I was not.
Ostensibly, I was the Head of Internal Affairs, which was exactly her intention—a gross understatement considering my deep involvement with the covert side. Not making that last fact public was by design. My list of responsibilities was too long to name—too long for me to remember most days. Yet, the highest of my duties was to babysit him.
He was Prince Xabier Garrastazu, third in line to the South Abarran throne, son of Prince Frantzisco, nephew to the Queen, and Duke of Brix. He was also the Minister of Powers—the highest-ranking official at this agency and—despite my charge to keep him from making too big a mess out of things, he was—technically—my boss.
“Is he in?” I asked Eusebio, more for his benefit than mine. I knew the Prince’s comings and goings. I had eyes on him at all times. I tried not to roll my eyes as Eusebio made a production of picking up the phone to announce my arrival. The Prince enjoyed forcing me to wait to be let in.
The more ridiculously childish and infuriatingly vain Prince Xabier, Duke of Brix, chose to be wherever I was concerned, the easier it was to ignore his ridiculous appeal.
“Your Grace.” As usual, I greeted his back, the part of him that always seemed to face me when I walked into his suite. Even from behind, the man was magnificent. Broad shoulders filled out a perfectly tailored button-down made of fine fabric and subtle herringbone design. Today’s shirt—white if you weren’t paying attention—was the faintest of lilac. He was the epitome of a dashing prince.
To be clear, I was paying attention, not only to the way its snug fit showed the definition in his shoulders—to the place where the fabric stopped and his rolled-up sleeves gave way to skin. For all the hard work he didn’t do, there needn’t have been any rolling up of sleeves. In my most outlandish of theories, he did it to torment me.
“Mr. Otxoa,” the Prince greeted blithely, not turning toward me just yet. He stood on a rug in the sitting area with his gaze remained fixed on the fire. His office was a projection of the man himself—pleasantly fragrant, clean to a fault and dripping with style. Tufted wingback chairs with ottomans flanked a matching Chesterfield, all three in a dark teal. Fire glow warmed his features, casting appeal on the planes of his face, flattering the smooth line of his nose and cutting shadows from his diamond jaw.
I stopped at the edge of the rug next to the drink trolley that carried only wine. Its twin at the other end of the Chesterfield was all crystal decanters and spirits. When he turned, I was meant to bow out of deference. This was always the most difficult moment—the one when he first cast his gaze upon me. I faltered at the devastating beauty of his eyes.
“And what have you for me tonight? More documents to sign, no doubt. More supos with powers run rampage?”
He made no secret of the fact that my presence vexed him. Unencumbered by the burden of common birth, the Prince was under no obligation to feign politesse. Logic dictated that his resentment stemmed from me holding him to task. Instinct told me that the sport he made of pushing my buttons was something more.
The Prince finally cast his sapphire gaze upon me and I did bow then, thankful that the deep hue of my skin made it easy to hide my flush. Blood that he could not see rushed to my cheeks and prickled my nose and burned the tops of my ears. If he resented me, I, too, resented him. Training the Prince was not supposed to be so difficult as this.
Meet the Author
Kenzie Blades is a queer author of romantic LGBTQ+ fiction and is the alter ego of a multi-award winning author who writes other fiction under a different name. Kenzie lives in San Francisco and enjoys lots of things that start with the letter B, like bacon, bourbon and books.
Hi peeps! We have April Kelley popping in today with the tour for her new release A Little Unsteady, we have a great exclusive excerpt and a fantastic $20 Amazon GC giveaway, so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~
A Little Unsteady
Nigel wouldn’t mind if Asher called him Daddy if the age-gap didn’t bother him so much.
Nigel Blackburn has lived a full like as a private investigator. His job means he travels solo a lot, which is something he enjoys. He’s a grouchy, stubborn dragon shifter who is better off alone. The last thing he wants is a mate and certainly not one so young. It doesn’t matter that he finds little bobcat shifter, Asher Burkhart, sexy. But all Nigel’s dragon wants to do is protect, which is good because danger drives into town.
Wingspan used to be normal. It was just a small dragon shifter town until a bear showed up. He was just the beginning. Between rescuing vampires and bobcat shifters, and the Wingspan resident whose mate is a pregnant male bat shifter, Wingspan isn’t just dragon shifters anymore. They didn’t mean to be all-inclusive, and now everyone has to get along. It’s easy said than done.
All Erabus ever wanted was to stay out of his brother’s way, to let him become king after their father, and spend his life hunting in the forest outside the kingdom. That all changes when he uncovers the plot to kill his father. Erabus will do whatever it takes to save him, even forming an alliance with a strange ally named Xicuz—an incredibly gorgeous satyr he met in the forest.
If things aren’t complicated enough, Erabus soon finds himself tangled up in a deal with a devil that puts the lives of the people closest to him in danger. He learns that sometimes you have to fight fire with fire and makes a deal of his own—one that will save the love of his life, but forfeit half of his own to do so.
Warning: This excerpt may contain sexually explicit material, please proceed at your discretion.
The sun only just began to rise as Erabus made his way through the thick forest, his footfalls inaudible on the damp leaf-carpeted ground. He held his bow with an arrow notched and ready to fire as he navigated around one cluster of trees and then another. The sounds from the other hunters faded into the distance. They made far more noise than they should if they expected to catch anything.
Putting the far less skilled hunters from his mind, he paused to sniff the fresh forest air, filling his nose with the strong scents of pine and moss. He smiled at how the scents calmed him and continued in search of any deer that might have passed through the area recently. Though if the others continued to rustle around and break branches, he doubted they would remain in the vicinity for long. Erabus tuned them out once more as he crouched to the ground and removed debris from an indention in the dirt.
He traced the imperfect print with the pad of his index finger. Deer or perhaps a goat down from the mountain. The print didn’t cause a deep enough indent to tell for sure which. The only thing he was confident about was the freshness of the print. With any luck, the animal would still be nearby, and Erabus was determined to catch it before the others could alert it to their presence. Careful to walk on the pads of his feet to reduce what little noise he made, he followed the prints farther into the forest until he heard the rustling of leaves coming from the other side of a cluster of trees that grew so close together he couldn’t see through them.
He parted the branches as much as he dared, waiting only long enough to spot the horns before carefully releasing the branch and taking aim through the trees. Though his target wasn’t visible from his current position, he knew roughly where the deer stood and took aim to the right and down a bit from where its horns should end. He inhaled as he pulled the string taut and released the arrow at the same time as his breath. The arrow pierced the air with an audible whoosh.
The gentle thud of the arrow striking wood came only a moment before a voice called out in alarm, startling Erabus. He barely caught his bow as he dropped it. Had another hunter made it out farther than I realized? But he’d seen the horns. Confused, he shouldered his bow to investigate when a voice called out, “Watch what you are doing!”
“I’m so sorry, sir. I swear I saw horns,” Erabus insisted as he fell through the thicket. He took a moment to right himself before turning his eyes on the man he came inches from shooting. Only it wasn’t a man standing before him. A foot away from where his arrow struck the tree stood a creature with the body and face of a man but the legs, hooves, tail, and ears of a goat. Most importantly, the horns of one too.
Staring at him in shock, Erabus gave him another once-over, noticing for the first time the loincloth that covered his lower bits from his view. He barely managed to squeak out a stuttered, “You’re…you’re a…” before snapping his lips closed once more when he realized his mind refused to supply him with the words he searched for.
The being before him smirked before offering in a deep, warm voice, “The word you are looking for is a satyr. It’s a good thing you are as bad a shot as you are a speaker.” Erabus glanced from the satyr to where the arrow stood embedded in the tree behind him. He realized just how wrong he was. It was true his arrow missed him, but he had not been the target.
“Look again, sir, my aim was true,” Erabus said, his confidence returning. “If you were a deer, as I first thought, the arrow would have struck between your shoulder blades.” He crossed his arms and gave him a smug look.
The satyr’s silver eyes widened as he looked at the arrow. “It is a good thing I am not an animal then. Though how you ever confused these beauts with deer antlers, I will never know.”
Erabus looked at the satyr’s horns once more. The satyr was right.
Where a deer’s antlers would have been large and branched out in every direction, he had two single arches on either side of his forehead, larger and thicker than a mountain goat’s. There was no excuse for his mistake—he should have looked more carefully before he shot. However, he wasn’t willing to admit it.
“You should be careful, sir. You shouldn’t be wandering around in the human hunting area.” It wasn’t right to blame his mistake on his near victim, but in his embarrassment, Erabus couldn’t stand the thought of shouldering all the blame himself.
“Actually, sir,” the satyr countered, his sir sounding an octave higher than the rest, “you have crossed over into the land designated for the satyrs when our kings met ten years ago. It is you that should be careful.”
It took him a moment to compose himself. Was the satyr threatening him? He doubted it but couldn’t be sure. Erabus opened his mouth to insist he would have known if they crossed the border onto their land, but his words caught in his throat at the sound of the hunters’ voices coming from the other side of the trees. Some bragged about the game they caught others complaining about, being unlucky in their hunt.
One called out for him, no doubt wanting his help to carry back their game as opposed to being worried about his absence. The hunters would soon overtake them, and they would not react well to finding a satyr on “their” land.
Erabus slapped a hand over the satyr’s mouth and pushed him back against a tree, hiding the two of them in the shadows. He pressed his lips close to the satyr’s pointed goat-like ear that twitched as Erabus’s breath tickled it with each whispered word. “Do not make a sound unless you want the hunters to find you.” Erabus glanced over his shoulder, barely able to make out the hunters as they made their way passed their hiding spot.
Erabus sighed in relief once the last of them disappeared back into the forest, heading toward home. He waited another moment to be sure before he turned back to the satyr and found his face an inch or two from his own. Erabus swallowed hard when he realized how close his lips were to his own, with only his hand separating them.
Before he could find the words to assure him it was safe now, something hot and wet dragged across his palm. He jumped back in shock. “You licked my hand!” he accused in disbelief, staring down at the moist spot on his palm.
The satyr smirked. “Would you prefer I licked something else instead?” He licked his lips and looked Erabus up and down.
Was he serious? Erabus began a stuttered reply, but he was saved from having to give an actual answer by a horn blowing in the distance.
The satyr sighed in disappointment before glancing off in the direction of the horn. “Alas, I shall not be able to hear your answer this time, sir.” He gave him a slight yet exaggerated bow before smirking at him again. “Next time then.”
Erabus didn’t know if he said it as a parting or in reference to when he would be getting the answer from him. Before Erabus could respond, the satyr disappeared into the forest.
Hairann is the author of the Outlaw Seven series. She is an out and proud Pan who lives with her amazing family in Montreal. She’s worked as a ghostwriter on Fiverr since 2018 and has an Associate’s degree in early childhood education. She invites you to follow @AuthorHairann on Twitter.
A fourteen year-old boy is struck by a car and left to die in a derelict section of town. He is the latest victim in a rash of deadly accidents spoiling a hot California summer.
Artemis Andronikos, a beautiful attorney with a teenage of her own, knows the deaths are not the unrelated mishaps the authorities assume. The victims are Harbinger children gifted with extraordinary perceptive abilities. It has been seven years since the Harbinger suddenly appeared enabling people to foresee traumatic events. The new sense has proved most dramatic in young children. Now the prescient children are becoming adolescents. And the world’s power centers are becoming alarmed.
Artemis and her partner Lucy Breem, put aside their comfortable Maui lifestyle to investigate who or what is luring the children to their deaths. What they discover shocks the conscience. The ancients left a warning for future generations. The future of mankind has been wrested in the hands of the Harbinger children. And someone unexpected wants the power back.
Angie rode the remnants of a collapsing wave onto the beach, hopped expertly off the board, and let it sidle along the sand. Her blonde hair fluttered in the wind as she retrieved the board and waved at the slender dark-haired woman watching from a nearby bluff.
“Not bad!” Artemis called down, pleased with the progress her niece was making. Lucy’s pretty young daughter possessed grace and balance and something more, something harder to define but undeniably present in the girl’s confident hazel eyes.
Artemis waited for the girl to saunter up the beach toward her and shook her head. Angie’s trim, agile body was on the verge of adolescence. In a month she would officially be in her teens and the very thought gave Artemis a chill. Whatever influence either she or Lucy had over Angie would soon dissipate like waves withdrawing from the beach. And given the horrors of the current world what would be normal trepidation tipped toward full blown terror.
She greeted Angie with an arm around her shoulders and a gentle hug.
“Can we show Mom?” Angie asked, giving her aunt an imploring look.
“Sure. I’ll text her right now.” Artemis shielded her eyes to check the sun descending in the west. “It’s close to closing time. Lucy should be able to close up shop and head this way. Want to get some lemonade while we wait?”
Angie nodded enthusiastically. “Can we get…?”
“…another round of Maui onion rings?” Artemis chuckled at Angie’s happy fist pump in response.
They headed to Leilani’s and took a free table on the patio. Lucy arrived twenty minutes later, still dressed in her shop clerk slacks and blouse, just as Angie polished off the final greasy onion ring. She gave Artemis a disapproving frown when she saw what they’d been eating and settled into the chair between them.
“Claire wanted to stay open for art night, so I left her in charge instead of closing up,” Lucy said, motioning the waitress for her usual pineapple iced tea. “I think she likes running the shop almost as much as she loves shopping.”
Artemis’s eyes crinkled in amusement. “No doubt about that. Buying and selling are all the same to Claire so long as she gets to be in an air-conditioned store. I hope we’ll have some inventory left though. We aren’t getting supplies again for three more days. And it promises to be a busy weekend.”
Lucy accepted the frosty glass from the waitress and took a long drink. “Oh, I needed that. This has been one hot summer.” She rolled the glass along her forehead and relished the coolness. “I may never get used to the tropics.”
“Maybe you’re just having hot flashes, Mom,” Angie offered with a wicked little smirk.
Not amused, Lucy glanced at Artemis who was sucking in her cheeks to keep from laughing and turned to scowl at her daughter. “Listen, kid. You aren’t a teenager yet. I still have a few weeks before I have to put up with that ‘you are so old’ commentary.”
Lucy set the glass of tea on the table with a thud and gritted her teeth. Artemis was not being helpful and if her partner laughed out loud Lucy was going to—something. She wasn’t quite sure what. Artemis may be her soulmate, but she was also a formidable opponent.
“Temmie! Don’t you dare encourage her!”
“Me?” Artemis asked innocently, touching a finger to her chest. She looked sternly at Angie. “I think your mother wears her age rather well.”
“For an old lady. You’re both past thirty, you know,” Angie chirped and stood up, ready to perform the new surfing skill they’d summoned Lucy to observe. She hooked her board under her arm and started for the beach. Halfway there, Angie froze and stood staring silently at the gentle surf.
Artemis sensed the danger an instant later. She jumped to her feet and searched the ocean where Angie’s gaze was focused. A pair of surfers bobbed in the growing swells about forty yards out.
Angie raised her arm and pointed. “There!”
Artemis took off down the beach, propelling her body with long powerful strides. She dove into the water and swam toward the surfers, closing the distance between them with quick rhythmic strokes. Aware of the hungry presence loitering below, Artemis plunged down and searched the silted water. In front of her was a young tiger shark, tasting the water with its open mouth. Artemis surfaced and called to the two boys perched on their boards, legs dangling in the swells.
The shark swam lazily beneath the bobbing surfboards and began a long, hunting circle back toward them. Artemis grabbed the tip of the first board and shook it, getting the attention of the boys, who were mesmerized by the circling fin. She pointed to the beach thirty yards behind them. The two surfers flattened themselves on their boards and began to paddle toward shore. Artemis trod water, her eyes locked on the rapidly approaching fin.
Taking a deep breath, she let her body go limp and sink upright below the surface within arm’s reach of the animal. The shark moved its head back and forth in the water, testing the new scent to determine if it was prey. Artemis watched the shark move slowly toward her. Her pale eyes darkened, bits of light sparkling at the edges. Gliding past her, the shark gave a swing of its powerful tail and retreated in search of a more appealing meal.
The two teenage surfers waited on the beach to thank the woman who had warned them. They watched her emerge from the surf, soaked shorts and tee clinging to her body. To the boys the tall, shapely figure was Venus rising from the ocean and they stood transfixed by the vision. Artemis shook water from her long hair and glanced at the boys with a trace of amusement in her ice-blue eyes. They stared as she whisked sea water from her torso and brushed her hair to one side. She nodded as she passed them, relieved the two boys would not join the growing list of youngsters who had not made it through the summer.
“You confused it,” Angie said, a touch of awe in her voice when her aunt returned.
“She was just hungry.” Artemis shrugged, enfolding Angie in a hug and playfully knuckling the top of her head. “She was a teenager interested in grabbing a snack just like someone else I know.”
Lucy gave the pair a quizzical look. What had her daughter felt, she wondered. The shark’s presence? Its hunger? Or just a sense of danger? Angie’s premonitions came in so many different forms of late it was impossible to know for certain. The ability was continuing to develop, not in Angie alone but in the minds of many of the children of the Harbinger generation. Lucy sipped her drink, silently pondering what alarmed her most: Angie’s premonitions or Artemis’s reckless charges into harm’s way.
I live in Southern California with my two daughters. I have degrees in English and Psychology from the University of California and twenty plus years of writing experience from technical manuals to short stories. As an executive with a major computer firm, I managed customer documentation and field training and have traveled extensively. I have a passion for history, alternative theories about life’s mysteries life and dolphins. Find Mary onFacebook.
Hynd Perrent leads a lonely life, rejected by most of society after a debilitating illness permanently changed him. He has spent nearly a decade investigating the disappearance of a military unit, Seventh Dragoons, in a war nearly a century prior, content to immerse himself in the frustrating search and the book he intends to write about it.
When his sister sets him up with a handsome stranger, Hynd can scarcely believe his luck, unable to recall the last time somebody wanted to be near him and did not fear or revile him for his illness. But Julius Ocere has come for a different reason: Hynd’s. He wants to learn what happened to the Seventh and prove that his great-grandfather was not a traitor.
While a research assistant isn’t what Hynd had hoped for, he takes Julius on. The mystery they uncover is larger than either of them could have imagined, and it will take both of them together to finally put the ghosts of the Seventh to rest.
Hynd was in the study, bent over a book when Alycia arrived. He ought to have known something was suspicious from her sudden appearance in his doorway, but he had been squinting at faded pages all day, and his eye wasn’t working quite right. So, he was caught off-guard when she said, voice sly, “I’ve found you a lover.”
“Oh,” said Hynd, and then, “no.”
“Well, perhaps not yet.” Alycia entered the study and dropped into the opposite chair. “A potential lover. He’s Viola’s cousin. Julius Ocere. Have you met him?” She reached across the desk and plucked up his pen, fiddling with it as she spoke.
“No,” said Hynd again, turning a page. He had to be careful when doing so, for the book was so old, the material so worn, that the slightest tug could send things flying disastrously out of their bindings. The book—one of Captain Walsh’s journals, written during the end of the Lily Wars—was on loan from the Royal University library; to wreck the library’s treasure would be to wreck his access to the Old Archives, and at that point, Hynd could bid farewell to ever completing his manuscript.
“I do love it when you stop listening to me,” Alycia said. Had she been speaking?
When he glanced at her, she rolled her eyes theatrically. “Thank you, brother. As I was saying, Mr. Ocere wants to meet you. He’s very interested in you.”
That seemed unlikely, all things considered, but when Hynd raised a dubious eyebrow at her, she continued more fiercely than before. “I mean it! Listen, I didn’t sell you to him—”
“I should hope not.”
That got him a scowl. “He asked about you,” Alycia continued. “I was talking with Viola, and I happened to mention the book you’re writing, on the Seventh Dragoons, and immediately, he was right there. Apparently, he’s as interested in the Dragoons as you are.”
Which…wasn’t where Hynd had thought things would go. “Really?”
“Truly. When I told him about you, he became more and more interested. Viola says that he recently parted ways with his lover, and even though it was amicable—at least, according to Viola, though God knows whether she’s right about that—Mr. Ocere is lonely. He wanted me to pass a message on to you.”
Something flipped a little in Hynd’s stomach. He tried to quash it—don’t get your hopes up—but it was like a queer little flame burning inside him. It wasn’t exactly as though Hynd were drowning in suitors; of course, a man personally asking to call upon him would have an impact. He knew that, and he knew it was foolish, and he still couldn’t help the warmth that rose in his cheeks.
Alycia noticed and smirked. “He wants to meet you,” she said, in a singsong way.
“Tomorrow night, eight o’clock. At the Vine and Blade. Do you know where that is?”
Hynd did, and told her as much, which made her look pleased as a cat in cream. “Good. So, you’ll meet him?”
“Last time you tried to arrange a meeting with a gentleman for me, he didn’t even appear.”
“I’m sure Julius Ocere will appear.”
“The time before that,” Hynd reminded her, “the man you found was actually planning on wooing you.”
Alycia colored and turned her face away. “Felix Roddan was just a silly boy. I can’t believe I even gave him the time of day. No, this isn’t like that. He’s interested in you, Hynd. He asked all about your work, and he wanted to know about your hobbies and what you like. He was enthralled that you’re a Royal Scholar, you know. He didn’t think twice about me.”
The funny feeling had returned, stronger than before. Hynd swallowed. “Did you tell him about me?”
“Of course, I did. I answered every question he had.” She tilted her head, looking concerned. “Did that breach your privacy?”
“No, that’s not… I mean, did you tell him about me?”
Alycia blinked at him, but he couldn’t tell if her confusion was sincere or feigned. “Yes,” she finally said, and her tone, at least, was decisive. “I told him all about you.”
“And he wants to meet me?”
“He sent you a message, didn’t he? You ought to send him a response as soon as possible. He seems like a busy fellow.”
No doubt, Julius Ocere was a busy fellow. Busier than Hynd, at any rate. It was easy to have lots of free time when one never left the house except on mandatory errands. It was easy to avoid packed schedules when one had no friends.
“You’re making that face,” said Alycia. “Don’t. Just send him a message and go tomorrow evening. He’s very nice, and he’s dashing, and he’s utterly handsome—tall and golden—and he practically begged me to mention him to you. What more could you want?”
She winked at him and rose, vanishing back into the hallway. Alone, he returned to his work but found himself unable to concentrate. His mind kept picking over the conversation. Tall and golden. What more could Hynd want?
Rachel White was born and raised in L.A., California, but moved north for college. An avid reader for as long as she can remember, she started writing in high school and hasn’t stopped. Her favorite genre is fantasy, but she’ll devour a good book no matter what shelf it belongs to; she takes the same approach to her own writing, hopping between ideas, genres, and stories as it suits her.
After a string of failed relationships, brilliant litigator Eunice Park is determined to stay single. Who needs distractions when you’re trying to make partner at Chicago’s most prestigious law firm? A Sunday afternoon visit from the police is the beginning of a series of events that turn Eun’s life upside down, and she’s forced to return to her hometown and confront her estranged family.
Morgan Wright, locksmith and part-time animal shelter volunteer, is convinced the perfect woman exists, just not for her. After a chance encounter with Eun, Morgan becomes embroiled in Eun’s family drama.
Charmed by Morgan’s easy swagger, Eun invites her back to her hotel room. Bone-melting sex and a surprisingly soulful connection leaves Eun questioning her return to Chicago. But not everyone in Sikesville is happy Eun has returned.
Eunice Park glared at the ringing phone on her desk. On the third ring she picked it up. “What is it?”
“Sorry to bother you, Eunice, but your father’s on the line. He insisted I connect him.”
Eunice leaned forward and straightened her posture. “What?”
“Your father. Says it’s urgent. Want me to take a message? Or leave him on hold till he hangs up?”
Eunice swept her hair back with one hand and closed her fist around it, barely resisting the urge to tear it out. “No. I’ll talk to him.” She took her reading glasses off and tossed them on the top of the stack of trial transcripts and depositions on her desk.
“Eun?” James Park’s rich baritone filled her ear. Her Korean name, spoken in the way it was meant to be said, made her heart squeeze. She detested Eunice and still cursed the day she had chosen to use it instead of her true name.
“Yes.” She pinched the bridge of her nose. “It’s me.”
Silence stretched out between them, harsh and violent. Eun settled back into her chair. Her father’s silence and its power over Eun had weakened over the years. Eun knew his trick. Wait for the other to become so uncomfortable they spilled their secrets and told you everything you wanted to know. For once, Eun would not give in. She set her gaze on the clock on her computer screen. One minute. Two minutes. Eun fiddled with the edge of her blotter.
At three and one-half minutes her father cleared his throat and spoke. “Come home. I need to see you.”
“Nothing’s changed.” Eun chewed her lip.
“I need to see you.”
“Why now? I’m not coming home to be berated again. You made yourself clear five years ago. I’m not backing down. Not this time.”
“I’m not asking you to. I have something to discuss with you. I can’t do it over the phone. Please. This weekend?”
Eun rubbed her forehead. “I can’t. I’m buried. I have dog of a case, my cocounsel is an idiot, and I’ve got closing arguments next week. The weekend after?”
“If that’s the best you can do.”
“What?” Eun’s voice rose as anger she had managed to contain bubbled up. “Oh hell no. You can’t call me up out of the blue, demand I see you, and then act all pissy if I can’t drop what I’m doing and run home. Not after what you pulled last time. I’m lesbian, Dad. I’ve been lesbian, I’m going to be lesbian. Nothing is going to change that.”
“I know.” The defeated tone in his voice scraped against Eun’s battered heart.
“I have to go.”
“Will you come?”
Her father disconnected the call. Eun fell back into her chair. Late afternoon sun raked the tops of the high-rise buildings surrounding the office building. Red-and-orange light, reflected off the glass, shone through the floor to ceiling window and glinted off the framed print on the wall opposite her desk.
Her stomach rumbled, an audible reminder of her neglecting to eat breakfast and lunch. She tapped her pen on the desk and glowered at the stack of transcripts on her desk as she rang her assistant. “Order us some food, please.’
“Have a hankering for anything?” Sally’s soft drawl spilled through the phone.
“Whatever you want.”
“I will be.” Eun spun her pen in a circle, a wave of guilt for keeping her assistant after hours swept over her. “You don’t have to stay. John must miss you.”
“He does. But he also knows how important this case is. Faizal’s okay?”
“Sounds wonderful. That gyro salad they do.”
Eun’s mouth watered at the thought of the sticky honey-sweet dessert. “Of course.”
Eun hung up and spun in her chair to face her bookshelf. The black-framed photo of Eun and her father at her law school graduation was opposite a photo of Eun and her mother at Eun’s kindergarten graduation. She closed her eyes as the memory of the last fight she’d had with her father surfaced. Anger and humiliation over his demand she go to conversion therapy surged through her as strong and as raw as that evening. Memories of other interventions, his relentless set-ups with eligible young men, and the shocked expressions of his church friends when she told them all the only thing she was sure of was they were all going to hell bubbled to the surface.
Her stomach ached: too much coffee, and not enough food. She reached into her drawer for the ginger chews she kept at hand. She unwrapped one and popped it into her mouth to quell her stomachache and glanced at the clock on the computer screen. It would be at least forty-five minutes before Sally was back with their food.
Her phone vibrated with a message. The glowing read notification sent a rill of excitement down her spine. Maybe a quick fuck would be the ticket to a good night’s sleep. A glorious, no-real-names hotel-room sex fest would be delightful. She thumbed open the Hit Me Up app and opened the message.
Disappointment washed over her. The message was from her most recent date. A bold butch who had given Eun several mind-bending orgasms that had made her strongly reconsider her self-imposed no-more-than-one-date rule. Until she stalked the woman on social media and found out she was not single as her profile claimed. Eun detested cheaters. She deleted the woman’s message without reading it and tossed her phone on to her desk.
Brenda Murphy (she/her) writes erotic romance. Her most recent novel, Double Six, is the 2020 Golden Crown Literary Society winner for Erotic Novels, and Knotted Legacy, the third book in the Rowan House series, made the 2018 The Lesbian Review’s Top 100 Vacation Reads list. You can catch her musings on writing, books, and living with wicked ADHD on her blog Writing While Distracted. She loves sideshows and tattoos and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not loitering at her local library, she wrangles twins, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.
I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. For a free short story, information on book signings, appearances, work in progress snippets, previews and sneak-peeks, sign up for my email list at: www.brendalmurphy.com
Hi guys! We have T.A. Moore, Rhys Ford, Bru Baker & Jenn Moffatt popping in today with the tour for Bad, Dad and Dangerous we have a brilliant guest post from Bru Baker, a great excerpt and a fantastic $10 Amazon GC giveaway so check out the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~
Bad, Dad and Dangerous
T.A. Moore, Rhys Ford, Bru Baker & Jenn Moffatt
When the kids are away, the monsters will play.
School’s out for summer, and these dads are ready to ship their kids off to camp. Not just because their kids are monsters—whose aren’t?—but because they’re ready for some alone time to let their hair down and their fangs out. You see, not only are the kids monsters—their dads are too.
Even the most dangerous of creatures has a soft spot. These bad, dangerous dads love their kids to death, but they need romance.
Every year, for a few short weeks, these hot men with a little extra in their blood get to be who they truly are. And this year, life has a surprise for them. Whether they be mage, shifter, vampire, or changeling, these heartbreakingly handsome dads might be looking to tear up the town… but they’ll end up falling in love. All it takes is the right man to bring them to their knees.
MONSTER HALL PASS BY BRU BAKER
White-collar dad Hugh Whitby dotes on his adopted daughter, but she’s away at camp. Now it’s time let the vampiric urges he so tightly controls run wild and take advantage of his monster hall pass to feed on criminals. But when fae prince Rykoff of Harlow interrupts Hugh feeding, he catches Hugh’s daughter’s scent and vows to avenge the fae youngling he believes Hugh has captured.
Hugh had no idea his daughter wasn’t human, and it rocks the foundation of his world. He must convince Rykoff that the fae youngling in question is safe with her vampire dad and can prosper in the mortal realm—or risk losing her forever.
After losing his partner Toby, Chase faces a long, painful road back to life and love.
At first, he doesn’t see how he can go on, but then Chase and Toby’s old friend Mike cajoles him into returning to Chicago for the annual International Mr. Leather Competition. There Chase revisits a world of hot, casual sex that he had forgotten existed, meets a friend who cares more for him than he ever realized, and discovers the possibility that he just might be able to move on without betraying the memory of his late partner.
Will Chase find his way back once more to life? To love? And will he find that place he’s been missing? Home. You’ll have to experience the heartrending journey firsthand to find out.
Warning: This excerpt may contain sexually explicit material, please proceed at your discretion.
Toby tried his best to stay awake.
He was on the Microsoft shuttle, traveling home from his job at Microsoft’s Redmond campus, to his condo in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. It was a long commute, but he had his phone, his weariness (which meant he sometimes slept through the trip), and an overactive imagination for company and entertainment. The commute was made longer because he had to transfer to a bus once he got to downtown Seattle to get close enough to home. Home was a two-bedroom with amazing views of the Space Needle and Lake Union he shared with his soul mate, his beloved, his special one, Chase.
He was grateful every single day for the wonderful life he’d built for himself. He was one of those lucky folks who could hardly imagine how things could possibly be any better.
The familiar scenery passed as the bus drew closer to closer to downtown.
He wished he could banish this fatigue, but it had been a long day and a long week and there simply wasn’t much fuel left in his tank.
But it was his birthday, for god’s sakes ! He wanted to celebrate—so much. It was a milestone, after all. One doesn’t turn forty every day.
If he came home exhausted and ready for bed—and sleep—at nine o’clock, it would only validate the sinking feeling Toby had that forty was the beginning of the long path down that particular piece of geography known as “over the hill.”
He hoped seeing Chase at the door to their shared home would revive him enough to at least maybe order a Pagliacci pizza for delivery and to stream a couple of episodes of Unforgiven on Britbox.
Now, that sounded like a perfect evening and a birthday celebration ideally suited to his introvert leanings. He was grateful once again he and Chase hadn’t made big plans for the 4-0. They could have a nice dinner over the weekend, perhaps, at his favorite Korean street-food eatery, Revel, over in the Fremont neighborhood. Or maybe they’d splurge, as they had last year, and try to get a table at Canlis.
To keep himself awake, he brought his phone out of the pocket of his jeans and, like everyone else on the bus, stared down at the illuminated screen.
He checked Facebook and found it flooded with birthday wishes, so many he got lost in the long thread of well wishes, emojis, and memes exhorting him to have an amazing celebration. Twitter was a little less celebratory, but he still felt like a rock star when he scrolled through all the birthday tweets directed toward him.
Last, he brought up one of his favorite blogs, Tales from the Sexual Underground, written by an old friend of his from Chicago, Danny Britton, who went by the more youthful-sounding pen name of Bryce Weston, because Danny didn’t know how seriously he’d be taken as a middle-aged dude from Highland Park writing about fringe sexual practices and personages. No one would guess most of his tales were made-up (except for the interviews with sex workers and porn stars) and that the man behind the blog was actually pushing fifty and was happily settled with a doctor husband and two very demanding Pomeranians. The wildest Danny got was a season ticket to Ravinia music park every summer.
Danny posted a new column twice a week and devoted the other days to curated roundups of news about sex workers, the porn industry, and the rights and freedoms of those wanting to pursue kinks without government interference. His blog had grown so popular that, last Toby heard, he was making a good chunk of change from advertising. The Twitter followers for his blog numbered in the tens of thousands.
He had a way of writing that made Toby feel he was speaking directly to him, even though he and Chase were pretty much mere acquaintances when they all lived back in the Windy City area.
This week’s latest blog post, for example, spoke to him and where he found himself in life at age forty perfectly. He’d read it earlier on his lunch break, but found himself wanting to savor its short, sweet, sexy words one more time. It was all about how love wins out over sex every time, although the two together could actually induce heaven on earth, provided everything was in place.
It was amazing how Danny could put himself in the shoes of a single gay man so convincingly. He’d been with his physician partner, Jake Wells, for more than two decades.
Back when he and Chase lived in Chicago, he’d tease Jake about the blog when they’d run into him at Wrigley Field or strolling around Millennium Park or at the gay beach at Ardmore and Hollywood. Toby would wonder aloud if Jake had been reincarnated from the soul of a wanton slut of a gay man, or if he was perhaps a horndog trapped in a gay milquetoast’s body.
Perhaps inspired by the teasing, Jake had even written a blog about that. It was hilarious. You never knew what would inspire Danny, or Bryce, as he was known to the masses.
Anyway, this particular post, though, made him so grateful and happy he’d found his one and only, Chase. He was grateful there was no longer any need to play the field. Someone, a happily married gay friend of his at Microsoft, had once quipped that there was no reason to go out for hamburger when he had filet mignon at home.
Toby couldn’t agree more. He began reading.
“Going for Quality, Not Quantity”
Why, I can remember a time when sex parties and the filthy backrooms of leather bars were the height of sexual euphoria. Coupling with strangers en masse set my heart to racing, the blood to pumping, and the brain to disengaging. Caution and even reason were thrown to the wind. Out the window too—unwisely, yes—went fears of AIDS, STIs, and even the limitations of the human lumbar system as I swam through the darkness like a hungry fish, searching with eyes glazed for the next cock, mouth, or ass.
But all of that stuff seems to have lost its charm, to be replaced by “gasp!” if not romance, then at least human connection.
Am I getting old? Maybe not. Maybe I’ve just grown jaded. And, wonder of wonders, perhaps I’ve grown wiser.
But these days, sex seems hotter when it’s one-on-one, with someone I actually know more about than the fact that he’s able to swing that baseball cap around effortlessly, inhale a bottle of poppers, and blow me all at the same time. I get more aroused in my own bed, waiting for someone whose name, occupation, and likes and dislikes I at least have a rudimentary knowledge of than I used to lining up for a crack at the crack in the sling.
A couple cases in point. Old habits die hard, which is why I readily accepted an invitation to a party held during International Mr. Leather (IML) weekend in one of the rooms of the host hotel, the Hyatt. There were to be about fifteen guys gathered. There would be no chips and salsa, witty repartee, or flirtatious glances across the room. No, we all knew what we were there for. The only party favors supplied were bottles of various lube (even that new sensation J Lube, which bears no relation to J Lo, except that both might or might not have something to do with big asses, but I digress), poppers, a sling set up in one corner of the room, and a portable enema hose in the bathroom’s shower. There was no music. No conversation. Just naked men (and some pretty hot ones), grunts, groans, and the odd operatic aria (“Sweet mystery of life, I adore you”).
After about an hour or so, and making the corporeal acquaintance of at least five other men, the whole thing seemed rather amusing and well, if I’m honest, a little boring. Gatherings like these were often so much better in the imagination than they were in real life.
So I left, even though the partiers had hours to go before they slept. Trying to get my clothes back on amidst a tableau out of something Fellini might have dreamed up was no easy task. Picking my way to the door through the sweaty bodies almost made me giggle…it was like playing a very grown up game of Twister.
Contrast that with Sunday…and a very nice day at the beach with someone whom I’m getting to know on many levels. Contrast the sex party with just the two of us, in my sun-drenched bedroom, pretty much doing what the guys at the sex party were doing, but instead of looking for who we should fuck next, we stared into each other’s eyes, charting the course of each other’s pleasure.
What’s happened to me? Does this mean I’ve finally grown up? Or am I just getting boring?
Yeah, Toby thought, I get it. He and Chase had been together now for years, and the thought of wanting a little variety or a little on the side had no appeal at all for Toby. He’d won the prize—a hot man who still inspired his passion, but also one who inspired a sense of contentment, a sense of home, and best of all, an assured future together.
They were almost at his stop and, yes, Toby, anticipating kissing Chase in the next few minutes gave him with a boost of energy. He wouldn’t need anyone else to make his fortieth birthday one for the books.
Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.
A Fluffy Feline Isn’t the Only Thing They’re Fighting For
Adopting a cat doesn’t sound hard. Then Jericho Adams meets Harinder Mangal, the surly pet store employee who loves animals and hates customers. Their first encounter inspires more than simple loathing—it puts the ball in motion for an absurd game of deceit that boasts a fluffy cat named Dumpling as the prize.
Harinder hates Jericho’s attitude, especially when it comes to owning a pet. He attempts to chase the other man from his store and is shocked when Jericho overcomes every obstacle, no matter how bizarre. Not only that, but he generates some of his own wild inconveniences that leave Harinder seething in his ugly sweater and mom jeans.
Before either man can get the other to crack, Harinder finds himself unexpectedly homeless. Despite their mutual antagonism, Jericho invites Harinder to crash at his place. The increased proximity makes it difficult for Harinder and Jericho to maintain their respective ruses, not to mention stopping themselves from actually caring about their pet-parenting rival.
There’s a Petco another half hour down the bus line, but it’s snowing and Jericho doesn’t have that kind of time. Well, he does. But his phone is only at thirty-seven percent battery, and he’s not patient enough to go that long without entertainment. Fortunately, there’s a small hole-in-the-wall ten minutes from his apartment.
Aquariums & More doesn’t have a website, but according to Yelp, the “more” includes live pets. Half the Yelp reviews complain about hostile and unwelcoming employees, but that’s none of his business.
The pet store looks even shittier in person than it did in the picture. Multiple neon signs have been added since the pixelated, overexposed image was captured—probably somewhere in the early 1800s. Combined, they shine so brightly they distract from the puke-green awning, torn from years of weather, with faded navy font that looks like it’s trying to be Comic Sans but isn’t quite.
The visual assault is such that Jericho briefly overlooks the grime on the windows and how there seems to be something alive inside the trash can.
Any animal bought from this place is guaranteed to have three kinds of rabies and possibly congestive heart failure in addition to being intellectually dishonest and a kleptomaniac. It’s perfect for his sister, Shiloh, so Jericho spits a wad of tasteless gum into the cigarette disposal (he isn’t going near that trash can) and steps inside.
The bell on the door jingles merrily, but upon passing the threshold, there’s no one in sight: no customers, no pimply teenage employees, not even a grizzled old man to regale him with stories of putting live mice in freezers.
Along the entire front wall is what must be a six-foot-long, gargantuan tank full of…sand and wood? Jericho looks closer, blinking when he sees some small things skittering through the thick foliage. Oh, hermit crabs.
“They’re not for sale,” a rough voice says behind him.
He startles, but not enough to make a fool out of himself. Instead of swinging around to face whoever came up behind him, Jericho casually rolls his back. See? He isn’t bothered in the least.
“There’s a sign right there.” He points down at the far corner of the tank where Hermit Crabs $5 per ea. is written in Sharpie on an off-white piece of cardstock. It’s placed away from the reach of the fluorescent tank lighting as if someone doesn’t want it to be noticed.
A dark hand reaches into his line of sight and unceremoniously rips the sign off the tank. “That was a prank,” the other person says. “Feel free to ignore it.”
“Okay,” Jericho says—because sure, whatever—and turns toward the speaker. The voice made him expect someone at least moderately intimidating, but the fluffy hair, round cheeks, and full lips are suspiciously cherubic despite the rather genuine scowl. Also, this guy is, like, five feet tall, give or take a few inches. “Do you work here?” He’s dubious about whether or not this is customer service or an attempt at stealing his lunch money.
The guy rolls his eyes—which makes Jericho think the answer is no, and he’s about to be held at gunpoint in a pet store—and then he grabs the front of his mustard-yellow sweater and tugs the wrinkles straight to reveal a worn laminated tag that reads: Hello, my name is Harinder. The first thing Jericho notices is that his nails are painted black, although heavily chipped. The second thing he notices is the bottom of the nametag where the phrase How may I assist you? has been cut off at the bottom and heavily frayed.
Harinder drops the sweater and reaches up to brush his overgrown bangs out of his eyes, then folds his arms over his chest. It turns him into a puffball of rumpled wool and flyaway hair, which Jericho fails to find either professional or impressive. A hissing alley cat, at best.
Speaking of. “Do you have any kittens?”
If Harinder’s face looked offended before, now it looks straight-up murderous. “If you want a kitten, I invite you to look into one of the mills of inbred, abused, unloved, soon-to-be-abandoned, backyard-bred animals. Might I suggest Craigslist, or some cushy chain pet shop balanced on the rusty, beloved seesaw of quality photography and appalling ethics? There’re at least three of them downtown.
“If you want to pay five hundred dollars for an animal you’ll only care about until it stops being small and inoffensive, be my guest, but I’m afraid I can’t fff— I can’t help you.”
Jericho blinks very, very slowly. He didn’t miss that aborted f-bomb, but as with the Yelp reviews, that isn’t Jericho’s problem. He tries again. “Do you have any…cats?”
Hunching his shoulders around his ears, Harinder jabs a thumb at the wall behind him. “Cat kennels are through that door.”
There are, in fact, no kittens. However, the eight kennels filling in one side of the room give him enough to choose from. The moment he catches the attention of the room’s inhabitants, there’s a chorus of noise as all the cats come to the doors of their steel prisons to bat fluffy paws through the bars in a sordid appeal for pets.
Jericho obliges the nearest one, threading his fingers through a gap and allowing the animal to smash its head into them, purring enticingly. He wiggles his hand as best he can to facilitate a more effective petting motion. This one is a skinny tabby, and the note on the front of its—his—cage says he’s two years old and calls him Princeton.
It’s such an obnoxious yuppy name that Jericho can’t help but snort. What a terrible name for a cat. He shakes his head and moves to inspect the next prisoner.
In total, there are nine cats. Two green-eyed, gray longhairs inhabit one of the lower cages. They remain curled around each other, staring dispassionately at Jericho from the back of the kennel.
“Fuck y’all too,” Jericho comments, leaving both “Lacey” and “Casey” to their own shitty devices.
A ten-year-old Abyssinian boy going by the name of Sir Charles immediately becomes his favorite. Jericho loses about five minutes trying to cram his whole hand through the tight bars so he can stroke his sleek honey-colored fur.
He doesn’t think giving Shiloh a pet that might die soon is the best idea, and he isn’t prepared to take on his own cat, so he moves on.
He ends up two cages to the left, shoulder pressed against the wall, studying a creamy Siamese point. She has a shaggy medium-length coat, faint textured stripes, and piercing blue eyes, with which she regards him coolly before padding over to give his extended fingers an inquisitive sniff.
Her body is long and lanky. Regal, Jericho thinks for all of thirty seconds before he looks at her infocard and discovers that her name is Dumpling.
A short, surprised laugh bursts from his chest; Dumpling’s ears flick backward in disapproval. She’s perfect. At a solid four years, she’s old enough to know how to use a litter box and, hopefully, a scratching post, but isn’t quite aged enough that he has to worry about being strong-armed into frequent vet-related errands.
The adoption fee is sixty-five dollars. A little steep, but manageable. Before he can do anything about it, the door to the kennel room bursts open and Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony Performed Entirely by Cats nearly deafens him.
Harinder snarls. “What the f—” His teeth settle for a moment on his bottom lip. “—are you doing?”
“Just looking,” Jericho says, pulling his hand away from the cages and shoving it in his pocket as if he was doing something wrong, although he’s pretty damn sure petting cats in a pet shop is not actually illegal.
“I’ve heard people use their eyes to do that,” is the surly reply. Of course this jackass would go there.
“Gonna call the cops?” he asks, rolling his eyes. Jericho is used to threats of police intervention in his simple existence. No innocence when you’re Black. Even being albino doesn’t change that.
Harinder’s face clouds. “I wouldn’t.” Then he wraps his whole fist around a cable lying against the room’s back wall and gives it an unnecessarily forceful yank. A thick brown curtain rolls up to the ceiling, exposing a greasy window. Harinder doesn’t say anything more, but the message of “I can see you and will rain unholy hellfire down on anything that displeases me about your conduct” is clear.
Jericho doesn’t respond. He only finds his voice when Harinder turns toward the exit. “Hey, wait. I want to buy a cat.”
Harinder stops dead, spine stiffening. Again, Jericho imagines some kind of small, furry creature raising its hackles in a misinformed attempt to look threatening.
Jem Zero is a disabled lesbian who lives in a house built by zir great-grandfather with zir family and two rescue greyhounds. Zir work is unapologetically queer and strives to communicate the frustration of being limited by one’s meatsack & brainjuice.
While arguing zir way through an Accounting Certificate, Jem makes a living as a portrait artist and, similar to most tortured creators, is attempting to establish zirself in creative writing.
“Nope. And that’s the last time you watch that movie before bed, baby boy.” Talos cut off Kikoi who pouted.
“Fine. Then tell me about when Uncle Majid finally stopped being so grumpy and murdery all the time.” Kikoi batted his thick eyelashes.
“Okay, I can tell you all about that. Well, I don’t think he’ll ever stop being murdery as you put it.” Talos settled into his customary story telling position.
“Some would say that story begins well over two thousand years ago when I first met my best friend and powerful unicorn shadow. Some others would say it started a little over a thousand years ago when tragedy struck. But I think it starts when my eldest brother, the crazy half-giant vampire that he is, retired and went on a quest for redemption.”
Kikoi draped himself across Talos as he closed his eyes.
“Little did Majid and Odin know that Fate sent a tough, smart, wasn’t going to take lip from them polar bear to cross their path when they needed it most…”
Majid’s best friend, Talos, has found his mate and finally recognized his lover of the past several hundred years as his other mate. The mate Majid had spent the last eleven hundred years trying to forgive was back in his life.
Will Majid rescue one mate only to lose the other? Or will the fierce polar bear, Siku, give him a chance to redeem himself?
Will Odin forgive himself for the actions that tore Majid from his life? And will the not so little bear find him to be a worthy mate? Or is he doomed to die on a quest for redemption?
Will Siku find his place not only within the relationship his mates clearly already have but also the entirely different world that is city life? Or is he just fooling himself that he can get over the wall between him and his mates?
Bloodlines of Fate is an urban fantasy series set in a world destroyed by humans and resurrected by supernatural beings. This book contains depictions of omega polar bears who will eat you in self-defense, sturdy hairbrushes that break naughty butts, timeouts for coloring and painting toes, and a family reunion for the history books.
Majid is part two of a two-part story arch that tells the love story of two triads (MMM). It is necessary to read Talos to fully enjoy this book that does end in a HEA despite bickering chefs who try to burn the estate down.
Hi guys, we have Eric Alan Westfall stopping by today with the tour for his new release Prince Ivan, A. Wolfe & A Firebird , we have a great guest post from Eric, a great excerpt and a brilliant $20 Amazon GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~
Prince Ivan, A. Wolfe & A Firebird
Eric Alan Westfall
What do you get when you combine a greedy Great Tsar, his two cheating, bullying older sons, his youngest esser (shh! no saying that aloud) son, stolen gold apples, a Firebird quest, A. Wolfe who has the power t’assume a pleasing shape, a magickal sandstorm, as well as two bands and a full Symphony of Gipsumies?
A rollicking, roisterous Russian Fairy Tale, with vigorous esser activities in tents, halls, bedrooms and alcoves, with and without the assistance of PSTs. Plus princely parades, a duel over Gus, new lyrics to an old drinking song, and the possibility of bits of blood, gobs of gore or moments of mayhem. As required by CORA (the Code of RFT Authors), should these occur, your author will give you timely warning.
Ah. Still not ready to part with your kopek-equivalent? Consider the fun you’ll have reading chapters like:
“To Kvetch, Or Not To Kvetch? A Reader’s Choice”
“Ivan Has A Close Encounter Of The F-Word Kind”
“Second Direction Questers vs. The Caliph’s Sayer Of Sooths”
“Will Sasha Succeed In Seducing Prince Ivan?”
“Bad Prince Ivan! No Touch Cage!”
“A Travel Pause For Gratuitous Sex In The Tent—Which Does Not Advance The Plot—At The Insistence Of The Characters”
“A Necessary Interlude To Consider The Age-Old Questing Question: What The [Expletive Of Your Choice, Dear Reader] Do We Do Next?”
If you buy it and try it, you’ll like it, or so says your most talen…er…humble author.
p.s. If Karrie Jax and I have covered you and blurbed you to buy, look for “Dear Reader, Along The Way, Did You Happen To See The Allusion To Olivier?” in the TOC. It’s a spot-the-allusions chance at gift cards of $25, $15, or $10.
166,000 words of story fun and frolic, plus a 2160-word teaser from another MM fairytale: The Tinderbox
Mr. Perfect Sinister in Savannah Series, Book Two Aimee Nicole Walker LGBT Romantic Suspense Release Date: 09.18.20
Cover: Jay Aheer Photographer: CJC Photography Model: Brock
Word-slinger. Purveyor of truth. Jaded heart.
By day, Felix Franklin is an investigative journalist. By night, he produces Sinister in Savannah, an investigative podcast, with his two best friends. Felix’s life revolves around three principles: fortune favors the bold, honesty is everything, and love is for schmucks.
The podcast is back to investigate allegations that a local businessman is dabbling in money laundering. On the surface, everything about Cameron Spencer, aka The Auto King, appears to be perfect. The trio of trouble quickly learns all that glitters is not gold. Seeking the truth will challenge Felix’s convictions and put his life in grave danger. The biggest threat to his well-being isn’t an unknown villain; it’s the reappearance of his first and only love.
Jude Arrow had it all: great looks, charming personality, and a lucrative career as Atlanta’s hottest news anchor. So, why had he recently relocated to Savannah? When the two reporters are forced to work together, Felix will get a chance to ask him. The answer will stun Felix until he remembers not to believe anything that comes out of the heartbreaker’s pretty mouth.
Love and hate are two sides of the same coin and just as conflicting as the battle of wills that ensues. Will the chip on Felix’s shoulder save him from trusting Mr. Wrong or ruin his chances with Mr. Perfect?
Sinister in Savannah series is a fictional podcast exploring the city’s most nefarious crimes with Southern-fried snark. The books explore friendship, love, loss, and the irrepressible human spirit. Mr. Perfect is book two of three. While each book is written about a different couple, the series should be read in order due to continuing storylines. Sinister in Savannah is an LGBT romantic suspense series with mature language and sexual content intended for adults eighteen and older.
Felix held up his hand. He didn’t want to hear another lie from Jude’s beautiful lips. “Just shut up. I’ve heard enough of your fake apology to last me a lifetime.”
“It wasn’t a fake apology. It just wasn’t the one you wanted to hear,” Jude argued, crossing his arms over his massive chest. The move pulled his dress shirt tighter over his bulging biceps.
Goddamned sexy bastard.
Felix quirked a brow. “Okay, we’ll call it a non-apology then. How does that work for you?”
“A non-apology?” Jude asked. “What the hell is that?”
“When someone does or says something horrible to you, and you call them out on their bullshit. Instead of saying, ‘I’m sorry I hurt you,’ the loser pops off with ‘I’m sorry your feelings are hurt.’ That is not the same thing at all. It’s implying the person who’s hurt is the one at fault. It’s victim-blaming, and I hate it.”
Jude clamped his jaw so tightly that Felix was surprised he didn’t hear his teeth cracking under the strain. His nostrils flared as he worked to calm himself. After a long, awkward staredown, Jude relaxed his jaw and tersely said, “You’re an idiot.”
Felix chuckled; the sound filled with disdain. “You’ll have to find harsher insults to throw me off my game, Arrow.”
Ever since she was a little girl, Aimee Nicole Walker entertained herself with stories that popped into her head. Now she gets paid to tell those stories to other people. She wears many titles—wife, mom, and animal lover are just a few of them. Her absolute favorite title is champion of the happily ever after. Love inspires everything she does, music keeps her sane, and coffee is the magic elixir that fuels her day. I’d love to hear from you
Hi guys! We have Mia Kerick writing as Jude Munro popping in today with her newest release Born For Leaving, we have a great guest post from Jude, a brilliant $10 Amazon GC and Prime’s review so check out the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~
Born For Leaving
(New England State of Mind 01)
When they say be careful what you wish for, do you pay attention?
Neither did Oliver Tunstead.
Oliver wishes for nothing more than to get his mind off his crappy bartending job, pile of debt big enough to swallow him whole, and playboy ex-boyfriend/boss who refuses to back off. Too bad distractions, like the hot little convertible he has his eye on, cost megabucks. And Oliver is flat broke. Renting the spare bedroom in his rundown beachfront cottage is his only option to pick up the cash he needs–a risky proposition, as Oliver is the polar opposite of a people-person. When he responds to a bizarre ad in the Waterfront Gazette seeking summer housing, he gets more than he bargained for. But Oliver can cope… After all, how much harm can a single quirky tenant do to his tightly guarded life in three short months?
Where Oliver is a loner by design, urban cowboy Bodie is a loner by necessity. A family dispute long ago dropkicked him onto the path of a lifelong wanderer. This changes when Bodie moves into the tiny beachfront cottage and starts working the door at Oliver’s bar.
Despite Oliver and Bodie’s nearly paralyzing instinct to avoid commitment, they fall into a wary romance. And to their surprise, life as a couple is sweetly satisfying; that is, until their jealous boss devises a cruel plan to destroy the tentative bond they’ve built. True to form, Bodie hits the road, leaving Oliver to lick his wounds alone.
Can these wounded souls defy their urge to flee and fight for love?
**Trigger Warning: discussion of childhood sexual molestation of adult character, graphic physical violence, off-page coerced sexual relationship